Gentlemen Don't Tell All (Bachelor 13 WTA)
Most of us accept the fact that the Women Tell All show is filler. This year’s version had filler within the filler. From the three whole minutes of scenes where Jason and Molly actually looked like a couple (they had so much of this footage, they showed the bathtub scene twice) to a Bachelor reject reunion party (I know Jesse Csincsak actually won, but it just never felt that way), you just got this feeling that they weren’t going to let the women talk much expecially not to Jason.
The first fifteen minutes were actually Jason Tells All. I’m pretty sure that was Jason doing some sort of impression of Beavis as Chris Harrison brought out our “Right Reasons” Bachelor’s inner frat boy. “Okay, Jason, how far did you really go with Jillian Harris and Molly Malaney? You can tell me. It’s just us and a few million viewers.”
Jason feigns shock, rolls his eyes, breaks out his man giggle, then tells. Supposedly he only went to first base on the overnight tent date with Molly. He didn’t leave any doubt about his time with Jillian, “A night to remember.” I’m sure he went back to his room after the interview and nailed a pair of maple leaf panties to the wall next to his collection of forty ounce Foster’s cans that he chugged consecutively in 1998. Later, Chris prods Jason into telling America exactly what happens in the fantasy suites. This time he’s a bit more diplomatic, but again doesn’t leave a whole lot of doubt that single Dads can run with the wolves too. In the meantime, I’m sitting there going “Some day, Ty’s going to get older and see this. Worse yet, Mom's going to see this and she's going to get custody. God forbid, imagine Jason does really meet his wife on this show. She's going to see it and Ty's going to ask her about it."
I’m not a hearts and flowers Bachelor fan, but I thought I was supposed to be rooting for Jason. I mean it’s okay for the Bachelor to enjoy the Fantasy Suite (to be honest, I probably would have too if given the opportunity), but no, you don’t tell national television cameras that you um made full use of the fact that these women were locked up with no one else to date, flirt with, etc. for six weeks. Ewwww! Next season, does Chris ask the Bachelor “Okay, you’ve gotten it on with the three of them. Which one was the best?”
I forgot that we already went there. Jason went on a radio show and in view of three other ladies admitted that Molly is the best kisser. So can you be a nice guy and not be a gentleman? It’s possible, but where’s the sweet guy who cancelled a night on the town with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader because he needed to put his son to bed? It was so cute watching Jason read that bed time story to Ty. It’s just that I didn’t know there was a children’s book version of The Girls Next Door.
It’s part of the genius of Mike Fleiss that all this got turned into a great reality show moment that almost made the two hours worth it. Jillian gets to ask her question of the Bachelor (though what happened to the sit down with the guy part?) and she zings him, “You went out on night one and kissed me, then you go out the next night and kiss Melissa and tell her that you’ve never felt that way about a kiss. What’s up with that, eh?”
Jason, looks nervously at the camera, breaks out the man giggle again, and does the damage control thing, “I was just saying what I felt at the time. I’m an honest sort of guy.”
Fleiss, however, has edited the show in such a way that you know that Jason’s ignoring the back half of the question. Jillian’s real question was “How could you let me straddle you in the hot tub like some scene from one of those movies behind the beaded curtain at the video store then talk about some night to remember, when you were already saying things like that to Melissa?”
The question was not “Were you being honest with Melissa when you said that?” It was “Were you being straight with Jillian (your alleged best friend) after that?” At another point, Chris deftly punctures Jason’s whole “Just friends” thing with Jillian, by showing him the videotaped proof of the “benefits” part of the friends with benefits proposition. Not only do the producers leave this in for broadcast (who wouldn’t?), they then make a point of showing both how popular Jillian is with the studio audience and having Chris ask if she’d be willing to be the Bachelorette. Of course, anyone as smart and centered as Jillian appears to be would say “Absolutely not!” She doesn’t.
In the meantime, we get these oddly frantic bits of Melissa fighting off bugs, shrieking, and appearing to fail the “parent” test once again in New Zealand. We’re only missing bits like her cleaning up Jason’s kitchen, saying that she didn’t notice New Zealand because she was so focused on Single Dad, and most of the body language between the two that’s been so hard to ignore.
What little we do see of the Women Tell All portion of the Women Tell All show….I think the “Women” got maybe 20 minutes out of a two hour show doesn’t exactly move the plot forward. Shannon barely gets to say anything beyond acknowledging that she knew a lot about Jason. They don’t even bring up “kissing the dog”. Stephanie doesn’t get her own interview. She had a bit softer look and I thought she looked great. Yes, Lauren, Megan, and Erica got into it a little bit, but mostly we got a whole bunch of Natalie Getz, the season’s answer to Paris Hilton. We’re reminded that Natalie has a high opinion of her own attractiveness and that a lot of the other ladies didn’t like her. Wow! Big shock there. At the same time, there was something a bit Jerry Springer about Natalie’s WTA appearance. It was like she was really enjoying all the hooting and the jeering. Pair that with the rumor that she’s dating Satan, aka Mike Fleiss and….
We often forget that Bachelor is descended from Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire, the show where the millionaire was actually in debt and had once been on the wrong end of a domestic violence restraining order. Anyway, take a look at this Business Week interview with the guy and note what he has to say about the Brad Womack season.
Other than Jillian who along with Stephanie may be the only real winners from this season, the best parts of the Women Tell All came from the filler that didn’t include Trista, Ryan, and their baby factory (though it was fun to hear that Trista was rooting for Melissa- ex-cheerleaders stick together I suspect). While Fleiss considered Charlie O’connell’s season the low point of the show’s run (likely because of the ratings), I’ve often thought it was one of the better seasons largely because the show laughed at itself a bit and underneath it all there was a real love story with Sarah Brice. Charlie turned out to be interesting because he was seriously flawed (all the dates were at bars so we saw the issue), yet also very likeable. They paired him with some truly goofy ladies and he managed to pick the one who really seemed to center him in Sarah Brice, who had a career, owned her own house, and wanted a real relationship that didn't include Charlie worship. As the two discussed their “journey”, in this case it doesn’t feel like a cliché, there was something genuinely romantic about it because the show didn’t do the whole fairy tale thing. Most of us watching aren’t perfect catches either. While there’s been a lot of snark about Byron and Mary (including from me), I simply wish them well in real life.
I think the energy from the Bachelor reject reunion was actually better than the show and I wondered briefly if they were using the footage to spawn a spinoff of some kind. One, the audience got to indulge in a favorite past time of mixing and matching various men and women from the different seasons. I still say that Jason and Kelly Jo Kuharski would have worked, though I guess Kelly Jo is already married. It made perfect sense to me that Amanda Rantuccio would have a crush on Graham Bunn. I just wish they would have shown the bit where she hired two actors to let him know about it and he responded with a letter to be read away from the cameras. I don’t know what the “threesome” talk was about, I figure it was Erica Rose, Doctor Rotting Eggs, and the French guy from Jenn’s season (the installment I consider the show’s true low point).
How do I put this? When Holly Durst announced that Jesse was taken I don’t think that many women across America were all that sorry, though I like Jesse well enough. I’m not sure that many women are all that excited by the prospect of Justin Guarini (Holly’s ex) being on the loose either. There was, however, something genuinely endearing about Fred Greif, Ellen Degeneres’s favorite bachelor, and Noelle Drake, one of my favorite bachelorettes, pairing off. Unlike many winners on the show, they appeared to be an actual couple (compare it to Matt and Shayne on the last reunion show, and was that really Shayne on this one? Yikes! I may have been right about Zombie Mom and Dad). When Noelle said, “Here we are a couple reality show rejects” I actually almost forgave her for not returning my hundreds of e-mails offering to leave Mrs. Chancelucky for her. Did they let Jeremy talk during that Bachelor reunion? I figure they’re punishing him for talking to Reality Steve.
Next week, we get to the choice between Molly and Melissa. Sad to say, hardly anyone’s talking about it. Instead, everyone’s obsessed about the choice between Reality Steve and Chris Harrison. I’ve always rather liked Chris Harrison. He’s funny, he doesn’t overstep the bounds of his role (are you listening Ryan Seacrest?), he’s remarkably restrained and let’s us in on how hard that can be at times just enough. I’ve also enjoyed his blog this year. It’s been a little sad to see how the show has put him in the awkward position of carrying water for the producers in its attempts to deal with the Reality “this is my last post on this at least until next week” Steve thing.
Right now, it all seems to hinge on how scripted is scripted (Where’s Bill Clinton when you need him?) Last season, one of my frustrations at the end was that the show had a perfectly good story to tell about Jesse and Deanna, but they hid it so they could have a surprise ending. I’m all for surprise endings, but I still think they only work if you actually care about the characters. I’m just not sure why they’re working so hard at making us like Jason less this late into the show.
Anyway ( btw there is some obscure sect of Jillian believers out there who still think she figures into the ending) after reading all the possible scenarios for the final rose, Deanna, the AFTR, AFTR2, and the various ABC as American Broadcast Conspiracy network theorists, this year’s WTA suggested strongly that all the principals in the Final Rose thing don’t exactly win. Who would want this Jason?
Even those guys on from G's to Gents know better than this. btw It's not Reality Steve who edited Jason this way for the WTA.
Chris Harrison's blog
Buddy TV Bachelor page