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.
BREAKING NEWS: JAKE & VIENNA BREAK UP…
As we opened on week four of The Bachelorette, Ali and her band of merry men were off to New York City for the first stop on their round-the-world Journey To Find Love. Amidst the stock panning shots of yellow cabs and the Brooklyn Bridge, Ali gamely tromped her way (in knee-high heeled boots courtesy of an InStyle makeover) through two one-on-one dates and a group date on the set of Broadway’s The Lion King, all while battling what looked to be a nasty cold. Meanwhile, the drama of the week became Kasey’s ever-unravelling case of the Krazies. And oh, what a drama it was…
To Guard and Protect: Kasey’s One-on-One Date
Tigh: If we wanted to, we could probably dedicate this week’s entire column to Kasey. I mean there were so many WTF moments in it; it was surreal.
Tigh: And as I said in our first article of this season, I think he even kind of LOOKS like Jake–like a baby version of our favorite fly-boy. There’s an icy insanity in his eyes that we got a really good look at this week as he got his first one-on-one date with Ali. The couple set off in a helicopter (natch) and got a bird’s eye view of NYC before setting down for a brief picnic dinner.
Sarah: Were they on Ellis Island? I couldn’t tell. I briefly thought perhaps they’d explore America’s conflicted immigrant history. But of course instead, for their next stop, they were off to a private, after-hours date at the American Museum of Natural History. Definitely a cool date. Once, when I was a girl scout, my troop got to spend the night in the Field Museum in Chicago. We ran barefoot through the pyramids and ate ourselves silly from the vending machines near the mummies. It was the first time I ever stayed up all night.
Tigh: Well, if I were on a date with Kasey in the Museum of Natural History, I’d probably be up all night too. I kept yelling at the television, “Ali, don’t close your eyes!!” But let’s not forget about the other scary part of the date, back at the picnic, when Kasey finally got to put his singing talents on full display.
Sarah: Oh yes. I think I may have repressed that memory, it was so traumatic. But now it’s coming back to me in all its awkward, twangy horror.
Tigh: I mean, writing a song for a girl is a cool move, really. But ad-libbing an R. Kelly-esque a-melodic ballad basically recounting what you just did doesn’t really pack the emotional punch that, say, a thought-out song would. “We’re in a helicopter. I look to my left I see Ali, I look right I see New York,” or whatever isn’t going to cut it.
Sarah: Exactly! Kasey’s song was more along the lines of the silly little songs my grandma would make up in the kitchen. “Well, we’re making sandwiches… with bologna… if you say you don’t want one… you’re a phony….” But Kasey was clearly taking himself SO SERIOUSLY. Which seems to be the root of all his problems; the guy is missing a humor gene somewhere. It’s like he’s humorally disabled.
Tigh: It really makes you wonder. And you could tell that Ali wasn’t quite sure if he was serious or not, her face holding a neutral (albeit slightly pained) expression the whole time he was singing. But then Kasey purses his lips, squints his eyes and confidently says, “Pretty good stuff” and means it. It was too much. Also, if I were to offer any advice to Kasey I’d tell him to refrain from using the words “crazy” and “insane” quite so often to express astonishment at things (e.g. “New York; this is insane!”). It’s a bit Freudian.
Sarah: Ha! Yep, he was pretty much a barrel of off-kilter throughout the date; but the worst had to be at the end, when they sat down for their serious pre-rose time and Ali tried to get through to him that all the lines weren’t doing it for her. I was like, bravo, Ali: you just said exactly what we’ve all been thinking (albeit gently; she didn’t come right out and say “Kasey, you’re a loon”).
Tigh: It’s like the guy was raised by Lifetime Original Movies or something. He has no ability to speak without cliché. I was like, sure you want to make her happy for the rest of her life, but HOW are you going to do it? Be specific, man. So I too applauded Ali for asking him to be himself and drop the lines, but then as we saw more and more of Kasey throughout the episode I realized that that IS him being himself. I’m guessing only child…not a lot of social interaction…probably home-schooled and a LOT of television as a kid.
Sarah: Yeah. He seemed to honestly not understand what she was even talking about when she said that it sounded like he was just delivering lines. I didn’t count up the number of times he said the phrase “guard and protect your heart,” but it was like his mantra. Ali even asked him, point-blank, “How do you know when it’s right? That I’m right?” And his answer was another meaningless line: “Because you’re Ali.” Kasey, my friend: that line might work after you’ve been with someone for years, when there’s so much weight wrapped up in how well you know each other that, yes, that’s genuinely the answer: I love you because you’re you. But dude, you guys don’t know each other. Give the girl a clue that you have some inkling of a reason why you think she’s special. Otherwise she’s absolutely right: he could just as well be delivering those lines to a blow-up doll.
Tigh: Nobody wants to be in a relationship solely to fulfill the other person’s abstract fantasy of what a relationship should be and you’re right, that’s just what Kasey was doing. But you know, it brings up what I thought was most interesting thing about his being on the show. Often in this blog we talk about how the laws of Bachelor-World operate on a different plane from the real world–how it requires people to move fast and pretty much fall in love in a pretty short amount of time. In that case, Kasey is the hyper-bachelor. He moves too fast and his gestures are too over-the-top even for The Bachelor. If we were curious about how far the show could go, I think in Kasey we’ve just seen it. He sits on the outer limits of The Bachelor universe.
Sarah: That’s a really good way to put it. This show needs people who can fall in love super fast, but with enough intermediate scenes in a 12-minute segment for us to sympathize with how they got there. We can relate to Ali and Roberto, Ali and Kirk, Ali and Chris L., perhaps even Ali and Frank, because we get to see a couple of those little moments where the relationship begins to develop. With Kasey, we saw no such moments, because… there weren’t any.
Tigh: So after all that, Kasey was dead meat, right? He came off as desperate, too over-the-top and pretty much delusional. So when Ali started in on how much ‘weight’ each rose carries with it there was no doubt in my mind he was a goner.
Sarah: I was all set to say “Called it!” and see him sent home.
Tigh: I too raised my scotch to my lips and begrudgingly muttered “Touché, Kowalski. You win again…”
Sarah: But I was foiled! (And your Jesse prediction came to pass after all.) Ali opted instead to put poor, cliché-ridden Kasey into a Krazey downward spiral of utter confusion with her “I can’t give you a rose, but I don’t want you to go yet” no-decision. I thought a one-on-one date was a “rose or you go home” situation. What is this, soccer? We’re allowing ties now?
Tigh: Both are equally un-American in my eyes, I can tell you that. But I think maybe it was the second, R. Kasey song he sang to her — another bleating retelling of their date — which made her think ‘this guy’s dangerously unhinged’ and made her leery of breaking his heart in the scary, candlelit, bone-filled museum. I don’t know what the production crew looks like and if they would be capable of restraining a spurned Kasey, but I honestly thought she was going to dump him at the Rose Ceremony in order to have more protection — safety in bachelor numbers.
Sarah: Good point.
Tigh: So as the date ended, I think we all assumed that Kasey would only make it to the Rose Ceremony and that was it. His execution was stayed; he didn’t receive a full pardon.
Sarah: Exactly. I’d also like to pause for a moment and recognize Chris L. for his brilliant expounding on what Kasey sees when he looks at Ali: hearts and flowers and unicorns. “Unicorn love,” as Chris dubbed it, might just be as good a phrase as any for Kasey’s situation. And the whole aside won me over to Chris L. even more. Flip-cup bonding or no, at least the guy’s got a sense of humor.
Tigh: It was right up there with Gia’s comment that Tenley “Shits rainbows” last season.
Can You Feel the Spandex Tonight: The Group Date
Tigh: So having survived being locked in a museum with a mentally unstable Kasey, Ali went on this week’s group date with the usual suspects (The Weatherman, Frank, Roberto, Ty, etc). This week they got to audition for the Broadway production of The Lion King. Between Kasey, The Weatherman’s Hail Mary guitar playing at the pre-rose mixer and the group date fellows singing Circle of Life, it seems like the theme for this week was figuring out who can embarrass themselves the most in song.
Sarah: True. And some of those Lion King auditions were nearly as uncomfortable as Kasey’s singing.
Tigh: I had agree with Frank’s sentiment (albeit for different reasons) that it was “hard to watch.” All the men were provided t-shirts in a variety of pastel colors and back spandex dancing pants. Was the spandex totally necessary? We’ve discussed the sex appeal of the show here before, but as a woman, do you find the men more attractive when they’re dressed like a cycling team sponsored by The Late-80s Fashion Council?
Sarah: Oh, god, no. That was horrific.
Tigh: I watched this week’s episode with my friends Jenica and Danson, the latter of whom commented, “What is this, a Benetton ad?” Well said, friend.
Sarah: This week’s episode also gave The Weatherman more delusional opportunities to blame his failure with Ali on every possible tangential cause: his timing was off; he didn’t sing TO her like Roberto did; he should’ve played guitar sooner. It makes me sad when people can’t recognize their own lack of chemistry with someone to such a wacked-out degree. Probably because it hits too close to home: reminds me of those junior high crushes I had on boys who never in a million years would’ve liked me back.
Tigh: Yeah, the B story-line this week was definitely The Weatherman’s continued descent into madness: the chin dipping further and further down, his eyes becoming harder and harder, and the goatee he was trying to grow (a la the evil-universe Spock). He was coming unglued in a bad way.
Sarah: And like I said, part of me can empathize. The thing about my junior-high delusions, though, is that I pretty much got over them by the time I was a teenager. Who, at 30, still can’t see when a girl is that uninterested? Or do women make it hard, socialized as we are, to be nice at all costs? This is something I do see in Ali; even with Weatherman and Kasey, it’s like she doesn’t ever want to come right out and say, “It isn’t working; you’re way too creepy.”
Tigh: Well, I too can empathize. The Weatherman, as you point out, spent all his time regretting not doing the things that the other, more successful bachelors did. And you’re right, he’s completely oblivious to (or in denial about) the chemistry factor. He thinks that there’s a formula to love, that if you take certain steps, perform certain feats, it will all snap into place like a model airplane regardless of who you or the other person are as individuals. That’s definitely something I can empathize with, but at the same time, it’s something I grew out of a loooong time ago. For The Weatherman’s sake, I hope he figures it out sooner rather than later.
Sarah: And this is why I love dissecting this show: because it calls out all these facets of human nature that I totally relate to. The only thing more awesome would be if they had “The Junior Bachelorette” and we got to watch actual 13 and 14 year olds trying to win love, instead of adults who’re just emotionally delayed.
Tigh: But back on The Great White Way, it was a surprise to no one that Roberto won the audition and got to appear on stage (or rather, harnessed above it) with Ali. Of course, this put Roberto right back in his element; fastened at the crotch to Ali and suspended by cables in mid-air. Hey, if it ain’t broke…
Sarah: Perhaps, if they end up together, Ali and Roberto can figure out some career for themselves that entails frequent crotch harnessing; or hey, just make it a hobby. But you’re right: as much chemistry as they have, I wonder how much it’s dependent on the extreme, adrenalin-rush situations The Bachelorette has thrown them into together. Seems like Ali and Roberto need what she’s had with some of the other guys: a down-to-earth, no frills, stay-at-home date.
Tigh: My guess is that a date of that nature would involve a lot of kissing, fondling and maybe a game of catch.
Sarah: Ha, “catch.” But still: that could help ABC meet its soft-core porn ration of the evening. And Ali seems like she’s got a good enough head on her shoulders that she’d at least try to work in some conversation amidst the tongue-tangling. But anyway, back to the events of this week: throughout the day on Broadway, Ali was feeling under the weather. “No wonder,” we were probably all saying. “We warned you about all those cold germs!”
Sarah: And by that evening, she was just about down for the count–a sniffling mess who could barely keep her eyes open.
Tigh: Yeah, by the time they made it to the after-party and picked up their pre-made Long Island Iced Teas, she was a hot mess.
Sarah: Still, ever the trooper, Ali tried to mingle a bit, and even pulled Frank outside for a quick ego-boosting one-on-one jaunt through the cold, rainy streets of NYC.
Tigh: “I want you to be crazy about me,” she told him under a shared umbrella. I don’t think she has to worry much about that. Maybe she meant to say “I want you to be crazy about me, not just plain crazy like Kasey.”
Sarah: Hey, can you blame her for wanting to keep all her options open a little longer?
Tigh: No, she needed to work some damage control on Frank. He’d been feeling insecure since the Barenaked Ladies video shoot and was this close to full-blown Weatherman malaise. His lone one-on-one date was, as you remember, the first of the show and nearly three weeks ago. Three weeks, as we all know, is equivalent to six months in Bachelor time.
Sarah: I kept wondering, sniffly as she was under that umbrella, whether Ali would actually go in for the kiss. And then she did! And Frank said, “I want whatever you have.” Oh, Typhoid Ali, check yourself!
Tigh: But… she was overcome by the passion of the moment!
Sarah: And she was overcome again, a few moments later, when Kirk seized the opportunity to play the caring gentleman and “walk her to her room to tuck her in.” Smooth move, Kirk. Well played.
Tigh: Indeed. Captain Kirk is the man. Is there any doubt that when we get to Fantasy Suite time he’ll be getting the key? I think it’s a lead-pipe cinch. And while he takes her passionately in whatever exotic country they’re in at the time, somewhere a caped and masked Weatherman will play his pipe organ, sad and alone.
Sarah: Absolutely. All the more reason to strum our fingers in anticipatory glee at the prospect of this season’s Behind the Rose tell-all. Can you imagine Chris Harrison calling Kasey out about his Krazey? Or Weatherman explaining himself? Oh, what delights await us in a few short weeks.
Tigh: And let’s not forget about Craig M.!
Sarah: Nor the yet-to-be-revealed scandal.
He Wears His Heart on His Sleeve: Kasey’s Tattoo-of-Insanity
Tigh: Meanwhile, back at the bachelor’s swank New York townhouse, Kasey had something up his sleeve, literally. After disappearing for twelve hours, he returned with a gauze pad taped to his forearm. Upon his return, he told his fellow bachelors that he’d burned himself on the stove (and when asked what degree it was, he said “Oh, I don’t know”–a number between one and three…pick it!). But in reality, he’d finally found the perfect way to express to Ali just how serious and unique his feelings for her are: by picking a stock design off a wall in a tattoo parlor, of a heart, a shield, and a rose… and getting it inked forever on his wrist.
Sarah: I have to say, in earlier episodes, I assumed this teaser preview of Kasey coming home with bandaged wrists signified a suicide attempt. Something I frankly wouldn’t have put past him. The reality, I fear, is maybe more disturbing. A suicide attempt would’ve been a genuine response to hopelessness and a cry for help. A “guard and protect” tattoo — replete with 11 stars in the shield for the “11 of us who’ve made it this far” (seriously? you’re including the other Bachelors in your permanent body modification? Even Chris-the-other-one who I have literally heard say three words to this point?) — well that’s just downright scary.
Tigh: Pretty much. I mean, I’m not at all opposed to the idea of tattoos, but the reason I’ve never gotten one is because there’s nothing I can think of that I’d want on me forever. FOREVER. How do you think Krazey’s going to explain that one to his grandkids? My favorite line of the night (though I forget who said it) was “You’re going to be the tattooed Bachelorette guy for the rest of your life.” Oy vey.
Sarah: So of course, we’re all waiting for Kasey to reveal his tattoo (and his EPIC INSANITY) to Ali at the pre-Rose Ceremony cocktail hour. So, the night comes, and Kasey’s waiting for just the right timing to reveal his symbol of devotion to Ali: he pulls her aside, starts talking about sincerity, gives her a bag of Swedish Fish, and then, just as the sleeve is about to roll, in comes Frank!
Tigh: I know! And there was some seriously great editing on the part of The Bachelorette production team when during the Swedish Fish exchange they cut to a side interview with Ali saying that Krazey was being “caring and not over the top.” Oh, man. If she only knew. What a great show!
Sarah: Exactly! So Ali gets to go off to her Fortress of Solitude (® Tigh) thinking Kasey’s seen the error of his ways when it comes to all those canned lines, and that maybe she should give him the benefit of the doubt for one more week. I seriously found myself wondering whether there’d been any producer tampering with that pre-Rose cocktail hour, or whether it was Frank’s idea and his alone to step in and ensure Ali didn’t have a chance to see the “Guard and Protect” tattoo.
Tigh: Frank stepping in when he did was pure 19th Century melodrama. I too wondered about how much of his timing was organic…it was just too perfect.
Sarah: And speaking of the whole “Guard and Protect” thing: what’s with the redundant phrasing? I kept trying to think what it reminded me of, and I think it’s the Presidential oath to “Protect and Defend.” Kasey’s like a George Saunders character come to life. It’s frightening.
Tigh: Actually, the image I get with “Guard and Protect” is that of a guard at the Tower of London, facing away and completely disengaged from the object his has sworn to defend (it’s also funny to imagine Kasey dressed as a Beefeater). It is an object that the guards never themselves obtain or even see. In this roundabout way, we have our Unintentional Metaphor of the week. Yeah, it’s a stretch, but my brain was too overwhelmed with the spectacle of this week’s installment to find better one.
The Chrises (Yes, There Are Still Two of Them)
Sarah: So, nearly lost amidst all the Kasey melodrama, let’s not forget that Chris L. and Ali finally had their one-on-one time, and he pretty much hit it out of the park. With Ali miserably sick, Chris L. had a great opportunity to play the caring, husband-material type, and he totally aced it. Soup, flowers, cuddling, more deep talk about family. This guy’s in the final 3 for sure, and I think he’s probably the one to beat to take it all.
Tigh: A great date. He’s positioning himself as the Tenley of this season, and he’s pretty much running unopposed in that regard. I think it’s going to come down to him and some combination of Captain Kirk, Roberto and Silent Chris. Why Silent Chris? Why not. I mean, the guy’s done nothing on this show yet he sticks around. I think he might be a mute. He could be the first man in Bachelorette history to get the final rose with out having ever gone on a date. And the first to have one of those shaggy, hipster mullets.
Sarah: I think Ali doesn’t want to get rid of anyone unless she’s sure it won’t work; she just doesn’t have any read on him yet, whereas this week she knew The Weatherman and Jesse were definite no-gos. But if Silent Chris doesn’t get a date next week, and sticks around mutely anyway, it will truly start to be mystifying. He’s like some Kilroy-Was-Here, Where’s Waldo who’s just there for you to spot as a party game.
Tigh: Honestly, I saw him this week and had no idea who he was at first.
Tigh: So, to everyone’s surprise, Krazey ended up getting a rose. As he would say, “insane.” Totally mind blowing. Meanwhile, Jesse and The Weatherman both got their walking papers.
Sarah: And next week, the remaining guys and Ali are off to Iceland, where they’re apparently going to encounter the live volcano. Weren’t all flights out of the country shut down for weeks afterwards? How did the Bachelorette manage to wrest the gang from Iceland? And wouldn’t that have been awesome, if they’d been trapped for weeks? This show could have become Gilligan’s Iceland.
Tigh: Trapped on in Iceland with Krazey. that would be a show. But from the previews, it looks like he gets some one on one time with Ali by a volcano. Can’t wait to see where that one goes. If he drops the “my heart’s open, jump on in” line, Ali just might jump in the volcano.
Sarah: Seriously. “I’ll guard and protect your heart FROM THIS LAVA.”
Tigh: Next to go (as if I even need to ask)?
Sarah: I’m guessing Kasey can’t make it through another week. But between Ty, Craig, and Silent Chris, I honestly have no idea.
Tigh: I agree about Krazey, but then again, it’s cold in Iceland, which means long sleeves so you never know. I think The Last of the Craigs is next week’s other casualty.
Sarah: Only time will tell…