The Bachelorette enlists the Muppets to help her embarrass the guys (and raise money for charity, of course), while Kalon continues to annoy everyone he speaks to... except Emily
Bachelorette 4
Credit: ABC

Breaking news! Scott Wickersham of channel 9 has a developing story: The Bachelorette is filming at this house right here. What are you waiting for, potential stalkers? Put on your tuxedo made of gum wrappers and stuff that proposal written in your blood on loose leaf paper into your pocket, because it’s week two already. Time’s a wastin’!

“This is my town,” Emily tells us at the beginning of the episode. “I’m comfortable here.” And why shouldn’t she be — despite, you know, the hovering helicopters and such? She’s got a whole network of fellow soccer moms who can take Ricki to soccer practice so she can go on her first date of this “journey.” To that end, Harrison gathers of the men at the Potential Husband Plantation to lay out the “complicated” rules: roses, good; no roses, buh-bye. Got it. Hand over that first date card, buddy!

Beefy guy whose name I can’t remember right now (thank god for this page) reads the message: “Ryan, be my king in Queen City.” As the other men look on jealously, Ryan drops a little WWJD truth bomb on them: “My pastor always said, ‘If you treat a woman like a queen, she’ll treat you like a king.'” Amen, pal! Let’s hope your nondescript black carry-on bag does not get to take a trip in the Reject Airport Van. When it’s time to go, Emily strolls into the backyard where the rest of the guys are wandering around shirtless by the pool, hoping somebody with a camera will walk by and ask them to star in a Muscle Milk ad. “Hellooooo,” she calls. Ryan, having put the finishing touches on his hair, is ready. “He makes me just a little nervous just ’cause he’s so good looking,” says Emily, as Ryan opens the car door for her. (Driver’s side — nice!) “And the last I guy I really dated was Brad — crazy good looking, and we all know how that turned out. So… we’ll see.”

We will, won’t we? While Ryan has typical Bachelorette dates in mind — “maybe a plane ride, a hot air balloon ride” — instead, Emily is taking him back to her house… to put away groceries. Ricki’s soccer team needs a snack, so the Bachelorette is enlisting Ryan to bake cookies. (Side note: There are still places in America where you can bring cookies, rather than carrot sticks or orange slices, to a kids’ soccer practice? Amazing.) While the pro sports trainer is a bit embarrassed to don a flowery apron and mix the flour and eggs, he handles it with minimal fuss, and Emily proclaims that Ryan did indeed pass “the cookie test.” As a reward, he gets to have a real dinner date with the Bachelorette, one where she’ll be wearing a dark magenta off-the-shoulder minidress rather than “mom clothes.” (Unless, you know, your mom runs a high-class escort agency or something.)

No wonder Emily got all dolled up — seems like the whole town has turned up to watch her take a date to a neighborhood Italian joint, which has literally rolled out the red carpet for her. Cameras flash and locals cheer as she and Ryan scurry inside. Good thing the restaurant has been cleared out, because Emily has some hard questions for Ryan, and she’s gonna want to hear the answers. How many serious girlfriends has he had? (Two.) Do you lose interest when the thrill of the chase is over? “You came with some hard questions tonight — my goodness!” teases Ryan, perhaps trying to buy some time.

NEXT: The guys make a rainbow connection

But Emily wants answers. “That’s my biggest fear going through this whole experience, is that people see it as a game,” she explains. “I don’t want anybody to ever see it as a competition… I don’t want to be the prize that you win at the end.” Ryan assures her that her feelings are “understandable,” and that he’s not in it to win it — well, he is, but not just to win it. And he has a question for her: “Are you going to be open to allowing a man to come in and really treat Ricki the same way that he’s going to treat the other children he has with you? Because I wouldn’t want there to be a difference.” Short answer: She will, until she won’t. “I’m tired of being in charge,” Emily says, before adding with a giggle. “Obviously, I’d really be in charge.” While I don’t sense a whole lot of chemistry between them, nor does Emily (“I almost worry that he might be too perfect”), she’s not ready to let the serial hand-grabber go, and he gets the date rose. The traditional Post-Date Semi-Private Concert is hosted by a band called Gloriana. Ryan and Emily dance awkwardly on a small raised platform in the middle of the crowd and exchange hollowly romantic pleasantries, like “I’m happy you’re here” and “This is so surreal.”

Ding-dong! It’s the Accent Table of Doom at the door! Chris does the honors: Alejandro, Nate, Alessandro, Tony, Michael, John/Wolf, Jeff, Charlie, Kyle, Chris, Aaron, Stevie and Kalon: “Let’s set the stage for love.” What could it mean, folks? Well, if you haven’t seen the promos, let me just say this: It’s time to play the music. It’s time to light the lights. It’s time to get things started. Kermit and Miss Piggy are here to get things started, guys! Let’s put on a variety show for charity, the Ricky Hendrick Centers for Intensive Care at the Levine Children’s Hospital! The Muppets divide the guys into groups and put them through their variety show paces. There’s dancing, singing (“The Rainbow Connection,” of course), and (wacka wacka!) stand up comedy. Rather than being thrilled at this (albeit embarrassing) once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Charlie looks like his once-injured brain is about to explode. “Knowing my insecurities about speaking,” he sighs, “it really struck fear into my heart.” He confronts the issue head on (pun not intended) and goes to tell Emily he’s just not ready to do a comedy routine in front of a theater full of strangers. No worries — the Bachelorette is fine to have Charlie join the Rainbow Connection gang.

Please, let us not speak of the dress-zipping “scene.” Even Muppets make mistakes sometimes.

The audience files in (Harrison, ever the host, glad-hands the crowd and takes photos with happy fans) and then it’s showtime! While the highlight of the entire thing is Statler and Harrison heckling from the balcony (Statler: “Hey, that wasn’t half bad.” Harrison: “It was ALL bad!”) everyone involved certainly makes an effort. Maybe not their best effort, but an effort. Poor Charlie flushes fifty shades of fuchsia when Miss Piggy puts him on the spot during her “talk show” segment, asking, “What do you tell a woman when you want to impress her?” Rather than having an aneurysm, he offers up a sweetly silly answer: “I would remind her every day how beautiful she is, how special she makes me feel, and how lucky I am to have her in my life.” Give that formerly brain-damaged hunk a standing O!

NEXT: Time runs out on Joe’s “love clock”

No, I didn’t cry when Emily brought Ricki up on stage to sing “The Rainbow Connection” with Kermit and Miss Piggy — so stop asking.

At the post-date cocktail party, Chris pulls Emily aside right away to re-stake his claim as King of the Bobbleheads. “I feel like at the beginning we had a connection,” he tells her. “I felt comfortable, very comfortable.” Well pal, that puts you way ahead of Jef, who has been avoiding the Bachelorette all day — at least, that’s how Emily sees it — and when she calls him on it, he gets all shifty-eyed and nervous. He’s not ignoring you, Emily, really! He just, you know, doesn’t want you looking at all the other guys the way you look at him. That’s reasonable, right? “It’s so weird for me,” explains Jef. And she LOVES it. Seems like Emily likes a man who plays hard to get. Unfortunately for her, she’s got a hotel full of men who are tripping over themselves to spend time with her — Stevie loses Emily to Kalon, who loses her to Aaron… much to the Party MC’s delight. “I don’t like you,” he tells Kalon (a.k.a. “Chopper”). You are not alone, sir. Ooof, let’s just give the date rose away and end this date now. Of course, it goes to Jef the shrinking flower. Take note, other guys! Less is clearly more.

Individual date number two goes to Joe, who is delighted to learn that he won’t be baking cookies — instead, he’ll be taking a private jet with Emily to White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia, the Bachelorette’s home state. (Side note: Is it me, or does Joe look like a grown up Dawson Leery?) The duo jets off to the posh Greenbrier resort, a rambling and stately property with fancy carpets and a 100-year-old pool. Speaking of pools, I wonder what the guys are doing back at the PHP? “…I always imagined that my first child would be my actual child.” Oh crap, who just said that? Arrrgh, Kalon! Dude, don’t you know you’re already getting the villain edit? Soaking in the hot tub and saying you’ll “cross that bridge when [you] come to it” about being Ricki’s stepdad is not going to help you win friends and influence viewers. Doug, for one thing, fumes when Kalon suggests that he put “being a dad on hold” to come vie for Emily on The Bachelorette. Oh, snap. “I actually wasn’t going to do this, until my son was like… ‘I think you need to get out of the house more.'” Got it, Chopper? So stop. Just check it, pal.

Back at the Greenbrier, Emily has wrapped herself in layers and layers of rose-colored tulle for dinner with Joe. Can she find a spark? Let the interrogation begin. Where does he see himself in five years? “At the end of this,” says Joe, “if it’s you and me standing, I will pack my bags and I’ll go wherever you ask me to go, and I will start a life.” But does that life involve a Duggar family sized clan of little Emilys and Joes? The Bachelorette needs to know. “A lot of these things don’t get planned out,” hedges Joe. Ooooh, not a great answer, buddy. Not even your nice “love clock” wish about returning to the Greenbrier with Emily and Ricki someday is going to save you from getting the boot. “Um, so, um,” begins Emily, tearing up. “I’m sorry…” Joe, using his astounding powers of perception, hones in on the problem: “Is there a ‘But’ coming in here?” Short answer: Yes. See you, Dawson! Don’t cry. Man, they really couldn’t have canceled the fireworks display? Emily feels bad enough already.

NEXT: A love letter with no end

Helloooooooooo! It’s cocktail party time! Arie, like all of the guys who haven’t had a date this week, is extra anxious to get time with Emily before the rose ceremony. In a smart move, during their chat he casually mentions that he used to date a woman with two children, so he totally knows how hard single motherhood can be. Tony doesn’t have as easy a time of it, primarily because he tries to interrupt Emily’s one-on-one with Ryan just as she’s reading a letter the sports trainer wrote to her on parchment he made himself using woodchips from the garden, or something. “Confidence killer!” says one of the guys with a laugh. Tony plays through the pain — an impressive feat, given that the letter is seven pages long. I like Ryan, but forcing Emily to read a novella during the cocktail party is definitely a Bachelorette faux pas. Once Tony finally does get to sit down with Emily, he immediately pulls out his trump card: his 5-year-old son, Taylor. Will it be enough to keep him in the game-that’s-not-about-winning? We’ll find out in a few minutes.

First, though, more guys want their time with Emily. Kalon uses his one-on-one to tell Emily how hard it is to find love with women his own age, since he’s soooo mature. The guys, watching from afar, collectively roll their eyes. “I have a rule,” says John/Wolf. “If you have Louis Vuitton luggage, and you’re a dude, then you’re an a–hole.” Before they can gang up on Kalon and give him a swirlie in the PHP guest bathroom, Harrison walks in and — clink clink clink! — signals with the Champagne Flute of Fate that it’s time to separate the men from… well, the men with roses.

Emily, looking lovely in a royal purple off-the-shoulder gown, starts the rose ceremony off with a surprise: Kalon! Stevie sneers as the other guys wince and rub their eyes in frustration. After that come Arie, quiet Michael and his Tarzan hair, Nate, Sean, Chris, Doug, Travis, Tony, John/Wolf, Alessandro, Charlie, Alejandro, and… Stevie, of all people. So sorry, Aaron and Kyle, but you’re not the droids she’s looking for. Perhaps we’ll see you on the Pad later this summer!

As week two draws to a close, let me know your thoughts, rose lovers. Were you surprised that Kalon got a rose? Will you miss Aaron’s glasses? Has Michael ever spoken to Emily? The dude’s barely spoken on camera. Post your comments now! And when you’re done, be sure to check out Chris Harrison’s exclusive blog over on PopWatch. Now slip a note in the love clock and let’s talk Bachelorette!

Episode Recaps

The Bachelorette

One single woman searches for her future husband amid a sea of studs in this romantic reality series. Will you accept this rose?

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