LOS ANGELES — You don't really know self-loathing until you've spent a morning of your vacation mulling over the most recent episode of The Bachelorette. To make things worse, I am doing so from Hollywood, where people who actually act for a living are probably more than a little frustrated at the ratings you can get by simply broadcasting bad dinner conversation. And yet, like a dog returning to some other dog's vomit, I gathered my family for last night's adventure in contrived romance.
Having already made a mockery of England’s cultural history, Emily and The Guys took their talents east to Croatia this week. Surely the central European nation is full of rich heritage waiting to be desecrated for the sake of an American television show. Did you know, for instance, that the modern-day necktie is the descendant of a neckband worn by 17th-century Croatians? (The skinny necktie first appeared in the ’60s, along with whiskey and extramarital affairs. I’m almost certain of that.)
The trouble is that ABC’s parent company is not currently promoting the release of a movie set in Croatia, but rather one set in Scotland. And so, after a group screening of Disney/Pixar’s Brave, a new animated feature from Disney/Pixar, the men on the group date wore kilts and competed in Highland games, which are traditionally Scottish, in an attempt to impress the lady with their strength and skill, which is similar to what happens in Disney/Pixar’s Brave. The men repeatedly reminded us of this fact, saying the word “brave” as often as they could, almost as if they were trying to sell us something. (Disney/Pixar’s Brave is in theaters this Friday.)
We are making progress, though — at least when it comes to getting rid of the show’s most insufferable characters. With Kalon gone, Ryan stood alone as the show’s worst remaining person. It’s hard to imagine what Ryan has been doing off-camera to make up for the guy we’ve been seeing. He’s an insulting human being with a bad haircut and slowly everyone but Emily has realized it. But this week brought sweet relief.
After explaining several times how being a “trophy wife” is actually a good thing, Ryan read Emily a list of traits he wanted in a wife. The scene typified Ryan’s warped view of things. In his mind, Emily was trying out to be his spouse, and not the other way around. If you want to know how Ryan sees the world, reverse everything that happens to you today. Are you going to a job interview? Actually, you’re interviewing an executive, as part of your ongoing search for someone worthy of being your boss. That open line on your restaurant bill? That’s where the server tips you for the pleasure of having carried your dinner.
But Ryan’s forked tongue was most visible after Emily told him she couldn’t give him the rose. In an astonishing display of Hannibal Lector-like manipulation, he nearly got Emily to change her mind. But she didn't, and eventually he slithered off to the airport. But during those last terrible moments, I wondered aloud whether Ryan might actually attack Emily, or a cameraman, or both. Since he is absolutely the type of person who will be Googling himself this morning, I say this, more or less, to his face: Ryan is a narcissistic lunatic who seems just one bath-salts bender away from eating decent portions of several people.
It’s too bad that Travis — who arrived at the premiere with an ostrich egg and didn’t even get to eat any of the food on his date with Emily — was sent home in the same week as Ryan. We could not properly mourn the loss of a seemingly good guy, because we were too busy dancing on Ryan’s love-grave.
At the final rose ceremony, John and Doug were on the bubble. John cried over his grandparents’ funeral cards and this, it seems, is what saved him. Doug is boring and a father and this, it seems, is what saved him. And in the end, Emily gave everyone the rose.
Below is a trailer for Disney/Pixar’s Brave, in theaters this Friday.