Hometown dates are back, Survivor is back, and most importantly, my Grandma-in-law is back to watch it all with me. Grandma wasn’t as talkative this week, but she REALLY enjoyed the double dose of The Bachelor that ABC served up for us Monday and Tuesday night. At the end of Monday’s episode, while Sean was being pressured to make a decision by his “boss” (that's what she calls Chris Harrison; I suggest you start thinking of him this way, too — it adds a great dynamic), Grandma started to feel bad for Sean: “He’s confused … he should join the organization where you have more than one wife and marry all of them.” Great call. I would love for one of the Bachelor seasons to end with The Bach standing in front of the final four women after hometowns and just saying, “You know what? I really like the vibe we have going here, and I think this could work. Why don’t all four of you immediately move into my place and just see where this takes us? Who’s with me?” That will never happen, because they only pick boring-ass Bachelors. How do they pick a guy who won’t have sex in the fantasy suites? Why do they do this to us? I really hope they overcompensate when casting the next Bachelorette and cast one of those girls who lives in Charlie Sheen’s koi pond. Who’s not watching that?
Oh yeah, Survivor is back this year, trotting out the old “Fans vs. Favorites” gimmick. Apparently, the folks over at CBS aren’t listening to our podcast or else they would've totally used the “Secret Partner” format that Juliet Litman came up with. You know an idea is good when you don’t even have to explain it.
- No points for unintentional nudity
- All hookup points scored at triple value (they deserve them for hooking up with someone who hasn’t showered for a month)
- Making a catty exit speech: 25 points
- Winning a “tie vote” challenge: 10 points
- Stealing or hiding food: 15 points
- Killing a mammal and eating it (i.e., no fish or insects): 15 points (only killer gets points)
- Receiving medical attention: 20 points
- Announcing that you're "in control of this game": 5 points
- Accusing someone of eating more food than they were rationed: 5 points
- Being sent home with an unused immunity idol: -20 points
- Jeff Probst stops addressing you by your real name and starts using a nickname: 25 points (one time only)
- The Loved One who comes to the island is not parent, spouse, kin, or sibling: 20 points
- No Loved One comes to the island: 100 points
- Claiming your real job gives you an advantage in the game: 15 points
- Crying in Tribal Council: 5 points
- Jury member makes a Survivor cry in the Final Tribal Council: 20 points
- Getting injured in an immunity challenge in an unathletic manner: 15 points
- Having so much trouble swimming that it briefly seems like you might drown: 10 points
- Being unable to light a fire: -5 points
- Being unable to make fire in a tiebreaker: -5 more points
- Comparing another contestant to vermin in Tribal Council: 10 points
- Faking possession of an immunity idol: 10 points (one time only)
- Unsuccessfully hiding the immunity idol: 5 points
- Claiming that you'll "teach these young people a thing or two": 10 points
- Saying something that makes Jeff Probst raise his eyebrows: 10 points
- Winning the show: 50 points
- Getting so thin that your image no longer registers on camera: 50 points
Then we divvied up the desperate:
Bill: Malcolm, Cochran, Michael, Laura
House: Andrea, Dawn, Allie
Connor: Brandon, Francesca, Eddie, Corinne
Jacoby: Brenda, Phillip, Julia
Kang: Matt, Shamar, Hope
Lisanti: Erik, Reynold, Sherri
All right, enough housekeeping, let’s get to the Sabotage Sisters, slammered parents, and the sneaky-creepy red flag of a human being that is AshLee.
AshLee (The Bachelor, Simmons), 35 points: I've been saying all along that something isn’t quite right with AshLee. She's beautiful, put together, sweet, calm, smiley; everything checks out on paper, but there are just little subtextual red flags everywhere. Oh yeah, and a couple of big in-your-face red flags, too, like the fact that she was rapidly passed around foster homes as a youth and the fact that she “had trouble with her mom” and got married at 17. Knowing this, I was curious what the Hometown Visit was going to be like. When she was revealed to be waiting in the middle of a field, setting up a makeshift picnic for Sean the Boring Bachelor, a thought came to mind:
What if AshLee is a nomadic wanderer? What if AshLee has no family? What if she lives in this field? What if she just has a blanket and a pillow tied to a stick and lays her head wherever she feels? What if AshLee is the embodiment of American freedom? Could this be the first time the Bachelor asks the woman that he's about to propose to for her blessing to propose to her? My head hurts.
Alas, she did have a home, complete with adorable, caring foster parents and everything. Her dad was so nice, genuine, and gentle you almost overlooked the fact that he looked exactly like
Mike Ditka Dick Butkus:
The thing about AshLee and her Nice Ditka Dad is that I can’t get over these little subtextual hints that she's an undercover sociopathic loonball. Who says something like, "I really want to express to my parents that I actually know what love for another person outside my family is like. So crazy. So crazy. Yaaaaaaay!”? No, AshLee, loving someone outside of your family isn’t crazy at all; it's kind of par for the human-experience course. Also, why are you holding your hands over your head and yelling “Yaaaaaaay”?
If there was one thing that we learned on this episode of The Bachelor, it's that no matter how much your family loves you, it doesn't mean they'll hesitate for a millisecond before they sneakily expose the worst part of your personality. Like AshLee’s Mom, Dukes, who slyly drops this into a conversation: “AshLee was in five foster homes in one year before she came to us. And that abandonment issue was reinforced over and over and over … ” Not exactly what you want to hear before proposing to someone. This deep-seated abandonment issue must be the root reason for why all AshLee ever talks about is how she's “ultimately ready to marry Sean and have a family with him” (2 x 10 = 20 points), and “I love this man so much. I don't want to wait a long time. There's no doubt I want to marry this man the second we can, because we're in love.” It's like she's incapable of having a conversation that doesn't revolve around trusting Sean, loving Sean, or marrying Sean. If she isn't doing that, she's either too busy crying about Sean (5 points) or making out with him (2 x 5 = 10 points). Who wants to marry a chick who's so serious?
Lindsay (The Bachelor, Simmons), 25 points: All of a sudden, Lindsay is the Grantland office favorite to win the whole thing. I can’t understand how this happened. Lindsay has the emotional maturity of a doorknob. She baby talks, she giggles, she snuggles, she makes out (5 points), she baby talks, she giggles, she snuggles, she makes out, and so on and so forth. I don’t think she's ever had a thought more advanced than “I’m hungry” and “That smells bad.” When she showed up in a wedding dress, got slammered, and force-kissed Sean, she played it all off as part of her “goofy personality.” Knowing what we know now, I really think that she's just 100 percent controlled by id impulse. Want to get married? Wear a wedding dress everywhere you go. See alcohol? Drink as much as you can. Like a guy? Tell him you love him (20 points) and force-kiss him. She's the type of chick who'll get caught shoplifting a Gucci purse, but when security explains to her that if she wants the purse she has to pay for it, they'll see the completely confused look on her face and just let her leave without pressing charges. Of course, her hometown date was, well, weird.
She started the whole thing out with some morning beers at an empty bar. Note the morning sun illuminating the suds:
Then she decided that Sean had to put on some Army-themed workout gear and do some calisthenics. Of course, the producers made her role-play as the drill sergeant, but all she did was baby talk and giggle, because, well, she’s Lindsay; giggling's her thing. Then it was time for Sean to meet her dad, the two-star general. Before Sean was to meet her dad, he asked Lindsay how he should address him. “Do I call him Mister? Do I call him General?” Her response: “Call him “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyeeeeee.” She wasn’t kidding. It was almost like she had never met her father, but it was more like she had spent every day of her life with her father but couldn’t even attempt to remember a single detail about him. When they finally got to her house, Sean transitioned from morning beers with Lindsay to evening beers with General Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyeeeeee:
Two important things about this photo: Do Army dudes just always wear Army green? I mean, that would make sense and everything, but WHY IS SEAN ALWAYS WEARING PURPLE? WHY? I need this explained to me.
Taylor (Housewives, House), 17 points: Oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god. Breathe. Oh god, oh god, oh god. What happened on this week’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills MUST. BE. DISCUSSED. I have no idea how this shit isn’t leading nytimes.com right now. Kyle and Kim were setting up for a party at Kim’s house TO UNVEIL HER NEW NOSE — yes, these women hire companies that have real human beings working for them to come to their houses to set up real parties for the coming-out of their facial features. The most insane thing about this party is that the most insane thing about this party wasn’t the fact that it was a quinceañera for a nose; it was the phone conversation Kyle had when Taylor called:
Taylor: (Read this entire quote as if you just had eight shots of tequila, it's all one word, and you've lost all motor skills in your face): “I have something to tell you. I have just become close to someone that I have known for a long time. And he has just invited me to go on a plane tonight from Van Nuys, and I think I am in love. I am being really serious; the last 48 hours I have fallen in love … I am so happy, and he loves Kennedy.”
Kyle: “I have Kennedy with me anyway, so can I just keep her with me, then?”
Taylor: [surprised] “Oh, you have Kennedy with you?”
Kyle: “Yeah, Kennedy is with me.”
Taylor: “Well, take her. I’m coming back for the white party.”
Kyle: “Well, can she spend the night, then?”
Taylor: “If you want to, yeah.”
Kyle: “You didn’t know she was at my house?”
Taylor: “NO IDEA.”
SHE HAD NO IDEA WHERE HER KID WAS! Quote, “no idea,” end quote. It's one thing if you lose track of which house your child's in, find out in a conversation, and then play it off as if you knew the whole time, but just straight up “no idea?” Oh no, I think I just found the GRTFL Questionable Moment of the Week:
Who is this dude? Why did she say she was “really being serious”? How did she not play it off like she knew where Kennedy was when she found out? Isn’t that what parents do? Who says, “In the last 48 hours, I have fallen in love?” Who says that? Why did she name her daughter Kennedy? What if Kyle doesn’t “want” to have Kennedy at her house for the night? Does that mean Kennedy sleeps on the street while Taylor flies away with this mystery guy? Shouldn’t Bravo have at least one camera guy with these women at all times? Where the hell is Van Nuys? How does she know he “loves Kennedy”? What does Kyle tell Kennedy? “Sorry, honey, you're going to be at our house tonight because Mommy is kaslammered (17 points), likely on drugs, and with some dude whose name she won’t say and is also flying away on a plane. Don’t worry, though, she’ll most likely live.” Why did she say, “Well, take her” when Kyle already has her? What gave me the right to give her more points than I stated could be given for intoxication? Why am I trying to make sense of this?
Desiree (The Bachelor, Simmons), 15 points: Where do these women live? For real. Is their “hometown” where they live or where their parents live? Do their parents fly in? Or do they fly out? Does anyone know where Lindsay, Catherine, and AshLee actually, you know, live? I know Desiree lives in L.A. because she brought Sean to her home, where she stated, “I did all the artwork in the house.” First off, not bad work, Des. The art is actually kind of dope:
Aside from putting the art on the wall and making out with Sean on a walk (5 points), Des had little to do with this hometown date. This date was all about Des’s brother Nathan. You see, Nathan doesn't believe that the best way for his sister to find a husband is to go on a reality show in which a man dates his sister and 24 other women all at the same time. Weird, right? While he talked to Des, he didn’t pull any punches: “I am thinking this is, like, this is, like, not going to work. This is, like, stupid almost.” He's totally wrong about that, though. It isn't “stupid almost”; it's “100 percent, without a doubt, all-the-way stupid.”
He didn't pull any punches when he spoke with Sean, either:
Nathan: “So far, what I have seen from you, I believe that she is really into you, but you’re not into her. I just don’t see that reciprocation there.”
Sean: “I am crazy about your sister.” (Sean is crazy about everything. Ever. Always. Crazy. About it.)
Nathan: “You’re crazy about a lot of girls, right? You don’t know which one you are going to choose yet?”
Sean: “Right now it has not been laid on my heart yet.” (Note to self: Use "laid on my heart" more often. Second note to self: Ignore previous note to self.)
Nathan: “I think you’re just a playboy. You are just going along with the circumstances. Whatever comes along, you know, just have fun there, then go to the next one and have fun, you know? You say now you are ready to settle down, so … "
Sean: “Yeah, and I am sorry I gave you that opinion, but that is not me at all. I don’t think you are buying it, though.”
Nathan: “Not at all.”
Sean: “You’re not buying it?”
Nathan: “I am not buying it, no. Not what you are saying, no, not really.”
Sean: “My character and my integrity is no. 1 for me, so, obviously, I don’t like hearing this.”
Nathan: “It is what it is, right?”
First off, “It is what it is” is the most male sentiment in the history of feelings. I don’t think a woman has ever ended a conversation with “It is what it is.” Ever. Second, and most importantly, WAIT UNTIL YOU HEAR WHAT WE SAW ON THE “SEAN TELLS ALL” SPECIAL! Turns out Sean and Nathan had a conversation earlier in the evening in the exact same spot, but with a very different tone:
Nathan: “I can tell that you aren't going to bleep her over or nothing. You know how you can tell just by lookin’ at a dude [laughs]. You definitely have everything that my sister was looking for, you know? That strong, assertive type.”
Sean: “Is that it. Is that all the grilling you got for me?”
Nathan: “I think that is it [laughs]. You seem like a nice dude. I thought you would be a lot worse or something, then I could come down on you.”
When we were discussing this at the office (little aside from discussing “this” happens at the office), Bill theorized that Nathan “must have had some drinks over the course of the evening.” But I checked; they were drinking water at dinner. The fact that Nathan the Crazy Brother both kissed and kicked Sean’s ass over the span of one dinner is just one of the many lessons from the “Sean Tells All” special we watched Tuesday night. In fact, Bill did this thing he does where he comes to my desk and starts saying stuff that he clearly wants me to include in this column. (They are always good ideas, so I generally oblige.) This week it was the GRTFL “Top Five Things We Learned From the 'Sean Tells All' Special.” I will list them from “insignificant” to “how isn’t there a $10 billion lawsuit about this right now?”:
5. Tierra totally flirted with some dude at an airport in front of everyone. (She basically admitted it.)
4. Catherine writes the letter in the final episode. (They set her up as a prodigious note writer.)
3. Lesley M. is in contention to be the next Bachelorette. (Chris “The Boss” Harrison mentions her as a fan favorite.)
2. Catherine can fit into a wheel well. (Yep, that happened.)
1. Participating in the roller derby was TOTALLY One-Armed Sarah’s idea. (They made a point to talk about this. Methinks ABC Suits might have suggested this topic, or it was, ya know, just someone with some decency.)
Reynold (Survivor, Lisanti), 10 points: Finally, we get to Survivor. The most important thing about this year’s Survivor is the return of Brenda, Wife of Poseidon, Paddleboarding Goddess of the Florida Seas. I love Brenda so much. Her gumption, her intelligence, her willingness to help around camp … she may or may not be extremely attractive, as well; I wouldn't know. I don’t objectify women like that. Anyway, Reynold (yes, that's how he spells it) got into a shouting match with Shamar (5 points; more on him in a second) and stormed off into the jungle. While in the jungle, he looked for the hidden immunity idol and found it in, like, four minutes. Who's hiding these fucking things? THEY'RE ALWAYS IN TREES. Anyway, Reynold is all young and hip and stuff and wears young and hip tight pants. The only problem: The rest of the tribe (fine, one person) noticed the huge bulge in his young, hip, tight pants and called him out for having the idol (5 points). I have no idea how the entire cast of Survivor and Jeff Probst didn't use the opportunity to make a “bulge in the pants" joke.
Dawn (Survivor, House), 10 points: Dawn cried about something (5 points) and got into it with Brandon about something else (5 points), but none of this matters. What you should be doing right now is listening to Chuck Klosterman's conversation with Jeff Probst on the Grantland Network podcast. Trust me.
Catherine (The Bachelor, Simmons), 5 points: Catherine decided to show Sean around her hometown of Seattle. I love Seattle, met great people there, saw a ton of cool stuff, never once threw or caught any fish. I have no idea why throwing and catching fish is the one thing that every reality show feels like they have to film once they get into Seattle. I swear this market has one section for real employees buying and selling fish and another section for random assholes who just want to throw and catch fish. After dropping a fish on her first attempt, Catherine went straight Megatron on the second, snagging it with one hand like a fucking grizzly bear:
Sean and Catherine would then goof around a bit, make out (5 points), and eventually settle at her (?) Seattle home. Once they got “home,” Sean met Catherine’s sisters, who will now forever be known as the Sabotage Sisters. They pretty much did whatever they could to keep Sean from proposing to their sister without saying anything truly incriminating. Instead of saying something truly incriminating, they would just let their sentences end and leave Sean to fill in the blanks. It was a genius tactic. Allow me to demonstrate:
The Sabotage Sisters:
Sean: “Do you think she is honestly in a place in her life when she could settle down?”
Older Sabotage Sister: “Um [laughs] I can’t see her having kids right away. She, like, goes in 100 percent with guys, you know? Always makes things really fun, and then when fun isn’t the only thing, then … ”
Insinuation: She's going to have fun with you for a bit and then leave you. That's what she does.
Older Sabotage Sister: “She wants someone that will support her dreams, and if you don’t support her dreams, then … ”
Insinuation: Be prepared to pay for everything. Forever. And ever. Or else.
Older Sabotage Sister: “Someone who can handle her moods. She goes very extreme: very happy or, you know … ”
Insinuation: She's a complete bipolar lunatic who'll go dark and try to stab you all of a sudden for no reason.
Sean: “What kind of things does she need to be called out on?”
Younger Sabotage Sister: “Messy.”
Sean: “Is she messy?”
Older Sabotage Sister: “It is not her strong suit.”
Insinuation: Not only will you be paying for everything for this bipolar psychopath, you'll be cleaning up after her, too.
When the Older Sabotage Sister asked Catherine about her future with Sean, Catherine replied, “If he proposed in the end, I would say, 'Yeah, I want to try this out.' Wait — “Yeah, I want to try this out”? “Yeah, I want to try this out"?!?!?!?!?! Can the institution of marriage sue The Bachelor for defamation of character?
Shamar (Survivor, Kang), 5 points: Shamar got in a verbal fight with, well, everyone in his tribe (5 points). It's hard to respect someone as lazy as Shamar, but it's also hard not to respect someone who's so committed to being lazy. “I am just staying in the shade. I am not trying to, you know, do too much. I am not trying to be out in the sun during the day.” Me neither, Ex-Military Dude Who Looks Just Like Chris Dorner, me neither.
Brandon (Survivor, Connor), 5 points: This time Brandon Hantz went off on Dawn for no reason (5 points) and then reminded everyone that he was both Russell Hantz’s nephew and a crazypants by exclaiming, “I feel like Rambo. I honestly feel my uncle's blood running through my body right now.” Next week, he plans to pee in everyone’s rice and beans. So, yeah, there’s that to look forward to.
Adrienne and Brandi (Housewives, Kang and Simmons), 5 points: Thank god Taylor got kaslammered, fell in love, forgot she was a mom, and gave her kid away, because I've had enough of talking about this stupid Brandi vs. Adrienne beef (5 points). The only good part of this week was when the editor cut from Adrienne admitting at this year’s white party that she had her lawyer write a letter to Brandi threatening a lawsuit to Adrienne saying, “What really sucks abut this is friends don’t sue friends, or threaten to sue friends,” about last year’s white party. One more thing to the producers at Bravo: Don’t you dare make me go through another whole Monday without a single Yolanda story line. I know that chick was out picking lemons in her orchard. I KNOW SHE WAS. DON’T DEPRIVE ME OF YOLANDA PICKING LEMONS!
Check back next week for sexless fantasy suites on The Bachelor, Brandon peeing in rice on Survivor, and Yolanda picking lemons on Housewives. They can’t go two weeks without Yolanda, right?