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The Bachelorette: Emily and the Package Deal 2 (or, technically, 3)

It always takes me an episode or two to remember why this show is ingenious:

The Bachelorette is a poem of gestures - facial expressions, physical proximity, symbolic language. It ritualizes the modern dating experience by codifying speech and actions.

The editing is sinuous...static interviews given in locationless, timeless voids inform our perceptions of the "real-time" clips of interaction. Eye contact conveys connection. Seating arrangements imply intimacy and attraction. Lip licking, eye rolling, fidgeting and preening are captured and repeated to create character profiles.

Most significantly, The Bachelorette is about emotional economics - I like you this much, you give me a kiss, let me go a little farther. Compared to discount bin bikini-calendar dreck like Temptation Island, this show is the Pride and Prejudice of the reality genre.

We join Emily and the suitors in Episode 3 (I'll be more timely next round)...(no I won't)

The field is predictable: the single dads (Doug, Tony), the cute guys (Chris, Ryan), the cool guy (Jef), and a dark horse (Kalon). There are a few exotic choices (Alejandro, Alessandro), and the guy who's overcome a health-related obstacle (Charlie).  There's a race car driver (Arie), which stirs up Emily's tragic past, but is still "pretty hot."

Tension among the suitors stems from two sources: Kalon's alienating of the rest of the field, and varying levels of sensitivity vis a vis forced fatherhood. Territoriality starts to weave into the suitors' narratives.

First date - "love is a slow climb" - is with Chris: He's "the luckiest man in the world," she thinks he's "really cute." The point of the date? Emily gets scared...can Chris comfort and command her?  Emily wants a man that will "stay by [her] side when the going gets tough." Of course Chris passes the test! Chris is polite enough not to seize his first opportunity at arm's length from the girl to kiss her...but at the end of the date, they kiss...lightly. She "could fall head over heels in love with Chris," he "can see [himself] falling in love with Emily." Sigh.

Group date - "let's play" - is at the park. The twist? The girlfriends get to meet the guys! Oooooh. Time to "grill'em!" The girlfriends look amused, the guys avoid direct eye contact. To add a little spice to the "interviews," girlfriend Wendy tries to take Sean home. And the double twist? The kids arrive! While the guys "walk the walk," the girlfriends deliver their verdicts: Sean, Doug or Ryan.
The party component gives Sean his first face time, impresses Emily with his family-first focus, and wins the rose. Doug shares his sob story...and Emily is moved to tears. Tony and Emily connect as his fatherly fortitude falters...but she sends him home in a pity move that solidifies "that Emily takes this really seriously."

Second single date - "love is a wild ride" is with Arie. And they're off to Dollywood - outside of Arie's "comfort zone." Surprise, surprise! Dolly arrives! Emily "could die!" And after a little ditty, Dolly pulls Emily aside for some "girl talk." Emily is told (again) that she "deserves" true love because of her tragic past.
(probably the most charming part of the episode -- in an aside -- is Emily's admiration for Dolly's asskicking independence)
At dinner, Emily toys a bit but gives up the rose, and says, "I know I think you might kind of like me" (is that a sentence?). And Arie thinks "this rose symbolizes the start of something great." She's so into him, in fact, she "doesn't want to screw it up."

In the rose ceremony party, Kalon gets his first face time, and Emily goes straight for the guts - can he handle the package deal? Kalon's response fails to impress. The egg guy gets crushed, but finally loses the schtick. Alessandro gets the same "are you father material" question...and fails miserably by calling little Ricki "a compromise," prompting Emily's anger and a premature exit. Arie comes in for some timely compassion...and the suitors are offended by his comforting kisses. Sean's back on the scene with exactly the right phrase at exactly the right time, and gets a kiss for his trouble. Before the roses are handed out, Emily is "confident that the man [she's] sposed to spend [her] life with is in the room." Awww.

In the rose ceremony, Emily lets Ryan & Kaylon sweat - leaving them til the 4th to last and 2nd to last roses, respectively. Predictably, she selects Nate over Stevie at the final rose -- Stevie was a sweetie, but Nate's so much cuter!

til next time

(last episode)

The Bachelorette: Emily and the Package Deal

I'll admit it. I've watched several seasons of the Bachelor/Bachelorette mega myth-machine, and I've finally decided to undertake a laywoman's content analysis-of-sorts in an attempt to answer some of the questions I have about this simultaneously awful/awesome slice of contemporary pop culture.

Here are my questions:

1. How does the Bachelor/ette define love and romance? And is this definition anachronistic? Progressive? Both?

2. What archetypes of narrative and character are represented? Are they universal?

3. Is it real? Does that even matter?

Season 8 is about Emily. For those familiar with the show, Emily was the "winner" of Brad Womack's predictable and annoying Season 15 of The Bachelor. Ugh, Brad Womack.

More importantly: Ugh, Emily.

(btw, favorite scene/episode of this entire series was when Will roasted the skin off Ashley by saying what everyone was thinking: "Gee, I hoped it was gonna be Emily." nice. and anyway, girl, you wanted to be roasted...)

Lucky for Emily, everyone wants to buy her schtick, so she's back. And in her hometown of Charlotte NC, no less!

Emily's story is essentially: young love lost, blessed with child, lonely and searching for the man to take her hand and lead her and her daughter through the difficulties of (celebrity) life. They're "the package deal."

And the big mystery is, essentially: Are you man enough to love me and my daughter? Are you gonna buy the two-for-one?

She's a momma lion with a cub to old story, certainly. But a woman with money, a career, and the power to select the man she oddly progressive position for a gal with such "traditional" values.
thx zap2it

Let's check back at Episode 3 when we narrow the field of suitors...


Maya Moon Cheat Sheet

Reuters 2:42 p.m. CDT, May 10, 2012 

 * Ancient scribe's wall inscriptions deciphered

 * Buried in a rainforest, pictures of a king

 By Deborah Zabarenko

WASHINGTON, May 10 (Reuters) - On the wall of a tiny structure buried under forest debris in Guatemala, archaeologists have discovered a scribe's notes about the Maya lunar calendar, which they say could be the first known records by an official chronicler of this ancient civilization.

 These notes pertain to the same Maya calendar that is sometimes erroneously thought to predict the world's end on or about Dec. 22, 2012. The researchers who helped uncover and decipher the wall's inscriptions said the Maya calendar foresaw a vast progression of time, with the December 2012 date the beginning of a new calendar cycle called a baktun.

 "They were looking at the way these cycles were turning," said William Saturno of Boston University, an author of an article on the find in the journal Science. "The Maya calendar is going to keep going and keep going for billions, trillions, octillions of years into the future, a huge number that we can't even wrap our heads around."

 The faint numerical inscriptions on the wall in Guatemala measure out time in approximate six-month increments, based on six lunar cycles, with small stylized pictures of Maya gods to indicate which deity was the patron of a specific slice of time, the researchers said Thursday in an online briefing.

 "It seems pretty clear that what we have here is a lunar calendar," said David Stuart of the University of Texas at Austin, another author of the Science article. The findings will also be published in the June issue of National Geographic, which funded some of the research.

 The numbers on the wall were likely written by a scribe or calendar priest, who would have been an important figure in the Maya court, where monarchs were keenly interested in astronomy and sought to harmonize sacred rituals with events in the sky.

 The wall was used the way a modern scientist might use a whiteboard, to write down frequently consulted formulas instead of having to look them up in a book, he said. The fact that these calendar details were inscribed on the wall preserved them better than any book would have, since no books remain from the period when the inscriptions were made, probably around 800 AD, the researchers said.

 In addition to the inscribed numbers, there were pictures on other walls of the structure, including an image of a king in a feather headdress, seated on a throne, with a white-garbed person peeking out from behind him. A painting of a scribe holding a stylus was on another wall. These paintings were the first Maya art to be found on the walls of a house, the researchers said.

 The structure, covered with vegetation, was detected in 2010 at the ruined Maya complex at Xultun in a rainforest area of Guatemala. Xultun, once home to tens of thousands of people, stretches over 12 square miles (31 square km), and thousands of the remaining structures have not yet been explored.

 "It's weird that the Xultun finds exist at all," Saturno said in a statement. "Such writings and artwork on walls don't preserve well in the Maya lowlands, especially in a house buried only a meter below the surface."
(Reporting By Deborah Zabarenko; Editing by Eric Walsh)

In the past...