Himbos and Bimbos and Aussies, Oh My!
By now, you know what to expect from the granddaddy of reality series, MTV’s THE REAL WORLD. And so far, the 19th season, which is set in Sydney, Australia, and kicked off last week, has delivered in spades. There’s the inevitable culture clash, this time around courtesy of 21-year-old Iranian Muslim Parisa, who comes off as something of a school marm when compared to such housemates as KellyAnne, a 20-year-old Texan whose audition tape features her warning, “When I want something, I’ll do it. It doesn’t matter what it is, and I don’t think about the consequences.” These two girls are the human equivalent of a bird and a worm… we know someone’s gonna get eaten. And things only get more complicated thanks to hunka-hunka-burnin’ himbo Dunbar, a 22-year-old Mississippi native who has both a girlfriend and a healthy ego. “Throughout my life a lot of people have been attracted to me,” he admits. And sure enough, the first episode finds a bikini-clad KellyAnne playing trampy temptress in the hottub while Parisa tries convincing us that she’s only upset because he has a girlfriend.
Not to be outdone, there’s bad boy Isaac, a 21-year-old who apparently spent “a lot of time” on probation for robbing 15 houses and shooting fireworks through someone’s window. He’s thuggishly handsome and, of course, winds up making out in the confessional with Shauvon, the 24-year-old California girl who wants to prove she’s not a bimbo. Um, this might not be the best way to do it, hon. (Although, to her credit, the smooches occur in a corner where the camera can’t see… not that the slurps picked up by the microphone leave any doubt as to what’s going on.)
Reduced to secondary characters in the premiere episode are 19-year-old Trisha — who wears a promise ring her parents gave her which was supposed to function as a “no-sex-until-marriage” guarantee, although her beau Jarod is quick to say, “We haven’t really been going by that.” — and the oddly named (even for this show) Cohutta, a 23-year-old Georgia native with a thick accent and seemingly sweet disposition.
The folks at MTV have been doing this for a long, long time, and they know exactly what they’re doing. By the end of the first episode, they’ve given us charcters to both root for and hiss at. Unlike BIG BROTHER — which in its 8th season seems to have forgotten that without likeable personas, we are left without a person to relate to — THE REAL WORLD continues to craft well-edited storylines. And have no doubt, there is definite manipulation going on here. For example, at one point, Dunbar says, “I haven’t met one person in Australia who’s worth leaving my girlfriend for,” and while the editing would have you believe he says this to KellyAnne (cuing viewers to utter a collective “ouch!”), anyone familiar with “reality” TV editing knows that odds are this soundbite actually came from a private session in the confessional.
Yes, we know that very little is actually “real” where this particular WORLD is concerned. But that doesn’t make it any less addictive.
KellyAnne and Parisa are soon at each other’s throats, with the former coming off as a foul-mouthed tramp and the latter a tight-laced school marm. As Dunbar so succintly sums up, “All the drama in this house is going to be centered around vaginal insecurity.” Parisa is soon disillusioned. “As much as I want to think of Dunbar as this, like, prince charming, I am so turned off by the way he acts around KellyAnne.” I haven’t met one person in Australia who’s worth leaving my girlfriend for.” Cut to KellyAnne and the audience going “Ouch!” Shauvon and Isaac head to the confessional where they kiss off camera… not that either is shy about talking about it later. And God love Shauvon, she actually tries to heal the rift between Parisa and KellyAnne and the two bickering bitches wind up sharing a hug as we fade out on the first episode!