Real World Las Vegas Reunion Special: Jason Campbell/MTV
April 09, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Trishelle is missing in action

The April 8 reunion show of ”The Real World: Las Vegas” was a bloated hour of old footage and moments where roommates, when asked to reflect on what they’ve learned, parroted back a bunch of self-help clichés that they seemed to be reading phonetically off a cue card. In other words, the series ended as it began.

Well, almost as it began: Trishelle was noticeably absent, which host Hilarie Burton dismissed with a ”Trishelle is out of the country.” So we’re supposed to believe she missed out because she didn’t want to lose her deposit on a youth hostel? Clearly she didn’t WANT to show up. Was she afraid of Hilarie’s hard-hitting questions, like, ”What was up with all that partying?” Methinks it was because Daddy wasn’t thrilled with what he saw, and maybe now Trishelle is locked in the family basement and not being let out until she writes, ”I will not sleep with 21-year-old divorcees on basic cable” 10,000 times on a blackboard.

Of course there was the requisite ”unseen footage,” which involved — as it always does — many roommates bumping into cameras. Eat your heart out, Bob Saget! This was actually a convenient excuse for Hilarie to pimp this season’s ”Real World You Never Saw” video. Oooh, is this one ”Uncensored,” a word MTV is fond of slapping on all their videos or specials, even though they come fully equipped with bleeped-out profanity and blurred nudity, the very definition of ”censored”? Who is their reality-defying marketing guru, the Iraqi Minister of Information who keeps announcing that the Americans are being trounced? (Yes, this is what counts for political commentary in a ”Real World” column.)

In rehashing the footage we already HAVE seen, revelations were few: Frank said that they only worked three hours a week, which made me wonder if Irulan got overtime for the seven straight hours that her boss Marc hit on her.

Then Arissa announced that she did not cry as much as the producers made it seem like she did. Of course, when people on a reunion show complain about the editing, it just makes you wonder what MTV has edited out of that same reunion show. Perhaps the rest of the cast had gripes, too, and we never saw them. Boy, Bunim/Murray really knows how to keep playing their casts for saps, don’t they? And after getting ignored on a reunion show, these alums probably think, ”I know what I’ll do. I’ll go on a ‘Real World/Road Rules Challenge,’ and that’ll give me the exposure to finally show America the real me!” And they’ll keep coming back for more until the day when MTV edits them out of their own funeral. I think Bunim/Murray should adopt as their logo the cartoon of Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown for the umpteenth time.

Editing must have been at work on this special, because how else to explain how little sense some of the roomies’ responses made? When the subject of his lying about his threesome came up, Alton made some nonsensical explanation about he had just forgot he had mentioned it. It seemed patently unfair that a storyline that dragged out for so long could be wrapped up so sloppily and dismissively. This was like reading a 400-page Sherlock Holmes mystery, and having the detective announce at the end, ”Who did it? Not sure, but I think it was this dude named Timmy. You don’t know him. Okay, now that that’s settled, who’s up for pizza?”

Then there was Arissa talking about how her relationship with her mother had improved as a result of the show, because being on this show ”puts things in perspective.” Huh? Isn’t the very foundation of reality TV taking things OUT of perspective and twisting them into storylines?

But I guess perspective means different things to different people: Take Alton, who said he was now glad to have four months of his life on tape, so he could someday show them to his kids. As in, ”Look, son, here’s Daddy picking a fight in the parking lot! And this was Daddy having a threesome and lying to the woman he loved about it.” I’m afraid to know what kind of kids that kind of perspective will raise. But I do know this: Bunim/Murray will probably sign those very kids to a contract as soon as they come out of the womb.

What did you think of the reunion special?

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