The Bachelor Week 5 Recap – Matt James

Every so often during a season of the Bachelor, there is an inflection point so visceral, so gut-wrenching, that an Irish poet’s interpretation of a Sophoclean classic is the only location where the imagery exists to do it justice. At the heart of Seamus Heaney’s seminal work The Cure at Troy, is a conflict between personal integrity and political expediency. The chorus of the closing scene is perhaps the most applicable in sensibility and sentiment to this conflict but also to what we saw on this most recent episode of the Bachelor: “history says, don’t hope on this side of the grave, but then, once in a lifetime the longed for tidal wave of justice can rise up and hope and history rhyme.” That tidal wave was a 30-foot Sumatran tsunami on Monday night and boy was some justice doled out… let’s jump in

Victoria is an incredibly interesting psychological specimen. I hate to keep bringing up her similarities to Donald Trump (what a refreshing fortnight it’s been now that the hands grasping the nuclear football are not so saturated with fast food grease that there is a constant fumble risk) but she has a startlingly similar ability to overinflate her sense of self-importance and conjure conflict and hatred out of thin air with a Houdini-like élan. Victoria’s villainizing campaign was not aimed at Mexicans or the free press, but like pigs to truffles, or McCarthy to Communists, she made it her prerogative to go after these new girls with all her energy. She labelled her Robespierre Reign of Terror “The OGs vs. Newbies” which sounds to me more like a Space Jam knockoff than a concerted bullying campaign, but her activities, as well as those of MJ and Anna, really caught the attention of Matt, who dominated the early proceedings trying to get to the bottom of the toxic culture within the ranks.

The idea that the Bachelor or Bachelorette has some kind of responsibility for the cultural conditions of the house is an interesting concept that resurfaces a couple of times every season whenever there is unrest. Whether it was Bennett and Noah, Caelynn and Hannah B, Hannah Ann and Kelsey (the list goes on and on), all of these conflicts are tied together by the false indignation of the bachelor in question, and their unwavering quest to try and resolve whatever dissension there is. Matt took his cultural responsibility very seriously last night, flexing his acting skills by seeming shocked that 32 girls cooped up together all dating the same man could ever lead to interpersonal resentment. He stated the blindingly obvious that he’s not looking for a raging bitch as a wife (“If you’re having to belittle someone else to shine, those aren’t the qualities I’m looking for in a wife,”) and then cycled through the women, judiciously evaluating their stories with the look of consternation that this could have happened under his watch.

Matt’s fact-finding conversations with Brittany and Ryan were a tasty amuse bouche, but really, they were just whetting our collective palette for what was a perfectly concocted mixture of remorse, contrition and begs for forgiveness from Anna for the main course. It’s amazing the paradigm shifts that occur when the existential insecurity of these ladies comes into question, and Anna’s claim that “she is the worst, most shallow person ever” and that she’s “so sad and upset with myself” are phrases that she was most certainly not wheeling out to Victoria when the two of them were seen spilling gallons of speculative tea last episode. Matt handled the situation with a surprising amount of compassion and decisiveness (although “when I met Brittany a few days ago, she was spunky” isn’t the best thing to say when you’re trying to defend someone accused of escorting) and made the call to give Anna the chop. This was the first wave of Seamus Heaney’s tide of justice.

Victoria’s ugly downward spiral was the next indication that nature was healing and that facts, truth and decency on The Bachelor were back in vogue. I must say, it was quite funny watching her scramble to play defense as she tried to completely rehabilitate her image from fiery dragon to cuddly kitten, but Matt seemed to see through it, confronting her about her role in systematically bullying all of the new girls in the house. One instance in particular was Victoria’s characterization of Ryan, a dancer, as “a hoe.” To be fair to Victoria, her assessment that the new girls were “hoes” was intended as a much more blanket statement, but Victoria certainly didn’t help her cause by admitting to Matt that she had said it and then referring to Ryan as “the shadiest bitch” for telling him.

Any time you use “it was taken out of context” as a defense for something said – see every professional athlete who has had to defend calling their classmates racist and homophobic names on Twitter in middle school – you are guilty as hell, and Victoria’s constant impropriety, her blind insistence that she is “the best option for Matt,” despite only having spoken to him like three times, and her full-blown melt-down where she claimed that she “literally might die” if Katie was chosen over her were irreconcilable red flags for Matt. From a producer’s perspective, if you were gonna keep one lie-spreading, conniving, back-stabbing snake, then I would definitely have kept Victoria and not Serena C, but maybe Matt actually had a say in this one and his patience with Victoria was spent. I have to admit, despite her roaring character flaws and objective insufferability, Victoria is a blogger’s dream; I will miss her, and the joy that she “brought so many people.” (Her words not mine) To all you Matt’s out there, congratulations, you dodged a bullet!

Rachael got a 1-on-1 date, and Matt celebrated by greeting her in the same manner he greets all of the ladies: by licking his lips, rubbing his hands together and then saying: “I like that” after whatever the girl says to him. Rachael could literally have said that she wasn’t a fan of the Shrek franchise, or that the only music she listens to is underground Ukrainian screamo and I’m sure Matt would have repeated the same phrase. Rachael’s date was trying on some dresses under the watchful eye of Matt, and John Legend’s gay, Rastafarian, French cousin…

Rachael was forced to confront all of the other girls, 25 shopping bags in tow, upon her return to the resort. Given the reactions of some of the ladies, you would have thought she was wearing a Lady Gaga meat dress in the lion’s enclosure; Pieper in particular looked like her new puppy had been released in the enclosure as well!    

Full disclosure, I was otherwise engaged during Rachael’s dinner and the activities on the group date, so I will not be talking about them. The only analysis I could get from my parents was that MJ got freaked out by the chickens and rejected by the goats – great judges of character those goats!

My main takeaways from the group date were: Abigail is a real sweetie and actually has some of the best chemistry with Matt (despite his personality closely resembling drying paint); Michelle is definitely a contender, but she didn’t react well to being in the bullpen with the other girls rather than in a hot air balloon or the backseat of a car with Matt; MJ is toxic, maybe she should try baseball rather than the Bachelor; and I think that vulnerability is Matt’s aphrodisiac… I don’t think Matt could tell you a single hobby, college they attended, aspiration of any of these girls, his primary line of questioning is digging into their deepest darkest insecurities. “Thank you for being vulnerable with me” is almost as common a refrain as “I like that!” I’m not saying that Matt is an aspiring cult leader who preys on the weak and vulnerable… but my mother most certainly is!

Daaaaamn, no dust under those vases

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a million times but I cannot unhear “kid” whenever Matt says “Kit,” and so “tonight is Kit’s night” really threw me for a loop. With this is mind, when I found out it was a cooking date I was expecting dino nuggets and Kraft mac and cheese on the menu. Matt’s preparation was incredibly strange… he dusted underneath his vases… literally the most OCD people in the world don’t dust underneath their vases… I would sooner create a matrix that took into account authors place of birth, book length and spine color and organize my books accordingly rather than dust underneath the vases. “Kit is a little fashionista” was his justification for cleaning up his house… certainly not a possible future modelling contract with Cynthia Rowley or anything cynical like that!

I know COVID has done a number on the quality of 1-on-1s this season, but as dates go, this was possibly the worst of all time. Imagine a guy inviting you over for dinner and he subsequently forces you to make him chocolate chip cookies, you don’t get any food, and then you make out on the couch and he has his eyes wide open the entire time. Woof. Clearly understanding that vulnerability was the only thing Matt values, she started laying it on him how difficult it was that her mother had been stocking the shelves, not physically, at TJ Maxx for her entire life. Cry me a river Kit. Of course she got a rose because its literally impossible not to get one. Thanks Matt.

In other news, Jessenia and MJ are in a little tiff so will be interesting to see how that turns out. Tyler C is going to be back, and Heather (never been kissed) Morris is also making a celebrity appearance. Until next week folks!

The Bachelor Week 4 Recap – Matt James

It’s taken a few weeks to get a statistically valid sample size, but I’m now convinced that Matt was created in an advanced former Soviet Bloc robotics laboratory and was released to the West following the fall of the Iron Curtain. First of all, I’ve done CrossFit 4 times and maintain that it is impossible to generate his kind of abdominal muscle toning without some kind of metallic robot undercarriage; He chops wood with all the fluidity and humanity of the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz; He does this weird awkward lean in whenever the ladies are talking to him that puts his body at an impossibly uncomfortable and unnatural angle for a human; he maintains this sappy, faux-radiant smile that makes him look like the robot from Futurama; and he uses the exact same playbook for each contestant, first saying something toxic like “vulnerability has always been hard for me,” moving on to robot fuckboy phrase #2 “I’m struggling to express to you how I feel,” and then as sure as the sun rising in the east, hitting them with some smarmy words of affirmation about how their relationship is developing when it clearly isn’t. At this point in the show, Matt should be narrowing down which ladies are actually in the running and which are categorically not; he hasn’t been able to do either, telling every single girl that he could imagine their life together and then extolling their virtues in his side shots by saying, “I could be speaking to my future wife.” It’s frustrating. Anyway, let’s talk about Monday’s episode…

If Dr. Frankenstein, or whoever it was that had the wherewithal to manufacture a perfectly mundane and by-the-book Bachelor robot, it was their evil assistant who programmed Victoria in an express effort to unhinge, malfunction at every turn and watch the world burn. Yet again, aside from Chelsey completely showing up Matt with the quality of her fade, it was Victoria’s toxic energy that dominated proceedings in the evening cocktail party. After calling everyone quite unpleasant names and getting called out by Katie for it, she honked “I can express myself through name-calling if I choose to.” I can express myself through naked fire eating on top of the Empire State Building… Just because you can, it most definitely doesn’t mean that you should… She followed it up by saying “If you want to express yourself with your dildo then you’re not ready for an engagement.” I would argue the exact opposite and the fact that your principal method of self-expression is through your vibrator is a stone wall sign that an engagement is EXACTLY what you are ready for!

The start of the date was unspectacular on the whole. I genuinely thought Matt said “I like being around kids” instead of “I like being around Kit,” which was a pretty startling reminder of the incongruity of her youth. Victoria was yet again right in the middle of the fire, an unfortunate place to be if you’re dressed like a marshmallow! Unsurprisingly, she ended the evening smoldering and burnt, however this time her demise and ridicule was not entirely by her own doing. Chris Harrison interrupting Victoria and snagging Matt like there was something seriously wrong was like one of those viral videos where the scrawny white kid who walks on to the Iowa State basketball team gets his scholarship from a cop walking into the film room and asking to speak to him about a minor transgression on campus. The kid looks terrified, then elated when he figures out what is going on, and then everyone in the vicinity goes crazy around him. This is exactly what happened, as Matt looked like he’d been caught on camera pissing on the statue in the middle of campus, was then fired up when new girls showed up and started making out with him, and then every other inhabitant of the Nemacolin resort went absolutely ape shit.  

Adding new contestants into the mix makes sense if the original Bachelor or Bachelorette gets so enamored by a Party City model that they have to cancel the show and start fresh with a new person; but adding them on a whim because it would be exciting to drive a stake between the already fractious existing ladies and these new ones? Attila the Hun was less barbaric! I wonder if Matt told the producers he was done with Victoria’s shit and they needed to get some new ladies in the house otherwise he was going back to oiling his abdominal muscles with Tyler C on the beach? In characteristic form, Victoria reacted to the new ladies arriving by whining “who the fuck are these random ass hoes coming into the house?” and then proceeded to cement her status as a bastard Trump child by being staggeringly rude to the former Miss Puerto Rico, Catalina. She stole her crown, and I was half expecting her to start throwing paper towels in her direction such was her disdain for her new antagonist (God that video gets me every time.)

I was disappointed that Kim, the girl who had an enormous hole in the front of her dress, got sent home, I was very much looking forward to seeing her assless chaps at the next rose ceremony! Catalina obviously made it through; Matt probably thought there was a Wine Mixer on the line.  

The fall in love fest might as well have been named the basic bitch fest. A crisp fall day with changing leaves abound, leggings and Ugg Boots, and an obstacle course, it doesn’t get much more Autumnal than that! When I saw the pumpkin kayaking event I was half expecting the next task to be competitive posing for pics at the apple orchard, but alas, the girls had to dress up as squirrels and navigate a pretty simple looking obstacle course instead. Mari was the ultimate winner, although there was literally zero incentive for trying as all of the girls were invited to the same cocktail party in the evening.

During every season, there is always one “watch out for this person” moment, where one contestant gets a tip from their ex-girlfriends’ grandmothers’ bridge partner who didn’t quite have her hearing aids turned up when she heard a snippet of some tea about another contestant. We saw it in the most recent Bachelorette season with Yosef’s West Virginia DM sliding; the Hannah B Caelynn drama from Colton’s season was a similar knew-you-from-prior-to-the-show-drama situation, and this time around, it was Anna accusing Brittany of being an escort with about as much evidentiary basis as a Fox News primetime host trying to overturn an election. It’s a pretty horrific thing to say about someone that “she entertains men for money,” especially when there is legitimately zero indication that it is the case but it’s a dog eat dog world out there and Victoria and Anna think they’re fucking Clifford.

Matt’s next one-on-one date was with Michelle, one of the new girls drafted in to try and draw blood out of the proverbial stone and get Matt to display an ounce of personality. She had a great degree more success than any of her predecessors, and dare I say it, Matt actually came across as someone that wouldn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out hanging with. They zip-lined, both said that they wanted three kids in a totally unscripted moment and then went for a romantic hot-air balloon ride that must have been in contravention of social distancing rules for the poor guy who was steering the thing. It was the first time that Matt had actually seemed to enjoy himself, but was back to his robotic best at dinner, responding to what his favorite part of the date was, with: “when you walked up.” Matt, you went on a hot air balloon with a super attractive female, the question wasn’t “what was your favorite part of the stair-climbing competition?!” Michelle also got called out for quoting Maya Angelou and trying to pawn it off as something that she said (major Jack Black in the cafeteria in School of Rock vibes quoting Whitney Houston when asked his views on school testing). Matt was in full android mode by the end of the date when he told Michelle that she “embodies all the qualities I’m looking for…” Haven’t heard that one before!

Getting a date card that has the words “are you ready to fight for Matt?” on it can literally only mean one thing, and the ladies knew it. There’s no such thing as metaphysical “fighting” in Bachelor-world, when Chris wants fighting, he wants down and dirty, grievance airing, bone-splintering hand-to-hand combat, and this is what we were treated to. As is tradition, they gave Matt a few minutes to show off his blistering sled-pulling technique and let him squat a few logs before Mia St John (I can’t be the only one to have never heard of her?) was trotted out to inform the ladies that boxing would be their skirmishing technique for the date. Katie beat the fuck out of Jessenia, Serena beat the fuck out of Kit, Serena P got absolutely rocked in the nose and that was about it.

The rest of the episode was dominated by some good old-fashioned back and forth between Victoria and anyone that would listen to her. To quote one of my favorite sea shanties, the Wellerman came, brought sugar, tea and rum and the ladies completely ignored the sugar and tea and massively over imbibed on the rum. Katie once again took the moral high ground and told Matt about the bullying within the house and it appears as though this is where we will pick up next week! Until then…

The Mattchelor – Week 3 Recap

The concepts of motivational carrots and injurious sticks have been leveled to try and inspire particular personal behaviors for millennia. From antiquity to present however, no organization has managed to leverage them side-by-side to quite the effect as our friends at ABC, The Bachelor producers. This week, a fainting Sarah and the promise of a Victoria-Marylynn reckoning were the carrots plucked from the ground and dangled in front of The Bachelor’s leporine onlookers; and the prospect of having to listen to Victoria wallow in her fatuous and unsubstantiated self-pity presented a stick that hits with the integrity of a fresh-carved Louisville Slugger. I hope carrots are a good cure for concussion, because I signed up instantly and unashamedly for both!

The provenance of the Victoria-Marylynn feud has always been shrouded in mystery, certainly from an on-screen presentation perspective. Marylynn doesn’t strike me as the roommate from hell, but who knows, maybe she’s dropping in at Tilted Towers with the gals until 4am every night? Maybe she doesn’t remove her hair from the drain? I don’t want to cast aspersions, but based on the incredibly vitriolic reactions of Victoria, maybe she doesn’t flush? Whatever it is, Victoria has managed to aggrandize this rivalry to the extent that it will invariably lead to one of their departures. Marylynn didn’t handle Victoria’s offensives particularly well, a surprise, given that event coordinators have to consistently deal with irrational and incredibly neurotic individuals with over-inflated views of their own importance. She was like a deer in the headlights, more shell-shocked than kicked into action. I’m not planning any major events in the near future, but when Gordon Ramsay wants “the fucking lamb sauce,” I don’t know if Marylynn is the one I want in charge! It wasn’t shocking that Marylynn was ultimately sent home (rumor has it Victoria’s eye infection was so contagious that she couldn’t be released into the big bad world as it might have prompted a second pandemic) but still a little disheartening that Victoria, Donald Trump’s 17th child out of wedlock, was able to act so abhorrently with impunity.

The first group date was one of the most entertaining segments of television I’ve seen on the Bachelor in a long time (not saying a whole lot since Peter’s season made me want to self-immolate half of the time but still.) The ladies were tasked with following in the footsteps of Chris Harrison (who showed that his 50 shades weren’t just in reference to quarter-zip sweater colors but he had previously written an erotic novel entitled “The Perfect Letter”), and composing their own passage of an erotic novel. Matt went first, and to say that Napoleon Dynamite has given more compelling stump speeches on the campaign trail really fails to capture just how unspectacular Matt’s delivery was. There was talk of chocolate cake in the kitchen and kissing of skin between suit and hairline (did he just reveal his Hillary Clinton pant suit fetish?), but for all the sexual arousal he was able to inspire, the ladies might as well have been in a Professor Binns History of Magic lesson.

Unsurprisingly, some of the ladies warmed to the task more than others… On the one hand, Serena C, who clearly likes being peed on or something, said “if there was one thing that I wouldn’t want exposed, my sexual preferences are it” whereas on the other, Katie and Victoria were about as wide open as South Dakota’s COVID restrictions and their chapters were the literary equivalent of being beaten over the head with Katie’s vibrator! Bri’s chapter was like a children’s book where the princess and the stable boy hold hands and live happily ever after and was followed up by a one-two punch from Victoria and Katie that sounded like a New York City rush hour there were so many beeps. I hope to one day hear the unredacted versions (although we may have to wait until the Statute of Limitations expires because I’m pretty sure half of what Victoria was saying was illegal!)

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. What are we going to do with her? Her date with Matt was cute, but her behavior since has been eerily reminiscent of a person who had only ever watched Clare’s season of the Bachelorette and so thinks that contestants just waltz away with their men at their discretion. This is The Bachelor sweetheart, Matt has to develop lukewarm flirtations founded on a bed of sexual curiosity with about 6 women, and then hastily propose to one of them despite having slept with the other two just days prior; how hard is that to grasp?! Sarah is acting surprised that Matt isn’t paying her exclusive attention, and strolled over to interrupt the evening group date with a serious “burn-the-hotel-to-the-ground” look in her eyes. Interrupting a group date is not unprecedented, but for someone who clearly watched Clare’s season, Sarah should know that you should NEVER go full creepy Blake Moyne and crash dates like Vince Vaughn is your boss.

Not a hot take, this has been floating around the internet for a couple of weeks, but Matt kisses with his eyes open. He also goes for the over-lip hoover suck, something I haven’t seen since the scream extractor was almost applied to Mike Wazowski:

The date crash was largely uneventful, however Sarah thought it appropriate to apologize for taking time on the date, something that DID NOT go over well with the broader group.

Victoria is severely lacking in a lot of departments (given her dress choices, it’s clear the only sty she has is the eye infection), but emotional intelligence might be her greatest deficiency. Victoria coming to comfort you in your time of need would be like Hugh Hefner serving up some candid advice on the value of celibacy or something. In the indelible words of Hermione Granger, “she has the emotional intelligence of a teaspoon” and that is generous.

She led the are-you-ok conversation after following Sarah out of the room with: “your situation must be serious, we were worried for you” but followed it up immediately by devaluing her issues entirely with: “it was a personal conversation on our time.” If Victoria was the surgeon slicing into Sarah’s self-esteem, then Katie showed up with a salt grinder and limes to compound her misery. “Is this about your insecurities?” is a brutal thing to say to anyone but not as brutal as “I encourage you to really just figure it out” like it’s something that you can just turn on and off.

Matt did his best to comfort Sarah, characteristically reacquainting her with the lip Hoover to dam her floods of tears. While Matt’s intentions were no doubt pure, saying things like “I will stop by here every day because I have real feelings for you” and “this relationship is really real and it means a lot to me” only served to work Sarah up into an even more fragile state… much more to come here later!

Serena P’s date was pretty unspectacular on the whole. Matt asked for her help “making a cheese board” because he had never made one before… literally that is like asking someone for help putting on a t-shirt, you just slap some cheese on a board. By this point in the season, I would generally be expecting to see some fire and passion from The Bachelor; but Matt? He’s about as charismatic as Serena’s cheese board. He says all the right things, appeases all the crazy girls with placeholder words of affirmation, but is a bit bland on the whole… Between his rock-hard abs and rather dull personality, I was half expecting the donkeys that interrupted his date to comment on the “nice boulder” that was sitting next to Serena!

Their dinner date was equally as unenchanting.  Matt’s opening refrain of: “you did well today” is not usually what you tell someone on a first date and Serena responded to her strong performance by claiming she was “falling into like with you.” This is a good line that is emblematic of the entire process. I literally think that to not get a rose on a 1-on-1 with Matt you would have to spit in his face and tell him he looks like he ate too much pasta for dinner last night.

I really didn’t enjoy the closing sequence of this episode, which was effectively an exercise in seeing how far the girls could debase themselves in bullying Sarah for a really minor indiscretion. Victoria was throwing more jabs than Muhammad Ali in his prime and the under ticket of really unsavory ladies hurling shit at Sarah included Kit and Serena C who characterized Sarah as “calculated, manipulative, toxic” – speak for yourself girl. I guess if you put 16 girls in a couch circle with a grievance, a couple of sacks of Franzia Sunset Blush and a scapegoat then that is what you get? It was really unpleasant watching all of the ladies pile on, but Katie surprisingly emerged as the one who was above the childish antics. Who would have thought the girl who showed up on night one with a dildo was the most mature girl in the house?

Sarah still left, although her departure, with 45 seconds of B-roll Chevy Suburban pulling out of the resort, absolutely REEKS of a late-season return. Til’ next week folks!

The Bachelor Week 2 Recap – Matt James

The first episode of Matt’s season seems like it was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Between an alarming armed insurrection against our nation’s legislative branch, a new 30-track Morgan Wallen behemoth dropping last Friday, and trying to figure out how to transfer cable and internet services to a new NYC address, I was unable to dedicate the kind of time I normally would to cross-examining minute details of the previous Mondays’ show. Unfortunate, it was. Star Wars jokes aside, The Bachelor is a consistent and wonderful safe haven, and Victoria’s heinous activity aside, last night was a welcome return to just the droids I was looking for. Yes, the first episode wasn’t one for the history books, but Matt was right back to reminding us why The Bachelor, no matter how Lukewarm, will always say “I am your father” on Monday nights!

This season is taking place at the Nemacolin Resort in Farmington, PA. Despite sounding like a cream to treat rheumatoid arthritis, the hotel and surrounding environs actually look pretty stunning. One thing of note is I am starting to sense a little bit of a geographic disconnect between the enormous white façade that we were treated to for the introductions, and the so-called “Matteau” which is where the ladies hang around while Matt is out cavorting with his lovers. Have they just ditched that initial building in favor of a less luxurious, cheaper option? It’s a little bit like having your first date at Nobu and then following it up with nothing but trips to Arby’s for unlimited crispy fish platters; it’s still good, but not really the same from an expectation and outcome perspective…

The first 1-on-1 date of the season was with Bri, a communications manager from San Francisco. I know that they’re all cooped up in the same resort, but since when has the entire cast of the show come out to watch the other contestants leave to go on dates? No wonder Matt was shaking when he was trying to buckle up Bri’s helmet before their ATV riding date! The date looked kind of fun, but I was a little concerned with Matt’s inability to steer the ATV in a straight line on what were incredibly straight trails. This was a first date, riding a powerful and dangerous vehicle, with a presumably inexperienced accomplice, not Fast and Furious, Farmington Drift; maybe exercise some caution? Matt proceeded to flip over one of the ATVs, no doubt a ploy to flex his impressive deadlifting capabilities in flipping it back over, and then the two dirt-spattered, adrenaline-addled lovers indulged in a wood-fired hot tub experience. Obviously, there was some wood that needed chopping and Paul Bunyan’s lesser known African American brother braved the fall weather, wasting no time whipping off his shirt and revealing a set of abdominal muscles that would have sent Leonidas and co. traipsing back to Sparta with their tails between their legs. They kissed, had dinner, and are perfectly cute and boring together.

While Matt and Bri were canoodling in the hot tub and pretending to eat food by the swimming pool, Victoria was responding to not a single soul, complaining incessantly about everything and anything.  

“I don’t feel comfortable in the group right now, I wanna spend more time with Matt and don’t want to be a part of this sorority”


“Even though I don’t like the other girls and I don’t want to spend time with them, at least I get to see Matt tomorrow”

and finally,

“I’m so authentic and real” – leave that kind of rhetoric to Madi Prewett and the burner accounts sweetheart!  

Victoria has taken on the burden of being the most hated women in America and seemingly taken to her new-found role like a fish to water. She lashes out with unfounded attacks, she sows unnecessary discord amongst the group at every opportunity, and she does stuff that has my scalp rubbed red-raw due to excessive and bemused head-scratching. Evicting yourself from your own room and sleeping on a communal couch to prove a point in an argument that you entirely started and unnecessarily perpetuated was the chef’s kiss. Victoria could cut off her nose to spite her face in the middle of 5th Avenue and still find a way to blame it on poor Marylynn. The couch she ended up sleeping on did look nice if that’s any consolation to her likely shell-shocked family members who are watching.

The producers were not going to let a little rain impact the first group date of the season, a wedding dress photo shoot with the gay, coked out Arnold Schwarzenegger-Rafael Nadal lookalike Bachelor photographer, Franco (below)

The women made aggressive moves on the dresses, and even more aggressive moves on Matt as they stood for their pictures underneath the wedding boughs. Victoria was characteristically toxic, charging to the front of the line when it wasn’t her turn and leaving Matt looking like he had just won the raffle prize for an all-inclusive, 10-day cruise with the Gorgon Medusa.  

The next portion of the date involved a game of pseudo capture the flag called “capture the heart.” I was very happy to see that none of the ladies mysteriously resurfaced high school athletics injuries and tried to dip the game like their male counterparts… I guess the path to additional followers is paved with good intentions and even better joint health! There was some excellent footage of the ladies spilling and tripping all over the place, and while they all seemingly embraced the hand they had been dealt, they were probably hoping to get painted like one of Matt’s French girls, not by their fellow contestants with paint-smeared handbags and bouquets as brushes!  The phrase “win as a team, lose as a team” clearly hadn’t made it into these girls’ repertories yet, as they unanimously claimed to have tried harder than any of their other teammates.

Early contender for quote of the season: “There’s frosting on my boobs”

A quick aside,

Matt is growing into this season nicely, but he needs to stop licking his lips and rubbing his hands together like he’s about to take down a box of chocolate eclairs every time the ladies are around. He’s even doing it in his stock internet images. This is The Bachelor; you’re not preparing to lead a game-winning drive at Lambeau field in a frigid January playoff game!  

The second 1-on-1 date involved Alexis Rose-doppelgänger Sarah. Their date was a nice airplane ride to take in the Fall colors over the resort. Sarah’s comment that it looked like the “first ever plane” wasn’t completely unfounded, and given her clear infatuation with her plane partner, you’d have thought that she was up there with Mr. Wright!  

Most first dinner dates involve questions like: “do you have any siblings?” and “which civilization do you like to start on in Age of Empires II?” (If they don’t say the Byzantines (elephants are SO elite) then its bathroom, stealth exit, then home.) On The Bachelor however, first date conversation pre-requisites include: exploring deeply personal traumas, things you haven’t spoken to anyone about before, and intimate family matters.

Sarah threw an ice bucket on any first date pleasantries dousing Matt not with the superficial and contrived small talk that usually characterizes the early episodes of this show, but with a frosty shower of the cold, hard truth. She talked extensively about her father’s battle with ALS and moving home to be his primary care-giver. If nothing else, Sarah’s presence on the show has already acted as amazing ALS patient advocacy (Donate here to the ALS Association if ya like), but I think she is an early, and very genuine contender.

I hate to keep turning this blog back around to Victoria and her suffocating energy (or the fact that she looks like she’s been sleeping on the couch for 2 decades rather than 2 nights), but the show to this point has been disproportionately geared in her direction and Matt needs to do something about it. This is Matt’s first major test and currently, if Victoria is a proverbial Tucker Carlson, then Matt is the guy who lives in the Villages in Florida, drives his fat ass around in his golf cart all day and tells you to “do your own research” when you explain concepts such as vaccination to him, because he got his ass gas lit big time with Victoria’s insane Marylynn conspiracy theories. The exchanges were part hilarious, part sad, as you saw Marylynn melt under the weight of Victoria’s completely evidence-less claims of bullying and manipulation.

Ending the episode with a medical emergency? In this economy? Sarah nearly fainted on stage in a conveniently placed plot device to push the Marylynn Victoria decision to next week… as if I wasn’t gonna watch anyways… you’re gonna have to try better than that to put me off!

Talk to you next week people!

Mattchelor Episode 1 Recap – Bachelor Season 25

One aspect of this season that is immediately apparent, is that Matt has no fucking clue what he’s doing. Being the Bachelor is a lot like being a heart surgeon… You can have former heart surgeons (Tyler C/Hannah B) whispering sweet nothings into your ear about how to approach the situation, read everything on the internet about which fat to cut, and have Chris Harrison (still clearly buzzing from his bromance with Ed and one of the best to ever scrub in) fist bumping and chest pounding next to you, but when it’s you in that moment, thorny scalpel in hand and faced with the prospect of breaking hearts, the operating room is a lonely place for a first-timer.

So, what is Matt doing as The Bachelor? There are a couple of conspiracy theories floating around as to why this absolute Adonis would up sticks and risk it all for a two-month engagement and a couple hundred thousand Instagram followers…

The first is that he was so devastated at the new legislation coming down from Albany banning broker’s fees for NYC apartments that he needed a new pastime since his prior favorite of relegating struggling post-graduates to diets of ramen and wonder bread with mystery fees is over. Another, is that with the Coronavirus lockdowns, Matt’s New York City child outreach activities (which btw made Mother Theresa look like a fucking couch potato) were halted and so he thought he could make the biggest difference to the city’s youth by chaperoning Kit instead. The third theory (that is definitely floating around the internet and I didn’t just frivolously make up over my second cup of tea this morning,) is that he “got ripped in four weeks” and wants to show everyone that 8 minutes of cardio and 2×10 bicep curls just don’t cut it anymore. In his workout montage my man was mixing in mountain climbers, reverse crunches, some off-brand pull-up bar activities that made my lats hurt just watching…  Whatever his ultimate reasoning, he fits the bill of a rocket-launcher male who has “struggled with opening up and being vulnerable in the past.” Just how damaged he is, we will just have to wait and see.

A quick aside, I have missed the Orbit ads like the sun misses the flower. Like the sun misses the flower in the depths of winter (S/O Knight’s Tale crew)

Now my expectations for this season did not start particularly high… Chris only referred to the first episode as “the exciting premier of the Bachelor.” If Chris can’t even work up some NEVER SEEN BEFORE and THE MOST DRAMATIC SEASON EVER energy then it doesn’t bode particularly well for the future… This being said, there do appear to be some interesting girls this season and whether Matt has the grit and guile to navigate them will be an intriguing test for him, and his ravenous viewers. Abigail is deaf, Magi is from Ethiopia, Anna the copywriter is really annoying, Sarah looks just like Alexis from Schitt’s Creek and so on and so forth. Going through the girls in exhaustive detail at this stage is a futile endeavor – rule number 1 of the Bachelor: NO emotional attachment until at least week 4 (except for Abigail – what a sweetheart.)

They really played up the new kid on the block thing right off the bat with Chris and Matt’s little Fireside Chat before the girls arrived. Chris certainly embraced his role as the soothing FDR-like figure, explaining what the New Deal was with the Coronavirus setup and starting to lay out how to build roads and bridges into these girls’ hearts. I was half expecting him to whip out the fabled classic: “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” but that would have been a lie, because Chris knew that Victoria was coming out of that limo and boy is she fucking scary.

There were two aspects of the automobile disembarkations that were particularly amusing to me, the first was the obese replica of the bird on the Twitter logo that was behind Matt as he greeted these ladies. The hotel itself is stunning, but I’m failing to see how this bird adds any real value to the otherwise magnificent décor. The second was Matt’s towering height in comparison to his diminutive potential brides. Matt’s stoop down hugs were eerily reminiscent of Hagrid trying to hug Harry after Gryffindor gets mysteriously gifted the House cup at the end of every year; or after Harry performs magic far beyond his meager learned capabilities and delivers victories in dark-wizard-duels or Tri-wizard-tasks. Matt is really tall.  

What is this fuckin bird doing?!

A few other observations from the girls’ exits:

Chelsea made up for her lack of hair by having the longest dress train in Bachelor history

Kristin really prosecuted the case with her line: “you have been found incredibly guilty of being fine” – that is pathetic

Serena, standing at a generous 5’2” brought a step to stand on and was still 3 inches shorter than him

Someone needs to tell Saleh that those are not goat feet, those are very much camel toes. (I was getting flashbacks to sloth girl – unfortunately they both befell the same fate and didn’t survive night one)

Emani displayed her inner realtor when she got out of the car, clearly physically incapable of looking at Matt due to the monstrous chateau behind them. I’m sure the broker fee would be pretty handy selling that bad boy!

Katie the bank marketing manager/dildo girl is getting fired for SURE after she’s done with the show. She all but admitted to being the female incarnation of Jeffrey Toobin with her “best friend” MJ the dildo during quarantine. “I strategized, and some of those girls are going to lose their minds because they didn’t come prepared.” Come on Katie, I’m watching this with my mother!  

When all the ladies had arrived, it was time for Matt to address the group before the first cocktail party. Clearly looking to get out ahead of things after seeing how Ivan was unceremoniously dumped for his atheism, Matt started out with a prayer wishing for universal strength amongst his would-be brides. Tayshia come get your mans!

The ladies started slowly filtering through, having short chit chats with Matt here and there. One interaction that was particularly entertaining was Kit giving Matt a New York City snow globe only to be interrupted by Victoria’s line “excuse me princess, but the queen is here.” I desperately wanted Katie to interrupt Kit with her dildo using the same line… There would have been something beautifully poetic about the princess being interrupted by a flashing, vibrating P. Regardless, you know the phrase a wolf in sheep’s clothing? I hope Kit doesn’t think she can hide her lupine tendencies underneath this fluffy white number (below) for the entire season… Her brewing feud with Victoria suggests she has some fight in her, and despite her trendy West Village roots, we’ll see if this wolf can take on Wall Street and pump and dump her competition en route to the top prize!  

Wolf in sheep’s clothing

Victoria is the most annoying character on the show by a long shot. “She is gross in every way” according to my mother, who watched her first episode ever last night. I do find it kind of hilarious that every single premiere episode someone goes to speak to the Bachelor twice and every other character bitches incessantly about it for the next 1-3 shows. Demi did it, Dale did it and it was Victoria’s turn to butt in to multiple conversations and then rub it in everyone’s faces while sipping a straw-less Aperol Spritz like a Neanderthal.   

Abigail ended up snatching the first impression rose in what was a truly heart-warming moment. It’s mind boggling to me that there are people who are able to read your lips as a substitute for listening. The only lips I can read are athletes telling other athletes to fuck off and even that can be difficult sometimes. She’s from Beaverton Oregon, and DAM was she looking fine last night! (I deleted and rewrote this line 4 times, it’s staying in!!)  

Deafinitely making an impression

There wasn’t anything spectacular that emerged from the first rose ceremony other that I’m fairly certain whoever is the Bachelor or Bachelorette has to employ some kind of method of loci sorcery to remember who the fuck some of these people are. I would get emotional that Alicia chasséd out the door, but I literally know nothing about her, the same applies to the rest of the girls who were axed before even speaking to their man. Victoria getting a rose was about as predictable as the sun rising in the east; the long suspenseful pause before the final rose wouldn’t have fooled the Bruins playoff rally towel that I often use to mop up spilled tea on my desk.

I was lukewarm about this season until I heard one silver-tongued lady react to additional contestants being introduced into the mix as: “random ass hoes coming into the house.” Paul Revere could only dream of delivering such an impactful refrain! One such “hoe,” is never been kissed Heather. Gets kissed one goddamn time and thinks she runs the show? You’re damn right she does. Buckle up people; the girls are getting nervous; the skittish are coming!

Bachelor Season 25 Preview – The Mattchelor

Hello wonderful Bachelor Stans and Stanettes! The collective sigh of relief heard across the United States after Tayshia’s season ended has given way to numerous mass nationwide episodes of foaming at the mouth… Whether this foaming was directly caused by the promotional materials of a topless Matt James chopping wood, or more general Bachelor franchise withdrawal, is unclear; what I do know is that the short wait in between Chris Harrison’s unscrupulous television jamborees is over, and tonight we get to once again desecrate our minds and bodies and subject ourselves to another season of quarantine Bachelor. No one really knows what this season will look like… will it be a repeat of the Bachelorette where we have to watch hours of B-roll filler showing the La Quinta in all of its sweaty mediocrity? Or will we be back to gallivanting around the globe, bemusing small town inhabitants in South America and shedding light on shitty American cities with liberally funded tourism boards (I’m looking at you Cleveland). Whatever happens, we can be sure that there will be none of the fraternal pleasantries shared by Tayshia’s men. These ladies mean business! Here are a few randomly selected ladies who either looked nice in their cover shots, or had interesting names:   

Alicia began pursuing her dream of becoming a ballerina at aged 13, approximately 10-years after most professional ballerinas first strap on a pink tutu and begin pursuing said dream… While she’ll be hoping Matt is the Romeo to her Juliet, the Pas to her Deux, if their initial interactions are not on pointe, then expect to see her grand jeté out of the door early on. It is notoriously difficult to stand out from the crowd in the early stages of any season, and the girls she’s coming up against aren’t the exalting crowds at the Dance Theater of Harlem to which Alicia is accustomed. I don’t love Alicia’s chances to stand out in this field; imagine she’ll be just another Bachelor ballet corpse when all is said and done.

Casandra hates it when people eat food off her plate, which ensures that she is indeed a human being and not a robot; probably a good pre-requisite for a social worker. It’s nice to have another social worker in the mix this year after Madison Prewett dodged Pilot Pete’s journeyed joystick last season. Casandra is probably thanking her lucky stars that Covid has forced the postponement of Matt’s parents’ vow renewal ceremony this year so she can’t befall the same fate as her professional predecessor – I still cringe at that date.

In 1994, Kaylee, Kayleigh, Kailey, Kaylie, Kailee, Kaleigh, Kaley, Kayley, Kayli and Kaily, were the ten most popular variants of the name Kaylee. Apparently Kaili’s parents didn’t give a shit about any of these and went for their own iteration. Kaili will certainly be hoping she’s the hostess with the mostest in Matt’s eyes.  

Dad wanted Jessica; Mom wanted Antonia; It’s not always rainbows and butterflies, its compromise that moves us along; their baby Jessenia is hoping that she will be loved by the end of this season!

Kit lives with her parents in the West Village, is a senior at NYU and hasn’t had a serious boyfriend since her first love in high school. WHAT THE FUCK IS SHE DOING ON THIS SHOW? She should be struggling to balance on a three-legged lawn chair in a fraternity basement, drinking warm keg beer and belting out Asher Roth songs verbatim, not vying for the heart of Tyler C’s buddy in an attempt to kick start her fledgling fashion label. Kit is a fashion entrepreneur, something that we have in common. People forget I sold two Yale Basketball T-shirts for $5 each after rising like a majestic salmon and snatching them out of the clutches of a seven-year-old kid at the 2015 Blue Madness pep rally. I’m not sure which of ESPN’s 30 for 30 or Forbes’ 30 Under 30 will come knocking first!

There are lots of interesting fun facts that appear on the contestants’ individual bio pages online, but Pieper’s offering that she “doesn’t like picnics because the thought of sitting on the ground and eating is not appealing to her” might be the worst of the lot. As a graduate student, her aversion to picnics is curious; I was under the impression that 75% of graduate school is sitting out in the quad in tortoise shell spectacles and rifling through New Yorker totes for crumbled Nature Valley bars… maybe I’m wrong? This Pieper will be hoping she doesn’t have her face Pied and have to head for an early shower!

It is always interesting to see successful professionals upend their careers to come on a show that is designed to catapult micro-influencers and aspiring models into the middle-echelons of Instagram cosmetics advertising. Kristin’s bio says lots of things about balancing career with love blah blah blah. As far as I’m concerned, she’s a front runner as she loves to “belt out classic Disney songs” during karaoke night. With this in mind, she’ll be hoping her and Matt’s relationship will bop to the top and not just stick to the status quo this coming season!

Carolyn’s bio was a bit wishy washy but my main takeaway was that she’s looking for a man who has a warm heart and is passionate about philanthropy. OK Carolyn, I don’t want to blow your cover and say the quiet part out loud here, but there are certain implicit characteristics of those who are “passionate about philanthropy” that you may be leaving out of your bio. Yes, you may like their philanthropic intentions, but there are the obvious positive externalities like philanthropists being really fucking wealthy as well… Saying you want to marry a passionate philanthropist is like saying you want to marry a Lululemon store attendant. While both may be indicative of warm hearted individuals, you’re really just in it for the 40% employee discount!  

My 2020 bingo card missed most of the groundbreaking international events that we were subjected to last year, and should act as no surprise that my 2021 card is off to a similarly poor start. You’re probably thinking “how could you omit an Ethiopian pharmacist who shares a name with ancient Zoroastrian priests vying for supremacy on the Bachelor?” well to my great regret, I unfortunately did. Magi seems awesome and I want her to win. She grew up in a small town in Ethiopia (before you ask, no, she is not one of Madonna’s adopted children) and alongside her pharmacist gig, runs a non-profit that sends shoes back to girls in her hometown. That’s kickass.

As a fairly prolific producer and promoter of infantile nicknames, I can’t see a world in which Illeana was not bestowed with the nickname “ill” in high school. Given that her most recent culinary creation as a health food developer was called “Funky Munky Energy,” you could be excused for thinking that “ill” was short for “illiterate” and not her aforementioned name; regardless, she’ll be hoping that her alimentary indulgences and creepily curly hair give Matt all kinds of romantic sickness! According to her bio, “Illeana would rather curl up on the couch with a glass of wine rather than hit the town and go barhopping” – funny that, as I could have sworn I saw her energizing the dancefloor at the Brass Munky pre-covid!

Happy Watching people! Subscribe for this season’s recaps in your inbox 🙂

The Bachelorette Finale

If the La Quinta is looking to use this season of The Bachelorette to attract future customers in search of a quiet couples’ haven or a radio silent bunker for business retreats, they really need to re-evaluate their security protocols. If Bennett, the least subtle person in the world, was able to infiltrate Tayshia’s compound with his dodgy knee in his snakeskin loafers then of course it wasn’t going to be a challenge for Ben to throw his hat back in the ring and vie for Tayshia’s heart once more. It’s the finale of the 16th season of The Bachelorette. Ivan, Zac, and chronic rule-breaker Ben are the three remaining men. Let’s jump in.

The Rose Ceremony followed what was an unnecessarily protracted conversation between Tayshia and Ben where Ben basically poured out every emotion he could muster up. The rose ceremony began somewhat uncomfortably between the three men… “Obviously you don’t see Brendan here today – things just didn’t work out” – Come on Tayshia, you’re not telling your kids that you and daddy are getting a divorce because he didn’t let what happens in Vegas stay there. No need to be so diplomatic, the remaining contestants are big boys (except Ben; Ben is really annoying). Ben asking, “what do you think is wrong with her?” when she grabbed Ivan for their little conversation was pretty much the dumbest question ever. Have a little self-awareness pal, you’ve shown up unannounced (dressed up like you’re something else), you don’t have to be the poster child for camo combat pants and married to Chad Kroeger to realize that things are a little bit Complicated here!

Tayshia and Ivan’s conversation was never going to end well, but Tayshia dropping the “I wish I could say there were a lot of red flags before this, but fundamentally religion is part of my beliefs?” WHERE THE HELL DID THAT COME FROM? Religion? Really? Religion was the breaking point? Does Ivan have some kind of Zoroastrian fire fetish? Is he in a blood-sucking, devil worshipping, Satanic sex cult? Maybe he couldn’t convince Tayshia to subscribe to his Koreshian religious cult of personality “Ivangelicalism?” I understand that Tayshia is a devout Christian (not that this means anything but she has some psalms in her Instagram bio), and not to get into the weeds about nuanced religious belief systems, but Tayshia’s prior divorce and her presence on a show that essentially glorifies polygamy, might suggest a level of denominational tolerance that wouldn’t preclude anyone from marrying her based on their beliefs? Faith means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and it isn’t my place, nor anyone else’s, to question how faith directs an individual’s decision-making, it’s just Ivan is a real sweetie and I’m struggling to see how religion became a wedge issue in an otherwise happy relationship. Interestingly, Ivan didn’t seem too surprised, or even disappointed that he got the chop… probably shouldn’t have spent their entire night in the Fantasy Suite using his physics degree to debunk Bible stories!

Tayshia’s family is cute as hell. Her dad in particular had his finger right on the pulse of what was going on. Tayshia lobbed him a real soft ball at the beginning “so Ben, where did you go to college?” Again, come on Tayshia, you’re not Sean Hannity interviewing Donald Trump and trying to galvanize your audience into thinking that light shines out of his every orifice – ask why he stripped naked in front of you, or why he can’t string four words together when he’s trying to express his deep feelings. All things considered, Ben did a pretty good job of selling himself to Tayshia’s family, but he needs to stop saying stuff like “She makes me feel unlike anyone has made me feel” and “I’ve never felt this way about anyone before” OVER AND OVER AGAIN. It’s also interesting how ego-centric Ben’s musings about Tayshia are. It’s always how she makes ME feel and how happy HE is about their relationship. Ben doesn’t ever elaborate on which aspects of Tayshia he is particularly drawn to, or how he envisions their life together… this came back to bite.

Zac has really grown on me this season and his performance with Tayshia’s family only reinforced this. There are contestants in this show who tell the bachelor or bachelorette what they want to hear, but this is not the case with Zac. Every time he is on camera, it’s as if he’s a dog who has just received a particularly juicy bone His body language is radiant, he can’t stop smiling and he looks so genuinely happy to spend even fleeting moments with Tayshia. At the beginning of the season, when I view it as my sole responsibility to dunk on all of the guys at every possible opportunity, I thought Zac was a McConaughey lite with a coke problem. But his battles with addiction, his ability to really compellingly articulate how he views his current life as a second chance, and most importantly the way that he genuinely cares for Tayshia made him stand out in a way that I wasn’t expecting at all.

Where Brendan would rather have braved X than look at wedding rings and acknowledge the proximity of a potential engagement to Tayshia, Zac embraced the wedding dance with open arms. The same could not be said of Tayshia… This was kind of predictable as we entered the inevitable pre-engagement phase where the producers are trying to invalidate all of the relationships at once in an effort to build suspense for the grand finale, but the constant cut away shots to her in the denim shirt saying things like “this is a lot,” “I don’t know what I think,” and “I’m really confused right now” were a bit much.

I am not a divorcee so this paragraph might be complete hogwash, but I thought Tayshia and Zac’s date provided an interesting glimpse at some of the existential insecurities that Tayshia is feeling about her relationships having been hurt by someone in the past. The same insecurities were abundantly clear with Brendan, who was so overcome by the prospect of having to propose to someone who he had even minor doubts about that he excluded himself (wisely) from the entire process completely. Tayshia clearly feels the pressure (not helped by her dad basically saying, “don’t fuck this up”) of having been married before, and the trepidation that comes with the hurt of divorce didn’t really materialize until this episode when shit started to get real. What I found most interesting from a psychological perspective (B dash in intro psych not a big deal) was how Zac, despite having been married before also, appeared less impacted by the uncertainties of remarriage because of his addiction issues and the new lease on life that his sobriety has afforded him.  He articulated beautifully how strongly he felt about Tayshia as an individual, not just how she makes him feel (take notes Ben), and how her insecurities about the future weren’t an issue for him because he was willing to grow and accommodate her wishes and pursuit of happiness alongside his.

After Ivan left to go back to life as a devout member of the Westboro Baptist Church, Tayshia’s choice was really obvious: Matthew McConaughey lookalike who fawns over you with the love and affection of a cat to a string; or guy who is hot, but can’t make up his mind how he feels about you until his status as the darling of Bachelorette Twitter comes in jeopardy.   

“I know what my heart wants and it’s not Ben” is definitely one of the coldest lines in Bachelorette history, and while I felt sorry for Ben when he was initially sent home, my patience for his indecision was finally up. It’s cute that he still wants Tayshia to be happy – “When you love someone, you want them to be happy” – I still maintain that this is how I feel about Vanessa Hudgens circa 2006 during the High School Musical Days – but it must have been some pretty shitty déjà vu getting flicked twice in the same week. Interestingly, Tayshia did the exact same thing to Bennett… Was her ex-husband named Ben or something because she seems hell bent on breaking guys-with-the-prefix: “Ben”’s hearts over and over again

With Ben out of the picture and Neil Lane awkwardly maintaining quarantine and wandering around the compound waiting to drop a ring off, it was time for Zac to make his move on the lady who his love for “transcends any physical beauty.” I didn’t have Zac out as a particularly scrutinous scholar of Aristotelean philosophy, but I guess he thinks that he can contravene his idea that “the soul never thinks without a picture.” Regardless, it was nice of the producers to go back to the same spot where Claire opened up Jason’s heart and then smashed it to pieces like the tablets they wrote their deepest darkest secrets on.

I’m not going to dwell on Zac’s speech for too long, by this point in the season you’ve read far too many of my peripatetic musings to want much more, but he really does seem to be wildly in love with Tayshia and I’m genuinely happy that they have ended up together. There was one heart-dropping moment when Tayshia, in response to a long soliloquy from her soon-to-be fiancé said, “I know that I told you that I loved you THE LONGEST PAUSE IN HISTORY it’s more than that” (to any country music fans, this is the exact narrative in the hit Russell Dickerson song “Love You Like I Used To” where he claims he doesn’t love this girl like he used to, he loves her more every single day) but it was quickly resolved and Zac didn’t even have the courtesy to put the ring on before savagely massacring her face.  

What a ride this season has been! Yes, I like the Bachelorette, but everyone who knows the inner workings of my soul is well aware that The Bachelor transcends all else. January 4th can’t come quick enough!

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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.