Videogum

Real World: Brooklyn: Chet’s Bodies Chet’s Selves

Chet! Oh man! As someone who is well aware of the manipulative ways in which reality TV producers will force their cast into pre-fab characters to create dramatic storylines, I also feel like there are only so many amazing things you can egg someone to willingly say on TV. At the end of the day, you still have to work with the raw material. And Chet is as raw as it comes. In last week’s debut episode, of course, we learned about his penchant for home-sewn purple v-neck cardigans, and his innovative use of the word “metrosexual” as a term of rock-solid heterosexual identification. Speaking of rock-solid, Chet would love to get another glimpse of Scott’s rock-solid abs, if Scott wouldn’t mind. Those are nice abs!

This week, the Chet train of confused sexual identity made all local stops.

Talking at inappropriate length and with frequent demands for visual confirmation about his homosexual roommate’s penis?

Check.

Dressing up like King Gayvid of Gaysreal on his way to a nightclub that his homosexual roommate suggested in Chelsea and then, upon being informed that it was indeed a gay club that he would be attending, insisting that he was only going because he had nothing else to do but also saying the word “Chelsea” in the deeply mystified and reverent way that a young Bette Davis probably said “Hollywood” while giving her hair one hundred strokes of the brush before bed?

Check. This guy works it. And by “it” I mean “the part of his brain dedicated to spending inordinate amounts of time devising new but inadequate attempts to cover up for one’s obvious sexual inclinations.” Meanwhile, at the club that Chet would never go to if he had something else to do but it doesn’t even bother him because there’s got to be some girl around here somewhere who doesn’t ever want to have sex and likes guys who WEAR EYELINER, JD has offered to pay Ryan $100 if he dances with a drag queen. When that doesn’t work, he offers to pay Ryan $100 to let a drag queen kiss him on the cheek. Ryan figures this is no big deal, but at the last second the drag queen gay tricks him and kisses him on the lips.

She exudes that forced, self-satisfied, over-empathizing pseudo-kindness that’s so patronizing and condescending and self-serving that it makes me want to barf. The barf of the just. In this scene, for example, it almost immediately stops being about Katelynn and starts being about Sarah’s ability to accept Katelynn. It’s insufferable. She needs to tattoo her mouth shut. Meanwhile, Katelynn’s storyline is completely over. There is no mystery there. Transgendered people eat chips just like the rest of us, two legs at a time, we get it.

Oh, can we go back to Chet for a second? The other thing that is so fascinating about him is that he has absolutely no awareness of what anyone else could possibly be thinking or feeling or BEING at any time ever. Like, last week he claimed to have no gaydar and had no idea that JD was gay. It would be nice if that was just a Free to Be You and Me thing, but it’s mostly just blind, willful ignorance. Because JD is obviously gay. And then this week, JD comes home super drunk and starts complaining about the non-English-speaking employee at a bodega, and Chet gets in a fight with him*, and Sarah and That Other Girl break it up and Sarah is talking to Chet in the other room, trying to calm him down, and saying that it’s stupid to get into fights with drunk people who are just acting like idiots because they’re drunk and Chet says “I didn’t know he was drunk.” He doesn’t even have drunkdar? I feel like this article in the local paper probably blew Chet’s mind. But, to be fair, it has to be hard to figure out what’s going on with other people, when you can’t even figure out what’s going on with yourself (i.e. your desire to sleep with men so much).

There’s also a long storyline about Baya wanting to be a dancer but no one cares.

Next week: three of the most boring roommates and Ryan start hooking up, just in case you were worried that there wasn’t enough annoying, uninteresting bullshit this season. Real World will be Real World.

*Chet kind of had a point in the fight, I guess, because it isn’t charitable to get so upset just because someone didn’t understand what you were saying because they don’t speak English, and JD, who is obviously the biggest stick in the mud about everything and seems like no fun and would not be allowed at any of my parties, definitely has that second-generation-born-of-immigrants bootstraps conservatism that drives the few minorities who are in the Republican party into said party. And also can JD please give his sob-story childhood a rest because it’s one thing to use that as an explanation for where you’re coming from and it’s another thing to use that as an excuse for acting like a fucking asshole. But the point of this footnote is actually to point out that while Chet was trying to be the thoughtful, generous one, as soon as JD drunkenly suggests that if Chet starts any more shit with him things could get violent he immediately turns it around and implies that JD should not make threats like that and that he, Chet, is willing to take him on right now in a physical fight, which is just such a perfect example of that hair-trigger Christianity which can go from defending the rights of everyone to be loved and accepted to just wanting to fucking go, right now, motherfucker. (Go = get fucked, because Chet is gay.)