Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bachelorette Andi and Mrs. Hyde

Here we go, folks. The recap of the second episode of the week before a two-week break. Makes total sense. Way to build an audience, ABC!

I know, I know, I complain when there's an extra episode, and I complain when there's a week off. Is that all I do? Well, pretty much. But they make it so easy for me. Why not just one episode once a week on a set day and time? Pretty novel concept, I admit, but worth a shot.

Let's get right to it. This week – er, tonight – they're in Connecticut. I remember they went to Atlantic City not too long ago after the hurricane. And I know Connecticut has had its own tragedies lately. Clearly these locations' tourist boards are reaching out to the producers to bring the show to them to show the world they're beautiful and desirable locales. Makes sense. Maybe next season everyone will ooh and aah as Chris Harrison announces they're flying to Pyongyang.

Remember Dylan from last night, who told the fellas about his two siblings and their drug overdoses and how he needed to tell Andi this in a one-on-one rather than the few minutes he'd get on a group date or cocktail party? Well, damned if he didn't get a one-on-one! What are the odds?!

He and Andi road a steam train up the Connecticut River. He was determined to tell her he lost both his brother and sister to drugs, "something I don't really tell anybody." Unless you count the guys he just met at the mansion, the producers, and a worldwide television audience. Otherwise, mum's the word.

So he builds up the courage to mention it in passing. He said he went through a messy breakup with his high school sweetheart the day after his brother's funeral... Nothing... Crickets... No follow-up question from Andi. Hey, I'm sure the scenery was breathtaking, though.

Later on the dinner train, she told him she wants to see "the real Dylan sooner rather than later." Uh, remember that part on the train earlier today? Totally real. Maybe she missed that.

So he told her again, this time filling in the details we all heard the night before. While he felt the strong need to share this with her – and I can't question him on it – I'm not so sure I would have. Not then, anyway. What happened to really getting to know someone first before you drag them into your issues? I mean, he said he told her more than most of his friends know.

Andi said it was a "big honour" that someone is willing to open up to "me of all people." Yeah, can you imagine? She's just a measly star of a reality TV show on prime time network television who holds his fate in her hands.

She gave him the rose. And it wasn't a "pity rose," she assured him. I gotta say he looked a ton more relaxed and happy after getting all that off his chest. He even smiled.

The group date was right up Coach Brian's alley. And mine. It was a group basketball game. As Andi explained, New England is the birth of basketball. True enough. But it was invented by a Canadian. Yes, he was in New England when he invented it. But think of it this way: If you took a job in another country and happened to invent something while there, wouldn't you think of your invention as a creation of whatever nationality you are? I rest my case.

First they started off getting pummelled by some stars of the WNBA. Not that I'd ever wish injury on anyone, but I was kinda hoping one of the pros would twist an ankle. I can't believe their teams allowed them to play ratball with a bunch of guys who can't really play.

But that game didn't last long. Instead, they divided the guys up and pitted them against each other. As a high school basketball coach, Brian had the upper hand. I was hoping he'd be better at basketball than Opera Man was at singing. And he was. Much better.

There was some good action. Or maybe they just showed us the good stuff. Not sure how long the game was but at halftime the score was 6-6 so I'm sure there was lots of ugliness, too. But the second half, Brian and company turned it on. We didn't get to know the final score (always a pet peeve) but from what they showed, Brian's team outscored Josh's squad 13-2 in the second half. Andi was the trophy. The losers went back to the hotel while the winners celebrated on the town with the object of their collective affections.

Andi called on Eric. She thought their relationship wasn't progressing. There's so much we don't see. What I'm missing is how any relationship can progress if there's no one-on-one time. Was that just code for her having second thoughts about him? 

Then she brought out her Juan Pablo Special. Only in reverse. Instead of accusing Eric of not knowing anything about her, she said she didn't know anything about his brothers and sisters, for example. Eric was great throughout. Calm, cool and collected. He told her about them, told him he was raised Mormon and left the church when he was 26. Stuff like that. Andi said she felt better.

Coach Brian then took her back out to the court, his obvious comfort zone. He felt the rose was his to lose since he was clearly the best in the game. Well, he didn't say the last part, but that's what we took away from it. But since when has the star player ever been the rose winner?

He gave her some tips on shooting a layup, which she nailed. Then she challenged him to hit a half-court shot. For MVP. And he drills it. People, that's a tough shot. You could take ten of those shots and miss them all. But what I loved was he didn't act all cool, like he does that all the time. Hitting a halfcourt shot is a big deal and he was surprised himself.

His goal was to finally kiss her. It would have been the perfect moment. But he didn't. He told us he has "zero game when it comes to girls." He said he's notoriously bad at reading signs.

Andi also spent some time with Nick, who, it seems, packed two shirts and two jackets for the whole trip because we've seen his full wardrobe already. She said she's most comfortable with Nick.

As for the rose, she gave it to someone who continues to progress and impress with kindness and consideration: Coach Brian, who said it was "better than winning a state championship."

Next up was a one-on-one with Serious Marcus. They sprung it on us because we didn't get to see the unveiling of the date card. One of Andi's biggest fears is heights, so what does she request for their date? Ye olde rappelling off a 30-storey building in very windy conditions. As you do.

Don't they usually do these kinds of things in Los Angeles, where all the stunt men live? Is Connecticut known for their skyscraper rappellers? I'd be nervous. And Andi was. Extremely. I wasn't sure she was going to be able to do it. Marcus was just as afraid, but he impressed me with his calm demeanour throughout. First he talked Andi down off the ledge when I honestly thought she'd bail. Then as they were hanging there, making very slow progress, he drops, "So what's your mom like?" And that totally relaxes Andi. She says, "She's nicer than me," which isn't hard to believe. And "She plays mahjong." From there, Andi leaned over and kissed him. He deserved it. I thought they should have done it again as they passed the guys' window, with all them banging on it.

After overcoming her fear of heights, they relaxed on the ground at the oldest working inn in America. The rose was sitting on the table and Marcus covered it up with a napkin, calling it the "elephant in the room." Andi said he has no idea what a catch he is. "Is there a single bad thing about him?" she asked. Nope. Unless you count being dull and overly serious. He also drops the g-word and h-word pretty regularly: gosh and heck.

He revealed he hasn't dated in three years. Considering how American goes ga-ga over these people, so many of them have been dateless for years. What gives? Are they saving themselves for reality TV? Like they don't want to get involved with anyone because it would ruin their chances for possible fame and possible fortune?

For showing strength and a protective instinct, Marcus was given the elephant in the room, shaped like a rose. But that wasn't all! Andi took him over to the casino where they danced and she overcame her fear of whiny, nasal country music. They appeared to like it. No accounting for taste, I guess. While dancing, Marcus told her he's falling in love with her. A little soon, methinks, but I'm old fashioned. I predict a giant red flag ahead for her in this relationship.

If you're keeping tally at home, Andi hated heights so she climbed down the side of a building, and Andi hates dancing so she agreed to dance on an elevated platform. She's either got guts or a lack of imagination in making suggestions to the producers.

Speaking of overcoming fears, did she really overcome her fear of heights? To me, that doesn't mean doing something once you otherwise wouldn't have done; it means not having that fear any more. Let's put her to the test again. Make her dance out of a plane or something.

While sitting alone in her room, there was a knock at her door. Special delivery. They actually said those two words. I thought they only ever said that in 1940's film noirs. She opened it up to read a mushy letter from a "secret admirer." Gee, I wonder who it could be. Gotta be Nick, right? 

At the cocktail party, Andi told all the guys about the letter, saying she'd figure out who sent it. I thought that was a bad move because now any one of them could claim they sent it. But that was the last we heard of it, for reasons which are to come.

Tasos stepped up first, but nothing much came of that meeting. Then Coach Brian took her aside and told her he regretted not kissing her. "Oh my God! Thank God you just said that! Oh my God!" she said. And they kissed. He was a "really good kisser," too.

Then Colourblind Marquel had his moment. For a moment, I thought it was Urkel. He was wearing big rimmed glasses, a bow tie and no socks. Marquel lightens her mood so much, Andi told us. He gave her some UFC moves so she could protect herself when he's not around. Lots of headlocks but no kissy-kissy. Is he the last one? Come on, let's get some interracial kissing on American network TV! This is 2014!

Then Eric had another kick at the can. He told Andi that despite what she said earlier, he had been really open with her so he didn't understand where she was coming from. I'm with him. He opened up to her about his religion and family a couple days ago, and before that told her stories of near-death in Syria. In fact, he'd venture to say it was Andi who wasn't being all that open. And with that, the gauntlet was thrown.

He told her she wasn't being the real Andi with him. He came on the show to meet a person, not a TV actress. Oh yes he did! But his tone wasn't accusatory or angry. He was earnest and sincere and you could tell his intentions were good. But Mrs. Hyde came out, just like we saw with Juan Pablo last season. Instead of simply agreeing that it's difficult to totally be oneself on shows like this, and that she's trying her best, she got pissed. Eric didn't get his back up. We sensed no bad feelings from him, nothing slimey. He even said, "This is the real Andi I'm talking about"enthusiastically.

Exactly. And I don't think he'd really want to see much of that one. 

Remember this meme?
She deployed her go-to accusation: "offensive." She twisted his words, said he was continuously calling her fake, and insulting her. And what goes with her "offensive" accusation? Her "you are not allowed to use words I don't like" trump card: "If you say 'acting' one more time, I'm gonna lose it!" she told him pointedly. Substitute 'acting' with 'ees okay' and you'll see what I mean. Déjà vu all over again.

Eric was flummoxed: "I think you're reading the way I feel a little bit heavy." A tad, yes. But she'd have none of it and sent him on his way to a waiting orange Yellow Taxi. He came out great, though. Poised throughout and honest.

Another pattern emerged with Andi: Anytime an individual pisses her off, she gets pissed at everyone else, like they were all in on it. She approached them and said, "If any one of y'all think this is a joke" or call her poker-faced, "you can just say it now and walk your ass on out." They all stood around dumbfounded. The nicest guy in the place just got booted out and now she was lashing out at them? Surprised they didn't all walk out right then out of fear.

Then she practically bawled, "I'm exhausted! I'm so exhausted!" and I felt a tinge of sorrow for her. Clearly these were the actions of an exhausted person. Who isn't a bit on edge when pushed to the brink of exhaustion? Still, it's how you handle yourself in these situations. And I just know if I were around her 24/7, I'd make damn sure she got lots of rest and sleep.

After commercials, there was no rose ceremony. Chris Harrison came on to remind us of Eric's death soon after leaving the show in a paragliding accident. Apparently it was okay to show Eric getting a thorough tongue-lashing and being kicked off the show, but to show a simple rose ceremony would be in bad taste. I thought they could have done the rose ceremony and then the brief eulogy for Eric. Not sure of the logic, but whatever.

Harrison did tell us Tasos was voted off. That's all we know. We don't even know who the secret admirer was. But I'm sure we'll find out. (Nick)

So, two more weeks? I could use the rest. After two nights in a row I'm exhausted. I'm so exhausted! I'm going to snap!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Bachelorette Andi: Boyz R Tone Def

I want you to know I'm against this extra episode nonsense. Why is there a need for a Sunday night version? Why? Am I alone in this? And it's not just because it means more work for me (although that's a large part of it). But I don't think four hours of The Bachelorette in two nights is good for anyone's health.

I also wonder how many people forgot about it? I almost did. My Bachelor Blogger manager (aka my wife) reminded me about it at about 7 o'clock last night. It practically took the wind right out of my sails. But here I am, dutifully reporting before I get back on that horse again tonight. I'm getting saddle sores from this couch. (Yes, I ride horses with sails attached, smartypants.)

Sixteen men remained and it was of utmost importance to whittle them down to 13 for tonight. Andi and her fellas were in Santa Barbara. The first one-on-one date went to Nick, the 33-year-old who received the first impression rose. Andrew told us that Nick "seems to be a skeptic. He doesn't believe in the process." I don't know about that. Listen to him gush after getting the date card: "I still don't know her; she doesn't know me. Let's be honest, what are the chances things are going to work out here?" See? Or how about this: "I'm not desperate for love." I don't know what Andrew is talking about.

So Andi and the eternal optimist go for a bike ride. They might have done other things, but nothing interesting enough for me to have jotted it down. At dinner later, Andi positively lit up just looking at Nick. I think she likes him. But she wanted to dig a bit deeper with him, demanding to know how a guy like him is still single. Always a gentleman, he didn't throw the question back in her face. Maybe he watched last season and had a good reason to suspect why she's still single.

Nick showed he's an independent thinker by saying he believes the notion of one special person for you – the idea of a soulmate – is inherently unromantic. He makes a good point for it, too. If there's one person for you and you find them, it's obvious that you'll fall in love. But to actually chisel a romantic relationship out of a stoney one requires effort and will. Now that's romantic.

So the two made a philosophical connection. Andi, the lawyer, loves a good argument. Especially when she's smitten. They cemented their connection with a long surface kiss (i.e. no tongue). Yes, he got the rose.

Next up was the group date. When Opera Man sensed the date would have a musical element to it, he practically creamed his jeans. Unfortunately for him, it was pop music. I've long wondered if opera singers could tone it down a bit to sing like a regular human being or if they always feel the need to bluster out that bloated operatic style. (Hint: it's the latter.)

The series finally included a group I'd heard of. Granted, I'd still never actually heard them, but it's a start. Boyz II Men helped the lads serenade Andi. In public. No problem for Opera Man, who told us he'd sung for thousands before and "some of the guys are a little bit jealous." Not Marquel, though. He said, ever so sweetly, "I'm gonna serenade the fuck out of her." Such a romantic.

Not only did they completely butcher an already horrible song, the producers decided to give us the full experience. It went on and on... and on. Probably the longest segment of any date stunt in the history of the franchise. I guess that's why they needed an extra night this week.

Afterwards, Andi decided to mess with Mr. Universe (Cody), telling him that she's heard he has a girlfriend back home. Hilarious! Turns out he's been single for 3.5 years. She didn't feel the need to ask him, like Nick, how that could be possible.

Last week, Andi used "y'all" 16 times. Only seven times this week, but one expression was greater than all 16 last week: "It's y'all's house." I don't know why that tickles me so, but it does. At least I'm assuming that's what she said. For all I know, she was telling us the house was owned by someone with the surname Yawl.

I didn't catch who said this (Nick? Cody?), but someone noted that most mortals have flaws but he hasn't seen any in Andi. Whoever it was, that dude obviously never watched last season. That much is true.

Maybe it was the overly serious Marcus. Sounds like something he'd say. In his sit-down, he finally kissed Andi. She's certainly not hesitant to kiss anyone who goes for it, unlike that prude Juan Pablo! Yet he's a player?

The kiss with Josh was more spirited, though, even though Marcus thinks his connection with her is unlike all the rest. When the group date rose went to Josh, Marcus was taken aback and upset. Seriously. Because everything he does is serious.

I thought the next one-on-one date, with "pantsapreneur" JJ was only a ruse to send him home. But they had a fun date so he sticks around. They were both made up to be 80, only they must have used up all the old makeup on JJ. His was quite effective. Andi looked like a white-haired 27-year-old. But to really sell it to the Santa Barbara locals, they hunched over and spoke like they were 112.

They frolicked in a park as old folks. They swung on regular swings, kissed on tire swings, rode a carousel, and JJ gave Andi a shoulder ride, blowing the minds of absolutely nobody at the park, who just saw a couple of young people playing dress-up for no discernible reason.

At night, with all the makeup off, I'm not sure JJ looked any better. He spoke candidly of his quirkiness, which, in my opinion, is a little too mannered. You'll never believe this, but it turns out he was a huge dork as a kid! I know, right? Go figure. Still, he got a rose because Andi thinks he's unique.

At the cocktail party, Eric was talking to Andi privately when a fake delivery man waltzed through the set to deliver flowers and a card to her. You know, the way delivery men always just walk right into your house and find you. The good ones, anyway.

Turns out the flowers and card were from Nick. Rather than sensibly believing this was just a transparent ploy for attention, Andi was actually charmed. She ditched Eric and took Nick outside for spirited game of tonsil hockey. Nick's heart grew four sizes, as his trousers shrunk by the same factor. He now has "genuine real" feelings for Andi, replacing the genuine fake feelings he had earlier.

Prior to the cocktail party, Invisible Ron, who was finally starting to get some camera time, had to leave due to a death of a friend. One of the guys said "it could happen to any one of us here." Which is true, but given what really did happen to Eric, I'm not so sure it was an appropriate comment for the editors to include.

We also heard Dylan tell a couple of the other guys about the drug overdoses of his two siblings, and how he'd rather tell Andi during a one-on-one date instead of stealing her away for 5 minutes. But nothing came of it on this episode.

With JJ's inner dork suppressed, he used his new mojo to pick on Andrew. First he took Josh with his Giant Tattooed Guns aside to tell him of Andrew's exploits getting a restaurant hostess's phone number early in the process. Then the two of them took Andrew outside and asked him to explain himself. To which Andrew replied, "I'm not going to engage in this," and walked off. But the newfound bravado of JJ hounded him all the way up the stairs to his room telling him to be a man. It's true: kids who are bullied often become bullies themselves. (Incidentally, words fail me when it comes to the pants our pantsapreneur was wearing.)

When Andrew emerged, he told everyone that he was handed a phone number. He sounded believable to me, even though I've never been handed a phone number in my life. No doubt, we haven't heard the end of this. And knowing Andi, it won't end well for Andrew.

Loved this line from Andrew: "I'm not going to stoop to their level. They're not worth it. They're three guys that are lowlifes." That's right, Andrew. Way to not stoop.

With Josh, Nick and JJ already pre-rosed, and Invisible Ron leaving, that left ten more roses to hand out:
  1. Serious Marcus
  2. Coach Brian
  3. Colourblind Marquel
  4. Tasos
  5. Mr. Universe Cody
  6. Some dude named Patrick
  7. Farmer Chris
  8. Explorer Eric
  9. Dylan
  10. Andrew Digits
So goodbye to Opera Man, who said, "I love to be loved and I love to love," as a huge tear fell off his cheek. Also goodbye to Beardo Brett, the shy and nervous hairstylist.

And hello again to you tomorrow (or the next day, depending on when I get around to it).