Bella: Welcome back to Hot Kennedys, the only March tournament that doesn’t exploit the labor of college athletes by giving a free education while the schools make millions. I’m Bella Pori, and this episode is sponsored by heterosexuality. Heterosexuality: Really, There’s Not One Queer Kennedy I Could Date? I’d Like To Marry Into Money and Power!
With me as always is the great Molly Donahue. Molly, do you think I should Facebook friend one of the Kennedys included in the bracket if I have the chance?
Molly: The only correct answer is: yes, of course. It would be madness to pass up an opportunity like that. Now that we’ve gotten that cleared up, on to the bracket!
Bella: We’ve got a really unique Final Four. It’s two giants of the Kennedy Family, RFK and JFK, up against two female Kennedy grandchildren, Rose Kennedy Schlossberg and Kathleen Alexandra Kennedy. I’ll be honest, I didn’t see this bracket shaking out like this, mostly because we didn’t include grandchildren in our original ranking.
Molly: This is really coming out of nowhere, in terms of our expectations. But it also seems fitting: 2 classic Kennedys, symbols of everything the family represents to America, up against 2 Kennedys living in the real world today. Let’s take a closer look.
Bella: Molly, let’s start with your favorite, RFK. I have to say, at the beginning of the Elite Eight, I really thought we were going to have a major upset when Rosemary beat RFK. But the people have spoken and RFK has triumphed, 37 to 26. A not insignificant win for our top seeded Kennedy!
Molly: I’ll be honest, I was a little worried that Rosemary could knock RFK out of the bracket. He’s still our top seed - and with 272 he still has the most votes of anyone in the bracket - but Rosemary has been the dark horse in this race and I went into this round bracing myself for an upset. In the end though, our boy came through and has moved on to the Final Four. He’s still my bet for hottest Kennedy but it’ll be up to the public to decide whether he moves onto the championships!
(This is my public plea: please help RFK get to the championship. A family friend of the Kennedys once described him as “the nicest little boy I’ve ever met.” From Wikipedia: “Despite his gentle demeanor, he could be outspoken, and once engaged a priest in a public argument that horrified his mother, who later conceded that he had been correct all along. Even when arguing for a noble cause, his comments could have "a cutting quality".” I love him you guys.)
Bella: Moving on down to the other Kennedy brother, JFK won over my personal fave, Kathleen Agnes Kennedy. This one was a little closer, with 37 to 29, but ultimately I think familiarity won out. Because if you actually look at the two, JFK is clearly less attractive than Kathleen Agnes. I think we’re seeing what I’ve now termed the Rosemary Kennedy Effect, which is that people are falling victim to a black and white photo and a tragic story. But maybe I’m being too hard on ol’ Jack.
Molly: I don’t know that you are. The picture used in the bracket is one of the presidential standards but I agree that Kathleen Agnes’ was a better photo. In real life though, I think Jack is definitely the better looking of the two. That’s my stance, I’m sticking to it.
Additionally, Kathleen Agnes also has a tragic, though lesser known, story. She died at age 28 in a plane crash while flying to the south of France. No Kennedy can escape the Rosemary Kennedy Effect for long.
Bella: I could look up how many of the Kennedy children died of natural causes, but I think that would just make me too sad.
Our biggest win of the round was, without a doubt Rose Kennedy Schlossberg over Maria Owings Shriver. Rose got a whopping 48 votes to Maria’s 17. I think someone took me to task for saying Rose Kennedy Schlossberg was only winning because she looked like Jackie O. I believe the person pointed out that Rose is very attractive in her own right, and she’s not winning just because she looks like Jackie O. She’s winning because she looks like Jackie O AND JFK. But I have to disagree, I don’t see any JFK in her.
Molly: I also disagree that she looks only like Jackie O, which I’ve said before. I don’t see the JFK influence, but I’d also take you to task for thinking that her similarities to Jackie O are the only reason she’s winning. She’s very pretty and like some of the other granddaughters has amazing lipstick. Without a doubt, it’s a family that knows how to present themselves well.
Bella: And finally, we have John Bouvier Kennedy Schlossberg versus Kathleen Alexandra Kennedy. This was our closest match-up, with Kathleen Alexandra winning by a hair with 36 votes to JBKS’s 31 votes. I call this match up JFK Jr’s revenge. Just because he kind of looks like his uncle JFK Jr. And mostly because I’m thankful every day that JFK Jr. won’t win this competition.
Molly: I’m very interested in this result - it evens out the gender divide in the Final Four. Other than that, I don’t have a lot to say about this matchup. Two good looking grandkids went toe to toe and the public declared a winner.
Bella: There’s not a ton to analyze in this bracket, since there are really only four winners to discuss. I did a little more research on Kathleen Alexandra Kennedy, who was named after Kathleen Agnes Kennedy, an obvious favorite of mine. She seems really cool. And she goes by “Kick” which feels very cute to me.
Molly: “Kick” is an adorable nickname. I will say, all the Kennedys being named after different Kennedys did confuse me a lot during this bracket. I say this as someone from a family where my mother, grandmother, and great aunt all have the same name - a pattern repeated for a lot of aunts/uncles/cousins, so I’m not saying it’s a strange thing for the Kennedys to have done, just that it complicated some of our analysis. Anyway, just thought people should know my opinions on that.
So, where do we go from here Bella?
Bella: I think I’m finally ready to make a prediction. Unfortunately, the way this bracket worked out, RFK is up against Rose in the next round. Which means only one of them can make it to the end. And JFK is up against Kathleen. I think we’re going to see an RFK v. JFK match up, which bodes well for the Facebook Live reveal we are planning, when you are dressed as RFK and I as JFK.
However, I’m now regretting how I structured the bracket because I do think (and the votes support me on this) that Rose and RFK are the strongest Kennedys.
Molly: As we got into the later stages, I agree that I started to see RFK and Rose emerge as the top contenders. It’s very interesting that they’ll have to go head to head before the final round - but I do think this is the set up for an RFK vs. JFK round which, and I might be getting ahead of myself but I’ve been doing that since the beginning, I think would give a handy win to RFK.
I’m very excited to see if we get to go head to head in real life over this round, Bella. Let’s hope the people can give it to us.
Bella: Bobby has 271 votes and Rose has 264 total. Clearly they are the people’s favorite Kennedys. Comparatively, JFK has 225 votes and Kathleen Alexandra has 220. By a trick of bracket structuring, an undeserving Kennedy may make it to the final round, with a giant being knocked out.
Molly: It would be a shocking upset, but I’d say the bracket has worked exactly as it should. No Kennedy is undeserving at this point and we’re trying to get the the TRUTH here, not just what everyone already thinks about this American dynasty. Rose has continued to advance on RFK’s steady lead and Kathleen Alexandra was an unexpected addition to this round, but I have faith that the top Kennedys will prevail. Even if they’re not who we’re expecting.
Unless RFK doesn’t advance. Then I’ll be devastated. Have fun folks!
Bella: I'm excited to see what's in store!