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Conklin enlisted in the Army at age 17 after the events of Sept. Although he tries at first to keep quiet about his service ("I wanted them to get to know me for me," he says), the MTV series skillfully reveals him as a young man dedicated to his country.
He's also opposed to the war, and the series films him becoming involved with the activist group Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Not long after we see Conklin celebrating the election of Barack Obama, who he -- and so many others -- hopes might be able to bring the war to a quick end, he learns he's been called back into service.
Conklin, who reported for duty in late February, now expects to spend the next year as part of an infantry division.
It was the visit by Ryan Conklin's girlfriend Michelle ("Belle").
It provided another little insight into Ryan's personality and his persona.
At the end of the day it's a TV show, so everything is edited in a certain way. We should be leaving April 15 or 16 out of Fort Bragg, N. I think it's going to be a year deployment or 10 months. For being called up in the IRR they can hold us no longer than 400 days according to the orders.
Though the view was brief, it showed some important characteristics.
Ryan was shown talking to Belle on the phone about her impending visit to Brooklyn.
Conklin seemed to fill the role of the sheltered, small-town guy who would bristle at his roommates's differences and show flashes of intolerance, before ultimately learning to be a better person. But while Conklin did provide a few early awkward moments (befuddled by Katelynn, who had not yet explained her gender status, he referred to her once as "it") he proved the warmest presence on the show: a good guy eager to absorb all New York has to offer, entertain his roommates with spoofy songs on his guitar, and go to school to study film. Late in the series (when it was shot in mid-November), we see Conklin talking on the phone with his brother, who grimly informs him that "you got the packet in the mail that you've been dreading." His brother tells him that he's been called back to Iraq through the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), a program that allows the Army to recall soldiers who have completed their tours of duty.
Conklin goes through a rapid succession of denial -- "Don't mess with me," he says, convincing himself his brother is lying to him -- and frustration, before crumpling into tears to a roommate.