I must admit, dear reader, that I was excited to see this episode of “Playing It Straight” after the cheesy goodness of last week. While the theme song played, I hurried to crawl up into bed with my notebook and pen to await the drama and intrigue. At the end of the show, I was sitting there with a blank page. Not a substance- heavy episode, this one. However, we must persevere, so I will do my best.
He Must Have Forgotten His Hairdryer
After the dramatic events of last week, Mr. Narrator informs us that one of the contestants couldn’t handle the pressure. We join Daphne, Jackie, and the contestants in the parlor. Over shots of Eddie in the Jacuzzi and at the Barn Dance, Daphne informs us Eddie had become increasingly uncomfortable and decided to leave the ranch. She says that it is still a game, so she wants to know who thought he was gay.
In confessionals, we find out that Jackie thought he was definitively straight. She really liked him and felt that he was flirtatious and fun. The other men are divided on their impressions of him. I’m not sure why. I am pretty sure that neck licking is an activity restricted to people you are attracted to, even if you are drunk. Whether that is true or not, Daphne informs us that Eddie was indeed gay.
Later, we see that Jackie is dumbfounded by this revelation. She doesn’t see how he could have been gay if he flirted with her. She figures out that out of the four guys that she has eliminated, only one was gay. Jackie confesses that she thought it would be as easy as seeing who crosses their legs and drinks decaf frappacinos.
Since her current strategy of going by stereotypes is obviously not working, Jackie decides to switch gears. She is quickly running out of straight men and has to develop a new method for determining their orientation. After giving it some thought, she devises a game plan. She will flirt with the guys and see who flirts back. Strangely enough, it reminds me of the same game plan she used with Eddie. Whom she mistook for a straight man. I wonder if she remembers that she’s supposed to be eliminating those guys?
Jackie confesses to the camera that she is having a very hard time determining who is straight. She says that she is sure that Banks is straight because he flat out told her he was straight. I’m sure he wouldn’t lie about that to win a million dollars or anything, so she’s probably right. Her evaluation of the rest of the men reveals that she currently believes that they all act straight and it bugs her.
Breakfast in Boringville.
We soon learn that Jackie has chosen Chad to bring her breakfast in bed on this morning. She feels that he has paid her the least amount of attention and wants to know why. We see a confessional of Chad where he expresses his belief that he is going to win the competition. I smell doom for Chad.
I’ll spare you the details of Breakfast with Chad. Long story short, he is either gay or the worst conversationalist in the history of the world. Or both. He calls himself a total dork. She agrees. So do I. He calls her cool. She laughs. So do I. It’s painful. Jackie actually rolls her eyes as he is talking.
He goes on to recite a grocery list of admirable qualities he possesses. She looks like she’s about to fall asleep. I may have. When I come to, Chad has left and Jackie is saying that she wasn’t “feeling” Chad. She felt that he was making too much of an effort to push his “straight” credentials and feels it might be an act.
Barking Mad Men and Other Campfire Tales
Meanwhile, Whistler, the Grizzly Adams ranch hand has rousted the other boys out of bed by barking at them. He informs them that they have a day of hiking and camping ahead of them. He does not make it sound fun, but at least they don’t have to do any chores.
After breakfast, Whistler takes the boys outside to gleefully introduce them to their rides. They discover that there are only enough horses for four of the men and the rest will have to use donkeys. Jackie has decided to have the men that she has the most questions about ride the horses so she can get to know them better.
John, Lee, Chris and Bill are the lucky few who are chosen to ride with Jackie on the horses. She says that she has confidence in the other men to lead the donkeys. The rejected men do not seem to take it as a compliment, however. Luciano, in particular, admits that he is angry about the whole thing. He complains bitterly about having to lead the donkey through such horrors as bushes and horse droppings.
While the men saddle up and ride out, we learn that Banks and Sharif both view each other as the biggest competition they have in the game. Banks thinks that Sharif will win Jackie over with his music. Sharif thinks Banks will win Jackie’s hand because he is fun, funny, and cute. They are mutually complimentary of one another and it strikes me that if they both turn out to be gay, they might have made a love connection themselves.
Out on the mountains, the men end their trek and begin to set up the campsite. They roast hot dogs and sausages and Fox is kind enough to present us with a montage of the different ways the men ate their hot dogs. I don’t know much about phallic symbolism, but all the men seemed to employ the method of poking them with sticks and biting the end off. *Insert your own off-color joke here*
Jackie, meanwhile, says she has decided to get tough. She called the men together and announces that she knows she is being deceived. She is determined to sniff out the imposters and send them packing. She shouts “Game on!” in a random, ominous way and stalks off.
The Million-Dollar Question
Later that night, Whistler comes to announce that Jackie has a more romantic venue prepared for three the men. He sends Bill, Bradley and Chris up the hill to join Jackie. They arrive at a candlelit table and begin to eat and talk. Jackie says that all of the men were coming across as straight.
Out of what I can only assume was desperation for any strategy, Jackie starts asking the men who they believe are straight and who is gay. She interrogates them about small details of their lives trying to get to the bottom of any deceptions. Since the men would *want* Jackie to eliminate their competition, Jackie’s plan seems inherently flawed, but maybe that’s just me.
Jackie tells the men that she isn’t in it for the money. She has come to find love and she is irritated that there are gay men who are just there for the money. None of the guys wants to admit to being in it for the money. They all shuffle around nervously and mutter meaningless things about money not being everything.
Bradley takes the group delusion one step further by saying he doesn’t know what a million dollars is anyway. Realizing the straight men aren’t playing for a million, Bradley quickly corrects himself. I tend to think that Bradley just misspoke. However, Jackie hones in with laser like precision to his snafu and gives him a suspicious look.
Later that night after the men have gone to bed, Whistler comes to wake up Sharif. He says that Jackie cannot go to sleep and wants Sharif to “pick her a tune.” Now, if I were Sharif, I would have told her where she could stick that guitar for waking me up to sing her to sleep, but Sharif obligingly gets up to go fulfill her request.
When Sharif arrives at Jackie’s tent, he knocks. Yes, knocks. On canvas. Surprisingly, this brings no response, so he calls for Jackie, who promptly opens up the flaps to the tent. Except we quickly learn it is not a tent. Unless tents have a floor, tables, and a four-poster bed nowadays. I think “tent” would be stretching it.
An obviously inebriated Jackie sits on the bed with Sharif as he plays his guitar and sings ballads for her. She stares at him with the wide-eyed awe of a groupie and confesses that she thinks he is straight. She follows up this not-so-surprising comment with the observation that his singing makes her nervous and jittery and that she loves it.
After spotting a bug in her room, Jackie asks Sharif to stay and sleep on her floor. Sharif readily agrees and promises to protect her from the evil bugs of the world. He tucks her in and delivers a tender kiss. It ends quickly and they both go to bed.
The next morning, the men are lamenting over Sharif’s Pied Piper guitar playing abilities and plot his untimely demise. We also hear Sharif say that he is in it for the money only because he doesn’t love Jackie. John seems to agree, commenting that all the men would choose the money over Jackie regardless of whether they are gay or straight.
She Gets One Right. Finally.
After they return to the ranch, Jackie sets up her swing dates. She chooses Lee as her first and begins to immediately interrogate him about who the gay guys are in the group. Lee is taken aback, but offers a few names and scurries off.
Bradley, her second date, is shown the same treatment. She interrogates him over who the gay men might be. Then she begins to question him about his mistake the night before. Bradley coolly pretends that he doesn’t remember the incident and tries to convince Jackie that he misspoke. During this discussion, Bradley is playing footsie with her and giving every indication of being a straight man with his body language. Jackie seems satisfied and sends him back to the house.
The guys soon head out to the Elimination Barn and are greeted by Daphne, who again explains that Jackie must eliminate the gay men. With that, Jackie gets straight to business.
Chad- As soon as he is called, he goes into a long speech about wanting to stay. She somehow waits through the boring man’s spiel and then explains to him that she feels as if he is acting. She thinks he is gay and asks him to fess up. Chad actually looks relieved and says she made the best decision because he is gay. He says he felt bad hurting her and is kind of glad its over.-Eliminated/Gay
Bradley-At this point Bradley is the last man standing and assumes he has been eliminated. Frankly, he looks crushed. When Jackie does ask him to stay, he laughed with joy and grabs Jackie in a bear hug of relief.-Safe
Daphne returns and explains that only one needed to be eliminated because of Eddie leaving. Jackie says in confessional that Bradley is a lucky man, because he would have been eliminated that night if Eddie hadn’t of left.
After the ceremony ends, we watch Chad pack to go. He confesses that the show was difficult to do because he doesn’t like to lie, especially about who he is. He says he has a boyfriend at home that he is very much in love with and doesn’t mind that he is out of the game. He shakes hands with the other men and leaves.
Thanks for joining me for this episode of “Playing It Straight.” Come back next week as Jackie and the boys head out to Sin City.
Want to tell it to me Straight? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org