For a show that portrays itself as a beacon of true love, The Bachelor became a miserable slog throughout last night's episode. Each of the remaining women was moved to tears at least once during the episode, usually as the result of another woman's happiness. This process continued in circular fashion until the contestants were too emotionally drained to put forth any further objection. Well done, Ben. You've made a group of teary-eyed zombie wives. Also, I'd like to claim "Teary Eyed Zombie Wives" for my next band's name.
Speaking of teary-eyed, where was this angel when we needed her?
In what was the first of many disappointments for the women this week, The Bachelor moves from The Bahamas to Ben's hometown of Warsaw, Indiana. The only situation where leaving The Bahamas for Indiana isn't tragic is if you're a Bahamian basketball player who has just been drafted by the Pacers. Even then, someone is paying you millions of dollars just to offset the fact that you have to live in Indiana.
After briefly pausing to toss leaves at each other (as all good friends do), the women are greeted by Ben Higgins slowly approaching on a pontoon boat. That's right, a pontoon boat. You know, the boat that provides all the transportation options of a speedboat but without any of the fun or speed. Apparently after blowing this season’s budget on hot tubs and unnecessary air travel, Ben is now reduced to the Indiana equivalent of “caulking the wagon” in The Oregon Trail.
How I feel watching this show.
Once Captain Ben and the Bachelorettes (another great band name) disembark, Ben reveals that he will be taking Lauren B on a date. Upon hearing this, the other women immediately become jealous of Lauren and her good luck. As much as I'd like to poke fun at this, it happens literally for the rest of the episode and I don't want to tire myself out.
Lauren and Ben travel to a nearby youth club where Ben used to volunteer and play games with some of the local kids. While on the date, a bet is made that if Ronnie (a youth center regular) can make a half-court shot, Lauren has to kiss Ben. Ronnie nails the shot and then, while Lauren is kissing Ben, nails two more in a row. For some reason, the focus of the show continues to be on Ben and Lauren instead of Ronnie, who clearly just established himself as the greatest basketball player of all time. Hell, two Indiana Pacers (Paul George and George Hill) show up halfway through the date, and all I want to see is Ronnie shoot from half court.
Give me more Ronnie and less of this.
After leaving the youth center, Ben and Lauren had drinks and talked about their feelings. I don’t need or want to explain this too much, but needless to say they are now very happy. In celebration of their renewed happiness, Ben takes Lauren to the local dive bar, though it just as easily could have been a barn with thirty drunks inside. Warsaw is truly a terrible place.
JoJo received the next date card, much to the chagrin of literally everyone in the house. Becca, Caila, Amanda, and Emily are upset because they have not received a one on one date this week. Lauren B is upset because she just had a one on one date with Ben but now it’s someone else’s turn. Even JoJo is upset that she received the date card because Lauren B received a date card before her. There is literally no winning.
For their date, Ben and Lauren travel to Wrigley Field where they take batting practice and generally desecrate America’s pastime. It actually makes sense that The Bachelor would shoot at the home of the Chicago Cubs. Both franchises have had about three successful seasons over the last 20 years, and only one season in the last 108 years that resulted in a ring. Plus, years of cheering for the Cubs have prepared Ben for dealing with depressed, emotionally unstable drunks. I, for one, would like The Bachelor to return to Wrigley Field every year if for no other reason that to watch Cubs fans collectively lose their shit.
When Ben takes his turn at hitting, JoJo says, “Ben is definitely the cutest baseball player ever.” Being the huge baseball fan that I am makes me want to disagree with her, however the fact that Gary Gaetti existed makes that pretty much impossible.
No joke, his nickname was "The Rat."
Later, Ben and JoJo discuss their relationship while spooning in the outfield. Ben says, “JoJo has loved the qualities of me that are more me than anything else.” If this means anything, I cannot figure out what. Much like his beloved Chicago Cubs, Ben gets to the end and coughs up something incredibly stupid.
While Ben and JoJo were making Cubs fans fear another 100 years of cursed baseball, a group date card arrived at the house. Caila, Amanda, and Becca will be going on the date, which leaves Emily with the final one on one date. True to form, all three of the group date attendees are sad to not receive a one on one date. Emily, who did receive a one on one date immediately starts crying, because apparently this is the episode of The Bachelor where everyone is sad all of the time.
I love this gif so much.
The group date is largely pointless, and served only to remind us that Indiana is a boring state. All three women met Ben for some quaint farm activities including row boating and kite flying. Most of the date consisted of all three women being upset because they were on a group date. It took a lot not to fall asleep during this part.
Apparently sensing they needed to change things up, the women try to find new reasons to be sad. Amanda misses her kids and can’t wait to introduce Ben to them. Caila has never had a steady home and is worried that she doesn’t have an interesting enough past for Ben. Becca can’t come up with anything new to be sad about and continues to complain about having to be on a group date. Keep in mind that Becca has outlasted 22 other women to this point. That means Ben Higgins has looked at 22 other women and thought, “No, Becca is less obnoxious than.” How that is even possible is beyond me.
After no deliberation, Ben gives the group date rose to expressionless Amanda, sending Caila and Becca back to the house and giving them yet another reason to be angry. In an apparent attempt to make sure everyone is annoyed with him, Ben then takes Amanda to McDonalds for some terrible product placement and an even more terrible date. I truly believe that Ben’s strategy is now, “Lets see who sticks around after I crush their dreams for 10 straight weeks.”
The only man in America who can get away with taking his date to McDonalds
At McDonalds the pair choked down the all day breakfast, which I can only assume exists because leftovers are a real problem in the fast food industry. In a moment of planned spontaneity, Ben asks if he and Amanda can work at the drive through. He and Amanda enjoy living the hellish life of a McDonalds employee before doing the one thing most employees never get to do: leave.
After their product placement date, Ben and Amanda go to a town carnival where they are greeted by the mayor. All of Warsaw seems to have come out to see these two non-celebrities enjoy shoddily built rides and rigged games. The couple can’t go more than three feet without being harassed by locals taking pictures and trying to grab Ben. Several rides and games later, the date ends with children beating Ben with inflatable bats. I have never wanted to be a child again so badly in my life.
Walking to their deaths by children.
The final date of the evening is Emily’s. She and Ben float around the aforementioned lake his aforementioned pontoon boat before meeting Ben’s parents. Emily is nervous and rightfully so. Surprising your date with your parents after two dates can never go well.
As predicted, the date does not go well. Emily rambles at Ben’s mother for minutes at a time. At one point, Emily says, “I think I would be an above average wife.” To be fair to Emily, an above average wife would be the greatest contestant in the show’s history. Regardless, Ben’s mom disagrees with Emily’s assessment of herself. She tells Ben that Emily is not ready to be a wife yet, a message which he takes to heart. After awkwardly sailing back across the lake, Ben dumps Emily. He then turns his boat around and sails away.
Not actually Emily, but you get the idea.
At the house, the women are all distraught to hear that Emily has been kicked off the show. It is official. Anything will make these women cry.
Finally the time for the rose ceremony comes. After a shocking number of tears (even by The Bachelor standards) it can’t come a moment too soon. Ben sits down with Chris Harrison to ask for advice. Devoid of any real insight, Chris Harrison asks Ben what he wants to do. “I dunno, what do you wanna do,” isn’t acceptable when making weekend plans, Chris. You’re the host of the show. You have to offer him more than that.
In the end, Ben decides to eliminate Becca. Keep in mind that earlier this episode Becca had asked Ben not to “blindside” her. Ben does exactly that and then claims that it’s not his fault because even he didn’t know what he wanted to do until it came down to his final rose. That’s not so much an excuse as it is an explanation of exactly how Ben blindsided Becca. Mark it down everyone. Another woman disappointed by Ben.
WE PICKED THE WRONG ONE
This episode was hard to watch for a variety of reasons, chief among them being the innumerable amount of tears shed for no real reason. I do understand that this is a stressful process for all involved, but at a certain point it felt like watching seven people slowly lose their minds and crack under the pressure of having to pretend to like everyone around them. Ben was no help either, continuing his hapless reign of terror as this season’s bachelor. There were a number of times he could have stepped in and reassured the women who were obviously upset. Instead, we were left with a show which felt more like a documentary about sad people in a sad situation than a dating show.
Or I could just blame it all on Indiana being a garbage state. Let’s do that instead.