The Real World Chicago: MTV
March 27, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST

Can we get some sex, already?

MTV is sex-crazed, and ”The Real World”’s Kyle and Keri are not giving them any release. Obviously the producers consider an affair between the two K’s to be their money shot, and the longer they go without it, the more jittery and desperate for messing around they get — no matter who’s doing it. At the beginning of the March 26 episode, Cara put her arm around Chris, and the camera zoomed into her hand, which was near his butt. Sure, Chris is gay and uninterested, but hell, groping is groping! This overexcitability reminded me of a teenager watching scrambled cable porn: Yeah, it ain’t perfect, but as long as it’s vaguely sexual, it’ll do the trick.

Busybody Cara also wants the two to hook up. On the ride to the roomies’ visit to Kyle’s parents’ lake house, she was pulling out some meddlesome-yenta maneuvers that would impress my Jewish grandmother, telling Kyle’s dad about the pair’s chemistry while Keri sat giggling in the van. Apparently Cara thinks there’s no quicker way to a man’s heart than through his dad. Is she getting her romantic theories through ”The Fiddler on the Roof’s Big Book of Dating Tips”? Cara may have her deficiencies as a 20-something, but she’s going to make one hell of a 70-something.

The large lake house probably seemed like the ideal romantic getaway to matchmakers Cara and MTV. (Seeing the sprawling abode, Theo was less romance-obsessed than finance-obsessed; he said about Kyle’s family, ”Damn, they got more money than necessary!” Who knew Theo was a Communist? To each according to his need, yo, but from each according to his ability, dawg!) But not even the getaway palace was going to work: Kyle and Keri were not coupling up if he had anything to say about it. Sure, he has flirted ad nauseam, and doled out more than his share of hot hugging action and forehead kisses. But Kyle’s lips rarely descend below eyebrow level. I’m not sure what the female equivalent of ”blue balls” is, but if Keri did to Kyle what he does to her, his li’l Kyles would be bluer than a Smurf’s.

He spent the weekend conflicted about whether to act on his desires, as evidenced by his polished ”conflicted-guy” mannerisms: holding his head in his hands and occasionally gazing off into the distance. All that was missing was a melancholy walk through the rain, but I suppose sitting in a hot tub kind of counts as a stationary rain storm, albeit one with a lot more foam. I have not seen such raw emotion since the early work of Andrew McCarthy.

Ironically for the sex-starved MTV, it’s the very presence of their cameras that has Kyle stalled in dare-I-hump-a-peach indecision. We saw him whisper to Keri (in a fuzzy shot aimed from a hidden vantage point) that he could imagine what they’d do if there were no cameras. ”We’d be like jackrabbits on steroids,” replied Keri, in an analogy that would have seemed more down-home had Radiohead music not been playing underneath it. In fact, the one time the pair really started grinding was when they were being taped by the surreptitious automatic cameras. But when the crew is right next to Kyle, all hormones are sent home for the night.

Frankly, I suspect that Kyle and Keri had been escaping the cameras to occasionally fool around, because I can’t think of any other reason why Keri would have put up with his waffling this long. But even if they were having secret liaisons, they weren’t happening enough for Keri, who told Kyle she just wanted to be friends because she couldn’t take his constantly setting her aside to ”cover his own ass.” When she stated her problem, he said, ”I’ll do what you want me to do,” but then essentially told her that hugs be damned, he couldn’t date her, and dispassionately added that that shouldn’t surprise her. When she finally stormed off, he said, sarcastically, ”So we’re done talking now?” as if she were the irrational one. I wonder if when Kyle watched this episode, he realized how nonsensical he was, or whether he said, ”Well played, me!” and subsequently went back to eating a piece of cake and then wondering why he didn’t have it anymore.

Why can’t Kyle handle a relationship as maturely as Chris does? Chris had fun with his beau Kurt, decided that Kurt was too clingy, and calmly broke up with Kurt. (A side note: Tonya’s comment during the men’s happier times that ”it was interesting to see two people act like they feel the same way Justin and I feel about each other, but they’re of the same sex,” was a fascinating achievement in double-whammy passive aggression. Not only was it vaguely homophobic, but it also insinuated that anyone who thinks they’re as in love as Justin and she are has to be just pretending. Well played, Mistress of the Backhand!)

Chris is by far the most complex person in the house: The show hasn’t even touched upon how he came out of the closet (on the first episode, he alluded to the fact that he was a tough guy in high school who would mock gay kids), and has just barely addressed his recent recovery from alcoholism. This is likely not because Chris is uninteresting, but rather because he doesn’t tour the house scattering his woes in every corner and letting them soak in the group shower. But with all of his introspection and Kyle’s celibacy, Cara better get back to hooking up with B-list rock stars or the poor MTV camera crew is going to get all Smurfy themselves.

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