Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bachelor Ben: Model behaviour

Better late than later. I finally got around to watching this week's episode and wasn't it a doozy? Courtney was the focal point, as per her plan going into this thing, Blakely continues her magical transformation from vixen to virgin, Nicki's adenoids were acting up, Elyse pulled out all the stops, and Emily turned over an old leaf.

This week found the gang in Puerto Rico. I've never understood territories, either in Canada or the US. Why isn't the Yukon a province yet it's represented in the House of Commons? Wikipedia tells me that Puerto Rico's head of state is the President of the United States. It's so confusing. When what's-his-face tells everyone if they don't get the rose on a one-on-one date, they're going to get on a plane and go back to the United States, I'm left scratching my head. If it walks like a state and passes laws like a state, it must be a state, right? Its flag is the star and stripes, for crying out loud! Aw, forget about it. We've got bigger fish to fry here.

Nicki got the first one-on-one date. Setting herself up as either a free spirit or colourblind, she wears bright yellow fingernail polish and red toenail polish. But it works. Ben was quite annoying on this date, constantly trying to show off his knowledge and abilities. He speaks full Spanish to the street vendor, throws in the odd word in casual conversation ("It's raining gatos"), and while overhearing some neighbouring wedding music tells Nicki they're playing Pachelbel's Canon. Only I can't be certain he pronounced it right. I replayed it a couple times and it sounded like "Papa Bell's Cannon." I know he's a baseball fan and James Bell had quite the arm from centre field, but did it sound like music?

Ben said he liked Nicki's flexibility. It's a real turn-on, he admitted. Hey, who wouldn't? But it's not what you think. While out walking, the skies opened up and they were drenched. She just carried right on as if... well, as if she was trying to impress the guy she was dating while millions watched and judged at home. Yeah, she's so easy-going.

While getting to know each other, the jaded divorcĂ©e said she was all for living together. We have no idea if Ben believes in shacking up before marriage because he doesn't say. Afterall, this date – nay, this season – isn't about Ben opening up; it's about his women opening up. He can remain aloof and mysterious. But I'm going to go out on a limb and say he's okay with it.

It was at this point I noticed how nasal her voice is. Maybe that explained her red nose, though.

Nicki explains her breakup and makes it all so understandable. Afterall, she and her ex were just two different people than they were when they first got married ... almost three whole years before. A person changes in almost three years. It's a proven fact. That's good enough for simple Ben. He roses her right then and there. (I'm lobbying the OED to include 'rose' as a verb.)

What the hell is up with Blakely's transformation? The girls back at the house are sitting around wondering who will get the only other one-on-one date and Elyse tells her point blank she doesn't deserve another date, setting up a classic cat fight that should represent a 3-episode arc, but Blakely rolls with it good-naturedly. Bring back Bad Blakely!

As it turns out, Blakely doesn't get the one-on-one (it goes to Elyse), but she and everyone else get a group date. They don their sports gear and head to Roberto Clemente Stadium, named for a famous baseball player whose name escapes me. Maybe Papa Bell. When Blakely tells us she's psyched, it's a prime opportunity for Bad Blakely to make an appearance. She says it's the perfect date for her: she played in high school and college (who knew bartending colleges fielded teams?). "I'm super-athletic," she bragged, reminding one of a cocky Vienna before she failed miserably at whatever it was she was supposed to be awesome at. But guess what? Blakely really was good.

But there was still hope for the reemergence of Bad Blakely. They were given uniforms for their big match against each other (red vs blue) and Blakely was the only one who turned hers into a little half-shirt. Because that's what super-athletes wear. Let's go, Bad Blakely! You can do it! Courtney had the line of the night, marvelling at Blakely's abilities: "Who knew strippers could play baseball?"

And then, after Jennifer struck out and Blakely's team lost 10-9 in extra innings, Bad Blakely chastised her distraught teammates: "I wanted this so bad. I busted my ass out there because I thought I was hoping you guys wanted it just as bad." Oh, such potential and nothing. Or nada, as Ben would say.

(Incidentally, on that last strikeout, the catcher dropped the ball and didn't tag Jennifer so she technically wasn't out. Except I guess she did go off the baseline when she moped off the field.)

And when the requisite helicopter landed on the field to whisk the champs off to a beach, Bad Blakely said through tears, "I hope you guys throw up!" But that's was it. Bad Blakely made her exit there and didn't return. Such wasted potential. The editors are asleep at the wheel.

So the six sweaty and unshowered bodies hopped on board the cozy confines of a helicopter while the four losers took a beaten up bus back to the hotel. Those sleepy editors then had Courtney saying that team blue was a bunch of crybabies crying all the way home on the bus. How did she know?

Courtney kept up her play-by-play all episode, too. At this point she said the innocuous Lindzi has an annoying personality and the anonymous Jamie was a "hot mess." Why bother?

Ben gave the rose to the terminally cute Kacie B. Good choice, I think. No skin off Courtney's ass. She took the opportunity to molest Ben. "I need affection," is what she said, along with "You gotta do what you gotta do." Yup, she's gotta have it. Please, baby, please, baby, baby, baby, please (name that movie). She mentioned skinny-dipping here but didn't follow through. It would be foreshadowing if we hadn't seen the upcoming clip a hundred times in previous weeks.

Elyse, though, provided the real foreshadowing. Even before her one-on-one date, when the girls are usually upbeat and optimistic, she tearfully pre-grieved, "I'll be really upset if I go home tonight." It was precisely at that point I knew she'd be going home that night.

And guess what? She went home that night. Even Courtney knew it, who presciently said: "I might not be seeing her later. I hope I got her number. I could use a personal trainer."

While on a yacht, Elyse gets Ben's hopes up by saying, "Let's just screw everyone else." Uh, I think that's his plan. But Elyse meant something different. She playfully suggested the two of them get married right there. Guys dig it when chicks mention marriage on the first date.

Can you believe Ben could be so callous after all Elyse gave up to be there? She gave her job! She missed her best friend's wedding! That Ben is a total jerk. But Elyse really did herself in. It was funny watching her stumble around trying to figure out what Ben wanted to hear. "I've accomplished everything I ever wanted... er, I mean, I'm sick of being single... er, I mean..." Too late. No rose for you!

I don't remember but do they always pick up the rose on those one-on-one dates when they're about to dump the person? I'm sure he was told to, but it was a bit callous. Elyse's eyes lit up before the realization hit her. Then she couldn't figure out what she did wrong. Ben didn't have the heart to tell her, but the honest truth is she just didn't pick the right profession. If only she had been a model.

They really milked the aftermath of that breakup, I thought. They showed her crying in a boat while a barefoot Ben traipsed along the shore looking depressed while sappy music played as if he or the show or the viewers had invested anything in Elyse.

Back at the hotel, the driver just barged into the room to pick up Elyse's luggage. I think he was hoping to sneak a peak. Why not a knock? They knock for the date card, for crying out loud. When the ladies find out Elyse is a goner, catty Courtney said, "Maybe she drank too much and the Jersey shore came out." Oh, and, "Another one bites the dust." Oh, and, "That blew my panties off."

And with her panties metaphorically off, she hatches a plan: "I don't know if he's ever skinny-dipped with a model before."

You know that phenomenon where someone not all that good-looking becomes increasingly better looking the more you get to know them? That works in reverse, too. And Courtney is looking pretty ugly these days.

Continuing with her string of ghost-written bon mots, Courtney says, "I hope I'm a sight for sore eyes. Because after the date with Elyse his eyes are probably pretty sore."

So she and Ben head out to the beach, strip down buck naked and we watch their pixilated tushies walk out to sea, where they embrace. That's right, naughty bits on naughty bits. Later the robotic Ben understates it a tad: "Courtney and I shared a very intimate moment."
"Recalculating: Our conversations are easy."
At the cocktail party, Jennifer spends some alone time with Ben. I like the way her tongue goes to the back of her top front teeth when she smiles that crooked smile of hers. It's cute. She was totally relaxed and natural with Ben, saying, "I like you a lot. You're so easy to talk to and fun." I thought for a moment they had something going, but his reply gave me pause. Speaking like the voice on my GPS, he said, "Yeah. Our conversations are easy." What did I miss? Why the cold shoulder?

A young Ben

Blakely Robinson gets ready for her date.
The Good Blakely had some-
thing impor-
tant to share with Ben. She's had an epiphany: she's always wanted to find love, which is why she's 33 and single (I thought she was 34, but let's not quibble). She reveals that every day she writes down something about him that she likes. And Ben was taken with this nonsense. He said he did a complete 180 on his feelings toward her. They kissed and looked like a very odd couple indeed. She could be Mrs. Robinson and he looked like one of the Little Rascals.

Emily took the opportunity to take Ben down to the beach to apologize for ratting out one of the girls last week. She wishes she had never said anything and from now on she's going to just focus on Ben. Oh, and that she stands by what she said and that Courtney's a "weirdo" and is showing him a different side of herself. The word "deception" was used. But other than that, the focus is 100 percent Ben. Got it?

Ben gave her a stern talking to, warning her to "tread lightly".

Whew, boy, Emily thinks she just may have made a big mistake. Again. "I think he hates me," she cried. She confides in Lindzi that she's starting to worry. Lindzi comforts her, saying, "It's not over. The producers still pick who gets to stay."

Okay, she didn't say the last sentence, but we all know it's true.

Sure enough, Emily's with us for at least another week.

I thought I'd add a new wrinkle and give my odds on who gets the final rose in percentage points. I have no idea how to calculate odds, so I'll just make sure everything adds up to 100. You get the drift.

With Nasal Nicki (10%) and Kute Kacie (30%) already rosed, seven more join them and one is sent home. In order, here's who he selected:

1. Lindzi (snowball's chance in hell)
2. Jamie (incomplete since I don't even know who she is)
3. Rachel (less than zero)
4. Courtney (30%)
5. Casey S (zero)
6. Blakely (20%)
7. Emily (10%)

Unbelievably, Jennifer was sent home ahead of Jamie and Casey, who have been phantoms. Hell, I'd have kept her over the nice but boring Lindzi and Rachel, too. What gives? Anyone notice anything I missed? Although, when I saw the final blooper scene they always show at the end, and it was Ben and Nicki taking a warm chocolate bath complete with whipping cream, it really drove home the point that we don't see a helluva lot. I would have thought that would have been a significant scene to show. It was playful and semi-intimate. It tells me a lot about how those two see each other. So maybe there were scenes that would have shown Ben's feelings for Jennifer that were left on the editing room floor.

Jennifer was a wreck. "I just don't get it," she bawled. Neither do we, honey, neither do we. Oh, and she's not nearly as cute with her face scrunched up.

Speaking of the editing room floor, I wonder how many copies they made of the raw skinny-dipping footage? And if some disgruntled employee will release it one day. Just putting that out there.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


... is a virtue, my dear readers. And you're all virtuous sorts so I know you'll forgive my tardiness with this week's episode. I haven't even watched it yet and won't have time to get my thoughts down until at least Tuesday night. So look for it on Wednesday. Or any time after that. By that time, you'll have forgotten all about what transpired and will want a refresher.

Sorry. It won't happen again*.

* Unless it does.