Women Tell All Recap

The Bachelor bears a number of startling similarities to the Coronavirus (bet you weren’t expecting that one!) They both got fairly slow starts this winter, but by the time they’re all said and done, expect 80% of the US population to be affected by their residual consequences; both the Coronavirus response and The Bachelor are skippered by wildly incompetent men who seem to make decisions at every opportunity that compound and confuse the downward spiral of chaos; and both the Coronavirus and The Bachelor have sent shockwaves through the liquor industry with 38% of Americans saying that they will no longer buy Corona as well as Kelsey’s champagne disaster sending Moet & Chandon futures into freefall. I certainly hope that the Purell was free-flowing at the Women Tell All last night because all that mudslinging is going to require some serious hand-washing!  

Before we get to the female battle royale, we were treated to a rose ceremony that had been slowly building to a crescendo for an entire week. The stage was set with Hannah Ann and Victoria F waiting patiently for their knight in shining armor to come and bestow upon them a rose; unfortunately Peter had other ideas. Just as Penelope gazed out to sea waiting for the return of her fair Odysseus from the Trojan War, Peter too was staring off into the distance waiting for Madison to return from her own war with her conscience. Penelope was famed for her fidelity, something that cannot be said for Peter, and as a result the returning Madison did not look best pleased to see her expectant lover. The three women on the stage together was quite a sight. Madison had a look on her face like she had just been forced to eat 17 raw lemons, Hannah Ann looked as nervous as if she had been sent to the principal’s office and was about to be disciplined for passing notes about the boys in her pre-calc class who had cooties, and Victoria F, sporting her Jesus necklace, just looked happy to be there. (Quick reminder Victoria that the 7 deadly sins are those transgressions that are fatal to spiritual progress, not a bucket, or to-do list.)

Hannah Ann received the first rose and continues her surge towards the finish line AS I PREDICTED before we embarked upon this journey together. Madison unsurprisingly was offered the final rose, which she reluctantly accepted after telling Chris “I was falling in love with him, and then last night happened and now I don’t really know.” South Central Wisconsinites, New York Knick’s fans and Federalist Paper aficionados are all disgusted right now at the shame that this Bachelor contestant brought to the name Madison in her spineless submission to the false promises of Peter. Perhaps she was disgusted with her decision as well, but she certainly appears to be putting the invert in invertebrate as she backtracks on her previously held personal expectations for Peter. Madison sent us into the Women Tell All by toasting: “Here’s to seeing if love can conquer all.” The game of Bachelor gives its toughest battles to its strongest soldiers – can’t wait to see how this one shakes out.

I often wonder how Chris Harrison managed to sweet talk his way into a job that pays him $60,000 an episode to give terrible relationship advice to contestants and show up at the end to deliver a couple of roses. (For a full sabermetrics breakdown of his salary, here is an excellent article that goes into exhaustive detail.) Then we get to the Women Tell All episode, and we are reminded time and time again that he earns every single cent. Chris has the unique ability to ask all of the cringeworthy, sordid, and flat-out blunt questions that we’re all thinking, but wouldn’t ever dare to actually ask. This instalment of the Women Tell All was no exception.

It’s difficult to recap this episode without using a lot of quotations but I will try and keep them to a minimum and stick to the sharp, cutting analysis that is pretty much never a feature of this blog. I think it’s safe to say that none of the girls will ever have a future in political panel punditry, although some of the conversations had sparks flying that were comparable to a Trump vs. Science argument about the cancer-causing capabilities of wind turbines! The questions to the girls began more generally. They were asked to comment on the Madison ultimatum situation amongst other events in the most recent episodes. We were then treated to some season highlights with the cameras trained on the girls in studio as they were forced to relive some of their most unflattering moments. Things only started to get heated as the Tammy-Mykenna feud was subjected to a jet fuel injection. “She takes so much joy in bringing people down, and I have no time in my heart for people like that” was Mykenna’s go to refrain, alongside multiple declarations about her strength and self-confidence. If Mykenna is such a strong woman, her strength is most definitely not derived from the motivational life quotes that she tosses out left and right. They seem to come from such reliable sources as fortune cookies and sorority girl positivity murals. Shit really started to pop off when the Alayah Victoria P controversy bubbled to the surface once again. To be honest, I was expecting more from this exchange, however, to the detriment of the drama, Chris was about as effective a moderator as OJ Simpson would be a used glove salesman and everyone was screaming over each other so not much was discernible.  

I think my favorite part of the Women Tell All were the not-so-subtle jabs that the girls were levelling at one another throughout. Some highlights:

Tammy and Kelsey: Tammy said that “from a medical standpoint” she was concerned that Kelsey was displaying alcoholic tendencies. Kelsey responded with “you’re a dermatologist.” Startlingly similar to poor Stu from The Hangover who is derided constantly for being a dentist, not a doctor.

Victoria P and (insert name here): Victoria claimed “I totally agree with you that I am weird” when confronted about concealing her prior relationship with Alayah. Some random girl who I didn’t recognize came from the top rope and says “you were the fakest person in the house.”

Kelsey to Sydney: “I didn’t call you stupid; I only called you a dramatic fucking bitch.” Tough to sugarcoat this one. I think I would prefer to be called stupid. She followed this up with a: “we’re good now girl?”  

Mykenna to someone who went home on night one: “You went home on night one.” Scoreboard.  

Tammy to Mykenna: “All you do is dance like a buffoon in front of the camera” – “you would always spread your legs whenever the cameras were around.” This is good content from Tammy.

Chris spent the majority of his interview with Kelsey asking her rhetorical questions like: “You seemed confident you were gonna get a rose?” and then following them up with real knife-twisters such as: “What do you miss about him?” Not much else to report here, however the Victoria F interview was a completely different story. Her highlight reel brought back so many visceral memories for me as someone who has ebbed and flowed between feeling sorry for and incredibly frustrated by Peter. “I’m frustrated with myself because I didn’t realize how much he cared for me” – step aside Benedict Cumberbatch, the next season of Sherlock will feature Victoria F uncovering the reasons why Peter didn’t want to spend the rest of his life being demeaned, belittled and tortured by unreturned acts of affection. Victoria is a savvy operator and can clearly sense when she is getting backed into a corner. In what can only be described as a generational genetic mutation, her fight or flight instincts seem to have been supplanted by the crying instinct. She denied being a home-wrecker and was treated to a standing ovation by Sydney, Kelsey and Lexi. Maybe they’re trying to generate some goodwill with her so they don’t get their husband’s stolen from them in the future?

Chris continually referred to Peter as “America’s favorite pilot.” I think Chesley Sullenberger, Honda, auto, and the biro pen company would all beg to differ as far as that is concerned. I will get into my full debrief on Peter once the season is over, but he seems confused, uncertain, and altogether beaten down by this entire process. America’s fifth favorite pilot did have the best blooper moment of the season if that is any consolation. The old pissed-your-pants-so-accidentally-spill-champagne-on-them-to-conceal-it is a club I didn’t think Peter had in his bag. 12% of the time that one works every time!

Obviously the segment about online harassment was a major feature of the episode as well. I hope it goes without saying that everything I have ever written in this blog is in response to an on-screen character taken entirely at face value. Even Victoria F deserves love in her life and should never be subjected to death threats, online harassment or whatever else these losers are doing. There. I said it. I actually don’t hate Victoria F (that much). In all seriousness, this was a very powerful and necessary moment in the season and one that I hope is impactful moving forward because no one should be subjected to the hateful words that were read and the many more that were not. 🙂

Women Tell All Preview

It’s been a very big week for people named Pete Weber. Our Peter, of Pilot, facial puncture, and poor judgement fame managed to screw up his future prospects with the girl of his dreams because he couldn’t keep it in his pants for two nights in Australia when Madison specifically asked him to. The other Pete Weber, of bowling, speed shade, and paedophilic Hawaiian shirt fame was celebrating the 8th anniversary of his 5th US Open win and perhaps the greatest moment in the history of professional bowling on Wednesday. Now my trash-talking game is about as incisive as a knife fashioned from reconstituted mashed potatoes, but if anyone can illuminate me as to what in God’s name: “Goddamnit I did it, who do you think you are, I am” means, then please come forward and put me out of my misery. Those were the words Pete Weber screamed at the crowd after he cast his championship-clinching pin-crusher down the lane back in 2012.Now you’re probably thinking there’s no way this is the complete sentence and that the sound guy, suicidal after having watched 12 consecutive hours of professional bowling, nodded off and accidentally muted Pete’s microphone. This is just one of the many conspiracies that have been levelled as to the whereabouts of the incomplete sentence. Bowling savant (because he just would be) Tucker Carlson has claimed on numerous occasions that this is the principal reason we need to find Hillary Clinton’s emails. Nicholas Cage claims that Weber was quoting Mayan scripture and so has fucked off to Mexico to do some digging. I have an alternative theory that the sentence actually continues as follows: “Who do you think you are? I am clearly the best and most accomplished Peter Weber in the world, why do all these chicks want to hang with that baby-faced bitch on The Bachelor who has never bowled higher than a 125 and owns more pairs of Chubbies than he has brain cells?” Step aside Tucker, there’s a new conspiracy sheriff in town!

Some additional thoughts and observations with both eyes trained firmly on Monday night:

Hannah Ann has somehow managed to de-age herself by about 7 years as the season has progressed. What kind of Benjamin Button sorcery is she engaged in? It’s never really appropriate to use my own facial features and complexion as a yardstick to make any comparisons to Bachelor candidates; however, it is still puzzling that I manage to look about 12 years older after a few too many appletinis on a Saturday night. Meanwhile Hannah Ann has been sodomizing the red and white wine, is dealing with the stress of nationwide bodily objectification on a daily basis, has maintained two of her shifts at the Sonic drive-thru while shooting to keep saving up for Jonas Brothers tickets, and still looks as fresh-faced as if she had just come back from awkwardly grinding to Ignition at her first school dance.  

The primary attraction of Monday’s episode is the resolution of the Madison-Peter Fantasy Suite debacle. I am assuming that Hannah Ann and Madison will be the final two, but Love is Blind (what a show) and apparently Peter is too because the fact he cannot see through Victoria F’s translucent smoke screen of civility is beyond my comprehension. Who knows what Peter will do, however you can bank on his decision being irrational and emotional. There has been a lot made of his mother crying and imploring him to “bring her home to us.” Given that Madison is the only girl who has met his parents for their vow renewal and she appears to be on the brink of leaving promiscuous Pete at the rose ceremony, it would certainly make sense that this is in reference to her. We can probably discount Victoria F from this equation because the thought that a mother would cry over her son not ending up with her is antithetical to the entire concept of maternal love!

The Women Tell All episode is always a scintillating evening of entertainment. It’s a real pleasure revisiting a number of the old quarrels and getting back to some of the vociferous bickering that contributes so much to The Bachelor’s nitty gritty attraction. What is reality television other than a business that thrives on schadenfreude and the Women Tell All event allows many of these gratefully-received inter-female car crashes to be revisited in real time. I sincerely hope we can get some additional insight into the Alayah vs. Victoria P relationship. This was the principal narrative in the show for the best part of three weeks so hopefully they will address their relationship prior to the show and Victoria can shed some light on why she was so keen to keep their prior interactions under wraps. I am also curious if the knives are going to come out for Alayah in general. I have never seen a girl incite such vitriol in the house and the fact that it was so staunchly Alayah vs. the world suggests some serious underlying issues. I wouldn’t be surprised if Alayah had a couple of habits that rubbed people the wrong way, I just hope that they’re sufficiently petty to once again crown The Bachelor mansion as the most successful chaos incubator in human history. Imagine if she was stealing the other girls’ toothpaste, or she would dominate the aux cord and play nothing but Peanut Butter Jelly Time remixes. Fingers crossed for some peak pettiness.

Things are shaping up very nicely. Happy viewing and talk Tuesday

Week 8 Fantasy Suites Recap

When William Shakespeare wrote that “all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” he was probably not anticipating that this stage would include the Camarillo Air Strip in Southern California, and the most prominent players would be promiscuous Pete and his band of tenderfoot matrimonial minions. What would he say if he found out that 21st Century society had largely left behind the fickle and frivolous love of Titania and Bottom? That eyeballs were no longer enchanted by Hamlet and Ophelia’s slow demise, or Kate and Petruchio’s pugnacious kinship? You may posit that he would decry the state of modern entertainment; that he would scoff at the simplicity and shallowness of modern depictions of love. I think differently. “But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and the Bachelor is the sun.” Put Bill in front of last night’s Fantasy Suites episode and these words, normally entrusted to his Romeo in the Capulet’s orchard, would inevitably have been spilling out of his awe-struck and gaping jaw. Fantasy Suites – “Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more!”  

The start of the episode had been teased in last week’s Hometown’s episode. Madison follows Peter out of the airplane hangar, they engage in a textbook example of pretzel-legs, and then Madison brings the hammer; the confession that will be a major Thor in Peter’s side moving forward. Peter once again approached the conversation with about as much tactical acuity as the USA-bear-poking General Ludendorff during WW1, but are we even remotely surprised at this point? “Are you ok?” he chides – Obviously not you fucking moron, she’s just dragged you out of the airplane hangar for a chat after being told she gets the free vacation of a lifetime to the Gold Coast for a week. Madison tries to warm Peter up to her eventual confession, but he is incapable of connecting any of the copious circumstantial evidence that Madison is presenting. Long story short, she gives him the ultimatum, reminding him that “actions speak louder than words.” Maybe Madison should have acted out “don’t have sex with the other girls” because Peter didn’t really seem to understand. In the indelible words of Dewey Finn, Peter, “read between the lines!”

To Australia! I’m not sure what kind of crystal ball Drake was using when he sat down to write the introduction to his smash hit Trophies, but he quite clearly crafted the opening lyrics by examining Peter’s predicament when he arrives in Australia and used the song to showcase himself as the exact antithesis of this poor, beleaguered pilot. Let’s explore line-by-line, Drake in italics:

“Had hit records on my demo” – Peter has never had a demo, let alone any hit records come from it
“Did y’all boys not get the memo” – Peter has only interacted with women for weeks, if he has any boys they most definitely are not responding to his memos even if they are getting them                                   

“I do not stay at the Intercontinental”­ he is staying at The Intercontinental
“And anything I got is not a rental, I own that mothafucka”-  
His white range rover is a rental, his hotel rooms are all rentals, I would even go as far as saying that at least two of his dates are “rentals”
“Figured out this shit, it’s simple” –
Peter has figured out about as much as a collection of newborns in an escape the room
“My stock been going up like a crescendo”
– Enron, WorldCom and Lehman Brothers are all looking like more attractive stocks than Peter right now

Whoever decided that it would be a good idea to have all three of the girls living together in the same apartment deserves a position amongst the stars. A new constellation called Sirus Drama perhaps? I would liken the entire situation to a corona-virus quarantined cruise ship; a floating Petri dish of female dissension where everyone is highly suspicious of one another and the girls get temporarily removed from their purgatory to undergo a series of body-centric tests before being cast back into contagion. It was chaos, and prompted the kind of back-stabbing and shit-talking that makes The Bachelor what it is.

The hilarious conversations that their proximity engendered started immediately after they all realized what the living situation was. One such conversation resembled one of my favorite recent social media gimmicks which requires Twitter users to say something so uncharacteristic or absurd that it will immediately raise an alarm to your friends and followers. The challenge reads as follows: “You’ve been kidnapped. Your kidnappers allow you to keep tweeting/posting to pretend everything is alright. What would you tweet/post that would alarm your followers without the kidnappers knowing that you’re asking for help?” I think mine would be something along the lines of: “Does anyone have a spare copy of Donald Trump Jr’s new book I could borrow?” or “I like the integrity of this new-look Astros team, I think I’ll support them this year.” I foolishly thought that Victoria F would have saved her absurd, must-have-been-kidnapped assertion for a circumstance in which she was under duress… Instead she came out with it right off the jump by claiming that her hometown visit WENT WELL! Under absolutely no circumstances can a trip be classified as a success when the primary objective (i.e. introducing your philandering boyfriend to your cuter-than-cute family) gives way to an argument started over something of equivalent magnitude as Peter leaving the toilet seat up! Anyways, onto the Fantasy Suite dates!

Hannah Ann began her Fantasy Suite date by making her intentions crystal clear: “I hope he’s ready” is unambiguous in its sentiments and the date had a sense of inevitability to it right from the start. Hannah Ann coming out with the line: “Whatever happens this week just know I’ll still be here” does not seem like the kind of thing you should be telling the man you’re trying to lock down, but the issuance of her hall pass aside, the two had a nice jetski date, followed by an extended period of intimacy that included sand, sea and god knows what else. Their escalation to the Fantasy Suite took all of seventeen seconds, and the rest is history! When Hannah Ann returned to the lion’s den, she was greeted by dagger stares from Madi and Victoria. It would have been hilarious if Hannah Ann had come back in a wheelchair or something to really twist the knife into her competitors but alas, she accepted the compliments of the other girls despite the fact that “you look really tanned” is obviously code for “you’re glowing, what did you do last night you sinful harlot?”

“I love everything about Victoria, except when it comes to communicating” is about the reddest flag in the history of flags and perfectly sums up the dystopian dysfunction of Peter and Victoria’s relationship. It is also (finally) an explicit acknowledgment that Peter has kept Victoria around for exclusively sexual purposes, because what else does one do in a forever relationship other than maybe a bit of communication? The two were also celebrating the fact that they had made it a whole 45 minutes into a date without fighting (“yet”); this seems healthy. When Peter told Victoria that “there’s nothing that you need to work on” I started guffawing. Isn’t this what Ted Bundy’s female friends used to tell him before they went on rustic mountain drives? Their graduation to the fantasy suite took all of seven seconds, trouncing Hannah Ann’s previous personal best. “Last night took our relationship forward in more ways than one.” How many ways Victoria? Do elaborate. Four perhaps?

Madison is really taking liberties coming at Peter for being in love with three women when she is in love with three men: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It was hilarious but also a little sad that Madison’s impassioned plea for Peter’s celibacy went in one ear and out the other faster than you could say: “maybe Peter will make some sexual sacrifice to settle down with Madison?” Peter could have at least given the illusion of not trying to hook up with everything in sight, something that shouldn’t have been so hard if he actually feels as he says he does about Madi, but no, there was blood in the water and big sharks gotta eat! Peter and Madison had a nice time scaling buildings. My big takeaway from their date was that the poor cameramen on this show need a raise. Imagine having to watch Victoria and Peter going at it like rabbits one night, and then having to scale the side of a massive building to film Peter and Madi making out on top of a skyscraper for 2 hours the next? This was all a nice precursor for the fireworks that defined their dinner date. Madi was blunt: “For me personally, I wouldn’t be able to say yes to an engagement if you have slept with the other women, those are my expectations,” and Great Expectations they are, unless you’re Peter and you pride yourself on putting the “Dick” in Dickens! Having your future husband sleep with someone less than a week before he proposes to you is obviously not ideal, but given Peter’s long and illustrious career in Fantasy Suites, what was she ultimately expecting? Pete to “not have sexual relations with those women?” It’s muscle memory at this point. Madi didn’t take it well, she left, they cried outside blah blah blah.

Things are perfectly poised for a rose ceremony that promises to be by far and away the most impactful of the season so far. I have a dentist appointment next Monday at 7PM. Hard cancel. Til’ Friday!

Bachelor Week 8 Preview Fantasy Suites

One of my most loyal and fervent readers asked me earlier this week if I had ever experienced writer’s block in the production of this here blog. My response was measured, but the sentiments behind it were impassioned and heart-felt: “Do you think Michelangelo had painter’s block whilst painting the Sistine Chapel? Do you think Pat Riley had coach’s block while molding the Magic and Kareem-led ’87 Lakers? Do you think Summer Hathaway had class factotum and band manager’s block when leading The School of Rock to a second place finish in Battle of the Bands? Sometimes artists are presented with circumstances that are so unique, actors and materials that are so special, that the strokes of their brushes, the designs of their plays and the arrangements of their Principal Mullins-averse band practices are not their own, but are endowed with a kind of metaphysical force that breaks through conventional creative malaise.” This very force is tapping on my keyboard right now. This same force possessed Chris Harrison one score and four years ago when the Bachelor emerged from the womb as a straight-shooting, beer-drinking, rule-breaking, won’t-take-a-good-thing-too-far television juggernaut. This is all to say that The Bachelor gushes a fountain of drama-rich content so Old and so Faithful, that by comparison, if Don McLean drove his Chevy to the Trevi, he would see that the Trevi was dry! It’s almost as if they script it!

We are finally getting towards the business end of season 24 of The Bachelor, and by finally, I mean already? I think this Bachelor jetlag is likely being exacerbated by my assumption that because Victoria F is still around, there must be loads of other nice, humble, stable girls around that Peter can fall in love with as the season winds its inexorable way towards a premature engagement. There are not, and Peter has left in his wake a trail of broken hearts that looks eerily like Wednesday’s Democratic Debate stage. Next week is Fantasy Suites and alas, Pilot Peter is stuck with a psychopath, a tween and a virgin; I think I heard a joke about them walking into a bar a couple of weeks back; suffice to say, things did not end well!

I’ve been grappling with the prospect of Fantasy Suites for a little while now but thought I would spare a moment to think about what some of the other girls might be up to. Kelsey is back in Iowa, nursing herself back to health through a strict diet of soggy crab Rangoons and stolen champagne. Kelley is likely discovering that no one wants to hire an attorney who wasn’t even able to get Peter a cent of compensation for his golf-cart-induced head gash. Sydney is rampaging around all of her former high school classmates’ houses, breaking in under cover of the night and destroying their yearbooks. Tammy has quit her job as a house flipper and has decided to retrain as a full-time Muay Thai instructor. And finally, Deandra, following a bruising performance in the Bachelor bowl football game, has been snapped up by the California Lingerie Football League. She makes her debut for The Thousand Oaks Thong Thieves this Saturday against The Palos Verdes Panty Pirates. Heavyweight tilt.

Sticking to the sports theme, I don’t know how this wasn’t clear to me earlier, but Peter is quite obviously the player-pilot for the Houston Astros. His road splits last year at Fantasy Suite Park were outstanding, batting a clean 1000% with zero strikeouts before being thrown out at the plate with the Championship on the line. There was some controversy surrounding his performance however, with Commissioner Chris Harrison launching an investigation into four distinct banging noises coming from a windmill, one each time he went up to bat. Word on the street is that deputy commissioner Madison Prewett has already handed Peter a one night suspension that she’s trying to increase to three. I’m sure he’ll be praying it’s no more than that! Think twice before you draft Peter in this year’s fantasy suite… confusion, lack of conviction at the plate and poor decision-making on the base paths have plagued his Spring Training!

The preview clips for the remainder of the season have been excellent thus far; leaps and bounds juicier and more mysterious than being battered over the head repeatedly by the Colton fence jump cudgel. Perhaps the most contentious of these revelations concerned Madison’s virginity and the supposed ultimatum that she gave to Peter with Fantasy Suites forthcoming. “I wouldn’t be able to move forward if you have slept with the other women;” definitely not what the bachelor with the highest MOPE (Make-Outs per Episode) index in the history of the show was looking to hear. Peter is in a real pickle here. Obviously he doesn’t want to jeopardize his chances with Madison, who he genuinely likes, but he’s literally been keeping Victoria F around for this exact moment, and Hannah Ann just reached the age of consent last week and is looking to realize her recently acquired potential! Unfortunately for Peter, his sexual impropriety will be very difficult to conceal from Madison given the hundreds of cameras trained in his direction 24/7, bedroom and all. There is little doubt that Madison will be scouring the footage looking for any chinks in Peter’s celibate armor; I guess we’ll have to call this one the “The Porn Ultimatum.”   

I am excited to see exactly how Madison approaches the subject of her virginity. I see her soliloquy going something like this: “I made it through the wilderness, somehow I made it through, didn’t know how lost I was until I found you. I was beat, incomplete, I’d been had, I was sad and blue, but you made me feel, yeah, you made me feel shiny and new… I’m, like, a virgin.” I’m not sure if Madison or her parents are old enough to know anything about Madonna, but Madison would do well to channel the singer and transform The Queen of Pop into The Queen of Stop!  No doubt Peter will act shocked and surprised by her admission. Peter don’t preach, she’s made up her mind, she’s keeping her virginity!

Hannah Ann and Victoria F are more side shows in this episode. Obviously their activities will massively impact what goes down between Madison and Peter, but everyone will be waiting with baited breath to see how Peter spins it if he does get down with one of the other girls. No doubt Madi’s Fantasy Suite will be at the end, leaving maximum time to sow the seeds of chaos in the build-up, and it will be interesting to see exactly what drama Victoria F is able to conjure out of thin air, and whether Hannah Ann uses her Sonic experience to kick things into overdrive with Peter now that things are able to go up a notch.

I’m excited, I hope you are too, happy watching and talk to you Tuesday

Bachelor Week 7 Recap Hometowns

I don’t know what I want out of this season, I really don’t. It’s been quite the roller coaster ride and not the kind that ends with an awfully convenient and contrived Chase Rice concert in suburban Cleveland! Part of me is hoping for a little Deus ex Machina action where Hannah B comes storming back to take Peter’s heart (although no doubt it would descend into more of a Deus SEX Machina given their bygones!); but there’s also a part of me that wants Hannah Ann and Madison to play a high stakes game of sudden death rock, paper, scissors for who doesn’t have to marry Peter at the end. I see both of these scenarios as unlikely but as the girls vie for that final rose, I really think it unwise to take anything off the table. Hometowns. Nice. Let’s jump in!  

Hannah Ann – Knoxville, TN

Hannah Ann remains a complete enigma, largely due to the dizzying peaks and precipitous valleys that she displays in her solo interviews talking about Peter. “Our connection will definitely skyrocket today” isn’t really the kind of thing you should be saying at such a late stage in the process, and doesn’t really correspond to her then turning around after some very mediocre axe-throwing and telling Peter that she’s in love with him. I was half expecting Bill Murray to make a celebrity appearance because come on Hannah Ann; we’ve seen all this shit before! Another initial observation: Her accent got about 200 times more Southern the second she set foot in Knoxville. 

Hannah Ann’s dad is in the lumber industry, so naturally, the two went axe-throwing during their hometown date? Axe-throwing and the lumber industry are about as synonymous as Big Buck Hunter and the Biathlon in the Winter Olympics. Yes in both instances you have a gun, but one is a grueling test of strength, endurance, speed and skill and the other is some Scandinavian guys on skis shooting targets and then skiing off to shoot some more targets. Similar materials; wildly different objectives. As I understand it, axe-throwing is not the major test of beef and brawn that Hannah Ann was intending, but was concocted for sorority girls looking to let off steam after Saturday morning brunch Mimosa genocides… It’s no wonder Hannah Ann’s dad thought California Peter was more like Charmin the toilet paper than charmin’ the personality trait!

It’s never a good start when the first thing that your boyfriend (who has been verifiably “cheating” on you for months on national television) does in your home is reduce your mother to tears… but Peter could probably make up for it with her dad right? Hannah Ann’s father is a huge trees-guy, who according to his daughter: “If you really want to impress, then you can just name all of the trees in the yard.” My heart almost skipped a beat when I heard this. If you think Peter’s pilot pedigree is impressive to bring home to your family, imagine how Hannah Ann’s dad would have reacted if she had brought me and my hard-earned B minus in my sophomore spring science elective “Trees” back to Knoxville? Yes, the class was far more internal chemistry and less straight identification than I was hoping, but still, you can bet your bottom dollar I still know the difference between a Dorian Birch and a Manchurian Elm. If you don’t want no shrubs for your daughter Mr. Sluss, then at least let me attempt the oft’ forgotten 13th Labor of Heracles and take a stab at identifying the trees in the yard!

Kelsey – Des Moines, IA

Kelsey’s hometown visit got off to a flier with her somewhat misleading refrain “we might get a little dirty doing it” in reference to their activity for the day. That activity was the classic Iowan pastime of wine-making! I like to think that this is a deeply data-driven blog and so I thought I would investigate whether anyone else in the United States was completely blindsided by the mere concept of Iowan wine-making! It turns out I wasn’t the only one blissfully unaware of Iowa’s vineyards (including many Iowans themselves), as the Google Trends spike clearly illustrates! Some of my favorite search queries that spiked yesterday were: “Is there corn in Iowa wine?” “Is Iowa wine shit?” and “What is Iowa wine?” Seems like a citizenry of seasoned sommeliers over there!

My suspicions about the legitimacy of the wine operation were peaked when they strolled out of the vineyard with a bottle of wine that they had supposedly crushed just minutes earlier? The words of legal juggernaut Vincent Gambini, the eponymous star of classic early 90’s flick My Cousin Vinny, immediately sprang to mind: “Perhaps the laws of physics cease to exist on your stove! Were these magic grapes? Did you buy them from the same guy who sold Jack his beanstalk beans?” I’m no fermentation expert but I think it takes a little longer than a couple of hours to make wine… Maybe stick to champagne Kelsey?

Kelsey told Peter she loved him. He didn’t reciprocate. He said: “I love hearing that.” I love lamp would have been a more affectionate response. Oof.   

It’s certainly been a big couple of weeks for apps in Iowa! The real question I wanted an answer to during Kelsey’s hometown was which recent Iowa app iteration caused more of a stir: the Iowa Caucuses mobile app that was unable to correctly tally votes; or Kelsey’s favorite crispy wonton app, and Iowa staple (?) the crab Rangoon? I think there is no shadow of a doubt the goons are going to win this battle! Iowa, the home of fine wines and crab Rangoons! Who woulda thunk it?

Madison – Auburn, AL

I’m not sure if Peter is interested in pursuing any higher education opportunities, but if he was considering Auburn, he can check it off the list of college tours he will need to go on! I think that all Bachelor contestants should have to take The Bachelor to their college town as well as their hometown. For one, Hannah Ann would be able to hand in some of her assignments for her freshman spring semester, and imagine how great it would be if contestants had to take their dates to their former favorite restaurants? I would love nothing more than to see the looks on the faces of the Aladdin Crown Pizza boys if I were to return to New Haven under such circumstances, or the looks of disgust on the show producers’ faces after I opted to have a romantic candlelit dinner at Main Garden over the conspicuously classier Barcelona!    

I was getting major Troy and Gabriella vibes during the basketball scenes, although I was a little thrown off by Charles Barkley effectively leveling death threats towards Peter from the jumbotron if he didn’t treat Madi right! The Auburn head coach looks like he could beat the ever-loving shit out of Peter as well, so it was not surprising that she ended up getting a rose given the physical intimidation he was subjected to down south! Peter’s entire demeanor around Madison is completely different from the other girls. He’s giggly; he does this wannabe-cool-shoulder-roll walk; and they seem to have an excellent time together. Let’s see how Ginuwine Peter really is when it comes to Fantasy Suites and her desire, or lack thereof, to ride his pony!

To dinner. I initially thought Mr. Prewett was Madison’s younger brother, but then he started speaking exclusively in incredibly corny assistant coach idioms and his paternal colors were revealed. I was half expecting him to begin his prayer with “Great moments are born from great opportunities” or break into Al Pacino’s inches speech during his 1-on-1 with Peter. Probably for the best he didn’t start lecturing Peter on inches given his high profile windmill exploits, but the point still stands!  It appears as though this coaching jargon has rubbed off on his wife also, who boldly claimed that both Peter and Madison “have greatness in your future.” I sincerely hope that Mrs. Prewett is not in charge of the pregame pump-up speeches for the Tigers… If she is it might explain their lone SEC conference title in the past 21 years!

If Madison loves church so much, you would’ve thought for hometowns they could have at least slipped in Eric’s homecoming anthem “Give Me Back My Hometown…” Alas, no such luck for The Bachelor fans who only watch for the country music. Do better please producers.

Victoria F – Virginia Beach, VA

After last night’s episode of The Bachelor, interrogators at Guantanamo Bay have a new arrow in their quiver… A recording of Victoria F saying: “How are we supposed to move forward from this” on loop will have those poor inmates spilling state secrets the likes of which Area 51 can only dream of. The thing is, their date actually seemed to go pretty well! They cruised around the beach for a bit and then went to one of those only-on-The-Bachelor one song concerts with Hunter Hayes. The entire time I was gearing up for the massive “SIKE, I used to date Hunter Hayes as well,” but alas, Hunter dodged that bullet despite being a self-professed wanter of crazy! The song he played contains the lyrics “it ain’t right if you ain’t lost your mind, I don’t want easy, I want crazy” – this applies to Victoria more violently than Lori Laughlin applies to her kid’s colleges.  

Then there was the bombshell. I find it somewhat hard to believe that this mysterious and blurry Marissa character was acting entirely in good faith when she told Peter that Victoria F was crazy, but does Peter not already have sufficient evidence to heed her warning? During their pre-dinner exchange, Peter did ask Victoria of the best questions of this season so far: “Do you ever fight for anything that you really want?” She responded just like Shaggy taught her: “It wasn’t me.”  

Victoria’s words and actions are about as divergent as Rush Limbaugh and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (oh wait…) She claims to want to work towards solutions, but then cries and disappears and moans and complains. “I’m just disgusted right now,” “I’m so ready to just like not.” Obviously Peter is poorly equipped to deal with her shenanigans but come on; did the crazy hot matrix teach you nothing Peter??!! (Also wow just watched this video again and it’s fuckin’ awesome – You can add Victoria F squarely into “The Danger Zone” to join redheads, strippers, anyone named Tiffany and hairdressers!) I wish Peter would have just said fuck it and at least booty called Marissa in Virginia Beach to really stick it to Victoria, but he was probably embarrassed by his room at the Motel 6 so decided against it.

The major redeeming quality for Victoria F was how cute and hilarious her family was! Her grandmother can give me Nana kisses whenever she wants because she’s absolutely adorable and the rest of them seemed like very down to earth, fundamentally good people as well. Victoria also shares absolutely zero physical characteristics with any members of her family… I don’t want to throw around the A-word (adopted) too much or the M-word (milkman), but just pointing it out!   

Rose Ceremony

My major takeaway from the rose ceremony was largely outfit-centric. Victoria F and Kelsey wearing the same shade of green is a wardrobe malfunction the likes of which I haven’t seen since Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s 2004 Super Bowl performance. Madison’s get up was quite something also. Ultimately it came down to the two Green Goblins and we all know who emerged Victorious. Kelsey came on strong this season after a champagne-soaked start. She’ll go back to Iowa, eat some Rangoons, play some ping-pong and will be good as new in no time. For the remaining girls, it’s a trip down under. 7.1% of Australia’s electricity is windmill-derived. Expect those numbers to spike next week during Fantasy Suites!

Best of luck to Hannah Ann, Madison and Victoria F – may the best woman win!

Til’ next week people

Bachelor Week 6 Recap

It’s been a good couple of days of television. On Saturday, the XFL, another doomed to fail spin-off of the NFL, aired its first games; on Sunday night, the American public was treated to the most endearing and potentially dangerous Oscars side-show in history: “How fucked up can Bong Joon-ho get at this after party;” and then, of course, The Bachelor Peruvian special last night. We’re getting towards the business end of the season people and Peter has flipped on that fasten seat-belt sign. Buckle up Bachelor Nation, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!  

To the first date… Madi and Peter are very aesthetically pleasing together, however their conversations very closely resemble the text conversations my 12-year-old self was having on my Motorola Razr with girls I met at the Francis Holland school disco: “I miss you,” “NO, I miss you more!” “NOOO I miss you more than the flower misses the sun in the dead of winter,” “NOOOO a day spent without you is not a day worth living,” etc. etc. until your parents confiscate your phone because you’ve been buying too many mulligans on Golf Club V, and then you and your flash-in-the-pan soulmate never speak again. The two went on a fishing date and rather unsurprisingly, Peter wasted no time in putting the mack in mackerel fishing! If this was an attempt to appeal to Madi’s southern roots with the classic country music double entendre of “fishing in the dark” then boy did it work, with her defenses collapsing like the Southern border wall in a stiff breeze!

Madison’s dinner exposé about her faith was actually quite touching, although after the whole Sydney debacle, I am much more skeptical of these Southern girls revealing all on their 1-on-1 dates than I was before. I know if Jesus was around today he probably would have had a couple of burner accounts too, but Madison’s prior social media indiscretions certainly open the door to questions about her genuineness. What was excellent about their dinner were Peter’s feeble attempts to respond with a faith exploration of his own. “A lot of times I feel like my faith could be stronger” – wait, Peter, when? When you’re hunkering down for a little premarital with Hannah B in the windmill? When you’re trying to “become one flesh” with 32 girls simultaneously? When there are rumors abound online that you broke the rather incongruous 11th Commandment: “thou shalt not sleep with one of the show producers?”

Natasha didn’t get a rose, which I didn’t really find that shocking. They didn’t have any deeply-rooted chemistry and given the sky-high expectations that Peter has for these girls and how they should feel about him, she was never going to make the cut. To be perfectly honest, I can’t remember a whole lot from their date because I was still thinking about Hannah Ann’s leopard print body suit that she was lounging around their hotel room in. I did like the enormously unnecessary panoramic shot of the full orchestra after Natasha was sent home however. I didn’t recognize the piece that they were playing, but seeing as Natasha was squarely on the Chopin block and Peter effectively told her “night night,” maybe it was an orchestral reconstruction of one of the Nocturnes? I’m told that the producers had some Mozart lined up if she had ended up receiving a rose; however, it was not to be for Natasha and Peter’s Magic Flute.  

Kelsey’s date was really something else… I’m slightly confused at why she sees the need to sprint towards Peter every time they meet up, but I guess she is trying to remedy the popular complaint amongst the girls that they don’t get enough time with Peter by trying to take advantage of every second? They went quad-biking which was kind of nice, although whoever outfitted the pair in WWI-style trench helmets and Roger Stone-esq. goggles needs to take a long hard look in the mirror. Once again, we were reminded just how low the chivalry bar is these days when Kelsey said of Peter: “he kept looking back at me which was really nice.” No shit Kelsey, you looked about as confident behind the wheel as Mike Pence is of receiving a Christmas card from Planned Parenthood! Surely chivalry shouldn’t be characterized by checking that your date hasn’t plunged off of a cliff, Italian Job-style. The hillside discussion of Kelsey’s future aspirations was good content also. Two quotes took the cake for me: “I want to be able to work a couple days a week, but also want to be at home” and “I want to be involved with my kids, but also have some time for me.” With these two quotes she basically summed up the hopes and dreams of every aspiring adult in the world: 5-day weekend, and having kids because they’re cute and fun to play with but you don’t have to deal with them when they start puking everywhere and drawing all over the walls in permanent marker.

The triple date was quite excellent. In the power rankings of history’s most impactful lists, unanimous number 1 is Schindler’s, vying for second and third position are Santa’s and Craig’s, but coming in a very respectable fourth is Hannah Ann’s list of things she likes about Peter. (Seeing as we’re doing classical music references this week, worth noting that she handsomely beat out Hungarian virtuoso pianist and composer, Franz Liszt). I haven’t seen such a strong exhibition of not-ready-to-get-marriedness since Lana Condor in To All the Boys I’ve Loved. Maybe Hannah Ann is reminding everyone that the sequel is (finally) coming out TOMORROW, but seriously, the list makes most American middle schoolers seem like lovingly matured bottles of ’82 Bordeaux. Seasoned, subtle, sophisticated.

I have nailed myself to the proverbial cross time after time with this take, but blogging is a copycat league so will say it again: Victoria F is the absolute WOAT and I don’t understand what Peter sees in her. Maybe he’s attracted to unhinged, unstable girls or perhaps he’s so desperate to be eskimo brothers with Chase Rice that he’s keeping her around until fantasy suites? Whatever it is, their conversations are like watching car crashes play out in slow-motion and the two clearly don’t complement each other in any way. “I feel like every time we’re together you’re in a mood” is the popular Victoria F refrain. Some self-awareness might be nice here sweetheart? I can spy one common denominator when it comes to dragging poor Peter’s psychology through the mud, and it closely resembles, as well as rhymes with Dysphoria F!

There’s nothing like some good, old fashioned elitism when it comes to The Bachelor, and Kelley’s line: “Look at me, I’m an attorney… what are the other girls?” was a very nice preamble to her eventual consignment to the trash heap of Bachelor history. Come on Kelley, that’s not totally fair! Hannah Ann is a recovering Sonic drive-thru attendant, Kelsey is an aspiring 2-day-a-week workforce warrior, Victoria F is Chase Rice’s ex-girlfriend, and Madi is the youngest foster parent recruiter in the history of the social services. By comparison, an attorney is actually quite low on the totem pole!

Despite touting her professional credentials at every opportunity, Kelley could also very well be, and acts like she’s Hannah Ann’s mother. Probably why she didn’t even come close to shedding a tear in the car after Peter cut her loose. Big girls don’t cry, and Hannah Ann accordingly acted her age and burst into some of the least convincing tears I have ever seen after receiving the final rose. They definitely didn’t look like tears of joy, but more like tears of “oh fuck, I never thought I would make it this far, Peter has to meet my incredibly conservative parents next week and I told them I was backpacking around Asia so would be off the grid for a while.” I will hand it to the producers/Peter, the Hannah Ann, Kelley decision was the first time in the season where I genuinely had no idea who was going to get the rose. Peter chose to take his talents to Knoxville Tennessee over Chicago. Let’s hope that Hannah Ann takes him to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame – nothing like shooting your shot surrounded by the trailblazers of the women’s game! Kelley getting retro-actively friend-zoned by Peter has got to suck too. “I see Kelley as more of a friend than a life partner.” Litigate that one Kels!

My saliva glands were working quadruple overtime at the rest-of-season preview. So much remains unknown; so little bears any kind of significance to anyone’s daily lives whatsoever; but bring it on, I cannot wait to see how this cookie crumbles!  

Bachelor Week 5 Recap (2)

I haven’t been having the best of weeks… Monday’s episode of The Bachelor made me lose a measure of faith in what was a truly hideous portrayal of humanity; Tuesday’s State of the Union only compounded this feeling of malaise; and late Tuesday night it was confirmed that Mookie Betts was traded from my beloved Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a bag of baseballs and an IOU voucher good for a 15-minute back rub. Humph. What was interesting about my predicament however is that there was something else, something deeper that was plucking at my peace of mind, so I decided to take a more academic approach to unearthing what this sensation might be. The provenance, maintenance and extension of happiness is one of the most classically debated philosophical contentions. I think for brevity’s sake it will not be necessary to explore the full range of classical thought, however the work of Socrates has been particularly influential in my quest for clarity in the last several days. Here goes:

It was actually Plato who originally recorded the Socratic refrain that “the unexamined life is not worth living,” regardless, I heeded Socrates’s advice that humans cannot be truly happy without introspection of the soul, and began to self-reflect in the hope that I could uncover this mysterious metaphysical malcontent at the heart of my what’s been an interesting week. I reflected on what I had been eating… but surely three consecutive nights of drunken noodles and Tom Kha soup could not result in unhappiness?! It can’t have been a lack of exercise as Cody Rigsby’s XOXO rides have been a fixture in my daily routine. I then angled my reflective attention to this blog and it hit me like a baby (one more time.) Usually not much factual verification is required when making sweeping characterizations of the show’s protagonists, however when it came to Sydney’s sob story, I should have done my due diligence as some gentle digging would have unearthed a Pandora’s box of profligacy surrounding her claims. I blindly trusted her words. I made a spirited appeal to support an anti-bullying cause that would help remedy her fabricated circumstance. She was lying. I unknowingly spread her lies to my loyal readers. And just like that, the discovery that my last Bachelor blog was built on a foundation of falsehoods immediately settled my troubled Socratic soul. How do I remedy this situation moving forward? Yes, I need to check my facts a little better, but this blog also has a new North Star… the life and lies of Sydney Hightower explored. Sydney, you may not know this, but my nickname in high school was “the wildfire” and you better believe I’m coming for your Opera House, your vegemite sandwiches and your abnormally stumpy cans of Foster’s lager! (Koalas are off the hook don’t worry)

The personal sob stories on The Bachelor are an unsavory, albeit necessary part of broader character development that otherwise wouldn’t take place during Instagram influencer boot camp. Sometimes they are a little long-winded, but Sydney’s was very powerful in its simplicity and gravity. That is, until it came out that she hadn’t been bullied in high school and didn’t eat lunch in the bathroom every day as she had claimed… Oh yeah and she was the fucking homecoming queen!! Kelsea Ballerini got it all wrong when she said that “even the homecoming queen cries…” it’s becoming increasingly clear that even the homecoming queen LIES! I never thought I would quote an excerpt from Mitt Romney’s Senate Floor speech announcing his impeachment trial decision in a Bachelor blog, but here goes: “We’re all footnotes at best in the annals of history. But in the most powerful nation on earth, the nation conceived in liberty and justice, that is distinction enough for any citizen.” Sydney, you wouldn’t even make it into the footnotes of my Women, Food and Culture final paper; I am fired up that she’s going home, and in the indelible words of Demi Burnett (feat. The Munchkins): “ding dong the bitch is dead!”

Anyways…. Some other stuff happened in episode 2 of the week

*Insert Bachelor contestant here* can really fuck off, right? I don’t like any of them! That being said, the Bachelor is like pizza. When it’s good it’s good, and when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good, so I guess this season is living up to its billing! This episode got off to a very slow start. At least it’s nice to see that the wider group is still getting on like a house on fire! Starting a conversation with this group by saying: “let’s put this whole thing behind us and move on” is equivalent to dropping a brick of highly reactive Francium into a swimming pool… explosive. It inevitably prompts the re-airing of weeks’ worth of petty grievances and reminds the girls that a) they were fighting in the first place and b) it’s the only thing that makes them feel alive.

Finally, Hannah Ann got her one-on-one date which I was happy about until she started talking about it. “Today could change my life forever. Today I could potentially be falling in love with my future husband” is the kind of line that has bulls from across the country stampeding towards all of the associated red flags. Hannah Ann is doing an increasingly poor job at regulating her outward expressions of affection towards Peter. She did her best Harvey Dent impression, starting the date by saying “I want to save being in love until I find my person” and ending up having to do MAJOR damage control after a little Peter tantrum forced her to say she was falling in love with him. I was pretty disappointed to see Hannah Ann stoop to Victoria F levels and leverage her tears as a means to a rose, but I can only presume she was brushing up on Ovid’s Heroides before her date and took his words exitus acta probat (the outcome justifies the deeds) to heart. She clearly isn’t there to find love, and her seismic shifts in outlook reflect a girl who is developing her survival strategy on the fly.

I don’t know if Hannah Ann has ever had a job that has required her to answer a series of character-based questions (must admit I am not intimately familiar with the Sonic drive-thru recruiting process), but her responses to Peter’s probing questions could use some serious work. Admittedly, Peter needs to ask some slightly less run-of-the-mill questions than “what are your goals,” but Hannah Ann showed about as much agility in her response as Augustus Gloop trying to do the American Ninja Warrior obstacle course. It is as if she Googled “how to show ambition in a job interview,” because the “you only catch minnows in the shallows so I want to go deep” line was about as canned as the tuna fish she claims to want to catch!

Quick aside, but is it just me or are most of the one-on-one dates just Peter and his date wandering around a city and then going to dinner? That’s a date that any random scrub could go on, but this is Peter, with an unlimited travel and expenses budget, I want to see some bungee jumping, or sky-diving, or taming komodo dragons with bloody steaks strapped to their bodies, or canvassing for Hillary Clinton write-in votes in rural Mississippi wearing a “sold out arenas you can suck my Prius” T-shirt; Just something that puts the candidates on edge and exposes them to a little danger! To this point it’s been all plane rides, swimming pools and tonsil hockey – need a bit more action!

Peter spends more time wandering around outside than anyone I’ve ever seen. What can he possible be doing out there after he ditches all of his dates? I have a couple of theories: he’s a closet cigarette smoker and is trying to get as many darts in before he has to start piloting planes again; he is an ectothermic being who needs to recharge his juices by basking in the sun/under heat lamps back stage; he hates the girls so much he can’t stand the sight of them for more than 10-minute bursts. Whatever the cause, he seems to take these extended hiatuses from both 1-on-1 dates and the group dates where he just goes AWOL for long stretches at a time. Puzzling.  

The soap opera was an excellent group date, although I think that Kelley really stole the show with her hybrid accent, her very spicy Grandma outfit, and some really incredible lines. The accent was nothing short of horrific; like a newly patriated Russian who was forced to read Shakespeare aloud in class. Kind of brutal that they gave her the role of the grandma as well given her relatively old age, but I guess you can’t win them all. She did produce one of the best lines of the season so far in on off-screen interview after having solicited Pedro as his own grandmother. “At the end of the day I think I’m just going to say that incest is best on this one.” Don’t be surprised if Kelley ditches her legal career and becomes the host of the first ever season of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Cest.” Kelley is great. She is still quite a mysterious character, but this is because she doesn’t have an easy-to-remember sob story, and she doesn’t throw herself at Peter every chance she gets. She’s a grown-ass woman, I just sincerely hope she doesn’t end up with Peter or get stiff-armed onto The Bachelorette.

Thank god Victoria P finally got the business from Peter. I was left thinking that it kind of came out of the blue though… Generally, on The Bachelor there is a level of intrigue when it comes to the rose ceremonies but I feel as though this season there haven’t really been any shocking snubs. Victoria F also made a compelling case for getting the boot, although was once again rewarded for her indecision and emotionality with a fuckin’ rose! I can relate to Victoria F’s difficulties in trying to make difficult decisions about Peter on a deeply personal level. I face equivalent indecision every day only hers concerns whether to continue toying with Peter’s heart, and mine is about what to order for dinner when confronted with the seemingly bottomless rabbit hole of New York City Seamless. Chase Rice must be watching this and thanking his lucky stars he dodged the bullet on this one. Both of the Victorias espouse in me the words of German artist Max Liebmann, who remarked when he saw a Brownshirt parade under his window in 1933: “I could not possibly eat as much as I would like to throw up.” Little different circumstances obviously, but the point still stands that these two are highly unpleasant. I am very happy to see the back of Victoria P and hope that Victoria F and her trail of White Lives Matter tears isn’t far behind. (She claims it’s about helping Marlin conservation but how could she be so ignorant/stupid?!)

I wasn’t particularly enchanted by the whole Tammy-Mykenna drama, a feeling that was vindicated when both of them were unceremoniously dispatched at the end of the episode. There were a couple of nice soundbites (“It really makes me sick that people come in here trying to brand themselves,” “You’re not even worth my words girl,” “I’m more madly in love with who I am than anything”) but despite Mykenna self-identifying, through tears, as a strong and unflappable autosexual, nothing else really of note. These two were never going to win so as far as I’m concerned, keep that Ford stuck in the road, good riddance, and I hope you had the time of your life.

A blockbuster week of Bachelor drama. Hope everyone has enjoyed it! Til Tuesday!

Bachelor Week 5 Recap (Part 1)

The Bachelor really caught the short end of the stick last night coming up against perhaps the most electric prime time television competition of the year… Not the season premiere of Below Deck on Bravo as you’re probably thinking, I am of course talking about the wonderfully confusing and largely inconsequential Iowa Caucuses. While Democratic hopefuls were angling for viability in high school gymnasiums across Iowa last night, so too were the ladies of the Bachelor invigorating their voters, lining up their delegates and making their impassioned pitches for Peter’s nomination to run the gauntlet to his heart in the weeks to come. The results of the Caucus are still up in the air as I write this, however the latest instalment of The Bachelor could not have been more categorical in its realignment of the power dynamics within the house.

The beginning of the episode was dominated by the Alayah vs. the world drama and our lovably incompetent Bachelor handled it about as well as you would expect… In the reality television sweepstakes, Peter would have been much more suited to Love Island, because that’s exactly where he finds himself stranded right now. He’s an Outkast in his own house and is swiftly discovering that regardless of what he likes to think, to a lot of these girls his roses really smell like poo-poo-oo! What is really excellent about the Bachelor though, is that the participants have the collective memory of a goldfish. Especially now that Alayah is out the door (an elephant never forgets!!), this selective amnesia is more pronounced than ever and the girls seem completely oblivious to the fact that they all hated Peter before his haphazard patch-up job. Rene Descartes is turning in his grave at Peter’s complete rejection of rational thought, instead opting to exclusively “follow his heart” through thick and thin. Maybe I’m off the mark here, but isn’t it a little antithetical to the entire concept of following your heart to just not follow it after you encounter a little bit of adversity? Peter claims to not care what other people think about Alayah, but then proceeds to cut her loose after complaints from the other girls? The toothpaste was out of the tube when he let Alayah go, he jimmied it back in by letting her back, and then he proceeded to squirt the re-tubed paste all over poor Alayah by giving her the chop once more. More flip flops than a Southern California boardwalk!

The father of French existentialism, Albert Camus, famously opined that “the evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if these intentions lack understanding.” This quote is as pertinent to Peter as virginity is to blogging; as tacos are to Tuesdays; and as Pavlov is to dogs. It’s not that he’s a complete idiot (by comparison, Colton’s intellectual ability elevates Peter to practically Einsteinian levels), but his emotional intelligence is about as sophisticated and developed as the plot to Sausage Party. I firmly believe that Peter’s intentions are pure, however his lack of appreciation for the opportunistic nature of the show’s participants is quite jarring at this point. “I appreciate you all so much and I trust you?” Really Peter? Despite being an enormously cringeworthy line to say to anyone let alone a group of 12 girls who you are simultaneously dating, it is also ridiculous given that he has allowed the Victorias, with all their prevarications, to remain in the fray this long. Those two are jousting with Pinocchio noses instead of lances; they make Kim Jong Il’s golf scorecard seem completely honest! Victoria P tried to deny even knowing Alayah despite the fact that they went on a very easy-to-verify trip to Vegas together, and I never want to hear another word out of Victoria F’s mouth about how she doesn’t like being on camera, she has confidence issues etc. Not only did she grab the bull by the horns and start getting down with Peter during the photoshoot, but she proceeded to win the modelling contest and is now going to be plastered on the cover of Cosmo. Half way around the world, or the local corner booth, now the whole world is going to have its eyes on you Victoria!

When the girls found out they would be going to Cleveland last week, they reacted as if they had just been told their group date would be domesticating bats in Wuhan China. By all accounts, I’m sure a couple of the girls would be ecstatic at the prospect of coronavirus given the alternative of associating with the current cast of Bachelor characters! Costa Rica is a little bit more like it and boy was there some drama that unfolded!

I don’t like Sydney so don’t want to talk about her date. I will say, her experience of being bullied and racially abused in high school was really tough to swallow though, so instead of castigating her to the 17 unique visitors to this blog, I will encourage donations to Stomp Out Bullying instead 🙂

Did Kelley’s dog die? Whenever you’re not having a lot of fun, but are trying to convince someone that you’re having fun, you say over and over again that you’re having fun… FUN! The two went on a spiritual retreat and by all accounts, the signs that were in the stars, candles, tea leaves or whatever they were using, were not good. Peter started pouring his heart out and Kelley was pre-occupied freaking out about a lizard, their conversation seemed very forced throughout and they just don’t appear to have a lot of chemistry. Regardless, I don’t think Peter has had a single 1-on-1 date where he hasn’t been dishing out roses like beads on Mardi Gras however this one was a shocking rose. Kelley redeemed herself somewhat by flexing on everyone by very noticeably smelling her rose throughout the girl-fighting later in the episode, but still. Peter made it very clear that “I want you to want me as bad as I want you,” and while quoting Jason Derulo lyrics is generally a rock solid foundation on which to build a relationship, I don’t see these too lasting too much longer as their interest levels in one another are clearly drastically different.

Tammy is a smart cookie. She knows that if she stirs the pot enough that she will remain on the season for longer. Her interactions with Kelsey especially were worth their weight in gold this past episode. Here are some of my favorite Tammy lines:

“I don’t think when my grandpa died I cried for as long as Kelsey did after the champagne event”

“She’s probably the most insecure girl I’ve ever met in my entire life” (no comment)

“If Peter sees how crazy this girl is, he’ll send her ass back to wherever the fuck Iowa is” (coastal elitist)

I’ve been team Tammy for a while (born pretty much exclusively out of my dislike of Kelsey and Sydney’s voice) but the pill popping thing was a little much, even for The Bachelor. Maybe she was just teeing up Kelsey to let the world know she’s on birth control? (congrats on the sex) Or that she’s the new plug for Adderall? Who knows… what I do know is that Tammy was an absolute goner until she dragged Peter out of the rose ceremony (Bachelor historians has this ever happened before??) and saved her skin by projecting her improprieties onto the others – tactical genius.

One final thought is that Peter is highly unskilled in the ways of the tea. Just as Orpheus of Thrace was unable to resist turning around to see his bride Eurydice following him from the depths of Hades, Peter is unable to help himself from taking the freshly spilt tea right to the person who it directly concerns. The mythological and modern results are equally as devastating. His delivery further exacerbates his compromising situations also… I’m not going to profess to be particularly skilled in the art of mediation, but leading his conversation with Kelsey with the line: “I heard you had a bit of a mental breakdown,” doesn’t seem like the most prudent move. Maybe he’s not doing so hot after shattering a glass into his forehead? Wishing him a speedy recovery if that is indeed the case!

Until Wednesday people!

Bachelor Week 5 Preview

Nothing is a more compelling wake-up call than your parents getting you a step-counting, goal-setting, fitness watch for Christmas. This shiny little wrist wrap does a number of cool things: It tells the time worse than my phone does, it allows me to set step goals for the day and buzzes when I achieve them (*narrator voice* – “it never buzzes”), it sometimes chafes uncomfortably, incurring vast and unbudgetable CeraVe moisturizer costs and dermatological damage, and it tracks my sleep, giving it a score every night based on a completely arbitrary set of designfully misleading metrics. I’m not sure if its functionality was developed with self-esteem degradation in mind, but hell, it might as well be screaming “Mason Ramsey is 12 and is more than you will ever be” on repeat given its efficacy in so doing. This watch also has the ability to track heart rate, and it’s very well that it does given its qualifications as a self-esteem cudgel, because as if to sink another dagger into my already down-trodden dignity, watching the Bachelor this week was the highest that heart rate had gone in weeks. Et tu, Watche?

A couple more thoughts with an eye on Monday:

The 2000 Camp David Summit between US President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat was intended to deliver a lasting peace to one of the most fraught regions in the world. Ultimately, the talks broke down after Bill Clinton, not thinking that the Palestinian leader spoke any English, repeatedly greeted him with the words: “You sir, are fat;” however, while the leaders were unable to bring about a two-state solution, they did lay the groundwork for the lesser-known, but equally as influential “two-episode-solution.” Referred to by Arianna Huffington as: “the most significant development in blogging since Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales,” the two-episode solution lays out a roadmap for how to approach a week of reality television that contains not the customary one, but the downright indecent two episodes of your favorite reality T.V. show. 2 blogs. You have to write 2 blogs. Think my sleep score is gonna like that? Thanks Bill. Boy can I not wait though.

Peter needs to come to terms with the fact that some of the girls may have been romantically involved with other men before the show. They are, after all, trying their luck at the most indirect and obstacle-laden love-finding mission since Cinderella lost her slipper, so one can only assume that they’ve exhausted a number of their different match-making options! Yes, it was weird that Victoria didn’t tell Peter she had dated the guy he wanted to sing at their wedding, but in her defense, what was she supposed to do? Peter isn’t David fuckin’ Koresh, he doesn’t get a complete monopoly over all of the women in his orbit (although after this show he may feel like it.) It is becoming increasingly clear that Peter’s experience with Hannah B on The Bachelorette has massively impacted him and his indecision likely stems from this. It is as if he is just going through the motions with each of the girls and while he may be developing connections with some of them, his fundamental reservations about their credibility continues to deepen his distrust of the entire process. His first instinct is clearly to trust and assume the best in people, and this innocence has dug him holes the depths of which Stanley Yelnats could only dream of. Fool Pete once, shame on you; fool Pete twice, you’re probably trying to stick around for maximum Instagram followers!

It has been very interesting noting the ebb and flow of favor as the season has progressed. The first two episodes were emphatically the Hannah Ann, Kelley and Madi show; but the football game aside, those three have all faded into obscurity. Obviously it’s hard to determine whether this is Peter or the producers’ doing, but they very much seem like the forgotten ladies. Tough to think that Hannah Ann gave up her dream position as a Sonic drive-thru attendant to come on this show and get snubbed. Even tougher to comprehend why Kelley would put her legal career on hold to chase a guy she had a one night stand with, although who knows, maybe people do want to “see their attorney in lingerie?” Her forthcoming personal injury firm slogan just writes itself: “Injured at work? Kelley can get you that workers comp AND that workers badonk!” Who knows about Madi. Hopefully she gets some love in the upcoming episodes.

It all boils down to this: Peter, get your shit together. People around my office have been whispering around the water cooler that you’re the worst Bachelor since Brad Womack. I’m not going to profess to know who that is, but a quick Wikipedia search betrays that he was the Bachelor TWICE, the first time he rejected both finalists, and the musical guests on his second season included Train and Seal. I sincerely hope that this is Peter’s final season and we don’t see a repeat of the return of the Mack, so let’s hope and pray that at the very least, Peter’s eyes become large and the light that one of these ladies shines can be seen!

Peter’s prodigious mismanagement shows no signs of slowing, so I’m expecting major fireworks in the Alayah vs. The Victorias saga, at least one girl to leave of her own volition (hopefully on a train a la “never been kissed”), and plenty more tears and tantrums from the field. Thank you to ABC and The Bachelor for bestowing upon us these gifts, in the immortal words of Kelly Clarkson: You’ve got a piece of me, and honestly, my life would suck without you.

Happy weekend, happy watching, Niners +1.5 is a mortal lock, thanks for coming.

Bachelor Week 4 Recap

Trying to keep up with the Bachelor whilst in New Orleans attached a whole host of existential problems to this week’s instalment of the recap… Not only are the lights of the Harrah’s casino across the road from the Westin New Orleans as devilishly appealing looking as the forbidden fruit from The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but the large crispy shrimp Po’boy that I am currently driving down my gullet makes watching television and synthesizing coherent thoughts quite a daunting prospect. This is before I even mention the relentless heart attack medication and Asbestos compensation commercials that have me wondering if I’ll even make it out of the Bayou! These slight hindrances aside, I will endeavor to fight past the serpentine slot machines, counteract the artery-clogging qualities of the Po’boy with a single leaf of lettuce, and not expose myself to any unnecessary atrioventricular or environmental harm by remaining firmly parked in the chaise longue from which I am currently writing. Take that bassline out; it’s the hard knock life!

There are certain moments in history that have become inextricably linked with the words that have been used to describe them. “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind;” “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country;” “Shorty had them apple bottom jeans, boots with the fur (with the fur)” to name just a few. It’s a real shame that FDR already deployed the iconic infamy line after Pearl Harbor, because holy shit the release of this latest episode can only be described as another “day that will live in infamy.”

For all of you Sound of Music fans out there, let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start) and address just how little Victoria F resembles a female deer or a drop of golden sun. Her solo date with Peter to the Cedar Point amusement park started off in a fairly benign manner. All I could think about for the ride portion was how mad I would be if I was the guy at Cedar Point who had to open up every goddamn ride for these two reality T.V. plastics to come and fuck around at my theme park all day. That and Peter’s excellently timed dad jokes about the safety of the boomerang ride… Then there was the one we’ve all been waiting for; the free marketing that Top Gun 2 didn’t know they were missing. I am of course talking about the skirmish between Maverick Pilot Peter and Riceman. As a bit of a country music enthusiast, I can name approximately 450 other artists who are in a similar league to Chase Rice who would have been equally, if not more equipped to play the intimate gig in his place; the look on Victoria F’s face when she saw him however vindicated the producers’ choice completely. How incredibly fitting that Chase Rice’s second studio album was titled Lambs and Lions – Victoria was a lamb to his leonine slaughter in this instance and looked about as comfortable as Pontius Pilate shuffling up to the Pearly Gates on Judgement Day!

What a shitty deal for Chase also, especially after Victoria prefaced the post-mortem of the situation by claiming that: “Peter is the kind of guy you marry.” I’m sure that Mr Rice has as many options on the shelf as Uncle Ben, but that one has still got to sting a little! Victoria ultimately reached into her Poppins-esq. bag of tricks after dinner, turned on the waterworks, and managed to finagle a rose out of her bachelor and Peter once again proved that his only antidote to the poisonous bite of female tears is to make out with the offending sobber. A rather anti-climactic ending to an otherwise highly dramatic day.

I’m not quite sure what the director of the Cleveland Tourism Board had to do to Chris Harrison to get the Bachelor to The Land for an entire episode, but I can only assume that if his wife ever finds out, she’s probably going to go all Elin Nordegren with a 4-iron on his ass! Of all the places on God’s great earth… I will say, the city did come across as eminently livable, the people friendly, and the soap box races absolutely electric, but “Cleveland is really one of the best kept secrets?” Maybe for those looking to accelerate the speed of their loans? Maybe if you’re looking to snag a couple of free bud lights after 2-years of abject on-football-field performance? I would imagine that the girls would have fallen into neither bucket!

Cleveland was however the location for the inaugural Bachelor Bowl, an event I pray that they revamp next year.

A few takeaways from the football game:

  • Victoria P needs to toughen up a little bit and Peter needs to reacquaint himself with some of the fundamentals of the above-waist female anatomy. Victoria chose to sit out the football game due to a BACK injury that had startling shades of bone spurs and Peter chose to alleviate her back pain by giving her a nice shoulder rub coupled with a kiss… Christian science would have been more effective!
  • Sydney really runs the hell out of an offense… Occasionally you could see her get behind on the snap-count and mistime the jet-sweep to Hannah Ann, but all in all a commanding performance under center.  I think it would be remiss if I didn’t give a major shout out to Shiann as well, who really lived up to her preseason billing as an every-down, cowbell back that runs ANGRY. She pounded the rock and then proceeded to pound all of the vodka sodas at the 13-deep group date when she saw Peter leaving with Victoria.
  • There were some truly bone-crushing hits during the game, most of which were on my sweet princess Hannah Ann. Please be nicer to her in future, she’s fragile in mind and in body.
  • “I’m so fricking excited, I love football, I love contact sports, I’m going to tackle a lot of bitches” is something that you might expect to hear out of the mouth of a bloodthirsty Ray Lewis in his murderous prime. Nope, this was scrappy Tammy again displaying her love for getting down and dirty in the trenches and making the case once more that her talents would have been put to better use by Sam Mendes as an extra in 1917. No doubt the deleted scenes include targeting fouls, horse-collar tackles, spears, clips, chop blocks and maybe some illegal touching on the sidelines.  

Nothing gets Bachelor nation going like a villain, and Alayah is playing her part more than admirably. Alayah? More like can I get A HELL YEAH if you ask me! It was teased at the end of last week that she would be coming back, but when her dreamy figure floated up the stairs to reacquaint herself with 13 war-weary girls and Peter, the drama was ratcheted up another notch. A room has never experienced that level of shock since the 1995 annual White House interns’ slumber party when it rolled around to Monica Lewinsky’s turn in a game of “I-have-but-I-bet-you-haven’t!” The proverbial cat is back amongst the pigeons and the fact that Alayah got invited back into the house, snatched a rose despite not being on the date and is already twisting the other girls into complicated emotional knots is truly a sight to behold. Alayah cuts a sympathetic figure, but her Machiavellian streak, emboldened by Peter’s inability to make any kind of executive decisions, is becoming the focus of the season and I absolutely love it.

While we were denied a rose ceremony at the end, a season that was listing lazily into obscurity is now categorically and unapologetically back. Let’s ride.  

P.S. Hannah Ann did all of the Sonic commercials – such versatility