Monday, June 1, 2015

Episode 4: Why Can't We Go To The Zoo?

The more I watch The Bachelorette, the more I find myself questioning not only my own life choices, but the life choices of everyone involved in this show. How any producers on the show or executives at ABC thought anything that happened tonight was a good idea is beyond me. Of course, it made for amazing television, but I am certain it was at the cost of at least a piece of my soul.

Last week's ending is this week's beginning, as we are introduced with Kupah drunkenly yelling at the camera crew for trying to interview him after being kicked off the show by Kaitlyn. His anger seems to emanate from equal parts alcohol and pride. After several minutes of harassment, Kaitlyn comes out and essentially tells Kupah to shut up. Not one to be told what to do, Kupah then whispers his displeasure with both the show and Kaitlyn saying "I don't even like her right now." He also makes a joke about Kaitlyn thinking he probably has chlamydia, which is way too specific to be made up.

Behold. The face of chlamydia.

After Kupah's departure, we return to the rose ceremony and are treated to Tony describing what he has sacrificed to be on The Bachelorette. Tony has left behind his two favorite things in the world (dogs and bonsai trees) to be on this show, which is apparently a big deal. The dogs I sort of get, being "man's best friend" and all, but why anyone would be distraught over leaving their house plants for two weeks is beyond me. Just pay someone to water them, or better yet, bring them along. He'll get weird looks for sure, but no weirder looks than anyone would give him after two minutes of conversation.

Tony also describes himself by saying "I see the world through the eyes of a child, with the heart of a warrior, and with the soul of a gypsy." While I am sure that Tony thinks this is a rather heroic description of himself, he is ostensibly saying "I am a naive, yet prideful swindler." 

He does have the swarthiness down though

The rose ceremony sees the end of Daniel and Cory's time on the show. Both seemed nice, but not particularly interesting.

Apparently learning nothing from last week's group date debacle, Kaitlyn's first group date tonight takes the guys sumo wrestling. JJ, feeling the need to show off his worldliness, declares his "Love for Japanese culture. I love sushi... But I don't know much about sumo." Inability to name more than one aspect of Japanese culture aside, love of sushi is hardly a bragging point. Everyone loves sushi. Sushi is so good that you can get prepackaged sushi at a grocery store and it's still delicious. That metric doesn't even hold up with cake, cheese, or alcohol. That's how good sushi is.

To be fair to JJ, it's probably good that he doesn't enjoy all aspects of Japanese culture. It's hard to sympathize with tentacle porn and a deep hatred of the Chinese. It's best to save those interests until the third date.

Behold. Japan.

Each contestant takes their futile run at a world champion sumo wrestler, until it is Tony's turn. One would think that watching a 600 pound man repeatedly tossing others across a ring would dampen your confidence, but not Tony. Convinced that he will topple the behemoth, Tony does not react well when he is eventually knocked to the ground. Angered, Tony storms off while being chased by Kaitlyn.

After a brief pout, Tony tells Kaitlyn that he is frustrated by these needlessly violent dates. "I can't find happiness by reverting to my primal instincts," Tony tells her, presumably while choking on his own pretension. The fact that Tony did not have a problem with this date until he got knocked down is not lost on me, nor is the irony that he is becoming aggressively upset about his having to show aggression.

At this point in his life, Tony is only two steps away from becoming a cult leader. Think about it. He's a spiritual man, who desperately wants to change the behavior of others, flies into a violent temper when challenged, and is involved in a polyamorous relationship. If that doesn't scream cult, I don't know what does.

Because what could go wrong?

Eventually (and mercifully) Tony leaves after declaring that he isn't quitting, he's "leaving on his own terms." Of course, this isn't so much an explanation of his actions as it is a literal example of quitting. It's like me saying that "I'm not watching The Bachelorette, I'm voluntarily torturing myself." They're basically the same thing.

One final thought about Tony. His parting words to the camera included the line "I've tried everything I can possibly do." As you read that, keep in mind that he's spoken to Kaitlyn for maybe 30 minutes at this point. That's not even enough time to give up on building IKEA furniture, much less your spiritual philosophy.

Damn Hipsters.

While Tony is imploding, Clint is using his wrestling background to dominate the other men in a sumo tournament. Clearly high off his ego, Clint decides to ignore Kaitlyn in hopes that she will pursue him, because she clearly has nothing else going on. As expected, this backfires and Kaitlyn gives the date rose to Shawn after calling Clint on his shit. If you've seen the episode, this was perhaps the least objectionable moment of Clint's time on The Bachelorette. So there's that...

The closest we saw to a "normal" date tonight was Ben Z's one on one. He and Kaitlyn went to an escape room, where they had 45 minutes to solve a series of puzzles and challenges. This particular room was "horror" themed and legitimately scary. Between the gurgling shrouded figure crawling towards them, flickering lights, and seemingly constant exposure to a variety of insects, the room seemed less about puzzle solving and more about not wetting yourself. 

Kaitlyn failed the latter part of that challenge before it even began, after seeing a pigeon in the waiting area. This was apparently scarier to her than the room of snakes slithering around a blood filled toilet, but to each their own. Personally, I thought the murder bathroom full of nightmares was scarier, though for all we know that pigeon could have been a stone cold killer. It's six of one, really...

As much as I'd like to think my snake hatred is akin to India Jones, this is probably more accurate.

After escaping the room, Ben Z and Kaitlyn retreated to her room for some pizza and wine. The two had a fairly normal (if not emotionally exhausting) conversation, and Ben Z received a rose. I loved this segment if for no other reason than it was a palate cleanser from the total insanity that was the rest of this show.

The final group date was, and I say this with total understanding of the magnitude of this claim, perhaps the worst thing The Bachelorette has ever done. Kaitlyn took several guys to teach sex-ed to a class of children. Where do I even begin?

(Edit: Apparently the children involved were actors and not actual students. I missed that point, so please take this all with a grain of salt.)

 Let's move beyond the fact that parents would have had to agree to let their children be filmed in this setting, and beyond the fact that the school was inexplicably ok with non-teachers explaining human sexuality to their students. Let's even move beyond the fact that multiple levels of The Bachelorette production staff saw nothing inherently creepy about contestants discussing sex with children. At it's core, this segment took a fundamentally problematic view of sexual education.

Throughout the segment, both Kaitlyn and the contestants treated sex ed as if it was one big joke. The student's ignorance became the setup to the contestant's bumbling punchlines. When asked what the clitoris is, for example, one student received the response "It's what makes girls want to have sex with you again." While I get the joke, I also have a base understanding of human sexuality which allows me to do so. The students, on the other hand, are hearing the joke as the actual answer, without hearing an functional explanation. In essence, the joke that sex is goofy becomes the whole of their understanding.

Now, I'm not stupid. I'm sure that these students had an actual sex ed class with an actual teacher who provided them with actual answers. There is no way in hell that this is the extent of their sex ed class. However, the problem of tone remains. For The Bachelorette to treat sex like a purely silly subject makes it impossible to appropriately discuss other aspects of it, both good and bad. It is difficult to even talk about the portrayal of sex in the show because of the constant bleeping of anatomical terms like "penis" and "vagina." In what backwards universe are those words ok to use in front of children, but not on cable TV?

That was a heavy read. Here's a puppy for your troubles.

While the worst date in the world is happening, the two worst guys in the world are bonding back at the house. Clint and JJ spend every available moment together, including playing guitar for each other and apparently showering together. Their time together is presented as a burgeoning relationship and even includes Clint talking about the possibility of falling in love with JJ. Because I flat out refuse to do online research for this show, I cannot say whether or not this is legitimate, however my gut tells me that is is not. This is, in large part, because all parties involved seem to be operating under the assumption "Can you imagine if we were gay?! Two guys in love? Can the human brain even imagine something so preposterous?" If this is the case, then everyone involved can promptly and kindly go fuck themselves. Regardless, both JJ and Clint are engaged in an intellectual circle jerk. They are certainly obsessed with each other on some level.

The episode ends with a rose ceremony in which Clint temporarily makes up with Kaitlyn, only to have every other contestant express their disdain for him. Kaitlyn, taking this into consideration, asks to speak with Clint moments before the episode ends.


If you made it to the end, then thank you. This is a good deal preachier than I like to get during these posts. However, this time I think it was warranted. I don't know about you, but I'm greatly looking forward to the return of Nick V next week!

I'll see you next time,

Gossip Squirrel

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