Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Real World Brooklyn - The Premiere

This cast is more intelligent, ambitious and restrained when it comes to controlled substances than the classy folk we’ve been exposed to in recent seasons past. At least that’s what MTV wants us to believe about its Brooklyn cast. Do they fit this mold? I should consider watching more than one episode before I reach a conclusion, but I much prefer to make fast, crude judgments upon first meeting someone without giving them a chance to change my mind.

Sarah’s a pretty cliché San Franciscan, with her tattoos, Rihanna hair, and bisexual lifestyle. I know she wants to come off as the “edgy, out-there” member of the group, but when your predecessors include someone like Frankie in San Diego, who was terrified by the mere sight of boats, it’s hard to make an impression. I’m hoping she’ll have a little more to shock us with as the season progresses. A tattoo on her chest of her parents doing it, perhaps?

J.D. is gay and trains dolphins. I bet he wants to be granted the right to marry, too. The audacity.

Devon is a beauty queen from Kansas City. I'd like to say that's an accomplishment, but beauty in the middle states often means minimal meth scars and a decent dye job from Regis in the mall.

The most interesting thing about Baya is that her parents named her Baya. She’s one of two Salt Lake City residents in this cast. It’s like when Jamie and David from New Orleans were both from Chicago, except with a far more interesting city. Baya is a white chick with a passion for hip-hop. I can’t wait to see how she’s received at the B-boy auditions she’s sure to go on in NYC.

The Real World rolls out its first male-to-female transgender individual with Katelynn. We’ve gotten to see a female-to-male before with Johnny Bananas from Key West. Don’t act like you didn’t know. Kate comes to us from Montana, which I realize is not the state that gave us the Matthew Shepard tragedy, but it does border the state that gave us the Matthew tragedy. Make of that what you will.

The remainder of the cast members are best defined by how they reacted to the news that Katelynn used to be a boy.

Ryan is the first to pick up on Katelynn’s secret, and, surprisingly for a guy from Gettysburg, correctly identifies her as “transgender”. He completely blows our respect for him, however, when he addresses her as “it.” Ryan didn’t want the rest of the house to know that he served in the Army and went to Iraq for fear that they’d judge him for it, but he succeeds at frightening them and us well before divulging that he’s shot people. First, he got scary-wasted at a club and rocked out a little too hard to the live music. Second, he sang a poorly written song about life in Iraq to Chet like Raffi would sing to a child about bunnies. I’m hoping he was drunk when he scolded J.D. for taking Katelynn out to dinner to discuss being part of the LGBT community, but I’m honestly not so sure. Dude is frea-kay.

Scott, from the ‘burbs of Boston, insists that Katelynn is just a tomboy. Dude, if the Mormon guy from Salt Lake City is grasping the concept of transgender identity better than you, it’s not a good sign. I think the most we’ll get out of this guy is tips on how to tighten your buns to the point that children can bounce Smarties off of them.

Last and perhaps least is Chet, a cheap knock-off of Catholic Virgin Matt from the New Orleans season. Yes, his name is really Chet. His contact with anyone not heterosexual and Aryan has been limited, as he hails from Utah. He has had contact with himself (but not in that way! That's gross!) so he knows at least one gay person. Seriously, there’s nothing about this man that makes me doubt he was born gay. Fingers crossed that he’ll renounce Mormonism eventually and embrace the rainbow and his LGBT roomies.

During his sing-a-long with Ryan, Chet acknowledges the perception about his sexuality, and sings “"I may be metrosexual, but that's not a sin!” I’m not as bothered by the fact that he thinks homosexuality is a sin than I am by his v-neck sweater sans shirt underneath. That just ain’t right.

My projections for this season’s less-attractive-but-more-interesting cast is that they will learn that random shootings in Red Hook are not a valid concern, and that playing stickball in 2008 is stupid. This isn’t A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, kids.

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