Real World
I Will Be Your Preacher, Teacher

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I Will Be Your Preacher, Teacher

Oh, great. Home Depot. Does the fun ever start? All the better to smash the casting director of this season upside the head with a particularly jagged two-by-four. Only we're not supposed to know it's Home Depot, because the letters are all blurred out on the storefront. Sorry, Home Depot, but you gotta cough up the dough if you want your name on MTV. Kameelah explains her reason for the trip to Doug in the car: "I don't want to get anything, but I want to check out the prices. I want to try and see if my boss at the community service center will let me repaint and redo the community service center." Quick flirting ensues in the parking lot of Orange-Awninged Ambiguous Home Improvement as Kameelah voice-overs in some of the blanks: "Doug really means a lot to me, which is scary. It's been a long time since I felt like this."

A Goo Goo Dolls montage away, Kameelah is explaining her plan to revitalize the CCC to Poor, Poor Anthony and another CCC employee whose name, we learn, is "David." Kameelah explains, "I went with my friend to Home Depot" (doesn't she mean Ambiguous Orange...oh, never mind), "and we picked out, like, paint." Poor, Poor Anthony is excited that someone actually wants to do something at the CCC besides ignore the kids (Syrus) and perform a house to house check of their vulnerable single mothers to see if any of them will, er, "sign his permission slip for a field trip to Syrus Spa" (again, Syrus) and he gives her carte blanche to do whatever she wants and promises not to get in her way. Ooooh. Painting. Someone at B-M headquarters has been breathing in the chips from this paint again. How else to account for this plot arc making it onto my television screen? There is no other way. There is no other explanation. There is no step three.

Blues Traveler's kick-ass "But Anyway" scores the soundtrack its necessary frat-boy-rock cachet this week (talk about a band that jumped the shark in one fell swoop, plummeting from "Phish Cult Cred Band" to "Spin Doctors Sell-Out Nightmare" with the simple screaming of the career-destroying snippet, "Hey baby let's keep in touch/HEY BABY LET'S KEEP IN TOUCH") as Kameelah paints the CCC.

More continuity desperation somehow touches the lives of real people living linear lives, as it is suddenly night and Elka and Kameelah are at a too-dark-to-make-fun-of club with Doug. While Doug spends his time on the dance floor, Kameelah is suddenly furious with him, explaining to Elka, "He doesn't know that I know that after I said bye to him last night, he was kickin' it with this other girl." I don't know how she knows that or why we haven't heard a darn thing about it before now, but Kameelah continues on that she gave him ample opportunity to come clean with her, but that he continued to lie about his whereabouts. In a voice-over, she calls herself "a really big fool," and we're back in the firehouse with Kameelah loudly eating cereal and chewing right into the phone (seriously, who's committing the greater crime here? I would so much rather have someone cheat on me than get all smacky with cereal into the phone. Gross, gross, and, oh yeah, gross) and accusing, "You really expect me to believe that you guys were kickin' it together all this time and nothing physical happened? You really expect me to believe that?" Doug admits that while there were no tawdry doings between himself and Other Girl, there was "wrestling" and some other physical contact. Kameelah tells Doug, "You know, I'm sitting her eating cereal, waiting for you to tell me the truth." Dude, he knows you're eating cereal. He knows, your neighbors know, Ma Bell knows, the inhabitants of the Third World village now buried under the ash and lava of a volcano once thought dormant until brought back to life by the seismic waves brought about by egregious smacky chewing halfway around the world know. Those poor natives. Doug sighs deep at the third degree, and Kameelah embarks on an ironic lesson in phone etiquette, demanding he not "breathe hard in the phone." She thinks he's lying: "I'm saying that you totally disgust me right now, that's what I'm saying. Talk to you later, Doug." She hangs up on him. Cue No Doubt's "Don't Speak." Yeah, Kameelah. Don't. Upstairs, Kameelah tells Jason that she can't believe she let someone in to her life and he trashed it, and Jason makes it All About Him with the as-always-hypocritical, "It's just awful getting cheated on." Yes, Jason, you would know. And so would your girlfriend. Don't tell me, 'cause it hurts.

I stifle any number of "where hick tourists go to die" jokes about Captain Catholicism taking his family to the Hard Rock Café for lunch on their last day in Boston. Because the best scenes of familial high drama are so often captured in between shots of plastic checkered tablecloths and Debbie Gibson's denim jacket from the "Electric Youth" video. Brother Brian acts the part of really self-conscious social facilitator for the first time since he soiled himself deplaning back in Act I, asking Elka how she gets along with individual members of the house. "What about Syrus?" She responds that they all bonded big time in Puerto Rico (and clearly "Bonded Roommates = Boring Season," reads Equation #1 on the Real World scientific reference tables), and she has comes to believe, "I like him, she's a really nice person." Wait, she? Well, we leapt ahead, didn't we? She's talking about Genesis. I continue to be...actually, I don't continue to be anything, seeing as the basic premise of that which is "continuity" has been irrevocably removed from the English language forever. It's chaos here people, purple monkey dishwasher. Anyway, this is what she puts forth on Genesis: "I want to let her know that I'm accepting of her lifestyle, y'know, I accept who she is. They go to gay clubs all the time. They dance, they have a good time, whatever. And I want to show her that I understand, that if it makes her happy for me to accompany her..." The Captain takes the bait, turning on that comment like Luis Sojo on a ninth inning Leiter change-up and asks, "What happens if you like it?" If she likes what? Dancing? Lesbianism? Doesn't he know that it's not a choice, but rather a contagious and incurable disease? Dude, check your AMA medical book. Just make sure the publication of said book predates 1973, or your empirical research will be all for naught. Captain Catholicism narrows his eyes even further, weighing in on what he would do in the same position: "If I were in your place, I wouldn't go." Because you so have a passel of twentysomething lesbians banging down your door every Friday, begging you to accompany them to the Leather Fetish Ball at the Clit Club. I'm just sayin', you don't. But the Captain believes that going to "one of these places" would send a message to the people (yes, but are they even people?) around her, "you are perceived by other people who are there as having the same interests." Elka listens quietly, but voice-overs that she's old enough to make her own decisions. The Captain tells her that decisions -- wrong decisions --such as this one, are "a reflection of your character." She asks if he's trying to give her a guilt trip. He says no. He's wrong. Hey, look. Iggy Pop's guitar pick.

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