I was a little slow this week in getting my Real World recap up. I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been so busy and stressed and tired, but honestly, I just don’t know if I have the ability to restrain my snarkiness for a second straight week while this Austin cast continues to hurl “real” issues at us like death, paralysis, and drug addiction. Whatever happened to the good ole days when the biggest drama was whether or not Rachel’s boyfriend might send Italian Ice in the mail? Wasn’t this the group that partied so hard, skulls got bashed? These past two weeks have been the equivalent of Trishelle suddenly putting on some glasses and discussing stem cell research: a real buzzkill, you know?
Anyway, here I am Friday evening, and I’m finally ready to tackle this recap. When I say I put this bad boy off, I mean it. Seriously. I watched The Island today. Yeah, procrastination doesn’t get much worse.Previously on The Real World, the saddest episode EVER. In case you forgot or simply repressed the entire experience into the corner of your brain reserved for cobwebs and traumas, poor Danny’s mom died, leaving America with a giant lump in its throat. It was a gut-wrenching episode, to say the least, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one moved to call my parents. It kind of made me wonder how people in the 1980s survived those sentimental phone commercials. I mean, it must have been like watching the Danny episode every ten minutes. I would be like, “Hey mom. Just calling to say I love you. Yeah, the phone commercial was on again. I know I called you five minutes ago. I can’t help it! It made me feel guilty!”
Anyway, I’m already off on a massive tangent and this show hasn’t even begun yet. So let’s get back to work and fire up some fresh snark! The show opened up with Danny stepping off a plane in Boston where his sisters and father greeted him with a teary, group hug. This of course unleashed a new wave of Danny sobs (which are, by the way, the most painful types you’ll see on television).
So… another HILArious episode. Meanwhile, cut to me pretending to examine a pillow so that no one sees me getting all verklemped. If there’s anything that can make me sad, it’s a whole family of Dannys sobbing the Danny sob. I just feel for all of them.
Thankfully, the show zipped back to Austin where surely I’d find some silly activities to ridicule. Why, here were Wes and Nehemiah having burritos at Chipotle. Excellent. These two always have mock-worthy schemes up their sleeves (groupie drawer, anyone?). So what was the order of business tonight? Would they be bringing home cheerleaders or cowgirls? Actually, neither. Instead, Nehemiah talked about his fractured relationship with his parents. You see, he’d never met his dad, and his mom, well, she was in rehab. Even worse, all Nehemiah wanted to do at that moment was call his mother and tell her he loved her, but unfortunately, she was only allowed about ten minutes of phone time per week at her facility. That’s right. Nehemiah can’t call his mom to say “I love you.” Wow. This episode keeps getting funnier and funnier! Who else is getting an ab workout from all this laughter?
On the plus side, at least this show has learned the fine art of portraying grief and loss. I remember back in the day when such Big Emotions were swept under the rug like a pesky dust bunny. Anyone else remember the fleeting mention of Alton’s abducted-then-murdered little brother on Real Word: Las Vegas? Yeah, didn’t think so.
Anyway, back in Boston, Danny continued to mourn with his family. “I shoulda called her on Valentines Day!” he lamented to his sister. I hate to be the jackass to point this out, but well, maybe he should have said “I shoulda called her the day before Valentines Day.” Because, you know, well, never mind. Actually, Danny’s sister attempted to assuage her poor brother’s guilt by noting that it wouldn’t have mattered if he had called on Valentine’s day, but it was of no use. The Danny Sobs were back in full force.
Just about the only person crying harder was Melinda who now was grappling with the possibility that Danny might not return to Austin. Poor Melinda. She might not get to see Danny for like four whole months! That’s a long time, yo! I mean, they’ve known each other for like five weeks. You can’t expect them to separate now! They haven’t even reached their 50 day anniversary!
Meanwhile, in Boston, the tears continued to flow as Danny first gazed upon childhood pictures (sniffle) and then hugged his friends. This of course led to a whole ‘nother round of Danny Sobs as the camera quietly watched his shoulders heave with emotion. Yeah, so, um, let’s go back to Austin. Maybe that box of snow cones I sent Rachel has arrived…
Okay, great news everyone! I think we have something lighthearted! For once, the spotlight fell on our fair Lacey (and when I say “fair”, I mean “ghost-white”). Turns out the hairstylist’s boyfriend Ryan was coming to town for a visit, and after seeing a photo of the couple, we discovered that the two were truly in love. I mean, they had the same hairstyle and everything. It makes sense, really. Lacey noted that she cuts her hair. I wonder if she gives everyone her hairstyle. Cut to Tampa, FL where a disproportionate number of people are walking around looking like Crispin Glover.
Hey, it’s Lacey and… Lacey?
Just when I was feeling the adrenalin surge of mock-worthy television, Bunim/Murray had to go pull another fast one on me as we discovered that Ryan was a paraplegic in a wheel chair. GREAT. Just cut my tongue out, why don’t you? By the way, this would explain why Lacey’s boyfriend had been so patient about her being a virgin. Anyway, all this talk about wheel chairs had me wondering whether or not the mansion was actually handicap accessible. Conveniently, the show cutaway to an exterior shot of the house where we saw that yes, there was quite the prominent ramp out front. Excellent. We then immediately cut to footage of an imposing staircase leading up to the computer. Ouch. So much for the wheel chair. Ryan didn’t want to check his email anyway.
Speaking of email, Mel was all emotional because she had just received a cyber-missive from Danny. This of course brought tears to her face, but I’m not sure if it was because she missed him or simply because Hotmail had the balls to label the email as “junk”. Anyway, after having read Danny’s email, Melinda decided to reply with the awkwardly phrased opener “Hello there.” Whatever happened to the standard “reply-to-bad-news” salutation of “hey” (or for added emphasis, “heyyy”). At least she didn’t opt for her runners-up, “Why helloooo!” and “Good day sir!”
Anyway, after Melinda composed her email, she darted to the confessional with such urgency, I thought maybe she’d mistaken it for the toilet. Once safely inside, the floodgates opened up (tears, not pee-pee), and we watched The Torment of Melinda unfold. “I’m trying not to be selfish, but I like him so much,” she wailed, still pining for Danny’s return. His mother just died — GIVE HIM A BREAK!
After the commercial, we returned to Lacey who was busy fetching her boyfriend from the airport. The two did some red-zone canoodling and then headed back to the mansion where Johanna and Rachel greeted Ryan from behind the horrific visages of spa face masks. It was like the Mrs. Doubtfire version of Wicked. Okay, random references. You still with me? Good. Well, everyone immediately took to Ryan, and what’s not to like? He had the hair of Lacey and the wheels of a Toyota. I wonder though. Does he ever engage in… MURDERBALL?? (dunh Dunh DUNH!)
“Ryan’s one of those people where he comes into a room, and you see that he’s disabled,” commented Lacey. Oh really? The wheelchair’s not just a marathon runner’s seat? Okay, I am being cruel, especially since the rest of Lacey’s observation was that people get so wrapped up in Ryan’s personality that they forget he’s paralyzed. Sorry Lacey. At the very least, I owe it to these people to not take every passing remark out of context. But what can I say? My Real World snark has been bottled up for too long. I can’t help it. It needs out, people!
Back in Boston, we quietly observed Danny’s household as they prepared for the funeral. It was very Ice Storm. You know what I’m talking about: emotionally turbulent New England clan, quietly repressed family issues, Joan Allen riding on bicycles. Okay, so maybe that last one didn’t apply (although, knowing her prolific nature, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ms. Allen popping up at the funeral), but it was kind of intriguing to watch The Real World in this alien environment. Thankfully, we quickly returned to the safe comforts of Austin’s Dizzy Rooster Bar where party boy Ryan asked, “What do we want shots of?”
“Melinda!” replied, er, Melinda. Did she just offer herself up to Ryan? Naughty girl. Later, when he went to the bathroom, Melinda cried, “I don’t want to be selfish, but I miss him so much! I wish he’d come back to me.”
Actually, this Ryan cat seemed pretty cool, and I particularly enjoyed his wheelchair moves on the dance floor. Lacey explained that he had a healthy outlook on his condition, saying that he didn’t dream to walk again, but simply wanted to enjoy life in whichever state he was in. Hence, his desire for shots. Man, I hope he has a designated roller. I kid! I kid!
Later, one of the girls beamed, “It’s nice to see that Lacey has a guy who cares a lot about her.” She then added, “It’ll make it that much easier for us to make her the outcast.”
Meanwhile in Massachusetts, Danny returned from the funeral in surprisingly good shape (i.e. not sobbing) and found a fresh email from Melinda waiting for him. “Hey baby,” it began. Let’s give Melinda a small round of applause. I never thought she’d scrap the impersonal “Hello there”. Anyway, Danny called up his girl who of course was an emotional wreck. “I’m not upset,” she said. “It’s just hard.” Yeah, not as hard as your mom dying and having a needy girlfriend. Geez, Melinda. Give it a break!
Danny eventually hung up, and in case we couldn’t already tell that this episode was sad, we then cut to a fish that was literally frowning. Well, there you have it! The fish is sad! The only thing missing was a sorrowful violin playing in the background. Anyway, because it’s just not fair for Danny, Melinda, and the fish to be the only ones down in the dumps, we then returned to Nehemiah who was beating himself up that maybe he hadn’t been there for his mom during all her drug issues. Oh man. How much more depressing can this episode get? I thought we’d hit rock bottom with the mopey fish, but no. What’s next? Rachel learns cotton candy ice cream has been discontinued? Or maybe Johanna discovers that not everyone loves a spicy Latina?
Actually, the next emoticon-worthy event happened when Lacey had to say goodbye to Ryan at the airport. With her lip quivering and tears running down her face, she looked like such a sad sight that some random guy actually gave her a red balloon-heart out of pity. In other news, the balloon now has her hairstyle.
The episode drew to a close on a relatively happy note as Nehemiah finally connected with his mother. The two shared a sweet conversation, but the kicker was the end when Nehemiah pretended like he was done with the conversation but then said, “Mother, I love you too.” Awww. Amazingly, we did not cut to a wayward fish smiling in the tank. But I’ll assume the aquarium population was quite happy with this turn events.
What did you think of the episode?