Monday, June 30, 2014

Episode 7: Muscles in Brussles

So this has been a really insane TV week for me. With the US just barely getting out of the "Group of Death" in World Cup action and season 3 of Wilfred being released on Netflix, I'm honestly pretty emotionally spent whenever I sit down on a couch. This episode really kept that trend going, for reasons I'll save until the end.

The Bachelorette moves to Belgium this week, which seems appropriate since the US is playing Belgium today in the World Cup. I like to think that this was some insane foresight on the part of the producers who are huge soccer fans and wanted to make all of Belgium suffer through this dumb show in person. If that's true, I will blog every episode of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette up until my untimely death.

Seriously Belgium. We are gonna fuck you up.

My soccer fanaticism aside, I should probably focus on the show at hand. The guys show up to the hotel in Brussels and everyone looks completely ridiculous. Josh is wearing a hoodie with no shirt, which is something only hungover college sophomores do. Chris is wearing an accessory scarf, an item of clothing farmers simply do not wear ever, much less as an accessory. Nick's leather jacket isn't bad, but he's rocking the deepest of V necks that would make Jennifer Lopez jealous. I really really really hope these guys aren't dressing themselves. In fact, the only one who looks semi-decent is Dylan. Finally he's pulling his hair back in a knot instead of doing an impression of James Van Der Beek.


Marcus gets the first solo date, which quickly becomes the most average TV watching experience of my life. They just kind of wander around Brussels for a bit and talk. That's it. It makes for a good real life date but bad TV, which seems like the whole point of the show. The two stop in a cafe and Marcus orders in English, which again proves that he really only speaks one language. After ordering he tells the waiter "merci beaucoup," a linguistic choice that may or may not have been correct depending on who he was talking to. Seriously Belgium. Pick a language and stick with it. You'd be speaking solely German if it wasn't for us anyways.

I am so excited for this game.

During Marcus and Andi's dinner, Andi puts on her therapist hat and asks Marcus about his dad. Jesus Christ. Remember my little rant about privacy last week? The one where I said I don't want to hear the gruesome little details of everyone's lives? Well that's basically what we had here. America gets to hear all about how Marcus had an absent father and physically abusive mother. Thanks ABC. You really knocked it out of the Freudian park on that one.

After his solo date, Marcus comes back and talks to the other guys. Nick, being devoid of any emotion or sense of norms, stands up in the middle of the group and walks out to find Andi. He gives a fake name to the front desk to get Andi's room number, and surprises her with a late night walk. I really hope this was a staged event, otherwise that hotel has the worst security in history. Andi must have thought she was about to be killed when a leather jacket clad man showed up at her hotel room, but she plays it off well and the two have a mini one on one. However, even with this pseudo-scandalous set up, the date is still boring.

So bored I'm going to play Words With Friends.

Josh has the next solo date, which again consists of the two simply exploring the streets of a Belgian city. The producers really got lazy during this episode because both of the solo dates consisted of "exploring." They got lucky though, because in the middle of Andi's date with Josh a fucking "Goose Parade" waddled by. Apparently this is a real thing. At this point in the show I began to wonder if my beer had been spiked. Is Belgium that weird of a country? Or did someone slip Ayahuasca into my drink? What is happening?

After the psychedelic goose parade (I can't believe I just typed that) the two have dinner in a Belgian castle. Andi is concerned that Josh hasn't said "I love you" yet, because after two months that is a completely expected and normal thing to do. Seriously. Good for Josh. I'm glad he hasn't said it yet. Admitting love for another person is a big step in any relationship and it's not to be taken... Oh wait. Two minutes later he tells Andi he's falling in love with her. Fuck everything.

Nothing. Means. Anything.

At the end of the date Andi says she has a surprise for him. Now stop for a second. What do you think this could be based on literally every episode leading up to this point? Is there any way you did not think that it was slow dancing to a small, unheard of band? If so, then you're not paying attention to this show, because that is exactly what happened. Ugh. White people show dancing. Be more predictable ABC.

During Josh's date, Nick says he is "excited to never do this again." You and me both brother.

Next up is the group date. They arrive at some castle ruins, which Andi says they should explore. Are you fucking kidding me? All three dates start off with the same "explore" premise? How hungover were these producers to decide all three dates should start out the same? There is a fine line between symmetry and laziness and ABC has crossed it. At some point on this date I began aggressively not caring, which I think is an example of irony. Is it? No one really knows the definition of irony anyways. Wait, is that ironic?

Alanis knows better than any of us.

After exploring, the group rides rail bikes to a monastery. Well, most of the group that is. Andi is carried in between the bikes like some kind of hipster Cleopatra. I actually wouldn't be surprised if this is how cyclists train for the Olympics.

At the Monastery there is only one rule. No kissing. This seems like an odd rule considering drinking and polyamorous relationships are apparently allowed. It's a safe bet that the monks don't have TV or the internet, as it's the only way they could have allowed this. A true blessing in disguise for them.

Of course, Chris and Andi break off from the group and immediately start reenacting the scene from "Ghost" and kissing. Come on you two, leave some room for the lord. He's always watching.

Those eyes...

Ok. So here is where I started getting very confused. Dylan, Chris, and Brian gang up on Nick and accuse him of being there for "the wrong reasons." Aside from the fact that "the wrong reasons" has apparently become the new "respect" in terms of shitty reality TV arguments, the guys seem most upset that Nick has a strategic mindset going into the competition. After they get upset with Nick for his "strategery," Brian says he has to "do something big" and tells Andi he is falling in love with her. Chris, also upset by Nick's tactics, steals Andi later in the night to have some extra alone time. To recap, two guys who are mad at another guy for strategizing on a relationship game show devise strategies of their own in order to get back at him. Odds are these two have never won a game of risk in their lives.

All that is not to say that Nick is not a huge scumbag, because he basically is. His constant Grinch grinning, combined with his confidence and inability to make eye contact basically cements himself as the villain. At one point he essentially tries to convince Andi that she is falling in love with him, #yesallwomen. He also gets the group rose because fuck everything.

Sarcastic applause for Nick.

In their second mini one on one, Nick and Andi discuss what type of parents they will be towards their hypothetical children. Now I am no relationship expert (see literally every post leading up to this,) but that discussion seems insane. It is one thing to say that you are falling in love after two months, which is excessive but can be construed as strong emotion, however it is entirely another to discuss hypothetical children. I can only imagine that up in heaven, the souls of the unborn were pleading not to be placed into the child of these two.

Once Nick gets back to the house, the guys all sit in an awkward silence. Josh wins the moment of the week for loudly coughing through the silence as church bells ring in the distance. I missed whatever Brian was saying to Nick because I was literally laughing out loud. From what I can gather between my laughter induced hiccups, they are all basically upset with Nick for being more strategic than them again. Chris gets very sarcastic in the argument, which I found to be solidly funny. Also funny was Nick burying his face into his scarf in order to half hide from the argument surrounding him. That is some toddler shit right there. I've tried it in my personal life and it works great FYI.

Finally we get to the rose ceremony. The guys all wear ties for the first time ever. Thank God. Dress right or don't show up at all I say. Then again I consider thrift store finds to be appropriate dress for any occasion.

Mackelmore agrees.

Andi describes how weird next week's home visits will be by saying "here's a rose and I'm gonna come into your family's home," which is something a botanist serial killer would say. I also considered using "V" from V for Vendetta for that, but I wasn't sure anyone would remember the Scarlet Carson reference. Would you have? Leave a comment below and I'll ignore it.

It is not until this point that I realize how little Dylan was in this episode. He's basically been edited out to be nothing more than a space filler. Brian is basically the same for that matter. Aside from a few shitty comments towards Nick, we really didn't see much from him. In fact only Chris really stood out in this episode. He had some nice descriptions of his family, as well as a monologue about Iowa that rivals "Field of Dreams"

It's not Heaven, it's Iowa. Love you Dad.

In the end, Dylan and Brian are voted off. It's no real surprise given the amount of time they had this episode. I can't say I'll be sad to see them go, though Brian's fear of pickles marked the first time he was interesting all season.

So I usually wrap this up with some thoughts from the episode, expanded into the real world. This week I have two, though I'll make the first one very short.

It is completely insane that anyone could expect another person to say they are falling in love with them after two months of dating. I know the internet has essentially gifted us with instant gratification in all aspects of life, but there is still something to be said for the struggle of getting there. In saying that you love someone after two months of knowing them, you are resigning yourself to the Wikipedia of relationships. What you are saying might be true, but there really isn't enough information available to know the full story.

The second point is a little longer, but I really hope you will bear with me. Not to go full Any Rooney on everyone, but Andi Dorfman really pulled a shit move in this episode by agreeing to meet Nick one on one for an extra date. I understand that this was presented as Nick taking initiative and going after what he wants, but that doesn't change what Andi did. This show is very unnatural for dating, but there does remain a set of rules. Certain guys get access to Andi at certain times. Those are the rules agreed to by all parties. In agreeing to a late night date with Nick, Andi essentially betrayed the other guys' trust by breaking the agreed upon rules. I know this seems like a hyper sensitive point, but let me expand it into everyday life. If you are in a monogamous relationship with a person (which has a specific set of rules,) you could not possibly justify a breakage of those rules because a third party was "aggressive" or a "go-getter." You maintain those rules, because that was what was agreed to in the relationship. Anything else is a breach of trust. 

Andi broke the trust of these guys by letting Nick cheat. There really isn't any more to it than that. Trust me, I hate conflating this show with real life relationships. However in this case there is an important point to be made, as well as a standard set by the show that needs to be refuted. 

Thanks for reading,

Gossip Squirrel

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