ARCHIVES: Average Joe: Adam Returns
Average Joe takes back the house and his destiny!

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Fan worship gets taken to the next level as first runner up Adam Mesh takes back the house in "Average Joe: Adam Returns".

Nineteen women vie for attention from our unlikely hero, with one destined to end up with the Average Joe fan girl's ultimate prize.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN


FACT FILE:
Airdate:
March-April 2004, NBC
EP: Stuart Krasnow
Packager: Krasnow Productions, NBC Studios


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March 15, 2004

The original series set out to prove that a beautiful woman could find love with the average man. So far, we're 0-for-2 (ironically, so are the ladies). Welcome to... third time. And, since this is "Average Joe", you can bet that the road to success will be a bumpy one. At least it better. NBC kinda owes us for the whole Fabio thing. To fully understand the situation, we must go back to the beginning... the VERY beginning.

Last fall, Melana Scantlin had her choice amongst 12 average guys. Then we threw in three New Guys for fun. In the end, Melana chose the looks of Jason Peoples over the charm of Adam Mesh, which, by that time, had all of America cheering for him (as evidenced by a final party in NYC). Since then, Melana dropped Jason in favor of a series deal with GSN. And Adam has surprisingly become the most eligible man on television, with over 3 million calls, mails, and e-mails to NBC... and to Adam himself... from women dying to meet our Average Joe Cool. So Adam had to enact rule one of post-reality TV life: get a new unlisted phone number. You know, right after the TV appearances, radio interviews, and personal web page setups.

That brings us to today, 285 days, 11 hours, 44 minutes, 19 seconds, and a lame-ass twist later, with Adam taking up where Melana left off... at the same hangar to start. Flashbacks to the finale of AJ and the words "tonight, the romance has to end" guarantee that this will be like a war vet going back to battle. "Kinda like when you're a baseball player and the other team wins the World Series and you have to sit at the dugout and force yourself to watch."

After that fateful inning, Adam went into intense physical and mental training, in hopes of feeling like he did on the first show. And speaking of firsts, Adam, rolling up to Melana's... err, HIS mansion (thanks, Chyron!), thinks that top experts in the dating field are sorting out the 20 ladies who will try to woo him. In reality, said "experts" are castmates and friends from the first AJ.

We'll get to that later, but first, Adam heads to the one room in the house he never saw... Melana's. Well, it's his now, as evidenced by the autographed Sly Stallone boxing gloves. Either that or Melana was doing a little training of her own. The physical, obvious. The mental... well, Adam sums it up: "I am a big believer in destiny. It was destiny that brought me the whole household characters in the first place! It was destiny that Melana and I developed a chemistry that it did. Looking back at it, I think it was destiny that it ended the way that it did. That's why I'm going through this again. It's a sense of destiny. The right girl is out there for me."

Back at Burbank, AJ alums are on a mission from God (and by "God," I mean the almighty Peacock). Joe 1: Dennis "Hula Hoop Geek" Luciani is looking for the nicest girls (aka: the Average Janes). One of his hopefuls has reviewed the fire-safety codes. Good for him.

Joe 2: Dr. Tareq "TQ" Kabir, who believes that love is tainted by humans. His mission: locate most compatible girl via computer... whatever that means. Time for a trip to eHarmony. Not the website... the actual place with Dr. Neil Clark Warren and everything. He rallies his troops and we're all reminded that TQ is a badass... Like we needed reminding of that.

Joes 3 through 5: the heavy hitters Joe Fabiani, Craig Campbell, and Jay Greenberg, who're going on an old-fashioned road trip with one thing in mind. Hotties. With stops off at Vegas to look for the hottest ladies in the country... Idol style. Well, drunken horny frat boy Idol at least. Put all three variables together and... ex-PLO-sion! Too bad we only have 20 slots to fill.

Those 20 seats on the bus are now full, and the bus is on its way to the front door. First off is... Dennis? If he's one of the dates tonight, I'LL go crazy. Lucky for us, he isn't. He lets Adam in on the secret about the "experts", much to Adam's relief. Dennis' choices are:

Brittany Ducker, 23, substitute teacher and one of millions who will rightly admit that Melana made a huge mistake
Stephanie Cahn, 23, fashion jr. account executive and fearful of being "the last friend to get married"
Rachel Goetz, 24, 2nd grade teacher and down to earth (think Brian with no R's)
Jennifer Bolkin, 28, office manager and AJ fangirl
Summer Wesson, 26, casting coordinator and amateur comic artist with ten good reasons to keep her around
Heather Caton, 27, salon manager and professional pretty face
Jennifer "Jen" Lifshitz, 23, grad student/social worker and very smiley
Tracilee Bennardello, 24, executive assistant/bartender and badass in training
Anna Merrill, 25, 8th grade teacher with a high opinion of herself
Elizabeth Griggs, 23, law firm assistant and Michigan baler

Next off... Oh... my... God... That has to be the most mannish woman I've ever seen. "Hey, Jason." Oh, well that explains it. Jason is Joe 6, aka the Recon Joe. Mission: infiltrate the bus and see if the ladies are in it to truly score Adam or just welch on his money/fame/forehead. Just goes to show you that Melana might've been wrong, but Jason's in the right. Let's continue.

Amy Worth, 22, human resource manager and token aggressor
Sara Stone, 26, brokers assistant who has never been in love
Courtney Butler, 21, events coordinator who wants to run into someone tripping in Central Park. Isn't that painful?
Christine Morrell, 25, culinary instructor and wicked witch. Her words, not mine.
Jennifer "Jen" Abrams, 24, software developer and... "stalker-ish".
Elizabeth Wood, 35, attorney/entrepreneur
Samantha Trenk, 24, fashion sales and non-thinker

Tareq Kabir... wha? Oh, wait. There's more. The folks at eHarmony.com have found two people who they believe are a perfect match. "If it isn't, I'll eat my hat." Let's see who TQ and eHarmony found:

Rebecca Butler, 28, 3rd grade teacher and pessimist
Rochelle Hannah, 29, accessory designer and optimist.

The fat boys aren't back from their road trip, so my guess is that we'll be seeing them later. Right now, it's time for Adam to make the scene to squeals of delight and a preplayed fanfare. Man, I need to get a fanfare button. Adam makes his entry the only way he knows how... "This is very very overwhelming and I'm very happy that none of you ran back on the bus. To have all these people fly out here to go out with me, that's... I don't really know what to say. Thank you guys, all, for coming."

Adam would really like to get to know all of them for about five minutes (hey, it's 20 women, alright, and they know so much about him and he only knows names). Jen B's first, and would love to have a one-on-one date with him. Christine's "the gamer", because she's always game for everything. Jen A hasn't decided whether she wants to be the nice girl or the bitch. Tracilee's convinced she's going to be the one at the end. Anna's having an effect on our hero. The poor boy can't even speak. He doesn't feel worthy and doesn't want to disappoint anyone. "I just want to make everyone feel as special as they've made me."

Rebecca's going on about the test, and personally, you want to talk about broad-based compatibility? I don't see it happening if she doesn't get past this danged test situation. Elizabeth W's having better luck, as she suggests to Adam after seeing the hot tub, "We could do a hot tub scene right now, if you want." And she so would've done it. She thinks that they have a lot in common. Adam doesn't think otherwise, as the changeover to crickets would have us suggest. Jen L thought she was a sinking ship. Amy tells Adam that she came out to Palm Springs because of him. Yeah, you and 19 others.

Sam was confident, Rachel was sweet, one of the Jens was funny, Brittany felt Adam's overwhelm, and then it's PICTURE TIME! And some of these bright, innocent ladies are little freaks! It's a picture booth, geez...

Next up, the hardest part of any AJ, the elimination. Tonight, for four of our ladies, the dream to meet Adam will end before it begins. Adam starts off by saying how appreciative he is of meeting these people. "This is really the one part that I hated." And going back on the bus tonight will be Elizabeth W (no vibe) and Sara (didn't have a spark). Adam almost breaks down halfway, but he presses on. Rebecca who didn't open up and Jen B the fangirl who tried too hard also receive death knells. For the remaining 16, it's excitement from Adam, not for the adventures, but for the adventurers.

Next week, the adventurers get their claws into each other. Ouch.


March 22, 2004

Adam Mesh proved to be the toughest get of any Average Joe fan, as Jen B found out early on. Last week, she, Elizabeth W, Sara, and Rebecca all took the bus ride to Loserville, leaving 16 eligible women in its wake. But will that number rise or fall this week? Read on and you'll see what I mean.

The sixteen who were invited to stay head to their new digs, complete with tennis courts, a pool, a golf course, one Summer who felt like a celebrity, and, according to Tracilee, fifteen very catty, very jealous girls. Oh, did we mention the pictures of Adam? Rachel loves the picture of him as a baby, so she frames it and puts it in her room. Gives new meaning to the phrase, "Good night, baby."

Meanwhile, up in nearby Big Bear Mountain, instead of the warm climate we're used to from these shows, we get cold. Really really cold. Glacier even. Adam can be seen carving wicked powder on the slope as he and his dates - Stephanie, Rachel, Summer, Heather, Elizabeth, Christine, and Rochelle - do a little snowboarding. Adam's still a bit nervous about his role: Does he go to them, or do they go to him?

Rochelle is afear'd of getting on her board, while Rachel offers to help... herself... to see if Adam's watching. Oh yeah. He was. And he's not pleased. They eventually get the hang of boarding and, even more so, falling onto one's own buttocks. Also, Christine the Gamer's into making snow angels more than anything, and Stephanie, the plastered one from the night prior, insists that she just didn't eat.

Next up, decision time. Adam chooses one girl to continue the date with. For the rest, it's back to the house and sweet warmth. Rachel gets the nod this time, with Adam citing "the girlfriend look". They head to the fireside cabin (WATCH OUT!) and just chill for a second.

Back at the camera-laden house (now why can't all reality TV have presentation this slick? Really?), Christine admits to Anna that Rachel totally rubbed her the wrong way yesterday. "Any question that they know about Adam, she says 'I know his favorite food. I know this, I know that.'". Real mature. "Part of me is thinking that she's his girlfriend. I think that might be a twist." Maaaaaybe.

Adam finally gets to enjoy the experience with a little champagne... in the bottle from hell. "Umm... I'm very smooth." They soon switch over to wine, which, from what I hear, is considerably easier to open. Rachel brings up Adam's mantra, "You only live once." Something Adam really takes to heart, which, in the long run, could mean a little more than we're led to believe. Let's hope not.

Obligatory hot tub scene #2, and Adam workout montage #3. Adam starts talking about maybe having a few little Meshes later on down the road, especially in comparison with his friends in college.

Back to the house, and Christine's still a bit perturbed about the whole Adam/Rachel thing, although it does escalate into an "I think it was more like he picked people that he just wasn't sure about" ordeal.

Hot tub, and Rachel takes the "you only live once" route and goes in for a kiss, not coming up for at least 24 seconds. The coyotes are getting a howl out of this, at least. "I'm not looking to go around doing that to everybody," Adam tells her. Good for him.

Next day, bullfighting with Samantha, Anna, Amy, Tracey, Brittany, Courtney, and the two Jens. Courtney grew up on a dairy farm. Brittany brings up her six-year-old kid. There's an ambulance ganked from the "Fear Factor" set in case we need it. And here comes Adam the Bull Slayer in his matador outfit. "I feel very manly." I bet you do, dude. Tracilee's not feeling very manly herself, as she is deathly afraid of what the bull might do to her. Lucky for her, Adam goes first, because he's "the man." And now, a semi-educational moment: bullfighting for dummies.

1) Talk to her sweetly.
2) Attract her.
3) Remember that the bull is more scared than you are.
4) Don't get mauled like Jen L did.

Tracilee gets over her fear and executes a beautiful torero. I would say that fear is not a factor for her, but that's another show. "People don't choose their fears, but how you get over them. That's where you find yourself."

After a few one-on-one gushers, Adam makes his second choice, Amy. Yay, Amy. Tracilee was surprised that she wasn't going, but at the same time, she respects that Adam's still getting a feel for most people. At Adam's house, quiet Amy opens up about being not quite the perfect wife, but close. They scope out Adam's room and balcony, where Amy asks if he feels overwhelmed.

Obligatory hot tub moment #3: Amy admits that she e-mailed NBC saying that he would've won. Weeks later, phone call, and she's on a show. Another 24-second kiss, another coyote, and Amy's smitten... and Adam's scared. Sign, maybe? Amy's hopeful, at least.

Back at the house, everyone is waiting for... well, something. Tracilee can't trust Jen A (see outward glance of approval example above).

Back in the hot tub, Adam admits to being a hypocrite, saying that he swore he would never kiss every girl for a prolonged time, but at the same time, he says that he'll do whatever his instincts tell him to do. Good, Adam. Now get into bed with... Oh, wait. FCC.

Camera moment, as Rachel and Courtney discuss the date going on, whether it made good TV or if Adam really likes her. "As strong as I am, it's just getting hard." But intimacy is one of the selling points of a relationship. And of GOOOOD TELEVISION, as we see in the house where Amy is giving out details of the date. They think that more went on, but will Amy say if it did? Ehh... no.

Now, last week, we saw that Craig, Big Joe, and Jay headed to Vegas to search for the hottest girls on the strip. They took a while, but they're baaaack after stopovers in Vegas and Hollywood.

We'll get to them in a bit, but first, Adam invites all 15 girls to lunch... wait, 15? Okay, so there were only 19 women on the first bus. Anyway, Jen L is concerned with an inferiority complex bringing her down, albeit a positive person. Anyone who says "Say hello to my boobs" is fine with me. She's done some dating, but she had never found "the one." "I think it's a struggle to live in a world where you're expected to look a certain way. And then there's people who are shorter or curvier or have bigger noses or whatever. I'm beginning to think that I made a mistake." You didn't, Jen. You just need to look up.

But not now, or else you just might have a breakdown. Remember that algebra equation, "If two buses travel at the same speed toward the same goal, what time do they show up?" On one, the 15 ladies ready for lunch. On the other, three Joes with three words: "bikini check time".

A knock on Adam's door interrupts his chain of thought. The tension mounts; oh what a feeling. It's the big boys. "We know what you're doing, but we thought we'd take it up a few notches. Come on in, the party's on!" Adam meets one, two, three, four swimsuit models who are apparently happy to see him. Meanwhile, the 15 originals are none the wiser...

Wait, five. Sorry. And Adam is struggling to recompose himself. "Uh, what are they here for?" They're here for you... and for us. And in a moment, the New Girls meet Adam's Girls. And Adam's in the middle, struggling for control. "I never want to make the girls feel the way that I did." What's an Average Joe to do? Find the producer and give him a verbal bitch slap, that's what! "I just don't think it's fair. Can't I just say no from the beginning? The one thing I said coming on to this show like what do you look for in a girl? Confidence, style, loyalty. You know, I have loyalty to people. I like the girls that have been here, and there's already at least five that I like. It's just not fair."

You know, that has to be the ballsiest move I've EVER seen anyone make in the history of reality TV. Adam, my hat... is off. Producer tells Adam that the policy is that Adam makes all the choices, does what he wishes, and follows his own instincts. And that's what he does, as he heads to the pool and tells the Pool Boys that basically, they don't have to go home, but they gots to get the hell up outta here. NOW. He tells them that he has to stick by his beliefs no matter what. "This whole exercise was set up as a character test for Adam," Joe said, "and he passed with flying colors."

Meanwhile, one of the bikini babes says that that's the kind of guy she would like to have.

And we promise not to let the original girls know about this... right away, at least. Football ensues: snowboarders vs. bullfighters. We even have the guy from NFL Films doing voiceover. And come on, it wouldn't be a game without a prize, so the winning team chooses one person to automatically advance to the next round. "What happened next turned an ordinary game in the park into a showdown that takes its place in the legend of football history."

First quarter, the Gamer, Christine Morrell with the impressive end zone catch, Snow Angels up, 7-0. But then, Amy Worth answers back with a game-tying touchdown of her own with two clicks on the clock. This can only be settled one way. "HEADS!" The coin came up tails, and the yellow Snow Angels come out victorious, giving new meaning to the phrase, "football quarter." So who gets the game ball?

Jen A thinks that there's one person who isn't really here's for Adam... Summer, maybe? Rochelle and Tracilee definitely agree. And hell, I would too. Will she be one of the five getting on the bus tonight? We'll see. But first, the awarding of the Adam Mesh Trophy for MVP of Joe Bowl III sponsored by GSNN (of course). That goes to... Rachel. She moves on, leaving the other four fourteen in waiting. Well met. But as great as he felt then, he feels horrible now, as he must send Elizabeth, Summer (*applause*), all-American Anna, the more-of-a-friend-level Rochelle, and the I-had-a-crush-on-them Brittany on their way back to the real world.

Rochelle was the last of the eHarmony.com players. You know what that means. TQ, if you're reading this, here's your hat. Bon appetit. Next week, competition brings out the best... and the worst... in our ladies, as does... a promo? It's a big promo, where every secret thus far is blown open.


March 29, 2004

Last week, Adam saw some T&A.
Some bikini beauties wanted to come and play.
The fat boys were sent to get'em,
But Adam wouldn't let'em.
So they - and Elizabeth, Summer, Anna, Rochelle, and Brittany - were sent on their way.

And now, the non-limericked portion of the recap.

We start with a couple of backboards, ten of them, in fact. "The only problem is that they're in a million pieces." It's competition time, as the ladies have to join them in one big whole. And surprisingly, no one really understands how to assemble them... and they don't care! Well, Amy cares. Jen L. just uses the time to get some help from Adam. Ah, brainy. Tracilee, aside from complaining about her nails, realized that the girls aren't here for each other, but for Adam.

And while all this bickering is going about, self-professed gamer Christine backs it up, putting her goal up first. And even after the final buzzer was sounded, Tracilee proved how gutsy she was in attempting to see her way through to the end -- herself.

From physical to mental, as AJ plays Apprentice in a stock market challenge. The challenge, like Adam's real job, who can make Adam the most money, starting with $10,000. Go! Tracilee is first in the green with +$7253, even as she admits that she has no idea what she's doing, as do everyone else. Courtney, on the other hand, posted a loss of $1278 and falling, so she may be next in the board room if this continues. Jen L. surpasses Tracilee with +$12,568 and growing. If this was an actual work and Adam was an actual boss, he "probably would've been guilty of harassment." But hey, it isn't, so... Samantha continues into the negative numbers (yes, it's possible, and NBC's not too happy right now). Adam really wanted to go on a date with her, so she got a little extra help. Help pays off, as Sam posts a profit of $21,337 (NBC's feeling a bit better now). So, to answer Ben Stein's question, yes, you can time the stock market... and get a little booty doing it.

So Christine and Sam get a couple of dates, while MVP Tracilee gets an ice cream date on merit, even though some people didn't think she deserved it. "Tonight's the night for Adam and I, and I'll deal with them later." You go, Tracilee. She goes... to the parlor with Adam, where she reveals that her mom said that the man she was looking for didn't exist. Amazingly enough, mom discovered the non-existent guy at the end of the first AJ, and here we are. "I got the chills when she said that to me."

Back at home, Adam... still hasn't got the hang of opening a wine bottle (wait, there it goes!). They share a moment... and another coyote howl. Tracilee comes home at a decent hour to questions on every single detail. But she won't talk. There's talking, there's whispering, and there's no sign of any letting.

Next date's a game or two with Christine at the go-cart park. (Rain Man) Yeah, Adam's an excellent driver. Definitely an excellent driver. (/Rain Man) Christine wins this one... again. Now it's onto drag racing... Adam wins this one. Afterwards, Adam has a "winner is me" moment. Later that night, Adam and Christine continue their date aboard a boat christened "Possibilities." Symmmmm-bolism.

At the house, Tracilee hears everything that was said about her behind her back, including Jen A.'s "nails of silver Fritos" remark. Tracilee does not approve AT ALL.

Back on the boat, Christine loves to laugh. She'd love it even more to enact a make out scene. She gets her wish, right after Adam pops a garlic roll in his mouth. She has butterflies.

Again, Tracilee's asking for more outages. "She's a little more standoffish", Stephanie says. Jen A equals that, saying that she wasn't drunk when she asks. Her rebuttal: "I didn't come here to make friends. I came here to meet Adam." This is her breakdown point, saying that she can't talk to her mother.

More Possibilities ensue as Adam and Christine sail into a pool. Now I know where I've seen this hotel before. It was on an ep of "Saved By the Bell". Anywho, they transfer boats from "Possibilities" to "Romance". Very apropos, I must say.

Next day, golfing with Samantha at Desert Willows, site of Adam's victory over TQ in series one. TQ's not here, but one Average Joe is... Zach "Joe 7" Cohen. And he's got some tricks up his sleeve to make sure that this date will never be forgotten... as one of disaster, that is. His mission: sabotage.

So while Samantha misses her shot, Adam carries her bags, not knowing that Zach had previously stuffed about 30 pounds of rocks inside. Ouch. Don't worry, Adam. It's only about 400 more yards to the next hole. The caddy then presents them with a challenge. Last time Adam played this course, he shot 7. He has to beat it for a spa date. Otherwise, it's a work date, coveralls and everything. Adam didn't need any help from Zach to look like a debacle... but that won't stop him from trying anyway. It all comes down to the final putt, as Adam lines up... and Zach fires a bombshell, as the cart goes off the cliff. Oh boy. Final putt is irrelevant. Looks like work, as Adam and Sam play rangekeepers. If you've ever seen a range boy... you know it's no party. But as you know, whenever another AJ alumnus shows up, Adam's being tested. And Zach begrudgingly passes him. "Just looking at Adam, you wouldn't think he was the smoothest guy in the world. But as someone who always recovers, he comes off as the smoothest guy in the world."

They head over to shag golf balls out of the swamp, where they kiss... for an audience?! Two old golfers come across and ask for the moment. But it's worth it, as the AJ gods decree a spa date anyway. More kissing ensues. Hold on, this is relevant. You'll see why in five, four, three, two, NOW. Here's Zach.

"It happens to be a Monday, and the finale of 'Average Joe Hawaii' is on TV tonight." So that would date this show at... March 1. Not too long ago, really. "What they don't know is that at the end of the show, there's going to be a promo for THIS series. And in the promo, they're going to see all the steamy hot tub scenes and all the making out. The moment that video hits, all the secrets in this house are going to be wide open."

So while Adam and Samantha are getting their champagne on and their dance on, it's the Average Joe Hawaii finale. Again, in case you missed it, no one won. NO ONE. But just because you didn't win, doesn't mean you're no loser, as who should walk in but Adam's descendant Brian "Joe 8" Worth. Mission: host "AJ:H" finale party. It is 10:00, Pacific Time. Again, everyone can relate to the underdog. And again, another heart-wretching finish. Reactions: this is getting down to the wire. People are actually seeing the hangar at the end. I wonder what the reaction will be to the Fabio twist.

Adam hopes he can keep the secret canoodling under wraps for a bit longer. Woops. Not going to happen. The promo is on NOW. "Within two seconds, all the secrets were out." Everyone squeals, but not all in delight. They found out that he's locked lips with Amy, Rachel, and Christine. And a few don't want to see it again. Rachel included. "I want him to kiss ME." Jen L.'s beginning to lose hope as well.

Next night, elimination. First, a toast. "Here's to being young and good looking!" Adam enters with Samantha, and he owes everyone an explanation for the whole making-out... thing. "Oh (^_^)!" He... uh... can't get any words out, but the rest of the girls seem not to mind. Including Rachel, who was breaking down prior. "You have to kiss someone to see if the chemistry is really there."

And speaking of breaking down, we break down to five tonight. The ladies on the bus ride home are... Heather (who's so pretty, but didn't really have much of a chance), Jen L (also not much of a chance there), Jen A (who said that Adam kinda raised the bar), Courtney (who blubbers something about putting herself on the line), and Tracilee (that's a shocker, really). The remaining five women move up to Adam's crib for the two-hour finale. Who will Adam choose? Amy? Christine? Stephanie? Rachel? Samantha? It's really up to them. But with another twist in line coming courtesy of his parents, is anything a given? We'll see next week.

And Jen L, if you're reading this, my cell number is 910...(Gordongram: Chico, are we THAT desperate in the social life department that we have to stoop down to THIS? Needless to say, GSNN will NOT be allowing any self-promotion by our recappers. Please tune in next week to see what happens - and who will be recapping the end.).


April 5, 2004

Tree mail time:

A series of pleasure ends in a night of pain,
One woman's loss is another nineteen's gain.
A dream date with Adam, the nicest guy alive.
But after last week, we're now down to five.

Amy, Christine, Stephanie, Rachel, and Samantha start their day off with a group date at Universal Studios Hollywood... Because NBC now owns the place, and... yeah. After visiting Jurassic Park, where they drop eight stories on their flume and have embarrassing pictures taken of themselves, they take the VIP backlot tour. And everybody's getting on everybody's nerves. Oh look, there's Jaws. But forget Jaws, forget King Kong, Adam's being attacked by two butterflies with initials on classy Samantha's shoulder. Classy Samantha's got tattoos? Ooh, wild child. "I would have a problem dating a girl with another guy's name tattooed on her. I think that's WORSE than Fabio!"

From here we head to the Old West, where Adam and company make a movie. Plot: Adam and his girls kick ass and take names against an unforeseen opponent: Joe 8... our favorite, David Daskal. Or should I say, "Daaaaaaavid Daskal." In the midst of all the ass-kicking, Daskal informs Adam of his next mission: five individual dates, and a final cut to two. Right before ol' dog is thrown out the window. And cut it, print it, send it, just get it outta here.

Coolest cornball line of the movie: "How about a private date with my fist?"

First, Adam and Samantha head for a limo, where Samantha spies... her dog Chloe with barrettes and a dress. "It was Sam, me... and Chloe made three." You can tell Sam's a dog person, but now she's on a date with "two of the cutest people in Palm Springs". You know things are going to go south when your girlfriend's dog has a nicer wardrobe than you do. As for the date, the two... and a half... go shopping. For the half. Adam's not really enjoying this one bit. Except for Samantha, who just gushes over the whole thing.

Next, a carriage ride turns sour... literally. Chloe passes wind. "It's a dog eat dog world." And Brooke Burns regrettably used her Joe pass on Brian Worth. Anyway, Adam can just kiss Samantha with the dog present, but still, it was pleasurable. Also pleasurable is the champagne/dessert thing. Not so pleasurable: the butterflies of death. Adam calls Sam on it, and she brings up her ex-fiancee and their child... kidding! They're actually the names of her grandparents who died together in a carbon monoxide. Whew. And the dog... just chills. Finally, a dip in the hot tub. Perfect end to the weirdest date in the history of anything ever.

Next day, Stephanie and Adam had to... the desert. Nope, a dry lake bed. They picnic, where we find that Samantha and Stephanie are friends from home. She hadn't had the alone time that Sam did, so it makes this all the easier... or harder. Then they go parasailing across the bed. Great time is had by all. But all Adam can think about is Stephanie. "You don't go out with a girl's best friend." Well, if she's willing.

Next day, it's all games with Christine the birthday girl. First things first, as they drive by a marquee that says "AVERAGE JOE HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTINE XOXO ADAM (flowers)". Gets you right here. We're in the casino, and Adam's thinking about "Indecent Proposal" moreso than gaming. So the gamer is invited to a performance by a local lounge act. VERY local. Adam local. "Who was the first person eliminated from Average Joe 2? Kathy Griffin!"

PLAY FREEBIRD! Well, he does play a song. One he wrote himself. Not to dig on Adam, but... absolutely dreadful. Then it just gets worse as birthday cake comes out for Christine, Adam drops stuff, and gets birthday cake on his pants. Hilarity ensues.

After that, it's the World Series of Christine, where we crap out at blackjack, poker, and martini drinking. We learn that Christine was of the type that wasn't really affectionate for anything, but wouldn't mind now having a family of her own. Adam doesn't really want to be in a relationship unless it's going somewhere. "I'm thinking five years I'll be on Average Joe 12." She gets butterflies, and goes in for the kill before GSN has a chance to hammer out Average Joe 4. A top off to the most amazing birthday in recent memory.

Next morning, Rachel and Adam watch the sunrise together. Rachel wrote a "cheesy rhyme" for Adam, remembering that he wanted to be swept away. Adam's swept away by her confidence... and so are we. Breakfast and coffee are next, and Rachel thinks that this is the best start in the day. Then we go horseback riding. Rachel's horse was show, while Adam's was a little kicky. Symbolism, maybe?

Then we go to the kissing archery. Needless to say, the two are experts at the subject, especially given that the distance to the Bullseye reflected how long the kiss was. One the two came up for air, they spend some time in the barn, where Adam brings up his YOLO bracelet. YOLO = You Only Live Once. Words to live by. His friends believe that if he found someone who believed the same as he did, then she should get one herself. And that's exactly what Rachel gets, as she says that she's here for the right reasons. Finally, a roll in the hay, and Adam feels special.

Final date is with Amy in an amazingly cute flowery dress. They head to a mission on a hill, where Amy reflects on her feelings for Adam, on wanting a family, and on being homecoming queen... hmm... This could work, unless...

"There're two things I'm worried about: me being from California and not being Jewish." Adam's thrown for a loop. "The not being Jewish part, my family just wants me to be happy." As for California, he's more concerned with the right person instead of the right location. The rest of the night is spent kissing on a balcony and sipping champagne that was preopened beforehand. Amy looks forward to being with him, but Adam senses her tension and eases her with a cake fight. Nice. Then they kiss again. "She's just a... girl." The girl proves it in her wants to just be in Adam's arms forever. Needless to say, this won't be easy for our hero.

Going into our final elimination before we head to New York, and Adam's getting every bit of what he asked for, and some of what he doesn't as he has to tell three people - a more-friend-like Christine, an unconnected Stephanie, and an awkward-pause-riddled and tear-filled Amy - that it's time to go home. For Rachel and Samantha, Adam thinks about enjoying everyday life.

So for the next hour, we limo back to Marlboro, NJ, Adam's hometown. First out: Samantha with the perfect makeup, hair, etc. Sam meets the parents as they figure out that the rest of the girls are, well, gone. Andrea Mesh plays typical overbearing mother, asking Samantha if she was truly in it for Adam. Samantha, meanwhile, reveals (to us, not the parents) that she's been on TV before. Commercials mostly.

She delivers a veiled version of the Samantha Trenk story, replete with shopping/working at Barney's. Oops. Red flag. "When Samantha mentioned shopping, my antenna went up, because I felt that everybody knows what Adam does for a living and what he's worth." Mother is always watching out, feeling that Sam is trying to sell her to us. Harry, Adam's dad, senses it as well and calls him aside. He likes the positivity, but for some reason, can't shake Sam's aggressive nature.

And now, the next private date... with momma. Okay, that's long enough, we've got a sunset to catch and a ferry to catch it on. Adam and Samantha kiss... again. With the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop, no less. She doesn't like to strike up thought-provoking conversations, admittedly. Luckily for us, there's dinner and she doesn't really have much of a choice.

But wait, she does. She has a "face". "When she makes it, I'm sure that all the jewelry she has from her dad comes with that face." Adam likes her confidence, but at the same time, notices that she's letting her guard down. This process is wearing her down. Then he paused... and he kept pausing. The English language is slowly slipping away! Well, it comes back, but now Sam is gone, thinking about Rachel while they're cuddling. "Best case scenario: Adam chooses me over Rachel, and we go back to New York and hang out all the time." And Adam's swept away. It's all over but the... no, wait, there's one more girl.

Adam arrives the next day with Rachel (and a bouquet of flowers) in tow. Rachel and Andrea have two things in common: love for Adam and a career in teaching. And speaking of awkward children moments, here's a few on video for all of America to see. Adam on a bike. Adam in the bath. Adam totally embarrassed. But not Harry. "Rachel's absolutely terrific. She has everything going for her that you would want as a parent for your child." AND she takes care of her brother! AND she likes movies and sports! It's a shame that Gordon said I can't give out my cell number in recaps anymore. Oh well.

This looks like Rachel might be in a place of favor with the parents, as they think she's more down to earth. Adam, meanwhile, loses it as Andrea loses it, thinking that Adam's found a mom replacement. "It seems really real. Maybe I could be losing my son to a woman."

"After Mom..." Way to get ahead of yourself, Rachel. Andrea and Harry actually see the two of them together, but does Adam? Family means a lot to him, and he's never seen his mom cry before or embrace anyone the way she has with Rachel. All of this is going on, while in the back of Adam's mind, he's still thinking of Samantha. "It made me question myself." Of course, the 'rents prefer Rachel over Samantha. "I don't think the other one would be a life-mate for him," Harry said. "I think Sam might be more about Sam," Andrea said.

Brace yourself. We could have a standoff here. Adam's surprised by the whole ordeal of choosing high fashion over low-brow. "I thought that going home would be a fun thing. I wish I never went home."

That night, Adam heads to see Rachel at the Rocky steps (you know the ones), more confused than ever. Was he looking for a girlfriend or a wife? Was he looking for happiness or long-term happiness?

Rachel and Adam lock gazes, as if the entire scene was scripted. Admittedly, the most beautiful that Adam has seen. "Everything seems too perfect," Adam tells her, thinking that the passion is lost on them together. "I feel like I've given over 100% to him through this process, and for him not to see the passion I feel for him is very frustrating," Rachel quips. She tries over and over to reassure him that yes, she is real. And Adam buys it, as they head over to the Manet exhibit, "Manet by the Sea".

And finally, we have another bit of symbolism... the Goddess Diana with a bow and arrow. Remember the archery date? They embrace. Cuddle in a hotel. Phenomenal time was had by all. Three wows equals "the perfect end to the perfect day."

And the beginning of the end that all of America has been waiting for, when an Average Joe finally meets his match. We cut to the all-too-familiar hangar. On your left, the charter plane, washed, gassed, and ready to take off to an island in the sun. On the other... the bus to Palookaville. In the middle, an Average Joe in control of his own fate.

On one side, Rachel, a conservative person who looks beautiful any time of the day and can relate to Adam in every aspect. On the other, Samantha, an adventurous paramour with a socialite tendency and an arsenal of makeup. The classic style versus substance. Sophistication versus grounded. Home life versus high life. Dog versus no dog. Game on.

First in the hangar... Samantha. Usually this means that she wins. We'll see.

"I just want to apologize. I made assumptions about you in the beginning. And ever since we've spent time together, you've done nothing but prove them all wrong. The only problem is when I'm not with you, I want to be. And when I am with you, I feel like I can't hold you tight enough. Yet... If that's okay... I've been waiting like a year to see what the inside of that plane looks like."

Okay, I think that's a yes. Well, even if it isn't, Samantha's not saying no. She thinks that he's totally perfect for him, and she's glad he doesn't have to share anymore. Unless Adam starts to have a shine for Chloe. "When you find that, you don't question it. You just enjoy it."

One thing Adam won't enjoy... telling Rachel that the time has come for us to part. We remember, "I'm here for the right reason, and I think that all of you are, too." Well, time has come to see whether he meant it or if it was all just pride on the line. And if so, whose pride. And who put the pride on the line to begin with. Okay, I'm babbling now, let's go to the tape.

"You and I have so much in common. One of those things, we both share the belief that you only live once. Part of that is being honest. That's why I hope you understand when I say that, although you're perfect in every definition of the word, I don't think we're perfect for each other."

Rachel is visibly disappointed, saying that she was here for all the right reasons. With that and a small kiss on the cheek, she departs on the bus, still a tad resentful about being passed over for what she saw as "the easy choice." "Of all people, I so expected more from him. And it's very disappointing. And it's not that I don't like Sam, but... I don't get it! I don't understand! Guess I'll have to keep positive, keep a smile on my face."

Simply put, what price adoration? Chin up, girl. Someday you're prince will come. But for now, Adam knew what he wanted (although, to be honest, I still don't know what he wanted). "I like to think of myself as someone who's smart, and aware of risk and reward. I like to think I'm smarter than Larissa or Melana. I thought about what I wanted to come from this, and I think it's more important to be true to yourself and pick the person who makes you happy than the person that would make other people happy. And in the end, I'm the one who has to live with that."

Well, at least he has a viable explanation for that. And that's more than what his predecessors in empty-headed date-choosing had. So America, there's the ending you were looking for. An Average Joe finally makes the big score. But will Adam and Samantha seal the deal?

Only time will tell.

 

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