Married by America
Episode Four – Recap
This week, our five contestants retire to Copper North Ranch on the California coast, for five weeks of getting to know each other, or in some cases, NOT getting to know each other.
Would Sean change his suit? Will any of the couples just outright admit that they aren’t attracted to America’s choice? Is the Legend of Billie Jean true? Why do I always ask so many questions at the beginning of recaps? Read on, and perhaps we will find out.
By the way, this episode began with a parental advisory about mature subject matter. I sometimes wonder why such warnings are not just automatic for the entire FOX prime time line up.
Loaded Up the Truck and We Moved to Beverly…
It is day one, and the five couples are going to drive up the coast to their resort location. We get a chance to hear the “next morning” impressions that some of these folks have, and some of them are telling.
Stephen – “I am in shock.” He goes on to describe that he had always expected his fiancée to look a certain way, and Denise doesn’t. This is somewhat confusing given that he begged America to look beyond superficial looks, and find the person with beautiful insides. It’s not like Denise isn’t good looking either.
Billie Jean – “I couldn’t wait to see him again!” Sounds like fun is in store for Tony.
Jill – “I have a great feeling.” She also says several times that Kevin looks great, and is what she had hoped for.
Matt - Notes that he is a little uncomfortable, and he can tell that Cortez is as well. These two look more like a couple of strangers in a doctor’s waiting room, than an engaged couple. I suppose I am somewhat shocked that they all don’t look that way.
Jennifer – Echoes Stephen’s sentiments when she says her picture of what the ideal man looked like is different. This would become shocking news to Xavier I am certain.
Nevertheless, our couples make it through their awkward reintroductions and proceed on their journey. The long drive is a good stimulus for getting conversations started. Early on though, Billie Jean and Tony are actively seeking stimulus of another variety as they continue to enjoy getting to know each other.
As is the case in nearly all pre-mating rituals throughout recorded human history, the topic quickly turns to the size of the hands. Billie Jean checks, and seems happy to note that Tony’s hands are long. Tony isn’t smart enough to leave well enough alone here, and instead points out that his fingers are small. Uh oh… how do we interpret that?
Not to be dissuaded, Billie Jean points out that her hands are small, okay, I can figure it out now. Tony shares a few pearls of wisdom that his grandfather purportedly told him regarding the size of a woman’s hands.
Suffice to say that Gramps sounds like he was just chocked full good advice. I can see it now… Tony and Gramps on the porch, sharing a glass of Grannies famous cheddar lemonade… “pull Grandpa’s finger and I’ll tell you about women’s hands and your special purpose!”
These two have hit it off right away, but is there anything long term? What about the other couples?
Well, Stephen and Denise are dividing up responsibilities for the trip when Stephen confesses in private that the fact he just got engaged is sinking in. He says it is surreal. No, actually it is quite real Stephen, and it definitely appears you are regretting that whole beauty is skin deep approach right about now.
Jill remains excited, and confesses to us that she is shocked at how quickly she and Kevin have bonded. Wow, bonded already? Jeez, this is FOX, I figured they would show that. Oh wait, you meant bonded emotionally. Yes, yes, fine, good for you, get on the road!
Xavier and Jennifer are still working out what the best pose for them is while driving. Need to look good in both the live action shots, and the still photos, you know. Xavier is taken with Jennifer, and he blurts out, “you are beautiful!”. Okay Xavier, I am hardly the guy to give you love advice, what with your reported long history of French kissing conquests, but I suggest you go ahead and dump the pick up lines. You are engaged now, so call me crazy, but perhaps you might like to ask her a few questions.
Jennifer may be high maintenance, but she is no fool, and she immediately sees the opening and asks Xavier if he is a control freak. Xavier says he is and Jennifer agrees that she is as well, all the while thinking “not as big a control freak as I am, little man. Just wait and see.”
Matt and Cortez take their waiting room on the road, but with similar results. There is just nothing going on here. I admire Matt’s patience and friendly demeanor, but he is not making any progress. Cortez says again that there is just no chemistry.
Surprisingly, we do learn a little bit more about Cortez, she says that she likes men who treat her like sh*t. In the words of the Church Lady, “well isn’t that special!”
Back to Billie Jean and Tony, we learn that they both share the same favorite type of movie, porn.
Welcome to the Ponderosa
Our couples begin to arrive at the ranch, and the first thing I notice is that Joe Millionaire’s car from France seems to have been moved here to sit outside the house. Wow, that car has a great publicist.
Sean rejoins us, and seems to take quite a bit of interest in welcoming the ladies to the resort. For a second there I thought Billie Jean was going to dump Tony and head off to a room with Sean. I can understand though, he probably feels left out of all the fun. Poor Sean.
Sean reiterates the rules, and that one couple will be sent home each week. He invites the couples to go find their rooms. This is where things are going to get awkward. Who would sleep where, and in what state of dress? Not only that, but you have cameras on you all night as well. I am about to feel sorry for the couples when I realize that they volunteered for this, and some are probably looking for all the camera time they can get.
Billie Jean and Tony are happy to be alone, and decide to celebrate their engagement by doing Tequila shots. Yes, this is the start of a good wholesome family.
Matt and Cortez continue their friendly discussions, moving into the always important “what is the worst way to die” question. Apparently Matt’s opinion that drowning would be bad is further evidence to Cortez that there is no chemistry between them. Cortez is a big believer that being burned to death would be the worst.
Jill and Kevin, both of whom I am really starting to like, spend their first evening jumping up and down on the bed like kids. It was pretty impressive to see, though the folks in the room below them must concluded that Kevin was an even bigger stud than Xavier thinks he is.
While Steven and Denise share a meal together, Xavier is doing his best Survivor tryout for Jennifer. He does succeed in getting his fire started, though Jennifer remains cold as ice.
Bed Time for Bozos
Get out your scorecards, it is time to see how the evening’s festivities are going to proceed. Denise and Stephen are definitely in the couch and bed category. Stephen is still keeping a distance between Denise and himself. Perhaps distance is not a strong enough word.
Jennifer and Xavier will share the bed, but she is not happy about it. Jennifer storms into the bathroom saying, “This is all f**ked up!” That sums up the show pretty well Jennifer. Meanwhile, Xavier stands in the room silently… he is confident that if he can just land a kiss on her, then all will be well.
Matt and Cortez must be history buffs, as they have created a scale model of the Berlin Wall between themselves using pillows. Oh, and history buff is the only kind of buff that these two are going to share.
Jill and Kevin are in bed together and playfully kissing. No question remains that they are the early favorites to win. They just seem to be very connected.
Meanwhile, Billie Jean and Tony have decided to reenact some of their favorite movie scenes. They are both drunk, and Billie Jean has changed into something more comfortable. They begin some pretty heavy mutual kissing, followed by a race to the bathroom together to get out of the eye of the camera. Not since Evan and Sarah in the woods have we been treated to those sounds, and I am guessing they weren’t playing Scrabble in there.
The next morning, our couples continue their exploration.
Denise and Kevin are scheduled to go whale watching that day. Denise says that she and Stephen are just waiting for the right moment to kiss. They also want it to be spontaneous. I am not sure how “right moment” and “spontaneous” in that context can synch up, so clearly these two have some work to do. As the day and evening progresses, Stephen still refuses to kiss Denise, and it begins to wear on her.
Matt and Cortez are slated for sea kayaking, and their situation is getting worse. Matt candidly points out that he feels they have slid backward. Later on in the day, Matt suggest that they make up imaginary friends as their companions. Sadly Matt, I think with that suggestion, you truly had exhausted all reasonable efforts. Let’s hope the imaginary friends had a better time than you two did.
Cortez takes a few more opportunities to point out that she feels no chemistry at all with Matt. Now adding in the always popular crying while saying there is no chemistry. Okay, okay, we get it, you don’t like him!
Jill and Kevin clearly enjoyed their night together, and choose to blow off mountain biking, and instead stay in their room. No such chemistry problems here.
Xavier and Jennifer go horseback riding, and Jenn notes that Xavier is a lot more touchy feely than she is accustom too. This is true, but I am beginning to think that Jennifer would just as soon not have Xavier breathe in her vicinity, let alone touch her. Later that night, in bed, Xavier attempts to put his arm around Jennifer, and she makes it pretty clear that the next time he tries that he will be pulling back a bloody stump.
Billie Jean and Tony have hangovers but they are ready to go to Santa Cruz for the rollercoaster. I am sure that after a night of Tequila shots and Scrabble in the bathroom, I would be willing to participate in any activity other than rollercoaster rides.
They are troopers though, and Philosopher Tony makes an appearance noting that the roller coaster ride itself is much like his relationship with Billie Jean to date. Yes Tony, we get it, you two have had a lot of ups and downs already. We saw the video my friend.
The first elimination will be held that evening, and the couples are a bit agitated. They are also tasked with making the guest lists for their wedding. The limit is twenty guests each. Some of them have no issue with making the list, while Jennifer is concerned because 20 isn’t even going to cover her close friends.
Sean calls the couples together and explains the process by which elimination is determined. A panel of three “experts” has been selected, and they have been watching the video feeds of all five couples. They have their notes, but would like to ask a few questions of the participants. Sean encourages each couple to take an honest assessment of where they are at.
Who are these experts?
Dr. Jenn Bermann is a Marriage and Family Counselor
Dr. Don Elium is an author and Psychotherapist
Ms P. is a grandmother who is apparently popular in the Los Angeles area.
So let me get this straight. The fate of these couples lies at least partially in the hands of a woman who goes by the name Ms P? Wow, this really is a FOX show. The questions begin with Dr Jenn asking Stephen about his lack of affection for Denise. He says that he wants to proceed at a comfortable pace. Denise says that she doesn’t want to force it with Stephen.
Ms P. jumps in and demands to know the answer to the question that many of us have wondered since that engagement night; is Stephen attracted to Denise? He says, “definitely”. I laugh, as Ms P. is going to be a fun one to watch, she startled Stephen with the question.
Dr Don wants to know if Denise is frustrated by the situation. She admits that yes, some affection would be nice. Gosh, a bit of an understatement there Denise?
The interrogation lamp focuses on Jennifer and Xavier next. Dr Jenn wants to know about the incident last night where Jennifer got annoyed at Xavier for attempting to cuddle. Jennifer says that it was late that night, she had been sleeping, and that she likes her sleep. Warning! …grumpy sleeper… Warning!
Dr Don wants Xavier’s opinion of the situation, given that he is normally used to women throwing themselves at him, whereas Jennifer has been quite distant. Xavier says that it is painful, but it is a good pain, and makes him want to work that much harder. I find myself actually starting to like Xavier… that is just how bad Jennifer has treated him.
Matt and Cortez are ready for questioning. Dr Jenn wants to know why Matt isn’t making a move. He answers quite matter of fact-ly that Cortez is not attracted to him. Well queue Dr P, who wants to know if Matt’s assessment is correct. Cortez confirms that she is not feeling the passion.
The panel had to search long and far to find anything to question Jill and Kevin about. So, they resort to asking him about being naked in front of Jill, given his religious beliefs. Frankly I thought the question was completely out of bounds, even for a FOX show, and Kevin didn’t look happy answering. He does handle it well, and confirm that he would indeed agree to pre-marital sex… good news for Jill tonight!
Finally, Billie Jean and Tony get their turn, and appropriately enough, the inquiry focuses on their passion. Will it last? Or is it lust? Both Billie Jean and Tony indicate that they know they have things to work on together.
I’m a Captive Fiancée, Get Me Out of Here!
Solemn Sean takes over and tells the panel that they have a very difficult decision to make here. The fate of two people, and all the couples really, are in their hands. That’s pretty heavy stuff…
The panel knows this, and to show how committed they are to the process, they take oh, 30 seconds or so in a huddle right in front of the couples to finalize their pick. I guess the cost to ship the Joe Millionaire Rolls over sapped the budget and they couldn’t even afford a deliberation room.
Nevertheless, Ms P. is ready to give the news. She says that the panel had originally intended to boot one couple, but based on the questions, they went a different direction. Say bye bye to…
Matt and Cortez
Cortez returns the ring to Matt, who looks a little hurt. Trust me Matt, you are going to come out of this fine. It was quite clear that you two had no prayer of working out. We get to watch Matt and Cortez pack their carryon bags and depart in two different cars. I think they said maybe six words to each other before leaving, and five of those were “uhm”.
Meanwhile, Sean has been watching Survivor, and decides to use his best Jeff Probst impression when he says that it has been an emotional night, you can head back to your camp… er, rooms. I’ll see you in the morning.
All of the couples seem to have conflicts. Not surprising since after a few days of this, I would grumpy too. Until next week, may your Scrabble game be exciting!
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