We’ve officially reached the point in Are You the One? where it’s hard to know just who to root for. Several of the contestants have by now proved themselves to be completely loathsome in terms of how they process frustration and anger. Others seem entirely committed to forever being defined by the insulting tags MTV anointed them with that define how they typically behave in relationships. Are we really expected to root for “The Forever Side Piece” even as she continues to vie to be that Side Piece? Is anyone desperately pulling for a man who, by his own admission, morphs into an aggressive beast when he gets angry? As a viewer, I’m starting to feel just as pissed off as some of the people on the show, but I think it’s important for a reality TV watcher to have a stake in the televised proceedings. With that in mind, I have officially decided to root for whichever volcano is nearest to the house where these people are staying because it might be lovely to deal with some actual lava for a change instead of the bubbling fury that emits from the mouths of those pretending to search for love in between fistfights.
Let’s get right back into it. Kwasi has decided he’ll soon take Kayla into The Boom Boom Room – you know, once Tomas and Cali vacate because he was unable to perform – and Cam hears what Kwasi is saying and is disgusted by every bit of it. Their fight escalates immediately, as most of the fights do with these people. That’s why they were selected by casting agents, after all. Kwasi charges at Cam. He’s restrained quickly, but he’s still bellowing very important sentences like, “Don’t you ever talk to me, boy! I’ll beat your ass!” Yes, Kwasi is a soul mate waiting to happen for some very unfortunate woman. And speaking of unfortunate women, it’s Bria who decides to try to calm Kwasi down. Taking his face in her hands, she shouts words of encouragement. “Breathe! That’s not what you came here for.” Okay. Shall we just call this shit for what it is? Because these people came on this show to become F-list celebrities who will then appear on The Challenge until they’re fifty or until they are incarcerated – whichever comes first. So basically, this sort of behavior is exactly what Kwasi came here for and I’m getting just a wee bit tired of pretending otherwise.
After defending Kayla, Cam tells her that he’s sorry for what just went down, but he will defend her honor and the honor of her body and sitting back and watching some guy basically place bets on when he will nail her is just too much for him to take. Kayla responds by hugging him and I think that perhaps these two actually make a good couple. I wouldn’t want to hang out with them or anything, but the idea of them eventually breeding doesn’t make me clutch walls while weeping for the future of humanity – and that right there is the very finest endorsement I can force myself to make about the participants of this show.
Also: It turns out that a mere shower is all that’s needed to turn Beast Kwasi back into Regular Kwasi. And here I was prepared to send a hunk of kryptonite and a priest able to perform an exorcism to that Hawaiian villa! Looks like I’ve just saved on shipping costs.
The next day, Samantha and Asia sit on a bluff and Samantha asks Asia how she’s doing. Asia is a conundrum to me. There’s a side of her that appears very wise and calm, but that side can be canceled out quickly by the monstrous segment of her personality that manifests in screaming at random people like Nutsa for no good reason at all. Asia is still interested in Lewis, but she agrees with Samantha that Lewis is still more of a boy than he is a man. Also struggling is Moe. He sits beside Lauren as she does her hair and asks for some advice, like how a guy should approach a girl who has a guard way up. We’ve now had two thoughtful conversations in fewer than two minutes and I hate myself for getting my fucking hopes up that this means everyone will suddenly behave like mature people. Tomas is trying to be mature, though. He brings Cali outside to where he’s set up a picnic for her and he tells her that she’s his match no matter what and he wants to get to know her outside the house. “I feel like you can make me happy,” he tells her, and she responds by telling him how very happy he’s just made her.
Also: Fortunately for Tomas, erectile dysfunction medication is still readily available in this country. See, it’s only the products designed for female reproductive health that is being threatened. Equality is so last century.
Brett is not feeling as joyful about Cali and Tomas’ budding connection. Sure, he has a small thing going now with Nutsa, but the one he really cares about is the girl who has moved on. And where she’s moved on to is an outdoor shower where she stands under the water and makes out with Tomas while Brett watches. Oh, not a bit of this shit is in any way good for one’s mental health and it’s certainly not good for a guy who has been labeled as having jealousy issues. Might the Brett Beast be making an appearance soon, too? Before anyone new can turn into a generic version of The Hulk, we get to watch Asia and Lewis play a game on the lawn and finally ask one another some real questions. Asia’s first question is direct as hell: “Do you think of me as more than just a friend?” But Lewis’ response goes in circles and swirls and zig zags before he finally explains that the two are just “not there yet.” It wasn’t really the answer Asia was hoping for, but she takes the news calmly, she sort of agrees with him, and she’s still silently saying prayers that this guy goes through emotional puberty at some point soon so she will not have wasted her time on that island completely
It’s Fate Button time! But Terrence J arrives with the news that Fate only sort of gets to be in charge for this particular group date. The button will choose which guys are selected, but those guys will then get to ask out the girls of their choice. The button selects Brett and Moe. You’d think Brett would pick the girl who continually shows her affection by chasing him around tables, but he’s more interested in seeing if he and Cali still have a shot. As for Moe, he chooses Kayla and the entire house appears absolutely befuddled. The date itself involves the four of them going on a catamaran, footage of the girls jumping up and down in slow motion, a dolphin sighting that causes Kayla to have the very first orgasm of her life, and Kayla letting Moe down gently because she’s only interested in Cam – or Cam while he’s riding on a dolphin. But all of that is just foreplay; this date is really about Cali and Brett. Cali ran from him when he showed his propensity for seething and controlling rage. His jealous streak scared her – rightfully so – but now that she’s spending the day with him again, she’s second-guessing her decision. That said, she tells Brett she has real feelings for Tomas. These two are the ones being voted into the Truth Booth – even Tomas voted them in! – so confirmation about whether or not they should still be together will be revealed soon.
Terrence J wanders back into the living room later that night and Kayla rhapsodizes about the magic of the dolphins she saw – and that Moe was okay to be around, too. I swear, you have never seen such lukewarm sentiments expressed on television before. Poor Moe. But also poor Tomas, because Cali announces she’s not sure if she cut her relationship with Brett off too quickly. They walk to the Truth Booth and the house waits to find out the answer. Lights flash across their bodies, Cali almost has a nervous breakdown, and we find out they’re not a match. Brett comforts Cali immediately and tells her they’ll figure it all out. Meanwhile, Tomas and Nutsa are thrilled and totally relieved. Maybe now Tomas can bring Cali back to that outdoor shower and Nutsa can chase Brett around a sofa or three!
At the next Ceremony, the girls get to select their matches. Last time they were in charge, they only nailed one stingy beam and they are out for redemption:
Lauren chooses Andrew.
Nutsa selects Brett. And because a producer clearly told him that he should, Terrence J asks Brett if he is actually over Cali and Brett answers that he has to be over her. Cali smiles supportively as Brett and his forever second choice lock in their matches.
Kayla picks Cam and the two of them rattle off why they are right for one another while Kwasi looks like he’s ready to vomit.
Samantha chooses Daniel since he hasn’t let another girl touch his dick as part of a stupid game in a while.
Kenya picks Tevin.
Morgan selects Zack.
Bria, acting purely on strategy, chooses Lewis.
Asia is up next and it comes out that she sleeps next to Lewis every night, but he hasn’t kissed her, spooned her, or allowed her to go down on him the way Kenya randomly did that one night. Lewis claims his reason for not putting his paws on Asia is because he knows that if he did and then spoke to another girl, Asia would react by cutting him – literally. But since Asia didn’t bring any actual slicing instruments to the Ceremony, she responds with just words that are meant to dice Lewis and his ego into teensy slivered bits. If he doesn’t want to claim her, she says, she will move on to someone far more worthy. And now that she’s declared she will not be the cake Lewis gets to have and eat too, Asia picks Kwasi.
Cali happily chooses Tomas.
Jasmine and Moe – due to the process of elimination – lock in last as a match.
The group’s high point was getting four beams and tonight they feel very confident. Still, they manage to secure only four beams again. Terrence J elects not to tell them they’re garbage this time. Instead, he uses positive reinforcement. He encourages them to just stay focused. “Seven couples are still completely lost,” Tevin says, though not for one second does he contemplates that he could be a part of one of those doomed pairs. Maybe Tevin can wonder about such a thing tomorrow because tonight is the night Asia wants some real answers from Lewis. He is perplexed as to why he’s being perceived as the bad guy just because he’s not nailing the girl he’s sleeping beside. Asia pulls him away to ask what his deal is and Lewis finally announces – after prefacing his comments with a disclosure that he doesn’t really know how to say this any other way – that he just doesn’t find her all that attractive. “That’s why it’s easy for me to sleep next to you, because I’m not physically attracted to you,” he says and Asia maintains her composure, walks away calmly, goes into a bathroom and takes a few deep breaths, and ends up crying in the confessional like I think anyone would.
Can that volcano I’m rooting for maybe just take out Lewis? I know you’d expect that I’d want piping hot lava to roll over Zack and Bria also, but I’m more than willing to spare them in this little fantasy. I figure they’ll eventually just destroy one another the moment they get off that island.
Nell Kalter teaches Film and Media at a school in New York. She is the author of the books THAT YEAR and STUDENT, both available on amazon.com in paperback and for your Kindle. Her Twitter is @nell_kalter