The Wingman Appears... Signaling 6 More Weeks of Winter
Well 'lo and behold, who have we here? Yes, Chris Harrison finally emerges from whatever cocktail lounge he's been hiding in all season, and greets the women outside their new digs in Anguilla. The wingman comes sauntering up looking crisp and rested (as he should), but he ain't foolin' me. I can see that under his button-up dress casual the sure signs of a wetsuit. Harrison describes a 4-date week on the horizon--3, 1-on-1 dates, and 1, group date from hell. He drops the card and departs; the snorkel bouncing in his back pocket and the unmistakable slap of his swim fins as he heads off. It sucks to be Harrison. Shawntel Munster hops up, reads the date card and calls out Nascar Emily for some 1-on-1 action.
This Date Sponsored by Ambien
This was one of the stranger dates I have ever seen on this show...which is fitting, because Nascar Emily is one of the weirder contestants they've ever had. I've spent weeks trying to figure her out. Something about her just never fit. Have you noticed that she never speaks with the other women? Every time the girls are around cutting up in some tomfoolery or talking about who is the next to be sent home that Emily is never seen uttering a word? She speaks in an occasional Private Interview, or very occasionally with Brad, but that's all. If she's seen speaking with another girl, it's just her sitting there nodding seriously while some pain in the ass like Michelle whines about something. Emily has zero interaction with the other women. She just sits there like a marble angel, if she's seen at all. It's been driving me nuts. But I think I've finally figured it out and cracked the case: this chick is dead. She's some airy-fairy spirit Fleiss has hired to come floating onto the set to do a Private Interview every now and then. She may even be CGI. Regardless of her mortality or lack thereof, Brad comes lurking into the women's digs, ogles them all in the pool, and then spirits Nascar Emily away and to a helicopter. I was kinda' hoping she would fly outside it, but no dice. He puts her in the chopper and they fly around so the camera crews can pay back the Anguilla Chamber of Commerce for the freebies, and then they head to some sandbar, fittingly called "Sandy Island." Damn, these Anguillans are original. Anyway, the chopper dumps them on the sandbar with a picnic basket full of booze and departs. Now what happens next? Well, it's all in the eye of the beholder, isn't it? But since this is my blog, I'm beholden. So, to call this date riveting, would be an insult to a rivet. Dig this intense talk:
B: "I like it out here."
E: "Me too."
E: "What are you thinking?"
B: "It's a really cool view."
They sit there with an invisible six foot-thick wall between them and make rumblin', bumblin' and stumblin' small talk. She finally takes the hint as he stumbles around and moves forward for a few tepid pecks. They escape the sandbar somehow and Brad takes her for dinner on the beach. They sip some white wine and exchange a few 'amazings' and she starts talking about her daughter and Brad asks about meeting her. Emily sighs loudly. She remains non-committal so Brad presses and then gushes about breaking the rules and he assures her she gets a rose at the next ceremony and will definitely be going to Charlotte. She just smiles and refuses to commit despite his rogue rule-breaking. (According to the previews, he needn't have worried.) They head to the surf's edge and make out a little. "My kiss with Emily was more than just a kiss." Ok. Yeah, I know; I'm sure Emily's legions of fans are swearing they just saw the second coming of Romeo and Juliet--and maybe they did. Maybe this is Brad Womack's and Emily Maynard's idea of love. Well if that's what we just witnessed then this is love shared by two extremely boring people--even by Shakespeare's standards. Some are undoubtedly seeing
cupids dancing through the meadow. I saw what looked like concrete set. Respectful admiration is one thing, but zero passion is another. Some will cry that this is Southern Reserve; after all, these are two people from well South of the Mason-Dixon Line. My take on that is simple: the wench queen is a South Georgia girl--born and bred. She and her family are so reserved that for the first year I was with her, I thought they were physiologically incapable of farting. (I have since learned differently.) And there my thoroughly unspoiled southern belle sat last night on my right like always, watching Brad and Emily's weird mating ritual and suddenly blurted, "Oh, go on and kiss your sister, why don't you!" The House of Barbarossa rests. Mercifully, date over.
The Munster Hangs Around
While Brad and Emily were trying to put me to sleep, a date card arrived back at the girl's digs and it's announced that Shawntel Munster will get the next 1-on-1. I've liked this girl all season; she's down to earth, fun, and shockingly normal, especially for this show. Brad meets her with a bike beside him and takes her on a tour around the local markets of Anguilla. Showing her place in the pecking order, she gets no helicopter, no secluded sandbar or yacht, but she seems to have a good time anyway. Truthfully, as robotic as Brad becomes from here on out, he appeared to have about a thousand times better and more relaxed date with her than he did with Emily...and a hell of a lot better than he will have later. They go to the market, get some love advice from some old woman who must be a local character, and they go have a boring picnic. Brad is hyper-relaxed, but in truth, there is nothing going on here, at least for him. She tells him she is falling in love with him and he acts like she offered him a coupon for half off on his next pizza instead of her heart. As night falls, he takes her out to a beach bungalow to have dinner. Here we find out just how little they have talked. Shawntel speaks about her family and then asks him: "So, your parents aren't still together?" Brad has pummeled us with stories of his deadbeat dad. Clearly, Madam Munster is not in the loop. But to be fair, he speaks openly and honestly with her...like you would with a friend. Brad gets a little drunk and then hits on her like any guy would as the rain starts to fall. Cue music and kissing. Brad hints that more surprises are to come. Suddenly musicians and revelers come out of the dark under the gazebo and Brad tells her: "We're about to have a concert with Bankie Banx." Cool! Who the hell is Bankie Banx? Brad reads off a cue card and lets us know. "Bankie Banx is probably the most famous singer on Anguilla--maybe the entire Caribbean!" Isn't that a bit like being proclaimed the Heavyweight Champion of Luxembourg? Regardless, Banx comes out onstage and why am I not the least bit surprised? He's a moth-eaten old Rastafarian who smiles at them and even through my TV I can smell the rum-soaked reefer smoke. The band strikes up some reggae and Brad and Shawntel dance around a bit and gush about each other in Private Interviews. They ditch the world-renowned Bankie Banx and Brad hauls her into the surf so I can ogle the enormous tattoo on her lower back. Wow, that's a biggie. Hot too. Hey, this is my blog and I like 'em on women, so tough. Date over.
Bony Britt's Waterloo
While Brad and Shawntel having been hanging around getting a buzz from the smoke coursing off of Bankie Banx, a date card has arrived back at the digs letting Bony Britt know her moment has finally arrived. Britt pretties herself up as Ashley Sherbert happily assures her that the coming date with "their" boyfriend will go just fine. "There's no rose on these dates, so you're sure of coming home!" Thanks for the foreshadowing, Ashley. Naturally this means Britt is a goner, and quickly. I'd followed along with my teeth bared for this one. It was so obvious he was gonna' clobber her out of existence...but once they got on the yacht and she sat with him with a bikini on, my snarky sadism subsided. I had seen her in clothing when I dubbed her "Bony", but when I saw her in a bathing suit, it didn't seem so funny anymore. Oh, don't get me wrong; the snarker in my blood was hurtling through my mind like lightning as one after another fish-in-a-barrel joke raced through my mind--Britt jumped off the cliff and made a splash in the water like a sole raindrop falling from the sky; with no splash, a 9.5 from the Chinese judge--but the honest truth, in my opinion, is that this young woman has an eating disorder, and Reality Show or not, I'm not going to make fun of her for that. There was nothing between them and Brad dumped her--date over.
Tolling the Bell of a Man's Apocalypse
You see? This is the reason I like Brad Womack so much: he's as dumb as I am. He actually let some producer-demon convince him that taking three highly competitive, sleep-deprived and alcohol-soaked women out in bikinis for a competitive photo shoot for Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition would be a barrel of laughs. He barges into their rooms at 2:00 in the morning with a camera crew and lights blazing to wake them up. The women glare blearily at him. I'm sure Brad was happy they don't let these women carry firearms cause one of them would have shot him dead. Brad gushes in a P.I. "These women don't know it, but I've arranged for them do something millions of women dream of: pose for Sports Illustrated!" Uh, no. No, Brad; about a hundred avaricious super-model types dream of doing this, the other 180 million women in the country cringe at the thought of someone pointing a camera at them when they're wearing a bikini. Dumbass. With total disregard for the personalities involved, Brad leads them stumbling across the way to a bungalow where a hoard of make-up and hair people await them. Informed they will be posing in bikinis, Michelle, being one of those avaricious super-model types, raises an eyebrow and smirks; the other two, however...? Ashley Sherbert dons a red bikini and shows that she has been blessed with former Bachelorette Jillian Harris' door mouse metabolism and hasn't gained so much as an ounce despite being the biggest drinker in the lot. But that doesn't mean she's happy. Covering her top with her hands, she bemoans the fact that compared to her two surgically-altered friends, her tits are pimples. But the real sound of impending nightmare chimes when ZipperRipper Chantal speaks while getting her hair done: "I feel like a lard butt!" Whoops. True, Chantal has succumbed to what normal women do on this show and put on the "Bachelor 10" from all the laying around eating and being on an all-alcohol diet. But it's what she says next that makes my ears ring. "I...I feel fat today." Oh, shit. I've been married often enough and long enough to hear the tolling of the apocalypse bell now. It sounds to me like on top of everything else, "Aunt Flow" has come for her monthly visit. Brad, you're a dead man. Marching along in clueless oblivion, Brad leads the women down to the beach like the Pied Piper on the way to meet his own firing squad. The S.I. people arrive, the cameras come out, and here we go. God only knows how long they were at this or in what order it occurred, but what we were shown is that Sherbert went first. Buoyed by several shots of "liquid backbone" she jumps around with her vivacious energy while Brad stands there with the other two looking like Gomer Duckfoot watching. The S.I. photog skeeze promptly talks Ashley out of her top. She whips off the red band-aid and places some conch shells over her A cups. The ZipperRipper goes next and...Gulp. Ok, I'll say it quietly, in a hushed tone, because you know I mean it: Argh! Chantal pouts at the photographer and Bachelor 10 or no, his camera practically catches fire. Then she also pulls off her top and unleashes her cannon shells. Brad, fearing his cute little boat shorts will spontaneously combust, turns his head aside. "Oh, oh, ok." The Money Shot sneers in a private interview that Ashley and Chantal are easily led, and she has too many morals for that, so her top will stay on. To celebrate her advanced morality, Michelle gets Brad down on the sand and recreates a scene out of From Here to Eternity, but instead of passionate kissing, she dry humps him into the sand like they're filming Shaving Ryan's Privates instead. Ring. Ring Ring. Chantal and Ashley turn away, "Why are we watching this?!" Brad's shellshocked face pops up in another P.I. "I shouldn't have done that! Chantal and Ashley are going to be pissed and they have every right to be!" Heh, ya think? Brad finally gets them up under some gazebo later in the afternoon judging by the sun, and they all pour in some drinks that look like cucumber margaritas, but they must have been tasty because they all look to have had a gallon each. Brad stands around like the unfortunate brother of King Midas--everything he touches turns to shit--call him King Feces--and tries to halt the meltdown. He turns this way and that, confronted by an angry, sunbaked, exhausted, and drunk woman no matter which way he looks. Sensing belatedly that he's standing in a live bear trap with no escape, he shuts down like the coil on a 40 year-old refrigerator. That, ladies and gentleman, will be the end of Mr. Womack's emotions for the night. The Brad-droid from 2007 is back in all his glory. (I'm sure Nascar Emily's fans are sure he shut down cause he's met his One and doesn't want to deal with these whiny bitches. Maybe they're right.) He then clinically examines each woman like they're some strange new family of fungi he's recently discovered. Dragging a thoroughly bombed Sherbert aside, he pats her head while she blubbers drunkenly. Sensing distressed emotion from the strange creature, the Brad-bot goes and procures the rose. Chantal and Michelle, who are laying on some bamboo mat under the gazebo and fighting passing out, hear his gears clicking and whirring as he tries to slip in and get the rose. Caught in the act, they glare at him with daggers of disgust. Ring. Ring. Did the producer's order this? I would have eaten the rose, thorns and all, before I handed it out in that atmosphere. He slips away and approaches the soused Sherbert. She starts begging drunkenly, "Don't send me home! Don't send me home!" Hey Ashley, I know you're hammered and all, but he has the rose--relax. He serves up the flower and then they head back. He pokes his noggin around the edge of the gazebo and looks at his two remaining hell cats, "Now...now comes the uncomfortable part." Both women turn their heads away and glare past him without a word. Brad mumbles and stumbles a bit and Chantal finally succumbs. She slaps her hands over her eyes and bawls like a toddler. The Brad-droid senses a problem. "Would...would you walk with me?" She shakes her head but never speaks; her hands held over her face as tears pour out between her fingers. It gets so bad even Sherbert and the Money Shot take the hint and vacate. Brad lays down beside her while she bawls and tries to impose some Vulcan-like logic on the situation: "I have very specific reasons for handing these roses out. You're trying to judge what you would do in my shoes."
"Yes, I am!" she fires back. "There are three of us; if you can't pick me over the other two, maybe you should just send me home!"
Many people take this as bitchy whining. I don't. If I were in a contest over one gal with two other guys and she handed one of them a gift I didn't get, I'd take it as a sign I needed to hit the bricks. He keeps trying to talk with her, but she snatches her hand away from him angrily and then gets up.
"Are we ok?"
She crosses her fingers, "Sure."
"Should we take a walk?"
"Let's call it a day." And she hugs him coldly before she turns and heads toward the surf. Brad, sunbaked, exhausted, and probably drunk, collapses into a chair like he's been beaten with a ball bat. When he does manage to stand up, he staggers away down the beach with an ungainly gait like C-3PO with sand wedged into his gyros.
Date, and Brad for this week: Done.
The Wingman Got Dressed Up For This?
The women arrive for the Cocktail Party barefoot? What the hell was that about? They finally get a night where their feet won't kill them standing there for hours and it turns out they won't need it. Before the women can even taste any alcohol, Brad gets cornered by the wingman and he tells Harrison, "I want to break some rules here. I don't want a Cocktail Party."
Harrison is horrified. "What? Are you sure? I got dressed in a suit."
"Yes, I'm sure."
"But, but, but look; I've got my cheese knife and champagne glass all ready for tinging?"
But no dice. Brad has seen enough. Anymore crying and his circuits will melt. Harrison mopes his way up to the women, absolutely bummed that his half his signature moves have been snatched away from him, "Brad doesn't realize I left a Charter in the middle of the ocean to be here and has decided he doesn't need a Cocktail Party. C'mon."
He lines then up and here comes Brad looking like the walk of the living dead.
Already safe: Ashley Sherbert--drunk out of her gourd but we're going to her hometown.
1) Nascar Emily--she floats over, flutters her angel wings and accepts the rose before vanishing in a wisp of smoke. Her supporters, "The Pit Crew" all stand and cheer.
2) Shantel Munster--The Mortician-friend scores a hometown, but previews make it seem Brad is creeped out when he meets Uncle Herman and Aunt Lily at the parlor.
The wingman re-enters, glares at Brad and points at the rose and barks: "Can you count?" and stalks off angrily.
3) ZipperRipper Chantal--looked half ready to bawl and half-ready to head home.
Cut: Brit earlier, and the Money Shot--thank you! The editors actually manage a miracle that has escaped them all season: Michelle is shown departing without a word. Yeah, right. Anyway, next week is hometown fun! See ya then.