Mr. Congeniality (Bachelor 13 Round of 15)
If you were to analyze the Bachelor’s ToV genome, it’s clear that the Dating Game was one of its direct ancestors. Another major part of the show’s television genetic code comes from the Miss America Pageant. Instead of Bert Parks, you get Chris Harrison. The show starts with a long parade of mostly forgettable contestants in weird gowns who’ve come from all over the United States. There’s a bathing suit competition (in this installment Fleiss went there twice last night). One of the big moments comes when the various contestants have to answer some open-ended question for the tv audience. Instead of “World Peace”, Bachelor contestants are expected to do some variation on “I really want to get married and raise children” aka the right reasons. There’s also some informal version of Miss Congeniality, some individual everyone likes who has no serious chance at the final rose. Btw, Given the way things always seem to turn out, wouldn’t it be better to get scholarship money instead of an engagement ring from some guy you’re going to stay with for all of six weeks beyond the show?
Anyway, Bob Guiney was probably the first Miss Congeniality on the show. Just off the top of my head, there was also Katie, the woman Jesse Palmer gave a rose to by accident who took it with such good humor, Fred (Ellen’s choice) from Deanna’s show (though word is that he started dating Noelle Drake, one of my favorite contestants from Matt’s show making Fred the actual winner of Deanna’s descent from Bachelor version of Scarlet O'hara to “Hey Dude, Where’s my Rose?” ) , and Sheena Stewart from Brad’s season. I’m certain that Erica from Connecticut is not going to be the Miss Congeniality for Jason’s season.
During the rose ceremony, Mrs. Chancelucky started yelling at the television set when Erica got her rose. If you remember Erica Rose from Lorenzo’s season, you too are probably wondering if “Erica” is the code name for “Drama Queen” on the Bachelor. Of course, if you are identified as a drama queen, I’m pretty sure the producers make sure you get a minimum of three or four roses. Otherwise I can’t think of any reason Jason would have given this Erica a rose. Megan seemed perfectly within her rights to call Erica on being two-faced. When Erica took the thing public, it had this “I’m going to crush you” edge that seemed genuinely mean rather than Fleiss-staged mean. Erica catching the boyfriend with the 52 year old was definitely TMI, but at this point does anyone blame the guy?
The whole “if you already have a rose, you shouldn’t steal cocktail party time from the ladies who don’t” rule makes sense to me. I just wish someone would codify all these rules, so the contestants wouldn’t have to spend so much time reviewing the protocols with one another. Racquel, for instance, could have looked up footage of Blaine Twilley’s hide in the bushes moment and learned that “stalking” doesn’t work that well either on the show or in real life. Fwiw, Jason’s body language in that moment was terrific. She might as well have said, “I really love snowboarding and hope we can go to Breck sometime.”
Actually, this might be the most stalkery installment of the show yet. In addition to our Brazilian Med student, who was really trying out for a bit part as intern who keeps bumping into Patrick Dempsey on the Seattle Grace elevator (mmmm…come to think of it there are some real crossover possibilities there), there’s Shannon Bair, the world’s leading authority on all things Jason Mesnick. There was the recently departed Sharon from New York who quit her job just to be on the show. There’s also the scary smooth, Molly Malaney of the “I’m a really good kisser” in front of a tv camera and seven other ladies. Seriously, what real golfer breaks his/her hands when demonstrating the purity of her swing?
I do rather like the idea of not giving everyone a date during a given week, the whole insecurity thing made for good tv. Speaking of insecurity, how much do you think Robin Thicke paid Mike Fleiss to get himself featured on the date at Disney Hall. I know if Suzanne Somers was once sort of your stepmother that excuses most anything, but I’m not sure the guy would make it out of the semi-finals of American Idol especially when he does the falsetto. Btw, What’s with all these women claiming they haven’t dated or kissed anyone since before Trista met Ryan? Is there some convent filled with pro sports cheerleaders and former pageant girls where they stash future Bachelorettes? I honestly don’t get it. These women who go on tv in these tiny bikinis and jump on Jason’s shoulders, kiss the guy after maybe talking to him twenty minutes after he’s kissed maybe three other ladies in the last ten minutes, wear evening gowns from Victoria’s Secret at the cocktail parties, then happily go off to the fantasy suite with the bachelor, all claim that they haven’t gone on a date or kissed a guy in three years.
I really wasn’t all that convinced about chemistry between Jason and Jillian Harris. While it was certainly better than that really iffy kiss with Naomi Crespo, the stewardess and philanthropist, it didn’t compare to whatever was going on with Melissa Rycroft. Later in the show, Jason makes his little speech about Lauren Wanger, the civics teacher, who tells Jason that she’s clearly uncomfortable because she’s not getting constant attention and reassurance from him. Jason, the psychology major, rationalizes that’s she’s used to being the center of attention. He later gives her a rose anyway. Let me translate, this is guy code for Jason’s into hot chicks. Whatever he says about a mom for Ty and the rigors of true compatibility, this guy’s real taste is for the ladies all the other guys notice.
You notice the pageant girls keep getting roses and the whole Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader thing is a total no-brainer. Was I the only one hoping that he’d ask Melissa if she knew Jenni Croft?
Oysters on the beach? What was that business with Jason watching her swallow the oyster followed by a giant talking blimp (do you want mustard or relish on your blimp). These producers sure are subtle! Okay, here’s another thing I don’t get. Why do the women always give the Bachelor all this credit for planning these elaborate dates? Like this is the most romantic date, I’ve ever been on repeated five times a show whether they’re on a blimp over Los Angeles or just atop some bank building with seven other women in bikinis all fighting for time with Jason. Did anyone send them the memo that it’s not the Bachelor who plans this stuff or who paid for all those outfits btw ladies, most guys don't like hearing that your fantasy is to have some guy pay for you to shop to your heart's content? Believe me, men do not get together and say that's exactly the sort of woman I want. If this is what’s really getting them off, they should be falling in love with Mike Fleiss or whatever underling talks some company into comping the resort, hall, whatever.
When Jason gets all excited because Melissa wants to be a first grade teacher, it did occur to me that there are like three other Bachelorettes who are already real teachers. I think about poor Sharon who quit her teaching job only to get dumped in the round of 15. Apparently, it’s not commutative. Cheerleader first then teacher equals smitten Jason. Teacher first then whatever equals who knows with this guy? As my friend Magic Bunny Slippers points out, do any of them notice that the guy’s an insurance salesman who lives with his brother and his three year old son. Do you really want to marry into some real life version of Two and a Half Men? Mmmmm….is Jason Mesnick secretly Charley Sheen? That’s not that far off, what are the odds that if Denise Richards came on the show and talked about her kids that Jason would give her at least enough roses to get to the fantasy suite date?
I really did like what happened with Lisa, the one who chose her sick grandmother over Jason. If you remember, Meredith Phillips had a similar choice to make during Bob Guiney’s season and she chose Bob over Nana’s funeral. Meredith then made up for it by taking Bob on her home visit to see Nana’s grave. Ever sensitive, Bob then used the occasion to stick his tongue down Meredith’s throat. When Lisa left, I went “What the hell? How manipulative can they get? They stuck a real person on this show.”
Of course, the producers quickly made up for it by using the occasion to let the ladies do their “One less rose to worry about” routine. I was further reassured that Fleiss hadn’t lost his touch for fake sentimentality when Megan asked Stephanie what happened to her husband and Stephanie then gets to do some scene written by Nicholas Sparks. The women tear up, hold hands, as Stephanie segues into how she has been through this tragic loss and now deserves Jason. Did I miss something there? I’m so devoted to my daughter, that I skipped her birthday (we learn that the producers help out on the next installment and likely fed her that line so they can introduce the little girl to Jason at a completely inappropriate time). I also spent all of my husband’s life insurance money on thousands of pieces of costume jewelry. Anyone here know any Bachelors with connections to the Home Shopping Network?
I am enjoying this whole “mom” strategy. Nikki, Megan, Stephanie, and Melissa pretty much spend all their Jason time talking about how much they like driving kids to soccer practice and helping with homework. Away from Jason, they tell one another how the other ladies have no idea how hard it is to really be a mom. Somehow, it doesn’t compute for Nikki or Melissa that they don’t have kids themselves. One, I’m not sure that’s what Jason’s really into. Two, the mom thing is not something you talk about loving, it’s something you show. Don’t any of you remember the whole Deanna story arc? She kept talking about getting married and raising a family, but when she was actually around Ty how comfortable did she actually look? Not that Jason noticed or even cared btw.
Circling back, I am curious to see what the “talent” portion of Bachelor Jason will be like (no I don't count the synchronized swimming). We did learn Molly’s talent. I do wonder if we’ll see Natalie’s when she goes on the Pretty Woman date (I still say it’s weird), and I’m still not quite sure who Kari is. In the past, we learned that Jeremy Anderson hit baseballs while his dead father watched over his stroke Angels in the Outfield style. We got to see Jenni Croft dance with dolphins. Tessa Horst faked a sprained ankle. Something tells me that this group won’t be outdone. Next week, they do the body cast thing so maybe we’ll see some “talents” there. Are they sharing writers with the Girls Next Door this season?
Btw, I do think they’ve found an excellent follow show to the Bachelor. True Beauty appears to provide a refreshing open snarkiness about its contestants that contrasts nicely with the Bachelor’s faux romanticism.
Buddy TV Bachelor page