But the feuding roommates disagree over how to pronounce Arista Records, says Justine Elias

By Justine Elias
Updated August 17, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
The Real World: Jason Campbell

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Lori lands a singing gig on ”The Real World”

Pity the hard-rock band called From Zero. They finally get a big break on MTV, but instead of getting airtime for a video, it was only a sample of one of their songs that landed on the Aug. 14 episode of the ”The Real World.” The New York roommates, interning at Arista Records, scattered in search of victims for a record company focus group. Now, focus-group wrangling is no easy task even for marketing professionals, but when it’s performed by bickering, inept reality-show stars, the results are deliriously silly.

The first problem was that the roommates couldn’t seem to decide which record company they were working for. Was it A-WRIST-a, as Mike pronounced the name while chatting up ”grungy” people in bars? Or maybe it was ”Ar-TIST-a”. That’s how Coral rendered the name, but she had other important matters to consider, like how superior she was to her focus group teammates, Mike and Lori. (”Oh, GOD!” she sneered, when told by her bosses that she’d be working with them.)

Yes, people skills were clearly lacking this week.

Nicole (from ”Arch-ista” Records), tried the in-your-face method: accosting foreign tourists in Midtown Manhattan, demanding that they answer questions about some rock band they’d never heard of. Guess what? They fled in confusion and perhaps terror. (And if there are any foreign nationals still holed up in their respective embassies, fearing Nicole’s threatened interrogation by ”Anarchista Records” — or any similarly pronounced entity — I believe that MTV should assume full responsibility.

Eventually, 40 hostages were culled from the populace of 9 million, and they delivered a mixed verdict regarding From Zero: ”Overproduced. Try hitting a wrong note once in a while” vs. ”It’ll probably be played on KROQ.” (By the way, it’s ”Ar-ist-a” Records — the first syllable sounds like the first one in ”arrow.” When in doubt, ”Real World” people, imitate the way your bosses say it. If you still have jobs.

Meanwhile, aspiring singer Lori terrorized the house by donning headphones and belting out whatever came into her tuneless head. Kevin compared her voice to that of a ”seal in labor,” which is unfair to such dignified mammals. Even while simultaneously giving birth AND being filmed by the Discovery Channel, those creatures don’t dramatize their existence the way Lori does (”They told me not to SING! It’s like asking me not to BREATHE! They told me I was LOUD! That’s, like, THE MEANEST THING ANYONE’S EVER SAID TO ME!”). However, escaping Lori’s vocalizing did forge a brotherly bond between Malik and Kevin; the former referred to the latter as ”you lucky, earplug-having bastard.”

Still, Lori was no fool. She did her focus-group recruiting at CBGB’s, where she landed a successful tryout with a scruffy-looking band. When her big, non-headphone-wearing moment of belting came, she sounded like… a talented, uninhibited R&B singer. Rachel’s congratulations were pricelessly naive: ”You’ve just made new friends!” she squealed, obviously unfamiliar with the manner in which experienced musicians treat novice vocalists. ”And I’m going to mooch off them!” Rachel added, blissfully unaware of the way penniless musicians view anyone with a couch — and the Real Worlders have got lots of empty couches in that luxury brownstone.

Episode Recaps

Hey, you think those new friends of Lori’s were attracted, like From Zero must have been, to the idea of some free MTV exposure? Let’s just hope that Lori — if she ever gets her singing career going and lands a record deal — doesn’t end up getting focus-grouped by some future crop of Real Worlders. That would be too cruel.

The Real World

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