ITM, /eye-tee-em/, noun: Acronym for "In The Moment". An interview held in a generic candle-lit room and conducted in present tense and using full sentences for versatile usage in editing.
This was a very heavy episode in more ways than one. Every date this week had me thinking to myself: EVIL PRODUCTION. (Referring to the producers' influence on how things unfold... bearing in mind I love the producers but know they have a job to do.)
This recap, like the rest, consists of my personal opinions alone. I was not involved in this season and know nothing about its production. I merely speculate using logic and what I learned from my own experience on the show.
I'm a bit torn about Dylan.
Have you ever seen Louis CK's Of Course, But Maybe sketch? It's simultaneously hilarious and offensive. Don't watch if you're easily offended. But it's necessary to understand my next point.
On one side, of course, OF COURSE I think his story is horrifically sad. As Andi said, no one should have to go through something like that. I had tears watching him tell his story and can't even imagine the pain he's experienced and is experiencing.
On the other hand, maybe, BUT MAYBE he shouldn't be on this reality show and should be at home grieving...? I understand one needs to try to move on, not wallow in pain and attempt to resume their life. But the Bachelor/ette experience is not normal life, and while it may seem like a great distraction, I can tell you right now you have A LOT of downtime – too much, really – with zero communication with friends and family and endless hours to fester with your thoughts.
Here's the thing: I don't think Dylan exposing this story on national television is him "opening up" to Andi in a romantic suitor way. I think that is seriously deep shit that should be reserved for later down the road in a relationship. I'm not pointing fingers at Dylan. This is the first time – but not last – I'm calling "Evil Production" this episode. Do I think he has a tragic story that burdens him and that he can't help but carry with him, every minute of every day? Yes. Do I think Production cherry-picked him and his story and put pressure on him to tell his tale on camera for a tear jerker moment and to highlight Andi's empathy? Yes. How about the fact that his one-on-one just so happened to traverse the lake he swam in as a child? That's one hell of a coincidence. Or EVIL PRODUCTION.
All that said, Andi was great on this date. She delivered a lot of slightly-panicked:
Which was met with:
One more thing: It was pretty neat to watch his walls fall down as the date wore on. I liked that by the end he was lightly joking around with her. He seems to genuinely like her, and since this man is NOT an actor, I believe he wouldn't be able to hide it if he didn't. I say that in the best way. He's not feeding off the cameras and seems reticent about the whole process, both of which I respect.
Honestly, though, there is NO chemistry between these two. My fingers are crossed that he doesn't get hurt at some point on the show because he does not need that.
“To tell you the truth, probably one of the happier moments of my life, right now. For sure.”
Say what you want about Juan Pablo, but he was the first – and last, I suppose – to kibosh the traditional "competitive sport group date, losers go home" format of this show. Going into the soccer group date last season we were sure he was going to tell us that losers had to go back to the mansion. He never did. And when you think about it, the concept of that is SO incredibly non-sensical, considering what this show is supposedly about. I also am certain Andi wouldn't have chosen this outcome. EVIL PRODUCTION.
All that aside, this date was entertaining and a much-needed reprieve from the intensity of what bookended it.
There was another spot where Andi, saying "The big surprise is yet to come", was clearly interviewed long after the fact, probably during traveling since both her leather jacket and medallion necklace were gone:
Nothing relevant there except it crossed my mind just HOW many ITMs she must have been doing all the time. I cannot even imagine. During Bachelor I felt like I was doing ITMs constantly but only a tiny fraction ever made TV. So just imagine how many she was doing per day, every day. She states later that she's exhausted, and I believe her.
Some fun moments during this date were watching the girls watch the boys fight to the death:
Josh's interruption of Brian's ITM was hilarious:
I vaguely feel like editing is telling me to like Josh but that's not stopping him from growing on me. (Ah, their powers of persuasion)
And this shot:
I find it hilarious to imagine them sitting in there like that, looking so miserable and defeated, while an entire camera crew casually sits there zooming in on them. It's a great image.
At the cocktail party two things stood out to me. First was Eric opening up to Andi about his Mormon upbringing and how he didn't completely leave the church until he was 26.
“I'm so set on living life by what you really feel and what you really believe.”
YES. Couldn't have said it better myself. I find Eric to be very reasonable and pragmatic. (More on that later)
As for Brian's one-on-one time...
I'm sorry but I'm just not buying it. There is no romantic chemistry between these two. He finds her attractive and she likes that he's good at basketball. She's an engaging conversationalist and that's the only thing keeping this together. Just my two cents.
Ah, the requisite daredevil stunt activity date, where what you wrote under "Phobias" all those weeks ago during casting is used against you. EVIL PRODUCTION.
I'm all about facing your fears but this was a bit much. Maybe if we hadn't seen the exact same formula for the past gazillion seasons this would be moving, but instead I found it dragged on and was patronizing. Andi and Marcus taking a "leap of faith" with their relationship and throwing caution to the (albeit frightful) wind and somehow his encouraging her translates as "protectiveness"...? Um, okay.
Patrick offers some much-needed comic relief by explaining to Eric why the ropes indicate it's two different people rappelling outside the window... except Eric has probably already written a book about rappelling down the sides of 30-story buildings.
One thing that did make me laugh was Marcus asking, "Wanna kiss in front of them?"
All my bitching and moaning about their extreme sport daytime activity aside, I do think Andi and Marcus are cute together. You can tell she's like a giddy schoolgirl around him and it is VERY sweet.
But alas, that intimate moment is short-lived as they are now required to dance and make out on display during a concert that is not private but no less awkward than the last one:
THAT RIDICULOUS SECRET ADMIRER LETTER SEGMENT
I have to imagine the Editing room was laughing while preparing this outrageously stupid flashback of Andi's "Secret Admirer" writing her a letter. It layered cheese upon cheese and then added a cheesy topping of cheese. Also, not that it matters, but did anyone notice that the letter written in the hazy flashback was not the one she read?
I mean, I guess it doesn't matter. But if you're going to show a flashback of someone writing it, shouldn't it be the same letter? Just sayin'.
HOO BOY. This was a doozy. I spent a lot of time considering what I was going to write about Eric's dramatic exit because:
- I realize this is a highly sensitive topic considering Eric's passing
- I know Andi personally and consider her a friend
- I know that this couldn't have been an easy situation for Production to spin and edit
Here's the thing. I don't think Eric was nasty or aggressive in his confrontation. I think he was likely on to something. The kind of conversation and intimacy you have on a one-on-one is next to impossible to replicate in group settings (or when you know ten other guys are in the next room) and as much of an advantage it is to get the first one-on-one, it's also a curse. Consider Clare from last season. It was harder for her than anyone to watch Juan Pablo develop feelings for other women. It's a flattering position to be in but every aspect of your date is designed to accelerate the development of feelings and attachment to the Bachelor/ette, and then it remains stagnant for a LONG TIME while the Bachelor/ette continues to do the same thing with other people. The group date I went on after my Seoul one-on-one was jarring. And remember: it's designed to be.
I think Eric did exactly what he was meant to do: He got to know Andi first and really liked what he saw. He felt attached and as though they had something she couldn't have with anyone else, and along with that, a feeling of entitlement that he deserved to be treated differently.
Andi took his issue as a sign that Eric did not "believe in" her. But I think the courage it took for him to express any sort of beef with the lead – the rose-keeper who determines their fates – was a sign of just the opposite. He believed in her, or them, enough to confront her about it.
A poker face is NOT a bad thing. I personally consider the ability to have a poker face a powerful tool in life. And above all, the Bachelor/ette is meant to have some degree of a poker face in this scenario. There is NO way they really have feelings for all these women/men. They HAVE to be a "TV actor/actress" to some degree. It might be cruel, but it's not good television if every contestant knows exactly where they stand and are already halfway out the door when they're eliminated.
That said, do I think Andi overreacted and played the victim? I do. Do I think this was maybe a case of "the lady doth protest too much?" I do. And do I think Andi would probably agree with me? I do.
Like I touched on above, filming is extremely intense for the lead. They go on LONG dates, day after day, and do dozens of ITMs a day. We girls used to talk about it in the house, about how exhausted Juan Pablo must have been. It would not be out of the ordinary to get home from a group date at 3 or 4am, meaning he probably did too. Except he would then go on a full-day date the very next day. My point is, Andi most likely really was exhausted, was doing her best to be engaging for every guy, and therefore was more personally offended by what Eric said than she would have been in the real world.
It's an extremely unfortunate situation where, like she said in her post-filming interview with Chris Harrison, normally all this exists in an alternate reality bubble. You can address, laugh at, or argue about things that were said later on in the real world, or at the very least at Men Tell All. But tragically this was their last exchange and no one could have predicted that.
“If Andi knew the way that I meant it, that I really cared to get to know her more, and I wanted to see her just be comfortable around me.... I don't know, just, something very wrong just happened.”
I believe that had he not passed, Eric would have been edited more of a villain in his departure than he was. And one can argue that they showed too much of the confrontation and that was disrespectful to him and made Andi look dramatic and defensive, but had they skimmed over his abrupt departure everyone would have complained about the lack of explanation. It's an utter lose-lose. Obviously everyone, including Andi and Production and viewers, wishes he was still alive. It's just sad.
Marquel's style never goes unnoticed but he finally came out on top this week. The man can dress. His hipster glasses don't look ironic on him, they just look hot. And his bow tie doesn't look kitschy, just thoughtful and polished. I even think the no-socks was a good choice.
A close second is Chris, who consistently excels at making feminine ties look masculine. The man rocks paisley.
I was lukewarm about the fashion this week. The only thing that really stood out to me was Andi's daytime outfit for her one-on-one with Dylan:
I LOVE that coat and the girl pulls off skinny white jeans better than anyone I know.
The group date dress, however...
... was too hoochie for me. The tightness + (lack of) length + leather + T-strap back is too much. And the shoes didn't do the look any favors. Imagine the same dress but knee-length with a slit. Still sexy but more discreet.
The Rose Ceremony evening gown was more cool than anything else:
It's as much a work of art as a dress and she looks like an Oscar in it. In a good way.
DRINKING GAME WORDS OF THE WEEK
(I think I might as well scrap this section)
Until two weeks from now, fellow pandas!