Just damn. All these seasons of the Bachelor, all the columns I've wrote and Fleiss has suddenly become the next Bert Blyleven; the curve balls are flying at us like a hail storm. An entire two hour episode without one catfight, one private interview where one Bachelorette referred to another as a "bitch" or made one of those famous Bachelor statements like, "I'm not here to make friends"? As a matter of fact, there was no drama, no signs of anyone needing mental counseling and no one appeared even slightly tipsy, let alone drunk. What the hell is going on here? But there was (dare I say it) plenty of suspense, private dates that appeared nearly organic, and lots of serious-sounding talks. Has Fleiss lost his mind? The tears appeared genuine and heartfelt and the five remaining women Jason took to Seattle acted like a close-knit sorority instead of the vicious would-be-wives club we always see. Some may complain this makes for boring TV, but this is the kind of Bachelor I've been arguing for for years. It actually looked like a dating show instead of the usual Soap Opera. Now this might make for an attempt at true love and for this the audience may be happy, but it sure sucks for blogging. How the hell am I supposed to make this shit funny? Jason has women falling around him in tears and I'm reduced to making fun of Jillian the Canuck and her Canadian accent? Sucks to be me.
The episode opens with the wingman lining the women up for an intel-briefing like always but then the guy starts pimping for Jason again. What the hell has gotten into Mr. Leprechaun all of a sudden? Every time I turn around this guy is acting like a...well, a wingman! And it gets worse by the end of night, But for now, he settles for asking them all to pity Jason before he informs them that this week there will be 2, one-on-one dates, 2 group dates, and zero roses. But before they can even ponder what this all means and why Harrison is acting so damn weird, he tells them it's off to Seattle to be wined and dined by Jason in his hometown. The first Fleiss-curve ball of the night--more to come.
Beautiful, sunny Seattle
The Seattle portion opens with Jason getting his reunion with his son and they do their run and hug but Jason manages not to roll all over the ground in ecstasy. Quick as a flash we're at the hotel and the girls are arriving. They all stampede Jason and he leads them up into a swank hotel and deposits them in a sweet suite before he tells them that Melissa the cheerleader will be getting the first one on one. He hauls ass and she gets ready for the date. The other girls are a little bummed, especially Naomi the Spicy, who hasn't had a 1 on 1 yet. But stiff upper lip is the order of the day and she soldiers through the disappointment and her and her sister-ettes all crowd around the table waiting with Melissa. Time for Jason to arrive comes and goes while Mel sits there cooling her well-dressed heels and she starts to act like she's afraid she's been stood up. "Has he forgotten me?" Thank god, some Bachelor-normal stupidity! (There will be scarce amounts of it this night). Yeah, he's forgotten you, Melissa. The camera crew, make-up and wardrobe people, and producers in his house forgot to remind him. A cutaway shows Jason and Ty rummaging around his bedroom and the little Mesnick don't want the big Mesnick going out to play hide the sausage with the cheerleader. After a bunch of whining and complaining from Ty, who clearly wants dad at home, Jason picks up the blower and calls Melissa. The ads made it look like he blew her off entirely but instead he invites her over for a quiet night at home in his house. Melissa, instead of threatening to wring his neck like a real girlfriend would for waiting an hour after he was supposed to pick her up to call, giggles and happily accepts. The other girls get attacks of nerves that Melissa is going to be under the same roof with Jason and his sanctified son, and do what the women will do for the rest of the night: they sit and share like it's a Dr. Phil therapy session. Although all voice fears Melissa will get to see Ty, they all stay respectful and not one of them damn Melissa to Satan's pit like we usually see. Either it was all edited out or maybe they don't like Jason all that much. (Maybe they finally found some mature, sane women for this show? Nah!) Melissa shows up at Jason's house or houseboat or whatever the hell it is, and I see Jason has moved his brother Larry, whom he lives with, out. Shame. If Jason really wanted Melissa to get a dose of what living with him would be like he should have left the remnants of Larry's toenail clippings on the coffee table like real guys do.
Melissa arrives and seeing the mess Jason and Ty managed to make in the few short hours since Jason's been home, claims it must have been "a guy's day." No, Melissa. I know you're practically a virgin and all but if it had been a guys day, there would have been three feet of dirty clothes on the floor and the place would've smelled like beer vomit. This is called a dad and his kid on their very best behavior day because Jason knew you were coming. Obediently, Melissa cleans it up...unlike a real girlfriend. She also pours a couple of glasses of whatever non-alcoholic beverage Fleiss has them all on this week and waits on the couch in her cocktail dress while Jason reads Ty a story. Jason then comes downstairs and Melissa finally gets out of her dress once Jason has seen her in it and switches to "stretchy pants" that look remarkably like shorts. She then tells Jason about her family and says she's "the black sheep". Of what, perkiness? Black sheep? Yeah, that Melissa, selling crack at Cowboys games and dating two guys in her entire life. Ho. Jason looks as flummoxed at that announcement as I do but he rings her up anyway and they do some serious making out. He also lets her creep up to Ty's room to see the sleeping tot. They also kiss a bunch more and Melissa smiles like only she can and shows off those enormous bathroom tiles of hers she calls teeth.
Group Date: House-BOOTS and radio silliness
Jason takes his 3 group date groupies out on a houseboat so I can make fun of Jillian the Canucks Canadian accent--"Look, it's a house-BOOT!"--had to get that in since it's all I got. Catwoman Stephanie, dressed in some beaver pelt vest like she just escaped from Ted Nugent's hunting cabin, gets some special quality time that ain't too special. They talk about guess what?! Her daughter. Yeah, no shit. She's the only one of the five he doesn't mouth-rape either. (Guess what that means?) They generate about as much heat as Donny and Marie and the friend-vibe practically shakes the boat apart. A cutaway shows Molly the Bland and Jillian talking about dealing with jealousy and once again they sound like adults and not pissed off teenagers like normal. (Shakes head). Jason then hauls them to some radio station and takes his public romance even more public. The guy and gal DJ's take Jason into the booth and lock his mini-harem outside. Little did they know, the producers made damn sure Melissa and Naomi, still sitting at the hotel have the radio on so we can see some rolling eyes and tightened expressions at his revelations.
The DJ's grill him about "Who's the best kisser" and like an idiot he answers them:
Melissa, whose tonsils are still sore from his tongue, looks like she's gonna have a cardiac and her and Naomi share horrified looks and embrace. They do that a lot.
They then ask him "which date has been the most fun?"
Jason, who refused to dodge the last question like anyone with a room temperature I.Q. would have, jumps all over this softball with some pablum. He says it was the Lego date with Stephanie and her daughter. I get one of the few chances of the evening to retch.
The DJ's then bring the women in so they can blindfold Jason and make them all kiss him to see if he can tell who's who. They blindfold him with that notoriously impossible to see-thru mask, a pink boa. Snort. One by one the women all come up and kiss him silently. Stephanie only gives him a tiny peck but it's enough for me to hear the banjo music from Deliverance in the background. Brother-sister smooching is creepy no matter the venue and should be against the law with a pink boa anywhere close by. The DJ's then ask him to I.D. the girls, and Jason, seemingly oblivious to the fact he's on the radio, points at them. Lovely. I get the feeling these two radio jocks have a small audience today...namely Melissa and Naomi. Moving on. Jason takes all three women back to the hotel. Jillian gets the first private time and Jason hauls her into another room and they have a serious talk. Jason wants to know what's changed and Jillian, (another Fleiss curveball) admits she came on the show just for adventure and fun and all of this has surprised her. Jason doesn't bash her for it and rings her up for good measure. The shoe's now on the other foot as Jason starts acting all worried that the women don't have feelings for him. He questions her about having expectations that are "too high." Sounds like Mr. HGH has just figured out that he's shopping way outside his normal league here and he'd be right. Molly goes for a walk with Jason next and goes on and on about her family needing to "approve of the guy." The Bland one finally manages to sound twenty-four with this one. As soon as he marries your dad you can worry about that, Moll. Until then you better make damn sure you can stomach the guy. It's impossible, as a man, to watch this show and not rate the women as if you were in the Bachelor's shoes, and Molly is by far my least favorite of the remaining women, but even she comes across as likable on this weird night.
Naomi and one-on-one at last
Back at the hotel, the card for Naomi's date arrives and Melissa has a mild spark of jealousy. In a private interview, Naomi comes close to the catty edge by saying, "Mel's jealous," but then blows that by adding fairly, "I probably would be too in her shoes." Jesus. The next morning Jason meets the Spicy One for a seaplane ride but dresses like he's going moose hunting. Hey, Jason, it's Naomi, not Jillian. Anyway, they go for a plane ride and I'm expecting disaster to strike. Everything's been so hunky dory all night I'm certain the plane will crash but the flight goes smooth and he takes her rock climbing at a sporting goods store. Surely now, Naomi will screw up. She'll say something dumb or conceited or break out in some weirdness all of a sudden. Negative...on all counts. Her and Jason climb a rock wall and appear to have a great time. He then hauls her over to some fireplace area where they make out like Romeo and Juliet and have a deep talk. Naomi, finally allowed by the god-Fleiss to string more than five words together sounds a lot more intelligent and thoughtful than I was expecting. She talks about her family and a rocky relationship with her mom, who did a runner when Naomi was a teen. This scares Jason but he kisses her more than all the rest of the women combined and I'm ready to throw my hands up.
Jason arrives at the portable harem tent the next morning unannounced and hauls Jillian the Canuck down to a coffee shop to grill her about her intentions and just how much she is into him. Another Fleiss-bender. Bachelor's are supposed to be impervious gods, fearless in their quest for love and absolutely certain that any woman on the show will bow down to him if only he'll have her. Hahaha. Jason sounds like the local nerd trying to woo the prom queen. Jillian seems sincere but in a private interview Jason says he can't risk getting a broken heart like last time and fears Jillian is the one who can do it to him. The girls club meets in a bubble bath to compare insecurities and keep on bonding. The spinning in my head grows worse.
Rose Ceremony...with one or ten delays
Jason is seen dressing and the doorbell rings and I'm expecting some sickly sweet Ty-interlude but in marches the wingman looking to pow wow before the big moment. Time out! Or as Jillian would say, "Time OOOT!" WTF is this about?! Strike three and I'm out! Can't hit the deuce when you're not expecting it. Chris Harrison, who's hosted this shitfest for sixteen seasons has never done anything but provide hyperbolic voice overs, walked contestants to their doom, and counted roses, is now Jason's main man when the heat is on? Hey, Fleiss, I think you need to do a piss test on Harrison; he's been sniffing glue or something. Harrison barges into Jason's house-homeboat or whatever the f*ck it is and starts a therapy session with him. My jaw hits the floor. Jason, as it turns out, is completely confused and the wingman edges in close and guards his six. Good god, I've got a migraine!
Harrison finally puts me out of my misery and leaves, but when he arrives at the house he lines the women up and basically tells them they better be nice to Jason. OMG. Anyway, out comes the Bachelor looking like he's gonna have a cigar and listen to Vivaldi in his smoking jacket--Harrison, will you get this guys a decent suit! Grrr. Anyway Jason staggers out and then stops the whole thing and hauls Naomi the Spicy away for a talk. They vanish and Molly the Bland mumbles, "It's gonna' be me." and the other woman, instead of smirking and cackling at her, all close in to assure her it's not the case. My eyes flutter and I'm near passing out as the four remaining sisters all reassure one another. Jason gets Naomi alone and asks her if his life is something she can deal with? She reassures him and Catwoman Stephanie hovers near the edge of the Bachelor-abyss.
Jason lines 'em back up and finally gets on with it:
1) Jillian the Canuck--How a-BOOT that!
2) Melissa the Cheerleader--Still the overwhelming favorite and if not for the damn leaks this one would have been shaping up into a real barn-burner.
3) Molly the Bland--ok.
Enter wingman. "Ladies this is the last rose of the evening. Get 'em, Maverick!"
Jason drags this one out and then:
4) Naomi the Spicy--this weeks make-out queen gets the last flower, but before she can get back to her spot and join hands with Stephanie all the women in the camera shot are already crying. Jason then insists on announcing how wonderfully-awesomely-stupendous-Stephanie is. She hugs all four women and then displaying formidable class tells them "which ever of you who is the lucky women make this wonderful man a great wife!"
Jason walks her out but before they can clear the room Naomi falls apart completely and Melissa has to catch her before she collapses on the floor in a torrent of tears. Molly and Jillian, both crying their eyes out, join the group-hug like Jason kneecapped Stephanie instead of dumping her. Jason leads the classy one out and they talk briefly before he puts her in the limo while a voice-over tells us he'd love to be friends with Stephanie for the rest of her life. Friends. Yep, and you knew it too, Jason. Why didn't you send her home last week? Now you've torn yourself, Stephanie, and the remaining four women all to hell for nothing. Think it would have hurt that bad to dump Nikki? Dumb move, Jason, very dumb.
Next week: Hometown time.
Now let's all go read Reality Steve and find out what the hell actually happened.
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