Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bettina's Bell Tolls (Bachelor 11 review Brad Womack)

I want to be Brad Womack. Does this guy have it easy or what? You go on dates with three women in three nights and (how do I put this?) it’s like going fishing and having the trout jump into the boat even before you even think about bait much less throw out a line. Sorry, I guess I should have used that metaphor back when it was Byron and Mary’s season. Obviously this fantasy date trifecta thing has happened in most of the earlier Bachelor installments, but having the thing trimmed down to forty five minutes really made you feel the whole slam-bam-thankyou-Chris Harrison effect of what may be the weirdest point in the life cycle of the Bachelor from larva, to chrysalis, to Lounge Lizard Larry gets Lucky, to “you’re the only woman for me, please take this last rose and this ring the show bought for me.”

Usually, the show makes some attempt to play it coy about the prospects of sex in the fantasy suite. As recently as Sadie and Lorenzo, they had long talks about what it really meant to accept the invitation on that card. This time though, it was like Scott Baio wrote the script or something.

Where the heck was Chris Harrison on this installment? Mike Fleiss didn’t want to spring for an extra plane ticket and a hotel room for the guy? Maybe Chris’s wife said no after she got wind of how “ready” these ladies were. Maybe Chris had some sort of visa problem with the Department of Homeland Security. They’re still signing Chris’s name to that card anyway.

Try that one on a real date. “Hey, I’ve really had a good time with you tonight. Here’s a card from my friend Chris Harrison to invite you to spend the night with me. What do you think?”

Brad is 34, can’t he ask on his own behalf? I thought this show was generally pitched at women. Isn’t the possibility of um spending time in the fantasy suite with three different very attractive women in three nights more of a guy fantasy? Not that I ever did such a thing, but the women I know in real life aren’t real keen on finding out that your special night together was one of three in three nights. I guess that’s where Chris Harrison’s name on the card comes in. Brad and his ten predecessors can say, “See I’m no playa. I only broke out the card because that perv Chris Harrison put me up to it. Otherwise, I would have asked her if I could have the privilege of walking her to church on Sunday.”

While we’re at it, how does the whole fantasy suite thing fit into the oft-repeated central Bachelor notion of “the right reasons” which I assume has something to do with choosing one woman rather than getting down with three of them.

Anyway, if in my single life I ever had a run like Brad, I’d still be remembering it with a smile and thanking Mr. Rourke and his friend Tatu. Brad goes on three dates and doesn’t have to show any game whatsoever. The ladies all sit down to dinner with the guy and you have Bettina Bell telling him that “she’s already head over heels and even her family knows it,” Deanna volunteering that “Ever since they met, she’s known that Brad’s the one and the ouzo-swilling-dance party with grandpa there only confirmed it,” and finally Jenni Croft playing pocket pool with the bar-owning Bachelor because she just can’t give it up fast enough with this guy. No seduction needed here. Geez, it looked like some after shave commercial where the guy uses the stuff and becomes irresistible.

Jenni: It’s probably just the cheerleader thing, but Jenni Croft looks and acts like a much hotter version of Cheri Oteri from that Saturday Night Live nerd cheerleader routine with Will Ferrell. She also vaguely looks like Tina Fey to me, something about the chin line. Anyway, Jenni dancing with the dolphins was a great-goofy -reality tv-moment. So far she’s danced at the initial cocktail party, done the tumbling run at the circus, danced on the home visit. Dolphins just seemed like the natural extension. We know more about her dancing than any of her actual feelings. Was it just me or was it really really hard to tell whether we were hearing Jenni laugh or the dolphins squeal? I say, you could have run the sequence on Saturday Night Live and no one would notice, particularly if you include the dolphin kissing bit.

Once they sat down to dinner, they sure got to the point. When Brad told Kristy Katzmann that he had rough edges, this might have been one of them. You know it’s not good to go on national tv and essentially talk about looking forward to boinking your date, not that Jenni seemed to mind.

Yes, it’s possible that Jenni will get that final rose and Brad and Jenni can announce their engagement at halftime between spectacular passes from Steve Nash to Amare. I would say though that the body language at the end of the show when the three were toasting one another said Deanna all the way. Also, if Jenni would talk half as passionately about Brad as an individual as she does about dancing, I’d give it more of a chance.

Bettina: Okay, my hunch was wrong. They finally got to kiss in the hot tub and it wasn’t all that passionate. When Bettina Bell insisted on talking about the home visit when they sat down to dinner, I had my hopes up. All the air went out of the Bettina balloon though when she chose the oblique route by telling Brad that her family just wanted to make sure that he was as into her as she obviously was into him. When Brad came back with “I felt rejected after meeting your family” or whatever he said exactly, I was sort of impressed with his directness. It didn’t appear like Bettina ever answered.

At least based on the edit, I don’t see how Brad struggled at all with this decision. He’s telling Jenni how into her she is and telling Deanna how she’s his soulmate, how could you not give them roses? Fwiw, Bettina was the one fantasy date that arguably didn’t go beyond kissing in the hot tub.

Bettina’s exit was very reminiscent of last season’s number three, Danielle Imwalle. Both took the high road. That and Bettina did look good in the bathing suit (yes, I am that shallow and my wife still tries to get me to admit that that’s the real reason I watch this show). So she didn’t kiss the guy once they swam to “Makeout Beach” or whatever that place was called, but I think there were good reasons. The two never did seem completely comfortable with one another. I have no idea why Brad even checked in with her about moving to Austin. Brad is a bit like Andy Baldwin in that body language has consistently been much more telling than what’s said verbally for them. Whatever verbal indications Bettina was giving of her readiness to be Mrs. Bar Owner Womack, Brad was going on the “I’m holding back” messages that they don’t teach you to read in college that she was still sending.

Deanna: Have you noticed how competitive this woman is? First she treats her two on one date as a contest to see if she can outdo all of Jade Beazley’s answers. Next, they stick her in a dune buggy and she has to makes like Danica Patrick. They get some alone time at dinner and Deanna starts talking like she’s closing a real estate sale. I wouldn’t like it, but it appears to work with Brad.

Some random things. I didn’t realize that Deanna was that much shorter than the other two women. Does anyone else wonder why they didn't use the fact that all the fantasy dates were in one place to have the ladies run into one another the way they did with Krisily during Charley O'connell's season? In Bachelorese “Soulmate” means lock for the final rose, but this has been a very oddly edited season. My wife is the Deanna fan. She insists that Bettina came off as “dumb”. I have no idea how much that relates to the fact that I kept freeze framing that moment when she jumped off that sailboat. Mrs. Chancelucky keeps saying that Deanna is the one who projects any kind of emotional maturity. Women are so shallow sometimes. Last couple shows, Deanna definitely has gotten the winner’s edit though.

So why does the Women Tell All have a swimsuit phase this year? Did they merge with the Miss America Pageant? I’m also wondering about this decision to keep up the suspense at the expense of giving us someone to root for. About the only thing I do know for sure is that Jenni Croft can use that clip to get a job as a Miami Dolphins cheerleader any time she wants. In the meantime, I'm imagining an ending where Jenni winds up telling Brad that Deanna's really the right one for him and that she must get back to her life's mission of bringing Balanchine to NBA dance teams. Mmmm...Isn't that how Paula Abdul got started?

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