The Real World XXIII: Washington, D.C. premiered last Wednesday. Yes, you read that correctly — we are in season 23 of The Real World. Initially starting out as a social experiment that respectfully explored topics such as religion, racism and homosexuality, The Real World over the past decade has pretty much devolved into Eight Strangers, A Lot of Booze And A Hot Tub. It is too early to tell how this season will shape up, but let’s meet the cast.
First, the queers!
Emily is 20, has a sexy voice and is from Missouri. She grew up in a conservative Christian cult for the first 13 years of her life and, in her introductory monologue, she states that since leaving the cult, she has been making up for lost time. Cut to scenes of her dancing in a club, getting a tattoo, climbing a rock and shooting a gun.
Later, we learn that she is bisexual. The cast barely blinks when they find out she is bisexual. After being asked whether she is attracted to any of the women in the house, she responds that none of them are her type. She mentions that her ex is a short-haired athlete. Basically, she likes ’em butch. She also has a blog, where she gets all philosophical and emo. We’ll be paying close attention to her.
Next we have Mike, who is 22 and from Colorado. He works at a rental car company. We also learn that he is bisexual. The cast reacts to his bisexuality by dropping their jaws onto the table during the cast’s first meal together. Double standard, much?
Ashley is 22. She is from California. She loves Barack Obama. No, she really loves Barack Obama. She has Obama mints, T-shirts, and bumper stickers. She also has a passport, which she has never used, although she says that having it brings her much comfort. Yeah, we don’t get it either.
When she enters the house, she checks out all of the rooms, sees the room with the Ronald Reagan portrait, crinkles up her nose and leaves. She doesn’t like Republicans. Did we say that she loves Obama?
Andrew is 21 and from Colorado. He is the reason why Michael Cera films are in existence. They create a fantasy world where bumbling, socially awkward geeks end up becoming irresistible to women. Sadly, The Real World is only a semi-fictional world, so I don’t think Andrew will be getting laid.
Andrew wears a stuffed panda on his head and he draws cartoons. We find out that he was fired from his student newspaper because the editors thought that he was “purposely trying to offend women and lesbians and stuff like that.” We are 99.999% sure that he is a virgin.
Callie is a blonde 21-year-old from a small town in Texas. She is vegan but not a liberal. She settles into the Ronald Reagan room in the house. Ashley disapproves, saying “left is right” with a wink.
Ty is 22 and is from a “not so glamorous” part of Baltimore. In his video, he shows us a crackhouse. His friend who is filming his video corrects him and says that it isn’t a crackhouse — it is a former crackhouse. We find out that he was abandoned by his mother and was adopted when he was five. His girlfriend dumped him right before the show because she didn’t want him living with other girls.
Ashley sees Ty walking up to the house and is excited that “the hot black guy” had finally arrived. (The cast is so aware of the “put straights, gays and ethnics in a house and see what happens” Real World formula that they don’t even pretend to play along.)
Erika is from Chicago, and she has a vaguely trendy haircut. She is an aspiring singer songwriter and she is attracted to rocker guys. As she walks up to the house, Andrew screams out that she must be the lesbian. Erika is not a lesbian. She likes boys in bands. Poor Andrew — he clearly hasn’t mastered the “lesbian or hipster” game.
Next, we meet Josh from Philadelphia, who is a rocker guy. He used to do bad stuff like run with gangs, but he doesn’t do that bad stuff anymore.
What is The Real World without conflict? In their first meal together at a huge table, the cast breaks the following cardinal rule: “Don’t talk about politics and religion at your first meal together at a huge table.” Ty and Mike get into a heated argument about the existence of God. Ty is an athiest and Mike is a Christian. Lots of yelling takes place. At the end of all the yelling, Ty is still an athiest, and Mike is still a Christian. Ashley is also a believer, and she gets mad at Ty. In fact, by the end of the episode, she doesn’t want to be friends with Ty anymore.
Josh is in the confessional and admits that he has a crush on Erika. Erika, however, is snooping and hears every word he says and runs off giggling.
Later, she states that Josh’s amorous admission makes her uncomfortable, and she and Callie kick Ty out of his shared room with Callie, and Erika moves in with Callie.
Callie states that she is more comfortable rooming with a girl, but we find out in the aftershow that Callie and Ty had hooked up, which was deleted from the episode. Basically, Ty was mean to Callie, then made out with her, then was mean to her again. We think that this had more to do with Ty being voted out of the Ronald Reagan island than anything.
Also in this episode, Andrew tries to get Emily to crawl into bed with him and his stuffed polar bear. He fails.
One thing of note: The obligatory scene where everyone piles into the hot tub and makes out is absent, which has never happened in the history of MTV reality shows. OK, perhaps the hot tub orgy scenes have become an MTV standard only in the last few years, but we salute MTV for deleting the scene where Ty and Callie make out in the hot tub. After all, we get enough spit-swapping and thong-bearing hot tub scenes on Thursday nights in Jersey Shore.
Previews of the season show Emily hooking up with Ty and Ty getting all angry and calling her a bitch. Ty looks like he will no longer be the “hot black dude” but will be typecast into the “angry black dude.” Yawn. Ashley makes out with Mike and she is weirded out that she “made out with a gay guy.”
Also, Andrew gets injured and is put on a stretcher and warns the paramedics that he is not wearing underwear.
Check back every week for a recap of The Real World: Washington, D.C..