Is this a dream? Is an architect designing the landscape? Who are these people and where are we? As one we are drawn deep down into a moment in time and forced to watch as we are guided through others’ misery, anxiety and tears. There is a way out if only we would take it…turn off the TV!
I meant this to be a light-hearted recap from beginning to end as it chronicles one of the most gag inspiring episodes in a Bachelor season – The Women Tell All; though real people testifying before strangers about their tribulations while editors shape how they want that testimony to play out on the airwaves, makes it all surreal and dreamlike.
Our guide, Chris Harrison with an up-do small faux hawk hairstyle, opens the show reminding us that this has been a season of redemption; that Brad Womack learned his lesson, dag gummite, and we now see him as a changed man. (At this point you should reach for the remote control before you are sucked further into surreal nonsense.) But, if you are hanging in there, prepare for Chris to guide Brad through a review of what the show considers memorable moments – the Slap, the Carnival, Madison’s fangs, the mausoleum and Michelle in her man-eater role. That’s enough of that and the dream shifts from the Villa de Vina mansion back to a television studio where a pre-taped segment of circus people auditioning for a sideshow is deemed entertaining. Is it entertainment or a distraction used to confuse us?
A window to the past opens with a crowded scene at the Ganvoort Park Hotel in NYC (last seen during the Final Four Rose Ceremony) where show people, previously rejected in their search for true love forever, gather to party the night away and mug for the cameras. One has to be quick to pick out familiar faces, though Gia, Graham, Kasey, Erica and billions of others vie for attention. For those unable to make the NY audition, another party is held in LA where Kasey, Vienna et. al., along with current true love success, Ali and Roberto, stand around with drinks in hand making conversation; fascinating. Not.
Drama, Tears and Catfights
Sensing our hands drifting toward remote controls, Chris brings us back to center ring and introduces the newest crop of rejected, dejected losers at the love game. Seated in chairs facing a professional jury of television insiders and ad salespeople, they are from left top around the rows to left bottom: Sarah P., Lisa, Melissa, Alli, Britt, Marissa, Raichel, Megan, Stacey, Ashley S., Jackie, Ashley H. (latest reject) Michelle, Madison and Shawntel. With his game face on, Chris tries to pull out of two volunteers their first impression of redemption Brad and they share that all was good.
Enough of that; it is time to get to the core of this dream – drama, tears and catfights. To make it more enlightening, production takes us deeper into the surreal using picture in picture to capture the real edited contestant reacting to her taped edited self. Uh, stay with me and use your imagination to conjure a real person gaped jawed at the actions of herself and others as they cavort about sniping, screaming, and clawing their way to Brad’s redeemed heart.
The first scene of Britt playing a sex kitten in the PSA date segues into Melissa displaying her cougar claws and earning the others’ disdain. This sets up the cat fight between her and Raichel which carried through the first two dating episodes. It builds to the point where Chris can bring Melissa down to the “hot seat” beside him to explain herself. But, that will have to wait a bit (sorry) as the women snipe on Madison’s fangs and Michelle’s aggressiveness. Michelle enjoys watching her scenes play out, but when a few women express the hurt they felt when watching Michelle’s ITMs, she brings Producer Gold by tearing up. Jackie’s coup d'etat calling her a scary spider sends Michelle over the edge while Ashley H. rushes in to defend Michelle’s style of sarcastic wit and her motherhood. Are we done yet? No. Michelle also gets to sit beside Chris.
Okay…now Melissa can take the hot seat to settle the infamous (Chris’ word) feud with Raichel. Do they kiss and make up? Is a Duh! really needed here? Of course not, but each forgives herself for looking like an ass on TV.
Next to feel the warmth of the hot seat is Michelle who brings a crumpled tissue with her so she can wipe away what she calls an ugly cry. Chris notes that she has been emotional all day and starts to dig for our edification. This leads Michelle to throw up defenses as the girls attack both her friendship skills and her mothering skills. Chris then draws the audience in by bolstering Michelle’s vulnerability and glares at the attackers when Michelle drops her face in her lap. In comforting her, dream guide Chris creates a boundary of sympathy for her that no one dare cross and makes it safe for us to see a softer, needy Michelle. Talk about a redemption edit.
Called down for a chat because she needs closure, squeaky voiced Ashley S. tells her harrowing tale of being dropped like a hot potato and, even worse, told she wouldn’t be an extraordinary wife for Brad. That hit her core as her one aspiration in life is to be an extraordinary wife. Will she get closure in the form of an explanation from Brad? Sort of…but that is later.
One of the most stunning dates gone wrong in the history of the show (Chris’ words) is re-lived when Ashley H. takes the chair. First, though, are you as confused as I am about the architect of this dream giving Ashley H. deep auburn hair in a style unlike that which was seen on the show? Did he take a lunch break during a continuity sequence? What-EVS. There she sits taking us through her communication debacle where she did not contribute to Brad’s redemption. Hindsight clarifies all for her and she regrets pulling away when she should have been pushing forward.
Brad bounces in full of good humor with his speaking phrases at the ready. His opening set has to do with promising his significant other that he would only be marginally happy to see the girls, but he can’t help himself. He, too, notices the continuity mess up with Ashley H., but goes with the flow and compliments her. Once Chris takes charge with questions, Brad defends Michelle by washing away the negative and cloaking her in redemption. Ashley S. gets an apology and Ashley H. gets an affirming hug.
When The Bachelor travels to a country outside the United States, their charity arm gets into gear. The project this season is to install a hot water heater and sponsor some of the children at Henna Pre-School in South Africa. Chris and Brad make the presentation and have fun with the children; though Chris’ soccer skills are a tad too advanced for the pre-school age children.
Back from the clip, Brad says that South Africa was special because, though he hated having to say goodbye to one woman, his chosen one has changed his life and makes him happy. He falls more and more in love with this woman every day. This must be Brad’s dream, right?
Change of pace now as another filler designed to distract us from the syrupy plays out in a clip. You know these are the lighter moments on the show because the cast acts all goofy. Ah, who knew a dream could raise moods? Wait, what’s the catch?
The catch is that we must now sink down deeper into reflection as the journeys of Chantal O. and Emily play out before our eyes. Who tugs at you more as the woman who makes Brad happy? These reminders supposedly guide us into the Finale, but do they clarify or make us more confused than ever?
Time to WAKE UP! and shake off this dream until we are once again lulled and beguiled under The Bachelor spell on next week’s Finale and After The Final Rose shows. LG. will bring the roller coaster into its final stop. Finally. Really.