February 13, 2001
Oh, were you expecting some sort of high-speed daredevil game today, my dears? Perhaps some skydiving into a pool of cranberry Jell-O and then wrestling in it and then trying to eat as much of it as one's stomach will hold? Or maybe an essay contest? Well, je suis desolee, there's not much of a challenge this week. We have, instead, One Very Special Episode. It's a Real World tradition, and now I guess the jock-friendly Challenge is no longer immune from angst-ridden hairpulling.
This week's installment opens with Road Ruler Christian being questioned by the producers about Ayannah's attack. What attack, you might ask? That's what some people might call "the grabber"; somebody's being creative with the editing, my little chickadees. It's almost like watching a fancy-schmancy tv movie! On the other hand, even at 25 minutes, this episode seems to re-hash the same story 25 times. The average tv movie maybe re-hashes the story 5.5 times.
In case you didn't know, Ayannah's mother passed away from breast cancer shortly before Ayannah began the Real World/ Road Rules Challenge, and Ayannah's had a difficult time grieving. Only a day before the Big Incident, Christian had listened to Ayannah as she vented her grief and sympathized as only a sensitive Norseman can. Ayannah felt entirely comfortable confiding in our little resident gnome, and Christian was feeling like a contributing teammate after his recent Challenge victory. What could go wrong?
Plenty, sweeties. For one thing, we see Dan acting goofy and dancing around without his shirt. As if that weren't horror enough for one episode! Anyway, most of the Reality TV All-Stars are frolicking in a local tavern on the fateful night, while Ayannah visits with another former Road Ruler, Shawn from Season 8. She turns in early, and when the other kids come home rowdy and drunk at 5:30 am, she tries to ignore them and get back to sleep.
Then the infamous interchange occurs, and if you have some drums handy, you should insert a little drum roll here. In the course of their inebriated joshing, Laterrian calls Christian "white-ass." Christian, being new to surface-dwelling human mores and traditions, returns his jibe with the one word guaranteed to rile people up. No, it's not "taxes," and it's not "boobie," either. Immediately, Laterrian reprimands Christian for his insensitivity, and Christian apologizes profusely.
And that could be the end of it, except Ayannah heard the whole conversation, and comes at Christian like a bunch of fat ladies at a bargain basement muu-muu sale (and I should know!). Even though Christian wasn't even talking to her, she kicks and beats him all the way to the other side of the bus. As the ever-subtle James relates with a heartless sort of glee, "It was like a Jerry Springer episode!" Of course, we don't see the footage, so we just have to put on our imagination caps and come up with our own version.
As Kameelah succinctly tells us, "Fighting's a bitch, because it can get you kicked off stuff." As Bunim-Murray veterans, we know that this is the cue for the people-behind-the-camera to make their self-serious appearance in their turtlenecks and baseball cap ensembles. Ayannah faces ejection from the team, or at the very least, a long and tedious reprimand. We face the long and tedious reprimand, no matter what.
But she's not sorry. She asks why is it ok for James and Christian to be their boorish selves, and not ok for her to be herself. Laterrian wisely advises her that it's ok to be herself, as long as it doesn't involve physical violence against ignorant Scandihoovian elves. Ayannah sticks to her claim and refuses to work it out with her teammates. "Last night, Christian was in my face. I did what I had to to get him out."
Her teammates have a different version. They call it "going ballistic," and aren't really ready to re-admit her into the party bus. Of course, Christian blames himself and tries to shield his assailant's reputation from further tarnishing. Christian tries to tell Emily and Michele that Ayannah merely bumped into him, and that she shouldn't get in trouble for her clumsiness. Christian feels that if the team cannot stick together and work it out with Ayannah, then a total breakdown is imminent.
Kameelah generously offers to be Christian's race-relations adviser; she realizes that English is probably Christian's third language (after Gnomish and Norwegian) and his grasp of American culture is slight at best. Once Kameelah lays it all out for him, Christian experiences a moment of revelation.
Not that it solves much. The cast members don't really have a say in the matter, as it turns out. In accordance with the "zero-tolerance" of violence policy, Rick the Puffy-Cheeked Producer informs Ayannah that she has to go home, and she does so with a jaunty "Peace and blessings everybody, but I'm out." When Christian, her erstwhile defender, attempts some closure, Ayannah accuses him of "rubbing it in" and orders him out of her sight. He slinks away like a beaten pup.
Ayannah, in a meta-television moment, garners some consolation by comparing herself with fellow Real World drop-outs: Ruthie and David and Puck. Well, mes petites, maybe not Puck. "Puck was crazy. I guess I'll leave Puck alone," she says. She believes everything has a purpose, including this big stink, and she vows to learn from the experience. She's still not sorry for beating the sprite up, though. And a happy Valentine's Day to you, too!
Who's Topless: Dan carouses sans chemise in a bar, but that's about it. Whoopee.
Who Cries? Ayannah cries bunches. I'm not sure, darlings, but she just might be tear-streaked in every single scene.
Best Quote: Here's a measure of James' paranoia about Ayannah: "If she's not sorry, then there's every indication she'll do it again!" Everyone better watch out!
Most Annoying: Hitting and kicking and flailing and not being sorry about it later? I'd say that would be pretty annoying, mes amis. Ayannah gets the title for this, her last episode on the Challenge.
Coming Soon: We're back to the mud wrestling and all
the rest of that stuff, but with a twist. This time, Julie plans
to win in order to avenge Ayannah's departure!