''Real World''

Dario to Dream

Arissa's love life is in a shambles. Having kissed off her boyfriend Dario, the confused young lovely falls for the charms of a supersmooth lothario, says Josh Wolk

The Real World | HATS OFF Alex had Arissa swooning in record time
HATS OFF Alex had Arissa swooning in record time

Arissa's love life is in a shambles

In the blissfully Alton/Irulan-free March 11 episode, we concentrated on Arissa's love life, which began with her being berated by her ex-boyfriend Dario. He called her ''weak'' and said, ''Tell me why I should think that you don't suck.''

Arissa defiantly told him that she wouldn't ''let one tear fall from my eye tonight''...and yet within seconds a solitary tear wiggled down her cheek. This was the ''Real World'' equivalent of that old sitcom chestnut where a character yells, ''There is no way I'm getting into that chicken costume! No way!'' and then the screen flips and the person is shown in the costume going, ''Cluck, cluck.'' I'm waiting for the moment when Arissa sheds a single tear after a bawdy misunderstanding over the word ''member.''

To forget Dario, Arissa went cruising at the Ghost Bar, where she was wooed by the ultraglam Alex, and how could she resist? He wore a hat seductively pulled over one eye, and a see-through shirt, had teeth the size of Stonehenge tablets, and, as if that weren't enough, he swiveled his crotch in front of her face. The only way he could've been smoother was to wear leather hot pants with the phrase ''Welcome to the Jungle'' embroidered on the crotch.

But wait, it's not all about style with Alex: He's also sensitive. He just likes to talk and show his vulnerability, telling Arissa that he's scared to get involved because they're from other sides of the country. And then -- get ready to swoon, ladies! -- he lent her his trademark Gucci hat. That's like Superman giving up his cape, Fonzie loaning out his leather jacket, and Joe Millionaire bequeathing his sweatpants all wrapped into one!

Arissa's love and passion after just meeting this guy were ridiculously heightened and overstated (she declared she was smitten AND buggin': double whammy!)...just like everything in Vegas. I remember visiting the city when I was a little kid and going to the casino Circus, Circus, which is basically a superconcentrated version of a circus. It was too bright and flashy, and smelled like someone had mixed cotton candy and elephant dung and painted the inside of my nose with it. And with motorcycles doing loop-the-loops on tracks above me while slot machines dinged all around, the noise was deafening. It made Ringling Bros.' big top seem like a Christian Science Reading Room.

So Vegas is the perfect environment for Arissa's hyperemotional dalliance. When she proclaimed after talking to Alex, ''I just had the greatest conversation I could possibly have in my life,'' I expected to see Frank doing loop-the-loops in a dirt bike behind her, balancing Trishelle on his shoulders while Steven ate cotton candy out of her cleavage.

Alas, the supernova love that shone so bright quickly fizzled out. Alex was supposed to come to visit again, but left a message saying he got scared, so he stayed home, where he likely unpacked his see-through luggage, cocking a new hat over his eyes to cover his streaming tears. But instead of crushing Arissa, for some reason it motivated her to start fresh with Dario. So that's it? One date doesn't work out, and she goes back to her old relationship? If that's how high she set her new risk-taking bar, then it's about two inches lower than the ladder she did trust falls off of.

While Arissa's heart was swelling, Brynn's brain was imploding. She complained of panic attacks; unfortunately, her anxiety showed no physical manifestations, so the producers had to fashion montages over jittery music to make it look like she was going crazy. Alas, all they could get were shots of her eating breakfast and snoozing: It wasn't exactly Blanche DuBois. Hell, it wasn't even Irene from ''The Real World: Seattle.''

Still, Brynn gave herself the Circus, Circus of diagnoses: She thought she had schizophrenia. When Brynn's skin peels after a sunburn, does she think she has leprosy? But to be fair, panic attacks can be scary things, so if Brynn is in fact experiencing them (although her symptoms of lying down a lot seemed more like a nap attack than a panic attack), that's no laughing matter. Nor was the fact that her mother, whom Brynn said had also experienced similar attacks, ended up back in rehab for pain pills. But without anything to mock, what the hell am I supposed to do? Vegas is no place for serious emotion, so somebody better get back on the loop-the-loop fast.

Originally posted Mar 12, 2003
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