Approaching the end of a “Bachelorette” season that could have been subtitled “Smart Woman, Foolish Choices,” our heroine Jillian finally showed some sense and sent the shifty country singer Wes back home to Austin.
His dismissal came after what was probably the least sexy “fantasy suite” episode in the history of the “Bachelor/Bachelorette” franchise. Perhaps because Jillian thought that three of the four remaining guys—Wes, Kiptyn, and Reid—weren’t ever going to commit to her, she didn’t spend the night with them.
Ed, the Chicagoan who quit the show to get back to his job but then returned last week, was the only suitor to show any real enthusiasm toward Jillian. She rewarded him by letting him sleep over in her suite, but she insisted that they keep their clothes on.
The episode, which could have been subtitled “He’s Just Not That Into You,” kicked off with Jillian’s day with Kiptyn, the 31-year-old “business developer” from Encinitas, Calif. She and the four guys had flown to Spain, which provided so many romantic backdrops that the dates seemed even more tepid by comparison. (The show’s host, Chris Harrison, was absent. Are times so hard that ABC can’t afford his airfare and per diem?)
Before meeting Kiptyn in a park in Madrid, Jillian had said that he was such a “perfect package” that he might be out of her league. After they strolled awhile, he told her, “I think a proposal seems far off at this point in time.”
Cut to Jillian telling the camera, “I am here to get engaged.”
The two spent the rest of the day taking flamenco lessons in traditional costumes. Both of them agreed that his trousers were very tight.
As we saw them meeting for dinner, we cut again to an interview. Jillian said that she did want to find someone with whom she could spend the rest of her life but she wasn’t necessarily hoping to get engaged right away. (Don’t settle, Jillian!)
At dinner, they again talked about Kiptyn’s tight flamenco pants, and Jillian told him, “You could hurt the boys that way.” That naturally led to a discussion of whether or not they both wanted kids. (They do.)
When the “fantasy suite” invitation arrived at their table (offering them a fancy place to spend the night together, if they were both so inclined), Kiptyn read it aloud, noted that it was signed “Chris” and said to Jillian, “That’s very nice of Chris. I hope Chris consulted with you.”
Jillian, however, got very serious. She first told the camera and then told Kiptyn that she wasn’t ready to spend the night with him because she wasn’t sure they were heading in the right direction and she didn’t want to get her feelings mixed up. But, she added, “Maybe we could cuddle at my place and hang out for a little bit.”
(Ladies, if you make that offer to a guy and he says he’s fine with just cuddling, don’t believe him. I don’t care if Kiptyn seemed like a perfect gentleman tonight. There were cameras on him.)
When they arrived in the suite, Jillian offered Kiptyn wine and then led him by the hand to the bed, where she sneaked her leg in between his and at one point had to put his arm around her. As they were saying goodnight, he looked happy to be leaving, although he later told the camera, “Every day I feel like I’m getting closer to love with her.”
Jillian’s date with Reid, the 30-year-old realtor from Philadelphia, took place in Seville (or, as the show called it, Sevilla; is “The Bachelorette” produced by the same guys who insisted that the Turin Winter Olympics were taking place in Torino?).
Jillian seemed to have better chemistry with Reid than with Kiptyn. “As soon as I see Reid,” she said, “I get an instant perma-grin.” Later she revealed her plans for the day: “Him and I are going to hang out in the park, make out and eat our food.”
They had fun trying to speak Spanish while shopping for their picnic supplies, but when she pressed him to talk about his feelings, things got awkward. “You know I’m not good at this stuff,” he said, then hemmed and hawed about having a hard time opening up and about how he’s attracted to her and how things keep getting better. That seemed to satisy her, so they kissed. When they paused, Reid said, “But…” They both laughed.
At dinner, Jillian again had to push her date to talk about his feelings and again he lapsed into generalities and evasions—for example, “I think the way it’s going now, it could be exactly what you want and I want.” Jillian, however, was eating it up.
After the fantasy-suite card arrived, Reid didn’t seem too broken up when Jillian gave him a variation on the speech she gave Kiptyn (this time without the offer to cuddle). He said he was cool with that but pointed out that he had a key to his room.
Reid chose this moment to talk about being jealous that Jillian might be making out with other guys. Jillian cleverly saw an opening and asked him why he was jealous, but he couldn’t actually come up with anything that sounded like he was falling in love. Nonetheless, talking to the camera later, he said, “Ella tiene mi corazón—she has my heart.” So maybe he is just tongue-tied and not feigning enthusiasm.
Jillian said that Ed, the 29-year-old technology consultant from Chicago, was going to have to “bring it on” during their date, not only because he’d missed time with her but also because she hadn’t met his family last week.
After they met up near a fountain (at some point, Jillian soaked the left half of her shorts), Ed talked about how much he had regretted his decision to leave. (He didn’t say anything about the show’s producers coming to him and begging him to return so that there would be at least one guy left who seemed to be attracted to Jillian, so maybe that didn’t happen.)
The conversation continued as they rode in a carriage around the streets of Seville. Jillian told the camera that she realized she needed to catch up with Ed, but there was an “irresponsible part of me that just doesn’t care, that just wants to make out with him.” Later, as they embraced while standing in a fountain, she said, “We need to get our quantity of kisses up to par.”
At their dinner date, Ed, like Reid, said it takes him a long time to open up and show emotion. When she mentioned that one of them would have to leave his or her home if they became involved, he said she would like Chicago because it’s “all about eating.” Then, when she asked if he thought she would like attending a baseball game, he said she would, “for the hot dogs alone.” Proving what a rare woman she is, Jillian didn’t seize either opportunity to say, “So you think I’m fat?” (Oddly, we didn’t see them being served any food at the restaurant.)
When the card arrived, Ed said bluntly, “I would love to spend the night with you.” Jillian gave her not-tonight speech for the third time, with a few Ed-specific lines about how she was worried that he would leave her again but that she wanted them to “get caught up.” Stroking her arm, Ed agreed that more time would be good, and she said, “So do you think we should hang out a bit?” For the second time in one night, we saw Jillian holding a wine glass and leading a guy by the hand to her bed.
When Ed said he didn’t want her to do anything she would regret, she replied, “I do crave cuddling with you,” but added, “We’re sleeping in our clothes.”
Jillian had her date with Wes in Barcelona. He told us this was fine with him; it seems he’s comfortable being around Spanish-speaking people because he had a No. 1 song in Chihuahua, Mexico. (Even bands who are big in Japan would make fun of that one.)
When they met up, Jillian told him, “I missed you,” and he replied, “You say that to all the boys.” For the rest of the date, as they rode a bike through town or had a picnic, she attempted to reach out to him while he brushed her off. She explained to us that he was her bad-boy singing-cowboy ideal, but a better explanation of her behavior is that this is the same woman who kept Tanner the foot fetishist around for weeks.
She asked Wes if he would move to her home town, Vancouver, and he replied, “That would be crazy.” Well, then, how about somewhere else other than Austin? No answer. Their communication didn’t get much better than that.
At dinner, Wes told Jillian, “I’d like to clear the table, clear the air—whatever.” He said he’d never told the other guys that he had a girlfriend, as Jake had reported to Jillian in the preceding episode. “You do happen to have a career that would benefit from this,” she said. Wes replied that his manager had thought it was a good idea, but that he was staying around even after he’d received enough publicity.
Once it became clear he had no feelings for her, he said, “I’m not here to hurt you, but I’m gonna be true to myself, because numero uno is most important here.” Looking a little moist in the eyes, Jillian brought the conversation back to Wes’ alleged girlfriend, Laurel. He repeated his line that they had remained friends after they broke up. But then he started a sentence with “My girlfriend, I mean, my ex-girlfriend…” They both seemed to give up at that point.
After reading the fantasy-suite invitation, Wes said, “I think we should, actually.” With tears in her eyes, Jillian said, “I have gotten a lot of questions answered tonight. I think we should skip it.”
As they said their goodbyes, Jillian said in voice-over that she was embarrassed but that she felt sorry for Wes because he thought he needed to do the show to advance his career: “He didn’t need this, but I need this. And I don’t need anybody else taking that away from me.” Various feminist-empowerment songs began playing in the minds of millions of viewers.
At the rose ceremony, held in some kind of country villa and without Chris Harrison, Kiptyn told the other guys, “It’s me.”
“If it’s me,” said Wes, “you boys know that I will be back home, having lots of sex.” Lucky for Wes, Ed got the first rose, followed by Reid and then Kiptyn.
After she walked Wes to his limo, Jillian told the camera, “I can’t waste any more time with Wes. The bad boy is definitely gone.”
In his back-seat exit interview, Wes ironized: “She shot me down. I’m going down in flames. The first guy ever on ‘The Bachelorette’ to make it to the top four with a girlfriend. You know, I think it’s going to take me a long time to, you know, get back on my feet.”
He began to sound a little drunk as he went on: “My acting days are over. I’ve already done everything I need to do.” Having boasted of leading Jillian on, he decided to insult his competition: “Them boys couldn’t so much as get a nibble back in Texas.” He concluded by singing, “Everybody’s gonna know my name.”
Usually the villains on reality shows are either cold fish who like manipulating other people (like Richard Hatch, the first “Survivor” winner) or calculating types who think that obnoxiousness will help them stand out and become famous (like Spencer on “The Hills” and Omarosa on “The Apprentice”).
If Wes’ manager thinks that being seen abusing and insulting a woman on a popular dating show will help Wes win over country-music fans, Wes needs to seek new management. Right now his best option is probably someone who specializes in booking people on last-chance shows like “The Surreal Life” and “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here.”
On “The Real World: Cancun,” the kids proved that even if you place a “Real World” cast in cushy lodgings in a tropical location and don’t make them do anything, they will still find a way to get into a pointless fight. Joey, the would-be rocker, and Ayiiia, the pretty girl, had been butting heads (he likes to tease her, and she doesn’t take it), but when he told her to shut up as they were leaving a club after a typical night of drinking, she began chanting at him: “Herpes on your lip! Herpes on your lip!” (He claimed his lip was sunburned.) He retaliated by spitting on her takeout tacos. She responded by throwing water at his guitar. They eventually made up, but in the confessional, she seemed to suggest that it was an armistice and not a peace agreement. Meanwhile, CJ and Jonna’s very physical flirtation went nowhere.
The “So You Think You Can Dance” viewers didn’t listen to the judges this week. All three couples in the bottom three—Karla and Vitolio (quickstep), Kayla and Kupono (a “vampire-inspired” contemporary dance) and Phillip and Jeanine (hip-hop)—had received positive critiques from the judges. Moreover, Phillip had performed his own genre for the first time. After the dance-for-your-lives solos, it boiled down to star quality: Head judge Nigel Lythgoe said that Vitolio had great presence but wasn’t delivering in his dancing, while Karla seemed to have lost the charisma she showed at the beginning of the competition, and they were sent home.
On “Brooke Knows Best,” a hip-hop performer named Colby O’Donis came to Miami to record a track with Brooke and pretend to be interested in dating her. Hulk Hogan also came to Miami to do his “stay away from my little girl” act. Sadly, Colby had to go on tour, so his and Brooke’s romance was not to be. After all these years on reality TV, Brooke should know better than to coast through an episode with a setup that’s contrived without being clever. At least Brooke’s younger guy fans probably enjoyed the scene where she and Colby went inner-tubing and she lost her bikini bottom.