''Real World''

Four Your Love

Threesomes? Passe. Welcome to the foursome -- Alton and Irulan both hook up to spite the other, but Josh Wolk feels like he's seen it all before

The Real World | ANOTHER 'WORLD' Earth to Alton and Irulan! You're rebounding!
Image credit: The Real World: MTV
ANOTHER 'WORLD' Earth to Alton and Irulan! You're rebounding!

Threesomes? Passe. Welcome to the foursome

During the Feb. 18 episode of ''The Real World,'' MTV kept touting some new series on urban legends. The show will probably deal with Mikey dying of Pop Rocks and Coke, and the guy who woke up in his hotel room in a tub full of ice with his kidneys gone, but I wonder if they'll feature the latest one: A friend of a friend of mine says he once saw a TV show about a bunch of sexed-up twentysomethings who would do anything in front of the camera...yet it ended up being really boring! I know, it sounds crazy, but my friend's buddy SWEARS he saw it!

As we all know too well, that is no myth. We live it most Tuesday nights. To truly underscore the stagnancy of the Las Vegas crew, the episode's ''Previously, on the 'Real World'...'' recap reminded us that Irulan can't trust Alton. And 30 minutes later, the episode ended with Irulan telling Alton that she can't trust him. You know how when you listen to electronica music, sometimes you can't tell whether the CD is skipping or it's just a really repetitive song? Well, at least you can dance to that. You could take a fistful of ecstasy and ''The Real World'' would still bum you out.

I'm at a loss for what to say this week, because I feel like I've said it all before. I should just use old ''Real World'' shorthand, referencing past shows. ''Well, first Alton Episode 11'd. But then Irulan totally Episode 13'd! Meanwhile, Brynn was like, 'That thing I said in Episode 4!' And then Frank got one measly line then vanished, much like in Episodes 3 through 14, 16 through 18, and 20.''

The only clues that this episode wasn't a rerun were the presence of new faces Denise (Alton's friend with whom he hooked up) and Davin (Alton's friend who hooked up with Irulan). This flirtation with Irulan rankled Alton, who at one point pulled Davin into the bathroom to confess his jealousy. I felt less bad for him than for the other people in the background: With so many reality TV shows in production, you can't even go to the john now without stumbling into a camera crew. Next time you're out, don't be surprised if a release form comes sliding under your stall door while a voice yells, ''Hey, can you sign this? We're shooting 'World's Wackiest Dumps' for Fox!''

While Irulan and Davin were playing pool, Alton brought Denise home and into his bed. Irulan got angry, and so tried to have a louder and louder good time with Davin, until Alton yelled at them to shut up. Soon Irulan brought Davin into her bed, which made Alton crazy. The way they were escalating this game of Hook-Up Chicken, I expected to see all four of them having sex on the same bed with Alton and Irulan glaring at each other all the while.

After the thrill of sticking it to Alton by having Davin stick it to her while Alton was sticking it to Denise wore off, Irulan lost interest in Davin and gave him the ''Let's be friends'' speech. Boy, you don't envy the guy who has that televised. You know how when people give you that speech, you tend to run it over and over in your mind later, wondering what went wrong? Well, thanks to the magic of videotape, now Davin can run it until the day he dies...in slow motion, even.

The rest of the show was dedicated to Arissa, who came to the abrupt conclusion that she needed to break up with her boyfriend of six years so she could learn to be independent. (She kept spouting platitudes like ''We could get back together later, and I'll be like, 'Okay, I did me for a while''' and ''I just want some space...from everything!'' leading me to believe that this decision came less because of a personal epiphany and more because someone had left Oprah on that morning.) Her cousin Taiesha visited, and gave her some sound advice about finding her identity. Thank goodness Taiesha was the family member who visited: If it had been Uncle Robert, the advice would have been ''Dammit, when your favorite uncle comes to visit, you should have mozzarella sticks waiting!''

It was ironic that the producers gave so much weight to Arissa's desire to change and break out of old patterns, and yet they spent the rest of the show stuck in the same Alton/Irulan rut they've been in for months. Maybe someday there will come a ''Real World'' producer who realizes that just because two roomies have a romantic interest doesn't mean they're automatically interesting.

Naah. A producer like that is DEFINITELY an urban myth.

What do you think?

Originally posted Feb 19, 2003

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