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Rainsong

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  1. 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? ;)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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....
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Three bloody hours? It’s like returning home on Halloween night. All that candy looks good. And is good. For a while. Until you’re eating it just because it’s there. The 18th Snickers Fun Size ® ™ © bar tastes like the plastic wrapper (actually, all the candy does) but you carry on because you must and you can. At least there’s a slight thrill in not knowing what the character limit per post might be and the risk of bumping up against it. Roald Amundsen & Edmund Hillary may just have some company as trailblazers. It may be shouting into the wind but we must do something about the Bippers and their pathetic and obvious attempts to coin catchphrases in the hope that they will become the shorthand reference for this or that season, similar to the silly in-joke tags displayed alongside many contestant names. Jordan has been racking his brain and come up empty so far while 40-watt Chelsea is attempting to get in on the act. If eternally boring Chelsea had to tell a joke to save someone from the firing squad, the squad had better stand by locked & loaded. Those puzzling over Chelsea’s lack of suitors might consider that off-camera the blokes have decided verbally or otherwise that she’s a melt. Angela opens proceedings by wondering if she can believe anything Eric says – someone please hire a skywriter to display a big N-O over the beach. Eric’s skill as a player is in inverse proportion to his belief in his skill, meaning his self-serving in-the-moment come-ons are lame and desperate. Credit the Bipper women for realizing that they’re being manipulated so they short-circuit the process by taking the cad and putting him literally in the middle so he can’t tell two different tales. Some of the males have a bit of success in slithering out of trouble but Eric is hopeless. But can someone please tap Angela, Tia et al on the shoulder and tell them that ‘all in’ is meaningless until and unless they get to the Jared & Ashley stage? Tia’s greatest weakness may be her frequent tempting of fate. She can’t help but emulate countless scenes from films & TV when, during the drive home after a social event, the wife in Couple A regales the husband with her views of what Couple B are doing right or wrong – usually wrong, in her view. Her attempts to compare and condemn her peers and to provoke thought in Colton (and let’s face it – that takes a lot of provoking) will boomerang on her – and quickly. She’s constantly taking her own emotional temperature while failing to notice Colton’s hangdog expression. Eric, Cassandra and her chin cleft are bundled off to Villa Tourista where, apparently, the alcohol rationing is still in effect and they are compelled to share…popsicles instead of mojitos. Perhaps Corinne was an anomaly and that drinking wasn’t the problem but sociopathic narcissism was? On the other hand, if all the sociopathic narcissists are barred from casting there won’t be a cast. Never mind. BIP now features more horseback riding than a typical episode of Gunsmoke. The locals are just thrilled to have two gringos crowned as rodeo royalty. At least we are meant to think so. Eric trots (pun!) out his best horseflop: ‘She means nothing to me.’ Cassandra is a bit too chirpy but isn’t a total fool and isn’t buying just yet. A rare day of sunshine means lights out for the oblivious Tia. Astrid is no dummy and can hear the bells tolling although she earns a demerit for asking the question that men abhor: ‘What’s wrong?’ It has no answer. It will never have an answer. It will never get an answer. Please stop asking it. Astrid’s arse is blurred although, curiously, appears unblurred (if a bit muddy) in subsequent shots inside the huts. Have we worked out what the black sludge frequently washing up on the beach might be? Colton wants to be ‘away from everybody.’ Colton, mate, perhaps you’ve seen those people carrying cameras and boom mics walking around every day, all day. You’ll never be away from everybody and at tense moments like this they will be happy to shove their A/V gear into your face as they walk in circles around you. Man-child Colton’s only piece of luggage for a potential month-long stay is a backpack? I’ve heard of traveling light but this is remarkable. Tia’s rapid, unexpected (?) breakup and exit has put the frighteners on the other ladies. Kendall declares that they want honesty but their expressions say that Colton’s brand of honesty is the last thing they want. It’s Jenna’s turn in the Meltdown Chamber. Jordan barks ‘Hey!’ at her like a Little League manager after his second baseman has booted a grounder. More harsh than helpful. To be fair, Jordan does a hilarious double take when the oblivious John emerges to ask where Tia & Colton might be. Many of the Bippers’ second thoughts are actually first thoughts. As in ‘me first.’ Exhibit A: Eric. Exhibit B: Krystal. But Kevin’s reservations are actually believable insecurities even if he repeats them frequently. He’s watching a parade of girls bounce from boy to boy. None of them can hold a candle to Astrid and he asks the very sensible if rhetorical question: ‘What am I missing here?’ Rather than worry about the answer, he drops the L word (in its original acronymic context) and Astrid is well pleased but stops just short of returning serve. Does Kevin notice? Probably. Does he mind? Not at present. It’s the next morning (we think) and Shushanna and Christen arrive to get the other women’s guts churning straight away, especially Anneliese and her hair-trigger tear ducts. Anneliese nervously blinks like an SLR camera shutter when she’s, er, nervous. Master logician John says ‘Ah…OK’ when the date cards are revealed and magically combined to form a sentence. The double date departs with the lads wearing more of those hideous T-shirts and tank tops. Visually it’s like standing in a long line for a Six Flags roller coaster in 1979. All that’s missing are the center-parted feather cuts. Jared & Ashley return. CH declares that ‘things can turn on a dime. Just like that.’ That’s redundant, Cristoforo mi amigo. Jared still hasn’t purchased a razor. Jared still can’t grow a proper beard. Jared was flown to Fiji to participate in Australia’s inaugural Bachelor In Paradise (where, it should be noted, the booze flowed freely) with a bevy of fun-loving, fair-dinkum, fully banter-equipped Aussie chicks. He spent his entire time moping and moaning and generally giving a poor representation of the ol’ red white and blue. The Australians were not impressed and that’s putting it mildly. Little did we know (or maybe we did) that he was carrying a torch for Ashley to whom he is now presenting an engagement ring. Ashley gives hope to stalkers everywhere that they too might get their man – and that it’s possible to walk in spike heels on a beach without getting stuck. Ashley is elated, of course, but that doesn’t mean we can avoid one more replay of her highlight reel of crying jags. She’s also elated that she won’t have to write ‘Iaconetti’ out longhand after the wedding although it may take some practice to spell ‘Haibon’ correctly. Haibon? Afterward, Anneliese is talking about her favorite subject. Herself. Kamil gets only the occasional mention. She wants to ‘stay out of [her] head.’ So far, that plan is failing spectacularly. She also wants to ‘experience this experience.’ Well, at least that part is guaranteed. Kevin, you’ve graduated from J&B to The Balvenie. Don’t overthink it. The date card is perfectly timed. Astrid, bless her, is philosophical. And a hell of a poker player, it would seem. She lays down the royal flush: ‘I love you.’ Kevin inexplicably frowns and bites his lip but manages to snap out of his funk. They’re also raising the stakes accordingly in the Uneaten Food Department: an entire cooked lobster is left untouched as they ditch the dinner table for the pool. As you do. The tender moment is made a bit less tender with the arrival of a mariachi band and dancing girls. Wouldn’t a lone flamenco guitarist have been more appropriate – to say nothing of more budget-friendly? But us gigging musicians know the deal – the person paying the band calls the tune. Back at the daybed, Anneliese has buttonholed the next and final victim, Eric, to bore with her anxiety. One is reminded of the scene from ‘Airplane’ where Robert Hays is tormenting the old lady with his longwinded life story only to finally look over and see that she’s escaped by hanging from a noose. Incredibly, Kamil has eschewed Shu and opted for amped-up Anneliese who is still. talking. But this time it’s a victory lap. Memo to Annaliese: you just watched Tia get a bit too smug with disastrous results. Wind your neck in. The mad scramble for roses is on with the women plotting strategy rather than executing it. Possibly ruinous mistake. John isstilltalkinglikethisandrunningallhiswordsandsentencestogether. His chat-up lines are worse than his dad jokes. And less sincere. ‘You’re a really good dancer!’ Groan. Christen has Rose Fever and doesn’t notice a thing. John is based in Northern California and so, conveniently, are redwood trees. John’s footwork is on a par with that of the General Sherman sequoia. The paired-up males are the Greek chorus providing commentary as John moves to Olivia who makes her pitch. Shushanna the Armenian gets a dose of Dutch courage from Wells and launches another sortie over Poland. But Kamil isn’t looking up at the sky. Keeping with the international theme, Kiwi Jordan and his shiny pate are a late arrival. Christen’s attempt at an accent is hopeless. ‘You sound like a drunk Mary Poppins’ is not only a great line but a fantastic putdown. New Zealanders don’t sugarcoat anything. And haven’t we had an overdose of Minnesota Nice lately anyway? Chelsea has gone from sounding board to trampoline and she’s now trying to bounce Annaliese out of Kamil’s life. The RC is a tale of haves and have-nots with the have-nots narrating from the Dept of the Bleeding Obvious. Eric chooses Cassandra. Admit it – it would be good fun to see one of the rejected girls trip a rival as the rival steps down from the riser. Shushanna’s luck arrives late but she’s not fussed about the timing. Chelsea is still banging on. And headed home. Mercifully. Christen throws a wobbler. Her ears are ringing. So are mine, no thanks to Chelsea.
  12. ‘Hello, is that the music department? I need some generic vacation-y beach music. Hawaiian, you say? Well, the show is set in Mexico as you may know but what the hell – the audience probably won’t notice.’ Is the ocean rising, is high tide higher these days or is the movement of tectonic plates pushing the – ahem – resort closer to the waterline? Whatever the cause, these aerial shots show maybe 20 paces of beach (read: jagged rocks) between the water and the wigwam. Angela demonstrates that the NFL is actually a damn sight less interesting than a brunette in a red bikini with a flowing mane tossing a football around on a beach. These poor Bippers aren’t stuck in Folsom Prison but they still ain’t seen the sun shine since they don’t know when thanks to yet another day of heavy cloud cover. Jenna has converted the stripey canvas of a deck chair into a low-cut swimsuit but thanks to the miracles of modern surgical techniques the suit is required to provide only coverage, not support. Benoit, egged on by his compatriot Kevin, defends the honor (or honour) of Canada by canoodling with Jenna and her precariously-placed swimsuit straps within easy earshot and eyeshot of Jordan. Jordan has suddenly tuned out the romantic advice of his new bestest buddy Joe and instead focuses on preventing his jaw from becoming unhinged as he observes Jen & Ben. His talking-head segments are equally unhinged as he rants and raves against the unpleasant reality that is currently intruding on his reality TV. ABC’s producers are, again, entirely comfortable with all manner of exposed breasts according to what might be termed The Instagram Rules but when it comes to posteriors they mask them with a large black rectangle on a par with the monolith from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’ Does the rectangle really need to be constantly resized as it shifts around the screen? Someone is working way too hard on it. Astringent Astrid is still clucking her tongue at the various couples but she’s not wrong in saying that Chris & Krystal are two oddballs that have found each other. CH et al really do need to make up their minds: if they want love matches, sunset silhouettes, declarations of love, pseudo-proposals on the decking and timpani-and-cymbals crescendos blaring over all of it then they need to stop sending in provocateurs to break up the couples. In this case it’s Connor and his Wink Martindale haircut walking in for the block. Krystal is mighty pleased (but not as pleased as Chris) with herself that she can spurn Connor and his abs – or perhaps the fitness instructor didn’t want to be upstaged. But wait…Krystal exhibits the memory of a goldfish as she fills Chris with relief and hope only to agree to go on Connor’s date. Connor ‘owes it to himself’ to take a fit bird on a date. Heroic. Krystal is talking in staccato bursts as she does under stress. Her funhouse mirror definition of ‘being respectful to everyone’ means leaving her latest lover in the lurch and trying it on with someone else. ‘How much can change in a few hours?’ wonders Chris. Well, this is validation-starved Krystal we’re talking about so the number of changes is conservatively estimated at 92,683. For her purportedly Platonic date, Krystal is putting it all in the shop window with a few stray threads that expose 90% of her bod. Let’s hope there won’t be any nighttime equestrianism or we may end up with a Lady Godiva scenario – not that Connor would mind. If we’re going to enact new rules with every new season, then one rule should be unlimited booze for the Bipper whose partner is stepping out on him/her. A Mexican shaman buries them under sand and palm fronds. He doesn’t reveal to the gringos that the same procedure & materials are used to roast a hog. Keep an eye on the torches, kids! Joe is rapidly shifting from Alan Ladd to Woody Allen as he plays sounding board for all the lovelorn moaning – while contributing his own. Connor is well pleased with himself, either not realizing or not caring that codependent Krystal would latch on to anyone or anything, including a passing train. Things are getting very dark in Paradise. Also, the lights are low. Jordan drags Jenna away to discuss the finer points of watching a ship that has sailed. Or has it? The rather indecisive – or plain old randy - Jenna is off to throw Benoit over Niagara Falls but his personal Maid Of The Mist rescues him instead. She doesn’t want to be kissing anyone now. Righty-o. The Jordan/Benoit Peace Talks get off to an unsurprisingly rough start as Benoit, fluent enough in Anglais, nevertheless erects his own language barrier and doesn’t want to hear Jordan bleating. If it’s midnight and Astrid’s in the frame then it means it’s chow time again. They really are doing this poor girl a disservice with all the shots of food. She’s a bit of a cynic so perhaps she wasn’t exhibiting quite the right amount of gee-whiz reverence and enthusiasm for Paradise and they’re being merciless with her in post production. Anneliese, bless her, is the anti-Astrid: a True Believer who will also take direction eg ‘Go sit alone by the pool on a 2-person cushion and wait.’ Unfortunately, Kenny either read his calendar upside down or not at all before leaving home and discovers he has a dance recital to rush back to. Anneliese can be excused for wondering why the hell the producers don’t set up a Skype session so Kenny can watch and communicate but stick around for RC etc. She even wore her best graduation tassels. Chris has waited up for Krystal and has planned his speech but is unprepared for Krystal’s closed-off body language that tells the tale. Legs crossed, one hand used to prop up the head, the other used to hold a drink with the arm positioned straight across. Wizard, ye shall not pass! ‘I can’t read you right now’ claims Chris. Well, friend, everyone else can! Maybe keep your contacts in next time? Anneliese is on camera for another session of wailing against the unfairness of it all. Or maybe it’s just stock footage from earlier. We really can’t tell. Kamil is billed as an Ex Social Media Participant – quite the non-achievement. Krystal describes him as a Greek god. But wait, didn’t Jenna describe Connor that way a bit earlier? Or are these women possibly lacking alternative metaphors due to a dearth of education in the classics? Mt Olympus is getting rather crowded. And it’s a sausage fest. Anneliese refuses to be outdone on the metaphor front – green light on, door open, etc – and does everything but place Kamil in a headlock in her determination to get a date. Producer plant? Providence? Probability? Whatever the reason, Anneliese is so spun up that she’s forgotten she’s still holding her drink in one hand. Chelsea gets another hour of frowning practice in. Anneliese’s date involves an ATV and…a drive across a rickety wooden bridge high above the forest canopy? The underwriters had a hard swallow or two signing off on that stunt. Kevin is failing the Gift Horse Test miserably and suggesting, nay, insisting that lovely Astrid, who he has all to his lonesome thanks to his visually-impaired (apparently) housemates, should go on a date ostensibly to strengthen their connection…by weakening it. Strange ideas, those Canadians. Astrid has to supply the voice of reason for both of them. But decisiveness isn’t a problem for Kevin when he’s spurring Jordan into the fillies’ paddock. Jenna makes her decision. We think. Watch this space. But for now Benoit expresses his anger by hurling the football into the sea. Zut Yanquis! Kevin, now re-secured in his relationship, is happy to un-secure Kendall’s by telling tales out of school re: the Leo-Chelsea pairing. Leo has removed his bizarre side ponytail as he girds for the unavoidable tongue-lashing from Kendall. Afterward, he reverts to John Bender loudmouthed bully mode – but it’s really not much of a leap is it? Leo wants all the squares on the chess board to be the same color – his. And when they aren't, he loses the plot. Leo’s apology (?) to Kendall comes in the form of criticism and insults. Quite the charmer, is Leo. Rewatching the longish episode for certain details is a bridge too far but it seems that Tia had zero on-camera dialogue and Colton was seen only briefly. The Joe-Leo bust-up hinted at last week has to wait another night but hopefully Kendall will see the error of her ways with or without more people dripping poison in her ear.
  13. Another episode watched in real time which only reinforces the brilliance and value of the DVR. How anyone sits through these ad breaks is a mystery. The networks and advertisers are convinced that it’s still the Mad Men era with an attentive captive audience but mute buttons, phones and tablets mean that the billions spent on commercials are largely wasted no matter how fervently they want to believe in their fatuous Nielsen ratings. It’s a good bet many of the Bippers have experience with burning Mexican herbs before but in this case it’s merely a sage plant being used as some sort of imitation voodoo cleansing ritual. Jenna’s expressive face says it all: she’s over Jordan although it will take 2 laborious hours to confirm it. Leo’s arrival is heralded by a rattlesnake sound effect. Coincidence, I’m sure. The ladeez take a keen interest in the anthropoid Leo. Jenna announces she is trying to be more adventurous hence her new back tattoo. Someone should tell her that in 2018 getting a tattoo is as adventurous as going to McDonald’s drive-thru without wearing a seat belt. Leo engineers his own serial dating event. Chelsea is literally licking her lips (subconsciously) while speaking to Leo and keeps telling him how nervous he makes her – but not too nervous for her to have stolen him from someone else. It might not be the best long-term plan for Joe to commiserate and commune with the Council of Warlocks (Chris & Jordan) but they are a sympathetic ear when Kendall jumps at the chance to join Leo on a date – although it must be torture listening to Jordan’s metaphors that mostly involve household appliances. Ex-bartender Jorge has become the Zelig or Forrest Gump of BIP – he’s a taxi driver, a rancher, a photographer, a novelist, and a dance caller. Despite setting out his photography gear we never actually see the flashbulbs light up. The less said about the lame ‘reenactment’ of Jorge’s bewildering novel plot featuring Bachelor alums the better, except that bad actors can’t even manage bad acting. Leo’s smooth lines are well rehearsed but Kendall flushes repeatedly at the flattery and fails to notice. The usual black box gives way to mere pixellation. Someone at ABC is massively paranoid that we might see the odd glimpse of female backside despite its prevalence up and down the 500 channel guide round the clock – is their audience research so flawed that they think millions of Puritans are watching? Pregnant pauses abound when Kendall returns and while it may be gallows humor Joe and Jordan can still see the funny side. Kendall and Leo have an almost-kiss at breakfast and it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see cartoon valentine hearts encircling Kendall’s head. Leo (as in lion) reverts quickly to dog (as in dog) as he samples Chelsea’s wares. Chris has little value overall but, to be fair, he excels at being the little provacateur devil on the shoulder. And now…back to the Colton & Tia Goodtime Hour. Jenna asks a very reasonable question: just how much time off site and on camera do these do need or deserve? If you’re CH & Co. then the truthful answer is: because we are determined to get an engagement ring sequence even if we forget the other Bippers’ names in the process. Colton demonstrates he has two left feet before his redundant announcement that he can’t dance. Did anyone notice the local wearing a Duff Beer (of Simpsons fame) hat? Quoth the Raven: Nevermore. Well, someone had to use the obvious line and probably already has. Raven is here to pour cold water on the kindling and we get another episode of Tia Is Conflicted. Was Tia really ever the It Girl? This episode is moving slower than a Galapagos tortoise hauling an anvil. Colton fluffs the simplest of lines when it’s time to ask the official-girlfriend question. Maybe his floral sneakers are too tight. The happy music cues and standing profile shots follow. Neil Lane is on standby in his home tanning bed. Back at the ranch, Benoit arrives and Jordan justifiably mocks the tragic casual ensemble. Kevin is knocked out that someone is finally asking his opinion on something. Anything. But ‘[he] who calls himself Canadian calls himself French’ (Jules Verne/20,000 Leagues Under The Sea) so there’s a kinship there. Benoit manages to get Krystal’s name wrong, not that she minds. They’ve had nightmarish weather this season. It’s pouring rain again. Rationing alcohol is cruel and unusual punishment under these circumstances. Thanks for nothing Corinne you drunken slapper! Jenna, to no one’s surprise, is chosen for the date. She dresses to the nines but heels aren’t an option alongside the diminutive Benoit. Benoit wears…another pair of those horrible jorts. If John really wants a good Dad Joke he can start with Benoit’s dress sense. More food goes uneaten. Jenna transfers roughly half her red lipstick to Benoit who resembles a Quebecois version of The Joker. Jen & Ben reenact the dining/kissing scene from Lady & The Tramp but the grumpy churro-selling couple aren’t quite as enthusiastic as Italian restauranteur Tony & crew were in the film. Jordan knows all too well that talking gets you camera time, even if you’re repeating yourself and making lame, obvious jokes. For some reason an obvious flipped camera shot of Jordan (hair parted on wrong side etc.) is inserted at one point. Jordan himself is flipped out about Benoit stealing a Napoleonic march on ‘his’ woman and has just the solution: writing on the beach. Where’s a violent rainstorm when we need one? Jenna is underwhelmed by the gesture and the sentiment. Streetwise Jordan is nevertheless unable to break the code of ‘this will be complicated,’ meaning he’s surplus to requirements. Le Faucon is watching intently from his perch high above. At least the Monday episode will begin with a bang as a mad scramble for roses and an apparent – if brief - battle of the alpha males are in the offing.
  14. This is a quickly typed missive quickly submitted because I’m working strictly from memory with the aid (?) of some rather confusing, cryptic notes. We’re all guilty to some extent of not being able to read our own handwriting but modern technology means we can also type - badly - using one-handed hunt-n-peck on an iPad while holding something cold and 80 proof in the other hand. At least I can. Now I have to decipher lines like 'krsytal drinking am' (Krystal drinking in the morning) and 'wrertling ekkny props' (Wrestling props for Kenny). Jenna, Jubilee & Carolina have been added to the credits sequence. Hooray. The Life & Times Of Tia & Colton, part 429, are launched. But first, Chris is in for a bollocking. It’s nothing short of amazing that despite every male’s dread of the phrase ‘We need to talk’ that females rely on it and expect it to be adhered to immediately without question. In reality, it translates to ‘I need to talk and you need to listen. And agree. Or else.’ We complain about free and easy use of the word ‘like’ as a placeholder, conjunction, etc. but Tia is a traditionalist and prefers to rely on the F-word. She’s been bleeped more times than a Richard Pryor comedy routine aired during a church service. Tia declares that Chris is making no sense. In this, at least, she is correct. A three-way conversation ensues in which Tia, deliciously, is absolutely robbed of her chance to upbraid Chris. Her confusion and frustration are evident. She wants to ‘tap into his brain?’ A dangerous toxic sludge might escape. Best not. Krystal’s strict fitness regimen does not, apparently, preclude having a cocktail with breakfast. Good girl. Jacqueline, much discussed and speculated about in prior posts on this board, makes an appearance. And she’s STILL obsessively flipping her hair back and forth. Still, she’s very easy on the eyes except, perhaps to the BIP men. Her approach to Colton ends badly – a bomb whistle or sad trombone sound effect would have been appropriate. Astrid, as usual, is eager to put her shovel in on topics that don’t directly involve her. If you’re old enough to recall The Archies cartoon or young enough to have watched replays of The Archies on various channels then you might agree that big dumb Colton resembles the slow-witted character Moose. We're just waiting on the 'd-uhhhh’ utterances. After he and Tia have mutually torn the guts out of each other for days, he’s still ambivalent. Tia defines ‘progress’ as ‘jawboning it to death.’ Priapic Kenny is looking for connections. Kenny is quite the randy lad who, it appears, would make a connection with a light bulb socket if there weren’t a risk of electrocution. Kenny’s date with Jac actually does feature some quality banter (thanks mostly to quick-witted Jac) although both of them are quite impressed with themselves at shoehorning a mention of Poe into an episode of BIP. Jac frets about approaching 30 and being alone, inadvertently providing strong evidence that the island of Manhattan should be severed from the continent and left to drift out to sea, taking its pathetic population of cowardly milquetoast males (?) with it. Fireworks are launched for no apparent reason or occasion except to provide a pretext and a visual backdrop for a kiss. Baffled locals must be wondering just what the hell is going on. Nysha is finally given some camera time and proves herself to be an astute and funny – in a cynical way – observer. Kenny has returned to claim another female for his ad hoc harem – this time it’s Anneliese with her pulsing forehead vein and her bizarre curtain-pull earrings that, regrettably, are all the rage among the cast. Caroline is earwigging the encounter. John has the unfortunate tendency to talk through his substantial proboscis, giving his lame chat-up lines even less articulation: ‘Iwuzthinkingaboutchoo.’ Chris is doing some bizarre puppy dog begging act. Krystal asks the question every guy is on tenterhooks waiting to hear: ‘How’s my makeup?’ Chris provides the usual assurances but Krystal still relies on the compact she’s secreted down to the beach daybed. Cue ocean rushing in metaphor courtesy of the video editors. Chris & Jordan are like the two ornery tearaway kids that often appeared in episodes of The Little Rascals, bigging each other up despite being soundly unpopular among their peers. Is Colton wearing floral canvas sneakers? Bibiana gets off one sardonic observant gem in her commentary before her departure. Speaking of floral, Jordan’s outfit is the talk of the thatched huts. Astrid and the sausage provide a censor-proof moment of suggestive levity. We saw John steaming his shirt earlier but he’s crinkled and creased by night’s end anyway. Jubilee is wearing a dress so tight we can see the outline of her liver. Kenny has a friend or two on the production staff – he’s been to dinner, had a fireworks display launched and now he gets wrestling masks and props as he has a mash with his third female of the evening. David presents his enormous dog - stuffed animal that is - to Jenna and David is dogged enormously by Jordan who casts it into the surf. Jenna’s façade cracks noticeably. She’s not impressed. She’s even less impressed when Jordan loses the plot and begins effing and blinding at Chelsea and Jubilee, who amusingly cock their heads in opposite directions at the opprobrium. Jubilee wishes she still had her army bayonet. And so do we. Jordan later issues the most insincere apology IN BACHELOR HISTORY. This episode seemed to feature more padding than a mattress factory to make the 2 hour mark but, somewhat miraculously, the RC was not held over to the following night. Jenna lacks the courage to spurn Juvenile Jordan. Kenny surprises most of us by choosing Anneliese and disappoints most of us by sending Jacqueline home. She's Bachelorette material, surely? Or are the producers worried about more dates that involve more discussions of literary classics?
  15. It’s hard to crack wise about some of these people because many of them need a good old clip round the ear, starting with Chris, whose self-serving cod-philosophy of life is as obvious as it is pompous. He’s prepared to announce what everyone else should do while ignoring his own fatuous rules. It’s a shame there’s so much sand about since Chris needs to put caster wheels on his moral goalposts so he can shift them more easily. Becca’s visit is mercifully brief but the producers are obviously keen to engineer the mirror image (as in properly reversed) of her Arie Bachelor days by bringing her back to torment the runner-up. But her visit seems to calm the man-child. The musical cues remain cloying and obvious – the lush piano chords strike up just as Becca, purported expert on all things male, declares that it’s OK to cry. Thanks, love, we’ll all tear up at the drop of a hat from now on *snif*. Another point in Joe’s column as he rejects the groupthink of the lounging lizards, er, lads in the shade and states that Colton should stay. Amazing how clearly one can think when he’s not stuck in an adolescent competitive mindset. By now even Annaliese herself has admitted that her nickname might be Anxious Anneliese and so she shall be titled henceforth. AA’s soothing mechanism is a constant stroking of her own hair, neck, face, etc. It is maddeningly distracting but it occurs in nearly every camera shot of her. AA is getting way ahead of herself by talking about marriage after a lone champagne date with a bloke who’s already made it clear he has a wandering eye. Jenna and her regrettable back tattoo are a late arrival and she’s made the curious decision to dye some of her hair pink. One of Jenna’s social media handles is ‘Jennafit’ as in fitness and indeed she seemed in tip-top shape during the Arie season. Let’s leave it there. But she is still a ray of sunshine and her ‘kooky’ segments are harmless because, crucially, she lets the audience in on the joke. She makes a beeline for Jordan which is much less amusing but as we see these two lock lips like a pair of gourami (I had to Google that one and now so do you) for most of the episode. Astrid reveals that she is not, in fact, tattoo-free and has a large one covering the inside of her upper left arm – oh and there’s an infinity symbol on the wrist. Jenna surprises no one by cashing in her date card on Jordan. That vein in Anxious Anneliese’s forehead is starting to pop out but the full-on relief map has yet to emerge (it will). The production staff can keep the equestrian date a secret but can they at least advise the date partners not to wear flip-flops or sandals when leaving for the date? The black censor box arrives as Jenna mounts her steed – and not for the last time today. Her swimwear choice means the editors are obliged to use the black butt-covering box frequently although its placement and movement, similar to a paddle dancing around the screen like the old Pong video game, indicate they’re having (more than) a bit of fun with it. A bit of advice to CH et al: CBS has secured the US rights to Love Island, which just concluded a smash fourth season in the UK and a first season in Australia, respectively. Cultural and broadcast standards aside, Love Island is an utter skinfest from dawn to dusk and beyond, with all manner of ultra-revealing bikinis, thongs, etc. worn as casually as the rest of us might wear jeans and a polo shirt. And then there are the night vision cameras and plenty of dancing duvets as red-blooded young men and women, ahem, pursue their dreams. Bachelor In Paradise’s Emotionally Needy Girl Oh God My Clock Is Ticking Like A Subwoofer Psychodrama approach, by comparison, will resemble an 1890 ice cream social complete with straw boaters and high-button shoes if the BIP crew don’t up their game. This includes dropping the silly and probably unnecessary legally and every other way black box. If the participants choose to wear a particular swimsuit on camera then that’s that. Or should be. In addition, Love Island is (drumroll)….a competition. Ironically, Love Island stole Bachelor Pad’s format and airlifted it to Mallorca (a damn sight nicer than Mexico if more expensive). They kept the ‘split or keep’ option at the end but issued an app for voting therefore the final choices are not strictly down to couples ‘in the villa’ backstabbing and plotting. One key but underrated element of Love Island is the sarcastic but sympathetic narrator (a Scottish comedian in the UK version and an Irish [?] comedian for the Aussie version). Much more entertaining than CH’s Eddie Haskell fake-earnest ‘most _____ in Bachelor In Paradise history’ routine. Change or perish. Forewarned is forearmed. Darkness falls and Anxious Anneliese is still self-grooming with gritted teeth added to the mix. Either the editors have a mean streak where some cast members are concerned or there are precious few shots of Astrid when she’s not eating. Once again, she converses and offers her advice with fork in hand. No half-measures for Jordan as he raves about Jenna – so much for breaking it to her gently. He’s got the brass neck to announce, in so many words, that he’s keeping her in reserve. If AA has an ounce of dignity left she should tell him to bugger off. Speaking of sad and desperate, David’s cake & candles/oops-let-me-just-take-this-shirt-off gambit falls woefully short of the mark. ‘I’m glad I was able to partake in your birthday celebration’ – sounds like a 7 year old’s forced speech at his friend’s party after Pin The Tail On The Donkey has concluded. Jenna humors him by having a few forkfuls of the misshapen baked good. Full marks to Jordan (this lone instance) for his symbolic trashing of the offering. Angela and Eric are a somewhat unlikely pairing but a toast leads to a kiss. Thank heaven for small favors: they actually say ‘Let’s make a toast’ rather than the awkward phrase ‘What are we cheersing to?’ Realtor Caroline arrives. When we last saw her she had a face like thunder berating Arie for what turned out to be his breakup with Becca. She was judgmental and acid-tongued but seemingly mature for most of that season which makes her tearful lip-biting angsty teenager act all the more surprising and out of character as she moons over…John? Apps and dollars are nice and all but those patchy whiskers don’t really qualify as manly beard stubble. Instead with his long face he resembles a certain Scooby-Doo companion. Zoiks! Carolina first she singles out Joe and her chat-up line involves asking directions to the bathroom. Sensible Joe must be wondering, understandably, why she didn’t take care of that earlier. Now playing at the Hell Odeon Cineplex: The Return Of Jubilee. Trailer announcer voice: ‘She loved. She lost. Now she’s out of the army and she’s traded her camouflage for a kaftan. And she’s looking for love matches – foreign and domestic!’ John has been part of the bamboo woodwork for most of the nascent season but he’s off on a second date inside 12 hours for a bit of ziplining. One part of me wants to see John’s (self-described) halting guitar work but the other part of me always pities any amateur asked to perform on cue when the nerves tie the fingers in knots. John has used up all five of his ‘interesting facts about me’ and leans in for a romantic kiss – Jubilee responds with a chaste peck and withdraws quickly. GIGO, eh John? But they cut to a shot of the two standing precariously amidst the rapids for a more extended interface. One more Love Island mention: the term ‘pie/pieing/pied’ as in having said item shoved in one’s face with a forceful straight arm is a favorite of the Love Island set. Romantically, it means what it sounds like: a humiliating rejection albeit a face-to-face one. In this case, Kenny thought he was onto a winner but gets an unsettling whiff of fresh-from-the-oven crust as Krystal delivers the take-it-slow speech. Poor Kenny, who constantly drips from the tropical heat and humidity like Elvis onstage circa 1977, transitions quickly from the Perspiration Of Purple Passion to bad old Flop Sweat. Kenny receives commiserations from Eric and a baffling exchange involving rats ensues. This episode is bookended by the Cretinous Chris. Was he eavesdropping on the Kenny/Krystal Kar Krash? Is he pursuing a blonde scantily-clad target of opportunity? Or is Krystal merely ensnaring the next unlucky male in her web? There aren’t too many opportunities to stand up and cheer without reservation during Bachelor franchise episodes but Colton’s Bro Code jiu jitsu is one of them. Ordinarily Colton might be scolded for his violation and dripping poison in the ear of his past and potentially future romantic partner(s) but after the devious doings of Chris we can all savor Colton getting sweet revenge, especially after Chris’ juvenile kiss-and-tell boasting over breakfast. Hot tip: if you’re getting directions from Jordan then your compass is faulty – and has nothing to do with being in the Southern Hemisphere. And, by the way, Jordan: all of Mexico is still comfortably north of the equator. You absolute plonker.
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