Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Let Me Call You Monkey (Bachelor 12 finale)

There was one moment of really great reality tv last night and it wasn’t the proposal. After a relatively composed rejection, Matt and Chelsea walk down the stairs towards the limousine of shame and the non-giggly version of Chelsea made an abrupt appearance. There on the landing, Chelsea suddenly (might have been edited) tells Matt, “How could you choose her. She’s the falsest one of them all.”

Obviously the worst thing you can possibly be on a Reality TV show is “false or fake”. Shallow’s fine and even bat-shit crazy is pretty much okay as long as you cop to it on the Women Tell All show, but God forbid if you happen to be either “fake” or not there for the “right reasons”.

Matt’s usually placid facial expression changes immediately and his voice turns angry as he defends his monkey, “That’s not the woman I’ve come to know.”
Quick note: I’m glad that Matt didn’t try to call Marshana Ritchie his “monkey”, that would truly have been the most unforgettable Bachelor moment yet.

Chelsea manages not to say that she lived in the same house with Shayne for four weeks and might even know her better than Matt because she’s gotten to observe her in less guarded circumstances.

He then remembers something he saw in a debate at Cambridge and ends the argument via logical induction, “If I were the sort of person who would pick the falsest one, then would I be a Bachelor that you would want in the first place?”

I know he meant it as a proof that Shayne couldn’t possibly be “false”, but the other way to go is that Chelsea really had no business being all that into Matt, because he is after all into the “fakest” of them all. Whichever way that Chelsea Wanstrath took it, the argument ended, Matt got to tell her how much he would miss her, packed her into the limo, and sent her muttering off into the Barbados sunset in her transparent evening gown.

It’s generally not a good sign when the hottest debate on the forums is whether or not Matt and Shayne’s romance was scripted. In addition, there doesn’t seem to be an After the Final Rose Show for what was allegedly the most romantic ring ceremony ever on the show (like Fleiss is going to miss a chance to pimp that) and Matt and Shayne don’t seem to be making the usual media rounds (no Ellen, Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel, etc.). On top of that ABC kept the number of hours of this installment to the bare minimum and is promising two hour shows for Deanna Pappas as the Bachelorette and instead of a “cooling off” period between installments, they’re just moving straight on to the Deanna show. I’d also mention that my usual indicators were way down. The Final Rose for Andy and Tessa netted 8,000 hits that day. Matt and Shayne produced 850 hits on my page, a number much closer to the first season I covered, Prince Lorenzo (no relation to Lorenzo the dad). Obviously that includes a number of factors that may or may not have much to do with the show’s actual ratings, but I’m pretty sure this installment didn’t help the franchise. I did hear though that the show did very well with simians of all kinds. In fact, they’re talking about a spinoff movie called The Planet of the Shayne.

Btw…If the Bachelor starts calling one of the ladies with a pet name (albeit a strange one), it’s pretty much a lock. I noticed that during the gift exchange for that final date, there was a stuffed monkey next to Matt about which no one commented, too much of a giveaway I suspect. Also was I the only one who noticed one oddity of those pictures of Shayne on the beach with the “I LOVE MATT” written in the sand. They were shot at an angle that pretty much required a photographer and even possibly a helicopter shot. Notice that they were shot from the ocean side and downwards, though slight (maybe a high tripod or monopole). I even wondered if this was the same “private untouched beach” that Matt took Chelsea too. If Chelsea’s post-no rose for you outburst was the most up front any finalist has been about not liking the winner, how cool would it be if Shayne marked her territory on Matt and Chelsea’s private beach? Yes, they were in Barbados once before and the photo might even have been some beach in Southern California or even CGI, but interesting turnaround time with those framed photos just in time for the gift exchange on the date. More btw, does anyone remember the first Average Joe where Adam, the last of the Joes, has his last date and Adam gave Melana Scantlin all these very personal gifts and she gives him a picture of herself. Of course, she chose the other guy because she wasn’t into Adam at all. Well, think about it.

I’m probably reading too much into the sand writing there, but I’m a little nervous about giving photos of oneself as opposed to the two of you as a “special gift”. This one did have Matt’s name it though and it probably was still more romantic than Chelsea’s trip to the Dollar Tree store gift. For one, I got confused. She was talking about California and I thought she lived in Colorado.

All that said, I’m inclined to believe that the romance and attraction between Matt and Shayne was very real. That doesn’t meant that I think it’ll last beyond Deanna’s show or that I think it’s a good idea for either of them. Going back in time, you have to wonder if Fernando Lamas married Arlene Dahl (his 3rd wife and Shayne’s grandmother- he came to Hollywood in 1951) to get his green card. There might be this interesting Karmic thing going on. Matt proposes to Shayne who doesn’t appear too tied to her Argentinian roots to get his green card two generations later. England-Argentina-an Island in the Atlantic, it’s the Falkland Islands War all over again!

It’s also not that far-fetched that Shayne signed onto the show to boost her career a little. For one, there was a writers’ strike on at the time and Reality Shows were the only things going when London Calling filmed. Still, here it is. My general impression was that Shayne (General Hospital) and Matt (Firefly- damn those Bachelor detectives work hard) just weren’t good enough actors to pull off faking it. There were after all many endearing things about Shayne Lamas.

1) She stood up for the other ladies at times.
2) She was the peacemaker in the Marshana vs. Chelsea walk off showdown
3) She knew how to laugh at herself
4) She was unusually honest about her family life
5) She was quite charming with Matt’s family.I liked her admission that she wasn’t a good actress in the beginning. I was briefly excited to hear that Matt's brother Simon would be there (I thought he would be saying, you're no Bachelorette, that was like something out of an MTV dating show, you're a karaoke Bahcelorette). I also do wonder about "Both my parents were married multiple times, that's why I'm on a reality show with a dismal record of finding true love for anyone.)

Another random thought: Why do they show the Bachelor and his fantasy dates all but jumping into bed (sometimes they show that too), but on the final date the ladies go to their own rooms?

Bottom line, I could certainly see “falling for Shayne”. She’s fun, open, and has a kind of emotional confidence that came right through the television screen. Falling for Matt, I’m less sure about. Maybe it was the tongue thing, but they sort of sold this guy as an English gentleman and I wasn’t sure that he was quite that unless you’re talking about Englishmen as they really can be. Here’s one of the things that ultimately troubled me about Matt. After he booted Amanda Rantuccio, an episode where she’s shown to be genuinely upset and invested in the possibility of Matt (as far as I know she isn’t an actress, she just hires them to be her parents), Matt was interviewed and said “Well, the connection to Amanda was shown to be much stronger in the edit than it really was.”
Maybe true, but where did that leave Amanda and how did it make her look? In the Japanese movie Shall We Dansu (remade in the US with JLO and Richard Gere), the female lead tells the nerdy guy “You protected your partner first, a gentleman always does that" and thus suggests that the competition doesn’t matter. I’m not sure that Matt Grant was the sort of guy who “protects his partners first”. The rest is just manners, but in romance the real measure is whether or not the male is a gentleman at heart.

There was something about the little flashes of anger from Matt Grant first with Amanda calling him a “douchebag” (accurate given what appeared to happen on the fantasy date) and then when Chelsea says what she was really feeling, that I just didn’t like much. For a moment, I even thought O.J. as in I wondered if he was going to throw Chelsea off the stairway. Notice, he didn’t say anything specifically in defense of Shayne either in that moment, just that he’d seen her differently.

So here’s the conundrum with Bachelor: London Calling. They may actually have gotten a romance, something that’s not been that easy to get on this show, yet it didn’t sell. For one, romance sells when you think it’s a good thing and you like the partners. Two, there wasn’t any dramatic tension about the choice. I could see rooting for Chelsea, but was the audience ever given much to root about with her? Fleiss threw her under the limo with the whole underwear shot during the Fantasy dates. Compare that to the very real and possibly inappropriate passion between Andy and Bevin or Meredith telling Matt she wanted him to give her a ring.

You want an onscreen romance about an ordinary, but well educated, English chap and an actress? Consider the movie Notting Hill with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. The key to that one is that Hugh’s character was quirky, awkward, but ultimately loveable. He was into Julia Roberts for her not because she was some superstar actress. In the end, she’s the one who takes time off from her career to be with Hugh Grant and the travel book store. In London Calling, we get an English guy who seems attracted to the glamorous actress fantasy and he then leaves London to go to Hollywood. At the end, he’s got the whole Don Johnson/David Beckham look down. Does that sound like a romantic comedy to you or does it sound like some sort of satire?

It’s almost fitting that it ended with Shayne’s seemingly pre-scripted line. “I don’t want you to ever look at another woman. You’ve been with too many women in the course of our relationship already.”

I thought back to that moment in Las Vegas where Shayne broke down because Matt would be spending time with all those other women. I remember that was the first time when I wondered “Who would really root for this woman? She’s on a reality show built around one guy dating 25 women and now she’s saying she can’t deal with it.”

I also remember Matt’s initial response, “Well, get over it lady.”

I guess I’m over the Bachelor London Calling just as ABC seems to be more than ready to be over it too and onto Deanna and the 25 guys who are better than Brad Womack.

At a personal level (very different from my was this satisfying tv hat), I want to point out that the real Matt Grant and Shayne Lamas are likely quite different form the Fleiss-edited versions that we got to know. I wish them well together and individually. One final suggestion, if Shayne’s a “monkey”, can she start calling Matt “anteater”?
other Chancelucky reviews
Sir linksalot Bachelor links

Buddy TV Bachelor page



At 5/14/2008 06:29:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

chancelucky, great as ever, thanks again, however they are doing Ellen Today, should be interesting, do think the press has been less than usual and the run headlong into Deanna's season is different thanks again, give us your views on the men Deanna has to choose from.

At 5/14/2008 06:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh and I understand your confusion on Chelsea, they always stress where they are from, not where they live, her parents are in Colorado, she is in Santa Barbara

At 5/14/2008 02:12:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

thanks for the info. How was the Ellen appearance? I didn't get to see it...maybe it'll be on Youtube...

It sounds like the producers are happier with Deanna's season.

That does make a bit more sense about Chelsea. I think Noelle lives in Los Angeles too. One of the running questions is how many of the Bachelorettes/Bachelors really are actresses/actors in addition to being pharmaceutical sales people.

At 5/14/2008 11:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

May sweeps are on and the television networks are pushing for ratings. That would be my guess as to why they are doubling down and showing The Bachelorette with Deanna so soon after London Calling.

They are trying to save/revive the show, like a lifeguard. Have a happy ending, then promise another happy ending in the very next season which starts next week, and oh my goodness, you see, people CAN fall in love on a reality tv series.

I wish Shayne and Matt alot of luck. I think they are adorable together, and are outstanding individuals as well.

At 5/15/2008 05:18:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

thanks for your comment. I'd say that ratings is a perfectly plausible reason, though I lean more towards the ABC didn't have much confidence in the Matt-Shayne season, hence no ATFR show....but maybe they have something else up their sleeves like doing something on a stray MOnday of Deanna's season. I also think it may have to do with shelf life. They've been burned in the past with couples breaking up before the show even airs, this way there's less time to do that.

I wish them well too. One thing that's clear to me after covering 4 seasons of the Bachelor, whatever we think we know about these people we don't really know them. We're just seeing them on television which is very different from dealing with them in real life.

The hard thing about the Deanna season happening so fast is that it might be hard for me to post about it. It's always been nice to have the breaks in between seasons.


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