“The Real World: Ex-Plosion” recap (29.1): Excess Baggage


Then up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco, where we meet Ashley, originally from West Virginia. She describes herself as being “silly, a goofball and a weirdo.” As she and her bikini clad friends, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsless are floating around San Francisco Bay in a yacht, she receives a phone call telling her that she has been cast in The Real World. She and her trouser and skirt-challenged friends start screaming uncontrollably, because that’s what happens when the camera is on you and you’ve gone though an obscene amount of champagne.

One by one, the cast members are notified that they have a day to pack and move into the Real World House in San Francisco. In the rush, someone drops her electric toothbrush on the floor and abandons it. One step forward to reality show notoriety; two steps back for oral hygiene.

Jamie is first to arrive, and upon arrival, the camera pans to all of the amenities of the house, including the hot tub, which, over the years, has become the main Real World plot device.


After Jenny, Arielle is the third to arrive. She makes a good impression on Jamie who says, “Arielle is beautiful. She has positive vibes going for her.” Arielle immediately jumps on a table and waves her arms around to shower the house with her glittery positive vibes.


Ashley arrives next in a blue spandex dress that leaves almost nothing to the imagination. Jamie wonders whether she will be a sweetheart or the tramp of the house.

Arielle comes out to the rest of the girls, telling them that she and her ex-girlfriend have just broken up. Jenny and Jamie say they are in the same position as she is, except with guys, but Ashley still has a personal trainer boyfriend, or so she says.

Then the male cast members arrive. Upon arrival, the guys all run into the confession to dish about the girls. Meanwhile, the girls decide they are not going to tell the guys Arielle is a lesbian. Arielle is on board with the plan.

Jenny tells the rest of the girls that she wants to do so many things, including traveling the world and “adopting an Ethiopian child.”

“Who are these people?” says Arielle to us, shaking her head.

Then Jay tells us that, coming from an all Italian neighborhood, he’s never been up close and personal with a black girl to be able to touch her hair. Excuse me. He said what?


Oh honey, that is not OK. I think that if you’re a person of color, you get to reciprocate by pawing the hair-molester’s face and ask why he hasn’t melted from all that sunlight. But Arielle is a good sport and puts up with Jay’s hair grabbery.

Then it’s time for the club! Everyone drinks shots, and within minutes, Ashley’s dress malfunctions. The curtains come up, and we see a full moon. Then someone named Francis who isn’t her personal trainer boo, but she seems to be involved with anyway rolls into the club, and she and mystery man start making out. Just par for the course in The Real World!

Thomas tried to put the moves on Arielle, but Arielle decides that the girl pact is over and she tells him that she likes women. “Well I feel like an idiot right now,” says Thomas.

After a long night of barely standing upright, the cast returns to the house, and the next stop is, unsurprisingly, the hot tub. Cory leaps into it in his birthday suit. No one is amused, so no one joins in. Poor Cory. Poor hot tub.

Jamie is not amused that Ashley is two timing her main boo, so she confronts her, pointing out that Francis is not her boyfriend. Ashley pretends she doesn’t know what Jamie is talking about, and she tells us that she “wants to mash [Jamie]’s face.” Ashley cannot let it go. “That bitch cannot be in my city and be talking about me!” she yells, wobbling around like a drunken Gumby toy. Then she falls into her not-boo’s arms, sobbing. Ashley then tells the house that she is better than Jamie because her family could buy Jamie’s family. Cory is not amused.

“Your family can probably buy my family. But that doesn’t make you better than me,” says Cory.

“Yes it does,” says Ashley, without a trace of irony.

Cory snorts and after a few pointed words, walks a away. But Ashley is on a roll. It is the first episode, and she is already threatening to leave. “See what the house does without Ashley here!” she yells.

“What, is she famous?” asks Cory, trying to keep a straight face.

Then Ashley runs into the street wearing nothing but her underwear, because you can stumble around in public barefoot and droopy eyed with neon undies and everyone will recognize you as the princess of San Francisco and not some random drunk transplant from Appalachia. As the rest of the house shakes their collective heads, Ashley is last seen shouting at the camera with her West Virginia twang, “Get the fuck out of my city!”

The next morning Ashley is apologetic, so she tries to sweep things under the rug by twerking with her skirt up, bringing back the full moon. Then she lies on the ground, legs up in the air, allowing us to take a gander at a full goose. No one falls for her unorthodox conflict resolution methods and everyone ignores her.

Meanwhile, we find out why Jamie bristled at Ashley’s two-timing. Her rocker ex boyfriend, who she toured with for three years, had been cheating on her the entire time, and she has no patience for cheaters. She says that she is ready to move on, because the sooner one moves on, the sooner one can find love.

Arielle then tries to play matchmaker/instigator and suggests to Jamie that she and Thomas would be a cute couple.


After Jenny hangs up on her ex boyfriend crying, Jamie decides to play matchmaker/instigator as well and plants the seed in Jenny’s head that Cory could be a prospect. Then she sidles over to Cory and suggests that he and Jenny should get together. Cory is hesitant because it is evident that Jenny and her ex are still emotionally involved.

And then it’s time for the club again! Because it is the Real World and going to clubs every night is mandatory! At the club Ashley apologizes for her behavior the night before, and it is all hugs in the house again. And then it is more than hugs, when, inexplicably, Cory and Ashley start getting cozy in the living room. The rest of the house looks on in disbelief.

Then Thomas asks Jamie to scratch her back, and they go back to Jamie’s bed. He asks her to cuddle, and she happily agrees. Well as you know, spooning leads to forking–eventually.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, the roommates are making burgers. Drunk Ashley grabs the frying pan and tosses the burgers and grease into the air, hitting Arielle in the face. Realizing that Ashley is a hot drunk mess, Arielle decides to hold in her anger and talk to Ashley in the morning when she is sober. Cory sees that Ashley is beyond three sheets to the wind and about as stable as a house of cards in a hurricane, and her decides that nothing will happen between them.

Jay tells us, “I just want to grab Ashley by the thong and hang her from a ceiling fan.”

Jenny and Cory decide to run into the confessional wearing bear hats. As Ashley blubbers and snorts unintelligibly to her grandfather over the phone, Jenny and Cory start making out.

“Everyone in this house is insignificant,” declares Ashley, to no one.


Then Jenny and Cory come out of the confessional, and we learn that they have checked off one of the things one must do before he or she dies: have sex in a bear suit.

And we thought this season of the Real World wouldn’t be educational–furries and plushies, this is your time to shine. We are learning that you are just like everyone else and need love too.

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