Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Kissing the Dog (Bachelor 13 Round of 9)

A lot happened on the Bachelor last night, but all I can remember is having this nightmare where my dog brushed her teeth with my electric toothbrush then started French kissing me. If the edit during Brad Womack’s made Hillary Reisinger appear far crazier than she actually was, Shannon Bair’s re-set the bar.

She started with the fake teeth, moved on to knowing every detail of Jason and Ty Mesnick’s life, threw up in the bathroom mid-rose ceremony, and ended with talk of re-rehearsing for General Hospital with her dog. The whole bit made me think of the Molly Shannon movie Year of the Dog (yes, I know it’s really obscure) where the main character wasn’t wired like the rest of us, but turned out to be oddly sympathetic. Believe it or not, I liked Shannon Bair.

I got the impression that she was out of her league in Bachelor terms. In the regular world, Shannon Bair is more attractive than average, funny, and sensitive. In other words, she’s probably the sort of person Jason Mesnick, the insurance salesman, single Dad, who really doesn’t have that much to say might date had he never appeared on the Bachelor.

Such is the power of tv, that asking Deanna Pappas about her mom turned Jason Mesnick into the sort of guy that actual Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders not only are willing to chase, but they turn possessive and insecure? Okay, I had a look at all those bikini shots that came with Melissa Rycroft’s Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader calendar shoot. As long as a woman who photographs like that doesn’t have the personality of Dick Cheney, a guy like Jason (real Jason) won’t be able to say “no.”

Anyway, here was Shannon Bair in this land of the makeup, sparkly dresses, and cleavage wandering the set with less than stellar makeup and not so flattering dress. How could she expect to compete for attention with the Pageant girls, cheerleaders, and popular types? It occurred to me that if I were a single female in my twenties, I’d be way more like Shannon Bair than her competition. When she went into “I just want to meet Ty” bit, something went all Rudy (keep in mind that Rudy is basically a Notre Dame football stalker) inside me. Okay, regular people aren’t this quirky and if they are this desperate they manage not to break down crying repeatedly on national television (if you remember Sanjaya Malakar on Idol and the crying girl, Shannon was sort of the Bachelor version), but if you’re Shannon, how do you get the guy’s attention? So she flailed around, wore the dress her mom helped her pick out for the pre-rose parties, and maybe got tongue tied during her camera time. (If you follow Chris Harrison’s blog, there was a hint or two that Shannon’s better moments involving suntan lotion had to be edited) I still say there was something compelling even touching about Shannon Bair’s awkwardness. I also thought her rap was much better than Jason’s. She lasted four episodes, got to kiss the Bachelor on the mouth (even if it was acting), and he even said nice stuff to her at the end. It was a victory for those of us who can’t dress, happen to be a little odd, can’t smooth talk, etc. in the dating show world.

Even though she is one of the pageant queens, there was a similar thing with Nikki Kaapke. She was stiff and maybe didn’t have tv charm, but her whole exit was so gracious that I’m rooting for her in real life. Eleven years is an awful long time to figure out that a relationship’s maybe not headed for marriage, but that’s not actually my business. I think Melissa Rycroft had an eight year relationship so I suspect Nikki and Melissa couldn’t occupy the same reality tv continuum for more than three episodes. That’s the sad thing, I have this feeling that Nikki or even Shannon might be the actual match for Jason Mesnick outside of reality tv.

After I managed to get that dog kissing image out of my head, I have to say that this was more the Jason I had hoped to see. The first three episodes had Jason pulling his shirt off almost as much as Brad Womack then trying to see if he could kiss more girls than Bob Guiney and Matt Grant combined (brilliant). This time, he had the judgment to apply the make-out brakes. Maybe the sheer excess of all those General Hospital kissing scenes did it, but Jason proved to be something of a romantic gymnast diverting kisses, exchanging hugs, and reassuring various ladies not named Melissa that he thought they were “great and special.”

Jason did not get America rooting for him because he was Mr. Eligible. He’s an attractive man, but he’s not “the sexiest bachelor ever” a la Brad Womack. He’s not wealthy or glamorous. With Deanna, part of his charm came from the fact that he was so nervous about revealing the Ty thing. Bachelor America got sold Jason Mesnick because he was so sincere both as a Dad and as a contestant. I’d mention that that’s exactly what good salesman do, but there was a palpable sense of decency that jumped off Jason that created a different kind of charisma for him. The fact that he handled the “failed” proposal and its aftermath just multiplied the Jason mojo. Jason was the guy who had bothered to ask Deanna about her mother. He was the guy who had been at the house consoling her after she dumped Fred and Robert. It was a kind of tv charm that got revealed and proven rather than the bright-shiny that normally fuels dating shows.

The point of Bachelor Jason should never have been to admire the guy’s six pack or to watch him dazzle the ladies. The idea was to find him the woman/happiness, Ty seemed to deserve. It’s not that Bachelor Jason did anything all that wrong the first three episodes. It was more that he didn’t get the chance to be the guy Bachelor America fell for. The one notable exception was his going to look after Shannon in the bathroom. This episode, the Jason we craved took the lead (ballroom dance lessons are good for something). He wasn’t going to kiss anyone who didn’t have a serious chance (the Lauren Wanger kiss thing wasn’t really his doing) and he made the point that he’s serious about what many consider the show’s most questionable premise, I really expect to find a wife in this Fleiss-addled mess.

He wasn’t especially smooth, didn’t always have exactly the right thing to say to Megan or Shannon as they locked in the make-out target. Nonetheless, the whole nice guy thing just sort of jumped off the screen again. It struck me that Jason isn’t on the show to be “famous” and that he really doesn’t take any pleasure in hurting women’s feelings. He really does just want to get down with that Cheerleader woman while she’s still buying and he doesn’t want extended footage of himself with someone else messing up the aftermath. Most couples have some sort of romantic past. It’s just that even in the age of the cellphone camera, very few of us have our pasts on Tivo or the equivalent.

I do think the producers were wise to let some of the chemistry with Melissa Rycroft come through the edit this week. It wasn’t necessarily the kissing, it was little moments like the extra touches and glances when he walked by her during the General Hospital date. By the way, for a show that stocks up on actress-model-whatevers, how come none of them can act? Lauren Wanger actually could sing a little, not at the I would pay to download her music level, but I do agree with her that her Jason song was actually surprisingly passable compared to the singer/songwriter wannabe on Matt Grant’s installment. While her post credits song about “I wanna be famous” was revealing, I still say that Jason totally jobbed her for the camping date rose. Am I the only one who finds it weird that they did both American Idol and Dancing with the Stars in the same Bachelor episode. If you throw in the oysters, they've also done Fear Factor.

My take on Lauren Wanger is that she more or less saw the way this was going and just decided to have some fun. “Let me see if Jason will respond to my dominating him! Give me a rose, boy. Bark like a dog! Kiss Shannon on the mouth!”
It looked like she started playing to the camera by calling him her “future husband” and all that. I mean if someone chose Molly’s song over mine, I’d have pretty much gotten the message too and decided to wreak a little reality havoc.

I honestly didn’t see much chemistry with Molly. At this point, I’ve gotten a little tired of seeing Jason ask a lady “What do you want in life?” and having her answer “I’m ready….I’m ready. I want marriage. I want children. I love Ty already because he’s part of you.” Don’t any of these women have anything else serious in their lives? I wouldn’t mind seeing someone say, “I want to solve the sub-prime mortgage problem or I want to take care of my younger sister who’s on the autism spectrum.” As a group, it’s pretty noticeable that none of Jason’s choices have careers or hobbies worth mentioning. No one paints, plays music, writes, or even blogs about the Bachelor. Let me drop a hint here. Jason was the guy who loved to travel. Maybe say something about how much you want to explore the world. Anyway, the only thing memorable about the camping date was that the show did its darndest to make America wonder if Jason and Molly had done the nasty in that tent. My guess is that those sound effects were dubbed fwiw.

I’m not sure what to make of Aunt Stephanie. First she keeps comparing being widowed in a plane crash to Jason getting divorced.Ty still sees his mom. Ty’s mom even appears to be remarried and might have another kid. Stephanie Hogan seems like a very nice lady and I know they have to let Ty have a play date with someone’s kid. Still the Yma Sumac singing thing, the Arthur Murray dancing, and the whole “I’m dying to kiss Jason” bit, I’m ready for Jason to send her back to 1954 so she can hook up with Marty Macfly. May I point out that Aunt Stephanie is the last of the Mommy Talkers still standing. Jason’s made his actual taste in women pretty clear and I just don’t get the vibe that he’s looking forward to doing the fantasy suite with Aunt Stephanie.

In the meantime, it looks like Jason goes flying with Naomi Crespo, kind of an odd date for a stewardess unless she gets to spill things on him. My guess is that Jillian gets to find out what Jason puts on his hot dog (if they do that and the show keeps going there or at least keeps implying it, I do hope he does put something on it) a couple weeks from now….There is the whole Deanna thing coming up some time soon, but what I really want to see is why Melissa, or anyone else, is actually suitable for Jason the Mensch. Melissa’s funny. She shares her feelings and the details of her mammary history. I would just like to see the eventual winner (no I don’t know who it is) show the heart and decency that make her a match for the Jason Mesnick we imagined when this installment started. It started to get there when she began analyzing the holes in his ears, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Chris Harrison's blog

Buddy TV Bachelor page



At 1/27/2009 08:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 1/28/2009 07:43:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

thanks for your kind comment.

At 1/28/2009 09:59:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have the ability to analyze things in a way that is both insightful and very, very funny. Thanks.
Two things hit me this week:
Jason is way more like the rest of us than any Bachelor so far, which means he is conspicuously average (dull) for TV but the kind of guy we'd trust to feed our cats (no guy likes cats; we tolerate them because some chick forced us to take them) while we're out of town.
I've been thinking that this was the saddest, most neurotic group of Bachelorettes ever and then I realized that they were simply older than previous episodes - reflecting the female "change of life" that occurs when women are approaching the end of their child bearing years sans children. Translation: clingy, needy and desperate is no different than what us average Jasons encounter in dating 30ish, former somethings in the real world.
The contrast with Matt (suave 6'5" int'l banker/rugby player) and Shayne (future collagened dinner playhouse actress) is kind of nice.

At 1/28/2009 10:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really liked this comment, it made me laugh out loud, "I’m ready for Jason to send her back to 1954 so she can hook up with Marty Macfly."

At 1/28/2009 11:01:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Jason probably is the most "average" Bachelor. Charley O'connell wasn't all that average, but in some ways he was the most obviously imperfect guy and I think it helped make his season entertaining. He was also dealt some very weird choices.

Actually, the oldest set of Bachelorettes were Byron's. I do think that this group has engaged in more explicit baby talk than any other, but I don't see it as clingy or desperate. I think it's been more that all the contestants have thought the Ty/family angle is the best way to get to Jason.

I actually don't think that's the case.

I rather like Stephanie as a character (person or whatever appears to be her actual personality). Still, her being there is a bit like Wife Swap where they drop someone into the household who has totally different, values, manners, etc.
Thanks for your kind comment btw.

At 1/28/2009 05:55:00 PM, Blogger Captain Barbarossa said...


Nice, sensitive, and well-written. I just don't have the IQ points to look that deep into it.

The French-kissing dog is also stuck in my head. The things we do to write about this stuff.

At 1/30/2009 08:58:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Captain B,
I'm all for Shannon's dog to be the next Bachelor.

At 1/31/2009 05:57:00 PM, Blogger MagicBunnySlippers said...

Jason's ex-wife is quite a hottie, too. Check her out here:

At 1/31/2009 07:30:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

On the other hand, she didn't stay with him.


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