Archive | June, 2013

Cross exami-dating: The Bachelorette June 24 2013 recap

25 Jun

It’s the 100th post for this blog, and time to take this season of The Bachelorette overseas. The show begins with the hunks disembarking from the Munich subway at the historic Odeonsplatz. Is one of them planning a Beer Hall Putsch… of love?

Before we can get to that, the bros need to look around the city a bit. And much like the visit to Switzerland in a previous Bachelor or Bachelorette, only approximately 1/5 of the usual amount of people are milling about. Where is Munich’s population?

Well, Bryden the ex-GI is not worrying about that. Rather, he realizes that he’s just not feelin’ it with Des. Remember, while in the real world it’s considered good to be honest with someone that a relationship isn’t working out, in the Bachelor world this is a high crime that outrages one and all. Anyway, Bryden doesn’t want to wait to say his goodbyes, and the fact that Des is on a date with mortgage broker Chris is no hindrance. His plan to track the gal down is to simply walk around Munich asking if anyone has seen TV cameras until he finds her. Bryden may not be the sharpest knife in the utility belt.

After he breaks the news to Des, she cries. And no doubt so do the producers who realize they just wasted a round-trip plane ticket to Europe on the guy.

Meanwhile, the other bros are at the swanky hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, and they’re discussing the pros and cons of one-on-one dates, group dates, and the annual two-on-one which Harrison has announced will be this week. Now, the bros are game to discuss anything, and the producers are game to show anything the bros discuss to help kill two hours, no matter how obvious the subject matter is. If someone asked the bros what they thought about shoes, one would say “Shoes are huge if you want to walk on gravel without hurting your feet,” while another would add “If you don’t have shoes in winter, your feet will be seriously cold.”

On the group date, the guys head for the mountain known as the Zugspitze. They learn how to yodel, and the guys also learn that Desiree has the hots for James, whom she joined on a one-on-one date last week. However, Brooks, the tall guy with a wimpy beard, gets the rose.

Time for the two-on-one. It’s Michael, the lawyer from Florida, vs. this season’s designated villain, Ben the bar owner from Dallas. Michael declares “Ben will be found guilty of fraud and impersonation of a Southern gentleman.” They head for the lovely lake known as the Tegernsee, and Desiree has an interesting contraption known as the “hot tug” — a hot tub that you can steer across the water like a boat. It sounds like something Cosmo Kramer would come up with, but it works. The trio’s bodies are comfy, but the atmosphere is anything but: Michael talks about how tough it was to be a little boy whose father was away a lot, an unmistakable dig at Ben who has been playing up his single fatherhood yet had no problem leaving little Mr. Perfect for months to go on this show.

Meanwhile we cut back to the hotel, as a couple of the guys tell the others what they overheard on the van ride back after the group date (the Zugspitze is about a two-hour drive from Munich so they would’ve had plenty of time to talk). Supposedly James told Mikey that he already “runs Chicago” now, but that after being on this show “I can introduce you to tall, good-looking women that have a lot of money.” (I think most guys would settle for “short, good-looking and only one maxed-out credit card”.) Anyway the clear implication is that James is only on the show to be a star and possibly the next Bachelor.

But back to the 2-on-one date. Michael is dead set on making Des realize that Ben is a jerk. And I have no doubt he is. Alas, Michael’s plan to expose Ben involves Michael being an even bigger jerk. Ben proclaims that when he’s married he wants the whole family to be together and go to church every Sunday, and that’s just the opening Michael the lawyer needed. He points out that it was just Easter a couple of days before, and every one of the guys except Ben went to church… including the Jewish guy (perhaps he converted to Christianity on the spot)! And by the way, Ben, Mr. Family and Church Are Everything, made no effort to talk to his son on Easter. Perry Mason never made such compelling arguments, however they were out of place at a pseudo-friendly dinner and Des is P.O.’d. She doesn’t have chemistry with either one of them, but less with Ben than Michael, so she sends Ben home, and Ben’s reaction makes him look ever so slightly psycho.

At the end of the episode, a couple of guys decide it’s time to do a little J’accuse on James for the “tall, good-looking women” business, and the previews last week made clear that this would happen. Well, they lied.  Desiree tells Chris Harrison she has already made up her mind on whom to sent home, and it’s Mikey the plumbing contractor. I guess he now gets first crack at going home and “running” Chicago.

Six episodes in, I guess it’s time I made some kind of prediction, but the best I can do is break the remaining eight guys into three groups.

NO CHANCE GROUP:

Drew: Earnest guy, probably a good guy, but I don’t see the chemistry.

Michael: His cross-examining is just too much. No chemistry here either.

Zak: He has a wild-eyed expression no matter what the situation. Not good for romance.

STILL NOT SURE GROUP:

Brooks: The ugliest guy on the show by a wide margin, but Des seems to like his sense of humor.

Kasey: The social media specialist. Will Desiree “like” him, or will the hashtagger make a hash of it?

FAVORITES:

James: The other guys think he’s insincere, and he probably is, but Desiree does have the hots for him.

Juan Pablo: We have learned nothing except that Desiree loves his accent. He has probably made love to every woman on the show’s crew six weeks in.

Chris: I have to say I think the mortgage broker might be “a-loan” at the top when all is said and done.

“We cry inside”: The Bachelorette June 17 2013 recap

18 Jun

There are “only” 13 guys left on the show. And as Chris Harrison, who’s never too proud to state the obvious, notes, they are “the thirteen that Des hopefully sees a future with.”

Both Desiree and the guys are off to Atlantic City, and the bros take up residence on the 44th floor of a spectacular hotel that looks like a Bond villain’s HQ.

The first solo date is with Brad, a cartoonishly square-jawed fellow from Denver who hasn’t been seen much on the show thus far. In his questionnaire he says “I can’t remember the last time a read a book.” Stay away from that type, girlfriend!

Brad and Desiree go on some rides on the boardwalk, including something called the Slingshot that I would not go on for less than $50,000. Scary! At the end of dinner, they take the winding stairs to the top of a lighthouse. Two seconds after getting to the top, Desiree tells Brad she doesn’t see a future with the two of them. She’s obviously quite experienced at this, and I’m sure he wonders why she couldn’t have just told him this at the bottom of that long staircase. Also, there’s no limo for him, not even an SUV, just a very “The Apprentice”-like yellow cab. Jersey, you know?

The next date is a group date featuring everyone except James and the just-ousted Brad. Though none of the hunks have a jacket on, it’s obviously absolutely freezing on the boardwalk, and the guys are soon ushered indoors where they find out they’ll be competing in a “Mr. America” competition, and in fact the reigning Miss America is there to help, wearing her crown no less. I don’t know if this is a sign of the coming Apocalypse or what, but Miss America is only about an 8 out of 10 in the looks department. What has the world come to?

One positive note to counteract that downer: somehow a show involving Atlantic City and Miss America did not feature an appearance by, or even one single mention of, Donald Trump. Amazing!

The guys’ personal pageant coach shows up… and let’s just say even Saturday Night Live’s “Girl with no gaydar” character would be onto this particular fellow. While he sort of coaches the guys, we find out that Juan Pablo the Latin stud can twirl a baton (?). Then they wheel out a rack with the bathing suits the guys have to wear for the swimsuit competition. If you guessed that means some of the guys have to wear Speedos, you have obviously seen a reality show in the last 10 years. Congrats.

Time for the competition in front of an audience of thous… er, hundr…. OK, tens of people. Plus an ultra-dark background to try and suggest the crowd is way bigger. The most notable moments are Mikey the thick-necked fellow (who’s not from New Jersey but looks like he is) saying that women think men are just about looks. “We cry inside,” Mikey notes. Also, Zak from the Texas Hill Country whips out a guitar and sings a tune reminiscent of Wes from a bygone season and “Love, It Don’t Come Easy”. The winner of the pageant is Kasey the social media guy, but he doesn’t automatically get the rose for doing so. Hashtag raw deal!

The show tries to squeeze much drama out of Ben the designated “villain,” but I don’t care what Desiree’s soundbite said, her body language says she is not into him. So his “threat” is minimal.

The other solo date goes to James, a tall dark and handsome type who is “a senior sales executive for the 5th fast [sic] growing marketing publisher in the U.S.” Their date ends up being a helicopter tour of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy along the Jersey Shore, led by a lady from the Red Cross. James pays rapt attention to everything including a tour of an older couple’s wrecked home. When Desiree announces she wants to give their fancy date to the couple while she and James have a piece of pizza at a dive bar, he couldn’t be cooler with it.

So dads of America, ready to send a pic of your daughter to this dream son-in-law? Not so fast. For one thing, the “coming soon” previews indicate he’s going to get exposed for being on the show for the wrong reasons. For another, he tells Des that his longest relationship ran aground because he cheated on his girlfriend when he was a freshman in college. Frankly I don’t see too much chemistry between him and Desiree.

So who is the favorite this season anyway? That’s a darn good question.

We do know the winner will not be book publisher Zack K., who gets no rose and is sent home.

“I have some bizarre news”: The Bachelorette Episode 3 recap

12 Jun

Notes from a fast-forward viewing of this one:

Desiree takes a bunch of the guys on a dodgeball group date. Now, I’m not sure if dodgeball is always played wearing 1970s-style striped tube socks pulled all the way over the calves, crotch-hugging shorts, tank tops, and Loverboy headbands. But that’s how they outfitted the guys this time. The team in blue wins the first round, causing Desiree to give the red team a pep talk. Ever the strategist, she coaches them up as follows: “Whatever you’re doing… it’s not working.”

The blue team wins the game (the stakes being an evening with Des for the winners), and Des promptly announces she’s decided both teams will spend the evening with her. When something similar happened on the last season of The Bachelor, incredible cattiness broke out among the women, but here the bros are cool with it. That evening the rose goes to Chris, a tall fellow who lacks the cartoonish physique of some of the others but proved to be quite the ace dodgeball player.

The next day, Des is lounging around her airy home wearing flesh-colored tights. I mention the latter because I have observed from this comic that wearing flesh-colored pants can make one appear to be wearing no pants at first glance. Anyway, Chris Harrison calls and says he has bizarre news, which usually means he has discovered that a contestant has a girlfriend back home. Sure enough, that’s the case here, so Desiree runs a little entrapment sting by taking Brian outside and asking him about past relationships. No sooner has he said that his last relationship is done with than Chris ushers in Brian’s (ex-?) girlfriend. She goes on a tirade in which she calls Brian a coward, a pig, and a jerk, among other things. She claims he left to do the show telling her he was going to a business meeting (doesn’t shooting the show last for weeks or months?). Chris moderates, being his usual sanctimonious self. It’s not clear what exactly Brian is guilty of, but he does seem to be guilty of lying to someone about something, and in the Bachelor court of law that’s all the due process that Harrison needs to send someone packing.

These moments are strange. I wonder why these maybe-jilted women don’t just tell the guy in question never to call them again (or even tell him he’s a jerk, off-camera). Instead they feel the need to go on national TV and become famous for going on an ugly rant.

Anyway, this fairly fake moment is followed by a genuinely touching moment, as Brandon, an outdoorsy fellow with a Minnesota accent, hears that Brian’s ex-girlfriend is a single mother. Brandon talks about growing up without a father and becoming attached to his mother’s boyfriends as father figures, only to be crushed when they would suddenly be gone. Definitely one of the most sincere moments I can remember seeing on this show.

Immediately after all of the drama with Brian, Des goes on a date with Kasey, the social media worker who thankfully has dropped his “hashtag” shtick from the first episode. And no, despite the “Kasey with a K” this guy is nothing like Kasey the “guard and protect your heart” guy whose singing was one of the most cringeworthy moments in the show’s history.

Most of the rest of the episode’s drama comes from the guys being annoyed by Ben as he continues to try and sneak in extra time with Desiree.

Ousted this week are two guys (besides the prematurely booted Brian). One is Dan who I hadn’t even noticed at all except to observe that his job is listed as Beverage Sales Manager, which seems to be a really common occupation among contestants on this show. Is this their way of saying “bartender”? Also booted is Brandon, the sincere guy mentioned above, and he’s absolutely crushed. Don’t take it so hard, bro. Chicks just don’t dig a guy who sounds like he’s part of the cast of “Fargo.” But you’re OK in my book.

Introspection and commercials: The Bachelorette Episodes 1 and 2 recap

12 Jun

Time for another season of the Bachelorette! After the sanctimonious season featuring odious Emily I’m hopeful for a return to form as Desiree becomes the object of 25 guys’ desires.

We begin with Desiree pulling up to the plush house where she’ll be living, driving a compact car that looks like it has many a mile on it. A “plucky single girl-mobile” straight out of a romantic comedy! After showing Des the new digs, Chris Harrison also hands her the key to some sort of spiffy new pale-blue car with white seats. She doesn’t seem too surprised, probably because she had to sign some 30-page document of waivers that says she has to hand it back in without a scratch.

Des heads for the beach, since that’s the best place to walk down a boardwalk in heavy contemplation while sporting a bare midriff. The producers want to remind America about our heroine’s ridiculously hot body, and on the off-chance that anyone might miss the point, they play a song with the chorus “isn’t she crazy beautiful.” True, but… isn’t she crazy hungry?

After 24 minutes of empty conversation with Chris Harrison, introspection, and commercials, they’re ready to introduce some of the guys, including:

Will, a black banker from Chicago. We see his banker’s office, which oddly enough is the size of a child’s bedroom, and also is painted like a child’s bedroom. Will likes high-fiving strangers on the street, and also likes doing Bikram yoga. And he points out, “A lot of black guys don’t do Bikram yoga.” Hmm, I wouldn’t be surprised if Obama has done Bikram yoga. Maybe it’s a Chicago thing.

Robert, an entrepreneur whose company makes large arrow-shaped signs and who claims “If you see guys on the corner spinning a sign, we invented that.” It’s very reminiscent of the Seinfeld episode in which Jerry claims to have invented sidewalk umbrella-twirling. On the positive side, Robert has a one-eyed dog who’s pretty lovable-looking.

Mike, a dentist from Dallas who appears to me to be firmly in the closet.

Time for the limos to pull up and the guys to introduce themselves. We meet Mikey, the contractor who tells Des he’s an older brother too. You might recall the antics of Desiree’s boorish older brother on The Bachelor last season… in fact I hate to say it but I’m praying for the brother to show up this season! I’m sad that the producers didn’t take my idea of having her brother stationed at every rose ceremony and tell each guy who’s sent home “I think you’re just a playboy” on his way out.

Then we’re introduced to Jonathan, who hands Desiree a note asking if she’ll forgo meeting the other guys to join him in the fantasy suite. Kind of cute until you realize this means he’s asking her to have sex with him before they have even had a date. She does realize this immediately, and is visibly turned off. By the way, he already has his tie loosened when he gets out of the limo! Sort of defeats the purpose of wearing a tie.

Then there’s Zak, a wild man from the Texas Hill Country who steps out of the limo shirtless and asks “Will you accept these abs?” Admittedly, the guy is ripped. However, this is The Bachelor, so joining that group and saying your abs are ripped is like joining the NBA and saying you’re 6’6″. Not a huge deal in that company. Zak is entertaining, not least because he has a crazed look on his face much of the time.

Robert, the genius mind behind sign-spinning, puts in an appearance too, and his main shtick is to say he’s not really a necktie guy and quickly discard his. What a bold innovator! Oh wait, this isn’t 1983? Never mind then.

Then there’s a guy who gets out of the limo wearing a suit of armor (think Sir Gawain, not Iron Man). He clunks over to Desiree and lifts up his mask… and he’s Hispanic! I was not expecting that. Anyway, his name’s Diogo and he goes inside the house only to be ridiculed by everyone… including the shirtless guy! Diogo’s shtick was not the worst of the night, by a long shot. I would have to give that award to Kasey, the social media specialist who puts “hashtags” on spoken sentences. Hashtag annoying!

And speaking of hashtags, it looks like something that began at the end of the previous Bachelor season might be here to stay, namely real-time tweets from fans flashing on screen during the show. So I guess now nobody is keeping up the pretense that this show doesn’t have lots of boring parts? It’s two hours per episode, by the way.

Time for the mix and mingle session. Back to Jonathan, the fantasy suite guy. The way his initial act fizzled, most guys would take the approach of saying “Hey, I was just joking around, I’m actually a great guy.” Not Jonathan, who keeps hammering away at his fantasy suite idea with all the charm of a date rapist. Plus, he’s obviously drunk. Desiree goes from somewhat turned off to revolted in pretty short order and sends him home.

At the rose ceremony, the following people are sent home: Mike the secretly gay (according to me) dentist, Nick the bespoke clothier and part-time magician, Diogo the suit of armor guy, Micah who designed his own outlandish suit (a nod to Desiree designing one of her own dresses on The Bachelor), and Larry the ER doctor from Berkeley. Larry’s opening shtick was to try a dance move where he “dips” Desiree, unfortunately her dress was so tight she could barely move. Larry, a very funny guy,  thought that awkward moment did him in, I think it’s more likely the fact that he’s billed as being 34 and looks 44.

In Episode Two, things focus in on a quasi-villain in Ben. Now, Ben was the last person to get out of the limo in the first episode, after first sending out his young son to greet Desiree. Pretty cute, actually. However, not every guy who has a child is automatically a great guy, a fact that men are much quicker to pick up on than women. Ben gets on the bad side of the other guys of the house PDQ for being too aggressive and a phony.

Getting the ouster in Episode Two are Will (black Bikram), Robert (the man behind an invention on a par with the polio vaccine, namely sign-spinning) and a guy I hadn’t even noticed in the previous four hours.

Let’s come full circle to talk about Desiree. When Sean sent her home on the Bachelor everyone blamed the uncomfortable “brother” incident, but I ascribe it more to his realizing that she may be a great-looking girl, but she just doesn’t have much of a personality. That same realization is dimming my enthusiasm for this season.

Well “Bachelorette” Season 9,  I don’t think I’m ready to commit to you for the whole season. I want to keep seeing other shows too. But let’s see where our journey takes us.