Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bachelor Ben: Fantasyland

Late again. What can I say? The dog ate my computer... No? The truth of the matter, though, is that Mondays suck. I know it's a Bachelor tradition, but it's just about the worst day of the week for me to watch and write. But I must soldier on. Only a couple more weeks until... When does Emily's season start? When does the Canadian version start? What about Bachelor Pad?

So by now we all know Bachelor Ben did all the fake soul-searching he could muster before keeping Courtney. But let's take things in order, as usual, shall we?

This week was the famous fantasy suite dates episode. It's fitting because Ben resides in Fantasyland where he spends his days peeling grapes for models.

What's the shag percentage on these very special overnights, by the way? Any guesses? We all tend to be voyeurs and cynics so we assume they always do the nasty. Yes, the acceptance rate of the invitation card is 100% or very close to it, but what do you think the consummation rate is? By not telling us, the show leaves it up to our imagination, knowing that we'll conclude they were all getting to know each other Biblically. I just don't know, though. That's how Pollyannaish I am. I bet there are lots of instances where they just cuddle or kiss and pass out before the alcohol interrupts the coitus. But we'll never know, I suppose. But of the three delicate flowers that eagerly entered Ben's den – Courtney, Lindzi and Nicki – I'm pretty confident they all woke up in an unflowered state.

This week they were in Switzerland. Today I met a young Swiss nurse. I told her about the show and how they were in Interlaken. She turned up her nose and said it was an ugly part of the country. Which might explain why Interlaken Tourism paid for the show to go there. But it might also explain just how gorgeous that place is. If that's the dump of Switzerland, we're all in the wrong country. Geez, even Swiss Air looked fantastic. I've heard it's a bit on the pricey side but I see why. I've gotta assume Ben was flying first class, but still. Maybe their coach section is the Interlaken of Swiss Air: shitty, but in comparison to other coach sections it's heavenly.

Loved Ben's suitcase, didn't you? He's off to Europe for a couple of weeks and it looks like he could fit a couple pairs of underwear and some socks in the thing. Maybe a dorky bow-tie, but that's about it.

Nicki, the divorcĂ©e got the first date. Spoiler alert: She was also sent home. So let's try to figure out why. Was it because she's divorced? Probably not, but the other two have never been married. Of the three remaining, she was the most cherubic so it could have been a body-type preference. She said she's always wanted two kids while Ben says he's always wanted four. He never really told us so we're left to guess. Maybe he didn't like the cut of her cleavage – her girls were on full display in a little window between scarf and top. Or maybe he didn't like her performance in the boudoir. Afterall, he said you can find out a lot about a person from those "alone times". He told us she "exudes confidence" so maybe he likes a more docile bunk-mate.

Their date started off with the requisite helicopter ride. But this one was unlike any other helicopter ride in Bachelor history. The drunken pilot screamed down the side of a glacier headfirst. We didn't see their reactions inside because I'm guessing the cameraman was screaming like a baby and holding on for dear life, but maybe it was in the cab of the 'copter where he lost it for her. Who knows? It's just a shame she was sent home while Lady C lasted one more week.

I always love the look the contestants give when the Bachelor/ette whips out the fantasy suite card. Nicki opted for the what-on-earth-could-this-be? look despite the card and exact wording being a fixture on this series since I was in diapers.

Lindzi got the second date. Remember how non-terrified the supposedly terrified-of-heights Lindzi was standing outside an airborne helicopter before jumping into the ocean? Right. Well, this week she was even more non-terrified as she smiled rappelling all the way down a 300-foot rock cliff. It was so non-terrifying that Ben invoked his late father with a couple of "Oh my Dad"'s.

It was here that Lindzi also brought back the child in all of us when she said, "I think I'm a-scared to tell Ben that I love him." Is that not adorable? I thought she slipped up when she referred to herself as the Ice Queen to Ben but it really made no difference because Ben isn't keeping her around anyway. He just needed one more warm body, even if it is an Ice Queen, so they can have a final show.

At night, Ben breaks out his ultra-cool Irving R. Levine look. Nothing but the best for this also-ran. But they made a good couple as Lindzi clearly forgot to pack her hair conditioner for the cold dry climate. Still, she and her split ends soldiered on. Ben marvelled at how open she's been all the while keeping his emotional cards close to his bow tie.

When it came time for the card, Lindzi opted for the I'm-not-usually-this-type-of-girl gambit, saying, "Normally I don't just go spend the night with anyone, but this is national TV and I've known you for the equivalent of three days already and shared you with dozens of other women, so of course I'd love to." Or words to that effect.

Interestingly, Ben used the L-word a lot with Lindzi. And no, not 'Lindzi' or 'lesbian'. He actually said he loved her. Oh, don't get me wrong, he didn't tell her, naturally – that'd just make the inevitable so much more difficult – but he told the camera on a few different occasions, even saying he can see him with her for the rest of his life. Of course the phrase "rest of my life" in Bachelorese is equivalent to the expiration of his contract or the start of casting for Bachelor Pad, whichever comes first.

Last but certainly least was Courtney. Ben told us he had serious feelings for her but also had concerns about how she's treated the other women. My own concerns are concerning Ben: Why now? He was warned by a record number of participants yet felt he only had to pay lip service to the warnings at this stage of the game? Oh, Ben, you're so transparent.

I'm positive Courtney's management team was informed of their client's disastrous showing to date and told her to get her act together for the final stretch. The difference in her interview segments the last week or two compared to the first three quarters of the season is startling. Or maybe (cheap shot alert) it's the drugs wearing off (models have been known to partake of certain activities and Ms. C's actions and body movements don't exactly belie that fact). Had she comported herself like this all along she might have been America's Sweetheart. As it is, no amount of unmelted butter in her mouth will save her reputation now.

Even her pre-emptive strike to Ben, cutting his questions off at the pass, was shallow and deceptive. Her tone was apologetic and conciliatory but her words were still as unaccepting of responsibility as your typical sociopath: "I tried really hard to be nice with them," she said about the women she shit on all season long. "I'd say something and they'd jump on me." She even said, "This brought out the worst in me," which implies that it's in her to begin with. But Ben couldn't concentrate. His mind was on the fantasy suite so all he could do was get the gist of her message through her tone and that weird trying-too-hard-to-be-cute side lip scrunch thing she does.

Ben says he's concerned because he has lots of women friends and Courtney has admitted she doesn't. Is this going to be a problem? No surprise, Courtney didn't answer. Or, rather, she did the old Tibetan Gadrii nombor shulen jongu: she gave a green answer to a blue question. She'd make a great politician, that one. Or at least she could play the role of Sarah Palin in a biopic.

Ben was caught in her headlights. He marvelled, "Just to hear you say you acknowledge this means I know it must be true because nobody would ever spew empty words just to prolong their prime-time TV exposure." Or words to that effect.

They quickly put that bit of business to rest and rushed off to a rustic ground-level cabin with no curtains on its many windows passing as the fantasy suite. It didn't really matter what the place looked like. There was much copulating to do before sun-up.

We were then treated with a sneak peak of Miss Emily's upcoming quest for love. She might have uttered six words during the whole thing. This is going to be a riveting season, I can tell.

Back in Switzerland, you'll never believe who happened to be vacationing there after leaving the show: Kacie! Maybe there was a baton-twirling competition in Interlaken. So while in town, she dropped in on Ben, who was as astonished as the girls were at getting the fantasy suite card. Because nobody ever returns to the show this late in the season, am I right? It's unheard of! But there she was, looking as cute as ever, if a little jet-lagged. She just wanted some answers because she didn't see it coming at all. Ben explained to her they were just worlds apart and came from different backgrounds and didn't see her in the end. What else is he going to say? That he's not attracted to little boys? Kacie hinted that she thought it might be because of her parents' views on shacking up, but insisted that she makes up her own mind. Ben was having none of it, though, even as she held his hand and rubbed it with her thumb.

I think Kacie would have made a much better Bachelorette than Emily will make. Emily was always a reluctant participant. Her heart's not in it. But Kacie would be a live-wire and her parents would disown her. It would be so great.

Next, she tried once again to steer Ben clear of Courtney, warning him he'll get his heart broken. Not sure why she doesn't support this. If she plays her cards right, she can have him in 4 to 6 months after they flame out. Kacie can faux-innocently send a text offering her condolensces and coyly suggesting they meet up for a coffee. Presto, rebound sex followed by more dating and an eventual off-air real-life proposal. But no, she had to drop her pants this early in the proceedings. Rookie.

Ben pretended to be confused by Kacie's dire warnings. He reached deep down to his psyche and asked, "Do I really like this person [Courtney] or am I being played?" The answer came back: "She's a model, dummy. You know what to do."

Chris Harrison asked Ben if he wanted Kacie in the rose ceremony even though there was no hint of this happening before. Ben said no. But why not? Put her in, then don't give her a rose again. She flew all that way for nothing. Throw her a bone. You know she'll catch it, spin it in the air, then catch it again while doing the splits. That's worth a chuckle.

Ben said this rose ceremony was up in the air. He wouldn't make any decisions until the last minute. He didn't define 'last minute' but the sense I got was it would be when he was standing out there staring them down. And Courtney's eyebrows got to him. When the first rose went to Lindzi, I knew it was over for Nicki. And so it was. Courtney got the second and last rose. On the way out to the limo, Nicki said, "I hope you're making the right decision," to which Ben replied, "Believe me, I do, too." Not, "Believe me, I am." Ben's brain knows he's doing the impractical thing, but his libido is leading him to bacchanalian delight and ultimate heartbreak. But at least there's always the Bachelor Pad to help pick up the pieces.

Next week is the (hopefully) entertaining reunion episode. For that reason alone I wish he would have sent Courtney home. Courtney vs the horde would have been wonderfully irresistible. Alas, it's not to be. At least we can look forward to two weeks hence for "the most controversial season ending" in Bachelor history!