Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bachelorette Desiree: It just sucks

Caught unawares
Poor Desiree! Did anyone see that coming? Sure, anyone who's watched the show so far this season saw it coming because they kept telling us exactly that. But I mean did anyone else see it? I'm sure sheep herders in Romania didn't. I rest my case.

As I mentioned last time, we know Desiree is fine now. We know that because we saw her on The Men Tell All episode last week, which was recorded after the season ended. And she was her usual cute, giddy self.

In retrospect, her harsh words to some of the men last week ring a little hollow this week knowing that she's been stringing them all on as much as any single one of them was stringing her on. But let's get to that in order.

The episode this week took place in the Caribbean isle of Antigua. I learned something this week. I learned Antigua is not pronounced Antig-wa; rather it's Ant-ee-ga. There you go. This program is educational, I keep telling people, let alone "the television event of the summer."

Early in, we hear an as-yet-to-heartbroken Desiree exclaim, "I can't believe this fairy tale is happening to me!" The fairy tale quickly turned into an Aesop's Fable, with the moral, 'Don't count your chickens before they're hatched.'

She also enthused that 25 guys showed up "just for the chance to meet" her. Yeah, something like that. There might have been other reasons (15 minutes of fame, publicity, see the world) but we'll go with her pared-down version.

Before the dates, we got to hear Des' full-on love for the man called Brooks, which simply never happens on this show. If love is expressed, it's always edited out. But here she was saying Brooks was set apart from the other guys. She told him she loves him (or so she thought, in so many words) even though he was the only dude not to express his love for her. Didn't phase her one bit. "It feels great to fall in love and find the man of my dreams," she said.

But the first sacrificial lamb was Drew, who says he's fallen even more in love with Des. He's finally found "the one"; his "soul mate." The man can simply not stop kissing her, even in the pouring rain. So forget the outdoor dinner, they've got a fantasy suite card to get to.

Again, knowing what she thought of everyone else other than Brooks, are you at all surprised she took the fantasy suite with them? Drew talked about the chance to get physical and intimate, code words for "playing doctor". If she was sure Brooks was the only boy for her, do you think she let the other guys down gently behind closed doors? If so, Drew was probably secretly relieved.

He was ecstatic about the possibility of waking up next to her. "I haven't had a good morning yet, only good nights," he said. Soon he'll get a "Good day, sir," I'm sure.

Des told Drew about her ex-boyfriend, whose big problem was expressing feelings. Or, in Des' words: "He would think those things but he couldn't... like... communicate." Ah, yes. It's difficult, isn't it?

Also funny given that the guy she fell for (Brooks) was the one guy who didn't express any feelings towards her at all. Maybe he reminded her of her ex.

Drew went all-in, even before the overnight date. He said he could get down on one knee right that very moment – even without a ring – and propose. In fact, he'd known this for a few weeks. What must she have been thinking?! And he followed it up with this nugget to us: "My mind is made up: I'm going to marry this woman." Ah, pure gold!

I wonder if he learned the full extent of her true feelings toward him (and anyone not named Brooks) on Monday along with the rest of us? There really needs to be a separate show of contestants watching what we're watching. Or just put their faces in a corner of the screen as they're watching live at home. It wouldn't be any more distracting than the damn Tweets.

Before we got to Chris, there was an unexpected stopover in Boise, Idaho, where Brooks needed to go to talk to him mom and sister in person. He told them the idea of proposing makes him "really uncomfortable." He loves kissing her and "the physicality is there," but he's not prepared to propose. Not sure what advice he was looking for: "Brooks, you marry that sweet young thing or go straight to your room!"

Which brings me to the age-old question: Why isn't the status quo good enough? I bet if Des were given the choice of continuing on with Brooks as boyfriend-girlfriend but without an engagement ring, she'd go along with it. Maybe he'd grow closer to her and they'd eventually get married. Maybe they'd split up. I'd say the odds are no worse than if they did it on camera. Probably even better.

Brooks' mom and sis agreed that he shouldn't propose if that's how he was feeling. Brooks concluded that a hard conversation now is better than a horrible one later. Putting it like that, sure. A no-brainer. But maybe the conversation he ended up having was the horrible one. If he waited it out, they could have grown sick of each other naturally and it wouldn't be as hard down the road. But either way, Neal Sedaka was right.

Next up was Chris. When a helicopter came to pick them up it made me realize we saw precious few choppers this season. Not only that, but there weren't many (any?) death-defying stunts, either.

Things were going well with Chris, despite his fear of heights and his first helicopter ride. They talked about a future together. Chris asked Des how she would feel about living in Seattle. She said she was open to the idea. Not a ringing endorsement, but it's pretty much moot at this point anyway.

He accepted the fantasy suite invitation but wanted to "keep it simple" i.e. missionary position only. And just when I thought we could get through a Chris segment unversed, he pulls out another "poem." I tried to pay attention this time, I really did. I even considered transcribing the thing to see if I could make any better sense of it reading, but couldn't be bothered. With this "poem," I really got the sense Chris just wrote down his thoughts in sentences, then divided them up so it kinda looked poetic. Because it sure didn't sound poetic.

As he finished his love offering, a sappy singer-songwriter crescendoed. For a second, I thought it was Zak getting one last audition in.

Brooks had a sit-down with host Chris Harrison, to further the illusion that the host is something more than a cue card reader. Brooks told him his head says 'yes' but his heart says 'no.' He concluded that Des is not the love of his life. He's not afraid to commit or anything – he really wishes it were Des. Must be true because everyone with a fear of commitment readily admits it when confronted with the facts.

He realized that his break-up was going to bring tears and heartache. "And I'm the cause for a lot of that," he added in complete sincerity. He sure knows how to read that woman, doesn't he?

Meanwhile, the producers made sure they didn't tip Des off. They needed her gushing words about the love of her life before he got there to ruin the fun. She said, "I'm in love with Brooks and I miss him every day when I'm not with him... It feels good because I haven't been in love for quite a while... If Brooks got on one knee and proposed, I would definitely say yes." Oh, look behind you, Des, there's the man of your dreams bounding down the path towards you. Yippee!

She was positively giddy as she watched him approach. He nipped that in the bud. His look foretold ominous words. Des picked up on it in the exact same way she didn't pick up on him not expressing any love for her for the past nine weeks. "Talk to me," she said, worried. "I'm trying," he struggled.

Remember two paragraphs ago when she was saying how she misses him every day she's not with him? Well, turns out it's unrequited. Brooks has the opposite feelings. He loves being with her but during those days when he doesn't see her, he loses it. Nada.

"I really want to be madly in love with you," he told her as she broke down in tears. How does that work in the real world? If you're not madly in love with someone, why on earth would you want to be?

Sums it up
They should have flown Greg Behrendt in to tell Des, "He's just not that into you." Simple as that. Nothing personal. You're a great gal. You know, take all those talks with every single guy you've let go this season, change the masculine nouns to feminine, and apply to this situation.

"Why now?" Desiree wanted to know. "Because I didn't know before this," Brooks lied. Had he been given truth serum, he would have said, "Because I needed Antigua for my frequent flyer points."

When she asked, "You don't see it lasting?" Brooks blundered: "I don't feel it." That probably made it worse, dude. It was at this point Des dropped her head in her knees and sobbed inconsolably. (Remember, folks, she's fine! Keep reminding yourself that. It'll get you through next week, too.)

Then Des finally lays her cards on the table: "I love you," she told him. Brooks was flabbergasted. "Why didn't you tell me that earlier?!" Not sure what difference it would have made, but Des replied, "I can't." Brooks rightfully told her that she can say anything she wants, although I'm sure he got a stern talking-to from the producers for suggesting such a thing. Des reminded him that she told him she was running and later was at the finish line. The poetic Chris would have picked up on those metaphors right away, but apparently it went right over Brooks' head.

"For once in my life I was so hopeful," she said, giving a kick in the groin to Sean. And then she began her medley of "sucks." Not sure how many times she said "It sucks" but too many to go back and count.

"It just sucks that I loved you... I do love you. Regardless. I do. I don't care that you just broke my heart, I love you." And you could literally see gray hairs popping out of the 28-year-old Brooks' head. At this rate, he's going to look like Steve Martin by the time he's 30.

They take their final walk in a light wind. I could have used some more subtitles, but really the picture told the whole story anyway. There would be no fantasy suite. As they started walking, she instinctively went to put her arm around him then quickly pulled it away.

"I wanted you to meet my family," she cried. And then the words that tell us there will be no winner next week (and if there is, it's probably over by now): "You know why I was conflicted throughout this whole thing? Because I didn't want to share my heart; I wanted to give it to you... When I was going on dates, I wanted to go on dates with you." Do you see now why I say we need to see Chris and Drew in a box on screen in real time watching what we're watching?

Also, what does it say about the show that she has to go through the motions when she knows who she wants?

Brooks kept apologizing. "I heard you," Des said. "Just stop saying it." She walked out and sat at the end of the pier alone with her tears. Brooks kept looking back, beside himself: "This is way worse than I thought it was going to be," he said. He's pretty clueless, now that I think about it. But I try not to think about it.

It looked for a moment like he might change his mind. But how could he after what he's said? To his credit, he stuck with his plan. He told us he misses those moments they had together already. And then added, "I was hoping she would be in love with Drew or Chris."

As for Des, she said it throws everything off having Brooks gone and said she just can't love the others as much. "Honestly for me it's over," she said.

We'll see about that. What will next week bring? I can't see it ending with a proposal, that's for damn sure. I think she should break up with both Drew and Chris and then sign on with the show to be the perennial Bachelorette.