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'Age of Love' star Mark Philippoussis cuts first 'Kitten,' second 'Cougar'


By Christopher Rocchio and Steve Rogers, 06/26/2007 

Age of Love star Mark Philippoussis was finally introduced to the six 20-something "Kittens" that would join the six remaining 40-something "Cougars" in competing for his affection during last night's broadcast of the NBC reality dating show's second episode.  

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However after the claws flashed, age truly didn't matter and Lauren, a 27-year-old lighting consultant from Greenwich, CT, and Angela, a 40-year-old property manager from Lakeside, MI who has been married twice before and has a 21-year-old son, were eliminated at the conclusion of the episode.

Age of Love's second episode began right where last week's premiere had left off -- with Mark, a 31-year-old Australian professional tennis player who has a well-chronicled penchant for younger women, catching his first glimpse of the Kittens.

"I just got used to the fact I'd be dating seven older women in their 40s," said Mark.  "Then that second curve ball was thrown in.  Six beautiful young women in their 20s.  It's going to be a wild ride."

The next morning, Mark had the chance to meet the six Kittens -- Lauren; Adelaide, a 26-year-old editor for Esquire magazine from Manhattan Beach, CA; Amanda, a 25-year-old financial planner's assistant from Nashville, TN; Mary, a 24-year-old hemodialysis technician from Albuquerque, NM; Megan, a 21-year-old Loyola University student from Chicago, IL; and Tessa, a 23-year-old executive assistant from Peoria, AZ -- while the Cougars as they sat around their apartment and wondered what their bachelor was doing. 

Unsurprisingly, Mark seemed to enjoy meeting the Kittens, who he repeatedly described as "hot" and "beautiful." 

"I'm around six beautiful women in their 20s, they're in their bikinis... I think I'm up for the challenge," Mark said as he prepared to enjoy a group barbecue and use some private time to get to know each of the Kittens on an individual level. 

However despite Mark's excitement, the Kittens turned into a bunch of boring wet cats when Mark decided to try and live out his The Bachelor-like fantasy of jumping into a hot tub with a bunch of hot women focused only on him.

"I found myself wondering, 'I wonder what the 40-year-olds are doing now?'" said Mark.  "So I'm sitting there, and not only are [the Kittens] not only not talking to me, they're also not talking to each other.  It was not what I had expected." 

Mark then tried to stimulate the conversation, which worked.  Sort of. 

"They're still finding themselves," said Mark.  "They're beautiful, but some of them are unsure... It's not as attractive to me as someone who knows what they want... I kind of felt like in the conversation it was like pulling teeth."  Along the way, Mark noted that although it was mostly "flirty," he had "some attraction" with Amanda, who like Mark, was born in Australia. 

Age of Love host Mark Consuelos eventually swooped in and saved Mark by informing the Kittens that (similar to the process that the Cougars went through last week) their initial time with Mark would be ending and although three of them would get a chance to go on a subsequent group date with him, the rest wouldn't get the opportunity before the show's next elimination.

Once the 20-something party ended and he'd arrived back in his "bachelor suite," Mark continued to opine for the company of the Cougars.  "I'll be 100% honest, I miss the older women," he said.

The next day, Mark met the six remaining Cougars -- Angela; Jayanna, a 38-year-old mortgage loan officer from Newport, CA who has been married once before; Jennifer, a 48-year-old executive assistant for the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers from Carson, CA who has been married twice before; Kelli, a 40-year-old legal secretary from Los Angeles, CA; Lynn, a 40-year-old makeup artist from Nashville, TN; Maria, a 42-year-old photographer from Playa Del Rey, CA who has been married once before -- at a roller skating rink for a fun-filled group date that made it clear that despite their ages, the Cougars were still young at heart. 

During the 1970's-themed roller-skating date, the Cougars competed in a limbo competition in which the winner would get some one-on-one time with Mark.  Angela went the lowest and -- much to the chagrin of the other Cougars -- landed the alone time.  Jennifer eventually interrupted and stole Mark away from Angela, and Mark commented he couldn't believe Jennifer is 48.  She then dropped a bomb on him, revealing she has a 25-year-old son and was married twice before.

After his Cougar date ended, Mark -- citing the fact that "it felt like they made the biggest impression" on him during their first meeting -- selected Amanda, Adelaide and Megan to accompany him on his 3-on-1 Kitten date. 

However rather than head out on the town, Mark invited the three Kittens over to his bachelor apatment for a casual night of food and video games.  Adelaide was the first to steal Mark for some alone time -- which Megan and Amanda didn't appreciate.  Mark described her as "outgoing" and was glad she decided to talk with him.

After Mark's Kitten date ended, both groups of women prepared for Age of Love's next elimination.  And as they prepared, the Kittens continued to pre-emptively bear their claws at the Cougars, who were still unaware of the existence of their Kitten counterparts.

"I'm not worried about the women in their 40s," Lauren told the cameras after the younger women had joked about menopause and hot flashes.  "I'm sure they're lovely, but as far as them being more competition, bring it on."

After the Cougars arrived at the elimination site, Consuelos brought down the Kittens and revealed their existence to the older women.  "I saw breasts, size 2 waists, [and] tiny arms," said Maria.  "I'm like, 'Where these girls coming!  They better not be standing next to me!'" 

Lynn said the Kitten twist wasn't what she signed up for, but quickly changed her tune and realized the Cougars may be better equipped to provide for Mark. 

"I don't think that their age or my age really matters," said Jennifer, the oldest of the bunch.  "Age really isn't a factor."

After the two groups of women exchanged sharp looks and a few catty comments, Consuelos informed Mark he would have to eliminate one Kitten and one Cougar.  After calling the women out one-by-one and revealing whether they'd survived the cut, Mark eventually narrowed the women down to three members of each age group.  Lauren said she was "feeling really nervous" and her stomach was in her throat as Mark called her down.  He said while she had been trying to get to know him it didn't seem to be working out and revealed that she would be the first Kitten eliminated from the competition.

"Lauren... [is a] beautiful, beautiful young woman.  But I looked at her, and I couldn't see myself attracted to her anywhere further down the line," Mark told the cameras afterward.  "It's such a hard decision, and it still feels unfair because I didn't get a chance to really know her."

"Mark is definitely going to be missing out on a lot," said Lauren.  "I have a lot to offer.  I'm only in my 20s, which is why I'm not devastated."

Angela said she would be "extremely disappointed" if she was the second Cougar eliminated from Age of Love, which Mark revealed was going to be the case because he didn't feel a future connection during their one-on-one.

"You know, I'm 40-years-old... I've had my heart broken before," said Angela.  "The thing is at my age, it feels like the time period is getting a little bit shorter.  I don't want to miss out on everything.  I just want to find the one."

Age of Love's third episode will air Monday, July 2 at 9PM ET/PT on NBC.

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