Grantland Reality Fantasy League: Death by Desk Lamp

MTV Real World

With a slow Survivor this week, the GRTFL is all about Real World’s Hurricane Nia. What did Hurricane Nia do? Oh, nothing, just, ya know, revealed her plans to write a “how to” book about dating professional athletes, displayed the work ethic of a stoned elephant seal, and brandished both an alarm clock and a desk lamp as assault weapons. In her defense, it was a hardy desk lamp. Let’s review how Jordan and Nia, the couple that brought us attempted cannibal fellatio, continued to innovate with murder by alarm clock. Keep reading. It only gets weirder.

Top Scorers

Jordan (Real World, Jacoby), 49 points: The dynamic of Hurricane Nia and Jordan’s relationship is best described as “fight flirt.” Nope, not true. It’s actually best described as “What the hell are these people doing to each other?” but “fight flirt” has a better ring to it. This week, Jordan and Nia started as adorable adversaries and ended … well … to best understand the arc of this episode of Real World, one must first understand the Three-Act Structure of Modern Storytelling, a tried-and-true device that breaks a tale down into “exposition,” “rising action,” and “climax.”

Exposition: Exposition is a device designed to set up the characters and the world they live in — in this case, love-hating each other. Jordan establishes his feelings about Nia early, stating, “Nia doesn’t have a work ethic. She lays on her back and gets everything handed to her. She’s a gold digger.” Nia, not one to be outdone, detailed her thoughts about Jordan on the phone with her friend: “Let me tell you about Jordan … the douchebag in the house. He has an inferiority complex, he has a very, very, very small penis — like, half of a hand — and you can tell he is very insecure about it.”

Now, one would read this and think that the two are at odds with each other. But no. They have a very “Magic and Larry” thing going on: Each hates having an equal adversary and loves it at the same time. Their feelings about each other frequently vacillate. They are human land mines begging to be stepped on — there’s nothing they would rather do than blow up. At the end of the episode, they got their chance.

Rising Action: It started as fun and games. It ended with Hurricane Nia threatening to kill Jordan with a desk lamp. How we got there I don’t know. The whole thing was so baffling that I can only summarize it by presenting the facts without commentary. The following events all happened between Jordan and Nia, in this order, following a night in which Jordan got kaslammered (9 + 5 = 14 points), got in an argument with Marlan (5 points), and was sitting down at the computer when Hurricane Nia swept through. You have no idea how hard it’s going to be for me not to add my two cents, but there is zero chance I can do so without it getting edited out or getting fired, so I’ll save both myself and my editor the time:

First: Nia comes home and starts asking why Jordan acts the way he does.
Second: The two start flirty wrestling.

Third: Jordan decides to go to bed.
Fourth: Nia follows him into his room and gives him vodka.
Fifth: Jordan calls Nia a whore. [He really said that … shit … I said I wouldn’t commentate.]
Sixth: Nia steals some money from his wallet. [She really … oh yeah.]
Seventh: Nia feeds him cereal and then slaps him in the face, but, ya know, flirty-like. (5 points)
Eighth: Jordan spits some cereal in her face.
Ninth: Nia REALLY doesn’t like having cereal spit in her face and chokes Jordan on his bedside table.
Tenth: Nia threatens to “Split Jordan’s bleep right the bleep open!” (25 points)

Eleventh: Nia brandishes an alarm clock to “Split [Jordan’s] bleep right the bleep open!”

Twelfth: Jordan flips her over and aggressively mounts her on his bed. [Not commentating on this was a bad idea.] [Ed: Stay strong, Jacoby.]
Thirteenth: Nia kicks Jordan off her and retreats to her room.

Tension has risen. There is only one thing left to do to relieve this pressure.

The Climax: With Nia leaving the room, one would assume everything is now calm. One would be wrong. Again, the following really happened, and I ain’t saying shit about it because nothing good comes of me offering my thoughts about these events:

Fourteenth: Jordan walks into Nia’s room while she in is bed.
Fifteenth: Nia asks Jordan to leave, he refuses.
Sixteenth: Nia brandishes a lamp and threatens Jordan.

Seventeenth: She slaps him.
Eighteenth: Commercial break.
Nineteenth: She threatens to kill him.
Twentieth: He makes monkey sounds and gestures. [Must. Stay. Strong.]

Twenty-First: She announces that his life is over.
Twenty-Second: She chokes him.

Twenty-Third: She mushes him:

Twenty Fourth: Marlan drags Jordan back to his room and the two are separated.

Now, this entire incident was just … borderline. There was borderline flirtation, borderline sexual abuse, borderline racism, and at least four counts of borderline assault. Here is what I do know about it: It wasn’t cool. Here is what I don’t know about it: the motivation of any of the parties involved. Let’s just leave it at that.

Andrea (Survivor, House), -20 points: How do you get sent home with the hidden immunity idol in your pocket? (-20 points) How? Did you really think you were safe? Did you really think that you had the whole game sewn up to the point where you won a recent immunity challenge, got the hidden immunity idol, orchestrated a backstab of an alliance member, and never thought your name would come up? Did you really think that, Andrea? Really? And weren’t you backstabbed last time you were on the show? And aren’t you up against Cochran? What were you thinking? I would make Andrea not playing the hidden immunity idol at tribal the Questionable Moment of the Week, but I feel like I already did.

Plus, a slow Survivor episode makes for good GRTFL Top Five of the Week fodder. This week’s GRTFL Top Five are the Top Five Most Interesting Things that Happened on Suvivor, listed from “No big deal” to “Do we now have proof that there is alien life on Earth?”

5. Andrea was blindsided: She was blindsided and she’s such a vet that she responded with, “Oh you guys … that was good. That was really good.” Shout to her for taking it like a G.
4. Erik gave Andrea the Idol: Andrea had the clue telling her where the idol was and shared it with her tribe. Erik The Ice Cream Scooper found the thing, and the first action he took with it was to hand it to Andrea. WHAT? Just … WHAT? I don’t know what the rules are with this thing (for instance, I don’t think you can steal it while someone sleeps), but if you find it I am pretty sure it’s yours. Shocking that an ice cream scooper doesn’t have more strategic savvy.
3. Eddie Not Knowing What “Adjective” Means: Direct quote from Eddie, “I have been tricked, fooled, and basically every other adjective going into tribal council.” This sound bite did absolutely nothing to advance the story. I swear the producer and editor just found it hilarious and shoehorned it in there. Shout-out to them, though.
2. Malcolm’s Jury Hair:

1. This Fella:

This adorable little fella is easily the breakout star of the season. Do you think they plant the bugs there to get the shot? Who am I kidding? Of course they plant the bugs there to get the shot. Does PETA care about bugs? Do bugs fall under their jurisdiction? Am I stumbling upon the questionable moment of the week? No, no I am not.

Nia (Real World, Connor), 30 points: Not only is Nia a desk lamp brandisher, alarm clock assaulter, and life threatener (5 + 25 = 30 points), she’s … well … let’s let her tell it. “I am a journalist by nature. I decided a long time ago that I wanted to write books for a living. I came up with an idea that had never been done before; there’s a lot of women that look at wealthy athletes and that lifestyle is something that they want but don’t know what it entails to be with one. I dated athletes, I know what it takes to be with one. Will I write it down and make a profit off it? Absolutely.” Yes, Nia is writing a book:

She goes on to explain how she became an expert: “I know a lot of them. I have dated a few, through industry contacts; even if they are just trying to bleep me I use it to my advantage.” When questioned about who she dated she offered up the name Arron Afflalo. The second Afflalo saw the trailer for this season of Real World he said to himself, Oh no, that chick is going to put me on blast on MTV, isn’t she?

I know that never happened, but please just let me live the fantasy that Arron Afflalo pays close attention to the Real World online promotional videos. Thank you. I appreciate it. It makes me happy.

Marlan (Real World, Connor), 5 points: Marlan is VERY concerned about Jordan’s sex life. So, when Jordan hangs out with a young woman named Vanessa, Marlan immediately finds nude pictures of her online and starts asking weird questions (5 points):

Marlan: “Dude, why won’t you [coitus] Vanessa?”
Jordan: “I don’t know … it is just fun to keep her … I don’t know.”
Marlan: “I am just sayin’, if I was in your position, and I could have sex, I’d smash Vanessa. [Looking at picture of Vanessa.] You could be smashing this right now.”
Jordan: “I don’t know. It’s so much more fun to say no to them.”

There is one strange bite in that back-and-forth, right? The part where Marlan says, “If I was in your position, and I could have sex, I’d smash Vanessa.” Marlan later explains the reason that he can’t have sex: “I want to have sex. I can’t have sex because it doesn’t go with my faith, and it sucks so bad.” I am not that savvy about the old church and faith and the associated rules and stuff, but I am pretty sure that “gay sex with the male cheerleader” falls under “no-no.” Again, I am not the authority on this.

OK, we’ve covered male-female violence, racism, and religion — I think that fills our weekly quota here at the ol’ GRTFL. Enjoy your weekend. Next week we have the rejuvenation of the Averey and Johnny story line, the consistent storm that is Hurricane Nia, and we will meet the person who will fly halfway across the world to spend an hour with Dawn. [Bart Scott voice] Can’t wait.

Filed Under: CBS, Hurricane Nia, Mtv, Real World, Reality TV, Reality TV Fantasy League, Survivor

David Jacoby is an ESPN producer who somehow became a writer and editor for Grantland.

Archive @ djacoby