Besides Angels in America and all scripted television that isn't sitcoms on UPN, I simply can't think of more interesting television this year than a series of shots of men scribbling longhand. The curlicues of the script so like the hairpin turns of a rollercoaster! The popping brow sweat as they consider whether the word is "'infer' or 'imply,' 'infer' or 'imply,' 'INFER' OR 'IMPLY,' dammit!" The death-defying bobs of the head as the men consider the proper usage of difficult Elephant Words! The utter, unceasing, scratching pen-liness of it all!
Whoa. No, I'm fine. I fell, but I'm fine. Just a little dizzy, is all. Men writing. Always does it to me. Good thing, then, that it's broken up by some calming confessionals, the first of which finds SpongeBob SquareHead reporting from his pineapple under the sea: "When Chris Harrison announced that we'd be writing a letter and then also reading it to two of Meredith's best friends, that was definitely uncomfortable." Sean sits on the couch having not moved one inch, even though Chris told them they had the whole house to go lie back and get comfortable. Sean's searching for a quiet spot to wait for the muse to hit is a bit like playing hide-and-seek with a four-year-old; give them their first real opportunity in their entire life to get the hell away from you, and they noisily walk three steps and hide behind the cat. We get an extreme close-up of him writing the words "exact same," so his letter is clearly to the production staff, registering his own annoyance at the similarity between this and every other season of this show. Hands off my Fleiss letter, buddy. Lanny, meanwhile, has moved to a sunny outdoor spot, where his letter features thousands of cross-outs as he wonders why this cattle-prod-shaped instrument he's been handed doesn't have a flaming tip at the end for cow branding. "What good is it?" he wonders, and he is relieved by the fact that the oral tradition is available to pass down his state's history in the absence of any other communication tools. Nevertheless, he tells us that his letter features his thoughts on connections and one-on-one time. Brad appears to have retired to the sauna, Ian is apparently in his bedroom, and Chad sits poolside, telling us, "When I wrote the letter, I actually wrote it directly to Meredith." Right. Because it's a letter. Which, as the conventions of the epistolary structure dictate, must be addressed to somebody and signed from somebody else. Dear Meredith. To whom it may concern. To the president of the Kirk Cameron fan club. Signed, Chad. Best regards, Mr. Smith. Show me that smile again, Dan.