Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bachelor Ben: Such controversy!

I know it's kind of The Bachelor's thing to breathlessly announce each and every season as the most something-or-other in franchise history, but most controversial? Really? More than the dude who left two women at the altar? More than the Seattle guy who doubled back? What happened with Ben? He picked who the tabloids have been saying he'd pick for the last two months. Huge surprise there. Such controversy!

Okay, so he picked the narcissistic model over the salt of the earth. Big whoop. It's not like we didn't see it coming. We knew that even good guys have penises and use them in lieu of brains half the time. Jake and Vienna taught us that. And those two might have been the only ones watching who were cheering for Courtney just to take some of the stink off their own failed fake romance. And judging from the near disaster we witnessed in the plodding After the Final Rose show, it's only a matter of time before Ben & Courtney detonate, too.

But let's back up a bit. If you missed it, I'll walk you through the show.

If I just tuned in last night without having seen a single second of the season to date, I'd have known Courtney was the one as soon as they showed Ben and Lindzi embracing. She's all over him and he's standing there stiff-backed leaning away from her. And she made it to the final! That's how much of a blowout this contest was.

The episode took place in the bucolic setting of Zermatt, Switzerland. I didn't know there was a Disneyland there, but apparently there is. Ben's rustic cabin was located at the foot of the Matterhorn. The Europeans are the first to look down on Americans but they're the first to copy a great American landmark like the Matterhorn roller coaster, too. Phoneys.

This week's episode was brought to you by the word 'vulnerable'. Unfortunately by the time I realized it, it was too late to start counting. But it was clearly in double figures. If you included it in your finale drinking game, you're probably really hung over today.

The talking point this week was how much Lindzi "lights up a room." That's code for, "She's got a great personality." Which itself is code for, "She's going home." If you had "lights up a room" in your drinking game and 'vulnerable', you're probably not reading this because you're dead of alcohol poisoning.

Ben's mom and sister flew to the Swiss Disneyland to convene with Ben and meet his final two. Sis, who is to Ben like Mrs. Doubtfire is to Robin Williams – which is to say identical but with longer hair, usually hates Ben's girlfriends. So we can be sure she'll be the voice of reason who will steer Ben away from the big-foreheaded, big-calved, big-knuckled model. Or so we thought.

But I had a notion Courtney would win them over and she did. She's been practicing her soft and sweet character for a few weeks now and she's got it down pat. I'm just a little disappointed Sis didn't see through it. When giving Ben her stamp of approval, she said, "You can't judge a book by its cover." True enough, but you also can't judge a book by its introduction, either.

Before arriving at the cabin, Sis leadingly (and maybe a bit suspiciously, like she'd been tipped off) asked if there was a girl in the process surrounded by drama who didn't get along with the others. Ben told her there was, and they'd be meeting her. Sis smartly told him that was a giant red flag.

When C arrived, she didn't wait to be grilled. She sat down, with coat and scarf still on, and spilled her guts about how hard it was for her, how some girls in the house wouldn't even look at her so she gave up trying to talk to them. She really was making an effort from day one to get to know people! No, really! Geez, persecution complex much?

That's all it took. Sis was, in her own words, "shocked" and "blown away" by this "really amazing girl." She told Ben, "You have to be a pretty strong and secure woman to be a model." But she needn't have. I mean, who doesn't know models are the very picture of confidence? Or at least faking it. She also said Courtney was the "complete package" – only what she didn't say was that package may contain traces of nuts. But after basically telling Ben to go for it with this high maintenance chick, I believe his whole family is nuts, too.

This was the day after they met Lindzi and fell in love with her. Maybe, when compiling a list of pros and cons, Lindzi's clumsiness and poor manners and grammar did her in. Twice while eating she dropped her fork. The horse lady then said, "I get a little stressed out when I have to eat proper." You know, with cutlery and such.

But maybe Lindzi wasn't completely into the process. She said, "If Ben ends up being my husband, this is going to go down in history as one of the biggest days of my life." Just "one of"? You don't want it bad enough, girlfriend.

On her date with Ben, they went skiing near the rollercoaster. Their private gondola stopped midway up the mountain and Lindzi felt now was the place and time to open up to Ben. Yes, of course it was. What better time than on your last date? And what if the gondola didn't stop? Well, there's always the altar.

I never noticed Lindzi's Farrah Fawcett-Majors circa 1978 hairstyle before. I didn't know women still used curling irons.

But I did notice, and continued to notice, her scratchy voice whenever she gets all vulnerable. Her voice box disappears whenever the subject of love comes up.

Another clue she was toast was when Ben visited her at night. He robotically thanked her, kind of a preemptive strike in case she's inconsolable at the altar. She mistook it for an intimate moment. Come to think of it, it probably was intimate for her.

In voice-over mode, Ben told us that he really wanted to tell Lindzi that he loves her but he had one more date with Courtney and it wouldn't be fair. I don't believe that for a second; I think he said it for Lindzi's sake when she was watching at home with a box of Kleenex.

On his final date with Lady C, Ben brought out the big guns: the helichopper, as Courtney called it. They flew over the Matterhorn as their relationship soared to new heights. Ben said he knew it wasn't easy for Courtney meeting his family and having to pretend to be sweet for so long. Actually, I added the last bit, but I think it's a fair statement of fact.

One new wrinkle in this finale was that the girls were required to light their own candles. We saw both Lindzi and Courtney affixing fire to wick. Cutbacks, I guess. They had to choose between professional candle lighter or flying the ring guy to Europe.

As I sat transfixed on Courtney's shiny protruding forehead, when she said, "I had the best time sledding," I could have sworn she said, "I had the best time sweating." Both made sense.

In keeping with her persecution complex, she talked about her pattern of men who just keep taking and taking and not giving anything back. I don't think she was being literal, but it was kinda funny she then gave Ben a gift and he got her nothing. It was the requisite photo album, done up by the prop department. I'm pretty sure they did it because I don't recall ever seeing her with a camera. And if she did have one, that shot of her and Ben on top of a mountain, taken from the base, would be problematic unless she threw her camera down to a passing tourist at the bottom to take it for her.

In the album, she wrote, "I love you, Ben." And the accompanying card was filled with tiny Unabomber-style printing. She wrote that this relationship is "possibly the best thing that's ever happened to me." Yes, "possibly." She also added a PS, saying that she included her all-time favourite love song, "Forever" by Ben Harper, on the mix she gave him. (Thanks to my PVR pause mode for that bit of information.)

And then, after that bit of awkward romance, Courtney gets back in full-on Courtney mode, accusing Ben of throwing her under the bus in tipping his family off about her problem with the girls, making her go on the defensive. For a guy who says he doesn't like drama, he sure picked a drama queen. Get used to moments like these, Ben. Ben said, "There are times I don't understand her; times when she frustrates me." That's always a good sign in the lovey-dovey dating stage, isn't it?

I thought Courtney might be trying to sabotage her chances. She got as far as her career needed her to get and she didn't ever plan on winning. But her plan backfired.

Did anyone else notice that when Ben left her room, his suspenders were hanging off his pants?

Then it was time for the ring bearer. Why does this vendor get to travel the world on The Bachelor's dime? From what I understand, people get married in Switzerland. I'm sure there are at least a couple of jewelers in the country.

Ben felt good about his decision to choose Courtney. He said, "I know what I'm doing. This decision is the right one." Then he said, "This is the happiest I've ever been. I don't imagine life getting any better." Well, I'm sure he's right about that. It's all downhill from here. So it's fitting they shot this in Switzerland.

It gets worse/better: "The woman I'm about to propose to brings me more joy than I could ever imagine. I feel like it was meant to be; like we were put on this planet to be together."

Enter chopper 1. Lindzi exits brimming with confidence, as all the first runners-up do. "I love Ben. I love Ben. It feels good to say that. This is the moment girls dream about their whole life."

As she greeted Ben at the altar, she couldn't stop talking: "I'm so excited to be here with you, blah blah blah." I wanted Ben to put his finger on her lips and say, "Shhh." She asked how he was feeling. He looked down and said, "Uh..." And then came the stream of bullshit: "I want you to know I have fallen in love with you and, uh,... (sigh)... but I need those moments to last a lifetime." Say what? What does that even mean? "And I've found that with someone else." Again, huh?

But Lindzi just shrugged. She took it well. And for once she said what I've always thought the losers should say, "If things don't work out, call me." Although in this particular instance, she could have easily replaced the conditional 'if' with 'when'. That's a given.

She also said, "It sucks having the man you love not love you back." Wasn't she listening? He very clearly told her he had fallen in love with her. Women! They just don't listen!

Chopper 2 brought in our winner. Courtney's line of the night was, "I'm a good person and good things happen to good people." From that can we infer that bad things happen to bad people? Such as being vilified by the masses and trashed in every publication known to check-out lines?

Ben clearly listened to the Ben Harper song because he told Courtney, "You are my forever." She then did a little inhaled gasp and smile as if she just won ten dollars on a Scratch-n-Win ticket. That was her emotional investment in her engagement. She took off her long black glove and Ben slipped the comped ring over her swollen knuckle. No tears of joy. It was like nothing really registered.

I guess you could say that was controversial. At least it's a better tease than, "The least emotional ending in Bachelor history!"

On the After the Final Rose show, Ben came out unshaven, which I've come to accept but usually the guy has a face capable of growing a beard. But Ben has the patchiest excuse for a five o'clock shadow I've ever seen.

The show was full of contradictions, mostly from Ben. He said, "I did listen to the women." I guess in the sense that his ears heard the words they formed, but not in the sense of responding to advice. He claims he was never given any specific examples of her misdeeds, just that she didn't get along with them. But Ben put the kibosh on any such warnings, cryptically telling them to "tread carefully" and concentrate on their own relationships with him.

Then he says he's still in love with Courtney (maybe in the sense that he was in love with Lindzi) but reveals they were essentially broken up (which elicited gasps from the groupies in the audience). He and C didn't talk for a few weeks because he needed to reassess everything. Chris Harrison brought up the steamy photos of him kissing other women that were published in the tabs, but Ben denied it, saying he never kissed another woman and hasn't cheated on her. Is that just a technicality? As in, "I couldn't have cheated on a woman I was broken up with. That's logically impossible."

When Courtney came out, she was greeted with a smattering of applause and some boos. She again played the victim and used the lame excuse that the show brought out the worst in her. That's only possible if the worst is already in her to begin with. As the saying goes, celebrity doesn't change one's character; it reveals one's character.

In trying to get some sympathy from the crowd, she said Ben didn't even send flowers or a card on Valentine's Day. "He abandoned me. I needed him... There's definitely some trust that's been lost." She said she reached out to him but he wasn't responding. And then she says they're still a couple.

When Ben joined her, he agreed. He said, "We're in a good place. It can only get better." Well, that may be so, but it can also get a whole lot worse. And probably will. He insists, "We know this is going to work... I want to be with you. I love you. I'm not going to abandon you." Oh, he's a smoothie when the camera's rolling, isn't he?

Harrison then brought out the engagement ring. Why he had it is anybody's guess. I assume it remains the property of The Bachelor. What did he want to do with it? Cue the romantic music. Ben shakily put it back on Courtney's oversized finger. All's good. Until they break down the set and they're whisked back to reality anyway.

That bit of business done, Harrison brought out "one of our favourite couples" Ashley and JP...??? Really? Do we care about them? They revealed Ashley took a bit of a beating in the press and message boards but JP was there for her. I find that surprising. I liked Ashley and always thought JP was a bit of a dolt. But that's just me, I guess. They also revealed they're hoping to get married within a year. Oh joy. What is that, three successful couples now?

Which got me thinking: I know the producers always add some professional women and men to up the drama and/or comedy, but now that it's backfired and the show is even more of a sham than it's ever been (if we're looking at it as a vehicle for romance rather than a source of entertainment), maybe they should get serious about finding people who really want to find love and not just actors playing the part.

It'll be interesting when Miss Emily gets her turn come May. I guess I'll see you back here then. Thanks for reading.


Vicki said...

I think reading your version of The Bachelor is more fun than seeing the original! Keep up the good work, and thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

This is not directed at the intelligent, insightful, witty people that participate in this blog but the general US public. People need to get a life, to get so involved is ridiculous, what did Courtney do that was really that bad, it’s a show people

The franchise needs to get rid of that arrogant, self righteous, jerk Chris. The way he pokes and prods, Ben should have punched him out. I say in my most rational voice.

Ben, the least ripped bachelor in bachelor history, should get a pair and treat Courtney right. 50% of marriages end in divorce, he’s got a good a chance as anyone else

Amything said...

I am away and I haven't sen the finale yet but it sounds confusing. Are they together or not? How can you be engaged to someone and not speak to them for weeks? Ah, hello, that first part is the best part!? Doi.

thebachelorfan said...

It was so obvious that he was going to pick Courtney. He should have saved Lindzi the trouble. He wanted to keep her around for his own pleasure. And Anon, if you came here then you must also be interested in this crap. Besides, if you haven't figured it out yet, people who watch The Bachelor/Bachelorette love to hate it so you must be one of us. Embrace it.