Chris pulls an I'd-like-to- bring-the-house- down-a-little-now routine with his next question, transitioning into a much darker place: "I know you've taken a lot of grief publicly," to which Russ offers a plaintive "More than you know." And I feel bad for him for exactly one second, arguing with some small part of me that Russ's only crime was appearing on television and that he's been made into a national pariah and that's not right. I have a friend whose insecure behavior with women reminds me a lot of Russ's treatment of Trista (and his subsequently revisionist ways), and at worst he's misguided but he's certainly not evil. But seriously? Screw it. It's a reality television show. I don't have time for complex emotional layering. So, for the purposes of this season, Russ sucks, okay? Chris continues: "One national talk-show host called you a stalker and said Trista should get a restraining order against you." Yeah, that's some hard-hitting investigative prowess, Joy Behar. Why am I so convinced that it was she who said that? Anyone got a line on that? ["Caroline Rhea would be my guess, except I don't think being on a show that airs at 3:20 AM in fourteen markets across the country qualifies one as 'a national talk-show host.'" -- Wing Chun] Russ rationalizes that these attacks are not attacks on Russ, but rather judgments on "the character that I am on the show." Chris is at the ready: "But wait. You played yourself on the show." And the crowd? Goes wild. But we knew what Russ meant. Though I think I'd give a lot more credence to the whole "I was edited to be the villain" defense if the rest of the guys -- who lived with him even when the cameras went elsewhere -- didn't seem to think he totally sucks. Because they all kind of seem to think that. Russ cops to having had feelings for Trista, though again he words it badly: "I stayed around long enough to experience more than what some of these guys did." Boo! Hiss! Next season, they should just have the bad guy played by a puppet wearing a handlebar moustache who they can throw rotten fruit at. And his name should be named Arc E. Type. We've seen this a million times. It's not 1999 anymore.
Any questions from the audience for Russ? Anyone? Oh, here's one now. A blonde girl in a black tank top who thinks maybe she can be famous too because she's been on TV once steps up to a microphone and asks, "What happened to you on the fantasy date?" Russ cuts right to it: "Romantically, I wasn't into it anymore." Trista appears again in the bottom corner of the screen, shaking her head in disagreement. Look, sister. If your puss is going to occupy a quarter of my television's surface area, could you at least make yourself useful down there and provide the sign language translation? Isn't that what people in your box usually do? Actually, come to think of it, the presence of the box does serve to obscure a significant portion of Chris's weird and distracting khakis, so I'm done complaining. Russ tells us, "I just wasn't into it anymore." Yeah. I think I could force myself out of love with someone too if they told me, "I wouldn't touch you if a card in an envelope in my purse said I could...also if you were the last man on earth." Poor Russ. The Joy Behar Shitlist is the social kiss of death.