''Real World''

Emotion Pictures

It's love (and hate) for Trishelle and Arissa. Josh Wolk cheers the series' next-to-last episode, and puts up with the latest antics of the two love-torn housemates

The Real World | NORDIC TRACK Trishelle's replacement for Steven is finger licking good
NORDIC TRACK Trishelle's replacement for Steven is finger licking good

It's love (and hate) for Trishelle and Arissa

Have you ever seen a one-year-old child work on a puzzle where you have to put different shaped blocks in their corresponding holes? They vaguely understand the concept, and yet seem utterly befuddled when, say, the square doesn't go in the circle; with furrowed brow they turn that piece around and around, hoping it will fit in some way, yet it never occurs to them that they're going about it the entirely wrong way. Well, that's what it's like watching Trishelle and Arissa try to figure out love.

On the March 25 episode of ''The Real World,'' Trishelle met Tyler, a model who couldn't look more Nordic if he came in an Ikea box. You can tell he's a model because he wears the kind of really ugly clothes that only beautiful people can get away with. He also drinks his cocktails out of the little tiny straw, which, frankly, no one can get away with. I'm guessing Tyler can weave many harrowing tales of poking himself in the eye with a little drink umbrella.

Trishelle had complained that most people her age had been in love several times, and she hasn't. (Didn't she tell Steven she loved him? Never mind, that was last week.) So she decided the easiest solution was to immediately fall in love with Tyler. Done and done! She made it seem so easy: I think Trishelle has ''falling in love'' mixed up with ''trying pot.''

Frank, and Trishelle's sister, Buffy, warned Trishelle that she might want to know Tyler more than two days before declaring herself in love. But hell, Tyler's good looking, he knows all the words to the ''Don't let the bedbugs bite'' rhyme, what's left to know? Love only deepens the longer you get to know your lifemate. For example, 10 years down the road, she might discover that he's double-jointed AND knows all the stanzas to the ''Here I sit, broken-hearted...'' graffiti poem. Suddenly there's just more dimensions for Trishelle to adore.

Meanwhile, Arissa began the episode cooing to Dario. Last time we saw them, they had fought, broken up, but then reconciled on the phone. Apparently these two have been following this pattern of scream/make up/scream for most of their six-year relationship. Irulan found out through her friend Dina that one of the ''make up'' sessions occurred at a comedy club when Dario paraded her past a woman he had just impregnated and then dumped. Ladies and gentlemen, we've found our new Tracy and Hepburn!

When Irulan asked Alton whether she should tell Arissa what she just learned, he recommended keeping quiet. Was anyone surprised that this was deny-everything Alton's advice? If the woman had stayed pregnant, Alton would have advised Dario to swear to Arissa on the life of his own baby that he did not have his own baby.

When Arissa found out about Dario's past fertility faux-pas, she seemed eerily calm as she called to confront him. The way she sat down at the phone and calmly said, ''Dario, you're f---ing caught.... You make me sick. You are pathetic. I hate you for this,'' and then defiantly hung up, grabbed his pictures, and set them on fire, I thought, ''You go, girl! You go... well, you go wherever you're sure the cameras can follow you.'' This scene couldn't have been staged for the MTV crew better if she brought her own lighting guy. I don't doubt that she was upset, but her actions were something out of a Sandra Bullock movie, not out of real life. I was waiting for her to lipsynch ''I Will Survive'' into a hair brush.

At the end of her phone rant, she had lied to Dario, telling him that she had slept with someone in Vegas. ''I felt I needed to be as mean as I possibly could,'' she later explained, but soon felt penitent. Dina told her to tell him the truth, because ''then he'll know what it feel like to be lied to.'' So the joke's on... him? Yeah, staying faithful will really teach him not to be unfaithful. Well, this conclusion isn't that surprising: Considering at episode's end she was talking about getting back together with him, rationalization seems an integral part of this relationship.

Trishelle and Arissa's love affairs may have all the lush romanticism of a snuff film, but this episode did have a happy ending: The scenes from next week established it as the season finale. That's right, the end is near! Sure, this means we might not ever be able to see how Trishelle and Arissa's respective relationships will end, but deep down, don't we already know?

What do you think of the second-to-last ''Real World'' episode?

Originally posted Mar 25, 2003