The series opens, unfortunately, with a videocam shot of Christina gasping, "You're going to get a bunch of people in Paris? Aaaaah! Exciting!" I don't know why she bugs me already. She just does. I think it's because she messes up her hair when she squeals with delight, like she's Lindsey II: Fake Boobaloo. Anyway, suddenly we're in Chicago. In a not-at-all- staged-for-the-cameras shot, Mallory reads from a French phrase book, and practices saying, "Don't touch me." Her mother tries to prompt her to learn how to say what her name is. I'm just going to say right now that I took three years of French in high school and two semesters in college and I still can't speak the language very well, but I might catch a word here or there. Anyway, Mallory is nineteen. Her dad asks if she's packed. She totally lives in a McMansion. I go to our local Parade of Homes (tours of new houses in a development) every year and I swear I toured a house exactly like theirs last year. Anyway, Mallory interviews that she goes to Iowa State University on a soccer scholarship. Or she used to, but she gave up the scholarship to be on The Real World. What a terrible idea. I mean, I personally think it's a bad idea to go on the show at all, but to give up a scholarship? My parents would kill me. Mallory says that her life is very structured and that she hasn't had a chance yet to be spontaneous. So she's planning to be spontaneous? I don't think that's quite how it works.
Next we move onto Methuen, which the New and Improved Font of Information tells us is a suburb of Boston. Thank God the editors dropped that horrible Comic Sans penchant they had in past seasons. Someone asks Chris if he has everything packed, and he says he does. It occurs to me that we haven't actually seen the roommates in their home atmospheres in many seasons. The last time I remember them starting a season this way was Seattle. I really like it, actually. Chris is twenty-two years old. Chris hugs his mom, who doesn't want him to leave, mostly because she's worried that his flight will crash. She explains that French people don't like Americans, so she can't understand why he would want to go there. And while she's mostly right, you'd think she'd advise her son not to act like an ugly American. But no. Chris's dad drives him to the airport, and advises his son to be careful and keep in touch. Chris interviews that his parents are really important to him and that you can do anything with the love of your family. Chris has serious hair issues. It's like he kind of has a mushroom cut, but then he fried it by using too much Sun-In and a hairdryer, so now it just kind of hangs there. Like it could break off at any moment. And if it did, it would be doing him a favor.