Ben makes inroads with Desiree -- and makes enemies with all the guys -- during a "rap video" shoot that's just embarrassing for everyone

The Bachelorette

Who’s ready to watch some bad decisions? It’s week two, the chaff has been sent home, and the wheat (such as it is) is now sitting in the living room of Casa Bachelorette so Harrison can gently place the date card next to a phalanx of unlit (!) votive candles. Truth time, rose lovers: Did you have any idea who that guy was who picked up the date card? I didn’t. (Thank god for this.) Anyhoo, Nick M. does the honors of reading the note: “Brooks, I’m waiting for a sign.”

While wolf boy goes to get ready, Desiree finishes her sketch of a Bratz doll wearing a sleeveless gown. “The first cocktail party was so much fun,” she tells us. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys.” (Actually, sweetie, yeah, you could have. Have you seen this?) She picks up Brooks at the house and they drive off in that aquamarine Bentley — I kind of love that Des insists on driving — and head for a bridal gown emporium called Winnie Couture. Alas, Team Bachelorette is not just ending the show with a wedding in week two: “It’s really important for the guys to know that I have a desire and a passion to design wedding dresses,” explains Des. After suiting up in a tux and gown, Brooks and Des head to a food truck, where they sample some red velvet cupcakes and hug the hoards of squealing, iPhone-wielding fans who gather to watch them.

And with that, they’re off to the Hollywood sign, at which point it becomes clear that Desiree must be wearing the cheapest wedding dress Winnie offers — because there’s no way they’d let her take a real couture gown out for a stroll through the dirt. Eventually Brooks and Des settle on the L for some cuddling and sharing. “I had a long relationship that I got out of about a year and a half ago,” Brooks tells her. “I’ll take the chance of getting my heart broken again and again if it leads ultimately to being with the person that I love.” And she LOVES it… even though at this point, Brooks’ bow tie looks like it was tied by a blind, one-armed monkey. They smooch as the sun sets. Hooray for Hollywood!

Part two of the date begins after dark, as Des drives her date through a “shady” part of town filled with “graffiti” and gates topped with “razor-blade wiring.” Figure out where you’re going, Des — your white boy’s getting’ nervous! The Bachelorette eventually drives Brooks down a deserted road to an empty bridge, where there’s a fancy dinner set up complete with candles and a glittering chandelier. (I hope no one tells Des that Team Bachelorette is just lazily recycling date ideas from Bachelor Pad.) The duo chats more about love over dinner, as Des explains how her parents, who have been married 40 years, are her romance role models, and then asks Brooks, “I know your parents are divorced — so how does that shape what you think about marriage?” Holy articulate question, Batgirl! And to Brooks’ credit, he gives a fairly thorough answer, telling Des that he didn’t speak to his dad for six years after his parents split up, and even now they’re still “working” on their relationship. “What I’ve learned is not to take things for granted,” he continues, on the verge of tearing up. “There’s a lot to be grateful for.” Say it with me, rose lovers: Give him the rose, Des! Andy Grammer is waiting to play for you in an awkwardly intimate concert.

NEXT: Time to fire your agent, Soulja Boy

The next day, Dan, Juan Pablo, Kasey, Zack K., Will, Brian, Drew, James, Mikey, Zak W., Nick, Michael, Brandon, and Ben head to the Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards for a group date activity that defies all laws of stupidity. “Today, we are going to be starring in our very own rap video!” Des chirps, as the guys hoot and holler with delight. Soulja Boy, get in here — it’s time to get paid. Though the Bachelorette dutifully explains that this exercise will help her find a mate who can be “goofy” and knows how to laugh at himself, we all know that Team Bachelorette just wanted to see these meatheads make fools of themselves so they could have a funny video to post on their website. If they really wanted to help Des determine which guy is husband material, they’d have staged a more reality-based competition. For example, which guy can:

*make a bed without assistance (bonus points for hospital corners)

*locate the nearest drug store and then find and purchase the correct feminine hygiene product

*Identify a laundry hamper and demonstrate its use

*say “How was your day?” and listen convincingly for five minutes without picking up his iPhone

But I digress. After Soulja Boy evaluates the guys’ freestyle skills, he selects Brandon, Michael, Ben and James to star in the video and dismisses the others with a disgusted wave: “The rest of you guys — backup dancers.” Everyone gets shuttled into wardrobe, where Brandon is given the worst costume: a in a vest, an Ed Hardyish t-shirt, and a banana hammock. That said, he seems completely comfortable (“I feel like a million bucks”) and even tries to throw his fellow bachelors off their game by saying things like “I’ve gotta get hard, right?” and doing lunges on the patio to ensure maximum exposure. (At least he’s not going commando.)

The artistic narrative behind the “Right Reasons” video is a searing satire of several past contestants who have dared to use the righteous Bachelorette format as a vehicle for fame rather than love. Ben, decked out in cowboy gear, plays Wes Hayden (a.k.a. Chihuahua, Mexico’s favorite pop star), rapping arrhythmically, “My manager sent me to promote my single/I’ll sing to your girl if it’ll help sell my jingle.” James as cast as his quasi-lookalike, Justin “Rated R” Rego, the wannabe wrestler from Ali’s season, while Michael gets to pay tribute to everyone’s favorite balcony cryer with this pithy (but pitifully delivered) lyric: “I cry so much it’ll make you sick/oh wait — this is a Mesnick!”

But Brandon has the toughest challenge, not only because his skin-colored Speedo is likely cutting off circulation to his testicles, but also because… well, let’s let him explain it: “I have to jiggle my junk in her… vicinity.” Yes, he’s playing Kasey “Guard and Protect your Heart” Khal, and his portion of the video involves hovering over a reclining Desiree and “I’m your knight in shining armor/here to guard and protect your heart/I could never lose your number girl/it’s tattooed on my man part!” Once in the Bachelorette’s presence, Brandon has the good sense to feel incredibly uncomfortable, and I almost felt sorry for him watching as he awkwardly shields Des from his junk and insists, “I just adjusted — I didn’t touch anything!”

NEXT: Date rose drama

The sun has gone down by the time the guys have completed their last totally-out-of-synch group dance sequence, and it’s not a moment too soon. (Watch the full video here — if you dare.) Who needs a drink? Des raises a toast to her men and thanks them for an “ah-maze-ing” day, and with that the one-on-one chats begin. Zak — who knows he came off as a bit of a “buffoon” on the first night with the whole “look at my abs!” situation — swings to the opposite end of the spectrum by presenting Des with a random though thoughtful, gift: An antique journal, blank except for an inscription from a father to his daughter. Sure, his explanation for the gift is a little lacking in coherence — “If this whole crazy thing does work out, the idea that starting at this moment, if it works, you can have thoughts and, uh, that we can look back and say, ‘Wow'” — but he’s trying, right?

Also trying: Ben, who is angling for the date rose hard, much to the annoyance of James and Brandon; the latter doesn’t want to be the guy who kills Des’ butterfly by squeezing it too hard, or something. Ben definitely doesn’t care if any insects are harmed during the making of this date, provided he gets a first kiss with Desiree — which he does, after asking her permission. (Not smooth, sir.) The smooch certainly doesn’t help Ben’s standing with the guys, specifically Mikey, whose mad that Ben “swooped” in on his alone time with Des and wants his rival to know that he hates his ass face. “I get like a politician feeling sometimes with you,” he tells Ben. “You’re nice to us when the cameras are rolling… I just don’t want to feel like people aren’t genuine.” Ben assuages Mikey’s fears with a few reality TV platitudes (“I don’t want you to ever think that I’m the guy who’s going to stab you in the back”) and a well-played compliment: “I like your shoes, dude.”

The night is almost over by the time Brandon works up the courage to pull Des aside for a chat. (Dude, why so shy? You were basically naked in front of her just a few hours ago!) Perhaps he’s just nervous about sharing the particulars of his childhood – dad split when he was five, mom moved the family around every two years and struggled with addiction issues, often leaving Brandon alone to take care of his little sister. Damn, just typing that made me sad; I imagine living it sucked pretty hard. But when it comes time to hand out the date rose, Desiree gives it to a guy who she feels was “bold” and “used his time very wisely”: Ben. I can’t really explain how leading into a kiss with “So, would you mind…” can be characterized as bold, but tomato, tom-ah-to.

The next day Desiree drives up in her Bentley for the second one-on-one date of the week, this time with Bryden, who is so excited he breaks the Bachelorette record for most uses of the word “amazing” in a single sentence: “She looks amazing, the car looks amazing, and right then I knew that I was about to have an amazing day.” After a pit stop at an amazing gas station to load up on some amazing snacks, the duo head to El Matador Beach, where they try and fail to fly a kite. (Still, says Des, “The date’s going amazing!”) Next up, a picnic at an orange grove, where the Bachelorette introduces Bryden to brie (“I don’t know what that is,” he confesses).

NEXT: “This guy has some pair of balls!” (We’ll take your word for it, pal)

During a candlelit dinner under an enormous tree at the Ojai Spa and Resort, Bryden reveals that when he was working construction in college, he got into an accident while driving a trailer truck and had to be airlifted out. “I was pretty messed up for awhile,” he says of his injuries, which included a collapsed lung, broken collar bone, and cracked vertebrae. Can’t picture it? Don’t worry — Bryden’s got snapshots of his mangled truck and banged-up body right in his suit pocket! “Oh my God, thank god you’re alive,” marvels Des. How could she not give him the rose after that? Of course, he’s got more going for him than just some gnarly hospital photos — look at that jaw! Those pecs! That adorable inability to make a move on Des when they’re in the hot tub! “Just kiss me already!” commands the Bachelorette, and Bryden — ever the good soldier — follows orders.

Cocktail party time arrives, but before I can get into the night’s events, I must ask (with all apologies to dlisted): What in the hell kind of GD dress is that, Des? The sparkly, form-fitting forest green number looks okay from the front, but the giant flesh-colored nylon panel across the back and thong effect over the tush region makes it look like an X-rated figure skating costume from behind. Anyhow, moving on: Michael uses his one-on-one time to let Desiree know he has Type 1 diabetes… though he barely gets the “etes” out of his mouth before Ben arrives to steal Des away. “This guy has some pair of balls!” fumes Michael to Team Bachelorette, before taking the object of his derision outside to yell at him. “You seem to think that you already have this connection and have this pretty much in the bag — at least, that’s how you’re acting,” he barks at Ben, who pretends that he accidentally interrupted Michael’s time with Des, and admits that he “should have turned around” when he saw them talking. Too late, sir — to the other guys, you are officially The Villain.

Meanwhile, Brian scoops Des up in her arms (annoying, but on the other hand she can barely walk in that dress) and carries her away for a get-to-know-you chat. The bottom line: his last relationship ended “a couple months ago,” but it “really” ended six months ago, and now he’s ready to find The One. Will it be enough to get him a rose? We’re about to find out, because Harrison’s here — let the suitor slaughter begin! Tonight’s lucky winners are James, Kasey, Dan, Juan Pablo (who accepts the rose even after Desiree butchers his native tongue), Brad, Chris, Brian, Zak W., Drew, Mikey, No-neck Zack, Michael, and Brandon — which means Will, Robert and Nick must board the Reject Van. Fare the well, good sirs.

Well, rose lovers, what say you? I don’t think Ben really stacks up against Bachelorette villains of yore (Wes is dead! Long live Wes!) — do you agree? Did Abs Zak redeem himself this week? And more importantly, who do you think is the “lying, cheating, deceitful pig” whose girlfriend we’ll meet next week? (Sadly, my money’s on Brian.) Post your thoughts below! And be sure to check out Chris Harrison’s exclusive blog over on PopWatch. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to figure out how to make my brain go deaf so I can get that damn “Right Reasons” song out of my head. Wish me luck.

Episode Recaps

The Bachelorette

One single woman searches for her future husband amid a sea of studs in this romantic reality series. Will you accept this rose?

  • TV Show
  • 14
  • 159
  • Mike Fleiss
  • ABC