Last week, Emily met and then said goodbye to six guys whose names we already forgot. But not the guy who brought a giant egg. Or the guy who showed up in a helicopter and could use a good amnesia-inducing smack on the head, like the male version of Goldie Hawn’s character in Overboard. Or the guy who is named Stevie and whose job is a “party emcee.” It takes all kinds! (To make an entertaining TV show.)
This week, she goes on her very first dates with the 19 remaining men in the running to become her husband and the father-figure to little Ricki, who will make her first appearance in front of the guys tonight.
Emily’s a busy mom on the go, so she meets up with her mommy-friends at the park before her very first date. Just the ladies, some unmarked bottled water and a bunch of TV cameras! I bet they all took so long picking out which cardigans to wear. Emily says she’s nervous for her first date, and thanks one of the moms for taking Ricki to soccer practice. Foreshadowing.
Meanwhile, Chris Harrison debriefs the guys with the standard speech: If you’re on a one-on-one and you get a rose, you’re safe. If you don’t get a rose, nice knowing you except not really. And there will be a rose available on the group date. He leaves the first date card, which reads “Ryan, be my king in the queen city.” Is that a sexual innuendo? Or do I just assume that because Ryan’s best known attribute so far is his physical everything? He looks like a real-life G.I. Joe doll.
Date #1: Getting Domestic with Ryan the Football Pro
The bros are shirtlessly bro-ing out at the pool when Emily walks in, and Arie is amazed that she looks even better in her “regular clothes” than she did in her fancy dress last night. Emily says she’s not impressed with how good-looking Ryan is, because the last guy she dated, Brad Womack, “was crazy good-looking, and we all know how that worked out, soooo…” So, it wasn’t Brad’s face that was the issue, waxen and confused as it was. It was the brain inside the face.
Emily drives Ryan to her house and then puts his muscles right to work, bringing in her groceries! Groceries full of cookie-making stuff, because they’ll be making cookies for Ricki’s soccer practice. Ryan’s mouth is like, “Oh, cool!” but his face is like, “Oh, I didn’t know we were starting with the torture dates so early.” Boob-shaped aprons and all! Ryan hates the apron, even though his pecks fill it out quite nicely. All in all, seeing that he was probably expecting a rappelling-bikini adventure, Ryan is a good sport and passes the “cookie test,” Emily says.
Which means it’s time for more tests! She takes him to Ricki’s soccer practice, but is immediately like, “You can’t meet her. Wait in the car.” So part of Ryan’s “date” involves him watching a little girls’ soccer practice inside a parked car and smiling to himself with his humongous handsome face. Not creepy at all.
“I WANT THAT ONE TO BE MY DAUGHTER,” he made sure to say just inside his head, lest he get arrested.
When she comes back to the car, Emily jokes that the next leg of the date will involve Ryan wrangling a bunch of hyped-up six-year-olds at Chuck E Cheese, and he’s like, “Guhhhh.” (That’s what I imagine it sounds like inside Ryan’s brain a lot of the time.) But JUST KIDDING! They’re gonna get dolled up and go out to dinner like real grownups. NO KIDS ALLOWED.
This date is all about juxtaposition. Earlier, Ryan saw Emily in her “real mom” phase, which means baking and jersey sweatshirts, and tonight, they show up in a fancy convertible to a fancy restaurant with a huge, clapping crowd of fans waiting outside, like big fancy-pants celebrities.
At dinner, Emily asks Ryan about his past relationships, and figures out that he’s all about the “chase.” But how does he act once the “chase” is over? Her biggest fear is that people will see this competitive TV show as a competition, and she doesn’t want the men to treat her like a prize to be won … which, you know, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, Emily. Love your dress. Worry about your logic. Ryan handles it well and would never treat Emily like an object, because he’s a good (but still rather generic) guy.
Meanwhile back at the bro-pound: The group date card arrives, and it reads, “Alejandro, Nate, Alessandro, Tony, Michael, John, Jef, Charlie, Kyle, Chris, Aaron, Stevie and Kalon … Let’s set the stage for love.”
Back on the date, Ryan tells Emily that she’s beautiful (duh) and that he “kiiiinda liiiikes” her (double duh). Even though she worries that he might be “too perfect,” she likes him a lot and decides to take a chance and give him the rose. And her sassy side comes out! “You’re all about the chase, and I’m gonna give you a chase, honey.” But isn’t a chase sort of a game? You’re giving the man-meat mixed messages, mom.
Then they go and dance to a romantic song at a concert where throngs of admiring young girls snap photos on their iPhones and post them on Facebook with the caption “OMGGGGG THE BACHELORETTE! #canteven #idie #lol” even though Facebook doesn’t even recognize hashtags.
Is she talking to him or them or us?
They dance awkwardly and can’t even whisper their sweet-nothings without their microphones and the peasants under their feet hearing their every syllable. It’s the perfect first date, if you love errands and hate privacy.
Date #2: Puttin’ on a Show with Alejandro, Nate, Alessandro, Tony, Michael, John, Jef, Charlie, Kyle, Chris, Aaron, Stevie, Kalon and … THE MUPPETS!
Emily greets the guys at the theater, and reveals that they’ll be putting on a variety show to raise money for the wing of the local children’s hospital that is named after her late fiance. Well, that’s sweet but also sort of a bummer. And they’re doing it with THE MUPPETS. I can’t not put that in all-caps. Because it’s THE MUPPETS. The Bachelorette is not worthy. But maybe Miss Piggy and Kermit will help raise the bar tonight.
Most perfect and inspirational couple to ever appear on this show
The guys get right down to rehearsing with Kermit and Miss Piggy, and the suspension of disbelief is both eerie and adorable. Fozzie Bear acts as Charlie, Kyle and John/Wolf’s mentor. They’re supposed to perform standup comedy in the show, and Charlie is paralyzed with stage fright. He’s afraid to speak in front of people, because after his accident, he went into a coma and had to learn to read again, and he’s still on the road to recovery. He decides to go to Emily and tell her about his fears. “I have a speech problem,” he tells her. “I think with my insecurities with my disability, I’m just not ready to go out there by myself.” Aw, the poor guy, you can tell it’s really hard for him to talk about. Emily sweetly reassigns him to “The Rainbow Connection” song crew, and doesn’t mind at all.
With the presence of the Muppets, there’s even less reality in this episode than usual. Kermit and Emily stage a little skit before the show where he helps her zip up her dress, and Miss Piggy walks in, gets furious and storms off. It’s cute, I guess. But also like watching something sacred from your childhood mingle with something stupid and embarrassing from your adulthood. It tastes like contamination and lowered standards.
It’s time to start the show, and the overall impression I get is that it’s a good thing this show is for charity, because it definitely doesn’t qualify as entertainment for its own sake. Chris Harrison is playing Waldorf to Statler. Poorly. I miss Waldorf.
AND SO DOES STATLER. #deathglare
Miss Piggy hosts a “Miss Piggy Live” segment in which she interviews/interrogates Jef, Aaron and Charlie in a “Dating Game” sketch. Who is the intended audience for this “variety show”? I can feel the children barfing/snoring in the audience. Aaron makes up a dumb poem for Emily that ends with “I want to get to know you,” ensuring that he probably never will. Jef fake-proposes to Miss Piggy to show off his skills in that department, and it’s pretty solid. Finally MP asks Charlie what he says to impress a woman, and he answers seriously with some general, Hallmark-esque statements and everyone claps for his courage. The kids might have learned a lesson about overcoming your fears … if they had any idea who these sad people were or what weird loophole led to their being on stage.
Can Emily just date and marry Kermit? I mean, nothing against Miss Piggy (I LOVE YOU, MP) or Emily’s potential mates (OK, most of them), but Kermit is the ultimate catch. Sweet, sensitive, hilarious, handsome, musical, a natural born leader … well, if he were “natural born.” In the next segment, Miss Piggy interrupts a potential kiss between the Bachelorette and the felt frog, and then they all sing “The Rainbow Connection” with Ricki, as each guy tries to put on his Perfect Stepdad Posture offstage.
In a final act, everyone sings another jumbled, off-key version of “Rainbow Connection,” interspersed with cute quips from Kermit about how lucky the guys are to date Emily. Then Statler slams the show with G-rated truth bombs, like “I’ll never forget tonight, no matter how hard I try.” I hate to say that he probably speaks for a lot of the audience tonight. They ended up giving both their money AND time to charity.
At the “We Embarrassed the Muppets” Rooftop After Party, Emily tells Chris that she finds him SUPER hot and is impressed that he doesn’t flaunt it. He’s like, “Uhhhh, really? Have you SEEN yourself in a mirror?” Chris has got this in the bag.
Emily is going high-school psychotic thanks to her crush on Jef and his groovy ‘do. I don’t know what to think of it. Is he cool, or too cool?
Emily thinks Jef’s ignoring her, but what if he’s just shy? They have a high-school feelings talk where she’s like, “Do you like me?” and he’s like, “Do you like ME?” and she’s like “yeah” and he’s all “me too” and now they’re going ooooout!
Meanwhile, back at the brospital of bro-ken dreams: The final date card comes, and it reads “Joe, come close to my heart.” Emily picked Cracked Out Joe for a one-on-one? Whaaaa?
He’s not inside his gold-plated helicopter, yet Kalon is still feeling above it all. He doesn’t understand why the guys hang out with each other, instead of each sitting separately and silently in an armchair, fantasizing about what it might actually be like to f*ck himself. That’s how Kalon treats these group dates, and everything he does is perfect.
Kalon sits down with Emily, but after a brief moment in which he ironically tries to convince her of his HUMILITY while wearing a white sweater with a POPPED COLLAR, Aaron comes and steals her away. Kalon puts up an awkward fight, but finally gives in. Stevie, who hates Kalon more than he loves Emily OR breakdancing, rips Kalon for being selfish and hypocritical and smug and overall terrible. Stevie is like, “If that’s who you wanna be,” and Kalon says, “I’d rather be me than you,” and laughs like the country club villain who wants to close the community center in a teen movie.
Without his boombox, Stevie is unable to challenge Kalon to a dance battle, and is thus disarmed.
THE BIG SHOWDOWN
But the real loser is still Kalon. Whereas Stevie is simply tacky and awkward, Kalon’s terribleness is undeniable. He’s liike the long-lost grandson of those old dudes in Trading Places. (How many movies can I name in comparison to Kalon? He’s just so larger and douchier than life!)
When it’s time for Emily to hand out the Group Date rose, she gives it to Jef, because she wants to remind him that she’s “glad he’s here.” So really, because she likes how he’s playing hard to get. Seriously, he’s cute and sweet, but he didn’t do sh*t today except act aloof and propose to a pig. Jef, have you been reading The Pickup Artist?
Date #3: Flying Away with Joe
Emily thinks Joe looks like Matthew McConaughey, and I can kinda see it. But so far, Joe lacks the McCon’s natural, lady-killing charm.
Emily greets Joe in front of a private jet. They’re flying to White Sulpher Springs in West Virginia, a favorite family vacation spot from Emily’s past. I think Emily invited Joe on this date because he gives off good-dad vibes, but I don’t see a spark between them at all.
Joe is the lucky recipient of the First to See Emily in a Bikini award. But before we get to that, there’s some Kalon Douchebaggery to attend to back at the mansion. The guys are sitting around in the hot tub and talking about the gravity of taking on the role of dad for Emily’s kid, which somehow leads to Kalon telling Doug, who is a dad, that he “put being a dad on hold” to be on the show. Doug is furious that Kalon questioned his fathering — which he kinda did, but also kinda just weakly implied while making another point, which let’s not forget was that he might not be able to fully love a child who wasn’t born with his elitist DNA — and asks if Kalon thinks Emily “put being a mom on hold.” God, KALON.
That guy in the back says it all.
That took up a lot of time, so we don’t even get to see Emily and Joe in the pool. Instead, we meet back up with them when it’s time for dinner. Emily is in a long rose-colored petal gown, and she walks down the spiral staircase like a beautiful Princess Barbie doll. It’s make or break time for Joe. That dress means BUSINESS.
Joe has a hard time being specific. When he speaks, and just as a human. He gives vague speeches about how he wants to “be happy” and “satisfied” and “start a life.” Emily sips her wine and silently regrets bringing him here. But now it’s too late to turn back (tiiime), so why not go the full Disney? There’s a “love clock” in the dining room, and Emily tells Joe that they are supposed to write down a “wish” in the clock, and it will “stand the test of time.” Sure.
They’re eating at 5 o’clock? No wonder this dinner is sad.
Joe’s wish is to “come back to West Virginia sometime with Emily and Ricki and get a chance to meet her wonderful parents,” which is very sweet but TOO SOON. Emily wishes that she’ll find a love that “lasts forever.” Joe thinks she’s talking about him. But she’s not talking about him. And now she’s crying, because it’s time to break the bad news. Emily says that she can’t see herself or Ricki fitting into Joe’s life, and he says, “I get it. We can part ways now.” You guys, is Joe a robot? All I know is that the Love Clock is a LIE.
Joe leaves with a “thanks for the opportunity,” and Emily cries to herself as fireworks go off. They were supposed to be her and Joe’s “this is the beginning of something beautiful” fireworks. But now they’re Emily’s “I can’t believe I blew this dress on THIS date” fireworks.
After spending the day with Ricki and her mom, Emily feels strong and re-centered, and she’s wearing a ROYAL one-shouldered purple dress to the cocktail party. She greets the guys and says that she let go of Joe because she’s looking for someone who’s “on the same page” as her. And that page should have some proper nouns and descriptive adjectives on it, unlike Joe’s, which just said “Be happy. Have a life. The end” in gray crayon.
Arie grabs her first, and lays on the charm since he didn’t get a date this week. Granted, all Arie really needs to do is to be himself and it’s charming. He strategically reveals that he once dated a mother of two, so Emily can already imagine him in the role of Mom’s Boyfriend.
As usual, the cocktail party is a long, drawn-out battle for time with Emily. Ryan has a rose, and yet he DARES to speak to the girl he’s trying to marry, so everyone else gets furious and leers at him.
Tony tries to interject, but Ryan spikes the football right in front of him. He gives Emily a long note (what’s with this guy and the notes?!) and Tony just has to stand there and wait his turn while Emily reads this hand-written novel about feelings and dreams. I guess Tony can’t leave the room during this because … it would be an insult to Emily, who is much like The Godfather in that way? He’d lose his spot in line? I don’t know. But while his feet are shuffling on the carpet, his face looks like it’s eating an old tuna sandwich on a roller coaster. In Hell. The rest of the guys stand outside and play football commentators about Tony’s embarrassment: “He’s still standing there. And … he’s … stiiiiill … standing there. Back to you, Charlie.”
Ryan’s letter is SEVEN pages long, and it takes Emily seven years to read. Tony’s son has actually grown up and graduated from high school while he stood there and waited. Even worse, when it’s finally Tony’s turn, he doesn’t bring anything new to the table. He says that performing with the Muppets was tough, because it reminded him of how he has a kid at home waiting for him to meet the love of his life on TV. Emily gives him the same speech that she gave to Doug on the first night about how she appreciates that he left his heart at home.
Kalon is sitting on an outdoor swing, just having attention-withdrawals and generally being a bitch. But then he opens up and acts quasi-normal when Emily comes around. After his chat with her, Kalon says he feels “mentally refreshed.” That sounds like something Patrick Bateman would say before he kills you.
John/”Wolf” sums up the group’s feelings about Kalon quite succinctly: “I have a rule, and that’s if you’re a grown dude with Louis Vuitton luggage, you’re a dick.” Hahaha, I mean, yes. But also … your nickname is “Wolf.” Kinda toeing the line into Hypocrite Territory there.
Jef and Ryan have their date roses. Emily says, “I’m looking forward to growing my relationship with each of you,” except the ones who will need to stop growing and go home immediately.
The roses go to:
Arie the Hot Racecar Driver
Michael Who Now Has a PONYTAIL?!
At this point, some of the men must be second-guessing what Emily’s “type” really is.
Nate, Who’s Hot but Never Speaks
Sean, Who Should Speak More Because He Fiiiiiine
Chris the Bobblehead Guy
Doug the Dad
Travis the Egg Man
Tony the Other Dad
John/”Wolf” Who Hates LV Luggage
Alessandro the Brazilian
Charlie with the Speech Thing
Alejandro the Hot Mushroom Farmer
And the final rose goes to…
STEVIE THE PARTY EMCEE!!
*Fist-pump doin’ the worm Travolta disco arm ROBOT*
What’s a good party without a DJ? Stevie’s in, which mean Aaron with the glasses and Kyle with the bad jokes are OUT.
Emily ain’t sweatin’ their losses the way she did Joe’s. She cheers to her remaining 16 guys and tells them to get ready for more wait-your-turn romance.
Next Week: Arie and Emily meet DOLLY FREAKIN’ PARTON, and then make out in the Dollywood teacup ride. Chris and Emily climb a building. Then, Sean finally gets a chance to shine, Tony freaks out and cries, and TRAVIS BREAKS HIS GIANT EGG ON THE PAVEMENT?!?!?! That’s going in the “Best Bachelor Visuals EVER” annals right alongside Jake Pavelka throwing the rose in the campfire.
(Images courtesy of ABC)