In the beginning, NBC created Adam. (Actually, if you want to get technical about it, his parents created him. NBC just took all the credit.) And he was created with a receding hairline, large nose, big teeth, and an extremely wide smile which showed those teeth off as often as possible. And it was good.
Why was it good? Because Adam had been chosen to appear on a reality show with the title of Average Joe, and in the central casting department of the cosmos, Adam’s natural role was ‘dump victim.’
You see, NBC had chosen an exceptionally shallow woman named Melana to be the focus of the show. (How shallow? Take a glass bottle out of your fridge. Leave it on the kitchen counter until the first drops of moisture appear on the cap. Measure the height of those drops. You should now have in your possession a measurement approximately six hundred percent greater than the total depth of Melana’s personality. For those of you living in the Southwest, four hundred percent.) She would be presented with a field of men who could not be found on the charts of Classic Greek Male Beauty unless you glanced at the ‘what to do if your chisel repeatedly slips on the marble’ section, and asked to whittle the numbers down using her tool kit of elitism, stupidity, and total lack of concern for human emotion. Eventually, she would be down to one, whom she would ride off into the sunset with, thus blinding the camera to the moment when she pushed her chosen off a cliff.
At least, that was how it was supposed to go. But halfway through the show, the mandatory twist was introduced. What twist could this possibly be? Why, they brought in a group of men who did meet the classic Greek ideals of sculpted male beauty, as long as you ignored the obvious fact of the chisel having slipped in under their eye sockets and sliced into their brain a couple of dozen times each.
And so, Melana was asked to choose between the Cult Of Personality and the Black Eye Club. And everyone knew which one she would eventually pick. It was just a question of who was going to wind up wishing they had a chunk of stone in place of a heart.
But an amazing thing happened. As the Average Joes and Michelangelos went home in equal measure, Adam stayed. We got to learn things about Adam. We found out he had a warm personality, and a few women around the country smiled. We saw his quick sense of humor, and still more females found their hearts warming towards him. And finally, we learned that he was moderately rich, and every gold-digger in the world stamped their feet in unison and said a foul word. For, even as shallow as Melana was, there would still be one thing she would value over looks: money. A man like Adam, willing to give his heart to the first person who returned his careful efforts at romance with a smile? A man with money to lavish upon his beloved, who would never count the cost of adoration until the stock market crashed? And, most importantly, a man who would be glad to hire a personal trainer, massage therapist, plus the classic, near-mandatory tennis pro for her exclusive use, and never, ever allow himself to catch on? Suddenly, Adam was the greatest prize a dating show could possibly offer a young woman with depth best measured in molecules and a personality that a Barbie doll would look down on. Suddenly, it seemed like Adam had a chance to win, for a given value of ‘win’. And we began to root for him – for that value of ‘root’ which can be defined as ‘maybe he’ll see through her after the first two weeks, break up, and move on to someone better.’
But in the end, Melana, who lacked the intellectual curiosity to attempt even the most basic math, sent Adam back onto the bus from whence he had come, and slithered off into her prospective Eden with the snake, where they were in time presented with a Bi-Polar Granny Smith and a note reading ‘You have nothing in common, so you are banished from the screen.’ And Adam went forth into the land of Nod, also known as Manhattan, to pick up the pieces of his life.
Which is, of course, when the second amazing thing happened.
Because throughout the many weeks of his torment, women had been observing Adam. They had seen he was warm. They had watched him being kind. They had smiled at his sense of humor. And as for his being moderately rich – well, that was certainly noted by a certain class of viewer. And, just as much to the point, they had a full name, a city of residence, and, as it turned out, a publicly listed phone number.
And so, before you could say ‘You’ve got three million new messages’, Adam found himself one of the most desirable bachelors on the East Coast, with women calling his apartment every five seconds, women approaching him on the street, and women tackling him in the supermarket while screaming ‘You want me! ME!’ Adam had, in fact, his free choice of several thousand new lifemate prospects. He had the chance to lead a very active social life until he managed to pare his much larger field down to one. Adam could find true happiness without any reality show producers throwing twists in his face.
So Adam, faced with the sort of joyously open, completely leveled field that romantics of both genders and all orientations can only dream of, listened to his heart.
Unfortunately, what his heart said was ‘Hast thou beheld my servant Job?’
And Adam returned to NBC, let the reality show producers back into his life, set himself up for a twist pummeling, and increased his chances of returning to a life of misery by roughly one hundred percent.
Either Adam was completely overwhelmed by the possibilities available to him and desperately wanted someone else to do the initial sorting work, or he just passed Toni in the all-time DAW ratings.
Will Adam find true happiness? Will the producers throw enough twists into his second chance to make him completely miserable? Is it possible that the great love of his life is waiting on the bus? Or will Melana realize the extent of her mistake and the emptiness of her bank account before shoehorning her way into the field?
Please let that be the ugliest thought I have for the entire episode… Roll opening sequence.
Gee, look at all those things that are going to be happening in upcoming episodes. What are they trying to do, give everything away? Well, I’m not going to cooperate. I’ve only got the first episode. Most of those events will take place in Someone Else’s Summary. For the sake of presenting a coherent, linear summary –
-- okay, I’m just going to wait here quietly until you stop laughing –
-- thank you. A coherent, linear summary, we’re just going to pretend all those little precaps and recaps don’t exist. Moving on…
We’re outside the airplane hanger in Palm Springs, where a timeline bar informs us that 285 days, 11 hours, 44 minutes, and 19 seconds have passed since NBC began running that precap. The producers throw a tumbleweed across the screen to help get the point across, and Adam begins the journey towards the Big Empty Space Of Destiny, this time on foot. ‘The scene of the crime from the first show’, as he confessional-tells us. No, Adam, the place where you were released to enjoy your Declaration-given right to the pursuit of happiness, and we’re still trying to figure out why you chased it back here.
No carpet this time. No blue curtains hanging in the back, no professional TV lighting. Just a big, white empty space, waiting to be filled. In the symbolism department, this either represents the blank page of Adam’s social life waiting to be filled or NBC’s unwillingness to pay for an artificially-dusted red carpet and blue curtain set.
Like many veterans of traumatic experiences – war, hostage crises, being in the same room with Melana – Adam is prone to flashbacks, and being in the hangar triggers a nasty one: his cosmically-ordained dumping.
Adam, walking forward on the red carpet late at night, wearing a white sweater. Adam, walking forward on a dirty white floor in the middle of the day, wearing a black jacket. Adam, waking up in a Pennsylvania bed and breakfast at the same time every morning to do yet another remote shot on that (censored) groundhog, which is still a more attractive prospect than having to face Melana again.
Flashback: she smiles in his face. She opens with the word ‘friendship’, which is the rough equivalent of spitting in his face. And she reaches the word ‘however’, and – wait, didn’t someone else already write this summary?
‘It was one of those rare times when someone says something and you think they’ve said the exact opposite,’ Adam c-ts us. ‘Like in my head, she was saying ‘I love you’ and I’m like ‘Okay!’ So now it’s Mr. Danger and Melana radiating auras of TGIF Kryptonite…
Flashback: The rejection echoing through the hangar. Adam telling Melana she’d made good decisions throughout the show, as a few more points of his IQ slip away. Jason stepping off the plane, Adam stepping onto the bus – I’m sure someone else wrote this summary – and Adam watching them kiss before the bus mercifully pulled out of the hangar. He compares it to losing the World Series and forcing yourself to sit in the dugout and watch the celebration on the field, just so you’ll know what it’s like to come out on top. Actually, it’s more like watching a lightning bolt pass two feet over your head and electrocute the man standing next to you, followed by wasting five minutes shaking his charred corpse while yelling ‘Does it feel like you’re developing any superpowers?’
We then get a few shots of Melana and Jason together on their mini-vacation. (Being hit by lightning was actually the better fate…) Melana, in what I dearly hope is her final c-t of all time, tells us she never wants to kiss anyone other than Jason. Note: anyone wishing to date Melana from this point on must change their name to Jason. Or Ernest, which is spelled just like ‘Jason’ in Melana’s mind. They both have an ‘N’, after all.
Flashback, but this time to something we never saw: a Manhattan bar on the night of AJ1’s finale, with Adam surrounded by five hundred people: members of his family, friends, people who just happened to be in the bar, lawyers who like to hang out around traffic accidents, NBC executives on site to make sure Adam didn’t say the million-dollar word, more lawyers for the event that he did, someone with a mop waiting to clean up the blood…
There’s no sound, so everyone has to go by the visual: Jason coming out first (which has to mean he lost) and a kiss (which has to be a goodbye consolation peck) and still more kissing (which has to be epoxy on their lips) and they’re not coming up for air (which means I’m quickly remembering how traumatizing this was the first time around, and I’m heading for a flashback)…
Adam is rejected. Again. Only this time on the big screen.