Monday, September 12, 2011

BP 2, episode 6: The Bachelor Pad Dilemma

Whew! We made it. It's over! And there's sweet freedom until January 2, 2012, when lovable jilted Ben makes his debut as The Bachelor. In the meantime, let's talk about this entertaining train wreck of a show that became even more entertaining when I got my way and King Ding-a-Ling and his Drama Queen were finally given ye olde boote.

It was an episode where sultry Michelle unveiled her innocent schoolgirl look in a last-ditch effort to prove to the world she's not the unstable psycho she appeared to be on an earlier season of The Bachelor, nor the family-wrecker she was reported to be (see number 7 on this list) in gossip pages. It's no surprising she and Graham hit it off. She apparently has a thing for basketball players.

It was an episode in which Chris Harrison stated that "it's all about relationships here at the Bachelor Pad." Hypocrite. Most of the contestants come on as singles. And in fact, the winning relationship wasn't even an existing relationship, except in the sense that any two people who know each other have a relationship. Holly, who had a thing for creepy Blake throughout the show, finally hooked up with him. As in she's moving to South Carolina to live with him. As in they're engaged. Yet she is partnered up with her ex-fiancé Michael. (Which one of you didn't answer Holly as she excitedly cooed to Blake, "We're gonna get married?" after he proposed to her on camera, with "Uh, not if your past engagement is any indication, you're not"?)

It was an episode where we learned this all took place over three weeks. Three weeks! Blake and Holly didn't even know each other on day one. So they had a little flirty thing going, then hung out for a few more weeks after taping, then got engaged. Yeah, this has 'till death do us part' written all over it.

It was an episode where Graham admitted he was "literally pissing down [his] leg." Literally.

It was an episode where perhaps one of the dumbest and least witty contestants in both Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad history, King Ding-a-Ling, bragged, "I'm smart. I'm witty." Then later Gia backed him up, saying he was the smartest guy in the house. Keep in mind Gia is a swimsuit model and in her world, Kermit would pass as a rocket scientist.

Oops, did I say Kermit? Sorry. He revealed he has a speech impediment that makes him mumble and swallow his words and sound like Kermit the Frog. My bad. I'll no longer refer to him as Kermit. From here on out, it's only King Ding-a-Ling.

It was an episode where the southern belle Ella feared for her life strapped in a harness 100 feet in the air in Las Vegas at the theatre where Cirque du Soleil performs the very same feat every single night without incident because, "Sorry, but I don't trust harnesses." I know, right?

It was an episode where the four remaining teams were judged in a very difficult and scary artistic endeavour not by expert choreographers or performers but by three members of the vast Bachelor family: Tristin, Jason and Ali. Because, you know, they know art. And they have no biases whatsoever, and couldn't possibly be bought off by the show that gave them a career. Nope, completely on the up and up. (Their expertise was driven home when, after an impressive aerial display by Holly and Michael, Judge Jason says, "Wow! Are you guys a couple now?")

It was an episode where the bought-off judges got to eliminate the worst pair: Ella and Kirk. Poor Ella. She really needed that $250,000 to raise her son. Now she'll have to get a job. That sucks.

It was an episode where one member of the Power Couple brow-beat the other, and the other went off and pouted... Oh wait, that's the same as every other episode.

It was an episode where the challenge winners, Holly and Michael, got to choose their final opponents and send the others home. And after what seemed like forever (but my blog post title suggests is only six weeks), King Ding-a-Ling and the Drama Queen finally got their come-uppance. The other finalists would be the formerly wacko Michelle and her new basketball-playing beau Graham.

The live portion of the evening was entertaining. We learned many things:

Ames, who ran off to console and be with the love of his life, Jackie, upon her elimination, quickly dumped the heart-broken Jackie soon after real life gave him a wake-up call. I figured it was because he wanted to be single in the off-chance the show offers him the role of the next Bachelor. Now that Ben has been named, maybe Ames will get back with the heart-broken Jackie.

King Ding-a-Ling offered a mea culpa and actually came off both sincere and, dare I say it, likable. He apologized for his actions in general and to Jake in particular. He also kept saying the relationship he saw on screen with Vienna was not one he wanted to be in. It was cryptic, to say the least. Chris Harrison said he was confused about where he stood with Lady V and frankly so was I. I was kinda pulling for another public break-up for her, but that's the romantic in me.

Michael was blind-sided with the news that his partner, and gal of his dreams, Holly, was now engaged to Blake the Snake. He seemed upset at first but quickly let it go and reverted to the old happy-go-lucky Michael that we grew to find so annoying on The Bachelorette. But Holly seemed to like the old carefree Michael more. I think we're all hoping for a Holly & Michael reunion at some point, aren't we? I mean, New York over South Carolina, right?

Knowing what we know, and what I had forgotten from last season, that the BP rejects vote on which team they want to advance, does it make any sense whatsoever for next year's cast to backstab each other and be jerks like they were this season? Last year, when this was all new, nobody knew how the final would play out. But let's not forget it for next season. Or maybe the writers will come up with another formula (as they probably should). Because even King Ding-a-Ling and the Drama Queen seemed to know that, had they made it to the final, nobody would have voted for them. How is that smart strategy to alienate the whole house when that very house will have the final say on you winning or losing?

Holly & Michael received the needed eight votes (Jake, Blake, Erica, Jackie, Ames, Justin, Ella and Gia – with the exception of the Snake, all the good people on the show), while Graham & Michelle received four votes (Drama Queen, King Ding-a-Ling, Melissa and William – with the exception of William, the deranged people on the show).

And then it got down to the classic game theory with the Prisoner's Dilemma, the writers having taken psychology in high school. Holly and Michael each had to choose, in private, whether they wanted to share the total money or keep it all for themselves. If they both chose 'share', as they did last season, they'd each be $125,000 richer (minus about $100,000 they'll have to pay in taxes and agent fees). If one chooses 'keep' and one chooses 'share', the one who chose 'keep' gets it all. If they both are greedy bastards and choose 'keep', then the quarter million is divided up between the other 13 losers, who'd become winners to the tune of $19,230.76 apiece.

And that's possibly a flaw in the whole BP ethos of relationships: Everyone chooses 'share'. If they were assigned teammates, or had to draw teammates names out of a hat, and there was conflict within the team, then maybe there'd be some real drama. Then wouldn't it be fun trying to guess if they'd pick 'keep' or 'share'? We knew that both Michael and Holly are decent people and would do the right thing. And if it's a real couple, like Graham & Michelle or, heaven forbid, King Ding-a-Ling and the Drama Queen, then of course they're going to share. I can't envision a scenario where the teammates wouldn't share the money. But if, say, Jake and Vienna were assigned each other, how would that play out? Exciting, no?

But hey, it's not about the money. It's not about winning. It's about relationships and doing the right thing. They're all winners.

Except King Ding-a-Ling and the Drama Queen.

(Okay, I'll let it go. As I said, Kasey actually seemed remorseful and Vienna had softened. They're winners, too. Group hug!)

See you in January.

Monday, September 5, 2011

BP 2, episode 5: Relief is on the way

One more week! Did we know this? It seems so sudden. But I'm thrilled. And judging by the lack of comments last week, you are, too. I'll take that as a vote against this awful show. (I refuse to take responsibility!) Why do I keep watching? Habit, I guess. And parts are fun. But the end doesn't justify the means.

This week the show threw its customary curveball. Chris Harrison informed everyone that from here on out it was a couples game. They started by making the competition a rip-off of the Newlywed Game which they called the Nearlywed Game. Yes, force singles to pair up for a game and insinuate that they're going to get hitched.

The game was fun. Or would have been had we seen all of it. We get two hours of nonsense a week so why not devote 30 minutes of it to the actual game? Graham and Michelle ruined it, though, with their winning strategy of agreeing on set answers for certain answer types. Do I fault them? Not really. In fact, I kind of liked that they showed up the writers and producers of this lame series. That's what they get for asking predictable questions.

There was some fun drama between the Drama Queen and her King Ding-a-Ling. It was funny not only trying to understand what old mumble-mouth was saying but also watching the subtitles only picking up half of his words. I pictured the editors running back tape over and over again trying to pick up what he was saying.

Basically it boiled down to King Ding-a-Ling needing to get laid and the virginal Queen having none of it. He ripped the ring off her finger in disgust and she went to pout in a bunk bed before his sub-titled sweet talking got her in the sack. As he rolled on top of her in the grainy footage, as an ABC cameraman creamed his jeans, Lady V sighed, "Let's just get it over with." Ah, sweet love.

You just know some rogue employee is going to one day sell off the dirty sex tapes they've got stored in a vault somewhere.

Graham and Michelle were whisked away on their date by a helicopter. I know. Hard to believe, right? But wait, it gets better! They got a sneak peak of What's Your Number?, a new movie starring Anna Faris (I just looked that up; never heard of her), while sitting in a hot tub. Graham was extolling the virtues of the formerly crazy Michelle, making her sound like any other normal person with fake boobs and teeth. I have my doubts.

Finishing second in the Nearlywed Game were Blake and Erica. The ditzy Erica actually got some decent lines in this week in between talk of her astrologer and her horniness. Watching her trying to bed Blake was worth the time wasted. She flat-out said she wanted no-strings-attached sex and he didn't succumb. He probably couldn't get the image of Holly sauntering by him in her bikini out of his mind. Neither can I, come to think of it. I said earlier that they should have devoted 30 minutes to the Nearlywed Game. I think they should have devoted the rest of the allotted time to Holly in her bikini.

Blake was the guy with the target on his back this week just because the producers can't dare part with the truly crazy and soulless King Ding-a-Ling and his Drama Queen.

Holly was torn. Or so she said. Her heart is with the new guy, Blake, rather than with the known commodity, Michael. If Michael didn't play the part of the brooding, woe-is-me character, maybe Holly would see what she once loved in him. Yes, he's a good guy, but that gets old. Oh, and if he lost that dopey hat, that might help, too.

But while Holly is doing her own crying, telling everyone how hurt she was when Michael left her, she neglects to factor in the part where she broke off their engagement first. Why not call it a draw and live happily ever after already?

Blake and Erica were given two roses to save one other couple. But here's yet another example of shoddy work by the writers and producers. By all accounts Blake was the one to go anyway. So everyone else would be safe with or without the rose.

So who do they decide to give the roses to, saving them for another week? You guessed it: King Ding-a-Ling and the Drama Queen. Because they're so trustworthy. Because they're the power couple. Because... the producers told them to. There's no other conceivable reason why this would happen. Zero.

And what happens next? Harrison winds up for another curveball saying that the women of each team must do the voting. Why couldn't they go in together since this is all about the couples now? Ah, where would the fake drama be then? You see, King Ding-a-Ling & the Drama Queen voted to get rid of Ella & Kirk, as did Blake & Erica. Which really isn't nice because Ella is a single mom trying to raise a 9-year-old son and can't do it on less than a quarter million dollars. So that was two votes for Ella & Kirk out of five.

Ella and Kirk, naturally, voted for Blake and Erica. So did Graham and Michelle, because Blake violated the Man Code (shout out to David!). That's two votes for Blake & Erica.

Now here's where the fake drama comes in. Holly must cast the deciding vote. What to do, what to do? She doesn't want to send her new love home yet she doesn't want to be disloyal to her team partner and former love. And she didn't want to send Ella home, either. Seems like a simple solution to me. She couldn't vote for Graham & Michelle or King Ding-a-Ling and the Drama Queen because they already had roses. But there's no rule saying she can't vote for her own team. She could have voted for herself and Michael knowing that no one else did. It would force a tie between B&E and K&E, forcing the producers to come up with another one of their lame contests to break the tie.

But no, she went with her head. Bye-bye Blake (and Erica). Holly's heart hurt but she had to do it.

Next week four teams will be whittled down to one winner. Do we care who wins? Absolutely not. But if it's King Ding-a-Ling and the Drama Queen I feel I must take a stand. Don't know what. Any ideas?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BP 2, episode 4: Still disgusted

The show did nothing to woo me back this week. But I still watched, sucker that I am. As I've been saying all along, I like the day-to-day stuff with the cast of misfits but I can't stand the actual contest. This week started off where they tried to keep us in suspense last week, announcing that their bad boy King Ding-a-Ling had beaten out former golden boy Jake in a battle royale (the closest vote in Bachelor Pad history!). Not a good place to start because it just cements what I (and I have to believe others) hate about the show. Can someone – anyone – explain to me why anyone would vote off Bro Jake over King Ding-a-Ling? How does that gain them anything, game-wise?

And so it went tonight in episode 4. Someone said the strategy was to either vote out the weak link or break up the power couple. Of course, we know what they did and would do long before we saw the results. Likable non-entity William would be fed to the lions. Nothing about the game makes sense. When King Ding-a-Ling brought out the sob story that he needed the money so his grandmother could live, what was going through the pea-brains of the other contestants, who also need the money for various causes? I'm speechless.

I believe the producers are setting King Ding-a-Ling and his Drama Queen up for a big fall, getting us to get our hate-on for them before dropping them so we can all feel good about the season, but it's not worth it. The fact they've lasted as long as they have gives me zero confidence in the show and the other contestants.

And yet I watch. If you're reading this, producers, don't think you won.

The game this week was the famously gross kissing contest, wherein one person stands blindfolded and is given a kiss gang-bang. It's no surprise that Princess Erica believes she's a great kisser. What is surprising is that she attributes it to the collagen or botox injections she gets twice yearly. She should be disqualified for using a performancing-enhancing substance.

She didn't win, though. It was sweet southern Ella who turned it on for the sake of her son, whereas the hideous beauty Michelle didn't love her 6-year-old daughter enough to even enter the competition.

On the boys' side, it was Blake on the make. Proving that dentists really do have no soul, Blake went all-in with everybody but Vienna, and only because he was afraid for his life. Interesting to note that when everyone was told what the contest would be, King Ding-a-Ling and Graham both said they were out, they wouldn't do it. But they held their noses and gave it the old college try. Actually, it was the women who held their noses when they kissed the foul King Ding-a-Ling. It wasn't clear if Kermit ate some nasty bugs with the intention of dissuading any sensuous lip-locks or if he just has a bad case of halitosis.

Ella took Kirk on her date so we got a return of the mould story. Obviously not having seen Kirk's season, Ella was amazed that Kirk opened up to her like that. I'm surprised it took him this long to mention it this time around.

Blake invited Holly on his date because he doesn't play the game in a linear fashion. That's all. He's not sweet on her. What cute Holly sees in the fanged dentist is beyond me, but pretty much everything is in this show anyway so que sera sera. That's Holly's one knock that I can see. The emotional Melissa didn't take things well, calling Blake a sociopath. Once again Dr. Blake opens up to the camera that he thinks he made a huge mistake.

Holly decides to spend the night on the date and Blake the Snake gets right on it. Dusting off his frat boy lines, he tells her he needs to re-examine the evidence to see if she really is the kisser she claims to be. Meanwhile, ex-fiancé Michael pines for her back at the mansion as the clock ticks on into the night. The next day she waltzes back into the house wearing several pearl necklaces, which is never a good sign. She breaks the news gently to Michael that she kissed Blake and Michael is dumbfounded. "I can't believe you kissed him. I can't believe you would do this to me," he said. Totally. I mean, blindfolded is one thing, but without props? That's a low blow. She said she had to see what she really felt. Subtext: she had to see if she was repulsed having to look at him when she kissed that smug mug. And she wasn't.

The rose ceremony was another dud. They give so much away leading up to it we all knew it would be William and Melissa. So not only is the mind-boggling reasoning behind the votes a turn-off, but so is revealing so much before we find out who stays and goes officially. I was hoping that William could slink around in the shadows until the final. He went unnoticed pretty much every week. What threat was he? How does sending him home help anyone's goal of winning it all?

As for Melissa, well, I hope she's okay. In both this series and her turn on The Bachelor, I felt she was often in the right but she just didn't know how to deal with her emotions and take a step back. Her facial contortions in the limo ride on the way out were something to behold. I hope time will allow her to look back and laugh at how crazy she looked.

From what I can tell, there are ten contestants left: Graham, Michelle, Blake, Ella, Michael, Holly, Vienna, Kirk, Erica and King Ding-a-Ling. Assuming the producers will not get rid of the power couple until the very end, if at all, who does that leave on the chopping block for next week? If all goes to form, it should be Erica (or maybe Ella) and Graham next to say buh-bye. Who do you have? Let me know. Make your predictions in the comments section. And don't be shy.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Grantland breaks it down

If you've never seen the sports/pop-culture-obsessed website, Grantland, you've got to check it out. There are some really great – and funny – writers there. It's the child of former ESPN Sports Guy, Bill Simmons.

They have something called the "Grantland Reality TV Fantasy Draft". In their latest scorecard, they announce the week's winners. Here's how the Bachelor Pad contestants fared:
First Tier
Melissa (Bachelor Pad, Lane): 25 points.
Melissa and her over-tweezed eyebrows continued to behave irrationally this week. When Blake — a man she's spent only a few days with on a reality show — told her he wanted to be “plutonic partners,” she had a complete breakdown (5 crying points). And when Erica called her a lunatic, she did an encore (5 more crying points), and even threatened to leave the show (15 points). It's time for some serious self-evaluation when you get called crazy by a woman who wears a tiara and refers to herself as “princess."

Second Tier
Michelle Money (Bachelor Pad, Kang): 15 points. Michelle Money is Muhammad Ali in Zaire. She is Rope-a-doping the rest of the women on Bachelor Pad. Scoring only with a kiss (5 points) and challenge victory (10 points) this week, she's sitting back and watching the rest of cast cry, be promiscuous, and argue until they get tired. That's when she'll make her move. Let’s not forget this is the woman who asked ninjas to kidnap her competitors on The Bachelor and ended Carlos Boozer’s marriage.

Kasey and Vienna (Bachelor Pad, Connor and Kang): 15 and 10 points. Kasey and Vienna are reality-show veterans who know exactly what it takes to get camera time. It’s almost as if, every night, while the cameras are off, they conference call with Aaron Sorkin and he writes them storylines to maximize their exposure. This week, Sorkin wrote them an argument (5 points each) that left Vienna in tears (5 points), and a dramatic courtyard scene during which Kasey pulled out a jewelry box, causing Vienna to blurt, “I don’t want that to be an engagement ring!” right in his face. Instead, Kasey gave her a promise ring and explained what it meant in a song (10 points for plugging a singing career). Seriously. Kasey sang his promises to Vienna in a Nick Lachey-esque a capella number and did that spastic head-shake thing people do when they sing. It was glorious. Nice touch by Sorkin closing with a musical number.

Michael (Bachelor Pad, House): 10 points. Michael won the challenge (10 points) and took his ex-fiancé Holly on a reward date to further confirm that he's the only party interested in rekindling their romance. A sample:

    Michael on Holly: "I want more time to … to just be around her and talk to her and just work on us. And since we have gotten here, there is a level of comfortability and we are both very much on the same page.”

    Holly on Michael: "It is really hard to be around Michael, I'll be completely honest."

Jake and Erica (Bachelor Pad, Connor and Jacoby): 5 points. Jake kissed Erica (5 points each) this week, which couldn’t have felt good, because Erica is so full of collagen it looks like she has a frozen Han Solo trapped in her upper lip.

Graham (Bachelor Pad, Connor): 5 points. Graham kissed Michelle this week (5 points) after this exchange:

    Michelle Money: "I think you're great."
    Graham: "You barely know me."
    Michelle Money: "I know."

Michelle Money is ready to stop playing Rope-a-dope and unleash her true self, a drink-throwing, coitus-denying, STD-scare-having GRTFL all-star.

To read the whole thing, go to grantland.com.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

BP 2, episode 3: All done


I scribbled notes as per usual this episode but I'm going off-book on this baby. And I'll make it short. I simply can't, in good faith, continue with this show. I feel to do so would just support it. I think the producers play a bigger role than we're led to believe, although that's just a hunch. And I think they believe a villain makes for good TV so they keep Kasey and Vienna around. Maybe they're right, but we don't want to see the villains win. Do we? The bad guys won last season and they're on target to win again this season. And if the producers have nothing to do with who stays and who goes, then I care even less because everyone on the show is too stupid to do the right thing. When King Ding-a-Ling was awarded the last rose, sending Jake home, it just hit home how far out of touch I am with the whole thing. How can any of those losers possibly keep Kermit around? It just boggles the mind. It makes zero sense from a personal standpoint, and it makes no sense from a practical standpoint.
  1. Personal: He's weird and delusional and prickly, not to mention a real "jenius".
  2. Practical: By all indications, he and the Drama Queen are the power couple who are the biggest threat to anyone else winning. Breaking them up would give everyone else a much better chance of winning.
So why keep him around? How is it that bland Jake needs to be sent home? People see how Vienna acts, they see the bickering between her and Kasey, yet they believe Jake was the true villain in that relationship? There's not even the shadow of a doubt? The return of David and Natalie this week cemented my opinion of the game aspect of this show – it sucks big time.

So that's that. Opinions?

And for the love of all that's good in the world, that masked man schtick at the end was old the first episode. I believe now he was a plant from the beginning. Remember when Chris Harrison said he was the most talked-about person in the history of the show? Did anyone ever talk about him? The guy had no charisma, no looks and no sense of humour yet now he's the clown prince? Bah!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

BP 2, episode 2: A Love-Hate Relationship

Hey there, folks. I realize it's almost pointless for me to weigh in three days after the fact but I also realize it's just slightly less pointless for me to weigh in at all at any time. I was away on vacay, saw the show, scribbled some notes, but was just too tired to write them out here for you until we got home. So here I am.

I think I have a real problem with this series. I mean, there's lots to love but lots to hate, too. The absolute worst aspect to the whole thing for me is the actual game. I wish I knew how to tweak it. Maybe if I spent ten seconds on it I could come up with better rules but I couldn't be bothered. Besides, they're the professionals. There's good drama there, some decent comedy (minus trying to ram the masked man down our throats at show's end every week – it's not in the least bit funny and maybe the exact opposite), but I can't stand the competitive aspect of it. Maybe it's in the editing but how does one explain the train wreck that is King Ding-a-Ling (aka Kermit, aka Kasey) and the Drama Queen Vienna? By all accounts, everyone should be – and could easily be – ganging up on them to break them up or vote them both off, but when it comes down to it, we get two otherwise likable characters (Ella and Jackie) who have done nothing to prove they are threatening to be champs that must go. We're obviously not seeing everything.

I mean, you have Blake saying King Ding-a-Ling "carries as much clout as a gust of wind". You have King Ding-a-Ling telling Jake, "People just don't like you. You're a bad person. No one wants you here," and others looking on in disgust. Yet they want him around? Makes no sense whatsoever.

I'd much prefer just a vote. That is, do all the little competitions along the way, then have a vote without all the factions and shenanigans. You can't stop people from talking to each other, but it wouldn't be such a big part of the show. Oh, but that's what keeps people watching, goes the argument. Balderdash, says I. I watch in spite of that nonsense. If the fun and games along the way were the slightest bit less entertaining, I'd ditch this show in a second because of the Machiavellianism. Simply have them vote as individuals. That in itself would be more exciting. We wouldn't know who was going to get picked. There's no need for factions that I can see. Everybody is in it for themselves anyway.

Okay, let me dig out my notes.

The point of the Paintball Competition, as far as I could tell, was to test the throwing arm of the contestants. Most direct hits wins. Who they selected as their personal target was irrelevant. So why, then, would they all pick on Erika as the one they're least attracted to? I get that she was the biggest target, but why pile on? Why did they also choose her for the one they wanted to go home? She's an insignifant non-entity in this game. And if those answers reflected their actual opinion, why, when it came down to it, did they whittle the choices down to Ella and Jackie, two other insignificant non-entities, game-wise?

Also, you had to love how the Drama Queen and her King Ding-a-Ling both bragged about being softball and baseball players yet both threw like girls... that is, girls who can't throw.

Kasey has got to have the most misplaced confidence of any contestant in the history of Bachelor Pad, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Maybe of anyone ever. There's not a doubt in my mind that the producers are behind him staying on the show. They think they need someone people love to hate. They're wrong. In game shows, people tend to watch because they like a given contestant, not dislike. And what's a note any producer in film or TV gives a screenwriter? The character has to be more likable. It defies logic that he and Vienna are still around. The other contestants are not that thick. Why are they keeping them around?

Michael won the men's Paintball Toss so he chose Erica, Michelle and Holly for his date. Michael admitted that his two biggest fears are abandoned buildings and hospitals. Talk about two random fears. And coincidentally the date took place in an abandoned hospital! What stunningly bad luck! (No, I'm not daft. It was no luck at all.)

Michael gave the rose to his ex-fiancée, Holly. One interesting tidbit was that they met at the wrap party to his season. But why was she there? She wasn't on his season, since she was never The Bachelorette. I guess they just invite all ex-contestants. More chance of there being a hook-up and potential life-long relationship so the producers can use it as an example of love on the show. They're hoping to expand on their already impressive record of two marriages in however many seasons this thing has been running.

Melissa won the women's Paintball Challenge and chose my three least favourite guys: Kirk, King Ding-a-Ling, and Blake. I forgot all about Melissa's first appearance on national TV with Brad. In fact, I still don't remember it, but apparently she came off as a crazy person. This time around didn't fair any better for her. She came off a tad possessive with the duplicitous Blake, who whored himself out for a rose but has a thing going with Holly.

Did you notice the sloppy editing? Again, we'd see a guy lounging around in a t-shirt with drama swirling. Cut to him talking to the camera in a jacket and tie saying he's got to talk to so-and-so, then back to the action with him in t-shirt approaching whoever.

When Chris Harrison drops the bombshell that instead of one man and one woman being voted off, it'll be two women (for reasons not bothered to be explained), things get interesting... for all of five seconds. Gia walks on principle because Graham betrayed her trust to King Ding-a-Ling, sniffling that everyone is so sneaky. This coming from the gal who tried to sneakily get King Ding-a-Ling booted out. I mean, I appreciated her efforts but it was no less sneaky than anyone else. With Gia gone, it comes down to one woman needing to be voted off. And as clear as mud it's down to Ella or Jackie because... well, you know... um... they're relatively normal? That's the best I can come up with. Talk about your false dichotomy! No one mentions the delusional Drama Queen Vienna or the girl everyone tagged with paint balls.

Jackie is the one voted out and this leads to more craziness. She and Ames had a thing going so he walks her to her limo. The limo starts to drive off then stops. He walks back to the group then decides to run off with Jackie because he loves her so much. First off, how did the limo know to stop? Secondly, he started filming this show immediately following The Bachelorette, in which he fell in love with Ashley. That's twice falling in love in a matter of, what?, a few weeks or month? Nice work, Ames! Thirdly, this isn't The Bachelorette or The Bachelor. He wasn't there to fall in love with someone else once Jackie was forced to leave. Why not stick around for a couple more weeks tops and try to win big bucks so he and Jackie can enjoy it? There was no need for him to run off like that. At the very least he'd see her again at the wrap party.

That's about it. So much to hate about this series, yet so much to love. So I'll be back on Monday and will be more prompt with my next post.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bachelor Pad 2: Are we doing this?

Who's in for Bachelor Pad? Anyone? Who got scared away by the 3-hour time slot? God, I loves me some Bachelor action, but three hours? Yeah, yeah, I watched it, but still.

It was a fun premier episode but I'm such a sore loser when the people I want out aren't voted out, it spoils the whole thing for me. How are the two dimmest bulbs in the house the power couple? Why is anyone following their lead? I just don't get it. Makes absolutely no sense. Didn't they watch Vienna and Kasey on their respective seasons? What am I missing?

The show did a great job, for the most part, of re-introducing us to the characters and giving their back story. I won't recap it all here for you because I'm guessing you watched it. I'll just offer a few opinions each week.

Obviously the big storyline was the reunion, of sorts, of Jake and Vienna. If the world had any sympathy for Vienna after the break-up that shook the world, I think it's safe to say it has vanished. She remains a duplicitous nut-job. The fact she's hooked up with Batty Kasey is awesome. We here at Bachelor Blog wish them the best. The Wrassler (still one of my favourite guys of all time on this show) said it best when he described this power couple as Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.

Actually, the Wrassler had lots of good lines tonight. He called Alli a drunken moron and a 24-year-old with big fake boobs, and got Kasey again by calling him King Ding-a-Ling. The only person who makes me laugh more than the Wrassler is Ames, who wasn't much of a presence this week but still had a great unintentional laugh. It wasn't what he said (I didn't even jot it down) but his delivery. And I'm not laughing at him. I genuinely like the guy. I'd give anything for him to be the next Bachelor.

Did you catch the sloppy continuity? Early on, we saw Vienna holding a tumbler with a whiskey-coloured drink then it cuts back to her reacting and she's holding a tall glass with dark liquid in it. Not a huge deal, but it shows how they find reaction shots from other situations and plug them into scenes. Later, we're watching Jake in his suit at the house. Then we see him tell us he needs to speak to King Ding-a-Ling and he's wearing a ratty t-shirt and ball cap. Cut to him approaching King Ding-a-Ling wearing the suit again. The next day we see Jake wearing the t-shirt/cap combo so that's when he told us he needed to speak to da King, not the night before when he actually did speak to him. Oh, reality TV, don't take us for fools just because we waste three hours watching you.

Back to the power couple, the Drama Queen and King Ding-a-Ling found themselves fighting it out with their arch-rival Prince Smiles-a-lot in the challenge. Jake and Jackie out-lasted them in the Couples Hang (or whatever nonsense they call the competition). And wasn't Vienna just the perfect empathetic partner? When King Ding-a-Ling (I think this nickname is going to stick) sat brooding in the pool, the Drama Queen (likewise) sat stewing beside him. She couldn't contain herself for long before blurting out, "I was king of expecting a little bit more from you." Her M.O., it appears from tonight's show and upcoming highlights, is to goad KDL then get defensive when he reacts. She is so not worth the needless and endless drama.

When Jake and Jackie were given an extra rose to hand out to one lucky person, Jake foolishly gave it to Vienna because a Prince always needs to be perceived as a Prince. He wanted one little sit-down with the royal couple and he was contrite and apologetic for raising his voice to her on national TV. To his face, Vienna looked touched. Maybe she was, who knows? But once she had time to compose herself, she said it was torture having to sit and listen to him, saying "it literally made me sick". She then called him a phony robot and a complete monster. To prove her undying devotion to Kermit... er, I mean King Ding-a-Ling... she whispered to him, "You're my everything. I'm serious." You know you have trust issues when you have to follow up words of love with "I'm serious." She followed it with, "I'm gonna marry you. And I'm gonna have your babies." To drive her point home, they go to the bedroom and she whips off her panties right there on TV and climbs into bed with the King. Yes, it was a grainy black & white video that looked like surveillance footage, but I'm sure she must have been told cameras would be in all the rooms. Let's hope they conceived right then and there.

But let's face it, that was a brutally stupid move by Jake to give her the rose. He just wanted a chance to talk to them but he had hours after his date with Jackie to sit down with them. Meanwhile, he left his best bud Gia worried about her future. Jake said he'd "seriously disappoint and confuse some people no matter who I give it to." Uh, not quite, Jakester. Everyone, Vienna included, figured you'd do the right thing and give it to Gia. Nobody would have been confused by that.

But Gia was safe, as it turned out. And so was King Ding-a-Ling, who I really wanted to see go. Gone instead were the Wrassler and Alli. It'll be a less fun show without our Canadian bad boy there but the upcoming highlights look promising. Somebody calls Blake a sociopath. I never liked Blake but can't put my finger on it. He does give off that sociopath vibe, though, so maybe that's it. We'll see. Then we have King Ding-a-Ling saying his beloved Drama Queen is more of a fame whore than Jake. And the Queen implies that she cares more about the money than she does the man she wants to make babies with.

Usually at the end of every show we get to see some bloopers or funny little segment that never made it to air. Tonight they decided to go the skit route by having the Masked Man climb the fence, peep in through the window, then take a dump while reading a People magazine about Ashley and Bentley. Boo to this. The reality is manufactured enough in this franchise without making it blatantly so.

But I'll be back. There are big problems with the game but I'm not sure what they are. I'd love to hear your opinions on the matter. It's entertaining, but still it could be better. And it still bugs the hell out of me that they don't announce the votes on the elimination. I want to know who all received votes. The way it is now smacks too much of Bush over Gore and we know how that worked out.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Week 11: "Wow, I didn't see this one coming"

The title says it all. And while I share Ben's sentiment, I also kinda figured Ashley would choose the underwhelming J.P. It makes perfect sense. She was warned away from Bentley, which only served to draw her closer to him. And then big sis warned her away from J.P. She's a feisty one, that Ashley. Nobody tells her who to love. She'll love them despite everyone. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Let's back up a bit. I like to go in order.

We started out the most dramatic season finale ever (and this time, maybe they got it right) with the requisite flashbacks with the voice-over asking, "But will he propose?" Who's in charge of continuity in this series? It was less than 24 hours ago that we saw both Ben and J.P. getting down and proposing to Ashley. The producers have zero confidence in their product. They just can't believe viewers watch each episode.

Tonight was the night we saw the boys meet Ashley's family in Fiji. And it might very well have been the best meeting of the family in series history. Not only because Amy Winehouse came back from the black to guest star, but because she called it as she saw it. Japes, not the funnest guy to begin with, was a little stiff meeting Ashley's mom, step-dad, brother and sister. He made Ames look like Andy Dick. Big sister Chrystie noticed this right off the bat and asked Ashley at the dinner table if J.P. makes her laugh. Ashley stumbled through an answer and the rest, as they say, is history. Tears flowed, accusations thrown, names called. And despite her typical big sister ways, Chrystie, I think, nailed it. And the best part is she didn't back down. She told J.P. what she thought flat-out (he's too old and "demure" for the wild and crazy Ashley) and just can't see them together long-term. Then in a tete-a-tete with Ashley, Chrystie didn't soften one iota. It was awesome.

Ash's mom told Ashley to follow her heart which is just about the last thing in the world Ashley should do. She has one of the stupidest hearts we've seen on this show. It doesn't know what's best for her. The best advice would be to listen carefully to what her heart is telling her... and then do the exact opposite.

Chrystie told J.P. that she wouldn't be happy if he proposed, questioned why a man of his age would be single (he's 34), and said there wasn't anything he could do to turn things around. Yeah, yeah, she did her mea culpa on the After The Final Rose show, but she had little choice.

When the two sisters sat down and hashed it out, Chrystie rightfully pointed out to Ash that her heart (or gut) once led her to the cretinous Bentley, too, so how could she trust it now? She said she wants to protect Ashley from herself. And mentioned, on a few occasions, that she's a rational person (despite the poor choices she made with body art) rather than an emotional one like younger sister. That's exactly how I am, too. And I have those types of discussions with friends and loved ones where they're all emotional and I'm trying to shove rationality down their throats and I can see now how horribly frustrating it must be to listen to someone like me. But here's my argument for rationality over emotion: How do emotional people get over some negative emotion that's got them all in a tizzy? They eventually use their brains to get through it. Why not just skip the middle man?

J.P. was pissed off at Chrystie and wasn't all too thrilled with Ashley's reaction, either. He wanted more support from her. The guy is fragile. How many times did he talk about heartbreak tonight? And how many times have we heard about his last bout of heartbreak? Is it possible Ashley chose him because she didn't want to have to deal with the fallout of breaking his heart?

Next up was Ben, who wowed the Hebert family, sister included. Throughout the show, I was so impressed with him. He's young, good-looking, successful, thoughtful, fun, articulate, intelligent, and does ridiculous dog voices. And he and Ashley seemed like the perfect match. When he was interrogated by Chrystie, I thought he must have been tipped off about what to say because he nailed it. He told her he was in love with Ashley, said he could tell she was in love with him by where the laughter was coming from (fending off the question of whether he makes her laugh), and stated that they were at the right age and points in their careers (i.e. not an old geezer like J.P.).

One knock on Chrystie's otherwise sound arguments came when she wondered if they would be able to maintain that upbeat, positive energy long-term. Afterall, she said, she's been married and divorced. Well, that explains things. Methinks Chrystie has unreasonably high expectations of marriage. Long-term relationships have ebbs and flows. It's not all dance dance party party all the time.

On their last date, Ashley and Ben sauntered along. Ashley asked Ben what he expected. He had no idea. I seriously was thinking he should say helicopter because it is The Bachelorette, afterall. And sure enough, there's a helicopter. It whisked them away to a healing mud bath where the two of them caressed mud all over each other erotically. That night, he finally tells her he loves her and they start kissing, their walls fall down and they're like two kids in love. She wraps her leg over him as they make out, revealing a zit on her bum. Yes, like two kids, indeed. But it's scenes like this, and the numerous other make-out scenes with Ben, that I just know must be eating away at J.P. How can a jealous guy like that watch what she had with Ben and just let it slide?

On her date with Japes, he also tells her that he's in love with her, upping the ante by including "madly". They also kiss, but it lacks what she showed with Ben. A hint, though, did pass her lips. As she pulled away, she said, "You're the best ever." Okay, but with Ben, she never pulled away.

J.P. also made a visit to the props department and got them to put together a photo album. Then he headed over to the writers' room and got them to pen the most obsequious note, which, natch, she fell for:
My dearest Ashley,
This is the first chapter to the greatest love story ever told. The past few months have been the happiest of my life and I can't wait to see what the future holds. Meeting you has changed my life forever and falling in love with you is the best thing that has ever happened to me. When we look back years from now, still happy and very much in love, we'll always remember this time in our lives when Ashley and J.P. first began. I love you, baby, with all my heart and I can't wait for the next chapter.
Love always,
J
Ashley told us she gets lost in J.P. and she's totally infatuated with him. Me, I don't get it, but then again it's not for me to get. I think he's one of the least charismatic finalists we've seen in a long time. Maybe she was looking for a father figure. And when we saw her printing in her diary (yes, she allowed the camera to film part of her diary entry), you really got a sense of just how young she is. Printing? I've heard from teacher friends that cursive writing is on the outs but this is the first I've seen of it from an adult, let alone a near-dentist.

Then it comes time to break Ben's heart. And despite her making the wrong choice, it was perhaps the best break-up in series history. Going into it, Ben was as confident as we've seen him all season. He talked about proposing to her and saying "she will say yes". He called their relationship a fairy tale (little did he know it was a Grimm fairy tale) and tearfully spoke of his deceased father, whom he lost 4.5 years ago but he'd be getting a new family member today. Ouch.

He strode confidently up to her. Her first words were, "Um... I..." and Ben took that as a cue he was the guy. So he took over, telling her how completely and utterly vulnerable he was. To prove his point, he got down on one knee, opened the ring box, flashed a big smile and said, "Will you marry me and make me the happiest man on Earth?"

Doh! And so began the greatest exit in series history. "Wow. I didn't see this one coming." As Chris Harrison said later, it was one of the most genuine reactions they've ever seen on this show. Finally, someone who doesn't walk back arm in arm. He simply said, "I guess that's it, right?" and walked off. Ashley caught up to him telling him how much she cares about him. "What I don't need you to do is sugarcoat it." This was Ben's shining moment. He showed emotion and intelligence with this gem: "You can't leave something like this on good terms. It's not possible. Good things don't end unless they end badly." He's a wise sage, that Ben.

Yay, Ben! Ben for the next Bachelor. That's a given, right?

I don't know why he thought J.P. was a safer bet than him, though. Because he and Ashley both live on the east coast? I can't think of any other reason. After sitting with the producers and saying there were no hints along the way, they gave Ben an Eskimo funeral, putting him onto a small boat and sending him to sea. Actually, we know from the After the Final Rose show that he took several flights back home, so where was that motorboat taking him? It was heading to the open waters.

When J.P. showed up, it was anti-climactic. Ashley said she thought Japes would make the best husband and the best father. Maybe. She's know better than us. I just didn't see anything that suggested he'd be any better or worse a husband or father than Ben. When he couldn't wipe the perma-smile off his face, Ashley said she always tells him he's going to get wrinkles when he's older. All I could think was he's got them now.

On After The Final Rose, the crowd cheered over the announcement of the selection. Am I completely out to lunch on this? Since I don't read anything about the show, I have no idea what the people think. Wasn't Ben the favourite? But maybe the ladies were cheering because it meant that Ben was still available.

You know I'm not a fan of the endless recaps in this series. It's bad enough when it's only been one week since the last episode, but how ridiculous is it to show recaps when what they're recapping occurred five minutes ago?!

Ashley continues to redefine her look, coming out as a dark brunette this time with her hair parted on the other side. Just when I was getting used to her old new look. When Ben sarcastically said, "Nice ring," there were gasps from the ladies. Jeezus, people are overly sensitive.

Ben asked her when she knew she'd chosen J.P. She replied that at one point she thought it would be Ben, but "it gets to a point where you have to follow your heart and that's what I did." Uh, can I have a follow-up? When exactly was that point, was the question. Was it that day, earlier in the week, day one? When? What kind of non-answer was that? She has a career in politics ahead of her.

Then we were treated to a special sneak-peak of a new series... for nine minutes yet! The only thing worse is that I think it sucked me in. Damn you, ABC.

The line of the night goes to Chrystie for accepting J.P. Rosenbaum into the family by talking about the amazing Christmases they'll have together. Classic.

So that's it. I guess I wish them the best. We only get to see a fraction of their relationship so maybe she made the right choice. It's highly unlikely, given her heart's faulty intelligence, but one never knows, do one?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Week 10: Some men tell some

Tonight was the special The Men Tell All episode. These episodes are always more fun imagining what they might be like rather than what it turns out to be. They're given two hours and what do they do? More recaps and long promo pieces for the upcoming Bachelor Pad. When they get around to airing out their differences, they do a couple gripes and move on. I'd rather see two hours of infighting, but that's just me.

Early in the process, host Chris Harrison suggested that during the segment on Bentley they would discuss whether the producers of the show should have informed Ashley of what they knew. For a brief moment, I not only thought I'd finally get an answer to something that really irked me, but I thought maybe they even read this space. I kind of exist in a vacuum. I know there are dozens and dozens of other Bachelor/ette blogs out in cyberspace but I don't read a single one of them. So I'm going to go on believing none of them harped on the subject and that the powers that be read my entries.

But despite Harrison alluding to it in the intro, nary a mention was made when it came time to rehash the Bentley situation. And what a disappointing segment that turned out to be. Most people were probably expecting this segment to be the juiciest but they barely talked about it. What we did find out was former villain and former beauty Michelle was the one who texted Ashley about Bentley's intentions. No wonder Ashley disregarded the warning. Beyond that, we heard Blake call Bentley a "narcissist, liar and a coward." End scene.

Later Ashley, in proving that she's completely over Bentley, shed more tears in talking about him. Yup, totally over him. And despite the process completely proving her instincts to be horrible, she declared she'll continue to be guided by her heart: "That's how I live my life and I'll never change that." Yeah, why change what's so clearly working for you?

Another Harrison head-scratcher: He called the masked man "easily the most talked about person in the history of the show." Really? Not Bentley? Not Wes? Not any number of now-forgotten weirdos?

In a segment on formerly unseen footage, it flew by. They'd run the clip, that was neither informative nor particularly entertaining, then quickly move on to the next one, ending on a shot of Vaseline on the night table next to Ashley's bed. It's not what you think it's for. But she should have pretended it was because her real answer was a complete turn-off: she rubs Vaseline all over her lips and lower face before going to bed. "You don't want to sleep next to me," she said. How did she know?!

One thing that struck me during the elongated promo for Bachelor Pad was how quickly I forget the names of people I spent ridiculing for a whole season. I can't even remember which season they were a part of. But I think I'll be watching anyway.

Oh, poor sweet William. Does everyone hate him? Am I the only one who sympathizes with him? He's the only one who understood what a roast was and he was vilified for it. Sure, in hindsight, he shouldn't have made the joke about wanting Emily or what's-her-face (see?) instead of Ashley, but there's no way he would have made the joke if that's what he really thought. But wasn't it adorable seeing him sitting there with his fingers in his ears while his highlight reel played?

And poor sweet Ryan. I admit it was kind of cringe-inducing when he proudly stated he read three books of questions (?) to prepare for the show as an example of him taking the process seriously, I don't think he should be ridiculed for it, as I'm sure he will be. He's just an earnest well-meaning guy. Cut him some slack.

Ames proved to be the crowd favourite. And since he's a contestant on the upcoming BP, I bet the producers are slapping their foreheads now. He probably should have been selected as the next Bachelor judging by the reaction he received tonight. And oh how I'd love that. It would be the best season ever. Ames told Chris he took it slow with Ashley because he wanted the relationship to last forever, presumably something he learned from the ancient Greek philosopher Aesop.

Then we were treated to the usual assortment of past contestants (is that what you call them?). Apparently Trista and Ryan were unavailable. Now we'll never know how their kids are doing and how much they still love each other... Hey, wait a minute... Maybe they're relationship is on the rocks? How else to explain their absence? Let's start that rumour! And while we're at it, we can start the "Ali has let herself go" rumour based on the muumuu she was sporting. Isn't that why people wear them? Anyway, we got Ali, Jason and DeAnna and they all commiserated with poor Ashley. At least that's how it sounded even though Ashley is "very very happy."

Later tonight we'll find out what happens. The promos showed both JP and Ben getting down on one knee and proposing. The voice-over asked which one, if any, she would choose. I think she'll go with Ben. So put your money on JP because I'm usually wrong.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Week 9: Ashley loses her flower

Come on, America, get your act together! What's all this nonsense about a lowered credit rating? And what the hell does it have to do with Ashley? Why did it take a chunk out of my PVR-recorded viewing of The Bachelorette tonight? Couldn't Obama's little talk (I saw his mug as I was fast-forwarding through it) wait? Someone needs to invent a PVR that senses ridiculous interruptions to quality TV programming and adds on the extra time at the end. Because as it was, I got rudely cut off just as Ashley and Japes were getting ready to toss the camera crew from the fantasy suite. I have no idea what happened after that and won't until tomorrow or whenever ABC.com decides to put up the whole episode. I'm assuming not much happened because she's down to her final two.

This episode saw the endlessly chipper Ryan returning to ask Ashley for one more chance. 'No regrets' was his motto. Well, maybe he'll regret embarrassing himself on national television again, but other than that nothing.

He knocked on her door, sat her down and proceeded to rehash their last date, reminding Ashley exactly why she dumped him in the first place without even giving him the chance of a rose ceremony. He told her he went home after that fateful date and got right back into the swing of things. For what? Two days? He just left the show. But he couldn't get his mind off her so he called somebody named Chris. I think we're supposed to believe that's Chris Harrison, but my guess is there's a producer with real decision-making duties, as opposed to the talking head with the hosting duties by the name of Chris. He said he told this Chris person, "I know I'm not supposed to do this." Damn straight. That move is just unprecedented in the history of this series. We did not see anything of the sort coming. I was blown away someone would even attempt such a bold move. That move is almost as rare as the elusive helicopter sighting on this show.

Was this Ryan's last audition for the upcoming season of The Bachelor? Yeah, probably. He's Jake 2.0. He's the successful all-American boy who everyone loves. It's only a matter of time before he finds love, loses love, then wishes his ex would fall off a cliff to her death.

One commenter last week mentioned Ames' perma-smile. Ryan, too, has a smile problem. His is that he doesn't know how to contain himself, doesn't quite know when to flash that gushing smile. He said effusively, "I wanna spend more time with you so bad," practically shooting lasers from his eyes into Ashley's and working his dimples overtime, and she sat there staring blankly back at him. It was painful to watch, him with his breathless call-me-crazy misguided gosh-darn enthusiasm; her with her mind scrambling to find a way not to hurt him. She eventually came up with, "I can't believe you flew all the way over here!" Yes, that was quite a sacrifice, you must admit. Fiji's a real hole.

For a moment I thought Ashley was just insecure enough that she might be taken with a successful man actually professing unwavering devotion to her. I mean, she's constantly worried that the guys aren't going to like her and just leave. I think she's just afraid of success. So she did break it to Ryan gently that she's just not that into him. He took it like a man, or reasonable facsimile. He hugged her and told her he was so happy for her before choking back tears. Tears of happiness, of course. Because he was just so goldarn happy.

The date with Ben was hot and heavy. Ben nailed it when he described them as giddy little school children. On a yacht, he sprayed sunscreen on Ash and desperately tried to rub it through her bikini top. He wasn't trying to cop a feel. Not at all. He knows the devastating effect the sun can have through padded bras.

Then Ashley straddled Big Ben and rubbed sunscreen onto Ben's boobs. A true case of tit for tat if there ever was one.

While on the high seas, Ashley announced, "I lost my flower." A sign of things to come in the fantasy suite.

Ashley said that if she and Ben were to spend their lives together, she felt there would never be a dull moment. Well, except for when he opens his mouth. Other than that, though, snorkelling in Fiji is just another typical weekend for this sommelier. Ben is so exciting, he brought out the colours in the fish.

Ben talks a big game, but when the game is on the line, he chokes. He was telling us he was going to tell Ashley he loves her. Here's his attempt: "My feelings are growing and I'm on my way to the whole 'I love you' thing." Swing and a miss!

Throughout dinner, Ashley looked like I'd never seen her before. I think it was the best she's ever looked, but I could be wrong. Maybe it was just the sex face. She knew tonight was the night. "I'm hoping tonight he'll show me how he feels," is how she put it. Yeah, we're picking up what you're laying down, Ash. When doing the little tour of the suite, she points to the bed and says, "This is where we're going to sleep." That's a first, I do believe. Before it's always been implied (as Constantine so artfully put it) but there was always the possibility that the couple just stay up all night talking or one of them sleeps on the couch. But not tonight. Ashley couldn't wait to lose her flower again.

Constantine's date was on ... wait for it ... a helicopter! Okay, nothing new to report there. But it was accompanied by one of the best lines in franchise history. Ashley said, "I'm gonna be his first helicopter ride!" Nuff said. Let's move on.

As they're flying off to their date, we see Ryan alone on the beach (before being dumped for the second time). He's saying he's been there for a couple of days and he's just waiting for that knock on the door from Ashley. We see him walking on the beach, sitting in a cool rock formation, and I'm thinking, "Buddy, shouldn't you be at your hotel room awaiting this knock? Maybe you missed her already."

Anyway, back to the Greek God. The two of them found a waterfall and a cliff. You just know at this point she's going to confuse the figurative with the literal as everyone does on this show. And sure enough, she's telling us how important it is in a relationship to take a leap of faith with a partner. And off they went, off the edge and into the drink. I found it odd that she was wearing panties as the bottom half of her bikini, but who am I to judge?

On their picnic, she has a heart-to-heart with the slow-moving Constantine. She tells him he thinks things through before making a decision. And she said this like it's a bad thing. She asked him, "Are you ever consumed by your emotion?" She wasn't looking for an answer so much as criticizing him for be rational. This coming from the woman who fell head-over-heels for a slimeball she was warned was there for the wrong reasons. Sometimes using your head isn't such a bad thing, missy.

Constantine wasn't feeling her the way he thought he should be so he bailed without even some free gratuitous sex in the fantasy suite. There would be no helicopter rides on this night. I was wondering if she'd even offer the card to him but it didn't get that far. After he walked off, she brought the card out and held the key. She had the whole place to herself. And you know what that implies. I thought maybe she should have gone to Ryan (whom she still hadn't rejected) with the card and given him a little sumpin-sumpin for his efforts.

The last date was with Japes the Jealous Man. He didn't want to talk to her about his feelings regarding the other men but they were evident. Then later he said, "I can just be myself" around her. Uh, not so much. Can you imagine if she chose JP what it would be like watching tonight's episode with him as she dry humps Ben on the boat? It would be over.

That's as far as I got thanks to Obama and my PVR. Did I miss anything good? As soon as I watch the end, if I have anything further to say, I'll add it to the bottom of this post.

UPDATE!: Just finished watching the end on the trusty internet. So let me get to it. My PVR quit right before it got good. Ashley and Japes were in the fantasy suite the last I saw. What I missed was Ashley excusing herself to get into something more comfortably and more revealing. She returned wearing Shaquille O'Neal's dress shirt and hopped onto the bed striking a seductive pose. Man, she's full on, this girl. She makes Jillian look positively virginal. As I wrote last night, in the past the notion of sex in the suite has always been inferred and implied but never so outright as it was this episode. I have no problem with it but I'm just concerned for her after she chooses the final guy. He'll watch the episode and see her making the same moves with another guy. In the past, the Bachelor/ette could always tell a white lie and say nothing more than cuddling happened but she'll have a harder go of it this time.

I also wondered about her timing. She could have waited until the crew left before exposing her horniness. As it was, she laid there pantsless making out on the bed with Japes and the camera just slowly backed out of the room. You could almost hear them whispering, "Uh, we'll just leave now. Don't get up."

Also in the after-the-fact conjecturing, if she chooses Japes, how will he take to her characterization of her relationship with Ben, saying she feels she's the most compatible with him? We know J.P. isn't the most carefree guy in the world.

Speaking of feelings, what about Constantine sitting at home with his family watching this episode? Chris Harrison asked Ashley which was harder, saying goodbye to Constantine or Ryan. She answered Ryan "because I just think he's a good guy." What's the subtext there? Constantine's a jerk? Then again, he probably didn't hear it over his family talking and dancing.

So they had a rose ceremony despite there being two roses for two bachelors. And Ashley felt this was the most important one to date because love is a two-way street and the guys will have to feel the same way for her as she does for them. Um, hasn't she been watching? Is she absolutely clueless? She has no read on whether a guy is into her or not. I think this is what her sister will tell her in the dramatic finale next week, judging by the upcoming highlights. And her sister knows about bad decisions. Her body art will attest to that.

Methinks the rose ceremony was a lot of false drama. Ashley said she'd be devastated if one of them didn't accept the rose. Chris Harrison might have reminded her that not a single contestant in the history of the show has ever refused a rose at a ceremony. Not a one. They leave before it gets to that point.

I wondered in the past if Chris Harrison watched the show, too. Maybe he doesn't because when Ben and Japes were standing there pre-rose, Chris said, "I know you're wondering where Constantine is. I'll let Ashley explain." Ashley already explained it to J.P. So maybe Harrison was just addressing Ben.

And what was with the pregnant pause between the calling of the names? There was only one guy there. She knew she'd be handing it out to him. I missed Harrison coming out just before the last rose. He could have said, "Gentlemen... Ashley... as you can see, there's one rose left. It's going to J.P. Spoiler alert."

So they're going with a Sunday night Men Tell All episode this time. It should be a doozy. I'll be there. Hopefully there'll be no press conference to interrupt the proceedings this time.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Week 8: A less enticing ending

Are we running out of steam this season? For the first time in a long time, there were no comments to last week's post. We're only eight weeks in. Is this season less juicy than others? Did their one-week hiatus for the July 4th holiday take everyone out of their routine? Did the new look mesmerize you? Or did I just nail it and nothing more need be said?

Regardless, I will see the season through! The hometown visits are always fun just to see some of the pieces of work these people come from. Every man and woman in the history of this show has parroted the belief that extended families are a very important gauge to a relationship. This week, in fact, Little Ben went so far as to say that if his mom and sister didn't approve of a girl, he couldn't marry her. He said this three times.

If families are important, all four have red flags but none so red or flaggy it couldn't be overcome. Let's go through them in order.

As I mentioned last week, Constantine's Greekness could be problematic if his parents want their son to marry a nice Greek girl, which Ashley definitely isn't. They seemed super friendly and welcoming, but Elleni, the mom, let slip that if an outsider were to infiltrate the clan, she'd make sure a conversion took place. She said, "I think we'll have a little meeting to turn her into an honorary Greek. Pull her into the club." Vindication of sorts for me!

We know by now everyone's favourite oddball intellectual, Ames, was the odd man out and didn't move on, so there's little point discussing his hometown visit. But being a big NBA fan I was thrilled he was from a place called Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania (I won't explain it. That'll be a little gift to any other NBA fan out there). Ames' sister raved about her younger brother, saying he was the most loyal and honest person anyone could meet. And, curiously, she also said he's romantic. Um, red flag anyone? Then she relayed her reconnaissance mission to Ames in a strategy session. Her suggestion: Up the romance. My suggestion would have been: Tuck in your underpants. But that's just me. So to prove he's not a robot, he took Ashley to his favourite tree. C'mon, cut him some slack. It's what the Italian renaissance thinkers would have done.

Next up was the frontrunner, Little Ben, who had previously only ever brought one date back to the homestead to meet mom. First he takes her on a picnic to his winery where she tastes Ben's wines, if you get what I'm saying. Actually, that's exactly what they did. But don't you think it sounds like a great euphemism? Let's all try to adapt that to our lives.

Ben's family made Ames' bookish clan look positively hot-blooded and carefree. What a morose twosome his mom and sister made. And then it was Ben's turn, getting all emotional talking to the camera. What a barrel o' fun holidays in Sonoma must be.

Finally it was on to Long Island where Ashley could meet the family of last week's pout-fest. JP took Ashley roller skating because... he's retro? No, because he's just old and that's what he did in his youth. They edited out what came next: a trip to the drug store for a cherry sarsaparilla soda. When they got to JP's home, everyone was overly concerned about his fragile psyche, not wanting him to get his heart broken again. This guy gets in deep, apparently. I don't look forward to the moment he gets dropped by Ashley. It could be ugly.

Turns out JP is Jewish. Who knew? The skinhead haircut threw me. At one point, his mom brought out a huge photo of a 13-year-old JP taken at his bar mitzvah. It was very cute, but it gave me the same pause as with Constantine. I know every mother's dream is for her son to find the woman of his dreams and live happily ever after, but many a Jewish mother want that woman to be a nice Jewish girl. And fair enough, maybe that isn't the case in this situation. I'm just saying Ashley should get that cleared up before she goes any further and deeper with Japes, for both their sakes.

Out of those four, it was clear Ames was the one to go just because there was no spark there. But who didn't like the guy? Of the remaining three, we've got the Greek family man, the Jewish family man, and the brooding family man. All signs point to Big Ben. Back at the mansion, talking to Chris Harrison, Ashley told him that "Ben surprised me. He planned such a good date." I'm sure that took quite a lot of planning to grab a couple sandwiches and sit on the grass on his own property sipping wine that very property makes. So you know she's smitten when that little effort gets blown out of proportion.

Chris Harrison continues to amuse. He offered up the second-best line of the night: "So you left Sonoma. Where did you go from there?" What does he have to do all week but track her every move then sit down for two minutes and talk to her? How could he not know her itinerary? Don't they brief him? If he was doing it for our sake, don't bother, dude. We were watching, unlike you.

An aside here: Ashley, as cute as she is, shouldn't wear make-up. She's more the natural type. She looks like a little girl playing make-up when she cakes it on.

Anyway, the usual suspects got roses and Ames didn't. He stood there with that patented confused/bemused look on his face. They sat down briefly and he was intelligent, as usual, and gracious then demonstrated why he wasn't selected when he actually shook her hand. Classic! And when he took his limo ride of shame, he offered up the best line of the night:
I was just hoping to share a lifetime of adventures with this beautiful woman and now I'm back to sharing a lifetime of adventures with myself, which is... less enticing.
Oh, man, I laughed. Not at Ames, whom I like, but that pause before the last two words coupled with the tilt of the head. So beautifully detached and intellectual.

If the last couple of weeks have lacked in drama, it looks like next week should make up for it. It looks like (if the upcoming highlights are any indication and are they ever misleading?) JP's on the outs. Then a flip-flopped man of mystery returns. Who could it be? Certainly not Bentley. I doubt Ames has the passion to return. Whoever it is, when she opens the door she looks happily shocked. Hey, maybe it's Brad Womack! That makes sense.

Then in two weeks her ink-stained sister tells her what she really thinks, which doesn't sit well with Ashley, who calls her a bitch.

Speaking of failed series relationships, I trust you all saw the ad for the upcoming season of Bachelor Pad. They've reunited Jake and Vienna! Oh, they look so happy, don't they? When they showed her saying, "I hate him," you could totally tell she still really loved him.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Week 7: Nice guys finish last

The holidays are over and we're back to reality. Or at least reality TV. Just to drive the point home, the fellas walk en masse into a square in Tapei and stop on a line about 20 feet from Chris Harrison, who addresses them without the aid of a megaphone. That was natural.

In this episode, JP went from good guy to green-eyed monster. Every season one person becomes the raving jealous lunatic. Who'd a thunk it would be easy-going JP? Okay, he wasn't a raving lunatic; just a quiet, surly whiner. Red flag? I'd think so, but apparently Ashley thought it was charming. It worked for him. He got a pity rose with his woe-is-me routine. I know jealousy is a natural human reaction and it's more how we deal with our jealousy than the jealousy itself that matters. But considering how long they've known each other and the situation they're in, what to make of JP's sullenness and possessiveness? In a real relationship, what form would it take? Is he the type to put shackles on his wife and tell her what to wear or who she can see? I'm not saying that's the case at all, but when you can't control your emotions and pout like a teenaged girl when cameras are rolling all around you and millions are watching, it's gotta make you wonder.

We also learned that her relationship with Constantine is moving the most slowly, according to Ash, but he's still around. I'm sure that'll make the gentlemen sent home feel better. Constantine doesn't even pretend to be all that into her. Maybe the playing-hard-to-get angle really does work. When she asked him if he thinks this relationship can possibly work for him, he replies that yes, it could "if I fall in love." And Ashley nods knowingly and approvingly. I'm thinking, did she not hear him? Also, he's Greek, and if I know one gross stereotype about Greeks is that they like to marry each other. Last I checked, our heroine is not named Ashley Hebertopoulos. (Yes, I have Greek friends who have married outside the tribe but I like to perpetuate stereotypes.) Who Constantine should hook up with is a good Greek girl like DeAnna Pappas.

And what about their kiss? Yowza, that was perhaps the longest and most stilted kiss, or series of kisses, in the storied history of this franchise. We've seen plenty of awkward stilted kisses before but not that went on for so long. At least none that I can recall.

Ben says he's almost ready to drop the L-bomb on Ashley. No, he's not ready to call her a Loser. He's falling in Love! He proved to be a thoughtful and intelligent young winemaker on their date. After his sweet talk at dinner, Ashley undoubtedly was swept off her feet. But that's as far as we witnessed. Next thing we knew, Ben was sheepishly walking in the door back at the hotel the next morning. But he assured the others they did not share a room. Whether that's true or not we'll never know because he strikes me as a refined gentleman who wouldn't sleep and tell.

Another thing we learned this episode was that Ashley likes the bare-back look, giving the allusion she's going bra-less. She wore such an outfit two or three times. I will not make any jokes about how the back was not much different from the front. This isn't a roast.

Poor earnest Ryan was thrown for a loop on his long-awaited one-on-one date. No pressure because it wasn't a do-or-die date. But Ashley made it one anyway, sending the good guy home. He's such a positive, respectable and successful guy I was wondering if he'd make a good Bachelor. What do you people think? Or will they bring Brad back for a third go-around now that his engagement is off?

One curious statement was when Ashley told Ryan she respected him too much to put him through the rose ceremony. Uh, what does that say about Lucas, who she did put through the ceremony? She doesn't respect him? Regardless, I'm sure Ryan would rather have liked to have kept the memory of a nice date with him than to be sent packing so soon. Hell, they even made him hail his own cab! No driver for you!

I forget how old Ryan is (32?) but my guess is that he looked too old for young Ashley and definitely acted more mature. Ashley told Chris Harrison that early on she'd choose a guy based on potential but at this stage she had to consider other factors such as whether she could envision walking up next to the guy. It was at this point that I knew for certain Ben was in.

Similar to my point about Ryan's date, I also think Ashley should let the guys have the cocktail party. If you're going to get sent home anyway, don't you want at least some fun and free drinks before you go? But no, she had her mind made up. Lucas could do or say nothing to save himself. Just as well. He's the one I wanted gone. He was a good loser, though, a southern gentleman. Although he almost slipped up a bit when he said, "I want someone to cook breakfast in the morning... together." Yeah, make no mistake, ladies. He won't demand you get up and make his breakfast. He'll at least put bread in the toaster for you.

After being so sure that she didn't even need or want a cocktail party, Ashley cried after sending Lucas home, saying she's not so sure and hopes that she made the right decision.

And that was it for the Ashley portion of the show. The remaining time went to the break-up of Emily and Brad. Who had July in the pool? Well done.

I don't think Chris Harrison is clear on the definition of "some". In his intro to Miss Emily, he mentioned that "some" Bachelor/ette couples have gotten married and started families and that "some" couples who've gotten engaged on the show have since broken up. In Harrison's world, "some" can mean either "one" or "all but one".

When Miss Emily, the leggy blond stepped out of the limo to greet Harrison, you could practically hear Bentley hyperventilating. And when she used his phrase, "dot dot dot", I'm sure he was already calling the producers and signing up for Bachelor Pad in hopes she'd be there. Or will she be the next B'ette?

We didn't learn anything about their breakup. The classy southern lady won't say a bad word about Mr. Womack, nor will she tolerate others speaking ill of the man but suggested she didn't have reassurance he'd stick around with her forever. And yet she believes the paparazzi hiding in her bushes will stick around forever, so who knows? She's apparently not familiar with the concept of Andy Warhol's famous prediction.

Next week, it's the hometown visits. Are you tingly with excitement? Me, neither, but we've invested this much time, we can't bail now.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Week 6 again?!

So here we are, on vacation. Got the kid in bed by 8 ready to watch our favourite reality series without the aid of the PVR and... it's a friggin' repeat! What the hay? Is it some kind of holiday in the States? What gives? I expected big fireworks this week, not the Fourth of July! Oh well. It's actually better this way. Vacation isn't meant for blogging. And the show will be all the sweeter for the wait. Until next week.