Frankie's gone, and only Ja is sorry. But who can blame him, what with all the good times... oh, who are we kidding? Thank God, says Josh Wolk

By Josh Wolk
June 01, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
  • TV Show

Frankie’s back in Kansas, and only Ja is sorry

When Frankie finally left the show on the June 1 episode of ”The Real World,” I thought, Alas, poor Frankie, I knew her well. Seriously, alas: Knowing her well was a pain in the ass.

She originally wanted to just go home for a week. She was convinced that a trip to see Dave would recharge her batteries, allowing her to return and show her roomies what kind of happy person she really is. So would that be the kind of person she was when she first arrived at the house from Kansas City? Because that time she got drunk and tried to fool around with Brad. Home doesn’t seem to make Frankie less of a mess, but at least it makes her a more interactive mess.

A ”Real World” producer took her aside and told her that they wanted her to be happy, but if she went home, she couldn’t come back. Apparently producers are forced to read the ”Bad Parents’ Guide to Manipulation” before accepting the job. And if they were truly concerned about her mental health, why wouldn’t they let her go home for a week, in the same way that they let Hawaii’s Ruthie go to rehab?

Were they worried about getting a cheerful Frankie? After all, a happy punk does not fit into any of the ”Real World” Roommate templates. That would be like casting an 18-year-old from Alabama who already knew plenty of gay people and minorities. (The producers also passive-aggressively bid Frankie goodbye by replaying her drunken slobbering over Brad. So long, you miserable, drunken sot: Don’t forget that we control the video! See you on the clip show!)

The housemates all made the most halfhearted attempts to get her to consider staying. Granted, Frankie didn’t make it easy for anyone, saying, ”You’ve all bonded at a much different level than I have with any of you.” I’m surprised they didn’t start packing her bags for her: ”I have two questions, Frankie: One, are you sure you won’t stay? And two, do you fold your clothes or roll them, because I can fit more in your Hello Kitty backpack if I roll.”

In the midst of this conversation, the issue seemed to become less about showing the roommates who she really was, and more about showing the MTV audience. Robin said if Frankie left, she’d be leaving ”them” with the wrong impression. This global view makes a lot more sense than being concerned with what, say, Brad’s lasting opinion would be. (Especially since Brad’s long-term memory is one Pabst away from going the way of the dodo.)

But it was an interesting peek into the exhibitionist mindset of Real Worlders. I expected Randy to say, ”Dude, think of your future! You could be screwing up your chances of ever getting on a ‘Real World/Road Rules Challenge’! Do you want to toss away the possibility of ever calling Veronica a whore?”

But Frankie left, paraphrasing ”The Wizard of Oz,” saying that if you didn’t find happiness in your own backyard, then you’ve never known happiness at all. But when the Good Witch said it, she meant that Dorothy should appreciate the wonder of her own friends and family. When Frankie said it, it sounded like she was thrilled to have come to the realization that she can’t be happy anywhere. Thank goodness she never went to Oz, or she’d tell the Tin Man that he’ll never get a heart and to just give in to the rust.

Frankie was all prepped for the grand romantic gesture of surprising Dave at his Halloween concert by dressing up as the Goth Juliet to his Romeo. This after telling everyone that her departure had nothing to do with Dave; apparently it was motivated by her love for Shakespeare. The roomies hugged her goodbye at the airport, with Robin and Cameran showing the same emotion as if they were hugging their athlete’s foot goodbye.

The only one who seemed legitimately bummed was Jacquese, since he was Frankie’s closest confidante. I think what really saddened him was that he never got a chance to sneak up to her bedroom door and high-five others while Frankie was having sex. Now there will always be that asterisk next to his peeping-tom statistic.

After promising everyone that she would keep in touch, she waited a few days to finally call and tell Cameran how happy she was, and that she was just ”too punk rock” for ”The Real World.” Was this entire experience just an attempt to prove she was punk rock to the American viewing public? Because anyone truly punk rock wouldn’t have gone on this show in the first place… It’s like proving you don’t care about appearances by going on ”The Swan” and then bitching about your surgery. Long ago, Frankie said she was good at two things: being sad and running away. I’m just glad I finally got to see her demonstrate her skills at the latter.

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