Grab a tissue. Heck, grab a whole box. Tonight’s Real World was a four-hanky special. Yes, it was the much anticipated Danny’s-Mom-Dies episode, and I must admit, watching it was heartbreaking. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to write this recap. I mean, what can I say? Well, I guess the first thing I can do is extend my sincerest condolences to him. All snark and TVgasm joking aside, he did suffer a terrible loss, and watching him bawl on TV made me realize how difficult and emotional this experience was for him. So go call your mom and tell her you love her, and then we’ll all hold hands and navigate through this deservedly emotional and thankfully thoughtful episode.This soon-to-be grim episode began on a surprisingly cheery note. It was, after all, Valentine’s Day in Austin, and Danny and Melinda had a big ole date at Oasis ($99 reservation, non-refundable). While Danny scoured the city for a cheap dress shirt, Melinda debated whether or not to buy a card. It’s a difficult decision, I know. Luckily, she conferred with The Official Card Council that is Rachel, Johanna, and Lacey, and it was hereby approved that Melinda should purchase a card and heart-shaped box of chocolates for her noble steed.
Speaking of cards, Melinda received one from her ex-promise ring bearer, Jason. Re-gift! Re-gift! Alas, while the missive looked all purdy and nice on the outside, it was filled with attempted passive-aggression and rage on the inside. You see, the entire note was blacked out, and on the side was a NEW message, saying that “Oh, by the way, I had written this BEFORE the breakup and now my feelings have changed.” What a putz. We all know that you wrote that card two days ago with the intention to black it all out. Personally, I’m surprised he didn’t also write, “I know you are, but what am I? Because I’m rubber and you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.” At this point, one of the girls — I think it was Lacey — simply asked, “Why not buy a new card?” (again, because that’s assuming he actually had written this Valentine two months ago, which if true, by the way, is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard). Personally, my biggest question was more, “Why even send this?” But again, we’ve learned that Jason is dumb. I really hope he visits so we can make fun of him more. Man, this has been fun.
Meanwhile, Danny Champion of the World was still hunting down a decent shirt. Unfortunately, everything was too expensive. Pssst…just bite the bullet and go to Men’s Wearhouse. Or maybe Target. Honestly, it really shouldn’t be too hard to find a modestly priced button-down. The Gap or Banana Republic or J. Crew would work just fine in a pinch. Hmmm…can you tell that I’m trying to stall desperately before the show goes Super Somber?
Back at the house, Rachel received the rare non-drippy box from a delivery man. Surely this would be more cotton candy ice cream, right? WRONG! It was just roses. Yup, plain old roses. But maybe they were ice cream roses! That tasted like cotton candy!! I can still dream, right? Lacey, meanwhile, received a phone call from her boy Ryan who claimed he didn’t believe in Valentine’s Day (which, of course, was why he happened to be calling that very day). The two talked dirty — I think. The scene was too hushed for me to really be able to discern any words. After Lacey was through with the phone, however, Johanna got on and checked the voicemails, and uh oh, a call from Danny’s dad. We cut to commercial as a knot slowly tightened in my stomach.
When we came back, the show was back to happy, goofy mode as the parade of Valentine’s Day mania continued. Next up was Leo. Not DiCaprio, although that would have been quite the sight. No, the Leo I’m talking about is Leo the bartender — the guy that Johanna professed to having a crush on. Well, he showed up at the doorway to surreptitiously deliver flowers to not only Johanna, but all the girls in the house. This of course led to a chorus of “Awwwwww!” from the ladies, and alas, it seemed like the only two people without a Valentine were Wes and Nehemiah. Eh, scratch that. Wes did received a card in the mail. I believe it said, “Dear Wes. What we have is wonderful and special. I love you. Love, Your Right Hand.”
Danny, meanwhile, had found his shirt and now was working on the flowers. After groaning about spending too much money, he misread a sign at a florist and accidentally purchased over $100 worth of roses (he was only expecting to pay $20). Man, this day just could not get any worse for him. Oh, wait. I should probably just shut up now.
Anyway, Danny finally returned to the house and gave Melinda her roses. She was more than thrilled to receive the flowers (a step up from a blacked out, angry Valentines card) and told us, “He’s taking it as serious as I am.” Serious-LY! Serious-LY! Is it so much to ask that reality stars bone up on their adverbs? And not just on The Real World. All the shows! Add the -ly, people. SeriousLY!
Moments after this grammatical mishap, the roomies then alerted Danny that his dad had called. Okay folks. This is gonna be rough. Danny went upstairs and called his pops, who informed him that his mother had died that morning. The look on his face was devastating, but before we could really observe it, the show suddenly cut to commercial. I found it a bit odd that MTV would use this incredibly serious moment as a cliffhanger for its sponsors, but that’s just cynical old me talking. When we returned, we watched the heartbreaking phone call over again, and as Danny cried “Tell me you’re lying” repeatedly, it was hard not to be swept up with emotion. I would not be surprised to learn that a significant portion of viewers had tears streaming down their faces. But not me. Because I’m a man. And strong! Okay, okay, I got a little misty-eyed.
I cannot tell you how badly I feel for Danny. I’ve heard through mutual friends that he’s actually quite the stand-up individual, and so watching him face this hardship — one that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy (not even you, Veronica and Tina) — I couldn’t help but feel tremendously awful. Well, imagine living with the guy. Danny soon got off the phone and sobbed into the arms of Nehemiah. And let me tell you something. When Danny sobs, he sobs. You can feel his anguish, and it hits you in the chest like a sack of bricks. Slowly, word got around the very quiet house, and after receiving hugs from everyone, Danny stepped out to have a moment by himself in a back alley.
Wes explained that he knew exactly how he felt because his best friend died two years ago. Hmmm… Not to detract from whatever emotions he felt with that experience, but something tells me Wes had no idea what Danny was going through. Johanna, meanwhile, told her roomies, “God, Danny just gets one thing after another after another.” She then added, “At least my drunken state didn’t bring this one on. Everybody LOVES a spicy Latina!”
Outside, Melinda sat with Danny as he continued to sob. Man, that sobbing. KILLER! I don’t think we’ve seen such emotional crying from a guy since David told that woman that he loved her on Real World: Seattle. After spending some time with Melinda, Danny finally went back inside to call his sister Kristen. She tried to cheer him up, but he continued to bawl (please pass the tissues) into the phone. I mean, not even Kristen was sobbing like him. Danny expressed regret about having come on the show at all, but Kristen, being the good sister that she seems to be, told him that mom was so happy for him. But he never got to say goodbye, cried Danny. Ah, but Kristen reminded him that just the other night, he had spoken with her. We then got to see footage of this now-heartbreaking phone call as Danny’s mom told him how much she loved him. And then he said he loved her [ed. note: I guess he didn't say he loved her. EVEN WORSE]. Hello, Kleenex? Yeah, I need about a crate of your tissue boxes here NOW!
As Danny reeled from this horrible news, his roommates became incredibly introspective, and for once, it felt like The Real World was actually dealing with the real world. Everyone tried to comfort Danny, but they all knew that there was nothing they could say or do to help the situation. “I failed her… I will never, ever, ever forgive myself,” said Danny in an interview. Man oh man. This poor, poor guy. What else can I say? This is just so sad to watch.
The episode ended with Melinda taking Danny to the airport, and after they hugged and kissed goodbye, she was left wondering if he would ever return to Austin. I guess we’ll just have to wait to find out. I just hope that next week the kids are back to doing stupid things like shipping ice cream and fighting in bars. Much more conducive to TVgasm humor.
Anyway, time to watch MTV’s ’70s House!! Do The Hustle!