Mrs Filthy's Real World Review


August 14, 2001

I'm With the Band

Lori is very, very serious about her craft. That is, she is very, very serious about telling everyone how very serious she is about her craft. It doesn't matter if her roommates are on the phone or trying to study or napping- her precious vocal cords will rust and pop right out of her mouth if she doesn't spend hours every day growling and bellowing like a dyspeptic ox.

Kewpie doll Rachel begs for mercy, "We love you, but please don't sing!" Later, Lori will remember this injunction as the "meanest thing anyone's ever said to me." This little histrionic canary is hurt that her housemates don't share her passion for "music." Meanwhile, Kevin distributes earplugs. All I can say, my dears, is that art's art, but it doesn't always belong in the home (i.e. my dear husband's beer can sculptures). You just know that everyone is wishing Lori had chosen a different, quieter medium- macrame, perhaps, or giant soap bubbles- for self-expression.

Lori's especially worried about losing her "talent," because she feels like her singing career is going nowhere. She just doesn't know how to get started in the music business. Well, my sweets, working at Arista records certainly isn't going to bring her any closer to diva-hood. The seven strangers' first assignment is to pound the mean streets in search of forty warm bodies to attend two focus groups. You can't get any further from diva-hood than that.

With eight million people in the metropolitan area, you'd think that finding forty rock 'n roll fans wouldn't be that difficult. Au contraire, mon frere! Never mind the fact that male-female tensions have scuttled any effort at teamwork among the Real Worlders; never mind that Nicole's hip-hop fashions scare potential focus groupies away. Never mind that most of the kids have significant problems pronouncing the name of their employer. What we have here, darlings, is a startling admission by MTV that rock is dead. No one wants to sit down and listen to a rock band, it seems, not even if there's free pizza and comfy chairs.

Say it isn't so! Actually, this bleak pronouncement applies only to lame, overproduced, quasi-metal bands such as the featured Arista artist From Zero. Oh, this band might be interesting if we went back in time 20 years and they grew their hair down to their butts. I mean, can we really call this garbage "rock," if it requires a focus group to find an audience? Excusez-moi, mes amis, for my little tirade; a little Carl Perkins and I'll feel better presently.

Lori visits one of music's sacred stomping grounds, CBGB, to scare up some seat-fillers. While she's there, she meets a goofy, pageboy-bedecked guy named Tony who has his own band, a band that needs a female singer. Hmmm. Could this be a match made in musical heaven? Let's hope so, because if Lori's audition doesn't work out, she direly pronounces, "that's it."

So, Lori not only ropes Tony the Little Dutch Boy and his pals into her focus group, she's found her own musical opportunity as well. Meanwhile, Mike is getting nervous about his own job performance at Arista Records. Potential focus groupers have rebuffed Mike so many times, he's now threatening to chase joggers in Central Park. He's willing to dress people up in wigs and funny costumes. Beware, New York City!

The big day arrives, and so does the first focus group. Adam and Devon, the Arista execs, play a snippet of From Zero for the twenty assembled victims. Adam and Devon even bang their heads right there in the boardroom, albeit a very silly turtleneck-and-blazer sort of headbanging. The first focus group is not impressed. As soon as the song is over, they snicker over the cliched lyrics ("cold as ice," anyone?) and the slick, dated sound. One savvy individual even requests "more wrong notes." Adam and Devon console themselves by telling themselves that these scalawags just don't love music.

The second focus group arrives late, while Mike fears for his job. Relax, Beefy, this is "The Real World;" you'd have to hit somebody before you'd be fired. And soon enough, Mike gets his obligatory happy Bunim-Murray ending. The second focus group just LOVES "From Zero," from their "bowling pins with attitude" look to their logo to the raspy vocals. They clamor for more, more singing! For being so helpful, and telling Arista Records exactly what they want to hear, these people (or, "da bomb" in Mike's parlance) get goodie bags. Burn on you, first group!

Later, Lori auditions for the as yet-unnamed band. She's not sure if she can take any more rejection; she's already been through so much, and we're only eight episodes into the season! Lucky for her (and not so lucky for the rest of us), her brand of yodelling and whooping is suitably "dope" enough for the stylistic noodling of Tony and his cronies. Lori finally feels validated, and she's not afraid to let everyone know it. She's one step closer to diva-hood, at least in her own mind.

Who's Shirtless: Mike's ivory, waxen shoulders peer just above the screen. That doughy shade of epidermis is found only in the Midwest, no?

Who Cries: No crying this week, gang, just the death throes of a wounded elk, courtesy of Lori.

Most Annoying: Lori's the easy choice this week, mes amis. I don't allow jackhammers, sirens or foghorns into my home, so why would I want Lori around?

Best Quote: Kevin describes Lori's singing as the sound of "a seal in labor."

Next Week: Rachel's crying about something or other. You know what? I think I lost some of the hearing in my right ear.

Want to tell Mrs. Filthy something?

This Week, Mrs. Filthy's Reading:

The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Second)_by Lemony Snicket