Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Bachelorette Recap: Vol. 3

On a whim last week, Brooke threw it out there that maybe we would live blog this week’s episode. Spoiler Alert: We did not live blog this week’s episode. Brooke really wanted to, but I told her that there were four episodes left in the season and “Once you go live blog, you can never go back.” She said I said that like it’s a well-known saying. Whatever. Live blogging is a special event, likely saved for the last two, maybe three episodes. We’ll see.

LAST WEEK

Jake (or as I call him “Val Kilmer doing his best Val Kilmer”) is voted off along with Tanner, who even in rejection can’t stop talking about Jillian’s feet. Anyone else think they’re not that great? Anyone? What do I know – I like tits.

DATE #1: Reid, Philadelphia, PA.

This week is “home dates” and Jillian is excited to see all the guys in their “real settings” as opposed to on an old-timey train in Canada, where everyone knows you just can’t be yourself. Her first destination is Philly where Reid is waiting for her with open arms and two scalding hot cups of coffee. Unfortunately, Jillian is still bound by the “Run and Jump Into Everyone’s Arms” clause in her contract, creating a tense moment early on.

Luckily, after that everything between her and Reid gets back to boring. Reid seems nervous ALL THE TIME. Brooke takes one look at his parents and says, “Oy.” Sure enough, mom wants babies and she wants them now going so far as to call Jillian “adorable” which everyone knows is mom speak for “good enough.” Then the rest of Reid’s family bursts through the front door to throw him a surprise 30th birthday party. Only in a Jewish (or Italian) family would the taping of a reality TV show segment be a good opportunity to get everyone together for a birthday party.

At the end of the night Reid is so turned on by all the mediocrity that he molests Jillian on the front porch. Philadelphia is so romantic.

DATE #2: Michael, Valencia, CA.

Michael is surprisingly upbeat for being a guy who has no chance of winning. He sneaks into the house on camera to surprise his parents, who are surprisingly good at faking being surprised. Good job, Michael’s parents! Maybe if the Fatchelor series doesn’t work out, they can star in a reality show about finding love even though you’re married.

When Jillian comes through the door, Michael gets so excited it seems like he may pee on her. Michael’s mom immediately whisks Jillian away to help in the kitchen, and everyone gets the impression that they’re just two moms hanging out in the kitchen. Yikes. Michael and his identical twin brother then try to fool Jillian by changing outfits like it’s 1930 (the last time people really fell for this trick), but Detective Jillian immediately sniffs out the plot. Michael LOVES this about her. He loves everything about her. Michael’s dad tells him that he’s surprised Jillian “isn’t a whore” (paraphrasing) and that Michael “shouldn’t hold back”. My dad’s advice would have been, “Now explain to me what’s happening here again?”

At dinner, Michael’s family plays their family dinnertime game called “Question for the Table,” also known as “conversation.” MORE SURPRISES when Michael’s sister comes back from Australia (really?) just to meet Jillian. The two girls hug and Michael loves that they’re getting along. Then the whole family caps the night the way they always do, by swing dancing in the living room. Michael loves that Jillian dances.

DATE #3: Kiptyn, San Diego, CA.

Jillian and Kiptyn’s forehead meet up on the beach and you can just tell that all Jillian wants to do is rub her face all over his six pack. Through the shirt, she doesn’t care. Jillian says, “This is where you live? It’s so beautiful,” and Kiptyn’s forehead is like, “Does she think I live on this beach?” Then they kiss. Kiptyn kisses like a duck.

They roll up to the house and HEY OH! Kiptyn’s family is loaded. Suddenly, Kiptyn’s job of “business developer” makes sense. He’s developing daddy’s money – into rock hard abs.

Like some sort of richy rich Indiana Jones challenge, Kiptyn’s parents have set up a food and wine paring taste test in the back yard. Jillian must guess which lasagna is the homemade one and which wine is the expensive one. Brooke calls the test a “pressure cooker.” (Zing!) Kiptyn’s forehead is like “I’M SO CONCERNED!” But then Jillian guesses right and everyone is relieved that they won’t have to throw her off the cliff. The mom picks up the cheap wine and dumps it on the ground saying, “Only my grandma drinks that.” Fuck you, grandma.

Back inside, everyone sits down to eat the rest of the homemade lasagna. Kiptyn’s sister is waving around her 25-karat ring while Mom asks Jillian what she would change about herself to make Kiptyn happier. Jillian answers that she “wouldn’t work so hard for her happiness.” Mom’s like, “Oh, that’s awful,” and takes a painting down off the wall so Jillian can sell it and buy herself some happiness.

After dinner, Kiptyn fulfills his shirtless quota by taking Jillian in the hot tub out back. Mom stands at the window watching them. Even the producers think that’s weird, and they focus in on her standing there for a long period of time. Kiptyn should use some of his mom’s Botox.

DATE #4: Jesse, Carmel, CA.

Jesse is just sitting around on his tractor waiting for Jillian. Brooke is like, “Break me off a piece of that!” She loves Jesse because he makes wine and seems a bit distant. Jillian has some concerns though. They take a tractor ride to a picnic in the vineyard (because, you know) and Jillian’s like “Are you ready for this to be real?” and Jesse’s like “What?” I think Jesse is too normal to be on this show.

Jump to dinner. Jesse’s family is a typical “We run a vineyard in California” family, whatever that means, but you know what I mean. Everything is going great until Jesse’s older brother Jacob opens up his facial haired mouth. A few key phrases are:

To Jillian

“You guys are expensive. You know, women. In general.”
“Have you been naked with Jesse yet?”
“Jesse’s an emotional ice cube.”

To Jesse

“Do you love this chick?”
“Does she want babies?”
“She’s a little cutie.”

Back inside, everyone (mom) is drunk and there’s another impromptu dance session in the living room. It’s like subliminal advertising for Dancing with the Stars. Before Jillian leaves, Jesse takes one more stab at opening up by telling Jillian how love is like a fine wine. (And he should know because he makes wine!) Who’s the emotional ice cube now, asshole?

DATE #5: Wes, Austin, TX.

MORES SURPRISES! This season is like a surprise orgasm. Instead of taking Jillian directly to meet his family, Wes first puts on a concert for Jillian. She cracks open a beer and Wes proceeds to play his song, which sounds like a crappy country song.

UH OH ALERT

Cut to Jake, rolling his wheelie suitcase through the airport with an air of defiance. He’s on his way to Austin to tell Jillian that Wes has a girlfriend. “My goal is to protect her,” he says. He’s like a superhero. Truthman! Or Meddling Man!

Back in Austin, Wes sings another shitty song. Jillian seems impressed/stupid. Someone needs to remind her that usually when someone writes a country song for your it’s because you broke their heart or they hate you.

Meanwhile, Jake fake calls Tanner for some fake advice. Should he tell Jillian? And which high-waisted jeans should he wear for . . .

TRUTHFEST 2009

Everyone meets up in the hotel’s corporate lounge. Jillian is surprised totally unsurprised to see Jake. Man, Jakes smiles so much! He’s trying to break the bad news to Jillian that there’s “something she needs to know about Wes.” He’s procrastinating so much that his grins look like gas pains, and Jillian asks, “Is Wes here for the wrong reasons?”

(Long dramatic pause.)

Finally she’s like, “Or is it something more?” Objection! Leading the actor.

Jake spits it out. “Wes has a girlfriend. Her name is Laurel.” Jillian puts on her best “Laurel is a slut” face while ominous piano music plays in the background. So that’s what “wrong reasons” means! Then Jake’s like, “If you need me, just call. With the bat signal,” and jumps out the window. Jillian doesn’t know what to do because the producers haven’t told her what to do yet. You’ll get your lines tomorrow, Jilly.

Jillian decides that her, Jake, and Wes need to sit down and talk this out like three responsible adults on a reality dating TV show. This is going to be so good! She starts by sitting down with Wes and asking him if there’s anything he needs to tell her. Good start. Lure him in. He says no, and Jillian seems kind of flustered. Ugh, Jillian is awful at dramatic confrontations. I guess they don’t get Paul Haggis movies in Canada. Finally, she comes clean and Wes is all, “Dude, me and Laurel are just friends now. And I can’t go backwards.” (Huh?)

Jake, who has seen tons of Paul Haggis movies, breaks down the door and is like, “I’ll handle this.” Jake doesn’t handle anything, and Wes uses his wily ability to calmly refute Jake’s accusations. Drats! Foiled again! Brooke calls the whole thing “a porn without the sex.”

Finally Jake leaves and cries. On his way home he stops to help deliver a litter of puppies, but the mom dog is like, “Nah, I got it.” No one wants Jakes’s help. Meanwhile Jillian apologizes to Wes and adds “standing up for herself” to “evaluating people, fighting, scene making, and clue deciphering” on the list of things she is awful at. They meet Wes’s family who are like “Wes is awesome!” and Jillian is reassured.

SPECIAL ED

Back at the hotel, Jillian’s like “Phew, I just can’t handle any more fake surprises.” Too bad, because there’s MORE SURPRISES. Ed has come back to tell Jillian that he has “reprioritized” (1. computers 2. true love 1. true love 2. computers) and wants another shot. Of course she invites him back because she hasn’t stopped talking about him since he left, except for those two episodes where she didn’t mention him at all. They hug it out because the passion is just too much.

ROSE CEREMONY

Everyone hates Ed. Now two guys are going home instead of one, and those two are Michael and Jesse, but no one’s really worried because this show is like Lost – no one’s ever really dead! (Except for Stephanie’s husband; he was really dead.)

Somewhere Michael’s sister is really pissed about coming back from Australia early.

NEXT WEEK

Everyone comes back to gang murder Wes!

Monday, June 29, 2009

I’m Sorry, I Couldn’t Hear You Above All My Subtle Yearning

Brooke: “We should play more games. Remember how much fun Scategories was?”
Dan: “Yeah, and I love that card game you taught me.”
Brooke: “Chinese poker?”
Dan: “Yes! And we could get Chinese checkers.”
Brooke: “Have you ever played mancala, with the beads? We should get a mancala board.”
Dan: “Oh, and we should get Wii.”
Brooke: “Yeah! And then we could just stare at the wall.”
Dan: . . .
Brooke: “If we got weed we wouldn’t have to play any games.”
Dan: “I said Wii.”

Friday, June 26, 2009

Breaking News: America Nearly Engulfed By Wave of Nostalgia After Michael Jackson Dies

Is it safe to come out yet? Is everything still here? Did someone put the pandas on the ark? Please tell me someone PUT THE PANDAS ON THE ARK!

For a while there I was worried because I saw the movie Deep Impact so I know that when The Big Nostalgia Comet hit, my only chance for survival would be to run to the top of a very large hill. And then I remembered I was in Florida (the topographical equivalent of an English muffin) and was like shit.

So I ripped open my Do Not Open in Case of Doomsday kit, took out the shaker, made a few martinis, and watched an episode of Party Down. Then I woke up this morning and logged onto Facebook, the new national emergency broadcast system, expecting chaos.

But good news, America: We made it! Of course there were still people like:

(Side note: Did that guy just call Michael Jackson his god? I’d hate to get stuck in traffic on that bandwagon.)

But by and large people seem to be back to normal – updating the cosmos about their plans for the weekend, the progress their toddlers are making at growing up, and the annoying neighbors vacuuming upstairs. And I’m not going to pretend to be some sort of cultural bellwether (I watch Dawson’s Creek repeats), but isn’t this how it should be? I mean, it’s all well and good if you prefer to remember the King of Pop version of Michael Jackson and be a bit sad that the guy who once owned MTV is no longer around, but let’s not fill the ether with e-R.I.P.s (they crashed Twitter, for tweet’s sake!) and pretend that the Yikesael Jackson version never existed. Does the Neverland Ranch and Bed Sharing Resort ring a bell? Hanging your baby over a balcony? THIS?

All I’m suggesting is that maybe we should look where we’re moonwalking. And take solace in the fact that even if someone forgot the pandas, we’ve still got the elephants painted like pandas. It’s gonna be okay.

It’s black. It’s white. It’s tough for you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Bachelorette Recap (Vol. 2)

Hi, it’s Brooke again. Not by choice this time. See, I have lots of ideas (“Let’s move to Thailand and teach English!” “Let’s write a novel”), but I’m not so big on the follow through (“Let’s take naps instead. I really love naps.”) So when I proposed blogging about The Bachelorette, I just thought it was one of those things Dan would ignore like my post-midnight feeling sharing or my refusal to properly screw tops back on. But no, last Tuesday, he actually posted a Bachelorette recap, and then promised that I would write this week’s. So here goes.

SETTING

OK, so they’re going on a train. This results in several advertisements accolades about how awesome trains are, specifically the Rocky Mountain Express. Several people excitedly say they’ve never been on a train before. I think this is something embarrassing that hicks should keep to themselves.

DATE #1: Robby (bartender, 25)

Robby is given the first date card. He says, “Trains are the perfect place to fall in love.” Really? I always thought of them as the perfect place to get wrapped up in a mysterious caper. Whatever. Camera flashes to Jillian decorating her train car like a harem. My initial impressions of Robby: This guys is lame. Boo. Robby is a 25-year-old bartender or as my mom would call him, marriage material. (My mom was sarcastic.) I mean, part of me feels bad for Robby. Last week it was all glacier-jumping ice planes and zip lining. And he gets a ride in a train. What a loser. Anyhow, he says things like:

“I’m young, I’m 25, I’m in-between jobs right now, I haven’t had a relationship in a couple of years…”

“I wish I had a bigger vocabulary.”

“There are so many ideas going through my head, it’s stupid.”

So yeah, Robby is stupid. So Jillian ditches him and the genius producers (seriously guys, I respect this decision) leave Robby in the middle of the Canadian wilderness. The rest of the guys watch him fade away as the train chugs along. Pathetic. But it does give me an idea for a new show: The Bachelor: Survivor Edition. After you’re thrown off you have to fight for your life to make it back to civilization.

DATE #2: Group Date

Anyhow, next is the group date and they play in the snow (again) and drink by a fireplace (again). Jillian gets some private time with the following gentlemen.

Captain America Jake:

Jake is like a fighter pilot from ‘50s-era conformist propaganda. Tall, blond, square jaw line, latent homosexual tendencies. He keeps talking about how nice guys finish last. And girls don’t want the nice guys. Sure, we women prefer to be tossed around when we misbehave, but could it be that you have the personality of a rag? You’re weak and needy. Also you use words like “golly” and “neat.” Man up, Jake. I really think he would benefit from a night of blow and hookers. Jake’s last words: “I wanted to kiss her but I didn’t.” Loser.

Kiptyn’s Forehead:

Next up is Kiptyn’s forehead. I like Kiptyn, but he needs some Botox. I find his wrinkly forehead distracting. Anyhow, they have great chemistry. He touches her butt a little, which I support. He’s a shoo-in for a bang card.

Foot Fetish Guy Tanner:

The producers are really editing geniuses. Following a discussion about what everyone wears to sleep, Tanner has a voiceover: “I want her to know about my family. I’ve got to step it up.” On screen, he pulls down his pants and shows his tightie whities and his enormous(!!) package. Which oddly enough is just what Dan did when he wanted me to meet his family. Kidding, Dan wears boxer briefs. Anyhow, cut to Tanner giving Jillian a foot massage. He boasts to camera: “She knows I have a foot fetish and she knows I was blessed.” He’s feeling pretty cocky. Ha. They do a close-up of her feet. They actually are really pretty. This guy sucks. Next.

Jesse:

Team Jesse! He’s sincere. And real pretty. I like him. Also, he’s a winemaker! And as Friend Amy texted, “The fact that he is a winemaker makes him WAY hotter than he actually is.” (Friend Amy loves to drink.)

Virgin Michael:

Michael is a 25-year-old break dance instructor. He’s goofy and sweet and young. He’s just so naïve. I’d fuck him to teach him a lesson. I think Jillian might, too.

Wes:

I refuse to discuss Wes in any capacity. I hate you, Wes. You are on my Blacklist™.

DATE #3: Reid (30, realtor)

Man, Reid is so nebbishy (look it up, Goyim). He repeatedly calls himself neurotic. And while they don’t say he’s Jewish, when Jillian says “it feels like Christmas morning,” he responds, “I know what Christmas morning is like. You wake up and there are no presents.” And c’mon, there’s no way they’d have a Muslim on the show, or GOD forbid, an atheist. Anyhow, the next scene was cut and paste from Along Came Polly. Jillian eats fondue and Reid admits he’s a hypochondriac and is uncomfortable with the raw meat. Just like Ben Stiller! Jillian: “I want to meet his family and see how we would relate to each other.” I really hope they discuss their religious differences. The Bachelorette: now with more reality.

Rose Ceremony

And the winners are: Kiptyn’s Forehead, Winemaker Jesse, Virgin Michael, Jew-y Reid, D-Bag Wes.

Next Week

Awkward family moments and erectile dysfunction! Dan and I will (possibly) live blog it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

1001 Things I Hate: No. 1

Let’s be honest, Dan doesn’t always write as much as we’d all like him to. And despite my constant love and support (“Make me laugh, Monkey Boy!”), sometimes his creativity is tapped. But it’s not because he doesn’t love this blog. I mean, sometimes you love something, but it’s there every day, so you don’t appreciate it. You stop bringing it flowers. And it’s not the blog’s fault. Like, whatever if the blog doesn’t get dressed up anymore. Who cares if the blog has worn the same pajamas for three days and hasn’t washed its hair? It’s still the same blog. And more importantly, beneath those skanky pajamas are awesome tits. So don’t neglect the blog, Dan.

Anyhow, to supplement Dan’s posts, I’m starting my own column. It’s called 1001 Things I Hate and it’s about stuff I hate.* 1001 things? Well, yeah. I hate 1000 and 1 things and I have a list. (Totally separate from my Blacklist™, which is people I hate.) And now, #1:

Men Who Tell Me To Smile

Don’t do this. Don’t tell women to smile. No woman has ever said to another woman, “Smile!” But yet, countless times, I’ve been told by a man, “Smile!” or worse, “What’s the matter, Sweetie? Smile!” What gives you the right? I’m not a puppy. I know it might make you uncomfortable, Dude on the Elevator. You walked on, saw a chick, made a paltry attempt at flirting, and I didn’t respond. This is so disconcerting. Listen, I’m sorry to disrupt your projected feminine ideals, your stifled two-dimensional characterization. But why do you assume my lack of smile means something is wrong? Do you walk around all day smiling like a fulfilled Playmate? Maybe I’m thinking about war, or scotch, or sex. Maybe I’m thinking about work. Maybe I work. I know this is all too much. And I should just smile. But I won’t because I hate you, Dude on the Elevator. You are on my Blacklist™.

Thing I Love: The smell of coconut.

_____________________________________
* Conversation when I sent this post to Dan:

Dan: “Um . . . ok, I’m just not sure I get it.”
Brooke: “What do you mean?”
Dan: “Well, it’s just that . . . I’m not so sure I get the joke.”
Brooke: “There’s no joke.”
Dan: . . .
Brooke: “It’s called 1001 Things I Hate. Not 1001 Things That Humorously Irritate Me.
Dan: “Aren’t you worried it sounds a little, er, angry?”
Brooke: “I am angry.”
Dan: “Oh.”

Friday, June 19, 2009

Q&A Friday!

There’s only one question this week, which doesn’t really surprise me (you know, the economy). But it’s an important one – one I have asked myself very recently and one that I presume many of you will be asking yourselves in the coming months. And it is this:

Did you see the commercial for “More to Love”? If so, WTF?

- Michelle

For those of you who weren’t fortunate enough to catch it, here you go:

(Insert sound of me trying to tip-toe away from the computer while everyone was distracted.)

Oh, hey. I was just going to grab something from the kitchen. Totally not trying to dodge this sociological IED. Not me. In fact, everyone’s in luck because I’m wearing my Yikes protective panty liner today. So here we go.

First of all, who’s the blabbermouth that clued in upper management to the fact that reality TV shows skew their casting towards skinny people? Clearly someone dropped the ball, because I don’t know about you but I was happy to let sleeping dogs lie, like when a baby is born in a movie and they hand the mom a baby covered in birth goo and you know it’s not a real newborn baby because of the casting process (sonogram headshots?) plus the fact that SAG would be all like, “But he hasn’t even filled out the paperwork yet!” Point being, I thought this was just one of those things we all turned a blind eye to. Guess not.

Where to go from here? Well first let’s get one thing straight: The show markets itself as a plus-sized dating game. So yes, perhaps the politically correct way to discuss this would be “normal weight people” or “people right in the meaty (yikes) part of the curve in terms of the average weight of Americans aged 20-34.” And for what it’s worth, I personally believe that people come in all shapes and sizes and that some are too big and some are too small and that some are just right. But the show proclaims it has found twenty “curvy” women to vie for the affection of a "single guy with a big waist and an even bigger heart.” (Whoops! Time to change that Yikes panty liner.)

I, for one, am happy to skip the righteous indignation part of being like, “Are they allowed to drink from the same water fountains as the skinny people?” If I’m not mistaken, a pretty big chunk of the entertainment industry has been set aside for “skinny, pretty people doing skinny, pretty things” for the past 80 years, give or take. And it seems to have worked out well, if by well you mean that every year one of the most watched shows on television is the one where we give them awards for all those pretty, skinny things they’ve been doing for the past year.

So is it a little weird (morally speaking) that we need a whole separate show for overweight people to find love? Yes. Shouldn’t we just be able to have one show full of overweight and underweight and dumb and smart and successful and homeless people so we can peel away these layers of artificiality and hang out by the pool showing off out AWESOME PERSONALITIES? Sure. Would it work?

Honestly, what I’m most worried about is the show’s supposed “inspirational” factor. I don’t watch The Bachelor to be inspired. I watch it to be amazed by man’s potential for absurdity. In fact, if you polled every single person who watches The Bachelor, I’m pretty sure none of them (save the guy in Jersey who is flirting with survey taker) would say that watching The Bachelor inspires them to be a better person. So here’s a question: What’s so much more inspiring about watching fat people fall in love? Are they inherently unlovable? Are they like Sisyphus, rolling a giant ball of unrequited love up the side of a mountain, only to be foiled every time? And most important, when someone on the show says something stupid, will it be hidden from the camera to preserve the “inspirational” character of the show? You know, because they already have so much on their plate? (Yikes! I can’t help it.)

Unfortunately, I may never find out. When Brooke and I saw the commercial together the other night, she immediately noticed that diabetes glaze in my eye and immediately yelled, “NO!” like I was a dog with my head in the trash. So in all likelihood, I won’t be around to find out how the whole “fat people deserve love, too” theme plays out.

Although one thing’s for sure – there won’t be nearly as much “running and jumping into the guy’s arms and spinning around.”

Yikes! Went there.

(Think you’ve got what it takes to have a question? Email me at redactedblog@gmail.com.)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Dog Food is Like “Yo, What’s Up Bitches?”

On more than one occasion recently, someone has commented on how big Puppy looks. It’s usually said in a cutesy way, like “Well you’re a big one, aren’t you?” but I’m pretty certain that unlike this dog, Puppy hasn’t been buffing up lately, so the implication is clear: They’re calling him fat.

So the other day I decided to read the instructions on his food, wondering if perhaps I’ve been overfeeding him (so Italian of me!). That’s when I saw this:

(Click to enlarge.)

Whoa slow down there, Dog Food Bag! I get that “bitch” means “female dog,” but I had no idea that it was actually used in things like conversations and product instructions. I thought it was like “gay” meaning “happy.” No one is ever like, “Congratulations on the new job! I’m so gay for you!”

Isn’t this one of those cases where maybe you’re taking terminology a little too seriously? I’ve never owned a female dog, but I’d like to think that if I did I wouldn’t then be required to have conversations like this:

Girl: “Aw, what a cute puppy! It is a boy or a girl?”
Me: “She’s a bitch.”
Girl: “Excuse me?”
Me: “Actually, she’s a pregnant bitch right now which makes things a lot more difficult. You have to feed her differently, for one. Then when she has the litter it’ll be interesting to watch her transform into this miraculous lactating bitch. I’m not sure what kinds of changes come along with that, but I bet they’re quite noticeable. Luckily my dog food comes with specific instructions for bitches like her.”

No thanks. I’ll stick with Puppy. He may be fat, but at least he’s not bitchy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New York: Like a Kick in the Balls, But the Museums are Excellent

Brooke and I often talk about if/when we will move back to New York. The conversation is usually an emotional roller coaster. There’s laughing, crying, protestations, accusations, rage, even make-up sex (because why not?). In the end, we cautiously agree to disagree: Brooke knows in her heart of hearts that she loves New York and will be together with it again some day; I know that love is a tricky thing and sometimes a whore like Miami makes a great bedfellow.

Then I go and do something stupid like take a weekend trip to New York. I always said when I lived in New York that I couldn’t imagine going on a vacation in Manhattan, because the city really isn’t meant to be experienced in small doses, because in all likelihood those doses will poison you. No, the city is meant to be taken in over a long period of time, like Iocane powder, so you have ample time to build up an immunity to it. In other words, New York isn’t a one-night stand – and if you try to treat it like one, it’ll likely fuck you. (Wait, hold on . . .)

Luckily I am a trained New Yorker. So when New York throws all the malfeasant tricks in the book at me, I don’t get discourages. Instead, I see them for what they are: surreptitious love notes, aimed directly at my heart.

REROUTED SUBWAYS

At face value, this is one of the largest inconveniences the city can throw at you. Unless you live there and have ample time to decipher the often incomprehensible Changes of Service notifications, you’re bound to be blindsided. Like when I took the train in from visiting my parents on Long Island and upon arriving at Penn Station discovered that the A line wasn’t running. Although me and many of the people around me didn’t know that until a helpful janitor came walking down the platform screaming in a very grumpy manor, “Ain’t no A train tonight! Stops running at 11.” When someone pointed out that it was 10:45 he laughed and said, “Not down here it isn’t,” as though we were in a Lethal Weapon movie.

Actually, rerouted subways are New York’s way of forcing you to stop and smell the roses. “What, you want to get off one train and get right on another?” it might say. “Why not rest, read a magazine, and enjoy the curious odor.” Plus who doesn’t love sweating?

Old apartments

At face value, the only thing worse than trying to find an apartment in New York is every subsequent month when you look around your tiny, crumbling third-floor walk-up (built circa 1920) and then write out a check for $1,800 in rent. I once had a guy come to fix the heat at one of my past apartments and after studying the radiator for five minutes he stood up and said, “Wow, they don’t make ‘em like this anymore!” I smiled because I thought it was a compliment implying that everything constructed in yesteryears is more well-built. Then we kind of just looked at each other and he was like, “No, really. They don’t make these anymore. I don’t know how to fix it.”

Actually, old apartments are charming and imbue residents with a sense of historical significance – a place in time, if you will. So when I woke up on Saturday morning and went out to get Brooke and I coffee, and came back balancing the two cups on top of each other and proceeded to get into such an epic struggle with the lock on the front door of the apartment building (if I had to give instructions on how to use it, I would say, “put the key in, then pull the handle so far towards you that it looks like it is about to come flying off, then gently turn,”) that the top coffee spilled all over my shirt, kind of burning me, well all I could think was, “I bet the same thing happened to someone in 1948!”

Cramped living quarters

At face value, living in an apartment the size of an Applebee’s bathroom is soul crushing. You convince yourself that you have all the space you really need, and then you take your bed out of the closet, blow it up, and go to sleep.

Actually, this is New York’s way of fostering your more resourceful side. Like Carrie Bradshaw keeping shoes in the oven, which I always thought was a bit much because hasn’t she ever seen the Container Store? Never in all the years of watching ex-girlfriends watching the show did I see Carrie utilize a convenient under-the-bed storage container. Personally, I think she was just trying to be quirky – but the reality is that many New Yorkers are forced to get creative with their storage, like in the apartment I was staying in which has a shelf perched high above the bathroom door where all the towels are kept and you kind of have to stand on the toilet to get a towel, and sometimes when you pull one down a little candle jar falls, hits you on the head, and then breaks on the floor. This is New York’s way of saying that no one really needs candles anyway, at least not in this economy.

Dead bird on fire escape

At face value, a dead bird flattened out on a window screen resting on your fire escape is disgusting, not to mention mind boggling. How does something like that even happen? The best I can come up with is that the bird flew at a great speed into the screen, plastering itself into it with such cartoon force that the person living in the adjacent apartment could not remove the bird from the screen. So they just took it out and left it on the fire escape. But unless the bird was hopped up on something, I don’t see it achieving the necessary velocity to literally flatten itself.

Actually, a dead bird on the fire escape is just disgusting.

Shoddy apartment construction

At face value, shoddy construction just completes the trifecta of awfulness when it comes to old, cramped apartments. Although you have to hand it to builders – they tried. Like with the double hanging windows common on most walk-up apartment buildings, where you can literally fold in both portions of the window in order to clean the other side. Ingenious! Except when it’s broken. Then when you simply try to open the window, it shoots up and out towards you like a coiled spring and comes off its hinge so that the window, in some metaphysical conundrum, nearly falls out the window.

Actually, New York makes you work for it, thus building up deep reserves of things like gumption and moxie. So while people in places like Kansas take a cross breeze for granted, opening a window for you is a test of conviction. How much do you want it? Enough to risk everything, including losing the window forever? This way, making big choices (like life support and organ donation) are a breeze.*

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* Except for where to live. Because some questions have no easy answers.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Bachelorette Recap (Vol. 1)

(Obviously this has to happen. You may want it to. You may not. But in reality, the choice isn’t up to you or me. It’s up to the cosmos. And the cosmos fucking loves The Bachelorette.)

LAST WEEK

Last week was a rough one for Jillian. Tanner stopped staring at her feet long enough to blab a secretive warning that some guys in the house weren’t there for the “right reasons” (lack of pride, boredom, etc.) and that some of them may even have (wait for it) GIRLFRIENDS. He may as well have said AIDS, because the idea that someone on the show may like a girl other than Jillian devastated her. She somehow managed to get through the Rose Ceremony and vote off Dave the alcoholic who looked like he was on the verge of date raping her during their last one-on-one time. No surprises there.

DATE #1

Now Jillian is ready to get over last week’s drama by “getting real,” which is confusing because I thought we were on reality television. The first date card goes to Michael, who is 25 and has ADD. The date card reads “Come fly with me” and Michael laments that he has no idea what that means. This leads to much speculation amongst the guys who finally decide that he will be flying somewhere.

WRONG. They go zip-lining and everyone has fun. Away from Jillian, Michael raps poetic on how zip-lining is like love: “You just have to jump.” Brooke adds, “And then you do it,” hopefully not while zip-lining though. They finish up and drink the largest mugs of hot chocolate ever. At dinner, Jillian gets all Nancy Drew and gets Michael to confess that he broke up with his girlfriend only eight months ago. She is satisfied with his answer and gives him a rose and then they kiss like relatives.

GROUP DATE

Being here for “the right reasons” is all anyone can talk about, though no one explains exactly what the right reasons to compete with other men for a Canadian bride on a reality TV show are.

Jillian decides the best way to vet the eight guys on the group date is to go snow mobiling. There’s only nine snow mobiles (wily producers!) so Robbie has to ride on the back of Jillian’s, which makes him look gay. While the two of them are off talking, the rest of the guys are hanging out on their snow mobiles like a White Person Ski Town posse talking about how Robbie is only 25 so he’s too immature (but he’s balding, so it makes him seem older). Meanwhile, Jillian asks Robbie if he is indeed mature enough to make a loving, lifelong commitment at the age of 25 and he responds, “I’m ready to do this.” (Brooke: “That’s so romantic. That’s how I want you to propose to me.”)

Next, Tanner comes over for some one-on-one time. Jillian asks him to reveal the names of the guys who have girlfriends and he responds by telling her to keep her eyes open. She seems satisfied with this and the producers cut to Jillian sitting in the snow with Wes, who not only isn’t there for the right reasons (he’s promoting his country music record) but he also has a girlfriend. Jillian tells Wes how much she adores him and they kiss. Somewhere, the producers laugh.

After taking a shot of whiskey at a randomly assembled ice bar (Canada represent!) Jillian goes on camera to talk more about “wrong reasons.” Her next interrogation is with Kypton. Jillian is so drunk that she’s flirting with both her chins, and all Kypton has to say is that he’s “there for her” and they start making out. Kypton slips her the tongue, but Brooke says it’s okay because they both have big noses.

Next up is Reid, who tells Jillian that she smells good. When she asks like what, he replies, “like snow, flowers, and gasoline.” Jillian asks who the guy is with the girlfriend and Reid deflects by joking that he has four girlfriends and two wives. They make out.

Finally, Nancy drew needs to “find out what’s up with Ed” because he seems down. Ed confesses that his boss called him up and gave him al ultimatum: his job or true love. (Huh, boss?) Ed says he’s “jeopardizing a ton” but he would consider staying if Jillian gave him “indicators.” Naturally, she gives him the date rose as an “indicator.”

Off camera, Jake mentions how it’s not a good time to be without a job. Fucking economy? On The Bachelorette? They are single handedly keeping the helicopter industry afloat.

DATE #2

Jesse’s date card reads “Let’s break the ice.” He guesses either ice skating or ice fishing, indicating that clearly he has never seen the show before. It turns out that they will be landing a jumper plane on a glacier. Jesse calls it a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” which seems about right. (Global warming.)

While flying over the glacier, Jillian calls it the “most romantic view ever.” She should know – she’s been on more helicopter rides than Donald Trump. They land the plane and start racing in the snow. Jesse is intense and knocks her down. I respect that.

Jillian calls all the racing “the coolest thing she’s ever done in her life” meaning that rappelling down the side of an office building like she did in episode three wasn’t nearly as cool as it looked on TV.

Over dinner, Jillian asks her favorite question: “Where do you see yourself at 35?” She is obsessed with the future, like she’s trying to get someone to say “hoarding guns because the world has ended.” Jillian admits that she’s willing to give up her life to move in with her prospective husband. Jesse says he loves her voice. (They are soooo in love.) In the hot tub, Jesse says he wants to “take it to the next level.” He drops the “H” bomb (husband) and gets a rose.

PRE-ROSE CEREMONY

Back to Ed who is struggling with his decision to stay and lose his job or go and lose Jillian. (Note: Ed, you’re a fucking technology consultant, not an astronaut.) Not relishing the unique opportunity to be the first guy ever to break up with a girl who isn’t his girlfriend on a reality TV show where SHE IS IN CHARGE, Ed hurtfully admits that he has to leave. Everyone cries and Jillian does that girl thing where she tells Ed she understands but then goes on camera and says she doesn’t understand.

ROSE CEREMONY

Jillian is dressed like a soap opera character. Since Ed already left, only one other guy will be going home. It’s down to Wes and Mark – the guy Brooke’s keeps on asking “Who’s that?” whenever he’s on screen.

Mark gets axed. On his way out, he says that he’s “been cheated on four times, which is a lot.” That is a lot.

NEXT WEEK

Murder on the Orient Express!

(And not just that, but Brooke will be the one writing it.)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Chop Quiz

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Script Treatment For a New Sitcom Called Halvsies (Alternate Title: Two Guys, a Girl and a Gangbang)

(The following script is based on the true life story of a Texas woman who gave birth to twin boys fathered by two different men – a 0.001 chance occurrence, though scientists note that probability rises when banging lots of dudes. Names have been changed because the real ones are stupid.)

Scene: Kitchen. 10 years later. Breakfast time. The boys – Sam and Jamal – come bounding down the stairs. Mom is making pancakes.

Mom: Slow down boys! How many times have a told you not to run in the house? You’re going to break something.

Sam: Like my arm?

Mom: Like my vase.

(Laughs.)

Mom: Now come and eat some breakfast. I made your favorite.

Jamal: Pancakes aren’t my favorite. French toast is my favorite.

Mom: (Sprinkles cinnamon on his pancakes.) “There. French toast.”

(Laughs.)

Sam: Mom, if Jamal and I are twins, how come pancakes aren’t both our favorites?

Mom: Well Sam, it’s complicated. You see, ten years ago Mommy was going through some tough times. Mommy didn’t think Mommy was very pretty, so she looked for validati-

(Just then, Sam’s father comes through the back door. He is a mail carrier.)

Sam’s Dad: Morning everyone! Morning son – s.

Sam: Hey dad, Mom was just explaining why Jamal and I don’t both like pancakes even though we’re twins.

Sam’s Dad: (Aside to Mom.) Jeez, the kids look like an Oreo cookie and they’re wondering about pancakes?”

(Laughs.)

Mom: Anyway, I was telling them how Mommy had some self-esteem problems, and the alcohol didn’t help matters . . .

(Jamal’s father comes rushing through the door. He is on parole for attempted murder.)

Sam’s Dad: Well look who it is! I didn’t know you’d be joining us for breakfast.

Mom: I didn’t know you were ever awake for breakfast.

(Laughs.)

Jamal’s Dad: Yo yo, what’s up family? (Looks at Jamal’s plate.) Hey, French toast! My favorite!

(Laughs.)

Mom: (Slapping away Jamal’s Dad’s hand.) That’s not for you! The isn’t a prison mess hall.

(Laughs.)

Jamal’s Dad: Oh shoot, that reminds me! I gotta run. Meeting with my P.O. He got me a job at something called Pottery Barn. I told him I don’t know nothing about animals, but he said it’s all good.

(Laughs.)

Sam’s Dad: I should be going, too. Busy day at the office. That whiskey won’t drink itself!

(Laughs.)

Mom: Now what was I saying to you boys? Oh, right. My pill addiction. So one night-

Jamal: It’s okay, Mom. I think Sam and I get the picture.

Mom: You do?

Sam: Yeah. Jamal and I like different breakfasts because everyone’s different, regardless of whether they have a twin brother. Right?

Mom: (Smiling.) You bet, honey.

Jamal: What do you say, Sam? Trade some pancakes for some French toast?

Sam: You bet. We’ll go halvsies.

(Applause.)