My apologies for this late recap of The Real World. I wish I had a decent excuse, but honestly, I really don’t have any. Then again, I could just make one up, right? So… yeah… the reason why I’ve been so late on this Real World post is because… I was so inspired by the roommates’ burgeoning Mystic Tan factory that I went and locked myself in a stall for three days! Yes, exactly! And now I look more orange than Charlize Theron at an awards ceremony. So you see, there’s a perfectly logical reason for my delay. And now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can relive this latest Key West drama, which sort of played out like a teeny-bopper version of The Apprentice. Basically, Svetlana and Zach both wanted to be manager of the tanning salon. She had experience. He had maturity. It was a battle for the ages (not really). If only Trump were there to sort things out…The show opened up at the Pineapple Gallery, which is hopefully only the temporary name of the tanning salon. All the roomies (and their best bud/boss, Ricky) were building booths, painting walls, and installing furniture. It was like a tantastic version of Trading Spaces. At one point, Svetlana commented about the paint, “I wish this blue was not — like, less bland, and I wish the brown had a bronze in it.”
Well, out of nowhere came the brash Tyler we know and love who suddenly yelled, “Why are you talking and not doing something?!?!?!” Discussion of hues is strictly VERBOTEN! He then served up another squash ball of bitchiness by saying, “If you worked half as hard as you run your mouth, we’d be a lot further. END OF CONVERSATION.”
“I can’t speak when I work?” Svetlana then asked. Duh! Of course not! Because then Tyler wouldn’t have an excuse to make a scene! Idiot.
Later, Svetlana, Jose, and Ricky took a little ride to the bank where they talked about things like responsibility and work and stuff. Svetty said that she wanted to prove that she could be responsible and a manager — after all, she had excelled in her parents’ pharmacy and 3-D imaging center. “I obviously proved myself to my dad. I’m 19 years old, and I manage this huge facility,” she said. Okay, she makes it sound like she single-handedly runs a Costco in her free time. Besides, is it really that much of a coup to nab a job in your parents’ store?
After the little bank excursion, everyone gathered together and decided to have a group dinner on Sunday so they could talk about the business and their goals and their roles. Yay! Fledgling business! Entrepreneurs of tomorrow! Tantastic women for years to come! Everything was going along all hunky-dory until suddenly Zach announced that he’d like to be manager. At first Tyler wasn’t so hot on the idea, given how laid back Zach is (and seriously, do you really want someone with that unwieldy of a hairstyle in charge of your business?). But rather quickly, Tyler changed his mind, noting that Zach was an awfully good listener. And that’s a very important tool in business (insert “The More You Know!” shooting star here).
Well, everyone seemed to be on board with the whole Zach thing. Everyone but Svetlana. You see, she wanted to be manager too. In fact, she declared that she already was the manager. Ricky had said so! Zach obviously refuted this politely, saying that just because she took a trip to the bank with Ricky doesn’t mean that she’s automatically the boss now. But Svetlana insisted that this was the job for her. She even lashed out at Zach, saying that he couldn’t be manager because he had no backbone. This then made Zach feel sad and worthless, and I feared he might just curl into a little ball and hide in his Jew-fro.
When Zach still insisted that he wanted to be manager, Svetlana then made the ultimate threat. The sort of mature, level-headed reaction that we all wish our bosses would have: “I WILL NOT TALK TO YOU!” she said. Yes, she threatened the silent treatment on Zach (an offer that sounded more tantalizing than imposing). Well, with this debate far from over, everyone went to sleep, and then suddenly, it was 5:30 in the morning, and Tyler was waking up. I didn’t know why, but I assumed it was his passive aggressive way to prove that he’s a harder worker than Svetlana. Actually, I was wrong. Turns out he was going for an early-morning swim at the local town pool. You see, before Tyler was a champion bitch, he was a champion swimmer. “I won countless state titles, set a bunch of state records,” he said quite modestly. Was one of those records “LOUDEST SWIMMER EVER?”
Anyway, Tyler actually joined a Key West swim team, which was oddly endearing. It’s rare that you see any of these Real World kids doing something proactive with their lives. We then got a random glimpse into Tyler’s childhood when his father and brothers all wanted to play hockey, but Tyler, well, he was gay. Thus, he entered the world of swimming and just wanted to his dad to know that he was just as athletic as any hockey player. Or something like that. It was all very Doing Time On Maple Drive meets Minnesota.
Meanwhile, the tanning salon was now ready to enter its next phase: carpeting. The clan got a great, big swath of carpeting, but they had to measure out the proper amount they needed. So what did they do? They rolled out the carpet in the middle of the street. Yes, they stopped traffic to cut a carpet. Great idea, John. Wasn’t there any other open space they could have used? A park? A playground? A driveway? At one point, a peeved motorcyclist simply drove over the carpet and went on his merry way while the roomies balked and complained about the tire mark left behind. I say more power to the motorcycle. I would have driven over that carpet in an 18-wheeler if I could have.
After this carpet fiasco passed, we then returned to more Svetlana/Zach bickering over the manager position, but tensions were momentarily quelled when Ricky gave away two T-Mobile Sidekick II’s. Oooh! Would they be receiving clues from TJ Lavin? Might they be engaging in “Name That Coconut” later that afternoon? Sadly, no. The phones were merely so the group could stay in touch. And, well, to promote the T-Mobile Sidekick II.
That night, sweet, bland Jose sad with Tyler on the dock, and the two talked about their lives. Well, actually, more like Tyler talked about his life. He said that he wears his pretensions because he’s earned them. Congratulations. Here’s one pretension you haven’t earned: the value of modesty and tact. Of course, what Tyler probably doesn’t realize is that his proud showiness and smug superiority are the same motivational forces that cause nouveau riche women to don gaudy jewelry and giant fur coats. And those are the same women that Tyler often accuses Svetlana of being. So you see, Tyler and Svet are actually quite similar, aren’t they? Try that one on for size, Tyler.
The next morning, we found Tyler in his speedo. He was moving on from the swim team to triathlons, but oops, he didn’t have a bike; so he just settled for the lame ass biathlon. Well, since he’s won countless state championships, Tyler had no problem schooling everyone with the swimming portion of the event, earning himself a little trophy. “You do good things, and we turn into idiots,” Paula said of the win later. Oh, come now, Paula. You guys aren’t turning into idiots. It’s more like you’re all just exploring different dimensions of your pre-existing idiot states.
Nevertheless, Tyler had an appropriately friendly response: “See, that’s what I like. Let’s keep it that way. This way I can point and laugh.” You know, it was a dick thing to say, but how can I really put him down for it? After all, aren’t I basically sitting here pointing and laughing myself? Damn you, Tyler. Why must you always say something cleverly incisive when I’m trying to paint you as a two-dimensional, cocky, drama queen!
Hey — remember that Sunday dinner? Guess what? It was Sunday! Time for the dinner! Yay! Ricky’s coming! Ricky’s coming! Somebody get a piñata! And you can fill it with Mystic Tan chemicals. This way, when you bash it open, it explodes and you get a tan! Genius!
Anyway, in preparation for what was surely going to be a feast of drama, the house descended into cooking madness, especially when Svetlana attempted to take over the entire kitchen. I know she was trying to prove that she could be responsible and in control, but all she did was isolate her roommates and piss them off. “Seriously, Fitz. You turn into a Nazi with this stuff,” Zach said. Let the dirty campaigning begin:
(cue patriotic music)
“Why should Zach be manager of the tanning salon? Because he doesn’t turn into a Nazi with this stuff. Vote Zach!”
By the way, Svetlana may have been a madwoman, but her chicken looked really good. MTV should really post that recipe.
I really want to eat this.
Well, Ricky eventually came by, and the group all sat down to their makeshift banquet, which featured more food than a packed night at Medieval Times. It was sort of like the anti-Paula meal. Hey, remember when she had an eating disorder? Whatever happened to that? Good times.
After everyone had finished chowing down on their apple and honey chicken, it was time to figure out who would be doing what at the business. Everyone began casually volunteering for positions as if they were picking Monopoly pieces. “I’ll be the vice president,” Janelle offered. Oh, okay! Let’s just all arbitrarily choose names and titles!
Everything was going smoothly until the expected showdown over the manager position. Svetlana wanted to know what exactly the job would entail, and Ricky explained it thoroughly: “If you’re going to be a manager, you’re managing.” He then added, “Similarly, Janelle, as vice-president, you’ll be vice-presidenting.”
Well, the big debate raged on and on. Most people wanted Zach as manager because he seemed more mature and responsible. But then again, Svetlana did have experience. In a weird way, I did feel badly for Svetlana because she was being brushed off rather hastily, but then again, her entire demeanor through this process has kind shown why she wouldn’t be a great choice as manager. I personally didn’t know why she was so attached to this position. I mean, seriously. Just drop it already. Everyone wants Zach.
As tensions continued to mount, Svetlana finally announced that she was leaving the table. Memo to Svetlana: if you want to prove you can be strong and reliable in a leadership position: don’t try to run away and cry. Luckily, Ricky made her stay, and shortly after, the group had an official vote. No surprise here: Zach won. Of course, I didn’t know why Jose wasn’t the man in charge. The guy already has a small real-estate business going on. Shouldn’t he be the man running this business? Well, turned out that everyone wanted Jose to be the assistant manager. Zach, ever the diplomat, endorsed Svetlana to be his #2, but again, the group dissed her and voted for Jose. And with that, the first ever Pineapple Gallery Official Dinner Meeting came to a close. Svetlana looked like she was about to bawl (which she eventually did), and Zach, well, he looked sad too. You see, he’s sensitive. He’s so sensitive that he went upstairs and typed up his goals as manager — to emo music! Oh, the torment! Nothing can compare to the emotional plight of a tanning salon manager!
MY GOALS by Zach:
1) Turn on the lights.
2) Make sure tanning machines work.
3) Tan people.
4) Say “hi” to people too.
5) Tan more people.
6) Other stuff.
Luckily, Zach got out of his funk shortly thereafter and joined his roommates who were all frolicking in the living room. Svetlana, meanwhile, was crying to her boyfriend Martin on the phone, saying she didn’t want to have to explain herself anymore. Once she had bitched and moaned enough, she left the phone room and handed Zach a piece of paper that we later found out was a list of her former responsibilities. The way she saw it, Zach was the manager now; so he should do the manager tasks. It was a power play — she should have just finished up the responsibilities that she had started — but at the same time, technically, she was in charge of finance now. Dealing with vendors and awnings wasn’t part of her job description now. Well, no one could even BELIEVE that Svetlana had done this. So immature! She was so immature that they all went and gossiped about how immature she was. By the end of the night, everyone concluded that Svetlana was just a little brat, and with that, Jose announced, “That’s it, ladies and gentlemen. I’m hitting the bed.” Thanks for telling us! ENJOY!
We then cut to Svetlana, who was standing by her door frame, holding tissues and eavesdropping on everyone. I could understand her pain. Not landing that manager job will surely derail her entire career trajectory for the Tanning Salon Sciences. Around this time, my Tivo chimed in, and I was unable to see the final seconds of the show. But that’s okay. I’m sure nothing too crazy happened. Maybe Tyler yelled at Svetlana one last time, just for good measure.
What did you think? Did the group make the right decision? Was Svetlana never given a chance?