Ever since “Temptation Island” I have embraced the concept of “guilty pleasure” and made it my own. To state that FLOM has embodied that concept for me would be a gross overstatement. However, intrepid writer that I consider myself to be, I arm myself with my pages of scribbled notes, the reviews of my favorite writer, Lisa Schwartzbaum, by my side and will once again jump headlong into the troubled waters of this show. Come along with me and I will try to make our journey an enjoyable one.
After last week’s episode, I think we all needed some fresh air and good food to clear our heads and prepare ourselves for the next episode of “For Love or Money.”
During the past week, we have learned a lot more than we cared to know about our “eligible bachelor” Rob Campos. The Smoking Gun has picked up the ball and run with it. We hear about a murky record in the Marine Corps, after which Rob was dismissed. Rob has also been released from his post at the law firm of Mathur & Co. in Dallas. I’m not quite clear whether this dismissal has to do with his embarrassing lack of social graces on national television, or the incident that took place while Rob was in the Marines which oddly enough also involved alcohol and groping.
The show begins. Five women remain in the “palatial mansion.” Erin, Kelly, Laura, Lauren and Paige. We are reminded that we must continue to ask ourselves “who is in it for love and who is in it for money.”
A Typical Morning in Sunny Malibu
The girls are shown sleeping soundly. Four of them are. Laura is awake and tiptoes downstairs to find an invitation described as “Early Bird Special.” It turns out to be an invitation to make breakfast for Rob. What utter gall! However, Laura seems delighted at the opportunity but does not know where to begin. Luckily, her pal Lauren offers to help. Laura even borrows Lauren’s dress and runs a mental checklist:
Nervous: check double-check
OK. We’re set. L & L head over to Rob’s lair and proceed to make breakfast. Basically, Lauren does the whole thing while Laura squeezes a few oranges for luck. They carry everything in and Lauren leaves after being true to her word and not infringing.
Rob acts mighty surprised to find what’s in store for him. Laura asks him, “Are you hungry?” and he responds with his usual eloquence, “Um…yes.” Suddenly, a thought occurs to him, “Hey Laura, we’re in bed together.” We can almost smell the wood burning in Rob’s brain as he sees this opportunity unfolding. Sure enough, the two of them look quite cozy even though Laura tells him to keep his hands above the covers. She then tries to wheedle some answers out of him regarding her chances with him. Shades of Cristina! She tells Rob that he must keep her. You can’t fool our wily lawyer, though. He’s staying schtum. This is not a major problem for Rob. As she leaves, he describes her as “cool, confident, intelligent” and he’s “attracted to her.” She says that Rob is more “Interesting than a million dollars” but I am wondering if she isn’t fibbing just a little tiny bit.
Laura returns to the Sorority House and the girls are all over her as she describes the early morning tryst. Is this part of her strategy, because she leaves nothing out. Kelly is visibly upset and says “That sucks.” Paige is jealous and plotting revenge. Kelly decides just to be herself if and when she gets some “one on one” with Rob. Paige keeps echoing the same lame refrain over and over. She just can’t tell who’s interested in Rob and who is interested in the money. Paige dear, please focus on what you have to do which is to grow up. You might have your own website and sell thongs and cute poetry, but you have a lot to learn about life. The other women are not going to tell you what they’re after and it would not make an iota of difference to the outcome if they did.
We’re going on a double date?
Later that morning Rob arrives and promises the girls a big surprise. Namely, there will be two double dates with him. Only one slight hitch, one girl gets to stay behind. He selects Paige and Kelly to accompany him on the first of these dates. Now, I’m thinking at this point, I know what double dates are, and this isn’t my understanding of one. This is what I would call a “Threesome.” My mind now tends to ponder the ramifications of this set-up. Hmmm.
Paige and Kelly are off in a limo to meet Rob as he disembarks from a helicopter. On this date, he is interested in getting to find out whether Kelly is as aggressive as the others say she is, and whether he still feels comfortable with Paige. These are musts and I am listening and watching raptly.
At this point, I realize my VCR has stopped taping and I am distracted by this catastrophe, so I’m not sure where they actually are but it doesn’t matter because Rob pulls out this darling Memory Box that is laden with pictures of him during school. There are all sorts of memorabilia and Paige begs to keep one of the poems. Kelly is happy just to exclaim that this makes Rob seem “real.” Oh yeah.
Paige, who never fails to exaggerate each and every situation, exclaims that this is “the best date she’s ever been on” in her “entire life” even though “there is another girl there.” Didn’t I say “Threesome?” Now Paige excuses herself to go to the toilet and our dashing eligible bachelor puts the moves on Kelly and kisses her. Kelly later states that she would not have left the room no matter how much she had to pee. I don’t think so, Kel, because there would be much embarrassment if you really meant that and a major clean-up.
Our trio a nice ride back in the limo when suddenly the mood darkens after some basic teasing. For no apparent reason Rob turns to Paige and tells her “You’re only 21. You’re too young for me.” Paige is crushed and pouts all the way home because her feelings are so hurt. I don’t blame her, Rob was a total boor. Was it the wine talking or is he bi-polar? I didn’t even see him imbibe. In any case, Paige describes her feelings in her usual dramatic terms – it was like a knife stabbing her in the heart. However, being Paige, she soon consoles herself with the thought that she is a good person and will get what she deserves. Although she needs (really?) and wants (uh huh, remember the promise ring!) Rob, she’s not sure that he needs and wants her. At least that’s how she feels right now. He’s a putz, Paige, come on!
Double Date No. 2
Rob now chooses the second pair of ladies to accompany him on the date – it’s Laura and Lauren while Erin stays behind. There is an awkward moment here. In fact, there are many throughout the show, especially when Rob speaks. L & L and Rob go out to the limo and in a move so transparent you can see Catalina, he tells them he’s going to the bathroom. Actually, sly old Rob is sneaking back in to tell the lovely Erin that she is going to be the one to go on a single date with him that very evening. Oh joy! That girl can die happy now.
Meanwhile, we have arrived in the Derby swing dance club. Laura and Rob have a nice intimate dance while she again asks him, “Do you find yourself connecting with anyone?” I swear she is channeling Cristina from The Bachelor. Meanwhile, our girl Lauren is sitting on the sidelines looking forlorn and is sure she doesn’t have the same chemistry with Rob. But fear not, because this girl who is rapidly becoming my favorite, states in no uncertain terms that Rob is secondary, the money comes first. Finally, somebody savvy and honest. Hurray!
On the limo ride back to their temporary mansion, he is holding hands with Lauren while stroking Laura’s hair. I get an icky feeling here and I’m wondering if the limo chauffeur is feeling that way too. You’re better off watching the road, Lorenzo!
Erin is preparing herself for the date with Roberto and looking beautiful. She admits that she’s not attracted to him and that her strategy is essentially the “art of the tease.” For some reason, Rob is not there to pick Erin up. He awaits her at the top of the Beach as the sun is setting. They stumble down at first and then he does something very chivalrous and uncharacteristic. Rob picks Erin up and carries her the rest of the way. She now tells him a bit about her background. Her dad played for the San Francisco 49ers and his name is John Brody, although she doesn’t think Rob has heard of him. Funny, that name sounds familiar to me, but at this point, I’m trying to be as attentive as possible because it’s getting dark and I’m waiting for something exciting to finally happen. I am rewarded for my patience because suddenly someone I think is called Tommy Tang who has quite a few Thai restaurants in the L.A. area according to Rob, appears at their food tent and begins serving them a lovely meal. None of these dates take very long, because the Network did not want to waste too much footage on lags between Rob’s halting attempts at conversation. Who coached this guy? His voiceover later describes the date as being at an “amazing setting with a beautiful woman to stare at” (that’s the trouble right there). Erin on the other hand, tells Rob that he was so different from the guy back there at the old palatial mansion. Am I not seeing something here, Erin? He’s exactly the same graceless pretty boy that we’ve become accustomed to and bored by.
In one of his typically flamboyant and irrational statements, Rob says that the “instant attraction is not there yet” but might develop. If it’s instant then it’s there or it wouldn’t be instant now, would it? Duh. Erin just feels that the date was so successful that now she is leaning 60% toward the money and 40% toward Rob and that’s a hell of an improvement.
The girls are waiting up for our Erin. House Mother Kelly says sternly, “Do you know how way past your curfew you are?” in a clearly irritated voice. Now they want her to spill her guts, and she complies. When she truthfully tells them that Rob did not even attempt to kiss her (this is truly a shocker) they accuse her of lying. She has to assure the obsessive Kelly that she has nothing to be jealous of, but Kelly insists that Rob is infatuated with Erin. Girls, girls, simmer down.
Dark Clouds on the Horizon
We are heading for another break (Have I mentioned that the commercials are more interesting and lengthy than this show?) when a voiceover tells us that the ladies have one final chance to plead their case before the elimination round.
We’re back and now it’s time to break out the worry beads. Paige is scared that she’s not going to win. Erin loses my respect with this cliché, “I have to trust that whatever happens, happens for a reason.” Erin thinks Lauren is going. Laura thinks Paige will go. I just want one of them to GO already!
The hopefuls are working out their stress in various physical activities. From jogging, skipping, jumping rope to doing crunches they are filling up their time while pondering their fates.
Elimination of One – Film at 11
Miraculously, the Host whose name I have forgotten by now appears and tells them that one of them will go home but that Rob is waiting by the fireplace and they can talk to him to plead their case. The way this is presented almost borders on the obscene, but okay. Now Jordan (I was just fooling, I did remember his name) reminds them how important the million bucks is and wishes them good luck. I think that’s always good advice when they have to deal with Rob.
Lauren is the first to chat with Rob and she decides to keep it simple. She wants to appear to like him but she’s really playing for the money. Rob says that he likes being near her because she’s beautiful. You need to get Cyrano de Bergerac to speak for you.
Kelly is next and Rob tells her she looks nice. She pretends that Rob is the trophy she’s after. She thanks him for the date with his Memory Box and says she will never ever forget it in her entire life. Yeah, sure.
Laura has a plan to simply be herself. How original. She breezes in with a “Hi Darlin’” and proceeds to squeeze his shoes again by saying she wants to stay and wants him to assure her. He declares that he’s pleading the 5th Amendment because he’s a lawyer. She says she’ll see him outside and we can see him losing interest in her even though he says that she’s aggressive but he likes that about her. Puleeeze, stop yanking my chain, Rob!
Erin plays it cool and hands him a note which she says is on very special stationary and he doesn’t even get that it’s a joke. In any case, she has written him a thank you for their mind-numbing date at the Beach and says that hopefully he won’t give her the boot. We had the “boot incident” last week, Erin, please do not bring it up again.
Paige is coming down the stairs and she admits that her heart is beating so fast. Half of her wants to go and give Rob a big hug. You’ve already done way more than that, Paige. Her other half (which she describes as her “pride”) tells her to keep walking.
Now the ladies have assembled on the staircase and they descend one by one to hear Rob’s magical words. He tells them they all look great. Of course he has thought of nothing else but this elimination for the last few days and as he’s getting to know them better, it just gets tougher and tougher. We feel your pain, Robbie baby.
The Results Are In
Kelly – He tells her that she has a funny way of talking that is endearing and he is intrigued by her and he hopes she can stay. (“Oh yes, I want to!”) STAY.
Erin – She’s greeted by the classic “Hi, umm.” He then stumbles though an unfathomable explanation of wanting to go on that date with her to achieve a “breakthrough” and he’d like her to STAY. (She’s still not sure she’s attracted to him, but this girl is not leaving.)
Lauren – He had great fun getting to know her better at the Derby and that’s why he’d like her to STAY. (“OK, sounds good.”)
Shocker Alert Now only the oldest (Laura) and the youngest (Paige) contestants remain on the steps.
Paige – She takes the initiative by saying “Hi Rob, give me a hug.” Now he tells her how he was sitting by the fire waiting for her because he had things to tell her (since when?) and he’s been wondering why she never SHOWED UP. Paige says that she wasn’t mad at Rob she simply did not know what to say to him and didn’t want to embarrass herself. He tells her that he hopes he won’t embarrass her either and that it was amazing to get to know her. And, and…guess what? While Rob was kissing her, he tells her, he forgot where he was. Is that a good thing to be admitting? Anyway, for this and more reasons than we can shake a stick at, he would like her to STAY.
Laura – Oh no, your plan completely backfired, Laura. Rob says that it was great getting to know her and he really can’t explain why he’s saying goodbye. We know the truth though, don’t we? Laura says that she is at a loss for words and she apparently was completely off base.
As she goes all alone to the denigrating “check burning,” she wishes she had demanded more of an explanation. She really thought they had an “amazing connection.” She has another of those exit lines that is straight out of a B-movie: “He’s just a guy, and it’s just a million dollars.”
Gutsy Laura heaves her luggage into the trunk of the Yellow Cab and disappears from view. Don’t feel too bad, you gave it your best shot, Laura.
Next week we are teased by newly confident Paige who says that the closer she gets to him, the harder it will be to keep the secret. Rob says in closing that he’s “not looking for someone to live with, but someone he can’t live without.” He is also told next week about the choice that the ladies are given. Looks like your problem just solved itself, Paige.
Until next week, this is your faithful recapper signing off.
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