Monday, January 25, 2016

You will never get this two hours of your life back

They're going to Las Vegas; one of the few places in the world that I have zero desire to visit (alongside the entire state of Texas minus Austin). Not even for the kitsch factor. How many times will we hear the phrase, "Viva Las Vegas?" (two so far). I wonder how many of the blondes actually know what that phrase means or if they relate it to Elvis at all?

OliviaDiaz is being built up to be ultra confident which can only mean one thing: she will be kicked off or almost kicked off. They only ever build up strong women to knock them down. It's in the script.

Let's see if we can guess which marginal Vegas celebrity will make a guest appearance. John Mayer? There will most definitely be an Elvis impersonator, maybe two. Maybe twin Elvises! By the by, the twins are dying for a one on one date with Ben, not realizing that by definition, that would be a two on one date and one of them would have to sent home.

This brown haired girl (Jo Jo) is wearing a baby doll shirt and no bra and denim shorts. Do their boobies every come out? Hers are almost being forced out by the breeze of the helicopter. They take off and we see a backdrop of Trump-owned buildings plus a Ferris Wheel. Oh, good she's changed into a one piece black pantsuit with a high neck, like a Stepford wife. She is really reluctant to tell him about her past...It turns out that...Oh, God, how does she say this...She had a previous relationship and...He...She..Let's just say that she wasn't the only one in the relationship. She has a hard time trusting now because they dated for an entire year and a half. Has she not seen the one about the woman whose fiance died? Or whose dad died and his last wish was that his daughter marry a guy she met on TV? Or the one about the woman who is currently on the show whose entire family was slaughtered in Haiti?

Again, twenty five girls are being sent on a group date, leaving virgin Becca with the one-on-one date. They are greeted first by a ventriloquist. Or is he a puppeteer? Is he from Sesame Street? The women are being forced to put on a talent show. The puppeteer asks if any of them have any secret talents. No sexual jokes are being made. Now the guy has an Elvis puppet. I did not predict this.

We know from the previews that Olivia will have a meltdown though she seems fairly well composed at this moment, ready to strut her stuff in a red genie outfit, so what could possibly happen? She's a news caster, she should be able to pull her shit together.

It's a full house of old people, so it should be fine. How weird, they just happened to have matching Irish outfits for the twins and jig music. Their dance lasted four seconds. Jubilee plays the viola, another girl juggles, another makes balloon animals, and another wears a chicken suit, while yet another bounces around on a pogo stick. No one shoots anything out of their ying-yangs and no one tries to illustrated how she can fit her whole fist into her mouth. This is a family show, ya'll. Olivia will be coming out of a cake and shimmying around and then getting back into the cake. It's really bad, you guys. What would be worse is if she lost her top. The puppet says, "What part of' talent competition 'did you not understand?" They are forcing her to be on television while she has a panic attack, because she realizes it was really awful. I feel bad for her. Rearlly. She says she doesn't think her act screamed "marriage material" and Dan said, "But the juggler screams marriage material?"

This is what the audience looked like:

Olivia feels really bad and so feathers her hair to an extreme.

One of the twins wants her to get over it. A different blonde with what could be a beauty mark or melanoma on her face gets one on one time with Ben and the puppet who looks like Ben. The puppet is more lifelike. She calls him Little Ben and says that he's bigger than she expected. I bet not.

Lauren B. gets the date rose due to her perkiness.

For Becca's one on one date, she and Ben get to upstage ten shot gun weddings and perform their
ceremonies. Next, Ben takes her to a place where Vegas signs go to die. They are surrounded by cast off signs reading, "Standing Room Only" and "No vacancy" and "Live Showgirls, Topless!" Ben asks her probing questions about why she's a virgin and how she feels about the fact that he, a 28 year old man, is not a virgin. She says it doesn't bother her. They smooch while a "Tunnel of Love" sign flashes suggestively in the background. I know I've mentioned this before, but her teeth are incredible. Large and white and very white American. Also very much like a doll. She seems unreal, like something made of wax.

He now decides to take the twins out together to make for dramatic TV even though we still can't tell them apart (and neither can he). They live with their mom, coincidentally in Las Vegas and own 15 dachshunds.They still have separate bedrooms with their prom pictures up and Love's Baby Soft perfume everywhere. Mom looks like them; same electric blue eyes and very blonde hair and I would bet that they share clothes, since she's dressed in distressed jeans. Ben decides, after very little contemplation, to keep the one to the right. I'm still not sure if it's Hayley or Emily. Both of the twins cry and both appear to have bandaged thumbs.

Olivia is portrayed as being a bitch for interrupting him talking to another woman, even though they all do that. She brings him a piece of cake. We have to pretend that we don't wonder where she got the cheesecake. She's being portrayed as delusional. I want to sue the producers. I hate the way they portray women. They are all shown as one-dimensional. They have one trait each. The crazy lady, the goofy one, the virgin, the black girl. I write about them that way too. That's all there is to evaluate.

Rose ceremony

First rose: Amanda or Manda
Second rose: Lauren H. with possible melanoma.
Third rose: Jubilee. She could really play that viola.
Fourth rose: Emily, the twelve year old twin.
Fifth: Kaila in a white dress.
Sixth rose: Jennifer. Olivia can't believe it.
Seventh rose: Leia.
Final rose: Will not be going to Olivia because she's been played up as too sure of herself. It will go to Amber. I was wrong. Olivia does get the rose.

Going home: Rachel, unemployed from Little Rock. Amber, who was on a previous series of The Bachelor. She removes her shoes. She's darling. Ben watches her go. He seems to feel bad. But do they have to cry? I mean, who cares about him?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Irish Chauffeur Has Returned

He looks a bit puffy, I might add.  Luke is watching this with us and I predict he will give up in like five minutes.

We see Marmie in her bed with a jar of marmalade. Maybe she's about to come down with cholera.

Mary asks Tom what he really wants. She wears a sharp brown suit and a hat with a tiny feather. They aren't flirting. Mary sees him as her brother. Dan goes, Is that really her brother? I did not respond.

A police man has arrived to question Mrs. Baxter, who sends the nosy cook on her way. Someone has been accused of theft and I believe they suspect she has helped him. The jewelry has never been found. Perhaps she's hiding a stash under her mattress. She is being asked to testify against this handsome scoundrel who convinced her to misbehave. It is reminding me of Dangerous Liaisons.

Luke has gone to bed.

Anna may be preggers. Mary's going to take her to London to have her uterus stitched so she can carry to term.

There is a sub plot about the hospital and I can't figure out what the problem is and therefore who I should agree with, though I suspect I should not agree with Lady Grantham.

Mr. Barrows is really chasing around this young footman whose ears stick out. Perhaps Mrs. Baxter will fall in love with that other butler, the one who reminds me of the long-suffering Mr. Olsen from Little House on the Prairie.

We must get Lady Edith get married off, we must! Won't anyone have her? Meanwhile, one of Lady Mary's former love interests shows up. The men must wear tuxedos and the women must wears feathers and sparklers and gloves. I'm glad they never brought back Shirley McClaine. She seemed vastly incongruous.

Anna is possibly having a miscarriage but she will finish the laundry first.

More arguing about the hospital and characteristic witticisms from Lady Grantham. Who is this visiting lady? She looks familiar, like someone who might have been in Four Weddings and a Funeral. This male guest makes everything he says to Mary sound like innuendo. "Here is my card..." seems to imply, "We should likely go to bed together."

Lord Grantham has a pain in his side which may likely be cancer or also a miscarriage. He too carries on, but will likely die in the penultimate episode.

More visitors. Barrows doesn't approve for some reason. She knows Anna. Her husband has an unfortunate mustache. Okay, she used to work there and then went and made something of herself by becoming a secretary. She is invited to dinner and Mr. Barrows breaks the news that she used to be a housemaid. The other downstairs people are mad at him now.

Lady Mary whisks Anna off in a carriage to try to get her to the doctor in London. Daisy is determined to have it out with Lady Grantham, not realizing that she's still trying to help.  She goes to confront her and it turns out that the farm has been saved. She will not be fired.

In London, the doctor tells Mary that Anna has not lost the baby and she now has a suture in her side to keep it from falling out. We will have a baby being born at the end, juxtaposed against Lord Grantham's solemn funeral.

Mary is able to go straight from the doctor's office to a formal dinner wearing her Aunt's cast off onyx-covered dress. Her date tells her that she does not at all look shabby. They are having dinner. He asks her what she loves to do. She says she likes to ride horses but that she does not dream about them. Jazz music plays in the background as they peruse their menus. They banter and she tells him she is not interested with a knowing smile.

I believe the old honeymooners are about to return. Yes, and she has a high necked dress to hide the hickeys all over her neck. They are given punch to celebrate the consummation.

I wonder how many dresses the rich ladies have? Ten? Twenty? Even Queen Grantham goes down to partake. Edith says she will find a female editor. I wonder if she will come out? I don't think this show is quite that progressive. Mrs. Carson says that she can be called by her dead husband's name and be known as Mrs. Hughes so as not to confuse anyone. Will Carson die? Oh, no, he is going up to take his paper nameplate off of the door.

Next time: more nonsense about the hospitals, Edith has a date,  and the guy Mary likes is about to crash in a car race. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

"I feel the need...the need for speed!"

Missed the first five minutes, but it appears that the flight attendant is going up in a biplane. Lauren, who has earned the one-on-one date, is not into it. Will anyone vomit? Doubtful and if one does, it will be edited out because this is a family show, people.

The plane is yellow and it's called Sky Thrills. Will there be jokes about the mile high club? Both Ben and Lauren wear aviator hats and goggles that they don't actually use to cover their eyes. She says she is catching herself pinching herself.  They kiss while doing a zero gravity drop and an inverted dive and a flyby ala Top Gun. A jacuzzi prominently sponsored by Jacuzzi appears in the center of the dessert and they make out in it. There are a disproportionate number of blonde ladies in this season.

Back at the ranch, Caila starts crying and her voice cracks like a 13 year old boy. She is just realizing that she is dating Ben along with 20 other women. She's like, "I don't know why, but it just hit me that I am not the only woman here and my heart could be broken if I really fall for him."

Ben takes Lauren to a cliched candlelit dinner in a nondescript lodge. He asks her what makes her happy. She says, "I like simple things. My dad is simple. He likes the yard." Thanks, Daughter. She says she wants a husband who is like her dad. Simple. Well, you got it! She loves to flash her dimple, because it has been praised by all since she exited the womb. Ben says that his dad had triple bypass surgery and Lauren goes, "I hope to get to meet him then..." Meaning, before he drops dead. Ben rewards her gaffe with a rose and a noisy kiss on her dimple. Bet money they are going to hear from a barely recognizable band. Of course. They are in barn decorated with hay bales, because nothing is more romantic than the wafting scent of animal manure.

The women pretend to be thrilled that they are going on a group date to play soccer. An army of them descend the stairs of the stadium in tank tops, joined by two members of the U.S. National Team who won the World Cup this summer. Dan says, "Why doesn't he marry one of them?" They try to give each other bloody noses and black eyes by kicking the ball at the faces only.

Back home, Jubilee is crying because she realizes that Ben has a certain "type" (read:white and blonde) and it's not her. Has she seen the show before?

Chris Harrison divides the girls into Team Stripes and Team Stars (original). The winning team gets to hang out with Ben while the losing team has to go back to the house and ice their sore breasts and egos. The twins have been put onto opposite teams or as the girls call it."a twin off."

This is what happens when you Google "twin dolls 1950s":

Soccer ensues. I'm not paying attention. The star of the game is the goalie, Emily, who may or may not be one of the twins. Hard to keep the blondes straight. She says, "Balls coming at your face is never fun." Rachel gets wounded. Good thing the virgin isn't playing or her hymen might accidentally get broken by a swift, ill-placed kick. The Stripes win and show their joy by piling on top of each other. The Stars cry. Only a little. They limp back home to sulk. The remaining 25 girls go on an intimate group at another in an unending series of outdoors sets furnished by Lowes. Olivia pulls him aside in the middle of his toast and takes him up to the hotel room which Lace sees as a slap in the face. Oliva is uncommonly beautiful, an amalgamation of Uma Thurman (heart shaped face), Michelle Pfeiffer (eyes) and Cameron Diaz (mouth and teeth).

While she's gone, the girls talk about her bad toes (hey, bad toes make for good soccer players). A girl turns secret agent and fills Olivia Diaz in on this gossip. Oliviaz says, "Perfection sucks."

The toe below is clearing saying, "F you."
Here you go, Kristine. 
Amber gets the rose for the date, so she will not be going home. Oliviaz is bummed, but realizes that he couldn't possibly give her a rose again. She takes it as a good sign that he has used her leg to hoist himself up off the sofa.

Jubilee is wondering how the hell she got this one-on-one when his type seems to be "princesses." She wears a white jumpsuit that is not unlike something from the disco era. Jubilee accuses him of being twenty minutes late. They will be going up in another helicopter or leer jet or prop plane. The other women are annoyed that she doesn't seem to appreciate that she's going up in a helicopter, not realizing that she's afraid of heights. If this date doesn't go well and she does not receive a rose, she won't be returning to the show. He feeds her caviar and she spits it out into a potted plant. She confesses that she's obsessed with hot dogs while suggestively eating a Dorito. They go out on the deck to play shuffleboard for 12 seconds before she changes into a teeny bikini that illustrates her Ben tattoos. Wait, what does the text say on her chest? It says something like,"The pastry is portable." She tells him that he doesn't have a realistic laugh. This is her being sassy and he says that he appreciates her honesty and sense of humor. Ben asks her to tell him more about Haiti and why it was a bad time. She says she has a love/hate relationship with her past because her whole family died there except for her. That's worse than anything that has ever been revealed on The Bachelor. Usually, it's one person who died, not everyone. He gives her a rose. This level of loss is incongruous on a show that deals mostly in superficial moments.

Can it be the rose ceremony already? Something dramatic must be about to happen. Ben announces that two pillars of his society died in a plane crash. Olivia takes him aside to talk about her cankles and ugly toes. It brings her to tears. This is a HUGE comfort to him. Jubilee asks him if he trusts her. She leads him to a secluded and gives him a massage to help him feel better. How are they not getting interrupted? Better question: where did the massage table come from? All the girls hate her because she already has a rose and she took more time with him. Never mind that he was complicit in the whole act and has the ability to refuse. Amber wants to confront Jubilee with five other girls and Jubilee locks herself in the bathroom. This makes Ben concerned and he goes to talk to her. Lace regrets that she didn't mention her cankles, her insecurities or someone in her life who died. Amber is feeling very pissed off and goes to confront Jubilee which makes J. cry. This is a super bad move for Amber and back fires because it makes her look like she's attacking a vulnerable girl whose whole family is dead.

Lace takes this moment to take him aside and explain her own issues, such as how she's unlucky to have a twinner in Sarah Silverman, who is not as Christian as she is. In fact, Sarah Silverman is Jewish and tells dirty jokes, which, she, Lace, would never fucking do. As an aside, if you have never seen Silverman's Jesus is Magic, watch it right now. Lace starts out by crying and telling Ben that he is amazing and she has a lot of work to do on herself and she wants to be able to offer him more.She explains that, like her tattoo says, "You can't love someone else until you love yourself." Why doesn't she ever read her own tattoo? She throws herself off the show and takes the limo to CVS to buy a hand mirror so she can actually see it for once (accidentally placed as a tramp stamp).

First rose: Lauren H, elementary school, blonde.
Second rose: Amanda, blonde.
Third rose: Becca, blonde.
Fourth rose: Hayley, blonde.
Fifth rose:Emily, blonde. Why is he keeping the twins?
Sixth rose: Rachel, brown hair.
Seventh rose: Caila, cute, brown hair.
Eighth rose: JoJo, brownish blonde.
Ninth rose: Jennifer, brown hair.
Tenth rose: Someone whose name I couldn't hear because Dan was talking. Blonde.
Final rose goes to...Olivia, of course it will be Olivia and it is...Olivia. Blonde.

According to Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight blog fame who predicted Obama's election, odds are that you will get a rose on The Bachelor if you're blonde. Now you understand why Jubilee was skeptical?

Next week: Olivia dresses up like Michelle Pfeiffer from The Fabulous Baker Boys. She is being portrayed as a psycho.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Headbands remain in

The experience of blogging while watching Downton Abbey versus doing the same for The Bachelor is somewhat similar, as I can never remember the names of the characters/contestants. There are fewer make out sessions and fewer bikinis in DA, but no shortage of tears, though often withheld because of the stiff British upper lip. One thing that is not at all the same is that the scenes change more rapidly. We move from the kitchen to the dining room, to putting on shawls, to peeling off gloves for bedtime. It's hard to keep up.

I believe that Mr. Barrow, the homosexual butler, may have a crush on the new whatever that younger guy is (footman? I thought they only really existed in Cinderella).

The debate continues about where the Carson wedding will be held. Lady Simper asks what the severe looking woman (Miss Hughes) wants. Miss Hughes says that she wants to have her own breakfast reception and then a bit of hooey. Mary wants to know why Carson doesn't want to celebrate where he has served for decades. The mother tells Mary to stop bullying the servants and Mary tells her mother to stop being a snob. And to stop talking in that mewly voice.

A fire is lit in every single room. Where do they go to the bathroom, one wonders? Mr. Barrow puts on his bowler hat to go to a job interview in a decrepit looking home. The door is answered by an old gentleman who may also be the lord of the house.

Lady Edith runs into her new love interest, some agent with greased back brown hair and a bright blue tie to match his eyes. He asks her out for a drink and she agrees to meet him at 7

Back to the interview scene. The house is deserted. The lord is Sir Michael, and he wears a chain pocket watch. What can he want with Barrows? This may be foreshadowing for what could happen to Downton Abbey. It is the end of the era and now the bear rugs and deer heads have nowhere to rest. Barrow is dismayed by the mess. It's like Hoarders circa the early 20th Century, with books falling off the shelves and sheet music everywhere.

Edith yells at her boss and takes over the magazine. She has forgotten her date at the bar, and must run out to be hit by a streetcar or something. Maybe he will come help her. Oh, yes, he will. He will fetch sandwiches and mimeograph or whatever it is they did in those days. He is very hands on and good with the typewriter. "A match made in heaven," says Dan.

I don't understand this side story with the maid and butler from the old lady's house. The constable shows up and asks him if he knows Wally Stern, which explains why the bell the rang earlier. She lies for him, even though they don't seem to like each other. Perhaps she will use it as leverage to blackmail him. She tells him that she knows that he put the convict up in the potter's shed. What is that?

Is there any reason why they can't delay the layout of the magazine until the next day? We see them working late, hurrying to put together captions and drawings of men with mustaches and ladies dancing in social settings. In real life, they would both smell terribly, because this was back in the days before deodorant got really effective.

They are kind of beating us over head with the idea that this era is ending.

The cook is disappointed that the frock she ordered for her friend is boring. They will come up with a new plan. Mary will add her pearls or trinkets to it or maybe a bit of fringe from one of the many lamps. It's like Gone with the Wind; they will figure something out with the curtains so that Missus Hughes can descend the staircase or hop off the horse or whatever, perhaps with her hair down for the first time, and we will discover that it is luxurious and falls past her knees, like Lady Godiva only with wrinkles.

Her ladyship is quite angry that the female servants are trying on her fur coats without her permission. Mary confronts her and says that her mother acted mean. She comes to apologize to Missus Hughes, bearing an armful of coats she hasn't worn in twenty years. When will they kill her off, for God's sake? Mr. Carson and Missus Hughes contemplate their last night on their respective twin beds and Dan says many things that are not fit for PBS television watchers.

The day of the wedding arrives. The roses are brought in a box The Bachelor, they are white. Now we are in the church, and both sides have come together to celebrate this union and this hat. The poor sit to the right. They are pronounced. I guess they don't kiss in those days. Cue the bagpipes. The townsfolk have gathered to throw petals at them.

I believe they are having the reception in the Potter's Shed where the convict has fled.

Anna is pregnant, but doesn't want to tell her husband in case it's not going to stick.

Mr. Carson calls the room to order to make a toast and proclaim that he is the happiest of all men to have this gracious woman accept him. Tom shows up with his daughter Sibby. Thank God, now we can get on with the plot where Mary and Tom fall in love. Bet on it. Edith asks him what happened and he says he had to go all the way to Boston to learn that Downton is his home and they are his family. He French kisses Mary. The children embrace each other, even the sickly looking, wan one belonging to Edith who wouldn't make it in real life.

Next week: they all go up in a hot air balloons and ski on the back of motorboats and try to get Mr. Barrow to explode ("Mr. Barrows, how dare you explode at our wedding!"). Oh, no, wait, that would be The Bachelor. Stay tuned.

Why we are sad about David Bowie

Slew of sad songs playing in this coffee shop. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," by Elton John, which reminds me of being five years old and listening to it playing on eight track in my uncle's car. I remember thinking how amazing it was that Elton John wrote a song about The Wizard of Oz. Also, why is it impossible to listen to "American Pie" without singing along? David Bowie dying reminds me that all of these singers I grew up with will soon follow suit, which also reminds me that I am getting older and nearer to the end. 70 years old  is not ancient, but it's not like he burned out at 35. The people who are most taken aback by his death (me included) are in part shocked by their own aging. As a kid, I was never a David Bowie fan, or not a fan. I thought he was strange and interesting and a little scary because of his canine teeth and his two different colored eyes. I also recall his movie, The Hunger, was one of the first rated R movies I ever saw on cable television and it scared me, less because of the vampirism and more because of the bisexuality, which I had never before seen dealt with in film.

We're going to see Billy Joel in Madison Square Garden in April, and he's up there in years too. In fact, every time I hear more than three Billy Joel songs in a row on the radio, I assume it's in tribute and that he's dead. 

My first rock and roll concert was Billy Joel, and I went with Wallis Payne, whose mom drove us and stayed on the sidelines. It was for the Innocent Man tour and I bought a concert shirt, the kind with the long thin sleeves under a Flashdance type sweatshirt. I cannot document this moment for you because we did not have Instagram then and so there were no selfies of me and Wallis with our heavily hair sprayed and feathered hair, both in dorky round glasses with slightly pink frames and Bonnie Bell lip gloss. We got all the way up to the top of the stage and I touched his microphone stand, you guys. I thought it not impossible that Billy Joel, in his mid-thirties, several times divorced, might, MIGHT notice me, a 14 year old ninth grader with sausage roll bangs and eyes obscured by thick lenses, and fall in love with me. I could inspire a song, something that would involve the alluring scent of Aqua Net hair spray and Love's Baby soft perfume.

This is the closest I can come to documenting that age. I am sitting to the far right side and Walls is the other girl in the front row with glasses (second in from the left). Next to me is Juli Kleszy, who was also a good friend. We were members of the United Nations Club. I represented Latvia. 
When you think about it, the number of musicians who have made it into their sixties and seventies is unreal. Keith Richards is like a cat--he should by all rights have died a minimum of 25 times. Mick Jagger, Paul Simon, Roger Daltry, the guys from Three Dog Night--all still alive? (Here's another song that requires foot tapping and makes me want to jump up and grab a banana microphone, "Son of a Preacher Man"). Simon and Garfunkel's "The Boxer" is next; where are musical duos like them now? Every song is melancholy, tells a story, and makes you feel like you're on a bus looking at wheat fields streak by as you travel at high speed away from the one you love.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Bobbing for Ben

Lace/Sarah Silverman is hoping for the date card, confessing that she was so drunk that first night that she wasn't herself (she says, taking a huge sip of morning chardonnay) and steam-ironing her dress while also using hair spray. She accidentally blows off her eyebrows. My question is how she got a haircut between the first show and this one?

The first group date is at an elementary school.The girls  wear short-shorts or tights masquerading as pants. They are in a competition to make Ben explode. Chris Harrison actually said that. The girls put on lab goggles and Dan says something that I can't type here. Now they are being forced to bob for apples and kiss each other on the mouth to pass the fruit. This is very much like a porn movie. Next, their group intelligence is tested by having them try to find Indiana on the map. Even the girl from South Bend is unsure. Now, they have to wear men's underwear on their heads and shoot baskets. None of them make it. Finally, slow motion shot of Mandi and Amber competing against each other by jumping over hurdles no higher than their knees. She breaks through the final paper like "sperm breaking out of a condom" (says Dan).  Mandi gets picked as Homecoming Queen and her prize is to get to ride around on the back of a red Mustang convertible with Ben. Volancos, goggles, hurdles, how can they possibly top this???

Becca gets one on one time with Ben and let's see if she can talk to him without mentioning her virginity. Success. This other girl talks to Ben and they kiss. This makes Lace realize that she's going to do whatever it takes to get the rose tonight. She gets Ben alone and apologizes for being drunk and says she's not that person who he saw. She wants to him to know that she's a good girl. Jubilee ruins it for Lace by doing to her what Lace just did to the other girl (interrupting for fifty seconds of one-on-one time)

Jubilee tells Ben that she respects, like, his work with orphans because she used to be an orphan in Haiti. I don't mean to be cynical, but this feels like it's just him trying to prove that he's not a racist. Ben and Jubilee kiss and then he immediately takes a sip from his drink. Lace is one of those people whose mouth barely moves when she talks.

Ben pulls aside this one woman, JoJo, who pretends like the best thing in the world is to be on the fiftieth highest building in whatever city they're in (seriously, there are at least 15 higher skyscrapers around her). She has never in her life been this happy before, it's unbelievable!!!! She's 100 percent happy.  

He says he can't choose between Jubilee and JoJo. He then gives the first impression rose to JoJo because she's white.

First one-on-one date with just Ben and Caila and two additional black comedians/actors (Kevin Hart and Ice Cube). This is The Bachelor producers trying to interject humor into an otherwise unfunny program. It's not working. Ben drives off in a white convertible with the dudes in the back. I saw this same exact concept on Conan O'Brien and I guess it's the basis for their movies? The girls back home are thrilled because they know there is no way this will be romantic. At least they're debunking stereotypes by having Kevin Hart joke about making fried chicken and Ice Cube pretending to rob the liquor store.  Ben and Caila end up...where a hot tub. We discover the Caila has a tattoo of a shrimp on her thigh. Cue commercial of a Kevin Hart and Ice Cube movie, hence the reason for their appearances. Dan likes Caila the best. He believes they will get married and then divorced within a year and a half.

Caila and Ben go to a nondescript restaurant with candles and violins playing. The restaurant is called Burning Oven. They're thing is to serve everything burned. Does it matter that she's drinking white and he's drinking red? She says she was engaged with a man she met on a plane but for some reason, it didn't work out. He gives her a rose and they walk down the street and see their names on the marquee of a porn theater. Oh, no wait, they are in a theater being serenaded by Amos Lee, a musician I have never heard of who appears to like vests. They dance awkwardly while he plays the guitar. They make out, sort of.

Group date with the twins and others at a love laboratory. Of course all of the scientists wear white coats and all the women wear white tank tops. They are being tested to see if they can get out of a maze with a glass of chardonnay at the end. Next, Ben is blindfolded and made to smell each of their asses. I am not making this up. One girls smells like lo mein and he rejects her. Finally, they are required to strap on electrodes and touch each other's breasts. I don't think these tests were approved by the Kinsey Institute. The lowest score goes to...Sam, who smelled like she just came from PF Chang's. The highest score scores to the newscaster (Olivia/Cameron Diaz look alike), who will be cast as the next villain after Lace is kicked off in two episodes.He takes Olivia away and gives her a kiss and she says she feels heat in her stomach area. She's a phony, but slightly likable.

I don't get why one group date was 15 women and the other group date has only 5 (if you count the twins as one entity, which I do. Sorry, twins out there).

Amanda confesses that she has two children under the age of 3 and he does not run away into the night. He also does not give her a rose  He gives the rose to...Olivia. This makes Amanda cry.    

Final cocktail party. Ben has finally changed out of his sweat pants. Vests are back in, ya'll. He holds the women's hands every time. Olivia uses the word "magical" too much. She steals him away and she knows that he is attracted to her. Now Olivia and Lace face off and again, Olivia keeps her poise  because she's a newscaster.

Lace tells Ben that she is a handful and that she was a dorky teen and her brother made fun of her because she had these weird bangs and he called her Rosannarosannadana and she has a part of her that she's working on and she hopes that he doesn't think she's crazy and...Oh, dear. Now I feel bad for her. She wishes she has not shown him this side of her Actually, the way she would say it is: "I wish that Lace had not come out. I wanted him to see the good girl Lace, not the motor mouth Lace." I wish she wouldn't refer to herself in the third person.

Too many blonds for Ben to sort out. Ben offers to make hair barrettes for Amanda's children because he will never actually meet them in person.

Final rose ceremony and there are at least five women in the group that I swear I never saw before.

First rose: Amanda. I have made zero comments about her hair extensions.
Second: Jubilee.
Third: Lauren B. in one of the two identical yellow dresses.
Fourth: Leia.
Fifth: Becca, the virgin Barbie.
Sixth: Rachel. Who? Did she win the gunny sack race?
Seventh: Lace. For TV's sake.
Eighth: This one woman just sent herself home. I can't tell if he was going to give her a rose or not.
Ninth; Jennifer.
Tenth:  Twin
Eleventh: Jamie.
Dozenth: Laurie H.
13th: Laurie H.
14th: Shushanna from Russia
15th:  Twin II
Last rose:Amber.

Mandi, the weird and interesting girl will leave and Lo Mein is also going home.

Scenes from next week promise piggy back rides, concerts with other obscure musicians, Lace in a corner, sobbing, candles, awkward hugs, false eyelashes, tattoos, and outtakes that are way more interesting than the show itself.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

It's Raining...TV Humiliation

Have you see the preview ad for this latest iteration? If not, it is set to  a song by an early 80s band (The Weather Girls?) to the tune of "It's Raining Men," except cleverly enough, they've changed the word "men" to "Ben," the name of the new Bachelor. Get it?? "It's raining, Ben!" How many meetings did they have before they settled on that concept? "What about 'Come as you are/As you were/As a friend/as a Ben/as an old frenemy?'"

Dan goes, "Wait, isn't this the guy who looks like Donny Osmond?" Yes, exactly. 

Ben  keeps saying that he has small town values, which makes me think he loves Jesus. We see him looking out onto an Indiana field wearing a mint green shirt from Marshalls. His parents have been married for 30 plus years and Mom advises him to not take rejection so personally. Dad says that he shouldn't feel unloved by women because he could meet someone like his Mom and then...he snaps his fingers (I'm not sure what that means). Mom starts crying.  

What's all this nonsense with him consulting with three former bachelors? Let's see. I recognize Chris the farmer, then this other short guy and that Southern blond with the Kwepie doll hair. Someone gave Ben a terrible, military/The Cure type haircut ("What about, "I don't care if Monday's blue/Tuesday's grey and Wednesdays too/Thursdays, I don't care about you/It's Friday, I'm in Ben with you?")

We get the intros, 75% of them set on the beach.  

1. Lauren, 25, flight attendant who loves traveling. Blond. 
2. Caiyla, software sales rep, Boston, cute, brown hair, over-curled, broke up with her boyfriend after seeing Ben on TV.
3. Jubilee, first African American, can do sit ups, war veteran, tattoo of someone else's name on her chest. She will make it through two episodes.   
4. Mandi (with an "i"), needs to have her mole removed, age 28, likes weird things, dentist, from Portland, blond.
5-6. Emily-Hayley, 22, twins, they will say everything at the same time and are riding tandem bikes. Wait, are they attached at the roots? They don't actually look that much alike. Blond times two. 
7. Amanda, baby voice, Orange County, blond, mom, divorced with two daughters, esthetician (she sells skin cream), forces her daughters to wear ponytails all day long. 
8. Cara, chicken enthusiast. Blond. Does she have a job? 
9. Sam, 26 but appears to be 36 (she grew up in Florida), scratchy voice, blondish, dead dad. Cue sad music and her looking out onto the beach. Bring that up right way, Sam. 

The first limo arrives, and flight attendant steps out wearing a long blue dress. She brings him a pair of wings and says, she hopes he is ready to take off on this journey together. Caiyla runs and jumps into his arms and then asks if she can see him inside. Jennifer, did I miss her? She has long dark hair, and makes no impression. Jami, from Canada, multi-ethnic, she says that she knows Kaitlyn. She makes a penis joke. 

Samantha is already drunk and wearing a red lace dress and tells him that she passed the bar exam. She asks him if he wears boxers or legal briefs. Jubilee arrives in a white dress, very low cut and tight. Amanda will be a hit until he discovers she has two kids. Lace (not her real name), asks him to close his eyes and then she gives him the first kiss. Lauren, math teacher from Texas, says she's been stalking him over social media. He keeps asking her what her name is and she doesn't answer. Shushanna speaks to him... Italian?

Someone with a football, Terrible, terrible lines. Dan just asked if the football fell out of her uterus.

Unicorn head girl. She must be the one from Oregon. Oh, no, it's Joelle from Texas. Lauren brings him the bouquet from a wedding and he says that he thinks it's some kind of sign. Red head, Laura, seems normal, she's from Louisville, KY. Her friends call her Red Velvet. Is that a vagina joke? So soon?  Mandi wears a huge red rose on her head. She says that if it goes well, he can pollinate her flower later. He will have to pray about that. The ladies will hate her because she is weird. I always like the weird ones.

Twins! Please don't tell me that they're going to say everything at the same time. "Group hug?" he says. They awkwardly embrace. The twins seem nice, but I don't think they're going to make it very far. Plus, they're 22 years old. The best they can hope for from this experience is to appear in the Playboy Twin Calendar 2017.

Second limo? Oh, no, it's a girl with a pony. Maegan, the oldest one so far (30). I like her, and she won't make it. She's kind of boyish. Is she going to bring the pony? Yes. This is too weird for him.

This one girl looks so much like Sarah Silverman (Lace, she's already been cast as the bitch). Breanne brings him a picnic. Isabelle, Izzy is wearing pajamas so she can make a pun about him being the "onesie" for him. Another girl comes in on a wave runner or whatever it's called. Jessica has eyes that are really far apart, but I like her, she's sweet. Tiara, the chicken enthusiast, did not bring a chicken or lay an egg. Lauren, fashion buyer, is possibly wearing a pant suit and she has a very flawless, mask-like face. Jackie, gerontologist, is nervous and probably taller than him She brings him a wedding invitation with both of their names on it. She will go home. Olivia, news anchor, also very tall and with a very serious dimple, she will be poised because she's used to being on TV. She points her dimple out to him, which is not cool. We see it!!!

Dan says he hopes the twins and the pony all end up in the fantasy suite. 

I can't type everything that's happening because I have to eat some cheese right now. Okay, four pieces of cheese. He talks to the girl with the football, the girl with the dental tools, the girl with the handwritten cards, the girl with the eyes that are super far apart, the twins. 

They've brought back two former contestants, Becca, who barely moves her mouth and a light skinned black woman, Amber. Because they have been on previous shows, this somehow supposedly gives them an unfair advantage. 

Here comes Sarah Silverman, trying to break in on Ben and Becca's meeting. She has had too much to drink. Will these women never learn? She approaches Ben, wine glass in hand, barely slurring. She asks for another kiss. He says he wants to get to know her better first. Beth interrupts them. Luckily, Lace/Sarah does not throw up on him. She says "literally" too much. He comes back to look for her. The girls gather to see if he's going to throw her off the show or make out with her or give her the first impression rose. He tells her that she is absolutely gorgeous and she slurs that he literally did something to her, literally. 

Chris brings in the first impression rose and leaves it on the table for the women to discuss and feel bad about. 

Lauren B. takes his breath away. She leans her head on his shoulder. He is now talking to a woman who is hinting that she too loves Jesus, as her breasts heave out of her dress and she clutches at his hand and places it on her lap. 

He gives the first impression rose to Olivia, the news anchor who has very recently had a hair cut. Again, she has an unfair advantage because of four years of news practice. 

My guess about who is going home: the girl who brought the pony, possibly the twins, the older girl in the red dress, possibly the dentist with the giant rose on her head (even though personally think she's at least interesting and funny). 

Rose Ceremony

First rose: Lauren B. The first one to get out of the limo.She looks like she's twelve.  
Second rose: Elbe? I don't remember much about her. 
Third rose: Caiyla. She's so perky!
Fourth rose:  Amber, from a previous season. 
Fifth: Jamie. Also ethnic. 
6th: Jennifier: missed that one. 
Jubilee: will accept this rose. 
Amanda: very athletic looking. 
Jo Jo: sweet face. 
Leia: Will she accept this rose? Absolutely. 
Rachel: Absolutely. 
Samantha: she looks tough.
Jackie: Can't keep up.
Hayley: one of the twins. 
Emily:the other one. Dan goes, Which twin is the evil one?
Shushanna: Red dress. 
Lauren H.: boring, 
Becca: Of course. The virgin. 
Mandi: Kept for entertainment value. 

Final rose will go to the drunk girl. I can't believe he's sending the red head home! Commercial break, of course, but that's what it seems like. 

And he chooses.....................................................Lace/Sarah. Of course. 

Going home:

Red Velvet, the mom, the pony woman, the girl who wore her jammies, some others. There will be tears. Or maybe not. I hope not. It's early in the show so they can't be too invested, right? 

Lace is confronting him because he did not look at her once during the rose ceremony. Is he Mormon? He says that he has the feeling that the drama is just getting started. Duh, no duh. 

I'm sad for the pony. 

Ladies, remember, you may find him hot now, but this is how we will look in a few years:

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Countdown to...

Why is there a countdown to Downton Abbey? Will a ball be dropping, preferably on Marmie or whatever Elizabeth McGovern's name is?

Here are my predictions for this season, in the remaining four minutes before we launch. The chauffeur will return from America with a new wife-to-be, but no one will like her. Mary must end up with him. Someone important will die (see my preference again above, though it will likely be Dad instead. I just hope it's not Maggie Smith). Edith will grow her hair out and find an ordinary looking man who looks past her stiffness and sees her for the gem (and feminist) she is. Daisy will leave for a better job as a secretary. Anna and the murderer will be reunited and neither will end up in jail. A few new amazing electronic devices will be introduced to the household. War will break out? I'm not sure what year we're in. One thing I am sure of is that lovely, lovely clothes will be worn by all of the women. And I hope they have gotten a new dog.And that Barrow will find true love.

I'm not going to blog through the first episode, because when I do, I can't totally enjoy it.

Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 Year in Review

1. The Kardashians. Some things happened with them this year that were very dramatic.
Unfortunately, I wasn't paying attention and cannot report on what those things were.

2. The Dog. He turned one in August. He learned three new tricks: roll over, paw, and up with a turn around (that was a little flair he added in himself). He has calmed down, though still likes to have one's full attention whenever he is awake. He continues to be the best dog in the world.

3. Publishing and writing. I sent out work on a semi-regular basis, took two online writing classes through The Writer's Studio, took a summer online writing class through Rider, spent ten days at the Yale Writing Conference, attended two writing classes at Princeton Adult School, and taught one eight week class through Eckleberg. I got two stories published (one I learned about last night; just under the wire for 2015), was a finalist in the BOA Short Fiction Award, and a semi-finalist in the New Millennium Writer's Contest.  However, I didn't write as much as I feel like I should have.  I can't seem to give myself the block of time needed to start anything new or significantly revise drafts. I tried this new thing where I would go in early to work and try to write for 30 minutes, but failed on most days, as my Hay Day farm required upkeep.

4. Hay Day. Hours spent feeding imaginary sheep: 1,034. Number of actual dollars spent on fake diamonds to buy food for sheep: $150 (this is an educated, probably conservative and shameful guess).

5. Luke. He turned twelve this year and started seventh grade. He grew a few inches and has been very active in ice hockey, having joined the travel team. He has between 2 and 5 games per week. He continues to be reserved, and I never know what he's thinking. It could be anything from "I hate living here" to "what should I build in Minecraft today?" I need to get to know more 12 year old boys to allow for points of comparison, but short of going undercover as a Boy Scout leader, I can't think of how to accomplish this task.

6. Books. I didn't keep count, but I did read about a book a week, sometimes more, almost always books I checked out from the Princeton Public Library. I read a lot of female mystery writers this year, including a few by Laura Lippman and Sue Grafton. I read two Stephen King books and got another one (his new short story collection) for Christmas, which I am currently devouring. Discovered a few new Avant guard writers because of the Yale Writing Conference (thanks, Molly!), including Lance Olsen, Lydia Yuknavitch, Blake Butler, and Maggie Nelson. Read only one classic I missed (Frankenstein) and wasn't able to get through books others raved about including The Paying Guests, Goldfinch, Wolf Hall and Life After Life. For this, I forgive myself. I read two nonfiction books, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (Rider's book of the year) and The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsson (full confession: I mostly skimmed the parts about the Chicago World's Fair, interested more in the serial killer story line).

7. Dan. Is mad at me right now because I got impatient with him this morning when he couldn't remember his apple ID password. For New Yea's Eve, we went to a meditation retreat at the yoga center where he teaches. We were cleansed of negativity at the beginning by a smoking thing and then we had a lighting ceremony and an hour of gongs. It's not usually my thing; I have a hard time focusing or being still for extend periods of time, but I tried. As part of the ceremony, we each picked a word from a bronze cup that was meant to be our word for the year. Mine was "communication" and Dan's was "patience." I believe we drew each others words. I lose my temper and he clams up. Other than him not liking me right now, he is healthy, has worked at Wiedel for over a year now, and is hooked on The Walking Dead and chai tea.

We have a fundamentally different way of viewing the world, which can be encapsulated by the following scene. On Wed., we took Luke to a Rider basketball game (Rider vs. Hartford). Rider lagged behind for most of the game but toward the end of the first and second halves, they pushed ahead. And they would have won, except the other team tied it up with a three point basket with 3 seconds left on the clock. They went into overtime and again were tied at the end. With 44 seconds left in second overtime period, and Rider ahead by only four points, Dan said, "It's in the bag." I told him to stop saying that. 44 seconds is a  long time in a basketball game, particularly when the rival team is aces at under-pressure, three point shots. He said, "What? What could happen?" The other team did score again, but Rider still won by a single point. Had they lost, it would've been Dan's fault for jinxing it. He is hopeful, optimistic; I am fearful, poised for imminent disaster. Is this Ying and Yang? I feel like he needs to be more of a realist at times, and I know that I could do without the constant anxiety that the sky is falling.

8. Mom, house and home. Dan and I bought a Cape Cod house in Ewing and my mom waved goodbye to Philadelphia and moved in. We immediately upgraded by having air conditioning put in and the furnace replaced. I sold my house in Philadelphia (thanks, Jeanne!) and felt sad about it, but didn't cry. Mom has not made that many new friends in Ewing, as the next door neighbor's are stand-off-ish and she hasn't joined any book clubs. I see her about once or twice a week and she walks the dog every Friday at lunchtime.Thank you, Mom!

9. Work. We lost Cathy last year (I've decided against listing the number of deaths this year. For me, there were not many, but I know others weren't so lucky), and were not able to replace her, so work has become more intense. We have a new president who seems like an amazing, down to earth, sensible, intelligent man, so I can only imagine good things will come of that next year. I know that sounds pat, but I do believe. Sometimes, I can be a glass half full.

10. Trips. Three trips over 2015, none outside of the United States, but one trip took us  all the way to the Midwest. All satisfactory, except for any time we were driving for more than ten minutes. 

11. Money saved: Not much. I had three months of additional mortgage payments without rental income, spent $3,000 to go to Yale and another $12,000 or so on the house. On the other hand, there was only one unexpected bill resulting from me feeding a pizza crust to the dog and panicking when he threw up. Vet bill with X-ray and subsequent diagnosis of indigestion: $400.