Monday, June 23, 2014

Episode 6: Progress Towards Privacy

I gotta say, when I saw Andi crying in this week's intro I got very excited. Not necessarily because I wish any ill will upon her, but because it takes a lot to make a sociopath cry. For her to actually have feelings means that something big must have happened.

This week the show moves to Venice, a city slowly sinking into the sea. It's a surprisingly apt metaphor for my mental health while watching this dumb TV show. Seriously. I could have read a book tonight, but instead I watched The Bachelorette for two hours. Is this what rock bottom feels like?

No. THIS is what a rock bottom feels like.

Ok, enough of my obnoxiousness. Lets get back to the show. The guys sail up on a ship looking for Andi like they are Columbus and she is Hispanola. Odds are they all have virulent strains of new diseases to give her as well, so that kind of works on two levels. They run aground next to Andi, and she takes Nick on the first solo date. Some guy named Cody is upset by this, and it takes me more than a few minutes to realize that Cody is Mackelmore. Here I am this whole time thinking ABC got a famous "rapper" to be on the show and it turns out to be some lookalike meathead named Cody. I have been fooled and I do not appreciate it.

On the one on one date, Andi and Nick feed pigeons. Supposedly this qualifies as romantic activity, though I don't buy it. These winged rats are landing all over them and spreading whatever plague still lurks on the streets of Venice. Also, I have never prayed so hard to see an animal shit in my life.

I would pay so many tuppence to see a bird shit on Andi Dorfman.

The two take a gondola ride and all I can feel is sadness for the Captain? Skipper? Operator? person who works the gondola. The guy already works a menial job for six lira an hour, and now he has to be on TV in another country while listening to inexplicably famous people discuss their inexplicably manufactured problems. For his sake, I really hope he doesn't speak English. He is a true hero for not murdering those two in broad daylight. Maybe hero isn't the right word...

On the gondola ride, Nick acknowledges the awkwardness from last week. Andi seems perfectly content with this explanation and even says that she's feeling better now that she has gotten some answers from him. Immediately following this, we see the two all dressed up for prom when Andi says she still needs answers from Nick. Am I the only one actually watching this show? Is this only playing in hospital rooms that have Nielsen boxes? How do millions of people watch this? I understand that any good plot structure involves the story folding in on itself, but does that happen in between commercial breaks? How desperate are the producers to fill time that they have to stretch each story so thin?

Not to jump around too much, but after that dumb gondola ride and before that dumb dinner, the two walked into an "Eyes Wide Shut" style masquerade store.  At this point I am so excited that they are potentially going to have a solo date in some Kubrickian style sex party that I am paying more attention to this than anything in my life. The two leave the shop without any plague masks though, which was honestly a bummer.

There are very few images from this movie I feel ok posting.

Immediately following this they go to dinner in a Renaissance style banquet hall. This would be a perfect location for an "Eyes Wide Shut" segment. My interest is piqued again. Then the time comes. Andi hands Nick a masquerade ball mask and leads him out of the room. Finally! I will be able to see ABC do their version of Stanley Kubrick and it will be hilarious. My excitement for this show is present for the first time ever.

As soon as my hopes rise, they are dashed. Not only are Nick and Andi not going to a sex party, they aren't going to any sort of party at all. In fact all they are doing is stepping outside to dance to a string trio, which I didn't know was a thing. Did the fourth guy get lost on his way there? A string trio is just a string quartet with one sick member.

Also, I won't dwell on it, but Nick says he's falling in love to which Andi says "Good. I'm glad." You can pretty well guess my feelings on this.

Pretty much.

 The group date is almost entirely based around lie detector tests for the guys and Andi, which I will get more into later. In true ABC fashion the show has found two individuals who look like members of the OVRA to administer the tests, under which they play "Godfather-esque" music, because Italians.

Maybe part of the reason this seems pointless is because lie detectors don't actually prove anything. People get false positives and false negatives all the time. Hell, JonBenet's parents passed lie detector tests, so they can't be that effective.

Definitely probably didn't kill her kid.

The actual tests themselves weren't too interesting either. We found out that Josh has cheated on a parter, Dylan has slept with lots of women, and Chris is the secret admirer. This was all pointless, but especially the secret admirer bit because the audience already knows these guys like her. The letters prove nothing outside of the fact that producers are very good at wasting time.

Sarcastic props to Brian though, who was the only one in the group who wanted to read the results of the tests. If nothing else it proves that he is absolutely worthless. Even I was muttering "don't read them" under my breath, and I am an idiot.

The cocktail party is mostly just forced drama. Josh is mad because Andi even suggested the idea of a lie detector test. He also gets mad just thinking about how great Andi is, which causes her to cry during a confessional and talk about how hard her life is. You know, at a certain point I don't even have to make jokes. I can just repeat things that happen and you can realize how terrible/funny they are. Thanks ABC!

The cocktail party sees Chris come out of the secret admirer closet, which was pretty damn cute. It also saw JJ make a drunken Patton-esque speech about how we don't have to like each other, and one man's gain was his loss. That was less cute but I liked it a lot more.

"We don't have to like each other, but we do have to date the same woman."

During the commercial break following this, they run that one Bachelorette themed Clorox ad which is still making me laugh for some reason.

Out of the break, we see Mackelmore finally get his first date. Unfortunately it is immediately obvious why he hasn't gotten a date before this. If you look up the definition of "Friendzone" it's a picture of these two. Mackelmore is just over the moon in love with this girl who thinks of him as her little jacked brother. Not even their botched version of "Romeo and Juliet" can change her feelings, though it is certainly a play I would like to see. In fact, indulge me for a moment.

"O Mackelmore, Mackelmore! Wherefore art thou Mackelmore?
Deny thy Ryan Lewis and refuse thy stupid hair.
Or, if you will not, be but sworn to my stupidity,
And I will no longer be on this dumb show."

Still better than this.

Now if you thought that wasn't fun to listen to, imagine you are Andi listening to Mackelmore's letter. She knows the whole time that she has to  kick him off, but can't bear to cut him off. I give Andi a lot of shit, but no matter who you are that sucks.

Mackelmore is also very thoughtful in his departure, choosing his words carefully and even walking Andi out after she rejects him. Where was this guy all show? Ridiculous body shape/hair aside, he finally seems redeemable for once and it's when he's leaving. I almost felt a little sad. That is until I hear Andi say "Who am I to judge these guys?" Then I'm filled with rage. You are exactly the one to judge these guys! THATS THE POINT OF THE SHOW. How is she possibly getting dumber?

I know this is a longer post, but we are almost done.

Dylan is still rocking the middle part, a la Ashton Kutcher always.

Apparently Dylan isn't the only one afraid to change it up.

The final cocktail party is at the oldest winery in Verona, and I'm a little shocked none of the guys asked for some new or fresh wine. For a brief moment I think they might not be terrible people. Wait. No. They are, because Brian reads some weird, 10 Things I Hate About You style "I hate how much I like you" poetry, and everyone gets mad at Nick again for talking to Andi first. That being said, Marcus breaks up an awkward silence by saying "I'm gonna get another drink." He's the best and you're wrong if you disagree.

The collective Marcus.

In the end our pantsapreneur friend JJ gets sent home. That's fine with me, because I really don't know what skills he brings to life or what a pantsapreneur is. I also don't care. Including an unwittingly creepy "growing old" first date, he has done nothing besides make me uncomfortable. Take your Willy Wonka outfits and get out of here.

Just as one final note, I'd like to go back and address the lie detector again. This is so beyond inappropriate I can't quite grasp the words to describe it. I know ABC's plan was for Andi to rip up the results all along, so why make the guys do it in the first place? That is an incredible level of stress to put an individual through for no good reason. At the very least it was uncomfortable to watch, and at most it was a substantial violation of their privacy. I know Andi didn't read the results, but they were still aired out to 300 million potential viewers. America now knows that Josh once cheated and that Dylan has slept with more than a few women. Those are things I not only didn't want to know, but I'm sure they didn't want me to know. We live in an age where saying things online or into a camera doesn't feel like giving out personal information but it is, and shows like this continually blur that line. It is one thing to be open with who you are, but another thing entirely to have your personal story spread across the world. Ultimately these guys chose to let their story out but I can't help but think getting to know a person should be earned instead of blasted into our homes. We are all better than that, and frankly too important to those around us to have our lives made into a commodity.

All that being said I just wrote a lengthy post detailing my feelings on a reality TV show, so take it all with a grain of salt.

Thanks for reading,

Gossip Squirrel

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