At long last, after what seemed like a lifetime of fretting over a collection of identically-coiffed, functionally indistinguishable dudes who all look like extras on Suits, Jojo officially selected Jordan to share with her a Lifetime Of Happiness. Of course, in Bachelorette world, this is likely to entail a series of contractually-obligated joint media appearances at which they offer increasingly pained smiles and hollow platitudes before their publicists abruptly issue stilted statements announcing that, although they “remain close” and “care deeply for one another,” Jordan and Jojo have decided to take some time apart to find themselves, and thank you for respecting their privacy during this difficuALRIGHT FINE THEY HATE EACH OTHER, and yes, my client is VERY available for an exclusive interview detailing to you how the other one ruined EVERYTHING. If your office starts a pool on the date of Jojo’s tearful, softly-lit interview on The View, invest heavily in mid-October dates. (Also, never leave your place of employment.)
Over the last two weeks, America endured four agonizing hours of The Bachelorette only to end up with the least appealing iteration of a Final Duo: Jordan, the Crappy Rodgers Family Quarterback, and Robby, an apparently-unemployed Floridian so intensely dislikable that whenever he comes onscreen, Jenna mutters “I hate this guy” and disappears into her phone until his scene finally, mercifully ends. Jordan and Robby are carbon copies of one another, right down to their insistence on wearing fitted oxfords in Thailand, profusely sweating through them in the hot sun, and swaying slightly in a desperate effort to stir the air around them (note: this NEVER works). No matter which one of these goobers she picks next week, I’m going to make exaggerated gagging noises at the TV, and Jenna is going to tell me to give it a rest, and I’m going to go to sleep in a huff and won’t turn on the TV again until Bachelor in Paradise starts.
As these eliminated bros can attest, though, it didn’t have to be this way. IT DIDN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY, JOJO.
After four incredible nights in Cleveland—likely the first time those words have ever gone together—the only storyline more perfectly absurd than the, uh, considerable inspiration that Melania Trump took from Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech was the Trump campaign’s subsequent 36 hours of ham-fisted responses, all of which culminated in some poor underling publicly admitting that, yes, she inadvertently cribbed from Michelle Obama’s speech, that it was a horrible mistake, and that she and she alone is to blame. Finally, the Trump campaign could be rid of this stupid story for good!
Except, um, whoops, said underling works for the Trump Organization, not the campaign, and it’s against federal law to use corporate resources without providing compensation (which, spoiler, there is no record that such compensation was ever made). She even released her mea culpa on Trump Organization letterhead, which is sort of the election law equivalent of all those people who signed up for AshleyMadison using their FirstNameLastName@WorkDomain.com email addresses. So there you have it: Melania is not a plagiarizer, but the presidential campaign of her husband, who as of Thursday is officially one of two people with any chance at winning the White House, either does not know the law, does not care about the law, or—STRONG HEDGE YOUR BETS—both. Someday, you are going to tell your awed grandchildren about what 2016 was really like, and they’re going to smile and nod politely and then talk worriedly in hushed tones the whole ride home about how Grandma and Grandpa are going senile so quickly.
Say what you will about Jojo—no, don’t scream “CLEAVAGE,” you’re at work right now—but she certainly has a type when it comes to men, and wastes no time pretending otherwise. This week, the victims of her ruthlessly efficient winnowing process were James Taylor and Alex The Tiny Marine, and since they were the only remaining contestants that don’t look like investment bankers dressed up as “Zac Efron in Neighbors” for Halloween, this surprised exactly no one. If I had told you before the episode that you had to bet your life savings on which two were getting cut, but that you COULDN’T pick “Alex The Tiny Marine and James Taylor,” you would have shrugged resignedly and started calling bankruptcy lawyers.
At about the midway point of a given Bachelorette season, after living and breathing the same tiny group of extremely well-manicured people for nearly a month, the contestants have a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen. Either they’re in the select group that actually has a shot to win, or their presence is a mere function of appearing in melodrama that is contractually obligated to produce a full 13 episodes of #content. For the sake of TV, the bachelorette has to gradually nix the suitors she doesn’t like, which often means keeping some hapless oafs on TV for another week even though her interactions with them more closely resemble co-workers at an uncomfortable office happy hour than people allegedly interested in spending the rest of their lives together.
In response, one of the more savvy also-rans inevitably shrugs, pounds a few extra drinks, and decides that if they’re going down, they’re going to do so on their own terms, and SPECTACULARLY. This could be simple pride at work: it’s maddeningly frustrating to be in a relationship–using the term loosely here, of course–in which you know you’re not wanted. Maybe they arrive at this decision to make the most of their limited screen time. Or perhaps the producers cajole them into mixing things up with the vague promise of a longer tenure (“Tom, you’re probably out this week, UNLESS you were to start a SHIRTLESS FIGHT with two other guys…anyway, just saying, carry on”).
On June 27, I wrote an article for Deadspin on how to link up with a regular pickup basketball game in a way that does not end with all the regulars silently hating you. It is reprinted below.
For most of my adult life, I have managed to play basketball two or three times a week. I do this because it is significantly more fun than, say, spending a joyless half-hour on a worn treadmill in some windowless YMCA basement, and at 29, my knee still has yet to explode like poor Shaun Livingston’s. But like every Millennial with an overpriced graduate degree, I have also moved around plenty, logging stints in five major cities (or four, depending on how you feel about Boston) over the past ten years. This means that I am very familiar with the feeling of showing up to a court full of total strangers, high tops in hand, and hoping for the best.
As a thin layer of vanilla protein powder dust settles on the post-Chad Bachelorette era, the show’s ever-meddling producers face an existential crisis. Now that this season’s de facto villain is off to a life of cutting grand opening ribbons at Crossfit gyms, they have to find some way to generate intrigue and convince us to entertain any outcome other than “Aaron Rodgers’ Younger Brother Jordan Rogers is going to win, because she so obviously likes him way more than anyone else, but we have to go through the motions with these other jamokes to fulfill ABC’s airtime needs.”