I'll admit I watched the "sneak peeks" for this week's show on abc.com, 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:
BARTENDER STACEY: He loves me!
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!
STACEY makes out with GUSTAVO.
EMILY makes out with GUSTAVO.
STACEY: Gustavo, who do you love?
EMILY: Yes, who do you love?
PREGNANT LISA enters.
LISA: But what about little Gustavo?
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. Wait...it'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. But...so 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 and...it'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.