November 14, 2000 (aired November 7, 2000)
Remembrance of the Season Past
Why, it feels like just moments ago we were bidding the current crop of Real Worlders adieu, and here they are again! There's a reason for that, darlings; MTV showed the reunion special as soon as the credits rolled on the last episode of the season. This scheduling decision created a bit of cognitive dissonance for me; in a space of mere minutes, the New Orleans cast was transformed from a set of familiar faces with a set of familiar storylines to vaguely-remembered acquaintances with different hairdos and different future plans.
Bien sur, a few months can really produce significant change, and this reunion special does not disappoint on that front. David's face is considerably rounder (has this muscleman gone to seed?). Julie's hair is now dyed red and cut in a layered 'do that sort of reminded me of a poorly thatched roof. Jamie sports a shaved pate. Matt wears tres trendy blue tinted specs, instead of his trusty old orange ones. And Melissa has braces! No one can claim that the Real Worlders look better nowadays, but the alterations in their appearance drops little hints of what may have happened in their lives since we last saw them hmm, what was it, five minutes ago?
Actually, mes amis, we probably would learn more about the lives of these youngsters if we just looked at them and they didn't open their mouths at all. The reunion special is hosted by two former Real Worlders: Rachel from San Francisco and Nathan ("That's crazy, a monkey sitting on a rock!") from the Seattle season. Their manner is alternately dishy and simpering, with a hearty dollop of blandness. It's their job to ask all the standard questions: about the experience of being taped constantly, about the future, about love lives, about fights. It also seems to be their job to say, "Let's not go there!" a lot. And, evidently, it's the job of the New Orleans cast to give totally upbeat, uninteresting answers. If so, stellar job, Real Worlders!
In order to give you, my readers, a full sense of what went on in the reunion special, I would have to take a nap and snore really loud. Oh, and I also would have to gain yet more weight and get a bad haircut. However, since you wouldn't be able to see me do these things, I thought I'd go through each of the characters and what's been happening (or not) in their lives since the season ended.
Danny perceived his Real World experience as nothing more than "a glorified home movie," but still emerged with some valuable memories. He'll always remember Melissa's bare bosoms every morning. Despite becoming accustomed to the close proximity of breasts, Danny does not appreciate all the desperate women flinging themselves upon him in his post-Belfort fame. He's still living with Paul and their relationship is, according to Danny, "about as perfect as it gets," although they have to appear in public separately in order to protect Paul's identity. Danny says, "I am completely the poster boy for the gay world right now," because he's become so visible through the show. Next up, his ascension as poster boy for soul patches and for baggy, grey sweaters.
David is still "chilling" (in more ways than one, mes petites pamplemousses!), after enduring a rigorous schedule of sulking, fondling strippers and pursuing his musical career. When asked about his infamous scat singing, he concedes that he had forgotten the lyrics and was just trying to avoid embarrassment. So much for that strategy! His dad isn't too happy about David's portrayal of him as an absentee father, but he can just woo woo. David's fondest memory of New Orleans is cruising the town with a pimpily dressed Matt. That's just so pathetique.
Jamie, after the utter disappointment of the casting special, declined to watch the episodes; perhaps we should've emulated him, darlings! Instead of getting in a tizzy about his characterization as a frat-boy capitalist, however, Jamie merely wishes the show covered more of the "spiritual element" of life in the Belfort Mansion. Indeed, Jamie seems to be developing some sort of trancelike Zen behavior; at one point he claims that he didn't change at all, and yet he did change during his Real World tenure. Jamie's dearest memory was of their visit to the infamous and "fun" Angola prison. Just think of Jamie's dates with his "wonderful woman" in Boulder, CO! They must be simply madcap.
Julie was suspended from BYU for violating their honor code and is occupying herself by giving lectures all over the country and "kinda just living" (the customary words spoken by someone with few plans). She's also hard at work on new edition of her dictionary, which will include such Julie-isms such as "zealious." You'd better believe, folks, that she gets hit first thing with a question about "the kiss." The hosts say "the kiss" as if it were a major event, worthy of capitalization. (I, however, will not succumb to this unwarranted emphasis.) The mere reference to Julie and Matt's barely-there smooch causes Julie to giggle and blush (is this the same vixen who chased Matt behind the bed?). We learn that Julie rebuffed Matt's first attempt at a kiss then chased him down for another try; Matt meanwhile was trying to reach his car safely and smooch-free. L'amour! L'amour!
Kelley and her doctor beau Peter have discussed marriage, but have no concrete plans as of yet. Since she's left the Belfort, Kelley's been busy making peace with herself, her castmates and the finished, edited product of five months surveillance. She now says Jamie "is very cool" and was sorry she didn't get a chance to know him over the season. Kelley also thinks that "a lot of things don't get explained enough" on the show, but realizes that major editing (read "butchering") is bound to happen when five months is condensed into eleven hours. As a bonus, we see one of her and Danny's "naked confessionals," with Kelley as Eve and Danny as Adam, looking for another Adam.
Matt, after all those false starts, actually found a girlfriend, although we don't know if he kisses her willingly, either. Matt and Meredith found each other at that locus of true love, the computer lab. When asked if Matt is an "untamed beast" in real life, Meredith answers that he's still as gentle (read chaste) as ever. The thing I noticed about Matt in the special is that he says "awesome" and "super awesome" an awful lot. I mean, he says, "super awesome" more than any person has a right to. Is this a Christian youth thing?
Melissa is still hooked on two subjects: her lack of male company and racial complexities. Make that three subjects; at one point, she intones, "I'm still healthy and that's all that matters." When asked about what she expected from her Real World experience, Melissa tartly replies, "Rent sure was free. That (expectation) was met." But, she also took home some memories, like the time her father visited and paid more attention to Julie's healthy posterior than to anything else.
I don't know about you, mes amis, but I can't help but wonder what trials and tribulations next season will bring. Until then, a bientot, and I'll see you in January for the agony and the defeat of the Real World/ Road Rules Challenge.
Best Quote: "I have a Manwich but it's not exactly working with me," complains lonely Melissa, who lives in a predominantly gay neighborhood in Los Angeles.
In Early December: See the results of the 2nd Annual
"Mrs Filthy's Real World Review" Survey! It's not too
late to participate, dearies, so if you haven't already expressed
your opinion, please don't forget to vote.