Re: Thoughts and Comments in General
what I find intriguing about this show, why I continue to watch it and even enjoy it, even though our role as voyeurs is necessarily a bit tawdry, especially given the pain that is built into the infrastructure of the premise, is that the layers and layers of UNREALITY that filter what we viewers see do ultimately still allow occasional but vivid glimpses into the raw emotion of real human encounters. It's all the more precious to be privy to this, like a coin found in the mud, precisely because of the context. And seeing people grapple with these universal but fundamentally personal emotions in this artificial set up invites all of us to reflect not only on our essential longings and fears, but also on the ways our most personal experiences are organized in universal ways. Because really, it's not just the editing that complicates things, or the nature of the show itself, with its constrained time frame and the multiple simultaneous developing relationships. I mean, isn't the project of falling in love already fraught with mystery? And don't we all, when feeling our way through the dark as our experiences unfold, try to find what's real and then express it within the framework of narratives by which we understand the world? There are certain conventions or markers which signal thresholds and milestones, certain gestures or words that convey entire packets of information. And we're always having to interpret these signs from others and choose what and how we communicate our own tremulous feelings. And the circumstances push us in certain directions. It's for this reason that I can forgive Andy for his declarations of love for/to Bevin and his gestures of intent intimacy with her. He had committed himself to the narrative of the show. The narrative required him to continue investing in each relationship until the end. When he's with Bevin, with everything around them set up to depict and also create ROMANCE, and with Bevin lobbing all the progressions of love, and I don't doubt that for her this was heartfelt, it's impossible that he wouldn't respond, and I don't doubt that this was heartfelt for him as well, with the narrative that is appropriate to that moment. He was drawn to her and had actively explored her as an option. It is heady to be loved. To me it is a sign of his sweetness and openness that he made his emotions available and once having committed himself to the project of the show, allowed himself to be pulled along by the narrative. Do I think that this means that he was truly conflicted until the end? Not for a moment! The fact of the still unexplained dogtags and the unique and persistent "Tessa will you PLEASE accept this rose" are huge signs. I think he knew early on that it was Tessa. But I also don't think he was leading Bevin on in a deliberately cruel way. I just don't think he's a phony person and since he did obviously care about Bevin and was committed to enacting these intimacies with her, he responded with exactly what we all understand to be the way one responds to those cues. I don't think that has to diminish what I would like to believe are his real feelings and relationship with Tessa.
That said, I just want to add that I thoroughly appreciated this installment for the intelligence exhibited by the participants. It's possible that Fleiss has just not allowed us to see such depth before, but I thought the conversations had so much more substance than we've previously witnessed. His family's discussions about the women really pushed on ideas of what love and comittment mean. Bevin I thought had real moments of insight and grace, especially toward the end. And most of all Tessa, who in spite of or maybe even because of her awkwardness with the situation, was poignant and incredibly touching as she struggled to respond only to the parts of the narrative as they became real to her, and whose ideas of love focused less on roses and some ideal man, but on that man and who she is when she's with him. Which just so happened to be something magic. All in all very lovely I think, no matter what happens to them after this. Even in this overly constructed scenario, we get to think about what a mystery and miracle love is, how utterly ineffable, how it's not the symbols of romance or a list with boxes to check, not something we choose, but something that chooses us. Emily Dickenson has a poem, "Why do I love you sir? Because the wind does not require the grass to answer, wherefore when he pass she cannot keep her place."