When did it become fashionable for mom's to hate their daughters? Did I miss the memo? I just watched three moms and one dad do everything but shove and kick their daughters toward the emotional cliff that is Jake Pavleka, and bid them to hop off. Five minutes (or three hours; does it matter?) with the cheesemachine and these parents were all urging their children to leap of into the great unknown with some clown who is dating three other girls and 'fall in love'. Either these parents have gone completely insane or their daughters must be total maniacs they can't wait to pawn off on the nearest stranger. You would think Jake was the Prince of Wales or the son of Warren Buffet or something, not just some flight instructor who owns a limo company. Man have we ever hit rock bottom in this country. We've certainly hit rock bottom on this show. The hometown dates usually feature some hellish run-in between the Bachelor and some father or mother who hate them on sight, or at least some snide insinuation of that fact from the editors. Not on this night. That would be fine too--quite welcome actually--if one could be believe the sincerity of the Star of this season. But since Le Fromage has all the credibility of Bernie Madoff with fans, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. This felt like the eerie quiet before some temblor hits or some volcano explodes.The smoothest hometown dates in this show's history should tell the discerning viewer that a trainwreck of major proportions is soon in the offing.
No Worms in the Big Apple
First up for the honor of introducing Jake to their family is Gia the pro; waiting for Captain Camembert in New York. Gia was the focus of a lot of pre-show disdain for her scantily clad model shots all over the internet, but the little Yankee elf has steadily maintained one of the best edits this season: shy at times, a little insecure, and nary a bad word for anyone. She's also lived down her history of dating professional athletes and parlayed the bulk of her screen time this episode into transforming the bad boys of the major leagues into weight she's hungering to jettison. Meeting Jake, she decides that since he's in New York, she should treat him like a tourist and mug him. She squeals and lands on 'ol shorty with enough enthusiasm to floor anyone with a higher center of gravity. But Jake recovers and they go on a ferry ride across New York harbor so Jake can act like he's taking pictures and the Fleiss-rat can give us a slideshow of the Statue of Liberty, etc. He also has her pose on the bow of the boat with her jacket off so we can get a look at her hardened nipples. (Thank you, Mr. Fleiss!). A brief talk about her worthless ex-boyfriends follows and then they go to a restaurant to meet her mom, step dad, and brother. Now, I'm going to try and be gentle here, since the family all acted like they cared about Gia a lot. Well, let's just say Gia got all the looks in the gene pool. Can we say that? Sure we can. Mom Donna looked like she was going to hop onto her broom and go and kill Harry Potter or something. And the brother? Well, he looked like he'd gotten his head caught in a Veg-O-Matic in about 1955 by the look of his clothes. Nevertheless, it isn't all about looks and these folks seemed fairly solid. Yeah, true, mom looks like she shops at the Witchy-Poo Crackmart, and playing with the tarot cards at the didn't help much, but the vibe was solid. "Ol Veg-Head even wormed his way into my heart by threatening to break Joke's legs at one point. The only thing that was off was the ease into which the cheesmachine seemed to pull the wool over these people's eyes. Mom and Gia went for a walk and Gia broke down and bawled while mom kept assuring her that she saw true love in Jake's eyes when he looked at her. Do you mean the guy you just met, mom? Your daughter is displaying more sense that you, and that's just not right. Age should bring wisdom, not just fried brain cells.
"He can't love me yet," Gia insists correctly.
Anyway, the family seemed cool despite the looks and I couldn't help liking them. If I wasn't convinced that Gia was just a fairly decent actress collecting a check and some face time, I might have even been inclined to cheer her on. Provided it was someone worth her time anyway. Date brief, and over.
She's in love...with Her Job
Next up is this weeks focal-point gal: Chemical Ali. Ali is going to take us on a strange trip tonight, folks. One minute she's crying and glowing about how much she loves Jake--even going so far as taking him on a tour of her dead granny's house--then she's dumping him over a sales job at Facebook. But before we can get to that incredulous moment, she is going to take us and the Cheeser to meet her family. He blasts us with a few "Amazing Bombs" as he greets her in Massachusetts in autumn. She whines about how she wanted him to come when the stick-like trees had leaves on them. Like Captain America to the rescue, Jake finds a branch low enough to the ground for both he and Herve Villechaize to reach, and shakes some leaves loose because Ali tells him she likes to make wishes to falling leaves. A few fall down and Ali grabs one and wishes for a promotion at Facebook. Then they walk to granny's empty house and she leads him around. This is supposed to be the part where we all get weepy and awed at just how serious Ali is about Jake that she went to ask the blessing of her dead granny. Frankly, I thought it was creepy as hell and set a new low in shamelessness. For those busily pimping Ali as the next Bachelorette, kindly shut the hell up. This girl has looked mean as a snake--floundered and swore undying love--and then dumped the same guy for a crappy job. If we'd needed to get in touch with the dead, we could have skipped the dead Real Estate tour and played a few more hands of Tarot with Gia's mom. Thanks, but no thanks. Anyway, the fake seance over, Ali takes Jake home to meet her mom. Mom has that cardboard look of someone knowing they are on a TV show and is doing her daughter a favor by playing along. Obediently, she also sees love in the Cheeser's eyes and tells Ali its all ok with her. Jake, sensing an easy mark, moves in for the kill and asks mom's permission to pop the question. She gives him the thumbs up and nudges Ali closer to the cliff she's never gonna' jump off of. As Jake drives away, Ali tells us she's fallen in love with him. Date over.
The Weepy, Watering-Pot Clan
Next up is the ever earnest, and wide-eyed innocent divorcee: Watering pot Tenley. She greets the Cheeseball in beautiful Oregon and treats us to her patented eardrum shaking squeal. Tenley gushes but tells her she has some tough questions for the cheese wheel. They sit and chat and she basically wants to know if he lets his mom and dad run his life--just like her ex used to. Sounding like a nadless wimp, Jake confirms that he pretty much runs everything past his parents. Confusing me, Tenley interprets this to mean that Jake is his own man. (huh?) Anyway, she's so pleased she hauls him to a dance studio so she can share her means of expression with him: dance. (And also get in a quick plug to be the next Ette to follow Melissa Rycroft onto Dancing with the Stars.) She is enraptured that Jake will sit there bored to death and watch her twirl about--unlike her villainous ex-husband--who only wanted to drink beer and sauce up floozies, one supposes. I will say this, he does show more animation with her that he did with either Gia or Ali. Up until this point, it's been fake laughs and android-like emotions. After a little more wine, it's off to meet the folks. Jake gets cornered by her dad who mentions he saw Jake's embarrassing performance on the Bachelorette last year, and instead of throwing Jake out of his house like I would have, dad seems impressed by Jake's honesty. What did P.T. Barnum say was born every minute? Sensing a fool, Jake ask permission to marry his daughter and dad is over the moon. Dad and Tenley powwow and poor old dad gets his idiot on by thinking Jake is genuine and he and Tenley both spring leaks of joy. Mom adds her tears to the torrent and Tenley's journey toward the Dark Side is complete. Jake cheeses her mom by asking if Tenley is ready and mom basically says: Not a chance! "She will be feeling the effects of her divorce for quite sometime." Jake nods and completely ignores her. He hauls dad outside and asks permission to pop the question. Dad, apparently desperate to see Tenley happy again, says 'Yes'. Jake is even nice enough to punch himself in the balls to work up some tears to join in. This is starting to look like a Wile E. Coyote cartoon. Are these parents trying to find out how high their daughters will bounce when they hit the ground? The only things missing are the "Help Me!" sign and the puff of smoke when they land. Date over.
The Sausage in Florida
It's off to the climes of balmy central Florida and the home of Vienna Sausage. She meets the Cheddar King in a state park and they go for a boat ride. The only thing we get to see besides some half-tame alligators is Jake asking about how Vienna's dad reacts to boys she brings home. Vienna seems to set a dark tone for the visit by telling Jake that the itinerant crack dealers she usually dates have not been well received. The scene jumps quickly to nighttime and we get to see that for all of Vienna's blather about being a spoiled princess, that her parents live in a very modest home. But as soon as they crest the doorway we do see Vienna's nauseating little dog and dad is there to greet them and he breaks down in tears. (I assume he had just seen Vienna's latest credit card bill.) Spliced interviews let Vienna tell us how bonkers over Jake she is, and dad takes the cheeser out into the man-garage for some tough talk. "Please, please take this money pit off my hands," dad seems to want to beg, but instead he barks about seeing her treated like the spoiled little princess she obviously is. Jake vows to devote his life to paying off Vienna's Gap bill and assorted traffic citations. This pleases pops to no end and so when Jake asks for clearance to fire, dad can hardly wait. Then we get to see the most illustrative moment of the entire episode: When Jake sits with Vienna and her mom, he blames the fact that every other girl in the house hates Vienna is because "They are jealous!" Bang! Boom! Cha! Game over. Hear that Ali, Tenley, Jessie, Valisha, everyone else besides Gia? She wasn't a bitch; you were all just jealous of her! It pleases me to no end to report that no matter how much smoke the other girls throw up when they hit the bottom of that ravine, that it's nothing compared to the yellow mushroom cloud of dust the cheeser's gonna' kick up when he hits the ground. BOOM! Ah, satisfaction at last. Date (and Jake) over!
Ali's Endless, Whining, Death Spiral
The wench queen commented at the very end of this torturous segment that this was a half hour of her life she's never gonna' get back. Hammy, Shakespearean actors have shorter death scenes than Chemical Ali did. It all started when she showed up at his hotel suite and started bawling...and bawling...and bawling. Somebody should have fetched Tenley and her dad. They could have formed a crying tag team. This 'shocking' event lost all steam the second she announced she was going to have to chose between a one-in-four chance of landing him, or keeping her job. At least Drop Dead Ed kept his ass-hauling short last season. There was zero drama to this entire forty minute segment after that first announcement. It started in his suite and carried over into the Rose Ceremony, and it consisted of Ali crying, and trying to get some sign from Le Fromage that he was going to pick her. Jake wouldn't budge beyond telling her that he wanted her to stay, and frankly he acted like she was the one he was going to dump anyway. After the wingman had lined all the girls up firing squad-style and Ali asked to speak with him in private, all we saw was a replay of the scene in the suite, but now done in Jake's stare-at-pics-room. She probed, and he refused to commit, and finally, and I do mean FINALLY, she gives it up. "At last!" My wife cried in triumph. Jake hauls her down to the limo and slams the door on her. She tries to go splenetic and he, lacking a balcony railing to collapse over, has to content himself with the hotel handrail on the front steps. Forced into a Half-Mesnick, Cheeser whines a little as she drives away. The next scene we see, however, (ten minutes or two hours, it doesn't matter) he is beaming at the remaining three women like a relieved loon. So much for the heartbreak of losing her. He happily toasts the remaining gals and announces that next week it's off to St. Lucia.
Ok, friends, this long, slogging marathon of endurance is getting closer to the end. Good thing too, my stamina is draining away as quickly as my cheese-analogy repertoire. Until next time, when we join Wile E. Coyote in the Caribbean as he prepares for his atomic belly flop; this is your old pirate signing off. Arghhhh!
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