THANKS to Tigh & Sarah for seeing Ali through! And thanks to Woods Hole Film Festival for seeing Celebrities in Disgrace through to its exciting premiere on August 6th. Along with coverage on WBUR, Boston’s NPR radio, check out THE BOSTON HERALD, an Inside Track story: ‘Ice-ing on the Cake’.
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.
It is said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. For Ali, the first step was having her heart broken by Jake on The Bachelor, and she’s come a long way since. Over the course of her journey she has toured the world, from Los Angeles to New York, from Iceland to Portugal, and it ends here, in Bora Bora, an idyllic if not muggy paradise where the seed of her future will be planted in dark volcanic soil. But before she chooses between the masculine yet sensitive Roberto and the sensitive yet masculine Chris, both men will meet her family who will in turn provide council to Ali as the moment of truth draws ever closer. This is it. The Finale. The episode Sarah and Tigh have been waiting for. The time for Ali to make her choice and thus forever change her life is here.
Sarah: Indeed: and many, many opportunities for Chris Harrison to intone his trademarked Coming Up… as we were treated to flashbacks and prequels galore. I swear, sometimes The Bachelorette feels like its own Cliffs Notes.
Tigh: Hey, it isn’t easy filling 120 minutes, just ask MTV’s Kennedy. Of course, as we suspected, the Big Choice ended up being more the Big Forgone Conclusion. But there were still dates to be had and the Fedotowskys to meet, and first up to bat…the left fielder…Roberto Perfeeecctooooo (cue entry salsa music).
On Roberto Meeting the Fedotowskys
Sarah: So, the manufactured drama of the first half of the episode was whether or not both men would win over Ali’s family: particularly her father, the floppy-haired Mr. Fedotowsky whose “blessing” was all-important to both Roberto and Chris. Unsurprisingly, Roberto had little trouble charming Ali’s clan with his earnest smiles and salsa-dancing lessons.
Tigh: Oh yeah, each and every one of them melted like a Nazi’s face at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark under Roberto’s charms. Especially mom, who went from asking questions meant to reveal whether or not he was good for her daughter to basically tearfully pleading with him to join their family. My friend Dan said he was surprised she didn’t try to jump him. Flipping Roberto, man. That guy just has the touch.
Sarah: Totally. I watched this episode on vacation in Maine, which meant that both of my parents half watched along with me. And my mom was a Roberto fan from moment one. In all seriousness, there’s not a lot to find fault with in the guy. One of the most down to earth, nice-seeming people I can recall meeting on reality TV.
Tigh: I agree. And again, I feel I need to apologize to Roberto for speculating that he was the heel with the girl on the side early on in the season.
Sarah: I’m sure he’d forgive you.
Tigh: I know he would. He’s just that kind of guy. But I did wonder, do you think he finds it patronizing when Ali and her mom talk to him in Spanish? I mean, yeah, the dude’s heritage is Hispanic, but after mom said that phrase to him (which I don’t remember the specifics of) I wanted him to be like, “Yeah, kid I’m wicked psyched to be witcha daughtah.”
Sarah: I think it was “Creo que tu corazon es puro.” Ha!
Tigh: Oh yeah! I know your heart is pure. Of course in all likelihood it is, but how would mom know to memorize that particular phrase? Do you think she had another one up her sleeve just in case? Maybe “Creo que tu eres un gigolo?” But mom was an easy sell, seeing as she was pretty much already a citizen of Bachelorland; she respects it and is familiar with its ways. Her dad on the other hand, at least from the previews looked to be a tougher sell. And he was, but then…Roberto…Roberto… Even he couldn’t resist him!
On Chris Meeting the Fedotowskys
Sarah: But then the next day, native son Chris got to make his play for the family’s affections. The commonalities kept piling up: from Massachusetts! Mom’s a nurse! Dad’s a teacher! Montreal roots! He says “wicked”! It was as though all the coincidences in the world were on his side. And yet… after everything, mom and dad still had the sense that Roberto might be a better match. The lack of chemistry between Chris and Ali was pretty obvious to those around them, I guess. Even my own mom and dad, who’d only ever seen this one episode, immediately said that Chris seemed like a great guy, but not necessarily a match for Ali. Oh, Chris. I’m so sorry you were the last to know.
Tigh: Yeah, it was hard to watch poor Chris, a living, breathing Sisyphus, pushing the boulder of his heart up the hill of hope and expectation, only to have it roll down again. I also got the sense that Ali’s dad might have been suffering from something akin to post-coital regret after letting Roberto have his way with him, so he had laced up his skeptical boots pretty tight when it was Chris’ turn (“Can you really say you love my daughter after only two months?”). It made me wonder just how this whole process would have gone if it had been Roberto following Chris on the Tahitian dates, meeting the families, etc. I’m fairly sure the result would have been the same, but he would have at least had more of a fighting chance.
Sarah: Even from the beginning: Ali went on one-on-ones with Frank and Roberto before she did with Chris, and that kind of gave both of them a leg up in terms of time. Still, I think Chris’ll be better off with a different girl. Someone who won’t just giggle maniacally but might actually trade a few jokes with him.
Tigh: Yeah, and speaking of the Ali Giggle, I think it’s genetic as her mom and sister both share that trait. Can you imagine being her dad in that house? I’d flip out, man. And they use it to say so much; ‘I’m happy’, ‘I’m nervous’, ‘Good to see you’, ‘That’s amazing’ and ‘Holy cow, I’m totally shitfaced’ to name just a few. So while Roberto’s day with the Fedotowskys ended with an impromptu salsa dancing party, Chris’ ended with the whole tribe diving into the water. And as one does, Ali’s mom went into the warm, tropical water wearing a swimsuit with pants. What was up with that?
Sarah: Hey, not everyone wants to bare their thighs on national television…
On Roberto’s Final One-on-One Date
Tigh: So for their final date together before she officially made her decision, Ali and Roberto went for a Tahitian jet-ski excursion in which they ran into a group of stingrays. Cool yes, but it reminded me of her date with Chris and their complete obliviousness to the possible dangers of their surroundings. Remember the Crocodile Hunter? The guy who would wrestle crocs and handle venomous snakes for fun? Yeah, those things you’re petting and cooing to in baby talk are what killed him.
Sarah: Oh man, I’d forgotten that. I wonder if Ali and Roberto will have occasional post-traumatic flashbacks in years to come of those giant white flesh-frisbees molesting them.
Tigh: Yeah, they’ll haunt their dreams for years to come. Of course in the voiceover, Ali commented on how Roberto’s first instinct was to “protect me” from them, but then again he’s also the guy who stopped the jet-ski in the middle of them to begin with, so who knows. The way I see it, if Ali’s looking to be protected she should get on the horn to Kasey ASAP.
Sarah: Very true. You know, one thing about this finale episode was that it showcased a higher percentage of Ali’s voiceovers than usual — I guess because with only two dates and a big decision to make, the producers felt we needed to hear every single musing of hers along the way. But very few people are capable of being articulate about something as amorphous as falling in love in the first place, and add to that the cliche-ridden language of Bachelorland and you’re left with a whole lot of… “he makes me feel safe… I feel good when I’m with him… he’s just sooooo good looking.”
Tigh: They had a great time flying over the clear blue waters on their fiberglass chariot, Roberto at the helm, her arms wrapped around him, her cheek pressed to his shoulder. Compare and contrast this date with her Portuguese adventure with Chris, in which she had to take over and drive the Vespa scooter because he couldn’t make it go fast enough for her. That friends is the Unintentional Metaphor of the Week, and probably the one which was most telling this whole season.
Sarah: Yep, that pretty much sums it up.
Tigh: It all ended, the two of them cuddled in bed and Ali’s heart “exploding”. If there was any doubt that poor Chris was screwed, it was eliminated right then and there.
On Chris’ Final One-on-One Not so Much Date but Meeting
Tigh: As poor, oblivious Chris went on in the voiceovers about how close he felt to Ali, how he couldn’t wait to propose to her, how he felt that their connection was so strong, so pure, I literally couldn’t watch. It was like seeing a puppy about to be euthanized obliviously playing with a chew toy.
Sarah: Oh, man, I know. Meanwhile Ali’s saying “I know I’m supposed to have a date with Chris tomorrow, but I just don’t want to say goodbye to Roberto.” WELL THEN, ALI, (I was yelling at the screen), YOU HAVE YOUR ANSWER.
Tigh: Indeed she did. And that morning Ali walked in the door, gave Chris a ‘nice to see you’/’I’m so nervous’ hybrid giggle, hugged him and then started talking really, really fast. Chris has been around the block a few times, and I’m sure when she was giving the whole “Things are so crazy, right now” end-of-the-journey talk he pretty much knew he was screwed. The poor guy.
Sarah: Seriously. That had to be a heart-sinking moment for sure, although I was glad Ali decided to go ahead and end it when she did. I’ve been in relationships where one person’s faking it for a while while they try to work up the nerve to lay their cards on the table, and it’s never pretty. Watching one final, futile date between Chris and Ali, followed by her breaking his heart after a proposal of marriage would’ve just been cringe-inducing.
Tigh: I agree — but while I do applaud Ali for ending things with him when she did, I think how she did it left something to be desired. She couldn’t bring herself to just come out and say it. And I never thought I’d say this, but she could’ve taken a cue from Mole Rat Frank. When he cut her off it was quick and to the point. With Chris she danced around too much and then, after she dropped the hammer, she stuck around letting him THANK HER over and over again. Now, I get where he would be grateful for her not putting him through all the emotional hoopla, it would’ve been okay for him to get a little angry. And then, the whole, “Can I have a hug?” as she walked out the door and walked out of his life? You can’t un-cry those tears, Ali. You gotta just let him go, like Maverick let go of Goose.
Sarah: Oh, man, totally. I mean, I probably pulled similar “I know I’m the one dumping you but I’m just so sad about it and I don’t want to feel like a bad person” emotionally manipulative stunts in my day… but I’m talking when I was a teenager. You’d think after all her practice (she’s dumped two dozen other men in the past few weeks!) she’d be a little more graceful… But hey, at least Chris was soon visited by an oh-so-miraculous rainbow. (I half expected him to start freaking out like the Full Double Rainbow guy: Whoa, Oh my God, It’s a full rainbow, all the way…)
Tigh: A double rainbow! Whatever Chris’ mom was trying to tell that guy, she was really trying to drive home the point. Of course, seeing as how it was a rainbow maybe Chris’ mom was telling him women are just going to keep breaking your heart and to give dudes a try.
On the Final Rose
Tigh: Not much to say about this. It was meant to be, and not even an ill-fitting suit and a lot of facial sweat could keep Roberto from being Ali’s perfecto.
Sarah: And, unlike Jake and Vienna (who we knew were doomed from the very start), I can actually imagine an ABC Fantasy Wedding might be in the cards for these two. Can you feel the love tonight, Tigh? Can you?
Tigh: I sure can, Sarah. I sure can.