The Real World, Season 17, Episode 19 "Wake of the Storm"
Originally aired on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 Written by BuddyTV Staff Columnist Episode Rating: ** (2 stars out of 5) Episode Overview: The gang returns to the Key after Hurricane Wilma. There's plenty of physical fall-out from the storm - and they also have to deal with the emotional fall-out of Tyler's treatment of Svetlana.
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Episode Highlights:
  • The castmates head back to Key West from their temporary evacuation to Orlando.
  • Svetlana discovers Tyler’s “Burn Book” resulting in a confrontation as mature as one could expect when one of the warring factions actually took the time to create a “Burn Book.”
  • Paula is able to spend more time with her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Keith, with whom she shares a stormy past.
Recap: The REAL WORLD castmates, having retreated to Orlando, get the all-clear to return to Key West. They've heard rumors about the extent of the damage, and so are apprehensive, feelings compounded by the state of destruction they see all around as they drive south. Upon arriving at the house, they are relieved to find that most of the damage is to the exterior and the residential portions of the house have remained dry. Their car is ruined though, which will create some logistical difficulties for the house. Next, most of the gang heads to the Mystic Tan salon to assess the damage there. In the van, the group dishes on Svetlana Shusterman, who's remained back at the house with Paula Meronek cleaning up. The group seems irritated by her habit of embellishment, but it all seems a bit mean-spirited and petty. The Mystic Tan salon was not as lucky as The REAL WORLD house. The place stinks of mildew and sewage, and it appears that the store was flooded with at least a foot of water. They deliver the bad news to the Mystic Tan vice-president over the phone. That evening, most of the group suits up in fun costumes. The yearly Fantasy Fest might be postponed, but many locals and tourists are heading out to party in masquerade nonetheless. Meanwhile, Paula meets up with Keith, her ex-ex-boyfriend. He's been abusive to her in the past, but has been getting help, and Paula makes wary steps towards reconciling with him. She wants to bring him back to see the house, but has to run it past the housemates, especially Tyler Duckworth, who's been vocal about his disapproval of the situation. Keith takes him aside and breaks the ice with Tyler, explaining that he's learned the error of his ways. Tyler seems mildly won over. But the warm feelings are not to last. Svetlana "stumbles" upon Tyler's "Burn Book." (The shot of the book sticking out of Tyler's backpack has "producer-intervention" written all over it.) She is understandably upset at finding a book dedicated to cataloging her shortcomings, and so calls her mom for some reassurance. As she speaks with her mother, Tyler stands in the doorway and eavesdrops. When Svetlana's mother makes a comment about Tyler, Tyler leaps from the shadows and starts shouting down Svetlana's mother over the phone. There are so many things wrong with this, do I need to catalog them? Svetlana demands he leave her alone, and eventually he does, but not before taping a nasty note to the front door. Zach Mann heads outside to talk to Svetlana, and as he does, Janelle Casanave stalks out to confront her about "negative" things she said to her mother. No matter how immature or annoying the roommates might find Svetlana, this treatment has gone beyond mere impatience to just nastiness. Zach finds Tyler's note and rips it down, then confronts him about crossing the line. Tyler always has a comeback, and, it would seem in the interest of keeping the peace, Zach doesn't stick to his guns about the note as I wish he would have. The issue has to be momentarily set aside, however, as the whole house must pull together to meet via phone with the Mystic Tan vice-president. Once they do, they learn that although the organization appreciates all their hard work, the salon will not be re-opened. The gang is shocked! To be continued! We will have to tune in next week to see what this means for the house.

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