July 31, 2001
Off the Record
Mike thinks he's hilarious, but there's a reason his roomies call his little fits "joke rages." His sense of humor is like a bludgeon, and he's not afraid to use it. Not only does he beat his roommates about the ears with joke after joke about penises, but he gets the punch line wrong. Then he repeats himself 20 times (By his own admission! Sacre bleu!). No wonder he's more likely to clear the room than to get a laugh.
Unless you're counting his own chuckles, mes pamplemousses. After each joke, he guffaws with pleasure, slaps his knees and does that little "yes" dance that is the unfortunate legacy of Macaulay Culkin. Sometimes, the other Real Worlders will use Mike's own weapon on him. Rachel encourages Mike to tell his jokes, so that she can "watch him make a fool out of himself." That, little girly, is like shooting fish in a barrel and not a worthy challenge at all.
For a long time, Mike doesn't really seem to notice that his comedy routines inspire naught but contempt. However, after his world-famous laxative joke brings nothing but groans, after the girls kick him out of their room, after Rachel refuses to go to the concert with him, Mike's inflated self-image suffers a pop. He calls his friends back home in dismay; how dare someone make him feel "not ok?" How dare someone neglect to high-five him after a joke? He's had to high-five himself, for heaven's sake!
Poor, poor Mike attends the Tap Root concert all by himself, because no one in the entire metropolis of New York will go with him. Not only has his puerile humor made him an outcast, but no one else in the house likes heavy metal! But it is here, in this smoky, sweaty temple to guitar noodling, that young Goofus finds the validation he seeks. He finally receives his high-five from Tap Root's singer himself! Darlings, I just completely expected Mike to never wash that hand again.
Soon after, the kids are assigned to their new "jobs." This season, they'll be "working" at Arista Records (see the pronunciation key below), instead of the local meat-packing plant like we all had hoped. Coral sees herself "putting in lots of energy" at this job, and Nicole is excited about the prospect of working with R&B and rap artists. Lori, of course, is hoping that she gets a chance to be America's latest emotionally disturbed songbird. But Malik is pleased about this job for Mike's sake; he sees Mike as someone with no direction in his life, so "he could definitely find a place in the music businesses." Burn on you, music executives!
On the first day, the kids rise early, yogurt-faced, and trudge to Arista World Domination Headquarters. They meet with Adam and Devon, the marketing and sales directors, who explain the corporation's hierarchy and show them a rockin' video. Lori is "super-pumped" after she sees all the famous names flash by on the screen, so sure is she that her own name will soon be in lights.
But the true nature of the job doesn't seem so rosy, once Adam and Devon explain it. Sure, Arista is primarily known for its R&B artists, but this company wants to take over the rock world, too. Why should Spandex trousers be limited to K-Tel, after all? The Real Worlders are to be Arista's "street team," spreading "buzz" about Arista's rock artists to all their little friends and acquaintances, pushing the product one person at a time. It's like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," but without all that goo.
Now, for Mike, this is a dream job. Finally, something even Mike can't mess up! When Boss #1 and Boss #2 play a clip of their latest brainwashing experiment, er, band, Mike is practically drooling from the very first guitar lick. Plus, he actually says the office décor is "off the hook!" No one else can summon up much enthusiasm about the assignment, though. It's great fun to watch Adam and Devon sum the kids up in that slimy entertainment industry parlance of theirs, i.e. "Are we on the same page?" They're practically drooling over Mike, who likes the music, and Kevin, who can talk the slick talk they want to hear. Everyone else can go fly a kite.
The seven new recruits are divided into two teams: A)Mike, Lori, Coral and B)Malik, Nicole, Rachel, Kevin. They have to assemble focus groups, spread the word about Arista rock artists and generally prepare the planet for an Arista dictatorship. Let the cloning begin!
Pronunciation Key: It's A-rista, not a-RIS-ta. Now say it right, or the Arista goons will be knocking on your door!
Who's Shirtless: Shirtlessness has no place in the professional world, my pets, but Kevin manages a little topless time, anyway.
Who Cries: There's no crying, just screaming, when the kids learn about their new employer. They're practically drooling to sacrifice their firstborn before the brazen image of Whitney Houston.
Most Annoying: I had a nightmare the other night, in which I was being pursued by Jan, the local Tupperware lady. She was chasing me through the neighborhood, trying to get me to burp all her containers. That, my friends, is what it would be like to live with Mike.
Best Quote: "Usually, I'm the person everyone wants to be around!" the nonplussed Mike remarks to his friend. After all, he was "ownin' the pit!" at the Tap Root concert!
Next Week: Fingers fly in faces! Watch it- you'll put an eye out!