Hello, Readers. Welcome back to what has quickly proven itself to be the b*tchiest season in Bachelor history. For crying out loud, what is the world coming to when we can’t even count on our reality television to fairly and accurately represent a cross-section of our population?
Then again, if we narrow that cross-section down to attention seeking, morally flexible females who have the ability to ditch their lives for five weeks with no consequences, then I suppose we got the real deal on Monday night. Top the cat fights, crying, and pettiness off with the fact that I missed the first half of the National Championship game to watch the show and Some Guy is a little disenchanted. No worries, however. My disenchantment often breeds sarcasm and sharp insults. Let’s get to it.
We begin—oddly enough—as we’d begin our hometown episodes usually much later in the season. After some gratuitous bikini shots and a sneak peak at Blakeley’s inexplicable frilly, turquoise bathing suit which, based upon the size and girth of her implants I can only assume was reinforced with some material taken from Superman’s leotard, we see Ben walking his Jack Russell terrier through the mean streets of Sonoma, California in an army green shirt he clearly borrowed from Ames.
Grapes, sun, and the hominess of Ben’s home town are interspersed with Flipcam (or the latest equivalent sponsor) shots of the girls in their casual airplane attire . . . and heels . . . arriving at the local airport. In anticipation of their arrival, Ben drives aimlessly amidst the grapes in “his” Scrambler with his dog as the women hop aboard convertible Studebakers and coif champagne while—you guessed it—driving through the grapes.
Two points before I move on: First, Jack Russell terriers are terrible dogs. They suck. Sure, they’re cute and all but they’re surprisingly nasty, they never calm down, and they stink like a homeless man under a bridge when they get older. They’re horrible with children as well. If you have one (a terrier not a child) please save your time defending the breed. I don’t care how “intelligent” they are and I don’t care that John Mahoney had one on Frasier. I’m sure they’re lovely in the right environment.
Second, what happened to the budget on this show? Upon further reflection, I assume the top picks will be traveling somewhere exotic. It makes no sense for ABC to drop significant dough on the window dressing. Still, hometown walking tours are about as cheap as it gets. Like ABC, I’ll chalk that up to Ben’s “simplicity” and move forward. I miss zip lining and bungee jumping, though. Remember when Jake—who is allegedly a pilot—cried like a fairy at the top of that bridge? Now THAT was good television. Annnyyhooo.
The girls arrive just in time for Blakeley to exit the Studebaker in her younger, smaller sister’s romper that she borrowed because “it would look SO cute on.” I’m not a big fan of the foul language and blatant insults spewing out of the women’s mouths like fresh oil from Spindletop (we’ll get to that later), but I have to agree that she looked as cheap as a stolen pistol in that getup. I smiled, shook my head, sipped my Lone Star, and sat back waiting for Harrison to arrive and welcome everyone to “an emotional week” before dropping the first date card.
Sadly, an early Harrison appearance was not in the budget this week either. What. The. Fu*ck? No Harrison? Having Ben welcome the ladies to Sonoma and drop his own date card instead of Harrison is like going to a strip club and having the bartender hop up to center stage and do a pole dance. I felt cheated and I let my television set know it. Regardless, Kacie B.—who looked lovely, by the way--gets the first date and the back biting begins in earnest.
Ben tells us that he wants “to show her something that’s extremely personal.” Now we’re talking, I thought. Usually we have to wait until Fantasy Suite week for thinly veiled statements about unabashed, anonymous copulation. Kacie throws on some tiny black shorts and a striped sailor shirt and Ben arrives—for some reason—in an oxford and a vest. A vest? Is he a magician? A blackjack dealer? Is he a banker in the 1800’s in Tombstone, Arizona? Is he moonlighting at Chippendales? Does he work in the mall? Is he planning on trying his hand in Vaudeville? Does he own a haberdashery? A vest?
By the way, feel free to post your comments regarding other proper places to wear a vest. In the interest of time, I’ll move on. A vest?
After strolling past the Sonoma Cheese Factory—where they would probably find Jake, Wes, and Brad—Ben does another Josh Groban impression at the local hotel piano bar and heads to the local candy store for some lunch box and baton shopping with Kacie. They “quaint” and “so neat” each other (and us) to death before having some good dinner conversation and some laughs.
I’ll say this about Kacie: she was attractive, fun, a good listener, and seemed to genuinely appreciate Ben and his home town. She’s didn’t come across as fake, uncomfortable, or insincere. Top that off with the fact that she has the flexibility to leave her administrative assistant job and high tail it from Tennessee to California and we may be looking at a finalist. Then again, Brad had a killer first date with Ashley before she melted down over the course of the next few episodes. It’s early, but she hit a home run on this date. She got a rose before heading to the theater for some home movies.
The only thing I’ll say about this portion of the date is that I’m glad it was Kacie and not one of the fake, insincere, attention seekers who got to share the dad video with him. I’m sure the Producers knew that when they called her parents for the video. My only regret is that we didn’t get to see Blakeley’s childhood videos. My guess is that she would have been wearing that same romper. Granted, it would have fit a bit differently.
Ding Dong. Date card. STILL no Harrison. Brittney, Rachel, Jennifer, Blakeley, Emily, Jenna, Shawn, Monica, Samantha, Jamie, Nicki, and Jaclyn get the “Come play with me. Ben” date card and Blakeley gets bitchy. By the way, I thought Rachel and Jennifer looked great. With toned down make up and hair they both looked several years younger and much more attractive than I gave them credit for initially. Sure, the “red” hair is a bit over the top, but I’ll chalk that up to lighting and television. Monica, on the other hand, looked as bad as she did last week. She had enough rouge splattered all over her face to repaint an old barn.
Ben wanders around with his borderline feminine dog in white cut off knee shorts that we assume once held the same proud place as the gray Levis in his closet before becoming shorts. Blakeley shows up in her romper with her boobs flailing around like flags in a windstorm and tells us that she hopes Ben “sees her.” Trust me, Blakeley, with that outfit and those implants Helen Keller would have seen you. She looked cheap and unattractive in the daylight. She acted like it too.
As Samantha commences peppering Blakeley with the “hooker” and “whore” comments that would eventually drive Blakeley to fake cry under cover of rolling luggage bags, we learn that the community theater will host “Prince Pinot of Bachelorville” as written by Sonoma’s fifth through seventh graders. I’ll skip the tryouts in favor of pointing out that the kid who upon realizing that Blakeley’s outfit wouldn’t fit his younger sister asked her if she could jog in slow motion. I’m not sure if it’s a statement about me, eighth grade boys, or men in general, but that’s exactly what I was thinking when she hit the stage. Her whole cans hanging out and sexual energy act might go over like gang busters at whatever VIP lounge she waitresses at, but Ben and his small town are not likely to buy it.
Incidentally, I have to give Jenna’s psychiatrist proper credit for phoning in the right dose of sedative for the group date. Up to this point in the show, she was surprisingly calm and docile. I’ll also go ahead and back off my “gorgeous” comment from last week. She didn’t look very good even before the meltdown this week. Even Some Guy makes a mistake every now and then. Hell, she’s so tiny that she probably has a hummingbird feeder instead of a refrigerator in her studio apartment in NYC. I’m certain that the Xanex she took was in liquid form. A pill was likely to get stuck in her esophagus.
As the play takes place it becomes glaringly apparent which girls have the motherly instinct and which ones will continue soaking their ovaries in vodka appletinis until they stop spitting out eggs. As over the top as it was, I found myself actually appreciating Ben. They guy is a real guy and he’s clearly not worried about how many egg whites he eats or what scent of Axe Body Spray compliments his deep v-necks. He clearly put in the work in the gym in the off season but didn’t overdo it. It sort of annoys me that I like the guy. Hell, I have a lot in common with him. How am I supposed to insult him for another 10 episodes? I’m sure I’ll figure something out. There’s always that haircut.
After the play and another few “b*tch, slut, and hooker” comments concerning Blakeley, we head to the Fairmont Spa for the after party after all of the girls stop off for an over application of eye make up and tanning cream. Samantha ends up “slut and hookering” herself into a frenzy and escapes to the bathroom to cry about it before the well grounded girls enter the fray and attempt to calm her which proves as effective as urinating into gale force winds.
Before the hot tub fondling begins we cut back to the mansion where Kacie reads the “Let’s Spin the Bottle. Ben” date card meant for Courtney. Erika gets annoyed, Kacie gets offended, and Courtney gloats. At least I think she was gloating. It was increasingly difficult to tell based upon the vacant look that was constantly plastered on her face. At least she didn’t mention she’s a model prior to rubbing the date card in the face of everyone within close proximity.
As chicken fights ensue Blakeley sheds some light on her overly competitive, spiteful behavior by attributing all of it to the fact that she’s a Scorpio. Whatever. Jennifer and Ben get some alone time in some interior hot tub lined with votive candles and she sneaks a kiss after pronouncing the word “perfect” correctly for the first time in the last two seasons of this show. As I said before, she looked good this week and she didn’t overdo it by trying too hard in the hot tub. She was sufficiently engaging without being overly anxious. Some of the other girls would do well to take notes of her performance. She ended up feeling a bit insecure about the entire interaction; however, from the male perspective, she earned more points than the sexually aggressive Blakeley and her frilly turquoise bathing suit. Michelle Money learned that lesson the hard way a couple of seasons ago. Apparently, Scorpios don’t watch television.
Despite homely Jaclyn’s “Blakeley is super-fakely” zinger Ben dons a tank top that matches Blakeley’s frilly swimsuit and presents her with the rose. That rose presentation was as staged as a Don King Promotions title fight. Oblivious to the Producer’s manipulation, the heretofore confident and calm Jennifer has a semi-meltdown before getting it together and Samantha again “slut and horseys” herself back into that aforementioned frenzy making one of the cardinal sins of mansion living proximity by allowing Blakeley to get in her head. Amateur.
Ben arrives along with Scotch the dog to pick up Courtney the fox in her white Emily-esque shorts so he can drive her past another few miles of grapes in order to show her some firm, hard wood. In the absence of firm, hard wood, Ben takes her to a redwood forest instead. Once she dropped the vixen act, she actually seemed nice—vacant and boring, yes, but nice nonetheless. Ben’s black jean cut offs seemed to agree. All of us have been attracted to a person solely based on looks and there’s no bigger bummer when that turns out to be the only thing worth noting about that person.
After a tractor ride through—you guessed it—more grapes and dinner in the vineyard, Courtney uses the word “cathartic” before garnering a rose from a tipsy Ben. Look, she did well and they seemed to get along fine. I tend to think that was more about Ben’s openness and comfort rather than any overwhelmingly fantastic personality trait she possessed. At any rate, she gets a rose as her hotness eclipses her lack of personality thereby fooling Ben.
Overall, it was a vanilla evening and Courtney came across as extremely hollow. To paraphrase a famous poet; This is the way the date ends. Not with a bang but a whimper. I suppose we’ll have to wait until Courtney makes it to the Fantasy Suite before anything ends with a bang. T.S. Eliot probably just rolled over in his grave. For you literature buffs out there, I promise to tie in Heart of Darkness sometime this season.
Back at the cocktail crying party Ben arrives dressed like The Transporter and we get some clever juxtaposition a la Ali v. Foreman between Blakeley and Courtney’s scheming. Like the hypothetical WWIII in Red Dawn, that conflict is bound to happen sooner than later. My money is on Courtney. She’s hotter, more subtle in front of Ben, and “my girlfriend is a model” sounds better than “my girlfriend is a nudie bar waitress.” Regardless of the outcome, that one should be interesting to watch.
Monica shows off her Rosacea, Lindzi looks orange, and Jenna still appears medicated and sober although I noticed her sipping some chardonnay. As we’d soon see, the synergistic effects of alcohol and anti-anxiety medication are never pleasant, especially in neurotic, bulimic waifs.
Ben and Lindzi get some alone time. She admits to never wearing make up, driving an F-350 pick up truck, and being at home in the country. Had she also mentioned an affinity for Lone Star Beer and honky tonks I would have instantly forgotten about Emily’s white shorts. She’s cool and she kept her head about her. Sadly, that combination doesn’t equal success on this show, but I still like her.
Moving from the sublimely hot to the pathetically ridiculous, Ben makes his way from Lindzi to Samantha who “jugs and hookers” her way into her third Blakeley frenzy. Ironically, Blakeley’s c*ck block of Samantha saves Samantha from making another cardinal mistake in the Bachelor world: being the first to badmouth another contestant. I think we can all count on that occurring much sooner than later and it will likely be Samantha who does it. Oh, and the first girl to say “I hate drama” and “I promise I’m a really cool chick” doesn’t hate drama and is a pain in the ass more often than she isn’t.
Enter a chardonnay-primed Jenna on the heels of the freshly Christened “Blakeley Situation” and proceeds to (see the above rule) tell Ben that she’s “not like your typical girl” before literally melting down in front of him like Frosty the Freaking Snowman on a hot day. Blakeley was so sick of it she went to go fake cry in the corner of the “Luggage Room.” Poor Ben. To hell with pruning and trimming. He’d do better to just torch the whole forest and start over.
Just as the wheels are about to come off (and the channel was about to get changed), Harrison arrives on his steed with his magical champagne glass and butter knife. It’s about freaking time, I said to my television set. Let’s get to chopping.
After dealing with the carrying on, Ben dispenses the remaining 13 roses as Kacie, Blakeley, and Courtney reveled in their safeness.
11. Casey S.
Jenna and Shawn get sent packing. Predictably, Shawn is silent. She likely packed immediately while simultaneously calling her daughter and telling her she couldn’t wait to get home. Jenna, on the other hand, reverts into her familiar state of shock and mortification while crying uncontrollably. That poor girl needs Dr. Jamie.
Well, there it is. With the Amazing count at 16 and the Journey count at 6 we head West/Southwest to San Francisco for another week of stupidity. Until next week, take care of yourselves. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be coating my face and neck in orange tanning cream. DP