Previously on The Most Formulaic, Useless Reality Show Ever: Mike and Samantha became that completely functional, loving couple you just want to puke on when you’re single; Dawn and Jared, also known as Jarack, went packing after failing at just about everything; Ben was an unmitigated jackass; a bunch of other couples you don’t really care about switched partners; and Vanessa obsessed over Steele. “But look at that face!” exclaims MacAussie’s voiceover. “Can ya blame her?”
Actually . . . yes. He’s one of those guys who just radiates douchebaggery.
This week: The challenge involves a bat cave (no, not that one – we couldn’t possibly be that blessed) and walking across a rickety rope bridge. Also, Steele and Vanessa are going to disagree about something. Commence the inevitable “trouble in paradise” jokes.
Everyone goes back to their cabins and pack and move in with their new partners, during which time, presumably, the producers switch the nametags on each cabin. Jessica says everyone still has a wandering eye, looking for that “love connection.” Honestly, do I have to rent a plane and write YOU WON’T FIND IT ON REALITY TV in exhaust in the sky? This is getting old . . . fast. Ben, meanwhile, says it takes a “special” girl to handle his sense of humor. At least he’s sensitive enough not to use the word “retarded.”
Heather says she’s “scared” of moving into Miles’s cabin because she has “a little crush” on him. How adorably eighth-grade – being afraid of sharing a bed with your crush. By high school, she’d be looking for the sexiest teen undawears available at Target. Miles says he was glad Heather picked him because “she’s really sweet” and looks good in a bikini. Oh, please. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t be allowed on this show if she didn’t. Has anyone seen an ounce of excess fat on any of the women yet?
Erica is still annoyed about Miles dumping her, but she’s OK with living with Jason. He’s amused by her excessive luggage.
“Let’s see . . . shorts, tank tops, bikinis, more bikinis, condoms, lube . . . oh, damn, I think I left my bag of crotchless panties back in Miles’s cabin. Be a doll and grab it for me, would you, Jason?”
Jason is excited to be partnered with Erica because she’s “by far one of the most beautiful girls here.” I think we’ve got the pattern down for the rest of these commentaries. The guy is sweet. The girl is beautiful. The recapper is bored as hell. Jason asks Erica what her favorite color is. Is this some kind of psychological exam, or does that really matter to him? She says it’s black. “Really?!” he exclaims.
“If pastel aqua is second on her list, I’m definitely getting it in.”
Now that they’ve finished the first challenge, Mike and Samantha are swapping the Oasis for a considerably less awesome cabin of their own. Mike says starting a real estate brokerage business in a tough economy took up much of his dating time. Then we see a graphic reading “Just like Samantha’s wedding planning business! They’re SO compatible.” No, we don’t. Mike thinks Samantha could be “the one.” Slow your roll, Mike, we’ve got two to four episodes left of this nonsense.
On the other hand, Vanessa thinks she and Steele are the best-matched couple in the group. BWAH. She randomly tells us that she would like to have two sons and a daughter, preferably with someone like Steele. Yes, ladies, that’s how to snare a male: talk about how you want to have his children after two days. He’ll be yours for all eternity.
Back to the hot tub! Steele is still considerably less enamored with Vanessa than she is with him. He wants to talk to other girls, including Kym.
Um . . . why?
He tells her about how the seasons of the year are very distinctive where he lives. “In fall, the leaves turn . . .” He pauses. “No, the leaves fall. I just realized why they call it fall.” And Vanessa, a law student, wants to have babies with this man. If you’ve ever seen the movie Idiocracy, you’ll know exactly how that would turn out. Kym wants to get to know him better because he’s got a great sense of humor and a personality to match. “But . . .” she adds. He’s an idiot? He’s a buffoon? He makes us want to write six-page letters of apology to George W. Bush? “He’s locked up,” Kym concludes. Yes. Vanessa is his biggest problem.
The next morning, all the couples line up in front of MacAussie as they prep for their next challenge: navigating a series of precariously high bridges without a map, while tethered together. “The good news is, if you do fall hundreds of feet to your death, you’ll fall together, as a couple,” MacAussie adds. Very reassuring. The really good news is, if he falls hundreds of feet to his death, he’ll fall alone. (The camera crew doesn’t count.) They’ll start off with one tether, which can be found on the trees behind them, but the others are on the bridges; they’ll have to collect six tethers in total and attach all of them to one another. Is it too much to ask for one bloody death? Just one? Two would be even grander, but I’ll be fine with one. Oh, please, please let it happen!
On MacAussie’s “Vamoose!” (UGH), the couples set off to find their first tether. Everyone finds one fairly quickly – except Ben and Brandee. Obviously. He gets mad at her because he thinks she’s not looking. He wants to know how she’ll react to him and his “competitive nature.” If it involves clipping one end of that tether shut on his lips, I think we’ll know.
Derek is afraid of heights and, understandably, is freaked out by the challenge. Oh, well, at least he’s cool with ants. (See last week’s recap.) Adam and Kym develop a good vibe, partly because they’re both Bostonians. Erica and Jason’s tethering makes them bump into each other a lot, which annoys Erica. She should count her blessings – he might be a wuss, but he has the best biceps on this show.
Once he gets balls to match, they’ll be in business.
Erica makes a lot of frustrated noises, which tests Jason’s considerable patience. She whines about the “stupid tether” in the whiniest voice I’ve ever heard from a grown woman. Guess who’s switching partners tomorrow night?
Steele and Vanessa reach a cave with a very helpful “BEWARE OF BATS” sign.
On the inside, the bats have a “BEWARE OF DESPERATE WOMEN AND THE MENTAL DEFICIENTS WHO TOLERATE THEM” sign.
Luckily, they make it out alive and with a second tether without getting vampired, or whatever they think the insectivorous bats will do to them. Ben and Brandee are the next into the cave. Brandee is more afraid of the flying bat poop. I hope some of it lands on Ben. Uh-oh – they missed the tether! What else did they think they were being sent through the bat cave for? Fun? They see that Steele and Vanessa have another tether. Vanessa doesn’t want Steele to tell them where it was, but he does. If this is the extent of the attempted sabotage on this show, I’m giving up.
Ben bitches that Brandee didn’t look for a tether. She reminds them that she said “I bet there’s one in here.” “Why didn’t you look?” he demands, sounding like a five-year-old. Brandee calls him a “jerk.” Atta girl.
Mike and Samantha have three tethers while Steele/Vanessa and Ben/Brandee have two each. See how successful you can be when you really kinda like each other? Vanessa complains. Steele is annoyed with her complaining. Vanessa thinks this is a change from “the guy I liked.” Actually, it’s the same Steele we’re all used to. You know, the one who’s too dumb to be annoyed unless a woman has an opinion.
Derek and Jessica reach The Rickety Rope Bridge, which looks exactly like the rickety rope bridges of cartoon lore.
The camera crew woke up extra early to break that one.
Jessica “wasn’t expecting” Derek to be scared and complains that he’s “acting like a girl.” On a bridge made of frayed rope and aging wood, hanging hundreds of feet over a jungle? That’s called “acting like a human,” Jessica. And then he falls through a board! But hangs on. Darn. (I actually don’t mind Derek, but he would have taken Jessica and her attitude with him.)
After the commercial, Jessica helps Derek up and they move on. Ugh, don’t you just hate it when TV shows do that? They make you think shit’s going to go down just before the commercial, then they come back and it turns out to be nothing. Come on, TV, we’re paying for blood here.
Miles and Heather miss the tether (get it? IT RHYMES!) in the bat cave. Heather explains that it gave her “a blonde moment, even though I’m a brunette.” With the sense of humor of the redheaded cousin everyone ignores at family dinners. They have enough sense to go back to the cave and look for the tether . . . and they miss it again. But at least they don’t hate each other!
Finally, we see Peter and Jess, possibly the most neglected people on this show. Jess screams “OH MY GAWD!” a lot as she traverses The Rickety Rope Bridge. Peter says he’s in his element because he loves surfing.
Back to Ben and Brandee (grooooan). Ben thinks Brandee’s left foot is heavier than her right foot. Unfortunately, she doesn’t stomp on his face with either foot, so we may never know. They backtrack to the bat cave and finally get the tether they missed. Success!
Next up is Skippy Squirrel and Theresa, the second-most neglected people on this show. Theresa likes him because they’re both mellow. “I’m all brawn, no brains,” declares Skippy Squirrel. Intelligence is definitely at the bottom of everyone’s list of ideal mate qualities. Nobody has been called smart and nobody talks about how they wish their partner was smarter. How fitting for such a dumb, pointless show. Skippy Squirrel likes Theresa because – guess what? – she has a good sense of humor, and also keeps him on his toes. How can so many good senses of humor add up to such a low collective IQ? Baffling.
Miles and Heather find a very short tether (I’m starting to hate this woman’s name) on The Rickety Rope Bridge. It means they have to be especially close together as they make it over the gaps, which freak Heather out. Miles devises a way for them both to get across safely. He says he “cares about” Heather and wants to help her out for that reason. I’m torn between “Awww” and “Sheesh, whatever.” Anyone want to break the tie?
Peter jumps on one of the less rickety bridges for fun, which pisses Jess off in a major way. He can’t believe how seriously she takes it. She can’t believe how immature he is. She decides she doesn’t want to spend “any more time” with him. Thank goodness. I was afraid she’d say “the rest of my life.”
Three couples find all six of their tethers. Adam calls himself and Kym “Team Boston” as they record their success on one of those dumb handheld camcorders. Just don’t come to Vancouver, guys – you might not make it back with a full set of teeth. They’re the first to reach MacAussie. Wait, where the hell did Mike and Samantha go? Did they pause to finally have sex? Either way, off to the Oasis for Team Boston! They’ll also have “a five-star lunch” the next day by the volcano. These “meals with views” prizes are going to get boring.
Next: Peter/Jess, Ben/Brandee, Skippy Squirrel/Theresa, Mike/Samantha. What’s with the least compatible couples coming in second? Speaking of which, let’s get back to Steele and Vanessa, neither of whom has any idea where they’re going. And they still have only two tethers. Ha. They’re starting to realize that they just aren’t that into each other, despite being “so physically close.” Cue that boring slow song from Enchanted.
“Giselle, darling, every moment I look at you is another moment I thank God that you’re not Vanessa.”
Erica and Jason call out for their next tethers. Anyone reminded of Snooki calling for Crocodilly when Vinny hid him? Jason babbles about how he liked to play tetherball as a kid. Yeah, you and every other kid in America, Jason. (Except me. But only because I was short.) Erica tells Jason he talks too much. He protests, repeatedly, that he’s not trying to upset her. “Dude, SHUT UP!” she screams. He does, out of shock that an adult would tell another adult to shut up. Actually, I’m kind of on her side here. Babbling under fire is no way to make a situation less stressful. I’m surprised she hasn’t thrown him into a pit already.
They finish in sixth, followed by Miles and Heather in seventh. Derek and Jessica find one of their last tethers. Jessica fears that they look stupid and “lost in the sauce.” OK, now you look stupid. What the hell does that mean? They almost make it to the finish line, but are barely beaten out by Steele and Vanessa. Fuck.
Adam and Kym enter the Oasis and immediately fall in love with it.
And why not? The producers left ingredients for cracker sandwiches.
Kym thinks “something could happen” between her and Adam that night. It can’t be that promising – Mike and Samantha were having a good long peck session by this point. It wasn’t much, but it was more than this.
At the cabins, Erica, who is bizarrely wearing a black jacket and matching pants, can’t wait to get away from Jason. He’s too polite to say she annoys him. She is not. Meanwhile, Miles sets up a picnic for himself and Heather. OK, I’m leaning more toward “Awww” now. She hopes he doesn’t dump her at elimination the next night. You may remember that Erica was in a similar position last week and he dumped her ass, but Heather is much cooler than her, so the outlook is pretty good for these two.
Back to Ben and Brandee. He says she annoys him less than anyone else on the show. Apparently that’s as close to a compliment as he’ll ever get. The closest I’d ever get to complimenting Ben is choosing a night with him over a night with Dick Cheney.
“Make me make this face and I’ll appoint you to the federal bench.”
Ewwwwwwwwww. I sincerely apologize for that. I’ll wait while you give your imagination a good scrubdown. Anyway, Brandee says she doesn’t know what she’s going to do at elimination. Then Ben says “I’m equivalent to, like, a wife-beater with my words.” Brandee? ELIMINATE HIM.
At the Oasis, Adam and Kym tuck into their plates of unidentifiable meat and talk about their feelings on children. Adam wants them. Kym does not. Also, Kym has a dog and Adam has a cat, and Kym hates cats. Strangely, though, he finds her more “intriguing” by the minute. I assure you, if I or my boyfriend wanted kids or preferred dogs, we wouldn’t be together right now.
“Is ‘intriguing’ your word for ‘vomit-inducing?’ Because it’s definitely mine.”
Erica takes her giant pile of luggage out of her and Jason’s cabin and moves to a lounge chair by the pool. First Jess makes him sleep on the floor, now this? Poor guy just can’t win. If it’s not ants, it’s women with issues.
Meanwhile, Derek is hanging out in a hammock with . . . Jess. Not Jessica, Jess. DRAMA! They engage in delightful playful banter and even more delightful red wine. No word on Peter or Jessica. Presumably, Peter is practicing surf moves in the bathroom mirror and Jessica is taking inventory of her eye makeup.
Back to Steele and Vanessa. “I know I’m losing Steele,” Vanessa simpers, “and I don’t know why.” Gee, Vanessa, did your utter lack of compatibility not factor in there somewhere? Then she breaks out the “we need to talk.” We hear a series of small POOF sounds as nine out of Steele’s ten remaining brain cells explode. He says he’s going to move on. Thank God he saved that last one. Vanessa wishes she hadn’t been vulnerable with Steele. “I deserve to have someone to be with me! I don’t deserve to be alone!” she cries. No, she doesn’t. She deserves to be with Ben.
Dear CTV video player, I don’t give two shits about Chevy’s Employee Pricing Event. You can go to hell now. Thank you.
More of Vanessa! GOODY! Just what I’ve always wanted! She thinks she screwed herself because her “loyalty” to Steele kept her from talking to any other guy. That’s not loyalty, sweetheart, that’s sociopathy. She ends up taking a walk with Peter, who is equally on the outs with Jess but much more relaxed about it. As if he’s capable of being anything other than relaxed.
“For the last time, no, I do not want to see the weed and nachos you stashed in the woods.”
Peter isn’t Vanessa’s first choice – by this point, I’d be impressed if he was Jason’s first choice – but if he’ll pick her as his next partner and keep her on the show, she’ll put up with him. Ah, strategic couplehood. It never fails.
I really, really miss Mike and Samantha. We need a consistently non-dysfunctional relationship to chase away the memory of the seven dysfunctional ones. Hell, I’ll take Miles and Heather over this endless parade of dunderheads.
Elimination time! Jason gives his head a fresh shave. Heather gives her face a fresh coat of makeup. Ben gives Brandee a fresh comment about her outfit. Sadly, Brandee does not give Ben a fresh bruise. Adam is annoyed that Kym wants to go with Steele. Adam, if your girl doesn’t want to procreate with you and would rather have Steele, you’re better off without her. Peter is trapped. He “has an agreement” that he and Vanessa will choose each other, but he likes . . . Erica?! Either way, he’d get pretty much the same person.
Everyone shows up for elimination looking especially swanky.
“Are we all ready? OK, everybody say ‘prom!’”
MacAussie reiterates the rules: Adam and Kym, as winners, get a guaranteed switch while everyone else can be turned down, and the last man and woman standing will be sent home. We know, MacAussie. It’s not hard. (The reminder is probably for Steele’s sake.) Kym, who gets first pick, says she’s going to switch. Adam isn’t the least bit upset, but he thinks they might have a chance to rekindle their NOT-romance if they don’t like anyone else. Keep dreaming, sweetie. She’s choosing a talking coconut over you.
The talking coconut goes up and says he’s “ecstatic” to be with Kym, meaning away from Vanessa.
“DON’T CRY. DO NOT CRY. FIGHT THE URGE TO CRY.”
And then Adam picks . . . Heather. She can’t say no, despite being much better off with Miles. Thanks for ruining one of the only two decent matchups on the show, Adam. Miles and Heather both look resigned to their fate, but Miles AWESOMELY says “May the best man win” in response to MacAussie’s questions about how upset he is. I really hope these two sneak off to a lounge chair of their own. Or, even better, fisticuffs between Miles and Adam. No, that’s not going to happen, but one can dream.
Jess and Peter, on the other hand, are both ready to get out of each other’s presence. Predictably, Jess picks Derek. There’s hope for these two, but if they don’t move beyond the “joke about how much each other sucks at everything” stage, I’m giving up. Peter picks Erica, the “funnest” woman he has met so far. Oh, Peter. I expected higher standards of fun from you.
“DO NOT CRY. IT’S OK. YOU DESERVE TO BE LOVED. DO. NOT. FUCKING. CRY.“
But, just her luck, Erica has a deeper connection with somebody else! Peter is sent to the “unmatched area,” which we can only assume is a small patch of mud surrounded on three sides by poison ivy and located just under a large nest of yellowjackets. Wait, no, it’s just the end of the platform. MORE SUFFERING, DAMMIT!
Brandee and Ben are the next to go up, but the camera lingers on Erica for a moment. Wait, did she feel a deeper connection with Ben? How utterly appropriate! Brandee says she’ll stick it out with Ben. Please give this woman a Congressional Medal of Honor for her bravery. Ben says he’s like to get to know other girls, but Brandee is the only one who can suppress her urge to call him a dick to his face, so he’ll “stick it out” with her. No, he doesn’t say that.
Skippy Squirrel and Theresa are up next. MacAussie comments that Skippy Squirrel always looks so calm. I guess there are advantages to a complete absence of brain. They stick together. They seem all right, but I can’t bring myself to be interested in either of them. The far more interesting Mike and Samantha go up next and stay together as well. Thank you, Jesus. You have answered my prayers for two characters to ‘ship.
Erica and Jason are up. MacAussie asks if Erica has changed her mind about Peter. She hasn’t. She picks Miles, who looks positively THRILLED.
“DO NOT PUKE. SUPPRESS YOUR ALL-CONSUMING DESIRE TO PUKE.”
But he says yes, probably figuring that a) she couldn’t possibly attract him away from Heather and b) she’s not Vanessa. Next is Jason, who has his pick of the last two ladies, Vanessa and Jessica. He diplomatically says both of them are “absolutely awesome.” Wait, no, that’s not diplomacy, that’s just pure bullshit. And then he picks Jessica, who says yes, meaning Peter and Vanessa are going home! HALLELUJAH! No more blatant desperation! No more head lice! Everything’s going to be OK!
For us, anyway. Vanessa smiles and reveals her little “agreement” with Peter. Expect that surf camp to shut down next week due to lack of owner. Peter apologizes, but he didn’t want to miss the opportunity he had with Erica. Too bad Erica wanted to miss it.
Peter curses himself for his stupidity in not following through on his deal with Vanessa. He admits that he “doesn’t fit the mold” of what the other girls find attractive. Don’t worry, Peter, I’m sure some Foo Fighters roadie will go out with you. Vanessa curses herself for coming on to Steele to strongly and fraternizing with the “idiot” Peter. But she says she has a lot of good things going for her and she “won’t be alone that much longer.” Don’t worry, Vanessa, I’m sure . . . wait, give me a minute. . . .
This show doesn’t have previews for next week’s episode, so we’ll have to wait until then to see if Miles and Heather’s love can transcend the boundaries of reality TV competition, if Jason ever gets to sleep in a bed with a woman, if Mike and Samantha find something to disagree about other than who’s prettier, and if MacAussie finds a good joke somewhere in the forest. Until then, some of you may be interested to know that I also run a daily blog about U.S. politics, and I’m always looking for new readers. Check it out!