Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Episode 4, Part 2.

Continued from Part 1, naturally.

Michelle would like to start off her date by reminding us that it's HER DAY. Someday she is going to be the ultimate Bridezilla.

They get into a helicopter (two in one episode!) and land of the top of a building in downtown L.A. Michelle feels a little queasy because she's afraid of heights. What did I tell you about the one-on-one dates?? Brad points out a pool that's like, a million feet below them and explains that they're going to rappel down there. Dear producers: THANKS ASSHOLES.

They successfully rappel down the side of the building, and Michelle is scared at first and then elated and makes all the obligatory jumping off a building/leap of faith/love type comparisons. Michelle's adrenaline is surging and they kiss in mid-air and you can just feel her getting crazier by the minute.

They finally arrive at the pool, and Brad jumps in with all his clothes on and Michelle does likewise, because she would not want Brad to think she is not super spontaneous. Brad is shirtless, for the first time in this episode, I think (that long??), and Michelle makes him promise never to rappel off the side of a building with another woman, ever again. Which will be an easy promise to keep, Brad says. (Until he goes on the Bachelor again!)

They talk by the pool, and Brad tells Michelle how much he would like to meet her daughter. She asks him if he's worried about not finding someone again this time around, and he says that he would walk away, again, if the right woman's not there at the end. Aw geez, the viewing audience would love that one.

She tells him that it's hard to hear about the other girls who are going out with him, but she knows she's the only one for him. Or something. Brad looks very, very uncomfortable and...doesn't say anything. Awkward.

Back at the manse: Chantal and Stacey are a little freaked out by Michelle. Can't say I blame you.

Back at the pool, prior uncomfortableness forgotten, Brad tells Michelle how intense and like so real their Connection is. Michelle thinks the Connection is exciting, and beautiful, and scary, and at least one of those is definitely true. Brad presents Michelle with the rose, while viewers everywhere weep and gnash their teeth. Brad tells us that he could totally see himself having a future with Michelle, which I think means "the producers told me to read this off a cue card to hide the fact that they're totally keeping Michelle around for the dramaz."

Commercial. When we come back, we're at Brad's house, and his freaking THERAPIST is there. No. I cannot do this. I fast-forwarded through most of the therapy session, but I think the gist of it is: allow yourself to fall in love with multiple women at one time! That is such great advice, Dr. Jamie (or whatever the hell your name is)! Brad leaves the session refreshed, ready to release his inner asshole.

Cocktail party time! Tensions run high! Where is Chris to tell me it is the Most Dramatic Ever?

Brad pulls Shawntel embalmer aside, and she is looking super-cute, kind of Leighton Meester-esque, in her green dress. Brad is glad she's here. Their Connection is Understated, which is not as good as Intense and So Real. Shawntel gets Brad to pick her up in his arms and kiss her like they did while filming that movie, but unfortunately, this time nothing blows up.

Megan SHOES is wearing dreamcatcher earrings. Aren't you supposed to be some kind of fashion expert? Brad wants to get to know her better, but she has Walls. Walls are bad, and Brad should know, because last time he had Walls and it totally ruined his life. Gag.

Brad grabs Emily, and he has prepared a little picnic, just for the two of them, because the producers have told him that picnics are Emily's worst nightmare. All the other women are all of a sudden like OMG HE'S GONNA MARRY HER. How drunk are these people? The manse is a maelstrom of envy and bitterness. Like, watching your boyfriend make out with a bunch of other women? Totally fine. But a PICNIC? THAT IS JUST OUT OF LINE.

Brad picks a really Special spot for the picnic about five feet from the house. He thinks Emily deserves more than just a one-on-one conversation at a cocktail party, and he will do everything in his power to make her feel special while also making the other girls explode from jealousy. Emily has left presents for her little girl, one for every day she's away. Her daughter told her: mommy, if you're gone for a while, it's totally cool, because I like the gifts. Aww, so sweet.

Back inside, the girls are still talking about the freaking picnic and how that is TOTALLY NOT OKAY. Chantal starts to cry and goes off to find Brad. Her logical side is telling her: this whole thing is so stupid! (yes, Chantal, IT IS), but her heart is like, give it a chance. Chantal tells her fears to Brad and he says: "Please be confident in the fact that I am so wildly attracted to the fact that you're everything I have not been with in my past." Yeah, Chantal. Try and wrap your mind around that.

Rose Ceremony! Freaking finally. Chris bullshits the ladies about how difficult this is for Brad, because I guess they've gotta give Chris something to do now that Dr. Jamie has replaced him as Brad's shoulder to cry on. Chantal, Britt, and Michelle are safe. Here's Brad! He gives ANOTHER freaking speech about how hard this is. Brad, Chris just did that. Moving on.

Roses go to: Ashley S, bootylicious Alli, dead husband driveway picnic Emily, Leighton Meester Shawntel embalmer, barely legal Lisa, Jackie, Marissa, and...


45 minutes of dramatic music plays and the final rose goes to...Ashley H! Like all that suspense, Ashley? That's what you get for calling a totally awkward situation awkward.

Stacey, Lindsay, and Megan SHOES are going home. Megan goes to give Brad a hug, and he says, "come here to me, please", which, I will take this opportunity to point out, is one of the most awkward things ever. And Brad is a repeat offender. Why not just give the woman a hug? Do hugs require instructions now? And why specify that she must come to you? Are you worried she's going to lunge into Chris Harrison?

Megan decides it was probably the Walls that doomed her Bachelor Journey, but she does not cry. Proud of you, Megs. Stacey wants to find the right guy and is sick of dating. Lindsay cries a little, and I didn't notice this before, but her gold dress is gorgeous. Also, Lindsay is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen on television. Seriously. I'm thinking she can do a little better than a wooden old man who says awkward, inexplicable things like "come here to me".

Back at the mansion: Brad reminds the ladies that this is so, so, Real. Super duper Real. The Realest thing ever. They toast. To being Real! Next week: Vegas baby! Brad gives Shawntel a Fendi purse and the other women die of jealousy. Race car date! Everyone cries. And MICHELLE IS SCARING THE HELL OUT OF ME.

Be there.

Episode 4, Part 1: Your Basic Nightmare.

Okay, let's talk about the elephant in the room. And no, I don't mean Emily's Dead Husband, or Brad's stupid Past. I'm referring to the fact that Brad is waaay older than most of these women. Brad Womack is 38; the oldest woman chosen for this season, at 32, was crazy Melissa, who went home in week 2. The remaining women's ages are as follows:

Alli: 24
Chantal: 28
Linsday: 25
Megan: 30
Ashley H.: 26
Lisa: 24
Ashley S.: 26
Emily: 24
Michelle: 30
Shawntel: 25
Britt: 25
Jackie: 27
Marissa: 26
Stacey: 26

For those playing along at home, this means that, if Brad were reasonably virile at 14, he could have fathered some of these girls. To put it another way: when Brad was graduating from high school, Lisa was four. Ew.

Speculation on the internets is that this bunch was actually chosen for Chris Lambton, the runner-up from Ali's season and the audience favorite to be the new Bachelor. Chris is only 33. Unfortunately for all of us (but fortunately for Chris' dignity), Chris refused to be drawn into Mike Fleiss' web of lies and deceit, aka this show, and we get Brad Womack the re-tread. And the women get some dude who is, well, old enough to be their father. Although he does have some mighty nice pecs.

The age difference isn't immediately apparent from watching the show. Remember those little graphics that used to appear when each woman showed up on the screen, with her name, age, profession, and hometown? Well, this season the graphic is still there, but the ages have been conveniently left off. Veerrry sneaky. Someone decided to ask Chris Harrison about this, and he responded, in his blog:

"Speaking of age, many of you have asked why we aren’t showing how old the women are this year. I find it interesting their age makes such a difference to you. Not sure why age would make a difference in finding love. There actually is a technical reason the ages aren’t on there this season: We changed the graphics up a bit and they just don’t fit."

Look I fixed it!! Yeah, I'm calling bullshit on this one. So if you're watching the show and you're like - "why do I get the weird feeling that Brad is babysitting??" - well, now you know.

This week I'm drinking a celery martini, because I had a little taste last night and ever since then I've been totally craving one. If a celery martini sounds weird as hell to you, I just have to say - you are right. But it's also delicious. Don't knock it until you've tried it.

Celery Martini:
3 oz celery and bay leaf infused vodka
.75 oz dry vermouth

Shaken, not stirred. That is quite a bit of booze. Should last me through at least three or four commercial breaks. Don't forget to enjoy your weird-ass vodka drinks responsibly.


In the teasers: Did someone ask for an extra helping of CRAZY? Because this episode is ladling it out. This is gonna be awesome.

Lest you even think about changing the channel, we start with the DRAMA right away. Michelle wakes up with a black eye! Who the hell wakes up with a black eye? Did she punch herself in her sleep? I probably would, if I were Michelle.

Michelle confronts the women and actually says: "I wanna know who kicked my ass in my sleep". Oh, The Bachelor. Just when I thought I'd seen everything. I can never quit you.

Michelle decides that since she woke up with a black eye, she DESERVES a one-on-one date. She WILL get a one-on-one date, and Brad WILL kiss her eye and make it better. She is so creepy and so eerily confident as she says this that I think I actually shuddered. Remember that scene in The Little Mermaid where Ursula rises from the sea and she's all oily and huge and scary and she's all like TREMBLE BEFORE ME PEONS and your six-year-old self just totally lost it? It's like that.

Chris comes in to tell us the rules, which everybody freaking knows already, and he is wearing...a cardigan? What the hell? Did he just come from knocking back a few at the pub with Mr. Rogers? (Yeah yeah, I know he's dead. But Chris is wearing a cardigan. Seriously.)

Chris delivers the first date card and it's for Chantel. Michelle voiceovers that she and Chantel are SO DIFFERENT and if Chantel comes home tonight she will be SO SURPRISED becase how could Brad possibly like them both? Yeah Michelle, because all the people I've ever dated have been EXACTLY THE SAME. It's the same old Bachelor schlock. More sleepytime ass-whuppings, please.

Brad arrives to pick up Chantel and Michelle sees this as a golden opportunity to seize attention for herself. Because, HELLO, black eye!! Brad shifts awkwardly and says - "that's, uh, that's...strange" because what the hell else do you say to someone who just got a black eye in their sleep? Ashley S. voiceovers that she wishes she were the one who gave Michelle the black eye. I love Ashley S. so much.

Suddenly the ladies all run outside because HOLY SHIT A HELICOPTER! This is so amazing!! Wait, aren't they supposed to have seen this show before?

Brad and Chantal get into the helicopter. They have a conversation in the helicopter and it goes like this:

Chantel: "Woww."
Brad: "Yeah, wow."
Chantal: "Cool."
Brad: "Amazing."

They land on...Catalina Island!! Brad has been waiting to take Chantel on a one-on-one for SO LONG, or for at least several days. They are going to put on wet suits and walk on the BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN. Chantel: SHUT UP. It turns out this is a huge problem for Chantel, because she is...scared of water? Scared of deep water? One of those things. Very scared. What the hell is up with these producers? I guess when you fill out the questionnaire to go on the show, they're all like, what is your worst fear? And if your worst fear is, say, being trapped in a cave full of Elvis impersonators...well, that's your one-on-one date. Those sick bastards.

Chantal is terrified to go into the water but she HAS TO DO IT because if she doesn't, Brad will think she's not willing to take chances for him, and she will die alone. I don't have time to point out how twisted this show is, so I guess we'll just move on. We get some underwater shots, complete with Darth Vader breathing and slimy seaweed columns, and...I can hardly blame Chantel. This is pretty creepy. But she's doing it because BRAD IS WORTH IT. She and Brad hold hands and frolick happily on the ocean floor. Happy music. Chantel changes her mind and decides that facing her fears is Amazing. Chantel and Brad try to kiss but they're wearing huge diving helmets, so the front of the helmets just clang together and it is the dumbest thing ever. Chantel's ready to Fall in Love. She could totally see herself being Chantel Womack, which she has already written in her notebook 700 times. Murky water. Slimy seaweed. Ick.

Back at the manse: Michelle STILL HAS A BLACK EYE. At this point, she is not so much an attention whore as an attention black hole, drawing all attention into her dark center, from whence it can never return. The next date card is for: Ashley S., Stacey, Lindsey, Britt, Megan, Allie, Lisa, Ashley H., and Jackie. Michelle voiceovers that if she doesn't get a date this week, she will punch Brad in the face. Michelle has not read "How to Win Friends and Influence People".

Brad and Chantel go to...actually, I don't know where they go, but they wind up at a couch, in front of a fire pit, with a couple of tents in the background. And lots of tiki torches. I guess there was a special at Garden Ridge. Chantel quickly pronounces it to be Amazing and the Most Romantic Date Ever. ( Do I have to finish my martini, or is that only when Chris Harrison says it?) She also says "it's like something out of your wildest dreams", but I don't see Alan Rickman there so I guess she's not talking to me. Chantel was made for this show. She is a fountain of superlatives and drinking-game words. Also, she is afraid of everything. Now she is afraid to open up to Brad because she's been divorced and doesn't want to get hurt. They talk for a while and decide that they have both learned so much, and now they want to find Love and Marriage and the Right Person. Chantel is Falling.

Chantel: I like you a lot.
Brad: I like you a lot, too. No doubt about it. Absolutely, no doubt about it.

For reals. He actually said that. Brad may be a man of a few words, but he is not afraid to say them over and over and over again.

Back at the Manse: Michelle has summoned up a storm, which is waiting to destroy Los Angeles in the event she does not get a date this week. She whines to sweet Ashley S., who always seems to get stuck listening to everyone's problems, that she is NOTHING LIKE Chantal. NOTHING AT ALL. Like, the only similarity between them is the fact that they are both HUMAN BEINGS. Except that Michelle is 400 years old and can set things on fire with her mind. Because of this lack of similarity between herself and Chantal, Michelle can't sleep, can't eat, and is currently experiencing MORE SUFFERING THAN ANYONE ELSE HAS EVER EXPERIENCED, EVER. She asks Ashley S. to leave, so she can cry. Alone. In the rain.

Back in tiki-tent land, Chantel apologizes for slapping Brad. Brad's totally cool with it. He likes the playful vibe between himself and Chantal. It is Real. He gives her the rose just as Michelle's storm rumbles in. They talk for a while and then Brad says, "will you please quit talking and just kiss me?" These are the magic words. It is makeout time. It starts raining and they re-locate to one of the tents. Chantel says "thank you God, for the rain!" and back at the mansion Michelle looks into her crystal ball and seethes.

A Hummer limo comes to pick up the ladies for the group date, and they arrive at the studio of...Dr. Drew!!! Who? Brad explains that they are at the studios of "The Famous Loveline Radio Show", which is almost as famous as "The Band Train". Ashley S. gasps, because I guess she is the only one in this bunch who has actually heard of this show. Brad tells the ladies they can ask Dr. Drew anything they want about luurve, and then talks about how he went to THERAPY and learned to OPEN UP. Drink four times! In one sentence! He thinks this date is a totally awesome idea because it will give the ladies a chance to Open Up in a "Safe Space". Yeah, knowing that thousands of strangers are privy to my conversation always makes me feel safe.

Brad meets Dr. Drew and That Other Guy On the Show Who is Not Dr. Drew. He says he's been a huge fan ever since he first heard about this show yesterday. While Brad chit-chats, the ladies wait in a sound-proof room and drink beer. Stacey says that she's nerrvous, by which I think she means "already drunk".

Back at the manse, Michelle complains to Emily (hi, Emily!) about maybe not getting a date. Everything about Michelle is intense: intense hair, intense chin, intense still-kinda-black eye. I want my mommy. Or maybe a beer.

Back at The Famous Loveline Radio Show, Other Guy asks if the girls are all physically attracted to Brad. The girls are all like, omg yes, because how could anyone not be attracted to Brad? Except for that Madison girl, but she was a crazy vampire. Brad says that he's never, ever in his life cheated on someone, and I am just basking in the post-martini glow and in the delicious irony of this. I guess it's not technically cheating if all 14 of your girlfriends know about each other. Dr. Drew asks for a show of hands: who's cheated? He points out that everyone talks about being cheated on, but nobody will admit to having cheated, which is true. There is a Suspenseful Silence and finally Stacey raises her hand. Dr. Drew asks her why she did it, and all the other women pick up rocks to stone her. No, but they do paste some pretty superior looks on their faces.

Stacey's answer is: hey, I was drunk. I was in college. The other girls and Dr. Drew are all judgy mcjudgerseon, but Brad appreciates her having been honest and is glad she Opened Up. Megan wants to know: what's Brad's Type? Brad knows exactly what his type is and that is: he doesn't have a type. He wants to find someone he can Be Himself with. Preferrably someone with dark hair and a nice ass.

Dentist Ashley admits that she is pulling back a little because it's hard to tell how Brad feels. Brad feels this is a good time to issue a dire warning that anyone who does not Put Themselves Out There will be summarily rejected. Then Britt gets a little love from the producers; soft, sappy music plays as she tells Brad, and the thousands of listeners of this show, that she's only ever gotten five or ten minutes with him, and she feels so much pressure to make those 5-10 minutes perfect, and she wants to just Be Herself. Brad wants to Be Himself, too, and Britt has totally said the magic words, and he makes a mental note to make out with her later.

The after-party is at Brad's place. Wait, no rooftop pool? Everybody's chillaxin in the hot tub, and a drunk Stacey drunksteals Brad for a little alone time, which is Ashley H's cue to start FREAKING OUT. More on that later. Then Brad is hanging out with Alli the bootylicious when sweet Ashley S. comes to steal him. Alli is like, whatever bitch, we just sat down, and Ashley says "I'm sorry", in like, the cutest, tiniest voice possible, and Brad can no longer resist. Alli is pissed, naturally, and Ashley tries to give her a hug as she walks away but Alli wants none of it. This show is so weird. Ashley barely has time to tell Brad how insecure she feels before Jackie comes to steal him. Brad, the guy who signed up to be on a show where he dates 30 women simulatenously, still manages to be surprised at being surrounded by all these agressive women. He says he LOVES how eager they are to spend time with him, but he kinda sounds like he's gonna cut someone.

Back at the hot tub of envy and desperation, Ashley H. voiceovers that "I think like, fear and frustration are my two top emotions right now." Most romantic date ever!!

Back at the manse. A date card arrives and fortuntunately for the fate of everyone in the universe, it's for Michelle. Her chin gets even more intense, if that were possible, and she's all like, ladies, I wish you the very best, but I'm gonna win and Brad and I are going to ride off into the sunset and I HOPE YOU ALL DIE.

Aside: I was capturing screenshots and I just realized...Michelle and Gaston, from Beauty and the Beast, have the same chin. Don't believe me? Check this out:

It's THE SAME. I don't know what to make of this. I don't know how Michelle manages to remind me of every Disney villian ever, simultaneously. I'm gonna need time. And a lot more beer.

Back at the hot tub of DRAMAZ, the girls are having a drunken argument about who is more upset about the fact that they're all sharing the same boyfriend. Meanwhile, Brad's hanging out with Britt and she admits that she has a crush on him. Aww. I miss crushes. Although I'm not quite sure why, because when I think "crush", I think "painful, unrequited junior high angst." In Britt's case, things turn out a little better, because the big confession ends with her and Brad sitting on a sofa, sucking face. (Remember when people said "sucking face"?) Also, Britt? It kills me to write this, because I think you are adorable and I love that you write a food blog, but: nobody over the age of 12 should wear heart-shaped hoop earrings. Unless you're a hooker.

We cut back to Ashley H FLIPPING OUT because she DOES NOT WANT TO SHARE. She WILL get the alone time. Dun nuh nuh nuh nuh. Ashley H, you do crazy okay. But I miss Michelle.

Ashley wraps herself in a towel, preparing for her assault on Brad's hillstop stronghold of tonsil hockey. (I can't figure out the weather on this date. Supposedly it's cold, since we see a patio heater going. And Brad's wearing a hoodie. But why are all the women in bathing suits?) She arrives just in time for the end of the make-out session. Say it with me: awkward. Ashley tells Brad how hard it is to watch other women dating her boyfriend.

Brad: But it could be fun, and exciting, right? (Wtf??)
Ashley: For you, yeah, absolutely.

Truest thing ever said on this show, ever. Look, I know the producers are trying to character assasinate Ashley H or whatever, but let's take just a moment and recognize how true this is. The conversation continues: Ashley realizes she signed up for this bullshit, but she still has feelings for Brad and is having trouble with the fact that he's all over the place with all these other chicks. She wants to withdraw a little and protect herself, but Brad won't let her because he's contractually obligated to lead all these women on. Then he decides he's gonna give Ashley H. the rose to reassure her. Or maybe he's not, and the producers just want us to think that because they are manipulative bitches. Whatever.

Cut to them all hanging out in the hot tub, and Brad is getting ready to present The Rose, and Ashley H is like, so awkward! because everyone's staring at Brad like they want to devour him, and Brad's all like, what's awkward? Ashley, I want to know what you think! Which is supposedly thoughtful and caring, but actually isn't at all because it totally puts her on the spot and they all sit there and stare at each other for a few minutes while the hot tub bubbles noisily. Then Brad steals Britt away, and gives her the rose instead, because apparently his love is so fickle that saying the word "awkward" can totally change its course. I'm not sure I've said this before, in so many words, but: Brad is dumb. Even though I know this is all producer machinations: Brad is dumb.

In commercials: Matthew Perry is back. Yeah, I know I already blogged about this, but: sign me up.

The next day, Ashley H is still emotionally distraught, because she's part of a TV show that is specifically designed to make women emotionally distraught, and the other girls are trying to comfort her while Michelle evilly paints her nails. Because it's HER DAY, like I guess on the day when Michelle has a one-on-one date nobody else is allowed to TALK about anything else, and then, to make it even worse, Brad arrives and he wants to talk to Ashley H. He asks Michelle if it's okay, and she says it's fine but she's already murdered them both with her eyes. Brad takes Ashley outside while the other girls try to assure Michelle and her chin that it's still their Special Day.

Brad talks to Ashley H. about how awesome their connection is and how scared he is that he'll lose it. Ashley H. is scared too, but she doesn't know why. Helpful hint: MAYBE IT IS BECAUSE YOUR BOYFRIEND IS DATING 13 OTHER WOMEN. Somehow Brad bullshits Ashley into feeling better about what they have, which is good because Michelle is waiting and her fountain of crazy runneth over.

Back in the living room, Michelle and MichelleChin are frustrated that Ashley H is taking away so much of HER TIME. Chantal awesomely points out that Michelle caused a little scene on the Gustavo date, thereby stealing a lot of time for herself. Did I say anything bad about Chantal before? I take it back. I love Chantal.

Michelle voiceovers that if she doesn't get a rose on her date because of Ashley H's dramatics, she's gonna elbow Ashley in the face. Wouldn't punching be more efficient than elbowing? Also, aren't you going to be on a flight home, if that is the case? Never you mind. Michelle's scary-ass rage will find a away. Here's a picture to haunt your dreams:

Yikes. Brad comes back to get Michelle and even her eyebrows are intense. This is gonna be good. And by good I mean scary. Hold me.

Stay tuned for part 2!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Episode 3: Shit Just Got Real.

So, after reading last week's blog, Kassie suggested I set down some ground rules for a Bachelor drinking game. Here's what I came up with:

Drink Once:
Falling in love, Falling for Brad, metaphorical falling of any kind
Any reference to Brad being Different, Brand New, or a CHANGED MAN

Drink Twice:
Brad is shirtless.
One of the women cries.
Hot tub.
"Leap Of Faith"
"Open Up"
"Here for the Right Reasons"
"Fairy Tale"
"Not here to make friends"

Drain your entire drink for:
"Go home in tears", or
"Most (DRAMATIC/SUSPENSEFUL/SHOCKING) (rose ceremony/decision/hot-tub makeout sesh) (IN BACHELOR HISTORY/EVER)"

Let's see how we get on.

Note: By "drink" I mean take a sip of your drink, not a big ol' gulp. I mean, I guess you can take a big ol' gulp if you really want to. But you've been warned. And I shouldn't need to tell you, but: enjoy the Bachelor drinking game responsibly. That is, if you start to feel your internal organs begin to fail: please stop.

I am drinking my new bachelor cocktail, naturally. And eating a delicious and variegated meal of: re-warmed chicken nuggets, leftover pizza, and half a meatball sandwich from Jason's Deli. It is truly an embarrassment of riches.

In the teasers: Michelle is LIKE SO CRAZY. She actually says: "In the end, it will just be me and Brad. In Tahiti. Practicing making babies." Holy shit, somebody say "journey". I need a drink NOW. Emily struggles to tell Brad her story. The other women cry. (Does stuff in the teasers count? I decide it counts.) Also, one woman sees through all this bullshit and wants to go home.

Back at the mansion, Chris summons all the ladies to the living room to remind them how EMOTIONAL last night was. (I forgot what happened last night. Oh yeah - those dramariffic girls nobody cared about got sent home. Super EMOTIONAL. Also: why didn't I add "emotional" to the list?) But it's only going to get more EMOTIONAL from here. Chantal voiceovers that there are "normals" and crazies" in the house. I think by this she means there are some women in the house who are crazy, and others who are SUPER CRAZY. And then there is Michelle, who has been marinating in crazysauce and then lovingly deep-fried in a vat of insanity.

Chris warns that not everyone will get a date with Brad, so, "when you get time with him, use it wisely." Aka: "when you get time with Brad, act as crazy and desperate as possible, because this show's ratings depend on it." Chris is wearing the same blue shirt that clashes with the wall. Does he only have one outfit? Or maybe Chris has a whole closet full of identical outfits, because he is one of the Berenstain Bears.

The first date card is for Ashley S., and it says: Ashley! Let's find our love song! If this date is karaoke, says Ashley, she will just daaah.

Brad picks Ashley up at the mansion, accompanied by the jealous and creepy stares of the other women. Michelle thinks that Brad needs to be with a Strong, Confident, and Loving woman. The other girls are NOT RIGHT for Brad, by which I guess she means: not afflicted with my particular brand of insanity. "I'm not gonna lie. I HATE them," says Michelle, and suddenly I love her. She has passed right over from CRAZY into SUPER CRAZY, past legitimately comittable and on to the best thing to ever happen to this show. You make your evil pronouncements, Michelle, and dip your hair into the pool evilly, and I will sit here and be entertained. Bless you.

So far my drinking game is turning out to be an absolute failure. Darn you, Bachelor producers and cast, and your expanded vocabulary! No matter. I have downed an entire glass of champagne anyway. You don't OWN me.

The reason he decided to take Ashley S on this date, Brad says, is because, when he first looked at her, "my nerves went away". He feels so comfortable with her, which I guess is not unusual considering his newfound lack of neuroreceptors. This, the comfortableness (or maybe complete absence of sensation) is a quality he is looking for in a Wife. Yayy, drink.

Turns out they are going to a recording studio! And they're going to like, record stuff! Ashley is freaking out because she knows her accent is like, really charmin' (it is, Ashley! it is!), but her singing voice is not so good. Singing in front of other people is Ashely's lifelong fear, which is why the producers, who are the spawn of Satan, have chosen her for this date.

The song they're going to sing is Kiss From a Rose, by Seal. This song was really meaningful to Ashley and her late father, and she is suddenly excited to be butchering it in a professional recording studio. Brad voiceovers that he can't sing, either. Uh-oh. They start singing and...boy howdy. They were not kidding. Brad says that the experience is "nerve-wracking", which is clearly a lie because he DOESN'T HAVE ANY NERVES. The poor man in the recording booth pronounces it "dreadful", and urges them to "concentrate a little more". Somehow I don't think that will help.

Brad and Ashley concentrate. Their last attempt is just as terrible as the first, although somewhat louder. Brad says he picked the perfect girl for this date, because nobody else could sing as badly as him. He feels so Comfortable around Ashley, and I'm kicking myself for not adding "comfortable" to the list. Brad has one more surprise for Ashley, and it is...Seal! Actually singing the song they just destroyed!

Man, Ashley S is so stinking cute. They watch cutely as Seal sings. Ashley thinks the date is Perfect and she is starting to Fall for Brad and it's Amazing and I imbibe deeply. Yay, Ashley. Ashley thinks it's important to tell Brad about her father's death because this is the Episode Where People Tell Brad Things. Commercial.

Bonus: Much has been made of how much older Brad is than the women on this season. He's 38 and apparently the oldest girl left is 30. Ashley looks like she's wearing one of those crazy bands. You know, the rubber bands that are shaped like animals or whatever? That you put on your wrist? My six-year-old cousins get super excited about those. How old is Ashley, anyway?

Post commercial: Brad and Ashley chill on the rooftop of a building (what is it with this show and being on top of things?) and it is Romantic and Perfect and Amazing. Ashley tells Brad that the song choice reminded her of her dad, because they used to always sing that song together, and that now it's even more important because he passed away. Brad is sweet and sympathetic and touches her leg a lot. You guys, Ashley S. is so cute. I guess I should tell you that she is my favorite, crazy bands and all, which probably means she is doomed. Sorry, Ashley.

Back at the mansion! Date card! DATE CARD!!!! If Michelle's name is on this date card that will mean she doesn't get a one-on-one date and she will LIKE FLIP OUT and boil some bunnies. Keep it up, Michelle.

Date card is for: Lindsey, Shawntel embalmer, Britt, Kimberly, Sarah, Chantel Slapper, Ashley H., Lisa, Stacey, Marissa, and Michelle. The message on the card is "Love Hurts" (just like this show!) and they all GASP and Michelle is PISSED.

Back on the rooftop, Brad thanks Ashley for Opening Up and gives her the rose. He can totally see her being his wife and she thinks it's so Perfect and Romantic and my drinking game is so full of win right now. They slow-dance, and Brad says a lot of nice things about Ashley without using the word "amazing", and I swell with pride. Kissing. Oh, and then they say "perfect" three more times. Commercial.

The next morning, the 12 chosen ladies all pile into a church van. Everybody hates group dates. Brad is excited about this date because he wants to figure out which of the ladies likes to get down and dirty and physical. He's an active guy, y'all, and he wants a wife (drink!) that does the same thing. I can't stop giggling. Thank you, bachelor producers, for this thinly disguised extended metaphor. Brad asks, "how is everybody?" and everybody is "woo!!". Then something blows up and a bunch of guys attack Brad and he dies and the show is over.

(Except for the funeral special. It is called "When Love Dies", which incidentally was also the name of a Sweet Valley High novel.)

No, Brad doesn't die. He takes out all of his attackers with a shovel and says "just another day at the office!", which I take to mean that Brad owns some pretty intense bars. The ladies are all like, omg you so sexy!!, and Brad explains that they are going to film their own action adventure movie called "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Michelle."

They film a series of scenes where things EXPLODE and there are NINJAS and I wish the Bachelor was ALWAYS LIKE THIS. Mike Fleiss, are you listening? (Also: why didn't I put the word "ninjas" in my drinking game?) Michelle wishes the ninjas would like, kidnap some of other girls and put a bag over their head and take them to the desert. Whooooa, Michelle. You were funny in the pool, but now you are FREAKING ME OUT. Next thing you know, you'll be driving to Florida wearing an adult diaper. Michelle films her scene and destroys some people with the power of her psychotic rage.

Back at the manse. Date card time! Madison really wants the date, which means she won't get it. Don't worry, honey. You are a whole sack full of crazy and the producers would be stupid not to keep you around for at least a few more episodes. The date card is for Emily and she's worried about having to tell Brad the Truth about her daughter and her dead husband.

Back to the movie set. Shawntel gets to make out with Brad (see, I told you there would be making out!) and the director has them shoot the take like, 17 times because it's guaranteed to push Michelle over the precipice into the Grand Canyon of Crazy.

Sho nuff, Michelle is jealous as hell and predicts that when she kisses Brad it won't be scripted: it will be Sensual, Sexy, Slippery (slippery? really??) and many other words brought to you by the letter S. She promises that fireworks. are gonna be going off, and motions helpfully to the background, where said fireworks will be. Oh, Michelle. You light up my life with the brilliance of your CRAZY.

Brad and Shawntel make out, again, and Michelle covers her face with her hair because she is FIVE. Commercial. I go ahead and make myself a damn LIT, because there is a whole 'nother hour of this.

The afterparty is on the roof of something! It has a pool! No one is surprised. They all jump in the pool and toast and it's so amazing. Chantal pulls Brad aside for some alone time. Chantal starts to cry. She feels like every time she has something Special with Brad, one of the other 16 girls who are dating her boyfriend has the same experience. She also says something about Brad being Different. You are schnockered now, which is good because Chantal lays one on us: her birth father abandoned her, and she tried to get back in touch with him years later, only to discover he was dead. Holy crap, this episode is for real: dead fathers, dead husbands...Brad handles this one well. He's a bit dumbfounded (so much drama!), but he and his pecs are sweetly comforting. You are a beautiful man, Brad. Chantal feels a Connection and she's Falling and they kiss and I think it's kind of sweet. Damn you, show.

Back at the manse, Emily unfolds to the ladies her Tale of Woe. Her husband (or was he just her fiance? Should I be calling her Dead Fiance Emily?) died in a plane crash on the way to a race. Shortly afterwards, she found out she was pregnant. The ladies cry, and I tear up too (damn you, show!!), although fortunately I have a cat and some delicious cheese to comfort me. Emily's worried about telling Brad.

Back at the pool: races! Chicken fights! Jealousy! Basically: if you were nostalgic for junior high, here it is. Bootylicious Alli is having some alone time with Brad and Michelle creeps up on them and is watching all creepy-like. Alli is like, "you have to be like, oh, let's watch football, and then go make out", and I'm thinking this sounds like the perfect relationship, and Michelle comes in and is just like, hanging around and drumming her fingers on things and it's real awkward. Brad finally succumbs and takes Michelle away and Alli voiceovers that Michelle is EVIL and I'm kind of in your camp, Alli. Entertaining, but EVIL.

Switching to beer. Southern Star Pale Ale, you complete me. Let's watch football and then go make out.

Michelle has some alone time with Brad. She seduces him with the power of her evil vibes and they kiss and some Evil Vibes music plays. Also, Brad: your giant tattoo is totally distracting. There is plenty to look at without the huge-ass cross on your back. Michelle voiceovers about how all the others ladies need to leave like RIGHT NOW because Brad belongs to HER and I realize: Michelle is the evil boyfriend-stealer from Sweet Valley High. Actually, there are so many similarities between this show and Sweet Valley High it blows my mind. Is Francine Pascal an executive producer? It's still blowing my mind. Mike, call Francine, because your craptastic entertainments are THE SAME. Together you can form an empire of terribleness that will rule the world.

Brad gives the rose to Shawntel embalmer, for making out with him 4,000 times. They make out some more. Happy music. The ladies watch the movie they have made from the pool and Michelle voiceovers the thing from the teasers about making babies. SO SCARY.

Brad arrives to take Emily out on her date and she is wearing some kind of sparkly short jumpsuit with a really long cardigan. This is a strange, strange choice, Emily. Megan (of the SHOES (remember the SHOES?)) voiceovers that Emily is a little bitty Barbie doll with the soul of mother Theresa. And you can't hate mother Theresa, right? I hate girls like that.

Emily and Brad are taking a private plane to their date. I knew it was only a matter of time before one of these showed up. They go to wine country, aka Santa Maria, California, which I have never heard of. Back at the Manse, Madison starts to cry, and is talking to Ashley S. and says about 14 of my drinking game words. Back in supposed wine country: Emily likes everybody. When she gets tired, she gets grumpy, just like everyone else on this damn planet. Brad tries to dig a little deeper, and...commercial. Naturally.

In commercials: Matthew Perry is back. I'll take some.

Back to Cali: Brad and Emily have dinner in a barn, which is like so romantic? He gives her a blanket for her legs, because she inexplicably insists on wearing shorts everywhere. Emily spills her guts to Brad: dead husband, little girl, the works. She talks about how Special he makes her feel, they kiss, and I have lost track of how many women Brad has made out with. Brad, you big slut.

Back at Brad's pad in California: Brad is DEEPLY CONFLICTED. Oh please, not this. His freaking THERAPIST stops by. I'm sorry, forget I said "drink twice" when THERAPY is mentioned. It should say "drink 4,000 times". This is so, so stupid. Brad's therapist has a British accent, which I guess is ABC throwing me a bone, but it's not enough. I refuse to recap this. The therapist plows on. I assuage my grief in beer. Southern star...will you accept this rose?

Cockail party! How are there still 35 minutes in this episode? Brad talks to Chantel and says "open up" 4 times, in rapid succession, and if you're still following the rules you just drank, a lot. You're gonna need it. Still half an hour to go. Michelle steals Brad and she's mad because he kissed all these other women. I'm mad because it's almost 2:00 and I'm still awake. Brad explains that now he's a man-slut because last time he was all uptight and now he's Different and he's LIVING IN THE MOMENT, or something. And the moment is real slutty. Brad likes that Michelle makes no bones about how she wants his...time. Mm-hrmm.

Commercial. Brad talks to some more women. If I had included "comfortable" on the list, you woud be shitfaced. That's an option for next week. Brad talks to crazy Madision. Madison takes out the fangs. They come out? Madison starts talking about how the other girls are so into Brad, and she doesn't want to get in the way of that. Wait, Madison is the one who goes home? So much props.

Brad and dentist other Ashley talk. They have normal problems that you would have when your boyfriend is dating 16 other women. This show is so. weird. Brad feels that Ashley H. is pulling away and wonders how to make her feel better. Maybe you could make her feel better by, I dunno, DUMPING ALL YOUR OTHER GIRLFRIENDS. Gosh. Instead he makes out with her. That's one way to do it, I guess.

Chris comes to retrieve Brad and Brad gives a speech that nobody cares about. Dramatic music. Commercial.

In commercials: Your gps is some insolent guy in a tux lying on your dashboard. If only.

Back to the manse: Rose Cermony time. How are there still fifteen minutes? Brad's stupid speech is even stupid longer than usual. Blah blah blah. Real real real. If you're having second thoughts, please don't accept the rose, MADISON.

Those other chicks are safe. Roses go to:

Michelle, Chantel slapper...

Madison steps out of the group of ladies and DRAMATICALLY EXITS. DRAMATIC MUSIC plays. Brad follows Madison to a room decorated with enough candles and sconces and bullshit for several Pier 1 stores. (I swear, the set designers don't look anywhere else. One-stop shopping, Pier 1. Get some originality, set designers. I am calling you on this. And I went to ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL.) Madison doesn't want to take a rose from another girl who's here and has her heart on the line. Brad likes Madison "I care about other chicks" Madison better than the old "I am a crazy-ass vampire" Madison. He doesn't understand how anyone could possibly walk away from him. But on the other hand, if she's not feeling it...that's totally okay? I'm a little confused. They hug. Dramatic music. Madison leaves and if you're going to walk out like this, your dress better look good from the back. And hers does. Props, crazy vampire friend.

Now that that's over, more roses go to: Lisa, Jackie, Ashley H., Marissa, Britt, Alli, Lindsay,

LAST ROSE TONIGHT. Gosh, I swear they carried that out with dramatic music like, half my life. And the rose goes to...Stacey. Sarah and Kimberly, both of whom we have NEVER HEARD OF, are going home.

Kimberly is totally fine with it. She has no regrets and is totally awesome and could turn around and have another boyfriend next week. Bleep Brad and all his reality-show bullshit. Um...yes. Yes, you are awesome, Kimberly. Although I'm not feeling the length of that dress on a grown woman.

Sarah is sadder. Aww no, honey! You have cute hair, and ABC tells me you live in Denver, Colorado, which has summer sports and winter sports. Swimming, hiking, skiing, curly blond hair? I refuse to accept your sadness. It is factually incorrect.

Next week: Helicopters! Brad makes out with EVERYONE. Hot tubs! Dramaz! Wait, where's the toasting part? I feel incomplete without it. I guess ABC is not going to give me that satisfaction. In the words of Sarah, "when you put yourself out there, you hope for something to come back, but...snifff...sometimes it doesn't." Indeed. I feel hurt. And betrayed.

Until next week!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Episode 2: The Journey Continues.

I'll admit I watched the "sneak peeks" for this week's show on, because I just couldn't wait to snark, and they looked...bad. Really bad. Like, I'm expecting this episode to be a train wreck, wrapped inside a disaster, deep-fried and served in a commemorative tote bag of craptacularness. Here's hoping it does not disappoint.

This week's blog is brought to you by the IPA Lagunitas Maximus, which is every bit as good as this show is bad. Meaning: it's really good, y'all. It also pairs well with black bean soup. If you were wondering.

We start out with few teaser clips from this episode. Including one girl saying: "you are like, a toxic disease to me in this...journey." Journey! So we haven't even gotten to the real episode and already the drinking game is in full swing. This is gonna be so, so awesome.

Morning. Brad strolls outside, his chiseled features glistening in the sunlight. Waking up in LA makes this SO REAL and he is so happy to be here to FIND LOVE. But wait...what if this turns out to be a total failure, like that last time? Brad hastens to assure us that he is like, a different person now. This is a nice respite from him being a CHANGED MAN. Brad has been given a SECOND CHANCE and it starts RIGHT. NOW. Happy music.

Back at the Mansion of Doom, Chris summons the ladies (some carrying mimosas, because it is never too early to start drinking) to the living room. Chris' blue shirt totally clashes with the blue on the wall and I'm wondering what schmo from wardrobe approved this. He explains how this thing works: each week, there will be dates with Brad - some group dates, some individual dates. On each group date, one rose will be handed out, and the recipient of said rose will be Safe. But on the individual dates, if the girl in question does not receive a rose she will go home IMMEDIATELY and LOSE HER CHANCE AT LOVE FOREVER. Or something. Aaand, for maximum cattiness and dramaz, not every girl will get to go on a date every week. Chris announces that he has the very first date card right! here! and the women go nuts.

Before the date card is read, Melissa voiceovers that it is IMPERATIVE that she go on this date. (She said that - I did not make this up.) She's been thinking about this for eight years - wait, was the Bachelor even on eight years ago? - and she quit her job to come on the show, even though the little blurb under her name says WAITRESS and not UNEMPLOYED, which confuses me. This oh-so-subtly sets up the "Melissa is crazy" storyline, which I'm pretty sure we'll see more of.

Sadly for Melissa, the date card is for cheesy dentist Ashley H., who immediately starts FREAKING OUT. Having the first date is such a huge HONOR and she is SO HONORED. Sweet southern other Ashley hopes she is still the preeminent Ashley. Aww.

Brad arrives at the manse to pick up Ashley and the other girls are jealous. They drive for a while and then Brad stops the car on a dirt road in like, the middle of the woods somewhere and some eerie music plays. They get out of the car and walk for a while with a lantern and Ashley voiceovers that it's like a horror movie. I can only hope. They flip a switch and some lights come on and it's a CARNIVAL!! Yay!!!!! They are both delighted and act like it's so awesome that they're alone at some creepy carnival, as if that doesn't make it more like a horror movie than ever. Ashley feels so special that it's just for them. Aw, so romantic. Just you and the creepy carneys.

Brad says something about living in the moment and they ride some rides at the deserted carnival, and I'm still not seeing how this is the perfect date and not CREEPY AS HELL. Brad's not worried about the carneys and he feels comfortable and like he can be himself with Ashley. I notice that he's holding a glass of wine. You can get wine at a carnival? Must google wine + cotton candy pairings.

Back at the mansion, another date card arrives and the girls are SO PSYCHED. The date is for: Keltie, Chantal (slapper, not embalmer, I think), Madison, Melissa, Kimberly, Raichel (I die a little inside every time I type that), Britt, Megan, Emily, Stacey, Chantal embalmer I guess, Michelle, and...Lisa. That is a lot of girls. 15 girls, we are told. Like, 14 more than I would tolerate on a date. The girls are shocked. They (understandably) think this is ridiculous. Tomorrow is Michelle's birthday and she does not want to share it with 14 other women and she promises to bring the drama.

Back at the carnival, Brad and Ashley are taking goofy photos and she feels a Connection. Brad thinks that Ashley is intelligent, and pretty, and...pretty. They kiss. Ashley is falling like, so quickly. They kiss some more and the carneys look on jealously.

Commercial. Back to the carnival. Sappy music. Brad wins Ashely a giant bear. The 14-year-old somewhere inside me thinks this is super romantic. The rose hovers ominously. Things gets serious and Brad asks Ashley What She's All About. Turns out Ashley has a deadbeat dad, and she and Brad bond over that, and I feel bad because this is actually real, as opposed to Bachelor real. The producers try to ruin this for me by playing what sounds like an instrumental version of "Listen to Your Heart", the cheesiest of all cheesy songs produced in the 80s.

Ashely's concerned that Brad feels obligated to pick someone because of what happened last time. Brad promises he is Different and Serious this time and he feels like he can Be Himself. He gives her the rose and then they ride the ferris wheel and kiss because like, enough serious talk already.

Next morning, back at the manse: the girls are getting ready for the 15-on-1 date. Sheesh. Michelle bitches some more about how it's her birthday and she does not want to share. The girls board a bus full of champagne and Melissa voiceovers about how she's gonna Bring It.

The girls arrive at the date and Brad tells them this date is all about Giving Back. They're going to help the American Red Cross, not by giving their blood (Madison's pulse quickens), but by raising awareness about giving blood. Or they may be helping all of humanity by raising awareness about the stupidity of going on dating shows. Brad explains that they'll be filming PSAs that may very well be used (translation: will under no circumstances be used) as national commercials.

So people who have watched the Bachelor before quickly figure out that this is the part of the show where the producers get the girls to make out with Brad and act jealous and catty by...casting them in a television show (or PSA, whatever) where they make out with Brad and act jealous and catty! It's ridiculous, transparent, and...kind of brilliant, actually. It's like the play-within-a-play in Hamlet, where everyone REVEALS THEIR TRUE COLORS. Yeah, I just compared the Bachelor to Shakespeare. Deal with it.

In wardrobe, Brad is shirtless (it took twenty minutes? that must be some kind of record), Madison is a dominatrix, Lisa is pregnant, and poor Keltie is in a neck brace. Oh, and Melissa has a bump-it. She reminds us again that she quit her job, because the producers do not want us to forget that. Michelle voiceovers again that it is her freaking BIRTHDAY. One of the girls asks "omigod, are you gonna give him tongue?", presumably referring to the upcoming PSAs, and I can only imagine the carnage that will ensue. Commercial.

Back at the studio, Brad gets some nasty chest hair - where's the manscaper? - and an awesome 'stache, because he's about to star in a Spanish soap opera as someone named Gustavo. (Always pronounced Gustavo.) This has nothing to do with giving blood and everything to do with this show being totally, totally craptastic.

Begin soap opera. Stacey the bartender is the lady of the house and Emily is the maid, busily dusting a picture of Gustavo. Sample dialogue:

MAID EMILY: No, he loves me!

They slap each other about 14 times.

STACEY: Stay away from my man!
EMILY: No, you stay away from my man!

GUSTAVO enters.

STACEY: Gustavo!
EMILY: Gustavo!

STACEY makes out with GUSTAVO.

EMILY makes out with GUSTAVO.

STACEY: Gustavo, who do you love?
EMILY: Yes, who do you love?
GUSTAVO: Uhhhh....


LISA: But what about little Gustavo?

Holy. Shit.

This is the. worst. acting. I have ever. seen. And I saw a middle-school production of Bye Bye Birdie once.

Apparently the girls keep messing up the takes on purpose so they can keep on making out with Brad. Brad is diggin it because he's a big ol' man-whore. (What?? It was for charity!) Finally, crazy Michelle and her bump-it randomly insert themselves into the scene because she's gonna show them How It's Done. She also starts making out with Brad (er...Gustavo), because she NEEDS TIME WITH HIM, or something, and the other girls are like, whaaa? They're all pissed off because Michelle is CRAZY and DESPERATE and she RUINED THIS FINE PIECE OF ACTING. The camera crew is all like, yayy, good job guys!!, because they don't really give a crap, and I need another beer. Or three.

The next scene, I think, is supposed to represent Brad on a bunch of awkward dates, at the same restaurant, with different women who are all crazy.'s just like this show!!!! Except on the show the women are all on the same date.

In the next supposed PSA, Chantel (slapper?) and Britt food blogger are party girls who have brought Brad back to their place for some good times, only to discover that he's a vampire. Oh noes!!! Britt is at first uncomfortable with this scenario, but then she decides she's gonna act like she's someone else and let herself go. And how. It's hot. I feel kinda uncomfortable watching, and so do some of the other women. Michelle is offended and walks off the set because she shouldn't have to be watching this on her BIRTHDAY.

Brad follows her because this show is all about the dramaz. (Also because men love crazy women. I've had actual dudes admit this to me. True story.) They have a conversation that is almost too stupid to recap, the substance of which is: "I'm sorry. I'm dramatic. I'm hot. I have big earrings. Something something journey, something something path. I think we have a Connection." Brad's response is: "Okay. Okay. Okay." They hug. Every time I look at Michelle, her earrings seem larger and larger, and this defies reason. does this show. All Michelle wants for her birthday is Brad. She predicts that when they kiss, there are gonna be fireworks. She looks really, really intense when she says this. Michelle scares me a little.

Commercial. Fake PSAs are over and it's time for the afterparty. Thank goodness. They're at a rooftop pool in L.A. and Brad is ready for the drama to be over. Yeah, good luck with that.

Brad has a one-on-one with Melissa. She apologizes for cutting in on the Gustavo ridiculousness, I think. The other women look on and are jealous and catty. Big surprise. Michelle steals Brad for some alone time and she has a giant necklace. How did I not notice this before? You have walls, she says. Michelle is way, way drunk. Brad responds: What?? What are you saying? Yeah, he's drunk too. She asks: What's your greatest fear? Brad's greatest fear is Winding Up Alone. My greatest fear is that this conversation will trigger my gag reflex.

Melissa has a conversation with some girls. It turns bitchy. I can't figure this out. It could be because of the four beers I just consumed, but I strongly suspect it's because this makes no sense. At all. Melissa and Raichel manscaper are in some kind of fight and Chantal wants them to kill each other off. Somewhere, a UFC producer conceives of a new show.

Back at the Manse. Jackie gets a date card. She is excited. And nervous. And excited.

At the rooftop pool, Brad gives Michelle the rose because it's her birthday. And because being a crazy high maintenance drama queen is always rewarded. Thanks Brad. Raichel manscaper is pretty upset. You and me both, honey. Also, Raichel's bright yellow bikini is pretty covetable. Michelle flaunts the rose in front of the other women because it's her BIRTHDAY and she can be like that.

The next morning, Brad comes to pick up Jackie. They go to some schmancy hotel. Jackie would not usually be okay getting in a robe on a first date but she's doing it now because...Brad is so hot? I'm not following this.

They go to a spa and paint each other with weird masks and I'm really not seeing how this is attractive. Brad leads her into a suite. He instructs that she close her eyes, music plays's the world's biggest library!

No wait, that's Beauty and the Beast. Instead, it's a hotel suite with a bunch of dresses in it. I think I'll take the books. Jackie feels Magical as a wardrobe and a teapot help her get ready for the evening.

At the mansion, Emily calls her little girl, whose name is Rickie (wait, isn't that a boy's name - ???), and apologizes for missing her first cheerleading practice. Then the Beast gives her a magic mirror that enables her to see everything Rickie does and all is well.

Back at the hotel, Brad gives Jackie this super expensive necklace (it's on loan), because the definition of romance is Having Expensive Things, and they get into an Expensive Car. They arrive at the Hollywood Bowl, which is like this totally famous music venue, and nobody thinks it's at all weird that they're the only people there. In fact, they think it's totally romantic. At least it's not a carnival.

They talk about past relationships (always a great idea on the first date!), and this conversation has clearly been cut a lot by the producers because it's not making much sense. Gist is: Jackie hasn't dated a lot of people, and Brad totally can't understand that, because she's like, so pretty. Brad realizes that Jackie is cautious about the men she dates. He decides Jackie is totally like he was before he came on this show the first time and became Different. (Different is the new Changed. Did the producers read this blog?) He talks about how Real this is, because nothing is more Real than an empty music venue that seats 8,000 people.

Brad then picks up the Rose of Destiny, smells the rose for a while, which is kind of strange and probably means he's drunk, and gives Jackie the rose because she smiled real nice on the first night they met. He talks about how sweet she was when he met her, which was like, two days ago, and says, and I quote - "I'm willing to hang in there if you're willing to hang in there". Like he's forgiving her for being choosy about who she dates. Ridiculous.

Jackie is gracious, or maybe crazy, and she accepts the rose smilingly. But Brad has one more surprise! It is a performance by, in his words, "The Band Train". Like maybe if he didn't specify it was a band, she was might think there was an actual locomotive on the stage. I'm just waiting for that one song from junior year of high school, and they don't play it and I'm pissed, but Brad and Jackie kiss anyway. Wasn't "Drops of Jupiter" your only hit? Jackasses.

Back at the manse. Cocktail party time! Brad reminds us how he's a Brand New Man. He saw the light, he's been baptized by the fire in your touch and the flame in your eyes. Sorry. Michelle steals Brad almost immediately, which is so not fair because she already has a rose. Is there some kind of rule at these parties that the Bachelor has to allow himself to be stolen? He is like a sad little ship, blown hither and thither by the winds of drama. I really like the word "thither".

The other girls bitch, naturally, about Michelle taking up all Brad's time when she already has a rose. Cut, naturally, to Michelle asking Brad, all dramatically - what is always stocked in your fridge? String cheese! And beer. No wait, that's me. He says: eggs, turkey, and water. What a lame-o. No beer? She also stocks eggs. They are perfect for each other!! Perfectly LAME. Michelle returns to the other girls and they ask her what BURNING QUESTIONS she had to ask Brad. She tells them about the refrigerator thing and they are like, wtf??, because it is so lame. Also they're aghast that Brad doesn't keep beer on hand. Or at least, you know, a chilled bottle of champagne.

Brad talks to Dead Husband Emily. She and her perfect hair and southern accent are looking for something a little more prah-vaht. As in, she's not planning on telling him everything about herself after knowing him for like, 14 seconds. This sounds almost strange on this show because it is like something a normal person would say. Way to go, Emily. Brad is willing to be patient. He admits that Emily is so pretty he feels like a complete dumbass every time he talks to her. Aww, Brad. I totally sympathize with you. Although this does not happen to me around girls. Emily says she feels the same way about him but I can tell she's just making it up to be nice.

Somewhere, Melissa is (drunkenly) picking another fight with Raichel manscaper, and it is not about the freaking ridiculous way she spells her name. They say some nasty things to each other that have little to no substance, and I refuse to try and make sense of this. Marissa voiceovers that tensions are high because all these girls are fighting over the same dude. Marissa is pretty smart.

Raichel's upset and she talks to some other girls about how Melissa like, attacked her, and she utters the line about how "you are like, a toxic disease to me in this journey", and I still don't care about this fight but I love her for saying that because it's so awesome. Like maybe Raichel's powers of speech have been replaced by some kind of automatic Bachelor-phrase generator. "I am ready to take a leap of faith on this journey to opening up and finding a connection." Melissa is dramatic some more and Ashley S. tries to diffuse the situation and I am liking her more and more.

Melissa runs to Bwad and everyone else runs to watch and...ugh. She complains about how Raichel (seriously, it kills me) is an "energy suck" - and then, in the middle of all this, happens to cover her mouth and mention that she had onions in her pizza. There is definitely some drunk going on here. Brad looks unenthused. Drinking is bad, kids. Melissa cries and Brad hugs her and resolves to Get to the Bottom of It. Oh Brad, no.

Brad finds the manscaper and she's crying too, and he hugs her, too. Raichel claims to have been having a "technical difficulty" with Melissa, like Melissa is keeping Powerpoint from working on her Mac or something. Holy crap, this is SO STUPID. For the first time ever at a rose ceremony, I am like - where is Chris? Save me from my misery, Chris Harrison and Chris Harrison's impossibly white teeth! Also, Brad says "irregardless", and that is WRONG. Chris!! Chris, please.

So Brad has got two crying women and he's in a real pickle and OH SWEET CHRIS. Chris is interrupting the cocktail party for some stupid bullshit but it can't possibly be stupider than what came before and I am so grateful. Turns out Ali and Roberto are here to discover who's Here for the Right Reasons!! Seriously, Chris even said that. They'll also be handing out a rose, for being here for the rightest reasons, I guess. Can I go back to the catfight?

Brad is relieved that Ali and Roberto are here because there's so much drama tonight and now he can just sit back and not think anymore. Ali and Roberto interview a bunch of the ladies and talk about, among other things, the stupid drama. Le sigh. Ali and Roberto offer Brad "our opinion" because their opinions are one and the same, I guess? Aaand the Ali/Roberto rose for being Here for the Right Reasons goes to Emily. They could've done a lot worse.

Rose ceremony time! I have never been so glad. Michelle, Ashley H, Jackie, and Emily are safe. 13 roses to go. Wait, 17 women? Where are they getting these numbers from? Is this like, a Fibonacci sequence? This season is gonna last forever. Gah.

Roses go to: Chantel the slapper, Sarah (who?), Alli, Kimberly, Shawntel the embalmer, Stacey, Ashley S., crazy Madison (who was disappointingly...not crazy this week), Lisa, Marissa, Megan, Lindsay, and...

LAST ROSE TONIGHT. Dun dun duhhh....

And the last rose goes to...Britt! "Thanks for humping me for charity, Britt! Will you accept this rose?"

She totally will.

So Melissa and the manscaper and some other chick with a headband are going home. Turns out the chick with the headband is Keltie. Aww, sorry Keltie. Remember, last week I thought you were cute, and that's probably what did it. That or the neck brace. I read somewhere that Keltie is a plant and she is totally playing into this by saying that love "isn't in the cards" for her and that she's "meant to be alone". This was her last-ditch effort before...what, a nunnery? Brighter days beam ahead, Keltie. Chin up. Melissa and the manscaper are on the way out and they are STILL talking about stupid drama. Blerg.

Back at the manse, Brad rejoices with the remaining ladies that they still have time to "get to know each other". I think this means "get drunk and talk about our feelings. Possibly with tongue." The women all toast to this. Yayy.

Next week on the bachelor: They film another movie, which probably means more making out. Michelle is more crazy. Ashely and Brad butcher the hell out of "Kiss From a Rose" and Seal has the good grace not to be mortified. Emily struggles to talk about her past. And someone (gasp) wants to go home? How could anyone not find Brad Womack totally irresistible??

Find out next week! I'll be there with beer. And string cheese.