Married By America "2 Couples Do Temptation Island"
What if the face of a total stranger...blah blah blah.
What a load of hooey this introduction is. The couples didn’t commit to marry “sight unseen.” They agreed to get engaged sight unseen. Plenty of time to back out, especially by coming up with the “wrong” answers when facing the Panel of Pseudo Experts.
Last week three couples endured an unforgettable homecoming with family & friends. It was George & Barbara Bush sit down with the Sopranos, in one form or another. Stephen couldn’t predict the future or fake attraction to Denise, so the Panel told them: No Engagement For You. Denise whined and nagged as they packed. Stephen's relief at getting set free was palpable.
Two couples remain and it feels like a prize fight. In this condo, Kinda Dorky Tony and Pathetic Billie Jeanne (henceforth to be known as “B.J.” since I figure that's what accounts for why this couple is still in the competition.) And In This Condo, Stephen’s twin cousin Uptight Kevin and Deer-In-Headlights Jill Soprano. Can either of these couples fake it long enough to get to the first round of prizes? I mean, it’s not like they have to actually spend the rest of their lives together; all these attention addicts have to do is be willing to go through with a celebrity wedding and then hang around together for a few months “making a go of it.”
Day 12 at the Copper PipeDream Ranch. Tony & B.J have a roaring fire going. “Good looking fire,” Tony says, in case we missed what they’re doing. He tells us they’re very honest with each other. They sit on the sofa trying to look like they’re being honest with each other. Them gazing at each other is making me queasy. What will keep this relationship going? Even great sex is still going to leave a couple with 23 or so hours to fill per day.
Tony tells us in camera-chat that he thinks the Panel can see him and B.J. are attempting to have a relationship with each other. There isn’t anything else to do in the condo, so they’re pretty much forced to spend time together, aren’t they?
B.J. informs us that the reality is setting in that they’re getting closer to the day. She says she can’t wait but she looks hung over. Or is that desperate? If B.J. really wants to marry this guy, that’s sad. The thought occurs that she’s just desperate to marry any guy, and this guy has functioning equipment, is in her age bracket, hasn’t paid her for sex. Yet. That she can remember. The part about him having been picked out just for her is probably not really factoring in at this point.
I wonder if it has ever occurred to any of the foursome whether one of the other guys and/or girls who applied for the show would have been a better match. Funny how we never hear confessionals about that. Oh, in case you wonder if “and/or” was a typo, it wasn’t. Stick around.
At Jill & Kevin’s, there is no fire going. Call it a subliminal message that their love isn’t hot, or just plain sense that there is no need for a blazing fire suitable for ski country. Jill reckons the panel is worried about whether Kevin can put her first ahead of his family. She herself appears to have spent about 2.5 seconds on the topic before going back to smooching. There just isn’t much else to do, so we have to watch them necking. On the sofa, on the bed, in the pool. But no outdoorsy woodsy scenes. Drat. It would have tied up a few loose ends left over from Joe Millionaire. There is altogether too much tongue kissing going on for this hour of the evening. Yet it is entertaining in its own way. Look at them kiss while they voice-over their comments!
Day 13 Wake up! It’s a beautiful morning with that “Let’s go ranchin’ and herd some cattle” feel to it. Those wacky kids are outside, where Host Sean finds them conveniently all sitting together at a picnic table. Tony and B.J. are on the sunny side; it’s too bad that sunlight isn’t B.J.’s natural light. She looks like the morning after a one-night stand before she’s gotten her fix of choice.
Sean tells them the Panel will no longer be doing the judging. Oh noooo! But to ease the pain, they will still be their guides and confidantes. Yay! And Phew! Furthermore, in a few days’ time the couples will have their Final Appearance before the Panel. Yay. Oooh. Diary that into those busy make-out schedules.
The decision as to which couple has the right to decide if they want to get married reverts to the same ‘judge’ who put them together in the first place. The audience. You and Me.
Actually, just you. I didn’t vote. I didn’t even watch the early episodes. So don’t blame me that these couples are less than perfect. Blame them. Blame the casting director. Or blame me, because maybe if I’d voted, my one vote could’ve changed the outcome.
Going through with the marriage (or as I’m coming to think of it, the pledge prank) will net the lucky newlywads an instant $100,000 cash to split between them. Scratch and Win or what? Also, they’ll get a luxury car to live in, I mean to share. It will prove harder to split if they're not allowed to sell it.
But first they need to get married. And first before that they need to be chosen by “America” to be the couple to get married. Then they have to be willing to say ‘I do.” All these "ifs." What can go wrong?
Picked by America AND agree to tie the knot. THEN they have to stay together for an as yet-unspecified time. Let’s call it 6 months, until Sean tells us next week what the actual timeframe is. After that “6 months,” the lucky couple, if they’re still alive and together, will receive a house in which to live as a married couple. Selling that will be the fun part.
B.J. tells us the money would help both her and Tony get out of debt. She’s not as dumb as she seems/acts/looks. One step at a time. First, the money.
Kevin says he’s questioned himself about whether he’s doing it for the right reasons. He’s answered himself that he is. But he’s not revealing those reasons to us. He does, however, hope that Jill is also doing it for the “right reasons.” Again with the vagueness. My idea of the right reasons is the money and the car.
You see, both parties to the relationship need to agree that the objective is to win the game, so they can both put on better performances and fool America into voting for them. The 24/7 cameras must be making it really hard to get on the same page. It would be a good idea to use “lovemaking” time as an opportunity to hold secret strategy conferences.
I mean, if you want my opinion (and I guess you're reading this with at least the fore-knowledge that I might give you that opinion) all four of the finalists have their own brand of skanky going on. Each looks less than wholesome and has his or her own set of problems. The only way that one of the couples is going to win is by recognizing that (a) the relationship WON’T last; and therefore (b) the money is the object, and it’s necessary to fool America, not each other.
That’s why I think B.J. and Tony are mostly idiots. How can their little skit of her “so much in love” and his “looking for a way to blow the pop stand” be designed to make America vote for them?
Enough with the philosophy. I’m probably over-thinking it anyway. Let’s get back to the show. Just think of it as a long commercial break.
Okay, so we get pretty beach, pretty flowers, pathway to door of condo. Kevin & Jill talk about being engaged and working on being married. Knock on the door, they answer, look outside, no one’s there. Oh wait, it’s those tricky friends of theirs Jennifer and Robert. Except they're B.J's and Tony's friends and they’ve gone to the wrong condo! Kidding.
Meanwhile, Tony and BJ walk into the bedroom and there are Bender and Paige. After everyone is hugged and hands shaken, somehow (through osmosis) everyone knows that everyone is going shopping for wedding dresses and tuxedos.
Trying on dresses, BJ says she felt like a princess. She looks like the maid playing in her boss’ closet. Jill looks really good in her choice of dress. The dresses the show’s budget allows for are plain, but I like them, these dresses. They are much nicer than the ones bedecked and festooned with an over-abundance of frilly lace and crap.
Tony says he is scared. Then he says he wants to look like Ricky Martin. (Now I’m scared, for B.J.) “Does my ass look fat?” (Geez, is there any way B.J. can see this before she falls for Tony in a serious way? Oops, too late.) Bender says it’s getting weird. And yet Bender is happy to see Tony getting ready for his wedding, even if it is just play-acting and the wedding itself is going to be the strangest wedding ever concocted in the history of arranged marriages.
It’s dawning on me that with friends like Bender, who needs idiot extended family members?
B.J. is way too childish to be allowed to put on adult clothing. All that jumping around and clapping her hands like she’s been promised a trip to Disneyland. Without notice she’s bawling. Something I said?
Later, she says it was from joy, but I had this weird thought that on some level, B.J. realizes Tony doesn’t love her and that even if he goes through with the ceremony it isn’t to be with her, but for the money. Or else they do have a plan to fool everyone into voting for them and she already knows he doesn’t love her and nobody will ever love her cuz she’s an orphan girl with a psycho queer for a “daddy.” Man, that IS sad. Where is my box of Kleenex?
Filled with joy? No, I don’t see it. More like a mixture of emotions - fear, relief, fear again, perhaps a twinge of sadness at having to give up her own partying ways to stay true to one guy, fear, depression, self-pity, loathing. It’s a gamut.
After “shopping” they return to find invitations saying they’re going to Vegas for bachelor and bachelorette parties that they’ll never forget. Provided they can remember them, that is.
Jill tells Kevin to be a good boy and she promises to be a good girl. Tony has been to Vegas before and is scared “cuz I have cheated on girlfriends before and I don’t want to cheat on B.J.” Considering I think she used to be a hooker, that strikes me as hilarious.
Day 14. B.J. looks about 14 when she wakes up. She’s taken away first. It was nicer than it sounds. Tony and Kevin both like the idea of being alone. Except they’re not really alone alone, what with their friends being there and all.
B.J. & Jill chat on the private jet taking them to Las Vegas. B.J. says she thinks of Vegas as a giant fun park for adults. Eww. It really is like a trip to Disneyland to her. These ditzy chicks ought to get carded. They’re acting like teenagers. Their two friends who are with them on the journey are keeping a low profile.
About 2 seconds after the girls are in their rooms, more girlfriends arrive and it’s time to head over to the Aladdin for the big party. B.J. says it was “a pack of girls walking down the hall.” The pack arrives at the Aladdin, said to be a two-storey suite. We didn’t seem to shift from the set of chairs and couches arranged near the front door.
Jill is all “the rule was ‘have a good time.’ Vegas has never seen anyone like B.J.” Jill, obviously a Sin City newbie herself, doesn't realize the place is full of people like B.J. Big deal she’s jumping on the tables. A male stripper shows up who does interesting things with whipped cream.
Meanwhile, at Kevin & Tony’s, a couple of huge-chested girls arrive. Really big. Huge. Gargantuan Chested girls. They proceed to do the strip tease thing and the hand feeling up the pants and undoing the belts thing and yet the camera manages to avoid checking out the effect thing.
Tony says they were “sisters.” Right. They got Tony’s pants and shirt off, and got him on all fours. We did have to see that, briefly.
The girls’ party includes too much lame footage of girls kind of standing around, laughing, yelling and screaming. Then B.J. tells us Jill wanted a female stripper, and a hard-faced little whore shows up who’s willing to get into the whipped cream theme. B.J. says she and Jill were licking the whipped cream off the stripper gal. Except that Jill chickens out, worried about what Kevin would think if (if? when!) he hears about it. Jill is a party-pooper and I think we all know what kind of uptight no-fun boring little wife she’s going to turn out to be. I blame Kevin’s family, actually, for making too much out of the Playboy issue.
Anyway, B.J. got embarrassed because she had already licked the whipped cream. Jeez, it’s whipped cream. What’s the big deal?
B.J. tells Jill to be herself. “When are you ever gonna be yourself?” Jill maintains she is being herself and she’s happy with what she did and did not do. Jill has her deer-in-headlights look on again. It’s NOT a pretty sight. Then B.J. is leaning against a wall for support, saying she wishes Tony was with her. That’s the trouble with these stupid foreplay parties. All that rubbing and touching and watching half-naked people doing stuff tends to get a person going. THEN what are you supposed to do? I’m really glad I didn’t have a bachelorette party.
Back at the guys’ suite, Tony and the “older sister” have moved their festivities to a back room. While we’re being shown the action, we have to hear Kevin telling us that one stripper pulled him over to the couch and didn’t let up, in case we didn’t recognize what we were looking at. I got it, without the voice-over. She’s grinding her knee into his crotch and he looks like she’s conducting a proctology exam. The girl finally gives up.
Tony rationalizes and redraws the lines. “Nothing wrong with kissing a stripper before you’re married. Kissing a stripper after you’re married - that’s where the trouble begins,” he says. I don’t believe that it was just some kissing, but will we ever know? Unlikely. Only if Tony dreams about that night and tells Billie Jeanne and it makes their love hotter than ever to share a fantasy that they'd be totally into a threesome with this stripper chick...
I mean - this show is seriously lacking in courage. If this porn-ish show were any softer, it'd be a baby's bottom.
Day 15. B.J. is sitting in the window. She loves that sitting and looking out the window thing. A knock at the door and it’s her friend come to have breakfast and a heart-to-heart. B.J. seems up for it, and answers her friend that if she didn’t think it was going to work, she wouldn’t have come this far. Uh, right. She’s talking herself deeper and deeper into the hole. Or else she (correctly) figures the cameras are getting all this and she’s providing sound bytes that will win her and Tony that “be debt free” money.
This guy isn’t going to disappoint her blah-blah she can depend on him blah-blah she feels safe blah-blah secure blah-blah-blah she can’t wait to have her own family blah-blah give him all the blah-blah love she’s dying to blah-blah give.
Over breakfast, Bender confronts Tony about the stripper. Either nothing really happened, or Tony isn’t saying anything to anyone.
Kevin has a group of friends at his suite for the breakfast. They pepper him with dumb questions. Does he have butterflies? Does Jill feel the same passion? Do you have a spare copy of that Playboy issue? Will Jill autograph my copy? Okay maybe not those last two. Another friend instructs him to ask every question. "Don’t hold back. Leave no question unanswered." Kevin runs out of new stuff and starts over with the “hope we’re doing it for the same/right reasons” material.
Jill’s concerned with the financial situation. He’s 34 and doesn’t have a job or a direction (or a clue.) Jill says she is nervous but that’s okay. Finally, on that note, it’s time to head back. To prove they really had to fly, we get views from the plane’s perspective of clouds, mountains and finally the Copper Pipe Dream.
B.J. says, “Hi Horsies I’m home.” B.J. and Tony are both glad to be “home” and for just a moment I think maybe these two have something. If this impersonal condo feels like home, it’s because of the person they’re sharing it with. Then Tony destroys that little fantasy by saying he wasn’t pining over not being with B.J., but it was great to see her. Sounds like the kind of sentiment you’d feel for a favourite younger sibling or the family pet.
They exchange party stories. Tony was spanked with a belt. B.J. licked whipped cream off a girl. Tony kissed a stripper. Tony just killed the mood. B.J. tells us it hurt her a little that he kissed another girl. “After we get married, that’s it, no more.” Yeah, right.
One thing I’ll say for this episode, there hasn’t been a whole lot of Confirmation Comment Syndrome. Some, but not like last episode. This episode has been the Action with the Voice-Over Description of the Action. These smart producers find new ways to recrapiterate (tm Neko!), just when we thought we'd seen & heard it all.
Evening on Day 16. Jill feels nervous learning that they are to meet with the panel. Why? It’s not news. She was told about this days ago. What does she have to be nervous about? Kevin says he has been true to himself. Jill knows there are bumps ahead (and grinds too .) Jill wonders if Kevin will get strong enough to be her husband within a few weeks. I think it’s too late. He strikes me as a wet noodle. You never get that spaghetti stiffer than it is right out of the packet.
Tony says, "It’s a little hard having 3 impartial strangers we don’t know picking apart our relationship." You’d think after a few of these panel interrogations he’d be used to it. B.J. says she’s going to be herself. “Screw it, I’ll be with Tony no matter which way.” Ah, have you checked with Tony on that?
Sean the Dweeb Host says the point of this “’speriment” was “to find out if can you learn to love.” The couples face “the most vital panel yet. Both couples will walk down the aisle, but only one gets to say ‘I do.’ Now is the time to be honest with each other.”
I reckon now is the time to lie through your teeth. Just be convincing this time.
Dr. B asks Jill and Kevin if they want kids. They do, even agreeing on the number. They’re working on names, and Jill rattles off Tyler, Brook, and other sexually ambiguous monikers that are currently “in.” Jill is totally beaming.
Non-Dr. Pepper wants to know who will be the breadwinner. Didn’t that term go out with the hula hoop? Kevin (he without a job) says, “There isn’t a breadwinner - however it comes in, that’s the way you do it. I had baseball, now I’m fishing around. It’s not that easy to get into something.” Kevin assures Pepper that he can pay the rent for quite a while. Must have been quite the colorful parachute.
Jill is willing to help Kevin “find himself.” She thinks he needs a strong independent woman. So the guy on the panel takes the bait and asks Kevin if he needs a strong independent woman. “Doesn’t Jill overwhelm you?” he asks. Kevin says he is willing to take on anything. “I have a great family and friends and a wonderful person sitting next to me,” he goes.
Then he says something strange, “Here’s a guy who’s never been in love before and now he’s feeling these feelings.” (I am always suspicious when people suddenly start talking of themselves in the 3rd person. It’s a subconscious thing and just tells me the person is trying to distance himself from the topic. It doesn't bode well.)
B.J. and Tony are asked if there was a moment where they discovered something about each other that shocked and surprised them. Lots of “moments” flash through my mind, but Tony avoids saying anything negative, choosing instead to hint at B.J.’s rough childhood (I mean, how else does a person end up with someone like Duane as the closest thing to a father?) “As I learned more about her, to be the loving person she is today is truly a testament to the person she is.” Feel that breeze? Smoke has just been blown up someone's butt.
B.J. trusts Tony completely. She babbles on and on, alluding to the Las Vegas situation, and tying in all kinds of bits and pieces from the whole entire time they’ve been together and she is sounding more desperate with every word. Then she says she knows Tony is not going to throw away their relationship for a night with some girl. She tells Tony she loves him and that it will be a deeper love in the future.
Moment of Truth. B.J. has fired the opening “I love you” salvo. What will Tony do?
He gets half a point for being honest, but loses 10 points for not having organized things better in the first place. The issue shouldn’t have arisen in such a way that B.J. wasn’t prepared to hear a “b.s. I love you too.” Instead, he’s honest and Tony basically ruins the chances that America will pick this couple, although some people were probably turned on by the idea of forcing the couple that looks less likely to last to have to say 'I do.' Tony says, “It’s an evolving relationship. It hurts me that I can’t say I love you - it hasn’t clicked on that yet.”
And somehow I think it never will. Unless Tony can see a future in declaring his undying love for Billie Jeanne the ex-child prostitute with the heart of human kindness who just wants to be loved for her childhood self. I mean, her other childhood self.
B.J. doesn’t lose it in front of the panel. She says she knows they have what it takes to make it - she’ll be waiting til then.
Sean gets all melodramatic, trying to make us believe this show is the most important thing ever to be on tv. But let’s face, the people who applied have to have been desperate for (a) something to do (b) something to do that they would get paid for; (c) attention; (d) being on tv; with (e) finding a suitable mate pretty far down the list. That these couples find themselves just a few days away from getting married might be their idea of a reasonable price to pay for the $50,000 each. People have gotten married for less, after all.
Sean wants us to think the marriage is really going to last. Fat chance with either of these two couples. Based on all we’ve witnessed, I’d say the question is not “Which couple has the potential to form a lasting marriage?” but “Which couple has the potential to make it through the wedding ceremony?”
Phone lines were only open for 2 hours following Monday night’s show. That means the results are in. What’s the chance that anything I say will make a difference to the outcome? Zip, especially compared to Tony not saying ‘I love you too.’ Both relationships look headed for co-dependency hell.
Next week, the bold ‘speriment in love & marriage concludes in a 2 hour finale. NOOOOO Not a two-hour finale?!?! Both couples will get dressed up. Both will walk down the aisle. Only one will get married. To reveal “next week” in too much detail might cause too many viewers to find something else to watch. Somebody screams, somebody else says, “You wanted drama, you got it!” We’ll be tuning in.