Mrs Filthy's Real World Review


January 29, 2002

Six vs. One

The battle lines have been drawn, dearies, and the sides are pretty darn unequal. On one side, we have one sickly, dimwitted girl from Walla Walla. On the other side, we have six kids who are sick to death of hearing about kidney problems! And who could blame them? While Tonya takes the time to thank her god that she's a "very lovable person," she's not exactly the most socially competent creature.

Indeed, her club-hopping housemates have taken to timing Tonya's rapid departures from dance halls and other abodes of sin. And, it's one thing, my darlings, to not be a party person, but Tonya also likes attention. She says she wants "so badly" to get to know her roommates, but mostly she wants them to get to know her and her many problems. The other Real Worlders have no qualms about expressing their aggravation, although Chris tries to take the high road, "Tonya is really high maintenance. We have to give her some time to adjust."

As much as Tonya might disagree, this episode isn't only about her. This is also the episode, mes amis, in which the kids learn which company/ social agency/ nonprofit group they'll be burdening with their whines and whimpers. This season, the Real World has imposed themselves upon the Parks and Rec department; unfortunately, we'll have no forlorn Real Worlders picking trash out of softball diamonds and sandboxes. The seven strangers aim to save your life!

At first, the lifeguard job sounds like a kick to the youngsters. They can sit around in their swim trunks, ogle the pale midwestern flesh roasting on the lakeshore and assume an unnerving air of authority. When it sinks in, however, that the kids will have to pass a swim test, a pall falls over the cozy group. Tonya is hopeful, "It's 200 yards, no big deal." But, then again, finding suitable identification is difficult for her, so she shouldn't get too cocky.

The day of the first swim test, most everyone completes the 20 laps, even though they may be tired. But Tonya climbs out of the pool, early on. "We have a quitter," says Jamie, the drill sergeant-type in charge of training these maggots. But, non! Tonya has a long-standing kidney infection, which she will be happy to tell you all about, by the way. Since she cannot complete the test, she goes home. Presumably, she goes home so that she can talk some more about her excretory system with her lovey-dove Justin.

And she's not the only one acting out, my duckies. Cara doesn't so much swim as lounge in the water, and she gets chewed out for her frequent breaks. You see, she comes from a universe in which a drowning person can wait while the lifeguard takes a breather. When Jamie scolds her, she snaps that it's his responsibility to hold her hand through the whole test! And to hold her hand while she saves drowning children, for heaven's sakes! She later apologizes, but in no way does she relinquish her feelings of entitlement.

But Tonya tops Cara's childishness by announcing to one and all that she might have to go to the emergency room. This is not the way to win friends and influence people, my pets. I get the feeling that the others are hoping for a long, protracted death scene a la "Camille," anything to get Tonya out of their identically styled hair. Just their luck, Tonya plans to fly home to Walla Walla to see her doctor, who presumably knows all about her renal infection.

Before Tonya can arrive in Walla Walla, however, she must make the dreaded journey from her room to the street- carrying her bag! According to her, it's as treacherous as the Bataan Death March, and just about as traumatic. "I'm not supposed to be lifting anything!" she reminds no one in particular, before bursting into tears. "I hate this place!" she continues, and finally we hear a statement that doesn't feel like a pretext.

The kids take their lifeguard tests, with mixed results. Kyle and Keri pass the swim test, as does Chris, but Theo and Aneesa are too slow. Will there be "lame consolation jobs" for them? Cara's dad was a lifeguard and is eager to re-live his youth by counseling his daughter in the fine art of yelling "No running!" at little kids. But, this doesn't help Cara in the least. She doesn't even finish her test swim, although she blames her failure on the burdens of responsibility instead of her lack of aquatic skills. "It's too much pressure to make me in charge of saving someone's life!" Evidently, it's also too much pressure for delicate-flower Cara when she does her nails, or when she buys bananas at the supermarket!

And then, we have the funniest Real World moment in a long, long time. Tonya calls Kyle to let him know she's leaving for Washington. Kyle is with the other roomies in their hot-rod minivan. Tonya tries to hint at getting a ride to the airport, but Kyle replies, "I don't know; we're pretty far away," even though they're in the neighborhood and probably have to drive out of their way to avoid her. The other kids applaud Kyle's Tonya-evading technique, and Tonya gets a ride from a neighbor. So, we get a little pure mean-spiritedness and the neighbor gets the unabridged version of Tonya's health troubles.


Who's Topless? Well, no surprise here- it's a bathing suit spectacular this week! The guys spend over half the episode in their swim trunks, while Aneesa only threatens to pop out of her bikini.

Who Cries? Tonya cries, just because she can't carry her bag down the steps. Cara cries because she's a wimpy swimmer. Sounds like somebody needs a nap!

Most Annoying: Tonya's the hands-down favorite for this title; just ask the people she lives with!

Best Quote: Aneesa reviews her CPR technique, "Um, what's it called, check for the breathing!" I'm so glad I didn't swim in the Chicago metropolitan area last summer!

Next Week: Tonya finds someone on the planet who sympathizes with her. Kyle and Keri have a little sympathizing of their own.

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This Week, Mrs. Filthy's Reading:

Travels in Hyperreality:Essays by Umberto Eco