Friday, July 17, 2009

The Sports Guy weighs in

Bill Simmons, aka The Sports Guy, mentioned The Bachelorette in his latest mailbag:

Q: My girlfriend has been making me watch "The Bachelorette" and I'm not even ashamed. Isn't it easily as good as any other Monday night comedy? Plus, there's Jillian and the unending internal debate in my head as to whether she's hot or not. Literally every shot of her evokes a different reaction from me. I'm amazed at how intriguing the show is.
-- Mike B. Brighton, Mass.

[+] EnlargeJillian Harris
Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesHere's Bill's scouting report on "Bachelorette" Jillian Harris: A definite tweener.

SG: And you left out Wes, the two-timing country singer who wasn't there for the right reasons, as well as the appropriately named Ed, who couldn't rise to the occasion with Jillian in a sleepover date and now is headed for a double-bathtub ad with her for Cialis. But I had to follow up on your Jillian comment. Never, not ever, not in the history of mankind, has a TV or movie star vacillated back and forth between "not attractive" to "super attractive" this frequently. If you charted it, it would be like an EKG exam gone haywire. She's cute. She's not cute. She's hot. She's smoking! Yikes, I wish her face didn't just do that. She's cute. She's not cute. She's super cute. A genius selection by the show's producer. No wonder Ed couldn't come through on the sleepover date; even his organs were confused by Jillian's looks.

For the record, Mrs. Sports Guy, aka The Sports Gal, blogged about The Bachelor for two seasons. It was hilarious. Wish she'd make a comeback.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Episode nine: Fantasy Island

And then there were three, soon to be two. With Wes’s ride off into the sunset, we were left last week with three decent men vying for Jillian’s heart. We’ll see more of wicked Wes next week, but the producers made sure we didn’t forget him by playing his infamous limo speech twice tonight, even after the cowboy crooner publicly called out the show’s editing techniques. I happen to agree with him that the clip where he says he was the first bachelor to make the final four with a girlfriend was an example of dishonest editing, but I still don’t like him. And I’m glad he’s gone. So let’s forget about him this week. We’ll deal with him again next week.

This episode starts off very, very promising. After witnessing Kiptyn’s moose knuckle last week, we see a hot Jillian and her pet camel’s toes walking down the beach in an itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie yellow and white bikini. That’s as close to a vagina as you’ll see on American network television. They’re in Hawaii so there will be lots of opportunity for more.

The first date is with Kiptyn, who actually exhibits a bit of personality this week. Jillian chose an adventure date because with adventure comes trust. She wants to make sure that when things get tough or there are challenges that Kiptyn will be there for her. So they went on a ropes course. And Kip rose to the challenge, playing the gallant hero to the damsel in distress.

The final event of the course was called The Leap of Faith. The symbolism was laid on thick tonight. Each had to climb an 18-foot pole. Jillian called it a totem pole, but I didn’t see any carvings. They then had to stand on top of it, without the aid of any hand supports. Jill was terrified, but Kiptyn talked her through it. Good on both of them because there’s no way I could stand on top of that thing if they were three feet off the ground, let alone swinging way above ground. The next step was to leap off and grab a bar, set way too far away for the petite Jillian to have a hope in hell. Jill made Kiptyn promise she’d get a kiss at the bottom. She went for it, the trouper, falling to her death. It was a short episode.

We’ll talk again next week.

No wait. Don’t go. She had a rope attached to her and just dangled for a few moments. Kiptyn, though, made it to the bar.

All along the way, there was lots of squealing and laughing from our heroine. She laughed so hard from the pit of her stomach that she knew she was falling in love. I’ll admit that Kiptyn showed a bit of humour throughout the whole thing, but I submit the laughs were more adrenaline-based than anything. i.e. false.

What worries her about Kiptyn is that he’s always been the dumper, not the dumpee, and Jillian just doesn’t want to get her heart broken... again. She opens up that she tries to be too strong sometimes when she’s not all that strong. There was no need for her to say that because she said the exact same thing to Jason last season. She could have just referred Kiptyn to that particular episode.

Kip felt that the trip to Spain was the turning point for him. He now realizes that she’s the kind of woman he could spend a lifetime with. That doesn’t mean it’s her; just someone like her.

She tried to get him to open up by admitting his flaws, but he skirted the issue by joking about flamenco dancing. But she persists, so he gives his best job interview answer by saying he’s impatient and needs to deal better with bumps in the road. She tells him she trusts him the most of anybody that’s left but still feels she might get hurt with him.

The fantasy suite card arrives again. Two days after Spain, Jill is now ready to get it on with each of the bachelors. After all, she says, “we need this time." Looks like Aunt Flo went home.

In voice-over mode she tells us she can’t articulate her feelings for the real Kiptyn. She says she’s falling in love with that guy. We see them make out on the bed. Fully clothed. But then Kiptyn closes the door. Somewhere, the Rocky Mountaineer is heading through a tunnel.

Next up is Reid’s date. His goal, as put forth by Jillian, is to think about how he feels and communicate that with her. You mean the same way you didn’t with Kiptyn, when you said you can’t articulate your feelings? Come on, Jill-Bill. Consistency!

Reid is the best one there for her but she just can’t see it. She lights up around him like no others. It’s obvious to me what his feelings are, but maybe that’s because we speak the same non-verbal inner language. Reid has no problem telling the camera when Jill isn’t around, though. He says she’s everything he could imagine in a wife.

Running out of ideas, the producers send along a helicopter for the date. It may be old hat to regular viewers, but it’s the first helicopter ride for Reid. He says it’s one of the best experiences he’s had (the first of two times he’ll say such a thing tonight). “It was like being in heaven,” he said. And then the copter crashed and they all died and went to heaven.

I’ll talk to you next week.

No wait. It didn’t crash. They lived happily ever after. Or at least almost did. Turns out the pilot was also an ordained minister. When Jill finds out, she says, “Let’s get this shit done!” But Reid, bless his heart, isn’t a spur-of-the-moment type guy. It’s not how he rolls.

Instead they have a picnic and they talk about important matters. She asks what he’s afraid of. He says it’s the time frame. Did he just use pig-latin? It sounded like he said “it’s all very ast-fray.” And Jill didn’t even flinch. She must be bilingual, too.

He admits he’s not the best at voicing his emotion. He’s like a four-year-old that way, he says. And they make out. She wanted to give him lots of time to think about his emotions, but is worried time may run out.

He gets his first chance at expressing his emotions when they meet for the evening portion of the date. Jillian greets him and says, “Ready for a nice romantic dinner on the beach?” To which Reid says, “I’m starving!” Okay, he needs to work on that.

Yes, he has a hard time expressing his emotions, but I’d say he shows them just fine. We know how he feels so why doesn’t she?

She pushes him harder on their relationship. Is he ready to propose at the end of this? He says maybe. In print, that sounds cold, but he said it with a big positive grin and a nod of the head. You gotta be able to read between the lines, Jilly-Bean. At least she has the good sense to say that even though she’s not getting the answers she needs, she can see it in his eyes.

The fantasy suite card comes. He doesn’t open himself up again and say he’d like to go because he got denied once. There’s a long pause and Jillian says she thinks they should take Chris’s offer. Like Chris had anything to do with this. Reid says they can cover the things they need to cover tonight. And probably uncover a lot of other things, if you’re picking up what I’m laying down.

“It’s going to get really real now,” Reid tells us. He’s excited but scared.
”I can’t say the L-Word.” Lesbian? I’ve seen that show. What does that have to do with anything?

We see them bathe in bubbles. Are they naked? Probably. The white wine goggles probably obscure the cameras.

Dull Ed’s turn. By this time we know he must be the one with the fantasy suite malfunction. It’s probably nothing. They always build these things up to be more than they are.

Jill is looking tired from all that sex with Kiptyn and Reid, but Ed is happy with sloppy thirds. He says she looks “amazing, nice and tanned, and hat.” Hat? Oh yeah, he’s from Chicago. That means “hot”.

He tells her he thinks of her every day. She asks if he’s not thinking about work. He’s not, he says unconvincingly. She also asks what the weirdest thing about him is. He says it’s that his parents call him Richie so as not to confuse him with his dad. Which isn’t all that weird when you consider his dad’s name is Rick. Because Rick and Ed are way too close sounding. Rick and Richie are much easier to differentiate.

Their date is on a yacht. They take the plunge (there’s that imagery again) by jumping in the ocean together. Ed holds her by the bum and off they go. Underwater, she straddles him. That’s her go-to water move. She even admits, “I couldn’t wait to wrap my legs around him,” proving my point.

Because he flaked out during the early going and went home, he missed out on the hometown dates so he took the opportunity to fly his parents out to Hawaii. Jill is so excited when he tells her the news that she wraps her legs around him even though they’re out of the water.

The dad looks like the prototypical Chicagoan. He’s right out of the SNL sketch. I want to hear him talk about Da Bears. But he doesn’t get much in. Jill starts talking to the parents and can’t stop. They bond over their love of card games. When Judy, the mom, takes Jillian outside for a talk, Rick says to Ed, “What the hell are we doing here? What is going on?” I love it. Ed, the only child, assuages any doubts his father might have and says he’d get engaged if she picked him. Dad warms up. He even tears up a little when talking to Jill about his son. “What you see is what you get with Ed,” he says. I guess that means he really is dull.

And, of course, the fantasy suite is used. “I could not pass up the opportunity to spend more time with you,” she says. She wants some “intimate, cozy, sexy time.” And boy is he going to get it. She wants to focus on the romance as much as possible. She thinks Ed is so sexy... tall... olive skin... great smile... looks like Greg Brady.

Ed reveals his inner nerd by saying, "She's smoking hot. Why would she want me?" That doesn't bode well for their future relationship. If she can do better than him, she will.

He either got too much sun, is hammered, or is about to have a stroke. His face is bright red. And he doesn’t quite make sense. After all this talk about his career, he tells Jillian, “I just would love for you to be the reason for me to not work.” Huh?

He tells her he’s absolutely falling in love with her and has never felt this way before. She’s speechless. But not kissless.

He carries her to the rose-petalled bed and after briefly making out fully clothed, Jillian goes off and returns wearing some diaphanous shirt thing where we can almost see her titties. I’m sure the cameraman could.

To keep up his olive complexion, she undresses Ed and starts rubbing olive oil all over his body. He reciprocates. This is soft porn. It’s her hot tub scene, version 2.0. We knew she’d be good for another one. Atta girl, Jilly!

And then... and then? What happened? She says the feeling just wasn’t there. Were they just too tired? Did he pass out? Could he not get aroused? They were vague on precisely what happened. But suffice it to say Jillian finally got a good night's sleep.

Forty minutes still left in the show and they’re at the rose ceremony already. What’s up?

Chris is back. Maybe he had an outstanding warrant in Spain. At any rate, he’s here to grill Jill on the guys. She says she’s falling in love with more than one guy and isn’t surprised at the notion that she can love more than one person.

Kiptyn, she says, is gorgeous, but wonders if he’s just another pretty face. She had fun on their date. There was chemistry. But... he’s the leaver. He hasn’t shown a lot of his vulnerabilities. There’s a wall up.

Reid, she says, makes her laugh. They’re like two teenagers. Then a bunch of negative stuff I couldn’t keep up. The usual blather about him not opening up. Yada yada yada.

The overnight with Ed, she says, was not exactly as she expected it. Either the chemistry isn’t there or there was too much on his mind taking precedence over his other, uh, instincts. Well said. I think I got the gist of it now.

The fellas all left her a “very private video message” that the show is now going to share with its millions of viewers all over the world.

Kiptyn talked about this “amazing ride”. It feels like it could be the beginning of an amazing relationship. “I can see myself falling in love with you,” he said. i.e. he’s not in love with her. Why is that better than what Reid is saying? Then he ends it with, “Let’s light this world on fire! I’m ready when you are.” Jill smiles.

Reid said that spending the night with her was one of the best nights of his life. Right after the helicopter ride. He admitted avoided answering her tough questions but said his feelings have grown so fast it’s a bit scary and exciting. And then he said, “I really hope you keep your honeybear around.” Honeybear?

Ed really laid it on thick. He said she helped him change his perspective on life and made him a better man. God, he’s dull, have I mentioned that? He tells her she’s beautiful, intelligent, funny, sometimes inappropriate, and he loves all of that. He ends with, “I love you.” The look on her face was priceless. It wasn’t one of relief and warmth. It was an oh-shit face if I’ve ever seen one.

Indeed, Chris tells us it will be the most emotional rose ceremony ever! I knew we’d get at least one superlative this season.

At the actual ceremony, she takes Ed aside. And we all know what that means, right? In the history of the program, whoever has been called aside prior to the roses has always gotten a rose. It doesn’t look that way at first, though. Jillian was giving him the pre-breakup speech. She said, “Our last date was incredible but it didn’t feel the way I thought it was going to feel.” [Insert sexy double-entendre here]

Ed’s response is “Just trust me.” She doesn’t need to worry about anything she’s worry about, he says. He promises. He swears. That’s it. He said what she needed to hear. Or she just felt sorry for him and couldn’t break his heart after that puppydog speech.

Back to the roses. She takes the first one in her hand a full 15 minutes before the end of the show. The first rose goes to Kiptyn. Number two goes to dull Ed.

Brutal. Two dullards left. But somehow I bet that’s not the last we hear of Reid. With all the promised drama of the last episode, maybe he’ll be the Molly of this season. I hope so.

On his way out, he says to her, “I hope you made the right move.” Smiling throughout.

She tells him, “You defined everything to me of what I’m looking for. You’re goofy and fun and funny. And there was a connection.” Which explains why she let him go, of course.

She throws out the standard “I just worry we’re at different places” line. Whatever, girlfriend. She also doesn’t know if he’s willing to make sacrifices. He nods.

He tells her, “I should have opened up sooner. I didn’t give you all the signs that you needed to have. It’s a shame because I should have. I don’t know if that would have changed anything.” They bury their heads in each others’ shoulder. Then they lean their heads against each other. She cries. As she should because she’s letting the wrong guy go.

He says, “I don’t know what to say.” And she says something I can’t catch even after watching it three times. I think it was, “I say goodbye.”

He gives a great limo speech:

“I wish I could have opened to her the way I should have. It’s definitely a tough moment. A surprising moment. I dunno. Maybe I screwed myself. I definitely could have seen myself with her. And I can definitely say that I was falling in love with her. I don’t think she even knows that. I saw her with my family. She was perfect. Her and I got along. The whole thing was my fault. It’s tough. Really tough. When we were saying goodbye on that bench, looking at me and we were staring at each other, it’s surreal to know we had that connection but not be there. And then seeing her with the other two guys is tough. I don’t see her being happy with the other two guys. I just don’t. It would have been a lot easier if I had told her that I loved her. I think I fucked up. And if I could reverse things I would.”

Jillian sits on a bench and cries. Ed shows up to console her, saying, “I just want to thank you and I appreciate it.” Zzzzzzzzz....

Back with Ed and Kiptyn, she says she feels amazing. Methinks she doth protest too much. She knows she let the wrong one go.

In two weeks it’s the big finale. We’re told that an unexpected confession makes Jill question everything. Bring back the Honeybear!