Booze, Bikinis, and Bowling (8/11 recap)
Well, I never thought I’d find myself in the position of recapping Paradise Hotel again. When I wrote my first ‘cap, I thought I’d left the PH recapper pool...forever! But, as we all know, this Hotel is filled with more twists than a bag of pretzels and so...here I am.
I really haven’t been watching the show since my last recap. I’ve caught a few minutes here and there, but for the most part, I’m still pretty lost. I’m hopeful that any clueless mistakes I introduce into the ‘cap will amuse you and not infuriate you. When I last watched the show, someone named Kavita had just left after the shortest stay in Paradise ever! Matt Travolta had joined the crew, and we still had Amanda the Drama Queen, Zack the Explosive Narcissist, and Toni Eyeballs. Honestly, I can’t say I miss any of them. Keith seems like a fun guy, and he gets props for drop-kicking Zack’s whiny butt out of Paradise (forever!). Holly doesn’t seem to speak very much, but that’s OK. She brings a certain je ne sais quoi to the table that I really appreciate. Heh, heh.
But the most interesting new development to me is that the Hotel is no longer a place where new guests go to pass an idle week before being eliminated by The Originals (their term). No, it now appears that there’s an actual game going on. I’ve been waiting for evidence that this show has a real game nestled inside somewhere. The fact that we now have Originals versus New Folks suggests that the game is afoot. I even heard some mention of an actual objective! Something about the last couple still in the hotel winning a prize. That would require the producers to quit bringing in new people every week to replace the booted ones, but I don’t know how to tell them that. I hope they’ve given it a little bit of thought, at least.
During this week’s interminable introduction (note the uncanny parallels between the show and my recap!), the somber narrator guy (SNG) talks about the struggle for control of the Hotel, which sounds pretty good to me. I’d actually like to see them take it up a notch and really fight for control of the Hotel. You know, sand bags, barbed wire, night raids, encoded transmissions, round-the-clock sentry duty, stun grenades, tear gas... The works. Let’s turn Paradise Hotel into a real free-for-all! I want the world’s most exclusive Hotel reduced to a smoking husk when the final bruised couple accepts their prize!
Well, we can hope. We’ve been promised twist after twist. The surprise Combat Missions transformation may yet be in the cards. Anyway, the real show opens with a flurry of people corroborating SNG’s assertion that the hotel is divided. Amy informs a surprised Beau that she trusts only him. He doesn’t seem to care. Dave points out that there are now as many new people as Originals, which is actually wrong, but he’s counting Charla as one of the new folks. Alex comments how it’s all about The Originals. Paraphrasing, he said he’d sooner behead himself than do anything nice for a newbie. Or something like that.
After the Confessional Round, it’s time to get the guests off their butts so they can go do something. The Bob Newhart clone in the bright yellow shirt appears and distributes invitations to the guests. Even Tara, the hanky-headed gypsy, takes a break from reading her own palm to see what’s up. They’re all invited to a fun activity with an “excursion” as the prize. Based on everyone’s reactions, I quickly conclude they’re not battling for one of those giant Ford SUVs. It doesn’t take long for Dave to start thinking. He excitedly tells his cronies, “I’m already thinking in my head. Do I want to win or not?” He can’t possibly think he can just decide when he wins a challenge and when he doesn’t, can he? Besides, he’s Dave. He constantly feels threatened by all the other males. I read this comment as a pre-emptive strike against the possibility of his completely embarrassing himself at the challenge. Later, he can point to this moment and clarify that he ultimately decided to appear physically inept in order to deflect attention from himself.
The group is supposed to leave immediately so, of course, many of them go change their clothes first. When they arrive at the venue for the big challenge, Alex exclaims, “Holy cow!” Yes, Alex, it’s a bowling alley. There is bowling in Paradise. This gig just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it? Booze, bikinis, and bowling. Why would anyone ever want to leave?
The guests find out that the top two finishers in a game of bowling will escort the new incoming guest on an excursion (there’s that word again!). This is apparently a big deal. Dave enters Psycho Competitive Mode and does a wild, roaring, bouncing-around pump-up dance that causes all the ladies to titter. It’s no Richard Hatch “I have made fire!” dance, but it’s right up there. We even get to see it again in slow motion (with titters).
Dave reveals his ace in the hole: he used to bowl in a league as a kid. Coupled with his long-time strategy to forego alcohol during competition (he guzzles huge quantities of water instead), he considers himself one of the three favorites to win the thing, along with Keith and Beau. There’s a problem with his analysis, however. Several problems, actually. First of all, I used to be able to solve the Rubik’s Cube as a kid. Doesn’t mean I’m still any good at it now. See what I’m saying? Second, he completely failed to account for his oddball form. Just like his technique in Pseudo-Tennis, he has a jerky, no-follow-through motion that simply doesn’t give him a good enough chance for consistent success. Ironically, a beer or two might actually help. Ultimately, Dave needs to pick up a crucial 1-2-3-4-5-7-8 spare in order to stay in the game. Instead, he fires a three-foot line drive into the gutter. He may have bowled in a league as a kid, but I’ll bet good money he doesn’t want us seeing even a minute of his home videos from that time.
Predictably, Beau and Keith are the winners, but it really doesn’t matter. I didn’t see any sorts of excursions with the new guy, anyway. Oh, and speaking of the new guy, it’s time to go meet him. But first, we get to hear Amy fire off a bunch of “jokes” at Keith. You know, humorous zingers about poisoning his French fries or rolling him down to the pool and drowning him. Yuk, yuk. Sure is funny to watch a pinhead like Amy wrestle with her intellect as if it were a reticulated python.
Back at the Hotel, the guests gather to meet the candidates for the new male guest. Unlike in previous weeks, a mystery man will be brought directly to Paradise for the gang’s consideration. He is introduced by Amanda as someone from the past! Oo, who could it be? Julius Caesar? Abraham Lincoln? Gary Coleman? Oh, turns out he’s from their past. It’s just some dude that locked horns with The Originals back when Dave was invited to Paradise. He got into it with Zack. He got into it with Beau. It’s obvious that nobody really liked the guy then, and they don’t appear to be any too happy to see him again. Especially Dave, who, as I said, is threatened by everyone. After Amanda introduces Tom, she reveals the next major “twist” in the game. There are no other candidates! Ha! How about that? They’re just making this up as they go along, aren’t they? They’ve got to be. I guess the show’s producers finally decided that the hotel guests made a mistake in not selecting Tom the first time. Or maybe he’s the nephew of some network VP. Or perhaps – and this is probably the most likely scenario of all - the pipeline of potential new hotel guests has completely dried up, and ol’ Tom was the only past candidate who still wanted to play.
Well, whatever the reason, Tom is welcomed enthusiastically. Even Beau elects not to offer his usual finger-drawn-across-the-neck pirate greeting, deciding instead to just shake Tom’s hand. Later, at a little welcome soiree, Tom sidles up to Charla and cranks up The Charm Machine. “I like your eyes,” he informs Charla, simultaneously pointing at his own eyes to aid in her understanding of which body part he likes. As the awkward teens-at-the-Sadie-Hawkins-Dance mating ritual continues, everyone else plots and schemes like crazy. Not sure why, really. We already know you can’t strategize in this game because it’s a bitch and everything. But – you know – whatever floats their boat.
Alex and Dave retire to the men’s room and mock Beau for his hearty handshake with Tom. We even get a black-and-white Time-Machine-Cam shot of said infraction, even though we just saw it happen “live” not three minutes ago. Later, when Tom is free, the other guys swarm him and feed him propaganda. Dave advises Tom never to trust The Originals and to choose Holly when the time comes to select his roommate for the week. Keith babbles something at him, too, but I forgot what he said. I was too busy laughing at Tom’s awe-struck admission that Keith’s ejection of Zack is the same tack he’d have pursued: “What you did is what I woulda did.” Tom, buddy, Keith is just a guy. You don’t have to stumble over your words the way you would if you’d met an actual celebrity. Meanwhile, Dave scurries over to Charla to engage in some damage control. With a strained, wanna-be-suave smile on his face, he tries to ferret out some information from his tipsy partner. He just wants to be sure she won’t let a little thing like nice eyes stand in the way of their run to the title. In a slurred, high-pitched voice, she assures him that Tom does, indeed, have nice eyes. Oh, and a nice accent. Danger, Dave Robinson! Danger!
As the sun sets, the guests’ minds turn to thoughts of love. Or, rather, their brains remain stuck in the “Who can I hook up with tonight?” position. Holly and Scott recline in their bed and coo at one another. “Give the new guy **** so he doesn’t pick you,” Scott murmurs seductively. In another room of the hotel, Charla puts the moves on Keith. As with Scott before him, though, Keith wants no part of a drunken Charla, despite her reminding him how beautiful she is. Unlike Scott, however, he doesn’t completely remove himself from the situation. His hormones suggest that maybe he should come back and “talk” this out with the lovely, champagne-impaired Charla. Before anything can go anywhere, though, Dave bounds into the room. I don’t know why. He reminds me of Skippy on Family Ties or any other famous dork who always manages to show up at all the wrong times.
After wrapping up his extraneous business with Keith and Charla, Dave returns to his room and becomes the first victim of The Hooded Maniacs. Tara and Alex have decided 4AM is the perfect time to throw on bathrobes and sneak into everyone’s room. After freaking out Dave, they pay a visit to Beau and Amy. Oh, and by the way, did you see Amy mount those stairs earlier in the episode? She looked like one of those trained chimps from the zoo. Lumbering along with her arm curling behind her. Call me weird, but I rewound the tape and watched her climb the stairs over and over, laughing every time. I think they should put a tire on a rope swing in her room and, you know, see what happens.
Somewhere in there (man, all these random events are starting to run together in my mind!), we are treated to some odd footage of Tom alone in his room. Wearing just a towel, Tom growls to himself and shimmies around the room. Turns out he also has a stuffed monkey named “Smokey” that he likes to talk to, which raises all sorts of questions. Can a woman ever really come between him and his Smokey? How long will we have to wait before he screams at the guests to touch his monkey? Does he spank it when it’s naughty? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I can see it will be fun to find out. Tom’s new roomie, Holly, pays a token visit to their room and then leaves a Holly-shaped hole in the glass door in her haste to go find Scott.
And, finally, it’s time for the Paradise Hotel Casino Night. I say “finally” because SNG has been teasing us with the prospect of a fancy gambling evening since the show started. Before every commercial break, they kept showing us more and more of the event, to the point that I wondered whether there would be any new footage when the Casino Night finally got underway. Thankfully, they did have a few seconds of new stuff to show us. Best of all, they showed a few of the guests on their way to the casino. Set to the tune of a faux James Bond theme song, Dave bobbed downstairs in his tux. Three of the women came down right after him. The only one I really noticed, though, was Tara, who was wearing a short number that barely qualified as a dress. It stretched just low enough, however, to avoid being simply a tank top. Good thing (for her) they weren’t going to a sit-ups class.
Amanda’s arrival heralds the start of Casino Night. As usual, the guests applaud her when she appears. Weirdos. Amanda reveals the next TWIST in the game. At the end of the gambling session, the man with the most money will not only earn an exemption, but they will also get to select which man has to leave Paradise...wait for it...FOREVER! The women, for their part, get to bestow their money on whichever men they choose. Charla immediately hands all her cash to Dave and disappears, presumably to find some more champagne. The rest of the women stuff their cash into their cleavage. Dave struggles early playing blackjack, then shifts gears and decides to waste his money at an even swifter rate with the ladies at the roulette table. Meanwhile, Alex reveals to Kristin in a private restroom conversation that it would be very easy to steal chips. Back at the blackjack table, he puts his plan into action. With all the grace of a water buffalo running on a bed of Crisco, he manages to slap a few more chips on Amy’s bet when she wins. He also stows a few of her chips in his pocket. At first, I thought he was stealing his own chips, which I wouldn’t put past him to try, even though it makes no sense at all. Over at the cash-in table, he and Dave get into it a little bit. Not sure why. Dave wants to cash in his chips, but nuh-uh, buddy! I’m cashing in my chips! Chests puff out, nostrils flare, the other hotel guests begin to drool in anticipation of a throwdown. But...nothing happens, as usual.
And now we wait. Who will secure the most Paradise Hotel Dollars? Who will leave Paradise...well, you know. Why is Tom wearing a dress? Why does Holly want to spank Scott and not Smokey? All these questions and more will be answered on the next episode of Paradise Hotel! Enjoy your stay.