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America's love affair with the reality-show bachelor is tested... as is the virtue of Melana Scantlin, as she must choose a mate from a bevy of... well, let's just say outer-beauty-challenged suitors.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN

November-December 2003, NBC
Kathy Griffin
EP: Stuart Krasnow
Packager: Krasnow Productions, NBC Studios

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November 3, 2003

Deja vu. It's the feeling that you're seeing something that you've seen before. It's also a glitch in the Matrix. It means that programming has changed. Enter "Average Joe", what could better be described as "Mr. Personality" minus the masks.

But truth be told, what will unfold in the next hour has been a long time come for the 85 percent of us who don't fit society's mold of perfection, as the men that you are about to meet are just like you and me. They're... well, average Joes. They're the ones that are representing every man who has ever cried at a movie, got passed over for a promotion, or wondered whose leg he had to hump to get Leah Remini into bed. Admit it.

And who better to introduce us to these average Joes than the self-proclaimed queen of all reality show fangirls... That's right, after being a contestant and a panelist, Kathy Griffin is blessed with her own show.

But enough about that for now, we'll see her in a bit. Right now let's meet a limo-transported Melana Scantlin, a former NFL cheerleader, former beauty queen, in a word... DAYYUMM. She is going to be treated like a princess, with a palace to match. She's looking for her fairy-tale prince. And of course, she believe that personality counts more than anything else. She wants to have a great smile and a great sense of humor. She believes that he'll come with these 16 guys. Oh yeah. He'll come. Anyone ever heard of "Beauty and the Beast"?

But don't believe me, check these guys out.

Dennis Luciani; 36; accountant - the hula hoop geek.
Marc Marcuse; 31; software test manager - the short geek.
Craig Campbell; 24; cigar lounge manager - the big boned geek.
David Lopez; 24; bouncer - the geek who will kick your ass.
Jay Greenberg; 33; publishing assistant - the Costanza geek.
Eric Lindh; 32; police officer - the pig.
Clint Schaff; 24; communications coordinator - sounds like the whiny geek.
Brad Holcman; 26; management associate - the extremely proud geek.
Adam Mesh; 27; Wall Street trader - the self-deprecating geek who has a separate brain for his mouth.
Jerry Ferrara; 28; advertising sales - the clumsy geek.
Zach Cohen; 27; real estate broker - the geek with high aspirations.
John Baumgaertner; 26; director's assistant - the dork.
Dennis Short; 34; chiropractor - the life of the party.
Wally Steffen; 27; real estate agent - the geek with chops.
Tareq Kabir, PhD; 21; college professor - the geek with cred.
Joe Fabiani; 36; investment banker - the fat geek.

And finally, the two most important geeks, all things considered...

Kathy Griffin; 39; comic actress - the geek hosting this.

...and me.

Chico Alexander; 23; medical technologist - the geek recapping this.

The look on Melana's face... get your cameras out, folks. But first, something a little less frightening. More footage of Melana running in slow-motion. "I'm not looking for perfection." Honey, you better not be, for you have just volunteered yourself for "Revenge of the Nerds: the Series".

Well, so far, enjoying the estate, we see that a great deal of the bachelors are "tools" and that New York Zach is the jerky one. Oh, and Craig breathes fire. That night, we have a party filled with pent-up testosterone. So this is what happens if you get together sixteen men who haven't had any? They wonder if Melana's Hawaiian, 5'5, 5'6, blonde, with long straight black hair. You can tell that they're pretty different in expectations. Tareq cites a division in this: you have the drinkers and you have the thinkers. The thinkers talk about the drinkers. The drinkers... drink. The thinkers, represented by Marc, get egged by the drinkers, represented by Zach, for no apparent reason. Looks like there might be blood in this premiere episode.

The thinkers help Marc think up a killer revenge tactic. They only come up with "telling the truth." I would've just lobbed one to the groin, but I guess that works.

Well, we've come to the moment where Melana is about to meet our average Joes. "I just took a deep breath and though, 'Alright, bring on bachelor number one!'" Well, Melana, ask and you shall receive. Here's Mike, and Melana's ear to ear on this one. Hold on a sec, Mike, was there a Mike? I don't remember a Mike. "I'm not one of your dates tonight." Oh, okay. Mike tells Melana that the REAL limo is on its way. Well that was a dirty trick.

And, of course, by limo, I mean, "bus". Out steps Marc first, and we have definite NAT (nose avoidance tilt) from Melana followed by a reparatory smile. You know something, she probably shunned these types in high school. "Somebody's messing with my head," she says. Karma, my dear Melana... Ain't it a bitch?

Then Melana meets Dennis L, Wally, Joe, Jay (with a Magic 8-Ball), Jon (with a basket of nerves), Zach, Eric, Clint, David, ... Brad, Dennis S. (with a flower), Tareq, Jerry, and Big Craig (with... dolls?). And she's gotta pick one of them.

"I feel like 95 percent of them are not my type," she says to a consoling Kathy in a room she THINKS we can't see. Well, if you wanted people to really think that you were a stuck up biz-notch, congratulations. She then returns to her party, where fifteen of the men try to pick her up all at once. Tareq just watches. It seemed like Melana really enjoyed their company (what I wouldn't give for another hidden camera moment). And their company really enjoyed her.

What I really appreciated was that they stuck by each other, evident in someone intro'ing Tareq. His best foot forward: "Do you like broccoli?" You know, you were right there with the smoothness and then... boom.

Photo booth moments, and a kiss on the cheek later, Joe reveals that Zach doesn't really like being lumped in with the average Joes and that he wants out. Will he be one of the four guys cut? If he is, he figures that he's got e-mail. No big loss. On the other hand, Joe figures that with four getting cut and four wanting to get cut, "I now have a one in eight shot of getting some hot ass!"

So he thinks. Here comes Melana with the cut. Rejection lives again for Dennis S. (no connection), Eric, Clint, and Wally. The 12 that did make the cut did so on a deeper level. But we'll see just how deep it goes. If anything, this series just proves that an incredibly skewed and distorted vision of true reality on the part of one woman, looking for something that exists in only a small percentage of men, and being thrown for a loop when she doesn't get it... can make for GOOD TELEVISION! See ya next week.

November 10, 2003

Can there be love between a beauty queen/dancer/cheerleader... and a geek? Well, there could be if the geek was me and the dancer was named Kat, but enough about high school. We're back in the mansion with the twelve remaining kings of geekdom and their wench Melana.

If you remember last week, Dennis, Clint, Wally, and Eric got back on the bus to Geek City, and the rest of the group is mourning their fallen comrades. Melana said that she didn't want to break up the group. Group didn't want to break up the group, either.

But reality goes on, and so does this tennis match... that goes horribly wrong. Something must be done! Where are our heroes? *pushes hero button, Tony Gonzalez of the Kansas City Chiefs appears* Wow. This thing really does work! Thanks, Gordon!

(Gordongram: Don't Mention It. You got one that will end the Giants, Jet's and The Bachelor 4's season?)

After going through the "yeah, Melana's a nice piece of ass who used to cheer for the Chiefs" spiel, he decides to whip the boys into shape, first by cleaning up the house. Because little sister is on her way, and if you mess with little sister's heart, big brother will wail on you. "This place was a dump, baby," says Tony. Gotta act fast. Must clean... Must clean for woman.

Mission accomplished and we go to geek-on-geek football. One calls for a lateral. Instead, he gets a pile driver. Dude, I know you're all about the game, but Raw is on another channel. They get up in time to see Melana show up in her strategically-cut jersey. She wants TDs, and she wants dancin'. But Tony might be having a thing for the group: "Definitely some good guys, guys you wanna get married to, guys you wanna take home to momma."

John used to play football in high school, as he starts talking smack like a second-string sophomore that was used to plug a gap on the bench. Main target: Zach. "If you were gonna go like you planned on last night, one of my best friends would be here." Gee, I wonder if Zach's being hated on. Zach's not going to take the smack lightly, as he says that he doesn't have disdain for the guy; "I just hate him." Not to mention that Zach thinks that he's the best-looking guy out there. John's bullied factor will definitely play into his actions for the rest of the show, if I know my subcultures right. This is a battle that he's had to fight for a long time, and he opens up in front of Dennis. A nice tender moment. It's what all reality TV needs.

That night, Kathy drills her personal charge of the blight brigade on the three dates that they will be on (groups of four during the day). At the end of each, Melana will invite one of the four from each group to dinner. After all of that, she has to cut the group in half.

Date 1: The Massage date. Big Joe, Battling Brad, Marc, and the Doctor (that would be Tareq for those who didn't bother to read the first sum-up) are headed to a spa. Everyone gets 10-15 minutes of time to get to first base with Melana. Tareq was first, as he pimped his academic family. Melana's surprised by his intellectual depth. Marc thinks that Zach is a bully, and Melana wants to know why. Big Joe tells Melana that Marc is the oddball. Brad has to catch his breath when he sees Melana half-naked. "Touch is one of the most important things to me." I bet it is. Afterwards, it's into the mudpits, where they recall what each said to Melana. Which brings up what I personally think is a valid point: "The objective may be to get the girl, but at what expense?" That comment buys Tareq dinner tonight.

But at least Brad gets a ticket to the next round (or so he hopes). Meanwhile, Dr. T and his woman enjoy the sunset, enjoy the dinner, and enjoy Tareq's PhD. "I'm a 21-year-old going on about 56." Things get hot after a talk on AI and love. Dudes, rent the movie. And speaking of AI, Tareq let his down for the first time and allowed love to take over. Big surprise to him. "There isn't enough words that can accurately express what it is that's going through my head right now." I can think of one. "Breasts."

Meanwhile, Dennis wants Brad at the end. Brad also wants to know what it is that she saw in Tareq.

Date #2: The Joshua Tree (and no U2 in sight) with Adam, the God-among-geeks Zach, JFK Jr. Jerry, and everyone's favorite Dennis. We take to the rocks, as things get a little rocky for Melana's ascent. And Dennis'. Melana gets higher than any one of the four do, but I've honestly known the stock market to climb higher than she did.

So let's make this interesting. "Whoever can get the highest I'll take to dinner." Dennis is first. Let me remind you that this was the guy who got rejected from the Air Force, airport security, tons of women, and Survivor twice. And right now, he's the guy to beat to the top of the wall climb. "Dennis is walking the walk as he talks the talk, and I wish more guys would do that," Melana says.

Meanwhile, Adam gets one for in the mommy-and-daddy switch. Zach gets the mental equivalent, as Melana gives him a respectful tongue-lashing off to the side about his attitude. He's only around because he's the most attractive. All the while, both people are oblivious to the fact that Jerry made the top. And proving once again that ability and will don't matter in the slightest, Zach gets the alone time with Melana. Ass(^_^).

In the alone time, Zach gives Melana his life story and Melana pretends to be interested. Then came the "attraction", the "hot tub scene", the "walking out of the pool with a bikini on", the "champagne", and the "kiss". Trust me, you've all seen this before. "Everything just felt so natural with Zach." As natural as reality TV gets, honey.

Date 3: Houseboat at Lake Havasu. Craig, John, Jay, and David "D-Lo" stop the engine on their houseboat as they started the engine on other things, like their speedboats, their jet-skis, and their libidos. But before that, we're treated to wipeout after wipeout after wipeout. And then they get into the speedboats and wipeout some more.

Decision time once again, and John gets the nod for some quality boat time. The lights looks nice at night, and John's hoping to use that to his advantage. To that end, they camp out with a song and a bag of marshmallows. The song was "Vienna, City of My Dreams". John was confident that "she was impressed." Melana, on the other hand, thought it was "kind of dorky". They end with a peck. "The magnitude for such a little kiss from John was overwhelming," said Melana. For you or for John? John seems to think that she's interested... Does anyone get that feeling or is John the only one?

A gossip session and an awaiting of the final tally later, Zach's taunting finally gets the best of Dennis. Dennis confronts him on it, and Zach lets him down with that whole "ha ha kidding" routine. That, and a quarter will get you five nickels.

Oh, did I mention that I thought that Kathy suited this job perfectly? "I'm sorry to break up the party, but six of you have to get the axe." It's finally time for the elimination. The six who make the cut tonight are in for ... a "twist". (dramatic music). The others are in for... a "bus ride" (honk honk). Due to "chemistry" (which really meant she was having one of those delusional cheerleader moments where she'd rather have Tony back as a contestant), Marc, Big Craig, Jay, Big Joe (who gets it spot on by saying that her decisions were hollow and shallow), D-Lo, and the rock climber Dennis ("I didn't get the girl, but I got a whole lot more"). But she kept Zach, though. She kept the ass. Everyone loves the ass. And we'll see more of the ass as well as "the twist" next week.

As for Melana's selection process, what can I say except whatever you get, you deserve.

November 17, 2003

And now, the Reverend Chico will deliver the Gospel according to Viewtiful Joe (and what could pass for the GSNNR mantra): "There is always a plot twist. Something always has to go wrong once before you can get to the happy ending." But then again, these Joes are hardly Viewtiful. And in the next 60 minutes, their prognosticated happy endings may be derailed.

But first, to recap, Adam, Pretty Boy Zach, Dr. Tareq, Brad, John, and Jerry are left standing, as they are doing the water park, Knott's Soak City to be exact. Our dirty half-dozen are waiting for Melana to slide on down. She does... right next to Brad. How's that for fate. And Melana... well, let's just say that the whole turnabout for last week's eliminations? Yeah, it starts here. Gosh, how many times a woman can get flipped over in an innertube is beyond me.

Adam shines at the Salty Dog. I guess since he's the only big guy left, he's gotta represent, you know. Zach represents the manipulative people who we're so tired of for cripes sake. Some times, he's driven by the prospect of the prize, and others, he's just driven by the game itself. John hits it on the head when he says "He's like the bully and everyone else is his toadies."

Meanwhile, Melana fights her own whiny tendencies when she's faced with... wait for it...

Wait for it...

Tidal Wave Tower (da da DAAAAAAA)

Adam is also scared, but they strike a deal where she'll go if he does. They both end up going. It's a hard landing for Melana and a wedge monster for Adam ("I didn't know where my butt ended and my bathing suit began").

Tareq chats up Melana over the lazy river. "To be in a situation where I'm possibly falling for a girl after the first date is beyond any calculation that I possibly could have fathomed." Smooth, man. Real smooth. Brad also get some lazy river time with Melana, but he just says that "something's right. Something's there. The connection between the two of us." John goes under the bridge, but only give a cheek kiss, because of her "chicken breath." As for Adam, Melana "loves the way that Adam is just Adam all the time." He might be a frontrunner.

The men meet up with Commander Kathy poolside at the house. Over the next few days, Melana will go out with all six men, two at a time. Each date has a competition. The winner of this date will go on to spend a romantic evening alone with her, which may play into their favor, as only three of them will move forward after this round. The other three will go home crying in shame, but more than likely attracting the attention of a stalker who may be watching this. If such a thing happens, Game Show Newsnet and parent company Stormseeker Global will disavow any and all knowledge of your whereabouts. Dis-missed.

Date 1: Double Dash. Zach and Jerry go ATV riding. Jerry is a slow-ass driver, and Zach has Melana's favorite to win (especially since Jerry has the personality of day-old mac'n'cheese). But enough of that. Time for some action. Rules of the race: no spiked wheels, no whips, and you must answer all five Melana-related questions around the track. Green means a correct answer and a shortcut. Red means a wrong answer and the long route. Hope you've been studying. Ready? GO!

Final time for Zach: 1:38.90 Final time for Jerry: 3:05.75 ("F(^________^)" My thoughts exactly.)

Zach and Melana take a camel ride in the desert at sunset. After that: dinner in a nomad hut. Zach is completely open about the next days, and Melana is completely buying into it. They talk about Zach's parents wanting him to marry a Jewish girl. But according to Zach, Melana's definitely kosher as far as being a cuddle slut. "In my opinion, I'm the best guy for her in this group."

Date 2: Toadstool Tour. Tareq and Adam go golfing. Tareq... well, he's practicing. Thanks to some talking from Rodney Young, PGA tour professional, Adam managed to get over the pink thong that Melana happened to be wearing. Tareq, on the other hand... well, he's no Tiger. "Of all the things in the world, golf." With all his focus, he still threw his club down after a miss. "Not so excited about that" is Melana.

Adam wins this one, as Melana and him go gliding after this meal. Melana was hurlingly afraid of heights, as Adam was playing Jerry Seinfeld to her. She thought about his riddles so much that she almost forgot about the glider experience, until Adam reminded her that he believed in her. The two get a little closer thanks to the ultra small compartment. Adam even manages to score his first kiss on the glider, which becomes the namesake of their invented drink of champagne and blended strawberries. Alone time is more than just two people, as Melana admits, "I can't stop laughing!" It's the al-kee-hol. But Adam scores points for being the best kisser.

Meanwhile, it's back to the house, and a ping-pong tourney ensues. Zach turns the asshole switch back on and riles hard on Tareq.

Date 3: Superstar Saga. John and Brad try out some movie trivia, as Melana has thought about what the other four have said about them. "Am I gonna strike out or am I gonna hit a home run?" Brad asks himself. We'll see, as we head to Melana's Midnight Movie, undoubtedly the cheesiest game show setup in the history of reality television. They're being quizzed on her favorite movies, actors, etc.

And no, John, the answer is not Cuba Gooding, Jr. The answer is "Brad is in your base killing your doods by a score of 6 to 1." Brad, get the popcorn and the soda, and enjoy your show. Of course, we don't see what the movie is. But this movie doesn't really get a happy ending where Brad and Melana are all kissing and forest creatures come out of her Walt Disney ass. Instead, Brad is warning her of Zach. "He's not here for you. He doesn't think you're genuine." Interesting stratagem, but will it work?

It's time for an elimination. Three stay, and three get the bus. She wants to keep two outright, but she's torn between three of the other four guys for that third spot. John and Tareq are hoping that they're up for that spot. Adam is all nerves worrying about if he gets cut. Not making the cut tonight are... Jerry (no connection), Tareq (no tolerance), and Brad (not good enough?).

So that should pretty much end the show right there, right? Nope. Five minutes left. Kathy addresses her troops again, and informs them of... yeah, the twist. Reality clichŽ phrase #12: "Right now, everything is about to change." Introducing three stereotypical spoiler dudes: Mike, Jason, and Alex.

This is where it gets interesting. At least for Melana. We'll see if the geeks can measure up next week.

November 24, 2003

Last week, three new hotties joined our Average Joes to compete for Melana's attention. Question now is, is Melana pure enough to see through flawless smiles, ripped abs, and nice fashion sense to see through to the real meat of a person?

Guess that's why we watch, isn't it?

But first, let's meet our new breed:

Michael Morello: 24; Sherman Oaks, CA; model/waiter
Jason Peoples: 27; Costa Mesa, CA; student and wannabe weatherman
Alex Sabatini: 29; Irvine, CA; vet tech/model

And suddenly, it's the hunks versus the chunks. "They're not going to get any special treatment from me because they're hot, but at the same time, I'm not going to discriminate against them." I'm voting for a Pagonging of the AJs. Anyone with me?

Zach is visibly pissed over Jason, Alex, and "Joe Millionaire on crack's" arrival, but at the same time, he's unfazed mentally. "I don't care if you brought in top 10 GQ models, my attitude is going to be the same." Adam, on the other hand, is turning into a textbook loser, as John is feeling threatened as well.

Meanwhile, the new guys could sense that they're horning in on established, if not hallowed, ground. Alex thinks that Zach hides his sensibilities behind his cockiness.

At 5:27a, we go right to the hidden camera, as the new guys talk the smack, about Zach. "He acts like he (^_^)ing runs (^_^) around here," Jason says. "We gotta stick together in this (^_^)." In the AJs' room, Adam was thinking that he had it won.

Melana says that Zach will have a problem with it, John doesn't really know what to think, and Adam wishes he started dieting sooner. Adam starts on his feverish training regimen, all the while thinking about Melana. "I was stressing out when Melana was alone with Tareq for a couple of hours. Now you got Joe Model?!"

While John becomes Joe Narcoleptic, the others muse on his lame-ass date, where a kiss just turned into "Yeah, I got me some hot Melana action, baby!", Zach puts on his chef's hat and makes Alex and Jason breakfast. "These guys I can mess around with, and they can mess around with me." Is that right? Or is it another case of bring 'em up, and take 'em down? Or is it a case of Zach, Zach, and Zach? I'm, yeah, I'm confused, so let's move right on to the big challenge that everyone has been talking about.

But first, Mel weighs in on her chances with the AJs. That's nice. Okay, it's GAME TIME!

Today, it's a friendly competition. 3-on-3 streetball. Yeah, THAT's friendly. New guys versus the AJs. Winners get dinner. Losers are doomed to scrub.

"A lot of anticipation" and a lot of symbolism, as the new guys are decked in evil black tanks and 8-mile caps, while our heroes are just wearing sleeveless ash T's. But what happens when it's revealed that John hasn't played in 10, 15 years? Simple, he makes the game-winning score. But more on that later.

The game is shirts versus skins. Naturally, Melana wants the new guys to play skins. "They take off their shirts, and I almost passed out." Oh geez, I hate this woman. Foul after foul and she just lets the skins slide. But then Adam scores on from downtown and the game changes once again when you least expect it Jeff Probst. Skin air-ball, but then Adam breaks down. And then Melana breaks down ("I love my original three, but I'd really like to get to know the new guys").

I wonder if I'm supposed to capitalize New Guys. Oh, what the hell, let's do it.

Back to the game, and the game-winning score. AJs up 12-10 with 24 and change left on the clock. It's up to Big John to send the game home. Good guys win it, 14-10.

Jason sums it up: "Basically we're going to have to serve dinner and bus a table while they're going to have a nice dinner with Melana... which is going to suck."

Not as bad as your lame-ass ball-handling skills, pretty boy.

Meanwhile, it's hat city in the kitchen as the New Guys prepare to cook. Basically, it's a laugh riot for both sides. No problems, really. Mel is looking forward to getting to know the New Guys, but not because they're hot. Yeah, right. Freak. So why the heck is Mel hanging out with them when she's supposed to be having dinner with the winners? Why don't you decide.

John calls Adam and Zach on their cockiness. "Confidence is confidence," Zach says. Then came the New Guys' cockiness, just as the AJs were being served. Meanwhile, John feels a song coming on. Uh oh. You remember what happened last time this happened... And it's the same old song.

The next day, Zach, Alex, and Mike head up for a little mid-air sightseeing. Alex calls Zach "Moe... of three Stooges". I guess that makes him Shemp, because he's a little more than shy around Melana. As for Zach, Moe has really come a long way from the ass(^_^) from episode 1. He's honestly falling for her.

Melana gets some alone time with our half Italian-half South American friend Alex. He likes a girl who's not going to care about what her hair looks like. "She's so my type." Well, it's obvious who hasn't been around the block.

Next up is Mike, who has been around this block; he's a native southern Californian. She's been to Australia; he's been to Italy on a modeling shoot. It comes out that Mike gets the "Joe Millionaire" bit every day.

Finally there's Zach, who said that he has had to abandon his initial game plan to become more emotionally involved with Melana. Melana's tired of his "house jerk" rep, and apparently, so is he. "I gotta let my defenses down or else she'll end up with someone else."

Lunch over the mountain, and Alex starts talking about being a hardworker early on. He gets the dinner tonight, much to Mike and Zach's disdain. They come home and engage in some male bonding with John, Jason, and Adam. Again, they get into Mike's obvious likeness in relation to... well, not David Smith. Then Adam comes onto him. In a straight guy way, but, yeah.

Alex and Mel are at dinner at the house. Surprisingly, Mel isn't thinking about his perfect body (yeah, right). They partake upon sushi, and Alex partakes upon her realness. He lays it all out on the line for Melana. Included: the last in a line of women who was dumped. Turns out that she was on drugs ("Red flag"), Prozac ("Red flag"), prison ("Red flag"). The conversation just degenerates into a shell of its former self where Alex and Melana just call it off.

The next day, polo with John, Jason, and Adam. Insert horse/club/fancy pants joke here. John said he was falling in love with Melana. And when she spends some time with Jason, John wants in. And of course, he's not really sure about it. Melana tries to pick him up about it later, but I've been down that road, and he's only being set up for a break later. Which really sucks. Adam, on the other hand, just wanted to hold her again.

But who gets the alone time to end all alone time? After a little match, it's Jason, who was the offense to Adam's defense. Adam's a little ticked because Melana's only picking the New Guys to see who she meshes with. Meanwhile, Jason and Melana go on a gondola ride. Melana tries to get in all of this information, as does Jason. At least in that right, they're kindred. Under a covered bridge, Melana expresses her deep thoughts:

"Do you like girls only?"

Well, he does. But don't worry, I always have that secret fear, that some woman is going to come up to me and say "You're too good to be straight."

So, uh, you want to get something to eat? Okay. But anyway, Jason complains that he's too much of a pretty boy. But this pretty boy can see himself with Melana. "I was eager for the date to continue," Jason says. And continue it did, as they sit under the stars and talk about dogs. They hug and call it a night. But not before Melana gets some lip action.

And some tongue on the side. Jason babbles about feeling her soul. Everyone's flabbergasted when he shows up at 2a.

But all in all, it's another group bonding, whether it's one group or two. That spirit carries over to the next day... elimination day... when Alex gives some tips to John about shaving his goatee, going to the gym, and maybe some contacts.

Meanwhile, it's a pool party, and the AJs are once again at odds with the New Guys. John thinks that this is where Melana is going to let us in on her true personalities. Alex seems to tickle Melana's fancy, so much that Adam is getting annoyed at being ignored. "My only strategy is to get these guys to talk as much as possible. Hopefully that'll give me an edge," Adam says.

Zach confesses that he has feeling for Melana, who has strong feelings for more than one person. Melana goes to the other person she has strong feelings for, Jason, thinking the same thing.

Adam thinks that Melana and he have fun when they're just talking. On the other hand, John has written the lyrics down to the German song he keeps singing. As long as he doesn't start singing it.

It's anyone's game to win, as Kathy sends Melana to eliminate two of our motley crew. The two with bus rides home are Alex and John. Alex is tearing up inside and out because of his TMI syndrome, and John gets crushed due to his difference level. So much for the underdogs. Next week, Melana gets her average comeuppance, so to speak, as she dons the disguise of her "average" cousin.

Meanwhile, John sings us out.

December 1, 2003

Okay, you'd think that something like this would not be want for twists. First came the 16 average guys, then came three not-so-average guys. What could possibly top that?

How about a not-so-average girl in a fat suit?

We'll get to that later, but first, the remaining guys - AJs Zach and Adam, and New Guys Jason and Michael - move into Melana's house. We get right to the dates, as Zach and Jason will head up one, and Adam and Michael go on the other. Midway into each date, one person gets the coveted alone time.

Date 1: Masked writers. Adam, Mike, and Melana are making ceramic masks. Adam's the lucky (?) specimen of choice for this experiment. So while Adam's face is drying, Mel goes off with Mike. She says that she saw something in him that she liked. Yeah, it's called his Joe Millionaire haircut.

But vengeance is exacted, as Mike gets the face treatment while Adam gets alone time with Melana. He suggests that at this point, it should be based on feelings rather than fairness. "I know I came off selfish, but I'd rather take that chance than to have to go and hang out with Jay and Zach all day."

Then the ultimate payback, as Melana sits down for the mask. With no room to talk, she's grilled by the other. So she HAS cheated on a boyfriend, she HASN'T had a one night stand, and she HASN'T faked an orgasm. Okay, waaaaaay too much there.

Off to the zoo, where Melana wants to take home all of the animals in sight. Adam just wants to think about biology all day. And by that, we mean, well... just food and sex, yeah. Too bad it doesn't pay off in the long run, because Melana just HAS to have her piece of beefcake tonight. Mike gets the date, and Melana has to one again tell Adam (and by that, I mean, "tell herself") that, yes, you are an amazing person.

This is going downhill fast, y'all. "She had the opportunity to make me feel good or make me feel bad. And I'm just supposed to wave as they go off. And I'm not going to do that. That's stupid!"

Meanwhile, it's dinner and leopards for Mel and Mike. Mel asks Mike if people treat him differently because you model. Well, it's a weird question, so we're not going to justify it with an answer. They decide that this was the date to go on, because of Mike's outgoing personality and Melana's spontaneous nature.

I will say this though. Or at least Adam will at the house. "I don't know if I would want to date this girl if I got picked. Would I date a girl who would disregard someone's feelings like that?" Zach lets him know that Melana's missing out if Adam does decide to walk out of the game. It's true that everyone has feelings her, but will everyone accept her way of being "cruel to be kind" as a method for reciprocating those feelings?

Next date: Zach and Jason go yachting on the Stars & Stripes. Everyone's pretty up about it, especially Zach, who uses it to fuel his desire to get to the top. And he'll need every bit of it, because he's up against Jason, his main rival. Melana didn't want to pick but she had to. First, Mel gives propers to Jason and his "beautiful kiss". "At first, it was 'whatever happens happens', but now I WANT things to happen," Jason says. Melana also gives propers to Zach's manliness. If he didn't cram it down your throat before, it's pretty obvious that he's the alpha AJ. But the alpha is the omega in this case, as Zach heads home. Melana picks Jason for her date.

And get this, Melana actually felt guilty. And she has a crush on him. Wow. Stop the presses. Date continues, kissing ensues, yeah.

Meanwhile, on the speedboat, Zach cites Melana's justification for the date with Jason, "I've been on two dates, but he's only been on one," as utter garbage. Think of it as Adam but a few shades darker.

On the limo ride home, Melana thinks that Jason's been adorable, which leads to MORE kissing. That's pretty much it until dinner. But no problem, because Adam and Zach are complaining that they've been in the house for weeks and haven't been on a date with her since the New Guys showed up.

Still with me? Good. Meet Melana's friend Heather and her cousin Danielle. BUT Danielle is not who she seems. After Melana learned much about first impressions from this show, she takes the guys to task with the help of an extensive makeup job and a fat suit. From there, we transform 100-pound 5'2 Melana into 280-pound still 5'2 Danielle.

First things first: field test. No one gives her the time of day. She finally gets the freaking point (after what, four episodes?) that "vanity is awful".

Then comes the sting, where we've wired the pool house with cameras, fooled the guys into believing a body double was Melana, and inserted "Danielle" and friend Heather.

It's time for mayhem. Aqua Teen Hungerforce, assemble! Heather and "Danielle" asked the four guys some very revealing questions. While most of them were undeterred (at least given face value), Adam, who was denied an initial handshake by both Heather AND Danielle, let the two have it between the eyes. "My first impression was 'they were there to hate me.'"

Zach knows he didn't make a pretty good impression with Melana the first go around, but he hopes he made a better one now. But Adam went at it again, this time to Melana's face... well, so to speak... saying that their relationship is like your first girl in high school, when you're looking forward to like first dates and you think that kissing is a magical thing and no one really notices that wedgie you've got going on there.

But now it's decision time, as Melana views the surveillance tapes from yesterday. Adam probably takes the sane route, saying that she just looks like Monica from "Friends". Sane, and profitable. Zach's assessment was full of (^_^), (O_O), and (o_O). "You ever heard of the DUFF? The Designated Ugly Fat Friend? You gotta be in with the DUFF to be in with the girl."

Holy (O_O).

It's elimination time, as two people are getting the boot. And who better to boot them than... the DUFF. A stunned silence befalls the crowd. "I wants you guys to know that I've heard EVERYTHING you've said about me. Now you're going to find out why my opinion was so important to Melana. It's time to reveal the truth." Everyone gets a bit of a rise out of Melana's reveal... except Zach, who looks like he needs a new set of pants. She explained the entire scenario to the guys, right before exiling Michael to the loser bus. On the other hand, Zach's case was so serious that he has to be pulled aside. Every time she talked to Zach, she told him to "watch his P's and Q's". Well, he didn't and now it's payback time. With a kiss on the cheek, Zach goes bye-bye. Jason and Adam are glad he's gone, and Zach, well... we get the off-camera fourth-wall-breaking "It's not reality, it's (@_@)" speech montage.

Next week, the finale with the two favorites, New Guy Jason and AJ Adam going for broke. The prize: Melana's heart. But will the one to win accept it? I guess that's why it's two hours long and preempting "Las Vegas". See you then.

December 8, 2003

Before we get right down to the nitty-gritty, it didn't really hit me until now, just Mike was the first woman that Melana met in episode one. Then he comes back with two of his friends... Ah... now I get it.

For those of you who follow this site religiously, you know that every 2-hour finale dating show contains no more than 15 minutes worth of filler recaps. And today is no exception.

Six minutes and twelve seconds later, we're down to two people, Average Joe Adam Mesh and New Guy Jason Peoples.

First up, a trip to Irvine to see Jason... and his mama... and his dogs. Jason shows her how he grew up, as well as his bronzed baby shoes. Melana thinks that they have a lot in common. You know, other than that whole "yeah, we're both so pretty" thing. "Very Huck Finn of us," she says as they walk down a trail with twigs in their hands.

Melana invites Jason back to Kansas City via push pin. Wonder if a kayak will do... Nope. They only go so far as the end of the lake. Jason is ever so hopeful that they're paddling in the right direction when he says that "if we have the opportunity to continue our relationship, it's going to grow into something incredible."

We're growing at the beach, complete with full-bodied girl drinks to help loosen Melana's lip. "You don't have to fill a table with drinks to get a girl to open up with you, especially this girl."

Yeah, I'll believe that.

Jason gets the hardball treatment, as Melana tries to grab some redeeming value out of their time together. Jason tries to play up the "this might be the last time" when Melana is upfront with him. "If he doesn't appreciate my honesty, then we shouldn't be together. I think it's kinda good to rattle a guy if you like him." Well, you can't fault her for being wrong.

She only sees potential attached to a pair of god-like lips as they walk on the beach. No words, really, just... well, yeah. Oh, by the way, you remember the original opening for episode one? Silhouette revisited. Foreshadowing? Only time will tell.

They both talk about chemistry after Jason gets hit hard with his inability to accept the truth. "I feel like I have a boyfriend in Jason," she says. You know, we can only watch so much of this. Let's get on a plane and head up to NYC. Before we can head off to visit Gordon, though, we have to look in on Mel's date with Adam.

"If this doesn't seal the deal, then there wasn't any to be sealed," Adam, who at times felt like the girl waiting for Mel to make her move, says of his hometown. We start off blading in Central Park. Nice. Then it's off to his apartment, where we learn that Adam's a Rocky fan. And his apartment (and his roommate) are all plucked out of "Friends". Weird, huh? Adam Berkowicz (aka Roommate Guy) doesn't want Adam to be hurt because of Jason's looks. And we all like Roommate Guy.

Then comes the biggest surprise that Melana (or any of us for that matter) has ever seen: a framed Fortune spread... on Adam. Suddenly the Average Joe isn't that darn average. He's just a humble millionaire like I hope to be one day. But it's true, Adam has made and lost millions in the stock market.

Speaking of which, it's off to Adam's office, which is just like any office you've ever seen... actually, it looks more like "The Office". Melana is taken by his authenticity than ever because of her recent discovery.

And from there we go to Adam's bar, where the drink list was made up to remind Melana about her entire adventure. Hey, when you're co-owner, you can do these things! They pick up the Glider, which, if you remember, is a champagne and strawberry concoction that was created after their glider ride.

And from THERE, we go to the limo, where Melana reveals that her decision has become harder and harder. Adam, needless to say, is disappointed. "If you're confused, it means you're thinking about someone else, which means Jason." All of a sudden, Adam wanted to call it a night.

But not before dessert at Times Square, where Adam bares his all for her. "Being one of the last two guys left doesn't mean that you beat 17 other guys. It means that you could lose a girl that you've gotten along with for that many weeks." Melana is starting to worry as well that he could be lost on her, especially given the fact that he concentrates more on his famines than his feasts. But he gets a feast of his own when Mel lays her mouth onto his.

Now back to California, where Melana is heading on an overnight with Jason, their final date together. Jason lays down some malarkey about wondering what time it was in New York, while Melana enjoys the view.

Wanting to much to kiss each other, Melana and Jason had a bit of a struggle, as their horses have different ideas. Good horses. They get in line to kiss and succeed. Bad horses.

They ride up to a Tuscan villa, decked to the nines. Melana is enchanted with the dŽcor, but Jason could only say to himself, "Man, this is cool!" After swinging, bocce, and chess & checkers for dummies, Jason admits that he has genuine feelings for Melana. At dinner, Melana reveals that Jason and her have their own special way of speaking. In that language, she conveys the same fears that she had with Adam. "I want to get all my feelings out, so that if she doesn't choose me, I wouldn't have left anything out," Jason says. Including, but not limited to, going after something he wants, being a student, and getting "totally into her". Melana thinks that he's darling just because of his eyes and his smile.

More kissing ensues by the fireplace, as reality finally sets in for Ms. Scantlin: "I want two guys. They can give me everything. But I can only pick one."

Next up: the last gas of Melana and Adam in a completely gassy town: Phoenix. Adam hits the ground running with the humor, mostly to cover his insecurities. Works for a great deal of us. Works for Adam... to an extent. Melana thinks that he's a phenomenal individual, but he's concentrating more on the other man than the woman. "I sound like I'm going to have kids with this guy!"

A nice panoramic view later, Adam presents Mel with a thank-you note:

"I'm not sure if you're aware of the things that you do,
All I know is I told you a dream and you made it come true.
It started with rollerblading in Central Park 10 seconds after you learned how to skate,
Which makes me wonder if there's anything you won't do on a date.
After a 15-hour day and a sleepless night,
I think it's understandable that we had our first fight.
I don't remember how it started but I remembered the best part,
We talked our way out of it and your heart touched my heart.
I wanted to tell you that you made my dream come true, just in case you didn't know,
Even if you didn't have to, because you had me at hello."

Very Jerry Maguire. More kissing ensues. And we're back. We're at a spa, and Mel can really take in the scenery. "This feels so damn good that my cheeks stay open," Adam says, thinking that this could make him want to springboard to more success.

Dinner time, and Mel comes with a gift, to the man who has everything... a picture of herself on a date with him. It also reads: "Thank you for making me smile always." How sweet... They share a dance under a completely moonless night. I only say this because you see the moon so often on dating shows, and this is a refreshing change of pace. Adam can picture this moment as a wedding.

One more trip to the spa for a hot-rocks massage. Shower, hot tub, just keeps getting better? Oh yeah. Adam has the room decked out with flowers and candles and... a pink dog for sleeping with. It got pretty hot afterwards. And by hot, I mean flaming. So hot, in fact, that the little pooch got burned in the process! "I burnt the mood." Bad omen, dude. But back to the "pretty in pink" theme. Melana opens up a box to find a little hot number herself: can you say nightie?

But she won't forget the dog. What she does forget, though, is the selection process. "No matter who I choose, it's going to kill me to send either one of them home." The elimination process Kathy will be more than happy to remind her of... right after this slew of filler recap material.

And there. Jason chills by the pool and Adam continues training to the Rocky theme music six hours until zero hour. Here's how it's going to go down: at a hangar, there is a private jet waiting to fly Melana and her final choice off for some time alone at a tropical resort. There is also... the loser bus, waiting to carry the loser off to whatever life he chooses to lead after that point. "I think I've found a diamond in the rough," Melana says. We'll see exactly how rough... as we greet Jason first. I'm going to make the official announcement, ladies and gentlemen, it is now decision time.

"You are about to be witness to an examination." Sorry... I couldn't resist the whole Inquizitor mode there.

Melana: "I just want to tell you that I'm sorry... I'm sorry that I haven't had more time to reciprocate those feelings. When I'm with you, I feel scared and excited at the same time. Therefore, Jason, I'm asking you if you'll fly away with me tonight."

What?! I mean, good for Jason and all, but... what?! So Melana's final choice is Jason. Which means that she must now tell Adam to go sod off. After she finishes kissing up with Jason. This is how she does it.

"We were both threw into this relationship. We evolved a friendship. And that friendship turned into romance."

Wait for it... Wait for it...

"However, tonight, that romance has to end. It tears me up inside to send you home."

You know, I feel this man's pain right now. I mean, he thinks that Jason was awesome, even as Jason was secretly watching on. And now Adam was secretly watching on as Jason and Mel are still liplocking. Oh man... that hurt.

I think an LJ buddy of mine put it best. Gordon, get the typeface ready...


Okay, turn the yell-face off now. Adam, if you're watching, you can do better than her. Seriously. So to sum it up, Melana wanted to show the world that she wasn't really that shallow. She had to show herself that first. Needless to say, she wasn't that darn convincing. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Melana, whatever you get, you deserve.

As for average old me, I'm going to go out and train until Average Joe 2: Hawaii. No, I don't get to meet the Polynesian princess (although a princess of any kind would be most welcome), but someone's gotta cover it.

"(^_^) what the (O_O) did I get myself into?"

... or not. The battle between us AJs and them New Guys is renewed on January 5 (C-Note: Gordon has this one, as I'll be on vacation). Until then, remember this little tip: why live a mediocre life when there is so much greatness within? Aloha, dudes!


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