Real World
The Genesis Of Conflict

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The Genesis Of Conflict

Vaj looks on, marooned, while Montana and Sean get to know each other a bit. Sean's first question to Montana is the essential, "How old are you," and I have to rewind the VCR tape at least once for each year Montana has spent lying about her rapidly advancing age since she hit puberty during the Coolidge administration. She tells him that she's twenty-one. Excuse me? Twenty-one what, Montana? Years from legal retirement? Tequila shots from sobriety? Times taller than your boyfriend? Sean's twenty-five, and he stumbles over his announcement that he's a second year law student, the pause an indication that perhaps he is suddenly cognizant of the fact that the January through May period he'll be spending in Boston is known to the law-school-attending community as the somewhat mandatory period known as "second semester." Sean asks Vaj what he thinks of Montana going to Boston, and he observes that he "hate[s] it." Hey, careful with the power of that word, there, Vaj. Wouldn't want it getting lodged in the audience's mind for later use in a you-related context, now would you? Oops, too late. You suck.

Back in Brownsville, Elka's private chat with the camera displays the first of her conservative, Catholic school girl sweaters ripped from the Sunday Sears circular and accentuated by her hair style supplied by the Celine Dion Collection at her local Glamor Shots salon. As she hugs her father in the airport and steps onto the plane, her coming-of-age characterization is solidified with the admission that "I knew that this is what I had to do. I needed to get out of Brownsville. I hadn't had a chance to really go off and find myself, so to speak, and to experience new things, and to learn to do things for myself." Oh, yeah. She gets really, really wild, all right. Try to stay calm, Mr. Elka's dad. Someone's about to discover that God invented cigarettes and eye shadow.

On the Amtrak train to Boston where the same coming-of-age story would fear to tread (one believes he already knows everything, the other has not that many more ages to come to), Sean and Montana discuss Sean's trip to Australia to participate in something called "a lumberjack contest." This phrase cues a montage of a pre-Real World Sean involved in contests featuring him throwing an axe and running on a log in a pool, all of which serve no valuable purpose other than providing me the inspiration to speak aloud the genuinely quizzical, "Is he, like, going to law school through the mail, or what?" Montana takes this opportunity to cement her own character as "the wacky one" in singing a song about lumberjacks. Well, it sure is easier than listening to his story in its entirety, I guess. And for this I am forced to thank her.

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