Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Mamas and the Pappas (Bachelorette 4 round of 25)

Do Ellen and Portia De Rossi get to be the Maids of Honor?

If you put twenty five men in one room and twenty five women in some other room, which one do you think would be filled with drunks, flashers, and borderline personalities? Which do you think would be filled with talk of children, relationships, and professions of longing? For whatever reason, the room filled with guys tends to far more romantic than the room of women. I imagine part of this is that the contestants on the show do what they think will get the Bachelor/Bachelorette’s attention.

If a guy sits down with a woman he’s never met and tells her, “I really love and value family. I’m just looking for someone to settle down with…,” people think it’s really romantic.

If a woman starts talking about those things right away, she’s either delusional or a stalker. In the meantime, the women of the Bachelor do figure that the fastest way to get the attention of a twenty something male gorilla is to shake various body parts.

That doesn’t mean that some of the guys hoping to get a first rose from Deanna Pappas didn’t indulge in stunts of their own. The most spectacular was Paul Brosseau, a twenty three year old Canadian, who jumped into a very cold pool fully clothed then came out in a speedo with “Deanna” emblazoned on the fabric covering his booty (Deanna’s term). He got a rose, but not a first-impression rose. Compare that to the relative flame out of Brian from Indiana who not only pulled up his shirt to show off his pecs, but grabbed the Georgia real estate agent’s hand and made her feel them. I could see Brian as the guy who cuts a hole in the bottom of his popcorn container at the movie theater then offers some to his date. Wisely, Deanna sent him home.

At another point, Sean Ramey the martial arts instructor roundhouse kicked a lemon off of Jesse Csincsak’s head. While Sean gets his rose (Deanna was probably afraid of what he’d do if he didn’t get one), he inadvertently scored points for Jesse. Deanna seemed more impressed with the good-natured way Jesse, the professional snowboarder, handled the situation. Jesse got one of the first impression roses. Just as striking given the fact that Deanna fell for Brad Womack, Jesse doesn’t look a whole lot like Brad.

In fact, Deanna seemed to be almost consciously avoiding Brad with some of her choices. Richard Mathy, the former nerd high school science teacher bearing Herkimer diamonds, seemed almost shy about his own attractiveness, especially compared to the way the Sexiest Bachelor ever kept baring his chest. She also kept Ron Meyer who almost immediately confessed that he’d just gone through a divorce. I think she rather liked the idea of a guy who wasn’t afraid to tell the truth this time. After two very tall Bachelors, it was also fascinating to see the Bachelorette keep a number of shorter guys.

There are any numbers of stories within stories this time through (if you trust in the sleuthers). Apparently Jeremy Anderson, the Dallas attorney, has met Brad Womack. That didn’t keep him from getting the first of the three first impression roses. Far weirder, it appears that Jason, the single dad, had Bevin (Nossa) Powers from Andy’s season as one of the bridesmaids in his wedding party. There were also any number of guys who were Greek (Eric Papachristos), tried to speak Greek, and one guy who tried to make Moussaka ( or was that crab spread?) I was a little shocked to see that they didn’t edit out one Bachelor talking about pearl necklaces and crabs. Maybe they only cut out the part about Greek and the twenty five guys one woman?

Despite that, there’s a certain confidence in the product this season. It’s not just because they’re going to more two hour episodes, they’re clearly making it easier for the viewer to get more of a sense of the characters’ actual personalities. Most of these guys talk. After spending the first ten minutes of the show more or less repeating Chris Harrison’s prompts, Deanna talks too and it’s not always just to say how excited she is or what a journey she’s having. This time it looks like they might actually let us get to know the Bachelors, hence the three guys staying in Deanna’s house at a time etc., more extended interviews, and likely more bits about their lives away from the show.

I honestly believe that much of Deanna’s popularity (the gold dress with the scooped out back didn’t hurt though) came from the fact that she got across actual values and showed that she had a complex emotional life in her first run on the Bachelor. We knew that she had dealt with her mother’s death at an early age (they didn’t tell us that her parents were already divorced). She had very strong feelings about being cheated on, a fact that Jenni Croft came back to over and over again in her cameo last night, because she’d felt the pain of being cheated on once before. She also believed in speaking her feelings and her deep sense of family came across all on its own.

Despite the fact that Deanna claims to be big on first impressions, very clear with Jeremy and Brian the football coach (2 Texas guys), I suspect they’re going to be big on leading Deanna back to her core values as a character. My guess is that she’ll be tempted by the slicker facades like Graham Bunn (Appalachian State) the guy with his own charitable foundation in favor of the anti-Brad, a more low key fellow who has solid family values.

That is to say that the opening show was pointing straight at Jason Mesnick, the single dad from Costco I mean Kirkland, Washington. We’re looking at the whole of Deanna’s story arc playing out from her empathy about stepping in as stepmom for a child who needs a mother, having a guy who knows that he wants a wife, mother, lifemate (remember some of Deanna’s speeches from Brad time), and being willing to seek it out.

In episode one, the producers do the loveable Dad thing with Jason as they cycle through a montage of narcissists, sweet-natured oyster farmers, yuppies, and what my wife and daughter just called “odd ducks”(very literal in Chandler Fulton's case). Jason does not have the smooth moves nor does he get a first impression rose, but he noticeably is the first guy to ask Deanna for one on one time. Although he’s not ready to break the news about the kid, Jason comes across as just nervous and awkward enough to make it seem like a close call at rose time. For once, they’ve modeled the installment on a good romance movie.

It’s certainly worth noting that the previews of coming weeks more or less extended a middle finger at the sleuthers. I know the Bachelor well enough to say that they can artfully hide who stays and who goes in the early previews. It was pretty clear that they’re not even trying this time. A bunch of the sleuthing types insist that they’ve had the final three nailed by maybe 11:05 PM.

Previous installments of the Bachelor have spent much of their energy on the “Who”, I’m guessing that this one is going to be about the “How” and that Deanna’s show will be the better for it. Think about really good romance writers. I’m not talking about the ones with Fabio on the cover. I’m talking Jane Austen. In the great romances, the reader generally knows where it’s going before the characters do. They keep reading not because they can’t figure out whose hearts truly beat together, but because the author gets it to unfold in surprising and even fascinating ways. Just like we knew that Shayne had to make the home visits so America could get a look at Lorenzo Lamas and Michelle Smith, they’re not going to show us that kid then cheat the viewer out of the drama of seeing Deanna’s heart melt for little Junior Jason. I’m not sure how they’re going to handle the whole divorce thing unless it comes out that his ex-wife met someone else. If they get to the hometown visit, I just don't see how they'll let Deanna break that cute little kid's heart.

btw...Charlie O'connell's season had a single mom on it as well. She went ice skating, got some time away, but Charlie didn't keep her. The difference here is how much we saw the kid in that opening sequence.

In the meantime, Deanna will be momentarily entranced by more overtly charming guys who turn out to be players, control freaks, etc. while Jason Mesnick more or less plays the Deanna role. That is he’ll have some fun moments like Deanna in the dune buggy, but mostly he’ll be coming back to the simple theme of wanting a mate for life and having recognized the same thing in Deanna back when she crossed his tv so many months ago.

If you’ve seen the movie Enchanted with the Gray’s Anatomy guy Patrick Dempsey (a tv show set in Seattle as it happens) where the modern re-blended family gets the fairy tale treatment, I’m pretty sure that’s what we’re in for. After learning that Andy Baldwin loved fame as much as Tessa, that the sexiest bachelor ever was also the lyingest Bachelor ever, and that the family-oriented English banker just wanted to hang out with Paris Hilton, I have a feeling that this one might actually save the franchise.

On the other hand, I could be completely wrong and Deanna could be taking up martial arts, hooking up with virgin football player Ryan Hoag in the fantasy suite, or learning to make gourmet spanakopita with Robert Fair in San Francisco. I guess I’ll be watching to be proven wrong.


other Chancelucky reviews
Sir linksalot Bachelor links

Buddy TV Bachelor page



At 7/01/2008 09:10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a very well analyzed post! Just wanted to encourage all the readers out there to nominate Jeremy as the next "Bachelor." He should get his chance to find true love!

At 7/04/2008 09:20:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Thanks anonymous. My only worry about Jeremy as the Bachelor is that he doesn't appear to have much of a sense of humor.


Post a Comment

<< Home