Published July 14, 2009
Tonight’s episode of “The Bachelorette” moved to Maui, where the three remaining bachelors got a second shot at making something happen with Jillian in a “fantasy suite.”
Reid seemed to rise to the occasion; he and Jillian wound up taking a bubble bath together. Kiptyn’s night with her seemed relatively uneventful, and Ed and Jillian started off strong but then suffered an unspecified problem with their “physical intimacy.”
Nonetheless, Reid’s inability to express his feelings for Jillian (assuming they were in fact worth expressing) outweighed their apparent chemistry, and in the rose ceremony, she let him go.
After the usual opening recap (in which Wes got to be obnoxious again) and teases of what was coming up in the show (“Whose date goes terribly wrong?”), we saw Jillian, looking great in a bikini, frolicking in the Hawaiian surf and drawing a heart in the sand with “J + ?” in it. To their credit, the producers kept us guessing to the end.
Jillian’s day and night with Kiptyn, the 31-year-old “business developer” from Encinitas, Calif., started with the two of them going through a “ropes course.” Jillian explained that “with adventure comes trust,” and she wanted to put Kiptyn to the test. (The producers insist on maintaining the fiction that the various setups are Jillian’s idea.) “I just want to make sure,” she said, “that when things go tough, Kiptyn will be there for me.”
Kiptyn performed admirably, being both goofily incompetent when trying to walk across a tightrope and bravely supportive when Jillian needed encouragement. In an interview, she talked about how much she liked laughing from the pit of her stomach with someone she was falling in love with.
Their last obstacle involved climbing to the top of what looked like two telephone poles and then jumping off toward a trapeze (while securely tethered, of course). Showing why the producers picked him, Kiptyn said, “If we can do this, we can do anything,” adding that the test was a “leap of faith.” He caught his trapeze, and she missed hers; no one commented on what that was a metaphor for.
Before the commercial, the voice-over built up the suspense over whether Jillian would ask Kiptyn to her room and again teased the disastrous date, this time with close-ups of various body parts being rubbed with oil. These shots would occur in “coming up” segments throughout the two-hour episode.
Jillian and Kiptyn’s dinner went relatively well. In voice-over, she said she was worried that in previous relationships he’s always been the dumper and not the dumpee. He admitted that he’s often had “one foot in and one foot out” in those relationships, and she told him that she was afraid that if things didn’t go perfectly between them, he would get scared and break up with her.
All Kiptyn had to say was that he didn’t want to hurt her, and she pulled out the fantasy-suite invitation. “I have something for you,” she said. “Another one of these. Remember?” When she asked him what he wanted to do, he said that he had been willing to stay with her back in Spain (where she hadn’t let him spend the night). “From day one,” he said, “I have totally adored you and I’ve been in awe of you.”
“I don’t think I would pass up another opportunity to hang out with you and to be with you,” Jillian said. “I think we need this time.”
The Hawaiian resorts where this episode was shot all seemed to be quite nice (and the product placement probably cost a lot), but the fantasy suites tonight weren’t up to the usual “Bachelor/Bachelorette” standard. They just looked like comfortable hotel suites with lots of rose petals, candles and twinkly lights placed here and there. Perhaps for that reason, you didn’t feel the magic between Jillian and Kiptyn, who were last seen making out on the bed in their clothes before Kiptyn closed the sliding doors.
Jillian’s time with Reid, the 30-year-old realtor from Philadelphia, started out with a helicopter tour of Maui. As they flew over a waterfall, the pilot volunteered the information that he was the only ordained pastor-pilot in the state and could marry them then and there if they wanted. Reid laughed a little nervously. Later, he told the camera that Jillian “might be the perfect girl for me” but he’s just not a helicopter-marriage kind of guy.
The couple’s time on land dwelled tediously on Jillian’s need for Reid to communicate how he felt about her and his inability to do so. Under her relentless questioning, he said he kind of felt rushed by the process. He admitted that he didn’t like to see her with other guys, but at the same time…
“You have to tell me what you feel,” said Jillian.
“Yeah, I, um, I’m not the best at showing emotion,” he said. “I’m good at showing it, I’m not good at voicing it….I’m like 4. I’m like, I like you this much.” He stretched his hands wide and hoped that would satisfy her.
At dinner, Jillian wouldn’t give up. Reid protested that they were in a fantasy world. She talked about where they would live after the show, saying she would be willing to move from Vancouver to Philadelphia. “Interesting,” he replied. (Jillian, he’s just not that into you.)
Finally, she asked point-blank, “Are you ready to propose at the end of this?” (For someone who talks constantly about being willing to take risks for love, Jillian needs an awful lot of assurances.) “You’re really putting the press on me,” Reid replied. “Maybe. Possibly.”
“You’re like a Magic 8 Ball now,” she said. “ ‘Possibilities are good.’ ”
This went on way too long, and Jillian eventually gave it a rest. She told the camera, “I can see in Reid’s eyes that he is desperate to find the answers and that he does care about me.” She handed him the fantasy-suite invitation, and he wisely played it passive-aggressive. “I’m scared,” he said. “I got denied once.” (He’s the only one of the final three bachelors who didn’t even get to see the inside of a fantasy suite in Spain.) When Jillian said they still had things to cover, he replied, “We can cover them tonight.”
“We have no more time,” she said, before they kissed.
As they walked into the suite, Reid was wearing a lei, delighting those viewers who are fond of puns.
Believe it or not, Reid and Jillian had more conversations about his feelings as they snuggled on the couch. Reid told the camera, “I’m hoping that things just work out the way they’re supposed to work out.” In a tour de force of reality-TV editing, the show cut to candles, then a shot of Jillian’s dress lying on the floor (sound effects: splashing), then a shot of the two of them in a bubble bath, holding wine glasses. (The bubbles made it impossible to see if they had any clothes on.) “Cheers to you making a really, really great attempt at opening up,” she said. Cut to her telling the camera that he makes her laugh and she enjoys his company and their chemistry is special, so that’s almost like falling in love, right?
“So now what happens?” she said, back in the bath. “This,” he replied, giving her a big kiss.
Knowing what we now know, the best-case scenario for what happened between the two of them is that Jillian realized that Reid didn’t like her that much and was just trying to keep up appearances for the cameras, so she decided to take advantage of him physically and then throw him out like a used tea bag.
As Jillian prepared for Ed, the 29-year-old technology consultant from Chicago, to show up, most viewers must have guessed that his was the oily-massage date from hell. The mind reeled: What could he have done to freak her out so much? (Remember, this is the woman who let Tanner the foot fetishist fondle her toes.) Some fans were probably clinging to the hope that the show was going to pull a “Pulp Fiction” and go back in time to a previous date.
Until Ed and Jillian hit the fantasy suite, he was Mr. Right. “I’ve been thinking about you every day,” he told her as they met up. Jillian told the camera, “I know we have that emotional connection there, but we have to work on the rest of it as well.” (Kudos to the editors for dramatic irony.)
Their physical connection seemed to be working fine on their catamaran voyage. Making out with Ed while perched on the rail, Jillian recalled the infamous pose she struck with Jason in the hot tub during her “Bachelor” season. To complete the picture, when they jumped overboard, she wrapped her legs around him. “As soon as we got into the water,” she said, “I could not wait to wrap my legs around him and kiss him.”
Ed gave a long speech about how much he wanted her to meet his parents and how bad he felt that she couldn’t because of his work-related hiatus from the show, then he dropped the bomb: “I have flown them out here.” Just when we’re thinking that the producers think we’re stupid enough to believe that Ed arranged and paid for his parents’ flights, they cut to Jillian saying, “That proves he cares.”
Endearingly, Ed’s parents seem to belong to that shrinking part of the U.S. population that has no idea how to be “good television.” His mother said that she was surprised that Ed did the show at all. His father, in a nice Chicago accent, asked Ed, “What the hell are we doing here? What is going on?” “I was able to salvage my job,” Ed told him.
“I can only hope for the best,” his father said. “I think this is a rather unusual setting.” (Exactly!)
Ed’s mother told Jillian that you can tell when people are with someone who they are serious about. Jillian said, “So you see a difference in Ed when he’s with me?” The correct answer would be, “I didn’t say that,” but all we saw was the mother nodding. Ed’s father choked up a little when talking about Ed to Jillian, but maybe he was just worried that his son was about to make a huge mistake.
We next saw Ed and Jillian sitting on the beach, where she pulled out the fantasy-suite letter. (This is the second time she’s invited Ed up for some hanky-panky without buying him dinner first.) She told the camera that she wanted to have “some intimate, cozy, sexy time” with Ed. But then the ominous music started, we saw another shot of a moist thigh, and host Chris Harrison said in voice-over, “Ed shares his deepest feelings, but no one is prepared for what happens next.”
After the commercial, Ed showed up at Jillian’s door in sandals, a baggy shirt and shorts, which is hardly proper fantasy-suite attire. After they settled down, he assured her that he wanted to heretofore balance his work and personal lives better, and not be checking e-mail at 9 p.m.: “I would love for you to be the reason for me to not work.”
He eventually warmed up. “I’m absolutely falling in love with you,” he told her, “and I don’t care about anything else right now.” Much romantic talk, both to each other and to the camera, followed; the upshot was that he carried her into the bedroom and put her on the rose-petal-strewn bed.
“I want tonight to be the perfect night,” Ed told the camera. “I want to be romantic and show her that I am crazy about her.” Jillian got up from the bed, went into the bathroom and returned in a flimsy and very low-cut white shirt. She reached over to the nightstand to grab a handful of the lotion we’d been seeing all night in previews, and the rubbing and massaging began.
After a shot of the couple through the sheer bed curtains, there was a shot of the light going out in the room, then of waves crashing, then the moon. We all know what that means, right? Wrong. Suddenly, to ominous music, the light went back on. Jillian told the camera, “Our fantasy date was not exactly like we had planned. We were sunburned, exhausted and had had a huge day. The love was there, but that, like, ‘Oh, my God, I want my hands all over you,’ that wasn’t there.” Ed’s comment implied that it wasn’t the hands that were the problem: “I was very nervous, and, uh, it just didn’t happen. I couldn’t show her that I really, truly am in love with her.” We saw Ed lying face down on the bed, with Jillian straddling his back and giving him little “Don’t worry, baby” pats on his shoulders.
After the commercial, Chris Harrison had Jillian do a post mortem on all of her fantasy dates, but clearly all we cared about was what happened with Ed. “I guess this overwhelming pressure has really affected the physical intimacy of your relationship,” Chris said in summation.
In other words, Ed seems to have failed Jillian’s hot dog test. This raises a few questions. On “Bachelor/Bachelorette” fantasy-suite dates, it’s always seemed as if the cameramen left the couples alone after getting enough foreplay footage. Did the crew actually stay in the room long enough for Jillian and Ed to realize that he couldn’t perform? (And if so, wouldn’t their presence be more of a factor than, say, his sunburn?) Or did they leave the room, only to have the couple call them back in so they could get a shot of Ed lying there like an embarrassed beached whale?
(Ed had mentioned that his parents sometimes call him Richie. Is Ed a nickname he got because of his E.D.?)
Whatever happened, the fantasy-suite flop added some suspense to the rose ceremony. Talking to Chris, Jillian ran down the guys’ positives and negatives. Kiptyn, she said, made her fear he would break her heart. Reid made her laugh but wasn’t open about his feelings. (Really? This is the first we’ve heard of that.) And Ed, well, we know what happened there. “Is it just right now?” she asked Chris rhetorically. “Do I take a gamble that after all this pressure is off, it’ll be fine?”
To help her make up her mind, Chris said, the guys had each left her a “very private video message” (“very private” meaning that it’s summer and the ratings are relatively low, so the number of viewers who will see the messages is in the septuple digits).
In his video, Kiptyn told Jillian that she continued to impress him every day: “You are a woman that I could see myself spending the rest of my life with….I could see myself falling in love with you.” She sighed a little sadly when he was done. Maybe she could see herself dumping him.
“Spending the night with you in the fantasy suite was definitely one of the best nights of my life,” said Reid. But he still couldn’t give her a straight answer. He apologized for avoiding her questions or reversing them on her, but all he could say was “My feelings have grown so strong so quickly that it’s a bit scary,” and “I really hope you keep your honey bear around longer so we can see where our relationship’s headed and how far we can take it.”
Ed told Jillian that she had changed his perspective on life and made him a better man. After some flattery, he concluded by saying, “I would love an opportunity to spend the rest of my life with you and propose to you. I love you.” Jillian looked truly surprised.
At the rose ceremony, Jillian told the three guys, “I’m definitely falling in love with all of you.” But then she interrupted her speech to say, “Uh…Ed, do you think I could talk to you for a second?”
They walked off, and she told him that she knew he’d been under a lot of pressure, but she was worried that they didn’t have chemistry. Ed explained that there were “too many other external things going on right now that are affecting the way that I’m behaving, I guess. Trust me that everything I’ve been telling you is sincere. You don’t have to worry about anything you would be worrying about, OK?...I’m absolutely crazy about you, and if you have any doubts at all about that, I don’t know how you could even be here sitting with me.”
Somehow, that worked. Kiptyn got the first rose, and, after a pause that was long even by this show’s standards, Ed got the second.
Jillian told Reid that he defined everything she was looking for, and she sort of apologized for the constant questioning. He buried his head in her shoulder, but it was unclear whether that was because he was emotionally overwhelmed or was having trouble producing sad facial expressions.
As Jillian wept quietly by herself, Reid rode off in the limo, where he got as close as he’s come to expressing a true emotion. “I wish I could have opened up to her the way I should have,” he said. “It’s definitely a tough moment, a surprising moment….I could definitely say I was falling in love with her.” He added, “I don’t see her as being happy with either one of those guys.” (He and Wes agree on that one.) After a brief shot of Ed telling Jillian he appreciated what she’d done, we saw Reid saying, “It would have been a lot easier if I’d told her I loved her. I think I [bleeped] up. And if I could reverse things, I would.”
It’s not that hard to believe that being rejected made Reid realize something he should have realized earlier—maybe when he was kissing Jillian in the bathtub on what was possibly their last date together. But it’s easier to believe that Reid was just being a good sport and giving the producers some sound bites they could use for an emotional payoff.
In a week of “So You Think You Can Dance” that will be remembered most of all for Janette and Brandon’s hot tango (which received a standing ovation from judges Tyce Diorio, Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe), the judges were supposed to narrow down the contestants to the 10 who will go on tour this fall. The bottom three couples in the viewers’ votes were Caitlin and Jason, who failed to put their lyrical-jazz routine over the top; Jeanine and Phillip, who were stuck with a Russian folk dance that no performer could have saved; and Melissa and Ade, who were wildly praised for their disco routine but failed to nail their waltz. Before the “dance for your lives” solos, Nigel Lythgoe shared the information that the judges make their elimination decisions by deciding which contestants they most want to see continue on the show and that they’ve usually made up their minds before the solos. So Caitlin’s cute, athletic routine and Phillip’s typically skillful hip-hop number probably couldn’t have saved them from elimination. Making the whole solo-dance exercise seem even more futile, Nigel then announced that Caitlin and Phillip would be joining the tour anyway. (Nigel had previously announced that contrary to rumor, the show won’t be creating a special Michael Jackson tribute episode because Sony refused to license the songs the producers had requested.)
On the season 11 premiere of “Big Brother” on Thursday night, a visibly pregnant Julie Chen announced this summer’s twists: The 12 houseguests would be divided into four groups based on typical high school cliques: the athletes, the brains, the popular crowd and the offbeat. And one former “BB” participant would become this season’s 13th houseguest and first “head of household.” After a competition called “the wedgie” (remember, this is high school), in which the houseguests were suspended by giant underpant-like harnesses while clutching toilet seats, the athlete team won, and Jessie, the body builder from season 10, moved in. On Sunday, after the brain team lost a competition involving doing plumbing work in a rave-like setting (their penalty was to live in a bare room with a cold shower and “slop” for food), Ronnie the brain successfully lobbied Jessie to nominate Laura the popular girl for eviction, using Ronnie’s fellow brain Chima as the pawn. But as the already unpopular Chima (as well as everyone else) knows, the pawn is often voted out instead of the supposed target.
The housemates on “The Real World: Cancun” divided along gender lines. Jasmine, Ayiiia and Emilee were angry at Jonna because she was spending more time with the guys. So Jasmine, Ayiiia and Emilee went out for a girls’-night-out bonding session that got very close when Emilee and Ayiiia spent the night together. The next morning, Emilee was all been-there-done-that; Ayiiia was all “I’ve never been as intimate with a woman as much as I was with Emilee last night.” But when the boys and Emilee got into a fight during their first day at work, Emilee got mad at Ayiiia for not defending her. Emilee and Jasmine decided to make up with the guys and Jonna. Feeling betrayed, Ayiiia confronted Emilee. Their screaming match ended with Ayiiia saying to Emilee, “At least I wasn’t f—-ing adopted, b——.” So the episode ended with everyone united against Ayiiia.
In another setup episode of “Brooke Knows Best,” Hulk Hogan invited Brooke and her roommates, Glenn and Ashley, to accompany him and his young girlfriend, Jennifer, to the astronaut-training facility at the Kennedy Space Center. Brooke asked Jennifer, who looks creepily like her, whether she was ready to fly rockets, then added, “Just don’t tell me about flying my dad’s rocket.” Also in questionable taste was the animated space-shuttle disaster that occurred while Hulk and Glenn were in the flight simulator. Hulk blamed the crash on Glenn, who tried to take a cellphone call from his new boyfriend, Daniel, during landing. Later, when Daniel came to meet the family, the young folks asked Hulk how he feels about gay marriage. He replied, “I don’t feel good about any type of marriage now.”