Give a hearty welcome back to Rotten Reu, here to slay and praise everyone’s favorite classic reality characters, the illustrious personalities of The Real World. Reuben watches the show for, yes, entertainment, but obviously also for the deep insights into the human conditions which this controlled situation provides. Here are his rankings from best to worst Real World Portland characters.
Misleading title aside, there was never a part one or two to this installment of Real World Portland Rankings. While watching, I just kinda kept a running tab in my head throughout the season. This season of Real World was pretty crazy, with a lot of instances of people loudly voicing incorrect and/or uninformed opinions to one another. It culminated in a crazy ass fight in the penultimate episode involving most everybody, and ultimately made for some rock-solid TV.
This rating system of Real World personalities is basically twofold: how much I’d want to hang out with a given member, and how consistently upstanding/repugnant a given member is in philosophy, disputes and conflict management. Luckily, since editors play little to no role in the Real World, I’m confident that this list can be absolutely objective. Also, it goes best to worst.
Finally, just a brief overview of the incident in that episode, which I’ll call “The Dogfight” (which is really clever and you’ll see why). Nia steps in dog shit in the confessional; the dog belongs to Averey/Johnny; neither side wants to clean it up; ideological differences ensue; Nia attempts double homicide with fists and blowdryer. Now the list.
Johnny was a wild card at the beginning. In his first couple interviews, he kept saying “I wonder what these people think about me, I just hope I’m coming across well…” which was pretty endearing because we thought he might be a cute/awkward nice guy who only looks like a douchey Johnny Football doppelganger. Turns out he is indeed a high-caliber pimp, who, over the course of what feels like a day or so, says the right thing to Averey six, seven, eight times in a row and completely locks her down. Flawless execution, dime landed, bro dap, now let’s see what he’s actually like? Turns out he’s legit and their love is like, actually a thing. Over the course of the season, he is 100% loyal to Averey but still manages to go out, act a fool and remain relevant. He’s blunt and pretty rude at times to Jordan, Ana, Jess, and Nia, but those people are all shitty and he’s right more often than not. He starts off on the wrong side of the Dogfight dispute, but I’m gonna give him a pass due to the nature of his opponent. Most memorable moment: an earlier argument with resident small-dick-accuser Nia where after she accuses him of having a small dick, pulls down his pants to argue with her naked because “that was all she had on me.” What a bro.
This chick did some growing when she was younger (she’s like 6 feet) and even more growing during the show (I hated her for the longest time). The moment that won me over was when she stood up for Jordan when no one else in the house would in an epic “I KNOW WE HAVE DISAGREED BUT I CARE ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS” way. While rarely standing in the direct line of fire, she’s been willing to call multiple people on their shit and is almost never wrong. This includes Jordan early in the season (which she was actually wrong about), Nia during the Nia/Jordan squabble, and most memorably, Jess, who she accurately accused of being an incorrigible, shammy attention whore, as well as hilariously making fun of Jess’s joke of a relationship with Tyler. Overall, I’d say she’s right about a higher percentage of things than Johnny is, but isn’t nearly as fun or good TV so I’ll have to relegate her to the Deuce spot.
I know I said this list was objective, but it looks like Averey is gonna get some unfair advantage from the author because he finds her so physically attractive. Averey is the biggest reason I had to separate “how wrong you are about shit” from “how much I want to hang out with you” because she has handled several things terribly and I’m gonna give her a pass because she’s so hot. It sucks, but I have to. Here are three shitty things she’s done, off the top of my head: A. Snoop Johnny’s email, suspect him of having a girl from home, be passive-aggressive and bitchy for an entire weekend giving him no way of possibly knowing what was upsetting her, and finally confront him only to realize he doesn’t. B. refuse to apologize to Ana on Johnny’s behalf when he yelled at her for no reason, instead blaming her for getting yelled at. C. Be on the wrong side of the Dogfight argument as primary owner, but again, she gets a pass. On the flip side, apart from her stratospherically transcendent physical appearance, she’s been a pretty cool girlfriend to Johnny and has an interesting personality and background story. I think she like had no dad or whatever but it made her strong and what not. Anyway, there’s Averey.
This guy has had the best character arc throughout the season. For the first seven or eight episodes, he was presented as an unbelievably huge douche who was obviously insecure about his nub/claw/hand. He was confrontational with Jess, Ana and Jonny, thought he was better and smarter than everyone, was a collossally obnoxious drunk (and I quote, “CAN I SIT HERE BRO? CAN I SIT HERE?” and “DONKEY PUUUUUUUUUUUUUNCH”) and turned the entire house against him right away. Then there was the saga with Nia, who manipulates him while he’s blacked out, trying to seduce him and then ultimately punching the shit out of him while he makes some quasi-racist gestures. But then, once he is vindicated when everyone realizes how fucked in the head Nia is, he disappears for about three episodes, only turning up to do cool Motocross tricks and random parasailing/extreme sports to show how he can overcome his physical limitations. I don’t know when or why the editors decided he was a good guy, but he was such a pariah for the first half of the season that I couldn’t help but take his side. Also, the cool thing about the show is that as we get to know everyone, our opinions about the earlier moments have to change cause we just get way more context. When he called out Jess for not knowing her shit about income households, I thought he was just being a dick, but it turns out Jess is a sheltered, ignorant idiot who did deserve to be chewed out. Jordan actually could have been higher on this list, but his punkhood early on holds him back. Also it is very distracting how much he looks like Steve-O.
This guy didn’t really take advantage of the moment on the show; maybe he got a little bit screwed by the editors, but it doesn’t seem like he got much out of the experience. He barely opens up: early on, he talks about all the gay sex he had and how it was good and he felt accepted, but then later in the season it ‘comes out’ that he’s a very strong Christian and tries to remain chaste for that reason. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. I mean if you’re a black dude, it seems like the moment you decide to fuck a bunch of other dudes should be the same as the moment you decide that your faith isn’t the most important thing to you. But then he hooks up with a girl later in the season and feels worse about it, as a Christian, than he does about his gay sex history. I have no idea what this guy has learned or taken from the experience, other than that nobody is perfect, which you really shouldn’t need a four month sejour to realize. His relationship with Nia is really stupid as well, as he gives her the benefit of the doubt for waaaaay too long even when evidence of her insanity is staring right at him. Finally, during the Dogfight at the end, instead of sticking around as a body to physically break up the violence and a demonically possessed Nia, he straight up LEAVES THE HOUSE, saying something like “She’s just got this look in her eye like she wants to kill Averey and Johnny, so I’m just not sure what I can really do.” But this guy played football in Division 1 like four years ago. Now I’m not sure what I would have done in that situation, but if I had been a Texas Tech LINEBACKER, I probably would have felt capable and responsible as a peacekeeper. I don’t get Marlon and I don’t like who he ultimately aligns himself with, but other than that he’s a very nice, non-malicious, intelligent dude, so perhaps he could be higher as well.
Jessica’s placement here as not last really says more about last place than about Jess, because she is one of the most annoying, grating, awful people I’ve ever seen on television, especially for someone who is legitimately a nice person. I don’t really know how to describe it. She writes poetry (and it’s really fucking bad) and like tries to read it out in confessional and in front of everyone, and I literally have to cover my face with my shirt because it’s too hard to watch. She takes everyone to some Motocross event, which is barely above Nascar in the list of shittiest possible sports to be obsessed with. Even the way she says “I ride!” to some guy asking her if she’s ever seen Motocross before is vomit-inducing. Then there’s the fact that she complains about being ignored by Averey and Ana and not included. This shit is absolutely the worst thing, man. It is everyone’s responsibility, as a housemate, to figure out a way to be liked. You can’t just be shitty and then call everyone out for not liking you enough. Yes, the people in the house are relatively cold to her, but Jess put herself in that position for the first 22 or so years of her life. If you don’t figure out a way to fit in….I mean when everyone in the house finds you irritating, what’s more likely? That six people are just insane and wrong in their judgments, or that you should maybe adjust? We saw that adjustment from Jordan, he tones it down and is a little more respectful to people. Jess deliberately ignores social cues, buries her head in the sand and then cries because nothing is changing.
Then there was the whole saga with her boyfriend Tyler, who incidentally might be the most vapid character in the history of Real World. Not that Jess needs more negative points, but choosing that guy as a potential mate is simply not acceptable. Anyway, I guess they don’t bone even though they both want to because Jess has some mental whatever, then he (shockingly) breaks up with her and she is devastated. But then in true Jess fashion, she decides to take a fucking oath of celibacy until she gets married, which is a super personal, private matter so she uses the confessional. Since it’s such a blatant ploy for attention, since she hasn’t been at all openly religious before this and she goes around parading her ring to everyone who will pretend to give a shit, she eventually gets called out by Ana which was awesome. Ana is like “I see what you’re doing here and I don’t like you” and Jess is like “Well growing up I was in a blah blah blah and I blah blah blah and me” and Ana goes “Think about how many times you just said ‘I’, there you go.” In conclusion, Jess is one of the most self-absorbed, terrible, uninteresting people you can imagine, and she isn’t even close to the worst character on the show. That honor of course goes to –
The absolute scum of the earth. She’s basically Cartman in curvy 23-year old form, which is pretty scary – a true sociopath. Luckily she’s not quite smart enough to really “win,” though delusional enough to always believe she has, which is just infuriating due to the stunning lack of humility. When she’s not accusing everyone in the house of having a small dick, she’s sitting around the house all afternoon and evening drinking and writing her shitty book about how to date and keep athletes. She rarely goes out and despite her talk about being hot shit, never gets laid even though she’s good-looking and horny, thus directly indicting her personality (cause what else would the problem be?). She refuses to go to work, fakes sick every day and finally calls out the employer in a comically rude way upon being fired, then brags to everyone about how much she embarrassed her boss. The way she manipulates Jordan early in the season is eye-opening, as I guess she blacks him out, tries to seduce him to expose his dick to everyone, fills his mouth with cheerios, pours alcohol down his throat against hist will, then claims that he spat on and assaulted her. Of course everyone immediately blames Jordan, which puts her in the clear until she makes it clear through her actions that she is fucking insane.
The best part about her ultimate comeuppance (at least I’m assuming she gets sent home for physical assault), is that she was actually somewhat in the right at first. Averey and Johnny should have been more apologetic about the dog shit and offered to clean it up, but since Nia has been so terrible throughout the season, she gave up her right to receive rational discourse and reactions. She starts fucking with the dog against the wishes of the couple, just to be a dick, and then sucker punches both Averey and Johnny and tries to knock him out with a blowdryer. The last segment we see is her smacking Averey in the head from behind, which leads to more fighting and somehow her not getting unanimously voted off. She starts more shit with Jordan but nothing pans out and ultimately leaves in typical high spirits, completing mental double-backflips in her mind to realize she won.
So, did anyone watch this season? I thought it was good.