Mrs. Filthy's Real World Review


June 4, 2002

Odd Woman Out

In "The Real World" Universe, Hallowe'en is approaching, and the kids have another (cushy, bien sur) job to do. This time, their tyrannical supervisor sends the pauvre things to Salem, MA to research various creepy things. I say the housemates could've stayed in their own pad and seen things to send chills up their spines: Kyle picking his nose, Aneesa sitting on the toilet, Cara picking up strange young men from the fro-gurt place. It becomes clear that this "work trip" is in actuality a vacation, and the Real Worlders are really looking forward to living it up in Beantown.

Oops, my dears, I'm generalizing again, because of course, Tonya isn't looking forward to anything at all. As a matter of fact, she has doctor's orders to bow out of the excursion. And, her doctor didn't come out and say it, but Tonya must feel pretty strongly that the orders included snuggling with a certain Washingtonian boy-toy named Justin, because he's coming to town, too.

You can imagine that Tonya's self-isolation doesn't go over very well with the other housemates. Their reactions range from Cara's (syrupy sympathy) to Theo's (outright skepticism). The most bizarre reaction might be the impromptu Tonya-inspired opera that Kyle, Keri and Aneesa compose in the minivan. Darlings, I'm sure the boisterous "Walla Walla Aria" will go down in history with New Orleans David's "Come On Be My Baby Tonight."

And then, one morning, Theo and Aneesa oversleep. "Getting to work on time is an issue every single morning," says Tonya, who doesn't exactly have a perfect attendance record herself. Only when the other kids threaten to leave the slug-a-beds behind do Theo and Aneesa rouse from their slumbers and put on some clothes. Theo, still cranky with sleep, launches into a tirade immediately; if anyone else had been late, would the van have waited?

The tirade soon develops from an unfocussed rant to a loud exploration of Tonya's weaknesses, kidney-based and otherwise. "You have no right to go there!" Tonya protests. But, my pets, I argue that she has no right to use such outdated slang! Theo maintains that Tonya should "suck it up" ("it" presumably being her kidneys) and join the others in their arduous labors. Everyone else in the van just looks out the window, suddenly very interested in the architecture of Chicago, until the other girls speak up for their compatriot. "It's one thing to be honest, it's another to be insulting," scolds Cara.

Of course, Tonya immediately tells her beau Justin all about Theo's outburst. Justin "likes to take care of women," Tonya informs us. This would normally mean unreasonable, macho male behavior is on the horizon, dearies! Fisticuffs on the street corner, anyone? Kyle seems to relish the prospect and hangs around the foyer in his new NYPD tshirt, hoping to see some blood spilled.

Actually, when Justin arrives in the Windy City, he merely shakes his big old head at Theo. Theo seems to respect Justin's sad head-shaking as "what a good boyfriend does." And what's more, when the two gentlemen talk, they share a certain resignation in regards to Tonya. Theo understands that he doesn't like Tonya. Justin understands that Theo might have a good reason to dislike Tonya. "Just don't threaten her, man," he sighs. One has to wonder if Tonya's not a little disappointed in Justin's defense of her honor.

Finally, the other Real Worlders journey east, leaving Tonya and Justin to their own devices. Some of these devices aren't doctor-approved either, mes amis! I guess Tonya follows doctor's orders to the letter except when it interferes with her sex life. Tonya also pleads for spending money from an old "father figure" friend named Darren. She tells Darren (The type of "dad" that calls twelve times a day? Sacre bleu!) that she's all alone and scared in that big old house. The pity party works wonders, regardless of the fact that Justin sits picking his toes in the other room.

Tonya claims that she and Justin have "a great connection," a connection that doesn't seem to prevent Justin prowling through her email and deleting messages from Daddy Darren. So this is what "taking care of women," leads to! Tonya confronts her sneaky boyfriend about his highly unethical behavior, and Justin counters that Tonya hasn't been exactly honest about Darren, either. Well, my dears, Tonya doesn't allow that topic of conversation to go very far! Justin backs down, and Tonya feels "sad," but that's the end of their argument. Baby-talk resumes apace.

With all this going on, it wouldn't be hard to forget about Chris' triumphant return to his hometown of Boston. Actually, under the best of circumstances, Chris is pretty easy to forget. Sure, he takes the kids to sites of historical interest and invites them to a big 1970s-themed party, but where's the drama? The Real Worlders seem to be most excited to visit Cheers, so you know that things are a bit slow in Beantown.

Mostly, the trip serves to show us that Theo and Chris get along quite well nowadays, regardless of Chris' sexual orientation and Theo's squeamishness. "Hell, yeah! I got a gay friend," Theo declares. He even attends a predominantly gay party, to show Chris that he "has his back." Well, my dears, from the looks of it, plenty of others a the party have Chris' back as well! All the same, Theo's and Chris' relationship is rather touching; it shows that hot-headed Theo is capable of getting along with others. Just not with Tonya!

Who's Topless? Does Justin count? I don't know, mes petites, his toplessness was against doctor's orders!

Who Cries? Sure, Tonya cries at Theo's ravings, but there's enough icky-sticky baby talk between Tonya and Justin to drive me to tears.

Most Annoying: Tonya is so difficult to befriend, even her lovey-dovey boyfriend seems a bit worn down.

Best Quote: "There are going to be women at this party?" Theo asks Chris skeptically. This young man sure knows what he likes! You'll note he doesn't ask about onion dip or a d.j.

Next Week: Is Cara stabbing Tonya in the back? Why not, everyone else is!

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This Week, Mrs. Filthy's Reading:

The Good Times Are Killing Me by Lynda Barry