Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mr. Congeniality (Bachelor 13 Round of 15)

If you were to analyze the Bachelor’s ToV genome, it’s clear that the Dating Game was one of its direct ancestors. Another major part of the show’s television genetic code comes from the Miss America Pageant. Instead of Bert Parks, you get Chris Harrison. The show starts with a long parade of mostly forgettable contestants in weird gowns who’ve come from all over the United States. There’s a bathing suit competition (in this installment Fleiss went there twice last night). One of the big moments comes when the various contestants have to answer some open-ended question for the tv audience. Instead of “World Peace”, Bachelor contestants are expected to do some variation on “I really want to get married and raise children” aka the right reasons. There’s also some informal version of Miss Congeniality, some individual everyone likes who has no serious chance at the final rose. Btw, Given the way things always seem to turn out, wouldn’t it be better to get scholarship money instead of an engagement ring from some guy you’re going to stay with for all of six weeks beyond the show?

Anyway, Bob Guiney was probably the first Miss Congeniality on the show. Just off the top of my head, there was also Katie, the woman Jesse Palmer gave a rose to by accident who took it with such good humor, Fred (Ellen’s choice) from Deanna’s show (though word is that he started dating Noelle Drake, one of my favorite contestants from Matt’s show making Fred the actual winner of Deanna’s descent from Bachelor version of Scarlet O'hara to “Hey Dude, Where’s my Rose?” ) , and Sheena Stewart from Brad’s season. I’m certain that Erica from Connecticut is not going to be the Miss Congeniality for Jason’s season.

During the rose ceremony, Mrs. Chancelucky started yelling at the television set when Erica got her rose. If you remember Erica Rose from Lorenzo’s season, you too are probably wondering if “Erica” is the code name for “Drama Queen” on the Bachelor. Of course, if you are identified as a drama queen, I’m pretty sure the producers make sure you get a minimum of three or four roses. Otherwise I can’t think of any reason Jason would have given this Erica a rose. Megan seemed perfectly within her rights to call Erica on being two-faced. When Erica took the thing public, it had this “I’m going to crush you” edge that seemed genuinely mean rather than Fleiss-staged mean. Erica catching the boyfriend with the 52 year old was definitely TMI, but at this point does anyone blame the guy?

The whole “if you already have a rose, you shouldn’t steal cocktail party time from the ladies who don’t” rule makes sense to me. I just wish someone would codify all these rules, so the contestants wouldn’t have to spend so much time reviewing the protocols with one another. Racquel, for instance, could have looked up footage of Blaine Twilley’s hide in the bushes moment and learned that “stalking” doesn’t work that well either on the show or in real life. Fwiw, Jason’s body language in that moment was terrific. She might as well have said, “I really love snowboarding and hope we can go to Breck sometime.”

Actually, this might be the most stalkery installment of the show yet. In addition to our Brazilian Med student, who was really trying out for a bit part as intern who keeps bumping into Patrick Dempsey on the Seattle Grace elevator (mmmm…come to think of it there are some real crossover possibilities there), there’s Shannon Bair, the world’s leading authority on all things Jason Mesnick. There was the recently departed Sharon from New York who quit her job just to be on the show. There’s also the scary smooth, Molly Malaney of the “I’m a really good kisser” in front of a tv camera and seven other ladies. Seriously, what real golfer breaks his/her hands when demonstrating the purity of her swing?

I do rather like the idea of not giving everyone a date during a given week, the whole insecurity thing made for good tv. Speaking of insecurity, how much do you think Robin Thicke paid Mike Fleiss to get himself featured on the date at Disney Hall. I know if Suzanne Somers was once sort of your stepmother that excuses most anything, but I’m not sure the guy would make it out of the semi-finals of American Idol especially when he does the falsetto. Btw, What’s with all these women claiming they haven’t dated or kissed anyone since before Trista met Ryan? Is there some convent filled with pro sports cheerleaders and former pageant girls where they stash future Bachelorettes? I honestly don’t get it. These women who go on tv in these tiny bikinis and jump on Jason’s shoulders, kiss the guy after maybe talking to him twenty minutes after he’s kissed maybe three other ladies in the last ten minutes, wear evening gowns from Victoria’s Secret at the cocktail parties, then happily go off to the fantasy suite with the bachelor, all claim that they haven’t gone on a date or kissed a guy in three years.

I really wasn’t all that convinced about chemistry between Jason and Jillian Harris. While it was certainly better than that really iffy kiss with Naomi Crespo, the stewardess and philanthropist, it didn’t compare to whatever was going on with Melissa Rycroft. Later in the show, Jason makes his little speech about Lauren Wanger, the civics teacher, who tells Jason that she’s clearly uncomfortable because she’s not getting constant attention and reassurance from him. Jason, the psychology major, rationalizes that’s she’s used to being the center of attention. He later gives her a rose anyway. Let me translate, this is guy code for Jason’s into hot chicks. Whatever he says about a mom for Ty and the rigors of true compatibility, this guy’s real taste is for the ladies all the other guys notice.
You notice the pageant girls keep getting roses and the whole Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader thing is a total no-brainer. Was I the only one hoping that he’d ask Melissa if she knew Jenni Croft?

Oysters on the beach? What was that business with Jason watching her swallow the oyster followed by a giant talking blimp (do you want mustard or relish on your blimp). These producers sure are subtle! Okay, here’s another thing I don’t get. Why do the women always give the Bachelor all this credit for planning these elaborate dates? Like this is the most romantic date, I’ve ever been on repeated five times a show whether they’re on a blimp over Los Angeles or just atop some bank building with seven other women in bikinis all fighting for time with Jason. Did anyone send them the memo that it’s not the Bachelor who plans this stuff or who paid for all those outfits btw ladies, most guys don't like hearing that your fantasy is to have some guy pay for you to shop to your heart's content? Believe me, men do not get together and say that's exactly the sort of woman I want. If this is what’s really getting them off, they should be falling in love with Mike Fleiss or whatever underling talks some company into comping the resort, hall, whatever.

When Jason gets all excited because Melissa wants to be a first grade teacher, it did occur to me that there are like three other Bachelorettes who are already real teachers. I think about poor Sharon who quit her teaching job only to get dumped in the round of 15. Apparently, it’s not commutative. Cheerleader first then teacher equals smitten Jason. Teacher first then whatever equals who knows with this guy? As my friend Magic Bunny Slippers points out, do any of them notice that the guy’s an insurance salesman who lives with his brother and his three year old son. Do you really want to marry into some real life version of Two and a Half Men? Mmmmm….is Jason Mesnick secretly Charley Sheen? That’s not that far off, what are the odds that if Denise Richards came on the show and talked about her kids that Jason would give her at least enough roses to get to the fantasy suite date?

I really did like what happened with Lisa, the one who chose her sick grandmother over Jason. If you remember, Meredith Phillips had a similar choice to make during Bob Guiney’s season and she chose Bob over Nana’s funeral. Meredith then made up for it by taking Bob on her home visit to see Nana’s grave. Ever sensitive, Bob then used the occasion to stick his tongue down Meredith’s throat. When Lisa left, I went “What the hell? How manipulative can they get? They stuck a real person on this show.”

Of course, the producers quickly made up for it by using the occasion to let the ladies do their “One less rose to worry about” routine. I was further reassured that Fleiss hadn’t lost his touch for fake sentimentality when Megan asked Stephanie what happened to her husband and Stephanie then gets to do some scene written by Nicholas Sparks. The women tear up, hold hands, as Stephanie segues into how she has been through this tragic loss and now deserves Jason. Did I miss something there? I’m so devoted to my daughter, that I skipped her birthday (we learn that the producers help out on the next installment and likely fed her that line so they can introduce the little girl to Jason at a completely inappropriate time). I also spent all of my husband’s life insurance money on thousands of pieces of costume jewelry. Anyone here know any Bachelors with connections to the Home Shopping Network?

I am enjoying this whole “mom” strategy. Nikki, Megan, Stephanie, and Melissa pretty much spend all their Jason time talking about how much they like driving kids to soccer practice and helping with homework. Away from Jason, they tell one another how the other ladies have no idea how hard it is to really be a mom. Somehow, it doesn’t compute for Nikki or Melissa that they don’t have kids themselves. One, I’m not sure that’s what Jason’s really into. Two, the mom thing is not something you talk about loving, it’s something you show. Don’t any of you remember the whole Deanna story arc? She kept talking about getting married and raising a family, but when she was actually around Ty how comfortable did she actually look? Not that Jason noticed or even cared btw.

Circling back, I am curious to see what the “talent” portion of Bachelor Jason will be like (no I don't count the synchronized swimming). We did learn Molly’s talent. I do wonder if we’ll see Natalie’s when she goes on the Pretty Woman date (I still say it’s weird), and I’m still not quite sure who Kari is. In the past, we learned that Jeremy Anderson hit baseballs while his dead father watched over his stroke Angels in the Outfield style. We got to see Jenni Croft dance with dolphins. Tessa Horst faked a sprained ankle. Something tells me that this group won’t be outdone. Next week, they do the body cast thing so maybe we’ll see some “talents” there. Are they sharing writers with the Girls Next Door this season?

Btw, I do think they’ve found an excellent follow show to the Bachelor. True Beauty appears to provide a refreshing open snarkiness about its contestants that contrasts nicely with the Bachelor’s faux romanticism.

Buddy TV Bachelor page
Sirlinksalot Bachelorette



At 1/15/2009 09:50:00 AM, Blogger PetGazer_dot_com said...

Great analysis that I enjoyed reading. Mike Fleiss is a genius though and keeps surprising me season after season.

At 1/15/2009 10:32:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Pet Gazer,
thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment. I wouldn't go so far as to call Mike Fleiss a genius, but he's very good at changing things up just enough. Personally, I like Ashton Kutcher a bit better as a reality producer. On the other hand, I do watch and review the Bachelor and I don't watch any Ashton Kutcher shows obsessively. :}

At 1/15/2009 10:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you realize that everytime Jason says "amazing" you can actually replace it with "obnoxious" and it makes more sense? Try it! Watch it again and see.

At 1/16/2009 09:29:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

thanks for the suggestion. That's really amazing.

At 1/20/2009 01:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You call it as I see it. Personally, I don't enjoy 'Bachelor' contestants as much as I do those on 'The Bachelorette,' maybe because women in general are more transparent by nature and men are harder to read, which for me adds an air of mystery to the process. Plus, this crop of gals, on the whole, is acting more like broads than ladies. I'm also less enamored with Jason this time around, probably because the guy has said the word 'amazing' about 500 times already and it's starting to come off as insincere. Thanks for the great recap!

At 1/20/2009 03:21:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

thanks for your comments. Erica really did seem like a "broad". Mrs. Chancelucky claims that Jillian seems like the only "normal" one in the group.

Jason's just not all that charismatic. He has his Ty Schtick, but beyond that he just doesn't have much to say.

At 1/20/2009 05:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

True, take away the Ty factor and all you really have left is Jason, single dad who's actually sort of boring and not all that special. I had such high hopes for an interesting season, but I'm ready to fast-forward to the final rose ceremony. Shannon may be honest and all, but if I were him I would have let her go earlier because that gal has a healthy amount of crazy going on.

My guess is that a fair amount of these women will get over Jason least I hope so for their sakes. Just look at all the guys from the last Bachelorette. If you ask me, they all got the last laugh on DeAnna. I agree w/ Mrs. Chance that Jillian is definitely one of few more normal ones.

At 1/20/2009 06:06:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Yeah, the two winners from Deanna's season were Brad Womack and Fred. I say Fred because it got him to Noelle Drake (at least based on my tv impression of the two, who knows what they're really like)

Jason would have been a winner, but he signed up to be the Bachelor.

I thought Jenni Croft came out ahead on Brad's season.

Jason's main strength during Deanna's season was he appeared to be such a "decent" guy. He hasn't yet been in that situation except for Shannon running to the bathroom. We may see it come out a bit more when he lets Stephanie and maybe Megan down.

At 1/21/2009 07:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the bachelor. I was wondering if anyone could help me with this. Any fashion experts out there? on the most recent espisode of the bachelor, when Jason took the girls to make a mold of their busts, does anyone recall the dress Jillian was wearing? It was blue, strapless, and has some white designs which looked like flowers on the bottom. Do you have any idea where it could be from? My sister really wants to wear it to her upcoming dance! she can't stop talking about how much she loves it.

At 1/21/2009 11:07:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I'm afraid that I have no idea, but you might ask the question on the Bachelor forum at'e amazingly good at that kind of stuff.

At 1/25/2009 09:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chance, excellent commentary.
One suggestion for ABC: don't recruit all of the "Bachelorettes" on Saturday night at 2:30am in the parking lot of the Roxie.

At 1/25/2009 10:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here for the "right reasons?" Let's take inventory:
Nikki - spent her adult life entering 3rd tier beauty pageants (Miss Illinois Galaxy), has bad sideburns and great boobs
Lauren - spent her adult life entering 3rd tier beauty pageants (Ms. United States), throws other chicks under bus
Melissa - former NFL cheerleader whose pre-Bachelor bio says her only goal in life is to host a TV show, now logically just wants to have kids, teach, and marry dull Jewish insurance agent
Shannon - creepy stalker unraveling on national TV
Erica - drunken bull dyke who just wants to kick Megan's ass
Megan - scary dark character who left her "fetus" back at the trailer park
Eva Mendes - goes by alias "Naomi" on this show; has been left alone since she announced that she "slaps other bitches"
Jillian - wildly popular because of ingenious hot dog gag; has no breasts and therefore limited tenure
Molly - spends 15 seconds with man ho before inviting him to make out; butts in every few minutes; will go far
Stephanie - used to be known as "Steve" until Daddy took a flight to Heaven


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