The past month of the world’s greatest television franchise in a nutshell (but a very big nut. like a walnut shell, not an almond. wait, is an almond a nut or a seed?):
Clint: “I’m best best best best friends with JJ. We’ve become very very very very close.” (4 repeating adjectives each time. I counted.)
Kaitlyn on Clint: “I liked you. I don’t trust you. Let’s say goodbye.”
JJ in the most exciting 180 shift in the show’s history: “Clint, you owe everyone an apology for taking emotional capital from the room.” (or something)
Then they have a weird close face lovers quarrel.
Clint jumps in the exit vehicle, and JJ stays behind and bawls.
Please, please, please, please (4 times) if there is a higher power, hear my prayer and let this be the focus of the Men Tell All.
There is a rap battle spearheaded by Doug E Fresh (whom, no doubt, has been paid handsomely) and JJ shares that “I have listened to zero rap; I listen to Broadway show tunes regularly.” Contextual clue now making me realize I was silly to assume during the Clint drama JJ might be closeted. Phew, close one.
This rap battle is mostly notable for the fact that NICK VIALL and Ashley Iacone (where from and why did she emerge?) came to watch and then hang out in the lobby afterward, thus completely re-directing the show’s arc for the remainder of the season. In retrospect, I can’t say I am sorry Nick came back to crash the season but he does have an inexplicable number of social media haters.
The guys then all flip out the Nick is joining the cast: No one more than Joshua with the Frog Voice (because frogs talk) and Shawn Gosling.
Kaitlyn gets her hair done by ASHLEY ONION from Farmer Chris’ season, who looks and acts more intelligible than we remember and who is appropriately being cross-promoted for the upcoming Bachelor in Paradise cast.
There aren’t that many helicopters this season but Jared gets to go on one on his date and he also gets to wear a tux and I forget what they do but I remember that he’s handsome. You know, his angular face can be hit or miss but I think it errs on the side of handsome. And I’m the boss of good looks. (Have you met me?!)
There is this group date at the theatre where Aladdin is on in LA and it’s maybe, I can’t remember, where we first get exposed to how arrogant and delusional Ian from Princeton is: “I’m a man of many talents and want to showcase one of them.” Of course, he’s not even a good singer.
Gratuitous boring conversation between Britt and Brady juxtaposed.
Because there is no god, and life is all random, and we’re just a mass of space trash hurling into the sun to obliterate us for all our sins and for being mortal and for being stupid and because everyone hates me and no one wants me to enjoy my life, it turns out that this show is pretty scripted. So now, even trash-talking contestants doesn’t feel as fulfilling. As I alluded to, life no longer has purpose.
That said, here is my lackluster attempt to derive joy from hating:
Ian confronts Kaitlyn right before the rose ceremony, ostensibly because she’s not deep enough for him, but in actuality because he is aware she’s not into him and wants his exit to be on his terms. Some gems: He’s deep, and Kaitlyn doesn’t appreciate that virtue of his. Then they argue over whether humor is an important quality in a relationship in life (Ian doesn’t think it should be and there are no words to even describe how sad that is for him and his future Mrs. Princeton).
Ian also requires the last word because he’s one of the most insufferable humans ever to be born and go to Princeton. Plus, he was edited that way. Sigh. Defeat. None of it matters.
But it does matter! “I’m too complex, too deep a thinker, too self-aware. I went to Princeton and Deerfield and that’s what I have to offer. I’m being punished for being intellectual … If I was the Bachelor I think they would come out of the woodwork … Oh man, I need to have some sex.”
Nick Viall, ever in the lead, smartly runs to be there for a wrecked Kaitlyn after Ian’s “tantrum”. They agree they are the right yin and yang of deep and goofy and the rest of the men bitch and moan about how yet again, Nick is in the right place at the right time and somehow his superior intuition is offensive to everyone.
Shawn walks in when Kaitlyn and Nick are making out. I think. Who knows. (The production staff knows.) Blah blah blah until something startling happens:
THEY ARE DOING THE ROSE CEREMONY AT THE ALAMO.
Is this kosher? Are we as a country okay with this? Did all the professors of US History just commit hara-kiri? Did Texas secede? Did the Nielsen ratings on this show plummet? Did I just punch my own face? What’s next, an overnight date on top of Mount Rushmore?
Josh gets the boot, thankfully, but I am a little bummed about Justin. We like him, right? Nice single dad personal trainer. I look forward to seeing him on a summer spin-off?
When the group heads to Dublin (Ireland not Ohio), the entire viewing public is shocked to learn this is the first time Joe has been out of the country.
Chris says Kaitlyn is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Producers are being so provocative and give Nick a 1:1 pretty quickly after sashaying all fashionably late into the season. Kaitlyn: “When I’m with Nick, I forget there are people and there are cameras. Nick just makes me feel like a women, like a desired woman.” Game over?
They walk around Dublin parks (fear of birds) and streets (get wedding bands) and go to pubs. I mean, I need to re-watch all 90 past seasons but I think they always save these “normal people real life walking around” dates for the lead’s favorite. They discuss and exhibit their intense physical chemistry but I mean isn’t this just an Andi and Nick redux down to the same motorcycle jacket and pressing the girl up an alleyway wall?
At dinner there is heavy petting. Nick gets the rose. Then Kaitlyn asks Nick if he wants a sleepover. Whoa! Off script! Nick looks psyched, and they go into her hotel room bedroom and close the door and the camera zooms in on the door handle while the mic continues to pick up pillow talk and muffled sounds.
After his walk of shame, right in time for the guys to set off on their group date, Nick locker room recounts the overnight. “It was intimate, and very personal. It was very authentic.”
There is a group date where Kaitlyn pretends to be dead and the guys have to eulogize her a la an Irish wake. Surprisingly they all do a good job. Highlights: Tanner, because he’s cute and funny. Ben H, lamenting that Kaitlyn was pecked to death by birds while wearing a bread dress. Shawn, reflecting on Kaitlyn’s suicide for having had to spend the prior day with Nick. Shawn is definitely laser-focused on Nick. #allday
Sadly, Ben Z’s inability to be anything but deep and serious is on display as he asks everyone to leave the room and then proceeds to treat this as though Kaitlyn actually died. He’s super hot, so probably never had to cultivate a sense of humor, but it’s a big miss that he doesn’t get how crucial humor and levity are to Kaitlyn.
They all go to the Guinness Storehouse/museum/gravity room. Watching Jared, who I think Kaitlyn is attracted to and likes, I realize that in a way some of these guys are too physically/sexually polite and that’s not the way forward with her.
Shawn shows Kaitlyn pictures of his family, which I think is a really nice idea. Buuuuuuuut, she gives the group date rose to Jared and they head out, sucka.
To a church where THE CRANBERRIES are doing a private show for them. I actually look up at the screen for once because I was born in 1976 so obviously The Cranberries. But it’s come to this? (sad emoji)
Shawn walks off and tries to get his producer best friend to give him details about where Kaitlyn is at emotionally since she previously told him he’s “the one.” He then goes to Kaitlyn’s hotel room and for the first ten minutes she is trying to chew and swallow whatever she was eating. Hahahahahaha.
2 on 1 date with Joe and JJ
Kaitlyn intros the guys with more gusto for JJ: “He’s attractive, he’s funny, he’s edgy/ he’s got all the qualities…” and for Joe we just get “Joe’s a real treat.” A TREAT!
JJ decides to use the stunning vista from an Irish island to let Kaitlyn know that 3 years ago cheated on wife and so lost her and only had half custody of his 3 year-old daughter. JJ soon after gets the boot and has the sadz because “wants a partner in crime.” CLINT, CLINT, CLINT, CLINT. The Men Tell All.
Who cares what’s going on with any of the other guys because a large portion of screen time is given from here on out to Shawn pacing, contorting his face, referring to Nick as The Other Guy and obsessing over an off-camera moment where Kaitlyn looked at him and said “You’re the one.”
There’s a rose ceremony where Kaitlyn shares some kind of cryptic regret and all the guys are confused because they don’t know it’s because she slept with Nick.
Roses are eventually given and bye to Tanner and Ben Z and hello Bachelor in Paradise. I will welcome some lighthearted fun with cutie Tanner after soooooo much of my gaze having to land on Shawn’s Serious Face.
Ben Z leaves with class: “Forever love is my only need. Everything else is a want.”
Also, I think Chris cries and gets booted on his date but see, the world hates me and so I missed part of this scripted and waning show.
Now we’re in elsewhere in Ireland. Apparently something else I missed is that Chris Harrison has decreed that there will only be two hometowns and FIRST Kaitlyn will have three overnight dates to suss out who those should go to?.
Let’s pause here. In the past, I agree it was too many hometowns and therefore awkward for the star and the families. There were just so many baskets and not enough eggs. But speaking of eggs, this means that the producers also recognize you should probably not meet someone’s family until you have fornicated with them – at least in Bachelor universe. And it only took 30 seasons for this wisdom!
Every one of the five guys knows the pressure is on now. Because for the first time, they essentially have a mandate to become sex-worthy. Kaitlyn gives each guy time to figure it out, except Jared.
I am glad Ben LAST INITIAL NO LONGER NEEDED gets some 1:1 times because he’s cute, clever and normal. They canoe on a lake and then play hide & seek in toggle coats in some castle ruins. They unwind by the fire with some coffee and whisky. Kaitlyn confirms Ben LAST INITIAL NO LONGER NEEDED is not a virgin and will therefore make it to the overnight.
A group date with Joe, Shawn and Nick follows which also requires some debate over the meaning of “amok.” Since Jared is the only one that understands the meaning of the word, I think he should leave this show to find the smart, adorable, classy girl he deserves.
Also, there is no amok happening. In fact, it’s the least amok date I have ever seen. The three men and Kaitlyn immediately decamp to a bench outdoors and begin a series of 1:1s. Because Joe misses Kaitlyn’s body language contextual clues, he plants a very awkward kiss on her. Joe then actually asks if he stuttered after he shared he loved her. DID I STUTTER? Then five seconds later Kaitlyn kicks him off and he keeps being like It’s Cool It’s Cool It’s Cool IT’S COOL I’M COOL THIS IS ALL COOL COOL FUCKING COOL DID I STUTTER IT’S SO COOL.
Kaitlyn doesn’t give a date rose but requests more time later with Shawn. The agony! I am kind of over this plotline. But they don’t care about me so they hang out at night anyway and before Shawn can tuck into even a quarter of his Guinness, they go from glad to sad in mere seconds when Kaitlyn shares she went “too far… had sex” with Nick. Pause. Pause. Long pause.
“Do you regret it?”
“I felt guilt.”
THOSE ARE TWO DIFFERENT EMOTIONS, KAITLYN.
Shawn wants to regroup in the bathroom. “Regroup”? Puke? Cry? Masturbate? What’s going on in the bathroom?! Whatever it is, he comes back regrouped as promised! He’s “manning up and fighting through it.”
At the rose ceremony, I like Nick’s gray polka tie and tie clip.
I don’t even understand the convo from when Shawn pulled Kaitlyn out of the rose ceremony. Kaitlyn’s eyelashes say “I am here to explore other relationships. Because at the end of this I will never explore another relationship” but clearly something else was edited out because Shawn makes an easy decision to stay and accept a rose.
Although Jared leaving has ruined my bracket, his goodbye is classy and he has consistently seemed like a really decent guy and he should have gotten more time than Joe this week. He’ll be just fine. He is going to find some dope girl to be amok with. Jared is also a handsome cryer. And yikes, Kaitlyn is sobbing! This is ominous foreshadowing to the US Weekly cover when she is no longer with NickShawn.
But in the now, Nick is still killing it. They go to a church, a pub and the bedroom and this just fuels Shawn’s ire for the morning after. This is juxtaposed with a cute a.m. post coitus room-service eating shot where Nick is, of course (have you seen his Instagram?), shirtless and has a not insignificant amount of man jewelry on.
When the overnight is finally over, Shawn confronts Nick and just lays into him and it doesn’t appear he gives Nick much of a chance to respond but we won’t know until next week because, you know, to be continued.
Ok, continued: Ooh why Shawn gotta bring up old shit? He says to Nick that a lot of guys and other people from Andi’s season etc don’t like him and then Nick tries to question Shawn’s own character related to some locker room talk about sexual conquests with a famous country singer friend. Or something. Shawn says whatever the 2015 version of talk to the hand is. LITERALLY talk to the hand, Nick.
There is a Galway date with Ben LAST INITIAL NO LONGER NEEDED who is “not a player and is just nice” (Kaitlyn did “not a player” hand gestures, which I believe it also taught in schools for the deaf.
Kaitlyn and Ben wear appropriately Irish cable-knit sweaters, ride horses and picnic in front of a castle. It’s so terrible they always have to have their backs to the best views. Also, Ben has a low hair swirl. Rewind and wait until he turns around, and you’ll see. You know you want to. For dinner and horseplay (you see what I did there?) Ben keeps his same sweater on. I am pretty sure not having a costume change is a no no on this show.
BEN IS 26?!!!!!!!!!!!! Send him home. He’s on Hinge right now and his username is 100%sheepswool
You all know my streak is unbroken, right? I have never been wrong that the star never chooses their favorite person for their first overnight? Okay, I have no idea if I’m right but I am pretty sure.
Shawn has his turn now. He and Kaitlyn play golf blah blah blah and at dinner Nick’s name comes up. This sends Shawn into one of his mini rage spirals and then they retire to the fantasy suite. It’s unclear if a fantasy takes place because it’s hard cored edited to make us think No. When Shawn leaves the next morning, Nick is waiting to confront him.
Shawn uses their second sit-down to continue to berate Nick and not let him make one actual point. Doesn’t Shawn know he got the third overnight and therefore is in the lead?
HOLY FRONT/SIDE BOOB AT THE ROSE CEREMONY! “My heart is beating out of my chest right now.” Oh, that’s what those are. This is some Amy Adams in American Hustle next level boobage. Kaitlyn’s suuuuuper low-cut halter dress is also a very now bright tangerine. This ensem just #wins.
“I’m in love and that’s so exciting.”
Poor Ben gets cut. He never had a chance, and he knows that now that he is watching the season back. But again, he’s 26 and has twenty future Bachelor meet-ups in his future to find his wife.
Hometowns in Utah, because why not
Deer Park: I like watching Nick talk because it seems very real, or else he is such a stellar salesperson that he has perfected his nervousness/lack of eye contact, fast talking/croak in his throat.
I forgot Nick is one of ELEVEN SIBLINGS. But I didn’t forget that I did not then understand his mom’s smokin’ bod after that fact, and I still do not. TLC, please do a show about this family.
I’m tuning out this part but did Nick just tell his Mom that Kaitlyn is “great at making out”?
Shawn’s turn in Park City: Is it wrong I am anti-hair dryer for men?
Kaitlyn saved Shawn’s “hometown” for last. “Sisters are my jam.” – Kaitlyn Bristowe. Why wasn’t Shawn’s mom able to come? Shawn’s dad looks like Warren Beatty, right?
I guess that’s it. Men Tell All next week. Producers, do NOT screw this up. I want 20 commercial-free minutes of JJ and Clint, 10 commercial-free minutes of Ian, and then one minute where someone who left Night 1 whose name or personality we don’t remember bad-mouths Nick who is not there to defend himself.