Monday, February 16, 2015

Episode 8: Soldiers Are Marching

One would think with five hours of programming over two days, producers of The Bachelor could maintain a consistent show structure. However, for the third week in a row, the show opens without any real direction in the middle of Chris and Becca's date. Obviously I don't know how difficult it must be to produce a show on this (or any) scale, but I have to think with millions of dollars being poured into production that it isn't impossible to at least keep a basic schedule. This really isn't a major issue for the show, but it is annoying to feel like the show doesn't have any real structure to it.

As I said, tonight's episode begins with Chris and Becca's one on one date. The two go on a brief walk and then spend some time together at Chris' loft. During the date, Becca revealed that she has never been in love. I was happy to see that neither Chris nor Becca seemed to make too big a deal out of this, as it doesn't really seem to have a bearing on much of anything. Either that, or I'm just sleep deprived and too apathetic to care. It really could go either way at this point.

I was also happy to hear Becca say that "If you (Chris) proposed today, it's not realistic for me to say yes." That is just the kind of pragmatic and sensible thinking that I did not expect to find on The Bachelor. To actually say out loud that it isunreasonable to want to marry someone after knowing them for only two months is depressingly refreshing, considering the near instantaneous love that most contestants seem to feel upon arrival.

Pictured: A composite sketch of The Bachelor Season 19 contestants.

Back at the house, Britt announces to the remaining women that she has already packed her bags and plans to leave before the rose ceremony the next day. As was discussed in the previous episode, Britt feels that it is inappropriate for a potential husband to be favoring other women over her. Technically, she's right and were this to happen in any other context I would agree with her. However, this is The Bachelor and competing against other women is the literal reason Britt is here. 

Britt goes on to say that she is probably leaving tomorrow before the rose ceremony and there's nothing Chris could say to get her to stay. In fact there isn't one thing Britt could think of that would make her stay, and that's why she's 100% leaving. Britt is 99% sure that tomorrow she will be leaving, unless Chris can come up with some reason for her to stay.

She goes on like this for some time.

The story of Britt.

Unfortunately for Britt, Chris has decided to cancel the rose ceremony. Forced into a figurative corner, Britt interrupts Chris as the rose ceremony begins and asks for some time to talk. As the two sit down, Britt begins by apologizing for her outburst and then rambles on with a string of words that resemble a further apology, but really says nothing. Chris, somewhat surprisingly, doesn't buy her apology and further chastises her for being disrespectful to both himself and the other women. Of course, Chris cannot say more than five words without being interrupted by Britt, who seems more concerned with blindly agreeing as opposed to actually listening. Personally, I was glad to see Chris ask her to go, and hope we will not be seeing more of her as the next bachelorette.

Carly, per usual, had the best line in regards to Britt's departure. "The prettiest girl now knows what it's like to be a normal person. How does it feel?" This quote played over video of Britt in her dress sitting on the grass brought me so much joy. I'm definitely not a good person because of it, but I'll take that hit because this was too good not to enjoy. Carly is hands down the MVP of this show.

You're the real MVP, Carly.

Of course, no sooner are we reminded of why we love Carly, than she is sent home. This was a bummer both because I obviously loved Carly on the show, but also because ABC really botched the rose ceremony. At this point there were five women left on the show, and only four could move forward. Kaitlyn already had a rose, and we had already seen footage of Becca and Jade's hometown dates in one of the bakers dozen of teaser trailers. So at this point it's obviously a choice between Whitney and Carly. Who does Chris call out to receive the first rose? Whitney. Good work, production team. Now I have no reason to watch the rest of this ceremony. Seriously, good work. It had only been 20 minutes and I already needed a mental break.

I already miss Carly.

The first hometown date takes Chris Soules to Becca's hometown of Shreveport. Because it's Louisiana, the pair had to go canoeing in a bayou. At least I think it's a bayou? My limited understanding of southern ecosystems and lack of interest in learning about them means that this will always be a bayou in my head. Come to think of it, I'm assuming pretty much every body of water within the Mississippi Delta is probably a bayou. Hell for all I know, the Gulf of Mexico is a bayou. I'm losing the thread here. Lets get back on track.

Becca and Chris go canoeing on an unspecified body of water, and then travel inland to meet Becca's parents. This is the first time Becca has ever brought a man to meet her parents, which was understandably scary for both her and Chris. To compound the issue, Chris hears from Becca's sister that Becca has not normally been very intimate with past boyfriends. She traditionally does not like displays of affection and can be cold to most men. This concerns Chris, even though moments before he had his hand on her knee and earlier in the day the two had been holding hands and kissing. How quickly is your opinion swayed Chris? Mere hours ago you had firsthand experience to the contrary, and you have already forgotten it? That's what babies do. I'm not being hyperbolic here either. Babies literally lack object permanence and can only react to what is immediately around them. Chris might be a giant baby.

After meeting her parents, the couple rides a ferris wheel and makes out. Again, this hopefully disproved the "Becca is never intimate" claim. Becca really enjoyed the ride, claiming it was like something out of a movie.

Whitney has the second hometown date and greets Chris in spectacular fashion by asking "What do you say we go make a baby?" Of course, Whitney was alluding to her job as a fertility nurse, but this seemed temporarily lost on Chris who reverted to his trademark confused grin. This continued for most of their date, as Whitney also jokingly tried to get Chris to provide a semen sample in her clinic. How great would it have been for Chris to agree, only to open a Playboy and see Jade's picture? That would have been a great moment in reality television.

Throughout the tour of her clinic, Whitney really impressed me with how adept she is at her job. Why did we have to wait so long to see how smart she is? It took her dragging Chris into a medical lab where she works for us to get even a glimpse of how smart Whitney is. I know scientific aptitude isn't a pretty face, but come on ABC. What would be so bad about showing a female contestant doing something outside of crying or wearing a dress?

Sometimes they do both!

Chris then meets Whitney's family, who is understandably concerned for her in this process. Because she has no real parents to speak of, Whitney asks her sister to provide a blessing for the relationship. Her sister refuses to do so because Chris is still seeing other women. I have no doubt that a majority of people will see Whitney's sister as a wet blanket, but I loved her. You're damn right not to give a blessing to someone who is seeing other people - reality TV or not. I agree with Whitney's sister wholeheartedly on this, and that is the reason people like her and I will never be allowed on reality TV.

Whitney ends the date by telling Chris that she is falling in love with him and the two share a bottle of fancy wine. This was cute, though I honestly have no idea how someone can tell the difference between wine served from a box or a bottle. It's all the same thing, right?

Excuse me Sir, was 2015 a good vintage for Franzia?

The next hometown date was with Kaitlyn in Phoenix. From the start, Kaitlyn has been one of my favorites in large part because she deflects any uncomfortable topic with humor and inappropriate behavior. In case you hadn't picked up on it yet, that is a basic tenant by which I live my own life. If you haven't tried it, you should. You'll never have to have a real conversation ever again.

Kaitlyn meets Chris in an alley, proceeds to crack a few jokes, and then takes him into a recording studio where they write and record a rap song. As we have seen in past episodes, Kaitlyn is not a terrible rapper. Chris on the other hand, excels at what I will refer to as "dad-rap." He has most of the words down and can say them over a beat, but there isn't any distinct sense of rhythm or understanding of what's going on. If The Bachelor producers have any sense of decency, they will make that track available on the website. I bet it's amazing.

The closest Chris will ever be to Eminem

After dropping their "sick beats," (please don't sue me Taylor Swift) Chris and Kaitlyn make their way to dinner with her parents. Unlike the previous two dates, Kaitlyn's parents seem very supportive of her relationship with Chris. Kaitlyn even goes so far as to say that she "hearts" him to her mother. I assume that Kaitlyn "hearts" him because feelings are hard. She's right about that, feelings are hard. Then again, it's also hard to maintain a relationship based on "hearting" someone. If I had to guess, this could be her eventual downfall in the competition. 

Once dinner is complete, Kaitlyn shows Chris a giant billboard showing the words "Kaitlyn  Chris." Again, it's a lot easier to say "heart" than "love" and the show was probably on a budget. Have you priced billboards lately? They're expensive and if you are paying by the letter, it's a lot cheaper to have a picture of a heart than the full word. Shows like this are expensive and you have to cut costs wherever you can!

Look at billboard, Chris!

The final hometown date of the evening saw Chris in Nebraska with Jade. It was rather refreshing to see her family looking like normal people in a normal house, as opposed to the other families who seemed to live in large, fancy homes. There is nothing wrong with the wealthier families, but seeing one after another makes you wonder if there is a minimum annual parental income required to be on this show. Personally, I thought the change of pace to focus on a middle class family was nice.

Jade's family continually hints at her "wild mustang" past and warns Chris that he may not know what he is in for. Chris, of course, does not see this in Jade and says she "is a hot mustang, but not necessarily wild." Is "hot mustang" a term I am not familiar with? It sounds like Chris made that up on the spot. What is a "hot mustang" anyways? I know Chris is a farmer, but he can't be so lonely he has begun to sexualize animals. If he has, this could have been a very different show...

Eventually, Jade gets some alone time with Chris to tell him about her past as a nude model for Playboy. Obviously this was shocking to Chris, but he seemed to handle it fairly well, at least up until Jade offered to show him the photos. This move seemed completely unnecessary to me. I understand that Jade could have been trying to show Chris that she wasn't doing anything hardcore or overtly pornographic, but showing him the pictures could have waited a day or two. Looking at the pictures together seemed excessively awkward. Chris handled it in stride though, and reassured Jade that her past isn't a deal breaker for him, because he knows her for who she is now. Say what you want about Chris being a simple farmer, but sometimes he gets things exactly right.

You've won me over you handsome devil.

The final rose ceremony sees Jade leave. As Chris walks her out, he explains that his decision had nothing to do with her pictures. Chris felt that their relationship wasn't progressing as quickly as the other remaining women, and honestly I believe him. Forgetting Jade's past for a moment, it really does seem like she was lagging behind the three other women. Jade has always been somewhat reserved on the show, which makes dating difficult on a show like this. There's no way to know for sure, but I really don't think the Playboy pictures factored into his decision at all.

During their goodbye, Chris said something I absolutely love. "I don't know if this is the right decision, but it's the best one I can make." He's right too. Obsessing over the "right" decision leaves you with the impossible task of seeing the future, whereas making the best decision only requires you to consider what you already know. It's definitely something I could, and will, use more of in my daily life going forward.

Man, who would have thought I'd be taking advice from this guy?

Much Love,

Gossip Squirrel

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