Jenn: I Drink, Therefore I Am

After six episodes of The Real World: Denver, we still haven't seen anyone do any work -- which makes me wonder if having them employed by Outward Bound was more of a liability than it was worth. This could also explain why the cast members have that nasty habit of not tipping their servers: When you only have enough money to drink yourself into oblivion, things like paying the people who bring those drinks to you become sort of, well, unimportant.

I mean, those servers are making $2.13 an hour already. What more do they want?

Okay, to summarize Episode 5: Tyrie wants some ass, and finds two options: Ashley and Jazalle. Ashley is a flight attendant and not in town all the time. Ashley's better-looking, but Jazalle is not ugly (according to Tyrie) and he feels he has something special with her.

Really, this episode should be titled "Tyrie Continues to Make an Ass of Himself and Prove He Has No Place in Polite Society." Through a twist of cruel fate, both Ashley and Jazalle want to meet Tyrie at Vinyl's Reggae on the Roof night. Tyrie sees a problem -- until he talks to Alex, who thinks it will be totally fine to meet them both at the same place on the same night. Why does anyone in the house listen to anything Alex has to say about love, sex, romance or anything that might involve intimacy? (Unless it's solo intimacy.) Out of all the roomates, Alex fucked up the fastest. If I were Tyrie, I might ask Alex what he thinks, too: Then I would do the opposite.

At Vinyl, Tyrie decides that what he has with Jazalle is really special and he invites her back to the house. Meanwhile, Stephen is being a "good wingman" dealing with Ashley, and he invites Ashley and her friend back to the house. (See where this is going?) Tyrie hears about this and is understandably flustered. He tells Stephen to tell Ashley that they have some kind of limit on the number of people allowed in. Ashley doesn't necessarily buy this, but Stephen reassures her: "He don't got nobody in the house, cause he was talking about you even when we was playing basketball." Stephen continues to act like a stand-up guy, a really good Christian in every sense of the word. As he explains it: "A good wingman never forgets the one simple rule: Bros before hos." That's really deep, Stephen, really deep.

Ashley stops by the house while Jazalle is inside. Tyrie spews some game at her. Ashley leaves. Tyrie spews more game at Jazalle. At this point I'm sitting there wondering if I've ever been taken in by such a transparent act. The answer is yes -- in high school.

Then Stephen, Davis and Alex go skiing. Actually, Stephen just rides the chairlift and praises Davis for not drinking anymore.

So Tyrie has pretty much hooked up with Jazalle. Thing is, Jazalle isn't exactly leaping out of her lingerie, and why else would Tyrie be hanging out with her? She doesn't want to move too quickly and tells Tyrie it will be four months before they have sex. Tyrie's response: "Of course I'm going to sit there and push for as much of it as I can." What a gentleman! He also says that what Jazalle says and what she means are two different things. I'm pretty sure that's called date rape -- hey, between Alex and Tyrie, this just might be the most date-rape friendly Real World ever! Well done, MTV!

Cut to the night of June 6, 2006, when everyone is gearing up to go out and celebrate, well, 6/6/06. Stephen, of course, is hesitant. The girls dress up, Davis puts on a mask and off to Public House they roll, where someone rags on Davis for wearing eyeliner and Tyrie does another one of his impressions of a crazy man. The eyeliner-haters are puny next to Tyrie and clearly cowed by his performance: "He's wearing fuckin' eyeliner, man." Still, the roommates get ready to leave, and then Tyrie runs into Jazalle. Jazalle expects Tyrie to stay. Tyrie wants to leave, being as he's afraid of staying in a situation where he could "possibly get hurt." Hmm ... maybe Tyrie sees a side of the scrawny white boys that we didn't?

Anyhoo, Tyrie goes off on his newfound love, they make up and make out in the video confessional, and we are left with yet another searing impression of how MTV must test IQs to make sure there's no more than one person per Real World season who is considered of even "average" intelligence.

Episode 6

We can call this episode "Jenn's Introduction to the Idea That Maybe She Drinks Just a Little Too Much." It opens with Jenn reminiscing about some of her bad behavior while drinking, most notably her hook-up with Alex. "I don't get drunk and have sex with people and don't remember it," she says, "so that's kinda scary." We agree, Jenn, but we'd say it's more than kinda scary.

Jenn has been having some issues in the house with -- who else? -- Tyrie. "I like Tyrie," she explains, "but he reminds me so much of my ex-boyfriend Doyle." Jenn has trouble dealing with Tyrie because she's projecting her past with Doyle onto her current experience with Tyrie. While drunk late one night (of course), she and Tyrie start brainstorming ways to get along better. "You respect me as a man and I will respect you as a woman," Tyrie suggests -- implying that there could be a difference between male and female respect. "As a person!" Jenn interjects. Wow, maybe the Raiderette has more brains than we gave her credit for. Tyrie amends his statement, and he and Jenn rant drunkenly that they are Bonnie and Clyde -- minus the romantic attachment, we'll assume.

There is some talk of getting a puppy -- but the major point seems to be showcasing just what a bigoted asshole Stephen can be. "I don't want a dog in this house," he says firmly. Fair enough, Stephen. But then: "Women have things mixed up." All women? Really? Well, shit. I thought I was doing pretty well with this whole "life" thing, but I guess Stephen thinks that I have things mixed up because I was born with two X chromosomes. Damn it! Stephen continues his rant: "I just think it's crazy, and I think they're really going to get this dog, and I'm going to hate it. Can we bring in a circus clown? What about a prostitute?" Hey, maybe prostitutes aren't as mixed up as regular women -- they don't need to be told what they're good for.

Stephen continues with his commentary, but at this point I'm starting to think that maybe this guy occupies an alternate reality. "Tyrie, Alex and I are very close," Stephen brags. "We are separating ourselves from the women in this house. It's the Frat versus the girls." The Frat is certainly an appropriate name -- but they seemed to be forgetting another Y chromosome in the house, Davis. Ooh, wait, he doesn't count cause he's a homosexual.

Moving on: Jenn makes what might just be the most obvious statement ever uttered on television: "I enjoy going out and I enjoy having shots." At Coyote Ugly, she dances on the bar and arranges for women to write "I am a bitch" on her male roommates with what appears to be permanent marker. Basically, Jenn has the reputation of being the Sloppy Drunk Girl. And it's moving beyond reputation.

Then the roommates get on a party bus. "I've been partying my whole life," says Jenn, "and I don't care if I go out and get drunk and fall on my face -- cool, laugh at me, I had a great time." On the party bus, someone calls Tyrie by the wrong first name and everyone starts talking about alternate names that start with "Ty." Jenn starts yelling about Tyson Beckford for reasons known only to herself.

"Jenn is a very straight-up person," Tyrie notes. "Sometimes, she's a bitch." This is one of those times, apparently, as Tyrie and Jenn are just winding each other up. If you've had siblings, you know how this plays out: Person A says something that pisses off Person B, Person B tries to retort but Person A won't stop talking, Person B starts talking louder, Person A raises voice to be heard over Person B. Things continue to escalate until a screaming match results, and Dad turns around and threatens to make you walk the rest of the way home.

This is kind of like that, only with grown-ups. Well, semi-grown-ups. Everyone else on the bus (the roommates plus two randoms) is staring at them, not knowing whether to cringe or laugh. When things escalate to the point of ridiculousness, Jenn tries to assault Tyrie, Stephen holds her back, Tyrie looks like an angry bull and wants everyone to let them go (so he and Jenn can duke it out? manly!), Davis is in between the two of them and Brooke looks like she's losing her mind.


The solution? Remove Jenn from the bus. Or, rather, stop the bus so she can stomp off with Alex. "I wanna go party," she says. What else is new? Then she begins to explain her behavior. "I wasn't just going to sit there and let someone talk to me crazy," she asserts. She thinks Tyrie is challenged by her because she's a female who will stand up to him -- and it's a damn shame that Jenn is such a mess, because I have to agree with her here. But then she says this: "Congratulations, bitch, welcome to the reality of life." And I'm thinking, "If she weren't on The Real World, would she have said, 'Welcome to the real world?'" This thought comes back later when Jenn repeats herself: "Welcome to the world of reality." Very distracting.

Meanwhile, pretty much everyone still on the bus is blaming this little incident on Jenn. According to Brooke, "Everyone is a little fed up with Jenn at this point. Her incessant drinking is not only affecting her, it's affecting her roommates, and I feel for Tyrie."

When they meet up back home, Jenn and Tyrie refuse to talk -- but Jenn does take the way-mature step of flipping him the bird every time his back is turned. "Don't judge me, don't evaluate me and don't tell me who the fuck I am," Jenn rages. Okay, psycho, we won't!

Cut to cleansing Colorado rain.

Cut to: Jenn talking to her sister, Michelle, on the phone about her problems with Tyrie. "My sister's told me a few different times that she thinks that I have a drinking problem," reveals Jenn. Her sister must be a genius. "I keep trying to avoid the reality that liquor abuse runs thick in my blood," she continues. "The chances of me being an alcoholic are higher." Actually, she probably already is an alcoholic. Here are some aspects of alcoholism that Jenn exhibits:

*She is in denial that she has any problems at all.

*She has failed to remember things she's done and conversations she's had while drinking -- she's blacked out.

*She is experiencing problems in her relationships with her roommates due to her alcohol consumption.

*Her tolerance gets increasingly higher because she won't stop drinking.

*Alcohol is a priority in her life.

And the blood is still bad between Jenn and Tyrie: "I'm damn sure not going to apologize for being me," Tyrie says. Meanwhile, Jenn is still trying to justify her behavior, this time to Brooke. Basically, Jenn only goes out and parties because she is single and all her friends are hooked up with boyfriends. And, she adds, she doesn't go out every night. "I'm only out four nights a week," she says. "I'm also out Sunday, Monday, all the other days, too, but I might just grab an appetizer and a beer," she concludes, apparently not realizing that she just contradicted herself.

"Yeah, that's scary," replies Brooke.

"I drink to get drunk," Jenn moans, "and I didn't used to be like that."

Meanwhile, she goes out and gets drunk again. At a club, she starts telling some random people about Tyrie. "He's a good guy, but ..."

And by the way: For a Raiderette, Jenn sure is a terrible dancer, especially when she's drunk.

The other roommates think it's possible that Jenn just never learned her limits. Stephen and Alex try to bring Jenn home. Alex, ever the brainy one, decides to start swinging Jenn around when they get outside. (Honestly, has this guy ever seen a drunk person before? You wouldn't think so.) She, of course, eats shit and falls into a bunch of girls like a bowling ball scoring a strike.

The next day, Jenn finally admits she might have a drinking problem. "I just want to find out how to have fun without getting drunk," she says. Tall order, but we'll see if she can swing it. Davis is very proud of her for wanting to change, and Jenn uses her momentum to apologize to Tyrie. She explains that she didn't see Tyrie on the party bus, she saw her ex.

Tyrie is all forgiveness. (I guess it's a good thing that the one person in the house who gets infuriated most easily is also the most forgiving.) He asks Jenn to just tell him that she's "having a Doyle moment" if it happens again, and he promises he will back off. Hugs, love and sunshine return to the world.

Next week: Colie in the hospital!! And Brooke says she was in the ghetto, Tyrie goes off on her (surprise, surprise), and she has her seasonal wig-out moment, screaming that she hates the house. Sure to be good.

Still to come: Tallied scores for our Real World drinking game. The F-bombs have been flying and it will require a couple of viewings to record them all. In the meantime, let's hope the cast members get some work so that they can tip their servers. -- Amber Taufen

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun