It was with a mixture of relief and pure relief that we took in the final chapter of Ali's Bachelorette journey last night. The NHL season really cannot begin soon enough. Without further adieu, please enjoy "The Bachelorette Finale: A Retroactive Conversation."
Artistry: Wow, this is really not an emotional rollercoaster. It is not even an emotional Zamboni ride.
Finesse: It is something beyond like watching paint dry. It is like watching paint that has already dried.
How do you think this going to go?
Artistry: Easy one. During her ongoing and mind-numbingly boring off-camera narration, Ali refers to Chris as someone who "would really fit in with my friends," who she "respects," who is "such a good person." Contrast that to the way she is practically trembling in Roberto's presence. I think she loves him with her whole heart. Wait, Roberto is now stroking Ali's mom's hand ever so tenderly. Your thoughts?
Finesse: The family is definitely giving its "blessing" to both Roberto and Chris. It would be really shocking if her parents say something like, "that Roberto is great, but Chris? What a douche!" Instead, we're getting the predictable, "It's up to you. Ultimately it's your decision." I think the more compelling component of the family's "blessing" is the remarkable degree to which every person on this show treats emotions, feelings and ideas as if they are tangible objects. Roberto, Chris and Ali are treating the family's "blessing" as if it was something that is physically handed from one person to another. At one point during lunch I thought I heard Chris ask Ali's dad to pass the blessing. Ali also spends a lot of time with these guys trying to "see if there is a spark" as if people who date and like each other actually catch on fire. And the most egregious examples were the billion times Ali said she was there "looking for love" and "hoping to find love." I think she got love confused with the Afikoman.
The conversation continues - at great length - after the jump...
Artistry: And Roberto and Chris are confusing any conversation with Ali's dad with something that should make them in any way nervous. Note to producers: no amount of ominous music can make this guy intimidating. To sum up, here is how these "serious" conversations went:
Ali's Dad: My first question to you is, how do you feel about Ali?
Chris/Roberto: I didn't know what to expect from this journey, but everything changed when I stepped out of the limo. I saw Ali and realized that she is an amazing woman. She squeals like a small animal when she sees me, and there is really nothing better. It's like, amazing. You know? Ergo, I'm wondering if I can have your blessing.
Ali's Dad: Do you love Ali?
Ali's Dad (to Roberto): I don't see a problem with that.
Ali's Dad (to Chris): I would have no problem giving the OK.
Finesse: I can't tell if Ali's dad is giving his "blessing" or approving expense reports. Let's just say that I wasn't surprised when he exclaimed, "I used to be a high school physics teacher." It's also difficult to follow what Ali is saying. At the beginning of the episode she said that she never imagined that she would be in a place like Bora Bora only to reveal moments later that it has always been her dream to fall in love at Bora Bora.
Artistry: Part of her psychological "journey." That journey, much like her "Bachelorette" "journey" takes some unpredictable twists and turns. Roberto, narrating, just acknowledged that "there is potential that this amazing journey ends with heartbreak." It's almost like these guys are reading from a children's book.
Finesse: There was no point in staging a "phrase-off" tonight, because journey started the show like the Patriots in 2007 when they went 17-0. But what surprised me about the "journey" metaphor was that it wasn't just Robert, Chris and Ali who were using it. We heard it from Chris Harrison (the host), Ali's father, mother and sister, and even the ring guy. The show should have been on the Travel Channel. One last thing about it - I'm not sure if you caught the rookie mistake made by Ali's brother. When he was sitting with Chris and Raya (Ali's sister) at the pool, he asked Chris, "This has probably been a crazy experience for you, no?" Doesn't the brother know that this is a journey, not an experience? You just can't let mistakes like that happen.
Artistry: You really can't. Speaking of rookie mistakes, am I the only one who thinks Chris kisses like a seventh-grader? The way he closes his eyes and opens his mouth, it's not seductive. He's like a vacuum cleaner. On some level, Chris may be aware of this deficiency, as when he greets Ali he tends to go for the hug, not the open mouth attack. Mrs. Artistry weighs in: "Chris has no shot."
Finesse: He seems like a likeable guy, but I find it strange that his mother always told him to look out for rainbows. Kind of odd, no? My mom always told me to look out for oncoming traffic.
Artistry: Looking into the camera, Roberto issues a reminder: "It's been an amazing journey. It would be devastating to go home at this point." The producers quickly follow up with a gratuitous Roberto shower scene. If this guy is going home, he's going home naked.
Finesse: One thing Ali is really looking for in a man is someone to make her feel safe and protected. Is Roberto that man? Maybe. I think the more interesting question is what threats are constantly looming over Ali that she is so concerned about her own personal safety. Is she under attack? What is the constant danger here? Did she get Bora Bora confused with Tora Bora? To help figure this out, I created the "Ali Hometown Security Advisory System."
Artistry: Roberto should really propose in his minor league baseball uniform. Let's bring this thing full circle. Mrs. Artistry, looking over at me typing away, puzzled: "What are you guys going to say about this? It's such a good show tonight. There's nothing to make fun of. It's clear they're all there for the right reasons."
Finesse: To find love.
Artistry: There has to be something at the end of this rainbow.
Finesse: Here comes the proposal. Ali's hair extensions look magnificent today. They are glistening in the sun.
Artistry: So is Roberto's upper lip. This is the first crack in his facade of perfection, and it comes at an inopportune time. Never propose with a sweaty upper lip Roberto, come on. Ali does not seem bothered by this, and neither does Mrs. Artistry.
Finesse: Ali is showing a lot of faith right now. A lot of courage.
Artistry: Roberto nails the proposal, sweaty lip be damned. The Ali voiceover machine kicks into overdrive: "Fairy tales were always something you saw in movies or read in stories...I don't think it's possible to love someone until you give your whole heart to them...Nothing could change my love for Roberto....There is no doubt in my mind."
Finesse: But there was doubt in her mind like 5 minutes ago, when she told Chris she didn't know what to do.
Artistry: Another psychological detour. On the journey.
Finesse: Do you think Chris has the chops to be the next Bachelor or is he too shaken from letting his walls down and having his worst fear - being hurt - actually happen?
Artistry: I think Chris is grateful. There were a lot of "thank yous" during that breakup discussion. Important lesson there. Be polite on your journey. Does this show tell us anything about society as a whole?
Finesse: Probably, and it's probably something negative. It's sad that we no longer hear phrases like, "when I first met you." Now it's, "when I first saw you step out of the limo." And for a lot of younger people, it's probably "when I first saw you sign online."
Artistry: What is the show missing (other than entertainment value)? Is there something that they could have done better?
Finesse: I was wondering why they don't show more of the interaction between Chris and Roberto - that could actually be interesting. They should force them to go out to dinner and have awkward conversation (or as Chris calls it, "conversation"). It would be like the Al Pacino-Robert DeNiro scene in Heat with the "I respect you but given the opportunity, I will kill you" vibe. They should also make them stay in the same house so when one of them is on a date with Ali, we get camera shots of the other one waiting to see if he comes home or stays at Ali's.
Artistry: We need to wrap this up, so can you give us some of your other favorite moments from tonight's episode?
Finesse: It's difficult to just give a few.
- Roberto in response to the 100ft hello gimmick: "let's speed up this process."
- Ali: "Kissing Roberto in the rain is the most magical and romantic moment in my entire life."
- As Roberto was describing his experience in the rain with Ali, he confessed to Ali, "I was speechless the whole time, I don't know if you noticed." Roberto, I don't know if Ali notices, but we sure did.
- As Ali is contemplatively staring at the water like it's a Magic Eye poster, I turn to Poise and say, "This show sucks so bad. This sucks so bad." He shakes his head and just says, "terrible" then picks up his Blackberry.
- Right before the Rose Ceremony, Roberto reveals to the camera, "I have never done this much thinking in my entire life." No kidding, Roberto. He also said, "I was thinking all night last night." To Roberto, apparently thinking is a discrete activity. "Ok, I have to go think now for an hour, I'll be back later."
- On the After Show, Chris the host says he has been asked "thousands" of times since the end of the show, "If Frank didn't do what he did, would Ali have given him a rose?" Boy am I glad I'm not Chris Harrison.
Artistry: For the first time since Jake and Vienna, I'm thinking these crazy kids might just have a shot.