ABC carefully cast this new season of Bachelor Pad to put its most controversial couple, Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi, on center stage. Since these two dunderheads made their careers out of playing he said/she said in the tabloids, why shouldn't ABC get some of that action? Putting Vienna, Jake, and Vienna's new boyfriend Kasey under the same roof with a troupe of gossipy, deeply tanned, and intellectually shallow former prom-royalty has lead to endless on-air speculation about their wildly conflicting break up stories. And last night, when Jake was voted out of the house, I felt completely confirmed about whose side to take.
But first, what exactly have they been saying?
Vienna Girardi, Florida native, competed for and won Jake's proposal on season 14 of The Bachelor, the proposal finale airing March 1st of that year. She was the outsider in the house, detested and bullied by Ali, who went on to become the next Bachelorette. Vienna certainly had a knack for starting drama by blurting inappropriate truths to a room full of people; whether this was naivete or an insouciant genius for reality TV is anyone's guess.
Vienna sold a story to Star for an alleged 90,000 dollars shortly after their proposal. She explained later she was trying to beat him to the punch, after his coldness to herself, her family, and her beloved dog made it clear their relationship was a sham and it was only a matter of time before he broke their break-up himself and she lost her chance at that sweet, sweet money. Her inflammatory claim to Star was that Jake had emotionally abused her by withholding sex, giving her a variety of excuses including fasting. In a subsequent sit-down interview with her and Jake under the auspices of ABC, an insightful tale from their relationship surfaced: after Jake gave her driving directions, she consulted a GPS to double check, and he threw it into the backseat in a fit of rage that she would "undermine him" in this way. This is hardly domestic abuse, but Jake brought up the story as a defense of why he wouldn't have sex of her, and when she told her side (GPS's work, dudes! If you got 'em use 'em!) his face was a mask of seething rage. He seriously was full of primal rage that she would dare to use a GPS, and that was chilling. She vehemently denied grabbing at reality notoriety, insisting Jake was the real fame whore and she couldn't look for a real job because she was too busy following Jake around during his Dancing With the Stars stint, and was relying on him for a place to live and transportation. (Lame!)
Jake is a tiny Texan native and commercial pilot who made his TV debut on Jillian's season of The Bachelorette. Although she voted him out mid-season, he returned to tattle-tale on fellow contestant Wes. For his efforts he was awarded the coveted role of Bachelor, and enjoyed Gia, Vienna, and Ali competing for his attentions. Immediately following his stint on The Bachelor he went straight into filming Dancing With the Stars, where he lasted only 6 weeks even after dancing pant-less and making faces at a spoon to rally voters. When he was voted off the show, he wept and called his dancing partner his "best friend." (Fame is the insecure person's meth.) Soon after, Star's story broke and rumors that he was crazy/abusive/closeted circled the interwebs. He pursued acting hard before returning to this season of Bachelor Pad, but ultimately only made some appearances on Drop Dead Diva .
Jake says he "knows" she cheated on him with "at least" three men before their relationship ended, and that it died a quick death when she broke that news to Star magazine. He described months of defending her to an America that "couldn't stand that I chose her." He supported her, loved her, and literally flew her (he's a pilot, remember) to Florida when she got homesick. She acted like a spoiled child, interrupted him constantly, and emasculated him by questioning his driving directions. When Vienna asked him on camera why he wouldn't have sex with her, he countered "There's more to a relationship than sex and intimacy."
Much like a lower rent version of Heidi and Spencer, Jake and Vienna milked their engagement for free invites and photo opportunities. Jake in particular is going on almost three years of continuous reality paychecks courtesy of ABC. Vienna still lives in LA and as yet does not have her own apartment, instead she relies on longtime boyfriends for a place to hang her hat.
WHAT BACHELOR PAD BROUGHT TO LIGHT:
Vienna insists that she didn't know Jake was cast, and on the show has skirted conversation and interaction with him, enlisting her accapella-loving current boyfriend Kasey Kahl as emotional and physical bodyguard between her and Jake. She also lost no time letting everyone in the house know that behind closed doors Jake is a borderline personality, which is a devious way to at once victimize herself, jockey for camera time, and discredit a competitor. Jake, on the other hand, confessed almost immediately to a confessional camera that he still had feelings for Vienna and "would always love her." He made a point to have a manly handshake with Kasey. In a pivotal rose ceremony, he gave a rose not to his alliance partner but to Vienna as a peace offering. The housemates seem very impressed by how suave and nice and charming he is. He also started working to turn the house around to vote off Kasey, making out with one of the lady contestants to ensure her loyalty:
Jake almost pulled the Kasey coup off, but on one swing vote Jake was voted out, and literally one second after his booting was announced the screen went completely black and credits rolled over footage of a masked man dancing around in a pool. It was surreality on the level of Twin Peaks, but much like Fire Walk With Me, it gave me a revelation.
Both Vienna and Jake are desperately milking and extending their reality fame as far as it will take them, like a whole caste of nether-celebrities, and I'm not here to judge that. I have no doubt that both of these people are horrible in relationships. However, Jake shows all the signs of disassociating his emotions to manipulate his image, and I reluctantly have to grant that things probably went down closer to her version of events than his. I have no doubt that as soon as Vienna thought she was out of a relationship with Jake, she found another guy, but in the messy timeline of a break-up, what she called a rebound Jake no doubt calls cheating. Sure, she's a skilled emotional manipulator, she turned the housemates into a clique against Jake like a middle school girl, but ostracizing Jake as soon as he came into the house was at least honest. In the PR chess game that was the first three weeks of this show, Vienna's goal was to get rid of Jake, but Jake wanted to keep Vienna around and do damage control. Jake's calculated attempt to make peace with Vienna and turn the show into a narrative about his broken heart/him as a hero was clearly an attempt to fuel his stalling acting aspirations and required an almost robotic mental compartmentalization. If he can't honestly be angry at someone who, in his words, completely blindsided and betrayed him, then either he wasn't blind sided or he's emotionally disassociated. I believe he would deny being intimate with Vienna to punish her, the same way he's making out with random princess to get her vote. The emotional void that Vienna sensed in him seems to run through the core, and while she's definitely a "crazy ho," isn't everybody in their early twenties? Jake is something much more profoundly disturbing.
…Why the black out? Will there be blood next week?
…Jake vs. Vienna: who do you believe?
...Jake vs. Vienna in a bare-knuckle boxing match to the death... WHO YOU GOT?