‘The Bachelor’ recap: Crazy, in love
Hey there, TV watchers. A little warning before we begin tonight’s ”journey”: I am writing this while completely hopped up on cold medicine. And to be honest, it’s actually working out quite well: Turns out The Bachelor is a lot less terrifying when viewed through the sedating chemical haze of DayQuil Cold & Sinus. I highly recommend it.
We begin at the Bachelor pad, with Jason helping Ty pack his adorably small Cars suitcase. Damn that kid is cute. I wonder why he?s packing — he must be moving in with the Bachelorettes so Jason can watch them on a nanny-cam and see who really has the chops to be Step-Mommie Dearest. Wait, what? Jason wants to ”do what?s best for Ty” and send him back to his mother? What a bummer. (Note to producers: Good judgment makes for bad reality TV.) Oh, well. Safe travels, little buddy. Daddy will see you in a few weeks, after he Frenches 15 strange women on national television.
After packing his progeny off, Jason decides to surprise the ”ladies,” who are all hanging out at the pool, pretending to get along but actually passing silent judgment on each other. (”Really? A silver sequined bikini? Interesting choice.”) In walks the Bachelor, and after the squealing dies down, Jason immediately pulls Megan to the side to let her know that he totally would have given her a rose even if he hadn’t been forced to by producers. The other women sit impatiently by the pool, anxiously awaiting the moment Jason will take off his shirt and blind them with the holy beauty of his abs and torso — which he finally does, in slow motion, as music swells in the background. (That soft-core touch was almost as inspired as the scene at the cocktail party later in the episode, when the camera panned slowly over Nikki’s ample cleavage just as Jason told her, ”You’ve got amazing… qualities.”)
Ding-dong! Why, there’s an accent table at the door! It’s bearing a rose and a letter to Jason from our old pal Chris Harrison: ”Please give this rose to a woman who you’d like to share a romantic evening with tonight.” Jason is completely thrown by this development. ”I wasn’t even expecting to hand out a rose today,” he tells the camera. Dude, you do remember that you’re on The Bachelor, right? Probably the only time you’re not going to have to hand out a rose is when you’re sleeping or using the toilet — and even that’s not a guarantee. Instantly, the mood turns from forced conviviality to forced conviviality with an electric undercurrent of intense hatred. Jason starts pulling the women aside to conduct his pre-romantic date research, but quite predictably, he has a hard time getting a moment alone with any of the ”ladies.” First his chat with Lauren (who, it seems, is seriously concerned about Jason’s mental capacity, because she keeps quizzing him on what he remembers from grade school or, you know, the night before) is rudely interrupted by the siren song of bachelorettes hollering ”JASON!” from the pool below. And his balcony conversation with Naomi gets interrupted when Tooth Nazi lobs ice cubes at the duo. Finally, Jason resorts to extreme body language: He studiously refuses to turn around and look at a hovering, margarita-bearing Stephanie, who’s futilely trying to break up his conversation with Natalie. Though her pride has taken a major body blow, Stephanie shakes it off: ”It’s early in the game… I know my time will come.”
NEXT PAGE: Robin Thicke, call your agent
Finally, Jason picks up the rose and presents it to Jillian — who deserves it if only for her brilliant ”once you’re kraut you’re out” sound bite. (Who knew she’d get so much mileage out of that hot dog theory?) Lauren masks her disappointment with what’s known in philosophy circles as the Ponytail Argument: ”If that were me, I would have freaked out. I wouldn’t know what to do with my hair. I would have panicked. I’d have to wear it curly. That would have sucked. That would have been awful. I would have been miserable. I would’ve had to wear it in a ponytail. Thank God it wasn’t me.” Yes, Lauren, it truly is a blessing that your hair has maintained its dignity while the rest of you competes for a husband on television.
Jason and Jillian head out in a limo to the ”world-famous Disney Hall.” After surprising her with a somewhat sad little tray of chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne, Jason brings Jillian inside, and whaddaya know, there’s Robin Thicke, who’s going to put on a private performance just for them. Meanwhile, back at the house, the ”ladies” are moping around the living room wondering how the date is going. Lauren, chomping on Cup ‘o’ Noodles, verbalizes everyone’s deepest fear: ”I say that they’ll French kiss.” (Side note: Cup ‘o’ Noodles, ABC? Are times really that tough? Couldn’t you at least spring for some Kraft Easy Mac?) Making matters worse, the doorbell rings and it’s the Accent Table of Doom bearing a note for Melissa informing her that she has scored a coveted one-on-one date. Most of the ”ladies” manage tight congratulatory smiles, but Megan — whose facial expressions range from ”I’m pissed” to ”I’m gonna cut a bitch” — looks as though she’s visualizing ways to drown Melissa in the hot tub.
Wait a minute, is this Robin Thicke concert still going on? Okay, let’s step outside for a second to talk about that ”shocking development” I didn’t get a chance to mention last week: DeAnna’s Big Return. Look, I refuse to get sucked in by the show’s ”This season on The Bachelor” teases because I’ve been smacked around too many times before by their abusive editing techniques. Yes, the clip shows DeAnna telling Jason, ”I think I made a mistake,” but for all we know, DeAnna’s full thought was something like, ”I think I made a mistake… I should have stuck with the snowboarder and had ABC televise the wedding. Then I should have secretly poisoned the snowboarder on our honeymoon and had ABC televise the funeral. What was I thinking?” So nope, I’m not going to get worked up about it. Fool me once, Bachelor producers, shame on you. Fool me 12 seasons in a row… Good God, what happened to my life?
The next day, Jillian lets everyone know how romantic her date was with Jason. No time to be psyched out, Melissa — Jason’s waiting for you at the beach with a tray of ginormous oysters. After choking one down, Melissa recovers nicely by telling Jason that while she used to make a living shaking her ta-tas as a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, what she really wants to do is teach first graders because it would be so ”rewarding.” And in the summer, she’ll spend her time playing with her own kids. Oh, this girl’s good. Jason and his Madonna-Whore Complex don’t stand a chance. But just so she doesn’t get too confident, the Goodyear Blimp floats by and informs Melissa that it’s ”too early to tell” if she’ll get a rose. Dissed by a blimp — that’s gotta hurt. But it’s all a big fake-out: After the duo boards the blimp for a romantic ride, Jason hands her a rose. Bachelor: 1, Killjoy blimp: 0.
NEXT PAGE: Women like it when you buy them things
The next day, Jason rounds up the ”ladies” for his first group date. It begins with the obligatory Pretty Woman moment: The Bachelor ushers the women into a clothing store and, like the pimp that he is, magnanimously requests that they pick out an outfit — a term he feels the need to explain to them: ”Dresses, accessories, shoes.” (Watching this, I couldn’t help but recall the day I fell for my husband. We were at H&M, and he tossed a wad of cash at my feet and said, ”Here, toots, buy yourself something pretty.” Ah, memories.) Once all of his living Barbies are dressed and accessorized to his liking, Jason leads them down an alley to a rooftop pool. ”It’s game time,” says Slouchy Sharon. Erica — who informs us that her last relationship ended when her boyfriend cheated on her with a 52-year-old woman — suddenly finds herself struggling with the 8-on-1 dating situation: ”It kind of feels like you’re dating someone, yet you know they’re cheating on you.” Guess what, sweetie? It feels like that because that is exactly what is happening.
Enough of this fully-clothed business. It’s bikini time! Molly grabs Jason and plants one on him, leaving the other girls to tread water in a pool of their own tears. When Natalie announces to the group that Jason and Molly are kissing, Nikki is all ”la la la la I’m not listening.” You see, Nikki has only kissed one person since she was 17, and talking about someone else’s ”intimate relationship” with the Bachelor makes her uncomfortable. (I am really beginning to wonder if anyone actually told these people what show they signed up for.) While Nikki warns Jason that he’d better watch where he puts his mouth, because not everyone there is ”ready to be a mom,” Molly and her aggressive lips get the rose.
Back at the house, Raquel — who, along with Tooth Nazi, Stephanie, and Megan, was not chosen to go on a date with Jason — gets the completely-not-crazy-at-all idea of sneaking into Jason’s waiting limo. It must have been extremely difficult for the producers to stop themselves from playing the score from the Psycho shower scene when he opened the door — eeee! eeee! eeee! eeee! — but it wasn’t necessary, because Jason’s frozen-smile face says it all. ”My dream relationship would be somebody that would love me to death,” Raquel later explains to the camera. ”Meaning, if I do die, they would be so in love with me for such a long time it would be very rare for them to remarry.” Raquel, I’ve underestimated you. Please accept my apologies, along with the first annual Fatal Attraction ”I’m not gonna be ignored” Award.
When it’s time for the cocktail party, the house is a seething cauldron of insecurity, emotion, and tension — and not just because Tooth Nazi insists on spouting even more personal information about Jason. (”It’s flattering, it’s weird, it make me uncomfortable, it makes me happy, it’s just different,” says the Bachelor, politely.) Megan puts her foot in it by asking Stephanie about her ”ex,” which forces Stephanie to relive the day she learned her husband died in a plane crash. The mood gets even darker when Lisa pulls Jason aside to tell him that her grandmother has terminal cancer, and she’s choosing to leave the show to be with her family. The ”ladies” are barely able to contain their glee, but they cover it well with sympathetic ”awwwws” and goodbye hugs. For Tooth Nazi, one woman’s sick grandmother is another woman’s strategic advantage: ”It’s one less person that I have to worry about.” Lauren follows that up with her own equally tactless assessment, ”As long as I get a rose, I don’t really care.”
NEXT PAGE: Girl fight! And two women get the boot
Angry, dateless Megan feels it’s urgent to let Jason know that she’s not an uptight stress-ball — though her evidence, ”I can also literally, like, lie in bed for two days straight” sounds more like clinical depression than an ability to relax — but she’s c—blocked by Molly, who steals Jason away despite already having a rose. That’s more than enough to set Megan off, especially when she catches Erica talking out of both sides of her mouth about what constitutes proper Jason-stealing etiquette. Erica gets defensive and tells Megan she hasn’t been ”real,” and how she’s a font of ”bad karma”, while Megan retaliates by calling Erica ”two-faced” — which we all know is bachelorette code for ”slut.” (Actually, pretty much any of the terms the bachelorettes use about each other — she’s ”not here for the right reasons,” ”not ready to settle down,” ”not mature enough” — translate to ”slut.”) Okay, Harrison, any time you’re ready… Seriously dude, get in here, before somebody’s weave gets pulled out.
After a loooooong debriefing with Harrison in the deliberation room (padding out the show much, ABC?), Jason finally heads into the living room to cut some ”ladies” loose. (Is it just me, or does the Bachelor look like he’s smelling something unpleasant right before he hands out a rose?) While Megan, Erica, and Tooth Nazi all scored buds, Team Crazy did take a hit with the dismissal of their captain, Raquel. And I was honestly disappointed to see Slouchy Sharon sent home, but maybe she can get her old job back if she promises her employer she’ll never, ever let a reality show come between them again.
And that concludes this portion of the Bachelor’s ”journey.” Check out the extended scene below, in which Erica talks dirty with Jason — dirty diapers, that is. And once you’re done posting here, don’t forget to head over to Chris Harrison’s exclusive blog on PopWatch, especially if you want to know which bachelorette didn’t shave her legs before the pool party in tonight’s episode.
So, what did you think of tonight’s shenanigans? Is Jillian the Hot Dog Queen the one to beat? Will Megan and Erica — or Megan and anyone — come to blows before season’s end? And what’s so bad about going on a date with curly hair, anyway?