‘Ready For Love’ Recap: The Man Who’s Never Said ‘I Love You’by Jozen Cummings on April 17, 2013
Last night’s episode of “Ready For Love,” which featured two new bachelors (look! More buff shirtless men!) suffered from the same problem as the season premiere: It was too friggin long. There’s only so much we care about in a dating show, and even with three hunky specimens, there was still plenty of fat they could have trimmed. Case in point: the selection process and the matchmaker coaching sessions.
Here are the highlights from last night’s episode, featuring Ernesto, the Honduran philanthropist from Miami who’s never said “I love you,” and Ben, the Texas-bred former-banker hospital CEO who’s looking for a girl with whom he can jetset (the way he did when he was single).
Ernesto and His Women
Ernesto has all the trappings of a TV-ready heartbreaker: He’s sensitive, he cares about humanity, and he loves to talk about leaving the world a better place than he found it. But when it comes to women, he’s done nothing but left them as he found them. He also has an accent, which always makes the ladies swoon.
But when it came time to meet the 12 specimens selected for him by matchmakers Amber, Matthew, and Tracy, he came off as the most picky and superficial.
Team Amber’s choices for Ernesto
Give it up for Amber, the matchmaker who’s all about the brand, because her brand appeals to Ernesto’s most basic need: A hot woman. For Ernesto she brings in two beauty queens, Alba Reyes, a former Miss Puerto Rico, and Shandi Finnessey, a former Miss USA. Reyes was actually the second runner-up to Shandi, the first runner-up in the Miss Universe pageant. How Ernesto’s third choice, Erica Larson, is going to compete with these women was beyond me.
Team Matthew’s choices for Ernesto
Matthew’s choices seemed aimed to appeal to Ernesto’s more giving side. There was Sonia, a Human Resources Manager who is also involved in charities; Kristen, an elementary school teacher who announced she’d built a model house as a model for her (and Ernesto’s) dream home; and Mandy Wagner, a twin with loads of personality — probably too much.
Team Tracy’s choices for Ernesto
Of all the matchmakers, Tracy is the least scientific, so her choices for Ernesto end up being the most interesting. For Ernesto, she has Olivia, a traditional Catholic whose family is from Iraq and who still lives at home with her parents. Victoria doesn’t say she is a former athlete, but she definitely carries herself like one. Katie, while not as take-charge as Olivia and Victoria, has been career-driven most of her life (a nice change from the usual reality-show dating contestants).
Ernesto’s Group Date
The date with all nine girls is — start your Awwws — an afternoon working for Habitat for Humanity. The girls are taken to Compton (several snarky comments ensue when they see the bad neighborhood) and are each assigned a specific project. It’s a great date idea, though it would clearly be more fun if the ratio wasn’t nine women and one man.
One group is assigned cabinets, the beauty queens are doing floors, and another group handling landscaping. For the ladies, it’s a frustrating affair (all that humanitarianism is brutal on your makeup). They were all dolled up, ready to do something fancy, but find themselves wishing for sweatpants.
Cue the first fight! Shandi needs some floorboards cut, which is Olivia’s job. Olivia snaps at Shandi to lose the attitude. Drama and passive aggressive insults ensue.
Ernesto’s “Intimate” Date
After a day of pounding nails, it’s time for Ernesto to unwind with three of the nine, all chosen by the matchmakers. Where do they go but the luxurious Voda Spa — oh look, a hot tub!
Dressed in bathrobes, the women are led to a table with a champagne and fruit spread. It’s relaxed, romantic, and the last place on earth Victoria wants to be.
Ah yes, Victoria. She’s competitive but to a fault, the kind of woman who doesn’t like to share her man but finds fighting for him to be exhausting. She wants to win, yeah, but she wishes the victory would come from the other women just forfeiting to her. When it comes time to get in the hot tub with the other two women, Victoria throws a hissy fit. “It’s too soon,” she says. But really, it’s too much work. Meanwhile, Shandi, and Mandy are up to play the game as it should be played — with barely any clothes on.
Who Goes Home?
The matchmakers really give it to Victoria for the way she acted during the intimate date. Matthew, the only male matchmaker and therefore the default expert on all men, even tells her that Ernesto’s “dream woman” would never act so standoffish. It’s an oversimplified critique, and for someone who prides himself on knowing what guys want, he sure sounds clueless. Whatever Victoria lacks in being submissive, she makes up for in confidence, and honesty — when she’s put in the bottom three, even she has to admit this setup isn’t for her.
Surprise! Ernesto ends up sending Victoria packing.
Ben and His Women
Of all the guys, Ben tries to come off as the most down-to-earth. There’s no rock star lifestyle or sexy foreign accent. He’s the take-him-home-to-Mom type, and he knows it — he’s rich but self-made, and plays a good “I’m so close with my family.” An interesting fact about Ben is that his parents divorced when he was young — and it clearly made a huge impact on his life and worldview.
Team Amber’s Choices for Ben
At last, the matchmakers get competitive with each other. Amber announces that her selections — Lynsee, Tarryn, and Kari — have a “level of sophistication” that the other matchmakers lack. Her wild card is Kari, Ben’s ex. If you remember last week, this little stunt doesn’t always fare well for the exes.
Team Tracy’s Choices for Ben
Tracy is going for some weird sort of reverse psychology. At one point she says he actually doesn’t need a perfect woman — rather, what Ben really needs is a woman that appeals to the 12-year-old boy inside of him. Wait, what? And so there’s Angela, a virgin who’s waiting for marriage; Katie, the divorced single mother of two; and Renae, whose father had a heart attack two years ago, which set her on a path to find the man of her dreams so she can have children before he dies. The story was sweet, but Renae killed the girl-next-door vibe when she stripped onstage to show off a black bustier. Granted, the stunt worked — she made it through the first round.
Team Matthew’s Choices for Ben
Matthew says he’s not here to give Ben what he wants, but what he needs. Apparently he needs the following: Beth, a risk-taker who abanddoned her job to be on the show; Rachel, the pretty nerd who shows up dressed in a superhero outfit (tied to her superhero alter ego, Miss Devotion — yes, you heard that right); Allie (the twin sister of Mandy, who was picked by Ernesto — a new twist!) who demands to know up front if Ben wants to have kids, twins specifically, and if he likes Kentucky and chili.
Ben’s Group Date
Ben wants a woman who isn’t afraid to sweat it out at the gym (he clearly spends a good amount of time there — she better like it or she may never see him), so he’s given the women an obstacle course. The ladies get muddy, but it is nice to see women not constantly worried about looking their best.
After they rip through the course, Ben sits down for a post-workout meal with all nine ladies. Just like Tim’s ex situation, Kari pulls Ben
from the rest of the women to state her case as to why they should get back together. It’s cunning but cheesy, some forced drama that no one cares to see, because we assume Ben isn’t going to choose her in the end. He could have gotten back together with her at any time. Why now, on national television?
Ben’s “Intimate” Date
Remember when I said Ben was the more-down-to-earth type of guy? Um yeah, make that down-to-earth player. He smooches two different women (after knowing each for a matter of hours) on the same date. Seriously?!
But first, Ben wants to convince us, and himself, that he’s open to dating a single mother by spending time with Katie. He then says the thing that is guaranteed to make every woman on earth reach for the nearest gun: “You remind me of my mother.”
After Katie comes Superhero Rachel. The two have a high-school type of chemistry, and Ben tells Rachel how she appeals to the kid in him (which is odd considering Rachel is one of Matt’s choices, but “appealing to Ben’s inner child” was Tracy’s intention). Rachel is putty in his hands, and then he leans in for a smooch. “I think that was the perfect moment,” she says. Oh dear.
For Tarryn, Ben has a surprise — it’s her birthday, so he whips out a cake (a move clearly orchestrated by producers, but still, a nice gesture). They clearly have chemistry, but rather than respect the fact that he JUST kissed another woman, he embarks on some light making out with Tarryn.
Ben Sends Someone Home
There should be no surprise that Kari is one of the ladies in elimination contention. Not only is she Ben’s ex, she has becomes the most confrontational with the other women. Plus seems more hung up on not letting other women get close to Ben than she does reigniting the flame.
Angela, the virgin, is also in the elimination hotseat. No, it’s not because of her virginity, but Tracy almost makes it seem like it. She accuses Angela of letting her virginity control too much of her persona, and says she’s having trouble relaxing around Ben.
Then there’s Rachel, whom Matthew compared to a rubix cube because she moved in so quickly and left nothing to mystery. “When a guy figures out that rubix cube, he puts it down,” says Matthew. “What might be endearing for a day, may not be endearing for a lifetime.” Some good points for Matthew, but kind of unfair to Rachel, who is oozing vulnerability all over the screen.
Ben’s final choice comes down to Kari and Rachel. It’s a tense couple of minutes, one that shows Ben and Kari actually had something real back in the day — and that Ben still isn’t over the breakup.
Ultimately, he sends Rachel home. It’s an unfortunate choice, and even the audience boos when they see Kari rising to the stage on her glass-enclosed platform. It looks like we’ve found our villain!