Monday, August 31, 2015

BiP Episode 9: Chess Master Spider Woman From Hell

Last night’s episode begins with Joe, though I probably didn’t need to tell you that. Joe has become such a staple of this season of Bachelor in Paradise that it would be hard to imagine the show opening without him. As was the case last week, Joe is confused as to how Samantha’s feelings for him could have changed so quickly. It’s actually surprising that Joe is so confused about Samantha’s changing feelings, given that he can’t talk about her for more than five minutes without lamenting how unworthy he is of her beauty.

Luckily for Joe, Samantha changes her mind and denies the date with Justin. She says that she can’t go on a date with Justin because Joe is still on her mind. To be clear, Joe is only on her mind because he won’t stop following her around.

Joe is elated to hear about Justin’s rejection. “Look at the smile on my face, from ear to ear.” I honestly would not have known Joe was happy unless he said so. His smile was a perfectly straight line and looked more like he was waiting for the bus than reveling in another’s rejection.

His smile is as flat as the horizon and the top of his head.

Justin is disappointed to hear that Samantha will not be accompanying him, but asks Amber instead. Amber is reluctant to accept, but eventually does in the hopes of making Dan jealous. In her own words, “Dan has been slow with me. I guess this is a test.”  That’s the same logic high school students use on their crushes. No wonder you’re on this show, Amber.

While she and Justin leave for their date, Joe asks if everyone knows what the “awkward turtle” is. Of course, everyone knows what the “awkward turtle” is because this is Bachelor in Paradise, not 2006. Apparently it takes a while for trends to make it to Kentucky.

No one tell Joe about Heath Ledger. He doesn't know yet.

As everyone is lounging about, Chris Bukowski arrives. Bukowski wastes no time in pursuing his one true love: alcohol. With drink in hand, he declares that the other guys should be scared because he “mixes things up and gets pleasure out of it.” The only things I can imagine Bukowski mixing up is vodka and women’s names. This guy is a mess.

As Bukowski continues to rampage, Amber and Justin walk along the beach. Amber’s plan to use the date to make Dan jealous hits a snag when she and Justin come across a salsa dancing class. What begins as instructional dancing turns into 2 AM nightclub antics when Amber takes off Justin’s shirt and he grabs her ass while making out. The two then make out in the ocean before Amber realizes that her plan may have backfired.

It is really hard to find her interesting though.

When she and Justin arrive back in Paradise, Amber pulls Dan aside to talk. She admits that she kissed Justin, but still has feeling for Dan. He, however, does not have the same feelings for her. “I’d rather be upfront than pull a Joe,” Dan says. Honestly, I think we would all rather do anything than pull a Joe.

Amber returns to the group just in time to see Bukowski hit peak drunkenness. After diving into the pool, he staggers around the bonfire, nearly falling in. Whoever let the blackout drunk man near a swimming pool and fire either has no regard for basic alcohol safety, or really gets a thrill from watching idiots nearly die. Given that this is Bachelor in Paradise, I’m betting it’s the latter.

Eventually, Bukowski realizes that he has to actually ask someone on a date and sets his sights on Tenley. I can only imagine the fear that must have gripped her heart when asked by a large drunken man to accompany him, alone, into the shadows. They really should equip the women on this show with some basic martial arts training or something to even out the playing field. At the very least, it might make guys think twice before chugging a bottle of vodka and then getting handsy.

He's actually not even the drunkest Bukowski.

Tenley proceeds to turn down Bukowski no fewer than three times when he asks her out. She tells him that she would rather just be friends and asks if he understands. Bukowski stares blankly at her and says, “Nope.” I would be more incredulous about his stupidity, but seeing as he just drank his weight in vodka, it actually makes sense.

After several more attempts, Tenley finally gets her point across. As Bukowski storms across the beach, smashing anything in his path like a drunken Godzilla, Joshua seizes upon the opportunity. He brings Bukowski the date card and asks if he can use it instead. Bukowski barely seems to comprehend the concept, but after a long pause agrees to give up the date card. Rejected, alone, and drunk beyond all reason, Bukowski quits the show after roughly 15 hours. He stumbles into the jungle, never to be heard from again.

Armed with the new date card, Joshua takes Tenley to Guadalajara to meet Chef Francisco Ruano. Ruano takes the happy couple through a local market to acquaint them with the local cuisine. Joshua was particularly interested in trying an aphrodisiac cheese, and, after trying some loudly announced, “It might be working!” Despite the fact that eating cheese on a date is profoundly unsexy, I’m not sure it’s ever a good idea to announce an erection like that to both your date and everyone within earshot.

 "Any amount of cheese before a date is too much cheese."

Later, Joshua and Tenley eat at Ruano’s restaurant. Joshua describes the experience by saying, “The food was pretty, and then you’ve got her (Tenley) shoving pretty food in her mouth. Overload!” If you missed the episode, “Overload!” wasn’t meant to describe Tenley shoving food in her mouth, though I can certainly see why you would think that. I can only assume he was describing some weird food fetish.

Mercifully, the rose ceremony finally begins. Before wasting any time, Ashley I grabs Jared and hands him a seven-page letter/manifesto she wrote. “I’m a natural writer,” she explained before leaving Jared alone to read. Ashley I is a “natural writer” only in that she knows how to write. She may as well just recorded a rambling confession of love and forced Jared to watch Clockwork Orange style. At one point she says, “I think you’re greater than Tom Brady.” Tiger Beat wouldn’t even accept that writing in a letter to the editor.

Amber takes a run at Jared once he has finishes reading Ashley I’s letter. She tells him that she is interested in him and would like to get to know him more in the weeks to come. In the interest of full disclosure, Amber also tells Ashley I this. Ashley I does not take it well, though to be fair she never takes anything well. “It’s like the opposite of the way it’s supposed to be,” she eloquently says, “Let’s make a different type of archetype.” Were Ashley I the writer she thinks she is, this would not be a problem. Being the writer she actually is, I doubt anyone will ever hear her love story.

Through distraught tears, Ashley I says, “Jareds don’t come around every day.” I suppose not every day, but pretty often if you look hard enough. Jared isn’t an uncommon name and Ashley I could easily find another outside of Paradise. Or am I misunderstanding her?

Jareds are everywhere, including prison.

Joe and Samantha are, inexplicably, back together. I don’t know why or how they reunited and frankly I don’t care to know. Their relationship continually depresses me with its stupidity. So you can imagine my delight to see Dan step in and try to win Samantha away from Joe. Dan says he is concerned to see Samantha dating Joe because he is a controlling, self-righteous little twerp.

 Just as Dan is about to express his own interest in Samantha, Joe appears to interrupt them. Joe takes her out of sight and kisses her as passionately as a Kentucky hillbilly can before sending her back to Dan. Presumably, Samantha was thinking, “You had to pull me aside for that? I was busy talking to someone. Chill the fuck out.” Or at the very least, I hope that is what she was thinking.

Samantha leaves her conversation with Dan very confused about what she should do. “I haven’t seen anything negative,” she says about Joe, forgetting that, yes, she has. Juelia and Jade told her about Joe’s jackassery on her first night in Paradise, not to mention every other cast member who has voiced their concern. You can’t claim to know nothing in the face of overwhelming evidence, Samantha. This isn’t a high school math class. You can’t just pretend to not know something to make people like you.

Things I've learned from Cady Heron

The giving of the roses finally gets underway. Carly picks Kirk, Jade picks Tanner, Tenley picks Joshua, Juelia picks Mikey, and Ashley S picks Nick, which rounds out the established couples. Ashley I picks Jared, because hope springs eternal. Amber picks Justin, though it was only as a friend. Finally the moment of truth arrives and Samantha picks Dan, which sends Joe home. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t ecstatic to see Joe (the human embodiment of grumpy cat) go home.

Pictured: Joe 

Joe is sad (or maybe happy? It’s impossible to tell) to be sent home. Samantha explains that she just couldn’t handle the continual drama and that Dan was able to change her mind. She explains that she was so swept up in their initial date that she missed the many red flags along the way. Joe doesn’t believe her, saying, “I was the one and you know that,” though it’s hard to believe that she could be swayed so quickly if that was actually true. He leaves by telling Samantha, “At the end of the day, who are you going to be with? Just yourself and a lot of cats.” Personally, I would much rather be surrounded by 20 cats, to which I am allergic, than one Joe.

As he rides off in the car, Joe finally shows the texts from Samantha. For being the crux of the last two weeks, the texts were pretty uninteresting. “She clearly said. ‘Do whatever it takes to get a rose,’” Joe reads aloud. He clearly feels betrayed by Samantha and actually seemed sympathetic for a moment. That is, until, he said, “I should have fucked her brains out.” Nice, Joe. God forbid you have one relatable moment with the audience without a weird and gross comment. I’m glad you’re gone. Good riddance.

Back in Paradise, Dan is happy to have Samantha around, even if no one else is. Jared publically blames both her and Joe for all the drama this season. Ashley S also tries to question Samantha, but instead just says, “I’m struck with your beauty. I literally don’t know what is going on. I honestly feel so stuck by you.” Nick sums up everyone’s reaction to Ashley S better than I ever could.

 Click on this picture. It's worth it.

Ashley continues to ramble about Samantha’s beauty to the producers. “It’s like Aphrodite. It’s like a game. You weren’t born out of a flower or a seashell. She’s like a dead bird to me.” That is either nonsense, or quality poetry and I’m not actually sure which.

Eventually, the cast returns to their rooms only to find Chelsie (Juan Pablo’s season) is the new arrival. Everyone is too exhausted from the night’s events to talk to her, but the next morning, Carly sits down to talk with her. Carly gives her the rundown on who is already coupled up when Chelsie asks if Dan is single. Carly lights up at the opportunity to take down Samantha and vigorously suggests Chelsie ask Dan out on a date. Cheerfully, Chelsie bounds off to speak to Dan, unaware of the shit storm she is about to create.

The episode ends with more talk about what a villain Samantha is. Honestly, I don’t buy it. For someone who spends so much time “manipulating” multiple guys on this show, she really only spent any considerable amount of time with Joe. If her entire goal was to manipulate Joe into getting her a rose, she could have left him immediately after receiving it. Instead she stayed with him, wavering at some points, until Dan finally convinced her to cut and run. That’s not how an actual manipulator works.

This woman is a master manipulator, not Samantha.

Samantha also gets pinned as the mastermind of Joe’s betrayal of Juelia, but why? She texted him to “do whatever it takes to get a rose.” Samantha never said, “Betray the trust of a single mother,” or “Act like a colossal asshole until I show up.” All she asked for was Joe to try and stay on the show so she could meet him. The deception came entirely from Joe. Unfortunately he is the only person we have heard from (ad nauseum) on the issue, so he gets to control the story. 

I’m not saying that Samantha is completely without fault in this situation. She could have been more forthright and considerate from the beginning. However, to say that she is a “master manipulator” is saddling her with a title she does not deserve. At worst, Samantha is flighty and incapable of effective decision-making. In my eyes, Joe is the villain. He perpetuated every instance of pain and drama on the show and then blamed it on Samantha’s bewitching beauty. If anyone on Bachelor in Paradise is a villain, it is Joe.

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