This week's mystery woman is a blonde divorced mother of one from Nashville
Hi, America! Remember the good old days, when the idea of someone marrying a stranger on TV seemed like the height of our country’s depravity? Ha ha ha ha ha ha, me neither [stifled sob]. Anyway, welcome to week 2 of The Proposal! (Actually, welcome to week “future episode that had to be subbed in for week 2 because that episode featured an alleged pervert” of The Proposal!)
Last week, a California cop named Mike got “engaged” to a lady named Monica (good luck, you crazy kids), and this week, it’s a woman’s turn to choose a lifelong mate from a group of randoms selected by a “blue-ribbon panel of matchmakers.” Let’s meet the mystery woman: Ashlee Hewitt, a blonde divorced mother of one from Nashville! She’s also a ghost who plays guitar.
Ashlee is a country music singer, but most of her songs lately have been about breakups. Will one of The Proposal’s 10 men be able to change her tune? Also, this woman has a child and she’s going to bring a stranger home as her fiancé? Consider yourself judged, m’lady. Anyhow, let’s meet the men!
Jeremy Cohen, 26: This digital marketer from New York City loves God, but he also loves attention. “I want to be the instagram couple that everyone looks up to,” he says. “I want her friends to be jealous.” Um, what would Jesus post?
Jordan Coon, 33: He’s an ad agency producer, and he’s so “unique,” he plays hockey! In Southern California! Groundbreaking.
Leo Malamud, 34: This dude has the audacity to list his job as “real estate tycoon.” Anyone else want to bet he works at Century 21?
Samuel White, 27: He’s a law student, an entrepreneur, and a wedding DJ! Some reality TV contestants can’t even manage to have one job, but this dude has three.
Paul Bupte, 27: An “assistant colorist”? So… a straight man who does hair? Forget hockey — this is unique.
Side note: So far these introductions aren’t nearly as funny or disdainful — or disdainfully funny — as the intros for the women last week. Come on, Team Proposal — surely you can find some embarrassing personal details from these guys that equal the hilarity of “When she isn’t writing or speaking, she’s tending to her massive collection of dolls.” I’d accuse this show of being sexist if it weren’t so glaringly obvious already.
Nate Hampel, 29: He’s cute. Seems like a decent candidate, unlike…
Evan Camacho, 25: From the crowd-hyping to the ill-fitting suit to the fact that he includes “Lord of the Rings-loving guy” as part of his introductory sales pitch, this pilates instructor is more “last round of Bachelor in Paradise” than “husband material.”
Terence Chen, 31: This adorable research scientist lives in New York, so if Ashlee doesn’t pick him I may try to track him down and set him up with one of my single friends.
Tyson Faifer, 37: So I guess we’re just using “entrepreneur” now for “unemployed”? Also, did he accidentally buy his tux in the big-and-tall section? He’s swimming in that jacket!
Sam Windell, 29: He’s a “country boy at heart,” so surely the country singer will give him a shot?
And the first round cuts are…
Sorry, men whose names I already forgot! (And Terence.) Ashlee has chosen to move forward instead with Jeremy, Jordan, Leo, Sam the law student, Evan, and Sam the country boy. Somebody get a hose for the audience, because it’s time for the beachwear competition. (Next: A tale of two Sams)
Jeremy is up first, and after he walks the runway in some red-and-white board shorts, he introduces his parents, who got engaged in slightly more than an hour (six weeks) and are still married 36 years later. Jordan is next, and he has the audacity to show up in a tank top, but at least he has a sense of humor about it: “I still have a little winter weight on… from 2015.” Leo, on the other hand, is not carrying any winter weight, or body fat at all.
Samuel the law student struts out in a bathrobe, which he removes to reveal American flag board shorts underneath. If only he had stopped there. But no, Sammy decides to add two more jobs to his resume: composer, and terrible singer of unicorn-themed love songs. To the audience’s credit, you can only hear one person laugh out loud during Sam’s “performance.” Evan’s time on stage is almost as cringe-worthy: He brings up Lord of the Rings again and tells Ashlee he wants to take her to Mordor. Now, I’m not a LOTR nerd, but isn’t Mordor basically hell with dragons? It’s probably not on Ashlee’s top 10 “places to visit” list.
Hold up, now we’ve got ourselves a contender.
Sam the country boy says the most important thing in his life is his “walk with Jesus,” but finding a love like his parents’ is a close second.
So which guys will make it to the next round? Ashlee chooses Jeremy, Jordan, Leo, and Country Boy! So sorry, Evan and Sam the singer — please take the stairs back up to your life of anonymity.
Okay, final four — time for the “dealbreaker” questions!
Ashlee announces to the men that she has a son, and asks Sam how he feels about getting engaged to a single mom. “I don’t mind at all,” Sam replies. “I can make that work.” It’s a decent answer, though I really wish he had simply busted out a Bible verse: “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me.’” Jeremy gets the next question, which boils down to “What the hell are you doing here?” Short answer: Jeremy wants a “dream wedding.” Ashlee asks Leo about whether he’s religious, and he says he’s not a “huge believer” but thinks religion “has a lot of good to offer the world.”
Side note: Where are producers finding all these hardcore religious singles willing to pimp themselves out on TV? That’s some Emmy-worthy casting right there.
Ashlee saves the toughest question for Jordan: “Have you ever hurt somebody in a relationship, and why?” He answers honestly, if not a little obliquely: Yes, he has hurt someone. No, he’s not going to tell us how. Yes, he learned from it. No, he will never do it again. So who’s moving on to the final three?
Congrats, Jeremy, Jordan, and Sam. See you later, Leo. Perhaps treat yourself to a carb tonight — you’ve earned it. (Next: Meet the parents!)
It’s time for the remaining guys to get grilled by… Ashlee’s parents?
Welcome, Kelly and Jim! Mom and Dad say they were “happy” for Ashlee when they heard she was going to get engaged to a stranger on TV, because they just “want her to find the right guy.” Their first question is for Jeremy: How is he going to support their dear daughter and her Nashville dreams when he lives in New York City? Rather than lying and saying, “I’d be happy to move,” Jeremy sidesteps the question by assuring Kelly and Jim that he’d talk to their daughter “all the time” during their engagement and “make trips” to see her.
Mom then asks Jordan, who earlier admitted to dating a woman for nine years but never proposing, what he’s looking for in a mate. Much like Carrie Bradshaw, Jordan says he’s looking for real love… ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love (I’m paraphrasing). And finally, after Dad nervously stumbles over a question about religion and raising children, Sam tells Kelly and Jim that he and Ashlee would “lean into” Jesus to make sure faith remained the centerpiece of their relationship and family. (Confession: After Sam finished, I may have pulled a Family Feud and yelled, “Good answer!” at my screen.)
Now it’s time to narrow it down to two men, both of whom will get “the chance” to propose to a total stranger. So… Ashlee will listen to two proposals and pick one? Say what you will about traditional gender roles, but sometimes they do make for deliciously awkward TV. And the final two men are… Jordan and Sam!
Why does Jesse Palmer keep saying that? Everyone involved in this show — Palmer included — has so, so much to be ashamed of! But whatever, let’s move on to the dual proposals. Ashlee, please emerge from your pod!
Whoops! Normally I’d be embarrassed for someone who tripped on national TV, but clearly Ashlee and everyone else on the stage has given up on the concept of shame — so she doesn’t need our pity.
At long last (it’s been, like, 40 minutes after all), it’s time for the dual proposals! Jordan goes first, and he gushes about being “overwhelmed” by Ashlee’s beauty and says she’s his “dream girl.” That said, he’s not quite ready to put a ring on it. Instead, he proposes (get it) that they take their “honeymoon” first by heading to Fiji — and then, if they “hit it off,” he’ll slide that Neil Lane rock on her finger. As for Sam, he’s prepared a little home movie for Ashlee to watch, featuring a brief conversation with his parents (they’re adorable, his mom says “dang”). When Ashlee turns back to face Sam, he’s down on one knee, ring in hand.
So which will Ashlee choose — a “journey” into engagement with Sam or a fake honeymoon in Fiji with Jordan? After some dramatic handwringing, survey says… Jordan! Interestingly enough, he does not go in for the kiss, and instead just hugs Ashlee for an inordinately long time.
Well, all righty then! It appears that Ashlee and Jordan are now pre-engaged. Congrats? As for you, Sam, better luck next time, and remember, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
So, dear readers, are you still here? Will you keep watching The Proposal against your better judgment? (Sadly, I know I will.) And when these couples start breaking up, should ABC just send them all to Bachelor in Paradise? Post your thoughts below!
The Proposal airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on ABC.