I can’t put it off any longer. It’s that time. I wish I could tell you that this particular episode was a San Francisco treat. It wasn’t. Let’s be clear: Jake has killed this so-bad-it’s-almost-good-ish franchise. This show has become so boring that I think the producers should have thrown in some paranormal activity for the viewers. Something like a Judy Garland specter drowning out Tenley’s baby talk with song (“Clang, clang, clang went the trolley. Ding, ding, ding went the bell!”) on the trolley date. Or the ghosts of Karl Malden and Michael Douglas shooting at Jake because of his refusal to stop calling the cityÂ “SF.”Â (For you kiddos, that’s an old-timey The Streets of San Francisco television show joke. And I know. Michael Douglas is technically alive, but the joke works better if everyone is dead.) Enough of my hopes and dreams. Jump if you want to discuss the two hours I’ll never get back. Ever.
The show begins with a bus coasting into the San Francisco Intercontinental Hotel parking lot. After the five remaining contestants wait in line to hug Jake and kiss his ring, they head upstairs and quickly lose their minds. “We are staying in a suite,” someone yells hysterically while crying and tearing out hair extensions. Here, we must pause and give kudos to the producers. By offering crap dates that include camping, working in a bordello, and riding around in RVs, the producers have ensured that this perfectly average, nothing special suite will cause these poor, abused, dirty, self-hating women to drop to their knees and thank God and Jake for, it bears repeating, a single suite they are sharing.
While three of the girls work on capturing a sacrificial virgin to give additional thanks (“Corrie, lay on this altar and do some of your impressions!”), Tenley goes out on her date with Jake.Â Her date card reads, “Let’s get our love on track in San Francisco.” Naturally, I’m expecting them to head down to the dog track to make some extra money for food, but the producers apparently want them to stay hungry. Instead, the dynamic duo boards a trolley bus. (It’s not on a track, so I don’t know what to call it.) Seriously, what the hell is going on here? Has even the motorcycle been repossessed?
But Tenley doesn’t mind. “Is it just for us?” Tenley asks, breathlessly.
And lucky for her, it is. Because no one could sit by silently when she says things like, “I haven’t really let myself feel any feelings for anyone else.” Or that she’s looking for a “second chance” at love. Here’s why: her voice is so annoying that it kills me. Also, if you’re looking for a second chance at love, I have to think there are ways to find it. Like, throw a rock. The guy you hit is probably going to be better than a guy who has appeared on two seasons of this ridiculous game show.
The bus finally stops in Chinatown, and Jake says, “You feel like you’re in foreign country.” Now I’m guessing here, but I’d bet around $650 that neither Jake nor Tenley is in possession of a passport. Why? Well, first, there’s Jake’s aforementioned statement. And then there’s the way they react to every element of their Chinatown visit. There’s the montage of them donning Chinese hats! They fool around with fortune cookies! They watch agog when a man plays an instrument on the street! Things are so different in this foreign land, and yet, every detail fulfills every single stereotype!
Jake and Ali finally return to America for a rooftop dinner at Coit Tower. Jake is wearing a black turtleneck. Why? Because he’s about to do a little breaking–and entering–of Tenley’s self esteem. “I don’t mean to keep bringing it up,” he says. (And then he rips at the Band-Aid once again). “What mistakes in your marriage do you feel like you’d be cognizant of the next time around?” he asks. (Did he say “cognizant”?Â I have that in my notes, but it seems unlikely.) And she doesn’t say, “Gosh, I guess I’d try to refrain from marrying a cheater.” or “You know, I’m not really interested in impressing you with lessons I learned from my last relationship. Why don’t you tell me what you learned from looking like a total loser last season?” or even countering with “Why do you like Vienna’s lazy eye?” Instead she says that she would never take a single moment–not even a greeting at the door, a single meal, or a bathroom break (Okay, that’s mine.)–for granted. “I have learned so many things from it,” she says. “And I will not give up.”
After she laughs weirdly (she and Jake have the same weird laugh), she asks him what his expectations are for marriage. He answers that he expects his wife to be always–no matter what–have his back. He wants her to know that he will love, honor, and respect his wife. “A marriage is never going to be perfect, but love can be,” he says.
Right. The love will be perfect.
Anyway, the long and the short of it here is, they dig each other. So much so that kind, benevolent Jake is not going to hold that divorce against Tenley (much). “We line up on so many things. I think the fact that Tenley has been married before…it has made her the woman she is,” he says. “So, I wouldn’t change a thing.” I hate Jake. But Tenley doesn’t. They kiss while an instrumental version of “On the Wings of Love” plays in the distance. (Can they only afford to play it once an episode? It’s become the Where’s Waldo of the show. I’m praying we get a hip-hop version next week.)
On to the 2 on 1 date. Gia and Vienna receive a date card that invites them to “Come be the queens of my castle.” This is followed by a trunk of clothing (provided by clothier to Queen Elizabeth and Snooki: Express) that they are invited to peruse through for rags suitable for ye old royal date. When they arrive at the castle in Napa, they are both wearing jeans.
Vienna is on fire this date. I love when she says, “I’m my dad’s princess and Jake’s queen. And he’s my Prince Charming.” Why? For so many reasons! First of all, on realitysteve.com there’s a very regal picture of Vienna topless save for a Burberry scarf. Chimchiminee! So British! Also I love that she’s surprised that they’re at a castle. She jokes that she thought they were going to a trailer park. That didn’t make a lot of sense UNTIL I saw the previews for next week and noted her dad–the king, apparently–holding court in his garage. My only regret: They didn’t pan in close enough for me to see if Vienna’s lazy eye is something shared by all of Florida’s royal family.
This date is boring. Vienna tries to run the show. She talks a lot. And while maybe no one puts Baby in the corner, Gia goes there quite happily. Before she’s completely outmatched, Jake takes her to some dark, creepy room to tell her that she should fall in love with him. She counters with the fact that he seems to be pulling all of his smooth moves–putting the girls’ legs on his lap, kissing with no tongue, clammy hand holding–with all the girls. “I thought maybe you just did that to me…and it hurt me,” she says.
Our hero is confused. Is this simple swimsuit model questioning him? He recovers quickly with, “Are you falling for me? ‘Cause I’m falling for you.” Then he asks her for a loan, and they make out.
Crazy Eyes interrupts for her own on-on-one time, and things seem a bit awkward. She remedies this by sneaking off after bed time and jumping into the sack with Jake. What part of this seems like a good idea to Vienna? I mean, sure if Jake were a normal dude, okay, I get it. Bring some red wine. Get the party started! But this is Jake. He reacts with horror. “I’m laying in bed. Not quite naked, but close,” he says. He’s sleeping in his underwear like people do every single day. He sends her away but lest you think him anything less than a red-blooded American male, think again. “I assure you,” he says with a nervous laugh. “I had dirty thoughts.” You know who talks like that? People who don’t have sex.
Which brings us to Corrie. She is definitely punished for her abstinence-only stance. She may not be cheap, but she is saddled with an incredibly cheap date. She gets to go to a scary park that looks to have a defunct, haunted carousel on it. (I saw Karl Malden riding around and around.) She gets to board a yacht an old rowboat and go around in circles as Jake attempts to row. She has the pleasure of getting a concussion when Jake moves in closer and bumps her head. It’s so painful, right? Both are waiting for the other to move in for a kiss, and after hours, the moment finally passes when Corrie says, “Oh, they’re fighting.” about the nearby ducks. (Not unlike when Wes used “That bird has one foot.” to deflect D’Anna’s advances.)
Over dinner at the aquarium (2 for 1 special, apparently), Jake all but tells Corrie that she’s going to be hitting the bricks. “We’re behind,” he says. I guess, with Jake, if you haven’t thrown leg thrown your legs over his lap in two weeks, things are over. A man has needs. But Corrie has news that could change things: she’s saving herself for marriage. Jake immediately perks up. No need to worry about this lady sneaking into his bed and causing dirty thoughts! Kisses abound, and finally this excruciating date comes to a close.
Finally, we have Ali’s date. What can I say here? Ali lives in San Francisco, so she’s excited to show him around. She takes him to her neighborhood and almost goes mad with appreciation when Jake–wait for it–buys her some flowers. Never mind that he doesn’t buy her what she asks for. “I like these,” he says and proceeds to pull his favorites.
A few things about that–no matter what you think of Ali, let’s be honest, she’s pretty. Guys probably ask her out and buy her flowers. And why does she take Jake around her neighborhood? Wouldn’t you be embarrassed if someone you know saw you and heard Jake saying something like, “It would be fun to have a place in Dallas and a place in SF.”? (Why doesn’t he just use “DFW” if he’s going to say “SF”? Better to be consistent.) And oh my God. What if you ran into an ex? You’d have to lie. “Oh hey, Jack. This is my cousin. Oh heavens, no! This isn’t The Bachelor. We’re filming Intervention.”
After a quick bite, the couple heads to the marina where Ali kicks off her boots so she can play some soccer, give Jake a backrub, and straddle him. Smooth Jake is unsure what to do with his hands. Did you see when he almost touches her bottom and then he puts his hands down? Don’t worry. Our hero goes in for a second attempt, and succeeds in the landing. Sometimes the dirty thoughts require action! He then questions Ali about her disdain for HRH Vienna. Ali responds that she no longer cares about the one-eyed Grand Duchess. So they rejoice, hold hands, put rocks in their pockets,Â and run into the ocean ala Virginia Woolf. Okay, not really. But Ali’s suede boots do take a beating in the waves. (Why didn’t she remove them for her romp? Well, the guhls and I suspect that they are stinky boots, and after taking them off earlier, she’s too embarrassed to take them off again.)
So, at the rose ceremony, just like in life, it all comes down to the lady and the tramp. Corrie and Vienna are the last two standing. And just like in real life, the tramp always wins. So long, Corrie. Good luck with your impressions in Las Vegas.
Next week: hometown dates. It has to get better, right?