TV Article

Royal Pains

On ''The Real World,'' the housemates take their big vacation in Costa Rica, where Wes pretends to be Prince Harry and Danny gets jealous of Prince William

The Real World: Austin (Season 16) | WINDSOR LOSER Danny learned Mel is a potential Wales groupie
WINDSOR LOSER Danny learned Mel is a potential Wales groupie

''The Real World'': The big beach vacation episode

When I saw the description of this episode on my DVR — ''The group enjoys Costa Rica; Danny's jealousy causes problems'' — I assumed it only hinted at all the other juicy things that would happen. Keep in mind, this is the same DVR that described last week's amazing episode of Top Model like this: ''Tight corsets.'' Funny, but a tad on the pithy side.

But nope, the description of The Real World was actually quite accurate. Post-viewing, I might change it to ''The group drinks Costa Rica; Danny's jealousy causes even more unnecessary boring-relationship footage than usual; and Wes graduates from 'tool' to 'It's just sad.' '' But that's being wordy.

After going on my own vacation, I found that my power to loathe the seven strangers was a little rusty. It felt inappropriate and awkward, much like Lacey wearing a bikini while trying to surf in the ocean. The entire universe was out of whack! The power to loathe is gradually seeping back in, though, and I couldn't ask for more loserish material than Danny ''breaking up'' with Mel and then staring her down like a toddler who just got his juice snatched away until they eventually hugged on a deck.

Ugh. Call me lazy, but I don't think their sordid little breakup-makeup affair even deserves to be analyzed. Instead, here are some moments I remotely cared about that I found worth mentioning:

Danny wore a hat while surfing Dude. No. I know the idea of accomplishing a major activity without a hat on must have been scary for Danny, but this was surfing. I bet his new, now-to-be-lifelong nemesis Prince William would never wear something so inappropriate (although his brother might). While we're on the topic of water sports…

It was fun to see Lacey in pain Sorry, but she really had it coming. I can think of no better punishment for a sanctimonious vampire than to get pummeled in the great outdoors during her three worst nightmares: zip-lining through the jungle, surfing, and whitewater kayaking. There was one shot of her trying to surf that I had to keep rewinding. She half-caught a wave, then sort of climbed on the board (it was more like a pathetic lean-in), then kind of tried to stand up, and absolutely none of it worked. It was so pitiful it almost seemed they had slowed down the footage for extra humor value. Worked for me! Then, at the end of the kayaking trip, Lacey gushed to the camera, ''I'm glad I wasn't wussy and whiny about it.'' Uh, yes you were. Now shut up.

Different country, same lame bar with a mentally afflicted animal as its name The Crazy Monkey, seemingly the dirty second cousin of the Dizzy Rooster, picked up where the other bar left off rather seamlessly. The two joints couldn't possibly be affiliated, but the irony is outstanding.

Yes, he really did just say that Mad props to whoever edited the bus scene in which Wes came out of his hungover stupor long enough to put on a sleeping mask while voicing over during a later interview, ''I'm having a great time on the bus. I get to see the countryside, which I'll probably never get to see again.'' Or this time, for that matter.

The Prince Harry crap made me cringe To Lacey's credit, Wes does look like a dumbed-down version of Prince Harry. But this scene killed me. Danny folding his arms and looking tough? Rachel getting patted down? Wes being...himself? The scheme was something a group of uninteresting jerks you knew in high school would find funny, but you'd never want to watch them actually play it out. The only thing more frightening than Wes posing as British royalty was evidence that a bunch of vacationing Americans apparently believed him. Happy belated Halloween, everyone! Sigh.

What do you think? Should Mel chuck Danny? What was whiter, Lacey or the sand? And couldn't the producers squeeze out enough material for at least two vacation episodes?

Originally posted Nov 01, 2005