My Boy/Girlfriend Went to Cabo, and All I Got Was This Lousy TV Show!
Welcome to the latest dating show that could be squeezed onto television, The Ultimate Love Test! This show, as the title suggests, is an ultimate test of love. Oh yeah! Now, I don't know about you, but "ultimate" brings to mind images of a veritable love Armageddon--an epic struggle between good and evil, or at least between faithfulness and debauchery. So, let's see what this showdown has to offer, shall we? Arm yourself with your trusty remote, a box of tissues, and your favorite comfort food, as we splash headfirst into the oft-stormy sea of loooove.
Nice to Meet You
We are about to meet eight very special people. Well, maybe they are not so much "special," but they are the focal point of the show, so what can you do? These people are, in fact, couples at the "crossroads" of their relationships--unsure of whether to take the next step. This, of course, is a huge decision in one's life . . . one that could have near-immemorial consequences. Legend has it that blues guitarist Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the "crossroads." (However, I have a sneaking suspicion that this incident occurred around slightly different circumstances and issues.)
It's now time to meet our couples, the destined subjects of all our emotional outpourings. Are they star-crossed lovers or do they just want to be stars?
First, we meet Kenesha (24) and Brandon (28), from Newport, California. The pair has been dating for three years and seem to have a real bond and chemistry. So, what's the problem? Apparently, they have an issue of infidelity, as Brandon has cheated on Kenesha in the past. Understandably, she wants to test their relationship to see if Brandon can be faithful to her forever. Brandon, likewise, wants to prove this to her, and he probably also wants to not crash and total his model helicopter in the future. Mayday!
Next, we are introduced to Amber (24) and Diego (24), of Burlington, Vermont. They have been together for two years, and although they seem to have a close-knit and passionate relationship, Amber confesses that she feels a bit trapped. As a free-spirited artistic type, Amber wants to travel, see the world, and find adventure. Diego, on the other hand, is more laid-back, and is perfectly happy to stay in their small town, where he has apparently lived most of his life. There's really nothing that I can snark about with this couple (yet), so we'll move on to an easier target. . . .
Meet Carolyn (26) and Jayre (26) of the Big Apple. They have been dating for three and a half years, which Carolyn says feels like a long time. *red flag! red flag!* I guess Jayre feels that Carolyn is a bit pushy, and I think this is an understatement. Carolyn, from what we see in the following clips, seems to be everyone's proverbial nightmare girlfriend/sister/mom/whatever. She's rather loud, naggy, and seems to live off confrontation. We see her performing some sort of involuntary gaping lotus experience of yoga on Jayre, who looks likely to snap in half (or quarters) at any moment, while she screeches, "It's not good unless it hurts!" Carolyn has some trust issues with Jayre, and wants him to realize/verify that she's the right girl for him. They also have an incredibly intricate ring system going on before a proposal proper occurs. Apparently, she has one ring now, which is the "hope" ring. Next, she will receive the "prayer" ring, followed by the "wish" ring, then the official engagement ring, and finally, the one ring to rule them all.
Finally, we meet Heather (27) and Frank (33) from Los Angeles, California. This rockin' pair has been together for about two years, and claim that they not only have a great relationship, but are also in a successful band together! What's the problem here? This sounds like a great matchup in my book! Well, my friends, we now finally arrive at the C-word. That's right, commitment! It seems that bass player, Frank, is terrified of commitment, while lead singer, Heather, is ready to take the next step, preferably, without having to drag Frank kicking and screaming down the aisle. Frank also still lives at home, although I'm not sure if that has any relevance to the situation. All I can conclude about Frank is: (a) Frank's mama must make some wicked-awesome pasta, thus his reluctance to leave home, and/or (b) Frank has heard of Carolyn and Jayre's complicated ring cycle, thus his horrified resistance to commitment.
Let's Hit It!
Our quartet of couples has each agreed that they are at a decisive point in their relationship, and they all need a little "test" or push to whatever lies ahead. So, game on! It's time to find out what the "Ultimate Love Test" will truly involve. On cue, four bike messengers wheel into the scene under the eerie light of the full moon, with a "special delivery" for each couple. Each message is an invitation to partake in the test and proclaims that one of each pair must leave to an unknown destination for three weeks, where he or she will be tested relating to each of the couple's "issues." The ones potentially getting a free vacation are Brandon, Heather, Jayre, and Amber. The others are relegated to stay at home and
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At Heather and Frank's, the two are unsure about having to be away from each other, and Heather asks Frank if he truly wants to do this. Now, many have a mental image of the stereotypical rockstar, cool as can be and exuding confidence. Frank, while he looks cool on stage, has a terrible time making any decisions and looks like he's about to suffer a full-out anxiety attack at any moment. He finally decides that they should eat, and then make a decision. One step at a time, I suppose. . . .
Over at Carolyn and Jayre's, Carolyn is obviously upset at learning from the invitation that Jayre secretly wishes he could have four women. "I've got a lot of love to give," Jayre jokes. However, Carolyn seems even more upset that Jayre will have to leave her for this time, and eventually cries. The couple actually shares a "sweet" moment (awwwww), while Jayre tells us via confessional that he feels terrible for his polygamous whim.
The other two couples took the news with equanimity, with the usual, "I'll miss you!" "I'll miss you!" Hug. Kiss. Vroom.
The next morning, the cars arrive bright and early to pick up everyone. After the goodbyes, the drivers distribute envelopes to the kinetic halves, which reveal their destination: a luxurious resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico! *cue promotional tourism clips* Four people's moods suddenly brighten considerably. Meanwhile, the static halves wander aimlessly back inside and
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A Question of Lust
Oh, by the way, I should probably mention this little detail: The couples who "pass" the test will not only receive more peace of mind and newfound confidence in one another, but $100,000 on the side. So, you're probably thinking, "Manny, what could possibly keep these folks from being determined to succeed?" Well, my faithful readers, you're about to meet them:
Roy is a handsome, well-traveled doctor who's here to help test Amber and Diego's relationship. He says he will show Amber that there's a new world of possibilities and adventure out there for the taking. Since we don't learn exactly what he's a doctor of, I can only assume that this man is, indeed, Dr. Love.
Brooke is a very pretty lady who has apparently met Brandon before, and Brandon reportedly developed a crush on her. Uh oh! Brooke is, quite obviously, here to see if Brandon can keep his commitment to Kenesha and be faithful to her forever. I, generously, give him 30 minutes to break. Brooke says that she believes there are no rules for falling in love, and it can happen at any time.
Next, we meet C.R., who was Heather's former boyfriend. C.R. believes that Heather ended up with the wrong guy due to bad timing, and that he would like to try to bond with her and see if the old "spark" is still there. He believes that Frank stole Heather from him, so he would like to return the favor.
Finally, we meet Jayre's confections. We've heard a clip of him saying he wishes he could marry four women about a billion times by now, and his invitation to the test said, "be careful what you wish for." Well, ladies and gentlemen, here they are. Straight from the "Bikini Bandits" audition line, we have Jayre's trio of Eva, Amanda, and Teniesha. We see some footage of them frolicking about in the water, and saying things such as, "I'll love my man, but I'll give him his space, too." They believe Jayre will be attracted to them because of their great personalities, senses of humor, etc., and we can only wonder what their other ass-ets could be.
Wish You Were Here!
Our four vacationers all check into their new homes-away-from-home at the resort and are quickly introduced to their individual "temptations." All are a bit surprised, but at least they haven't completely forgotten about their significant other back home, just yet. Brandon is convinced that despite the temptations placed in front of him, he will come out of the test with flying colors. (Just like his helicopter?) The first thing that Amber thought of when she met Roy (aka Dr. Feelgood) was Diego and what he would think. Heather is shocked to see C.R. waiting for her in paradise and also worries about what Frank will think. Jayre, who now calls himself "Big Daddy," simply says he doesn't think that Carolyn would like his new neighbor Eva too much.
Meanwhile, back home, the rest of the gang receive another special delivery and the details about their side of the test. They have received some nifty, new, high-tech monitors that will show them images and video clips of what's going on at the resort. Of course, these videos are edited just enough to make their hearts start that first bit of sinkage, with confessional clips of their boy/girlfriends expressing concerns about their partners. They also get to witness the meetings between their beloved and the potential tempters. Carolyn and Diego watch them alone, reflecting on "what-ifs" and looking somewhat apprehensive, but not appearing overtly angry or upset. Kenesha watches with her mom, and notes how Brandon seems to already know Brooke. When her mom says, "She's very pretty," I fully expected Kenesha to whip around with an annoyed "Mom!!!" The most visibly upset of the group seems to be Frank, who is watching from Heather's house. No longer a bassist, he turns into a drummer and taps a pen nervously at first sight of C.R. in the video. He angrily throws his beverage can into the bathtub in an Axl Rose-like move after C.R. proclaims, "I think I have a good chance of stealing her back." "Yeah, it's never fun when your girlfriend is galavanting around with another guy," Frank tells us. Now, Frank has been vilified the whole show for his failure to make decisions, but I must say, the decision to throw that can came rather quickly! Be careful of the breakdown, Frank, my buddy. I don't want to see you turn into "Behind the Music" fodder.
Tomorrow Never Knows
And so it goes. Chapter one of our love story has drawn to a close. I can see your fingers itching to turn the page and find out what happens next, but alas, I cannot tell you. We are left only to speculations and nasty rumors . . . but mostly speculation. Will Jayre's Angels succeed in their serpentine seducing? Does Roy have the cure that Amber's thinking of? Will Brandon be able to redeem himself and, more importantly, keep his hands to himself? Will Frank provide C.R. with a courtesy smack over the head with a P-Bass? For now, my dear readers, we'll have to wonder. Thank you for reading; now go and give your honey an extra kiss tonight.
Did I pass the test? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org