Bachelor Ben: “Who’s That Girl?”
The people who read my blog*, they read what I write here and they probably think that they know me as a result. And I’m not saying they don’t know me, not exactly, but I AM saying that anybody who showed up at my door, expressing their sincerest desire to try and make a life with me based only on those parts of me that I have made public would be entirely misguided in doing so. Please, if you are driving to my house at this moment with any such idea in your head, it’s not too late to turn around and go home, and I strongly encourage you to do exactly that. In fact, I insist.
With that being said, I think it’s time I told you a little bit more about myself. I feel a little awkward to be doing this now, after so many seasons of blogging The Bachelor(ette) franchise, but clearly, now, after this episode, it’s more important than ever.
First off, I’m married to a smart, beautiful and accomplished woman. We have a son and a daughter, each of whom I adore, and I’ll tell you how much. Long before I met any of these people, I fell in love with watching TV and using profanity. But, even as much as I love watching TV and using profanity**, I love my family more.
I want my kids to grow up right, and so I’m careful. Swearing is great fun, but it’s not for every occasion and I make sure they understand that. Watching TV is just about the most worthy expenditure of time I can imagine and there’s a lot we can learn from TV, but even so, not all TV is worth watching, not even for the lessons it teaches. The Bachelor(ette) is one such show. That’s why I blog it – so you can learn from it without actually having to watch***.
Wow, that took a lot of words before we even got around to the ones like ‘Ben’ and ‘sixteen women’ and ‘San Francisco’, but now that we’re finally here, let’s make the most of it, shall we? Lesson number one from this week’s episode of The Bachelor: if you’re a guy who’s shopping around for a wife on TV and San Francisco is your hometown, MAKE THE MOST OF IT.
You could, for example, take a potential mate**** who claims to be afraid of heights on a walk to the top of the Bay Bridge. And just when she is the most paralyzed with fear that she has ever been in her life, cure that fear by giving her a kiss, then tell it to the cameras and therefore to the whole wide world: “If we can accomplish something like this, there’s nothing we can’t do together.” Then wait a few weeks to see if that winds up being true.
While you’re waiting on that outcome and you’re still trying to make the most of your fantastic hometown, you might consider closing off a street, filling it with snow and inscrutable Chinese men, and trying a bit of urban skiing. Tell the ten women you’re bringing on this date to wear bikinis under their clothes, or better yet, get someone else to tell them. Give the date rose to the woman you think will have called a complete stranger a bitch the most times by the end of the episode! Now here’s a question. Did this paragraph seem a little skimpy on detail, then kind of weird and spoiler-ish towards the end? Yeah, well, the whole segment was mostly just an excuse to show lotsa tits and ass while setting up Brittney’s impending escape from the show’s clutches in the next one, so whatever.
Ah, Brittney, there she is in the hotel room with the other whatserfaces in the hotel room when the date card comes, and it’s for her! She doesn’t seem very excited about it though, which is a disappointment to Lindzi***** because she hasn’t been on any date with Ben yet, and it really quite irks Jennifer the accountant, who produces a spreadsheet (not really) that shows how completely NOT AMBIVALENT she is about going on dates with Ben.
Being a woman with some minimal combination of brains, character, and self-respect, Brittney does indeed bail on the show instead of going on the date, but without much trouble, the show subs Lindzi in. “I like a last minute date!” she beams. Yes indeed, three cheers, please, for being Plan B! How about a streetcar date? There’s ice cream, Chinatown, San Francisco City Hall, Matt Nathanson playing one of those weird mini-concerts for two inside SF City Hall, some tongue wrestling between Ben and L., all undermined by the not-so-sneaking-suspicion that the producers are rushing things along so they can maximize the big twist during the cocktail party/Rose Ceremony that they’ve been plugging for weeks.
It’s Shawntell, okay? Shortly after Courtney and the rest raise a toast to a party with no drama, Shawntell, the undertaker from Brad’s season, becomes the Interloper in Ben’s. Sure, she shows up in a foxy red dress******, prompting a chorus of, “Who’s that girl?” followed by a great deal of profanity, tears, and threats to quit if she gets a rose, but Shawntell is not convincing in the role and the stunt doesn’t really take off like it might have if it was, say, done better. Interestingly, a quick check through this blog’s memory banks reveals that I never thought of her as all that fucking insane, but that doesn’t mean she can’t try – “These girls are going to hate me, but I’m willing to take that risk because he’s someone I want to be with for the rest of my life.” Huh? Since when?
“He’s going to totally fall in love with me.” Really? Have the two of you ever met?
“My feelings for Ben are really strong.” HUH? Seriously, I don’t get this.
Shawntell does manage to attract all of the hostility away from the usual hostility magnets in the room, but it’s not really a feat she can claim as her own, and anyway, how fair is that when Courtney and The Blakely work so hard for it?
So now everybody’s mad. Rachel’s vocabulary is reduced to one word – bitch. Somebody else chimes in with, “We don’t reuse Brad’s dumpster trash,” while ignoring the fact that collectively, they seem to think Ashley’s dumpster trash is all anyone in that room could ever need. Hmmm…
Skipping to the end of the ceremony, Harrison’s already told us there’s only one rose left, but before he does anything, Ben just wants to say*******…and suddenly, Erika nearly passes out! Look at Jaclyn’s face! It’s all…oh that’s just Jaclyn’s face. And Shawntell. Not all that surprisingly, Ben gives the last rose to none of them. And that’s that, except for this: If there’s one more thing you ought to know about me, it’s that, in spite of the fact that I’m not really that inclined to believe in a Superior Being, I still pray to that being – fervently, desperately – every night that neither of my kids, each of whom I completely adore, ever winds up on this fucking TV show.
*All five of them.
**Which is a whole fucking lot.
****An aspiring epidemiologist, if you can. Courtney the model says a date like this might be boring because “booksmarts are boring,” but I say it won’t be as boring as the rest of your years spent with a formerly pretty young thing who never had anything more going for her than youth and youthful good looks, if that’s the sort of lesson you’re into learning.
*****We touched on this already a couple of episodes ago, but still, really? This is the spelling we’re going with?
******If they were truly trying to make her into a threat to the others, couldn’t someone have sprung for a nice hairdo, too? No? Okay.
*******“Listen, Shawntell, I don’t think it’s fair to anybody that you’ve been introduced under these circumstances, so I’m not going to give you a rose and I’m going to ask you to leave. But hey, I figure that whoever I wind up with at the end of this, we’ll have done our dash in a few months, and so when that goes down, I’ll call you, okay?”