Bachelor Rome 8- Shotguns, Giggles, and Slow Horses (tv review)
This one probably looked good on paper. Prince, villa, good manners, fairy tale and fair maiden so virtuous that they even dressed her up as a white-gowned vestal virgin for the final rose ceremony. There was only one small matter. Lorenzo Borghese was simply miscast.
Everyone knows that when the heroine writes, "I dream of a man who loves me so deeply that he doesn't even think about another woman..." You do not end the story with,"Well, to tell you the truth there is another woman and I like her better."
Sadie was tempting fate more than a little by expecting her kind of love on a show where the whole idea is to have one guy date twenty seven women. Talk about bad odds for being the one and only! Dare I mention the fantasy suites, the hot tub scenes, and as Lisa Blank might put it so many tools on the show that the generic name for future Bachelors should be "Stanley”?
My question though is should the rest of us be disappointed that Lorenzo Borghese chose a serial giggler instead of the spunky but sweet, classy-conservative, articulate-firecracker, made for reality television heroine Sadie? Wasn't it only editing and a bunch of romantic backdrops that made anyone expect Lorenzo to drop to one knee for the real heroine and say, "I'm not worthy to be that man for one such as you, but please would you have me anyway? You have brought out the best in my unworthy self. I had lived but it was as if I was born again when you came out of the limo that night" ?
They would then both quiver and the sheer joy would bathe the scene in warm telegenic light.
Let's back up! Does it occur to anyone that Sadie was being more than a little delusional about Prince Charming? She decided that Lorenzo was somehow Mr. Right because he flew a plane with her and he showed some respect for her decision to save it for marriage.
First, Prince Lorenzo's passions never included saving starving children, defending the persecuted, or going to Bible study classes. If you asked me about a rich guy whose pleasures in life were flying, scuba diving, and sailing, my first reaction would be "playboy" (not necessarily the Hugh Hefner variety) but certainly
not "Here's a great candidate for a deep emotional commitment of the Sadie variety."
Yes, there are women out there who fanatasize that she can be the one who'll change all that, but there really weren't that many indications that Lorenzo was chivalry reborn. Yes, he had good manners and yes he did talk some about family and just wanting one woman to spend the rest of his life with, but those are things gentlemen do, they don't make you a gentleman or a knight. The essence of either of those things is in the heart not the lineage. It might just be me, but Lorenzo seemed to have an oddly distant relationship with his own parents when they were actually in the room with him.
I mean, what was this guy doing kissing Agnese that way just hours before kicking her into the canals without a rose? Other than wanting everyone to move to New York City, where was the "there" with this guy?
I wasn't a Sadie fan necessarily, but the young woman has charm and can actually articulate her feelings especially in front of the camera. It was Lorenzo who was way out of his class, yet everything got reversed in the weird logic of the Bachelor. The Prince was supposed to be the prize, yet Sadie was the one who came and went with actual regal grace while Lorenzo was playing cheap-ass therapist"tell me what you're thinking" with her after the rejection as he tried to assure her that "It was indeed all real." (not that it mattered)
Yes, I confess. I'm the same guy who trashed Sadie for saying the V word maybe sixty or seventy too many times. I still also don't completely trust people who keep talking about "having values."
It's strange, but I still liked Sadie for having energy and guts. I also thought the editing was telegraphing her as the winner with the possible exception of giving her Cameron Diaz’s do from Something About Mary’s hair gel scene with all that implies.
Of course, the Fleiss way is to load drama into the otherwise not so fairy-tale like raw material of reality tv by implying possibilities that simply aren't going to happen. Often, the editing treachery forces out any appearance of genuine interaction on the show, depriving it of reality tv's occasionally unscripted power. Despite the repeated cuts to Erica Rose, who is likely now changing her SAG name to "Rome Hilton", Paris's bustier even more classless cousin, the producers were selling "fairy tale" so hard, that I made the mistake of taking them seriously. Why the heck would you sell something that didn't wind up happening? I guess I forgot that this was Heidi Fleiss's cousin. The promos and editing are about delivering ratings not actual romance or fairy tales.
Chastened, I must pay homage to those who clearly earned their Bachelors of Science or Science of Bachelor by ignoring the edits and carefully studying the picture of the ring from screen captures of the teasers. A bunch of people figured out some time ago that Jennifer Wilson won by matching fingers, reflection, and pigments. So this installment of the Bachelor was about chemistry after all, but a branch of it known as "mass spectrometry."
btw You want further proof of the missing "there" with Lorenzo. The guy tries to tout a ring designed by mom for the Home Shopping Network as a "family ring." When your lineage goes back six centuries, family ring is supposed to mean an object worn by generations of women in your family, not something that mom dashed off between palm readings and sent off to the house jewelry salesmen to mock up for the Final Rose Show. Yuck!!! This guy was nothing but ersatz romance. If you bought it by the third show, I’m sure they threw in a ginzu knife or maybe a case of dog shampoo.
Given that, I do suspect that Prince Lorenzo was true to himself, his real self not the storyline. He’s a thirty four year old bachelor for a good reason. I’m not suggesting that he’s in the closet or anything. I thought he was being very much himself when he said “I wanted to find out more about Jen’s emotional side, so I took her to a Swedish amusement park.”
I know this was tv, but there was never any hint that the guy had ever dealt with serious emotional crisis or risk. He appeared to guarded and placid to ever let that happen. On the show, he came across as someone who was afraid of making emotional mistakes. If you noticed, each time he tried to articulate his reasons for not offering a rose to an individual woman (except for Jami and Pretty Woman night) he sounded actuarial. He extrapolated the downside of things not working out with Agnese while ignoring what appeared to be actual passion. He took Lisa’s deposition about her timeline and past relationships. With Sadie, he more or less ignored her very personal gift and letter in favor of some unspecified feeling of “safety”.
There is a theory out there that he simply chose the finalist whom he could break up with the most easily. I suppose that’s possible, but I actually think Jen was simply more at his actual emotional level. After eight weeks, did we find out much about her other than the fact that her father has a shotgun just like Dick Cheney? When she talked about Lorenzo, Jen was “Wow, I feel like I could be really serious about this guy and maybe his parents will be my in laws….Lorenzo is just the kind of guy who might be it for me.”
She might have deeper more specific feelings about the matter, but she like Lorenzo really wasn’t going to show them to the camera. Honestly, watching their interaction on screen I don’t think Fleiss was trying to hide the romance as much as fifteen minutes of actual conversation between the two would have put America to sleep. “Hey, thanks for the stuffed animal, I think I’ll call him Fred. Why Fred? He looks like a Fred to me. Why not Murray? Okay, I’ll call him Murray-Fred.”
Or how about this greatest hit, “You’re going to be a counselor so counsel me? Okay, I think you should just see me and get rid of the other women.”
Not exactly Hepburn-Tracy or Grace and Rainier, it’s what it appears to be two relatively sheltered adults who are physically attracted to one another, but who don’t seek out intellectual or emotional sparks say like Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson. Lorenzo still works for the family business and lives close to home. Jen appeared to be living at home and was set on going into the same field as her mother. The finale made a lot of the odd commonalities between Jen and Sadie, dad’s with beards, counselor moms, and zodiac signs. The real actual parallels are between Lorenzo and his rose of choice. Neither one is a romantic and in the end there’s nothing wrong with that. Jen may well be the right match for the real Lorenzo and isn’t that what the shows supposed to be about as opposed to manufactured fairy tales?
On the horseback riding date,Jen's not quite galloping seemed about the perfect metaphor for Lorenzo. Sadie was an initiator someone who would have pushed his emotional boundaries. Jen is simply more cautious.
A few more stray thoughts- Am I the only one who thought that Prince Senior and Mom seemed less like royalty than the Maitre De at the local Italian restaurant and his more sociable wife? Also the whole meet the parents scene screamed for Agnese as Lorenzo’s opportunity to discover his real Borghese legacy. It also felt like the brunch with the three families (didn’t the Mafia do something like this in upstate New York once?) was supposed to generate more reality drama than it did. As it unfolded, all the participants seemed to heed the “Set up” alarm then avoided the traps built into the set piece by talking repeatedly about how awkward it felt.
So the big question….Do I want to watch Andy Baldwin do the Bachelorette triathlon? Didn’t they do a Duke educated doctor not too long ago? How’s the whole Officer and a Gentleman theme going to play against the backdrop of the Iraq war (not that anyone talks about anything like that on this show)? I suppose unless Jesse Palmer solves Fermat's Last Theorem and Jen Schefft settles down with the right guy in the meantime, I'll likely at least check it out.
My one parting thought is that if they want actual romance on this show (personally I much prefer the hot tub, beach scenes, and fantasy suite dilemmas), they need to stop shopping for Bachelors at central casting or by resume and look for someone with the necessary heart and imagination to make it possible.
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