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Outback Jack - JD Roberto's Outback Diary - Episode Seven
Each week, host JD Roberto gives us the inside scoop on the production of Outback Jack. Get an exclusive, behind-the-scenes peek at this hilarious new reality TV show!

If you've missed an episode, and don't know what JD's talking about, be sure to check out the videos and episode guide from this week.

Episode Seven, August 3, 2004

I wish I could tell you it was really like riding off into the sunset, but with a teary Meri-De walking off in the other direction, a little bit of gloom hung over the morning for everyone.

I think the hardest thing for Meri-De was that she never expected to fall for Jack. Here she was, flying to Australia to challenge these city girls and put them to the test. That's what was really on the minds of the Adventure Girls, not meeting Mr. Right, but bringing their competitive spirit to the Outback and showing the city girls a thing or two. So, I suspect, when Meri-De finds herself not only picked to stay, but spending some serious quality time with Jack, she's really taken aback. Throw in a few romantic dates and the intensity of the adventure and cameras and it's not hard to see how an emotional whirlwind can get whipped up in a hurry. Then, unexpectedly, it all comes to a screeching halt. You could see her simultaneously crying and saying to herself, 'Why the hell am I crying?'

The three remaining ladies are a little bewildered as well. Gone are the days of skydiving and obstacles courses, now it's all about getting time with Jack and making the most of it.

And now there's the Mom factor. I can't honestly say what it's like for a woman to meet a guys mother, but I have to imagine it's something akin to the stomach churning apprehension a guy feels when he meets his girlfriend's father for the first time (and to my father-in-law, yes, I am talking about you, Pop). And, as always, you can throw in the added anxiety of having this quaint first meeting with two other women sitting next to you, both vying for the same approval you so badly want.

That's another tricky aspect of this odd encounter. Sure, the girls want to make a good impression and be liked, but they also want to be themselves and try to maintain their own identity. Come to think of it, the whole Mom thing is a microcosm of the struggle all the girls have faced throughout their adventure.

How do you stand out without coming off as aggressive? How do you take it easy without looking distant and reserved? How do you not lose yourself in the madness of the TV cameras and the travel and the competition? The most important thing these ladies can do right now is to simply be who they really are. It's also, in many ways, the hardest.

Lori (Jack's Mom) is this incredibly fun, straight-shooting woman. The girls are falling all over themselves to say and do the right thing. At one point she asks about pre-marital sex and it's just insanely fun to watch them squirm and then try to fabricate an answer. And the best part is, Lori knows exactly what they're doing. The question is about seeing how honest they're each willing to be. If it was a test, they all failed. (For the record, I think I remember Lori saying she was all for pre-martial sex...I love the smell of irony in the morning!)

It's all about the dates, all about the alone time. Until now, Natalie hasn't been particularly great at expressing herself to Jack and that leaves him wondering just how invested she really is. I think their date -- that one-on-one time -- really helped. On the other side of the coin, Maria maybe should have played it a tad bit more reserved. It's not that she threw herself at Jack, not by a long shot. But what Jack needs right now, from all three of them, is a different kind of quality time. Not the horizontal mambo, but a genuine chance to slow things down long enough to actually see these women, one at a time, out of the context of a TV show; to see them for who they are and who they could be to him in the long term.

That, I think, is what has him so perplexed about Marissa. There's an undeniable attraction and connection, but there's also this lingering doubt...this nagging feeling that something isn't one-hundred percent right. Still, he very much wants to get past that feeling and there's no doubt she's going to do everything she can to help him.

Maria's departure is a pretty hard scene all around. The balloon has to be airborne by 6am to make the trip to the Cape, which makes the early morning goodbyes quicker than anyone would like. She's crushed and Jack climbs into that balloon carrying three backpacks and about a thousand pounds of guilt.

They're up and sailing away, and I have a charter flight to catch. We're heading for the beach and the end of this long, incredibly fun, incredibly exhausting journey. Funny thing is, even this close to the finish none of us -- Jack included -- has any guess how it will end.
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