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East Lyme — Sarah Rubelmann and Samantha Jann had just two minutes on Saturday to fill a Tri-Town Foods shopping cart with 12 items that would entice an eligible bachelor to pick one of them for a date.
The bachelor who was the subject of Ryan Kristafer's pilot taping of "Check It Out — the game show where you find love in a grocery store!" was Paul Falzone, 28, of North Haven. He was to pick the cart that most appealed to him before meeting the woman who filled it.
Kristafer, also known as The LIVE Game Guy, has aspirations to become the next Bob Barker and is well on his way.
He's currently the master of ceremonies for many of Mohegan Sun's live events and is also producer and host of his new web-based TV show. Saturday's episode of "Check It Out" will air later this week on www.LIVEGameGuy.com, and Kristafer said finding love in a grocery store is just the beginning.
"I have some ideas for other public places, like a gym," he said.
Kristafer found the three contestants for the pilot taping via social media and word-of-mouth advertising. He plans to tape subsequent episodes at other grocery stores or gyms throughout the state.
Falzone is a stage actor and musician who took to his keyboard during the taping of the show to sing his version of Lionel Richie's "Easy" right next to the carrots and cabbage.
"I play all kinds of music, jazz, rock, but I'm attempting to write my own music after years of procrastinating," he said. "I have very little knowledge of what's going to happen to me today, but I'm willing to go with it and have fun, which is how a date should be."
He said there was no better place to have the first taping of the show in a grocery store, where food is "more of a window to the soul than you would think."
Falzone already had an idea of the type of food he wanted to see in their carts.
"She has to like avocado. It's so refreshing, you could pretty much have avocado in any social situation, so that could tip off the type of person she is. That, and it's healthy," he said. "But I'm not a fan of sauerkraut at all. That's pretty much the only thing I don't like."
When the two women arrived at the store, Falzone was ushered away to wait until the shopping was done.
Samantha Jann, 23, of Unionville is a professional dancer and is looking for someone who is artistic and has a sense of humor. She said her biggest turn-off is a person who is closed-minded and isn't honest and upfront.
"My normal shopping cart is full of Goldfish, fruits and veggies and apple juice," she told Kristafer. "I'm kind of like a preschooler."
Jann filled her cart with chocolate ice cream, Goldfish, mozzarella cheese sticks, chocolate chip cookie dough, strawberries, a mango and salt-and-vinegar potato chips.
"It's more of a snack, dessert menu we're seeing here," Falzone said, surveying the cart's contents. "But it seems like random choices, I don't know what the Goldfish were all about."
Sarah Rubelmann, 26, of Southington is a special education teacher and said she is looking for someone who is intelligent, funny and sincere. She described herself as a "bit of a beer snob" and said she wouldn't want to be with anyone who isn't spontaneous.
She filled her cart with lettuce, ground hamburger, a red onion, an avocado, garlic, flowers, dried fruit, brownie mix, chocolate chips, flour and beer.
"I don't know what dish she was trying to go for, but there was chocolate, flowers and beer, which makes it seem like she had a whole date concept thought out, which was nice," Falzone said.
After a bit of deliberation — even though the avocado and beer sealed the deal — he picked Rubelmann's cart.
After finishing at Tri-Town, Rubelmann and Falzone left East Lyme and headed to Lucky Lou's Bar & Grill in Wethersfield for lunch. Although the two women didn't get to keep the food they filled their carts with, Jann received a $50 gift card to Tri-Town and stayed to do some shopping.
At Lucky Lou's, a camera was set up to record Rubelmann and Falzone's first date, and they were left alone to get to know each other. Some of the footage from their lunch date will make the final taping of the show, Kristafer said.
"But whatever happens after that is up to them," he said.
Shortly after Falzone picked Rubelmann's cart, they were separated and each asked to film their reactions to meeting one another.
"I'm very happy. ... I think Sarah is very well put together and she loves beer, so she seems like someone who's up for having a good time and a bit of fun," Falzone said of Rubelmann.
"I had fun, this isn't something I'd normally do, so I'm glad I did it," Rubelmann said. "He's showered and doesn't look like a serial killer."