On ''The Real World,'' after spending weeks talking trash about Rachel and the other roommates, Lacey is finally caught on tape

By Annie Barrett
Updated October 11, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Real World: Austin

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”The Real World”: Lacey’s fighting words

I’m guessing a lot of you don’t even tune in anymore. You might be onto something! Here are some crucial facts about this week: Johanna wore headbands. Mel had big boobs. Wes was Wes. Nehemiah was mean. Most of Lacey’s lines were ”Shuuut uuup.” Coincidentally, so were mine to the TV screen. Danny swore a lot. A ten-year-old played a banjo in the desert. And Rachel and the precious basketball machine both took a severe beating.

Wait. To be exact, the basketball machine took a ”whale dive” and Rachel took 300 steps backward on the My Self-Esteem chart she may as well have tacked onto the common-room wall, because Lacey, the same one who just called her a whale, also implied that she found her disgusting. Austin! Awesome.

The episode centered around Lacey and her lying, gossiping, backstabbing, anti-everything ways. I liked how the producers saved a bunch of choice Lacey Lines from the whole season and dumped them into a brief chunk of this show. She was way off on the remark about Wes thinking he’s the ugly boy in the house. He really has no clue that this is the case. But annoying as she is, Lacey did make a valid point when she complained (to Danny, of all people) that ”it’s not that our roommates are super stupid, but they’re definitely not at the prime of their intelligence.” That’s actually a nice way of putting something that’s been completely obvious from day one. I just wonder if Lacey thought she was at the prime of her intelligence when she said, ”I cannot figure out why my roommates think I talk about them.”

Maybe it’s because the show’s producers are shamelessly, yet deliciously, setting her up! When Rachel started editing tape, the first scene she saw wasn’t, you know, footage they shot of the bands they’re covering; instead, the tape happened to open with a clip of Lacey being all nasty and Lacey-ish about Rachel. Then there was the quasi-deliberate ”slip” from lead singer Forrest after HelloGoodBye’s interview. I was hoping to hear the stock chirping-crickets sound effect after Forrest quite eloquently told Melindanny and Rachel that Lacey was ”talking smack on you guys’ bigs.” (Note the apostrophe I had to put on the word ”guys.” Yes, he really did say it that way.)

What I really wanted was to watch Rachel, Danny, and Wes search two square miles of a ”primitive backpacking” campsite for four errant young men who collectively might weigh less than Mel. All that desperation on Rachel’s part, all of Wes and Danny’s useless complaining about how awful the search would be — it was all a tease! The trio inexplicably drove straight home, only to complain to the band on the phone minutes later that they drove all the way out there, and were late, but they were there! Did Rachel expect, like, extra credit points added to a grade of F? This conversation was just mind-boggling.

Hey, Mel, if Danny said he was gonna jump off a cliff, would you do it too? Apparently, yes. (Stop cheering, they’re still alive.)

The buildup to the Rachel-Lacey confrontation was a bit too much, considering their actual exchange was neither productive nor exciting. All that darting back and forth between what Wes and Johanna thought Lacey would say and what Lacey actually said was funny, but I was expecting a bigger showdown than a conversation that ended with Rachel saying, ”I just need to drop it.” Oh, and just in case we didn’t quite catch what was going on in the editing room after the footage of Lacey trashing Rachel behind her back was shown, Wes stepped up and laid it out for us: ”Lacey was caught red-handed [pause], on videotape [pause], talking trash behind Rachel’s back.” It took him about 30 seconds to drone it all out. Thanks, Wes. How are babies made?

I was a little disappointed at the way Rachel just let the whole thing go, almost as if she deserved the verbal smackdown. If Lacey had insulted anyone else, I think some serious drama would have gone down. Then again, what could the roommates do to Lacey? Not invite her to Chipotle and the Dizzy Rooster? She never goes out. Take away her phone privileges? She’d just monopolize the computer on some Sanctimonious Vampires chat room, and they’d still never see her. Continuing to ignore her won’t be much fun, though, at least for us. Just wait until she’s on the group vacation without all of her spyware technology….

What do you think? Will Lacey take it too far next week? Was Neh really joking about making that Mike dude go home? And what’s a worse loss for the show, Rachel’s dignity or the basketball machine?

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