January 15, 2002
Hope Springs Eternal
First of all, my dears, a question: what kind of sadist would cast a Cara, a Keri, a Chris and a Kyle in one season? I can tell you that my job is going to be tres difficult this year, what with the triplet of curvy blondes and two boys who have the exact same coiffure. At least Aneesa stands out, and I mean really stands out! More about that later.
We first meet Tonya, a 21-year old nursing student from Walla Walla, while she's waiting for the train. She's out of her "comfort zone," a zone that usually includes her boyfriend Justin and her yippy dog, and she's looking rather forlorn, despite the perky ponytail. When 19-year old Californian Theo comes along, Tonya admits to being taken aback. "Black people intimidate me," she says. But, they switch bags, since Tonya can't carry hers; this is a good sign, until Tonya drops Theo's bag down a flight of stairs, that is.
And for those of you who say that the Real Worlders live a cushy life without lifting a finger, get this: the cast members have to carry their own bags all the way to their house! Sacre bleu! And the "awesome," "pimped out" house is, as you might expect, fitted out for tv-friendly playtime. We have the bright colors and low-slung, po-mo furniture. We have the pool table, the jacuzzi and of course, the infamous multi-person shower. I do believe there's been more written about this piece of plumbing than any one of the cast members this year! Oh, and just in case we or the cast members did not get the point, the puppetmasters have sprinkled a few sex manuals around the bedrooms.
Enter Aneesa, cursing at a cabbie. This Philadelphian says, "It's scary turning 20." Well, for heaven's sakes, break out the Oil of Olay! She threatens to upchuck then and there, and I was having horrible Nicole flashbacks, until I realized, Aneesa equals Ruthie (with her love of women and her own nudity) plus Boston's Kameelah (with her pretensions of a take-no-guff attitude). Theo equals Teck without the sense of humor. Keri equals Cara. Tonya equals Back to New York's Mike with a trailer and boobs.
Actually, this season might very well play like a greatest-hits record. There's the multi-person shower (as in Miami, although that wasn't exactly planned). There are a couple of in-house crushes, as there have been ever since Real World 10,000 B.C.E.- back when Og was ogling Rok at the mastodon hunt. We've got our Small-Town Person Who Must Learn Something Valuable About Tolerance. It might be early to predict these things, my chickadees, but this seems to be the jist of the coming attractions, anyway.
Anyway, Theo calls Aneesa "extremely sexy" as soon as he sets his wolfish eyes upon her ample frame. Theo is convinced that he and Aneesa will soon be a couple, although Aneesa is just as convinced that she's not interested. "He's cute, but not that cute," she comments. Now would someone tell Theo that? He's so pleased with himself that he doesn't even take a breath before putting the moves on Aneesa, who then inexplicably moves into Theo's room.
When the two kids take a smoking break, Aneesa reveals to Theo that she's a lesbian. This doesn't sway Theo, who's convinced that "anything can happen" in the presence of his radiant manliness. What can I say, my loves, hope springs eternal. And Aneesa doesn't exactly dissuade him with all her naked ambling about the house.
Meanwhile, 21-year old Bostonian Cara is "sweating her breasts off" in the airport, and no one is helping her with her big suitcase! Before you know it, her bosom will be reduced to little nubbins! Mon dieu! To the rescue comes Kyle, who spots Cara's "spirit" from across the terminal. Kyle, a 22-year old jock from Lake Bluff, Illinois, calls Cara "hot as hell"- this explains the sweaty chest, mes amis. These new housemates immediately ascertain who is attached to whom back home. Cara's trying out the single life, but it looks like she'd be willing to couple with Kyle. Kyle seems uncertain about his own status with the girl back home, which is quite convenient when you think about it.
Back at Chez Bunim-Murray, Aneesa immediately perceives that Keri, a 21 year old from New Orleans, is so very. "Like an innocent schoolgirl, like the captain of the softball team," she rhapsodizes. And she's not the only one who sees it this way. Once he meets Keri, Kyle expands his vision to more than one female roomie; he can't take his eyes off Keri's puffy lips or his ears off her Southern accent. And both girls seem to enjoy Kyle's company as well. Heavens, will this be a happy household!
Finally, with the Papa John's pizza in the oven (as if they couldn't they find better pizza in Chicago, of all places?) and the jacuzzi a-bubbling, they set about learning the pertinent facts about each other. Chris and Kyle greet each other with relief; finally, they know someone who shares their haircut! That's got to be comforting. And all the girls rejoice, "I'm SO not psycho!" But, darlings, would they be on this show if they all weren't at least a little, you know, psycho? It's food for thought.
So, to make a long story short, Aneesa was raised by a pack of wild nudists, Tonya was a foster child, Keri's been drinking since she was a wee tyke and Chris is an "ah-tist" and recovering drunk. But, there's something else mysterious about him, and it's driving the other housemates crazy. First, they guess that he's the "house virgin," that tried-and-true Real World fixture. But nope, he lost his virginity at the tender age of 12, with his babysitter no less.
Well then, what is he hiding? Chris takes Kyle and Theo to an art gallery which has an exhibition of fetish art. He goes on and on about the beauty of the body and the human spirit breaking free of bonds, but the other guys are thoroughly freaked out by all the penis photos in the room and flee. "I don't know if they have the culture to look at art for art's sake," Chris sniffs. He's only revealed his sexual preference to Aneesa, a sympathetic spirit, but it's only a matter of time before everyone knows. The others finally get an inkling when Chris and Aneesa go to the gay clubs together, the latter hoping to find at least one lesbian in all of Chicago.
Speaking of Aneesa, she's admitted that she likes to wave her fleshy rear in front of the frustrated Theo's face. They dance together, they sleep together, they shower together, and yet Aneesa tells Theo, "I don't want to see your penis." She sure has a funny way of showing it, dearies. Despite the teasing, Theo gets the idea; he'll just have to be comforted by a brotherly-sisterly type of nudity. Aneesa reads about Theo's change of heart in his journal (without his permission, of course). Now, will she calm down already?
Who's Topless? Theo, Chris and Kyle have no compunction about walking around shirtless. Aneesa beats them all with full nudity, however.
Who Cries? The kids are still in that first flush of excitement and camaraderie. I have a feeling the tears will come soon enough, darlings. If not theirs, my own.
Most Annoying: If Aneesa doesn't like Theo's advances, why does she keep getting naked around him? Really, could anyone be that unobservant?
Best Quote: "I don't mind girls. That's sexy. But dudes, dudes is disgusting!" Never mind the caveman sentiment, folks, dig Theo's naughty subject-verb agreement!
Coming Soon: Sex-starved Lifeguards from the Planet Bunim-Murray!