The Bachelor recap: Sex, Lies, and Videotape
On 'The Women Tell All,' Jason has to come clean about his multiple hookups, the ''ladies'' try to explain away their bad behavior, and Jillian, the woman destined to be the next Bachelorette, feels the audience's love
Wow. It’s been quite a week, hasn’t it, Bachelor fans? There were all sorts of crazy rumors flying around the interwebs about what’s going to happen in next week’s finale and the After the Final Rose specials. And Chris Harrison fueled the speculation fire with his episode 7 blog post, which drew over 1,300 comments. Like you, I am just dying to know what’s going to happen — though frankly, a part of me fears that Bachelor exec producer/evil genius Mike Fleiss planted the rumors himself to ensure massive tune-in, and that what we’ve been led to believe will be the most ”shocking” ”event” in ”Bachelor” ”history” will actually be something relatively lame… like Jason meeting Melissa’s parents for the first time.
God willing, that won’t happen. Unfortunately, we have to wait another week to find out, because we’ve come to the point in this ”journey” where we’re forced by the producers and ABC to tread water for a week with only a reunion special to keep us afloat. Yep, it’s time for The Bachelor: The Women Tell All, or what I like to call The Bachelor: Chris Harrison’s Personality Finally Freed From ‘Bachelor’ Prison: A Play in Six Acts.
Act 1: Kiss and Tell
We open on a studio festooned with an absurd number of votive candles. I truly hope none of the ”ladies” are wearing flammable fabric, because one false arm movement and this evening could end in the burn unit. Harrison emerges and receives a high-pitched welcome from the audience, packed as usual with mostly middle-aged women with a propensity to scream. (Either that, or the studio has a sign that flashes ”hoot and screech” instead of ”applause.”) After giving a brief intro, he cuts to a taped interview with Jason. First, Harrison grills the Bachelor about his physical adventures with the ”ladies” — from the violent kiss Megan laid on him during the General Hospital date to the snotty smooch from Tooth Nazi at the subsequent cocktail party. Ever the master of mealy-mouthed understatement, Jason says simply, ”It wasn’t really the right time to share any type of kiss.”
The conversation lags a bit in the middle with yet another rehash of the date with Stephanie and Sophia (though Jason did coin a new phrase, saying he was able to pull the surprise off thanks to ”all the clouds aligning”), and one more laugh at the expense of Naomi and Her Wacky Family. Perhaps Harrison was just trying to lull Jason into a false sense of security with an easy line of questioning, because he quickly changes the subject to Jillian. After the Bachelor dubs Jillian ”the ultimate friend” (ouch!), Harrison shoots back, ”So, you’re in the hot tub with Jillian — your friend — in New Zealand… things got really heated.” And when Jason tries to brush it off by saying that there was passion, just not enough for a marriage, Harrison smacks him right back down: ”What you did in the hot tub almost consummated marriage,” and ”Cinemax called — they said it was too hot.” Before Jason can recover his mental footing, Harrison pummels the dazed Bachelor with the most burning season 13 question of them all: What happened in the tent with Molly? ”I will tell you that it was completely innocent,” insists Jason, explaining that he and Molly only had three hours alone without the cameras, to which Harrison replies, ”Three hours of sex is a lot.” Holy cow, Harrison is on fire! I’ll bet they used his red-hot wit to light all those votive candles.
We’re then treated to some ”never-before-seen” footage — which proves to be ”not-worth-seeing” footage (Jason falls off a horse, Jason takes off his pants on the golf course, Jason raps to Molly). It’s not long, however, before Harrison steers the conversation back to sex. Inquiring minds want to know: What really goes on in the fantasy suite? Valiant effort, Harrison, but Jason isn’t going to give up the goods. ”The fantasy suite is a real overnight where two people get to know each other,” drones the Bachelor, before declaring, ”I’m not going to talk about this right now!” Seriously, ABC, why are you trying to invade this man’s privacy? Don’t you see, all he wants is for you to leave him and his precious son alone!
Act 2: The Token Success Story
Kudos for Harrison for getting this sentence out with a straight face: ”We’ve had many couples come out of The Bachelor, and as in real life, some stay together, some don’t.” Last time I checked, all but two of the couples that met on The Bachelor have broken up, and the franchise has only spawned one actual marriage. To their credit, Trista and Ryan — who live in Vail, and have an adorable son and a little girl on the way — actually seem to have a happy, dare I say normal life together. And double kudos to Harrison for saying this with a straight face: ”Now, there’s kind of a misconception out there that Trista and Ryan are our only successful Bachelor couple.” In a true act of desperation, producers decided to trot out season 7 Bachelor Charlie and his chosen one Sarah, who are now back together after breaking up a few years ago. The reason for the split, explains Sarah, was Charlie’s drinking, which is not a surprise given that Charlie was three sheets to the wind for the majority of his season. Now that he’s on the wagon, they’re working on their relationship, and, as we reported in EW last week, they’re also pitching a reality show about their renewed romance — because there’s nothing that fosters intimacy and strong commitment like being trailed by cameras. Oddly enough, Harrison made no mention of the other ”successful” Bachelor couple, Byron and Mary. I can’t imagine why.
Act 3: The Amalgamated Union of Sleazy Reality Rejects
Hmmm, isn’t it about time in this Women Tell All special for some women to come on stage and, you know, tell all? Nope. Before we get to that, we’re going to have to sit through this bizarre filler section in which we learn that the ”ladies” from Matt Grant’s Bachelor season and the ”men” from DeAnna’s Bachelorette season ”really connect a lot,” according to Jesse — and now, apparently, they like to get together for orgies. What follows is a mind-numbing litany of who’s dating whom among this unclean group of cast-offs. Honestly, I can barely remember the names of the actual Bachelors and Bachelorettes a week after their season ends — so there is no way I have enough space in my brain to remember who these folks are or to care about their incestuous hookups. If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen making a snack.
Act 4: Meow Mix
And we’re back. At long last, we’re finally getting some time with the ”ladies.” Harrison begins, as he should, with Tooth Nazi (who’s sporting some pretty atrocious highlights in her hair), but their exchange — in which she says the whole experience was ”very exciting” for her — is depressingly sane. Ok, so let’s move on to the Bitchery Montage, a long-standing WTA tradition in which producers play all the best trash-talking sound bites, while assorted bachelorettes watch themselves get belittled and demeaned from a picture-in-picture window. Who could forget the ballot box (and that inexplicably bad dubbing job of Harrison’s voice over)? Or Natalie’s eviction? Or Lauren’s extraordinary ability to be pushy and abrasive? Good times.
After the montage, Lauren then defends herself for throwing Megan and Erica under the bus, and looks extremely pissed when Harrison jokes that she backed over them twice. ”Did I lie?” Lauren demands. ”I don’t think so — based on what we just saw.” And then Erica dismays grammar teachers all across the nation with her declaration, ”I think you and Natalie were more a little dramatic after watching the show, than, you know, Megan and I’s one little tiff.” That’s enough to rouse Natalie out of her blonde stupor: ”I never got into an argument or anything in the house.” She goes on to pout about how hurt she was by all the smack talk that was directed her way on the show. ”I didn’t know that people didn’t like me. This sucks!”
For whatever reason, the producers decide to put Natalie in the ”hot seat” to tell us all how much it sucked. Rather than bearing a chip on her shoulder, she walks onstage sporting about 10 pounds of resentment around her wrist in the form of junk jewelry. Of course, we’re treated to a rewind of her Vegas date and Jason’s brutal ”Look at this rose — psych! You can’t have it!” rebuff, and Natalie’s subsequent decision to go down in a hail of verbal bullets aimed at the other ”ladies.” Once the package is over, Natalie tries to explain her foul-mouthed tirade away like this: ”I’m taken out of my life in Chicago and I’m put in this foreign environment” — no blackberry, no iPod, no freedom. ”You have to bottle up so many feelings, and I tried to avoid confrontation in the house… And then when I’m leaving and I don’t have a rose, it’s my venting time.” Yes, because a team of Black Ops commandos stormed her Chicago condo under the cover of darkness, threw a hood over her head and shipped her to southern California, where she was forced to participate in a televised dating ritual.
The whole thing just drags on and on. Really, producers, you’re going to spend over six minutes letting the ”ladies” rehash boring details like whether Natalie was mad that she got splashed in the pool, but you’re not going to give Renee 30 seconds to share how she felt about the failure of her Vision Board technology? And what about Tooth Nazi — you don’t have one measly minute to let her explain her reasoning for the nose-pick-kiss maneuver? I demand a do-over! ABC, I eagerly await your announcement of The Women Tell All 2: Now Featuring Women You Actually Want to Hear From.
Act 5: She’s Heartbroken, Eh?
At this point, it’s Jillian’s turn to get placed on a platform in the WTA town square so everyone can gawk at her pain. Her dress from last week’s episode was so pretty, and I wish she had shown the same fashion sense tonight — that Jackie O.-meets-the Lucky Charms guy dress is really not doing a lot to help her dignity. That said, watching Jillian watch herself get the kiss-off from Jason is pretty tough — she seems about as normal and nice as a woman who voluntarily goes on The Bachelor can get. Even so, Chris doesn’t hesitate to poke Jillian square in her bruised ego: ”It always seemed so easy between the two of you.” And ”Ultimately, you kind of got the friend card… how’d that feel?” Jillian weathers it all remarkably well, maintaining a pleasant and classy demeanor. The audience loves her, and when Harrison asks if she would do it again — ”Would you ever want to be the Bachelorette?” — the hooting and hollering from the crowd is deafening. Of course she says yes, so get ready to set your DVRs, folks: Almost definitely coming this summer to ABC, it’s The Bachelorette: Canadian Mountee Edition!
Act 6: The Firing Squad (is Shooting Blanks)
A sheepish-looking Jason emerges once again, this time to face the ”ladies” he used and abused. (Side note: As Conan O’Brien once lamented, how much have we diluted the value of the standing ovation in America? Was it really necessary for the studio audience to jump to their feet in a frenzy of applause when Jason entered the room?) But no one really gives the Bachelor the business. Jillian refuses to grill Jason about why he didn’t choose her, though she does disagree — politely, of course — with his BS excuse that he ”couldn’t keep up” with her. And she also takes him to task — again, politely — for gushing to the camera after kissing Melissa that he hadn’t had a kiss like that in a really long time… even though the night before he was locking lips with her. Good for you, sweetie! Give him (polite) hell! He stutters an answer — ”I mean, I, what? I mean, all I can say is that is what I was really feeling.” Though Jillian demurs, ”I’m just messing with you,” she so isn’t — and who can blame her? Naomi is equally sanguine, telling Jason, ”This wasn’t meant to be, I can move on.”
And now, dear TV Watchers, we can all move on — to the most shocking, dramatic, and emotional mother-f’ing finale ever in the history of the entire universe. Hallelujah! After this tepid special, I am ready for some real drama. What about you, Bachelor fans? Did The Women Tell All live up to your expectations? And how will you manage to get through the next week without your head exploding from all the suspense? If you fell asleep waiting to hear from the ”ladies” during tonight’s bloated WTA special, then click on the video below for a look at the Lauren-Megan-Erica skirmish, which produced the night’s biggest fireworks — though that isn’t saying much. And once you’re done posting here, head over to PopWatch for Chris Harrison’s exclusive blog. This week, he takes on all the haters — you definitely don’t want to miss it. Ok, rose-lovers, let’s talk Bachelor!
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