It’s over! We made it through the season of the worst Bachelor ever. We survived stand-up comedy, trips to the shed, hysterical blindness (or paralysis in Ali’s case), dinner with the Mob, and Jamaican beads. It wasn’t easy, but we did it. You know who didn’t make things any easier? Jake. He was the source of the majority of eye bleed. Sure, Vienna’s extensions confounded us even more than her kooky eye(s). And Tenley’s interpretive dance might possibly be the most dramatichumiliating thing to ever happen in the history of television. But it was malevolently milquetoast, oddly asexual Jake that had us screaming at the television more than anyone else. And now, finally, this nightmare of a fairy tale comes to an end with special guest appearances from Helena Bonham Carter, mandals (Jake’s creepy man sandals), an unhinged Papa Pavelka, Neil Lane, and Airwolf. ( My favorite part was when Jan-Michael Vincent bombed the entire island after dropping off Googly McGoogle while friend and mentor Ernest Borgnine cheered.) Jump for all that and more.
We begin the episode where we left the last: St. Lucia. Jake is waxing poetic in a voice over as he ruins his good pants while walking in the ocean. (Did he learn nothing from Ms. Stink Shoe?) “I’m in paradise, and I’m falling in love here,” he says. The problem: he’s in love with two very different women. Of Tenley, he says, “Just from head to toe she is perfect. I kind of find myself trying to pick her apart because she’s so perfect.” Seems kind of sick, but in case you’ve forgotten since last week, she’s a divorcÃ©e. She’s just lucky Jake is even kind enough to consider her as marriage potential. (Tenley needs to take a lesson from Countess Cockeye–also divorced–give the “ex” talk a rest.) Speaking of Cockeye, Jake is smitten. “My physical connection with Vienna is lightning hot… I’m always defending her… She always makes me feel like I’m the only guy in the room.” Aside from Chris, isn’t he always the only guy in the room?
It’s “meet the parents” day, or in Jake’s case “meet the extended family” day. Apparently, the Pavelkas have never met a free vacation they didn’t like, and the comped villa teems with parents, brothers, sisters-in law, second cousins, and funny uncles. Everyone meets for a pre-traumatic stress disorder session wherein Jake prepares the family for both ladies. “I’ve fallen in love with Vienna and Tenley so deeply. I need a second set of eyes,” he says. UncleÂ SheckyÂ snorts, “From what I understand, the eyes have it. Vienna’s got this in the bag. It’sÂ Cross Eye for the Straight Guy! One-eyed Jack for the win! Eye-a Angelou in the house! That girl has kept her eye on the prize from theÂ get go. I just don’t know what the hell she’s doing with the other one!”
After the laugh track dies down, Dad attempts to shine the spotlight back on Jake. “Do they both make you laugh?” he asks. “They both laugh at my stupid jokes,” Jake answers. This is a personal pet peeve. When someone asks you, “Hey, is your girlfriend funny?” You can’t answer, “Well, she thinks I’m funny.” That wasn’t the question, narcissist. Here’s the answer: “No, Vienna is not funny. At least not on purpose. It’s kind of funny when my hand gets stuck in her plastic hair. But I’ll be honest, I don’t care that she’s not funny–I’d actually prefer it if she didn’t talk at all. I can always hang with Lovitz if I want to laugh.”
The family is getting antsy. It’s been a whole hour since they’ve gotten to enjoy something free, so Jake has to sum up things very quickly. “Tenley is practically a virgin who poops rainbows. Vienna is a dirty sleaze who is universally hated,” he says. He immediately second-guesses himself on that move. “I, for some reason, decided to bring up all of Vienna’s faults–or so-called faults… I don’t know why I did that,” he muses. What if Vienna is unfairly judged by his family based on the crap information he gave them? We will return to that cliffhanger soon.
Tenley gets to meet the family first. Can we talk about Jake’s mom? Do you think we should be concerned for her safety? I’m worried that something is very wrong in this family. “I thought of some questions,” she stammers. “I feel like it’s a little rude. But I just want to know, when you and your sister have had problems, I just want to know how you’ve handled those problems.” Really? You can ask about anything–timing on babies, religious affiliation, political persuasion,Â the inexplicable attraction to her son–and you’re going with sister-in-law relations? “I want the women to be the glue,” she sobs. “The men don’t hold it together very well.”
She might as well have screamed, “Run for you life, Tenley!” But poor, dumb Tenley can’t run because it’s time once again to mentionÂ her divorce.
I really do suspect dark things are happening in the House of Pavelka. Dad can’t stop crying during the 10 minutes he speaks to Tenley. (And did anyone else hear the ominous–and unexplained–scream in the background during their chat?) Mom later mentions Jake’s penchant for “rough housing.” (No word on whether charges are pending.) But I think the most troubling event of the day was the family orgy. One minute Jake and Tenley are kissing loudly–smack! smack! smack!–and the next minute, they’re in the pool (fully clothed, mind you) making out. That’s fine. I guess it happens. Maybe they were feeling dirty. Who knows? That’s not the creepy part. They are apparently making out in front of the parents, grandparents, second cousins, nephews, aunts, and family pets. And I guess it’s so sexy–so titillating, really–that the family can’t control themselves. They join the lovers in the pool. Even Lindsay–the blonde Helena Bonham Carter–takes a dip, barrettes and all. As the camera pulls back, we hear Tenley lisp to Papa Pavelka, “I’ll give you thomething to cry about, old man.”
Let’s just say that after that wet and wild lovefest, Vienna’s got her work cut out for her. But she comes bearing gifts–a fruit basket. The Pavelkas–aristocrats who hail from Paris London New York Lantana–begin grilling her about where she’s from. “Have you ever been out of the country aside from St. Lucia?” someone asks in a heavy French accent. “I just don’t feel like there was a lot of class in the way she was talking about the other girls,” one of the sisters-in-laws quips in her finishing school drawl. They taunt herÂ about being so different than Tiny Dancer. “I’m not a robot,” Vienna agrees.
It’s all too much for Mom. SheÂ asks Jake if they can go for a walk. She has concerns. Sure, she’s troubled by the possibility that Vienna could mean social suicide for the Pavelkas of Lantana. What if they’re removed from the Social Register? And of course, she’s confused–she’s never sure if Vienna is talking to her or someone sitting behind her. And surely sheÂ has Vienna’s number and knows that this is a lady who wants to win a game show rather than get married. But she doesn’t want to talk about any of those trivial matters.Â “I worry about the sisters-in-law,” she whispers feverishly. “Can’t you see that she might might make poking comments at her sisters-in-law? I just want you to look down the road. To me that’s a red flag.”
Someone might want to give Mom an Us Weekly subscription so that she will truly understand the definition of “red flag.”
But you know what? Vienna wins them over. She’s confident.Â It’s like she knows that she’s going to win–and maybe she does–and she doesn’t seem overly concerned about anything else. Mom pulls the whole “women are the glue in this family” speech again, and puts Vienna on the spot (again) about not having any friends in the house. “The thingÂ aboutÂ the house was that I wasn’t being a bad person,”Â Vienna says. “I stood true the whole time… I stood up for myself.” She talks about how much she loves Jake, and they buy it. By the end, Mom likes her. One of the blue blood sister- in-law even says, “When I first met her, I so judged her. I feel so guilty about that.”Â So score for Vienna. She doesn’t even have to throw leg in the pool with Grandpa Joe.
Her luck ends there for theÂ moment. You know how on The Price is Right, during the “Showcase Showdown,” there’s one package that has the trip to New York, the Trans Am, a check for $1 million, and new kitchen appliances? And then there’s the other loser package with the motor home? Vienna gets the latter. Her one-on-one with Jake consists of a dip in a sulfer spring wherein Jake covers her with mud. First of all, the girl apparently has but that one bikini, and then she also has to suffer the indignity of having her cheap extensions sullied by mud. And I don’t know what it is about a camera and mud, but the combination adds about 30 pounds to her frame.
Later, the lovebirds get cleaned up andÂ retire to her hotel room for a little heart-to-heart. “What was it like being married for three weeks?” Jake asks. That seems harsh. And if Us Weekly is to be believed,Â during the course ofÂ Vienna’s marriage,Â her husband was deployed to Iraq, she cleaned out his bank account, and got implants. If sheÂ accomplished that in three weeks, the woman is nothing but efficient.
If she’s offended by his question, she doesn’t show it. Instead she gives him the promise ring bestowed on her by King Google McGoogle, along with a note that says, “From the moment I met you, I knew you were the type of man I was ready to spend my life with.” They make out, and he finally leaves.
The next day, Tenley is up. “I had a yacht chartered,” Jake tells her. And in the distance, we hear Vienna scream, “Come on. You gotta be kidding!” They hit the high seas, swim with dolphins, and Tenley says, “As Jake and I are out in the ocean snorkling and exploring together, I just feel so alive.” And then, everything goes to hell. They’re back on the boat, making out,Â when Jake suddenly poops out. “Am I too much to handle?” Tenley asks, hopefully. And Jake says NOTHING.
And then he goes into some nonsense about how the emotional chemistry is alarmingly hot…but the physical, not so much. And instead of taking five and putting on herÂ Lieutenant Kara “Starbuck” Thrace costume (For some reason, I sense Jake is a Battlestar Galactica fan.), and enticing him with some role playing, she opts to argue the point. I don’t blame her. There’s nothing worse than an asexual person telling you you’re not sexy. (I’ve heard. From a friend. Never happened to me. Nope. Not even once.) “I think we have heat,” she pouts. “Are you not thinking we do?” And he answers with the kiss of death: “We do. It’s building slowly.”
The show could have ended there, but alas. It does not. Instead we have to watch them make out some more, admire the shadow box full of mementos Tenley has glued together, and listen to Jake lie some more. “I’m falling for you,” he says.
The next day, Neil Lane shows up with the rings–a round one for Tenley, and a princess cut for Vienna. Jake pockets the rings, dons the ugliest tie of the season–and that’s saying something–andÂ goes down to the patio to await the arrivals of the final two. At first, it appears that both choppers are coming in at the same time–possible crash?–but then we remember that Jan-Michael Vincent is in recovery now, so that’s unlikely. Also, it appears those pesky editors are just being tricky because Tenley arrives solo. And she knows almost immediately that she’s headed directly to Hewanorra International Airport exactly as she arrived: single. But she still begs and pleads and cries and thanks him (Why do people on television thank people who dump them? I tend to burn down houses when this happens to me.), and by the end, her dress appears to be coming apart. Just like her life.
My friend Peggy joined the guhls for this television extravaganza. She has never seen the show before–and likely, will never see it again–and this was her take, “I can’t believe he’s going to ask that awful person.” But that’s how this tale ends, friends. Vienna isÂ the lucky lady.Â “I think you’re just an amazing woman,” he whispers to her. And then he says, “There’s something that you need back,” he says and hands back the junky promise ring. “You need to have this. I think it’s important.” And then he gets down on one knee and proposes to her.
So, it just goes to show you ladies, keep one eye on the prize. Feel free to watch squirrels with the other one.Â (I’ll miss you, lazy eye jokes.)