Hello, Readers. Welcome to Epidode 4. Some Guy has been inordinately busy doing some fancy lawyering lately and that's put a cramp in my style larger than the mythical "don't swim less than 30 minutes after eating" type of cramp. My mother used to tell me that in addition to swearing that if I watched too much television my eyes would turn into squares. Ah, God blesss my mother. It's that type of under-parenting that made me who I am today. I always knew square eyes was a reversible condition anyway.
At any rate, I forced myself to endure the full two hours of our least favorite favorite show last night in order to share my thoughts with all of you today. Sure, I'm a day late, but like a high school girl's period, I'm certain you're all relieved that I showed up. The new job is great, by the way. Thanks to those of you who took the time email me your best wishes and recognize that it's taken a real effort to get the show watched and the posts up on the site lately. I'm confident that I'll find the balance I forever seek eventually and those of you who choose to stick around will undoubtedly be the beneficiaries of that balance. With that out of the way, let's get to it.
We begin with shots of the wonderfullness that is Park City, Utah in the Fall. Like every first trip setting before it, it's deemed "a perfect place to fall in love." Rolling hills, colored foliage, and pure streams cradle Ben like a tiny, v-neck wearing infant as he takes in their majesty aboard the ubiquitous Bachelor-copter and then on horseback. He looked as out of place atop that horse as...oh, I don't know...an Italian cruise ship atop a bunch of underwater rocks.
V-neck shirts now yield to v-neck sweaters as Ben recaps and the girls FlipCam their way to Utah in off-the-shoulder sweaters and 35 foot scarves breathlessly anticipating the arrival of their knight in shining armor. After woo-hooing the hotel suite and sighing collectively at the absence of a telescope, they get a surprise early visit from Harrison and his flip collar sweater. Not one for ceremony this season, he restates the rules, drops the first date card, and hightails it from the suite undoubtedly in search of a highball.
"Rachel, Let's let nature take its course. --Ben," the card reads. I was thankful that Lindzi proved her ability to read. Chalk up another point in the "Hot" column for her. I prayed that the Fall climate in Utah would deprive her of enough Vitamin D so that her skin would return to a normal tone. I also prayed that whoever is in charge of the bronzer and the light meter during pre-production blocking sessions would fall ill with some sort of stomach ailment so she wouldn't be painted like an Ooompa Loompa in the first (and best) Willie Wonka movie.
Rachel and her husky voice take her bangs (and her heretofore well-concealed hooters) back to her bedroom to give those puppies a little breathing room before packing her bag and putting them back in their kennels. In the meantime, Kacie (bless her 24 year old heart) begins the Ashley-esque, post superfun first date decline by letting us know that she's in love with Ben. Poor Kacie. That first date is always a tough one. If it sucks, she has to worry about getting booted. If it's wonderful, she has to worry about the other broads throwing some come-from-behind moves at Ben for a couple weeks until she gets another date.
She did seem overly neurotic, however. Perhaps she was worried about her unfilfilled Administraive Assistant responsibilities back in Tennesee or perhaps her mother yelled at her for not putting her pajamas in the hamper and leaving them on the floor of her room before she left to go find love.
While she laments her lack of focus, Rachel leaves with Ben on the first helicopter date of the season and they ignore each other until they arrive at their lake for a secluded canoe ride and a picnic. Rachel does an excellent job speaking in Hemmingway-esque sentences and Ben does his best to coax each word from her perpetually sealed lips. Not until they hop aboard the canoe christened "Jupiter" do they abandon all hope of conversation in favor of some kissing. Incidentally, I assume that "Jupiter" was one member of a small fleet of similarly christened canoes. I suppose we'll have to wait until Fantasy Suite week for Uranus to appear. (I'll be here all week, folks).
Luckily, whoever edits this show shares my unapologetic affinity for anatomy jokes and innuendo because we simultaneously got a shot of the still upset Kacie talking to the always make-upped and updo-ed Monica about "how hard it is" and "how hard it's going to get" while Ben dropped "look, it's a beaver dam" on a mute Rachel before telling us that there is something Rachel has that he "just can't put his finger on." Apparently, they outsourced the editing of that segment to the Park City Junior High School Audio Visual Club this week. Nice work, boys.
Rachel certainly didn't do herself any favors on the first part of the date. To her credit, she admitted that she has a communication problem (read: severe trust and intimacy issues), but didn't seem too intent on solving it right away. It's usually the ones who can maintain a cool head amidst all of the spilling estrogen that are more emotionally removed. I was bummed to see that Rachel was a bit too removed. She's attractive and, up until this episode, seemed fun and cool. I was still rooting for her, but like most of you probably felt, I was discouraged. Props to Ben for not giving up too.
Back at the hotel the girls devour glasses of wine proportionate to their oversized scarves and the Dreaded Group Date Card arrives. Jamie, Casey S., Blakeley, Samantha, Nicki, Kacie B., and Courtney get the "Let's see if you're a great catch" card and Emily and Courtney take their places on opposite sides of the cat box.
With crabcakes cooling on the counter, Ben takes out his can opener and attempts to pry any information out of Rachel that she'll volunteer and she gnaws on her lips for fear that if she releases them from the steady grip of her incisors they might form a word or two. Ben eventually gives up in favor of shoving that delicious crabcake in his mouth. Again, I'll give him credit for trying. He tossed more softballs than Jenny Finch and Rachel simply wouldn't swing.
In lieu of any substantive information, Rachel gives him the "just ask if you want to know" speech before actually gaining some ground and making an adequate, albeit poor, recovery and earning a rose. Getting that safety rose was tantamount to reaching first base after a third strike is called and the catcher drops the ball. That "just ask" speech will work . . . sometimes indefinitely . . . in the real dating world, but not here. Rachel, you're hot and I like you a lot but it's time to put the crock pot away and turn the microwave on high. At this rate your bangs will grow out before you open up to Ben. If you like him, find a way around it and take a chance. If not, throw on some waterproof mascara because that limo ride to the nearest airport is lurking behind you.
Group Date time. The girls arrive proving they can follow the "jeans, ubiqutous 30 foot scarf, and cute seasonal winter boots" dress code suggestion on the back of the date card. As they await Ben's arrival on the river bank he awkwardly rides up on the least aggressive horse the animal consultant hired by ABC could find in the dude ranch barn and still almost castrates himself on the saddle horn while attempting to execute his best Tristain Ludlow in Legends of the Fall arrival by crossing the river on horseback. He should have tried side saddle for crying out loud.
I'm certain Lindzi will share that story with Mr. Ed or whatever her horse's name is when she gets booted. Knees bent, heels down, sit up tall, and take a deep seat with your weight on your butt and not your crotch, Ben. Forget any of those and you'll be pulling your testes from above your v-neck back through your inguinal canals. Poor form aside, he made it across the river and the girls pretended to be impressed.
After a steady horseback ride though the beautiful flora and fauna, the girls suit up with Ben for a day of fly fishing and for the first time in the history of this blog Some Guy was jealous. That jealously yielded to sheer aggravation when it was clear that the scenery, horses, and opportunity to spend an afternoon (for free no less) fly fishing in a pristine river was lost on most of them. I suppose those same girls would feel the same way if they took me to Nordstrom's or Nieman's and allowed me to try on whatever I wanted all afternoon. I get it, but I was still annoyed.
Courtney is relieved to have a stiff rod in her hand and manages to get Ben alone and distract him while the producers pull a half dead trout from a nearby cooler and slap Courtney's fly in its mouth. The envy lasts long enough for the girls to give up on the "fishing" in favor of the contents of the other nearby cooler and the entire excusion turns into a wine party again. Sigh...
With all of that icky outdoors stuff out of the way, the girls are thankful to return to their natural habitat: the poolside martini bar. Casey S. looked pretty, but she's also as mute as my television during the State of the Union Address and I wasn't much more interested in hearing her open her mouth any more than I was interested in listening to that speech. She's done a masterful job of looking pouty and hot in the background all season and between her and Jamie, I'd be remiss to tell you who'd win a round of The Silent Game.
Nicki is first up for some alone time and margaritas her way into trying to "relate" to Ben by telling him that her boss recently passed away. Come on, Nicki. "My boss recently died"? Dude, his DAD died AND he's his own boss. Read the notes in the packet you got before leaving Hurst and heading out to L.A. Despite the pathetic effort, Nicki stumbled into getting a "you thrive in a group setting" from Ben. Wow. That's a lot like "you have the perfect face for radio" but Nicki seemed satiated and returned to the herd.
The next exchange will almost certainly sit atop my favorite Bachelor moments of all time list. After greasing her wtih a couple of those giant glasses of wine the procuction crew sends in Former Miss Pacific Palisades, Samantha, to c*ck block Nicki and question Ben's judgment. After donning an appalled look and a grin of sheer disbelief an incredibly even tempered Ben suggested that she's "kind of highly emotional" and quickly followed her indignance with "I can't justify a one-on-one based on what I've seen so far" and punting her out of the end zone. Her cry-face was worse than Jaclyn's too. I didn't even think that was possible.
I strongly considered simply retiring after that exchange. Hell, Ben didn't even need that fat guy with the leather hat who helped Roz pack her s*it after she banged a Producer and Harrison had to clean up the mess to help him get her out of the mansion. Unlike that panty waste Jake, Ben did the job himself.
The entire crew is probably still laughing in the production van outside of the resort. As I've said many times before, "desperate and alone equals limo ride home." I'd like to amend that truism by adding "desperate and alone and a bitchy tone equal instant limo ride home." Do your homework, Samantha. You won't be doing the point and wave out of the roof of that limo when it pulls into Pacfic Palasades. Priceless.
Finally, the Date Card arrives and Jennifer, our "red head" from Oklahoma is asked to "pick our love song." She pakcs her purple suitcase as Ben follows producer's directions by taking Kacie and her off-the--shoulder sweater and royal blue bikini top to a secluded couch and making sure her Crazy remains in check.
Courtney--we have to give credit here--sees the lip gloss on the wall and gets Ben alone for a brilliant preemptive strike against Emily and her co-conspirators. She masters the art of the uncomfortable silence and actually has Ben use the word "us" in reference to them, gets a direct apology from him for not trying harder, and eventually gets him to go downstairs and take the rose from the plate in the middle of the party and give it to her. She played that perfectly. Granted, it was deceptive, manipulative, anti-social, and a case study in self-centeredness, but it was pretty to watch. She lost me with the Charlie Sheen-isms, but she's clearly experienced at that whole act. Marry her and Ben can look forward to a lifetime of that exact scenario--well, at least until she tires of him and he can no longer forward her modelling career.
Ben picks up Jennifer and they head to a crater for some light spelunking and Jennifer shows Ali how a yellow bikini should look. I'll gloss over this entire date by saying that Jennifer is exactly what Ben thought she was: laid back, cool, relatively fun, sincere, and less enthusiastic than the other girls. In other words, she's normal. I like her. I just don't see the sparks there. I think it's telling that she appears to get along well with all of the girls, including Courtney, really well. She's a catch. However, she's not a catch in this environment. Her quiet class will be mistaken for a lack of enthusiasm for Ben and her redeeming qualities will be eclipsed by the over-the-top personalities and gamesmenship of the other women. She'll do fine back in Oklahoma. She's more likely to find a guy who can dance too.
The date features a "private" concert by Clay Walker. The guy is a Houstonian and it's arguable if he's actually "country". That's a tough one for me because he's on the fence between real "country" music and that garbage that jerkoffs like Jason Aldean are getting rich off of today. "Where Do I Fit in the Picture" is my favorite Clay Walker song, if you're interested. Check it out.
Incidentally, a few years ago (10 or so) I met Clay Waker at a private donor party for the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. The company I worked for was a major sponsor and he gave a concert for about 100 people at a private residence and I was invited. He talked a lot about his Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis and about what he does for local hospitals and for people with the disease. He was a decent guy and I was relieved to see him rather than Chicago, Train, or Jeffrey Osborne.
I'll gloss past all of the details of the cocktail party. Not because I don't want to share, but because we've all seen it play out the same way for the past three seasons or so. Keeping in line with most unprepared girls in recent history, Emily ignores her PhD caliber intellect and allows Courtney to get in her head. I hated to admit it, but Courtney proved herself to be smarter than Emily in this environment. She stirred the pot until the Crazy Stew was perfect temperature and then allowed Emily to fill up her bowl and go feed it to Ben while she sat back and drank about 3 bottles of red and 1 bottle of white wine.
Emily regresses and makes an arguably bigger mistake than The Former Miss Pacific Palisades and Former Miss Bachleor Contestant, Samantha, made by dropping the "there's a girl here who acts differently in front of you than she does in front of us" speech. This is also known as "The Right Reasons" speech but that nomenclature has clearly been outlawed by the powers that be. Complaining about Courtney is tanatmount to Martha Stewart complaining that Rachel Ray has her own cooking show. It's useless and pointless. I'm sure she'll regret the hell out of that choice when she gets herself sent home next week after squandering her second chance by making the same mistake twice. She'll have plenty of time to think about it while icing her puffy eyes and sipping through a couple bottles of chardonnay in her apartment near campus while listening to Pink's Missundaztood album over and over again and ignoring her girlfriends' calls and texts. Ph.D? PHenomenally Dumb move, Emily.
Again, Courtney emerges victorious and puts a big fat (and well-deserved, I might add) cherry on top of her Emily cobbler by throwing in a "what an idiot" when she finds out what Emily did. If you'll recall, I predicted that Samantha would be the first to get booted for this particular breach of Bachelor ettiquette. I wasn't all wrong, but Emily should have learned her lesson.
After shaking off the laughter and getting himself together, Harrison rings the champagne glass and the rose ceremony begins in earnest. Emily sweats and Courtney gloats. She had a 1 in 8 chance of getting booted heading into the cocktail party. By caving into her own stupidity, upped her odds to 1 in 2. It went down as follows.
7. Kacie B. (keep it together, honey)
8. Elyse (why?)
9. Blakeley (she's calmed down)
10. Casey S. (Silence is Golden)
11. Emily (You're more sane than Samantha and you're not bi-sexual)
SEE YA, Samantha and Monica.
Well, there you have it. With the Amazing count at a steady 32 and the Journey count at an early season 12 (the "Journey" has not yet begun), we finally head out of the Western United States over to lovely Puerto Rico for next week's festivities. Until next time, take care of yourselves. In the meantime, if you need me, I'll be searching hard for a beaver dam. DP