Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Bachelorette Jojo Ep 3: Sex Talks and Mind Games

Monday night’s episode of The Bachelorette was night 1 of 2 in the secondary storyline that is Chad-mageddon. Dear readers, there were mind games and tricky maneuvers going on all over the place at the hands of Jojo, Chad, and I venture to contend, even Erectile Dysfunction Evan! 

But first, Jojo had a 1:1 date with Chase, a suitor who has real potential and who I truly dig. I tuned in 15 minutes late because sometimes you forget to set your DVR and you try to squeeze in a quick workout because bikini season snuck up on you (but HOW could bikini season sneak up on you, Selena? It’s your favorite season of the year! I know, I know, imagery interrogator—but the past few weeks were crazy with shows every night, 2 writing projects for Jezebel (hooray), plus regular work, and attempting to date 3-4 husky civil servants at the same time. It’s a lot of plates to keep spinning!).

Anyhoo, I tuned in once Jojo and Chase were at a winery and hearing about their date without seeing it was a hilarious surprise. I have no idea what “yim yamming” is, but I’m glad to know that Chase went with it and that these two crazy kids finally feel #connected. Chase talked about his parents’ divorce (happened when he was 8 years old) and how he’s a “one and done” guy with marriage. Nothing too outlandish came out, but hey, that’s great! There’s nothing wrong with a solid, steady guy who has big biceps, trims his heard nicely, and goes with the flow.  Chase gets a rose, but Jojo has another surprise up her sleeve and it’s a dude from Lady Antebellum who is promoting his new solo album right in the backyard! The Bachelor sticks with its tradition of having up-and-coming country performers and, as someone who cranks top 40 “bro” country on my iPod on the subway (while praying that no hipsters overhear the sounds of Jason Aldean or Luke Bryan coming from my ear buds), I can dig this music!  It’s silly country that’s not as inspired as Sturgill Simpson or Chris Stapleton, but it’s catchy!  Charles Kelly croons a song about “the one who gets me good” while Jojo and Chase make out directly in front of him.

Meahwile back at the house, a group date card has arrived and the gang is Jordan (HELLO), Grant (GREETINGS), Wells (NOT TOO SHABBY), James F. (eh—I’ll take it), Christian (smiley YET HOT), Ali (HIIIIIIII), Damn Daniel (NO THANK YOU!), Vinny (PASS), Nick (meh), Evan (I hate to agree with Chad’s later comment, but everything about him makes me feel like “is this really happening?”), Alex (Tiny Hero has tattoos and mama likes), and Chad (of course? You think they’re going to let the crazy train leave the station without the conductor?). 

Chad immediately starts bitching that he’d rather be on a 1:1 date with a group date and yeah, buddy, so would everyone there. Evan makes a comment that they should cross his name off the card if he doesn’t want to go and Chad STARES HIM DOWN.  James F. (Count Chocula look-alike) encourages them all to work as a team, Jordan makes a killer joke that if you’re on a team with Chad, you’d better hope the group date is a bench press contest and not spelling bee, and Chad snaps at him that he’s a failed football player who has done nothing with his life. OUCH. Yiiii. Chad feels under attack a lot, and I can see that, but EVERY TIME he takes it too far and gets too personal with his insults.  Tiny Hero Alex comes out swinging and calls Chad a “solid piece of shit,” says “try me bro,” calls him “the biggest pussy I know” and finally gestures for him to walk away. ALEX! Thank you for your service to our country—Bachelor Nation! 

Honestly, sweet readers, I loved this scene for 2 reasons:

1. It's damn good TV and bless Jordan for being called a “failed football player” and just smiling through it (I would absolutely break down if I were him);
2. It shows that WOMEN aren’t the only ones who have tension in the mansion. I’m SO tired of hearing about how women supposedly can’t get along with other women. Not any better or worse than men can get along with other men! Case in point? This scene.

The conversation ends when Chad offers to fight all of them outside and they all decline. I had a flashback to a 30 For 30 Short that I just watched about Bruins Enforcer John Wesnick who, in a heated 1977 game at the old Boston Garden, challenged the ENTIRE Minnesota bench to a fight. Bless his heart. Clip below. 

The next day the boys cruise over to the Atwater Village Theater where they are lucky enough to watch and then participate in my friend Jessie Rosen’s long-running storytelling show SUNDAY NIGHT SEX TALKS!  

The show is based in LA, but had a run in NYC for a little while and I was lucky enough to perform on it.  Jessie is a doll face and the show is SUCH a blast of sex positive storytelling.  My podcast co-host Dava and I interviewed Jessie to hear about her time with the Bachelorette boys and that episode is here: 


(You can also listen on iTunes.) 

So the guys arrived at the theater and watched a few stories, then went to an adjoining theater to work on their own true sex stories for presentation in 45 minutes or so.  There were mixed reactions to this date plan: Evan was “so pumped” because “this is another day at the office,” James F. mentioned his conservative Christian upbringing a few times this episode and asked his mother to turn off the TV, and every guy started drinking heavily.  My wonderful friend Jenna Brister was one of the real storytellers, featured in the clip of her being told to “get face down on the bed” and that those were her favorite instructions of all time.  She’s so damn funny and cool! 

Soon it was time for the guys to perform and some of them were fantastic!  Grant and Nick were silly and lighthearted, Jordan was basically doing standup (which is NOT the same thing as storytelling and the audience at The Moth HATES it when you confuse the two), Vinny took off his shirt (why God why), Damn Daniel roamed the stage and had his back to the audience like a pasty, Canadian Jim Morrison, and Wells told a threesome story (I can only hope that it involved All-4-One).  ED Evan failed to tell a story (I sorta hate it when people don’t follow direxies) but instead warned of the dangers of steroid use and made very specific references to Chad. Oof Evan, maybe don’t poke the bear? I fond this pretty weasel-y on Evan’s part. Sure, Chad’s a dumb lug who can’t just go with the flow and he’s a jerk, but let him dig his own grave.  If there’s one thing that we’ve learned in seasons past, it’s that the person in the house who acts as the town crier that so-and-so is a jerk often ends up with a target on his own back.  As Evan walks back to his seat, Chad pulls his shirt and there’s an altercation like something you would see on an 8th grade field trip school bus.  Dudes. 

Chad is the big finale and rather than tell a story, he calls Jojo onto the stage, says that he doesn’t think about the past, only the future, and "with that said"—then he grabs Jojo and tries to force her to kiss him, but she turns her head to the side then gently pushes him off. Again, Chad, BOUNDARIES!!  Just because Jojo is the Bachelorette doesn’t mean that any time you want, you can simply grab her and shove your lips on hers.  Alex gives this embarrassing display a standing ovation (hilarious) and the men retire back to the adjoining theater where Chad punches a door so the point that his hand bleeds, then says of his self-inflicted injury, “if I can’t lift, I’m going to be pissed.”  THIS IS POETRY! Good God if Chad existed as a character in a written TV show, he’d need to be rewritten because he’s too one-note and simplistic, but no, CHAD IS REAL!

Chad pushes Evan saying, “you’re going to fucking die, dude” (well, aren’t we all, at some point?) and Evan plays a mind game on Chad saying that he should chill out, it’s all in good fun, it’s standup comedy (no, it’s not, it’s storytelling and the two are quite similar, but not the exact same thing). Way to gaslight, Evan! The student becomes the teacher! 

That night the after party is at Big Daddy’s (a rambling warehouse filled with furniture and wall hangings, it seems) and Alex is wearing a super tight, white button down, Jojo is referring to Nick as “Santa” still (ewww), and Jordan is looking hot.  Jojo and Jordan have a good conversation and make-out and she’s definitely putting him on the back burner because she really likes him.  Did anyone notice that at one point, Jojo referred to Jordan as “Jojo” or am I going insane? 

Jojo has good conversations with all of the guys, save for when Chad disrupts her 1:1 time with Nick and then steps aside to give them time, only to walk mere feet away from them and whistle.  His drunken ramblings and aggressive behavior reminded me a lot of Jud Fry from the musical Oklahoma! (holy theater kid, Selena!)—the mysterious and dangerous loner who gave everybody the willies.  Also, didn’t we all think that in Oklahoma!, Ado Annie was ten times more interesting than leading lady Laurey? That’s a discussion for another time, but seriously.

Evan tries to poke the bear more during the cocktail party, asking Chad point blank “why are you here?” and then being at a loss for words when Chad handily accuses Evan of bullying HIM (good move, in the Mind Fuck Olympics). Chad asks Evan to simply leave him alone and mocks the whole process, saying how fake it is to talk about INTENSE FEELINGS this early on in a relationship (not untrue, but you realize that this is a TV show, right, bro?). 

Finally Chad and Jojo get 1:1 time and Chad refers to himself as “the bully being bullied” by Evan, Jojo encourages him to NOT be the bully and says she’s “confused” by him, which is a really tactful way to say “you seem somewhat unstable and unpredictable, but I don’t want to burn this bridge just yet because your body is TIGHT.”   Evan then interrupts Chad and Jojo’s alone time and WOW Evan has got a LOTTA nerve as long as the cameras are rolling producers are there to protect him, ya know?  Evan gives Jojo an ultimatum, saying that he doesn’t want to be here if Chad is going to be here. Jojo wisely says she will think about it. 

The group convenes and Jojo has a rose to give out, but she asks Evan if she can pull him aside to talk.  All of Bachelor Nation was thinking what Jordan predicted, that Jojo pulled him aside to send him home to get back to his ED practice and 3 kids.  BUT NO.  Jojo pulls a page straight out of the UnREAL playbook and shocks everyone by giving the rose TO EVAN.  Evan is elated and makes a gross comment that his kids will be so excited that “Daddy made out with Jojo” (huh? gross) then they walk back to the couches where the group is assembled. Everyone seems surprised, but NO ONE more than Chad, who literally says, “Is this real? Is this real life? You’re actually, right now, vibing this dude?” which is, admittedly, what many of us were thinking, but also SO DAMN RUDE.  Jojo calls him on it and says that he’s being disrespectful and she doesn’t like this side of you.
Wait, Evan's getting the rose? 
I refuse the accept he reality of what is happening because I'm emotionally stunted
 and think that my giant muscles should automatically win me all roses! 

The boys head back to the Bachelor Mansion where Chad falls asleep and dreams of meat and free weights under the watchful eye of a security guard because every other guy in the house is terrified of him.

The next day James Taylor and Jojo get dressed up in vintage clothes (Jojo looks perfect, as always) and take a swing dancing class, then stumble upon a giant, outdoor dance party where they strut their new moves. Jojo’s polka dot dress RULES but I had flashbacks to 1999 when everyone I knew was into swing dancing for a hot minute.  Later that night, James Taylor reveals to Jojo that he used to be teased a lot and it stuck with him and he feels like an underdog who doesn't quite measure up. Oh James Taylor, why you gotta tug on my heartstrings like that? Jojo's response is lovely, but reminded me a bit of the Ben-Jubilee dynamic where it didn't seem to be about romance and love, but rather about a person who needed a cheerleader.  We'll see how that goes.  JT scores a rose (and sings an original song, of course).   

Back at the house, Damn Daniel encourages Chad to use “logic and reasoning” then compares Chad to Hitler, Mussolini, Trump, and George W. Bush (bless you with those last 2 references, my sweet Canadian vampire) as Chad eats a sweet potatoe as if it’s an apple.  The way that Chad eats is really selling his whole “Jud Fry” character and I’m sort of loving it.

We see shots of Chad using 50 pound free weights and groaning, then Chris Harrison arrives to tell the guys that Jojo is scrapping the cocktail party that night in favor of a pool party all day.  Chad chimes in that he doesn't want these OTHER guys seeing Jojo in a bikini (guess what, buddy? YOU DON'T OWN HER, so shut up and keep on doing those bicep curls, weirdo) while everyone else has normal, positive responses to the prospect of a pool party day.

Evan pulls Chris Harrison aside and says that Chad is aggressive, threatening, and toxic, then Chris Harrison pulls Chad aside to ask him about all of it. And they say WOMEN are passive aggressive and create drama!  I think that both parties are at fault--Chad is too aggressive and inflexible and Evan's a weasel.  Chris Harrison plays the role of hands-off manager, telling Chad that he should figure out a way to speak to the entire house in order to settle it, and he'll let Chad decide how to do that. Chad walks off and his voice over says that his preferred plan to settle it would be to cut off all of the arms and legs of everyone, then have torsos in the pool.  Ummm OK.  The producers left us with a "to be continued" and based on the previews for tonight's part 2, there will be blood.  

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