It's also possible that the series is dying a slow death. I'd be interested in seeing the Nielson ratings. Or maybe, with spring in full bloom, we're just not watching as much of the old boobs tube... Sorry, I mean boob tube. I couldn't get my mind off Dolly Parton.
Yes, Emily's grandmother made an appearance on this episode. Okay, Ms. Parton isn't actually related to Miss Emily, but you'd never know it. Emily has certainly taken on the cartoonish character as a role model.
I've never been a big country music fan (in fact, I might be what you call the opposite of that, whatever that is... city music?), but I've always liked Dolly Parton for two reasons. No, no, get your mind out of the gutter. It's not like that: 1. I've always thought she was just cool; didn't try too hard. 2. Her boobs.
Now I'm faced with her face. I'll never understand why someone would choose to do that to themselves. She's been with her husband for 47 years so she's at least 57 (I'm not familiar with all southern traditions but they get married early down there, right?). And not a wrinkle! But she still looks old. How does that happen? Maybe because we know only old people get that stretched-out plastic surgery so the whole facelift idea has backfired. The lack of wrinkles now = really old.
It's always looked to me like Miss Emily has had work done but it was a real treat seeing her next to Dolly. Her face looked beautifully real in comparison. I hope she never feels the need to further her co-opting of Parton's image.
But we're way ahead of ourselves. Let's start at the beginning of the episode, where the hard-working stay-at-home mom received breakfast in bed from her own mother before getting ready for her big one-on-one date with Creepy Chris. You know, I think the world of our Miss Emily, but I think Brad ruined her taste in men. She settled for that guy and now guys like Creepy Chris look "so cute". She really seems to be into him, saying he's been at the top of her list and that he's so sweet and mature. What gives?
On their date, they climbed a skyscraper in a thunder and lightning storm. Miss Em was naturally scared but they did it, you guys! They totally did it! When they triumphantly reached the top amidst swirling wind and fork lightning, Creepy Chris got creepier by not kissing her. You see, in the Bizarro world of reality television, gentlemanly non-aggressive actions like that come off as weird. "I just didn't feel it was the right time to kiss her," he rationalized. Seemed to work, though. Chris "passed the test," Emily said one week after Ryan passed the cookie test. Clearly if you can bake cookies or climb up the sides of buildings, you're daddy quality.
Ooh, speaking of Ryan, I totally got him wrong. My credibility is now shot. I thought he seemed genuine and nice on their date last week. This week I couldn't stand him from the beginning. Maybe it was that lightning bolt beard he was sporting. Maybe he got the bad edit. But I pegged him as trouble from the start of this episode, long before we saw next week's highlights at the end of the show, where he proves to be the jerk he only hinted at today.
Back to Creepy Chris. At dinner later, Miss Emily told him, "If I saw you across the bar, I would not talk to you." It was her bumbling way of saying she'd be too intimidated due to his good looks, but I prefer to hear it the way she spoke it. I was hopeful when she looked shocked to learn the dude was only 25, but it ultimately didn't phase her and she gave him a rose anyway because "he makes me feel like he's older than me." Yeah, creepy guys do that.
In his defense, Creepy Chris said with the least confident half-smile, "I am young, but I'm a man." Way to sell it, big guy!
Did I mention I don't like country music? Oh yeah, I did. Just above and every other season they trot out some gawdawful twangy crooner nobody's ever heard of and force the couple to dance alone to what passes as music. I didn't catch this performer's name, but apparently he's one of Miss Emily's favourites. Must be a regional talent. Meanwhile, I sit there wondering if there will ever be a contestant with more sophisticated musical tastes. Probably not. Besides, it's hard to dance to Bartok or Brubeck.
Thankfully, her best friends came to the rescue, putting the guys through a rigorous process that involved telling them how cute they were, asking them to take off their shirts, and getting them to do push-ups. If that doesn't eliminate the bad seeds, I don't know what will.
Her friend, Ashley, is obviously a big fan of the show. She's got the lingo down perfectly. She said she wants to find out who's there "for the right reasons." And, truth be told, the ladies did ask some pointed questions, too. They asked Wolfman John if he had ever cheated on a girl, and quickly added, "Don't lie." The Wolfman swallowed hard then meekly answered, "No."
At least he had the wherewithal to lie. Alessandro/Alejandro (I can't tell those two apart) admitted to cheating on his last girlfriend but it was okay because she was his cousin. But that was okay because she was only his third cousin. And, oh yeah, he's had a one-night stand before, too, but that's okay because he's a gypsy king.
We may as well jump ahead a bit here just to say Alessandro/Alejandro didn't fare any better on his alone-time with Miss Emily at the cocktail party. He insisted, despite given every chance to back away from his comments or blame them on English being his second language, that Little Ricki as a "compromise." While that was one of the stupidest maneuvers we've seen, I'm always sympathetic to communication gaffes. "Compromise" was clearly an objectionable word in this scenario, it's also a case of semantics. I think in his world, "compromise" is a noble and positive word. I don't think his underlying message was all that horrible. He'd tell his boss he can't travel for work because he has a wife and family. What's lost in the message and the delivery of said message is that the wife and family are more important than the job, otherwise he wouldn't make that compromise.
Miss Emily wasn't impressed. She promptly sent him on his way to continue his gypsy king ways. She thought what he said was so disrespectful but at least he was honest. There are probably several others who think like him, or worse, but will lie to her face. So give him points for that.
Back to the playground and the group date. A bunch of kids put the guys to a further test. Miss Emily was impressed with One-F Jef for acting like a little kid with the little kids. I don't know why she'd be surprised. He looks like it was only a couple of years since he was playing in playgrounds. Plus, he's not much taller now than the kids. (Earlier I suggested One-F Jef looked like a young Mickey Rooney. Tonight I couldn't stop thinking he looked like either Dick Van Patten or Van Cliburn, although no Google image search would back me up on that.)
Oh, and Sleazy Ryan's decision to break away from the frolicking to talk to Miss Emily and the cougars backfired. She joked about letting herself go after she gets married. Ryan let her know that it wouldn't be okay with him if she ballooned up. When pressed, he admitted he'd still love her, but wouldn't "love on her" as much. Not cool. But somehow he survives another week.
The two frontrunners on the date were Daddy Doug and Selective Sean (selective, not picky). Sean told the cougars he believes in family and somewhat redundantly "believes in his faith." Uh, good to know. I guess he also has faith in his beliefs. He also has the perfect father which, ipso facto he'll lead you to believe, makes him a perfect father-to-be.
Daddy Doug told a tale of woe so great it made the widowed Miss Emily feel blessed about her life. His epileptic father hooked up with a bad person, a union which begat him and his sibling. Said bad person left the family, leaving his sick father to raise the kids on his own until he succumbed to his illness and Doug was schlepped around to various foster homes. But he survived and is a solid guy now. Pretty sad, but "blessed," Miss Emily? Isn't it pretty much a saw-off in the tears department?
Which brings us to the emotional breakdown of Tearful Tony, who so missed his 5-year-old son he couldn't function. I really hope he was drunk. It sure seemed like he was pathetically drunk-dialing his kid way past his bedtime: "Hey, um, is Taylor still up?" Taylor sounded perfectly fine and happy, but you couldn't convince Tearful Tony of that: "What do you tell him? He's not gonna understand." Ah, actually, he seemed great.
While he was outside sobbing all alone, Miss Emily came out to mother him. She sat him down and ever-so-artfully sent him home. It was so artful, I got the impression Tearful Tony didn't quite grasp what her words were really conveying as she was talking. I know I didn't:
"Sorry you're having a hard time," she began. "It makes me think back to my time..." Yeah, Tony, you think she loves her daughter less because she lasted a whole season away from her and here you are three weeks into the process unable to function? "I missed Ricki so much...
"If Brad knew for even a second I wasn't his girl, I would have wanted him to send me home that minute." He looks hopeful, like maybe he's the one for her. "I think you're such a great guy and I honestly have loved getting to know you. You have to know that." Yeah, this is it. I'm the one! "But seeing you so upset and knowing how that feels in your heart, I know that heartbreak of missing your kid. That's your soul." Yes! She totally gets me! "I would never be able to forgive myself if I kept you longer if it didn't work out." Aha! So she's going to keep me! I knew playing the sensitive type would totally get her! "I don't want you to ever look back and think, 'Why did she take me away from my son if she...' you know what I mean?"
"Yeah, I respect that totally," he actually said with a smile, like a light had shone on his soul.
"If I could sit here and say 110% it's you and me till the end, I would absolutely be holding onto your coattails," she continued. Blah, blah, blah, you and me till the end, blah, blah, holding my coattails. "But, you know, I want you to be with your son. I know how that feels."
"Yeah, definitely," he said. She gets me!
"I have no doubt that you are going to make a wonderful husband to one lucky lady one day."
"Mm-hmm," he says with a bashful lookaway, as he can't believe his luck. Soon he will be shacked up with this wonderful lady.
"And, um, Taylor is really lucky to have you."
"Thank you," he said, before a confused look crosses his face as she stands and hugs him and leads him to a cab. Now, instead of forever resenting Miss Emily for keeping him away from his son, he'll forever resent his son for standing between him and the woman of his dreams.
Nothing much to report there. Arie seems like a good guy and certainly a front-runner. The only thing worth noting was that when he asked Miss Emily if his busy schedule would be a problem, she said she loved it because she likes her own space. She just likes to know her guy is thinking about her when he's off doing his thing. She didn't go so far as to say separate houses or at least bedrooms, but I don't think she'd be opposed to the suggestion.
At the cocktail party, Kaptain Kalon eschewed socks because that's what rich, pretentious dudes wear. Or don't wear, as the case may be. He sat Miss Emily down and told her he took it really personally that he didn't get a date this week. So off to a good start. Hang on, it gets better. He kept talking as Miss Emily tried to get a word in. He told her he always believed his first child would be his own. Miss Emily could hold her tongue no more. She asked about his own mother being a single mom. Kalon then gave a textbook lesson in how not to win over anyone: "I love it when you talk but I wish you'd let me finish." Then tried to laugh it off. As Miss Emily later said, "I like tall, skinny and funny but not tall, skinny and condescending." Still she gave him a rose!
After Miss Emily tossed the egg, she tossed Alessandro/Alejandro and was mighty pissed. But Arie calmed her down with some kind words and soft kisses. Ryan caught an eyeful and wasn't too impressed. But that drama will unfold next week. "Arie's more of a dainty man and I'm more of a physical guy," he said. Selective Sean also reassured her that, being the son of a great father, he took it seriously and if he married Miss Emily, Little Ricki would be his daughter.
With Tearful Tony and Alessandro/Alejandro both getting the boot, one more would join them. Who would it be? Creepy Chris, Selective Sean and Race Car Arie all were safe. Ten more would get roses:
- One-F Jef, who I now think looks like Dick Van Patton or Van Cliburn.
- Headbanger Charlie (not comfortable with this nickname but it'll have to do until he has a bigger role on an upcoming episode)
- Daddy Doug
- Michael the Hair
- The Egg Man (coo-coo-katchoo)
- Alejandro/Alessandro (who cockily shot Miss Emily a sly wink after he got the rose)
- Sleazy Ryan (producers' choice)
- Wolfman John
- Kondescending Kalon
- Nate (who the hell is Nate? Did they just add him?)