Jason Mesnick and His Harem
The time has nearly arrived. ABC premieres it's latest edition of The Bachelor, next Monday, January 5th. This time, former MeAnna Pappas reject, Jason Mesnick is going to romance some babes and look for true love on his own. For those of you who have not already spoiled yourselves (yes, most of the top sleuther sights are now commenting that the winner has indeed leaked out even before the show airs) I present:
Barbarossa's First Annual List of Shit to Look For!
Now if you're one of those people who saves screen captures and voice recordings and then goes over them with an electron microscope and a seeing-eye dog, this list is not for you. This list is for people who actually just watch the stupid show...you know, like normal human beings. Ok, first up is Night One. That may seem obvious but the truth is that Night One shows you who the final 4 are if you just pay attention. Here's how: On the first night there are 25 women all running around getting bombed, playing the clarinet, eating beer cans, singing, twirling batons, and taking turns stealing The Bachelor away from each other. That is the part of the show that most people watch for: the bimbo parade. But that isn't where the your real competitors are hiding. With 25 women, one guy, and about an hour and a half, the truth is that there is only so much time for talking...you know, like on a real date.
With such a small amount of time and so many women for the viewer to get to know, producers/losers Mike Fleiss and Lisa Levenson have only a narrow window of time to introduce the women who are important for the arc of the season. Fleiss camouflages this under heaping layers of Circus Activity designed to both entertain and confuse, but do it he must. Viewers have no emotional stake in the show's outcome if the don't feel like they're sharing the journey with the contestants, and nobody would feel that if we were never shown anything about them. And that becomes the clearest marker as to which girls will be around for a while. Yes, I know, I know, Jason will talk with a heap of women; just don't let yourself be confused. Fleiss is like a magician--a half-trained, half-assed clown of a magician you wouldn't hire for a child's birthday party, but a magician nonetheless. He relies on distraction to divert the attention of the audience away from the real contenders by showing desperate women, who have already been fingered as losers, actress wanna-bes, and psychotics , turn themselves into Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not freaks to divert your attention from the girls who actually have a chance.
The key is simply to pay attention to any girl shown talking to Jason (not in a private interview) that sounds sweet and sane. She may relate a personal anecdote about her life, childhood, parents or some other relevant experience. Fleiss just handed you a contender on a silver platter. He took the time from a tight edit to show you someone you can relate to. (Note: this does not include girls showing Jason their bunions or an "I Got Hammered in Key West" tattoo. Only personal anecdotes.) They should be fairly easy to spot since the rest of the women will be behaving with the decorum normally seen in a chimp cage at the local zoo. That alone should give you a handful you can follow. Now, there's no guaranteeing that the girl you spot is going to be in the final 2, but it's a reasonable marker that she is going to go deep into the final 6 at least. Also, anyone seen behaving as if they need a 12-step program, dancing lessons, music lessons, a pro bono visit from Dr. Phil, or their very own Restraining Order can be summarily dismissed (or better yet, enjoyed for pure entertainment value). They won't make it into the top 8.
Remember, pay absolutely no attention to what order Jason calls out the girl's names at this or any other Rose Ceremony. This, even the soul-less Producers admit, is all rigged for maximum drama. Also disregard any bachelorette who grimaces, scowls, sneers, or pulls a face during the ceremony when a competitor gets her name called for a rose. These girls have been standing around in high heels with hangovers and aching feet for twelve hours while they filmed this bullshit; of course they sneer and grimace.
The Season Previews
Ok, if you're still confused as to which women are worth watching at this point, Fleiss is about to help you. At the end of each and every Night One Episode, they show a series of Highlights from the upcoming season. Most homes in America are now equipped with High Definition TV's and video recorders of some sort (Tivo, DVR). If you tape the previews and watch them in slow motion you will see a good number of the women you just saw survive Night One on a variety of dates with Jason. And if you watch very carefully, you'll see a few in more-exotic locations, one-on-one with Jason. There's your top 3 or even top2. Now I warn you: this is a slippery slope. You see, Fleiss wants you to buy an electron microscope and a seeing-eye dog. He knows this crap can be addictive and habit-forming, that's why he gives out the answers if you really want to look for them. He knows some people will get hooked on cracking the case and will spend their free time discussing and pimping his worthless reality show to others (like I do). Bachelor Sleuthing becomes a sport that has virtually nothing to do with the show. A new generation of Sherlock Holmes' run around examining screen captures, serial numbers on helicopters, calling potential Final 3 date location hotels and pestering the staff for information on filming dates. For people who have no life (like me) and have no interest in Star Trek Conventions, this is how we wile away our limited time on Planet Earth. Beware, you don't want to become one of us.
If All Else Fails:
Well, if you truly can't stand the suspense you can go out onto the internet and find out who won. "Barbarossa, do you mean they already know????" Uh, yeah, it would seem so. Normally sleuthers pick the winner from the methods stated above, but sometimes the sleuthing itself is spoiled because someone spills the beans. The National Enquirer used to bust it sometimes and off-shore gambling sites used to get flooded with the real winners and had to halt gambling on Reality Shows because of it. But some years some idiot just talks out of turn. Relax, dear readers, your Faithful Ship Captain won't reveal the secret here or in any other future columns. First of all: they may be wrong, (It's happened before.) but most importantly you, dear reader, may not wish to be spoiled. Far be it from me to take away your joy and delight at seeing true love develop on National TV.
Besides, you really want that electron microscope and seeing-eye dog, don't you?