A lot can be said about Zach after tonight’s episode of Real World San Diego. He’s a bigot. He’s hateful. He’s potentially violent. He’s rude. He’s selfish. He’s a bully. He reacts in an over the top manner. He doesn’t care about other peoples’ feelings. I don’t know if I agree with all of those points (mostly the bigoted one, though I can see where that idea could come from). I do know that he made me really angry today for his close-mindedness, which is only made worse by the fact that the blonde girl–whose name I honestly had forgotten because she’s less a person and more a pair of short shorts hanging on his every word–gives him someone to pair up with and run away with. More on this if you hit the jump! Before jumping in, though, I have to say, huge kudos to whoever named this episode. I hate the over use of the term “I’m so over…” in culture and especially reality television, but this is a clever play on words. Well done! So, as the title and my opening paragraph implies, this episode revolves around gay stuff, or more eloquently gay and lesbian issues. That and guns and jobs.
Zach started the episode off by getting his eyebrows waxed with Ashley at his side (nearly straddling him at one point). While at lunch with her mom, Priscilla explains that Ashley has changed a lot of things about herself to be more like Zach. None of this is super important though. The catalyst for the episode comes soon after these scenes and revolves around Sam getting some really bad news about a pair of friends who got in a really bad car accident.
Nate jumps in to cheer her up and then Frank comes in and offers to go play minigolf or bowling. Sam likes the idea because it will keep her mind off of it. I guess the other roommates hear about going or something because Sam runs up the stairs to ask if Zach’s ready to go. He’s playing ping pong with Nate. Apparently Zach doesn’t know about the accident, so he doesn’t see the immediacy in him getting ready so there’s some back and forth between Sam and him. She threatens to throw the paddles off the balcony so he responds with “I’ll beat the gay out of you.” Understandably shocked, she walks away and he says she shouldn’t get agressive with someone four times her size.
Wow. Making matters worse, Zach shows zero remorse in the episode for being an ass. He doesn’t seem to get that escalating things to violence so quickly can be worrisome to people, especially given his size. The problem with Zach, aside from being close-minded, is that he’s a big bully. When I say “big” I mean that he’s got such a large physical presence that he knows it would take some pretty formidable opposition to actually hurt him. When you’re that assured, some people get arrogant and that’s Zach in my eyes.
All this is broken up by the roommates going to the House of Blues to interview for jobs. It’s pretty much how you’d expect given the cartoonish qualities some of them show (including Frank’s ridiculously ubiquitous headbands). Later in the episode we see them broken up into groups doing their training. Nate and Sam are doing stage management, Alexandra and Priscilla are hostesses, I’m not sure what Frank is doing, Ashley’s a bartender and Zach’s a barback, which doesn’t sit well with Zach because he’s working for a woman. He doens’t outright say that this way, but it’s pretty clear. At the end of their first real day, they find out that the HOB will have a presence at the Pride parade which Sam and Frank were already excited about.
To jump back a bit, we got a pair of gloriously edited scenes in which Sam and Frank went to a series of sex stores and Ashley took Zach to a firing range. Zach and Ashley both got off on seeing each other shoot guns, while Frank and Sam got off on being open and out about their sexuality in a place where they wouldn’t be judged. I’ve got no judgement here, really. I’ve shot pigeons just once and was terrible at it, but I think it’s a great recreational experience. I just thought the sequencing was pretty clever. After shooting, Zach hangs the targets they shot at on his side of the room. After shopping, Sam hangs a rainbow version of the American flag. Both do it because they’re proud and both do it to irk their roommates.
At some point in the episode (before finding out about their work commitment at the event) Sam and Frank got involved with passing out flags and whatnot during the very first involvement of active military personnel in a Pride parade. They asked the roommates to go. Ashley made it sound like she’d go, but Nate knew right away she wouldn’t. Later Zach calls his military pal who tells him he wouldn’t do it, thus absolving his friend. I know this is a wildly complex issue for those who serve, but I assume it wouldn’t be if there were less close-minded and ignorant people like Zach around.
When Zach and Ashley tell Sam they’re not going to a lesbian highlighter party, Sam gets really upset. Her whole thing is that she really wants them specifically to come to just one event to see how great their lifestyle and community can be. I can totally see where she’s coming from. One of the big problems with bigotry and the various -isms is not being familiar with whatever you’re judging/uncomfortable with. Now, I get that not everyone will want to go to a lesbian highlighter party or what have you, but you can tell when someone’s just so closed off and uninterested in changing or growth and that’s what bothers me about Zach and Ashley. We’re all stuck on this world together, why not learn about each other and try to see where we’re all coming from?