When I committed to writing for this blog, I figured mosts of my posts would be about ABC’s reality clusterwank, The Bachelorette. In all seriousness, The Bachelor(ette) franchise significantly motivated this blog. The thinking was that I could offer a semi-regular dose of semi-humorous, semi-insightful commentary from a voice outside of the show’s target audience of 18-34 year old women. Then I got sidetracked trying to track down a password, the season got a couple episodes ahead of me, and a blog inspired by a television dating show became one dedicated to jackals and obese sea mammals.
Now five weeks after the season debut, a lot has happened in Bachelorette-land. What was once a pack of 25 suit-wearing suitors teeming with testosterone is down to a shadow of its former self. Gone are the days of choppering in to make an intro, rocking boomboxes and shamrock green dress shirts at cocktail parties, and promising to protect proxy ostrich eggs. Television’s single mother of the moment, Emily Maynard, has whittled away those who were too young, too old, too stylish, too honest, too neurotic, too handicapped, too gypsy, too inspirational, too black, and too obsessed with their own abdominal muscles to play the role of surrogate father. The set of contestants is now down to eight veritable Adonis clones, all of them of course white, athletic, and between 25 and 33 years old.
With the fun and games out of the way, it’s time to get serious: it’s time to bring you Pesky Blubber’s poll of #peskybachelors. I should note that this list doesn’t strive to present who should “win,” but rather who will. In order from next-to-go to Emily’s go-to-bro, feast your eyes. Then cast your own vote at the bottom.
8. Ryan “Big Dumb Animal” Bowers. We here at Pesky Blubber haven’t been shy about our love for Ryan, or the “Big Dumb Animal” as we affectionately call him. Whether he’s breaking down Emily’s kiss with Arie or breaking down Shakespeare’s prose after kissing Emily himself, Ryan brings the wisdom, and he does it with a flair that is as mesmerizing as it sometimes is stunning. The fashionable scarves Ryan donned in London would have been enough to melt our hearts if we hadn’t already melted from the way Ryan and Emily both ham up the Southern accents when they’re together. To be sure, Ryan’s relationship with Emily doesn’t want for a spark or suffer at all for lack of attraction—she wants to take his pants off this instant, though being the gentleman he is, we expect him to make her work for it. Ryan’s problem is two-fold: his charm is so intoxicating that Emily won’t trust him, and his smarmy satire is so subtle that it goes over Emily’s head. It’s going to be tragic when it happens, but she’s going to pull the cord on the parachute soon. It was still fun while it lasted, and we’ll always have the memory of him palling up with Doug in their matching black muscle v-necks. Bring on The Bachelor Augusta; Ryan’s probably done with Emily anyway.
7. Travis “The Egg” Pope. Maybe it’s his striking resemblance to South Park’s Big Gay Al, or maybe it’s his subtly effeminate diction, but I’m unconvinced that Travis is actually straight. Don’t get me wrong – he seems like a great catch, and gay men can be “bachelors” too. From his ceremonious egg smash with Emily to his time joshing around with the boys, Travis makes the people around him laugh and seems like a fun guy. And unlike most Bachelor(ette) contestants, he isn’t wildly self-obsessed. Whether he’s gay or straight, Travis deserves the right to marry whatever consenting adult he chooses. It’s just that five episodes in, we’ve yet to see anything suggesting that person is a woman, let alone Emily Maynard.
6. Doug “The Hulk” Clerget. “The Hulk” is a fitting nickname for Doug, not only because the man clearly takes pride in his [ostensibly] steroid-enhanced physique, but also because he’s just as clearly a rageaholic. Being a 33 year-old Doug myself, I wanted to like this guy, but he lost me from the first episode when he presented Emily with a handwritten letter that he no doubt forced his 11-year old son to write. How poor Austin was supposed to pen a touching note to a women he’d never met, let alone how Emily could credibly claim she found the note touching, is beyond me. What isn’t beyond me is that Doug is a rat fink bastard whose first order of business on The Bachelor was to exploit his son – who he left behind in Tacoma for two months to compete on a reality show – as a cheap gimmick to connect with ABC’s first single mom bachelorette. It also hasn’t escaped my attention that Doug is conniving, uptight, and recreant (and enjoys cross-dressing). Just two weeks after engineering Tony’s exit, he sold Kalon down the river. Doug probably thought he hit the jackpot when Emily not only sent the “luxury brand consultant” packing but also expressed disappointment at everyone else who didn’t share Doug’s willingness to stab a bro in the back. Unfortunately for Mr. Perfect, as much as Emily talks a big game about “baggage” and demands that her suitors pay lip service to playing the part of Ricki’s daddy, her step-parent requirements are a one-way street. There’s no way Ms. Maynard will be mom to another man’s moppet. She’ll string Doug along a while longer before she ruthlessly yanks the plug. Thankfully, Doug is wound up so tight we might just get a good blow-up on his way down the drain.
5. John “Wolf” Wolfner. It’s fitting that Wolf’s first date with Emily was in a cave because he’s the stalactite of contestants: he keeps hanging around, slowly dripping in the dark, but otherwise leaving no proof that he exists. Never doing enough to draw the ire of Emily or the envy of the other guys, Wolf also never does enough to seem interesting or reveal who this “data destruction specialist” really is. After five two-hour episodes, almost all we know about “Wolf” we learned during that one date, which was a two-on-one date at that—and that is really all we need to know about him. Emily picked Wolf as one of the two guys to subject to the hell that is a two-on-one date, knowing she had to send one of the two home at the end. That is hardly a signal that she senses a deep bond with either. When Nate, Wolf’s co-date, proudly mispronounced “quinoa” and then broke down in tears during his alone time with Ms. Maynard, Wolf back-doored his way into a rose. This is the essence of Wolf – that he doesn’t screw up – and compared against a lot littered with screw ups, it’s not a bad strategy. Constantine Tzortzis played it into the penultimate episode a year ago, while Lindzi Cox rode the do-nothing pony all the way to the final episode with Ben Flajnik. “Wolf” will get by with it another round or two, but not likely look enough to reach the Final Four and earn a prestigious home visit. That’s okay. We still love him for calling out Kalon’s designer luggage. And for the red pants.
4. Chris “Young Buck” Bukowski. I’m not a fan of Chris. Maybe it was the way he kicked things off by presenting Emily with a grotesque bobble-head doll in her likeness. Perhaps it was the way he over-aggressively, and shamelessly, moved in on Emily for his first kiss. Or it could have been his attempt to “confront” Doug over a perceived beef that consisted entirely of his own insecurity about his age. Whatever the reason, Chris comes off like a weasel. Whether Emily realizes this or not is ultimately irrelevant because, whether Chris thinks he’s mature for his age or not, she is not going to get engaged to someone younger than she is. Chris gets points for being the first to steal a kiss, regardless of how awkwardly he pulled it off, and he’ll likely survive another couple weeks simply by staying off Emily’s naughty list. We can hope for another good tussle with Doug along the way, but Chris should be sufficiently deterred from his last dust-up to dare going there. The sooner “Young Buck” is gone, the happier I’ll be.
3. Arie “Daze of Thunder” Luyendyk, Jr. With the ever-critical home visits still on the horizon, it may seem premature to start making predictions as to the cuts that will go down after Emily meets the parents (and after the parents meet Emily). This season, there are three contestants that stand out so prominently that we’re still willing to go there. Chief among them at this point is Arie, who established himself in week three as the clear frontrunner. Like Emily’s ex-fiance and the father of her child, Arie is a race care driver. Check. He is a very strong kisser. Check. He knows how to romance a lady during a beach rendezvous. Check. He dresses up like a very pretty nurse and even freshens up alright for a mugshot. Check. It also doesn’t hurt that he benefits from the positive association of Dolly Parton, Emily’s favorite entertainer, gracing their first date with her presence. There’s still a lot of time left for Arie to slide out of the poll position, and he probably will. It’s hard to run the entire race in front – as Arie should know being the son of a two-time Indianapolis 500 champion and an Indy car driver himself – and rumor has it that Emily’s delicate ego can’t handle his allegedly shady past. Arie nonetheless remains firmly in the top-three, and for now, he narrowly holds the lead.
2. Sean “Daddy’s Boy” Lowe. Sean is a bit of Rorschach blot. On the one hand, he’s a handsome, wholesome former D-I football player with a charming smile, a strong Christian upbringing, and a willingness to make Emily a whole gaggle of beautiful babies. On the other, he’s a boring insurance agent who is not likely to have a lot of money and who the whole world now knows to be a consistently lame kisser. Emily seems to see him more for the former, which I suppose is to her credit, though pardon me for noting that they interact more like siblings than they do like passionate lovers. Like Arie, Sean’s a fixture in the final three at this point. My money says he fails to seal the deal once Emily gets sick at the thought of making out with her brother and realizes Sean won’t have the financial means to subsidize her appreciation for the finer things in life. Who knows, though… maybe that will change once she sees him in the fantasy suite with his clothes (and all his body hair) off. Gross.
1. Jef “The Quaff” Holm. It’s hard not to feel like Jef has it all: a quaff, great socks, and across-the board fashion sense that extends to designer bags. He was cool as a cucumber when he greeted Emily for the first time while tossing the skateboard he rode in on to the bushes. And, importantly, he has money. Aside from what he’s got, Jef has also played his cards well. While it’s easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize Bachelorette contestants for their over-the-top aggressive moves, things are probably a lot more difficult when you’re one of twenty-five narcissists, all unaccustomed to hearing the word “no,” with only fleeting opportunities to make the stand-out impression you need to avoid the ever-present guillotine of rose denial from dropping on your exposed neck, all the while the other piranhas circle your prospective carcass waiting for their own chance to dine on the pond’s solitary piece of meat. It’s in light of this challenging dynamic that I’m all the more impressed by Jef’s brilliant slow play and the discipline he exhibited in denying Emily the kiss she so badly and so obviously craved for weeks. If there’s a wild card here, it’s that Jef’s parents are allegedly Mormon, so he may be, too. With Emily’s public pronouncements about her faith, it’s difficult to see her plunging into the Church of Latter-Day Saints. Barring such a spiritual snarl, look for Jef to draft his way into the final weeks and suddenly get interested in Emily when it’s time to claim her in the end. He’s got things figured out like that.