''Real World''

Sorry, Charlie

There's a new roomie in town. But at least this one seems like a decent, regular guy... OMIGOD, the ''San Diego'' crew will drive him insane, says Josh Wolk

The Real World | FRIENDLY WELCOME Randy et al picked Charlie as their new roommie. What did poor Charlie ever do to them?
FRIENDLY WELCOME Randy et al picked Charlie as their new roommie. What did poor Charlie ever do to them?

The San Diego crew gets a new roomie

If you're a fan of old '80s slasher movies, you know that frustrating feeling of seeing a couple of teenage victims-to-be skip off into the forest to make out, when it seems so obvious to you, the viewer, that they are heading straight for a psychotic killer. Can't you people see what you're getting into? RUN, YOU IDIOTS, RUN!

If you saw the June 8 ''Real World,'' I think you see where I'm going with this.

In order to fill Frankie's eyeshadow-stained mattress, the producers sent three applicants to happily skip into the waterfront house to plead to join the ''Real World'' experience. As a viewer of five months of San Diego pinheadishness, I yelled at my TV to these oblivious applicants, ''Can't you see what you're getting into? RUN, YOU IDIOTS, RUN!'' Frankly, facing a murderer is slightly preferable to residing with the ''Real World'' roomies. At least when you get an axe to the head, your brain abruptly shuts down. Living with the San Diego bunch, your brain just... slowly... and painfully... atrophies.

The roommates were giddy about picking someone new. Brad joked, ''What if we got an ape who runs around breaking s---?'' and I cracked a smile when Cameran made the obvious retort, ''We have one, look in the mirror.'' It's not exactly Tracy and Hepburn (frankly, it's not even Jim Belushi and Courtney Thorne-Smith), but in this wit vacuum, you have to take the repartee when you get it. Of course, Cameran's flash of intelligence was quickly snuffed: when the roomies were told they would vote for their new housemate, she yelled, ''Majority rules, we're getting a boy!'' Robin quickly pointed out that there was, in fact, an equal number of boys and girls in the house. Brad could have mocked Cameran for this, but he was busy running around breaking s---.

Our first entrant was Bobby, who clearly begins every morning staring at a Lenny Kravitz poster. Then the mirror. Then the poster. Then the mirror, and doesn't leave until he can't tell the two apart. Bobby pulled out every trick in the charm book. First, he attempted to relate geographically: Jamie goes to school where he used to live. A tenuous connection, but to see him loudly react you'd think they discovered they both had half of the same amulet. Then he slam-dunked a basketball to impress the guys, accidentally emasculating them in the process. During their whole interaction, Jacquese had a look on his face like Bobby had shown up with a necklace full of anthrax.

Then came Brad 2, who was apparently created from some DNA scraped off Brad 1's beer funnel. Not only did he have the same, semiblank ''point me to the keg'' frat-guy expression, but he was also on the skids with a girlfriend. That said, he did act a tad smarter than Brad 1, like a new, improved version: the Ziploc bag to Brad 1's twist-tie.

Unfortunately, though the two Brads seemed like they had the potential to be instant friends, Brad 1 would have none of it: He emphatically did not want somebody with the same name as him. I can see his reservations: If someone yelled ''Don't put that in your mouth, Brad!'' he might think they were talking to someone else, and next thing you know, the house has lost another tennis ball.

The final applicant was Charlie, an 18-year-old country singer who was Randy's doppelganger. He quit school -- but when he said he was a musician and plays a lot of guitar shows and Robin then asked ''What do you play?'', if you were to guess who in the room was the dropout, I don't think his name would be the first to cross your lips.

Charlie later treated everyone to a sing-along, but his singing and playing was muted when the producers cranked another song over it. I'm guessing that Charlie was covering a country song that MTV did not have the rights to play, and didn't want to pay for. That's the ''Real World'' for ya: We want our housemates to grow and show their creativity... as long as it doesn't cost us nothin'.

Charlie seemed quiet and thoughtful, which was the exact reason I knew he was doomed to get chosen. I put my head in my hands when I saw him enter the house with his belongings: When he bumped fists with Brad, I imagined him being slashed by Freddy Krueger's fingerblades. I could have handled them picking Bobby or Brad 2. Those two seemed like they practiced being on a reality-TV show in their basements: It would have been like sending ''Halloween'''s Michael Myers to live with ''Friday the 13th'''s Jason. But Charlie is just fresh meat.

Originally posted Jun 08, 2004
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