Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Graham Cracks ( Bachelorette 4 round of 4)

Graham Bunn and Deanna Pappas sit on a bench together and the Bachelorette lectures her reluctant suitor about “stepping up”. She even says the four letter “B” word multiple times and all but tells the former high school basketball player that she feels like he’s Womacking her attempt to give a hundred percent of her heart to the show. “You’re the one I wanted to fall in love with, “ she sobs.

Graham keeps shaking his head and gesturing as if he’s trying to say something. Eventually, he pulls out a letter that’s not for the tv cameras. He goes off in that limo in which they drive you around in circles until you either say something emotional or break down crying. Even Mike Fleiss can’t limo-board Graham Bunn. The camera then shows you Deanna reading the letter.

I have no idea what happened on that home visit. When the guy was running around the Wake Forest-Rollesville gymnasium, he seemed into it. After a brief visit with his surprisingly elderly looking parents that included only a handful of Graham reaction shots and a bit with his father where he seemed quite open to the possibility of Deanna, he was next seen on a bench there being oddly diffident. Well, star athletes often don’t take well to being on the bench. I wondered if Graham was maybe bi-polar then it struck me that something significant got left out of his home date story arc. If it’s on the editing floor, they may have made the right decision for once. I’m not sure that I’ve seen this much dramatic tension around a hometown date elimination.

All at once, Deanna’s expression of desire for Graham, his discomfort with the “reality television” setting, and Graham’s mom’s bit about her son shutting other people out conspired to make this “reality tv” moment suggest feelings so actual that Fleiss’s camera was sort of at a loss. It was just there. The captain of the basketball team had just dumped Deanna right after making like he was going to ask her to the prom.

Usually the hometown visits focus on the “families”, this installment instead emphasized the evolution of the four relationships. It reminded me of the movie Love Actually, a romantic comedy that explores all the different types and stages of love through a series of interconnected stories that all culminate in an airport. The movie was made not long after 9/11, so the airport at the end has this resonance that makes the stories even more affecting. In this case, we saw Jesse-the friend who shows signs of being able to be something more: Jeremy-the guy who opens up to Deanna for the first time because they both had parents die when they were young. At the same time, there’s a sense that the two might be too similar. Too controlled- too much affected by the pain. At one point, Jeremy’s brother says “the last woman to break your heart was mom” and instead of thinking “how sweet?” I was going “Oh wow, don’t go there. Those photos of Jeremy’s mom look a bit too much like Deanna herself” : Jason- makes the case for a reverse Jerry Macguire thing. He has the Jonathan Lipnicki stand in instead of Renee Zellweger. There’s the ultra-warm family and the “you complete me” revelation that seems to pour forth from Deanna as they feed the ducks. Oddly, Deanna looked a little awkward with the kid, but the show still delivered the Deanna discovers her inner-mom thing successfully enough. If you remember, Jerry has this bit where he has to ask himself if he’s more into the kid and the instant family than he is into Renee’s character herself (especially since she hasn’t accepted L. Ron Hubbard) then has to go off to sort it out. In this case, Jason seemed like a bit player on the hometown visit : Graham- as we discussed is Brad 2.0 distant, unpredictable, yet has this primal and possibly unhealthy hold on Deanna’s affections.

At the end of the episode, my wife and I turned to one another and said “Wow Dear, that was the most dramatic hometown date episode ever!”

For once, you could actually make a good case for any of the final four as a possible romance. Noelle Drake was one of my favorite Bachelorettes, but no one thought she was really in the horse race even if they did ride horses on Matt’s hometown visit. Who doesn’t remember the disaster of Amber Al Chalabi’s hometown visit with Andy, the chatty roommate, the dog leaving his opinion of the Doctor-Officer, and the parents no-showing the visit? Bottom line, there’s historically always been one hometown date where the Bachelor or Bachelorette has better chemistry with the sister, brother, best friend. This time, even after Graham disappeared, we’re left wondering “What the hell is in that note and could he pull a Trish or something and try to come back?”

This time all possibilities seem plausible and instead of losing steam at this point, this installment of the Bachelorette is deepening the tension. Even the previews were done pretty well. There were little suggestions that Jesse is a bit more personally conservative than one would imagine. Amidst talking aout how they waited twelve years to have a child (Abraham and Sarah), his parents mentioned God multiple times. Jesse appears to pull a Bachelor first by insisting that he meet Deanna’s father before they do the fantasy suite. After dozens of sleazy Bachelors, who would have thunk that this guy who sometimes seemed slightly stoned would have this strong a sense of romantic honor?

Even if Jason remains the favorite, they show him being a bit too happy about the offer of the Chris Harrison card. I was somewhat amazed at the way they didn’t hold back at all with the romantic comedy storyline with Jason, the son, and the family, yet managed to suggest real doubt without resorting to Fleissian artifice. For one, you do wonder if Jason really is ready emotionally? Even bigger, I wondered if they had Deanna spending an unrealistic amount of time with Ty on that date. Geez, it even seemed like they had the guy come home after several weeks away and he didn’t get any alone time with his son. Instead, he shows up with Deanna right away and spends his first evening back having one on one time with the pretty lady from the tv instead of being alone with his son.
Besides, Deanna seemed awfully careful in that game of leap frog not to touch any Mesnick family butt (Dad who I think is divorced from Jason's mom really seemed to like Deanna in a way that shot straight through the camera) and Jason and Ty also seemed to take care not to make rear end contact with the Bachelorette.

Getting the ending right matters of course and who knows if they manage that one, but I’m ready to say that this has been the best installment of the Bachelor yet. They haven’t hidden anything, yet they’ve kept the viewer wondering even about the inevitable because the trick this time has been to show more (maybe because there's more to show of these Bachelors). They finally got their soap opera.

You may have noticed that there was almost no footage of Jeremy in the previews. Most folk are convinced that he goes next week, yet you feel for Jeremy regardless. It’s a little reminiscent of Danielle (the dead boyfriend lady) from Andy’s season, but it’s done way better. He needs Deanna in his life, but it begs the question does she need him? Is love a deep physical longing? Is it a sense of being covered in a blanket of happiness? Is it a sense of comfort that evolves unexpectedly? Is there a single right guy? If one does have to make a choice between viable possibilities, isn’t that a sign that there’s something wrong with the available choices? Is the chooser a bit too self-absorbed? All these questions and not nearly enough roses :}

Little stuff:
1) Was that a Kellie Pickler moment when Deanna didn't know what the space needle was?

2) Graham's form on that half court shot was pretty iffy. Is he auditioning for the lead in John Tucker Must Die the sequel?

3) This is mean, but with Jeremy's family was Deanna thinking....This is cool, I get to be the hottest woman in this family for sure.

4) The photo album thing was a direct play on Deanna and the photo album with Brad.

5) Jesse insisting on meeting her Dad....seems to be leading to Deanna's dad flying out once again for the final rose though I don't think Jesse gets that rose. Still, it's a nice foreshadow. Jesse meets Pappa Pappas, then pulls out a label that says "Deanna's Dad" on it and glues it to the man's forehead.

6) Deanna's timetable, the same as Lisa Blank's btw, pretty much eliminates anyone but Jason. How do you get engaged, married, and have 3 children between age 26 and 30? I suppose she could turn into Brangelina Jolie or perhaps certain precautions get forgotten in the fantasy suite.

other Chancelucky reviews
Sir linksalot Bachelor links

Buddy TV Bachelor page
Sirlinksalot Bachelorette



At 6/24/2008 12:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are hilarious. i cracked up..

At 6/24/2008 01:24:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Thanks Can't Believe. I do hope Graham finds the woman he needs.

I did briefly flirt with the possibility that this was a version of the movie Big....Graham disappeared from his high school at age 16 and is dumped into his adult self with none of the experiences.
Naturally, he's very happy relieved even to be back at his high school. He then comes home where his parents have not touched his room since he was in high school and realizes that time has actually passed and he's stuck in adult life with teenaged emotions. Remember, he couldn't explain why he'd not been in a relationship longer than 5 months and that he'd moved around a lot.

Anyway, he tells Deanna, but naturally they can't put that confession on TV, so he writes her a note instead.

At 6/24/2008 03:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your posts on the show!!

Questions to could it be that there is a Bevin/ Jason connection? ?
How could it be that Graham's last name is Bunn?
Is Jeremy really a robot?

God, this show is great.

At 6/24/2008 06:47:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

thanks anonymous,
I know that Bevin had a myspace page where she was answering questions for a while. Might be interesting to check in with her about the Jason connection. As I understand it the first Mrs. Mesnick worked at the same restaurant/bar with Bevin Powers.

The other story was that Jeremy actually has at least met Brad Womack.

At 6/24/2008 10:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I look forward to your humor-injected realistic takes on DeAnna's escapades every week. Thanks!

At 6/25/2008 07:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your recaps. I run here every Tuesday to see if what you think agrees with my thoughts, only your take is so much funnier.
Question for you - there is a lot of speculating on the boards, adn I'm one of the people who agrees with it, that Graham took himself out of the competition. He either told DeAnna he will not accept a rose or just told ABC he wanted out (whatever happened on his hometown date must have brought it on) - hence his 'no-respect' demeanor and clothing choice for RC (he did not care as he knew he was going home), the card ready for her to read, and completely non-appologetic stance when she was venting at him waiting for the limo. Do you agree with this theory? Thank. Ren

At 6/25/2008 09:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chance, I too really enjoy your detailed and, to me, spot-on accounts of what's going on on the show every week, so a big thanks to you.

Ren took the question right out of my you think that Graham really left on his own accord? The way he was ousted leaves a lot of unanswered questions. I for one am glad he's out of the competition because though he's probably a decent guy, he didn't bring out the best in DeAnna and I didn't see a healthy, burgeoning relationship in the making with them at all.

At 6/25/2008 01:12:00 PM, Blogger guiltypleasure said...

I love reading your comments after the show. Funny stuff. We have a problem though.... I googled Graham and found he has an online clothing business. ( A"portion" of the proceeds go to charity) Am I being cynical to think that the real reason he was on the show was to generate sales and not to fall in love? If people aren't there "for the right reasons" how can we feel invested in the outcome? Forget the energy crisis...something has to be done about this.

At 6/26/2008 08:23:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Anonymous, ren, and Marla,
Thanks for your very kind comments. It definitely helps to know that someone actually found my Bachelor posts funny. One thing about blogging is that no one's in the room with you so to speak, so you have no idea what anyone thinks unless someone leaves a comment.

First, I don't have any special sources. I watch the show and read some the reality tv message boards. Reality Steve (he links on sirlinksalot) appears to cultivate some inside sources and he's very funny as well.

That said, I tend to think that something happened during Graham's home visit. I got the impression that he really did like and was attracted to Deanna. I also don't think Deanna's frustration on the bench was staged. My guess is that they are leaving something out though and it probably is something along the lines of Graham not being comfortable with the show or the format.
I do wonder a little about the whole thing with Jason and that movie perfect Seattle home visit. Without the Graham drama, it would be very hard to watch Jason and family without thinking "wow, this must be the happy ending."
It's quite possible that Graham did want to leave the show and got forced to go through the rose ceremony. In Age of Love, the show's credibility was really hurt when two of the last four women essentially eliminated themselves. It also would have wrecked the fantasy that Deanna is ultimately desirable and that the Brad thing was Brad's mistake. I think a second guy that Deanna liked flat out turning her down would have hurt the product.
It is oddly like high school though, if it became a matter of who got to dump whom with Deanna and Jason.

At 6/26/2008 09:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like you could be right about the circumstances surrounding Graham leaving, Chance. It would make sense. I also agree that De's frustration at the bench seemed genuine, which now leaves me wondering this: How satisfied can DeAnna's chosen one feel (probably Jason) after seeing and hearing all that emotion in her voice regarding Graham leaving? Maybe they couldn't have edited much more out of the bench talk that night, but I almost wish they did because it reminded me of the finale and that painful ATFR with Brad, with De tearfully pleading with yet another guy she thought she loved to understand where she's coming from. Or maybe that's just her way.

That being said, I actually like De and all along figured she'd be smart enough to choose Jason, but if you ask me, she herself pretty much laid the groundwork for making herself look sort of like a lovestruck puppy over a guy who ultimately rebuffed her attempts, and now she's going to try to make herself, the chosen one and America think she's fallen in love with someone else in just two weeks? For whatever reason I still want her to choose Jason, but I just don't want to see a proposal yet because to me it would seem insincere on her part if she were to accept and unwise on his part if he were to actually ask at this point.

At 6/26/2008 04:37:00 PM, Blogger BeckEye said...

I can't think of a situation in which I would ever watch this show. I saw the first one with that super-annoying Trista broad, and only because the dude she ended up marrying was HOT.

You seem more into this than AI!

At 6/26/2008 05:27:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

My guess is that the show itself will deal with the whole Graham thing. If Deanna picks Jason then turns around and says she really wants someone else, I imagine that would pretty much kill the franchise or at least change it to kind of a parody of dating shows. Even if that's what really happened, it would be hard to see them going there. It's one thing to break Jason's heart, but traumatizing three year olds would be pretty out there. Personally, I think they're ethically locked in. How do you let Deanna see that much of the kid and then have her dump dad?

I figure Deanna didn't just buy one star, she bought three :} and then breaks the other two out at the end of the show.

In terms of the way it looks though, they made the whole Graham thing pretty intriguing. If they showed Graham trying to escape the show, it wouldn't have built drama.

Actually the first time through I thought Trista was really attractive then more or her personality came out when she was the Bachelorette and it got sort of frightening.
Yes, I know you don't watch this show but if they got certain Australian AMerican Idol contestants on the thing, my guess would be that you might watch it despite your other disdain for the show.

I've always liked dating shows. I didn't date much because I was really socially awkward, so it's fun for me to watch it like this even though it's not all that real.
My first season recapping American Idol was fun (the Taylor HIcks year)but each season's been a little more challenging since. They can't vary the format as much as they can with the BAchelor/ Idol's reality tv palette got a little limited for me snark wise.

At 6/28/2008 12:38:00 AM, Blogger Jenny Donna said...

Remember how Jeremy's dog's name is CHEMO??? yeah me too...what the?

At 6/30/2008 11:16:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I think Jeremy's dog was really named "Kimo", some sort of Hawaiian name in honor of Andy's season.

Either that or he works for some animal charity that helps pets with cancer as a way of honoring his parents :}

I thought that whole visit was a little on the dreary side, lots of heavy talk and "don't hurt our Jeremy".


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