7/7 Recap – Is That A Lawyer In Your Pocket?
I was so excited at the prospect of watching (and recapping) my first episode of Paradise Hotel that I completely forgot to put a tape into the machine. In fact, it wasn’t until I wandered disinterestedly away from the pile of dishes in the sink and started channel-surfing that I even noticed the show was on. In shocked dismay, I stifled a yawn and sauntered up the stairs to find a tape. Ah, what a delicious treat would await me when I finished putting the kids to bed, washing the dishes, re-grouting the tub, darning my gym socks, and completing any other activity I could think of to delay pressing the “Play” button. I considered precapping the 12 minutes I missed, but apparently the funniest line of the show occurred during that time so I’d better find a way to include it. Thanks to Fluff and LG, who will actually admit to being regular viewers of the show, for providing me the details of the twelve minutes that Time (and Paulie) forgot.
I’ll spare you an account of the trademark FOX recap of the previous episode. Recaps within recaps are bad form. The new action begins on some steps, apparently. Zack, Amy, Beau, and Kavita appear to be conversing normally. In reality, they’re moments away from a juicy outburst over a seemingly innocuous comment. Kavita casually mentions that she didn’t think Zack liked cheerleaders. Now you and I know you don’t just go talking smack about a guy’s taste in cheerleaders, but Kavita is new to Paradise. She makes mistakes.
Predictably, Zack goes berserk. He completely destroys her assertion by pointing out that he bedded the entire cheer squad in high school. And let’s not forget that Amy herself is a professional cheerleader. By god, he loves cheerleaders and why would she make such a comment without really knowing him? Ensnared in Zack’s brilliant logical trap, Kavita tries to save face by asking him not to point at her because it’s rude. But, here again, Zack is ready for her. He reminds her that he’s 24 years old and is therefore entitled to do whatever he wants to do with his index finger. Having decisively won the debate, Zack retreats to Amy’s room and gloats. He reminds Amy once more that he’s reached 24 years of age (I can see why he’d be excited about this, actually) and that he’s a very intelligent country boy. He marvels that others would even think to argue with him since he’s so much smarter than everyone else. “I’m a debater,” he says. “A lawyer. I’ve got lawyer in me.” Hm, I seem to recall “Personal Trainer” under his name. Oh, I see! He’s informing Amy that he’s actually eaten lawyers before. Recently, too, it sounds like.
Perhaps feeling remorseful at his skillful dissection of Kavita’s cheerleader argument, Zack returns to his room to make peace with her. He finds Kavita in bed, where she has prepared an inviting pillow barricade between her side of the bed and Zack’s. On Zack’s entry, she enticingly whaps the barrier with her hand and rolls away, perching on the very edge of the bed with her back to the Lawyer-King of Paradise. Zack says he hopes he didn’t hurt her feelings, and she mumbles into the pillow that it will take much more than that to hurt her feelings. Zack doesn’t take the bait to explore what really would hurt her feelings. Instead, he heads back to Amy’s room and grabs a couch for the evening. Amy manages to not hurl herself at his feet, perhaps out of consideration for Beau, who claims the bed.
With that little soap opera behind us, the next day begins, and I am hopeful that I will soon come to understand the devious complexity of this little game. I honestly don’t even know the rules or the object of the game. I’m pleased to hear that a Challenge of some sort will take place. I’m familiar with Challenges. Perhaps something of worth will be awarded to the champion of the...tennis match. Oh, wait. So not everybody’s playing? It’s just a tennis challenge that Scott and Dave set up on their own? And there’s...no prize? Just the sophomoric threat of dressing in drag to the loser? Hm. Why am I watching this show again?
The “tennis” match begins, and I’m struck by how little it actually resembles tennis. The game takes place on a small Battlebots court surrounded by chain link. A single white line bisects the court at right angles to the net. The racquets are small and super-bouncy. Balls hit off the wall are evidently playable (I cross my legs). And the score when the women arrive to view the final few points is “deuce against deuce.” I don’t know what this game is, but it’s not tennis. Amazingly, Dave has the upper hand in the contest. His jerky, abbreviated stabs at the ball serve him well on the smaller court. He hunches in intense concentration, torrents of sweat sluicing off the tip of his nose. This match obviously represents years of abuse and humiliation at the hands of all the Scotts in his world. For his part, Scott tries desperately to appear nonchalant about his pending defeat, but his horror is ill-concealed. Up till now, the cool kids have always prevailed. Dave’s victory must be some sort of terrible omen.
After the tennis match, it’s time for some deep strategizing. Ah! This is what I’ve been waiting for. I rub my hands together and lean towards the television, eyes gleaming in anticipation. Indeed, strategy must be very important because here’s Amanda changing her shirt in front of Beau – complete with a cameo appearance from the Squiggly-Dot Nudity-Obscuring Machine – and he has no reaction whatsoever. He’s much more concerned about her ability to “pick” him, whatever that means. Cut to Charla’s room, where Amy has placed a telephone call so they could get on the same page as far as “The Plan” goes. Ah! The Plan! Now we’re talking! The Plan must be very clever because Amy doesn’t recall what it is. And neither does Charla. In fact, she points out that Toni was the Plan-Maker. No, wait. Amanda was the Plan-Maker. By now, I’m deliciously confused. Somebody out there holds the key to this exquisite puzzle. I feel like the Key-Master of Gozer, awaiting the arrival of the real Plan-Maker in one of her three pre-chosen forms.
And now Zack is placing a call to Dave! He’s clearly buttering Dave up, like the school bully preparing to ask the class dork for the answers to this week’s spelling lesson. Dave is eating it up. He well remembers his impressive victory at Bizarro Tennis earlier that day, and Zack doesn’t fail to mention this grand achievement. Then it’s time to talk strategy. Zack opens by reminding Dave, “Obviously, we can’t strategize because this game is a bitch and everything.” I wiggle my toes in glee. Such a deeply layered game! Even the fundamental act of strategizing is impossible due to the overwhelming complexity of the game itself! My breaths come quickly as I imagine a game even more multi-faceted than Survivor. It seems Dave will be the linchpin of the entire operation. He discloses his key role to Charla in an emotional pre-dinner discussion. I must remember to keep my eye on the strange-looking man.
Time for dinner. Scott has his skirt and tube top ready to roll. He comments on how this will be the worst humiliation of his life. Fortunately for him, he’s only on-screen in his fancy clothes for a grand total of twenty seconds. That’s got to be some sort of record for the shortest duration of a worst-in-a-lifetime humiliation. Lucky Scott. Perhaps the planets are re-aligning, after all. Following dinner, Alex leads the group in a toast. “Don’t think of tonight as sending somebody home,” he says. “Let’s think of it as a blessing, guys, because, honestly, we’re all very blessed to be here so let’s cheers to that.” You know, I’m going to be the best man at my brother’s wedding in August, and I think I’ve just found my speech. There won’t be a dry eye in the house when I remind everyone how blessed we are to be here. Let’s cheers to that.
And now – finally! – it’s time for the big strategic blowout of the show. The moment I’ve been waiting for! The Paradise equivalent of Tribal Council! It’s the “Who Gets To Sleep With Whom?” ceremony! Here we go!
Amanda chooses Beau. She got to go first because she was without a buck in her bed last week. Makes me wonder why Beau ever had any doubt that she wouldn’t be able to pick him. But, then again, he’s not Zack. He has no lawyer in him. And, also, as we know, you can’t strategize because this game is a bitch and what-not.
Amy selects Alex, wisely pointing out that they have to be roommates sometime so why not right now? Even Zack can’t find the flaw in that unassailable logic.
Toni darts over and snares Scott, complete with a teary-eyed flashback to her snubbing of him the week before.
Kristen takes Zack, which elicits absolutely no response at all from anyone.
Charla executes the fake-out move by pretending to stand next to Beau before sidling up to Dave. I sit up alertly. Right there! Was that strategy? I can’t be certain. I must watch.
Finally, Kavita has to choose. We are treated to a montage of compelling flashbacks, including a dramatic look back at the part where she tells Zack he’s going to have to do a lot more than that to hurt her feelings, which we originally saw 20 minutes ago. It’s even more poignant now. I guess. She chooses Scott after apparently trying to bite off Dave’s nose. Scott must now choose between Kavita and Toni. Beads of sweat form on Scott’s forehead. His face softens into a mask of mingled terror and confusion. It’s like high school trigonometry all over again, only this time there’s no sympathetic math teacher/football fan willing to turn the other cheek. Before he renders his decision, however, we’re sent off to commercial, where we encounter the first of no less than FOUR reminders that Wednesday’s show will be ninety minutes long. And if that’s not enticing enough for us, there will be a mystery guest! Did you hear? A mystery guest! OK, got it. And we’re back. Scott once again tells us this is the toughest decision he’s had to make since he’s been here, which prompts me to wonder if he’s had to make any decisions since he’s been here. Anyway, he selects Toni without drawing it out the way the producers probably would have liked. His rationale? “I have to go with Toni. Ummm...” And there you have it: Scott’s thought process in a nutshell.
But...wait a second. This is all rather anti-climactic. Who is the Plan-Maker? What was The Plan? What happened to Dave’s critical role? Are you telling me there really is no strategy? Boy, this game is a bitch and so forth.
After watching Kavita disappear up the Ascending Staircase of Anonymity, we are whisked back to the live studio audience, who have apparently been left in place from an earlier Jerry Springer show. Our host, Amanda What’s-her-face, eagerly informs us that Kavita’s stay in Paradise was the shortest ever! Well, now, how about that? My first episode, and it turns out I get to witness a new standard for the venerable Paradise Hotel record book! Amanda asks us all to give a warm welcome to “the world’s most famous hotel guests.” Right before I can begin scoffing at this outrageous hyperbole, I realize that I can’t think of anyone else currently living full-time in a hotel. Hm, that’s interesting. Well, I still think calling them the “stars” of Paradise Hotel is just plain silly and enabling. That’s just what those fruit loops want you to think of them.
Anyway, back to the action. Amanda spends a few moments going back over the highlights of the past week, mostly to prime the Springer audience for some more serious “Oooooo!”ing when the new candidates appear. Not much interesting to report other than that. Oh, except for Dave, the ladies’ man, firing off a limp slam at Kristen, who mugged his tonsils during the kissing contest earlier in the week. I think he meant to imply that she was OK, but he could do better. Uh-huh. Yeah, I can see that. He strikes me as a real playa. He punctuates his Kristen put-down with a quick imitation of a frog lancing a fly out of the air with its tongue. God knows why he thought we wanted to see that.
And, finally, it’s time to reveal the two desperate wannabes who hope to be whisked away to Paradise while cheesy Eddie Money Muzak plays in the background. Our first hopeful is *smirk* super-cool musician Matthew JC. His last name is calculatedly mysterious and could mean anything from “Jesus Christ” to “Just Chillin’”. He’s 27, and, unlike the rest of us, he likes to have a loooooooot of fun. He proves this to us with a rapid-fire sequence of video shots: a “Hook ‘em Horns” super close-up, a brooding “special moment,” and a quick sneak attack on an unsuspecting groupie for a kiss. Yep, he’s fun. He also wears wrist gauntlets with big stars on them to remind us he’s from Texas. I like a guy who wears a mnemonic to help you distinguish him from just another complete nobody.
The other dude is a 24-year-old real estate investor from Atlanta named Bryan Krause. He looks like a “real estate investor” the same way I look like a pro basketball player: not at all. When he points out that Atlanta is where “the players play,” I realize that his real occupation must be traveling on the semi-pro Monopoly circuit. He shaves his head because it’s unique and different and chicks dig it, which tells us he’s willing to do just about anything to score. To compensate for his extreme nervousness on stage, he maintains perfectly rigid posture. I would say, in fact, that he has the straightest spine of any reality show contestant I have ever seen. He also has a grab bag of inexplicable hand gestures to go along with his nervous, garbled speech.
The “stars” of Paradise Hotel get the opportunity to grill the new desperadoes. Amanda opens by demanding of Matt that he compose a quick song about her. My tongue sneaks out the corner of my mouth as I dutifully begin to transcribe his effort. Then I realize I’m sick in the head and shouldn’t be inflicting his horrible tune on anyone. Let the pain stop with me. Suffice it to say the tune itself was lifted from some Old World funeral dirge, and the “lyrics” barely qualified as a rhyme, which would have been fine if it hadn’t been obvious that he really wanted it to rhyme. Give Matt bonus points for at least remembering to close his eyes earnestly in the middle of his song. I’m sure some impressionable young Clay Aiken fan swooned when he did that.
Bryan’s turn. Charla asks him if he shaves anywhere else besides his head. He smugly informs us that the only hair on his body are his eyebrows, his soul patch, and his armpit hair. (Springer studio audience: “WOOOoooo!”) I cringe in horror as I realize the forbidden places this man sends his razor blade. What is wrong with this freak?
The grilling continues, with plenty of lame zingers in both directions which the Springer studio audience dutifully “Oooo!”s and “Whooooaa!”s at when prompted. Finally, our excitable host tells us the “boys” have one last chance to charm the ladies. It’s time for...*reverberating and echoing impressively* The Final Plea! The two wannabes retreat to their lighted circles and prepare to offer a final Perry Mason-style closing argument. Zack perks up noticeably. The rite-of-passage flute music kicks in. And our “boys” embarrass themselves one more time. Matt babbles something that actually seems to rhyme whether he meant it to or not. I heard “family,” “energy,” and “party.” The chain connecting his belt loop to his wallet clinks merrily as he slumps into his practiced “cool guy” bent-knee pose. Captain Spinal Column then offers up a head-shakingly bad poem entitled “To The Lovely Ladies of Paradise.” It winds up being a dig at Vinnie Barbarino’s leather pants. Bryan’s arms wave wildly in all directions as he speaks, and his hands quiver uncontrollably. I’m reminded of James Brooks in Broadcast News. This guy has no chance.
And, indeed, he’s denied. He marches stiffly down the stairs and out of America’s living rooms while suave Matt raises one star-studded wrist gauntlet in triumph. Off to the limo with the Eddie Money music booming hauntingly in the background. And one last time, we are reminded of the 90-minute extravaganza on Wednesday and the arrival of the mystery guest! The drama of the mystery guest is overwhelming? Who could it be? Interplanet Janet? Ricardo Montalban? Satan himself? I guess we’ll just have to wait till – oh, never mind. At the last minute, they just said who it was. It’s Amanda’s ex-boyfriend. Yawn. I guess I have no reason to watch Wednesday’s episode after all. Oh, well. I’m sure Lobeck will have a good time watching it in my stead.
Tag, Lobester. You’re It.