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‘Bachelorette’ Jillian fails to get a rise out of Ed

Aloha, Bachelorette lovers! This week's episode confirmed that poor Jillian is reality TV's answer to Job. She's been lied to, abandoned, had her feet molested by a P(ervert) — and now, she's been rejected by a suitor's penis. But much like that aforementioned Biblical figure, Jillian continues to bear the suffering with a truly astounding resilience.

Perhaps the change of scenery has buoyed her spirits. Now that she and the three remaining bachelors have moved on to Maui, marriage is on her mind ''constantly... I'm hoping that someone up there, or someone in here [gestures to heart] will tell me what decision I'm supposed to make.'' Bad news, honey: God is too concerned about who's getting the next HOH on Big Brother to bother with your problems, so you'll have to rely on the little Canadian inside your rib cage to help you figure it out.

Dolphin squeal! It's date time, and there's Kipper waiting for her on the other side of a suspension bridge. Once again Jillian's planned a date that involves dangling high above the ground: they're doing a ropes course, a decision that the Bachelorette quickly seems to regret. She needs constant encouragement from Kiptyn — which she gets by repeatedly demanding that he kiss her — before she can complete any portion of the course. The final leg of their adventure is called the ''Leap of Faith'' (sorry, Team Bachelorette, but that's a little too on-the-nose). It involves jumping off a ''totem pole,'' as Jillian insists on calling it, and trying to grab a trapeze several feet away. As whiny as she gets (''Can you promise you'll give me a big kiss when you get to the bottom?''), Jillian still manages to make the leap — and though she misses the trapeze by about 15 feet, I've got to say I'm impressed. No way in hell I would have even gotten up on the pole.

With that out of the way, it's time to move on to the real question, as posed by Harrison during the commercial tease: ''Jillian is falling for Kiptyn, but is she ready to give him her all?'' (Key: ''all'' = ''vagina.'') Before she gives it ''all'' up, though, Jillian needs something from Kiptyn: ''I keep on asking you about this one thing you can't answer... You have to have one flaw.'' Here's one: His mom. Here's another one: His smug-ass face. Of course, though, his response is totally jokey: ''When I go dancing, big flaw.'' Jillian presses him for something serious, and Kipper cites his ''low patience'' and that he's had ''one foot in, one foot out'' in relationships in the past. (Fear of commitment? That is so dreamy!) That said, Kip promises he won't break her heart: ''I would never want to hurt you.'' And she LOVES it. Jillian pulls The Card out of her napkin, or something, and there's no doubt she's hot to trot: ''I think we need this time.'' Oh hey, look! The Giant Red Bed followed the Bachelorette from Spain to Maui! After some chaste making out on the GRB, Kipper closes the shutters in our faces. How rude!

It's another sunshiny day in Hawaii as Jillian greets Reid for date No. 2. No dolphin squeal this time, perhaps because she has reservations about her messy-haired paramour: ''I need him to think about how he feels and just communicate it with me, whatever it is.'' (Oh so his big heartfelt revelation that ''I think we're very similar'' from last week wasn't good enough?) They meet up and have the same conversation they've been having since day one.

Jillian: ''What do you want to do?''

Reid: ''Make out.''

Yep, that about sums this relationship up.

Jillian tries again after Reid's hazy replyOh hey look, a helicopter! I don't know how Team Bachelorette managed to go four whole episodes without one. During Reid and Jillian's romantic ride above Maui, the pilot just happens to announce that he's also an ordained minister who performs aerial weddings. ''Let's get this s--t done!'' says Jillian with a laugh, while Reid turns pale and pretends to find the joke funny. During their subsequent ocean-side picnic, Jillian pushes Reid to tell her that he loves her. ''I have feelings for you and they're developing... [but] sometimes it kind of feels rushed,'' he admits. (Um, sometimes? You've barely known this woman for one month and she's asking you about marriage. I think you can drop the ''sometimes.'') The best he can do is express his feelings like a four-year-old, as he puts it: ''I like you this much,'' he jokes, spreading his arms.

The interrogation continues at dinner, and goes around in circles, though Jillian does finally get Reid to answer the proposal question — sort of:

Jillian: ''I really want you to think about everything and the seriousness of it, and if you're ready for everything and prepared to propose at the end of this.''

Reid: ''You're really, you're really putting the pressure on... At the end of this am I ready to propose? Maybe, possibly.''

Jillian: ''You're like a Magic 8 Ball right now.''

Nice zinger, Jill! Unfortunately if Reid were a Magic 8 Ball what he'd really be saying is ''Outlook not so good.'' Despite his inscrutability, Jillian pulls out The Card and makes the offer — much to Reid's relief: ''I need to have that time with her to really know how I feel and whether or not I can tell her that I love her.'' (Translation: He can't tell her if he loves her until he's slept with her. Realistic? Yes. Still gross? Definitely.) Once inside, Reid admits it's ''so hard to throw out the L-word'' but that ''it could be at some point in the future.'' Wow, move over Lord Byron! Still, it's good enough for Jillian — as evidenced by the shot of her dress tossed strategically on the floor. It's (possibly naked) tub time!

And now, Ed's date. Uffda, where to begin? Everything seems to start off well, as they greet each other like horny teenagers on the dock. ''I immediately wanted to just attack her,'' says Ed. They grope each other before, during, and after a swim, and then Ed reveals his surprise: He's flown his parents out to meet Jillian! Dolphin squeal! Not surprisingly, Ed's mom and dad are a cute Chicago couple, made even cuter by their loud floral shirts. Jillian must be nervous, because she talks nonstop for a full 35 seconds after she walks in. While Ed's mom says she's ''ok'' with him being on the show, Ed's pop is completely freaked out by the whole situation. As soon as mom and Jillian leave the room, dad demands to know something from his son: ''What the hell are we doing here? What is going on?'' (I cannot believe it's taken 18 combined seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette for a contestant's parent to ask this question. Way to go, Ed's dad!) Ed tries to assure him that he was able to ''salvage'' his job (key: ''salvage'' = ''producers paid off my boss''), and that ''this isn't, like, a joke... I swear that I would get engaged if she picked me.'' Turns out dad is easy to convince, and his son's revelation moves him to tears: ''I've never seen Ed put his feelings on his shirtsleeve,'' he tells the Bachelorette, choking up, ''and I just want you to be happy, that's all.'' After getting that blessing, Jillian takes Ed for a walk on the beach and pulls out The Card. ''I would love to wrap up this day so him and I could have some intimate, cozy, sexy time.'' (Well, in retrospect, two out of three isn't bad.)

She greets Ed in the Fantasy Suite, and then lets him know that she doesn't ''ever want to take a backseat'' to his job once the honeymoon period is over. In response, he keeps the smoothie streak going: ''I would love you to be the reason for me to not work... I am absolutely falling in love with you.'' Ok, dim the lights and get busy, kids! They start to make out on the Giant White Bed, but Jillian wants to slip into something more comfortable. While she's changing, we get Warning Sign No. 1 that things might not go so well with Ed's machinery, as he wonders aloud, ''I was super nervous because this chick is smoking hot — why does she like me?'' Come on, pal — have some confidence! The Bachelorette comes out in a see-through white tunic, and they start rubbing oil all over each other as a smooth-jazz soundtrack pulsates in the background.

The restrictions of ABC's standards and practices department prevent Team Bachelorette from actually showing us what happens next, so they use some artsy filmmaking techniques to tell the story. The camera pans back from the rose petal strewn bed to a shot outside the hotel window; soon, the light shuts off. Next, we're treated to a montage of sensuous images — the moonlit surf crashing on the sand, the moon's silver orb glowing between two palm fronds — and then, boom! The light comes back on. The camera cuts back to the Fantasy Suite, where Ed lies on the bed on his stomach, totally dejected, while an oily Jillian perches on his back and showers his neck with consoling kisses. ''Our fancy date was not exactly as we had planned. I think him and I were definitely sunburned, exhausted, and had a huge day... I just felt like that love was there... but that like oh my god I want my hands to be all over you — that wasn't there.''

Color me surprised. I was convinced that it was going to be neurotic Reid who wouldn't be able to get his little soldier to march! A chagrined Ed explains, ''I was very nervous, and, uh, it just didn't happen. I couldn't show her that I really truly am in love with her. Jill may have gotten the wrong impression. She could just ask me to leave.'' Ok, you know what? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I think it's actually a selling point for Ed that he couldn't get it up in the Fantasy Suite. Ron Jeremy might be comfortable having sex in front of cameras and lights and a national audience, but most people would find that situation mortifying. As those E.D. commercials say, you have to know when ''the moment is right,'' and good for Ed for realizing that despite its name, the Fantasy Suite is nothing but a capital-W wrong moment.

The next day Harrison greets Jillian at the rose ceremony after a disturbing absence last week — nice to have you back, buddy! — and innocently asks the Bachelorette about her ''alone time'' with Ed. Jillian is diplomatic, saying ''We [emphasis mine] were under so much pressure...'' and ''we both just sort of wanted to fall asleep, and that confused me.'' So ''either the chemistry was not there'' or Ed had too much ''on his mind.'' Before she heads outside to crush one man's dreams of love FOREVER, she pauses to watch the bachelors' ''private'' video messages. Kipper gets to go first (naturally), and his message is as boring and annoying as he is. ''It feels like it could be the beginning of an amazing relationship,'' he says, before telling Jillian again how much she continues to impress him. Reid uses his message to choke out this semi-pathetic plea: ''I really hope that you keep your honey-bear around.'' Um, awwwww?

One bachelor gets kicked off the islandEd, however, implodes under pressure for the second time this episode; even though his ''private'' message contains the most heartfelt declaration, he recites it with about as much emotion as he would if he were reading a side-effects disclaimer off a cue card. ''Jill, this experience has been unlike anything that I have ever imagined... I know we've had some bumps in the road... I would love an opportunity to show you that I'm ready to take our relationship to the next level. [Pause as the production assistant changes cue card] You're beautiful, you're intelligent, you're funny, sometimes inappropriate, and I love all those things about you. I would love an opportunity to spend the rest of my life with you and propose to you. I love you.'' And she LOVES it... though to be fair, it's unclear how she feels about that last part, which totally catches her off guard — if her wide eyes and sharp intake of breath are any indication.

Jillian gets the rose ceremony off on an awkward foot by telling the guys that she's ''definitely falling in love with all of you,'' and then she ratchets up the pain level to 11 by pulling Ed aside for a last-minute one-on-one, leaving the other guys to stare at their shoes. She gently tries to tell Ed that she's not sure she can buy the car without taking it for a test drive first, so he hurries to explain his malfunction in broadcast-TV-friendly terms: ''I'm having a hard time adjusting to everything.'' He goes on to assure her, ''If you can just trust me and believe that everything I have told you up until now is sincere and that you don't need to worry about anything... I am absolutely crazy about you.'' Good enough! Kipper gets the first rose (of course), and after a looooong pause, an unsure Jillian calls Ed's name. During the ''take a moment and say your goodbyes'' kiss-off, Reid offers this feeble (and some might say rude) parting shot: ''I hope you made the right move. I don't know if you're completely sure.'' Looking somewhat offended and totally overwhelmed, Jillian gives him the ''I just worry that we're at different places in our life'' line, and then the two of them — who've never really had anything to say to each other in the first place — sit in silence one last time before parting at the white Reject Limo. Once inside, Reid is finally able to utter the words Jillian wanted to hear: ''I think I can definitely say that I was falling in love with her. I don't think she even knows that.'' To paraphrase The Wedding Singer, count that under ''things that could have been brought to her attention YESTERDAY!''

Phew! I'm so glad Ed escaped the axe this week — clearly, Jillian must have realized that what happened in the Fantasy Suite happens to every guy at least once in his life. So, Ed and Kipper for the final two! Who will Jillian choose? The workaholic who's all but guaranteed to drop to his knee and offer a proposal, or the ''perfect'' heartbreaker who is likely to be as withholding as his freakish mom when it comes to offering a ring? I think you all know who I'm rooting for.

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