June 6, 2000
The Year of the Booty
About thirty seconds into the casting special, I realized that "The Real World" has officially grown two sizes too big for its Calvin Klein britches. It's not enough anymore to merely air the audition tapes and interviews; now we must endure fancy sets (the audience had their own personal table lamps!), a live audience and a "panel" of "experts" to tell us the pros and cons of each potential cast member. Silly me, I thought that was my job, dearies!
Our sunny, teleprompter-reading "experts" (My, how academic we are!) are as follows: Dave and Janet from Real World Seattle, Judd from Real World San Francisco, Sarah from Road Rules Latin America and Shawn from Road Rules Semester at Sea. They are mostly there to 1) announce commercial breaks, and 2) talk about how cute all the candidates are. Or, if they can't say something nice, they'll talk about how much that person could "learn" from a stint at Bunim/Murray University. Darlings, I practically felt like I was a guest at a society tea, everyone was so polite! But, mais oui, we won't officially find out the identities of the Chosen Ones until next week. Politeness does have its limits.
What I did pick up from the casting special was the uneasy sense that all of candidates are fixated on sex this year. "Why, Mrs Filthy dear," you might respond, "aren't we all?" I guess I might just reply, "Well yes, my fuzzy peach-faced reader, but do you try to impress everyone on the planet with how loudly and often you talk about it?" So, this year, booties and boobies and lots of drooling will be major thematic thrusts. I'm sure they'll just have a field day with Mardi Gras.
There also doesn't seem to be the Angst-with-a-capital-A of previous years. This year's candidates have experienced broken homes, tense dealings with parents, the desire to be independent, but it's not exactly Movie-ofthe-Week material. But that doesn't mean, mes amis, that one of these blonde ingenues might not yet be another Kaia. Or, maybe everyone will be too busy talking about sex to worry about angst.
I also noticed that the people in charge of casting this show had two approaches. There are the slambook-esque questions like, "How many sexual partners are too many?" Then there are the confrontations, such as when the Road Rules producer tells a young man that he's "full of shit," or when Boston's Kameelah calls an aspiring cast member a "rich, privileged white boy." The latter approach is designed to rile a person up, and therefore arouse a more "honest" response. I will admit that defensiveness is pretty darn funny, though, so maybe they do this more for the entertainment value.
But, again, my framboises, the casting special will not tell you what you really want to know. That is, who gets to live in the big voodoo house in the Garden District of New Orleans? I can't vouch for 100% accuracy, but the word on the street (thanks to E! Online and my beautiful readers) is as follows:
Danny, 22, is out of school, living with his sweetheart and wants to be a teacher or environmental activist. All of this sounds nice, until you realize that he's really one of those fabled Bad Boys. One of the casting team insinuates "I think you like trouble," and he readily, if sheepishly, agrees, "I like trouble." All the girls in the audience want to help him get into trouble, too, so there's plenty of trouble to be had. Two things you need to know about Danny: his girlfriend says that "he's got a cocky part of him," and he hates heights.
David's enormous biceps wowed the commentators. They wow a lot of other people, too, because he's certainly not short on female attention when he hits the town. David, who is 22 and lives in Chicago, talks a lot about perfection and his mind-body-spirit, which might not make him the best conversation partner. On the other hand, if you're into biceps, you're probably not too worried about the conversation. Two things you need to know about David: he can draw pretty flowers, and he wants to be the first black president of the United States.
You knew it had to happen; there had to be someone with an e-business on the show. 22 year-old Cornell student, Jamie, is the one Kameelah felt was the epitome of frat-boy privilege. He calls her "Chaka Zulu" in reply. Two things you need to know about Jamie: he was an Eagle Scout, and he wakes up to a poster of Nelson Mandela every morning. Kinda kinky, no?
Julie wants us to know that she's a "real person," not some fancy-pants person like all those other Real Worlders. She also makes a jab at Ruthie, when she crows that SHE doesn't lay in the gutter drunk every night. Me-ow. Julie is a Mormon and attends Brigham Young University, but she wants to make it clear that she's not in church 24 hours a day. Two things you need to know about Julie: she can't get MTV where she lives, and she feels "homosexuality is disgusting."
Kelley, a 23-year old University of Arkansas student, feels misunderstood. People figure her for a "bimbo," so she has to work twice as hard to convince them of her prodigious intellect. Then she does something spirited like flash thousands of Oktoberfest attendees, and the whole "smart" thing is shot to hell. Two things you need to know about Kelley: she does not appreciate rabbit-like intercourse, and she doesn't like men with small penises.
Matt is a mere19 years of age and attends Georgia Tech. He doesn't drink or smoke or make whoopee, and he grew up in a tiny Georgia town. How then did he get to be such a hip-hop enthusiast with such stylin' breakdance moves and big orange sunglasses? All through the magic of television, my friends. Two things you need to know about Matt: he maintains a "fully interactive website," (Egad!) and believes that "accessories are where it's at!"
Melissa wants to get out of Tampa, and fast. Does she want to escape her parents' porno-watching habits? Is it her own lackluster love life? Two things you need to know about this 22-year old graduate of Univ. of Southern Florida; her mom buys undies on layaway, and mean schoolgirls used to call her "M.C. Proper."
What? No Genesises or Montanas or Kaias or Syruses or Tecumsehs? That might be the most shocking thing about this year; my spell checker recognizes all these names.
Who's Shirtless: Danny's already disrobing and the official season hasn't even begun yet!
Real World Audition Tape Tip of the Week: If you want to make it someday into the big glamorous Ikea mansion, do NOT film yourself dancing a kooky dance in your bedroom. It's the kiss of death as far as those casting people are concerned!
Next Week: The part I'm looking forward to most is
the house, actually. Isn't that sad, dearies?