Mallory is also headed to the airport at exactly the same time! Wow! Mallory voice-overs that her parents are probably upset that she's giving up her scholarship. You think? Mallory adds that she wants this experience to be about learning and growing. Judging from past seasons, I think she might learn to be a spoiled brat and grow an alcohol addiction. Mallory and Chris hug their parents goodbye at the airport. Chris's dad makes like that guy from Hill Street Blues and tells Chris, "Just be careful out there." Hee! Paris is "out there." Mallory says that her mom is having trouble letting go of her little girl. Mallory's mom says she'll come to see her daughter in Paris and "pray that everything goes according to God's plan for her." Clearly she didn't get the memo that God is in the tub. Bruce Springsteen sings that it's all right, and I found the use of that song a little offensive since the Boss wrote it as a post-September 11th anthem and they are using it to score some kids flying off to be on a reality show. Whatever, music editors. At least they didn't put in some stupid song about flying on a plane to Paris to meet your roommates. Although if such a song existed, they probably would have used it. For some reason, they show the Statue of Liberty even though Mallory flew out of Chicago and Chris flew out of Boston. Huh? Mallory interviews that she's nervous, but also excited.
The credits feature a voice repeating the traditional "seven strangers" lines in French. The best part is that at the end, Chris whispers, "And start getting real." Why did he whisper? I don't know.
And it's our first Eiffel Tower shot of the season. That didn't take long. We see other French landmarks as French pop music plays in the background. A guy walks along a bridge and some people on a boat cheer to him. Or to the cameras. Bridge-walking guy's name is Ace, and he's twenty-three, and from Statesborough, Georgia. Or it might be Statesboro. I looked it up, and both places exist in Georgia, which seems like it might get confusing. In case you didn't get that Ace is a hick by his name, his hometown, or the fact that he's chomping on some gum while wearing a backwards baseball cap in 2003, the editors helpfully pipe in some banjo music as he walks along. Ace tells us that he knows everyone in his town, and feels like a big fish in a small pond. Hey, no one asked about the size of your fish there, buddy. Keep it in your pants.