Josh Wolk
February 02, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

”The Real World”: What happened in Fiji comes home

Back before I got married, when I was dating, I hated head games. Soul-sapping, obsessive head games. But from an entirely dispassionate perspective, I can at least appreciate the creativity of a complicated mindf—. The kind where a woman or man seems to have taken the time to map out the most precise way to make you lie awake at night alternating between detesting your partner and trying desperately to think of ways to be a better person to win her/him back. This is Head Game Chess. Shavonda, on the other hand, plays Head Game Hungry Hungry Hippos.

You don’t get the sense that Shavonda put any thought into the way she tore Shaun’s heart out and threw it against the Liberty Bell to see if it would stick. True head gamers are aware of what they are doing; they get a smug satisfaction out of making their victims squirm. But Shavonda didn’t seem to actually notice what was wrong with what she was doing. When she excitedly called Shaun upon returning home from Fiji and said, ”It was awesome!” she honestly didn’t realize just how awful that rave would seem after she confessed that what made it so awesome was that she boinked Landon. Oh, my God, it was a blast! The sun, the sea, the cheating on you — it was all a deeeeeelight!

I can’t dissect everything she said this episode, because my computer would reject it as lies and then crash to spite me. But here were the highlights:

· She told Shaun, ”I don’t know if you’re who I should be talking about this to, because it involves you,” and made him sensitively beg her to say what was bothering her, only to be told she cheated on him. Because you don’t want to dole out punishing truths like that without making him work for it! Next time, why not make him get on his knees and plead with you to tell him he’s bad in bed? Or give him the silent treatment for three weeks until finally revealing that he only has a month to live?

· She complained that he wasn’t ”getting” that she was about to make a lifelong commitment to him, which was why she was scared and screwing around. ”If you can’t understand that, I’m sorry. That means, unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.” Let’s parse that logic: Our impending engagement made me sleep with someone else, and if you don’t like me leaving you for him, we have to break up. This is the same unwinnable logic as ”heads I win, tails you lose.” ”Tail” is especially apropos.

· She later wondered if her fling wasn’t ”God saying you need to play the field for a while.” I shudder to think that God is even remotely concerned with the romantic behavior of reality TV stars. If so, I fear heaven will be crawling with former Temptation Island cast members. In which case I should start sinning, because they may poke at my scrotum with hot pokers in hell, but at least I won’t have to worry about running into anyone from Love Cruise there.

· And then came Shavonda’s final ramble about how if she hooks up with somebody (Landon), she’d better not see him hitting on someone else later. Why? Because she wants to protect herself from getting hurt. The sheer explosive energy behind this hypocrisy could power a Humvee. I suppose Landon deserves what he gets from getting involved with her, considering how many danger signs he’s ignored. His is a Raiders of the Lost Ark kind of quest: If he keeps after her, eventually she’s going to melt his face off.

This all built to what was intended to be a romantic finale and was actually about as romantic as watching a dog hump a stuffed animal. While drunk at a bar, Shavonda flirted with a crowd of men, because, as she explained, at the beginning of any relationship, you have to test it. This from the woman who just minutes before declared that she didn’t play games. I guess this didn’t qualify, because in a game, someone wins. And believe me, nobody was winning here, least of all the viewers.

Meanwhile, Landon gyrated and made out with some other woman. And somehow all of this made him and Shavonda realize they belonged together. Isn’t that just like true love? Sometimes you have to dry-hump a stranger to realize that what you want has been right under your crotch all along. The two retired home where they flirted and talked about who liked who and oh my god shut up I do not like you! Yeesh. At least when third graders flirt, they’re not drunk.

And off they pranced to the shower, where they happily splashed, and if you listened hard enough out your window, you could hear Shaun moan. And for that triumphant, we’re-all-not-so-different-after-all moment, Karamo and his new boyfriend, Ed, came in and heard them. But Karamo, whose racial intransigence suddenly thawed when he hooked up with his new Puerto Rican boyfriend, announced that he didn’t care anymore about Landon and Shavonda: ”They can do what they want to do.” Looks like somebody’s already written their wedding toast!

What do you think? Is the Shaunvonda relationship really over? How long will the Lanvonda hookup last? And who came off more confused this episode, Shavonda or Karamo?

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