As the Jason Turns (Bachelor 13 round of 12)
Somewhere in the middle of Natalie Getz’s failed Las Vegas date with Jason Mesnick, it struck me that she’d been cast on the wrong installment of the Bachelor. The shopping-obsessed life of the party would have given Shayne a serious run for her shoe money during Matt Grant’s season. She also was blonde enough to have lasted a while with Jesse Palmer. Can you imagine the Ah Ha moment we could have had when Jesse confessed that he’d gotten tired of waking up next to strangers and Natalie revealed that she was ready for marriage and children because she was tired of partying every night? After Jason failed to offer the rose, it seemed more like Natalie was really the other cast member for True Beauty and simply showed up two hours too early. “Whatever! I can’t believe I swallowed oysters for that loser.”
Even as Jason tried to explain that maybe “People might be surprised that a hottie like me with perfect taste in outfits actually loves children” might have not have made the most persuasive case for being Ty’s step mom, Natalie seemed determined to throw the rest of the house under the limo of shame with her. I wish they hadn’t edited the bit about Ty making a much cuter accessory than a Chihuaha. It’s just not fair the way people misjudge Paris Hilton wannabes. In the meantime, it seems like the odds on the Pretty Woman date are even worse than getting the first impression rose.
Yes, Jason figures out that Natalie may be “not ready” and possibly just a tad shallow, so naturally he gives her judgment about the other ladies the deference it’s due by essentially going all Ken Starr. In the course of the longest pre-rose cocktail party in history (46 minutes?), Jason expertly grills the ladies on who the b*#$*#s are in the house while finding time to make out with about five of them in succession. Here are examples of Jason’s probing questions, “Molly, I know for sure you’re not one of the problems in the house, but….” Since Lauren was the only one who named names (the House UnBachelorlike Activties committee this is not), I’m pretty sure that Jason’s basic test was did he make out with the lady at least as long he talked with her about the emotional turmoil in the house. If he kissed her long enough, he would then slap one of those Chiquita banana stickers on her and hand her a rose at the end of the night.
Fascinatingly, he does talk to Erica DEsimone but the edit only shows her claiming that she caught Jason looking at her boobs. Classy lady that she is, Erica goes on about it for a while. It was great tv. Even if she hadn’t played a lead role in the cattiest rose ceremony ever, I never thought Erica was much more than opening cocktail party fodder. A couple of those shots of her from behind were decidedly unflattering. More significant, it was hard for me to imagine Erica as a stepmother except as the kind who might be in the Grimm’s Brothers fairy tales.
After six hours of Jason as lead, I have to say that Jason himself just isn’t all that interesting. He appears to know four words, “Amazing”, “Ty”, “Great”, and “Special”. To make up for it, Fleiss keeps making him take his shirt off. I’m noticing that it wasn’t just Nikki who hit a dead spot conversationally with Jason. He really doesn’t have all that much to say, so they do things like use Stephanie to throw Jason’s corniest lines from Deanna’s season right back at him, like “Now I know I can love again.”
Faced with his own line a couple times, Jason looked profoundly uncomfortable. Part of the problem is that Stephanie seems fun, though very southern, but there’s this creepy vibe of her being Jason’s mom’s barely age appropriate friend who’s gotten this crush on Jason while still playing bridge and organizing the charity functions every week with Jason’s mom. Yes, their kids are the same age and Stephanie’s only a few calendar years older than Jason, but she feels about ten years older than Jason. If Natalie Getz is on the wrong season of the Bachelor, Stephanie appears to be the perfect contestant for “Who Wants to Date my Dad.”
I also have to say that was maybe the most awkward four year old’s birthday party ever. I don’t think it’s any little kid’s fantasy to run around a deserted Lego Land (which would be cool), while Mom puts the make on some total stranger after spending the last couple years telling you that Dad’s flying around somewhere in heaven. I kept waiting for little Sophia to say “If this is my birthday party, where the heck are the other kids?” or “Mom, they flew me out here on that long-assed plane flight which given the way Daddy died scared the shit out of me to be flying without you and you’re telling me we don’t get any alone time? You’ve got to be kidding!”
I figure in ten years, they’ll have Jerry Springer shows like “I was used as a prop on reality tv”. A now sixteen year old Sophie will be sitting there with nose ring, purple hair, and black-dyed fairy dress watching clips of her mother tackling her on the beach and yelling “Roll Tide” then screaming at Jerry about how embarrassing it was having to watch her mother by the fireplace trying to get Jason Mesnick to kiss her on the lips after he’s kissed five other women. Ty Mesnick would follow and he’d talk about how he spent three months trying to track down Deanna Pappas to convince her to fulfill her TV destiny and be his “Mom”. Ty then stuns the audience by breaking out a blue golf ball that he’s kept in his pocket since 2008 and proclaims, “You named a star for me. I wanted to be your little star.” Jerry then explains that Ty was arrested a few months earlier for throwing golf balls at unsuspecting snowboarders.
Btw, Jason’s Ex aka Ty’s real mom must have gotten one heck of a contract. She has no name, we never see her, and we’re often left with the impression that Jason’s a widower.
This is what I see. Jason came to our living rooms as Ward Cleaver 2 or maybe Courtship of Ty’s Father. He’s supposed to be all about family values, loves his son, (did we say he loves his son?), and he’s just looking for the right woman to complete the picture. Since a significant percentage of past Bachelors have been (there’s no gentler way to put it) “Players”, the Bachelor public has looked to Jason Mesnick to be the guy to break the show’s find ‘em, fantasy suite’em, forget ‘em slump. I do think he’s very sincere about the “Completing his family” mission, but I’m not sure the powers that be expected the horn dog side of Jason Mesnick to come out so quickly.
Currently, the house seems to be split into camps. There’s the I wanna be a “mommy” group that includes Megan Parris, Stephanie, Nikki, and Shannon Bair the stalker. There’s the hot-fun girls who are barely on the wholesome side of the Natalie Getz line. That would be Lauren Wanger (pageant girl), Naomi Crespo (exotic-looking stewardess), and Molly Malaney (professional kisser). Then there are Jillian and Melissa who manage to feel girlish like group two, yet also show hints of being grounded without the repeated proclamations that the Mommy and Me group does in lieu of actual conversation. There are only two actual moms left, Stephanie and Megan.
I do find it interesting that the Law and Order BIU ( Bachelor Investigations Unit) that relies on DNA samples from Facebook/Myspace and an extensive network of people who went to college, worked with, or sold a slurpee to various contestants at some point in the last twenty five years seem convinced that Jillian and Melissa stay around for quite a long time. In fact, some charter boat company in New Zealand seems to have confirmed that Melissa is at least in the final two. Most of the sleuthers seem convinced that Melissa gets the ring and that last 34FF rose.
I suspect the charity date captured Jason’s dual nature almost perfectly (yeah, I know he doesn’t really plan any of this stuff. Here were all these women saying “This is such a good cause, sure I’m willing to get naked on national television for breast cancer.”
In the meantime, Jason helps them apply plaster to the body parts that are not flat smooth surfaces. Megan paints a fetus on her cast because women with mastectomies can’t breast feed. Now there’s a potential winner’s edit for you :} Melissa Rycroft in the most intimate one on one confession yet reveals that she had breast reduction surgery as a teenager, “I could have been a pole dancer, a porn star, on a show with Brett Michaels, or I could do something truly meaningful with my life. I decided to have the breast reduction procedure and now I’m proud to say that I became a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader who wants to be a mom.”
I wonder if she asked Megan if the breast reduction thing will still let her breast feed? In the meantime, Naomi reveals that hers are lopsided and Shannon panics because she hasn’t gotten one on one time with Jason then hugs him just for saying hello to her. Yeah, this one is emotionally secure enough to be a stepmother. After all, being a step parent is just a matter of spending the next twelve years being compared negatively to the various biological parents who are either around or absent and subliminally blaming you for their absence. Jillian Harris, of course, solves the problem by deftly jumping on the bedroom set actually used in the Super Fly movies with Jason and snagging a rose. I have no idea where it came from. I’m just pretty sure that Jason has that scene in “Big” where Tom Hanks and Elizabeth Perkins jump on the bedroom trampoline freeze-framed on his home entertainment center.
I actually thought the most touching moment belonged to Nikki. Having talked about her love of kids and being there for the right reasons a couple dozen times too many, the former pageant winner doesn’t know how to be spontaneous. She doesn’t exactly relax in a later one on one, but she does yet again present Jason with her two biggest reasons for keeping her around and they exchange an extended kiss. Somewhere in there, Kari got her thirty seconds of camera time to let the camera know that she actually has a sister who had breast cancer. This, of course, justified the whole peep show cop a feel for charity bit. I understand that this segment was so successful that they’re planning a topless carwash for the homeless and a give a lapdance for lupus for future Bachelor seasons. It’s too bad they cut out the visit from rock and roll legend Cynthia Plaster Caster from this one.
I do think that they’ve made two good decisions this season. It’s better to leave a couple of the ladies without a date during the week. It clearly brings out the “Crazy” in the house. Second, they seem to be spending less time on the trappings of the “dates” and more on actual one to one conversations between Jason and his various choices though this episode might have gone a bit too far in that direction. I can’t remember which conversations were at the plaster caster date and which were pre-rose ceremony. Oddly, despite all this intimacy and kissing, there haven’t been any serious romantic vibes yet. That may be a good thing and they may be saving that part of the edit for the last few episodes. Hopefully, they won’t turn this season into three card monte a la Deanna and Brad’s seasons.
Perhaps the one truly great reality moments came when Shannon broke down during the insinuation fest of the pre-rose ceremony, ran off to the bathroom, and muttered, “I hate it here.”
Shortly thereafter, you hear her throwing up and then they cut to commercial with the sound of a flushing toilet (Fleiss once again reminds us that his productions are the epitome of television class and that he’s a cut above the bikini girl trying to make out with Ryan on American Idol). After three episodes of True Beauty, I was waiting for Cheryl Tiegs to come out and show us the one Bachelorette who had the inner beauty to come comfort Shannon. Instead, none of these ladies even turn in Shannon’s direction. It’s Jason who comes to her rescue. Perhaps, it’s because Shannon’s not really upset, it’s just morning sickness from carrying Jason’s cloned baby after she got the lock of his chest hair from an E-Bay auction. She genuinely did look ill. Not only that, Jason gives her a rose and he gives Megan a rose too for her insights into the real tragedy of breast cancer. Is it just me or did they play a commercial for “He’s Just Not that Into You” every time Megan or Stephanie got screen time?
Anyway, I can’t believe they didn’t save all this fun for next week’s real soap opera tie in, I mean segment. In the meantime, Mrs. Chancelucky has demanded that I bring her a dozen lego roses after I come home from work tonight. If I don’t, she’s threatening to lock me in a room alone with Erica and Megan.
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