Hello, and welcome to my second attempt at posting this recap. Technical difficulties abounded this week, causing me to spend more time on this episode than any one person should ever have had to. Was it fate trying to keep me from causing anyone to relive the episode? Quite probably, yes.
The Id Is Stronger Than The Superego
When last we left our Average Joes, they were all stunned by the arrival of the hunks, and Larissa was wearing a smile so bright that it could have illuminated the dark side of the moon. This week’s show begins back at the house of the Joes, as they express their surprise, their anger and their discomfort. Sean, the Brians and Tony are taking it the hardest. Tony, having made actual headway with Larissa on their private date, was badly hurt by her obvious glee when the new men arrived on the scene. Fredo’s reaction was that at this point, he doesn’t even care about Larissa. He’s concerned with proving himself to be just as good as the new guys, and he’s pissed that he’s been placed in a position where he looks like a chump. I have to admit, if it were me in his situation, I’d have reacted the exact same way. It might not be the healthy, zen way of reacting, but it was very honest. These men have known Larissa for, what? A couple of weeks, maybe? Despite all the flowery claims of “beginning stages of love” and the like, their attachments really can’t be that strong. Pride, on the other hand, is a very basic driving force in many of us. Not many people take kindly to threats to it. Of all of them, David actually has the “healthiest” reaction to the twist, claiming not to be angry about it in the least.
For her part, Larissa is blown away. She practically drools as she tells the camera how hot the new guys are. She admits to never having dated anyone as good looking as these new guys, and she’s pretty damn excited about the prospect. Not wanting to come off as totally shallow, however, she says that she must remind herself not to forget about the old guys, because she’s become so attached to them all. Call me crazy, but if she were that attached, would she really need to remind herself to pay attention to them?
In The Middle Of Our Street
As the Average Joes sit around their kitchen table insisting that it’s “their house”, the new guys move in. The initial introductions are friendly enough, and everyone seems pleasant. Surprisingly, Fredo and Mike C. (who shall henceforth be known as “Chachi”, since that’s who he reminds me of) know each other from back home. They hug and profess to be glad to see each other. However, Chachi later tells the camera that “Fredo might be the ringleader right now, but that’s going to change. There’s a new sheriff from Cleveland in town.” What is it with this guy and his sheriff remarks? He said it last week, too. He needs new material.
Is The UN Hiring?
David Daskal, continuing his role as goodwill ambassador, makes a point of introducing himself to all the new guys, hoping to make them as comfortable as possible. As much as I hate myself for this, I have to give him credit. His behavior was far more mature and well-balanced than I would have expected it to be. He claims to judge people solely based on their personality, and he isn’t going to assume these guys are going to be asses.
Tics and Pricks
Despite the strong beginning, it doesn’t take long for the respective under-confident and over-confident personalities to clash. Mike K. starts off the festivities by telling Tony how sorry he feels for him. Not content to condescend to just one guy, however, he moves on to Brian W. Brian, I’ll admit, was doing his share of smack-talking. He set himself up to be a target. Was he overcompensating? Probably, but I personally have a hard time finding any fault in it. As he and Mike K. go back and forth with the insults, it becomes increasingly painful to watch. Mike claims to know that Brian was nervous when the new guys walked in, evidenced by his shaking hand. To punctuate this assertion, we’re treated to a slo-mo flashback of Brian and his shaking hand. From where I was sitting, it looked like Brian *was* uncomfortable with the situation, and was swirling his champagne in a nervous tic kind of way. While this would normally seem to lend credibility to Mike’s accusation, Mike seemed to mean it in the “you were so scared that you were shaking!” sort of way, which I patently disagree with. Moving on from the hand analysis, Mike then began attacking Brian’s accent. Weak. Seriously, it was the stupidest thing I’d ever heard. If the best you can do is call regional dialects “wrong”, you need to just stop trying to insulting people. Chachi tries to step in and diffuse the situation, but ultimately gets drawn into it himself.
Afterwards, Sean comforts Brian by saying “Even if we lose, who’s America going to love? Us.” I can’t speak for all of America (YET!), but I for one already love Sean. He’s funny, he’s articulate, he seems to be very cool, and he can cook. He rules.
And I Can Fly, Too!
The next morning, we’re given a little bit of insight into the source of David’s positive attitude toward the new guys. He believes that his connection with Larissa is so amazing and so strong that even a boatload of new guys can’t break it. Remember what I was saying earlier about how healthy he seemed? Yeah, I take that back.
No Wonder American Kids Keep Losing Ground In Education Polls
The big activity for the day involves the guys going back to high school. At least NBC is being honest about the level of their programming. While the guys all board the bus, we’re treated to their very stereotypical reminiscences. As you might expect, the AJ’s all had terrible experiences in high school, whereas the new guys all loved it. Get used to this trend, folks, because the rest of the show is so formulaic that I’m surprised they even bothered airing it. They could have made a five minute encapsulation, saying “AJ’s and hunks battle both in the classroom and in the gym. You figure it out.” and then aired a repeat of Scrubs. I think we’d all be happier had that been the case. Sadly it wasn’t, so let’s persevere.
After they arrive at the school and take their seats, Larissa enters. Men across America were transported back in time to the days when they had to hold a book at their waist when called up to the blackboard. Playing the role of the hot teacher, Larissa explains that there are three categories in today’s school day: an IQ test, gym, and intramural sports. Right. Because that isn’t obviously skewed or anything. Why they couldn’t have just said “In an effort to let the new guys get to know Larissa one-on-one, the AJ’s were made to stay at home by themselves.” is beyond me. Oh, wait. That wouldn’t have made for all the hilarious viewing that the gym scenes gave us. Silly me.
Before the IQ test begins, a couple of the new guys “flirt” with Larissa by asking for new pencils. How many times have I had to fend off guys in bars asking the exact same thing? It gets tiresome. Anyway, the stereotypes intact, the new guys talk to the cameras about how hard the test was. Theo in particular confused me by saying that the test was “not fun”. He’s supposed to be a chiropractic resident. I know that many people don’t respect chiropractors as “real” doctors, but I know that you still have to be at LEAST marginally intelligent to get into chiropractic school. Why would a 20 minute IQ test be such a big deal? When the results are tabulated - surprise! - the AJ’s have won. While I think we all saw that coming a mile away, I was a little bit taken aback by the scores. The AJ’s averaged a score of 138, and the new guys averaged 129. With a nod to keeping this PG-13, I’m calling shenanigans. 129? That’s a REALLY high IQ score. 138? That’s just about genius. I’m not trying to say that any of the guys are necessarily stupid, but having 129 be the low average score would be a surprisingly high number in any group, especially when there were a bunch of people commenting on how tough it was. I’d love to take a look at the test. For what it’s worth, Tony received the highest individual score, although we’re not told what it is.
But once the obligatory “intelligence matters!” session is over, we move on to the main focus of the day: letting the AJ’s look pathetic, and spotlighting the impressive physical prowess of the hunks. As Larissa trots into the gym wearing a Flashdance-era shirt and itty-bitty shorts, she lets the guys know that they’re to make their way arm over arm on a ladder (which she calls monkey bars, although it doesn’t resemble the monkey bars I played on as a kid), and then shimmy their way up a rope. What is this, a 1950's boot camp? Hell, even in the late 70's/early 80's, we didn’t have to do the stupid rope thing in gym class. Larissa once again needs a drool cup as she watches the hunks effortlessly work their way through the physical challenges. (Side note: Do any of you remember the show “Double Dare” on Nickelodeon? One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen was during a physics final in high school, where a guy raised his hand 5 minutes into the test and asked the teacher if he could take the physical challenge. It was classic.) Although the producers edited out many of the AJ’s during this scene, Sean was, of course, shown struggling. Making fun of fat guys never gets old, does it? The new guys obviously win this second competition easily.
Finally we move on to dodgeball. Larissa really tried to rationalize this event by remarking how it wasn’t solely a physical activity. Things like hand-eye coordination and thinking on your feet are a big part of the game. Whatever. If they wanted to have an honest competition, I can think of a hundred ways of making it fair. Let’s break this down. The AJ’s were obviously supposed to win the IQ test, and the new guys were supposed to win the rope-climbing. The third, tie-breaking event could have been one that required neither smarts nor brawn. If they seriously wanted to test things like quick-thinking and agility, they could have created a scenario where the two groups broke off from one another and each were given a time limit during which they had to come up with a group skit to put on for Larissa. That would test their ability to think quickly. Give them a Playstation and Madden 2003. Boom, there’s your hand-eye coordination. I don’t mind that they skewed this in favor of the new guys, but I do care that they attempted to rationalize it. I’ve also given this way too much thought, clearly.
You Just Know They Played "Open Arms"
Without belaboring the details of the game, the new guys won. Since they took 2 out of the 3 competitions, the new guys were invited to join Larissa at an after-school dance. One by one, the hunks approach Larissa, each invariably telling her how beautiful she is. She responds in kind. The unintentionally funniest line of the night went to Pete, who accepted her compliment by saying “Oh, definitely, because I think I put a lot of effort into looking as good as possible.” Smooth. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and possibly blame the exchange on editing, but it was hilarious. Can you even imagine? “You look great!” “Oh, definitely, because I work at it.” No, it had to be editing. Please let it have been editing. Please. Gil also was very smooth, telling Larissa that looks are his first priority when picking a woman. Whether or not it’s true, I personally don’t find it to be a smart thing to say during a first conversation. To his credit, he didn’t talk about his former drug abuse. AJ Mike is still the champ as far as that goes.
Marky Mark clone Todd is the last guy to dance with Larissa, and decides to separate himself from the pack by inviting her to dance outside with him. His strategy pays off, as he gets the distinction of being the first new guy to ram his tongue down Larissa’s throat. He later says how the other guys are cool and all, but they aren’t her type, because he’s what she’s looking for. How he made that determination in the 4 minutes between introducing himself and making out with her, I just don’t know.
Such A Lovely Animal, Such A Stupid Name
The next day, the new guys go out with Larissa on a boat. Back at home, the AJ’s get into it with David, who is trying to convince them all that the new guys are no threat. Fredo is the most outspoken during this, and is adamant that the AJ’s are not going to be made fools of.
Out on the boat, each guy is given time alone with Larissa. They glossed over her conversations with most of the men, except for Theo. Theo’s was notable, because he took his time with Larissa to warn her about the other guys. He wanted her to know that they aren’t as nice as they might seem to her face, and that he considers it his duty to warn her to be careful. He informed her that one of them - he wouldn’t name names - called her a beaver, as in the slang for a woman’s genitalia. He went on to say that she should watch out for the blondes. Now I’m confused. We found out that it was Chachi who said it. I’m going to leave the whole name thing alone (because it’s a little too seventh-grade for me), but Chachi isn’t blonde. Why give her a specific example of what to watch out for, then warn her off of the guys who didn’t say it? Theo makes my head hurt. Each time he talks, it confuses me more. Plus he looks like he’s had hair plugs, so I hope he gets eliminated soon.
When it comes time to choose a guy with whom to continue the date privately, Larissa picks Mike K. It was really interesting to watch the hunks deal with their first tastes of rejection. I don’t know if they’d thought ahead to the fact that some of them were going to be eliminated as well during this whole situation, or if they were so caught up in their apparent superiority to the AJ’s that it didn’t occur to them. Todd in particular was upset, as he thought his stunt from the previous night was going to make him a shoo-in for Larissa’s choice.
A Match Made In Intellectual Heaven
As Larissa and Mike have dinner and drinks aboard the yacht, Larissa remarks on the fun, easy conversation that they shared. She goes on to say that it was nice, because even while they were having fun with one another, they were able to have “intellectual conversation” as well. I took the liberty of transcribing their intellectual discourse verbatim. Are you ready? Make sure you’re wearing your thinking caps for this one.
Larissa: “I used to work at a big bookstore, but they stuck me in the romance section.”
Mike: “Novels or, like, relationships?”
Larissa: “Novels, romance novels, the genre. So it’s like, you know - you know.”
Mike: “Those Fabio-type guys.”
Larissa: “Yeah, those type of guys.”
The Happiest Place On Earth
After dinner, they sit on the deck and watch the night sky together. Larissa says that she’s “feeling the moment”, and goes in for a kiss. I guess in Larissa-speak “the moment” means “horny.” They make out for a long time, and she says that he’s by far the best kisser on the show so far. They move on to the hot tub, where they kiss some more. They recreate the scene from Lady and the Tramp where the two dogs kiss upon meeting in the middle of a piece of spaghetti, but with fruit instead of pasta. Was it hot? Was it passionate? Was it contrived and silly? You make the call. After the date ended, she said that she felt the most “real” connection with Mike of all her dates thus far.
And thus another painful hour of television drew to a close. I hope you all made it through relatively unscathed, as I want you all back with me next time. As they say, misery loves company.
Care to contact me for an intellectual conversation? Then, like, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org