‘The Bachelorette’: Well Hello, Dolly!

The Bachelorette
May 28, 2012

I can not think of a better way to honor the sacrifice our servicemen and women have made over the years than to spend the evening watching a pretty blonde date a bunch of blow-dried himbos. Happy Memorial Day! Thank you for defending us and our freedoms with your lives! It was all worth it!

Lest we think that St. Emily has neglected her motherly duties in favor of awkward group dates and swigging champagne at cocktail parties, we begin the episode in her bedroom as her mother delivers her breakfast in bed. Because her mother is her slave? Who also watches little Ricky Bobby, Jr. while St. Emily is out catting around “looking for true love?” Ricky Bobby, Jr. apparently misses her mother most of all at night, and sleeps in St. Emily’s bed waiting for her mother to come home. There is nothing sad about that at all.

Back at the McMANsion, after explaining the week’s dates (one group date, two 1-on-1 dates) Chris Harrison delivers the first 1-on-1 date card: “Smug Chris: Love is a steady climb … St. Emily.” Smug Chris smugs that he’s excited. And smug.

St. Emily meets Smug Chris in downtown Charlotte, where they are going to strap on some sexy harnesses and helmets and scale the side of some very tall building because this is The Bachelorette, and according to the First Law of The Bachelor/Bachelorette: True Love is Found Whilst Performing Stunts That Thou Would Never Actually Perform in Real Life. And I get it, I understand that making the competitors go on these stupid eXXXtreme dates makes for better television than the way actual grown-ups date: going out to eat, seeing movies, having a drink at a bar. But what I resent is how they are always trying to justify these stupid dates by turning them into metaphors for falling in love. You see? Because St. Emily and Smug Chris, they have to start at the “bottom” and “work their way up” to “the top?” JUST LIKE FALLING IN LOVE. (Or climbing to love? Which sounds like it would be considerably more of a struggle?  I don’t think The Producers have really thought through this metaphor at all.)

St. Emily and Smug Chris make their way up the side of the building as a storm moves towards them, making St. Emily squeal about being “sooo skeered! Oh mah gawd!” Smug Chris smugs at her that he is right there — dangling next to her on his own rope, completely unable to do anything to help or save her in the event of some sort of accident. St. Emily tells us repeatedly that this, somehow, made her feel safer, but I remain unconvinced, as she whines all the way up to the roof. Once on the roof, Smug Chris tells us that he wants to kiss her, but instead gives her a high five. Romantic.

amy poehler seth meyers high five


Dinner is waiting for them on the roof, which is a super good plan, considering that dangerous and terrifying storm is still lurking on the horizon. Can they not move this inside somewhere? Did a production assistant not look up the weather report before they set everything up for this date? Someone needs to be updating their resume and looking for a new job because ZOMG LIGHTNING.

Over dinner, St. Emily tells Smug Chris that he is handsome and that she would be afraid to approach him in a bar. Smug Chris is smug. St. Emily then asks about his previous relationships, and Smug Chris reveals that he’s only really been in one with his high school sweetheart which lasted almost 6 years, but recently ended. St. Emily’s face goes blank for a moment or two as she does some complicated math in her head and realizes that Smug Chris is maybe not as old as she thought he was. Smug Chris assures her that even though he’s only 25 years old, he’s been through some stuff in his life — like leaving home to go to college when he was only 17 — and that he is totally, seriously, for real, ready to be Ricky Bobby Jr.’s stepdad. And even though most people leave home at 17 or 18 years old to go to school, St. Emily is duly impressed with this and offers him the date rose. Smug Chris is smug. They then leave the dangerous lightning roof and head down to the street where yet another country singer whom I do not recognize (Kevin Brian? Luke Kevin? Bryan Travis? Travis Luke? It doesn’t even matter?) sings at them. They dance while the good people of Charlotte stand around and watch and  Smug Chris asks St. Emily if he can kiss her, because he respects her too much to just go for it. St. Emily lets this manchild kiss her for some reason, and he pronounces it “the greatest thing [he has] ever experienced in [his] life,” and I suddenly feel sorry for Smug Chris because that’s just kind of sad when you really think about it.

Back at the McMANsion, Desperate Tony calls his son. He has a sad over how much he misses his little boy, and how much his son misses him. Not to be mean, but it does not sound like his son misses him all that much, because he is 5 years old and has the attention span of a goldfish and no concrete sense of time. But sure, Desperate Tony, go ahead and cry about it.

The group date card is delivered: “Justin WannaBieber, Head Injury Charlie, Alejandro, Pauly D., Ryan, Dallas Sean, Wolfboy, Austin Michael, Doug the Dad, Desperate Tony, and Eggy: Let’s play. St. Emily.”

The men are dumped into a park where St. Emily is waiting for them bearing a football, which makes Monkey-Haired Ryan very excited. ME CONFIDENT, Ryan announces. ME LIKE FOOTBALL. Ryan makes a funny about St. Emily needing to learn how to stiff arm the other men in case they try to kiss her, asking, YOU STIFF ARM SMUG CHRIS ON THE DAY BEFORE THIS DAY? Eggy decides this is deserving of a high-five.

amy poehler seth meyers high five


Ryan “Grandpa Simpson Head,” who is apparently so confident about his chances with St. Emily that he has also begun grooming his facial hair in questionable ways (HEY, IT WORK FOR HEAD, IT WORK FOR FACE, he grunts in my imagination), needs to just calm it on down, however, because they are not here to play football. Instead, they are here to be grilled by St. Emily’s best friends. One by one, the men are brought before Wendy and Ashley and (according to the closed captioning) Woman and Woman who ask them if they are ready to be a father, if they’ve ever cheated, what the hey is up with the egg?, why they signed up for the show, would you take off your shirt and do push-ups now, please and thank you. Dallas Sean, who comes off as a very sincere human being, wows the Moms with his talk of his faith and his family and how he is prepared to be a dad because: he has a father. Convinced! say the Moms. Take off your shirt! say the Moms.

St. Emily then releases a pack of feral children and demands that the men play with them. PLAY WITH THEM, NOW. And the manherd does, because of course they do. At one point, however, Ryan leaves his charges, and interrupts St. Emily’s conversation with her friends. When St. Emily jokes that after she gets married she is letting herself go, Ryan bellows YOU NO GET FAT. ME NO LOVE YOU. Huh! Say the Moms. Maybe it’s best if you don’t talk! say the Moms. Just stand over there, take off your shirt and look pretty! say the Moms. The Moms then tell St. Emily that they really liked Doug the Dad and Dallas Sean (but mostly Doug the Dad). And with that, St. Emily hustles up the mancattle and sends them on to the next part of the date: drinks and more drinks.

At the cocktail party, Dallas Sean explains to St. Emily that he is very picky, he wants someone who is confident and who knows where they are going, but someone who also wants him to lead them. (Disappointed but resigned feminist sigh here.) Despite that being the exact turn of phrase that would make me get up, thank him for his time and show him to the waiting taxi outside, St. Emily finds this perfectly acceptable because of course she does, this is The Bachelorette. Blah blah blah his dad is The Very Best blah blah.

St. Emily then chats with Doug the Dad, who gives her his sad Oliver Twist story: his father had epilepsy, his mother was a horrible human being who left his father when Doug the Dad and his sister were children. Doug the Dad’s father died one night because he didn’t want to go to the doctor and spend their grocery money (!), and so Doug the Dad and his sister bounced around the foster system for a while. St. Emily is moved to tears, which, sure, but I still want to know what happened to Mrs. Doug the Dad? Why aren’t we asking the obvious questions here, St. Emily? Yeah, yeah, yeah, tragic childhood. Can we go over why you’re a single father again?

Speaking of single dadhood, this entire time, Desperate Tony is wandering around the alleyway behind the building keening about being away from his son. Doug the Dad tries to reassure Desperate Tony that his son is fine and will survive the 9 weeks he’s away, but Desperate Tony, he is fairly certain this is not the case. When Desperate Tony phoned him earlier, Son of Desperate Tony called North Carolina, “Nerf Caroline!” WHAT MORE EVIDENCE DOES DESPERATE TONY NEED THAT HE NEEDS TO GO HOME?!? Desperate Tony then works himself up even further by calling Son of Desperate Tony, who sighs heavily and is all, “God, Dad, what? I’m fine. Now please stop calling me, I’ve got a whole stack of Legos that aren’t going to build themselves, so I’ll have to talk to you later.” Desperate Tony weeps piteously against the wall until St. Emily comes outside and is like, Hey, look, Sobby, you didn’t stand a chance, what with that overpowering stench of desperation that hangs over you. So why don’t you just go home already, KABI. And with that Desperate Tony is put into a cab and sent back to his poor, smothered son.

St. Emily returns inside and announces that she sent Desperate Tony home because he wouldn’t stop crying she respected him too much to keep him from his son. Everyone agrees that this was  the right and just thing for St. Emily to do and NOT just because it improved all of their chances, that’s just a bonus. Seriously. And with that, St. Emily gives Dallas Sean the group date rose even though she really wanted to give it to Doug the Dad, but she gave him the First Impression Rose and she doesn’t want to be that obvious.

Back at the McMANsion, the final date card arrives: “Cal Naughton, Jr.: Love is a wild ride … St. Emily.” Kalon Dru-Zod seethes with Kryptonian rage and plots his revenge.

Cal Naughton, Jr. assumes that it will be some sort of racing date, which, no it will not, come on, that’s just tacky. Instead, St. Emily loads him up onto a private plane (again, yikes) and flies him to DOLLYWOOD! First of all, Dolly Parton is amazing. Second of all, I love Dollywood, even though I have never been. I just like the theoretical idea that Dolly Parton has an amusement park, because why shouldn’t she! Hooray, Dolly! St. Emily explains that this was the amusement park she grew up with, and that it is, for her, The Happiest Place on Earth. Somewhere an ABC/Disney executive’s head just exploded.

Cal Naughton, Jr. and St. Emily play the games and ride the rides and are sent into a theater tasked with writing a love song, but really, SURPRISE! Dolly is waiting inside! Hooray, Dolly! St. Emily freaks out, because WHO WOULDN’T, IT IS DOLLY PARTON, and Dolly sings them a song she claims she wrote just for the two of them (she did not write this song just for the two of them). Dolly then asks to speak to St. Emily alone, and tells her that she believes in true love, seeing as she and Mr. Dolly have been married for almost 46 years now. Dolly tells St. Emily that she knows her story, and how she hopes St. Emily finds true love, and St. Emily nearly falls over dead because Dolly Parton knows who she is. Dolly then plays another song for the couple and sends them on their way. Hooray, Dolly!

Over dinner, St. Emily has a chance to ask Cal Naughton, Jr. about his previous relationship. And Cal Naughton, Jr. hits this one out of the park. He was very much in love with his ex-girlfriend and her two children with whom he lived, but she didn’t want to have more children and he did and so she dumped him and he misses her kids everyday and he is perfect. He then asks St. Emily what happened with Wombat, and she sort of suggests that Wombat wasn’t ready to be a father? Which sounds about right, and honestly, it was FOR THE BEST. Cal Naughton, Jr. asks her how she feels about his racing schedule, and she’s like, Please. I need my space. It’ll be fine. And with that, she grabs the rose and tells him that while she had a great day with him, she’s looking for someone who is more open and forthcoming. For a moment Cal Naughton, Jr. looks as though he has been punched in the bathing suit area, until St. Emily reveals HAHA, She’s joking! She wants him to have the date rose! GOOD JOKE, ST. EMILY. THAT WAS ONE VERY FUNNY JOKE.

And then they go ride a carousel and they make out and Cal Naughton, Jr. doesn’t ask permission to suck on her face because he is a grown-up who can read signals and if I were the betting type, I’d put my money on this one.

Finally, the rose cocktail party. St. Emily arrives wearing a sparkly gold dress and … are those combat boots? What are you wearing, St. Emily? Is this to honor our military men and women?

what are those shoes emily bachelorette.jpg
What is even happening here with your footwear, St. Emily? Dolly would never approve.

ANYWAY. St. Emily arrives, and immediately asks to speak to Kalon Dru-Zod. Upon sitting down, he begins whinges at her about not being asked on a date this week, before assuring her that he approved of her decision to send Desperate Tony back home to his kid. OH, GEE. THANKS, KALON DRU-ZOD. GLAD YOU APPROVE. Speaking of kids, St. Emily is very curious how he feels about maybe becoming an Instant Daddy. Kalon Dru-Zod is forthcoming about how he always imagined his first child would be his own natural child, and St. Emily is taken aback. But! Your mom! She was a single mother! What if she found the love of her life and that was his attitude? KALON DRU-ZOD DEMANDS SILENCE. KALON DRU-ZOD WAS ABOUT TO GET TO THE PART WHERE HE ACCEPTS THAT HE CAN NOT CONTROL EVERYTHING. KALON DRU-ZOD DOES NOT SEE THE IRONY IN WHAT HE IS SAYING RIGHT NOW.

And even after Kalon Dru-Zod ordered her to shut her pie-hole, she yammers at the interview camera that he’s a gentleman. She’s not entirely sure, y’all, she needs to see something more from him. WHAT? WHAT ON EARTH MORE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW? HE TOLD YOU TO SHUT UP! ~breathe~ St. Emily explains that while she likes tall, skinny and funny, she’s not sure about tall, skinny and condescending. And this is where you and I differ, St. Emily, because I happen to be married to the walking definition of “tall, skinny, funny and condescending.” The difference — AND THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART — the difference is, Mr. T is never condescending to me.


After this delightful conversation, St. Emily and Eggy destroy Shelly the Egg in one giant splatter. Good riddance, Shelly the Egg. You were a stupid contrivance that should have sent your caretaker home a couple of weeks ago.

St. Emily then takes Unfrozen Caveman Grain Merchant outside for a chat, and to ask him about his feelings about becoming um pai to little Ricky Bobby, Jr. Unfrozen Caveman Grain Merchant is just a caveman. He fell on some ice and was later thawed out by scientists. St. Emily’s world confuses and scares him. When he gets text messages on his phone he thinks “did little people climb in there and type this out?” But there is one thing Unfrozen Caveman Grain Merchant does know, and that is if he were to be St. Emily’s marido and um pai to little Ricky Bobby, Jr., it would be a compromise. DO WHAT? asks St. Emily. A COMPROMISE? IS THIS A LANGUAGE THING? ARE WE NOT COMMUNICATING HERE? asks St. Emily. Absolutely não, declares Unfrozen Caveman Grain Merchant. They would be a compromise he would be willing to make.

Understandably, St. Emily takes issue with someone calling herself and, more importantly, her daughter a “compromise,” and walks a confused and scared Unfrozen Caveman Grain Merchant right out the door and into a cab. Adeus, Unfrozen Caveman Grain Merchant! You are muito burro!

But here’s the hilarious/tragic thing: despite the fact that Unfrozen Caveman Grain Merchant insisted that there was no miscommunication, one of my Spanish-speaking friends and readers alerted me that this is not the case. FUN ACTIVITY: go to Google Translate and choose “Portuguese to English” and then type in the word “compromisso” into the Portuguese box. Guess what it translates to? If you guessed it translates to “commitment or obligation,” and not “compromise,” you win all the points! But too late for you, Unfrozen Caveman Grain Merchant! Not that you had an ice cube’s chance in Hell anyway.

St. Emily comes back into the house where she is comforted and kissed by Cal Naughton, Jr. However, Pineapple Head Ryan can see her. ME NO LIKE, grunts Ryan. HE DAINTY MAN. RYAN SMASH.

But St. Emily is not done kissing all of the people: she also chats with Sean who talks about his father some more, and the only way she can get him to shut up is to kiss him, so I guess I don’t entirely blame her. Still, ew. Too much kissing with too many manslabs.

Chris Harrison alerts everyone that is time for the rose ceremony, and St. Emily tells them that she is serious, she will send them home without warning if they don’t watch it. DON’T TRY HER. THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS.

Rose #1: Justin WannaBieber
Rose #2: Head Injury Charlie
Rose #3: Doug the Dad
Rose #4: Austin Michael
Rose #5: Eggy
Rose #6: Alejandro
Rose #7: Ryan
Rose #8: Wolfboy
Rose #9: Kalon Dru-Zod
Rose #10: Someone Named Nate

Dance your way out, Pauly D. And think harder about your wardrobe and facial hair choices next time.

shelly r.i.p. bachelorette.jpg
R.I.P. Shelly. 2012-2012



(Post Script: In his interview, did Unfrozen Caveman Grain Merchant tell The Moms that he had a relationship with his cousin? GROSS. I know you were frozen in a block of ice and don’t understand our world, but we’ve moved on from mating with our cousins, Unfrozen Caveman Grain Merchant. Please do not tell anyone else this story, ever. Obrigado.)

The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 7 p.m. on ABC, and requires copious amounts of red wine to get through.

This post originally appeared on Tubular, a blog on the Hearst site Chron.com.

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