The finish line of this season of ABC's "The Bachelor" is in sight, the cast and crew are in South Africa, and we can hold out at least some hope that they will all decide to stay there. You know what that means. Time for a conversation that never happened, and probably never should have.
Artistry: This week was hard for me, as I was hoping to see Shawntel on a safari.
Finesse: I think this was hard on everybody. Especially Brad. He's scared, and we know this because he keeps saying, "I'm scared." I like that he's man enough to show his Emotion.
|Afraid Of Everything But Heights|
1) "I have no clue what I'm doing right now."
2) "I need this badly."
3) "I have a very strong connection with each of these women."
4) "I'm terrified of being alone"; and
5) "I'm terrified of these decisions. These decisions are going to affect my life."
|"I'm so scared. And I'm very nervous. And I'm really anxious."|
Finesse: The hardest thing for him must be getting on the balcony-less airplane, where he struggles valiantly to articulate his thoughts on the three remaining Ladies. Brad believes that kissing Chantal O. is not perfect, but close to it; he wonders where Ashley's heart is, which sounds a lot like her walls may be up; and he relives his bizarre speech to Emily where he scolded her, "I just met your daughter, she's sleeping upstairs. I want to kiss you. I'm just not." Yet he still finds time during the flight to read his 7th grade textbook, as evidenced on his descent into South Africa, "It's a very vast land full of exotic animals."
Artistry: It only takes Brad a minute to grasp the full import of Africa's vastness and exotic-ness. Wait a minute, he says, Africa is "dangerous."
Finesse: There it is. That's what this show's producers understand so well. You need a little peril to forge lasting relationships.
Artistry: Chantal gets the first date, and cue the lions.
Finesse: Those lions are really beautiful. Do we put it past the ABC producers that they were drugged and dragged to the side of the road? They do it to the Ladies' fathers on Hometowns, so why not the lions?
Artistry: Chantal wonders, "Is this really my life?" Funny, I just noticed I've been working on this post for 45 minutes and wondered exactly the same thing.
Finesse: On the safari to lunch, it takes Brad and Chantal eleven minutes before they see every species of animal living in Africa. Either they are actually at a zoo, or lunch is going to be on Noah's Ark. At said lunch, there is a hippopotamus wading in the nearby pond, a view that Brad enjoys but Chantal finds unsettling. "I am trusting Brad to keep me safe," notes Chantal. What she doesn't realize is that just off camera, there is the Protector of the Heart himself, stoically and silently standing guard over Chantal's physical and emotional heart.
Before you know it, Chantal is completely at ease. "Is it weird to say I miss your family," Brad asks. Let me take this one, Chantal. Yes.
Finesse: At dinner that night, Brad insists to Chantal that he can act in ways with her that he can't around the other Ladies. Maybe the difference is that when he talks to Chantal, he looks down and to the left, but when he talks to Emily and Ashley, he looks down and to the right. In either case, they then discuss whether they should just get married right there on the spot, which leads Chantal to clarify that she is not one of those people who just gets engaged and then only later figures out whether she actually wants to get married. Has any one ever met a person like that?
Artristry: Chantal is certain that marriage is an unbreakable bond. Who cares if she's already been married and divorced? That was probably ages ago. Before the show.
Finesse: Ah, it's time for the best feature in all of Bachelordom - the "overnight card." For the uninitiated, the "overnight card" is an invitation written by host Chris Harrison, in a woman's handwriting, that proposes to a Lady that if she wishes to "forego" her own apartment, she can spend the evening with Brad in the "Fantasy Suite." We are currently working on similar invitations for Poise to pass out on our behalf at the top of the Metro escalators.
Chantal, of course, accepts the overnight card and then proceeds to snuggle Brad in a treehouse in the middle of South Africa, explaining how it all happened as follows: "Brad just guided me into his treehouse."
Mrs. Artistry: Slut.
|Has No Fans At Casa De Artistry|
Artistry: Emily was the early favorite here at GTOG, but I'm afraid she's got a deadly trifecta going here: too classy (I mean, for Brad), too dull, and too much makeup. Is there anything she can do pull even with Chantal?
Finesse: Well, there is one thing that just might work. Mrs. Ricky Bobby finally reveals before dinner that she is startin' to fall in love with Brad. This injects some excitement into the proceedings, but, predictably, frightens Brad. Take a spin.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Ricky Bobby is feelin' "just so excited," which would be a lot more convincin' if she didn't say it with the energy level of the Dancing With The Stars crowd during Ralph Macchio's introduction. [GTOG is currently in negotiations about watching DWTS this season]. Brad offers the overnight card and key to the Fantasy Suite to Mrs. Ricky Bobby, who waffles back and forth about wantin' to set an example as a mom, but also feelin' like she wants to spend more time with Brad. After buyin' time, she takes the plunge.
Back in the Fantasy Suite, she starts deconstructin' the final pieces of her walls, telling Brad that she is "fallin' in love with him," declared with the same passion and excitement that you feel when readin' articles about Sidney Crosby's concussion symptoms.
Artistry: Inescapable comparison.
Finesse: Emily is strugglin' with her feelings for Brad in light of her prior marriage to the late Ricky Bobby, but she settles this internal conflict by finally realizin' that Ricky's purpose on Earth was to show her what love is so that she could find it with Brad. So to summarize: Ricky Bobby's purpose in life was to impregnate Emily at 19, die in a fiery plane crash, and then watch from the sky as his daughter played Easy Bake Oven with Brad on national TV while his wife spent the night with Brad in a Fantasy Suite? Sign me up!
|Ricky Bobby's Masterpiece|
Finesse: Do we have to?
Artistry: Unfortunately, yes. "I am FREAKING OUT," she shrieks, as a helicopter swoops in to pick her and Brad up for the final date of the episode. And why not? No one ever has to fly in a helicopter on this show. No way she could have seen it coming. Mrs. Artistry and I debate whether we can just FF through Ashley, but ultimately decide we can't afford to miss what promises to be some really quotable conversation.
Finesse: In the helicopter, Ashley feels on top of the world. We're skeptical whether she will still feel on top of the world at 3 am in a puke-covered bar in Austin while Brad is getting hit on by undergrads, but we digress. Ashley pretends that she feels more comfortable with Brad after the Hometown with her annoying sister, but can't seem to recall any actual fun memories with Brad other than the carnival date which took place in the first episode of the season. Brad does an admirable job pretending to remember.
Their date proceeds to a picnic at a place called God's Window, which provides them with an incredible view. This must be where Ricky Bobby watches the show from.
Artistry: Great point. If so, he heard these gems from Ashley:
"Everything that's good is bonus; everything that's bad is compromise." So true.
"OK, how do I say this...I have faith in us - and it's because I know me - and I just need, like, I hope, you will just, like, have faith."
This is why we don't fast forward. I actually had to rewind several times to catch the entirety of that last "sentence."
|Better you say nothing.|
Artistry: She says she wants to be a great dentist. Blind dental ambition. Deal with it.
Finesse: Brad is also concerned about how much she wants to travel. In other words, he's trying all the different Emergency Exit doors to see which one works. To the trained eye, like mine and yours, this is a just a long, drawn out dumping. Basically, it's like 9:30-10:00am Monday-Friday at the office.
Artistry: "Just do what's best for you," Ashley says at one point. This would be like "Blue Valentine" if Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams fast forwarded through their entire marriage.
Finesse: I have no idea what you're talking about. Brad tries to cut the tension with an extremely dull knife, shouting during an awkward silence, "HAPPY TO BE HERE!!!" Ashley still accepts the overnight card, leading to scintillating conversation in the Fantasy Suite, such as where Brad ended 45 seconds of silence by looking around the lodge and then explaining, "just looking around the lodge." Brad is lamenting that he just wants to talk to Ashley like they used to, you know, that one time they talked 6 weeks ago.
Artistry: You might not know this, but Brad thinks Ashley is "one in a million." Ashley asks, "What do you think of the nets, the mosquito nets," trying to fill the silence. "They work," Brad responds.
Despite their worst efforts, Brashley is not meant to be. Brad takes Ashley aside before the Rose Ceremony to flush the dump, and each person attempts to take 100% of the blame, which of course just means they don't like each other. After Brad tells her that he needs to let her go, they stand up, appear set for a final embrace, and then Brad declares icily, "I'm confident in my decision." Ouch. Nonetheless, he dusts off his patented I-just-dumped-you-but-I'm-going-to-be-super-polite move, nearly body checking Ashley out of the way so he can open the limo door for her.
Artistry: Most shocking moment of the season was that after being cast aside, this Lady did not profusely thank the Bachelor for the amazing journey. But thankfully, next week we have the Bachelor reunion show, where many of the women who did thank Brad for teaching them so much about love will return to
Finesse: Thanks for your work molding 10,000 words of our notes into a conversation. Like I've always said, "Michaelangelo carved the David out of a pretty big piece of stone."