''Real World''

Love Hurts

Menage a trois, or monogamy? Alton wants both. As the stud gets busy and Irulan gets moody, Josh Wolk wonders if there's something remotely interesting on another channel

The Real World | ON THE EDGE The back and forth of Irulan and Alton's relationship has this EW writer wanting to jump
ON THE EDGE The back and forth of Irulan and Alton's relationship has this EW writer wanting to jump

Menage a trois, or monogamy? Alton wants both

Watching ''The Real World'' these days is the visual equivalent of listening to a record skip. Alton and Irulan are in love. Then they fight. Then they're in love. Then they fight...

And so it goes. They love, they hate, they love, they hate. As a viewer, I suffer no such waffling: I simply hate. Every moment that this terminally uninteresting affair appears on my screen, I am filled with dark loathing. Not for the two love/hatebirds, mind you, but for the producers who think I care a whit about the outcome at this point.

The only thing that made the Jan. 21 episode different from any that preceded it was that it took place in Australia. The dancin' seven (who have forgotten their main mission, spreading the wonder of ski dancing to another pole) are reveling in experiencing this strange, foreign land. Frank squealed, ''Every day I'm doing something I've never done before!'' Arissa cried, ''This vacation has opened my eyes and let me see another part of the world!''

They have an interesting definition of exotic: they were at a friggin' Australian resort, not deep in Bangladesh. The only difference between this and a Club Med was the presence of a few camels. I can imagine the culture shock they experienced when finding that Australians use an entirely different kind of wood for their limbo sticks.

Everything else was ''Real World'' as usual. We started with Alton and Irulan on the outs, with Steven encouraging Alton to see other women; Irulan had no right to complain, he said, she has a boyfriend, after all. Alton signaled that he was officially on the make by reciting the couplet, ''I should just go mingle/like I'm single.'' (Poetry aficionados will of course recognize this romantic couplet from Shakespeare's sonnet entitled ''The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire.'')

You can tell Alton is a true smoothie, because he can turn anything into an opening. Exhibit A: He used the presence of a possum to hit on two women, with whom he eventually had a threesome. (With the two women, not one woman and a possum.) Let me reiterate: he was able to convert the presence of a large rat into a menage a trois. Now that, my friends, is a player. As someone who currently has a slight mouse problem in his apartment, let me assure you that rodents are not a natural aphrodisiac.

The Clash once asked, ''Should I stay or should I go?'' In considering what to do about Alton, Irulan paraphrased her options as ''Big fat c---... or not even worth it?'' Normally that would seem an immature argument, but considering how Alton's enormous member had once hypnotized even Frank, there clearly are powers at work in Alton's pants that we can not understand.

Having a threesome might launch some guys into a life of debauchery. Yet, oddly, it triggered a need for monogamy in Alton, and he went back to Irulan, and the two cooed about how much they loved each other. He neglected to mention his menage, and the same ignorance-is-bliss attitude that helps keep Irulan convinced that she can love two guys at once kept her from minding the rumors. But then, amidst this lovey-doveyness, Alton started flirting with women upon their return to the Palms and she got angry and cried and threatened to go home and OH MY GOD I CAN'T WRITE ABOUT THIS FRIGGIN' RELATIONSHIP ANYMORE!

Seriously, make them stop. Every time I have to type another word about them I feel like I have to apologize to my fingers. Normally their broken record of a relationship only skips once an episode, but this time they went through the breaking up/getting back together cycle twice! Twice! By the end of the season, they'll be separating and reconciling four times each before the opening credits even start. Frankly, I wish MTV had left these two in Australia and taken back a couple of camels instead. Then we'd have the same amount of humps, we just wouldn't have to hear about them all the time.

What are you tired of seeing on ''The Real World''?

Originally posted Jan 22, 2003