Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Bachelorette Season 11 Finale/ATFR Recap and Thoughts


After a season full of tantrums, surprise exits and an entrance, silly dates, tears, sex, and a screwed-up format, we finally made it to the finale! The two remaining guys are the infamous Nick, who has made it to the final two twice now in the Bachelorette franchise, and Shawn, the hot-but-needy DNA mash-up of Ryan Gosling and Calvin Harris. Not only are they completely different from one another, but they hate each other with a fiery passion rivaled only by the hots they have for Kaitlyn.

But who should win Kaitlyn's heart? Not only was my money on Shawn, but he is who I preferred to win. While he definitely has some qualities that are unfortunate (dude really needs to chill with the jealousy and insecurity), I felt like he and Kailtyn were a better fit, and overall I liked him better than Nick. A lot better. See, I was a fan of Nick early on in his season with Andi, but the more that was revealed of him, the less I liked because he seemed petty and immature. He really showed that when he kiss and told on Andi's After The Final Rose special, and seeing him insert himself into Kaitlyn's season didn't make me like him any more than before. He may have come off a little better this go around, a little more reserved, cool, and collected, but there was still that aura of weasel that just wouldn't go away.

But let's get to the show! This final episode begins with us going to Chris Harrison live in studio. He promises the finale will be shocking and wants us to remember to tune in for the ATFR special. Well, Chris, you always say that ("most shocking," "most exciting," etc.) and of course we'll be watching AFTR. Then we're off, and we begin by seeing Nick and Shawn talking about Kaitlyn and how she got along with their families. They are both preparing for the end of this road, but first, they have to meet Kaitlyn's family.


We join Kaitlyn as she's hanging out with her family in L.A. and she admits to them that she is in love with both guys and both guys are in love with her. She reveals that one of her final two is Nick and the fam is shocked. Kaitlyn explains what has happened with the two guys hating each other and about how her relationship moved too quickly with Nick and her mother looks a tad worried.

Nick arrives and Kaitlyn prepares him by telling him that she told her family about she and Nick having sex in Dublin and Nick was not happy about that. Once inside, Nick has to explain himself all over again to Kaitlyn's family and Kaitlyn's sister brings up the concern about his motives. Nick tells her family that his first time on The Bachelorette was about having an experience, but this time he was there just for Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn's mom takes Nick for a little talk and we find out that she did not have a high opinion of him from watching Andi's season. She gets right to the point with her concerns about Nick, very bluntly, and he tries to soothe her worries and answer her questions. Nick seems to get a pass based on Kaitlyn's mom's reaction to Nick talking about him being in love with Kaitlyn and about proposing. Even Nick gets emotional. It was kind of weird to watch. Kaitlyn's mom reverses her view on Nick based on him getting emotional (and we know he is a smooth talker). Nick works the same magic on the dad and gets his blessing to propose.


I feel like Nick seems like a safe choice because he is a more subdued person than Kaitlyn is and her family seems to like the calming influence Nick has. I remember being at this point in Andi's season and thinking the same thing and how it was hard to imagine Andi not ending up with Nick, and it is kind of this way this time around as well because you can tell how strong the attraction is between Nick and Kaitlyn.

The next day Kaitlyn meets again with her family and preps them for meeting Shawn. They are concerned due to his insecurities but they see that Kaitlyn wants him there and wants them to give him a chance, so they are going into the day with open minds. When he arrives, Shawn admits that he is very nervous. He makes an instant impression on Kaitlyn's sister with his welcoming gifts for her kids. Also, Shawn is wearing a nearly identical shirt to her dad. Shawn makes a big impact by telling her family how he came on the show for Kaitlyn and he is very open with his feelings and they are enamored by him.


Kaitlyn's mom steals Shawn away for a talk and asks him about the Nick situation and about potential jealousy in the future. Shawn gives a good answer but the mom just keeps on drilling about how he feels about Kaitlyn and Nick and the sex (though she puts it more delicately than that). Shawn says that once they are in an exclusive relationship (which he understands that they have not been through the show process) they will be fine having been made stronger through their struggles on the show. Kaitlyn's mom is won over and impressed by his maturity and confidence. Kaitlyn's sister drops the bomb to Kaitlyn that she is Team Shawn and says that Kaitlyn and Shawn's connection is much more than what she sees Kaitlyn has with Nick. Shawn has another good conversation with Kaitlyn's dad, then he brings over Kaitlyn's mom and formally asks Kaitlyn's parents for their blessings to marry Kaitlyn. Shawn is clearly over the moon after meeting Kaitlyn's family and seems 100% confident that they will be engaged the next week.

After seeing the guys meet the family, I think the difference between the two relationships is that Kaitlyn and Nick are cute together and have a lot of connection and an obvious attraction. However, Kaitlyn and Shawn look and act like a solid couple that has weathered storms and is strong and confident. They may not be as cutesy together like Kaitlyn and Nick are, but it is also a testament that they are not stuck in the honeymoon stage of their relationship and have moved beyond that.


We get a quick moment back in the studio with Chris Harrison and he asks the crowd who Kaitlyn's family liked more. The crowd is probably 60-40 Shawn, but Chris calls it 50-50. This would have been nothing to talk about except it was extremely awkward because just in the background you can see Nick's mom, little sister, and other family in the audience.

Back to the show, we see Kaitlyn and Nick on their last date. They spend some time on a big boat on the water talking about their families, drinking wine, and kissing of course. I mentioned in an earlier post about how in his ITMs, Nick seemed to be half-asleep or something, but this week he looks more awake, but he is still extremely mumble-y. In Kaitlyn's ITM she enumerates Nick's qualities and how she really needs clarity because she cares for both of the guys so much.

The date continues into evening and they have dinner and talk more. They basically rehash how Nick came on the show and where they are now in their relationship and how Nick took a chance on her and she appreciates it. Nick says he has a gift for her in his bedroom and it takes a few times for her to believe that he is not making a joke. What he gives her is a picture of the two of them on their first one-on-one date with a hand written note about his feelings for her. She talks about how what they have is right and how she knows she is in love.


Shawn's final date with Kaitlyn begins with him arriving and they go to a little picnic spot in what appears to be a vineyard. Kaitlyn is not as care free as on her date with Nick because she is worrying and still needing clarity about her decision that is to come. Shawn says how incredible it is that they're here after the journey they've had and how he hopes that this isn't their last date. The mood is much more serious than with Nick. Kaitlyn just looks really confused and worried and it is causing their date to not look very comfortable. They talk about the awkwardness (while she smooths his leg hair???) and the reality of what is coming the next day (the final day) is weighing on them but Kaitlyn's vibe has made Shawn go from confident to nervous, and it could affect if he proposes to her.

So they go into the dinner portion of the date trying to overcome the awkwardness and trying to enjoy the time together. They are still pretty serious as they discuss things and Shawn is definitely bringing the emotion and talking about how he hopes he gets to share the future with her and get to know her family more. Then they start talking about being married and having kids and then Shawn has a gift for Kaitlyn as well. And I have to say, his gift is super cute. It is a big jar full of their memories, including souvenirs from their dates, notes, pictures, etc. After the way the day ended, Shawn says he will definitely be proposing to Kaitlyn.


In her ITM Kaitlyn is crying because she knows she is going to blindside someone with her decision and she feels terrible about it. We return to Chris Harrison in the studio and the studio is deathly silent. We next get to see Shawn meeting with Neil Lane and picking out Kaitlyn's engagement ring (OMG SHINY *drools*). Next we hear Nick talking about Kaitlyn as we see her getting ready for the big day. Then Neil Lane shows up for Nick, who awkwardly shares the story of the last time he was supposed to meet Neil Lane but got sent home. Then Nick picks out a ring as well.

This portion of the show is moving along quickly as we go back and forth between the guys with glimpses of Kaitlyn. We're back to Shawn and he's getting ready and says that he only wants to propose once in his life. We get a shot of Nick getting ready and then we see Kaitlyn looking worried in a car on her way presumably to the final destination, which is the mansion from the beginning of the season. Kaitlyn arrives and meets with Chris Harrison while we get shots of Shawn in the car, who is saying he would be heartbroken if Kaitlyn didn't choose him. Nick is also shown in the car looking worried. Kaitlyn walks to her post, looking not excited but more ill than anything, and waits while we see more of the guys in the limos, probably both wondering who will be the unlucky one to arrive first.


The limo arrives and out gets...Nick. Chris Harrison leads him in and we know now that Kaitlyn is waiting back there to tell him goodbye. In her ITM she says she's upset about having to do it but looking forward to the happiness that is on the other side of tonight with Shawn. As Nick walks up to her, Kaitlyn looks like she's about to bust from the tension. Nick starts talking and Kaitlyn looks sad but Nick seems to be ignoring the vibe she is giving off. He gets emotional and then pulls her closer, holding her hand and is about to propose but she stops him and she's crying then looks away before saying she's sorry and crying more.

She is shaking as she's telling him her heart is with someone else and he backs away and even kind of cuts her off as she's trying to explain her feelings. She tries to explain again and Nick has a look on his face that he's heard this before (which we all know he has) and he even tells her he doesn't need to hear it. He does not let her off the hook easy, I guess preferring to do this now than on ATFR like he did with Andi, saying it's not fair for her to say what she felt was the same as he felt because if that were true they wouldn't be essentially breaking up right now. She walks him out and he is clearly pissed and in his ITM in the limo he says he is the world's biggest joke and he throws away the Claddagh ring he got in Ireland. We go back to the studio and the audience (his family included of course) is silent again.


Kaitlyn is shown crying about how hard it was to say goodbye to Nick but that it will all be worth it when she sees Shawn. Shawn arrives, looking nervous, and is led in and Kaitlyn is shaking as she waits. They kiss and Shawn goes into his speech and she's smiling and he's smiling and the music starts to build and soar then backs off as Kaitlyn starts her little speech. It seems like the conversation is about to go south but Kaitlyn tells him she has never loved anyone like she loves him. He gets on one knee and proposes and she's crying and she says yes and she is still shaking, now presumably from happiness.


Finally free of all obstacles, Kaitlyn gets to be her crazy little self, squawking that she loves him before presenting him with the final rose. They skip giddily off to the limo and drive away to live happily ever after!

But wait! There's more! The After The Final Rose special begins immediately following the end of the episode. Chris Harrison brings out the happy couple. Shawn's skin looks particularly nice, either because he's finally not stressed and upset all the time or because he got put in the makeup chair before coming on. Either way, he looks well rested and Kaitlyn is giddy and goofy.

But next, we get to see Nick and find out how he's doing after all of this. He's got more of a beard than before and of course there is the déjà vu joke. Nick says he was shocked and blindsided. Chris Harrison dives in, asking more about the pre-existing relationship between him and Kaitlyn. Nick explains that they clicked and when Harrison asks if they were on the phone for hours, Nick keeps responding that they were having a lot of great conversations and getting to know each other, which is the party line he and Kaitlyn have been saying all season. Nick explains that when they hooked up in Dublin, it didn't feel too soon to them because their pre-existing relationship covered a lot of ground and they were already on a different level when he came on. Then Chris Harrison asks why Shawn hates him so much and Nick says it was silly and immature but it was a tough situation. Harrison reveals that Nick will get a chance to talk to Shawn and it seems like nobody is sure how that will go.


Shawn is brought out and he shakes Nick's hand then makes a joke about how small the couch is. Nick jokes by formally introducing himself and it's a awkward. Like a lot. It's hard to tell if they are being nice or being sarcastically nice. When asked why he had a problem with Nick, Shawn tries to explain but won't go into some stuff that was said in the house. Harrison asks if they are more alike than they think because Kaitlyn fell for both of them. Nick brings up that they didn't get to know each other at all and that a lot of what Shawn thought about him was about his reputation from Andi's season. He explains he was frustrated by the lack of ability to get to know Shawn. Harrison asks Shawn about jealousy and he explains that pretty well, saying his beef with Nick was about 3% of his ITMs but that was what the show chose to air.

Harrison goes back to Nick asking about his worries coming into the show and Nick says he expected to be disliked because of it. Shawn says Nick shared a little much about his Dublin date with Kaitlyn when the guys had agreed not to talk about what happened on the dates. Harrison makes a joke about them hugging it out even if Nick won't be a groomsman in the wedding, and they don't hug it out but do agree they took away from the main focus of the show, the love story, as Shawn calls it, with their feud. Shawn says all this in a way that makes it sounds like he's agreeing with Nick without actually agreeing with Nick.

Then they bring Kaitlyn out for a chat with Nick. Harrison hands the reigns over to Nick, who talks about it being a difficult process. Like with Andi, Nick brings up something personal, but instead of asking why Kaitlyn had sex with him, he asks her why she said she loved him. Kaitlyn's face at the moment was worth the screen shots:


Nick keeps talking and Kaitlyn talks and it ends amicably enough, but Harrison isn't done yet! He keeps asking questions and even plays back the horribly awkward breakup with the picture-in-picture of their faces as it plays. Nick seems to want answers as to why she let him continue to say those things to her when she knew he wasn't the one. Kaitlyn tries to explain she maybe should have done it a little different but Nick keeps harping on the point and just won't shut up about it when we all know the show wanted something from that situation and Kaitlyn is not allow to say "The producers made me do it!" so she has to just sit there and take his ire, which is really not fair. I think maybe Chris Harrison finally felt pity on her and wrapped it up so we could finally talk more to Shawn! You know, the winner?

The couple is brought back out and we get to see again how happy and in love the two are. I really hope they are too, and last longer than what everyone is guessing. Shawn says he is finally glad to be able to live his life out in the open with her and defend her in public now. It was super cute. Hey, if they're together long enough, maybe I'll be able to run into them in Nashville some time! Yeah, probably not, but a girl can hope!


Well that's it! We have our winner and now we must prepare ourselves for Bachelor in Paradise!




Thanks for visting!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Lend Me Your Earbuds! [2]

Hey quirks! Today I want to share with you a few podcasts that you should try if you are interested in mysteries!


Mystery Show
This quirky podcast is hosted by Starlee Kine. Each episode Kine attempts to solve a real mystery, but these mysteries are not of the crime/drama variety and are more of the oddities-of-life kind of mysteries. The episodes feel like short, indie docs in audio form, sometimes lingering in unexpected places or following tangents just because. Listeners can even write in and get Kine on the case to solve their own lingering, non-Google-able mysteries. If you like media that provides a slice of life and is interesting in a quiet and slightly kooky way, this is definitely a pod for you.


If you haven't heard of this podcast yet, you must have been taking a sabbatical from all technology and pop culture for quite a while. Serial is the brainchild of the creators of This American Life and is hosted by journalist Sarah Koenig. The focus of Serial is to tell a story over the course of a season and follow that story no matter where it leads. The first season dealt with the 1999 murder of a teenage girl, Hae Min Lee, and if the boy convicted of the crime, Adnan Syed, was truly guilty or if he was railroaded by the police and prosecution. Koenig and Co. travel, research, question, and document findings. And since real lives and mysteries don't usually have tidy endings, don't expect each season of Serial to end with a pretty bow. Season two will be coming out some time this year and will tackle a new story, so be on the lookout.


Undisclosed
This podcast is one you should listen to AFTER you're done with Serial. While Serial might have brought the murder of Hae Min Lee and the case against Adnan Syed into the public eye, Undisclosed dives in much, much deeper, not only into the events surrounding Lee's death, but into the police investigation, the case built against Syed, and the processes of the justice system in Baltimore. The people behind the podcast, Rabia Chaudry, Susan Simpson (both attorneys) and Colin Miller (a professor of law) are not just interested parties but experts in the field, and through their efforts, they hope to find the truth. They use the podcast to present what they find and keep the listeners updated on Syed's ongoing appeals. They are not biased in their presentation of the information they uncover, but they are definitively on Syed's side. Until there is some definitive roadblocks or victories in this case, I don't expect Undisclosed to end, so get caught up now while there are only a handful of episodes out there.


Thanks for visiting!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Reading Challenge Update [June 2015]


Well, I didn't read any books for two whole months (April and May) but I'm still on track with my total reads for the year thanks to a pretty good June. Trying to keep the momentum going during July!


This Month: 7

The Books:
Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia
Dancing Barefoot by Wil Wheaton
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins


This Month: 3
Total: 22/50

The Categories/Books:
A book published this year: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet: Haunted (The Mediator #5) by Meg Cabot
A book you started but never finished:  Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens


This Month: 2 TBR Books
Total: 13/40

The Books:
Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens


Thanks for visiting!
 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Reality TV: The Bachelorette Season 11 Week 9 Recap and Thoughts


So I've missed a couple weeks due to going out of town and a back issue that made any position, especially sitting in a chair, painful, but here we are again! The group shrank from nine to three over the last two weeks, so let's refresh on who stayed and who went home:

Week 7
  • Nick got the one-on-one date rose. Jared got the group date rose.
  • J.J. got sent home on the two-on-one date and Joe got a rose.
  • At the rose ceremony, Shawn, Chris, and Ben H. received roses; Tanner and Ben Z. got sent home.
  • Jared gets a one-on-one date with Kaitlyn while they drive through Ireland to their next destination, and there is no rose.
  • Kaitlyn is informed by the ever-elusive Chris Harrison that the order of dates and things is changing, so Katilyn has to reduce the number of guys from six to three, and those three will get the fantasy suite dates and then the final two will get hometown dates.
  • Chris gets the first of these dates (one-on-one) and is sent home.

Week 8
  • Ben H. gets a one-on-one date and gets the date rose.
  • There is a group date with Joe, Nick, and Shawn. Joe gets sent home, but Kaitlyn does not give out a group date rose. She does choose Shawn for the extra date time, during which she tells him she slept with Nick.
  • The rose ceremony happens with no cocktail party, and Shawn gets a rose first (after he has a little convo with Kaitlyn). Then Nick gets the last rose and Jared is sent home.
  • We got the first of the overnight dates with Nick and Kaitlyn.


This episode starts off reminding us of all that has happened with the drama between Nick and Shawn. We next see Shawn confronting Nick and they throw barbs back and forth. This whole scene is pretty ridiculous. Next we see Kaitlyn talking about how Nick and Shawn hate each other and how it diminishes both of them in her eyes. So she's focusing on her next overnight date which is with Ben, who is definitely getting a lot more screen time and is looking more and more like a potential Bachelor. Their date starts off with horse-riding and then feeding some fuzzy donkeys which chase them when there is no more food. Then there is lots of kissing, of course. Side note: Galway is freaking gorgeous. They continue riding the horses to a picnic near a legit castle and have some serious talk about how he is falling in love with her.

Kaitlyn drops the news that they are going to have dinner at the castle. It's pretty informal and Ben brings up something that has yet to come up with him - his age. He's on the young side (26) and it turns out it's not an issue for either of them. There is lots of laughing and kissing and then the date card comes out. Ben admits he hates that there are other people involved but he's all in on Kaitlyn, so they (of course) go into the fantasy suite. Also, Ben is super well-spoken and if he's chosen as the next Bachelor, I'll be excited. He seems like a sweet guy. As much as I know this show isn't really about love and romance (it's about exposure for the cast and money for the makers), I still like to see two people fall in love, and Ben as the Bachelor would really go a long way into having that fairytale storyline come around again.


In the morning Kaitlyn says they had a lot of fun and only slept a half hour, and she's confused more now than ever. But next is her date with Shawn, so we see her go pick him up at his room and she gives him a gift of golf clothes because they are going golfing. Shawn's outfit is pretty crazy (bright pink and blue) and Kaitlyn says he looks like the hottest dork ever. Before they play they make a bet, which amounts to Kaitlyn getting whatever she asks for no matter who wins. Kaitlyn wins because Shawn kept hitting his balls in the water, so for her bet win she wants to play truth or dare. Shawn says he's a dare kind of guy, so Kailtyn dares him to strip naked on the golf course. Kailtyn jokes that he'll get his own black box and he does. He sinks a putt while naked, and while he's distracted, Kailtyn grabs his clothes and runs off. He chases after her, black box bouncing along.


Dinner is more subdued. They smile a lot as they relive their golf date, but then Kaitlyn gets straight to the point: why does Shawn hate Nick? Shawn reveals that he confronted Nick. Kaitlyn repeats what Nick told her about Shawn and Shawn is all fired up and Kaitlyn is not happy either, but she wants to keep talking about everything off-camera. They take literally no time to talk about it and head right up to their room. The next morning, we see Shawn leaving and Kaitlyn doesn't look like she got much sleep. Shawn has just walked outside the hotel when there is Nick waiting around the corner for him. Shawn ignores Nick when Nick greets him, and then when Nick asks if Shawn has some time to talk, Shawn says he doesn't want to talk to Nick at all but lets him come in to the room. Nick says he wants to have a man-to-man conversation, but Shawn jumps right in there saying he knows what Nick said about him to Kaitlyn. I love it how Nick, who is a smooth talker, can barely get a word in and then Shawn kicks him out of his room.

Next we see Chris Harrison having a sit-down with Kaitlyn, and she says she was waiting for something to go wrong and hoping that the dates would clarify things for her, but it hasn't really. They talk about Shawn's jealousy and if it only exists because of the situation or if that is how he is normally. They also talk about Nick and then Harrison asks about the dynamic between the two. She says they are acting immaturely and how they act toward each other affects her feelings for them. Then there is Ben who is above the drama and would make a great husband. Kaitlyn says the decision will be painful and that unfortunately she will be blindsiding somebody like she was blindsided when she got sent home on The Bachelor.

Chris Harrison preps the guys then Kaitlyn enters and gives a little speech about how she is in love and how the dates all went great and she thanks them then apologizes because she is getting emotional, then she takes a break and leaves them for a bit because she's about to crack. Chris Harrison talks her down and she goes back in and says her decision feels impossible and she just hopes by following her heart, she's not making a mistake. Nick gets a rose first which made my eyes pop out of my head. Shawn looks like he's about to explode and Ben seems to be preparing himself for disappointment. Shawn gets the second rose. Ben looks a little stunned but also keeps it together pretty well. He is, as always, articulate and kind when he has his last talk with her. He gets in the van and leaves and you start to see more of the emotion on his face. Ben takes this journey as a victory because he was able to open himself to love again. Kaitlyn is left crying and then has to deal with the two guys left who hate each other. After Kaitlyn has a toast with them, they are left to drink their champagne together and it is the most awkward scene ever.


Next we see Kailtyn arriving at a resort in Utah where she will meet Nick and Shawn's families. First she meets up with Nick and they have a talk. He tells her he is in love with her and is more sure this time than he was last time when he was in this (exact) situation. So the next scene is probably the second most awkward ever and it is Nick's family all sitting in a big circle and no one is talking. His family was not excited about him going on the show again and even his little sister is crying because everyone is afraid he is going to get dumped again. So Kaitlyn wins over the family by talking about how many great conversations she and Nick have had. Then Nick talks with his mom and he has tears and she has tears and wow is this going to be bad for them if Kaitlyn doesn't pick Nick. In Kaitlyn's ITM, she seems to be super happy with Nick and his family. But something I've noticed this season is that in his ITM's, Nick just has dead eyes like he's half asleep all the time. What's that about?

Anyway, Shawn and his family are up next. Kaitlyn seems ready and amped to meet Shawn's sisters but Shawn thinks they are going to be tough on Kaitlyn. So they meet the family and Kaitlyn just gushes about Shawn and she seems to get on really well with his sisters and to Shawn they reassure him that he's made a good choice. Shawn's dad is kinda worried so he goes and has a conversation with him. You can tell his dad is super skeptical. But Shawn tells him enough that makes his dad feel better, so everyone is happy at the end. So Shawn gets some alone time with Kaitlyn and he tells her that he loves her for the first time (but he does it in such a way that makes it seem he's about to drop a bad thing on her) but she's gushing about him again in her ITM. She's emotional after she leaves Shawn because she's confused about her feelings and doesn't know what to do, and that is where we leave her.


So that's all this week! We have the Men Tell All episode next week and then the finale! I'm personally excited to see what all the guys will say after having watched the season. Now, for my very short list:

Who do I think will be the next Bachelor: Ben H.
Who do I think will win: Shawn
What am I most excited to see: the After the Final Rose episode


Thanks for visiting!




Saturday, July 11, 2015

Update!


I've been behind on watching The Bachelorette and writing my recaps these last couple of weeks due to going out of town and an annoying back problem, but I will be back recapping next week!

Also, I'm excited for the upcoming Bachelor in Paradise as well as America's Next Top Model, which will premiere around the same time next month. ANTM has been one of my favorite shows for years, but I haven't kept up with it as much as I wish I did, so I'm going to attempt to watch this season as it unfolds.

Some book and podcast posts are also on their way, so be on the look-out for those!


Happy watching, reading, and listening quirks!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Reality TV: The Bachelorette Season 11 Week 6 Recap and Thoughts


When we left off last week, Ian was insulting Kaitlyn tens ways to Sunday. This week started off with that conversation yet again, lucky us. The rest of the guys think Ian deserves some time with her, but Nick knows all and is worried that Ian may say something regrettable. Nick knows this because he had a conversation with Ian about his feelings and realizes how this will probably go down. Kaitlyn tries to hold her own against Ian and gives him somewhat of an earful, so go her! So after Ian disses and ditches, we see him be the deep and thoughtful person he has explained himself to be:


The rest of the group, having seen Ian leave, questions why guys keep leaving or keep being sent home before the rose ceremonies can happen. My answer to that is the drama is high on this season (Ian's blow up isn't even the biggest moment of drama in this episode) which means not only are guys dropping left and right, but the whole freaking format is screwed up (more on that later). So Nick, knowing what he knows about Ian, goes to comfort Kaitlyn, and blah blah go away Nick (again with mentioning movie quotes!). Shawn goes to do the same while Nick and Kaitlyn are together (probably prodded to do so by producers), sees them kissing, and gets upset. The rest of the guys are upset that they haven't gotten time with Kaitlyn and nervous it will hurt their chances at the rose ceremony. When the rose ceremony commences in front of The Alamo, Shawn B., Nick, and Ben H. already have roses. The names are called and the two that go home are Joshua and Justin. The group then learns they will be heading to Ireland and there is lots of cheering, and we see Joshua being sad. At least we'll see him soon in paradise!

Once in Dublin, Ireland, Kaitlyn arrives at the boys' suite to say that the one-on-one date starts right then, and her choice is Nick. The chilly mood in the room drops about thirty more degrees as Nick readies for his date. Shawn is especially stone-faced and even the other guys comment on how Shawn will be the most upset out of any of them that Nick was chosen. Kaitlyn and Nick walk around Dublin and we see again how afraid Kaitlyn is of birds as they run into a pack of pigeons in a park. They watch some street performers, Nick buys Kaitlyn a claddagh ring, and they visit a pub. They obviously have great physical chemistry, which persists even through their dinner at an old, ornate church (inappropriately so, IMHO). He gets the rose (duh) and here is where things really get going: Kaitlyn and Nick go back to her suite, and eventually, to her room where cameras do not follow. There are a lot of sounds, but as usual, the editing here is heavy-handed. Throughout, we get shots of Shawn and some of the other guys discussing Kaitlyn and Nick and their date, clueless as to what is going on (of course, these conversations could have happened during the day and not during Kaitlyn and Nick's private time - editing is magic after all).


We next see Kaitlyn out on her balcony the next morning and she is clearly talking to a producer, but they are filming her maybe through a window? There is something covering half of the screen, possibly a curtain (or it could have been added later). Of course we don't hear anything the producer is saying, just what Kaitlyn is saying, and it she is questioning her own actions of the previous night, wondering if it, and by "it" I think she means coitus pre-fantasy suites, has ever happened before. She goes through the reasons she feels guilty - mainly the fact that she has relationships with other guys going on in addition to Nick. Interspersed here we have Nick talking to some of the guys and Kaitlyn saying how awful it would be if he spilled the beans on their extended date, which Nick sort-of does - he says she invited him back to her suite but doesn't really elaborate. Then Joe says that Shawn also got extra time like that with Kaitlyn after the second group date. As a viewer, this was news to me because it hadn't been shown, so this revelation kind of takes Nick down a peg as he realizes he's not the only special one in the house. When the rest of the guys come in in preparation for the group date, Nick recounts his one-on-one date again, this time saying his after-date time with Kaitlyn was "intimate." The thing is, we don't actually know when he says this - if it's with the couple guys before the rest of the group gets there or after. There is no shot that shows Nick saying those things and also shows who else is in the room. All the shots are close-up on Nick, and then cut to the other guys. So he could have just told J.J. and Joe that and not the group, but editing makes it appear he was telling the whole group.

So the group date begins (J.J. and Joe have been chosen for the two-on-one date so they are left behind) and the clue was in the form of a poem that involved death. When the guys arrive at their destination, Chris Harrison tells them that Kaitlyn is dead for the day and the guys have to eulogize her while she lays (laughing) in a coffin. This is a pretty morbid date. Of course the guy who lost his mom was picked for this date (Ben Z.), so his eulogy was more heartfelt, but the rest of the guys tried to have fun with it and are pretty funny. The group then goes to the Guinness Brewery and Kaitlyn gets some time with each of the guys. The night goes pretty well with each of the guys until Kailtyn has to give out the group date rose. She gives it to Jared, and this just sets Shawn off. While Kaitlyn and Jared go get a private concert from The Cranberries (that song is still stuck in my head!), we see Shawn fuming and talking to a producer. He is miffed she picked Jared to get the extra one-on-one time (but as I said on Twitter, she can't give the roses to the same couple of guys or it would reduce the drama), and he talks about how she said he was the the one during their extra time after that second group date. Evidently, Kaitlyn dating other guys by picking them is going to drive him away and he says multiple times that he just can't do this. He ends up going to her hotel room later to talk to her because he is so bothered. While I understand his frustration, it's not a good look. At least he's consistent because he's been saying how he'd fallen for Kaitlyn night one, so he must have it pretty bad. Kaitlyn thinks he's coming to talk to her about her time with Nick, so we get shots of her in her ITM crying about how she made a mistake and then she says she can't do this anymore. And that's where the episode ends.


So we officially got rid of Ian and we lost Joshua and Justin. AND, not only do we not get the first rose ceremony in Ireland this week, we also don't get the last Dublin date! They spent so much time on Ian and then on Nick and then that last little bit on Shawn that everything else was smooshed together or left out entirely and this episode felt oddly short. While I'll give them credit that the drama has been at peak levels this season, I hate that the format is so screwed up. This week's list:

Guy I'm most disappointed/appalled by: still Ian
Funniest: Tanner (because of the funeral thing)
Guy I felt bad for: still Joshua and also Ben Z. (because of the funeral thing)
Guy I think currently has the most chemistry with Kaitlyn: Nick
Guy I wish would get more screen time: still Joe
Most surprise appearances: the producers


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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Reality TV: The Bachelorette Season 11 Week 5 Recap and Thoughts


This week begins with Nick moving in with the group. He walks in and has to sit facing all the guys, who are giving him glares of varying severity. The glares are really priceless. They do not want him there, they have decided to not like him, but he does his best to answer their questions (sort of) and make them understand he is there for "the right reasons." He's not. We all know he's not. The other guys know it. They ask very pointed questions and Nick seems to keep himself afloat while answering them, but we know how much of a smooth talker he is, so I take everything he says with a grain of salt. Tanner, who is the resident Bachelor/ette expert, does a lot of the talking for the guys. For much of the time he's also holding an wine glass that he looks like he wants to throw at Nick. This segment here is just a feast of green-eyed monsters and it's fantastic. If facial expressions of the existing guys when faced with Nick were to be bottled as cologne, here are the names I'd give the fragrances:

1. What's that Smell? Oh Yeah, Nick. (Shawn, Joe)
2. This Smile is Totes Fake (Tanner, Joshua, Ryan)
3. This is Too Awkward (Corey, Ben H.)
4. I Wish I Had Laser Eyes So I Could Behead You Right Here (Jared, Ben Z.)
5. Not Impressed and Not Worth My Eye Roll (Ian, Jonathan, Justin)
6. Why am I Confused? (J.J.)

There is also the Please Don't Punch My Baby Face (Nick). Chris is exempt because he was not there due to still being on the date with Kaitlyn. So they guys head to the cocktail party at Citi Field. The guys seem super, super excited to be on a Major League Baseball field. J.J. calls it "a childhood dream" to be on a pro ball field, and he carries Kaitlyn as he runs around the bases. While the guys are sitting in the fancy suite area, they continue to discuss Nick and the rose situation. Tanner tells Kaitlyn about how he confronted Nick and how Nick didn't fully answer his questions. Many of the guys are shown in ITMs saying they don't like Nick, don't trust him, want him gone, or how they are frustrated at the situation. Some of them share their feelings with Kaitlyn. One that is clearly not cool with the situation is Shawn. Around the guys he doesn't say too much (at least that we see) but he expresses to Kaitlyn that her bringing in Nick has really rocked his boat. He is even physically distant with her and straight up tells her that Nick is full of s**t. Kaitlyn seems to take his distance and reaction to her decision pretty hard.


The rose ceremony takes place on the field. The guys look like they are scared out of their pants, but really they are just extremely cold. Kaitlyn gets to wear a coat and gloves but the guys are just in their suits. If you remember from last episode, Justin, Jared, and Chris all have roses already. The guys that get roses are: Ben H., Ben Z., Shawn, Tanner, Joe, Ian, J.J., Joshua, and Nick. The guys that went home are Jonathan, Corey, and Ryan. The rest of the guys are pretty upset that Nick got the last rose. Shawn won't even say his name - he calls him "the other guy."

The group heads to San Antonio for this week's dates. It's visibly warmer, which I'm sure they were all thankful for. The date card arrives and the clue is about "one step at a time" and is for Ben H. The date involves Kaitlyn and Ben H. getting dressed up in flannel and boots and they drive off in a classic pick-up truck, but we hang with the guys at the hotel for a minute. They are still awkward about Nick being there. They all seem to listen to Nick talking and their faces just say how full of crap they think he is all the time. For all of Nick's whining and discomfort last season, he at least seems more calm and confident this go-round.

Back on the one-on-one, Ben H. and Kaitlyn arrive at their destination, where they will be learning to two-step and then competing in a competition at the oldest dance hall in Texas. They learn the steps from a two-step champion, but they don't seem to pick it up that well. What we as the viewers learn: Quick-Quick-Slow-Slow. It gets repeated ad nauseam. It's even part of the song they dance to in the first round. The pair survives the initial elimination but gets tapped out during the second round. Ben H. seems pretty sweet, but he's also kind of bland, which makes him not as enjoyable to watch as some of the other guys. At dinner, Ben H. talks about how difficult it is for him to open up, but all I can think about is how much I love Kaitlyn's eyeshadow. Ben H. gets the date rose.


Back at the hotel, the guys are discussing the next date card and the consensus is that if Nick gets the second one-one-one (they will know by who is left off of the group date), the hotel might combust from the anger of the other guys. It arrives and the chosen are Justin, Jared, Ian, Chris, Tanner, Joe, J.J., Ben Z., Joshua, and Nick, meaning Shawn will get the second one-on-one date. The clue is "man in uniform" and instead of having something to do with the Battle of the Alamo (which would have been my guess), the guys have to write and perform a mariachi song while dressed in the traditional mariachi uniform. The guys are thoroughly schooled by young mariachi phenom Sebastian. He says he has won Kaitlyn's heart by serenading her, so the guys have to win her heart back with their songs.

Joe, as usual, brings the funny and has no idea what he's doing, and Sebastian questions if he has a serious side. Ian is excited to perform again and do better than on the Aladdin date. Joshua is nervous and very concerned about Nick still. The guys then come out in full mariachi garb and the performances start. Justin starts and he does pretty well with having the mariachi sound and cadence. J.J. is next and tries to play the guitar while singing and it does not work. We see Jared prancing around, and then comes Joe with his off-key but funny line, "Will you mariachi me?" and then gives her a kiss, and combining humor with smooches scores Joe a lot of points. Ian is next and we can barely understand what he's saying. He may be able to sing well, but it seems like he was afraid of making a fool of himself, which is what these dates are all about, so in not doing so, he came across as too timid and he couldn't pull the song off. In his ITM he is upset that he choked. Joshua follows and tries his best but he's not great and he knows it. Nick decides to take his serenade to the next level and takes Kaitlyn up on a balcony and sings to her there. He's terrible, but the gesture doesn't go unnoticed by Kaitlyn, not to mention he talked about his...um...yeah. It was bad but memorable. We don't get to see Chris, Tanner, or Ben Z. perform.


The cocktail party is next, and Kaitlyn is hopeful that the guys seem to be taking the Nick situation better and are trusting her more. Joshua trusts Kaitlyn enough to have her buzz his hair, but the clippers die, so only one side really gets done and it just looks pitiful. I felt bad for Joshua because he was trying to do something fun and it backfired and all the guys were laughing at him. I wanted to give him a hug. Then Nick takes his alone time with Kaitlyn and from the haircut to his "guy intuition," Joshua gets more and more bothered as the night goes along. Joshua doesn't trust Nick and when Nick returns, he tells him so. This is where the train wreck kind of starts and Nick goes into some weird spiel about how he was glad Josh Murray was on Andi's season and glad he (Nick) didn't win, which makes no sense to anyone, especially Joshua. So Joshua goes and gets some more time with Kaitlyn so he can tell her how he feels about Nick. As Joshua is explaining, he implies that all the guys don't like Nick and are upset, and Kaitlyn basically says if that is true, then the other guys have been lying to her face. Joshua realizes he's made a misstep, but I think what happened is no one was still as bothered as Joshua about the Nick situation. They were moving past it. But of course, if the guys ever did talk about Nick, they would agree with Joshua, so he thinks they are on the same page as he was. So this just all blows up in Joshua's face when Kaitlyn confronts the group and no one sticks up for Joshua or agrees with him in front of her. Part of the reason why is because when Joshua comes back from talking to Kaitlyn, he lies and says he was in an ITM. It was so horrible and painful to watch. Joshua is one of my favorites, so I'm looking forward to seeing him on Bachelor in Paradise. Then Kaitlyn decides to give out the group date rose and gives it to Nick.

The second one-on-one date starts and it's Kaitlyn and Shawn and they go kayaking down the river walk. It seems like a lot of fun and a nice day. Then they sit together and talk and Shawn lets little things slip about how he feels about her. Then he says he wants to be honest with her because Kaitlyn highly values honesty so Shawn tells her that he felt bad for Joshua because he was still upset that morning. He says he knows Joshua was coming from a good place and that the other guys on the date were probably scared to speak up, and he just wanted to let her know. Kaitlyn says she trusts him and they talk about their feelings some more and it's cute and geez, Shawn's voice is pretty honey-like.

Shawn says in his ITM that he is planning to open up to Kaitlyn. At dinner, they talk about how fast and strong their connection was and then Shawn reveals that he was in a bad accident and was in the hospital for a few months, and he gets emotional as he talks about it. He has moments where you can see him be shy and it is so cute. Then he drops the big one, "I'm falling in love with you." Squee! First we've seen it said to Kaitlyn this season I believe. Then, in true breaking all the rules fashion that has come to and will continue to define Kaitlyn's stint as Bachelorette, she tells him, "I feel the same way." Usually, that never happens until the winner is chosen, so big move there! Of course, Shawn gets the date rose. Then they go back out on the water in a canoe and fireworks go off above them.


Back at the hotel, Ian is feeling neglected. He starts talking about how women like him and all of his qualifications for being awesome (which is a bad, bad look). I really, really liked Ian in the beginning. He did seem to be a little too serious as the weeks went on, but overall, he seems like a really great catch. However, when he starts talking about what a great catch he is, that is the pinnacle of arrogance and makes him seem ridiculous. You can know that you're awesome and even say so, but don't act like your good traits override other people's feelings about you. They are entitled to their opinions, but acting like your awesomeness is a fact of human existence = nope. He even starts talking about how he'd make a great Bachelor. Nope again. And saying all the problems lie with the other party, NOPE. Then Ian says he's going to make his last stand. WTF. Just leave. Don't make a scene. Instead, Ian decides he wants to go out with guns blazing and let Kaitlyn know exactly how bad she messed up and what she's missing out on. Um, nope.

So at the cocktail party, Joshua is feeling the heat and gets emotional because of the train wreck that he was on the group date. Kaitlyn arrives and talks about how she wants trust and honesty and what she wants out of this process and out of a partner. Ian doesn't think Kaitlyn can handle the truth that she's not hot compared to his last girlfriend. Ick. We see Jared get his alone time first, and again, he gets to go back to Kaitlyn's suite. They talk and kiss and Kaitlyn says she trusts him. Then Jared says he feels like he's falling in love with her. Then we go back to more Ian listing off his impressive qualifications as a husband/bachelor and even insults the other guys. The we see Joe and Kailtyn making out on a bench and she says she enjoys kissing him. Then we're back to Ian talking about how much sex he has in his own life and how he needs to get his confidence back (doesn't really seem like he's wanting for confidence to me but whatever). Then he swoops in and finally gets his alone time with Kaitlyn and the honesty bombs begin. Basically, Ian says he is above all the "surface level stuff" and that she wasn't what he expected and he thinks she's shallow and the insults just come one after another. By the end, this was Kaitlyn's face (and I don't blame her one bit):


The episode ends there with no rose ceremony, yet again, though we know Ian is about to leave. I almost didn't care though, because I was so flabbergasted by Ian's arrogance and vile behavior. It was despicable and so disappointing because of how mush I liked him when this started. UGH!!! Only Tyra really knows how to express what I'm feeling right now:


So by the end of this week, we lost Corey, Ryan, Jonathan, and Ian will go soon. And thanks to all the drama this week, no one remembers what a d-bag J.J. is. He got lucky.



I don't have any more words, so here's my list:

Guy I'm most disappointed/appalled by: Ian
Guy I felt bad for: Joshua
Guy I hope we never have to see dance again: Ben H.
Guy I think currently has the most chemistry with Kaitlyn: Shawn B.
Guy I wish we'd gotten to know more: Ryan
Guy I wish would get more screen time: Joe


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