Monday, June 23, 2008

June 23, You Can Turn Out the Lights; The Parties Over!

How weird is it to watch a dating show and see the entire thing already over with two weeks of dating to go? Now I normally leave the psychobabble to Oprah and Dr. Phil (I must have left my psychobabble diploma on the other wall.) but this is a blog about opinion and since you are reading this, you must want my opinion. Ok, fair enough. Dr. Sigmund Barbarossa is in the house. Besides, like some wiseman once said "Opinions are like belly buttons; everybody has one and they're all useless." Or as my old ship matey "Baffling" Bob Yanchuck was fond of saying in his Brooklyn honk "Opinions are like assholes; everybody's got one and they all stink!" every time we tried to get him to put down the grog jug. Be that as it may; my opinion? Its simple, just like your faithful ship captain here: Shows over.

What? Barbarossa, how can you say that!? We haven't even got to the fantasy dates yet! Right. All that means, folks is that unless somebody was creeping up the backstairs of Dee's mansion nobody has yet had the chance to lay pipe in her. Now laying pipe is a mighty important thing to most men and nearly all women but that act with the remaining men (hereafter known as The Three Dwarves) is as worthless as it will probably be boring. I know. I know. How can laying pipe in someone as hot as DeAnna Pappas be boring? Believe me, if anyone can manage to make it boring it'll be these three dweebs. I say the show is over because it is. For two reasons: first, the only guy out of this cast of thousands that Dee was ever going to fall in love with is gone, and second...Dee has one or a thousand things to learn about love and marriage. I shall endeavor to explain in good time, my friends. I've been told that the good writer should 'show' not 'tell', so I shall 'show'.

The episode opens with an insufferably long montage of past events that were no less exciting that they were the first time around, but it does, in all fairness, give the viewer a chance to remember just who this cast of forgettables actually are. We need that unfortunately. When Chris Harrison's melodramatic voice overs finally end the actual show begins and we get a memory jog that this week DeAnna is the one doing the traveling--its Hometown Date Week, for the fab 4. This gives Dee the first (of about a million) chances to tell us just how strong her feelings are for these four guys. (You may enjoy your first guffaw of the evening).

We are shown a brief recap of the four men in question, starting with Jeremy, the candy-assed orphan. And its a painful reminder of just what a mannequin this guy is too. I've seen better acting by William Shatner. This guy is so fake and plastic its hard to put into words. I wonder if he could dial 911 without a cue card. Dee, however, assures us that her and Jeremy have "so much in common." Yeah, they sure do. Jeremy is a shitty actor and Dee has several more months to act like she cares about any of these guys besides Graham. (Let's hope she's better than he is. Ellen will disown her if she can't pull off this charade.) One other thing they have in common that she forgets to mention is: dead parents. Don't worry, she'll get to it. And get to it. And get to it.

Next up is Jesse, the Baked Snowboarding Dude. I had forgotten just how much this guy looked like a circus clown the first night too. Between his Porter Waggoner jacket, pint-sized stature, and curtains of long greasy hair, I'd forgotten the obvious reasons Dee considered this guy such a catch. I'm glad they reminded me. We get to see a recap of Jesse acting, like well...a stoned teenager. And we get our first measured dose of DeAnna's well-honed narcissism too. "Jesse was the first guy who didn't jump at the first chance to kiss me." She relates in a shocked voice. Yes, our Greek goddess has been basically ordering these clods to smooch her like she's the second coming of the Fonz. More on that later.

First we need to be reminded of just who Jason, the Baby Daddy, is. It takes nearly ten seconds too. "I have a three year-old son." Whoa, you heard that right folks. Jason has procreated. He's shootin' live bullets too, so watch out Dee! Now I'm being a little hard on Jason here...but not much. True, he's done as most normal men of the age of thirty have done, he's taken the leap of faith with a woman and downloaded a copy of himself and appears to have taken responsibility for the boy when the ex-wife either couldn't or wouldn't. (Reality check: no woman loses custody of her infant son unless she's a member of the Manson Family, uses meth or both; unless she doesn't want custody. Save the crap about 'the better lawyer' business.) But he's also taken a voluntarily six weeks vacation from that responsibility to do a cheesy dating show, hidden behind the child like he's an atomic sock puppet and shamelessly allowed the child to be filmed for said reality show. The Bachelorette and its more familiar mainstay will only have done something noble in including parents in their line up when the fact a suitor has a child or has actually committed to marriage in the past and not make it the sum total of that person's life. It's called normal people, Mr. Fleiss. And 'normal' means you don't have to talk about every five seconds.

Lecture over...the next one about to begin. Next up is the focus of this episode, and to be honest, this entire season, Graham, the Confused. And the recap is a vivid reminder of just why this show was doomed from the start. Why? Well, in rare honesty for this show, Dee all but tells us what's so painfully obvious: she is hot for him. In that way men and women are sometimes hot for each other that can't really be explained. Its called the first step in love. That in itself shouldn't be problematic. It is the whole stated point of this show anyway. But Graham, confused, shy, uncommunicative, gay, or just not interested in Dee is the problem. Along with Dee her own wonderful self. She has chosen the one guy here who is undeniably 100% not interested in a relationship with her. This probably says more about Dee than it does about Graham. But this should prove a invaluable teaching tool to anyone who really wants to understand some of the seamier things about this 'Reality' show. A lot more on this to come.

First we have to wade through the chaff and window dressing of the other dates. And what a journey through a House of Horrors it is too. First Dee travels to Columbian Gold, Colorado or whatever slacker heaven Jesse, the stonehead resides in. Ignoring the scripted preamble and Jesse flipping around on his snowboard like a teenager, he promptly takes her snowboarding. They do duet snowboarding, hand-in hand, where Dee, showing her propensity for not listening to anyone else, ignores what he tells her, and promptly crashes face first into three feet of hardpack. Ouch. Mild props to Dee; she does pop back up and that looked like it hurt. (For all the beating I'm going to give her this episode, the girl is a tough little redneck.) Jesse, however, proves that hyperbole isn't limited to sober people by saying, "DeAnna killed it!" Actually, Jesse it looked more like she practically killed herself. Whatever. Snowboarding is over.

Jesse now takes her to a place with a gorgeous view and they trade awkward talk. It is here, however, that a rare moment of honesty invades the scripting. Jesse is describing his blunt-talking dad and Dee admits, "I need someone like that because I believe I am always right." Ya think? This is the second time we've seen Dee and even with all the hamfisted editing a fairly clear picture of her is starting to emerge. Isn't it funny how it usually takes two incarnations of this show to see someone's true personality. (Think Blob or Jen Schefft) During the Brad Womack show, (we might as well mention him since he's loomed over this series like a shadow twice the size of Texas anyway) Dee was not the most subtle girl in the house. She was on the outside and saddled up with the carnivorous MacCarten. She also didn't hesitate to use the long stem roses Brad gave her as weapons of mass humiliation; constantly ramming it up some other suitors nose as a symbol of her wonderfulness or doing that funky neck-popping thing when she had a private interview like some tough-talking street-sister. This is not a wan and fragile beauty folks. And despite the misconception given on every sitcom on television, most men do not get off on being bossed around by women they're dating. We expect them to wait until we're married before they do that. The proprieties must be observed.

Anyway the moment passes and Jesse takes her to his chalet. This gives Jesse the chance to show us why he is actually on the show. A mural hanging in his living room that looks like it was painted by Cheech and Chong gives him a chance to talk about his 'foundation' for underprivileged snowboarders. Thank God, we need one of those! Once the public service announcement stops we do actually get a shock. Not only is the place not littered with empty Freetos bags, Dr. Pepper cans and three freeloading buddies, Jesse actually turns out to be a neat freak--an obsessive compulsive neat freak. He even put his bong in the closet. Jee-zuz! Do men now label their cabinets to make sure they dishes go in the right spot? What's this world coming to? He also shows Dee his hallway decorated with snowboards. Huh? Heh-heh, if Dee (or any other sober woman) stays there more than 12 hours you can kiss those suckers goodbye. Jesse's parents come over and dad is wearing a "mullet hat" with fake hair in the back. Ha, what a card. (Dad must like burning one too). Jesse's parents seem nice enough and read their lines with that look on their faces that tell you they know this is a show. Cool. They go for a carriage ride and he finally kisses her.

Next, Jeremy, the candy ass, meets Dee in Dallas, and takes her for a ride on his Suzuki Shadow...a very longggg ride apparently. Knowing Dee and her penchant for gas engines, you'd expect her to be heavy breathing after this but Jeremy took her around like a Farsi-speaking cabdriver. Yeah, the exciting sights of downtown Dallas. That'll win her over. He finally stops the tour and takes her back to his apartment where we see that Jeremy is as obsessive compulsive as Jesse. Man. Anyway, he takes her around his apartment and into his bedroom and I'm afraid its time to call Bullshit here. On the walls are enormous papers of each and ever single thing Jeremy needed to study to pass the bar exam. Was the exam yesterday, Jeremy? Do you intend to wall paper your house with these? The room looked like Barney Goes to Law School! You're a lawyer, we get it. Cut the shit, Jeremy, and go shave your chest again. Hard to believe but this is the highlight of the trip.

He then introduces her to his dog, Chemo. What!? The dog's name is "Chemo"? I guess thats fitting because the theme of the remainder of the date is "DEATH" as in Dead Relatives. God this was a bummer! Dee and him spend a long time going through photo albums remembering their dead parents. The producers do everything to increase the funereal pall but pipe in Mozart's Requiem Mass on the stereo and hire the Grim Reaper as the waiter too. Boy do these two need to move on in a big way. Thankfully a couple of live relatives do show up and bust up this cheery clambake. Jeremy's two normal-guy brothers and his normal-girl sister-in-law show up and prove you don't need to work out four hours a day to hook a spouse. After a quick meal the brothers question Dee. "They grilled me!" she screamed. Uh, no. The previews made it look like they put Dee on the rack and then insisted on sleeping with her as well, but all they really did was ask her a few simple questions that demonstrated that they care about their brother, despite his being an android. Date over. Thankfully.

If death was the theme of Dee's date with Jeremy then "Cheese" is the theme of her date with Jason, the Baby Daddy. They try and hold the Velveeta for a few minutes by having Jason take her up on the spaceneedle roof where they are both nearly blown off. He finally takes her in out of the gale and they talk about--kids. Surprise! Dee tells him she wants three kids "before the age of thirty." Whoa, she's twenty-six; better get hopping Jason, you've got the live bullets after all and Dee has a schedule to keep.

He then takes her to the park and I've got to call Bullshit again. Actually, Size-of-Jupiter- Mega-Bullshit! Jason, who has been home waiting for Dee, acts like he hasn't been allowed to see his son?! All this so the show can film the staged reunion!? This wins it. The most creepy, shameless thing this show has ever pulled. Dee is introduced to young Ty, who will probably need therapy for this later in life, and they all cavort playfully and feed ducks. "R@A())URX$#Q^&!!!!!" Pardon me, I just projectile vomited. Hold on while I clean this up.

Okay, I'm back. The rest of the date is exactly the same with the exception that Jason's family, who are apparently channeling Johnny Cash, all wear black at dinner and have a penchant for playing leap frog for dessert, are there. Sorry, I can't watch anymore and fast forward.

Now we get to it; Raleigh, North Carolina, home of Graham Bunn, and this season's Waterloo. The only thing missing is Napoleon, (the wingman must have another day off). Graham meets Dee at a basketball gym and much to her surprise he's open and cheerful, and affectionate with her. He takes her inside for some basketball and they have a good talk. Graham takes her home to the folks for dinner where Mom tells Dee the truth about Graham as a deeply insular man. The editing then takes over here big time. The five minutes shown of them from here on out are spliced and diced to death. Graham is made to look like an uncommunicative rock. Maybe he is, I have no idea but beware the editing demon here. By the time he walked her to the car, Graham wants NOTHING to do with her. Maybe Graham's nuts or maybe something happened we never saw? Did Dee say something rude? Is Graham bat-shit crazy? We'll probably never know the truth.

The Rose Ceremony and the mystery only deepens. What exactly happened here? With Fleiss making like Houdini we're never gonna' know. But we can try. The first thing is that Graham KNEW he was leaving. How do we know this? First of all Graham is dressed for a plane flight not a Rose Ceremony. he's always been impeccably dressed before and stood and waited with a neutral expression like everyone else. This time, however, he's wearing ratty jeans and a pull over sweater; his hands in his pockets rocking back and forth with an absurd grin on his face the entire time as if to say, "What a farce this is!" Dee even pauses at one point in her rose giving to glare at him like, "You bastard! How dare you do this!?" He's also prepared with a going away card for her. Graham, in my opinion, asked to leave.

The rest? I have no idea. There were times when Graham looked ready to crack up laughing, frankly.

Any way, show over. Everything I see from here on out is just cheap soap opera--a charade necessary to produce the required episodes. No dating or engagement or whatever that comes from this will be in any way genuine. Nothing matters as far as real life the only question left is just how ashamedly will the producers (and Dee) bother to use Jason and his son for our entertainment value?

My, I have gone on, haven't I? I better learn to shut up or I'll start sounding like Reality Steve.

Until next time, when DeAnna is forced to prove her acting chops once and for all.

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