Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Bachelorette - 2 Night Season Premiere

Lovebugs!  As always, my recap is a touch late.  Apologies--I had a show Monday night then a friend's book release party last night.  I'm just too darn popular and my friends are too damn successful! 

Before I start ragging on the guys for looking like a poor man's Wayne Arnold from "The Wonder Years" (I'm looking at you, lawyer stripper Josh from Chicago) or being fratty booze hounds (Ryan M.), I'd like to address this season's format, which pits Kaitlyn against Britt and allows the 25 suitors to vote for their preferred bachelorette.  

This is some bullshit.  

How is this The Bachelorette, which is ostensibly about a WOMAN doing the picking, and yet here we are with 25 men in the driver's seat.  Huh? Over the course of this franchise there have been 19 seasons of The Bachelor and only 11 of The Bachelorette and ABC only started going boy-girl-boy-girl within the past few years.  Before that it was season after season of a guy picking girls.  It's too bad that in a rare season when it's the girl's turn to pick the guys, the producers have set up a competitive dynamic between two girls and then put the control into the guy's hands and THEY get to select the bachelorette.  Chris Harrison's introductory remarks said that "change is never easy" (this isn't rolling out the Affordable Care Act, buddy) and that this season they have chosen to "let the men decide" are laughable and ridiculous. The men decide in almost EVERY OTHER SEASON! How about ONE friggin' season in which the WOMAN decides from start to finish?  I'll get off my soap box soon and get down to the business of mocking D list, reality TV contestants, but this gimmick leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  It disempowers the chosen bachelorette in that she knows that some of her suitors did not vote for her.  It leaves her feeling LUCKY to be chosen rather than empowered and in possession of agency over her life and the show!  Blech. I just hope that we don't end up with the dynamic that pervaded Ashley's season, when she often thanked the suitors and seemed overly appreciative that ANYONE wanted to date her.  Blech.  We'll see how it shakes out.  

Time to talk some smack. 

Change is hard, ratings are good, yadda yadda yadda.  The ladies vying for the role of The Bachelorette are Kaitlyn Bristow (who the show describes as "funny, sexy, inappropriate" which is damn right) and Britt Nielsen (who the show describes as "sincere, emotional, very loving" which is damn wrong. I can think of no less appropriate adjective than SINCERE for that girl.)  Britt looks like she may have gotten some facial fillers during the off season but maybe it's just contouring.  They take their marks outside the Bachelor manse, Kaitlyn looking gorgeous in a black (navy?) sparkly dress and Britt in a fantastic flawy white dress with studded belt.  Let's bring in the boyz.  

Who will I be mocking this season or at least this episode? 
-Ben H: software salesman from Colorado with a button nose and a gimmick to connect with Britt--sponsor children. Use whatever ya got, kid! 
-Jonathan: Detroit guy in a red suit with a silver chain which is a lil too Color Me Badd for my taste.  He has a cute kiddo at home and prefers Britt.  
-Clint: blonde tank engine from IL who looks like a long haired Jake Pavelka.  No thanks.  
-Ryan B: realtor, grey suit, lots of volume in the hair. 
-Jared: restaurant manager from Warwick, RI (the little state that CAN!) with super angular features who says that "Love Man" is his alter ego. Barf. 
-Kupah: a Boston boy (I gotta love him for that!) who resembles a young LL Cool J. He's an "entrepreneur" and I just hope that his buddies can keep his Oxy business going while he's out of town.     
-Brady: corny songwriter from Tennessee (wrong reasons alert!). 
-Cory: residential developer from TX who feels pretty boring and we only just met him. 
-Ian: HOTTIE executive recruiter who ran track at Princeton then got hit by a car (sob story alert!) but now can walk again.  He whispers to Kaitlyn that he hopes she's the chosen one and I am on TEAM IAN!!!
-JJ: former investment banker (so... just a freelance American Psycho now?) from CO who shows a little personality with his hockey puck joke, but strikes me as a little corny. 
-Ryan M.: whose job is "junkyard specialist" (like the ladies who dig through my apartment building's trash to get cans? I appreciate their environmentalism) who proceeds to get drunk, naked, gross, and kicked out. See ya in hell, psycho.  
-Bradley: forgettable dude from ATL who enters in sweat band with a tennis racket.
-Daniel: fashion designer from TN who dances in and has a sorta constant drunk face. 
-Josh: the aforementioned stripper lawyer (I'm sorry, stripper law STUDENT which proves my theory that WAY TOO MANY Americans are going to law school just to go to law school and the proliferation of sub-par law schools is truly dangerous) who enters while dancing sexily.  Who LEADS with the fact that he's a stripper?  Oh also, Stripper Lawyer has that the word "JUSTICE" tattooed on your stomach? Are you serious? You make TuPac's "THUG LIFE" tattoo seem positively classy (RIP TuPac, you are appreciated.) 
-Joe: insurance agent from KY who brought homemade moonshine (a boy after my heart) and is hella sweet and charming.  Mama likes. 
-Justin: trainer from Naperville IL who enters with balloons and has a son at home. 
-Tanner: auto finance manager who mocks Britt for crying last season. Ouch. 
-Shawn B: blonde personal trainer from CT who calls for a group hug (cute move). After picking up Britt he tells Kaitlyn that he is there for her.  BOLD! 
-David: dude from Orlando, FL who is Team Britt. 
-Corey: investment banker from NYC who says to Kaitlyn, “I was hoping that he offer to plow your field was still on the table." Hilarious, and I usually hate banker types! Nice work, my friend.  
-Tony: TOTALY FRIGGIN' WEIRDO "healer" with sorta long hair (and I normally love long hair on dudes) who says the exact same line to Britt and then to Kaitlyn. Also, he has remnants of a black eye. There were so many questions left unanswered with that guy! 
-Shawn E: arrives in a hot tub convertible and says his job is "amateur sex coach" and who has a Canadian accent straight out of The Trailer Park Boys. At the close of the episode he clarifies that basically he thinks he's a good lay and isn't too shy to give tips to his partners. Women must LOVE you, buddy. 
-Chris: dentist who arrives in a tiny cupcake that's a car. Hella masculine and sexy, bro! 
-Joshua: sincere welder from Idaho who gives off good vibes.  
-Ben Z: fitness coach from San Jose, CA who we heard about earlier (mother died when he was a teen) and who cleans up NICE. 

I'm exhausted already!  I won't bore you with the cocktail party standards--there's a lot of drinking, a lot of interrupting conversations to "steal away" the lucky lady, and far too many quotations from Swingers (Ryan M, have you seen a movie since 1998?). JJ calls Britt a "smoke show" and I had to mention it because that is straight up my favorite compliment (am I lame? Yes? OK.)  During all of this, the guys hem and haw about whether they prefer Britt or Kaitlyn and each goes into a private room to vote with a rose.  Meanwhile, Ryan M. is losing his grip on reality and he is removed from the mansion, but not before he can threaten to rape JJ (that wasn't a "rape joke" that was a bizarre threat) and blame everyone ELSE in the house for being "on his case." His parents must be so proud.  

The episode ends with a "to be continued" message and then Tuesday night's episode begins with Bachelor Nation's BFF, Chris Harrison, giving Britt the news that she is being sent home and will not be the bachelorette.  Halleluiah!!  Go sleep in your make-up at home, girl.  Kaitlyn will be finding love in this hopeless place called The Bachelorette and I'm PSYCHED! Kaitlyn is elated and her bachelorette duties start immediately with a rose ceremony.  I'll try to keep this quick: Brady excuses himself mid-rose ceremony because he felt super connected to Britt (insincere dummies love insincere dummies), Shawn B. gets a first impression rose and the first real kiss from Kaitlyn, and the guys can barely keep their eyes open (seriously--that might be the LONGEST night in Bachelor/Bachelorette HISTORY and I'm not trying to be Chris Harrison dramatic here).  

Who gets sent home? 
-Hottie Latino guy David 
-Canadian hot tub sex machine Shawn E. 
-Stripper lawyer aka poor man's Wayne Arnold aka Justice Abs aka Josh (I could have had a FIELD DAY with you this season, kid).  
-Bradley with the tennis racket (snooze) 

Who am I expecting big things from this season? Ian, Shawn, and--I shudder to admit--Jared the angular feature/rat-like RI guy.  Also, apparently Nick (Andi's cast off) is going to show up and hump down? It will be an exciting season!  Good luck, Kaitlyn! 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I was on Huffington Post Live

Yesterday I was on Cocktail Chatter with Josh Zepps on Huffington Post Live and we had a lovely roundtable conversation!  Check it out here:

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Aww thanks, The Frisky!

The wonderful people at TheFrisky wrote up a list of the 25 of the Funniest Feminists to Follow On Twitter and I'm on it!  Isn't that rad?  Check it out here.

And yes, I am counting down the days until May 18th when The Bachelorette returns and Bachelor Nation rejoices!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tips for Storytellers & Standups Who Want to Sell a Book

For the last decade I have been a publishing drone by day (Editorial Assistant to start, then steps up the ladder over the years to my current job as a Managing Editor) and Standup Comedian and Storyteller by night (I can sleep when I’m dead!).  Two years ago, I added Author to my resume when my collection of humorous essays, The New Rules for Blondes, was published by It Books/HarperCollins.  After the release of my book, a lot of storytellers and standups asked if they could take me out for drinks and ply me with free alcohol while asking me questions about how to get a book published.  In honor of the second anniversary of my book’s publication date (it’s not too late to buy a copy!), I’m sharing my knowledge, tips, tricks, and advice--and you don’t even have to buy me a drink!

Where Do You Begin?
There are two ways to sell a book: you can write the whole shebang and try to shop that around or you can create a proposal that explains what your book will be (once you write it).  Both pathways will eventually require a proposal, so you’d be wise to start with that. A book proposal is usually 50-70 pages and it’s a comprehensive outline of your book and a roadmap for how the publisher can market your work.  It includes a lengthy bio about you, the writer, and why you are America’s most important, charming, and hilarious new voice. It should include many things: comparative analysis—short synopses of similar books in the marketplace, a few sample chapters of your book, an annotated Table of Contents where you summarize each chapter, a list of every way that you will whore out your book to myriad media contacts that you have met or had lunch near or crossed paths with (get shameless in this section, seriously).  Just Google “book proposal template” and you can see all of the exact sections of the proposal.

But That Sounds Like a Drag To Write—Any Other Tips?
Yes, writing a proposal isn’t the most enjoyable part of writing a book.  I cranked out 3 versions of my book proposal over the course of about a year before my agent and I felt that we had a polished enough proposal to send along to HarperCollins.  So let’s take a step back and let me implore you to…

Write What You Know and Love (and Possibly What You Can Bang out 65,000 Words About)
I got my book deal because I am obsessed with, repulsed by, and shamefully addicted to The Bachelor franchise and for many years I have been writing ridiculous, pop culture anecdote-filled recaps of the show on my blog (right here!).  I didn’t start writing those recaps in order to get a book deal—I started because I love sharing my thoughts on competitive dating with the reality TV viewing public.  To completely debase a legendary quotation and make it about my Bachelor recaps, this bird has got to sing because I have a song!  And that song is about how many Ashleys can coexist inside a mansion (no more than 2 at a time).  What I’m saying is, write what you enjoy writing and that enthusiasm just might catch the eye of an agent or an editor who likes your voice and style and wants to talk to you. To that end, figure out your preferred writing style, voice, subject matter, and where your creative strengths lie.  Are you a storyteller and most of your stories have a recurring theme? Are you a standup comedian with a really interesting take on X topic and think that you have a hook for an essay collection? Is there a topic that’s currently hot in the zeitgeist that you have a unique angle on or experience with?  Those are all good places to start when dreaming up what your book might be.  (The topic that’s hot in the zeitgeist will be especially useful when trying to get press for your book because you can easily make it relevant to future news stories, though beware of making your book proposal too topical, as book publishing moves slowly and you want your book concept to be somewhat evergreen so that it can sell for years to come.)    

Don’t Send Book Pitches to Editors or Publishers, Send Them to Agents
When I was a Children’s Editor (despite my title, I didn’t edit children, I edited their books) I’d often receive blind book pitches by writers from all over the country (though, for whatever reason, from Florida more than anywhere else).  Part of my job (in addition to Americanizing a killer book called No No No Little Turtles—a classic!) was to return those blind pitches to sender along with a friendly letter saying “no thanks” but I always wished I could also say, “don’t pitch an editor, pitch an agent!” I’m sure that someone in the comments will gleefully share the anecdote that JK Rowling used to send manuscripts to editors at publishing houses and SHE got a book deal, but you will be seen as a contender and taken more seriously if you have an agent representing you.  Agents have relationships with editors and they know which editor at which imprint would be interested in your book. (NB: “Imprint” is publishing talk that means a publishing company within a bigger publishing house. An imprint will have a unique style or theme—within a huge publishing house there might be an imprint that specializes in romance novels and another imprint that publishes humor books, and another for young adult, and so on.) These days, editors generally don’t accept blind submissions but agents generally do—the industry is set up for writers to have an agent first and then find an editor.  Thinking that you can get a book deal by blindly sending your manuscript to publishing houses is like thinking that you can get cast on Saturday Night Live by blindingly sending a tape of your comedy to 30 Rockefeller Center.  That’s not how it works—there are gatekeepers and they have relationships with other gatekeepers. (Some of this stuff is a tough pill to swallow, but I’m trying to be completely honest with you, dear reader.)  

But can’t I make up a name an act as my own agent? a smart alec may be wondering.  Sure, I suppose that you can, but again, you don’t have the relationships with editors so concoting a giant ruse in which you are your own agent won’t get you very far. What WILL get you pretty far is doing some research and it’s as easy as Googling a bunch of key term combinations. Most agencies have websites on which they clearly express if they are accepting manuscripts and exactly how they’d like those manuscripts delivered.  Each agent within an agency will have his or her own section of the site where that agent will say exactly what type of work he or she will represent.  Also, do some research inside books that you like.  Do you read a lot of young adult zombie books and have a great idea for a YA zombie book? Look in the Acknowledgements page of that book that you love so much—I bet the agent is listed there.  Then Google the name of that person and before you know it, you’re on the agency’s website learning exactly how they accept pitches. 

But Also Don’t Worry Too Much About the Agent Dance
Don’t you hate it when someone gives you advice and then, in the same breath, completely contradicts herself?  I’m sorry!  Yes, getting an agent is important (especially an agent who understands your style and voice), but simply doing the work is more important. As I mentioned earlier, I implore you to simply write and perform what you enjoy creating and that enthusiasm just might catch the eye of an agent or an editor. 

So You Got an Agent and Got a Book Deal—What Now?
Once your agent successfully sells your book to a publisher, you will be given around 8 months to crank out the full manuscript.  The final product depends on the type of manuscript and I’m most familiar with my book, which came in at about 65,000 words.  I cranked out 65,000 words (in the form of a bunch of humorous essays about all things blonde) while working 40 hours a week and performing standup and storytelling most nights.  I’m not going to pull a Fit Mom and get righteous with you by asking “what’s your excuse?” while I pose in a sports bra (it’s been a long winter with not much gym time), but I will say this: You can do it. Yes, you, reading this essay—you can crank it out if you want to.  It’s just a matter of writing during every free moment of your life and setting boundaries.  Every weekend of those 8 months that I was given, I isolated myself in my apartment and just cranked on my laptop. If I hit a wall, I’d go for a walk or a run and marinate on the essay that I was working on and then I’d go right back to my computer.  I would jot down notes, ideas, and brainstorms during subway rides and during my regular job.  Many times I would print out full deck (a full copy of the book) in process and take it to a bar to have some drinks while doing my own punch ups and reading it hard copy.  I turned in my manuscript and then chilled for a few months.  During that time my wonderful Editor read the whole thing and sent me back thoughts, edits, and notes.  Then I did rewrites over the course of about 4-6 weeks and I threw out entire chapters and created new ones.  My Editor and I had some back and forth as we got closer to finalizing the manuscript and then the brilliant legal team and copyeditor did their passes.  Soon I had galleys (also known as ARCs, Advanced Reading Copies) and I sent out copies to famous friends and acquaintances and pleaded with them to please blurb my book (that is, write a blurb about how hilarious and important it is).  Advanced copies were also sent to magazines and websites and anyone who might be interested in my book. 
Look at these galleys of my book!

Why Would Anyone Be Interested In Your Book?
That’s a question for the ages! If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that the onus is on YOU and your publicist (either the one who is on staff at your publisher or one who you personally hire) to make your book accessible and important to the media.  Don’t just send out a galley with a form cover letter—do the work for the person you are pitching so that his or her job is now done.  Write a special cover letter about how X issue is relevant right now and you address said issue with eloquence and imagination on pages 134-141 of your upcoming book (even pull out that text so that the magazine editor doesn’t even need to flip through your book).  People love it when you make life easy for them, so take them by the hand and show them how they can use your book in their magazine or website. 

Have a Big, Memorable Book Launch
Me at my book launch.
Photo by the brilliant Anya Garrett. 
Hosting a soiree to fete your book (and yourself) is a great way to get more press for your book, if for nothing else but the event listing in your local newspapers and magazines.  If you can swing it, offer open bar or free gifts or giveaways.  A book launch party is like “Field of Dreams”: if you give it (away for free), they will come.  Read an excerpt from the book, thank everyone who helped you, sign a bunch of copies of the book, play some music, and have fun!  Don’t forget to encourage everyone there to take photos and splash the event all over social media.  Oh, and maybe do a cute tie-in to the book in the form of a drink or snack or gift.  At my book launch, my mother went around handing out homemade blondies to everyone in attendance.

Take the Show on the Road
See if your publisher would be willing to send you to a few cities or events—Book Expo America or the American Librarian’s Association Conference or a few bookstores in your hometown.  One word of caution about bookstore events: it can be hard to get people out for those, I found.  But perhaps my situation was unique in that I was trying to drum up excitement about a fun, summery essay collection while in my hometown of Boston mere days after the Boston Marathon bombing. There are many variables that you can’t control and if nothing else, perhaps you’ll get a good story out of a bad experience (in my case, being heckled by a drunk, homeless woman as I attempted to do a reading from my book in the Harvard Coop bookstore.  Listen for that tale on a storytelling show soon.)

Expect The Unexpected, Roll with the Punches, Be Grateful
You’re going to put a lot of work into your book and there are no guarantees about how much press you will get, how many copies you will sell, or how much anyone will care about your baby.  Be respectful and grateful to your agent and editor and cover designer and copyeditor and everyone involved—they’re all pulling together for YOUR book and it’s pretty magical.  Trust that your editor knows the marketplace and has good advice for you.  Be proud of what you have written, no matter the outcome. 

It’s Just One More Notch On Your Proverbial Bedpost
The months leading up to my book release were terrifying to me.  With each day, the big pub date got closer (4/23/13!) and I always felt like I wasn’t doing enough, wasn’t pushing enough, wasn’t connecting enough with media contacts.  Being pushy with strangers gives me agita and shameless self-promotion is anathema to me, but in those trying months I was given some calming advice by a fellow comedian/author in a comedy club green room.  He told me, “it won’t change your life, but it’s another thing that you have on your resume.”  And he was right.  Being a published author didn’t change my life, but it gave me something that I can sell after shows, it’s an opportunity that I am honored to have been given, and my book is a piece of work that I’m fiercely proud of.       

[Final Plug: If you want to be a sweet angel, you can buy my book here.]

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Bachelor Chris Recap: Finale & After The Final Rose

The twitterverse was buzzing during The Bachelor on Monday night (and I hate myself for writing that sentence) and the verdict was this: That finale was SNOOZEFEST 2K15.  Chris Harrison promised us a surprise and most viewers found the episode pretty predictable, but I contend that something surprising DID happen.

In The Bachelor and The Bachelorette when the protagonist is down to the final two, the options are almost always:
  • The potential mate who is a "safe bet"--someone nurturing, thoughtful, playful, and a strong long-term option for marriage. This person is good looking (I mean, this is TV, after all), but not quite as good looking as...
  • The potential mate who is a "wild card"--there's chemistry there that can't be explained. This person might be a bit unpredictable, very sexy, not exactly Mr./Ms. Congentiality within the house. This person is better looking than the Bachelor or Bachelorette every time. 
Usually, given these two options, the Bachelor or Bachelorette picks the sexy wild card.  We've seen it with 
  • Andi picking Armpit Tats Josh over playful nerd Nick 
  • Bachelor Bob picking knockout Estella over sweetheart Kelly Jo 
  • Pilot Jake picking most hated Vienna over simpleton Tenley 
  • Ben Flajnik picking legendary mean girl Courtney ("winning") over wholesome, family gal (who loved tan lipstick) Lindzi
  • Jillian selecting the pompous Ed Swiderski (who friggin' walked out on her during the season only to return and have the upper hand) over "aww shucks" hottie Kiptyn 
  • Ali Fedotowsky choosing bad boy (who Bachelor Nation KNEW was our of her league) Roberto over the other jag
A few wise Bachelors and Bachelorettes select the more steady option, but it's the exception and not the rule.  (And yeah, can I get a Master's Degree in this stuff because I know I could handle the course work?)

But wait, what happened in the 3 hour extravaganza last night, Selena? Becca and Whitney met Chris's large family during a frigid day in Iowa--not what we normally see when everybody goes to paradise and sweats through "meet the parents."  

Whitney gets first crack at the family and she knocks it out of the park with her manners, sense of appreciation, and sweet candor.  I feel bad that I used to be so anti-Whitney because she is truly a dream daughter-in-law and you can tell that Chris's parents think so.  She drops a few more "we made  a baby" jokes (UNCLE! Please make it stop!) but wins over America's heart with her tear jerker toast about how much she loves Chris.  

After she leaves, Chris's sisters rave about Whitney and inquire about what Becca has to offer.  Chris can't quite articulate what he likes about Becca, saying, "she has qualities that are different... and pretty cool." Umm... ya mean the "quality" that she's a virgin? The men folk gather in the garage to drink beers and talk about chicks  Brother-in-law Jason calls it like it is, saying that Whitney is "all in" and the reason that Chris inexplicably holds a candle for Becca is solely because she's hard to get.  Jason, can you please be my therapist and tell me why the rest of the world's deal-breakers are my aphrodisiacs?

The next day the Soules family is a bit suspicious of Becca, but she manages to charm them with jokes and funny stories of her "journey" with Chris.  That good first impression wears off when she sits down for a talk with Chris's three sisters, though.  Becca spews out a whole lot of conditional phrases about "if I fall in love with Chris" and "if Chris is the one for me" and what MIGHT happen IF that or that plays out.  The sisters are not pleased and say that "we've seen a California girl not come to Iowa before."  (Truth be told, the girl they are talking about--Ombre DA Andi--is really an Atlanta girl who didn't want to move to Iowa and chose a smug former baseball player who can't let go of his pro sports glory days, but potato potato.)  Chris's wonderful mother convinces Becca that she IS in love with Chris and the things that she's feeling ARE love, but Becca's a bit too immature to process all of it. Again, Jason says what Bachelor Nation is thinking: the family can weigh in all they want, but this isn't a math problem to be solved analytically--this is about love and chemistry.  Seriously Jason, can we have a beer sometime?  I'll bring a bulleted list of topics and you just call 'em like you see 'em, OK?  Chris's wonderful father weighs in, saying that Whitney is "the sure thing" (ouch--nobody wants to be called a sure thing, am I right?) and he thinks that Chris will take the risky path.

Becca and Chris have a final date (that feels more like a booty call minus the booty) during which they address some tough questions that they probably should have talked about long ago: why do you think you aren't in love with me yet? What issues are holding you back? They get some concrete answers but Becca continues insisting that there are "supposed to be" steps of some sort and she doesn't know what she's doing.  I think she has watched too many Rom Coms (and Cinderella a few too many times) because I have a lot of dating experience and I'm not quite sure what she's talking about.  Steps?  Every relationship is unique.  Some happen quickly (like my parents' 2 months of dating and then engagement and enduring marriage) and others unfold slowly or in unexpected ways with people who you didn't think you'd end up with.  There aren't official steps, really.  Chris leaves Becca's room and says that it's a "weird situation" and gives us some tears.  Bachelor Nation is fueled by tears!  FEED THIS BEAST!

Feed me your tears, Prince Farming!!!! 

Whitney and Chris have a final date and it's more of a date-date than Becca got, which might tip the hand somewhat.  They hop in a tractor and do some harvesting then cruise in his lifted Chevy truck (NIIIIIICE) to his bachelor pad where they have drinks by the fire.  After daytime drinks it's time for evening drinks at Whitney's hotel where she very wisely tells Chris that no matter what happens, she has put everything on the table and she's at peace but also scared.

The next day is the big day and Chris picks out a ring for his chosen one.  The ladies get done up and don their elegant winter dresses (a tough look to pull off).  Finally it's go time and Chris is in his family barn (overloaded with chandeliers) waiting for the gals to arrive.  We get a glimpse of each one in her limo: Whitney in a black dress with a fun neckline and an updo; Becca with her hair down and a red gown made of crushed velvet.  Everybody knows that limo #1 is the person who is getting sent home and whose high heel do we see emerging from that first car: Becca's.

She walks up the stairs of the barn to a landing that strangely resembles a church because of all the stained glass, then she and Chris talk through the most amicable break-up in Bachelor history.  There's whispering, they can both see their breath, and "you're going to make someone very happy one day" is repeated ad nauseam.  He bids her adieu and during her drive away, Becca sheds no tears and says that "it doesn't feel good at all"and I can't decide if this girl is simply too young to understand what is going on or just completely unemotional.  Both?  Either way, she should probably gain a little experience (go on some dates, give an HJ) before she ever goes on a TV show whose solitary purpose is "to find a soulmate."

Up next is Whitney and HOLY COW she is going to be happy.  Once they are in position (and Whitney is done flapping like a fish on a dock), she launches in on a sweet speech about how much she loves him.  Chris follows with a monologue about the time they crashed a stranger's wedding (I had forgotten about that--SO BAD!) and then says that she's perfect for him.  They are a fantastic match in how earnest and sorta corny they are and I'm excited for them.  Chris gets down on one knee, opens up the ring box (MONEY SHOT) and her response to the question is "Absolutely."  After that they kiss and sit in the window of the barn looking out on their now shared kingdom (err--farm).

So yeah, not a drama-filled final episode at all.  And Chris wisely picked the reasonable, adult, would-probably-work-in-real-life option of Whitney (not the wild card passion pick).  Nicely done, Chris!  THAT is a surprising turn of events to me!

In the "After the Final Rose" portion (hour 3) Becca came back (in a fantastic pink dress) to continue on her tour of Zero Emotions and Naivete.  She says that she "loves easily" yet has never been in love (huh?) and continues to claim that she is  unsure if she was in love with Chris because she has nothing to compare it to, but girl, you never do.  Sure, the truncated timeline of The Bachelor is unique, but falling for someone doesn't have a roadmap. I know that I sound like I've been drinking the Bachelor Kool Aid, but I just can't get my mind around what Becca expects.  There's a first time for everything and sometimes even if you've never experienced that thing, you know it's the thing.  I remember when I was 18 and on a date with a lovely alum from my college and during every moment with him I felt like my soul was singing and I never stopped to be like, "Wait... is this it?" I just knew it was a great feeling!

Whitney and Chris come out and Whitney makes some charmingly self-effacing jokes, Chris says that he likes Whitney because she reminds him of her sisters (huh?), and Whitney says that Britt's beautiful.  Then Jimmy Kimmel comes out with a cow named Juan Pablo.  And just when you think that things can't get weirder, Chris Harrison flirts with Ashley "Crazy Train" S. and finally the next Bachelorettes are revealed to be Kaitlyn AND Britt.  Yes, two of them.  The Bachelor has always felt like a show about polygamy, but this time it's for real.

It has been wonderful to spend this season with you, dear readers.  I'll be back next season to see who can better rock a fuscia lip--Canadian Kaitlyn or Poor Man's Ariana Grande Britt.  In the meantime, I'll be posting here on occasion, performing standup and storytelling all over, and you can already read my book or listen to me reciting my own book anytime you like! xoxo

Friday, March 6, 2015

Bachelor Chris Recap: The Women Tell All (And Rock Bold Lips)

Monday night was one of the favorite nights of every season of The Bachelor: The Women Tell All.  This episode brings back almost all of the jilted ladies (save for a few forgettable gals who didn't make it past night one and the final two ladies who are living in a bunker somewhere until they can pretend to be engaged for 4-6 weeks, then call it off and go on to a career as a "TV personality") and without fail every woman shows up looking FRESH TO DEATH, as DJ Pauly D would say (go Rhode Island!).  The ladies are always dressed to the nines and rocking fresh highlights and/or extensions (I'm looking at you, Carly) and perfect make-up.  It's like how much you primp and prep when you know that you'll be running into your ex at a cocktail party TIMES INFINITY! #IHateMath.

On Monday night, the gang was all there...
Nikki – the former NFL cheerleader with dark hair who often looked surprised 
Trina – white girl with blonde hair looking great in yellow, which I find surprising (I'm an anti-blonde-white-women-in-yellow-dresses activist, usually) 
Jeulia – rad gal whose ex husband killed self and has a tyke at home 
Tara – drunk fly fishing enthusiast
Amber – looked so good I almost didn't recall who she was
Megan – the blonde gal who is NOT the brightest, but is rocking a great dark lip
Samantha – silent brunette
Jordan – other blonde drunk (who tried to plead her way back on by showing up to a cocktail party unannounced--what are you, ME?) 
Ashley S. – crazy train blondie 
Jillian – intense brunette who was pretty annoying, but she's rocking some rad earrings
Kelsey – Black Widow is rocking a bob even more unflattering than her previous haircut (quite an achievement)
Britt – bold lip as always, gold dress that looks very Forever 21
Mackenzie – young mom who loves aliens and might want to get some curl separator cream 
Ashley I. – female Bobby Bottleservice is sporting a flesh toned dress (my nightmare), plus tan lips (ugh), but her dark hair sorta balances it out. 
Jade – sporting a fiery red dress though she might be in the midst of a breakout 
Carly – resembles a disco dream in her sparkly dress, cool blonde hair color & bold eyes

Kaitlyn – she has completely grown on me and her white separates are sheer perfection 

We watch a montage of the good times and the bad times and before you know it, Britt has manipulated her way into the hot seat next to Chris Harrison.  Britt calls out her "former friend" Carly (what is this, 7th grade summer camp?) and asks why Carly pretended to be her friend.  Carly shoots straight and says that she tried to avoid drama in the house (read: this is a weird situation and we're all stuck together, so may as well go along to get along but crack wise in the interview room). Britt blames Carly for the fact that she was sent home and that dumb logic reminds me of when a high school girl's boyfriend would cheat on her with another girls and the jilted GF would inevitably go after the other woman.  
Haters gonna hate, but I have cool blonde hair now
Guess what, kid? That girl doesn't owe you anything.  YOUR BOYFRIEND is the one who did you wrong, here.  It was pretty delicious when Chris came out later to say that no, Carly didn't tell him what to do, HE didn't think that his relationship with Britt was progressing.  EAT IT, LA!  Britt says, in so many words, that Carly is jealous of her and I finally figure out what I find so repugnant about Britt: she treats Carly like a little, tagalong sister who isn't ALSO there vying for love.  She's a narcissist who plays a naif for attention and sympathy.  Blech.  Carly says that Britt is two faced and a good actress and I agree. Also, Britt clarifies that she WOULD be open to living in Arlington, Iowa as long as they wouldn't be living in the abandoned bank.

Up next is Black Widow Kelsey who Chris Harrison promptly asks, "why do you think that the women disliked you so much?"  Her response is so tone deaf and pitch perfect that I would think it was pulled from a Christopher Guest film if I hand't watched her say it: I've heard that I'm condescending and I use big words.  She throws out therapy soundbites like "honor my story" and "immeasurably blessed" but the best part happens when Chris Harrison asks Kelsey if she feels like she's better than these women and she responds, "how do you evaluate humanity?" Thanks for playing, Nietzsche!  Kelsey and Ashley I. get into it, Kelsey says something about how Ashley owes her an apology, and Ashley drops the greatest "gimme a friggin' break" facial expression of all time. 

Ashely S. (blonde crazy train) gets in the hot seat and semi-coherently says that she acted like such a space cadet all season because she was bored and she likes to be silly (OK, you rule, girl).  Chris Harrison begs her to do Bachelor In Paradise and her classic response to that request is, "It's so weird... that we're on TV." 

Jade gets some time with Chris Harrison during which she wonders if perhaps Prince Farming was lying when he said that her Playboy photos weren't a big deal. My heart goes out to her--people love to theorize about why a person would pose for photos like that and assume that these people are broken or defective somehow, but they aren't.  Jade has a great family, she's extremely close with her father--I admire her chutzpah.  To top it off, she says a line that I recite on the daily: shoot me straight.  Just tell me the truth.  

Up next is Kaitlyn who is looking gorgeous in white separates (a bold choice), modern heels (did you see them?), and a fuscia lip.  She says that she thinks about what happened every day (she made it to the top 3) and she's still confused by it all.  Kaitlyn is wonderfully candid and well-spoken, but after a few minutes her Canadian accent kept reminding me of Wheels Ontario.

Finally, Chris comes out and again, Britt spits out some crocodile tears in order to get time in the hot seat.  Does she somehow forget that Chris sent her home because he didn't like her attitude?  Chris says that Carly's warnings had nothing to do with it and that he didn't think they were moving forward. Britt somehow manipulates the conversation and ends up granting him good luck with his future and acting as though SHE is releasing HIM.  What just happened?  Kaitlyn calmly confronts him and Chris refers to the process as "like throwing darts at a dart  board in the dark" which is probably the most honest characterization of The Bachelor that I have ever heard.  Jade and Chris have a heartfelt conversation about his use of the word "disturbing" to describe his surprise at hearing Jade characterized as a "wild mustang" by her brother, then admits that it was a poor choice of words.  They hug and all is well.  

But before it's over, Chris Harrison has got to plug HIS NEW BOOK!  Trust me, as an author, I know how crucial it is to jump on any and every opportunity to whore out your book.  And with that, I encourage all of you to buy The New Rules for Blondes because mama needs a new pair of shoes!

Next week is the 3 hour finale and instead of each gal meeting The Bachelor's family in paradise, everything will be going down in Arlington, Iowa during the winter.  It's the bleakest midwintery-est Bachelor finale YET!