Bachelorette Emily: “I Have A Little Surprise For You.”

I don’t purport to know a lot about The Bachelor(ette), in terms of all the behind the scenes junk that so completely floats some people’s boats. I don’t go digging around for spoilers during the time in between episodes, and I wouldn’t share them if I did. What I do is tune in, week in and week out, so’s I can dutifully report what goes on in tonight’s episode, whenever tonight happens to be. And if I tune in and they tell me Emily knows about someone that Arie has dated, then I promise you that’s the first I’ve heard of it*. If Jef is revealed as an otherworldly puppeteer, then I’m glad I’m finding out about it at the appropriately designated moment and not a moment sooner. But as for Chris’s descent into madness, that was hard to miss.

In Prague, Emily has a problem. Hometown dates are coming up next week, and she just found out that, years ago, Arie briefly dated her producer, Cassie. Cassie didn’t tell her right away because she didn’t want to influence the relationship one way or another blah blah blah, but now that Emily knows, she wonders why Arie hasn’t told her. So she invites him on a date in Prague so that she can inject this subtext into every conversation they have about old clocks, old architecture and old sculptures. Apparently, she wants a relationship with complete, radical honesty and absolutely no secrets, except for maybe the occasional one where she knows something that he doesn’t know she knows, and she’s up for a little wondering about how long it’ll take for him to admit to her what she already knows.

Stupid? Yes. Do they work it out? Yes. On-camera? Not so much. But it doesn’t matter because there she is, apologizing to Arie for thinking the worst. YES! He’s trying to work up the guts to tell her he loves her. He does it! He’s known for sure since Croatia, which is why he thinks so highly of Croatia. “I have a little surprise for you,” Emily tells Arie, and then there are fireworks. Oooooo! Aaaaaaah!

But now that the drama is over, here’s a question about the other drama: which do you prefer more, when someone arrives at The Bachelor(ette) already crazy, or when they slowly lose their marbles over the course of a season? I ask only because Chris is going bananas. I think I prefer it when they are obviously crazy when they arrive, but then again, that might just be because I’m against the very idea of Chris’s existence, and so while I might usually get some enjoyment out of a slow burning, season long descent into madness, I’m not feeling it here.

But does that mean I’m rooting for John on his one-on-one date with Emily? Let’s look at it this way – they go out, they paint a terrible little boat on the John Lennon wall because they just rode in a boat. They do this thing where they write a little message on a padlock and then lock it to this fence with all these other locks…but theirs doesn’t close. They go for dinner in a dungeon. John says, “Today was pretty awesome.” Emily answers, “You think so?” John tells the story of his greatest heartbreak**, suggests she’d know him better if she met his parents. Emily: “You think so?” Their smooching is chaste, of the ‘I’m in love with Arie’ variety.

While all that is going on, someone in the hotel room who has been talking about how great his dates with Emily have been notes to Chris, “You seem kind of off today.”

Chris answers that he is, “Tired. Tired of doing this.” Dude should go for a walk, try and pick up a cute Czech girl. He prefers to brood over the fact that Arie and John got one-on-one dates until John arrives back with glad tidings of a date that rates “a ten out of ten.” Chris is upset (duh), while Sean decides he can’t just hang around the hotel room, he’s got to go out into the city of Prague, shouting Emily’s name wherever he goes until he finds her out wandering around. They sit in a bar and make nice talk to one another, lick each other’s tongue for a bit, call it a night.

As the horse drawn carriage pulls up for the group date the next day, you could almost swear this is going to be an ‘attitude is everything’ lesson. Check out Chris’s mopey, “I don’t know. I just got a bad feeling,” voiceover and contrast it with D(ugh)’s “Today is going to be an awesome day,” attitude, which probably usually works for him, but maybe hardly ever in his relationships with women. Ah, but poor D(ugh). He and Emily go for a walk to find a private spot for talking, maybe some smooching, or maybe just some uncomfortable sitting there with his arms crossed until she has no choice but to cut him loose. Poor D(ugh). Now he’s crying in the back of the car, under the gravely mistaken impression that he tried to put himself out there.

So then there are three. Sean and Emily go off for a little one on one time, Chris sits and stews*** and waits for his chance to make Emily feel uncomfortable.  When it’s his turn, he complains about not getting a one on one date, about having been made to wait since their first date in Charlotte. “But I’m not gonna dwell on it.” But Emily’s a Southern belle. Without saying the first word about how there are at least three other guys still in the game that she’s infinitely more interested in than Chris, she tells him she just knows he’s someone who can make the best of it****. They rejoin Sean, and Emily sits down right next to him and parcels out some gifts: a date rose for Sean, a marginally sympathetic stroke on the hand for Chris, who can’t wait to start drumming his fingers on his knee and looking like a wholly dissatisfied freak.

Then, a surprise for us all. By way of background, if you don’t watch The Bachelor(ette)*****, you should know that at the end of every episode, they show a brief clip of people being relaxed and themselves at some point in that week’s filming. They behave as people-ish people. It’s usually pretty funny and not nearly as contrived as everything else they show in the main part of the episode. I always wonder why they don’t try and show more of this sort of thing, and then I remember. But damn if Jef and Emily don’t have an entire segment like that, heading off into a puppet shop, with Emily in her Tina Turner boots and Jef in his….hairdo.

Jef makes a Michael Jackson marionette dance like it’s really Michael Jackson. They leave the shoppe with puppets for themselves, and he runs back and buys a puppet for Emily’s daughter. Having found a library that only the Old World has to offer, the two of them commence talking too loud for that library as they reenact their relationship through their puppets, which Jef seems all too good at. Okay, so they’re doing all their talking through puppets, but still, later on, they lay on the floor and look at the ceiling and talk about hometown dates and their future together, and if you look at it from just the right angle, it almost looks as though there’s something genuine going on here.

But of course, what makes whole segments like that truly enjoyable is their placement in context, so as the fellers pull up to some big, spooky ol’ mansion for their cocktail party,  Chris is terrified because he didn’t really “bring it” on the group date, while John, who feels like he “knocked it out of the park” on his one-on-one date with Emily is cool as a data destruction specialist who’s been dipped in tzaziki. When it’s announced that Emily doesn’t want to do the cocktail party because because she already knows what she wants to do, Chris just isn’t ready for it to be over between the two of them. He knows he’s a good man for her, he knows he’s the best man for her. Poor Chris. The only thing he apparently doesn’t know is what a 25 year old, experience-lacking dunderhead he comes across as.

He waits until the very last possible minute, stealing even Chris Harrison’s “last rose” thunder, to apologize for interrupting but he’s just got to say something on his own behalf. He and Emily go somewhere private where he can wow her all the creepy facial expressions he’s got in his arsenal – the Grrrr Smile, the Bobbleheaded Psycho, even the ‘I’m Kind of Scaring Even Myself With This’ Dude – and tell her how ‘ready’ he is and a bunch of other shit he doesn’t even know the meaning of.

Emily smiles, thanks him for his input, after which they head back and she gives John, who has been seriously losing his cool while they were gone, the heave-ho. Which is a surprise for those of us who watch, though not a big one; John would still have gone home next week anyway. And that’s the lesson we’ve always got to take away from The Bachelor(ette): no matter how creepy it is when people get rewarded for creepy behaviour, it’s okay because someone’s gotta go home next week, right?

*Also, gasp!

** The ex-girlfriend who cheated on him a week after their one-year anniversary.

***He should have brought a book.

****A sucker who can always make the best of it.

*****Then give yourself a pat on the back, my friend.

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