Thursday, August 4, 2016

Bachelorette JoJo: Aw, Phuket!

Okay, okay, here it is. I know Bachelor in Paradise has started already (I'll be doing a very modified blog for that – shorter and probably just as late). Chances are you've already forgotten about JoJo's season. So let me refresh your memory.

It sure was an emotional finale, wasn't it? No, not really. But that's what they told us at the start. Whatever. They still don't get that we're going to watch no matter how they try to hype it.

We start in a studio before a live audience, as has become the norm. Included in the audience is the cast of Bachelor in Paradise and Chris Harrison makes a point of drawing special attention to Bad Chad like it's all a big joke. Keep in mind, this had to be filmed after Bachelor in Paradise, where he revealed himself to be even more of a problem. So why is Harrison, and why are the producers, encouraging the guy? Almost every other villain in franchise history has been mostly booed and jeered and hissed at, men and women. This guy, maybe the most destructive of the lot, is given a wink and a chuckle. Somewhere Juan Paolo must be scratching his head.

The finale is in Phuket! Of course!

JoJo tells us and her family that when she's with one of the remaining two, she thinks of the other one. I wonder if that was also the case in the fantasy suite?

Yes, her whole family came to support her. That includes the two evil brothers. Remember them from last season? They either got the really bad edit last season, got a really good one this season, or were heavily coached on how to behave this time around. Even her mom refrained from drinking wine straight out of a bottle.

Jordan met the family first. He arrived carrying gifts and explained the tradition in his family to embarrass each other. Presumably by not talking to each other. But here he brought hats. Because what's more embarrassing than a hat, am I right?

Mom tells Jordan that JoJo has "trust issues" with men and asks him for his word that he'll never break her daughter's heart. What an empty promise that is. How could he predict the future? Yet to respond with, "Well, I can give you my word that I'll never intentionally break her heart" wouldn't go over so well.

Then Dad also brought up her "trust issues." I'm not a fan of the word "issues." But Jordan didn't bat an eyelash. He was probably too mesmerized with their looks. I can't get a handle on what either one of them looks like. You know how in some news investigations, some interviewees don't wish to be identified? Sometimes they're blurred out, sometimes they sit in the dark, and sometimes they wear bad disguises. Yeah, the last one.

It was a really short segment with Jordan. And the brothers got next to no airtime.

Next was Robby, who showed up with a severe burn from the neck down. She said she feels adored and cherished around Robby. Someone with more time on their hands than I should go back through every blog post and track what is said about the runner-up compared to the eventual winner to see if there's a theme. Seeing this now, after the fact, it seems like a no-brainer that she wasn't going to pick him.

The family seemed to like Robby more. One of the brothers reminded her she's not picking someone to be a New Year's Eve date, which seemed to be a shot at Jordan. Mom thinks Robby is more husband material than Jordan. Dad agrees. The bros like Jordan but think Robby is more committed and ready to marry.

Mom told Robby that she's giving him a princess because JoJo was raised as a princess. Good thing Jordan didn't hear that. She also told Robby that she wants him to make her a queen of his heart. Does she work for Hallmark?

Jordan never asked Mr. JoJo for his blessing, should it come to that. Robby, however, included Mom in the mix, promising to protect JoJo, care for her, and commit to her his entire life. Dad scoops his daughter, telling Robby that JoJo loves him. Then Dad cried, and apparently he doesn't cry much. He's a strong man. And that makes JoJo love Robby so much more. But she's not yet ready to make a decision. Yeah, we see where this is going. And we're good with it.

Another hint about her final decision was that Robby's segment was both longer and more teasingly perfect. But again, I haven't done the hard grunt work to see if this is how things are usually done in Bachelorland.

The family mentions to JoJo that Jordan didn't ask their blessing to ask for her hand, while Robby did. And that was another hint. JoJo was visibly shaken by this bit of news. She cries and says she's confused but I think it's more that she's confused by the man she wants (Jordan) than between the two.

And then came this seemingly fair and balanced assessment: If she was with Jordan and things didn't work out, she'd think about Robby; but if she was with Robby, she'd always wonder about Jordan. But did you catch the subtle difference? She'd think about Jordan even in good times with Robby, but would only think about Robby if things were shaky with Jordan.

The date with Robby was suitably boring. He tells her he sees them sitting on a comfy sofa watching TV while a meatloaf is burning in the oven. At night with the Sap, there's more sappy dialogue. He gives her a wrapped gift and proceeds to unwrap it himself. What's the point of the wrapping? (The gift, for those keeping track at home, are unframed photos of the couple.)

On Jordan's date, he said he has a tough decision to make, too. It's a two-way street. Hindering her decision is his neglecting to ask for her parents' blessing. They talk about it. She slyly leads him down the path to the point where he brings it up, looking like he did so without any prodding, but it was her all the way. He said he didn't feel comfortable asking because he didn't know if he'd be the winner, er, the man she chose. I don't think he thought this through. The guy talks in circles. He says he doesn't know if he'd be ready to get down on one knee in two days or not, then says he would be. She's not sure if he's ready for an engagement although she thinks he does want to be with her. Details, details.

Jordan feels bummed that he let her down. I'm not sure why he doesn't just go over to their place and ask. There are supposed to be no rules, right? What's stopping him?

Instead he decides to call them and ask. Mom gives their blessing. Dad doesn't say anything.

All the indecision went away, as it so often does, overnight leading into the final day. JoJo woke up with a moment of clarity. She won't change her mind.

She gets letters from the two fellas. She cries as she reads the letter from Jordan. It's everything she's wanted. She not only believes him, she believes in him.

Then again, she cries when she reads the missive from Robby. Watching him get dressed through this, we get a closeup of his head and I marvelled at the comb job on his head. He's got all the makings of a great Trump 'do when he's older.

Then we get to hear Robby's confidence at winning JoJo, a surefire sign he's not getting the rose, or her hand in marriage.

Chris Harrison tells the studio audience it's going to be painful because they both expect they'll be chosen. You know, unlike every single other final rose ceremony where one person doesn't really care either way.

We see some feet getting out of a vehicle. The feet are adorned with garish socks and the legs with the skinniest dress pants I've ever seen. My wife said, "Don't pick him based on that outfit alone." Turns out it's Robby.

We hear his over-confidence: "When I leave today, I will be engaged." Why would he say that? Even if you're 100 percent confident, just hold your tongue because there is one other guy involved. It's within the realm of possibility that you won't be engaged.

When she sees him, she says, "You look amazing. This is the best suit." So there's that. I guess she couldn't see his socks.

He opens his yap: "Jo, my family adores you, my future longs for you, my heart yearns for you." He speaks of their love, the kind you only hear about in fairy tales. You know, because it's not real.

She stops him before he can soil his knee and feeds him a line of BS: "I woke up this morning wanting it to be you." I thought she woke up with a moment of clarity? She continued: "Every day I've been wanting it to be you." If you really want to choose someone, just choose them. What's the holdup? But why would you want it to be someone who you don't feel for? And how does this make Jordan feel? "I chose you Jordan, but I really wanted it to be Robby."

As she walks him to the car, she says it again: "You don't get how badly I wanted it to be you." And gives another variation on the same theme once more for good measure. Does this make any sense to anyone? If so, please explain. The only thing I can think of is the socks. She really wanted it to be him until she took a look at those.

But Robby took it better than I expected him to. He just said he's "really, really confused." I hear you.

Jordan arrives wearing normal socks but just as skinny pants. She has a big smile for him. He tells her he's so unbelievably in love with her and that he's going to choose her over and over again until she tells him he can't. She then stops him to tell him she loves him so much. She didn't want him to get down on one knee until he heard that. I thought that was a bit presumptuous.

I liked his proposal, though. Short and to the point. Just said her full name and added, "Will you marry me?" Boom. Done.

She accepted.

On After the Final Rose, Robby entered. Looks like he got his teeth done. They were unnaturally white. But he was still dull.

When JoJo joined him, he beamed. That's about it.

Chris Harrison asked JoJo who she thought should be the next Bachelor. She mentioned Luke and Chase and then Chad stood up to make a case for himself: he lost his mom, he was a marine. He desperately wants it. Some in the audience even cheered for him. I blame Chris Harrison.

My choices: 1. a nobody, 2. Chase, 3. Chris Harrison.

When Jordan came out to join JoJo, they talked about the difficult times they've had with the tabloids. Stuff about Jordan being a fraud and JoJo's ex. But this was all stuff that came out on the show first. The tabs just ran with it. It's not like they created that out of whole cloth.

Other news? Let's see... Jordan's bags are packed. He's moving to Dallas. With JoJo. They've got a house already... Chris Harrison brought up the rift with his brother. Jordan double-talked his way out of it... That's about it.

And that's all she wrote, ladies and germs. Kinda ended with a fizzle, didn't it? Check back here for brief thoughts on Bachelor in Paradise in a day or two if you want.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bachelorette JoJo: Two-in-one

Oh, good Lord. It's Sunday again. Guess what I forgot? That's not a good sign for our sometimes-favourite reality show. Or maybe it's just a sign of summertime. I doubt I'll be able to muster up the energy for Bachelor in Paradise week after trainwreck week.

Okay, let me peruse my notes on last week. There were two episodes which I'll condense into one post.

The show started with the resolution to the previous week. Remember? The guys were standing at the rose ceremony after JoJo told us she had to send Luke home. Then Luke asked to speak to her alone, where he told her he loved her (or words to that effect). Then they went back out and she didn't choose Luke. Ouch. The roses went in order to:
  1. Jordan
  2. Robby
  3. Chase
Poor Luke. I guarantee you she will not find someone who's as good a skeet shooter as Luke. I wrote in my notes that I could see the producers picking him as the next Bachelor. I wouldn't hate the decision (especially if the alternative is Robby) but I think Chase would be better. Or even Jordan. Plus with Jordan, it would also help him get more famous than his brother.

She sits with Luke and cries after dumping him. She tells him how much she struggled and he stood up to leave in shock at how it all played out. "I just can't believe I squandered it away," he said, "I had no clue I wasn't saying it enough." He thought his kiss caused a look in her eye that said more than words can say, forgetting momentarily the function of words.

At the car he said, "You didn't want me anymore." She cried, "It's not that." Um, it's not? What is it then? He's dumbfounded. "I miss you already," he said, then apologized and got in the car. Inside the vehicle, he says he feels he got hit by a train. "I can't even process this right now. This is not supposed to happen."

With Luke out of the way, JoJo and the three single guys head to Thailand. Usually when single guys go to Thailand, it's for other reasons. And don't forget, this is the week of exotic (and erotic) overnight dates. I really hope they're in Phuket.

Her first date is with Robby, who, I would guess, is most comfortable in Thailand. In a downpour, Robby mentions a "dark cloud." It's official. There has never been rain in franchise history that has not been accompanied by someone uttering the lame metaphor.

Not much to report on the date. It's all just a preamble to the much anticipated overnight. But at dinner, Robby gave JoJo a letter before she gave him the overnight card. It was from his father. The only news is that he signed it "Dad" and not "Coach."

She feels confident in their relationship and excited about what their future would be like. She wants some alone time so she hands him the bogus note from Chris Harrison. Robby answers yes before even reading it. And why should he? The note hasn't changed in 30-odd seasons.

She tells Robby she has "strong feelings" for him. It really is inexplicable. The only plausible explanation is that she's forced to be around him so much in an artificial environment. In the real world, I would think they'd have zero chance of ever being a couple.

And then she says she feels ready to want to be intimate with Robby. There are just some things in life I'll never understand.

We see them first thing in the morning eating breakfast in bed. Her high heels are on the bedside table, for some unknown reason, presumably as a defence weapon to stab him in the eye in case he tried anything. But she says she can see waking up next to Robby for the rest of her life. And then this: "I am in love with Robby. That is so crazy." Yes. Yes, it most certainly is. She wants to tell him back that she loves him, but she can't. Even though they always tell us there are no rules, apparently there are. Then she kisses him goodbye. "See ya! I'm off to sleep with two other guys!"

Next is Jordan's turn. First they go on a long and challenging hike. Maybe she's trying to tire him out. Sitting in a temple (which looks suspiciously like outside) he asks her what her parents are like. I guess he never watched last season. She tells him her brothers are "great" and describes them as "guys' guys." She figured if he didn't see last season, he wouldn't have seen her overbearing brothers so she could start fresh.

She wonders if Jordan is too good to be true. That's what the fantasy suite is for. She'll find out soon enough.

He tells her he doesn't have or need a home base right now. She gets hung up on the "right now" part. She's worried he might get a phone call one day and take off. He says he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. She said, "That's what Ben said." Jordan can't win. But I think he will. She's questioning their relationship the most because she wants and needs to convince herself and she wants to hear his smooth and reassuring answers to make herself feel better.

He accepts Chris Harrison's generous offer to forego his own private room. JoJo says, "I can't wait." She says she loves Jordan. So that's two dudes she loves.

Waking up with him was "perfect." They kiss at the door and she thanks him for "everything."

Finally Chase gets his chance. He pulls up on a scooter that he just leaves behind as they walk off. I guess in Thailand, it's find a scooter, leave a scooter.

Chase is "extra playful" on the date, JoJo thought. I thought that was a good move. At least it sets him apart from the overly serious desperation of Robby and the earnestness of Jordan.

Between the day and night portion of their date, she was back alone at her place when Robby decided to pay a surprise visit. Bush league stuff. He missed her more than she could know. Robby, the sap, couldn't stop thinking of her, has never been more ready to get down on one knee. He's ready for a family, to be her husband. I was so hoping Chase showed up in the middle of it. Didn't happen though.

Back with Chase, he tells her he wants a future with her. She kisses him, but it seems a bit guiltily. She gives him the fake card from Chris Harrison and he replies, "Absolutely." She says wearily, "Good."

Inside, he tells her he's 100 percent in love with her. Again, silence. Again a guilty kiss. Then finally, "Thank you for telling me that," which is code for, "Oh shit." She excuses herself. Chase was probably sitting there thinking she's gone off to get the rose. But no, she was fretting about what to do. She sits and thinks alone outside. She said she didn't want to hurt him. And "I wanted to fall in love with him." Such hooey. If she really wanted to, she would have. I thought she should at least have given him the honour of the overnight.

She comes back inside and lowers the boom on him. She doesn't know if she's in the same place as him and doesn't know if spending the night together would change things. He replies tersely, "I get the point." She says, "Talk to me." So he rightfully lays into her: "Talk to you? I just threw myself out there. I just jumped over a hurdle that I've never done before and now I'm skewered. Now I'm shattered. I mean, what do you want me to say? Now 100 percent of me may regret saying that. So now 'love' equals 'get the fuck out'? That was so fucking terrifying for me to say. Now look where I end up." She starts in with, "I thought that tonight...." He interrupts with, "You didn't give it a chance."

He asks her what was missing. She said she didn't know that in a week from now she'd be able to say 'I love you' back to him. She's just trying to be fair to him. "I'm trying to not let what happened to me, happen to you, blindsiding you or not being fair and not being honest." He says, "You kinda just did all that."

She's left with nothing else but to bring out the big guns: the tears. "I'm sick to my stomach and I care so much about you that I wanted to fall in love with you. You have done everything right. You have made me feel unbelievable from the start." Blah, blah, blah.

He gets up. She sobs, "I didn't mean to do this." Really? What exactly did she mean? She asks him why he's walking away. "How could I not?" She chases after him. She can't have him walk away thinking this was something she meant to do. He asks, "How can it not?" He couldn't understand why he'd throw himself out there only to be immediately sent home. JoJo went with her old standby: "I don't know how to do this!"

Chase grabs a can of beer and heads to a big van that will (presumably) drive him to the airport. He has the line of the season as he gets in the van. Maybe the line of any season: "Oh, is this my fantasy suite?" Inside, he says, "That sucked. I get a fantasy suite card and then I get sent home. That's like pull your pants down and kick me in the nuts." He says he regrets telling her he loves her. He's embarrassed and heart-broken.

At the rose ceremony, there are only two men, both former athletes/current nothings. Or at least nothing we've been told about.

JoJo tells them she sent Chase home. Cue Chase. He makes a dramatic entrance. So much for contestants getting sent immediately home. This was one or two days later and he was still hanging around.

Chase asks to speak to JoJo. He takes her by the hand and sits her down, telling her he cares too much to let a relationship end the way it did. He was in shock so couldn't say the things he wanted to say. He resorted to anger and putting walls up. So he showed up at the rose ceremony to tell her he's proud of her, impressed with her, admires her, thinks she's amazing, is not mad at her, and not asking for a second chance. Basically, what he's saying is that if things don't work out with one of the ex-jocks, he'll take her back.

Then he walks off, chased by a monkey.

The roses went in order to:
  1. Jordan
  2. Robby, with sweat-stained armpits
They celebrate with champagne. Robby is zoned in and beaming. Jordan, in his skinny pants, isn't sure what to make of things.

Oh, and apparently it'll be a "shocking conclusion" on Monday.

Then there was The Men Tell All episode. It starts off with all sorts of behind-the-scenes stuff, with a floor director yelling, the guys backstage, a limo pulling up, and Bad Chad walking to his private trailer. He probably negotiated that. He needs to set himself apart.

Harrison said it was the most anticipated reunion show ever. I didn't even think about it until they reminded us last week.

I get all confused about the timeline. We saw a clip of Erectile Evan and Bad Chad on the upcoming Bachelor in Paradise. It looked like Chad hit Evan. Now, obviously since we're seeing highlights, this was filmed before The Men Tell All. Yet Chad and Evan are there and nothing was mentioned. They even interacted.

Also, Bad Chad was Bad Chad on The Men Tell All. And Bad Chad was/will be Bad Chad on Bachelor in Paradise. He's hitting people and threatening people and the producers are complicit. He's being rewarded for his behaviour every step of the way, so why would he change?

In introducing all the guys, they saved Luke for last. Clearly the producers want him for the next season of The Bachelor. But Chase, who was introduced second-to-last, got the biggest cheers. But he's not a veteran and a man's man with an aw-shucks humility. Chase is just a normal good guy.

Chad, incidentally, was not introduced along with the others. They need to build up his big entrance. When did Vince McMahon take over this series?

The fellas start off going against Wee Alex. They say he just likes confrontation. Poor little guy.

But they move quickly to Bad Chad. Erectile Evan likened him to Donald Trump, saying one's as real as the other. Nice analogy.

Everyone please stay in your seats! Chad is coming! We watch him, dressed in black, exiting his trailer followed by security. I'm pretty sure the security is there to protect everyone from Chad, not vice versa. And Chad whistles as he walks, just as he's been directed to by Vince McMahon. Either that or they just dubbed in his whistling from before.

Usually when a villain shows up on these shows, they're met with disgust, if not boos, from the studio audience. Bad Chad entered to cheers! Then again, so does Donald Trump.

We got the usual rationalizations from BC: Everyone hated him because he wasn't fake and was unwilling to play along. What do you do? You can't punch someone on camera! Poor big guy.

To back up his assertion that everyone there is a big phoney, he rattled off their occupations: model, singer, radio show host, media, etc. Wells, the deejay, counters by asking what, exactly, a luxury real estate guy does. Chad answers: "Don't make me talk about your girl, bro." Ah, that explains it.

It was his modus operandi all night. When Not James Taylor brought up a logical inconsistency Chad used, he responded with, "James, you might want to pump your brakes there, buddy. I got dirt on you, son." Well said.

Since he was booted off the show, he's dated both Robby's and Grant's ex-girlfriends. So you know he really, really wants to find love.

I can't keep up with all the back and forth.

They run the tape on the moment when Bad Chad ripped Evan's shirt. All season, Chad claimed that Evan tried to knock him down. All season, I thought that was a bogus claim. Turns out there's some truth to it. At least it looked like Evan shoved him a bit. But what was missed in this argument was that it still doesn't excuse what Chad did, although it explains it a bit. I never would have guessed that Evan had it in him to instigate. Also, there's no way Chad almost fell. He barely even budged.

Chad has the Freudian slip of the night. When it was suggested that he went after Robby and Grant's ex-girlfriends, he replied, "Wait, they didn't go after me!... I mean..."

Asked if he had any regrets, he surprised no one when he said he doesn't regret 99 percent of what happened. Why should he? He got offered Bachelor in Paradise and got to star in The Men Tell All. "Sometimes you choose apples when you should have chose pickles, you know what I mean?" Of course, we all know what he means.

Luke's turn in the hotseat. This oughta be dull.

Nailed it.

He says he's still in love with JoJo. Chris Harrison hints at Luke being the new Bachelor by saying, "It seems like you're ready to love again." Hmm...

Who else would like to go back to the time when strangers became the Bachelor and Bachelorette? If only because the way they've been doing it lately, it brings about contestants who do nothing but angle for the gig. If they knew this was their one chance on national TV, maybe they'd get more serious contestants. The only possible next step would be Bachelor in Paradise.

When JoJo entered to a standing ovation, Luke told her he just wants her to be happy and adds, "Thank you for allowing me to love you." Blech! The producers are salivating. Good guy. War hero. They've got the ad campaign all ready.

Chase thanked her, too. Then he asked if she didn't feel love, why did she give him the fantasy suite card? She said if they had spent the night together, it would have been so much harder for both of them. But that would have been true for whichever of Robby or Jordan she doesn't choose. It won't be easy for one of them.

Chad asks to speak. He started off well, wishing her luck, but then finished with the the jerkiest of jerky things he's said all jerk-filled season. He told her Robby broke up with his girlfriend days before filming in order to be on the show (remember, he dated Robby's ex), and that Jordan is a "liar and cheater" whose older brother won't even talk to him. Then to top it all off, he wished her well in her relationship "endeavours," pronouncing it with the stress on the last syllable so it sounds like "relationship in divorce." Classy through and through, especially with the added patented smirk.

She doesn't respond because "he's not worth my breath." That elicits a standing O from the guys.

The floor is opened up to anyone. Santa speaks but says nothing. Alex expresses his unhappiness at being unwanted. Derek gets her to back him up that he never asked for reassurance. And Vinny said he could have used a cocktail party since he didn't get a 1-on-1 in Uruguay. Then Barbra Streisand stood up in the audience to tell JoJo she made a big mistake in not choosing Vinny. "He's still single if anybody's ready!"

And we end with the always unhilarious blooper reel. This one was filled with insects and animals, including Luke's unicorn that licked JoJo's boobs and motorboated her.

To conclude, Harrison asked JoJo if she was happy with the decision she made, which we'll see on Monday. "No, Chris, I made a huge mistake." That's what I wish she would have said. She didn't, though.