Married by America
Episode Six – Recap

Of Tank Tops and Men

Once more we face the horror that is an evening with America’s not so favorite couples.

Steven and Denise made progress last episode, can they build on that? Jill and Kevin practice being the perfect couple, so I wonder what Jill’s dad would say about that? Billie Jean and Tony continue to… well… do what they do together, and at this point, there are rabbits watching and taking notes.

After this week, it is down to the final two couples, so all of our contestants are starting to get a little nervous. Fox knew it was time to stir things up a bit, so let’s play Meet the Parents!

Post Elimination Reactions

It is one hour after the last ceremony where Xavier and his “sweet Jenn-e-fer” were eliminated, or should I say, put out of their misery. Jill confesses that she was not surprised by the panel’s choice. None of us were surprised Jill.

Back in the comfort of their rooms, the couples find yet another invitation envelope. Jill and Kevin open theirs first, and find that they will be going on a trip to visit Jill’s parents at home in Long Island. This news makes Jill happy, while Kevin looks a bit terrified. He has been through the Dad ringer before back in episode one, and isn’t looking forward to it again.

Billie Jean learns that she and Tony will be going to visit his parent’s in Los Angeles. She is pretty excited, so excited in fact that it is pretty obvious they celebrate this news the same way they celebrate every other thing that has happened between them. I can see it now… “Look hon, we washed our first set of dishes together! Let’s do it! . . . Oh sweetie, you changed batteries in the remote control, come to mama!” The only thing that worries me about these two is the reality that they haven’t said more than ten non-sexual words to each other the whole show, but then, maybe I am just jealous.

Denise and Steven will be going to Steven’s family in NY. In this case, it is Steven who is scared, and he goes so far as to apologize in advance for his family. Gosh, that was a nice thing to say on national TV, don’t you think?

Come on Ride the Plane… Zoom Zoom Plane…

Our couples fly off to their destinations, yes that includes Billie Jean and Tony. I guess they are not being subjected to another long drive together. Undoubtedly a road safety issue. No word yet as to if they joined the mile high club on their flight, but let’s face it, the plane may not have gotten above 5000 ft.

They arrive at Tony’s spacious estate / apartment. It looks remarkably sterile. Does anyone live here, or is this a photo spread for Dania? Billie Jean immediately lets us know that she wants to redecorate. I would have much preferred to see Billie Jean and Duane’s place in NY, as that has to be an interesting little abode.

Meanwhile, Steven and Denise arrive at Steven’s sister Paula’s house. You remember Paula right? She was one of the Steven’s three panel members. Paula tells us that Denise was here first choice, so she wants to see how they are doing together.

The first order of business is where will everyone sleep? Steven announces that he has been sleeping with Denise for many days now, even though I thought it was about two. That is just the first of many ongoing time warp issues with this show. Paula seems happy to learn that they are sleeping together, undoubtedly thinking to herself, “go hump away you too, you know Denise was my first choice!”

What about Jill and Kevin? They arrive at Jill’s parents’ house. Problems erupt almost immediately because Dad is upset about her little girl being engaged already to this guy she just met.

Excuse me?

Uhm, Dad, you were on the panel that selected this guy, and you were there when they got engaged.

You might want to check your medication, or are you just bucking for the role of biggest a-hole on this show? I can tell you there is tough competition for that lofty title.

Dad is trying for a lot of screen time, and getting it. He confesses to us that he feels Jill might actually be in love. That doesn’t mean he is going to let them sleep together though, he has other plans for Kevin. I was half shocked he didn’t have the Meet My Folks lie detector guy there, and a nice comfy bed of nails surrounded by broken glass in his “guest room”. Dad ends the evening my referring to his grown daughter as “my little peanut.” I got shivers…

Sonny, Someday I May Need to Ask You for a Favor

The show intermixes all of the scenes between the three couples, but I find it easier to compile them together, so…

Breakfast at Jill’s house. She tells us that her family is a little dysfunctional, and she wonders how well Kevin is dealing with that. Meanwhile Dad is giving Kevin a tour of the grounds, and he wants to know if Kevin can take care of his “little peanut” in the manner to which she has grown accustom. Kevin responds by using the word “marketing” in what seemed like about twenty times in a two minute conversation. Dad doesn’t seem reassured.

Into this volatile mix we add Kevin’s family. Jill describes it best, “George and Barbara Bush meet the Sopranos.” Thank you Jill! You confirmed to us that your Dad is connected. I am guessing that Kevin will need to take some kind of blood oath before the marriage, or at least he should have substituted the word “sanitation” for “marketing” to score points in his discussion with Dad yesterday.

They have a big family gathering, and Dad decides to run around with no shirt on. Now we know where little Jill gets it from.

Speaking of bare bodies, the late night discussion turns to Jill’s appearance in Playboy. Jill says that the “human body is a beautiful thing”, yadda, yadda, you know, all of the things that people who do that sort of thing say. Steven is concerned that he would not want his wife to do that in the future, but Jill cannot promise now that she wouldn’t do it again if the opportunity arose. Talk about putting out the word…

Jill, Hugh Hefner’s office is on line two holding, would you like the call?

To me, Jill and Kevin were discussing this contentious topic pretty effectively. They were holding hands and not raising their voices, but apparently that isn’t good enough for Dad. He decides that Kevin’s use of the word “sweetie” is degrading to his daughter. That’s right Dad, we wouldn’t want anyone calling your “little peanut” a endearing name now would we?

Dad is completely out of control, and I think that if the cameras were not there, Kevin may have flattened the little pip squeak. That would be an unsanctioned hit though, so fortunately he held back. His parents are in total shock, and his sister is upset. Just an all-around enjoyable evening for everyone involved I think.

The next morning, Dad is feeling a little remorseful. Not much, but a little. Kevin decides he had best have a heart to heart talk with Dad. The go into a bedroom and sit on a bed together… kind of creepy… then Kevin makes a pretty good effort at asking Dad for Jill’s hand.

Before we hear Dad’s answer we get a few confessionals from him saying that he could tell that Kevin’s parents and family were good people, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, etc… Gosh Dad, compared to the standard you set last night, the Manson family would be considered good people, if a little eccentric.

Dad gives his blessing, much to Kevin’s relief. Dad calls Kevin “son”, and that’s when the emotional floodgates open, and they share a hug on the bed… very creepy.

Billie Jean Wants To Party All the Time

Back at Tony’s apartment, he and Billie Jean are getting ready for dinner with his father and brother. Tony is nervous, “you never know what Billie Jean might say.”

The dinner goes well. Dad actually seems pretty impressed with Billie Jean, and he feels that Tony is happy. So moved, he calls for a toast to their relationship and what it might bring. A very thoughtful thing to do, and Billie Jean gets caught up in the moment adding, “cheers to beers and queers!” Well Billie Jean, that is certainly one approach toward making a good first impression.

Dad looks pretty horrified. Meanwhile the silent brother is winking at Tony, who is himself speechless. Don’t worry Tony, your evening is just getting started.

Back at the apartment, a little party is getting underway. His prospective best man, Bender, no not the character from Futurama, though that would be pretty funny, has summed up the situation. He feels that, “Billie Jean is a party girl.” No kidding? He goes on to speculate that Tony is infatuated with her, and that he is overlooking several flaws. My guess is that Tony hasn’t had a full nights sleep in a week or so, and it is clouding his judgment.

What better way to make this party rock than to bring in Billie Jean’s roommate Duane? He arrives, and Tony asks to speak to him in private. I am not really sure what the issue is with Billie Jean’s actual family, but at this point it is clear that Duane is her family and Tony wants to get his blessing. Duane is touched and says yes.

I thought that was a pretty classy move on Tony’s part, though little did he know that it would set off quite the drama party. Duane is upset that he is losing Billie Jean. Then he is upset that everyone else is having fun except for him. Then he is upset that people are tying to console him. Then he is upset that they are out of guacamole. Then he is upset that the apartment isn’t redecorated yet. Then he is upset that… well, you get the picture. This guy is high maintenance.

Billie Jean takes a break from telling Tony’s Dad that she is having a “party in her pants”, to go straighten out her friend. I think Dad is going to need therapy after this evening.

Tony is beginning to become a little disillusioned himself, so much so that little tiny hairs are growing out of his chin. He tells us that he doesn’t know if Billie Jean is girlfriend or marriage material. Comments like that tell me that it is the former.

Rather than just stewing about it though, he decides to discuss the party-girl behavior with Billie Jean the next morning. We really don’t see what her reaction is to his comments.

You Want Extra Cheese With That?

Steven and Denise continue their family adventure by visiting one of Steven’s family’s pizza parlors. So I think back to the beginning of the show where Steven was introduced as a restaurateur, and wonder if having parents who own a chain of hole in the wall pizza places makes you a true “restaurateur”?

No matter, the evening is going well, and Steven seems far more relaxed. Denise’s family shows up right on time, and a round of introductions commences. Dawn, who is dressed a little provocatively, undoubtedly for Steven, says that she is happy to see them so romantic with each other. Probably means that when she breaks them up, it will be that much more satisfying. Steven pulls Denise’s Dad aside, and in the kitchen, asks for his blessing. By now I am skeptical. There is no doubt in my mind that the producers put this on the to-do list for the guys.

Nothing else really happens between these two in this portion of the show. Compared to the fireworks over at Tony’s apartment and the Soprano household in Long Island, this is a welcome respite.

Back at the Ranch

The three couples return, and prepare for their elimination meeting. You can tell who is going to go. Steven and Denise are dressed far better than the other couples. This seems to be a trend through the show.

Sean tells us that the couples have been together for a month now. A month? But it was just Day 10 according to the screen. What the heck is going on here?

Nevertheless, we need to let our “experts” have a shot at ‘em, so start us off Dr. Jenn! She asks Billie Jean if Duane is okay. Billie Jean gives a remarkable coherent answer saying that Duane needed to learn that it is not all about him, and that she has fallen for Tony. He needs to support her.

Miss P wants to know more, and Billie responds saying that she, “is not afraid”, and is not hiding from herself any longer. I continue to be amazed that this woman feels like she is ready to be married.

Tony isn’t getting off the hook here, as Dr. Don asks him for his feelings, do they match Billie’s? Tony gives an honest answer and says that it is difficult to tell if those feelings can hold up once they leave the protected shelter of this environment. Not the message that Billie wanted to hear though, and you can see the disappointment in her eyes.

Jenn asks Steven to describe where their relationship is at. He responds that the ever elusive chemistry is growing. There is definitely something here, and that it might even grow.

Don picks up on the non-committal aspect of Steven’s response, and wants to know what Denise feels about that. She says that it is not “painful” but is perhaps “disappointing” to have to wait and see if some attraction will develop. She says she is not used to that.

Miss P has made up her mind. She says that they are not attracted to each other. Steven and Denise object, but Miss P has spoken, talk to the hand!

Finally we turn our attention to Kevin and Jill. Clearly we haven’t gotten enough mileage out of the Playboy thing, so Jenn decides to open that wound again, and ask Jill to explain herself. She says that while growing up, Playboy was a goal, and that now that she has been in there, it is a “badge of honor”.

I nearly spit my diet coke across the room…

Badge of honor? I am hardly a prude, and if Jill wants to display her considerable assets in an adult format, then I say more power to her, but badge of honor? Please… Kevin simply says that he wouldn’t like to see his wife doing those sorts of things. No surprise there.

Time for the decision, so huddle up!

Denise and Steven are booted. We endure the stupid ring return ceremony.

They return to their suite to pack. This gets a little entertaining, as Denise is falling apart. First she is mad at Steven for not indicating that he wouldn’t speak glowingly of their relationship at the elimination meeting. So I see Denise, he was supposed to lie right?

Then Denise reverts back to wondering what is wrong with her. Steven hugs her and says it is all going to be okay. I think he believes that it will be okay, as soon as he gets into the car and leaves… oh, but let’s stay friends, because your sister Dawn looked hot in that dress.

Next Week

It’s time to separate for a round of temptation during bachelor and bachelorette parties in Las Vegas. You know this has to be trouble.

Many are speculating now on who will win. Not surprisingly, I favor Kevin and Jill at this point. Even when they were arguing about the Playboy issue, they were holding hands, and they showed no signs of long lasting impact during the return trip. I think that whole thing was first, typical Fox editing choices, and secondly, a red herring to throw us off.

More importantly though, the comments these couples made upon their return to the resort were most telling. Tony was glad to be back. Kevin liked it better in the outside world.

My theory is that Tony likes Billie Jean in the controlled environment of the resort, and that out in the open world, he really is uncomfortable with her. Meanwhile Kevin and Jill seem to want to get started with their lives together.

We shall see…

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