Does Jojo suffer from “white male face blindness”?
We think of trashy television as some kind of guilty pleasure that lulls us into stupidity. Actually, we’re watching it because it forces us, in the case of The Bachelorette, to see in simple terms all the problems with romance in our culture. JoJo claims to want to end the season engaged and in love and however naïve her desire, there’s a buoyant promise in it. That we slowly watch get crushed and mangled under the cog of bad decisions.
Is JoJo an actual princess?
It is during JoJo’s heart-to-heart convo with resident human Wells that she starts talking about “wanting the fairy tale.” And the “unicorn.” And most of all, ten years into her imaginary marriage, she wants to turn to her spouse and still think he’s hot. Wells gives her an endearing face shrug, as if he’s thinking, “Ten years down the line? Who knows, baby? Let’s just get through this weird dinner.”
He’s not about to start fantasizing that far in advance. He’s too down-to-earth.
JoJo is not. She seems much more princessified this week. More removed from logic and earth-based thinking. It probably has something to do with Buenos Aires, Argentina. One of the men calls the hotel there “five star fancy.” Understatement. The whole place looks to be constructed from brocade and gilded extravagance.
JoJo wears the kind of red cocktail dresses that seem to have been smelted onto her form. Then in blue, she turns to liquid. As if a woman could wear the actual ocean. She dons an indigo gown that sweeps behind her on a desperately ornate staircase. She rushes away, mid-rose ceremony, her emotions spilling like cleavage. Chris Harrison, the consummate expert in the art of dry delivery, treats the whole shebang like it’s brain surgery. Of course it is. A combination of lobotomy and catechism.
What follows is boutonniere histrionics. With copious sweat droplets on the foreheads of Alex and James Taylor, bent as they are, over the proverbial reality show “chopping block.” It is such contrived torture. Alex responds with stifled rage, while James T. perspires despair. Then, like an enchanted butler, Maester Chris Harrison swoops in, silver tray in hand. He offers two stays of execution, roses, for both remaining boys.
How can we expect JoJo to resist this kind of fairy tale?
Who are the frontrunners and Good God, JoJo, Why?
Level Eleven Lust Puppet Luke is in his own category. Your basic “Passion of the Luke” style devotion. We know why JoJo keeps him around. He smites her with a breath and a glance. She dissolves when he kisses her. Or so she claims.
But why does JoJo discard the two men who most closely resemble human beings (a skeptic and a weeper?) Instead, she gives roses to a set of indistinguishable triplets with the same beard, pompadour, personality and probably, sense of entitlement? Why JoJo?
If you have white male face blindness you will not be able to discern a difference between her next top picks:
They are the following set of action figures:
- An apparent celebrity who goes by the name of “Jordan Rodgers,” an erstwhile “football” professional who talked about making it through the “tough stuff” with JoJo. What was this challenging “stuff?” It was “opening up about feelings.”
- Chase, who physically resembles Jordan, albeit carved from a stiffer wood. He declared the following insight: that he is “starting to feel” for JoJo. You should know that he appears amateur at both Tango and emotions.
- Robby, another tawny-haired tall man. He is not above paying off Argentinian locales, if that’s what it takes, to score a goal in futbol (soccer.) The prize is kissing JoJo, a girl he loves.
What is the performance art Brute Force about?
It is so perfect when the producers send Wells and JoJo to the set of a performance art piece entitled Brute Force. The set’s “ceiling” is a kind of giant amniotic sac upon which dancers writhe. It wasn’t exactly a kissable sitch, but once on the slippery sac, Wells and JoJo finally (!) touch lips. But then instead of melting, JoJo yelps, “We did it!” And you knew Wells was doomed.
He still had to perform in the art piece. He gets “fake shot” while running on a treadmill. There is a searing metaphor in there somewhere.
Wasn’t it hard to watch the departure of pragmatist Wells with his shaky hands? Won’t we all yearn for his open-faced directness? As if it never occurred to him to don a persona? Then he referred to himself as “terrified and neurotic” just like you would be if some tangled fate tossed you on the shores of a reality show. Aren’t you nostalgic for those early scenes when instead of performing heroic feats, Wells collapsed? Just like you would. You know you would. And JoJo wasn’t repelled. She dug it.
You could tell that Wells will be just fine. JoJo, however. She let a good one get away.
Absolutely Cry for Me, Argentina. Do it Now.
The artists in charge of The Bachelorette know exactly what they’re doing. Performance art. Tango. The pop opera Evita. They are reveling in the language of melodrama which has always had a bad reputation. These art forms slather on the drama, trying to get at a real expression of emotion by imitating it.
As JoJo gets closer to the end, she seems to get further away from something like love. She’s moving closer to fairy tales. The curtain pulls back and we see the bare facts on that stage. Wells was right when he said, “I get it” just after rejection. He didn’t seem interested in living up to JoJo’s dreams. He was this episode’s appetizer, but the piece de resistance was Derek.
“Why am I crying?” he asked after his dismissal. “Don’t cry,” he wept. Derek couldn’t hear that most pleading of showtunes—an operatic, drippingly ironic “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina.” He mimicked its entreaty, while cross-cut with the actual performance, by an adept and soulful Soledad Pastorutti.
He wept for us all. For anyone who ever lost at love, even young stupid love, and for the eternal anguish that lies in music, even when you can’t hear it playing.
JoJo probably won’t find love among the remaining dudes. But at least the audience gets some clues about romance. The Bachelor Nation willingly watches the fairy tale crash and burn and then, they realize, like every bloke who walks away (or who gets limo’d outta there,) they can mourn that tragedy and survive it. That’s the key step to real love, anyway. As everyone who has it knows.
Photo: Getty Images
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