Sunday, February 28, 2010

Episode 8: The Women Tell All

Chaos. Reigns.

Where to begin? I suppose we need to start with the fact that I watched this in dirty pajamas, alone, at 2:00 a.m. on a Friday night. All is full of love.

Media scholars love the word "convergence." It gives them a massive boner. Think I'm kidding? Just look, man!! But isn't this what the show is about?

I've actually forgotten why "convergence" applies here. I just wanted to say it to make myself sound smart.

It appears that former contestants continue to be paid to act like complete and utter slutbags with each other. They call it "Bachelor Reunion Parties." Ex-rejects from various seasons intermingle on a cruise ship, drink, and have sex with each other. I'm glad to see that the traditions the show instilled in these people are alive and well.

But what about this year's group of jilted beauties? No regrets, no bitterness. Elizabeth #2 and Ali own up to behaving like Grade-A assholes. Michelle tries to explain the crazy away. Rozlyn accuses Chris Harrison of hitting on her producer-BF's wife in New Zealand. In fact, Chris Harrison and Rozlyn engaged in behavior fitting of a bratty 8-year-old and her drunk father. I smell a conspiracy.

And why do I smell one, you may ask? Well, it turns out that ever since December, online tabloids-- the dirt of which has spilled over into OK! Magazine and US Weekly--have reported that Rozlyn's affair was staged, and that the reason that they wanted her gone was because she was complaining about not being allowed to talk to or about her son. She didn't make a convincing case on camera. But Chris Harrison is the version of Satan from Left Behind, so all bets are off.

Further tabloid juice! Remember the guy Vienna married in a shotgun wedding when she was 18, only to have it implode a couple of years later? That guy--a Marines sergeant--now claims she cheated on him with his best friend while he was stationed in Iraq, then drained their joint bank account to pay for her boob job. When ABC found this chick, they knew they had struck gold. Why else would she have made it to the final two?

Further evidence that ABC has now mastered the design of the show: the outtakes make all the women look like Real Human Beings. Ashleigh even calls Vienna a "Fucking white trash trailer bitch." Pure. Goddam. Gold. Lenny Bruce would be proud.

Ali wants her shit to come out smelling like the rose she never got because she comes to Vienna's defense by saying that "she's a real human being who doesn't deserve that kind of treatment." Excuse me, Ali, but that's my phrase, and I don't appreciate you misusing it. (BTW, totally agree with Bill Simmons: this broad is the next Bachelorette.)

So now here's a question: I think, from what meager evidence I've been able to gather, that roughly 10 million people watch this show every week. Major supermarket tabloids--OK!, US Weekly, People--write about it obsessively and devote cover stories to it. Somebody must provide me with real ratings numbers. And then tell me how much this thing is really part of the cultural conversation. Because for my money, nothing speaks to this moment of ours better than Jersey Shore.

So that's it. One more to go. On Monday night, I'll be liveblogging the season finale of The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love. I'm prayin' I get a chubby out of the whole proceedings.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Episode 7: The Dark Side of Hell

"Definitely Ali for the next Bachelorette. That's why they rigged that whole "she has to choose between Jake and her job!" episode - they told her, 'Hey, if you do this and walk away from Jake, you're the next Bachelorette.' I am convinced."

-Bill Simmons

Falling in love. What a bunch of horseshit.

With each passing day, it's getting harder and harder to be funny about this. The reason is that there are no more big, goofy games to play. The playing field gets smaller and smaller, the feelings are supposed to get more and more "intense," and because of this, the creepiness goes up and up and up.

And why is it creepy? Because this show is a construction. It is not real. Those are not real words or deeds we see on screen. Those are not real feelings we see expressed. Everything has been shaped by the show's production team.

So what conclusions does ABC want us to draw about love, sex, gender, and marriage? Love is values. Love is God. Love is chastity. Love is respect. Love is commitment. Love is monogamy.

But wait! What's this? A note from Chris Harrison: "Dear Jake and [insert bimbo's name here]: Welcome to the beautiful island of St. Lucia. I hope that you are enjoying your stay. Should you decide to forgo your separate rooms tonight, here is a key to our Fantasy Suite." He even had it typed so he wouldn't have to re-write it every time.

So that's it. "We must stay chaste, but if you don't fuck me tonight, I'm sending you home." Ah, but ABC gets to have its cake and eat it, too! Because they're only spending the night together! No berry bushes are gonna get pollinated! How can you possibly think that, you perverted liberals? (Wink wink, nudge nudge).

But that's not all! Tenley...dear, sweet, innocent, bruised, Jesus-loving, mild-Asperger's Tenley. All she wants is for Pavelka to conrol her: "You can lead me in life...that's what I want." For those 14-year-olds out there: never forget that your self-worth is only defined by a man.

And the audacity, the audacity, for Jake to actually follow the script and say that he's "falling in love with each and every woman here." And he treats them like they're the only ones. But he gets to make out and frolick and fuck the other two. You participate in this. You let this happen. You bought in.

I fear for Jake's legs now that Gia is gone. (I'mma totally hit that girl up next time i'm in NYC.)

Somewhere, Althusser is kickin' his feet up, pouring himself a brandy, lighting up his pipe, and laughing his ass off. "See? Told ya so."

Friday, February 26, 2010

Episode 6: All Falls Down

I'm not sure if there is anything left in America that The Bachelor can pretend to love but by which it is secretly disgusted.

You got a classic American ethnic stereotype to hold up for cultural engraving? We will ingest it and shape the subsequent poo into this episode!

Noo Yawk Italian: Check. (The stepbrother even threatens to break Pavelka's legs if he breaks his stepsis's heart! Awwww! [I'm also pretty sure the stepbro' got rejected for the cast of Jersey Shore.)

Simple, hearty New Englander: Check. (I may have a soft spot for this one, though, for extremely perverse reasons.)

Vaguely hippy-ish 50-somethings from Oregon: Check. (Real Human Beings! Male tears! Awesome glasses! Artsy, I think! Is this what it's really like, Eric?)

Modern Florida Redneck with an Electra Complex: Check. (Jake really respects and admires Vienna's dad for essentially acting like a dick to him. Jake is such a good man!) I think Vienna's dad finally nailed the "welcome home" tears on take 4 or 5.

Gia and Ali's dads aren't in the picture. Tenley and Vienna's are. Jake asked their fathers for their daughters' hands in marriage. He did not do the same for Gia and Ali's moms. TRADITION! (Give it a real Jerry Bock kick, kid.)

And why is Ali gracing tonight's photo? 'Cause her job threatened to fire her if she didn't quit the show. And she just didn't know what to do! Awwwwwww! I think Jake wasn't able to get the "shocked and saddened" face just right until take 6.

More than any other episode thus far, I wonder if ABC and the show's producers, writers, editors & music supervisors were able to completely control narrative and meaning here. Sure, they threw some banjo music underneath Pavelka & Vienna's Everglades boat ride, and some nice faux Sinatra for his & Gia's midtown montage. But I'm not sure if they were able to effectively conceal just how awful a human being Jake really is.

The official narrative is Mr. Nice, Sweet, Loving, Loyal, Traditional Hercules. In fact, he is a conniving, manipulative, misogynistic, racist, lustful narcissist. He begged Ali not to go, despite the fact that he couldn't guarantee her that losing her job for him wouldn't be for nought. He acted warm, sincere, loyal, and monogamous to every single woman and their families. He was heartbroken one second, then excited and joyous for the final three women the next.

I thought episode 3 was difficult to write about. That ain't got shit on this.

I've seen what ABC wants me to understand is America. I have no more hope.

This blog has helped me healthily channel Davis Rage--those of you who know of it or have seen it require no further explanation. For those unfamiliar, pray that you never see it.

This episode unshackled Davis Rage. I'm very, very afraid.

(P.S. Ali is totally jockin' Blanchat's wristwatch style; what a ho'.)

Episode 5: Into the Vortex

I had a dream last night. I was hanging from my living room ceiling, barbed wire wrapped around my neck.

Several hours before, I had watched the glorious city of San Francisco turned into little more than an R-rated version of Disneyland. Coincidence? Yeah, that's what I thought. Somebody should call GloboChem to pitch that idea, tho.

Yes indeed, our dear Mr. Jaw-of-Steel-Jackoff paraded his final five fantasy spray-tan divas around the jewel of the Bay Area. Strap on your porous chastity belts; it's gonna be a bumpy night.

Looking out over Coit Tower with Tenley and Pavelka, I began to see that Tenley isn't mentally challenged. She's just a double for the real Tenley whose body Chris Harrison dumped over the side just moments before the two lovebirds arrived. The splat's more satisfying than a Spanish mission. ABC, however, totally fucked up Tenley's blonde look. I guess you can't win 'em all.

You wanna know what's even better than that? Chinatown is "like being in a foreign country!" Great! You're so perceptive and genuine, Jake, you racist fuck.

We got so close to seein' peen in vagine, but Jake just had to send Vienna away 'cause he was so courteous to Gia's feelings, so lonely upstairs in the castle without her Man. Never forget: Jake is such a good guy!

Before the writers struck gold with the Ali-Vienna drama, it looked as though Ali just might be a Real Human Being (still gotta find the scientific Latin name for the show's ever-endangered species). If the last few episodes weren't enough, this San Francisco native puts the nail in the coffin: "[Jake,] you showed me your home away from home [aviation]. And I thought that this would be my opportunity to show you my home away from home, which is my neighborhood." I'll give you a minute to let that soak in.
I think that this would be a good time to talk about the massive visage which you see above you. That is the face of "host" Chris Harrison. Who is this Douchey McSuckshaft, you may ask? He's from Oklahoma, as well as the host of TV Guide's red carpet awards coverage. That's about it. On the show, he appears out of nowhere with a glass of champagne in his hands. He may or may not be an alcoholic.

He is also acutely aware of just how stupid all of these people are. When Jake is on his last rose of the night, Chris swoops into the room to remind him of this fact, then swoops out. It turns out that Jake has the IQ of a seven-year-old child with ADHD. They lace his booze with Adderall.

As for Corrie...well, befitting the aquarium where Jake took her on her date, she is now sleeping with the fishes. Ooh, good line. I should save that for my screenplay.

Not that anyone didn't see that coming. ABC took great pains to make sure that footage of her stayed on the cutting room floor throughout the series. Now that it's down to four, there's no room for the "she's been on all episode and she's so great, I can't believe Jake would break her heart" psyche-out.

Did you know that every time Jake gives out a rose, an angel guns down a Laotian baby? Next time, think before you encourage this sort of behavior:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Episode 4: The St. Valentine's Day Massacre


"The signifier cannot contain the signified." Oooh, sounds like this Negative Nancy didn't get a rose.
Rugged mascuinity=Abercrombie, hair product, and a nice cabin behind a sand dune. BTdubs, did I mention I'm gay?

There is just, like, so much feeeeeeling going on in this group right now. Gia is in a fairy tale. Tenley desires to form a family. Jesse needs to get her dune buggy out of a rut. Ali and Vienna are on the verge of makin' out in front of everybody. How much longer before Jake proposes an orgy in front of the Grauman's Chinese Theatre? His lips say tradition, decency, and faith; his dong sez "Let me fill more holes than the golf course in Caddyshack." And man, those are hot lips. 

It was a bloodbath, full of tears and angst. The writers have found their footing again. Vienna and Ali is the showdown; everyone else will be butchered. Momma Ella--along with the remaining three who ABC left on the cutting room floor to ensure that no one would care when they got axed--did indeed get axed. But it was really really hard for Jake! He even wept! He is such a good guy. I hope you remember that the next time he tries to pick you up in a singles bar in Westwood.

At the end of the day, don't you really wish that Jake would just suck it up and marry Johnny Weir?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Episode 3: Konichiwa, Bitches

Hey Jake.

I don't know if I can be funny tonight. I think you've completely drained it from me.

I feel deceived a little bit. I just can't understand how you could do something like this.

Couldn't you tell the producers to show up to the house early enough to tell Kathryn to take her glasses off, or for Elizabeth to pancake over her freckles? Those bitches looked so fug!

You can't just keep kissing all of these girls who want to kiss you. Are you serious? They'll get jealous! Look at Elizabeth! Look at Ali! Look at Michelle! Don't you care about their feelings at all? It's not OK! You're supposed to be traditional, you classless fuck.

I've just got two words for you, just two words: Jon. Lovitz.

If you had convinced ABC to cut back on the candle budget, you might've been able to get Dan Aykroyd to host the group date. Throw me a bone, Pavelka. After all, you're not "using" it (even though Vienna was definitely feeling it through yr swimsuit in the pool).

Here's the thing, Jake: the writers are losing the thread of their storylines. Why force the antagonism with Vienna? Is she that horrible? If you want the audience to take Ali's side, then you can't just have Ali talking about how shitty Vienna is; you gotta show it too. The writers are smarter than that.

Oh oh, excuse me, I forgot. We're just seeing how much women really behave when men aren't around: they love each other while simultaneously stabbing each other in the back. (Maybe you can dig through outtakes and paste something together for Ep. 4; the editors are tighter than 'Flash on the turntables.)

But you may be wondering, dear Mr. White-Pants-Reactionary: why put up a pic of the glorious visage of Michelle, the Alex Forrest who just wanted to give her momma some fresh grandchildren to roast over an open fire? Because, my friend, you must stare at the consequences of your actions. Do you really think that by sending her home, you can eliminate the Clingy, Desperate Woman from the lexicon of the Eternal Feminine? Silly boy. You underestimate the powers of the ghost of Walt Disney. All's I'm saying is that if she comes after your future wife, make sure you keep her head under the bathwater until the bubbles stop.

As I write this, a single tear is descending De Beauvoir's cheek. Have a Keystone Light on me, honey.

(P.S. In addition to Michelle and Elizabeth holding their lighters up high for themselves, Valishia got the boot as well. I'm pretty sure her post-rose interview was the most footage of her used in all 3 episodes combined. Like, seriously: she seemed like a nice person. I bet Max, Clare, Jon, Laura, Gavin and Eric woulda had fun with her at Dave & Buster's. That's all's I'm sayin'.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Episode 2: Attack of the Cha-Cha (that means vagina.)

It's almost like reading Milton all over again.

Jake Pavelka discovers that his blonde angels are not pure. They have in fact been tempted by Satan! Or some rock-hard quick-dick. Can't really figure out which. How can ABC allow for such harlots and whores in front of their cameras? Mickey Mouse is lookin' through his telescope across the street, stainin' the sheets.

I think that every ten minutes or so, Jake and the babes toast something. Being a drunk: now that's traditional. Good work, Pavelka.

O wait a second, Xtina's blasted and confessing. That's not OK, Jake? Is that 'cause you can't force her to stay the fuck in the kitchen if she's on the sauce?

The editors are Emmy-less too. The reverse angles, the eyeline matches, the reaction shots, the cross-cutting--William S. Hart is crying his goddamn eyes out.

Super-pretty aerial shot of Griffith Observatory. I think I saw Jim gettin' in a knife fight. Stop him, Plato!

Despite surfaces, Ali just may actually be a Real Human Being. (I believe that this should be a classified species.) In other words, she's totally fucked.

I wonder if any of these bimbos are aware of the fact that Mr. Aw-Shucks-Shithead won't be spontaneously taking them to private concerts in the park when they start their lives together? BTW, was ABC's budget so depleted at this point that they could only get Chicago? I bet they woulda had to pay the band double if Ali's boobage flew outta that Louisiana maid-of-honor dress. This is a family show, you oozing c*#tjackers.

Elizabeth is better than Wallace Stevens. There. I said it. I DARE you to challenge that.

Ashley is, "like, almost done with [her] Ph.D." I can't wait to study Dostoevsky with her. You get what I'm saying? Yeah, you get what I'm saying.

Jake's gonna find a boiling rabbit on the stove. "All my love, Michelle." If only the writers had been able to milk that crazy storyline a little further...Oh, sorry, I meant that the cameras simply captured her true essence. Yeah, yeah, let's go with that.

So what's this Fall from Grace all about? Look above. Yeah. She fucked one of the show's producers behind Jake's back. Slutbag. I guess she's got nothin' goin' for her now. Except for shackin' up at Hef's place. U go, gurrrl! (BTW, what's the over/under on how much ABC paid Roz to fuck said producer?)

But witness the brilliance of it all! The jealous reaction shots throughout the episode; the setup of Roz's aggression; her "bewitching" of Jake. All the pieces were in place to the degree that we look like morons for not predicting it.

(P.S. Not really sure why the rest of the girls are crying about this. Were they all pining for Roz? Of course not! They just care about Jake that much! Get off the fucking couch and focus!)

By the way, did you know that each episode is 90 minutes, rather than the standard 45? All the more to bury your...heart in. Get your head outta the gutter, Pavelka, you sick fuck.

I wonder if Crate & Barrel has those poolside throw pillows in stock...

Pretty sure all women over 135 pounds are now rose-less. Told ya.

I'm starting to think that I've misunderstood what I've been seeing. Instead of cynically manipulating the American people into believing the myths of fairy-tales, The Bachelor is in fact actively creating a textual system, a grand syntagmatique that uses the sign as a way to acknowledge that love is indeed little more than a game.

Ah, I'm just kiddin'. Fuck this show.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Episode 1: Night of the Living Dead

So, for some reason, ABC felt that 8 of the contestants didn't earn their own little intro. segment. Whatever. Just makes more work for me, those Disney fuckers:

Jesse: Bubbly! Canadian! She may as well have pushed him to the ground and started dry-humping right then and there. Or maybe on the hood of the limo.

Kathryn: I'm pretty sure her dress went out of style at debutante balls in 1959. I'm also pretty sure she's hiding bags of oats underneath it. Blonde #7.

Corrie: "Whadya think about Kissi(ng)mee?" Uncomfortable reaction shot. "Kissimmee Florida, silly!" How the writers of this show don't have a truckload of Emmys is beyond me. Blonde #8.

Valishia: Hasn't she gotten the hint from Tiana? Dinosaurs don't last, gurrl!

Channy: Uh oh. She ain't white. That wouldn't be very traditional, now would it, Jake?

Ashleigh: Really? She pulled the "oops, I tripped right into your arms, OMG!" move? Oh, and that dress definitely shows off her cooch. Blonde #9.

Stephanie: She looks like Miley Cyrus. That makes Jake a pedophile. Throw that pervert in jail.

Sheila: Any woman in a gown and aviators will probably short-circuit anything bad I could possibly say about her. Oh wait: she has the eyes of a zombie. Blonde #10.


I think Tenley may have Asperger's. Jake will take her far; he is such a good guy!

The things the writers have the women say to him as they stroll out of the limo would get me laughed out of any bar in New York. What's worse, they don't even get a beer from the interaction.

Stylistically, the show is clearly a descendant of Citizen Kane. Sweeping crane shots make furniture appear next to swimming pools that just somehow weren't there before. Imagine that. Don't you always keep a chaise lounge and rows of candles right next to the glimmering water?

Corrie: "What are your top three priorities?"
Jake: "God, family, and friends."
I like one of those, one with conditions, and the other can go fuck itself. Can you guess which corresponds to which?

Ashley apparently needs to take "drastic action," expressed by a flight attendant's uniform. Jake claims that she must be really smart. Seriously.

Would ABC have edited out any boob-flashes during the "Blondes vs. Brunettes" football game? Of course! This is a family show, you fucking retards. (Whoa, I hope Palin isn't reading this.)

What do you think is worse for the state of women in America: this, or Twilight?

I retract the comment from the last post. The DVD fireplace by the pool is way better than the one in the house.

And that other couple from The Bachelorette? Do they want to rub salt on the wounds? I pity the poor disco ball that got turned into her dress. Ed smells like a piece of pond scum. Kinda like Yaniv Shulman.

Tenley (teary-eyed): "I don't know if I was ready to kiss someone new just yet." Tenley, by the way, was the one who asked for said kiss. Her mental condition is still in question.

So the real people all got shit-canned: Gap-tooth, Guardsman, 31-year-old, NBA dancer, Cambodian. ABC preserves their ratings.

Their dresses make the ladies look like they didn't get the memo about what the bridesmaids were supposed to wear. Get that sly joke? Yeah, I knew you could never be a contestant on The Bachelor.

I'm pretty sure that watching this show expedites Alzheimer's symptoms.

The women have arrived. Take a look at that photo. I'm pretty sure somebody fell alseep on the cloning button.

So, who are they?

Ali: From Massachusetts. She likes running down San Francisco streets in a loose dress. It's unclear whether she was wearing a bra.

Alexa: She orgasms when thinking about riding her motorcycle. She's blonde too.

Tenley: Apparently a dancer, but insists on doing it in a bikini. On the beach. While cooing. She also feels the need to mention that she was a virgin until her first marriage. This is a "family show," remember.

Elizabeth: She's an Air National Guardsman in DC. She looks, sounds, and acts like a real human being. She'll be denied a rose by Week 2, at the latest.

Rozlyn: She's a model. She mentions that some women tend to be catty. She's gonna be the drama-free one in the house, guaranteed. Blonde #3.

Christina: She's "a little bitchy." How long until she and Rozlyn start to dance? Xtina's also carrying some extra weight than the other women. Jake will certainly look past that. They'll look so good together in the minds of ABC. He is such a good guy.

Vienna: An unemployed, self-described "very intelligent 'marketing representative.'" Is that a real job? Or is she paid to "market" herself by strutting up and down the beach in a bikini? It is unclear at this point. Hopefully, Jake will get the right answers. Blonde #4.

Ashley: 29 years old, and her mother is still sending her care packages. I'm not talking about "found some old books of yours in the closet, and here are some homemade cookies and a great polenta soup recipe I just tried" kinds of care packages; they're more like "here are a whole closetful of low-cut dresses I just bought for you at Bloomie's so you can give that suitor of yours a 10-foot hard on, because goddammit, I'm 48 and I need grandchildren NOW" kinds of care packages. Come the fuck on.

Elizabeth #2: She's "not OK" watching a guy she's pursuing kiss other girls. Well, I guess you and your implants should've stayed home to bask on the beach during Magic Hour, alone.

Ella: A Tennessee belle lookin' for a stepfather for her tow-headed little boy. I quote: "I know what I want, and I will do anything to get it. He is coming home with me." This doesn't sound too traditional to me. But Jake is such a good man! Won't he love her because he pities her? She'll last 'till Week 3, only 'cause Jake's concerned about the Fatal Attraction potential.

Gia: NYC, motherfuckers. She seems healthy in interview, the usual high-class-ho exhibitionist in the "B-Roll." She could go far.

Kimberly: Another full-figured girl. But she's a dancer for the OK City Thunder.

Emily: Oh, she's sooo adorable. Gap-tooth!

Tiana: Pro for Jake: She's Canadian. Con for Jake/ABC: She's 31. Blonde #5.

Caitlyn: At this point in the montage, ABC's running outta time before they hit the commercial break, so I don't really know what she's about. Maybe a professional beauty queen?

Kirsten: "I will definitely become a bitch if someone pisses me off." Blonde #6.

Michelle: "I'm 25 and I am ready to be a wife." I don't think she gets out much.

The music, the cutting, the script; Barthes & Debord woulda had a field day with this shit.

The group is set. Now it's time for Jake to meet these "beautiful" ladies! (quotations don't apply for Elizabeth #1)

P.S. How much does that fake mansion cost to keep up on the ABC lot from season to season? I gotta get that fireplace DVD program they use.

P.P.S. I did not count 25 ladies....

And So It Begins...

This guy looks like a real asshole.
I've been informed in a gauzy montage that he's an airline pilot and got dumped on The Bachelorette. I'm weeping, seriously.
ABC knows how to work pity, though, so I guess they gave him his own show.
Only that this ain't no normal The Bachelor. This is The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love. I wish I were kidding.
So who is this chump, exactly? His name is Jake. He's a "nice guy." He's got pretty pectoral muscles. He's got very white teeth. He takes long, lonesome walks along the highway in Dallas. 'Cause that indicates that he's romantic. And hurting. Is there anyone in the world who thinks that shows like these have any connection to indexical "reality"?
Turns out he wants a "traditional marriage and family like the kind I grew up with." Cue photographs of Jake in a high school football uniform, Jake at graduation, and Jake in a 10-gallon Stetson. So apparently, fairy-tale romances are white, heteronormative, and have nothing to do with how people actually behave. This whole thing feels really perverse.
Gimme Joe Millionaire any day.