''The Bachelorette'': Jen's intimacy issues
Just for fun, rank the following three dating activities on an intimacy scale:
1. Playing croquet.
2. Sharing a bottle of sauvignon blanc on the beach.
3. Stripping off your clothes, drinking champagne, and making out in a hot bubble bath.
Prior to tonight's episode of The Bachelorette, I'd have expected a landslide win for soapy tub-time frolics, but what do I know? I spent my Valentine's Day forcing my significant other to watch Jen Schefft's husband hunt (and part of Supernanny), although in my defense, I made a lovely four-bean soup for dinner. And heck, if a bowl of steaming legumes doesn't say love, then what does?
As for Jen, I think she'd vote for the croquet. How else to explain our Bachelorette's decision to whip out her loofah for bland, smiling Ryan in the middle of their overnight date, then coldly dismiss him at the very next rose ceremony? It was almost enough to leave me outraged but I had more important things to do.
You see, I was using a clock to time the actual length of tonight's episode. Not ''previously on The Bachelorette'' moments. Not ''coming up on The Bachelorette'' moments promising a shocking rose-ceremony twist (like I'm falling for that again!). And not closing credits.
Subtracting all that hooey, I timed slightly less than 37 minutes of new scintillating footage. You know, like Ryan using a breath-freshening product on the beach in Cape Cod (right after an advertisement for . . . the exact same breath-freshening product!). Or Jen looking all intense and sexy while riding around on a Jet Ski off the Bermuda coast.
The only thing we didn't see (same as with every other episode this season) was a single interesting conversation between Jen and her suitors. Are the show's producers toying with my affections preparing to unleash a season-finale conversational floodgate in which Jen discusses with John Paul and Jerry such subjects as quantum physics, the Middle East peace talks, and her favorite Jim Carrey movies? Or could it be that Jen and the boys are as dim as the crime-lab lighting on CSI?
Until proven otherwise, I'm going with the latter, though I'm not denying some of Jen's date banter has been unintentionally riveting:
Cut to Jen and John Paul sipping wine on the beach in Bermuda, and Jen stating the painfully obvious that when she's in a relationship, she likes ''spending time with the person I'm with.'' That salient observation came a close second to the moment John Paul shared that he was excited to be on the date, and Jen said she was excited that he was happy to be there. (I'll bet you John Paul was excited that Jen was excited that he was happy to be there, too!)
Or how about after the croquet match, when Jen desperately fished for compliments by asking Jerry for three things he liked about her? Jerry's caught-in-the-headlights responses were classic: ''You light up a room.'' ''You make me feel weird.'' And ''You've shown a willingness to accept my life.'' Huh? Well, one and a quarter out of three isn't bad. Pushed for more specifics, Jerry hit the panic button and came up with ''You're adorable,'' and then, drained of ideas, a wildly inaccurate ''You're quirky.''
Folks, if Jen is the new quirky, then Eva Longoria is the new hideous.
Nothing on the first two dates, though, could top Jen's wild contradictions about Ryan. ''He and I speak the same language,'' Jen repeatedly insisted. English? Maybe. But note to our Bachelorette: When a guy tells you he wants to take care of you emotionally, physically, and financially, and then you tell him a few minutes later that you never want to see his doughy face again, you're not exactly on the same page. Comprende?
At least they'll always have the bathtub. Plus, Ryan can take comfort in Jen's strange post-breakup observation that, ''There's so many things once this is over that will be uncomfortable for us.'' Perhaps she was referring to the time she trashed Ryan's sweet parents on camera because they wanted to talk about their Thailand vacation instead of spending the evening discussing her reality TV exploits.
So who will Jen choose now that she's down to two men? John Paul would appear to be the front-runner going into the final dates, but Jen seems obsessed with the fact that he's younger than her. And while they did spend the night together in the fantasy suite, Jen's observation to John Paul that she was ''finally feeling normal and good'' with him is not exactly a ringing endorsement of their love. (Most people I know like to feel passionate or connected or at least mildly inebriated before hitting the sheets with a date, y'know?)
On the other hand, while Jen questioned if Jerry's just a player, and said she was ''still not ready to take things to the next level'' with him, it appeared from the footage that she spent the night with him in the fantasy suite as well, scoring (no pun intended) a three out of three this episode. My gut feeling that Jen would prefer Los Angeles to Oklahoma City and the most photogenic husband possible makes me think Jen will end up with Jerry.
I can hardly wait for her decision. The sooner I can get in my tub and wash away this entire subpar Bachelorette season.
What do you think? Is Jen really into either of these guys? Is either one of them into her? Is Ryan the lucky one?