Only Steve could make the promise of mental health sound terrifying!
This Tough Love Couples begins with a second helping of Steve’s anger toward Dustin. “I’m going to make you whole,” Steve tells both Dustin and his newly estranged Courtney. But it really sounds like a threat for all the couples.
Up in their room, Dustin begins to cry, leaving Courtney comforting him. Steve made the right decision, didn’t he? Sympathy crying after getting caught cheating is Tool Academy-level stuff.
For their first activity, Steve brings the couples in front of a studio audience to play this:
It’s sort of like The Newlywed Game, but no one is married and there are no mentions of “making whoopie.”
Steve plays host, and you can see he’s got the game show host look down. Hint: it’s all in the mic.
Most of the couples agree on the same boundaries, except for Christina and Mario. But at least Mario’s being honest. Ryan was, according to Steve, only putting in the answers that Axelle wanted to hear. It’s a tough decision for Ryan: please Axelle and piss off Steve, or do things the other way around. But he’s only putting nipple clamps on one of them, so Ryan makes the right decision.
Mario and Christina have completely different answers for a ton questions:
And Mario begins to feel bad as the audience starts to laugh or boo at them. I say, if you think it’s OK to fight in public, then why do you care what the public thinks of your answers anyway? To paraphrase many people who have fought with audiences on reality TV: f*** them, they don’t know you.
Afterwards Mario and Christina come together to write down their boundaries. They debate the differences between flirting and “being social.” An important distinction to Mario, basically the same thing to Christina.
The following night the men and women get to go out separately. “Relax, have fun,” Steve says. Because nights like this never cause problems later, ever, right?
Mario is excited for this night because he and the rest of the guys can be Dustin’s wingmen, which means they get to talk to girls for him. How selfless of Mario, sacrificing his time and energy to let Dustin flirt by proxy. Christina says she’s worried that Mario doesn’t know how to “just be social,” and I am worried she is right.
Courtney cuts loose fast during the ladies’ night out, as if…this isn’t really the first time she’s cut loose in eight years.
On the guys side, this really seems like a set up. Single women are throwing themselves at the guys everywhere they turn. Part of me thinks Steve is setting them up to fail because a bigger part of me thinks Steve is just that sadistic.
Meanwhile the ladies look like they’re throwing Courtney a bachelorette party. Which, in a way, they are.
Turns out I’m not the only one who thinks this looks like a bachelorette party:
But the guys are on their best behavior, telling girls they have girlfriends right away, asking them to leave them alone. Mario buys a girl a shot on the condition that she’ll leave him alone and stay on the other side of the room. Usually people will do this if you simply ask them, but whatever. Maybe he needs to work on his communication skills, but it was the right message.
Apparently stripper poles are like bicycles. You never forget:
She borrows pants so she can keep her pole dance PG, yet, borrowing another guy’s pants seems to make it even dirtier, doesn’t it?
And then, on the way home, something oddly typical of ladies’ nights out happens. Courtney’s happy one sec, and crying into her hands the next.
But they’re happy tears!
Back at the house, Christina gets angry at Mario for taking a shot with a girl, even though it was to make her go away. She overreacts, but come on, who gets Mario’s logic here?
At group Dustin gets to see footage from Courtney’s night out and gets upset. “I want to know I’m in good hands here, Steve,” he says. So Steve proves this to Dustin by inviting him to “get the f*** out.”
But Mario and Christina are back in the hot seat because of their fighting and their disagreement over boundaries. Both are essentially the same thing. But Steve will yell at them for each thing in turn.
Even with the footage, Christina is upset. She has an overactive imagination, Mario explains. For example, Mario says if he’s sitting there eating a sandwich and he tells her, she imagines it’s a three foot hoagie. Just off the top of his head this is the example? I feel like this is a symptom of long-standing hoagie-related issues between the two of them.
They make up, but obviously all the issues aren’t solved. I look forward to a food portion-focused episode of Tough Love Couples in the future.