Tonight on a very special episode of The Bachelorette
, the producers proved what we've known all along: This show doesn't need to be two hours long.
After gracefully cramming Ali's sleep-inducing (oh, excuse me, "fairytale") adventures into about an hour--more like 40 minutes if you don't count commercials and gratuitous teasers--The Bachelorette
and Chris Harrison treated us to that much-anticipated Jake and Vienna interview, in the same way that John Wilkes Booth "treated" Abraham Lincoln to a bullet in the head, or the Cloverfield monster "treated" New York to the bottoms of its monster-feet. But worse: "Wait, before you bash my head in with your big, nasty monster feet, can you please define the word 'undermine' and then talk about the merits of various bedroom furniture organizational methods, please, oh please, Mr. Cloverfield monster?" And the Cloverfield monster is like, "DON"T INTERRUPT ME!" and then stomps. What a treat for EVERYONE!
What I'm saying is that the fight--in what turns out to be this relationship's only imitation of an actual relationship between two actual human beings--was a huge bummer for everyone involved. For Chris Harrison
, who could barely manage a straight face as he claimed that this show had created so many marriages and babies over the years, and had to struggle throughout the interview not to rip off his suit and
reveal his "Team Jake" chest tattoo for all to see. Oh, also: "We don't really care about the dog," Chris Harrison? That's cold
, whose "sexy pilot" mask had finally melted off under the heat
of all those Hollywood lights and spray tan applications, revealing the
REAL ugly, patronizing, paternalistic ogre-robot-face hiding underneath. I'd like to "undermine" Jake. Not in the way he defines the word, as "emasculates and doesn't respect [and keeps taking off that apron and won't make me a sandwich and thinks she has the right to drive, vote and own property]." No, I'd like to undermine
him in the way I just made up, where I drop him deep down UNDER the surface of the Earth into one of those Pennsylvania coal MINES without air-quality regulations.
, who, despite her best--genuine
, you might even say--efforts to call
out Jake on his lies, couldn't keep it together (or wait her turn) long
enough to get the last word in, and also accidentally said
"polly-o-graph," effectively negating whatever meager credibility she'd
just built up with the stingy, cruel, heartless and quick-witted Bachelor
audience. (And I'm saying that as a loyal, card-carrying member. We are
monsters, y'all. And the only thing we monsters love more than a
schadenfreude-heavy break-up between two superficial fame whores is a
silly grammar gaffe that makes one of them sound like a confused parrot.)And for us
, the Bachelor
viewers, who, when all is said and done, are the ones left struggling with so many complex, troubling emotions:Confusion
: That we actually found ourselves sympathizing pretty deeply with Vienna, even though in the back of our minds we kept reminding ourselves, "She got herself into this, and she also got paid a boatload of cash for talking about her sex life in a tabloid, and remember that whole Playboy
thing, too?" Anger
: That ABC kept bleeping out last names like they were swear words, which in turn just made us angry that there weren't more swear words. Swear words are the best break-up words. Disappointment
: That we let ourselves become so invested, and, like the fake-love junkies we are, will do it all over again with Ali. I mean, if you think even medium-hard about it, doesn't ABC's decision to air this interview during The Bachelorette
illustrate that they KNOW we're so addicted that they can dangle its proven systemic dysfunctions right in front of us, and we'll STILL tune in next week wondering "Will Ali find her prince charming?" And finally, resentment:
That ABC was able to turn what should have been a massive embarrassment for the network, the show, the producers, the definition of love ("Wow, for something so sacred, I am ridiculously
easy to fake, manipulate and exhort!" - Love) and the institution of marriage ("Remind me why these two could have gotten married and gays can't?" - Marriage) into a big ratings night and another Tuesday morning water-cooler buzz topic. And that what should have been an opportunity for America to put its foot down and say, "Sorry it didn't work out, but what did you expect? Now that's enough of you two, please go away forever," and for Jake and Vienna to then go away forever
like we asked ... was the opposite.
In the end, does it really matter who broke up with whom? Who touched a tape measure, or another man? Who avoided sex because he was fasting, or threw the GPS out the window of a moving car? In the end--and, shockingly, the interview did eventually END--these are the quibbles of two people who never should have been together in the first place, in front of a bunch (millions) of people who never should have been included in the dispute in the first place.
"Unfortunately, that is what one of our arguments looks like. It's kind of embarrassing." Truer words were never spoken (by you), Jake.Tomorrow: The recap of Ali's trip to Portugal with her final five.
Until then: Spill your guts about this Jake vs. Vienna interview.
I obviously have a hopelessly cynical view about the whole affair, but I also want to know what you think: Did you sympathize with one person over the other? Do you believe Vienna's claims about Jake's behavior--or Jake's claims about Vienna's? Or are you, like me, just ready to wrap this whole thing up and bury it in the Bachelor