Mocking MTV reality-show contestants for their stupidity is sort of like shooting fish in a barrel, if the barrel was a hot tub and the fish had serious daddy issues. Although their behavior is generally restricted to having ill-advised threeways with strippers, occasionally a Real World/Road Rules Challenge contestant will do something so mind-bogglingly dumb that you just want to reach into the TV, pull them out of the screen into your arms, stroke their hair, and whisper that everything will be all right if they promise to never think or speak again.
Such was the world's reaction last night when Emily, a contestant on Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Exes, decided to impersonate her ex-boyfriend/fellow contestant Ty by putting on blackface (video at the 26:00 mark).
If you're not one of the three or four people over the age of twenty-one who still watches MTV, here's basically what happened: Emily dated Ty when they were both on The Real World: DC, and this season they're partners on The Challenge: Battle of the Exes, which pairs former cast members with people they've dated. Angered by Ty's budding relationship with fellow contestant Paula, Emily and co-contestant Camila decided to mock the couple by dressing up as them. This resulted in Emily slathering Nutella all over her face in what I can only assume was intended to be a highly respectful tribute to her ex's cultural heritage.
Unsurprisingly, Ty and some of the fellow contestants were upset by Emily's offensive (but probably delicious) minstrel act; however, Emily appeared genuinely contrite afterward, defending her actions by insisting she "grew up really sheltered" and has "never even heard of blackface." Admittedly, that's like saying that you've never heard of elephants because you didn't grow up on the Serengeti; just because you're not intimately familiar with the sociocultural history of blackface doesn't mean that you can't exercise basic good judgment. But then again, lacking good judgment is basically a prerequisite for getting cast on an MTV show in the first place.