Welcome back for the penultimate episode of RelationShep, season one. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m new to the whole reality dating show scene. For this reason, the idea that anyone can find love by slowly weeding out potential mates under the watchful eye of a camera crew seemed doomed to fail, but then I began to really consider all the inane ways that people approach romance. Let me give you an example.
In the rustic farmlands of Sardinia, there is an illegal cheese known as casu marzu, or the “rotten cheese.” What sets this sheep’s milk delicacy apart is the presence of live maggots that are said to push the fermentation process to the next level. From what I’ve read about casu marzu, the larvae squirming around within is a sign that the cheese has not yet become toxic. These maggots are also known to leap from the cheese as it is eaten, which is why diners are advised to hold their hands above each bite to prevent the creatures from landing on their face.
The reason I bring this all up is that some Sardinians consider casu marzu to be a potent aphrodisiac. This means that at some point someone has offered up an illegal rot cheese infested with bugs as a way to attract a lover. With this in mind, maybe inviting a random group of women to cohabitate in beach house as they compete for your affection isn’t the worst way to find love. Now onto the show.
You may remember that last week’s episode of RelationShep ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. Contestant Bella had received word from her employer in New York that she was needed back in the office. In case you were wondering, most employers offer reality show contestants slightly more vacation time than new parents. And by that, I mean less than a week. I suspect that you would be given more time to make an impression on a national TV audience than you would to imprint on your newborn. But that’s what working mothers get for “trying to have it all.”
Anyway, Bella decides to break the news of her impending departure to Shep while everyone is at a big, fancy party for JD’s wife. At this point, I would assume that Bella’s business specializes in ruining parties, but then that wouldn’t explain why she’d need to leave because she’s already in the perfect place for that.
While Shep and Bella endure this difficult talk, a noticeably sauced Landon shambles over with two plates of cake. Like a speeding car on an icy road, Landon careens into a joke, telling Shep that he wants to “have his cake and eat it too” before handing him a slice.
This is like the time I stormed into a courtroom with a bag full of fruit, pointed at the defendant, and said, “It’s pie time you let this innocent mango. We will file a peel after a peel if we have to, but I refuse to berry another client in the penal system.”
And with that, OJ Simpson was exonerated.
Back at the party, Shep immediately becomes the saddest person to have ever just been handed a piece of cake, while Landon reflects on her cunning witticism. She is truly the Dorothy Parker of our times, but with more dessert-based prop comedy.
Just so you know, I’m watching this week’s episode on my phone due to technical difficulties. You know how people say you have to see a film in theaters to truly appreciate the scope of what you’re watching. Think a John Ford movie or There Will Be Blood. Well, RelationShep is best enjoyed on a smartphone or from the small monitor strapped on the back of the headrest of the car in front of you. Or just let a drunk manchild describe it to you the following day. Let’s not mess with success.
It’s a bit unfortunate that Shep and Bella seem unwilling to pursue a long-distance relationship. You can learn a lot about yourself this way. Like the fact that you don’t own any curtains or what could be charitably described as a “real bed.” Yes, if you dry your dishes with an old Looney Tunes sweatshirt, then a long-distance relationship is the thing for you.
With Bella on the outs, only three women remain on the show: Peyton, Priscila, and Kylie. Mind you that Shep has not actually removed any potential love interests. They’ve simply just dropped off like characters in the Clue movie or members of the current presidential cabinet.
Reeling from the news about Bella, Shep and Cameran meet up the next day at a (Checks notes. Shakes head. Waits until 1:31 a.m. for the episode replay.) lawn equipment store. Really?
Surrounded by machines used to mow football fields, Cameran hopes that Shep’s commitment to a serious lawn-maintenance regimen will translate to a firm romantic relationship. OK. That’s fine.
The following morning, the three remaining ladies are calling dibs on Bella’s room as she packs to leave. They stand by with the same stifled eagerness of two parents sending their only child off to college so that they can have loud sex for the first time in 18 years. The remaining ladies all pretend to be very sad as they rush to shove all of Bella’s shit into the back of an SUV idling in the driveway.
Shep arrives as they all “mourn” the loss of Bella. He informs the women that they will be moving into their own individual apartments downtown. I fear for the team that has to go in behind them to disinfect the beach house. As the empty bottle of Pedialyte on the kitchen counter can attest, things have been real in the beach house.
Of course, I don’t pass these judgments lightly. I used to be a janitor in medical buildings in Upstate New York. If you’ve never dealt with a millipede infestation in the basement of a roadside doctor’s office at 2 a.m., then you haven’t cried real adult tears.
As Shep spends some time with Peyton, Priscila questions why Shep is spending time with another women, apparently having missed the entire premise of the show she’s on.
In a perfect world, the show would continue with Shep secretly dating all three women from their individual apartments. This would feature numerous scenes of Shep scuttling women into waiting cars after seeing a member of his duplicitous love quartet crossing the street in his direction.
With moving day upon us, Peyton dips out without saying goodbye to anyone. Priscila later enters her new apartment with all the enthusiasm of someone who arrived back home to realize they forgot to buy a plunger.
Kylie on the other hand walks into her new apartment like a soldier returned from war. She hugs all the pillows and facetimes her mom to say how in love she is. Kylie first describes the apartment as “so Charleston,” which means the actual owner only spends two weeks there a year and no one has anywhere to park.
Moving on, Shep and Priscila go to a clothing store for a fun shopping spree. Shep says he is always looking to women for recommendations on what to wear and his mom shopped for him until he was 35.
While it would be easy to lob criticism at this, I have 150 band T-shirts that I can’t wear to job interviews, so who am I to talk. I’ve essentially prepared a wardrobe that would make me the coolest guy at the local Blockbuster, but they’re all gone now.
Moving on to dinner, Priscila gives the side eye to the hostess who appears to know Shep. Shep says he doesn’t recall knowing this young woman, and Priscila decides to disengage as the wine arrives at their table.
They drink and Priscila claims that their “silly wine talk” has great depths. Isn’t that always what you think during “silly wine talk”? I came of age during a time when both ecstasy and The Matrix shared a wild popularity, and I can confirm that plenty of weighty conversations have been oversold as profound.
As things wind down with Priscila and they drunkenly kiss, Shep says he would usually end a date like this by going back to his place for some “Netflix and chill.” But since Shep says that the women on the show have been behaving rather chaste, he may have to Netflix and chill by himself. There has to be a better term for this when you are all alone. Like “Hulu and unglue” or the “Youtube boogaloo.”
The next day Shep takes Peyton to a baseball game. Producer Sarah jokes that maybe he’ll make it to second base. Shep responds that he hopes to slide into third, which I think means fisting? Also known as a Pete Rose.
After sitting through a few innings, Shep asks some nearby strangers to keep and eye on their boiled peanuts while he and Peyton go check out the sun setting across the marsh. Abandoning my peanuts to strangers is exactly how I got dosed at Jimmy Carter’s inauguration. Of course, everyone there was drunk on Billy Beer, so who’s to say what really happened.
The morning after, Shep calls up Kylie and invites her to go on a boat excursion. As they stride to the ship, Kylie says that she has an aversion to water, like the aliens in Signs.
Kylie soon admits that she hasn’t been on a boat in the ocean before, and it seems like she’s not 100 percent sure if she can swim. Kylie then asks Shep to explain sailboats to her, and the chances that Kylie is from another dimension increase.
After a lengthy explainer about how sailboats work, Kylie deems them to be impractical. Mind you, this is coming from a woman who specializes in riding horses. Unless Shep invites her on a hydrogen-filled dirigible, Kylie doesn’t have much room to criticize outdated modes of transportation.
After much coaching, Kylie finally musters the courage to leap into the ocean and manages not to dissolve. After a brief chat with Producer Sarah, Shep decides that he and Kylie are too different. In saying that Kylie is too young and innocent, Shep compares himself to a pirate, meaning that he is a murderous thief with a vitamin C deficiency.
Scurvy aside, Kylie is gone. May she stop wasting her time with cowboys and find herself a cowman. A man of cows. Udderly fit to treat her right.
See you all next week for the season finale of RelationShep. Or at least I think that’s what I think is happening.