Brian Hiatt
October 06, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

”The Real World”: Karma and Bon Jovi

The fifth episode of The Real World: Philadelphia was a real shocker, as aging rock star Jon Bon Jovi suddenly moved into the house, driving the roommates crazy with operatic vocal warm-ups, constant demands for hairstyling products, and tearful phone calls to someone named Richie Sambora.

All right, none of that happened — but we can dream. Actually, the dude who screeched ”Bad Medicine” made only a brief appearance on Tuesday’s episode, in his role as co-owner of the local arena football team, the Philadelphia Soul, this season’s unlucky employer of the roommates. The rest of the episode was devoted to the much less amusing fallout from last week’s apparently racist incident. (A bunch of cops hassled Karamo in a bar after supposedly receiving an anonymous tip that he had a gun — remember?)

The episode kicked off the morning after the confrontation, with a naive M.J. — who had accused Karamo of overreacting — continuing to deny that his roommate’s race could have been a factor: ”Any one of us could have been accused of carrying a gun in a nightclub,” M.J. said. When Karamo explained this attitude to a hometown friend in a phone call, his pal displayed eerie prescience (or at least familiarity with The Real World‘s editing techniques): ”Karma is going to come right back around. They’re gonna feel what you’re feeling.”

We cut right to M.J. and Landon strolling down a Philly street at night, as some guys in a passing car shouted an indecipherable curse at the pair, tossing a beer can at them. Moments later, a fellow pedestrian offered a friendly greeting: ”You f—ing suck!” When they reached their destination (a bar, of course), a fellow patron actually threw a barstool at M.J. — an event that would have been a lot more dramatic if had actually been, you know, captured on camera, instead of narrated after the fact.

”Some of the people here in Philadelphia aren’t showing us brotherly love,” said M.J. (whose preoccupation with said form of love is becoming one of this season’s themes). And a doe-eyed, almost tearful Landon sounded like a massively overgrown third grader as he moaned, ”They just say things ‘cuz they think they’re being funny, and really they’re just being really mean.” Awww!

Back at the house, Landon whined some more as Sarah climbed all over him — perhaps she feared that a whole episode might pass without a slutty moment. While Sarah was sympathetic to M.J. and Landon’s plight, Karamo was less so. ”Some people would say karma’s a bitch,” he mumbled. Meanwhile, M.J. rather outrageously suggested that Karamo could learn from his example: ”I was physically assaulted, but I didn’t blow up, didn’t make a big scene. You just have to learn how to get over stuff. ”

The next morning (or hell, five months later — who can ever tell?), the whole house got way too thrilled when they found out they would spend the season working for the Philadelphia Soul. Goofball Landon again regressed to third grade, actually leaping up and down in schoolboy glee at the news. Melanie was the one exception to the hysteria: ”I’m excited,” she said in a Daria-worthy deadpan. Meanwhile, M.J. — who appears to comb, tease, shampoo, and condition each of his dyed curls individually — had the nerve to mock team owner Bon Jovi’s ”feathered bangs.”

After visiting Wachovia Arena and receiving the apparently disappointing news that they’d be helping with the team’s community-service efforts, the roommates endured a discomfiting ride home, courtesy of a hostile Karamo. In a nasty moment, he got ”lost” on some of Philadelphia’s roughest streets, taking obvious pleasure in his roomies’ near terror at the sight of the ghetto. ”I’m gonna stop and ask for directions,” he threatened, as a pale Sarah wilted in fear. At least he didn’t make them all get out and walk.

Subsequently, Shavonda revealed that a bitter Karamo had said that he hopes M.J. ”gets hit with four more chairs,” and the whole house instantly turned against him. ”Talk to M.J.,” they chanted — a command Karamo failed to heed. M.J. then got in his face, asking for a handshake or, as he put it, a ”dap.” (I had to look it up: ”the knocking of fists together as a greeting, or form of respect,” according to Despite this deft use of slang, Karamo declined.

Next came an anticlimactic conference-room meeting with a wary, tired-looking Jon Bon Jovi, making what may have been his first MTV appearance in a decade. He merely spoke about how he expects the roommates to build a city playground, but he still won over the easily impressed M.J. and Landon. Said Landon, ”Bon Jovi walks in and something tightens up inside of me.” Yuck! Added M.J., ”I couldn’t remember any of the names of the songs or the names of the lyrics, but those feathered bangs looked good and those jeans were tight as hell.” Brotherly love, dude.

Later, M.J. displayed more over-the-top enthusiasm, this time about the task of throwing out T-shirts to the crowd during a Soul game — somehow mistaking this activity for the pro-football career he had unsuccessfully pursued. ”I feel like I’m back in it again,” he said, pathetically. And maybe it’s no coincidence that after that sad moment, a mellowed-out Karamo decided to patch things up with M.J. ”I don’t want to come across as the angry, aggressive black guy,” he mused.

Karamo told M.J. he wanted to start over, and they embraced, with M.J. even getting his long-desired ”dap.” ”If someone throws a chair at your ass, I’m coming for their ass,” Karamo said, moving the purportedly homophobic M.J. to reply, ”I love you.” Um, M.J., bro, do you have something you want to tell us? Maybe next week.

What did you think? Will M.J. and Karamo get closer? Will Sarah get jealous? Will Melanie ever do anything?

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