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Summer House Recap: Certified Loverboys

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Photo: Bravo

One thing that has struck me about Carl and Lindsay’s romance, from best friends to being engaged, is the emphasis from them both that their yearslong best-friendship has set them up for success. They spent the past summer arguing with their friends over why their relationship is not just a good idea but the most natural progression of their friendship. In last week’s episode, we saw Lindsay repeat in a confessional what so many women say about their partners — “He’s my best friend” — with so much hope she was willing it to stay true.

Only when you watch Carl and Lindsay have any conversation that is remotely serious do you have to wonder what exactly their friendship was based on. Surely, years of being best friends must have helped them understand the basic truths of their communication styles, but that would be asking too much of these adults in their late 30s.

In continuation of the conversation Carl began having with Lindsay during their dinner last week, Carl finally explains the extent of his parents’ disapproval. After a ton of buildup with Lindsay, he tells her how Lou said he would not marry them as their problems currently stand. Expecting a blowup from Lindsay, she hits him with annoyance. She already cleared the air with his mother at her bridal shower — can they move on? Carl, for some reason, becomes annoyed with Lindsay, which is confusing to me. He built up this conversation in such a way and didn’t get the blowout he feared — perhaps he’s embarrassed because it wasn’t that big of a deal? It’s hard not to feel as though Carl is banking on how disliked Lindsay is for her frequent blowups and using that to justify ending their best-friends-to-lovers rom-com-plot relationship.

By the time their non-conversation ends, dinner is over and Lindsay recounts the drama to Ciara, Paige, and Amanda. Listen, I’ve spent many seasons being a Lindsay hater, and nothing has been more instrumental in humanizing her in my eyes than watching her open up to these girlies who were once her enemies. Seeing her vulnerability and (to me, undeserved) understanding of why Carl took so long to tell her the extent of his parents’ concern while also making it seem like a big deal shows a more generous side of Lindsay that I have been enjoying all season.

Then it’s time for their group activity: a tarot-card reading Gabby has lined up. Often when I watch this show, as someone who is in their early 30s, I cannot believe the level of group activities these people can tolerate. Yes, it’s so that we don’t just see Paige and Amanda in bed all day or on their phones. Still, it provided a moment of tenderness for Jesse Solomon, who is facing yet another (secret to the group) cancer scare and was told by the tarot-card reader he needed to open up more about his pain. Everyone is impressed by this tarot-card reader’s accuracy. (Somehow not a single person brings up that there is a high chance she could have watched even just one episode of this show and given the correct insight to all of them.)

Carl and Kyle enjoy a cigar by the pool alone as the night winds down. Carl is shattered by the conversation with his parents because he knows it is true. He doesn’t explicitly say that, of course. But the way he says “I’m so fucked” to Kyle carries the same level of sadness as the meme of Tim Robinson going, “I don’t even want to be here anymore,” in I Think You Should Leave. After some prodding from Kyle, we finally get a moment of true honesty from Carl, who admits things are pretty bad.

The next morning, the gang wakes up and some go off for their workouts and coffee before lounging by the pool. Carl is the last to arrive home that morning; Kyle tells the rest he stayed back at Barry’s Bootcamp to talk to a dude who’s big in the nonalcoholic-drink space. Okay, so a guy who is into normal drinks? Got it. As someone who does not drink, I do not understand the obsession with nonalcoholic drinks becoming a “space.” Are you telling me I should be spending the same amount of money as an alcoholic beverage on a nonalcoholic one because it tastes kind of like an alcoholic drink? This just doesn’t seem like a viable business model. Of course, Carl’s conversation will come back later, but for the moment, the rest of the group hangs around by the pool.

Now, to Ciara and West. I love West as much as the next girl — he is exactly the type of guy I’d gossip with at work like I would with a woman — but I am scared he will break Ciara’s heart. She wants a real boyfriend, but he does not seem so equipped for that. And while joking around with Jesse and the girlies by the pool, she jokingly calls West her boyfriend. Yes, she’s basically joking, but it’s awkward because all West wants is to consummate their flirtation before he puts a label on it. Poor Ciara has spent the entire summer protecting herself from potential heartbreak only to do THAT?

In the kitchen, Lindsay and Carl have one of their most frustrating arguments yet. Lindsay asks how his conversation with the guy who is cornering the nonalcoholic-drink sector went. Carl tells her it was great but he’s not sure if he would make a good fit there, which is when he tells Lindsay that, having thought about it, he believes going back to Loverboy to help create a nonalcoholic drink is where he should be.

Okay, first of all — what is a nonalcoholic Loverboy exactly? A sparkling tea or water? What a deeply stupid idea, especially considering how working at Loverboy nearly cost him his friendship with Kyle. I have watched all season as Carl presents his idiotic business ideas to Lindsay and expects her to jump for joy. First, it was a sober sports bar (stupid), but now it’s working for Loverboy again? A woman can only take so much.

The argument slowly heats up as Lindsay’s nipple is blurred under her knit-bikini cover-up. She is as patient as possible, asking the very normal question of exactly what working for Loverboy again entails. He cannot answer her, which is when she tells him that maybe it has more to do with his comfort than actual ambition. Once again, Lindsay is correct and is rewarded with Carl getting quietly upset. Again, these are just reactions you should be used to from someone you have known for many years. And while I think Carl is annoying here, I don’t think his needs are exactly wrong. He is struggling with where he wants his life to go and just wants to feel supported, but Lindsay does not have time for his waffling. At this point, every conversation they have is so loaded with deeper resentment they’re almost not conversing at all.

Lindsay asks what she can do to support him, and Carl says he wants her support and positivity. The implication is that she is not supportive and positive, to which Lindsay responds that she’s just asking him questions. Carl just wants Lindsay to be excited about anything he says, and Lindsay understands that that’s not really how life works. Predictably, the entire conversation escalates into a full-blown fight — but Lindsay has a point. Carl’s departure from Loverboy took a significant toll on him, and it has been hard for him to understand which type of stable employment he wants. If I were marrying Carl, I’d also be concerned. You HATED working there; it almost ruined your life. And now you just want to go back?

Again, I understand Carl needs a softer approach to feel safe, but accusing Lindsay of always playing devil’s advocate is just not nice! She’s asking her fiancé questions, and he cannot handle them. It’s not really Lindsay’s fault that he doesn’t know what his life will be, even if that is the easiest person to blame. Lindsay then runs off crying.

Out by the pool, the boys hang with one another on one side while the girls hang on the other. Carl and Lindsay join their respective gendered group and debrief on their argument. It’s so weird; they are both talking about the same thing in close proximity as though the other doesn’t know they are doing it. Of course, the women side with Lindsay’s version of events, and the guys side with Carl’s. Once again, this show proves that men are from Mars and women are from Venus.

The Saturday group activity is drinking on a boat and yet another opportunity to see Kyle’s bare ass and have him cover his dick with something small. I am so tired of seeing Kyle’s ass. But most important, we can rest easy about West’s intentions with Ciara. As previews made it seem, the answer to Paige asking him about texting other girls would be potentially disappointing. He is honest in his response: He’s not at the point where they are exclusive enough for him to shut down any flirty contact. But is he actively pursuing other women while he pursues Ciara? No. I understand completely. However, Ciara is the most beautiful and sweet woman in the world — why would he have any need to even think about other girls?

And if you thought this episode was going to be just a Carl-and-Lindsay-fighting episode, you were sorely mistaken. As the sun sets on the boat, Amanda brings up something the tarot-card reader said to her the other night. She uses it as an opportunity to bring up what Ciara asked her the other week: “If you take away Kyle and Loverboy, who is Amanda?”

It’s a good question to ask yourself in a marriage, especially before having children. Amanda floats that she has been very supportive of Kyle’s dream and that while she wants to stay at Loverboy and support Kyle, she feels like she wants to pursue her own projects for herself. Like many women with larger-than-life partners, she feels as if she is defined by Kyle. Being the baby he is, he predictably does not take this well. It is crazy because Amanda goes through so many lengths to assure him she still wants to work alongside him for Loverboy but just needs space to know herself, too. She goes on to explain she left her job and her dreams and goals to help him achieve his. Kyle’s response? “Well, guess what? I didn’t achieve them. I still need a little more help.” Dude, come ON!

His confessional then reveals that Loverboy has been losing quite a lot of money and is not yet profitable. I’m sorry, but hold up — this is the company Carl’s fighting to work with again? And he’s getting mad at Lindsay for questioning it? Kyle, it is not Amanda’s problem that Loverboy is not making money; you cannot trap her! Once again, the men on this show do not deserve these women.

The conversation does not go anywhere, and the boat night ends. In a moment of reprieve from the toxicity of the older dudes on this show, Jesse and West have a truly sweet moment in the production vehicle as the rest of the gang goes into the house. Jesse breaks down to West, sobbing about how scared he is at the potential of his cancer coming back. West comforts him off-camera, and you know what? These guys are actually really lovely!

The sweetness doesn’t last long. In the kitchen while everyone’s hanging out, Kyle does the thing where he quietly apologizes to Amanda, hoping she will forget about it. No way that’s happening tonight, buddy! Amanda is not having it, telling him tonight’s not the night. She relents and listens as Kyle goes, “I’m sorry for being concerned …” But before he can finish his sentence, Amanda finishes it for him, saying, “For yourself?”

Kyle walks away quietly, saying, “Fuck you.” Then the old Kyle of seasons past comes back as he storms out of the house calling her a “fucking bitch.” People love to believe Kyle is a changed man since getting married, but he’s not. He is pushing 40 and calling his wife a fucking bitch and throwing shit around the backyard, where Carl and Danielle are sitting. He then goes all the way off, saying, “I am done trying to pretend it is okay for me to babysit my fucking wife.” Danielle and Carl try to calm him down to no avail. Who exactly is babysitting whom, Kyle?

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Sarah Hagi , 2024-05-10 20:03:57

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