THE SHOW "Return to Duty"
WHEN | WHERE Wednesday night at 9 on MTV
REASON TO WATCH "The Real World: Brooklyn's" Ryan Conklin returns to Iraq.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Back in March, a popular cast member on "TRW's" Brooklyn edition named Ryan Conklin got a call telling him he had just been recalled for duty - the Army, and Iraq - and by mid-April he was off the show. A big deal? For Conklin, a huge one.
The 23-year-old Gettysburg native had joined the Army after 9/11, served as a guard in Alpha Company, Third Battalion of the 187th Infantry Regiment in Iraq in 2005 - and returned home hoping to land on "TRW." Goal achieved - only to be told he was pulling out again.
He was not happy, but he returned to duty this year. Tonight, we see him back on the streets of Baghdad with his unit, patrolling markets at night - a chore he fears, for obvious reasons - and mixing with Iraqis or hanging out with other soldiers. He talks to his family back home, and his girlfriend from "TRW" days, Baya Voce. There's also some news here.
MY TAKE Not for nothing was Conklin a standout on "TRW." He's a charmer, funny, loves music and - evidently - the human race. There's a casualness about him, a certain jaunty style, but it masks what clearly is an enormous burden. Nevertheless, he handles it all with grace and good humor. He's an engaging tour guide on the streets of Baghdad, and provides a cautiously optimistic glimpse of a terribly scarred place that has healed since his last tour of duty.
BOTTOM LINE A genuinely interesting half-hour that is marred by the blunt fact that it's only a half-hour. There's so much left to explore of Conklin and the daily lives of other courageous fellow servicemen and women like him.