Fun fact: Sometimes our hearts are total garbage! They make us fall for trash people. To quote Seattle pop punk poet laureate Lisa Prank, “Luv is Dumb.” The deterioration of two relationships (one real and one fantasized) propelled last week’s episode of Real World Seattle: Bad Blood.
As we voyeuristically descend on the swank household once again, Jenn is miles beyond smitten with her new boyfriend, Peter. She goes as far as saying, “Peter’s perfect.” (Though when comparing his greatness to past beaus she says, “My last relationship put me through hell and back.” Ummm… Jenn? We saw the end of your relationship. It ended with a dude dumping you on the phone after you confessed that you made out with Peter. Maybe you’re talking about the relationship before that long distance one, but let’s get the facts straight.)
To show her affection, Jenn decides to throw a surprise costume birthday party for Peter. She’s really goes all-in on it: getting the other housemates (sans wet blanket Kassius and his doting Orlana) to dress up, picking out an panda costume for her boo, decorating the house, devising a distraction where Robbie takes Peter for a drink so she can prep, the whole nine yards. And it turns out great. Everyone has a blast and Peter gushes about how much Jenn cares for him.
So how does he repay the favor? By phantom slut shamming Jenn! (Men: THE WORST.) When the housemates go to a boat party put on by their nightclub of choice, the fairy tale romance of Jenn and Peter comes to a screeching halt. What sets off Peter? Jenn dances in a twerking style reminiscent of an amateur Miley Cyrus with her female roommates. She’s not dancing with other dudes or anything, just gyrating with her pals because… you know… it’s a boat dance party.
Ignoring any context, Peter suddenly becomes a possessive asshat, because that’s not how expects his girlfriend to act. He confronts her about it, berating her to the point that she’s in tears. Peter… Peter… Peter… we need to make this abundantly clear: she is not yours. Jenn is an independent person who happens to dig you and enjoy your company, not a possessions that you own. If you have a problem with her behavior there’s way to ask about it that doesn’t play on her insecurities. (And even if Jenn wanted to act slutty—which again she was absolutely not doing—I quote the noted scholars of the Belt of Chasity: “Ladies it's okay to be / It's okay to be slutty.”) Instead of apologizing after making Jenn cry on the boat, he continues to press the issue when they get back to the house. It’s painful to watch Jenn sit there and soak in his controlling comments in an attempt to avoid further escalation of the issue. Hopefully she can get out of this quick, because I can’t stomach watching weeks of emotional abuse in the name of reality TV “entertainment.”
But Peter and Jenn wasn’t the only emotionally draining relationship of the episode. After spending early parts of the episode further hammering home the unspoken crush Orlana has on Kassius (including an apparently stimulating dream she had about him), it became clear their plot would quickly become a romance or a disaster. Let’s just say that Orlana and Kassius are not an item by episode’s end.
During the aforementioned boat party, Kassius gets friendly in a grinding way with one ship’s passengers. He does so within the vicinity of Orlana, who immediately gets up upset. From her vantage point, he’s almost rubbing it in her face. But while Kassius remains genuinely awful (see: the notable lack of Theo in the house), this is one situation where he is not in the wrong. Sure, it should’ve been easy to pick up on the vibes Orlana was sending his way (and perhaps he did but choose to ignore them), but she didn’t ever directly express her feelings, so there’s no reason he wouldn’t purse other women while she was around.
Now, I certainly empathize with Orlana, even though she’s at fault. It can be brutal to seemingly put yourself out on a limb for a crush, while coming short of fully saying it due to shy insecurities, only to have the other person swooped up by another romantic interest. (I may or may not be an level 99 Blue Mage expert at this.) There’s a very instantaneous crumbling of a fantasy world that Orlana had built up in her head that’s painfully smeared across her face during the boat scene.
When the crew returns to the house, Jordan and Orlana don’t hold back in getting pretty emo about it. “It feels like there’s a thousand trains running through my chest,” Orlana confesses to her former best friend and ex-Bad Blood. She’s not angry at him, but frustrated with herself for letting herself get affected by someone who doesn’t matter. Jordan provides some much need support. She tearfully expresses how proud she is of Orlana for being strong, and grown, and vulnerable. “Don’t be mad at yourself for feeling,” says Jordan, officially staking her claim for the “Best Advice Given Out on This Season of Real World” award.
Speaking of emotional turmoil, the inevitable ugly Bad Blood side of Katrina and Anna’s sibling bond emerged out of nowhere during the episode. And man, did they find the dumbest reason to start hating each other again: getting dolled up to go out for brunch. Anna flips out because Katrina is taking too long to put in hair extensions. That’s it. After being inseparable isolationists for weeks, fake hair turns them from best chums into simmering infernos of vitriol. Their petty hatred erupts after Anna won’t help Katrina undue her costume’s safety pins (during Peter’s party) to use the restroom. (Their family reunions must be so fun.) Katrina unleashes a tongue-lashing on Anna, continually bring up how mean Anna is to her. Anna claims Katrina is just hypersensitive and must always be the center of attention. “Everything I do is about Katrina. Every single fucking situation I put myself in is how Katrina will be effected,” complains Anna in the confessional both.
It’s hard to decide which party is actually worse. While the only actual meanness we see on screen comes via Katrina’s monologue rants, the stories she tells of Anna past actions (like the time Anna abandoned her at the Tampa airport for over 24 hours without a cell phone) sound downright terrible. As a viewer, hard for the past we only hear about to trump the present that’s unfolding in front of our eyes.
Things get so bad that the pair has to go see a therapist. Shockingly, one session doesn’t resolve their issues. (It’s almost like therapy or other mental health maintenance requires a long term commitment or something…) Out of options, the sisters resort to booking a flight for their mom to come up to Seattle and hopefully help mend the divide. To be continued… whether the viewer likes it or not. (Not! Not!!!)
In cheerier news, Tyara and Kim hammered out their Bad Blood beef. Tyara finally came down from her fortress of standoffishness, and asked Kim to lunch in the hopes of working out their issues. It turns out the main bullying tactic Kim employed against Tyara was spreading a rumor throughout their high school that Tyara had “got her ass done” (i.e. enhanced it via plastic surgery). (This is so many light years beyond my high school's juciest gossip, that it's still hard for me to process the info.)
When the pair does finally sit down to discuss it, Kim comes off much more cordial and composed than the person viewers were introduced to by her spreading rumors about Tyara’s accent being fake (which somehow gets skated over during this meal of reconciliation). She admits that it was wrong to say those things because women need to stick together and not hurt each other during those crucial teen growth years. Between mending this bridge with Kim and Theo having left the house, at long last Tyara’s life is devoid of drama…
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand Tyara is pregnant.
WELL THAT DIDN’T LAST LONG.
In a bombshell of a final segment, Tyara runs down to the producers’ nook and says she needs to go into urgent care. After waiting two months for her period, she went ahead and got an over the counter pregnancy test which appeared to give her a positive result. She wants to confirm it with a doctor. She returns in tears, asks one of the producers to meet her outside, and confirms the pregnancy. Apparently, it happened seven weeks prior (i.e. right before she arrived at the house) with her ex-boyfriend (clarifying that she and Theo never engaged in any activity capable of this result). She’s visibly emotionally torn up about the decision she faces, and since the scene was intentionally crammed into the last portion of the show, it leaves viewers with a legitimate cliffhanger. Despite the real gravity of the situation, it's the first time I've been genuinely curious what the next Real World episode holds, which is probably an indication of reality TV grinding away my soul. Cool.
Episode Space Needle Count: 14
Running Space Needle Count: 114
The Real World Seattle: Bad Blood airs Wednesday nights at 10pm on MTV.