'The Bachelorette' Recap: Rainbow Connection
The Muppets guest star as Ryan emotes and Kalon erupts
By Diane Vadino
Special to MSN TV
It's Episode 2 of this season of "The Bachelorette" -- and unbelievably, it's actually starting to look more, rather than less, interesting. Emily, for one, is "getting real." Lucky for us, this involves asking the guys lots of questions about how psyched they are to be dads and then watching them squirm as they fail to come up with suitable answers. (You know they're all like, “Where are the helicopters and bungee jumps?” on the inside.) And paradoxically, though the helicopter count for this season is frighteningly low (one: Kalon's, and can it please return to take him back wherever he came from), it's actually sort of interesting watching Emily interact with her friends and family. Though there's a certain sadistic thrill (and surely, this show is built on exactly that) in watching a woman, cut off from everyone she knows, try to make sense of a never-ending array of douchebags, players, and skeeves, it's actually just as entertaining to see her act with a modicum of confidence.
Which is, more or less, how tonight's opening date with Ryan goes. More because she has the gumption to throw some actual tough questions at him. Less, though, because she can't stop wondering if he's "too perfect.” "Too perfect," of course, is Emily-code for "too much like Brad," which, for obvious reasons, is to be avoided: "Brad was crazy good-looking and we all know how that turned, out," she says. Instead of helicopter rides, Ryan and Emily bring in the groceries, bake cookies, and drop snacks off at Ricki's soccer game. What's next? Chuck E. Cheese and "wrangling a bunch of sugar-hyped-up six-year-olds." She's kidding -- instead, they're heading for dinner at Emily's favorite restaurant in town, so it's all pretty normal, except for the part where the band Gloriana plays and we all briefly pretend having Gloriana play in one's hometown is a tremendous honor. Too-perfect or not, Ryan gets his rose.
Next is the group date, which, inexplicably, stars the Muppets, who should have a long think about firing their management. They are so much better than this goat rodeo, but at least Fozzy's here to provided befuddled reaction shots whenever one of the bachelors tries to make a joke onstage: We're at a Muppets-starring fundraiser for a local children's hospital, and the guys have been put into small groups doing things they're not very good at (telling jokes in public, dancing, speaking in front of large groups.) Most of the guys roll with it, except for Charlie, whose brain injury has left him with a speech impediment. Emily excuses him from the activity and says he can join the dancing troupe instead. Miss Piggy pity-laughs her way through the guys' presentation, Chris Harrison grumbles alongside Statler, and Kermit, Ricki, and Emily sing "The Rainbow Connection." Unless you were concerned about a beloved children's institution (um, the Muppets, but the hospital, too, perhaps) associating itself with a bawdy dating show, it was fine. Any interpersonal drama, anyway, was saved for later -- specifically, when Kalon and Stevie get into a verbal altercation. "I don't like you," Stevie says. "I would like me either, if i were you, bro," Kalon shoots back, like a douche. He is so annoying; there really should be a public vote on kicking this guy off. But there's more from Kalon: At the pool, he tells single-dad Doug that he "made a decision to put [being a dad] on hold." This doesn't go over any better, and now essentially everyone hates Kalon and his helicopter. Jef -- around whom Emily feels like she's "in middle school -- takes the rose.
We know the date with Joe isn't going to go well from the get-go, when all his interviews are about going home. The first stop on the way there, however, is the Greenbriar, a world-famous spa in West Virginia -- Emily's home state. Speaking of, Emily is clearly 100 times more excited about the resort than about Joe, who does everything short of run his finger around a too-tight collar as Emily asks him to spell out how he would adapt to being a full-time dad. She blames his ouster on incompatibility -- but it's clearly because she's just not that into him: no butterflies. She's quite classy about his dismissal, and tells him tearfully that she's not just crying because she's sad to see someone -- anyone go; she really liked him. However: no butterflies. It's the eternal dealbreaker.
One thing of interest happens at the rose ceremony cocktail party, and that's Ryan writing Emily a seven-page letter (really) spelling out his feelings (really), which she has to read aloud (again), while Tony waits. It's a masterwork in cringe-making, and it has a lot of transitions in it ("Furthermore..."). Miraculously, they both get roses -- but Aaron and Kyle aren't so lucky. If you can't tell them apart -- well, Aaron's the high school science teacher who humiliated his students by offering Emily some "chemistry." Farewell, guys.
"The Bachelor" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.