I think I’m done watching The Bachelor. (And The Bachelorette. For the purpose of this article, I will only refer to The Bachelor, because it’s annoying to keep referring to both.)
As you may be aware, I have always been a HUGE fan of this franchise. The sketch I wrote about it for Nikki & Sara is one of my proudest achievements. I loved this show not because I believe in romance and fairy tales and The Journey, but because I thought the show was one of the best comedies on television. I found great pleasure in watching a handful of fools float along in what we could obviously see was a total farce. If I was a high school drama teacher, I would use this show as a near perfect example of Dramatic Irony. Additionally, there’s always been something so comforting in its predictability, in the familiar story lines the show always seemed to follow. (Bad girl woos the Bachelor, the other girls fight about it, the girl who brings it up to the Bachelor will immediately be sent home, and, ultimately, a total nob wins, and then they break up six months later.) I’ve always been drawn to things that walk the breathtakingly fine line between heartwarming saccharine and gut-wrenching desperation. And as miserably as I’ve failed in my own relationships, I get sweet release watching people humiliate themselves for “love” on national television.
But. Something has changed this season. I just don’t think I can open myself up to The Bachelor. I am not getting Vulnerable this time around, like at all. I’m not Ready To Find Love with Juan Pablo. I’m not prepared for The Journey. After thinking about, while putting off some very real work assignments that are overdue, I think I’ve figured out why.
1. El Problema de Juan Pablo
Juan Pablo has already revealed to us all why he is a terrible Bachelor. His anti-gay comments on some red carpet somewhere ruined the fun. Not only were the comments supremely ignorant, but they felt like a record-scratch in the middle of our magical dance. I suddenly realized: in order to fully immerse myself in The Bachelor, I really need the protagonist (male or female) to be as plain vanilla as possible; a smiling, frozen Teddy Bear who can absorb whatever drama the producers choose to inflict upon him or her. And Juan Pablo held great promise for that role, especially since English is his second language, thus making his cluelessness even more perfect. He’s rich, he’s handsome, and he’s dull - but not because he’s stupid per se, but because, you see, he’s not from around these here parts! All the better for the girls in the house and us at home. We need a blank surface upon which we can project our ideal version of a man (or punching bag, depending). But after his little oopsy on the red carpet, the surface is blank no more. Juan Pablo has been ripped from our fantasies and thrown into the cold hard news cycle. It’s like when Tom Cruise did too many weird things in the press. I can’t watch him in a movie anymore without thinking “Cruise, you crazy.”
Of course, as it goes with these things, Juan Pablo has issued an apology, claiming that the word “pervert” was simply a mistake because English is his second language. Which was hardly a defense, because if you listen to all of his comments, his intention is very clear. And with that, the fantasy is gone.
Yes, we’ve had really terrible Bachelors before, but the things that made them terrible were hilarious building blocks for my jokes (e.g. Ben with the terrible hair, Sean with the obvious virginity). I don’t find this stuff about Juan Pablo to be good fodder. It just makes me sad.
2. Diane Wasn’t Real
Remember on Thanksgiving, when that guy Elan live-tweeted his fake airplane feud with a woman named Diane? There was a fair amount of debate about whether Elan was a douche for tricking all those people into following him on Twitter. A lot of people were celebrating the whole exchange, making him out to be a hero, while others pointed out that telling an apparently sick woman to “eat my dick” may have taken it a bit too far. Ultimately, what bothered me about it was Elan’s attempts to act like a hero after the thing went viral, before he finally had to admit that it was fake. In the end, it felt like we all got used for Elan’s own gain. I could write a whole thing about it, but it’s old and tired now, and I really could care less. BUT.
I have a lot of shows coming up in New York, plus some shows in San Francisco and D.C. Come to one if you can!
Twelve years ago, I had just moved to New York City. I came here with a friend from my college sketch group. Her name was Alana and we had big dreams. She got a job walking dogs for a member of the SNL cast, which of course meant that within six months, we’d both be cast members too. Obviously, we quickly realized that it was going to take way longer than six months. It was going to take seven months. We got to work immediately: we took Improv Level 1 at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, went to all kinds of comedy and weird performance art open mics, and observed the scene a bit. Having done that for a month or two, we pretty much figured we knew the deal. You write some material, perform it a few times, get noticed, and bam, you’re discovered. So, we started writing sketches together - stuff we could perform as a duo at open mics. Having had so much success in our college sketch group, we knew that our material was going to blow people’s minds.
The first thing we wrote was a sketch about a robot. I honestly can’t tell you what the hell the sketch was about, but I do remember that I played some kind of crazy German woman who owned a robot, played by Alana. It included lots of references to various robots in pop culture - Johnny 5, Small Wonder, and the like. Really edgy stuff. Now, we knew that if we were gonna impress the industry, we needed to fully commit to the premise. And that meant we needed a top-of-the-line robot costume. For weeks, we made trips to Home Depot, and constructed a robot costume from scratch. This thing looked amazing, but its construction was such that Alana could barely move while in it. No matter; we were fucking serious about comedy.
Finally, we were ready to debut the sketch. We chose an open mic located on Varick Street. It was in some weird venue with a multi-colored stage that lit up. There were lots of colors on the walls too. Thinking back, it may have been a gay night club. Alana insisted on wearing half the costume on the way to the venue, because it was so difficult to put on, and she didn’t want to mess with it too much once we arrived. After spending most of our money on the costume, we opted to ride the subway. She looked like a robot centaur. Human up top, robot down below. I didn’t look much better; I had slicked back my pixie hair cut with greasy gel, and was wearing a black turtleneck and tight black pants. The look was definitely inspired by (and let’s be honest, fully plagiarizing) the SNL “Sprocket” costume. Because that is what German women with robot-money look like. (Duh.) Meanwhile, I was responsible for transporting the robot body and head, also very heavy, in two giant trash bags. I wasn’t strong enough to lift them, so I dragged them. What I’m trying to say is that we looked cool as fuck.
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