FORGOT YOUR DETAILS?

Unless you’re the Grinch or Ebenezer Scrooge, it’s not too hard to get in the holiday spirit, but, if you’re looking to expand your holiday viewing repertoire, here are ten television episodes that you might enjoy. Most are comedies, but there are two dramas on this list as well, if that’s your thing.

Please note, these are brief summaries of each episode, not full descriptions of plot points and twists so that you may fully enjoy the episodes when you watch them.

I could have just called this list “Every Pilot During Fall Pilot Season” because whoa, what a terrible Fall pilot season. But that wouldn’t be fair to the other terrible hours and half-hours of television we all watched prior to the leaves turning brown.

A single, awful episode of a TV show is a special thing. It can leave you unsatisfied, angry, disappointed, sad, and undoubtedly thinking that you will never get that time of your life back. And that’s not fair. At the very least, let’s recognize the top of the bottom.

Peruse that slideshow to see the most rightfully-cancelled pilots, the most egregious childhood-ruining crossovers, the most crushing finales, and everything in between.

Tagged under:
Norman Lear (Photo by Patrick McMullan).

Norman Lear (Photo by Patrick McMullan).

There was a time in the ‘70s when his programs were viewed by 120 million people a week, each containing a story that dealt with the most serious issues of the day—war, poverty, prejudice —yet still left audiences howling with laughter.

Norman Lear is the television producer of such groundbreaking sitcoms as All in the Family, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, Good Times, and Maude. He has received four Emmy awards, a Peabody, and the National Medal of Arts.

The 92-year-old television icon is on an aggressive nationwide book tour promoting Even This I Get to Experience, a hefty tome about his personal and professional life that chronicles the good and the bad, including his tumultuous relationship with his father and his financial struggles as well as his creative triumphs, all of it in a compelling narrative.

This tour, Lear insists, has brought him knowledge about himself that he wouldn’t have otherwise uncovered.

“With this book,” says Lear, “I wanted to open my veins. I didn’t know a lot of things about me.” He goes on to explain that in his view, the progression of life is not as linear as most people would like to believe it is. “I think we’re all on two journeys really. One journey is horizontal, you’re learning about this and that, general life stuff, and the other is vertical and you’re constantly learning massive amounts of things about yourself – whether you choose to acknowledge these things or not. I don’t think that part ever ends. Only in the last couple of days and weeks have I started to put a couple of things together that I never knew about myself, and I’ve been at this life thing a long time.”

To assemble the stories he tells in the book, Lear couldn’t rely on journals, because he never kept any, but he was lucky enough to have a lot of his life, specifically his career, documented in other ways. “Fortunately, there were a lot of interviews that I’ve done over the years. I haven’t seen or read many of them until I started to put the book together and they were just full of information.”

One of major revelations that Lear has experienced lately has to do with his ever-changing role as a ‘performer.’ “In the book, I talk about how when the war ended and I was still overseas, I wrote a one page ad for myself to get a job as a public relations person. I was explaining how I had the ability to could push someone else forward. I wanted to remain in the background and push the other guy forward and that’s what press agents do. I wrote about how good I am at that and I got two job offers right away, so that worked out well. In my own life, it’s only in the very recently that I’ve come to think of myself as a performer. I was on the stage with a Whoopi Goldberg interviewing me in front of a thousand people and I was funny and interesting, if I may say so, but in that setting I was performing. I allowed myself to see myself performing. I’d never seen that part of myself. Honest to God, I never ever allowed myself to see myself as a performer. That’s the kind of vertical journey I’m talking about.”

Also in the book, Lear talks about his early influences and says that he learned a valuable lesson from writer Roland Kibbee. Kibbee told Lear, “Just about anything can be improved and reaching for perfection, not necessarily achieving it, is worth the effort,’ to which Lear responds, “Yes, that phrase no doubt influenced me and I have no doubt that made me a pain in the ass when it came to working with other writers. I was always thinking, ‘That script might be as good as it will get, but I’m still looking for better.’”

That quest to keep revising caused Lear some anxious moments when completing his book. “Putting it to bed was very hard,” admits Lear.

With his constant quest for improvement, just how did Lear complete anything? “Deadlines,” he declares. “I lived under perpetual deadlines. If I didn’t have deadlines I’d still be working on the All in the Family pilot,” he discloses.

Speaking of his most famous creation, Lear reveals that his career in television almost didn’t happen at all. “I’d made the comedy film called Cold Turkey (about an entire town trying to quit smoking) and since it was pretty well-received, I was offered a deal to write, produce and direct three more films. At that time, Woody Allen and Blake Edwards were the only guys in comedy that had that kind of deal.“

It’s important to remember that at this stage, there was quite a separation, monetarily and in the hierarchy of media, between television and film, with the latter being viewed as the considerably less desirable of the two entities.

Everyone, including his family urged Lear to take the deal in front of him and make movies. But he stood his ground and insisted that he belonged in the television world. His reasoning for making this choice, is clearly not an obvious one, and is rooted in his past. “A lot if it had to do with my feelings about my father,” explains Lear. “This path gave me the opportunity to reflect on real life as I saw it. This was so clear so me, much more so than a film or a few films were. When I decided to do All in the Family, I immediately wrote 75 pages of notes about Archie Justice [the original name of the character]. It came out fast and furious and had a lot of meaning for me right away.”

After All in the Family had been on the air a few years, Lear came to the realization that he understood the difference between film and television – at least as he saw it. “You can make love to film,” says Lear with a smile. “I mean you can edit it for months, which I think of as ‘making love’ to it. In television, you have a very finite amount of time to write it, edit it and get it on the air, but you’re reaching 40 million people with an idea that you had just six weeks earlier. Shit that’s great. I love that.”

Lear’s ideas for his shows were cutting edge at the time – religion, politics, really anything controversial – and audiences ate it up. Recently, someone asked, “Where is Norman Lear now when we need him most? He was a person who used sit-coms to talk about war, prejudice and the issues of the day.” When asked if that was what he set out to do, Lear responded with, “That’s where the material was stories about what we were all living with at the moment. All of the writers talked about their marriages, their kids, the economy, what was going on in the world and how all of it was affecting us. We just wrote about what was impacting us at that time and it’s interesting we’re still facing all of the same issues now as we were all those years ago, but that’s how life is – the players may change but there will always be problems and concerns and conversations about those things. It may have seemed like we were laughing at politics and racism, poverty and serious issues like abortion, and we were, but we were also getting people to talk about these things. But, sometimes I feel like we get just a bit too much credit here, it really all comes down to what I just said, that we wrote stories about things going on in our lives. Bottom line that’s what we did.”

While we have a lot of the same subjects impacting society now, Lear believes we’ve actually become too politically correct for our own good. “I think we’ve lost our self-denigrating sense of humor and that’s just a shame. It’s our ability to laugh at ourselves that allows us to make serious matters funny. You take away and you’ve really lost something. You lost the entre into letting people talk about serious things through humor and that’s really sad to me.”

Lear wants to continue to work in the world of television and has a new show he’s been pitching. “I’ve written something I that I think is hilarious. It’s called Guess Who Died. It’s about people over 60 living in a retirement home and it’s funny as hell.”

Unfortunately, Lear’s project hasn’t been met with open arms. “The people obsessed with the 18 to 39 age group allow us one ‘Betty White’ to represent the entire older demo. Don’t get me wrong, I love Betty White but she doesn’t a demo make, so sadly, no one will go near a project about older people and I’m learning that my influence, no matter what I’ve done in my past, is very limited at this stage.”

Delving further into the idea of demographics, Lear is passionate about his feelings on the subject. “For me all that is shit,” he proclaims. “If I think it’s funny, you’ll think it’s funny. I think it’s as simple as that. I do understand that some comedy can be over the heads of this crowd or that crowd, but if I think it’s funny for everybody then that’s what I wanna go by. I don’t want to do focus groups. I know that sounds arrogant but I’ve seen focus groups and I just don’t think you can rest all of your decisions on what they say. They’re so fucking ridiculous.”

To prove his point, he recalls watching an early focus group for All in the Family. “I stood behind this glass wall and you can see this dial that tells you whether the people watching the show are liking it or not liking. So I see the dial shows that they’re reacting very negatively to the show, but then I look at the audience, whom I see from behind, and at first I can see that they’re shaking with laughter and then I start hearing them laugh and the thing is, when an audience laughs from the gut, they tend to rise out of their seat and go forward and the come back. It’s like a wave. So, on the dial shows that they don’t like Archie’s attitude about this and that, but then watching them you see that they’re roaring with laughter. What does that mean? How do you measure that? Do you go with the dial or how you’re seeing these people really reacting? That’s why I hate focus groups. They’re not conclusive in any way. So why do them?”

While he’s still hopeful about getting Guess Who Died on the air, Lear has another project that’s close to his heart. “The other thing that I really want to do is a Sunday morning non-denominational service with kick ass music wherein we share our common humanity. Everyone’s religion is set to the side, not to be overlooked in any way, but in this case, this is about having a shared positive experience with no boundaries. I want to do this project digitally, broadcasting it into theaters which will work well since theaters aren’t in use on Sunday mornings I really think people will be drawn to this type of community gathering.”

When asked what advice he has for young writers, Lear recalls celebrated writer and theatre director George S. Kaufman’s simple statement, saying, “’The best advice for a write is just write,’ to which I would add, write out of conviction. Too often we write thinking, ‘what are they looking for,’ and basically what they’re looking for is truth — your truth, whoever you are. Writing out of one’s truth is always the best way to go.”

Lear insists that his truth is there for all to read, among the pages of his book. “It’s kind of inherent in the title, Even This I Get to Experience. That’s the way I really try to approach everything – moment by moment, really. Even if something is difficult, I’m thankful that I got to experience it.”

Lear philosophies a bit more, adding, “Maybe we don’t understand how important two little words are — they may be the two least understood words — over and next. A lot times, we’re thinking, ok, this is ‘over’ and I’m onto ‘next.’ I think that the hammock in the middle between ‘over’ and ‘next’ is what is meant by ‘living in the moment.’”

For a man who’s just a few years shy of a century, Lear clearly hasn’t slowed down, keeping his foot firmly planted on the gas. He says the secret to that part is easy. “I wake up to a lot of things that matter – my wife matters, my kids matter — so many things matter — but they’re at the top. I’m also not inclined to watch TV all day or read all day, I’m inclined to be with people, and I want to do things that matter. That’s just the way I am. And, I really feel that everyone should know this, that the revelations in one’s life never end. I have more story to tell and now, apparently, more to perform too. What all of it means, I’m not sure right now, but talk to me again in a few days, or a week and it may become more clear.”

Norman Lear’s autobiography, Even This I Get to Experience, is available through online retailers and booksellers. It’s published by Penguin Press.

nashville Nashville Winter Finale Recap: Royal Wedding Fail

Rayna admires her wedding dress while she can. (Mark Levine/ABC)

It’s finally here guys, the winter finale and Ruke’s wedding!

We open on what appears to be Luke and Deacon singing a duet of Ball and Chain. Luke loves to stick it to Deacon however he can. This must be his final torture before Deacon leaves the tour, to be replaced by Queen Rayna. Will is there, singing Rayna’s part of B&C as well, so, I guess Luke justified the burn by pitching the idea as some sort of farewell send off the boys of ‘Wheels Up!’ OR, this is how they had to end the show every damn night of this tour, and, oh man, poor Deacon! Luke asks to shake hands as they walk off stage, “even though they’ve had their differences.” I can’t help but think that Luke is gonna have one hell of comeuppance when he realizes what everyone watching has known for weeks—there is no way this wedding is happening.

Side note: ‘Yeah, right’ that Jeff Fordham is smiling re: that text from Layla with the smiley face.

Oh, Haayyy, Tandy’s back in town! And she could smell the bullshit surrounding this Royal Wedding all the way from Portland. (That’s where Tandy went, right?) Tandy casually mentions that she’s had no need to miss her sis, since Rayna’s been all over the place – Dancing with the Stars, Rolling Stone, that Xmas Special, girl has been busy. This is not really a compliment to Ray, but not really a dig either. Tandy coolly plays the ‘I’m your sister, you can’t hide shit from me’ card by simply listing back to Ray what she’s been up to and letting Ray’s feelings reveal themselves through her facial expressions. Sisters ain’t fooled by posturing, if one is hiding something, anything, no matter how insignificant, her sister is definitely going to be able to snake it out. And if that thing is not insignificant, it is in fact, ‘I don’t recognize the person I’ve become’, well then, God knows that’s coming out just in time to ruin this wedding. Tandy puts it all out on the table and asks Ray the question she’s been avoiding answering to herself for weeks: Are you happy? Rayna can’t lie to her sister, so instead of saying anything, we get a classic Rayna James blank stare. I am so glad Tandy is back.

Uh-oh, Luke wants Tim and Faith (that’s McGraw and Hill, obvs) to sit at the head table at the wedding, instead of the Ruke children! Oh snap, celebs over fam. Rayna is not into it. ‘But babe’ Luke coos, ‘we’re sitting with our kids at the rehearsal dinner.’ Then he looks at her with those ‘one for you, one for me’ pleading eyes and Rayna is all, WTF, how is this my life?

Guys, we lost our only minority character last week. But don’t worry, this week we got some Latinas to make up for it. Like, seriously, did any one know Kalie was Hispanic? I mean, I guess she has brown hair. It’s nice that Nashville didn’t really make a thing out of this, in fact, I kind of think they just decided Kalie was Hispanic, like, when they cast her mom. There was that painful moment when I was terrified the grandmother was cooking tamales in a terra cotta pot, but don’t worry, it was only pasta! Oh, and apparently Gunnar doesn’t know how to boil water.

Gunnar’s not Micah’s father, but we all knew that like, weeks ago. Sorry, G, uncles have no rights. Guess G can go on tour with ZAG SAG now (that’s Zoe, Avery, Gunnar sans Zoe, + Scarlett). I’m sure when SAG cuts their first album, and it’s sold in Starbucks, Zoe will tell all her new friends in LA just how much Gunnar and Scarlett suck as people, and she’ll be right. Because, here’s the thing– Gunnar and Scarlett were both pretty shitty to Zoe. But, Gunnar and Scarlett are also definitely supposed to be the new Rayna and Deacon. I know I give these two a hard time but, yes, it was a good thing Zoe was written out of the show, because my sympathy for her very real feelings of betrayal were getting in the way of my wanting to root for a Scunnar reunion. And I do. I want Scunnar. I want Zoe and Micah, and any other distractions, gone. Then, we can get back to those amazing Scunnar duets we had in season one. And, guys, I think it’s gonna happen. Remember back in season one, when Scarlett slept with Gunnar for the first time, ever, because Jason died she pitied him? Well, after finding out that Jason is Micah’s father, Gunnar shows up on Scarlett’s doorstep, crying. Nothing gets Scarlett all tingly more than a man who needs to be saved and here one is, just in time for Christmas. Maybe now she’ll stop holding hands and cuddling with her Uncle Deacon all the time.

Speaking of Deacon – holy shit, liver cancer? WTF. If they kill Deacon off, I will be pissed. I do not think that’s where this is leading. I am pretty sure, Rayna will sit by his bedside and he will make a full recovery. But I just want it known, if I am wrong, and Deacon dies, well…in the words of Valerie Cherish, “I don’t need to see that.”

Can I applaud Nashville for fooling me, now? I was pretty damn convinced that Deacon drank in that hotel room, and I was pissed. It seemed wholly out of character for him to relapse again. I even wrote in my notes, ‘there is no way Deacon is relapsing now that he has this relationship with Maddie.’ Then when Layla took all those pills I wrote, “are you kidding me? Two OD’s in one epidsode?!?” But, good job, Nashville. I was mad at you without reason, you didn’t disappoint me. And I did not see cancer coming.

If they are trying to make me believe that Jeff Fordham has real feelings for Layla, I don’t. I do, however, believe that he would call Teddy to help him get out of a potential manslaughter case. But, Layla’s not really dead, is she? I mean she looked pretty f’in dead. As much as I dislike Layla (and people who wear Santa hats at Christmas), I don’t want her to be dead! Can’t we just send her back to, I dunno, Sharknado or something? (Did she die in that too? I have no idea!) Poor Layla!

And poor Will! His face as he forced himself to have sex with blogger was heartbreaking! Just come out, Will! It’s worse in your head than it will be in real life.

So, Juliette and Rayna have sorta switched places. People magazine is paying for Rayna’s wedding, with 500 celebrities guests in tow, and Juliette is marrying her soul mate in a private ceremony, wearing a pregnancy blouse and clip-on flowers barrettes from Claire’s. I am so fucking happy Juliette and Avery are back together. Thank you, Nashville. Happy Christmas.

Finally, Rayna calls off the Royal Wedding because she doesn’t want to turn Luke into Teddy. Luke, even if you don’t think so now, you don’t want that either. You don’t want an escort to be the only person you can talk to about your feelings. You don’t want to be a cliché politician, paying for sex. Luke, reveals himself twice in this scene. The first time when he says, ‘It would have been easier to go through with it and dissolve it quietly later’ (typical Luke, always thinking about the media angle). The second, is when he tells Rayna to ‘get the hell of my property!’ He chucks ten (of the five hundred) wedding chairs around the ranch, most likely hitting some innocent off-screen assistant in the tantrum. I get it, the man was jilted and he’s pissed, but Ruke was never gonna be the happy globe-trotting couple he wanted them to be. Sure, they could have done the globe-trotting part, but happy? Not so much. Maddie and Daphne will not be boarding school attending, private jet flying, industry kids. Not if RJ has anything to say about it. I was proud of Ray for fessing up to her behavior mirroring past behavior, and wanting to break the cycle. I was proud of her for making the decision to leave about herself, and not about Deacon, and I was proud of Nashville for ending on a close-up on Rayna, sans man. Go Nashville, go.

eaten alive

Paul Rosolie. (Discovery)

In case you weren’t aware — and honestly, good for you unaware person — Discovery aired a special, two-hour event last night called Eaten Alive, in which naturalist Paul Rosolie attempted to, well, make a gigantic snake eat him. Alive. It was okay because he was wearing a protective suit that looked remarkably like this. Flash-forward to today, and people are pissed about it. Outraged. Genuinely angry. The Twitter storm is in full swing. Why? Because of the danger to Rosolie or, say, the snake itself? Because no matter the safety precautions this is a wanton disregard for both the human and animal’s well-being, really for a pretty shaky “cause?”

No, no people are pissed because a massive jungle snake did not actually eat a human being whole on national television.

Next time I watch something called #EatenAlive, somebody better get eaten alive.

— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattCSN) December 8, 2014

I guess calling this “Getting Squeezed Really Hard” didn’t sound as enticing. #EatenAlive

— Bobby Frasor (@BFrasor) December 8, 2014

This guy had one job. Literally one fucking job to get eaten alive and he fucked it up

— Jess (@itsjesstucker) December 8, 2014

Dear @Discovery Channel, you should have called #EatenAlive “Hugged Alive”.

— Scott Warner (@ScottWarner18) December 8, 2014

Discovery actually had to issue a statement, that basically says – sigh — “people, please, we’re sorry, Mr. Rosolie had every intention to get eaten alive but the massive constricting force of a snake made him change his mind.”

Let’s take a step back as a whole and take a look at this thing. People are mad, upset, and in some cases downright sad that a living human was not actually consumed by a wild animal for their entertainment. The actual #disappointing was thrown around, because a guy called it quits before a snake ATE HIM ALIVE.

The biggest argument that anyone could possibly bring p is, if Discovery wasn’t going to have the snake eat Rosolie, they shouldn’t have called it Eaten Alive. Fair…I guess. On the other hand, sadly, Discovery doesn’t give a fuck about your feelings. To complain about how disappointing all two hours of Eaten Alive was, you had to watch all two hours of Eaten Alive. Discovery is the same channel that convinced a large portion of the world that the Megaladon was going to ruin your beach weekend and laughed all the way to the bank. Discovery did not ask you to not hate-watch Eaten Alive, because Discovery duped many people to do just that.

And even then, even then I just can’t see what anyone expected. Rosolie wasn’t eaten alive, he called in help as the snake constricted him and sort of tried to eat his head. In what conceivable way is Rosolie going to survive this if it goes any further? And if Rosolie did somehow design a super-suit that allowed him to get inside the entire snake, how exactly does the snake itself survive that? One way or the other you were going to see something die, which one you preferred was a matter of personal opinion.

So, really, what’s going on with all this? I’m afraid that there is a widening schism between quality and expectations on television. On one hand, it seems shows are being specifically designed to be mocked, because being mocked is also being watched. On the opposite hand, people get upset when these shows actually aren’t…good? Maybe not good, but they don’t fulfill “explications.” Well, what are the expectations exactly? For NBC’s two televised live-musicals, one which starred Christopher Walken as Captain Hook, what really did you want? A Tony-worthy performance? And for a show called Eaten Alive? Viewers didn’t take a second to think, “maybe this won’t actually happen.”

Or in what desensitized, over-eager television landscape is the expectation that it will happen an okay thing to hope for?

Part of me hopes that this was the greatest social experiment of all time. That it really was meant to hold up a giant mirror to our current television audience and say “look at you. Look at what you want.” Or, maybe not what you “want.” More like, “look at what you expect.”

‘Revenge’ Recap 4×10: Human Shield

Monday, 08 December 2014 by
The lady shake. (ABC)

The lady shake. (ABC)

After being told last week that someone will die, of course we have an episode where every character probably should. Tensions are high between Victoria and David over his debt and affiliation with Malcolm Black, aka Canadian Conrad, who Victoria seems to know. She wants David to pay Malcolm or go to the FBI, instead of blackmailing him, which may be the only good advice she’s ever given. Like last week, David’s trust in V seems to have gone the way of his beard. He’s not buying what she’s selling.

With the information Ben gave her, Emily figured out that Agent Kate works for Malcolm Black. Of course she pursues this with Nolan’s hacking expertise and access to technology I’m not even sure exists. Em handles a fingerprint reading laser and an invisible sticker camera like it’s something she does everyday. I’ve said this before, but it’s still so true – The FBI should totally hire Emily.

Jack’s not just a crummy cop. Now he’s a crummy cop blinded by yet another pretty sociopath in The Hamptons, Agent Kate. We probably all reacted to Jack kissing her the way that Em reacted to Nolan punching her wooden boards. Don’t do that.

Daniel and Nolan are both making amends this week, first Daniel with Margaux, and then Nolan with Louise. Nolan invites Louise to cohost an event with him, where his attraction to her reminds us of his fluid sexuality. They dance, flirt and get the cool social media nickname #Lolan, which is weird because they both kind of look like Lindsay Lohan.

Daniel’s reconciliation is much more complicated and not only about Margaux, who seems to get even more French when she yells at him. Surprisingly, ice queen Victoria is the one who warms Marg up to the idea of forgiving Daniel. Not so surprisingly, V handles the exciting news of her first grandchild by reaching out to her estranged son via text message. Classic Victoria.

At first it just seems like Daniel is being reflective about fatherhood, but after he has not one, but two flashbacks about his father it’s clear. Daniel is the one who is going to die. For a minute we think Victoria may be getting offed, but in the world of Revenge bad people live forever. If they didn’t, Em would have to get a hobby.

It seems like Victoria could be killed off only after David visits his celly (prison roommate). David is given powdery bag of stroke inducing poison from a guy who totally shouldn’t have gotten paroled. I assumed it was for Agent Kate or even Malcolm Black until David deliberately puts it in V’s wine. In his defense, who hasn’t wanted to kill Victoria? She confesses to betraying him and vaguely implies that David killed his wife, which is one of those things on this show that seems like it should be explained but never will. David already seems to know about her betrayal, or he’s just crazy and is killing her because it’s murder time. Still, that would’ve been boring compared to the actual death they had in store, but more on that later.

Somehow Emily gets Jack on board with her Scooby-Doo-esque rouse at Nolan’s event, where they plan to steal Agent Kate’s secret phone. Jack is basically like, “I’ll do whatever you want as long as you’re nice to me,” and just like that he turns on the lady he’s been kissing (and probably more). Side note: Who knew secret phones were the same size as Zack Morris ones?

Agent Kate confronts Emily, both about being a phone thief and Amanda Clarke, but is so quick to try and team that it feels like a set up. Kate works for Malcolm Black, but claims she does this because he has her mother. It’s a real “I’ll save your dad if you save my mom situation” and Emily sees right through it. Kate’s fatal mistake is trying to play on her emotions, because like normal childhood memories, Em doesn’t really have any. In reality Kate is Malcolm’s daughter, so her and Emily still have a bit in common.

What ensues is probably the best fight scene between Em and anyone in all four seasons, which is saying a lot considering her major rage issues. It ends brutally when Kate uses Emily to break her fall from the second floor. In between dead dad flashbacks on the beach, Daniel sees this and comes to his ex wife’s rescue just in time to take a bullet for her. All I could think was, “Victoria is going to be so pissed.”

Jack then shoots his date from a few hours before, because he’s Jack and his life is the worst. At least he kind of cracked his first case and graduated to a maybe-not-so-terrible-cop? Poor Jack, but also poor Emily. She seemed to actually care about Daniel, and not only because of their relationship in real life. Em is such a natural at revenge that she got Daniel back for shooting her, and she didn’t even want to. This really is her gift and her curse.

Ummm when did this show get, like, a budget? (Bravo)

The Millionaire Matchmaker is back, and dang, it got fancy.

Gone are the days when Patti and her matchmaking crew would watch millionaires’ lame-o application videos on a screen in their office. Now, clients are interviewed on a fancy set that looks like something from backstage at the Grammy’s, or at least an American Idol audition.

Ummm when did this show get, like, a budget?

First up is Melyssa Ford, a 37-year-old real estate agent who’s no stranger to Bravo—she’s also a cast member on Blood, Sweat and Heels. Not-so-fun fact: Back in October, one of her cast members reportedly hit her with a vodka bottle, and she had to get three staples in her head. WTF?!?!

Anyway, Melyssa also used to be in music videos, and she has a hard time finding guys who care about more than just her appearance. “For the guys that don’t really want to find out who I really am, good riddance to bad rubbish,” she says. Get it, gurl.

Before we find Melyssa a man who doesn’t care about her butt, let’s check in at matchmakin’ headquarters. Patti has a new director of recruiting, Candace. Here’s what we know about Candace so far: she’s worked as a “love coach, life coach, lawyer [and] actress,” and when asked if she wants pasta for lunch, she responds, “Salad for me—I’m trying to keep it tight.” I MISS DESTIN AND RACHEL SO MUCH YOU GUYS.

"lol Patti I just love salad so much" (Bravo)

“lol Patti I just love salad so much”

But don’t worry, you guys, our pal Patti is the same as always. “You’ve got a great ass for days—Kim Kardashian has nothing on you,” she tells Melyssa. The problem? She’ll never find a husband if she leads with her body. “Nix the vixen,” Patti says. “Men don’t realize you’re a person when you lead with sexuality.” Could it be that the problem isn’t Melyssa, but that most men are just dumb, creepy pervs?

"I always look hot" (Bravo)

“I always look hot”

"Can u like, not?" (Bravo)

“Can u not pls”

Our second millionaire is another D-list celeb (I told you this season was fancy). It’s Larry Birkhead, whose name you may recall from the paternity battle over Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter, Dannielynn. Larry, who hasn’t dated since Anna, lives with Dannielynn in Kentucky and spends a good hunk of his time working on Anna’s estate.

Actually Larry you could easily find a wife if you just cut your hair.

Actually Larry you could easily find a wife if you did something about your hair.

Oh—his house is also basically a shrine to Anna Nicole Smith, which should be really fun for any future girlfriends he brings over.

Nothing says “let’s have sex” quite like glass display cases devoted to a guy’s deceased ex-girlfriend

Shockingly, Patti’s concerned he’s living too much in the past. Personally, I’m just concerned about whether Patti’s wearing any pants (and if not, does that mean it’s at least okay for me to wear leggings to work all day everyday? Yes? Thx).

Def no pants involved in this outfit.

Def no pants involved in this outfit.

Speaking of Patti, it seems like this season she’s 50 percent less mean, and 100,000 percent more whispery spiritual healer. “If you’re so busy with your relatives and your daughter, you have no time for you,” she tells Larry. “No time to fall apart and to feel. But when you feel, you love. You understand?” LOL OK Patti.

Before Melyssa can meet her potential matches, Patti makes her talk with Dr. Pat Allen, who’s apparently “Judge Judy and Dr. Ruth rolled into one.” How… fun? “When you meet a man, does he want your virtue, or does he want your vagina?” Dr. Pat Allen asks.

"Tell us your secrets Dr. Pat"

“Tell us your secrets Dr. Pat”

"LESS VAGINA"

“LESS VAGINA”

Eventually, she concludes that Melyssa is still a husband-less loser because she’s been leading with her vagina all this time. You hear that, you sad, single ladies? LESS VAGINA.

I’m not sure Melyssa got the message about nixing the vixen or whatever, because this is what she wears to her mixer:

Ummmmmm

Ummmmmm

She proceeds to have an awkward conversation with a group of guys hand-picked by Patti. You know you’re running low on conversation topics when a guy’s asking you, “So, are you in love with animals?” Still, there’s a guy named Jay who seems like a swell gent, and Melyssa picks him for her master date.

Larry, meanwhile, is so romantically inept, he doesn’t even get to pick his own master date partner. While Patti interviews potential ladies for is blind date, Larry has to do pick-up practice with Candace. It doesn’t go well.

"Come here often?" (No, but that is what he literally says)

“Come here often?” (No, but that is what he literally says)

Once Larry figures out how not to be an awkward creep, it’s time for his blind date with Michelle, a mom of two who casually competes in jiu jitsu (same). For their date, they do a private tour of Universal Studios.

“Patti said I was supposed to be the hunter—she didn’t say anything about killing sharks,” Larry says as they pass the set of Jaws. I die a little bit on the inside, but Michelle seems to like it. Next, they go to the set of a plane crash and Michelle pretends to be a dead body (sexy!). Larry must be into it though, because he rescues her like she’s a damsel in distress. Moving on.

Is this cute?! IDK?!!!

Is this cute?! IDK?!!!

“wow that guy’s pick-up lines suck”

Onto Melyssa’s date! Like a proper gentleman, Jay remembered Melyssa saying she liked bowling, so that’s what he planned for their date. As I watch them bowl, that embarrassing thing happens where I realize I’ve been sitting alone in my living room, genuinely smiling for a long period of time. They’re actually really cute together. They seem to love each other in a way the Internet will never love me back.

Be still my heart!

Be still my heart!

Back to Larry and Michelle. Michelle must be a huge Game of Thrones fan, because she dresses up as Melisandre for the dinner portion of their date. After talking for a bit, they do the Lady and the Tramp spaghetti thing and oh god it’s so painful and you just know Larry has watched way too many Disney movies with Dannielynn. Make it stop make it stop make it stop. Oh well, at least he got a kiss, I guess.

"The night is dark and full of spaghetti"

“The night is dark and full of spaghetti”

Meanwhile, Melyssa and Jay are having a much less cringeworthy dinner date. After an emotional convo about their dads, Jay takes Melyssa out to the patio, where he’s prepared a bunch of cigars for them to smoke. He’s also hoping to get a kiss, which seems like a terrible activity to pair with cigar-smoking, but whatevs. After Melyssa shows him how to smoke—she’s apparently really into cigars—the awkward porny-sounding tracks start playing, and the two lean in for kiss.

Is there a reason they filmed this like a creepy paparazzi shot or...

Is there a reason they filmed this like a creepy paparazzi shot or…

After the dates, Patti follows up with Melyssa, Jay, Larry and Michelle. Everyone loved their dates, and Patti’s the best matchmaker ever! In the little epilogue, we learn that Larry and Michelle are planning another date (more plane crash re-enactments?!) and that Melyssa went back to New York and found another guy. Sucks to suck, Jay.

Valerie, pre-Green Screen. (HBO)

Valerie, pre-Green Screen. (HBO)

Sitcoms are boring to look at. You ever think about that? How one of only two fictional-entertainment teams on TV throws the visual game before it even reaches the playing field? You get sitcoms that are cleverly edited, sure, where the comic timing depends on the cuts; Arrested Development takes top honors here.. You get sitcoms that do convincing pastiches of other genres of TV (Community), or of the documentary/reality format (too many to list, but you’re reading about one right now). And if you look down memory lane you can find shows that had a visual tone that made them memorable and unmistakable, like the Gordon Willis golds and browns of the bar set in Cheers. But in much the same way that mainstream movie comedy appears content to leave “I dunno gang, maybe we should make the thing look good too” in the hands of the Coen Brothers, the situation comedy has pretty much tossed the visual-innovation baton to Adult Swim and called it a race.

Bless its black heart: The Comeback tries harder. “Valerie Is Taken Seriously,” last night’s killer episode (a welcome return to form after last week’s suicidal one), has the mockumentary thing down cold. It also nails not one but two genre spoofs: the grim’n’gritty, dimly lit world of HBO dramas, and the day-glo gibberish of children’s television. (As the father of a three year old, I assure you that far greater horrors than Nicky Nicky Nack Nack lurk in the kids’ section of channel guide.) It could easily have coasted. Instead, it staged its two lynchpin scenes — Valerie’s transformation into a literal monster via green screen, and her eye-opening conversation about her performance with the New York Times reporter — to look as memorable as they felt.

First, Valerie dons the familiar track suit, opens a door, and steps into a Kermit-colored void. Pretty much every viewer is familiar with how the CGI sausage gets made today, but the space is so preposterously cavernous, and Valerie’s fish-out-of-water confusion so palpable, that it’s transformed into a dystopian hellscape, like THX-1138 with the tint screwed up on the monitor. The corny capering of the woman who’s replaced Pauly G. as the episode’s director, and the start-and-stop bursts of faked laughter from the “studio audience” floating in mid-air, turn the sequence into a theater of the absurd; you half expect them to delay shooting because Godot is late for his call time.

By the time Valerie goes the full morph-suit monty, squeezed by HBO into a performance that’s more Andy Serkis than Edie Falco, you hardly need Pauly G.’s thuddingly blunt character assassination to get the point. “No voice!” he yells when Valerie does her best Mallory-monster growl for her dream-sequence transformation. “You’re the monster, Val. Get it? You don’t have to do anything, because you’re the monster. Clear?” As crystal. The entire ridiculous day of shooting is nothing more or less than the full resources of the show and the network being brought to bear to make Valerie Cherish look as awful as technology will allow — a smiling serpent set adrift and left to drown in a sea of green.

But misery loves publicity, or vice versa, and that’s the note the episode ends on. After several grueling days of humiliating motion-capture work, noirish dailies that make her look positively demonic (can’t they light her scenes “just so it’s not so dark all the time?” she asks, nailing it in every way), and the revelation that HBO is turning her beloved BTS project into a warts-and-all documentary about the simultaneous nose-dives of her relationships with Pauly G. and her own husband, Val finally cracks. Storming off the set, she chases down the departing Times reporter, desperately demanding an explanation for her earlier comment that Val’s performance was “very brave.” Brave means old, ugly, fat, literally disabled—doesn’t it?

The reporter’s explanation is interesting in its own right, since it cuts to the premise of the second season: the show may be designed to humiliate her, and the off-screen shenanigans may be following suit, but it’s coaxing out a performance that’s accidentally better than Valerie ever aspired to be. “Surely you must have been aware of what you were doing,” says the reporter. LOL!

But more interesting still is how we watch Valerie process this news—through her reflection in the rolled-up window of the reporter’s rental car. It’s a slightly darker, slightly distorted version of how Valerie always sees herself, but it’s the version that may finally make her a genuine star. Et voila: A show about an actor’s self-image depicts perhaps the biggest change to that self-image yet by using an actual, literal image of her self. Is it a little obvious as a metaphor? Yeah, but so were the pigs in Animal Farm, and that worked out alright for Orwell. After all, this is an HBO show about a documentary about the making of an HBO show starring an actress making her comeback in a fictionalized version of a show within a show from the previous version of this HBO show about an actress making her comeback in a reality show about that show within a show starring a real-life sitcom actress making a comeback. (gasp, wheeze) It’s a reflection of a reflection of a reflection. Might as well own it.

Damn, Don. (HBO)

Damn, Don. (HBO)

I wish there was a German word for how tonight’s episode of The Newsroom made me feel; some combination of horror and repulsion bolstered by an angry smear of righteous satisfaction. I’m glad that Aaron Sorkin has fucked up this cosmically–where in the prescient issue of campus rape is Mansplained to an (alleged) Princeton victim by a male producer–and not because I have it out for Aaron Sorkin. I’m glad that this terrible, absolutely reprehensible hour of television exists because it’s totally eye-opening, especially in light on the Rolling Stones controversy. Yes, there are some people out there who think that rape victims need to be silenced because of the potential damage done to the reputations of those they accuse. There are people out there who think the role of the journalist is to “protect” the public from these stories, on the possibility that they are wrong. That there are people who believe they are “morally obligated” to believe the testimony of a “sketchy” guy over a woman who has “no reason to make (it) up,” (their words!) because presumption of innocence isn’t just for defendants in criminal trials.

Funny enough, those people are also the ones with television shows on primetime, lecturing us about the ethics of journalism. Aaron Sorkin is those people.

The episode started out queasily enough when Charlie tells Don to go bring him the student behind Princeton’s victim website to go debate her attacker on live air. Don demurs, saying he doesn’t know how to do this story. Because when in doubt about how they, personally, feel about an issue, ACN’s producers have the time-tested method of staying silent and not reporting the issue at all. This is, we to believe, the “noble” or “right” thing to do, but it’s also why they were in fourth place in the ratings. But with the new owner, ACN is being forced to care about things like “ratings” and “traffic,” which we all know exist in direct moral opposition to journalism. ACN’s new slogan, which disgusts Mac and Don, is “You aren’t a consumer. You are a citizen, you are an activist. You aren’t a viewer, you are ACN.”

“THE NEXT ONE IS GOING TO SHOW CITIZEN JOURNALISTS FILING STORIES FROM THE COFFEE BEAN!” – Mackenzie, losing her mind.

So Don doesn’t know how to do the story. Charlie snaps at him, “You interview the student with the website, you interview one of the guys that’s accused, how is that complicated?”

Now here the episode had a choice. If we still lived in the idyllic West Wing universe, maybe that’s directive would have been taken at face value, and we would have all felt this week’s big headline news from a different perspective. But it wasn’t. Because Don makes a choice: that instead of standing up to his boss and saying no, he’ll just go track down this student Mary (Sarah Sutherland) in her dorm room at Princeton and try to convince her not to come on the show himself by explaining how it might damage the reputations of men accused on her site.

Right, so, read that again: a news producer solicits an interview request for a young woman to appear on his show in dialog with the man she says raped her. The producer then shows up, announced, at this girl’s apartment (after loads of sleuthing!), just to chastise her for speaking out. And beg her not to do the interview. His interview. For his show.

I mean, it boggles the mind.

Before we go any farther, let’s take a breather and remember that Will is in jail, talking to a guy who (spoiler alert) turns out to be ghost dad. No, not that Ghost Dad. (Although that is some unintentional commentary, huh?) I mean, the ghost of his dad. Also Mackenzie is so mad that Charlie is making her cover Lady Gaga when her segment does have a second to spare. How will viewers ever find out if Ed Markey won John Kerry’s senate seat??

Okay, back to Don lamenting to Mary. “It will bring a lot viewers to my show, drive a lot of Internet traffic,” Don says in the same disgusted, apologetic voice of someone admitting they stole money from their baby’s college fund to buy crack. It’s the ugliest truth in the world for him. “I’m here to beg you not to do it.” Don then reveals that he’s already spoken to one of the men Mary’s accused, and he’s agreed to go on the show. Apparently that finger wagging speech, where Don implores that guy not to go on his show, didn’t go over well either.

Now, if I was a producer trying to prevent someone I actively sought out to appear on my show from appearing on my show (???), I might argue that they’d be opening themselves up to public judgement and criticism. That Mary, whose identity was anonymous on the Internet, would now be facing harsh scrutiny from millions of Americans who would question every aspect of her story. That she might want to not go down that road. Nope. Don doesn’t do “easy.” He might actually not know the definition of the word. Don’s first argument is: “Don’t publicly face your attacker on national TV. It will hurt his job chances.”

When that doesn’t work, Don switches tactics: now it’s not just her agreeing to be on his show that’s the problem, it’s the entire premise of her site, which will “inevitably” be used as revenge tool from spurned women to accuse exes of rape. Don doesn’t want to give that kind of site attention, because one time HIS girlfriend was shown naked on the Internet in a revenge porn story, and both scenarios have the word “revenge” in them. So..Don basically knows what it’s like to be raped.

To recap Don’s concerns, again: That Mary has created something that allows women to ruin men’s lives by accusing them of rape. And while doing that on the Internet is one thing, as he puts it, “Its a huge, dangerous scary as shit mistake to convene your own trial in front of a television audience.”

“The law might acquit,” Don says to a woman who couldn’t even get her case into court, “but the Internet never will. The Internet is used for vigilantism ever day.”

Ugh.

Forty minutes in, Don does mention 40 minutes the possible consequences that Mary herself might face if she goes on air. And yes, the term “slut-shamed” is used.

“Its sports, Mary,” he says, aghast at his own…career? I guess? “You’ll be covered like sports.”

Still, Mary pushes to do the segment. So Don does the only ethical thing: he goes back to his boss and tells him he wasn’t able to locate the person behind the website, and the segment won’t be happening.

This literally kills Charlie, who dies of a heart attack on the spot, but not before standing up to ACN’s new owner for a completely unrelated matter involving Dax Shepard’s whereabouts.

Alissa, 24 (ABC)

Exciting news, everyone: There’s now less than a month until ABC blesses us with the next season of The Bachelor, or, as I like to call it, Who Wants to Be an Iowa Farmhand?

Just so we can all be fully prepared for the Jan. 5 premiere, I thought it’d be helpful for us to acquaint ourselves with this season’s batch of ladies vying for a seat on Farmer Chris’s tractor. Who’s most likely to quote Dr. Seuss as she steps out of the limo? Who’s most likely to get sent home for ripping too many shots at the first cocktail party? Who’s DEFINITELY going to dress up as a pirate on the first night? Let’s find out.

Alissa, 24, Flight Attendant (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Alissa would be very sad if she never got to “play with puppies.” If she won the lottery, she’d “adopt dogs.”

Most likely to: only be in it for the farm animals. Things’ll get really painful when she realizes Chris’s farm is actually 99 percent soybeans.

Amanda, 24, Ballet Teacher (ABC)

Amanda, 24, Ballet Teacher (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Amanda hates cleaning, loves shopping and eventually wants to open her own ballet studio. How nice for her.

Most likely to: be the person who gives Chris an inevitably-awkward, music-less dance lesson at the first cocktail party.

Amber, 29, Bartender (ABC)

Amber, 29, Bartender (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Amber is 29 and lists “Teddy Bear” as the number one thing she couldn’t live without.

Most likely to: try to convince Chris that soybean farming, like, isn’t that cool and maybe he should just move in with her and her mom.

Ashley, 26, Nanny (ABC)

Ashley, 26, Nanny (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Ashley couldn’t live without foundation and mascara, and if she won the lottery, she’d “buy Sephora’s inventory.” Oh but wait—she also loves cheeseburgers and football. (For Gone Girl fans, Ashley is a definition “Cool Girl”.)

Most likely to: act like she’s totally cool with not getting the first impression rose but then go cry about to Chris Harrison.

Ashley, 24, Hair Stylist (ABC)

Ashley, 24, Hair Stylist (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Ashley couldn’t live without lip gloss and lists Sex and the City as one of her all-time favorite movies. At least she didn’t say Sex and the City 2, I guess?

Most likely to: not be able to locate Iowa on a map. (Then again, can anyone?)

Becca, 26, Chiropractic Assistant (ABC)

Becca, 26, Chiropractic Assistant (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Becca couldn’t live without Wi-Fi and Netflix. WELCOME TO RURAL IOWA, BEX.

Most likely to: lose interest when she learns farm life is about more than just selfies with baby animals and wearing oversized flannel shirts with leggings.

Bo, 25, Plus-Size Model (ABC)

Bo, 25, Plus-Size Model (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Woah you guys, Bo is cool—she was in the “top 12 on the Women’s World Qualifying for surfing.” I don’t really understand sports but that sounds impressive?

Most likely to: as a plus-size model, be another lame attempt by ABC to make this show remotely ~diverse~.

Britt, 27, Waitress (ABC)

Britt, 27, Waitress (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Britt may be a waitress in Hollywood, but wait until you hear her talk about literature. She lists “David Foster Wallace or Dave Eggers” as her favorite authors, because “Both men have (or had) such a grasp of the human experience and the English language. Great wordsmiths, highly eccentric.”

Most likely to: greet Chris with her favorite Dr. Seuss quote when she steps out of the limo.

Brittany, 26, WWE Diva-in-Training (ABC)

Brittany, 26, WWE Diva-in-Training (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Brittany is all about wrestling, you guys. “Learning to wrestle” is her greatest achievement to date, and “my shorts coming off in my very first wrestling match” is her most embarrassing moment.

Most likely to: punch another girl in the face over a rose.

Carly, 29, Cruise Ship Singer (ABC)

Carly, 29, Cruise Ship Singer (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Want to know what Carly can’t live without? I’m going to leave them right here: “God, family, mascara, curling iron, cut-off denim shorts.”

Most likely to: greet Chris with a song as she steps out of the limo. Oh god, I’m already cringing. No. NO.

Jade, 28, Cosmetics Developer (ABC)

Jade, 28, Cosmetics Developer (ABC)

Highlights from bio: When asked about her greatest achievement, she says “starting the launch of my business.” But when asked what she’d do if she won the lottery, she says, “Launch my business.” Did she start launching her business, and then stop? What happened, Jade? WHAT HAPPENED?!?!

Most likely to: be really judgmental of all the women who just want to marry Chris and have 7,000 of his babies.

Jillian, 28, News Producer (ABC)

Jillian, 28, News Producer (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Jillian’s worst date fear is a “guy with bad intentions.”

Most likely to: talk a lot—like, a lot—about being there “for the right reasons.”

Jordan, 24, Student (ABC)

Jordan, 24, Student (ABC)

Highlights from bio: One time, Jordan “jumped off the back of a boat bar naked in the British Virgin Islands and then was the bartender while the real one took a nap.” Wow, definitely share that riveting story if you make it long enough to meet Chris’s family.

Most likely to: be sent home for ripping too many shots at the first cocktail party. There’s always someone.

Juelia, 30, Esthetician (ABC)

Juelia, 30, Esthetician (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Juelia couldn’t live without her tinted mineral sunscreen. Her plans for winning the lottery also show an impressively progressive notion of gender roles: “Buy property and travel the world! And shop of course…I am a woman. :)”

Most likely to: only be in it for a shot at Bachelor in Paradise.

Kaitlyn, 30, Dance Instructor (ABC)

Kaitlyn, 30, Dance Instructor (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Kaitlyn’s from Canada so I automatically like her, even though this is what she’d do if she won the lottery: “Pay back my parents for all my dance lessons, buy an island and make it into a land of pirates. It would be called Yarrrland.”

Most likely to: please, lord, do not come out of the limo dressed as a pirate.

Kara, 25, High School Soccer Coach (ABC)

Kara, 25, High School Soccer Coach (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Kara’s from Kentucky, and she couldn’t live without Mountain Dew and Jesus. I COULDN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP, YOU GUYS.

Most likely to: have zero concerns whatsoever about fitting in in Iowa.

Kelsey, 28, Guidance Counselor (ABC)

Kelsey, 28, Guidance Counselor (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Kelsey’s favorite movies are “Good Will Hunting, What About Bob?, and Mean Girls ” because they’re “great to psychoanalyze.”

Most likely to: creep Chris out on the first night by telling him she watched him on Andi’s season, and already knows “exactly how his mind works.”

Kimberly, 28, Yoga Instructor (ABC)

Kimberly, 28, Yoga Instructor (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Kimberly graduated college with honors, and also loves yoga, popcorn, and makeup.

Most likely to: act really zen and say she doesn’t believe in drama—until some girl cuts in on her one-on-one time with Chris.

Mackenzie, 21, Dental Assistant (ABC)

Mackenzie, 21, Dental Assistant (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Um, Mackenzie looks exactly like Natalie Portman?

Most likely to: talk constantly about missing high school because OH WAIT it was only two years ago. (Chris is 33, BTW.)

Megan, 24, Makeup Artist (ABC)

Megan, 24, Makeup Artist (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Megan loves it when dates look her in the eyes and/or tell her stories.

Most likely to: attempt to break back into the Bachelor mansion after being eliminated on the first night. Cue the shaky cam.

Michelle, 25, Wedding Cake Decorator (ABC)

Michelle, 25, Wedding Cake Decorator (ABC)

Highlights from bio: To impress a man, Michelle says she’d “laugh at his jokes to make him feel funny.” Would she also kiss him even if he had no lips?

Most likely to: show up with her and Chris’s entire wedding—down to the grand entrance on horseback and soybean-flavored wedding cake—already planned out.

Nicole, 31, Real Estate Agent (ABC)

Nicole, 31, Real Estate Agent (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Nicole is proud of herself for “being successful enough to have the means and ability to travel wherever I want.” Ummmmm does she realize she’s signing up to live on a farm for the rest of her life or……

Most likely to: be way too smart for this shit.

Nikki, 26, Former NFL Cheerleader (ABC)

Nikki, 26, Former NFL Cheerleader (ABC)

Highlights from bio: If you’re a former NFL cheerleader, WHAT ARE YOU NOW, NIKKI?! Nikki couldn’t live without “carrots” and has/at one point had a contract with Wilhelmina Models. Cool cool.

Most likely to: constantly spew out a sob story about how much she misses cheerleading, a la Josh “I used to play baseball” Murray.

Reegan, 28, Cadaver Tissue Saleswoman (ABC)

Reegan, 28, Cadaver Tissue Saleswoman (ABC)

Highlights from bio: UMMM CADAVER TISSUE SALESWOMAN?! And here I was thinking “pantsapreneur” was the apex of ridiculous contestant job titles.

Most likely to: caress Chris’s soft, soft skin with a terrifying twinkle in her eye.

Tandra, 27, Fashion Designer (ABC)

Samantha, 27, Fashion Designer (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Samantha has a teacup Maltese and couldn’t live without lip gloss.

Most likely to: think it’s “adorable” how Chris, like, makes money by planting things.

Tandra, 30, Executive Assistant (ABC)

Tandra, 30, Executive Assistant (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Tandra (LMAO of course there’s someone named Tandra) actually seems really cool. She likes French rock music! Her headshot looks natural and not like a Toddlers in Tiara pose!

Most likely to: score the First Impression Rose. I have a hunch.

Tara, 26, Sport Fishing Enthusiast (ABC)

Tara, 26, Sport Fishing Enthusiast (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Cool “job,” Tarz! Tara couldn’t live without her beaver stuffed animal named “Beave,” and she has an identical twin.

Most likely to: present “Beave” as a gift to Chris on the first night as a sign of her eternal love.

Tracy, 29, Fourth Grade Teacher (ABC)

Tracy, 29, Fourth Grade Teacher (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Tracy is terrified of having food in her teeth and couldn’t live without face wash.

Most likely to: not want to have any physical contact with Chris so she can ~set a good example~ zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Trina, 33, Special Education Teacher (ABC)

Trina, 33, Special Education Teacher (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Her greatest dating fear? “Eating something that gives me ‘di-di’.” Again, I could not make this stuff up.

Most likely to: Have di-di at the first cocktail party.

Whitney, 29, Fertility Nurse (ABC)

Whitney, 29, Fertility Nurse (ABC)

Highlights from bio: Whitney loves men who open the door for her, and is scared of “being alone. Never finding love or getting to have a family.” Aww, Whit! There’s always Bachelor in Paradise!

Most likely to: have already used her and Chris’s photos to determine what their future babies will look like.

TOP