The first episode of the Real World season is a beautiful experience. Your initial instinct might be to compare it to the first day at a new school, when you don’t know anyone. Or maybe showing up on the start date of a new job, trying to figure out who you hope to share a cubicle with. You would be wrong for that. We used to compare the Real World to these things. But the Real World has beaten the “real world.” Now we compare these life events to the show. “I met my new co-workers for the first time today, it was totally like an episode of the the Real World. One is kind of hot, not that I’d hook up with someone I work with. And there’s one who seems like kind of a jerk, not that I’m here to make friends.” The Real World is such an important show that it has reached it’s thirtieth season even though it started twenty-two years ago. Because the rules of the universal language of math don’t even apply to the Real World.
The Real World: Skeletons is going to take seven young people and put them on camera and then let them act like they don’t know that they are being recorded. It will allow them to get comfortable for two weeks and then ambush them with secrets from their lives. As the opening montage points out: THE PAST WILL FIND THEM.
The introductions during the first episode are crucial. It’s a huge info-dump that is the reality TV version of the old AOL chatroom age/sex/location. The difficulty level of standing out is very high. Which makes it all the more impressive that the first new cast mate has one of the best openings of all time. For your benefit, here’s quick recap:
Violetta (Sarasota, FL): V comes out of the gate, literally the airport gate, at full blast. She is single. She has a nose ring. She loves chubby guys, with beards, and red hair. She flashed the airplane because she doesn’t wear bras. She doesn’t wear bras because they are “for pussies and Republicans.” She uses hashtags conversationally and her fingers to physically show what a hashtag looks like. This is all within the first two minutes of the episode. She says “I am a destroyer.”
Tony (Baton Rouge, LA): According to Tony, ladies like his charm but he is not in a relationship. God didn’t bless him with much, but he’s got a great smile. The downside to that is that his weakness is women. Also, his kryptonite is women. He’s a foreman / supervisor for a chemical plant. And his one vulnerability: sometimes bullets but mostly women.
Nicole (Staten Island, NY): Nicole wears a shirt with her own face on it that says “SELFIE.” Her muscles are on key. She’s a lesbian and a player. She is a player both with women and on the football field, where she was the first woman on the team. She’s an EMT who saves lives and is a triplet. Her Staten Island accent is so thick it actually sounds like a Boston accent.
Sylvia (Kansas City, MO): Sylvia introduces herself as Mexican, which to her means family values. She also can get out of hand sometimes, which she explains is what happens when you party naked. Her mom wants her to be on the Real World so she’ll get out of her house.
Bruno (East Providence, RI): Bruno was born in Portugal, on a farm. He had his own cow. Now he lives in Rhode Island and has a car he loves very much. He makes a penis joke to his mom but you can tell they’re close. He also was hit by some kind of vehicle and has two of the nastiest, most awesome looking scars up his legs. Getting in his accident helped him get rid of all his anger. I want to see his scars more.
Jason (Fayetteville, NC): Jason is the guy that describes himself as “confident, not cocky,” because someone has to say that or they have to call the whole show off. It’s the actual reason Temptation Island got canceled because in one season nobody said it and it couldn’t go on air. Jason knows how to tie a bow tie but he gets bonus points for making a Steve Urkel / Stefan Urquelle reference. He has a lot going on so he could use a break (…dun dun dun *whispers “Skeletons”…)
Madison (Austin, TX): Maddy says guys tend to fall in love with Maddy and Maddy is too nice to do anything about it. She calls herself a flirt, but the innocent kind because she didn’t lose her virginity until she was eighteen. She is a blonde. I know this because when she walks in, someone yells “we have a blonde.” She’s never had girls as friends and hopes that people get to know her. She is ACTUALLY HERE TO MAKE FRIENDS. If this isn’t a reality show warning sign, I do not know what is. Watch out for Madison, people.
As everyone trickles in and gets to meet one another, we get a look at the house. There’s a pool table, duh. And golden turntables. Nicole spits out the first thing she notices about each person like “You’re gorgeous, what’s up? You’re tall bro, what’s up?” She really wishes the house had a pull-up bar, that she pronounces in such a way that Tony thinks she says “polar bear” and he’s not wrong in hearing that. There’s going to be a lot of Nicole saying things weird in our future. Also, Nicole can full on do the worm. Bonus points to her.
Tony is tall and skinny. Bruno and Jason are muscular. There are three different times this episode when Tony talks about having to catch up to the bigger guys. Once when he meets Bruno, next with Jason, and then with Sylvia and Violetta. This is a good strategy because if you are feeling uncomfortable with yourself and you call it out repeatedly then nobody else will care because nobody else actually cares. The time he says it around the girls, Sylvia compliments his eyes and then Violetta agrees that yes, he does have the eyes of the spawn of Satan. Violetta is good at saying things like this and “you’re attractive but I don’t deal with road kill” and also “do you wanna cuddle because like I’m not gonna have sex with you ever,” but that’s later in the evening. When Violetta first gets to the house she is overwhelmed with anxiety because she doesn’t like people touching her and also there is a camera on her face. So she pulls out a bottle of tequila and all the roommates compare their tattoos. Violetta has THUG LIFE tat’d on the inside of her bottom lip. Bonus points to her.
They did not choose rooms yet, which is a huge mistake. The best way to do it is to make a snap judgement about someone within the first fifteen minutes of meeting them and agreeing to be best friends, cuddle buddies, and life partners. That way, when it all falls apart you only have the other person to blame. Instead, they decide to draw names out of a hat and move their stuff in. Jason is Madison’s roommate and he calls her “sweetie” because he is southern and that is southern hospitality. Madison has a Quinn Morgendorffer voice that gets even higher when she says, “Oh you called me sweetie!” Later on, Tony calls her “babe” and she reacts the same way with a “Did you call me babe, oh my God!”
The dudes do an all-dude confessional. The all-dude confessional is very important because that is the only way for all of the other house dudes to know that you would hook-up with any and all of the house women. There is actually no other way to convey this if you are a dude in the house.
Tony has already confessed that Violetta is “his type” but also Madison is his type since his type is great-looking person. Or maybe “woman” is his type but also his one weakness. But also, Bruno’s hot car in a wig and a maxi dress might also be his type.
The crew rolls out to a rooftop Chicago bar, because the season is filmed in Chicago and so you have to go to a rooftop bar and scream the word Chicago at the city or else it won’t know that you are there or that it is even a city anymore. We finally get to see Nicole in action. Much like Tony, her type is also “woman.”And she spits mad game at lots of people labeled on-screen as BAR LOCALS, which is a great graphic. Bonus points. Then the bar tab comes and it is $800 and nobody can figure out how. The reason the tab is $800 is because when you go to a rooftop bar during daylight and are still there when it is dark out, it means you have been drinking for $800 worth of hours. V says she’s got $400 on the tab. Madison only brought $50 out with her. A huge fight breaks out about this. V and Sylvia want to kill Madison for not knowing to bring more money out with her. In order to calm things down, Bruno says “Irregardless” like Ben Affleck in the “Retainer” Good Will Hunting scene. It works temporarily. Bonus points.
Tony tries to cheer Madison up while they are smoking back at the house. He does this by making out with her. The Producer asks Madison how Tony kisses and she giggles. The answer is that Tony kisses by having a lit cigarette in his hand about an inch away from her hair. V and Sylvia get back and try to fight Madison. This is the exact reason Madison had to be homeschooled! Then V tries to seduce Tony. Tony’s only weakness is women, so he attempts to keep flirting with Madison and V because he likes women fighting over him, which might be a second weakness, or still a part of his only weakness. V throws a coatrack. Bruno says “irregardless” like Ben Affleck, again. It works, again. Bruno does not think being drunk is a good look, especially on a woman. Right after Bruno says that in the confessional, he kisses V. Then V kisses Sylvia. Then V slurs that she’s an equal opportunist, shouts “boom,” kicks her leg up and flashes the camera. She might also think that underwear is for pussies and Republicans but that is speculation at this juncture.
All of this has happened pre-Club. This is not a late-night fight. This is “went a day-drinking but we’re still going to go out” fight. Nicole is out cold. V decides to stay home. Bruno stays as well. Cut to Club, the gang is reinvigorated. Madison admits to Tony that she has not had sex in six months. She’s only had sex with seven people. But twelve actually. Twelve is the honest number. But Madison has a dark secret. We know this because the bumpers into commercial keep saying Madison has a dark secret. Jason and Sylvia lick each other, leave together, but do not end up in the same bed. Everyone sleeps in their own beds. Night one is over.
Nicole and V wake everyone up at 6 AM for Day Two. Madison wakes up and pays the girls back now that she is home where her money is. Everyone feels terrible about the fight. V and Bruno have a heart-to-heart on a hammock. She wants to know how she got so drunk. He jokes that he roofied her. She says I know. He says really? She says no you’re a good guy. V on the other hand talks about not being a good guy. She has a past and is not proud of it. She’s trying to leave it all behind. They’re still calling it “season 30,” they don’t know its really called Skeletons.
Tony and Madison are not upset that they made out. Tony broke rule #1 though which is never make out in the club. Rule #2 is never freestyle in the club. Bonus points to him if he breaks this rule. Tony and Jason have a conversation about who will be the first to smash in the house. They agree it is not smart to shit where you eat. It is important to have rules like this to live by as an adult human being because rules are all that separate us from becoming smashed, eat-shitting animals. Tony knows what its like to deal with a woman that took things too far. Cut to his ex, giving a speech about how nobody will come between them, they’re still in love, they WILL end up together. I’m giving the ex some doubt benefit seeing as how Tony tried to juggle everything in sight the night before. Cut to commercial: 13 DAYS UNTIL THE SKELETONS.
Nicole would hook-up with every girl in the house. She is very excited for the season. She shows Madison how to do a sit-up kiss. I did not know this was a thing but now I am a little smarter. Bonus points.
Day Two is full of love. Tony, who the night before was stoking flames for Madison and V has now fallen for Madison. Bruno, who was kissed by V is feeling Sylvia, who licked Jason. Bruno and Sylvia make out hard in the confessional. They make out so hard, it looks like he’s going to crack her vertebrae. They make out so hard, they forget they’re in the confessional. They make out so hard that Bruno’s belt gets undone somehow and he has to re-buckle it.
Madison is feeling Tony but something is not right. There’s one minute left in the episode. What could it be? Bombshell: Madison has lied to every single person she has ever known. She’s stolen money. She’s done dark, horrible things. She’s had multiple guns to her head. Like, I think actual, literal guns to her head. She has quite the mug shot. And she’s come onto television to work all of this out. What could possibly go wrong?