True Confessions

I have a confession to make.

I enjoy watching reality television -- especially really terrible reality television. The drama, the fights, the sex, the tears -- what can I say? I'm a voyeur. But it's become a chore to turn the television on every Wednesday and see what our least-favorite short-term Denver residents have been up to. I'm a little tired of watching them hit the same clubs and fight about the same issues. Episode 11 of Real World: Denver was a breath of fresh air; I felt as though the cast was actually learning some valuable life lessons. So the inanity in Episode 11 came as a particularly unpleasant return to reality.

In a nutshell: Stephen has a girlfriend back home, Mercii, and he "wants to be faithful" to her. (He says he's never watched the show before signing up, and I believe him, because if there's a Real World golden rule, it's this: Break up with your significant other before you move into the house.) Brooke and Davis are creeping everyone out with their flirtation, which has become extremely sexual in nature. Alex and Stephen go out and bring home some girls. Mercii calls while they're getting ready to have a hot-tub party. Stephen is somehow able to reconcile the fact that he's about to jump into hot water with girls -- who forgot their bathing suits, naturally -- with the fact that his girlfriend definitely would disapprove. He disdainfully calls the chicks "groupies" -- but then he and Alex proceed to instigate a hot-tub makeout session the likes of which we haven't seen since Episode One.

Here was my favorite quote from the hot tub: "I'm not feeling guilty," Stephen says. "It's a game. I'm not making out with them because I'm in love." I'm sure Mercii appreciates small distinctions like that one, Steve -- if you're not in love, then it's okay. In fact, given that logic, I'm not entirely sure why you didn't go ahead and fuck both of them in the guest room.

Tyrie, on the other hand, thinks it's nasty. I'm beginning to like his no-nonsense approach to life.

Meanwhile, Brooke doth protest too much that her flirtation with Davis is innocent and pure as the driven snow. She just likes to talk about being sexually frustrated; she doesn't really want to have sex. That girl is a walking contradiction.

And Davis continues the proud tradition of the gay-man-as-drama-queen-and-instigator, most recently played by Key West's Tyler. Stephen has asked Jenn to keep him in line for Mercii's sake; when Jenn calls him a cheater, he flips his shit. Jenn tells him he's being a little bitch and storms upstairs.

Enter Mister-Foot-in-Mouth, one of Alex's many diverse personalities. His advice to Stephen: "You have to look at her as a fragile thing. You take the most powerful thing that you can think of and you just crush her right there," he says. Alex suggests making fun of Jenn about her relationship with her father, or lack thereof.

Davis hears this exchange and runs upstairs to tell Jenn. I don't at all approve of what Alex has said -- father-daughter relationships are very special -- but this is just shit-stirring, pure and simple. Davis is seeing how much drama he can cause, and the answer is: a lot.

Jenn storms downstairs to confront Alex while Colie says to Davis, "You should not have told her that." "I shouldn't of?" replies Davis in a butter-wouldn't-melt-in-my-mouth tone.

Jenn's attack goes something like this: "I'm disgusted by you, you're a joke to society. How the fuck could you be so fucking cold-hearted." Alex protests that he never said such a thing and Jenn tells him she doesn't believe him and he's a fucking asshole. According to Tyrie, Davis is "using Mister Nonchalant." Oy.

Alex tells anyone who will listen, "She took it out of context." I'm not sure in which context that comment is acceptable, but whatever. Stephen, meanwhile, feels bad about this whole situation. "I think maybe I'm kind of soft, especially when it comes to women," Stephen says. I'm only going to point this out one more time, Stephen: Jesus was a man who is considered "soft" by today's standards, meaning Jesus was nice to pretty much everybody (except Satan and people selling goods in the church). Christian means "Christlike" ... you know what, nevermind. If you haven't yet understood why you are a big, fat, stinking hypocrite in your 22 years of life, an oversimplified explanation in a blog isn't gonna help you. Moving on.

Alex talks to his mom, who reassures him that as long as he's being himself, everything will be okay. He decides that the best time to talk to Jenn would be, naturally, when she's drunk as a skunk. I want the woods back.

Alex cries. Alex and Jenn make up. Jenn and Stephen resolve their shit with this exchange:

Jenn: "I love you and I'm sorry."

Stephen: "You're a good person."


Enter Episode 12. Brooke has "rolled" her ankle, which is swollen, and she is positive this means she can't go on the second Outward Bound excursion. No one buys this explanation; everyone concludes that Brooke is just trying to get out of doing something she doesn't like -- namely, being outside.

We learn that Colie has an ex back home whom she still speaks to occasionally. I have new respect for Colie; at least she understands the Real World golden rule. Adam (Outward Bound guy) is no longer allowed to talk to Colie, and she's upset about it. "They're all insinuating that we had crazy sex all day when I haven't even kissed him," Colie complains. I wonder if she remembers what she said to Alex when she first came down with mono -- no kissing, but otherwise, anything goes. I believe her, though; if she and Adam were having crazy sex, we would have seen some footage for sure.

Alex's esteemed opinion: Colie is helpless without a close relationship. His proof: She's flirted with her boyfriend, Adam and Alex himself. One could also conclude that Alex is helpless without a piece of ass ...

And look! There's Coors Field!

Brooke calls her dad, who tells her a sprained ankle isn't a big deal and she should still go on the trip. She decides to go to Rose Medical Center's urgent care, where they slap a brace on her ankle and tell her she's not allowed to hike or climb for seven days. She, as you might imagine, is thrilled.

Stephen has started bitching about being in the woods, too. I wonder what happened between his awe at the beauty of the Colorado mountains in all their natural glory, and his current disdain for camping -- girls in hot tubs, perhaps?

They go to Wild Oats to get food; Raleigh, another Outward Bound instructor, can't have any wheat, sugar or dairy, so they're spending more time than they'd like shopping for food. Brooke is sashaying around Wild Oats in her ankle brace and -- get this -- four-inch heels. I'm speechless, but Jenn summarizes my feelings well: "Brooke wants to be an actress, and she's just practicing."

Then the Wild Oats cashier lets Colie use the intercom. I think they should start a new policy at Wild Oats: Since they let one person use the pager, they should start allowing everyone who wants to use it have a go. That's only fair.

Adam quits Outward Bound and he and Colie stroll through La Piazza Dell'Arte in Larimer Square. Last year's Piazza was on June 17 and 18, which means we're only a couple of weeks into the cast's Denver residency. They've managed to do a lot in very little time, if we take as fact that MTV is running these episodes in chronological order.

Adam and Colie discuss their "relationship," and once Adam discovers that Colie's left an ex back home, he starts to pull out, so to speak. Colie tells him he can't weasel his way out of seeing her -- now why on Earth would she think he'd want to do that? She kisses him and he doesn't respond. "I'm not going to stop myself from doing whatever my heart feels like doing or whatever my vagina feels like doing," Colie states firmly. More than I needed to know.

The day the cast is supposed to return to nature, they wake up late. "Everyone in this house has been vomiting lately," complains Brooke, adding that she hates throwing up. I don't really know anyone who enjoys it...

When they get to their destination, Davis pukes on the ground. "Why are you throwing up?" Brooke demands, which might just be the stupidest question ever uttered on national television.

Chris sends Davis, Brooke, Colie and Stephen (who also says he's sick) to get checked out. Colie comes back with a clean bill of health and is stoked that she finally gets to do everything. Stephen and Davis are sick, and Brooke isn't supposed to be walking (I guess those heels probably weren't a great idea). Chris notes that it's unfortunate the group has to split up, but they won't lose much time and can catch up. Brooke tells Chris that she feels bad for not being able to participate, like a chump. I want to slap the girl -- lying isn't nice, especially lying to Saint Chris.

The three sickies head back to Denver. Jenn and Colie are calling them bitches: "I'm not surprised they're not here," Colie fumes. "They all said they weren't coming, and they're not here." The consensus: The sickies are pathetic. Can't argue with that.

Meanwhile, Brooke is gloating over her situation: "We're drinking in the hot tub while they're suffering." Stephen acknowledges that it's probably not the best plan to drink in the hot tub, seeing as he's sick and all that, but since when is Stephen a rational being?

Next week: Tyrie has a possible panic attack. I wonder if it was a bear or heights that provoked it... -- Amber Taufen

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts