The Bachelor: And Now, She’s Got Helicopters
Helicopters, baby. Anyone who knows will tell you that you can arrange just about anything for a date, and so long as it starts with a helicopter ride, that date’s going to go alright. Whether it’s an elaborate, multi-location romance enhancer with dinner and drinks and a surprise cameo by your date’s kid, who she deserted in order to come and try to find love with you (a complete stranger) on TV, or a quick round trip to the liquor store, Source, and the Sev before settling in for the night, if you start it off with a helicopter tour of someplace, then it’s pretty hard to fuck up the rest of it so badly that you won’t get at least a little bit of smoochy-smooch action by the end.
Proof? You want proof? Well, search no farther than our most recent episode of the Bachelor. Compare and contrast this episode’s three dates: two started with helicopters and ended with roses. The third, a group date that started with ground transportation, did feature some kissing but ended with no roses being dispensed, and by the end of the episode, two of the people who participated on that ill-fated outing to Jon Lovitz’s comedy club were gone.*
Was it a coincidence that those two happened to be Michelle and Elizabeth the nanny, identified last week as the two most overtly bananas of the house fulla ladies? Like, Vienna’s nuts and all, but she’s only crazy enough to antagonize her housemate/competitors. She knows that she’s gotta bag that big, smiling dork first before she pulls out all the serious head games.
It’s the major lesson of this episode (even before the helicopters), and a high ranker on my unofficial Everything I Know I Learned From The Bachelor calendar: Don’t Let ’em Mess With Your Head. During one of the segments, we hear Jake voice over, “The hard thing about dating so many women…,” and I didn’t even hear what he said to finish the sentence because of all the smartass voices in my head that started shouting out answers at the same time, but surely it must have been, “is the sheer amount of crazy you’ll find, just floating around loose in the air, especially if you make them all live in a house together while they compete to be your wife. On TV.”
In all fairness to Michelle, she seems pretty self-made crazy. The other ladies shouldn’t get any any more credit than her mom, we gather, for that. One point that’s raised about reality shows is how the editing can make viewers love or hate a character without ever fairly representing what they’re actually like. This surely happens all the time – is frontrunner Ali really that much more enjoyable than anyone else in the group? Doubt it. – and it may even be true in this case, but then again, if you’re a producer of this show, and if every time you put a camera on Michelle, she either defiantly asserts that she wants and deserves to be a wife and mother, or cringeworthily describes how she expects their first kiss to be, what would you do?
Anyway, back to ‘don’t let ’em mess with your head’. Eventually Michelle gets Jake alone, suggests that maybe they kiss, and five seconds later is heard yelling at him about it and crabbing, for the second week in a row, that maybe she doesn’t belong here and maybe she should go. And Jake lets her go! Nice work, fella!
And then, not much later, for the second week in a row, the only thing the nanny can think of to talk about is how she’s not gonna let him kiss her, but does he want to kiss her, ’cause she wants to kiss him, but she’s not gonna let him, but does he want to, ’cause she wants to, but…etc., etc. Who needs that? Not our Jakey. No rose for the nanny. And after such a blue routine at the comedy club, too. I thought for a minute there that she had reconsidered her, uh, position. Oh well, so it goes.
I’ve spent some time since the episode ended despairing that with the departure of those two, all of the really compelling crazy has left the house. Sure, there’s still lots of crazy going on; Vienna’s still in her ascendancy, for example, but hers is a little bit on the standard-issue Grade 9 drama side, which just isn’t as satisfying to me as the sight of a pretty young thing in the full bloom of her womanhood, putting some young abdominizer commercial who doesn’t know what he’s gotten himself into through his paces. But if I’ve learned one thing from watching all this Bachelor, it’s to never lose hope. Whether it’s a rainforest you’re cultivating or a house full of neuroses, clearing away some of the canopy always lets the light get into places that it wasn’t able to reach before, where it can coax forward new life.
*this is a burgeoning science. I am open to the possibility that the Jon Lovitz factor contributed to the failure of the date as much as any dearth of helicopters.