Real World
Race Matters (and sexuality is good for a gag or two)

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Djb: C+ | Grade It Now!
Race Matters (and sexuality is good for a gag or two)

This episode begins with yet another montage of street scenes around Boston (to the soundtrack strains of my favorite guilty pleasure song of the last decade or ever, "Mmm-Bop." We love you, Hanson! We miss you, 1997!). Said montage features snow-covered trains riding on snow-covered tracks, snow-covered taxis on icy streets driving through miles of snow-covered backdrop, and a shivering bird practically frozen to a bare, snow-covered tree. Hey, is this stock footage from the "North, Miss Tessmacher" tundra sequence from Superman used in place of actual establishing shots of a New England winter so the camera crew didn't have to go outside during a season in which the temperature is measured exclusively on the Kelvin scale? Remind me again why The Real World chose never to chance a cold-weather climate ever, ever again after this season wrapped. It is, after all, so sexy and electrifying to watch seven twentysomethings in bulky college sweatshirts sitting around inside eating high-cholesterol comfort foods for five straight months. Let's go see!

Inside the firehouse, Elka stands in front of the stove, clad in a bulky college sweatshirt (Notre Dame) and preparing a high-cholesterol comfort food breakfast of pancakes for herself and Kameelah. She calls up the stairs to Kameelah that "it's still lumpy," and Kameelah, clad in a bulky college sweatshirt (Stanford? I think? It's a red sweatshirt with a giant silver "S" which looks so faux-tin-foil-futuristic that I think the "S" should stand for, like, "Space College." Y'know, the college in space? And, even more alluring, she's wearing matching red sweatpants to complete this provocative ensemble) bounds down the steps and chastises Elka for making such a "big-ass pancake." Elka flips the pancake and the two have a big laugh all about, well, flipping the pancake, I guess.

Across town at a diner of some kind called "The Paramount," Jason, Sean, Montana, and Genesis enjoy a heaping breakfast of high-cholesterol comfort foods, the mightily caloric results of which can and will be expertly concealed underneath, that's right, their bulky college sweatshirts and other various wool apparel. Jason kicks things off by commenting that "they didn't put any real big pain in the ass in the house. Well, besides me, of course." Nice work knowing thine own self for a moment there, Jason. Montana takes a stab and pronounces Kameelah's name the fourth or fifth incorrect way in as many tries, and I wish someone would just take her aside for a moment and let her know that it's pronounced 'Ka-MEE-lah,' and not 'Ka-MIH-lah' or 'Kar-MEH-luh' or 'KA-meh-lot' or some collective amalgam of all those, as Montana would have us believe. It's not like spelling the word "Channukah," honey. There aren't a whole bunch of choices and you don't get any leeway. Anyway, what she says about this mysterious Ka-MIH-lah is as follows: "I think Ka-MIH-lah [sic] has attitude, but as long as she uses that attitude for good and not evil, I'm all for her. And so far she's been using it for good." Like it's a superpower. Genesis shares with the group that she came out to Elka last night, but Genesis' life-long battle of coming to terms with her sexuality is quickly deemed, like, so last week's episode by both the cast and the Bunim-Murray-sanctioned editors alike, and the subject is quickly dropped. Montana sets up the entire un-dramatic non-tension for this entire half-hour with a retread of last night's clubgoing experience: "Sy was making tons of new friends last night." Overly loud protests to the contrary from Jason, Montana finishes her story by recounting a conversation she and Jason allegedly had, in which she wondered, "How come nobody's falling all over me?" and in which Jason supposedly sympathetically responded, "We'll go to the gym tomorrow." Ha ha... ha?

Back at the firehouse, Syrus and Kameelah flirt flirtingly and in a flirt-like fashion as they set up a game of pool on a floor of the firehouse I'm convinced didn't even exist until this week. Syrus tells us in a confessional that, concerning his first impressions of Kameelah, he "thought she was attractive. I was completely shocked that there was another black person living in the same house." Yeah, Sy, get in line. I guess the quota-o-meter over at B-M headquarters was unplugged when this season's inhabitants were chosen. How else to account for this aberrant development? Over in Kameelah's confessional, she admits, "I do like Syrus. He's cool," and then later, "I like very clean-cut men. Bald heads." Cut back to the pool game, where Kameelah tells a very clean-cut, quite bald-headed Syrus that "I'm gonna go ahead and say it. I think you like me." Syrus could not be more noncommittal in his response, and volleys her daring come-on line right back in her face by asking her just what kind of "like" she means. An unbelievably mature discussion about the nature of the word "like" ensues, one which will probably culminate with a tri-folded note reading, "If you like me, check this box" she'll slip to him tomorrow morning in homeroom. She falters when he asks if she means "as a roomie," and Syrus eschews any further attempt at her pursuing of romance with the wholly noncommittal, "You stick with me, you'll be all right, shorty." Which, and I'm going to go out on a limb and guess here, was exactly the response she was not at all looking for.

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