Here we are at episode 10, and I didn't think the show could get more boring. In fact, this episode exceeded all expectations of how boring the London season could get. All my drug jokes from previous recaps, all of the "medication" I supposedly required in order to pay attention to these episodes, are no longer adequate metaphors for the mind-numbing boredom of the London season. To make jokes about freebase at this point would be to trivialize everything I've gone through in watching this episode and finding something to write about it. I used to be scandalized by Bunim-Murray's obvious casting choices for other seasons with their psychos and/or drama queens who got abortions, slept around, hit each other, or checked into rehabs. It seemed that they were being picked just to make the show interesting -- something the producers never thought to do in season 4. Wanna know how far down the barrel Bunim and Murray's editing team had to dig to come up with this week's offering? Well, let me lay it down thusly. This week's episode is about two things: Sharon's pathological fear of microscopic fecal matter on surfaces in public bathrooms and, yes, the phone bill. The cathartic resolve? The playing of a Truth or Dare-style game in which nothing even vaguely sexual happens. It makes you want Mike's father to visit again.
During a typical Real World season, by episode 10, we're already gotten to know the housemates. There have been some hook-ups (except for the London season). Someone has been kicked out of the house (except for the London season). And basically there's been enough action to take us to Act II, so to speak, where the producers start having to send the housemates on vacations or Outward Bound-type trips just to spice things up. Traditionally, the tenth episode is often earmarked for the special "issues" episode. In L.A., for instance, Tami gets an abortion in the tenth episode, and each resident of the house has to discuss his or her view on abortion. In Boston, a gay slur occurs making episode 10 a meditation on gay defamation issues. In London, there is nothing to work with. No major issues have come up between the Americans and the Europeans except some pretty harmless culturally-based insults directed at Whitney Houston or some complaints about the shortage of Ranch dressing in London. And as annoying as everybody is, there are just no Amayas or Tamis or Ruthies in the London cast to give the show some much needed Girl Interrupted-style freaky realism. It's like the editors -- whose job it is to clean all of this up and make it look like stuff happened -- have honed in on Sharon as the closest possible thing in the house that could give them some L.A. Tami-style drama. Yes, Sharon is black like Tami and does the same sort of things that Tami does, but they're the really boring, politically neutral, less excessive versions. For instance, Tami gets an abortion, whereas Sharon gets her vocal chords operated on. Tami admits to not liking gay people. Sharon admits to not liking a dog shitting in her room every day. Sharon needs to shut her mouth. Tami gets her mouth wired shut. You see where the problem is.