Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Juan Pablo 4: No kisses for you!

Did anyone catch the deflowering of Sean Lowe on Sunday? That was riveting, wasn’t it? I confess I don’t pay too much attention to Bachelor/ette details, so I always assumed it was Catherine who was holding out until marriage. Turns out it was Sean. I had no idea he was that religious. Catherine was rip-raring to go, by the sounds of things. Maybe Sean was, too. He was talking a big game, but when pushed on his upcoming performance debut, he eventually admitted he might have to take a mulligan. Awkward.

But back to regular programming. Juan Pablo was going to take his 13 women off to an exotic locale. But “I cannot be happy right now,” he said. That’s because he’d have to leave his darling daughter behind. But she’s never far from his thoughts. I should do a Camila Count and time how long it is between each mention of her. If you picked the under on two minutes, you’d probably win.

We all know reality TV isn’t actual reality. We know that. But as long as it tries to come across as reality, I can’t help but take it literally and call them out when things are so obviously not real. I’m convinced the girls are encouraged to scream like contestants on The Price is Right when they’re told where they’re going. I mean, they always go somewhere interesting but really, was there a need for giddy excitement for Seoul, South Korea? Was that a dream destination for them?

Clare wasn’t even sure what Korea was. She squealed, “Korea?! I don’t even have a kimono!” That makes as much sense as saying, “Korea?! I don’t even speak Chinese!” Or, “Korea?! I don’t even like fish & chips!” Quick lesson: Koreans wear something similar looking to the Japanese kimono, but it’s called a hanbok. (They also speak Korean and eat kimchi.)

Juan Pablo was excited because he’s a man of the world – except when he’s at home in the United States, where he does nothing but speak Spanish, listen to Venezuelan music and eat Venezuelan food.

The first date was a group effort. And it also marks the beginning of the end for Nikki, if not in JP’s mind, in the minds of all viewers. What a whiny thing. She doesn’t thrive in group settings, she doesn’t share well, she’s a bad dancer, the other five girls are “quite annoying” and on and on and on. I used to like her. Not so much now.

How did JP decide on who to take on the date? He simply chose all the blonde leggy ones that look almost identical. It’s too early in the season for that. I’m still trying to figure out who’s who. Which leads us to:
LITERALLY count: “We literally have zero concept of what could be happening.” – maybe Chelsie. Or maybe Kat. But I think Chelsie. VERDICT: Can you count concepts? “We have two concepts of what could be happening”? Not sure there, either. I’m struggling. As for the ‘literally’, I guess they literally don’t know what the date will entail, but they might have a concept. FAIL!
The women were going to get the opportunity to be backup dancers with the insanely popular 21!... Who? You know, the biggest K-pop group in all of the Koreas! They’re as big as the Spice Girls, we’re told. That is, in the alternate reality where the Spice Girls were only popular in England and not the international sensations they were in real life. 21 is so popular they sell out malls all over South Korea. But when you think about it, their options are limited. They sing in Korean, hardly the lingua franca, which is spoken in two countries, the other one to their north which is their sworn enemy. And South Korea is about the geographical size of Portugal.

Kat, who knows how to shake her booty, is optimistic. “If this is based on dancing skills, I’m feeling confident about the rose.” But it never is. In fact, if you’re good at whatever the challenge is, that’s usually a sure sign that you won’t get the rose. It usually goes to the worst. Hi Nikki!
LITERALLY count: “Like, literally my childhood dream was to be, like, Britney Spears’ backup dancer. So now I get to be 21’s backup dancer.” – Kat. VERDICT: Like, I suppose. I can’t see into her dreams to know for sure, though. 
I really liked how they all pretended that K-pop is something. I mean, yes, it’s something in Korea and maybe to Koreaphiles, but had any of them heard any K-pop before? (For my money, J-pop is far superior but I’m biased because I used to live in Japan.) Still, 21 was just as known as any of the other no-names this series offers us on an almost weekly basis.

Narcissistic Nikki (I love when a new nickname jumps out at me) was sure that the cheering Koreans spread out over five mall storeys were all there to watch her dance horribly. From what I saw, she was fine. And not a single person in the crowd noticed.

Also interesting to see not a musician in site. Just questionably talented cute singer/dancers probably lip synching to a recorded track. And the crowd goes wild! K-pop: The Milli Vanilli of a new generation!

After the gig, JP and his posse head outside, where the adoring masses are waiting for a glimpse of their heroines. No, not the Bachelor beauties. 21, of course. But the Americans think otherwise. They make a run for it, à la the Beatles. Only nobody gave chase.

At the after-party, Kat, who danced to the beat of her own drummer during the show, wanted to let JP know she’s more than just fun and games. Nikki thought otherwise, of course. Determined not to be so clich√© as to utter the dreaded “here for the wrong reasons,” she managed this: “Someone is here for more fun rather than something real.” A bit clunky but we applaud the effort.

To prove she’s not all fun and games, though, Kat outs her father as a severe alcoholic who had seven DUI’s, lived with his parents, and paid no child support. All the fun and games she exhibits actually couldn’t fit in with the rest of her baggage.

Narcissistic Nikki was on the outs with everyone. Cassandra called her catty, Danielle pegged her as a negative person, and Elise called her the most negative person there. She was probably just feeling out of sorts after having forgotten to pack her Clairol. Maybe that was her plan so she won’t be stuck on another group date with the blondes again.

Proving she’d make a great mom, when JP asked Nikki how she feels about Camila, she responded, “I’m a great diaper changer.” For those new to the show, Camila is five years old.

Deal sealed. JP offers Nikki the rose. Elise said it best when asked about it: “Yech.”

“I think everybody hates me right now but I’ve been myself,” said Narcissistic Nikki. Yes, that’s the problem. Don’t be yourself. We liked you before when you impersonated a nice, normal person.

Next up we got the requisite fake shower scene. JP was obliviously lathering himself with a camera pointed right at him. Again, he either showers with a bathing suit on, in which case ewww. Or he gets off on showering nude in front of relative strangers.

He was prepping for his one-on-one date with Sharleen, who was so excited to be chosen she said, stone-faced, “I’m happy.”

“I’ve liked Shar since day-one. She’s my favourite one right now,” said JP.

“I’ve liked Shar since day-one. She’s my favourite one right now,” said me, too.

“I don’t know if he’s the one for me,” said Shar, the Human Robot. But I think it’s her rationality and difference that I like so much. And I think that’s why JP likes her, too.

She opened up a little bit. We learned that as a kid, she harmonized to Disney songs, won a bunch of singing competitions, and got her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Voice Performance. JP tried to equate it to soccer, but it was a reach.

She also did her best to compliment her suitor: “You are not bland. And that is a very good thing,” said without a hint of emotion in her voice.

JP then forced her to sing against her will. This is not something she usually does on the first date. She will put out, presumably, but no singing! “Mister, this is our first real date!” she told him. The woman has principles.

So she warms up briefly, gets JP to close his eyes and she wanders away in the tea house, then lets loose with two bars of glass-shattering goodness. “You’re good,” JP, the expert, opines. Audition over. Or maybe his eardrums couldn’t take it any more. They kiss.

“I can definitely say, after having done sufficient research, that Juan Pablo is a good kisser,” Sharleen said. She thinks they have “a shot” to fall in love. Such a romantic!

“My skepticism is fading rapidly,” said Mrs. Spock. JP told her she’s “different.” She said, searchingly, “But not weird different.” He reassured: “Not weird… A little weird.” Ah, the chemistry between man and cyborg is beautiful to behold!

Then proving that this “curious” South American man of the world can’t tell us North Americans apart, he asked her, after she spoke of her hard time at first living in Berlin, if she misses the United States. She didn’t feel the need to inform him that Ottawa, her hometown, was actually the capital of Canada, which is actually a separate country because in his world, there’s Venezuela and everywhere else.

Shar is so great, though, she couldn’t even bring herself to fib when he begged the question by asking her how many kids she wants. They were sitting six inches apart from each other, completely alone, and she answered, “Me?” She turned the question back on him. He wants two more. But he didn’t forget that she dodged the question and asked her again. “I’ve never even thought about it,” she said. She’s so career focused, everything else, including relationships, has taken a backburner.

She even dated a guy once with a 4-year-old daughter. Now was her chance to say how much she loved that kid and things just didn’t work out, blah, blah, blah. But her inner robot insisted, “Cannot tell a lie… cannot tell a lie…”. So she said she wasn’t ready for it.

And with that, the man who is looking for a mother for his daughter picked up the rose and began. “I like that you’re different, you have class… BUT I appreciate your honesty. Will you accept this rose?” Hey, conjunctions are tough for the ESL learner. Cut him some slack. Despite her ambivalence towards the very thing JP holds sacred, he said, “I feel fantastic about Sharleen.” He said they might be soul mates.

By the way, last night was the first time I’ve noticed his faux-hawk. Is it new or has he always sported it? I don’t know why I associate faux-hawks with soccer players, but I do.

The last date was another group one. It started with the gang at a karaoke box. As mentioned above, I’ve lived in Japan. I’ve done karaoke boxes. I’ve sung English songs there. For some reason, they decided to “sing” and dance to K-pop songs no one knew. Yeah, who doesn’t love to sing to songs they don’t know? Put it in a language you don’t know and it’s even more fun.

Next they went to have the dead skin off their feet eaten by fish. Always a fun time. Apparently, Den Mother Renee has the tastiest (i.e. stinkiest) feet because the fish flocked to her digits.

As they were walking through the crowded streets, the territorial Clare told JP not to make them eat octopus. Please, no octopus! And don’t look in that box! Whatever you do, don’t look in that box!

Of course, along came the giant octopus to put terror in Clare’s heart. Everyone took their little nibble from a toothpick, but Clare put a big production into refusing. She eventually did, but ended up spitting it into her hand.
LITERALLY count: “Clare is the most dramatic person I’ve ever seen. Her piece was literally this big” – holding her fingers an inch apart – “and I know you’ve swallowed bigger things than that.” – Kelly, the dog lover, who was wise not to bring her pooch to Korea lest she be forced to sample it. VERDICT: Close but no cigar. Clare’s piece was a bit bigger than that.
At night, Renee the Den Mother got some alone time with JP. She still hasn’t kissed him, even though I would think she’s got to be a front-runner.

She mentioned missing her son. A little bit. “The hardest part is being away from Ben,” she said, before dismissing it with, “But it’s getting easier.” Out of sight, out of mind! A couple more weeks and she’s not even going to remember having a son.

Instead of aggressively going in for the elusive kiss, she played coy: “How would Camila feel if I kissed you?” she asked. Bad move. First of all, how would she even know? Secondly, a kid isn’t going to like anyone kissing that way.

“I would like to kiss Renee, but I’m thinking about Camila,” said JP. I don’t know if she put the thought in his head or he wasn’t going to kiss her anyway. He’s already kissed six of the 13 remaining women, but no more tonight, he said rather unfairly.

Next up was Andi’s turn. The D.A. really gets his sense of humour, and not everybody does. They reclined in each other’s arms naturally talking about life. JP revealed he loves to sleep in. Which is why, I guess, he’s looking for that step-mother to his child.

Lauren the Piano-Pusher also hasn’t had a kiss. Hell, she hasn’t had much of any contact with JP. Even though she’s not the most aggressive, she decides to give it the old college try. They start to slow dance and she asks for a kiss in Spanish. “Sorry, I have a daughter,” he tells her. Ouch. Apparently his daughter has a strick half-dozen cut-off when it comes to smooching with virtual strangers.

Lauren was upset. JP fathered her, as only JP can. But she was sensible after. She didn’t blame him or any of the other gals. “Why’d I do that,” she said once she regained her composure. “I feel like a fucking idiot. I might have blown it tonight.” No, that’s doubtful, too, Lauren. He has a daughter, remember.

Cocky Clare was not just going to try to kiss him; she was going to kiss him, come hell or high water. Remember, it was Clare who put this no-kissing idea into Juan Pablo’s head to begin with when she held out earlier. But now she wanted it. “I said no kissing but I didn’t say for how long,” she rationalized.

The strong-willed JP, thinking of his daughter, caved to his inner caveman. “But she is sexy, she’s hot… I couldn’t help it,” he said. Camila would be so proud of her papa. At least Clare was one of the original dirty half-dozen.

So who would the rose go to? You’d think Clare, right? Wrong. He surprised the pundits giving it to Andi. Granted, they had a really nice chemistry even without the kissing.

At the cocktail party, the three pre-rosed women, Nikki, Sharleen and Andi, agreed not to sabotage it for others whose futures were still up in the air. Very sporting, I thought. In fact, if I were Bachelor (and is there any good reason why I shouldn’t be? I mean, apart from being married and all), I would put that condition on it. I will not see anyone who already has a rose. No exceptions. Consequences: I’ll take away your rose. It’s just the kind of straight shooter I am.

But Narcissistic Nikki quickly breaks ranks and goes in for the kill, interrupting Cocky Clare. When she gets to JP, he tells her he knows that things in the house are heating up. “I think things in the house are fine,” she lies.

Clare won’t take it sitting down: “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness,” she says, and proceeds to get under the blanket with Nikki and gently and kindly suggest that Nikki is “one way with the girls and one way with him.” You go girl! Zzzzz….

With three already rosed, there’d be eight more roses to hand out. Here’s who they went to:
  1. Den Mother Renee
  2. Chelsie
  3. Kelly the dog lover
  4. Danielle
  5. Cassandra
  6. Allison
  7. Cocky Clare
  8. Kat

Which means we have to say goodbye to Lauren the Piano-Pusher and Ms. Elise. Elise was “bummed.” But her mother didn’t want her to be around such negative ugly people. Yes, ugly. “Not on the outside, but inside.” Lauren was hurt and wished she hadn’t pressed for a kiss like she had. “God, I made so many mistakes.” Both seemed fine at first but the more they talked about, the more teary they became. My wife thought the Den Mother Renee should have been assigned to walk each one out to console them.


Next week: A tour of duty in Nam! Squeals of delight! Viet Nam!