Couchtime WIth Jill

Sharp & snarky TV recaps with Jill Mader. (@jillemader on Twitter)

The Bachelor – And the rose goes to…

The Bachelor – And the rose goes to… Last night the season finale of The Bachelor aired. Like I do every season, I screeced “THREE HOURS???” when I hit play on the DVR. Sheesh. They really know how to drag something out on this show.

This is a review of the finale and the “After the Final Rose” special, so click through if you want to know who won.

Family Matters

Sean was hoping that the women visiting with his family would help bring “clarity”, but his family – especially his dad – was over the moon with both women. Catherine was immediately accepted into the family, and knowing that she lost her dad, it was actually a little sweet to hear Sean’s dad say he’d consider her a daughter. I mean, it would be sweeter if he actually knew her. But still.

Lindsay seemed to fit in with Sean’s family the best, in that rich white people kind of way. I still think Lindsay lacks any discernible personality, and she comes across like a high school student. She seems too immature for Sean.

Sean’s mom Sherry still wasn’t thrilled with the idea of a proposal, and it was nice to hear an actual voice of reason on the show. She told him that he should be sure, that he shouldn’t feel pressure to propose, and that if he was going to propose he should probably have stronger feelings for one woman than the other.

Sean took his mother’s advice seriously, but not seriously enough to actually listen. So he went on two dates.

Date #1 – Lindsay

Sean and Lindsay went on a boating date dressed like models for an exclusive country club. Sean was in red shorts and a sky blue tank top, and Lindsay in tiny pink daisy dukes. It’s enough to make you sick.

Lindsay seems very sweet, but I just find her so YOUNG. Like a high schooler. Sean is 29 and a business owner. Lindsay is 24 and seems younger. She’s a substitute teacher and probably hasn’t been out of school all that long. I can see her moving to Texas and allowing her whole life to revolve around Sean, and if Sean were to pick her and I would think it was because it was the easiest choice.

“I can picture you being a hot old chick” is something Sean said to Lindsay. “I love you. I mean it. I’ve never meant it this much,” is something Lindsay said to Sean. That tells you everything you need to know about The Bachelor.

Lindsay got drunk, and that was the date. Too. Young.

Date #2 – Catherine

ELEPHANTS! I love elephants. The highlight of my life so far was feeding elephants at Knysna Elephant Reserve in South Africa. I have adored them for as long as I can remember. So I was jealous of this date. And I appreciated that Sean let Catherine sit in front and guide the elephant.

This date just seemed like so much more fun. I mean, it’s not like any of these Bachelor relationships work out – I thought Emily and Jeff were right together and they broke up, so I hold no illusions there. But of the two, Sean relationship with Catherine feels more normal and down to earth.

Poor Catherine. She has such a hard time talking about the serious things, probably because she has only been dating Sean for a few weeks and he has another girlfriend. When Catherine told Sean “I love you”, he responded with “Thank you for today.” Well, that’s better than “You’d be a hot old person”. Because Catherine is a normal person, it wasn’t good enough for her and she left feeling like crap. This is a sign that Catherine is too normal for the show. Because normal people want to get feelings back when they put feelings out there!

Decision 2013

It definitely seemed like Sean was going to choose Lindsay, so I thought maybe we were being faked out and he’d choose Catherine. Many of the women – Sarah, AshLee and Jackie – thought that he’d choose Lindsay, and Leslie was alone in thinking that Catherine was the right pick. I always liked Leslie.

The Bachelor – And the rose goes to…

Lindsay – A silver dress for a silver place finish

Sean expressed his dread over dumping a nice girl for no reason. The reject SUV pulled up, and Lindsay got out. “Today is the day I am getting engaged,” she said. Oh, sweetie. Sorry. Sean didn’t rip the bandaid off quickly, either. He sugarcoated it, which is the worst. It was sad, Lindsay looked like Taylor Swift after the Kanye incident. He said the hardest part is he loves her, which made it So. Much. Worse. Lindsay begged him to stop, and he kept saying “It’s important that you know how hard this is for me.” Selfish much? He can’t stand being the bad guy.

For someone who came across as a silly little girl for much of the season, Lindsay handled the rejection with a surprising amount of maturity. I thought she’d sob more in front of him. In the car, I hoped she’d pull it together a little more. The repeated “This is like, sad. This is like really sad” and the “I don’t want to be alone” at age 24 was a little much. It was charming when she took her shoes off, though.

The Letter

The Bachelor – And the rose goes to…

Catherine – gold for first place

The letter Sean read was from Catherine, and was entirely positive. What a letdown. Did anyone else wonder if Catherine’s own family was peeved by how excited she was to move to Dallas and join Sean’s family? Her sisters threw her under the bus, she told Sean that she’s not that close to them and she practically asked his dad to adopt her. Clearly, they aren’t the tightest family.

I wish Catherine’s dress had fit a little better for the big moment. Sean said nice things, he proposed, she said yes. They literally rode off into the sunset on an elephant. But come on. What we really want to know is, how long before they break up?

After the Final Rose

There were two announcements during the special – Sean had “late, breaking news” about his relationship with Catherine – and we found out who the new Bachelorette is.

First, Lindsay came out. She was polite, which meant the whole thing was pretty boring. The girl is nice, but she has the personality of a fluffy pink bath towel. If she had been the Bachelorette, it would make for a dull season.

Next Catherine came out, still with a giant rock on her finger and still holding Sean’s hand. So we knew a breakup wouldn’t be the big announcement. It was pretty boring, and I kind of wanted to punch Chris Harrison when he commented that Catherine’s letter had America in a panic. That was because The Bachelor suggested that the letter was going to be game-changing! This show is ridiculous.

My prediction was that the “big announcement” was that maybe Sean and Catherine had already secretly gotten married. Nope. Nothing that interesting. They will get married on TV, because they want a free wedding. Booooooring. Sean wouldn’t say if Catherine was moving to Dallas, only that she had packed her bags and that “life is crazy”. That sounds like “moving to L.A. to be fame whores” to me. Everyone on this show is the worst. (Apparently Sean will reveal a big secret on Good Morning America tomorrow. That secret is that he wants to be famous.)

The next Bachelorette is…

desiree-the-bachelor1 Des’s absence from the audience when Chris was polling rejected women on who Sean would choose was suspicious, so I wasn’t surprised at all when Chris Harrison announced her as the next Bachelorette. This is fine. I would be fine watching Des or Sarah, and frankly I was just breathing a sigh of relief that it wasn’t Lindsay.

Well, this was boring. What did you guys think? Did the results surprise you? Do you think Sean and Catherine will actually make it down the altar?


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Girls – An Ear Full

This episode of Girls was the second-last in a relatively controversial season. The tone of this season of the show has definitely been different than the last, and I find most of my blogs on the show this year have led to discussions about the series overall rather than specific episodes.

I recently told a friend who is behind several episodes of the show to “expect a series of short stories, not a TV series”. I like what Lena Dunham has done here, but I can completely understand why many wouldn’t. I’m fascinated by every episode, every character, every story. I think this is an interesting way to tell a story, and each week I’m dying to see more of it. But it’s unconventional, and I don’t know that I can even make a strong argument that it’s good. I just know that I love it.

One major reason many viewers have been dissatisfied this season is because of how little the titular girls have interacted. But I actually find that more interesting. Jessa has disappeared because of Jemima Kirke’s real life pregnancy, but also because she’s Jessa. She has been described as an unreliable friend from the very beginning. Shosh is younger, Jessa’s cousin, a college girl with her own college girl friends. She has never been at the core of Hannah’s universe, it seems. So the real problem here is how Hannah and Marnie have been drifting apart since we met them, and what that’s done to each woman. I’m completely fascinated by how utterly alone each one seems, because it’s something I recognize.

When you’re in your twenties, you at times end up alone. You rely on your parents less because you’re trying to be an adult. Your romantic relationships aren’t necessarily the most solid. And your friendships are evolving. You were once in college with these people, you were all in the same place in your lives. But post-graduation, that changes – people scatter, both physically and figuratively. Some people have demanding jobs, others have tons of free time. Some people end up in relationships and others are single. Some are finding success, others have no sweet clue what to do with their lives. It can push people apart. It has pushed Hannah and  Marnie apart.

It’s interesting to see how this isolation has really weakened Hannah’s mental state. This week, she pushed a Q-tip far into her ear – twice. She’s floundering with the book deal, with Adam, with her whole life. She lied and told her parents that one of her “12 to 15 incredibly close friends” would accompany her to the hospital, but she went alone. In a ratty old T-shirt and no pants. She is not doing well.

Neither is Adam. He seemed it, for a while, but he’d gone to that AA meeting for a reason. One accidental run-in with Hannah sent him out of control – he drank, he had the violent, weird (and to many, offensive) sex with his new girlfriend that he’d had with Hannah. He ruined it.

Last week, I was worried what kind of route Marnie’s aspiration to be a singer would take us down. This week, I couldn’t be happier with it. Her cringe-inducing, humiliating performance at Charlie’s work party was hilarious to watch. Hilarious, and it made me want to vomit out of sympathy-embarrassment. Charlie was right in calling Marnie out on being a mess, but it also makes sense that Charlie would be attracted to that. He’s that kind of guy. He’s the guy that’s turned on by being the bigger person, by being the successful one to swoop in and save the damsel in distress. Marnie’s “journey” to self-destruction makes him feel even better about himself than he already would. So much of this show is unrelateable to me, because I’ve never really been a typical twenty-something. But this, I feel like I’ve witnessed this.

We didn’t get much from Ray and Shosh this week (Shosh’s hairstyles from this season should – and probably do – have their own Tumblr, though). Shosh was weird around Ray because she cheated, and she eventually blurted out “I did something bad!” followed by “I held hands with the doorman.” What? Is that a euphemism or did she lie? Ray seemed unbothered. I’m guessing it was a lie.

Next week’s season finale was written by Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow, so I’m interested to see what that will be like. The only other episode he’s credited on is “The Return” from last season, where Hannah goes back to visit her parents in Michigan. It’s an episode I like very much, but the only one from the first season that is similar to how these second season episode have been – more like a short story than a traditional TV episode. I’m looking forward to seeing how this season wraps up. I’ll miss Girls once it’s finished.


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The Amazing Race – Oh, Bali!

tar fruit

Max and Katie on The Amazing Race

This week’s episode of The Amazing Race picked up from last week’s cliffhanger in an anti-climactic way – David didn’t quit, no one got eliminated, and all the teams headed off to Bali.

The double leg obviously exhausted the teams – one of the derby moms mentioned as they neared the end that they’d been on the leg for about four days.

Once in Bali, the teams had to get a monkey to open a coconut for them. Yep, that’s a sentence I never expected to type. A sentence I never expected to hear is “Her pet flying squirrel died of loneliness because she kept it in her bra. What???

Sandy Bottom vs. Fruity Top

The Detour was a classic decision between a physically demanding task and a tedious, detail oriented one. Strong teams should have opted for sandy bottom, which required them to carry sand up a hill, because it could be done quickly. But weaker teams (and ones on crutches) are often better off trying to ace the detail-oriented task – in this case, create a towering hat from a bunch of fruit. (It was a traditional offering, but a person did wear it on her head, it was nuts.

Pam and Winnie killed the fruit hat and moved into first place. In fact, more teams than I expected went for this task. I was impressed that the derby moms went for the strength challenge.

Jessica and John really struggled with the offering, and eventually got frustrated and switched Detours. I was surprised they went for the fruit option in the first place, but I think they should have stuck it out longer. I mean, it didn’t look that hard. Pam and Winnie seemed to sneeze and put it back together.

Surfin’ in the B-A-L-I

For the Roadblock, one team member had to locate a surfboard with an image of guy who’d blessed them (or married them, I guess) in a previous leg. After a bunch of craziness, David and Connor managed to take the lead away from Pam and Winnie and check in at the pit stop in first place. Pretty impressive for a guy on crutches, although it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to keep it up. Pam and Winnie came in second, and Max and Katie were a close third.

The clue was a little vague, and one of the blond country singers ended up choosing the wrong surfboard. Phil turned them away at the pit stop twice, and Caroline started to cry. After almost four days on one leg, I think exhaustion played a role in how she performed in the challenge. But they also seem a bit ditzy. By chance, she grabbed the right board on the third try and they still ended up in fourth place.

Team YouTube came in fifth, and when the derby moms realized they had the wrong surfboard, YouTube showed them the right answer. Alliances, guys. Still don’t love ‘em. The derby moms came in sixth, and did not spread the love – mullet & wife did not have the right board, and no one helped them. The hockey bros came in seventh.

Jessica and John’s poor performance in the Detour landed them in last place, and even though they had an Express Pass, John tried to complete the challenge. Chuck and Winona found the right board and finished in eighth place. John was stubborn and kept trying, even though Jessica told him it was over. I don’t know why he wouldn’t just use the Express Pass, other than moronic stubbornness. It took him an hour and fifteen minutes to complete the challenge, but they didn’t have to be eliminated.

Jessica and John seemed like a strong team, but they made a couple huge mistakes in this leg.


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Funny Friday – A Sitcom Roundup

funny friday This week’s Funny Friday is brief, because most shows are on hiatus right now. All I had left were Cougar Town, Community and The Big Bang Theory – so, let’s face it, not the cream of the comedy crop.

Cougar Town was great this week, but Community continues to disappoint. The show isn’t driving with new writers and no Dan Harmon, and at a certain point (soon) we have to accept that it probably never will. I always give new comedies five episodes to impress me, and if this were the fifth episode of Community as a new show I’d be out. I’ll continue to watch, of course, but catching old episodes on reruns reminds me of how much I used to love the show.

cougar town Cougar Town – “Make It Better”
This was probably my favorite episode of Cougar Town so far this season, because it played up Jules’ most likable traits. The way she took care of her dad, who’d broken his ankle, without letting him know that she was doing it was funny and sweet. But the honest, emotional conversation the two of them had about him aging was the real highlight of the episode. Cougar Town has always had a surprising amount of heart for a wacky show that’s mostly about day-drinking. Though I haven’t been a fan of the Wade/Laurie/Travis love triangle, I did like seeing Laurie and Wade double date with Andy and a drugged-up Ellie, so overall I thought this episode really worked.
Best moment: “Best” is Jules and Chick, but “funniest” is Grayson’s Matthew McConaughey impression.

Commuity - Season 1 Community – “Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations”
Unfortunately for Community, this season features a lot of holiday episodes and all the dates got bumped back several months by NBC. The result tonight was a Thanksgiving episode in March. That’s fine with me as long as the episode is funny, but this one was so-so at best. Jeff meeting his dad was so built up that it needed more laughs and more unpredictability than we got, and the gang hiding out in Shirley’s garage just didn’t deliver. The show needs to stop ending episodes by stating that the moral of the story is that these friends really love one another and should get back to making me laugh.
Best moment: Shirley: “”And then Pierce did white face OVER black face. No one was amused.” Pierce: “It’s meta. Ay-bed gets it.”

Funny Friday – A Sitcom Roundup The Big Bang Theory – “The Contractual Obligation Implementation”
This episode of The Big Bang Theory knocked it out of the park with all three storylines. Leonard, Sheldon and Howard visited a middle school to try and encourage young women to enter the sciences. Their discussions of feminism at the beginning of the episode were funny, but the hilarity really came when they tried to impress tween girls. I mean, Leonard rapped. He rapped, you guys! Impromptu! Then, we had Penny, Bernadette and Amy blew off work (or in Penny’s case, just said “bye”) to go to Disneyland. The two storylines met perfectly when Sheldon had Amy and Bernadette call in to speak to the class – and they did it right after getting their Disney Princess makeovers. And finally, Raj and his new lady had a texting date in a library – adorable anxious and geeky.
Best moment: I enjoyed the end tag, seeing each guy’s reaction to his girlfriend dressed as a Disney princess.


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American Idol – Boys Will Be Boys

The boys on American Idol are not strong this year, which is interesting given the trend of winners for the past several years.

I was incredibly bored by this crop of Idol dudes. I hated so many of the performances that I didn’t even bother ranking them this week. Click through to find out what I thought, and share yours in the comments section.

Elijah Liu – “Stay”
This isn’t really a song to clap along to, you know? In fact, the restrained, almost boring Rihanna ballad isn’t really a song for Idol. This was a skilled, but dull performance.

Cortez Shaw – “Locked Out of Heaven”
This wasn’t the greatest performance, but I breathed a sigh of relief that someone was finally singing something upbeat. The smaller stage lends itself better to ballads, I know, but it gets So. Boring. Cortez was strained in parts, and kind of lost energy halfway through, but I don’t think he’s the worst.

Charlie Askew – “Mama”
Oh dear. This was nothing short of a tragedy, from the tank top/earring/mustache combo to the singing itself to the eyes filled with tears as the judges critiqued the performance. The judges have put through some different people this season, and some quirky personalities. There’s a discussion to have on when someone isn’t quirky, but is a socially awkward person suddenly shoved onto the public stage. Charlie telling Seacrest that he only smiles because he thinks he has to was heartbreaking, and truly concerning. Oh man. I just don’t even know.

Nick Boddington – “Iris”
I don’t mind Nick, but I didn’t care for this arrangement of the song.  I don’t have an opinion on whether he goes through, really – I’m fine either way.

Burnell Taylor – “I’m Here”
This was a song from The Color Purple, but Burnell was dressed like he was from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Luckily, he is very very good. There’s no question that he should and will advance.

Paul Jolley – “Just a Fool”
I did not think this was good. That is all.

Lazaro Arbos – “Feeling Good”
Ugh, hasn’t this song been done enough on Idol yet? And it has certainly been done better. This was also not very good.

Curtis Finch Jr. – “I Believe I Can Fly”
Sigh. So many sappy ballads! Ugh. This dull, mediocre and forgettable.

Devin Velez – “Somos Noivos”
Again, boring. I have so little to say about these guys.

Vincent Powell – “End of the Road”
I’m not a big fan of that song, so this wasn’t my favorite performance. Vincent is a fine enough singer, but there’s nothing special about him to me. In this crop of guys he deserves to go through, but there have been way better dudes on Idol.


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Survivor – Dinner and a Show

reward tribes

The two tribes

This was another great episode of Survivor: Caramoan and, thankfully, a more unpredictable episode than last week’s. We had a medical evacuation, an alliance betrayal, and a visit from the charming Tata. But we’ll get to him.

Things kicked off with one tribe at odds and the other being a little too friendly. Reynold was furious that Laura had told him to vote Shamar, and Eddie was even more vocal. These guys aren’t the best a buttering up the majority alliance. They should be trying to save their butts, not cause fights. Meanwhile, Andrea was peeved that Phillip was welcoming every person who’s not in their alliance into “Stealth ‘R’ Us”. He gave Brandon, Erik and Brenda all nicknames. I really wonder why Brenda has ended up on the bottom of the totem pole. She’s physically strong, smart, social. An all around savvy player. Does Andrea just not like her? What happened there?

Leapfrog and Lesson Time

reward

The reward challenge

The Reward Challenge tonight was very cool, and the reward itself was even cooler. Two tribe members had to work their way across some platforms being held by the rest of the tribe, and then everyone had to fit themselves on a tiny platform. It was a close race, but the Favorites came out on top. (Literally.) They won a visit from a local bushman, which always tends to be pretty useful – he showed them how to cook rice inside bamboo and other tricks.

Tata, via EW.com

Tata, via EW.com

Poor Shamar thought he won the challenge, because he was buried under a pile of teammates on the platform. I can’t stand the guy, and it was pretty funny, but I did feel for him.

At the Favorites’ camp, “Tata” provided, as Cochran quipped, “dinner and a show.” He was hard to understand, but immediately charmed all the women on the tribe with his four-foot stature and gap-toothed grin. Cochran hilariously pointed out that all the girls giving him a kiss on the cheek would “provide him with fodder for years to come, in his mind and heart.” Amazing.

Private Eye

Over at the Fans’ camp, Shamar was doing what Shamar does best – laying around in the shelter sleeping for 19 hours at a time, like the world’s laziest large, tattooed cat. Why would you even WANT to be in that shelter? There were rats in there! (Seriously, ew. Rats in the shelter at night is one thing that would make me pause about going on Survivor. I’d still go, obvs. But ew.) Shamar whined for Sherri to bring him some rice. Shamar sat and rocked back and forth. Shamar whined that his eye hurt. Pfft. Baby. Is it even that bad? I bet not!

Oh. It is.

Everyone on the tribe (and at home watching) was thinking that Shamar was blowing his eye scratch out of proportion. After all, the guy did almost quit the game recently. But medical was called in, and pronounced it was red and swollen. A dye test revealed that there was “a divet” in his cornea. That’s the important part of the eye, guys! In fact, it was so serious that they had to pull Shamar from the game.

No one felt bad, because the entire tribe was ready to vote him out anyway. I would have pitied Shamar if he’d ever seemed like he was excited to play the game. Instead, it was just a case of good riddance. His unscheduled departure meant that if the Fans had to go to Tribal Council this week, the vote wouldn’t be as easy as they’d hoped.

Brains vs. Brawn

immunity

The Immunity Challenge

The Immunity Challenge was also really good this week – they’ve done this one before, and it’s always fun to watch. Players had to swim through an obstacle course, jump off a structure to smash a tile, and retrieve a key. Then two players would use the keys to unlock a chest and one of them would use the balls inside the chest to knock bricks off of a ledge.

The Favorites killed it in the swimming part of the challenge, even though Laura (the Fans’ weakest player) was on lock duty. The Favorites just have stronger players left – Brenda, Malcolm and Erik were all really good in the water. And, they lucked out in that Phillip is very good at throwing but might have been a liability in the water. The Fans put Reynold on throwing, because he’s great at it, but that meant one less strong person in the water. Reynold made a pretty great comeback, but the lead was too big – Phillip secured Immunity for the Favorites once again. They’re beginning to really cream the Fans, which means one thing – a tribal shuffle is very likely around the corner.

Having lost yet another challenge, the decision for the Fans came down to one of Brains vs. Brawn. They could vote out Eddie or Reynold, which would keep the core alliance of five solid but weaken the tribe physically. Or they could vote out Laura, which would keep strong dudes on the tribe but undermine the core alliance. Everyone had a different opinion on what to do.

Matt The Bearded One wanted to vote out Laura. What, suddenly now it’s important to win challenges? That was a decision you made on Day One, buddy, when you decided not to side with the self-proclaimed cool kids. Matt’s BFF Michael wasn’t so sure, because he thought voting out Laura would be the end of the alliance. He wanted to keep the most trustworthy people.

Then there are Sherri and…this pale brunette girl never speaks. Julia? Julia, yes. Sherri told Julia that if the rest of the tribe began focusing on physical strength and voted out Laura, that the other women would be next. I think Sherri was absolutely right – it was in her and Julia’s best interests to keep Laura and vote out Eddie. (You had to assume that Reynold would play his Idol, I mean, come on.)

I’m of the belief that keeping trustworthy, secure alliance members is more important at this point than keeping challenge powerhouses. Eddie and Reynold are too pissed off to ever become rock solid alliance members. They’ll flip as soon as they think they have a better deal, possibly just out of spite. They can’t be trusted in the case of a tribal shuffle, and they can’t be trusted post-merge. It’s more important to have a solid alliance of five that is ready to absorb the rejects from the other tribe – in this case, that’s Brenda and Erik (and maybe Brandon, if he doesn’t go completely off his rocker next week.) It’s a move that has worked many a time – the majority tribe almost always has fractures when the merge comes, and that’s when the minority tribe swoops in and picks up those people. It’s rare that everyone in a nine-person alliance thinks they’re getting to the end.

I really thought that Sherri, Julia and Michael would stick to their guns and keep the alliance solid. But I was wrong. Reynold played his Idol because he’d have been stupid not to, but everyone on the tribe voted Laura. Her whole alliance betrayed her, and I don’t think they’re better off for it. I think this tribe will enter the merge in the minority if there isn’t a tribal shuffle, and if there is a shuffle, I think they’re going to really wish that Eddie and Reynold weren’t still in the mix. What do you guys think?

Next week, Brandon proves once and for all that the psychological testing for this show could use some beefing up. He pours out all the rice, guys! That’s insane! What are they going to do? I can’t wait.


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