Now that The Real World: Brooklyn has covered the oft-charted territory of premature bonding, sexual tension that fizzles, girls vs. boys battling, mice in people’s beds, and pee-stick snipping, the roommates have moved on to Phase Six Red Alert, which occurred right on schedule this week. Phase Six consists of smashing things and using that delightful phrase that we’ve so longed to hear this season: “I’m fed up with a lot of the drama in the house.” And so we return once again to a far-away fairyland called Red Hook, where family meetings and chore lists are mandatory because JD a/k/a J. Dingus, Esq. said so; Idiot King Ryan is the next Steven Spielberg; and MTV confirms that, as is often the case, women are secretly much filthier than men.
“Angry Boys and Dirty Girls” was a generally boring hour that felt like I was watching a playground argument during recess. It pit the chromosomes even farther apart in an ongoing passive-aggressive game of hygiene and temper-tantrums! The boys do most of the cleaning and the yelling, the girls do all the avoiding and the gross-out-ing. And basically I came away from this episode feeling considerable, palpable irritation for everyone. My own lovely roommate was so tortured by the on-screen interactions I suggested, for the sake of her mental health, she no longer subject herself to this show anymore. But we did agree on one thing: we don’t have a problem with Baya, because she is under the radar and uninteresting thus far, and we HEART MTV’s closet self-help guru/life-coach Devyn, who entertains me more and more with each passing week. She needs her own talk show.
We begin with the boys whining about the girls’ hair in bathroom sinks (Devyn), dirty cups everywhere (Katelynn), and a general “lack of respect” for common areas. It’s almost as if they are random Craig’s List roommates thrown together by a common desperation and a desire to split rent eight ways! Except, um, they live in a castle.
Anyway, Chet is “surprised that [the girls] even finish flush their own toilets and wipe their own asses,” so things must be quite narsty up in that piece. Given the mice, this isn’t a huge surprise. J. Dingus takes it upon himself to do the worst thing imaginable a 20-something could do in a castle full of other navel-gazing, self-indulgent 20-somethings: he writes up a chore list, and tries to make it seem like a fun project to pick out a duty to be responsible for. Baya laughs, Katelynn curses him out, Sarah shrugs, and Devyn says something clever about not wasting your time on negative energy. She’s a regular Eckhart Tolle, that one.
At some point, Katelynn freaks out about how she likes to clean up at her own pace, and nobody in this house is her boss, boyfriend, sibling, mother, father, priest, lover, blahblahblah, and leave her alone because she has to go walk around in her underwear some more. Scott Zach Morris takes offense and does the mature thing in response by hiding the car keys, making Sarah late for her art therapy class and causing the girls to steam in their dirty fumes of righteousness.
Meanwhile, we’re back to the Idiot King’s exploration of the arts. Because none of the roommates do any serious drinking or sexing or working, they are free to explore their artistic impulses. This is an interesting shift for the show. I realize I’m just as infuriated by Ryan declaring that he wants to explore “more film school type learning type stuff” as I am by some dumb bitch taking off her shirt and initiating an orgy in the hot tub. But this is Brooklyn, after all, and people like to announce their creative superiority in far more subversive ways. So Ryan enrolls himself in the New York Film Academy, and his teacher shows the class Apocalypse Now with the sound off, which blows him away and makes him want to explore this new passion. Baya is still pining away in her sad corner, listening to all his guitar songs and now lusting ever-more because he is a King who sings and who also is learning how to shoot hip 16mm videos. “I decided to make a dark and dismal film,” he explains. This consists of shots of Ryan looking broody and throwing empty beer bottles at a graffiti wall. It will be screening at BAM in approximately two weeks.
Idiot King is, however, is strangely devoted to this venture and is locked up in his editing booth at the Academy for hours and hours, which leaves Chetubular the Morminator, his roommate and mourning housewife, very, very concerned. No less than twice did Chetubular call Ryan frantically worried because, oh noes, secret crush, duh. Once, Ryan didn’t hear his phone. The next time, he fell asleep on the train. The boys went to pick him up in their fancy gas wagon, and by the time they got back, everyone was ready for a predictable verbal altercation and shouty-fest. “I’m sorry you have to go home to a house full of pussy,” says Orville Chetbacher. Yep, he was wearing his dickweed bowtie again.
J. Dingus announces that he was upset that his expectations had been dashed — as previously reported, he auditioned for The Real World to become a part of a family for the first time. Well, newsflash, Dingus, but a vast number of families love each other cause it’s a requirement, not a joy, and MTV-packaged clans are really no different. Either way, he’s upset about the girls’ inability to clean shit up, and hurt about how insensitive Sarah is to his small whims (“I just don’t care,” she said), and irate that several of the girls went into the confessional together to vent and talk smack behind everyone’s back.
What’s actually becoming more of a chore than Dingus’s fucking chore list is charting the rise and fall of his temper-tantrums. So here’s the scene. Dingus, Chetubular, Scott Zach Morris, and Idiot King are on the couch, pissed. Sarah is sitting there passive-aggressively trying to explain why nobody should blame her for anything. Katelynn is annoyed and in hot pants. Devyn and her boobs are on the phone. And Baya is sleeping in her cave of forgetableness. The boys begin baiting Sarah about why she’s so passive and why the girls are dirty and whywhywhy, and while Katelynn scampers off to get Devyn to come help her, Sarah says that she doesn’t really want to put any effort into the boys because they’ve put zero into getting to know her. Dingus immediately spins this back to the two times he’s tried to talk to her. Except it wasn’t actually about getting to know Sarah, now was it, Dingus? It was about listening to yourself mouth off about your issues with her. (Could’ve used an instant replay, here, Overlords!) Sarah then said something along the lines of, “I don’t care” again. Because that was a blatant contradiction of Dingus’ supposed attempt to get to know her, which she threw back in his face, he decided to mark his triumph by smashing the coffee table in half. The veins popped out in his neck a little bit.
And that’s it. It’s the same shot the network has been milking over and over again in “Coming Up on The Real World” teasers from the beginning, and it really wasn’t all that exciting. Dingus then proceeded to grab the phone from Devyn and throw it into the ocean, because he truly is that big of an asshat and won’t shut up about how he’s “fed up with a lot of the drama in the house.” Yup, you knew that was him. HOUSE OF DRAMZ is now tattooed on his forehead. Get used to it, it’s in your contract, silly boy. I’m ashamed that I ever thought he was the only redeeming roommate. He is a Dingus. They all are. Oh, and I guess the girls agreed to wipe the counters and take out the trash sometimes, and rolled their eyes at everyone because really, shouldn’t the castle come with a maid? Ugh. There’s no joy in King’s County this week, only ennui and existential angst. I wish they were allowed to order Reality Bites on Netflix and have a dance party in a gas station, just like Winona and Troy and their gang. Sometimes that fixes everything.–Sharon Steel