Thursday, March 31, 2011

That Other Thing I Do

Something weird happened to me yesterday.  Yidio.com referred to me as “comedy pro Jeff Ford.”

To explain: My Dancing With the Stars reviews are now being “syndicated” on Yidio.com — a site where you can watch TV shows and movies — and they wrote me a very nice little intro for the appearance of my first article.  The whole intro is very nice and makes me sound way more interesting than I really am.  However, the piece that really struck me was the whole “comedy pro” thing.  A few thoughts immediately popped into my head when I read it:

1) Wow, that’s very nice of them to refer to me as a “comedy pro.”
2) I’m not really a comedy pro.
3) Or maybe they just meant, “he’s an old pro,” as in, he’s an experienced comedian.
4) Am I really an experienced comedian?
5) I’m an improviser and I’ve done stand-up once for five minutes.  Does that qualify me as a comedian?
6) Why am I so hesitant to call myself a comedian?
7) I don’t hesitate to call myself a project manager.
8) “Project manager Jeff Ford” would be completely out of place in the Yidio.com intro.
9) Regardless, I’m definitely not a pro in the technical sense of the word. I’ve never been paid to perform.
10) However, people have paid to see me perform.  Does that count?
11) I’m probably thinking about this way too much.
12) Ooh, Cheez-Its!

Obviously, I struggle with how to classify my performing habit.  I freely call myself a performer, but I hesitate to call myself a comedian or even actor.  It always felt dirty and presumptive to use those terms.  They always felt more like job titles than categories.  Chris Rock is a comedian.  Tom Hanks is an actor.  The totality of what I do as a performer doesn’t really compare in any real way to what they (or people like them) do.  I’ve done the thing that Chris Rock does and I’ve done the thing that Tom Hanks does but I’ve never been paid for it or even considered it to be anything more than a fun hobby.  In reality, the only difference between me and those guys is monetary success.  Like most things, this is probably only an issue in my own head but I also have the bad fortune of having to live within my own head.

Ooh, chocolate!

****

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dancing With the Stars Week 2 - A Review

The Dancing With the Stars gods were merciful and decided to allow everyone to remain for a second week.  Unfortunately, we’re stuck watching them all dance again.  Tom Bergeron claims that 23 million people watched this show last week.  I can’t believe there are 23 million old people who know how to work their remote.  

They’ll be adding the votes from this week to last week’s tally for the elimination.  

Sugar Ray Leonard — The Jive
In order to make Sugar Ray more comfortable with the dance his partner decides to include some of his “famous boxing moves” — like punching.  Cain may have invented punching, but Sugar Ray made it famous.  You don’t know how much you miss the cheesy, manufactured bits they do for the practice clips until they don’t bother to do them at all.  The only thing more boring than dancing is dancing practice.

Not only does he not know how to dance, but it looks like he also forgot how to punch.  The two annoying judges reach for compliments by telling him that he was entertaining while the old judge tells him that he’s going home.  The old judge has forgotten about Mike Catherwood.

My score: Practice makes boring.

Kendra Wilkinson — The Quickstep
Not a boy.
Kendra’s partner tells her that the Quickstep is all about being a lady.  Uh oh.  This feels like her hot button issue.  Yep, she begins crying because she feels like a boy.  How many subscribers does Playboy have?  I’m pretty sure they can all verify she is not a boy.  At least her “dealing with insecurities” segment is out of the way by the second week.  Now she can go back to being watchable.

If a true lady is stiff and robotic, she nailed it.  Out of nowhere, the old judge calls her boobs “chesticles.”  He failed to mention her “rumptoids.”  

My score: I think I pulled a facericep rolling my eyes.

Chelsea Kane — The Jive
We’re supposed to be interested because of the stars, right?  Someone forgot to tell the dance pros.  Her partner makes the practice segment interesting by saying things like, “I’m in love with your brain.”  No one is in love with her brain.  In fact, she’ll probably never find true, lasting love.  

They do a weird clown/mime theme for the dance which actually manages to make it interesting.  Unfortunately, the judges base their scores on boringness, made up dance terms, and ultra-boringness.  The audience loves it.  It’s fun to watch the judges flail blindly to try to prove that they are relevant.  Everyone knows the audience trumps the judges every time.

My score: Power to the people.

Chris Jericho — The Quickstep
Chris claims that Cheryl (his partner) is tougher than any of his “wrestling trainers.”  Doesn’t he mean “other choreographers”?  Cheryl is worried about his “frame” so she outfits him with that weird torture device that forces him to keep his arms up.  Where did they find one of those things big enough to fit him?  Chris is disappointingly normal.  I was hoping for more Slim Jim snapping.

During his dance, the audience sat stunned while he nailed it.  They were too shocked to cheer when he did something good.  The Mountain Who Dances moves like a, well, something that is huge yet graceful.  Afterwards he is unreasonably excited and calls his partner “the dancing Yoda.”  I think he meant “the Yoda of dance.”  A dancing Yoda is something completely different.

My score: Going far, he will.

Petra Nemcova — The Jive
Petra is afraid of the tricks so her partner takes her to a gym with a giant trampoline so she can learn to fall.  Really?  She’s scared of tricks?  Didn’t she survive a tsunami?

There’s nothing worse than when the band tries to cover an Elvis song.  Add awkward dancing to that and you’ve got the recipe for a crap stew.  About 30 seconds into the dance, her partner rips off her dress and leaves her nearly naked.  It’s not the first time someone has tried to hide bad dancing with sex.  

My score: Another boring hot girl.

Kirstie Alley — The Quickstep
Kirstie reveals that she’s not only trying to win the competition but she’s also trying to lose 40 pound during the competition.  Isn’t there another show for that?  One that I’m not reviewing?  She even manages to work in a Charlie Sheen “winning” joke.  If she had cried, she would have hit the terrible trifecta.

Who decided to drape her in pink from head to toe?  Not a good look.  I need to mention that Brooke Burke is the worst host on television.  Kirstie Alley is an experienced television pro and Brooke’s fumbling manages to make her look awkward.  How does she still have this job?  

My score: Losing.

Mike Catherwood — The Jive
Mike is clearly here for comic relief.  Unfortunately, no one checked to see if he could actually dance.  He can’t, though they spend the entire practice segment showing us his three good moments and telling us that he might actually be able to pull it off this week.  His partner, Lacey, has decided to stick with the I-can’t-afford-a-new-dye-job look.

He’s so pigeon-toed it looks painful.  I think he’s got dancing confused with marching.  Can we get Dr. Drew to stage an intervention?  To his credit (I think?)he looks and sounds defeated.  He’s not even trying to make jokes, but Brooke Burke waits for one anyway.

My score: Put him out of his misery, America.

Romeo — The Quickstep
Romeo loves Romeo
Romeo continues what will be his season long obsession with himself.  When he’s not fawning over himself, he’s hitting on his partner.  This will never get old.  Everyone loves a dude that’s totally into himself and is constantly hitting on any girl within 100 yards.

I’m pretty sure the director fell asleep during Romeo’s dance.  We spent several seconds watching another camera instead of him dancing and the cuts were awkward and made no sense.  This means we’re going to have to take the judges at their word.  The old judge declares it the best dance of the night which means we’ll be stuck with Romeo for another week.  Also, can we finally retire “You’re the One that I Want” from everything ever?  Is there anyone that still likes this song?  Even Glee fans have to hate it, right?

My score: Glee sucks.

Wendy Williams — The Quickstep
The judges have asked Wendy to bring “more Wendy to the table.”  No.  Just no.  She spends the whole segment worried about her boobs and spouting out random clichés that have nothing to do with anything.  I can only imagine that this is exactly what her show is like.  

She towers over her partner and she doesn’t dance so much as she just kinda walks around.  Why do they insist on dressing the bigger girls in all pink?  Dancing cotton candy is not sexy.  

My score: Pink is ruined for me.

Ralph Macchio — The Jive
Ralph decides to bring his kids to rehearsal to give him some feedback.  Did you know that he named his son Daniel?  I know the role defined you, Ralph, but naming your son after the most famous character you ever played?  Does anyone not call him Daniel-san?

Can we just go ahead and give him the trophy?  He’s so much better than everyone else and it would allow me to enjoy a Monday night for once.  Of course, the judges hate him.  This is Dancing With the Stars.

My score: At least he didn’t name his kid Miyagi.

Hines Ward — The Quickstep
Hines whines about how he has weak shoulders because of his football injuries.  Boo hoo.  Go get a concussion and you’ll forget all about it.  The rest of the segment is spent with him teaching his partner slang that has been in the pop culture mainstream for several years.  

Hines can dance, but I’m only rooting for him so that I can continue to watch his partner.  The two annoying judges are rooting for him because they both think he’s dreamy.

My score: Dude’s for real, yo.

****

Monday, March 28, 2011

You Can't Fool Me, Fisher Price

For the last two Saturdays, I’ve spent my time at baby showers.  Now I’ve got a house full of baby stuff.  Most of the stuff is either tiny and cute, or very straightforward in its functionality.  However, there is one item that is making itself out to be more than it actually is — the Fisher Price “Aquarium Bath Center”.

Let me explain with words and pictures.

The Fisher Price Aquarium Bath Center

False claims

If you look closely, you can see it claims that it “Grows with baby… from newborn to toddler! ¡Crece con el bebé, de recién nacido a niño pequeño!”.    I’m pretty sure the Spanish portion says something like, “Not really, dumbass.”  Let’s take an even closer look.


Step 1: Newborn, Recién nacido (translation: Sleeping pooper)

As you can see, there is a little nest that suspends the newborn baby within the tub so that she won’t drown.  I get it.  No one likes a drowning baby.  That’s not cute at all.  However, the tub itself is still regular size.  I still have to use a bathtub that doesn’t fit my child.  I’m not buying your half-ass solution, Fisher Price.


Step 2: Infant, Bebé (translation: women's apparel)

Look at that.  The infant fits in there perfectly.  This tub is clearly made for infant-sized children.  No complaints with this.


Step 3: Toddler, Niño pequeno (translation: Storm bringer)

C’mon.  I’m not stupid.  The kid won’t fit in the damn tub anymore, so you have to sit her up.  This tub hasn’t changed at all.  We have to constantly change the way we use it.  It’s not growing with my baby, it’s staying the exact same size.  I have to adapt this thing to fit the size of my child.

I’m not fooled, Fisher Price.  I know I didn’t get the Swiss Army Knife of children’s bathtubs.  Instead, I got a tub and an unnecessary instruction manual.  Babies might be this dumb, but I’m not.

****

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Friday Roundup

For you, it’s Friday.  For me, it’s Thursday night and my dog is staring at me with a ball in her mouth and I’m ignoring her.  These are the kind of things I sacrifice for your weekly dose of random shit.

This Week in Mindsilt
Tuesday:
My review of the premiere of Dancing With the Stars.  Complete with very few stars at all.  

Thursday:
I squared up on my predictions from 2010.  Spoiler alert: I pretty much nailed it. 


Tweet of the Week
From Rob Delaney
Don’t shit where you eat. Unless you’re a starfish, whose mouth is also an anus. In that case, freak out, little monster.
See it here

From the Mindsilt Archive
25 reasons why I love my wife.  Yeah, shit just got real.

Video of the Week
Alex Trebek calls the highlights to the Stanford-Oregon game.  Awesome.



****

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Reviewing My Predictions for 2010

Remember back when I made a bunch of predictions for 2010?  No, you probably don't.  I didn't either.  Until just now.

Unlike Nostradamus I'm not the kind of guy to leave you with a bunch of predictions and then die so that I can't be held accountable.  I'm going to hold my own feet to the fire and see how I did on my predictions for 2010.  Eff Nostradamus.

"Dee will fall asleep 30 minutes into every movie we watch at home."
I went bold with this one.  You're always taking a chance when you throw "every" into a prediction.  It was my undoing.  She did manage to stay awake for the entirety of several movies and last more than 30 minutes into several others in 2010.  She's also done well in 2011.

Verdict: FAIL

"I will be teased with idea of an office all to myself (possibly with a window) but it will never happen."
Nailed it.  Several times in 2010 was I teased with the possibility of a new office.  I'm still in the same office.  In fact, I've even been teased with the prospect of my own office in 2011.

Verdict: CORRECT

"There will be elections in 2010."
We elected all sorts of Senators, Representatives, Governors and all sorts of local officials.  I knocked this one right out of the park.

Verdict: CORRECT

"Michael Jackson will remain dead."
You may think I included this one simply to pad my stats, but we've all seen his "Thriller" video.  Dude was some kind of zombie.  Never count this guy out.  He may still come back and organize a zombie dancing flash mob.

Verdict: CORRECT, so far

"His family will not, unfortunately."
They lived through 2010 and are still alive.  Each and every one of them.  Maybe he's waiting for them to die so that they can all come back as one big, dysfunctional zombie family.

Verdict: CORRECT

"Shoeless” Joe Jackson will not be reinstated.  He will also remain dead."
Oooh, a two-parter.  The rest of the Internet tells me that "Shoeless" Joe Jackson was not reinstated by Major League Baseball in 2010.  Nor has he been reinstated in 2011.  The rest of the Internet also confirms that he is dead.  I cannot confirm that he is playing catch with Michael Jackson in the afterlife.

Verdict: CORRECT and CORRECT

"The CTA’s customer service policy will continue to consist of simply apologizing for shitty service."
Based on my experience, this was the policy in 2010 and it continues to be the policy to this day.  Yet, I have not changed my CTA usage one bit.

Verdict: CORRECT, but I take no satisfaction from this verdict.

"Someone reading this will go fishing."
Well...  I can't verify this.  You see, I don't know how many people read the original post -- Google Analytics let me down -- and I definitely don't know who read the post.  I do know that my brother went fishing in 2010.  However, I'm pretty sure he doesn't read my blog.  I could call him and find out, but what do you think I am?  A journalist?  Sheesh.

If you went fishing in 2010, show yourself!

Verdict: UNCONFIRMED

"People will continue to be surprised when they find out I’m a performer."
So one time in 2010 I went into the break room and one of my co-workers started talking to me about my shows.  Another co-worker overheard our conversation and was all, "Shows?  What shows?"  I was all, "I do comedy shows."  She was all, "Get out.  You?  No."  I was all, "I won't.  Yes, me.  Yes."  You'll have to take my word for it on this one.

Verdict: CORRECT

"I will be excited and then disappointed by the Notre Dame football team."
Our new coach, Brian Kelly, really excited me during the offseason in 2010.  Then they won their first game and I got more excited.  Then they lost their next game while giving up 500 yards to one player.  I got disappointed.  The cycle repeated.

Verdict: CORRECT

"I will get angry at several TV commercials for their flawed logic."
Oh man did I nail this one.  Ask Dee.  I spent much of 2010 yelling at the TV.  Sometimes I would even pause it just to rant at the poor logic or at how stupid they seem to think I am.  In fact, I got so good at this that I'm continuing the trend in 2011.

Verdict: CORRECT

"Taylor Swift will release another poorly-written, poorly-sung album that people will buy like crazy."
Yes.  This happened.  It sucked and people loved it.  America disappoints me once again.

Verdict: CORRECT

"You will gasp and call me a monster for daring to pick on Taylor Swift (okay, that might happen in 2009)."
I just had to go for the joke here, didn't I?  Where is my discipline?  There is no way I can verify this unless you confirm that it happened.  I want to fight Taylor Swift.  Did that make you gasp?  Probably not.

Verdict: UNCONFIRMED, but highly unlikely

"People in my neighborhood will deposit large amounts of uneaten food on the sidewalk."
2010 was a banner year for large food deposits in Rogers Park.  If the city kept statistics on this, I'm sure it would have set some kind of record.  I can tell you that my dog loved it.  While she was eating it, anyway.  When she was puking and pooping all over, not so much.  Of course, her doggie brain can't tie free, delicious treasure discovered during her outside time with a painful stomach and vomiting later so she continued to snap it up.  Stupid dog.  I love her.

Verdict: CORRECT

"The “Mindsilt Apostles” will have a great 2010 filled with swearing, sex (consensual, of course), very little fishing and only as much religion as you can tolerate."
At the beginning of the original post I referred to my 12 readers as the "Mindsilt Apostles".  This was my exceedingly clever way to wish them a happy 2010.  Unfortunately, I got the better of myself and gave you another prediction that cannot be confirmed.  Way to end with a whimper, Ford.

Verdict: UNCONFIRMED


Out of 15 predictions, I got 11 correct, three were unconfirmed and one was flat out wrong.  I guess that's what I get for picking on my wife.  Still, 11 out of 15 is pretty freaking good.  Too bad I didn't make any predictions for 2011.  I'll just have to do this again in 2013 -- if we're all not dead.

****

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dancing With the Stars Premiere - A Review

The show opens with, “You survived the long, cold winter and now YOU DESERVE DANCING!”  No, I deserve something much, much better — especially if they’re going to make Ashely the next Bachelorette.

They introduce the “stars”:
Chelsea Kane, Wendy Williams, Hines Ward, Petra Nemcova, Romeo, Sugar Ray Leonard, Kendra Wilkinson, Ralph Macchio, Chris Jericho, Mike Catherwood and Kirstie Alley.

Time to rename the show Dancing With People.  After eleven seasons of D-list stars, it looks like they’re dropping straight to F-list stars for this season.

There is no elimination this week so I’m not even sure why they are even bothering.

Chelsea Kane — Foxtrot
They claim that she’s another Disney star.  I don’t believe them.  I think they’re asking audience members to dance at this point.  She claims to have kissed one of the Jonas Brothers.  I barely know who the Jonas Brothers are, why would I care about anyone they kissed?  Get ready for a season full of “giving 110%” and aww-shucks smiles from this one. 

Why do I always forget how boring the actual dancing is?  Why do people watch this show?  These people are barely famous, the dancing is boring and the music is even worse.  I’m disappointed in you, America.

My score: Welcome back, Dancing With the Stars

Wendy Williams — Cha Cha
Not a transvestite?
Wendy Williams is a talk show host, not a famous transvestite.  I’m shocked.  That’s a wig, right?  Right?!  C’mon.  This person is not real and she does not have a talk show.  Within thirty seconds of being introduced to her, she’s crying.  She hasn’t even broken a sweat and she’s already in tears.  I’m going to hate her more than I’ve hated any hater I’ve hated in my hate.

You know how you’re supposed to move around when you’re dancing?  Yeah, she doesn’t do that.  I’ll be shocked if the judges ever give her more than 15 points this season.

My score: 2.hate

Hines Ward — Cha Cha
I know this guy because he plays football.  You might remember him from losing this year’s Super Bowl.  What’s this?  He has more personality than Chad Ochocinco ever did.  If he can dance, he might actually be entertaining.  

How do I always forget how terrible the band is?  They butchered “Club Can’t Handle Me Right Now” by Flo Rida, and yes, the club can handle you right now, Hines.  I have no idea if he is a good dancer.  I was too busy watching his partner’s ass.  However, the old judge admits that he was watching Hines’s “bum” and that it is “the tops.”  I love it when 1929 makes an appearance.

My score: I’m rooting for his partner.

Petra Nemcova — Foxtrot
Petra is a supermodel.  I don’t specifically remember her because all those Eastern European supermodels look the same to me.  Is that racist?  She reveals that she fractured her pelvis in four places when she was in the tsunami in Indonesia.  Very topical — and painful, I presume.  She dedicates her dance to the people in Japan.  Yes, a dance is exactly what they need right now.  How about you go to www.redcross.org and donate instead?

She dances like a supermodel with a broken pelvis.  What’s that like?  Good but boring.

My score: Should have played the Japan card on an elimination week.

Romeo — Cha Cha
Someone has decided to call himself Romeo?  Just Romeo?  He’s Master P’s son — that kind of explains it.  Is that enough to make you famous?  Never mind, I forgot that Kim Kardashian exists.  Also, why hasn’t she been on this show yet?  Anyway, Romeo claims he’s a rapper and actor.  He’s also going to spend the whole season hitting on his partner.  God knows America loves objectifying women.

Romeo’s goal for this week is to outscore his dad who only managed eight points.  Way to set the bar high, Romeo.  Maybe that’s why you’re not actually famous.

My score: Does he know that Romeo killed himself in the end?

Sugar Ray Leonard — Foxtrot
He is easily the most famous person on this show.  He’s a World Champion boxer and his brain still works.  How’s that for a rare combo?

They dance to “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis.  They finally found a song the band can pull off.  Can everyone dance to Huey Lewis every week?  That would never get old.  The judges love his energy and the gay judge openly hits on him.  Also, I don’t know which one is the gay judge.  It could be all of them.

My score: TKO

Kendra Wilkinson — Cha Cha
I vaguely recognize Kendra Wilkinson.  She was one of Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends on some reality show.  Now she has her own show or something.  I see why now.  She’s strangely charming.  I would never have guessed that she’d be leading the pack as one of the people I actually like.  Maybe that’s because she acts like a child.  Plus, her partner is the only male pro who doesn’t constantly talk about how sexy people should think he is.

I haven’t seen a Playboy in a long time, but isn’t she kind of funny looking for a Playboy Bunny?  Oh well, it adds to her charm.  She’ll go far this season.

My score: Who knew I’d like a Playboy model?

Ralph Macchio — Foxtrot
The Karate Kid.  He’s now 49.  Apparently, that’s the age you become okay with people only associating you with that one thing you did 28 years ago.  We’re going to have to endure a season’s worth of bad Karate Kid references.  I didn’t think this show could get any cheesier.  

What’s this?  He’s good.  He’s going to be a crowd favorite because he’s old but still looks like a kid.  For him to go down, they’re going to have to sweep the leg.

My score: Cobra Kai

Chris Jericho — Cha Cha
The Mountain Who Dances
He’s a professional wrestler.  He claims some ridiculous number of “championships.”  Just like everyone else, he says that “he knew dancing would be hard but that it’s even harder than he thought.”  His partner is mainly concerned about his muscles because “…it doesn’t look like he has a neck.”

He’s mesmerizing to watch.  It’s not that he’s good, it’s that it’s like watching a mountain dance.  He does admit that dancing and wrestling are similar because of the choreography.  Ah HA!  Finally, proof that wrestling is fake!

My score: Hulkamania!

Mike Catherwood — Foxtrot
Mike Catherwood is Dr. Drew’s partner on the radio show “Loveline.”  That show is still on the air?  Adam Carolla isn’t doing it anymore?  What does Adam Carolla do now that Kimmel has ditched him?  Anyway, this is a guy.  His partner looks like someone put a hat on her head and then dyed the remaining exposed hair.  Are roots in this season?

Fortunately, I don’t think we’ll have to see his partner’s roots for very long.  He racked up the lowest score of the night.  

My score: I’m confused.

Kirstie Alley — Cha Cha
Until tonight, I had completely forgotten about Veronica’s Closet.  I love that they listed it as one of her qualifications as a star.  I’m either going to love her or hate her like Wendy Williams could only wish to
be hated.  So far, she’s funny and not nearly as whiny as I thought.

How about this?  She can dance.  How long before we get former Cheers cast members in the audience rooting for her?  There may have been Veronica’s Closet cast members in the audience tonight, but no one knew.

My score: When does Bachelor Pad start?

****

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Friday Roundup


The Friday Roundup is back.  I know you missed it like everyone misses L.L. Cool J.

Get some.

This Week in Mindsilt
Monday:
I finally admitted that I’ve Gone Soft

Tuesday:
I reviewed the finale of The Bachelor. Some say it was my best one this season.

Tweet of the Week
When I can’t think of anything funny to say, I just close my eyes and hit myself in the face with a shoe, because it means I’m worthless.
See it here

I know exactly how he feels.

Video of the Week
This is one baby that likes to be scared.


Another Video of the Week
A Chatroulette love song.  Safe for work.


****

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Bachelor Finale - A Review

Prepare yourself for the least interesting episode of the season.  There’s a reason that people immediately turn back to their meals when they see someone propose at a restaurant.  First, it’s none of their business.  Second, it’s boring to watch.  It’s just a dude on his knee and a crying/hysterical girl.

Of course, they open with a recap of the entire season.  Clearly, there are smart-ish people (for Bachelor viewers) who only tune in for the final episode.

They are still in Cape Town, South Africa.  Brad’s family has come to visit so that they can meet the girls.  Brad’s dad is not there.  Just like always.  Brad’s brothers bring their wives who each have a separate suitcase for their fingernails.  When the family arrives, Brad breaks down.  He breaks down in such a way that I’m convinced he has no emotions at all.  Real people don’t act this way and bad actors aren’t even this bad.

Chantal Meets the Family
He's going to choose her.
We discover that one of Brad’s brothers’ wives is named Prima.  Isn’t that a new drink size at Starbucks?  After the introductions, Brad’s brothers corner Chantal and try not to stare at her boobs.  She tells them she’s ready to marry him right now.  When she meets with Brad’s mom they talk about…  Does anyone care?  We all know he’s choosing Emily.

Emily Meets the Family
When Emily comes in Brad gets all giddy and tells her to not be shy.  Then he tells her again to not be shy.  Then he says, “Please listen to me.  I really mean these words.”  Why is he constantly trying to convince people that he’s telling the truth?  I wish we could ask his dad.

The fact that Emily has a daughter immediately comes up.  When they ask more questions about her daughter, she explains that her husband was killed in a plane crash.  The family can’t not love her even though they think she’s boring.  Plus, no one is going to ask tough questions to a girl with a dead husband.  Well played, Emily.

When Emily says that Brad is “her angel” Brad’s mom basically says that she’ll kill Brad if he doesn’t choose Emily.

Brad Discusses the Girls With His Family
Brad’s sisters-in-law think they would get to know Emily better because she’s a mom and would relate to “their world.”  Chantal is not a part of “their world.”  Nothing like defining yourself and everyone else by one trait.  He should definitely be taking advice from these people.  

They don’t even bother talking about Chantal — even though you can tell that both of the brothers want to mention her huge boobs.

Date with Chantal
No pressure, but Brad is hoping that Chantal can prove why she is the one while on a whale watching cruise.  Brad points out an enormous shark swimming nearby and tells her that they will be going into the water with the shark.  Remember, Chantal is the one who hates water.  However, she does take the opportunity to put her boobs on full display in her half-zipped wet suit.  Guess what?  She loves the whole experience.  Nothing like locking yourself in a cage under water where you can’t talk to really amp up the romance.  

At this point, I’m convinced that Chantal knows that she’s not the one.  She’s playing along, but I don’t believe it.  

In the evening, Brad meets Chantal in her suite and they sit down for some wine.  This date is all about Chantal’s boobs.  She is breaking them out in the hopes that he’ll be blinded by them.  She gives him a map of all of the places that they have visited and writes him a note about how much she is in love with him.  Then they do the awkward, stiff-legged-we’re-gonna-kiss-when-we-get-to-the-door walk.

Can we just start the crying now?

Date with Emily
Helicopter, this one is bittersweet.  It’s good to see you but it’s coupled with sadness because I know it will be our last time together.  Helicopter takes them to the Cape of Good Hope.  They sit down for a picnic and overlook the ocean.  Instead of sweet notes, she decides to give him a dose of reality.  She tells him that he can’t be cool Uncle Brad anymore and that being a father is real work.  Brad immediately gets that 1000 yard stare which I’m beginning to think is a precursor to violence when the cameras aren’t around.

Brad visits Emily in her suite.  Brad tries to convince her to give him a chance to be Ricky’s father.  He has a whole speech ready that he knows will just melt her heart and make her want to be his forever.  It’s the kind of speech that works in the movies when the characters don’t have a real life to return to.  She calls him on it.  She asks him what he thinks it means to be a father.  Instead of answering the question, he starts to get pissed that she ruined his nice little speech that was supposed to win her over.  He is so fired up that he has mop off his brow and says that he can’t breathe.  Is anyone else worried about this dude beating the crap out of Emily once the cameras are gone?  God forbid that any of the girls ask him the questions that he asks them.  

He leaves Emily’s place in a huff.  We’re supposed to believe that he’s having a hard time with this decision.

He's going to choose her.
The Ring Guy
Some dude shows up with a briefcase full of rings.  He looks at a few and picks one out.  It must be nice picking out rings when you don’t have to pay for it.  He tries to share a moment with the ring guy.  He knows that he has made the right decision and he keeps reminding us that he’s never felt these feelings before.  Because he didn’t propose last time.  Remember? 

Getting Ready
Each girl breaks down a little bit when they think about the possibility of not being chosen by Brad.  
We get the standard shots of the girls getting ready and Brad riding to the winery where he will propose.  Chantal decides to go with the worst hairdo possible.  She tones down the boobs a bit, though.  Emily sticks with her freakishly blond hair.  Am I the only one that doesn’t think she’s gorgeous?  Too much makeup and fake hair and nails.  How is it that these girls actually look worse when the dress up?

The Proposal/Breakup
Chantal shows up first and we know that he’s going to break up with her.  He tells us that before she even pulls up.  They share an awkward hug and it’s clear that Chantal knows.  He feeds her a bunch of B.S. about their connection and how he feels like himself around her, but he won’t look her in the eye.  She’s courteous enough to not break down until he tells her that he has stronger feelings for “someone else.”  He couldn’t even use her name?  C’mon.  Once she starts crying, he keeps talking.  It’s clear that she doesn’t want to hear any more but he prattles on anyway.  

She tries to compose herself in the car.  Bad move.  Just fucking let it out.  There’s nothing like a hard core cry, man.  It’s going to happen sooner or later, so just let it out now so we can all see.  She does manage to give us the standard “I’m scared I’ll never find love” line.  There’s nothing like a breakup to erase all hope of anything good ever happening again.

Brad tells us he is calm and confident because he knows that Emily is the one.  He gives another prepared speech that is supposed to make the moment feel more important, but it loses its meaning when it’s spoken by a doofus.  Eventually, he gets down on one knees and asks her to marry him.  She says yes.  We discover that she has painted her nails the same color as her teeth.  Cut to a montage of Brad and Emily making out.

I’m pretty sure that Train only writes songs for The Bachelor.

See, I told you he’d pick her.

After the Final Rose
They bring out Chantal to discuss her heartbreak.  She gets choked up again and gives the “everything happens for a reason” line that everyone gives when they don’t want to admit why something happened.  Then Brad comes out.  He immediately calls it out as awkward.  Yeah, we know.  

She asks him at what point he knew that he wouldn’t choose her.  He feeds us some B.S. about how he knew early on that it was Emily but that he still felt the connection with her and that she deserved to stick around.  Ugh.  He should have just said, “It had to be someone and you had the biggest boobs.”  

Even though she’s crying about the whole thing, it comes out that she is seeing someone right now.  Why are you getting so emotional about Brad now if this guy is so great for you?  Classic rebound.

Chris and Brad have a little conversation before they bring out Emily.  He tells Chris that he’s as in love with her as he has ever been.  We find out that he tried to marry her while the show was airing.  She didn’t go for it.  Chris lets everyone know that they actually broke up.  Brad insists that he still loves her and wants to make this work.  He says that he’s fighting tooth and nail for this girl.  Bad choice of words.  Lets just hope he didn’t leave bruises where we can see them.

When Emily comes out we learn that the break up was just a false alarm.  They love each other and they both consider themselves engaged.  Emily just wants to put off the wedding for a while.  She thinks that they have some things that they need to work out — like filing police reports.  We get a close up of her unadorned ring finger.  

At one point she says, “He’s got a bit of a temper.”  That’s abused woman code for “help me” right?
They both look miserable.  This is not going to work.  

Chris asks, “Do you honestly see yourself marrying Brad?”  She starts to give him the runaround but eventually she says that she does see them getting married.

Told you so.
Chris brings out the only three existing Bachelor/Bachelorette couples: Trista and Ryan, Jason and Molly and Ali and Roberto.  There have been 21 seasons of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette and there are only three couples?  Clearly, results don’t matter.  

Anyway, the couples are there to offer advice.  They basically explain that relationships are hard work.  No shit.  

They show Brad and Emily their engagement for the first time.  After, Chris mentions that Emily is not wearing a ring.  Brad pulls it out of his pocket and puts it on her finger.  Apparently, it was being sized.

I’m going to make a bold prediction and say this won’t last.  3-22, The Bachelor.

Well, 4-22 if you count me and Helicopter.

****

Monday, March 14, 2011

I've Gone Soft

I’m losing my edge.  I’m getting soft in my old age, or maybe it’s this kid in Dee’s belly.  I just can’t muster up the energy to remember to be cynical about everything anymore.  Regardless, I’m no longer the delightful curmudgeon that everyone loves to hate.

What am I talking about?  I’ll give you some examples.

Have you seen this commercial?

You have now.  I get choked up every time I see it.  The first time I saw it I was crying like a baby.  A few months ago, I would have been rolling my eyes and making some sort of crack about how no seatbelt will save her from Internet predators.  Now she’s my little girl about to head off to college and leave me forever, and I can’t keep it together.

Another example?  Sure.

Saturday night, Dee and I watched Love & Other Drugs.  First, the old me would never have agreed to such a thing.  If I had, it would only have been after several minutes of Dee telling me that Anne Hathaway gets all sorts of naked.  Instead, I agreed to watch this without any objection.  That’s not where it ends.  I managed to sniff out the plot of the movie within the first twenty minutes.  I knew exactly how this thing was going to play out and I still got all teary-eyed at the end.  What the deuce?!

Is this what happens when you have a kid?  If so, I’m in trouble.  God forbid this little girl do something real to tug at my heartstrings.  I’ll be a slobbering mess.  So much for her growing up with a strong male role model in her life.

****

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Bachelor Episode #10 - A Review

Do you like poorly formed arguments and scorned women trying to be interesting enough to extend their taste of fame?  Do you like mean girls and being forced to watch clips of scenes you’ve already seen a thousand times?  Do you like to be ashamed of the human race?  If so, you’ll love tonight’s episode.

He IS useful!
Tonight is the “Women Tell All” episode.  It’s the one night of the season where Chris Harrison actually has to earn his money.

If you’ve never seen this show before, this is the episode where they talk to all of the girls about what happened this season.  It’s like a high school reunion with no perspective.  They bring the girls out and sit them in three tiered rows.  If they gave them each numbered briefcases and brought out a neurotic bald man, we’d have something slightly more watchable.  

Before he gets to the drama of this season, Chris announces that there will be a second season of Bachelor Pad.  I immediately announce to the editors of Schadenfreude.net that I will need a raise.  We are then shown a bar party with a bunch of former Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants getting drunk and hooking up.  Clearly, these bar parties are their auditions for the show.

Eventually, Chris retakes control of the show and asks a few easy questions about how they felt about Brad reprising his role as the Bachelor before they cut to clips of Michelle being Michelle.

Before the hounds can pounce, Lisa (I don’t remember her, either) jumps in right away to defend Michelle and her “sarcasm.”  The rest of the girls bring the pain.  They were all fine with Michelle until they saw the episodes.  Instead of admitting that she might have been a little harsh in her interviews, Michelle puts it on them for not getting her “dry, sarcastic” sense of humor.  She also tries to hide behind the fact that she left her daughter to be on the show.  Chris cuts it off before it gets too heated so that they can talk about some of the other crazies.

Melissa in the Hot Seat
Winner of Battle Crazy
Chris brings Melissa down to the couch to show her the clips of her battles with Raichel.  I love the awkward moment at the end where the audience isn’t sure if they should clap afterwards.  You should never clap for the stupidest thing you’ve ever seen.  Melissa thinks it’s Raichel’s fault, Raichel thinks it’s Melissa’s fault.  However, Raichel is the one who claimed that God was on her side, but not Melissa’s. 

I’m giving this one to Melissa.

When Ashley H is asked about the Melissa-Raichel situation, she claims that she was never around.  It’s clear that she’s planning to use this show to solidify her position as “the nice one” so that she can be the next Bachelorette.  There’s nothing worse than a girl who cares more about looking like the nicest person in the room than actually using her brain.  

Michelle in the Hot Seat
Michelle starts crying before she even sits down next to Chris.  Why?  Because she’s embarrassed.  This show made her look like a psycho.  She keeps insisting that she was “there for the right reasons.”  She says that she feels guilty for leaving her daughter.  I guess she won’t be on Bachelor Pad.  She cries and cries but she comes up just short of admitting that she might have been out of line.  She knows the power of the Hot Seat.  The Hot Seat makes you a victim — a role she’s very comfortable in.

The girls aren’t buying her story.  Ugly Stacey starts some crazy rant about how she was raised.  She’s clearly implying that Michelle is a terrible mother, or maybe I’m giving her too much credit.  Eventually, Stacey takes direct shots at Michelle by saying that she put herself ahead of her child.  Stacey is out of line and Chris has shout her down to shut her up.  Michelle just cries.  Victimization complete.  

Michelle is the smartest girl on this show.

Once Michelle has recovered a bit, Jackie says that she cringed when she saw Michelle’s moments on the show.  Chris asks Jackie if she had an issue with Michelle’s behavior or if she had an issue with the fact that Brad liked Michelle’s behavior.  Aww, snap.  Harrison earns his money.  

Ashley S in the Hot Seat
I'm worried about her.
If Ashley S had lasted a few episodes longer, she would have been the next Bachelorette.  She’s the kind of girl that America loves — sweet and heartbroken.  They show the heartrending clip of her being sent home and it nearly brings her to tears.  She talks to Chris about being in a series of bad relationships and says that she only wants more closure from Brad.  

Someone needs to put this girl on suicide watch.

Ashley H in the Hot Seat
Since Ashley H doesn’t have her own identity, she changes her hair color in the hopes of manufacturing one.  She claims she’s the “New Ashley.”  New Ashley is just as annoying as the old one.

We see the clips of her relationship with Brad falling apart and Chris asks her how she’s doing.  She says that she was devastated, but that she’s feeling better now and that she’s ready to date again.  (Hint, hint, producers of The Bachelorette.)  Openly lobbying to be the next Bachelorette and being dumb as rocks is an unwatchable combination.  Even Chris looked annoyed.

Brad in the Hot Seat
Brad claims that he’s very happy to see all of these girls.  He’s the only man on the planet who would claim to be excited by a room full of girls he dumped.  Ashley S continues her pity party by asking Brad why he thought she wouldn’t make a good wife.  Seriously, someone take her belt and shoelaces.

Before Chris can say anything, Brad jumps to Michelle’s defense and says that he will always defend her.  At that, Ugly Stacey puts on her gnome hat and waddles off.

He and Ashley H have a little moment and it’s annoying as hell.  She even asks for a hug at the end.  As they hug she peers into the camera pleading for America’s approval with her eyes.  

They finish up by showing us clips of some charity work that Chris and Brad did while in South Africa.  Because twenty minutes spent dancing with African children makes up for twelve episodes of shallow nonsense.  

My roses go to…
Shut up.

****

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Bachelor Episode #9 - A Review

Brad, Ashley, Chantal and Emily head to South Africa.  Did no one tell them the World Cup is over?

This week are the notorious Fantasy Suite dates where Brad pressures them to have sex with him or go home.

We open with Brad packing for South Africa and talking about how he has trust issues.  We see clips of him staring out the window of the plane interspersed with clips from dates with all of the girls as if he’s having these exact thoughts on the flight.  He ends with this, “I have very difficult decisions to make.  These decisions will affect my life.”  Just like every decision.

First Date — Chantal
I want a sandwich!
Brad rides up in a tourist-outfitted jeep to take Chantal on a safari.  Brad keeps saying “South African Bush” and we all know exactly what he means.  They immediately come upon a pride of lions sleeping in the “bush.”  When he and Chantal see a giraffe, Brad suddenly becomes a five year old child.  It’s like this guy has never been to a zoo before.  Eventually they stop, walk down to a river and set up a picnic lunch as a hippo roams around behind them.  It’s your standard Bachelor picnic lunch with hippo.

Brad tells her that he misses her family.  Chantal tells us that love is more than just “a feeling.”  I’ll tell you that jeans shorts were a bad choice, Chantal.

Thankfully, Chantal changes out of her jeans shorts for dinner and she hopes that she “will be able to prove to him that she is totally, definitely in love with him and there’s no doubts about it.”  Sounds like she’s ready for some sexual intercourse.  When Brad admits that he’s the most comfortable around her, Chantal proposes that they go get married right now.  She then explains that getting engaged is a promise to get married and Brad agrees like it’s the first time he’s heard such a thing.  And we all thought the gays were the ones ruining marriage.

Brad then offers her the Fantasy Suite envelope.  I love that they make the girls read them aloud.  We now know that at least three of the ladies on this show are literate.  She accepts the invitation immediately and declares dinner over.  He then takes her to a treehouse in the middle of the wilderness.  It’s a platform with a bed on it.  Welcome to sex in South Africa.

Second Date — Emily
Brad begins his date with Emily by hugging her and telling her that he forgot something.  When he returns, he’s riding an elephant.  The elephant stoops down and picks Emily up.  Brad, Emily and the elephant driver ramble off to watch naked elephants bathe each other.  This is nearly too hot for TV.  

Emily asks Brad if he’s ready to be a father.  He says yes.  He knows what’s at stake.  If he says no, there’s absolutely no way she’s going to accept the Fantasy Suite invitation.

At dinner, Brad is painfully nervous.  She tells him to relax and open up.  She basically tells him that she wants to marry him but falls just short of telling him that she’s falling in love with him.  He then offers her the Fantasy Suite invite.  She wants to set a good example for her daughter, yet she still accepts the invitation.  She makes it clear that the Fantasy Suite will be used for talking, not sexual intercoursing.  When they get to the room, she tells him that she’s falling in love with him.  Brad tells her that he’s falling in love with her, too.  Though he’s not so in love that he’ll cancel his date with Ashley.

Third Date — Ashley
Brad leads Ashley off into the lonely wilderness.  Much like their first date, she willingly follows along.  They arrive in a clearing and waiting there for them is my dear, sweet Helicopter.  Ashley is scared of Helicopter but only because she’s never felt its sweet embrace like I have.  They fly over the scenery of South Africa (which is the most romantic thing ever, of course) and land on the edge of a grassy ridge that the locals call “God’s Window.”

The only part of the date that wasn't annoying.
They sit down to a picnic and discuss where Ashley would want to live.  Ashley says a bunch of annoying shit and doesn’t answer the question.  Then she says a bunch of annoying shit about her career.  Who would have ever guessed that the first time they tried to have a serious conversation that it would turn out horribly?  This relationship is falling apart.

Brad keeps telling himself that he’s so happy to see Ashley.  He’s trying so hard to convince himself that he can be with someone this annoying.  Brad tells her that he wants to talk about what their life would look like together.  She answers by talking for five minutes without saying anything at all.  It’s annoying.  The dinner quickly devolves into him telling her that he’s frustrated by her inability to articulate anything.  Except he didn’t use words like “inability” and “articulate” he just keeps saying, “I don’t know” over and over.  

He gives her the Fantasy Suite invitation anyway and she accepts.  I guess they’re both hoping for a little bit of goodbye sexual intercourse.  Unfortunately, things just get more awkward.  Thanks guys.  Now there’s no drama left for the Rose Ceremony.

Looks like God closed a door and a window, Ashley.


Meeting With Chris
Again, Brad sits down with Chris to relive all of the dates in soft-focus.  They spend the whole time trying to convince us that there’s a chance that Ashley is staying this week.  No one is that dumb.


The Rose Ceremony
Before Brad hands out a rose, he asks to speak with Ashley.  He apologizes to her for asking tough questions.  It’s painfully clear why he’s 38 and still single, right?  She tells him that she wants him to ask her those questions.  He responds with, “Then what the hell happened?”  Why is he even bothering with this?  This dude will never be a man.  She can’t express herself.  Cut her loose.  He’s not doing her any favors by letting her try to explain herself when it’s already too late.  Of course, he thinks he’s doing the right thing by not making her stand through the Rose Ceremony.  What’s the difference?  I hate this weasel.  

He eventually tells her that it is over and sends her home.  As she’s about to get into the car, he’s dumb enough to ask her what’s wrong.  You dumped her, that’s what’s wrong.  

In the car Ashley says, “Saying goodbye to someone for the last time is hard.”  Oh, she’s finally found her voice.  She also wishes that she could have been happy for the breakup.  Does she know that breakups aren’t a happy thing?  Even annoying girls are allowed to cry when some doofus stomps a mud hole in your heart.

He returns to Emily and Chantal — who have been standing there this whole time — and wants to have the rose ceremony anyway.  He feeds them some B.S. about how it’s a two way street and all that.  Whatever.

My roses go to…

The lions — for not taking the opportunity to pounce on the hippo while Brad and Chantal were having lunch.

Ashley — for not understanding anything, ever.

The producers — for including a key in Chantal’s envelope even though it was a fucking treehouse.

Chris Harrison — for reminding us he’s still alive.

The super lame cast of the next Dancing With the Stars — they can’t even call these people “stars” anymore.

****