Like an ocean breeze mingling with the scent of cheap fajitas, last night the Real World: Cancun swept into our lives. Not with a bang or a whimper, but some strange harmony in between. Yes, I said harmony!

I mean at this point we've set the bar of expectation so low for these kids that if a cast manages to survive the first night and maybe gurgle out a few American English words to the camera before collapsing in a heap of their own vomit and bedsheets, we pretty much consider them winners. Yes, last season was MTV's ruminative chamber piece Brooklyn, but for the most part the Real World has been a parade of bloat and toolery. So a Cancun-set season seemed to promise the worst there ever could be. A city devoted to drinking, devoid all else, overrun by sombreros and kids from worthless colleges all sweating and furiously fist-pumping and dreaming of nothing but the here and now. It's a futureless, featureless place, so we assume that the MTV kids will sink into the void, lost in obliteration, to the atomic tests of history.

And they will! Oh surely they will. They just didn't last night. No instead we had pleasant meet-and-greets between the eight victims, all of them bright-eyed and chipmunk'd, their insides queasy with possibility. There's Mork and Mindy, two waiters who know each other because they both work at the Cadillac Ranch All American Bar & Grill in Tempe, AZ. Yes, the Cadillac Ranch All American Bar & Grill. As in the six-time James Beard Award-winning Cadillac Ranch All American Bar & Grill. Anyway. Mork is a homosexual, so he'll probably be plagued with alcohol problems and wildness, as is the one of two functions for gays on the Real World (the other being a disappearing act, like poor Simon in Paris). Mindy has a piercing in her finger that signifies her undying love for her boyfriend.

There's Emilee, a brown beauty from Boston who went to UMass and works at Hooters. She's dull and emotionally plain, as are so many brown haired girls from UMass. But underneath there somewhere hides a troubled temptress, a coiled, dithering serpent waiting to wend its way around the best piece of meat. That piece of meat would be CJ, a footballin' beau-hunk who shall heretofore be known in these recaps as Binky. Binky has a cauliflower tuft of springy blonde hair and a papercut streak of backwoods Florida in his voice that hints at hidden seediness. Speaking of hidden seediness! Meet Joey, the tattooed and faux-punked-out rocker boi who's the cutest of the bunch but also the most precarious. He reminds me a bit of the poor late Frankie from San Diego, with his raspy rocker attitude and well-worn sense of abandon. He didn't do anything cray-zay this episode, but I worry he will. Or he'll be the surprise of the season and will just turn in a likable, unerratic performance and will then disappear back into obscurity, bypassing all the challenges.

Someone sure to show up on the challenges is Bronne, a fluke worm of a fellow with a little curling Cheshire Cat grin. He seems kind, embracing the gay fellow without a hint of "Ewww" (actually everyone was really good about that, so kudos to MTV for not deliberately placing an abject homophobe in the group), but he also seems a bit gross. He was a nude model for art classes! Ewwwwww!

There are two other girls, Jasmine and Ayiiiiiiiia, and they are fast friends. Jasmine is small, feisty, and from Texas and will throw shit in an episode or two. Ayiiiiiiiia won a contest to be on the show so the roommates will always slightly look down on her because she didn't realize her Real World dream in the proper way. She's like people who backdoor their way into Columbia (ahem, ahem Kelly Bensimon).

So, all these kids met at a restaurant and they talked about the obligatory: Who's Single? Who's Gay? Who's Drunk? Who's Punk? Who's A Virgin? Etc. and etc. until we all fell asleep, bored of these tropes. Next season they should cast a bunch of weirdos who've never even heard of the show. Then we could get a whole fresh start, rather than the well-trod "OMG NICE HOUSESEEESESEESE" shriek when the door is opened (in this case it's a two-level suite in a chintzy beachside resort hotel) and the requisite First Night Out that involves freak dancin' and someone saying "So we were all just havin' a good time..." And they were all just havin' a good time, except for Joey the Rocker who passed out in bed, snoring softly like an inked kitten. And that was it. Everyone came home, fairly lucid. Mork and Bronne made a sangawich and chatted in the kitchen. Everyone else went to bed. WTF? Isn't this MOTHERFUCKIN' CANCUN???? Shouldn't someone have died? I mean they have a balcony for fuck's sake!!

Other things that happened:

Mindy's piercing boyfriend sent her an email stating all thing things about her that he missed:

Can you read that? It says romantic things like "your butt" and "the way you talk dirty". We live in a beautiful world.

Binky got his hair in cornrows. Binky got his hair in cornrows and everyone tried not to laugh. Binky also spooned with Emilee, who's developing a crush, and then Binky told his trashy girlfriend on the phone ("ain't there no couches you can sleep on?"), and then Binky wrote a long email basically breaking up with the girlfriend for getting upset about the spooning and then read it aloud to everyone. "Four Scores and seven beers ago..." It was a declamatory moment.

At the second night of the clurrb, things got a little more rowdy. Joey the Rocker met a girl named Courtnee the Rocker and they sucked mug and eventually bumped uglies while snickering Ayiiiiia and Jasmine snuck into the room and watched. Oh how darling! Also at the clurrb? Weirdo, nerd-o Bronne totally made out with Courtnee the Rockers MOMZ. Old ass lady lookin' like Sharon Osborne with her purple chunky hair and wrinkly-assed old face. Bronne didn't really provide an explanation for why that happened. Basically he's a total creeper and a lurking weirdo and we should all be aware of where he is at all times.

So that was the episode. Nothing earth-shattering. Just some dumb kids yelling "Hola amigo!!!" really loudly whenever they entered their hotelhouse. Just some dumb kids pounding a few drinks and talking about sex and talking about how they are Different and about Hooters (Joey the Rocker gave Emilee the Dumb shit for working there, so she got sad. She also got sad that she broke up Binky and Danielle. Oh well.) Just some dumb kids parasailing off into the primes of their lives, blissfully unaware of any cloud that awaits them. And there are indeed clouds that await them.

They didn't notice them, not then. They were too busy standing and taking pictures on the deck. Mork made margaritas, mesmerized and jazzed by the whir-whir-whir of the blender, by the electric tingle in his bones. Emilee pushed the big hurting down and smiled and sipped her drink and let the ocean breeze surround her. Some others danced, some others laughed. Binky felt free and untethered, all of a sudden. Florida was a long way away. Joey the Rocker could still taste the salt of Courtnee, still feel the thump of rattling club base. But behind there, did you see them?

There lurking on the Western edge of the azure-orange sky. There above some other resort, casting a pall on Senor Frog's. There chilling the sunbathers and blotting out joy like the Nothing. There were the clouds, those whispering water-filled Langoliers. There were the things that would eat them and beat them and leave them for dead. There was all that would go wrong, tumbling toward them.

But for now it was just a deck, just kids, just drinks. The horizon they thought, where the sea dipped and sky ran down to greet it, there was a smile. A thin seam of a grin.

And they foolishly trusted it. They figured it friendly, and danced on, oblivious.