Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Week 8: Dangling legs

Welcome back to this little corner of the blogosphere. Great comments last week, people. I’d totally read your blogs on this show if you had them. So keep up with your takes on what we’re watching.

Faith mentioned Tenley, whose name, of course, I remember but my memory being what it is, I couldn’t place her. So I Googled Tenley and found her website. I totally remember her and how sweet she was, but get a load of her new look. After seeing the photos on there, I still didn’t recognize her (that's her on the right). It took me a while. And if you click on the contact tab, you’ll see she’s got a person to write to if you want Tenley for appearances, someone for media and publicity requests, and some for “other business or professional matters”. Who needs Tenley, the dancing queen, for an appearance, you ask? Well, it turns out that “Tenley has had a heartbreaking personal journey and now shares a message of hope and inspiration.” She seemed like she was on the show for the requisite “right reasons” but seeing all this gives me pause. Is she just seizing an opportunity that came out of her appearance on The Bachelor, or was this her plan all along?

What a week. First off, Jake and Vienna absolutely stun, well, nobody, actually, with their on-camera argument post-break-up, then news comes out (thanks Karen for the scoop!) that my wonderful Jillian finally saw the light and ditched dull Ed. Funny, last week I even mentioned them, saying, and I quote (thus the quotation marks), “Jillian has way too much class and humour to ever let her relationship with the half-wit end in such public humiliation.” And sure enough I was right. But do you think they had been trying to figure out a way to break the inevitable break-up to the world and when the Jake and Vienna meltdown was shown, they figured, “Now’s our chance. Nobody will even notice”? Me, too.

What was the name of the Chandler/Michael Keaton look-alike I liked so much in Jillian’s season? The funny realtor from Philly. I think they should totally rekindle their relationship. On national TV, of course.

Okay, but enough about those past failures. Let’s concentrate on this future failure. Ali’s got four fellas left at her disposal. And tonight she meets the parents.

They’re home from Europe (and Asia, if they happened to stroll into that section of Istanbul). Ali jets off from Los Angeles to Tampa, Florida, to meet Roberto and his folks. Her ride pulls up and Ali dashes out as she and Roberto run to each other. But this is telling. He embraces her and lifts her in the air but her legs are lifeless, just hanging from her hips instead of wrapping themselves around Roberto’s midsection. That’s not a good sign.

Roberto takes Ali to the baseball diamond at his old university and gives her a jersey. Then he disappears and runs back out in his Tampa uniform. Good move, because Ali thinks a baseball uniform is just about the sexiest thing a guy can wear. Sorry sumo wrestlers.

After horsing around on the field and taking batting practice, Roberto, recognizing he didn’t get the leg wrap earlier, lifts her up at second base and practically moves her legs so they’ll wrap around his waist. But she doesn’t keep them up for more than a second or two. Then, after they round third and stomp on home plate, he lifts her up a third time and her legs remain limp. I think she likes Roberto but will ultimately give him the “just good friends” line.

Sitting on the field, Roberto whips out his own baseball card from when he played on a team in Ali’s hometown. What are the odds? I think he probably has a baseball card of himself Photoshopped onto whatever team he needs to win over whoever he’s dating.

He tells her his dad is tough and his mom is passive and doesn’t like to argue. It’ll take a few days for that to sink in, but she’ll conclude eventually that if the old chestnut doesn’t fall far from the tree, she might not want to be in that type of scenario down the road. I mean, Roberto doesn’t seem that way at all, but he’s on TV. Granted, that hasn’t stopped so many others from revealing their ugly sides.


Roberto says “bringing Ali home today is a sign to them that I’m very serious about this.” Really, Roberto? It’s not a sign that you’re contractually obligated or pressured by the cameras a little bit?

Ali is going to meet Roberto’s dad, Roberto, his mother Olga, and his sister, Olga. Nice egos on the parents. Whenever I see the old Jr./Sr. thing, I always think, what if the kid turned out to be rotten? Or notorious? Like a mass murderer or something. Look what happened to Dick Smothers, of Smothers Brothers fame. His first son was named Dick Smothers, Jr. and what did he do? He became a porn star. I mean, he was given the perfect name for such a thing, but still. According to a CNN story, the senior Smothers said, "My first reaction was, 'What name are you going to use?' ... He says he's going to use his name, and I said, 'Wait a minute. That's my name. I had it first.'" Let that be a lesson to future parents out there.

I can’t figure out who the mom is and who the daughter is. And I can’t figure out whether that’s a compliment to the mom or an insult to the daughter. Probably the former.

The dad is tough but not too tough. In a room filled with athletic trophies his son won, he gets down to business, wanting to know if Ali and her big dreams will accommodate Roberto’s big dreams (code for stay at home and look after her man). He’s looking out for the best interest of his son.

Both mom and pop give Roberto, Jr. their blessings for a future union. No mention if they would also bless a future on-screen break-up like we saw last week or if they’d just prefer a quiet press release.

After all the talk, mom and dad get up and shake their booty, Latin-style. They’re good. Then Ali gets up and shows that she’s the whitest woman on Earth, but gives it the old college try.


Next up is Cape Cod Chris, so guess where they are? Chris is excited to match the two things he loves (Cape Cod and his family) to Ali (something he likes?).

They trot to each other on the beach and hug. Ali gets no air. If you’re going to rate greetings, here’s what the order would be, from worst to first, in a handy-dandy reference guide you can print off and consult when the need arises. Ali and Chris's greeting is in bold:
  • Handshake
  • No touching whatsoever
  • Lean-in hug
  • Close hug with a tap on the back
  • Close long hug
  • Trot to each other and close hug, no air
  • Run to each other and close hug, no air
  • Close long hug followed by kiss on the cheek
  • Close long hug followed by a perfunctory kiss on the lips
  • Trot to each other and close hug, no air, kiss on the cheek
  • Trot to each other and close hug, no air, perfunctory kiss on the lips
  • Run to each other and close hug, no air, kiss on the cheek
  • Run to each other and close hug, no air, perfunctory kiss on the lips
  • Trot to each other and close hug, airlift
  • Run to each other and close hug, airlift
  • Trot to each other and close hug, airlift, kiss on the cheek
  • Trot to each other and close hug, airlift, perfunctory kiss on the lips
  • Run to each other and close hug, airlift, kiss on the cheek
  • Run to each other and close hug, airlift, perfunctory kiss on the lips
  • Trot to each other and close hug, airlift, leg wrap
  • Trot to each other and close hug, airlift, leg wrap, kiss on the cheek
  • Trot to each other and close hug, airlift, perfunctory kiss on the lips
  • Close long hug followed by a deep kiss
  • Trot to each other and close hug, no air, deep kiss
  • Run to each other and close hug, no air, deep kiss
  • Trot to each other and close hug, airlift, deep kiss
  • Run to each other and close hug, airlift, deep kiss
  • Trot to each other and close hug, airlift, leg wrap, deep kiss
  • Run to each other and close hug, airlift, leg wrap, deep kiss
As you can see, they’ve got a long way to go. She says she hasn’t seen all sides of Chris and she’s hoping he opens up more. I still don’t get what she wants. I don’t see anyone else opening up any more than he has.

Meanwhile, Chris calls her the “perfect girlfriend”. He’d never leave her, I bet. And that means she’ll never pick him. Nice guys finish last. Or, in this case, no worse than 4th, but probably not first.

They enter the house and Ali makes a beeline for the photos of his late mother, which, she says, are all over the house. And she feels closer to Chris than she ever has to this point. They sit on the porch and pretend to be an old couple. Chris tells her she makes him smile and happy. Ali tells us she’s really feeling him today.


Chris’s dad walks in. He seems like the perfect patriarch. Then the brothers and their wives arrive, one of whom (Sara) looks like Maria Shriver (left) at a normal weight and without a facelift and normal-sized teeth. They have the same low hairline. Or maybe all Massachussettsians look pretty much the same.

(Aside time: I’ve never met anyone who can’t pronounce the first ‘t’ in important, like Ali, but I’ve seen it on TV. Is it a regionalism? Anyone got any info on that?)

Chris’s dad always told his mom, “Love is the only reality. And if you have love, nothing else matters.” Not sure a homeless person would agree, but it’s a nice sentiment.


Chris’s dad kinda reminds me of The Friendly Giant (maybe my American friends won’t get that reference, but that’s him in the photo. He was a hero to Canadian kids of my vintage). The dad says to Ali that he knows she left her job to be with her grandmother... I know she left her job to do The Bachelorette; I didn’t know about the grandmother. Hmm, is this a pattern? Is Ali all talk when it comes to jobs? She comes off all career-oriented, but she’ll quit at the first chance she gets?

The dad thinks Ali’s a keeper. I think Chris is in way too deep. They climb a mini tower somewhere out back of their home and Chris goes in for a kiss. She turns her head so he goes for the neck. Ali says, “I like it when you kiss my neck” but her internal editor doesn’t let slip the rest: “because it grosses me out when you kiss my lips.” Finally, he grabs her by the back of the neck and forces himself on her. She kisses back but it looks to me like she’s not really into it and backs off at the first chance. Oh, poor, poor Chris. Ali’s got a very good thing there and she doesn’t know it.


Next up is Mouldy Kirk’s family in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Ali does the slow trot, and Kirk gets her airborn but her legs dangle. There are no kisses until Kirk grabs her by the jawline, saying, “Come here” and plants a wet one on her. She complies but not wholeheartedly.

Kirk comes from a split home, he says, and Ali needs to see both sides. Apparently, his parents don’t even speak to each other. Ali, too, comes from a broken home but her parents speak, as did mine. How bad is it when two middle-aged or old people who have grown kids can’t even sit in the same room together for TV’s sake?

His dad sure looks young. Maybe that’s why. Or maybe he just looks young because my reference points are so old. He and his new wife have an adopted pre-teen daughter, so he can’t be that old. And this is TV, so he can’t be as creepy as the edit they’re giving him, either. He says, “So Ali, would you like to go see my basement?”, with a lecherous grin. We’ve all known for weeks what’s down there, though, so there’s no surprise. All the walls are covered with stuffed animal heads. “This is what I do,” he says. “This is my taxidermy work. I bring animals back to life.” That’s a pleasant spin, isn’t it? He brings them to life and keeps them locked up in his basement. What a humanitarian!

Then he opens up a freezer. Because that’s what you do when you’re showing your son’s girlfriend around, right? She asks what the bags are. He says, “You don’t really want to know what that is, do you?” But it’s not what you think. They’re just frozen dead animals.

Kirk’s dad is great, says Ali, once she got past the initial shock of the animals. The dad says he’d love to have Ali around all the time. I bet he would.

After a successful date at dad’s place, Kirk gets to take her to his mom’s place. Extra TV time. Coming from a broken home finally pays off.


Kirk now shows off the women in his life: his mom, grandmother and sister. Seeing Ali with them makes Kirk all warm inside. Now he’s finally ready to give in a relationship. This is what he wants.

I won’t say his mom looks all that young, but she’s wearing braces. The ladies seem great. Nice family. It makes me wonder, though, just how bitter the breakup was between the mom and dad that they couldn’t even sit there all together and meet their son’s potential future ex-fiancĂ©e.


Crazy Eyes Frank is back in Chicago. I don’t know why but I always thought of him as a Seattle guy. I don’t know what that tells me about him or Seattle.

Ali is really, really into this guy for reasons only the editors know. Just the sight of him walking towards her makes her run straight to him. Frank barely broke into a trot. She gets some air on the embrace but the cameras don’t show us from the waist down. Still, the fact she ran to him tells me she’s into him the most. She can’t contain herself. She keeps going on how funny he is. Still haven’t seen it. I mean, not an ounce of it.

Sitting on a boat, Frank tells Ali he has concerns about the date. The process just sucks, he says because he’s obviously never seen a single episode of this show from all the seasons past. He has these awesome feelings, but then has to be away from her. It’s a very stressful ordeal. He’s just never entirely confident. Wah-wah, what a whiner.

I love the t-shirt he’s wearing. He looks like a French mime. Could that neckline be any lower?


Ali is getting to the point where she really needs the stay-at-home retail manager to step up. They arrive home to meet Frank’s mom and dad. I know I’m getting old because they look young, too. They’re really funny, unlike their pedestrian son. Okay, maybe it is all in the editing. He must be somewhat funny with parents like that.

Frank’s pregnant sister had a big butt... No, wait. She had a big ‘but’. She started to say they look so happy together, “but--” and was interrupted by Frank. I wonder what she was going to say. She tells Ali Frank’s an emotional guy who’s guided by his emotions. No kidding. It's all right there in his crazy eyes.

We didn’t get to see Frank’s room. I would have thought Ali would want to see where she’d be sleeping should she choose him. And I wanted to see if he had Spider-Man sheets on his bed.


Well, that’s it for the hometown dates. Ali says she’s crazy about all four of these guys and it breaks her heart to let one of them go after meeting their families. She sits down with Chris to rehash the four dates. She was enthusiastic about all of them. The only one she didn’t have a cautious word about was Roberto, which tells me he’s the one to go. Chris asks if her husband is among those guys. She sighs, mentions she’s scared, but says yes. She’s already crying about the prospect of sending one of them home. Can’t wait until the rose ceremony.


Roberto is looking a little ragged, with his tie all askew. Ali enters and starts to blubber during her pre-rose speech but pulls herself together in time. We know Frank is in since we know all too well his “we need to talk” line is in a future episode.
  • First rose goes to Roberto. Oh good! Glad I was wrong about that.
  • Second rose goes to Chris. So we know, thanks to the brutal editors of this stupid show, that Kirk is a goner since we’ve seen Frank in upcoming highlights.
  • The last rose goes to... Frank. Chris Harrison should have announced that this would be “the least dramatic last rose in Bachelorette history!”
She mouths “sorry” to Mouldy Kirk. They sit down together and he tells her not to be sorry. She’s bawling. But he tells her it’s okay; it just sucks. As he turns to get in the limo, she whines, “I need a hug.” He complies but should have just slammed the door.

Kirk didn’t see this coming. He’s never had his heart broken before because he’s usually the one to leave in a relationship. Karma’s a bitch, dude.

Back inside, Ali is all smiles, glad she shedded that dead weight. She tells the guys they’re going to Tahiti next. But of course we’ve known for weeks. But at least we'll finally be able to see what, exactly, is up with Crazy Eyes Frank.