Tuesday, February 10, 2009

You Marry the Family Too (Bachelor 13 Round of 4)

Allegedly, the last advice Aunt Stephanie Hogan shared with Jason Mesnick before departing in the limo of shame was "You marry the girl, you marry the family."

Move over Meredith Phillips, Jason Mesnick just stole the title for weirdest set of home visits yet. If you remember, Meredith, Microsoft software model and dating show cookbook author, survived two of the odder visits in Bachelor History. First, can you imagine a home visit where the happy couple inspects insemination devices and that’s not the weirdest thing about the date? No, Meredith then got to listen to one of the scarier speeches ever about wifely duties from Lanny’s mom, a woman who had been placed in suspended animation back in the 1870’s then was suddenly revived by Mike Fleiss. Along with that, Meredith learned from one of her beau’s aunts that he just happened to be unemployed. Of course, Ian simply decided that his parents weren’t the right sort of people for a home visit, so he didn’t include them. Instead, we got to see Ian’s brother spend most of the time talking to him in some stairwell instead of visiting with Meredith. Ian, the pride of St. Paul’s Academy, got the final rose anyway.

So, how did Jason manage to top that? Well, there’s this moment when Molly’s entire family is sitting around in weird party hats (Dad gets a beer stein) without either laughing or speaking to one another. Maybe to deal with the awkward silence, Mrs. Malaney whips out a not so well disguised version of the Goodenough-Harris (Draw a Person) test and compares Jason’s drawing of her daughter to Heath Ledger’s take on the Joker. If I told you that was one of the more normal moments during Jason’s home visits? At one point during that same visit, Molly’s Dad who we learn for the third time didn’t approve of Molly’s last boyfriend, Adam “Pacman” Jones, for some reason, he gives her the sage advice “If you don’t happen to win this, don’t you dare cry in that limo.” (when Molly gets eliminated, do you think they might reference this?)

It’s the sort of thing Barbara Bush would inflict on one of her sons and look how that turned out. The most normal part of that visit was Molly dressed up for a round of golf, something her family does every Sunday, bringing Jason the right clothes for the Grand Rapids Country Club. Gerald Ford represented Grand Rapids for many years. This is a match for Jason? Did you catch the polite silence when Jason mentioned Ty as he tried to explain that he doesn’t play as much as he used to. On the other hand, you’re in Michigan guy. Your kid knows Joe Dumars not Michael Jordan. In case you were wondering why they never exactly mention what Jason does for a living other than appear on the Bachelor, I wouldn’t bet on commercial artist.

Once it moved forward from Jillian Harris stepping on the back of Canada’s version of the Loch Ness Monster, the Canadian home visit was genuinely touching. In a long run of parents who looked alcoholic, possibly mentally ill, or just plain strange, this was probably the first time any contestant’s acknowledged not only mental illness in her family, but mentioned a parental suicide attempt. Fascinatingly, Jason mentioned a history of depression in his own family. We have our own share of non-idyllic experiences in our family so it was nice to see evidence of such a thing on a Bachelor home visit. In Bachelor world, the only bad thing that had ever happened before this had been divorce or parents who died at some point. Well, Estella Gordimer’s father had been deaf, but he had already died. Noelle Drake also had facial reconstruction surgery. Beyond that, there’s been no autism, horrifying auto accidents, cancer, retardation, schizophrenia, missing limbs, PTSD from the war, etc.

The weird thing, in Bachelor terms, is that the show actually made the case for one of its contestants having real substance. Beneath the Maple Leaf flags and boxers, the Jillian home visit mostly made the point that Jillian had met the test of supporting her parents through fifteen years (most of Jillian’s life) of parental hospitalizations, medication, and therapy. At the same time, the family had managed to retain a sense of joy and the capacity to welcome Jason without making it all about them. Mrs. Chancelucky is a Jillian fan and she thought this was the greatest segment ever.

If Jason were the Jason whom everyone thinks is so incredible, he would almost certainly pick Jillian. They showed her having depth, dignity, and she’s plenty attractive. This, however, is the same Jason who fell for Deanna. As he puts it, he wants to be “needed”. Come to think of it, the Deanna everyone liked was the girl who lost her mother at a young age then looked after everyone else. You really want to trust someone with Ty, this is probably the one. Molly’s family still thinks their daughter is a child. It’s hard to say what’s going on with Melissa, but all her boyfriends mistreated her is probably not a good thing to put on a stepmom’s resume. You think boyfriends are tough, try stepchildren and ex-wives.

Some of the symmetry is appealing. Jason was the Bachelor with a secret last season. Jillian waited for the right moment to talk about her mother. Despite the preview of the prolonged kissing, something’s a little off for this to be a winner’s edit. How do I put this? The Jillian visit was all ketchup, all sweetness and no spice. Somehow, grandma was the naughtiest thing about the entire visit.

Before Matt Grant’s home visit with Amanda Rantuccio, she hired a pair of actors to pretend to be the weirdest parents in the world. Amanda might have won if she’d hired Naomi Crespo’s parents instead. Normally, I look for weird things to comment on in a show. This was so weird, I was looking for signs of reality. From giant slot machines and bathroom doors to the dead bird funeral, this one was a scene from Meet the Parents part 3 or Flirting with Disaster 2. Between Naomi’s Evangelical Dad and her New Age multiply reincarnated mom, the hula hoops, and the slightly odd kids, it occurs to me that no family would be this clueless if they thought their daughter was sincerely interested in this guy. It struck me that Naomi’s family, knowing that Jason is Jewish and Naomi not likely to convert any time soon, might have simply decided to have some fun in front of the cameras. Consider this clue (no, it’s not a Reality Steve type clue), Mom decides to name the dead bird “Rosie” and insists that Jason say the eulogy as in no rose for Naomi. I mean who comes up with “We kept it in the refrigerator for four days and it smells like chicken?”

Yes, Southern California is full of whacky people. In fact, Mrs. Chancelucky is from the San Diego area too and she was whacky enough to marry me. Despite what Chris Harrison says, my take is that Naomi’s family simply decided to punk the show. Naomi really didn’t seem all that upset either about her family or about not getting the rose. If the producers had been on the ball though they’d have had a bird hit the windshield of the limo of shame. Anyway, I go back to that first kiss between Jason and Naomi and thinking “There’s no way there’s anything there.”

So I have two questions about Melissa Rycroft. First, why does the woman wear shorts everywhere? Second, what’s the deal with the family? Is it that the entire rest of the family has Double F breasts and they don’t want to be seen on television, so they’d prefer to just let America believe that they aren’t supportive (heh heh)? Melissa described herself as the black sheep. Maybe they saw the ad for the new Jason movie and thought Bachelor Jason was that Jason, a guy with a hockey mask and a hatchet. Could be that they’re in witness protection and Fleiss is planning a very special crossover with the Sopranos. How about Melissa’s dad was one of the three tramps spotted on the grassy knoll on November 22, 1963? Perhaps, it’s something like Shrek and the blow you away final rose thing leads into the first animated Bachelor? The final scene has Melissa and Jason taking Ty to the premiere. Personally, I like the whole vampire thing (kmoon so obviously being werewolves and Rebecca York writes vampire romances). Think about it, haven’t you noticed that Jason always has a five o’clock shadow? Just before dawn in New Zealand, they kill Molly together before she can tell the National Enquirer and Jason offers Melissa the final blood-soaked rose, howls at the full moon, and we then get a glimpse of little Ty’s fangs as he puts his first baby fang in that cute little coffin that Melissa made for him. Notice how Reality Steve kept referring to Lost?

The friends visit was especially fascinating. First they show Jason and Melissa frolicking together with a pair of little girls. Maybe they should make the point once again that Melissa has FF-sized maternal instincts? Second, the husbands talk about Melissa having loser boyfriends who don’t treat her right. What a subtle edit there! Didn’t Jason say he wanted to be needed? The big Nate Newton in the room though is that despite knowing Melissa for several years, they’ve never much met her parents either. After seeing Jason shoot pool with the guys while jabbering on about how perfect she is, Melissa gets to confess that her family didn’t even go to Cowboys games when she was a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader. Anne Richards aside, this is the highest office any woman in Texas can hold. We’re led to believe that this is some form of child abuse or neglect worse than being locked in a small room with Terrell Owens’s ego. In the meantime, I don’t trust Melissa’s friend’s husband. Normal married men don’t complain about their wife’s hot friend hanging around too much without a date. Instead, they fantasize about hot tubs, their wives, themselves, the hot best friend and just the right circumstances.

So let’s see here. Jason then got to choose between 1) Is depression genetic, Chris? 2) A family colder than Lake Michigan in February 3) The weirdest home visit in Bachelor History 4) and a really hot woman who keeps dating losers and whose family no showed. Jason got so excited about the prospect of the overnight date in New Zealand with Melissa that he gave her the last rose while he still had two roses left. Maybe Rosie will be reincarnated, fly to New Zealand, and magically appear at the final rose ceremony?
Chris Harrison's blog

Buddy TV Bachelor page

Labels: ,


At 2/10/2009 06:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gotta say this is one of your best summaries - EVER! And to think there was no snarking!

At 2/10/2009 09:39:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

thanks for the kind comment.

At 2/11/2009 06:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear CL,

Continue to wait with baited breath to read your review… you never disappoint.

Like Ms. CL I also loved Jillian’s hometown date. The date, like Jillian herself, struck the right balance of fun and real, not an easy trick… In fact it reminded me of Jason’s hometown date with Deanna…. I also agree that for whatever reason Jason is not feeling romantic enough with what seems to me as a perfect long-term partner and love match…. Ah love…

Romantic love is mental illness… It distorts reality, and that’s the point of it. It would be impossible to fall in love with someone that you really saw – Annie Lebowitz

Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love. - Albert Einstein

(PS – Your writing is so good and engaging, you force me to do crazy things… like look up quotes!!!)

Favorite full-on laugh for today….
• If the producers had been on the ball though they’d have had a bird hit the windshield of the limo of shame.

Thanks again for showing up this season!!

All the best,


At 2/11/2009 08:36:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

those are great quotes. I do think one of the actual reasons for watching the Bachelor is to see how hormones, judgment, etc work together in these situations. I believe that's something that's pretty fascinating all by itself without the fantasy dates, the goofy stuff, and the fights in the house.

I often wish that after 17 installments that they'd simply gotten better at bringing that out. One of the problems I know is that sometimes in real life nothing much happens, but I think they should pick maybe a dozen women/men who really are in the ballpark, let them get to know one another well, and go from there.

I do think the contrast between Jillian and Melissa and Jason's reaction to the two is really revealing. One of the most interesting tests of human nature is to give someone what he says he wants.

At 2/11/2009 02:46:00 PM, Blogger Captain Barbarossa said...

I think you're just jealous that I didn't have to watch it. I also agree with you about the Jillian date. It was one of the best I've seen.

Could be that Jillian is too strong for him. All clues say she won't be it. We;ll see.

At 2/11/2009 04:11:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I have no inside sources, but I try not to take the "prediction/sleuthers" too seriously. Somehow though, they generally don't pick the most sensible choice. Invariably , it's whoever generates the most physical chemistry then when that bombs, they move to the "safe" choices.

Charley O'connell's choice of Sarah Brice might have been one of the few exceptions. Generally though, it's been a lot of Meredith-Ian.

At 2/13/2009 12:42:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm embarassed to admit I've been following the Reality Steve story, too. I'm just eager to find out the last little bits of mystery in this season. What will Deanna say? What's this shocking twist in store? It's been ridiculously obvious he's going to pick Melissa for weeks now.

At 2/13/2009 08:55:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...


I agree that the attraction to Melissa is very clear. The more interesting question to me is, should he pick Melisa?

In terms of all the sleuthing, I don't mind reality tv being a little scripted. I'm not quite sure where the line should be between forced and real though. There's that big thing about the crazy British Dad in San Francisco on Wife Swap a few weeks ago. As weird as that was, it apparently wasn't scripted.


Post a Comment

<< Home