Making Love Out of Nothing at All: The Sixth Episode of More to Love

By | September 2, 2009

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Gather round, friends fat and otherwise, and I shall tell you how More to Love is slowly devouring my will to live. This travesty of a television program has burrowed so deeply into my subconscious that — chillingly — last night I had a More to Love-related dream. In this dream I was a contestant on a sort of fat-blogger version of Dancing with the Stars, and I was paired with none other than detestable lummox Luke Conley. We were supposed to do a paso doble, but I was a total bitch to him and he was a ragingly passive-aggressive asshole back and so there was much Reality TV Drama over whether we’d get our shit together enough for the performance.

But that is not the punch line. The punch line is that the fabulous and whip-smart Kate (who is, incidentally, guest blogging at Jezebel this week) was also in this dream. Kate’s dance partner was none other than MeMe Roth, and they were tasked with reproducing the knife fight from the “Beat It” video. This is one of those times where I fervently wish that either I had a talent for drawing myself, or a great illustrator on staff at Fatshionista, because the epic dance battle I dreamed between Kate and MeMe cannot adequately be described using mere words. Dream-Kate was like a fat ninja, though sadly I woke up before I could see her dispatch MeMe to hell, which in MeMe’s case would probably involve Fat Satan’s minions rubbing their bellies on her while forcing her to eat food that is of dubious nutritional value.

Last time on More to Love: Luke made out with many laydeez. The intro montage would have us believe that nothing else happened, but we know better.

Now, my pets, we approach the really draggy endgame of More to Love, since it appears henceforth we shall be losing but one laydee per episode. I remain perplexed by the producers’ decision to dispense with so many laydeez so rapidly, and so early on; all this has done is leave us a glut of episodes from which all the most interesting characters have been meticulously scrubbed. Is it possible that Anna, Mandy, Malissa, and Tali are all, in fact, deeply engaging people? Sure, but my money’s on our never finding out for sure. Now, this show is likely to devolve (further) into your standard gross-out Bachelor fare; it almost ceases to matter that the women involved are slightly larger than some other women, as the song they’re playing is the same. Bitch Lauren, your mathmatically-challenged, complusively-mispronouncing-multisyllabic-words brand of haterism is sorely, sorely missed. Kristian, the loss of your sweet and wild-eyed LOVE YOOOOU TV BOYFRIEND idealism renders this experience even more soulless and vapid than it was before. And I am still upset that Arianne–who, when the first amphibians first crawled out of the ocean and onto the land, was present to lovingly mop their little amphibious brows, feverish with the evolutionary effort, and to offer words of kind encouragement–got cut before she could do a loving tribute to Liza Minelli, or at least before we saw her in a sequin-spangled top hat, or at least before we got to see her dressed up as Jerry Sizzler for More to Love’s special Halloween episode, Henhouse of Horror. But perhaps poet Carl Sandburg said it best: “I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes, so live not in your yesterdays, no just for tomorrow, but in the here and now. Keep moving and forget the post mortems; and remember, no one can get the jump on the future.” The laydeez of yore are gone but not forgotten. Now, let us get on with the pig jokes.

This week, all four laydeez get one-on-one dates, and their families will be there to surprise them. But they don’t know that! Hence the surprise. Luke observes that it’s been ten years since they all entered the House of Blues–or at least it feels that long–and so the laydeez are missing their families a lot.

Tali gets first crack at Luke on the solo date train. They’re going to race go-karts! Here I feel compelled to relate my own go-kart-related Fat Pain. When you’re fat and driving a go-kart, you typically go way slower than lighter people even when the little go-kart engine is working at top speed, as your fat ass requires a lot more go-kart energy to haul around the track. Which means you always lose. How many times I have “raced” go-karts with my friends only to be the slow fat tortoise bringing up the rear. Slow and steady did not win any races for me. Luckily both Luke and Tali are fat, and they have the whole track to themselves, so maybe that will level the playing field a bit. Once Luke manages to shoehorn himself into his go-kart (been there!), they get to racing. Luke is impressed by Tali’s sudden competitiveness, which I suppose, IS sort of impressive considering we’ve basically never met Tali before the last episode. However, given that what we have heard from Tali thus far has mostly been whinging about feeling jealous I don’t think her competitive streak should come as a surprise to anyone. Luke is like totally impressed though. It’s as if Tali is a real live girl!

Tali confessions, both before and during the go-karts, that she has lots of Fat Pain. Because she’s fat. And it hurts.

Post-race, Tali and Luke sit down for a romantic go-kart-track-side meal. Tali’s aunt and uncle turn up in the guise of waitstaff; Tali is so distracted by the presence of food–Tali herself cops to this in confession–that she doesn’t even realize it’s her family at first. Of course she cries when she figures out oh hey, I know these people. Her aunt, who appears Israeli, asks Luke how he feels about the cultural differences between them, and Luke mumbles a vague answer like an errant schoolboy who hasn’t done the reading. Tali’s uncle, who appears not to be Israeli, has some thoughtful suggestions for Luke on the reality that their cultural difference may not seem so intimidating now, but if, for example, Luke were to visit Israel with Tali, problems and assumptions about religion and class that Luke wasn’t even aware he had might suddenly arise. Luke tries to appear thoughtful at this but fails utterly – I imagine in his head he’s imagining a monkey in a fez driving a go-kart in tight circles, Homer-Simpson-style. Uncle Leo, who may or may not be related to Jerry Seinfeld, confessions that it’s possible Tali’s family wouldn’t accept Luke as her husband owing to his lumbering pasty WASPYness.

Tali confessions she’s worried about the heavy stuff Uncle Leo’s laying on Luke, that it may intimidate him. YEAH TALI, IT PROBABLY WILL, BUT WOULDN’T YOU RATHER FIND THAT OUT NOW? Seriously, would you prefer Luke just blindly enter in a relationship with you and ignore any potential roadblocks such that our possible breakup will be even more drawn out and excruciating when and if the time comes? These laydeez, they are occasionally not so smart. She tells her aunt privately that when Luke looks at her, she gets “chills up my spine”.

Meanwhile, on their own, Uncle Leo is counseling Luke on the fact that Tali’s family is very religious. Uncle Leo says he and Tali’s aunt felt a lot of pressure from her family, and that “it can work on your mind” when you’re constantly getting the message from the family of someone you love that you’re not good enough for them. Luke asks if that happened to Uncle Leo, and he says, yes, “big time”. I like Uncle Leo! He seems intelligent and well-mannered and entirely sane, which is a welcome respite from the ridiculousness of this perverted multi-laydee household. Luke confesses he’s “concerned”. Tali also confesses that her aunt and uncle brought up “sharp questions, and now I’m really scared.” But, she recognizes she can’t change her cultural background so Luke’s either going to have to commit to dealing with their differences or send her on her way. Clip below.

Mandy’s solo date is next, and it’s clear that in Kristian’s absence we are now meant to identify Mandy as the House Crazy. Mandy, whilst doing her hair, tells the other laydeez she’s hoping their date involves something “calming”. Malissa asks Mandy what she thinks her “strongest connection” with Luke is; Mandy says, “I feel like it’s smarter for us all to keep what we feel is bonding us the most to ourselves.” Malissa presses the issue and Mandy supposedly slams down the curling iron she’s using as a response. This whole interaction is obviously being edited to create the appearance of drama, which I know reality shows often do, but rarely have I seen it managed so half-assedly. Mandy confessions, “I’ve been living with Malissa for awhile now, and I definitely think she is [BLEEP]ing with me,” I assume the [BLEEP] is standing in for “fuck” so I’ll say “fuck” a few extra times for good measure since this is my blog and I can swear all I want. Fuck fuck fuck!

Back in the bathroom she tells Malissa and Anna she’s done talking about it. Then, apparently out of nowhere, Mandy bursts into tears and whine-sobs something about about “made up all over again”–I’m wondering if she’s referring to her crying ruining her makeup?–and the editors cut to a shot of Malissa smiling evilly. Mandy retreats to her one safe haven, the bathroom, for the second time in this series. Tali knocks on the door to ask if she’s okay and Mandy warbles, “I’m fine, I’ll BE fine, if everyone just leaves me alone I’ll be just fine!” When she exits the bathroom, she says to Tali theatrically, “HI, HOW ARE YOU? I AM AN EMOTIONAL WRECK. WHAT’S NEW?” Riiiight, and Kristian was the crazy one. Clip below.

Luckily Luke’s got her medicine, and Mandy confessions that as soon as she sees Luke her nerves disappear. After hugging him at least three times between the house and the limo, Mandy and Luke are off for an oceangoing voyage aboard the Chintziest Tiki-Themed Ship in the Navy. Mandy’s parents are awaiting them on the boat. Mandy’s all, “No freaking way!” Luke confessions that when you marry someone, you’re also marrying their family, and this is actually true. Mandy confessions about missing her parents a whole lot.

The boat is set up inside like a strange Polynesian-decorated living room, with two couches facing each other, on either side of a low coffee table. Mandy and Luke sit together on one couch and Mandy’s folks sit on the other. Between them, facing the camera, is an angry-looking Tiki figure. This seems to bode poorly for the conversation. Luke asks Mandy’s folks how they met, and her father starts talking about meeting her mom as a substitute teacher, and just when I get settled for a cute how-we-met-story, the cruel editors cut it off and we never hear the touching finale. However! The ensemble does move on to substantive conversation in which we discover Luke’s dad is a butcher, and that Luke himself was not born but rather hewn by his father’s craftsman-like skills out of a lump of animal fat. I made that last part up. Luke does hypothesize that his fatness is partly due to his father’s profession, which shifts into an odd conversation between Luke and Mandy’s dad about working out: slender Dad says he works out to keep pace with the food he eats, and Luke says if HE didn’t work out he’d basically have to be forklifted out of his house within a few weeks because he eats so damn much. Um. Huh.

Mandy’s mom then asks Luke what he finds attractive about Mandy, and Luke says “she knows who she is” and namechecks Mandy’s “confidence,” though again I am left to surmise that Luke is living in Bizarro World where impromptu crying and a constant need for reassurance denotes “confidence”. Mandy’s mom then says, “Despite all her confidence, she’s really sensitive too – I’m sure you’ve seen that. I mean she’s so crazy otherwise.” Luke is right on top of this comment with, “REALLY? How crazy IS Mandy?” Mandy’s eyes get wide, like psychically she’s going “MOOOOOOM!!!!!” Deanna-Troi-style, and there is a very long, very painful pause. I imagine that the angry Tiki god, the most likeable character present, is debating which of the assembled should get chucked in the volcano first. Nobody seems to answer the question. The Luke asks if Mandy’s “ready to settle down” and her mom basically says no. Oh, this is so awkward, for a moment I feel what people who love these types of shows must feel on a regular basis, that savory bliss of pure schadenfreude. Mom thinks Mandy is “ready for a serious relationship” but isn’t going to “jump to the wedding chapel this week”. Luke confessions that Mandy seemed “on edge” during Mom’s awkward disclosures. Way to notice that, Luke. Mandy confessions her frustration that her dumb folks don’t know her at all. PARENTS JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND, kids! It was true in 1988 and it’s true now. Clip ahoy!

Back at the Rotunda, there’s stupid-ass giant-plastic-ring Lukemail for Anna. Her solo-date-time has come at last. Anna confessions that she was mostly a tomboy growing up and that as a plus-size model, people are constantly surprised by how well she cleans up. Her words, not mine. Luke confessions something perplexing about how Anna “takes care of her body, [because] she’s a plus-size model”. Totally unlike all the other disgusting sows in the house who don’t care about their appearance at all! Anna and Luke are going bowling. Anna’s totally stoked. Apparently at summer camp they had a choice between swimming or bowling on certain days, and because Anna, who–like every red-blooded woman on God’s green fucking earth according to this show–hated wearing a swimsuit, she always chose bowling. This means Anna is a really good bowler. They bowl for a bit and flirt and kiss, and Anna confessions that Luke’s bigness “makes her feel like a girl”. Oh Anna. Feeling like a girl means feeling small? You are a mighty warrior, Tall Girl! I shake my head sadly at your insecurity.

Luke, alas, is a terrible bowler. Luke claims he sucked because he was distracted by Anna’s cuteness; I am admittedly biased but I suspect the truth is that Luke just sucks. Anna is wearing this incredibly odd t-shirt that looks normal from the front, but is open in the back from the bra-strap down. It’s irritating the crap out of me. They finish bowling and go to return their shoes, and who do they see standing there at the shoe-counter but Anna’s parents. Like Mandy, Anna confessions that she misses her parents ever so much. What is up with all the parent-missing? Do these laydeez still live at home or what?

Anna’s dad (who is, notably, a little fat, and the first fat family member we’ve seen) asks if Luke’s been treating her okay, and Anna calls Luke a “gentleman”. Insofar as gentlemen make out with many laydeez as they can, as often as possible. Bizarro world! Anna’s mom asks Luke what he’s looking for, and Luke mumbles something about wanting a wife and family, blah blah blah. Anna’s dad says “It sounds like you’ve thought this through!” and for a split second I thrill with the possibility that he’s being facetious, but no such luck. Luke is all, yeah, I’m a world traveler and I have a career and now I want a housekeeper/maid and baby factory! The issue of Anna’s modeling career comes up, and her dad asks Luke whether he’d be okay if they began a relationship and then Anna had to piss off to London for a month. Luke’s response, both to her parents and then to us via confession, is a confusing mash of “no” and “maybe” and “I guess we’d we’d work it out”. Clip below.

Saving the skeeviest combination for last, it’s time for Malissa’s solo date. When she meets Luke out front of the house, she asks “how are you” and Luke sleazes all over the place when he checks her out and says “I’m good now,” then loudly sucks in air through his teeth, and then says, “Yessss”. GOOD. LORD. I’ve just envisioned Luke envisioning himself as a porn star and I really am going to throw up this time. There isn’t enough EW in the universe to cover this exchange. Luke and Malissa are going out for dinner, though I cannot fathom how they can have an appetite after that. Watching Joan Rivers have liposuction would be less distastful. Clip below.

They talk, as usual, about Important Matters like the process of being on this show, and Malissa tells Luke she thinks “we make a good looking couple” which, y’all, the depth of these interactions never ceases to amaze me. What up, Madam Curie? Can you solve string theory and world peace for us now too? Luke, ever the highbrow intellect, suggests they could make beautiful kids as well. For fuck’s sake, Luke, you just can’t think of anything but battering somebody’s babymaker, can you? They use wine-tasting as an excuse to get a blindfold on Malissa, and Malissa says “I’ve never smelled wine before, I just… drink it.” Wait, didn’t she and Luke go on a wine-tasting date like an episode ago? Did they not actually do any tasting?

While Malissa is blindfolded her two sisters come in and sit across from her. Surprise! Malissa’s sisters look like totally random people yanked off the street. Brunette sister is sort of average-looking but Blonde sister has some terrifyingly overperoxided hair and painted-on eyebrows. Luke asks what it’s like growing up with Malissa, and Blonde says, solemnly, “Lot of good times, bad times, sad times… but everything happens for a reason.” It bespeaks some heavy shit, I think, which is sort of unexpected. I think Luke was hoping the sisters woud say “lots of naked pillowfights!” and then volunteer to stage a reenactment for him.

Turns out Malissa’s mom died when the sisters were young, and Malissa as the oldest has been the mom-figure to her sisters. Blonde asks Luke if he’s “a cheater, have you ever cheated” and even Luke looks surprised. He says no. Blonde confessions that she’s a “hardass”, as evidenced by her black a-shirt screenprinted with a set of brass knuckles and a shattered heart. I am not embellishing here, as there is no need. Luke tells the sisters that he was initially attracted to Malissa because of her “rockin’ body” but then he discovered she’s “a woman of substance”. She is? How would we know?

Blonde tells Luke that Malissa’s fatness is a recent development and asks him if he’d ever try to slim her down. Wow, Blonde is pretty stupid, or else she just has no idea of the premise of this show. Luke assures her he thinks Malissa is fine the way she is. Well THAT’s a relief. Blonde, who has taken on the role of interrogator, asks Luke if he’s looking for something long-term, and Luke says he’s interested in someone who’d be a “good mother” because he wants to have kids. At this, Malissa gestures to herself and stage-whispers to her sister, “Me too!” It’s a strangely self-conscious move and we soon discover why. Malissa says her sisters are convinced she doesn’t like kids. Where’d they get this wicked idea? From the apparent fact that Blonde has a four-year-old son and Malissa’s never once babysat him, nor changed a diaper (at this, Malissa doesn’t debate the lack of diaper-changing, but instead says, “You’ve never asked me!” which is a totally bullshit response; plus Brunette quietly asserts that yes, Blonde has asked before). Blonde tells Malissa she can’t even imagine Malissa having kids. Malissa is obviously feeling a little tense about this conversation. Luke confessions: “They only live ten minutes apart, what’s the deal? Why doesn’t she ever babysit for her sister? I babysit my niece and nephew all the time.” Luke tries to give them all an out by suggesting that Malissa’s busy schedule prevents her babysitting, but the sisters naysay that. Then Luke asks the sisters what they’d think if he asked Malissa to marry him, and they don’t exactly squeal with glee at the prospect. Blonde hesitates when he asks if he’d have her blessing. Who the hell can blame her, she just met this guy. I like Blonde! Malissa confessions that she basically can’t wait to get home and lord over the other laydeez the fact that Luke mentioned proposing. Healthy! Clip below.

Date over! Back home on the range, Malissa is playing the “I HAVE A SECRET AND I’M NOT GOING TO TELL YOOOOU because I’m trying to protect you sweet innocent laydeez from the hurt” with the other laydeez, which of course means they drag it out of her, which is of course exactly what Malissa wanted them to do. She tells them about the hypothetical-sister-proposal and Mandy says “it was like a bomb went off in the room”. Laydeez are saaaad! Malissa tells them she’d say yes if he DID ask, even though they don’t even know each other beyond the reach of the camera eye. Hell, they haven’t even had sex yet. (Does this sound utterly psychotic to anyone but me?) But Malissa’s just a straight-shooting damn-the-torpedoes rebel like that.

And now we move on to the Final Countdown Cocktail Party. Luke confessions “I’m really establishing a strong connection with each laydee.” Inside my head he says “laydee”, as opposed to lady, all the time, which makes this show more bearable. Luke says this will be the most difficult night yet. Luke and Tali have couchtimes and Tali asks Luke what he and Uncle Leo talked about, and Luke says they discussed the challenges of being an American dude marrying an Israeli laydee. Tali looks nervous at this and confessions that her “fear” is that she’ll be passed over for being different. Meanwhile, Anna and Malissa are talking about the elimination and Malissa says that since the beginning she’s expected she and Anna would be the last two laydeez standing. Unfortunately, by Reality TV Law, this means one of them now has to be eliminated in this episode.

For their one-on-one time, Anna and Luke sit, without benefit of a couch, on the steps by the pool. As the camera comes in tight to both their faces, I’ve just realized that Anna and Luke have the same perpetual stonerface. Weird. Luke confessions that Anna’s father didn’t seem to think Anna was ready for marriage right now, and of course the opinion of her dad carries far more weight than Anna’s own feelings on the subject. They talk more about Luke’s worries that her stupidly lucrative, exciting, and fulfilling career would impinge upon his need to have a woman with nothing else of interest in her life but him. Anna sweetly suggests that Luke could always come with her when she travels–and I’m not being sarcastic here, it really is sweet–to which Luke responds, “… if I could get away from work.” Right, Luke, because your career satisfaction is always tops in any arrangement. More than ever, Luke seems selfishly unwilling to compromise for his would-be laydee’s happiness, and it’s really squicking me out. Clip below.

Luke and Mandy have couchtimes and Mandy has something to get off her chest. Deep breath, Mandy! Mandy tells Luke about Malissa telling the other laydeez about the hypothetical proposal to Malissa’s sisters. Luke parries by saying he doesn’t ask the same questions of everyone, man, like he just goes with whatever’s in his head at the moment. Then Luke confessions that Mandy’s requiring a lot more reassurance than he had anticipated. “I’m not sure if that means Mandy is a needy person or a clingy girl, but she may be.” I am nodding ever so solemnly here. She may be. She may be.

Couchtimes for Luke and Malissa. Luke asks Malissa for clarification about her lack of babysitting. Malissa confessions that, “I don’t care to take care of other people’s kids; I just told him that I’d be okay with it because it could make or break his decision to keep me.” This sounds cobbled together, but even Luke wonders if Malissa’s lying and telling him what he wants to hear. Malissa says she’s not into babies and shit but with her own baby it’ll be different. Ehhhhh. You can hope, Malissa. Besides, babyhood only lasts a couple years, right?

And now the rings are collected for the elimination. The laydeez all confess they don’t want to go home, practically using the same words. It would be hilarious if the editors got drunk and cut together endless footage of all the laydeez saying “I don’t want to go home” over and over again. Or just once I’d like to see someone be all, my god, please get me out of here. I will piss on Luke’s bed if it hastens my departure! But no, this is Serious Business. There is scary piano music, and Emme’s being very somber. She’s wearing an awesome dress, though, an almost futuristic ivory quilted-satin number that, indeed, could have been raided from the Next Generation costume closet.

And already it is time to chuck the rings back at the laydeez Luke’s deemed worthy of suffering his smarm another few days. Who will be sacrificed on More to Love’s pagan altar, their blood drained and then imbibed by the remaining laydeez so that they might absorb the dispatched laydee’s lifeforce and thus gain the strength to fight for a prize nobody in their right mind would want for another day? Malissa gets ring the first, and she confessions that Luke’s keeping her on is “a confidence-booster”. Tali gets ring the second, and we are still in the dark about why Luke finds her appealing. I’m not suggesting she isn’t; I’m just observing that all we’ve seen of Tali’s personality is jealousy and insecurity, with a light seasoning of Fat Pain. Emme returns and rips off her face to reveal that she isn’t Emme at all, but is in fact Satan, as flames leap up from the floor around her and a doorway to hell appears and she drags all the remaining laydeez to its fiery depths, leaving Luke behind, because even Satan finds Luke painfully and gratuitously insufferable. No, alas, all Emme does is notify the assembled that there is one ring left. Are the producers of this show holding her family hostage? Is that why she’s doing this?

After an interminable wait, Luke gives the last ring to Mandy, and it’s kind of a shock, even to me. Ah, trust More to Love to bore the shit out of you for fifty-seven minutes and then BAM at the end hit you with a mild surprise! Anna’s going home. That’s what you get for having a fucking career, Anna! If you loved Luke you’d be willing to give all that up in favor of perpetual barefoot baby-production. Luke confessions that “I really feel like we’ve established a good friendship”, because good friends always make out with each other. Luke accompanies her on the walk of shame and tells her he can’t envision what it would be like to be with Anna; the unspoken addition here being, what it would be like to be with someone with other shit going on in her life such that he wasn’t the center of it. Anna tells him, “Whoever you end up with, I’m sure you’ll be happy,” and even Luke himself looks unconvinced. Anna thinks Luke’s made a mistake.

We forego the usual group hug this week in favor of unexpected Lukemail, which informs the final three laydeez that they are off to Hawaii. There is much screaming and rejoicing.

Next week: Hawaii.

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