Monday, March 21, 2011

Season Finale, or the one with the SHARKS.

My friends - it is that time. Time for the UNFORGETTABLE episode you've been waiting for all season long. That's right - the one with the SHARKS. And also, you know, the one where Brad makes the most important decision of all time.

But seriously, y'all. SHARKS.

In South Africa! It is down to Chantal and Emily! Chantal is lovable but dramatic! Emily is gorgeous, but what about her PAST? These are the broad strokes Brad has chosen to paint the two women who have captured his heart. Brad's family has traveled all the way from Austin, TX to meet these AMAZING women. Brad and his twin brother Chad (we'll call him Brad 2) hug for about four hours because that's how CLOSE they are. And then Brad CRIES. Aw, jeez. How many times do I have to drink for that?

Hey, look! It's that one shot of Brad crying and hugging a blond woman that we've been teased with all season!'s his sister-in-law. Mike Fleiss, you manipulative bastard.

While everyone else sits down and feels awkward, Brad goes to the Balcony to cry, Mesnik-style. Brad II tells us that this is "the real Brad", in which case Brad and Emotional Roller Coaster Chantal are like two peas in a pod. Brad finally returns to the family pow-wow, where they talk about how much he has CHANGED. Thank you, Bachelor producers. I had forgotten about that. Someone asks Brad if he's planning to propose and he's like, "absolutely. 100 percent" and the family Womack pretends to be super happy but secretly they are like - whoooooa.

Brad can't believe that he is "this close to possibly proposing". Wait, weren't you 100 percent like, 4 seconds ago? There is some weird editing up in here.

After COMMERCIAL...the doorbell rings! It's Chantal! Chantal meets the family, and then Brad II and Wes, the brother not ending in "ad", pull Chantal aside to make sure she's legit. Because they don't want Brad going through all the hurt he went through last time. Wait, last time wasn't it Brad who was doing the hurting? DId these guys even watch the show? Chantal believes that everything in her life led her here, which in the next 1.5 hours will seem either very romantic or very, very sad. Chantal is so legit that she is ready to get married like, right now. Brad II (who is like a slightly hotter, slightly more intelligent version of Brad) approves.

In a seaside pow-wow, Brad II and the not-twin tell Brad that Chantal is in love with him, which is super helpful because Chantal ALREADY TOLD BRAD THAT HERSELF. Thanks for nothing, guys. The bros wonder if Brad is going to go through with proposing to avoid all the flak he got before. Brad SWEARS TO GOD that he is doing it because he is IN LURVE. And not just because it says that in his contract.

Momma Womack wants to know how Chantal could fall in love so quickly. Chantal says being divorced helped her Find Herself. Momma Womack thinks this is just so perfect, because Brad Found Himself, too! Chantal is just a normal girl - her favorite times with Brad are when they're doing normal stuff, like hanging out at a luxury hotel in Costa Rica.

Momma Womack is totally on team Chantal. She tells Brad how Precious Chantal is, and he tells her that he is "happy. SO happy" while staring vaguely off into the distance. Basically, the entire Womack family is so in love with Chantal that they're ready for Brad to marry her, right away. But sadly for them and for me, there's another hour and a half of. this nonsense left to go. Also, we wouldn't want to miss the SHARKS.

SHARKS, you guys. Freaking SHARKS.

The next day, the family Womack meets Emily, the other love of Brad's life. The family gets to hear Emily's Tale of Woe, and they are all like, damn, we were all prepared to like Chantal better, but you can't not like someone with a DEAD FIANCE and a BABY.

The two Brads and the not-Brad sit on the Rocks of Contemplation. Not-Brad, being a father himself, wants to make sure Brad is really ready to be a dad. He's all like, "you know if you marry this chick you're going have to stop jacking around, right?" and Brad thinks about it for a while, all thinky, and finally he replies that he has a "warm feeling" about Emily. In fact, he has "the warmest feeling". Whatever that means.

Meanwhile, Emily tells momma W that she is absolutely, for sure, in love with Brad. Emily says that Brad is her "angel" and momma W tears up. Dramatic life story for the win!

Emily leaves,and there's another family pow-wow, and the Womacks have broken this down into the simplest terms possible so Brad can wrap his head around it. Chantal is the fun-loving one, and Emily is the settled one. They pick Emily, because they hate fun.

So it's settled! Brad's family has made it SO CLEAR that they think Emily is The One for him, but he needs to decide who HE likes best. And we haven't yet gotten to the part with the SHARKS.

So Brad and Chantal are like, sight-seeing on a boat when he tells her they're going to do "something a little different" and Chantal makes this face:

because Brad is always making her do stupid shit to like, prove she loves him, while Emily just gets to sit around and like, drink wine in a vineyard. Doing "something a little different" means...they are going to swim with SHARKS. Chantal's all like, NOOOOO!!, and I'm like, most romantic date ever!

Brad thinks Chantal will be fine with the sharks, because she's so fun-loving! and tough! and Chantal thinks: after all this bullshit, if you don't put a ring on my finger, I KILL YOU. Then she somehow manages to look totally hot while wearing a wetsuit. That is not fair.

They get into a cage hanging off the side of the boat and watch some SHARKS. The shark does not attack them. It is still the best two minutes in bachelor history.

Later that night, Chantal and Brad hang out...actually, I don't know where they are. Chantal gives Brad a gift - it's a map! Of all the places all over the world where they've made out! Because they are a totally normal couple. But wait, there's more! Chantal has also written Brad a note telling him that she never thought she'd feel this way about anyone. He's the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with, and she hopes he picks her. Brad says "that's, uh...that's sweet." Wow.

Okay, is it just me? Or is there like, a neon sign in every shot of this episode saying HE PICKS EMILY!? But does that mean he doesn't pick her? Is Fleiss just trying to screw with our heads? THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME. Only an hour now!

Brad tells Chantal that he loves how vocal she is about her feelings, which is not quite the same as saying he reciprocates her feelings. Oh, and he walks her to the door and calls her "Channy", which is the WORST. NICKNAME. EVER.

Later! Brad takes Emily, via helicopter, to the Cape of Good Hope. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth, so naturally they have one of the most boring conversations on earth. Brad tells Emily how much his family love love love love LOVE LOVE LOVED her, and then they tell each other how excited they are. A million times. You think I'm kidding? No one can ever say the word "excited" ever again, because Brad and Emily USED IT UP.

But uh-oh...Emily decides to play hardball. She wants to know if Brad has really thought about what it means to be a dad. Brad dodges the question and they go back to being EXCITED.

But later! Back at the hotel or something. Brad has given this some deep, deep thought, and he is ready to be a father. He's ready for "all the good that comes with the bad, all the bad that comes with the good". Basically: Brad's idea of fatherhood sounds like it was lifted straight out of a country song.

Strangely, Emily is not buying it. She's like, no, for real. What does fatherhood actually mean to you? Because kids are a pain in the ass sometimes. Brad gets all angry because he is PUTTING HIMSELF OUT THERE and Emily is QUESTIONING him. He throws a little hissy fit and stalks off dramatically to the kitchen to get some water. Oh, wah. I bet Emily can't wait to have TWO children.

COMMERCIAL. Brad picks out a ring. People get dressed while talking about their feelings. Skipped!

More commercials. The first limo pulls up, and it's...Chantal. Noooooo! Chris Harrison greets Chantal and she's like, hi! and he's like, hi, sorry you are TOTALLY SCREWED.

Chantal walks toward Brad and the pedestal of heartbreak, and of course there's a voiceover of her saying how much she loves Brad, while my heart twists knowing she's walking to her DOOM. Milk that dramatic irony, Bachelor producers. You evil bastards.

By the way, Chantal looks totally fantastic. Somehow that makes it even worse.

Brad gives the inevitable speech. We have a connection... I can be're someone that I've looked for, for a long long time. So I can dump your ass on national TV. Brad has stronger feelings for someone else. Chantal stars to cry. Brad grabs the back of her head and pulls her to him. He will fix the hurt with his sweet, sweet pecs.


"I'm so sad. Please stop touching my face."

Brad wants Chantal to know that every single thing he's said to her, he has meant. From the bottom of his heart. Every single thing that they've had is very real. Very very real. The realest ever.

Dude. You're still a dick.

Brad walks Chantal out. He keeps asking her if she's okay, or if she wants to talk. Chantal is not okay. She does not want to talk. Shut up, Brad.

In the limo: more tears. Aww, honey. Cry it out. At least no one will ever call you "Channy" ever again.

Happy music! Emily arrives. Brad has waited 38 years just for this moment. It is a very, very special moment, the perfect time for him to deliver a speech cleverly prepared for him by the ghostwriters at Hallmark: "You're my once in a lifetime. I'm asking you to please give me your forever."

Of course. There is no one Emily would rather give her forever to. They exchange "I love yous", Brad slides the ring on Emily's finger, and then, he says the magic words:

"Come here to me, please."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rated D for DRAMA: The Women Tell All.

Welcome to the women tell all! Here's our host, Chris Harrison, greeting an audience of cheering women and two or three very confused and unhappy dudes. Audience participation is very important in this episode, as we will soon learn.

CH: When people first learned that Brad Womack was going to be the bachelor again, they were skeptical!

Audience: (skeptical faces)

CH: And angry!

Audience: (nodding in agreement): Yes, we were angry!

CH: But that's before they watched the show and realized he was CHANGED! Finally ready to be in a committed relationship!

Audience: Yeah, uh...we saw that one article in US weekly and we think that is some bullshit.

Before the women come back to TELL ALL, we get a little clip of Brad and Chris reminiscing about some of the MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS this season. There is a montage, unfortunately not set to "Friends are Friends Forever". That, bachelor producers, is what we call a Missed Opportunity. Remember the slapping? Remember that creepy-ass carnival? Remember that one chick with FANGS? I do! Fangy for bachelorette!

Brad thinks that Madison will "make some vampire very happy one day." Aww, look! He makes jokes!

Remember Shawntel and her creeeepy job? And all the talk of leaking and orifices? Damn, don't taunt me, show. It's like, remember how good things were? Before we got rid of all the interesting people? Speaking of interesting we're speaking of Michelle, who you love to hate and hate to admit that you totally love. I'm guessing this isn't the last we'll be hearing from her.

After the first commercial break: An update from Bachelor Nation! Uh...what? Turns out there's a whole Bachelor subculture of former contestants who hang out, hook up, and sometimes even marry. And then presumably give birth to the next generation of reality-show contestants. They also have the CRAZIEST PARTIES EVER, where everyone tries to outdo each other in sluttiness, drama, and general insanity, all for a chance at being selected for the steaming turd-wreck (get it? it's a cross between a train wreck and a turd!) that is Bachelor Pad.

So of course we cut to footage of one of these CRAZIEST PARTIES EVER. Look, there's Chris Lambton! I spy Vienna, I spy Rozlyn of the inappropriate sexual relationship, I spy Wes "love, it don't come eeeasy" Hayden, I spy Kasey Kahl still looking for a woman to guard and protect his heart.

I also spy Craig, from Ali's season, draping his tongue down some chick's throat in what might be the most awkward-looking kiss ever. Damn. He seemed like one of the normal ones.

And holy crap, it's Erica Rose! I feel obliged to root for Erica because I she went to my high school (one degree from me to Prince Lorenzo Borghese! yesss), and despite all the princess talk, she's actually a really decent person. Not quite sure what's going on with her lips, though.

Erica and Kasey make out in a pool, because it's not really a bachelor event without someone making out in a pool. Get you some girl! Although...isn't he with Vienna now? I am thoroughly ashamed at how much I know about this stuff.

Omg, did someone order up a big steaming plate of DRAMA? Cuz here it comes. Apparently Gia and Vienna were bff, before Vienna slept with Wes (who was Gia's boyfriend? Maybe?) behind Gia's back and now they've gone from being BEST FRIENDS to BEST ENEMIES.

Gia has some advice for people hoping to appear on Bachelor Pad 2: (coughVIENNAcough): you DO NOT talk to, or look at, or even think about, guys that your best friend has hooked up with. That's just like, the rules of feminism.

Then Ali and Roberto show up and everyone is all like, OMG THEY FOUND LOVE ON TV! SO IT IS TOTALLY POSSIBLE!, and then they all start hooking up. John (uh...who's that?) thinks that there is something special about people are cast to be on the Bachelor and the Bachelorette. Yes, John. The willingness to have the minutest details of your life broadcast to a national TV audience makes you very, very special.

And then they all toast to "guarding and protecting your heart." Teehee.

Finally, after yet another commercial, we're introduced to those women we've been hearing so much about. APPLAUSE. Who coached them all to do the twee two-handed wave??

There's Sarah, Lisa, Melissa, Ali, Britt, Marissa, Raichel, Meghan, Stacey, Ashley S, Jackie, and...holy crap, who is that? Ashley H. decided to change...her hair, her face, everything. She has turned the makeup up to "cougar". Let's be honest here: it is less than good.

There's also Michelle, Madison, and Shawntel, who we will never see again.

First up: the "OMG Brad is so hot!" montage. We're reminded of that time adorable shy Britt swallowed his face while filming some infomercial, and also of that time Michelle called Britt "desperate" because she is so FUNNY and IRONIC. We see clips of Raichel and Melissa's stupid, stupid fight. Memo to producers: I DO NOT CARE. Good gosh, why is this show two hours long? Then: more of Michelle being CRAZY.

Chris is practically foaming at the mouthing thinking which pot he's going to stir first. But before he can make up his mind, a bunch of the women (Sarah, Marissa, Stacey) are all up in Michelle's grill about the bitchy things she said about them in her voiceovers. (Like how she was tired of dealing with all these "little girls" and they all needed to go home.) Michelle says she only said these things because she's so HILARIOUS and SARCASTIC and if you don't GET IT, well - it's probably because you're a little girl and you need to go home.

Look, let's all recognize: Michelle was one of the most entertaining things about this season of the Bachelor. When she was on screen, I bemoaned her craziness, but then when she was gone, I missed her like whoa. But let's also recognize: just because something is funny and entertaining doesn't mean it isn't also totally bitchy.


Like, if I were one of these girls? I'd be pissed too. Also, last I checked, claiming to be "sarcastic" doesn't give you carte blanche to say whatever nasty things you want to about other people. The other girls are totally not buying it. Jackie calls Michelle a "spider", by which I think she means: Michelle is potentially venomous but also incredibly useful in controlling the insect population. Michelle starts fake-crying, while Ashley H. fake-comforts her.

What follows is possibly the world's stupid conversation. Remember the fight between Melissa and the manscaper I was complaining about earlier? It is even stupider than that.

Stacey: So, uh, what's up with the fake crying, Michelle? Are you just not gonna answer our questions? I mean, c'mon. Your makeup's not even smudged.

Michelle: I was GENUINE. I left my DAUGHTER. I was there for the RIGHT REASONS.

Jackie: Yeah, but, uh...what about the part where you said all that bitchy stuff?

Michelle: EVERYONE makes MISTAKES. We all said things we REGRET.

Jackie: Uh, except for the part where you said way more stuff than anyone else.

Michelle: I LEFT MY DAUGHTER. I MISSED HER SO MUCH. My DAUGHTER. LOOK AT ME! I am CRYING, you guys! It is because I am so damn GENUINE.

But before Michelle can get a chance to explain herself, again, we've got to talk about stupid Melissa and the stupid manscaper and their stupid feud. Ugh. We get to see a video clip which reminds us how CRAZY Melissa was and how much better Ashley's old hair looked. The best part is where Raichel and Melissa are engaging in a shitstorm over the head of beautiful Lindsay from Dallas, and she's all like, bitch plz.

Then Sarah makes this face, which accurately illustrates how I feel about this ENTIRE SEGMENT OF THE SHOW.

Raichel thinks that she will stay and Melissa will go because Jesus loves her. Aw, honey. Don't drag Jesus into this.

Back at the WTA, Melissa's in the hot seat. From Melissa: everything I said, I said, and I'm gonna own it, but I had all these emotions and shit, see, and it was TOTALLY NOT MY FAULT. Besides...she started it.

From Raichel: there are people you gel with, people you don't, and then there are people you HATE and you WANT TO DIE. Raichel blames Melissa for ruining her chances with Brad, or something. I blame ABC for WASTING MY LIFE with this conversation.

All that crap is finally over! But, oh, wait - more crap! Michelle's in the hot seat. She is crying, again. She would like to remind us that she was here for the RIGHT REASONS. And that she LEFT HER DAUGHTER, for gosh sakes. HER OWN FLESH AND BLOOD. That's how badly she wanted to FIND LOVE. That's how RIGHT her RIGHT REASONS were, bitches.

While our host Chris Harrison tenderly assures Michelle that all her antics were surely just a "defense mechanism", the camera cuts madly between Michelle and the other ladies.

Michelle: sob!

Sarah B.: skeptical face.

Michelle: sob!

Jackie: skeptical face.

Michelle: sob!

Stacey: skeptical face.

Michelle: RIGHT (sob!) REASONS!

Finally Michelle (sort of) addresses everyone's concerns about her behind-the-scenes bitchery: Do I really want monkeys to attack Chantal? No! I am really gonna elbow someone in the face? Well, I dunno, but you sure looked pretty damn serious when you said it.

Chris thinks it's a defense mechanism. It's where Michelle goes to relieve stress. Well, I go to the bottom of a tall can of lone star. Right now I'm thinking that's a lot healthier.

Michelle takes this and runs with it. It was to relieve stress! It was all so emotional! I LEFT MY DAUGHTER. I am trying so hard to cry that I CANNOT EVEN BREATHE. Take a deep breath, says sweet fatherly Chris, and the crowd starts clapping madly. I'm wondering what, exactly, they are clapping for. BREATHE DEEP MICHELLE! WE ARE BEHIND YOU!!

Guess what? The other women still aren't convinced. Stacey points out that leaving your child to go on a reality dating show doesn't exactly make you a model parent, which Michelle takes as her cue to BREAK DOWN. She is fluttering her lashes and rubbing her nose with a hanky more vigorously than ever. Give this woman an Oscar. Chris yells at all the other women to like, lay off of Michelle already, because he is totally buying what she's selling. Crying: it works!

Granted, calling Michelle a bad parent is a pretty low blow - but she did kind of invite it when she reminded us about fifty times that she LEFT HER DAUGHTER to FIND LOVE. Chris calls for a commercial break to allow Michelle time to regroup. He leans back in his chair, and for a moment there's a break in his Concerned Camp Counselor facade and you can tell he's thinking this is going to be RATINGS GOLD.

After commercial: Michelle is still in the hot seat. She thinks she is being targeted. Jackie thinks Michelle is shady.


Chris suggests that maybe the other women's real problem with Michelle was that they resent that her super-agressive tactics worked on Brad. Chris gets Jackie to admit that yeah, she did have a problem with that, and Jackie smiles all good-naturedly, like, haha, you got me! No, Jackie, nooo! You're playing right into his hands! Apparently Chris wants us to think that it's totes okay to be as nasty as you want behind other women's backs, as long as Brad Womack is still attracted to you. Sometimes I hate this show a little.

Gah. It's the women tell all, part 2, because 45 minutes of this was not enough. ABC tries to sweeten the deal a little by sending my very favorite bachelorette, Ashley S, to the hot seat. Of course we have to be regaled with footage of the Most Heartbreaking Elimination Ever.

Audience: Awww.
Nancy: Awww.

Ashley has been through a lot of bad relationships, she says, and she thought this one might be different. Here, she thought, was a guy who was Ready to Find Love. And then he dumped her, unceremoniously, for her best friend. Who is also named Ashley. While also dating like, 12 other women.

Tough break.

Chris says that everyone wants to see Ashley find true love. APPLAUSE, because yes! everyone DOES! Ashley S. for bachelorette? Please?

Up next in the hot seat: the other Ashley, fresh off of the Date Where It All Fell Apart.

Ashley H. montage. Nothing new here. Except maybe that Brad looks even toolier in 10-second clips.

CH: I see the emotion in your eyes right now. Isn't that nice? I got it from a Harlequin romance. This is my absolute favorite episode because I get to do things besides stating the obvious and pretending to listen to Brad. What a snoozefest. Let's talk about how he broke your heart.

Ashley: I had WALLS. I doubted Brad's feelings for me.

Chris: What you had was MAGIC.

Ashley: And I messed it all up by worrying about all his other girlfriends. I'll never do that again. I might have missed out on TRUE LOVE.

CH: Were you in love with him?

Ashley: You know, it's hard to tell...

CH: C'mon, you totally were.

Ashley: I TOTALLY WAS! Damn, Chris. It's like you see into MY SOUL.

CH: I read the emotion. In your eyes. Do you regret not telling him?

Ashley: All the time. I lose sleep over it. But you know, I've learned. I've CHANGED. I'm excited to start dating again.

CH: Could we be selling you any harder as the Bachelorette?

Ashley: Maybe say something about my makeover.

CH: Yeah, what happened to you? Your teeth are BLINDING ME.

Ashley: Brunettes have more fun! (APPLAUSE.) I'm like, ALL NEW. And ready to date again. Very soon. Very very soon. Like possibly on your television. This summer. Show some clips of me laughing and waving my hands around. It'll make me seem Real.

And, after commercial....heeeeere's Brad! APPLAUSE. He is back to face the women he SENT HOME IN TEARS.

Ashley S: Why did you think I wouldn't make a good wife for you?
Brad: Did I say that? Wait, I totally said that. Yeeeahh...that was all bullshit. I really just liked my other girlfriends better.

Michelle got dumped because she was too much like Brad. Ashley H. apologizes for spending too much time worrying. Wait, what? Brad thinks Ashley is an Exceptional Woman. Shawntel gets no screentime at all.

After COMMERCIAL: we see some footage of Brad playing with kids at a pre-school in Africa. It is sponsored by the Bachelor, so we won't feel like such horrible human beings for watching this dreck. I've gotta admit: these kids are pretty cute. Go to to find out more.

CH: So, Brad. Enough philanthropy. Let's get down to the real business. You know, tears and heartache. What everyone wants to know is: where is your head?

Brad: Chris, I can't tell you who I'm gonna pick! It'll ruin the surprise!

CH: Just say some stuff. We've got eight minutes to kill.

Brad: I'm in LOVE. The process, man. It works.


CH: You bet your britches it does. I hope you stick with this one. We've pulled a lot of shit on our viewers, but I don't think they'll accept you as the bachelor again.


CH: And since you guys have been such a good audience, we're throwing you a bone. Turns out these lunkheads whose conversations you've been suffering through all season do know how to have fun! Who knew?

Basically, this is the best three minutes of the whole season. Dear bachelor producers: why have you been holding out on me? I just spent an entire season listening to some idiots yammering about feelings when I could have been watching:

Brad is totally plastered. In case you couldn't tell.

and this:

and this:

and this:
I wonder if I could do that?
UPDATED to add: I totally just did that. It was a little messy.

And this:
That is two elephants humping.

Seriously. WHYYYY??

So then there's the part where Brad re-caps his relationship with both ladies. Because, you know, that is a thing that happens on this episode, for maximum SPECULATION over the next week.

First up: Chantal. Chantal just relaxes him. They have the. best. time. together. Their Connection is Electric. He can see her as his Wife.

Then: Emily. Brad thought Emily was beautiful from the moment he met her. (How did I not notice how totally awkward Brad was around Emily the very first time they met? "Thanks for being here. So much.") Emily is so sweet. She makes him want to be a better man. He wants her to be his Wife.

P.S. If you're still playing the drinking game - this section is a real killer.

That's all folks! Coming up next's the episode you've been waiting for all season. That's's the one with the SHARKS. Oh, and it's also the episode where Brad makes his DRAMATIC FINAL DECISION.

Don't miss it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Episode 9: Bachelor vs. Wild.

Yay! It's that episode where the near-perfect strangers go on exotic dates and talk about their feelings and spend the night together and maybe have sex (but nobody knows for sure)! Endless speculation!

It's always hotly debated, every season - do people actually do it in the Fantasy Suite? Isn't that...kind of gross? Considering that the bachelor has like, three dates with three women in as many days? The answer, as far as I can tell, is: some people actually do do it in the fantasy suite. Not everyone. Just some people. SPECULATE.

Supposedly Jesse Palmer set the record by scoring with 5 different girls from his season, even though he was possibly an even bigger lunkhead than Brad. (What I always wonder about that stat is...when? On the hometown dates, after dinner with mom and dad?) So now every time I see him on Sportscenter (which is not very often, since I pretty much never watch sports), I think - there's that man-whore from the Bachelor!

On to the Bachelor: safari edition!

So all the footage of lions and tigers and bears in this week's preview gave me a great idea: what if they did a sort of Bachelor/Man vs. Wild mashup? Like, all three women are stranded in the wilds of south africa, and the last one ALIVE wins a romantic fantasy date? Who's with me? There's appeal for both genders! I think it could have a real following.

Also in the teasers: the producers want us to think that Emily turns down the fantasy suite card. I say they're messing with us. I mean, has anyone ever turned down the fantasy suite card, ever?

In new York: Brad is feeling like so many feelings right now. He is anxious, nervous, excited...SO MANY FEELINGS. Thankfully, he does not call Dr. Jamie. Instead, he logs some time on the Balcony of Staring Soulfully off into the Distance, just like last week. Only without the newsie cap. Sad.

Brad reminds us that he is SO CLOSE (to the end of the season! yesss) and that he has NO CLUE what he's doing right now. (I, uh...this would be a really cheap shot. Yeah, Brad. No clue.)

He also reminds us, helpfully, of how last time he had WALLS and it DESTROYED HIS WHOLE LIFE. He is TERRIFIED OF ENDING UP ALONE. Which, last I checked, was uh, a great reason for getting engaged.

See, the man-vs.-wild collaboration could really exploit the whole fear thing this season's got going on. Am I more afraid of opening my heart up to love, or of being ripped to pieces by man-eating beasts? I DON'T KNOW. Seriously, it would be so great. Think about it, Fleiss.

Brad's ready to "talk to these women on a very intimate level", which I think means...make sexytime? Speculate as you will. He then adds, "I need this. Badly." What? Sexytime? The flight attendant in the fetching scarf? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

Brad feels lost and cold and alone until he realizes that his airplane window provides him with a prime opportunity for soulful gazing. Ahhh.

Helpfully, the producers offer us a little peek into Brad's Inner Thoughts. Brad feels comfortable with Chantal, and like he can Be Himself. They have so much chemistry. Kissing her is "close to perfect". If only mayyybe she would floss a little more.

Somewhere midway over the Pacific ocean, brad thinks about how Ashley and how she has so much to offer. He is comfortable with her, he can be himself - wait, isn't that exactly what he said about Chantal? Ashley's an accomplished, professional woman, by which I think he means "has not yet finished dental school". Oh, and her family is SO FUNNY and KOOKY! Ashley, however, is insecure about all Brad's other girlfriends. Jeez. Why can't she believe in the JOURNEY?

Close to the coast of Africa: Emily. Emily is one in a million, which means there are a thousand Emilys in China. No one can rock a side braid like Emily. She makes him want to be a better man. But Brad is intimidated by Emily's Past. Also, Emily is a single mom, and last week Brad showed us he has a curious defect where he cannot woo a woman when a child is within a 350-ft radius.

I only took this screenshot becuase Brad looks really stupid, and screenshots where Brad looks stupid are funny.

I am beginning to tire of Brad's thoughts, but the producers have got my number and we're finally in Africa. Wildebeasts! Zeebras! Monkeys! Elephants! I've got so many Lion King references at the ready it's not even funny.

Brad describes south africa as a VAST LAND full of EXOTIC ANIMALS. "Vast" is a fun new word he just learned from the cue card. It's really, really cool...but also a little dangerous. JUST LIKE FALLING IN LOVE. Oh man, this show is so deep it freaking kills me. Brad sits on the balcony of his hacienda or whatever and thinks about how he's Changed and his Connections and finding his Wife and I drink a million times. Oh, look at the little animals!

COMMERCIAL. Aka, the part of the show where I get another beer. I'm dubbing this episode "project drink every beer in the fridge", because I'm thinking that's what it will take me to get through this. Next up: Harpoon IPA. So far, so good. So, so good.

Chantal, wearing a pair of curiously short shorts, is greeted by Crocodile hunter Brad.

I have a knack for capturing awkward-looking screenshots.

Chantal and Brad are going on...a safari! They see some lions sleeping:
Just like my cat, but bigger.

And a giraffe:
adorable giraffe, will you accept this rose?

And a hippo. Hippos make a sound like a really nasty fart.

Chantal and Brad have a picnic at a watering hole. Because the producers really want to beat us over the head with this metaphor, Chantal compares the scary animals to the Scary Things in her and Brad's relationship. Like Ashley, and Emily. She is confident that Brad will protect her from the scary fart-noise hippo. I'm not so sure.

Later, Brad and Chantal and Chantal's serious, serious cleavage have dinner in the bush. (That was not a dirty joke.) Chantal wants to get married, right now. Skip the engagement. She goes on to say that getting engaged means you're going to get married, not that you're playing around and you're going to get un-engaged later. Amen, sister. We'll see how this plays out in the Bachelor-verse if Chantal is the Chosen One. P.S. Chantal's hair and makeup look seriously great right now. And Brad keeps cracking his damn knuckles. I hate it when people do that.

Brad loves Chantal's boldness and spontaneity and great rack. And oh, it's that time. You know what I'm talking about. It's that time we've all been waiting for...when the note, which comes, creepily, from Chris Harrison, arrives to invite the couple to spend the night in the Fantasy Suite, where they may or may not make suite, suite love. (I'm so funny it kills me.) Brad and Chantal deliberate for several seconds before deciding they are all over that. Thanks Chris!

Brad and Chantal's fantasy suite is a treehouse, which is wicked awesome. They sit on a couch in the treehouse and lavish Bachelor praise upon one another while I lavish my throat with beer. Also, Chantal: dirty shoes on a white couch! No.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Nighttime! A light goes out. A lion yawns. Brad and Chantal may or may not be doin it they do on the discovery channel. SPECULATE.

Commercial! More beer. Shiner Black. This one may be expired, but the lights in my kitchen are dim so I can't tell. I mean, does beer ever expire? It's alcohol, for gosh sakes. Tastes like bacon.

Obligatory animal shots. Last night with Chantal was Amazing, Brad opines, but...he's been looking forward to seeing Emily all week. You and Bill Henrickson would have a lot to talk about. (The Big Love jokes never run dry, do they? So much love for Big Love.)

Brad greets Emily and then is like, wait! I forgot something! He runs off and returns...WITH AN ELEPHANT. Emily is like, SHUT UP. (I...didn't say anything.) This is like, Emily's DREAM. (Ahh, the elephant dream. It plagues us all.)

So how does one get on a elephant? I've always wondered about this. Here is the answer, Bachelor-style. The elephant SITS DOWN (How do you get an elephant to do that? Elephant biscuits?), and a nice african man hands you up. I think I imagined there would be steps, or a sort of pulley system.

Emily and Brad get to tour the savanna via elephant, which is way better than a stupid jeep, CHANTAL. They watch some elephants at a watering hole, which remind Emily of her daughter and how much she would love this, which pretty much shuts down Brad's sex drive entirely. Emily asks Brad if he's ready for children. As in, a five-year-old child. Right away. Brad says - "yeah". Unconvincingly. They kiss, while the elephants squeal triumphantly.

At dinner, Brad is drinking white wine (why is it always white wine on this show?) and sweating like a pig. Awkward small talk. Emily breaks the ice. She just wants it to be her and Brad and Ricki. You know? That little confession is all Brad needs to present The Card.

Brad and Chantal Emily,

Welcome to the amazing country of South Africa. Should you choose to forgo your individual rooms, please use this key to stay as a couple in the fantasy suite and TOTALLY GET IT ON. Or not.

XOXO, Chris.

Emily wants to set a good example for her daughter (sex bad!), but more than that she wants to spend more time with Brad. She wants to "get to know each other better and just talk". Emily and Brad both agree that they are Falling in Love with each other. Kissing. Lights out. SPECULATE.

After commercial: Brad has missed Ashley. Badly. (New game: take a shot every time Brad says "badly". Is...that a word?) Brad marvels that the last time he was with ashley was in Madawashkughushasuhshah, Maine, and now they are in freaking AFRICA. Which is the same, only in Africa there are less cheese fries and way more monkeys. Not sure that's a trade I'd make. Ashley is also wearing questionably short jean shorts, only hers are mullet shorts: short in the front, long(er) in the back.

Ashley and Brad and the jorts (or are they only jorts when dudes are wearing them? enlighten me, readers) are trekking through the wilderness when...SHUT UP. They encounter the very rarest of all African fauna, the helicopter. Also, I just killed a bee in my kitchen. I am an inebriated badass. So much for the lack of pollinating insects in my neighborhood. I hope this bodes well for the blueberry bushes.

Ashley is FREAKING OUT. Wait...what? Ashley is deathly afraid of helicopters? I guess it's never too late in the season to be facing one's worst fears. Brad reassures her. He has faced down waterfalls and tall buildings and hippos and Michelle and he can totally handle a tiny helicopter. Plus, this looks like a Safe Helicopter, as opposed to those death-traps he rode in with Chantal and Emily. Unfortunately for Ashley, her worst fears do not merit much screen time, because we've seen this shit before.

Bachelorette: OMG THING I AM SO SCARED OF! I am so scared!!!
Brad: I will protect you from this Thing You Are So Scared Of.
Bachelorette: I am no longer scared! I LURVE YOU.
Brad: I am contractually obligated to mention that this experience deepened our Connection. Thank you for being so Amazing.


Ashley doesn't know how she'd be able to deal without brad and the mysterious jean-clad leg we see in this shot. whose leg is that? Being next to Brad and mysterious jean guy makes Ashley feel So Special.

Ashley and brad have a picnic on the edge of a cliff somewhere. Brad's worried that Ashley's dedication to her career might mean that she is NOT READY FOR A RELATIONSHIP. Because everyone knows that a woman can't have a career and a happy relationship! Hello, dickhead. Feminism? Equality? Heard of it? Gah.

Dinnahtime. Brad's worried about The Future. He keeps repeating himself and Ashley keeps grabbing her hair and pulling it into an imaginary ponytail, which is a thing i always do when i'm nervous. Basically: I just spent the last seven minutes watching a really, really awkward date. That's time I can never get back, Fleiss. Thank goodness for beer. So then it's (freaking finally) time for Chris' awesomely awkard fantasy suite card, and it's the same wording and the same damn faux-key (because who really believes that a treehouse has a key?) as with the other women.

In the fantasy suite: Brad and Ashley pop some champagne and kiss, awkwardly. Like, Luke-Leia awkward. Then: COMMERCIAL. What, no suggestive lights-turning-out, curtains-billowing scene? C'mon, why do you think I'm watching this show? I want to SPECULATE.

The next morning: Brad and his ridiculously well-defined pecs and ridiculous back tattoo awake, thoughtfully. They have have had some good conversations, and reached some turning points in some relationships. (Which relationships? We want to knoooow.) But what I really want to know is: how are there still 22 minutes in this show? Aw, hell. This better not be some Dr. Jamie bullshit.

Oh, never mind. It's just Brad talking to Chris. You know what, Chris? I love you. Or at least, I have a modicum of regard for you, like you do for that kind of annoying kid that you grew up next door to that you never really liked but hell, you've been through a lot together and you have all those shared experiences and honestly, there are people you like a lot less (and you'll probably go to the wedding, even though you haven't seen each other in years, because your parents are goading you into it and you heard the caterer is really good, but you'll probably buy the 25 dollar gift and not the 50 dollar one because of that one time when he said that one thing that nobody else will ever remember but you're going to hold against him forever). Nobody else pretends to listen to Brad better than you do, Chris, but you know what? I skipped this part.

After COMMERCIAL: Rose ceremony. Chris welcomes the ladies to south africa. Dress criticism time. It's like I'm gofugyourself, if only for an instant. Chantal: meh. I wore that to work yesterday. Or I would have, if I had a job. Only the giant boobs raise it above mediocrity. Nice hooker shoes. Emily: meh? I feel like I should be able to work up some enthusiasm over this, what with the colorblocking and all, but I can't. It's like some kind of herve leger tiny tight blahhh. Also: I had no idea you were so much taller than the other women. And nice hooker shoes. Ashley: whaat? Maybe in real life this looks awesome, but in my tiny screenshot it looks like an unholy alliance between a lot of ruching and a paper sack. You're adorable and tiny, but that color is awful. Also, those shoes: halfway between what I wore on easter sunday, in third grade...and a hooker.

Brad arrives. He clears his throat and grunts for about 15 minutes, and then asks to talk to Ashley. PRIVATELY. Brad says: I wants to be Real. You and I both know our date didn't go so well. And that the color of your dress is really, really terrible. Brad has Questions. They are not legitimate questions, like: what made you pair those shoes with that dress? Actually, the nature of the questions is never quite specified. Brad is worried he doesn't fit into Ashley's life. Aka: it's not you, it's me.

Finally, Brad tells Ashley that he has to tell her goodbye. He puts her into a hummer and stares after it, soulfully, as is his wont. While Ashley cries in the car, Brad executes a classic Jason Mesnik balcony lean, because it's all so EMOTIONAL. Emily and Chantal are getting a little sweaty waiting for Brad to finish up with his histrionics.

Brad talks to the two remaining ladies. He admits to them that he's let Ashley go. Awkward throat clearing. This is TOUGH. Emily and Chantal are like, whatever asshole. I'm perspiring over here. Brad decides to continue with this sham of a rose ceremony. Look Brad, math isn't my strong point, but even i can tell that 2 roses + 2 women = no great suspense.

Roses go to...Chantal. And uh, Emily. NO WAY.

Brad makes a joke about how Chris didn't have to tell him that was the last rose. Hey! That was my joke! If the Bachelor gets too smart...what I am gonna do? Next week, says Brad, they're going to Cape Town, a city he's always dreamed of going to. At least since two days ago, when the producers told him of its existence.

Next week, on TV: some damn stupid clip show! Will Raichel and Melissa continue their stupid feud? More importantly, who the hell cares? Is Michelle crazy, an actress or a crazy actress? And my very favorite Ashley is back. Does the fact that they're calling her "the girl with the most heartbreaking goodbye" mean that she's going to be the next bachelorette? I can only hope. Fleiss? Please?

Until next week!