Reality Bites: Average Joe: Hawaii - Episode 8
by Rachel Jaffe
Published: February 24, 2004
Private Date: Fredo
With the ranks thinned down to four (Average Joes Fredo and Brian, and Hunks Jim and Gil), the guys participated in a jet-ski race. At checkpoints, Larissa asked them questions about herself (e.g., her astrological sign). Correct answers would send them on a shorter route, marked with green buoys; incorrect answers sent them on the longer route, marked with red buoys. Fredo gained an advantage for knowing the name of one of her guinea pigs ("Pickle") and the length of her last serious relationship (nine months -- which Brian also got right). As the winner, Fredo continued on a private date with Larissa.
First up for them was a round of golf, followed by a game of tennis. Neither of them was particularly talented at either sport, so they goofed around and had fun. The date ended with a "couple's massage" -- side-by-side massages as the sun set. When Larissa commented on the beauty of the sunset, Fredo said that it was "beautiful, and I have a wonderful person to share it with." And, speaking like a true contractor, he also said that they'd "added a lot of bricks to our great foundation" with their time together.
Sappy as that sounds, it was followed by a scene a little less sweet. (Hey, look, my "s" key works!) Fredo started questioning Larissa closely about her intentions and motivations. Larissa asked Fredo if he was challenging her, particularly by calling her "indecisive." She felt that meant that he was saying that she was incapable of making up her mind. He clarified that he meant that she didn't know what decision she wanted to make. Larissa wondered in voiceover whether Fredo was questioning her motives. She explained that this opportunity had been presented to her, and she didn't want to pass up on opportunities that came her way. And she wanted Fredo there because he had surprised her so much, and because he was willing to stand up and question her. Fredo, for his part, was utterly impressed with her answers and felt that his doubts had been put to rest. They even had a little discussion about who moves where. As we watched them hug good night at the end of the date, we heard Fredo say in voiceover, "I prefer that Larissa takes things slow, you know, instead of being out there making out with everyone, because I wouldn't be comfortable with it, you know. But she's smarter than that."
Private Date: Gil
Out of fairness, after Fredo had his private date with Larissa, the other three guys had private dates (so what's the point of winning the race?). First up was Gil.
He and Larissa took a helicopter ride over Hawaii. It was a bumpy trip, which made Larissa nervous, but Gil didn't mind the chance to comfort her. They admired the scenery, and then, after getting off the helicopter, ended up on the beach. Larissa said that her goal was to get Gil to open up a little more and let her know more about him. One thing she found out was that he's very ticklish. But emotionally, he was reluctant to open up, stating that he was shy about talking in front of the cameras. Larissa, though, wasn't sure if it might be a reflection of how he felt about her. He did tell her that he was glad that he stayed, and that he liked her. And they did share a kiss on the beach.
After walking on the beach, they found a stream and followed it up. Larissa suggested they slide down the stream, which made me smile because I can remember sliding down a waterfall where my grandma used to live when I was a kid -- fun for me, and it looked like it was fun for Gil and Larissa. When they were through playing in the water, they found a cabin to hang out in. Gil cooked dinner, and Larissa put the heat on Gil to find out more about his relationship history. "I noticed when I started asking him questions about his girlfriend, he also kind of started to get really hot and flushed and kind of started sweating." (Holy cow, I'm getting kind of hot and flushed writing about it ....) Larissa was worried about the pause that Gil had before saying that, if the ex were still in Ft. Lauderdale, they probably wouldn't be together anyway. Larissa also asked if Gil were concerned about her living in Los Angeles. Gil hesitated and admitted that it was an obstacle, but obstacles are to be overcome. Over wine afterwards, Larissa continued to press Gil about being open with her. I started to feel bad for the poor guy -- no escape! Fortunately, he was able to distract her when it started raining. And, once distracted, he could apply himself to kissing her (which kept her from continuing to talk). However, Gil said that this was the best date ever in his life, so I guess it couldn't have been as bad for him as it seemed.
Private Date: Brian
Larissa was excited about her date with Brian. "When I'm with Brian, I completely forget about everybody else." The two of them went out for sushi -- Brian's first time! And considering that he likes his steak cooked medium well, Brian had a little trepidation. "I was willing to try it out, to show her that I'm interested in things that she enjoys." Brian was surprised that the first bite wasn't so bad. And he scored points from Larissa that he was willing to try it for her.
Then they went to the botanical gardens. Larissa, still in Gil mode, questioned Brian about his past girlfriends. They quickly moved from that to Brian's fear of commitment. "My biggest fear was maybe meeting somebody and then having my life just totally go topsy-turvy. But to be honest with you, I want to experience areas I've never gone to before. ... I want to follow my heart. I'm done with being scared of commitment." Larissa remarked that "he's completely thrown himself into this experience, and now I know that he's here for me."
After that, they went for a sunset ride on a double-hulled canoe, and then ended up by the pool with drinks at Larissa's. Larissa remarked on how Brian had opened up to her, and she decided to open up with him. She told him that she'd been thinking about other dates and other guys, and that maybe things had moved too fast with other guys. But she knew that if she were with Brian, he'd always treat her well. She also shared with him reflections on previous relationships, and having been involved with someone whom she loved, but wasn't in love with. "The quality that Brian Worth has that some of the others don't is that he listens and he talks and he's got a lot of great things to say and he says what's on his mind. ... Brian's got the most beautiful eyes, and they sparkle when he talks to me about the way that he's feeling." She really seems to be opening up with him, and ol' Brian's suddenly coming on strong as a dark horse contender to win this thing!
Private Date: Jim (Or Is It ...?)
Jim's date, like Fredo's, was pretty lame compared to the other guys -- they basically went to a deserted island and hung out. Worse yet for Jim, Larissa said that this date was "critical" for him because he was in a tight race with the other guys. She needed to find out what he was bringing to the table, particularly personality-wise. But on the plus side, Larissa said Jim was the guy who really gave her butterflies, and she was sort of turned on by the idea of being on a deserted island with a hot guy.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Fredo was informed that he'd be going on a submarine ride. Why? Who knows? His reward for winning the jet ski competition after all? Or perhaps some other nefarious purpose (bwahahaha!).
Larissa and Jim found a box on the island with some basic supplies. They made a campfire and cooked their simple dinner (Larissa: "I like a man who can cook spam.").
Oh, the tension! Back to Fredo in the submarine, having a great time, unaware of why he's down there.
Speaking of unaware ... our clueless couple on the beach continued their conversation, unaware of the submarine on its way. Larissa gently questioned Jim about himself: "Where do you see yourself in five years?" Leaning over Larissa's shoulder to answer, allowing his breath to tickle her ear, Jim attempted to use physicality to distract Larissa from his lame answer: "It's kind of up in the air, you know? I'm just going to kind of see what happens, for a little bit. I definitely have the flying thing." Following that up by stroking her neck, Jim actually did derail Larissa's questioning!
Jim opened up a little -- enough to admit that he often gets stereotyped as "stupid." Larissa asked why, and Jim replied, "I don't know. I just do." Somewhere, somehow, there's a zen koan in that. Larissa doesn't remark on it, though, and they go for a walk on the beach.
As they were on the beach, Fredo on the submarine was handed a monitor, which displayed the following message: "Fredo, this submarine is currently stationed 40 yards off a private beach. Larissa and Jim are enjoying their private evening together on shore. Your orders are to come to periscope depth and witness the truth." Ah, his orders! No question of shying away from the "detonator" this time!
By the time Fredo got to periscope depth, Larissa and Jim were deep into the smoochies. Unsurprisingly, based on their history together -- he gets her hot, and it's not like there's a lot of conversation to distract them. In addition to stunning visuals, there was a strange square pattern at the center of the periscope display which made the scene look almost pixilated (cf., Richard Hatch on Survivor: All Stars). Rest assured, though, no pixilation was necessary.
No matter. Even without pixilation, Fredo was shocked at the displays he saw. "I think she's -- she's showing a little bit of shallowness. Quite a bit. Because I think she's basing everything off of looks at this point." Upon hearing Larissa tell Jim she has a crush on him, Fredo exploded, "What the hell is a crush? What the f--- is wrong with you?" He continued, "She went on one date with Jim -- I mean, what does she have a crush on? The dude's definitely -- I mean, I know him at the house -- I mean, he's not a conversation piece, that's for G-----d sure. It's gross. It really is. I mean, I just thought of her more than that. But, you know, I -- I don't know if I was wrong -- I must have been." After hearing her tell Jim that he makes her feel like nobody else there does, Fredo remarked, "It makes me flipping sick to my stomach that -- I just -- I just thought she was a lot smarter. But, I don't know. I was wrong? Man, she didn't even go out with the guy for long. They don't even know anything about each other. She seems to say that's so important to her, but that obviously isn't."
As Larissa shared salty kisses with Jim, Fredo remarked in disgust, "She can have it. They can have each other, because I'll make someone very happy someday. There's not a doubt in mind. And there's other guys at the house that will also. And if that crush is what she wants, she can have it." Seeing this as emblematic of his dating life, Fredo remarked that that's why he's cautious about getting into relationships, and he "just got f---ed again."
A Different Sort of Elimination
After private dates, it was time for elimination, where Larissa was supposed to eliminate one person. However, when she showed up for the pre-elimination cocktail party, she was met by three guys, not four. "Where's Fredo?" she asked.
The guys looked at each other, and then Brian volunteered, "Larissa, Fredo left yesterday afternoon. And we waited up for him. And he hasn't come back. But there's a note that we found." In voiceover, we heard Fredo's voice reciting what was in the note: "Dear Larissa -- We often spoke of the foundation we were building, and I always will think of it fondly. However, I think we both know it's not taking us to the type of happiness we both deserve. I can't continue with this process. I'm on my way back to Cleveland. I wish you all the best. Fredo."
In interview, Brian remarked, "I like Fredo a lot. But I don't think that's very fair to all the other guys that had to stand at elimination and have their name called out and get sent home." Now, Brian, is that fair of you? No reason to think that Fredo had earlier realized that he and Larissa weren't Meant to Be. Jim remarked, "I really have no idea why Fredo's gone." Yeah, yeah, we know -- no ideas up there whatsoever, so why should the reason for Fredo's departure be any different?
Larissa remarked in voiceover, "The only good thing about Fredo leaving was that he is the one I was going to eliminate anyway, and it makes it much easier on both of us." To the guys, Larissa said, "Well, I'm very sad to see him go. If he were here, I'd say I enjoyed having him, I had a great time, and he's definitely very adventurous. I really would have liked to say good-bye in person." She then remarked that she was supposed to have eliminated one person that night, and now it looked like she wouldn't have to. I give her props for not making any snotty comments about "well, he would have been gone anyway," unlike ... who was it? the woman in "Mr. Personality"? one of the
Down to the final three, the "Hawaii" portion of Average Joe: Hawaii is over. Larissa reflected on the selection of guys in front of her, comparing them to characters in the Wizard of Oz: "Jim would be comparable to the Scarecrow (cut to Jim telling Larissa he gets stereotyped as stupid). The Scarecrow is -- obviously has enough on the outside, but he's lacking depth. Gil could be compared to the Tin Man, who is lacking a heart and lacking emotion. And Brian would be compared to the Lion, who has the heart and has the emotion and the passion and the sensitivity, but he's lacking the courage, or the confidence, to follow through. So in an interesting way, in a weird way, they all have different qualities about them that the other doesn't have."
At Home With Jim
Now it's time for the home visits. (This entire segment really reeks of a last-minute editing shuffle by NBC to get the show up to 90 minutes, in order to interfere with the end of My Big, Fat, Obnoxious Fiance on Fox.) The first home visit was Scottsdale, Arizona, with Jim. "I really want to find more out about Jim, and still kind of dealing with the thing that he's a little quiet," Larissa remarked. "Just waiting for his personality to show up more." Unfortunately for her, first up was mountainbike riding, although she liked that he was supportive when she had difficulty riding. After that, they hiked up a cliff and then rappelled back down. Larissa panicked at the height, but did manage to make it down. Probably the sight of Jim shirtless was enough incentive.
After that, they chatted. Larissa noted that Jim "definitely knows how to be affectionate, but he doesn't know how to bring on the conversation as much. There's a lot of silences, there's a lot of pauses." When she asked what he liked to do, he talked about walking his dog. When she asked if he had roommates, he just answered, "yeah" and sort of stared into space.
Things didn't improve when they went to Jim's apartment. "Jim is, like, in desperate need of a girlfriend who's going to go in there, clean that place up, dust it off, just vacuum it up, and just get some potpourri going, because it needs a little help." Oh, yeah, and get rid of the blow-up doll in the kitchen. She also felt Jim's beloved dog Jake needed a bath.
After walking Jake, they went to the Arizona Biltmore resort and had drinks. Larissa reflected, "I think I built him up to have this mystery and have more going on, and I keep wanting to believe that, and I keep wanting to believe there's more to him." Larissa asked Jim about his favorite book, and in a classic moment, Jim mused, "Favorite book ..." then, turning to Larissa, replied innocently, "I really don't read books." Larissa stifled his facial expression and asked what the last book was that he read. Jim had no idea. (Is Fredo's submarine back? Oh, no, that's just Jim's chances with Larissa that I hear plummeting.)
Jim tried some last-minute scrambles, telling Larissa how he liked her and that they shouldn't worry about what they'll do if they're in a relationship, but Larissa was finally wondering if everything between them was physical, without anything else to back it up.
At The Hangar Already?
Surprise, surprise ... we're at the Hangar already. No remark is made about the plane on one side (for the winner), and the bus on the other (for the losers). Instead, it's straight to Jim walking up and Larissa giving him the speech: "Well, you've been here since the very beginning, and here we are at the very end. What can I say? I feel like there's this magnet that draws me towards you. It's like no matter where we are, we're on our own private beach, and nothing else matters. Which is what makes it really hard for me tonight. In the end, I fear that that spark's not enough. I still have that crush. But I need something more. I'm sorry that I have to say good-bye tonight." Jim managed to stumble out a "great to meet you" and "wish you the best," and then climbed aboard the bus. (Although, with two home visits yet unbroadcast, it would have been the Most Shocking Twist Ever if she'd actually selected him and he'd gotten on the plane!)
Next week -- the Finale! More home visits! More time in the Hangar! The way it's meant to be -- Average Joe versus Johnny-Come-Lately Hunk (and this time, someone gets on the plane)!
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 | Ep. 6 | Ep. 7
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