On ''The Real World,'' Danny returns to the house from his mother's funeral and immediately gets involved in alcohol-fueled nonsense with Melinda and the others
The Real World: Austin (Season 16)

”The Real World”: Back to the bars

Hey, guess what! Danny’s back! Anyone surprised? Me neither. Even though I thought the quality of the show got considerably higher during his time away, I was happy to see the poor dude, and his hat, lumbering up the steps again.

But wait! Lest you forget that this show is all about her, Melinda offered some explanation: ”He’s gonna be a part of our family here again, and my heart doesn’t have to break now.” Aww. It was so cute of Mel to assure us that everything (with her) would be okay again. Apparently, when Danny was in Boston, he had been relegated to dirty-second-cousin status, but now that he and the hat are back, let the drinking resume!

Too bad, then, that the group’s alcoholic night out seemed like absolutely no fun for anyone. Lacey didn’t even show up. Rachel bailed after one drink. Wes and Neh rolled their eyes at the female roommates’ existence while pretending to have game. And Mel got the ice-cold shoulder from Danny, who probably didn’t mean to hurt her but never offered an explanation for his behavior. He didn’t seem like he even wanted to be out in the first place.

On the way to the bar, Danny went on and on about loving Mel to death. He even (perhaps accidentally…or maybe there are no accidents) suggested he might want to marry her. But Wes, for seemingly no reason other than to make sure he has a reliable drinking buddy (which is reasonable enough, at least on this show), kept laying into Danny about how he might be missing what else is out there. What, like, more Internet cheerleaders? Variations on last week’s Megan? Of course they’re out there, but Danny’s clearly into Melinda right now. I’m not saying they’re perfect together, but it should really be up to the two of them, not Wes. Dude, go back to bed.

The night culminated with a money shot of Danny carrying bare-assed Melinda to the toilet and back, then telling Nehemiah that Mel’s passing out made him like her even more. Wes and Johanna started fighting again, even though it meant that Jo had to break her rule of not speaking to Wes for a couple of weeks. She really is another person when she’s hammered. The striking difference between her dramatic booze-soaked performances and her monotone, sober interviews is pretty hilarious. It’s almost like there are eight people in the house.

Actually, maybe nine, if we want to count the stuffed rabbit that Wes was filmed stroking by Nehemiah. The ”portrait” Neh shot of Wes sleeping all day was great, especially when edited to include a voice-over of Wes saying he wanted to be a lawyer ” ’cause I like to argue.” Yes, he does. We didn’t get to see much of the other videos, but they seemed pretty true to life — Mel dancing on a bed, Rachel talking about Iraq and then saying, ”I hate talking about that.” Uh-huh. The group also got led down to the basement and into their new editing room, which is large and organized and full of technology that freaked Danny out. This room must be right next to the Diet Pepsi and tequila storage facility.

By the morning after the night from hell, Melindanny had managed to patch things up, and all it took was Danny opening up a little and Mel vomiting up a lot. Yay. The pair shared a tender moment: Danny talked about still blaming himself for his mother’s death, and Mel was very supportive, even though she later told on him in the confessional for ”not grieving properly.” She probably didn’t mean for it to come out that way. She seems to be the only one Danny will really talk to, so it’s good that they have each other. And alcohol.

What do you think? Should Wes and Johanna go back to not speaking? Should they all just throw in the towel and go to AA? And was Danny’s mistreatment of Mel due to his grieving or his wanting to play the field?

The Real World: Austin
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