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Before Emily Maynard starts her dates this week on ABC’s The Bachelorette, she meets up with friends and family at the park.  It’s very important, apparently, for Emily and ABC to remind us that she’s just an average single mom living in Charlotte.  At the park, the carpool efforts responsible for getting little Ricki to soccer practice are discussed.  The chat is nothing short of fascinating.  Eh, I’m lying.  The entire segment just reminds me how incredibly dull Emily is.

Next, Chris Harrison explains the dating process to the 19 remaining men.  This week, there will be one group date and two one-on-one dates.  There is a rose up for grabs on each date.  Chris leaves the men with the first date card.  Bobble head Chris wants to see his name on that card.  There’s suspenseful music.  The date goes to Runs with Dog Ryan.  The card reads, “Be my King in Queen City.”   Kalon is annoyed.  Chris is disappointed.

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The shirtless men are sitting around the pool while Ryan gets ready for his date.  A man getting ready for a date on this show usually consists of pulling a shirt over his naked ripped upper body for the camera.  Ryan also checks the twist in his hair.  I guess it’s good, because he joins the other guys at the pool while he awaits Emily’s arrival.  Once she comes in and says her obligatory hellos to the ogling men, Emily and Ryan head out for their date.  Ryan drops the lame “first date with my future wife” line and then fantasizes about airplanes and hot air balloons as possible first date activities.

Emily takes Ryan to her house, to unload groceries and bake cookies.  I doubt chocolate chip cookies made Ryan’s short list of date possibilities.  It probably didn’t make the long list, either.  Emily talks to Ryan about Ricki’s soccer games.  It’s Emily’s turn to bring a snack to the game, hence the cookies.  Ryan tells the camera that he didn’t think he’d be baking cookies in a girly robe on The Bachelor.  Translation, “Let’s hurry up and finish this cookie deal, so we can move onto something more fun.”  Emily eats raw cookie dough.  Part two of Ryan’s fabulous date:  Emily gets her stomach pumped.

That doesn’t happen.  So far, we’ve heard about Ricki’s soccer transportation, watched Ryan bake Ricki’s soccer snack, and now, instead of stomach pumping, we’re headed to Ricki’s soccer game.  I don’t know which date scenario I’d rather watch at this point.  I fear that the ever so important image of Emily being an “ordinary and devoted mom” is going to be shoved down our throats all season.  If I wanted to watch that play out, I’d pay closer attention to my own life on Monday nights.  If we continue down this path, I wonder how the fantasy dates are going to pan out. 

Emily to suitor number one, “Honey, you’re taking baby monitor duty tonight, so I can sleep.”  Emily to suitor number two, “I forgot to wash Ricki’s soccer uniform.  Be a dear, and take care of that for me.”  Emily to suitor number three, “You, average-looking man, make me, blonde southern belle with fake boobs, so nervous.  Let’s make out on a bed covered in rose petals.”  She might be a single mom, but she’s not dead.  She’s bound to get some action from at least one guy.  I hope.

I digress.  Emily brings Ricki and her team mates their snack of freshly baked cookies, oranges, and juice boxes.  Ryan waits in the car like the family dog, sticking his head out the window anxiously awaiting the return of his owner.  To reward his good behavior, Emily brings him a juice box.  I’m not kidding – they sit in the car and drink juice boxes.  What’s next, Emily? A parent/teacher conference, a PTA meeting?

Emily sends Ryan off to prepare for dinner.  Cue the shirt over ripped upper body scene.  They head into a restaurant on a red carpet lined with velvet ropes.  They talk over each other during dinner.  Emily uses the “too perfect” line to describe Ryan.  Emily offers Ryan the rose, and he accepts.  Outside of the restaurant, a band plays and they dance.  “We’re really connecting,” says Ryan.  They’re dancing on a 4×4 raised stage while strangers stare and take their picture.

Meanwhile, back at the Sausage McMansion, the men open the next date card.  It’s the group date.  He Who Grows Fungus Alejandro, No Impression Nate, He Who Buys Rice Allesandro, Prince Charming Tony, Pick Mike from Austin, John Wolf, Jef with One F, Head-injury Charlie, Kyle, Bobble head Chris, Funky Aaron, Jersey Shore Stevie, and Badass Kalon are invited.  The date card reads, “Let’s set the stage for love.”

I didn’t think it could get worse than “Soccer Mom Emily” date.  Then, it did.  The Muppets, Emily, and the guys perform a dance, a song, a comedy skit, and a Love Connection spoof for a live audience.  Emily and the guys interact with Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and Fozzie the Bear like they’re real people.  ABC interviews them as if they’re real people.

Charlie learns he’s been assigned to write some jokes and retell them to the audience.  He nearly cries.  He finds Emily.  Charlie explains to her how badly falling off that balcony affected his speech and that he’d rather take another role.  So, instead of a prepared speaking skit, they throw him into an improv speaking skit.  Makes perfect sense, no?  Old man in the balcony Muppet, Statler, asks Chris Harrison, “Where’s Waldorf?”  Chris says, “He called in sick.”  Statler says, “I wish I had thought of that.”  That makes two of us, as I’m ready to throw tomatoes at this date.

They move onto the balcony for the after party.  Chris talks to Emily one-on-one.  He’s playing the role of the “strong initial connection, then kind of ignored, and now all paranoid” guy.  Jef is playing it cool. Between Jef’s too cool for school act and Emily’s smitten schoolgirl act, they barely manage an adult conversation.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she passes him a note at the cocktail party – “Do you like me?  Yes or No.  Circle one.”

Kalon is this season’s Courtney Robertson.  The similarities are so strong; it’s almost as if he was cast in the role.  Oh, wait.

Anyway, Emily compliments Kalon and he’s all, like, “Girl, You don’t need to tell me how fabulous I am.  I have a helicopter.”  Aaron tries to interrupt their one-on-one time.  Kalon asks him for two more minutes.  Aaron tells him that’s not going to happen.  Kalon throws a hissy fit.  He tells Emily, “I don’t mean to put you in this position,” and I think he expects her to defend his fabulousness to Aaron and grant him the two extra minutes.  She doesn’t.  He quickly turns on his heels and tells her, instead, he isn’t going to put her in that position because he was raised to be a gentleman.  When the sassy white sweater with kicked up collar and hissy fit didn’t work, he resorts to “raised a gentleman.”  He tells the camera he feels for the other men.  I mean, it can’t be easy to watch him woo her over with his luxury branding career and big words.

Kalon is so smitten with himself; I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s looking at the rose on the table wishing he could give it to himself.  Before he gets the chance, Emily picks it up and offers it to Jef.  Chris is upset.  Shocker, I know.  He refuses to believe Jef had a conversation with Emily like his own.  He truly believes he’s the only one who could have shared deep meaningful conversation and connection with Emily.  He’s getting the paranoid with a side of stalker edit.

The second and final one-on-one date goes to Joe Guiney Csincsak.  The date card reads, “Come close to my heart.”  Blonde Sean thought it was going to be his date.  Based on what?  I’m not sure.

Driving to her date with Joe, Emily changes lanes without signaling.  I dream a little daydream.  In my dream, Emily is thrown into jail because of her neglectful driving.  With Emily out of the picture, Kalon proposes to himself and accepts.  He flies to Fiji in his helicopter, chooses to forgo his individual room to spend the night in the fantasy suite, and volcanoes erupt in the background.  Alessandro and Alejandro tend to their corn and mushrooms, respectively.  Charlie goes on tour giving improv speeches on balcony safety.  Bobble head Chris tells us how disappointed he is.  Stevie is relieved filming has ended because he’s running low on hair grease.  Travis sits on his egg for the rest of time.  Jef lets Ricki borrow his skateboard, to get to her soccer games.  Emily annoys her cellmate, who later starts a brawl in the courtyard just to get solitary confinement, so she doesn’t have to listen to Emily speak or watch her touch her hair every 23 seconds.  Chris Harrison leaves his Master of Ceremony gig to become warden of Emily’s jail.  Emily gives Chris Harrison a rose, and they live happily ever after.  Bobble head Chris is crying over a balcony.  Charlie shows up to lecture him on how to do it safely.

I digress again.  Back to the show, Joe’s date involves flying to West Virginia in a jet.  Emily and Joe get caught up in the romance of it all, and they high five as they’re boarding.  Joe didn’t get the first kiss, but he got the first Emily in a bikini date.

Back at the Sausage McMansion, the men are swimming and contemplating the idea of being an instant father figure to Ricki.  Kalon isn’t sure he can embrace someone else’s kid yet.  Doug talks to the group, telling them that being a parent is a big deal.  He says there’s nothing more important in his heart than his son is.  Kalon points out that Doug is there by way of his own decision, essentially putting being a father to his son on hold for a reality TV show.  Doug warns him to step back and check himself.  And, end scene.  The pool party is over.

We return to Joe and Emily in West Virginia.  They’re heading to dinner in fancy clothes.  Emily asks Joe where he sees himself in five years.  Boring conversation ensues.  Emily feels as if there is a spark missing with Joe.  She starts crying.  She says, “It happened on a Sunday.  It was raining.” She doesn’t think Joe is looking for the same thing she is.  She sends him home.   He thanks her for the opportunity.  The whole date feels like a job interview gone terribly wrong.

The remaining 18 men are still reeling from Joe’s elimination as they prepare for the cocktail party.  Emily enters, tells the men she knows what she’s looking for, and the men tell her they respect that she knows what she’s looking for.  It’s deep.

Salt in the Wounds Arie did not get a date this week, so they catch up on the swing.  Tony gets upset when Ryan steals alone time with Emily, because he already has a rose.  He marches in their direction, vowing to put an end to the madness.  Instead, he idiotically stands by as Emily reads the seven-page letter Ryan wrote to her, aloud.  When Tony does get his time with Emily, he tells her about his five-year-old son.  Kalon talks to Emily next.  Kalon reminds me a lot of Ames Brown – socially awkward, raised with money, and uses big words.  Only, Ames is charming and Kalon is nauseating.  Nobody in the house is bonding with Kalon.  Pretty much, they hate him and his fancy words.  Sean thinks he uses his vocabulary to assert himself and show dominance in the house.  John shares his opinion on Kalon, “If you have Louis Vuitton luggage, and you’re a Dude, you’re an asshole.”  (paraphrased)  Back to you, Chris Harrison.

Leading into the rose ceremony, Ryan already has a rose because he baked cookies and Jef already has a rose because he played it cool.  Emily begins handing out roses, and Kalon gets the first rose.  Doug is disappointed, Stevie looks like he smells a skunk.  Arie, Michael, and Nate get roses.  Doug shrugs it out, playing it cool.  Sean and Chris get the next two roses.  Doug finally gets a rose.  Aaron isn’t happy.  Travis gets the next rose.  I didn’t even recognize him without his egg.  Where is the egg?  Tony, John, Allesandro, Charlie, and Alejandro receive roses.  Kyle scratches his head, Stevie tries to shrug it off but he isn’t as convincing as Doug is, and Aaron takes a deep breath.  The final rose goes to Stevie.  Not that there was any doubt.  The show wouldn’t allow Emily to get rid of Kalon’s instigator and enemy so soon.  Aaron and Kyle are dismissed.  Aaron is mad, Kyle’s heart broken.

Next week’s preview includes the carnival date, Dolly Parton, and open mouth kisses.  And that’s just Arie’s date.  We’ll also see the building rappelling date, tears, scrambled eggs, and possibly an early exit.

TELL US – WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT KYLE AND AARON WERE SENT PACKING?

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