The Real World

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"The Real World" explained: The Life of Ryan

Posted By on Thu, Sep 2, 2010 at 10:11 PM

O Brother (and Cousin), Where Art Thou?
  • O Brother (and Cousin), Where Art Thou?

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.
When you’re living in a house occupied by feral creatures with names like “Jemmye” and, somehow, you manage to distinguish yourself as the most insane, uncivilized and flatulent one of them all, the only thing left to do is leave. So like Puck and some other people from other seasons, Ryan joins the list of Real World cast members who were called back to God before their time. Let us remember Ryan, the hairdresser with a heart of gold (and also many mental disorders).
Brother and Cousin. Just when you thought the life of Ryan couldn’t be more of a cartoon, we meet his brother and cousin — who are apparently named Brother and Cousin (this is probably because they didn’t want their names on TV, but I desperately want to believe that “Brother” and “Cousin” are their Christian names so just let me tell myself that, OK? Please let me believe that). Eric, who I guess talks now, described the three as “the Three Stooges meets All-American Rejects,” and that’s kind of perfect. Other fitting descriptions: a group of cavemen that just discovered Fall Out Boy, PacSun employees who send VHS tapes of themselves jumping off buildings to Jackass even though it doesn’t air anymore, or, just Ryan and two brown-haired versions of Ryan. When they’re around each other, they communicate only in grunts and farts.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

"The Real World" explained: The Pills Have Eyes

Posted By on Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 10:11 PM

The tribe engages in indigenous hunting/gathering rituals.
  • The tribe engages in indigenous hunting/gathering rituals.

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.
(Sorry I’m late with this one! I was busy doing important Real World-related research.)
Was it the narcotics I stole from Ashlee, or did this episode feel especially long? Wait, who am I kidding! You guys don't even watch this anymore. Allow me to describe the horror show you missed.
The hunting/gathering rituals of the species Real World sapiens. Because the cast had neglected to earn its weekly Subway allowance (if one person attempts to escape, as Jemmye did, the whole house is punished) and they were sick of eating mosquitoes, the men of the house were left to forage for food again. They considered killing Ashlee for her meat and for her prized grey sweatshirt, the source of her strength, but it just so happened that one of the tropical fish from the house fish tank had died, so a slaughter would be unnecessary (for now). The men removed their shirts and embarked on their hunt. The women became privy to the hunting ritual and erupted into hysterics, as they are wont to do, being the more sensitive sex. The men, ravenous from a hard day’s work, coated the whole fish —skin, bones and all — in a delicious Cajun seasoning, pan-fried it and tried to distribute the meal to members of the tribe. But alas, the tribe bristled at this unfamiliar meal. Ashlee was most horrified at the sight of the offering. Little did she know it was exactly what saved her.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

"The Real World" explained: The fall of Jemmye

Posted By on Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 5:46 PM

Erin go barf
  • Erin go barf

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.

I believe we’ve reached a pivotal juncture in the show — in which things stop being polite and start getting real. Specifically with Jemmye, who approaches a point of drunkenness somehow slouchier and naked-er than her Bourbon Street Breakdown. It’s quite embarrassing, even for a network whose main commodity is embarrassment (see also: most episodes of True Life, all episodes of Next and Parental Control). It’s time to sift through the wreckage.

Nonlinear narrative. Once upon a time there were some young people, filled with boundless optimism and creativity, who enrolled in film school to become the next David Lynch or Coen brothers or Francois Truffaut. But then the recession happened, and that low-budget remake of Metropolis didn’t really work out, so they took production jobs on reality TV shows just until they could find something else. And here they are, still working as pornographers on a television network for teenagers.

To maintain their integrity (and make their parents, who are saddled with their student debt, proud), they try to inject some artful touches on the show. They play with a nonlinear narrative, a la Christopher Nolan. The episode starts in media res with scenes of Jemmye’s drunken rampage set to dramatic film music, then a title screen says “10 hours earlier.” I hope they were proud of that.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Just as Mardi Gras parade withdrawals begin to kick in, another occasion for us to have things thrown at us while we drink in the streets arises. I guess it’s the combination of sunlight and green food coloring that creates some sort of uniquely embarrassing state of drunkenness, and Jemmye experiences that on this episode. Add that to her latent post-traumatic stress disorder and well, Jemmye’s motor skills begin to resemble those of wilted cabbage heads on St. Charles Avenue. Allow me to describe the sequence of events:

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

"The Real World" explained: of sweatshirts and Subway

Posted By on Thu, Aug 12, 2010 at 5:31 PM

This post brought to you by Subway — Eat Fresh!™
  • This post brought to you by Subway — Eat Fresh!™

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.
If The Real World were a marriage, the last six episodes constituted the honeymoon period, and now we’re in the part of the relationship where you wear sweatshirts and yell at each other all the time. Why are you even together anymore? You used to dress up and say nice things to each other, now all you do is wear baggy shirts, cry and eat Subway sandwiches. The Real World has given up, but I’m not giving up on it. We’re staying together for the kids.
Mosquitoes. We continue to learn that no amount of Applebees light fixtures, Pottery Barn for Tweenz furniture or antique armoire barricades can stop New Orleans’ most bothersome insects. The housemates encountered a mosquito in this episode, and what ensued was probably among the most stupidest of stupid things in Real World history. Ryan dared Knight to eat the mosquito, and he did, because he’s an idiot. And then Ryan proceeded to step outside and vomit — and by “vomit,” I mean make lots of gaggy noises and then spit on the ground. And then everyone laughed, they showed a few streetcars, and then it was onto the next inanity. Why is this show still on the air?

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

"The Real World" explained: A brush with death

Posted By on Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 5:20 PM

A scene from "Scared Straight! New Orleans"
  • A scene from "Scared Straight! New Orleans"

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.

In this episode: Ryan bristles at Preston’s toothbrush offense (see what I did there?), Jemmye’s mom makes me uncomfortable, and The Real World tries to make good. Tonight on the Real Househorrors of Dufossat Street

The toothbrush incident. Remember how we were back in March, still basking in the glow of a Superbowl victory and David Simon’s love? Our shoulders back and our heads held high, not even thinking someone like Ryan Leslie could even exist? That was a happy existence. Then the oil spill happened. Then The Real World happened.

But back in March, there was a sign of things to come. The great oracle Richard Thompson of the Times-Picayune gave us this prophecy: there will be seven strangers, picked to live in a house and have their lives taped. They will stop being polite and start getting real. And someone will have their toothbrush peed on and call the police about it.

Last night the Great Sonicare Showdown had its on-air moment, and I must say it was rather anticlimactic. Here’s what happened: word finally got back to Ryan that his $120 toothbrush was essentially being used as a pregnancy test, and he got all Ryan about and paced around the house like a maniac. So he woke up one day and decided to call the police and “teach Preston a lesson.” He called 911 and even after hearing “What’s your emergency?” proceeded to tell the dispatcher, in complete seriousness, “Someone took my toothbrush put it in the toilet and peed on it.” Ryan, while I understand your disgust, toilet germs are nothing compared to the airborne STDs and other maladies you’re likely being exposed to in the Real World house. You’ve probably already contracted herpes from the sheer amount of time you’ve spent on Bourbon Street. And I don’t think you want to see where Hand Grenades come from (hint: it’s not sanitary).

Anyway, this leads me to the NOPD, our notoriously inefficient crime apparatus. While rapists and murderers roam free, committing senseless crimes across the city, the NOPD takes the time to visit the house not once, but twice, in response to this juvenile prank. So if you ever get mugged or your car gets stolen or worse, and you call the police and wonder what’s taking them so long, it might be because they’re busy composing police reports like this. Is Mayor Mitch Landrieu watching this?

Cockroaches. Our housemates were exposed to one of the daily aspects of New Orleans living: dealing with cockroaches. I found it rather symbolic, as The Real World series is like a cockroach in that it will never, ever, ever go away despite our best attempts. Anyway, the cast did what most people do to get rid of a roach — shriek and throw objects in its general direction until a male shows up who’s willing to smother it with a paper towel.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

"The Real World" explained: Gypsies, tramps and beads

Posted By on Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 5:35 PM

You knew this was going to happen.
  • You knew this was going to happen.

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.

I need to first start off by saying I was wrong. I was mislead by MTV’s promos, and thought this episode would be the Great Toothbrush Showdown of 2010. I think that’s next episode. But anyway, here we go … it’s Fat Tuesday!

The Sims. The life-simulation computer game that was big in the early aughts. While watching last night’s episode, I realized The Real World bares striking similarities to the game: it’s a bunch of cartoon people with no concept of boundaries or privacy, bouncing from room to room in a lavishly decorated house, saying made-up words.

You know when Sims do sexy things, it’s gross and awkward? Like when they make weird animal sounds while doing it in the vibrating heart bed you acquired through cheat codes? That’s what it was like when Jemmye and Knight took a dip in the indoor Jacuzzi (which, by the way, is pretty weak for Real World standards), and then Eric decided to hop in, too. It was truly the most tepid group hot tub scene in MTV history. And that conversation Knight, McKenzie and Ryan had in the living room might as well have been in Simlish (that’s Sims language, duh): the topic somehow jumped from “bohemians” to “Bahamas” to “Czech Republic” to “gypsies” to “Have you ever killed someone?” (McKenzie’s response: “What do you mean by ‘someone’?”) within seconds. McKenzie revealed she was a gypsy once. "There was eight of us and we travelled around for a while stealing stuff." OK, ‘Kenzie, just because you and your girlfriends would occasionally take the bus to the mall and swipe mood rings from Claire’s Accessories, it doesn’t mean you were a gypsy. I wish I could build walls around her with no doors and windows like I did to the Sims who annoyed me.

“Ninety-nine percent of New Orleans never gets to be in a [Mardi Gras] float.” Wrong, McKenzie.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

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

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

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.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

"The Real World" explained: Love in the time of Carnival

Posted By on Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 5:27 PM

"Paranormal Activity 2: Jemmye's White Boy Virginity"
  • "Paranormal Activity 2: Jemmye's White Boy Virginity"

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.
McKenzie. Unfortunately I'm not referring to the ain't-dere-no-more New Orleans bakery that closed due to silly "health code violations" (I miss that place so much!). I'm speaking of the cast member you probably weren't aware of existing until now (she's the one who has a starfish permanently attached to her Taylor Swift hair and says "obviously" all the time). I feel qualified to explain her because I've known so, so many McKenzies in my life: she's that girl from college who was likely a devout follower of a predominately white, fear-based religion who talks about being "classy" and a "good girl" all the time, but Everclear shots cause her to "accidentally" fall asleep in the beds of "good guy-friends" whom she tries to drag to church the next morning. And she has an Audrey Hepburn poster hanging in her room and likes quotes about friendships and relationships attributed to Lauren Conrad or "anonymous".
McKenzie was such an embarrassment this episode for multiple reasons. First, she would flirt with Ryan in such a shameless, obvious manner (never mind the fact that no one should be attracted to Ryan, ever); invite him to her bed, then brush him off at the last second in favor of bedside company from an inanimate Carnival doll she named Charles. Second, her bestie "Suze" visited the house and also, inexplicably, flirted with Ryan. While Suze's behavior is clearly violation of unspoken, but strongly enforced, female friend code (it's like, the rules of feminism), there was no excuse for McKenzie lurking behind the pair while they were trying to hook up, not unlike a strict mother who covers furniture in plastic and removes the bedroom doors of her horny children as punishment. And then when she called a taxi cab in the middle of the night to pick up Suze to keep her "from doing something she'd regret in the morning" ... well that was just silly.

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Orleans gets more reality TV (as if we need it)

Posted By on Sat, Jul 10, 2010 at 1:57 AM

As if the oil disaster and The Real World disaster weren't enough reality TV for most of us in New Orleans, we found out this week about two other reality-TV phenomena heading our way ... and they have to do with food and music, our specialities. New Orleans, get ready for American Idol and Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.

idol
Auditions for the 10th season (has it only been 10 years?) of American Idol will take place Monday, July 26 at the New Orleans Arena. Wristbands and paperwork will be involved; you can get all the info here. (Since our Lauren LaBorde has proven so adept at summing up the weekly installments of The Real World, she'll be promoted to Official Reality Show correspondent and be reporting from the Arena.) The American Idol site thoughtfully explains New Orleans to those who may not be familiar with it:

New Orleans is one of the top ten most visited cities in the United States, and the city's annual Mardi Gras festival draws in a large crowd. Known as "America's Most Interesting City," New Orleans is a good location for American Idol auditions because it's the birthplace of jazz music.

kitchen
On the food front, the show is Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, and it goes like this: Noted chef Gordon Ramsay walks into failing restaurant. Ramsay sneers at decor. Ramsay orders food and finds it vile (there may be some on-camera spitting-out here). Ramsay locks horns with stubborn owner. Ramsay gets the scoop on what's wrong from the servers and patrons. Ramsay then performs a dining room and menu makeover, and grateful tears fall in the tartare.

So: If you're a failing New Orleans or Baton Rouge restaurateur, click over here and invite Gordon Ramsay in your life. Note that the application is 14 pages, single-spaced, and includes questions like "Is there anything about your life that you would NOT want to be made public on TV?" and "Have you participated in any type of 12-step program or support group? If so, which one(s)?".

No word on whether they'll be asking the same things of the American Idol contestants ....

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

"The Real World" explained: The best three pumps of your life

Posted By on Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Noted heterosexual Ryan fondles Preston's cold, soft earlobe
  • Noted heterosexual Ryan fondles Preston's cold, soft earlobe

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.
Let the games begin. This episode shows housemates Eric and Sahar beginning to assume perhaps the most archetypal roles of the Real World series: those in the "uncomplicated," but actually very complicated, relationship-ish thing of the house. Although Sahar identifies as "single," with a heart "that's not completely single" because of a guy named Pablo back home, she and Eric are embarking on a "thing." It seems idyllic now: tickle fights on the Rooms to Go sectional, saying "I love you" to each other in a Bourbon Street bar, giggly piggyback rides around the house Voodoo altars. But at the end of the episode, the two decide to just be "friends" and I can already see exactly where this is going. Eric will bring home some chick he met at The Palms, and Sahar will just happen to go to the kitchen to make some popcorn at the same time, and the whole experience will be fraught with passive-aggressive encounters. Sahar, secretly dejected that Desiree (someone will certainly bring home someone named Desiree) is stealing all of Eric's affection, will retreat to the confessional and say that Eric is "making everyone uncomfortable by bringing home sluts," when she's really just talking about herself. The games will continue all season, and one day they will enter into an ill-advised marriage and appear on the Real World/Road Rules Challenge* together, supporting each other as they are hanging upside down while their heads submerged in water, competing to win lifetime supplies of Subway sandwiches and T-Mobile phones.

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