Let me begin with an admission: I am a connoisseur of bad, intellectually-degenerative reality television. Originally, I was going to preface that sentence with “You wouldn’t know it to look at me,” but that would be a lie. The moment you look at me, you would think to yourself, “This kid knows what happened on the last episode of Basketball Wives.” (And I do. It was the reunion show and Jennifer said that she didn’t think Evelyn’s relationship with Chad Ochocino was going to last, and I was all like “Oh no you fucking didn’t say that.”) But strangely enough, I am not largely familiar with the most popular reality shows, the programs that everyone else talks about.
I’ve seen one episode of Dancing With the Stars, which would have been more appropriately titled “Flailing Your Arms with D-list celebrities. And sometimes Bristol Palin.” I’ve never seen an episode of American Idol in its entire history, and avoiding that show has become one of the two bedrock principles by which I live my life, the other being “Ride or Die.” I have viewed very few episodes of Survivor, and come to the conclusion that the show would be infinitely better if the producers hid a gun with a single bullet somewhere on the island.
But then there’s The Bachelor(ette) series, which I know exists, but with which I am only vaguely familiar. Or rather, with which I was vaguely familiar up until last week, when my girlfriend’s roommate told us that she knew one of the male contestants on this season of The Bachelorette, which meant that we needed to watch it to see if this feller — Matt from Massachusetts, who I swear to god studied Turf Grass Management in college (buh?) — did anything ridiculous.
And now we are two weeks in, and I can say on behalf of myself and my girlfriend without reservation: Watching this show is awesome. The show itself is shit — it’s full of attractive, shallow white people doing expensive things. But the actual experience of watching the show — the exotic locales, the schadenfreude, the thrill of knowing that in 3 months two of these people will be on the cover of the OK! Weekly magazine that I glance at for 5 seconds as I wait in line to purchase my groceries — is rewarding enough that from here on out, we’ll be doing weekly recaps of the show. And these are going to be detailed recaps, in which we use Lacanian psychology to analyze the deeper motivations of each character. Or in where we just laugh at whoever looks like the biggest asshole in a given week. Either way.
We’re already two weeks into the show, so I’m going to do a brief recap of the major events so far, and we’ll get into a weekly recap schedule next week.
The Premise, for those of you who don’t watch: A group of eligible bachelors compete against one another to date a single bachelorette. At the end of the show, she’s supposed to propose marriage to one of the guys. The show opens with all 27 bachelors meeting the bachelorette in a mansion in Beverly Hills, making it identical to the start of any porn movie made in the last 40 years.
The Bachelorette is Ashley Hebert, a 26-year old dental student who apparently was on the last season of The Bachelor with Brad, who apparently everyone hates for the fickle way he plays with high-stakes emotions:
In 2 episodes, I have learned that she never stops smiling, alcoholism runs in her family, and random groups of women in Las Vegas so love Ashley that they will intrude on her dates to wish her well.
Not every contestant stands out, which is probably why ABC makes Ashley eliminate seven guys on the first. But a few of the characters have already made an impression.
Jeff showed up on the first night wearing a mask, claiming that he wanted his connection to Ashley to be based on more than surface appraisals of looks. The other guys in the house did not react well to Jeff or the mask, and the way that he silently glided around the house made him seem like a character from the orgy scene in Eyes Wide Shut. The bigger problem, for me, is that I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE, JEFF. That mask covers 1/4th of his face, at best. We still know what his hair, eyes, nose, mouth and chin look like. So while he’s skulking around the mansion like the Phantom of the Opera — if the Phantom were a metrosexual entrepreneur from St. Louis — we are left to think about the Superman – Clark Kent phenomenon, where NO ONE knew that Clark Kent was Superman because Clark Kent wore…glasses.
Tim probably responded the worst to Jeff’s mask, making comment after comment about it, before enacting his master plan to win Ashley’s heart: getting absolutely hammered and then passing out on a chair near the pool. It was a daring strategy, and one that got him sent home before the rose ceremony. Fortunately, in less than 10 minutes of screen time, Tim was able to reinforce every negative stereotype that people hold about Italian-American New Yorkers:
Bentley is a good looking and successful, but also apparently a real mother fucker, as he has already confessed to the camera multiple times that he’s only in this to get in bed with Ashley. Rumor has it that there is a big blow-up between the two in episode three, and by “rumor has it,” I mean “Some people on the internet said.”
The rest of the guys are all running together right now, as they are white, sport a little stubble, and have vaguely masculine names like Coriander, Westington, and Testiclese. But they will start to distinguish themselves in the coming weeks, and we’ll get into a more detailed recap after the third episode. Check back next week.