Sarah Kowalski and Tigh Rickman are recent graduates of 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 – Weeks 8 & 9: A Mole Rat in Paradise
After a nearly two week hiatus, Tigh and Sarah have arrived back in Bachelor Land. In this time Ali went on hometown dates with her four remaining fellows. She played catch in Tampa and sambaed the night away with Roberto Perfecto’s family; she walked along the beaches of Cape Cod with Chris and his black lab (natch) and then made out with him in the private tower at his palatial family home in Dennis; she walked the streets of Chicago and shared laughs with Mole Rat Frank’s family; she went to Wisconsin and was horrified by the temple of taxidermy Captain Kirk’s mustachioed father keeps in his basement. Unfortunately the stuffed skins, and freezer full of the innards, of squirrels and other road-kill fauna proved too much for Ali to bear, and so one time front-runner Captain Kirk was sucked into the cold, inky black nothingness of a limo to the airport. Next stop Tahiti, where the remaining three will each go on a dream date and the possibility of cohabitating the infamous Fantasy Suite with Ali.
Tigh: So how about those hometown dates. Remember when Roberto did that thing with the thing…and then Frank said something, I think. Maybe we should just talk about Tahiti.
Sarah: That sounds like a plan. I don’t think we necessarily need to cover both weeks in full detail… partly because I only half remember the hometowns at this point.
Sarah: The thing about the show is, once we get past the early phases of eliminating the total douchbags/headcases/weirdos/liars, the drama kind of dies back a bit. Okay, so there’s Frank’s exit this week, but honestly, at this point, I’m like, who cares if she ends up with Roberto or Chris? Either way, they’re nice guys, she’s a nice enough girl, and…I’m kinda bored. Can’t wait for The Men Tell All though.
Tigh: Yeah, the show is definitely suffering from a lack of douche-baggery.
When we get to this point, pretty much all the guys left are nice and normal enough that we know what to expect. The trite, Bachelor language of “I’m falling in love with you” and “I’ve never opened up like this before” and “I didn’t think I would fall this hard” begins to take over and the whole process becomes a little more than slightly predictable.
Sarah: I love counting up how many times they use some variation of the phrase “I’ve never had feelings this strong *this fast* before.” Way to qualify it, guys. In other words, you mean to tell us the crazy whirlwind Bachelor/ette process of helicopter rides and nation-hopping results in developing feelings more quickly than your average see-you-Friday-night-for-dinner-and-a-movie getting-to-know-you scenario? I’m shocked.
Tigh: Well, as someone who recently went on his first helicopter ride I can tell you that it’s flipping terrifying. You feel like you’re dangling from a string (and don’t get me started on when the pilot flew us under the Golden Gate Bridge at 150mph and fifty feet off the water…oy). I tell you, I’d bond pretty quickly with someone if they put us in that situation. If nothing else, it provides a good icebreaker for the subsequent rooftop dinner: “Holy crap, I can’t believe we survived!” And, as we’ve discussed in previous articles, that’s just the beginning! The picturesque dates under world famous landmarks, the other lavish, non-rotor propelled methods of transport and the copious amounts of booze make The Bachelor bubble more of a hyperbolic chamber that can be fatal (to a relationship) if exited too quickly.
Sarah: Good point — and a good reason why so few of these relationships have historically survived. Man, are we on a downer this week or what? Did someone dump some depressants in my ice water? Or perhaps I am just grumpy because it’s nearly 100 degrees here and so watching Ali and her downsized bevy of man-babes in the scorching Tahitian sun, all I could think was, Oh man, I hope they used lots of sunscreen… ughhhhh.
Tigh: Yeah, after a week of being in unusually hot and humid Maine weather without air conditioning, I too was less than thrilled to watch the stars of our merry little show glistening in damp perspiration in the hot sun of Tahiti.
Sarah: I was like, “Iceland! Go back to Iceland! Alaska’s gorgeous this time of year!”
Tigh: I was actually jealous of long-lost Krazey, presumably still staring longingly at his tattoo, adrift on an ice floe somewhere in the Arctic Circle. And watching the round sweat stain on the front of Roberto’s shirt as he and Ali made their way to the helicopter which was to ferry them to the uninhabited and heart-shaped island where they were to spend the afternoon, I said something to myself along the lines of “Holy jeez, I’m glad I’m not there”…
Tigh: …but they were and they had a nice, romantic time, filled with kissing, dry humping on the beach, wet-humping in the ocean and (as we saw in the closing credits) going aggro on a coconut with a machete.
Sarah: Yep. It was another swoonfest between Ali and dreamy Roberto, capped off by that skeeziest of Bachelorland traditions, the “Should you choose to forego your individual sleeping arrangements…” key to the Fantasy Suite. Gosh, I hope that thing had air conditioning. Otherwise I can just picture the awkward “Ugh, don’t get too close to me, your leg is like an oven” atmosphere in that petal-covered bed.
Sarah: Do you think he blesses them somehow? Like with a kiss, or some other bodily fluid?
Tigh: Naw. I think all he has to do is just seal the envelope and look at it knowingly for the magic to be complete. But was there any doubt that she was going to offer it to Roberto and he was going to take it? After yet another day of her telling him how hot he was, I don’t think he should’ve been too surprised. And about that, the whole “you’re so hot” thing; seeing as how their all their conversations on all their dates somehow involve that phrase I think that if they do end up together all their reminiscings of their time on The Bachelorette will be along the lines of “Remember when we were in Portugal and you looked hot?” or “Remember when we were in Tahiti and you looked hot, literally” and “Remember when we sat on the baseball diamond and you looked so hot, because there’s nothing hotter than a man in uniform?”(I know I’ll remember watching the latter and simultaneously flipping my hand in a ‘What the hell?’ gesture with our friend Lexa). But then again, he is pretty hot.
Sarah: Well, sure. And there’s nothing wrong (and probably a lot right) with having a relationship where you each tell your partner that you think they’re attractive. But it does seem to make up a lot of what Ali and Roberto talk about at this stage. And given that, according to the laws of Bachelorland, they have now been together long enough to be approaching readiness for a freaking lifetime commitment, you’d think they might spend more of their time talking about… oh, I don’t know… everything else.
Tigh: I’m pretty sure that if a child were to be born on this show he would age in dog years. Much like how in Pine Valley, a kid born in the nineties is now somehow a doctor, things just move a little faster here in Bachelorland.
Sarah: It’s a good thing the Fantasy Suites don’t happen ‘til the very end: just think, if Ali’d slept with one of the hotties early on and accidentally gotten herself knocked up, she could be full term by now! It’s been 9 weeks, after all!
Tigh: But to your point, even in the real world they should be talking about something else at this point. But who cares, let’s go to the Fantasy Suite!
Sarah: I do like how both men acted totally surprised to see their Fantasy Suite cards appear. I was like, really, have you never watched this show?
Tigh: You know who wouldn’t have been surprised? Chris of the Peyton Manning Face. That guy would’ve known what was up.
Sarah: Exactly. He’d have been waiting for it all day like a kid who’s peeked at the birthday presents in the back of his mom’s closet.
Tigh: And since the boudoir light went off and stayed off, we can safely assume that there were no surf and sun induced complications a’la Ed and Jillian. Bravo Roberto Perfecto!
On the Tahitian Dream Date with Chris
Tigh: Chris’s date seemed a little less hot than Roberto’s (chemistry-wise, not weather-wise, unfortunately), but Ali seemed to have a good time, laughing and making out.
Sarah: Yes, there was still plenty of bright sun on Ali’s poor, increasingly sun-damaged young skin. And… for some reason, there was an underwater camera present during Ali and Chris’s underwater wet-humping/carrying around in a face-to-face piggyback-ride session (piggyfront? ew, that just sounds wrong). Just so we could observe that their undergarments were still intact, I guess?
Tigh: Where were they even going? I mean, should you really walk with your eyes closed and a full-grown woman straddling you through the ocean? That just doesn’t seem safe. What if there was a barracuda or a stingray or a pissed off sea monkey?
Sarah: I know — and all that wading through dark water to get from hut to hut? I mean, is Tahiti completely free of jellyfish, sea urchins, sharp pebbles?
Tigh: My cousin went there once to study moss, so they have that there. Moss and breadfruit trees. And Fletcher Christian once got a tattoo there. That’s all I know about it.
Sarah: I do know that the farther out into the Pacific you get, the less genetic diversity there is among the flora and fauna, just because so few plants and creatures managed to roll the dice and float thousands of miles across the ocean to successfully land there. I think I watched a nature special one time.
Tigh: Oh, and they also have at least two Fantasy Suites there. And Ali, apparently not satisfied after her night of swarthy passion with Roberto Perfecto sought out yet more sweet, sweet love making from Chris.
On Frank Shattering Ali’s Tropical Dreams
Tigh: How about Mole Rat Frank’s new/old girl Nicole, eh? I gotta say, I wasn’t too impressed. I mean, she seemed nice and all, but kind of homely and a bit, well, needy.
Sarah: It was a little bizarre. We did only get a tiny glimpse into the relationship, but it was just so awkward, her curled up on the couch waiting to hear him talk about this other girl and how into this other girl he was, all by way of getting to the point that he was still in love with her. I would’ve been like, dude, it’s been eight months, woo a girl back.
Tigh: Totally. Here we have Frank, who presumably ditched her when he went to Paris (there was a lot of “You can’t leave me again”s on her part), goes on The Bachelorette and she takes him back lickety-split. Granted, I don’t know their history, but that alone (not to mention what you’re saying) made me think she was kind of a pushover.
Sarah: Yeah. We didn’t get enough of a window on their relationship to really judge, because of course they’re not the story — but it just came off as totally awkward and not at all believable. But then, a certain amount of it probably had to play that way so that Franks’ big Eureka! moment could be encapsulated between commercial breaks.
Tigh: The whole thing was just so out of left field. Here’s Frank, who’s been unhealthily obsessed with Ali for the past nine weeks, saying he thinks of her as his girlfriend after their first date, having mental breakdowns over watching her hug other guys, and then…he’s in love with someone else. What does this say about Frank? Is he just a dreamer (or flake) who wears his heart on his sleeve, or was this whole thing calculated on his part to win back Crazy Eyes Nicole?
Sarah: I can’t quite see it being calculated; I really, really don’t think it would occur to someone to use falling in love with another woman on national television as a gambit to win back an ex.
Tigh: No, you’re right. He’s not bright enough to pull that off. It’s just those damn glasses…they make him look so smart.
Sarah: I think I basically buy Frank’s own explanation for it (that experiencing these feelings with Ali reminded him of his feelings for Nicole, but that he was genuinely confused and torn) — with the caveat that I think, at least subconsciously, his main reason for bailing was that he just couldn’t believe that Ali was actually into him (frankly, many of the rest of us were baffled as well) and so he wanted to cut his losses before he got hurt, and used “I’m still in love with someone else” as a more convenient exit excuse than “I’m just scared of getting dumped and would rather go sit in my parents’ basement writing screenplays and fantasizing about falling in love.” Which means that I’m not sure I see a bright future for him and Nicole; seriously, if it had been eight months and they hadn’t even spoken? I don’t know… that just doesn’t seem like the sign of someone you want to spend the rest of your life with.
Tigh: That makes sense. And I think you’ve really touched on something there; Frank is the kind of guy who’s into the story (the romance of running off to Paris, falling so hard after his Hollywood date with Ali, etc). He wants his life to have the same epic, grandiose quality as the movies (and presumably the screenplays he writes). And coming back, going on The Bachelorette only to fall back in love with Nicole (to him) is a great love story. That said I think you’re right, he didn’t plan it to be that way, but once he saw (consciously or sub-consciously) that he could be back with Nicole AND have the great romantic story to go with it, he had to take it. It would’ve just been too boring to him to come back from Paris, hat in hand and ask for her back. He needed the grand gesture.
Sarah: He also probably figured that getting dumped by Ali and then crawling back to Nicole might not look quite so romantic. So what was your take on Ali’s reaction to the whole thing?
Tigh: Well, it was sad to watch her melt, sinking into her wicker chair, the flower in her hair, placed there with so much hope in the promise of the amazing sailing date to come, slowly drooping and then falling from her hand to the floor (Unintentional Metaphor of the Week!), her brown eyes turning liquid above her sun-scorched and freckled cheeks. But after a while, it was enough already. I mean, yeah it sucks that he’s leaving and he’s being kind of a jerk about it but, you know, you still have two other guys who you’re probably in love with on some level yourself. And those who live in glass houses as they say…
Sarah: Right. I could totally sympathize with how hard it must be to get that kind of news unexpectedly and then immediately have to react to it on camera; we all deserve our pity parties, it’s just that usually they’re held in private communion with our junk food, bad reality television and bathtubs. Ali had to have hers on TV. But seriously, girl, do you hear yourself? “How could he be in love with two people…”, “How selfish to keep himself in the game if he’s not sure….” Um, Ali, that is exactly what you’ve been doing for the past 9 weeks. Just because you’ve got the title of The Bachelorette doesn’t give you special rights. You’re not actually royalty.
Tigh: Exactamundo. And of course she threw out the obligatory “I gave up EVERYTHING to come here to find love!” line. Well, okay, but you still have two pretty good chances of love left.
Sarah: Right! And good for Frank for saying he gave up things too. She of all people should sympathize to a degree, having been on the other side of Bachelorland — when you don’t actually have any idea how many weeks you might last, so you’re not sure whether to quit your job or give up your apartment (should you have either of those things in the first place, *cough* “retail manager” *cough* “parents’ basement” *cough*) — the love-seekers give up a lot to be on the show too, and have far less certainty of at least attaining Dancing With the Stars-level fame out of the deal.
Tigh: Did you notice how Frank’s story changed a bit when he told it to Ali? How in the version he gave her he went to Nicole to seek ‘closure’? Right. Dude, you were all up on her from the minute you went into her apartment (or hotel room? I wasn’t sure). And then he pulled the whole rub-your-eyes-and-pretend-to-sob move. Classic. I used that one once too, of course I was nineteen, but it’s good to see that people are still using it. It’s like the nineties never died.
Sarah: Well, that about wraps up this week’s events. Ali had two dreamy Fantasy Suite dates with Roberto and Chris followed by a sob-fest with Frank.
Tigh: And a beachfront pep talk from Chris Harrison like only he could give! Can you imagine if she had walked away from the process this late in the game? The whole season would have been shot. Thank goodness for Chris (The Man!) stepping in and single handedly saving the show!
Sarah: And also there was A Very Special Rose Ceremony (“if you accept this rose it means YOU CAN NEVER LEAVE ME AND NEVER HURT ME EVER I GET TO BE THE ONE WHO HURTS YOU OKAY??”)
Tigh: Pretty much. “I need to hear them say they accept this rose.” Really? Do you think that you’re going to tell them what happened and then Roberto’s going to turn to Chris and be like, “You know, maybe Frank had a point,” and then Chris would say, “He was always the smart one, what with those glasses and all” and then they shake hands and walk away from her together? Not likely. Ali needs to realize that she’s building relationships that are independent from each other and that the lower-case bachelors aren’t succumbing to a kind of groupthink where one’s actions are indicative of all the other’s intentions. If she is, then that says something about her pre-conceived notions towards men in general, I think.
Sarah: Right. And speaking of men, I cannot wait for Monday’s The Men Tell All episode. So many crazies reunited at last! Seeing them all in this week’s promo was like the gift that kept on giving. Oh Craigs, oh Weatherman, oh Krazey, I think I’ve missed you most of all!
Tigh: Yeah! There’s more nut-jobs there than at the Manson Family Reunion. Can’t wait for it! And then…in only two weeks…will it be Roberto? Will it be Chris? Will Jake fly in, tell Ali he made a mistake and then take off with her into the Tahitian sunset? It bears mentioning I think that we predicted Roberto and Chris would be the final two in a kind of retelling of the Tenley/Vienna choice Jake was faced with (the good girl/wife or the good time/party-mate).
Sarah: I believe it may have been as early as Episode One. Which only goes to show how darn predictable this show is. However, I object to any comparison of Roberto to Vienna in any form. He is (a) not crazy and (b) good looking and (c) never wore a Hooters uniform and (d) doesn’t own a teacup dog and (e) doesn’t have a disturbing borderline-incestuous relationship with his father and…I could go on, but I will grant you that they are both from Florida.
Tigh: You’re right…Roberto is so good looking…