Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Episode 8: Death Becomes Her.

True Confession Time: The hometown dates episode is my least favorite episode. I like it even less than the Women Tell All, which is basically a clip show. When I tune in to the Bachelor, I want kissing, I want conniving, I want exotic locations and sharks and ninjas and hot tubs. I do not want dinner with the folks in Seattle, Washington. The hometown dates episode is probably the realest episode of the show, and I love the Bachelor precisely because it is so very unreal. Also, it's the same damn thing over and over again. The producers have been trotting out the same tired tropes for this episode since the dawn of Bachelor time. Just to prove my point, I have created:

The Bachelor Drinking Game: Special Hometown Dates Edition

Drink twice every time a bachelorette greets Brad by running towards him, jumping up and wrapping her legs around him. (Audience poll: do any real people do this? I have never seen real people do this.)

Drink once every time Brad tells one of the girls how much he's missed her.

Drink twice every time we see Brad talking to a girl's mom, immediately followed by or preceded by the girl talking to her dad.

Drink twice every time Brad is forced to watch embarrassing photos/videos from a bachelorette's childhood.

Drink twice every time someone, clearly prodded by the producers, asks Brad a Tough Question about how he still has three other girlfriends.

Drink twice every time Brad reminds us HOW HARD this process is.

Drink once every time Brad says he likes a girl so much more now that he's met her family.

Drink once every time one of the women says she likes Brad so much more now that he's met her family.

Drink once every time someone reminds us what a BIG STEP this is.

Drain your entire drink when:

A girl's dad threatens to kill/maim/physically harm Brad if Brad hurts his little baby.

The producers play crazy clown music to make someone's mom/dad/entire family seem like complete nutjobs.


Drink a fifth of bourbon and bang your head against the wall in frustration whenever Brad reminds us that he's a CHANGED MAN.

Note that I wrote this all before ever watching the episode. We'll see how my predictions stack up. This week: I dreamed up a sangria with white wine, pear, cucumber, and blood oranges that will very soon make its debut on the booze blog. So what do you do when you have an entire pitcher of sangria all to yourself? You drink it while watching the Bachelor. As one of my co-workers once said: wine drunk is the best drunk.

Brad wakes up New York. He's been thinking a lot, which is unusual for him. And he's wearing a beret, cuz he's got that newsie rally at 10 AM, and then the dance with the chimneysweeps at noon. But first! A review of all the women, in case you've never seen this show before and just felt like tuning in for the most boring episode of the season.

Chantel is fun but emotional.

Ashley is happy and bubbly but resents the fact that Brad has three other girlfriends.

Shawntel is fun and unassuming and Brad wants to take the next step with her. I guess she doesn't get a But.

Emily has a touchingly dramatic life story that she just sold to the Hallmark Channel. Brad's worried about meeting her daughter.

Thoughtful newsie Brad reminds us that he is SO MUCH MORE INVESTED this time than last time. Take that, Deanna! Aaand he's off to Seattle. Let the snoozefest begin. I will occasionally break the dates down into pros and cons. It'll be like we're INSIDE BRAD'S HEAD.

Con: Chantal does a running hug but no leg-wrap. FAIL.
Con: Traveling to Seattle leads Brad to make the questionable wardrobe choice of this quilted vest.

Pro: Chantel has her own house.
Con: It is three blocks from her parents' house.
Con: Chantel drinks Corona.
Con: and has a ridiculous tiny dog.
Pro: Chantel's cats meet Brad and are like, meh, which makes them the only actual good judges of character on this show.
Con: This is SO HUGE.
Pro: I just took a drink. And maybe a little nap.

You guys, Chantel's parents have a McMansion straight out of the Sound of Music. Dinnahtime. Brad's lost the vest, at least. Chantel's dad pours red wine from a carafe into a glass of WHITE WINE and these are DEFINITELY the people you want picking out your husband.

Dad and his DIY rosè take Chantel outside. Chantel has That Feeling about Brad. I have a feeling, too. Nausea's a feeling. Dad takes Brad outside. (Damn! I lose again.) Brad and Dad bond over how they are both self-made men.

Dad: My first job paid 25 cents an hour.
Brad: Oh yeah? Well my first job paid NOTHING. And to get there, I had to walk. Barefoot. In the snow. Uphill, both ways. And I sold my kidneys for bus fare.
Dad: Wait, didn't you say you walked?
Brad: I knew we had a lot in common.

Chantel talks to her mom. Chantel's mom and her overplucked eyebrows tell Chantel to Follow Her Heart. Dad takes Brad to some kind of wine cellar and bestows his dubious blessing.

Chantel loved Brad before and she loves him even more now that mom and dad are on board. Aka: foot off the brakes, full speed ahead to CRAZY.

Next up: Ashley's hometown of Medawashnughslabughsha, Maine. The tourism board bills it as the MOST NORTHEASTERN TOWN in the COUNTRY, which can only mean one thing: there is nothing better to say about this town. Ashley and Brad: running hug, but no leg wrap. You're killing me. Maybe they're saving it for the fantasy dates?

Con: Every single thing Ashley says is so saccharine I want to wash my mouth out with lemon juice.
Con: I miss Ashley S.
Pro: Brad could totally see himself living in Medawahnuughasha because he likes lifestyles that are slow and will accommodate his halting manner of speech.

Medawashnashuja is French-Canadian, and they have a special dish called "poutsin". Brad looks intimidated and the producers helpfully play the OMG SO WEIRD music, but then it comes's cheese fries. With gravy. Which sounds kinda awesome, actually. Why did it take Canadians to think of this? Brad thinks his relationship with Ashley is GOOD, but it needs to be GREAT. Ugh.

Con: Ashley says "disconnected" a lot. Mostly in reference to Brad. Mostly after he makes out with other girls.
Pro: Ashley can't help saying "disconnected" because she is an Open Book. She just has to talk about her FEELINGS.
Con: Ashley and Brad have been wasting time reassuring each other about their Connection when they could have been eating CHEESE FRIES.

Dinnahtime! We're getting lobster cuz we're in MAINE!!! Lest you forget. On the way to mom and dad's, Ashley takes Brad to a roadside vegetable stand where you pay by dropping your money into a box, because people in small towns are BETTER THAN OTHER PEOPLE. Or, they have no time to man their vegetable stand because they are also the doctor and the high school drama coach and the entire police force.

At mom and dad's: Ashley is so cute! Her family is so cute! They are so happy! And so excited! To meet Brad!!! Squeeeeee! BRADDD!!!!

Ashley's sister Chrystie has some kind of serious tattoo. She can tell that Ashley is so proud and so happy and so excited about Brad and it is so so amazing. She thanks Brad, on behalf of the whole family, for choosing Ashley to be one of his top four wives. They look forward to dinner and her potential deflowering in South Africa.

Ashley's dad has a chat with Brad. Turns out Ashley is still in dental school. Verrry sneaky, producers. Shouldn't her profession be "aspiring dentist"? Ashley's brother asks her: if he would propose to you, right now, what would you say? Ashley says: there's still a lot to learn about Brad. I have a moment of warmth toward Ashley because this is like something a normal person would say.

Brad's suddenly worried that Ashley wouldn't want to accept a proposal since she has Goals and shit. Because no married women have careers. Holy crap, Brad. Ashley, blithely unaware of Brad's latent anti-feminism, thinks the hometown date has taken things to the Next Level and that she and Brad are Meant to Be. Aw, honey. I imbibe deeply. Ashley's mom invites Brad to sleep over, so maybe I should've said: drink twice every time parents on this show display seriously questionable judgment. Ashley's excited to see what the future holds.

In commercials: James Franco and Anne Hathaway are hosting the Oscars. I wish they were having BABIES together, because you just know their children would be so, so beautiful.

Also in commercials: An ad for Shawntel's family's funeral home! Because I guess thinks I live in California. And am dead.

In Chico: Shawntel works at a funeral home, you guys. Her life is all about death. (Deeeep.) Shawntel is cool with it, because she's cool. Brad cannot handle it. He plans to own bars forever and never die. His life ambitions include appearing on The Bachelor for the 72nd time when he is 500.

Brad says: it fascinates me that you embalm people. I think here "fascinates" means "scares the shit out of". Shawntel gets Brad to lay down on the embalming table and tells him, with a wicked gleam in her eye, how she would use some tools to drain out all his blood. Is it just me or does Shawntel kinda love freaking Brad out? I LOVE SHAWNTEL. Crazy music abounds. If I were sticking strictly to that whole "drain your whole drink every time they play the crazy music to make someone look insane" thing, I would've finished about 2.5 pitchers of sangria.

Family time! Dad takes Shawntel aside and there's a big ol' con: Shawntel is poised to take over the family business, which is distinctly...not in Austin, Texas. This whole "I lurve Brad" thing is kind of ruining the plan. Brad talks to mom for a while. He mixes her an underwhelming drink and then they talk about how much they both care for Shawntel. Blah blah blah. (Edited to add: Chris Harrison said, in his Chris Harrison blog, that Brad "tried to" make Shawntel's mom a mai tai. Teehee. Gotta love those little Chris Harrison digs.)

Whole family gathering: Brad is the mayor of awkwardsville. Dad sez: if it's meant to be, we want happiness for both of you. Meaning: stay away from my daughter. There are dead people waiting, and they ain't gonna embalm themselves.

Outside, without those pesky parents: Shawntel has gone from Falling in Love to officially In Love, a distinction only made on the Bachelor. Brad kisses her hand awkwardly. Shawntel hopes this is her future.

In Charlotte: Emily's daughter Ricki sees her and does the leg wrap. Does that count? Then along comes mommy's nice friend from television. Despite the teasers having led us to think for weeks that RICKI HATES BRAD, here is what actually happens: Ricki's a little shy at first:

But then Brad wins her over with a kite and a couple of games of Candyland.

Little Ricki's bedroom is about the same size as my entire house. Also, Emily really comes alive when she's with her daughter. Watching them together, I thought - this is the most natural Emily's been all season. I sort of feel bad for saying she was boring last week. Maybe she's only boring around Brad.

Little Ricki goes to bed in her palatial room and Brad and Emily are chillin downstairs. Emily wants Brad to kiss her. Brad has some kind of madonna/whore thing going on and respects Emily too much to kiss her in the vicinity of a child. Or some shit.

Emily: It's fine. (It's totally not fine.)
Brad: OMG you're not buying this! (Most perceptive he's been all season.)
Emily: Uh...this is bullshit. I got NEEDS. If this thing works out, there's always gonna be a child in the vicinity. And I got NEEDS.
Brad: Uh...I gotta go.
Emily: Lame.

Emily walks Brad to the door. Tiny temptress Emily finally succeeds, right on the doorstep, and they finally kiss and it's real sweet. I am deeply moved. DAMN YOU SHOOOW.

Chris Harrison is alive, you guys! He and Brad have a little chit-chat at the Ganseevort Park Hotel in New York (product placement!) about all that has transpired. Brad recaps all the dates, as if we didn't just see them like, less than an hour ago, and we're shown little clips but they're all blurred and cloudy like HEY THIS IS THE PAST. I get it, ABC. Brad is one step closer to saying GOODBYE to one (of the women) and one step closer to saying HELLO to THE ONE. I hope the writer who coined this little gem finds some higher calling.

After commercial: Chris Harrison: This is Big! Big step! SO HUGE! I drink a million times. We pan across all the ladies. Shawntel is wearing black, which reminds us of DEAD PEOPLE. One of you, sez Chris, WILL BE GOING HOME. Look, ABC, if you need somebody to dress dapper and say obvious things...I'm available. Here's Brad: Following my heart, finding love, finding a wife, you're incredible, blah blah blah...but I signed a very lucrative contract that says I must propose to one, and only one, woman at the end of all these shenanigans. Let's not mince words. ON TO THE REJECTION.

ASHLEY. EMILY. (I love her dress this week. Btw.)


Chris, I have not had a math class since senior year of high school (2001, but who's counting?), so I cannot COUNT TO TWO. Blessings.

The final rose is for...Chantel. Brad has to say the last initial, because he pronounces their names the same, which I'm pretty sure is wrong. This means my sweet, black-humored favorite is headed home. So sorry, Shawntel. Shawntel gets hugs from all the other women and then Brad walks her out.

Brad gives Shawntel his version of the most succinct, more irrefutable rejection letter ever: he just wasn't feeling it. As he says this, his hand lingers lovingly on her knee and I'm like, stop it, you asshole. Look, we know Brad's a douche. He's the Bachelor, right? But this one move makes him look jerky and stupid. You rejected her, right? The time for seduction is past.

Shawntel felt like Brad was So Perfect and she deserves to be with someone who is So Good. You do, honey, you do! Someone who is NOT BRAD. Look, Shawntel is gorgeous. Even if she does spend her whole day touching dead people...her ass looks great in that dress. I wish you the best, Shawntel.

Next week...Brad and the sister wives go to SOUTH AFRICA. It's the ultimate DREAM ROMANCE ADVENTURE FAIRY TALE LOVE STORY. OF ALL TIME. Are you ready for this? I know I am. I'll see you next week.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Episode 7, Part 2: Beaaauuuuutiful.

Second half! The second half promises to be waaay better than the first half, because there is more crazy Michelle. Also because I am already working on my second mojito.

2 AM. The ladies' villa. Brad creeps into their bedroom, all creepy-like, to awaken them. Because this group date is gonna be the MOST SURPRISING EVER. No no, he assures Ashley, You are not dreaming. Man, Brad is so humble. Don't worry Brad, you're in all my dreams. The ladies tromp grumpily (tromp grumpily...say that five times fast) over to some random building, only to be greeted by...the editor of their PHOTO SHOOT! They are all like, WHAT THE SHIT. The ladies are about to be in the legendary Sports Ilustrated swimsuit issue, which hits newsstands February 15! Conveniently, the day after this episode aired so go out and buy a copy NOOOOW.

Also...aren't most people who watch the Bachelor...female? Aren't most people who want to see scantily clad women sprawled out on beaches...male? This product placement befuddles me. Is there some secret contingent of dudes who love the bachelor?

The ladies start getting ready for their photo shoot. Ashley yells something about how she has no boobs. I feel your pain, sister. Brad assures Ashley that she is beautiful while the camera zeroes in on her ass. Chantal's worried cuz she's having a fat day.

To the beach! The ladies are introduced to Raphael Mazzucco, swimsuit photographer, who will be played by Fezzik in this episode. (THIRD princess bride reference. I can barely hear you over the sound of how awesome I am.) Ashley jumps up and down a lot and Fezzik, I mean Raphael, repeatedly tells her that she is beaaauuuuutiful.

Then Raphael Mazzucco (so hard to type! seriously, dude) stops being Fezzik and starts being that little devil on your shoulder. Fantaaaaassstic. This would look incrrredible without a top on. Ashley's like, no. Absolutely no. Then the chick who's running the photo shoot is like, no, seashells! Put the seashells on your boobs, like this! She awkwardly demonstates, saying something about Ashley having the "best butt" (I think? Is everyone here drunk?) and suddenly Ashley's like, aww hell. I'll do it.

Hey Chris? I know you're reading. Don't like, pretend you're not. So you know how you added the women's ages to the graphic on the bottom of the screen, just cause I asked? Well, I have one more teeeny request. When each contestant shows up on screen, I would like a little graphic under their name indicating how many glasses of champagne they've had. Now that's good TV.

Much cheering, because everyone loves you when you take your top off. This questionable sentiment brought to your by the steaming cesspool of immorality that is The Bachelor. Ashley does the seashell thing and Fezzik (I refuse to write that other name) thinks it's Faaaantaaaastic. Chantal feels all self-concious and fat because Ashley is Rocking. That. Body.

Chantal's turn! She writhes around on the beach for a while and I'm like, this chick feels fat? I'm definitely gonna have to go for a run after this. Thanks for the self-loathing, this episode. Of course they try to get her to take her top off, and of course Chantal's all over it, because she doesn't want it to seem like Ashley LOVES BRAD MORE, or is sexier, or something. Sigh.

Chantal takes it off. There's a big ol' black bar on the screen, and in case you didn't notice that, Brad is like, It's Off. Uhhhh...It's Off. He repeats this about 14 times, while shuffling uncomfortably and looking at his feet, because boobies make him nervous.

It's okay Brad. They scare me too.

Michelle's not cool with taking it off, so she decides, instead, to straddle Brad on the beach. Beaaaauuuuutiful. Chantal thinks it's "funny". Yeah, totally hilarious when some other girl is lying on top of your boyfriend and exfoliating his face with her tongue. THIS SHOW IS SO WEIRD.

Michelle and Brad get up from the beach and you can just feel the jealousy coming off the other women in waves. I know what will make this less awkward...a pool party! Brad says this was supposed to be the Ultimate Dream Fantasy Date From Heaven, but now it has become the DATE FROM HELL. I dunno, it just looks like you in a pool with three chicks. So far, so good.

Ashley's worried that she's the girl next door and what she's got will never stand up to sexy sexpot Michelle. Brad tells her that this is "bad crazy" if she's worried about why she's here. As opposed to the good crazy we see all the rest of the time! Oh, The Bachelor.

Mojito number...crap, I lost track. This one with freaking mezcal. Yum. This show is the worst thing to ever happen to my liver.

Ashley wants Brad to know that she cares about him, but whatever decision he makes, as long as it's the best one for him, she'll be okay eventually. Brad's worried that Ashley is putting up Walls. He then steals Chantal away. I'm wondering what these lime-green libations are that everyone's drinking. Pretty sure my grandma had countertops that were exactly that color.

Chantal's feeling Shut Off. She tells Brad: your body language sucks with me. I'm pretty sure that means: take me in your arms and have your way with me. Right now. But Brad doesn't take the hint. Instead he decides to talk about his freaking FEELINGS. Group dates are So Hard. It's hard to get caught up in the moment when he knows that there are other women waiting for both of them. Not just me, he says: both of us. This show just got Big Love-ier than ever. (Didn't get the joke? Watch Big Love. It is maybe the best show on TV. You're welcome, HBO.)

Chantal assures Brad that she still loves him, just in case you forgot that awkward little bit from the last rose ceremony. Brad steals Michelle away. He's worried they may be a little too much alike. Michelle may be the SheBrad, she says, but at least she's willing to own up to her mistakes. She's 100 percent confident she's supposed to be here.

Ashley and Chantal watch Brad with Michelle. They think he seems Closed Off with her, but also that he's been Closed Off with them. Ruh-roh. Brad comes to steal Ashley, again, and she begs him not to send her home, about 14 times, because I guess that whole deal with Britt got everyone worried that they could be eliminated AT ANY MOMENT. Brad's like, um, dude, chill, and he goes to get her the date rose. Ashley sees him coming back with the rose and jumps up and wraps her legs around him and vows to never let go.

Brad and Ashley return to the pool and Chantal's bitchface is so withering I want to curl up under the coffee table and die. Brad asks Chantal if she is okay. She is SO NOT OKAY. In fact, she starts crying. Michelle might be crying, too, but it's Chantal who gets the coveted Alone Time with Brad. If Brad doesn't like her better than those other two girls, Chantal says, he should just send her home, because Chantal has never seen this show and doesn't realize that the date roses are completely meaningless and are ABC's way of throwing us off the trail. Chantal cries and her bosoms heave and she is more incoherent and irrational than ever. Ahh, Brad. The date from hell thing. I feel you now. Finally Chantal stalks off down the beach, not completely pacified. Brad watches her leave, all conflicted and shit.

Rose ceremony time! Brad's hanging out in his own little tiki hit, staring at pictures of the ladies all like, who do I chooooose? Chris comes to rescue Brad from this EMOTIONAL HELL, because a long-distance call to Dr. Jamie would've been too expensive. Chris puts on his very best Serious Face and Brad delivers a real doozy: he wants to SKIP THE COCKTAIL PARTY. I guess all the angsty-looking-at-photos was a big fraud, because Brad's already decided who he wants to send home. Chris blathers for a while about how the next step is LIKE SO HUGE, because there's no cocktail party and we've gotta have something to fill the next 15 minutes with.

Rose ceremony time! All the women feel insecure as all get-out, except for Emily who Brad told she was totally getting a rose even though that's cheating. Oh, and Ashley. Who already has a rose. Roses go to: Emily (obvs), Shawntel (yay!!), and...

FINAL ROSE TONIGHT. Love you Chris, but you do know that's kind of stupid when there's only three roses, right?

The last rose is for CHANTAL. I hope Michelle and her giant earrings are gonna unleash some serious havoc now. Maybe telegraph the mother ship to begin the full-scale invasion. Brad tries to take her hand while her walks her out and she's like, no. He asks her if she wants to talk. Also no. Honestly, it's refreshing to see someone shut Brad down like this. You just REJECTED her, dude. She no longer thinks you are the cat's pajamas.

Brad talks about how hard it was to let Michelle go but then immediately gives a million reasons Michelle was TOTALLY WRONG for him. Meanwhile, in the limo, in the most SHOCKING TWIST of this entire season, Michelle does not scream, or rage, or cry, or plot revenge. She simply lays down on the seat. All the fight has gone out of her. Tara. She'll think about this tomorrow, at Tara. After all...tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Episode 7, Part 1: Angst-guilla.

This week: ANGUILLA! More fake feelings! TWOO LUUVVV. Heartbreak! Devastation! Oh, and a topless photo shoot.

The bachelorettes arrive, via speedboat, at the BEAUTIFUL ISLAND OF ANGUILLA. The ladies are posed attractively in a cabana at their villa when Chris Harrison shows up and they're all like, who's that?? This week, sez Chris, there will be not two but three one-on-one dates (gasp!), and one Very Special group date. There will be no roses on the one-on-one dates, but there will be one on the group date. The girl who gets that rose will get to take her relationship with Brad to the Next Level and it will be Huge, just like it always is when your boyfriend tells you he's only dating three other girls. The first date card is for Emily and she fakes being excited.

Emily and Brad are sittin on a bench, sipping champagne, when along comes...a helicopter! Brad says this is one of the Most Romantic Dates he has ever planned in his life, by which I think he means, "this is one of the most romantic dates ever planned for me by ABC staffers which I then took credit for". Keep on keepin' it real, Brad.

In the helicopter, Brad says he hopes his relationship with Emily "literally takes off" today and YOU'RE KILLING ME. Also: this word "literally"? I do not think it means what you think it means. (Second Princess Bride reference and only six minutes in! WIN.)

Brad is taking Emily and her blindingly white teeth to their own private Carribean island. WANT. The island, not the teeth. They sit on the beach and talk woodenly about how great the view is. Here is an actual transcript of their conversation:

Brad: I like it out here.
Emily: Me, too.

awkward silence.

Emily: What are you thinking?
Brad: This is a really, really cool view.
Emily: It is really pretty.
Brad: Love it here.

Brad stretches. Emily plays with her hair. I took a little nap. Brad can't figure out why he's still nervous around Emily. Uh, maybe because this is THE MOST BORING CONVERSATION EVER. Bring back Alli!

Brad figures the thing that will save the conversation is talking about his FEELINGS. Aw, shit Brad. No. Brad admits he's nervous around Emily and he "kicks himself in the ass" about it. (Where is the footage of THAT?) Emily's nervous, too, so they decide to call it a day and go home.

Sorry, that's just what I hoped would happen. The two most boring people on earth are TRAPPED ON A DESERT ISLAND and I'm gonna be forced to watch this for twenty minutes? Beer. I need beer.

Emily is scared to Open Up. Brad assures Emily how much he cares about her and says he only takes things so slowly because he cares. SO MUCH. This is SO DULL. Then they kiss because that's always better than talking, anyway. The sun sets, as Brad delivers this gem: "We're losing the sun. And we're gaining...the moon". Well, doesn't get much better than that.

After commercial, a date card arrives at the villa de los ladies. If Britt does not get this date, she says, she will DIE and then go home and be SAD FOREVER. So of course it's for Shawntel. The date card reads: "Let's find love on the streets of Anguilla". Love, or some delicious roadkill. Or maybe they're comparing love to being run over by a speeding vehicle. DEEP.

Shawntel feels bad (I nearly typed "feels Brad"...Freudian slip? Maybe?) that she got the date and not Britt. But she can't think about that, because if she does, she'll go crazy, "like some of the girls here." Teehee. Only mildly funny thing so far this episode. Shawntel, you keep me hanging on.

Okay. After that little Kim Wilde interlude, I feel refreshed. More bullshit! Oh, and there is more bullshit. This is the part of the show where Emily pretends to have doubts about introducing Brad to her daughter, because the producers need to create some tension. I notice that Emily is rocking the side braid, which was last week's hairstyle of choice. Brad BREAKS THE RULES because he is a WILD MAN and tells Emily that she's definitely, for sure, absolutely, getting a rose. Also that he really likes her. A lot. Then the producers are like, hey, could you guys go kiss? In the waves? Right there. No, maybe a little deeper, so like, your ankles are submerged. Grab his chin. Yeah, like that. Okay, hand on her waist. Emily and Brad oblige. It's very special.

Shawntel goes into her one-on-one with exposed bra straps and a questionable skirt. She is feeling a Connection. Shawntel and Brad hug in front of a sign that says "Welcome to Ebeneezer" and I'm thinking- Scrooge? Second verse of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing? Someone enlighten me here. (Also, if you're a dude and you got the Come Thou Fount reference - marry me.)

Shawntel is rocking the side braid, too. The side braid is very big. They ride bikes to a farmer's market where they drink some sort of libation from what appears to be half of a hollowed-out watermelon. Seriously, I'm guessing those rinds hold about a fifth of rum each. Brad says: today just got a looot better. Oh, I'm sure it did. They jump rope, and play dominos with the locals, and honestly...this looks really freaking fun. Shawntel is my current favorite. Sorry for ruining your chances, Shawntel.

Shawntel and Brad get some love advice from a wise old Anguillan woman. She says: hold hands. Kiss some of the time. Let your parents know before you get married. Oh, and never go on the Bachelor.

Brad and Shawntel have a picnic, surrounded by baby goats (baby goats!!) and congratulate each other on how natural they are. Shawntel tells Brad that she's Falling for him. The momma goat bleats happily. Then they have dinner and Brad gets a chance to re-hash his daddy issues a little. But you know what? It seems real. I'm such a sucker. Also, Shawntel is doomed.

It starts to rain. Wait, wasn't that Chantal's thing? DAMN YOU WEATHER. Brad and Shawntel kiss. It's kind of sweet. Damn, why does this date keep getting to me? Fleissy-poo, make Shawntel the next bachelorette and I promise I'll make you several key lime margaritas.

But wait...there's more! Namely, a private concert! By Banky Banks (sp?), the most famous of all the very famous musical artists in Anguilla. Perhaps the most famous musical artist in the WHOLE CARRIBEAN. It's pretty okay, I guess. But he's no Phil Collins.

Cut to the villa and the next date card. It is freaking finally for Britt. The date card says: "Let's set sail on the sea of Luuuuurve." I say: gag me. Michelle says: THEIR SHIP WILL GO DOWN. I am Ursula, queen of the waves! TREMBLE BEFORE MEEE." (Look, sorry the link is in Spanish. I couldn't find anything else. Also, Spanish Ursula's voice totally sounds like a dude.) Oh, Michelle. There was, by my count, nearly a half an hour without your vitriol. I've missed you.

Banky Banks continues his concert. The locals continue to dance, while Brad and Shawntel, powered by the sweet magic of Corona and the ABC machine and possibly true love, strip to their bathing suits and suck face in the ocean.

Brad picks up Britt and then they get into a FREAKING YACHT. I'm pretty sure Jay-z is there. They swim out to the yacht while the other women watch jealously. The yact takes them to an isolated little bay where they go CLIFF JUMPING. It's so Swiss Family Robinson, I'm just waiting for the ostrich race. (Totally counts as a Disney reference.) And the attack by PIRATES. You know what would make the Bachelor better? Freaking PIRATES. Chris?? You listening?

Britt is scared, because it's not a date on the Bachelor unless you're scared out of your wits, but she jumps off the cliff anyway because THAT IS JUST WHAT LOVE IS LIKE. Sometimes, in love, you hit the water, and it stings a little, but you're glad to be alive, and sometimes, you belly flop and it's really painful and embarrassing and you hope no one saw, and sometimes, you BREAK YOUR FREAKING NECK. Two thoughts: 1. I can't wait to be in love, and 2. I cannot believe some people saw this episode on freaking Valentine's Day. I hope ABC pays for their therapy. And not with that hack Dr. Jamie.

Dinnahtime, on the yach. Jay-z has made himself scarce and Brad and Britt are having a romantic dinner. Brad says that Britt is a great girl and "any man would be lucky to have her". This? This is the kiss of death. Mark my words. "Any man would be lucky to have you" can only mean one thing - "I'm thinking about all those men you should be with who are not me".

Dinner with Britt is boring, although not nearly as boring as with Emily. Brad gets down to the point: he thinks Britt is great but he's just not feeling it. Because he is such a CHANGED MAN, he's going to let her go right now, as opposed to leading her on another 24 hours until the next rose ceremony. Hey Chris? Your whole "there are no roses on the individual dates!" thing? Total bullshit. I hope you feel as played by ABC as I do. Let's meet for drinks. I like a nice IPA.

Britt gets into a little tiny boat as the Rejection Music swells. A boat! So at least that's a new one. Also, Britt managed to not wear any heart-shaped accessories this episode, and I count that a success. As sad music plays, Britt dismounts the boat and clambers onto the beach, walking past the pergola of former happiness and on to the villa. The other women's ironically happy cries of welcome only serve to accent the soul-crushing sadness of it all. Sometimes, the love with that chiseled man from the reality show who is barely able to form a sentence does not last. IT IS THE HUMAN CONDITION. We read some angsty Russian novels. WE SOLDIER ON.

Continued in part 2! Tomorrow. Tonight? I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Episode 6, Part 2

Continued from part 1.

This particular half brought to you by a moderately-priced bottles of Malbec. And some dark chocolate truffles. Happy valentine's day to me!!!

Alli and Brad are having dinner on what appears to be an island in the middle of the hot spring. I can only see this working if the maitre'd is a crab and the waiter is a flounder. (You didn't think I would make it an entire episode without one Disney reference, did you?) So let's cut to the chase...they're on an island, and the island is in the middle of some steaming lake, and the conversation is...awkward. It's really awkward. Remember that girl in like, Andrew Firestone's season, who spent the whole date talking about how much she loved Italian food, and then her favorite Italian restaurant was Olive Garden? It's that awkward. Also, I just outed myself as a superduper hardcore fan of the bachelor. Don't judge.

Back at the resort: sweet mother of something precious but not spiritual and therefore not offensive, Chantal is drunk. I have had two long island iced teas and half a glass of wine, and I think Chantal is drunk. Meaning - Chantal is really, really drunk. She gets everyone to agree that Brad and Alli have like, a friend vibe, and then they all do jaegerbombs.

Brad asks Alli about her last relationship. (Date 3. Previous relationships are not discussed until date 3. Stick to the rule, Alli.) It didn't work out with Alli's last boyfriend because he was a great guy, but just not the one for her. Brad sees this as a great lead-in to saying: he thinks Alli is a really great girl, but just not the one for him. He can't look her. in her eye. and tell her. that he loves her. Welcome to the club of beautiful, rejected brunettes with lovely asses, Alli. But what I'm really wondering is: how do they get off the island? This is NEVER EXPLAINED.

Alli is sad because she had like, feelings for Brad. Back at the resort, some central american Rhett Butler comes to take Alli's luggage and all the women guffaw.

Back at the BradPad, Brad feels all guilty and shit. Blahhh. Brad: tired of your angst. There's a knock on the door and I'm totally preparing for it to be the freaking THERAPIST and I'm just about to get up to pour myself another glass of wine and instead it's Michelle. Oh, Michelle. So much love for you right now. Keep that crazy coming.

Brad asks Michelle, about 17 times, why she's there, and she tells him that she MISSES him, and they make out, evilly, while evil music plays. Is there a storyline here? I'm not sensing much of a storyline. There's a rose sitting on the Pier 1 wicker coffee table, because I guess the producers have forgotten this isn't a real date.

Michelle agrees with Brad rejecting Alli, and they talk about how it was just that night, like maybe Brad brought the un-given rose to display artfully on his coffee table so he could dwell on his INNER TURMOIL. Michelle wonders why Brad kept Chantal, and this is getting dumber and dumber. Like, almost as stupid as the Dr. Jamie spots. Oh. My. Gosh. IS MICHELLE THE NEW DR. JAMIE??


I'm about to beat my head against the wall, but then Michelle starts predicting who's gonna go home next. Meta, y'all, Totally meta. You know you're all thinking about this. Britt, Jackie, Shawntel...then Chantel, Emily, Ashley, and Michelle, naturally. Let's see how her predictions stack up. Brad seems unconvinced.


After commercial: it is NIGHT in Costa Rica. NIGHT like in Brad's SOUL. Chantal already has a rose, so she is dressed like BamBam. Not kidding. I'm gonna screenshot this nonsense. Everyone not dressed like a Flintstone is second-guessing themselves. Brad pops in to tell the ladies how HARD and EMOTIONAL this is. Not as hard as it is for me to watch, dude.

I am so tired. I am so tired of this episode. Not even string cheese and malbec (love you, guys) are going to get me through this. The rest of Brad's interactions with the ladies will be summed up in the form of a haiku:

Brad and Emily
feel vulnerable in a
hammock. or some shit.

Chantal wonders who
is the bitch who gave Brad grief
about that one rose.

Is is Michelle! She
is not trusting Brad enough
He is getting scared.

Michelle is supposed
to be here. These other girls
are not. Michelle cries.

Shawntel and Brad play
the quiet game. THE QUIET
GAME. Then they make out.

Michelle tells the girls
she gave Brad crap about the
rose. They all care. WHY??

WHOA. Chantel tells Brad
she loves him. He says nothing.

Oh, the Bachelor
Your web of crap entraps me
I need more cheese now.

Thankfully, this little interlude of bullshit and Japanese poetry is interrupted by...Chris Harrison!!! Chris Harrison lives, you guys!!

Also, I would like to point out, in non-haiku form, that when Chantal tells Brad she loves him, she mentions the word "sacrifice". Perhaps the first time that word has ever been said on this show. Props, BamBam.

Rose ceremony time! Chris packs all the solemnity he possibly can into his 45 seconds of screentime this week. Ladies, Brad, if you're ready...FOR THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION OF ALL TIME IN BACHELOR HISTORY EVER.

Roses go to...Ashley, Emily, Britt, Shawntel...LAST ROSE TONIGHT. Way to earn that paycheck, Chris.

It's down to Jackie and Michelle crazypants. And it's...Michelle. Aw, crap. I'm smelling producer pick. Jackie holds it together pretty well in the limo. Hugs, Jackie. Let's go for drinks.

Next week...they are going to Anguilla!! Wherever that is. I'm sure it will be the most beautiful place in the world. And that Michelle will continue to work the crazy.

Don't miss it.

Episode 6, Part 1: Welcome to the Jungle.

This week: it's back to the long island iced tea. Specifically, the Spice Island Iced Tea. I've been tweaking this one for a while, and I think it has reached perfection. Check out my booze blog. It will inspire you. And remember: friends don't let friends use anything but fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

This drink? Seriously, so good. Let's watch some tv!

In the teasers: the Magical Romantic Journey continues!!! In Costa Rica! Now with Feelings! Drink drink drink drink driiiink. Oh, and someone loses their shit over some bugs. When the Bachelor: Fear Factor continues! Oh, and there are BATS. Okay, the freak-out was totally merited. Bat scare the poop out of me, as they should with any normal, sane human being. Because they want to DRINK YOUR BLOOD. Or kill you with rabies.

When did The Bachelor get so scary?

Speaking of scary: Michelle is back, in full force. And Chantal is dressed like Bam-Bam. CANNOT WAIT.

Some travel-channel shots of Costa Rica. Brad flies in in a helicopter. He wants to FALL IN LOVE because he is SO DIFFERENT. But wait! His being different has actually made this SO DIFFICULT, because he has like, FEELINGS now. Thanks a bunch, freaking THERAPY. Brad makes his Thoughtful Stance and stares at some waterfalls, but the churning waters only serve to remind him of the turmoil within.

The ladies are on their way to Costa Rica, too. Britt is wearing heart-shaped sunglasses. Just like Lolita. As if you needed any reminding that these women are like, 12. Speaking of which: The women's ages are back!! Because clearly, Chris Harrison reads this blog and has discovered my ingenious solution to their little graphic-design problem. Chris: since I know you're reading, this is all I ask: please wear increasingly more and more ridiculous outfits as the season progresses. Oh, and say "journey" a lot. Because I need booze to get me through this.

Oh, and I'm about to run out of Cointreau and I'm totally sending Fleiss the bill. That shit is expensive.

The ladies arrive at the Springs Resort and Spa (product placement!) and there's a volcano right across from the hotel, which I think represents Michelle's seething reservoir of rage. And there's Brad! He walks them to their villa, because Chris Harrison is now totally extraneous, and uses the words "lush landscape" without any trace of irony, because that is the kind of man Brad is. Are there also sparkling pools?

Brad drops off a date card and tells the ladies to relax, but no one can relax when they NEED THAT DATE CARD, as Alli and her lovely rump do. So of course it's for Chantal. The date card reads: "Close your eyes and hold on tight/ love is in the air tonight." Um...does this mean that Phil Collins is doing a private concert? Please let it be Phil Collins. And not ziplining. Chris, I know you're reading this. If you do a private concert with PHIL FREAKING COLLINS - well, I will be wedded to this piece of crap TV show forever.

I mean, just think about it. PHIL COLLINS.

Anyway. Chantal feels Special. Michelle feels like cutting a bitch. Commercial.

Okay, so add to your drinking-game list:


I'm only doing this because I care about you.

Brad comes to pick up Chantal, and they fly away in a helicopter because that's like, their thing. Michelle's talking to Emily about whether or not Chantal will come home, so I guess it's like, the Bachelor battle of good vs. evil. And Evil, who thinks that Chantal is doomed, wins because...good doesn't really say a whole lot.

Cut to about 15 minutes of footage of waterfalls because this show is TOO DAMN LONG. Brad and Chantal are going ziplinig! Oh, Phil. When I think of what could have been...

Brad hopes this date will rejuvenate their relationship. He wants to see that strong, confident, fun-loving woman he fell for 9 days ago, before he starting shoving his tongue down all those other girls' throats. Brad and Chantal: a relationship in miniature!

It starts to rain just as Brad and Chantal are about to go ziplining, but that's okay, Chantal opines, because when life gives you lemons, you make some shitty metaphor about it! In this case: it's just like a real relationship! In Real Relationships, sometimes it starts to rain! Just as you are about to go ziplining thousands of feet above the costa rican jungle!

Man, this episode is deep.

Brad and Chantal get to go zip-lining, together, half a mile, in the rain. Which sounds kind of awesome, honestly. Chantal says something about positions and having her legs wrapped around Brad and I will be ladylike and not make any jokes. I am a paragon of fortitude.

In commercials: an old Jewish man from a nursing home goes on a date. Why couldn't THIS have been two hours long?

Back at that one resort, a new date card comes for: Jackie, Michelle, Ashley (the only Ashley...I miss Ashley S already), Shawntel embalmer, aaaand...Britt. Which means Alli and all her assets have scored the second one-on-one date this week. Everyone freaks out like Alli has just won the lottery and Britt pretends to be okay with being the only girl to have never been on a one-on-one date. Sorry, Britt. I think you're adorable. Which means you're probably doomed.

Brad and Chantal are having a picnic, and they toast to the best day ever, EVER, EVER. All of a sudden, it starts to rain, and Brad has no idea what they will do! But I'm betting the producers have a plan B. Probably it involves a hotel suite, with a huge and prominent bed. Brad says this is just like a Real Date. In a random hotel room! Aaand...I will not make any jokes.

There's a clap of thunder, and there's Michelle back at the Springs hoping the rain will ruin the date and it will be the worst one Brad's been on. Which, if I recall, was exactly what she said right before Shawntel came back with 15,000 dollars worth of Fendi merchandise.

Back at random hotel: Chantal shows up wearing just a white oxford shirt, and Brad's pretty psyched.

Brad: You're FUN.
Chantal: Hey, thanks.
Brad: But...remember all the dramaz? On that last episode? In VEGAS? The producers want me to act worried about that so it won't be completely obvious that I totally dig you.
Chantal: Well, I am crazy. And dramatic. I mean...I signed up to find love on a tv show, right? But...I'm not wearing any pants.
Brad: Come here to me, please.

They smash their faces together in sweet oneness. Then they say about 14 drinking game words. Oh, and then Chantal accepts the rose.

Group date time! It's raining. Again. Michelle haaates group dates. She hates rain. She hates puppy dogs, and kitties, and rainbows, and happiness. Oh, and she hates Chantal. Brad tells us that today's group date is all about adventure, and facing fear. Continuining a running theme in this season, which is: dating means facing your very worst fears. Funny, I thought dating meant somebody buying me dinner at a swanky Italian restaurant. Someone on this production team has had some really bad dates.

They're...rappelling down a waterfall! Because I guess the whole "fear of heights" thing hasn't been overdone yet. Poor Jackie is scared shitless. Michelle's all like, whatever. Weak. And then she's pissed because Brad promised not to rappel down anything with anyone else, ever again. Actually, Michelle, he promised not to rappel down a building with anyone else. Gotcha!

Damn, this show is stupid.

Shawntel goes first. This looks...kind of awesome. Rope, rainforest, waterfall...I am there. Boys, take note. Britt is next, and then Emily, and then Ashley H., and then Jackie volunteers to go, even though she might've crapped her pants a little. Michelle calls Jackie "dramatic", which is sort of like Ernest Hemingway calling you a drunk.

Then Michelle gets pissed, because rappelling was like, HER THING, and she beats Brad a little just to prove how not dramatic she is. Brad laughs, because he likes it when girls hit him (another recurring theme!), and they rappel down the waterfall together, thus cementing Michelle's craziness forever.

Um...LIT #2. This is about to get good.

Today's date ends at a hot spring, because the producers could not find a single rooftop pool in Costa Rica. There are many, many gratuitous bikini shots, and Brad reminds us how phsyical this is. Dear producers: We get it. (Also: thanks for allowing me the opportunity to link to an Olivia Newton-John video twice in one season.) Michelle says that watching Brad take off his shirt makes her want to go home and bleeeeep. I have never found Michelle so relatable.

Brad steals Jackie for some alone time. (Sorry, the 80s references...they just make themselves.)

Jackie: It would've been awesome if we went down together!
Brad: Uh...maybe someday.


Also, the women that Brad says "uhhh...maybe one day" to? Pack your bags. "Uhhhh" means "I am contractually obligated to lead you on." Sorry, Jackie. I liked you, too. It's a real killer. Brad explains to Jackie that he made a promise to Michelle about rappelling down things, because only in the Bachelor do people make promises about rappelling.

Back at the manse (whoops, I mean the product placement resort), Alli's date card says: meet me at the altar. Like...whaa? Chantal does that thing about "your date card doesn't say love!" that unnerved Michelle a couple weeks ago, and Alli is like, yeah. My date card doesn't say love. It says marriage. So...hush up, bitch. Chantal hushes.

At Desperation Lagoon, the girls worry while Michelle lays by the pool evilly. (Evilly is Michelle's particular strength.) Everyone else, she says, NEEDS TO GO HOME.

Brad's with Emily. She's staring to really like him, she says, but she's Scared because she tends to sabotage relationships. Then, in the middle of the conversation, she plunges into the lagoon. CASE IN POINT. Only Brad follows her, quoting some Dr. Jamie bullshit. He doesn't want to let her sabotage what they have. Meaning..."please make out with me". Emily obliges. Emily, Brad, and Brad's giant distracting back tattoo have a grand old time.

Back the the product placement resort of romantic awesomeness....there is a bug on the table! OH NOOEEEES! Alli freaks out. FORESHADOWING. Dear Memorial High School AP English: The top-notch education you provided me with gave me the tools to recognize all the literary devices in this unusually craptastic episode of The Bachelor. Kisses.

P.S. The whole bug thing is drawn out TOO LONG. Why is this show TWO FREAKING HOURS?

Back at the pool, or whatever: Michelle is upset that Brad and Chantal have a Connection. Brad rolls his eyes. I do too, Brad. I do too. Brad doesn't want to talk about the other girls, which I guess is their cue to make out.

Brad and his pecs return to the lagoon of ladies as the rose hovers ominously. Brad wants us to know that this rose is a BIG DEAL. So, tonight, he is...NOT GOING TO HAND OUT A ROSE. Um...who gives a crap? This is the least dramatic DRAMATIC plot twist on the Bachelor, ever. OF ALL TIME. Bachelor producers? Try harder. Try much harder. Michelle and her chin think the rose should have been hers. Of course.

In commercials: Clorox purports to clean my whole bathroom. When you find a product that will scoop out the cat box? Call me.

Brad arrives to pick Alli up for her date...on a horse. He's dragging another horse for Alli, and another, smaller horse just for the hell of it, I guess. Alli manages to mount her horse without looking like a complete tard. They ride for a while and dismount. The accessory horses are still following. Perhaps everyone in Costa Rica goes everywhere followed by a rearguard of tiny horses? I can only hope.

They trek through the jungle to...a cave. I'm a little worried. Thanks to the subtleties of the Bachelor, we know that Alli is scared of bugs, but I am scared of FREAKING CAVES. Like, if I have to crawl on my hands and knees through a dark tunnel, I will have a conniption fit. There, I can never be on the Bachelor.

We're going into the cave. Alli is scared. DATING IS FEAR. If China out-reproduces us, Fleiss, I am blaming it all on this stupid show. There are BATS in the cave. Brad tries to make it all about him, per usual: "you're not worried about us, are you?" Gah, Brad. She is worried about the freaking BATS. Like, if I'm dating a guy and he's worried about the Relationship when I'm being attacked by blood-sucking bugs (BATS AREN'T BUGS!!!), then I'm dumping him. As soon as we get out of the cave.

Brad and Alli see an underground waterfall. Okay, that is pretty damn cool. Then they come to a set of natural stone steps that the locals call "the altar". When they're not being eaten by BUGS. They toast with beer. Beer in a cave? Yeah, I can get behind that.

The rest of the snark is in part 2!