Thursday, July 22, 2010

"The Real World" explained: Stand Up and Black Out

Posted By on Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 6:45 PM

click to enlarge New Saints colors: gold and blacked out.
  • New Saints colors: gold and blacked out.

These weekly posts are intended as an episode-by-episode guide to the many psychological ailments, drunken gibberish, senseless actions, Bourbon Street mixed drinks and other embarrassments on MTV’s The Real World: New Orleans.

It contains spoilers — and who cares? You stopped watching this show several years ago — but also a lot of information that might help viewers of the series come to terms with their outrage over the cast’s cultural vandalism of New Orleans (and what was once a really lovely Uptown house), and also the bleak, black future of our society.

The emotional trauma caused by the show admittedly makes such coverage an overwhelming task, so posts may be supplemented by information culled from Wikipedia, WebMD and un-scientific polls of nearby Gambit staffers. Readers are also encouraged to submit any comments that may help us make sense of this wreckage.

The Superbowl provided a reprieve from the show's typical antics and — dare I say it? — some really lovely moments that conjured good memories. But the game was only staving off the inevitable, and eventually we were subjected to the show's usual horrors. This week on As the Real World Turns ...

WWOZ. The New Orleans radio station has seen hosts the likes of John Sinclair, Dr. Michael White, Ernie K-Doe ... and now Ashlee and Preston. With strong qualifications such as "communication major who likes the sound of her own voice," our housemates waltz into the station's French Quarter offices hoping to host their own radio show. And since the city lacks any knowledgeable sources in regards to "Saints fandom," these sports historians hope to provide us with exactly that. Just like those busloads of Lutheran children, Ashlee and Preston have been sent here to serve this city. But instead of cleaning playgrounds or rebuilding Hurricane Katrina-damaged homes while wearing fluorescent L.L. Bean backpacks, they want to provide us with the knowledge of the Saints exclusive to 23-year-old communications majors from Massachusetts whose past work experience likely includes part-time jobs as T-shirt folders at Hollister. Thank God for them.

In their first assignment, the intrepid reporters were sent to interview dogs at the Barkus parade. But they seemed to have a little trouble with the simple voice recorders WWOZ provided, and Woodward and Bernstein would later discover that they weren't recording anything the entire time. Great.

The Avenue Pub. Neighborhood dive-turned-foodie and service industry destination, top five in Gambit's 2010 Top 50 Bars ... and also, I'm about 98 percent certain it houses the public bathroom in which Jemmye and Knight had sex. Although the two live together, and therefore have ample time to shack up in the hot tub or atop piles of Mardi Gras beads, they insisted on contaminating this fantastic bar because they spotted "a nice bench" in the bathroom. If anyone can prove the bar is, in fact, not Avenue Pub, please let us know immediately. Or else, to paraphrase Gambit editor Kevin Allman, the bar's fish sandwich will never be the same again. And I will forever resent them for that.

Who Dat. It's the beginning of our Saints rallying cry, but this episode proves the phrase can be so much more. It's a way to make friends when you shout it at people as they drive by your house. It can be interjected in a phone conversation with your boss about how you can't operate a $19 Office Max voice recorder in order to avoid trouble at your fake job. It also is effective in diffusing an argument that erupts while in the drive-thru line at the St. Charles Avenue McDonalds. I am admittedly proud of these temporary New Orleanians for discovering the many uses of Who Dat so quickly.

Our fair weather Who Dats watched the big game at a bar that only exists on this show, The Beach on Bourbon Street. And it was really nice to re-experience the apocalyptic joy that occurred after the Saints won. Ashlee sums up that moment pretty well, saying “I was holding hands with strangers, guys are just passing me their drinks ... ” (actually, even after a moment like this, I don't think it's safe to accept second-hand drinks from any guys on Bourbon Street). The cast members were surprisingly reverent through it all, and that was a relief.

Monkey Hill. It was at this bar, which features a menu of gross-sounding drinks that all end in -tini, where this Very Special Episode about the dangers of date rape saw its thrilling finale. Remember McKenzie, the Abstinence Gestapo who militantly patrolled the house last episode? Well, turns out she's prone to "blacking out." "All my friends black out, my family blacks out ..." she says, rationalizing her habit of getting drunk to the point of memory loss. Hooking up is OK if you don't remember it happening!

After nearly falling asleep on the bar at this mythical "Beach" establishment, we see a male sitting next to her, coercing her to take more shots. She initially refuses but, After School Special-style, her suitor insists: "C'mon! It's not gonna kill ya" (um, I think over-consumption of alcohol has been linked to death, but, y'know, I'M NOT A DOCTOR). Eventually, they stumble over to Appletiniland (do you think they walked all the way from Bourbon to the beginning of Magazine Street?), where Mckenzie starts to realize that maybe something is wrong. She remarks about how strange it is that no one's in the bar, to which the guy replies "What? There's plenty of people here!" The camera pans out to reveal a weirdly empty bar. That was kind of brilliant.

Fortunately, our heroine found her way home, sans creepy guy. I hope this episode taught you some valuable lessons.

Jacques-Imo's. It's essentially a hipper version of an Al Copeland restaurant, in which you've waited four hours for overpriced fried chicken. McKenzie sure seems like Jack's type.

The Electric Toothbrush Buzz Heard 'Round the World. And with the quiet whirring of a Sonicare and the hushed conversations of roommates, World War III begins. Next week's episode is sure to be a doozy.

click to enlarge ryan1.jpg

Inexplicable phenomena:

-What exactly happened with Preston when he was asked by bouncers to leave The Beach? The bouncers insisted it was because he brought in an underaged person, but he said it was because he was spotted kissing another male. If it's the latter, that's really terrible publicity for a bar I didn't even know existed until now.

-Speaking of homophobia, I'm not going to even try and recount Ryan's many moments of it. I'll let Gawker handle it.

-I'm really enjoying that Mardi Gras mask, which looks like it was created in Microsoft Paint, that's used to censor any nudity. I just wanted to mention that.

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