On Top of the World

Brooke redeemed herself. Kinda.

I'm back after a week's vacation from both the real world and The Real World. I could say I missed it -- but that would be a lie. Still, it was good to see some of the kids growing up a little bit. Kind of.

Episode 25 revealed some of the biggest surprises of the season. For example: Alex can be trusted with a camp full of adolescent females. And Brooke might be a big whiny baby, but she's still capable of rappelling down a cliff, dammit.

When the girls arrive at camp, Saint Chris officially welcomes them. He warns them that the course won't be easy, but he wants them to remain open and "be the person who you want to be when you're faced with these challenges." A couple of the girls smirk.

They go over the plan for tomorrow: Turtle Rock and climbing techniques. "Rappelling requires height, and I'm completely scared of heights," Brooke says. The girls ask where to go to the bathroom. "Anywhere, just not next to the tent," Davis tells them, although he probably doesn't need to explain that to a sixteen-year-old -- just to Brooke.

Getting ready for the rappelling section of the course, Brooke is nervous. "The last thing I want is to be, like, a problem," she says. I have trouble believing this statement. Brooke feels a sense of pressure in terms of setting a positive example; she knows if she decides not to do the rappel, it's going to look bad. She tells Lori, another Outward Bound instructor, that Chris "is adamant about me trying it, and I'm adamant about the fact that I'm not comfortable."

Because heaven forbid Brooke suffer a little discomfort from time to time. That would be just like, you know, life.

Jenn tells Brooke that her fears are all in Brooke's head. "My main objective today is not to let Brooke walk down," Jenn tells the camera. One by one, the teens from New Orleans make their way down the cliff. "How the hell did they get so brave?" Brooke wants to know. "Seeing these little girls rappel and me being just completely freaked out about it just makes me feel terrible."

The time comes from Brooke to take her turn. Chris assures her nothing will happen to her while Jenn snaps pictures. Brooke starts over the edge but can't take the final step that'll start her rappel down. "You were right there," Chris tells her. Brooke starts sobbing. "I didn't want to do this in front of them," she wails. Violin music plays. Brooke is a failure.

Commercial break!

When we come back, Brooke is apologizing to the kids and telling Chris that rappelling is one of her biggest fears. "I truly believe that once you get to the bottom, those fears are going to go away," he responds. "But I'm not going to force you."

She wants to do it. She gets ready. Chris says he's proud of her. The onlooking teens appear to think Brooke is a complete idiot. No arguments here.

Brooke FINALLY makes it down. "I definitely am more proud of myself than I've been in a long time," she says, "and I DO have what it takes, which I never really believed before."

Meanwhile, Colie's had a mono relapse and has to go home. She's upset, but her health comes first; she says goodbye to the girls, telling them to challenge themselves and have fun.

Stephen and Brooke lead the girls to the high camp as it starts storming. "I want to talk about lightning," Chris says in a calm voice, and he explains the lightning drill.

"I am terrified of lightning," Brooke says, but she has to stay brave for the girls. Is there anything she’s not afraid of, I wonder? Heights make me a little nervous, I'll admit, but there are only about three things that really frighten me: Snakes (a remnant of a traumatic childhood incident), war -- especially nuclear war -- and George W. Bush. Lightning doesn't make the list. But then again, I'm not a pansy like Brooke. I hope.

One of the girls starts panicking a little bit. "Ashley is not breathing, and I’m really getting freaked out," Stephen says. Chris takes Ashley on his back and starts down the mountain. "He's just moving like lightning," Stephen says. "Chris is gone, so now it's Brooke and I, and we're scared." Surprise, surprise.

"It's going to be okay," Brooke tries to reassure them. "I think Brooke is doing a phenomenal job," Stephen says, and he doesn’t know if she'd be that way if she hadn't done the rappel.

Chris comes back, tells them Ashley will be fine, they get packed up and head out.

Chirs and Brooke discuss the incident. "A lot of time, it's just a matter of keeping calm, and I think you did a good job," Chris tells them. Brooke keeping calm?! Outward Bound does work miracles!

Day four in the mountains, they go on the big climb. Jenn and Tyrie are proud of the girls. In fact, everyone is proud of everyone else. Aw.

On day five, everyone gets ready to leave. Brooke says she has a different attitude about life now, and she doesn't want to ever forget what she's learned. "It's been life-changing," she says. Uh, that's what everyone's been trying to tell you all along, Brooke. Way to clean the shit out of your ears and listen for a change.

Chris sits down to talk to everyone. "I really feel with each of you that we've developed a friendship," he tells them. "This experience has taught me not to live in fear," Brooke gushes. "This has completely changed my life." We can only hope.

Tyrie feels it's been beneficial, but he wants to go home and take a shower. At least he's honest. "I truly hope that we can take some of the cohesiveness that we have out here, and multiply it and use it back home," he tells everyone. Fat chance.

Chris tells them they've been working hard (huh? More like hardly working ...), so they'll get rewarded with a trip. They find out on Tuesday where they're going. Everyone hugs Chris and they prepare to head back down the mountain.

Before Episode 26 starts, MTV offers what has got to be the lamest "blooper reel" EVER. It basically involves nose-picking, falling down and farting, and lasts about a minute. Riveting stuff.

At the beginning of Episode 26, they get back to the house. Colie's on antibiotics but not contagious. "Hot Justin called me today," she gushes. "He's online; I can show you a picture." Ooh, can you?

"I think I just like to meet guys, and I like to get to know them and talk to them," Colie explains. "I've been called a serial dater before, and I think that I totally am." Let's review: Alex. Corey. Adam. Now Justin. Yep, serial dater, all right. At least she's aware.

"That was a cool course," Alex says to Colie. "I almost cried, like, thirty times." Aw, did Mister Emo get the sniffles?

"Alex and I aren't going to hook up anymore," Colie declares. She doesn't understand her relationship with Alex. That makes about a billion of us.

Garland, Davis' sister, calls -- she and Davis' mom are coming to Denver. He and his mom haven't really talked lately. He's glad they're coming; they have some things to straighten out about his gayness. "For her, this was sort of like a death in the family," Davis explains, since she had to revamp her expectations for her son's life.

I have little sympathy for parents who plan out their kid's lives and then throw a freak-out party when the kid -- gasp! -- doesn't want to do what the parents want for the kid. I don't think I'm going to like Davis' mom. At all. But it explains a lot about why Davis is so goddamn fucked up.

Meanwhile, Adam -- Outward Bound, crunchy-granola Adam -- comes over to hang out with Colie. They hold hands and walk through LoDo. Sitting at a table in a restaurant, they get drunk; Colie's chewing gum and she looks just like a cow. I can see why some people say gum-chewing is unattractive -- when you're doing it like Colie does it, then you're definitely losing hotness points by the second.

Colie and Adam get back to the house and jump in the hot tub to make out. "I want you to sleep over," she says. "I just want you to stay." Adam's not down, though. "He doesn't sleep over when I ask him to," Colie complains in the confessional, "and I just feel like we're not vibing." My guess? Adam can tell Colie's a playa, but for some reason he still got involved with her, and now he's trying not to go too fast. But I don't think Colie knows the meaning of "too fast."

But here's how she rationalizes it: This relationship isn't working for her, and it's making it harder for her to move on, meet someone and decide if she wants to be in a relationship.

Meanwhile, the other roommates are out carousing. "The first thing you lose when you drink si the ability to reason," Alex notes sagely. Duh. When he gets back to the house, he and Colie are hanging out. He falls down on the ground and she tells him she's going to his bed and wants to know if he's coming. "I'm horny," she declares, "and I'm going to hook up with Alex."

Should I even ask what happened to her determination NOT to hook up with Alex anymore? Probably not.

"I'm a very talented girl," Colie tells Alex in his bed, and there are things he doesn't know about. Like what, I wonder? Is she going to put Altoids in her mouth or something super-kinky like that? I somehow doubt that Colie's been visiting the Enclave and learning new tricks that might literally blow his socks off. And I'm right -- she apparently gives Alex a blowjob and they fall asleep. Oral sex -- how very risque!

Alex wakes up the next morning and sees Colie. He doesn't know if he forgot something and they had sex, but he slowly starts piecing things together.

Tyrie walks up to him. "Hey, man, Colie's not here," he tells Alex, then sees the look on his face. "You son of a bitch!" he adds. He starts laughing at Colie, still snuggled up in Alex's bed. "I hate y'all both," he declares. "I do."

Despite his propensity to restrain women without their consent, Tyrie is still in the running for my favorite roommate.

In the pool, Davis starts asking some awkward questions. "She gave me head," Alex admits. Davis proclaims himself "really shocked." I'm having trouble understanding why, but ...

In the meantime, Davis has received a long e-mail from his mother, discussing Jesus and Davis' gayness. "I don't think it's, like, malicious," Alex weighs in. "She's having a hard time dealing with changing her expectations for her son's life."

It's time for the travel representative to come give them their tickets to Vacation Land. "Wherever we go, I'm gonna be the biggest slut ever," Alex says. I believe it. Colie will get a boyfriend, she says. I DON'T believe that.

The representative comes and they're going to Thailand. Frankly, I can't wait to see how this vacation is gonna play out. I can just see Alex hooking up with a lady boy and not figuring it out until things get steamy. Brooke, of course, is scared; she doesn't know anything about Thailand. In fact, she gets confused between Thailand and Taiwan.

That night out at the club, Colie discovers that everyone knows about her, ahem, "talents." She's upset that Alex can't keep his business to himself. What, after she woke up in his bed for all the house to see? This girl is delusional.

"I don't want to sleep alone," Colie explains, trying to make herself sound like not-a-slut. Then she tells a story that explains exactly why she's so goddamn dependent on a relationship. When she was nine years old, her parents left her alone for the first time at night, and she was convinced they were gone forever. Parents, take note: DO NOT wait until your child is almost in double-digits to start re-establishing a life of your own. They could end up like Colie.

"I need a man, I need to move on, this is enough," she says about Alex. I absolutely hate these "need-a-man" women. Pathetic much? I have a boyfriend, and he's fantastic, but he had to drag me kicking and screaming out of the single life. To get a quality man, you must first stop spending all your time pining for a relationship. That's a cardinal rule.

Justin is at the club, and he is "hands-down one of the hottest guys I've ever seen." Personally, I go more for personality, sense of humor, decency, honesty and respect -- but whatever floats your boat. She's wasted. She brings Justin back to the house.

"Alex, like, he can watch me and he can get jealous cause that's what he does best," Colie says. Davis, charitably, thinks that Colie brought Justin home because she thinks he's really hot and not to make Alex jealous.

The next morning, Justin is there. "I don't like hearing other people have sex," Brooke says. "It's kind of too much." I'd have to agree.

"There's a lot of physicality in the relationship between Justin and I," Colie says, "but I can definitely see that there's something more," says Colie. Sure. Whatever.

After Justin leaves, she sits down to breakfast with the roommates. "So how cute was Justin, cause he's a model," she says. Seriously, I think Colie is passing up Brooke as the Most Annoying Roommate. "I'm only 22 years old, I can do whatever the fuck I wanna do," Colie slurs. I think she's still drunk from the night before.

Davis goes to pick his mom up at the airport and takes them to the house. His mom thinks he's been saying bad stuff about her to his roommates. I'm already predisposed to dislike this woman, but she's starting to get as bad as Colie on the self-centered front. Davis explains that he's only told them she has a problem with his sexual orientation because of her religion.

"I'm not religious," she responds. Um, okay. That's why you send pages-long e-mails about Jesus. Makes perfect sense.

The house is gross, though; Mom steps in some pizza. But she likes the way it's decorated. They go shopping and Davis gets a digital camera for his birthday.

He drops them off at the hotel with a promise to call at 9 a.m. the next morning. The roommates go to Hush and Davis is celebrating his birthday by making out with pretty much every female present. Next thing you know, he's passed out at the computer with his boxers down. "He was stroking it," my watching companion says. I have to agree, and wonder if it was gay or straight porn -- not because I care, but because I'm interested to know whether Davis' guilt outweighs his orientation.

Long story short, Mom doesn't get the phone call till 11. She lectures him, disappointed because she and Garland came out just to see Davis, and he's being irresponsible. "Everything is about choices," she drones. Hey, has she been watching the Own Your C ads?

Davis comes to a very mature realization: He can't change his mom. He can only change how he interacts with her. So maybe he shouldn't be getting wasted and making out with boys in her vicinity. Although if I were Davis, I just would have said, "Mom, I'm sorry I'm late calling you, but I sucked face with about twenty different women last night and I am simply exhausted." As far as I know, there's nothing in the Bible that prohibits swapping spit with multiple persons of the opposite sex in one night ... -- Amber Taufen

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Amber Taufen has been writing about people, places and things in Denver since 2005. She works as an editor, writer, and production and process guru out of her home office in the foothills.
Contact: Amber Taufen