Picking up the baton from fellow recapper Cali, here's the highlights from the ho-down at the Reeves' Ranch. This is the recap for Episode 4 of the NBC summer reality show Meet My Folks, which is also referred to as MMF, but not to be confused with MNF (Monday Night Football), which was its time slot competition for this episode. NBC is moving around this show so often (and apparently with little advanced notice because it is not accurately listed in TV Guide) that we should enlist the aid of The Amazing Kreskin or perhaps Carnac or another psychic to help us post information about upcoming episodes so that fans can actually find the show when it is on.

For anyone who can remember the old Johnny Carson character of Carnac, picture him in a tourban brandishing an envelope. Carnac: the answer is "a momma's boy, a playboy, and a mysteriously disliked boy". The question: "Who are the contestants on Meet My Folks episode 4?" We need a catchier term for the male contestants, and I'm open to suggestion. For this recap I'll use HOTS (Hunks Of This Show), not to be confused with HOTES (Hunks Of The Entire Series), as there is a brand new cast for this show every episode.

Daughter Stephanie is tall, pretty, comparatively quiet (in contrast to daughters in other episodes) and quite outdoorsy. Stephanie undoubtedly honed these skills while living at the "we raise and kill our own meat here" ranch (a direct quote from Mom). The city slicker trio of TOPS seemed repulsed that Stephanie had raised the hog that they were currently eating from a baby. Dad is a tough talking repo man sporting a belt buckle large enough to project a movie onto, hopefully a comedy as this group could use some laughs. Hey kids, lets all sit around and watch Happy Gilmore on Dad's pants again.

REEVES RANCH
There had been some speculation on this and other sites as to whether the houses used to film MMF are the "real" house of the family of the week. I'm still not convinced that they are all filmed at the families' actual houses (either that, or all high school gym teachers with stay at home spouses should get a job at the same district of the Blankenships to rate their huge house with pool and spa), but Reeve Ranch did not look like any rental property I've ever seen. Replete with domesticated animals and lots of attitude, Reeve Ranch was a great setting to watch three fish out of water male contestants flop about and gasp for air. In addition to the setting change of moving to the Wild Wild West section of rural Los Angeles, there were also some deviations from the very familiar (dare we say, getting tired, after only 3 episodes) format of the former episodes. We'll get into more detail later, but the highlights are "More cowboy action, less tired gimmicks!"

THE GUYS
Eric - clean cut brunette who goes out of his way to impress the parents.
Brad - quiet blonde who seemed so generic and devoid of distinguishing characteristics that I think he invented a new haircolor, blande.

Joey - the cocky playboy with the spikey black hair and really peculiar star shaped tattoos over both armpits which seemed to point out to Joey, "hey, you, put the deodorant here buddy!"

WORKING ON THE RANCH
In a deviation from the formatting of the prior shows, there was no indication that the HOTS were performing embarrassing acts at dinner in an attempt to avoiding having a minorly embarrassing fact revealed. It maybe have happened and ended up on the cutting room floor to make more room in this episode for fun at the ranch, as the Reeves really know how to dish it up. The HOTS were treated to a morning of chores, including fishing horse patties out of the stable and loading the barn with heavy hay bales. These HOTS were so grossed out in the stables I think they were looking for a hazmat suit to protect them from a couple dried up lumps, so Mom chided them that one of the horses had the runs and who was going to clean that stall. Hilarity, Hillbilly style. Dad was not impressed with the HOTS all wearing sissy gloves and using metal hooks on they hay bales which they could barely lift. Freaky tattoos on ones' armpits are apparently not a good indicator of upper body strength.

Everyone's favorite breakfast guests, the HOTS' ex-girlfriends, arrived right on time to spoil the HOTS' appetites. Eric, it appears, is still smitten by his ex, Jessica. Joe's ex reveals that he keeps an inflatable woman under his bed in the event of a drought. I wondered how much of a drought he could have had when he was already confronted with the fact that he cheated on a different former girlfriend with no fewer than 40 women. Brad seemed to be the beneficiary of some heavy editing, as he looked much more embarrassed and upset than the tape would warrant.
That night, in the hottub, Stephanie enjoys doing tequila body shots with the guys and is getting a massage from Joe when Dad gets the fax and turns on his tv to see what his sweetie is up to with their houseguests. Dad dashes out to break up the action and remind the HOTS to respect the rules of his house, while Brad, who wasn't even within arms length of Stephanie at the time, inexplicably challenges Dad and then backs down and declines Dad's invitation to get out of the hottub and settle things like men.

The dates had a definite ranch theme. Steph had nothing to say to Brad during their hay ride, but he had plenty of things to say about himself. Joe's introduction to horseback riding ended in flirting and saddle sores, but I can't even remember the event for Eric's date as the video was all of the two of them kissing and cuddling. In another change in either the formatting or editing, the HOTS this week were not shown bringing sentimental items to show the family, so we were spared any hand-penned poetry or odd drumming. Instead we got to see what the parents were doing with the other two HOTS while the daughter is out on her dates, and it looked like a series of challenges fit for the new series, Boot Camp at the Farm. There was calf roping, pulling the ribbon off the tail of a donkey, and even mechanical bull riding. The videotape messages were not astonishing, but Brad's reaction seemed disproportionate once again.
In another formatting change, rather than eliminating the first guy right after the tapes then instead went to dinner and were interrupted during dinner for deliberations as to who would leave. Brad knew what we didn't get to see and he was packing his bags and was fully prepared to leave. We will never know why. It must have been a doozy to not get aired on this show. Bye Bye Blande.

The Lie Detector Test
Joy of joys! In a bold move, Eric decided to opt for truth and is the first HOTS of the series to admit that he would attempt to sleep with Steph if he went to Hawaii with her. Bold move buddy, but why on earth was he lying about liking Mom's cooking then?
Then, in a stupendeously odd move, Eric violates the explicit lie detector test directions and instead of answering yes or no, to the question of "Are you still in love with Jessica" Eric answers "Always." Isn't "Yes" enough of a hit to take on that question, buddy? If Eric were my client in a litigated manner I would have beaten into his head in preparation for cross-examination: "Just answer the question and don't give any extra information of you'll just hang yourself with it!!!"

Joe is up next and lies about practically everything except liking Mom's cooking. The folks find out that he is a sex addict and does intend to sleep with Steph in Hawaii.

Joe scores significantly more lies than truthful answers, so of course, Mom wants to go with Joe? Dad is leaning towards Eric, um, because he's NOT A SEX ADDICT and isn't that concerned that Steph won't be able to have a lifelong relationship with Eric because he's hung up on some other girl.

For the first time ever Mom's wishes prevail, Joe is on his way to Hawaii with Steph, and Eric may well have accomplished his actual goal, impressing former girlfriend Jessica with his dogged devotion to her.

If anyone from NBC is reading this recap, please please tell us when the episodes are going to air, and please follow Paulie's advice and air an update show telling us how all the dates in Hawaii went. Paulie wants to be the first board recapper to cover Alaskan and Hawaiian dates all in one tv season, and we'd all be the beneficiary of his wit and humor.

Until next week, if we can find it, keep an eye on your daughter's dates.