Reality and the Jewish Woman

Everyone’s entitled to a guilty pleasure, whether it’s a cheesy band from the ’80s whose music you sing in the shower or the romance novels you keep stashed on the shelf behind the “serious literature” you haven’t gotten around to reading. Mine? The Real World/Road Rules Challenge on MTV.
Yeah, I know, it’s stupid. I am very familiar with all the “MTV doesn’t actually show music anymore” arguments. And of course I’m ashamed to watch a show that rewards 20something alcoholics for dropping out of college in order to pursue a career of hooking up with each other and getting into fights on national TV. Yet I watch it anyway. Since Road Rules went on “hiatus” several years ago, the crop of willing and available camerawhores has finally started to decline. What does MTV do? Bring back veteran drama-starters like Trishelle, Veronica, and Mike? Nope. Pick new people and make them pair up with veterans! Call it “Fresh Meat.” Genius!
One of the new kids is Aviv Melmed, an Israeli who recently got out of the army and is in the US for college. When the players were ranked, her stats placed her at the top of the pack. In the “playground pick” style of choosing partners, she was selected by Darrell, a Road Rules veteran who has won the last three straight challenges. So far, only three episodes have aired, and Aviv has barely registered. Since she’s not a) on the brink of elimination, b) sleeping with anyone on the show, c) throwing forks at people who piss her off, or d) all of the above, she’s mostly been relegated to the background. So far, that’s a good thing.
The history of Jewish women on The Real World and its spinoffs hasn’t been a great one. Rachel from the Austin season was an army nurse recently back from a tour in Iraq, but most of her screen time depicted her as a spoiled brat who used her “combat veteran” status to proclaim herself superior. On the Chicago season, Cara was a daddy’s girl with body issues and Aneesa was a loud, obnoxious troublemaker who left the bathroom door open. The all-time high was when Amaya, a veteran of the Hawaii season, competed on a Challenge and refused to participate in a mission that involved eating pig’s feet. Her teammates were mostly cool about her decision, until Amaya was busted eating sausages for breakfast. Her explanation? She didn’t know they came from pigs!
I’m withholding judgment on Aviv until the end of the season, but for the time being it’s nice to see a Jewess who can hold her own- and kick your ass.
The Real World/Road Rules Challenge airs Monday nights on MTV, after which Lilit shakes her head and wonders where she went wrong with her life.

12 thoughts on “Reality and the Jewish Woman

  1. Lest we forget the cantakerous Effie! Who can forget the episode when there was a suicide bombing in Israel and her fellow Road Rules castmates states, “Now we understand why she is angry and a bitch all the time. I’d feel that way too if bombs were going off in front of my house.”

  2. Lilit you got to get on that show and redeem the tribe’s reputation. Refuse the sausage and lounge on the balcony reading Anna Karenina. C’est l’idéale! I’ll get me a television to see that.

  3. I was watching the other night and also was impressed (so far) with Aviv. I knew right away she was Jewish. Before they even said her name. Is it also possible that “fitz” from the current season of Road Rules (Key West) or Svetlana is Jewish? I know Svetlana isnt a Jewish name, but … ya know. Anyway, I never realized just how many Jewish girls had been on Real World. Speaking of RW Key West, Zach is also Jewish.

  4. No, Svetlana is definitely Jewish, although luckily for us the editing is portraying her as a Russian-American Princess instead of a JAP.

  5. Ah, yes. Amaya. As far as I’m concerned, that refusal to bob for pigs’ feet was a watershed moment for assimilated Judaism–I mean, what Jewish RW watcher doesn’t remember where she was at that moment in history? Cara just got married a few weeks ago…to a JEW! And Kyle (who’s now a soap opera actor, apparently) was at the wedding. Because at its core, RW is about friendship. And twentysomethings getting drunk and either hooking up or slapping each other. That’s great TV…

  6. Svetlana from Key West may be the dumbest human being I have ever encountered in any version of media.
    I’ve watched one episode of that show in the last 8 years. In this episode, Svetlana encountered a gay man who was did not fit the gay stereotype.
    She then concluded that if gay men could be ‘masculine’, then any man could be gay, and proceeded to conclude that both her boyfriend and father were gay.
    Upon watching this, I stabbed myself repeatedly in the face with a fork.

  7. Let me just clear that up.
    The perceived and publicized stereotype of gay men, which, you know, doesn’t actually exist.
    All I was trying to say was that Svetlana is an ignorant fool, not me.

  8. aviv melmed is my daughter, so i was kvelling over your article, of course, and i’d likel to get a cc of it mailed to me if possible…keep watching aviv, i don’t think she’ll disappoint you!

  9. Much respect to Aviv, Any one who is willing to defend the Land of Israel is aces in my book. As soon as I finish going through the conversion process to Judaism, I’m heading off to join the IDF as well. You must be very honored Mr. Melmed to have a daughter who is willing to serve in the land promised to the seed of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. May G-d watch over his land and his chosen people. _-Shalom-_

  10. There will be another yidishke meydl on the next Real World. She has it all going for her, graduated Tulane Univrsity with honors. Let see how she fares on the show.

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