Tuesday, October 29, 1996

The Real World 5: Miami

The Real World spun on a new axis in 1996 when the seven strangers picked to live in a spectacular waterfront house in South Beach attempted to start a business together. Ideas ran the gamut from a cyber punk coffee shop to a skate park to their very own fashion line. But with the myriad temptations available in Miami, the business became just one of the season's dramas emanating from the house on Rivo Alto Island. Flora juggled two boyfriends, Dan embarked on a modeling career, and of course, the infamous "shower scene."

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    Sarah Becker: November 3, 1970(Chicago, Illinois)
    Biography '96: A graduate of Indiana University, Sarah is an editor at one of the country's leading comic book companies in La Jolla, Calif. This self-admitted "19-year-old trapped in a 25-year-old body" loves to skateboard, collect empty Blistex tubes and Swatch watches, and spend her free time dressing up as television characters. A tomboy, Sarah says she doesn't deal well with pettiness and wants to stay true to herself while on the show.
    Best Known For: Bringing her dog to the house.
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    Dan Renzi: July 2, 1974 (Overland Park, Kansas)
    Biography '96: Dan is incredibly gregarious and outgoing. He has worked since the age of 15, and had been the editor of the Rutgers student paper for two years. Passionate about the challenges his generation faces, 21-year-old Dan has many interests, including world economics, gay rights and environmental studies. In Miami, he becomes a model and faces a new challenge when his new boyfriend reveals he's still in the closet.
    Highlights: Yelling at Melissa for opening his mail.
    Challenges: Extreme Challenge, Battle of the Sexes, The Inferno II
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    Melissa Padrón: June 2, 1973 (Miami, Florida)
    Biography '96: About to graduate from the University of Miami at 22-years-old, Melissa is a Miami local who comes from a traditional Cuban family. She shares her knowledge of Miami culture and history with the rest of the cast. She has worked in a variety of jobs, from travel agent to phone sex operator. Melissa is excited about branching out beyond her neighborhood and into a brand new circle of roommates.
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    Joe Patane: May 22, 1970 (Brooklyn, New York)
    Biography '96:Twenty-five-year-old Joe is a graduate business student at Fordham University in New York City. He owns a small business, Computane Corp, and is very eager to start a business with his housemates. Throughout the season, Joe tries hard to resist the allure of his new female roommates while staying faithful to his fashion model girlfriend.
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    Cynthia Roberts: October 26, 1973 (Oakland, California)
    Biography '96: Cynthia works as a waitress to put herself through San Jose State. Since she's never traveled to the Southeast before, she's looking forward to leaving the inner city and exploring new cultures. At 22-years-old, she is a straightforward person who doesn't even kiss on a first date. She often shakes her head and wonders, "How the hell did I end up in this house with all this going on?"
    Highlights: Butting heads with Eric N. (RW1) on the All-Stars Challenge.
    Challenges: All-Stars, Battle of the Sexes 2
    Children: 1 (As of 2004)
    Trivia Notes: Has her own business, Cyn-Sational Parties.

  • Flora Alekseyeun: September 18, 1971, (Odessa, Russia, Ukraine)
    Biography '96: Twenty-four-year-old Flora won several national marketing competitions while attending the Art Institute of Boston. During the Miami season, she carries on two love affairs simultaneously. But we know it's just a matter of time before she gets caught. An uninhibited woman, she usually doesn't care what people think. A carefree spirit, Flora says, in addition to being a "bitch," she can be fun to hang with as well.
    Challenges: Battle of the Seasons
    Spouse: Mitchell (1997 - present)
    Trivia Notes: Posed in the May 2002 issue of Playboy with Beth Stolarczyk, Jisela Delgado, and Veronica Portillo.
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    Mike Lambert: September 30, 1971 (Atlantic Beach, Florida)
    Biography '96: Twenty-four years old, Mike has a strong background in accounting and restaurant management and is looking forward to putting his practical business knowledge of the Florida market to work as he and his six roommates try to start up their own business. In addition to his serious business side, Mike also considers himself a partier and becomes infamous for his participation in a certain "shower scene."
    Highlights: having sex in the shower with a woman he brought home, while his housemates eavesdrop outside the bathroom window.
    Challenges: Challenge 2000, Battle of the Seasons.


    Episode 1: 'Welcome to the Picture Show'

    The roommates are at their respective homes saying goodbye to friends and family. The seven roommates arrive at the Miami Beach house in pairs--Cynthia and Sarah, Flora and Joe, then Mike and Melissa. Dan, a gay man from Kansas, arrives solo. Joe is a student in New York, with a strangely tall girlfriend named Nicki. Cynthia lives in Oakland, CA and is excited to be living in a big house in Miami. Flora is a bartender from Boston who claims to speak her mind. Sarah is a crazy and goofy skateboarder chick who works for a comic book company in San Diego. Melissa is a Miami native and comes from Cuban heritage. Mike, the all-American guy, has experience managing a restaurant.
    Once they arrive, the roommates explore the house. The girls vie over the upstairs bedroom. Joe and Sarah shock the roommates by jumping into the pool fully clothed before the first day is over. On the phone, Melissa describes her new roommates as “weird.”


    Episode 2: 'Beauty is Only Skin Deep'

    This season, the roommates will be given the opportunity to start a business. The roommates meet Landon, their business advisor, and discuss possible ideas for their business venture. Flora gets frustrated when the group rejects her idea for a trendy coffee shop.
    Dan is turned down for a job at Café Torino but is successful in his Ocean Drive magazine pursuit. Flora uses her sex appeal to get a bartending job and a date with her employer, Louis. Meanwhile, Flora has a boyfriend back home named Mitchell. At home, the roommates decide that Flora “acted like a ho.”


    Episode 3: 'The Temptation of Joe'

    The roommates get primped to go dancing at Bash while Joe stays home to show he’s “unavailable.” Later, Joe brings out an old photo album and professes his wild attraction to women. He even admits that he wanted to be a porn star. When Joe flirts with a waitress at dinner, Mike wants to know his secret with women. In a meeting, the roommates discuss more business ideas. Joe and his girlfriend Nicki are already have long-distance relationship troubles.

    Episode 4: 'The Silence of Dan'

    Cynthia is frustrated about the men in her life and her overall dating situation. Dan feels isolated when communication problems with his roommates arise. Meanwhile, he is discovered at the Michelle Pommier modeling agency and participates in an Armani runway show. His roommates show their support at the show, deciding to put their conflicts temporarily on hold. Joe even brings a camera to snap pictures.
    Cynthia goes on a date with Tony to a hockey game and Dan is offended her date took priority over a dinner party with Dan’s co-worker.


    Episode 5: 'Torn Between Two Lovers'

    As the group struggles to establish a business, Joe heads back to New York for the weekend to move out of his apartment and prepare to relocate to Miami. During this same weekend, Flora’s on-again, off-again boyfriend Mitchell visits her from Boston. Their rocky relationship seems fine and dandy when he’s in town, especially since he doesn’t know about her other boy toy, Miami businessman Louis. Louis is well aware of Mitchell, especially when Flora and Mitchell bump into Louis while they are out on the town.

    Episode 6: 'Fear of Committment Poster Children'

    Melissa and Dan introduce us to their significant others. Caesar, Melissa’s boyfriend of four months, has become extra possessive ever since she moved in the house. He has a problem with sharing her with the other cast members. Later she realizes that Caesar really has commitment anxieties. Dan begins dating Arnie, a criminal defense attorney. The problem is that Arnie isn’t out of the closet, which causes them to “sneak around.” Dan doesn’t like putting up with this and struggles to help Arnie come out. The gang continues to come up empty-handed and can’t seem to agree on a business.

    Episode 7: 'America Needs Underwear'

    The group’s problem of starting a business might be solved when Robert and Everett, two local fashion designers, propose to Dan that they should have their own fashion line. At first the group doesn’t match Dan’s excitement but they eventually realize that this is an opportunity for them that might actually work. Sarah, however, isn’t so gung-ho about the idea and pitches her idea of starting a swimsuit line to Landon. Sarah also begins to question the trust between her and her roommates.

    Episode 8: 'Stand By Me?'

    Joe’s long-distance relationship with Nic is put to the test when he meets Leah at a fashion show. Despite expressing his love for Nic, he seems to like Leah’s touchy-feely, flirty friendship. Meanwhile, Flora’s relationship with Louis is also heading towards rough waters. It becomes obvious that Louis is getting tired of her childish antics when she is bitten by a spider and he refuses to take her to the hospital, thinking it's not as bad as she says it is.

    Episode 9: 'Say It Ain't So Joe'

    Joe’s girlfriend Nic visits the house. The roommates are shocked when they see how gigantic Nic is. She immediately makes a bad first impression with the roommates by complaining constantly about Joe. During dinner everybody is secretly cracking jokes about Joe and Nic’s lovey-dovey antics. Mike expresses his frustration about the business. He reads a pro/con list about the fashion idea and then removes himself from the business entirely. Joe gives an encouraging pitch about the business and Mike decides to come back.

    Episode 10: 'Act Up!'

    Joe and Nicki are in turmoil again. The roommates are concerned when Joe mysteriously disappears. When he returns, the two lovebirds are blissfully happy and vow to never again to face such a crisis. Dan is finding that Arnie remaining in the closet is a growing problem. While Dan’s brother is visiting, Dan and Arnie’s relationship comes to a head. In the end, Dan agrees to be there for Arnie to help him through the process of coming out of the closet, but to break off their romantic relationship.


    Episode 11: 'Dependence Day'

    Sarah’s outside world collides with her world at home, thrusting the house into chaos. Flora gets fed up when three kids from the inner city come over for a visit and wreak havoc as they explore the house. Flora throws the kids out and gets into a heated argument with Sarah since she invited them. In the end, Flora and Sarah learn to accept each other’s differences. Meanwhile, Cynthia shows her frustration at the house due to her lack of independence, which she enjoyed back home.


    Episode 12: 'Act Out'

    Melissa hasn’t been herself lately and has been rude and condescending to everyone. Melissa manages to insult Sarah’s friend even before they are formally introduced, by suggesting Sarah’s friends probably won’t be able to afford to eat at a certain restaurant. Sarah’s friend, Hank, puts Melissa in her place when he pays for her dinner, including the entire group. In another incident, Melissa snags a personal letter that Dan wrote to a friend and reads it out loud to everyone. Later she picks up two slides she found lying around and wonders whose they are. She later leaves them in a place she didn’t find them and Dan is enraged at her behavior. Finally, Melissa and Dan have an all-out shouting match. The two make up the next morning when they open up to each other in a sincere moment. Melissa later surprises the roommates when she jumps in the pool with her clothes on after a game of truth or dare.

    Episode 13: 'Meet the Renzis'

    Dan is unnerved (deprive of courage) about his parents coming to Miami for a visit, but is surprised to discover that they are suddenly very accepting of his lifestyle. Dan’s mom even spends time with his friend Arnie. Things don’t work out quite as nicely for Mike and his kinda-sorta, girlfriend Heather. She wants him to settle down and marry her, but he isn’t ready to commit to one woman. They spend a weekend together in Boston, but Mike finds that he is as indecisive as ever. Sarah’s gets a new puppy named Leroy.

    Episode 14: 'Resignation'

    Business matters are coming to a halt. Joe and Flora are getting frustrated because no one else is doing any work, and they can’t seem to make the decisions necessary to commit to a business. Joe decides to remove himself from the business and the others are speechless and hurt. Sarah seizes the opportunity and presents a downscaled, easy to implement business plan: home delivery of cakes and treats. After sampling the desserts that they will be selling, the other roommates are ready to get on board, and it looks like Delicious Deliveries might happen.
    Meanwhile, Cynthia spends some time coming to terms with the kind of men she’s been dating, and decides to stay in Miami and help with the business. Joe’s friend Joonmo shows up and helps Joe realize that he did the right thing by stepping back from the business.

    Episode 15: 'A Class Act'

    Joe finds himself about to fail the one class that stands between him and an MBA from Fordham University in New York. Trying to complete the course from Miami, Joe must satisfy his professor, who is unhappy with the material he has turned in so far. Although Joe sends in a video about his crisis in leaving the business, he fails to impress his professor, so, in a last-ditch effort, he flies to New York to give a presentation on the final day of class. With the help of a friend, he is able to make the grade. Meanwhile, Flora is engaged in a power struggle with Mark of Hospitality Purchasing over what his share in the Delicious Deliveries business should be. Mark and Flora maintain that each of them should have control over the business. They finally hammer out an agreement and move on to more important things…like teaching little Leroy the dog to fetch and sit.

    Episode 16: 'Why Do Fools Fall In Love'

    Flora and Cynthia get into a spat when the dog bites Cynthia. Cynthia misses “real” people: her family and the neighborhood in Oakland. Excited, she flies to Atlanta for a reunion with her mother and sisters. They share funny and bittersweet memories. In a true “family moment” they sing together, recalling the memory of Cynthia's late father and sister. Dan also has a family encounter when he flies to Kansas to see his parents and brothers. He and his mom continue the frank discussion of Dan’s sexuality that they started in Miami a few weeks earlier. When Dan returns to Miami, he makes a date with Johnny, a new romantic interest. Even though Arnie is jealous and hurt, Dan contends that he never committed to Arnie. On the business front, Joe now wants to give his shares to the dog, prompting disbelief and criticism from the roommates.

    Episode 17: 'Lies, And Videotape'

    There’s a full moon over the Miami house, bringing sexual tension between the roommates to a head. Mike brings home a waitress for some fun in the Jacuzzi, and the two are joined by Melissa. The threesome quickly moves upstairs to the privacy of the bathroom and it is obvious to Dan, Flora and Sarah that something wild is going on inside. Sarah tries to push Flora through the bathroom window to get a better look, but the window breaks, shattering the mood. Later on, Melissa and Mike deny that anything happened.

    Episode 18: 'Liars and Lovers'

    The roommates continue to spin around in their orbits, the pull of each personality influencing all the others. Dan is having trouble fitting in with the group, which Flora and Sarah attribute to him being a liar. Sarah calls him on his promised commitment to the business, which he can’t seem to muster, while Flora confronts Dan in front of the others, calling him a liar to his face. Meanwhile, Joe returns to New York City for graduation and during the commencement ceremony, he proposes to his beloved Nic. Upon returning to Miami, he announces his engagement at the surprise birthday party that Mike throws for him. Cynthia is not pleased.

    Episode 19: 'Nature Calls'

    Cynthia, Dan, Joe, Mike and Sarah take a camping vacation on a desert island in the Bahamas--“roughing it” with a gourmet cook and deluxe gear. But the real focus is on experiencing nature by sailing, snorkeling and lounging on the beach. Even Cynthia, who is skeptical about the lack of facilities and is afraid of water, is won over by the beauty of the islands. As Sarah’s pictures prove to Flora and Melissa, it was a great vacation experience.

    Episode 20: 'Everyone gets the Jackson'

    Every time Sarah’s friend, Hank Jackson, visits Miami, things get a little crazy. This time he’s brought a home movie that he shot on his last visit, and he screens it for the roommates. Everyone loves it at first, but Flora soon realizes that she doesn’t like how she was portrayed (flashing her breasts), and neither does Melissa. While Flora confronts Hank, Melissa avoids him--despite having a close E-mail relationship with him in previous months. Disappointed by Melissa’s actions, Sarah sums up the general mood in the house by accusing Melissa of numerous lies. Melissa denies any wrongdoing and decides to pack her stuff and move out. Meanwhile, Flora demands that Hank give her a copy of the revealing video.

    Episode 21: 'None of your Business'

    With only days left before the deadline to start a business, Flora decides to pursue a coffee shop concept in addition to the dessert delivery service. She and partner Mark frantically try to get the necessary materials together, but Flora’s power plays alienate the roommates. In the end, the investors decide that their conditions have not been met. There will be no business. In the midst of all this, Dan finds out that he’ll be moving to Milan to model and must break the news to his boyfriend Johnny.

    Episode 22: "Ba-Bye"

    As the roommates get ready to leave the Miami house, Cynthia receives a job offer in Miami that she can’t pass up. Unfortunately, her schedule won’t allow her to go back home at all, but she looks forward to her new job. Flora will be staying in Miami with Mitchell even though he initially stands her up at the airport. Dan is moving to Milan to pursue his modeling career, jeopardizing his relationship with Johnny and they share an emotional goodbye. Mike, Sarah and Joe are all going their separate ways. Mike is going home to Jacksonville, Joe will be starting a new life with Nic and Sarah is heading back to San Diego with her dog, Leroy.


  • Dan Vs. Melissa