16 June 2014
This is already a crazy-good season of The Bachelorette, and we’re only 4 episodes (plus an unnecessary clip show) in! Andi still has 11 guys left (I usually do this when she gets down to around 8) but I’m already so invested in- and so opinionated about- this season that I couldn’t wait even until tomorrow night’s episode before I placed them on The Scale. Y’all know how I love The Bachelor Scale (we’re saying “y’all” now, in honour of the smart and feisty lady of the hour) but this season it looks a little weird. Generally I’m feeling like I really like these guys (possibly my favourite group since Ashley), and yet the image is seriously heavy on the “Hate” end. The recent eliminations of Eric (more on him in a moment), solid middle-grounder Tasos and niche market Bradley (yes I liked him; he was weird and A Lot but I liked him) probably have something to do with my feeling like this was a better group than the image represents (she’s been keeping around some seriously questionable folk while letting middling nice guys go), and keep in mind also that the scale is not to scale- it’s a little misleading because I don’t like big empty spaces. If it were more accurate but less pretty, there would be a mid-sized gap between JJ and Brian with the next 4 men grouped pretty closely together, arguably tied. Chris also deserves better than the scale would suggest; he just ended up that far right because the guys on the “Love” end take up so much more room (because I make their pictures bigger, so they are more easily admirable of course). There should be a big blank space between Chris in neutral territory and the start of the dud pile (aka the last 5 guys). Oh, and a gap one guy from the end because really only Andrew deserves to have his face under the ultimate in harsh words; even my least favourite of the others are just moderately disliked (more on them in the guy-by-guy breakdown below).
Before we discuss who the prosecutor has left in her dating game, we have to talk a little about Andi herself. And after the most recent full episode I’m finding it hard to discuss Andi without also discussing the man who has made this season notable for things beyond the worthy bachelorette and lovely group of suitors- Eric. The season has a sombre tone to it because the handsome, charismatic, (mostly) well-spoken early frontrunner died just weeks after leaving the show. It’s been a bizarre and unsettling thing to watch from the get-go (his one-on-one date was so full of hope it was the epitome of melancholy) but never more so than when he left in the biggest confrontation of the season so far (who saw that one coming? I assumed she’d mildly break his heart at about the final 4 but the way things ended between Eric and Andi must eat her up inside). It’s incredibly tragic that Eric is gone, but I want to talk about the importance of his exit from the show outside of the fact that it’s the last time we’ll ever see him. What I found so interesting about that confrontation was that it was the first time I haven’t liked Andi. I skipped Juan Pablo’s season (because I’m an impeccable judge of character, imho, and didn’t like him for a moment when vying for Des’ heart) but from just The Women Tell All and After the Final Rose (which I always watch no matter what), Andi seemed like the right choice for all sorts of spine/brain-related reasons (also, so pretty; so so pretty). For the most part I’ve found her refreshing, funny and fair. But somewhere in the middle of JJ’s date I began to notice that she has a tendency of talking over the guys and cutting them off. Now, I’m an interrupter myself (terrible habit)- a conversation dominator, if you will- and I appreciate the assertiveness that’s key to Andi’s character, but sometimes it appears that’s she’s not really listening to them. That’s fine (or at least passable) when you’re dealing with someone as wholly agreeable as JJ, but Eric was feeling uncomfortable and was plagued with the desire to be open and honest about everything (bad news on this show). If you’re not quite sure how to say something, how to broach a touchy subject, and you’re dealing with someone who isn’t the greatest listener, it spells trouble. I totally understood where Eric was coming from- everyone is on their best behaviour in front of the cameras, even if they say they’re not, and Andi’s super polished demeanour was making him feel like he couldn’t see her flaws (and Eric wanted to see her flaws and love her anyway, because that’s what actual good guys do). He said it wrong and he touched a nerve (I sympathize with her on that front) but Andi flew off the handle when there was clearly no malice in what Eric was saying. He just wanted to know her but in his attempt to do so he made her defensive, then hostile, until their already awkward burgeoning relationship ended in one of the worst exits the series has ever seen. There was never any great compatibility there but such a gross error in communication (because that’s what is was- a basic failure to understand each other) really revealed one of Andi’s big flaws (one of her only visible ones so far). In a horrible, backwards, utterly ironic way, Eric did break through Andi’s poker face and what was on the other side made me a little nervous about after After the Final Rose.
Now, I think it’s best for everybody- Andi, the producers, Eric’s family and friends, Chris Harrison, and certainly me and you, dear readers- that we let Eric rest in peace. Let’s move past him rather than carrying the poor fellow (who was entirely the wrong personality type for a reality show like this) and his memory through every episode of this season. The Bachelorette is fun- that’s the whole point- and neither Eric’s tragic fate nor even just the way he left the show makes it easy to have much fun with Andi’s otherwise delightful season (I really do like her, despite what that last paragraph may have made you think). So, Eric, you were lovely (and I totally know what it was that you meant to but never really got to say in your last episode) but it’s time to talk about everyone else.
Now the fun part:
1) Nick used to be called “Nick V” but the other Nick got eliminated in about 4 seconds and this Nick got the first impression rose so now he’s just “Nick”. I absolutely love this relationship. Nick is adorable and sweet in a very real-seeming, relatable way and he’s one of those rare contestants that doesn’t have even a tinge of fame-seeking feel to him. He seems very much like part of the “my little sister nominated me” tradition (note: I have no idea if Nick even has a little sister, but don’t you get that sense from him?) and I absolutely LOVED the flower delivery move. But mostly what I love about Nick is his relationship with Andi (usually the first spot on this list goes to the boy who most clearly adheres to my own particular taste. In this case that’s spot #2 because, while I do love Nick by my own standards, I love him above all for his chemistry with Andi). You can see Andi’s instincts trying to shout down her attraction to Nick because the girl has misguided Josh-skewing taste when it comes to the physical side of things and, in one of my favourite realities of the season, Nick just looks like a regular guy that you might actually know (as opposed to a spray-tanned, over-buff reality TV zombie, although I encourage anyone who thinks he’s anything but handsome to check out his twitter photo). Even I (she of very not-Josh-skewing taste) acknowledge that Nick, cute as he is, isn’t exactly this guy (will there ever be a Bachelorette contestant I think is hotter than JP? Probably not) but the butterflies in Andi’s stomach don’t give a flying patoot And I Love That. Nick just makes sense to Andi; she was drawn to him instantly and immediately felt at home in his company; doesn’t that sort of thing just make you believe in love? It’s not about who has the best abs or the best resume- it’s more intrinsic and unquantifiable than all that. Naturally, all the other guys are starting to get antsy about Nick and Andi’s obvious connection and they’ll try to drag him down in the coming weeks. I sincerely hope Andi doesn’t let them, because I could watch her fall in love with Nick all day.
2) JJ is the guy I find the most attractive by a mile. That’s not me automatically liking the nerdy weird one (which I freely admit is a thing I do), I literally think that his lanky 6’5 frame, adorably unruly hair and strong, friendly facial features make him the best looking person in the room with no allowances for brains or sense of humour. The fact that his edit so far strongly suggests the presence of both brains and a sense of humour is just icing (kidding, those things are far more important than the cute sweater he’s wearing in his official picture; though, can we talk about the cute sweater he’s wearing in his official picture?). The fact that the fancy pants make an appearance every time JJ does makes me a little suspicious that he’s on the show promoting his business (he also recently went on a twitter spree where he added pretty much anyone who had ever tweeted about him; it was weird, though he now appears to have unfollowed at least some of the accounts in question) but I find myself really invested in believing that JJ is a good guy. He just seems like a good guy- low key, fun, well-intentioned, smarter than the average bear. I’m a little annoyed that someone I think seems actually pretty normal is being talked about as super “quirky” but it’s not JJ’s fault that Andi’s never met someone with a little originality before. On a related note, it seems to me that Andi and JJ have less than zero chemistry. He’s clearly really attracted to her (he talks about her looks a little too much, actually) but there is no visible spark at all and they don’t quite seem in sync, ever. I’m kind of okay with that since I want her to end up with Nick and want JJ to stay single until we can run off and get married but I do want her to see enough in him to keep him on the show for a few more episodes, because I’d so much rather watch him than, say, Marcus.
3) Brian is very sweet and is so obviously the best kisser on the show that I literally said out loud “wow, he’s a good kisser” (to no one, no one was in the room to hear me say that) just from watching them on that basketball court (the fact that Andi then confirmed that in her testimonial just drove the fact home). He’s not particularly interesting, but he’s very sweet, and a very good kisser (and apparently very good at basketball and adorably bad at reading signs)- what more do you want from a Bachelorette contestant?
4) Marquel has gotten just enough screen time for the producers to prove that black people can be on a Bachelor franchise show but not enough to make the audience think that Andi has any real vested interest in the guy beyond appeasing the producers. But I like him. I see Marquel light up that million dollar smile and I instantly start to smile too. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and seems really genuine pretty much all the time (which never happens on this show). I don’t think he’ll make it to the top 4 but I would totally be down for a Marquel season of The Bachelor, even if they choose him for the wrong reasons rather than for his charm and humour.
5) Marcus is a handsome bugger and I’m very drawn to his introversion. A lot of guys on this show play it really big, whether it’s to catch the Bachelorette’s attention (the least sinister option), make a pitch to be the next Bachelor, score a spot on Bachelor Pad or just be remembered at all. But Marcus is quiet and calm and that’s really refreshing. However, I’m a little skeptical because he’s so young (remember the last guy who was 24/25 but seemed about 30? His name was Chris Bukowski, he turned out pretty bonkers-meets-douchey and has already tried to screw up this season once. BTW, major kudos to Andi for not even letting him in the door). It may just be that shy reads as sketchy on camera (that’s so sad, but I think it might be true) but I also get a little bit of a Kasey Kahl vibe from Marcus and that’s terrifying (Andi, do not let that boy guard and protect your heart!) When it comes down to it, Marcus is number 5 on a list of 11 because I just don’t know about him yet. I have a feeling he’s either really great or really crazy and likely not anything in between. We may have some late-season Marcus drama to look forward to.
6) Chris. There is only one non-Harrison Chris this year, which is really rare. Other than that, I have very little to say about the perfectly nice farmer. I like him, but not for any really specific reasons, just a general vibe of decency paired with a pretty smile and nice manners. He is, however, the final guy on the list who belongs in the “like” column so at least there’s that.
7) Dylan is the beginning of the “dislike” portion of this article. First of all, what kind of dumbo has a face like that (good face; good good face) and pairs it with hair like that (terrible hair; terrible terrible hair)?! His “big reveal” last episode felt very rehearsed and like something he had no real reason to share with some girl he’s just met (let alone the millions of other people who’ve now heard it- his poor mother!) but it’s still the only piece of information we have that’s supposed to make us sympathetic towards Dylan (sorry, buddy, it’s a tragic story but that’s not how I determine whether I like people or not). He’s very handsome but he seems like a big lump of jock and not much more.
8) Patrick has barely factored into the season except to provide the occasional accidentally funny line and form an immediate bond with the worst contestant of the year (coming for you in a minute, Andrew). Patrick’s night one bonding session with Andrew looked to me like a meeting of the Secret Society of Rich Kids and that’s a terrible reason to decide you like someone (way worse than liking Dylan because he has a tragic backstory). You don’t get to look around a room that contains some seriously decent guys, proclaim yourself of a “higher calibre”, and have me like you even a little.
9) Cody is baffling. He’s crazy looking, first of all- what is up with his hair? His tan? His general aura of Jersey Shore extra? And he appears to have nothing in common with Andi at all. The previews for the next episode also feature him confronting Nick for his horrible crime of being the frontrunner, so Cody will surely come off even more mature and intelligent than he already does. Occasionally he says something funny and charming and it’s very disorienting.
10) Josh is a doofus. I cannot handle Josh. I get the feeling that Andrew knows he’s pure evil but Josh, that boy thinks he’s Prince Charming. One glimpse at that temper and I hope Andi runs for the hills, even if she is inexplicably really attracted to his cocky grin and terribly spiked hair.
11) Andrew. Oh Andrew, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways. 1- your voice is like nails on a chalkboard, 2- you use it to say the most infuriatingly ridiculous things! I don’t need more than those two reasons because number 2 is the trump card of reasons. You’re pretentious like Patrick (in fact, you may be what makes Patrick seem pretentious), you’re smarmy like Josh (so smarmy in fact that Josh thinks you’re super smarmy), but, perhaps most aggravating of all, you seem to exist solely to give the producers something to promote “on next week’s episode of The Bachelorette“. Every single week. You say there’s tension in rooms that clearly have very little tension; you brag about getting girls’ phone numbers in front of people who are Clearly going to tattle on you; and I’ve seen you spend about a total of 40 seconds invested in being nice to Andi. You’re not even a proper villain (what up, Kalon; I still love you), you’re just a snivelly weirdo who was bored so you decided to go fuck with The Bachelorette. Buzz off (and don’t you ever call JJ a nerd again, you tiny little bully).