''Real World''

Monkey Business

Frank hooks up with... Trishelle? His trip to USC business school leads to the greatest infidelity since Diane Lane was ''Unfaithful,'' says Josh Wolk

The Real World | DIRTY DANCING Frank gets the girl, (Trishelle) but almost loses another (Emily) in the process
DIRTY DANCING Frank gets the girl, (Trishelle) but almost loses another (Emily) in the process

Frank hooks up with... Trishelle?

Last week I gave short shrift to Frank's relationship with Emily, because it seemed so comparatively banal. Little did I know that it was all just exposition for the Feb. 11 episode, which began with more of Frank's ecstasy over the delightful Emily. He was brimming with the usual beginning-of-romance optimism, when every minor thing your new love interest does is evidence of your ideal match, in an ''Oh my God I hate cole slaw and SHE hates cole slaw isn't that so weird'' kind of way.

Then, on the phone, Frank told her that he just saw ''Unfaithful,'' which upset him because infidelity was the worst thing he could imagine. Wow, had he been attending the special Real World Foreshadowing Film Festival? While he saw that, was Arissa next door screening ''Mommie Dearest,'' while Trishelle was taking in ''Riding in Cars with Boys''?

Frank was summoned to USC for a business school interview, and Steven and Trishelle came with him. Because what impresses grad school interviewers more than trailing a camera crew and a couple of drunk, sexed-up roomies?

Arriving in L.A., the trio first took in all of the sights, putting their hands in Eddie Murphy's handprints at Mann's Chinese Theater, and riding a bar's mechanical bull. Had MTV booked them a time machine? Because they seemed to be visiting L.A. in 1983. I was waiting for them to head to the Brown Derby, hoping to spot Sheena Easton and the guy who played Manimal.

While out celebrating, a drunk Trishelle became quite touchy with Frank, and when they returned to Frank's aunt's house, where they were crashing, she suggested they change into swimsuits for the pool. To be more accurate, her drunken words were, ''Shoo we...change swim soo?'' but Frank got the gist. Frank said that whenever Trishelle got drunk, she tried to seduce him. Of course, when Trishelle gets drunk, she also tries to seduce the valet, a poster of Justin Timberlake, and the cigarette machine.

Frank agonized over whether to succumb to temptation: He wondered if he should ''carpe diem, just to prove that I can,'' and then Steven gave him permission to do so. (Seeing them discuss her as if she was Steven's mechanical bull must do wonders for Trishelle's self-image. Of course, she repaid the favor later by saying that during the day she thought of Frank as a friend, but at night, ''Everybody's cuter with 12 cocktails in ya.'') Frank ultimately resisted temptation, but that only lasted until he got accepted to USC, and, in celebrating, kissed Trishelle.

Now, was I the only one who thought the footage was slowed down to make it look like a more passionate liplock than it was? Plus, parts of the kiss were reused, but intercut with footage of a woman dancing, which made it seem like one longer kiss. Ahhh, reality TV: ruining reputations through the power of editing since 1991!

Frank later called Emily and confessed, and she forgave him. But after a period of extreme moping, he decided this was only more evidence that their long-distance relationship could not work, and they broke up. Elapsed time: one day.

It reminded me of the ''Get a Life'' episode where Chris Elliott meets a model, gets married, has kids, and then they drift apart and get divorced, all in 24 hours. But that was a surreal sitcom; this was an actual wacky person. I hope that after hanging up, Emily immediately logged onto the web, adding Frank's name to MenToNeverEverEverDate.com. And if that site doesn't exist, Frank is worth creating it for.

Lest you think that the Real Worlders are all play and no work, they were deputized to help Stuff magazine do a saucy and sassy pictorial. The roomies' job was to approach hot female Palms employees, ask them sexy questions, and then arrange for their pictures to be taken.

They all took this job very seriously. My favorite moment was when Trishelle enthusiastically proclaimed that she wanted to do a good job because ''this could benefit me in the future,'' and then we cut to her asking a woman, ''What is the worst pick-up line you've ever heard?'' and ''What's the craziest place you ever had sex?'' Boy, just try and stop the headhunters from calling you now, Trishy! Once the Fortune 500 hear you're proficient at asking old ''Dating Game'' questions, it'll be, So long, glass ceiling, hello corner office!

The project ended successfully, and the roomies couldn't have been more self-satisifed. ''I'm so proud of the way that we kicked it,'' said Arissa. (Of course, by ''Real World'' standards, ''kicking it'' at a job means no one got into a screaming match in front of the boss or knocked a photographer off the roof of the Palms.) Yet Frank was still bummed, for he too kicked it, ''it'' being his relationship with Emily. Oh, well. While that may mean that he did a bad job as a boyfriend, it means he's doing a great job at being a ''Real World''er.

Originally posted Feb 11, 2003
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