Malik and Nicole are uncomfortable around each other. Oh no, not this
episode again! Malik stays cool with the help of his magic coping tobacky,
while Nicole becomes more and more agitated at his calm and begins shredding
her clothing. Or maybe she's knitting him a shroud, it's hard to tell
exactly what item is being tortured by her frenzied fingers. BMP's Official
Musical Irony Editor strikes gold with "I don't like anybody and I
don't care if they don't like me" while Nicole pouts off into space.
Nicole is so despondent over her inability to maintain any kind of human
relationship that she has become waaaaaaaaay too attached to the fish in
their aquarium. She's given them all their Wu-Tang names, and assaults them
with her affections for hours on end. In the confessional, she says that
"You have to talk to the fish! You have to sing to them. They need to
know that someone cares about them." Yeah, okay. If anyone sees Lori
warbling near their watery prison, however, please contact the ASPCA
Malik and Mike go to a restaurant and talk about being Children of
Divorce, and Malik trumps Mike's "my parents split up and stuff, and
sometimes they argued" with "my daddy stole everything of value in
our house when he left and we had to go on welfare." It's really a
drag, but hard to concentrate on since Malik has chosen to eat his entire
meal with the hood of his jacket pulled tightly around his face and huge
afro so he looks like a giant mushroom. Heh heh. Talking mushroom. I think
the pot fumes are seeping off him, right through my television screen.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the roommates take a poll, and it turns out
that every single one of them is a Child of Divorce. See? See what a broken
home produces? Parents, please get yourselves to a family counselor ASAP.
Mike mentions that his parents have been divorced "since I've been in
the 5th grade." He doesn't say exactly how LONG he's been in
the 5th grade, but let's hope that all the learnin' he's been
doin' in New York City will stimulate his thought processes enough so that
he can move on to 6th in the Fall.
Coral gives us one more reason to hate her, as we see that she is the one
responsible for that crappy corn-row 'do Malik's been sporting in random
scenes (thank you, editors) in the past couple of episodes. Malik should
never do this again. It's like when your Uncle Charlie shaves off his
mustache and beard after twenty years, and you can't even look him in the
face because his chin is embarassingly nude. Malik and Coral were talking
about something while she was braiding, but I don't know what it was because
I was mesmerized by the pornographic display of Malik's scalp. My timbers
were totally shivered.
Mike's parents are coming to town, and Mike's excited that the roommates
will have a chance to "see who brought me up and basically where I'm
coming from." Yup. I'm seein' it, but I'm not believin' it. Coral
thinks Mike's mom looks like a Dallas Cowgirl. Who says Coral isn't kind?
Kevin is the only one who accepts their invitation to dinner, and so he is
the only one to benefit from Dad's musings on race relations in Cleveland.
Dad: Cleveland is the most segregated city in the United States.
Kevin: That's too bad.
Oh boy, here we go.
Kevin: That's too bad that it's segregated.
Dad: Wh-guh-buh-guh--- No, it wasn't a BAD thing! The black mayor decided
that white people had too good an education, so he put the white people on
the East Side, and the black people on the West Side. Everyone thought that
would bring everyone closer together, but it didn't happen that way.
Okay. After recovering from shock at the discovery that segregation does
NOT bring people closer together, I did a quick search on Yahoo. Cleveland
is the FIFTH most segregated city in the U.S., and while I did find
information on Carl Stokes, the nation's first black mayor in a major city
(1967) I didn't find any mention of him or any other mayor actually picking
up whole families and putting them on whatever side of the city he thought
they belonged on. That's quite a feat, and it is woefully under-reported.
Dad: NOBODY got an education. [Ed. note: duh] Now we've got a
whole generation of bad, uh... people. They're all into drugs. I'm not
prejudiced [Ed. note: wait for it...] but I won't hire 'em in my
store. We can't trust 'em. They're going noplace. There's no room for
advancement for 'em.
Seriously, Dad is one S-M-R-T cookie. There's no arguing with that logic.
If you won't hire 'em, it's true, there's not much room for advancement for
'em. 'Em are pretty much screwed. Blow me, Dad.
While this freakshow is going on, Malik meets his dad's side of the
family for the first time, including the cutest grandma in the world,
Grandma Ruby. She's sporting almost the same poofy hairdo as her grandson,
which says a little something about genes vs. environment. She says that
Malik looks almost as good as her, and as we see them riding in the cab and
going out to dinner, it's apparent that she also shares his love for the
kind bud. She is toasted! Nobody smiles that much. Their conversation is
sort of benign and mercifully non-Mike-ish, as Malik's new family lists all
the other people he didn't know he was related to, including someone named
"Frilly" (who, presumably, could not attend due to yet another
In the phat pad, Nicole goes bonkers when her fishy soulmate, Puff Daddy,
gets his puff stuck in the air filter. Nicole roughly knocks him loose with
a net (don't turn off the pump for a minute or anything) and he swims away,
alive, but half as puffy as he was before. It's really gross.
Kevin and Mike walk back home from dinner, and they're talking about how
Mike is now going to REALLY pout up a storm when his buddies "drop the
N-bomb" but I didn't catch much of it because, again, someone just HAS
to be all freaky. During the entire conversation, Kevin pokes his head back
and forth like a deranged chicken. There's never any explanation for this.
Lori, you gave up way too easily, this boy is dreamy with a capital DREAM!
Puff Daddy the Fish is dead. Nicole and Rachel decide to give him a
ceremonious burial. In the potted plant at the bottom of the stairs. That's
gonna smell pretty good in a day or two. Nicole says that the fish are dying
because of a lack of love, but noooooooo..... it quickly becomes apparent
that they are dying because of entirely TOO MUCH love.
Nicole: Puff Daddy, you were more than just a fish to me! You were
everything to me! You were the BEST FISH, even better than Lauryn! You were
THE ONE! Puff Daddy! NOOOOOOO! TAKE MEEEEEEEE!!!!!
With that, she tries to bury herself in the potted plant, and you'd think
Rachel would be ready to help her by now, but she just stands there looking
dopey. Her only contribution is to rebuff Nicole's tearful embrace,
muttering, "Please don't touch me. You touched a dead fish." And
so, the Great Fishtank Saga concludes. If nothing else, we can be grateful
that Judd was not there to write a poem about it.
Malik has a few friends over to celebrate his birthday, and Mike gapes in
childlike wonder at their diversity. "Malik's friends are so
DIVERSE!" he bubbles. "I've never, like, seen such a crowd of
such... DIVERSITY... come together and just be so..." Okay, stop it.
Malik, I know you were just trying to be helpful, but please don't buy Mike
any more Word-a-Day calendars.
Nicole prowls around the perimeter of the festivities, but refuses to
join in when invited. She says she doesn't want to bring her negativity into
a room of happiness, as she'd rather send in long-range scowl-bombs while
remaining at a safe distance from the impact. She declines an invitation to
Malik's party at a nearby bar, but congratulates herself for saying
"Happy Birthday" to him. "I think that's big, because
normally I wouldn't say that to someone I don't like." Then she bursts
into tears as the "I don't like anybody" song plays again, because
she can't stand people always telling her about her negative qualities,
because it's hard to be positive when people are saying negative things to
you. And here is another one of many lessons to be learned from Real World
kids: When you pour shit all over people for a few months, and they respond
by asking you to please not pour shit all over them, it's probably best for
everyone if you focus on their reaction, crank your negativity up to 11, and
whatever you do, DON'T change your behavior. "The Tao of Nicole"
--- coming to booksellers near you in Spring 2002.
NEXT WEEK: Prepare for "Genesisisms" flashbacks, as somebody
invokes RW Code XXVII: "In Times of Boredom, Thou Shalt Put a Dumb
Inflammatory Paper Sign on the Wall."
Archive > Television > The Real World > Season 10: Back to New York