Welcome to my Real World: London recaps. I think that the reason Wing gave me this assignment is because I used to live in England, and so from time to time I'll be telling my own stories of being in England, plus some encounters I've had in the States with English people. Who knows, maybe I'll even talk about some of my favorite AbFab episodes or that Julia Roberts movie from last summer. In the meantime, shout-outs to Strega (for taping all twenty-two episodes for me), Daisygirly, my Real World "go-to gal," and Jackie Cush, my "go-to gal" for all things British.
St. Louis, Missouri. One of those really ugly high-priced faux-colonial homes. The walls are painted peach, and all the furniture matches perfectly. Ouch. I was just watching a documentary on JonBenet Ramsay and this house looks just like hers. Michael Johnson of St. Louis, Missouri, is a racecar driver and he seems to think that's pretty amazing. So is some footage of him circling a track in a car that bears his name on the side. Oh, I can't wait to see this guy in Europe, giving Europeans a wonderful impression of Americans. His mother doesn't say a word but she smiles for the camera. Her hairdo is way too long for her age. He's shown packing in his bedroom, which has been painted deep blue, and all the furniture matches as well. In a voice-over, Michael recounts a dream of his in which he arrives at the house and everyone is already friends and excludes him. I'd like to tell Michael that he's just feeling insecure but actually, I think he's being prophetic.
His father takes him to the airport and unloads, like, fifty pieces of luggage onto the sidewalk. They are both wearing father/son matching Nascar racing jackets. His father hands him some money, "for Europe." On close inspection with freeze-frame, the denomination of the bill is five dollars. What the hell is Michael Johnson supposed to do with five dollars in London? I think his father might have spent that much to get some English prostitute an illegal abortion when he was stationed there during WWII or something. Then there's a charming scene where his father, who looks like he can't wait to get his son onto the plane, explains to Michael that Big Ben is a clock. Michael asks his father if he thinks he's going to stand out in London. Mr. Johnson explains that the English "like Americans." Oh yeah.
Ever wonder what ever happened to Thomas Dolby, the adorable but nerdy pop singer who reigned in the eighties with such hits as "Blinded Me With Science"? Well, he's wandering the streets of London right now, looking really pissed off about the loss of his career. Oh wait. This guy's name is Neil and he's another Real World-er. Watch him put on a pair of leather pants and scream into the microphone, as he explains that he's dropping out of the Oxford PhD program to pursue his a music career. Neil looks really pleased with himself. I guess he thinks that the leather jacket and the spiky blond hair have successfully thrown us off the scent of his upper middle-class English upbringing. Hey, and Neil's got some really nifty ideas about music. He thinks -- get this -- that music shouldn't just be "mindless noise." No wonder this guy got into the Oxford PhD program...for psychology. And wait, there's more. Neil is "misanthropic and xenophobic," which makes him wonder about how he'll get along with his other housemates. Love those twenty-five-cent words -- almost as much as I love the smell of oncoming conflict in the air. Oh, and Neil? You are going to have so much street cred amongst your hard-core punk friends when they see those shots of you walking around London to the music of Ace of Base.