Mrs Filthy's Real World Review

July 11, 2000

Another Melissa-centric Episode

And we thought we were suffering from an evil case of ennui! This week, we learn that the Real World youngsters suffer from the very same malady- they bicker and whine, they flirt aimlessly, they crash into things, they play with their hair (credit Julie for the last two activities). Not content with making themselves miserable, the kids pass along the pain, in the form of yet another episode tailored around the life and loves of Miss Grabbyhands Melissa. Can you stifle a yawn, dearies?

It all begins when David's bartending and piano playing threaten to detract from his performance as "music director" for "The Real 7," the kids' nascent public access television show. When Kelley, the producer, requests (via the most up-to-date motivational phraseology) concrete evidence of his work, David immediately becomes defensive. After all, just because everyone else is ignorant of his contributions, it doesn't mean that he's not working harder than everyone else! "I'm out there!" he claims; he certainly is, mes amis! After the argument, both parties miraculously feel that they've emerged victorious. "I'm not someone you want to do battle with," David warns. "I'm not going to have it anymore," huffs Kelley.

When David does finally attend a group meeting, it dissolves into chaos. Melissa offers an idea for the opening sequence of "The Real 7," which involves the kids passing a book to each other. The book is to serve as a symbol of their connectedness. Heaven forbid that a book would be for reading! David wants no part of this whole connectedness crap, though. Why can't the opening credits just have everyone doing "their own thing?" Melissa is offended at seeing her beloved idea stomped upon, and there are some harsh blankety-blank words exchanged, so many that Stephanie enters the room and reminds them that the board members in the next room have tender little ears! Melissa storms out of the conference room, and David tries immediately to shoot down the book idea in her absence. "Just don't use the book! Why don't we all agree right now?"

And to add to the stress, Melissa's erstwhile beau Ryan is due to visit just in time for Melissa's birthday party. She fears that the young man will to try "to stake a claim on her" as his girlfriend, but she plans to valiantly resist this constraint. After all, she wants to be obnoxious to any number of men, not just to one scrawny, flannel-wearing drummer! And then there's Jamie of the Glowering Brow, with whom she shares a mutual, inexplicable attraction. Melissa actually claims to be fighting the attraction, but she's got some pretty bizarre moves, if that's the case. Does throwing one's arms around your opponent and playfully mussing his hair count as fighting? According to Melissa, the affair is doomed, because two nerds can never love each other. However, I must beg to disagree. Au contraire, mon frere! Someone must love the lonely nerds, and who better than another nerd?

So, my pets, Melissa hopes for "a completely nice visit" and then proceeds to inform her guest that she is concerned for his feelings, because she "really doesn't want to cry." In the end, it's not about bug-eyed Ryan; it's about Melissa's mascara. A clean set of bath towels and fresh pigs-in-a-blanket out of the oven just aren't enough of a welcome for a guest anymore, mes amis. One must also minutely analyze the guest's "approach" to the visit for signs of ulterior romantic motives. By the time Ryan arrives, however, Melissa has decided that his friendship is worthwhile to her because he laughs at all of her jokes and yet still respects her. Zut alors! Is that possible?

And then she starts with the fruity firewater, and all her good intentions go flying out the window. From receiving a serenade from Bozo in a French maid's outfit to the writhing with total strangers, Melissa manages to shock Ryan during every moment of her birthday celebration. Matt mentions that he feels bad for Ryan; here it is the first night of his visit, and she's "getting freaky with drag queens." She really must've missed him, huh?

But Melissa's birthday is not only an opportunity for Melissa to act out; all of the cast members join in. Kelley parades around with artfully mussed hair. Dave gives Melissa a birthday striptease and manages to make a few bucks (to send home to his mother, he says). Danny grabs Kelley and gives her a big smooch, even though she looks nothing like a man at the time. It's all chaotic and crazy and liquor-drenched. It's no wonder that the camera guy is so discombobulated that he keeps using the Groin-Cam on Jamie.

What does the completely invisible Ryan think? Turns out, not much. He can't stay mad at her, because she gives him so much to laugh about- now those are the words of a lover! But, it's pretty clear that whatever relationship there was is effectively over. Melissa is free to cavort and canoodle to the best of her abilities, which don't seem to depend on her drunkenness or sobriety. Thanks to alcohol, however, all disputes are blissfully forgotten. All is as it was, my dears.

Did You Know? For this series, the Belfort Mansion was outfitted with almost a quarter million dollars worth of works by local artists.

Who's Shirtless: This week, David gets to be the topless housemate. In true David form, he does nothing halfway- he publicly strips to his skivvies for a fun and economical birthday present. Now why didn't I think of that?

Who Cries: Melissa cries in front of Ryan, even after telling him expressly that she didn't want to have to roll out the tears during his visit.

Most Annoying: He doesn't listen, he doesn't cooperate, he says all sorts of crazy, self-indulgent things and yet surly David still hasn't received any sort of comeuppance. That's the annoying part!

Best Quote: "I was wondering if me, you and Jamie could all get in a menagerie." Oh, has our Melissa been reading a little Tennessee Williams?

Next Week: A gaggle of big sudsy men infests the Real Worlders' hot tub!

Want to tell Mrs. Filthy something?

This Week, Mrs. Filthy's Reading:

Dressing Up for the Carnival by Carol Shields

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury