I have to thank you guys. I seriously have the best readers. I love your comments, your support, your patience. I love it when you see things the way I do but appreciate that you're respectful when you don't. Before actually going on this show, I watched it for years in a guilty, secretive way. None of my friends watched this "trash", so I had no one with whom to excitedly discuss the latest episode. A lot has changed, of course, because my appearance on the show has enticed my friends to watch—and subsequently, get hooked (they love me). But I really enjoy reading what you have to say, the way you understood something exactly the way I did, or how you saw it differently.
Hello Giggles, an excellent and interactive culture and lifestyle website, just deemed my posts "the best Bachelor recaps ever." I know we're not discussing any real world issues here, anything important or even relevant, but I'm still honored. I just want to say thanks. So, thanks!
*** Just a gentle reminder that this is a SPOILER-FREE ZONE. ***
"I've been given the greatest opportunity any man in this world could possibly have." — Chris, who evidently needs to expand his horizons, on being the Bachelor.
Kimberly, WHY? I know you envisioned the unfolding of this adventure differently, but why embarrass yourself when it didn't go your way? When you're crying to a man you hardly know, begging him to give you a "second chance at a first impression" (vomit), and he looks at you like this...
... it's time to put on your big girl shoes, remember what pride feels like, and march on out.
I'm reminded of the season premiere of Bachelor Canada, when Jennifer was eliminated Night One. In her departure ITM, she said, "If he doesn't appreciate me, I wouldn't want to be with him anyway." My thoughts exactly.
My full rant on Kimberly's return and departure is here.
Remember last week when I said Chris had a certain "I'm not sure what I'm doing here" vibe to him? It's great. Just watch him gamely act for the cheesy "pensive" shots. His little head tilt and grin at the end, to me, says, "This is ridiculous." But he's being obedient.
Chris Harrison informs a U-shape of ladies that Chris is living just down the driveway and reminds them to be aggressive in both taking advantage of their time with him and in making time with him. Subtle.
Fun Fact #1: They all talk like Night One was "last night", but it wasn't. Because Night One is such an insanely long night of filming (you saw the sunrise), the entire next day is spent in the hotel room you were trapped in for 3 days before Night One. Most of it is spent catching up on sleep, talking to producers who come by to congratulate and chat with you, and, in my case, watching the Food Network. (I can watch Barefoot Contessa for hours.)
Prepping for the group date, Chris allows ultra-creepy, voyeur-esque shots of him showering to be taken...
... and not-quite dresses himself:
FIRST GROUP DATE
Six girls and Chris participate in a not-that-fun-looking pool party with the requisite game of chicken fight. (Seriously, who plays this game in pools?! I grew up with a pool and have never played it, nor do I think I want to. Especially with my legs wrapped around the neck of a man I've just met.) Chris offers to come around the corner to give Kimberly her "second chance at a first impression" (still vomiting). She over-emotes which is something I have an intense personal disdain for:
I literally have a whole journal entry from my time on the show ranting about contorted faces like the one above. Notice her glance at the camera for a split second before she turns her face on. She's performing. Not a fan.
Anyway, Kimberly and Chris reenact meeting and unsurprisingly, it's forced and fake.
Fun Fact #2: About ITMs. In last week's comments, Teri asked me what they are. It has been a long time since I defined them. To give you an example, on the group date, Jade says in an ITM, "I have never been on a date with five other girls." Her producer most likely asked her, "Have you ever been on a date with five other girls?" She must respond in full sentences and in present tense. Obviously you can get more creative than this example, and the best, most honest and interesting results come from ITMs that feel like conversations rather than prompts. But you get the idea.
Back at the mansion, Megan and a presumably very confident Jillian stroll into Chris' conveniently unlocked abode and proceed to:
Fun Fact #3: Note the mic pack on the back of Megan's bikini top. As long as cameras are in the house—which isn't always—you're wearing a mic pack.
So, this happened:
I'm not going to harp on this since the many ways in which this was wrong were lost on no one, but if you want my thoughts, I vented about it in my Flare recap. Feminist blog Girls Globe delves a lot deeper here. It's so absurdly misogynistic that I don't want to talk about it anymore, but first, let's all remember Andi's stripper group date. I was there and went into the day not knowing what to expect. (People way overestimate how much we're told.) When the guys came out and started stripping, I couldn't believe it. I am no prude, believe me, but I was beyond mortified. The day it aired, I tweeted:
I kind of feel like that day has come. Obviously the girls are not stripping and dancing, but the show has gotten them to do as close to that as they possibly could without it being next-level offensive.
Beyond the whole gender equality issue, there is NO way those girls wanted to do that. I don't care how confident you are in your body, you just wouldn't want to walk around the streets in a bikini. I felt so bad for them. I remember having a panic attack over how miniature the shorts on our soccer group date were:
I'm really not a short-shorts girl. I admire tall, leggy girls who can pull them off but I'm not one of them. These were so short—there was bonafide cheek action—that I begged for a larger size. Get this: there was no larger size. Fantastic. So I pulled them down as low was possible and took deep breaths. And those were shorts! IN A SETTING WHERE SHORT SHORTS MAKE PERFECT SENSE! Not BIKINIS. In the STREET. Just imagining it is panic-inducing. Those girls deserve trophies.
Ashley I "wins" one-on-one time with Chris and apparently there was no more sensical or comfortable seating arrangement to be found for a conversation between two near-strangers than this:
At the mansion, Juelia reveals the truly tragic backstory of the father of her daughter having committed suicide. I found the camera work for this entire segment strange. Here's why...
Fun Fact #4: There are two types of conversations had between girls during filming. Regular conversations like this one, where the girls are just themselves, and "girl chats", the staged (but not scripted) conversations where girls are seated in an open arrangement, like side by side, which is better for cameras.
Fun Fact #5: I HATED girl chats because they felt so staged and acted. I was constantly trying to get out of doing them. The longer you stay on the show and therefore fewer girls there are, the less you can get away with that. More girl chats mean potentially more screen time, so it's no coincidence that the more eternally camera-ready girls were always first to volunteer.
You KNOW Juelia was not looking for attention or even necessarily planning to revealing her story. She was just talking to the girls in what felt like a private conversation, when a camera zooms in from far away:
I don't know why, because obviously they know they're on a television show, but that always weirds me out, when someone is vulnerable and/or revealing something private, all while being secretly filmed. Kind of gives me chills.
Mackenzie gets to spend the rest of the group date with Chris, gets the rose, blah blah, comes home and deems it necessary to tell the girls how many times Chris kissed her. I fell in love with Whitney (who I'm beginning to notice has a Blake Lively thing going on) while she quietly watched Mackenzie askance...
... and in her ITM, said: "It's her business. We don't need to know that." (Preach, sister.) "But, I did think, 'Wow, you were really counting: Okay, that was the second time, and that was the third...'" Point: Whitney.
Despite this being an extravagant and picturesque date, I was bored. Pretty much all I heard were a bunch of "This is so amazing"s and spied some very advanced first-date upper-thigh hand-holding:
Megan did have a heartbreaking story to tell about her father's recent passing, but it struck me as unideal first date chat. (Twenty bucks says producers told her to mention it.)
SECOND GROUP DATE
I am SO jealous of this date. This looked so hilarious and strange and fun.
The segment with Drunken Jordan was pretty funny when she went on about Jillian's down-there hair situation (something I think she might regret now). My favorite moments with the Bachelor series are when the show makes fun of itself. Exhibit A, otherwise known as Jillian's Black Modesty Box Over Jeans:
Kaitlyn continued to be cool as a cucumber whilst rocking magenta lipstick and hilariously poking fun at the Canadian accent:
Unfortunately, what was a cool date just became the Crazy Eyes Ashley S show:
I got a bit sick of it, honestly. All I wanted to do was watch everyone run around with the zombies and suddenly it was all about how Crazy Eyes Ashley S talked about shooting her teammates, how Crazy Eyes Ashley S saw angels in the candles, how Crazy Eyes Ashley S consistently makes no sense. I've been asked a lot about her—do I think she's crazy or acting?—and frankly, I don't really care. She's just sucks up the spotlight. I'd rather watch and analyze one-on-one time or laugh at funny antics in the mansion.
Fun Fact #5: Every contestant on this show goes through fairly rigorous psychological testing in the final round of casting. Seriously, the psych section alone consists of two separate true/false tests, one of which is Scantron-style and over 500 questions. It took me 3-4 hours to complete. That's followed by time with the (wonderful—I seriously loved her) psychologist. My point? I doubt Ashley S is legitimately nuts. She might be "out there" but she's not a threat to others or herself. They do want crazy—don't we all?—but no one wants real harm.
All in all, the entire Crazy Eyes Ashley S saga was aptly summarized by Britt:
So, dear readers, apparently guys "like taking girls' virginities". This segment almost, almost rendered me speechless. I might cast some shade on Ashley I for announcing on national television that she's a virgin—seriously, how is that appropriate or even relevant?— except based on the camera work and zoom, I highly doubt she planned on it:
It looks like a real, un-staged conversation to me. I was rendered fully speechless by Mackenzie's dead-serious response:
As for Ashley I's kiss, no one can know what it's like to kiss on camera until they've been there. Watching my first onscreen kiss was humiliating and the kiss itself is not remotely representative of real life. To all the judgers out there: She stuck around so she must have done something right. 'Nuff said.
On a depressing closing note:
- "I never seem to be anybody's number one."
- "I'll get used to rejection one day."
- "It really makes me second-guess a lot of things about myself."
- "This will haunt me for the rest of my life."
- "It always ends in heartbreak for me."
TARA, IF YOU'RE READING THIS:
- You're a beautiful and worthwhile person.
- Surround yourself with family and empowering friends who appreciate you.
- When you have built up your self esteem and know your worth, explore meeting a nice boy in a non-reality TV dating show way.
Was it just me or was the fashion super "meh" this week? No one's taking any risks! And while nothing really stood out as amazing OR terrible, the camera work didn't help. For example, I thought I might like Britt's Rose Ceremony dress, but I couldn't get a good enough view of it to even know.
Out of what I could see, my best dressed by far was Whitney with her impeccably-fitted red Rose Ceremony dress:
Sure, it's safe, but the fit is serious perfection. It's not just a stretchy tube dress either. Overall ladylike and tasteful while still showing off the bod. Thumbs up.
Again, this week was so "meh" that I considered not even having a worst dressed. But I do think one should make an effort—it's the Bachelor for Pete's sake!—so my Worst Dressed Lite goes to Megan for her one-on-one "ensemble":
There's nothing overtly wrong with this outfit, it's just so boring. I know she was probably instructed to wear something comfortable that she could walk in, but there are still many interesting, cute, fun options out there. I'm also not wild about those hammered disc earrings. Sorry, Megan. :(
Until next week, fellow pandas!