“The Real World: San Diego” recap: “An End To The Endless Summer” (Ep. 12)

And the end of yet another season of The Real World is here. Pretty soon you won’t be able to spit without hitting a former Real World cast member.

The episode opens with Nate and Frank preparing for their charity event, which will benefit the It Gets Better Project. Ashley is given the task of selling 50 tickets, and she runs off to the gym with Zach. Those two treat the gym like the Bubble Boy treats his sterilized plastic dome. It’s like if they don’t hit the gym from dawn to dusk, they’re afraid that they will catch a cold and die. Or even worse — get love handles.

Ashley gives some of the tickets to Zach, who sells none. Ashley only manages to sell four before hitting the treadmill again, because love handles are worse than death.

Boss Michelle and Sam roll up to Zach and Ashley’s plastic bubble and immediately pop it. Everyone is disappointed that the gym rats failed to unload the tickets. Moral of the story: even a perfectly sculpted gluteus won’t prevent you from being spanked.

Despite Zach and Ashley’s inability to do anything productive, the event is packed, and the energy is off the hook. Meanwhile, Nate almost falls off the stage. Nate is hammered and his speech on behalf of his charity is barely in English. It falls somewhere between gibberish and infant pidgin, but no one seems to notice, because everyone in the room is just as plastered.

At some point Nate stops working and disappears into the crowd of revelers, leaving the roommates to pick up the slack. This annoys Frank, who thinks Nate is being unprofessional.

It is almost time to say goodbye. But first, Zach prances around in Ashley’s shorts.

Next, Frank finds Nate floating in the hot tub and starts yelling at him to help him tie up loose ends from the charity event. Nate yells back, saying that he has worked enough and just wants to decompress. After a string of expletives, both calm down, make up and tell us that they are BFFs.

As the episode creaks ever so slowly to the blissful fade to black, the roommates – sans Zach and Ashley – dance around in the pool in one last crab circle and pile into a bedroom.

The next day, it is time to go. Zach and Ashley grudgingly join the group in a group hug. Zach and Frank say goodbye to each other in the most insincere exchange ever. Frank and Nate, who grew close over the season to become best friends, despite Nate’s initial homophobia and Frank’s bad temper, share an emotional hug. Then Frank heads off to start the next segment of his life in L.A.

At the airport Sam’s flight is first to leave, and Nate, Ashley and Zach wave goodbye to her in unison.

Back at the house, Priscilla and Alexandra wait for their rides. Byron pulls up to the house, excited, but Alexandra seems less than enthused. Living in a tricked out frat pad with a rag tag bunch of inglourious basterds definitely grew on her. Then Priscilla’s mother arrives, and the house is empty.

At the airport, Zach and Ashley say goodbye. They have decided to stay together, and Ashley leaves Zach a love letter, which he reads. Zach says that he shares the same strong feelings for her. What? Zach has feelings? We learn something new every day, and in the final few seconds of this season we learn that Zach has emotions. Well, that was educational. And at 10:59 PM eastern time, MTV relieved me of my indentured servitude and ended the season.

So, who’s up for going out Wednesday nights? I’m a free woman.