Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bachelor Sean: An average very special episode

Why was there a need for tonight's episode? Doesn't the Bachelor usually tell all the same night that the women tell all? Thank God it was only an hour. Not that it wasn't mildly entertaining, but this twice-a-week nonsense is getting tiring.

One disturbing trend I hope we don't see in the Women Tell All episode (but suspect we will) is the CNN-ification of it. Only instead of a news crawl along the bottom drawing in our attention, we've got an endless Twitter stream. The human brain can read and listen at the same time, but the full focus isn't there. You only get the gist of any one thing rather than the gritty details. And has there ever been anything of importance on a Twitter feed? Ever?

The first issue of the day was the dumping of Desiree. Sean asked himself if he could spend the rest of his life with her, as he did of Catherine. "With Catherine, it was a resounding 'yes'. With Des, it was a 'I think so.'" He also admitted that he'd be lying if he said her brother didn't influence his decision a bit. That being said, there were other areas that were lacking in their relationship compared with the other girls'.

I was shocked to learn that Des' brother had gotten into some trouble as a youth but had pulled himself together. You can guess which part I was shocked at. Probably the same as you. I'm being very careful here on the off-chance he can read.

Sean said he wanted to hit the guy. He took the charge of being a playboy personally. "I'm the furthest thing from a playboy," he said. And sure enough, just today, while searching for an image for this blog, I accidentally stumbled across a spoiler. You know how I hate spoilers. Thankfully this one didn't reveal who his fiancée is, but it said she's basically got blue balls. Or the female equivalent. Turns out Sean is saving himself for marriage. No wonder Harrison kept playing the upcoming overnight angle hard in anticipation of the big reveal. I guess we'll find out next week.

If it's true, and if there are any young ones out there reading this, let me just say as an older non-playboy type, don't do anything you'd regret when you're older. Without putting too fine a point on it, suffice it to say you're not going to be sitting around one day in your future with your wife of 50 years and smiling at all that sex you turned down when you were younger. The advertising slogan "Get it while it's hot" doesn't just refer to food.

Anyway, back to the show. We saw footage of an earlier scene with Desiree's brother and Sean getting along just fine. The bro told Sean he was a good fit for his sister and seemed like a "nice dude." The producers felt to include that footage originally would have confused matters. I disagree, but I see their point. The real story was in his sudden backtracking for no apparent reason. Sean had a simple explanation, however: "I chalk it up to him being a jackass." Meow!

The rest of the show featured Harrison labelling every woman he mentioned as a "fan favourite." Like Sarah, for instance. I had no idea there was a Sarah movement out there, but then again, I wouldn't. She wasn't one of my favourites. Still, I don't think Sean treated her with the respect he thought he was treating her with. When Harrison asked him why he sent her home before the rose ceremony, he mentioned the respect thing and that he wanted to explain himself. This, of course, raises the question of whether anyone sent home from a rose ceremony doesn't deserve respect or an explanation. It makes no sense but that horse is dead and beaten.

Sean said Sarah would find a soulmate. Harrison chimed in with a real beaut: "Women that leave this show learn a lot about themselves and go on to find the love of their lives." And if you don't believe him, tune in to Bachelor Pad coming to a TV screen near you this summer.

Selma's culture was discussed. As Harrison said, it's not in her culture to "date out loud." Not sure why she signed up for the Bachelor then. Maybe she thought it was The Real Housewives of Baghdad. They showed clips of her and Sean coming up with creative ways to circumvent her cultural taboos. For example, Eskimo kisses, eyelash kisses, blow jobs. You know, the usual.

Actually, is there much of a difference between Selma not kissing and Sean saving himself for marriage? It's a matter of degrees. He's in no position to judge her. Both are following the letter of their internal or cultural laws, but they're hardly following the spirit of it. No kissing probably doesn't mean dress sexy and cuddle, just as no sex before marriage probably doesn't mean hot and heavy make-out sessions and everything but intercourse.

Then there was the Lesley segment. They showed a cut scene between the two of them trying to talk dirty to each other. Sean held up an Oreo cookie and Lesley said, "Stick it in my mouth." Nope, too far, Sean decreed. Game over.

He also said that he probably would have kept her around if she had said those three little words. A bit of a double-standard, doncha think? He gets to keep his cards close to his vest but the woman has to show hers? If he couldn't tell how into him she was, he's clueless.

There was lots of anticipation for the Tierrable segment, but it turned out they played anything of significance in the endless teasers they ran leading up to it. Sean felt duped; he said she never should have gone on the show because she's not suited for it and can't get along with her peers; and he wishes he'd have kept Jackie in that fateful 2-on-1 date. That's about it.

What else did we learn? The 50 Shades of Grey girl was drunk. Catherine is "very flexible." Daniella does a mean Chris Harrison impression. To repeat: Catherine is very flexible.

On the prying by Harrison about the upcoming fantasy suite overnight dates about his chance to "be physical," Sean said, "I say it's really none of your business." A true gentleman. And virgin.

The closing scene was of Sean taking a shower. In slo-mo. With waka-waka-waka porn music accompanying. No payoff. Just pure, unadulterated cheesecake. I'm sure the shower was ice cold.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bachelor Sean: The playboy gits it

I love not thinking about the Bachelor all week long. Not seeking out spoilers makes the show so much better. Also having a poor memory helps. I had completely forgotten it was hometown visits week until the show started. Now, don't get the wrong impression. If someone had asked, I'm sure I would have been able to come up with it, but the show is so out of my consciousness all week it's like a nice surprise when I turn it on.

Hey, before I go any further... no comments last week? Really? Usually I'm good for a couple. And even if I don't always reply to the comments, I appreciate them all. See, I don't need or care about big readership. But I've got to know at least one person is reading. Is that being needy? Probably. I'll get over it. And also, because I don't read about the show anywhere else, I like to hear your opinions on it.

Sean started out the week in Houston. I know he's from Dallas, and I know Texas is the biggest state in the union. But I don't know how far apart Houston and Dallas are. I'd imagine the distance is manageable and I bet AshLee being from there helps her cause a tiny bit. Of course, Sean said she's been a frontrunner from the very beginning. It also helps that she's beautiful. Probably the most beautiful of the final four. Maybe of the whole season. A little heavy emotionally, but beautiful. And she had a quirky way of expressing her feelings for Sean. She called him, "the man I have fallen into love with." I've never heard it put quite that way before. I wonder if that's her out should things take a turn for the worse: "I never said I'd fallen in love with him! I said I'd fallen into love with him! Big difference."

I can't believe it's taken me this long to figure out Sean's catchphrase: "I git it." He said it a few times this episode (once even in the negative) and I can't count how many times previous to tonight. He said it first to AshLee tonight but I was so busy scribbling down that it was his catchphrase that I didn't include the context.

It's no surprise that AshLee should be such an open book with her parents. I mean, the woman is a bundle of raw emotion at the best of times. Sitting at an outdoor table, she told her folks about the polar bear plunge and spun it as a metaphor (surprise, surprise), then told them there was lots of romance in St. Croix as they "rolled around in the sand" (just what every parent wants to hear), and finally revealed that she told Sean she loved him. Cut to: her mom speechless.

Her mom asked Sean if he was going to break AshLee's heart. This is kind of like asking a terrorist if they have a bomb before boarding a plane – they're savvy enough not to get caught in trick questions. They talked about her childhood abandonment, and how that's shaped her life, and culminated in a veiled threat from mater: "You better not break her heart!"

Which way is the love heading?
Sean said he was afraid the dad would ask him if he loved AshLee. And sure enough, as if prompted, that's exactly what he asked. Sean said love was on the horizon. He didn't mention if it was a sunrise or a sunset, though.

They talked about her teenage marriage, with her father saying it was a sad day in his life. The guy seemed sensible and level-headed. Back outside, he related the story of his own "first date" with AshLee as a 4-year-old. He teared up. So did AshLee, as she does every time he tells the story. As I'm sure many a viewer did, too.

AshLee said, "I love this man so much." (Referring to Sean, not her father.) She said she wants to marry him the second they can. I fear for what's to come if she's not the one.

Hometown date #2 was in Seattle, Catherine's hometown. It was Sean's first visit. This was the extent of his knowledge of the Washington city: "Apparently it rains almost every day in Seattle." People think the same thing of Vancouver. Sure, it rains tons in the winter, but June to September it gets hardly any. I guess Sean would have to define "almost every day" but I just Binged it and found that it rains, on average, about 149 days a year in Seattle. Is that almost every day? That's less than 50 percent! And sure enough when Sean was there it was sunny. So take that.

(Okay, now I'm on a mission. Check out these other US cities: Houston 104 days of rain, Buffalo 167, Cleveland 155, Detroit 135, Miami 135, New York 122, Pittsburgh 151. Seattle is sixth in the US in rainy days per year, but not even in the top 15 in total rainfall in inches.)

Sean said, "When I'm with Catherine, I can see my wife." Yeah, especially if AshLee or Lindsay are in the room. If he thought this before the date, surely that's out the window now thanks to Catherine's sisters, who revealed she is a moody slob. Perfect wife material.

Not Sean but same deal
Before meeting the family, Sean and Cath went to Pike Place Market and caught some fish. I've been there many times and this is something I've only ever seen on TV. Maybe they only start chucking fish when the cameras are rolling. Sean caught the slimy buggers like a pro. He said it's impossible to act cool in front of Catherine because she brings out the big kid in him. She's always having fun and smiling. Well, when she's not in one of her violent mood swings, apparently.

Early on I described Catherine as vaguely Asian. Tonight we found out she's Filipina. It's also the first time I noticed her fondness for rings and half-rings. They arrived at her modest house (it was almost refreshing to see someone living in a normal abode since most of these contestants seem to be stinking rich) and were served Filipino egg rolls. We saw a montage of fun, including Sean doing push-ups with Catherine sitting on his back. In the living room. In front of everyone. Again, no context was given. I can't imagine how that came about. Maybe it's a Filipino mating tradition.

Catherine's sisters were ball-busters. First they grilled Catherine on whether she'd actually accept a proposal should it come down to that. Maybe they were onto something because she didn't exactly give a firm and enthusiastic affirmative response. Rather it was, "Yeah, I'd like to try it." She felt like she was on the hot seat having to defend herself to them. She felt bleeped. Normally I write what they're obviously saying under the beep and pixilation but I couldn't figure out what she was saying. Regardless, she wasn't happy.

Then Anastasia and Drizella went to work on Sean, telling him that Cinderella... er, I mean, Catherine goes into relationships 100 percent at first but when the fun ends, she backs away. He asked if she was ready to settle down and they froze, which was telling for Sean. Then they backhandedly told him she needs a partner to call her out on things. Like what? Like her messiness – she's not dirty, they stress, just throws her clothes all over the place – and her moods. She needs someone who can handle the moods. They tried to soft-pedal the warning, saying she's either very happy or very focussed. That's a great euphemism for bitchy. Let's start using that in everyday conversation. "Why are you being so focussed?"

Catherine's mom wasn't the scary monster we were led to believe. She sweetly told Sean that he shouldn't lead her on, forgetting that the whole series is built on such a foundation. She told him to mull it over, and reminded him he has three other girls to meet. What a liberal mom! But she never gave him her blessing. Well, that's what Sean said. I'm not so sure he asked.

Sean said he's not sure where they go from there. "I don't know how to move forward with Catherine." I thought she was a goner.

Hometown date #3 was in Fort Leonard, Missouri, a quaint little military town. Lindsay's dad is a 2-star general there. They stroll around the town hand-in-hand visiting cupcake shops and antique stores. A sign in the latter read, "We don't call 911, we use Colt." The gun, not the beer.

Lindsay then played drill sergeant to Sean's young recruit. She circled him, yelling out orders and admonishments: "You think you can go on all these other hometowns?! Kissing other girls?! Gimme 20!" He dropped down and we saw him doing push-ups then later sit-ups. As he'd rise each time, they'd kiss. "Kiss me harder!" she yelled, still in character. She's definitely the funniest one left.

Am I right, people?!
Sean fretted over what to call the general. Should he say General or Mister? The laid-back Lindsay couldn't grasp the question. "Probably just avoid saying it," was her advice. Sean went with Mister. It was fine. The general was a relaxed dude. The Mrs. had her daughter's spunk. Or vice versa. They seemed like a really nice family. The mom asked Sean if he was falling in love and Sean handled it well, saying he's not in a position to say that right now. She liked that answer. Sean said she'd make an incredible mother-in-law. Isn't he aware of the rich tradition of hating one's mother-in-law? (Reminds me of a great joke by Henny Youngman: "I just got back from a pleasure trip. I took my mother-in-law to the airport.")

When his conversation with the general went great, Sean said the good feeling he has for her family makes him more attracted to her. "I can see myself in your family," he said. He's not fooling around when he says family is important, is he? Is he looking for a wife or a whole new group of friends?

The last hometown date was in Los Angeles, where Desiree lives. I had forgotten how damned cute she was. She greeted Sean with her big smile and gave him the patented Jill full-body leg-wrap hug.

Then she took him to her place. And what a place it was! I had no idea wedding stylists make such money. The house had a nice outdoor swimming pool, too. Sean walked in and said, "Oh, this is nice." I think maybe he, like us, was expecting a tent.

Not only is Desiree the cutest of the bunch, she's also talented, it turns out. She did all the art work in the house. And it was decent. I don't have much of an eye for art, but I didn't cringe at what we saw. Remember that practical joke Sean played on her early on? They were at an art show and a supposed million-dollar sculpture crashed and she was implicated? Neither had I. But it factors in here. Maybe it looked like she knew it was a joke the whole time because her keen eye could tell the piece was actually a piece of crap.

Secondly, it provided the impetus for her revenge on Sean. I had forgotten completely about that original gag but even so I knew immediately the drama that arrived at the door was a set-up. Some actor pretending to be her boyfriend showed up, saying he'd been calling and texting, and asked if the cameras could be shut down. He professed his love for her and asked Sean if he could give them a minute. He touched Sean's shoulder and Sean bristled, saying, "Don't put your hands on me." He was ready to protect his woman. And then she let him in on the joke. "Gotcha!" Yup, one lame practical joke deserves another.

Desiree, top left
Then her family came over. Her mom and dad and brother. My first reaction was, "Wait a second, is she adopted, too?" She's definitely the Marilyn Munster of the family. The parents were very nice, though. The brother was something else. He had a buzz cut and tattoos all over his arms and hands. Still, if he had Des's winning personality and charm, he'd have been less intimidating. But maybe that was his plan. He was naturally skeptical of the process (as we all are). But it's all in the presentation. He told her not to "fall for nobody." When Des mentioned the term "best friend", he shot back, "You think that's your best friend?"

One revealing sentence, after she expressed her disappointment at his words, was, "Come on, Des, you know how I am." What that revealed to me was that he wasn't being inconsistent with who he normally is. Which raises the question why she invited him over in the first place.

There have been other skeptical siblings over the years. What set Des' bro apart is that there was no give with him. He didn't bend at all. Every time I expected him to soften, he stood firm. He told her, "This is not gonna work. This is stupid almost." Yeah, almost.

Then he took Sean aside for a little chat. He told Sean, "You're not into her. The reciprocation isn't there." He said there was no connection. Sean said he was crazy about Desiree. "You're crazy about a lot of girls, right?" Talk about your protective brother. Sean stayed calm and spoke with the golden tongue that has won him hearts all across TV-land. He knew that would win the bro over. "Does that put your mind at ease?" Sean asked hopefully. Nope. "You're just a playboy," said the bro. "I'm not buying it." This was classic!

Back at the family table, Desiree could tell immediately something was amiss. She diplomatically told him, "I know you're skeptical." And he kept at it in front of everyone, smirking as he said, "That'd be an understatement." The sweet parents took the conversation to the topic of the weather. Then Sean had to get going. "We were just getting acquainted," said dude.

Outside, Sean gave Desiree a goodbye kiss that lacked any passion whatsoever. When he pulled away, there was a faraway look in his eyes as he got in the car. Back inside, Des asked her brother what he told Sean. Bro just laughed, saying, "I can't believe you're drilling me. I just don't see it ending well. He is not the one."

There were three roses to hand out. He admitted that it was down to Catherine and Desiree as to who would be sent home. The case against Des was her brother. He said he'd probably always get under his skin. The case against Catherine was her willingness to settle down.

Before he can hand out the first rose, Des asks to have a word with him. They go in the next room and she whispers a tearful apology for the night before. "I git it," he said. "It's okay."

So the first rose goes to AshLee the Beautiful. The second rose goes to Lindsay the Cut-up. He picks up the third rose then puts it back down again, hanging his head and walking out. He goes to consult the framed photos of the two remaining girls. Chris Harrison enters.

"I'm having a hard time," says Sean. "I've got two wonderful women and I can honestly see my life with both of them. And I don't know which one to send home." Either this was an outright lie (there's no way he can "honestly" see his life with either Catherine or Desiree at this point) or it's a truthful misdirection. Consider: He was talking about the two wonderful women he's already given roses to, i.e. AshLee and Lindsay. And he doesn't know which one of the others to send home.

Harrison's advice was to "get this right. Take your time." I guess there's no way he could send two home since that would screw up the shooting schedule. So choose one he must. He said he wasn't expecting that little talk with Desiree. "I thought I was going to send Desiree home," he said. "Now I don't know if I can send Desiree home." Not five seconds after that he hands the rose to Catherine, sending Desiree home.

Adorable but gone
"I can't even cry," Des said crying. She said she really thinks he's making the biggest mistake. "I can make you the happiest." Sean told her he was praying for clarity but "today I didn't git it." So much for prayers being answered.

Des said this was a "huge mistake. 100 percent. Not even 99.9 percent – 100 percent." Sean vacantly told her he'd miss her so much. "Then don't let me go," she said. "It's not right. It's not." When he said it again just before she got in the limo, she answered, "Then why let me go?" He didn't say, "Because I'm afraid of your brother," but we all knew that's what he was thinking.

By letting Des go, didn't Sean just play right into her brother's hands? Isn't he basically admitting he's a playboy who's crazy about a lot of other girls? If his feelings for her were true, shouldn't he have kept her around longer and tried to win over his potential brother-in-law? I can't wait till the Women Tell All episode to hear how this home situation resolved itself, if it has.

Meanwhile, we've got another Tuesday night special coming up with just Sean. So I guess that means I'm back here tomorrow. Yippee.