When we here at TVgasm talk about lame Real World episodes, we can pretty much use tonight’s installment as our frame of reference. Not only did very little happen, but the few morsels of conflict that did trickle out were so ridiculous, I actually feared these roommates might be in need of some sort of intervention.
Tonight’s episode was all about MJ. What makes him tick? What does he love? Why won’t he cut his hair? We didn’t really get any answers, but we did learn that Landon has a burgeoning Single White Female obsession with MJ, and we can only hope that things get real violent real soon.Tonight’s episode began with MJ, Landon and Shavonda dining in what appeared to be the back corner of some restaurant’s kitchen. MJ announced that he wants to slow down; although, we’re still not certain what exactly was going too fast for him in the first place. Was it life? Partying? Or maybe just the average speed of human conversation? My money is on the latter. Landon, meanwhile, nodded his head appreciatively. You see, Landon knows all about slowing down. When his drinking got out of hand earlier this season, he slowed down to five beers a night. And now he’s back up to twelve. It just goes to show you: Landon’s an alcoholic.
Anyway, all this babbling about slowing down somehow transitioned into MJ praising his girlfriend, Ashley. Turns out the Southern Belle was coming to town that weekend, and MJ was so darn excited that his curly moptop expanded three full sizes. This visit would be the big test of their relationship, he informed us gravely, adding “I plan to raise our children in my hair.” Now here’s the real question. Each time one of these home town honeys visits a Real World cast member, it’s always considered a huge test. Exactly what sort of unstable relationships are these people engaging in that the simple act of paying a visit constitutes a reexamination of their entire history? And why are their significant others so fragile that they invariably wilt and die after a brush with the cameras? If visiting someone threatens to undermine the security of a romance, something tells me the security pretty much isn’t there anyway. But I guess that’s what you get when one side of the relationship is looking to trade up for fame and fortune via a plum starring role on MTV’s flagship reality franchise.
Sadly, these Philadelphia kids didn’t have my expert advice, and so MJ called his lady on the phone and proceeded to engage in dull pillow talk. Their romantic cooing was fairly forgettable, but in short, MJ apparently wanted to kiss Ashley multiple times and then, if time allowed, touch her boob. Around the corner, Landon listened in and as a single tear rolled down his cheek, he whispered to himself, “That’s what I want to do to you, MJ. That’s what I want to do to you…”
Interjected into the middle of this saccharine moment was the random information that MJ’s best friend in the whole wide world would be paying a visit that weekend also. According to MJ, his friend David is JUST like him… except he’s 7’1″, black, and in the NBA, but those are just minor technicalities. In other news, MJ has just informed me that I’m Tracy McGrady’s long lost twin.
The weekend finally arrived, but not all was well in Ashley world. She called to announce that there was a five hour delay in the Nashville airport. Even worse, there’d be a two hour delay at the Washington layover. Extremely ominous music played as Ashley complained “I have to be in an airport for seven hours!” MJ responded by loudly moaning/exclaiming “OH MY GOD BABY!!!” I don’t get it. It’s an airport delay. These things happen. It’s not like she’s been delayed seven hours because her leg fell off.
Well, the inevitable happened. Ashley called again to say the airline had lost her luggage. I practically expected MJ to rip his shirt open and cry out “WHY GOD??? WHY?????” Did they actually expect with all these delays and layovers that the luggage would miraculously revise its schedule as well? Anyway, MJ said he’d try to think of something, anything to save Ashley from this horrifying demise. Um, how about she changes her flight? It’s not like there are no airports near Philly. I mean, she could have rerouted to Newark, Allentown, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, JFK, LaGuardia, probably someplace near Atlantic City, maybe even Delaware. But I forgot. Ashley’s ticket was in idiot class.
MJ eventually came up with the idea that she could take AmTrak from DC to Philly, but his high maintenance woman shot down the idea because it would mean having to take a cab to the train station and then taking a train to Philly and then… uh… arriving probably earlier than her delayed flight. Basically, she was just cranky. Hey, it’s understandable. Those delays were significantly cutting into her time on reality TV.
Anyway, Ashley finally arrived, and not long after, so did David. Man, that dude was tall. He had to duck to get into the house. As David ambled about the mansion, I expected Karamo to pop up and dismiss this NBA player for befriending a white guy. Unfortunately, he shirked his Angry Black Male duties in favor of his Absent Black Male obligations. Karamo’s only cameo appearance came randomly as David drunkenly sat by his bed and complained about MJ and Ashley. Karamo simply laughed, later suggesting, “Maybe you should just slit their throats? Just kidding. But seriously, I’ve got a knife right here. And get Landon while you’re at it.”
While David hit up the booze, MJ and Ashley bickered. She wanted to go to sleep, he wanted to go out. Okay MJ. Rule #1: Don’t invite your high maintenance girlfriend the same weekend your much cooler NBA friend is in town. Rule #2: Do not talk about Fight Club.
Ultimately, they all wound up going out, but Ashley made sure to infuse the night with oodles of scrumptious PA. This of course was like manna from heaven for Mel who reveled in the fresh, Southern style passive aggression. The two became insta-pals as Mel happily fanned Ashley’s flames. By the end of the night, there was so much awkwardness that when David had to head back to his hotel, MJ practically piggybacked on top of him. The two walked the streets of Philadelphia, opening their hearts to each other and venting their problems. “We both have a self-awareness. We both can talk,” said MJ. Well, it’s not so much that they can talk as it is that they’re the only ones who can understand each other through the giant mounds of chewing tobacco in their mouths.
The episode veered into interesting territory as the two discussed MJ’s hopes and dreams. For those who had forgotten, MJ’s dream was to play for the NFL, but he went undrafted last year, and seeing that he took this year off to be on a reality show instead of going out for NFL Europe or even Arena Football, chances are his on field career is over. “All I wanted you to do was make it,” David said, with the implication being “BUT YOU FAILED!” The truth is that David had nothing but remarkably nice things to say about MJ, and I must confess that I actually enjoyed this brief moment between the two. For once we weren’t dealing with petty, clichéd relationship issues but the scary precipice of life after college. But who needs thoughtful, character-building themes? This is The Real World, man! Let’s whine!
Stepping up to the plate was Landon who was feeling a little bit blue. Landon’s the sort of guy who when he gets sad, looks like a kid in a children’s book: sagging shoulders, curled lower lip, droopy eyes. The only thing missing is him sucking his thumb, and to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if that didn’t happen by the end of the season. Anyway, Landon was bummed because “Home MJ” was different than “MJ Here”. Basically, Landon felt closed out of MJ’s life. They’d only known each other for a whopping four months, and yet it seemed like he expected they’d be sharing summers in Nantucket, winters in Aspen, and weekends in each other’s arms.
Unfortunately for Landon, his needy desire to be part of MJ’s inner-most life played second fiddle to some spider monkeys and a leopard as MJ and Ashley visited the local zoo. I don’t know why it seemed oddly appropriate that these two spent part of their together time staring at animals, but it worked. I especially enjoyed when the monkeys threw feces at MJ. Oh wait, that didn’t happen? Blast. I hate when my fantasies invade reality.
Well, eventually Ashley left, and later on she called MJ to give him some fresh, down home attitude. She announced that she had things to tell him, but she didn’t want to be recorded by MTV. When MJ insisted that she could tell him, Ashley balked at the idea and later bristled when he told her she was being selfish for dangling something in front of him but refusing to elaborate. I wouldn’t disagree with MJ’s critique. It’s the exact same mentality as going up to someone and saying “I know a secret, but I can’t tell you!” Don’t even say it in the first place, bitch.
With things going sour in MJville, we cut to some random footage of a koi fish. Okay, I guess that’s symbolic to someone. Life in a fishbowl perhaps? Then, in an inspired artistic move, the koi Fish shot cut away to a matching image of a fish in the Real World tank. Oooh! It’s like… we’re in a tank no matter where we go! The camera then zoomed out to reveal Landon contemplatively studying the fish. As he traced the creature’s path with his finger on the glass, I couldn’t help imagining his voice saying “Sometimes I feel like a fish: Swimming from place to place but not getting anywhere. It’s like life, this fish tank. I wish MJ loved me the way I love him.”
In a convenient parallel to his sinking relationship with Ashley, MJ headed to an exhibit about the Titanic, and in between ooh-ing and ahh-ing the ship replicas, he vented to a surprisingly quiet Shavonda about his girl situation. She really had little to offer in way of advice (she was most likely planning out her next big drama), and when MJ returned home, he and Ashley had it out, ultimately breaking up.
With the old lady out of the way, Landon suddenly saw his opportunity to strike. Waiting until the two of them were in nothing but a skimpy pair of boxers, Landon put on his Needy Helmet and told MJ “I feel like you give me half of who you are.” Oh my goodness. Was this the moment we’d been anticipating all season? Would he profess his undying love for MJ and suggest a civil union in Vermont? Not quite. MJ understandably reacted defensively against Landon’s attack and asked him exactly just what he meant. Apparently David had said something to make Landon feel sad and dejected. “‘You don’t know the MJ that I know.’ And THAT’s what’s stuck in my head!” said Landon, passionately quoting David in the process. So he’s upset that MJ’s best friend in the world knows him better than Landon does? Well, I kind of understand. It was unreasonable of MJ not to have let Landon be his childhood friend too. Sadly, Landon did not break out into a cover of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s song, Maps. “Wait! They don’t love you like I love you!”
Take me to bed or lose me forever, MJ.
The two guys talked through their feelings a little bit, and eventually Landon announced that “Everything is solved between MJ and I.” Huh? How exactly did that happen? One late night conversation in skivvies and everything’s just grand? I guess I really can’t question the logic of these people too intensely. I should just be happy that Shavonda was relegated to the sidelines for the second week in a row. Can’t ask for more than that.
What did you think about this episode?