Cross-dressing, lesbians and the American middle class: ‘The Real World,’ episode 2


Source: MTV

Jordan and Jessica argue about middle-class America on episode 2 of "The Real World: Portland."

Rohan Nadkarni, Online Sports Editor

Welcome to The Current’s “Real World” blog!

I’ve been watching the show religiously since middle school. And for good measure, my roommate Ryan Miller and I have combed the archives for the last two years to watch a disturbingly large number of old seasons (as well as many “Challenges”). So I’m warning you now, my “Real World” expertise really only spans the post-2000 era, and if you’re one of those people who “watched the show when it meant something in the mid-’90s and people were changing the world,” then stop reading this blog and go take care of your kids or something.

Hopefully you’re caught up on the first episode that aired over Spring Break, which meant you marinated in your own juices on the couch watching TV the whole day and couldn’t have missed it. Unless you were in Qatar or feeding homeless people on some Alternative Student Breaks trip, in which case, this probably isn’t your kind of blog.

The big takeaway from the second episode was Marlon’s anal sex revelation. The former Texas Tech football star casually revealed he was the only person in the group who’s tried the act, that it was with a male cheerleader and that he’s bisexual. It was refreshing to see everyone else in the cast accept Marlon’s confession. The whole moment was set up in an earlier conversation when two female roommates openly wondered “who the gay one” on the cast was. More on that in a second.

But first, maybe it’s the sports journalist in me, but did anyone else think it was a GIANT deal that a former football player from a Big 12 school had sex with a man? What if this happened with a current college athlete? I can’t imagine the reaction would be the same. Marlon’s confession was certainly a big step for him, and it’s cool he found solace in the gay community of Austin, Texas. I just immediately thought how while the country is awaiting its first major athlete to come out, we have Marlon, who just four years after finishing a solid, if unspectacular, career at Texas Tech, admitted to having anal sex with one of the school’s cheerleaders.

Jordan continued his quest to become a modern-day Bond villain by arguing with Jessica about how much money a family must make to be considered middle class. Not to pick on Jordan’s ability status, but he certainly earned the right to be treated for who he is instead of evoking sympathy with his unformed left hand, because he’s an unforgivable egomaniac. In picking on Jessica, who isn’t the brightest crayon in the box, Jordan revealed his propensity to argue, and Jessica deduced it must be a result of Jordan’s rough upbringing by an abusive father.

As for Jessica, it’s hard to come off poorly when you’re arguing with an irrational hothead, but damn, she’s really annoying. Her “I’m just not going to talk to him” and behind-the-back-middle-fingers defense mechanisms weren’t exactly the most clever comebacks.

The only enjoyable people on the show in the first two episodes are Johnny and Averey (and Averey’s dog, Daisy). Averey is attractive and clearly dealing with issues from a past breakup. Despite her promises not to fall in love, she sets her eyes on Johnny, the rugged hockey player from Massachusetts, who is so far seemingly the only decent-at-heart male to ever appear on the show. After a night on the town, Johnny and Averey bumped the buoy, escalating their relationship and leaving us to wonder if Johnny is the good guy he seems to be. Don’t let me down, bro!

Ignoring Anastasia’s dramatics and Joi’s — uh, was she in the episode? — whatever, let’s come back to Jordan. Jordan decided to hit a lesbian bar with Marlon, and then flirted with a cross-dressing man who kept buying Jordan drinks. Perhaps the roommates haven’t realized who “the gay one” is yet? And maybe Jordan’s intensity comes from his own insecurities or secrets. It’s certainly something to keep an eye on.

Ryan’s take:

Looks like we’ve got ourselves the ingredients for another great season. With no brawls or meltdowns, and only a minor argument (in “Real World” terms) to be seen in the first episode, I was a little worried this cast might be a little too normal. But luckily the second episode proved me wrong.

We see Jordan is the kind of person who is ready to pick a fight with anybody, the type of guy you’d hate to be around but love to watch on TV. Jessica turned out to be more outspoken than she originally let on, putting herself in Jordan’s line of crazy fire and holding her own. Somewhat.

I’m gunning for Averey and Johnny to be this season’s Tori and Brad, but I think I’d rather see Johnny and Marlon be the next Mike Mike and Leroy.

Daisy continued to be awesome.

That’s all for today. Check back next week after an episode in which MTV teased a cast member will leave the house!