There's really nothing much left to say about Dancing. So I'll state the obvious. Maks is hot. I'm now grateful to Russia and Ukraine for two things. Vodka and Maksim Chmerkovskiy. And I'm glad he's finally got a partner he can win with. He's been excellent at showcasing Mel's strengths and his choreography puts her in the spotlight. Also, they're smokin' together.
I'm afraid it's probably time to rev up Donna Summer's "Last Dance" for Jennie Garth. But if nothing else, she does take the award for handling the most criticism with the most class. Even Marie got a little lippy last night. When Bruno gently told her that she'd missed a few steps, the look crossed her face and she tilted her head and said, "Did I?" It was just the briefest flash of petulance, but it was there. Whereas Jennie never had that sort of reaction, even when she was getting scolded by Bruno, complete with him pounding his fists on the desk and telling her she wasn't bringing enough star quality. So, at least last night they gave her perfect scores for her charming cha cha and Bruno told her she brought it. That's called a gentle kiss off.
Speaking of gentle kiss offs, let's talk about The Bachelor for a moment!
Yes, yes, it's a hideous and exploitative show, pretty much emotional pornography they way it preys on these women. And yet, the women sign up for it. It blows my fucking mind. And this year's bachelor? Brad? I knew it from the first episode. Knew it, I tell you. I knew it because I liked him. And I never like these phony fucks on this show. But this year they picked a guy who owns a bar and laughed at some of the women. I know, it doesn't look good on paper when I describe it there. But what I was seeing was a kindred spirit to myself. In other words -- I was seeing another emotionally remote asshole with commitment issues.
Sure enough, last night, bachelor Brad chose no one. He sent both of the final two girls home and said goodbye.
Honestly? That alone doesn't make him a douche in my eyes. Clearly, this guy was on the show to promote his bar, suck up attention, and bang as many hot yet emotionally questionable chicks as possible. Of course I wouldn't have a problem with that. My goals are pretty much to promote my shit, suck up vodka, and nail as many hot men as possible.
The thing with Brad is that he paid lip service to "the process" and said he hoped to find a wife. Lie. LIE. Now, I can forgive him for telling that lie to producers and in his confessionals, because there really wouldn't be a show without him saying that. However, if I saw through his facade right from the start, I know the producers did, too. I'm sure they salivated like Pavlov's dog when they found this guy, because they knew how it would all turn out. There is no fucking way that the casting agents and producers on this show couldn't recognize this guy for what he is -- a player. A player with a rather dull and somewhat gentle edge, sure. But still a total pussyhound with no intention of settling down. They saw their chance to shake things up on the show and they jumped on it.
And then they found 25 clueless, masochistic women to exploit over it. And I watched it! Ray Charles would've seen this one unfolding. And yet the women did the obligatory tears and hit all the buzzwords about "connections" and "fairy tales" and ya-ya.
To his credit, Brad never did lie to them and tell them he loved them. He gently discouraged some of them, repeating the "just friends" line until it was nauseating to see the chicks not get it. And I do have to assume that the producers insist that he never tells the women straight up that it's just not gonna happen. Because, that would leach most of the "suspense" out of the show. And that is the underlying hook of the show -- suspense, not romance.
So the majority of guilt should be laid at ABC's feet, because they orchestrated the whole thing. And, frankly, as you can guess, I have a difficult time sympathizing too much with women who sign up to do this. They're happy to emotionally prostitute themselves, spouting cliches that it's worth it for true love.
And, again, some credit to bang-'em-all Brad, because for the most part, when he sensed a girl was getting too clingy, he'd axe her instead of dragging her along to increase her hopes. But it doesn't really matter, because rejection, at any stage of the game, still stings, and therefore still makes for sadistic, watchable television for a lot of people.
It was obvious by his final choices that thought he was minimizing the damage. There was the one with the perpetually sunny disposition and the "independent" one (read, bitch.) He probably figured that the happy one would shake it off and still be happy, and that the hard one wouldn't be so wounded. But here's the thing. They're chicks in their twenties. I don't give a flying fuck what girls at that age spout off about being strong or independent or whatever. Sure, there are some out there like that. But by and large, for the most part, they will fall into the fairy tale traps and they do want to be the chosen one and they do want to feel special and loved.
So Brad does end up being kind of douchey about the whole thing. Because he may not have said leading things to them, and in his mind he tried to minimize the collateral damage, but he sure as shit didn't stop them from professing their love for him -- on camera -- and then lapping it up. Again, granted, I'm sure the producers are there backstage coaching and egging the girls on, encouraging and convincing them to be open and honest and serving up leading questions to embolden them to indulge their emotions.
But Brad, see, he kinda liked it. I can't stand those kinds of fuckers. They're emotional vampires is what they are. Because that's a strong, non-verbal form of encouragement. If you're emotionally remote, or simply off the market but not a complete jackass, you don't pull someone closer as they confess their love and tell them you care deeply about them. You back the fuck off! THAT'S a non-verbal clue telling THEM to back off. But Brad was clearly loving being loved. He was just so damn comfortable and self-satisfied with these women fawning over him.
Though it was a little funny to see him freak out when he was actually considering doing the storybook thing and giving a ring to someone. He actually physically choked on the thought of it! He choked and couldn't breathe and had to step down and walk it off and then had to eventually tell the truth and dump the girl. For this act, I actually give him credit. This somewhat de-douches him. He could've dragged it along and then had the break-up after the show like everyone else does.
But then comes the most telling moment. When the girls try to back away from him and hide their tears and escape, he won't let them. He. Won't. Let. Them. Instead, he insists on telling them how much he cares about them. And the one girl, she gives him exactly what he wants to hear. She tells him it's all okay and she still thinks he's great. You know why he wanted that? Because Brad really doesn't want to be the villain in this scenario.
But here's the thing -- he would be less of a villain if he'd just reject the girl and let her have her self-pity and a little rage for feeling strung-along. If he'd just man up and deal with that, okay. But no. He still wants them "open" to him and to listen to him spew shit about how he cares about them. He still wants to be the gentleman and good guy. He literally won't let the one wiggle away until she hugs him and he gets a little cross and disappointed with her!
So now, with those manipulative, self-serving actions, he does become the asshole.
ABC zoomed in on the final rose, laying there, like it was forlorn and wasted. That's the beauty of roses. Lurking beneath the lovely soft petals, you're eventually going to get a prick.