Josh Wolk
March 30, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

The gang discovers ”symbolism” — how, um, symbolic

Okay, fess up: who taught the ”Real World” housemates the word ”symbolism”? They spent the entire March 23 episode using their new favorite term to describe how the snake and the mouse were like Frankie and Robin. They used it like an 8-year-old would use a new bike. Through sheer repetition, they got me believing Frankie and Robin were a snake and mouse, but had they repeated that Frankie was like a sweatband and Robin was like a pack of Bubble Yum this many times, I would have been indoctrinated into repeating that, too.

But let’s explain how snakes and mice entered into the lexicon. Frankie bought a burmese python. Why? Because she’s punk, baby! And she’ll hug it and squeeze and teach it to smoke and forget to feed it and grow tired of it in three days and it’ll be awesome! The snake will grow to huge proportions, which doesn’t frighten her at all. However, if the snake ever gets rich and buys a big boat, now THAT will scare the crap out of her.

It came with a live feeder mouse which Frankie carefully stored by crumpling it up in a paper bag and stuffing into a Hello Kitty box. I was waiting for her to then put the snake to bed by tying it in a square knot around her bedpost.

When the mouse was later dropped into the snake’s box, the snake didn’t eat it. In fact, the mouse just nudged the snake’s head and they seemed to become close friends. Here’s my theory: After a day of listening to the housemates, the snake said to its meal, ”Look, I spent the whole day listening to that big dude with the bushy eyebrows talk about how his favorite fruit is soup. I know I’m above you on the food chain, but I’m willing to skip dinner just for some intelligent conversation. So what do you want to talk about?”

Robin ”rescued” the mouse, and Frankie said it was just a call for attention. Frankie, however, enjoys nothing more than to give Robin little digs. When discussing the types of girls who go for one-night-stand types, Frankie singled out party girls who spit fire on a bar, like Robin. When Robin got defensive, Frankie just rolled her eyes and said, ”I’m not saying you’re like that!” and later complained that Robin makes everything about her. Wait, didn’t Frankie say, ”?like you” when describing this phylum of party girl? How is that not a personal attack? Granted, Robin DOES make everything about her, but I think you gotta give her a pass when the word ”you” is in the sentence.

Throughout the entire episode, the roommates talked endlessly about how those two women didn’t like each other. Jacquese, the subtle instigator, kept repeating that this was all gonna blow up soon, and soon it would get physical. The way this got endlessly repeated (with around a 1:1 ratio to the frequency of the snake/mouse comment), I expected it to end with a brawl, and then? nothing. The show was just over, the longest windup to a conclusion that never arrived. It was as if ”Rocky” ended just before the big fight? and Rocky had spent the whole movie whining about how much he didn’t like Apollo Creed, rather than training.

Meanwhile, Brad was going through his own battles with his parents, who alerted him via email that they wanted him to move out of the house. His father wants him to get a real job, but he got angry, saying his dad is just all about money. Which is convenient, because living at home with no job, Brad is technically all about his father’s money, too. Who else is going to subsidize his dream of sitting at home waxing his handlebars? (And then he’ll go work on his motorcycle. Ba dum bum!)

What exactly was the existential plight here? Brad kept referring to some grand life dream he has, but the dream itself was never mentioned. Was this because he hadn’t quite figured out his dream beyond seeing all the great drunk tanks of the Midwest? Or was it some kind of dream that MTV doesn’t feel comfortable airing? Does Brad want to work for Much Music? We’ll never know, but I’ll say this: his dream can’t be to be either a snake or a mouse, because those positions are taken.

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