Welcome to another recap of "For Love or Money." You've no doubt already noticed that I'm the third recapper in as many weeks for this show. And next week, you'll get someone else, who shall not be named here. You'll have to return next week to find out for yourself. Which is a clever way for me to deflect attention away from the fact that I actually don't know who will be recapping the show next week.
Before I delve into the happenings of this week's show, I'd like to make something perfectly clear. I'm not a fan of dating shows. I don't think one's love life should be played out in front of millions of viewers. I think people should meet and fall in love the old-fashioned way our parents did; at a bar, just before last call. Come on, you know I'm right; you just don't want to admit it. And who can blame you? There are certain things we don't want to know about. One is how our parents met, and the other is the details involving our conception. If we allow ourselves to think about it at all, we want to believe that both events were wholesome, tender, romantic encounters. We want to believe were conceived after an intimate candlelight dinner, perhaps at a quaint bed & breakfast overlooking the ocean. And we count the number of times our parents had sex by the number of siblings we have; it's a one-to-one relationship. Some of us are more able to maintain these illusions in our minds than others. For me, it's not so easy. You see, I was born on September 30th. For those of you that don't get it, allow me to explain: I was born nine months to the day after New Years Eve. And no matter how hard I try, I can't erase the certainty that the moments leading up to my conception involved confetti, party favors, and a bottle of Cold Duck. However, I am an only child, so at least I've got that going for me.
Maybe this reality dating stuff isn't so distasteful after all.
Now a quick reminder of where we are in this wonderful little morality play. Preston is the bachelor. The women pursuing his affection (or the mystery dollar sum on their checks, depending upon how jaded your point of view) are Ali (who is holding the million dollar check), Andrea ($500,000), PJ (who everyone knows is holding a $50,000 check) and our two one dollar specials, Rachael and Rebekah. For those of you not familiar with the premise of “For Love or Money”, let me direct you to the title of the show.
The voiceover guy for this show, who sounds like he should be doing cheesy promos on Moviephone, dramatically informs us that some want love, some want money, and someone is going home. Somehow I’m not feeling the tension and excitement his narrative is supposed to convey, and I’m sensing you aren’t either. Perhaps it will build naturally as we move along. If not, don’t worry dear readers; I’ll fake it.
The five women gather to receive news from generic reality host Jordan. While he isn’t so generic as to appear in a plain white suit with the word “HOST” emblazoned across the front and back in bold, black type, he might as well be. In a break from the traditional and the formulaic, our host informs the ladies that he has good news and bad news. I know what you’re thinking – good news and bad news is completely standard fare. You’re right of course. But you haven’t heard the good part yet: Jordan doesn’t give them the option of which news they want to hear first! It’s a brilliant move on the part of the producers. You heard me correctly; Jordan simply tells the women the good news – that they will each have an opportunity for one on one time with Preston – and the bad news – that there are five women and only four dates. But wait, there’s more. If he so wishes, he can take the same woman on two, three, or all four dates, leaving two, three, or four woman out in the cold. In other words, there is some news that could actually fall into both the good and the bad categories, depending upon who you are. Wow. Does anyone else need a moment to let the complexity of this soak in?
The five lovely ladies are told to get themselves ready for a date – which they may or may not be chosen for – and wait for Preston on the front steps of the mansion they call home. He’ll arrive for the first date at 9am, and return for the subsequent dates at noon, 3pm, and 6pm. We see footage of one of the women shaving her legs in preparation of Preston’s arrival. Its attention to details like this that keeps the viewers interested. The camera was in too close to identify who the legs belonged to, but Rachael wore jeans so we can rule her out. Well, technically we can’t, as it is possible that all the women shaved their legs, but NBC chose to demonstrate artistic license and use the anonymous legs as a symbol representing all five women’s legs. Or maybe they just were short on time.
Rebekah talks about the game and Preston. “The secret is he knows what our checks are. But he doesn’t know that we know that he knows.”
Rachael says that she’s in the game for love, but if that goes bad, then she’s in it for the money. This, in her case, means that if things don’t work out, she’ll be able to buy a pack of gum when the show’s over. Depending upon your impression of Preston, that might seem like a pretty good deal. But let me point out that she’ll only win a dollar; it’ll just be plain gum like Wrigley’s Spearmint or something, not any of that high-tech stuff with the fancy flavor crystals or anything.
The Ab Roller
Preston arrives via limousine. He tells them they all look lovely. Then he says “So on the first date, I would like to have…(dramatic pause in which I will avoid the temptation to use the obvious double entendre regarding the word “have”, because I have standards)…Andrea…(another dramatic pause, making it clear that the editors of this show are big on pauses and drama and the interplay between the two)…join me.”
As Andrea heads off on her date, PJ informs us that she doesn’t like Andrea. “For some reason she rubbed me the wrong way.” The double entendres are getting harder to avoid, but I’ve decided to challenge myself and see if I can get through this entire recap without resorting to crass sexually-based humor. For example, you’ll notice that I resisted the temptation to title this recap “Four Beddings and a Funeral.”
In the limo on the way to their mystery date, Preston comments on Andrea’s top, which is showing off her abs. Andrea informs us that “he likes the way I’m always showing my abs. You have to use what you’ve got.” The young lady is fortunate to live in today’s society rather than back in the Victorian era, when using what she’s got would have been far more difficult. Unless she’s also got great ankles.
Preston and Andrea’s date is private time at a roller rink, followed by root beer floats at a table in the center of the rink. It’s a sweet date that I’m sure took many of us back to junior high, when mom and dad chaperoned. It was at this point that Preston demonstrated his keen powers of observation, as he informed us “Andrea keeps giving me these flirty signals of how she wants to kiss me.” Yes, subtle signals such as when she said “I’d like to kiss you.” And when she said this, they kissed. Gentlemen, just think of all the times a woman said she wanted to kiss you, and you completely missed her signals. Of Preston I can only suggest you watch and learn, because we are in the presence of a master, my friends. Ladies, look out; we’ve cracked the code.
After the date, Andrea tells us that she’s smitten, but she isn’t letting her guard down, because in the back of her mind she knows that she knows the value of her check. Oh yeah, in case I forgot to mention it earlier, Preston knows the value of the check each woman holds. And to make them question his motives, the women have been told that he knows. More on this later.
It’s All About Me
The limo returns and Andrea rejoins the lineup on the steps, just in case Preston decides he’d like to do a little more deciphering. “For my second date…” I don’t remember what he said in the rest of that sentence until he uttered the name “Ali”, I was too surprised that he was so self-centered as to call it “my” date instead of “our” date. Perhaps someone is a little full of himself. He tells us that the reason he picked Ali for this date is that she has the million dollar check, and he wants to see if the two of them are compatible. And by ”them,” I don’t mean Preston and the check.
Their date takes them to a silent movie theater. The sign outside the theater reads “Welcome Preston and Ali”. Seeing this, Ali exclaims “Ohmigod! It says my name!” It seems that concepts such as “we” and “our” may be foreign to both of them.
The film they see is called “Growing up Ali” which was a slide show of Ali through the years. Preston managed to veil his disappointment at it not being an account of “Ali Baba: The Early Years”, though just barely. Between bites of popcorn, Ali narrates the pictures, pointing out that she was captain of the dance team and homecoming queen. And with that, we learn that Ali has had extensive training in the art of “me.”
After the date, Preston shares with us. “I’ve been a little disappointed with our conversation, it just hasn’t been there.” Ali feels they made a connection, while Preston doesn’t. Unless you count the connection their lips make in the limo.
Meanwhile, back at stately Wayne Manor (I’ve always wanted to say that), the girls attempt to grill Andrea for information. Rachael informs us “I so need to know what happened on that date!” Whether this need is brought on by jealousy, greed, or boredom remains a mystery.
Preston talks to us about Ali. “I’d love to take her million and put it on somebody else. But I can’t and that’s why it sucks! Poor, naïve Preston. He didn’t think the producers were going to put the million dollar check with a woman they thought he’d have a connection with, did he? Most of us would have had good enough reading comprehension skills to note the significance of the word “OR” in the show’s title. But then, most of us didn’t attend the "Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good" either.
Innocence Ain’t What It Used to Be
For the third date, our man selects PJ. Rachael reveals that at this point, she realized she wasn’t getting a date today. Before you go feeling sorry for her, I’d like to point out that on the last episode Rachael got two dates alone with Preston.
This time the limo never leaves the estate grounds. PJ and Preston are dropped off at a large, veiled tent. Inside they discover Arabian style décor, pillows, food, everything but an Ali Babba movie. Reclining on some pillows next to PJ, Preston informs her that he’s going into relaxation mode, and promptly puts his hand on her thigh. Ladies, let me clarify something. All men are not as classless as to attempt to explain away a hand on the thigh as part of “relaxation mode.” No, for most of us, the aforementioned mode involves cracking a beer, sitting on the couch, and watching ESPN in an Al Bundy pose. Upon reflection, I realize this may not have the comforting affect I was hoping for. Sorry.
PJ doesn’t seem to mind Preston’s version of relaxation, and it appears that they spend a good portion of their date laying beside each other sharing kisses, fingers laced together romantically. Preston tells us “She’s one of the girls I wish maybe had a little higher value” but he’s drawn to her innocence. Either I’m just really old and out of touch, or innocence doesn’t mean what he thinks it means. How every “Princess Bride” of him.
Cut to the big house. Rachael is continuing to stress. Andrea says that she thinks negativity brings negativity, and she believes that as a result Rachael may have brought the negativity on herself. Hopefully I’m not the only one that appreciated the irony that if Andrea’s theory is correct, negativity is positively charged.
All the ladies want to go on the last date of the day, as they’ve been told they’ll need a bathing suit. And you know what that means, don’t you? That’s right – a chance to show off their bodies for any casting agents that happen to be watching at home.
The One With The Chocolate Cake
With the ladies lined up, Preston makes his choice. “It’s down to two, and Rachael…we will do it some other time.” Okay, who does that? What kind of man calls the name of the woman he’s not taking on a date? To explain, I’d like to take a moment to reveal the fine print that flashes on the screen when the credits roll at the close of each episode. I know I run the risk of shattering illusions for some of you, and possibly creating a controversy that rivals that surrounding “Last Comic Standing”, but you deserve the truth. “The contestants may have consulted with producers regarding their choices and decisions.” I like the word “may” in that sentence. The producers aren’t saying they did, and they aren’t saying they didn’t. How very Bill Clinton of them. But I digress. My point is that Preston may have been coached in how to announce his final choice of the day.
Oh by the way, Preston selected Rebekah to accompany him on the last date.
Rachael gives us some signals that her feelings are getting involved and she isn’t having fun any more. “My feelings got involved and I’m not having fun anymore.” Once you know the code, it’s just so simple to understand.
Preston thinks that Rebekah is the cutest girl of the bunch. We see the two of them chatting in the back of the limo. My first thought isn’t how cute Rebekah looks, but that Preston is trying to hard so make knee contact that he’s about to pull something if he spreads his legs any further. Seriously,the guy was draped across two thirds of the seat.
This date takes place on a rooftop. Not the kind with television antennas and pigeon coops, but an elegant one with rose petals, a pool, and a hot tub. They share a romantic, candle-light dinner before adjourning to the hot tub. Rebekah says it is the most romantic date she’s ever been on. Of course, she may have discussed this comment with the producers. After all, how romantic can it be when there’s a camera crew in your face?
Rebekah is attracted to Preston, but she isn’t sure how she feels about him. It’s original statements like this that make this such a refreshing departure from other dating shows.
As dinner nears it’s end, Rebekah takes a bite of Chocolate-Chocolate cake off Preston’s fork and comments that it’s “Very chocolaty.”
Preston gives us his impression of Rebekah. “She has a smokin’ physique – her body was ridiculous.” But not ridiculous in the same way the concept of this show is ridiculous, or even in the same way saying Chocolate-Chocolate cake is chocolaty. No, he means ridiculous in a way not found in any dictionary. He means he likey. Which also isn’t in any dictionary. I have to point that out, because there’s been a rise in the number of complaints over spelling and grammar here on the site. If these people start pointing out sentence fragments I’m going to be very cross.
While the date is going on, PJ is consoling Rachael, who is emotional over not being chosen. PJ tells us that she is also feeling a bit anxious. “Rebekah could be my biggest competition, and she’s in a hot tub with a boy. There’s no telling what that could lead to and how it could sway his decision.” Now, before you go jumping to conclusions about what PJ means, remember, she’s innocent. I’m assuming she’s concerned about whether the tub is properly chlorinated, and if not, how will red-eye affect Preston’s attraction to the shapely Rebekah? Or perhaps she’s concerned they’ll spend too much time in the tub, and their fingers will get all pruned.
Rachael continues mentally torturing herself and PJ, saying that Rebekah is “so affectionate – she’s probably all over him.” Cut to Rebekah all over Preston in the tub. Kissing. Steam. Fragmented sentences (mine, not their's.) Music that one might hear after hours on Cinemax.
Preston reveals to the folks at home that he can see himself settling down with Rebekah, that she’d make a great wife and there would never be a dull moment. Cut to the two of them kissing in the car. You know, in case the viewers were unclear as to what “never a dull moment” was supposed to mean.
Rebekah tells us “If he wants the money out of this, he is a great pretender.” Funny, I’d have thought she was too young to remember The Platters. She continues. “I think I like Preston because he’s amazing. Amazing-amazing-amazing-amazing-amazing. Curse Lucy for coming up with the term “Thesaurically challenged” last week, because it would have fit perfectly here. “He is not what I expected at all. And if he is playing me, I’m going to kill him.” Good to know Rebekah isn’t prone to overreacting.
Apparently the producers are concerned that murder threats aren’t enough to keep the show’s tension high, so they have Moviephone man tell us “Now that the dates are over, jealousy and doubt fill the air.” Over breakfast, the girls pump Rebekah for the details of her date. She went into great detail for them; rose petals on the ground, dinner, chocolaty goodness, etc, etc. But when asked about Preston’s body, she told them she was too self conscious to look at his body. Oh please. The woman has no more reason to feel self conscious in a bathing suit than Kathy Ireland or Angie Everhart. This gives you an idea of how long it’s been since I’ve seen the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
To Know or Not to Know
As they prepare for the elimination segment of the show, Andrea breaths in the good energy and exhales the bad energy. I wonder how she’s managing this until I realize that she’s standing next to Rachael The Negativity Magnet.
The women dress up in attractive black eveningwear. Sadly, someone seems to have taken a pair of scissors to Ali’s pant suit and tried to cut snowflakes out of the front. Fortunately all the cuts are strategically placed and reveal nothing inappropriate. Jordan meets the ladies and has each of them stands behind a small, waist-high pillar topped with a blue velvet pillow. Well, all but PJ. You see, this is an opportunity for them to find out the values of their checks, and PJ’s is already known. Jordan explains that the rest of them have an opportunity to learn the value of their checks, but there’s a price. To learn the value, they must give up 50% of the value.
Andrea feels that if she knows the value of her check, she’ll be able to better gauge Preston’s intentions. If she has a large check, she’ll know that he’s in it for the money. I hate to break it to her, but he could actually be interested in her even if she doesn’t have a large check. Perhaps he’s in it for the abs.
Ali doesn’t want to know the value of her check. She feels that not knowing will make her intentions more sincere. This might be true, if Preston knew that she knew the value of her check. But he doesn’t.
Rachael needs to know Preston’s intentions. Needs to. The woman is alternately highly emotional and distraught, then eagerly calculating. I realize that while she’s a beautiful woman, it’s in a very “Play Misty For Me” kind of way.
To learn the value of their checks, the women must drop the rings Preston gave them onto the velvet pillow. Only Andrea drops her ring. When it is revealed that she has given up $250,000 in order to learn the value of her check, Rachael can’t suppress her laughter. The woman with the stalker eyes comments on Andrea’s decision for those of us at home. “What an idiot. Who drops their ring and loses 50% of their check value – never go with the first offer!” With this, Jordan tells Andrea that he would have been willing to go as low as 20%. Ouch.
Jordan meets with Preston and reveals to him that Andrea chose to learn the value of her check. Now that we know the fine print at the end of the show, you’ll be interested to know that Jordan tells Preston “You may want to consider that.” Preston says that at that point, all his trust went out the window, because money may be an issue for Andrea.
Let’s recap for a moment, because this part might be a little confusing. Preston knows the value of the women’s checks, but he doesn’t know that they know he knows. Further, Andrea knows the value of her check, but doesn’t know that Preston knows that she knows. The irony is that she wanted to know so she could know his intentions, but now that he knows she knows, he thinks she’s in it for the money. In other words, Andrea didn’t breathe out all the bad after all.
We know the time for the elimination has come because the producers chose to actually put the words up on the screen in big, bold letters when we returned from commercial. I’m so glad they don’t try to talk down to the audience.
The ladies are positioned on the steps behind the mansion and await Preston’s request for them to stand before him, at which time he will ask them to keep their rings if he wants them to stay.
First called is PJ. He tells her he had a great time, that she opened up and was herself. He wants her to stay. She’s on Cloud Nine. I’m wondering how he can tell that someone he’s only recently met was being herself when he can’t possibly really know who her self is.
Next called is Rebekah. He tells her that their date was one of the best times he’s ever had on a date, and he laughed so hard that she has cracked his list of “Top Five Funniest Women of All Time.” Rebekah seems underwhelmed but manages to mutter a half-hearted “Wow, that’s pretty big.” Clearly, she doesn’t realize the import of making this list, so Preston tries to help her, saying “It’s huge!" I wonder why the lovely Rebekah isn’t more excited? I mean, what woman wouldn’t be thrilled about being on the same list as Carol Burnett, Madeline Kahn, Ruth Buzzi, and Phyllis Diller?
Preston continues, telling Rebekah that he got to see her real side, that he thinks she’s looking for love and the same things that he’s looking for. She gets to stay. She was pressed against him in the hot tub, so I’m assuming we all know what he meant by “real side” without me having to go into detail.
Rachael is the next woman he asks to speak with. He tells her that he knows she was disappointed that she didn’t get a date today, and he’s disappointed, too. He asks her to keep her ring. It would seem that things have gone wrong in Rachael’s eyes – and by that I mean in how she is approaching the situation, not that her eyes look crazy (which they do.) “I don’t think this guy is for me.” She says. “It’s stupid to get all swept up in your emotions. My strategy is to go for money. Money-money-money-money-money.” And in case you’re wondering, she wasn’t singing the theme song from “The Apprentice” when she said that.
Preston points out to us that there are two women remaining. On one side, Ali, who is worth a million dollars. On the other side, Andrea, who he believes is motivated by money. He calls Ali’s name. He tells her she looks nice, he admires her the most, that she doesn’t take things quickly, but they are in a situation where you have to take things quickly. Thankfully, she stops him before he has to fall back on such classics as “It’s not you, it’s me” and “I’m not good enough for you.” She gives him back his ring.
Which makes Andrea’s appearance before him only a formality. When he comments on ‘Dre (his nickname, not mine) showing her stomach, she tells him that it’s in honor of him. Okay, I’ve heard of a lot of honors: wearing the number of a fallen team mate on your arm, lowering the flag to half-mast to honor a deceased head of state, even Tying a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree to honor men at war. But showing your abs to honor a guy? Is this some new craze that just hasn’t hit my small Colorado town yet?
Preston addresses the four remaining ladies one last time. “I look forward to what’s ahead. Enjoy the ride and we’ll see where it takes us.” According to the previews of next week’s show, the answer is “The Beach.”
Meanwhile, poor, discarded Ali learns that her check was worth a million dollars. She tears it up and throws it in the fireplace, per the show’s ceremonial rules. “I’ve never held a check for a million dollars, but I have complete faith that I will one day.” Uh, didn’t she just finish holding a check worth a million dollars, or was that just some bizarre dream sequence? If it’s the latter, I would have appreciated it if the producers had let us know. They wouldn’t have had to come right out and put “Dream Sequence” on the screen or anything. Personally, I think a talking moose head over the fireplace would have been a nice touch.
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