Sarah Kowalski and Tigh Rickman are respectively a graduate of, and a candidate at Stonecoast MFA. Both longtime fans of reality televison, they are both relative newcomers to ABC’s The Bachelor. However, much like crack cocaine, it only took a small hit to hook them both, and now both watch religiously with their fiction writers’ eyes.
THE BACHELORETTE, WEEK THREE…
As we move into the third week of The Bachelorette, we find Ali feeling good about things. She’s happy with her group of guys, fully immersed in ‘the process’ and getting the opportunity to go on some very unique dates. Also, last week, with the help of The Weatherman (Jonathan), she managed to weed out someone who wasn’t there for the ‘right reasons’: Craig M., the debonair man-about-town with perfect hair and an AARP card. With his removal, has Ali finally brought peace to the House of Bachelor, or will someone else take up the Craig M.’s douchey mantle?
On Roberto’s One-on-One Date
Sarah: So, week 3: when the number of men Ali’s kissed starts to approach slightly gross levels. Seriously. My friend and I had a conversation a couple years ago about how, in college, we’d play spin the bottle and totally kiss 20 people in a night without a second thought. But somehow you get to be an adult and all that kissing starts to seem kinda… icky. Like, all those cold germs? Clearly I am aged and decrepit.
Tigh: No, I can see what you’re saying. I mean, if I was one of the guys, sitting there watching her make out with another one of the guys (a la Frank at the end of last week’s episode), the last thing I’d really want to do would be to go kiss her right after. I mean, germs aside, you’re kind of vicariously making out with the guy you think is unsavory. I wonder how much of the show’s budget is dedicated to mouthwash. However much, I’m guessing it’s not enough.
Sarah: Exactly. Cooties! So many cooties.
Tigh: It’s funny how we are hyper-aware of cooties as children and adults, but not as young adults.
Sarah: So true. All those pubescent hormones must temporarily overpower our cootie-detectors.
Tigh: So this week, the first guy to stake his salivary claim was Roberto, which Sarah, you totally called in last week’s article. Well done.
Sarah: Yep, I was not at all surprised to see him get the first one-on-one date of the week. And the date itself was another Bachelorette classic: we got a helicopter ride, a high-wire walk, and a rooftop dinner/cuddle-fest. Was this a carbon copy of Jill and Ed’s first date or what?
Tigh: Well, there are only so many dream dates out there, I guess. It also reminded me of the first date between Jake and Vienna (taking a helicopter to a bungee-jump).
Sarah: So, based on those odds, do we think Ali will end up with Roberto? Is there some direct correlation between being crotchally attached to zip lines and finding your soul mate?
Tigh: There could be. At the very least it further solidifies Roberto’s place as the frontrunner. Going through something traumatic tends to bring people together (something my dad says about Army boot camp). I can also see how an extreme set of circumstances could lead to some ‘damn, it’s good to be alive’ smooches (something my dad does NOT say about Army boot camp). All of which dovetails into my theory about why they’ve Ali flying so much in these first few weeks. They’ve had her in the air at some point in pretty much every date. Isn’t she terrified of flying? I’m starting to think the producers do this on purpose, so as to have her cuddle up next to whomever she’s with and break the ice physically.
Sarah: I completely agree. I also concur that there’s something to be said for overcoming a challenge together as a means of bonding; the thing is, Ali was talking about it (as did Jake) as if walking a tightrope or going bungee jumping together is actually a good way of determining what someone’s like in a crisis. But I have to say, keeping your cool during something like that is very different than doing so in real-life hard times, which are often not a momentary “leap of faith” (sorry) so much as an ongoing slog: I’m thinking here about struggles most couples will go through at one point or another – a loved one’s long-term illness; a soul-sucking job or a long spate of unemployment; a stressful move. So given that, as Army boot camp demonstrates, we will bond with almost anyone, no matter how different we are, given the right (challenging) circumstances — is a date like this actually a good test of chemistry? Or is it just manipulative? I’m honestly somewhat torn.
Tigh: I would lean towards manipulative. I mean, sure, it builds an element of trust, but I agree with you in that I’m not sure how applicable that trust is in real life situations (as Ali kept reminding us it was ad-nauseam). It gets my vote for Heavy Handed Metaphor of the Week.
Sarah: You mean the whole “I’m falling for you” thing?
Tigh: Ugh. If I were on a date with Ali and she kept dropping those lines, I don’t think I’d have an appetite for my romantic rooftop supper in that business park next to the freeway.
Sarah: You’re not a big pun fan?
Tigh: Cue timpani and thank you, Mr. Peabody. But Double Dare-esque physical challenges aside, Roberto made his time count. That brother is smoooooth — maybe even too smooth. When I got up at the commercial break I was shocked to find that my pants were nowhere to be found.
Sarah: Indeed. That make-out session made me a little weak in the knees, and I wasn’t even standing up. However, I found myself starting to chuckle every time Ali would repeat, “He’s just so good looking.” “You’re just so GOOD LOOKING.” She’s clearly got a crush on the guy. Whether it’s based on anything but pheromones at this point is yet to be determined.
Tigh: My favorite was when she said she felt like she wasn’t as good looking as him and “not many guys can make (her) feel that way.” Wow. High praise indeed.
Sarah: Ha! Exactly. Full of yourself much?
Tigh: Then she’s all “da un beso” or whatever and tells him she learned it in a rap song. Guess she spent her time in San Francisco in her apartment listening to Gerardo and Kid Frost instead of hanging around the Mission.
Sarah: Clearly. But if the main story of the Roberto/Ali date was physical chemistry, it’s definitely not something to be discounted. I see him in this for the long haul.
Tigh: Hey, I wanted to be held by him. That guy is as cool as the other side of the pillow. But as for my prediction that he’s the one with the girlfriend? I’m sticking by it. Remember how last week he told Ali he was a ballplayer and then they had that nice catch together? Well while watching this week’s date I was thinking to myself that it probably wasn’t a good idea for a ballplayer, a guy who makes his living with his body, to be walking on a tightrope. Then they do a cutaway to him in one of those aside interviews they do, and it says he’s an insurance salesman or something. It reminded me that there’s a chance that Roberto might be just a little too slick to be real. Or maybe I’m just jealous.
Sarah: I’m guessing it’s the latter. If I recall, he said something about a couple teams being interested in him out of college; I don’t know that he was trying to make it seem as though he was presently in the MLB. Wouldn’t he be, um, on the road playing games right now? But perhaps I have just been swayed by his swarthy charms. If I had to put money on it, I’m actually still kinda leaning towards Rated R as the one with something to hide.
Tigh: There’s something up with Rated R for sure, but watching him with his family, his grandmother and mother in the first episode, I don’t think they’d be so excited to have him going on The Bachelorette if he had a girl. We shall see. I honestly hope it’s not Roberto. He’s just so good looking.
Sarah: “I don’t even know if he knows how good looking he is.” He does now that you’ve told him five times in the last ten minutes, Ali. Settle down, girl.
On the Group Date
Tigh: So in this week’s group date, Ali and a handful of the boys got to hang out and make a video with probably my least favorite band of all time, The Barenaked Ladies. Oy. I’d rather watch Ali make out with Frank (who was beyond hyped to see the band that almost single handedly ruined my college experience). Come to think of it, that actually happened a little too. Talk about a dream date.
Sarah: While we’re on the topic of Frank, can I point out for the record that in the first scene, hanging out in the house, he was actually wearing a T-shirt that read: “Cultured and Experienced”?! He may have thought he was wearing it ironically, but whoa — even attempting to pull that off lowers him a few more pegs in my esteem. Anyone who was truly either of those things would not proclaim so on a T-shirt.
Tigh: I didn’t catch that! That’s right up there with Jesse’s Canadian Tuxedo at the Rose Ceremony in terms of bad clothing decisions. But on the date, after watching the band play the song for the video live and seeing Ali dance like a hippie having a seizure, the men each got to act in a scene with Ali. Some even had kisses written into their parts, including The Weatherman, which led to probably the most awkward moment in this franchise since Ed couldn’t perform for Jillian in the Fantasy Suite.
Sarah: Oh, it was painful indeed. For those who didn’t see it: picture the following. Short, earnest, mousy dork Jonathan awkwardly pulling Ali aside before the scene to whisper: “So, I would love nothing more than to kiss you, but if it’s awkward for you or if you’re uncomfortable, I’ll completely understand.” Awkwardness level: hovering between yellow and orange. Now picture Jonathan, in the scene, scampering up to Ali and grabbing her arm to turn her around for a passionate kiss, but instead lunging past her into a sort of half-hug neck cuddle. Awkwardness level: inching up to goldenrod. Now picture the other guys looking on and mocking. Now picture Jonathan standing alone, tearing up, wiping away the tear: Awkwardness level – off the charts! Red alert! The TV’s about to explode! I’m cringing just reliving it! AAAAAAAGUUUUUGHHGHGH!!!
Tigh: Totally. It was beyond horrific. I mean, think about it for a second, Weatherman; not only has Ali been on The Bachelor, but she’s the Bachelorette! THE FREAKING BACHELORETTE! I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have a problem when it comes to kissing people on camera. Remember her and Jake’s romp in The Marina? Man up, dude. Ask yourself WWWSD? (‘What Would Willard Scott Do?’). He’d take Ali like the caveman he is, show her a passionate world of pleasure and delight, and then spend the afterglow smoking a cigarette and rattling off birthday wishes to people turning 100 or older (brought to you by Smuckers). And she would love every second of it.
Sarah: But poor Jonathan seemed to be faced with a circumstance of suddenly realizing that not only was he going to have to kiss Ali, when he (as Chris L. so aptly put it) seemed not to have kissed a girl before, ever – but he was going to have to do it on camera, in front of the other guys. It was so heartbreakingly awkward that the only thing I can compare it to is watching home videos of myself circa 1990. It was that horrifying.
Tigh: He’s an oversensitive wimp. This guy is screwed in the most Darwinian of ways –he’s like a sigma male. And I gotta say, I think there’s a strong chance that he’s so deep in the closet he’s finding Christmas presents.
Sarah: Christmas presents from years past, that mom forgot about. He was pinging my gaydar too, actually. Especially given that he’s still pretty young (though… not as young as he looks; he’s 30, but could easily pass for 24) and from Texas, I think it’s quite possible that he’s been telling himself he just hasn’t met the right girl yet… when actually, maybe he needs to meet the right guy.
Tigh: But you know who’s not gay? Kirk. And, much like his Shatnerian namesake, during his scene (a romp in bed with Ali where the deep kissing went on well after the director yelled ‘cut’) he proved it. He was on her like she was an Andorian slave girl.
Sarah: Another scene that reminded me why this show is so eternally popular: it’s basically soft-core porn, brought to you Mondays at 8/7 Central on ABC.
Tigh: Not to mention getting to see Frank fuming on the set. Arms crossed, drinking, and saying things like, “I feel that something’s not right.” I think he needs to get with Craig and study the game films of previous Bachelor and Bachelorette seasons. What did you think you were getting into, man? He’s like a less charming version of Duckie from Pretty in Pink.
Sarah: Apt comparison, except that Duckie’s got so much more than charm over Frankie boy. Duckie had banked years of loyal friendship, for starters. Also: he had better taste in music, and he would never have worn a “Cultured and Experienced” tee. Not to mention that ultimately, Duckie proved that his love was selfless: he only wanted what was best for Andie. That scene at the prom, when he gives her and Blane his blessing? Breaks my heart every time. All of which is to say: I can sympathize, up to a point, with Frank feeling some jealousy. But you’ve gotta keep it in perspective, dude. You have been on one date with the girl. You have no claims of ownership here.
Tigh: Right. So then, after they wrapped the music video no one will ever see again for the song no one will ever hear again, the group moved on to dinner and a hot tub party, where Ali and Kirk reenacted their scene, sans script. I have to say, going into this date I didn’t have high hopes for any of the guys on it, with the exception of Chris L. (of the Dead Mom). The rest (Frank, Craig, Jesse, The Weatherman, etc.) I think are all short-timers. But Kirk stepped it up and moved ahead of the pack. He had an opportunity and he seized it. Good for him.
Sarah: Definite chemistry there. Meanwhile, Chris L. confessed that his mom was, in fact, not alive, and Ali seemed to take it well. Having cared for her dying grandmother, I think this might be something that will connect them on a deeper level in future episodes. Later, they had a similarly major bonding moment over another subject close to both their hearts. And that subject was flip-cup.
Tigh: Yeah, why drone on about the circumstances of your life which have made you who you are when you can talk about your shared affinity for a college drinking game. Flip, Flip, Flip-adelphia!
On Justin’s Trek and Hunter’s One-on-One Date
Tigh: The next day at the house Justin (aka Rated R) was hatching a plot to get close to Ali. Having only been on one group date, he felt he needed some more alone time. So he packed up his scrapbook, gassed up his crutches and hobbled the five miles or so up the road to Ali’s Bachelorette house for a surprise visit. I thought this was a good move for resident wrestler, and Ali seemed to like it too.
Sarah: I can certainly see why she did. There’s nothing like a guy showing up out of nowhere, on crutches, telling you he just hobbled for hours for the chance to see you, to make you feel special. But the more he made little smirky, veiled references to it that evening and the next day with the guys (“I’d do anything to see her. I’d walk for hours just to see her.” Smirk, smirk) the more I started to feel hinky about the whole thing.
Tigh: He lost me with that too. “Let’s just say the last one-on-one time I had with Ali went really well” (wink!).
Sarah: He was like your kid brother who just ate the last piece of chocolate and you probably wouldn’t have noticed or even cared until he rubbed it in your face.
Tigh: Of course, the other side effect it had was completely grenading Hunter’s one-on-one date with Ali. Poor Hunter, man. I felt bad for him. Right from the first episode, when he got out of the limo, met Ali and dropped the tired, “You know, I had something really funny to say when I got here but you’re so beautiful I forgot what it was” line in a dry monotone, you pretty much knew he didn’t have the chops to cut it. He just came across as being emotionally flat — nice, but flat. Not to mention the guy looked absolutely terrified at all times, like a deer in headlights. So having his date start late because Ali was having some unscheduled alone time with Justin didn’t bode well for him.
Sarah: Nor did the comparison: one guy just took the initiative to crutch all the way over to your house and tell you all about his relationship with his grandma, and the other guy’s waiting for you to pick him up and bring him home and dress him up in an apron. Kind of made Hunter seem all the more boring. Though in all fairness, I’m not sure the outcome would have been any different even if Justin hadn’t pulled his “I Would Crutch 500 Miles (Just to be the Man Who’s Comin’ Home to You)” routine. I think Hunter was probably a goner anyway. I mean, I hate to say it, but those teacup-handle ears probably weren’t doing him any favors with a girl whose main comment about Roberto was “Mmm… yummy.”
Tigh: That Roberto is good looking, isn’t he? There’s no doubt Hunter was doomed to fail, which is why maybe it’s a good thing he had such a boring date. I mean, at least now he can use it as an excuse as to why he wasn’t given a rose. But the whole thing was just so awkward. Sitting in the hot tub, arms at their sides, and Hunter leans in to kiss her shoulder. Compare that to the Roberto power-move of kissing her on a high wire.
Watching Hunter was like watching a bull being lead to slaughter; you know he’s about to become a T-bone, but he thinks he’s just going for a truck ride. He just wasn’t in the moment at all. Like when he was astonished that Ali had never been in the hot tub at Chez Bachelorette. “I’d have been in here every night,” he said, his brow furrowed over his trademark thousand-yard stare. Dude, when would she have time? She’s been going on dates every night! And then the line of the night: Hunter: “I love to love.” Ali: “I’d love to get in this pool.” At that point I’d have cut my losses and started filling my bag with as many bottles of booze from the wet bar as would fit.
Sarah: Yeesh. So many painful moments this week. It was like watching a nature special, where Hunter was the wounded baby springbok who got separated from the herd. He may elude the first pack of hyenas, but you know he’s not long for this world.
Tigh: But he could have done more. Sitting on the blanket, a bottle of champagne, a telescope on a clear and starry night…he had some tools. The telescope especially I think was emblematic of Hunter’s lack of imagination: a window to the heavens unused, and my vote for Unintentional Metaphor of the Week.
Sarah: It’s got me thinking about everyone who’s been sent home’s favorite explanation: “I just didn’t open up fast enough.” It always feels half like a self-serving excuse: you want to blame it on some fixable character flaw, rather than on something more deeply ingrained in you (a lack of imagination, a lack of spontaneity, a lack of physical chemistry) that may have been to blame. But on the other hand, there is some truth to the fact that opening up fast is just something that some people do better than others… and those tend to be the kind of people who succeed on reality shows. (I know I’d do horribly. I’m totally shy when I first meet people.)
Tigh: I’ve found that excuse to be used a little too liberally on this show as well. But I think in Hunter’s case it’s more accurate than most. You’re right though, The Bachelor format lends itself to a specific personality type and you have to be all the things you said in order to be successful at it. Its goal is a cinematic love that can come to fruition in ninety minutes. I think this is why the future Bachelors and Bachelorettes have (of late) always been rejects from the previous season — they’ve pretty much proven themselves to be cut from this cloth, which increases the possibility that they’ll end up someday getting married on a Monday at 8/7 Central on ABC.
But back to Hunter, I do wish that he hadn’t asked, “Is there anything I can do?” when he didn’t get the rose. In the words of Don Corleone, “You can be a man!!” And please pick up what’s left of your dignity at the door. On the bright side, there’s not much, so at least you won’t have to check a bag.
Sarah: Oh, yeah. That was unfortunate. Also unfortunate: him telling her he’d be happy to be her house husband if she wanted to wear the pants and have the big career. Somehow I don’t think that’s what Ali had in mind.
Tigh: About that — can we for once and for all stop hearing about how Ali always puts her career first? Dude, you quit your job to go on The Bachelorette, you don’t get to say that anymore! Like, if I went around saying I value human life and then one day I up and kill a dude, I probably wouldn’t be able to get away with saying that anymore.
Sarah: Seconded. Next time “Ali’s so career oriented” is mentioned, we take a shot of our favorite liquor to help dull the pain of her hypocrisy.
Tigh: What, you haven’t been already?
On the Pre-Rose Ceremony Mixer and The Rose Ceremony
Tigh: So lately one of my favorite parts of the show is the pre-Rose Ceremony mixer. It’s a chance for the guys to break out the suits (or in Jesse’s case his Sunday denim), drink cocktails and get that last little bit of alone time with Ali before she heads into her candle-lit fortress of solitude to stare thoughtfully at the guys’ pictures and decide who the rose should go to.
Sarah: Not to mention, get in a last little group bitching session about whomever they’ve decided is the weak link that night. In this case, all the drama was Rated R. The guys (ably led by Craig) were already heavy into dissing his motives even before they discovered his secret journey to Ali’s place the day before. The two guys leading most of the charges against Justin this whole time seem to have been the two “just here to protect you” types: Craig and Kasey (Kasey who, every time he speaks, I wonder whether he’s got 17 cotton balls hidden in a secret chipmunk-cheek pouch somewhere in his mouth — dude has a major impediment).
Tigh: Not to backtrack, but remember at the announcement of who was going on the group date Kasey said he was jealous because he thought they were probably going to sing Karaoke (the clue in the note was “Get ready to rock my world” — c’mon, man. This is The Bachelorette! Karaoke bars are way too low-rent; if you want to do that kind of stuff, go on Blind Date). And then he said he wanted to sing a song of love to her. With that voice what was he planning on singing, ‘The Rainbow Connection’?
Sarah: And in the previews we see him “singing” next week, which looks like it’ll be cringe-tacular. His days are numbered.
Tigh: But when Ali ‘accidentally’ let it slip to Roberto that Justin had come to see her the previous afternoon, word spread like wildfire around the house and a lynch mob was formed — with my main man Ty (pronounced ‘Tigh’) heading up the posse.
Sarah: I found it interesting that Ali compared Justin, in his travails with the other guys, to Vienna: she sees him as someone who’s there for her, but is rubbing the rest of the house the wrong way. For someone who was Vienna’s chief antagonist last season, Ali seems to have come around to the idea that Jake must have seen something (or some… things… cough *implants* cough) in her that the rest of the girls didn’t. It’s almost as if she’s tempted to keep Justin around as some kind of penance for (perhaps) misjudging Vienna.
Tigh: Yes! I was curious about that too. At the very least it’s ironic. But did she really misjudge Vienna? My opinion of the buxom Floridian hasn’t changed. Has Ali, as you were suggesting last week, been drinking The Bachelorette Kool-Aid to the point where her persona has been completely replaced by that of ‘The Bachelorette’?
Sarah: I do think that in order to be the Bachelorette, Ali has had to make her peace with the idea that the process works. Which means she has to try to accept that Jake and Vienna are meant to be.
Tigh: Maybe she’s not really Ali. Maybe the basement at ABC is filled with long, green pods from which their Bachelors and Bachelorettes hatch, taking the form of real people!
Sarah: You’re getting into some cross-genre stuff here, Tigh. I like it… maybe we could do a spin-off. But what else is there to wrap up tonight? Blue-eyed Steve failed to uncork his champagne properly and was sent home, along with chipper smiley-faced John.
Tigh: I’m pretty sure Steve faked that to be endearing. A spider monkey with carpal tunnel could untwist the wire from a bottle of champagne (hence its immediate disqualification for Unintentional Metaphor of the Week).
Sarah: He and John both seemed like nice enough guys, but neither had been able to do anything much to stand out. Steve was trying, but it was too little too late, I guess. Though I was sure the Weatherman was going home after that awkwardness; I guess Ali felt bad for him.
Tigh: Well, I still think Ali still sees him as her eyes and ears in the house. And, as the group date proved, he’s WAY over sensitive to her feelings and will do whatever she asks. I mean, why else? Is there any other bachelor there who’s had more alone time with her and talked about less? All he’s ever brought up to her were Douchy McDouchenstien and how he was trying to respect her with the kissing on set. We literally know NOTHING about this guy outside of the context of the show. On his bio online it says he’s from Boston! Chris L. has managed to spin being a fellow New Englander into gold with her. Do you think she even knows (or remembers) where The Weatherman’s from?
Sarah: No…but I think Ali’s sensitive enough that she knows just as well as we do how awkward that kiss was for him; my guess is that she feels sorry for him, but feels like she owes him at least a letting-you-down-easy situation before she lets him go. He’s like a baby bird who’s fallen out of the nest. She knows he’s gonna croak soon, but for now, she’s got him wrapped up in a tissue box and she’s feeling all noble about it. (What’s with me and all the dying baby animals tonight?)
Tigh: Well, I’m not sure. Watching Ali running along the beach on the first group date with the guys, obliviously leaving the hobbling Justin behind, and watching her show up late to her date with and subsequently crush Hunter, I don’t know if I’m sold on her being all that sympathetic. I’m not saying she’s a monster, just a little self-serving. She knows it’s all about her and I think she might be getting a little lost in it. Even sweethearts can be bridezillas.
Sarah: But the difference is that she knows Justin’s man enough to handle it, and that with Hunter, she gave him a one-on-one explanation. My guess is that Jonathan will get, not a one-on-one date, but a pull-aside conversation at least before he goes.
Tigh: I agree with you there; he will go — sooner than later.
Sarah: Yeah. There aren’t enough total duds left to save him much longer.
Tigh: Next to flop?
Tigh: I can see that. I also think Jesse staying this week was a shock. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go either. Also, I sense bad things for the last of the Craigs.
Sarah: And who’s the floppy-haired, long-torsoed guy? Chris something? I don’t think I’ve heard the guy speak two words. He’ll either have to step up or go home.
The dates and the drama go international as the show gets taken around the world. Where? Couldn’t tell you specifically, but rest assured it’s someplace with a sandy beach and palm trees.