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  1. Dawn breaks with Tammy telling us – again - she doesn’t want to talk about the drama she keeps talking about. Kelsey has eyes puffier than George Foreman’s after the Ali fight. We see in the daylight that her bottle was Dom Perignon (despite the silly Sharpie masking of the logo) so perhaps she has a legitimate gripe when she ended up with the house prosecco. Inevitably last night’s combatants are sent on a group date together with all very jazzed about visiting Revolve. Every girl’s dream apparently. Some dream, some don’t about modeling. Hannah Ann could be excused for cackling loud and long – this will be a busman’s holiday for her. One gets the feeling that, ahem, less emotionally stable members of the party will not enjoy it. Hannah loves her hat but, as the old line goes, not even a Greek fisherman looks good in a Greek fisherman’s hat. Snark aside for a moment, it’s unclear why Victoria F is so insecure. Natural beauty, almond-shaped eyes, raven hair, banging figure, petite. And perceptive. She should know that Ugly Ducklings are a type unto themselves and very alluring to many males – even if it’s not on this show. For those of us unfamiliar with the fashion end of reality TV we can be excused for thinking that Rip Taylor had come back from the dead, shaved his mustache, left his confetti at home and put on a sequined jacket. This host is camp as a row of pink tents and is uninterested in any dermatologists’ warnings about sunbeds. His co-host Janice might have a word about premature aging of the skin. Natasha says the fashion haul is like ‘Pretty Woman’ without the bad parts but several of the ladies have nevertheless opted for Streetwalker Chic. Hannah makes The Statement by donning a wedding gown. Pete surrenders without firing a shot. Costumes are changed and Natasha is described as ‘a really sexy Amish person’ which will be news to anyone who’s visited Amish country and noted, shall we say, the rather homogeneous population. Kelsey appears in pajamas and carries a bottle of champagne, natch. It’s even money she’ll bonk Peter over the head with it or possibly open it and spray the crowd with it. But that would likely cost her the prize – of clothes that is. Victoria notes that Hannah’s been the frontrunner from day one. See? Perceptive. But we’re having a bit of trouble swallowing the Not Confident routine. Not Confident people don’t wear lingerie in a crowded room. Full marks to her for summiting her personal mountain. For the others, beating Hannah Ann was about as likely as outdueling Eddie Van Halen in a Guitar Center on a Saturday morning. Ooh! Power move by Hannah throwing her dress into Vic! Han milks it further by lingering for an extra turn. It’s all child’s play for her really as she coasts to victory. Equally predictable is Victoria’s despair. For once a sniffle and a cry don’t seem calculated as TB reassures her. Mykenna has copped a fair amount of opprobrium but she’s forming an alliance of sorts with Hannah – both may need the support when Hurricane Kelsey makes landfall again. ‘We’re both in a good place.' Translated: ‘We’re comfortably ahead.’ Hannah dishes the dirt on Kelsey. Previous Bachelors usually sprint away from the internecine wars in the house but certainly not here. V is for Victoryia! Nobody in the room, save Hannah perhaps, begrudges the dark horse her rose. Peter unwisely places Kelsey on the stand where she demonstrates no sense of irony as she tearfully accuses Hannah of playing the victim. The next-ep teaser is followed by a rather extensive teaser for the season. Caution is thrown mostly to the wind as we see dates, excursions and in most cases the ladies’ identities are front and center. The crying jags are too numerous to count. Interesting approach. Is it an attempt to keep the audience hooked or is it a statement of confidence in the audience’s loyalty?
  2. Meghan Markle’s long-lost cousin Peter faces a dilemma similar to hers: what if the lure of tawdry fame and adulation is stronger than genuine feelings and obligations? And how do you sell that without looking like a total plonker? (Spoiler: you don’t). The damp squib of a group date becomes more of a group delay as the ladies sit around puzzling. Peter & Hannah B have done everything but lock lips and some grudging credit must be given to them because most would have yielded to nature about a week ago. Less credit must be offered to the video crew and their silly voyeuristic door-crack-peeping nonsense. Last week the cameras were fully in the same room during all the sturm und drang. Hannah B & Peter are well accustomed to seeing the men in black and their rigs. Now we’re getting ham-fisted cinema verité. If the also-rans think the first night was hurry-up-and-wait drudgery they ain’t seen nothin’ yet. As Paul’s grandfather complained in ‘A Hard Day’s Night’: ‘So far I’ve been in a train and a room and a car and a room and a room and a room’ – meaning the glamorous vistas they were promised and envisioned themselves have devolved quickly into a long session in a dentist’s waiting room. But at least the dentist eventually shows up and shows interest. Natasha is carrying on with her Real Housewives patter. If she normally communicates this way it’s worrying. If she’s desperate to become a meme on the internet it’s a bit sad. Mykenna gives her best Glenn Close/Fatal Attraction ‘I won’t be ignored’ speech. That is a crazed look, my dear. Alayah drags the English language even closer to the abyss by stating she wants to ‘progress their relationship.’ The girls are gathered, notebooks in hand to be informed that Pusillanimous Pete has decided to do…nothing. Well, as the great and sadly departed Neil Peart once noted, if you choose not to decide you still have made a choice. The girls are still in ‘oooh pick me’ mode but any one of them could be forgiven for smacking him on the head for leading them into his personal no-fly zone. Pete wants to reconvene at the afterparty. After what, exactly? And what is there to celebrate? These cats are well annoyed and tails are flicking madly left and right now. Natasha is fully committed…to stirring the pot with more tirades in the key of F-sharp if not The Bachelor himself. Alexa is sporting a daring hairdo not seen since Wendy and Lisa in their pomp in ‘Purple Rain.’ The ink is still wet on the Leave It In The Past Treaty but signatory Alexa wants answers anyway. Wait – aren’t we supposed to be the ones asking questions of Alexa? Natasha is now offering poison-dripping sessions to individual ear owners. Now it’s Savannah’s turn. And Savannah is doing the defensive arm-bar-hair-grab move! Who needs subtitles when you can read body language? Natasha’s next victim is Pete himself. This sounds less like a dating show and more like a customer service class at a restaurant. I’m sorry, you’re right, I was wrong, how can I fix it etc. etc. Sydney is from Birmingham AL but sounds as if she’s from Burbank CA as she steadfastly refuses to place any space between her words. Soeveryutterancesoundslikethisandendsinaquestion? Her ‘I gave up a lot to be here’ speech is a familiar one but has the desired effect on Pete as he latches on. Or maybe it’s a move out of desperation as he tries something, anything to get her to finish a sentence. Now it’s Mykenna’s turn and apparently this is her well-rehearsed switched-on I’m-such-a-flirt act. Fred Flintstone voice: ‘Hoo boy.’ They’re now reviewing line-dancing steps which are mercifully short and unmercifully arhythmic but merely a pretext for her to get a kiss. Pete unwittingly brings her inner Glenn Close out (again) by playing the role of Michael Douglas, lifting her onto a desktop. Pete, our only advice to is to keep her away from the bunnies. And boiling water. Considering he’s only been on camera with four of the nine women gathered and only kissed two of them the rose will obviously be a coin flip between Sydney and Mykenna. Payton’s body language is nearly screaming aloud – she’s leaning so far off the sofa she may knock the lamp over as she taps her foot impatiently. She looks like a poor soul waiting on her train stop as a bunch of rowdy kids climb over the seats next to her while their mother ignores them. Rabble-rousing Natasha is back at it and why not? She’s got the full complement of rabble to rouse now. Tammy is chock full of criticism for someone she’s met just the once. Pity the poor soul who ends up with her constant disapproval. Maybe she’ll pin them on the floor as punishment for leaving dirty dishes in the sink. Pete arrives with his now-standard apology and Lockjaw Lexi ‘feels a lot better.’ She wants to talk about the first night…of which Pete has no memory. That should fill her with confidence! Kisses, once a rare and prized commodity on TB, are now so uneventful that when they happen the cameras focus on…the hanging lanterns. Unlit. Even the cymbal crescendos are muted. Kelsey has brought a bottle of champagne ‘for a really special moment.’ But hasn’t she noticed the bubbly has been flowing throughout the production already? Let’s face it…some of the best moments in the franchise occur when the participants are listing to starboard and have let their guard down. I suppose we can thank the execrable Corinne again for forcing adults to be treated like children as and when the booze is rationed. In addition to her champagne, Kelsey is lighting candles. On this show it’s like bringing sand to the beach. One wonders how she is guaranteed an audience with His Pilotness and that doubt is justified because he’s dashed out the front door with Glenn – sorry, Mykenna. Both of them already have drink in hand so the champers and Kelsey can wait. Whatever M&P got up to has been left on the editing room floor but she returns, inexplicably, with a smug look, a can of Reddi Wip and a bottle of Log Cabin. Fleiss & Co. have never been above a bit of product placement but this is still very odd. Did we miss a reenactment of 9 ½ Weeks? Mykenna is still suited and booted. Does this mean Pete is naked and tied to a fence post somewhere, claw marks on his back, moaning softly in Spanish for his mama and looking like a stack of silver dollar pancakes? And why isn’t a single person in the room asking some rather obvious questions about the sugary condiments? But why talk food when you’ve got drama? Kelsey is reading every page of the riot act to Mykenna but it’s fine. Yes, it sounds entirely fine. Pete, as it turns out, did not become a human Grand Slam Breakfast also which only adds to the mystery of the cream and syrup. But now it’s Madison Time! (It’s an old song- ask yer dad). Pete may be pecking around the barnyard – and why not? – but he’s a giddy schoolboy around Maddie. Speaking of barnyards, Alayah has rather noticeably become the mother hen, acting as sounding board for the others and now makeup artist touching up Kelsey after The Showdown Pt 1. Kelsey has regained altitude but is about nosedive into despair as she suffers the twin ignominy of someone stealing her moment…and her champagne. Never has the pop! of a cork so clearly marked a dividing line. And brothers and sisters, that line has been well and truly crossed. Yes who is with him? Madison’s back with the group so it must be…Polly Purebred, er, Hannah Ann! Underdog, you’re in truuuuuuble. Hannah pleads innocent – she’s got the act down cold, to be fair – but she seems believable here. We shift quickly from The Bold & The Beautiful to Dumb & Dumber as Kelsey unwisely tips the champagne bottle to her lips and gets a faceful of it. It would be impolite NOT to laugh, really. For a split second Pete doesn’t know if he should laugh because it is genuinely hilarious. Kelsey, frankly, could defuse the whole situation by laughing herself but lacks the presence of mind. Kelsey is still convinced that she has transported the only bottle of champagne on the planet to California and the Bachelor house with her despite the open bar that has been on offer throughout. She’s like a kid who brings candy to a birthday party and throws a wobbler when others partake. Hannah is nearly robotic: ‘I acknowledge your feelings.’ It’s a fairly new passive tactic in Bachelorland but evidently a fairly common one. But it beats screaming I suppose. It’s another Mid-Episode Rose Ceremony (MERC?). Kelsey & Hannah Ann are front and center and next to each other. Coincidence no doubt. Roses awarded to Victoria P, among others, who has gone from teacup turmoil to nearly zero minutes of screen time this ep. Also to Natasha although Pete might be playing defense as he doesn’t want the final tongue-lashing from her in the room with all the others! She’s clearly in the Friend Zone but in her case it might be more accurately termed the Demilitarized Zone. Hannah, we aren’t buying the gee-I-don’t-know-if-I’ll-get-a-rose routine so stop selling. Let’s all agree in non-judgmental fashion that you’ve got aces wired. Tammy. Ugh. Shiann’s got some front talking about others’ tantrums considering she was one of the primary tantrum-throwers last ep. At this point we are pounding the table and chanting Send Kelsey Home! but the psycho stalker on an emotional knife edge is a stock character in this show so no such luck. A number of clear no-hopers have been retained which, unfortunately for the producers, only further tips off who the final group will consist of. ENTR’ACTE
  3. McKenna starts part II with ‘journey’ and ‘find love.’ Drink? Oh give us a break..we’re hung over and didn’t sleep. Shouldn’t Chris Harrison have clothes made with a little kangaroo pouch sewn onto the back to hold the envelope? If not, where, exactly is he storing it? Can we get clothier Kelsey on the job? A rather obvious group of pigeons have been selected by the cat. Or is it the other way round? They’re really going to milk this pilot/airplane thing for all it’s worth aren’t they? That's another cat pun but it wasn't intentional. Probably because a having licensed pilot means his services are free. Pete’s excited about the female aviators but it’s fairly evident that our vapid Bachelorettes are unfamiliar with the Blue Angels – maybe they think it’s a clothing brand spun off from Victoria’s Secret? C-130? Is that a Ford pickup truck? Now we have math. ‘Oh no!’ one gasps - understandably. Pilot Instructor Cook isn’t quite up to airspeed on the fun aspect of all this. Don't ask, don't tell, airman. No laughing or giggling in her ground school, dammit. Now give me 50 pushups. Victoria P recounts yet another harrowing Devastating Personal Tragedy (DPT) – she vomited on ‘the little teacup spinny thing.’ How well-read and cosmopolitan she truly is. She speaks so lyrically. B-roll footage of the actual ride and some ominous music are inserted for those still unfamiliar with the teacups. Or vomiting. Which she predictably does and her white knight of the skies predictably runs over to the bathroom door – because we all want to converse while we’re hugging a commode and retching don’t we? Like, Tammy, literally like, can’t, like, stop saying like. Like, literally. Ugh – what did they slide down into? Grease? Pumpkin? Kelley is cheating but never have we been so happy to see someone break the rules. Kelley’s a lawyer, girls. She knows rules are made to be broken. She’s even met TB before. Victoria P with a ‘journey’ (ding!) and I think we have the first ‘comfort zone’ of the season – Comfort Zone should really become the name of a cocktail. Crikey, there’s a whole hour left? Shiann has either brought the full complement of bad gambler’s luck with her from Las Vegas or she’s getting a horrible edit. Either way, she is squarely in the Friend Zone. Kelley adds punitive damages by stealing Pete AND getting the rose. Even Hannah is a little off-kilter after that clean sweep. Aubie Madison is dressed to the nines at midday. Oiling her Tiger traps as it were. Most of the ladies are on the slim side but Madison has some noticeable muscle definition. Even her peers are impressed, especially the ones who have been relying on the Diet Coke and sneaky cigarette plan before filming commenced. A cheeky pseudo-hometown date – which is undoubtedly how the other girls will view it – follows featuring more of Pete and his Mommy issues. But Madison is returning serve with Daddy stories. The vocal fry is at max sizzle now and she’s using the word ‘wife.’ Gulp! Hoopster Madison gets a slam-dunk rose. Never in doubt. Cue the country that really isn’t country featuring a ‘bantar’ (a banjo strung and tuned like a guitar). The hours at the mansion are long. And so are the faces. Another group date involves…more Hannah B. At this point your odds of falling into a pool and staying dry are better than avoiding The Eternal Bachelorette. Natasha slips into Real Housewives mode but it’s entirely appropriate here. ‘That’s two times we’ve seen her in a week’ notes Alayah. Amen. But to be fair real emotion is on offer here from both…and it involves the complete wreckage of eye makeup. Love is a powerful force…but it’s not as powerful as network ratings and schedules. If Pete bails now there will be some rather large holes to fill on the calendar and ABC/Fleiss/Harrison aren’t having it. It’s a gripping scene and an authentic one, actually, but probably a hiding to nothing since there is a series to air! Give ‘em grudging credit. A 3-hour show still ends with a cliffhanger. Top that, Scorsese!
  4. Committing to a season of TB is daunting because one feels compelled to get to the final rose (and beyond) no matter how dim the prospects – and indeed no matter how dim the participants – are. TB is a bit like music – most of the potential for originality is gone. And if you come up with something you THINK is original – a melody, a chord progression – you find that someone came up with the same thing many years ago. 12 notes in the Western scale and all that. And so TB is a victim of its own notoriety but especially its longevity. At this point everyone’s in on the joke except, perhaps, for a few emotionally unstable, insecure males and females who pretend they know it’s all kayfabe but actually lose the plot when they declare ‘I was here to find love.’ With Instagram a hush-hush contract with an agent is no longer required. With Instagram filters a professional photographer may be surplus to requirements as well. Cue the string of photos that are so predictable they are like those compulsory skating figures that used to be part of the Olympics. To wit: 1) Peace sign, usually with duck lips 2) Hat of some kind worn ironically or otherwise. Cowboy. Big furry Russian hat. Baseball cap. Knit watch cap (beanie). Men’s hat (derby/bowler, Homburg, fedora, etc.). Bicycle/motorcycle helmet - well, at least held in hand. Watch the hair! 3) Sunglasses worn in conjunction with #1 or #2 above 4) Evening gown 5) Pic hugging dog. Occasionally cat. 6) Family members used as props. 7) Beach photos. Lots of beach photos. Hundreds of beach photos. Photos of surf, sand, docks, seagulls, turtles, iguanas, cabanas. But mostly photos of themselves on the beach (natch) with hair and makeup done perfectly. As you do. Most beach photos involve strategic poses all laser-focused on camouflaging the thigh and bum area: legs crossed while standing with all the weight on the back foot. Standing on tiptoes so vertiginously that a violent rupture of an Achilles’ tendon seems likely. The captions are equally universal: ‘This is my perfect place’….’Already missing ______’ (an excuse to post another beach photo)…and, of course, some variation on ‘This is paradise’ – but not Paradise (capital P). That probably comes later for the truly neurotic and desperate. My usual disadvantage in missing the previous Bachelorette season but Hannah and the powers that be have pushed her incessantly on the public via cameos. Hannah would show up at the opening of an envelope, as it were. But I know next to nothing about Pete except he seems as shallow as the 2-minute video package featuring his mom hogging the camera so comprehensively that the crew may still be locked in her garage. It’s a safe bet Pete’s got mommy issues. The video vignettes for the females begin and they are as staged as WrestleMania. A waxer ‘who runs her own business’ (read: she rents a space in the Lenox Salon Lofts). Model Hannah Sluss. Nothing against models or the name Hannah (despite its current ubiquity) but remember the old days when a Joyce Frankenberg’s agent would change her name to Jane Seymour? Sluss is just too easy to mispronounce intentionally or otherwise. How about a stage name? Hannah Stevens maybe? Hey are they using the same table set for the various families or does everyone own the same table and area rug? Are we really using those paper cell blinds on windows in the house? I thought they were for ‘luxury’ apartments. I have them in my garage but…it’s a garage. Tammy’s a house flipper. You can tell by the perfectly manicured hands and the manual screwdriver that she’s a paint-stained contractor (eye roll). Boys’ wrestling team? Oh boy. Love travel a lot? It’s hard to redo a kitchen when you’re in Cabo. We’re three vignettes in and already a theme has developed: these chicks want free airfare and lots of it. Victoria activates the Devastating Personal Tragedy (DPT) alarm and will, undoubtedly, be in floods of tears upon arrival and throughout just as she is now. Do full-on self-respecting attorneys share offices with Daddy? Law firms full of relatives usually scream ‘ambulance chasers’ but Flanagan|Bilton (it came up quickly in a Google search as popular searches do) are all about fighting the man – the property tax man as it were. If you’re a public school employee look away now. We should really add a ‘railing shot’ counter to this site/section for every time a participant approaches, leans on or otherwise touches a railing near a body of water or on a balcony. War Eagle Madison is also about travel. Memo to the ladies: Pete’s a commercial pilot but he doesn’t own a Gulfstream. Maurissa is in the medical field and was a pageant girl. For the really dense viewer unable to grasp these subtleties a shot of Maurissa in her scrubs taking off a prop tiara is included. At this point it’s fair to ask if center-parted hair is a legal requirement in most states. The drowned-rat look simply won’t go away. A glimpse at magazine covers from the 60s, 70s and 80s shows an almost dizzying progression of hairstyles, some good, most bad. But they changed – rapidly – in the days of the landline phone and the newsprint paper. In the era of global instantaneous high-definition stereo-sound communications, however, we can’t advance beyond cleavage – on the scalp that is. Speaking of cleavage, Alayah has arrived with her own and a dose of double-sided tape. She’s got cans – sorry, a canned speech and a canned letter from Grandma. Awww. Sydney’s from Birmingham and has some snark for her Alabama predecessor. Dewy-eye Hannah appears again and sets a speed record running through the poses: the head tilt, the chin drop/thrust, the shrug. Sarah becomes a sentimental favorite merely because her hair is side-parted. Lauren is petite and ponytailed and arrives with cod psychology and the first mention of ‘journey.’ Drink! Victoria is overwhelmed and on an emotional knife-edge as usual even though we barely know her. Their dance is so awkward that, in the words of Mark Twain, let us draw the curtain of charity over the rest of the scene. Mykenna surveys TB like a rancher surveys a head of cattle. I’m trying to imagine what kind of hell would be raised if a the male did same to a female. Maurissa raises the ‘journey’ stakes with a ‘be true to ourselves’ and joins the chorus talking VERY prematurely about marriage. Kelsey’s a professional clothier from…Des Moines? Does she do a brisk trade in designer flannel and mud boots? Ugh our first prop (except for the letter)…Eunice is a flight attendant which saves a lot of time and trouble. She can book her own deadhead ticket and knows the procedures at the airport hotel. Bottle of champagne and all that. Now we’ve got a parade of flight attendants. Jade (best looker so far especially the raven hair and mercifully free of props). Megan and her microphone. Eunice is nonplussed. Madison reappears followed by Tammy (already top of the annoying list). A neon sign for Courtney reading ‘bunny boiler’ would probably be too obvious. But she is. Suitcase Kiarra. Yawn. Lexi isn’t listed as a ventriloquist but still talks without moving her mouth at all ‘It’s like an old car!’ Well, yes, girls. Might we expect you to recognize a Corvette? Deandra is wearing windmill blades. The puns write themselves don’t they? Dutch treat? Grist for the mill? Millstone around his neck? Payton is also obsessed with her predecessor – all of them seem blissfully unaware that the last thing a bloke wants to hear about is his shortcomings, failures, near-misses, etc. Eunice is being possessive and annoying again…I sense a trend already. Here come some more screeching ‘4 timers.’ Oh God, it’s like being back on a school bus. Victoria’s dry sense of humor really isn’t dry and really isn’t humor but it’s better than a double entendre about a cat that we heard in ‘Are You Being Served?’ decades ago. Speaking of marking territory when a Bachelorette talks about ‘establishing myself’ look out for claws and hissing. Jenna and her cow remind us that TB should have at least one preemptive black rose in which he sends a no-hoper home before she ever enters the house. Blindfold girl, name mercifully missed, gives way to Kelley who claims to be on a mission from God which is appropriate given their mutual Chicago background. The Blues Bachelorettes? Avonlea is almost a parody of Texas blondes including her profession but the intimidation factor when she enters is interesting to watch, as is the body language whenever individual ladies feel tense. The right arm reaches across the face in a defensive move as the hand grasps for the hair in a self-soothing gesture. Once you see it you can’t stop seeing it. I needn’t have worried because Hannah B is here amidst a chorus of shrieks and screams. ABC seems hell-bent on casting her in something, possibly Good Morning America or 20/20? A stultifying sequence of show and tell follows. Hannah’s fingerpainting garners her a snog. More gasps and shrieks. Mykenna gets hers. Hannah Slusses (you wish you'd said it) to the buffet again successfully and is reproached but Southern girls can wrong-foot the opposition rather smoothly by agreeing with their tormentor. Hmmm Victoria F’s dry humor seems to have dried up completely. Instead, she’s the new Ashley I having a meltdown. In the least surprising result since the NBA Dream Team carpet-bombed the Olympic basketball competition, Hannah gets the first impression rose. What a performer. The batting of the eyes, the nodding, the leaning in. ‘I cannot believe I got the rose.’ Mmm-hmm. Pull the other leg – it’s got bells on it. You believe it entirely. A mid-episode RC. Perhaps it makes up for late-season episodes in which RCs are ‘spontaneously’ interrupted and postponed. Tammy demonstrates that she literally doesn’t understand the word literally. Lexi is doing her Edgar Bergen act again. Or maybe she has an undiagnosed case of tetanus. It’s daylight now and there’s no attempt to disguise it – which means they spent nigh-on 12 hrs shooting (and probably reshooting) the arrival scenes? Few surprises although we can be excused for hoping that Tammy was a red herring – lots of footage and interviews and a first-night exit. Still, we can look forward to an early departure in the next ep or two. Sydney’s rose shows Hannah in the background letting the mask slip. The ‘greatest love story’ McKenna? Let’s not get carried away. Sarah might be a dark horse. Kelsey is in agony. Maybe it’s from wearing heels that long. Shame Pete can’t see the interviews or he would hear The Music Man warn us that Kelsey from River City is trouble – starts with T. More red-herringness is avoided when Victoria F snatches the last rose. Which means Jade, sadly, is off home. So is Maurissa – aha! The Red Herring revealed! She will no doubt be asked if her passport is in order for a trip to Mexico. Pro Sports Dancer & her Mr Bigglesworth are gone. ENTR’ACTE
  5. Don't watch her show(s) or follow most Hollywood gossip but this is a bit of a surprise and a somewhat rare overlap between traditional fame and the reality TV kind. An educated guess says Wells probably won't need or want the bartender/counselor gig in future. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-7619341/Sarah-Hyland-fiance-Wells-Adams-celebrate-engagement-backyard-bash-Los-Angeles.html
  6. It's been a near-futile exercise in trying to catch up on this season. I think I'm on the right topic/episode thread but...even if I'm not...... -The quote engine won't let me copy and paste attribution so apologies for that. Kristina said in passing that she was living in LA. Her social media would tend to confirm this and the singleton-dental-hygienist-living-in-Louisville persona has obviously been jettisoned. It wouldn't surprise me if ABC/producers kept her on a retainer. -Reality TV in general is getting rumbled (exposed) on a frequent basis these days and the tattletales are, curiously, the cast members themselves. They reveal frequent cynical manipulation by producers. Example: Love Islander A tells Islander B something and swears them to secrecy. Islander B appears to sprint downstairs to spill the beans two minutes later. Islander B takes an absolute shredding online but doesn't know about it until the show ends. At that point Islander B, trying to save face or simply set the record straight, reveals the producer involvement. -Most audiences long ago cottoned on to the unreality of reality TV and many watch it in a kind of suspended-disbelief state of mind as many others watch scripted pro wrestling. However, Fleiss/Harrison & associates may have pushed it too far with the Kristina/Blake rose: it revealed that the core 'game' is rigged (the RC) and it revealed Kristina and/or Blake as plants, provocateurs, etc. -As others have noted, the fight revealed a huge, intrusive, distracting number of crew members everywhere and anywhere on the beach. One bloke was wearing a lifeguard outfit. Elf-n-safety and all that but those 'spontaneous' forays into the surf, especially at night, become much less spontaneous when someone's monitoring you from the beach. What must his work hours be like? -The teaser clips of The Big Fight were very brief indeed and for the usual reason: to encourage watching the next episode. But due to the lighting and the angle I thought there might be a chance that it was Clay mixing it up with Christian and although Jordan gave a good account of himself with his impressive hip toss Clay would have broken the punk in half. Shame we didn't get to see that. Christian fell out of - or possibly into - character quickly. The hold-me-back guys are always good for a laugh. They know full well security and onlookers won't let them resume the fight so they rant and rave and threaten safe in the knowledge. Like many his type, Christian was revealed to be thin-skinned, insecure, quick to anger, etc. -Speaking of Blake, either women's tastes have changed drastically or poor eyesight is an epidemic. I'm sure his hair - or whatever is posing as hair - has been a frequent topic of discussion especially as it struggles mightily to cope with the heat and humidity. For a group of young people obsessed with appearance (others and their own) it beggars belief that it hasn't been a topic of discussion and/or a turn-off for them. Although in keeping with the note above, if Blake is a producer's pet then they will no doubt be cutting any footage of the girls discussing his, er, addendum. The eye can't help but be drawn to that stark white line running ear to ear on the back of his head. You will note that he has not gone under the surface of the water once. -Speaking of Blake again, only a vampire could be exposed to that much tropical sunshine - or even infrared rays on cloudy days - and maintain his fish-belly white skin tone. -Ironic distance aside, I am on record (as a politician might say) as being Pro Jen, Team Jen, Jen Fan Club Member and All About Jen. I am on record as having called her Official Wife Material because I believe she is, or at least was. But one must adopt - or at least comprehend - the Gestalt Theory of Jen Saviano. Gestalt as in 'whole package.' It isn't just the looks as in features. It's the body language, the movement, the poses (eg on the boat). Jen is quick to smile but doesn't cheese or giggle. When conversing she will drop the chin and tilt the head and bat the eyelids. Is this learned or innate behavior as the psychology texts ask? Whatever it is, it works. She's got the Goldilocks physique - not too little not too much. Doesn't look pumped up/cut from gym work, doesn't look like she's starving to fit a particular dress size. And thanks to genetics she APPEARS to be avoiding the temptation to alter her features. But then, why would she? It's fair to ask, however: if it works why isn't it working in the wider world? Good question...not sure I can answer. Jen is doing a Kristina - or perhaps Kristina's doing a Jen - in the bizarre fishbowl known as Instagram influencing. Jen has been to all four corners of the globe over the last year or so with, as a judge might say, no visible means of support. Endorsements? Quid pro quo? Hard to tell. But our Jen is pictured in many posh locales and establishments. EDIT: she has a concierge-type web site involving travel planning for visitors to Nashville. Jen would seem to be Bachelorette Candidate A-1 but possibly seems a bit too savvy compared to the often-desperate airheads that have been recent Bachelorettes. -I'm considering putting a loop together of Demi creasing her nose & forehead, shedding a tear and covering her face with one hand. The loop might last 5 min or more but if all the shots are identical (but of different origin) how could we tell? ;)
  7. A postscript regarding the music: like its UK cousin, LIUS relied on the device of EXTREMELY close-mic'd singers doing agonized covers of standards with frequent agonized catches in their voices and all accompanied by sad tinkly piano. Apparently this is meant to convey great emotional upheaval but after the fifth or sixth number it becomes predictable and tiresome. It's also a lazy and obvious way of padding the show by including otherwise mundane footage of islanders prepping for bed and - wait for it - sleeping. A cynic might also point out that covers of old songs a) don't say much for the current crop of autotuned blandness and b) avoid payouts of performance/mechanical royalties to the original artists.
  8. As a watcher of the UK (where it originated) & Aussie versions it was interesting to see how much 'ITV flavor' would be sprinkled on the US version. The challenges, unsurprisingly, were almost entirely duplicated. But due to the short run of LIUS there were some that didn't happen. The bingo game was a substitute for the 'drink in the face' challenge in which tabloid headlines and/or tweets were read and and the participant had to throw a cocktail (actually just dyed water) in the face of another islander. Despite the usual attempts to take it lightly, there is a natural fight-or-flight human reaction to getting doused and tempers often flared after the game - which is the whole point. The bingo game was, like most things on LIUS, a little too friendly, a little too chummy, a little too complimentary, a little too safe. Another missed trick was the lie detector. A completely bogus 'reading' of islander thoughts with answers to match, it frequently put the cat among the pigeons and upset even the most stable of couples. ITV's presence was also evident in some idiomatic expressions that were part of the official script ie instructions sent via text or the host's lines. One example: one instruction noted that it was 'down to' the islanders to decide - a very British construction where Americans typically say 'up to.' Complaints about weather are as old as weather itself but in clicking back through a few episodes it really is remarkable how dismal the weather was. It poured night and day for most of the series run and even the mostly dry days lacked South Pacific sunshine. It clearly had a negative effect individually and collectively on the frequently listless islanders. The short series also precluded some of the more devilish moves by the producers. One infamous twist from LIUK involved a couple being forced to choose between leaving the villa together or uncoupling and remaining. In that case they chose the latter but it was a close-run thing. Chucking islanders out with such rapidity and regularity meant that love triangles were almost nonexistent. It's one thing to have to choose at a recoupling, quite another to have the ex remain in the house. It happened once or twice but keeping the numbers down meant keeping the intrigue down as well. As every soap opera demonstrates, bad news and conflict are more interesting than loved-up couples canoodling on a couch. I recently read an interesting description on World War I, of all things, and trench warfare in particular: 'Trench warfare was the result of a vast increase in firepower without a corresponding increase in mobility.' This is not to compare a candyfloss TV show to The Great War but it could be said that Love Island originated before social media became ubiquitous and all-consuming (at least among a certain demographic). The first two years of LIUK were flat-out raunchy as the islanders weren't consumed with a) what the public were saying about them and b) what their prospects for life beyond the villa might be. As a bit of a summer throwaway LIUK was off the radar of the cultural tongue-cluckers and the islanders were either not as cynical and cunning as the current crop or were simply more interested in the pleasures of the flesh in the here and now. Unfortunately, fame or at least notoriety became burdensome to some of the ex-islanders who a) continued to participate heavily in social media and b) took the numerous abusive comments to heart. But let's be fair: many (most?) of the ex-islanders gladly participated in post-LI activities like parties, clubbing, TV interviews, magazine spreads and especially personal appearances where they were paid handsomely. Although the UK prize of £50,000 (only about $60,000 at present due to the rapidly-slipping exchange rate) is even less than the US prize of $100,000, even the so-called losers and early departures of LI could easily amass £50,000 or more after the show ended - and many have done so. In the case of one female islander she had already been treated for clinical depression and associated problems. Applying for the show was probably a mistake in hindsight and being cast was also a mistake. The problems remained after LI and were, it is claimed, exacerbated by the public. Another LIUK islander nicknamed 'Muggy Mike' for his rather arrogant approach to romantic pursuits and for his subsequent rejection by multiple females also took his life. The lazy explanation was that he became a figure of fun and his derisive nickname followed him. But those who knew and/or met him confirmed that he seemed completely at ease. He knew he was playing a character of sorts and as long as the checks cleared he was fine with it. What actually happened: Mike had ambitions of becoming an upscale restauranteur and, using his newfound pile of cash, pursued facilities in and around London where, understandably, prices and stakes are high. He got way underwater financially and, while he may have had the odd dark thought before, it was the failure of his business ventures that drove him to suicide. Although narcissism is often the shiny side while depression and anxiety are the tarnished side of the same coin, today's islanders are a mostly savvy lot. They know that celebrity (however they define it) and its trappings will be on offer even if they know the ride will end sooner rather than later. It has been revealed that only six of the two dozen or more UK islanders were legitimately (?) cast through the advertised application process. The rest came from modeling, acting and talent agencies. It's a safe bet that the US version followed suit. Some evidence is completely obvious: US islanders Michael, Cashel and Aissata billed themselves as models in their intros. Other evidence is there for the asking on islanders' social media profiles - they already have agencies, portfolios etc listed on their accounts while they're supposedly cloistered in Fiji. Granted, representation may be a necessity when dealing with floods of incoming calls, messages, requests, etc. The point remains - the fix is in, the producers want beautiful people and the beautiful people want fame. Consenting adults and all that. The public are not entirely naive. They've seen a pattern of so-called romantic couples breaking up after a certain length of time, typically six months. It is asserted and assumed that some PR and/or contractual considerations mean they must maintain the illusion for at least that long. It would take a serious crank to gripe about Zac & Elizabeth as winners from the viewpoint of the true believers or the wrong reasons set. There was a bit of rough water early on during the 'baggage' challenge in which, unsurprisingly, Elizabeth discovered that Zac may have had a casual and/or callous approach to women and relationships. His alibi was laughable: 'We had sex for like, two seconds.' Sure they did. But she accepted it and moved on. As before, the US narrator was mostly hopeless with his camp inflection. He obviously thought that saying 'Send!' before texts were issued was comedy gold and wore the bit threadbare. The show is crying out for a laconic David Spade-type standup comic who will mock the eminently mockable islanders without an all-out misanthropic besmirching of their character. The play-it-safe approach that characterized LIUS means that network execs, who already worship at the altar of play-it-safe, have no doubt asked for more of the same in the second series they've approved.
  9. Word is the producers are considering moving the show to Glasgow to have at least some hope of better weather. But the rain has severely curtailed activities, including dates and moments away from the villa and has, in turn, curtailed any drama. The pack/tribal mentality that is part of the human complement of instincts has been on full display with all restricted to a subset of an already meager piece of real estate. There is the couch, day bed, bedroom, shower/bathroom area and...that's it. Uncovered areas of the villa are under a nearly constant downpour night and day and the rain has precluded any beach visits etc. Islanders are subconsciously averse to violating group cohesion. Despite their youth they sit around lethargic, even sleeping for long stretches during the day. The strict rationing of alcohol is, ironically, preventing any action, drama, raised voices, conflict, etc. that the cameras have been starved of for weeks. The job of star presenter on the various LIs - UK, Australia, US - is a piece of absolute cake. Half the time when there are votes, evictions, recouplings, etc. the host is nowhere to be found. Why? Instructions are often given via text message punctuated by long pauses. Nice work if you can get it or, in this case, avoid it entirely while still getting top billing. Speaking of long pauses, the direction/editing during the fire pit encounters is beyond a joke. If they're telling the islanders to wait a full 30 seconds before revealing their choice that's silly and contrived. If they're editing it to make it look that way so they can blare that annoying music looped over and over then it's even worse. Kyra's reaction to her surprise was that of any ex-girlfriend anywhere in the world who might claim to miss her ex but doesn't REALLY want to see them eg bumping into them at the airport. She all but forgot to embrace Cashel and spent most of her time treating him like he was radioactive. Dylan/Alex and Caro/Ray are jostling for place and show but Zac and Elizabeth appear to several lengths ahead on the homestretch. Anything left to a public vote can produce an upset result but....
  10. If the show ends Aug 7 that is a very short run compared to the UK and even the Australian versions. But it's a sign of CBS being tentative - they moaned publicly about the big chance they took with a 5-nights-per-week show - and the realities of network primetime with what is considered a summer replacement show. By the way, this program (and all the others) are now being watched on YouTube TV. I'm in two minds about handing Google more cash and more metadata but DirecTV became ridiculously expensive and top-heavy with absolute rubbish - PPV channels, infomercial channels etc. YTTV features an unlimited (!) DVR and it's a very strange feeling not having to fret about running out of disk space and one almost feels guilty amassing such a huge library of things that will probably never be watched. Conditioning and un-conditioning is a strange, powerful thing. DirecTV Now, by comparison, limits DVR space to 20 hrs (!?) and is priced higher (depending on channel lineup) with more price increases inevitable given the depressing (for them) and now-regular stories of quarterly drops in satellite subscriptions. And then there's the app. DirecTV subscribers can, to a man, provide horror stories of their balky, unreliable, bug-filled app. Now it works, now it doesn't. You haven't left the house, left the room or even left the couch. Log in. Log out. Log in again. Oh, sorry, you wanted to catch up on the last set of that tennis match but 'the channel provider has disabled skipping ahead on the time line.' 'Watch your DVR from anywhere!' claimed the DirecTV ads. The Big Lie. Trying to access the DVR remotely (ie on another network while traveling) is impossible by rule or in practical terms as it attempts to 'register' your DVR despite having done so already many times. YTTV's app is snappy, peppy, reliable, stable, fast, intuitive, etc. Works anywhere including over cellular data. No logins, no 'registering' of DVRs. To be fair, it's all cloud-based but it still provides a stark contrast to outdated technology propped up solely by misleading advertising. Unfortunately, in order to get CBS's participation in the channel lineup YTTV agreed to stick unskippable ads (usually 6 of them where commercial breaks are placed during live air) in recorded shows 24 hrs after live air. A small pain but a pain nonetheless. The legacy providers (cable/satellite), the networks and even the newfangled streaming services still don't seem to grasp the prevalence of - ahem - other means of obtaining their shows with all interruptions edited out. For free. In any resolution desired. Using the same transmission medium as the streaming. As for LIUS, they're trying their best with mixed results - no doubt with the significant input of ITV types (the UK's network for Love Island) - to replicate the formula. But a short series run makes it tricky with Islanders coming and going so rapidly. Poor Christen got a single bleedin' day after traveling halfway around the world and was right to have a moan. The narrator is hopeless. Iain Stirling was already a successful stand-up comedian in the UK (he's Scottish) and took to voiceover work like a duck to water. He's frequently been called the secret ingredient in the success of LIUK and has no fear of, as the Brits say, taking the p*ss out of the Islanders but he manages to retain some affection for them. The US narrator is limited to - or opting for - unfunny, catty remarks. These people are, by and large, ridiculous, narcissistic, insecure (despite their looks), jealous etc and are crying out for mockery of their attitudes and self-importance not just a running commentary of their actions/reactions. Stirling does a comedy routine every night. Hoffman does an impression of the kids who gathered in the corner dorm room every weekend to bitch about everyone else. The weather has been even more hopeless. I checked Fiji's annual weather profile to see if they are subjected to monsoons like much of Asia and the Indian and Pacific oceans but they are not. It's just been bad luck with heavy rain and lots of it (eg the beer pong challenge). We need to have a tearful funeral for regional accents and phraseology. The nationalization and homogenization of everything is featureless and boring, especially the triphammer invocation of the word 'like.' It's now being used as all parts of speech. 'Like, I didn't know if I would, like, like him?' Cashel looked to be the ugly duckling among the Adonis types but had a surprisingly strong game although, inevitably, playing SNAG (sensitive new age guy) didn't work out. Yamen is riding his luck but succeeding. Fair play. I wouldn't buy a lease on an outhouse from him or the new bloke but the ladies like him. Dylan cries out for thought bubble memes similar to those utilizing Keanu Reeves as Ted 'Theodore' Logan. 'What if there are no tides and the earth just sinks down into the water every night?' etc. A dim bulb to be sure. Ray, thankfully, has dropped the rapper-with-a-mic act and can actually have thoughtful conversations. Eric is a toolbag who apparently cleared customs. He's breaking the stereotype of the soft-spoken, deferential Canadian but not in a good way. For someone who considers himself Casanova he has yet to get physical with anyone. Kids can laugh at old photos of adults wearing ridiculous clothes, shoes, hair and mustaches but a permanent etching of an alien head on the chest is going to be tough to explain or keep when the craze subsides. Weston? Making the classic errors of attempting to keep everyone happy simultaneously, thinking he can get away with it, and taking on even more trouble. Blonde buxom Kelsey would seem to be custom-made for a Texas girlfriend/wife not least her iron-fisted grip on 'her man.' Weston is hardly as spontaneous or adventurous as he thinks but has an adolescent fascination with the Bad Girls. Zac/Elizabeth are the Achilles heel of Love Island regardless of nation or network - a committed, stable, couple who might actually be in love or Love (TM). But such pairings confound the producers who want bed-hopping, gossip and drama. Good luck to 'em. Caro - words fail. But at least she has a character arc - interesting at first, then annoying, now comedy relief. Interesting that Dim Dylan summed up her personality concisely and accurately. Alexandra - on the edge of cute, on the edge of sexy. On the edge full stop. Classic example of a girl not quite as attractive as her friends despite (probably) having more personality. Killer husky voice but, like, the vocabulary needs, like, improving, y'know? She's a bag of nerves and her 'let's just be a casual couple open to getting to know other people' is as hilarious as it is patently false. Looked like ol' Dyl was putting her through her paces under the covers the other night. Those two seconds of footage are about as racy as the US version is going to risk airing. And then there's Kyra - queen bee syndrome personified. Would gladly accept an attendant walking beside her holding a full-length mirror at all times. Wants all the boys and wants all the boys to want her. To be fair, most of them have tried. Kyra is a bit of a ringer, having appeared with her band on America's Got Talent and with dozens of videos on YouTube where she was an even skinnier long-legged colt. Unfortunately, the band's music is an unlistenable shouty mishmash of hip-hop and...something. This board and many others often point out the unreality of reality TV. It is, therefore, a hiding to nothing to talk about 'norms' on a show involving 20 or fewer people. By that standard one could watch a football game and state that all humans are tall hulks who wear shoulder pads and helmets. It is decidedly abnormal in the OED sense of the word due the sample size and drawing conclusions or extrapolations is, respectfully, logically unsound. Like many of the Islanders, CBS's fear of commitment resulting from their claimed fears of backlash from showing too much skin or young people doing what young people do on a tropical island is probably going to doom LIUS to a Star Trek-type fate in which the network makes a flawed decision using flawed ratings that do not convey accurate information about the demographic they covet most. LIUK had a halting start too but became a cultural phenomenon. LI Australia also had spotty ratings in its first season. It's claimed there will be a second Australian series but it's much delayed at present.
  11. Erstwhile Bachelorette Kimmie Coon has retired (?) from the grid girls/brolly dollies/victory lane ladies racing-related gigs and is doing morning TV in Charlotte NC. Quite literally The Bachelor(ette) in the media. PS - Primetimer eh? These columns are incredibly narrow and about 60% of my screen is idle white space.
  12. As this season concludes, it must be said once again that by now the only things Bachelor In Paradise has in common with Bachelor Pad are the host and the network. Instead of eye-popping female forms with faces to match and a passel of confident chiseled blokes who *really* don’t need reality TV to hook up but go where the action is anyway, we have shifted to a roomful of emotional basket cases with the majority leaning heavily on the unlimited hair and makeup services and good lighting. We once had pheromones wafting from the TV speakers. Now we’re getting a whiff of Xanax. But first, Chris Harrison is here to reclaim ‘but first’ from Julie Chen. Nobody shall tease better than him, dammit! He’s been in the game longer anyway. It’s worth noting that the conformity among the cast is matched by the conformity writ large among the studio audience: flowing hair, solid colors, even the jewelry and accessories. Either there was a dress code so that the background wouldn’t a distraction full of busy patterns and visual ‘noise’ or these may actually be cardboard cutouts. Any plausible theory here is preferable to mindless lockstep so-called fashion. Can’t stand out if you don’t stand out. Maybe it’s my new subwoofer-equipped soundbar but the rumbling fans in the hushed studio are audible again this year. But first (and it’s the last time I use it…promise) we’re back to Paradise. But it’s not really Paradise is it? If you have lounged on a private beach in the Virgin Islands with perfect weather, dazzling turquoise water and just enough smallish waves lapping the shore to provide a soundtrack then Mexico’s version of Paradise looks pedestrian indeed. Kamil & Anneliese awake and Kamil should have an animated red siren light above his head already. These boys’ body language is dead easy to read. He’s interested in compatibility? Not the highest bar to get over. The last day’s segments appear to have been edited with a rusty axe – we get a jarring jump-cut from bedroom to beach. None of the patented Bachelor anticipation shots are employed. No stand on the balcony in profile, no sunrise and seagulls, no moment of contemplation with a steaming mug of coffee, no laying out of clothes, no grooming. Zap – we are at the moment of truth (?). So far, no Neil Lane sighting. Perhaps Neil’s contract says he only does sure things or shows with just one proposal. Kamil walks on the giant serape with all the alacrity of a tobacco chewer visiting his dentist. Uh oh. Anneliese has been piling up the jinxes with her nonstop talk of proposals and bended knees and all the jinxes arrive at once. Kamil wants to see where it goes. Anything less than total rejection (which, of course, arrives later) sends Anneliese over the moon and she sells the ‘commitment’ like a parent praising a fingerpainting as fine art. Because these things interest me, and because I think CH/Fleiss/ABC get away with murder in the canned footage department and because I have a nice powerful A/V editing iMac sitting here and because I have an electronic copy of the After episode, I was curious to know the signal-to-noise ratio. You probably won't be shocked to learn that out of a 2-hr broadcast window when the ads and flashbacks (not including bloopers) are deleted the show clocks in at an appalling, miserly 1 hr 9 min 30 sec. Barely over half. And you thought bags of potato chips contained a lot of empty air. Jenna is surprisingly keen. She didn’t get a fair crack of the whip during the oblivious Arie’s season despite outshining many of them in the looks department. In keeping with forum policies and the suspension of disbelief let’s leave talk of Jenna’s actual state of mind out of the conversation for now while we might, ahem, encourage readers to study up on the topic themselves. In ladylike fashion she greets her man on the beach with a bleeped expletive. Jordan is wearing a pair of those damn sneakers that will look as bad five years from now as platform shoes of 1978 did. Their scripted lines sound as if they’ve been lifted from silkscreened wooden plaques sold at Hallmark. They are lame, formulaic, derivative. If they fly in a jeweler to help seal the deal, what about a writer or two? Jordan’s reaching into his back pocket and I don’t think it’s to scratch his arse. For the first time, the music editor can pull out the track marked ‘Orchestral swells, cymbal crescendos and – crucially – tinkly glockenspiel notes in the background.’ I do hope the poor soul in the percussion section has been using earplugs in the studio. He’s been hammering those poor Zildjians for weeks. Given the level of deception inherent in Fleissiana, one is compelled to wonder if the couples’ segments were shot and presented chronologically or, more likely, if they were presented in the order of confidence or outcome. As saccharine as the Jenna/Jordan lines were, Chris has opted for a potentially crushing emotional red herring. But the suspense is short-lived and he proposes. CH notes that 35 Bippers had cycled through this year. If you’re scoring at home and you aren’t completely dubious that’s a success rate of 11.4%. Not bad but not great given the houseful of couples just two days prior. Back in the studio, the sizeable cast are reintroduced. Jacqueline is a notable absentee. Colton’s reception indicates the crowd are well-informed but, surprisingly, he’s never brought on stage (EDIT: real-world chronology may have not allowed this). Several couples lasted as long as the adhesive airline stickers on their luggage: John & Olivia, Eric & Angela. Angela Amezcua (gesundheit!) does a fantastic disbelieving sneer – unfortunately it’s one of her most frequently-used expressions. Jordan and Benoit do their tiresome snarling dogs routine again. And if you think Angela’s name is tricky, try Shushanna’s surname of Mkrtychyan. That’s not a name – it’s an eyechart! Even more tiresome are the ‘let’s take a look back’ video reviews. Charlton Heston Soylent Green voice: VIDEO REVIEWS ARE FILLER! Astrid already looked deadly despite heat and humidity in Mexico. In wardrobe and makeup and nice cool HVAC she wins in a walkover. Demerits for choosing bolshy Bibiana as her confidante. Kevin emerges and he’s as popular as a spinach lollipop. I had a friend, now sadly deceased, who had dark eyes similar to Astrid’s – they picked up every little glint of light. As we outro to yet another interminable ad break, the bumper music is a shameless uncredited lift of ‘Waterloo Sunset’ by the Kinks. I doubt Ray Davies is watching but he should be on the phone to the lawyers. Fireman Kevin rescues himself from a burning emotional building by declaring his love for Astrid. We’re half-rooting for her to give him the shove out of revenge but she’s too nice a person for that. They suit each other anyway so good luck to them. It sez here that Astrid was actually born in East Germany. Joe has finally had a haircut but can’t claim much improvement up top. He’s got a big fan club assembled but he’s still got the Nixonian beard-shadow-and-sweat going. Kendall has at least made an effort to visit him and they’re going to give a go especially now that Joe has been cast in LA-based DWTS. Someone break the news to Kendall that Joe’s partner will, by definition, be a lithe, lean, rhythmically gifted, probably attractive female dancer. Could be tricky. Tragic Anneliese, ever the optimist, states that she & Kamil are ‘in a good spot.’ But haven’t we already seen previews of her bawling in the corridor? There’s no physical contact with Kamil beyond the initial greeting – an obvious ominous sign. She seems to know the bad news was coming – or possibly she’s had lots of practice. ‘Amazing’ is the compliment of death for relationships as in ‘You’re amazing but…’ Realistically this was always the most likely outcome it was just delayed as Kamil didn’t want to crush her spirit entirely after she bided her time in Mexico waiting for Mr. Anybody With A Pulse. Tellingly, nobody in the Bipper gallery rushes out to comfort her although that comes later. Like us, maybe they’re worn out by it. An indignant Anneliese reenters the arena to berate Kamil and Gurl Power Tia nods along and says ‘Yes, bitch, yes!’ which is a bizarre choice of words to use to encourage someone. We get perhaps our most extended look behind the curtain as stage managers mill about while Kamil & Anneliese pace angrily backstage and have a sit-down. We hear the director over the PA. After all the bleeped words and pixelated mouths this season Kamil’s utterance of ‘douchebag’ is left uncensored. Final tally: one engaged couple that we can actually believe are engaged despite their oddball personalities, one engaged couple we’re not quite sold on and one train wreck. We won’t see CH – or possibly each other – until the new year. Until then, the research will continue into determining if Colton and Moose from Archie Comics were separated at birth.
  13. Blood. Sweat. Tears. Smashed furniture. Challenges to manhood. Violent outbursts. Strange masks hiding true feelings. Mexican wrestling matches? No. It’s Bachelor In Paradise as Chris Harrison’s dream scenario has turned into a potential nightmare. A full complement of couples are now in the process of dashing themselves to pieces onto the rocks. And Harrison, Fleiss & Co. have nobody to blame but themselves. By shifting the format from ‘red-blooded singles do what comes naturally at a resort’ to an elongated Married At First Sight, the producers have placed all their chips on the Proposal spot of the roulette layout and are losing their stake quickly. The sanest members of the cast are, not coincidentally, the strongest couples are also the smarter ones who understand the implications for themselves and their partners. Being herded into a marriage scenario is disconcerting, upsetting and, as we see, mostly disastrous. But first…oops. Wait. Sorry, that’s Julie Chen’s line, widely mocked for its repetition. And speaking of disasters, she’s got one at home except home was clearly not in his plans all that often. But first…it’s romantic bliss all round with strings swelling in the background. Jordan’s beard has passed the fashionably scruffy stage and is now in Jiffy Lube attendant territory. They arrive at a photographer’s camp. And meet a camp photographer. Jenna wisely gives him and his purple mop air kisses from a distance of about 500 ft. A photo shoot involves a valet parking attendant’s rented tux and a wedding dress a bit too big for Jenna despite her boosted bust and corset lacing. Jenna seems to be giving away the game with her constant analysis of their situation rather than her usual unbridled enthusiasm. Both outfits are sacrificed to the surf and the video editor’s black box is non-negotiable this time. In Bachelorland if they use your full name it usually means you’re a designated villain. Like Robby Hayes. Jordan lifts his leg and marks his territory again. Robby finally cottons on to the existing arrangements and takes the only available female on a date. To Melrose Place. Kiwi Jordan & Cassandra finally pair off good and proper. Joe, I don’t offer advice very often, especially months after the fact when it’s pointless and you can’t hear me anyway, but you are committing a cardinal sin of joking about Very Serious Things like getting engaged. It just isn’t the done thing even on reality TV. Kendall sparks up at his flippancy and rightly so. Joe attempts to transplant his cold feet onto Kendall’s ankles. Kevin refers to ‘The way Kendall treated him.’ Huh? Bro Code and all that but let’s not revise history (badly) here. Anneliese is still talking about one knee, proposal etc. like a six year old talks about her upcoming birthday party. The theoretical is well ahead of the practical. But she displays a keen mastery of higher mathematics by noting that there is an extra male to be expunged soon. John, ever the charmer, announces to Olivia that he’s finished his book. Form a single-file line, ladies! Diggy isn’t having it. And neither are the trumpet player and his mute. John steps in and drags her to a stand of sad-looking sunflowers haphazardly poked into the sand. The set dressers on this show are stealing their wages. A few flowers, a few candles, a few blankets. Or maybe they’re partaking in the locally-produced cannabis before their shift. John is still using his creepy camp counselor voice as he wows Olivia with the breaking scientific discovery that sunflowers (and most plants in general) turn to face the sun. Diggy is a good enough sport to be the butt of one of BIP’s lame sight gags as the trumpeter follows him around the villa. Olivia returns from the sunflowers. She and Cassandra blot out Shuhanna’s sun by informing her that Robby is a cad. Joe is back to wielding his giant emotional racquet and swatting Kendall’s sentiments back at her. And now he’s being pedantic with her choice of singular and plural pronouns. Really selling it, isn’t he? Joe seems distressed that Kendall isn’t doing an Anneliese and living in his pocket but an easygoing fella like him should find that relief. He doesn’t. All that time spent and he knocks it on the head. Odd. That’s one power couple gone. CH’s collar just shrank a bit. It’s the most undramatic RC IN BACHELOR IN PARADISE HISTORY. Olivia chooses John and his wilted sunflowers. Diggy must endure one more trumpet gag with the player clearly miming. Codependent Queen Anneliese delivers the Gettysburg Address to Kamil who has no clue what she’s saying but nods along dutifully. The next day CH chooses to drive stakes into the ice to build his fishing hut and snag some proposals via fantasy suites visits. Problem is, the ice is thin and the players are nervous wrecks and not so far gone that they don’t realize that the play-acting demanded of them thus far has real-world consequences. And so they are splitting up left and right in very clinical fashion. Kamil gives Anneliese the fright of her life by pausing dramatically before responding to her 39th request for validation in the last 15 minutes. Unfortunately for us he plays along again and Anneliese is positively gloating…and probably tempting fate. Chris & Krystal are still wittering on about ‘the next level’ which sounds like it involves splicing their genes together. The goose & the gander combined, as it were. Suddenly, Kevin has lost his ever-Canuckian mind. We may never know if he got to down his eight-egg omelet but if he did the overdose of bell pepper may be having a psychotropic effect. He’s foaming slightly at the corners of the mouth. Astrid’s emotional radar is a finely tuned apparatus which is why she’s been able to accurately suss out other couples’ ups and downs, usually before they happen. But now her alarms are clanging as Kevin’s body language tells the tale before he does. She’s also, regrettably, a proponent of the dreaded ‘What’s wrong?' query. Kevin really pumps her confidence up with sad tales of his ill-fated fantasy suite adventures and hangs the ‘something’s missing’ Sword of Damocles squarely over her finely-featured noggin. He’s at 80% emotional commitment but a full 100% cowardice quotient. Astrid, understandably, is irate. Kevin, not understandably, is blubbering like a fool. As vehicles and Bippers flee the scene faster than Hurricane Florence evacuees, CH’s trachea is constricting a bit more. He’s down to three couples. He thinks. He gives them a fantasy suite pep talk and there’s a touch of panic in his ‘See all of you – hopefully - tomorrow.’ I’ve only got my VLC player running at 1.5x playback speed but I have to double-check when Krystal is speaking that I haven’t got it set to 3x speed. She talksveryquicklyinbursts. Kamil digs in further. Paste your Polish sausage joke here. Jordan has trimmed the unruly whiskers and is attempting to tame the unruly Jenna by dropping the L word. Her reaction is strange to say the least but she finally arrives at reciprocating. The triumphant over-the-top music blares, cymbals crash and fireworks explode for those who still haven’t gotten the metaphorical memo. The next day looks to be a proper assembly line of will they/won’t they. Imagine stewing in a green room waiting for your close-up during that long hot day. The in-studio portion of the finale will feature multiple tear-ups that don’t necessarily require clever editing. It will also, inevitably, feature the crashing bore known as Bibiana sticking her oar in.
  14. I didn't see Winter Games but I've enjoyed Yuki to date. But then I've always had a soft spot for Japanese anything. The water dancing involved a shelf of thick plexiglas just under the surface of the water. From an adequate distance and/or a certain camera angle it's invisible. This effect was probably used most famously in the video for 'Magic' by The Cars.
  15. What’s worse than few or no couples? Maybe too many couples? And now we definitely have too many couples with the arrival of the married couples who are now parents. They’re held up as the ideal and we and the Bippers are expected not to mention the 98% failure rate in favor of the 2% success rate. Carly is still insufferable and Evan’s Dime Store D’Artagnan facial hair is even more desperately awful than John’s. Jordan and Jenna do have their moments of bickering levity but they also seem hopelessly stranded in the Friend Zone no matter how much they try to pretend otherwise. Both of them simply haven’t grown up. What’s that Pet Shop Boys lyric? ‘I love you more than you love me’ – hang on, it was Electronic (a joint project involving Bernard Sumner of New Order and Johnny Marr of The Smiths, although Pet Shop Boys Neil Tennant & Chris Lowe also participated). The babysitting task proves one thing for certain – crying, wailing babies make for a long 5 minutes of airtime. Ukulele playing is automatic grounds for a call to Child Protective Services. Joe’s in desperate need of a visit to the barber shop, even a Mexican one. Sorry Michiganders but the accent is tragic. Let’s attempt a phonetic transcription of a Cassandra quote: ‘Avrywan is kappled ap. An’ it’s kanda harrrd to see how heappy thee arrr.’ Cassandra may be a sunny optimist but Eric isn’t worth the effort on a micro or macro level. And now he’s dramatically pacing in the surf. Agony Aunt Kevin hears another confession from another conflicted male. Cassandra’s rude awakening is made ruder with Eric’s announcement that he’s leaving. The Agonies Of Eric play out further over an excruciating – and excruciatingly dull – long stretch of minutes marked by his futile attempt to say something profound. Shushanna has known him for less than two days and is in melodramatic meltdown. She’s upset that the overhead lights are fixed in place because she wants that Super Trouper spotlight, babes! John displays keen insight by declaring that ‘going home would suck.’ What a glib catch he truly is. Eric keeps the tears flowing in the livery car but maybe it’s because the driver won’t exceed 5 mph. But the roads are a bit narrow, after all, and guardrails are noticeably absent. Chris & Krystal are as vapid as each other and are always ready with a relationship cliché – take it to the next level etc. Their canned on-camera lines are rewarded with a date card. Paradise and the real world have something in common: blokes getting cleaned up in short order and waiting an eternity for the missus. C&K’s outfits combine his floral shirt and her floral skirt – they look like they’re off to a dance competition. Full marks to Yuki who isn’t everyone’s cup of sake but she has stayed around and done her bit. It must be damned lonely half a world away and knowing only a handful of English words. We assume – or we hope – that she has communication with the people back home. Wells takes some stick but he does his best to include her in the discussions with his pantomime. What’s this? They’ve got a commercial and the paycheck that goes with it. Good on them. The Bippers launch a game of Truth or Dare and the producers must be slapping themselves upside the head for not thinking of it earlier. It’s a much more revealing on-camera interview than any list of prepared questions could match and the risqué parts can be edited out. In ABC’s Disneyfied world, randy singletons don’t talk about casual sex, hookups, etc. but only about true love. The mouth-to-mouth exchange of chewed food is revolting. But enough about the Carly flashback. The game puts Shu into full-on bunny boiler mode and fizzles out quickly as a result. Kiwi Jordan is left with the unappealing task of pursuing a rose while Shu pouts. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Krystal it’s that she prefers to be the hunter, not the prey. Which means danger for Chris if he oversells things. Kids, if you’ve seen one ornery raccoon you’ve seen them all. And if you’ve seen a rabid one staggering in crazy, lazy circles you don’t want to see another. L words are exchanged, food is ignored and overwrought lounge music follows. Chris temporarily tacks a ‘t’ onto the end of his name as he walks on water for a dance. Kiwi Jordan gives it a red hot go, as they say in the Antipodes, but is unable to penetrate Shu’s now-alarming level of obsessive daze. She makes her rival Anneliese look relaxed and easygoing. Jordan sensibly opts for the physically and emotionally available Cassandra instead. Shu tracks down Kamil as the others nervously peek over their shoulders from the bar like ranch hands at an Old West saloon. Kamil is forced, once again, to give her the shove. Kamil is the new Jared and Shu the new Ashley in this stalker scenario although Shu cries a damn sight less often. Thank heaven for small favors. Shu may have met her codependent match in Anneliese, who is spoiling for a fight. Shu scores an early point in the bout by asking in droll fashion ‘Do you have to?’ Does Shu ever blink? Never mind – Anneliese blinks often enough for both of them. It’s good comedy value watching Anneliese try to talk someone else out of latching on like a barnacle but irony and self-awareness are not her long suits. They’re chucking someone else in. Diggy. Whee. At this point anyone who’s appeared on the shows, watched the shows or even seen magazine covers related to the shows might be conscripted and flown to Paradise. They are definitely cycling through the personnel. ‘You might remember me from….’ Not really. Just get on with it. He can barely elicit a few words from Shushanna through her clenched teeth. Olivia does yeoman’s work trying a second cheer-up session with Shu but Shu’s grabbed the wrong end of the stick – again – and plots to pair up with Jordan, whose, er, tide is rising as he ferries Cassandra (in an always-alluring white bikini) through the surf. Diggy & Olivia are flowing freely and locking in while clueless John is still stranded on the beach. A solo muted trumpet is not anyone’s idea of romantic slow-dance music – not least because it lacks a rhythm track - but $5 to a street musician beats paying union scale and ASCAP fees. Does Joe own a shirt with a collar? Shu has conveniently found – more likely been provided with - a framed photo of Kamil to burn. Speaking of burning, Jordan is wisely destroying any and all bridges to Locoland but his conscience prompts him to give Shu one last pep talk, even if Shu herself lacks a conscience. The producers are probably kicking themselves that Shu wasn’t in the original cast to give them plenty of filler if and when they needed it.
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