This season of The Bachelorette is more alluring than recent seasons -- all of which now blur together as replays of the same types of dates, personalities and dramas.
Is it because the Bachelorette Emily Maynard has a child? No, former Bachelor Jason Mesnick also came as a package deal. Is it the man with the ostrich egg? No, we've had contestants commit other forms of social suicide to try to get noticed in the past (Remember Jeff, the man with the mask, in Ashley's season?).
Perhaps, it is because this season is based in the southern city of Charlotte and Emily carries with her a painful past -- yet refuses to let it overtake her. She exudes a certain dignity and confidence underscored by humility and faith. This season is fresh because Emily is the reality television star who comes the closest to representing true southern style. She handles people with class and grace, yet leaves no doubt that she will not be pushed around.
Tony, one of the contestants with a son, shares with Emily the joys and trials of being a single parent; however, he makes the fatal mistake of placing himself in the position to be mothered by Emily this week. He worked himself up over his son needing and missing him, while his son sounded very happy on the phone. On the phone call shown, Tony prompted his son to say, "I miss you." Regardless of whether Tony missed his son to the point of leaving the show or whether he was trying to use this as a point of connection with Emily, the Bachelorette's grace and class again prevailed when she shared with him her own experiences on Brad's season. In saying that she would not have stayed if she knew she was not the one for Brad while simultaneously saying he should go be with his son, Emily gently let him go.
While most might have perceived Emily's sweetness and openness as the equivalent of a pushover, think again. The beauty of southern charm is that ladies are polite, sweet and welcoming; however, do not mistake this for desperation or noncommittal to predetermined values. Emily's encounter with Alessandro sent him packing on the spot. Alessandro admitted that he saw being a father as a compromise. His concern over his future travel and business ventures seemed to be his priority, and committing to Emily and her daughter would affect this. Emily quickly asserted her values that family comes first, and she is searching for a man who would view becoming part of a family as an honor. As my brother commented during the airing, "If Alessandro wanted to use economic terms to communicate his ideas, he should have said, 'Family is an opportunity cost you don't regret.'" Yes, Alessandro, we understand that in choosing to have a family, you must give up certain aspects of your former life; however, it may have been advantageous to take Arie's delicate approach and tone in articulating your current workload and avoiding terms such as 'compromise.'
Not only did Emily handle Tony and Alessandro in remarkable fashion, but she also did the same with Kalon. To Kalon's statement, "I love it when you talk, but I wish you'd let me finish," Emily responded with subdued humor -- feigning that she had no idea he was controlling or preferred his way. And later, she coined the witty comment, "I like tall, skinny and funny, but not tall, skinny and condescending." Why he received a rose this episode is beyond me.
ABC has successfully transformed the average Bachelorette into a sort of novelty. Emily's southern roots have guided her actions and character throughout the season thus far, setting her apart from previous bachelors and bachelorettes who are now lost in the lackluster realm of reality television.
Frontrunners: Arie, Sean and Doug
Need to be Eliminated ASAP: Ryan, for his narcissism and negativity toward others (reference his quote on why Arie is not Emily's type, "He's more of a dainty man, and I'm more of a physical man.")
Eliminated: Alessandro, Tony and Stevie