When For Love or Money 2 began, it was billed as a six week summer series. In week three NBC added two episodes, which was great for ad revenue, but bumped the series finale to a Labor Day showing. What to do, what to do?
Ah! A reunion show! Stretch the series one more week, exploit the contestants one more time AND gain 22 more minutes of primetime advertising! It’s perfect!
This week, the producers reunited most of the cast members from For Love or Money and it’s sequel to rehash their experiences on the show. The reunion was hosted by Karyn Bryant, who termed the series a ‘cultural phenomenon” which drew 22 million viewers for Erin’s rejection of Rob.
After the rapid-fire introduction of the contestants Erin makes her grand entrance. Not only is she wearing another strange top/blouse/camisole thingy, but I’m ‘taken back’ by the thin diamond anniversary band on Erin’s right hand.
Erin confesses she thought Rob would choose Paige or Kelly, and once again annoys me by saying, “I was taken back.” back, back, aback. As in, I was taken aback by the prospect of Erin in broadcasting.
Karyn announces Paige as, “The one lady all of America fell in love with: Paige Jones.”
Paige reveals that she would have chosen Rob over the money. When an audience member asked if she thought her age or maturity level was a factor in Rob’s final decision, Paige responded, “Until the show aired, I never really realized I seemed so young.” Seeing herself on television seems to have contributed to said maturity, and the rest of Paige’s answer makes the audience (and me) laugh: “I can’t comment on Rob’s maturity level.”
Erin and Paige are seated center stage as video clips and confessionals recap season one. While Paige and Erin seemed very chummy, I wondered why they were seated as far away from one another as possible and clutching the arms of the sofa.
Enter Rob. “The man who keeps coming back for more.” Like a bad penny Rob returns and sits between Erin and Paige. Thankfully, he’s had a haircut.
We are treated to scenes of ‘intimate moments’ between Paige and Rob, including the final elimination ceremony in which Rob tells Paige he’d have a better chance with Erin. Then we see a tearful Paige afterward in confessional, crying as though her heart was broken irrevocably. Karyn asked Paige if she would ever recover. “I have. Rob made the best choice.”
Karyn then revealed that Rob and Paige had been in touch since the show’s end, first by email, then later by cell phone. Paige blushed madly, then blamed the heat when Karyn pointed out the sparks that obviously still exist between the two.
Rob was asked if he had any trouble dating since he obviously broke Paige’s heart. Rob revealed that he was once stood up four times in one week. ( I say)
When Kayrn announced ‘a few moments that sparked controversy’ I thought we might be introduced to a *real* surprise guest, say a female cadet from JAG or something. But no, it was only footage from the Boot Incident and Ring Around the Jacuzzi scenes.
Karyn noted that Christina appeared to be most affected by Rob’s behavior, to which Christina responded, “I came here looking for love, and I got Rob. And a boot.”
Lauren concurred and commented on the amount of pressure the girls felt during the Boot Incident, saying Rob had asked her to remove his boot, the cameras were rolling and she felt as though she had to play along. (No pressure Lauren. Just say no to public humiliation.)
Karyn asked Paige why she seemed to be the only one not bothered by Rob’s antics. “All I did was hear about these things. You may not have noticed, but I wasn’t in the spa, wasn’t in the room for the boot thing,” said Paige. “And I wondered – this is a competition after all – part of me wondered if what they were telling me was the truth.”
When asked if he had any regrets about his final decision, Rob first said he had no regrets, then followed up with “Obviously I wouldn’t have chosen [Erin] if I had known.”
Before commercial break, Karyn treats us to a ‘never before seen moment – the Love or Money Olympics.” In a hilarious shot, Laura challenges a competitive Rob to a race in the pool. On the count of three Rob dives into the pool and begins swimming like mad while Laura sprints down the side of the pool, jumps in just before the end and appears to reach her mark seconds before Rob.
As Rob surfaces he is stunned to see that Laura won the race. The girls all keep a straight face and Erin calls the pulling of this old gag, “the highlight” of her time with the other girls at the mansion. “We never did tell him,” she said.
Next we are shown clips from confessional moments that didn’t quite make the series.
Paige and Kelly teased their hair, painted their faces and carried on about how they would spend the money, Wade came to confessional topless, and stuck the sticky pad of the microphone to his chest. (Even funnier when removed); Vic looks into the camera and says, “I have nothing to say. I am bored. This is boring.”
Karyn then tells us we will be treated to a dramatic re-enactment of an intimate moment from FLOM2. Cut away to Greg coaxing Wade to participate in mimicking a passionate moment between Erin and Eric. It was good to see that Greg, who was presented as somber and humorless during most of the series, actually had a great sense of humor.
Moving on to the male contestants, Vic is introduced as the “only one to eliminate himself” from the competition. She points out that Jordan said his offer started at $10,000, and wonders why Vic took the cash prize to leave the show so quickly. Vic said, “We didn’t know how the increments were going to go. I thought someone else might take the offer. I saw it as a good chance to control my destiny.”
Erin confesses that Greg was actually the man she planned to eliminate that night. When Karyn asks Vic if he would make the same choice again, he responded. “Yes. Ten Grand? Let’s go!”
In a telling moment, Karyn asked the women if they would have opted out if given a cash alternative. From my vantage point, each of the women contestants (except Paige and Erin) raised her hand.
Clips of Eric at his most dramatic were up next. Eric had the good grace to laugh at himself. When Karyn pointed out that Eric was the one the other men liked least, Eric responded, “I was ostracized by the others, but it seems warranted. I was being sincere, though I came off as drama queen-ish.”
Just now, Richard (who hasn’t returned my emails since I confessed to being smitten with his blue eyes in an earlier recap) defends Eric’s portrayal, saying “It doesn’t feel like Reality TV when you’re in it.”
The tension created between by Eric’s comments at Vic’s reverse-elimination ceremony was brought up for discussion. Vic, who consistently had the best one-liners for the series, quipped, “I apparently sold my soul on eBay.”
“I got caught up in the moment,” said Eric. “I never meant it as an indictment of Vic.”
Later, Karyn asked Paige for her reaction to Rob’s return to the show. “I thought he was back for revenge,” said Paige. “I realize now he had strong feelings for Erin. I think that’s noble. Admirable. I respect that.”
The audience was asked which of the former contestants would make a good couple and picked Kelly & Vic, Paige & Eric and Christine & Munch.
Clips of Chad and Wade were shown and the contestants were polled as to whom they thought Erin would choose. Chad snagged 13 votes, Wade 10.
Wade and Chad make their entrance on the balcony, but do not speak during the reunion segment. Erin looks excited to see both men. Wade looks sad and dejected.
I’m thinking this was a set up by the producers. “Hey, Wade. When you go on camera, we want you to look really upset, okay?” Whomever Erin chose, I’m thinking Wade is naturally too outgoing, too upbeat to be carrying a grudge or nursing a broken heart. It seems we are being pointed toward Erin picking Chad, so Wade may walk away the winner after all.
Well folks, what started out as a six week summer job has turned into a nine week, oh- Lord-will-it-ever-end-the-kids-are-back-in-school recapping nightmare. Thankfully, we will all be put out of our collective miseries next Monday in a two-hour finale.
In the meantime, be watching for our interview with Eric Ferch coming soon.
Questions or comments about this recap? Bumpkin@fansofrealitytv.com.