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
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
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.
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,
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
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?
Archive > Television > The Real World > Season 11: Chicago