Mrs Filthy's Real World Review


January 23, 2001

Something Fishy

This week, the kids are in Boothbay Harbor, Maine for the annual Fisherman's Games. Now, my dears, I've actually been to Boothbay Harbor, Maine (quelle surprise!), and I have naught but disappointment to show for it. On our second honeymoon, Filthy and I went back East, for the history and the quaint knick-knacks and all those funny accents. In our guidebook, we read about a "Small Fish Rodeo" in Boothbay Harbor, and we knew that we had to be there, come hell or high water. Turns out, no one in the entire seaside burg had heard of a "Small Fish Rodeo," and here I was imagining guppies with cute little hats and bandannas. You can't imagine the heartbreak, darlings; I had to drown my sorrows in a hot fudge sundae. Okay, three of them.

I thought I had moved on. Then the Real World and Road Rules All-Stars invaded Boothbay Harbor with their extreme stunts. Actually, my pets, this episode really shows us that the word "extreme" has slid straight down the crapper. Didn't "extreme" used to mean throwing yourself off a cliff or teasing wild hyenas for no other reason than the pure stupid thrill of it? Nowadays, it turns out, "extreme" means eating lobster for money.

Okay, mes amis. I am tres bitter, I admit it. All these bitter Boothbay Harbor memories are just flooding back.

Guided by Mr. Van de Kamp himself, the crew launches into their first challenge: the fearsome lobster-eating contest. Bien sur, this just wouldn't be extreme enough without some additional constraints, so each team is tied together like the catch of the day. But this doesn't scare Rebecca, who is supremely confident that her team will win this match because lobster is her favorite food. As it turns out, this game is enough to turn anyone off crustaceans for life. After hearing Dan's vivid description of lukewarm lobsters with "watery stuff" coming out of them, and "green gook all over the place," I'm surprised that no one in the contest upchucked. The Real World team is victorious in this match, sending the Road Rules team into paroxysms of despair. They must win something...and fast!

And they do indeed win the next match, a relay race involving rain slickers, big dead fish and running on floating lobster traps. The whole game is a frenzy of splashing and slipping and falling, made more comprehensible to the lucky tv viewers by the grand old institution of Instant Replay at its most sadistic. The victory of Team Road Rules comes at a steep price, however. Laterrian gets the wind knocked out of him, and the paramedics arrive and palpate his innards. I guess it just wouldn't be a Real World/ Road Rules Challenge without the ambulance there.

The last event decides who wins the check for $10,000, and it's just our luck that the game involves Crisco. The contestants have to clamber across a greased pole and place their teams flag at the end, without falling into the briny deep below. So, of course, we see more splishing and splashing and more Instant Replay. Julie informs us that scooting along a greasy pole on her butt "is not part of my daily routine," but she sure looks like a pro! My sweets, the whole competition doesn't so much look "extreme" as "extremely unattractive." If you turn your eyes away in time, though, Dan's girlish victory skipping and the Team Real World victory will arrive before you know it.

But, those Real Worlders should beware of too much cockiness. How many times have we heard someone yelp, "We takin' all the loot!" (in this case, silver-tongued Syrus), only to take nothing but shame home with them at the end. Anyway, for now the Real Worlders are thirty grand ahead, and Kameelah is ordained MVP. The Road Rules team is pretty subdued in their loss, although James has an opportunity to whine, "It's not about the money; it's about feeling like you lost!" to his new lady love, Rebecca.

Speaking of lady love, the makers of this program mean to suggest that romance is afoot between the relatively sane Rebecca and Sir Whines-a-lot. I suppose stranger things have happened, my chickadees, but it's still a disappointment. It may be a complete gift from heaven for James, however, who admits to having trouble attracting the opposite sex. "It's like trying to thread 6 needles in 10 seconds!" our champion needle expert James exclaims about meeting girls. But cheer up, guys, this means that meeting girls is actually easier than threading 7 needles in 10 seconds. That is, however, as long as you stay out of the sappy-looking turtlenecks and yellow goggles. This means you, James!

The older (we'll reserve judgement on whether she's wiser) Rebecca says that she doesn't want to have to "settle" for anyone, and she doesn't want to have to hang around negative men. So, what's James' allure? He's a "sweet boy," and gullible enough to believe "Je suis un chien" means "I am an American." In some quarters, it may, but mostly, it means "I am a dog." And Rebecca gets her kicks watching James make a fool out of himself in front of an elderly Francophone woman in her garden. It's no wonder that James marvels how Rebecca "plays hard."

All of this nonsense will soon lead to heavy petting and making cow eyes at each other, at least if Dan has anything to do with it. Never mind that cross-team romances can only lead to a Romeo&Juliet style conclusion, Dan wants to move this love train along, all the while extracting every bit of dish he can. Dan recommends Rebecca to James as being "weird, in a really good way." Then Dan tries to convince Rebecca that James must really like her to teach her rugby; "If he did that for me, I'd wet my pants," he exclaims. And the Real World team wants to travel in the same bus as this guy?

Actually, perhaps Rebecca should watch her back. It sounds like Dan is gunning for her guy.

Who's Topless: The puffy pecs of Laterrian, James and Jamie brave the bitter Maine elements.

Who Cries? I didn't see a single tear, but Laterrian throws up, if you're into that kind of thing.

Best Quote: "Melissa ...wooo," Jamie responds in his most unconvincing, lethargic mewl, to Melissa's recorded challenge to the teams. He sounds almost as excited as Kameelah did about her digital camera prize.

Most Annoying: Sure, I could pick James again, but at least his crush on Rebecca tempered his sore-loseritis. Instead, I'm going to pick Miami Dan, for his meddling and melodrama. He seems to think that Rebecca and James' budding romance is all about him.

Coming Soon: James and Rebecca get gushier, and if that wasn't tragic enough, we have to sit through some "Extreme Stand-Up Comedy." Oh, the humanity!


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This Week, Mrs. Filthy's Reading:

The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinction by David Quammen