I sat through the whole hour of The Real World: Brooklyn premiere last night. (Plus some of the After Show.) It was surprisingly better than I'd feared it would! And, ugh, surprisingly worse.
We got to briefly go home with each cast member, to all the respective burrows and glens and hollows they crawled out of, chasing some blinding camera light that enticed them all their lives, hovering just beyond the reaches of their dim existences. Until now.
There was rumply Ryan, a jokester with a secret dark back story about fighting in the desert war, and all the rage and terror that comes attendant with that hellish experience. He's also an idiot smalltown prick. But we'll get to that later. There's Katelynn, the most worrisome and pitiful cast member, a post-op male-to-female transgendered woman who was just three weeks out of recovery when the show began taping. She's nice and shy and sexually daring and seems a bit like a witless sheep led to the slaughter. Considering two of her roommates are such magnificent jackasses about her particular circumstances. The other prick—a worse, far more malevolent presence than the aw-shucks dopery of Ryan—is our friend Chet, the blonde Mormon hipster fuck who we previously thought would just be a cute "watch him get laid!" character but instead swiftly revealed himself to be a creepy, prurient, lecherous asshole. I don't care if he's gay (he probably is), straight (he probably hates women), or whatever. He's just an unrelenting bag of dicks.
The other roommates seem fine for the most part. I was surprised to really like JD, the gay dolphin trainer from Miami. We'd previously ragged on him for maybe dating Anderson Cooper and stuff (although, is that really teasing?) but on this episode he mostly came across as an articulate, kind, intelligent person who doesn't put up with shit from anyone (see: table Hulk smash in preview of upcoming episodes.) Devyn is just a dopey beauty queen with a crush on the boring but nice Scott the Bodybuilder. Baya the dancer seems fine, and Sarah the tatooed reformed lesbian seems kind of cool one minute, then really way too into the idea of being on the show the next.
Basically the episode revolved first around the meet and greets, of which the only real moments of note were Scott saying "she's cute but um... not my type" when he met Katelynn, and Chet, having hung out with Devyn for about twenty minute, saying "OK, let's get personal... What did you think of me when you first saw me?" Because he's completely obsessed with his heinous, stupid self and hopefully will get a lesson that his little hipster party boy with filthy, sex-starved ultra-religious insides shtick may serve him well in Salt Lake, but here in Brooklyn they will beat a fucker down for such behavior. (That is also something to note! Every time they mentioned Brooklyn or played a song about Brooklyn they used, well, a lot of black dudes shouting "Brooklyn!!" Which is all well and good, that kind of Bed-Stuy braggadocio is certainly a significant part of popular, visible Brooklyn culture. But I hope they switch it up sometimes. To like a bunch of Lubevitch from Midwood singing "Brooklyn!" or some old Polish ladies from Greenpoint or a Chinese guy from Sunset Park or a nice Italian girl from Bensonhurst. If we're going to stereotype and noveltize, let's get everyone in the pot.) For the record, Devyn thought he was gay because he was wearing a purple shirt. Nice.
The other major segment was the poke-it-with-a-stick antics of the tittering Ryan and the leering, skin-crawling Chet when they figured out, through no admission on Katelynn's part mind you, that she was in fact transgendered. (This was mostly JD's doing. Not so cool there.) "She touched my nipple!" Chet tweeted at one point, referring to an extremely brief friendly tap Katelynn gave him in the hottub (of course these people went in the hottub right away, their Real World chips flipped on the minute they landed in New York). Ryan was just rude and unfunny, making loud wisecracks about her underwear and treating her like she was a circus freak. Seemingly completely unaware that she was, in fact, an actual fucking person who was living in the same place as him and that he couldn't just discuss her openly like she was some kind of odd, misplaced piece of furniture.
The boys basically continued like that the entire episode, speculating disgustedly about who was gay—it was a peculiar, telling obsession of both of theirs. In Ryan's case I'm guessing it has something to do with his time in the military—I'm sure that kind of coiled, prickly suspicion and curiosity can easily seep into that primarily young male environment. In Chet's case I think he's just a lustful motherfucker who can't reconcile his raging desire to have dirty, rough sex with a man (or a man dressed up as a woman, perhaps) with his ridiculous, hateful, magic-book religion. Or maybe that's just how he wants it to seem. He's also cold and calculating and, by his own admission, trying to get a job at MTV. The more conflicted his character, he may figure, the better his chances of sticking out.
I'm rambling and this isn't funny, I know. But it was just a really shitty parade of dumbassedness and gay panic and all of that wicked stuff last night. Chet kept blabbing about it to everyone (Scott, admirably, took him to task for talking about people behind their back) and then Ryan and Chet, in ludicrous fashion, took JD aside—who had kindly, if a bit self-importantly, invited Katelynn to dinner with him in Manhattan so they could have the queer convo—and acted dumb and dumber, culminating with Ryan referring to Katelynn as "It." JD came across looking a bit like a self-righteous shit in that scene too, mostly because all three of these yutzes were talking about Katelynn like she was a child. Sigh.
So I dunno. Poor Katelynn is in the glass case right now, while the two monkey idiots dance around her and hoot and throw banana peels. I think there's hope for Ryan. But Chet is a gross little shitbrick who needs a good lesson in comeuppance.
There was surprisingly little shitfacery, only Ryan at a fist-pumpy concert venue. Maybe this season really will be different. Also Devyn has a crush on Scott, Sarah is sweet but a bit too let's-have-an-important-convo-for-the-cameras, and Baya didn't really do much. She'll probably sleep with Ryan.
Oh and the house is yet another gorgeous/tacky display, this one perched swooningly on a rocky pier overlooking the New York Harbor, accommodating Brooklyn-themed bedrooms, a large, Crunch-sponsored gym, and basically completely see-through showers. It's fancy and ridiculous and I'm sure it would get annoying to live in after about a week.
Hopefully unlike the show itself. I hate to admit it, but I'm guiltily intrigued so far.