Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Juan Pablo: 'They want to eat me'

Hello, it's been a while
Hello! It's been a while. Not much, how 'bout you? And I really do miss your smile.

Oh, if only it were Venezuela Danielo and John Ford Coley, we could really tie this thing together. (That was a '70s song reference for all you kiddies out there. Bing it.)

We are back. And it really has been a while. August? Seems like forever ago. I may have forgotten how to do this. But let's see how it goes.

Our new hero is the first minority Bachelor, according to the always reliable Wikipedia. Although doesn't an Englishman in America count as a minority? Or the Canadian? Anyway, it's Juan Pablo. You know, the guy who saw almost no screen time last season but somehow by sheer force of his sexy accent seduced the nation? Ooh-la-la… That may be the wrong expression, but whatever is Spanish for ooh-la-la.

You ever wonder how these regular people season after season can be so natural and charismatic on TV? Me, too. I mean, this guy was just a mid-level soccer pro, according to the narrative the show gives us. I’ve interviewed athletes. Trust me, very few are witty and charming and suave. Well, a little digging on the aforementioned Wikipedia tells me that JP left soccer to become a promoter in the Miami club scene and then onto the record business. He also filmed commercials and was a presenter on a TV sports show. So there’s more to the story than we get on The Bachelor. The guy's got TV chops.

All we know from watching the show is that he’s a dedicated father who quit sports because his daughter was born. You know, the way all athletes do when they become parents. It’s a much better atmosphere for a youngster when their daddy is working nights in the nightclub capital of America.

It's not easy
As we got reacquainted with JP, he tells us “being a dad is not easy” over top of footage of him in bumper cars at an amusement park and frolicking on the beach with his daughter. Not easy, indeed.

I notice despite moving back to the United States (he was born there, too), his daughter speaks almost exclusively Spanish. Not judging; just noticing.

Before JP got settled in as the Bachelor, he was paid a visit by former Bach Shirtless Sean, who was probably just relieved to get away from his sham of a relatioinship. (He mentioned he was married, which was news to me, but then again I don’t keep up on these things. I just remember his awkward appearance with Catherine at the end of last season when they could barely mask their disinterest in each other.) Sean gave him some kissing strategy (kiss lots, kiss often, and don’t get caught kissing), then he and JP danced together. Come to think of it, maybe everything the guy does just looks awkward.

Then we get some gratuitous shots of JP shaving and showering. I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll mention it again, but how exactly does that work? He was lathering up so it looked like a real shower. But surely if he were really showering, he wouldn’t just go about his naked cleansing with a camera crew in his face as if it were the most natural thing in the world. I know he’s Latino and everything, but still. And if he’s not really showering, i.e. is wearing bathing trunks, what’s with all the soap? Conclusion: It’s fake!

Gratuitous shower scene
Now, I know that’s not earth-shattering news, but at some level it just stinks. You have to imagine the conversation going into it:

“Okay, Juan Pablo, we need some shots of you showering. Get into your bathing suit and just look like you always look in the shower and we’ll creep up on you. No hanky-panky, though.”

It’s something I really, really hate about the show, and yet it’s so insignificant. I know it’s there for the ladies so they can ogle his hunkiness, but can’t they just put him in real situations. That’s what the swimming pool is for.

Anyway, enough about my personal pet peeve. Chris Harrison greeted us outside the mansion and it looked like he was given instructions on how to use his hands more while talking. Either that or I’ve just never noticed it before.

We saw little vignettes on nine of the women we’d meet later. I liked four of them: Chelsie, who was silly, fun and outgoing (her words); Renee, the paddleboarding, rollerblading single mom from Sarasota; Nikki, the pediatric nurse; and Lauren H., the not-quite-over-it Oklahoman who was dumped recently by her fiancĂ©.

But those vignettes mean nothing. Not even sure why they do them. Because next up is meeting all 27 (JP was so popular they had to include two more) women as they roll up in limos. Of these, I tentatively liked nine of them (√), absolutely didn’t like ten (x), and had neutral feelings about eight (–). Here they were, in order of appearance:

Amy L, a news reporter from Florida. (√)
Cassandra, a former NBA dancer from Michigan with shy, awkward pauses (√)
Christy, a 24-year-old marketing manager from Chicago (√)
Christine, a 23-year-old police support specialist from Florida, who brought a gift for JP’s daughter, a bracelet with her name on it (–)
Nikki, the 26-year-old nurse from Missouri, who let JP listen to her heart through a stethoscope to hear how nervous she was (√) (Was there a mic inside the stethoscope? How did we hear it?)

Kat, a Scottsdale dancer who can’t salsa and is very forward (–)
Chantel, a 27-year-old African-American account manager from San Diego, also very forward. (x)
Victoria, a 24-year-old legal assistant from Florida by way of Brazil (√)
Lucy, a 24-year-old barefoot free spirit from California. Yes, that was her job description: “Free Spirit”. She wore flowers in her hair, naturally. (x)
Danielle, a 25-year-old psych nurse from Missouri (√)

Then Lauren S wheeled up pushing and playing an out-of-tune piano. Not particularly well, either, but she was nervous. And pushing her instrument, which can’t be easy. She’s a 26-year-old composer. She was so nervous she forgot to say her name so after she went inside, JP followed her in to ask it. Not sure why, since he’s admittedly horrible with names. (x)

The third limo brought Chelsie, a 24-year-old science educator from Ohio. She brought test tubes and goggles but it was just gag so she could throw them away saying they should make their own chemistry. Gag, indeed. (–)
Valerie, a personal trainer who wore a long dress and boots because she’s a farm girl. She’s also handy with a crossbow, we found out in the vignettes. (–)
Elise, a 27-year-old grade one teacher from Pennsylvania who told him they have so many things in common. (x)
Ashley, another grade one teacher, only 25 and from Texas. She gave JP a gold star. (–)
Then a fake pregnant girl. Oh, the producers wanted us to think it was real, but as soon as she stepped out and they cut to commercial, I knew it was fake, as I assume everyone else did. Her name was Clare from California. In the vignette, we learned she was a hair stylist who’s part Mexican, and the youngest of six girls. Her deceased father made her a DVD meant for the man she finds. She’s never seen it. Hmm, I wonder if we’ll get to see it… (–) (Yes, of course we’ll get to see it.)

Alli, a 26-year-old nanny from Chicago, exited limo #4 wearing soccer cleats and kicking a soccer ball “looking for a teammate.” (x)
Amy J, the 31-year-old massage therapist from LA that we saw in a vignette. Kinda flakey. (x)
Renee, the 32-year-old single mom I liked from the vignettes. Still liked her after her intro. (√)
Lauren H, the 25-year-old mineral coordinator (huh?) from Oklahoma who’s still not over being dumped by her fiancĂ©. I liked her in the vignette, not so much in the intro. (x)
Maggie, a 24-year-old personal banker (teller?) from South Carolina. With her strong southern accent, she gave JP a fishing hook because she and her family love fishing and because she wants to hook him. (x)
Kelly, a 27-year-old professional “dog lover” from Georgia. Yes, she brought her dog. That’s an automatic x in my books. (x)

The last limo introduced us to Lacy, a 25-year-old nursing home owner from California. In the vignette, we also found out she’s from a family of 13, nine of whom are special needs. She gave aspirin to JP. He ate them like they were candy. (–)
Alexis, a 24-year-old communications director from Florida. (–)
Kylie, a 23-year-old interior designer from Illinois who sounded drunk right off the limo. (x)
Sharleen, a 29-year-old opera singer from Ottawa, Canada, even though she lives in Germany. I thought she exuded class, and so did JP. More on her later. (√)
Andi, an assistant DA from Georgia. She played a power move when JP couldn’t remember her name. She said, “Your name again?” Well played. (√)

Twenty-seven women. That’s a regular weekend of dating for a guy like Juan Pablo, but they’ll stretch this out over a few months. Hey, it’s the down season in Miami.

It's all perspective
Also interesting to see Florida-heavy representation. Nineteen percent of the contestants hail from the penis of America. The producers managed to find five women in Florida who hadn’t yet dated the suave one already.

Here’s one line uttered by our man JP that you’d never hear on The Bachelorette: “I feel like a meal. They wanna eat me,” he said of all the ravenous ladies.

JP and Renee looked good together. They also each professed to love the fact that the other was a single parent. I found that funny for some reason I can’t put my finger on. What’s that even mean?: “I love that you’re a single mom/dad.”

Amy J took JP outside the mansion to her massage table. JP got the full(y clothed) treatment. All those essential oils went to waste. He also thought the whole thing was “awkward.” I loved it when she said, “I feel like you’re one of the most beautiful people and we have a lot in common.” Maybe she didn’t mean to imply a connection between the two, but that’s what I inferred.

Lauren H was struggling. She’s quite attractive when she’s not pouting, which she was doing a lot of because she wasn’t getting the time with JP that most of the others were getting. To her credit, she wasn’t blaming anyone but herself. She always thought of herself as confident and now she was finding out otherwise and she was disappointed in herself. Fittingly, Ashley, who has lots of experience in this type of behaviour as a grade one teacher, consoled the inconsolable Lauren H.

It was all for naught anyway because she soon got her solo sit-down with the man of her most recent dreams. Within a minute, she brings up her broken engagement. Not to worry, though, because “I’m so over it,” she said. Clearly.

It's over
Then it was the Canadian’s turn. JP was smitten with her elegance. He felt she separated herself from the rest of the group with her class, beauty, sophistication and brain. She, however, didn’t feel an instant chemistry. She thought if felt forced. So when he excused himself, it didn’t even clue in to her that he was going to retrieve the first impression rose for her. When he returned, she just stared dumbfounded. He asked her if she would accept it and there was a long pause. Not even a pause of excited disbelief; just a pause as in ‘what the hell am I getting myself into?’ She finally stumbled out, “Seriously?” Then after staring at the rose for what seemed like an eternity, she said, without a hint of emotion, “Sure, yes. Thank you, sir.”

That’s what she said, isn’t it? I replayed it a couple of times and it sure sounded like “sir” to us. She told the producers she was “incredibly flattered” but said it’s too early to say if she feels anything. I think I hear the fat lady singing on this relationship.

So Sharleen was automatically in. JP would hand out 17 more roses, letting nine go home early. The roses went out in order to the following (with my original √, x, or – in parentheses)
  1. Not pregnant Clare (–)
  2. Nikki the Nurse (√)
  3. Renee the Mom (√)
  4. Andi the DA (√)
  5. Alli the soccer-playing nanny (x)
  6. Chantel the African-American (x)
  7. Lauren S the piano-pushing composer (x)
  8. Kelly and her dog (x)
  9. Cassandra the NBA dancer (√)
  10. Danielle the psych nurse (√)
  11. Chelsie with the test tubes (–)
  12. Kat the dancer (–) *a funny moment occurred when Kylie thought she heard her name being called and walked toward JP, who looked terrified
  13. Victoria the Brazillian (√)
  14. Christy the, uh, marketing manager (√)
  15. Lucy the drifter (x)
  16. Elise, one of the grade one teachers (x)
  17. Amy L the news reporter (√)

Who did that leave out? Well, obviously drunken Kylie (x) (I don’t believe she was drunk at all; her voice just sounded a little rough). She expected to be there for a long time, she said crying. Lauren H (x), the attractive but broken woman. She said, crying, that she’s sick and tired of people feeling sorry for her. I think it was best she lost now before she got too far into it. I also think time heals all wounds and she’ll be okay soon. Chin up, Lauren H! Amy J (x), the masseuse, was also a goner. That’s who we saw. I need to do forensics to figure out the others. Hang on one second. I’ll be right back…

Okay, got it. Christine (–), who thoughtfully gave JP a bracelet for his daughter, got the boot. So did Valerie (–), the crossbow shootin’ farmer and personal trainer. Bye-bye also goes to Ashley (–), who presented JP with a gold star, Maggie (x), the southern banker who gave him a fishing hook, Lacy (–), the nursing home owner who fed JP pills, Alexis (–) from Florida.

Hey, big ups to JP for getting all those names right. He said he's horrible with names, and who can blame him meeting 27 new people in one night. I wonder what his process was. I think he must have been followed around by an assistant as he nodded surreptitiously and they jotted down the corresponding name.

And there you have it. Looks like some good drama in coming weeks. Anyone have any idea who it was sitting on the floor sobbing that they’d like to see JP dead? No one seems that mentally unstable. But it’s early yet. Stay tuned.