The roomies finally head home -- thank God!
When the April 1 episode of ''The Real World'' began with the roommates packing to go home, I held myself back from getting too excited. After all, this was April Fools' Day. I didn't want to get my hopes up, only to have producers Bunim and Murray jump out of a limo at the end and yell, ''Just kidding! Everybody back into the Palms -- we're taping you until your prostates give out!''
Fortunately, this was no gag: The season is over, thereby proving that there is a God, albeit one who takes 28 weeks to answer my prayers. The episode began with the roomies making wide-eyed pronouncements that they couldn't believe it was time to go home. Were they living the same life that I was watching?
As for future plans, Alton and Irulan tearfully declared their love for each other, and Alton decided to move to New York so they could stay together. Of course, he'll probably fool around with four stewardesses during the flight in, but it would be rude not to, considering how kind they will be in giving him headphones and a pillow. Beyond that, the amorous roommates will probably have a lovely life together filled with Alton making shady explanations for where he's been, and then hypnotizing Irulan with his enormous, mesmerizing phallus into not getting angry.
Arissa, meanwhile, was torn about her future. She did not want to go home, and with her mother waiting for her, who could blame her? Her mom called the pad at one point and, getting Frank, demanded, ''Where is she right now?... I'm gonna kill that bitch.''
Her angry, slurred calls make you realize how much better ''Crank Yankers'' would be with really bad, drunk mothers instead of puppets. In fact, any show improves when Arissa's mom is the host. Imagine her in Dr. Phil's slot (''You think your husband is too bossy? Well, you're a bitch. Shut up.''), or on ''Trading Spaces'' (''You don't like your apartment the new way? Shut up, you ungrateful bitch.''), or the evening news (''Today's top story: Saddam's a hump, but so is this Bush guy. I wish they'd all shut up. Now which bitch stole my smokes?''). It all works.
Ultimately, Arissa's bartender friend recommended they live together in Vegas, which cheered her up endlessly.
As for the other roomies, Steven and Frank will be moving in together in L.A., and the rarely seen Brynn, whom everybody had thought left Las Vegas months ago, announced that she would go home, where she'd try to have a committed relationship, and if that didn't work out, she'd be by herself. Basically, the only option this logic rules out is NOT being in a relationship but also NOT being by yourself, which is essentially the job description of a hooker. Kudos to her for ruling out a career track that looked like a possibility at the beginning of this season. (Actually, I just saw that she posted on the Web that she is engaged to Austin and they are expecting a baby in September. Now all she has to do is keep her kid from turning on MTV for the next, oh, 30 years.)
This left Trishelle, who didn't seem to have much of a game plan other than moving to L.A. Possibly she'll stop off at home first so she can have her self-worth stomped on some more by her dad, which will put her in the right frame of mind to subsequently pine for Steven outside his apartment. He sure didn't give her reason to forget him when he bid adieu by swabbing the inside of her mouth with his tongue.
But he might have given her something else to remember: Did anyone else see the enormous cold sore on his lip on the final days? You have to really be in love to see that thing coming at you and then open your mouth wide to greet it. Of course, he also gave Arissa a farewell make-out the night before. On the reunion show, will everyone arrive covered in goodbye-gift lesions from Steven? If Frank shows up complaining of a burning sensation, then we'll know that Steven truly is irresistible.