‘The Real World: St. Thomas’ Recap (Episode 3): “Roommates Become Bedmates”
The Goon Squad attempt to reconcile their mutual attraction with their shared fear of getting hurt. They’re not too concerned with oral injury, though.
We open with a tableau of six of the roommates prancing about with one another. That leaves Brandon, who affectingly laments, “Everyone’s coupled up and I’m kinda kicking it solo. This sucks.” It sure does, buddy. While I can empathize with his frustration about remaining the only cuddle-buddy-less soul in the house, I imagine it must suck more that he happens to live with several individuals who elevate the inherently annoying act of flirting to new heights.
In a conversation early in this week’s program, Trey—still wary of connecting with Laura, except physically, or emotionally or basically in any way that is convenient for him—is describing to her some baby-talk routine he does with his main bros on the phone, and I can feel my brain slowly contracting, as if trying to force out this rancid agent. Luckily, most of the hour this week is dedicated to the other main twosome in the house, whose bond at least stops short of borderline emotional abuse.
While attempting to show off (Brandon: “You’re a redhead, so take six points off anything cool you can do”), Robb busts his lip open while flipping into the pool. He proceeds to bleed all over Marie’s bed sheet and then writes her a note saying he’ll “totes pay for a new one,” which prompts Marie to reflect that she’s never met anyone so kind. I don’t know what kind of twisted life she’s led where this is the paragon of human generosity, but I guess true reality show romance has to start somewhere.
Most of the roommates go out that night leaving behind Trey, who calls his back-home-girl and talks to her as though he’s justifying himself to the camera (he is): “This girl Laura, she comes on to me way more than I come on to her… I try to avoid it.” At the club Laura says she is trying to “take things slow and see how they happen,” which I guess is her way of describing following her crush around like a toddler and nibbling his shoulder every goddamn second.
In a twist, it turns out that Robb also has a girl back home, who tells him on the phone, “I literally have no interest in any other guy touching me and I think I’m broken.” (If the editing isn’t misleading, it appears that he is being considerate of Marie’s feelings and makes this call while she and LaToya are out, busy getting stuck in their kayaks in the harbor and then having to be picked up by Lee the Salty Boat Captain. They better be paying that guy millions.)
Marie says that she has a bit of an “adult crush” on Robb, but “would never hook up with him because he’s so much younger.” (He is no more than two years younger.) Despite her declaration, Marie is a little unnerved when she hears that Robb’s back-home-girl will be coming to visit.
Trey suggests to Marie that he is disappointed in the trip so far, in that instead of bringing girls back home every night from the bar, you know, to impress his “boys” back in Baltimore, he has a beautiful girl in his house who adores him and takes care of him in every needed way. Marie gives him a cathartic tongue-lashing on Laura’s behalf but still: the Trey good will fund is nearly flat-lining at around 11%.
At the club, I am endeared to the Goon Squad some more by merit of their god-awful white people dancing. It seems they’re in fine spirits but they then prove to be at odds, annoyed with each other’s games and mixed signals. In a novelistic turn, a wasted Marie starts bleeding from the mouth on the way home, solidifying her spiritual link with Robb forever. They cannot realize this promised union, however, and instead spend the rest of the night sniping at one another over perceived drunken slights.
The next morning, they make up, sort of. Marie vows to hook up with locals, however, and that night she strains to make a connection with some rando via her speech mannerisms that nobody besides Robb finds amusing.
Meanwhile, as they dance in the middle of the street, Laura assures Trey that “your bed’s gonna be dancing later.” We, the lucky viewers, are privy to the grainy night-cam footage, and it appears to be a minuet. (Trey had expressed earlier that he’s not sure he wants to “go down that road” with Laura by “sending [her] the wrong signals”. Does this count?) In the morning, Laura gives the gals “the deets”: “Well, I tried to be good and then my vagina took over.” “I hate when that happens!” replies Marie.
Robb leaves the club early the next night and goes home alone to call his back-home-girl. She admits that she has had sex with others since he left because she assumed he was doing the same. (“I told you, I’m a revenge fucker.” Classy dame.) Robb wearily says that he’s not mad, and then proceeds to break the phone against his body while she’s still on the line.
Elsewhere in the house, it seems that maybe LaToya needs to get laid. She puts on a seductive show for Swift of eating chicken nuggets—her outsize Southern flirt persona making the extent to which it is a joke unclear– and then later watches with weird intentness as Marie and Robb cuddle. She does spend the night with Swift, but insists “it’s not what you think” because she doesn’t “mix business with pleasure.” (I don’t know what the hell she’s referring to, but it seems sensible enough.) Swift, for his part, emphatically declares, “I don’t smash the homegirls,” about which I’m sure they’re very relieved.
By the end of the episode, Laura is “literally grooming” Trey, pulling whiteheads and hairs out of his back as he looks uncomfortable and Brandon looks on, speechless. More and more, I’d like to reach into the TV and pull Brandon back with me into the living room to pound beers and watch this drivel unfold in 44-minute chunks of life. Paradise notwithstanding, I imagine The Real World proves less tolerable when it is, in fact, the real world.
Image courtesy mtv.com
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