Last weekend, MTV programming suits ran back The Real World: New York, San Francisco, and Las Vegas to whet the appetite for this week’s debut of The Real World: Portland. It was a genius move. I may or may not have watched 12 episodes of that shit and I may or may not have remembered every single scene from a reality show 20 years ago even though it takes me five seconds to recall my own Social Security number. The weekend was great, but it also served as a reminder of how damn good the show used to be.
After a couple of “I think I may finally be out on this show” seasons in San Diego and St. Thomas, the franchise needed a breakout performance and planned accordingly. The first thing they did, as they should every season, was stack the cast with hyper-attractive young men and women who all share a penchant for getting drunk, getting naked, and getting into senseless, passionate altercations with each other. The second thing they did, as they should every season, is add a wild-card, midseason roommate. It also doesn’t hurt that the wild-card, midseason roommate is named “Hurricane” Nia and in the first 20 seconds of the “This season on” she threw George Foreman haymakers at 63 percent of the cast ... in her underwear. In fact, I’m not sure I even saw “Hurricane” Nia in street clothes during the entire clip. As far as I know now “Hurricane” Nia is perpetually mid-punch and perpetually in her skivvies. What Andrew Wiggins is to the NBA, “Hurricane” Nia is to MTV.
As we always do when we add a new show, we made up a bunch of dumb rules:
The Real World: Portland Show-Specific Rules:
• Hooking up with a roommate on the first episode: 20 points per roommate (in addition to any kissing or coitus points)
• Being lectured about hygiene or cleanliness: 20 points
• Boasting about having masturbated: 10 points
• Being accused of unsavory bowel moment: 10 points
• Borrowing a condom: 10 points
• Hooking up with members of both sexes in a single episode: 25 points
• Hooking up with a member of the production crew: 50 points
• Playing an awkward game of billiards with someone you've cuckolded: 50 points
• Getting handcuffed on-camera: 35 points
• Being the cause of a visit from any vehicle with sirens: 35 points
• Mentioning “hipsters”: 5 points
• Throwing a punch that gets freeze-framed as the final shot of an episode: 35 points
• Parent intoxication: 15 points (for roommate)
• Leaving the show for dubious personal reasons, then returning later: 25 points
• Mistaking Portland for Seattle: -10 points
• Being intoxicated at work: 10 points
• Being told “this is your last warning” by your employer: 15 points
• Riding a fixed-gear bicycle (first time only): -10 points
• Getting a tattoo: -5 points
• Getting a tattoo that you will regret within a year: 25 points
• Sleeping with a member of the Trail Blazers: 100 points
• Sleeping with a member of the Timbers: 200 points
Then we divvied up the desperate.
The Real World: Portland Draft Results:
1. House: Nia
2. Connor: Marlon
3. Jay: Jessica
4. Bill: Anastasia
5. Jacoby: Jordan and Johnny
6. Lisanti: Averey and Joi
Now that all of that's out of the way, we can finally play with our new GRTFL toys.
Johnny and Averey (Real World, Jacoby and Lisanti), 25 points: The show starts by introducing us to the attractive, ethnically ambiguous Averey. Immediately, she puts it all on the table, “I love Hooters, I mean, it pays my bills, I wouldn’t survive without Hooters.” Averey, YOU CAN SURVIVE WITHOUT HOOTERS.
Professional accomplishments aside, we learned a lot about Averey this episode. In fact, even though it's early in the column, we're going to kick things off with the GRTFL Top Five. This week’s are the Top Five Things We Learned About Averey From One Episode That Have My Expectations For Her Super High listed from, “That's pretty much par for the Real World course” to “At first I was making fun of her, now I'm intimidated by her:”
5. The Whole Hooters Thing: There are women who work at Hooters and then there are Hooters Girls. Women who work at Hooters are waitresses that happen to work at a place where they have to wear a silly uniform, dish out mediocre hot wings, and be subjected to consistent sexual harassment. Hooters Girls, on the other hand, are women who proudly don the orange and white, flirt for a living, and fold the fact that they work at Hooters into their personality. Averey is very much the latter. There is no shame in her wang-slangin’ game. She owns it. She follows the trail blazed by The Real World: Cancun’s Emilee. Not only are they both Hooters servers turned Real World cast members, both of their first names read like typos.
Brief side note on the Hooters thing, CAN WE UPDATE THE UNIFORM SOCKS PLEASE?
Still with the cable-knit sweater Jazzercise jammies? Really? Was this ever even a thing outside of Flashdance? I enjoy poppin’ in Hooters every now and again, and every time find my experience tainted by those terrible bunchy socks ... and the fact that the wings taste like science class.
4. She Is NOT Going To Fall In Love and All The Roommates Aren’t Her Type: Here’s the thing, if you say on the first episode of a reality show “It’s not like I’m going to fall in love in three months” ... there is 100 percent chance you are going to fall in love in three months. And when you say of your roommates that “no one is your type” ... there is 100 percent chance you are going to make out with one of them your second night in the house (5 points + 20-point “roommate on first episode" bonus). I like her and the requisite Masshole Johnny as a couple, but I just don’t see it lasting. There is a pretty large beauty gap there, and I can’t see him bridging it with charm.
3. This Conversation:
Averey: “I had a stepdad, but not anymore. My real dad is an alcoholic ...”
Anastasia: “So is mine!”
Both: [HUGE high five.]
2. She Understands Men: “Johnny says he likes me for me. I don’t trust boys. Boys will say anything to get in your pants, basically.” That statement is a fafillion percent accurate. A fafillion.
1. She Likes Sex, For Real: This is from her bio: “Averey will be the first to admit that she's extremely sexual and will try anything once. When it comes to sex, she's insatiable which both excites and scares her housemate Johnny.” I don’t know what Johnny is so scared about! He's hooking up with a woman that he lives with, he “isn’t her type,” she is “extremely sexual and will try anything once,” “insatiable,” and goes topless in her Twitter avatar. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?
The best part about this new cast is that I'm already fired up about it and we haven’t even addressed the Playboy bunny, “Hurricane” Nia, or the linebacker/rapper/indecent exposerer. Let’s get to the indecent exposerer next.
Marlon (Real World, Connor), 25 points: Marlon is not a grower. In his second day in the house, while Averey and Anastasia were in the bathroom conversating with him, Marlon stepped out of the shower, dropped his towel, and then put his drawers on (20 points). This is no contest the GTRFL Questionable Moment of The Week:
Why did he do that? Does it normally take him 10 seconds to put his drawers on? Did he think the women would find that attractive? Serious question alert: COULD THEY HAVE PRESSED CHARGES AGAINST HIM? What would be his defense? Does MTV have a policy on this? Is the policy to discourage or encourage it? Was it necessary for MTV to make the black censorship bar that big? Why did Averey pretend she didn’t see it when she clearly took a peek? How does Kobe feel about his nickname “The Black Mamba” being repurposed in such a manner? Does Kobe watch The Real World? Why hasn’t a rogue editor at Bunim/Murray made the unedited, black-market Real World/The Challenge four-hour nudity mixtape that Bill has been talking about for a decade? How much would you pay for that? Would you think less of me if my answer had four digits?
I may or may not have just gone down a YouTube hole that included our friend Marlon’s music video, his YouTube channel, and a near 90-minute “live” clip of him and Anastasia that was basically Grantland Live but better organized and with better furniture. That being said, I still can’t decide which was harder on the eyes, Bill’s couch, or the friend that Marlon made out with this episode (5 points). Actually, definitely the former.
Jordan (Real World, Jacoby), 10 points: Marlon was not alone in his adventures with the facially less-fortunate. Jordan also dabbled in a bit of dance-floor tongue dangling (5 points) and he and Marlon convinced their new friends to come back to the house with them for a dip in the hot tub. In a brief private moment, the two had this exchange:
Marlon: “We hit the right point.”
Jordan: “The right point where they look good?”
Marlon: “No, they don’t look good ... at all.”
They ended up recruiting Johnny to play bad cop and abruptly ask the ladies to leave. The whole situation was not handled with grace and class — and that fact did not go unnoticed by Anastasia, who confronted Jordan about his treatment of the ladies (5 points). Their argument immediately devolved to the point where Jordan poured Anastasia’s wine cup on the floor, semi-requesting that she die. Anastasia, not to be out-crazied, mentioned the fact that he has a stump for a hand. It was like each of them had decided they were going to be the crazy one in the house and had to keep calling the other’s insanity raise to stick to the narrative. I can’t wait until “Hurricane” Nia arrives and teaches these two a lesson in crazyocity. In the “This season on,” “Hurricane” Nia brandishes a desk lamp as a weapon and later sucker punches a chick in the back of the head.
I love “Hurricane” Nia so much that I haven’t even Googled her yet. I am savoring the mystique.
Kyle, Lisa, Brandi, and Yolanda (Housewives, Various GRTFL Teams), 5 points: The season finale of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was centered around Lisa and Ken Vanderpump’s 30th wedding anniversary party. The Vanderpumps had just moved into a new eight-figure home, they wanted to renew their vows, and they decided to invite all of their friends over to celebrate. What could possibly go wrong? Oh wait, EVERYTHING (5 points). The following is a list of actual events that occurred at this party that must have set the Vanderplumps back at least $100,000 and set back humanity a century:
1. Adrienne announced she was getting divorced ... that morning.
2. Faye Reznick accused Brandi of breaking up Adrienne’s marriage.
3. Marisa and Brandi argued about a text in which Brandi argued her husband and her should each get a “hall pass.”
4. Yolanda’s husband’s ex-wife was in attendance and super awkward.
5. Faye started an argument with Lisa, WHO IS THE HOST. Who goes to someone’s wedding anniversary AT THEIR HOUSE and starts an argument with them?
6. Faye accuses Brandi of coitusing a dude in a child’s room at a previous party.
7. Kyle and Kim started one of their little sister squabbles.
8. Kyle then started a fight with Lisa, WHO IS THE HOST.
9. Oh yeah, Adrienne showed up. SHE SHOWED UP AT THE RENEWAL OF WEDDING VOWS THE DAY SHE ANNOUNCED HER DIVORCE. Right before the renewal ceremony Adrienne strolled up, held a pity party in the middle of the living room, and never bothered to say hello to the host.
10. Brandi made a threesome joke loud enough for all to hear during the vow renewal ceremony.
11. Lisa and Ken’s stupid dog Giggy played a major role in the vow renewal ceremony.
About Giggy, WHAT IS THEIR OBSESSION WITH THIS DOG? Ninety percent of their conversation is about Giggy’s wardrobe and the other 10 percent is about how little sex they have. I was completely perplexed about both of these things until I saw this picture of the young couple 30 years ago:
Notice anything odd about the photo? Like the fact that KEN HASN’T AGED A DAY IN 30 YEARS? He looks exactly the same as he does today, EXACTLY THE SAME. This man is not human. “Ken” is just a vessel, a host for an alien being. The alien being is Giggy. Giggy was sent here to take over the earth and is using the unassuming form of a tiny besweatered dog to keep suspicion at bay. Giggy telepathically controls Ken because it's hard to take over the world when you have to ask permission to poop. This is the only thing that makes sense; it explains why Ken hasn’t aged in years, why Lisa and Ken never have sex, and why they are constantly obsessing over Giggy. Mark my words, we will all be subjects in the Kingdom of Giggy. Giggy is Our Imminent Alien Overlord. Deal with it.
Anastasia (Real World, Simmons), 5 points: There is so much more to cover from this episode of The Real World. I mean, there is a dog named Daisy that is one of the roommates, a chick named Joi who was in Playboy, another chick named Jessica who wore a thong while tanning on the balcony, and Johnny who wore loafers, a ridiculous button-up, and pleated khakis for a night out in Portland.
That is not an excellent outfit, obviously, but this is going to be an excellent The Challenge draft class. Speaking of The Challenge, if 285 pages of Internet speculation and rumor about the next season is your thing, by all means click here. I made it to Page 3 before giving up.
Phillip and Corinne (Survivor, Jacoby and Connor), 5 points: Dear Phillip on Survivor — you don’t make any damn sense. The reward challenge was a chain gang footrace in the water, where two teams started at the opposite end of an oval and the team that caught up to the other won the race. Phillip decided he would be at the front of his group because he is all alpha male–ish and wanted to control the pace. He decided the best strategy for this footrace was “walk.” When asked why he didn’t go with “run” or “jog,” he repeatedly explained, “The girls will get tired.” Then, when he finally caved and attempted to jog he admitted, “I can’t run, I can’t do it.” That just doesn’t make any sense.
Then, after arguing with Corinne (5 points) and losing the immunity challenge, Phillip explained to Cochran that he intentionally lost the challenge so they could vote out Julia. The only problem? THAT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE EITHER. Then, telling Cochran why he intentionally lost the challenge and wanted to vote out Julia, he went with this logic, “When a lion, the male lion with his mane — when he comes across another pride of lions with cubs, and there are no male lions around, he kills the cubs, you know why? Because those are potential rivals.” Oh, I get it, thanks for explaining, now this all makes total sense. (No, it doesn’t.)
Kim (Housewives, Jacoby), 5 points: Kim cried at the aforementioned wedding anniversary between Lisa, Ken, and Giggy Our Imminent Alien Overlord (5 points). I always knew Bravo and Andy Cohen would eventually cause the end of modern society, but I thought it would be a longer con. I never thought The Real Housewives franchise would be the Trojan horse that Giggy Our Imminent Alien Overlord would use to gain our trust and get into our living rooms. Giggy Our Imminent Alien Overlord, my only request is that you allow us enough time to experience Hurricane Nia before we all are enslaved. That isn’t too much to ask, is it?
Check back next Friday because Survivor heads into the merge, The Real Worlders attempt to match their hot start, and I attempt to find another show to add to the GRTFL that won’t make me want to pull my toenails out with pliers. I know one thing, it won’t be this Ke$ha bullshit. Also, while you're around the house doing stuff or driving around, give a listen to Juliet and me on the Reality TV podcast. Or don’t, that’s cool too. Enjoy your weekend.