September 25, 2001
Why is it, mes petites chous, that none of these Real World kids has an ounce of competence when it comes to the workaday world? They've embarrassed themselves at public access television stations, radio stations, surf shops all around the country! Remember how the Miami just sat on their entrepreneurial nest egg? And let's just try to forget the debacle at the Boston kids' center! These are supposed to be fun jobs, for heaven's sake, not the gulag, but year after year, we see the Seven Strangers flail around, then collapse, under the weight of their onerous burden of work.
At this point, it's a wonder that potential employers don't turn tail and flee at the sight of Bunim and Murray. Why, I'd bet that even Hancock Fabrics wouldn't employ a Real World cast, and they hired Jeanine, whose primary skills seem to be limited to smacking her gum and daydreaming about Ricky Martin's butt. This year's cast seems to follow the Real World lackadaisical tradition, and I'm sure Arista (Remember, folks: A-rista, not a-RIST-a!) is just kicking themselves.
Of course, the worst offenders in previous weeks, Coral and Nicole, have vowed to turn themselves around. After all, if they get fired, they also have to leave the cushy house and the limelight. When Adam and Devin need crowd control for a CD signing party, the Terrible Twosome jump at the chance to work it. And work it they do, darlings; is there anything in the world that Coral likes better than ordering people around and shouting them into line? She does it so well that management gives her a poster. Sacre bleu! A poster!
Soon after, Adam and Devin, who seem to share a wardrobe consisting solely of black turtlenecks, give the kids a big treat. The Real Worlders are shepherded into the swanky offices of Mr. "LA" Reid, the president of Arista Records and a man so big, they named him after a city! Musician-actor-single-name-recipient Usher is also there. This little treat impresses the kids mightily, all except Lori, who pines, "Nothing in our job ever involves MY singing!" More about that later, my pets.
Not only do they get to sit in a fancy office, the Seven Slackers also get to witness an actual recording session in the studio. And the singer, Lennon, is smoking and singing at the same time! This comes as a revelation to Mike, although I have to admit that in my younger days, I figured all those rock and rollers were committing all sorts of sins in the booth. Lori, again, remains the only jaded one among all the seven. She doesn't think the singer is all that great, apparently, compared to her own ambrosial voice.
So far, so good. It's only when this "Street Team" hits the actual pavement that they lose Street Steam. As much as Rachel would rather be looking up vegetarian recipes on the web and Mike would rather be distressing the local bohemians, they're all supposed to be out there with the common people, converting them into loyal Arista listeners. When the temperature drops, though, the kids lose all enthusiasm for their jobs. They just loiter in front of heated doorways, blue-lipped and resentful.
This is when the budding Arista employees get their talking-to. Adam wants the kids to be "pro-active" (I fully expected him to utter the dreaded cliché "outside the box." Egad!). Devin wants the kids to be out on the streets as much as possible. The kids, in turn, sound like the bedraggled survivors of Antarctic expeditions. "We're tired, hungry and cold," moans Malik. So, the Street Team gets another assignment, and they must prove themselves or be lost forever.
This time, the cast members have to march around outside a big Coffy Brown concert with banners. Mike interprets the assignment as a call "to be loud, to be interesting," which to him are equivalent values, apparently. The kids are told to be at the office by 5:30, but by that time, the only employees there are surprise of surprises! Coral and Nicole, smirking like well-fed cats. It's half an hour before Rachel can get up from her nap and Kevin can tear himself away from his own steamy reflection in the shower. But, no one is fired, and they all have a fine old time yelling and goofing around at the concert. More's the pity. Kevin and Mike marvel at Coral's turnaround. Is "everything cool" among them? We'll see, dearies.
As I have mentioned before, Lori aspires to sing for her supper. The band she joined earlier in the season seems to her a dead end. "I'm pretty much just wailing with this band," Lori notes. But what else is new? Wailing seems to be her raison d'etre. But Lori's looking for a more direct route to success than a third-rate jam band, and so she collaborates with her friend Dave to make a recording of a song that actually has words and comes in under 11 minutes!
Lori's housemates, who until now had regarded Lori's gargantuan lungpower as a form of sonic pollution, hear the recording and marvel. I guess her singing is a "powerful, wonderful, beautiful sound" unless it's occurring while you're trying to sleep! Coral and Nicole encourage Lori to go right to the top with her demo, but she's unsure of her next step. She sees herself as just a small fish who can't write lyrics.
That is, of course, until Lori goes prowling around the Arista building and just magically happens upon the recording studio (imagine!), where she meets Nicky, a music editor with Eurotrash hair. Nicky generously lets them hear a new track he's engineering, seeming to condone their slacking. He doesn't have a vocalist yet for his song, and Lori jumps at the chance. She gives him the piece she recorded with Dave and crosses her fingers. Nicky later tells Lori that he was surprised that her voice was any good. Is that an insult? No matter, it seems that Lori might have her big break. And her roommates have a lot more shower warbling to look forward to, methinks.
Who's Shirtless: As Nicole is now in the habit of repeating, it's snowing in April; layering is the rule of the day.
Who Cries: No one cries, and given the subject of this episode, there's even a mercifully small amount of Lori's singing!
Most Annoying: Almost every time I see Nicole, she's supine on the sofa. Does her makeup weigh her down so much that she cannot lift her head? Get up, for goodness sake!
Best Quote: Nicole expresses her sartorial concern before heading out on a job, "Are we going like this?"
A Happy Surprise: Not a single mention of Arista's darling "From Zero" this week, mes amis! Has the label given up?
Next Week: It's a family circus, with Malik's and Mike's families visiting Chez Bunim-Murray. And Mike's dad has a mullet!