April 3, 2000
Finally, the Finale
The Real World/ Road Rules Challenge is almost over, and the kids are still wondering a number of things. What will the last mission be? What's the ultimate reward? How big is Yes' penis? Yes is more than willing to answer the last question- at the dinner table no less! Not everyone is so obliging, however. When someone asks Dan which girl from the cast he would date, he very seriously replies, "I'm not even gonna touch that." Holly takes this very personally; her face practically pinches itself into a single, disgruntled point.
Penis size and dating preferences aside, Bunim/Murray quickly acts to answer the other questions. Gladys, the leather-clad mystery girl who issued the challenge in the first installment, reappears with her half-naked hooligans. She reveals that the winners of this week's challenge will receive their very own SUVs, courtesy of aspiring soft drink playa Citra. Just what we need, mes petites chous, more dunderheads driving big, dangerous hunks of metal down our nation's roads. And we get product placement aplenty in the bargain! As you may imagine, both teams are pleased as punch about this prize. Piggy feels that this one little object would completely turn her life around for the better. Could she be that bad off? Heather compares the automobile to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but predicts that it may come with a "heavy, heavy price." Beyond the fuel cost, even!
The mission requires that everyone jump out of a plane and attempt to hit a giant target painted on the grass. As you might expect, most of the kids aren't too excited about the prospect of hurtling thousands of feet towards the earth. Maybe it's the word "killed" in the release forms that rattles them. But, they undergo a bit of training, pray a little, and then the little troopers get in that darn plane like we all knew they would. Holly declares that she refuses to jump without Dan- if she can't have him in life, they will be joined forever in death! Dan, meanwhile, is oblivious to her passion. He's busy listening to his favorite Jim Croce album, you know.
There is one excited soul, and his identity will probably not come as a surprise. Dave exclaims heatedly, "I'm ready to skydive baby, give me some love!" Excuse him while he kisses the sky, darlings! The jumps themselves are pretty uneventful. Yes scratches and bruises himself up, but remains stoic. Both Dan and Veronica hit the bullseye. Most everyone else is just relieved to land somewhere in the vicinity with the correct number of pieces.
Oh wait, how could I forget the "big crisis?" Just as Amaya is about to land, the wind picks her up and flings her to earth (an editorial comment from Mother Nature, perhaps?). She lands with a soft thwack, like a bag of mildewed potatoes. The omnipresent ambulance whisks Amaya to the hospital to be treated for a sprained ankle and a concussion. With all her hysterics, you'd think she'd at least have the decency to break a bone! Despite the show's narrative of personal growth and relationships, I have one conclusion: the more things change, the more things stay the same.
The Road Rulers win this challenge, and they also are the overall winners with $67, 524 total. The Real Worlders try to convince themselves that they can be happy with $40,985. Not only did the Road Rulers kick their butts at the games, they also are better investors! And then everyone bids a fond adieu, or if they aren't fond, they at least try to pretend they are. By now, everyone is familiar with the Bunim/Murray shtick. It's like the "Wizard of Oz" when all the characters realize they have earned what they always thought they lacked. Piggy regains her badassness, Dan learned how to take risks, Teck learns that money and sex make the world go round (as if this was new information!). The only one who isn't happy is Holly, because she has to give her present (Dan) back. And as they say in the foreign movies, "Fin."
Who's Shirtless This Week? Dave, Mike and Teck all appear bare-chested, but mostly in soft-tinted flashbacks.
Who's Hitting Upon Whom? Holly still has the hots for Dan, and she tries to get one last tackle in before he goes back to his girlfriend. She also cries at the unfairness of it all.
Most Annoying Cast Member? Amaya is still playing up her minor injuries like a spoiled 5 year old. She hasn't learned a dang thing. I will admit, however, that I had a nice laugh when the paramedic says that more pain is coming from the way Amaya is lying down than from her actual injuries.
Quote of the Week: When asked if she would want to be Amaya for a day, Veronica replies in the negative, "You prance around with a tiara on your head, and you don't even fit it!"
Next Time: I'll see you in June, for Real World IX
in New Orleans. Laissez les bon temps rouler, mes amis!
Real World Reunion 2000
What would you do if you found out that just about every cast member from the last four seasons of "The Real World" was invading your community? Would you pack up your young'uns and hightail it out of there? Build a really large electrified fence? You might be surprised to learn that enough people want to watch the damage to warrant not one but two Real World reunions this year. Generous MTV has thoughtfully provided an opportunity for all of us who have idly wondered about Miami Dan's modelling career or the romance between Seattle Nathan and his limpet Stephanie. Why, it's enough to make me cry!
Of course, not everyone has a spare hour and a half to watch the pilgrim's progress of 25 (mas o menos) confused, embittered young people, even if they do have all new hairstyles. I am here, my bon bons, to make life easier for you. Therefore, here's a brief rundown of what went down at the Real World Reunion 2000.
The Miami Season The Cast
Dan is a model scout in Chicago, after being a model for four years. The whole world will be relied to know that he no longer wears red bikini briefs.
Flora refuses to hug anyone. She "would like to say that she's a trapeze artist." I leave it to you, my dears, to figure out whether she's been successful or not. Anyway, she finally married her beau Mitchell (of whom the most frequently used descriptor was "nuts"). Marriage has calmed her somewhat, because she didn't flash her boobs even once.
Continuing some sort of Miami cast tradition, Melissa claims that she is a juggler for a living. If this is so, I can only assume that she has some sort of act with Flying Flora.
Cynthia works as a video jockey on the California Music Channel and is still looking for a good man. I wish her luck from the bottom of my heart.
Sarah returned to her position as a comic book editor in San Diego and then toured with Lilith Fair and the Family Values tour with Limp Bizkit.
Mike works as a private investigator. Just think- he manages to shadow people despite his rapidly expanding beer gut.
Joe "went into hibernation" for a couple of years and then started the "Joe's World Foundation," which assists with youth leadership and counseling all over the world. He also wrote a tell-all memoir of his time in Miami, the mention of which brought a grim expression to the faces of many of the other cast members. He's no longer seeing Nicki. Of course, that piece of news brought a heartfelt cheer from the crowd. Mike quips, "You must've been in love, because she was a bitch."
Who Didn't Attend? The entire Miami cast flew to Las Vegas for the reunion. They also seemed the most relaxed of all the casts. Melissa's handy axiom could well be true: the first year you're bitter, the second you seek professional help and third year, you're over it.
The Biggest Trend? Running away with the circus
What Do We Learn? Does anyone else actually remember
Dan and Melissa's name-calling spat? Well, they've moved on.
Of course, the rest of the world did long ago.
The Boston Season The Cast
Elka is a senior at UNLV and is still ga-ga over a chap named Walter.
Jason holds some vague position in a vague Internet start-up company and is the proud owner of a Paul Westerburg-esque head of hair. Last year, he was one of those responsible for assembling the Hawaii cast.
Kameelah is a senior at Stanford and is now applying for medical school. She feels that she has become more tolerant and patient after her Real World experience.
Genesis met her soulmate Paige at a club and eventually married her. Not only do they share their lives, but they can share clothes as well.
Syrus designs computer games. Don't expect him to sport old flannel shirts and uncombed hair, though. He dresses so extravagantly that anyone within three feet of him must wear dark glasses including himself!
Sean married Rachel from the San Francisco season and is the co-creator of the first official Real World baby. And the poor child is named Evita. Sean has forsaken lumberjacking for lawyering, partying for parenting; this is the vision of the future that has all the other Real Worlders biting their nails to little nubbins.
Who Didn't Attend? Montana sends a bland video greeting from San Francisco, where she works "in public relations" and is "having a great time." No one misses her.
The Biggest Trend? Long artfully-mussed hair
What Do We Learn? We learn that Boston must not have been a very interesting season because the show doesn't spend very much time on them. Oh, and they still don't care a fig about those kids at the community center.
The Seattle Season The Cast
Nathan left Virginia Military Institute to pursue an acting career. Watch for his puffy face in a movie called "Teddy Guacamole," coming soon to a discount video bin near you! He and Stephanie broke up, by the way.
Rebecca has been studying in Florence, Italy and is six weeks away from graduation. She's also recorded a folk-rock CD with her band. She still leaves me wondering how she ever got on the show. She's just not obnoxious enough.
When asked "What's new," Stephen replies, "The world is new." A hopeful reply, even though he's one of the few to admit that the last few years haven't been so hot for him. He's about to graduate from Berkeley and is working with an Internet start-up company.
Janet says that readjusting to the real real world after "The Real World" knocked her on her ass. She worked at Spin magazine for a while, then returned to school, but not before playing with Boston cast member Jason on a tennis court. The score was love-love. As of now, however, they're just friends.
Dave is "a lost child." Girls dig that stuff, you know.
When the host asks Lindsay what she's been up to, she replies, "Not much, how 'bout you?" She finished her degree at the University of Michigan and is now "going with the flow."
Who Didn't Attend? Irene also contributed a video presence,
but didn't even attempt Montana's general inoffensiveness. One
of the most memorable quotes was, "I was dealing with a
bunch of Judases." No light-hearted romp this.
What Do We Learn? Dave doesn't regret his affair with
casting person Kira, but he does regret how her life subsequently
went down the crapper. Can you imagine losing your job to be
The Hawaii Season The Cast
When Ruthie is asked about her alcohol-induced behavior during the show, she replies, "Give it up, it's so old!" She's more focused on her impending graduation.
Justin is attending Harvard Law School, where suprisingly, he's not a complete pariah for his manipulative treatment of his fellow Real Worlders. Although he offers no real excuse for his behavior, he tells Amaya that it's nice to see her and regrets that he didn't get a chance to see Colin. This confuses me; when people are mean, I like them to stay mean, goshdarnit!
Kaia has been busy looking at herself. She has said before, "I really, really like looking at myself," and now she's looking at herself with a "real perspective." Her sage advice "I encourage you to speak as much truth as possible" is received with a howling laugh from Teck. I mean, he laughs loudly enough to drown her pontifications out. This was my favorite part of the reunion. It was also nice that we didn't have to hear any of her poetry.
Amaya has graduated and is now "leading a private life." When an audience member asks her to reconcile her religious prohibitions against eating pigs' feet with her "nakedness" and bed-sharing habits, she replies, "Um. Beef?" Actually, Amaya didn't appear toplessness even once, so the question really was off-base. Teck defends Amaya vociferously, "Back up off my girl!" He also contributes a wide array of manic hand gestures.
Who Didn't Attend? Teck, even if he's via satellite
from Albany, projects more energy than the people who were actually
in Las Vegas. Or, maybe he's just a lunatic. He's busy finishing
his film, working with MTV and talking to women everywhere, whether
they want him to or not.
The Biggest Trend? Blurry recollections of embarrassing moments
What Do We Learn? Amaya reminds everyone what it's like to lives one's mistakes on tape for the whole world to see and asks for a little respect. Also, Teck is aggressively single.
Next Time: Au revoir! We'll meet again on June
6th, my dears, for the casting special.