Arie-Time!

Hello rose lovers!  I’m sorry for my absence – I’ve been so busy and the start of the Bachelor season is just so overwhelming!

Before we get too deep into the weeds, let’s talk about Arie.  I happened to adore Arie when he was a contestant on Emily’s season.  I was honestly shocked (SHOCKED!) when Emily picked Jef with one “f” over race-car driver Arie.  I think as a contestant, Arie shined.  He was likable, gallant, handsome, and very into Emily.  I think he’s struggling to find his footing a bit as the lead this time around, and I don’t think 5 years out of the spotlight helped.  On the one hand, at least he’s not uber-aware of every move he makes, like Nick was.  Nick was hyper-focused on image, and it made for a bad season.  Arie is not.  He’s a little bit nerdy and awkward, which are all fine.  It’s more that he doesn’t seem quite comfortable yet, which I hope passes as the process continues.

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Also, his choices in women give me pause.  Arie is one of the more mature bachelors we’ve had.  He’s 36.  He’s not the oldest bachelor we’ve ever had, but he’s certainly not the youngest.  And it seems that he’s systematically booted all the women over 30, all in the first three episodes.

Goodbye Annaliese, 32.

annaliese

Goodbye Lauren J., 33 (who, by the way, had a very interesting, and in my opinion, stunning first night dress)

lauren j

Goodbye, Lauren S., 31 (to Arie’s credit, that was a BAD date)

lauren s

Goodbye Nysha, 30

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Which means that we are only three episodes in, and Arie is, at a MINIMUM, 7 years older than the oldest woman left.  And he’s 14 years older than the youngest (Bekah M).  It’s not necessarily problematic on its own, but given Arie’s dating history, that seems to be his type.  He’s been eliminating women who are challenging (aka, Annaliese making him decide whether or not the two of them had a future), and keeping women like Jenna, who has looked decidedly tipsy at every single turn.

However, it is too soon to call the season.  We still have a few great ladies, so here are my picks for women who will go far.

  1. Becca K., 27.

becca dress

I’m a big fan of Becca.  She got the first 1-on-1, which usually means the lead is into the contestant.  And that date went really well.  She got the “Cinderella” date, which I have mixed feelings about generally.  The show usually picks someone who is a little out of their element with that date, and it always feels really paternalistic.  But Becca knew her way around some Louboutins, so it felt a little less icky this time around.  Becca is also doing a good job of staying out of drama and appears to be really normal.  I like her, and I think Arie does too.

2. Seinne, 27

I have a major girl crush on Seinne.  She’s beautiful, smart, and kind of a badass (she won that bumper car challenge like a champ).  Also, her style is impeccable.  She always is wearing something classic, like monotone, but with a hint of sexy, like a cut-out or sheer.  I would pick Seinne.  I don’t know if Arie will, but she’s a catch, so I hope he keeps her around for awhile.

SEINNE

3. Tia, 26.

At first I thought Tia was just Raven 2.0 (which honestly isn’t that bad because I’ve come around hard on Raven), but Tia is her own person and she’s fabulous!  She’s funny, quick, and comfortable with Arie.  She’s got a lot of spunk and she’s a pleasure to watch, so I hope she sticks around as well.  Tia also seems well-liked in the house, and although she’s in the center of some storylines, she’s not the one causing drama, which is a good sign.

tia

Honestly, those are the only ones I like/think will go far.  I also like Caroline, and she had a promising start as first out of the limo, but I haven’t seen anything from her.  I loved Annaleise and all of her crazy traumatic backstories, but she wasn’t what Arie was looking for.  There are a few other women that we have to talk about.  These are women that I think Arie likes, but I don’t like them for him.

First up, Krystal.  It’s hard to ignore Krystal because she has inserted herself in every episode, sometimes multiple times.  What can I say?  I’m not a fan of Krystal.  She says she had a cold during the first few weeks of filming, but her affect is really noticeable in her ITMs, and less so when she’s having a conversation “off camera.”

The way she is with Arie is super seductive yet sweet, which Arie seems to find very attractive.

krystal 1

But I have a feeling Krystal thought she wasn’t being filmed for this odd exchange, and her affect (and voice) are totally different.

krystal 2

I don’t buy that it was just a cold.  Also, there’s Chelsea the single mom, who came in super hot with the other girls, but seems to have laid off a bit.  I don’t really see the chemistry between Arie and Chelsea, but he seems to like her “mystery.”

chelsea

Last up, Bekah.  I actually find Bekah super compelling to watch, so this analysis is nothing against her.  I just don’t think she’s right for Arie.  Mostly because I don’t think she’s that INTO Arie.  I think she’s really good at being (or acting) super-confident, and she knows that’s a different approach from a lot of other women, so it’s working on Arie.  But I don’t think it will last, and if it does, I don’t think she’d be happy with Arie.  Bekah is 22 – she’s got her whole life ahead of her (hopefully on Paradise!!!).

bekah

Looks like it’s going to be a good season.  Hopefully I’ll be blogging a little more frequently.  Cheers to another episode tonight!

cheers

Countdown to Hometowns

We’ve made it down to the final four!  I haven’t posted in a bit, so let’s hit some of the highlights before we delve into RACHEL AS THE BACHELORETTE!!!!

Corinne vs. Taylor

This seems so long ago, but I don’t want to let Taylor go without a proper goodbye.  Corinne and Taylor are both some of our younger contestants, and I think that Taylor, as smart as she clearly is, did not have the “emotional intelligence” or maturity to move away from that toxic relationship.  I don’t think Taylor bullied Corinne, although I do think Taylor was condescending, which turned out to be a dangerous tack to take, because Corinne may be a lot of things, but she knows how to turn a situation to her benefit.

i-win

I’m not going to go through all the Corinne v. Taylor interactions, but I do think Corinne made a huge play when she preempted the issues by bringing up the issues in the house with Nick directly.  Let’s not forget that Nick has been on this show before, and he was the “villain,” or at least seriously misunderstood, both times on the Bachelorette.  That makes him predisposed towards sympathy for other victims of misunderstanding, like Corinne.  To Nick, it sounds like Corinne noticed a problem with the women, confronted the issue maturely, and moved on.  So he’s already on Corinne’s side when Taylor tries to bring her down.

I like Taylor, and I liked her commentary on this season.  But Corinne just brought her down.  I’m not surprised that Nick went for Corinne when faced with a decision between the two.  Taylor (I think mainly because of how she was pitted against Corinne) was a bit of a sourpuss.  Corinne kept her cool and was playful and sexy.  So, yeah, Nick went for her.

taylor-1

Danielle L.

Danielle L. was a front-runner from the start.  She was first out of the limo, which is an editing trick the producers use to showcase someone who will be important to the season.  She’s exactly Nick’s physical type (I actually think she looks very similar to Andi), and she’s a business owner.  All signs pointed to yes, at least on paper.

danielle-limo

But I’ve struggled with Danielle L.  I found her answers to be too pat.  She’s given us a lot of soundbites, but I couldn’t tell if she even liked Nick.  Like this – is this not a little too perfect?

danielle-quote

So it was hard for me to fully understand her feelings of love when I didn’t see it from her.  Maybe she had walls up, maybe she bought into the show too much, or maybe she did fall in love and just has a quiet way of showing it.  Either way, I wasn’t too surprised to see Nick send him home, although I WAS surprised at how hard he took it.  I’m going to blame lack of sleep on that one, he bounced back.

Kristina

How much of a badass is this woman??  I am SO glad we got to see her on a one-on-one.  Kristina was my pick for first impression rose right off the bat, but we didn’t get to see too much of her at the beginning.  I think I fell in love with Kristina when she said this:

not-stupid

No, Kristina, you are definitely not stupid.  She’s also clearly friends with the other women in the house.  Look, they’re having so much fun!

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airport

rose

SHE’S SO CUTE!  She’s also gone through a ton.  I’ve never heard a contestant with a story quite like hers, and I’m very glad she had to chance to explain her past fully.  It’s a story we don’t often get to hear, and her resilience is inspiring.  So I’m bummed to see her go, but I can’t wait for her to stay involved with the franchise.  I mean, she’d kick ass in Paradise (literally), so let’s do it.

beach

Evolution of Corinne

All roads lead back to Corinne, right?  Corinne is now in the final four, unless Nick really goes rogue next week, so she’s done the almost-impossible: come back from a 2-1.  The 2-1 date is a dreaded spot.  No person has been on a 2-1 and then won the season.  Even if you survive, odds are not in your favor.  But Corinne has somehow done it, and once Taylor got sent home, she seems to be getting along with the other women.  Corinne can be really endearing.  Who didn’t enjoy this?

eating

I’d be doing the same thing, Corinne.  She also showed surprising restraint during the group date with Raven and Kristina.  Kristina freaked out while snorkeling with sharks (Raven, on the other hand, was ready to punch them in the face), and Corinne could feel that the attention wasn’t on her (and for once, it wasn’t).  Instead of leading with her sexuality or doing something dramatic, Corinne recognized that it wouldn’t be appropriate to co-opt that moment and just let it be.

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Growth!  Maturity!

She had a couple slip-ups, which mainly seemed to stem from insecurity and the fact that she’s starting to truly care for Nick.  When Vanessa got a 1-1 for the second time, we saw a little bit of the old (young?) Corinne.  She attacked Vanessa for not having enough emotional depth and only talking about lame things like her family and her job as a special education teacher.  Coming from someone who works for her dad and has a nanny, it’s just not a good look.

 we-get-it

So, not perfect, but progress.  The women are basically separated from here on out, so Corinne made it through that part.  Now just to see who gets past hometowns.  And we get to meet Raquel the nanny, so there’s that to look forward to.

RACHEL AS BACHELORETTE

Before I get to my predictions, I have to talk about how MY GIRL RACHEL IS THE BACHELORETTE.  I have to do this before predictions because she climbed to my number 1 spot this past week.  I love the connection she and Nick have, how they’re always laughing, their obvious chemistry, and the ease with which they discuss potentially challenging topics, like race and family.  So I think it’s a pretty big spoiler to announce her as Bachelorette when I think she will still be around for awhile.  Maybe the family date doesn’t go well and next week is her last, but whatever happens, I am SO pumped for her season.  Rachel has been my favorite this entire time.  She’s a woman after my heart.  A fellow-lawyer in her 30s, working at a firm!  She’s fun-loving, honest, beautiful, and even-keeled.  And obviously incredibly intelligent.  So I am HERE FOR IT.

Rachel is also the first black lead the franchise has ever had, which is huge.  I’ll do a separate post on this because there’s a lot of history surrounding race on this franchise, and it will be interesting to see how they approach this.  Will there be more contestants of color this time around?  How prevalent will the race discussion be?  Rachel has the maturity and grace to handle her role as the first black lead, and it’s possible that the show will treat race as a “non-issue” (even though that is impossible in reality).  So we’ll have to see.  But I will be tuning in to see my girl find love.  You get it!

Predictions

Since Rachel clearly can’t win this season, I am left with only three.

  1. Vanessa.  Nick and Vanessa clearly have something.  It’s like they skipped the fun-loving, giddy part and went straight for Notebook-style love.  It feels really serious, but their connection is clear.  I know Vanessa wasn’t pumped with Nick’s response to her spilling the beans about loving him, but I can see why Nick is holding back, at least in what he says.  He doesn’t want a Ben Higgins repeat!  With Rachel out of the picture, I just can’t see Nick ending up with anyone besides Vanessa.
  2. Raven.  Raven is a boss.  I love how she rolls with everything and isn’t afraid to speak whatever is on her mind.  She’s a boss.  She’s ready to punch sharks in the face and take a stiletto to a cheating ex-boyfriend.  I can see chemistry between her and Nick.  I think next week will be interesting.  I just can’t see our LA-beauty boy getting along well in Hoxie, AR.  But that’s what makes this show great.
  3. Corinne.  Corinne has come a long way and I think Nick genuinely cares about her, but it feels a little paternal.  He’s proud of her growth, and clearly attracted to her, but I don’t think it’s enough to overcome his other relationships.  I am excited to see who raised this woman, though, so next week should be great.

 

Madonna vs. Whore

Sorry for the delay, all.  It’s hard to blog about reality television when all I can think about is the inauguration and the corresponding march, but I do think it’s important to take care of yourself, and Mondays have become therapeutic.  A nice little escapism so I can disconnect my brain.  That being said….

We’re in the first few weeks of Bachelorland, which means we see more of the women than we see of Nick.  That will change, but we’re already being treated to a very sex-heavy season.  As I already discussed, Nick has a history in this department.  His prior stints on the Bachelorette have centered around sex, whether it is him spilling the beans on the after show with Andi, or sleeping with the Kaitlyn weeks before the Fantasy Suites.

This season seems to be no different.  First, we have Liz.

liz-limo

Guys, I don’t know if you know this, but Liz and Nick had sex.  That’s right, sex.  They met at Jade and Tanner’s wedding, and it was a one-night stand.  Nick asked for her number, she declined to give it to him, and they went their separate ways.  Liz did not try and contact Nick at all until she showed up on his show.

She mentions this more than once, although I have a sneaking suspicion that this was due to editing.

liz-bathing-suit

In a twist of producer-driven fate, Liz decides to tell Christen, the resident virgin, that she had a one-night stand with Nick.

liz-christen

Christen spills the beans to Nick.  Apparently editing may have also played a role in how we saw that conversation go down:

Nick feels the need to fess up to the women, who I think handled this all pretty well.   I think it would have been a bigger issue if Nick had kept Liz around.  Then their relationship may have been a threat to the other girls in the house.  But by the time they were privvy to the skivvy, Liz was long gone.  Everyone knows that Nick has had sex before.  So despite ample promos on this issue, it fell a little flat.

However, the sex-talk with Liz just sets the context for our resident villain, Corinne.

Corinne is only 24 years old and it shows.  And that’s not to slam the younger women on the show.  Some of them, like 23-year-old Taylor, are surprisingly mature.  But Corinne appears to view progress in a relationship as solely physical progress.

Case in point:

bride

Corinne was feeling self-confident in her bikini until another contestant showed up topless (note – this is usually not an enviable costume on this franchise:

brittany

Which leads to pity party #1:

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The girls started to notice when Corinne then proceeded to go into the pull, take her top off, and have Nick hold her breasts in front of everyone.  She then got the extra time with Nick, and then received the group date rose.

Which led smart young women to say things like this:

lacy

NOOOOO.  This is NOT what I want to see from this season of The Bachelor!  You do NOT need your top off to get a rose, but unfortunately Nick did the producers’ work for them by giving Corinne the group rose.  He had to know it would cause a stir with the ladies.

Unfortunately, it has now become the Corinne show, with the rest of the house turned against her.  Corinne hasn’t been helping her case.  She flaunts her sexuality every chance she gets:

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wc

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The one time Corinne has felt uncomfortable in this process is when she was on the Backstreet Boys date.  She clearly did not like the dancing portion:

dancing

And as such, had a mini-meltdown:

pretty

Pretty is SO MUCH MORE than being scantily clad and acting sexually.  I think Corinne has a lot of growing to do in her understanding of what makes a successful partnership.

That being said, I caution how we treat Corinne.  This conversation is inches away from the Madonna v. Whore dichotomy that women have struggled with for far too long.  You don’t have to be one thing to be pretty or attractive or find a life partner.  Flaunting your sexuality is not a crime, especially when it’s done with agency and ownership.

Take Vanessa, who seems to be loved by all (myself included).  She wore a tiny body-con dress to her dinner with Nick.

vanessa

Get it girl!  She also spent the date talking about substantive topics like work and family, and appears to have the best connection to Nick by far.  Please note that she also vomited, multiple times, on their date and Nick still dug her!

bag

It’s not about whether you are smart or sexy or funny or kind.  Women can be all of the above in so many different ways.  I hope we can move away from this trope that taking your clothes off first means you get the guy, but with the promos this week I’m not sure we’re in luck.

As always, my top ladies:

  1. Vanessa.  Girl rocked it this week, and it’s the only real connection I’ve seen this far.  I really appreciate her joyfulness, her maturity, and how she interacts with the other women.  She’s my pick for the final rose.
  2. Rachel.  YESSS we finally got to see Rachel.  Vanessa may be my pick for Nick, but Rachel is my pick for friend.  She killed it on the group date and I was happy to see her relationship with Nick had not skipped a beat, despite not getting a date last week.

Ok, that’s really it for me right now.  I just don’t see a connection with the other ladies yet.  But here are some additional thoughts:

  • Danielle L. seems like she is Nick’s type to a “t,” and she also got extra time with him this week.  However, I find her to be very guarded.  Her interviews are all platitudes, and I haven’t seen her say anything interesting about herself.  I can’t even tell if she’s into Nick.  I don’t think she’s going anywhere, but I don’t see her as top 3.
  • Danielle M.  I freaking love Danielle M. and want her entire wardrobe and want to be her friend.  But I don’t think she is Nick’s type physically (he seems to have a thing for brunettes), and she is very understated, while Nick seems to go for the more overtly strong personality.
  • Raven.  I think Raven is our dark horse.  She’s been getting substantive screen time that shows her back story, and I am digging her honesty and laid back approach.  She’s Nick’s type and fits the criteria for women who do well on the show (except for the part about being from a tiny town in Arkansas).  Keeping my eye on her.

Final thought:

  • Keep Alexis on for as long as possible please.  I do not see a connection between her and Nick, but she gives us gems like this many times over:

move

 

Our “Controversial” Bachelor

According to Chris Harrison, Nick is the “most controversial bachelor ever.”  We all know Chris can veer towards hyperbole, but Nick is definitely different than previous leads.  We’re going to take a little trip down memory lane and look at Nick’s numerous experiences with this franchise.

Before I start, can I just say that I am so pumped for this season?  I found myself liking most of the women, even Shark girl!  She was a breath of fresh air and totally made me laugh.  There are a lot of women I don’t think will be right for Nick, but I was really impressed with how they respected each other (mostly) and how mature they seemed, even with some of the younger contestants.  Taylor, for example, is tied for the youngest contestant at 23, and I thought her commentary was really funny.  Not what I was expecting from Forever 21 girl!

So who is this man that these awesome women will all be falling in love with?

Nick Viall!  Nick is 36 and up until he became a reality-star, was based in the Midwest.  He originally hailed from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and worked as a software salesman at Salesforce in Chicago.  As most of you probably know, I live in Chicago and was on the active lookout for Nick when he was first on Andi’s season.  Never saw him around town.  He’s my white whale.

Little did I know that he had picked up and moved to L.A. to become a model?  I think?  He used to give us pictures like this:

And now he gives us pictures like this:

So it’s fair to say he’s had a bit of a career shift since his journey started.

It all began with Andi.

Nick was a contestant on Andi’s season of the Bachelorette.  Andi, one of my favorite bachelorettes, was a smart, beautiful lawyer from Atlanta.  She gave Nick the first impression rose:

Which put a target on Nick’s back and was the impetus of Nick’s persona as “controversial” or “cocky.”  When a contestant asked Nick if he thought he was a frontrunner, Nick said “Eh, probably.”  Nick was criticized as being strategic because he’s watched prior seasons and knows when the lead will be making big cuts to the contestants.  He also snuck out to visit Andi, solidifying Nick’s role as the villain.  Villain-lite, because he really wasn’t that bad, but Andi’s season was lacking in any other villain so Nick had a role to fill.

Nick made it to the final two, but Andi broke up with him before he got a chance to propose.  Nick did not take his lying down.  In perhaps his most obvious “villain” move, he called Andi out for having sex with him in the Fantasy Suite during the After the Final Rose taping:

Rough.  I’m actually a pretty big Nick fan, but this was incredibly uncomfortable to watch.  I agree with Andi, a little below the belt (wink, wink).

So Nick leaves in disgrace.  He spends some time licking his wounds and getting acquainted with other Bachelor/Bachelorette contestants, including the lovable Kaitlyn Bristowe, who got the boot from Farmer Chris!  Apparently the two struck up an online flirtation that never came to fruition, and Nick was too intrigued to just let this lady go.

He showed up to Kaitlyn’s season at Episode 5.  That is late.  Really late.  The men had already started traveling, and Kaitlyn had already sent half the guys home!  I don’t blame the guys for getting a little ruffled by Nick’s appearance, but they seemed to keep their cool, generally speaking.

Until Nick made another sex faux pas and slept with the lead weeks before the Fantasy Suites.

Making waves yet again.  Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to a ring this time either, and Nick was sent home just as he was about to propose.

At this point, things did not look good for Nick.  He had lost on the Bachelorette, twice, and hadn’t made too many friends in the process.  So he took to Paradise, the place where broken reality contestants go to shine up their images for those Instagram endorsements.

nick-bip

Nick did well in Paradise.  He got to face down resident alpha male Josh (Andi’s ex-fiance), which was a good look for him because Josh portrayed the emotional range of a caveman during his stint on the show.  Not only did Nick escape unscathed, but he managed to build up a fair amount of goodwill.  He was friends with most of the women, and pursued Jen, who was gorgeous, intelligent, and friends with most, if not all, the other contestants.

jen-nick-viall-bachelor-in-paradise-rose-ceremony

Something that all the Bachelor intros seem to gloss over is that Nick dumped Jen in Paradise.  This was not another story where Nick was the runner-up, the always-bridesmaid never bride.  I don’t blame him for it – they live on separate coasts and had only known each other a few weeks – but let’s not feel too sorry for Nick.  In an unexpected twist of fate, he got the best gig of all – BACHELOR.

To say the casting was a surprise is an understatement.  In the past, spin-off shows like Bachelor in Paradise were considered “below” the standards of leads.  That’s why you haven’t seen a lead go on the show, even though the leads are certainly friends with most of the contestants (and the majority are, in fact, single at this point).  Even having Josh, who was the “winner” of Andi’s season, on Paradise seemed like a huge boon for ABC.

And here we are, with the “most controversial” Bachelor of all time.  For what it’s worth, I think it’s great that we have someone like Nick as the Bachelor.  He’s been through this before and he knows how to play the game, but he also is analytic, independent, and kind.  I think he’ll do a great job.  Query if he is there for the right reasons (I will mistrust anyone who starts a modeling career in LA in their mid-30s) but I do think he’ll give us a good season.

He’s already made some excellent choices with his first impression rose.  Rachel is my girl, and I’m so glad Nick agrees!  My favorite part of their interaction was when Nick was asking Rachel about her job as a criminal. defense. attorney. and asked whether she was good at it.  She owned it (in a graceful way) and replied that she thinks she’s pretty great at it!  It was so refreshing to see a contestant on this show proudly announce her accomplishments.

rachel

Yes you did, girl!  Matches your dress 🙂

I have high hopes for the rest of the season!  My women haven’t changed much from last week, but I’m adding one in:

  1. Rachel.  Already noted.  Top of my list.
  2. Vanessa.  I really liked her intro video and the interactions the two had during the night.  She also seemed to take everything in stride, especially when she did not get the First Impression Rose (unlike Corinne, another story).
  3. Danielle M.  It was so clear how much Danielle loves her job, which I think might be really attractive to Nick.  I loved Danielle’s style.  I’m a little concerned she is too soft-spoken for Nick, but I still think she’ll go far.
  4. Danielle L.  This girl is smoking!  It was clear she and Nick hit it off and had some chemistry.  Danielle also seems to have her wits about her and kept her cool throughout the night.  Also, she had the coveted spot of being shown as first out of the limo, which is a producer note that she’s someone worth watching.