For those of you who missed Monday night’s episode of Bachelor in Paradise, well then, you missed one helluva rose ceremony. I say “helluva” because I’m convinced this show is actually hell on Earth and my own personal Bad Place for that one time I wrote “call Ashley for a good time” on the bathroom stall in middle school. That’s the only reasonable excuse for ABC’s subjecting us all to watch Instagram’s version of Capitol people chug bottom shelf tequila for four hours in two days.
More evidence that blasted patch of sand might be haunted by some sort of demonic entity? Connor—ukulele-playing, paw licking, sh*t at tongue-kissing, Connor—somehow managed to pair up with certified smoke show Maurissa. If that’s not an indicator that some sort of biblical tragedy is about to befall us all, then I’m not sure what is.
But nothing gave off more of a sense of wrongness than watching Demi “I Made Bachelor Nation My Bitch” Burnett face romantic rejections she didn’t orchestrate herself for what must be the first time in her entire life. Have you ever seen a gazelle turn around and disembowel a lion? If you had, would it not conjure up images of the end of days? That’s what it felt like watching Demi get rejected by Brendan. And Connor. And Aaron. And every other guy on that damn island.
Demi came into Paradise with the same energy I bring to a “casual girl’s night” after showing up in my sluttiest Shein top, ready to get smacked off of half-priced bottles of wine. In other words, chaotic. She was ready to burn bridges and hair extensions and she didn’t care who knew it. But while she talked a big game, she only just narrowly escaped elimination after conning Jordan—sorry, James—into giving her a “friendship” rose. How cute.
I can’t wait to see what else
Mike Fleiss the devil has planned for us tonight!
Speaking of, this week it’s ladies choice, which means new men and fresh meat are rolling into Paradise. I use the term “fresh meat” because watching the women prepare themselves for the incoming testosterone was like something out of a Scared Straight episode. I have never seen so much lip licking and chest puffing in my life.
The new host is the first to grace us with his presence. The contestants are called to attention at the gathering gazebo, where they stumble upon a boom box with a note that reads: “play me.” First of all, I think it’s cute that ABC thinks these barely-out-of-their-tweens contestants actually know what that relic from the past is, let alone how to play music on it. Perhaps Grocery Store Joe can shed some light on how we used to listen to music in the dark days before streaming services?
“Bye, Bye, Bye” starts playing, and they all look a little too well-versed in the lyrics, if you know what I mean. Like, I’m sure these girls and boys have bought an *NSYNC T-shirt from Urban Outfitters’ “vintage” section, but I’m not at all convinced their knowledge of the band goes beyond that reference point. Only Kenny lights up like a kid on Christmas. I can’t wait for him to be over-served on margaritas and reminisce about the time he stuck his band manager business card down Lance Bass’ pants in ‘99.
That’s right, kids, Lance Bass is the new host for this week! The cast seems only mildly impressed by Lance’s frosted blue tips before turning their attentions back to whatever keto-friendly beverage they’re in the midst of guzzling.
Thomas also makes an appearance this week. That’s right: the Thomas. Mr. I’m Here For Likes Not Love, himself. And boy, did he make a splash. Almost immediately, the guys start acting like sociopathic cave men, hiding the women from a prehistoric predator. Aaron is like, “Thomas is manipulative but I’m confident none of the women will fall for his charm.” I’m sorry, but have you met women? That’s kind of our love language.
WHAT THE MEN ARE SAYING: He needs to be taught a lesson.
WHAT THE WOMEN ARE HEARING:
Thomas sets his sights on Serena P. and, honestly, I’m not convinced it’s a bad thing. I genuinely think Joe is way too old for Serena. The fact that he’s entertaining this whole thing at all is making me lose so much respect for him. I mean, MY GOD, my car is as old as their age gap—and I’ve had that thing since 2008! This is why I’m single, y’all. Men my own age are dating women born the same year I attended an *NSYNC concert at the Greensboro Coliseum.
More evidence that Serena is way too young for Joe: when asked why she decided to go on a date with Thomas, she acknowledged that she will probably see some red flags but—and I quote—“he’s super hot, so whatever.” You’re right. She does seem like wife material, Joey.
Thomas does little during their date to prove he’s not a giant POS. For starters, he wears shorts that hug every crevice of his penis and subtly thrusts his pelvis whenever a camera is near. Also probably not a good idea? Actively reading from your burn book instead of wooing the woman in front of you. Thomas attempts to explain the rumors that have plagued his journey on the franchise and, naturally, this blows up in his face. Honestly, if he had just stuck to flexing his abs and flashing those dimples instead of airing his dirty laundry, then maybe Serena wouldn’t have been so turned off by him. Play to your strengths, buddy, and character is not your strength.
Meanwhile, Joe is handling this about as well as I do reading the comments on my own articles. Not well, bitch! By the time Serena comes back from her date, I’m not convinced there will be anything left of Joe beyond a sweaty bandana and a mist of anxiousness and desperation clouding the air near the general vicinity of where he was standing.
In the end, Serena decides to skip the drama and stick with her old man. She got her hot make-out session on the beach, that’s really all Thomas was good for anyway.
Thomas’ Group Date
Poor Thomas. He thought he was going to be taking long, romantic walks on the beach with some newly humbled hot girls. Instead the only long, romantic walks he’s taking are with every man on this beach. Instead of focusing on, say, wooing the women around them and surviving the next rose ceremony, the guys have put all of their focus and energy on Thomas.
Is it just me or is the tension almost a little… sexual? Especially the vibes between Aaron and Thomas. Like, Aaron could give a sh*t what Tammy does all day, but if Thomas even breathes in someone else’s general vicinity he’s ready to throw hands. Look, I read a lot in the haters-to-lovers trope and I’m telling you right now that if you lock these boys in a room with a pitcher of margaritas, magic is bound to happen. Just sayin’…
AARON: *says literally anything about Thomas*
ME: Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss!
It’s okay, boys! You know you want to.
Thomas realizes he needs to make amends with the guys if he ever wants to get his dick wet on this beach again. He apologizes, and the group begrudgingly accepts. This tenuous truce lasts about as long as it takes for Wells to mix a drink. Tahzjuan does not like how easily the boys resolved their issues. She would also like to see them kiss. It takes her all of five minutes to start stirring the pot again. She tells Tre that she heard from Serena P that Thomas said Tre was emotionally immature and needed to be protected. Christ, that was a doozy.
Tre confronts Thomas and tells him he knows what he said to Serena on their date and he’s DONE WITH HIM, OKAY. This is the last time he will ever be speaking to Thomas unless he blacks out at happy hour and drunk dials him to ask where it all went wrong. Again I say, the sexual tension on this beach is goddamn electric.
Mr. Steal Yo Girl
In the midst of the Thomas/Serena/Joe/Tre/Aaron drama, Riley and his biceps make their grand entrance into Paradise. For those of you who need a refresher (I know I did), Riley was the cute lawyer from Tayshia’s season. His entrance is punctuated by every woman within 20 feet of him becoming weak-kneed and wet at the sight of an attractive man with a stable job. Same, ladies. Same.
Riley scores a date card and asks Maurissa to accompany him. For the past two episodes, Maurissa has been attached at the face to Connor in a way that definitely doesn’t at all feel like a cry for help. So, like, I feel as if this will be good for her. By the way, Connor is feeling fine, absolutely great, excited even, for Maurissa to go on this date. Sure, Jan.
If there were any doubts in our mind that Connor shouldn’t, in fact, be shaking, it’s reinforced when Maurissa shows up for the date wearing what can only be described as leopard print floss. Damn, that woman is hot. I mean, jaws dropped at her entrance—mine included. Meanwhile, Connor is looking at her like he’s never seen that much exposed skin on a human woman in his life. Poor little buddy.
Even though there’s clear chemistry between Riley and Maurissa, ABC does their best to cock-block the couple. Happiness on this show? Never heard of her. They gift them with a romantic dinner out, but instead of food, they are served the contents of the Paradise villa’s pool filters.
MAURISSA: I’ve never been on a real date before!
I’m not sure what Maurissa and Riley did in a past life to deserve this date, but unless they tried to bake Hansel and Gretel in an oven, they deserved better. Lance tells them that the game is simple: answer his questions or eat whatever monstrosities ABC’s most sociopathic intern was able to cook up with a hotplate.
The questions range from tame (“have you ever slid into a celebrity’s DMs?”) to gross and sexist (“how many people have you slept with?”). At first they seem to only be answering questions that make them look good, but then Maurissa gets bold by answering the “how many times a day do you masturbate question” with an overly enthusiastic “every day!”
*cue every married man in America turning terrified eyes to his wife, wondering if she does the same*
And the rest is history! Riley seems absolutely smitten. He heard “I’m deeply sexual” and was like “the hunt is over!” Though their sexual chemistry is palpable, they also connect on a deeper level. They both express wanting to settle down and have kids in the future. Maurissa talks about a time in her life when she experienced a large weight gain and the impact that had on her confidence and relationships. Riley tells her that her “soul lights up a room” and then proceeds to light the rest of her up in the boom boom room.
THE BOOM BOOM ROOM?! YOU GUYS. This isn’t the Shore House! Have some respect.
I will say ABC, deserves a goddamn Emmy for that camera work at the end of the episode. They sliced together scenes of Connor strumming along on his ukulele, reading song lyrics from his sad handwritten book, and paired it with Maurissa’s moans and flashes of Riley’s biceps.
You’re scum, ABC, but I love it. Until next time!
Images: ABC / Craig Sjodin; ABC (2); @kayyorkcity /Twitter (1); Giphy (3)