Like bananas. They’re just “enjoying each other“, guys. They’re not, however, enjoying how they have differing opinions about bananas.
NO SPOILERS I’M NOT WATCHING TONIGHT’S FINALE UNTIL WEDNESDAY. Yes, this is exactly like that episode of HIMYM. Images and tip via Francesca.
She says, “I’ve never seen People try this hard with grammar before.”
This is going to be me and Mom in a month. SONOMA here we come. I will admit that it was the addition of this piece on The Hairpin to the internet archives that convinced me to bite the bullet and just buy the tickets. That and I’m clearly going to hunt down our good Bachelor friend Ben (nee F.).
KATES254 said: “I definitely factored Cougar Town’s premiere (and the Bachelor, I know, I know) into my wine-store shopping list this weekend. It’s fine. Totally normal!”
- Author: Miss Moneypenny
- Published: Oct 26th, 2011
- Category: Smart Girls, Stupid Things
- Comments: None
I met the next Bachelor.
Yes, it was every bit as wonderful as could be imagined. You, my friends, are about to get the blow-by-blow.
I was at a rooftop pool in West Hollywood with some friends (this was actually the first time I’d ever done this, but it was a verrrry L.A. thing to do) to spend a Sunday afternoon with a friend who was in town. There were two guys nearby who I didn’t recognize, but were pretty cute.
Suddenly, a round of Bloody Mary’s appeared by our group, “courtesy of the gentlemen on the other side of the pool.” Our group was about 3 guys and 5 girls. When The Bachelor (I had zero idea of who he was at the time) came over with his friend to talk, they immediately ordered another round for the entire group.
Side note: it is atypical for guys in LA (or really anywhere) to purchase alcohol for people who are not girls. We later found out that his hotel stay was being covered by the studio, but still. The principle is what counts here.
We were all drinking our Bloody Mary’s when someone asked our new friend Ben what he was doing in LA. Somewhat sheepishly, he told us that he was about to be on a reality show. With some pressing, we found out he was the next Bachelor. And therefore was the adorable Ben that was rejected by Ashley in the season finale. Since I knew of Kate’s obsession with the show, I was immediately intrigued.
We spent the next three hours getting horrifically sunburned (at least on my part) and drinking white wine. Since our dear Ben is a winemaker, he had excellent taste. He was actually amazingly cool. I was shocked. He was signed up for The Bachelorette by his sister, and decided to go on for the opportunity to travel and meet new people. Became the Bachelor because “why not see if I can actually find love, and barring that, go to really cool places and have a free place to stay with great food?”
Some great quotes from the day:
Us: Were you sad when Ashely rejected you?
Ben: No, more pissed off. I proposed, got rejected, looked like a moron. So yeah, pissed off.
On whether or not he had actually dated Jennifer Love Hewitt (a tabloid rumor)…
B: Um. Are you kidding? No. Freaking. Way.
Us: Were you in love with Ashley?
B: I’m not sure if I can answer that honestly without violating my contract.
*We took that as a “no”
Us: What did you do all day on The Bachelorette? A bunch of dudes in a house?
B: Played soccer in the yard. Drank. Played Battleship.
Us: What do you think of The Bachelor Pad?
B: No comment. No comment whatsoever.
Needless to say, an awesome afternoon. He was one of the most normal people I have ever met in LA, let alone someone who was about to star in a reality show. An eye-opening experience that was very befitting of the glamorous lifestyle to which I have become accustomed. *Tosses hair around*
But really. People in LA, especially those who have intentions of going into the “talent” side of reality television, are rarely normal. Or even nice. They are usually very obsessed with themselves and upon finding out that someone works in an agency (like yours truly), will usually jump at the chance to jumpstart their acting career (I have actually had more than one person hand me a headshot in the middle of a party). But Ben was…cool. And fun. He had great taste in wine, was relaxed, knew about cool French music (the CD we were listening to has been in my car on repeat for about the last 2 weeks), and overall, was genuine–a rare quality to find anywhere, but especially in LA.
So I have to say, I will be watching the upcoming season of The Bachelor. And I will be rooting for him to at least have a great time, and maybe even find love with someone who is as genuine as he is (or at least someone who’s not a complete fame whore).
Bentley is rocking this season as the most tremendously horrible potential Mr. Bachelorette ever to grace the show. So let’s pay homage to this despicable man you’ve probably met in a bar and fill this post with quotes by Bentley. Farewell, great and former love!
In response to Sir William’s “roast”* of Ashley where he joked that she was no Emily or Chantal:
“I can’t believe you said that. I mean, I feel the same way, but I wouldn’t say it out loud.”
In response to Ashley’s tears after said “roast”:
“I hate it when people cry. It’s not attractive at all.”
To Ashley after she was insecure and upset by the “roast”:
“You have everything….There is a feeling here, for sure. We’re totally on the same page.”
Who knows when:
That was fucking close.
After Ashley gives Ryan a rose for consoling her:
“For her to give another guy a rose justifies it for me — I’m checking out.”
“I’ve been saying from the beginning, she’s just not my type.”
To the other men when he chooses to leave the house:
“It’s time bro, it’s time.”
Before telling Ashley he was leaving:
“So I’m going to make Ashley cry. I just hope my hair looks ok.”
Right before he tells Ashley he’s leaving for his daughter:
“I really miss my daughter, but I’m not leaving because of my daughter.”
After he tells the men that he’s leaving for his daughter:
“These freaking idiots believed me.”
While consoling a tearful Ashley about his departure:
“It’s annoying to just hold a girl that’s just crying and crying and crying. I was already checked out, you know?”
And after telling Ashley he wants to leave their relationship open-ended:
“She’s definitely someone I’m not totally smitten by, but someone I would totally hook up with now and then.”
The Bentley also managed to bring out stupid stuff in those around him. For instance, when Ashley asked him “Can you trust in this?”, while entwining his hand with hers. Or when he left, and the men around him nodded and said, “You’re a good Dad.”
Additionally, there was a bit of voiceover while he and Ashley were having their tearful, hug-and-kiss filled goodbye that indicated that he thought this would be a good time for some bangalangin. Poor timing sir. Break-up sex should not be televised.
But it was the revelation that it was indeed our favorite Bachelor contestant Michelle Money who tried to warn Ashley about The Bentley before the show started that has convinced our viewing audience that Michelle should really be the Bachelorette next time around. We’re also convinced she would be an excellent guest appearance for this season as a guide to Ashley. And I used to think she was crazy!
Another great scene was when Chris tells Ashley that The Bentley is a jerk in so many words, and that if he really wanted to be here, he would stay. In response to The Bentley’s open-ended “…” comment, Chris said “That’s such a guy thing to say!”, which was not a compliment thankyouverymuch. Chris, if only you would actually TELL ASHLEY WHAT THE BENTLEY IS SAYING IN THE CONFESSIONAL. But then it wouldn’t be tv blah blah blah.
This episode was rectified by an awesome date with JP, where they cuddled and made out in their pajamas in front of a fire with takeout (was there a bearskin rug? I’m going to say there was even though I don’t remember). There we officially find out that JP > Bentley in the kiss department, causing Molly to say that JP’s profession of Construction Management is sexy because he’s “workin’ with his handsssss.”
Final thoughts: There was A LOT of harping on Ashley’s small boobs in an attempt at comedy during the “roast”, which does lead me to believe that the camera adds ten pounds. It also seems to indicate that as much as Masked Man wanted to pretend otherwise, this show is pretty surface level. If after three weeks, you can’t find something else to “roast” Ashley about, you are a) not very creative or b) not really looking.
And as the room for comparison keeps flowing, I’ll say that I’m consistently struck by how this malicious behavior by the men really has no precedent on brother-show The Bachelor. The men on The Bachelorette are constantly interested in winning, while the women on The Bachelor are waiting to be picked. Even when Michelle was crazy for Brad, she did seem to actually like him while she was being evil. Though the “chooser” is always the Bachelor or Bachelorette, the power dynamic is not equal; Brad NEVER would have been hurt the way Ashley has been repeatedly been allowed to be on this season.
Boy do we wish she was live-blogging the way Bethenny does!
And to Blake the Dentist, Molly has one comment: “Get your vest off.”
Tune in next week, where it appears that Ryan is not as sweet and next-Bachelor as we thought.
* I’m going to consistently use quotes around the word roast because not only was it not a very good roast, it wasn’t even close to funny.
I had big plans for my first season of The Bachelorette; I’d create a complicated bracket and gather the best and the brightest to vote (well, MC would do the bracket, as I couldn’t organize one to save my life). A bottle of SkinnyGirl, or perhaps pink champagne would go to the winner.
But as the first episode loomed, it because clear there were just too many options, and some research revealed that a real bracket won’t really be feasible until we get down to a more manageable number, say 8. So in the coming weeks, we’ll start to figure out our Best Bets, No Gos, and Eh candidates until the MADNESS becomes more obvious.
The Highlights (Some come with highlights)
Best subject of an accidental pun
Tim got wasted at the get-together and fell asleep. Ashley sent him home in a van, and was sad for him about this “wasted opportunity,” not even calling out the amazing pun she had just created. Ironically, he is a liquor distributor from Long Beach, so you think he’d be able to hold it together.
I don’t have a fancy name for him; he really is a butcher. But sadly, he’s back to New Jersey, where he can marry a girl who better not be a vegan (that’s not me, he really pondered whether or not the Bachelorette would eat meat with his Dad). I will miss his dramatic entrances and exits, and awesome looks towards the camera.
Too many J. Crews to count; we need more clothing line-related subdivisions
I obviously can’t claim myself a Bachelorette afficionado, but there a few things I’m concerned about this season. One is Bentley, the man whose parents are either rich or wanted to pretend to be. He was called out before the show as being a guy whose just about the fame. But for some reason, his relative good looks have charmed her, because if the excellent editing of the show’s promo tells us anything, he’s going to screw her over. In this episode alone, he told the cameras “Even though I’m not that attracted to [Ashley], I’m overly competitive.” In the promo, he says that he wishes The Bachelorette would have been Emily, and claims things would have been “different” if she had been.
I worry about Ashley’s potential for harm. In the premiere, she says to her 25 men “I hope you guys are happy it was me.” This doesn’t bode well; she doesn’t appear to be the confident woman she’s remade herself as. We also see a conversation between her and Chris where she essentially puts all the blame for her failed relationship with Brad on her own shoulders. This is the type of woman who isn’t ready to settle down, and instead is ready to get hurt by guys like Bentley. And it worries me, not because I know her or know anything, but because from my limited knowledge, this is a dialogue seen much more in seasons of The Bachelorette than The Bachelor. For example, Ali and the debacles that were Justin and Frank in the last season of this show.
This isn’t to say that women don’t go on the show for the same reason, only that there’s some sort of trend with Bachelorette’s being duped, or with the show’s producers wanting us to see them that way. I know it is the job of the editors to provide intrigue, but my viewing partners and I were not left with a particularly uplifting feeling at the end about this season. Though there were a few choice moments:
– Some baby man saying “If you cant take the heat, get out of the oven.” Why are you in an oven…
– A man wearing a Phantom of the Opera mask got the first rose! Perhaps this is a statement that looks don’t matter on what may society’s greatest example that they so, so do? Though when is the jig going to be up? It’s get to the point when Ashley is less intrigued and more creeped out. It’s also likely one of the other contestants will punch him in the face soon, because he never takes off the mask and that’s weird…
– West, from North Carolina, lost his wife of seven years when she died of seizure by drowning in the bathtub, and yes, he was the one who found her. Bentley, good luck, but this guy is Emily’s soul mate.
Editors Note: This is a VERY detailed account of the finale. Videos and images featured are by Kate herself, and were not filmed at the time of Francesca’s viewing.
Remember when The Bachelor began this season, and the voiceovers kept calling it the “Most Controversial Season Ever”? Oh I’m sorry, but is knowing which lady is going to be picked for the whole second half of the season “controversial”? Is the choosing of the most “poised,” ladylike, blondest, nicest girl controversial?
There’s a certain amount of boredom you expect watching a two hour show weekly, but as soon as Brad’s mom told Emily she was looking forward to seeing her again and meeting her daughter it all became pretty obvious. Yet Brad decided to give Chantal a last date anyway to see if she could win him over fully. Such a gentleman! If you don’t get this from everything below, all this episode served to do was make me think ill of Brad. I mean, he’s been boring all season, but this episode he just really locks in that image of a 38-year-old man with stunted emotions and a really small adjective vocabulary.
So that YOU don’t have to watch it, if you haven’t already, the finale recap:
Two women…one man…and the decision of a lifetime
Of course, we start with a season recap, and his special and unique relationship with each remaining girl: which basically means they show Chantal slapping Brad and Brad saying “Emily’s one in a million.” Again. I mean really, who’s he gonna pick?
Also, Brad talks about his “electric connection” with Chantal, which always reminds me of Jake Pavelka telling Tenley they had physical chemistry but not sexual chemistry. WHERE DO THEY FIND THESE MEN. Why are the only compliments they can think of concerning “electricity” or the girls’ ability to make them feel happy?
First off, we meet Brad’s fam: His mom, two brothers (one of them a twin!) and the brothers’ wives. He cries. A lot. I mean how long has it been since he’s seen them? They all live in Austin. Oh the isolation of having 25 women and Chris Harrison around you…
Brad’s fam tells us more things Brad’s already told us repeatedly throughout the season: “He’s a completely different person than he was 3 years ago.” “This is the real Brad [when he’s crying].”
“Are you considering proposing?” “100%.” Oh good because that’s the PREMISE OF THE WHOLE SHOW.
I always have issues with the finale episode because I don’t understand why the decision waits til the last second. Like, how can he or the woman he chooses immediately begin an “engaged” relationship when he, days before, was still maybe in love with someone else? …And in this case it is CLEAR he’s in love with Emily but they are still forcing the decision to the end. Wouldn’t it be more “controversial” for him to say goodbye to Chantal early because he already figured it out?
Chantal Meets the Family
Chantal arrives to meet the fam. Chantal, what are you wearing. A smock? Also, his brothers’ wives are named Prima and Dylan. l love the South.
WHAT. Chantal: “The first time I saw Brad, it was like my parents said they had that feeling, I had that feeling where I just knew.” NO, REMEMBER HOW YOU SLAPPED HIM. YOU DID NOT JUST KNOW.
Props to her though, she seems pretty real with the family. She’s very likable. Also, the brother called her “incredibly attractive.” Is that appropriate?
Family, stop telling us that “Brad went through hell last time he did this.” OH , DID HE? Did he? After dumping two women at once? Yeah that must’ve sucked for HIM.
Brad’s twin brother is a hottie. Less facial hair. Brad’s mom asks Chantal: “I have to ask, how did you fall in love so quick?” GREAT QUESTION. I have so very much to say on this subject (short answer: feeling “in love” versus actually LOVING someone, am I right?). Chantal, your hair and makeup look soo good, but why are you wearing a smock. Ok, telling the mom “You’re so fabulous.” Winning move.
“If everything works out, I will marry her.” No, it’s not “if everything works out.” I’m pretty sure YOU are the agent here, Brad Womack.
Emily Meets the Family
Oh man. Emily time. Brad apparently tells his fam nothing about her, except that “Emily is a remarkable woman.” And he literally jumps off the couch when she arrives. “I’m so happy to see you.” He’s jumping up and down. She brought flowers. Good move. Can we just talk about how she looks like she belongs aside the other wives in the family?
Brother Wes notes she’s a little more reserved. Yet, as soon as they find out her story they call her “poised” instead of reserved. Men are dumb.
Brad, I have a very important question for you. Why didn’t you tell your family the story about Emily’s DAUGHTER and former fiance before this meal? Awkward, awkward times ensue when brother Wes becomes very worried about little Ricki having to move to Austin. “Would Ricki’s father be ok with this?” leads to Emily having to tell the WHOLE story again to the family she just met. I just think it’s kind of awful for them (even if it was the producers who wanted the story to be told again on camera and not Brad) to make Emily do that again.
Serious convo between Brad and his bros about the child. Is Brad looking deep enough inside himself to see what he wants? “Do you get the warm fuzzy feeling?” “Buddy, I get the warmest feeling that I can’t describe.” “This woman and her daughter…she is truly one of the most genuinely sweet women I’ve ever met in my entire life. I like that she’s a lady…she makes me want to be a better guy.” OK EFFING PROPOSE TO HER I’M SO TIRED OF THIS CRAP.
Mom interviews Emily, who says: “I am so grateful to have met your son. He has been such a blessing to me….and any girl would be lucky to have him.” She certainly knows how to win a mom over. The mom recaps for the cameras: “She said he was her angel…*tears*….her angel.” At the goodbyes, mom says: “I look forward to seeing you again…and meeting Ricki.” THIS WHOLE SHOW IS A SHAM WHY DO I EVEN HAVE TO WATCH THE SECOND HOUR.
The Family Weighs In
Brad needs his fam’s advice. And here are their helpful comments. Thanks for the thought, Womack family:
- “With Chantal, I could see you guys traveling, and sowing oats before you settle down.” Sowing oats? As a couple?
- “Fun-loving on one hand, family on the other hand.” Yes, let’s break this decision down to a simple dichotomy!
- “Chantal seems like a great person, but Emily’s a mom, and we could connect with her on that level. “Chantal wouldn’t get it…she would be the person we’d call for wine and sushi…it would just be a different experience.” OK YOU ARE HIS BROTHERS’ WIVES. STFU.
- “Emily’s just extremely poised.” “She’s just very social and sweet.” “She’s beyond great.” “I think Emily is kind of the whole package.” “If my mom could choose a future for me no doubt she would choose someone just like Emily.”
This is just insulting as possible to Chantal. If it is really that clear to EVERYONE that he belongs with Emily, he needs to break up with the other lady and not lead her on with another romantic date where he says more super vague and romantic phrases that begin and/or end with “never in my life…” “I can honestly say…”…“happy” and “perfect.”
Brad prefaces the date with: “My family thought Emily was the one, but I’m spending today with Chantal, and I’m hoping she can show SHE’S the one.” Speechless.
He makes her face another “fear” by swimming with sharks (I think he would find that most people fear that). But she does it for him, saying “What a great way to test out the water before we get married.” Because swimming with sharks–that’s totally relevant to real life.
She does it, prompting Brad to say: “Everything I’ve asked her to do, she’s excelled at it.” YES, but have you asked Emily to do stuff like that? Um, no. The scariest thing you did was make her ride on an elephant. Why does Chantal have to be put to these tests, and Emily doesn’t? And Chantal sums it up perfectly: “After all this, you better put a fucking ring on my finger.” HAHA. And…he’s not going to. Oh reader, does your dislike for him increase at this juncture, because mine does. TENFOLD.
“So many things have been answered with Chantal and I.” First of all, I wish that you, at 38, knew the difference between a subject and an object. “What a perfect date…what a perfect girl…what a perfect experience.” Second of all, do you know what “perfect” means? If you’re more in love with another girl and enjoy your time with her more, than a date with this girl is not “perfect.” You are being MISLEADING. Which is hurtful. Your trite words are HURTFUL. And just sooo boring.
Back in Chantal’s room
Brad says, “It feels like I’ve known you five years.” Chantal says: “You now what I’m going to say before I even have my little reaction.” Brad says: “I’m always myself with you.” All he ever says about Chantal is how he loves that she’s up front with him and loves that he can be himself with her. Can he not think of other complimentary phrases?
Then: the gift. She made him a map of all the places they’ve been. South Africa has the label: “Our first of hopefully many more overnights.” Oh Chantal.
And then he reads her very personal note out loud. And responds: “That’s very sweet.” So much feeling, Brad. “I love the fact you’re so vocal with your feelings.” He calls her “baby” multiple times during this scene. Stop calling her your baby when you know you’re not going to pick her. Shameful.
Is he going to jump up and down again?
He freaking loves helicopters. It’s another helicopter date. “I’m so happy…to get to be with someone I absolutely love to be with.” Can you freaking stop this date and propose to her.
“Alright, babe.” You just can’t be calling two women babe. You just can’t. “Whenever I look at Em, I see everything I ever wanted in my life.” This is a sham.
They sit in a windy spot and she asks him if he’s really sat and thought about what it means to be a father. He doesn’t seem to respond, and has a blank look on his face, so she asks what he’s thinking about. “Oh, nothing. Just…in two days…” They begin talking about the decision he has to make. Ok what about those questions she just asked?
Back in Emily’s Room
He’s so nervous during their evening date. He keeps shifting and sighing. He finally tries to respond to her questions from earlier, “I want you to give me the chance to be an actual father.” She tells him it isn’t all fun, and wants to make sure he’ll be there for the hard parts too. This is a legitimate worry! But he has a romcom worthy answer for what he thinks being a father is, and then begins to get annoyed when she has more questions.
“Are you mad?” “I’m getting there.” EXCUSE ME, what? Because she’s asking questions about taking care of her daughter, making sure you understand all of the commitment? Because she wants answers that are not vague and flowery? We only see him saying “Give me the chance, I want to do it.” That doesn’t actually mean anything. “I’m telling you I’m in it, but I feel like I’m being questioned. I’m telling you I care enough about your family to be there.” He is MOODY. “I can barely breathe it’s so hot in this room.”
And then he turns the tables in a show of how not to be in an adult relationship: “…Are YOU ready to let someone in?” “I hope YOU’RE ready for this, I’m telling you I am.”
EMILY says, “I really just messed it up big time.” No you did not. He is emotionally stunted. He tells the camera, “I was shot out of the water…I was slapped in the face. Makes me profoundly hurt and upset.” Ok did they edit it to make him look ridiculous or is he actually that selfish?
The next morning: introspective time with lots of shots of the girls looking far off and talking about how much they love Brad. He talks about his exhaustion, because he’s dealing with “so many very real new emotions – this is new to me.” Oh you child. “They are so different – but both women make me so happy.” Well great, which one will YOU make happy? Believe it or not, it’s not just about your freakin’ happiness. All of the sudden, he has made a decision. Thanks to the hills and farmlands of South Africa for inspiring him.
Neil Lane Promotion
Brad KNOWS when he sees the ring. “Neil, this is it. This is it. This ring is breathtaking.” THAT LOOKS LIKE COSTUME JEWELRY/SOMETHING A REAL HOUSEWIFE WOULD WEAR. Stop it Brad.
Then, Brad actually lets the following words come out of his mouth as he describes his love: “There’s something about her aura.” Neil Lane is such a great sounding board: “That sounds like love.” “It feels so right. I’ve wanted this feeling for 38 years…for my whole life.” “I can honestly say I have never been so happy in my entire life.” Neil Lane is smiling like he wishes his business hadn’t come to this.
Back to Brad’s voiceovers: “I just know that this feeling is right…and its the best gut feeling I’ve ever had in my life. I don’t know how to describe how I’m going to feel telling one of these women goodbye.” He doesn’t know how to describe how he’s GOING TO FEEL? Shouldn’t he already stop thinking about the one he’s not going to pick?
“I’m so confident in the fact that I love this woman with all of my heart.” He literally says this twice.
Moment of Truth
CUE BACHELOR MUSIC! WHICH WOMAN WILL GET OUT OF THE FIRST LIMO??
It’s Chantal. Smallest surprise ever in the history of the show. Is it not horrible of the editors to play the voiceover of her professing her love when all the viewers know it’s not her?
Brad shows us how not to break up with someone who’s in love with you and thinks you’re about to propose:
“Where do I begin. The very first time I laid eyes on you…I felt a connection.”
THIS IS NOT HOW YOU BREAK UP WITH SOMEONE.
“You’re someone I really have looked for for a very long time…[dramatic pause] and here’s where it gets tough. I don’t know how to say it except to say I have stronger feelings for someone else.” Oh no Chantal’s face! This is awful. Stop drying her tears and hugging her– it just adds insult to injury!
“Every single thing we had, always will have, was very very real. Wait what? Always will have? Ahem, no you are about to PROPOSE to someone else. “Anything you want to say to me?” “No.” I would have given anything to see her slap him again.
The worst part about this, and what really made me frustrated with this show, is Chantal’s comment in the limo: “I just feel really stupid…how can I be convinced he was the one when he didn’t even love me.” Why does she have to leave feeling stupid? She was always clear about her feelings, and also told him multiple times to send her home if he knew she wasn’t the one. Instead he led her on and wasn’t honest with her. I HATE that she feels stupid because of his actions.
Brad: “I want to stutter and stammer…on this little speech I’ve prepared.” You’re welcome, readers, I have recorded the speech for you:
I have come so far to get to where I’m standing today, and I’ve made so many mistakes and been through so many ups and downs…I’ve always believed that when the time was right i would find the woman I’ve been looking for for my entire life [I love this. It’s like he’s been on a scavenger hunt and finally found the treasure! After 38 years!]. I knew it would take opening up in ways I wasn’t used to and I knew it would take me taking a leap of faith if I felt even the slightest bit of love. All it took was coming here and finding you. You’re the one Em. You’re it. You’re my once in a lifetime, so what I’m asking is this, please give me your forever [hmm? That honestly sounds like a euphemism]. Please let me be your best friend, let me protect you and your beautiful daughter, I love you Emily, I truly love you.
That speech would be super cute if he had not described Chantal as the “perfect girl” days before. Brad, words lose meaning when you use the same ones over and over again.
And the Seal song has been replaced, most painfully, by Train’s “Marry Me” playing behind the montage of Emily and Brad throughout the season.
In the end…
I have to say, I really did like both girls, and it seems like Brad and Emily really are well suited to each other. I just want to know if Brad decided for himself to lead Chantal on that long or if producers made him do it for the entertainment factor. There are flaws in the concept of this show, which I covered to a certain extent in my post about Shawntel Newton at the beginning of the season, but when it gets to the point where we’re really watching someone in love with someone else (and it really seemed like Brad was in love with Emily at the end), it just feels wrong to see him lead the other girl on for so long.
Do we put ourselves through two hours a week of this show because we want to see what happens to the people who sign up for it and get a little glimpse of the few crazies who get cut out early? Or do we really want to watch the evolution of a couple’s love? Because if it is the latter, I wish that The Bachelor would show those conversations where the contestants actually reveal themselves to each other, and not the moments where they are just saying how strongly they feel without actually revealing what could possibly bring up that strength of feeling (read Kate’s PopMatters post for more on this subject). Brad mentions in the finale that the women know everything there is to know about him – when did those conversations happen? Yes, that is personal information, but Brad did agree to put himself on The Bachelor and be filmed–and I would much prefer to see a genuine match come about in personal conversations and realistic dates rather than helicopter-fairy-tale-dates where we see kisses and talk about chemistry but not much else. Give us some SUBSTANCE. Tell us what you like about Emily besides her niceness. Give us more background than “she has a daughter and went through a major loss” and “my dad was never around and I used to be emotionally closed off.”
That’s why I liked Shawntel N – and why I wanted her to be with Brad. During her Las Vegas date, she talked to Brad about her job. It seemed like a conversation we have out here, outside of the TV. I loved Shawntel for being real with Brad throughout – that was not their only serious, personal conversation (of course, my real reasons for wanting her to be the chosen one may just be that I want there to be a season wherein men are vying to come live in Chico, CA with her). That’s the kind of stuff we want to see – that’s the kind of stuff that makes people actually fall in love with each other. When there’s real pain involved — and Chantal really looked genuinely hurt, it was hard to watch — we’d like to see the real that could cause that kind of feeling. Or maybe we just watch it for the few crazies.
I caught The Bachelor Monday night at the gym, and though I hadn’t watched any of this season I was hooked after about 5 minutes (sigh). Most notably, when funeral director contestant Shawntel Newton was being interviewed, I saw that her hometown was none other than Chico, CA: my hometown. She works at a funeral home owned by her family and another Chico family. I went to middle school with the son of the other family (I remember him because I had a big crush on one of his friends. I had the makings of a FB stalker pre-Facebook, apparently). What’s more: internet spoilers say she’s getting a hometown date. Woo. Chico hasn’t been featured so prominently since the original Robin Hood (and that Playboy 1987 party school ranking)! Oh yeah wait, and the Green Bay QB who’s also from Chico. Anyway…
The fact that Shawntel is from Chico was just a (greatly) fun fact for me, but I started thinking more about it because of a few other things on my mind the past week. Namely: Emily’s blog post about the toys marketed to girls, an interaction between a teacher I observe for work and her female students, and David McCandless analysis of Facebook statuses to see which time of the year is prone to breakups, which was published a while ago but came back into memory because we’re nearing Valentine’s Day.
Shawntel Newton and I grew up in the same place, about one year apart in age. Chico is fairly homogenous amid the middle class population and small (about 100,000 people), so we were likely to have been brought up under similar cultural experiences and expectations (outside of family). There were only a handful of elementary schools and two middle schools in town at the time. What’s more, our families knew some of the same people. Obviously there are still many contributing factors to make us different people – particularly family, which I can’t use as a comparing factor at all (and I do have to mention that I left Chico at 14 for Tennessee, so at high school the surrounding similarities go out the window) – but nevertheless, having this much in common in childhood, especially things that are so essential to social understanding (schooling, friends, the kind of people you see around you every day, the cultural markers, town haunts, one of a kind places that make a town unique and that shape those who grow up within it) makes me suddenly think very seriously about The Bachelor. No, not about competing, but about why people compete. Normally when I considered this question, my answer was easy: these are crazy fame seekers, or, even easier…these are DBs (Dumb Bitches, for those of you not in the know). But now, someone whose background I partly share in is a serious contender on The Bachelor. Suddenly, instead of assuming that the people who compete are of course not like anyone I would ever know, it’s quite the opposite.
The Bachelor can be compelling because it mixes the possibility for fame with the childhood fantasy of romance and a “prince charming.” These are powerful motivators. They’re powerful motivators that have an inception in the Disney movies on which our generation of girls was brought up. Even Mulan, different because she succeeded in a traditionally male role, still earned herself fame…and a prince. (It’s true. He’s not a prince; he’s the son of a general. But you know what? Until I re-watched the movie a few months ago, I had remembered him as a prince. That’s what we remember.) But could these childhood princess fantasies really still be at play in the minds of (some of) these women, now in their 20s and 30s? That’s where I thought of Emily’s post from earlier this week: what kind of cultural messages or expectations are set up for girls via their toys? Luckily we didn’t have to deal with Bratz dolls back in the day, but it was before Barbie got her boobs-to-scale makeover, and when classic Disney princess movies were still being churned out regularly (not to say that I don’t love them).
This brought to mind another scene that I watched recently, one that made me think about the implicit messages we pick up as children, in social interactions and the culture we intake, be it through toys, movies, or the people we see every day. Part of my job is to observe public school teachers implementing an online math program. One of the teachers I see works in a computer lab, so she has multiple classes coming in throughout the day. When any class enters, she instructs the boys to pull out the girls’ chairs. The girls sit down, and then the boys push their chairs in for them. The girls say thank you, and then the boys can be seated. This is repeated in reverse at the end of class. On my most recent visit, the situation was too paradoxical not to find concerning. “Boys, pull out the ladies’ chairs for them. Ladies, you should never have to touch your chair.” Later, when the boys were pulling the chairs back out at the end of class, with the girls still seated in them: “Ladies, don’t make the boys do all the work themselves. Some of us are heavier than others.” Wait. What I had first thought was pretty adorable (they were second graders, after all) had just become problematic. Is this thrice-weekly mantra seeping into their subconscious little by little, throughout the 5 schooling years they spend in that computer lab, and affecting how they interact with the opposite gender? Did our childhood years spent obsessing over Disney movies and Barbie and Ken actually help form our idea of love in our own futures? Or is Shawntel Newton just another fame-seeking lady who happens to be from the same town as I am, another anomaly?
It’s probably the latter (especially since we can blame high school, college and after for the heartache that might serve to make someone motivated enough to be on The Bachelor) but that doesn’t mean that those childhood hours spent playing house with Barbie and Ken or singing along to “Part of Your World” at sleepovers — or that the odd “role model” in your childhood who told you you were fat while simultaneously telling you to let men do everything for you — aren’t greatly affecting our individual manifestations of gender roles, and expectations of the part each sex should have in a romantic relationship. And by signing up for The Bachelor, a woman is actually signing up for dating someone and the possibility of having a romantic relationship with him. A romantic relationship with someone she’s not met. How could anyone sign up for that unless a part of her still believed that “Disney” love was possible? (Thanks for the irony, world: The Bachelor is an ABC show so it’s actually produced by Disney.)
But let’s talk about the part of one’s love history that comes after childhood, the part of life where I can no longer compare my cultural upbringing to that of Shawntel Newton. Here’s where I was reminded of David McCandless Facebook status analysis, which finds that break-up season comes twice a year: the holidays and spring break. The numbers start to rise again right around now. How does that relate to The Bachelor? Well, personally I have no Facebook friends who update their status about breakups. Who are the 10,000 people producing the break-up statuses that McCandless analyzed? Relationships are playing out in the public domain, via Facebook, The Bachelor, etc, and clearly there are thousands of people not only watching but participating by publicizing their own relationships, or participating in relationships that are almost entirely public. So what happens to today’s girls who have The Bachelor instead of Disney princess movies; how much more public can they make their future relationships? (American media, this is not a challenge.) Whether it’s the childhood toys and movies that still flit through the subconscious or the quarter-life breakups at work, a girl with whom I shared a fairly small childhood landscape is a Bachelor contestant, and the publicizing of our most personal moments has taken another step to becoming normal.