Reality Bites: Average Joe: Hawaii - Episode 5
by Rachel Jaffe
Published: February 3, 2004
Last week, we were cheated out of eliminations. This week, it's time to thin the herd! Let's lasso up those little doggies and get 'em out of here!
And where do you find lassos? On a ranch! And this episode starts with Larissa going horseback riding with the Average Joes. "I really feel like I have an obligation to them to, like, re-energize them and revitalize them and make sure that they don't give up hope."
(Meanwhile, back at the house, Theo spent his time away from Larissa doing some sketching. He did a little cartoon of Larissa's excitement at meeting the Hunks, and the Joes' fear and distress at the Hunks' arrival. Oh, but we're talking about the Joes' date, now. Never mind.)
Our guys approached the horses with a little bit of trepidation. The Brians wanted to make clear their stance on various popular sayings involving horses -- just say no to beating dead horses, and while one can definitely lead a horse to water, said horse should never be made to drink. David confessed he'd never been on a horse before. Luckily for all the guys, Larissa arrived after they'd mounted. The group headed off, just riding in the pasture, meandering along. As Tony said, "Beautiful, beautiful scenery everywhere. It was just all the old group back together, and everyone smiling and having a good time. It was nice to see.
Then they reached the stables, and each guy had the chance for a little one-on-one discussion with Larissa, where she basically asked each guy how they were doing with the new guys in the house. Fredo admitted there were a few cocky guys among the Hunks, but he himself got along with everyone, and wasn't intimidated. Thomas said that the Joes weren't giving up, no matter how lopsided any competition was. Larissa told Sean that she really wanted for him to be there. Sean said that he knew he had limitations, but Larissa countered with, "You know what? You can be as attractive as anybody and then have the personality of a doorknob." (Ummmm, I think that was supposed to be supportive.) Other Brian pointed out that the Hunks were good-looking guys -- then he and Larissa both pointed out that he himself was a good-looking guy.
Larissa also gave David Daskal strokes for being a unique, happy guy, and again said that she wanted to let him know, and all the guys know, "I really want you guys to be here." Mike laughed with Larissa about the number of protein bars that the Hunks brought in with them, and their attention to protein bar distribution and workout routines. "They're all the same," he said wonderingly, and joked that under their heels it said "made in Sweden." Boston Brian was eager to talk about the Hunks, particularly complaining about Michael K. ("Young Mike"). Tony asked Larissa how she felt when they came in, and she said that she'd really been worried about how the Joes were feeling, and especially Tony. In interview, Larissa said that she really felt something for Tony, "moreso than the other guys, and I don't want him to get down on himself just because the other guys were there." Tony was comforted by her reassurances about how she felt.
Solo Date #1: Boston Brian
At the end of the ranch date, Larissa had to pick someone to continue her date with, and she decided on Boston Brian. The two of them rode away in a carriage, and then had dinner on the yacht. In the carriage, Larissa teased Brian about his accent.
On the boat, the light mood continued. Larissa asked Brian about his job as an auditor with the Department of Homeland Security, and Brian talked into his watch, pretending that he was talking with his bosses and asking if he could tell Larissa about his work. "I really saw Brian's personality come through when I was asking him about his job. He poked fun at it, you know, and pretended he was James Bond."
But the evening also had its serious moments. Brian opened up to Larissa, telling her that he had never told a woman "I love you," and that he wanted to be able to open up to romantic possibilities, even though he had a history of being emotionally detached. "I have a box around my heart. When I really think about it, it hurts." I cringed. Too much info, still too soon! But Larissa listened carefully to him.
I couldn't get a bead on how she was feeling. On the one hand, she kept saying in interview that she could see him as being a great boyfriend -- which sounded like there was an unsaid second half of the statement of "for someone, but not for me." And she used the "f-word" -- "flattered." I have never seen good things follow from that word. On the other hand, though, she told Brian that he was "probably the most interesting person [she's] ever met," which is a really big statement for someone that you might be trying to blow off. She also seemed very receptive to Brian's advances. He stroked her hand with one finger (which actually was a very nice move), and she said, "It was very sweet. Very emotional." In voiceover, she said, "I definitely feel like there's a connection. I'm really surprised at how fast I'm getting attached to him. ... I do trust him more than any other guy in the house."
After a great date, Boston Brian had to return to the house and deal with attitude from the Hunks. While Brian was on the date, Mike C. ("Old Mike") had mocked the idea of Brian being romantic. He was gently but firmly shot down by Tony, who said that Larissa "gets a kick out of him. Big time." Old Mike backpedaled, saying everyone got a kick out of him, but he still chuckled at the idea of Brian being "suave." And once Brian was back at the house, Young Mike and Todd snickered off to the side.
Solo Date #2: Todd
The next day, the guys found a tuxedo on the couch ... with a note addressed to Todd, inviting him to join Larissa for a date on the yacht. This date was black-tie all the way -- Todd wore the tux, of course, and Larissa was in a fancy dress.
Todd looked good in the tux (although who doesn't look good in a tux?), and he brought up some good buzzwords -- "family" and "importance of education" and "working hard" -- but he also referenced "Hollywood aspirations" and "being in front of thousands of people."
Larissa didn't probe him on those issues (although in voiceover she wondered if he was just mouthing the right words), but she did question him about Theo's story (in the last episode) about someone using derogatory language about either her or women in general. She thought perhaps Todd was involved with that, but he denied it.
Larissa still had some suspicions, but she let her guard down enough to enjoy the date. They had dinner, danced, and made conversation. She said in interview that, while Todd was saying a lot of the right things, particularly about family, she felt nervous around him because he was still so forward with her. In particular, she made a little face as she repeated his comment to her that she had "really nice curves." However, she didn't seem unwilling to share a kiss good night with him, either.
Larissa very much surprised me, though, with her final comment on the night: "It was the same yacht, the same stars, the same atmosphere. But Brian's date was much sweeter, much more emotional, and much more intimate." Win or lose, I'm glad Boston Brian will always have those words.
Bad boys, bad boys ....
The day after Todd's date, Todd let Old Mike know that Theo had been talking out of school about Old Mike's language. Old Mike explained to the camera that the term, he'd used, that begins with a B, ends with an R, and was in the title of the show "Leave it to --", was "a slang term, meaning a very beautiful, hot, sexy girl." I was shocked last week when we first heard him use the word, and I'm shocked all over again this week that he thinks anyone will buy that spin. It's a demeaning word when applied to a woman, plain and simple (Fredo's surprising opinion to the contrary notwithstanding).
But even though Old Mike felt it was harmless slang, and was just said out of humor, it still hurt him that it was shared with Larissa, so Old Mike tracked down Theo, accusing him of bashing someone who had been good to him from the get-go.
Yelling at Theo wasn't enough for Mike, though. He had a little more leverage he could apply. "After the first day when we came in, after the line-up," Old Mike said, "he drew some picture portraying a few of the guys. And I knew this the other day, but I never brought it to anybody's attention." That was about to change. Old Mike spilled the beans on the picture to his Cleveland compadre, Fredo.
Fredo then went to Theo and asked if he could see the picture. Theo easily handed over the cartoon, apparently not aware that anyone would take offense at the picture of Larissa with her eyes bugging out in excitement at the new guys or David wetting himself in fear, for example. Theo felt it was all in fun, but ultimately admitted he was wrong.
"Obviously this was the night or the morning after the line-up," Theo explained. Now, someone's playing fast and loose with the timeline, because at the beginning of this episode we were distinctly shown (ah, foreshadowing) Theo working on the picture while the guys were at the ranch, well after the arrival of the Hunks. But both Theo's and Old Mike's comments seem to indicate it was done earlier.
Regardless, the primary point is that Theo, in the face of the Joes' ire, crumbled. He admitted that he came in cocky, but has changed his ways. With quivering lips, he explained to the camera, "It hit me that we're all human. Okay? Who cares? You know." Brian remarked that he thought Theo might be in limbo, not getting along with the Hunks but now with trust broken with the Joes. For his part, Theo seemed firmly allied on the Joe side. "I'm fighting for them, now. The other guys are like, fake. They're fake." In a grand display, Theo ripped up the cartoon.
Finally, it's time for the pre-elimination cocktail party. Larissa worked the room, greeting David, asking Tony how his painting of her is going, remarking at how quiet everyone was. Old Mike stepped up to the plate and came clean about what he'd said ... sort of. "The comment was made by me. Basically, it was just being funny. Just for the shock value of the whole thing, entertainment, I just said how hot you looked, but in a slang term, and that was it. And it was a compliment. No disrespect whatsoever. None whatsoever. Obviously, it was brought to your attention, and I do apologize. I'm sorry that the controversy even happened." Now, I don't know if she ever found out what it was exactly that he said. Maybe I'm a prude, but again, I just can't see that language as casual slang, and I'd be very surprised if Larissa, who made a face at someone telling her that she had really nice curves, would also find it casual slang.>
Old Mike then called Theo out, telling him, "You're up." As he explained in interview, "If I was going down, I wasn't going down alone. I was bringing someone with me, and that someone obviously was Theo." Theo then explained about the cartoon, and how Old Mike had brought it up (trying to reverse it back on to Old Mike again). Fredo remarked at the difference in the groups of guys, with the Joes sticking up for one another and the Hunks cutting each other down.
Regardless of the difference between the groups, though, Larissa had to cut three from each group. Her first elimination was Hunk Jerry. I wasn't surprised. While Jerry was the cutest to my eyes, we'd seen absolutely no interaction between Larissa and Jerry. The first Average Joe to leave was Sean. He was surprised, but I wasn't. With three guys to go from the Average Joes, I figured that Sean would be one, just based on how the various dates have gone. While a charmer when he was in his element, his time with Larissa in the jacuzzi had seemed stilted and awkward, particularly compared with, say, the painting date with Tony.
The second Hunk to go was Pete. As he said, "There was obviously no connection." The second Joe to leave was Mike, who'd previously wryly remarked to the camera that he felt like he was staying, which meant that he was probably going! Well, he called it right, and he left well, with a big smile on his face. He seemed to take a lesson from the experience about how he wants to keep himself open for relationships in the future, so it seems to have been a plus.
In the third round, the Hunk to leave was Theo. Theo was baffled and shocked. I wondered if she'd seen him crying. Or maybe it was because he was a stool pigeon. Or perhaps it was because she found fragments of the picture he drew and it didn't measure up to her aesthetic standards. (Heavens, it's been several weeks since I pointed out that she's an artist. I can't let her blossoming social skills let me become derelict in my duties.) But regardless, I think Theo said it best when he said, "When a hero comes around and is denied, then he bleeds. But a hero's a hero, and he continues. So, thus I shall too." And if he didn't say it best then, well, ummmmm, he said it.
The final elimination was David Daskal. Larissa was very close to tears as she said good-bye to him, and I actually think that if she weren't wearing heavy make-up she would have started crying. David was composed, relaxed and supportive as he took his leave. When she said that she hoped that they'd still be friends, he said in a warm voice, "Look me up when you get back and this is all over; we'll have a great time." For all that David was a hyperactive boy-child for much of the show, he walked out of there with the dignity of a man.
Now, ordinarily I don't report about the after-credits segment. Usually it's just extra footage of the guys joking around, or something like that. However, I'll note that this week it was Sean, giving an update. During the course of the show, Sean had at several points remarked about how he didn't want to always be the fat guy and he wanted to work out and lose weight. Well, he took that feeling to heart and has lost 70 lbs since the show. While Sean was always an attractive guy, I have to say -- 70 lbs lighter and a bit more muscular, Sean is looking very fine! Congratulations, Sean, for the determination to take up running and working out in the gym. You set a goal for yourself, and you're reaching it -- great job!
Average Joe: Hawaii is on Mondays at 10:00 p.m. Eastern time, on NBC.
Previous Recaps at The Trades: Ep. 1 | Ep. 2 | Ep. 3 | Ep. 4
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