Lacey alienates the other housemates with her musical purism; later, Nehemiah nearly gets in a bar brawl
The Real World: Austin (Season 16)

”The Real World”: Battle of the bands

Every so often, a Real World house gangs up on one of their own. I assumed that if this happened in Austin, the odd one out would be a strong personality like Rachel or Nehemiah. Not so, said the crafty MTV producers, who just whipped out one of their classic ”Who knew she was a total bitch? Everyone! You just never saw it!” episodes. Suddenly Lacey, who until now has been quiet except for a few snarky remarks here and there, emerged as the front-runner for house outcast with her performance as the Little Elitist That Could…Not Get Invited to Chipotle.

As the housemates were looking for a band to profile for their documentary, Lacey complained that the current pop-music scene is ”all anorexic boys squeezing into little jeans and getting girls’ haircuts and singing about…girls.” Hmm. This is funny for two reasons. First, she’s kind of right. I also find it hard to buy delicate men singing about women probably not as pretty as them. It’s rather mysterious, which is partly why I think it works. More important, though, this is funny because there’s been ample evidence that Lacey is pro-androgynous hairstyles, pro-thinness, and pro-denim. (Not to mention pro-MTV. Oh, snap!)

Danny pretty much slammed the ball out of the park (or, to use a Real World: Austin metaphor, forced the black guy out of the crowded cowboy bar) when he suggested that in wanting so badly to avoid cliché, Lacey is a cliché herself. Check out the big brain on Dan! He certainly does keep it well hidden under his headwear.

The thing is, I respect and understand Lacey’s attitude toward music. She considers herself the only likely candidate to bring a ”different” type of band to the table, and she’s probably right. I just wish she wouldn’t criticize and manipulate other people in the process.

She must have known that when she imitated Danny’s accent and suggested that he’s stupid, it would air on the show. Or that the white lies she told about Nehemiah’s band selections would make their way back to him, specifically in a setting where the other six roommates would suck down oversize burritos and talk about her. Couldn’t Lacey suck it up and eat with everyone else? They’d probably let her sneak in some more authentic Tex-Mex grub, the kind of burritos that were inspired from within to become burritos and don’t care ”how big they get or how much they sell.” Or maybe she’s anorexic! That would be so meta.

(Side note: Speaking of meta, did anyone else find it hard to concentrate on the roommates’ arguments about which music to showcase when really it was up to MTV which CD jackets to show on screen and which song names to scrawl out in Real World white-chalk print? The scene where Paul Stekler made a strong case for Hello Goodbye out of the blue is particularly suspect.)

It seemed Lacey wanted to get caught being a bitch, as if she thought her behind-the-scenes machinations would ultimately compel everyone else to break free of their stereotypical shells and wander into a pure, glimmering anti-cliché clearing. They would see the light, relinquish their cool hats and Urban Outfitters fake-vintage T-shirts, and revel in a sexless orgy set to Enon and DMBQ. News flash: This is MTV. It’s not gonna happen. More likely, the producers will develop an inside joke between them and the American public, whereby each time Lacey is on screen, they’ll play the Killers, particularly that line about a girlfriend looking like a boyfriend. I mean, what’s up with that line, anyway?

Lacey wasn’t the only roommate who woke up on the wrong side of the indoor pool. Nehemiah’s bar brawl didn’t come close to what the promos suggested (imagine that), but he did knock around a few guys and even some girls while being steered away from the incident. Neh seemed almost as hysterical as Rachel did last week during, coincidentally, a fight of suspicious origin involving Neh. He does get props for apologizing the morning after his blowup to the elusive Wren and her friend Lindsey, both of whom for some reason found it necessary to keep grabbing Neh when he was really pissed off. They must have shared the herd mentality of what seemed like hundreds of other kids parading down Sixth Street after Neh and the cameras. Ugh. Gross.

In other news, Mel was as nonexistent as last week, Rachel endured some ”bad dubbing,” Wes pontificated, unconvincingly, about life, Jo snacked and pretended to know of a band Lacey mentioned, and Danny overcame being ”computer retahded” and seemed well on his way to being crowned Miss Congeniality.

What do you think? Did Lacey get an unfair portrayal this week? Do you miss the Melinda-Danny romance? And will Neh step it up and fulfill every film student’s dream…of having a groupie drawer?

The Real World: Austin
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