“The Real World: Skeletons” (30.13): The End

So with the end of this season, I just want to say a few things about the way Nicole’s sexuality was portrayed on Skeletons. If there’s one thing I can say that is positive about The Real World franchise, it is that the lesbian/bi women chosen have consistently proven that they are not archetypes; that we are complex and completely different individuals that cannot be shoved into one big “LESBIAN” box. From Genesis in Boston, to Ruthie in Hawaii, to Sam in San Diego, to Nicole in Chicago, there have been many different queer women who have represented an entire diverse community on their respective seasons, some of them being the only LGBT women on television at the time. 

What did Nicole represent? Nicole, the Staten Island EMT who loves working out and side pony tails and sees straight women as a challenge, illustrated a young woman who is successful in her job, charming (and with that accent, even!), and loved and accepted by her family. She didn’t even really have any skeletons, though I was admittedly hoping for an ex or two. Instead her triplet sisters came to Chicago and shared how much they want her to find someone (a woman!) to connect with and love in a truly committed relationship. Nicole is in the “young and fun” stage of her life, although she has also shown a lot of emotional maturity and really acted as the moral compass of the house (alongside Madison, really. They kind of pulled double duty). Nicole is looking for love, but she’s not that worried about it just yet, and that’s fine. She seems to know who she is but is also discovering some things about herself, including, like she said in her exit interview, that she doesn’t have to keep up the tough exterior that she puts on so often. She can let the guard down, open up, be more vulnerable and emotional and it won’t kill her. It’ll actually help her live.

Nicole also proved to be strong in her convictions without being stubborn about the wrong things. She knew when she felt like something wasn’t right and wouldn’t be persuaded to think otherwise. She apologized when she meant it and walked away when she knew it was the best thing to do in a heated moment. Sure she hit on some of the not-so-queer women in what could be construed as kind of creepy (I cringed a few times!), but she’s Nicole, and I’m not expecting her to represent me because she doesn’t. There’s enough reality TV out there now to show how multi-faceted we are as a community that we don’t have to hope and pray the one lesbian on The Real World won’t embarrass us anymore. But even if that was the case, I’d like to think she didn’t. 

That being said, I would have loved to actually see Nicole bring home one of the women that her roommates teased her about, saying she got the most action in the house. Then again, maybe she’s happy not to see her bedroom antics on screen. Who really wants to watch themselves do that? People who sign up for The Real World, I guess. And LGBT women are some of those people.