On Paper, it's Deanna Pappas (Bachelor 11 review -Brad Womack)
Two moments of foreboding stood out for me during the home visits. The first came when Sheena Stewart stepped into the hot tub with Brad and more or less asked him “Did my mom annoy you?” to which Brad assures her that he had a great time with his horoscope obsessed, Peg Bundy channeling , romance projecting future mother in law. Bad sign number one- if they edit your home visit so it appears like he spent more time with mom than you did. Bad sign number two-if mom notes that the Bachelor is a Scorpio just like her husband and now “We’re all ready to get married”. Bad sign number three-they show you on camera saying that you think everything went really well. Sign number four-they show the Bachelor lying to you.
There’s reading astrological signs and there’s reading the “plain as day” signs. Sheena getting caught by the shore patrol for reckless jet ski piloting foreshadowed Sheena’s silent dad and non-stop talking mom getting to know Brad by towing him scary fast on that rubber raft. It wasn’t chemistry, it was math. Sheena plus twenty five years equals Sheena’s mom. I’m not sure what Brad plans to do with that romantic poem about all his moles and hair patches now, but I suspect that after that encounter with mom it sure reads a lot scarier.
Moment two happens with Bettina Bell on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Just in case you were wondering, Abraham Lincoln didn’t go to college and he sometimes participated in public wrestling matches of the non-college sanctioned variety. Brad appears to be looking for some assurance from what may have been the most judgmental home visit ever and Bettina tells him, “Well on paper, I don’t look so good either," more or less appearing to say "Well, I think you're an uneducated bar-owing loser too, but I'm a divorcee so that makes us even."
Prior to the seemingly disastrous home visit, the camera shows Bettina saying that she thinks a lot like her Dad. Professor Dad, who looks something like Detective Munch from Law and Order CSI (Richard Belzer), being the smart guy that he is (is this the guy?) tells the national tv cameras, “Her first husband was really wonderful.”
Here’s a simple test? Who’s smarter? The guy who owns four bars but didn’t happen to go to college or the guy who utterly humiliates his own daughter on national television. It felt like watching a version of the Jeremy Irons-Juliette Binoche movie, “Damage” with gay overtones.
Another small matter, Bettina’s parents are divorced. Bettina was divorced. Brad talked repeatedly about how he fantasized about a big welcoming family. I don’t think, “Hey nice talking to you, I’ve got to go walk the dog” sends that exact message. Btw, I’m always nervous about these families where the Bachelorette is way better looking than all other members of the family.
In the meantime, what’s the over under for number of therapy sessions for Bettina’s family? After lines like, “Dad, one of your own daughters didn’t finish college!” (if you’re wondering, it’s not Bettina.)
Of course, the elephant in the room is why didn’t they show Bettina defending Brad in front of her family or even afterwards. Talk about your rough edits! As strange as this seems though, I have this feeling that she somehow makes the final two (consider the fact that Brad maybe doesn’t have the best relationship with his own divorced dad). No kiss on the mouth, no match for all the things Brad says he’s looking for, all these snarky comments about the other ladies, yet she keeps moving on. Mrs. Chancelucky took a quick look at the bikini shots from Cabo and said “It’s obvious to me. He wants the time in the fantasy suite, then he’ll dump her.”
I’m not so sure. For one, the show does like to set up good girl vs. bad girl finales. Second, the edit appears to be building unresolved physical tension between the two for that big kiss. If it works though, I just have some words of advice.
1) If you do invite the ex-husband to the wedding, I suggest you sit him way in the back next to dad.
2) Don’t let Bettina’s stepmom or biological mom write the wedding notice for the newspaper.
I have to confess that I missed parts of the Jenni Croft visit. My daughter wanted to watch CSI reruns and I lost the struggle for the remote. My wife insists that it’s more than a bit weird for a middle-aged man to be fighting to see the Bachelor. I missed the whole Little Miss Sunshine portion of the visit, but caught the straight-talking Grandmother, the down home Dad who gives Brad the “thumbs up”, and Jenni’s mom making like Olivier in Marathon Man with shampoo instead of a dental drill.
Yes, the physical chemistry between Brad and Jenni remains strong, but the only topic of substance Jenni seems to talk about is her cheerleading career. When Dad congratulates her for “making the team” mid-visit, I was genuinely disoriented. Was this that Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader reality show or was it the Bachelor?
If I had to call a winner at this point, it would be Deanna Pappas. I’m often wrong about these things and this year’s edit has been genuinely weird, especially that 2 on 1 date with Jade Beazley. Brad, who claims not to be much of a drinker himself despite owning all those bars, is shown having 4 shots of Ouzo ( could be a looped edit) and then gets to pretend to be John Colbert in the Hellenic celebration portion. The big thing though was that she was the lone Bachelorette whose home visit was edited to appear as if she were moving closer emotionally to the Bachelor.
1) Emotional showing of the photo album of dead mom along with trademark guitar music.
2) Dad actually has a meaningful conversation with Brad about what Deanna’s been through.
3) Deanna and sister get to show off Deanna’s balanced view of the show.
4) Brad reminds folk that he grew up in Atlanta too and it feels like coming home. Add in his bits about warm family celebrations and that kiss at the end.
mini-note After Bettina's family take on bars, it just happens that Deanna Pappas works part time as a bartender. Chad Womack's wife was also a bartender.
Deanna starts looking pretty inevitable both on paper and on videotape. Of course, I may have just had too much ouzo.
Sidebar: Bachelorettes Fight Back
One of the more interesting developments this season has little to nothing to do with anyone on Bachelor 11. It appears that at least a few of the ladies from Bachelor 10 have fought back via blog (interesting in its own right) against Mike Fleiss’s humiliate and manipulate style of editing. Kate Brockhouse, Bevin Powers, and Tina Wu have all posted about the experience and two of them are reviewing the current edition of the show. Bevin Powers and Tina Wu are both on myspace.com. Brockhouse is on blogger.
Andy’s women were probably the best educated and most personally accomplished set of Bachelorettes in the show’s eleven installments. I suspect that even Professor Bell would approve of some of them and I suspect Tina Wu would absolutely destroy him in an intellectual exchange. The group apparently bonded, minimized the catfighting that the producers often thrive off of, and decided not to be intimidated by the various non-disclosure threats made by the producers. It’s definitely interesting reading and it brings a whole other level of “reality” to reality television.
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