Panem et Circenses, indeed.
As far as the entertainment factor, it didn't really get interesting until Emily came on stage. Yes, there was the shameless plug for 'Bachelor Pad' (looks like a lot of tears and kissing) and some outtakes. The best was Emily accidentally spilling white wine on her Carrie-Bradshaw-American-Girl-in-Paris-giant poofy dress and then swearing like a sailor. (note to self: add to bucket list "Wear giant poofy dress"). There was a whole bunch of guys on the stage that I totally don't remember seeing before (must have been from poorer districts), while the 'Career' guys - Ryan, Sean, Chris, Kalon, and Doug - got center stage. No one clarified "compromise" with Alessandro and there was no mention of the nice mushroom farmer Alejandro. (I hope I didn't mix those two up).
Kalon claimed he did not know Emily was the Bachelorette and had no intention of getting a stepdaughter out of the show. Instead of bowing out gracefully, he chose to stay on and ride out the relationship with Emily. As much as I dislike the guy and his snakelike lips, I really don't think ABC would have granted him a "graceful" exit, as much as Chris Harrison claims. They would have hyped it up and made all kind of contrived out of "the only man to walk away from the Bachelorette with a daughter!" So the fact of the matter is, if Kalon is going to be villian, at least he's smart to own it and play it up as much as possible. More camera time. Sponsors love that.
Ryan twitched for the camera, Doug looked awkward, and Sean melted everyone's hearts. (he must be a District 1 or 2 kid). I wouldn't be surprised if they offered him the next Bachelor position, if Roberto from Ali's season doesn't accept it, though my husband broke the news to me that Tim Tebow is in talks to be the Bachelor. Tim Tebow? What? Okay, this is clearly a joke from the Capitol. Right?
And then Emily came on in a cute little pink dress (Cinna is clearly her stylist), looking calm and refreshed and as though she had lost all of the Curacao vacation weight. The men actually stood for her when she entered. (does this usually happen?) She and Caesar, I mean Chris, bantered for a few minutes and then got down to business. Yes, it was tough to let Sean go. Emily and Sean exchanged pleasantries. It was hard to watch Chris get upset. Emily and Chris exchanged pleasantries. And then Kalon tries to make nice with Emily, and she just completely shuts him down. The audience loves it. In fact, the two keep going and she holds her own. This isn't an exact quote, but she pretty much tells him she hopes he finds faith in something other than his "Prada shoes and rented helicopters." Aw, snap! Gotta love this sassy Bachelorette. It's definitely a change from the perkiness of Ashley or the dullness of Ali. Jillian was the last one with a bit of smarts and sass, and it's nice when their personalities are allowed to come out.
After all of the onset drama, Chris said he's not going to ask Emily how she's feeling now, now that everything has wrapped. Well, except for the 'After the Final Rose,' which ABC is promising as "the most dramatic hour of summer television." In fact, when they did the whole clip show of her relationship with each guy, she had already exited the stage. What exactly went down in Curacao? It looks like a hot mess, from the amount of crying she does. I kept hoping maybe a silver parachute would appear and give her an idea of who to pick. Also, did you get a chance to check out her mother? Wow. Holy mascara wands. Ricky Bobby isn't far off from "Toddlers and Tiaras" in this gene pool.
And while the clips of Arie and Jef played, I was like...OMG. It's Gale and Peeta. It really is. Arie is the dark-haired guy that's adventurous, outgoing, and rugged. The race car driver. The hunter. And then there's one-F, shorter in stature but kind, gentle and funny. The CEO of a bottled water company. Okay, so he's not a baker's son, but I bet he's handy in the kitchen. Or at least helpful.
I'm torn as to who wins, if anyone. Is it Gale, the hunter, the guy who caught Emily's eye from day one? Or is it Peeta, the nice guy who likes to play with puppets and has a very sweet, silly side? For the first time in a long time, I really like both of the final contenders. I think they are both good guys and Emily would be happy with either. But interestingly, that's how I felt at the end of The Hunger Games - Katniss would be lucky to end up with either of the two guys at the end. I was maybe a little more Team Peeta, but that's only because I like cheese buns.
What are your thoughts? Does she pick the hunter or the baker?