Tuesday, August 12, 2014

BiP Episode 2: Idiots Abound

Before I get into the show this week, I want to take a second to say how sad the news of Robin Williams' passing is. Of course, there is nothing that I can say about the man that will not be said in more eloquent ways, by more deserving people, and in more appropriate formats. But to say nothing at all would be disingenuous to his importance in my own life. As is the case with so many creative people, it can often be easier to push your own thoughts into the world than to deal with the darkness inside. We all have elements of this in our own lives, and I would encourage anyone who feels that overwhelmed by these thoughts to talk to professionals.

Nothing quite as sad as watching your heroes die.

Thank you for indulging myself on that. I'm going to take a quick break and clear my head so we can really get into this episode.


This week we open with Host Chris revisiting the Michelle K storyline. Pretty much any time he shows up something stupid is going to happen. The long and short of it is that Michelle K was apparently clowning around with a member of the production team. Does "clowning around" mean covert sex? If not, that's what I meant to imply.

The entirety of the story can be broken down into two parts. First is Host Chris trying to talk to Michelle about what is going on. Most of this consists of Chris knocking on Michelle's door, Michelle opening the door to see Chris, and then slamming it in his face. Eventually a producer gets in to talk to her and try to convince her to talk to Host Chris about the issue, saying "If you want to talk about it, Chris is the guy." Michelle responds somewhat awesomely with "No he isn't, he's just a host." She's not wrong. Host Chris is only one step up from a set decoration, by virtue of mobility.

The second part comes in the form of a reenactment. This. Is. AWESOME. Complete with throwing a dummy off a balcony, this is equal parts SNL mid-show sketch and low budget crime drama. In actuality, the real life representation of the dummy is a man named Ryan Putz. Assuming the name reflects the person explains why this putz decided to jump off a balcony instead of walking through the shared door into his own room. That same idiocy ultimately landed him in the hospital with two broken legs and the ridicule of several million viewers too, so I imagine when the producers asked "Was it worth it?" they were doing so sarcastically.

Dummy. You da real MVP.

Eventually the show starts for real, and we see our first arrival. Chris Bukowski, the same weirdo who tried to crash the season opener of The Bachelorette, enters the show. More ridiculously, he's been given a date card and is allowed to go on a solo date with a woman. The man is close enough to being a stalker, that I don't see how the producers can feel comfortable in having him around. 

He asks Clare to accompany him on said date and she agrees, showing a severe lack of decision making ability on her part. The two get couples massages, which Clare describes by saying "I've never done it before, but it's relaxing and you're together." Yeah Clare, we know. That is the actual definition of a couples massage. Relaxing and with another person. How dumb is the audience of this show that the producers thought they needed to explain that one?

But does anyone actually know what a couples massage is?

Back on the beach, Robert is upset that Lacy is now exclusively with Marcus. He uses the phrase "Mud in your face" about a hundred times to describe his feelings towards this as well. I assume this is a cross between "Mud in your eye" and "Slap in the face." Who knows though. Maybe Robert just feels more than the rest of us to the point where he must invent new phrases to express himself. Also, maybe this show will win an Emmy.

Dylan and Elise really dominate this episode, and for good reason. Their entire relationship seems to be a constant struggle between tact and full on denial. Case in point, their conversation opens with Elise saying inane things like "We are connecting on so many levels, every level." and "Pices are fish, that's why I love the water." It's no wonder that this is immediately followed up by Dylan saying he feels smothered and needs some space. If nothing else, just a break from the stupid was required.

Lacy and Marcus go on their date to have dinner at some Mayan ruins. They are also escorted to the location by some fake Mayans in full costume. This was an odd choice because it looked more "prelude to a sacrifice" than romantic. I would have said "virgin sacrifice," but just one look at Lacy and I knew that would be wrong. On the scale of "Slept with no one" to "Slept with everyone," Lacy is the 1%.

Close the gap Lacy. The wealth gap.

During that date, literally everyone else in the house is getting shitfaced on the beach. This leads to the creation of YOPO (You Only Paradise Once,) a phrase that will only ever apply to about 30 people. Embracing this phrase and with a sense of vengeance towards Dylan, Elise grabs Chris and sucks face in the ocean. I'm not sure if they actually made out for a long time or if it was just the editing, but I have seen more of their tongues than I ever cared to.

Eventually Elise admits to Dylan that she kissed Chris, justifying it by saying that she was "thinking of him the whole time." Classic cheating behavior aside, it's just a dumb thing to say and Dylan tells Elise they should see other people. This is breakup attempt #1. She tells him that he is "literally killing" her, because she literally doesn't know the definition of words and he breaks up with her again. This time he tells her that if she gives him a rose, he will reject it. Attempt #2. The camera then cuts to Elise saying that this is just a speed bump and their relationship has never been stronger.

Figuratively their relationship.

Obviously we'll get back to Elise and Dylan, but in the mean time lets mix it up with some Zach and Clare. Zach shows up on the island, and having previously known Clare, takes her on a date. Clare is really excited about this, though I'm not sure why because Zach describes the women in the house as "Hot and awesome," and "Hot and fun." That is also how you describe a summer trip to the zoo. Ugh. Clare also says that she felt his "connection" while they made out in the ocean. In this case, "connection" is a way for ABC to say "boner" and not get in trouble with the FCC.

At the house, Chris is concerned that he may not stick around and decides that he will have to woo Elise in order to stay. He says that Dylan looks like a fat Matt Damon, and that stealing Elise from him shouldn't be too hard. To be fair though, that is exactly what Dylan wants which makes this pretty bad as far as evil plans go.

Also, we've seen fat Damon, and it doesn't look remotely similar.

After all that, Dylan gets the next date card and asks Sarah to accompany him. Sarah says maybe because she first has to ask her best friend in the house, Elise. Best friend? And here i was just starting to like Sarah, when she goes and does something stupid like that. There is no way Elise's best friend should be anything smarter than a dog. At least the dog would understand her undying devotion to a man.

There is a long scene of Elise stammering about how Sarah going on a date with Dylan will strengthen her relationship with him. When I say long, I mean long. In total, this clocked in around seven minutes and even bridged a commercial break. Her monologue drifts through ideas about their week-long "perfect" relationship, past her own exasperation about Dylan still being upset even after her apology, and eventually into blame for him "throwing her into a shark tank." The mental steps used to get to this point more closely resemble free form jazz than any kind of logic. Honestly, at a certain point I had started to assume that Elise was right because no one could possibly talk for this long without stumbling across at least one valid point.

Nothing is explicitly wrong, but nothing is right either.

The only other storyline from this episode that had any real consequence was Ben, and the letter from his girlfriend that he stupidly brought with him. First things first, there is no way Marcus "accidentally" found that. He was assuredly rooting around in Ben's bag, looking for anything to get him kicked off. I just refuse to believe that he accidentally spilled water on the bag, and then stumbled across anything of significance. That being said, Ben is an idiot for bringing the letter along.

Eventually the entire group confronts Ben about his lie by omission, and he comes clean about the whole thing. A few weeks before shooting he met a girl he is now "in love with." Michelle M takes this news incredibly hard and uses the opportunity to state that she "HAS A DAUGHTER SHE LEFT FOR THIS." I really didn't get why this was such an issue, outside of highlighting what a bad parent she is. Ben makes a less than graceful exit, and everyone prepares for the cocktail party. 

I don't know what we are yelling about!

Apparently over the separation from her daughter,  Michelle shows up to the cocktail party in some goofy looking head jewelry. In fact, everyone is dressed like an idiot for this.  Lacy is wearing some strange crop top and shorts,  Marquel is wearing functionless reading classes from 1976, and about half the guys are wearing a deep v with a blazer. It would seem that the entire cast thinks this is Miami Vice. 

The cocktail party is pretty uninteresting though. Marquel implies that Michelle drinks too much, though this doesn't have any impact on the show. Robert hits on Michelle, to no long term avail. Dylan also breaks up with Elise for the 3rd time. Trying perhaps too much to be tactful, Elise doesn't understand what he is saying. When Dylan says that he would reject any rose she tried to give him, Elise responds with "I'm confused."

At a certain point, it is unethical for her to be alive.

During the rose ceremony, the blonde white girl picks Graham. Next, the other blonde white girl picks Marcus. After that another blonde white girl picks Zach. Then a blonde white girl picks Dylan, who rejects her rose. Instead the same blonde white girl picks Chris. The last blonde white girl picks Robert. Finally Michelle picks Marquel. For the record, ABC sees nothing wrong with anything I just wrote.

To backtrack a second, after Elise's rose is rejected by Dylan she gives a somewhat lengthy speech about what women deserve. If you were a feminist, woman, or even just not a bigot, this was a difficult speech to watch. Like everything she says, Elise's speech lurches from the rights of women, to fate, to ill timed wedding vows. At no point during this was any thesis actually stated, choosing instead to "Miss South Carolina" directly at the men she was supposedly trying to impress.

...such as...

My speaking on behalf of women is never a great idea, especially because in spite of what most of my 6th grade classmates said, I am not a woman. That being said, I'm going to give it a shot. 

If I was a woman I would be legitimately annoyed that Elise was on TV. She may be the single most stereotypical representation of the "dumb blonde" trope I have ever seen. Not only is she portrayed as being too stupid to comprehend basic conversations, but she has a near single minded focus towards having a boyfriend for self-validation. At no point is she an intelligent, independent, or intrinsically valuable person. Elise exists only within the "dumb blonde" bubble.

Not that it's been done before...

And yes, before anyone brings it up, I know Elise is supposed to be funny. She's also fulfilling the classic idiot trope and doing so very well. The problem is that there are no good female characters to offset her. This entire show is just one Bechdel Test failure after another. I only bring it up because I am sincerely thinking that this show could contribute in shaping someone's view of women in the world. Every dumb person that you see leaves an imprint on your brain. If you see enough of them, they build up until you either become one of them or hate the world. I just don't want people seeing a parade of stupid women on TV and involuntarily drawing the conclusion that all women are this way.

Plus, we don't need anyone else hating the world. I already do enough of that for everyone.

Thanks for reading,

Gossip Squirrel

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