I have a secret and my secret is that I'm an asshole. Based on the fact that so much of the first half of the two-part, FIVE-HOUR LONG season finale was dedicated to watching Desiree cry about Brooks's departure, I thought for sure he was coming back. No waaaaay they'd make us sit idly and watch her cry on a dock for an hour unless he was coming back, right? Even the lady with the nose of a Roman soldier in the live studio audience thought he was coming back. And she looked like she knew things. And of course the malevolent satyr we call Chris Harrison took a lot of pleasure in dangling the Brooks carrot. He's a real dangling pro. A born dangler. Ask Jackie, the red head from last season who they keep bringing back for color commentary even though everyone specifically doesn't care what she has to say. Chris has for sure put his dangly dangler on her.
Also, I figured Brooks was gonna come back because Desiree for sure got engaged (I checked a spoiler site, big whoop) and she for sure didn't want to get engaged to Chris or Drew.
Toward the beginning of this episode (I'm talking about hour three of the two-part finale), Chris sits down bit Desiree to make sure she wants to cry a little bit more about Brooks and she does! "I'm OK when people don't ask," she says and Chris is like, "I know, that's why I asked." Crying, crying,and then Chris is like, "Could you see yourself with one of the two remaining guys?" and Des is like, "I don't know."
She thinks Chris is very "fun" and Drew is so "sweet," both of which are like a half-step up from "neat." She should definitely spend forever with one of them. Do it for Bachelor Nation and the fallacy upon which its empire is built, namely that one in every 25 people is your potential life partner. You just have to be ready for the journey and open to finding love, ladies.
Des continued on her journey by having a bullshit, no-reason rose ceremony at which she reveals to Chris and Drew that and Brooks is gone, then cries about it some more. BUT YOU GUYS ARE REALLY NEAT TOO. She gives both of them roses so she can make sure they want to be there more than Brooks did, which was not at all.
That's me being Desiree, who is VERY excited for this week's dates on the idyllic Portuguese archipelago so she can "see how the guys are feeling about her." That's obviously secondary to how she feels about them and also a very good lesson to teach our young women.
What's best about it is that there is one person who would appear to feel pret-ty ambivalent about Des right now and that's Brooks. So of course she loves him. Or was instructed to say she loves him. What the fuck ever happened to his broken finger? Better get that jammer ready for the Fantasy Suite™, bud.
Let's not get ahead of myself, shall me? Some of the women Desiree formed tenuous bonds with on the last season of The Bachelor are here! We've got Leslie, a redheaded lady, and even Catherine, who Sean ultimately chose over Desiree (and Leslie and the redheaded lady)! Sean's advice to Catherine was to give Desiree good advice, which is the best advice. All the girls hug and unanimously agree that the others look "so cute." SO cute. Then one of the producers lets the guys out of their pen to play in the pool area with some toys they've strewn about and it's strikingly similar to this...
The girls ogle them through binoculars then have a circle jerk.
The first one-on-one date is with Brooks. Where is she taking him, he wonders? "On a trip," she says. Giving a vague answer when a person obviously wants a specific one does not a good significant other make. Ultimately, Desiree takes Brooks to a very high place where they can be in clouds and then say as many cloud-related clichés as they can conjure.
Notable omissions: "Cloudy with a chance of meatballs," at which point Des would have whipped out her boobs then flung herself off the cliff.
Basically, he's the only convicted person who's ever been on the show. And he's also really mean and I like that about him.
That said, I was VERY impressed with Bryden's very Bentley-esque move this week. Notable mostly for his bangs and look of perpetual bafflement, Bryden let ABC fly him all the way to Munich, Germany, then IMMEDIATELY told Desiree he wanted to leave the show because he doesn't like her that much. He even interrupted her date with Chris to do it. That's how urgently he wanted to not be around her anymore. And now he's roaming around the country as a sex tourist.
But that wasn't the worst thing to happen on their date noooooooooooo sir. See, Desiree made the mistake of telling Chris she wants someone "expressive," and he's like, "I'll show you expressive," and then reads an awful poem aloud. (We got very lucky here in Chicago because a severe thunderstorm warning came on mid-recital.) Des responds by giving Chris a good firm hug and a sincere thanks. JUST KIDDING THEY MAKE OUT. And then she's, like, I have a surprise: there's a man sitting at the piano right over there and he's been watching us this whole time. This turns everyone on. Especially Chris Harrison, whose high school yearbook superlative was Most Likely to Watch Other People Watch Other People Make Out.
For the group date Desiree takes a herd of men to a mountain for sledding, but first they
yuggle yodel (aw, Juan Pablo) with a small German man. Des said she was glad to see the guys "embracing the culture" and they were very literally embracing the culture assuming that poor little man's name was culture. They couldn't keep their mitts off of him. Then they go sledding and Des declares Munich, Germany the "happiest place on Earth," and now Disney is in process of suing Desiree, Germany, and itself.
What else? Oh, Zak W. says he was going to be a priest until he realized priests aren't allowed to get their teeth bleached. And Brooks and Des kiss after she pulls him in like she's a drunk frat boy. This woman is one step away from masturbating in public like a monkey to express any positive emotion.
What I want to say is that hypothermia-stricken Tierra acted like a regular Medal of Valor recipient compared to the way Brooks acted when he broke his finger during dodgeball times.
So, c'man. Did they take him away in an ambulance? Why was he on oxygen? He PASSED OUT when they reset the bone? I'll break and reset one of my own bones right now. His liver is made of so many lilies. I also liked that he basically held his splinted finger up in front of his face for the rest of the episode. 6/13. NEVER FORGET.
Desiree put on her serious face and said that what had happened was "terrible." Really. Just so terrible. Luckily, he's got a whole other fist fulla fingers for diddling you. She loves making out, which she has a tendency to call "talking."
So, yeah, dodge ball group date. Nine of the guys meet up with a team from the National Dodgeball League, which Michael G. - who's getting an awful lot of camera time these days - likens it to the A-Team. I didn't see the Liam Neeson remake, but I guess it was about dodgeball.
Blah, blah, they split into teams and play against each other, Brooks hurts himself, and then Desiree lets EVERYONE hang around for the second half of the date, even though that privilege was reserved for the winners of the game and our society will ultimately suffer because we're so goddamn quick to reward underperformance and underachievement. It was moderately fun to watch them hurt each other.
Two more important ones I learned last night:
1. The Bachelorette is NOT set to record on my DVR. Oops.
2. It is a lot less fun to watch the Bachelorette on ABC's website at six in the morning (limited commercial interruption my dick). Especially when there's so much pretend rapping.
Which we'll get to. But, first, a date with Brooks.
They set off in the baby blue Bentley convertible, saliva streaming from their mouths (or at least from Desiree's mouth - lots of wiping), so Brooks can let his hair air-dry. Oh, but wait it never quite dries. If his look - the hair, the weird ring on his long, spindly finger - is intended to make him look like he recently stumbled away from Skid Row, then it's working.
Now, they're driving up a mountain, but WHERE IS SHE GOING? Please drive off. Nope. The Hollywood sign. It's the 90th anniversary so they're allowing people to have stilted conversations and kissings on one of the Ls. IT'S LIKE A FAIRY TALE. Surely this is a thing they're letting all people do, not just ones that are on ABC. (Fun fact: Tom Bergeron and Chris Harrison live in capsules beneath the Hollywood sign.)
Since the last time we hung out, Bachelorette Emily Maynard used her charm and toothy grin to snag Jef (last name: With One F), then used those same gleaming, billboard-sized shards of enamel to sever all ties with the boyish cuckold. Then Emily's castoff Sean found love in Catherine, a woman willing to settle for dry humping and occasional anal until marriage. Most importantly, we met Desiree Hartsock, a Sean castoff and this season's Bachelorette. Things that are important to know about Desiree:
- She has a VERY GOOD sense of humor. Remember when she invited an ac-tor to pretend to be an ex when Sean came for a hometown visit? It actually wasn't funny, but then was when her brother acted like so much more of an insane ex than a paid professional ever could.
- She is very pretty. Especially when she rollerblades in Venice in cutoffs and knee socks looking like so many gay hustlers. I have a hunch this crop of guys will like that.
- We call her Des. Pronounced Dez. I so badly want to spell it Dez.
But the most important thing to know about Des: she is very, very poor. This is KEY to the season's narrative. The producers love it.
See, she grew up short on money, but rich in love. Her family camped a lot, insofar as they lived in a tent. Her father loved hunting and her mother loved fishing, but they called it "grocery shopping." SHE DRIVES A HONDA CIVIC WITH A DENT IN THE HOOD, FOR FUCKS SAKE. And did you hear the noises it made? It's, like, fine, be poor, but don't bother the rest of us about it.
Or do! Because you know what it means when people are poor and embattled, but then get to simultaneously date 25 cocklicks and drive a baby blue Bentley convertible for, like, 25 minutes? It means it's a Cinderella story. Something out of Horatio Alger. A regular Ragged Dick. Even Des acknowledges it. "Cinderella in the flesh" is what she is. Fleshy Cinderella. And instead of being covered in cinders after a long, hard day, she'll be covered in saliva and fecal residue from 25 clammy, disgusting hands.
And what a batch of fecal-fingered fellas we have here. The season premiere is always a blur of close-set blue eyes, fake tans, bleached teeth, and nipples, so we'll just focus on the most important teeth and nipples. I'll share some of my notes ...
Y'all missed out on the Zoanette Show and the Charlie Debacle, and while they were both headed for certain Sanjaya fame, they both got axed last week. Sorry. We also don't have anyone from Georgia repping us this year, but we've got a South Carolinians and three Tennesseeans to root for. That's close enough, right?
There are three important things to know about this season:
1. It's diverse, y'all. We're not going to have another white boy winner, because let's face it, Paul Jolley ain't winning, and he's the only white boy in the bunch.
2. There are too many judges. I tune out after Nicki Minaj, and I only pay attention to her because she's fucking crazy.
3. Nicki hates this job. She makes the most horrific faces - Nicki's bored, Nicki thinks you're crazy, Nicki hates life right now. There should be a Nicki face drinking game. And by should, I mean I'm playing it right now.
Hey, "The Good Wife" was back last night! Who knew? One of the worst parts about the show being moved to Sundays, - i.e., CBS's "classy" way of trying to smother it to death - is its irregular schedule. Just when the momentum was building this season after the holiday break, boom! Them's the breaks. Literally.
"Red Team, Blue Team" was full of hard knocks, from Cary and Alicia being denied equity partnership (kinda) to the two of them going up again Will and Diane in "take no prisoners" mode for their mock trial, and then of course Elsbeth Tascioni (Carrie Preston) catching the feds in their own wiretapping game in an amazingly strange and entertaining subplot.
Though the main thrust of the episode was nothing more than a tired rehash (Will and Alicia have a moment of weakness after months of nothingness, Alicia gets the partnership because "Alicia," Cary relegated to standing on the outside of things), the rest of it was great. The mock trial introduced a new and fun way to hash out what would otherwise be a normal courtroom scene, and "The Good Wife" once again showed its intelligence illustrating Modern Things (such as cyber shills - which are completely and horrifyingly legal), mostly regarding the Internet and Kids These Days. But truly, the show does present esoteric ethical questions regarding nefarious uses for quickly changing technology in a way no other show on TV does. This week, though, it expanded its scope, and the government also received a blow, as well.
There are a few things to discuss before we get to That Thing, mainly how good the Christmas Special (which is what this episode originally aired as in the U.K.) always is. We went somewhere new (Duneagle Castle), had a few opportunities to see everyone let their hair down (the fair, the Gilly Ball), witnessed a few misguided near-romances (Patmore and Mr. Tufton, Isobel and Clarkson, Edna and Branson), and got a major redemptive finish for the Thomas and Jimmy saga. Cutting the last five minutes out would have made for a very satisfying finale, both in its regular season and this Christmas Special, and worth the slog of getting through Season Two. It was gorgeously filmed, emotionally rendered, and even despite a few mistakes (the advent of Edna, the worst of a long line of terrible maids that include Ethel and Jane), it gave us everything we wanted. Until That Thing.
For all of the focus on the Upstairs characters and storylines, I maintain that things Downstairs are usually more interesting. They're not as brightly filmed, and the costuming really can't hold a candle, but the nuances of the relationships, especially between characters like Mrs. Hughes and Carson, as well as Thomas and Jimmy, are far more interesting and varied. While Upstairs things often fall to cliche (Branson and Edna) or become repetitive (like Edith's many failed attempts at love), Downstairs things are lively and fresh and seem drawn out in a better way. The scene where Jimmy approaches Thomas' room, thanks him and is honest with him ("I can't give you what you want") and then ends in a mutual declaration of friendship was made all the more moving thanks to all they had been through over so much time.
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