Emily's motherhood was on full display this week. When she wasn't hugging a smiling Ricki, she was baking cookies, hanging out with soccer moms, or talking about kids.
She was also busy trying waaaaaay too hard with the Potential Future Husbands. Even as she kicked them off, she continued to lay on the compliments. Emily: they have to be there and hit on you. They are contractually obligated. Why are you embarrassing yourself and me, because I have to watch and be embarrassed on behalf of all women in the universe?
In more important news, Prettiest Potential Future Husband Michael wore his shiny flowing locks in no less than four hairstyles this week. He started the episode with it half up, like a princess. For more on his hairstyles and Emily's quest, ready on.
1-on-1 Date: Ryan
Although my predictions are usually strong, I am going to have to amend my first impression of Ryan. He's a sleezoid and there's no way he's making it to the end. Also, his dimples are too big.
For their date, Ryan went over to Emily's house to bake cookies. He said he found it romantic, when clearly he did not. (BS alert #1!) Then it was off to soccer practice in the minivan where Look What A Great Mom She Is Emily dropped off snacks for her kid's team -- and left Ryan waiting in the car. She's such a kid-tease. Back in the car, Ryan talked about how great their connection was. (BS alert #2.)
Onto dinner time. But first Ryan obviously had to strip for the camera... so he could iron his shirt, you guys! Emily traded in the minivan for a sports car and her mom-leggings for a one-armed red dress with sparkly heels. Girl loves her glitter.
They arrived at the restaurant, to find cheering "fans" outside, who were clearly extras. Over dinner, Emily said she worried Ryan was all about the chase, and saw the show as a game to be won. (Which it is. That is, if you consider a short engagement to a former Bachelor contestant winning). Ryan told her he was into the chase but would also "reveal to you who I real am" (BS alert #3) and feigned interest in being part of Ricki's life (BS alert #4).
He even made a big deal of asking Em whether she'd let a future husband act like Ricki's father. (BS alert #5.) Emily responded, "I will gladly GLADLY hand over control. I'm tired of being in charge. I want somebody else to kind of come in and be the boss." And then, like she heard me from my living room, months in the future, yelling her for setting the women's movement back 50 years she backtracked and said she would only pretend the guy was in charge. Good save, Em.
Then Ryan told Emily she looked most attractive in the kitchen today. Maybe they are a perfect match. He wants her in the kitchen and she wants to be told what to do. They could make a time machine and travel back to the fifties together.
Emily worried Ryan was too perfect (ly terrible?), but gave him a rose despite his alleged perfection. The extras were still outside when they left dinner and it was time for an outdoor concert. The couple danced on a raised platform in front of everyone, while the extras took pictures and videos, which clearly were all property of ABC. He said stupid cheesy things while they danced and they hugged after, even though the song was about kissing. Emily said she saw a future with him, but I did not. Even Emily is smart enough to see through his crap.
Group Date: Miss Piggy for the Win!
Alejandro, Nate, Tony, Alessandro, Michael (hair now down, so it could blow in the wind), John, Jef, Charlie, Kyle, Chris, Aaron, Stevie , and (ever-glossy-lipped) Kalon met Emily at a theater. After waiting in line to each get a hug, they learned they'd be performing in a show for her dead fiancé's charity... with Miss Piggy, Kermit and Fozzie Bear. I was so conflicted; happy to see the Muppets and saddened to see the new low to which they'd been forced to stoop. It was like the saddest case of cross-promotion ever.
Here's the other thing: Miss Piggy is so much more charismatic than Emily. It was almost unfair they had to share screen time. There was a running gag of Piggy getting jealous of Em and Kermit. And despite Kermit's best efforts to compliment Emily, it was clear he's way out of her league.
To prepare for the show, the guys were split into groups to practice dancing, singing and "comedy" with Muppet mentors. Charlie freaked out when he was assigned to the comedy group -- like "it really struck fear in my heart" freaked-out. He told Emily he was insecure about speech problems he had (due to that tragic life threatening accident in his past) and she let him switch to the singing group.
Over the course of the performance, Emily change three times, each glitter-drenched outfit out-sparkling the last. The singing guys were also guests on a Miss Piggy talk show and Charlie ended up even more on the spot than if he'd stayed in the comedy group. He did fine in the end, answering his questions, and all the dudes were proud of him in a dude-y way.
Little Ricki was in the audience, and ABC milked that adorable child for all she's worth. She clapped and laughed and even got to come onstage to sing "The Rainbow Connection" with Kermit. The show ended with everyone onstage singing "The Rainbow Connection" -- the lovers, the dreamers and the embarrassingly untalented bachelors.
Muppet-Free After Party
Emily changed into a black, long-sleeved lacy dress with silver glitter heels. Michael changed his hairstyle to a bun.
Emily continued to try too hard, making every guy to think he had a special connection with her. She told Bobble Chris she liked him because he was "so good looking" and he left thinking they'd forged a connection the other guys couldn't possibly. She told Jef she was always looking at him and felt her staring was unrequited. They talked about how hard it was, this gang-dating and she related to his struggle. He left thinking it was the best talk Emily had had with any of the guys.
Later, Emily and Stevie slow danced by a fireplace, while all the dudes watched from a hidden stairwell. Then Kalon moved in on Stevie's time. Then Aaron moved in on Kalon's time. Then Stevie and Kalon argued by the fire.
At the end of the night, Jef got a rose for his insecurity and I missed the Muppets.
1-on-1 Date: Joe
When he found out about his date, over-enthused Joe was "thrilled" "excited" and "pumped." They took a private plane to Emily's home state of West Virginia, to spend a day at the resort when she got her first makeover (a very important moment in her life).
She walked him through the PR points -- the place is a hundred year old -- and her personal connection to the place -- she used to swim with her brother there. Then they stripped down to their bathing suits and jumped in the pool, just like Emily and her brother used to do. Sort of.
Over-Enthused Joe thought the day was "mind-blowing" and felt "fantastic." Then he saw Emily in her dinner outfit: a pink ball gown with jewels, sparkles and what appeared to be layers of crepe paper at the bottom. Then he decided, "I've never experienced something so romantic in my entire life".
Despite a candlelit dinner at a table set with two full wine glasses apiece, Emily didn't feel a spark. I felt Joe was clearly full of crap, but made less of an effort to hide it than Ryan did. His enthusiasm covered it up for a while, but when posed with actual conversation he was done. He kept dodging questions, including whether he wanted kids.
They wrote down their wishes to put under the love clock. (Yah, exactly what it's sound like. And as lame as it sounds.) Joe's wish was to return to Hotel West Virginia with Emily and her family. But Emily didn't feel a connection and started to cry. She told him she took the situation seriously and appreciated him putting himself out there and apologized. "Is there a 'but' coming in here?" Dense Joe asked. Eventually he figured it out, thanked her coldly, and walked away with no hug and no handshake.
Drama in the Deep End
Meanwhile, the guys back at the house hung around the pool in all their shirtless glory. Doug warned them to make sure they were ready for fatherhood. Kalon said Doug had put his fatherhood "on hold" to go on the show. And Doug got upset. He was only doing the show because his 5-year-old son told him to! Minor tension. Dramatic music to heighten it. End scene.
Emily wore another one-shoulder dress; this time, it was shiny purple with a glittery-bejeweled sash-thing and sparkly earrings. Michael sported an elegant ponytail.
Emily told Arie she didn't have her own hobbies, because she's all about her daughter. He said he'd dated a mom before. She told him he was special and made her nervous.
Ryan gave Emily a 7-page handwritten letter, which he had her read aloud while Tony waited for his turn. (Week 1, it was a two-sentence note, Week 2 a 7-page letter, what will Week 3 bring?) He's trying to hard and is clearly there for the wrong reasons and is tarnishing the integrity of the institution that is The Bachelorette.
Tony finally got his time with Emily and told her being away from his son was hard, but "it could tooootally be worth it". And after their conversation, he felt like they'd "totally related to each other." Totally.
Emily and Slick-Lips sat on a wicker swing, beneath dozens of hanging candles. I didn't know where to focus: Kalon's overly-shiny lips or the imminent Bachelorette Conflagration of 2012. Emily asked him what made a girl "worthy of a shot with Kalon." It's like she doesn't understand that they're supposed to be wooing her.
The other guys saw past the luster of Kalon's lips. "I get the impression he uses his vocabulary as a way of trying to show his dominance within the household" Sean explained, using his vocabulary to sound dumb. Stevie called Kalon a stuck up "rich kid" and Wolf Man John was more concise, calling him a word that had to be bleeped out.
"I'm really looking forward to growing my relationship with each of you" Emily told the guys. Except the ones she was about to send home. Kalon got the first rose, to all the PFHs' chagrin. Emily continued to call their names in a weird, soft voice until MC Stevie got the last rose.
Booted: Kyle and Aaron, who I tended to get confused with one another. I wonder if that's why Emily let them go. Kyle left, saying "When you get your heart broken it's the worst feeling in the world." Really? Heartbreak? After like -- a week? True love takes at least two weeks, obvi.
Next Week's Drinking Game:
Dad / Father