Last night gave us a LOT to process in the comedy-of-manners department. Obviously half the fun of watching The Bachelorette is seeing the contestants go to pieces under pressure, but two guys dismissed in one episode? The reappearance of Emily's band of besties? Use of the term "gypsy king"? Like an archaeologist sorting through a treasure room, I need to catalog these precious moments so not one is missed. Starting with:
1. We got to see Emily's breakfast! Her mom brought her breakfast in bed and at first glance it was unrecognizable. I had to take a still to dissect what a beautiful, doll-shaped woman eats first thing in the morning:
So we seem to have some shingles of sharp cheddar and a couple folds of provolone alongside deli-cut ham, green grapes, Wheat Thins, and Pretzel Slims with a bowl of what the hell is that, anyway? Hummus? Mustard? Protein pudding? I am FASCINATED.
2. For the first time since Jake Pavelka almost emptied his bowels while bungee-jumping from a Costa-Rican bridge, the Bachelor/ette figure was more scared by the challenge than the contestant. As Emily and Chris started climbing up a building, lightning struck in the distance and Emily revealed that she is terrified of lightning. And roller coasters. And dating guys two years younger than her? She made a big deal about Chris being 25, but she's 27. So...you still would have gone to high school together, and that is the bedrock of a good relationship: Understanding each other's adolescent soundtrack. She will understand why he has Lit in his iTunes library. He will understand why sometimes she loops Destiny's Child's "Say My Name," and that's important.
3. On the group date, Emily brought back the Real Housewives of Charlotte who were good sports and clearly a little intimidated by the cameras, except for the very zesty Wendy:
Can Wendy spend the rest of the season vetting these himbos? She was calling everything out and cracking wise and also she was possibly drunk (that Styrofoam cup keeps coffee hot and wine cold, babies), asking the guys the tough questions, not giving them any pity laughs, and then going for broke when Shaun came on the scene. Frankly whenever a woman out of her thirties displays "dirty old man" tendencies, I am slightly impressed (it's a double standard, granted) just because it denotes a level of confidence and a certain joie de vivre but also DO NOT SIT ON THE HUNKS. Too far, Wendy! Too far! No more Chardonnay for you!
4. Ryan made the ultimate jackass comment in front of the Real MILFS of Charlotte about how if Emily gained weight and let herself go, "I'd love you, I just wouldn't love on you as much." "Don't get fat on that one," one of her saucy friends immediately said once he'd left. Just plain honest or just plain asshole?
5. Tony straight up drunk-dialed his son last night. I didn't even know it could be done, but you tell me what that was: he had a couple on-camera brews...
...and then went to the alley behind where everyone were drinking and got all teary about not being with his son. It was probably 1am or 2am at this point, but he called up his five-year-old and started practically crying into the phone about who was Batman and who was the Joker. Drunk-dialed a five-year-old! Emily wisely gave him the heave-ho.
6. Dollywood!!! OMG I love Dollywood, I visited as a kid and remember the dolls so vividly (wanted one so bad) and the mining ride and the food was awesome. So glad ABC threw Dollywood some publicity.
7. When I first saw the white sequin high heels sneaking up on Emily, my first thought was, "Miss Piggy is back and she's going to make good on her promise of murder."
8. But no, it was one of my favorite people in the world, Dolly Parton.
We all saw this coming in the promos but that does not mean it was any less magical and amazing. I could love Dolly Parton forever just based on her business savvy and dry wit alone, but Dolly's voice has always gone straight through my heart like an arrow made from pure sugar melted to razor sharpness by the sunlight of a spring day, and last night it sounded better than ever. Dolly WROTE A SONG for Emily and referenced Emily's story and seemed genuinely invested. Dolly MUST watch The Bachelor. To watch it alongside her would be to touch true happiness. Just imagining her living room gives me chills: I see lots of white shabby-chic couches with weathered, carved wooden feet painted white, patchwork throws bought from genuine Appalachian craftswomen, and jaw-dropping pictures all over the walls from the time Studio 54 threw her a birthday party and whatnot. And we're both wearing Malibu robes, clear-heel bedroom slippers and eating popcorn. Heaven!
9. Generally I don't call winners this early, but I'm calling Arie as the winner.
Not just because the footage of them on the carousel could be edited into a short film called "The Slow Spin of Sensuality" but because Arie seemed genuinely excited about being a dad (the fact he broke up with his last girlfriend because she didn't want more kids is possibly the most perfect reason he could have given for his relationship dissolving).
10. Emily smiles like a sweetheart and kisses like a porn star. And I mean that as a huge, huge compliment. ENVIOUS of that Southern Belle charm. We would all do well to take notes.
11. The cramped quarters of the Charlotte mansion mean we're getting some pretty weird shots, like this discussion between Emily and Shaun with the tabletop dirtying the frame. Weirdly voyeuristic vibe.
Also Shaun: kind of a weirdo, yes? He thinks he'd be a good dad because he's watched his dad be "the perfect father"? I bet his resume has two actual jobs and three pages listing his "skills" dotted with explanation points.
12. THE VIKING GUY IS TOTALLY A VIKING.
I joked before that Alessandro was a viking demi-god who had fallen to earth to win Emily's hand and now I think that was less Thor fan-fiction and more Science Fact. Alessandro: Okay, his accent is not even Brazilian or whatever, it is Old Nordic and he just claimed to be Spanish because it was the first thing he saw on a billboard or something as he woozily woke from a haze after jumping down from Valhalla. Other evidence:
a. He used to date his cousin (possibly Loki? Dating your cousin was way okay in viking times).
b. Described taking on the role of stepfather and marrying Emily as becoming "the chief of the family."
c. Startlingly sun-kissed at all times.
d. Said this sentence with a straight face: "Right now I’m living like a gypsy king with every freedom I’ve ever wanted"
There is no comedy show that I laugh at the way I laugh at a guy describing his single lifestyle in terms of being a "gypsy king" without irony. Emily gave him the heave-ho, which I would say is wise, except if she made him her house-band and he became her godhead, she could live in Valhalla and wear a fetching winged metal cap and spend eternity riding a thundering steed. In a recession, that's a pretty great career.
13. Emily gave roses to the guys who hadn't gone on dates first (a thoughtful move) and the first rose went to Jef. Whuh-oh, someone's still hipster-crushing!
14. "Sorry, Stevie." Dying of laughter, that little-boy name kills me. Stevie IS Duckie 2k12, and we will miss your hurt-laden smile and knack for busting way-too-intricate dance moves instead of having meaningful dialogue with people.
1. Didn't mention the egg guy because that gimmick bores me to tears. Does egg guy bore you to tears?
2. Wendy: BF for LIFE or the minute she walks into a party you know there will be uncomfortable moments and you'll have to call a taxi?
3. Kalyen: Are those veneers?
4. Emily's breakfast was puzzling or delicious?
5. Have you ever used the phrase "gypsy king" in an offhand manner?
6. Do you think Chris (the climbing-up-the-building guy) is as cute as Emily makes him out to be or what is that all about?
7. Can you kiss like a porn star?