Ladies and germs, the wine may have gone to my head. Wine? you are inquiring. Why would she be drinking wine? Usually she watches this show to a cacophony of loud jack hammers outside and on constant pause and rewind because there is always some needy 2 1/2 year-old that wants to do a Bob the Builder 49-piece puzzle way beyond his personal abilities or a 7 month-old who is so greedy and selfish for actual physical touch and eye contact.
Not this time, people. No, this time I viewed the show like a true grown-up, thus the terrible blog delay. Faye convinced me (and rightly so) that we should watch at night with cheap wine and Thai delivery and fewer children milling about asking why people keep crying on the tv. So after I ate 90% of the vegetable spring rolls myself, it was Game. On.
Ben and his beatches are headed to Panama City, Panama. Faye is very anxious and wants to see the cartoon travel map because she doesn’t know where Panama City/Panama is. I try to give a geo-political accounting of the country’s strategic location and the international trade-affected game-changing decision to man-make the canal, but she looks bored. She just wants the cartoon airplane whizzing through the air. Fine, Faye. See, there it is.
Panama City is way bigger than I thought. Looks like a few other cities known for harboring lots of international expats in high-rises. Nothing says Central America flavor like a Trump hotel.
Ben arrives at the hotel in a JEEP with monster tires. You know, like the kind where you could perform at those monster truck rallies (why rally, and not show?) by driving over a line of sedans. I am seriously digging Ben’s royal blue sneaks (“trainers” in this part of the world) that perfectly match his watch. Yeah, whoever is the man stylist! Ben is being Chris Harrison. I read Chris’s blog and it’s because Chris himself was busy filming a game show somewhere. Lame. It’s like Chris doesn’t believe this Bachelor franchise will last forever and he is trying to diversify his income options. Traitor. Ben-as-Chris leaves a date card.
Will Our Love Survive date with Kacie B
First, may I point out that this may be the longest we have gotten into a season with it still necessary to refer to some of the contestants by a last initial. Although, to be fair, I don’t keep stats. Does anyone else know? Has there ever been a proposal day where someone had to be referred to as [Name] [Last Name Initial]?
Kacie B is told to pack three things. Or something. Courtney thinks she’s annoying. Gives stink eye. Just another day around the way.
Ben and Kacie B take a helicopter ride over the Panama Canal. Cool! No, seriously, it’s cool the way all history-defining engineering wonders are cool. But instead of a little canal tour and talk like I might enjoy, the happy couple go to a deserted island. San Blas, to be exact. Kacie B seems surprised that’s what they are doing which doesn’t explain why she knew to pack the Poor Man’s Leatherman.
Ben was more prepared (although I thought candy was a top-notch choice, Kacie B): Machete, fishing net and matches. I just want to point out no one brought condoms. IJS.
This date wins the rose given out by me for most cliché and metaphor-inducing: teamwork, overcoming obstacles, fears and hurdles. Partnership. Some other words.
Ben hacks some coconuts off the tree. He looks kind of cute doing it. Cuter than Tom Hanks in Castaway, at least.
(I don’t want to alarm anyone , but at this point in the show (or as this Brits say, “programme”) Faye and I observe that Kacie B is narrating for the camera in her confessional how the date is going and is wearing the same multi-colored flowy top BUT has her hair straight and a pink manicure she did not have on the actual date.)
They are cute and net a fish (Take that, Courtney’s fish!) and cook it over a fire. Miraculously some bubbly and glasses appear. Maybe the cameraman got to bring 3 items too.
Then they have dinner together, where they have changed so now I am confused- is it still the deserted island? Kacie is cute and says “all this is great but I can’t wait for the day-to-day things.” Which means grocery store. Maybe that wouldn’t be the first thing I would want to do as a couple, but okay. She “doesn’t want to make small talk.”
That segues into Kacie B alluding to feeling older than her peers which seamlessly leads to her revelation about her high school eating disorder(s). She was caught with her bulimia and anorexia at a Superbowl Party by her parents. This all made her grow up a lot faster. It made her a stronger person. Also skinnier though, right? So not all terrible. I kid, I kid! I swear I didn’t just make a joke about eating disorders. I know they are very serious and debilitating. It’s just that revealing on this show you have had an eating disorder is like revealing you get a Brazilian wax. Yeah, and?
Ben gives a speech. He is totally smitten with Kacie methinks. Also, she is really looking like Sandra Bullock. Her electric blue crazy heels look too humongous with her teeny black dress but I won’t quibble.
Let’s Get Lost group date
This date is with: Emily, Nicki, Lindzi, Casey S, Courtney and Jamie.
Ben motors up to greet the girls from a wooden boat. It rains on the girls in the boat and Courtney’s yellow loose tank shirt getting soaked in the rain looks more Panama City, Florida than Panama City, Panama. Luckily for her, she won’t be wearing it for long.
Then the group rolls up on some ‘indigenous’ water-side village of natives who have most likely never been exposed to white man or cameras. I feel myself getting giddy with all the anthropological ramifications. Wow! I mean I watch this show as a guilty pleasure but now there is this ‘spontaneous’ and ‘fortuitous’ moment where we the viewing public are treated to the unearthing of the world’s last untouched society. I want to cry. What will we see?! Will there be lip-disfigurements and polyandry? Do they walk on all fours? Will it be like Nell??
Whatever it is, it is beautiful. This totally untouched and lost society of indigenous rainforest people did not mind the production crew and welcomed the spontaneous invasion of a group date and even managed to quickly throw together some flowered crowns, metallic and bejeweled bikini tops, loincloths, Sharpie body tattoos and dancing in the rain. Totally not orchestrated, pre-arranged, monetarily compensated and touristy. Totally NOT.
Let’s talk about Courtney on this date. Courtney is d e f i n i t e l y “winning.” She is Winning so hard that I kind of want Ben to send the other 5 girls home. For example, Courtney wears her native garb with nothing underneath, as you are supposed to. The other Amish Mormons can’t handle it. Ben says he appreciates this revealing and provocative move by Courtney: “in more than one way.” Must you, Ben? Really?
But Courtney deserves to win. She is the only one that tries at this point. She sits by Ben, tattoo marks him, dances with him, TRIES. Emily meanwhile is making grumpy remarks about how Courtney is “classy”(not) and “7th grade”. Nicki complains that Courtney always finds a way to find time with Ben and get his attention. She seems horrified by this.
What is wrong with these girls??? I don’t even know what to say. If they are outraged that someone would think to flirt with and win Ben’s affections on a show designed to get him to want to marry you, well then I am not very surprised they are all stil single.
I am not saying I like Courtney (Erin.), but she is at least doing one thing right that no one else can seem to manage. I don’t think there has ever been a season of such chaste wallflowers.
Ben chats it out with Lindzi. She “doesn’t believe in fighting.” Cool. It’s that simple when you marry someone. If you say you refuse to “fight every other day”, then you never have to! Just always let the other person set every decision, judgment, opinion, tone and fate of the relationship and it will be amicable!
Ben steals Courtney and the peanut gallery goes wild. He says: “Skinny dipping in Puerto Rico was insane.” Ben feels like he needs to give Stuart Smalley affirmations to Courtney. He actually uses the word “appreciate” in his little speech to her. Her reverse psychology is genius. The most self-adoring person on the show is constantly convincing Ben she is worried about her standing. Courtney gets mad points for the very adept manipulations. Also, she mentions 1611 is her room number.
Jamie starts her chat time with Ben with “it’s come to my attention…” and then puts her hands on her knees and has verbal diarrhea and mentions Ben is “wonderful” (an adjective usually reserved for grandmas and satisfied bosses) and does not acknowledge that Courtney is swimming around in her bikini behind them. I am sure she makes some more bad decisions but I don’t notice them. Jamie is too nice and diplomatic for the mechanics of this show and even though she has made it repeatedly obvious she wants to kiss Ben (she can’t believe she is the only one not to do so, and I agree! Ben practically made babies in Jennifer’s mouth, but kept a girl around who he had never kissed? Hmmm), for the moment she lets Courtney and her poolside pseudo-masturbation win the round.
Let’s see if Emily is done with the house drama, because it’s her turn now to chat with Ben. Emily makes a funty (that’s for you, Daniel) joke about loving the Chief (of the indigenous untouched lost people they visited on the river). Emily is smart and funny. POTENT combination IMHO. Not that I am speaking from personal, successful experience. We can just view the evidence. Ben and her get it on a little. Emily is so excited they make out that she goes back to the girls, and in a fit of extreme lapse in judgment, she decides that it’s not enough to stop instigating things with Courtney (but it would have been enough, Emily. Moooore than enough.), she needs to also apologize to Courtney and say she “respects” her. I have no idea why her olive branch had to be an a**-kissing session, but Stink Eye McForehead is having none of it. “Courtney does not forgive and forget.” (Okay, I added the third-person reference myself but doesn’t Courtney seem like someone who could totally successfully speak about herself in the third-person?) Apparently Courtney also belabors points. She repeats ad nauseam that she does not respect Emily and wants to machete off her head and verbally assault her (headless torso). I really would have pegged Courtney as the forgiving type so I am taken aback she is being so spiteful and nasty. OH WAIT, THAT LAST SENTENCE I TYPED IS A BOLD-FACED LIE. Courtney is a pathetic skank. How you like them apples, Erin?
Ben grabs the rose and grabs Lindzi. My heart leaps at this momentary display of drama-free joy. Hallelujah! And Lindzi’s dimples rock as hard as Rachel’s bangs. I want the Final Two to be Battle of Cuteness: Bangs vs. Dimples.
Courtney is waiting in her hotel room (with a camera crew) and gets super vulnerable on the voiceover about how she is always mistreated in relationships. Then I guess she feels stood up. Possibly she goes skinny-dipping with the cameraman.
Save the Last Dance for Me 2-on-1 date with Blakeley and Rachel
Rachel is worried and annoyed and Blakeley is dying of excitement. FORESHADOWING ALERT.
Ben feels the two women he chose for this date are on even playing field. I don’t know what to make of that assessment. I can’t think of two more different types in looks and personality.
Frankly, I am over these two-on-one dates. It’s a misguided premise. Somehow in the artificial context of having to let one go, people can usually dismiss one person and believe it was supposed to be. But if the same people were on a group date or just individual ones, I am guessing that is rarely the case that one would be dismissed. That’s why these dates in particular are dreaded. I want to pause and give props then to the few trailblazing Bachelors and Bachelorettes who have gone before and refused to play by the rules. I think Jillian let both guys go on her 2-on-1. And I am pretty sure someone once kept both. Can someone please keep an accurate archives and accounting of all manuevers on this show through all time? This is like our Moneyball, people.
Salsa lessons now. Blakeley is the better dancer. Ben the Obvious-Stater: “Salsa is sweaty and sensual.” Rachel thinks it’s distasteful that Blakeley wrapped her legs around him. What is with these girls feeling so miffed when someone else actually competes for the man? Rachel wants Ben to “see through Blakeley”. To what?! A nice, funny girl that everyone likes and who graciously gave hair highlights to Emily? Rachel, you and your bangs are starting to be dead to me.
Ben says his heart is pounding out of his chest. Even though he probably knows who he is going to choose (you can’t tell me he makes up his mind in the last five minutes of the long date), Ben still feels the need to absolutely torture and mind-f*ck the girls one last time. In fact, while we’re on the subject I think Ben is notoriously cruel at making sure he eeks out every last proclamation of love and devotion and some tonsil hockey from the women before discarding them into the night. It is ironic and I suppose, predictable, given that we were all so outraged along with him when Ashley H let him get down on one knee and propose before telling him to take a hike so she could start her life with JP. Ben therefore follows a misplaced eye-for-eye philosophy.
Rachel and him have a chat and there is a police car strobe light or something bouncing off their hair. Rachel takes an interesting tact which is to trash Blakeley. Her big point on why Blakeley sucks is she is “too fast and some things come with time”. Um, you’re on a speed-dating reality show, Bitchy Nice Bangs.
Blakeley now gets her chance at a chat. She cries and is vulnerable (genuine-seeming) and then breaks out her
homemade Ben Flajnik collage scrapbook.
There’s so much I want to say about this moment and the minutes which ensued, but my typing fingers are disobeying the firing synapses of my horrified brain. So let’s try instead for me to describe exactly what Faye and I were doing at this point. I want you to imagine it. In fact, I want you to re-enact it. To do so, you need to first run out and purchase an ugly L-shaped Ikea couch and cover it with Crayola marker and granola bar crumbs. Okay, ready now? So Faye immediately curls up into the fetal position, facing away from the tv. She has her body half on and half off the “chaise” portion of the Ikea couch (it doesn’t seem right to use such a lovely French term for this particularly cheap furniture but I don’t want to digress). She is staring up at me with pleading, searching eyes. It’s like she wants me to say the collage scrapbook was all a dream. But Faye is a friend and I won’t lie to her.
I, meanwhile, actually physically surprised myself. I was so uncomfortable and nervous watching Blakeley detail each individual glued cut-out on the “This is Me Living with You in San Francisco” page that I sprung up from the couch and actually walked backwards at least five more feet and just stood there, on the other side of the room from the tv. I stood there for a few minutes yelling at Faye. You know how when you’re so upset, sometimes you project and misdirect your frustration at an innocent bystander? It was like that. Blakeley wasn’t listening to me, she was so busy talking to Ben. So I just had to give unsolicited advice to the living room.
Speaking of advice, here is my public service announcement. I am not going to get on the bandwagon and say, “Ladies, never make a guy a collage or a scrapbook when you first meet him.” Because some people are going to do it anyway and I want to be in the business of helping people. So I am going to make my PSA more specific, and with more life-saving application.
IF you happen to make a man you just met a collage of pictures and words cut out from magazines and/or a scrapbook, and you really cannot withstand the temptation to actually gift it to him, make sure you just give it to him and run or give it to him and then immediately pleasure him and under absolutely no circumstances and in no uncertain terms and without a shadow of a doubt, do not, I repeat – DO NOT – explain in excruciating detail what each little individual cut-out represents about to you about the man in front of you who you do not know at all.
If you don’t believe me, take a man’s advice on the matter (passed along by Daniel, a Bachelor fan so manly he is not afraid to read this blog either).
Ben goes into the little table rose ceremony for two by saying in the voiceover: First, I was physically torn between two women and tonight I am emotionally torn. Wouldn’t it be weird to be the other girl that someone was physically torn between after the silcone-enhanced VIP waitress? Don’t mind if I do!
Ben gives Rachel the rose. Blakeley hightails it out of there. Go, girl! She is stone, cold peeved. Angry cry. Ben seems all flustered and annoyed Blakeley won’t slow down to hear his ‘splaining. Again, Ben needs someone to show him on slo-mo repeat his whole proposal to Ashley and its aftermath. Nonetheless, because at her core Blakeley is a vulnerable ‘ol mess and a nice person, she relents and the non-couple walk through a dirty Panama City alley with feral cats running amok. Then Blakeley apologizes (for what??) and hugs Ben tight and for a while. I think she wanted her boobs to have the last word or something. Meanwhile, it apparently wasn’t enough for Rachel to actually WIN, she has to kick the dead body. “I wish her a good flight.” And cue the plane noise.
Casey S debacle
The girls are chatting and Chris Harrison *surprises* them (funny how they weren’t caught off guard actually ingesting food or using the toilet or working out) and asks for a private talk with Casey S. It has been brought to his attention by three different people back in the United States that Casey is in love with “Michael back home”, and NOT BEN. Michael reported to the producers that he and Casey S spent every day together and practically lived together before she left to do the show. Casey explains. Michael didn’t want to married. She is trying to work out her therapy needs while chatting with Chris Harrison. Chris is so bored. They march to see Ben who is also totally caught off guard fully dressed and put together and with a full camera production crew in his suite.
Casey S, who has somehow eluded camera time this entire season, has more of a beautiful face and body than her model bestie. This brings me te closure I need on Courtney. Anyway, so Casey S has lots of ugly cries and unwinds to Ben almost like a therapist that she has to go back to a man who doesn’t want to marry her. She collapses in Chris’s arms. She pours it out. I want to know what the deal is with this Michael. I demand he show up at WTA and explain himself! Ben is forced to have a pensive lean over the balcony. Casey though is barefoot and with none of her luggage or her possessions being taken to the airport in a van. No goodbyes? Why? Even though Casey S robbed a spot from a more deserving girl, I do feel bad for her. She is seriously melting down because she JUST WANTS TO GET MARRIED AND MICHAEL WON’T.
Nicki is going on and on to Ben about how excited she is about him and although I am not seeing the reciprocation in his body language and eye contact, they do a weird junior high dance and kiss.
Courtney tells the girls she is worries she is going home JUST KIDDING. I do really like her white cut-outs/off-the-shoulder dress but she is evil.
Jamie admits on camera she is really prude. Too little too late as Jamie almost bests the Most Awkward title from Blakeley this episode. Actually, it might be Jamie for the win. “I’m sorry I don’t show you how much I like you…” She then narrates that she had a surprise and straddles him in this weird awkward way and then continues to narrate word-for-word exactly how they should kiss step-by-step. She will not stop talking for even one second. Ben’s Other Brain is probably panicking and trying to run for the hills. I have never felt so uncomfortable in ten years of this franchise. I have weird nausea and nervousness in my stomach. It’s settled. In one fell swoop Jamie did the Most Embarrassing Thing Ever and I am just grateful Blakeley’s collage is no longer in the line of fire.
Chris Harrison gives some speech about Casey S demonstrating how serious this all is. No one is paying attention because our eyes and minds are still bleeding from the visual of Jamie’s spectacular demise.
Additional roses (after Kacie B and Lindzi and Rachel):
Jamie goes into the Reject Limo. First she has to raise her siblings, and now this atrocity. Jamie, I liked you Episode 1. Then the producers wouldn’t give you any air time. Then they did and it was an absolute shit show. You need a special kind of man who likes prude girls who talk a lot while heavy petting. Every
crackpot has a lid.
6 ladies and it’s the week leading up to hometowns. The girls do an intervention about Courtney.
Emily did a rap that made me feel almost as uncomfortable as when Jamie kamikazied her moment with Ben. Emily, stop rapping. Forever.