Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Juan Pablo #5: And the Award Goes To...

It is customary to name prizes after the person who serves as a model of the thing the award recognizes. Just this week the NFL awarded its Walter Payton award. Baseball gives us the Cy Young, Roberto Clemente, and Hank Aaron awards  (as well as the Rolaids Relief Man, asking us to never forget the qualities and accomplishments of...oh, dear). Hockey has the grandest heritage of them all, with SIXTEEN of them. (Doubt me? Check here.) For The Bachelor, I believe we need only one, however. Ladies and gentlemen, may I propose the Tierra Memorial Tiara:

I was rather shocked to discover I couldn't find a picture of her wearing an actual tiara, so the sunglasses will have to do. We can make our own additions. First it should sparkle, obviously.
(Note the desperation to be at the center of somebody's world shown by the tattoo on her ring finger.)

Second, the tiara should have a liquid reservoir to pump tears out at any necessary moment.
And finally, it should have a pinch mechanism to pull one eye up in a coy sideways glance.

(Care should be taken with the placement of the eye-pull mechanism, or you'll give the wearer a reason to claim that she can't control her eyebrows.)

Unlike the sports awards, we can't wait to give the Tierra Tiara until the end of the season because the winning moment usually comes at the midpoint. No, the Tierra Tiara is more like a prize at a flower show, in which you wait until a bloom has reached its peak of blossom before submitting the entry. For this season of The Bachelor, the time is now. And the winner is...

Clare. In a runaway.

There are certain markers in a Tierra Tiara award recipient, and these are the same markers you find in the people who wreak social havoc in your own world.  If Bachelors were wise to the markers they'd avoid a lot of emotional torment and we'd miss a lot of classic programming. (This award could very easily also be called the Michelle Money Memorial or the Courtney Cup or the Vienna Vase.) So we'll keep them to ourselves, ladies, right? You, me, and the producers are the only ones who need to know:

1. Trouble making women friends. Yeah, there's always that woman in the house that nobody else likes. This is NOT because the other women are all mean/snobby/catty or whatever she claims. No, it's because the female sense about these crazies is magnified by the company of other women. The award nominee might manipulate one person away from another in normal life, but throw her into a pool of strangers at once and she's done for. The moment when Juan Pablo told the girls on the group date to pair up and Clare couldn't manage that? Yeah. Red flag, buddy.

2. Romances marked by intense instantaneous bonding. Award recipients usually haven't been single for very long when they come on the show. Whether they've gone through one boyfriend after another or just recently ended a tortured relationship, they know how to hook a man in a flash but not how to keep him in the boat, so to speak. (Though Clare did a fine job of GETTING him in the boat and then making sure he enjoyed his stay.) But ugh--the hair touches, the head tilts, the lip purses, the little sideways looks...sickening to women. Crack cocaine to men out lookin' fer love.

3. Narcissism. This one is tougher to diagnose, given the competition. However, it usually shows up in a heightened sense of entitlement, of thinking everything about the show exists to support her. The one who sneaks off to the Bachelor's room for some time nobody else gets? Or causes scenes that require the Bachelor to take time away from everybody else to tend to her? Yup. There's your girl. Tierra to a T.

4. Altered reality. There was a beautiful moment this week where JP tried to gently tell Clare that the private get-together, where she'd snuck off to his room to invite him out for a midnight swim, was no good. "I was just trying to do what I would if there was nobody else here and no cameras," she explained. He gently pointed out that they were not in that situation. Her response was complete shock and puzzlement. The real world had priority over the one she'd constructed to justify her actions? Not possible!

Now, with the award requirements in mind, let's review this week's show and see whether you agree with my nomination.

The group traveled to Vietnam by cartoon insta-plane and gave us a good Lesson for Ladies: Be judicious in sharing your scarf-tying tips:

Thought you were mortified by the girl who showed up at prom wearing your same dress? How about the FIVE who showed up on television wearing your same prominent accessory, styled the same way?
Giving them time to change, the first solo date was with Renee. What man doesn't want to date Jennifer Anniston? This is as close as you're gonna get, JP, and this one is actually your age. These no-adventure dates (shopping, taking in the culture) are great for travel shows but tend to be kinda boring. It's a shame, because I REALLY like Renee. Him saying that he kinda sees himself when he looks at her could be bad, but if he loves himself enough, could be good. Fingers crossed that the girl whose "palms hurt" (how adorable is that?) is there at the end.

The group date was the Cultural Experience tour. Clare, as mentioned earlier, failed to come up with a friend to paddle her wee Vietnamese boat with, and wound up with JP as her partner, backed into the weeds, making out, while the other girls had super-fun dates with each other. Chelsie exposed herself as a complete sucker by thinking that JP had actually scored lunch for all them at a Vietnamese home by asking a random stranger whether they could eat somewhere nearby. Not to be outdone in the d'oh department, however, was Cassandra. On discovering this close-knit community where the people worked the fields together and shared everything they owned, she revealed herself as a communist: "We should do this in America!" Clare, obviously, drew attention to herself by not touching the strange food and sustained herself by sucking on a few green beans. But she refused to be ridiculed, and confessed to the camera that she was "not going to change who I am for them!" Gonna keep her sparkle, that one.

For the Fancy Dress portion of the date, JP and Clare slipped away first, where they wound up in swimsuits in the "hot" tub together and she complained about being cold ("I need you! Take care of me!"). How long are these evenings, anyway? There were nine girls involved, and spending that much time with one wasn't unusual? I would have LOVED seeing the girls do as Kelly suggested, just marching over to the pool and handing Clare the rose. Oh, the curse of the funny girl. If Kelly had known she was on the way out, would she have been more willing to go with a splash?

We did get a clue about group date duration, and why the girls talked about being tired, when Clare showed up at JP's door at 4:00 a.m., presumably not long after the date's end, to request a private audience. She's never swum in the ocean! Stuck her toe in, she admitted, but never more than that. Oh, brother. So off they went, got a little more than wild in the waves, and JP was left at the edge of a regret whirlpool. I was a little surprised, given Juan Pablo's history of not allowing passion to drive the important things out of his mind:
Yup, that's our man, last season, one hand still in the popcorn while getting to know Des a little better.

The final solo date went to Nikki, much to Andi's disappointment (though previews for next week suggest she's going to end up just fine about it). Where he and Renee went ordinary, he and Nikki went extreme, rappelling down a chute into a cavern referred to and decorated as "Hell." Nikki was afraid to dance last week, and was now afraid to descend. Unfortunately, though probably not unassisted, she got stuck stating the Metaphor from Hell as she resisted stepping out over the darkness: "This is a lot like falling in love, trusting the other person, and also having very little control." What she failed to do, however, was see the metaphor all the way through to its end: "Slowly descending beyond all hope of rescue, becoming acclimated to more and more discomfort, and eventually ending up in hell, with your entire self and soul consumed."
She made up for it, though, by giving me what might be my favorite takeaway from this otherwise inarguably worthless show. In explaining why she's a pediatric nurse, she said "There's hope that comes with sick kids." No matter what else she does or where she ends up, that one insight has earned her my admiration. But then she put things back in their proper place by describing the way she feels around JP as being as if she's stuck her finger in a light socket. Clearly she's never stuck her finger in a light socket. I hope she doesn't end up caring for a kid who has, or she might not hit the right note of empathy. ("Oh, you must feel WONDERFUL!")

Finally, the cocktail party delivered the promised drama by giving us JP expressing his regret about their rendezvous to Clare, who had just slyly toasted "Finding love, falling in love, and making love" in front of the whole group. Oops! Here's where the Tierra Tiara is won.
  • Trouble making women friends? Check. Everybody comments on her crying without doing anything to comfort her.
  • Intense romantic bonding? Check. Let's remember this is still the same woman who got mauled by him immediately after saying she'd thrown up in her mouth.
  • Narcissism? Check. That "making love" part of the toast was downright creepy.
  • Altered reality? This is the moment where she gives us that utter, shattered-world bewilderment at being told that they're not, actually, alone together on this little adventure.
We have our winner! With her rose already in hand (granted BEFORE the wild-waves adventure), three others took the fall tonight. I will miss Kelly's wisecracks, but the funny girl never makes it to the end. Her dog and her job (one and the same, one must conclude) will be glad to have her back. Danielle, of the No Camera Time and Nothing to Say, stated the obvious when she said she could tell there wasn't a connection there. Alli, however, threw me, perhaps because I didn't know she and Andi were different people:
(Sorry, Andi, for the awkward moment I caught.) Yeah, the two of them showed up next to each other in the rose lineup and I thought, "That's Andi on the right and...Li'l Andi?" I like Andi, and hope JP likes her, too, so I'll hope her chances go up with the elimination of any identity confusion.

Previews for next week promise Clare parading her Tierra Tiara in all its glory. Juan Pablo and the human carnage all around may suffer, but I, for one, can't wait.


  1. I suddenly realized I enjoy your commentary more than I enjoy the show. Keep em coming! Thanks