Mrs. Filthy's Real World Review

April 30, 2002

Summer's End

In the "Real World: Chicago" universe, summer is winding down. Temperatures are dropping, the socialites are breaking out their cashmere twin sets, the ice cream man doesn't come around as often anymore. And the time has come for the kids to change "jobs." It's a time of apprehension and excitement. After all, their work as lifeguards and youth leaders was so very, very grueling! Will the cast members finally get those cushy, coveted custodial positions?

On the beach, Chris, Kyle and Keri have an uneventful last day. Kyle talks about how he will miss his "hour or two hours walking on the beach, thinking." And Keri endures the dreaded scourge of swimmers everywhere, the butt creeper. In fact, the only excitement in the day is when Chris must subdue an angry, perhaps inebriated, young man who is flipping him the bird. Kyle is jealous of Chris' little drama, "I never get anything except six year old girls!" Well, my dears, I always say, "Pick on someone your own size!"

In comparison, the mural team is a hotbed of activity. The youth of Chicago, now that they've finished their mural, must explain what they've learned from the whole enterprise. Otherwise, painting and being creative just doesn't seem worthwhile to those mucky-mucks in City Hall, I suppose. The bright side is that there are plenty of cheerful balloons and plenty of yummy canapes. Cara is in charge of the fruit and the boob jokes; "I've got melons!" she announces, a watermelon cradled in each arm. The only possible response is, "Finally!"

Melons or no, all is not well at the youth center. Nelson, America's favorite Youth-At-Risk, hasn't arrived yet. Theo imagines the worst. When Nelson does finally arrive, he refuses to participate in the dorky, terribly earnest program, so Theo takes him aside. "Do a brother a favor," he exhorts, and Nelson finally submits. He's not a bad kid, after all. He even has the grace to tolerate Theo's umpteenth stay-out-of-jail lecture, "You can't get no females! Whoa! What is that about?"

Before everyone can raid the snack table, they must first listen to Cara and Aneesa sing an inspirational ode to drippiness. And then they must hear each kid deliver her piece. Everyone is as touched as can be. All this warm fuzziness is enough to drive the Real Worlders to drink, evidently, since they all prepare to hit the nearest watering hole.

You might remember that Chris is a recovering alcoholic, my dears. Or, you might not remember this, since Chris is a rather forgettable cast member at this point. Anyway, he bows out of the celebratory activities, "I don't celebrate those sorts of things." Kyle is rather offended. Chris can work as a bartender without falling off the wagon, why can't he hang out with the roomies over a cocktail or two?

If Chris won't bar-hop with his housemates, Kyle will latch on to Chris when he goes to his AA meeting. Kyle gains a whole new sense of superiority from the meeting- to think, just last spring, he was having keggers with his frat brothers and suffered no ill consequences whatsoever! Kyle loves feeling smug so much that he declares that he'd "much rather attend that meeting than go clubbing."

The Real Worlders don't yet know what they'll be doing to "earn their living." Kyle is sure that the new "work" will cause some sort of controversy, and Cara is a bit leery of working with all six of her housemates. But, the new assignment sounds pretty simple to me. During Chicago's observance of Halloween, the cast mates will be acting out scary stories in public. Don't they do this already?

Their boss Laura divides the labor among them. Cara, Kyle and Keri will be writing the stories. Keri mentions that she really likes ghosts and Dracula, the undead, which might explain her attraction to Kyle. A less successful pairing is that between Aneesa and Tonya, who must organize the costumes and makeup. "She can't even do her own makeup," Aneesa snipes, "how will she do anybody else's?"

The biggest problem, however, proves to be Theo. First of all, he doesn't "believe in glorifying demons," unless they're wearing bikinis in the hot tub. Then Keri runs a possible story idea by Theo, and sparks really fly. He doesn't mind that this story, presumably for children, contains premarital sex, illegitimacy and imprisonment. He's more concerned about the hanging at the end, something he associates solely with his African-American ancestors.

Everyone in the minivan gets awfully excited, probably from all the Halloween candy Laura gave them. Theo even calls Kyle "a smartass bitch." The whities in the car propose that all sorts of people have been hanged for centuries. Theo proposes that the hanging be changed to a more savory beheading. No solution is arranged just yet, so we can expect more angry exchanges like that one. Kyle says, "If all our car rides are like this, that will be so exhausting." Indeed.

Who's Topless? Chris and Kyle, as you might expect, are shirtless in their lifeguard duties. We also see Chris sans chemise, dispensing raspberries to Cara's nonexistent tummy.

Who Cries? No crying this week, sweet peas, but Theo does refer to Kyle as "dog."

Most Annoying: Oui, Kyle is tres creepy, what with his bizarre alkie fetish, but Theo completely loses all sense of proportion towards the end of the episode.

Best Quote: What's the Waveland Clock Tower, mes amis? "Probably a clock tower on Waveland," elucidates Cara.

Next Week: Sacre bleu! Now we get to experience September 11th through the eyes of seven ninnies.

Mrs Filthy's "Battle of the Seasons" Review


April 29, 2002

Miz Loves Company

As the episode begins, Mike's bellowing alter ego, the Miz, is still on his umbrella-drink-and-insecurity fueled rampage. There are only two missions left (thank heavens!), and the Back to New Yorkers have not even a scooter or gift certificate to show for it. This, mes amis, makes Mike feel like one of those 90-pound weaklings that he would normally pummel at home. He's so upset that he loses all sense of tact. "I thought you were the weak link," he tells Coral, "but I'm the weak link."

Surprisingly, Coral does not box his ears or rap his knuckles with a ruler. She manages to rein in the Miz's misbehavior without physical violence; "No more Miz before dinner," she commands, and Mike, now subdued, promises to restrain himself. During dinner, however, he glowers menacingly at the Road Rulers, his sworn enemies. They remain unimpressed. "Mike is acting like a complete donkey," Theo remarks. Emily says, "I don't understand the Miz. I don't want to understand the Miz." Amen!

Coral claims to have never seen Mike this angry or scared and gives him another earnest talking-to. "I need my partner," she whispers lovingly in his ear, "I don't need this crap." She tells the camera that she loves, respects and admires her teammate, but we in the audience know that there's something more going on. She's giving Mike a shoulder to cry on right now, but it's apparent that she would probably like to give Mike her other body parts as well. She certainly leans against his Bow-Flexed body at every opportunity.

But, my dears, what about Mike's lady-friend? Tara was "a little freaked out" by Mike's internal smackdown, as anyone with a brain would be. But, once Mike makes his apologies to the rest of the cast ("I guess he takes things kinda hard," comments Timmy in an admirable bit of understatement), no "weirdness" remains between them. Mike still beams that Tara makes him "feel like a better person." Sigh. If this season were only a little longer, we might be blessed with a Tara-Coral catfight.

Instead, we get a lame Newlywed Game rip-off called "Sidekick Showdown." Hosts Eric and Mark ask the guys knuckleheaded questions like, "If your teammate had a website, what would it be called?" and "If your teammate could improve any body part, which would it be?" Sometimes, the point isn't to get the answer correct, but to make your partner feel all warm and fuzzy, such as when Sean claims that Elka is bodily perfection.

All of the guys know how many sexual partners the girls have had ("Virginity has its privileges," smirks Sean), but few of them have an idea about the body image of their partners. Theo, in particular, goofs big time when he answers that Holly needs "bigger chesticles." Doesn't he see that he's disrespecting Holly and her holy marriage? Holly makes sure he understands her pique and storms off the set. "I read something about it on the Internet!" Theo offers weakly in his defense.

When the girls have to answer equally silly questions about their male teammates, they fare little better. We do learn that the gay cast members just love Timmy, even with his toxic flatulence. But the Bunim/Murray women are diplomatic little hussies, and mostly claim that their partners have "changed for the better."

When Mike misses a question, Coral rewards his ignorance with a sound thrashing. Kelley compares them to "an old couple that's been married 80 years and hasn't had sex for 40." But, these lovebirds-in-denial end the game in first place. The world is safe from the Miz for another week. Coral is so relieved that she has some sort of conniption fit, complete with flailing limbs.

Next Week: Don't the producers know that the teasers are the best part of the program? I feel cheated!

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