Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bachelor Ben: The Black Widow

I don't know what to think. I had to sleep on this latest episode to wrap my head around Ben. Well, that and I was really tired. But still, I don't know whether to laugh or cry (metaphorically speaking). Do I sigh and shake my head? Do I reach out and give Ben a wake-up slap across the noggin? Do I revel in the public train wreck to come? Answer: All of the above.

This season has flown by. With this one done, we're down to the final four and onto the hometown dates. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We need to rehash what went down in Belize.

Off the top, Ben tells us that feelings of love are there (nice passive voice, Ben) but that he's not ready to tell anyone that. Bit of a double standard? He expects the women to open up but he remains a closed book. Do we really know Ben? Not really. I know he's able to plunk out some primary chords on a piano. I know he knows his way around a bottle of vino. I know his dad died. I know he seems like a nice, normal guy. But in this episode, we learn he considers himself a bit of a weirdo. Seriously? He really isn't opening up in any real way at all. He is from Sonoma, so maybe his definition of 'weird' is a very pedestrian one, like he wears his shirt untucked or something.

There were three one-on-one dates, all rose-free, and one group date with one rose. Two would be sent home.

Lindzi gets the first one-on-one, which reduces Nicki to tears as the Stockholm Syndrome really settles in nicely. I really don't know what to make of Lindzi. She's attractive enough, apart from the axe wound down her right cheek and the scratchy voice. But she's a bit meh. Plus, the graphics tell us she's 27 but she looks much older. That's not a bad thing; it's just a thing.

Lindzi's phobia is heights. I call bullshit on that. Someone afraid of heights doesn't sit relaxed on an open-door helicopter ride admiring the view; rather she sits cowering and tense with her eyes clenched shut with sweat pouring from her. Okay, maybe I'm projecting. Besides, it doesn't take a fear of heights not to want to jump out of a helicopter into a 500-foot deep ocean hole, no matter how nicely it's surrounded by reef. Ben said she was freaking out, but we see her standing on the outside of the airborne chopper laughing. Yeah, real terror there. But as we all know by now, relationships are all about confronting your fears head-on. Every time I hear that I feel my own relationship is not up to snuff. Then again, my marriage has lasted. What fear have I conquered? The fear of getting up before noon, sure, but what else? None that I can think of.

But they take the plunge (much closer to the water than they show at first). Nobody dies. And Lindzi is probably still afraid of heights to the same degree she was before.

Back on land, they write a fairy tale on a piece of paper. More like a literal tale. How many fairy tales do you know that reference technology (i.e. jumping out of a helicopter). But whatever. They then roll up the paper, slip it into a bottle, and litter that bottle in the ocean. To what end? Who knows? Maybe one day a child of the future will stumble across the bottle washed up on shore, take out the message and be magically whisked away to a land when quaint helicopters filled the air.

The next one-on-one went to Emily, the PhD student/rapper. On their walk, they come across a lobster fisherman. Or at least an actor portraying a lobster fisherman. His lobsters are all spoken for so Ben says let's go catch some ourselves. Emily marvels about Ben's spontaneity. Because that wasn't planned out months in advance at all. Okay, maybe she's just school smart. She didn't notice the underwater cameraman tagging along, I guess.

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Courtney is realizing she needs some camera time so she acts jealous and insecure, even managing the odd tear. Who said models can't act?! She and Lindzi, lounging on a bed, hash it out. She tells Lindzi she isn't ready to bring Ben home to her family and doesn't know how much more she can take. In fact, if she doesn't get the last one-on-one date, she's not going to accept a rose. And Lindzi actually seems to be sympathetic, which either speaks really well of her or really poorly.

Kacie is getting her hate-on for Courtney, making the first of two black widow analogies the not-so-super model would get this episode. Kacie said she'd squish her in her palm. Now, I'm no arachnologist, but I don't know if that's a wise move. But the idea of Courtney as a black widow is perhaps sound. She seems to be at one with the creepy crawlers. In the end credits we see her encounter with a (supposedly) wild tarantula and she has no fear whatsoever. She happily picks it up and plays with it. Again, as I say, I'm no arachnologist but really? I know tarantulas in captivity are fine, but they're a bit more used to human contact. I'm just saying the downside to your bravery is ripe with risk.

Lo and behold, Courtney gets the last one-on-one date. On her way out, she says to no one but herself, but meant for our enjoyment, "Bye! I can't stand you!" Clearly she's never seen the Women Tell All episode. Why set yourself up like that? Even if you honestly don't like the others, are you that clueless that you don't know how it'll come across?

And true to her narcissism, she confides in Ben that it's all about her. I got the feeling the whole thing was a ploy for attention and airtime, playing hard to get. And as always, it worked. I wonder what she could say or do that would turn Ben off? Anything? Pick her nose and eat it? He'd probably laugh it off. Scream in his face that he's a loser who looks like Alfalfa? He'd be turned on by her raw emotion. He's got it bad. And as Duke Ellington would say, "And that ain't good."

She tells him the spark has fizzled a little bit. She says she's confused by his interest in Emily. Talk about your double standard. Emily invokes Courtney's name, and she's reprimanded for it. But Courtney talks smack about Emily and he's fine with it. I also love how she plays the victim to the hilt. She was just an innocent bystander when the evil, vindictive Emily unleashed on her.

Emily uses another false black widow analogy: "She's like a black widow: she sucks the life out of everything." Again, no arachnologist, but I'm not sure black widows suck but I'm sure Google does. Hang on... Nope, they don't: "The injection of neurotoxic venom latrotoxin from these species is a comparatively dangerous spider bite, resulting in the condition latrodectism." But she follows this up with a good line, saying it's sad that Ben doesn't see the two sides of Courtney, "or however many sides she has." Ben's hypothetical rejoinder: "Hey, she's multi-faceted."

Ben tells us he'd be devastated if Courtney followed through on her threats and left. He tells her he wants a woman with edge, someone who's a bit weird. My immediate reaction: good luck everyone else. There's not a weird one besides the Big C. Be careful what you wish for, young man.

They climb a Mayan temple and look out at the spectacular view. Ben says, "Oh... my... dad." Oh yes he did. Maybe he's right: he is weird, afterall.

And then he says he can see his life with Courtney. He seriously said that. With a straight face. He tells her he believes in the trite concept of soul mates. Courtney is amazed because who else on shows like these ever does? "You do?!" she squeals. "Me, too!" Of course, it's more grand dramaturgy. Later, pre-final rose ceremony, while the others are fretting about what's going to happen, Courtney lightens the mood by saying Ben isn't the only guy in the world. So much for soul mates.

At dinner, after the spark came back, and Ben was engaging her in deep conversation, she looked so insincere, her eyes darting left and right, up and down, almost anywhere but at Ben as she fiddled with her hair. It's all a game for her. After the date, she tells the other women, via her private interview, "Snap, girls, show's over. You can all go home, pack your bags." She feigns pistols with her fingers and says, "Kill shot." And then her coup de grĂ¢ce: "I don't want to get cocky, though."

Ben wants to hear about Courtney's journey. Does she reveal anything? Of course not. But she slags all the girls in the house, saying she's tried to win them over and be nice to them, compliment them (obviously edited out of the show). She told Ben she wouldn't be friends with any of them, she's bored by them, they're into themselves and vanilla. Ben's ears prick up (as, I'm sure, does his actual prick). He wonders if she's capable of friendship. She assures him she is; she has lots of guy friends. Oh. That's a relief. For a minute there I thought she couldn't get along with people.

To explain how it really is the other girls' fault, and not hers, she expounds on her duties as a world-class model: "I'm the talent. I have to make everyone happy." She then slights them again, saying they're not even women; they're girls. And this: "Do I need to put myself through this stress to find love? I don't." That got Ben's attention. Clearly this is a woman with options: He better keep her around. Good call, Ben. Good call.

Next was the group date and Ben snuck into the rooms of Kacie, Nicki and Rachel at 4 a.m. to give them a surprise wake-up call and tell them to don their swimwear. Then we got shots of Nicki frantically shaving her legs and Rachel hurriedly shaving her pits. Kacie, of course, doesn't have body hair yet.

Next thing we see them on a boat at sunrise drinking champagne. This show really is enabling. What would happen if a contestant didn't drink or was a recovering alcoholic?

The girls (and Ben) would be diving with sharks. So naturally Rachel is terrified of sharks. But as all good potential partners must do, she must overcome her fear. So Ben held her hand on the group date and Rachel survived, although I was wondering (as were the other two girls) if that extra attention and conquering of said fear would garner her the rose. Even Rachel herself was pretty confident she was getting the flower, but that's always the kiss of death, isn't it? It sure was this time. The ectomorphically cute Kacie would not be denied.

Back at the hotel, the smug Courtney told the others, "I bet Ben's exhausted. We had a late night last night." She also compared Kacie to a little girl "with a little boy's body." Oh yeah? Well... but... Okay, she's right on that one, but it's the way she says it that bugs me.

At the end of the group date, Nicki and Kacie broach the subject of Lady C with Ben, telling him to be cautious of her and to "tread lightly". Ben responds by giving Courtney a rose. Didn't even need no stinkin' cocktail party. Sure, he tried to build some doubt by asking to speak to Courtney for a moment (she responded with all the sincerity she could fake: "The only reason I'm here is for you... I think we can make each other really happy in life. I don't want you to question me at all. I've been nothing but honest." Oh, I can't wait for him to report back on After the Final Rose about his thoughts watching this season). But he wasted no time in dumping Rachel (who showed up trying to win some weird points with a dead bird hanging from her right ear) and Emily. Both, not coincidentally, are blondes. Remember on the very first episode he talked about being attracted to brunettes. There you have it. All brunettes left (Lindzi is close enough). And only one weirdo.

Rachel felt rejected, naturally: "I'm really tired of being disappointed." And Em was in disbelief. She was smart enough to turn her back on the camera when the inevitable waterworks arrived.

And that's that. Hard to believe, but true. I had a comment here a week or so ago that was bang on. Remember when Ben and Courtney went skinny dipping in the ocean and nakedly embraced? Okay, fine, whatever, right? But fast forward a month and let's pretend he chose Kacie, for example, with the final rose. Now they're sitting there watching the series unfold and she sees this. How does this go over? Answer: it doesn't. His relationship would be doomed. So he must end up picking Courtney. In which case he is doomed. Either way, chalk up another Bachelor success story!

What is it with "nice guys" on this show? Jake chose the crazed Vienna and now Ben is poised to pick
 the poisoned Courtney. Oh well, at least we have a few months of tabloid hilarity to follow. There's always that.


BestLion said...

Yeah I think he will pick the Black Widow also. That chick is something else. Also rumors online that Courtney in high School was hard to get along with. no way that will work..she is manipulative, controlling etc..Just hell for any man in a relationship..Yes a one night stand she would be OK..but relationship..NO WAY!
Emily and Ben no chemistry..none ..zero..zip..ziltch. They are BORING to watch on a date. Emily needs a metro sexual passive fag like Ames.
Lindzi- How did this chick make it this far? She is the most boring of the 6. i would have sent her azz packing by now.
Nicki- Hey I keep her around for the fantasy suite..thats a for sure in the sack chick..then drop her.
Kasey B- Why all the hype on her? She showed this week she is jelious and not as nice a girl as we are lead to think. Also she aint that hot..She is just ave run of the mill.
Rachael- By far the hottest of the 6..Smokin hot body, nice looks. No way i would have sent her home until after the fantasy suite.
Also whats the big deal of skinny dipping? That means nothing IMHO of keeping a chick around. Most Bachelors have sex with 3 women while on the show. So I dont see how that would bind any. Heck the final rose girls who watch the show from the after the final rose..All see the bachelor in bed for the night with 3 other women...and yet many have had a relationship 1-12 months after the final rose. Don't think that would be hard to live down.

Guy MacPherson said...

I don't think skinny-dipping is a problem, either. But the full-body embrace while naked might very well be to some of the god-fearing young ladies on the show. Just think about how they reacted when Courtney took her top off and covered her chest with beads.

And even if a typical Bachelor does sleep with three contestants, the illusion is still such that each one might believe they were the only one. And if they didn't sleep with him at all, they might believe no one did.

Also I disagree completely with your opinion on Kute Kacie and Rachel. But that's why we watch, right?!

Anything For A Bet said...

I completely agree with your jokes about over-coming fears being part of a good marriage (not) isn't marriage about compromise? All I was thinking was what kind of crappy boyfriend would make me swim with sharks??? Thinking back to my refusal to try camping with husband, I am further convince that I would be such a loser on this show!