The concepts of motivational carrots and injurious sticks have been leveled to try and inspire particular personal behaviors for millennia. From antiquity to present however, no organization has managed to leverage them side-by-side to quite the effect as our friends at ABC, The Bachelor producers. This week, a fainting Sarah and the promise of a Victoria-Marylynn reckoning were the carrots plucked from the ground and dangled in front of The Bachelor’s leporine onlookers; and the prospect of having to listen to Victoria wallow in her fatuous and unsubstantiated self-pity presented a stick that hits with the integrity of a fresh-carved Louisville Slugger. I hope carrots are a good cure for concussion, because I signed up instantly and unashamedly for both!
The provenance of the Victoria-Marylynn feud has always been shrouded in mystery, certainly from an on-screen presentation perspective. Marylynn doesn’t strike me as the roommate from hell, but who knows, maybe she’s dropping in at Tilted Towers with the gals until 4am every night? Maybe she doesn’t remove her hair from the drain? I don’t want to cast aspersions, but based on the incredibly vitriolic reactions of Victoria, maybe she doesn’t flush? Whatever it is, Victoria has managed to aggrandize this rivalry to the extent that it will invariably lead to one of their departures. Marylynn didn’t handle Victoria’s offensives particularly well, a surprise, given that event coordinators have to consistently deal with irrational and incredibly neurotic individuals with over-inflated views of their own importance. She was like a deer in the headlights, more shell-shocked than kicked into action. I’m not planning any major events in the near future, but when Gordon Ramsay wants “the fucking lamb sauce,” I don’t know if Marylynn is the one I want in charge! It wasn’t shocking that Marylynn was ultimately sent home (rumor has it Victoria’s eye infection was so contagious that she couldn’t be released into the big bad world as it might have prompted a second pandemic) but still a little disheartening that Victoria, Donald Trump’s 17th child out of wedlock, was able to act so abhorrently with impunity.
The first group date was one of the most entertaining segments of television I’ve seen on the Bachelor in a long time (not saying a whole lot since Peter’s season made me want to self-immolate half of the time but still.) The ladies were tasked with following in the footsteps of Chris Harrison (who showed that his 50 shades weren’t just in reference to quarter-zip sweater colors but he had previously written an erotic novel entitled “The Perfect Letter”), and composing their own passage of an erotic novel. Matt went first, and to say that Napoleon Dynamite has given more compelling stump speeches on the campaign trail really fails to capture just how unspectacular Matt’s delivery was. There was talk of chocolate cake in the kitchen and kissing of skin between suit and hairline (did he just reveal his Hillary Clinton pant suit fetish?), but for all the sexual arousal he was able to inspire, the ladies might as well have been in a Professor Binns History of Magic lesson.
Unsurprisingly, some of the ladies warmed to the task more than others… On the one hand, Serena C, who clearly likes being peed on or something, said “if there was one thing that I wouldn’t want exposed, my sexual preferences are it” whereas on the other, Katie and Victoria were about as wide open as South Dakota’s COVID restrictions and their chapters were the literary equivalent of being beaten over the head with Katie’s vibrator! Bri’s chapter was like a children’s book where the princess and the stable boy hold hands and live happily ever after and was followed up by a one-two punch from Victoria and Katie that sounded like a New York City rush hour there were so many beeps. I hope to one day hear the unredacted versions (although we may have to wait until the Statute of Limitations expires because I’m pretty sure half of what Victoria was saying was illegal!)
Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. What are we going to do with her? Her date with Matt was cute, but her behavior since has been eerily reminiscent of a person who had only ever watched Clare’s season of the Bachelorette and so thinks that contestants just waltz away with their men at their discretion. This is The Bachelor sweetheart, Matt has to develop lukewarm flirtations founded on a bed of sexual curiosity with about 6 women, and then hastily propose to one of them despite having slept with the other two just days prior; how hard is that to grasp?! Sarah is acting surprised that Matt isn’t paying her exclusive attention, and strolled over to interrupt the evening group date with a serious “burn-the-hotel-to-the-ground” look in her eyes. Interrupting a group date is not unprecedented, but for someone who clearly watched Clare’s season, Sarah should know that you should NEVER go full creepy Blake Moyne and crash dates like Vince Vaughn is your boss.
Not a hot take, this has been floating around the internet for a couple of weeks, but Matt kisses with his eyes open. He also goes for the over-lip hoover suck, something I haven’t seen since the scream extractor was almost applied to Mike Wazowski:
The date crash was largely uneventful, however Sarah thought it appropriate to apologize for taking time on the date, something that DID NOT go over well with the broader group.
Victoria is severely lacking in a lot of departments (given her dress choices, it’s clear the only sty she has is the eye infection), but emotional intelligence might be her greatest deficiency. Victoria coming to comfort you in your time of need would be like Hugh Hefner serving up some candid advice on the value of celibacy or something. In the indelible words of Hermione Granger, “she has the emotional intelligence of a teaspoon” and that is generous.
She led the are-you-ok conversation after following Sarah out of the room with: “your situation must be serious, we were worried for you” but followed it up immediately by devaluing her issues entirely with: “it was a personal conversation on our time.” If Victoria was the surgeon slicing into Sarah’s self-esteem, then Katie showed up with a salt grinder and limes to compound her misery. “Is this about your insecurities?” is a brutal thing to say to anyone but not as brutal as “I encourage you to really just figure it out” like it’s something that you can just turn on and off.
Matt did his best to comfort Sarah, characteristically reacquainting her with the lip Hoover to dam her floods of tears. While Matt’s intentions were no doubt pure, saying things like “I will stop by here every day because I have real feelings for you” and “this relationship is really real and it means a lot to me” only served to work Sarah up into an even more fragile state… much more to come here later!
Serena P’s date was pretty unspectacular on the whole. Matt asked for her help “making a cheese board” because he had never made one before… literally that is like asking someone for help putting on a t-shirt, you just slap some cheese on a board. By this point in the season, I would generally be expecting to see some fire and passion from The Bachelor; but Matt? He’s about as charismatic as Serena’s cheese board. He says all the right things, appeases all the crazy girls with placeholder words of affirmation, but is a bit bland on the whole… Between his rock-hard abs and rather dull personality, I was half expecting the donkeys that interrupted his date to comment on the “nice boulder” that was sitting next to Serena!
Their dinner date was equally as unenchanting. Matt’s opening refrain of: “you did well today” is not usually what you tell someone on a first date and Serena responded to her strong performance by claiming she was “falling into like with you.” This is a good line that is emblematic of the entire process. I literally think that to not get a rose on a 1-on-1 with Matt you would have to spit in his face and tell him he looks like he ate too much pasta for dinner last night.
I really didn’t enjoy the closing sequence of this episode, which was effectively an exercise in seeing how far the girls could debase themselves in bullying Sarah for a really minor indiscretion. Victoria was throwing more jabs than Muhammad Ali in his prime and the under ticket of really unsavory ladies hurling shit at Sarah included Kit and Serena C who characterized Sarah as “calculated, manipulative, toxic” – speak for yourself girl. I guess if you put 16 girls in a couch circle with a grievance, a couple of sacks of Franzia Sunset Blush and a scapegoat then that is what you get? It was really unpleasant watching all of the ladies pile on, but Katie surprisingly emerged as the one who was above the childish antics. Who would have thought the girl who showed up on night one with a dildo was the most mature girl in the house?
Sarah still left, although her departure, with 45 seconds of B-roll Chevy Suburban pulling out of the resort, absolutely REEKS of a late-season return. Til’ next week folks!