Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ben & Jordan Watch Bachelor Pad: Episode 3

The bonds of brotherhood between Ben Morse and Jordan Geary were forged during their time as students at Connecticut College, where they spent four years losing at intramural sports (except softball in 2004!), forming their own fraternity because the school wouldn’t let them, making student films one professor called “unfortunate” and regularly beating their friend Dan Hartnett in Goldeneye.

Today, they live 20 minutes apart in New Jersey with their respective lovely wives, sharing passions for miniature golf, diner cuisine and the music of Motley Crue. They also both watched and blogged about Games of Thrones this past season to the thrill of perhaps a dozen.

For years Jordan has been trying to sell Ben, who has never watched an episode of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, to watch Bachelor Pad. Despite their youthful enjoyment of reality romance classics like Temptation Island and Paradise Hotel, Ben was skeptical, but decided to go for it.

Bear wit to their wit, wisdom and frequent allusions to Mark L. Wahlberg as they try and bring some much needed dignity to these people’s search for love/money/fame/a place to crash for a few weeks.

Bachelor Pad Episode 3: "Psychopaths on Parade!”

Jordan: Third episode! Just a warning that I wrote a LOT on this one as it was one of my favorite episodes in reality show history.

Ben: I got to watch the episode not only with my wonderful wife, but also my sister, Emily, and my brand new brother-in-law, Jon, who has just returned from their honeymoon. To bring them right back to reality by taking them out for all-you-can-eat sushi and making them watch Bachelor Pad. They contributed greatly with astute observations, particularly since my sister actually grew up with and went to school with Jaclyn.

And then a few days later, Jon sent me this.

I’m both proud to have him as a brother and seriously questioning how he came across that.

Jordan: I’ve heard from no less than two people before watching this that Reid exhibits all of the telltale signs that psychologists use to identify a psychopath. This was super interesting to hear as I just got done reading Jon Ronson’s amazing book “The Psychopath Test”…and was keen to see one “in the wild” so to speak. Can you think of a better place to spot one than Bachelor Pad? OF COURSE NOT!

Ben: I’d be curious to get Tim Stevens’ take on this, but he watches Grimm on Monday nights. Also, I’d assume most people on Bachelor Pad are sociopaths—Kalon, Blakeley, Chris Harrison—rather than psychopaths, but I’m not a doctor (yet).

Also, “no less than two”? That’s literally only one more than one. Literally.

Jordan: We start off with Reid, fittingly, smiling and reflecting that his plan to oust loveable drunk Ed last episode didn’t pan out. Ed looks stunned and rather unnerved that he was almost voted out, and it translates into approximately two seconds of screen time before Ed utters to his teammate “I need more champagne.”

For those of you keeping track, Ed is the guy who famously tried to sleep with the Bachelorette Jillian in the fantasy suite in years past and...ahem…could not get it up. It’s safe to say that anyone now watching Bachelor Pad has 20/20 hindsight that his case of “the limpsies” was drinking-related .

Ben: The first astute observation from Jon was that while on most reality shows, everybody always has a poorly mixed drink in hand, Ed is never without a perfectly concocted cocktail, the likes of which he could hardly hope to make sober, let alone when he’s in a pickle. Thus, there is almost certainly a professional bartender on 24 hour call at the Bachelor Pad, which seems equal parts cruel and terrifying.

Jordan: Sara weeps to the camera over her decision last week to try to vote out Ed, saying head-scratching things like “I killed any chances I had to be with him long term.” This is head-scratching because we ALL know there can be no long term, as at this partying pace Ed will live maybe 1 or 2 more years TOPS.

Ben: First of all, it wasn’t her decision to vote him off that killed any chances with him, it was her decision to tell her that she did so. Second of all, I’m pretty sure she’ll have the same chance she would have had anyway once she becomes “blur with brown hair #3” to E-Money 12 drinks in.

She has, however, killed any chance of me wanting her to win.

Jordan: Reid tries to figure out where his plan went wrong by talking to the girls. While he is grinning and laughing throughout it, it still comes off as a guy who is resentful of being ousted by Ed in the past and has been living with that stamp on his forehead rather than an emotionless, "life is a game," manipulative psychopath. Time will tell on this one!

Ben: His plan went wrong the moment he tried to put together a plan. If he is a psychopath, he’s awful at it.

Jordan: After a pep talk from teammate Jaclyn, Ed says he is going to refocus on winning the game. Looking behind the producer curtain, I have to believe this mountain of exposition is setting up an epic Ed-Reid war later in this episode.

Ben: Watching last week’s preview of this week’s episode told me that.

Jordan: Chris Harrison time! Chris informs the houseguests this episode’s competition will be taking place away from the mansion. The camera then settles on Jamie clapping for what seems like a solid hour, highlighting…and I want to pause for emphasis here…HER COMPLETE INABILITY TO CLAP CORRECTLY. She not only swings her arms wildly as she grins, but somehow completely gets off rhythm and misses her hand at one point. Again: she is so lucky she has looks, because the brains ain’t there.

Ben: Another observation from Jon: It could not be more obvious how much Chris Harrison is just there to collect a paycheck and fulfill his contract. Having never watched The Bachelor I don’t know any better, but my metrosexual bro-in-law tells me The Lord of Darkness seems pretty earnest there, whereas here he seems in a constant state of bemusement/post-hooker-killing.

That second part was my own observation.

Competition: Ice Cream-Chocolate-Cream-Nuts Obstacle Course Thing

Jordan: Chris Harrison explains the competition, which in essence is an obstacle course that’s one giant excuse to make nut sack jokes.

Ben: Collecting a paycheck.

Jordan: Part of me is dying for Chris Harrison to add in at the end of the rules, “Now, running is involved, so slow-moving non-athletes like Jaclyn will have no shot on this one…even with an ice cream incentive.” Sadly, Chris Harrison is only this mean after the season on the “After the final rose” special.

Ben: I don’t believe Chris Harrison is capable of human emotions like cruelty, but I’ll take your word for it.

As they were setting this up, Jon and I were wondering aloud about this show’s propensity to grossly overspend on things like creating an ice cream obstacle course and figured the producers likely concluded that the only way to transport the contents was to airlift and drop it from the helicopter they loaned Kalon during his season.

Jordan: An added wrinkle is the teams have to switch partners, resulting in hilarious combos like “Team Low IQ” of Ed and Jamie and “Team Weepy” in Sara and Michael.

Ben: Don’t forget “Team Forgettable” consisting of the guy who isn’t Tony and whoever he was with.

Jordan: The girls start first and predictably Jaclyn immediately lags behind with a sad expression on her face, obviously forgetting the years and years of advice from Ben’s dad Ned that would have won this competition for her.

Ben: And now, expert commentary from a special guest who demanded his thoughts on this development be heard…

“This race perfectly summed up every experience I ever had trying to teach Jackie Schwartz to do anything athletic. I have coached dozens of young men and women and she is the only one I can say without a doubt was completely un-coachable. She singlehandedly ruined my entire coaching career.” – Ned Morse, former youth soccer coach, hero

Jordan: Jamie crosses the finish first for the girls, grinning widely as someone often does that has no earthly idea where they are and what they are doing.

Ben: To be fair, the people who were aware of what they were doing were still hopping around in potato sacks pouring nuts over their heads, so it’s not like anybody was a stone’s throw from dignity.

Jordan: Michael and Bing Crosby duke it out, both crossing the finish at seemingly the same time. Bing Crosby immediately celebrates, while Michael looks sad. Chris Harrison then says, “It’s too close to call! We have to go to the tape!” as everyone behind the camera looks at Bing Crosby celebrating and realizes they will have no way to edit that out. Still, to the video tape we go.

Ben: The best part of this is that they’re not going to instant replay over anything remotely athletic, but who ate a cherry first. This is John Madden’s dream realized.

Jordan: Meanwhile, secretly fearing it is a cleverly-disguised 12-step program, Ed struggles to climb up the wall of fudge. He eventually succeeds…in sliding face first to the bottom and laying there motionless. The rest of the competitors finish. Chris Harrison feigns sadness while glancing at his watch and wondering if he can still catch his 4pm tee time.

Ben: Did you notice Ed makes the same noises failing to pull himself up a ramp of fudge that he does when he makes sweet love? Telling.

Jordan: Chris Harrison then says to everyone that looking at the videotape… BING CROSBY’S TEAM WON! (crickets) Luckily for Michael, “Razor-Throated Rachel” was on his team which guarantees he will be on the big group date.

Ben: And again, I note that Bing/David is the most dangerous guy there because he’s a frickin’ MMA fighter in physical competition with Ed and Reid. Michael is praying for a heartfelt ballad-off next episode.

Another Jon observation: This show blew thousands to create this obstacle course and only left enough budget for one hose.

Jordan: Everyone talks about Bing Crosby being an amazing competitor, with Jaclyn chiming in with the genius line of “He’s studied the game (of Bachelor Pad) before the game even existed.” Bing Crosby chooses the trifecta of smarts in Blakeley, Erica Rose, and Jamie for his date, somehow leaving every intelligent, scheming girl behind to talk while he is gone. Not good, Bing. Not good.

Ben: It’s possible he was trying to get the most easily swayed girls on his side by…nah, never mind, this guy is at terrible at strategy as he is amazing in competitions.

The Guy Winner’s Date

Jordan: The date starts with Jamie realizing 20 light years later than everyone else in the house that Blakely has a grating personality. Not to be outdone on the stupidity front, Blakeley opens the door to the mansion their date is taking place and mouths the words “What?.........OH!,” taking wayyy too long to realize it’s done up in a prom theme. That’s right editors, I READ LIPS! No campy voiceover can save your blessed Blakely.

Ben: I always knew that summer you spent as a ventriloquist’s apprentice would someday help us write a blog.

Jordan: The always-courteous and graceful Blakely then immediately tries to pick a fight with the other girls. She then makes me jump up and celebrate, once again throwing around the “I’m not here for love, and I’m not here for friendship...The name of the game is to win the money” line!!! Use of this line is the official barometer of reality show douchey-ness, and Blakely is currently scoring a 49 out of 10. God bless her soul!

Ben: It’s true this does signify that this is officially a reality show.

I more enjoyed Jamie’s emotional celebration of “finally getting know what a prom is like,” since she missed her prom and has spent the decade since being told that it consisted of one guy, three girls, a million balloons, and a band held hostage at gunpoint by a sniper rifle-wielding Chris Harrison.

Jordan: Back at the house, Reid is throwing limes at Ed, who is shielding his body like he is in WWII. We then see Reid grinning at the camera, unveiling a plot to try to make friends with Ed and then stab him in the back and vote him out.

Ben: Maybe starting his scheme halfway through the episode rather than right before the rose ceremony will ensure Reid success this time, but unlikely; he’s the old guy the Scooby Doo gang unmasks every week at this point.

Jordan: NOW is when I start to see the psychopath tendencies in Reid: The lack of emotion in the eyes. The grin while describing a very devious plan. The lack of empathy for anyone in or out of the house. The inability to cozy up to any female contestant emotionally. The reliance on explaining away bad behavior in the name of gamesmanship. The short-sightedness of exacting revenge on Ed to the detriment of his own public image outside of the game…yeah it’s starting to click.

Ben: To play devil’s advocate, he did seem to have empathy for with and establish an emotional connection with Paige during the first week, but she was clearly mentally unbalanced, so that may just strengthen your case.

Jordan: Watching Ed then call Reid a good friend in the house makes it especially troubling to watch. Reid then delivers a monologue directly out of the movie American Psycho to hammer it home for me: “I kinda am like the wolf in sheep’s clothing here. It’s a game, so I’m going to do everything in my power to win. I see a lot of couples forming…Kalon and Lindzi…Michael and Rachel…Ed-Jaclyn…and it seems like every other girl wants Chris…the relationships in the house are crucial, but they are all built on lies. There’s a lot of manipulative people in the house. You gotta act, you gotta lie, you gotta do what it takes to get to the end, because you never know what can happen in this place.”

Ben: Kalon just wept and did 300 shirtless push-ups after you compared somebody on this show other than him to Patrick Bateman.

Jordan: Back to the date, some awful, awful country band performs. While this happens Bing Crosby kisses Jamie, prompting a super slow, Grinch-like smile to creep across the face of Blakely. This smile at once shows anger that another man has fallen under Jamie’s spell, while also the beginnings of an obvious plan to tell Chris all about this and win his heart for good. At the polar end of the spectrum from cuttroat Reid, Blakely seems a little TOO emotionally invested in all of this…which will make for amazing mayhem in the end.

Ben: Say what you will about Jamie—and we have—but she’s very focused. She wants to win the money and get with Chris, not necessarily in that order. She may not be a MENSA member, but she was able to wrap the dude who got eliminated last week around her finger and is doing the same to Bing here.

Jordan: Cutting back to the house, at a pool party Ed grabs Jaclyn and like a caveman drags her back to his lair to have sex with her. As they have at it, Ed starts doing guttural yodels again and it hits me that Ed has unexpectedly become one of my favorite reality characters of all time. He then sticks the landing by punctuating the love making by asking Jaclyn “What was your name again?” Brilliant.

Ben: A fun Jaclyn anecdote from my sister: Their junior year of high school, she got a nose job and then promptly got a football thrown at her face Marcia Brady style. She then had to wear a nose cast for several weeks, during which time her friends/minions wore white make-up on their own noses out of a show of solidarity.

My sister moved to Washington, DC almost immediately after graduating high school.

Jordan: Jamie is now crying, saying that the prom reminds her of her mom “disappearing.” Bing Crosby holds her. Erica Rose then sees Blakeley freaking out that Jamie and Bing have been gone a while, and does what we all would do: taunts Blakely mercilessly by saying things like “They’ve been gone a LONG time.” Erica finally makes her delightfully crazy self seen this season! Woohoo! Unhinged Blakeley predictably freaks and charges off to confront Bing Crosby about voting out Jamie. Bing tells her he already promised the rose to Jamie and Blakely FREAKS. When he gives Jamie the rose, Blakely says a line to the camera that will haunt me for a number of years: “David is on my diarrhea list right now.”

Ben: Blakeley went on and on about how Bing promised her last week that if she gave him a rose he would vote for whomever she said to. She said this probably a dozen times and emphasized every time what a gross violation of trust and honor it would be if he crossed her. She omitted the fact that she (sorry mom) DIDN’T END UP GIVING HIM THE FUCKING ROSE.

Jordan: Craptastic country band performs again as Blakeley cruises back in the limo with fire shooting out of her eyes. Erica Rose feeds the flames by saying, “Don’t they look like a cute couple in this picture?” HILARIOUS!

Ben: Meanwhile, back at the prom…nothing happened.

The Gal Winner’s Date

Jordan: It’s Rachel’s turn for a date. Looking at her, I can flat out say that I find her the least attractive of the women on the show. She looks and sounds…WEATHERED (pats self on back for that perfect adjective).

Ben: Rachel is by no stretch of the imagination the least physically attractive woman on this show. I’m far too much of a gentleman to list who is less so, as you can tell by reading this blog, but she’s not.

Jordan: Alright girls date: The guys have to pretend to be wax figures so they can hear what people actually think of them. Pretty cool idea actually that I fully plan to replicate one day. Perhaps this weekend.

Ben: Yeah, Sarah’s birthday party was a lot of fun.

I can’t believe you didn’t note that Rachel immediately picked Michael then casually picked Tony and the other guy who doesn’t matter as her second and third, basically so she could have a solo date with Michael plus the guys from Aerosmith who aren’t Steven Tyler or Joe Perry. Also, Tony’s random assertion that he needs to win this game “for my son” and merciless jab at his inconsequential partner in anonymity for being “a walking protein powder.” He’s moving up my list.

Jordan: Back at the house, Blakeley gets told by Chris not to get too emotionally invested, which is like telling the sun not to shine. Chris then turns Jamie down for sex with vague “not tonight” reasoning. Sorry Reid, but Chris is the true puppet master of this house.

Ben: Can’t disagree with you. Kalon is going to destroy him at some point though.

Jordan: At wax figure land, all of the fans swoon about Michael while Tony gets told repeatedly he is pathetic. Sad, yet hilarious.

Ben: Michael was hysterical during this date. He’s clearly been waiting all his life to pretend to be a wax figure and freak people out, like most of us. My favorite was when he “came alive” while proposing one of the fans.

Also, how disappointed/confused would you be if you were a Bachelor fan going to a wax museum and the exhibit consisted of fan favorite Michael, generic girl Rachel and the two guys from the Rolling Stones who aren’t Mick Jagger or Keith Richards?

I realize on immediate retrospection that was a vastly inferior comparison from my Aerosmith one.

Also also, I am now convinced that Chris Harrison is the living embodiment of the movie Mannequin.

Jordan: Michael OBVIOUSLY gets the rose from cigarette breath, moving us one step closer to him getting his heart broken and slow motion montages of him looking at birds. Michael and Rachel parade around wax figures, eventually sitting on a bed in an old western set. The combo of dusty old bed and mannequins around them makes it all creepy beyond words.

Ben: If we get another music video with Michael singing under a weeping willow, I’m all for it.

Various Hjinks Ensue

Jordan: Increasingly chubby Reid continues his psychopathic ways, telling everyone to vote out Ed and Blakely (whom I can only assume he dislikes out of envy of her human emotions). Sara takes this information straight to Ed, who seems genuinely disbelieving and heartbroken at the news. Ed then promises to “smash this guy,” which I am so behind. I look at that young blogger from a mere two entries ago that loved Reid and disliked Ed and shake my head at him. I had it all wrong. The devil truly WAS in disguise on this one.

Ben: Enlisting the aid of Sara, the one person who completely and openly torpedoed his last grand plan, was vintage Reid (if such a thing can exist after three episodes).

Jordan: Ed confronts Reid, who does what I must admit is a VERY convincing lying job (another psychopath trait), only angering Ed more and encouraging the guy who does the music scoring on the show to add more high-pitched tense violins. Ed even says what must be his equivalent of, “Our friendship is over” by defiantly stating, “You have some BALLS, dude!”

Ben: If excessive flop sweat and a flabbergasted expression that says “I’m choking on my own tongue” make a convincing liar, Reid could sell ice cream to an Eskimo.

Jordan: Commercial break time. My actress friend Rena Strober dances shirtless on television in a Playtex bra ad. Bizarre night.

Ben: I got nothing.

The Rose Ceremony

Jordan: Blakely is told beforehand by Michael, “I PROMISE you are not going home.” Since everyone that saw last season knows that Michael only truly enjoys looking sad, I predict this is the end for Blakeley. It’s either her or Donna this week in an epic “Battle of the Boobs.” Really hoping Blakeley stays, because her blend of trashy and crazy will be sorely missed.

Ben: I concur, also because there’s nothing Donna can do that will top last week’s serial killer drawing of Michael.

Jordan: As for the guys, back when I heard from people they watched this episode and thought Reid was a psychopath, I responded to them that KALON seemed like waaay more of a psychopath to me. Besides pairing up with Lindzi, he acted exactly like a psychopath, even prompting fans to call him "American Psycho." Well, although this episode totally affirmed what everyone told me about Reid, Kalon was not to be outdone on the psychopath scale at the end…as he voted tonight by saying, “I enjoy this. I kinda hold their fate in my hands. Now I can enjoy the rest of my evening and I can watch people’s lives crumble before my eyes.” BAM! BAM! BAM! PSYCHO!

Ben: Again, I’d go with sociopath. We need to call in the doc.

Jordan: Reid volleys back at Kalon’s psychopath power play by inexplicably telling Jaclyn she should partner with him and asks the camera why everyone is always crying around him. Jaclyn does not say a thing, but instead goes to Ed…just as Ben’s dad taught her. I have lots of respect for her right now.

Ben: Yes, I believe he covered that in between penalty kicks and ice cream pool races.

Jordan: Anyhoo, as predicted waaaaaaay at the beginning of this super long entry, it comes down to Reid and Ed. I have to say before the outcome is spoken that this has been by far my favorite episode of Bachelor Pad ever, regardless of whether Ed stays or goes.

Ben: It’s in my top three for sure.

Jordan: Alright here we go!


Ben: Reid has only himself to blame, as everybody he has tried to save has been ousted, and he tried way too hard to save himself. Had he given up and gone for a swim, Tony would have been packing his bags.

Jordan: Donna and Reid hit the road. Justice is served and all is well…BUT FOR HOW LONG? As Reid leaves, Kalon is overheard saying, “Asshole needed to go,” not revealing to the others that he truly is the remaining snake in the grass.

Ben: So excited for Kalon to move out of neutral, as next week’s promo seems to imply he will be doing.

Jordan: This is getting GOOOOOOD! Can’t wait to see next week’s episode!