Reality Bites: Average Joe: Hawaii - Episode 6
by Rachel Jaffe
Published: February 10, 2004
Tonight -- ah, tonight I am loving the Average Joe: Hawaii producers. Why? Because tonight's show opened with the Baywatch theme! Complete with shots of the guys running along the beach (or falling, in Tony's case, but there was also a good-natured shot of him laughing about it), carrying those orange flotation devices. Fabulous! Michael Cardamone ("Old Mike") with a super-sized glint of sun reflecting off his pearly choppers! Michael Klein ("Young Mike") staring at the camera with a smoldering stare of stupidity! Fredo, whipping his long hair around! A recreation of the classic Baywatch team-walking-arm-in-arm shot. And over it all, the vocal stylings of David Hasselhoff singing, "Some people stand in the darkness, afraid to step into the light ...." Can I say again? Fabulous!
And what was the reason for this treat (other than that the Average Joe: Hawaii producers love me, they really love me)? Tonight's episode began with a Baywatch-themed competition, complete with guest coaches and former Baywatch stars Brooke Burns and Michael Bergin ("Cool Mike" -- there are those who might dispute the coolness of a guy chiefly known for his Baywatch role, but compared to Young Mike and Old Mike, this Mike tops the coolness meter by a yard).
The competition itself involved three legs -- a paddleboard race, a rescue race, and a tug-of-war. Cool Mike was to coach the Hunks, in yellow, while Brooke coached the Joes, in red. Fredo remarked blissfully, "Brooke Burns was the best coach possible." Thomas, likewise, was happy not to be coached by Cool Mike. "Michael Bergin totally fit well with those guys. I think they might have even exchanged phone numbers." (Did I mention that Cool Mike has that appellation in comparison to the other two?)
Larissa said that the paddleboard competition was very exciting, with the lead shifting back and forth. The ending was definitely a thrill, with little Thomas pitted against Young Mike. Thomas started off behind Mike, but by the time they made the turn around the buoy, he'd caught up! Thomas just kept stretching his arms, paddling with smooth, strong strokes, and on the return trip he passed Mike as though he were standing still. "I rose to the occasion and proved to them that I might be small in stature, but I'm not small in heart," Thomas said proudly.
The safety rescue involved rescuing a dummy from the water. ("It wasn't one of them guys," Fredo helpfully explained, "it was an actual real dummy.") Brian Glaser ("Other Brian") remarked on the strength factor involved in picking up the 80-pound dummy filled with sand from the water and "rescuing" it. The Hunks regained their feeling of superiority. "We dominated the rescue race," Todd gloated. "I mean, the only reason they won before is that the board didn't sink." Ummmm, yeah, Todd, that and the fact that they were faster than you! The moral victory went to Brian Worth ("Boston Brian"), who had had to be rescued during the water portion of the earlier triathlon competition. He plunged into the water and pulled off the rescue, despite his apprehensions.
The tie-breaker competition was a classic tug-of-war. "Everyone pulled together with heart and strength, and I think they were really worried," remarked Fredo (who was a heck of a mighty anchor -- he could have given Rupert of Survivor a run for his money!). Apparently so, because Old Mike, the anchor for the Hunks said, "I wanted to turn around say 'what the hell is going on, fellows? I thought we were going to kill these guys.'"
Unfortunately, the Hunks prevailed.
But it didn't much matter, except for bragging rights. It wasn't a case of the winning team getting a date, but one person from each team getting the date. And as a twist, the person from each team would be selected by their coaches. From the Joes, Brooke Burns selected Thomas to go on the date. From the Hunks, Cool Mike selected Jim Frassetto, because he'd had the fastest time in the rescue competition.
Duo Date: Thomas and Jim
That night, Jim and Thomas had drinks with Larissa. Larissa remarked to Thomas how impressed she'd been with the way he "stepped it up." Thomas said in interview, "I want me to win, and who in the world wouldn't want me to win? I'm the smallest, the oldest, whatever, but I'm fighting." Yup, and the editing is painting a big ol' target on you, but it's still nice to see you get some screentime.
After drinks, the trio went to the jacuzzi. Thomas and Jim had apparently spoken before the date and, as civilized men, had agreed that they would each give the other some alone time with Larissa. So after a little while in the jacuzzi, Jim excused himself back to the house (to use the facilities, as it were). While Jim was gone, Thomas asked the question that's been on all of our minds, "Why am I still here?"
When I say the question's been on our minds, I mean no offense to Thomas. It's just that we haven't seen Larissa have much of a reaction to him. Larissa didn't seem to be thrown by the question at all, and answered immediately and quickly, "The thing that I love about you is that when I'm with you, you open up, and there's this light in you, that just -- you shine so brightly. And you are such a warm person. I laugh when I'm with you. You have so many things about you that I wouldn't expect, and you're so real." Wow. They talk a bit more, and then Thomas "takes a check out here" and Jim returns.
Jim took Larissa over to the pool to cool off, since the jacuzzi was getting hot. The conversation didn't seem to be much, but they made with the smoochies, and played around in the water. Larissa reflected about how handsome and how tall Jim is, stating that "he really makes me feel like a woman." At the end of the evening, she determined that he had a lot more than she expected. (Personalitywise, people, please!)
Solo Date: Gil
The next day, there was another group date. Everyone went cliffdiving. Fredo was first off, and decided to not only jump but do a flip. Larissa called this a "macho moment," but Fredo wouldn't be dissuaded. He over-rotated, and landed with a heck of a flop, but emerged cheerful. "I don't know how happy Larissa was that I did a flip off the cliff. She didn't want me to do it. But I had a blast doing it." One by one, the other guys followed him. As with the Baywatch competition, though, it wasn't the jump that mattered. Larissa chose to have a date with Himbo Gil, because she hadn't had much of a chance to get to know him. (Then, before leaving, Larissa took her own jump off of the cliff.)
That evening, she and Gil went to a chocolate factory. They saw the pods with the cocoa beans, and how the chocolate was made, and just kind of hung out (and had chocolate fights). It was a laidback date, and Larissa appreciated that. "Looking back at some of the first dates that I've had, I'm not necessarily real proud of myself about the way that I've behaved -- the fact that I went along with these guys and got in the hot tub and got intimate with them before I've really known who they are. I've kind of forgotten about what a relationship means. This date felt honest. If I was in my everyday life, I wouldn't be going on a yacht. I wouldn't be sitting in a jacuzzi." She continued, "When I went on the date with Gil, I realized that the other dates were just, like, shock value. And with Gil it was very real. I really have to approach this differently. I have to become more emotionally involved, and stop being so overwhelmed by everything that's going on and start being myself a little more."
Larissa and Tony Have a Blast
Larissa was primed for an emotional, sincere date, so it's only natural that her next date was with Tony, whom she hadn't had alone time with since their first date, when they did each other's portraits. Tony had continued to work on his portrait of her since then.
So Tony received a note that he'd be spending the afternoon with Larissa, and later he and Larissa headed off on Vespas. They went to a house in the country, where there was a lake in the back with a rowboat that contained a picnic and Tony's portrait of Larissa. Larissa was eager to see it, and I was eager to hear her reaction. After all, she's an artist, he's an artist. She looked at it, and said, "Nice. Wow. I love it. It's awesome." (I hope I spelled all the technical jargon correctly.)
Back at the guys' house, the remaining bachelors found ... a detonator?! Yup. What was it for? Well, Fredo explained, "I work construction, and anytime there's a detonator around, it's usually to destroy something." One again, it's good to have an expert around to lend perspective on this stuff.
The guys read the note with the detonator: "All is fair in love and war." Old Mike said in interview, "I wanted to push it immediately. I didn't care what the consequences were. I knew I wasn't going to blow up." At the time, both the Mikes were in favor of pushing it. When the guys asked Fredo, he said, "Personally, me, I wouldn't touch that thing." Gil finally told the Mikes, "Push the thing down. Let's get done with it. We have to find out. We have no choice." At the last minute, Other Brian piped in, "For the record, I'm against this. Strongly."
There's a very clear demarcation between the Hunks in the first circle around the detonator, and the Joes in the back. As Boston Brian later remarked, "None of the old guys was going to push that plunger down. None of them." Although admittedly, after the fact Jim said to Old Mike, "You're supposed to think about the consequences before you do something, Cardamone."
Well, one-two-three-PUSH by the Mikes, and there's a small explosion under the boat where Tony and Larissa are having their date. "Are you f--ing kidding me?" Larissa asked. (Ah, yes, it's our old Larissa! Welcome back!) She assumed that someone had deliberately sabotaged their date. In interview, she said she'd been half thinking that the boat wasn't really going to sink -- but there it went. She and Tony had to swim for shore, with Tony holding the painting up with one hand. "I was really, really ticked off with the fact that somebody wanted to destroy the date. Not only were they messing with Tony, but they were messing with me. It just -- it was so frustrating, and I kept swimming and I was getting madder and madder and madder." Larissa and Tony finally made it up to the shore, wet and cold, but with the painting intact. Larissa felt like crying, and Tony got all protective at how upset she was. Larissa swore that whoever did this would be gone, and said in interview, "I think the most gratifying part of this is going to be getting them back, whoever did it."
Meanwhile Old Mike figured out that the detonator had had some effect on Tony and Larissa's date, and the Hunks began pointing fingers. Young Mike said that it was also Fredo's fault, because he hadn't said "no" or "stop" before the lever was pushed. Todd said that nobody brought up an objection. As Boston Brian explained, "The fact is, they're trying to say that because everybody was there, we're all kind of guilty. Guilty people always like to point the finger at other people, you know, to take some of the blame off of them.
When Tony got back to the house, he gathered everyone together and said, "Someone's got something to tell me, and I would like to hear it right now." He was obviously upset, but kept himself together. Old Mike stepped up and explained about the detonator. Tony asked whose hand was on the lever, and the Mikes raised their hands. Tony wasn't surprised about Young Mike, but he was surprised at Old Mike. Old Mike took responsibility on behalf of "we" (not specifying if that was he and Young Mike, or everyone he'd been trying to drag down) to Tony's face, but in interview Young Mike said, "Tony came home ticked off about his date and, you know, it's stupid. It's so small-minded, and, like, I feel like I'm with a bunch of females." On behalf of bunches of females across America, Young Mike, may you be spared their company for a long, long time.
Young Mike also said in interview that, well, at least this gave a story to the date. Tony was upset about the lack of remorse, and behind his back there was of course no more remorse than there'd been in front of his face.
The next day, Larissa herself showed up, and asked who pushed the lever. Young Mike admitted being first to the crime scene, and that he and Old Mike pushed it. Larissa asked if he didn't think it would cause some destruction, and Young Mike answered, "Well, we hoped that it would be something out of the norm from the chess and the Pictionary." Larissa asked him if he'd do it again if he had a second chance. Young Mike thought for a while, then thought some more, and Larissa was able to take that as an answer. Old Mike, on the other hand, did his abashed act, saying he was sorry, he hadn't known the consequences and wouldn't have done it if he'd known.
And, after this action-packed episode, we're back to eliminations. Tonight, Larissa had to eliminate two Hunks and two Joes.
The first Joe to go was, unsurprisingly, Other Brian. I'm not sure how he'd made it this far. His leaving was matter of fact. A wise choice for someone to leave, because he didn't seem terribly invested in her decision.
The first Hunk to go was Todd. This was bad news, because it meant regardless of who else she chose to have leave, we'd still be left with at least one Mike. Todd was dumbfounded, and wondered, "Am I too much for her? Am I too overwhelming? Am I too confident for her? I don't know. The only reason that she would have to kick me off is because she just didn't like me, and it's just kind of pfffhlffhflh." Well, fella, you answered your own question.
In announcing the next departure, Larissa declared him an "inspiration" and "a true knight in shining armor." As we saw shots of the guys, the one of Thomas was nodding, and I was nodding too. Yes, it was Thomas. He went forward with a happy smile to say goodbye. In interview, with immense poise, he said, "I represented the little guy. I got voted off. That's okay with me. I outlasted 16 other guys who might have had a better shot than me. I fought like a dog. I never gave up. I stood up for myself and I accomplished everything I wanted to do. So I'm pretty proud of what I've done." Another fine departure.
The last elimination was Young Mike. Yay! At least one Mike was hitting the road. "Honestly, you know, thinking about the guys that are still in there and me gone," Mike said in interview, "I can't think of another guy that would be a better pick in the end than me for her, but I was wrong, I guess. I hope she finds what she's looking for, because it obviously wasn't me."
So left in the competition were Joes Fredo, Boston Brian and Tony, and Hunks Old Mike, Jim and Gil. Old Mike saw this as a chance for him to have a "clean slate" -- please, Larissa, tell me that even if you forgive, you don't forget! Unfortunately, she remarked that he "seems like a funny guy. He seems very sincere." She felt he made an effort to ask for a chance, so she wanted to give him that chance.
Next week -- if you couldn't believe that the guys last season fell for Melana's fat suit, you're going to be even more shocked at this season's gullibility. Larissa as her own "Mom" looks to be even less believable than Melana as cousin "Danielle." But it should still be fun to watch.
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 | Ep. 5
On the Internet: NBC.com's Official Site | SirLinksaLot.net