These weekly posts are intended as an episode-by-episode guide to the many psychological ailments, drunken gibberish, senseless actions, Bourbon Street mixed drinks and other embarrassments on MTV's The Real World: New Orleans.
It contains spoilers — and who cares? You stopped watching this show several years ago — but also a lot of information that might help viewers of the series come to terms with their outrage over the cast's cultural vandalism of New Orleans (and what was once a really lovely Uptown house), and also the bleak, black future of our society.
The emotional trauma caused by the show admittedly makes such coverage an overwhelming task, so posts may be supplemented by information culled from Wikipedia, WebMD and un-scientific polls of nearby Gambit staffers. Readers are also encouraged to submit any comments that may help us make sense of this wreckage.
The beginning of the end. Before our characters sold themselves to MTV and the peripheral pop culture fame that comes with it, they had lives. Real, normal lives where perhaps they were fairly well-liked in their hometowns and had a manageable number of Facebook friends. But that's all about to change, which is why footage of their pre-Real World lives makes me so sad. Here we have Knight, who tells us in his thick midwestern accent that "he and his boys are playin' some puck right now" (that means "hockey" in Wisconsinese). One day he'll revisit this footage and watch it over and over again, wishing so desperately to go back there. Things were good back then. Before the contractual obligation to appear on at least 10 seasons of The Real World/Road Rules Challenge. Before the night terrors. Fortunately, Knight already has a pain pill addiction. He has a head start in all of this.
"Jemmye" is pronounced Jem-ee. Good to know.
Kermit Ruffins. Kermit, what are you doing on this show? You achieved national fame in a respectable manner on Treme, and now you're there with the house fish tank and the "BIG ASS BEERS TO GO" sign as fodder shown in between scenes. Get out while you still can, Kermit. At this point we'll never get inside Vaughn's Vaughan's (SORRY!).
The 700-800 block of Decatur Street. This is the part of the French Quarter where you can have beignets at Cafe du Monde. It's where you can play chess with a homeless guy, or pay someone to let you use their giant telescope to stare at the sun. It's where you can purchase some delicious pralines. But it's not the best place for eating real food. Jemmye and Preston succumbed to one of those guys — you know, the ones paid to stand outside restaurants and demand you eat this plate of food that's displayed under saran wrap — and actually ate in one of those tourist traps. Hey, Jemmye: Bet I can tell you where you got those shoes.
The Twofer. Preston satisfies two Real World stock character requirements by being both black and gay.
Krewe du Vieux. It is, according to Preston, "this raunchy parade where they throw penises ... you can't take your children to it."
Speaking of parades, the Carnival season officially starts Jan. 6, the Twelfth Night or feast of Epiphany, and lasts until the day before Ash Wednesday. The cast members seemed to have a little trouble with that one.
Mardi Gras beads. For locals, Mardi Gras beads are kind of a nuisance. You know how after you go to the beach, even if just for a little while, sand somehow turns up in your shoes and bags and around your house for several months after and you can't get rid of it? That's how Mardi Gras beads are. Unless you find something crafty or useful to do with them, beads are pretty worthless and annoying outside the context of Carnival. Yet, there's a certain kind of tourist who sees acquiring beads as worthy a goal as achieving the American Dream — and they will stop at nothing to get them, even if it's nowhere near Mardi Gras time. The Real World: New Orleans cast consists of those people. Before leaving for New Orleans, Mississippi native Jemmye, when her mom said that the experience could perhaps lead to her meeting a guy, said "I'm not lookin' fer a relationship — I'm lookin' fer BEADS!" And in that obligatory scene when the cast members first arrive to the house, run around and yell for a while, Preston shouted "LOOK AT ALL THESE BEADS!," admiring this lovely entryway. These people are the reason why you never go to Bourbon Street.
Bourbon Cowboy and Oz. Both of these establishments are kept in business by bachelorette parties. The former of which is because of its famous mechanical bull, which Jemmye rides and flashes everyone (this post is all about Jemmye, isn't it?). Oz is Bourbon Street's gay bar mecca, where women feel safe and secure dancing with wild abandon because no creepster guys will hit on them. An exception is made for Ryan, the straight guy who goes to well-known gay bars and gets uncomfortable when some dude tries to buy him a drink.
I just saw someone I went to school with. Cool!
Jell-O shots. Popular at fraternity parties, these Everclear and gelatin creations are sold in long, glass beakers for about $25 on Bourbon Street. They are sold by girls who are probably Loyola or Tulane students who are just doing this to make a little extra money, OK?
-Jemmye has a "va-jay-jay tattoo," and is likely a stripper.
-Ryan, of toilet-toothbrush-gate fame, is completely unbearable. He's already managed to piss off everyone in the house: he yelled at McKenzie for drinking, he called Jemmye trailer trash and said that her outfit was "gonna get her raped," he made fun of Knight's name (understandably), he already had a 4 a.m. blowout fight with Preston, and one time he ate at the restaurant where my roommate works and was a jerk. Take cues from former cast members and let your crazy reveal itself over time, Ryan. Don't let it all out at once. Can we vote him out of this house?
-Everyone else is completely boring. This is gonna be a tough season to get through.