Alright, y’all, here it is: the first episode of The Real World: San Francisco EXplosion. We’re all in this together. Time for 13 weeks of EXtraordinary drama, more than our fair share of EXpletives, and, of course, EXploited young hotties trapped in a house with no way out and cameras all around them. It’s time to find out what happens when people stop acting nice and start being ~rEaL~ (in case you didn’t get it, this season includes everyone’s ex-lovers as surprise roommates).
The first shot is of the Golden Gate Bridge, surrounded by hyper-fast moving fog. Apparently that is enough to establish the San Francisco setting, as we are quickly moved into a shot of, well, shots. “Best roommates EVER,” they all cheer in slurred unison.
So begins a montage of the show’s most important elements:
“7 newly single roommates”
“Things couldn’t be any better at all”
And at this point a literal DUN DUN DUN booms. Pan to faces aghast. OMG… Everyone’s exes are here.
“Why is my ex-girlfriend here?” one ponders. Maybe it is because this show has worked the same formula with exponentially degrading results for the past 20-some years and it’s just time to mix it up.
The montage continues. A tear rolls down a cheek. Someone saying they are done with someone else. It is only 43 seconds into the show and I’m on the edge of my wheely chair.
Time for the introductions.
First is Arielle, an Oakland resident who is, according to the editing of this show, first and foremost, a lesbian. “I don’t have daddy issues, I just love pussy,” is a thing that comes out of her mouth. She’s beautiful and wants to be a horror film director but will settle for being a model. “If I have to be half naked on a runway in the meantime, that’s fine by me.” I’m sold.
We meet Jay, Bronx resident and member of a family 200 strong, all clad in bathing suits. His dad is playing flip cup as we hear Jay talk about his legendary status in the Bronx. “I can go to any club and get any girl to do anything I want.” Check off the obligatory douche box.
Now we’re off to LA where we meet Corey, muscle-man.
The intros are getting quicker and more to the point. Here’s Thomas, white guy / tennis player. Moving on to Houston, we yet again see a shot of shots being poured. It’s Jaime, 22, who welcomes us with a cheers “to fuck you” as she flips off all her friends/customers.
We return to LA and meet Jenny, a blonde woman who welcomes us to her “neighborHOOD.” This girl wants to take life by the horns, and she tells us so right off the bat.
Now we’re in San Francisco and we hear someone giving a mantra to her lady friends: “Here’s to all the guys we screw. I hope they love us, I hope they hate us, I hope…etc.” It’s Ashley!
Welcome to your crew for The Real World San Francisco: EXplosion.
After what feels like hours but has in reality been ten minutes, we are in the house. One by one they all trickle in. Right now they all like each other. Boys hide out in the confessional and dive into a breakdown of the girls’ anatomy while the ladies do the same in the kitchen.
“Everyone just happens to be single…it’s gonna be crazy,” reflects Arielle.
Cut. We are reminded that we have 28 days until the exes arrive, followed by a shot of things to come: Ashley drunkenly running down the street and two people making out.
Looking at a map, Ashley, whose southern accent belies her statement of being a local, decides to go out in Russian Hill and oddly calls the producer to ask for permission. The producer, like the negligent parent that she is, says that it is just fine with her.
Cut to another fast montage. Someone yelling “Season 29!!” Butts rubbing together. Smiles. Hugs. Comraderie. Ashley’s drinking problem becomes immediately apparent. She reveals that she has an alter ego, “Drunk Ashley.”
Fast forward to them back at the house for the night. Ashley is drunk making out with one of two (or three?) boyfriends. Jaime, pizza slice in hand, steps in and makes an issue of the infidelity. This show’s moral core is coming out in the open.
Drunk Ashley is getting belligerent. “This bitch is gonna come to my city and tell me what to do?” It’s getting hard to watch. “Don’t act like you’re a little boss, you’re just a club-hopper” Corey says to Ashley.
Ashley threatens to buy and sell people’s families and then proceeds to run down the street as the earlier clip forewarned.
Cut to bright shots of a sunny San Francisco morning. The cast is looking bleary and sad under their weary smiles.
Corey, one of the people Ashley threatened to put on the market, is still offended at her remarks. Further, in the confessional, we hear Thomas and Jaime mocking the stupidity of such remarks. It’s getting real.
Yet it continues to get realer. Pan to Ashley sitting in bed, wiping tears from her eyes. But apparently she didn’t wipe enough, because once we see her in the confessional, where she tells us “This is embarrassing,” her neck is oddly wet with I can only presume are tears.
After an oddly promotional lunch at Subway (all rights reserved), it’s time to just chill around the house. Jenny and Corey, whose sexual tension is rising, sensually do planks next to each other when Ashley stumbles in. Ashley is determined to impress them all with her sweet charm, but she just continues to come off as entitled and childish when she decides to do a plank on top of Corey. This is the kind of stuff Mean Girls warned us about.
Thomas, the frat bro, flaunts his large collection of tribal print clothing and tells us he doesn’t lose at things as he flirts with Jaime across the pool table.
Relationships are developing and I am mustering every bit of empathy in my heart to care.
At one point Jenny talks on the phone with her “ex,” and they finally call it quits for good. It’s a touching moment but all I can think about is how she has a vague resemblance to Anna Nicole Smith.
Enough dilly-dallying. They’re all back at the club for the second time in half an hour of this show and this time it’s full of slow-mo grinding.
Drunk Ashley is back and is looking to make amends. Despite saying she would buy/sell Corey’s family, they are soon kissing and walking down the street, looking for something called a “taxi.” They find one of these things and Ashley is squatting on Corey in the back seat. The level of exploitation borders on slut-shaming and I feel queasy.
Back at home again and people are beginning to pair off. Jenny is sitting in a hot tub with some stranger from the club, whose passions are “music and food.” Jenny responds that hers are garlic and bananas. It’s compelling, I swear.
Meanwhile in the kitchen, Drunk Ashley throws hot oil in Arielle’s face. “Oh, I didn’t mean to hit you, I’m sorry,” she slurs. Drunk Ashley is crying again and refuses to acknowledge that she did anything wrong.
Jenny leaves to talk with Corey re: I have feelings for you, while Drunk Ashley and Stranger Dude are somehow left alone together. Pan to a shot of Stranger Dude making awkward face in an attempt to be funny. It’s painful.
Final shots of the night: Drunk Ashley snort-sobbing into the phone, Jenny and Corey kissing in the confessional.
That’s it, y’all. Here’s to twelve more weeks of this mess.