Take My Date, Please: Meet My Scantlin Folks
After our extended stay with the Maloneys two weeks ago and an unexpected week off, we were relieved to be back on track with the second season of Meet My Folks. Well, on schedule until March when it moves to Monday nights, see the Meet My Folks forum at www.fansofrealitytv.com for details. Yes, fans of Meet My Folks need to use tracking skills best suited to Alias or 24 just to find out when this show is aired, but it is well worth the hunt.
Meet the Folks
First we meet Melana Scantlin and her folks, nice looking group of people wondering what kind of degenerates NBC is sending to their house for the weekend. Yes, this is the second season, as they are well aware that Nash Entertainment has a way of making most anyone's past look rather unsavory. The guys think they know the drill too, until they are greeted by a "rudeness" task before they even get to make their introductions. All new twists this season, and while not quite as shocking as Melissa is a Mole from the prior episodes, sabotaging the guys first impressions on the parents was rather funny.
Who are they guys? First we have Eric Apple, whom everybody on this show calls Apple because there is another guy named Eric. What are the odds that there would be two Erics? Pretty good here in Minnesota where half the guys not named Ole, Swen or Nels are named Eric (pesky Vikings), but nonetheless we have Apple. When I first saw this guy, the patron fruit of school-teachers was not the first fruit that sprang to mind, particularly after hearing about Apple's "triple-play action" I'm thinking he's a Cherry, of the popping variety. Apple has the Brett Favre / Mark Wahlberg cro-magnum forehead and a penchant for bad t-shirts that begs the question: why? Apple's Rude Task is to pat Mom on the butt while meeting her.
Next we meet Eric Ferch, who fortunately goes by his first name. I can't help but picture a perch, which is a tasty freshwater game fish known for its pretty green and yellow stripes, but you know it takes a heck of a lot of perch, sunnies and bluegills to make a decent meal. Let's just hope that Eric doesn't win a trip to Japan, because native Japanese speakers have a very difficult time discerning between "r" and "l" and we sure would want someone introducing Eric to Richard Gere with that accent. Eric is quite tall, wavy dark hair, and looks to be a little shy. Eric's Rude Task is to avoid all physical contact with Mom and Dad during introductions, including handshakes, and it was painful to watch. Surprisingly that was harder than the other tasks, as he had to maintain that anti-social status for a long time, which is particularly tough for a former Minnesotan like Eric, where "Niceness is next to Godliness." All of this was to avoid the ugly truth that Eric prefers to date girls whose ass can fit in the palm of his hand. Ladies, Eric is a tall, lanky guy with quite large hands. You ogre, Eric, that's um, typical for guys your age. Eric, it is time to consider doing "a Giancarlo" named after Giancarlo Maniaci, who made absolutely no effort to complete his Rude Task last season because the task was worse than the punishment. By the way, MMF groupies from last year, Giancarlo will be getting his own episode this season, with three lovely ladies trying to make it past Dad and Mom Maniaci for a date with Giancarlo.
The third victim, er, man of the show is Brook, a marine with matching haircut sporting a leather jacket and plenty of confidence. Every Brook (or rather, Brooke) I've ever met has been female, and now following The Bachelorette's cocky cowboy Brook (who called Trista "shallow" because she wouldn't see his true potential despite her allergies to horses), we have an overabundance of men named Brook with no apparent shame over their names. Despite his parents' unfortunate choice of name Brook appears quite worldly in the ways of women, particularly when it comes to abandoning a joint household on a moments notice and stiffing an ex-girlfriend with the mortgage. He looks like a slightly blonder Top Gun era Tom Cruise, only without Cruise's unsightly nose. Playa alert, whoop, whoop, the game has a playa, and I'm not talking about a beach in Mexico. Brook volunteered for the Rude Task of kissing Dad at his introduction, something which might appear quite normal if Brook were of some culture where men kiss at greetings, but just a little odd given his past as a stripper for other guys.
In order to help us keep track of the guys, the producers required Apple to always wear some goofy t-shirt with incompressible writing on it, Brook never took off his leather jacket, and Eric dressed like a respectable houseguest would, that is except when he was in bed and Apple took his shoes and smeared mud around the house with them. It was never explained whether that little act of sabotage was really Apple's idea or the producers, but whomever came up with that "brainchild" should send it back for some remedial classes because it was pretty lame, not up to the usual stunts we've come to expect from this show. Note to Apple, if you ever appear on another reality dating show, please wear some bizarre t-shirt which says "RU LG & C" as Cali and I would get a kick out of that. We get one batch of bad facts: Eric has been an irresponsible gambler, Apple is promiscuous, and Brook stiffed a former live-in girlfriend with the mortgage and other bills when he moved out overnight.
The Dates with Melana
Eric went first and they ice skated. It's obvious that he'd been on the ice before and I was hoping he'd throw Melana a body check up against the boards for old time sake, but feared that he might break into a triple lutz and a sequined outfit a la D.B. Sweeny as hockey player turned figure skating in The Cutting Edge. Just the thought of that movie makes true Minnesotans cringe, as did that rather contrived scene where Eric appeared to trip Melana so he could catch her and steal a kiss. Let's just say the didn't need to send in the Zamboni to patch the melted spots after this little exchange, but it was rather sweet. In what is now officially Eric's on air application to be a houseguest in Big Brother 4 next summer, he confides to Melana that he is a 26 year old virgin. Attractive male virgin, where is CBS with the group of bimbos from Bellys to stick in the house with Eric?
Brook and Melana visit a petting zoo, but the animals weren't the only ones being petted. It's apparent that this playa has skills, as he dives tongue first into Melana's willing mouth. The llamas and rabbits stared on as Melana makes up her mind that she totally wants to go to Hawaii with Brook and now only needs a foolproof plan to sell her parents on the idea. Think, Melana, think, what would convince Mom and Dad to pick Brook? Why yes, as the parent of a daughter I think telling your Mom and Dad about your chemistry together is a brilliant idea, Melana.
Apple and Melana have a date as well, but for the life of me I can't remember what they did. I'm watching the show knowing that I have to write a recap, and can't remember what the heck they did, but I'm betting I'm not alone as Melana didn't seem to care what the heck they were doing either because she said that all she was thinking about during her date with Apple was when would she get a chance to kiss Brook again. Time for Apple to reboot and think up a new strategy, as it appears he's been trying to sabotage the wrong competitor. Side note from Cali… I taped the episode, planning on watching the next morning. I wake up and see that my son and daughter are halfway through the episode, I caught the last half but haven’t watched in it’s entirety… I asked the kids what Apple’s date was… They have no idea either. Must have been a good on. I’ll go watch and be right back…. OK folks, they went on a carriage ride and a picnic, but since the carriage didn’t take them to Joe Millionaires Château and the picnic was sans Disney editing the date was quite forgettable.
Sex, Lies, and Videotape
Many reality tv show use tapes from home to inspire the competitors to keep striving, or in Brian Heidick's case, to inspire your tribemates to pity you because your wife is such a bimbo, but on Meet My Folks the tapes from home are always bad news, and not just in a "Jenna, we have no tape for you" way. In our messages from home, we find out that Apple likes to get shocked with a cattle prod during romantic interludes and Brook's secret about stripping for men was revealed, thong and all. Both of these are pretty major revelations, but pale in comparison to the mortification felt by Eric when his brother Chris (who is not unfamiliar with the concept of reality tv dating shows as he is appearing in an episode of Fifth Wheel in the near future) does the brotherly act of pointing out to Mom and Dad that Eric is a girly man who cries at the drop of a hat. Hans and Franz would be so disappointed, as was Dad. In his defense, Eric admits to being sensitive and the fights back the tears. Ok, audition tape is ready, mail that sucker to the Big Brother 4 casting folks right now, as Eric is clearly someone who'd have a hard time dealing with prying eyes 24/7 for months on end. I have two brothers, Eric, I feel your pain. Of course my brothers also enjoyed making me laugh when I was drinking something during dinner when they'd have friends over, just to watch me snort it out my nose. Cali’s brothers used to bet her that they could get the Slurpee Brain Freeze headache first. Somehow she always won. Imagine that. Ah, the joy of siblings. In Chris' defense, he claims that he was coached by the show, and I'll forgive Chris anything as he sent me the picture of himself and Eric that is posted in the Eric Ferch thread. Yes reality tv contestants, flattery will get you everything, even with reality tv website recappers.
Take My Date, Please.
Next we head out to a Comedy Club for a break in the action. Or rather the guys thought it would be a break in the action, but really the guys were about to take center stage and perform an improve comedy act for 5 minutes to a real audience. The pressure was on and instead of Babbling Brook, Brook froze in the spot light, earning the stage name Stagnant Pond. Brook came up with nothing on the spot, and we're all relieved to know that if Brook is ever captured in the line of duty he won't talk, as the torture of being on stage wasn't enough to break him. In Brook's defense, he had to go first and had no warning, whereas the other guys used his 5 minutes of painful silence to work on their own acts. Eric proved a much better showman than his shy and sensitive side would have revealed and he's rolling. People are laughing, he's making things up, goofy hand gestures, Eric is smiling and laughing, the heck with Big Brother 4, let's send Eric on Star Search, as I'm sure he's better than the stand-up "comedy" acts they've been subjecting us to during live tv broadcasts over the past month. I dare say this was the most comfortable Eric had felt the whole weekend. Apple did ok, had to resort to the "hat of jokes" which contained nothing but lame blonde jokes, which is ok because Melana and Mom are both blonde in name and bottle number only.
Of course the joke was on the guys when the ex-girlfriends arrived on stage to confront the guys in front of a live audience. The worst revelation came from Brook's ex-girlfriend who had tried tracking him down (during their 2 year relationship) only to find him in his car with another girl. Moved out and left girlfriend with the bills, cheated on a girlfriend, and stripped for men – three strikes and Brook is out of there, Melana's "strategy" of telling Mom and Dad that she likes him best notwithstanding. Move along, cowpoke, now it just Erics heading back to the Scantlin house.
The Lying Game
Seeing that Brook is now out of picture and fearing, yes actually fearing a romantic trip to Hawaii with a 26 year old virgin, Melana now opts for Plan B by immediately lobbying Mom and Dad to pick Apple rather than Eric. We know how well this strategy worked for Melana last time around, so the conclusion is preordained before the lie detector tests even start. Eric shows himself to be quite nervous, as he passes the "do you lie often" question with a negative answer, but is then shown to be "lying" about whether he's a virgin. Come on, who on earth would lie about that on a tv show where you're trying to get a date. He's obviously nervous.
Apple is a much calmer test taker, but shown to be lying most all the time too. Apple does score a truthful answer to one question "do you think you're smarter than Dad" to which Apple replied "yes". In all honestly, I would have said "yes" to that one too, and who knows what the lie detector would have said. I don't think Dad Scantlin would have fared too well on the old lie detector himself, as he said twice (at the comedy club while eliminating Brook and at the end) that he never met a nicer group of boys, but then in private when making decisions who to cut he ripped them all to shreds and didn't want to send any of them with Melana.
As any good parent would do when faced with sending their daughter on a trip with a womanizer or a virgin, they picked Eric and Melana looked horrified. She recovered pageant poise in a couple of seconds, but luckily the cameras caught her look of shock and gave us the super-slow-mo version. Buck up buttercup, at least he'll be able to tell some great jokes about the experience later.
I'd like to thank my fabulous collaborator Cali for her assistance in this recap, as well as all of the folks associated with the show who have been emailing me with information and pictures for the site. If you would like to contact the authors, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org m or cali at email@example.com as we'd love to hear from you.