After last week’s total snoozefest on The Real World, we returned to scandalous fun last night in an episode filled with hurricanes, sexual aggressiveness, and, of course, uncontrollable styrofoam. This show was so chock-full of activity, just about the only thing that was missing was Paula’s regular psychotic spat (don’t worry. Looks like we’ll be getting some of that next week). Even Jose had a major storyline. Oh, just kidding. He already had his for the season. But I will say that his rival wallflower Janelle got to shine for the second time in three weeks, which means that Jose has officially become the least involved roommate of the season. Congratulations!This week’s show opened up in that dungeon of chemicals and Pier 1 Furniture that we call the tanning salon. Brutal despot Ricky summoned his vassals around and announced, “I think we should start thinking about Fancy Fest.” Ooh! I don’t know what that is, but it sure sounds fancy and festive! Count me in! Oh wait, apparently Ricky had said “Fantasy Fest,” which was instantly less appealing. Memo to self: seek out a Fancy Fest somewhere in the country.
Anyway, Fantasy Fest was basically like the second biggest party in America next to Mardi Gras. During the event, the population of Key West balloons from 25,000 people to about 100,000 — at least, that’s what Tyler claimed. “This is huge. This is an opportunity for us to have a lot of fun,” Tyler said. And no, he didn’t mean the sort of fun that comes from painting homages to Bob Ross.
With the Fantasy Fest just a week away, the Mystic Tan peeps knew that this was a great chance to boost sales for the business. So how would they capitalize on all the thousands of people coming to town? Why, they’d make a float and ride it in the Fantasy Fest parade! John was instantly excited about this idea, and he began spewing float designs out at a rapid-fire pace. Some of his thoughts were interesting (something about a guy walking into a fake tanning booth and emerging as a drag queen), and some of this ideas, well, they needed some finessing — such as an ill-advised plan to put Mystic Tanning pellets in a paintball gun and shoot people on the streets. Yeah, don’t think that’ll go over too well.
Also excited about all this was Janelle, who proclaimed, “I absolutely love to dress up!” which would make sense since she basically is a drag queen. Nevertheless, she and John and Zach headed off to a costume shop where they tried on all sorts of goofy outfits. John impressed all with his sexy cheerleading gettup, prompting Janelle to tell us, “John, he’s loud… he’s obnoxious… he says rude comments… but he’s fun to be around.” Well, it’s a good thing she felt that way. Had Paula been there, she probably would have gone on a long, drunken tirade, culminating with her yelling about his penis size to the entire costume shop.
Bring it on!
The trio then headed to A&B Lobster House and Restaurant, a place I’d never heard of but instantly wanted to go to. Janelle, Zach, and John got a table and reiterated over and over again, “This is our week!” Yes, they were looking forward to having seven days of pure, unadulterated, drunken fun. I personally was looking forward to seven days of pure, unadulterated, drunken Paula. “KISS MY ASS, KEY WEST!!! KISS MY GODDAMNED ASS!!!”
We then watched as Janelle tried her first oyster, an aphrodisiac as John pointed out. “Janelle is very intriguing,” he then said. “If something was going to happen drunk, sober, naked, clothed, it would be with her.” Aaaaand that came out of left field. All season long we’d pegged John to go after Paula or Svetlana, but never did I think Janelle. This was like in Real World New Orleans when randomly Jamie and Julie hooked up. Definitely random.
Anyway, the next day, John explained that he really wanted to take a leadership role with the design of the float. To each his own, right? He and Tyler headed off to Home Depot with their friends Fitch (Tyler’s buddy from home) and Layne (the “roommates’ local friend”). As soon as Tyler walked into the store, the alarms went off, prompting him to joke, “Are homosexuals not allowed?” Okay, that was pretty funny. Anyway, John said that he was basically in charge of construction and design whereas Tyler would apply flowers and glitter. You know, gay stuff. Next thing we knew, Tyler was emerging from Home Depot with several massive pieces of styrofoam. He tried to tie them to the top of the roomies’ SUV, but a sudden windstorm descended on the Home Depot parking lot, causing the styrofoam slabs to break off and go flying every which way. “Hurricane Home Depot!” Tyler yelled. I’m surprised he didn’t then tackle an errant piece of styrofoam, hold it in the air, and declare, “I call this piece WHITE GOD!!”
Luckily, the guys managed to wrangle up all the fugitive styrofoam and bring it back to the mansion. John then got to work building his fake Mystic Tanning booth as Tyler explained to us the artistic vision: “The main theme of the float is a mystical force [RED GOD!]. So we’re doing a very, like, Shakespearean A Midsummer’s Night Dream.” Yes, I’m sure Shakespeare would be thrilled to see this latest interpretation of his work. Maybe after Fantasty Fest, the roommates can bring their float to Statford-upon-Avon to truly honor their muse!
Anyway, while John toiled with the woodwork, Tyler arranged all the flowers, sticking them in the styrofoam and creating the most mystical, Shakespearean ode to fake tanning possible. The producers amusingly cut back and forth between the two guys, playing manly guitars for John and gay pride techno for Tyler. Not to be stereotypical or anything. Tyler then wryly noted that “Johnny represents all the straight manhood should be; so it’s funny that his main project while we’re down here is to make the gayest float ever.” It’s funny because it’s true. Tyler also noted, “I kind of enjoyed the irony.” He then added, “And I expressed that in my new painting, PURPLE IRONY!”
Meanwhile, in the next scene, I was proud to announce that we had a RED GOD sighting! Yes, the painting was propped up against the wall in the dining room. Ah yes, it has returned safe and sound! I feel comforted in knowing this. Just keep it away from Thomas Crowne!
Just when the lighthearted antics of FloatQuest 2006 were proving to be entirely too entertaining (seriously, I was really enjoying it), Svetlana called up to ruin everything. For those of you who may have forgotten, Svetlana flew off to Philadelphia last week to be with her boyfriend Martin while his dad was dying of cancer. As you can imagine, her phone call to the house was not full of good cheer. She talked about how intense everything was up there, and blah blah blah, Paula was going to pick her up at the airport the next day. Wonderful.
We then saw Paula painting something, which made me excited. Finally we’d get to see the artistic rendering of “KISS MY ASS!!!” Tyler shall call it YELLOW FURY! Anyway, as fun as preparing for Fantasy Fest was (which was nothing compared to the thrill of Fancy Fest), there was bad news on the horizon. Literally. Remember all that wind at Home Depot? Turned out that was coming from a Tropical Depression (and no, that’s not a code word for “Paula”). Yes, a storm was brewing, and this wasn’t just any storm. It was none other than the future Hurricane Wilma, a storm with a name that John couldn’t help but giggle at. And rightfully so. Wilma belongs in that category of hurricanes that sound like they could be waitresses in some diner off Route 66. You know: Bertha, Gloria, Carla, Camille, etc. Paula joked that Wilma just didn’t sound fierce like Katrina. She then added, “Wilma can just KISS MY ASS!!! KISS MY GODDAMN ASS!!!”
Anyway, we went to commercial, and when we returned, we found the kids all working out in what appeared to be an old, dilapidated shack. Seriously, the shanty towns of Soweto have better facilities than this place. And if you thought it looked bad on the outside, the inside was a whole new world of rust, mildew, and shabbiness. Still, what the gym lacked in presentation it made up for in… okay, nothing really. This place was hit by a hurricane twenty years ago, and the owners clearly didn’t feel the need to make any repairs since then. I’m sure they like to think of each new hole in the roof as “character.”
This place puts the rust in “rustic.”
Well, as I said before, all the roomies were pumping iron in what looked to be the muggy environs of this death trap. There was Zach doing a lat pulldown. There was Janelle walking on the treadmill. And there was Jose doing a curl! Let it be known that this would be his major contribution of the episode. Doing a curl. Well done, Jose.
Afterwards in the car, Janelle commented that she just wanted to get out of her sweaty clothes, causing John to say, “I want to get the pants off you.” Charming. Of course, John then gave one of his goofy grins, the type that says, “Hey, it’s just me, Johnny Bananas!” This would then be followed by a slide whistle and kazoo music. Nevertheless, John then clarified his statement, saying, “I want you to know if you ever have trouble getting your pants off, anything, even sports bras, like whatever. I can do it. I can unclasp a bra one-handed.” Ah yes, enticing offers indeed, but Janelle informed us that she wasn’t really looking for a guy right now. Nope. Not at all. We’ll see how long that lasts…
We then moved from the crappy gym to the crappy airstrip. Svetlana was back, and there to pick her up was none other than Jose. Wow. I thought we had surely climaxed with that gripping footage of him doing arm curls. Who would have thought we’d be privy to this bonus “Driving the car” scene as well? Of course, this all begged one very important question: WHERE’S PEISHA? Paula was supposed to pick up Svetty, not Jose. Maybe she got mad at the SUV when her reflection on the side door made her look fat. She probably told the vehicle that it had a small penis and then ran off and cried in her bedroom.
Nevertheless, on the ride home, Svetlana revealed that Martin’s dad had died, which was sad. She also noted how Martin doesn’t ever speak his emotions (especially not those tingly ones he gets when he hangs out at his friend’s basement late at night), but on this visit, he totally let down his guard and opened up to Svetty. As a result, Svetlana really felt they had gotten over a huge mountain, and now there just bumps in the road left. Well, until the next mountain, which might have something to do with that whole Brokeback Philly thing going on, but that’s a whole other issue entirely.
But anyway, enough about Martin and his “feelings” and his “dead dad.” Let’s go back to Fantasy Fest!!! Whooohooo!! We later found Zach and Jose talking on the phone, but they weren’t talking on just any old phone. They were on a super-duper high-tech video phone. What was this? The Jetsons? Anyway, the two were talking about that bitch Wilma and how this would impact Fantasy Fest (i.e. RUIN it). C’mon. It’s Fantasy Fest. Can’t all these people just pretend it’s sunny out? Isn’t that the point of a fantasy? Alas, it looked like it might be a no-go. In the words of Fred Flintstone, “Wiiilllmaaaaa!!!”
That night, the gang all headed out to Louie’s Backyard Barbecue, a restaurant that was basically serving free food to get rid of all its seafood inventory in anticipation of the hurricane. And yes, I was intensely jealous. First that lobster house and now this? No wonder why I dreamt I ate lobster last night (still can’t explain how Iyanla from Starting Over got in my dream too, but at least some of it is making sense now). Anyway, we were treated to a little montage of “Fun at Louie’s!” and this included a random shot of Paula telling Svet, “The thing is, we’re not normal!” This is true, and I love that the producers just threw in that soundbyte out of nowhere.
Anyway, with the liquor flowing and the ocean beckoning, John and Tyler decided to take off all their clothes and frolic in the surf. And let me tell you, I can’t even count all the times I’ve stripped down naked at a seaside restaurant and jumped in the water. Who doesn’t? Anyway, it was quite the romantic scene, especially as lightning flickered in the sky above them, representing the sparks of excitement surely emanating from their loins. Soon Janelle joined the boys, but she wasn’t about to degrade herself. She kept her bra and undies on as she cavorted with her buddies and whatever starfish happened to be floating by.
Meanwhile, up on the restaurant deck, some blurred-out woman came up to Paula and Svet and started, “Do you see your friends are–” But Svetlana interrupted the girl and said, “They’re amazing, yeah.” Uh, no. I think she was going to say “naked,” not “amazing.” The girls then went to the edge of the deck and asked Janelle if she was topless. She said no, she wasn’t, but uh oh… Here comes John! And there goes the bra! And now… THE DRAMA! As Janelle floundered in the water sans bra, Svetlana let out a disappointed “Janelle…” as if she had just announced she’d be starring in her own line of gonzo pornos.
With that, we headed to commercial, and when we returned, all that lighthearted music we’d been listening to was long gone. Turns out Janelle didn’t really appreciate that whole “forcibly removing her bra” thing. In fact, she was quite mad, as she should have been. I guess John missed that day in school where he learned that ripping a girl’s top off was not always, you know, cool. And to think that Kevin from Los Angeles was kicked out for ripping a comforter off someone.
Well, back at the house, Janelle was not about to talk to John. She was pissed. Funny how these massive fall-outs always come before a hurricane. Zach tried to shed some light on the whole situation, but as usual he spoke in his super… slow… deliberate… way: “The thing about John… that irks a lot of people… is… ” JUST SAY IT, DAMMIT. Okay, what Zach was trying to say was that John’s biggest problem was that he didn’t know when to stop. Kind of like Tyler with the Mystic Tan:
Eventually, Janelle relented and talked to John about the whole incident. “When someone says no, you stop,” she told him, reiterating “How Not To Date Rape 101.” Hmm… I guess I shouldn’t crack jokes about this. It is fairly serious. Well, John apologized profusely over and over again, and then he proceeded to rip her bra off again. Okay, no, that didn’t happen. Just thought I’d spice up the scenario. Ultimately, John insisted that he never meant to hurt or humiliate Janelle. “I seriously love you like one of my sisters,” he said. So you heard it here first: Johnny Bananas likes to rip his sister’s bra off.
Luckily, John did clarify his statement, saying, “I mean, I wouldn’t take my sister’s top off, but at the same time…” At the same time? Shouldn’t the sentence have ended after the word “off”? Nevertheless, the two buried the hatchet, and the next day, rain poured down on the island. Oh well. So much for Fantasy Fest (insert Debbie Downer wah wah wah here). Well, the precipitation may have ruined Key West’s biggest party of the year, but it didn’t kill Zach’s spirit. He wanted to stay for the hurricane, especially as word came out that Wilma was going to be the biggest storm ever. Who would ever want to miss out on that? I mean, aside from all the people who value their lives and personal well-being.
Zach then explained his reluctance to evacuate the island. “We should be taking this extremely seriously,” he said, “But at the same time, we have Fantasy Fest to deal with.” Zach, it’s not going to happen. Fantasy Fest is done. Over. Zip. As admirable as it is that you’d want to put your life at risk for the sake of that Shakespearean float, sometimes you gotta put things in perspective. He then complained that this hurricane was a stress that he simply didn’t have time to deal with. “It’s just one more thing on our plate,” he said. Well, to be fair, it’s more like the only thing on your plate. Don’t act like you have a myriad of responsibilities to take care of down there.
And with that, the episode ended. What did you think? Will Fantasy Fest go on? And did John cross the line with Janelle? Or was she overreacting?