The Bachelorette: “I Hope My Hair Looks OK”

"Plenty of room up there for a thought balloon, and yet..."

I’m not usually one to put much stock in preview clips for reality shows. The people responsible for these shows are way too likely to pull that old trick where they use a highly edited clip that, when put in its true context, doesn’t go anywhere near where you were led to believe it would.

But this time is different, in a sense, if only because I really, really, REALLY want what I think I saw in last week’s “Next week on…” segment to happen. There, and in numerous repeats of the same clips in the lead up to the actual events, we’ve been promised that William would make an ass of himself and make Ashley cry with a remark about her not being the one anyone was hoping for in this go ’round, followed by Bentley packing up and heading home. These were promised, but what would be delivered?

Sorry Charlie, it’s not time for that stuff yet. First, Ashley needs to teach Ben C. some dance moves so that they can be in a flash mob together and then they need to be in the flash mob together, and then…what? You don’t know what a flash mob is? Oh, that’s when one minute, Ashley and Ben are sitting in the park with a bunch of people standing around gawking at and taking pictures of them, and the next, they’re all dancing to some sorry pop song by Far East Movement, and then they’re all hanging around on cue so they can sway on cue to the group’s second song and urge Ashley and Ben, on cue, to kiss.

So now is it time for the stuff they promised? No, but remember, coming up a little later on this blog, we’ll be talking about what happened with William and Bentley in those upcoming segments we were promised! But first we’ve got to sit through the rest of Ashley and Ben’s date, wherein she needs to find out if she’s someone he could fall in love with. Well? Can he? Ben tells Ashley that regarding love, he would like to live in a bubble, “an unrealistic, idealistic bubble with someone.” In other words, he’s hoping for something completely impossible and unattainable, but failing that, it needs to at least be guaranteed to end in bitter, bitter tears. And what a coincidence! So is she!

Hey, did somebody mention bitter, bitter tears? Then it must be time for The Worst Group Date Ever!

A roast. They’re going to roast Ashley*. A bunch of them go to the Comedy Store where they’re greeted by Nick Ross, celebrity roaster extraordinaire, who gives them their assignment and then reminds them, “Roasting comes from a place of love and affection,”** which William promptly forgets, or misunderstands, or perhaps disregards. Most everyone else makes cracks about her small boobs, but William? This is a roast, baby: “I mean, I thought I was signing up to be with Emily or Chantal and then Ashley is here.” Next thing we know, Ashley’s off in a corner of the club, sobbing her way through the first of many refrains of, ‘One of my biggest fears coming into this season was that it would be made painfully obvious what a distant third I came in last season.’

But if you think that’s as bad as it gets, imagine a long line of guys whose best response to this is to sit there and stare at her with pitying looks on their faces. Thank goodness for Ryan P., who may yet turn out to be a phony but who won the date rose for knowing what to say when a woman is crying out for  just one of ten men to say directly to her that he’s happy that she’s the one he’s trying to fall in fake love with on this TV show, and for Bentley, who’s got a comforting untruth for every occasion.

But enough of Bentley’s comparatively minor role in that piece of crap date, it’s finally time for Bentley’s Segment. Moments after he doesn’t get the rose on the group date, he decides that 1- he misses his daughter and 1a- Ashley might be totally into him (and she is), but he’s not so into her and he’s tired of wasting his time with this lot***, and so he’s packing up and going home. So he does. He packs his suitcase, says goodbye to the schlubs, and heads over to Ashley’s place to make her cry. And cry. And cry. And see if there’s any last ditch possibility of getting in her pants.

I slowly shake my head from side to side as I say this: Oh Bentley. I so wanted to root for you as a kind of jerky anti-Bachelor breath of fresh air, but at the end of the day, you’re just a garden variety sociopath, aren’t you? And now you’re gone. I wonder if you’ll live to regret any of the stupid shit you said in public on this show.

Finally, the last solo date. You might be inclined to think of poor J.P. as a guy who can’t get an even break on this show. Last week he gets no date at all based on the flip of a coin. This week, his date is scheduled for right after Bentley does his nefarious deed. But on the other hand, after a shitty turn of events like that, maybe there’s an advantage to having that date. Whatever the big ridiculous date they had planned was, where the two strangers would mostly have remained that way, it doesn’t happen. Instead, J.P. gets to be the first dude on the scene, staying in with the Bachelorette, comforting her, making her feel better, gettin’ the rose, etc., etc., heh heh.

Then it’s practically the end. Chris Harrison’s on the scene as Ashley’s staring at a photo of Bentley, and he’s got the audacity to claim, regarding Bentley’s departure, “We didn’t see this coming,” which of course is about the biggest freakin’ lie he has possibly ever told and makes him every bit the sack of crap that Bentley is. Of course they saw it coming! Every single time they turned a camera on him, he would say something about how he’s not into Ashley, doesn’t like Ashley, didn’t think Ashley could hold a candle to someone like, say, Emily****. Fuck man, they’re rotten.

So then, no cocktail party. Ashley doesn’t feel like it. Instead, she gets right to the roses, sending Chris D. and Jeff home. “Wha’?” you exclaim, completely surprised that William doesn’t get shown the door. Yeah, well, you’re not nearly as surprised as William, or as ripped off-feeling as Chris D. Or as stupid-feeling as Jeff. Or as self-satisfied as Bentley. But no one could ever feel as self-satisfied as Bentley. And no one could ever feel as steered right by the previews as we were tonight. Thanks, The Bachelorette‘s producers, for being every bit as scummy as you promised you would be, for once.
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*Got that bad feeling yet?

**Okay, yes. Love and affection, which has developed between people with personal and professional relationships that are well-enough established that the participants could be said to know one another, as opposed to between a group of people who are all trying to win the favour of one person who they met three days earlier.

***Hey, I totally forgot to mention that The Mask unmasked, and he looked exactly like you probably imagined he would – neither frighteningly ugly nor appallingly handsome enough to warrant a mask. A bit anticlimactic actually, except for the hilarious sequence as the end credits roll with him sitting on the toilet, wearing the mask as he reads classified ads to Bentley.

****Who he’s fooling himself to think she would ever have anything to do with him.

Summertime, And The Livin’ Is 68Comeback…

June 2, 2011 will go down in herstory as the day everyone felt a little bit better. Here’s the playlist that proves it.

Richard Davies  –  Cantina

the Creaking Tree String Quartet  –  Little Green Men

Wolf Parade  –  Fancy Claps

Orlando Julius & His Afro Sounders  –  Mura Sise

the Jolly Boys  –  Do It Again

Spastic Panthers  –  I Can’t Make the Scene (Without Caffeine)

Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band  –  Hot Head

Dengue Fever  –  Kiss of the Bufo Alvarius

Bad Livers  –  Farther Along

Bass Drum of Death  –  Get Found

Slates  –  Misadventure

Brian Eno  –  Quartz

Crystal Stilts  –  Flying Into the Sun

Crimes in Paris  –  Honest Signals

Vandaveer  –  Dig Down Deep

the Replacements  –  Favorite Thing

Bebop Cortez  –  We Bangin’

Rebirth Brass Band – I Like It Like That

Six Organs of Admittance – Light of the Light

Jim Jones Revue – Princess and the Frog

Fist City – I Grew Up In Fist City

Sloan – Follow the Leader

Bix Mix Boys – Hit the Road

Emmylou Harris – New Orleans

Dog is Blue – Tortoise

Albert Collins – I Ain’t Drunk

Death Valley Driver – I Choke the River With Your Dead

Problems Solved. File Under: You’re Welcome

From my perspective, there are two problems:

1- Too much of a hubbub is being made in my town about U2 today.

2- Sometimes I blog too much about the Bachelor(ette) and not enough about everything else.

Fortunately for all of us, the solution is at hand: Battles!

The Bachelorette: “Let’s Bag This And Go Play Blackjack.”

Hey, before we get down to business here, can we talk about Ashley for a minute? I’m not so enthused about her as the Bachelorette this season, mostly because I wasn’t so enthused about her last season, and while I’m unlikely to be heard referencing Brad Womack’s opinions on anything, ever again, neither was he, really. I understand how a show like the Bachelor(ette) wants to work in a little intra-season continuity by using familiar faces and all that, but I don’t see why that needs to be the rule, especially in the case where we’re faced with a third-place finisher who wasn’t all that compelling during her first go-through. Care to comment? Bring it.

"I would rather swim in pee."We should probably have a quick talk about Bentley, too*. Early and often is how he’s communicated his own indifference to Ashley as the proposed object of his affections since we learned of his existence last week, and yet, put him in a one on one situation with her, and he’s all charm. Hmm. We’ve seen people on this show emerge as villainous types with ulterior motives and/or questionable ethics. We’ve even been plenty suspicious about the producers’ motives in bringing people like this on board, but when has the combined effort at scummy bad faith dealing ever been as obvious? I mean, sure I’m rooting against this woman finding love on this television show and all that, but that doesn’t mean I want to see her life get wrecked.

Besides, who needs some guy who doesn’t even like Ashley to wreck her life, when guys like William, who DO like her, are champing at the bit to do the job? Yeah, William, the cell phone salesman and self-described unlucky-in-love-er gets the first solo date, and as he and Ashley drive to the airport, where a private jet is waiting to whisk them off to Las Vegas, somewhere on the mansion grounds, presumed white collar criminal Ames is heard asking The Mask when he thinks he’s going to show his face. The Mask says he will do so on his first date with Ashley. He notes that he is taking “The stealth approach” to the Bachelorette**.

Then Ashley and William are in Vegas. Tourists gather. Some fat girl in an ugly green dress remarks that she’s so happy that Ashley is the Bachelorette, but I have a feeling that she’s someone who’s already learned to settle. Anyway, Ashley and William test wedding cakes. Ashley and William shop for engagement rings. Ashley and William pay a visit to a wedding chapel and start having a fast wedding. The priest asks William if he’ll take Ashley as his wife and he says yes. Ashley chickens out when he asks her the same question. It’s hard to see how this particular date, even with the franchise’s entire history of paying lip service to the idea of enduring love and marriage in mind, doesn’t represent the plumbing of some new depth.

Then it’s dinner out in the middle of Bellagio’s fake lake in the middle of fake ol’ Las Vegas. Ashley’s concerned about William’s ability to be serious, but luckily his dad was an alcoholic before he died, so Willy gets the date rose. The bar is set high, we’re told. She doesn’t know if anyone else can measure up to William, she says. As for William, his heart is soaring higher than the fountains that are currently doing their squirty best to create some sort of nonverbal double entendre.

Next up, a group date in Las Vegas, featuring everybody but J.P., Ryan P., Mickey, Ben C. and The Mask***. Right off the bat, the lot of them are divided into two groups which will compete in order to stay in Vegas and “party” with Ashley. They’ve gotta design and perform a little dance number, with some hip hop dance troupe judging. The losers lose and get sent home, and soon after that, the winners are all taking turns having little private chats with Ashley****. Lots of them talk a good game, but none as good as Bentley, who must be one of those The Game types, the way he works her over during their téte â téte and comes out of it with the rose. Is it wrong to say at this point that I really miss Drunk Tim?

Last solo date: Mickey and J.P. must flip a coin to see who goes. Mickey wins. The coin flipping doesn’t stop there, either. Ashley and Mickey use it to choose their wine, who will ride the wires up the big ostentatious wine column in the middle of the restaurant to fetch the bottle, where they go to drink it, whether or not Mickey gets a rose at the end of the date and whether or not to put a bullet in the brain of the AOR lady who plays a concert “for” them at the end.

Finally, it’s the last party before the rose ceremony. J.P. has voiced some dissatisfaction over not getting to go on a date with Ashley due to a coin toss, to which I say, meh. He’d be fine with it if he had won the toss. If he’s looking for fairness, maybe he should have a peek in a dictionary – it’s there between failure and fake.

Ah, but that’s me. Ashley’s much more inclined to smooth his ruffled feathers, give him some smooches and hand him the by now-standard line about patience. Otherwise, the Mask has been making everyone a little crazy with the mask, but just when he’s about to take it off for Ashley, they’re interrupted and now he has to keep it on for another week. Boooo! As much as Bentley seems bound and determined to present himself as a creep, he might have some competition, because William shows signs of being the sort of “nice” guy who sits atop a deep well of hostility. And Stephen the hairdresser, Matt the office supply salesman and Ryan M. the construction estimator get shown the door. Lucky bastards.

*anything to avoid talking about William

**which of course is the exact opposite of what a person is doing when they opt to be the only person in a house full of eighteen people who is wearing a black leather mask all covered with little filigrees.

***anybody else looking forward to a more manageable number of suitors?

****yeah, you sure got that right. SOME party.

68Comeback is a Place Where Nothing Ever Happens

Having recently been raptured (long story) and returned to corporeality in order to perform a valuable public service (the 68 Comeback Special), the view from the on-air booth seems a little different today, May 26, 2011. Could you tell?

Talking Heads  –  Heaven

Yacht  –  The Afterlife

Buffalo Tom  –  Heaven

Chad van Gaalen  –  Can You Believe It!?

Sloan  –  Unkind

Spinanes  –  Punch Line Loser

Kate Maki  –  Boredom Blues

Andrew Bird  –  Dark Matter

The Blue Seeds  –  Might As Well Dream

the Jolly Boys  –  Perfect Day

Booker T. Jones  –  The Bronx featuring Lou Reed

Eric Dolphy  –  Straight Up and Down

Athena Holmes  –  Somethin’ Special

Shannon & the Clams  –  Sleep Talk

Hale Hale  –  Lullaby

Bettie Serveert  –  This Thing Nowhere

Okkervil River  –  Your Past Life as a Blast

Serengeti  –  Tanning Season

Gatineau  –  Non, Mais Pourquoi?

Bebop Corez  –  Junior Munchy

Paul MacLeod  –  Instrumental

Obits  –  Naked to the World

the Goldberg Sisters  –  You’re Beautiful When You Die

Ted Hawkins  –  Long As I Can See the Light

Make A Wish, Bobby!

"...and you smell like one, too!"One problem with turning seventy years old (apart from the obvious), if you’re any old run of the mill guy turning seventy, is the presents. On the one hand, no one who isn’t that old has any idea of how to relate to a person who is, and therefore they haven’t the foggiest notion of what to get for their aged friend/relative, or where to find it. On the other, anyone over seventy, though they may have all sorts of great gift ideas for those in their age bracket, are completely unwilling to share these ideas because they don’t think anybody who isn’t their age has done enough to earn them.

But turning seventy years old when you’re Bob Dylan is even worse. If you’re just any old old guy getting older, they give you the gifts no matter what because they don’t care so much about whether or not you like them. When you’re Bob Dylan, however, they’ll either be completely paralyzed with worry that you’ve already got everything in the world you could possibly want, or completely paralyzed with fear that you’ll sneer at them and their inadequate offering. Either way, Bob Dylan does not get a lot of birthday presents, but on top of that, lots of times people don’t even call. And on a guy’s Big 7-0, that’s one raw deal.

We here at the 68Comeback Special, however, are not so cowardly or faint of heart. We’ve written plays with Bobby D as the central character, we’ve posted funny cartoons that others have drawn of him, and in other places, we’ve even taken the time to contemplate, going forward, his best interests. In other words, believe us, we know.

And so, it is on the strength of that knowledge that we suggest, on the occasion of his SEVENTIETH birthday, that all Bob Dylan wants in the whole wide world is for you to consult this here “Your Best Bob Dylan Album Calculator,” then go and purchase the album you have been directed to buy and otherwise leave him alone. Predictably enough, you might be inclined to suggest that this advice bears a strong resemblance to the aforementioned bad birthday business of not getting him anything and not calling. But no, this is different.

The Bachelorette: Ashley? Really?

"Care yet?"

Ashley Hebert, eh? I’m shrugging right now. Indifferently. As I begin to type, I worry that this indifference is something I won’t be able to overcome over the course of this season. What if I just can’t bring myself to root either decidedly for or against her? Of course, I really shouldn’t worry. By the end of two segments – a brief recap of her adventures with whatsisface last season and then a quick little something designed to show us how great and cute she is – I can now safely say that I am one hundred percent in favour of Ashley not finding love within the group of 25 suckers…, er, stiffs…er, hale fellows well met who the producers of the Bachelorette have selected for her to select from.

I feel even more strongly about this following her quick preliminary sitdown with Chris Harrison, where she 1) clearly demonstrates by showing up that she’s not one to easily learn a lesson, 2) comes across like it’s her fault that shit didn’t work out last season with whatsisname, and 3) so easily falls right in with all the stupid Bachelor(ette) cliches, like the one about people “being there for the right reasons.” But hey, we’ve got all season to root against Ashley. Some of these guys, we’ve only got an hour. Here come the limos!

So then. Cripes. Yeesh. For God’s sake. There used to be a time on the Bachelor(ette) when the potential suitors emerged from their limos, walked directly to she who would be wooed, hugged and/or shook hands with her, introduced themselves and then cleared the hell out of the frame so the next guy could move in and do the same. Now everybody’s got a schtick – broken compasses, poetry, bottles of wine, picking her up and walking away. Freakin’ Mickey Chef leaned in and kissed her! A complete stranger! On the mouth! Anthony the Butcher, on the other hand, immediately turned and checked himself out in the limo’s tinted window. Jeff the Entrepreneur wore a mask. William did impressions.

As for the cocktail party itself, again, I’m shrugging. The key word here is ‘cock’, and the presence of one woman just barely changes that dynamic. Now, I suppose if I was one of those guys, and it was a contest, and the woman was basically in control of whether I could stay in the contest, maybe I like to think that I’d try to have a good attitude about the whole thing, make a good impression and whatnot. But as it stands, it’s Ashley, so maybe I wouldn’t, and maybe Tim the Liquor Salesman had the right idea – get really drunk, fall asleep and snore so loudly that you’re guaranteed a spot in the first car home. And MAYBE it’s also a fairly good bet that at least a couple of the fellows from among the group of first departures – Jon, Anthony, Rob, Frank, Michael and Chris M. – now believe that not being conscious by the end of the episode isn’t as poor a strategy as they once thought.

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