‘The Real World: St. Thomas’ Recap (Episode 4): “To Pee Or Not To Pee”
A prank inadvertently destroys one couple, and we learn some homespun remedies for foot injury.
“To Pee Or Not To Pee,” despite the fun its scatological title implies, is an episode entirely about the fallout from a prank played by one of the girls on two of the guys in the house. The thing about practical jokes is that they have to have a solid context of human connection in order to be funny and not simply mean-spirited. It’s difficult to tell if the Real World roommates have, by this point, reached that prerequisite level of understanding, or if they reveal their true discomfort by constantly overreaching in their drunken tomfoolery. Two of them will, by the end of this hour, no longer be on speaking terms, and it’s hard to understand what the substance of their quarrel is, even after watching every detail unfold in high definition.
We begin with some foreshadowing, as LaToya and Swift playfully wrestle after Toya, annoyed with Swift’s vanity, throws his hairbrush into a bush. Later, Laura picks up an iguana who seems to be trying to avoid these half-naked drunks, trying to get back to its eggs or whatever, and proceeds to shove flowers into its mouth. (PETA, get them.)
The kids have a fun, tranquil night at the club for once. (Brandon: “I promise not to fight anyone. There is a halo above my head.”) Trey lays out the stakes: “There’s basically three couples in the house but one is in denial. Swift and LaToya get very flirty. They have their own connection and neither of them want to ‘fess up to it at this point.”
The next morning, LaToya and Marie get up early and find a huge dead fish washed up on shore and wonder what to do with it. Marie (“Lightbulb!”) decides to put it in one of the boys’ rooms as further payback for the first-night peanut butter thing. First they Google “fish diseases” and LaToya, worried that she’ll give herself and others “bottleism,” backs down from the scheme. But Marie persists in her mission to bring a putrid carcass into her own home. She lugs it back to the house in a bucket, retching the whole way. Fun!
Robb and Swift get up shortly and at first are not too put off, agreeing to just ignore dealing with it until more fully awake, which is how I should treat these Real World recaps. Recalling Laura’s affinity for the local fauna, Marie attempts to frame the innocent, sweet, dumb redhead for the prank, while the boys go into the confessional and vow some extensive retaliatory plans that we know they’ll never have the commitment to carry out (I really like the glitchy crunk beat that plays during the scene of Robb and Swift, chip bag clips over their noses, trying to haul the fish out of the tub).
The boys and girls end up tussling over the fish as though it’s some golden prank commodity, and while trying to retrieve it from the dock where Marie dumps it out, Swift jumps into a bed of sea urchins. LaToya, thinking the game’s still afoot, starts batting around his feet with an oar and makes everything worse. They start yelling at each other; LaToya storms off and Robb has to carry Swift back to the house over his shoulders. A resourceful Marie suggests rum as a quickie pain treatment, and they proceed to get blotto in the gazebo. It cannot be later than noon.
While Swift tries to uncover the identity of the prankster, attempting to choose between a duplicitous Marie and a clueless Laura, the blame somehow floats over to the mostly uninvolved LaToya, who on the phone with her mother fumes about Swift: “You know he’s out there with his big mouth, typical loud black man, trying to be heard.”
Somehow, finding the medicinal properties of cocktails insufficient, the others retrieve Lee the Salty Boat Captain, who suggests that somebody pee on Swift’s foot to “bring some heat” and expel the urchin spines. (He might just be screwing with them, or at least I hope he is.) Swift isn’t down with that scenario, so they have to go to the doctor. Marie: “It’s all fun and games ‘til someone gets hurt, then it’s even funnier.”
Robb offers to carry Swift inside so he can look up his insurance info (he didn’t bring his card with him, of course, because what could happen while you’re getting drunk and screwing around on an island for three straight months?) but Swift admits that he “felt a little bit of a bitch” before, so he’ll suffer it and walk it out. Now seriously drunk, Swift berates LaToya as she accompanies them on the boat to the hospital, essentially asserting that she injured him most grievously by not immediately owning up to her mistake. “I’m a law major,” he says, “and the evidence ain’t gonna lie.” Sure, buddy.
Their doctor looks like Screech had a kid with Elliot Gould. Swift says he’ll give him “the shorter version” and then provides a meandering description of a bunch of things that have no meaning to people who haven’t just watched the first half of this episode. “He fell on a bunch of sea urchins,” offers Robb, succinctly. The doctor wearily informs them that the spines aren’t poisonous and that you can basically just walk it off. Swift should just thank him and leave at this point, but he continues—speech slurring nearly to gibberish—to talk some nonsense about his marvel at even having the experience of being harmed by sea urchins: “I respect it. That animal, plant, whatever it is.” Dr. Poodlehair suggests that he let his friends help him, and reminds him not to take the pain pills while drinking (so he might as well just throw them away). At the counter, Swift attempts to negotiate the task of handling the co-pay for the visit even though he didn’t bring his wallet. When Robb and Marie lightly try to assist he refuses: “Can I say something? I actually study this. Let me handle my business.” He then starts rambling, using obscure legal terms like “subrogation” that have nothing to do with anything. He leaves thinking that he has charmed the receptionists into accepting his IOU; I am 110% certain that they simply want him to get the fuck out of their nice office.
Back on Real World island, LaToya and Swift’s attempt at reconciliation immediately escalates to another meaningless shouting match; they stomp off in opposite directions, each claiming the other too “prideful” to concede his or her mistake. I’m too prideful to analyze it any further. Meanwhile, Marie continues to avoid taking responsibility for the fish-cident. She convinces Brandon that he did it while blackout drunk the previous night. Brandon, happy to be included, quickly agrees: “It wouldn’t surprise me. I really hope it was me!” As Mark Ruffalo says in The Brothers Bloom, in the perfect con everybody gets what he wants, so well done, Marie. Perhaps you’ve got the temperature of this place on lock to a greater degree than I give you credit for.
Image courtesy mtv.com
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