Real World
I Hear the Yawns Down in Africa!

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I Hear the Yawns Down in Africa!

No exterior b-roll: just a shot of Kat looking through a giant hardcover book full of photographs on Africa -- or in this case, Kenya. It's one of those National Geographic published volumes on "far-off lands" that you always see at Barnes & Noble in the remainder bin with some bewitchingly beautiful Panamanian peasant girl on the cover who has bright blue eyes and just the most adorable smudge of toxic sludge on her left cheek while a volcano explodes in the distance killing her two sisters -- the only family she has left in all the world. That's right. Bunim-Murray needs some footage to fill up the last two episodes, so they're sending the housemates to Africa. And isn't it just so Real World to have Kat preparing for her journey not by thumbing through a Lonely Planet Guide to Africa like any other person in her twenties who wants to go to Africa on a budget, but instead to look through a coffee table book? "Going on safari in Kenya is one of my personal dreams," says Sharon in a voice-over on top of a shot of Lars and Sharon sitting on the couch. Lars is eating a sandwich with his mouth open and Sharon is sticking out her tongue, which is covered with bread crumbs, while she puts her hand to her neck as if performing the universal signal for choking. Seriously, it looks like Sharon and Lars are having a ham-sandwich-eating contest in honor of the memory of Mama Cass. How does this relate to Sharon's desire to visit Mother Africa? I have no friggin' clue. In an interview, Neil indicates that he's not looking forward to Africa because it means Kat and Sharon "squealing every thirty seconds as they see another fluffy bunny." Okay, I want to snark so bad on Neil right now and say, "There aren't any fluffy bunnies in Africa, tool!" but I just know that as soon as I say that, I'm going to get all these emails from all these ethno-biologists who tell me about this huge indigenous fluffy-bunny population in Kenya that anyone would know about if they bothered going to their science classes in high school. So you're safe for now, Neil, but on the hour of my choosing, I will bring justice to you or you to justice! The gang tosses around a stuffed lion. Meanwhile, Jay is singing along to one of the songs Elton John wrote for The Lion King. All Jay needs now is a gym membership, a cock-ring, and a job as a cater waiter. Girlfriend is out there!

When I went to the third world for a visit -- in my case, Peru -- I did not read Condé Nast Traveller about Macchu Pichu and play with stuffed Llamas. Instead I bargain-shopped for yellow-fever shots -- they can run as high as $90 per cycle -- and read up on how to avoid altitude sickness and the various gastrointestinal disorders I could catch from Peruvian food and water. Sensible people like me travel to the third world differently in the real Real World. Oh, and did you know that there are "no gay people" in Peru, according to their government? No wonder Peruvian high schools have such lousy French departments. Sorry to keep bringing up Peru here, but it's the only "far-off land" I've ever been to besides Las Vegas and therefore, it's the only thing I can bring to this discussion because I don't know anything about Africa. I've never been there, and when I took African Studies classes in college, we mostly just read the plays of Lorraine Hansberry. Did you know she's the true creator of Good Times? Norman Lear did a Chuck Berry on her ass. But that's a whole other story. The twentieth century is slipping away from our culture's memory, so maybe it's not worth mentioning. It's October of the year 2001 and I don't really know how to recap a reality show from 1995 anymore. So much changed during the last month. The '90s -- especially the mid-'90s -- seem so far off. I might as well be snarking on the characters in a Thomas Hardy novel. Nevertheless, I am suitably appalled at the montage sequence that shows the gang preparing for their trip by shopping for sunglasses, v-neck sweaters, and funky colored Doc Martens -- typical safari gear, I guess. Neil has purchased a jaunty hat that's a little more fedora than the African bush seems to require. Yes, Neil, Antonio Fargas from Starsky and Hutch has African blood, but I don't think his ancestors were dressing like Huggy Bear before they came Stateside. Seriously, he looks like a chorus girl from Chicago. In an interview, Neil indicates that underneath all the cynicism, he is somewhat excited to be going to Africa. "It will be quite a change from Central London," he says. Ya think?

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