After exhibiting many seasons of drunken and loutish behavior from buffoons and tramps on the reality show The Real World, Bunim-Murray Productions was handed an opportunity with the story of cast member Ryan Conklin to transcend their previously embarrassing endeavors and create a memorable dramatic work. This they successfully and artfully accomplished with the production of Ryan's season, The Real World Brookln. In particular they used the crucial and climatic episode eleven to showcase an exquisitely intense synopsis of the situations that would make its final minutes such a dramatic tragedy, as well as reflect the season-long, well placed inclusions of all the events and sights and sounds that had foreshadowed that moment.
It's true that the actual events of the story were not created and did not occur by any direction of the production company. Instead, production demonstrated its talent by recognizing that when the taping was done that the season was not the "story of eight strangers"; it was the story of one cast member, Ryan Conklin, and its focus would necessarily be on him. Equally important, there was the crafting throughout the season of appropriate editing and of emotionally charged devices that created an increasing sense of melancholy and dreadful anticipation of something terrible yet to come. All of this built towards the powerful and gut-wrenching pathos that came from a single phone call, the one that generated a profound effect on those who watched it playing on their screen.
The foundation for success in telling someone's story is making people care about the character. Again, production didn't create the person, but they smartly didn't hold back on letting Ryan show who he is. They allowed him through his personality and strength of character to cause viewers to develop strong admiration and deep affection for him.
The following are thoughts about episode eleven.
For the 2008 Presidential election, Ryan stated his support for Barack Obama. He indicated that a major reason for that support was that Obama was committed to withdrawing American troops from Iraq and that is something very important to Ryan. It is not known what Ryan's views are on other current issues or where he would otherwise fall on the political spectrum. We do know that he has said that he voted for George Bush previously and that his home county went for McCain 59%-40%. Actually I'm glad I don't know what Ryan's politics are. It's always best to leave politics and religion out of the conversation to avoid ill will.
Ryan finally showed his castmates his scrapbooks of pictures from his time in Iraq. It was reminiscent of Pedro Zamora also showing his scrapbooks, except Pedro showed his early on, while Ryan waited until near the end. It's not clear why Ryan would want to have held off showing them. Once he had told the others that he was a veteran it would seem like a natural thing to bring them out. He had talked about his experiences before and the scrapbooks would have been a good visual aid. It must be noted that the scrapbooks were methodically put together with various picture sizes, placements, and colored borders, which show off Ryan's creative streak. He never ceases to surprise.
Ryan talked to Baya Voce about the showing of his film project at the New York Film Academy. He said his plans are to go to the University of Pittsburgh and there dual major in history and film studies. It's possible that his choice of Pittsburgh was in part because his girlfriend went there. Since he broke up with her, it doesn't seem so likely that Pitt is his choice. Ryan has said that he expects to move to New York City.
For the screening of his short film, Baya, Chet Cannon, Scott Herman, JD Ordonez, and Sarah Rice came to see it and support Ryan. Ryan was confident that his film was good but he was a little nervous about how others would assess it. You could see the nervousness in his body language.
He warned his guests that the film, "No More Tomorrow", would be dark in nature. He said he wanted to show something very different from his usual happy go lucky self. Ryan was certainly honest in his warning. The work was very disturbing with an ending showing its single character committing suicide with a gun. After seeing the film, JD wondered if Ryan was showing again some deep seated feelings that he felt he could only express by way of making this movie. It was an excellent portrayal of a troubled person and Ryan's acting in it, especially the facial expressions during the gun scene, were spot on. Treating it as a work of fiction though, the real tragedy then became that Ryan's shower scene only showed him from the head up.
Ryan was invited to an event sponsored by the Iraq Veterans Against The War. He invited only Scott to go with him. It's interesting that whenever Ryan talks with Scott it always sounds like someone talking with a good acquaintance, somewhat reserved. I think Ryan sees Scott as the adult in the group and he wants to try to act grown-up when he talks with Scott.
In a flashback from when Ryan's brother Aaron came to visit, Ryan tells his brother that he is going to talk to someone about PTSD assessment. Aaron was glad to hear it as people back home had been talking about the need for Ryan to check it out. The good thing is that Ryan may be open to stop self-diagnosing and self-treating what can be a serious medical condition, if here were to have it.
On election night, Ryan went to watch the returns at the gay & lesbian center while wearing patriotic Uncle Sam drag. The pant legs were too long as are most of his pants. I think he needs someone to measure and tell him his correct inseam. After the election was called for Obama he went outside and did some celebratory high stepping despite his bad knees (thanks to the temporary therapeutic effects of alcohol, i.e. "rheumatiz" medicine.) You knew he was going to pay for it the next day, and sure enough he was limping.
At the IAVA gala Ryan Conklin got a big kiss from Katelynn Cusanelli, which was sweet. Ryan was dressed up in a nice dark suit and tie. It was much better than the brown one he wore previously with the fake mustache. He cleans up well. Very handsome.
Then came the end and the terrible outcome that the season had been building up to. And with this sentence I can finally stop re-watching this episode and crying with every replay.