The Bachelorette: “Good Things Don’t End, Unless They End Badly”

"Which do you want first, the good news or the bad news?"

Update January 4, 2012: Hey, why keep living in the longish-ago past, when you could be keeping up with the recent past? The bad news is there’s a brand-new season of The Bachelor that just started up, with Ben as the centre of attention. The good news is, I’M BLOGGING IT!

So this is it. This is how it ends (SPOILER ALERT!), which just so happens to be the same way as it always ends. The two remaining contestants for Ashley the Bachelorette’s affections – J.P. and Ben in this case – meet her family and go on one more date with her before one is sent home with a broken heart, while the other gets engaged to her for awhile until it all goes south and they eventually split up.

Oh, but there are details to attend to first, two hours worth of details, to be exact.

Quickly – ask yourself what your own family would be like under circumstances like this: “Guys, the TV show that’s helping me find a husband/wife would like to fly you all to an exotic destination so you can meet for the first time the two finalists, one of whom I’ll probably get engaged to within a couple of days. I’m looking for short-order insight from you, but I’m especially looking for you not to make too many waves for me on TV. So, how about it?”

Next thing we know, Ashley’s family is sitting there in Tahiti and her older sister Chrystie* is letting it be known that she’s not seeing what’s so special about Ashley and J.P. together.

Goddamn older sisters**! Ashley’s in tears in seconds! She hoped this meeting would provide some clarity! She’s felt so alone on this journey! She just wants people’s support! And not long after that, J.P.’s in a tizzy as well, for much the same reason! The only question is, who’s impressed by that? Ashley’s been bursting into tears for little or no reason all season long, and J.P. has not exactly been a guy who hides his volatility under a bushel. If Ashley’s older sister couldn’t set her little sister to bawling and make her boyfriend mad, how could she truthfully call herself a older sister?

Now, I’ve got no real beef with J.P. No, he doesn’t express himself particularly well, and yes, his affection for Ashley seems a little lacking in adult-like reflection, but he seems nice and really does appear to like her and I’d be a great deal more frightened for his state of mind if she turned him down than I would be for Ben’s, so it’s just as well that she chooses J.P. at the end of it all. Oops, did I just spoil it? Sorry.

Now, it could all just come down to the editing, but Ben sure does seem a whole lot more together when he meets Ashley’s family and on the date the two of them go on the following day. Of course, it helps that, having heard that Chrystie thinks she wasn’t all that much herself with J.P., Ashley is now putting on a show for her sister’s benefit (and making Ben do likewise), and it also helps that her sister, having been accused of being purposefully bitchy, has now toned down her whole purposefully bitchy act, but it could just be the editing, and speaking of editing, here comes the helicopter to whisk Ben and Ashley off to their last date…EVER!

Via voiceover, Ashley says as they’re landing near mud, “With Ben, I could never really see myself having a bad moment with him,” to which we all respond, ‘Hold that thought.’ They start smearing mud*** all over each other, and each says they think it’s pretty sexy, but if they don’t mind this small interjection from the sidelines, the last time we saw sexy mud play on The Bachelor, it was Jake and Vienna doing the deed, and I just saw him in a commercial for Bachelor Pad****, hoping for her to take a 3000 foot fall to her death.

Now here’s Ben making the bed in his hotel room, putting a tray down on it with what appears to be a parfait. Then Ashley’s there and he tells her he’s in love with her, they start making out, the camera hangs around until someone deems it more appropriate to cut to a shot of the moon. And the only reason I bring it up is because I want to mention how icky I find the self-centredness this show encourages in its centerpieces. For example, when she’s on a date with J.P. the very next day and he also tells her that he’s in love with her, Ashley gets this look on her face like the cat who just ate the canary, or more precisely, like the self-involved little thing who’s just had two guys profess their love to her, and it comes with the commentary, “I’m so happy with the way I’m feeling right now.” Oh yeah? I bet. Then, as she reflects on her sad task the next day of accepting one marriage proposal only after rejecting another: “And I don’t think he expects it.” Ick.

She sure doesn’t disappoint the next day, either, as she lets Ben say all his lovely things to her and about her AND GET DOWN ON ONE FUCKING KNEE AND PROPOSE before she turns him down. I-C-K.

He stands up, says, “Oh. So that’s it,” and starts walking away, which is when she starts chasing after him and trying to tell him nice things about himself. Ben’s not so interested in this and when she tries to make herself feel a little bit better with a line about not wanting things to end on bad terms, he is heard to utter what have to be the all-time classic words of any runner-up on The Bachelor(ette): “Things like this DON’T end on good terms. Good things don’t end, unless they end badly.”

And now Ashley feels really bad, and why shouldn’t she? Dude arrived in a seaplane, and she’s sending him out to sea in a fishing boat*****.

And then J.P. comes and proposes and it’s a dream come true. He’s probably the wrong choice, but whatever. So it goes, right? Cue the REO Speedwagon, bitchez, because this season of The Bachelorette is OVER.

*Heretofore known as ‘the hot sister’

**I wouldn’t have even invited mine.

***”Healing mud,” that is.

****Which Ames is signed up for, too, so you can forget anything nice I ever said about that guy.

*****NOT a metaphor.

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As 68Comeback As Can Be

Arguably the best thing about summer holidays is the coming home and sharing everything you did with your regular friends. Or it was today, anyway on the July 28, 2011 edition of the 68Comeback Special.

Verbena  –  Souls For Sale

Twilight Circus Dub Sound System  –  Travellin’

Flaming Lips  –  Waitin’ For a Superman

Avec Pas D’Casque  –  Si On Change Les Equipes Ce N’est Plus Une Revanche

Gordon Lightfoot  –  Daylight Katy

William Elliott Whitmore  –  Let’s Do Something Impossible

The Felice Brothers  –  Honda Civic

Tom Ze  –  Toc

Owen Pallett  –  Scandal At the Parkade

Islamic Diggers  –  William Burroughs Don’t Play Guitar

TV on the Radio  –  Young Liars

Eleanor Friedberger  –  Early Earthquake

Lab Coast  –  On My Jeans

Wiley  –  Wise Man and His Words

Wagons – I Blew It

Ben Disaster – Not Running

Dutch Hey Wagon – Clubbing With Satan

Sun Ra – Pin Points of Spiral Prisms

The Deep Dark Woods – The Place I Left Behind

Bomb the Music Industry – Everybody that You Love

Tzadeka – Straight and Narrow Path

Brian Eno with Rick Holland – Bless this Space

A Midsummer’s Lightfoot Dream

I thought for sure that when I saw that link to SPIN Magazine’s free download of a buncha people covering Nirvana’s Nevermind, that it was going to take up a significant amount of my listening time in the period immediately following. But really, I don’t know shit about what I want to listen to.

As it was, I was already ensconced in central Canada, had already spotted that copy of Gordon Lightfoot’s Complete Greatest Hits on the shelf in the TV room, and though I didn’t put it on for listening right away, there was not one doubt that I would when the time was right. I only listened once, but that was all I needed in order to spend the rest of the trip quietly mulling Lightfoot – doing the rough math regarding his releases in relation to milestones in my life (birth included), reflecting on which lyrics I knew, which I didn’t and why, whatever else came to mind. Quietly mulling.

He dates back to a time when I was a little kid in a car with an AM radio and nothing more, and when my mom turned that radio on, quite frequently it was Gordon Lightfoot’s voice that emerged. Later on in elementary school, our music teacher had us study The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald not long after it was released. What can I say? The dude’s an icon who especially resonates with me in a summertime visit to the place of my youthiest youth-sort of way, if you know what I’m saying.

While I mulled, one thought that took shape and subsequently hung around was that, on the Lightfoot tribute album in my mind that’s populated exclusively by Edmonton indie artists, a reunited Jr. Gone Wild would hold a prominent place with their own take on Race Among the Ruins.  

Since then, I’ve decided that the recent appearance of my friend Rachel Sanders’ CBC3 Audio Doc, The Birth of Canadian Indie – Edmonton gives me sufficient licence to keep imagining, so I’ll assign For Lovin’ Me to Mark Davis, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald to Pangina and Sundown to The Get Down and start humming. Quick – somebody get me a pile of money so I can make this a reality! And if anyone else has any bright ideas, let’s hear ‘em! What the hell do you think a Comments section is for, anyway?

The Bachelorette: “Thanks For YOUR Hard Work”

“So, dude – Ashley.”

“Yeah man, Ashley.”

Thus begins the momentous conversation between Ben and Constantine, somewhat fondly known as the Ryan Smith Twins, during which they decide that it would be the best thing for everyone concerned that they reveal their relationship with one another and each of them withdraws from the show.

Okay, not really, but I’m sitting here fantasizing about what would be better to watch than all the freaking recaps they’re subjecting me to, given they’ve got two hours to fill and not a lot to fill them with. We’re down to the final three contestants on the show, everyone’s gone to Fiji, which we’re told is an excellent place to fall in love. If you’ve watched the show before, by this point in the history of the series, we’re talking about some pretty well-trod ground.

We know we can expect shots of the Bachelorette and her fellas frolicking in the sand and surf. They will make out in the shallow, bath-warm water surrounding private islands. They will probably fly in aircraft and/or ride on a big boat, and there is a very strong chance of someone getting straddled at one point or another as the cameras circle, turning us all into would-be Peeping Toms*.

There will be the ever-popular card from Chris Harrison, offering up a key to a super-deluxe suite that they can share all night long** if they choose to forego the usual individual suites. There will be smooching and flirtatious talk, deep looks into one another’s eyes and shallow talk of love and commitment, and at one point or another, one person will probably take the other up in their arms and carry them into another room as the cameras linger a while before backing out of the suite. Times three.

So there’s at least a little bit of good news to be had when Ashley answers the knock on her door expecting Ben to be standing there and finds Ryan instead. “There’s things unsaid and undiscovered between the two of us. What if she’s regretting sending me home?” he asks in a voiceover***. He was so concerned that he contacted Chris Harrison and the next thing anybody knows, he’s been flown to help The Bachelorette to be not so goddamn repetitive. So sad then that even the twists on this show seem awfully repetitive, but anyway, Ashley’s got a date with Ben, so Ryan gets put off for the time being.

It’s not long before the two of them are on a big boat, with Ben telling Ashley his mom liked her and Ashley straddling Ben to facilitate the application of sunscreen. They snorkel. They flirt. He’s into her. He’s falling for her. He’s going to tell her he loves her over dinner, he tells us, a feat he does manage to accomplish, more or less, prompting her to produce The Card. This will happen twice more.

Or will it? Sure, Constantine shows up for his date, and yes, there is most certainly a helicopter waiting nearby. This used to bode particularly well, but helicopters don’t offer the same guarantee of date success that they used to, and as Ashley notes, Constantine is a slow mover and there just isn’t much time to waste at this point if they’re ever going to get engaged prematurely and eventually have the whole love affair fall apart on the covers of the supermarket tabloids.

They fly over reefs and beaches and water so unbelievably blue it’s completely unbelievable. Hey – did their helicopter just fly right over Ryan’s head****? They jump off a waterfall as a clumsy metaphor for falling in love. She points out that he’s a deliberate sort of guy, but now he must go against his nature and dive headfirst into this relationship, and she’s worried he can’t do that.

And then, suddenly, just as we think Constantine’s maybe getting a little ahead of the situation by talking about the fantasy suite without the invitation being extended (See? Too predictable!), he’s saying that this is the end of the road for the two of them. That’s some sad news, but on the bright side, nobody’s saying she can’t take advantage of the fantasy suite all by herself.

Hmm hmm, might as well deal with Ryan then, with basically the same breakup speech Ashley used a couple of weeks ago, only with moreEverybody, sing with me! "Single aga-ain..." words. He’s great, but she’s not interested. The bright side for Ryan, as he puts it, is that he knows now that his heart is open and he’s ready for love, and he knows so strongly that it’ll happen that he says, “It’ll happen,” four or five times, sounding less convincing with each and every repetition.

So that’s nice that they could get all the unpredictability out of the way so that the date with J.P., moving along into the rose ceremony, could be good and predictable. Seaplane to a private island? Who would have guessed THAT, besides me and everybody else in the world? Frolic in the surf and sand? Check. Forego their individual rooms for a night together in the Fantasy Suite? You betcha. Each of the two contestants remaining gets a rose going into next week’s finale? Duh.  See you then.

*Thank goodness they had them sign release forms.

**(titter titter)

*** Dude, what if she’s NOT? Awkward scene.

**** He’s left probably 50 messages on her machine since he arrived. Is she home, or is she just not picking up? Do you think she might be out with somebody else?

Werner Frey Will Have His Revenge On Cold Lake

The second week without Craig was uneventful, except for two things: Chad and I agreed to delve more into the mystery that is Werner Frey (after both we and Makin’ Whoopee have been doing our damnedest to get him into the charts), and the resurrection of Metal Machine Music Helps. Don’t thank me for choosing MMM to liven up your song, Charms, thanks Lou Reed – and you can best do this by buying multiple copies of that new album he’s making with Metallica, the one Reed has declared to be “maybe the best thing done by anyone, ever. It could create another planetary system. I’m not joking, and I’m not being egotistical.” Well, hell – guess I’m not going to get all that over excited by the new Spoons record.

SNFU – The Electric Chair

Smokey – The Worm

John Prine – Sweet Revenge

Shooting Guns – Black Hand

DJ Vadim and Sarah Jones – Your Revolution

Charlie Pickett – If This Is Love Can I Get My Money Back?

Bare Wires – Don’t Ever Change

Whiskeyface – Experienced Skin

The Band – Look Out Cleveland

Slates – Experienced Skin

Husker Du – Celebrated Summer

Falklands – Drunks & Thieves

Bettie Serveert – Geek

King Cobb Steelie – Sound Baffle

Charms – Westbound Train

Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music (portion)

Spam Avenger – Why Bulk Email Gets Results

Amon Tobin – Piece of Paper

Sea and Cake – The Biz

Hank Engels & the Hoosier Daddies – Penitent Song

Brad Turner Quartet – Scrappy

Bebop Cortez – Man of the Year

Exhumed – All Guts No Glory

Felice Brothers – Honda Civic

Werner Frey – Come to Edmonton

Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr – Simple Girl

McEnroe & Birdapres

Bravofunken – Coeur Rubik

Ride Til Dawn – Hearts of Worlds Forgotten

Gosta Berlings Saga – Icosehadron

Mark O’Connor – A Monk’s Dream

Home Alone: The Reckoning Of Chad

Last week our good friend and occasional walk on guest Chad (of Makin’ Whoopee fame, Tuesday 7 – 9 a.m.) took over the reigns while Craig and I were away on separate chores, because he felt, and rightly so, that nobody else was good enough to do the job. Here, therefore, is what he played on Thursday, July 14.

Rod Stewart – Young Turks

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks – Tigers

Bardo Pond – Home [Pavement cover]

Neil Young & the International Harvesters – Flying On the Ground Is Wrong

One Hundred Dollars – Work

Elevated – All My Friends Are Made of Paper

Noah23 – Bright Green Laces

Father’s Children – Everybody’s Got a Problem

Mourning Sun – Where’s Love Gone Today

The Homosexuals – Charlie Watts (vocal)

Brimstone Howl – Heart Attack

Owls – Apocalypse

Bayonets!!! – Phoney Leper

B-Lines – It Rains

Ceremony – It’s Too Late

Vinyldogtoy – Terror From the Year 5000

Cat’s Eyes – The Best Person I Know

Spoon – You Got Yr Cherry Bomb

Mono In VCF – Spider Rotation

Josef K – It’s Kind of Funny

Shag – Gypsies In the Forest

Satan & the D-Men – She’ll Lie

Thee Deuces – Hung Up On You

Doug Hoyer – Northern Lights

Mitchmatic – D-Bags (feat. The Joe & Mikey Maybe)

the 6th – Movies In My Head

the Teenagers – Streets of Paris

Werner Frey – Come To Edmonton

Pavement – And Then (The Hexx)

 

The Bachelorette: Hometown Assley

Hey, stop what you’re doing for a second and just…waaait for iit…okay, now! – feel that? Yep, that’s a momentous occasion, right there. They come fast and furious at this time of the Summer TV season, especially on The Bachelorette at hometown dates time.

Hey, don't we all look like goobs in our bar mitzvah photos?

"Don't go breakin' my heart."

I’m afraid I don’t have much experience with the flavour of the Meeting the Family Experience that The Bachelorette offers here. I mean, I’ve dealt with aspects of it – I’ve traveled to a city far away, and I’ve sat down for a heart to heart discussion with the mother or sister or designated chief protector of a cherished someone. I’m not sure I’ve ever done it all in one go, however, with every word uttered a sort of negotiation, and I’ve certainly not done it with a TV crew in tow and three other so-arranged visits scheduled for the same week.

I’ll bet it’s stressful. There’s no doubt that on such visits, you’re going to get an inkling from meeting a significant other candidate’s loved ones about what makes you a good pair and whether there’s a future worth having for the two of you, but isn’t it just about as likely that a red flag or two will get raised, or someone will point out something really obvious about the relationship that up until now you’ve been ignoring? Or maybe you’ll just out-and-out hate their family, or their family will hate you?

Well, that last one doesn’t exactly happen. Not here, and not now when it might actually be best for it to happen. Take Ashley’s trip to Cumming GA to meet Constantine’s (Ryan Smith Twin Number One/RSTNO) family. She heads straight for the family restaurant to provide the viewing audience with the rare opportunity to see the Bachelorette and a beau interacting in an establishment that is actually open for business*. While he shows her how to make pizza and salad, the staff hovers, not doing any work except for preventing any impromptu visits to the walk-in refrigerator.

It’s so far so good as they pull up to RSTNO’s parents’ house, with the banner and blue and white balloons outside, bidding them welcome. The love is strong in this house, enough that (something funny – RSTNO’s dad can’t say ‘ASH-ley’; it comes out as ‘ASS-ley,’ which I find too hilarious to mention just one time and then leave alone) Assley says it inspires her.

But here’s the thing about the hate not coming out soon enough. Elleni, RSTNO’s mom, having established that she worries that dating, as presented on The Bachelorette, is bullshit, asks Assley if she would be prepared to move to Georgia. With this being a theoretical interaction with theoretical in-laws where everyone has theoretical conversations about what might happen in theory, Assley basically states that in theory, she is not opposed to the idea, which we should all shrug our shoulders and suppose is fair enough at this point. Except THEN they cut to the conversation between RSTNO and his dad, who is exactly right when he says, “It takes time to know somebody.” He might have his son and Assley in mind when he says it, but it applies at least as well to his wife and Assley, who seem quite likely to hate each other one day, given the opportunity.

But hey, who am I to say, especially after Assley rejoins everyone on the couch in the living room, declaring, “I love your family. I’m moving in,”** and RSTNO’s whole extended family suddenly streams through the front door for a surprise party with booze, dancing and old ladies clapping their hands?

OK, wow, that was a lot about the visit with Constantine’s family, which means that it’s all too likely that whosever date is next is totally going to get short shrift. Sorry, Ames. Chadd’s Ford PA does seem really nice, and for how obscenely wealthy your family appears to be, they (and you) still seem very nice and thoughtful and interesting and totally worth getting to know in one sense and going on and on about in another. And the way you hop right to it when your sister tells you it’s time to pick up the pace a little, arranging a romantic picnic under your favourite magnolia tree that also involves a ride in a horse-drawn carriage and topical conversational references to Italian theories of romance, dude, I have no doubt that you are all class. But, when Ashley tells you she likes how the two of you think alike***, I also have no doubt that I can stop writing about your hometown date right anytime.

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