Where we discuss MTV's Beloved "Real-Life" Soap Opera

Mrs Filthy's Real World Report


First aired: June 23, 1998

The topic: Dipstick

It's still early in the season, dearies, and our favorite wards of MTV are just getting acquainted. This is the point at which curious viewers might ask, "Who will hook up this season? Who will be pathetically alone and unwanted for the entire five months?" Of course, "The Real World" is under no obligation to answer these questions. If MTV chooses to emphasize tiffs about dirty dishes, then we, my friends, must bear our burden with grace. Think of the show as your very own hair shirt.

So, these 27 minutes of penance open with the kids exploring the house's library. Do these young people opt to read some nice Flaubert? Non, mes amis! Instead, they pore reverentially over such tomes as "Sex for Dummies" and "The Good Girl's Guide to Sex" and "Sensual Massage". Mind you, this interest is purely intellectual. Stephen, for one, thinks that the library is one of the best things about the house, because, "if there's anything we all are in this house, it's academians." So, kiddo, is everyone in the house aiming for a PhD in hanky-panky?

While all of this intensive study is going on in the library, Lindsay and Dave trade meaningful glances and invade each other's personal space. Lindsay makes a lot of Carol Channing-esque faces and plays with her hair; "Who's got the dipstick?" she calls out yearningly. Nathan looks into his crystal ball and predicts romance between Dave and Lindsay, her scary teeth notwithstanding.

When the housemates become weary of the scholarly sobriety of the library, they take their sex manuals into the gym and "work out". Of course, "working out" is just a pretense for more flirting. The budding relationship between Dave and Lindsay is complicated by Dave's overtures to amateur masseuse Rebecca. Is Rebecca an "incognito vixen"? Or, is she mearly a pawn in les liasons dangereuses of Dave and Lindsay? When Dave and Rebecca visit the aquarium, Dave finds this willowy blonde as intriguing as the clownfish and groupers. He impresses her with his SAT scores. Lindsay grits her intimidating teeth at this turn of events.

But Dave and Lindsay and Rebecca aren't the only ones in thrall to the succubus of lust. Stephanie calls Nathan faithfully to remind him how she's missing all of the frolicking and fun. "It's like a bad trip," she moans. Horror of horrors, a bad trip without IKEA furnishings, my pets! Dave objects to Stephanie's haranguing. "Stephanie is all Nathan has, and she's treating him like Jack!" Who's Jack? Anyway, Stephanie decides that she needs a little space, so Nathan backs away...and falls right into a bubbling hot tub with the appealing Janet. For Janet, Nathan's commitment to Stephanie is "a double-edged sword" of attractiveness and unavailability. To any sane individual, Nathan and Stephanie's relationship would be a double-edged sword of annoyance and irritation.

Nathan generously grants his old lady yet more space. He and his crony Dave have taken it upon themselves to teach the dirty dancing steps they learned at VMI to all the hotties of Seattle. Nathan's pelvic thrusts evidently startle one bonny lass enough that he has to reassure her that such dancing does NOT count as adultery. But, perhaps he is not so convinced. As soon as he gets home and ditches his dancing partner, he tromps into Lindsay and Janet's boudoir to discuss his guilt. In order to assuage that guilt, Janet and Lindsay then invade the boys' room and jump Nathan and Dave. No one jumps on Stephen.

And now for Conflict Number One of the episode! Lindsay finds a page torn out of someone's journal that rails agains the lack of diversity on the program. Immediately, Nathan suspects that Stephen left this diatribe for his roomies to find. A violent row is avoided, however, when Dave admits that the page came from his very own journal. He's broken up over the scarcity of "schmucks" and car wash employees in the house. Nathan, in an astonishing moment of clarity, feels "like the biggest jackass in the world" for suspecting Stephen. The housemates tell Dave they sympathize with his concerns, but no one volunteers to switch places with a "regular Joe".

Conflict Number Two comes right on the heels of Number One. The Real Worlders spruce themselves up and go out for a night on the town. They enjoy liquid refreshments and dance like the privileged whiteys Dave says they are. Stephen extols the virtues of a club called "The Phoenix", so they eagerly head on over. Unfortunately for Stephen, he and Rebecca get turned away at the door for being underage. Stephen fumes, "I didn't want to go to this stupid ass club, anyway." Everyone else stays at the club, which really sours Stephen's grapes. Earlier in the episode, Stephen had confessed his lingering bitterness over Dave and Nathan's previous friendship. He hates being the odd man out, and now he's been banished to the little kid's table! "I'm putting that in my file!" the young 'un vows heatedly. When Dave and Nathan finally make it home, Stephen does not spare them from any manifestation of his pissiness. But, they all make friends without even the threat of a brawl. Yawn.

The kids visit the radio station for the first time and learn that they will be assisting with promotions until they prove themselves worthy of their own show. After the unsuccessful attempts in previous seasons to get the Real Worlders involved in entrepreneurship and volunteerism, I suspect that the MTV bigwigs decided that the kids would be less likely to screw up if kept occupied with handing out bumper stickers and tshirts to teens. The kids seem to be thrilled with their newfound responsibilities. Nathan is excited because the station plays the same "Kick Ass" music he listens to. Irene, the Neil Diamond fanatic, is the only one to express trepidation about the radio station's playlist. Evidently, if it's not Neil Diamond, it's not worth playing, my pets.


Number of times Dave is shirtless: One.

The Most Annoying Character? Stephen's sour grapes at the nightclub start him on his long, arduous journey to Number One Irritant on the show.

Next Week: Is commercial radio ready for these whippersnappers?

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