A one-night stand and a nasty girl fight
Remember Goofus and Gallant from Highlights magazine, the cartoon which illustrated the right way to do things (Gallant’s approach) and the wrong (Goofus’)? Well, the March 12 ”Real World” episode spotlighting Cara and Aneesa was like watching Goofus and Goofus. They both handled major issues (relating to their parents and to romantic relationships) differently… and both tactics were completely unhealthy in wholly divergent ways.
Let’s start with their parental issues. Cara preferred to treat her doctor dad with unquestioning dedication, even in the face of downright weirdness. Cara’s parents are not divorced, but her father has twice moved away from the family to a different state for a new job, and the second time came after the family relocated to be with him. Cara doesn’t seem to think this is in any way weird. In her mind, her pop was just a victim of the itinerant nature of endocrinology, going where the cases are; the Tom Joad of hormone anomalies, if you will.
However, not everything slips by Cara: She did voice a suspicion that maybe – just maybe – her father was somehow tied to her need to always have a boyfriend. Let’s see… someone whose father is constantly running from her family ends up constantly clinging to men. What a stumper! Poor blind Cara. I’m guessing that when she takes a Rorschach test, she sees happy bunnies in every ink blot. (That said, I suspect that when Cara watched this episode and saw Theo teach her dad that he was a ”baller,” she may have experienced quite the sudden breakthrough.)
Aneesa takes an entirely different tack with her mom: all squabbling all the time. One can’t really put the blame on her; her mother is usually the catalyst for every argument, judging all of Aneesa’s moves in a raspy voice. (Did Aneesa’s mom inherit Selma Diamond’s voice in an organ transplant?) Aneesa should realize that her mother is always going to be unpleasant and intolerant, and either stop calling or just not share her troubles. But in the same way that nothing makes her happier than having Veronica make her miserable, she gravitates to the phone when she’s upset so her mother can make her feel worse.
And then there are Cara and Aneesa’s Goofus schools of relationships. Cara has had a string of steady boyfriends since she was 13. Even though she was attempting to live the single life, she still kept slipping back into cling mode. It began independently enough with a hook-up with Kyle’s visiting college friend Djordje (what’s up with that spelling? Were his parents freaks for phonetics?), all set to the tune of ”Real World: New Orleans”’s David modern classic, ”Come on Be My Baby Tonight,” an inspired choice.
Unlike her previous face-suckings, this liaison went all the way, and the way it was handled spotlighted an insidious ”Real World” trend: Every season MTV creeps closer and closer to actually showing sex. It used to be they’d cut out after a hot tub session, then it moved to shooting people getting under the covers, and in this episode it went all the way to Djordje tearing open his condom (or ”kahnduhm” as he’d spell it). One day in the not too distant future you’ll see hardcore porn on ”MTV Cribs” and you won’t even blink.
Djordje fled before morning, and Cara moped. Even though she stressed numerous times that it was a one-night stand, she couldn’t grasp why he just left. Pop quiz, Cara: Which is the key word in the phrase ”one-night stand”? A hint: it is neither ”night” nor ”stand.”
Finally, after being prodded by Kyle, a sheepish Djordje called her, understandably confused as to why he needed to check in with somebody who herself declared it an isolated incident. No doubt he was even more confused when she proudly declared that he was her first one-nighter, and then went on to tell him that he always had a ”sister, a friend, and someone who likes you” in Chicago, and he should always come visit… which all sounds like ”Dear God, please be my boyfriend!” to me. That sound you just heard was Djordje starting up the car and driving to Guam (er, Gwawym).
Aneesa, on the other hand, also believes in keeping a mate around by clutching on to them, but while Cara’s mating call is a needy coo, Aneesa’s is the screamed word ”bitch!” Veronica was back, and even though Aneesa’s roomies advised her against it, she gave li’l Gummo a second chance. Perhaps she was wooed by the deranged look in Veronica’s eye and her oversized baseball cap, the combination of which made her look like that friendless kid on a fifth-grade field trip to the zoo who ends up being sent back to the bus after throwing rocks at the monkeys.
Veronica ended the episode by picking a fight with a car full of women. Her preferred mode of brawling was mooning, flashing, and then dodging around the ensuing battle with a crazy grin on her face. I think she’s been taking fight lessons from the ”Howard Stern Show”’s Beetlejuice.
Aneesa finally broke up with Veronica and gave her a farewell ”Bitch!” And so Cara and Aneesa both finished the episode alone but feeling strong: Cara for finding a loophole in the ”single and easy” lifestyle choice (rationalizing that Djordje may someday come back and they’d be boyfriend and girlfriend); and Aneesa for getting rid of Veronica, even though she got rid of her last episode, too, and still looked like she wasn’t convinced Veronics was demon-spawn. Goofus 2, Gallant zero.