A Dose of Reality: For Love or Money
by Amanda Jones
Published: June 17, 2003
Five remain. Who'll be the lucky one – the one asked to go home???
Laura wakes up early (Aren't these girls essentially on vacation? Have they never heard of sleeping until noon?) and finds a note at the top of the stairs that says that since she's the first one awake, she's won the opportunity to make breakfast in bed for Hair Club Rob, who's spent the night in the guest house. Knowing what I know about Rob, I might've pleaded blindness, walked by the note, hit the pool and waited for some other poor schmuck to wake up and find the note. But Laura's excited to perform for his Randiness, so she borrows a (truly hideous, may I say) dress from Lauren, who is sensibly still asleep at the ungodly (pre-9 a.m.) hour. Lauren, though, is a nice girl, and when she hears what Laura's got on her plate, she gets out of bed to help prepare the breakfast – after telling Laura that she looks "great" in the dress, which is a bald-faced lie, as nobody could possibly look great wearing my grandmother's old shower curtain. I digress.
Lauren makes breakfast while Laura applies her makeup, and then helps Laura to carry it over to the guest house. Lauren walks off, and Rob and Laura eat breakfast together on the bed. Rob tells her "we're in bed together" in a very ninth-grade way, and rather than being struck by how completely immature he is, Laura instead seems instantly more smitten and voices over that the money isn't playing a big part in the things she's doing now, that she really wants to get to know Rob better. I'm kind of sickened. Doesn't she get that after that hot tub business last week, she knows Rob pretty much as well as there is to know him?
Kelly says that it sucks that Laura gets to spend extra time with Rob, because she perceived Laura as one of her bigger threats. Was it the below-deck liplock that clued you in, Kelly? Rob tells us that Laura is trying to pick his brain for information about what he's thinking, but that he's not telling her anything. Really, the issue is that Rob isn't thinking at all. Do we have any empirical evidence that the man has a brain?
Upon Laura's return, she rehashes some of the finer points of her breakfast date, and Paige, in confessional, looks really sullen and tells us how jealous she is. Paige is supposed to be this little sweet and innocent creature, but she seems like she could end up on the scary side of codependent by the time this whole thing plays out. She seems just a couple cards short of a deck, really, blind to anything but Rob and her relations with him. I'm not sure that she understands fully the point of the show, and I wind up feeling a bit sorry for her every time she opens her mouth.
After breakfast, Rob shows up and tells the girls that there will be two double dates. For you mathematically challenged readers, this means that one girl won't get to go on a date. Rob chooses Kelly and Paige to go on the first date because he hasn't been out with them yet. Paige is excited to go with Kelly because she wants to keep an eye on her. Kelly says that Paige is a total non-threat because "she's 21." I don't think Rob cares how old she is as long as she's legal, Kel. In the helicopter on their way to their date, I'm struck by how good a couple Kelly and Rob might make, if only because she might put him in his place some, and Rob seems to read my mind, saying that he's interested to see if Kelly is as bossy as the other girls make her out to be.
As they eat lunch, they notice a box on the ledge and Paige opens it to discover a memory box of Rob's life. Pictures of him at various ages, including one in his marine uniform. "Hey Rob," Kelly asks, "tell us about why you left the military." Okay, she doesn't ask this, but I wish she would because the date's so damn tedious. Rob has no discernible charisma, no screen presence. Maybe in person he's really all that and a bag of chips, but on my screen, he's a dullard. Watching the chicks fawn over and fight for him, while confusing for me, is the most interesting part of the show. Kelly laughs quietly at Rob's poetry while Paige begs to be allowed to take one home – and then Kelly laughs at Paige for this. Paige voices over that this was the best date she's ever been on in her whole life "and there was another girl there!" and I can practically hear the phones start ringing at Penthouse. "She is 21," some editor is pointing out.
In the limo back to the helicopter, Paige has to pee, so Kelly and Rob make out some while she's gone. Kelly smartly intones that no matter how badly she had to pee, there'd be no way she'd leave Paige alone with Rob. When Paige returns, Rob starts teasing her about how young she is (but weirdly, she's not so much less mature than he is. hmmm), and says to her in a stern but joking voice "You're too young for me!" Paige says that she was trying not to cry at this, that it felt like a knife stabbing in her heart. Paige stalkerishly tells us that "I just feel like he's everything that I want and everything that I need and I'm everything that he doesn't need or want." Yeah, this is just what men you've just met want to hear from you, Paige. Have you ever even been in the same room with a man before?
The second double date is announced to be Laura and Lauren, leaving Erin (she of little screen time) dateless… for now. Rob slimes his way back inside after Laura and Lauren are settled in the limo and tells Erin, in his best Valley Girl voice, that the two of them will be going out that evening. Rob dances with each of the girls at a swing club, and he says that it makes him uncomfortable that Laura's always pressing him for information about keeping her around. While Laura tells us at the club that she thinks that it's obvious that she and Evan – oh, sorry. I mean, Rob have more chemistry that Lauren and he do, it's Lauren with whom Rob's playing touchy feely on the ride back. Lauren tells the camera that she hasn't fallen in love or even in like with Rob yet, and that if she's going to stay in this game, she's doing it for the money. Suddenly, I want her to win.
Erin leaves for her date, which is a picnic on the beach. Erin and Rob chat over dinner, and she plays the game very well, feigning coyness. Erin tells Rob that "I think I'm the only one you haven't kissed yet" and Rob has no response. Back at the house, everyone's waiting for Erin, and she gives honest but vague answers to their questions about the date. Paige looks like she's been crying. Upstairs, Kelly and Paige give Erin the third degree. Nobody believes that Erin and Rob didn't kiss, and Kelly and Paige look like they could kill Erin with their bare hands, they're so jealous. Erin feels guilty, she tells us, that these girls are really into Rob and she's not and she feels like he's liking her. Erin's playing a game for money, and Rob's secondary at this point. For Kelly and Paige, who are not the polar opposites we might have first thought, the Rob part of the game is an obsession to them. Already. After two days. Ugh. Just Ugh.
Consensus among the girls pre-elimination is that Laura's the most likely to stay through the dismissal that'll take place that evening. Laura thinks Paige will be asked to go. I hope they have security guards to escort her out; it won't be pretty if she's picked to go packing. Jordan, the invisible host, comes in to tell the girls that Rob's downstairs and that they can each take a couple minutes to plead their cases to him before he makes his decision if they'd like, or if they feel they need to. Each girl comes in and says basically the same thing (thanks, it's been great). Lauren tells the camera that she's faking it for the money and the question at hand is just whether she can fake her attraction to him to get through the elimination. Laura again presses Rob for information about whether or not he'll be eliminating her – this is annoying for us viewers. Imagine how bad it is for Rob. When it's Paige's turn to choose whether or not to talk to Rob, she decides not to and walks straight outside. Her pride keeps her from going in to talk to him, she tells us. That's not your pride, honey. That's simple idiocy.
At the elimination, the girls are asked to stay one by one, including a gloating Lauren who's again talking about the money, and the last two standing are Paige and Laura. Paige is called on her decision not to go into the fireplace room to talk to Rob, and I'm hoping that she will be eliminated just so we can get some action on what's otherwise been a dull show (can't you just see little Paige being dragged off kicking and screaming? I would delight in such a thing, perversely.) but it's not to be. It's the uber-aggressive Laura who's sent home. Will she finally stop asking now if she's going to be asked to stay? Somehow I'm not certain.
Wasn't this kind of an anti-climactic episode? I was a mite bored, and more than a mite embarrassed to be female. If only they'd all just admit that they're in it for the money, I'd be so much more okay with what's going on. Three of these women, though, actually admit on national TV that they're attracted to Randy Rob. Next week, though, looks interesting again – Rob's going to be told about the million dollars promised to the winner, forcing him to question whether these chicks want what's in his pants, or what's in his pocket. I'll be here.