’Real Word: Ex-Plosion’ recap: Jamie and Thomas define their relationship while Jenny and Brian rehearse for their next Tennessee Williams play

If, like me, you want to believe that there’s goodness in the world and no point wallowing in the more painful aspects of the human condition, then you don’t watch The Real World: Ex-Plosion and are not reading this recap. But if, like me, you’re either paid to watch the show yourself or drawn like a moth to this fiery, fiery flame…well, hi! And don’t worry, we’re going to get through this together.

Two weeks ago the EXES descended on this season’s cast like locusts/thunder/herpes and complicated what to that point had been a fun, emotionally-detached Bacchanalian romp. Case in point Jamie and Thomas, who before Thomas’ ex Hailey showed up were enjoying some duty-free sex and totally vibing, like ferreal. But now there’s gotta be all these, like…labels, man, and complications. Thomas don’t want labels, bro! Thomas don’t need no girlfriend, right? “Then don’t f***ing be with me! Oh my GOD!” screams Jamie, right before heavy dub step music kicks in. That’s pretty much their episode storyline: talking about labels, screaming at each other, jumping in on the other’s phone calls, and the word “DRAMA” used both accurately and wildly, wildly inaccurately.

But then Thomas’ dad, who seems like a normal dude, tells his son three simple things: “enjoy yourself. Enjoy life. Jump into the fray.” And like that, Thomas has figured out that he CAN be Jamie’s boyfriend and rushes off to get his woman back.

Hailey, to her credit, offers to leave the house (well, in that “…do you want me to leave the house?” kind of way). But any sane person would have done so as soon as they entered last week. Ergo: you’re crazy, Hailey!

What else can we talk about? Jenny and Brian, who seem destined for the season’s biggest blowup, tried giving each other massages. And that was good, all the way up to the point they started actually speaking to each other. Sample dialogue from Brian: “You have multiple personalities!” From Jenny: “Act your age, not your IQ!” Jenny is actually sort of wonderful, I think, and someone whose talking heads are always great for a quote or two. But in service of what is clearly a doomed, tumultuous relationship, it’s hard to get excited about pull quotes.

Cory and Lauren’s “damn sex is like fireworks,” according to Cory, who is itching at all times to “get it in.” Minus Lauren’s pregnancy scare that ends the episode, their relationship seems mostly good! Arielle and Ashley, at this point the most emotionally stable two in the house, just kind of hang on the sidelines. Jay and Jenna seem to have no major problems. And until they do, they will continue to be marginalized by these recaps!

In reality, things actually appeared to calm down this week after all the Exes had time to settle into the house. Even the dumbest cast members seem conscious of how effed this whole show premise is, money or not, and are (mostly) respectfully tiptoeing around their exes (and current flames) rather than incite open war. Maybe that lasts another week, before producers replace the running water with Pinnacle Key Lime Pie vodka, but for now...I don't know, it restores your faith in humanity at least a tiny bit. Even Real World: Ex-Plosion roommates can be the best versions of themselves.