''Real World''

Boat Trip

Not fair! They had to pass a test! And they all did -- well, after a retest and despite a night of hard drinking and partying, says Nicholas Fonseca

The Real World | NOW WE'RE REAL SAILORS! And they've got the $200 to prove it
NOW WE'RE REAL SAILORS! And they've got the $200 to prove it

Not fair! They had to pass a test!

It's too early in the season to make a qualified judgment call, but about 15 minutes into last night's episode of ''The Real World: San Diego'' (its fourth), I started to worry that perhaps this bronzed, buxom, and seemingly always bombed crew had run out of shenanigans to keep them afloat until the inevitable early-summer weepfest.

Oh, sure, there was that whole same-sex kissing/Brad's eight-inch penis thing to start off the show (and we'll get to that in a moment), but for crying out loud, the dramatic arc of the story involved taking a sailing aptitude test?! What happened to the sex-drenched, gin-soaked series we'd come to know and love over the past, um, two weeks?

Oh, wait, that's right. It was still there in the first 10 minutes of the show. (Sorry, I'd forgotten -- I erased it along with my memory of dopey, dingy Brad pulling out his blurry weewee for show-and-tell.) Is it just me, or is Randy always drinking beer -- at least, one assumes it's beer -- from a 40? Is it just me, or does the illustrious Coyote Ugly alum Robin always seem to be drinking, um, beer -- at least, one assumes it's beer -- from a party-sized red plastic cup?

Revelry of this degree used to make for some of ''The Real World'''s more memorable moments, as anybody who can recall Ruthie's season-long battle with the bottle in Hawaii or Becky's ''oops! I slept with a producer!'' debacle in the first season. Here, the drinking and partying just come off as desperately wanton, and they pretty much prove that there's nothing to do in San Diego. At least not unless it involves beer and hot tubs.

Anyhow, the roommates, who should have stayed home and studied for their coming sailing tests (both written and practical) the following day instead chose to heat up San Diego nightlife yet again, and in a round of scenes that mirror everything we've already seen thus far this season, proceeded to drink the night away. (See! I told you it was getting boring!)

Cameran, who has demonstrated the intelligence of a flea with her lame remarks about Yanks and not-so-subtle flirtation with meathead Brad, dropped this flimsy excuse before heading out into the night: ''Everybody studied a little bit before we went out!'' Cut to a few hours later: There she is in the crew's car announcing, ''I'm wasted!'' in her adorable Southern accent.

Next came another tried-and-true ''Real World'' gimmick: the same-sex kisses, as initiated by the men of the house. Frankie and Robin (surprise!) had no problem swapping spit, but it was Cameran and, um, what's-her-name (surprise!) who weren't so sure they'd be able to follow through. Their resistance wasn't too vigorous, though, because pretty soon Cameran was wagging her tongue toward the entire car, proving yet again that being the most beautiful woman in the house doesn't preclude her from acting like the biggest idiot. (Even Frankie's fear of big boats seems almost excusable once you've watched Cameran try to navigate a sailboat.)

What then ensued only served to gross out the audience even more: At the behest of his drunken, horny female roommates, Brad was forced to contemplate exposing his ''eight-inch, stacked penis'' before they all headed to bed with visions of sailing tests bobbing around next to the dying blood vessels in their brains. ''I'm starting to seriously feel violated,'' Brad blubbered, bringing back fond memories of Tami and David's second-season sleeping bag fight. (All together now: ''It wasn't! not! funny!'') Back at the house, Brad eventually relented, and Frankie yet again proved her secret status as the house's most subversively wise person (save for that whole smoking-with-cystic-fibrosis flaw) by showing absolutely no interest.

The final 15 minutes of the show dragged on as all seven housemates drunkenly awoke and crammed for their test. In an outcome that should arrive as a shocker to absolutely nobody who's watched at least 15 minutes of at least one episode of ''The Real World'' at least once in their life, not all the roomies passed. Brad and Cameran, those cute numbskulls, flunked.

But of course, since this is ''The Real World'' and not the real world, the failures got to retake the test. And, seeing as how they apparently got to retake the EXACT SAME TEST, and they still had their original copies of it, they both passed -- with 99%. And Cameran was just as proud of that grade as if… well, as if she'd actually earned it.

Now the entire house is ready to start their new jobs aboard the Stars and Stripes. (What they'll be doing is still a mystery to me, though I hope it's more interesting than what I've seen thus far.) The best part about their new positions is those ridiculous outfits: dark blue polo shirts and pleated khaki shorts, which make them look less like sailing experts and more like waitresses on the patio at Chili's.

Whew... we can all breathe a bit easier. All is good and well and, for now, sober in San Diego, but not for long! As Robin -- who'll apparently be arrested after yet another drunken tirade in next week's episode -- said upon passing her test: ''Now it's time for the big party after the exam!'' Bottoms up, honey.

Originally posted Jan 21, 2004