DLo-est Common Denominator

Chris Harrison is a son of a bitch. But more on that non-story later.

It was a good week to hop off the wagon and hit the sauce again, but also somewhat worrisome. After staring at my TV in a daze at the end of the episode I was more than a little concerned I’d drunk myself into a stupor just because I could. When I looked around and saw that the room wasn’t spinning I realized it was just the effects of listening to Nick Viall talk for two hours.

Outside of Danielle L. – who mercifully got the boot this week – I’ve never heard anyone use so many words without saying a goddamn thing. It’s a true talent to run your mouth for that long without conveying a single solitary point, but when you’re as attractive as either of those two you don’t have to worry your pretty little head about it. People will mostly forgive you that fault (for extended periods of time, no less), but only so long as it’s not in comparison to a handful of other beautiful people on national television.

But what does Nick really have to say that he hasn’t said three different times already: That this process is hard? But he wants to give it a chance? In the hopes of finding love? And maybe he’ll find out that water is wet, the sky is blue, and rocks are hard?

That might be the true failing of the show this year (apart from the fact that the date planners have so far failed to make either New Orleans or tropical islands appear enticing): we’re watching a guy that multiple people have confirmed is not that interesting. Which makes me shudder at what the screen tests for James Taylor and Luke the War-Robot were like; we knew Luke was never going to take home the “Most Human Human” award at the Loebner Prize, but did he really get out-classed by Normcore Nick? Someday someone’s gonna write a book about how this all shook out – and I already weep for what that means for humanity.

And while we’re at it, let’s shed a few tears for what little entertainment this season had left to offer when Nick said goodbye to Alexis and Jaimi in the same Rose Ceremony (also: good on whichever producer engineered sending Jaimi home while in New Orleans and saving on the cost of a plane ticket. You’re getting a raise). This week we were sadly stuck with Jasmine as the credits rolled, as if we’d already forgotten about America’s favorite aspiring dolphin trainer. Not on this bookie’s watch. I’d like to think that no matter where she is (probably packing her bags, and shark suit, for Paradise) she’s got a little too much white wine, a Nicolas Cage mask, and the script for Face/Off for some entertaining date material.

In terms of future bets, the first Board has gone up but the lines for Paradise are conspicuously absent – but don’t fret too much, they’ll be here next week. Some of the girls are locks and I want to make sure the betting public gets a fair shake without yours truly getting taken to the cleaners. In the meantime, everyone’s going to have to make do with the standard lines around this season’s winner and the next Bachelorette. There’s a power three at the top of each list, with Rachel, Vanessa, and Danielle M. occupying strong positions. If this odds-maker had to lay his money down, it’d be on the neonatal nurse from Nashville, Tennessee. She may not be the most prominent of late, but at the risk of editorializing I’d call it careful editing. They’re ramping Danielle M. up to be a true sleeper if there ever was one, and she hasn’t been wasting the few precious moments of screen time she’s getting. No conflict, no kvetching over the situations, and absolutely no waterworks. She may seem boring now, but when the camera gets another change to focus on here without anyone else around, she’s gonna steal the show.

While we’re on the subject of careful editing, I’m ashamed to say that I fell for the oldest trick in Chris Harrison’s rather extensive book. That bastard used the footage of the Whitney/DLo two-on-one to make it look like both Corinne and Taylor were going home during last week’s preview.

Idiot that I am, I jumped on my soap box and gave a rather extensive sermon about the rules of winning a two-on-one when I didn’t even have the right dope to begin with. It’s bad enough that I’ve had to eat crow, but I’ll be sipping my humble pie through a straw if some of my customers have their way. Too many of the people I paid out are using the “I already spent it” excuse, and the louses who still have money coming to them don’t want to take it out on some stranger’s hide – they’d much prefer a familiar face. I got enough stashed away for a stay of execution, but it might tap out my reserves.

Which leads me back to Harrison. And how I ended up on the phone with that son of a bitch.

“Clint, baby,” he said when he picked up.

“Don’t ‘Clint, baby’ me, you son of a bitch,” I replied. I’ve been real creative with my insults lately.

“Look, Jackson, you’ve only got yourself to blame. I told you: I put Nick on the show this season because I wanted to make some goddamn money. Every week I wait for the boards to go up – and have I seen one yet?”

“It’s because Nick ain’t worth watching. I’ve seen paint drying that’s more dynamic than that guy.”

“And yet when you offered odds, didn’t the cash come rolling in?”

I knocked back a slug of scotch. “Yeah,” I muttered through the after-burn. It was good to be drinking again.

“So just give us some lines, Clint. And don’t sweat the week-to-week losses. Think big picture. You know the mansion always wins.”

He hung up. I sparked a cigarette. I wrote down the numbers and thought about the hole I was already trying to dig myself out of.

“The mansion always wins,” he’d said. If I didn’t know better, I might think he was trying to tip me off to something.


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