Mrs Filthy's Real World Review


August 21, 2001

Present Tense

I may have mentioned that the house allegiances were running across gender lines this season. Well, my darling buttercups, allow me to amend that observation; instead of boys vs. girls, it's boys vs. Coral and Nicole vs. Rachel and Lori. That's the way it looks by the end of this episode, anyway, since Coral and Nicole seem to be on a two-woman campaign to make themselves universally disliked. Mission accomplished!

This week's episode opens with Coral and Nicole picking on Rachel. Since none of the boys will even speak to them anymore, the fearsome twosome have to move on to more tender, fresher victims. The subject of their razzing? Job performance, mes amis, and this will be significant later. It turns out that Rachel couldn't recruit a single member of the focus group, because of her shyness. Even Nicole, with her random shouting method (lucky for her, plenty of people in NYC just shout arbitrarily at the tops of their lungs), was able to rope one person into Arista's conference rooms.

Usually, Rachel accepts the teasing of her housemates with a minimum of fuss. But this time, she feels that the other girls have gone "past playfulness;" she admits that she finds Nicole and Coral "intimidating." When she tearfully expresses her feelings to the Dreadful Duo, they say that they appreciate her honesty, but also make a point of reprimanding her for not taking the verbal abuse. They won't play with her anymore, they assure her, and somehow it comes out as both threat and promise. How's this for passive-aggressive guiltmongering from Nicole: "I'm glad you're crying!" Rachel ends up feeling ineffectual and frustrated.

Not only that, but Coral and Nicole are rapidly losing what little clout they had at work, too. Nicole's battle cry is, "Last to work, first to leave!" Coral says that she "likes to live comfortably," which presumably substitutes shopping for tacky garments instead of going to work. Well, my bonbons, wouldn't we all like to troll for fashion mistakes instead of working? I know that I would jump at the chance to add to my caftan collection, if it meant escaping needle inventory at Hancock Fabrics. But, I don't have a cushy job created by Bunim/Murray, and so I actually have to show up and do stuff.

As an interlude to all this slacking and nastiness, the boys all roll around in the dirty Manhattan snow like roly-poly puppies. In a future episode, they'll all nearly die from nasty staph infections, but for now, it's supposed to be a sweet display of camaraderie.

Anyway, I must get back to the bitchiness, sweeties. Rachel predicts to Lori that Coral and Nicole will eventually exclude themselves from the rest of the group because of their poor attitudes. Lori replies, "They don't care." This is true. I certainly can't blame them for not being more enthusiastic about those big nothings "From Zero," but 20 hours a week for Arista Records shouldn't be such an onerous burden, either. Twenty hours, and they're acting like they're being asked to stir the hot rubber vat in a sweatshop.

The big snit arises when everyone else receives Outkast tickets as rewards for extra hours of phoning, stapling and CD packing. It could be that the other five housemates spend more time at the office in order stay away from the poisonous atmosphere of the house, but anyway, Arista honors their industriousness. Nicole and Coral had been told that they weren't needed that afternoon, so they stayed home and napped. And they didn't get anything, not even a gum wrapper or staple remover, for their trouble.

When the Terrible Two find out about the concert tickets, they feel shocked, then betrayed. Even the verbose Coral is reduced to repeating the words "I'm trippin'" over and over. Nicole refuses to believe that anyone works harder than her- what about all those hours she spends staring at her computer screen? Coral threatens to show management the email and phone messages that kept her from showing up at work. She doesn't like being called a slacker, even if just moments before she was exulting in her own shoddy work habits.

But, the main issue for Nicole and Coral is that no one thought to ask about tickets for them. They pounce on Rachel and Lori and lay on the guilt; if they were true, loyal friends, they would've asked for tickets for their errant housemates. Coral and Nicole claim that they would've done at least that much for Rachel and Lori! Meanwhile, Rachel and Lori just look a little sick, like they had just swallowed a worm. You can see the realization dawning behind their eyes; they don't want to be around these people anymore. The girls are no longer a united front, if they ever really were.

Of course, indignation prompts Nicole and Coral to visit their bosses at Arista and to spill their side of the story. We get a little taste of Comeuppance in Khakis when Adam and Devon retort that the other Real Worlders all work harder than Nicole and Coral. It wasn't only about that one afternoon; the reward was about initiative and extra hours over the whole time. Nicole and Coral still don't buy it, but Coral vows to be more positive on the job. We'll see how long that lasts, mes petites chous! Now Nicole and Coral won't even take the Outkast tickets when Kevin offers them his. They seem to be proud to be the undeserving housemates. Tut tut.

Who's Shirtless: Kevin makes a grand shirtless appearance at the top of the stairs, just like Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind." Oh wait, that was the other version that my hubby brought home.

Who Cries: Rachel cries like a baby, even though she doesn't want to be treated like one.

Most Annoying: Coral and Nicole have seemingly fused into one sadistic harpy, picking at the vulnerable flesh of their housemates, so this week, the evil Corole gets the vote!

Best Quote: "I'd rather sit in the snow than go to my house," laments Mike.

Next Week: Even the exotic beauty of Morocco doesn't stop the whining.

Did You Know? The protests outside of next season's Real World house in Chicago got so fierce that the cast and crew extended their overseas vacation. Eastern Europe is more livable than the Windy City, evidently.

Want to tell Mrs. Filthy something?

This Week, Mrs. Filthy's Reading:

The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan