Bachelorette Fantasy Suites Recap

Fantasy Suites never fail to disappoint. In a season that has been foraging the depths of the Marianas Trench trying to conjure up some decent storylines, the Fantasy Suites episode once again illustrated that yes, sex sells, but not as much as making people who are having sex with the same person sit around and publicly acknowledge that fact. During Fantasy Suites week, the proverbial elephant in the room isn’t just chilling in the corner hoping that none of the remaining men notice it… this elephant has its presence validated by decades of Fantasy Suite sexual conquest, and might as well be stomping all over the dignity of those in his room, giving stirring renditions of Marvin Gaye’s greatest hits as a constant reminder that monogamy is out of the office.

The episode started with a little therapy session from JoJo. I have no idea what she is still doing there since Chris has been back for a while, but for someone who is supposed to be the poster child for finding love on The Bachelorette, she sure seems pretty keen to be away from her husband for as long as possible. Maybe a reality television engagement starts to unravel when you’re forced to actually quarantine with that person as opposed to just snuggling on Good Morning America, or doing couples Cameos? Instead of alleviating any of Tayshia’s anxieties, JoJo actually seemed to make her situation worse by pretending that Fantasy Suites are anything more than the physical manifestation of to this point largely Platonic relationships… JoJo was talking about “jobs, relocating, family, and kids” – come on girl, that’s not what this is about!

Ivan had the first Fantasy Suite date, something that Brendan and Zac did not seem too pleased about. This fear was founded, as Ivan very quickly illustrated that he very much puts the nauti in aeronautical engineer! Their date began with an attempt at The World’s Longest Coldest Kiss. Yes, they had to kiss for like 6 minutes in an ice bath. I’m not sure what was more pathetic, the actual challenge itself, or the fact that Ivan viewed the accomplishment as some kind of heady relationship mandate. “If Tayshia and I set our minds to do something, we can really accomplish anything” is equivalent to saying that because you made your bed in the morning, you’re subsequently qualified to perform open heart surgery or something.  

Another thing… Was this a Guinness Book of World Records record? I’ve seen some of the shit in there and by comparison, Tayshia and Ivan’s feat would have barely cracked the Keystone Ice Book of World Records. Not to continue to dunk on their coldest longest kiss hijinks, but the official longest kiss ever was clocked in at over 32 hours and some Austrian geezer spent over 2 and a half hours in a custom-made glass box filled with ice cubes up to his shoulders. By this logic of just combining record conditions to create new ones, I am now the world record holder for eating 4 bags of sour cream and onion Ruffles whilst wearing a Mason Ramsey concert tee at my house on August 14th, 2020 – give me my fucking trophy; ain’t nobody beating that one!

Are we just not going to acknowledge that Ivan’s Fantasy Suite was the Derek Shepherd “my-wife-cheated-on-me-so-I’m-moving-to-Seattle-and-living-a-Spartan-life-where-I-can-drink-beers-on-the-porch-and-sleep-with-my-subordinates” airstream trailer from Grey’s Anatomy? By the looks of things, surgical examination and anatomical exploration were high on the list of agenda items. Hey Ivan, congrats on the sex.

Zac’s date began with an awkward you-slept-with-another-man-last-night hug, however any hard feelings quickly evaporated when Zackson Pollock started flicking paint all over the place and rolling around with Tayshia on the canvas on their painting date. I always thought the phrase was “you made your bed now lay in it,” it turns out the same applies to “you painted your bed,” as the two wasted little time sprawling all over their newly painted billet. “He’s just like the biggest dork and we just laugh” and “Apart from that, Zac is extremely attractive and tall” are not generally the prerequisite requirements for those about to be engaged, but hey, this show is weird.

Zac is the king of tell her what she wants to hear – to go from wanting zero kids to all of a sudden being content with Tayshia’s preference of five seems like quite the shift. Whether this was just a ploy to access the Fantasy Suite or a genuine about turn, whatever child-related ruse that Zac pulled, it clearly worked, as the two exchanged “I love yous” followed up with “I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way befores.” Again, saying “I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way before” isn’t necessarily a good thing (to go back to my Ruffles world record, I hadn’t felt that way before, nor do I want to again) but they do have undoubted chemistry, and it wasn’t long before Zackson was Pollocking the door to their room. Hey Zac, congrats on the sex.

Quick aside, Chris Harrison has excellent handwriting on these Fantasy Suite notes; probably for the best; I’m pretty sure that some contestants (looking at you Ed) can’t read cursive.

Onto Brendan’s date. Of course, they send the only guy who has (understandably) major pause about proposing after like three weeks to hang out with Neil Lane and start trying on wedding rings. Brendan was not having a good time on the date at all. He was sweating bullets, and it wasn’t just the 110-degree Palm Springs heat this time but the clear weight and intensity of this wedding ring situation that was opening his pores for business. It’s all fun and games watching fireworks and making out on unnaturally positioned outdoor couches, but when Neil Lane is toasting and boasting about the friends he’s made at Bachelorette reunions, it really starts to hit home.

Tayshia and Brendan had dinner in a knockoff version of the Na’vi Tree of Souls and fortunately for both of their sake’s, the cornucopia of hanging orbs shed some much-needed light on their relationship. The Bachelorette is like Fight Club, and over dinner, Brendan broke the only freaking rule – “don’t talk about The Bachelorette.” As soon as you acknowledge the fact that you have to meet, compete for, and then propose to someone over the course of only a couple of weeks, you have displayed a level of rationality and clear-headedness that makes you fundamentally incompatible with pretty much every core tenet of the show. While Brendan could theoretically install a commercial roof over her head, Brendan and Tayshia won’t be building a home together. The fact that Brendan didn’t even stick it out for a night with Tayshia in the Fantasy Suite really illustrates his maturity/his careful cultivation of the kind of tortured soul that would be PERFECT as the next Bachelor…

Ben is back and while I’m sure he has taken part in some covert operations before, hiding in the bushes at the La Quinta in the off chance that one of the men goes home and there’s a Fantasy Suite going spare? The joint chiefs of staff are probably knocking down his door right now trying to get him to resurrect his military career. I have no idea what’s going to happen tonight, but for pretty much the first time this season, I’m actually intrigued to find out!

Happy watching people!

Bachelorette Hometowns Recap

This season of The Bachelorette has been tough… Between Clare and Dale’s whirlwind engagement, Noah ruining Ed’s chances at the top prize by engaging in relentless Bennett-baiting, and the four remaining contestants being really lovely, stand-up individuals, we’ve been starved of the kind of inter-personal narratives and jaw-to-floor tea-tipping tantrums that have had Bachelor nation wallowing in equal parts shock and horror around office water coolers for decades.

People say you can’t put lipstick on a pig, but the Bachelorette producers managed pretty damn easily to not ruin my 2009 with shitty programming when Swine Flu was knocking around. In fact, the 2009 Bachelorette season was the first time that the number of contestants duking it out for the top prize was raised from 25 to 30, so it would seem that despite a global pandemic then, the proverbial swine of 2009 not only had lipstick, but was shot up with Hannah Ann’s lip fillers and decked out with a Kardashian contour job to boot!

All I’m saying here is that the producers have faced adversity before, they’ve dealt with global pandemics, and while this one is no doubt a touch different, they could’ve made an effort to elevate this season to make loyal fans like ourselves not feel like we’re reclining in Dante’s 7th circle of hell, eating half frozen pizza rolls and washing them down with room temperature O’Doul’s – that’s how I feel about this season, and the hometowns episode did nothing to assuage the inevitable disappointment that I have come to associate with Tuesday nights

Alas, the show must go on! The “silly little blog” (Victoria F if you’re reading this please answer my DMs) continues, making faltering forward progress with the speed and surety of a global warming glacier. Let’s jump into hometowns

Brendan was first to have his poor family subjected to a knock-off version of their hometown recreated in the La Quinta Spa and Resort in Palm Springs. A Milford, MA native, we didn’t get to meet Brendan’s parents, which was a crying shame because I was dying to use the “Brendan’s mother put the MILF in Milford” quip regardless of how she looked. Oh well. Brendan’s date started with him awkwardly waving at Tayshia like one of those inflatable car dealership wavey men, and then his niece randomly showing up to a carnival setup that looked like it had been designed by the Child Catcher from Chiddy Chiddy Bang Bang to lure in children under the false pretense of being a good time…

The niece and Brendan did have a pretty sweet handshake (eerily reminiscent of the “slap it, shoot it, kaboot it” handshake pioneered by Dewey Finn and Laurence “Mr Cool” the piano player in the cafeteria at Horace Green Prep) but color me weird, wasn’t it a little strange that Brendan’s niece was just on their hometown date in the first place? I could understand a daughter, and maybe the niece if it was actually a hometown visit, but flying this girl out to the La Quinta and making her hobby-horse race Tayshia seems like a lot. I guess the boundaries of uncomfortable Bachelor franchise family exposure were made indelibly blurry after Madison attended Peter’s parents’ vow renewal ceremony on their first date, but still. The meeting of the brother and sister-in-law was pretty unspectacular in all honesty, as was Brendan’s post-meet-and-greet interactions with Tayshia – onto the next one!

Zac is from New York, and so obviously his pseudo-hometown date involved dead-lifting a cardboard cutout yellow taxi and walking it around to various knock-off NYC eateries. The first stop was a coffee and bagel experience with food that I would have been disappointed to see at my local Dollar General. Zac was acting all weird that Tayshia put a blueberry on her bagel, but don’t let it distract you from the fact that gummy bears and sour worms were also options – real authentic! Pizza was the next stop, followed by a casual dip in one of the resort’s choleric fountains. Literally the romantic options have been so desperately depleted that Zac is baptizing himself in search of some spiritual relief from the monotony!

I’m not sure if Zac’s family was fully aware that their trip to Palm Springs was a part meet-Tayshia part Bikram yoga retreat, but whatever their pre-existing expectations, the temperature settings in their hotel rooms rendered it the most uncomfortably sweaty situation since I attempted to go viral by recreating the Call On Me music video in my basement. Zac’s dad is a real cutie, but I think both parents need to stop conflating their son smiling with him being in the most advantageous personal situation. Cookies and cream ice cream makes me smile, but it doesn’t mean that I’m willing to stake the rest of my life on its constant consumption. Everyone wants their child to be happy, I’m just not convinced that a smile and a laugh are enough for them to be sold to the extent that they are!

Ivan’s date was by far the most mushy and genuine of the four. They made Filipino food with some instructions from Ivan’s niece (what’s the weird obsession with nieces this episode?!) and just hung out in the kitchen like two normal people cooking dinner. Unlike Zac and family, Ivan put his aeronautical engineering degree to good use and managed to figure out the air conditioning on his date which was a welcome relief! I was uncomfortable just watching Ivan’s 73-year-old dad with pulmonary fibrosis, a walking, talking COVID comorbidity, on the screen, but he asked some excellent and elder-statesmanlike questions. The big reveal was Ivan’s brother Gabriel coming to surprise him. Now I’m no expert on crime and tattoos, but I have seen enough episodes of Ross Kemp on Gangs to know that two tears tatted on his face means that Gabriel ain’t no Angel! It was nice to see that the worst part about prison, the Dementors, didn’t adversely impact him too much and he corroborated just how much of a sweetheart Ivan is in his conversation with Tayshia.   

Ben kicked off his date by saying “I was raised in Indiana but home is wherever you feel most yourself, so we’re going to Venice Beach.” Doesn’t this entirely defeat the point of hometowns? I have a sneaking suspicion that if I were to use this rationale in his position I might just feel most myself in Mykonos or the French Riviera, but Ben transported us to Venice Beach for another very milquetoast date.  

Ben’s attending family members were his sister and then celebrity chef Antonia Lofaso, who, despite my having watched upwards of 500 hours of Guy’s Grocery Games, I didn’t immediately recognize largely because I thought she was the lady at Town Line Liquors in Natick who hasn’t taken her Bruins sweatshirt off since 2001 and was majorly excited. Anyways, Antonia must have brewed up a pretty potent love potion because she finally got Ben to admit that he was in love with Tayshia. Unfortunately, “In true Ben fashion” he was unable to spit the words out to Tayshia’s face and ultimately paid the price for his indecision by getting sent home…

None of the men have told Tayshia they love her yet – another sign that THESE MEN ARE REALLY FUCKING NORMAL AND THIS SHOW IS NOT. Regardless, things are finely poised from a competition perspective insofar as I have no idea who is going to win. Fantasy suites are right around the corner – talk to you next week!

Men Tell All Recap

It’s the holiday season; the season of giving; and to get in the spirit, Chris Harrison decided to don his programming Santa suit and shoot a couple of episodes of the Bachelorette down the chimney for us to enjoy this week. Evidently, Father Chris must have failed to notice the roaring flames at the base of the chimney, because the supposed “gifts” that were served up on ABC the past two nights, emerged from the proverbial fireplace a smoldering, sorry excuse for Bachelor programming, and were two of the most vapid, mind-numbingly boring episodes I have seen in a long time. Now I love the Bachelor, and writing about it brings me a great deal of pleasure, and I’m sure that Chris is just making us grind through a couple of episodes so we don’t take his mercurial plot mechanisms for granted, but boy were these two episodes a struggle! I hope I haven’t put you off reading; I can only hope my writing has not contracted the same editorial illness; guess you’ll just have to find out…

The men tell all was preceded by Blake Moyne’s one-on-one date and a rose ceremony to determine which men’s families Tayshia would be meeting at hometowns. The episode also marked the return of Chris Harrison, who, if he had thought had left the childish antics with his son at college, was sorely mistaken. The keg stands, dancefloor make outs and cold pizza and Pedialyte breakfasts that his son is now frivolously engaged in were nothing compared to the irresponsibility of Tayshia subjecting Bachelor nation to a date with Blake. The two went for a very uncomfortable Chakra reading date with a lady who can only be described as an unfortunate combination of Pippy Longstocking and the cartoon witch who gave Snow White her poisoned apple. Under her watchful gaze, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Blake and Tayshia couldn’t generate any kind of meaningful connection despite their sitting in one another’s laps, and ultimately, Blake got sent home, joining Ed in the bucket of “men who have large traps, dark hair, and who never really had a shot.” Tayshia cried a surprising amount sending Blake home, a sign of emotional instability that does not bode well for her future reactions to sending men home with which she has actually had a conversation! Justifying her tears, she said “it doesn’t feel good to send anyone home” – maybe she should have picked a different show.

Tayshia’s unceremonious ejection of Blake clearly put her in a murderous mood, because she followed up her date by immediately, and rather surprisingly sending Riley packing. Tayshia turned from lover into life coach telling Riley “I need you to continue to be vulnerable” much to his incredulity. “I can argue all day, but it doesn’t matter, because the end result is always going to be the same” – Riley is correct, although I hope he wasn’t lining up a post-show position on Trump’s election legal team… that kind of realistic and logical legal speak might make Rudy’s dye-spattered head explode.

For brevity’s sake, I won’t dwell for too long on the rose ceremony. Bennett and Noah clearly have the same prophecy as Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort because their symbiotic dramatic relationship meant that “neither could live while the other survived.” I will admit it was a surprise to see her take Bennett back only to dump him moments later, but the four men who made it to hometowns were Zac, Brendan, Ivan and Ben. In the interim, it was the men tell all.

As is tradition, Chris framed the men tell as “like nothing you’ve ever seen before” – this was true, but not because of unprecedented drama or strange plot twists… the novelty was that the men were six feet apart and that was it. Here were some highlights

  • A rather slimmed down and grape-like looking Ed took a few jabs at a non-present Chasen – Ed is my favorite cast-member this season by a country mile, I pray to god he gets a look in for Paradise
  • Noah and Bennett traded barbs like clockwork – this yielded the best moment of the night, when Kenny, fully clad in a camo suit, was referred to by Noah as “the One Direction party-boy manager.” Quite how he thinks this is an insult I will never know, but Kenny, stay stealthy in the camo, That’s What Makes You Beautiful.
  • Spencer wasn’t even there – what a pathetic performance from the first impression rose recipient
  • Blake was waxing lyrical about how glad he was that Tayshia showed up at the Men Tell All… as if she has a choice… – Kenny’s ears definitely pricked up at the words “Glad You Came” – unfortunately for both Blake and Kenny, Tayshia made it abundantly clear that they were not The Wanted ones!
  • Riley was invited for a hug and a conciliatory conversation on the couch with Tayshia – while this was a nice gesture, you could see Tayshia’s clear uncomfortability without the back pocket makeout card to avoid difficult conversations!
  • Chris gave Yosef the opportunity to not come off as the world’s biggest dick… Yosef categorically declined, doubling down on calling Clare old and classless. It was lucky Yosef was quarantined by himself in the chauvinist’s corner, because Ed and Jason looked like they were ready to stick some of Yosef’s medical devices where the sun don’t shine.

Bachelorette Week 9 Recap

Hello wonderful people!

Quick apology to those of you who were expecting a blog post last week, unfortunately I had all four wisdom teeth out on Tuesday, and all the “oh you lost all your wisdom” jokes aside, while I may have felt a little bit like Post Malone, it turns out watching Tayshia and Zac on Codeine isn’t the most conducive to writing effusively about trashy television! The teeth are gratefully doing a little better, and what better way to celebrate the avoidance of dry sockets than sinking my remaining teeth into what was a rip-roaring episode last night!

Last week’s episode was uneventful on the whole. Ben stripped naked during an arts and crafts group date, Blake Moynelangelo thought a good way to commemorate his time with Tayshia in clay form was to sculpt a model penis, and Eazy was unceremoniously dumped after not displaying the requisite courage on a ghost hunting date. The episode did however bubble up to a nice crescendo with the long-awaited confrontation between Bennett and his troublesome son Noah.

Last night’s episode was anchored by this very same drama with Tayshia mediating the two boys as they traded rather personal, but not unfounded barbs. Her initial interjection was a horrified: “Is this the kind of boy drama that goes on between you two?” No Tayshia, usually its Bennett and the boys sitting uncomfortably around a cookie, perhaps rap battling or playing pin the Rolex to the plebeian’s wrist – academically-steeped psychological trait-shaming is usually relegated to weekends when the jet is in the shop. She followed this up by asking “what’s in the box?” and I must say, it really sucks that Deal or no Deal is an NBC franchise because there was some great potential for Howie Mandel to have overseen the box open and big reveal of Bennett’s Bloods bandana, some old socks and a psychology text book!

The little breakout sessions (wow, I never thought Zoom speak would make it into common parlance but here we are) gave Bennett his chance to hit Tayshia with some emotional intelligence speak. Bennet said “What is far more important to me than IQ is EQ” – Ed and his 800 SAT math score might have something to say about that. Bennett clearly read this book and has referenced the four pillars of emotional intelligence in every conversation he’s had from the depths of the lockers into which he was stuffed in middle school, to his Bagatelle brunch dates in NYC. He’s like the kid who read the first three chapters of Hillbilly Elegy and can’t wait to tell you about their deep and profound understanding of middle Appalachian anguish; or the guy who took a Films of Alfred Hitchcock class in college and now can’t watch a murder scene without saying “Psycho inspired that.” (Wait, that’s me)

Noah went for the Victoria F approach to crisis management – cry uncontrollably at the first hint of potential vulnerability. Why even entertain the possibility of mis-choosing the fight or flight instinct when you could just cry under pressure? Ultimately Bennett got sent packing but Noah was very foolishly counting his mustache hairs before they had bristled – turns out smirking and dancing on Bennett’s grave when Tayshia comes back is not what she was after!  

The cocktail party continued with some genial interactions between Tayshia and her men. Zac followed up their one-on-one date last week by presenting Tayshia with one of the pictures from their wedding shoot. I was wondering what they were going to do with all of those photos… I was envisaging a situation similar to teams that have championship t-shirts made but don’t win the championship so the shirts get shipped off to Africa and brainwash children in Chad into thinking that the wrong team won. Turns out African children aren’t being subjected to strange wedding photos of unmarried reality TV stars, and Zac is just hording the pictures in his room.

The rose ceremony was introduced by an absolute clanger of a line from Ed. “If I don’t get a rose tonight and it’s a result of Noah being Noah then I’m gonna be insanely mad” – Ed, newsflash buddy, the only reason you’re still there is because you get the people going with your thick neck and questionable attachment to Tayshia – and maybe because of the night of “bonding” you and Chris shared a couple of episodes back. If you’re Ed, trying to blame your departure on Noah is like trying to pin the start of WWI on Hungarian illegal beaver poaching downstream on the Danube… yes it’s an issue, but never gonna happen.  

JoJo rocked up for the rose ceremony. Quite what her role on the show in Chris’s absence has been is unclear, but it was Too Little Too Late and time to Leave (Get Out) for Spencer (who did some Usain Bolt pose on the way out), Ed (who kissed Tayshia (on the cheek) for the first time on his way out – we Stan a true king) and Demar. Noah made the toast: “Cheers to real love with a real woman” which is what I would imagine Pinocchio saying right before he proclaims he’s “a real boy!!”

The Bachelorette can’t take its contestants on high-flying international trips this time around, but it’s very clear that instead of throwing darts at maps and stocking up on tanning oil, the Bachelorette producers are catching feelings, not flights this season. Two weeks ago it was race-relations in America, last week addiction and rehabilitation took center stage and Ben’s exposé about his failed suicide attempts was the latest instalment of “let’s take-on real life difficulties and destigmatize conversations around pervasive but uncomfortable issues in America on national television.” Ben was incredibly candid about his struggles, and Tayshia rewarded his candor with a rose and a private Adam Hambrick concert. (It was lucky that Tayshia asked “ever had a private show” to Ben about their intimate gig and not to the men on the polygraph test… Noah in particular strikes me as a huge strip club guy)

The polygraph group date was certainly an interesting phenomenon, and something I think that every season’s contestants should be subjected to. I was a little perturbed at Tayshia’s blind willingness to treat every response as gospel truth. Now maybe a polygraph test conducted by a professional federal investigator in a controlled environment, asking strategic, probing questions can help expose some truth; but JoJo from a previous season of the Bachelorette strapping a heart rate monitor on a couple of dudes, plugging it into her polygraph test for Mac desktop app and asking them sex questions? A little less credible. There was an enormous discrepancy between the difficulty of questions that the guys had to answer. JoJo seemed hell-bent on dunking on Noah’s sexual prowess, whereas Brendan, Riley and Zac were subjected to far stiffer examinations. Zac really saved his ass after the fact with the sixth grade Bowl-a-rama cheating story, however I wonder if his tune would have changed had he had to tell that same story under the watchful gaze of the polygraph!

Tayshia sent all of the group date men home without giving out a rose and lo and behold what was waiting for her when she got back to her room? Slippery, slimy, snakey Bennett back from the dead. As soon as Tayshia’s polygraph exposed her regret at sending someone home I just knew that something was up with Bennett (have timestamped text receipts if you don’t believe me.) He had this sweet and sappy aura about him and like the true toxic king he is, hit her with the I love you after remonstrations and gesticulations of his intense regret and sorrow. Bennett probably left the bubble, saw that B-Bar was permanently closed, and was like fuck it, might as well stay and risk it all, there’s nothing left to live for in New York. Whatever happened, boy are we in for a spicy ride next week.

Only Ben is confirmed for hometowns – for the rest of the men, its squeaky bum time!

Until next week

Bachelorette Week 7 Recap

The latest instalment of the Bachelorette began by dangling a nice juicy piece of red meat in front of Bachelor nation. I am of course talking about the island of immaturity that was Chasen and Noah’s little outdoor bed powwow. This throwaway conversation at the top of the episode may have seemed inconsequential on the surface, but it served to drive a clear stake between Noah and the rest of the men, and solidified both Noah and Chasen’s statuses as third grade wordsmiths of the highest order. Chasen is still trying to make “smokeshow” stick in the house (much to the chagrin of Bennett in particular), and by referring to the rest of the men as “a bunch of weens,” Noah added his name to the list of guys who desperately need to diversify their interlocutory portfolio. The season is very finely poised at this point, with several men having made incisive inroads into Tayshia’s defenses, however, as this episode bore out, that could all change; let’s jump in

The first group date required a handful of the gentlemen to write a song, and with the help of an eclectic mix of random instruments that none of them knew how to play, perform said song to earn a 1-on-1 date with Tayshia. Of course, Bennett approached the task by clarifying that he “did not take any music classes at Harvard, but I did spit some bars for some of my high school friends on various retreats.” Music classes or not, he clearly listened to a little too much Sara Bareilles in college because he didn’t write Tayshia a love song, but produced a rap that can only be described as a fateful mix of Cupcakke meets slam poetry meets white kids trying to emulate 8-Mile rap battles in their en-suite before their Latin tutor arrives. He did manage to rhyme “Harvard degree” with “Brie” which deserves some brief recognition.

You would’ve thought that Kenny should’ve been able to put together something a little more impressive given his occupation as a “boy band manager,” however, in contravention to his namesake, Mr. Loggins, Kenny’s song gave the Danger Zone a wide berth and instead wound him up right in Tayshia’s friend zone. Nothing was as desperate as Blake’s attempt at the accordion, and Demar’s rendition of “Mocha Latte” was altogether uncomfortable. Ivan ultimately emerged with the date, largely because he invited Tayshia on stage – that was the bar we were dealing with.

Before we get to Ivan’s date, since when was the Bachelorette allowed to just have guys over to her room?!?! I thought the entire premise of the show was a pure and innocent love-seeking lady has to endure relentless male flattery and solo date sexual tension before fantasy suites, and now she can just booty call these guys after a couple of glasses of vino whenever she wants?

Ivan was invited over for a night of food and games. The food was a smorgasbord of different cuisines including tacos, sushi, chicken tendies, fries, and an ice cream dish the size of Saturn, and the games were similarly diverse, with “the floor is lava,” Twister, bocce and Netflix all making the cut. Tayshia was certainly lucky Bennett wasn’t on the 1-on-1 date, because I hear Twister was one of the games he used to play a lot on his “high school retreats,” in between quizzing his friends on their SAT scores and ruthlessly exposing the friend-groups’ economic inequalities during his freestyle raps!  

The episode took an interesting, and amazingly refreshing turn towards actually acknowledging some of the socio-political and racial equality movements that have swept across the country over the past several months. The candor, the openness, and the unapologetic uncomfortability of these two people talking about issues that have impacted them their whole lives but are now, finally, in the mainstream public consciousness was a hell of a lot more compelling than Tayshia trashing her ex-husband and Brandon talking about the intricacies of commercial roofing on their date! The Bachelor franchises are often panned (and rightly so) for producing shows that are more whitewashed than Trump’s 2020 campaign commemorative calendar, but Ivan and Tayshia’s conversation was allowed to run its full course, with Ivan talking extensively about his family and their interactions with the criminal justice system, and Tayshia talking more broadly about growing up as a minority and how the BLM movement impacted her. Ivan was previously somewhat of an unknown quantity, but the date solidified his position as one of the genuine frontrunners. So much for aeronautical engineers being boring robots, step aside Peter Salovey, we’ve got a new king of emotional intelligence!  

The truth or dare group date was yet another Covid-inspired event that probably had previous Bachelor franchise contestants, still tanned from prior seasons’ equatorial escapades, howling tears of irreverent mirth. We did get to see Bionic-boy Bennet running around in his knee brace which was pretty pathetic, but other than that, the date really had very little intrinsic value. The guys drank some cow intestine smoothies, faked orgasms over the hotel PA system, and then had to propose to Tayshia after taking down a Habanero pepper. Zac ended up getting the rose at the end of a cocktail party that seemed to me like a bit of a seed change in the season. Tayshia has a unique allure amongst these men to the extent that I think that many of them are genuinely falling for her. Ridicule me all you want, but Ed aside (that guy is just absurd despite his pretty solid performance in the SAT 18 years ago), the stakes appear higher this season than I’ve seen in my short Bachelor-watching career. I get the sense that some hearts are set to be broken.

Then there were the simultaneous secret missions that both Ben and Ed took to try and co-opt Tayshia under cover of night. Ben hasn’t shut the fuck up about how he mistimed his approach to taking Tayshia aside, and so thank goodness he went over there and stopped complaining to the other guys about how sure he is that he blew it! Little did Ben know, he wasn’t the only one breaking curfew looking to meet up with Tayshia…

Ed showing up at Chris’s room by mistake (despite obviously being a producer-contrived gimmick) was a classic Ed move, that could only have been made more classic by Ed actually accepting the drink that Chris offered him and then shooting the shit for a little while. Ed is a guy’s guy through and through, which is why he objects so forcefully to other guys like Chasen and Noah acting churlishly towards his boys in the house. He shouldn’t be on this show, but might I suggest his own show where he travels the globe with some buddies and compares the girth of his neck to random objects perhaps? I think it would hit.

I was gonna talk about Noah’s conversation with Tayshia and the aftermath, during which he got called a 14-year old and Bennet proclaimed that “I’m here for love, not breastfeeding Noah,” but I think we just have to appreciate the simmering pot that is the Noah, Bennett fued for the time being.  

In closing:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Ed got a rose HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH he might be the only guy in Bachelorette history to have not kissed the Bachelorette 7-weeks in HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA God I love Ed. To reiterate, there is no conscionable way that Ed should have progressed this far… I guess the big question that his rose begs, is whether he just drank wine in Chris Harrison’s room that night?

Til next week folks

Bachelorette Week 6 Recap

I’ve been living alone for the past 8+ weeks, and there are certainly certain perks that accompany this solo habitation situation. There are the classics like being able to eat the Cheesecake Factory takeout 3+ nights a week, and not having to worry about spreading a deadly virus to more at-risk members of my family; and then there are the lesser-known and lesser-appreciated premiums, like not having to face the crippling disappointment of your parents after announcing at the dinner table that The Bachelorette is the only item on the night’s entertainment agenda. Imagine their further horror still, when the first group date was “The grown ass man challenge” – Let’s jump in

Now I can’t have been the only person who was a little disappointed at Bennett’s lack of air time last week; but to say that he made up for it in the latest episode, is failing to grasp just how all-consuming the Bennett show was during the grown ass man challenge. He grabbed the bull by the horns and dragged that bronze motherfucker all the way from Wall Street to the La Quinta Spa and Resort! His declarations that he is in the “upper echelon of being a grown ass man” and that he is “definitely the smartest,” were unsurprising coming from a guy who owns more pairs of suede loafers than times he’s eaten instant ramen in his life, but his performances in the math and spelling portion of the challenge were comical. Bennett clearly wasn’t mixing it up with the hockey players in the notorious Harvard gut “time-telling through the ages” and his wording-of-the-question gripe was emblematic of a self-proclaimed intellectual who has lost a step. Yes, Bennett spelled Limousine incorrectly, but at least he didn’t spell it like Ed, who hit us with a limosuine, which sounds like a failed Shark Tank proposal that provides limo services for pigs!

The next portion of the manly man contest was another shining moment for Bennett who was unable to compete in the tug of war contest due to a mystery knee injury sustained whilst playing football. A couple of things here. I would be surprised if Bennett’s parents had let him within 500 feet of a football field growing up (in any case, football and polo practice were at the same time so riddle me that one Bennett!) Bennett is also the kind of guy who had non-invasive meniscus surgery after slipping on black ice in middle school and then proceeded to tell everyone he could have played free safety at TCU if it wasn’t for his prior orthopedic ordeals. Much more medical malfeasance to come, but really Bennett? I suspect the real reason is that he doesn’t own a pair of shoes with the requisite amount of tread to excel in tug of war!

Bennett ultimately won the grown ass man challenge after whipping up a smoothie and tossing a couple of donuts on a plate for Tayshia’s breakfast in bed. Clearly the Bachelorette producers are keen to show America’s youth that intelligence and physical prowess pale in comparison to robing up and tossing a couple of donuts on a plate, a sentiment that probably had Waffle House employees across the country rejoicing at their newly endowed supreme manliness!

Ed won the man baby award and rationalized it by explaining that Tayshia “knew he could take it.” He named it Carlos, unsurprising for a guy who has almost certainly seen The Hangover triple digit times and proffers his health insurance sales pitches by asking would-be clients to join his Blue Cross Blue Shield wolf pack! I guess what happens at the La Quinta stays at the La Quinta; except for the shame of receiving the man baby award; that shit stays with you.

Now say what you want about Ed (that he’s kind of a square, his legs are somewhat avian and that he has less neck than his namesake from 90-day fiancé) but he is really growing into his role this season. He’s the only guy crushing beers, he’s holding this baby, he has major chunky-but-chiseled vibes with a penchant for skipping leg day and he’s a serial complainer. The funny thing, is that I simply cannot imagine him ever kissing Tayshia, or any girl for that matter! He spends all of his time with Tayshia venting about how Chasen wants to beat the wheels off of him and always ends their interactions with an awkward, face-to-shoulder hug. I also don’t think I have ever seen anyone work out more un-athletically than Ed curling and shrugging those dumbbells – and this is coming from the guy who got cramp carrying two (big!!!) bags of potatoes in from the car last week… I don’t really know what he’s still doing here largely because he has about as good a chance of winning as I do of receiving a message from Victoria F that isn’t prompted by a $75 Cameo transaction.    

The whole Chasen-Ed drama is super dumb, but perhaps the best thing to emerge from the whole thing is the unlikely axis that is forming between Bennett and Ed. As if to further emphasize the parallel universe that he inhabits, Bennett, aged 36, yes, thirty-six, said of Ed: “the guy got a perfect math SAT so he can talk circles around Chasen” when defending Ed’s position in their who-is-there-for-the-more-right-reasons-off. Maybe it’s a salient point to bring up a standardized test that Ed, also 36, took 18 years ago, but I’m not surprised that Bennett, who has spent more time telling people of his prior academic exploits than he clearly has spent learning how to tell the time, finds this tidbit compelling! I don’t think anyone has asked me my SAT scores since I squeaked over the athletic eligibility threshold to get into college, but glad to see Bennett is laser-focused on real life KPIs here!

The grand finale of the episode was supposed to be the Wolverine vs chicken legs showdown in the wrestling ring. I loved that whenever the camera panned to Ed’s face during the wrestling masterclass scene, he looked like he had just lost a bet and had to perform some brutal, jackass-style forfeit. Unfortunately, likely prompted by his new bromance with career-ending-knee-injury Bennett, Ed lubed up for the big bout and then proceeded to back out due to chronically dislocating shoulders (that didn’t seem to be dislocating when he was shrugging a house earlier in the episode… hmmm.) The wrestling scene was all fun and games (especially all 145 lbs soaking wet of Joe going up against former NFLer Eazy) until Noah entered the ring, and Chasen legitimately tried to murder him.

I don’t want to dwell on Smokeshowgate too much, but the fact that Chasen was widely ridiculed for his use of the, admittedly rather puerile term, but kept doubling and tripling down on its use displayed a level of originality that hasn’t been on display since Pitbull rhymed Kodak with Kodak!

Noah was invited on the group date after arguably the most successful fence jump since Colton guilted Cassie into dating him for six months! Noah is 25. I am also 25. That is still sinking in, because I view this show as designed for 36-year-old healthcare salesmen who have been unsuccessfully throwing the kitchen sink at Instagram models and girls in-line at Jamba Juice, and not 25-year-old young bucks with very questionable mustaches… A cynic would say that Noah, a travelling nurse, didn’t really fancy a rough few months in the Covid ward and so went on the show as a pseudo draft dodge, but who am I to say, maybe the temporary closure of Hair of the Dog hit some people harder than others? He had to get rid of his mustache, and the process denied Ben the opportunity to enact his masterplan to “relax” with Tayshia. You snooze you lose buddy!

Until next week people!

The Bachelorette Week 5 Recap

What a couple of weeks we’ve had here in the United States of Belarus! I know a lot of you were probably wondering how I could have passed up on the opportunity to opine about Dale’s tin-pot proposal to Clare in the last episode; or to flood my third computer keyboard of the season drooling over Tayshia’s swimming pool exit… In all honesty, the last week has been a movie and I’ve been hard celebrating my new status as the Jason Bourne of voter fraud! In between notarizing thousands of ballots for deceased Pennsylvanians, incapacitating Republican poll watchers in Maricopa County, dodging Trump militia to stuff ballot boxes in Atlanta, and posing as local Philly-area luxury hotel clerks in the event that Rudy Giuliani comes a-calling, I didn’t have time to write a blog last week. (JK, I sat on my couch watching John King defy human sleep requirements, single-handedly driving up the Ben & Jerry’s stock price, hanging on every 14-vote swing in bumblefuck Nevada.)

In any case, we have a new President, a new Bachelorette, some new men, but the same old hot mess on a Tuesday night. The blog is back; let’s jump in

The start of the episode was a little slow. We’re still in a Tayshia feeling-out period where the men are clearly in a state of post-traumatic stress from what just happened to their pride and their would-be bride with Clare’s departure. I think the best part about this two-Bachelorette season is Chris Harrison resurrecting the fortunes of these guys, Lazarus-like, from the depths of Clare and Dale’s cuckold cocoon. The number of men who have claimed that Tayshia is “more my type,” or “more my speed” is maybe a little overstated, however for guys like Ivan or (insert random guy who didn’t feature at all in the first three weeks HERE), at least they feel like they’re in with a fair shake now!

Of the initial conversations with Tayshia, I think Riley’s was probably my favorite. “Where are you from and what do you do?” might be some of the worst openers for a new Bachelorette in history. Come on Riley, you’re in the big leagues, this isn’t a conversation with your first match after “your friends made you a Tinder account!” At least ask her some hard-hitters like “why’d you get divorced?” or “why didn’t Colton put a tracker on your car and spam you with multiple burner accounts for months after you broke up?” These are the questions we want answers to, not that Tayshia “mainly works in the beauty and lifestyle space.”

Just when these poor guys thought they might be able to get a word in edgeways with their new Bachelorette following Dale’s departure, Brendan’s conversation was cut short by none other than Chris (not the last time that Chris would demonstrably cock-block Brendan this episode), who dropped the bomb that there would be more men entering the gladiator’s amphitheater. To elaborate on this gladiatorial theme, imagine you’ve been with the legions in North Africa fighting in the Punic Wars. Under contentious circumstances, you send Hannibal and his Carthaginian pals packing and get rewarded with a cushy gladiator’s job in a distant satellite province. Now imagine that this new gladiator called Spencer rolls in like Russell fucking Crowe and starts slaughtering everything in sight while simultaneously stealing the new concubine you’ve been eyeing up. That’s basically what happened. Might as well rename this Spencer guy Maximus Cuckimus, because boy was I entertained! A couple of other new guys are in the mix as well, although no one should be shocked that Spencer strolled out of his entry scene with Tayshia’s first impression rose.

Tayshia’s “season” was off to a great start, when all of a sudden Chris Harrison decided to ram a little more Clare and Dale down our unsuspecting throats with a post-mortem of their whirlwind romance. Now you’ve heard of Frost Nixon and Lebron’s 2010 Decision Interview; you’ve heard of the Monica Lewinsky Barbara Walters interview and Lance Armstrong’s Oprah tell-all; all of these Q&As for the ages paled in comparison to the high drama of the Chris Harrison – Dale and Clare interview. Just kidding, it was terrible, and Clare is still annoying as fuck, and Dale is still begrudgingly accepting the fact he won’t get to go on Bachelor in Paradise.

One question. Does anyone give a flying fuck if they knew each other before the show? No? Ok good. It wasn’t an issue for Peter and Kelley and shouldn’t be some kind of contrived drama for these two. Clare is still super hung up on having a man “show up” for her – an interesting approach given that that is the ONLY THING THAT DALE DID to completely win her heart. The only concrete thing to came from the interview was a reaffirmation of just how precipitous the enthusiasm gap is between Dale and Clare. “BABIES!”

A whistle-stop tour through some of the other happenings in the episode

  • Chris Harrison is desperate for these dudes to get their kit off at any opportunity. The water basketball group date was an abject display of athleticism by all… in the indelible words of Troy Bolton, “getcha head in the game” people! Riley and Spencer got in a bit of a tussle (which led to Riley calling him “lunchmeat” – surely not a compliment even though I do really enjoy a couple of slices of Boar’s Head on some sourdough!) but really nothing else to report here.
  • I was hoping that Blake would once again espouse the virtues of our Supreme Leader and refuse to recognize the validity of a clear loss, but alas, no date crash this go around.
  • Jason left. I feel bad for him. He would be a good Bachelor (but not as good as Bennett – DUH!)

I was surprised that Brendan got the solo date, although it was a partial relief because I now know the name of double digit members of the remaining men! Chris Harrison the entire date was giving off major Regina George’s mother “do you need anything? Snacks? A condom?” vibes, although Tayshia and Brendan eventually made it to the swimming pool for some pre-dinner canoodling! Brendan’s line of the dinner was definitely “being well rounded isn’t necessarily sexy, but I am true husband material.” In retrospect, it turns out that all Tayshia’s husband material requires is previously having been husband material for someone else! The divorcee content was capped off by Tayshia absolutely dragging her ex-husband. Not only did she stress her faithfulness in the face of his infidelity, but her line: “I don’t think I’ve felt this way ever” after one date with some random commercial roofer she just met is a pretty startling indictment of her former husband.

Until next week folks!

Bachelor Week 3 Recap

Yesterday evening I had the distinct pleasure of watching The Bachelorette with a couple of friends from college. One is a Bachelor Nation fan that makes Stan look like a casual listener to only Eminem’s most mainstream hits, and one had never before seen an episode… and what an episode it was to pop the cherry! Let’s jump in:

One noticeable element of this season to date has been the somewhat haphazard nature of the rose ceremonies. In this time of chronic uncertainty, there is something incredibly comforting about a traditionally constructed Bachelor episode (that is to say group date, cocktail party, one-on-one date, cocktail party, rose ceremony). In their eternal effort to spice up this new season, this delicious, hot-out-of-the-oven, chips-still-melty chocolate chip cookie cutter approach has all but disappeared. Any producer sins about content configuration however were immediately atoned by the fireworks that ignited 30-seconds into the episode last night…

Yosef looked like a prize fighter strutting to the ring when he went to confront Clare about the Dodgeball incident – all that was missing was a couple of angry looking Irish men in bath robes with sponges and Eye of the Tiger blaring in the background. Yosef’s argument was not a terrible one. Forcing the contestants to strip on national television could be considered classless, however Yosef basically said, “fuck being on some chill shit” and went 0 to 100 quicker than Drake after a Raptors NBA championship win. The conversation was similar to a nervous college freshman at their first dorm room pregame who took a couple of shots, didn’t quite feel the buzz, ripped 13 more and proceeded to tornado their way around the room until the health center was the only remaining viable option. Each line was more incendiary and mean than the last and it turned from what was a fairly respectful and productive airing of grievances, to a no holds barred character assassination that Joseph McCarthy would have been proud to have orchestrated.

Some choice lines from their encounter included:

“That type of situation being a father was unacceptable to me, you’re not setting the right kind of example for my daughter” – but playing shuffleboard in the DMs with half of the eligible bachelorettes in West Virginia is completely fine? All I’m looking for is a consistent slide here, and I’m not sure he’s applying the same rules of engagement to himself as he is to Clare.

“I expected a lot more from the oldest Bachelorette who has ever been” – now Yosef is making the age-old error of conflating age with maturity. All I will say is that as I’ve gotten older, my decision-making has become increasingly unpredictable, erratic, and more often than not detrimental to my overall health and well-being. Stay toxic Clare.

“Never in a million years would I think I would have to utter these words again, but I would never want my children to have a father like you” – in the grand scheme of men you wouldn’t want to be the father of your child, Yosef ain’t that bad. Imagine how Jared Kushner’s kids feel, or how Peter Weber’s will feel?

Closely followed by:

“You’re not fit to be a mother to my child” – OK this is all getting a little bit personal now.

“Remember, you’re almost 40” – so are Jessica Alba and Beyoncé. Settle down Yosef, Clare’s anatomy joined the Great Wall of China and The Great Barrier Reef as landmarks clearly visible from space so cut her some slack.  

It should come as little surprise who came to the rescue… yes of course, Dale strolled over to his blubbering princess and immediately assuaged all of her fears and anxieties. Clare began recounting some of the things that Yosef had said to her, including that lots of the men were constantly trying to appease her. Dale’s reaction was quite clearly one of a man who had no idea what the word “appease” meant, somewhat astonishing given that he went full Neville Chamberlain on her ass during their conversation and left Clare well and truly appeased. By her own admission, all Clare has “ever wanted is a man like Dale,” and with appeasement skills like his, she won’t have to wait for Fantasy Suites to secure his piece for our time!  

The cocktail party was cancelled due to Clare’s traumatic run-in with Yosef. Bennet was likely the most peeved at this. My man was looking ready to catch bullets, save the earth and then sweep Clare off her feet and fly back to Krypton leaving his Clark Kent glasses and 300-deep leather loafer collection far behind. The rose ceremony was pretty uneventful relative to some of the other happenings this episode, although what a freaking power move by Dale to rock up in a V-neck when everyone else is suited and booted and stroll out of there with the first rose (shocker.) We were treated to our first cringeworthy Dale toast to “Clare’s strength” after all the roses had been passed out. I can’t remember what Dale said, but I now can’t unnotice how minute and Shrek-like his ears are. Yosef should consider himself lucky he managed to get out of the house without seeing him, because the way he treated Clare? He was going the right way for a smacked Bottom!

On the following group date, all of the guys were talking about how they’re going to give their all to Clare, that they’re gonna go the extra mile and bring her back to the smiling, happy-go-lucky Clare pre-Yosef debacle… meanwhile, she is literally smelling Dale’s pants that she scavenged from a prior date before coming to meet them. It’s no surprise that she allowed Dale to hijack the group date and she probably even believed his “I was just going to the bathroom” excuse for his second crack at Clare of the evening.

Zak’s date was brutal right from the date card… “I’m looking for my best friend” is not the kind of message you want to get on a strictly husband-hunting show, and Zak’s status in the friend zone was set in stone after their botched attempt at a spa date and what will go down in history as “the miss.” It was all over for him when he went for the off-land flip (come on hardo, just do a cannon ball like the rest of us) into the pool, and while Zak is definitely creepy (and creepily shredded for a “cleaning service owner” in Utah,) Clare 1000000000% went in for the kiss before her DEFCON 1 abort mission buttons started flashing when she likely thought about how Dale might react. Tough bounce for Zak to get unceremoniously flicked after that, but he didn’t have a chance anyway.

The whole comedy scene was uncomfortable so I’m not going to waste much time in what has already been a long blog discussing it. All I will say is that Clare’s coping strategy for not being on a date with Dale of directing every conversation she has to be about Dale is kind of obvious and kind of annoying. I was half expecting Dale to get the rose on the date where he wasn’t on the date.

Clare gave herself a rose, because she just would. Give me Tayshia coming out of that swimming pool one hundred times out of a hundred.

The Bachelorette Episode 2 Recap

After what can only be described as a lukewarm bowl of gas station chili for a first episode, The Bachelorette is well and truly back, meaningless and easily avoidable drama, group nudity and all! Lets jump in!

Now I must admit, going into this I didn’t know any of the five love languages that were the subject of Gary Chapman’s 1992 book (presumably?) The only love languages I was previously familiar with were from memes where a guy is sneaking up behind a girl with goosebumps and whispering “bagels” into her ear or something. Anyhow, the first couple of love language challenges (sappy and unfounded words of affirmation to Rapunzel in her tower, and receiving gifts – i.e. frantically try and find something in your suitcase and make up a story about its deep significance to your life) were largely uneventful. The physical touch however? If you thought Clare dissolved like a 12-year old girl at a One Direction concert when Dale got out of the car, just imagine how she reacted when he started pawing all over her in her blindfold! “I feel as though I’m going to have to do the physical touch love language again.” Wait, Clare, you’re telling me you don’t want any more Russian doll gift boxes filled with personally sentimental but ultimately worthless tchotchkes from these random dudes that you just met’s lives? Check mate!

The quality time portion of the love language date was where things started really getting spicy. Clare made a toast to love… or happiness… or Dale’s bulging bicep muscles… or something, and the deafening silence that followed as all the men realized that they had to actually take the initiative with Clare was uncomfortably long and awkward. So much so in fact, that Bennet (Harvard, New York) took Clare aside for the first bite of his big apple, a bite that she promptly spat out in disgust at her treatment by the group, and returned immediately to remedy! I would sooner have caught the eye of the Basilisk from across the bar than Clare after the men were slow on the jump to take her out for some quality time. “Why didn’t those guys get up, if you just want to bro out I can go back home to bed.” Fortunately, Dale came to the rescue and Clare melted, Wicked Witch of the West-style, into another blubbering puddle onto the floor.

I’m a little bit worried for Dale actually… The words: “You scare me because of how I feel about you this early on,” should be sending more red flags flying than a Trump country Cabela’s! I was getting major Isla Fisher Vince Vaughn Wedding Crashers vibes from Clare here (although there was a little more reciprocity from Dale for sure.)

Clare had quite a nice moment with Riley, although they did reveal a lot about their respective ages by choosing Boyz II Men as their high school dance music of choice… In all honesty, the only songs I remember from high school dances are LMFAO’s Sexy and I Know It (for obvious reasons) and Call Me Maybe (both still absolutely slap for the record), but I thought at this stage they had practically renamed the group Boyz II Men II Withering Old Grandfathers they’ve been around so long… Regardless, it wasn’t the End of the Road for Riley, who emerged from his slow dance with a rose for his troubles.  

Once Clare lets the righteous indignation, self-love horse out of the stable and starts going on about her self-worth, life experience and unparalleled passion, you know it’s over for the guy who is on the hook at that moment. Clare’s declaration that “I’m a strong ass woman, bring it; bring it to me,” is not in reference to the men bringing thoughtful, probing questions about just how a life spent together would look, but is a proverbial war cry to the four corners of her La Quinta Spa Resort Kingdom demanding that all men come pay fealty to their compliment-deprived queen. Just look at the Brandon situation at the end of the episode… If you come into the snake pit with an inadequate answer to why you’re vying for Clare’s heart (finding love is not a passing response apparently), then expect to get hissed out of there in a heartbeat. Maybe Jimmy G’s doppleganger was too busy studying his 49ers playbook to look up anything about Clare pre-show, but it was a heartwarming moment for anyone who has been cold-called in class without doing any of the assigned reading watching him squirm for a few minutes before being given the chop.

I don’t really want to be banding around the D-word willy nilly here, but Clare certainly does come across as a little desperate… and I know she hasn’t seen My Cousin Vinny, but to quote Marisa Tomei’s iconic character Ms. Mona Lisa Vito, I can’t help but think that her “biological clock is ticking like this” *stomps on the ground multiple times in quick succession* and she is staring nervously at the play clock with 7 seconds left at the goal line wondering if she has time for a quick throw before she sends field goal unit out!

Clare’s date with Jason was intense AF.

Now I get that this is a COVID season, but that doesn’t mean that these dates have to somehow replace and mimic the pain and suffering of the coronavirus. Previous contestants have been on camel treks through the Sahara Desert; have drank champagne in hot tubs overlooking gorgeous mountainous panoramas; or have taken helicopter trips over the Costa Rican jungle to secluded romantic waterfalls. These guys? Nope, on this season you have to dredge the emotional depths of your pre-show life and re-live your most intense and formative experiences in front of an individual you just met, and a crowing 6m strong national television audience…

Writing letters to your younger self is a tough first foray into this season’s individual dates, especially with two characters who clearly carry excess emotional baggage. This is The Bachelorette though, not some Outward Bound trip your parents sent you on because they found the remnants of a spliff 180-yards from your front door and now think that you’re vying for air time in Wiz Khalifa’s Young, Wild and Free music video. Save the letter writing for pubescent pot-smokers and please get back to doing cool, aspirational shit so I can treat my jealousy with another home pour of Oyster Bay Sauvingnon Blanc!

Clare’s letter was actually incredibly powerful, lucid and introspective about her life struggles and battles with adversity… until the last line… when all I could think about was Kimberly Guilfoye’s absolute parody of a Republican National Convention speech when she shrieked, banshee-like, that “the best is yet to come.” I’ll give Clare the benefit of the doubt here and hope she was quoting the Frank Sinatra song, but boy did Kimberly ruin that phrase for me!

The entire dodgeball scene was like a nightmare mashup of ESPN 8 The Ocho meets Naked and Afraid. The relentless stream of ball-related jokes aside, Jay might be the best player to ever lace them up, having overcome a 5-1 deficit to bring it back for the red team in game 1. The scenario was eerily reminiscent of an angry and mean Gordon Pibb against Team Blitzkreig in the ADAA International Dodgeball Competition back in ‘04. Call them the Average Jays why don’t we?    

The blue team’s performance was one of the worst I have ever seen… its almost as if they wanted to get their kit off. One line that caught my attention was Clare’s response to the blue team’s strip show… After five sweaty dudes unceremoniously disrobe in front of you, “They showed up, and I appreciated it so much” is a line that you might expect to hear at Chippendale’s after such a performance, but not on the Bachelorette, a forever fountain of fun for all the family! I was certainly not expecting to see that level of nudity, although subsequently making the men walk home naked was an insult to injury move that I’m sure many of the participants could have done without.

Blake Moynes being butt ass naked but keeping his knee brace on (performance over pride) is symptomatic of this paraplegic class of eligible bachelors and while Blake was looking a little defeated after the dodgeball, kudos to him for cleaning himself up, licking his knee and getting back out there. By far the best bit of the entire Blake-hijacks-the-date sequence was his interruption of Jay, who then proceeded to go and get the other lads before showing up again like the younger brother who just got beat up with his big brother and gang

Ultimately Blake got rewarded for his little stunt, which you have to have been expecting unless you’ve lived under a large Bachelor-less rock for your entire life and don’t understand the way in which these producers’ brains work. They wouldn’t have made him, his weird curly beard, and his cute little I-could-literally-Zamboni-anything Canadian accent the centerpiece of the episode finale (other than Clare and Dale’s tonsil hockey… Zamboni that one Blake) if they were about to promptly flick him in the next scene. Usually sliding into the DMs during quarantine isn’t met with such success (just ask Yosef), but it looks like Blake’s outreach to Clare during lockdown might just be paying dividends (until Dale gets back from the bathroom that is) because he left with a rose, much to the chagrin of the rest of the Bachelors!

Looking forward to next week like you read about!

Episode 1 Recap

This opening episode of the Bachelorette will certainly not go down in the annals of history as a barn burner. The promotional materials for the upcoming episodes however? Goodness gracious me, we’re in for a bumpy ride. It’s par for the course for Chris to come out, looking excellent, and wax lyrical about how this season is the most scintillating and scandalous television event since OJ in his Bronco, but for him to tell Clare “you’ve just blown up The Bachelorette?” That’s good stuff. Let’s jump in to last night’s episode

A couple of comments on Clare’s quarantine situation. Clare lives in Sacramento, making her the only Bachelor/Bachelorette contestant to have not immediately upped sticks and moved to LA after their first appearance on the show to try their hand as a Snuggy model and bake pumpkin spice cookies on their Instagram Story. Her house is cute, as are her dogs, but definitely could have gone without the 5 minutes of B-roll watching her gaze out the window waiting for her husband to return from war. Another observation is that Clare is a pop socket gal. Maybe she’ll have the last laugh when I have carpel tunnel syndrome and am not able to play Candy Crush into my 60s, but boy do I hate those things… anyways, out of the grievance corner!

I wish I could have done a deep dive on the various eligible bachelors and their entries, however this entire component of the episode, despite taking up 45 freaking minutes, didn’t have too many fireworks. Chasen completely dropped the ball and failed to make the knight in shining armor joke, instead opting for “I’m willing to drop my armor for you” when he showed up dressed as the Bud Light Knight. Yuck. I’m still salty that the sloth from Peter’s season got canned on the first night so there clearly isn’t any value in having a cool entry, just would’ve been nice to see just a little more creativity.

The tone of the entire season changed when Dale rolled out of the limo however the Clare and Dale was quite something in so far as it was largely unspectacular. They exchanged the requisite pleasantries, held hands, hugged etc. but to drop it all and chalk him up as the one after such a brief encounter? To be fair, I know how Clare felt in that moment, having experienced similar paralysis brought on by unconditional love after seeing David Beckham buying swordfish at the Kensington Place fishmongers in 2004, but I just started shaking and losing control of my vitals rather than jeopardizing the status of one of the most important television events of the year! Get it together Clare, we need this!

The major point of contention in the first episode was between Tyler C, a lawyer from West Virginia, and Yosef, a medical device salesman from Alabama. Tyler had some big boots to fill – in Bachelor world the name Tyler C is equivalent in status and association to Odin in Norse mythology. Rocking up on set in a station wagon, ironing board and grill the most prominently featured items lashed to the roof, is like bringing a pencil sharpener to a gun fight in the Tyler C sweepstakes. Mini McConaughey did have some scalding hot tea to spill and wasted absolutely no time in upsetting his mug all over Yosef’s terrible tie-shirt combo. It seems like they were clutching at straws to try and stir up some drama right off the jump, although Yosef did strike me as a bit of a Wayne Gretzky in the DMs, slipping and sliding all over college girls’ DMs in Morgantown West Virginia.

It’s still amazing to me how Chris Harrison continues to message his absolutely toxic cash cow of a presenting gig as this kind of public service that delivers love to otherwise lost and hopeless souls – Chris, I think these folks would be just fine… except for Bennett… they probably felt bad for him and gave him a rose so he wouldn’t go back to terrorizing the High Line’s eating establishments in his white scarf and telling everyone who will listen that he went to Harvard. This being said, this is Clare’s fifth bite of the Bachelor apple. FIFTH! So maybe her change of strategy to get one on the hook and leave in the early weeks is based in her experiential lack of success? At least it appears as though the Clare departure is going to be quick and painless; I would not be able to handle another 9-week tease for a Colton fence jump scenario! This is shaping up to be an unconventional season, but boy can I not wait.