Hello, Loyal Readers. I cannot thank all of you enough for sticking by me like a spurned model to her poorly coiffed, wine-making, pseudo-fiancee after a tumultuous “journey” to find ever-illusive love. It’s been a difficult season for many reasons but we made it through another round and I, for one, am thankful to be done. Sure, Ben turned out to be a giant putz and Courtney appears to have a small conscience beneath her shallow exterior, but this season left me very little desire to continue recapping this mess. Perhaps Emily (and her white shorts) can convince me to carry on. We shall see.
We begin again with promises of the most (insert provocative adjective here) season/finale ever amidst the unbelievably gorgeous vistas of the mountains in and around Zermatt, Switzerland. “Finally, a location where everyone won’t sweat like a bunch of diabetics,” I said to myself as I settled with a Lone Star in one hand and the remote in the other.
I’m sure Roberto felt a twinge of jealousy as he sat at home with a box fan blowing in his face in San Diego on top of the milk crates filled with what is left of his life after Ali packed all of her yellow curtains, yellow throw pillows, and yellow Daddy issues and hit the Yellow Brick Road in search of a desperately desired extension of her already egregiously extended 15 minutes of fame.
Harrison’s voice over reminds us that Ben faces his biggest decision ever; although I’m not sure I agreed considering the fact that the entire thing is essentially a free romp around the world with a dozen desperate Donna’s entailing nothing other than public relations commitments and paid appearances after the show airs. Whatever.
Ben tells us that he “just cant separate his feelings of love” for these two women. Again, I called bulls*it on that one. It was clear a couple of weeks ago who was going to get to temporarily enjoy the weight of Neil Lane’s latest design on her finger and her name is Courtney.
Incidentally, I once had to quit my job at the glue factory I worked at during college. It was awful. As hard as I tried I just became too attached to my work. I couldn’t seem to separate myself from my co-workers. There was a lot of horsing around and we often found ourselves in sticky situations. Sure, we enjoyed a permanent bond that couldn’t be broken, but it really put a hold on the rest of my life. I became stuck in place and just couldn’t seem to break free.
Glue jokes. You’re welcome. Back to Ben.
After more phallic symbolism we see Ben in a the Womack-esque vest looking like an extra from some Dickens’ book wandering the streets of Zermatt in search of a stack of newspapers to distribute to passers-by for a couple of bits and a tussle of the hair. Lindzi roams around in her gray jacket a la Michael Hutchence in the Never Tear Us Apart video circa 1987 and Courtney pets stray cats in doorways like homeless people circa now.
Ben tells us that his mother and sister are on the way as he simultaneously makes “incredible” the new “amazing” before crying a few tears when they arrive to judge the remaining two women. I found it interesting to note that when they sat on the couch it was clear that Ben’s hair is the perfect mix between his sister Julia’s Michael Hutchence circa 1987 hair and his mother’s playful, yet somehow age appropriate blond bob.
As if we needed more filler for this bloated mess, Ben again recaps the women to mom and sis and I couldn’t help but notice that his sister—as nice as she seemed—looked like Ben in a wig. The two of them reminded me of Adam Sandler’s latest attempt at a giant paycheck with zero substance, Jack and Jill. They should rename it Ben and Julia. In the comment of the show Female Ben observes that Ben should be “weary” of Courtney considering the number of red flags he’s seen. I believe she meant “leery;” however, I think her choice of word suffices too. I think we were all a bit “weary” at this point.
Mindful of Ben’s self-imposed color blindness and wearing less bronzer than usual, Lindzi arrives in brown and gray for the meet and judge with a box of chocolates for mom and some oats in a bucket for Female Ben. With the preponderance of brown, black, and gray dominating the screen, I actually felt like I was watching the first 15 minutes of The Wizard of Oz. Top that off with the off capes that Lindzi and Courtney wore to the rose ceremony in addition to the inordinately large quantity of Lone Star I threw down attempting to cope and I spent a lot time anticipating the arrival of of the Munchkins. Ben began to look like disheveled Judy Garland after awhile. Annnyyyhooo…
After a polite greeting and some fake conversation Female Ben drops "You're willing to get down and dirty a little bit," on a clearly nervous Lindzi. Touche, Female Ben. Touche. Lindzi has a similarly canned one-on-one with Older, Blonder, Female Ben who wonders through the ghost of her husband “what is the ingredient” that holds people together. It’s not often I get two opportunities for glue jokes, but I think I’ll pass this one up in favor of what I actually said to the television: “Cheese, Barbara. It’s cheese that holds these two together.” I’m surprised Lindzi didn’t answer, “a firm foundation and lot of concealer, ma’am.” Female Ben drops clues that she hates Courtney before asking for Lindzi to provide some dirt on her. Lindzi uses “different” and “I’m more of a people person,” and Female Ben is bright enough to get the gist. Christmas might be a bit awkward after that little bonding session airs.
Lindzi leaves and Ben debriefs with Female Ben and Older, Blonder Ben before getting the thumbs up from both of them and letting them know that they’re about to meet GASP! a model.
Sporting what I hoped would be the last of the LeQueer por Houmo collection of feminized sweaters that he obviously collects with fervor, Ben stresses on his patio below the Matterhorn about Courtney. Female Ben dons her Mary Tyler Moore cap and makes clear she doesn't like Courtney as she tries to subtly recruit Older, Blonder Ben onto her model-hating team.
After a fake greeting, Courtney launches into her preemptive “I tried but I’m just too beautiful” talk and is met with blank stares from the Bens—all three of them. F that, Courtney, Female Ben has a "long list" of questions. After trying to appear harsh, Female Ben succumbs to the same manipulation that roped her brother into ignoring the red flags all season. Come to think of it, in light of his penchant to brown and gray, perhaps Ben really IS color blind, thereby precluding him from actually identifying Red Flags. That might explain things.
Look, Courtney has been here before and we get a shot of the lion toying with the mouse. She cleverly falls on the sword enough to placate Female Ben but not enough to pierce her well toned bikini body. Female Ben decides to "trust her word." She bites her lip like Courtney. At least they have that in common.
She sits down with mom to play with an older, blonder mouse in her deceptively innocent yellow high waisted get up. "Special, smart, and funny," is how she thinks of Ben. "My cheeks hurt when I come home.” At first I was appalled that she’d share Fantasy Night information with mom, but then realized she was referring to the cheeks on her face. You know, the ones on either side of her fake upper lip.
Courtney drops a "Barb" on us letting us know that Neil Lane better take time out of the annual poker sweepstakes in Harrison’s room to size that big ring. Ben cuddles on the couch with the other Bens and they gush with compliments with both women before Female Ben takes Ben’s hints and gives Courtney a forced endorsement. Ben attempts to derail the inevitable bad PR and we all know for sure that Lindzi is headed home to the comfort of Harry Cox.
I’m not going to go over these in any detail. I believe it suffices to say that the mountains and scenery were the best part of both of these. Ben was as dull as the back side of the Matterhorn and I felt myself feeling sorry for Lindzi. She’s hot, yes, but she’s also a nice person who was nothing but consistently positive and stable the entire season. We all know that’s not easy to do on this show. Hell, just ask Courtney who ABC has been unsuccessfully trying to rehabilitate for the past 4 weeks when it became apparent that Ben was not only color blind but generally blind.
Lindzi and Ben ski while Courtney and Ben sled. Same date, different woman. They chat accordingly and each leaves hoping to walk away with a ring on her finger in less than 24 hours.
Ben gives a "thank you," to Lindzi. Translation: I'm not picking you.
John Tesh music resonates. Translation: I’m not picking her.
After sledding and picnicking with Courtney it becomes apparent which direction Ben is headed. I regretted that he didn’t drop, “what could make this evening better? How about the band Train?” on her like the ever-awkward Womack, but I suppose it was too cold out there for an impromptu concert.
Courtney violates a cardinal rule of the final 5 by making Ben a “special gift.” Normally, “special gifts” lead to “special limo rides home” but goes for it anyway. Hell, she’s broken enough rules this season. She might as well tempt fate by bowling over this one. Based upon Ben’s, “It's heavy,” when he picked up the gift I guessed it was her man-hating baggage. I was wrong. It was a scrapbook full of cliches.
Commence the wandering ‘round town in search of final closure or whatever. Lindzi "has this glow about her," Ben tells us. “THAT’s what I’VE been saying all season,” I said.
Lindzi wakes up in boxers and a tshirt and hits the balcony for reminiscing. Courtney wakes up in her teddy. I believe that sums up the difference between the two. Ben needs to keep in mind that the teddy will wear out with time but the boxers will always look good. How's that for a stupid metaphor?
Neil Lane arrives at 12:13 a.m. with his magic briefcase. He looks like Paul Anka. Ben picks out the ring Courtney told Neil Lane she wanted and Ben puts on his Transporter suit.
Both women looked stunning at the engagement party once they dropped those ridiculous Evil Witch from Snow White cape things off with Harrison. Man, that’s an expensive butler. Clearly aware of how much he’s getting paid to stand and await helicopters, Harrison gladly accepts the menial task of Coat Check B*tch and escorts both girls to the foot of the Matterhorn in hopes of getting the hardware.
Lindzi gets summarily dumped. She blames herself and drops an "If things don't work out, call me." I began to worry that she was going to slide downhill (no pun intended) into “What the F*ck Happened-ville,” but she manages to keep it together enough to appear upset but more than enough to lose with more dignity than any runner up in recent memory.
In retrospect, that's the best thing she could have said to Ben. It clearly made him think and don’t think for one second that little gem won’t be ringing around the inside of his head when he’s dealing with the mess he’s created by picking Courtney.
Lindzi will be over it by the time his relationship with Courtney implodes and Ben will be left with a look of bewilderment and a hole in the pit of his stomach as he watches the season when it airs. I think that was apparent in the After the Final Rose discussion.
Ben gets down on one knee and proposes to Ashley . . . I mean Courtney. She accepts and he slaps the Neil Lane ring on the finger. Courtney and her Catwoman gloves get the ring. Congratulations, Courtney. You “won.” What now?
Here is the part where I normally say something positive about love, honesty, feelings, and commitment in general. It’s the part of the blog where I subtly hint at the modicum of envy I felt as I watch two people—no matter how odd the circumstances—clearly in full belief that each is completely in love with the other. I comment seriously and sentimentally and wish the new couple luck despite taking cheap (and some deserved) shots at them over the past 10 weeks. I’m afraid that’s not going to happen here.
I assume that most of you agree when I say that I just don’t see this one panning out. I don’t “hate” Courtney or even think she’s a horrible person. Shallow and self involved, yes, but not bad. I like Ben a lot less than I did at the beginning of this season, but he’s not guilty of anything other than being miserable with regret while filming the entire season. He got in over his head and, as we’d soon learn in the ATFR, he couldn’t handle the pressure.
Still, there’s a side of me that wants them to work it out. After all that, they both deserve a shot at a normal relationship regardless of what they signed up to do. With the Amazing Count at 76 and the Journey Count at 40 we conclude another season of the show we can’t explain why we watch. I won’t be recapping the ATFR portion of the show as two hours was sufficient for me tonight. I’ll continue to post at least once a week in the off season and I’m more than open to suggestions for posts. Funny stories and my random thoughts will have to take the place of Ben and his hair for a while. Word on the street is that Emily’s season will start in late May. Take care of yourselves. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll free on Monday nights. DP
YO, ADRIAN! I DID IT!