3/25/04 Episode: How to Make Filler the Focal Point
Welcome to the latest installment of Fox's veritable lodestone of entertainment, Forever Eden! My name is Mantenna, but please call me Manny. I shall act as your conductor on this week's express train through
hell "paradise." Now that we're comfortably acquainted, I'd like to put out my disclaimer right off the bat. You were promised a Lobeck-crafted recap this week, but alas, you are stuck with me, instead. My apologies to you all, but as this is reality TV, twists do abound. Now, fasten your safety belts and keep those arms, heads and anything else inside the window--it's going to be a wild ride.
Mack Daddy J . . . um . . . or not
According to Christian theology, Eden was a paradise...an idyllic garden where the first man and woman met, so to speak. From what I've read, it was a place of absolute harmony, peace, and all-around goodness. So naturally, a Parental Advisory: Bloodsugarsexlanguage warning lights the screen to start the show off with a bang. Welcome to Fox programming, everyone!
We meet up with our favorite non-scripted soap opera actors in what appears to be a bar built largely out of bamboo and other tropical paradise-suggestive material. They're hanging about, chatting, sipping their libations of choice, and shooting a few games of pool. Hey, it's "Eden." Why not? Jason, our newest friend, pulls Shawna aside to talk. When she reluctantly sits down with him, he confesses that he thinks she's "bee-yu-ti-ful," and he's frustrated that, after his choosing her to be his "Eve," she now seemingly won't give him the time of day. His dire suspicion is that she's more attracted to Wallace. Shawna claims that's a "mean thing to say," and that she "doesn't like Wallace." *Cut to shot of Shawna and Wallace sucking face* Right on cue, Wallace comes over to the pair and rudely interrupts this deep heart-to-heart, planting a big ol' smooch on Shawna's cheek. Nope, nothing goin' on there. Shawna tries desperately to dim the light in her eyes, apologizes to Jason if she hurt his feelings, and struts off to join Michael and Wallace, where they all proclaim Jason an "idiot" and that he's "not right in the head."
Now, Dramatic Voiceover Man told me at the beginning of the show that these people left their families, jobs, and lives to come to "Eden." Personally, I'm shocked by this. Not so much that they've left their lives behind to be on the show, but that they had lives to begin with. To finish the scene, a serpent twists slowly through the scattered pool balls on the table. Foreshadowing? Symbolism? Maybe, but I really think it's just the logo.
The next day, Jason meets with Matt on a random little hut in the middle of the ocean to discuss his ill-fated conversation with Shawna and spills that he likes Shawna the best out of all the girls here. "I have to put on a juggling show to get noticed!" he complains. He goes on, proclaiming that he usually "fits in with everyone, and is the natural leader." If that's the state of the world today, I'm never going outside again, thank you very much. I bet Jason would still be out there complaining, but breakfast is announced, and he performs the worst dive in the history of mankind to begin his way back to shore.
Apple of Sodom
At the gender-segregated breakfast, our tenacious ten sit at their respective tables, enjoying casual conversation over waffles, scrambled eggs, and OJ--when who should walk in but Simon, the lovable, (albeit utterly forgettable) concierge here at el hotel del paraíso. The guys and gals are all thrilled to see Simon, who's apparently the only one around who brings them any good news. Simon proceeds to distribute four gold coins (valued at $1,000 each) to the contestants. The guys clap and grin; the girls grin and seem to appreciate the flowers which are tied to the coins for aesthetic purposes. Everything's hunky dory until Simon comes again, this time bearing . . . a green apple on a platter! *gasp* Instantly, the image of Simon as everyone's favorite guy vanishes, and everyone practically hides under the table in a vain attempt to avoid the ubiquitous fruit. Who will get it? Find out . . . after the break!
When we return from all the agonizing drama (which is a great time, I must say, to revive yourself with some electric shock therapy), we find Simon walking in slow motion to one of the tables. The contestants, obviously new to reality TV, ask, "Why?" Why? Um . . . because if there weren't a twist of some kind, my lovely Edenites, then this show would have absolutely nothing but you all sitting around, shooting dagger-eyes at each other. Which is isn't a far cry from the truth, as it is. Much to the dismay of the ladies, Simon turns their way, amidst moans of protest, and gives the apple to them. This apple is for all of them, and it turns out to be a good apple. Everyone breathes a collective sigh of relief, and the accompanying scroll is read, which states that the women must all pick their favorite man and announce their choice to the guys after dinner tonight. What an arduous task! Except . . . not. The ladies are all happy and scream over to the guys that they received a good apple. Jason is excited for them, proclaiming, "All right all right all right all right all right!" The other guys all look a little disappointed. With that, we are treated to some random footage of the Edenites playing in the water and Neveen trying to strangle herself with a life preserver.
The Three Surest Signs of Evil
At dinner that night, the women set out to capture their men. They laugh, they schmooze, they toast to a solid table, because that apparently has relevance. Niveen declares that she wants to get drunk tonight, which none of the guys seem too flustered about. She tells us the reason she doesn't get drunk at home is because, the last time she got plastered, she kissed a woman. Once again, the guys don't look too upset. All's well until Michael looks under the table and lets out a horrified shriek. What could it be? A deadly, venomous snake that they threw in to eliminate one of the contestants without all the fuss of a ceremony? Yeah, you wish. The creature of horror is nothing more than an adorable black kitten. Michael, who has jumped out of his chair by now, reveals via confessional that he "doesn't like cats, at all." Mike, I'd like to introduce you to my friend, Osten. You guys should get along great.
Shortly thereafter, Simon "drops" a plate of food into Matt's lap. If Simon hadn't essentially thrown the plate at Matt, I might have believed it was an honest mistake . . . I mean, those white gloves are probably pretty slippery. The kitty meows in protest of the shoddy service, while the other Edenites laugh. As the meal continues to unfold, Niveen also notices the slight detail that the bread-basket is on fire. Uh . . . I can't figure out any plausible reason for this one. Maybe Simon is a remote-control pyrotechnics enthusiast, as well. Hot rolls, anybody?
The contestants decide that something bad's going to happen, what with all this bad juju going around. Yes, my dear friends. We all know when the plates are a-droppin', the baskets are a-burnin', and there's a black cat (especially one with white feet) prowling about, something bad is going to happen.
Wheeling and Dealing
After all that scary stuff, we get back to business. Strategy time, ladies! They all pick up their nets and set out on their man-safari. The following flurry of teary, effusive admiration alliances is rather boring and confusing, so I'll just cut to the chase and tell you who's approaching whom: Kassie & Matt; Brooke & Michael; the entity known as Lizwallaceshawnadavid; and finally, Niveen is stuck by default with "the new cheeseball," Jason. Niveen is clearly a girl who speaks her mind (at least in confessionals), and tells Jason that she's concerned that he's still caught up on Shawna. *flashback to the fish-lipped Jason declaring Shawna "bee-yu-ti-ful* They finally agree, as a business deal, to stick together. I think.
Erstwhile, the ever-so-savvy clique of Wallace, Shawna, Liz, and David are making predictions. Lex tells us in his confessional that "his gut tells him the merge must be coming soon." No, wait. That's not right. Ahem . . . Liz tells us that her gut is telling her a new woman is coming to Eden. Being the clever people that they are, they decide to keep their alliance together by "throwing the vote" and having Wallace and David make a bad first impression on the new woman. They head back to their rooms to dress the guys up to look like nerds. *don't say anything . . . don't say anything* They have a great time with this, and we see Wallace via the room's videophone (because I guess they have those in their rooms) in a camo shorts/black argyle socks ensemble. Dave decides to go with the understated classic of khaki pants, a dress shirt buttoned to the top, and a stupid expression on his face.
Our enchanting Edenites file in to the Banishment Temple to presumably announce their couples. Now, I think we need some good "Temple-esque" music to bring us into the scene, so I'll provide you with some. *Boom-ba-ba-boom-ba-ba-boom-ba-ba-AI-EE-AI-EE-AIE!* So, now that we're in the temple groove, what will happen? Ruth, our host, announces that a new woman will be joining them, and she will pick a guy for herself. I guess Liz's gut was smarter than we thought! Since the new gal gets to pick a man, you can tell through some advanced math that one of the couples will be broken up, and there will not be enough "man" to go around. "The woman left without a partner," Ruth cheerfully tells them, "will be banished."
Legally Blonde 3
So, who is our newest friend? Why, it's Elle Woods! No . . . actually, the perky new guest is named Claudia. She describes herself as the "All-American girl, because she has blonde hair, blue eyes, was in a sorority, and was a princess at the Fiesta Bowl." Need I say more?
Claudia learns the scoop, goes over to size up the lineup, and picks . . . David! How funny is that? He really should have kept the bandage/bandanna on his head on his head, I guess.
The reformed gang returns to the local watering hole, where Claudia tells us that she "has a boyfriend, so if there's a lot of sex going on in Eden," she "won't be partaking." Hmm . . . foreshadowing?
Subplot: The Schism, Unleashed
Luckily for the sake of television footage, not all is happy in our little tierra de la felicidad. Michael was not at all impressed by David's attempts to not get picked. Dude, neither was I! Obviously, it didn't work very well, either. "It's like I'm the freakin' devil," confesses a teary David to the sex-camera in the ceiling. Mike, meanwhile, says he's tired of Dave's sneaky ways. "It's mentally messin' my head," he says. As opposed to mentally messin' his foot or elbow? Whatever. This must be what it sounds like when doves cry.
Time to Kill and Space to Fill
An image of Mr. Asp on the screen tells us it's time to take a brief commercial break, and we come back to some various "pretty" images of flowers, sunlight rippling off the water, and so forth. Strategizing commences amidst frolicking in the water. Jason approaches Liz to consider an alliance, but really, he just thinks that she's hot, and it's "all about the apples." He wants all the apples, he does! I don't know whether he's referring to the apples they bring to the guests with accompanying scrolls, or . . . ah . . . never mind.
Niveen, who's been cracking me up with her eye-rollings and other expressions to candidly display her thoughts, is now unsure of whom to trust. Earlier in the show, Matt said that she was "his girl," and that she was his number one choice. Now, however, she was moved down to his "1c," which is really just a bad attempt of saying "fourth" with diplomacy.
At dinner, people are again scrambling to save themselves, and here's how Wallace declares things to stand: Claudia is with David, as we know; Brooke is with Michael; Shawna is with Wallace; Kassie is with Matt; and Liz will go with Jason, by force.
The Ol' Switcheroo
Our Edenites shuffle into the Banishment Temple wondering what shocking twists and turns they might encounter this time! (cue scary music) I just think they have it easy . . . every other reality show requires you to actually *do* something to stay around. Oh well. It is now time to find out which woman will be banished from Eden, forever!
But wait! There's a twist to this ceremony! Claudia, as she's gotten to know the guys, may now switch partners! She decides to pick Wallace and "get to know him a little better." This really must add insult to injury, as the "bad first impression" plan has now wholly failed.
The matchups now look like this: Claudia & Wallace; Kassie & Matt; Niveen & Jason (big eye-rolling by Niveen); Liz & David; Brooke & Michael; and finally, Shawna goes to Jason, as well.
Jason, faced with quite the "die-lemma," is forced to pick between Niveen and Shawna. Shawna says that "Jason is my Adam, and I want to get to know him better." We cut immediately to the confessional where she declared Jason "The last guy on Earth I'd ever date." Jason has perhaps finally gotten the hint, and picks Niveen. Niveen is thrilled, and does a little happy dance. She's got canned heat in her heels tonight, baby!
the tribe Jason has spoken. You must now leave. She does, to the accompaniment of weepy piano-and-string music. She tells us in her exit video that Eden is a "bee-yu-ti-ful" place to live, but it was hard as well.
And that's it, my friends! Just another day for you and me, in paradise. Thank you for making this long and difficult journey with me.
Jason looks like an ass (imagine that)
Liz and Dave get frea-kay; everyone else gets jealous
Mr. Blackwell comes to Eden
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