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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

click to enlarge 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.

Percocet. The brand name for a pill containing a mix of acetaminophen and oxycodone (of Rush Limbaugh fame) used to relieved moderate to severe pain. Ashlee had her tonsils removed a year prior to the show’s taping and had leftover Percocet pills, so she decided to pack them with her stuff to bring to the house. She doesn’t use them, though — she was just going off the “What to Bring!” list MTV sent all cast members before they moved into the house. The production team was sick of fielding questions like “My mom asked if I need to bring my own bed sheets?” so they decided to create a list of items the cast should bring along, like they do for sleep-away camp. The list said to “please bring silly hats and/or wigs, disinfectant, any mental or emotional issues you’ve suppressed, contraceptives, a toothbrush and totes bring any pain medication you may have leftover from past oral surgeries. Thanks guys!” Predictably, Ryan stole all the pills because he’s a crazy person. And, conveniently for him, one of his roommates is an actual pain pill addict he could use as a scapegoat.

We also find out this episode that Ryan has obsessive compulsive disorder. Now, I’m no Dr. Drew or anything, but I believe Ryan could also be diagnosed with Human Puppy Disorder (in which sufferers constantly run around and lick people), some blood cell deficiency that forces him to derive his energy from a blow dryer, homophobia (that’s a disease, right?), and chronic diarrhea of the mouth — which is especially evident when he tells Jemmye that Mississippi residents are all like “people from The Hills Have Eyes.”
Well, now that I think of it, maybe Ryan's on to something. Perhaps Jemmye's behavior last episode could be attributed to prolonged exposure to nuclear fallout ...
Carrollton Station. The poor, unfortunate bar and music venue that hosted the Real World cast members' abortive attempts at entertainment careers. You see, back in the day, The Real World used to make its casts have jobs at a touristy bar, a nonprofit organization or something "interesting" during their stay at the house. They were required to maintain employment at said bar/nonprofit, or else they’d get sent home with no chance to present the award for “Best On-Screen Fart” at the MTV Movie Awards. But now, since we’re dealing with this new generation of self-indulgent 20-somethings, you just gotta let `em do their own thang! Real jobs are for conformists, brah. You just do you. Therefore, MTV allows them work toward their nebulous career goals such as “singer,” “model” or “stand-up comedian” while living in the the playhouse they built for them.
On this season, only two cast members share those hazy career goals (the other cast member’s goals are more short-term, and include things such as learning not to black out, wearing the same sweatshirt every day, trying to turn one’s urine green on St. Patrick’s day, and eating a Subway sandwich). Eric, who you may not have been aware of existing until this point, wants to be a stand-up comedian! Sahar wants to sing but is nervous in front of audiences, like that girl from Coyote Ugly! So Carrollton Station, the poor, poor bar that has the misfortune of being located in the Uptown area and hosting both comedy and music open mic nights, was the venue for this massacre.
Eric performed his stand-up comedy, which was basically like “Hey, what is THE DEAL with roommates?! Ha ha ha ha!” and Sahar, along with the rag-tag group of musicians she mysteriously acquired, started singing and then forgot the words to her song. So she kinda stood up there and just started humming nonsense words. And then, if you weren’t already feeling mortified for these people you didn’t even realize you cared about, Eric decides to start freestyle rapping about Sahar. At one point he rhymes Sahar with … Sahar. A modern Tennyson, that guy. It was then when Susan Cowsill took her fourth whisky shot and sobbed a little while banging her head on the bar top, as the jaded barkeep assured her it would all be over very, very soon*.
Inexplicable phenomena:

-I’m pretty sure Ashlee has worn that disgusting sweatshirt on every single episode. I mean, I know we all have our favorite worn-out clothing we wear around the house, but there’s not cameras in our house filming us for a popular show on network television.
-I couldn’t really understand them because they were speaking in Northern accents unfamiliar to me, but did Knight and Sahar really turn the term “low blow,” as in “that was a low blow, man,” into a verb form? Sahar goes below the belt and brings up Knight’s drug problem during an argument, and he says — I think! — “you just low-blow’d me.”
-Why isn’t Loretta, the woman who works at the New Orleans Mission, the the Real World house mom? She is fantastic, and I think those kids really need someone around the house to yell at them from time to time.
* That probably didn't happen.

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