Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Juan Pablo 9: Andi has sex and goes home

Wowza, that was annoying, wasn't it? I mean not in a bad way; more of in a train wreck kind of way.

Andi is gone and now the Twitterverse is awash in pro-Andi/anti-Juan Pablo sentiment. I don't know if that's what most people think, but you're not going to hear it here. But read on for details of my take on the situation. As always, we'll take things in order. We knew the excrement was going to meet the ventilator head-on but we still had to sit through the mundane. As will you here.

Juan-Pablo and his three lucky, lucky ladies were in Saint Lucia in the Caribbean for the much-anticipated overnight dates, two weeks before he proposes to someone (or does he?). The overnights are so important because there are no cameras. And you know what that means, fellas! That's right, they can talk all night long. If you know what I mean.

The first date was with Clare who was, she insisted even if we all knew it was just for show, going back and forth on the idea of spending the night with Juan-Pablo. You know, because of his daughter and all. You all recall the time the two went "swimming" in the ocean off Vietnam? Right. We wouldn't want that to happen again. She might get wet.

On their date, what do they do? Why, they take the plunge off a boat into the ocean. We can be thankful it wasn't the Vietnam ocean. They also talked about Clare's fake concern over the elephant in the room. JP reassured her that this was week 9 and "this is what it is." He thinks it's a good time to "get to know each other better – a lot better." Nudge nudge, wink wink.

They were both on the same page so it was only natural they both share the same mattress. Clare said, "He's that next step, he's that man I want to have babies with, I want to get married to." Probably in that order, too.

Her take on the overnight: They just laid in bed talking and cuddling. She learned her lesson in 'Nam. (As far as we know.)

Date number two was the now-infamous Andi date. Listen to her talk before the overnight: "I feel like a real couple with him." Listen to Juan-Pablo talk before the overnight: "She's easygoing and that's what I like about her." She was happy. And she was. We saw them having fun, smooching under a waterfall, playing pick-up soccer with local kids. Happy. But easygoing? Never once this season have I pegged her as easygoing. She was always fretting about this or that. And we saw glimpses of her temper. Who knew she was also capable of turning on a dime.

The two talked about thinking. At least I think so. There's nothing wrong with thinking, JP thought. With that out of the way, he handed her the fateful card. And by the way, is there any reason ABC has to waste valuable primetime air time by having them read it aloud every time. The wording hasn't changed in 17 seasons.

She readily accepted and was happy to. She said she felt like she was on Cloud Nine. "I can't stop smiling," she said. And then it hit her. The PMS, I mean.

Ooh, that's a low blow and also pretty hack. But I think we have to at least consider the possibility. She was happy, felt like she was in a couple, on Cloud Nine with an ever-present smile chiselled onto her mug. And then BAM! Couldn't wait to get out of there.

Juan Pablo was unaware of anything negative brewing. You can fault him for this all you want, but she also seemed to be unaware of it until that moment, too, by her own admission. He's the one just going about being Juan Pablo in a consistent manner. She's the one who changed. And fair enough, but you can't fault the guy for not changing when you've seen him all along.

JP thought the night went "great." He said they "talked and laughed for hours." He also didn't know the chemistry would be that good. Strange, no? No mention of how she seemed different or distant. She was having fun. It was only later, lying there in the afterglow, that the conversations with herself started and her fantasy turned into a "nightmare." She saw a side of him she didn't like and said "the whole night was just a disaster." And, "I hope he did not think that went well."

What was the problem, exactly? She claims that every time she brought up her feelings or talked about her past, he always told his own stories. Some call that relating, but whatever. She also didn't like that he name-dropped. But the big no-no was that he mentioned his overnight with Clare. I had the misfortune of reading one other blogger who misrepresented things by saying he talked about having sex with Clare. If he did, that wasn't mentioned. All that we know for sure was that he mentioned the overnight. For all we know, Andi's imagination then took over, thinking, perhaps rightfully, that if he did with Clare what he did with her, it was rude and offensive to bring it up. Her big problem was that he has "no filter in him." In other words, it's okay for him to actually have sex with Clare and Nikki, and even think about it, but it's over the line if he even alludes to it without saying it outright.

Anyway, she obviously needed to talk to him. Here's my question: Did he or she just sneak out in the morning without saying goodbye? If they saw each other, why didn't she say anything then?

Again, after the fact, Juan Pablo was saying things like, "Every time I hang out with Andi, it gets better and better." Poor little fool.

He still had one more night of shagging to go. And a date. This time with Nikki. She had an interesting look. Not sure what you call it. A bikini top in need of a haircut, is the best I can come up with.

The two took to steeds. JP, with his mind clearly on the sex that will inevitably happen and the sex that inarguably just happened, joked about her riding the horse in a thong, and if that were the case he'd be following right behind. Okay, tacky, but innocent enough. Remember, week nine is all about sex.

They sat on the beach. When he handed her the card, there was no hemming and hawing. A quick yes followed and they went off to the fantasy suite where she finally let it out that she loves him. I couldn't catch his response because he was drowned out by the crickets. But he was excited about another night in the love shack. "I can't wait to learn more about Nikki. I cannot wait," he said. "My intention is for her to get to see the real me."

So, conflicting desires here. He wants to learn more about her, but also wants her to see the real him. Which might explain why he talked a lot about himself with Andi. It doesn't necessarily imply a shallowness or lack of interest in others. Of course, it could also mean he wants to learn about what she's like in the sack and let her see him naked.

For her part, Nikki said she didn't "want the sun to come up tomorrow." Another satisfied customer.

Chris Harrison had a sit-down with JP, asking him to explain his use of the word "like." Not sure why since the Bachelor is forbidden to use the other L-word. I guess he just didn't know he was suppose to use catch phrases like "falling for" instead.

JP then watched the three videos each of the women made for him. Nikki said the "evening we spent together was awesome." Clare reiterated that she has "absolutely just fallen in love with you." Andi said, in effect, "We need to talk."

And so they talked. And talked. No matter JP said, he could do no right. Andi had it in her head that he wasn't taking this whole thing seriously so everything he said was filtered through that.

She started off by telling the smiling Juan Pablo that she had been giddy and excited and had never felt that with anyone before. And yet, she told him, she's not in love. What did JP have to say about that? "That's fine. It's okay. If it's meant to be, it's meant to be."

And to that I say, good on him. He obviously had a strategy going in that he didn't want to get hurt too badly. Or maybe he actually believes what he says, which I can see, too. It's the whole que sera, sera thing. You can't force someone to love you, so you have to accept whatever comes your way. And he'll deal with his feelings privately. But this riled Andi.

"It shouldn't just be okay," she scolded him. In other words, "You have to behave exactly as I would in this situation. You have to feel my feelings the way I feel them or else you're an insensitive bastard who doesn't take this seriously."

She started in on all she had given up to be there when she realized he had left his daughter behind, so her argument was less convincing. But it all hinged on perception. "When you say it's okay, it bothers me," she said. "It comes off as you not having feelings." So then he told her he did, in fact, have feelings, but that wasn't good enough for Andi. She had decided he didn't, so he didn't.

He told her he had to consider 27 people, then 19, and so on down to 3 all the while she only had to consider one. And I don't think anyone – even the Juan Pablo haters now – would say he was a guy who didn't care about any of the women he ended up sending home.

He told her she was in the top three since the second week. Did that thaw her a bit? Nope. She wanted a fight. "It's always okay," she threw her hands up and bemoaned. "I want to die if I have to hear 'it's okay' again. I can't handle it." This show has always accelerated relationships. It was impressive that she reached that stage so many couples do only after years where one innocuous tic, habit or mannerism becomes the worst thing in the world and is only done to further aggravate the other person.

"What do you want me to do?" Juan Pablo asked. "Feel something! Have some emotions!" It's the age-old male-female argument, isn't it? What she doesn't get is that there are plenty of ways to feel things and they don't always look like her way.

JP told her this was making him sad and it didn't make him feel good, ending with, "This is life." Clearly a rational statement but one that I know (from experience) drives emotional people around the frickin' bend. But what's the alternative? To fake emoting? It cuts both ways. Over-reacting and letting emotions run amok drive less emotional people around the frickin' bend, too. How about we just accept each other for who we are and move on? Group hug!

When she brought up the Clare overnight, he reminded her that she already knew about it. She just thought he shouldn't have brought it up. Fair enough. He said, "I didn't know you were going to take it like that, I guess." And if she did, why didn't she bring it up at the time? At least give him a chance to explain himself. We've seen throughout the season he has a teasing sense of humour with those he really likes. Like with Sharleen. They'd give each other little shots. So when Andi accused him of saying she was just there "by default" I could totally hear that as playful. Especially given how much he liked her. He denied using the word, explaining that she just "barely made it here." Yeah, that sounds worse, but I also hear that as playful. Okay, she was hurt by it, apparently. But apparently hid it pretty well until she had time to process it. She told him there's a "difference between being honest and being an asshole being honest." To which JP replied, "If that's how you see it, okay." Love it!

Since she was unloading, it was time to bring up how little he knows her, or appears to care. She asked him if he knew where she stands on religion, politics, social issues, how she wants to raise kids. Apparently he didn't. But does she know that he cares about such things? He seems like more of an intuitive guy. He likes the person as a whole, gets a good general feeling about them, is sexually attracted, and that's good enough. There's a connection. The other stuff is piddling to him.

When he tried to throw it back to her, asking what his religion is, she didn't hesitate: "Catholic." Well, good guess, lady. He's from South America. You had a 100% chance of guessing the right one.

She was even annoyed that he suggested she takes the "It's okay" thing badly. "Don't put it on me!" she said. But it is on her. She doesn't like that phrase. It's her problem.

Even throughout her hissy fit, he smiled and said, "Aye Andi." I thought he really wanted her at that point, like this was all just a foreplay for some great make-up sex.

He walked her to the limo and off she went. He didn't want to argue with a lawyer, especially one putting words in his mouth. Hey, easy come, easy go, he probably figured.

In the limo, she said, "He doesn't get it. He never will, though... It's not a language barrier... There's a huge difference between being sincere and offensive." As any right-thinking person must know, offence is always in the ears of the beholder. Three different overnights with the same man, and only one took offence. So he wasn't being offensive; he was offensive to her. That's how she perceived it. It doesn't mean she's wrong about how she felt; it just means what he said wouldn't be construed as offensive by everyone.

But she kept at it: "It's offensive and annoying. It's so frustrating as a woman to hear a man say that." Tell that to the two other women he bedded this week.

And this: "Everything in life isn't just okay when it doesn't go your way." Maybe not to her, obviously, but she can't speak for everyone. Maybe it is okay.

JP told the other two about Andi leaving, and they suppressed their glee. He said he was "hurt but there's nothing I can do about it." The guy is a Zen master.

Nikki said she and Andi are "kinda like the same person." That doesn't bode well for the future. Maybe Clare is the pick. Or neither.

Next week is the reunion show, which should be fun. One snippet we got was Andi finally, after all these seasons, admitting that sex does take place in the fantasy suite (unless you're a virgin like Sean or a southern belle like Emily). She said she closed her eyes and waited for it to be done. What a good sport! Taking one for the team! So it's possible she just wasn't sexually compatible and needed an out she could use on prime time television so she concocted the "it's okay" line of attack.

Or maybe he tried to violate her where a lady should never be violated. We can only speculate. Maybe we'll get more dirt next week. See you then.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Juan Pablo 8: Hometown normalcy

I hate these two-episode weeks. What's the rush? We're only in week 8. String this puppy out a bit longer. But since we've got another one to look forward to tonight, I best be getting a move-on with this entry.

Last night we visited the four remaining women's hometowns and all their craziness. You know, like Andi and her no-nonsense and unsympathetic dad, and Clare and her no-nonsense and unsympathetic sister, both of whom turned out to be fine. But them's teasers for ya.

We started off in Kansas City, Kansas, home of Nurse Nikki. Boom, right off the bat we're hit with:
LITERALLY count: "I have literally been around the world." – Nikki. Verdict: 'Around the world' is a figurative phrase meaning you've been to different continents. I suppose it's correct, if odd, to say that she literally has figuratively been around the world, but the literally cancels out the figuratively. Unless she circled the globe, which wouldn't happen unless you had a horrible travel agent, I've got to mark this one as WRONG.
Nikki is in love with Juan Pablo, only she won't admit it to him. And why would she? A potential husband doesn't need to hear such frivolity. Let him wonder. Not that he wonders as long as he's got lips on his lips. That's all that matters.

Nikki took JP to a barbecue joint and then to a bull-riding bar. She thought he looked "pretty hot" as he gyrated back and forth on top of the mechanical bucking bull. She was "pleasantly surprised at how much of a cowboy he is." And no doubt she was even more pleased when they attempted it together, with his gyrating hips grinding into her backside.

Her parents, Tom and Jennifer, were pretty chill and open. In fact, one just needs to sit down to dinner with them and they "become family." Nikki considers her mom her best friend. Don't know what her dad does for a living, but if he were a minister, it wouldn't surprise me. He has that look. But maybe that's how everyone looks in the midwest, I don't know.

Not much to report here. Everyone was nice and normal. It was kind of fun to watch JP force his man-hugs on everyone when they would have been happy with a handshake, but that's about it.

Outside, there was more intense kissing. Nikki said "it didn't feel right to tell him" that she's totally in love with him. "I don't know why," she said. Maybe because it's hard to talk with an extra tongue in your mouth.

Next up was Atlanta, Georgia, to meet Andi's clan. Ooh, this was going to be a good one. We all saw the teasers. Her dad is a bad-ass, right?!... Not so much. I think the editors were on loan from Central Casting. They saw a bald-headed round man with a dry sense of humour so they cast him as the bad guy.

First, though, Andi took Juan Pablo to a shooting range. That's a red flag for me, but I'm Canadian. JP enjoyed himself, though. Andi was a pro, hitting the bullseye on the first shot. It took JP a while longer, as empty shells spewed out on the ground all around him, but he eventually got one.
LITERALLY count: "He is, like, literally ecstatic about it." – Andi. I forget now what he was ecstatic about, but I think it was about going to the shooting range. Verdict: 'Ecstatic' means feeling or showing overwhelming happiness. She couldn't know how he felt, and he didn't exactly show overwhelming happiness. Still, I'll give this one to her. I don't like it, but she can have this one.
Andi called the excursion a "fun little stress reliever." I'd be scared living with her. But he's a cool customer. He wasn't even nervous about meeting her ball-breaking father. Maybe the "Welcome home, Pookie" sign on their door gave him a false sense of ease.

Or maybe it was because the dad was actually a decent guy. Hy and Patty were the parents. While Andi and JP joked about all their group dates, the dad was alarmed that it took Juan Pablo so long to ask her on a one-on-one. At this early juncture, I thought he was what the producers portrayed him as in the teasers, but I can now see he was also being funny in his own wry way.

It turns out Hy and Patty got engaged after knowing each other six months and have been married for 30 years. Andi said, "It makes me think it could happen to us." Math clearly isn't her strong suit. Six months seems like an eternity compared to how long she's known JP. In fact, six months constitutes a very successful Bachelor relationship. They'd make the cover of Us magazines if they lasted six months.

A good example of Hy's sense of the ha-ha. At dinner he said, "We have three wonderful children, a good son-in-law... and a visitor." Classic!

Patty took JP outside for a little talk but I think she really wanted to hit on him. She took offence that her daughter would sell her out as a bad dancer. She asked JP if he was a good dancer, then said, "Show me." Juan Pablo called in Andi so he could – literally! – show Patty how he danced rather than taking the mom by her hand and showing her the old-fashioned way. Oh yes, they eventually danced, but in front of the others, not as Patty had yearned for.

When JP sat down with Hy, he asked the older man if the time came, would he accept JP and his daughter into their family. Hy wisely said he wouldn't answer. "When and if that time comes, we'll have that discussion," he said.

Then Mr. Six Months said he was concerned with things "rapidly unfolding this fast." He told his daughter he didn't want her to get hurt. You hear this a lot on this show. But getting hurt is implicit in any relationship. She could have met JP anywhere on her own, fallen for him, and then been hurt by him. Hell, even if they agree to marry, there's no embargo on hurt feelings should one decide to leave said union.

The next hometown visit was to Sarasota, Florida, to visit Renee and her son, Ben.
LITERALLY count: "I'm going to literally eat my son when I see him." – Renee. Verdict: Yes! Finally someone gets it right!
Renee just seems so grounded and cool, I can't say enough good things about her. Well, except for the cannibalism part. But that's really nitpicking.

They spend the afternoon at Ben's little league game. Poor little fella had to greet his mom with cameras in his face and a new man acting like he was best buddies with him. The longest Renee had been away from him before was 3 or 4 days. Where's she going that she's away from her kid that long? Ladies weekends in Vegas?

JP really liked Ben, saying, "He's such a cool kid. He's so nice." It made him realize, "Oh my gosh, I really want a son." Just not somebody else's, I guess.

Brenda and Tom were Renee's mom and dad. The family is very easy-going, so Renee comes by it honestly. Not much to see here. And that's a good thing. Outside, Renee was bursting at the seams, wanting to tell JP that she loved him, but "it didn't flow, it didn't come out." Too late now.

The final hometown visit was in Sacramento, California, home of Clare. JP would be the first guy Clare has brought home since her dad died. She talked some more about her father as they sat amongst some Canada geese at a pond.

Clare introduced JP to her mother and four of her five sisters. Clare is the youngest. By a long shot, it would appear. Her sister Madeline has been married "twenty-something years." I'm not even sure how that is mathematically impossible but it's a safe bet that Clare was her daddy's darling little mistake.

Hey, you thought Andi's folks got engaged quickly after only six months. Clare's parents knew each other only three weeks!

Her sister Lara was a bit of a control freak. She sat with Clare and their mother seeming to be the mother's spokesperson. The shots of the mom's eyes darting back and forth between them made me wonder if she had some sort of disability. "I'm not gonna let Mama be manipulated," Lara said right in front of Mama, who said nothing. But Clare wanted some alone time. So Lara got up and stood about ten feet away, arms crossed, listening in like her mama's lawyer.

All this talk of Mama-this and Mama-that was unsettling. I thought maybe it was Vicki Lawrence in her white wig.

When Juan Pablo sat down with Mama, Lara made sure she did, too. That didn't sit too well with Clare, but the calm, cool and collected JP told her not to worry. Sure enough, he sweet-talked his way into some alone-time with Mama.

Turns out Mama speaks Spanish. So they had a bit of a conversation about Venezuela. Ah, that was it. She couldn't speak English, I thought. That's why she wasn't speaking earlier. But then, when given the chance without her meddling daughter around, she spoke. And was quite smart and lucid.

Mama liked JP. So did Lara, I think. "If he can look past my crazy family, I would love to marry him," said Clare. "I would absolutely love it."

Going into the rose ceremony, I had no idea who he'd send home. As I've said, I like each one of these women. Yes, Renee is my hands-down favourite, but the others are all okay in their own right.

The first rose went to Nikki. Okay. Fair enough. We know, from weeks of upcoming highlights, that Andi had a problem in the fantasy suite, so she had to be picked number two, right? Wrong.

Clare was picked second, leaving no suspense whatsoever for number three. Only a giant thud from my heart dropping. How is it possible he'd send the best person home? It made no sense. Each of the three – Nikki, Clare and Andi – had shown signs of being a drama queen in certain situations. You got no sense of that with Renee. She was as calm, cool and collected as JP himself, and a loving mother to boot. But maybe he needs some South American fire to keep him on his toes.

Renee, as usual, was all class. She smiled. When they sat down, she told him she'd never felt this way about anyone and revealed that she did fall in love with him. She said he opened up her eyes to a whole new world. But no tears. Not even in the limo. She was more thankful than anything, admitting that "it sucks" but saying, "You can't force anyone." And "He's as good as they come." She was happy to know that men like him actually exist.

Renee for the next Bachelorette! Yes, she's 32 (if she's not lying about her age), and yes, she has a kid. So what? She's a catch. And failing her, let's have that season of nerds with Sharleen. That would be so much fun for all the wrong reasons.

Tonight I guess we learn if it's all over. Everyone was crying. They're trying to make us think JP did something very inappropriate in the fantasy suite with all three women. Can't wait to find out what it was. I hope it ends tonight. Go out with a bang (so to speak).