Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Mechanical Bull Whisperer (Bachelor 10 Review)

After a romantic daytime bus ride on the Sunset Strip (yes, you read that right) during which Bachelor Andy points out architectural and cultural landmarks such as Mel’s Diner and the House of Blues (Arby’s and Long’s Drugs apparently just missed the cut), Dr. Pecs gets an even more romantic idea- he takes seven ladies to a country western bar and makes them ride a mechanical bull while he watches. Yes, Urban Cowboy was more than twenty years ago. My guess is this is the first leg in a Jeff Foxworthy triathlon. Mechanical bulls this week, NASCAR next week, and then maybe a Barbeque contest.

First, we learn that Tessa, the San Francisco, social worker knows how to play the game. After three of the ladies use the bull as a country-western version of a stripper pole, the San Francisco social worker fakes being hurt so Andy can have two costume fantasies during the same set piece- Cowgirls and playing doctor. Second, he’s deeply impressed that gymnast Stephanie from Kansas manages to stay on the bull for the whole ride. This inspires him to say, I really want to spend my special alone time with that one right now. He doesn’t though. My guess is that Chris Harrison pulled him aside to let our Bachelor know that it wasn’t Fantasy Suite alone time yet. Mostly, the Fleiss camera reveals that Dr. Andy likes to watch and not in an entirely wholesome way.

Next part of the date is a mini-Miss America. The ladies get to choose evening gowns so they can hang out on top of a rooftop pool somewhere in Hollywood. They have a brief swimsuit portion when they get into the hot tub. Oddly, they spend more time lingering on the Bachelor’s upper body than any of the ladies. If they ever do a reality show where they cast the next star for a gay porn movie, this would be your man. Finally, they have to show their poise by answering questions with the judge.

In this sequence, we learn that Alexis, the Dallas lawyer by way of the Miss Waco Pageant who must go to the same dentist as our bachelor, was home-schooled. If you ever watch Wife Swap, you know that this is code for right wing fundamentalist nut case. In their conversation, Alexis sounds like a presidential candidate getting out the vote at a gathering of evangelicals. She uses the word “values” multiple times and then asks Dr. Andy if he too is “conservative.” Did she see the guy’s face when the ladies were riding that bull?

Andy has thus far not come across as the wittiest guy in the world. In fact he’s been less Hugh Grant movie than Hugh Grant on Sunset Strip. For whatever reason, he gets off a major put down, “Parts of me are conservative, but I’m also kind of open-minded. I’ve seen too much of the world not to be.”

Instead of looking at her watch and saying, “Wow, it’s late and I’ve got to teach Sunday school tomorrow morning,” Alexis just nods and continues to act as if she wants that rose.

In the meantime, we get to see Bevin pouting that she’s the only lady not getting alone time. We later learn that Bevin’s been on her own since she was fifteen and in a chat about kissing on the first date, she seems to be the one who says “Well, at my age, it’s just a kiss.”

I’m not saying this to be mean, but the camera’s not exactly treating her well on this episode. At points, it looks like she was fifteen when Urban Cowboy was still in theaters. I started thinking that this couldn’t possibly be a winner’s edit at least until Andy asked her to jump in the pool with him. They don’t talk, but the chemistry of their underwater clench is so palpable that the other ladies jump in the pool with them to cool off whatever they've done to the ph balance.

Inexplicably, Officer triathlete chooses Tiffany from Boston for his alone time. I had guessed that this would be one of the ladies who would go far into the show. I was wrong. She’s either nervous or he can’t get her to swoon over him, but she goes home at the end of the show.

In group date two, Officer Andy stages a mini-triathlon. Mr. Physical doesn’t get on the bull nor does he participate in his own triathlon. Before the ladies jump in the pool, the producers help the Bachelorettes train for their mini-ordeal by pouring mimosas into them. Tina, the med student, immediately pulls Andy to the pier for alone time. The ladies react by calling her a “hussy”.

In their meeting, we learn that Tina Wu is not only doing her rotations, but is in the midst of getting her MBA as well. Andy asks her about orthopedic surgery. She tells him that she loved the time, because she’s more comfortable being with guys. We also get to see that she’s deeply insecure about her possible desirability to men. This is new Bachelor territory. A bright-ambitious woman cracks the third week and she’s not white. On top of that, she’s complex. Too bad she finishes nearly last in the triathlon.

In other alone time, Peyton, the national sorority recruiter, lectures Andy about the deeply feminist subtext of sorority life and how she’s really about helping university women become successful. Somehow, she skips over the part about kicking out all the ones who are either too fat or not blonde enough or both. Andy buys it though and tells her that it’s very important to him to find a woman who is into “inspiring others.” Sadly, I missed the next couple minutes of the show because I had to go throw up.

Erin and Susan step in for some comic relief. They didn’t want to get in the pool because they were afraid of wrecking their hair. Andy claims to love independent-accomplished women, so these two do everything in pairs. They walk the last leg of the triathlon. The producers are all but screaming “No rose for these two,” which naturally means that Erin survives somehow. Maybe it was the Pamela Anderson wig.

Amber, the teacher, wins the triathlon, which gets her time on the monkey bars with Andy at recess. At one point, he lifts her up so she can get on the rings and maybe look up between her legs. Some guys go for looks. Some guys go for brains. This guy wants someone to play red rover, Marco Polo, and maybe King of the Hill with him. Maybe it was having three jobs at age twelve. He’s like the little boy on the playground who shows his affection by chasing the girl of his choice around the swings. It looks like Amber may be around for a bit.

There’s a similar thing going on with Nicole, the other short brunette. Andy keeps dancing with her instead of talking to her.

Stephanie gets to be this year’s designated villain. First, they show her dressing for success on her one on one date. The ladies wisely counsel her to wear the outfit that makes her look like she’s on call from the escort service instead of the one that makes her look like a bar girl. The edit then only gives her lines where she talks about winning and how irresistible she is. All the while, she doesn't seem to have any actual interest in the Bachelor himself. The producers complete the trifecta by having Stephanie bring up “What kind of wedding do you want?” in the midst of their first date on Andy’s borrowed yacht. I half expected the organ transplant coordinator to show up for the hot tub scene in Lisa Blank’s wedding dress. Also, didn’t they do that Titanic bit in another season?

My favorite moment of tv genius though was that she comes home to Bachelorette house, rose in hand, dripping wet in her her bikini, and the other ladies see the rose and shun her. A few minutes later, Stephanie cracks a door and overhears them gossiping about her after bedtime. Lee Anne, Trish, “They hate me because I’m beautiful” Sarah, Lisa Blank just recruited you to the Bachelor’s own national sorority, Phi Delta Stalker.

Stephanie did appear to have an instinctive sense of Dr. Andy’s touch fetish. The camera made a point of showing her fondling his hand, rubbing up against him in the hot tub, etc. It was interesting that she told the ladies that he just kissed her on the cheek. Talk about your foreshadowing. She also did a wonderfully catty “Alexis, you’re a virgin aren’t you?” I’m hoping that in a couple weeks we get to find out that Andy has a pet rabbit.

In the meantime, Tessa did a one step forward two steps back thing. In episode one she established some “normal one” cred by telling a story about her blended family that managed to squeeze in the fact that she’s okay with hiking at high altitude and that she’s into “character” while segueing into why any sane person might go on a show like the Bachelor. This time she broke out “I’m doing a triathlon too” and then started exchanging foot rubs with Dr. Andy. At the same time, she lost it because she couldn’t stand to be one of fourteen ladies dating the same guy. This prompted the Department of Homeland Bachelor Security to jump their Possible Whacko Alert level from green to orange on the San Francisco social worker. The episode also let Peyton score major points with viewers by venturing into the bathroom to rescue Tessa and prove that sorority recruiters can be nice to women with dark hair who work with the needy.

Next week looks to be much better. They have mud wrestling and car racing. You think they’ll have a cocktail party before the ladies get in the race cars?

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At 4/10/2007 08:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What delicious dish, cl. The phrase 'Mechanical Bull Whisperer' is droll in so many ways.

It sounds like Bachelor has a much higher creep-o-meter rating than Idol even. Lots more leering and gruesomely pathetic flesh-peddling. The humiliation quotient is red-lining. (Is the only 'prize' an affiancing with the skin-galloping Dr. Pecs? Or do the 'losers' get some kind of hefty cash consolation prize?)

As for 'conservative' & leering etc, please recall Pastor Ted & Pastor Swaggart, serial Adulteros Newt & Rudy, not to mention the unspeakable child-porn, bearbaiting Scooter Boy of Apprentice infame, et al.

When I see your fabulous investigative reportorial abilities, I can only feel Considerable Guilt that we unwashed out here sort of require you to do this superb work on Bachelor and Idol rather than on War, Peace, and monstrous Corporate Excess, the New Slavery.

Can one just demand 'alone time'? I wonder where the roses are stashed so he can grab one for the tender moment? Or do you get a rose as a consolation for being extirpated?

At 4/12/2007 08:21:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

the alone time is sort of improvised. There isn't that much contact between the bachelor and any of the ladies....I think it's the equivalent of 6-7 dates if that....Expecting any sane person to propose at the end is a bit whacky.

At 4/12/2007 09:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG! I'm missing the Bachelor? Didn't even know it was on again. On the other hand, if I don't start watching, maybe I won't get hooked into another vapid drawn-out charade with an anti-climactic ending. Dilemma.

At 4/12/2007 09:18:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Pink Fluffy,
this time the guy apparently does propose at the it may be more interesting for that reason.
So far though, he's verbally kind of boring. The women though are more entertaining than usual.

At 4/26/2007 03:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Just wondering how you know the bachelorette's last names. Do you know Susan and Erin's by chance?

At 5/02/2007 01:07:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I mostly get last names by googling the first name of the lady and bachelor. There's often an article from the bachelorette's hometown nespaper that includes the last name.

It's kind of a 2 way street in that if you label with the first and last names, it moves my blog up in the google searches as well.


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