Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Bachelor Episode 3: Sexy In A Friend Way

I cannot believe I am saying this but last night’s episode of The Bachelor was actually good. Not even good in the train wreck style we are so accustomed to with this show, but actually flat out good. Most of the credit goes to Ben Higgins who is a rare mix of competent and compassionate that this show has been lacking since I first started watching back in Juan Pablo’s season. I was skeptical of him before the season started, but Ben has been one of the best parts of the show thus far.

However, the pièce de résistance from last night was Bachelor Live, which hosted Lace, Paget Brewster, and Paul F Tompkins, as well as the incomparable Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland. If you care at all about experiencing joy in your life, I must insist you watch it.

"Oh Hello"

Of course, none of that means the show wasn’t also completely outlandish and worth derision. It absolutely was.

The first date card of the night went to Lauren B. She and Ben rode in a stunt plane whose “stunts” consisted of gently rising and falling while its passengers kept failing to kiss through their headsets. Eventually the plane flew over the bachelor mansion, which all of the contestants were somehow able to immediately identify as carrying their beloved Ben. In what will surely be the biggest missed opportunity of the season, the pilot didn’t swoop low over the house North by Northwest style. If you’re not enjoying that visual, you’re not imagining the looks on the women’s faces when Ben returns to the mansion and they have to pretend not to be pissed off at him.

After several more minutes of flying, the plane finally sets down in a field where Ben surprises Lauren B with a romantic hot tub. The entire affair looked like a somehow less classy Cialis commercial. Also, assuming this was not a naturally occurring hot tub, its kind of amazing anyone was able to set this up in the middle of a field. The only way any of this makes sense is if there was a production assistant standing just off camera pumping a giant bellows to make the bubbles.

Ye olde hot tub

Later that night, Lauren B talks about how she “enjoys the simple things in life.” Either this was a subtle hint for Ben to stop taking her on these elaborately themed dates, or Lauren B had forgotten about everything that happened to her in the last 12 hours.

Once Lauren was returned home, it was time for a group date. Several of the women piled into a van and travelled to the LA Coliseum to play soccer with US Women’s team players, Alex Morgan and Kelly O’Hara. In true Bachelor style, none of the women had ever played soccer before, so the magnitude of seeing all-stars of that caliber was completely lost on everyone involved. It wasn’t until Chris Harrison introduced a competitive match with the prize of time with Ben that the ladies took it seriously.

Not only did they take it seriously, some of them were downright barbaric. Leah went to far as to channel her inner Braveheart, yelling, “Blood will be shed!” Not even a uterus could yell that without being shocking. Well done, Leah.

More like a "cuterus"

Predictably, the game itself more closely resembled a YMCA game than an actual athletic competition. Most of the action actually came from quick camera cuts rather than anything on the field. After a tie game sent the affair into overtime, Rachel managed to injure her calf in what may be the first legitimate injury in soccer history. Amber took advantage of the moment and managed to score the decisive goal, sending her team on the date with Ben.

Although Amber would ultimately get the rose from this date as well, Olivia was easily the focal point of the date. After interrupting Ben to steal him away from the others, she tells the audience that she knows Ben has already chosen her because of how he put his hand on her knee. Later, Olivia claims that Ben loves her because he squeezed her hand. At this point, Olivia is this season’s version of a conspiracy theorist. She’s barely a step away from saying, “I know the world is run by lizard people because Ben doesn’t run the world and isn’t a lizard!” Settle down, Olivia.

"Jet fuel can't melt my heart!"

Without a doubt, my favorite segment from last night’s episode was Jubilee’s date. Though it started off a bit awkward, (jokingly offering the other women her date, spitting out caviar, calling Ben a “white boy”) she has by far the most compelling story of anyone on the show. To recap, Jubilee was born in Haiti and adopted by American parents at a young age. She is the only surviving member of her family and still struggles with the resulting guilt to this day. Add in the fact that she is also a war veteran and often feels like an outcast around other women, and you have the most sympathetic person I’ve ever seen on TV. If Jubilee does not win, or at least is not our next Bachelorette, I will riot.

That being said, Jubilee describes herself as being, “obsessed with hot dogs.” Can you really be obsessed with such an easily accessible food? In some ways it’s a lot like being obsessed with dirt. You can find it everywhere, but you really shouldn’t eat it. Oh well. No one is perfect.

After bonding over their somewhat disparate love of pork intestines, Ben and Jubilee play shuffleboard, go swimming, and then sit in a hot tub. Wait, seriously? What is this guy’s obsession with hot tubs? Every one on one date this season has ended up in a hot tub. Does “Hot Tub Higgins” have a diagnosed medical condition that requires him to soak in warm, bubbly water for at least an hour a day? There are easier ways to see girls in swimsuits, Ben. You’re not as subtle as you think you are.

"I swear, my doctor says I have to be in a hot tub for at least 12 hours a day."

Once back at the house, the women do not take too kindly to Jubilee’s return. Amber in particular thinks that Jubilee is flaunting the rose she received on her date and tries multiple times to accost her. Being the intelligent human being that she is, Jubilee is having none of it and retreats upstairs.  Eventually, Amber tracks her down and begins airing her grievances in front of Ben. To his credit, Ben tells Amber to shut up (in so many words) and defends Jubilee’s honor. There are not enough good things to be said about how well Ben handled the situation. He may not be the Bachelor that we deserve, but he is the Bachelor that we need right now.

Not to be outdone by Amber’s insensitivity, Olivia decides to remind us all that she is a terrible person as well. Before the final cocktail party began, Ben informed the women that two personal family friends had passed away earlier that day. Seeing an opportunity to be insane, Olivia pulls Ben aside to tell him people don’t like her toes or cankles. In so many words she said, “Look Ben, I’m real sorry to hear about the death of your loved ones which serves to remind us all of the perilous tightrope walk that is mortality, but my toes are weird! Don’t stop pitying me for even a second!” Olivia might be a literal sociopath…

Or she could just be your run of the mill goblin.

Before the rose ceremony, Lace pulled Ben aside to tell him she was leaving. The show was ultimately not a good fit for her, and she needed to take some time off to improve herself. I’ll never forget you, Lace. Your drunken shenanigans will live on in my heart forever.

Shushanna and Jami were both sent home during the rose ceremony. Beyond being cute, I can’t say they brought much else to the show. Enjoy the slow fade back into obscurity, ladies.

That’s it for week three of The Bachelor. Now go watch BachelorLive again. It’s worth it.


Gossip Squirrel

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