Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Juan Pablo #7: Are We Done, Here?

I've been a little distracted. I have to confess that nobody on The Bachelor has ever done much for me, up to and including Juan Pablo. I don't go for the types who try too hard, as you have to if you're going to get a toe in the water of the Bachelor pool. If your shirt fits too well, if you're rockin' the of-the-moment euro-cut pants...my eye is gonna stray elsewhere. No, I'm afraid my heart right now belongs to the Norwegian curling team.
Now THAT is gonna get my attention. It says "I have a playful side, and don't take myself too seriously." But there's some real goods there, too, ladies:
Okay, so Blondie is a little young for me, and that shot doesn't do justice to a very well built upper body. I can still recommend him highly to somebody else. But this one:
Ah, this one is all mine. Thomas Ulsrud. Not even the coach can tempt me:
So I found myself feeling a bit impatient with Juan Pablo the Foolish and his harem. And the whole premise of the show sticking everybody in a really foolish situation. Give me SERIOUS. Like curling.

How is it not disturbing for a man to give six girls bikinis as his welcome-to-Miami gift?

Read: I'm giving you a gift for me! And I'll be really offended if you don't give me what I want! Ew. This is not the producers' fault. JP had a chance to say, "No, I can't put my name on that. It's creepy. I'd like to give them some flowers." And he didn't. Ladies of America, you can do better. Let your love affair with Juan Pablo be over.

Sharleen looks justifiably conflicted as she's looking at Nikki's teeny bikini bottoms:
"Hmm...I appreciate the thought, but...maybe not that thought." Her ambivalence continued through the first date. The voice in that solid head on her shoulders, the one that's been nagging at her the whole time, finally started screaming, "Deadline! Deadline!" Her conflict is a million years old: "Is this guy I'm crazy attracted to actually any good for me?" A question, perhaps, she should have asked about that puzzling underarm strap in her dress:
In the normal world, dating is supposed to give you time to have that conversation rationally. But in the Bachelor world, all the pressure is placed on the heart in a deliberate effort to shut out the brain. Don't think! Just feel! But, oh, if you really DO need to think, well, we'll give you some time to gaze thoughtfully over a balcony railing when you supposedly have only ten minutes to get ready and no earthly reason to otherwise happen upon the balcony:
Note to people who want successful relationships in the normal world: This is why you want to put off the physical relationship until the conversation with the voices in your head is settled. All the candlelight and making out drowns out the conversation. And producers certainly gave us no reason to doubt what the problem was: We viewers were subjected to just as much too much messy kissing as the (un)happy couple were. I'm surrounded by a lot of arranged marriages here in Saudi Arabia, and societal norms that are very uncomfortable with any public displays of affection. Couples walk near each other, but never touch. That made especially memorable a couple I saw walking out of IKEA recently. Even under all the robes it was clear that both were overweight, with that rolling gait I've come to associate with diabetic feet, certainly in their 60s, with fingertips linked. That's a very different kind of romance than ABC is insinuating into the public consciousness, folks. And a good sight more real.

Anyway, after giving herself a day to clear her head, Sharleen decided to go home in the company of a weird gerbil sachet.
(Does it smell like cage litter? Or a gerbil? Or some perfume version of a gerbil?) Juan Pablo didn't seem inordinately grieved by the departure of someone he professed having really strong feelings for, supporting the perception that he really is just in it for the fun. Nevertheless, it wouldn't surprise me to see this nag at him as something else to chase, helping to tank whatever "relationship" does come out of the show's finale. I give a 65% chance we'll see Juan Pablo and Sharleen caught together in the tabloids six months from now.

Nikki had the next solo date, which found fresh ways to make me squirm. Please explain to me the scenario in the normal world in which a single dad shows up at his daughter's dance recital, where his parents and the daughter's mother are already seated, plops down just before curtain time with one of the girls he's been dating in a whole flurry of dating that has the whole family talking, and it isn't horrifying. I quite liked this face from the ex:
Yeah, I'm sure she's TOTALLY fine with it.
Not uncomfortable one bit. She's not going to talk about this with her girlfriends AT ALL. When she's out with them on her BIRTHDAY. Which is TOMORROW.

Plus I'm getting increasingly uncomfortable with the daughter's role in this show, and with the entire family's willing participation in her commercial use. "I'm going to surprise her," JP said upon his return to Miami. Really? With cameras already in the house for no particular reason, watching her play with her grandparents? "Hey look! It's Daddy!" Yeah, no foolin'. And I can promise you that she's going to HATE that her six-year-old dance recital was on television, preserved for anybody to call up on YouTube, when she's twelve, or fourteen, or sixteen...or anything up to about forty, without her having any power to control it.

Nikki gushes quite a bit about what a great dad Juan Pablo is. Note to girls everywhere: There's a lot more to judging whether a guy will be a great dad than whether he interacts well with children. A guy can be playful and still completely irresponsible, shallow, shiftless, unfaithful, abusive, undisciplined...  Easy, now. I'm not saying Juan Pablo is any of those things, but just because a guy doesn't automatically know how to clown around with a four-year old doesn't mean he won't be kind, wise, and put the child before himself. Separate skill sets. Y'all be careful out there.

The group date with the remaining four girls devolved into a solo date with Andie that assured her of a hometown date. I'm pleased to still see Andie around, but with Sharleen's departure only one other would leave, and that put Chelsie clearly in the back seat. A nice girl with a bright future--despite feeling overlooked at 24--but without the intensity each of the others seemed to have. However, I do wonder whether Juan Pablo has any idea of how demeaning of every other relationship it is for him to talk about how hard it is to decide which one to cut. Silly. Of course not. What he's saying is that what he can "no be happy" if doesn't get to have ALL of them.

Question, though:
Who stuck that glass in her hand when they shoved her into the Breakup Limousine? Is this the kind of help Bachelor producers offer?

The net result is that Juan Pablo has assembled a puzzling final four: Two high-maintenance girls and two low-maintenance girls. Unsurprisingly, the two high-maintenance girls finally blew up at each other. This time I can't put the blame squarely on Clare. Nikki's decision to just walk out of the room when she didn't like a fairly innocuous comment of Clare's (though we can't know the whole context) was as much of an attention-grab as anything prior, showier divas have pulled. Ah, but then Clare's move to FOLLOW her and CONFRONT her, because she's "not going to let her get away with it" sets up a classic Battle of the Drama Queens. Cue finger pointing. Cue eye-rolls. Cue folded arms and pointed chins. In one corner, Clare the Entitled, who came home hurt from the group date because she "deserved" the rose. In the other, Nikki Snotty, who loves to crow about all the roses she's gotten in the past and can't wait to get away from all these beneath-her girls. The outcome? A REALLY silent cocktail party, in which Juan Pablo the Cad seemed oblivious to what might cause all that tension. They ought to put magazines on the table so the girls have something to do when they're not speaking to each other.

I have reason to hope for some just desserts next week on the hometown visits. I enjoyed seeing a woman I inferred to be Clare's sister saying, "I'm not going to let you manipulate Mom." What? Clare has a known history of manipulation? And might we be seeing Andie turn on Juan Pablo? Given those teasers, and the fact that the Norwegian curling team just got knocked out of the medal round, maybe I'll be sticking around a little longer after all.


  1. All I'm saying is, next week I'm making a hearty batch of popcorn at 7:45pm.

    1. If it were me, it'd be gone by 8:00. But now you've got me thinking about my own plans...hmm...breakfast nibbles...