October 3, 2000
Bringing Up Daddy
When we re-join The Real World crew, Julie is preparing for the arrival of her family. Now, my dears, Julie is at that special time in her life when she wants to explore the world, try new things, and if it ticks off the folks, all the better. Julie's definitely in "ticking off" mode, too. First clue, she calls her family, "her posse." Somehow, I can't see her bespectacled, gruffypants father relishing membership in his wayward daughter's "posse."
The second clue that Julie is struggling with issues of freedom and parental control comes when she tells her mother, "Gosh, you guys are going to be here forever!" Later, she pleads with her brother Alan to make the familial visit a shorter one. Mon dieu, that's the way to make people feel welcome, Miss Hospitality! On the other hand, I can only assume that Julie's housemates are pretty relieved that they won't have to tiptoe around Julie's relatives any longer than necessary.
The third clue (and folks, this is a major one) is Julie's journal. Julie fills pages and pages with emotional tirades, but when she writes about her father, the words get really, really big and really, really scribbly. DAD! CONTROL! EVIL! DAD! These pages of the journal ends up looking like the scrawlings of a revenge-minded institutional patient or, mes amis, a pent-up adolescent.
So the parents haven't even arrived yet, and the Battle Royale is already set up. We have, in one corner, the wannabe wild child, the rebel out to find her own path. In the other corner, we have the despot who raised her. They both love each other; they both drive each other crazy with their impulsive shenanigans. As soon as Mr. Julie arrives, his audacious offspring is taunting him with hints of co-ed cohabitation and toe rings. What if the toe ring cut off Julie's circulation and she gets gangrene? Julie is willing to live with that risk, as long as she prompts the appropriate response from her dad. She admits, "I'm probably driving him to an early grave."
I do have to say this much for Mr. Julie, however. He does make an effort to converse with his daughter. He asks her if she likes New Orleans, what she does there, who she spends time with. But, what can you do with scanty material like, "Go out" and "People?" His big mistake, dearies, is to ask Julie her future plans. Note to parents of young adults: Never, never, never ask about future plans. The kids don't know, and they certainly don't want to admit their ignorance to you. By the time Mr. Julie is done with his interrogation, Julie is fairly squirming to skedaddle on out of there.
Earlier, Julie introduced her clan to all of her roomies. Poor Danny seems about as comfortable as a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs, especially when he meets Julie's brother and his pals. They've been brought up as solid Mormon citizens, and to them, Danny is an enigma, a puzzle, a freak. That's not exactly the type of reaction that Danny relishes. Mostly, Danny rolls his eyes at the boys' naivete and only sometimes admits to wanting to strangle them. One of those potential strangling moments occurs when the young whippersnappers ask Danny if he hangs out at the tv studio so that he can check out gay websites.
Danny can only hope is that maybe these sheltered young men will remember their interaction and be more open-minded in the future. Danny has stated before that he doesn't want the responsibility of teaching the ignorant and intolerant, but he does still wish for a better, less judgmental world. And when one of the boys comes in and apologizes to Danny, it does make him feel a little better. (And then there's a strange segment in which Danny and Kelley discuss the challenges of raising a kid with two dads. Do you think Danny and Paul are thinking of having a baby, darlings?)
Not only is Julie visiting with her entire family and juggling a schedule of sin and decadence; she's also producing "The Real 7" this week. That's a tall order! I do have to give the young lady credit, since she's not aiming to resolve some big, bad issue of universal importance. Instead Julie decides to take it easy and encourage her castmates to express themselves. Entre nous, I'm not so sure about the results- must we listen to Matt's abysmal Australian accent or view Jamie's Tommy Hilfiger undies? But at least their goofiness is better than their self-important dissertations on the homeless or addictions or jazz.
At the end of the show, Julie's brother's band, Zero to Nothing, plays some harmless music, and everyone dances on the stage, ecstatically relieved that the show didn't fall apart. Julie's colleagues are pleased with the results. Matt thinks Julie's the best producer the show has had so far. David lauds Julie's "hidden beast." Rowr. Melissa, however, merely states, "I'm just happy that Julie's happy with the end product for once." Meow!
But this happy glow can only last so long. Julie promises her folks to meet them at temple the next morning. Then she agrees to go to a rave with Danny and Kelley. Bad move. We're treated to psychedelic visual effects and scenes of Julie nodding her head to the music, looking grim (but hiply so, I presume). And she pays heartily for this experience by sleeping in and almost missing church. Boy, will she be in trouble! Best of all, this week's episode ends with the three most suspenseful words in the English language, "To Be Continued!"
Did You Know? Why do Mormons go to BYU? The sizzling dating scene!
Did You Know, Part II? Danny originally thought Matt was the token gay Real Worlder.
Who's Shirtless: Since the Mormons are in town, everyone remains clothed and clean. Oh, why, why can't we have somebody with parents from that swingin' Lutheran church?
Who Cries: Oh, we'll have plenty of crying next week, sweeties. This week, however, the wells are absolutely dry. You'll just have to be satisfied with some eye-rollings and moderate outbursts.
Most Annoying: I decree Matt the most annoying this week. His primary offense is ripping off the excellent Mullets Galore website. His secondary offense is trying to blend the whole Crocodile Hunter thingy into his schtick. If I had a mullet, I'd kick his scrawny, albino fanny!
Best Quote: When one of Julie's Mormon "posse" explains to Danny that "obeying laws is what makes you really free," Danny replies, "I make my own laws." Talk about bold pronouncements!
Next Week: The Big Showdown between Julie and her dad!