Aneesa battles her unfaithful new girlfriend
Last week I settled into my couch, giddy with my usual anticipatory fightlust for a ”Real World” bickerfest, only to find an unannounced rerun. I would liken my subsequent disappointment to what a heroin addict would feel if he depressed his needle’s plunger and out came a little flag with the words ”Bang! You’re high!” written on it.
With no release valve for my weekly superiority complex build-up, my equilibrium has been shot to hell for the last seven days. I’ve craved conflict: Whenever I’ve heard a raised voice in the EW hallways, I’ve run out of my office, hoping to come upon a ”Don’t you tell ME to shorten my lead paragraph! I’m just keepin’ it real!” argument. By Monday, I was in bad shape, curling under my desk, sniffing the pages of my ”Real World: Hawaii” book, muttering, ”C’mon, just one homophobic remark by Theo, that’s all I need.”
So you can imagine my glee when the all-new March 5 episode finally came on. And you can imagine my dismay when things started off all hunky-dory for the roommates. I didn’t spend two weeks of conflict withdrawal so this bunch could live in the Happy Times Commune where there’s peace and harmony and puppy dogs poop rainbows.
After a slight speed bump of Aneesa bickering with her mother, we drove straight to Utopia. Theo, Cara, Aneesa and Tonya started working with local kids to design a mural for Humboldt Park, and the children couldn’t have been more eager. They were so good that even Tonya conceded that she was completely wrong in forming a negative image of them before meeting them. This was such a rudimentary lesson in basic humanity that not even the epiphany whores at Bunim Murray (the show’s producers) saw fit to dwell on it. (Stay tuned for next episode, when Tonya may learn that setting fire to homeless people is wrong!)
And then, as if children and adults all joining hands to beautify a park wasn’t upbeat enough, Aneesa met a woman named Veronica and fell in love. Even homophobic Theo was happy for her! (Of course, Theo has built a little wiggle room into his ”homosexuality is a sin” dictum, which is that lesbianism, while still wrong, is freakin’ hot. I’m not sure what Theo’s vision of heaven is, but I imagine it involves female angels welcoming you and then gettin’ it awwwwwwn!) Granted, Theo was a bit disappointed when Aneesa described Veronica as if she were Pamela Anderson, and she showed up looking like the kid from ”Gummo.” But, hey, at least he didn’t call his dad looking for a fresh shipment of holy water.
Watching this, I began to feel betrayed and jittery. Where was the conflict and/or laughable behavior? What about Tonya’s killer kidney stones? Theo’s selfishness? Couldn’t Cara have at least hooked up with someone from a Three Dog Night cover band? Anything but these ceaseless good vibes!
Then suddenly, I got what I wanted, and I felt awful for ever doubting Bunim-Murray.
Veronica’s ”ex”-girlfriend phoned Aneesa to announce that she and Veronica were in bed together post-coitally, and then she called Aneesa ugly. Aneesa decided to be the bigger person. Actually, check that: She decided that the ex was the bigger person, telling her, ”Why don’t you check the stretch marks on your belly, you fat bitch!”
Apparently Veronica had not entirely severed things with her ex, and at first Aneesa decided she was going to move on. (Her exact words: ”Time to get another bitch to fill that one’s place.” Wasn’t that Ryan O’Neal’s last line in ”Love Story” after Ali MacGraw died?) But after she ran into Veronica at a gay street festival, she was drawn back in. Perhaps it was the fact that Veronica was covered in hickeys, scratches, and bruises that made Aneesa think this could be her dream girl.
Veronica came back over to the house, and talked to Aneesa while, for some reason, Cara crouched in the corner topless, her patented hypersympathetic expression plastered on her face. (When throwing herself in the path of other people’s problems, Cara constantly keeps a look on her face as if she’s talking to a small, dull child. I keep waiting for one of the kids on the mural project to say, ”You know, I’m only 11 years old, but I know what it means to be patronized.”) Chris tried to convince Aneesa that perhaps this wasn’t the healthiest relationship to pursue, but she wouldn’t listen.
Perhaps she should have. Because Veronica stopped by the next day to pick up the bag she had left there… and decided to bring her ex-girlfriend along with her. This did not go well. I tried to take notes on the ensuing screaming match, but Aneesa was talking so fast that all I can say with journalistic certainty is that the word ”bitch” was bandied about quite a bit. And the argument moved from the apartment all the way down to the street: It was like Jerry Springer Without Borders.
I felt rejuvenated by this contretemps. Finally, my favorite show was back where it belonged: rolling around on the floor, pulling hair. The producers tried to balance this Aneesa ugliness with the continued up-with-people storyline of the kids creating a mural dedicated to ”Peace, Love, and Freedom.” But I had lost interest in that plot. I mean, peace, love and freedom are all concepts I can get behind, but keep them the hell out of my ”Real World.”