When I first read that MTV was going to have a special called something like Real World/Road Rules: Where Are They Now? I have to say that I was fairly excited. I would love to catch up with former cast members, especially those from Road Rules, who don't get the fancy MTV reunions. Then, I noticed it was only an hour long. Hmm. There have been nine seasons of each show. That's a lot of people to catch up on. Even when you take into consideration the people who don't want to be associated with the show any more, it's still a lot. I was interested to see how Bunim-Murray managed this one.
The show starts with a bunch of quotes from various cast members, saying things like, "It was all a façade," and "I wasn't as meek as I seemed." Then, the names start flashing on the screen. Ayanna. Okay, maybe it's alphabetical. Well, Amaya should have come first, but I don't expect B/M to get everything right. Emily. James. Okay, these are all Road Rules people. Jamie and Julie from New Orleans. I know they missed a few in there. I guess they had to pick and choose, since they couldn't fit everyone in. Interesting choices, though. Kameelah. Laterrian. Michelle. Rebecca. Syrus. Over these pictures, we get a roboticized voice-over reading the typical, "This is a true story..." intro. Then the words flash on the screen -- The Real World Road Rules: The Afterlife. "Afterlife"? Like at the end of each season, they die? Of embarrassment, maybe. And that group of names is sounding awfully familiar. Hey! Those are the people who are going to be on Challenge 2001, which starts next week! This isn't a "Where Are They Now" special at all! This is just pimping the new season! I'm so pissed. Those bastards at B/M have manipulated me yet again. And I'm sure it's not the last time.
The first segment starts off with a quote: "What is wrong with this Mormon girl?" They wait a few seconds, in case we can't figure out who said it, and then add, "Julie, The Real World New Orleans." After a few clips of Julie from the season, cut to present-day Julie skateboarding (what else?) in Huntington Beach, where she now lives. She's still got the red hair from the reunion special, but she must not have had a professional stylist for this shoot, because it's all just kind of lying there, flat. In an interview, Julie tells the story of how she came to be on the show, and that she had a lot of different reactions, both positive and negative. We see clips from the season of her father and her brother. Julie says that she decided that the only way to get through being the first Mormon on MTV was to try to be true to herself, and honest, and then people would like her or dislike her for who she truly was. We see the clip of Jamie asking her if she's married. Julie says that she "doesn't take life that seriously" but felt a lot of pressure to represent her community. We see clips of her parents, and then her mud-wrestling. She says the crew always asked, "What is wrong with this Mormon girl? Why is she so rebellious?" Okay, Julie was not that rebellious by normal standards. Maybe in crazy Mormon town, she was insane in the brain, but all of her rebellious acts were things that most people do by the age of twelve. Mud-wrestling! Going into graveyards at night! Kissing boys! There's no stopping her! Next thing you know, she might down a Mountain Dew and eat one of those Jumbo Pixie Stix! And you can't stop her! Oh no, while I was typing all that, they showed Julie "rapping" with David. I had hoped I would never have to see that again. Julie was expelled from BYU. She was living in L.A. She came to Huntington Beach and loved it. She hosts a show on the Discovery Channel. She makes music with her brother. She works on her website "a lot," she claims, but after visiting it, I'm not so sure I believe her. I will admit that it has come a long way since her season aired, though. She skates and surfs, and is having a lot of fun. That fun is exemplified by her making faces at the camera and licking a window. I don't make this shit up. I think the segment is over, but then they bring up her religion -- long story short, she still goes to church, and her new church is "laid back" and "accepts [her]." Julie feels that the show helped her grow. She doesn't know what she wants to do with her life, but hopefully she'll still be "traveling and talking to kids and hopefully still rocking out too." I'm just going to let that one stand.
Next quote: "I really had to check myself." Guess who? Kameelah, Real World Boston. In an interview, Kameelah says that she was "definitely an impatient person" when she was on the show. She hated the show when it aired, and used to avoid the phone because people would call her to yell at her about it, but she thinks she grown since then. She learned that she needs to work on patience, understanding people's different experiences, and letting people deal with issues in their own way. She feels that she was one of the more focused people in her house (like that's difficult -- her closest competition was who? Elka? Genesis? Syrus? Sean, for Christ's sake?). Sometimes people think she was too serious on the show, but she had goals, like medical school, and had to focus on them. Since finishing the show, Kameelah has graduated from Stanford and is working with the Department of Public Health on the HIV vaccine, living in Northern California, and applying to medical school. Kameelah says that she gives the air of confidence, but in reality, she is highly paranoid about her future. Then, we get the Kameelah bitch-fest, where she yells at Sean and Syrus. Kameelah says she won't let her kids watch the show. Going into commercial, we get...a commercial for Challenge 2001 which will apparently be extreme. I think we all learned from the last season of Road Rules how misleading the "extreme" promos can be, so I'm not going to bother describing it.