As of this week, Peter will be auditing these ladies for waste, fraud, and mismanagement:
- Tammy, a house-flipper who couldn’t be any worse than Christina Anstead;
- Kelley, who met Peter earlier at her best friend’s wedding, but was disappointed when he wasn’t anything like Dermot Mulroney;
- Sydney, whose most notable achievement is having attended high school with Hannah Brown. Maybe she can do it with Peter five times in a windmill.
- Shiann, an administrative assistant from Las Vegas. What happens in her office, stays in her office.
- Kiarra, who is working toward a bachelor’s degree in public relations, and a masters in famewhoring;
- Savannah, a Shooting Star for the Houston Astros, which means her entire professional wardrobe takes up a single drawer;
- Hannah Ann, a former beauty pageant contestant and current Demi Burnett impersonator;
- Lexi, a marketing coordinator originally from Florida, where her accounts included alligator repellent, hurricane insurance, and off-brand orange juice.
- Natasha, an event planner who yearns to make disco yoga more popular than the Peleton, but with more annoying commercials;
- Mykenna, a fashion blogger whose field of expertise is gaudy shmattas a guy can easily get his hands inside of;
- Deandra has ten siblings. Evidently, none of them could fix her up with someone better than Peter.
- Kelsey, who won Miss Iowa USA in 2017. Ask her anything about corn or Chris Soules;
- Victoria F., who briefly dated country star Chase Rice, and is probably tired of cornbread crumbs in her bed;
- Victoria P., a nurse and former Miss Louisiana pageant contestant whose talent was flat-ironing her hair in less than two minutes.
You’ll have to find their LinkedIn accounts yourself.
After the closing credits of Wheel of Fortune, we segue into the show where no one can pick anything correctly. The re-caps highlight mild catfights, uninteresting gossip, and Peter emulating Diogenes, fervently searching for an honest woman with the flashlight on his iPhone.
He will be meeting the gals in exotic Cleveland, OH, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, bratwurst sandwiches, and the hyperfemme drag queen Dusty Bucket. The group rushes to pack their OSU sweatshirts and conservative political opinions. Peter believes Cleveland was where Superman was born, but then again, he also thinks Chris Harrison was born on the planet Krypton.
The one-on-one date is awarded to. . . is it Mykenna? Sorry, I was distracted by a call from a telemarketer that offered more compelling content than this vacuous drek. Oh, wait, it’s Victoria F. She is brought to, surprise, an airport, wearing an outfit tighter and more revealing than the wrapping on an in-flight meal.
Peter and Victoria take off in yet another tiny plane. Cessna must have underwritten this season. The pair try to have a conversation through their headphones, but it sounds like an answering machine message in 1979. When they land, Peter piggy-backs Victoria to board one of those extreme-freefall contraptions that Satan holds a patent on. Peter feels these activities will indicate something about Victoria other than her ability to keep down a Crunchwrap Supreme.
After a beer, the couple and her cleavage head to a country music concert. Uh, oh, it’s Chase Rice on stage! This is as unlikely a development as having four beauty pageant contestants on one season. Also, Chase Rice sounds like a novel by Lin Yutang.
Victoria feels awkward as Prince Harry Lite performs something from his twangy repertoire, while Peter performs according to the script. She worries how this “coincidence” will affect their date, even as an oblivious Peter is having a blast. Nevertheless, Victoria frets that Chase is still interested in her, apparently because he didn’t drop his guitar and flee when he saw her.
She takes him aside, but there’s so much background noise that I can’t make out which bland platitudes they exchange. Victoria feels she must discuss this development with Peter, but she’s, like, freaking out, you know? You’d think she was Marilyn Monroe running into JFK when Jackie was with him.
That evening, Peter remains ebullient, even mentioning having Chase sing at their wedding, likely because he’d do it for the free publicity. But he sees that Victoria is troubled, and it’s not from the nipple-chafing she’s sustained. She confesses her past dalliance with the guitar-strumming hayseed, but assures Peter it didn’t work out. They were from two vastly different worlds of inanity.
Peter just finds it weird. “I was making out with you in front of your ex,” he observes in the tones of someone who has sighted the chupacabra. A wretched Victoria rushes from table. Cleveland, we have a problem. Meanwhile the group date card arrives at the hotel. Kelsey scores the one-on-one date, and starts practicing her tongue thrusts.
Peter goes after Victoria, who is inconsolable. How can Peter accept that she previously had sex with a guy who can grow a full beard? She must think he has all the self-esteem of Eeyore. Peter assures her that Chase be damned, he wants her there. He’s confident that no way another guy could do it four times in a windmill. It’s possible Chase could manage it in a barn, though.
With Peter’s earnest encouragement, Victoria is hopeful for where their relationship could go, such as the cover of Us Weekly. Peter giggles too much for a commercial airline pilot who isn’t Howard Borden, but to each her own. She accepts the rose joyfully.
The group date involves some sports figures with whom I am completely unfamiliar, which is not saying much since I thought Tom Brady was the cousin Mike and Carol took in toward the end of the series. The gals will play a game of football, training for the challenge in leggings, midriff-baring tops, and cattiness.
The group is divided into two teams. The winners get to spend the evening tackling Peter. The competition is more boring than my aunt’s juice glass collection, even as girls are toppled like decorative ceramic knick-knacks from a shelf during an earthquake. I just hope the halftime show is Beyonce.
“I didn’t want it to end,” Peter raves about the game during which everyone but him had helmet hair. He was hoping someone’s pants would split. The teams ended up tied, so all will attend the cocktail party to complain about not getting enough time with him. First they have to ice down their camel toes.
At the party, where cleavage can be measured by the yard, the girls review their fierce performances on the Astroturf. They were throwing a ball and running to demonstrate their passion for Peter, unlike Ralph de Bricassart, who violated a vow of celibacy for his true love. They’re disappointed, however, at the huge crowd at the party. Conversations with Peter will be reduced from three minutes to 90 seconds.
Victoria P. talks with him first. He remarks that he wants to have kids so they can play football, fly planes, and do it four times in a windmill. He really cares for this gal, but like an episode of Three’s Company, he’s inevitably going to mix up his Victorias.
Then, all of a sudden, Alayah marches into the room. The other girls react much like the Queen when Harry said he was relinquishing his royal duties, except without the pearls and sensible shoes. Will Alayah be the John Bolton of this episode? She seems more Pam Bondi to me.
After she lurks in the shadows for a while, Peter agrees to talk with Alayah, a move even Rudy Giuliani would advise against. She complains that he bought what other people said about her, despite it being in the script. She is shocked that Victoria P., whom she viewed as a friend, would say such things about her. Even worse, she claimed there’s no consensus on climate change. Peter doesn’t know what to believe, but then again, he actually can’t believe it’s not butter.
When he consults Victoria P. like a low-rent Columbo, she cries at Alayah’s accusation of disloyalty. Meanwhile, the other girls analyze the situation with all the sagacity of Dr. Phil’s receptionist. Peter then decides to bring together Alayah and Victoria to hash it out. He seems to get off on that kind of thing. Alayah accuses Victoria of being untruthful; Victoria doesn’t have a substantive response. It’s all less coherent than a Mad Libs completed by Koko the Gorilla.
Ultimately, Peter is convinced that Victoria P. is not who he thought, which was the same empty-headed former pageant contestant as Alayah, but blond. Will he swap one girl out for the other, like when I order pad see ew with chicken instead of beef? He broods in front of a tankful of meandering sharks, a metaphor not lost on anyone.
Despite every other girl having had it with all this drama, Peter returns to Alayah with a heavy sigh. He tells her he regrets making his decision to reject her based on other people’s opinions, much like what happens with the Quinnipiac poll. He invites her to return to the show. Fortunately, personnel already signed off on this.
Adding insult to cosmetic surgery, Peter gives the rose to Alayah. The other girls are acromonious even without knowing what the word means. In fact, it’s making Victoria P. question everything except those earrings. Tammy says she doesn’t like drama, unless it’s accompanied by moody music like on This is Us.
Alayah adds Himalayan pink salt to their wounds by gloating, to the point that even people in Wuhan are appalled by her toxicity. She hopes her return will show everyone that her relationship with Peter is strong despite all their lies to him, and also despite his complete cluelessness. The other girls complain as vociferously as an old person watching the Grammy Awards. Peter must make this right, they insist.
First, however, is his date with Kelsey. He tells her that Alayah is back, and she takes it well. She just wants to feel that he wants her there. He does, God knows why. They gleefully go off to eat pierogis and dance in the street to an accordionist, the first musician on the show who wasn’t a finalist on The Voice. They then play some foosball, take photos in a booth, and cheer on kids in a boxcar race. I think the same montage was in The Back-up Plan.
For their night-time encounter, Peter hopes he will connect with Kelsey on a deeper level, maybe moving up to cabbage rolls and dancing indoors. She tearfully tells him that she didn’t see her dad for 12 years after her parents’ divorce. Maybe marrying a pilot isn’t the best way to overcome that fear of abandonment.
He gives her the rose because she’s strong and loving and whatever else is listed as a positive trait in your average Hallmark card. Kelsey is happy that Peter, unlike any other man, has accepted her just the way she is. Too bad Billy Joel is too old for her. Fireworks explode above them, celebrating their shared joy and the ease of applying for a permit from the city of Cleveland.
Now Victoria F. confronts Alayah for telling the other girls that her ex is Chase Rice. What is the big deal here? It’s not like she was denying military aid to one of our allies.
Finally, it’s time for another Rose Ceremony. Peter is feeling good about his decisions, so something is about to go terribly wrong. Before he can speak, though, some of the girls express their hurt and resentment that he not only brought back Alayah, but ignored many of them as he concentrated on the sturm und drang she had created. Peter tries to apologize, but this may be his personal Airport ’77.
He now wants to talk with Victoria P.. She is frustrated with him, feeling attacked over Alayahgate, and that the raven-haired Jezebel is manipulating him. She won’t stand for it anymore, especially after what happened with the other Victoria. As the other girls turn on Alayah like the Langoliers, Peter learns from Victoria F. about Alayah blabbing about Chase. I’ve read Archie comics with more sophisticated plot lines.
This pre-Rose Ceremony period is exploding in his face like a stolen bottle of champagne. Girls are bitching at him from all sides, and he’s helpless to soothe them. Mayday, mayday!
As the bickering and accusations continue, Peter paces the darkened foyer like a jungle cat who hasn’t gotten many likes on its video on The Dodo. No resolution will be reached tonight. We are left with a cliffhanger less urgent than an episode of Emergency!