Welcome back once again to the latest episode of The Bachelorette: Ali Kisses All. Okay, maybe that’s a tad unfair, but she’s getting close to Blob in the number of time she locks lips with numerous dudes in succession. It really makes me hope ABC vets the health history of their contestants better than their personal history. If you missed any of the excitement of last week, please do catch LG.’s brief of Novack v. McKinnon here: Bachelorette 5/31/10 – The Battle of the Weatherman and the Hair Product Enthusiast.
Tonight we begin with the 14 remaining contenders waiting around in their house. Harrison arrives on the scene to inform the guys that there will be one group date and two individual dates this round. All of the dates will have roses and the guys lucky (or unlucky) enough to get the individual dates will have to get the rose to continue. Once again, not everyone will have a date this week and Harrison encourages the guys to take full advantage of all the time with Ali that they can get.
Soon enough, the first date card arrives; it’s for Roberto and cryptically reads, “Love is a balancing act.” John C. wonders aloud if he’ll ever get a date and if she even knows his name. I sure as hell didn’t and still didn’t by the end of the prolonged two hour hot mess.
Can’t they just stay on the ground for once?!
Before their individual date, Ali wonders to the camera if she’s built Roberto up to some unattainable fantasy of a guy after giving him the First Impression rose. His test at chivalry arrives early in their date, as they set off to their destination in a helicopter. We’re all familiar with Ali’s fright of flying, so one must wonder if the producers just have it in for her. Roberto passes the test with (pun intended) flying colors—he holds her hand, cuddles up with her, and tries to make her feel safe (or just get the rose, the cynic in me says). Ali finds this all very protective and manly. My soul dies a little more when she expresses this protective = manly thing.
They land on the roof of one building but this is not their final destination. No—the producers really want to test their liability insurance and are making the pair tightrope walk from one building to the next where dinner is laid out. Before we can see if they plummet to their deaths (the Most. Exciting. Date. Ever!), we’re magically transported back to the guys’ abode where they’re all shirtless barbequing. Naturally. If this isn’t lonely lady pandering, I don’t know how to count to ten. There we find Steve hoping to get a date and Justin yammering on about being desperate for time with Ali to the “yeah whatever” nods of Jonathan.
Back on the date, Ali finds the tightrope walk test as a metaphor her and Roberto’s ability to handle the tough situations in life. Look, inasmuch as I think that some of the stuff Philippe Petit did was cool, none of it screamed “dating material” to me. They take off across the rope with the obligatory jokes about “falling for” one another. Mid-way through the walk, Roberto makes Ali lean across for a kiss. Right there that would rule him out for me; it is such a producer-inspired move, I’d have to shove him off the rope. Luckily they finally make it across the tightrope and get on with the date and watch the sun set. Roberto says that he really hopes to watch a lot more sunsets with Ali. I really wish he’d lay off the cheese because I’m getting indigestion. Roberto is attractive enough, but he’s trying way, way too hard.
In a welcome respite from the Limburger, the guys back at their house get another date card. Hey, whatever happened to the date boxes? These messages feel too much like low-tech Tyra mail. In any event, the card announces the group date for Kirk, John, Chris N., Frank, Jonathan, Craig, Justin, Jesse, and Chris L. which reads “Come rock my world”. Chris L. is glad to finally get a date while Kasey is bummed he’s not going. He would be glad to sing her a song, even with that weird voice of his. (There’s been some speculation on the boards that he has a hearing problem. While at first I thought that may be the case and laid off of him on the first recap, if it really were true I have no doubt ABC would exploit that for drama by this point. They haven’t so I’m assuming he’s just a Kermit. I reserve the right to retract if I find out otherwise.)
After the date card business, we’re finally back to the Roberto date and winding that business down. They’ve cleaned up, put on fancy clothes and ate dinner. Ali’s surprised to learn that Spanish was Roberto’s first language. He can also speak a bit of Italian and French and has traveled the world. Ooohhh, swoon by Ali; she wonders if she’s pretty enough for him so she takes him over to a pile of blankets and pillows to cuddle and make out. She then gives him the rose, which he accepts, and they continue to roll around kissing while 7 teamsters look on.
Picture it, the year was 1998, and I was still a young girl in
The day of the group date arrives and Frank is still riding a wave of confidence from his individual date. The chosen dudes pile into a stretch Hummer and head to a remote area of LA and park just before they drive under an overpass. Wow, first a helicopter ride, then an undisclosed area of LA…maybe the producers are playing at my longing for more 24 on Mondays. Then, just as suddenly as they arose, all of my hopes are dashed as Ali, and not foreign nationals brandishing a nuke, appears and leads the group around a corner where the Bare Naked Ladies are set up and playing “One Week”. Crap on a cracker, if I never heard that song again it’d be too soon. Apparently this band—which gave Kirk some of his best high school memories is still around. They’ve got a new single called “You Run Away” about trying to persuade a girl to choose the protagonist. Frank acts all revelatory when he concludes it is soooo like The Bachelorette. Point driven home like an ice pick through the eardrum.
The first part of this group date involves shooting a video for the BNL’s new song. Some of these scenes involve kissing—including weatherman Jonathan’s, and he’s super-nervous about it. Craig, who (along with Ty) has become a favorite for snarky in situ comments, tells Jonathan to just think of it as doing the forecast and kissing a girl.
The video shoot starts with Frank getting the first scene. The dudes take issue with Frank getting the first individual date and now the first scene, but Craig L. calls it as I see it: Ali has chemistry with Frank, but isn’t sold on him as “The One”. Frank’s scene is painful—quite literally—as she’s called upon to slap him in the face after he oils her up in a sunbathing setting. They do nine takes of the slap, though Craig L. (and me) could watch it go on for days. Poor John C. (who?) gets a short scene with no contact with Ali and then it’s time for the weatherman’s scene in the library. Jonathan is supposed to grab Ali and kiss her. However, he’s shakingly nervous about the ordeal. He first lets her know she can back out of the kiss, and then on the first take, he doesn’t make his move so she has to. The retakes, as the guys say, are painfully awkward, to the point that he starts to cry at the ridicule the guys are foisting on him by laughing. Oh, sweet twisted soul of mine, I am ever so happy at the tears. Weatherman, suck it up! On the final take, Ali realizes she has to take the directive and pulls Jonathan in for a long “passionate” kiss. Jonathan later says he “blew up like a rocket ship” with emotion. This is a PG-13 site, but my money is on things other than emotion blowing up like a rocket ship. Chris L. comments in an interview that it was a big day for our Weatherman…first kiss with Ali, first kiss in a video, first kiss with anyone. I concur.
More scenes are taped—Justin and Ali, Jesse and Ali making out, and Chris L. in bed with Ali. Then Kirk gets into bed with Ali and goes for the gold. Really, you could have told me this footage was from the Fantasy Suite date and I’d believe it. They go on with the kissing well after the second “cut” is called. Seeing this, trouble begins brewing in Frank’s world.
After the video shoot, Ali hosts a wrap part in a penthouse equipped with a bar, a hot tub, and a pool. She pulls Chris L. aside for the first one-on-one time and she asks about his tattoo, which is his mother’s signature across his body. He tells her of his close family again and admits that his mother passed away, but he doesn’t want to over-share. Really? A reality contestant who doesn’t want to over-share? Did I walk into an alternative universe? Before they get too deep in family history, Jonathan steals her away to talk about his crying jag and being nervous. They talk over each other for a while, with her saying she feels bad for making him feel nervous and him asking her if she wants to steal away to have a proper first kiss. Before they can even get off the couch, Craig steals her away from Jonathan. And if this feels like basketball to anyone else, let me know.
Meanwhile, back at the dude ranch, the last date card arrives. Steve is really nervous—he wants a date with Ali just to talk to her and would settle for the laundry room. But no, it’s for Hunter and the card reads, “Home is where the heart is.” The guys think maybe it’s a San Francisco treat date.
Up on the roof, Ali and Kirk find their way to the hot tub. Please feel free to correct me on this, but to my viewing eyes, Ali has had only a handful of interactions with Kirk on the meet & greet and the group photo-shoot dates. Nevertheless, they go at it in the hot tub like he’s a sailor on shore leave and she’s his long-time lady friend. He says things solidified in the hot tub. My mind finds itself in the gutter on that sentiment. Jonathan and Frank can’t take looking at the spectacle so they jump in too. The remainder of the guys also get in the water (save for Justin and his busted-up foot). Ali then gives the date rose to Kirk for, I dunno, raising the sails of love. My power went out right then and there due to a storm, and my digital box is slow to reboot, so….
Wonky timelines, a handful of lies, and a couple of aprons.
Five minutes later we rejoin the guys the next day at their abode. I’m sure Ali showed the group date dudes the BNL video but I’m just going to imagine it the travesty it probably was and let you fine folks look for it on YouTube. Justin is lamenting he wants time with Ali, as is Ty. Ty complains that Ali is just down the street, and, in normal dating circumstances, he could just pop down there. Okay—we all know what’s about to happen is completely producer-induced, but don’t you think it’s weird Ty said that? I have forever believed this show is scripted, back to the Alex season, but to telegraph this from Ty is even more heavy-handed and obvious than an editor should allow.
Justin decides he’s going to hobble on his crutches the distance down the hill to Ali’s mansion. First he gets directions from the security dude at the end of the guys’ house. Then a camera crew follows his journey to Ali’s place. And—this is the icing on the cake—he turns up in the background while Ali is shooting her “Hunter just needs to hang out and be cool” speech to the producers.
For some reason, Ali is gaga to see Justin’s hot sweaty self, dressed in an inside-out t-shirt to, no doubt, hide some logo ABC doesn’t have clearance for. She believes he made it the few miles on foot (but I don’t…remember, they filmed him hobbling). They go inside where he magically produces un-wrinkled photos of his youth. Where was he packing those, I ask. He relays the sad tale of him being raised by his mother and grandmother after his father checked out when he was just a tiny boy, then he severed ties, and then his father died. He translates this into wanting to be a good father for his kids.
Ali and Justin kanoodle for a bit and then she takes off to the guys’ house to pick up Hunter, who is super-excited about the individual date. Meanwhile, Justin stays behind. Or does he?!?! Back at the house, Craig asks Justin—who is suddenly there—where he’s been for the past hours. Justin says he was sleeping.
While Justin is talking with Craig, Hunter speculates that he is going to just hang out with Ali at her abode. Justin laments that he’s not going to get to see her house—though he was just there—and Ali arrives to pick up Hunter. I’m sorry, ABC, but even 3 glasses of wine in to tonight’s show, I can tell you’re mucking about with the time-line edit. I shall refresh my diet Coke glass and tune in with a more focused eye.
Once Ali admits that Justin stole Hunter’s thunder by hobbling down to her place (producer assisted or not), we know Hunter is in the land of doom. Hunter may not be the hottest guy around but he doesn’t seem seriously disingenuous, so I think she should give him a chance. Is there anything really wrong about not wanting to go full-tilt-boogie on the first date?
Once Ali picks up Hunter—with Justin in the background, so he clearly made it there before she did—they grill on her back patio, making enough burgers and hot dogs to feed a crew (plus Jillian’s hot dog theory followers). They put aprons on each other, and she admits her career drive is inspired by her father, who put his on hold so her mother could go to nursing school. Hunter says he’d be happy being a stay-at-home dad if she wanted to be career-driven and I think that puts the stake in the heart of the evening. My soul dies a second time, because a guy who would raise kids and be okay with a wife who more job-oriented than he is something kind of near and dear to my heart. That’s manly, Ali.
Ali and Hunter eat, go into the hot tub for seriously awkward interaction where he tries to get close and kiss her shoulder, only to be rebuffed by a suggestion they get into the pool. The pool lasts for about 30 seconds until Ali suggests they make s’mores. Hunter is weirded out at the fast-paced approach he is supposed to take (didn’t he see this show before in it’s 19 prior seasons?!) and just can’t commit to sharing too much. Ali detects this and declines him the date rose. Hunter knows he choked, but I don’t blame him 100% (80% yes but I’ve watched this show for many, many years.) A reasonable person wouldn’t want to suck face with a chick they’ve known in person for about 40 minutes and has it on good authority she’s been making out with a handful of other guys.
Back at the dude ranch, Kirk (of the group date rose) and Justin (of the surreptitious day visit) yak a bit about the proximity of Ali. Yet again, Justin is (producer assisted?) baited in to talking about how close Ali is to them. Justin says he’d never, ever walk over there, since it would take a couple of hours. Nevertheless, he predicts Hunter won’t get a rose. He also attempts to convince the guys that he’s sincere with Ali—heretofore he’s been unsuccessful at that—by sharing the same father-abandonment story and tearing up. Oh, cry little man, cry. It’s what keeps me watching. Kasey is dubious; he, like I, think it’s a bit much of an act. Eventually the PA arrives to collect Hunter’s bags and Justin gloats that he called it right.
The next evening’s rose ceremony cocktail party starts off with Justin (sporting a canary-eating cat grin and a goodly amount of hair product likely left behind by Craig M.) chatting with lawyer Craig. Justin says he had some good one-on-one time with Ali, and Craig asks which time? Justin mumbles something about the group date but Craig is suspicious.
Ali arrives for the evening and lets everyone know it was difficult to let Hunter go and raises a glass to him. After the toast, she puts in some time with Chris L. where they talk about seafood and sports instead of deceased family members. Inside, Kirk, drinking a beer, listens to Frank, drinking champagne, blather about his connection with Ali.
Ali then spends some time telling Justin that she knows he would do so much for her as a husband since he walked all the way to her house on crutches. He whines about all the mean boys in the house but lets her know he’s there for her and wants a wife and a best friend. Ali confesses to the audience that she now thinks Justin is the Vienna of her season.
Poor dateless Steve makes one last-ditch attempt to stay in the game by setting up some blankets and candles to have a mini date with Ali. He even applies Chapstick, so we know he’s serious. Ali sits with him on the blanket and laughs at him when he can’t open the cork cage on the champagne bottle. He finally opens it and they have a glass. Ali likes her champagne, so this could be a bad sign for Steve.
Ty just doesn’t know what to make of Justin, saying he’s like a Mr. Jekyll and Hyde. Somewhere Robert Louis Stevenson is rolling over in his grave. Ty presses on talking with some of the guys; they want to know why Justin is one way around them and another way around Ali. Justin comes into the conversation and says that he always can make friends and these guys are just not his friends.
Frank has is own issues that don’t involve Justin. He practically on the edge, wrought with jealousy. Craig tells him the process is a test of mental toughness. Meanwhile, Ali grabs some alone time with Roberto, even though he already has a rose. Roberto was in on the Ty-led conversation about Justin’s sketchiness so he takes the bullet, rose flack jacket in place, to mention that maybe Justin isn’t there for the proverbial “right reasons”. She knows he’s there for her because of his walk to her house just to see her. Roberto is all “WTF?” on that; Ali thought the guys knew.
Once Roberto is away from Ali, he tells Kasey, Ty, and Jesse the news, so Kasey goes to Justin to ask him if it’s true. Word has gotten out and most of the guys have a weird smirk as they call Justin out on his bevy of lies. Justin knows the jig is up, so he confesses but blames the guys for painting him in a bad light and causing his need for extra alone time with Ali. Ty points out that they all need alone time with Ali. Craig’s lawyer BS detector is going off, Kasey thinks Justin is just plain creepy, and Jonathan, Frank, and Kirk all laugh in Justin’s face. So what happens next? The best fake cry ever—poor Justin, sitting alone on the patio fake-sobbing in the shadows. Awesome! Someone get the guy a railing and see if he pulls a Mesnick. Meanwhile, back in the house, the guys figure that Justin’s little trip down the road is what delayed Hunter’s date and took time away from him.
At long last it is time for the rose ceremony, where two guys will be eliminated. Ali says it’s getting easier and harder at the same time—or some claptrap like that—and hands out roses to: Chris L., Jesse (I kind of like that the first two guys were the ones not wearing suits), Chris N. (where was he all episode?), Ty, Kasey, Craig, Frank, Jonathan, and Justin, who gets thanked for showing Ali he’d do anything for the rose.
Steve and John C. have to leave. Steve is clearly shocked that Ali picked Justin over him, but wishes her well. Outside he tears up just a bit realizing he fell short in making a connection. John C., probably not chosen because she didn’t actually know his name, is also angered Justin is still there. When it comes down to weighing the drama of John C.’s odd eyebrows against Rated R’s crutch walk, who do you think the producers would pick?
Actually, the best part of the episode was the outtakes that ran with the credits. Apparently ABC doesn’t pay for an exterminator or a cleaning crew and there was this cute little field mouse in the guys’ house. Chris L. and John C. try to catch it by rolling around on the very dirty floor. I just hope they didn’t hurt the little mouse.
Next week the globe-hopping begins and LG. will dust off her passport and bring you all the tales of manly woe.