'The Bachelorette' Season 8, Episode 2 Of Muppets, Cookies And Men Recap
A warning, Emily Maynard: your predecessor's dimwit antics couldn't break me. I don't like your chances.
Welcome back, ladies and gentlefolk, to your morning-after recap of ABC's "The Bachelorette."
As we open the eighth season, 19 strapping bachelors have been herded into a Charlotte, NC mansion to be taught a many-weeks-long lesson in why God gave unto Man along with Woman golf, deer season, the Phoenix Coyotes (don't laugh, we're still in it!) and scotch: He's giving us our choices of "outs."
We open to an oddly out-of-place local news station's helicopter flyover of the Tar Heel State mansion with local reporter Scott Wickersham declaring with equally misplaced urgency - the kind normally reserved for reports with words like "19 hostages" and "Uzi" - that "sources say" this season of "The Bachelorette" is being filmed there with "Bachelor" Brad Womack's casualty Emily and her daughter, Ricki. If he's speculating as it sounds like he is, it sounds like Mr. Wickersham hasn't yet been introduced to our friend, the press release.
He tells us that "many residents" hope that the taping shines a spotlight upon Charlotte. Here's my next paycheck betting they just want something distracting from the fact that the Bobcats and Panthers routinely suck.
(NOTE: As an up-until-recently Kansas Citian in good standing, I'm sportingly refraining from commenting on that stuff they call "barbeque." Because let's face it, the Bobcats are enough to cry over.)
Emily meets with her local Mommy Mob chapter to talk about tonight's first solo date, where it was evidently two-for-one cliché day at the neighborhood market: "Just be yourself," one suggests. Hmmm...let's remember she's here because it didn't work out with Womack, who recently told a Houston television station that he feels he "dodge a bullet." Maybe something more original, such as "Do the exact opposite this time of everything you did before," would've been a little more thought-provoking.
Host Chris Harrison herds Emily's man-muffin cart into the mansion's courtyard to explain the rules: two men enter Thunderdome, one man leaves.
Then the lithium wore off, and I realized it's of course just like last year: up to a certain point, two men get solo dates and all who don't get a big group date with an immunity rose on the line. And Contestant Numero Uno is....Ryan, a pro sports trainer from Augusta, GA with bed-head that comes only in $5 jars.
"My pastor always said, 'Treat a woman like a queen, and she'll treat you like a king'," he tells the men. While a sound strategy, he needs reminding that just as many came arrived last season dying to treat Ashley Hebert like a queen, and she in turn shuttled them off to Thailand, where she acted like Caesar and treated her men like gladiators that beat the piss out of one another for her.
Kalon, a 27-year-old luxury brand consultant from Houston, already plays the bitter Spoil-Sport card, calling it "frustrating" that his one-in-19 shot to get the first one-on-one date didnt' pan out. Well, this did pan out for J.P. Rosenbaum last year after nobody patiently explained to him, "Dude, this is how it works. Shut up and go back to Turtle Waxing your dome - NO, THE OTHER 'DOME,' DON'T DO THAT IN PUBLIC!" He concludes overstating the obvious, pointing out that he has to get a rose to stay in this.
If Harrison ever needs time off to deal with his divorce, this guy's in the running with John Madden to be the potential host that could absolutely idiot-proof understanding "The Bachelorette."
The pair hop into a big white SUV together, and off Emily drives. And lo and behold, HOME SLICE GETS TO GO HOME WITH HER ON THE VERY FIRST DATE!
Gotcha. See, this is what happens when you skip my previews.
Unfortunately, there shall be no bedroom bam-bam yet. But damn if he's not sticking something in her oven.
Alas, a spoiler alert: he misses the chance to make sure it's his head and escape the coming indignities of this season with some flair.
Actually, in a commendable move, Emily is putting 'em all through their paces early and making sure they're equipped for her most needed husbandly duty.
Yes, I'm now blatantly trolling you. First time here?
She needs a man that can handle not only her, but being a father figure to Ricki. So as a means of both letting him taste being responsible for her little girl and getting a better feel for him herself, Emily is setting him to work baking cookies for Ricki and her soccer team.
"As a single mom, the things I do aren't so glamorous all the time," Emily said. Actually, I like this. It's apparent that we might actually be dealing with a grounded woman this season, not a teen mind attached to a twenty-something's breasts.
Or in Ashley's case....just the teen mind.
"I'm thinking, this is kind of what life could be like," Ryan said. Emily speculates that it's early to tell whether he's husband material, but that his cookies are apparently Aces.
They arrive at Ricki's soccer practice together, but Emily is rightfully protective and tells Ryan she'll personally deliver the snacks. She pops "Go, Diego, Go!" into the SUV's DVD player, gives him a baggie of Cheerios and tells Ryan to wait like a good boy. Actually, Ryan is understanding of Emily's concerns and seems genuinely pleased that he's been part of one of those intimate "little things" about Emily's life. In truth, it's actually one of the most "real" moments of the show so far, in that it's the kind of first date that actually happens.
So, what's on tap for grown-up time?
"You're going to go to Chuck E. Cheese and wrangle of crazy, sugar-hyped-up six-year-olds!" Emily tells him. He looks genuinely relieved that she's joking, albeit like he momentarily thought she was serious, as she tells him they'll now get cleaned up and enjoy a proper intimate dinner. After cleaning up - including Emily looking ravishing in a figure-hugging red dress and heels - the two cruise off to a Charlotte restaurant with a conveniently gathered throng of onlookers with flash photography. Fortunately, the actual setting is much, much more traditionally private.
The pair drink an at-ease toast before Emily launches into the interview. Ryan tells her he's had but two serious relationships, knowing that he'll have to step outside his comfort zone to find the third and hopefully last. Emily lets him know right off the bat that this isn't a competition or game to her. She doesn't want to be a prize, she says.
Let's everybody take a moment together and agree on when exactly she should've developed an understanding of what this is, how this works, and just exactly how she's being perceived. Keep in mind, like last season, this one's been here before. A statement like that is like Kobe Bryant stepping onto the Staples Center floor (next season, of course - suck it, Lakers) and peeing his shorts at the sight of a sell-out crowd.
Pumpkin, it's a little bit late for this thought. After all, you're the one that said, "I don't want to be the Bachelorette."
In any case, Ryan wants somebody that will inspire the best in him. He then turns the tables on her and asks if she'll be open to a man with his own children who will treat Ricki the same way he treats them.
"I want a guy that can come in and really see his life here," Emily said. She tells him she'll gladly share the responsibilities when she sees the right things in the right man.
Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Bromance....the next date card has arrived.
This one announces the coming of the group date with the teaser "Let's set the stage for love."
Back at the Table of Love, Emily is....ah, shit. You knew we'd hear this at least once this season, and I guaran-damn-tee you this won't be the last. Men, cover your boys and know it's OK to cry, because you're about to vicariously experience the nut-shot from every jilted lover that by now to all of us screams "This won't be worth the trouble."
"He's almost too perfect and he's a lot like Brad in that way, and obviously that didn't work out," Emily said.
Folks, it's back. Remember the "Whining About Bentley" drinking game from season seven? Well, we're subbing in "You remind me of Brad, because..." and it's now back like a vertebrae. Take a drink every single time she moans about how these choice bachelors remind her of the one that broke her heart.
This reminds me of a song....
Thankfully, she acknowledges that he's in fact NOT Brad, thanks him for going so well with the flow, and rewards him with season eight's first rose. I like this guy so far.
He thinks they're simply walking back out to the car. Instead, she's got a surprise reward for him: the pair close their date with a dance to Emily's favorite band Gloriana.
I have no idea who this band is. Therefore, I get up to make sammich as we go to break and she gives the traditional preliminary gushing about how she "really sees a future with him."
When we return, the survival date has begun, wherein these 13 men are about to engage possibly the only creatures that understand their predicament: puppets whose every moves are manipulated with hands firmly entrenched up their asses.
Emily is out to tax her harem's respective giving natures by having them partner to put together a show benefiting the Ricky Hendricks Centers for Intensive Care at Levine Children's Hospital. They'll be performing on stage alongside Emily and her very special guests - the Muppets.
Charlie, a 32-year-old recruiter from Nashville, is already expressing his terror. More on that soon.
They're introduced to Kermit and Miss Piggy, and though all revert instantly to 10-year-old boys crowded in front of a TV set, 31-year-old Beaverton, OR lumber trader Tony gets instant points for doing a spot-on Kermit sales pitch beseeching Emily to give him a good home.
To be honest, it sounds a little like Kermit with his tadpoles in a vice, but admirable nonetheless.
"Well don't just stand there, get to work!" the amorous Piggy tells them.
Once more, as always....words I never expected I'd ever have to type: "the amorous Piggy."
They're singing. They're dancing. Fozzie is teaching Stand-Up 101 - and suddenly, Charlie looks like he's regretting going with the khakis for this one. He looks legitimately panicked.
As we're reminded by the gossiping men left back at the mansion, it's because he survived the coma that followed a fall from a 15-foot balcony that crushed his face. The resulting damage left him having to re-learn how to walk and speak, and gave him an understandable complex about speaking to an audience. He steps into Emily's dressing room and fills her in on his condition. It fractures his confidence, but Emily tells him that she understands and offers to let him dance in the "Rainbow Connection" number instead of doing stand-up.
Everybody's suited up, lines are learned, dance steps are rehearsed, and it's at last time. And hey, look! We got our hands on exclusive footage!
Excuse the fact that Emily looks like David Bowie. It was a "frizzy-hair" day.
We'll just trust that the bachelors this year look much taller than this in person.
Admit it: had you the choice, you'd rather be watching "Labyrinth" too.
Kidding aside, and with a blow-up over Kermit getting caught by Piggy zipping up Emily averted, it's showtime. The first number is off and running with song, dance and laughs - complete with Harrison filling in for Waldorf beside Statler.
"He called in sick," he tells the snark-meister.
"Wish I'd thought of that," Statler said.
Fozzie, Kyle and John get up there and do thei damnedest to get some laughs. God love 'em, they're trying. Meanwhile, Charlie, Aaron and Jef go on the "Dating Game"-style "Miss Piggy Live" and are put through demonstrating how they'd propose, making up a love poem on the spot and in Charlie's case, explaining what he'd say to a woman to impress her.
Hm. What part of "cripplingly shy about speech impediment" didn't someone understand here? What about that got lost in translation?
"I'd remind her every day how beautiful she is, how special she makes me feel and how lucky I am to have her in my life," he said. It clearly made Emily proud of him, and looked to make him a front-runner for a floral accessory.
Unfortunately, the love-fest among the guys is about to end. Chilling over cocktails traditionally turns the cock-block into a martial art. One-on-one conversations are constantly interrupted, sniping begins and it's generally all about the one-up. In short, it's the kind of shenanigans that annoys some women and make the rest go weak in the knees with a perverse joy. Since Jef hasn't talked to her all day, she pretty much starts taunting him.
"Does Jef speak English?" she asks. "ENGLISH, MUTHAF**KA, DOES JEF SPEAK IT?"
OK, she just stopped antagonizing him at "Does Jef speak English.
"I know all these guys are looking to me for some kind of reassurance. I'm also looking to them, too," she said, explaining that she doesn't like the impression some just may not be interested.
"I feel like I'm your annoying little sister," she tells him. "Do you not see me look at you?"
Lady, quit with the ball-busting!
"I see that look," Jef said. "And maybe you've given it to me, but I've also seen you give it to other guys."
Do they not screen these people for self-destructive jealousy?
Back at the house, it's time for the second one-on-one announcement. Joe is bade, "Come close to my heart."
Well, Charlie gets over his shyness quickly. He gathers eleven cohorts to go spy on an impromptu slow-dance between Emily and Stevie. That's when Kalon steps in for a little private time of his own. Houston, we have cock-block!
But, wait! Aaron steps in and after Kalon attempts to stonewall, he cock-blocks the cock-block!
When Kalon has the nerve to bitch about it, Stevie lays the smack down.
"I don't like you," Stevie tells Kalon.
"I wouldn't like me either if I were you, bro," Kalon retorts. I now want something very bad to happen to him for being a grown man addressing a non-sibling as "bro."
In the end, for all the shit-talking, the rose recipient turns out to be an upset. Despite his shyness and Emily's heckling, Jef gets the rose and a guaranteed pass into the next week.
The next day....well, here we go, Joe. You're the latest beneficiary of ABC's fondness for air travel. You're flying with Emily on a luxury jet to her home state of West Virginia. He and Emily live the lives of country gentlemen and ladies at Greenbriar Resort with activities from horseback riding and archery, to golf and spa treatments.
Oh, and it just so happens the shot of them walking into the resort is set to Pachelbel's Canon. ABC, you're not smart enough for subtlety.
As they start their date off with a swim, the guys lounge poolside back at stately Bro Manor. Kalon manages to run afoul of at least one compatriot when he says of stepping into a fatherly role, "I always imagined that my first child would be my child. So the idea of embracing someone else's child as my own is a big step."
And he's got a point. Any child of a single parent will tell you that nobody steps into the stepfather/stepmother role lightly or easily. In fact, it's often a trial by fire.
Doug takes an alpha-male role and warns all the other contestants to consider what they're taking up if they win. "I can guarantee that there's nothing more important in Emily's heart than Ricki, because there's nothing more important in my heart than my son Austin," Doug said.
"At the same time, you're here and you made the decision to put that on hold, and we all respect that," Kalon said.
I'd call what happens next equal parts "Shut up, Kalon" and "Chill out, self-appointed pack leader."
"Did you just say that I made the decision to put being a dad on hold?" Doug asks. "Be really careful, then step back and apologize.
"I gave up every dream I ever had and rearranged my life when I was 20 when i found out I was going to be a dad," he continued. "I actually wasn't going to do this until my son was like, 'You know how you're always telling me to go do new stuff? I think you need to get out of the house.'"
Again, distribute the blame equally. Kalon shot his mouth off where he absolutely shouldn't have, but he didn't mean what Doug thought he meant. It's easy to see how defensive Doug would be about that statement - real fathers hold no job more sacred. But it's not clear what Doug's outburst really accomplished.
Elsewhere, in West Virginia, it's dinner time for Joe and Emily. She's dressed the part of the Southern belle in a strappless, flowing lilac gown. "I'm hoping that I see a side of Joe that makes me feel we could have a future together," Emily said, expressing that she's waiting for Joe to step up. Once more, Emily proves to be one hell of an interrogator when she asks Joe where he sees himself in five years.
"I see myself happy," Joe said.
"What does that mean?" she answers.
"I see myself happy with no regrets and being happy with the decisions that I make career-wise and relationship-wise," he said. "At the end of this, if it's you and I standing, I will pack my bags and I'll go wherever you ask me to go and I will start a life."
"What does that mean to you?" she asked.
"Well, you tell me what it means for you, what do you think?" he said.
She tells him that she wants "a lot more kids - and I'll stop there."
Thankfully, Joe's the one to remind her that Man makes plans, while God laughs. This stuff doesn't get plotted out over a single dinner conversation.
Ultimately, Emily decides she's taking her time, and settles for testing the Love Clock - an antique timepiece in which lovers place their wishes, so that they'll stand the test of time. But in the end, Emily just couldn't deal with him being unable to tell her right on the spot how he'd plan out Ricki's Sweet 16 party and tearfully denies him the rose.
The Hell, lady?
"He was so nice and so sweet and I feel really bad," she says - AS SHE WATCHES FIREWORKS FROM THE BALCONY.
At last, it's the Rose Ceremony. Guys, don't fart out of turn. One by one, they fall away. Much to everybody else's chagrin, Kalon survives. Unfortunately for him, so does Doug. His impediment be damned, Charlie's courage earns him a pass into the next week. When the smoke clears, it's Stevie that gets the final rose and a pass to probably target Kalon again next week. That leaves Aaron and Kyle going home to narrow the field down to 16 bachelors. With a final toast, we're out.