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The Bachelor, Episode 6: On Bended Kneeby C. Brian Devinney -- 07/10/2002
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It’s one big night for reality TV. Between watching twenty-three women kvetch about their experience with Alex and two women put themselves on the line for a proposal, the air is palpable, the tension fierce, and the women wearing some pretty sexy dresses. I can barely contain myself as it is.
But let’s start off with the highlights of the reunion show. All twenty-three women previously eliminated have returned for one last jab at The Bachelor and to get a few things off of their chest. It wouldn’t be a reality show without a reunion episode now would it? Or wait… would that be enough for CBS to have another lawsuit claiming that The Bachelor is violating their Survivor copyright. Anyway, the highlights, as far as this writer is concerned, are:
Rhonda – After getting eliminated, Rhonda suffered an anxiety attack. She revealed that she was pretty sure that she was not going to receive a rose that evening and had prepared herself accordingly – or so she thought. Sure enough, her anxiety attack ensued and the paramedics were called. Since leaving the show, Rhonda met a wonderful man (who even I admit is very cute) named Ryan and they have been seeing quite a bit of each other. And let me admit for the record, Rhonda looked FABOO on the reunion show. I didn’t think she looked that great before but now… va-va-va-voom!
Cathy – Cathy was one of my picks to make it very far in the program. She did make the final eight which made me happy, but then we get the montage of why Cathy (or is it Kathy? I have seen it both ways and for the life of me I never know which one it is) didn’t make it as far as she could have. Our dear dancing queen (cue ABBA soundtrack here) and I share an affinity for margaritas. It’s not my true drink of choice as many people have seen me fall victim to more than a few Long Island Iced Teas, but give me a Prickly Pear Margarita or a Lava Lamp Margarita from Chevy’s on 42nd Street and I am one happy camper. But I digress. Anyway, one night C/Kathy made herself a pitcher of margaritas and proceeded to drink the entire pitcher (or once again, the editing made it appear that it was all her and the blender). After dinner, she made her way to the bathroom and promptly passed out for a few. That clip montage was then followed up with what had to be a rejected Star Search dance routine which C/Kathy then decided to perform for everyone.
Boob jobs – Following the program both C/Kathy and Melissa (or so she led us to believe) had some augmentations done. It wasn’t because they felt self-conscious about their appearance or even inferior. As C/Kathy put it, you fix up your house, you fix up your body. No word on who else has gone under the knife for some saline solutions (pun intended).
Kim – She had the best line of the night. Did Alex really know who she was? It seems like Mr. Michel hadn’t given the blonde bombshell from Arizona the time of day before he decided to lock lips with her and take her into the final four. It only served to prove that Kim advanced solely on the basis of her looks (and the fact that of the five people on her group date, she was probably the only one who gave him the time of day). So for the record, yes, there was a bit of superficiality in choosing Kim, but it was great to see how honest she was about the whole experience.
Shannon – Okay, let me say definitively, I am ever so glad to be completely wrong about a person. When I first read Shannon’s bio in choosing who would most likely advance in the game, there was just something on paper that made me scream, “Oh dear, God, no.” Well, after watching the show and realizing that this Southern boy pretty much understood exactly where the pretty Texan brunette was coming from, I came to like her more and more as each week passed (even if some of the looks she gave could be classified as murder weapons in seven states and the District of Columbia).
Shannon has divided so many people. She has been classified as everything from a bitch to the modern day “Girl Power” leader. Her dramatic exit from Monday’s episode was replayed and she explained (for those who missed it on the morning talk show circuit) that she wanted Alex to back up his decision. Was it because she wouldn’t put out or was it because of their conversation where she said it may be best if she just left? Well, he straddled the line and gave excuses for both (because I don’t think he knew what to say and just thought if he covered all the bases it might keep her from beating the crap out of him).
However, the best moment came at the very end when a gentleman in the audience pretty much asked Angelique if any men had asked her out since the program or if her dating life had improved. Well, sadly, nothing has come out of it since the program ended, but that could change since our audience member was pretty much asking Angelique out on a date. Angelique, you gotta tell me… are you dating him? Did you go out? Tell us!
Katie, my pick to pull it all out in the end but sadly I was totally off base (at least in my pick for her to succeed, but apparently not in my opinion of her as voiced by many viewers), spoke up and said that all of her friends have been trying to set her up but there is just one little problem. All the men now think she wants the ring and the commitment, and as we all know based upon our numerous viewings of Ricki Lake and Maury Povich and who knows what other talk shows out there that men just don’t commit to anything longer than the length of a sporting event.
I would have liked to have heard from more of the women – of course. But there are twenty three of them. Kinda hard to get all of them in there. And, for the record, Denise (the one I called Eggplant Girl) looked better than she did in the opening episode. But the feathered hair, honey… work on that.
So with the reunion show behind us, let’s move to the final two. Trista vs. Amanda. Let’s get the tale of the tape.
Trista is 29 years old, 5’2” and one hundred eight pounds. She’s a dancer for the Miami Heat and finished her Master's Degree with Honors in Physical Therapy and has been on the Pediatric Physical Therapy Staff at Miami Children's Hospital for the past four years.
Amanda is 23 years old, 5’10” and one hundred and thirty pounds. She’s a budding event planner from Chanute, Kansas, and has admitted to having a boob job. Amanda has the additional pressure of being the last of my top picks to remain in the program. Okay so maybe it’s not pressure of being a top pick since she doesn’t know who the heck I am and the fact that my picks are done after the show is over. However, it puts additional pressure on me to be right so Amanda you had better not screw this one up for me.
But once again, I digress. One of these two women may be chosen to join Alex in holy matrimony or they may both be tossed aside when Alex realizes what an ass he has been edited to look like and get on his hands and knees and beg for Shannon’s forgiveness. But these two women have to go meet Alex’s family and get the grilling of a lifetime.
Alex first starts off with Trista and she’s all nervous trying to nail down all of the names of Alex’s family members because let’s face it – by this point if they were seriously dating for quite some time, Trista should already know his entire family, their background, as well as what to expect from them (such as, “By the way, my dad has really bushy eyebrows and has this really bad habit of browbeating the women I bring home into admitting something really stupid like how competitive they are”). Then again this isn’t reality – this is forced reality and she is just going to have to wing it the best she can. Alex even admits that his family is tough on the women that he brings home so this is going to be interesting. Trista just looks so nervous.
Introductions all around and well, the names went fast even for me. Mom, sisters, Dad… so what is compatible about them… questions already? I’m still trying to figure out who is a sister, who is a cousin, and who told Mom that her hair color was a wise decision. But questions? Well, let’s hit it…
How compatible are they? Trista says that they have a strong family background as well as a desire for travel and then there was some talk about athletics and it was not the Miss America answer I was expected. But that was just a warm up because Mom was ready to slam her with the biggie – “How have you grown from this experience?” Well she didn’t get her breasts done so we can count on that NOT being one of the answers. Trista goes into how she has slowly started to open up more and I was thinking to myself, “Oh really. I just don’t see that. Really, I don’t and I know it’s the editing of the show, but really, let’s think about this. I see walls everywhere around you and you have barely let him in as far as I can tell. Crack is not a breakfast food, Trista.”
As much as I loved Mom’s question, it was Dad that slammed her. He said that she was just a competitive person who wanted to win regardless of how she really felt or what the ultimate outcome would be. Hello! Fireworks! Trista says she’s competitive and that Alex has to be a prize for the right person. Now this is where Trista gets giggly and LOUD. I mean you could hear her vocal tone get louder and louder and she was pretty much defending herself to his family. It didn’t seem like it was fun or even interesting. She was getting pretty battered.
But, and regardless of what I have said about Trista in previous episodes, this made me turn around and say, “Dammit, she was pretty forthright and honest.” She’s not in love with Alex and she doesn’t think that he’s in love with her. God, I hope not considering this is only their fourth date and only two of their four dates have actually been alone. She just wants to make sure that this is the right thing to do and she doesn’t want to get divorced whatsoever. Well, the judges, including the Albanian one, are all impressed with her answer. It was exactly what they wanted to hear. In fact, Papa Michel was impressed by how she handled herself. Okay, I was, too. Geez… why do these women make me hate them or dislike them first and then they turn around and I’m like… oh how sweet. Am I really that much of a sucker?
In fact, the entire family is impressed with her. They think she has a nice head on her shoulders and has more depth to them than what they originally credited her with. Okay… me too. God, this is getting embarrassing for me. With hugs all around, Trista departs and feels that she could be a part of this family.
Back inside though… oh boy. It was shocking. They pick on her career. They call her a cheerleader but she’s not a cheerleader, she’s a dancer. They pick on the fact that she says she’s been hurt a lot and think she should move on. Dad (and those bushy eyebrows) wonders if the relationship has legs. They think she is smart, funny, and interesting, but they wonder if there is something more. Mom says he is not ready to get engaged and he should get to the point where he can’t see his life without her.
So right now, Trista has scored points for poise and presentation, however, they haven’t seen her in the swimsuit and evening gown competitions. The family likes her even if they have reservations. But for the most part, they dig her. It’s kinda sweet.
So now it’s time for Amanda to get her cross-examination. We come back from commercial and I have to wonder if Alex is eating well since he looks so gaunt. The stress must be killing him so much that his metabolism has kicked into high gear and is wreaking some major havoc on his body. But enough of that… it’s time for Amanda. Mom, aka Mary Jay, thinks that the age difference is a problem and wonders if her experiences at such a young age are compatible with her son who has eight long years ahead of her in life. Well, in terms of experiences, I guess no one told Mom about the Wonder Woman outfit or the swing or any of Amanda’s other costumes… oh wait, I think Mom meant life experiences and not bedroom experiences. Man, when Amanda gets on the screen my mind just goes right in the gutter, doesn’t it?
The parents have already been informed that Amanda is nothing like Trista. Okay that is, seriously, a major understatement. I mean really. There’s a few more years for Trista, there’s some more boobage for Amanda. Trista is a dancer. Amanda is trying to be an event planner. Amanda looks better in chocolate sauce than Trista.
Amanda gets a kinder, gentler treatment than Trista. I don’t know what they were expecting but the whole tone just seems nicer here. We get the religion question here that we didn’t see with Trista. I don’t know how religious Alex’s family is or even Alex himself, but we do learn that Amanda was raised Catholic although she is not of the practicing variety but she would recommit herself to the church should there be children.
Okay, so I was wrong. Mom dives into the hard hitting questions regarding her annulment and their age difference. Amanda even says she was caught off guard by the question. I mean, she fields it well and says that they have had time to really get to know each other and that this opportunity has allowed for them to become closer in a shorter period of time. She hates dating and wants to be married with kids and middle aged with credit card debt and wondering how she’s going to pay for their college years. In fact, Mom yanks Alex aside and lays it on the line for him. He is not in an emotional position to really propose to either Trista or Amanda. She hasn’t seen that spark of love or interest that should be there if he was actually serious about pursuing something with either of them.
So Amanda gets the boot from the house and Alex has to go back and face his parents and he is sure that they loved her and she says she felt comfortable but let’s get real. Amanda looked nowhere near comfortable when she was leaving the house. I could sense a little tension… a little uncertainty. Sorry but I really wasn’t buying it from her whatsoever. It’s back inside for the family view and they pretty much all agree that Amanda is much more compatible with him. However, there is the problem that he is emotionally tied to Trista as well.
Okay, let me just get this out. He pretty much admits that he’s leaning towards Amanda. But there was that four hour talk the night before with Trista that is weighing heavily on his mind. This is the evil conundrum of this show – Alex is emotionally attached to both of these women and he is walking a very, very, very fine line where he could seriously hurt, dare I say even traumatize, one of these women and it’s just now dawning on him.
For the most part his parents and family are emphasizing the word “date.” If he proposes to a one of these women I think they would be highly surprised. They are emphatic that he should not propose to either of these women and for me, well I agree with them. Four dates isn’t really enough to know someone enough to actually present them with a ring, slip it on their finger, and go from there. So what does he do… well he brings the women back for one more date to learn a bit more. That would make five dates and still not enough time to propose to someone.
Trista comes back first and she has brought dessert with her. It’s a heart shaped cake which is rather cute. He says he is trying to make this date as natural as possible but let’s be realistic here. He’s bringing them back because either he is really that conflicted in choosing one of the women or he has made a choice and he wants to make sure that it is the right decision.
Pretty much I was right because he is watching to see what Trista says and does – especially if she gets weird. Sure enough he lays her a trap where she admits that she is in a position where she would consider being engaged to be a complete change from where she was before. In fact, Alex doesn’t even play coy. He brings it right up and says that she is going against everything she has said before – even what she said to her parents, and he wonders, like I am, whether or not she is really just saying what she thinks she needs to say in order to get the ring or even just the chance to continue something beyond the program. She even says she is ready to fight for this man. I am smelling desperation here. She is trying to be diplomatic but I think somehow she knows that she is running a close second.
But then Trista puts him on the spot and asks him who he would pick right at that moment. Now, part of me, being the man that I am, knows that he is not going to say Amanda. I mean that would just be a huge slap in Trista’s face. Of course he is going to say her. He says at that particular moment he was feeling the lurve and its quite possible that at that moment he would have, but at the same time, he’s not with Amanda and she’s not a presence to reckoned with.
Kiss, hug, fondle, grope. This man is just getting his jollies with these women isn’t he? In fact, she even asks if one of the cameras in the room is on. Of course it was and she says (without really saying it) that she’s ready for some nookie time with Alex but only if the camera is off. At this point, we get the womp – the moment when a camera or TV turns off (yes there is a word for that moment).
Now it’s Amanda’s turn and Alex is concerned that he is so into getting past Trista’s walls and barriers that Amanda is not getting some fair time. The wine is opened and they are dishing out the Chinese takeout. Amanda is ready to tell Alex that she’s falling in love with him. It gets giggly. It gets a little mushy. It gets a little saccharine even for me. He says, and I don’t agree with this, he kept Amanda at arm’s length. I find that hard to believe because he showered her off on their first date and then pretty much bedded her when he was in New York with her. And now he’s running off into the hottub with her. You can even see her stroking his stomach under the water. I mean they are pretty close and they look good together and I’m trying to determine whether or not it’s the wine that is making them so giggly and flirty. You can even see the steam rising off of the water and there’s a pun in there about them heating up the pool but I’m not going to make it.
And this is the moment when Amanda makes her move and confirms Alex’s suspicions that she likes him, she really really likes him. In fact she can see herself in his future. She’ll live with his decision should it not be her (oh yeah, like it’s not going to be her) but she just wants him to know what the deal is regarding her feelings. Okay, you’ve swapped saliva more times than I care to admit, you’ve pretty much felt each other up a few times, and you’re still not sure of her feelings. Now, I don’t want to make these two seem stupid. That would be too easy.
It’s ring buying time and off Alex goes to the jeweler – in fact it’s the famed Harry Winston, jeweler to the stars. Now we get some clues as to what he is looking for in a ring… classic like her but complex as in how they met. Split screens now of Amanda and Trista getting prepared. Trista is in a nice black and white dress with a pearl choker. It’s tres elegant. Amanda is in a blue dress with a black shawl that don’t look that great together. I think the blue was just a bit too bright. We’ve got limo rides for the women and Alex finally settles on the ring he wants. Are we getting a proposal? After all your parents and I have said? You’re going to propose?
Big decision has been made. It has become clearer to him as to whom he should pick. It’s what he needs and what he wants in a woman. Alex even says that he knew it earlier than he originally thought. The women will not see each other. They will be arriving separately. I think this is a good thing otherwise we have a repeat of the end of Sandra Bullock’s movie Miss Congeniality where Sandra’s Gracie Lou Freebush attacks Rhode Island’s Sheryl Frasier. Of course it was to get the crown off her head before it was blown off, but the fight scene was pretty classic. Imagine Amanda trying to take the rose away from Trista and beating her over the head with it. At that point Shannon (Miss Texas) would step in and get punched in the nose. It has the makings of great television but no – we’re just left with two people getting talked to separately. [Editor’s Note: Perhaps on the next edition of Fox’s “Celebrity Boxing”?]
One rose. One ring. One woman.
Up first is Trista and I get some Mole flashbacks of bringing in Jim first after they showed him being eliminated. She out he walks and she looks GORGEOUS in her dress and there’s the telltale sign that she’s getting dumped – the kiss on the cheek. It’s a little less personal. More of a friend thing. Oh yeah. That’s a sign right?
Alex just butters her up and compliments everything about her and you are just waiting for him to use the word “but” because you just know that it’s coming. Trista goes from smiles to a look of understanding (I think) but you can tell she’s hurting. I mean it’s being dumped publicly on national TV. I just wanted her to scream, “I put out for you!” but she was far too composed.
Alex has said that he didn’t think she could see him with her twenty years from then. She went in believing that she was the one and she didn’t really want the commitment and the ring until three days before the decision was given. She tries to give a positive spin on it and says her life will go on, but I really feel for her because it’s a highly embarrassing situation to be put in. She admits she opened herself up to potential hurt and BAM! She got it in spades. We finally see some true emotion come from her – emotion that has sadly been lacking in previous episodes.
Now it’s time for Amanda, and Alex’s demeanor is so different. He’s smiling, he’s confident, he knows what her answer will be. This is totally different from when he was with Trista. He says he knows for sure it was right. He breaks out the ring and says he’s going to hold on to it for now. He does the most adult thing I have seen him do so far and says that he wants to date her more and get to know her more. He even asks her to move to California so they could be together. She doesn’t really say yes or no to this she just does a lot of giggling. The final rose is presented and, of course, she accepts. Lots more kissing and hugging and Alex explaining why he chose the future sexual decathlon winner over Trista.
I was about to congratulate Alex and Amanda on their budding relationship when the credits began to roll. Amanda goes on about how she is looking forward to pursuing something in her own fantasy life (Wonder Woman, buttless chaps) and the cameras they would see would be their own (please fill in your own blank here – you know what I am talking about and pretty soon I am sure we will see them offered on eBay). But she was a top five pick to win it all and sure enough she pulled through. She might not have been THE pick (because not everyone can be as wonderful as my Katie Kate) but she was a pick nevertheless. Damn, I’m good.
Anyway, my congratulations and best wishes to Alex and Amanda. Yeah, I’ve been mean to you. I’ve said horrible things. I think I called Amanda a wanton slut and if I didn’t I’m sure I meant to at some point. I think I called Alex a shameless, no good, overly sexed man and if I didn’t, then well… you know the drill. But in all seriousness, best wishes on your relationship.
C. Brian Devinney resides in New York City where he works as a human resources consultant. When he's not reporting on reality television, Brian can be found rooting on his New York Yankees and Rangers, playing chess in Central Park, or sitting sixth row center in a Broadway theatre. You can e-mail him at TheRealityFactor@aol.com.
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