The Bachelorette: London Calling It Out

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The Bachelorette S08E05: Week 5

Last night was unprecedented in that Chris Harrison used the h-word. Rounding up the young squires in London, he announced that one of them might eventually be Emily's husband. "That's right, I said it!" Chris snapped at the shocked faces around him. We know Harrison split this season between hosting and ending his own marriage, but this is the first time that behind-the-scenes angst has made it through his suave, Koala bear-like exterior. Harrison's speech to the guys at the start of the episode always intrigues me. ABC throws a voice-over explaining how the dates break down for the benefit of viewers just joining the series, so I always wonder what he's actually saying to them. Maybe explaining that they'll be expected to leave the gym and be ready for date cards by noon, or remind them to use the buddy system, or he's announcing that the the shower drains are getting clogged with hair gel again.

Emily decided to spend hr first day in London with Shaun, the super reflective man with the platinum eyebrows who she describes as "perfect marriage material," a euphemism for "perfect genetic material." And while he has great muscles, great teeth, and can summon a sunbeam from heaven itself in candid photographs:

...he still makes me vaguely uneasy. His eagerness to jump up on a soapbox on Speaker's Corner and start proselytizing to a bunch of pick-pockets only enforces what I've been hinting all along: This guy might be the most photogenic cult leader ever. Has there ever been a cult leader who played Division I football? Don't you think the only thing that held Manson back from world domination was another three feet of height and 100 pounds of muscle? Shaun's got a lot of conviction and steady eye-contact behind ideas I don't think he's fully investigated ("I've never KNOWN such LOVE but I have BEEN in the presence of it!"), and it makes me slightly nervous. But it makes Emily SWOON!!! She spoke very highly of enjoying "my kisses" with Shaun as they pecked lovingly below Tower Bridge. Wouldn't that be an excellent name for a perfume!?

Emily was so sick this episode she could barely talk and yet had to kiss guy after guy after guy. I guess we can now track who got the most kisses by who loses their voice next episode. The Bachelorette: Patient Zero was what was happening. But tough luck, because the next day was spent in the blustery out-of-doors, giving a very abbreviated outdoor Shakespeare semi-performance to a crowd of cold-looking Brits.

There always has to be some campy theatrical performance where the guys get the chance to say on camera that they "aren't into all this acting stuff" even though at least 10 percent of them will be finding an agent and fighting for Dancing With The Stars slots the moment The Bachelorette ends. At least they got to do Shakespeare (which is heavily stylized) to an audience of English people, and we all know English people enjoy Americans doing Shakespeare the way we enjoy monkeys on roller skates.

Ryan creeped everyone out by sneaking in a few extra kisses while Emily was playing possum on the cold, cold ground, probably wondering when she could get back to her hotel room and cuddle up with a big bottle of Sudafed. Ryan has been burning up inside with envy that Arie kissed Emily even though she refused to press lips with him and decided to publicly round first base. Poor Emily vaguely shook her head no as he leaned in to kiss her, but to little avail, and even after she'd no-doubt clawed the layer of skin from her lips after Ryan's stolen weirdo-kisses, she had the Group Date From Hell to get through.

The show had hinted previously that Kalon was talkin' trash on Ricki, in a breakfast-nook conversation between Jef, Arie, and Kalon himself that I PROMISE you was a staged reenactment Kalon was contractually obligated to film after it became such a huge issue on the group date. I mean, they got a mid-shot and a wide shot of a conversation held at a glass table with no one eating.

Who just SITS at a glass table?! "What's up guys what we doing today?" "Yo yo, let’s sit around this glass table and talk about our feelings." NO. No one wants to see the specter of their thighs squashed onto a chair , floating vaguely in their peripheral vision.

Regardless, Kalon called Ricki "baggage." Doug, self-appointed Officer of Checkin' It, gave Kalon a chance to put his words into context. Kalon responded that calling Ricki baggage was basically both his pride and his privilege, because he's an immature guy who is obviously not ready to have kids for a very, very long time. Also, I'm sorry, but you have to be out of your mind to complain about a woman coming into a relationship with A) an adorable, smart, healthy little girl and B) proven mothering skills. Yes, you get a chance for someone who is a superhero at loving and protecting people to care about you, you're welcome.

Doug smelt blood as soon as Kalon started warming to the subject of how and lost no time tattlin' to Emily, who clearly just wanted to be at home getting over her cold anyway, but found herself re-energized and warmed enough by her rage to shuck off her jacket and earrings and handle Kalon like a Judo master handles a plank of wood. I was practically cheering when she icily quoted his own insulting words once he started trying to interrupt her.

"I love to hear you talk but not until I'm done." she said when he started squeakily backpedalling, and told him to get the f-ck out, and then took herself home to go to sleep with her "sweet girl." I thought she'd applaud herself on getting the very patronizing Kalon out of there and move ahead, but Emily seemed genuinely rattled by the episode. She went out of her way to explain to the remaining guys that she expects them to defend her and Ricki and refused to give any of them a rose. You know why? Ashley's season, that's why.

Let us never forget that the Bachelorette season previous to this was that of Ashley Hebert, who was completely betrayed by Bentley. Bentley went out of his way to mock Ashley in his confessional one-on-ones. He said he wanted to win but didn't find Ashley attractive, and gleefully described "going in for the kill" when she was at her most vulnerable. ABC edited Ashley with heartless schadenfreude, including her lengthy confessional speeches about Bentley being the one and trusting her gut and filming unprecedented blocks of her and Bentley making out, under voice-over of Bentley jeering at her for being gullible and unattractive. We know Emily watched Ashley's season because she responded to Bentley's constant refrain of, "I thought the Bachelorette was going to be Emily, Emily is so hot, Emily is my type, etc. etc."

Like any thinking woman, Emily is clearly on her guard that ABC will manipulate her season the way they did with Ashley and let a sociopath take advantage of her to drive ratings. I don't blame her. ABC betrayed a fundamental trust it is supposed to have with the Bachelorette and Emily's making them pay for it by demanding the network treat her like a queen and questioning every step of the process. Good for her! Can you imagine if the show tried to pull that Comedy Central Roast sh-t it pulled on Ashley during this season? Emily would be back home to Charlotte faster than you can say "contractual upper-hand."

Emily reestablished her sense of decorum with a threesome date with Jef and Jean, a delightful British woman who cheerfully pretended to be super uptight to reinforce cultural stereotypes taught them how to properly take tea. I have a hunch that moments before Emily and Jef walked through the door she'd stamped out a cigarillo and was actually a Cockney actress who loves pulling Yanks' legs with her "stuffy tea" routine. I loved Jean and her hilarious comedy routine with Jef, who impressed me as possibly having more of a sense of humor and brain mass than any of the guys who have dated Emily so far. (Arie may match him for intelligence but not humor.)

I don't know if Emily has ever met a hipster before. Do they have hipsters in Charlotte? Much less one so pink-cheeked and physically inexperienced as Jef. (Though he's clearly up on his brands. He compared Ricki to a Chloe handbag to play off of Kalon's baggage comment. How many $30 wide-format fashion magazines litter the floor of Jef's office?! We may never know.) Part of me fears he's just a smarter Bentley, telling Emily the right things and then NOT confessing to the duplicity on-camera ("I want us to be best friends?!" who says that to someone?!) but another part of me is certain he comes from a Mormon background and is therefore used to enforcing affection verbally rather than physically. He seemed terrified about actually kissing her, working up to it with little statements like "Are we going to do this?!" and then when he finally did the neck blush! Oh the neck blush!

Is there anything more delightful than a man who blushes during a kiss? Jef you slightly won me back after your rambling dissection of what you could possibly feel for Emily (everything!!! and MORE. We could have kids and be great parents for them since we share the same goals and values. We could be friends in good times and bad. I feel that ability to like you enough growing inside me. Prognosis is positive for our continued intimacy). If he is just genuinely a Salt Lake City hipster who's more used to styling his hair then macking on ladies, he's certainly a treasure and I can understand Emily's infatuation.

At the Rose Ceremony, Emily took Arie to task for basically not punching Kalon in the face, although if the guys are expected to dole out vigilante justice every time one of them says something stupid, who exactly will be left standing? She further punished Arie by giving him a rose last and stirred the pot enough to create a spy-like atmosphere of distrust in the house. Which is actually great TV!

Alas, we said goodbye Alejandro. KIT summer 2012 Alejandro! Guess it's back to applying for colleges and picking out a duvet cover for your dorm room, Big A. Stay safe and take care of yourself and study hard!

Ultimately, the stage is set for intrigue and suspicion in a way it wasn't before. And frankly, once Travis is gone next week (YUP. I said it!) we're going to be left with the character guys of the house—guys we (and Emily) genuinely root for. Emily's being perhaps a little hyper-vigilant now, but making every guy swear to spy on the others is actually kind of intriguing—and after Ashley's season, loyalty can no longer be taken for granted, in front of or behind the cameras.


QUESTIONS:

1. Is there a hipster community in Charlotte?

2. Is Jef all talk or physically shy or what exactly is his deal?

3. Should Arie have said something to Kalon or did he probably figure Kalon had no chance with Emily anyway?

4. Do you agree that Emily is partly more upset about Kaleon's insensitive remarks because of how ABC handled Ashley's season?

5. Shaun: perfect guy or perfect facade?

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