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Hot Tub Confidential: The Girl Can`t Help It!
The Real World Season 11: Chicago - Episode 24



By Weezie
7/10/2002

The finale opens with the usual sweeping shots of phallic skyscrapers, racing traffic and amorous pigeons that just scream out "CHICAGO, CHICAGO, what a wonderful town!" Now that we have been reminded we're in Chicago, we get the expository (although it feels more like suppository) montage of the roomies preparing for their exodus. First we see Tonya, feverishly packing, which lets us know that she's ready to get the hell out of there. Next we see Keri, beaming and unfolding a map. Huh? Whatever, this was probably a shot from the first episode. Next, Cara is sitting on the thing-that-looks-like-a-couch but is really art, man, next to some stranger with a guitar. Wha-- JUMP CUT to Kyle molding his hair with grim determination. Okay, I admit that last bit actually was an effective bit of videojournalism, because that's really all one needs to know about Kyle.

Tonya confessionalizes (hey, if RW kids can make up words, then so can I) that she is removing herself from the house emotionally, and that they've all "gone to each other's events and done everything we're supposed to do and now it's wrap-up time." Yeah, the BMP afficionado's spidey-sense is tingling at this point --- there's a fight a-brewin', but whatever can the matter be?

Aneesa's low-rise-pants-and-high-rise-thonged ass looms as she berates Tonya for packing too early. Tonya says, "It's not that big of a deal." Now Tonya is one person we can actually believe when she says she never watched earlier seasons, because anyone who has knows that on the Real World, EVERYTHING IS THAT BIG OF A DEAL. In the confessional, Aneesa fumes about Tonya packing so fast and letting everyone know she's ready to leave, like, now. Because... "What ARE we to you, then?" I dunno, Aneesa, maybe a bunch of assholes who can't come up with any better endorsement of her than "As much as I love Tonya, I can't stand her"? A pack of rabid, angry wolves who don't let her get five feet from the door before they start cackling about her boob job? The Walla Walla Kidney Stone Tabernacle Choir? This whole "I hate that bitch, and the worst thing about her is that she won't get close enough to me for me to punch her in the face" drama is really giving me unpleasant flashbacks. To almost every other season. Bleah.

Back in the living room, Cara is singing a song with her new best friend, Pete Seeger, Jr. A young man with a guitar and a dream. He doesn't really talk much, so we can all console ourselves with the notion that he MIGHT be from a non-English-speaking country, which might help us get through the lyrics to his song. Closed captioning was really not much help to me at this point --- what follows is my very best guess.

I was born to my mama's side
Giving birth to tater pie
Raising Heaven down to Earth
And that'll make a sadder side of my life...
You say "Hold my hand" and I held it
I'll sing your tears away...

"What the fuck?" doesn't even begin to cover the wild cacophany of thoughts going through the mind of the listener. Kyle and Theo look on in wonder.

Cara says at this point that she's planning to move to L.A. to pursue her dreams by auditioning... for "things." Hmmmm... When I was a kid watching Charlie's Angels, noticing how they often re-used bit players who would turn up alternately as "sassy diner waitress" and "hooker with a heart of gold" and "female truck-driving-school-owner," and then never be seen again on screens big or small, I'd often wonder if those actors thought that was how their careers would play out when they were idealistic youngsters. If we have nothing else to thank BMP for, at least we have this interesting peek at the "before" phase of a never-was.

Cara gets herself all in a tizzy because she is going to sing this song and others at The Unbearable Grind, a local coffeehouse that is "our Central Perk." I had to ruminate over that for a long time before I realized that yes, I DID know what that was a reference to, and it was a reference to "Friends." So that was TWO shameful, unpleasant discoveries within a few seconds, courtesy of my pal Cara. Watch your back in dark alleys, Cara.

A breezy, carefree note ("Whutup y'all, come to my debizzut!") posted on every available surface in the loft alerts the roommates to the profound gravity of the need for full attendance at Cara's performance. Cara bubbles that it looks like all the roommates will be there, and Kyle talks about how totally INSANE it would be for a roommate not to go, ESPECIALLY when it's their last night there, and..... oh, Lord, I'm tired. You all know the drill. Blah blah blah, BMP foreshadowing, gratuitous use of the word "irony," blah blah blah.

Blah.

Chris and Tonya jump in the van to the (missing) strains of the "Mission Impossible" theme. These two wascawwy wabbits are going to go work out instead of going to Cara's performance. Tonya asserts that she's not going to feel bad about missing it, before they even get to the gym. "I'm just going to say we got stuck..." she schemes, obviously knowing that they won't get back in time. They leave a voicemail for Cara saying they're going to try to get done in time to catch the performance. Tonya's eyes dart back and forth and up and down as she comes up with the excuses she's going to use later for something she already knows she's going to do, while her backtracking voiceover says that Cara already has all the support she needs with the other roommates and her sisters there. In a confessional clip, Tonya says, "What more do you need?" Lick lips. Blink. Blink. Yeah.

Now we cut to the coffeehouse, and another of Mystery Matt's Musical Atrocities, which we don't learn the name of, but which I like to call "Please Drive Railroad Spikes Into My Ears With a Large Hammer." It is a truth universally acknowledged, that any song that starts off with "Love like a warm summer's day" is a very, very bad song. Cara stares at Matt with a blazing intensity as he sings solo, no doubt thinking, "Why is he singing and playing his guitar instead of fucking me? I am really hurt by this rejection." Her musings are cut short when it's time for her to chime in with the harmony. Finally, their hours of practice pay off --- amateur vocalists who can't maintain their voice without gulping for breath usually offset each other by gasping at alternating moments, but Cara and Matt have learned to perfectly synchronize their air-sucking as a glaring, awkward tribute to the DIY indie musicians of the world.

More "music" happens:

Sadness is in your eyes
I shall sing a lullaby
For to say goodbye
I'll keep our memories in a box
When I'm lonely I'll unlock
For to think of your smiles

These stirring lyrics bring Aneesa and Keri to tears, as well as the entire audience, most likely. Cara's emotions swell also, as she expertly grips the mike, bringing it dangerously close to the Fellatio Zone. Bzzzzzzzt!  In the confessional, Cara points out that she wasn't upset about Chris and Tonya missing her performance as much as she was upset because it was their last night in town. Even though they DID show up for dinner for their last night in town and only missed her performance. She punctuates this statement with the familiar "Cara nod," that jerking head-bobbing which many have attributed to lack of sustenance or heavy medication. Tonight, however, the real nature of the "Cara nod" is revealed --- Cara nods her head at the end of statements that she knows are complete bullshit, as if to hypnotize the audience with a visual clue of intense sincerity. For example: "Tonight I finally achieved closure with Ali." (nod, nod, nod, for real, youreyesaregettingveryheavy, it'stotallytrue, repeatafterme, justacceptit, justacceptit)

Suddenly we're at Maggiano's® (owned by Brinker's International®, overlords of Chili's®, Macaroni Grill®, On The Border®, Cozymel's®, eatZi's® and Corner Bakery®). It seems meaningful moments absolutely cannot happen in the BMP world without massive corporate sponsorship. Cara® tells Chris® and Tonya® that she doesn't want to hold a grudge (nod, nod, nod) but she was really disappointed that they didn't come to hear her sing. Chris apologizes, but Tonya says, "Well, I'm not going to feel bad about it."

Seething with rage, Cara drags Aneesa to a remote area of the restaurant and proceeds to give Tonya a stern talking-to... except, you know, she's talking to Aneesa. She gets all up in the face that would be Tonya's if she weren't talking to Aneesa, saying sassy stuff like "There were times that I stayed in the hospital! With you! BITCH!" Cara does a jitterbug, screaming, "HOLD ME BACK! HOLD ME BACK!" as disturbed patrons wish someone would hold her back, or down, or anything.  Flush with the sense of closure she's just achieved with not-Tonya, she stomps back to the table and demands that Tonya switch seats with Aneesa, so she doesn't even have to sit next to the bitch she just didn't ream out. Tonya refuses to move, saying Cara is acting like a child. Cara shoots back, "I don't think I'm acting like a child!" while a confessional clip shows her saying, "It was admittably immature." Grrrrr! Way to make me remember another "Friends" reference, Cara. "Supposably... Did they go to the zoo? Supposably!" In the confessional, Tonya nails Cara for purposefully doing something she knows will hurt Tonya --- rejecting her. Never mind that Cara is doing this in retaliation for Tonya blowing off Cara's performance, this is all about people being cruel to Tonya! And she's a foster kid! And, um, kidney stones! Are you sobbing yet?

Eventually, Tonya moves. In voiceover, Kyle applauds Cara, saying, "The new bad-ass Cara turns to Tonya and says, 'I don't want to sit next to you, move!' Damn right, Cara! Way to go!" as we see him rubbing Tonya's back as she takes her new seat next to him. Coming soon to a message board near you: Kyle's lengthy post about how he can't understand why Tonya didn't realize how much he despised her at that moment.

As the roomies dine on international upscale fast food, Cara is suddenly overwhelmed by a feeling of forgiveness. "To forgiveness... on this night," she says, glancing at Tonya meaningfully and forgivingly. (nod, nod, nod) Aneesa raises a glass to "six wonderful, wonderful people" as Tonya glances around, counting, "Waitaminnit, 1-2-3-4-5-6, HEY! That DOES include me!" and lifts her glass as well. Clink!

Back at the loft, everyone is packing, and Tonya doodles Justin's name and hearts and horsies and unicorns on every box. You see, Tonya has learned how to pack and leave, because she is a foster kid. She is used to packing. She was the one who never unpacked her boxes until she was a sophomore in high school. And that, my friends, is the very last mundane item of everyday life that Tonya will somehow connect to her tragic upbringing. For this season, anyway. A moment of silence, please......... okay. She talks to Justin on the phone, and we know this because the production team helpfully draws an arrow to the phone with the word "Justin" at the end of it. Mystery solved! Tonya complains about the shallow, faux-emotional, long, drawn-out hugs being passed around in the house. Clearly, Tonya is a very ignorant person. She is quite ignorant of the fact that bigshot Hollywood producers spend every waking moment poring over RW episodes watching for huge emotional outbursts of unknown origin emitted from bland, fidgety cookie-cutter automatons. "Holy crap, that kid's got moxie!" many a Tinseltown bigwig has sputtered past the long ago burnt-out cigar clamped between his lips, whilst watching the Ten-Spot. But what does Tonya know, anyway? She also seems to think that the lesson to be learned from this experience is that she's destined to marry Justin, who by all reports dumped her ass shortly after viewing a few of the RW episodes (but still allows her to live with him, because after all, she IS a foster kid).

Hey! Aneesa and Cara are packing, too! Aneesa says, "I'll help you move yours if you'll help me move mine," to which Cara responds, "Oh yeah, we TOTALLY will!" (nod, nod, nod) "Let's get in the hot tub!"

And thus, the current RW cast engages in the time-honored tradition of ending a season with some ridiculous "Questions Game" that is supposed to heal all wounds, or at least pretend the old wounds never happened, and everyone really loves everyone. If this takes place in a hot tub, everyone gets double points! This version goes something like, "Look to the person on your immediate left... no, your other left... okay, THIS side, watch my hand... and tell them something that you admire about them." Cara admires how Theo was able to absolutely FLOOR HER with all the things he could do! (Shots of Theo drawing with a crayon and staring at stuff.) Theo says some laudatory crap about Aneesa, which prompts her to marvel that Theo is the same person as her, but without tits (way to go, Theo!) and that he's such a gentleman. (Shot of Theo taking it up the ass from Aneesa on the dance floor.) Tonya admires Keri because... everyone just FLOORED HER when they came to see her in the hospital. In voiceover, Tonya tells us that it was wonderful that she got so sick during her stay in Chicago, so her roommates could see her with her defenses down - "crying, angry, hurt... the REAL ME." You know, when Tonya gets her Playboy spread (it's inevitable, just resign yourself to it now) her stat sheet is going to be a real thrill. "Turn-ons: Misery, disease, fraud, naive computer geeks, hypochondria. Turn-offs: Happiness, black people (ugh!), private detectives, lie detectors." So, in summation, this is what Tonya admires about Keri, that she was one of the people who witnessed Tonya doubling over in pain, both mental and physical, due to the foster home stuff and the kidney whatnots. Keri has the unfortunate task of reporting what she admires about Kyle. "What I admire about Kyle is... um... you know... he's been a... very good friend... to all of us." We never get to hear what Aneesa admires about Tonya, or what Kyle admires about Cara, although we ARE treated to a tidy wrap-up of the Kyle-Keri relationshit, which is that each of them totally regrets having anything to do with the other. Kyle classes up his version of it by denouncing "everything romantic and flirtatious that ever happened between she and I," in true Holly-n-Chadwick style. Remember this, kids. If you want to sound smart and sophisticated, ALWAYS refer to yourself as "I" with absolutely no regard to low-class concerns such as object and subject.

Hot tub scene ends! Cara, who has for some reason been chosen as the voice of the season, moans that she'll be really sad to see this family say goodbye. (nod, nod, nod)

The Morning of the Best Day of Our Lives. Delivery persons arrive with a particularly nasty-looking hot breakfast, from "Roscoe's Rennets and Ribs." One of the delivery boys tells the roomies that the meal is compliments of their bosses. "We have orange juice, and---" he starts, but is interrupted in a very classy way by Kyle, who announces "You guys, it's from Lara and Kim!" It's just as well that the poor deliveryman doesn't get to finish listing out the breakfast items, because from the looks of things, they'd never eat it if they knew what it was.

After some riotous good times diving face-first into the hideous breakfast, it's time to leave. In the elevator on the way down, Cara puts a candy necklace on Keri's neck. On the street, Cara and Keri proclaim their love for each other, which is "bigger than the universe" but apparently not bigger than Kyle's big fat square head. Each roommate takes turns pretending to playfully bite off pieces of Keri's candy necklace while actually desperately chewing on her carotid artery, and Keri motions Kyle over to take a nibble. Oh, Keri, couldn't you even go the last five minutes without a last-ditch attempt to win back Kyle's heart? She boards the El, yammering in voiceover about her newfound independence while Kyle looks on behind thick black shades and does his very best Terminator impersonation. "What... is... human... emotion?"

Tonya makes a valiant effort to pout when she spies her taxi waiting to whisk her away to Justin, as Cara, in a confessional scene, says, "Tonya, I'm so sorry for everything that's happened to you in your past. I think you have a wonderful heart and a wonderful soul..." (Head down, mumbling) "Idon'tknowifyouandIshouldevertalkagain... UM!" Now, you may think that this is a stupid, overdone comedy bit, and that the next line will be "But seriously, folks, I kid! I kid because I love." But no. Cara grimaces and smirks and rolls her eyes and screws up her mouth to one side, and try as I might, I couldn't see an edit. Damn! That's harsh. As Tonya prepares to get in her taxi, Kyle hugs her and says, "Go... go to your man, go to him!" You see, Cara is not the only one striving for "Grocery Store Cashier #2" fame.

Next up on the chopping block are Chris and Theo. Kyle crushes Chris in a bear hug and proclaims, "I'm so proud of our friendship." This is a rare moment of wisdom on Kyle's part, because it is difficult to kick someone in the nuts when they have you trapped in a bear hug. As Chris and Theo attempt to drive away, Kyle leaps upon the hood and then back down. Anyone who has any silly notions at this point that Theo isn't a bad guy is sure to see their folly as he squanders this golden opportunity and drives off, rather than stomping on the gas and making a Kyle waffle with the grill of the RW minivan. "Hey, lego my ego!"

Cara and Aneesa sit on either side of Kyle as he waits for his train. Kyle and Aneesa clasp hands, and the camera pans down for an unsettling shot reminiscent of the Naked Gun ads that spoofed the pottery scene from Ghost. Two pairs of hands, wait, no, suddenly another pair of hands sneaks in! Kyle takes his last stab at beating out Hawaii Matt for All-Time RW Condescending Care Bear, telling Cara and Aneesa to "be careful, you with men and you with women." In a confessional scene, Cara says, "I think Kyle's time here just reaffirmed his love for Nicole." (nod, nod, nod) As his train pulls away, Cara jabs Aneesa in the chest and says, "A little part of my heart is on that train." Ah! Not content with "Cranky Desk Clerk," Cara clearly has her sights set on "Dedicated Substitute Teacher" on Episode 931 of "7th Heaven."

Aneesa is the last to leave Cara, quirky yet loveable antihero, alone in the big city. Cara cups Aneesa's face in her hands, coos meaningless "you go, girl" crap at her, kisses her fingers and points to the place in eternity where the baseball of their love will go when she knocks it out of the park, as the last train to Nowheresville speeds Aneesa from her life.

So now there's nothing left but for Cara Crap, Superstar, Voice of a Generation, to give her final thoughts on each of her roommates.

Theo, it seems, is a "dichotomy of drive, and focus, and party animal, and womanizer." That's actually something like a quadrotomy, but whatevah.

Tonya is a "hardcore bitch," as well as a "compassionate, loving listener."

Aneesa is "an amazing woman," which is irrefutable, given the video evidence of her straightening one of her roommates' hair.

Keri is a "Southern belle, debutante, man-izing she-man." Couldn't have said it better myself. Well, yes I could have, but I don't want to.

Kyle is something, something, blah blah blah, "bullshit."

Chris, apparently, does not exist.

It's not quite the Miz rampage of last season, but Cara is definitely in the spotlight in the final moments of RW Chicago. As she wraps things up, Cara hauls out all the sitcom-ready quirky charm she has in her arsenal, just in case some network exec might be watching. It becomes painfully obvious that Cara fancies herself the next Ally McBeal.

"I mean I, I, I, I guess I, I grew up! I grew up in, in my time in Chicago. I, I realized that I'm much more independent than I ever realized."

So, the Chicago cast may never be more than a blip on the pop culture radar, but we can at least recognize their tireless efforts to shake up the English language with their alternate definitions of words and stuff. Seriously, this is important and stuff. When you challenge the meanings of words, you throw off the shackles placed on you by the establishment. And stuff. Within ten years, perhaps none of us will be able to remember what "closure" used to mean. Or "empowerment." Or "independent." Or phrases like "I don't care." Or terms such as "eating disorder." Or "homophobic." Or "love." Or "growing." Or "up." Or "classy." Or "entertainment." Wait, what was I talking about?

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