The Bachelorette – Michelle Young Season 18 Preview

Well, well, well… it’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the turtlenecks are starting to peer ever more expectantly out of the back of the closet, and the squalid stench of Bachelor in Paradise that has been wafting so ignominiously over our airwaves for the past several months has been shunted aside for the glorious return of America’s favorite franchise. In a world where feverish swiping, night-and-day DMing, and apathetic ghosting are the predominant state of dating, it’s nice that the we are once again back to match-making in it’s finest, most feudal form: The 24-on-1 crunch-fest that requires careful positioning, a lot of luck, and the near unique ability to watch the girl you’re about to propose to engage in sexual relations with other men mere days before you’re down on one knee. If you thought Odysseus had it tough when after a troublesome ten-year trip back from Troy, his wife made him string up his own bow and shoot an arrow through a bunch of ax-handles, you understand nothing of what this upcoming crop of eligible bachelors are going to have to endure to win Michelle’s fractured heart!

As is tradition, I have done approximately zero research into this year’s format, contestants, locations, hosts, protagonist, intrigue, the list goes on and on… Fortunately for those who are Bachelorette-inclined, all of the information required for a quick pre-season gander is available in the Meet the Cast section of the Bachelorette website. To this end, I have been poring over this page trying to find pertinent parallelisms between cast members and their real and fictional lookalikes, and hope to dive into some of the more nuanced aspects of some of these guys’ characters throughout the course of this blog. It’s certainly a colorful cast vying for Michelle’s affection, let’s jump in and explore some of my favorites

If the pre-photo instructions were to smoke as much weed as possible and then smile like someone just walked in the room with an enormous plate of Twinkies, then Brandon understood the fuck out of the assignment. Brandon J seems like an appropriate nickname! While I’m sure that Brandon is keeping himself incredibly busy with his travelling nurse recruitment activities (imagine having to keep tabs on an Abigail-entranced Noah and his recently returned moustache) but if all else fails, with the shape of this guy’s head, he can always fall back on the Veggie Tales!

A beefy, white, NFL player from Chicago named Bryan you say? While our guy Bryan has slightly more follicles than his namesake Mr Urlacher, I get the distinct sense that the only first team all-pro this guy is gonna be is all-projectile out of the running! Bryan pegs his romantic side on all of the romcoms his older sisters made him watch as a child… let’s hope for his sake that he finds his happily ever after much like his lookalike Human Shrek!

Embrace debate – is Shrek 2 a RomCom?

If this guy doesn’t win, then what chance do the rest of us have at achieving anything even remotely romantically fulfilling? To quote Seth from seminal classic Superbad, “looking into this guys was like the first time I heard the Beatles.” Even writing this, all I can think about is the startling similarities between his piercing blue eyes and the water color on some fabulous travel magazine cover exploring Bora Bora’s hidden gems. Not sure what kind of commodities this guy is brokering, but he’ll be hoping he can overcome the intense volatility in the market and lay some lumber by the time Fantasy Suites roll around!

Garrett is a college dropout, pickle loving, “plant daddy.” He also founded an “incredibly successful tech company” and now spends his time galavanting around the world doing various extreme sports (skydiving, paragliding and speed flying) that presumably force his hair back into the strange, windswept coif that he is sporting in his picture. Whether or not this same wind molded his ears into enormous elf-like vessels remains to be seen, but he’ll be hoping the ears afford him Legolas-like skill with cupid’s arrows in pursuit of Michelle!

Jamie can deny it all he wants, but there is no way that this “Biotech CEO” isn’t a retired Derek Rose in the lab trying to biotech his way to some new knees! Got ’em.

It’s a pretty well established path at this point… join the army, leave the army, get a sweet combover haircut, and then go on the Bachelorette. Worked pretty well for Ben Smith who now has accumulated over 350K Instagram followers and launched his own fitness lifestyle brand! No doubt Jack is shooting for a similar play here. Watch for uncompromising abdominal muscles, unexpected nudity, and unrelenting toxicity.

Pardeep, a neuroscientiest, might be praying for a touch of amnesia when it comes to Michelle’s previous dalliance on the Bachelor where she expressed her undying love for Dancing with the Starts flameout and open-eyes kisser Matt James. Fortunately, Pardeep’s favorite holiday is the New Year “because he loves new beginnings” so it looks like he’ll give Michelle a pass this time. His bio also reads that he loves sleeping in on Saturdays… so anyone who loves Eric Church will know that he also probably loves college football games, not acting his age, and good barbecue.

PJ is the last single man standing of all of his friends, not altogether surprising when his bio’s principal positive stroke is his love of Rubik’s Cubes. PJ will be looking to solve the mystery of Michelle but don’t hold your breath… his bio reads that he “doesn’t like opera…” Characteristics formed of dislike don’t usually bode well for budding candidates (I dislike peanut butter and mixed berry fruit roll-ups but I don’t go shouting about them in the off chance that the girl I’m vying for with 23 other dudes likes these things) so expect PJ to extinguish any spark between him and Michelle.

Nayte is 6 foot 8, which for my readers everywhere in the world except the US, Myanmar and Liberia who are probably more familiar with the metric system, translates to really fucking tall. As if Nayte needed any other reason to stand out, he also spells his name like a phonetic dictionary… interestingly, and worth noting for all of my SEO specialists out there, this Nayte is the first Nayte to pop up when you type Nayte into the Google… way to sell yourself there Mr. Executive!

Edward is a wellness coach who dreams of going to Disneyland one day. He lives in Los Angeles. Not mentioned in his bio is that he isn’t a very good wellness coach because there is literally a Disney Land literally right down the road from him and any wellness journey should be about making your dreams come true, right? Mix in a ride on the 405 my guy, maybe catch an Angels game while you’re down there! Edward looks a lot like if Snape hadn’t been rejected by Lily Potter in high school, and instead had settled down in Godrick’s Hollow as a slippery magical trinket salesman who models his own wares. Don’t see this ending well for this wellness coach.

Being a motivational speaker and being from Canada are legitimately two sides of the same coin. Ever met anyone from Canada? Try telling me that Justin Trudeau doesn’t motivate the entire female population to melt into a sorry puddle when he opens his mouth. Try telling me Justin Bieber doesn’t motivate the entire world to begrudgingly admit that My Worlds was his best album. Try telling me that Nickelback doesn’t motivate the entire universe to bow in deference to their intensely superior musical abilities. Try telling me that Blake Moyne doesn’t motivate you to want to throw a brick through your television. Not sure what Chris G. does, but it’s bound to be motivational.

Happy watching people!

Bachelorette Hometowns Recap – Katie Thurston

It seems like this season has gone by like a flash in the pan. How are we at hometowns already, and by the time you’re reading this, you’ll probably be settling in for an afternoon of fan-theories in anticipation of the finale (apologies again for the interesting cadence of blogs this season – I will endeavor to improve during BIP this year!)  

Blake Moyne had the first hometown date, and of course the entire date revolved around the remarkably unremarkable fact that he is from Canada. For those of you who can’t remember (as much as I have tried, I cannot banish the hometown dates from Matt’s season from my otherwise Swiss cheese brain), Serena P did the whole Canadian hometown bit as well and achieved nothing but Canadian cultural appropriation by hanging out in bars, eating Poutine and playing hockey… in this iteration, I was half hoping Blake was gonna bring back Brendan (the Patron Saint of Canada) and Brendan’s dad to drink Labatt Blues and watch Maple Leafs 2001 playoff reruns with Katie, but alas, Blake re-did the bar and hockey bits, once again distilling Canadian culture to these two arbitrary archetypes.

Blake loves maple syrup – so much so that he tried to convince Katie that people drink it like they would a shot of whiskey. I don’t know a lot about maple syrup drinkers, but there is one thing that they all have in common, and it’s type 2 diabetes! After the syrup suck, Blake and Katie played darts, with Blake taking special care to mention that darts “is what I do, every Friday and Saturday I go to the bar and I play.” I don’t know if Katie is looking for a man in his mid-thirties who is still trawling the bars and flinging darts at the local ladies every Friday and Saturday night, but if she is, then Blake is her man. The next portion of the date was of course some hockey, a game that an unsuspecting Greg, gazing out across the New Mexico plains, was made privy too. He didn’t just capture a glimpse of the street hockey, but also the tonsil hockey afterwards, an experience that made him “sick to his stomach.” Whether this nebulous nausea was the result of emotional distress, or the fact that he took advantage of Blake’s absence by over-indulging in his bedside maple syrup we shall never know!

Blake might be the least inspiring motivational speaker of all time. His “you don’t have to be great, you just have to be you” to Katie right before she met his family was about as inspiring as a pre-game pump-up speech from Eeyore. I understand the sentiment and I guess it’s a nice idea to encourage personality, but also encouraging mediocrity when you’re potentially about to marry this girl was a little off the mark. Blake’s family was pretty awesome all things considered. his mother in particular was poised, collected, and produced unbelievable soundbites from start to finish. If I am ever in a position to executive produce the Real Housewives of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, then I will be calling up Blake’s mother to headline the bill! His sister was even more blunt in her lines of questioning, basically calling Blake out for being in love with three girls in the space of a year after only having seen pictures of them.

Blake I’m sorry, but “if things keep going the way that they are, I see myself getting engaged to Katie” is a pretty enormous leap of faith even for a man who has claimed to be unconditionally besotted with three different ladies in the past year. This is like saying your child, after logging an infield single in their first at bat in peewee tee-ball, is going to the Major Leagues because “if things keep going the way they are” they will bat 1,000% and never record an out in their life. I understand trajectory but come on Blake.

Justin’s parents not showing up to his hometown says all you need to know about his status on the show – I don’t really know what he’s still doing here, but the producers probably told his mother and father behind the scenes just not to bother so they could save a couple of bucks on flights and hotel rooms!

Compatibility is obviously an enormous part of a relationship, but in most cases it shouldn’t boil down exclusively to what kind of sauce you prefer on your buffalo wings: “Blue cheese or ranch?” When Katie said blue cheese and Justin practically got down on one knee it perfectly encapsulated the ridiculous parody that is his enduring presence while better candidates were dropping out left and right. Justin showed a side of himself that hadn’t really been on display to this point in the show – he’s a pretty smooth guy and his personality is far more outgoing than has been exhibited outside of his incredibly meme-worthy facial expressions. In the absence of Justin’s parents, a couple of his friends joined the happy, sauce-synergized couple. His friends seemed very nice and supportive and to be honest, that’s all I’ve got on Justin’s date.

Greg always does the most random selection of things on his and Katie’s dates. This time it was a game of horse in memory of his father. While it was a nice touch, I think that an actual horse might have put up a better effort at getting the ball in the hoop than Katie did. The two of them have a pretty unfortunate run of getting absolutely soaked on their 1-on-1 dates as well, this time Greg emphasizing that it also rains in Jersey… Greg’s family are very sweet and went to enormous lengths to include his sisters – a moment that clearly tugged at Greg’s heartstrings. I don’t want to be mean, but there is no way that Greg and his brother Joe are from the same gene pool. He was such a nice guy, a characteristic that clearly runs in the family, but Greg took every ounce of the good looks and left poor Joe in the dust.

At this point of the episode, I very clearly said to myself that “if Greg doesn’t win and Blake fucking Moyne with his stupid facial hair and maple syrup addiction runs away with Katie’s heart then I’m never watching another episode of a Bachelor franchise until August 16th when Bachelor in Paradise starts.” I could never have anticipated what was going to come next… except that I did a couple of weeks ago… Greg has been set up to fail this entire time and those pesky producers once again edited the season so masterfully to set up this fall from grace. Greg laid it all out there… literally all of it, and Katie replied to his magnum opus by saying “I just love looking at you” – it was a true Matt James “thank you for telling me that” moment.

This entire ensuing sequence was quite something. Greg’s hometown date ended with him wandering around like a lost puppy trying to figure out why Katie wasn’t willing to call off the season for him AND THERE WERE STILL 33 MINUTES OF THE EPISODE LEFT! Greg is confused, and he has every right to be – he is the only candidate who has opened up to Katie in any meaningful way and Katie is basically saying that Greg has to trust in their relationship when everyone knows that enormous Fantasy Suites elephant is just trumpeting in the corner. Greg decided to take matters into his own hands and confront Katie about her lukewarm reaction to his positive Tsunami of emotions the night before and Katie reacted by going on the defensive when Greg opined that “this is real life,” with quite strange responses like “I was just listening more” and “I can’t even comprehend what you’re trying to say here.”

Katie is too loyal to the franchise. She keeps referencing roses and one-on-one dates and the other men, and the process, but if she really felt how she claims to feel about Greg then she would just call the whole thing off right now. She’s a company girl who is seemingly willing to go down with the ship for the sake of prolonging the show and defending the integrity of the process. She’s too close to the product – she’s an unconditional GameStop holder; she’s a stop the steal militant storming the Capitol Building – sometimes you have to wake up and smell the coffee and actually make decisions that are based in rationality rather than some strange and idiotic adherence to Trumped-up (pun intended) principles.  I hate to sound like a sentiment from an early One Direction song, but Katie, when it comes to love, sometimes you have to check principle at the door! She owes Blake and Justin the square root of absolutely nothing in this situation and who knows, maybe she doesn’t like Greg as much as she has let on, but to risk losing him for some strange, never-before-seen in the show principle of equal opportunity lack of access to her love seems like a very dumb move. She even admitted it at the end when she was speaking to Kaitlyn through the door – “I just feel like I went through this process telling myself it will be worth it, doing all the stuff you’re supposed to do and it ends up blowing up in my face.”  

The long and the short of it is that Greg left. There is a lot of chit chat on the internet about whether Greg was gaslighting her and whether he is the narcissistic sociopath or she is the unstable, unemotional heart-string-tugger. I have no idea what is right, but at a very high level I thought that Katie kind of dropped the ball on this one. She melted down big time, so much so that she locked herself in the bathroom and was uncontrollably sobbing and bemoaning the loss of her “number one guy since the beginning.”

Now I haven’t been enormous fans of Kaitlyn and Tayshia as hosts of the show to this point; I’m struggling to really see how they add intrigue to a process where they effectively act as a friend to the Bachelorette, but Kaitlyn did really shine as an empathetic and genuinely kind individual when she was speaking to Katie through the door.  My favorite line from the whole Kaitlyn reclamation project was “There was one point where I cried into my salad and I said I’m done, I’m done, I’m done I want to go home.” This doesn’t sound like something a Bachelorette would say, this sounds like me dining in at Sweetgreen when they don’t put enough hot sauce in my chicken pesto parm!

Katie wants someone to book her flight home – maybe she had just watched the montage of her and Greg throughout the season that they played at the end and realized that she had made a grave mistake. Everyone I was watching with by myself had tears in their eyes – it could only have been made more emotional if Everybody Hurts was playing in the background.

Anyway folks, what a ride it has been! The finale is tonight and I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen. Please don’t let Blake win, please please please don’t let that guy win.

Until next time, happy watching!

Bachelorette Week 7 Recap – Katie Thurston

Blake Moyne is really annoying – I have said this over and over again but every time his Quagmire-like jaw opens up and starts spewing a positive pyroclastic flow of premonitions about his and Katie’s relationship, I pour myself a stiff drink, drink it, and then pour myself another. Blake is a seasoned campaigner, and just like a 10th century knight embarking upon his third crusade in a year, he knows that to get to the Holy Land of the Fantasy Suites and beyond, he has to both satisfy the needs of the celestial producers and those of the prize that awaits him after he spills some Saracen blood – Katie. He got the 1-on-1 date 15-minutes after coming on the show, and then proceeded to state that “until you have a 1-on-1 you’re 100% behind” to poor Brendan, who has been too busy crushing the free beers on the show to actually spend any time with Katie. Much to Brendan’s chagrin, it was Greg who received the 1-on-1 date.

Greg and Katie’s date was another really befuddling viewing experience. After a long walk/kissing session they reached a very mediocre replication of a Seattle fish market? As one traditionally does in the fish market, Katie didn’t consult the fishmonger about the freshness of the fish, or if there were any specials in that day, she picked up a fish and chucked it at her date. Greg, the self-proclaimed fisherman, responded “that thing was just flopping in the air and it scared the shit out of me.” The next part of the date was eating oysters (no wonder Katie is so sex positive) and then picking out flowers before fucking around on a makeshift football field in the desert. The only touchdown within 100 miles of this place was the one that Greg received from Katie at every opportunity she got, and the two wiled away the afternoon discussing the difficulties of being in the Bachelorette environment and Greg mentioning that he hadn’t introduced anyone to his mother in a long time – red flag huh? One observation before we move on to dinner, they clearly don’t have barbers in New Mexico because Greg’s hair is becoming awfully reminiscent of an ornamental curtain in a Bridgerton Manor window!

Now this might be a hot take, but over the course of the day and over dinner I thought that Greg was holding back – can’t really describe it but he seems to be having some trepidation about Katie, and potentially getting married to someone who is currently and feverishly dating a ton of other dudes. The guy has been watching his Instagram following explode, he hasn’t seen the outside world in a long time, who can blame him for wanting to test the waters with the great and the good of Bachelor Nation who have fallen madly in love with him over the course of the show? Whatever he was actually feeling, Greg said all the right things, such as “I feel like the luckiest man in the world, you just amaze me every day” and then they proceeded to live every child’s hot-summer-day fantasy and fuck around in a sprinkler-induced rainstorm for the ages. Greg obviously got the rose, although the stuff that they were saying about each other, I’m pretty sure he’s being set up for an astronomical fall from grace.

Andrew, Blake, Michael A, and Brendan were selected for the group date, which is hilarious because Brendan reacted in such a typically Brendan way in expressing his disappointment. “My family would love you, my dad would just love to drink beers with you.” If that’s the best you can come up with then you don’t deserve to be carrying the flag for Canada in the quest for Katie’s heart. Brendan showed himself out, after a quick chap stick application at Katie’s door, and it’s about damn time.

The group date was another event unbecoming of the seriousness with which some of the contestants are treating this process. Michael A in particular wants to know lots of incredibly important things about what kind of mother Katie is gonna be etc. and Katie decides to show the guys a bunch of vagina flower pictures and have them express their love for her in artistic form? Justin, who is an actual artist, drew some kind of post-apocalyptic sushi situation, and Blake Moyne once again displayed the emotional maturity of a 12-year old boy in a sex ed class and drew something that was NSFW. Everyone remembers the sculpted clay penis from last season, and while I initially thought Blake had gone for a Rothko-esque all-black painting, this was just the ABC parental controllers preventing us from seeing his masterpiece. Blake followed up his artistic performance with a line worthy of Dickens himself: “I’m not in love right now, but the way it’s going it’s fucking inevitable…” Spoiler alert, but I’m heated – To think that this bonehead ended up getting a rose in the ceremony at the expense of Andrew S is absolutely unfathomable. Michael (and his son) ended up receiving the group date rose which slightly cooled my boiling blood courtesy of Blake Moyne.

Mike P was the second 1-on-1 date of the episode and of course they made the virgin assume numerous sexual postures after a consultation with a cuddling specialist. What is interesting about this, is that while Mike hasn’t ever had sex before, I’m sure he’s the absolute king of cuddling (or should I say KKKuddling given the gowns they were instructed to wear!) The date was incredibly awkward (it almost had Tayshia and Blake Moyne chakra vibes) and while I thought Mike P was kind of a stud at the beginning, he’s turned into a sopping wet blanket who seems incapable of saying anything other than contrived lines that sound like they’re from fortune cookies. “Growth happens when you’re uncomfortable,” “I’d rather have my heart broken 100x over than break somebody’s heart,” and “Believe me, if it were up to me I’d be humping everything” were his three choicest lines no doubt! It wasn’t super surprising that Mike was sent home, especially after he told Katie point blank whilst spooning her that she reminded him of her mother – they didn’t need to make Mike walk out of there wearing his robe though… he looked like he was doing a morning after Halloween walk of shame dressed in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fat suit or something. Mike said in response to his cutting loose that “I’m bummed I’m not going to be spending life with you” – what a weirdo!!

The remaining two roses went to Blake and Justin; both heinous candidates when stacked up against charming and chiseled Andrew S. There was then this wild goose chase where Andrew came back, Katie was crying and confused, Andrew left her a Chernobyl-level toxic note saying “If you change your mind, I’ll be waiting” and then Katie chased after him only to be shut down because Andrew S wants to be chosen by his future wife – fair enough.

Katie Thurston Bachelorette Episode 5 Recap

One of the hilarious things about Bachelor Nation, and the reason that the whole bring-back-someone-from-a-previous-season gimmick is so farcical, is that everyone on the show knows exactly who all of the previous seasons’ contestants are – this is literally the concept of Bachelor in Paradise. So, when chunky-but-chiseled Blake shows back up looking for a chance with his third Bachelorette in a year, the only thing that all of the existing men will likely remember is him performing chakras with Tayshia and solidifying their position as the least chemistried couple of all time. As if to compound the cross-season synergy, it was Tayshia who gave Blake’s introductory gambit. Some of the men were clearly hoping that Tayshia was going to hijack her second season in a row, but alas, it was not to be for those out of Katie’s favor fighting for their reality TV lives. It was just Blake – the most disruptive Canadian force since Nickelback released Photograph.

Blake was very candid about the reasons for his return, and it should come as absolutely no surprise that his name was on the 1-on-1 date card. Blake’s reaction was priceless, the perfect mix of awkward smugness and faux humility, and he correctly noted that “This is obviously best-case scenario for me” before proceeding to rub his date in everyone’s faces by boldly announcing his departure. Katie attempted to do a little damage control by hosting a 30-second, 1-question town hall. A short aside, in last week’s blog, I was wondering what Blake was like in the DMs – apparently all he said to Katie was “nice job on the season.” Short, sweet, poetic.

Katie and Blake’s date was unspectacular, and while they talked extensively about how compatible they were with each other, I really didn’t see much of anything.  Katie has travelled a lot… to the most random places on earth. Ireland and Taiwan were the two places she mentioned… what kind of travel package includes those two locales? Expedia are you drunk? They rode some horses and then Katie looked like she was trying to find Blake’s needle in the haystack as they were rolling around making out in the hay. At their dinner date Katie once again shared details of her past experiences and despite a glaring gulf between Katie’s candor and Blake’s pained expressions and lukewarm responses, he managed to get a rose. This season the little-known country artist who had the pleasure of serenading the happy couple was Laine Hardy. Nothing will ever come close to eclipsing the majesty of the Chase Rice Victoria F Pilot Pete love triangle, but nonetheless the song was sappy and Blake started manhandling Katie in what couldn’t really be described as dancing. I won’t be satisfied until Mason Ramsey is the singer in the weird 1-on-1 make-out-the-whole-time mini country concert.

The Bachelorette Bash Ball Battle – what a mouthful, and an even more delicious concept! Making the men engage in physical pursuits is always a winner in my eyes, but this was a whole new level of violent and vengeful. Michael A described the basketball-ish game as “the worst day I’ve ever had in my life” and Hunter solidified his place as the biggest prick on the season by running around head-hunting like a prime Sean Taylor. The game ended when Michael A got absolutely lit up from behind and proceeded to lie on the ground in the fetal position for 20 minutes while receiving doting sympathy from and very concerned looking Katie.

As a result of Michael A’s inability to take a hit, everyone was invited to the evening date rather than just the winning team and it was Michael who stole the show, rendering the other contestants teary-eyed and riddled with emotion at his ability to endure and remain positive through his amazingly difficult personal circumstances. Greg was ugly crying like a guy talking to the bartender at closing time about how his junior prom date didn’t respond to his messages are, and while his story is really sad, the full-blown breakdowns were maybe a little bit much. There was something a little different about the slate of men that evening, maybe their dehydration following the Bash Ball Battle got them way more fucked up and emotional than usual?

Hunter got the group date rose?! Are you fucking kidding me? This little critter who just scurries around ruffling feathers was rumored to have been turned down from Netflix’s hit show Tattoo Fixers because his sleeve is unfixable in its hideousness. He showed Katie a picture of his kids and she somehow fell for it despite having watched him play in the Big Bash Battle earlier that day. While I don’t want to cast aspersions about his parenting style, there’s very little doubt in my mind that he’s challenging little league umpires to meet him in the parking lot after games where his kids strike out…

Andrew S’s date was a very strange combination of activities. Breaking hearts, snatching envelopes, bursting balloons, I was half expecting them to have to play Professor McGonagall’s magically transfigured giant chess set to try and save the Philosopher’s stone from Quirrell next, but no, it was just more deep, soul-searching conversation, this time about family, and the variable experiences of interracial children. Andrew S is incredibly sweet, although it was kind of oxymoronic of him to say that “all I want is to have a beautiful family, regardless of how they look…” About half way through their dinner date Katie started giving off major Clare-shut-the-whole-season-down-right-now vibes – a sentiment embodied by Katie’s line “I just want sex, give me the sex.” While neither of them got “the sex,” Andrew did get a rose… he’s a serious contender in a field of serious contenders.  

The latest contrived controversy involved Hunter, who stole Katie away on the final evening’s group date in order to show her his telescope that he brought from home. Now in a week where space travel has been top of mind, I love a bit of space and telescope action, but he pointed his telescope at Orion’s belt? The most easily identifiable constellation with the naked eye? Come on Galileo, if you’re a telescope guy at least tap in some obscure dwarf planets or something. I guess Hunter was too busy railing lines between scenes to bother looking up any other constellations!

If the wildly out of context clip compilation at the end of the episode was anything to go by, we are in for quite the ride for the rest of the season. Strap in, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!

Katie Thurston Bachelorette – Episode 4 Recap

Apologies for the lack of a blog last week – hope I can make up for it with some characteristically unimaginative analysis this go around! Let’s jump in to Monday’s episode:

Katie had “two friends” helping her with the group date. Much to my disappointment, it was not the pre-release of Big Bootie 20, but it was Kaitlyn and Tayshia, who are not her friends, they are the FUCKING HOSTS OF THE SHOW! As if the coddling of the American mind with participation trophies and “you did great honeys” wasn’t enough, now we don’t even get to watch the Bachelorette struggle, solo, with the crippling weight of carrying a franchise and reconciling the entertainment of millions with her own personal health and well-being? Give me a break!  

The truth or dare scavenger hunt is always good… until you remember that the truth or dare scavenger hunt was literally in the last season of the Bachelorette and you start to wonder if there is any originality in this fickle Bachelor universe. There were a couple of highlights, notably Greg being about as proficient at dirty talk as the Virgin Mary and Christian waxing Tre’s ass with the speed and skill of Lewis Hamilton at the Monaco Grand Prix. The weirdest bit about Christian’s waxing performance wasn’t the waxing itself, it was the incredible proficiency with which he waxed Tre’s ass. The guy went full Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel with the wax brush, displayed immaculate upward ripping form, and even had a little song that if my memory serves me correctly went something like “and a 1 and a 2 and a rip doody doo?!” Talk about waxing lyrical! The habanero proposal bit is fun too, but honestly, I’m surprised Tayshia allowed it to happen after Bennett said the weirdest shit to her on one knee in the last season. They even used the same enormous fake ring as the last go around…

Andrew S took the first bite of the apple during the evening portion of the group date… well, really it was the first bite of the Taco Bell, as he introduced their little couch canoodle by speaking the little known sixth love language: “So I hear you like T Bell?” I don’t know if he’d been watching a little too much Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares, but a spread with cut sour straws, Ritz crackers and cold Taco Bell? Come on man, what are you? An idiot sandwich? Taco bell kisses really hit different, but not nearly as different as everything that comes out of virgin Mike’s mouth – I would even go as far as to say he’s the sweetest, most conscientious guy in the history of the franchise.

Greg got hit with what I will now call the “Colbie Callait” (every time Katie says, “I’m falling for you” (btw this is the most elite music video since Eric Prydz’s Call on Me – worth a watch and subsequent journey down the Colbie rabbit hole)) and then proceeded to look like the coldest man in the world for the rest of the episode. I know they’re in the desert and in my long storied academic career I learned about the dangers of wildly fluctuating diurnal temperatures in the desert, but it’s still weird seeing the guys wearing jackets and coats and they’re still all obviously still freezing on the set. It’s interesting, when the men are not lounging on couches or pouring their hearts out at the pop-up prison yard gym, they all seem to be palling around in the hot tub… I pray to God that a return to Bachelor mansion and some international travel are on the horizon!

During the last episode, Thomas admitted that he wanted to be the Bachelor… what a fuckin’ idiot. This is perhaps the most obvious “don’t say the quiet part out loud” question in entertainment history. If you are blessed with a narcissism threshold that allows your pursuit of love to be beamed into millions of people’s homes every Monday night, no fucking shit you come into the show with the prospect of sustaining this fifteen minutes of fame through a show dedicated to you in the back of your head. The Thomas situation led to an interesting philosophical tug-of-war between the tell Katie about Thomas crowd led by Tre and the don’t tell Katie about Thomas crowd led by the Andrew S in the Matt James turtleneck. Ultimately, Tre told Katie about the Thomas drama and was rewarded with the group date rose for his candor and honesty about the whole situation.

Two things changed after Tre’s revelations about Thomas. The first was Katie’s mood, which went from happy and care-free, to visibly disappointed at the fact that she may have to take action against a toxic, manipulative, (but charming and hot) man; the second was the sudden realization amongst the men that they key to Katie’s heart is to ruthlessly betray your fellow contestants – no 30 pieces of silver necessary! Exactly the hand that Katie played in creating such an environment is a little ambiguous, but either wittingly or unwittingly, she managed to create an army of surreptitious and conniving Stasi informants by rewarding Tre’s Thomas revelations with a rose. All of the men fell in line, trashing Thomas at every opportunity as if their families would be whisked away to an internment camp if they didn’t. Karl tried to endear himself to Katie using the back-stabbing method, but his revelations about intentions weren’t good enough. Evidenciary standards are high in Katie’s world… you gotta have names, you gotta have receipts, you gotta embellish every little thing that this person has done and spin it to your advantage. Snitches no longer get stitches; in Katie’s house, snitches get roses.

One of the most hilarious things so far this season is the producers trying to slow reveal Blake Moyne despite the fact that every single promo this season has shown Blake’s oddly angular facial hair and male pattern balding rocking up to the party four weeks late with a smile and how are ya eh? Possibly even funnier was Tayshia’s characterization of Blake as “such an amazing guy.” Remember, this is the man who has fallen desperately in “love” with three consecutive Bachelorettes and who Tayshia cut loose like an amateur fisherman would a smallmouth bass after their strange sexual awakening date… I half wanted another Heather situation where she had to quarantine for 2-weeks, rocked up, poured her heart out and then was unceremoniously flicked after 15-minutes, but a bombshell admission that Katie and Blake had been DMing before the show makes that seem unlikely. I dread to think what kind of things Blake Moyne says in the DMs…

The Thomas situation reared its ugly head again towards the end of the episode… Thomas poured his heart out to Katie, even offering to “sign something” saying how much he was into her… what is this? Some kind of middle school engagement contract where if you’re both 40 and single then you’ll get married?! It requires a level of confidence and toxicity very few possess to even try and pull off the red blazer look, so when Thomas interrupted the rose ceremony to basically say that he was sorry but really everyone was overreacting, it wasn’t in the least bit surprising.

I’ve been complaining a lot in recent seasons about how there isn’t really any genuine, Hitchcockian, grip your seat, white knuckle suspense… this rose ceremony was different. Thomas got called up to receive a rose and Katie hit him with an ice-cold wall that would have made a prime Frozone proud. “You told me things I wanted to hear – but what I learned tonight is that you’re selfish, unkind, and a liar. YOUR AUDITION FOR THE BACHELOR ENDS TONIGHT.” Wow. This was defeat snatched from the jaws of victory; an Iguodala-Lebron stuffed at the rim moment; I haven’t felt this way since The Red Fucking Wedding!

A couple of final observations: I thought that Michael was the biggest squid in the entire world at the beginning of the season but he is maturing into kind of a stud. The shadowy beard, the rose strapped to his chest, his perfectly coiffed hair, his sweet demeanor mixed with stark realness about how to treat Katie’s fragile heart. Maybe I want to get engaged to Michael?! Also, every time Hunter opens his mouth and isn’t wearing a long-sleeve shirt, I cannot take anything he says because his tattoo sleeve of a mystical cosmic universe makes him look like the love child of Thanos and a really bargain-basement Adam Levine.

Its episode four and I’m still finding myself saying “who the fuck is this guy?” Hopefully I will know everyone’s names soon!

Until next week folks

Katie Thurston Bachelorette – Episode 2 Recap

Anyone who has seen The Bachelorette before knew exactly what was coming in Monday night’s episode… We’re past the early pleasantries where the lady in question has to dodge awkward advances from strange men in semi-lived RVs and we’re right onto the dates and dramas that will shape the season and ultimately, Katie’s ongoing quest for a full psychosexual awakening. There’s tears, there’s tantrums, and the remaining men’s motives, marriage-readiness and manhood start to get a stiffer examination than Katie’s favorite quarantine sex toy.

The start of the group date involved a sex podcaster asking the men questions about sex and their sex lives, Katie looking ravenous on the stage at her “so many options,” and a whole lot more sexuality, sexuality, sexuality. The brain is a woman’s largest sex organ was an interesting revelation, and the old adage that socks increase the chance of a female orgasm (and also the chance that they are a serial killer) rounded out what was a fairly tepid start to the date. Oh yeah, and mystery man Mike, with the crucifix chain literally assaulting the audience with its prominence outside of his baby-blue t-shirt, is a virgin. The next portion of the date required the men to show Katie how they would be the best lover in the world. Connor B whipped out his guitar and sang a song about how piano playing impacted the dexterity of his fingers.

A short aside, the primary reason Chris Harrison was such a magisterial host for the show is that he didn’t show up the Bachelorette by being exponentially more attractive than them. Tayshia? Not so much. Anyways…

Karl’s sex-ed lesson was brutal, there was some kind of puppet sex show that was a little bit uncomfortable also, but Mike’s refrain about saving himself for Katie drew her to tears and he was rewarded with the “greatest lover of all time” trophy as a result. While he was cute and genuine sounding, I was overcome by a blinding celestial vision of him aggressively hopping a fence and disappearing into the night in a haze of sexual propriety so I don’t remember a whole lot else from that part of the episode. He got a trophy but didn’t get the date rose; that went to Thomas, much to the chagrin of Karl who was clearly looking to live up to his billing as a motivational speaker by snorting half a tub of pre-workout before the cocktail party.

Perhaps the best part of the entire cocktail party was Connor B’s first non-cat-suit-clad kiss with Katie. As he explained, the entire rationale for his kissing Katie was that he awkwardly touched her head with his cat paw and thus wanted a do over. As the picture below clearly demonstrates, those piano-playing hands don’t just pet in cat suits. Connor looks like he’s half kneading pizza dough and half engrossed in a particularly juicy part of an EL James novel.

Greg got the first impression rose and was also granted the first one-on-one date with Katie. As one of the men astutely remarked after the date card arrived, “the rich get richer.” Possibly the best bit about the date was the car that Katie rocked up in… It looked like a truck out of a Jason Aldean music video went on Pimp My Ride and came out with hub caps that wouldn’t last a day chilling on a dirt road!

The two went on a camping/fishing date which was very cute, but Greg needs to chill with the existential questions like “do you feel that losing your dad shaped who you are today?” Maybe Katie’s one of the socked-sex serial killers and has no capacity for empathy, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that the most overtly sexual bachelorette in the history of the show kinda has some feelings? Both were incredibly raw and emotional about the loss of their respective fathers, and while I’m obviously an incredibly rough-cut, brawny, unemotional guy’s guy, I have to admit that there was something in my eye at that exact moment and I definitely wasn’t crying and considering life’s ephemerality during the scene. Not at all. Never.   

The next group date was titled Katie’s Big Buckle Brawl and involved the men dressing up in cowboy attire, promptly shedding that attire, and wrestling in a mud pit reminiscent of a post-music-festival field. A quick note on the cowboy get-ups…  Anyone who has ever been to the Boot Barn in Nashville knows that there’s legitimately one rule when it comes to cowboy boots…. DO NOT EVER wear your jeans tucked inside your boots. Fall foul of this rule and you will legitimately get laughed out of the store. Enter the bachelorette contestants… at least put the guys wearing their boots correctly in the front!!!  

The highlight of the brawl was the showdown between Cody and Aaron. There was some strange unexplained beef in the first episode that all made sense when it was announced that the two knew each other from San Diego. It didn’t feel like a Caelynn and Hannah B situation, it wasn’t even a “she entertains men for money” situation; these guys just straight up fuckin’ hate each other and their mutual disdain laid the groundwork for what was to unfold later in the episode.

This always happens. There’s a confrontation where one party accuses another of non-genuine intentions or fame-seeking and it invariably leads to an investigation by the show’s protagonist (in this case Katie) that ends in confusion and tears. Katie spoke to the respective parties and decided it was Cody who had to go. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who heard his rebuttals to her accusations. “I’m not that way at all” and “that’s not factual information” is not very convincing when you’re fighting for your reality television life! What was interesting about the whole Cody Aaron saga is that we literally have no idea what Cody did other than have some questionable values. Cody never had a shot at winning but I still would have loved to have known exactly what his crimes were rather than being left to assume that he was like Yosef in the DMs or Bundy on the mountain trails!

Karl is annoying as hell. I get that you’re a motivational speaker, but the JFK quotes and constant posturing are a little much. “Some Xanax or a muzzle” were suggested as potential shut-up devices, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Thomas or one of his other adversaries went all grassy knoll on his ass, especially in the context of his assertion to Katie that some men are not there for the right reasons. Karl is a bullshitter. He’s the guy who wrote his senior thesis using only Wikipedia and stuff he learned on the back of cereal boxes. Citations? Never. Is he correct that some of the guys likely aren’t there for the right reasons? Probably, but no MLA no passing grade. When confronted about his evidence-less shit-stirring, he hit the group with the old “I don’t want to address the person directly, I’ll address them in private and I’m going to wait for them to come forward” triumvirate.  

This show must suck for the Bachelorette. Imagine you’re crying, there’s a camera shoved in your face invading your privacy at every turn, and then the guy that comes out to comfort you in your time of need is Hunter? That’s a special kind of torture.

Lots of drama to look forward to next week folks, can’t wait and see you then!

Katie Thurston Bachelorette Episode 1 Recap

The first night of any new season in Bachelor world is bitter sweet. The bitter in this case can be traced to the trough of Aperol Spritz that is percolating balletically through my system as I write this; the sweet? Well I think we all know where that’s coming from. There is a unique nervous energy about night one; it’s almost middle-school dance-ish, where every individual stepping through the miasma of Axe body spray and across the pitched battle lines of sex is under the microscope, ripe for objectification, whispering, and under-informed judgement. There is an imperceptible itch that is scratched every time a new candidate emerges from the limo, or truck, or RV, or classic car, or enormous gift box and I love every moment of it.

Katie Thurston: Seattle’s prodigal daughter; Washington State’s most confusingly cute yet sexy product since Meredith Grey; oh, and did I mention, as if the copious Space Needle B-roll wasn’t euphemistic enough, she’s sex positive? A quick Google Trends search quickly illustrates that I wasn’t the only person who had no idea what sex positivity was before last night (see below), and I’m glad I know now, because boy we haven’t been beaten over the head with positivity like this since Magic Johnson! Katie’s intro covered all the greatest hits: 5 different elementary schools, struggled making friends etc. but now she’s firing on all cylinders and is ready for the love that she deserves.

Huge data guy

The male intros all kind of blended into one but there were some notable highlights: one of the guys lives in a mansion, one of the guys can dunk, one of the guys said “in” instead of “en” route, Connor B played the ukulele naked in the bath showing off hairier legs than Sasquatch, one of them is a football player in Austria, one of them is a virgin (I sense some sex negativity), one of them is an artist whose self-proclaimed “hands know what they’re doing” and Tre knows 40 digits of pi and reads Latin.

Thanks for this Connor

This season was always going to be different without puppet master Chris pulling at the participants’ heart strings, but the show has gone from independent arbiter who facilitates the drama by giving half-baked advice like “follow your heart,” to a self-professed “girl gang” who is there to hold Katie’s hand through the process. While waiting for the men to arrive, they really played up Katie’s damsel in distress vibes as she wallowed in her self-pity about having no counsel through this tough process. Meanwhile, Tayshia and Kaitlyn were sneaking up behind her with about as much stealth as Clifford the Big Red Dog.

I hate nothing more than describing the play-by-play of the different men coming out of the limo – the one major takeaway I have from the entire experience is that Katie was really living up to her family name and relentlessly Thirstin’ over these men! Katie has never had qualms about displaying her sexuality – lest we forget the baby arm of a vibrator that she showed up with on Matt’s season – but the extent to which she, and her would-be men leaned into it was unlike any Bachelor opening I’ve seen. The awkward arms-length hand hold is about as sure a thing on night one as the sun rising in the east, but the men greeting Katie with lines straight out of an E.L. James novel was a little jarring. “Stroke and stroke and stroke it out,” “I don’t know if there’s a genie in here, but I’m hoping we can rub one out together,” and Cody, after a protracted introduction about his late-night pandemic partner, whipping out a sex doll called Sandy, were just some of the advances on Katie. By far the best introduction was Connor B, who hid his Sasquatch legs underneath a full cat suit looking to play to Katie’s feline fondness. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a huge cat guy (subscribe to my other blog www.preciouspussies.com if interested in additional cat content) so this is obviously a major tick in the pros column for Katie. She fell for the costume almost as hard as the people reading this who clicked on my fictitious cat blog!

The first cocktail party is always a huge shit show. Katie, despite claiming to Kaitlyn and Tayshia that she MAY kiss one person on the first night wasted very little time in sucking face with what seemed like half of the cast. Greg’s performance was a highlight, and his gift of a pasta necklace made by his three-year-old niece carried him all the way to the first impression rose. He was so nervous in the cutest way and yes, I now feel quite bad for eviscerating him in my preview and referring to him as the model for the human version of Shrek. Other notables were James, who emerged from an enormous gift-wrapped box, hair immaculate and not displaying any of the characteristics one might expect from someone who was playing a stowaway refugee trying to cross a much-scrutinized border. Connor B, the cat math teacher, sucking face with Katie was really vindicating for all of the costume lovers out there who are still salty that the sloth from Colton’s season was sent home night one. Cats really are the key to her heart huh?

One final observation: Hunter looks like Taylor Lautner if Taylor Lautner was a software strategist.

It’s always worth sticking around during the first episode to get the sneak preview of what is to come. Any phrase that is remotely controversial said over the course of the season is taken wildly out of context and cut together with such blissful toxicity you’d have thought Satan himself were producing the season. This season, Blake Moyne’s return is among the devilish deeds we have in store, and boy, I cannot wait.

Until next week wonderful people 🙂

Bachelorette Season Preview – Katie Thurston

Well well well… it’s summer time, and the living is easy. Much has changed since you were last subjected to my meandering musings and unabashed overreliance on Harry Potter references to drive home mediocre Bachelor analysis! In the United States at least, everyone you would want to interact with has received a vaccine, and the CDC has declared we are now free to have the air conditioning units of Manhattan’s high rises rain putrid water down into our unmasked mouths once more! In all seriousness, I sincerely hope that everyone is doing well and that your 2021 has been markedly better than your 2020. Matt’s season of the Bachelor was anything but the antidote we needed after a long winter, and I am incredibly glad that I’ll be able to replace images of his new-fangled beard with new characters in the portion of my brain exclusively dedicated to Bachelor Nation. Unlike many of you reading this, I have always liked Katie and am really looking forward to gradually liking her less and less as the season progresses!

As is tradition, I have done absolutely zero research outside of what I see in these poor guys’ mug shots and read in their bios. Here are some of the eligible bachelors vying for Katie’s heart and my drastically uninformed assessments on their aesthetics and characters:

“That’ll do Donkey”

We need to talk about Greg’s hair… Greg has the haircut Harry Potter would have had if he had an ounce of marketing nous and wanted to cash in on “the boy who lived” bit by prominently displaying his scar between curtains of luscious hair (told you I was over reliant). Unfortunately, the only thing I think Greg was “the chosen one” for, is the male model they used to mock up Shrek’s human character… Don’t see this guy and Katie finding their happily ever after and it’ll be back to the swamp for Greg.

I know his relationship with Clare has been rocky, but really Dale? Moving to Reno to become a dancer, growing out the hair, slapping on a couple of chains and trying your luck again with Katie? Look for Marty to try and McFly up the power rankings early on and run off with Katie before she gets the chance to meet any of the other men. I haven’t seen Back to the Future so not going to belabour this point, but if this is a young Dale in time-travelling form trying to resurrect his parents’ relationship or something then don’t be surprised.

FIRED UP, READY TO GO

Al Pacino, Any Given Sunday; Herb Brooks, Miracle; William Wallace, Braveheart; Leonidas, 300; Karl, Bachelorette. One of these things is not like the other and yes, it’s Karl alongside some of the most celebrated motivational orators in the history of screenplay. What is he? A motivational speaker for ants? While it’s never prudent to judge a book by its cover, that is exactly what I am going to do, and on the surface, this guy looks like he couldn’t motivate a pack of starving lions to take down a post-dinner Augustus Gloop.

Connor is an 8th grade math teacher, and while 32 dudes and 1 lady isn’t exactly the golden ratio, Connor B will be hoping that none of the other men can FOIL his plan to become Katie’s significant figure! Connor’s one major deal-breaker is women who don’t respect waiters; serial killers, career criminals, and people with snakes for pets are all good, but if mental math guy catches you only tipping 10%, he’s out the door faster than you can say “but when am I ever going to use the Pythagorean Theorem in the real world?”  

The Toronto Fire Department is notorious for having one of the worst selling firefighter calendars in Canada… Fire Chief Matthew Pegg went on the record saying that if they were outsold by the Saskatoon Saskatchewan Fire Department another year that he would have no choice but to resign his post… Enter Brendan… Who knows if they’re training this guy to do anything except oil up his body and slide down the fire pole a couple of times a day; what I do know is that Brendan excelled in hose control and fireman’s carry. He’ll be hoping he can use these skills and stick around long enough to rescue this Katie cat from her tree!

Andrew ‘s bio boasts a whole host of hobbies that include coaching youth water polo, woodworking, and sampling men’s fragrances from magazines. Oh yeah, and when he’s not frenetically sniffing himself he’s busy locking up Ryan Atwood and his buddies as the gallivant around the OC. Andrew will be hoping his oral arguments are sufficiently strong to show Katie his subpoenis power in the Fantasy Suites!

Christian “sees the romance in everything and his parents have been married since their early twenties so he dreams of finding a long-lasting love like theirs.” Don’t get me wrong I’m no relationship expert here, but I don’t think posting Instagram captions like “Mom said mix in a water, so I went to the pool bar,” and “sweatin’ like Mayweather in a spelling bee” are particularly conducive to locking down eligible bachelorettes for the long haul. Christian used to rock a fauxhawk but that’s not the only thing faux about this guy. Got the inside scoop from a reliable source (damn right I’m connected in the Bachelor world) and apparently Christian mysteriously broke up with his ex-girlfriend 5 months ago before dropping off the grid. I don’t see Christian lasting long in this one so expect a conciliatory call soon honey!  

Brandon seems like the most interesting member of this season’s upcoming cast. He is fluent in Japanese and Spanish (and presumably English), is learning Korean, likes to attend the occasional rave and has a penchant for meaningful conversation and delicious cocktails. This guy seems like the Dos Equis most interesting man in the world, not an auto parts manager from Queens! This guy’s smile is kinda creepy, but I think he goes pretty far this season.

Fuck you Gabriel

I’m going to absolutely hate this guy. Everything I thought about him was immediately confirmed when his bio started with “Gabriel loves the expression “Renaissance man.” Sean Connery is his favorite James Bond because of course it is, and he doesn’t understand the concept of athleisure because people should respect the elegant styles of the past? I’m looking forward to Gabriel strutting out night 1 adorned like Henry VIII (and now me this upcoming Halloween).

Cody’s bio describes him as “a handsome surfer with a six pack” – must be a pretty Suite life bro! Without Zack in the picture, Cody really blazed his own trail and is now a zipper sales manager…  A relentless supporter of big zipper, Cody said the worst day of his life was when Gap started providing the button-down option in their jeans! Every time I hear the name Cody, all I can think about is Agent Cody Banks relentlessly striking out with Hilary Duff, and for that reason, I cannot take him seriously at all. Would be shocked if this guy made it past night one.

The startling irony of this guy being a surgical skin salesman and looking EXACTLY like a brown-haired Harvey Dent on a weekend jaunt with the boys down to Nashville was certainly not lost on me. I’m expecting some reckless shit from Jeff this season, like flipping coins to determine every decision he makes. I’m glad to finally have a purveyor of surgical skin in my life; the next time I fall of a Revel scooter barrelling home late night I know exactly which local surgical skin salesman I’ll be PATH training to!

I’m fired up for the season, I hope you all are as well! Happy watching, subscribe below for the episode recap in your inbox later this week!

Fantasy Suites Recap – Matt James

I don’t really like to ever consider the possibility that my Bachelor-watching days could come to an end; but if by some divinely ordained twist of fate (children/Bourne-style amnesia/Monday night softball league/Amish conversion) I do ever stop watching, you can be damn well sure that I will still tune in for Fantasy Suites just to see the looks on the girls’ faces when the first Fantasy Suite participant comes back for the post-coital common room debrief. Take those faces, frame them, and hang them in the goddamn Louvre. Three remaining ladies, three Fantasy Suites, and three chances for Matt to slither and slide his way out of telling these poor women that he’s in love with them. Let’s jump in.  

This is most everyone’s favorite part of the season. It’s the episode where the women get to say the quiet part out loud over and over again, the most popular refrain going something like “I am in love with Matt, and he’s with another woman right now.” Who knows what exactly goes on at Guantanamo Bay, but if we ever were to capture a young, beautiful, aspiring influencer who also happened to be plotting a terror attack against the United States, then concocting a fake reality television scenario where she falls in love with a guy who is sleeping with several other women and then has to have intimate contact with those women, then I have no doubt she’d be spilling her secrets faster than Morgan Wallen’s PR team gets an apology video up on Instagram after *insert unacceptable but nonetheless disappointing-because-his-new-album-is-so-fire transgression here.*

Every season there is one scene that has good intentions, but is genuinely uncomfortable to watch. Matt’s reckoning with his dad was this scene. I don’t really understand what the premise of their conversation was, as Matt seemed intent on hammering home the point that he was not like his dad, something that his dad didn’t react particularly well to. It started out cordial enough until Matt’s dad started pinning his paternal paucity on the fact that his dad had been killed when he was 5. Hmmm. The next sequence concerned his dad’s infidelity. “I came home one day and she was gone” seemed like a fair response to Matt’s question of why did you abandon us, however Matt’s next lines “who is going to stay with a man who isn’t going to be faithful to them?” and “would you want your daughter to be with someone who would disrespect her like that?” was when the uncomfortability really started ratcheting up. I’m not going to dwell on the double standard between Matt castigating his dad for being unfaithful when he’s about to sleep with three different girls on three consecutive nights, all of whom he has been diabolically leading on for weeks with mild displays of affection, is notable nonetheless.  

The best line of the exchange was “this isn’t a celebration, this is a journey for me,” followed by “if we were celebrating we’d be at ChuckE Cheese right now.” The fact that Matt classifies ChuckE Cheese as a celebration is the most relatable thing he has said all season… someone should probably tell him that Dave and Buster’s is likely a better option if he wants to avoid awkward interactions with Kit however. For two guys who were really at each other’s throats a moment before, Matt and his dad really reconciled things quickly and it was a paradigm shift from “you cheated on my mother you scumbag” to “I love you dad no hard feelings.” It was the most dramatic reconciliation event since Chaz Michael Michaels and Jimmy MacElroy put aside their differences to pull of the Iron Lotus at the 2002 Winter Olympics.   

Onto the actual dates…

Michelle calling Fantasy Suites “overnights” is quite cute – leave it to the grade school teacher to PG-13 the fuck out of this raw, overtly-sexual event – and it was Michelle who received the first date card, reading “it’s time to get even closer – Matt.” Michelle was treated to a Pennsylvania Dutch spa experience, whatever that is. From the looks of things, it involves taking the products of a cow, and smearing them all over yourself after an introductory oatmeal pedicure. It’s interesting, Matt and Michelle don’t really have electric on screen chemistry or super stimulating back and forth convos a whole lot, but I get the sense that beyond the camera, Michelle is actually a lot of fun to be around and has a much more outgoing and bubbly personality than Rachel or Bri. Their principal topic of conversation was not about being in love, but “staying in love,” a concept that unsurprisingly Matt “liked a lot.” They enjoyed dinner in the shadow of a painting depicting three enormous red roses, before Matt instigated their trip to the Fantasy Suite with the painfully cringeworthly line: “let’s get out of here.” You’re a week away from potentially getting engaged to this woman and you’re soliciting her like it’s last call at the local watering hole. It’s no surprise that the college bar crusader responded to Michelle’s “I love you Matt” by leaning right in for the kiss and hitting her with the “thank you for telling me that.”

On to Bri’s date. There was definitely a second where Bri thought that their Fantasy Suite was actually going to be in the woods and her unhappiness at this possibility was compounded when Matt started calling her Dora the Explorer. While she certainly shares Dora’s diminutive stature, Bri lacks Dora’s tenacity as well as her readiness for compromising situations. That compromising situation was her pouring her heart out to Matt and receiving absolutely nothing in return. In a similar vein to his “thank you for telling me that’s,” Matt responds to a lot of the questions he fields with an instinctive “that’s a great question…” once again, this is love Matt, not desperately trying to buy some time in an interview because you didn’t prepare an answer for “where do you see yourself in five years?” The two then went to dinner and Bri laid it all on the line. “Bri told me that she was in love with me, and it’s a great feeling.” Once a fucking gain, this is supposedly life-lasting love Matt, not getting a surprise B dash on a test you thought you bombed! I wonder which focus group it was where they found out that Tayshia’s season didn’t have enough professions of love, because these women really got the message and were tossing out I love yous left and right. Bri and Matt went to the Fantasy Suite… shocker.

Rachael was absolutely freaking out when both ladies returned from their dates. Yes, it’s an uncomfortable situation, but you know exactly what’s coming so it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. The two went on a pottery sculpting date, and while Matt was busy digging his fingers into the clay, Rachael looked like she was going to cry the entire time. They had a long conversation where Rachael made it clear that she “didn’t want to wait around for the heartbreak,” and Matt got the message, responding to her affection by saying that he was falling in love with her. The rest of their day was pretty unspectacular to be honest, with the only notable thing happening in the Fantasy Suite being the fireworks that she was afforded… talk about white privilege!

Michelle and Rachael got the roses and progress to the finale on Monday!

Bachelor Hometowns Recap – Matt James

Apologies for the tardiness of this blog – If I told you that I was trying to re-enact some of Matt James’s most advanced floor workout routines and, after a particularly aggressive upward swing of the knee during a mountain-climber, managed to knock my front two teeth out and concuss myself, then you might not believe me, but it would still be a more convincing lie than Kit saying that she wants the best for Matt and doesn’t just want to go on Spring Break with her friends! Suffice it to say, my teeth are fine, my head is no more or less reminiscent of scrambled eggs than it was before, and the truth is that I just haven’t gotten around to this week’s blog through the devilish combination of work and sloth. It’s hometowns week, otherwise known as “oh-shit-my-parents-don’t-know-Matt’s-black week if your name is Rachael, and once again, the poor families of these beleaguered ladies had to travel to see their kids sweating it out to get engaged with the first robotic Bachelor. Let’s jump in…

The episode started out with an entirely predictable but enduringly annoying Matt James workout compilation. I’m not sure what his angle is here, but if he’s catering to the Men’s-Health-reading, protein-shake-drinking, tank-top-wearing, hunky eyeballs of Monday night television, then he’s barking up the wrong tree; they’re all watching Below Deck on Bravo. Matt chatted about what hometowns meant to him, and how important his family was in his life before Michelle was first up to the plate to give Matt a taste of her Minnesota hometown of Edina.

Every time I hear the word “Edina” on television, I immediately brace myself for the next words to be “in Rust Belt America” and am resigned to watching some uppity young journalist interviewing an old dude in a Hillary for Prison T-shirt about how the illegals stole all the high paying jobs at the coke factory… Edina is not only the location for every middle American profile in white economic anxiety, but is also a wealthy Minneapolis suburb whose residents, I am reliably informed, are referred to as “cake-eaters.” Michelle was certainly looking to have her cake and eat it too, and kicked off their date with a nice bike ride through the fall colors of the Nemacolin resort. They followed this with a trip to a pseudo-classroom where Matt was treated to a whole host of uncomfortable questions from Michelle’s students about kissing and babies and marriage. One response in particular to the question “What has Miss Young taught you?” spiked my attention when Matt responded that she had taught him open-mindedness… Oh yeah? She taught you to be open-minded? It wasn’t the process that dictates you have to simultaneously date 32 girls and give up on pursuing the ones you like at the expense of those who are loud and obnoxious that might have tickled that tolerance muscle?

Everyone knows how incredible it is to have a substitute teacher for even a day so it’s no wonder the kids were vying for Matt to get down on one knee for Miss Young and prolong their educational vacation for as long as possible! They probably never thought that she’d make it this far, and now that Battle of the Bands is only a few weeks away, they don’t want Michelle to get booted at this stage and waste all of their hard work! All Ned Schneebly substitute teacher jokes aside, if I was a Karen in cake-eating country, I probably wouldn’t be too thrilled that little Jimmy’s teacher had just peaced out half way through the school year to become an overnight celebrity on one of America’s most popular dating shows?

Michelle is REALLY into Matt, citing the primary reason as: “He wants to make a difference; he’s creating these hydroponic gardens for inner city kids so they can know how to grow food.” Michelle’s dad Ephraim is a little more realistic, reminding her that “If he doesn’t pick you it’s going to be a big let-down;” thanks captain obvious!

Rachael’s three most important attributes in a relationship are “communication, truth and honesty.” If we are to take our good friend Bill Shakespeare’s wisdom from the end of All’s Well That Ends Well that “there is no legacy so rich as honesty,” then Rachael’s legacy is more indebted than $450 GME buyers! The context of Rachael’s checkered past makes it kind of surreal watching her interact with Matt and opine about their deep love for one another, but hey, she’s made it this far so let’s see what happens? Her hometown date involved blindfolding Matt, taking him on a ride to an undisclosed location, and revealing that they would be jumping out of a plane. The similarities to Birdbox were startling: the blindfold, and when you remove it, the penalty is pretty close to suicide!

Over the last 12 months, there have been many attempts to promote the concept of anti-racism in our society. Usually the methods of education, reconciliation and empathetic walking in others’ shoes are the starting points, but pushing someone out of a plane with a faulty parachute I guess is the latest maneuver? I can’t say I was super surprised that Rachel botched the landing given that her 12-year-old instructor was probably having pre-pubescent daydreams about Yu-Gio cards and his friends’ older sisters, but it was still pretty jarring watching Rachael eat the turf upon landing. Matt responded by taking a leisurely jog over to Rachael (we’ve seen him run faster when he saw the Peloton bike was unoccupied across the gym) and described the crash as “gnarly.” This was a near death experience Matt, not a skateboarding trick or an above average wave caught! Rachael “can’t imagine living life without Matt…” Right.  

Going to need to see some license and registration sir

Rachael’s family were actually quite pleasant. Trinity in particular was unable to hide just how smitten she was when Matt walked in! As in most of these situations, the dad expressed skepticism, and Rachael was severely disappointed that Matt didn’t ask for his blessing.  

Bri has been a real sleeper this season. It’s tough going on the first 1-on-1 because your relationship development has to come in fits and spurts through group dates where additional time with Matt is contingent on the bowling skills of your teammates and other such ridiculous KPIs. Their date was unspectacular, mirroring their initial date with some off-roading antics and then heading straight into the meet-and-greet with Bri’s “non-traditional” family. Matt came on strong with Bri’s understandably skeptical mother by explaining that “the conversations and the level that we’re at is different from the other girls here.” This makes perfect sense in relation to Victoria or the other ladies who were sent home without getting to talk with Matt, but can the same really be said for his relationships? Matt debriefing Bri about his chat with her mother was pretty hilarious. “It went well, I just answered every question as well as I could” – this is love here Matt, not the fucking AP World History test, get it together man!  

Serena absolutely loves Canada, which makes here like every other Canadian eh? On her date, she attempted to “bring Canada” to the Nemacolin resort; and not to be mean, but if what she produced is what Canada is like, it was eerily reminiscent of a Saskatoon truck stop Golden Corral during the World Junior Hockey Championships. There was Canadian flag bunting literally everywhere (so authentic eh?) and Matt was subjected to the most low-budget Canadian food buffet I’ve ever seen. The poutine in particular looks like it was made the Monday prior. If she was looking to go full Canadian, she would’ve had Nickelback riding in on mooseback, juggling Timbits and slugging Crown Royal… a missed opportunity at best.

Unsurprisingly, Serena’s family were SOOOOO NICEEEEEE. Her sister had Trinity syndrome and also seemed to be enchanted by Matt, however her assessment of Serena was that she wasn’t smitten enough with him… Serena’s dad looks like he grinded it out in the hockey minor leagues for 22 years and now beats the wheels off of other dad’s during Tuesday night men’s league games. Serena is clearly severely impacted by a previous relationship and her family’s constant reminders of her prior heartbreak were clearly weighing on her. Quick aside, but asking a Canadian to say a sentence with “Doubts,” “figure out,” and “about” is the kind of cruelty that I haven’t seen from the Bachelor producers since they told Hannah Ann that the bottle of champagne sitting on the mantelpiece was up for grabs! Serena’s mother seems like a lovely lady, but her assessment that Matt is “intellectually stimulating” is languishing in the cold take basement with the Jamarcus-Russell-could-play-in-today’s-NFL crew.

Matt’s feelings for Serena were not reciprocated and when Matt went to get his girl, this sentiment was only confirmed. It’s definitely a window into his feelings that Matt wanted two dates with Serena (at the expense of one with Abigail) but Serena shut him down with the “when it came to expressing my feelings about you, I really struggled” and “I don’t think that you’re my person.” This was clearly the first time that Matt had ever really been rejected in his life because the only words he was able to muster up were “that stinks.” Ladies and gentlemen, the pinnacle of intellectual stimulation!

The rose ceremony was one of the least suspenseful in Bachelor history. All I’ll say is that whoever Matt ends up with is NOT going to like watching the tape of his interactions with Serena! In the indelible words of Katy Perry: In another life, Matt would make her stay, so he wouldn’t have to say that she was the one that got away!