Hello, Readers. Welcome back this week to what has quickly become a straight line on the excitement graph. Granted, there were some memorable moments this week, but generally speaking, watching Ben fumble around the necklines of the remaining women is a lot like watching a pig hunt for truffles: tedious, dirty, and generally boring.
Speaking of pork, Courtney had some good moments this week too, but even that whole story line is getting stale. The white bikini breathed some new life into that story line—and certain parts of Ben’s anatomy—but I found myself sighing into my Lone Star quite often this week. Regardless, I’m here to recap it all for you.
Before we begin I’ll let you know that the bonus post I promised will be in the works shortly. Also, I’d like to pimp out my much ignored Facebook Fan Page (Guy in Austin). Feel free to Like it and post your comments up there as well as on this site. Special recognition goes out to the reader who pegged Ben as an Alfalfa from Little Rascals look alike on the Fan Page this week. Nice work. Now, let’s get to it.
We begin with the condescending fake airplane graphic showing the Flipcam-documented flight heading from wherever we were last week to the cosmopolitan home of the Trump Ocean Club, Panama City, Panama. Ubiquitous scarves cease their ubiquity and yield their presence in favor of short shorts and tank tops as Courtney reminds us that she played a game of “No, that’s not an octopus” with Ben in the ocean last episode.
As the women settle in to the Ikea-themed estrogen suite we get a look at the Panamanian version of Ben’s scrambler and listen to his lead in voice over. He emerges from the Jeep in an unspeakable version of the women’s travel attire sporting his own version of white cut offs, a red leather belt, and (of course) a monochromatic v-neck.
As if ABC spit in our collective face, we are forced to deal with that outfit while simultaneously accepting the fact that Chris Harrison failed to catch the early flight leaving Ben and his white shorts to drop is own date card. Oh, the humanity. Little did we know that Harrison was actually in the production van prepping for his mid-show humiliation-fest aimed at the usually mute Casey S. More about that later.
“Kacie B., Will our love survive. Pack 3 things,” the card reads. We cut immediately to Ben in black Reeboks, orange and yellow shorts, and a blue v-neck walking with Kacie in her black Daisy Dukes and purple striped shirt.
Look, I'm the last guy to put an emphasis on haute couture, but black Reeboks? Who does he think he is, Jamie Lee Curtis in the movie Perfect? A bus boy at the local country club? A stagehand? Someone update this guy's hair and wardrobe, please. At least pull him kicking and screaming into the late 90's. He might as well have thrown in a fanny pack to complete the ensemble.
Intoxicated with his bachelor status, Kacie fails to admonish his shoe selection and opts for various expressions of wonderment and awe as she and Ben metaphor us to death in the Bachelor-copter on their way to San Blas Island where they can be "alone."
For some unknown reason, Kacie's three things were a monkey, a corkscrew, and a bag of candy and Ben's three things were a machete, a fishing net, and matches. They chop some nuts, attempt to fish, and drink enough coconut juice to clear out their colons for the next couple of episodes. That date was more heavily canned than Blakeley's bra and as artificial as Courtney's upper lip.
Ben drops what will undoubtedly take the place of Gia's "you can eat my salmon" line when he tells Kacie he'd like to "dive in deeper." Subtle, Ben. Between Kacie's vague and immensely naive "it's nice to be like doing stuff" response and Ben's homage to Dorothy Hammill's haircut I found it difficult to concentrate on anything they discussed. Thankfully, we cut back to the house for the presentation of the dreaded Group Date Card and the even more dreaded process of elimination game in order to find out who ends up on the most dreaded Two on One Date.
"Let's Get Lost. Ben" the card reads as Nicki, Lindzi, Casey S., Courtney, and Jamie draw the group date and Rachel and Blakeley wallow in their opposite reactions. In the meantime, Kacie shares the fact that she had GASP "an eating disorder" in high school that . . . well, apparently it didn't really do anything, but that's neither here nor there.
The important part is that she "opened up" to Ben by regurgitating irrelevant past information about herself and failing to connect it to her current situation. We later find out that she had "anorexia and bulimia." Technically, that's TWO eating disorders, but let's not split really thin, malnourished hairs. Far be it from me to weigh in on something so serious. One eating disorder is tough enough to swallow. I can't imagine having to stomach two of them. It puts me at a real loss.
I thought Ben looked and sounded completely hammered out of his Dorothy-Hammill-coiffed head during this conversation. Regardless, Kacie gets points from Ben for purging her past and takes joy as she binges on the beauty of the Safety Rose Ben coughed up after dinner. She's been starving for attention for a while now. The entire date made me want to puke.
Fast forward to the Chagres
Like a pornographic adaptation of The Heart of Darkness, Ben and the rain soaked women head up the river in search of their alter egos. The Horror! The Horror! I suppose if I made that an Apocalypse Now reference it would reach a broader audience. I'm sure the English Lit majors are with me still. Annnyyyyyhooo . . .
The group "stumbles" upon Embera Village as the local tribesmen and women proceed to disrobe all of the women and place them in "traditional" beaded bras. Ben, in the meantime gets his current wardrobe updated by donning a loin cloth. Surely, black Reeboks preceded the loin cloth on the evolutionary fashion chart.
Not surprisingly, Courtney chooses to go braless and the other girls wilt in the presence of her slutty glow as they curse her while secretly admiring her at the same time. Courtney drops a "the guy I'm interested in" in reference to Ben and I again choked on my Lone Star. It's always the small moments that are the most telling, isn't it?
After that nonsense, the group retires to The Trump Club for a cocktail party and a clearly intoxicated (on booze not love) Ben sports his french blue linen shirt and green pants as an equally intoxicated (on pinot grigio not love) Lindzi drops "us" and "boyfriend" in the same sentence before inhaling Ben's face and smothering him in loose bronzer.
During the face sucking, the Two on One Card is dropped. "Save the Last Dance for Me. Ben," it reads in addition to the foreboding and buzz killing Harrison message "two girls, one rose. One stays, one goes." I love it. Rachel didn't and Blakeley pretended like she did.
Ben "Courtney and I's" again as Courtney not so subtly drops her room number in an effort to show him another historically significant, highly traveled, internationally known, heavy load bearing canal in Panama. She drives her point home in an ironically white bikini as Jamie does her best Lloyd Dobbler from Say Anything nervous talking thing and fails to either impress or kiss Ben.
While waiting for his erection to subside, Ben kills the time between his next alone time with Courtney by talking to Emily who is thankfully sober enough to keep her highly educated, but ill timed trap shut about all of her cat fighting with Courtney.
Incidentally, Ben mentioned that Courtney "notices me, and is assertive and confident" as reasons for his attraction to her. Chalk another point up in the "Some Guy said so" column for me this week, would you? If I know nothing else, I know the male psyche. Between coaching Ben and writing Courtney's dialogue, I'm a busy guy this season.
Emily listens to the producer's advice and accepts responsibility for "improperly" judging Courtney. What she should have apologized for was going nuts and allowing Courtney to get in her head. She finds the ability to swallow her pride and apologize to Courtney who takes a classic defensive stance and makes a fool out of herself by refusing to accept the apology. She's been relatively clever and entertaining so far this season. Unfortunately for her, Botox can't hide the wrinkles in a person's character.
Amidst the ridiculousness, Ben "borrows" Lindzi and bestows the coveted Safety Rose upon her and her bronzed face. She's an attractive girl and she'll make the home town dates. I'd like to see her do well but I'd hate to see her "win" Ben.
Upon discovering that her silent tantrum and passive-aggressive tactics didn't work, Courtney begins to come apart a bit as her confidence is shaken when Ben fails to show up at her door. She laments all of the men who "appreciate her in the beginning" but "constantly disappoint" her in the end.
Sigh. Allow me a brief aside and I promise to tie all of this together.
Today is the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birthday. With that on my mind I couldn't help but be reminded of the famous Miss Havisham when listening to Courtney bemoan the life of a beautiful, yet sorely neglected model.
Again, for the non-lit majors reading, Miss Havisham is famous for being the formerly beautiful but now crotchety old woman who believed whole heartedly in love before discovering that her fiancé intended to marry her only for her money when twenty minutes before her wedding she received a letter from her betrothed leaving her at the altar. She had all of the clocks stopped in her house at the moment she learned of her betrayal. She wastes away alone in her mansion never removing her wedding dress.
"I'll tell you," said she, in the same hurried passionate whisper, "what real love is. It is blind devotion, unquestioning self-humiliation, utter submission, trust and belief against yourself and against the whole world, giving up your whole heart and soul to the smiter--as I did!" Perhaps Courtney should put on some clothes and pick up a copy of Great Expectations. Ben loves grapes, but not sour ones. Back to Ben.
Speaking of the best of times and the worst of times, Ben arrives to get Rachel and Blakeley for the always awkward two-on-one date and the uncomfortableness oozes around them like silicone from Blakeley's implants. A Panamanian Debbie Allen gives the three salsa lessons all the while counting 1,2,3,5,6,7. Apparently, even the dance instructor realized there would be no Four Play on this date. (I know. Solid, right?)
Blakeley does her best Cha-Cha DeGregorio impression to Rachel's uncanny Sandy impression (I knew the Olivia Newton-John thing would come in handy) as Ben fails to come remotely close to Danny Zuco's dancing ability or charisma.
Ultimately, Blakeley is given the heave ho and drops a "what else do I need to know" as Ben chases her down the hall before giving her the "great girl" speech after Blakeley felt the need to perpetuate the Rydell High School behavior by showing him "her" scrapbook despite the fact that she's---cough cough--34 years old.
With that out of the way, it's time to stir up some "controversy." I'll skim over this part because it was literally so ridiculous that I don't think it deserves reiteration.
Harrison strolls into the women's suite unannounced proving that all hotel locks can be opened simply by coming in close proximity to his pheromones. He makes some small talk before taking Casey S. away to the top of Golgotha in order to crucify her for breaking up with her boyfriend prior to going on the show and then having the nerve to confirm that she still wants to be broken up with him.
Inexplicably, Casey is forced to meet with Ben and tell him that she broke up with her boyfriend prior to going on the show and still wants to stay broken up from him. Harrison sits by (for no apparent reason) with his McCarthy-esque yellow notebook in his hand presumably containing a list of all of the prior (and perhaps future) black listed contestants in Bachelor history. We know that Justin Rego and Wes Hayden have their own chapters as does Roz Papas.
Casey hits the road and Ben pretends to care. If that entire segment made sense to any of you, please write in about it below. I don't know what kind of dirt that ex-boyfriend has on Harrison, but whatever it is, it worked. She disappeared faster than Ben's junk at a Courtney skinny dipping party. The Women Tell All should be interesting if she's dumb enough to come back for it.
The rose ceremony begins in earnest after Jamie makes perhaps the most awkward straddle move slash Lloyd Dobbler nervous talking move in Bachelor history. She's an incredibly attractive girl under that eye makeup and I don't think she deserved to go out like that, but hey, she dug her own grave.
Kacie B., Lindzi, and Rachel find security in their Safety Roses as Nicki, Courtney, and Emily slide in for another week. Casey S., Blakeley, and Jamie are forced to hit the road.
Well, there you have it. With the Amazing Count at 40 and the Journey Count at 15 we head to Belize for some more tropical love finding. Happy Birthday again to Charles Dickens. It's not often any human being is remembered on his 200th birthday.
As Pip put it in Great Expectations, "I loved her simply because I found her irresistible. Once for all; I knew to my sorrow, often and often, if not always, that I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be. Once for all; I loved her nonetheless because I knew it, and it had no more influence in restraining me, than if I had devoutly believed her to be human perfection."
Let's hope that Ben finds that in one of the remaining women and let's hope that she finds it in him. I'm a bit cynical, but that doesn't mean I wasn't once a romantic and it doesn't mean that true love beyond restraint can't happen...even on a reality show.
Speaking of true love, Valentine's Day is right around the corner. I'm planning something special in the way of my post next week. Until then, good luck with true love. In the meantime, if you need me, I'll be sharpening my wit. DP