Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Soundbytes: Let's Say ...

... you have an idea for a “reality” television series: Pack the show with reality show veterans. A “reality TV star and fan favorite” will return for a second chance at love. One alleged contestant is gay, and has been on a French reality show. Another alleged contestant was on the Real World: Back to New York. Would you call this reality television?

Most people would call this acting—minus the SAG card and benefits. ABC executives call this show The Bachelorette. After watching last night's episode, it was patently obvious why many on the show have not found acting working yet. The show is so contrived Ray Charles could see that it's scripted.

Last night, we knew gay Fabrice would be eliminated. After last week’s disastrous date with Jen, and the discovery of shirtless circuit boy pics, what could the producers do? Hmmm. Maybe have Fabrice make a “startling” announcement at the Rose Ceremony? The big question—would he out himself, or bitch at Jen for wearing that tacky faux-Madonna bustier? Fabrice did neither. Instead, the producers took pains to show that he was disgusted by the process, and would walk away.

In the beginning, the out of work actors bachelors were assigned to write an anonymous love letter to Jen. She would choose two for private dates. (Ha! Not that kind of ‘date’.) Was there any doubt that Ryan would be one of the chosen? Besides Fabrice and Jerry, he gets the most camera time. Ryan is a teacher, and when his poorly written letter was read aloud, Fabrice rolled his eyes. “It’s clichéd and too personal,” he bitched to the camera.

Fabrice read the second letter, so you could be sure there would be more drama. He mimicked the author, changed his tone…he acted very unbutch. Naturally, the letter belonged to MTV Real World: Back to New York vet Jerry. (Please go to TVgasm for more details.) Who’d think he had a chance? Conveniently, a camera was next to him and captured his reaction. Later, Fabrice told the camera: “I can’t believe someone could write something so dumb.” FYI, the producers never got re-acts from any others besides Fabrice.

The dates were not dumb, just forgettable. Ryan and Jen rode atop a fire truck. He admitted he wanted to have children, but not when he was “super-old, like 40.” Meanwhile, Jerry and Jen were treated to a romantic dinner and concert at the new Jazz at Lincoln Center. As Peter Cincotti sings and plays piano, both reality show vets ask each other is this what they “really want.” “I will only choose someone if I think its forever,” Jen promises. Again.

The third segment was even more clichéd, if that’s possible. Fabrice and the three others losers were making pizza with Jen in (surprise!) Little Italy. More contrived attempted-acting: Fabrice pulls Jen aside and tells her that he feels neglected. She tells him to "hang in there."

Insert next contrived situation ____here: Sappy Host Chris Harrison arrives and tells the guys they have to get to the Empire State Building. Jen is waiting on the observation deck, and the first one to get there wins a date. But they must go sans wallets. John Paul hands over his wallet; Fabrice, Ben and Wendell say they don’t have one. JP, Wendell and Ben hunt down cabs, who of course will stop for a camera crew. Fabrice walks away. My first guess was that he was headed to the Number 6 train. But he’s had enough of this, and is going home—or to the Roxy. Wendell wins.

Finally, back at Jen’s “loft”: the Rose Ceremony. She begins talking and Fabrice interrupts, with another camera conveniently positioned for close-ups. “I want a woman who makes me dream, laugh and cry. … I just want to …. to say …. I … I don’t want to marry you Jen!” She nods and does not look surprised. Fabrice tells the cam “it was obvious to me I could not go along, she was not the right woman for me.” Fabrice, we knew she was not the right "woman."

Something else that seemed obvious: the odd man out would be Ben. He had no private dates with Jen, and very little camera time.

Please someone. Make. This. Stop.

The Bachelorette (ABC) Mondays 9/8c