Finding Prince Charming Dines Family-Style
Will all of the suitors impress Robert's mostly boring family? Or will someone end up in the Friend Zone?
Normally, in this space, Adam would tell you all about the latest episode of Finding Prince Charming. But to the best of my knowledge, Adam has been spirited away by aliens, and so I'm filling in. Have I ever watched this show? Do you want my honest answer? Okay, I'll give it to you. No, I haven't. But I have watched (what feels like) a million hours of The Bachelor/-ette/Pad/In Paradise, so this can't be that different, right? I don't know, but I'm about to find out!
You definitely don't need this refresher. The show does, of course, just like The Bachelor does, otherwise, how in the world will either of them fill up all that time between commercials. But thank you, show, for providing a neophyte like me with this quick proof that all of my hours soaking in the fetid hot tub that is the Bachelor franchise have prepared me well for my journey tonight. I feel disgusting already!
Gray Hair Alert!
While the three other remaining suitors re-live "Miss Chad's dramatic exit" of the previous episode, Dillon enters to bring the mood down a little bit. He found his first gray hair. This show takes a toll is what they're saying, people. It's like how the presidency ages presidents. God-DAMN this show for aging these innocent suitors! This isn't what they signed up for. "There are sensitive emotions at play," says Justin. Indeed there are, my frosted oracle.
Date Me, Date My Family
Lance Bass arrives to tell the suitors that tonight, they're all going on a group date with Robert…and some very important people in his life. Of course this means Robert's family is here from Florida. They've been Robert's rock since he was little. Robert sheds a few tears remembering how they supported him after he came out to them when he was eighteen. So, for the time being, Robert seems like a perfectly decent human person. Of course, we'll see where we are after fifty more minutes of this. Robert gives his family permission to ask the four remaining suitors anything. "Grill 'em," he tells them. "We'll make sure to drill 'em," his sister says, indicating to me that maybe she doesn't understand what he's asking of her, and also maybe she doesn't understand that the four guys are gay?
Whatever the case, here come the guys! At this point, we find out that the suitors are surprised that his family is here. Lance Bass said "very important people in his life," guys. What were you expecting? His hairstylist? His trainer? On a dating show that means either his kids or his parents. Come on, that's just science!
In addition to the pressure of meeting the parents, the suitors know that only two of them will be chosen to go on solo dates with Robert, based on how they do at this dinner. Brandon tries out his small talk, which involves pointing out that there are donuts sitting on the table in the center of the room. "What's going on here," he says. "I see some donuts!" Justin seems to think this is one of the biggest faux pas in history. But I'm on Brandon's side. There ARE donuts there, artisanal donuts, and why the fuck isn't anyone eating them? What IS going on here?
After bragging about how good he is at small talk, and how good he is with parents, Justin says, "I come from a mom and dad and brother and sister family as well." Yup, that checks out. That's totally a normal sentence to say.
Sister Is Doing It For Herself
After each of the guys has met Robert's sister alone, Robert accompanies each of them back to her table for more grilling. I mean, "drilling." Whatever she has planned. Jennifer gives Robert some amazing side-eye while Eric goes on and on about how hot he thinks Robert is. Her open disdain for Eric might be well-deserved. He does seem overly concerned with looks. And then second on his list of concerns might also be looks. And on and on that way through the top ten. Dillon sits down, and the show gives him about three seconds of airtime with Jennifer. So I figure he's probably going home. Next up is Justin, about whom Jennifer said earlier, "He'd try to be cuter than you, which would never work." And they laughed. She friend-zones Justin for Robert right off the bat. With Brandon, she's taken aback by the fact that he's not drinking. I get the feeling that he's a recovering alcoholic, but Jennifer gets the feeling that he's BORING. Hey, we can both be right!
The Family That Decides Together
His family is super-helpful narrowing the field by half. I'm kidding, they're terrible at it. As a group, they basically make a good case for all four. You had ONE JOB, guys! Pick two out of a field of four. It's not that hard. Back at the house, three of the suitors feel like they wowed the family. Since the family didn't really show a preference toward anyone, I guess I can't fault them for coming away with that feeling. Of course, Justin is still pouting because Jennifer friend-zoned him for Robert. He pouts even more once the date-winners are announced: Dillon and Brandon. Poor Justin. He's only had all the one-on-one dates (as near as I can tell), but he didn't get one more. I feel really bad for him.
If there's something more romantic than learning how to be a circus performer with someone you care about, I'd like to hear about it. Not, this looks like a super-embarrassing way to spend an afternoon with someone you already know very well. I can't imagine doing this aerial nonsense with, basically, a stranger. Dillon's a good sport, even though Robert looks like he's not trying at all. Dillon's sweating like a stuck pig, while Robert dabs a small towel on his forehead in a pantomime of removing sweat. I feel sorry for Dillon, because I've seen enough of these shows to know the person who finally, FINALLY gets that one-on-one date they've been hoping for, that person doesn't get to stick around. Sure, Robert says a lot of nice things about Dillon. But I think in the end his takeaway will boil down to: Dillon was way better than me at EVERYTHING in the circus, and he really did sweat a lot.
Brandon gets to go out on a chartered boat with Robert, which he had accurately guessed solely from the date card clue of "hope you're ON BOARD." That's some top-notch code cracking there, Brandon. Real Sherlock level deduction. Unlike Dillon's date, which involved physical exertion and learning and concentration, Brandon's date mostly involves lounging, enjoying the sun and being fed strawberries. Totally fair comparison. Apples to apples. Really boring apples.
Should We Go Do Outfits?
As they prep for their seventh black-tie affair, the four suitors are all very chummy and not in that fake way I'm used to. They actually seem to care somewhat about each other. It's totally weird. Why isn't anyone trying to destroy someone else's chances with Robert? I'm really out of my element here. The positive vibes are a little disorienting. Thankfully, Dillon's gray hair freakout continues.
In an attempt to eliminate the gray from his hair, Dillon shaves a hole in his hair. So he asks Eric to shave the rest of his head to fix it. Oh, boy. Dillon, you have gray hairs so much more upsetting to endure than the ones on your head. Please prepare yourself properly.
Rewind! With Lance And Robert
This part of the show is every bit as exciting as Adam made it sound. "The first date was with Dillon," Lance says. "What did you do?" Seriously, producers? You could have had Lance say, "Tell me about the circus date." Unless Lance really doesn't know? ...Could it be that Lance Bass actually DOESN'T know what's going on? Like he might follow up with, "Which one is Justin again? I've been asleep in my trailer. Have you seen my trailer? It's super-comfortable. And so warm in there. It's REALLY hard not to fall asleep in there. Whoops! I'm asleep again! Zzzzzzzz."
The Black-Tie Affair
With no fanfare or lead up at all, Robert immediately breaks Justin's heart by asking for his tie back. Boom. It's over. And mostly I can't believe I was wrong about Dillon going home. To his credit, Justin takes the news better than most dating show contestants, meaning he doesn't completely embarrass himself. Also, Justin tells us that Justin is leaving the house a better Justin than he came into the house. Good for you, Justin. Having watched approximately nine million rose ceremonies, I'm shocked at the lack of drama in the black-tie affair. Shocked that the guy going home is immediately called out with no suspense at all. Weird.
While I enjoyed the camaraderie among the suitors, it left me wanting what I watch a dating show for: crazy people acting crazy on television while pretending they're looking for love. These guys seemed (mostly) sincere. And, god bless them, they all looked super-excited about the upcoming week's trip to exotic Palm Springs. Wow, spare no expense on that trip, Logo! What bus will you guys be taking?