Sunday, April 3, 2016

Jane Eyre as serial killer

Finished Jane Steele last night, the book about Jane Éyre as a serial killer governess, although that's an exaggerated description from the book jacket that's meant to cause you to pick it up. She's more like Jane Éyre as Batman--she only does away with those who are nefarious and deserving of death--rapists, child abductors, mass murderers.  The first-person narrator in the contemporary version does address the reader directly, but instead of stating, "dear Reader, I married him," she writes "dear reader, I murdered him." She's not a sociopath though; she feels guilt and hates herself for these mostly random or opportunistic slayings.

It's hard not to compare it to another Victorian  Gothic retelling I read recently; Pride, Prejudice and Zombies, which weaved together real text from the Austen novel and sprinkled in zombies. Not enough zombies for me and the book didn't play that up enough somehow. It also had illustrations and I couldn't think who it would appeal to. For people who liked P&P the original, the plot had slight adjustments but didn't much stray from the original tale or tone and so you more or less were familiar with what was going to happen. For zombie fans, the formality of the language was probably off-putting. For feminists, it was pretty cool to read about young society ladies who were trained to be zombie slayers and whose main goal was not to marry, but to kill the undead. The other thing both books do is to stay close to the time period and tone of that time; they're not re-shaping the core story in modern times.

Jane Steele deals with the parallels by mentioning the original book throughout (quoting it at the beginning of every chapter), but also acknowledging that the character of Jane has read the novel and is fully aware of the irony of her life unfolding in similar ways (she's an outcast orphan, she is sent to a terrible boarding school, she works as a governess), so that acknowledgement felt skillfully handled. There's also things that are completely different, like the child is a horse-loving girl of Indian Descente, that the Rochester figure (named Charles Thornfield in this version. If you'll recall, the mansion in JE was Thornfield Hall) does not have a secrete wife, and then there's also a whole other story about a treasure chest of dolls covered in stolen jewels and the war in India that I didn't understand and care much about.  The story may have other parallels that I didn't pick up on, since I haven't read Jane Éyre in 15 yeas and tend to confuse it with Wuthering Heights (I vaguely recall a character named Catherine,  a lot of talk about the heath and the moors, an unhappy ending?).

Think how much time the write must have spent with the original, and how she had to decide how closely to adhere to certain plot lines o move away from them without completely wandering off the track. I should take advantage of this trend and find a novel that I loved as a kid and rewrite it to include vampires or where the genders are flipped. What book would that be? Not Little Women because I don't think I could stomach re-reading that book 100 times. I never liked Beth because she was so meek and Amy in the book was a little snot. Ideas welcome.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The advantages of little dogs

I won't write a blog post that explains how little dogs are better than big dogs, because I've never owned a big dog and so have no basis for comparison. I also never, ever thought I would be happy with a little dog, as they made me think of snobby older white woman on Madison Avenue who carry their Pomeranian's like accessories. Little dogs didn't seem like real dogs--real dogs are water-loving golden retrievers or bear-like huskies or thick-necked Rottweiler's. But then, because we were trying to ease Luke into the idea of owning a dog, we went with the smaller model. Also, the hypoallergenic model, which is a whole other issue altogether, because we paid for him at a puppy store that may be an abuse factory for mommy dogs, and so we cannot say, "He's a rescue." People like to say this when you ask them their breed of dog. "Oh, we don't know. We rescued him from certain death." They like to put bumper stickers on their cars that read "Who rescued who?" I am all for dog rescue, and would like to be able to smugly say the same, but our dog cost $800 and we picked him out and bought him without anyone asking our landlord if it was okay. And he doesn't shed and we got to train him from the start. And I still wish I could say he was a rescue.

But, so, here is what I like about having a dog who weighs 15 pounds:

1. You can pick him up and cradle him like an infant. I am not unaware that this dog is a baby substitute for us, and so I am cautious about dressing him in little bonnets and booties, even though I would love to provide a wardrobe.  But I do like that I can scoop him up and hold him, can put him in my lap to watch TV and also that the little girls who live next door can carry him around like a dolly.

2. Even when he's pulling at his hardest on the leash, he has very little power.  He's tenacious and so always going after a squirrel or a bird or a plastic bag blowing in the wind ala American Beauty, but even when he's urging forward so hard that he's going sideways, it's not difficult to keep him under control.

3. People are not afraid of him.  Because of his size and features, he will always look a little like a puppy and he is not threatening. When dog lovers see him, they automatically coo. Children like him, he likes children.  He gives dog-dom a good name by being friendly and adorable.

4. Smaller dogs live longer. It's an unfortunate reality that you give your hearts to these creatures who don't live that long, comparatively. This is especially true for bigger dogs, whose live expediencies are sometimes between 8 and 10 years. Little dogs, for some reason I have not researched, have a longer life expectancy and don't start walking with that sad old dog gait dogs with longer legs suffer from (though the vet warned us that Chap might get hip dysplasia. Sometimes, we rotate his hips just to joints in squeaky good shape).

5. Obviously, cleaning up after a smaller dog is easier.

6. They can't knock you over Orr make you legs buckle if they leap at you. We've been bad about not training him to stay off people's legs, and part of the reason for the laziness is that no one seems to care. Except one time when he did it to this lady waiting at the bus stop who was wearing white jeans. I went inside and brought her a bottle of seltzer to take out the mud.

I still love all dogs. I will still cross the street to pet any dog and I still risk facing disfigurement on a routine basis for dogs tied up outside, but I've changed my mind about the value of a smaller dog. Chipper-Chap in particular.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The brain on gym

I like a routine at the gym, and I like limitations on time. I go between three or four times a week and do either 40 or 45 minute of cardio and sometimes a few sit ups and weights. But most of the time that I'm there, I'm dying for it to be over and having the same thoughts. It's not like other solitary activities--like if I'm walking or in the shower, my brain works on solving problems or maybe I think about a story or a to-do list. At the gym, maybe because my body is fully occupied, my brain can't organize itself around a set of coherent or useful thoughts. Here's basically what circulates through my brain:

1. Don't look at how much time is left. Don't look at how much time is left. Keep going, don't worry how much time is left. Oh, god, that's all I've done so far?

2. Who the hell keeps dropping the weights? He should be banned from the gym. I am going to go over there after I get off this machine and tell that guy that he's lifting too much. If he has to release them from his grip at the very last second, it's too much. Then, he'll probably thank me for letting him know or else he might punch me in the face. 

3. I hate Pandora. How many songs have I skipped already? Haven't I said thumbs down to Ben Lee, like, 50 times? Okay, I like Jagged Little Pill, but I don't want to hear it every day. three times a year would be plenty. Why do I keep getting the advertisement for Vanity Fair napkins? What could I have possibly searched for on the web that makes this ad seem geared for me?

4. I really shouldn't watch Dateline. It makes me doubt humanity. No way are they going to find this girl alive, though the family still has hope. Also, it's weird that TLC airs both Dateline investigation shows and Say Yes to the Dress. Both shows are about marriages, essentially, because the murdered woman on Dateline is usually killed by her husband and they often show footage from the dead woman's wedding reception to illustrate happier times. Maybe they should combine the shows. Say Yes to the Dress and Get a DNA Test. How could I encapsulate this idea into a clever tweet?

5. How much longer? Should I go up a level? Please, no, God, don't make me go up a level. If I go up a level, that means I only have to do 30 minutes. And, if I drink all of this water, I'll have to pee every ten minutes for the rest of the day, but water is good for me, so I should drink the water, but I have to make sure to ration it out so I don't drink all of the water before I finish the work out. How many more minutes?

That's it. Over and over and over and over and over until it ends. It does help if you go with friends. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

the most zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ever

Oh, HUGE plug to get us to watch After the Final Rose TV show as both sets of divorced parents are in the studio audience as is Ben's evangelical, snake-handling pastor, Saint Amos. Not going to work on this lady, because I can barely stand two hours and refuse to subject myself to an hour of recaps followed by not a marriage.

 JoJo appears in yet another in a seemingly endless assortment of drooping shoulder shirts. Both women have been given matching denim short-shorts and Ben is going to have to choose his wife based on their asses, lined up side by side.

Ben can't believe that he's put himself in this situation where he's in love with two women and his parents have been flown to Jamaica to give him benign advice and platitudes. Hey, did you know that this whole show has been filmed in six weeks? And so by the time it gets narrowed down to these two ladies, that means maybe they've known each other about five weeks. I don't even shave every five weeks (that's not true).

Dad tells Lauren that Ben has twinkle in his one eye that he hasn't seen since he was hit in the other eye by an arrow in Eagle Scout camp.

Mom asks Lauren is she's seen the side of Ben where he "flies into a rage and has to have a restraining order put on him?" Lauren says, "Yes, we talked about that on our first date when he slapped me." They laugh and clink chardonnay glasses.

Ben asks Mom what he should do. Mom shakes her head and goes, "How in the heck are you going to choose?" That's not what my mom would say.

Switch to Lauren  and Ben. Lauren is saying, with Valley Girl inflection, "I, like, literally don't want to get married more than, like, around one time or so. And after having met your parents, like, today, I want to literally get married to all of you."

Here comes JoJo. She's wearing a short-short floral pantsuit. There must have been a bargain sale at the local florist shop, because both women have brought flowers, though JoJo's arrangement wins because it's in a conch shell. Dan likes JoJo better. Actually, what he said was that he likes her straight on, but he doesn't like her nose from the side. In this episode, JoJo comes across as more authentic than Lauren, which seems crazy. It appears that Ben's dad may like JoJo better because she cried. Mom remains skeptical. I think the mom and JoJo might be holding hands.Will she be able to cry in front of mom too? Yes!!! If she doesn't get picked by Ben, she can always go on a telenovela. Have I mentioned how much I hate the sound effects of kissing?

Mom and Dad weigh in by giving zero guidance. Dad says Lauren was very polished and a great gal. But then he says that JoJo considers him to be a best friend and JoJo was able to respond to dad's questions before he even thought of them. Mom says she loves them both too. Dan thinks he should flip a coin. JoJo heads, Lauren B. tails.

A black man brings Lauren across the water wearing even shorter shorts than before to where Ben is getting sick over the side of an unmanned catamaran. They just keep saying they love each other. Unfortunately, Ben notices that Lauren has hammertoes and that kills it for him (that's a Dan quote). They snuggle and Ben starts crying on Lauren's shoulder because everything is in two different places, his brain, his heart, his testicles. Lauren says, Uh-huh.

They meet up again later. Ben has totally given up and wears a hoodie sweatshirt with his chest hair showing. For some reason, the producers have decided to cue up the volume on the crickets in the background. They face each other really close until both of them are cross-eyed. Ben is saying something boring about how she has stood behind him and that allowed him to get to know her better and also fall in love with her. We start to feel bad for Lauren, but then we remember that if she were given a quiz about Ben, starting with his birthday, his middle name, what he's like at a sporting event or his political leanings, she wouldn't be able to readily answer.

JoJo calmly walks toward Ben in white short shorts and a dayglo green shirt with bright yellow bikini straps.  A homeless Jamaican asks for help and they roar by in a Jeep. I can't stop staring at JoJos cleavage which (I think) is real. Ben takes her to a jungle waterfall. She's way less of
a downer than Lauren. They make out under a rock. Ben again brings up that he's not sure who he wants to propose to. She hugs him, instead of punching him in the face, which is what she should do.

Shot of product placement of Sandals resort surrounded by men with machine guns. They are together in candlelight. This may be when we discover that Ben has multiple personality disorder. No one gets this agonized about two people he's known for a month and a half. This is all FAKE. Also, every time he says, JoJo, I think he's talking to a small dog. Can she not start going by Josephine? Or Sarah? They're sitting on the bathroom floor so that they can get privacy and time away from the cameras, even though that's silly because both of them are still fully miked. Ben says, "JoJo, look at me, I am sitting on the bathroom floor at Sandals, if that doesn't prove my love to you, I don't know what would."

I am not insuinuating that the person named JoJo is a dog, just that she goes by a name that reminds me of a Bichon poodle mix.

Thirty five minutes left. Ben wakes up feeling like this is the biggest day of his life and this makes him unable to put on a shirt. He runs into Neil, who I guess is the wedding ring guy from Steven Singer. Flashbacks of JoJo in a rain storm, on a baseball field, kissing on a couch, kissing in front of huge building with fireworks in the background. Then Lauren in a hot tub, Lauren at a hoe down, Lauren in a top knot. The ring is the deciding factor. He now knows who he is more fully in love with after looking at spiral, diamond cut ring in the shape of a French fry. JoJo it is! Not really. I think it's going to be Lauren, simply because they are making it seem obvious that it's JoJo and it's always the opposite.

Here's how the show is going for the remaining 25 minutes. 5 minutes of show, 5 minutes of commercials. It must cost next to nothing to produce this.

Ben is hyperventilating and feeling sick on both a physical and emotional level. First one out of the helicopter is...JoJo wearing her senior prom dress. Unless they start switching between the women, which they might do, she will be sent home. A really nice guy wouldn't let her ramble on like this without telling her to stop if he's breaking up with her. He waits until she finishes and then says, "I found love with you, but...I found it with somebody else more." She instantly pukes on him. This makes him look like a dick. Part of the reason he's rejecting her is that he can't imagine having to call someone JoJo for the rest of his life. She hugs him good bye, which I would never do. Now we will have to watch her sob in the limo.

But here's what else I think might happen and why this show sustains. He could call her to ask her to come back, right? Or call Caila? Or call his mom?

This abstract illustration represents indecision. Bunny ears or bear ears = Lauren or JoJo?

Oh, okay, he LOVES Lauren with all of his fickle heart and it's a love he can't lose (he tells the camera). He calls Lauren's dad in an old-fashioned transaction based on women as chattel to be sold to the highest bidder by her father. His dad gives his consent and throws in two donkeys and an extra pair of denim shorts for the honeymoon to boot.

Here is a real life representation of Lady Mary and Edith from Downton Abbey. 
Lauren is terrified of the feeling that she's feeling right now. She blathers on about how she is happy because "you are my person." I bet they're hoping that becomes a catch phrase. Pause. He says, "I came into this honestly feeling unlovable. I want to go to bed at night and know that I would wake up with the most beautiful women I ever laid eyes on..." and a bunch of other scripted stuff because no guy ever says those things in real life.

Dan says he's going to go running down Nassau Street because they are both so happy!!!! He also goes, "Oh, my God, poor JoJo."

Monday, March 7, 2016

Wherein we re-meet-eth the women we barely remember (even though they were on the show, like, 2 weeks ago)

This is the women tell all show before the big hot dog finale. It's also the cheapest way for CBS or whatever station to get prime time viewers without actually filming new content (it's 70% recaps that we've already seen. And at times, it's recaps of recaps, which are called doublecaps aka DULL).

It's called The Women Tell All, but it should be called The Women Offer No Insights & Fight for Air Time.  Please stop calling viewers Bachelor Nation. I hate it. I hate it too because there is now something called Tr*** Nation (I don't use his name because why give him any more attention? It feeds the fascist fire).

Here is the part where Ben shows up at your Bachelor parties like a creeper and the women wet themselves. Maybe he'll fall in love with a mom at one of the parties.  He is handing out roses and eating a piece of cake with the hosts face on it. How do they find these mobs of people and why are they all wearing footie p.j.s?

All of the ladies have had their hair professionally done and slutted up and cleavage is a requirement. As is a chicken and tons of facial foundation. Please stop waving with both hands. I don't remember a third of the women because they only lasted two shows. Caila is wearing a black pantsuit and Olivia-z is wearing a white jumpsuit. I don't care if Anthropologie offers a two for one deal on jumpsuits, you will never voluntarily find me in one (here is where I imagine what scenario exactly would find me in a pantsuit, and I think it would have to be as an extra in a prison movie being filmed in Princeton and starring Mark Ruffalo. Then, maybe).

The women pile on Olivia and Jubilee and Leah and anyone who acted like the show is a competition for one man's attention, even though that's exactly what it is. Race is addressed only is so far as the women of color are being made to apologize to one another. I wish she would be the next Bachelorette but she is too black for it, according to CBSNBCABC. Recaps of Jubilee trying to confront Ben with the fact that she's too black for him. She says, "I feel like the most unlovable person in the world right now." No one addresses that this might be because she is the only black girl on the show who made it past the first three episodes.

Liz is here now and it's a joyous reunion.

Me, Liz and Cousin ITT.
They are going over Lace's interactions. I think she is very beautiful. The cameraman shows that he has a tattoo of Lace on his side. That can't be real. It's a poorly done tattoo, much like the tear drop that prisoners draw on their faces with sharpened quills dipped in blood.

Olivia recap now. Remember" she got the first impression rose and then the most sexual vibe rose and and then the date rose and then the huge mouth rose and then the crying twin rose. They remind us that he went off to the rock cliff, holding a rose and then leaving her there like an abandoned child.  Olivia compares herself to Jubilee in that she's different than the other girls. Chris asks her if she feels like she was in the wrong but also that she was done wrong. She apologizes to Amanda for the teen mom comment. Teen mom goes "being a mom is my jam."  The twins attack and then some other blonds jump in to get air time. I'm only half paying attention because my friend is here. Anyway, there is nothing to say. What's the suspense? If they will get asked to be on The Bachelor in Paradise summer show? Olivia recalls her time being bullied in elementary school. Severally bullied. The women called b.s. Olivia explains that she is an introvert even though she's a public figure. She says how we all really judge and she apologizes for her insensitivity. She says how there';s not a guide book for how to behave on this show and if there was one, she would have read it.

Caila is in the hot seat next. Dan wants to know what size rollers she wears to get ringlets the size of sausages. Ben called her a sex panda. She says that she feels like she loves him and that she's going to hurt him. Fireworks, bikinis, and smiles. Liz says that she cries in the most pretty way. I like that she doesn't wipe away one single tear at a time, but lets them flow. Liz says that she can totally tell what Ciala looked like as a baby. Exactly like she does right now. Chris Harrison says, "I can see from the expression on your face that you're upset." As opposed to being able to tell from her armpit?

Ben is now in the hot seat. What does that even mean "the hot seat?" Liz says that JoJo is trifling. We don't like any of the two remaining contestants. Chris asks Ben to tell Caila what happened. He says that he appreciates her and that they had great conversations. Caila says he always made her feel comfortable but she wants to know if her confusion made him confused. He says, "It was clear that we knew what each other was saying but we didn't understand one another."  Becca thanks Ben for letting her know that there are guys out there just like him who are nice and boring and into the Boy Scouts. Chris asks Ben if he can tell the twins apart and he correctly picks them, based on the fact that the extrovert is showing her tits the most.

Scenes where we see who Ben will choose because he loves them both and he is confused about what to do. Gasps from the audience. Open mouth stares. The twins are excited! I have never been in love with two men, so I can't relate. I mean, I'm sure it happens, especially when you're on TV. One more week...

Monday, February 29, 2016

And then there were three

Three dental hygienists/entrepreneurs/software tuners in search of true love. Let's start with twenty minutes of recaps so that we can be reminded of who is who and be made to feel like they've gone on fifty first dates instead of two twenty minute interactions on the beach. As an aside, don't you just bet that there's a S & M movie out there called Fifty Fist Dates? I am afraid to Google it. Hey, I forgot that JoJo showed up in a unicorn mask. You're right, producers, that changes everything.

This is the fantasy suite episode, where they get to choose whether or not they will spend all night together in the Holiday Inn Deluxe in Jamaica. The suspense factor is zero, because no one in the history of The Bachelor/ette has ever turned down an overnight date card. I did not fact check that statement, but I'm fairly certain I'm right.

First over night date with Caila who he describes as bubbly and exuberant (difference being?). First, they take a quiet and awkward trip down the river on a raft. Ben goes, "This is relaxing." Translation: "We have nothing in common." Caila explains to the camera that she is stressed out because there are two other women he might be in love with. No matter what he says to her, she responds with "Yeah!" They stop at a beach and are served jerky chicken in a giant green fond and drinks in real coconuts with plastic straws from McDonald's. The only black people who manage to stay on the show are the natives of the countries they are exploiting.

Later that night, another conversation in front of the beach with flaming torches that illuminate their shiny faces. Ben, wipe the sweat from under your nostrils, please. A long river of perspiration slides down the divot of his nose. Caila makes a confusing speech like, "Whenever I'm with you, things feel so wrong together and then when we're apart, that feeling grows and I want to tell you that...I love you." They wade into the ocean and make out while fireworks prematurely explode, foreshadowing the three minutes of passion they'll experience momentarily in the fantasy suite. The next morning, Caila looks beautiful and her eyelashes are super curly, perhaps from the humidity.

Second fantasy suite with Lauren H., flight attendant in a pair of denim underwear. They are shown a pail full of baby turtles that will undoubtedly be devoured in seconds by seagulls. Should you pile 25 baby turtles on top of each other in a bucket? They make a mad dash to the ocean, and we are not subjected to the reality of them being eaten one by one by other creatures. Later, Ben and Lauren H. will ironically be served turtle soup prior to relaxing in a hot tub.

I can't capture all that's happened on this boring date, because I had to eat two bowls of Honey Chex. Ben did break all of the rules by saying that he's in love with Lauren. To her perky little face, I mean. They are completely in love with each other (they say as the music swells). He draws the blinds and the lights go out amid smooching noises. Why not just end the show now?

Do any of the women get really pissed off after watching him essentially have the opportunity to have sex with two others? He pays the exact amount of attention to each one with the same level of tepid intensity.

JoJo shows up, braless, runs toward him and wraps her legs around him in the way I hate. She has borrowed Lauren H.'s short shorts. The two brothers show up in a helicopter to whisk her away. Oh, wait, no, they are taking a journey to Negril, Jamaica where waterfalls abound. They appear to have chemistry. Is his tattoo from Psalms? "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Bachelorettes." This would be a deal killer for me. We get a romantic shot of Ben's butt crack as they loll on the rocks. He tells JoJo that he loves her too. What the flip?? He didn't say it to Caila. I looked up his tattoo. It is a Bible verse. It reads “Happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us – he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks” (Psalm 137:9). No wonder he sent the mommy character home. A bit troublesome that a person who says he's committed to the Lord has no problem making out with twenty different women and spending the night with three of them.

Is he telling them that he loves them so that they will go farther in the fantasy suite? Ben questions JoJo about her family and she says, "My brothers just love me. They want to protect me. They would kill for me, capisce?" She accepts the fantasy card to the Romeo and Juliet Villa at Sandals. Did Ben forget about the fact that she is still communicating with her ex-boyfriend? They wake up and eat watermelon. He leaves with a back pack on, like a Boy Scout.

Ben admits that there is something missing from Caila. Little does he know (as we do from the previews) that she will show up at his resort to make things more complicated. I have a feeling that he's going to wipe that smile off her face, but then again, there's half an hour left. 

You guys, we are being tricked. They don't let them see each other like this. Either this will be the thing that's supposed to change his mind, or it will be heart break for Caila. She really never does stop smiling and acting like a Disney princess. He sits, staring contemplatively into the distance when she bounds over, putting her hands over his face, almost blinding him. Surprise! He won't hold her hand, so I guess he is going to break up with her. She is wearing a crazy amount of foundation, which she probably doesn't need. 
How will they fill up the remaining twenty minutes? 
She smiles even as she's being broken up with. She asks for more answers, like, was it something she did or didn't do in the fantasy suite (see first paragraph re: fisting)?  Is it because she's too non-white for him? I thought she was the one. Let's not forget that he's not that much of catch. She leaves, sobbing in the car but with the perfect amount of curl to her hair. 

He sets us up for the climactic ending by telling the camera that he hopes he didn't make a mistake. 

The best, best, best ending would be if he sent both girls home at the last episode and said he wanted her. I bet that's what they're going to do. He'll be tortured by his choice and not be able to get Caila off his mind and then realize that he has to go to her.Or at least call her on his cell phone.

He says, "Right now, I have two true loves." Uh...Oxymoron.

At the rose ceremony, he forces the remaining women to have a group hug. Lauren H. has to be annoyed that Ben would feel the same way about her as he does about JoJo. Maybe he could propose to both of them? Or neither. Or call Caila. Either way we have to wait two weeks. How will we survive?

Monday, February 22, 2016

There's no place like...

Hometown dates.

First hometown is with the baby voice woman who has a shoulder disability that disallows her from wearing shirts that touch her shoulders. Doctors orders: all shirts must fall off her arms. I've diagnosed eczema.

Her two little girls arrive, also wearing shirts that fall off their shoulders. They wear matching pink cardigans, ponytails and lace up sandals favored by the Kardashians. One daughter goes, "Is that Daddy? Where Daddy go?"  Ben awkwardly plays with the little girls, picking one of them up by her ponytail. This is a serious reality check for him. "Are you the new daddy?"

"I don't know, honey. I haven't given her a rose yet. Let's see what she's made me for dinner."

They drive back from the beach and the littlest baby cries and cries. Amanda's milk comes in.

She lives with her parents? Ben brings a house-warming gift of a paper mache balloon. Ben follows her upstairs to put the baby to bed. The baby screams. Amanda considers giving her up for adoption. Her mom tells Ben that Amanda is very hands-on as a mother. Ben must decide. Does he want to travel the world completely unbound with a hot 24 year old or does he want to move to a small beach town and take care of two toddlers? Hmmm...

Dad seals the deal by telling Ben that if he has kids, he won't be able to go bowling. The toddlers will have to come first. Ben and Amanda kiss goodnight and she goes, "Hey, one last thing, can you help me with the car seat? You have a degree in physics, right? Could you just quickly set up this pack and play?"

Second hometown in Portland, Oregon with Lauren B. He is so relieved that she doesn't have kids. They kiss by the waterfront, their groins immodestly pressed together.

Portland is a much cooler town.

At first, I thought she lived in a castle, but it's actually a whiskey library. Or, as Lauren says, "The whiskey li-berry" (right, Emily?). They sit there, not drinking any whiskey. Dan thinks her lips are too thin. I like it that she's wear a shirt with sleeves, even though it's made of flannel.

I believe that Lauren will be one of the finalists but then will not be chosen as Ben will decide he is in love with Caila. That is my prediction.
She brings him home to meet her dad, mom, sister, brother and brother and the 15 year old chihuahua. I guess at home she goes by Lolo, not to be confused with Lilo. Molly, the sister, will eff it up just like Mary did to Edith last night on Downton Abbey. I believe she might also be hitting on him with her Bambi eyes and pink bra showing. Her shirt is so low cut that her tiny titty might pop out. If we're lucky. Ben can't even focus. His eyes start to water. Turns out he's allergic to the dog. Molly gets a rose. Molly then talks to Lauren who says that she was meant to meet Ben on a reality TV show. Maybe Molly is a therapist. She's really good at making people cry.

This dog is available for adoption.
Third hometown date with Caila, who is the chronic smiler. It's really hard to kiss someone who is smiling all the time. You end up kissing front teeth. I bet she got voted most friendly in her high school yearbook. She first has him color and then she takes him to a factory to make a house out of Playdough and ball bearings. It's not clear to me if she works there or if one of her parents does. She does have a real job--something like software-tician. He sweeps her up in the middle of a factory like in that one movie. What was it....An Officer and a Gentleman, a title that sounds like it's about two men in love but is not. Debra Winger is in it with Richard Gere.

He meets mom and dad. Mom is from the Philippines and dad is a white guy whose eyes are very close together. Ben never actually gets to eat a meal. Caila's mom is beautiful and has braces on both the top and bottom teeth. Maybe she could have taken her retainer out to be on TV? Mom says her daughter has very high standards and hasn't yet met anyone who is at her level. Ben expresses fear that Caila will not accept him even though she doesn't really get to do any of the choosing. None of the women do. Caila tells her dad that she is falling for Ben. Dad says, Darling, there is no rule book to love. Or to the color of your pants (orange).

Final hometown date. JoJo gets a handwritten letter from Ben, who apparently doesn't have an email account. Wait, she didn't get to see the envelope prior to opening the letter because it turns out that the letter is from her ex, Chad! Most "Chads" end up being exes. She cries and paces the living room while the producers focus in on a dozen red roses. She calls Chad and all he can tell her is that he literally has gone through, like, so much since she's been gone. He says he now knows what loves is because she literally showed it to him. Does he know that he's on speakerphone and also on TV?  Phony scene alert. Maybe he and Ben can fight for her love with a good old-fashioned wrestling match.

Uh-oh, Ben has just pulled up wearing a J. Crew oatmeal zipper sweater. Every guy loves to be greeted at the door by a woman crying over her ex boyfriend. She has a huge mirror in her living room ala the reign of Marie Antoinette. She says that she's not nervous about him meeting her family, she's just anxious (aka "nervous").

Has Jojo been away from home for two years? Her brothers yell and scream as she walks in. Mom has had some work done. The brothers are skeptical in their oxford shirts. They look Italian but keep saying y'all. Oh, we're in Texas. It all makes more sense now. Dad is a short bald man with a little mustache. JoJo's brother is also named Ben. Will that cause some problems? No wonder JoJo has a giant mirror. Her parent's house is rife with Victorian furniture and people-sized oil paintings of warriors on horseback and mom's bed is a chariot.

So many tears this last hometown. Mom has perhaps had her lips done five too many times so that her face sort of looks like that living cat woman lady. Dad appear as if his job might be in imports and exports or a former serial killer or he may be a distant relation of Charlie Chaplin.

The brothers want to know if JoJo's sure she can be almost falling in love with him after only two one on one dates. We all wonder that. JoJo's brothers feel that Ben is not that emotionally invested in her. Oh, okay the brothers aren't that bad; they are just warning Ben that they care about their sister and don't want to see her get hurt. The brother says that Ben sounds like he's been coached to say certain things. Yes, well, that's probably true. Is it true that he can't reveal anything to any of them. Mom swigs wine straight out of a bottle.

So, who will be ousted? Would he rather take on two toddlers or two grown men who want to beat the shit out of him?

Final rose ceremony. Come on, get to it. I am usually in bed by now. JoJo seems genuinely glad to see Amanda. Three roses. Four ladies. Please, no more commercial breaks. He should send Amanda home unless he is serious about wanting to be a stepdad. But I don't think JoJo is a mature enough. She's still crying about her ex.

First rose: Lauren. She will accept this rose and also a jacket as she appears to be freezing.
Second rose: Caila. Caila, will you accept this rose and this giant hair curler?
Final rose: JoJo. Which means he really would rather be with one of the remaining two.

Amanda/Mom goes home. She can have her own reality TV show now about being the most beautiful single mom in the world who is not also a teenager. She says she wishes he would've told her sooner and not brought her back out to LA. He says, Did you read the contract? We're on a TV show and I had no choice.

Next week: we go to poverty-stricken Jamaica to experience what Dan is calling the Fellatio Suite. And then Ben will send JoJo home in the least surprising rose ceremony ever.

All of Them Foxes

We are dismayed to learn that Ben drives a huge, gas-guzzling red truck. We are in his hometown of Warsaw, Poland. Seven women left, though Emily (the twin) is a pity keep. He says that this town is where he had most of his firsts. First communion, first high school date, first kiss, first...

Ben's dad is a silver fox.

Lauren gets the first one-on-one date. I can't tell if they are in his house or in a Holiday Inn Suite.

He confesses to Lauren that he was the quarterback of his high school football team and got his first kiss from a girl in the seventh grade. He was in the 12th grade at the time.

Ben takes Lauren to this place where he was a youth counselor. None of the kids remember him since it was so long ago that he volunteered to add the experience to his college application. Ben favors v-neck T-shirts. Two dudes from the Indiana Pacers show up to play basketball with the kids. Is this a fun date? No matter what Lauren does, she looks like a porn star, even while shooting baskets.

Afterwards, he and Lauren sit on a sofa in another nondescript location. His parent's living room? There are three stars on the wall ala Americana art decor. She tells him that he makes her so happy and they kiss. He takes her to his favorite dive bar, the Rex Rendezvous. Lauren tells the camera that she's not in love with Ben the Bachelor from TV but Ben the Bachelor from TV who lives in Indiana. Did you know that Warsaw is the known as the "Orthopedic Capital of the World?" Wikipedia told me that.

JoJo gets the second one-on-one date and it will take place in the Windy City. The women debate for
a while about what it means, because it's pretty windy where they are (says Emily?) but one of the other ones explains that Chicago is considered the Windy City.

I hate when women leap all the way into a guy's arms and wrap her legs around him. I can't take her seriously because she goes by JoJo, which makes me think of a name you would give a poodle or a pizzeria. They go to Wrigley Field. I used to live down the street from there in two bedroom garden apartment with a woman I met in The Chicago Reader. We were roommates for one year and then she moved to Guatemala.

Ben and JoJo have matching shirts with Mr. and Mrs. Higgens written on the back. Dan says, "JoJo Higgens? Sounds a little like Bilbo Baggins." He can't stop saying her name. JoJo, JoJo, JoJo.

Emily gets the next one-on-one and she cries because she is so happy.

How much did it cost them to be able to drink champagne in the middle of Wrigley Field? Guess it's off season. They are served hot dogs on a silver platter. I hate to tell the producers this, but not that many women would consider a dream date one that involves playing baseball and then eating dinner under stadium lights. Even at Wrigley Field. 

Group date with three depressed women who are all so nervous. Only one of the women will get a rose on this date, but the other two can still stick around. It's Becca, Baby Voice, and the only non-blonde. They are at a farm and two of the women have to go row the boat by themselves while Ben rows with Caila.

Next, they fly kites. How much more boring could this get?
Maybe next they could also go pick strawberries or go to baptism or listen to Prairie Home Companion while canning peaches.

Becca tells him that she's scared and he wants to know why. He doesn't understand why she should be insecure when she is one of only seven women that he's dating concurrently.

Caila has time with him and she tells him she is adaptable, like moss of a tree. She truly never stops smiling.

Baby voice gets the rose. She will now be allowed to spend alone time with Ben, churning butter. 

Becca feels "fus-trated." We all know what happens. She will be one of the final two and then be sent home and then he will regret it and ask her for her to come back. A good way to start a relationship is to have it

She wouldn't be crying if she saw the date that Ben was taking Becca on to McDonald's where they are waiting on by an older, worn out blonde woman with a black bow in her hair. He overuses the word awesome. How fun to get to work the drive through window!!

The town is so small that they're throwing a carnival just for Ben and Amanda, hosted by the mayor. Thousands of people have turned out to watch them ride the Tilt a Whirl. Ben wets himself. They do the cliched carousel with the lean-over kiss and then they beat up on some local kids with plastic, inflatable hammers. Oh and a kiss on the Ferris Wheel. I guess the argument of this show is thatyou can fall in love with anyone if the dates are televised and planned out.

One-on-one date with Emily, age 18. He says he thinks that Emily just became her own individual self. All the women are talking about how if Emily meets his family, then they might fall in love more even though she still lives at home and sleeps in a win bed. Oh, she's 23, but she seems really, really young. She meets the parents and can't stop talking. Emily says that she loves ducks and that she didn't know she would blossom into this person that she is. In seven weeks. She has gone from being a girl into a woman.She says that she hopes to be a professional cheerleader one day and that she loves to watch movies and she hates vegetables. Her giddiness makes mom cry. She will be going home. Perhaps she shouldn't have worn her most threadbare pair of jeans.

Ben tells her how great she is and how she's not for him at all. Ben wipes away one tear. I guess he was just attracted to her or attracted to her twin. In the house, the women are thrilled to see that Emily is being sent home, but they must pretend like they are upset. Ben drives off on a pontoon boat.  Emily and all the girls cry about this. I am pretty sure that Emily will rebound just fine.

The bell tolls, signaling the end of one fake relationship and the beginning of yet another fake rose ceremony. The women are pretending that they know that something is off with Ben. Three women left, and two roses. Or is it three roses and two women? Or four women, four roses? He's sending Caila home.

They are standing out in the middle of the street in a place that looks like that town in Back to the Future. Perhaps Marty McFly will mow them back to 1984.

First rose: Lauren.
Second rose: JoJo. I thought she already had a rose?
Final rose: Goes to Becca, of course. Caila will not make it. She is giving him the dead eye. I'm wrong. He's sending Becca home. I thought she made it to the end. She says, Why did you do that? Maybe he will want to go back to her at the end. Stop saying "diddn't."

This was a boring one, I'm sorry. Nothing really happened.