The new season of The Real World kicked off last night, and at first glance it looks a lot like other recent seasons of the show. This past weekends retro MTV Real World marathon spoiled me on how great this show used to be. Ok, so maybe great is a little strong, but it used to be more than sticking a bunch of aspiring models/actors in a house and watching them drink and hook up. I’ve tried to come up with when The Real World stopped being about a group of (somewhat) real people dealing with issues, and turned into a contest to find the most attractive people possible and keep them inebriated for several months to see what happens. (There are of course times the show still deals with issues, but they are no longer in the foreground like during the early seasons of the show). Despite being pretty disenfranchised with the show, (I haven’t really watched since the second New Orleans season) I decided I would give it another shot, and do recaps of this season for my blog. I’m going to start out with a little write-up about each cast member, and then I’ll cover the first episode.
Anastasia (aka Bird):
Important things to know about her: She’s tall, (5’11) which helped her get the nickname “Bird” (the other reason for the nickname is because she gets an idea and just takes off and flies away with it). She’s worked as a model, (shocking) but she was a nerd in high school (you can kind of tell) and apparently loves Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. She’s also the only person who’s in a relationship when the season starts out (sure that’s going to work out). And according to her MTV bio she has issues with alcohol as a result of having an alcoholic father, and having a friend killed recently by a drunk driver. (She didn’t seem to have any problems drinking in the first episode however).
Averey (and Daisy-the dog):
Important things to know about her: She’s a Hooter’s girl (another Real World favorite). She has lived on her own since she was a teenager, and has issues with men due to her mentally unstable mothers abusive relationships, and her own negative past experiences. Despite these issues with men, according to her MTV bio she is extremely sexual and will try anything once (another Real World classic, this girl has it all). Johnny is immediately drawn to her, (as all 21-year-old men are to a Hooters girl with an insatiable sexual appetite) but her bio suggests he may not be able to keep her satisfied (ouch). She also brings her dog Daisy, her only real family member to the Real World house with her.
Important things to know about her: She’s from North Carolina, and is described in her bio as a cross between a southern belle and a tomboy. She enjoys typical southern activities such as hunting, fishing and motocross, and enjoys racing dirt bikes. The real gem of her bio, that wasn’t revealed in the first episode, is that she was engaged at 16 to a man 10 years her senior. The bio goes on to say that despite admittedly making poor choices, (ya think) and falling to find anyone who can meet her needs, Jessica is still searching for “Prince Charming.” (She should go on The Bachelor after this). Finally her MTV bio says that she can come off as an annoying little sister to her fellow cast members at times (she did seem annoying).
Important things to know about him: He’s from just outside Boston, and was a star hockey player before moving on to try for a career as a physical therapist/trainer. He is immediately interested in Averey, and attempts to use her dog to get close to her (solid move on his part). MTV disses his chances with Averey again in his bio, suggesting she might be out of his league.
Important things to know about him: He’s missing the fingers on his left hand (due to a birth defect). But don’t worry, because as we learn during the episode, and from his bio, he’s awesome at everything. He excelled at sports in high school, and is currently a semi-professional wake boarder. He’s also described by MTV as having a “my way or the highway” type attitude that causes him trouble with his roommates. His target is mostly Anastasia in the first episode, but apparently it spreads to Jessica, and others later on.
Important things to know about her: She says men are intimidated by her because they aren’t used to seeing tall asian women (something about this is really funny to me). She grew up with a strictly traditional Korean mother, and a military father, but decided to shame them both by posing for Playboy while she was in college (she shares the picture with the roommates in the first episode, solid way to get to know her). (Playboy is also a Real World favorite, but most cast members don’t get there until after their season, so props to her for being ahead of the game). She’s also apparently into black athletes, which is really good news for Marlon, who has a crush from the minute he sees her.
Important things to know about him: Marlon is the son of a pastor/soldier, and grew up as a military brat moving around to new places frequently. Marlon was also a star football player at Texas Tech, who apparently did some things that will shock his roommates after falling into a depression when his football career ended. Additional fact from the first episode: Marlon refers to his junk as “black mamba” and is probably going to be sued by Kobe Bryant when he finds out.
Important things to know about her: She’s not present in the first episode, and I’m not entirely sure when she shows up. She’s tall, (6 feet, the girls in this house are giants) and has spent time working as a model. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Howard University, and is currently working on a book about how to find and keep professional athletes. (Silly girl, you don’t need to keep them, you get their money and you leave. Haven’t you ever seen Basketball Wives). She also apparently has major issues with Jordan, and according to her bio, sets out to destroy him. (She sounds like a lovely young lady). from her bio, it seems like whenever she does arrive in the house the drama will be amped up considerably.
That’s all the cast members covered, now let’s get into the first episode:
The show has the traditional opening where roommates pair up, (generally) and head to the house. Luckily everyone’s first impression is that everyone else is really good-looking (good job MTV). The first little taste of drama comes when Anastasia declares the fact that she is in a relationship. Jordan, who described her as a “Barbie doll” when they met, is understandably disappointed. When he expresses his disappointment Anastasia is a slightly miffed. I really don’t see much future for these two however, especially with their additional arguments in the episode. Later in the episode we see Anastasia and Averey chatting in the hot tub. They are talking about their male roommates, and Anastasia wants to know if Averey finds any of them attractive. Averey says no, and that she isn’t looking for a relationship, and it’s not like she’s going to be falling in love in three months. (Oooh, good foreshadowing producers. She and Johnny are making out by the end of the episode).
Honestly, this is one of the least exciting first episodes I can remember in a while, but we’ll keep moving ahead. The group goes out to a burlesque/dance club. The highlight of this night out of Jordan meeting a girl who ends up being married, but wants to take him home anyways. It’s not entirely clear if her husband would be involved in what would happen later or not, but based on how friendly he is when he’s introduced to Jordan, I’m going with yes. The rest of this night out, (and much of this episode) and most of this episode, focuses on Averey and Johnny’s budding (but seemingly doomed to fail) relationship.
We get another little drama nugget later in the episode when Marlon mentions that the boys had been ranking the girls “booties.” Anastasia finds this extremely offensive and mean (which means she clearly was not the winner). Joi is much less offended and says “boys will be boys” (because she clearly placed well).
Finally, to close out the episode, Marlon and Jordan bring home some grenades (thank you Jersey Shore, for helping me to find the right word) to go in the hot tub. However, once they get back to the house, (and some brighter lighting) they realized just how unattractive these girls are and decide they will need to kick them out soon. Johnny jumps the gun when he hears the news and immediately tells the girls they have to leave. The female roommates are all offended by the way Marlon and Jordan treated the girls, and decide to call them out on it. This leads to Jordan dumping out Anastasia’s wine, which causes Marlon and Joi to have completely shocked looks on their faces. (I feel like this is some clever editing on the part of the producers, but maybe it was just really good wine). Jordan and Anastasia’s fight continues to escalate until she decides she’s had enough and goes inside. The line of the night comes out when she continues her rant to the other girls inside and says: “I don’t care if he has a f’king stump for a hand, you can’t treat people like this.” (Very true, I hate it when people with stumps for hands treat me poorly). The episode closes when Anastasia in the confessional challenging Jordan to “just try to make her miserable.” (Probably not a great challenge to put out there, especially not this early.
Despite a slow start, the season preview indicates things will be picking up in the drama department for this group. It seems like there will be a solid amount of punching, especially after Nia shows up, so that’s something to look forward to. See you next week for another recap.