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!