Delusion lies at the core of any good reality television character. This week was an especially interesting study in human beings who will create a universe in their heads that they don’t realize is not being shared with the rest of the species. In Jeff With One F from The Bachelorette's delusional universe, he doesn’t have to verbally address the fact that his family is obviously super Mormon. In Sonja from The Real Housewives of New York City’s delusional universe, she needs “one to three” interns to support her efforts just to make it. And in Brandon from Real World’s delusional universe, gorgeous women at bars drape themselves all over him because of his good looks and charisma, not the camera crew following his every move. Let’s start with him; it gets goodweird fast.
Brandon (Real World, Kang), 17 points: If you aren’t familiar with Brandon’s performance thus far, allow me to get you up to speed. Brandon is a pierced-up, tattoo-having dude who in the first day at the house managed to fall in love with his roommate, get super slammered, reveal his past as a drug addict who has been clean for only six months, and write “KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME I WANT TO DIE” in a journal that he left out for all to see. Yeah, it was easy to tell this guy was headed for GRTFL greatness — and this week he showed no signs of slowing down.
To start the show, Trey confronted Brandon about the suicidal scribbles in his journal to see how concerned he should be. One can question whether or not Trey should have read the journal in the first place, but when you see “KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME I WANT TO DIE” in someone’s journal in a handwritten font that can only be described as a cross between Helvetica and PsychoKillerCrazyPants it's totally normal to have a chat with them about it.
However, it is not normal do while you are both in the bathroom and you are naked in the shower.
Only on the Real World can you go from “Which loofah is mine, the blue or the black one?” to “Hey man, are you really going to kill yourself?” Brandon’s explanation for his suicidal scribbles was, "Oh no no no, what it was, it was that I was trying to get myself in a dark place and try to write dark things from the past." That makes total sense, because every week before I write this column I open up a journal and scribble, “KARDASHIAN, DYSMORPHIA, PUN JOKES, INTERNS, SEACREST, PUZZLE PERSON, PROBST, REALITY, BOOBS, KILLED IT, KILLED IT, KILLED IT, KILLED IT. I WANT TO KILL IT.” Totally relate.
Anyway, this week the cast got all gussied up to hit the town. When Brandon gets dressed up for a night out in St. Thomas, his artfully patterned, formal vest and button-up shirt look a lot less “stylish young man on St. Thomas ready to party” and a lot more “upscale strip club busboy in 2007.” Despite his best fashion efforts, he managed to catch the eye of an attractive young lady named Alyssa:
Alyssa: "I need to make friends while I am here."
Brandon: "That’s what I am looking for, too. I mean fun people that I can go kick it with and show people what Boston boys are all about."
The two then awkwardly dance together for a while, and everything is going fine until a gentleman walks up to Brandon and sternly warns, "If that’s not your girlfriend, then fall back, man. Trust me on that. Trust me." This mystery adviser then seems to invite Brandon outside for a fight. After pretending to be held back a couple times, Brandon ends his night by punching a No Parking sign (10 points). Now, I have about a gazillion questions about this Alyssa, the Mystery Adviser, Brandon, and his outfit — but for now, let’s move on.
The next night the cast decides to go out again, Brandon decides to put on another “upscale strip club busboy in 2007” outfit, and guess who's at the bar? Alyssa. Brandon and Alyssa do their neither-of-us-are-great-dancers-so-let's-just-two-step thing for a while, and it's clear Brandon is excited about the attention he is getting from this attractive young lady. "We're dancing, we're bumpin’ and we're grindin', and I am going to bring her back to the house and you guys are just going to know that I am the best,” he says. But Brandon’s roommate Swifty is skeptical, warning, "Listen, be cautious, be aware, I don’t want to see you get hurt." As the evening winds down, a sweaty, slammered (7 points) Brandon invites Alyssa to “come back with me for two seconds.” An offer she does not accept. This sends sweaty, slammered Brandon into a rage as the cast takes a boat home, and ends The Ballad of Brandon and Alyssa.
Now that you are all caught up, I want to share with you some of my curiosities about Alyssa, Brandon, and Mystery Adviser:
1. Why would Brandon wear three layers of clothing to a nightclub in the Caribbean?
2. Why did Mystery Adviser sign a release form to be on the show only to fight the cast?
3. Is the Mystery Adviser a local?
4. Is the Mystery Adviser Brandon’s friend or foe?
5. Is the Mystery Adviser Alyssa’s friend or foe?
6. Why did they blur out the Yankees logo on his cap but not the Le Tigre logo on his polo?
7. Mystery Adviser said, “If that’s not your girlfriend, then fall back, man. Trust me on that. Trust me." So …
a. Is he her pimp? (Don’t think so; she wasn’t very prostitute-y.)
b. Is he her boyfriend? (Then why did he question if Brandon was her boyfriend?)
c. Is he a concerned friend of Alyssa’s? (Maybe, but she said she was looking for friends “while she was here,” so I assume she is just vacationing, and it didn’t seem like they were traveling together.)
d. Why does he want to fight Brandon? (No idea, really.)
8. Where did Alyssa go after Mystery Adviser confronted Brandon? She isn’t heard from again until the next night.
9. What is the long-term plan with those “make my earlobes huge” earring things? Will he ever put his arms through them like a holster? That should be the long-term plan.
10. Why doesn’t Brandon make a better effort to break free of Swifty “holding him back”? You have to sell it a little, dude.
11. How many songs can you dance poorly together to before saying, “Hey, do you want a drink?” or “I need some air” or “We are both embarrassing ourselves here, let’s just stop dancing”? Two songs? Three songs? A half a song?
12. Why doesn’t Alyssa say anything the whole episode? I swear she has like 10 total words in the show, mostly involving not going home with Brandon.
13. Is Alyssa by herself?
14. Where is Alyssa from?
15. Why does everyone talk about Alyssa like she is a supermodel?
16. Is Brandon planning to fill in his tattoos with color at some point?
17. Why didn’t the producer turn to Marie and say, “Marie, you are on a 9 a.m. flight to JFK; this weird, hot Alyssa chick is taking your place in the house”?
I think all of these questions have legitimate answers except the last one. When I am in charge of the Real World franchise (only a matter of time, really), I'm going to keep one extra spot in the house open and tell my producer, “The most interesting person you find while you are out there gets this spot. I don’t care if it's a 74-year-old homeless dude.”
All opposed, speak now.
Sonja (The Real Housewives of New York, Kang), 15 points: Now that she's divorced, Sonja from The Real Housewives of New York City has to scale back her support staff from “75” to “one to three interns.” For this we awarded her 15 “rumored financial problems” points and this week’s GRTFL top five. This week’s GRTFL top five is the Top Five Insane Things That Sonja “Taught” Her Interns, listed from “I can actually relate to that one” to “If kids are getting college credit for this, I no longer believe in the concept of education”:
1. “On any given day I have one to three interns. What do these interns do? His list could go on and on. I run a five-floor home to start, OK? They help me with my clothing racks, my appearances, E-MAILS! I have 200 e-mails a day.” (Wait wait wait. THAT'S your story? You need three people to dress you and answer your e-mails? You can make up better shit than that, Sonja — they are recording this, ya know.)
2. “It's called an internship because they're not paid. They get credit at school and they get a lifelong list of experience.” (Is “lifelong list” a saying? Googling … No. No, it is not.)
3. “I couldn’t do any of this without help. I mean, when I was married I had 75 help. Of course, I had five houses and a yacht, so I don’t need so much now. But I do need one to three interns a day.” (Two things I learned from this one: People still call other human beings “help,” and I have no idea how to spell the word “yacht.”)
4. “I have to do my vitamins, the problem is, where is my brain energy when I need it?” (Sonja, you are on Real Housewives — the less brain energy the better, trust me.)
5. “Do you know the difference between the brain energy and the poop pill? [Intern answers, “no.”] If you don’t want your brains to fall out of your mouth, you want the poop to fall out of your ass.” (Um. Ah. Just move on ... )
6. “While I was on vacation I realized [takes two pills out of a pill box], if I don’t take these two, I can have sex in the afternoon.” (Am I really supposed to be “above” making a “School of Hard Knocks” pun joke here? Really? This is some bullshit.)
Yes, I know there were six in this week’s top five. Gimme a break — I haven’t had my brain energy vitamins today.
Trey and Laura (Real World, Simmons and Lisanti), 15 points: On the first season of Real World (I see you, Julie), they all had very separate existences. Andre would leave the house for a week, Heather had a beeper, and Eric Nies would go on dates with models. It was nice to see them with, ya know, lives. Then in San Francisco they took the TV away. Then they started confiscating cell phones. Finally, there was only one computer and one phone in the house. Well, this season they took it a step further. They're on their own private fucking island. Want to go to the store? Get on a boat. Want to hit the bar? Get on a boat. Want to see another human that you don’t live with? Get on a boat. You know how when a friend asks you if you would hook up with someone and you say, “Only if we were stuck on an island”? THESE PEOPLE DON’T EVEN HAVE THAT EXCUSE. So it was that Trey and Laura spent this entire week making out (3 x 5 = 15 points) even though Trey says, “Laura isn’t typically the kind of girl I would go for back home. The tomboy thing is new to me."
They are basically semi-consensually breeding these people the way horse farmers do.
Sean (The Bachelorette, House), 10 points: The problem with Sean from The Bachelorette is that there is no problem with Sean from The Bachelorette. He is the super-handsome, All-American, blond, from a loving family, I’ll-routinely-chase-you-down-in-the-street-screaming-your-name-and-make-out-with-you (2 x 5 = 10 points) bro that every woman wants their daughter to bring home, but is a bad hang and boring in bed. When we saw him in his hometown — all beautiful and surrounded by greenery — my wife blurted, “He's too perfect. Is he like a volunteer fireman or something?” But she said, “Is he a volunteer fireman or something?” with the same tone of disgust people would use for, “Is he in an Estonian death-metal band or something?”
I hope when Sean doesn’t get the final rose Emily levels with him, saying, “Look, Sean, you’re a great guy, you are everything I would ever ask for but I just don’t see us having a future. I can’t see you ditching a restaurant check with me … or farting on me. Sometimes a gal just needs a man who will dine and dash with her and fart on her. I hope you understand.”
Carole (The Real Housewives of New York, Connor), 10 points: Carole is the Housewife who has an open relationship with a dude in Aerosmith, a friendship with the Kennedys, a New York Times best-selling book, and a hot body. This week, she added another “Why the hell are you even on this show?” attribute:
Carole: “You know, I married a man who was from the royal family of Poland who was a prince.”
Ramona: “You did that? I didn’t know that. What do you mean? Your husband was a prince? Are you serious? [Starting to lose her shit.] Am I with a princess? Are you a princess? You are one of the ROYALS?”
Carole: “I don’t have anything on LuAnn, by the way.” (LuAnn is a “Countess.”)
Ramona: “Oh my god, that is so funny. Yes. You do, 'cause a princess is higher than a countess.”
Carole: “I don’t call ”
Ramona: “They buy titles. Princess is a title you can’t buy. You’re a princess!”
Carole: “Not in America, though, and we're American girls.”
Just when I started to really wonder why the hell she is on this silly show, her “writing partner” called after a meeting with a “Big Hollywood TV producer” and this happened:
Writing Partner: “They absolutely loved our pilot.”
Writing Partner: “We’re going to have our own TV show based on your book!”
Carole (in an interview): “I have been working on this book for four years, so when I learn that someone was interested in adapting it into a TV series it is a huge professional accomplishment.” (10 “plugging career” points)
OK, she is trying to sell books and television shows — THAT is why she is on this silly reality show. But before you get all mad at her for being more successful than you, just understand that every meeting in Hollywood goes well. Every single one. You can’t get on an elevator in Hollywood and get off on your floor without making two new fruitless business partnerships. Trust me, I know because … well … OK, fine … I have no idea. I spend all my time watching reality TV. But that is how it is in my delusional universe!
Jef (The Bachelorette, House), 10 points: Jeff With One F scored 10 makeout points this week and once again raised a host of issues that if explored will definitely offend somebody and get me fired. So, once again, I present Things Jeff With One F Said (Or Were Said About Him) This Week, Presented Without Commentary:
1. Emily: "Wow, there's a lot of people here and they're all related to Jef."
2. Emily: "Who knew Jef in his skinny jeans had such an awesome shot?”
3. Jeff With One F: “My parents, they are in South Carolina [obvious audio edit] doing charity work.”
Chris (The Bachelorette, House), 5 points: There was no chance that Chris was making it past this episode. Even as Emily made out with him (5 points) you knew she was sending him home. The only thing left to find out was how weird he would get when he was asked to leave. He did not disappoint:
Chris: “Do you have an explanation?”
Emily: “Honestly, I don’t have an explanation.”
Chris: “So it was me?”
Chris: “What was it?”
Emily: “There is no denying on our first date there was, like, something really strong between us. I mean I thought about you all the time. But some of my other relationships grew much faster into deeper relationships.”
Chris: “I don’t understand. How much faster could it have possibly moved? I TOLD YOU I LOVED YOU!"
Solid point from Chris there. But he wasn’t done. In the “Producer Interviews You and Tries to Make You Cry” limo ride, he dropped a classic on us: “I’m 10 times the man than bleeping all those dudes that are there!”
Chris, after reviewing footage of you attempting to use a bow and arrow ... I disagree.
Marie (Real World, Simmons), 5 points: Marie scored five points for making out with a handsome fella named Max. But none of this matters because I am still obsessed with the fact that she packed a six-pack of Heineken in her baggage. Some more questions about it:
1. Did she think she could drink them on the plane?
2. Was she worried about them breaking?
3. After the flight, were they cold from the upper-atmosphere air?
4. What did she sacrifice in order to make room for the beer?
5. Why not aluminum cans?
6. Did she buy the beer specifically for bringing on the trip or was it just in the fridge?
7. Is she Heineken brand-loyal?
8. Did she pack a bottle opener?
9. Do I like her more or less because of it?
I keep flip-flopping on that last one. Right now I am on, “Of course I like her more — would you rather hang with the girl who packs a bag of shoes or the girl who packs a bag of brews?”
Arie (The Bachelorette, House), 5 points: Arie the Race Car Driver Who Totally Slept With Emily’s BFF/Producer and Didn’t Tell Her made out with Emily (5 points) and took her to his very Dutch home for dinner, where his mom pulled Emily aside for a chat. I loved Arie’s mom’s weird shawl thing, her ice in her wine glass (why doesn’t this happen more often?), and her direct line of questioning with Emily:
“I saw the last episode [of The Bachelor] when Brad proposed to you. What happened? Normally when you are the one being proposed to, you are not being the Bachelorette, so I was kind of surprised to see you there.”
Translation: “You’re a slut, what makes you good enough for my perfect son?”
Next week on The Bachelorette is the “Fantasy Suite” overnight-dates episode. The Bachelor historians will remember that Emily declined the Fantasy Suite date with Brad out of respect for her daughter Ricki or something. Methinks her tune will change this go-around and methinks it will make for a fantastic GRTFL column. Check back for it on Friday. Until then, just remember that you are 10 times the man/woman or dudes/dudettes who are there. All of them.