Episode two unfolds as a sort of puu-puu platter of reality TV’s most tantalizing tropes.
We get the artificial field trip dropped in to provide a new, vibrant backdrop. This time it’s a visit to the Color Factory, which may be the world’s first museum created just for Instagram.
We get a shirtless Eric Nies (it only took until Episode 2, folks!) when our Covid bro decides to take an ice bath to try to freeze out the ‘Rona. (Legal disclaimer: There is no scientific proof that ice baths freeze out the ‘Rona.) And yes, in case you’re wondering, Eric is still swol’.
We also get more insight into what some of our roommates have been doing for the past 30 years. Some updates:
Heather B. is happily married, hosts three separate shows, and has a merch line. It is no surprise that she hosts a ton of radio shows because I, for one, would like to listen to her all day long. In The Happy Hour with Heather B, she makes cocktails and schmoozes with guests (the reason she brought a whole suitcase of top-shelf liquor into the loft). She also discusses a transformative encounter 10 years ago with Whoopi Goldberg that inspired her to pursue her purpose. Kevin bestows the Black Girl Magic title upon her and long may she reign.
Kevin “The Prophet” Powell seemingly doesn’t sleep. He’s written 14 books, teaches, lectures, and is the proud owner of kevinpowell.net and I say we all join forces to convince the car salesman who is bogarting kevinpowell.com to return it to its rightful owner. He discusses his low points after he was fired from Vibe magazine in the late 90s; he drank excessively and was not taking care of himself. He doesn’t drink now. And he’s into yoga and spirituality – a recurring theme for much the group, as Heather B. has a relationship with Jesus, and Eric discusses a connection with a “grandmaster” who introduced him to martial arts and meditation, describes his life now as extremely spiritual.
And then, there’s Becky. Sigh.
I’m still confused about what Becky does. She lived with her dad for 10 years. She studied under a healer named Nicolai Levashov, whose bio sounds like something written about NXIVM leader Keith Raniere by Keith Raniere. And she is listed as a healer on that site: “Rebecca offers her services as an alternative healing arts practitioner under California’s Health Care Freedom Act,” which sounds like a big bowl of CYA. But her biggest reveal is that she insists that in college she summoned John Lennon from beyond the grave and then he would visit and talk with her for years and write songs with her. Y’all, she was serious. My favorite part of the episode is when they cut to an interview with Andre, who is the only one to scream bullshit as Becky is sharing this story, and he’s like, “I don’t think John Lennon’s ghost would have anything to do with you.” Yet, a seemingly legitimate publication like American Songwriter has run an interview with her as if this is all fucking normal. This is what happens when all the fact checkers are laid off.
And… more Becky and #ThingsWhitePeopleLike and reality show tropes: There is an incoming message, and the group watches the clip from the first season when Kevin and Becky get in a fight that is ultimately about white privilege and at the time Becky can’t see that Kevin is talking about white supremacy culture and she goes into white fragility mode. Good thing 30 years have passed, right? Uh… no. Becky gets defensive again and just can’t see what Kevin was trying to say then and now. Burps of “Not racist,” “not fair,” “hurtful to hear.” She seemingly hasn’t evolved at all since 1992 despite studying under some Russian genius. We don’t get to see the whole debate and I have a feeling that the next episode will kick off with the rest of this exchange and it will be ugly. Previews for the series have footage of someone leaving the show and if Las Vegas is taking bets, I’m putting the duckets down on Becky going full-throttle Karen and dramatically exiting.
Until next time, keep it real.
Image credit: Paramount