Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Bachelorette: This is not a recap

I’m not planning on doing regular recaps of The Bachelorette—not with Top Chef starting up tomorrow (woo-hoo!)—but I had to weigh in on last night’s craptacularly bad episode.

One of the things that has always amused me about the show is how at ease the contestants seem with the truly surreal circumstances they find themselves in. Everyone’s always just ready to slap on a pair of swim trunks, hop into a hot tub, and start an on-camera makeout session.

There’s also the built-in hilarity of all the guys being madly in love with the Bachelorette after just one moment locking eyes with her. (For the record, this year's "prize," Ali, is cute enough but kind of drippy, with bad extensions and a giggling tic that works my nerves.)
Never once has a contestant said, “You know, she’s not really my type” or “She seems cute, but I don’t know her yet.”
From the beginning it’s all: I’m in love! She’s mine! We’re meant to be together forevah! (Of course, they are instructed to behave that way by producers, but for the most part, these guy-testants believe their own bullshit.).

Last year, there was a glaring exception to this rule: A contestant named Wes who was so obviously on the show to promote his “country music career” he couldn’t even bother to pretend that he was into (the truly adorable) Jillian. He mumbled a few lines about being into her, but mostly he avoided eye contact and whipped out his git-ar whenever he got the chance. He often seemed like he was on the verge of bursting into laughter. His very demeanor said, "You're not actually buying this, are you?" And she still kept giving the bastard a rose. Women are dumb.

But the beauty of this season’s Bachelorette is this. While there are many of the requisite reality TV smoothies, there are few contestants who seem completely freaked out. And it’s wonderful.

Earlier in the show we had the drama of Craig, who was a cigar-chomping alpha-male bully around the dudes and turned into a mute shoe-gazer around Ali. One minute he’s all villainously sniggering at the weaker contestants, the next minute he’s practically in a fetal position while talking to Ali.

Then there’s Jonathan, the weather man, a contestant so awkward, so spooked, he literally shakes everytime he’s in Ali’s presence. Last night was, mercifully, his last, but not before he gave us two epic fail moments. 
First, he tried to butt-in when Ali was huddling with another contestant. Now, since multiple guys are vying for alone time with Ali, butting in is a significant skill in the kill-or-be-killed Bachelorette universe.
“Is this a good time?” Jonathan asked meekly, as Ali was having a private conversation with Craig, who looks like Vin Diesel if Vin Diesel had no sexy.
“No,” said Vin.
“Okay, I’ll come back,” Jonathan said, tip-toeing away. (This is a dude who must’ve pulled many a “Kick me” sign off his back as a youth.)
Then they cut to a confessional interview in which Jonathan was essentially hitting himself in the head over and over again and saying, “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!” (This is pretty much what all his confessional videos are like).
(Just to prove how easy the butt-in actually was, a few moments later Kirk, one of those suave contestants who was born with the reality TV chip, glided over and took Ali away from a startled Vin—and tucked her into bed no less!).
Still determined to get alone time with Ali, Jonathan tried again during the pre-rose ceremony cocktail party. Finally alone with her, he did the one thing that he could do—he got his guitar and sang her a song. Except for one thing: He was shaking—natch. And his song was terrible. His “crooning” was genuinely repellant. I think I actually heard dogs barking in the background. Ali looked mortified. 
“I thought that went well,” a newly confident Jonathan told the camera later. “I’m more of a singer/songwriter type. I feel confident that I will get a rose.”
Bye-bye, weather weenie.

We have another contestant, a Steve Nash lookalike whose name I couldn’t possibly begin to remember, who hasn’t had a single solo date and has barely uttered a word the entire show. Every week it’s clear that it’s his time to go. The guy is a complete non-entity— seriously, there are lamps that have gotten more screen time then him. And yet every week she gives him a rose. It’s magical.

And finally there’s Kasey, pictured above.
Kasey is, quite possibly, the first truly batshit crazy contestant the Bachelorette has every seen. (Last year there was a guy with a foot fetish, but hey, to each his own.) Dude is Norman Bates crazy.
The first thing he told Ali, right out of the limo, was that he was here to “guard and protect her heart.” If I had known then what a spectacular drinking game that phrase would’ve provided, I would’ve bought me a bottle of ripple on the spot. Because that’s Kasey ’s catch phrase, and by golly, he’s sticking to it. Again and again and again. Just like his elders on the Planet Zimbort told him to.

The thing is, Kasey is almost like any other shmoopy reality show contestant—filled with platitudinous declarations of love—except there is something positively crazed and manic in his delivery.
In that sense, he serves as a kind of object lesson in just how nutso these shows really are. All of his insisting that he’s going to “guard and protect her heart” when he doesn’t even know her is, obviously, insane. But it’s really not much more insane than anyone else on the show—it’s just that he has a vaguely homicidal gleam in his eyes when he says it.
Did I mention that Kasey is super cute? (Although his artfully destroyed jeans and tight plaid shirt had my gaydar firing.) It helps to make the crazy more palatable.

So Kasey got a solo date with Ali and kept staring into the very core of her soul with his Zimbort death stare and whipped out his guitar (guitars are big this season) not once, but twice, to sing some horribly improvised ballad to her. I wish I had written down the lyrics. But suffice it to say that rhyming “moon” with “spoon” would’ve been a big improvement for him.

Kasey is so batshit crazy that the Bachelorette producers actually played the suicide card with us.
In previews, they showed Kasey with a bandage around his wrist.
“I’m afraid he’s going to do something drastic,” one of the guy-testants said.
OMG, you guys, is he going to try to off himself?
No, the deluded lad got a tattoo of a heart and a shield on his wrist.
(If this thing with Ali doesn’t work out, he can always go ahead and be a spokesman for the Slomin Shield.)
As of last night, Kasey is still on the show (yay!) but Ali doesn’t yet know about the tattoo, which should sufficiently freak her out enough to boot him. Either way, I would definitely hide all sharp objects around the suite.

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