A few weeks ago, we saw one of the most incendiary episodes of The Real World Key West season when Tyler bitched out Svetlana, her mom, and just about anything else that deigned to call him immature for penning a “burn book.” Readers were livid at Tyler, and I personally couldn’t wait to see the fallout from this chaos the next week. Unfortunately, with July 4th falling on a Tuesday, we had to actually wait two weeks before the next episode, and after all that time, what did we get? A big pile of blah. Kind of shocking considering that a) you’d think there’d be more fallout from the Tyler incident, and b) the kids went on vacation, which almost always leads to full-scale war (note the San Diego trip to Greece). Alas, all we got was a boring travelogue of Spain, punctuated with self-pitying scenes of Svetlana moping around in a hotel room. By far, this was the worst Real World vacation episode ever. Even the Austin kids managed to make things interesting thanks to a stupid Danny meltdown over Melinda saying she’d theoretically hook up with Prince William. Oh well. The good news was that the cast managed to stay in three hotels with nary a hurricane in sight, and that’s got to be an improvement, right?This week’s episode began where the last one left off: the tanning salon was to be closed down. Bummer. The roommates were sad for all of .3 seconds until Ricky announced that they were all going on vacation. Yay! Tanning salon? What tanning salon?
Tyler then proudly came on screen and announced, “Wherever STA Travel says we’re going to go, I’m going to embrace with open arms.” And by “open arms” he meant he’d write a nasty letter to STA Travel saying “You should have sent us to Italy, you low-life BITCH!”
Well, news of this impending vacation had everyone buzzing. Tyler and Janelle tried to guess where they’d be sent to — hopefully a country that would truly appreciate the artistry found in such modern classics as RED GOD. “We’re going to, like, Egypt!” Janelle surmised. She then added, “I wonder if Egypt needs a new personal relations director. I could be quite good.”
Meanwhile, Svetlana was curiously sad during all this excitement. She explained to us, “When you feel like you’re not getting along with anybody in the house and nobody likes you, no matter where you’re going, even if it’s space, you’re not gonna be excited.” Oh well. There goes the much-anticipated Real World space vacation plan.
Truthfully, I could understand Svetlana’s depression — the stuff she’s had to deal with from Janelle and Tyler has been horrendous. But then again, her inability to just say “Whatever, I’m going to enjoy this despite them” shows a general sense of self-pity, which pretty much sucks. Time to grow up, my little babushka.
A little later, Janelle wound up talking to Paula about Svetty in a restaurant, saying that when the two hang out, “I sort of feel like you’re isolating from everyone.” This, of course, was opposed to Janelle who NEVER isolated herself with someone like, oh, I don’t know, Tyler. Nevertheless, Paula noted that she hung out with Svetlana because she was younger and didn’t want her to feel alone. Furthermore, she didn’t want anyone to feel completely alone. We then cut to Svetlana at that moment standing completely alone in the same restaurant. Way to be on top of the whole “not leaving her alone” thing, PAULA.
After fun times in the restaurant, the kids then all returned to the house where they eagerly awaited the STA Travel reps. Eventually, they showed up, receiving a loud, hearty “HELLO!!!” from Jose. I hope they appreciated it. That was like two weeks worth of contributions from him.
Anyway, the roommies all gathered ’round to learn of their mystery destination. I think Tyler must have been expecting Transylvannia because he was randomly and inexplicably dressed in a cape.
Nevertheless, the plucky STA girl asked the group, “Have you guys ever heard of STA Travel?” No. NEVER. I mean, just because they’re plastered all over MTV and just because they send me newsletters every damn day, despite the fact that I’ve unsubscribed about twelve times, doesn’t mean that we’ve actually heard of STA Travel.
Well, after the girl did a little STA Travel spiel, she then asked the roommies if they had any guesses as to what was inside their “presents,” (a.k.a. STA Travel backpacks). The guesses came fast and furious:
Okay, no one suggested that last one. Turns out what was in the bags were travel itineraries to beautiful Spain where the kids would be visiting Madrid, Seville, and Barcelona. Most excited was John who fully expected to see Penelope Cruz-esque women roaming the streets freely. I guess that would be a good thing if you’re into the wide-eyed, goofy-face look.
Suddenly, the roommates were on a plane and whoosh! We were in Spain! Let the drama begin! The gang all checked into a hotel (for the umpteenth time this season), and we learned that Paula and Svetlana would be staying in their own room, which just so happened to be an entire flight of stairs down from everyone else. This was excellent for Janelle who remarked, “Svetlana can get annoying at times… I’m just glad to be able to have peace and quiet away from her.” Hey, if you want to have peace and quiet, maybe you shouldn’t follow Tyler everywhere he goes. By the way, I like how Janelle is so thankful that Svetlana is on an entirely different floor, and yet at the same time, she still gets angry that Svetlana isolates herself from the group. It’s like saying, “Stop being so antisocial, but eww, don’t hang out with me.”
Believe it or not, this is the rommates hotel room.
Later on, as the roomies set out to do some sightseeing, Tyler told us that he wanted to show John that there’s more to Spain than booze and babes. He wanted to show him the old world culture. How delightfully patronizing and condescending! We then cut to John commenting, “I smell the horse poop.” Okay, maybe Tyler’s not totally off-base.
After a few hours of Tyler Magical Tour of Spain, John had revised many of his misconceptions about the country. “I thought it would be all dirt roads, people with like turbans and snake charmers,” he said, and while there was an extended period of Muslim rule in Spain, something tells me that’s not what John was referring to. John then added, “To think, all this time I thought Aladdin took place in Bilbao.”
That night, we found Svetlana on the phone with, you guessed it, Martin. That’s right. She was calling from Spain to Philly to talk with her sadsack boyfriend about who knows what. I’ve defended “Fitz” many times over the past recap and a half, but now I draw the line. This was ridiculous. Couldn’t she let him be for a few days? I mean, his dad just died. Give him some space. Let him hang out with his buddy who he’s not gay with but whose house he’ll spend the night at.
Well, Svetlana wasn’t calling Martin to share all the wonderful experiences she was having abroad. Instead, she was complaining. I didn’t know about what. Maybe it had to do with her feeling unloved. I don’t know. All I knew was that she was wasting this great chance to be enjoying Europe so that she could get into a stupid fight with Martin on the phone. LAME.
While Svetlana racked up a pricey little phone bill for MTV to pay, the rest of the crew headed out to the bars for a good ol’ fashioned night of partying. John managed to meet a German tourist named Lisa, and while she didn’t look like Penelope Cruz as previously expected, her Teutonic air more than made up for her lack of silly face. Before long, the sparks were flying between the two, especially once John began explaining what an SUV was. Ah, so romantic. I couldn’t even imagine what would have happened had he discussed Mr. Goodwrench. Lisa probably would have performed fellatio right there!
Actually, there was a reason why Lisa seemed completely unfazed by the stupid SUV small-talk. John explained that in America, you have to be on top of your game 100% so you don’t sound like an idiot, but in Europe, the people just expect you to sound like an idiot anyway — so why hold back? Wait — all this time he was holding back? Wow.
Later, we found Paula talking to Tyler and quietly bashing her good friend Svetlana. As you can imagine, this made Tyler happy from the bottom of his soul. He could barely contain his pleasure in having successfully turned Paula away from the dark side. Of course, he acted as if this were some breakthrough for Paula’s well-being, saying, “It’s really exciting to see Paula kind of become her own person.” But we all know that Tyler didn’t care about Paula becoming independent of Svetlana. He just wanted to see Svetty officially become the house outcast with nary a friend in sight.
We then headed inside a club where Johnny Bananas was making his move on Frau Lisa. This elicited cheers and applause from the rest of the roommates who watched from a safe but certainly visible distance. We then watched exciting footage of dancing! And drinking! And Europe! And… whoa! Were Jose and John making out? Oh, no. They were just whispering to each other.
Apparently Jose had found out that in Germany, one night stands are common, and he just wanted to let Johnny Bananas know this in case, you know, the banana needed some time to prepare. Faster than you can say Schlampe, we then found John and Lisa gettin’ real cozy in the hotel room. If I’m not mistaken, this was the farthest John had gotten with a girl without Paula swooping in with a cockblock. Huzzah!
“Way to go, Johnny Bananas!”
As the two committed the dirty deed, we then cut to commercial, and when we returned, we found Zach and Tyler engaging in some traditional “Let’s bother the guy having sex” fun. This meant that they kept poking their heads in John’s room (which used to be John, Tyler, and Zach’s room before Goldilocks moved in). Understandably, this pissed off John to no end, and he finally stuck his head out the door and snapped at his roommates. Meanwhile, Lisa’s portly friend May was left with little to do except stand around in the hallway while everyone either slept or had sex. Ah, such is the plight of the rotund sidekick.
Eventually, this European union came to an end. John gave Lisa a goodbye kiss and then she was off like der Fledermaus. The next day, it was off to beautiful Seville, and what better time for Jose to bust out his shiny new jumpsuit that just so happened to be the color of a giant blood clot?
Well, the kids all checked into their new hotel, which unlike the previous one, was all old fashioned and seemingly littered with antiques. We then watched as the kids toured the city, which was beautiful for them but boring for us. There was a neat little lesson about the Spanish Inquisition (yay!), and then the roommates’ tourguide took them down a narrow alley called The Street of the Kiss. Of course, this provided Svetlana the perfect opportunity to whine about how difficult it was for her to walk down that oh so romantic (read: dingy) pathway without having anyone to kiss. Oh, the travails of Fitz! Would the constant punishment of this cruel world ever relent???
Having endured the street of the kiss sans paramour, there was only one thing for Svetlana to do: call Martin. Again. Zach told her to get off the phone and enjoy the city, but she rebuffed him, explaining that she simply could not enjoy the city. Additionally, all her fighting with Martin was because of Tyler and Janelle and the way they treated her. Uh… okay. Eventually, everyone gave up on Svetlana and left her alone to call Martin and complain about the lint in her bellybutton. As we headed into the next commercial break, Paula noted that no matter what city Svetlana was in, she would still be unhappy. Much in the same way that no matter what city Paula was in, she’d still get wasted, bite someone’s arm, and yell “KISS MY ASS! KISS MY GODDAMN ASS!!”
After the break, we found the roommates in not-so-sunny Barcelona where Janelle and Tyler grappled with the intricacies of a public toilet. Janelle was completely awed by this machine, and she literally clawed her way to watch Tyler pee. I was kind of hoping that the automatic door would pin her down permanently, but then again, if that happened, we’d never get to hear any more stories about her follies as a personal relations woman. Nevertheless, Janelle noted that the toilet was not unlike the tanning booths at the salon, ultimately declaring, “It’s a Mystic Toilet!” I suppose that means that when you’re done taking a dump, you look like carrot-ginger soup.
Once their curiosity over public toilets had been sufficiently sated, the roommates then headed to the Olympic stadium where Tyler told us, “One of my passions are the Olympics.” How wonderful for him! He then noted that he would channel that passion into a new painting simply called “DEITY!!!” Actually, he didn’t say that, but he noted that the reason why he loved the Olympics so much was “because not only what it represents in sport, but what it represents in the human spirit.” He then released five doves from a cage, waved a flag, and stood on a mountaintop pensively. By the way, it’s really nice to see Tyler pontificating about the human spirit and the Olympics and whatnot. Clearly, he’s well-versed in the ideals of community, peace, respect, and love:
Anyway, Tyler proudly stood atop the Olympic stadium and soaked in the entire moment — a life’s dreams coming true. If only he could have started a Burn Book about the stadium. Then, and only then, would that moment have been perfect.
Paula then weighed in with her deep thoughts of the day, saying “Coming to Spain, it makes me feel worldly.” And I’m sure she truly appreciated that worldliness just last week when she was posing for her latest photo:
Later on, the kids all gathered in a square to learn how to flamenco dance — something that I’m sure Tyler was so PROUD to do because he could get into the FLAMENCO SPIRIT. It actually looked like a lot of fun, but sourpuss Svetlana was not about to let a trifling activity get in the way of her pity party. She refused to participate, saying that it was entirely too hot out. “Looks like Svetlana has a little bit of an attitude, said Janelle, a woman known for her placid demeanor and warm, welcoming disposition…
Well, just because the rain in Spain falls mainly on the Svetlana didn’t mean that everyone else was going to miss out on the flamenco. The rest of the roommates gladly partnered up with some professionals and learned some of the basics. In no time, everyone was dancing like a pro, and Tyler was even dazzling us with his flamenco pit stains. To be fair, Svetlana did eventually join in and shocker, she had a good time. There was even a smile! This afternoon was turning out to be flamenco-tastic!
Suddenly, we were at the final dinner where the roommates were all toasting to Spain. Yes, the trip was ending. Any Real World viewer knows it’s never a good sign when a vacation can be contained in one pithy half hour. Nevertheless, the roommates certainly had a grand time on their sojourn, and Paula commented, “Spain is a great introduction to traveling. I don’t know where I’m gonna go next, but I’m definitely gonna keep going.” I think I know where Paula is going. She is going directly to jail. She will not pass Go or collect $200 either.
After dinner, the kids all returned to their hotel, and as they walked back, Paula, Zach, and John talked about how Svetlana really needed therapy or counseling or something. Unfortunately, as the three gabbed about this in the stairwell, Svetlana was quietly listening in several floor above. Uh oh. More eavesdropping! This would surely lead to drama. Sure enough, Svetty became upset and told us, “Why is it necessary to talk about me? Just why?” Because Svetlana has NEVER spoken about anyone behind their backs?
Still, even though she was annoyed, Svetlana didn’t blow up like Paula or Tyler have in the past. Instead, she just internalized everything and fueled her self-pity. And with that, the episode essentially came to a close — although, not before John reflected, “This is all going to seem like one big, amazing dream.” Oh really? Were you asleep too?
What did you think about this episode?