Bella: Welcome one, welcome all to the highly anticipated post-game analysis of the Elite Eight Kennedys. This week’s episode is sponsored by Catholicism. Catholicism: It’s How We Got So Many Kennedys.
Joining me is my favorite Catholic (after my mom, of course) Molly Donahue. Molly, any thoughts on the Catholic Church’s stance on birth control vis-a-vis our 96 original Kennedys?
Molly: Well, the Kennedys are devoted to their culture. But really, when you break it down, Joe and Rose had NINE children (full disclosure, my mother is also one of nine so this number is not quite as shocking to me as it might be to you Bella) - and since we’re counting 4 generations, 96 is not actually a wild number. RFK and his wife Ethel had 11 kids! There should be about 800 Kennedys by the 4th generation.
Bella: I can’t pretend to understand the Catholics. I thought I could fake my way through one mass and wow, was I wrong. It’s nothing like the Episcopalian church. But without further ado, let’s check out the Kennedys.
This round was described by one of our friends as “separating the wheat from the chaff” and I could not agree more. For example, Robert Sargent Shriver III who was previously in the Top Five in terms of overall votes was absolutely slaughtered by Kathleen Alexandra Kennedy in a 48 to 17 vote. I’m a little upset, to be honest. I was rooting for Robert to go all the way.
Molly: He was a strong contender from the beginning, but not strong enough. I am surprised at just how heartily he was beaten by Kathleen Alexandra Kennedy but we do tend to like red carpet photos as a rule (and his selected photo kind of made him look like a wildlife documentarian.)
In any case, I agree that this was the first truly challenging round - we heard that these pairings gave many people trouble but if it were easy we would have just done the ranking ourselves and claimed all the credit.
Bella: I sort of like the wildlife documentarian look but I see your overall point. In other news, I so rarely get opportunities to admit I was wrong (please do not look at last week’s analysis) but I will admit it today. In our original ranking, I had put Ted Kennedy as #1. What can I say? I like the man’s square face. But the voters have spoken and Ted Kennedy has been voted off the island. He lost pretty heavily to John Bouvier Kennedy Schlossberg, which if nothing else, proves that I have literally no idea which men are considered attractive.
To quote the great M’baku from Black Panther: Is this your king? I’m gonna have to retreat to my snowy mountain. I don’t understand you people at all.
Molly: You putting Ted Kennedy as your pick for #1 was our first real dust up in this project. I respect you very much, but I honestly have no idea what you were thinking. Even as someone with an extremely square jaw myself, I just do not see what you saw. Nice Black Panther reference though.
Bella: I’ve never noticed the squareness of your jaw, allow me a pause where I look back on photos of our friendship while listening to Time of My Life, from Dirty Dancing.
Ok I see it. I do feel very vindicated that John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. lost to my personal fave Kathleen Agnes Kennedy. JFK Jr. looks like Ross from Friends. Kathleen Agnes is a cutie in uniform. As of last night when Molly and I finalized this post, JFK Jr. was winning, and I was lamenting my Lesbian Lonliness, not understanding why straight women, bisexuals of all genders, and gay men seemed to love JFK Jr. so much. But Kathleen Agnes got some last minute support and triumphed over JFK Jr. who again, looks like Ross from friends. Even if it was only by two votes.
Molly: Again, Ross is objectively supposed to be inoffensively handsome. Comparing JFK Jr. to Ross still doesn’t explain why you don’t think he’s attractive. Putting that aside, I am happy this was a close round. They had two very different looks, but I think this pairing really got to the heart of what this bracket has been all about. Objectifying an American monarchy, of course, but also taking a look at the Kennedys throughout history in all their strong jawed glory. Any other strong pairings?
Bella: We put two giants up against each other when we paired John Fitzgerald Kennedy against Joseph Patrick Kennedy III. Cards on the table, I voted for Joseph Patrick Kennedy III. What about you Molly?
Molly: Oh, I definitely voted for Joseph Patrick Kennedy III. He has those delicate features that are so in vogue these days.
Bella: But JFK triumphed. Someone said they thought JFK was winning because we as a nation were so exposed to his face and told he was hot. Whatever the reason, it’s better luck next time for Joseph Patrick Kennedy III. However, I did send this bracket to my former workplace, including the personal email of a United States Congresswoman, so there IS a chance that Joseph Patrick Kennedy III could see this bracket. It’s his own fault for not making his staff vote for him.
Molly: All that power at his disposal and he still couldn’t win. But I think it says a lot that he’s choosing to not rig our obviously popular and widespread bracket. It speaks to a strength of character, you know?
I actually don’t disagree with that theory about being exposed to JFK’s face. We’ve discussed this before but I’ll remind readers: I don’t think JFK at his presidential peak is close to peak Kennedy. He was absolutely one of the hottest presidents, but that does not a bracket winner make. Or something. Anyway, his win is not totally surprising but I’ll be interested to see how he does in the next round.
Bella: Molly, you make such a good point. Let’s be real here folks, it’s easy to be a Hot President. Your only competition is JFK, Obama and maybe a young Rutherford B. Hayes. But that doesn’t mean someone is hot overall. Hell, I’d be one of the hottest presidents, and we discussed last week I probably wouldn’t even win a bracket of the Mancini Family.
Molly: Young Rutherford B. Hayes could get it.
Bella: Absolutely. Can you believe he married a woman with such bad taste in china? I’m never gonna shut up about Lucy Hayes’ china patterns. It’s the reason I get out of bed in the morning.
Onto our biggest loss of this round, Rose Kennedy Schlossberg trounced Joseph Patrick Kennedy II, 57 to 8. Joseph Patrick Kennedy II was a highly seeded Kennedy, but even he couldn’t beat the good looks of Jackie O, handed down to her granddaughter Rose.
Molly: I am telling you, Rose could go all the way. She has the dark hair and je ne sais quoi of Jackie O., but looks like someone who could play Jackie O. in a movie. We underestimated her at the beginning but I’m happy to be proven wrong.
Bella: We also put Maria Shriver up against her son Patrick. Never should a mother be forced to be prove she’s hotter than her son, but in a victory for women everywhere, Maria prevailed, 40 to 25. My guess is people eventually had to choose between the Kennedy good looks and the vaguely Schwarzenegger echoes present in Patrick’s face. We’re not ready to forgive Arnold for all that cheating he did with his maid I guess.
Molly: I think a mother should always be able to beat out her son in a direct matchup over who looks better. That is a very specific opinion I didn’t know I had until working on this analysis. Would also say that we’re all pretty used to Maria Shriver’s face and are accustomed to thinking “wow, what a good looking person, did you know she’s also a Kennedy?” But I digress. Any other surprises?
Bella: Is it mean to say I’m surprised Rosemary made it this far? She beat Noah Isabella Rose Kennedy. By kind of a lot. Is it the tragic story? Is it how cute she looks in that photo? Is it that everyone is hotter in black and white?
Molly: I’d guess that it’s a combination of all those things. I was also a little surprised but I remember that in our initial rankings we put Rosemary pretty far up simply because we felt she deserved a win. That might be the effect we’re seeing here. That, combined with a glowing debutante photo with the mystical glow of black and white, might just be enough to pull her into the final four. We’ll have to see!
Bella: A bracket participant who shall remain nameless didn’t think RFK would make it this far. She thought that because he was up against some low seeds in the first couple rounds, he would be knocked out by hotter Kennedys. But little Bobby prevailed against Caroline Summer Rose Kennedy in an astounding 47 to 20. And I chose a nice photo of Caroline. I guess no one can beat the general hotness of RFK.
Molly: Obviously Caroline Summer Rose Kennedy has a lot going for her and congratulations to her for making it this far. But (and I think everyone reading this already knows what I’m going to say): RFK all the way.
I think we’ve advanced far enough that I can introduce a few things that I personally think contribute to RFK being so great. One: that picture of him staring off into the distance. Two: That picture of him on a lawn chair with his son and dog, just joshing around. Three: He had ELEVEN children with his wife Ethel. They were two Catholics in love and there is no stronger connection in the world. Four: Let’s imagine, for a moment, what the world could have been like if anti-war, liberal, civil rights supporting Bobby Kennedy had gone on to win the 1968 presidential election, instead of being assassinated the night of the California primary. Then let’s stop because thinking about that because it makes me too sad.
Anyway, that’s my TED talk.
Bella: Remind me never to have an RFK v. LBJ fight with you. It may cause a bigger friendship rift than our continuing battle of Who Was Right In Captain America: Civil War.
Let’s take a look at the top vote-getters overall. RFK is far and away our leader with 230 votes. But Rose Kennedy Schlossberg is nipping at his heels with 212. Coming in third is JFK with 185, and right behind him is Maria Owings Shriver with 183. And in a surprise 5th place we have Kathleen Alexandra Kennedy with 179 votes. Yet another surprise in 5th place. Do you think she can go all the way Molly?
Molly: She’s certainly the dark horse here but we’ve seen a strong showing from the 4th generation in this bracket - stronger than I think either of us anticipated. I think if any of the grandkids pull it off, it’ll be Rose Kennedy Schlossberg but if we’ve learned anything here it’s that we can’t count any of the Kennedys out. It’s an interesting mix with two of the original brothers up against a few grandkids and a niece, so I’m excited to see how the Elite Eight plays out!
Let’s wrap this show up, Bella.
Bella: The Elite Eight is going to be a very tough round. This could become incredibly predictable, or we could see some major upsets. I’ve been refusing to make predictions thus far, and I think I’m going to continue to do that, as all of mine have been wrong. And I do so hate to admit I’m wrong.
Molly: *an echoing chant in the background* R-F-K. All. The. Way.