The Real World: Jason Campbell

Removed from their cushy loft, the MTV roommates still find time to whine, says Josh Wolk

September 06, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

”Real World” overheats in Morocco

In the history of Ugly American stunts (like bailing out of international environmental treaties), what happened on the Sept. 4 episode of ”The Real World” may not seem like a major offense. But sending the septet of MTV roommates abroad is actually a far more insidious way to irritate foreigners. Sure, global warming is a problem, but if I were from Morocco, I’d take 150-degree temperatures over a bunch of drunk, spoiled college students tromping sullenly around my country any day.

I was surprised when, to their credit, the New York gang arrived and actually commented on how beautiful Marrakech was. Considering how quickly they became jaded over their cool record label job, I expected their first words to be, ”Oh, great, weird languages. And just how are we supposed to understand THESE people?” (Although, true to form, Nicole did begin their sightseeing by whining about the heat.)

Kevin even made an attempt at being non-self-absorbed when he said of Morocco, ”You’re on the other side of the world, and this has been going on forever. And this is their life, and they know nothing about my life, back at home.” Apparently it was quite an epiphany that not only did a world exist outside of his own existence, but in that world, people weren’t constantly saying, ”I wonder what Kev’s up to?” I remember learning in a Child Study course that young babies think that when they cover their own eyes, they become invisible. Perhaps Kevin is just now making the leap OUT of that phase.

We can only hope that MTV doesn’t export ”The Real World,” because this will only confirm Americans’ reputation for being whiny travelers who can’t understand why everyone doesn’t do things our way. (Watch Wednesday night’s new reality shows ”Lost” and ”The Amazing Race” for two more examples that will have you hanging your head in shame next time you exit U.S. airspace. Both shows are entirely comprised of Americans screaming, ”What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you help me?” at natives of the countries they’re visiting.)

And heaven forbid any of these Real Worlders should make any attempt to immerse themselves in the Moroccan culture. When the whole group was eating as the Road Rulers came to visit, what Moroccan treat were they snacking on? Meshoui? Bastilla? Nope! Pizza. And I bet that their luxurious resort rooms were littered with McDonalds styrofoam containers… and not from eating McCouscous.

Of course, the kids did thoughtfully bring Moroccans a taste of America, demonstrating what pettiness is like in the U.S. of A. The Sneer Twins, Coral and Nicole, demonstrated that they were able to bring Rachel to tears in more than one time zone. Rachel ran into trouble making a case for herself when she said, ”I’m not a big baby,” considering how her bottom lip was aquiver and her voice is naturally high-pitched and mushmouthed. Hint: Next time you’re going up against Coral and Nicole, Rachel, bring along a designated badass spokesperson.

You knew things were bad when Lori and Rachel had to depend on words of encouragement by the cast of MTV’s other reality show, ”Road Rules.” When Team Winnebago — crossing over from their own MTV reality show — is the closest thing to a wise sage, things are LOW. (But that’s what passes for perspective in reality TV: The producers of ”Big Brother 2” tossed four former ”Survivor” players — Gervase, Sue, Alicia, and Jeff ? into the house Tuesday night, and the remaining four housemates were undoubtedly grateful for these reality vets’ collective expertise on how best to handle a local hardware store endorsement deal once the show is over.) If Adam, the Road Ruler famous for not taking his meds, is going to be the Real Worlders’ behavioral idol, maybe we’d be wise to strand all 13 of them in Morocco. I’m all for chummy international relations, but there comes a time you have to look out for your own country.

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