Welcome back to the beach, betches! Count your blessings because this SHIT is almost over. It’s like the abyss I’ve been screaming into for the last nine weeks finally acknowledged my existence. Peace and blessings. I say “almost over,” because tonight’s episode is actually not the finale. ABC has decided to drag this thing out into another four-hour, two-night, spectacular waste of my time. As if I have not sacrificed enough for this show already! Free time, relationships, sanity, sleep, and giant chunks of my hair—all gone in the name of “love.” I hope they know what I do for them.
Let’s get into it!
Last Call For Alcohol
Tonight’s episode begins with the last rose ceremony of the season—as if time or rose ceremonies means anything to this franchise anymore. But it is kind of a big week for the couples. Supposedly, Fantasy Suites and proposals are right around the corner. This means they’ll have to take a long, hard look at the partner they’ve been exchanging backwash and bodily fluids with, and decide if they would like to do that for the rest of their lives—or, if they would even acknowledge that person in airport in a week’s time. Only time will tell.
Mara is the first to self-eliminate. I’m using that term loosely, of course. Self-elimination implies a sort of pride or dignity, or at the very least a marginal sacrifice on the part of the eliminator. Mara’s exit was more like an elaborate luring off the beach in the same way Winnie the Pooh is often lured into chaos by promises of honey. Mark my words, on screen it may look like Mara is leaving of her own volition, but off screen, production is dangling Jacob’s banana leaf jockstrap and hoping she follows it into an awaiting cab.
^live footage of Mara “hailing a cab” to the airport
With Mara out of the picture, no one technically has to go home. Jesse Palmer must sense that the stakes are too low, and so is my waning interest level in this godforsaken season. He tells the idiots that the cocktail party is canceled in the hopes that one of them panics under the pressure and accidentally ruins a life. Let’s see how that goes for them:
Rose Ceremony Couples
- Michael chooses Danielle
- Brandon chooses Serene
- Johnny chooses Victoria
- Tyler chooses Brittany
- Aaron chooses Genevieve
- Twin A chooses Aussie Hottie
- Twin B chooses Shanae
It all comes down to Kate and Logan. Despite their ups and downs, Logan seems sure of his decision to give her his rose. “We’ve walked through fire together,” he says, but the fire is just Kate using his credit score as her stand-up material.
LOGAN: We’ve been through so much, but it only makes us stronger. I want to be with you no matter what. Will you accept my rose?
Kate tells Logan that she can’t be with him. It’s not him, it’s his orange Honda. To be fair, she has been pretty consistent about her feelings. She wants stability, safety, and, most importantly, the hefty bonus production promised her, should she successfully mutilate a man’s confidence on national television. Never settle for less, sister!
My favorite part about the breakup is Jesse Palmer taking the time to twist the knife even further. He’s like, “Sadly Logan, you’re no longer in a relationship and there’s absolutely no one who would accept your rose at this point anyways, so adios bitchacho!” Jesse!! Can’t you see the man is distraught? Kate just left begging god to bring her a man with a “Big dick and an even bigger bank account,” and you’re rushing Logan out like you’re worried your piña colada is melting off screen. Show some compassion, man.
Playtime Is Over
The next morning, Jesse tells the beach trash that Paradise is over. To that I say: WE SHOULD ONLY BE SO LUCKY. Do you promise, Jesse?? But the contestants are not taking the news as well. They thought they’d at least get another few days to destroy what’s left of their livers and their dignity. Instead they’ll have the day to decide if their relationships are ready for the next step. The energy in the room is very much my dad yelling “Get a job!” as I try to explain to him that my job actually is sitting on the couch and writing about this shit.
The couples have three options: stay on the beach and try to get engaged, leave the beach together as a couple but not engaged, or leave the beach separately, both more bloated and single than they were when they arrived. Let’s look at who chose correctly and those who are going to be replaying this exact moment to their therapist in 3-6 months when asked if they can pinpoint where it all went wrong:
Tyler + Brittany: Okay. Right here, right now, Tyler looks every inch the boardwalk game stand owner he is. They sit down on the daybed, and I can’t help but think that he does not look ready to be engaged. He looks ready to haggle you into spending $100 on on a water gun game in the hopes of winning a stuffed monkey the size of a 4th grader, but not engaged.
That does not stop Brittany from wishing that this carnie would tell her he loves her. “I need an ‘I love you’ if we’re going to leave the beach together,” she says. I would need much more than that from this man. For example, a signed statement that says the business he owns is not a t-shirt stand in Jersey that sells any kind of apparel with the words “shawty” written on the butt. But to each their own, I suppose. Tyler says he loves her and they leave the beach together.
Shanae + Twin: I think it’s hilarious that The Suite Life of Zack & Cody over here thinks he’s going to leave Paradise with a girlfriend. Shanae is never going to seriously date you, buddy. Your voice just cracked when you asked where her head was at!
Shanae says that she is looking for a husband, not some guy who still lives with his parents. EXCUSE ME!! How are we just now finding out the twins still live at home with their mother? Like, did they have to get a permission slip signed before they could come on the beach?
SHANAE: It would never last. We’re from two different worlds. I don’t even understand how TikTok works.
TWIN: I don’t even use TikTok that much!
That’s right. His mom has a strict “no electronics after 9pm” rule. Don’t get it twisted, Shanae!
Other Twin + Aussie Hottie: Lol, come on. Do I even need to say it? They break up and leave separately.
Aaron + Genevieve: If I never see Genevieve on my screen again, it will be too soon. Production has been shoving these two down our throats all season, but you can’t convince me that a man who drinks that much protein was ever on that beach for any reason other than to inflate his own ego.
Genevieve says that Aaron’s been acting cagey all day and she doesn’t know what he’s thinking anymore. Cue Aaron breaking up with her moments later. He says that he doesn’t think this will work outside of Paradise, mainly because he doesn’t want to wake up one morning to his apartment set ablaze after calling Genevieve “beautiful” instead of “gorgeous.” I don’t particularly care for Genevieve’s personality and have, in fact, drunk enough wine to irreparably damage the memory-making part of my brain in an effort to dull said personality, but I do think Aaron went on this show for selfish motives and wasted her whole Paradise experience.
GENEVIEVE: I just wasted all of my time on a man child—and that’s big facts.
MY LAST REMAINING BRAIN CELL HAVING TO RECAP THIS RELATIONSHIP:
Now that’s big facts.
Michael + Danielle: I have nothing to say about this couple. I know I’m supposed to root for their trauma bond or whatever, but MY GOD do they make for boring television. My shampoo bottle has more compelling features than these two put together. They decide to leave as a couple. Fine. Good luck to you both!
Serene + Brandon: Wake me up when this show gets interesting. Of course these two are headed to the Fantasy Suites. Imagine being production, and the only talent you have left at the end of the season are Brandon and Serene. Don’t get me wrong. These two make a gorgeous couple. Seriously, it should be illegal for two people with faces that symmetrical to procreate. But they give us nothing in terms of personality and entertainment. This is going to be a LONG finale if these people are to make up the majority of Tuesday’s narrative arc. Thoughts and prayers for us all.
Victoria + Johnny: Johnny is not ready for an engagement. He wasn’t ready for an engagement 90 days ago when he was dating Gabby on The Bachelorette, and he’s certainly not ready now. As Johnny says, “An engagement is forever.” He seems to understand that the stakes are high, and is hesitant to jump into anything too serious with Victoria. Victoria seems ready to be engaged, it doesn’t matter to whom. It could be Johnny, it could be (SPOILER, SPOILER, SPOILER) Greg Grippo, it could be a tree stump. Just somebody for the love of god put a ring on it.
I’ll save my thoughts on Victoria for after the finale episode airs. Johnny seems very insecure. He admits that there’s nothing he likes about himself and he’s always felt inadequate. He’s worried that he’ll finally open up to someone and she’ll dump him for another guy, which is seemingly what Victoria does after the finale. I’ll reserve my judgments until after I’ve watched the Tell All, but things are not looking good for my favorite Florida Man…
And that’s it for part one of the finale! Until next time!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (4)
Welcome back to the beach, betches! We are now a week out from the finale, and morale could not be lower. We’re so far past finding love in a hopeless place, and are instead finding psychosis at the bottom of one of Wells’ margaritas. The look of absolute despondency on these peoples’ faces. I’m telling you, I haven’t seen such a thing since I looked in the mirror at my own face after fighting to the death on Ticketmaster for a chance to listen to Taylor Swift live and in concert—or at least live through two cups held together by a string, depending on Ticketmaster’s benevolence. Haunting, truly.
It’s at this point in the season that the cabin fever—or, perhaps it’s more accurate to say, bungalow fever—fully sets in. I imagine this must be what it was like in the days before humanity discovered fire. Just whacking each other with sticks and arguing about if that feeling is itchy or painful until eventually evolution’s first draft of a bear stumbles upon you arguing and makes a restaurant week out of your remains.
Sadly, there are no prehistoric beasts to put the Paradisers out of their misery (though wouldn’t that be fun if there were?). Keep in mind that by the end of this season, there will have been nine weeks and something like 15 episodes of BiP we will have been forced to watch. That’s more than the amount of episodes in a normal Bachelor/ette season. Quite frankly, I would settle for a prehistoric beast taking me out at this point. A girl can dream…
The contestants have now spent weeks stunting their amygdalae with tequila shots and rudimentary conversation. They’ve forgotten that beyond this beach there is a vibrant world outside, one in which they don’t have to be semi-nude and in a constant state of alcohol poisoning to engage with it. Because of this, they’ve stopped being fun to watch. It’s like when the monkeys refuse to dance at the circus. ABC is at the point where if they want to see the cast do anything other than develop slow-growing carcinoma, they have to literally poke them with sticks. That, or shove an overly-zealous 33-year-old woman who defines herself as “a little spicy and a little saucy” onto their daybed and hope it spurs them into some sort of forward momentum.
That might be why, out of the entire 240 minutes of footage they showed us this week, 60 minutes were spent trying to make the lesser half of Paradise’s Suite Life of Zack & Cody look like a legitimate romantic option (we all know Joey is the one carrying the twin bit on his barely-pubescent shoulders), 30 minutes were spent on Genevieve and Aaron fighting with their last two remaining brain cells, and 60 minutes were spent watching the cast act like Rodney took their only remaining water source with him when he left. If these aren’t cries for help, I don’t know what are!
But what am I saying? You’re going to read all about it. Let’s get into it!
Eliza’s Saga Continues
As I mentioned above, this week’s episodes were trash. Not even the Eliza/Rodney/Justin drama felt compelling. I think it’s because Eliza is the weak link here. All season, I haven’t understood why she’s the Helen of Troy of this beach, bringing the ravages of war and suffering to every man who lays eyes on her. Like, yes, she is beautiful, but I suspect a conch shell has more personality than what’s happening beneath that gorgeous exterior.
The episode opens with Eliza traveling to Justin’s hometown of Baltimore to “get her man back.” Nevermind that “her man” is a stranger she met on a beach 72 hours prior. Paradise should never normalize this behavior. In the real world, if I even so much as followed a guy I just met on Instagram, he would be alerting his entire friend group and Instagram HQ of my “erratic” behavior.
This explains why Justin is so freaked out by her arrival. He wanted her rose, not a relationship.
Justin tells Eliza that he can’t be with her because he wanted her to choose him first. He doesn’t want to be anyone’s second choice. That, and also he was in the middle of a 30-hour Call of Duty marathon with the boys, and he really needs to get back to it. You understand, right Liza?
I guess you should have gone with Rodney!
My Sister In Christ, Is It Too Much To Ask For A Decent Man On This Franchise?
God bless Kate. Her voice makes me want to put my eardrums through a cheese grater, but she is mildly entertaining to watch. At least someone understood the assignment.
Kate is still very unsure of Logan. She’s like “I need a man,” and then proceeds to emasculate the one she’s dating on national television. “Logan is 26 years old,” she says, “ not established, drives an orange Honda, has a broken phone, he’s a dog walker.” I drive a gray Honda and my iPhone’s speakerphone function hasn’t worked since 2020, so I don’t love her points. What if owning broken things is just your personality, Kate!!
KATE: I’m a wow-er. I want to be wower.
I hate to break it to you, Kate, but in the real world, men with shitty phones are in high demand. Why do you think therapists are always so busy?
Enter: Ency and Lyndsey, who are ready to find a man even if that man is literally the last one on earth. Lyndsey wants to ask Logan on the date. Unlike Kate, she has lots of nice things to say about him. For example: “He’s so tall,” and “He’s really, really tall.” As I said, Kate, a hot commodity.
Despite what I write in every single one of these recaps, Logan is actually capable of some critical thinking. He senses that something is amiss with Kate. When I write that, I don’t mean that Logan has any real understanding of Kate’s complicated feelings. I mean that he has working eyes and ears and after weeks of passive aggressive comments is starting to think that maybe, possibly, she’s not happy with their relationship. It’s like when my dog farts in her sleep so bad that it wakes her up. She can smell that something is off, but she can’t tell that she was the actual source of it.
LOGAN: It feels like you look down on me
I want to watch the reunion, if only to get Logan’s reaction after watching weeks of Kate trolling him in the confessionals. Kate’s like, “Name a moment where I was critical of him?”, and she does realize this is a show with cameras, yes? I don’t think there’s a moment of their relationship where she hasn’t been critical of him. I thought that was kind of their kink.
Things escalate when Gabby and Rachel crash the beach. I simply love that they brought these two here to give relationship advice. What insight could they possibly provide? Making bad decisions? The tequila is taking care of that, ladies! I mean, it is pretty wild to watch them both flash around their engagement rings when, at that exact moment, Tino is already ignoring Rachel’s calls, and Erich is releasing statements about doing blackface. But sure, gals, do tell us the secret to a happy relationship.
It’s obvious that the entire purpose of Gabby and Rachel’s presence is to set fire to whatever self-respect Logan had left. They tell Kate he can’t be trusted. “I don’t respect him and I don’t trust him,” Rachel cautions. “He has a bit of an ego in his mind that he is the ultimate,” Gabby piles on.
You guys, the man is not a master manipulator. From the sounds of it, he can’t even manipulate Verizon into giving him a phone upgrade. Meanwhile, Kate has him performing tricks like he’s a foxhound terrier who’s about to win Best in Show. Please stop worrying about this guy.
LOGAN “WORKING ON HIS RELATIONSHIP” FOR KATE:
Production Gives The Hostages Something To Live For
We’re at that point in the season when the allure of a free Mexican vacation is fading faster than Michael’s farmer’s tan. This entire week has been bleak in terms of content. The producers must sense that the cast is one sunny, idyllic day away from going full Victorian bride and drowning themselves in the ocean, because they finally decide to give the hostages something to live for again.
Production plans a Sadie Hawkins, ’90s-themed dance. Sadie Hawkins, because when has this franchise ever asked the men to work for anything, and a ’90s theme because they wanted to humiliate the twins, whom I suspect were born sometime in the new millennium. It’s times like these that I miss Jill. She would have broken my mind by showing up in some sort of Lisa Frank cosplay.
MICHAEL: In the ’90s we parted our hair down the middle because the bigger the fluff, the bigger the stuff.
HOW IS THIS MAN THE HOTTEST COMMODITY ON THE BEACH?
You know who’s not having a good time? Jessenia. Ever since Andrew ditched her for a date with Ency (the tiniest of plot points on Monday night’s episode), she’s been ready to set fire to his happiness.
Jessenia has clearly made the decision to leave Paradise, but wants to get closure from Andrew first. Andrew thinks there’s nothing to close, because he never really had feelings for her to begin with. Jessenia, however, has been choosing him week after week in rose ceremonies because she thought a spark was there. I think Andrew has been phoning it in ever since Teddi left, and really needed to vocalize how meh he was feeling about Jessenia weeks ago. Jessenia would like for him to admit that, while also ruining his fun.
I’ll spare you the excruciating details, but essentially Andrew does admit to never fully getting over Teddi, and leaves Paradise mid-dance. The two moments that stick out to me from this fight are Jessenia hollowly whispering “I’m tired,” as she stares dead-eyed into the abyss of that limo, and Ency fully losing her damn mind.
Picture this: Andrew, who has now wrestled free from ABC’s mind control, and is backing slowly into an awaiting getaway car, as Ency deteriorates into a pile of body glitter and hair ties. I’m not kidding, y’all. She was all but on her hands and knees! The way she was repeating “please” over and over again… the last time I prayed that hard was when I got stuck trying on a jumpsuit and was forced to either live forever in a TJ Maxx dressing room or debase myself by asking the 16-year-old retail associate if she could cut me out of it. Save the prayers for a real emergency, Ency.
And that’s all she wrote! Until next week!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (5)
Welcome back to the beach, betches! This week, ABC has decided to give us a brief respite from the grueling BiP schedule by airing only one episode instead of two. Thank you, midterm elections. So, instead of feeling simmering amounts of anxiety watching Genevieve showcase the problem solving skills of a coconut, I can be completely submerged in my anxiety as I await democracy’s downfall and wonder if the guy on this show whose entire personality is bragging about the size of the banana leaf he wears in lieu of a swimsuit (“it’s the only thing that can contain me!!”) will have more bodily autonomy than me.
This week’s episode was less focused on telling a story, and more focused on telling us which couples we are supposed to care about. Theoretically, the end of Paradise is in sight. “Paradise is coming to an end soon,” Brittany even says about a season that, by my count, still has 10 hours of footage left to air. Don’t lie to me, Brittany!!
With proposals only a few episodes away, the contestants are feeling the pressure to pair off into “serious” couples. This is a hard task to do when the only single men on the beach are Hayden, Jacob, and the stars of the next Disney Channel Original Movie about two twins who switch bodies, Justin and Joey.
Enter production, who heard “geometry beach” was trending several weeks ago and would like to re-edit the footage to capitalize on that tired storyline. Who cares about things like “personal boundaries” and “happiness” when they can hogtie Eliza’s soul to a stick and roast it over the flames of America’s sick enjoyment? Two love triangles in particular became production’s focus: the very real one happening between Rodney, Eliza, and Justin, and then the one in which they promised Kate an extra $1k and a Tula brand deal if she just plays along.
Let’s get into it!
The Princess & The Pauper
This week, Kate finds herself in a love triangle between herself, her ego, and her own delusions. Also, she has some dalliances with Hayden and Logan. Imagine you’re a producer and you have to make this love triangle sound enticing. Their names are Kate, Hayden, and Logan. They should be the subjects of the math word problem I couldn’t solve during the SATs, not the star-crossed love affair that defines the ages.
If you’ll recall, last week Kate stepped out on her relationship with Logan by going on a date with Hayden. During the first 15 minutes of tonight’s episode, the two make up in the rain after Kate gets back from her date. “Are you sure about me?”, Logan asks. “I’m sure!”, Kate responds—but not before making sure the production team has successfully corralled every human on that beach within viewing distance of her answer.
Now Kate’s feeling unsure about Logan and their seven-year age difference. As she says: “My sister in Christ, he can’t even afford a trainer at Equinox!” In this economy? Who can??
Kate says there are things she doesn’t like about Logan, like the fact that she’s 33 and he’s 26, or that his idea of checking his credit score involves whispering the last four digits of his social three times in front of a mirror, and if the score doesn’t immediately appear in his reflection, then everything must be fine. And there are things Kate does like about Hayden, like that he spent more money on Rambo’s medical care than Elon Musk spent buying Twitter.
The catch is, of course, that she hates Hayden with every fiber of her being. Ah, yes. The riddle all Miami club girls spend their lives trying to solve: is the top-shelf bottle service worth co-signing the dregs of humanity? To that I say, is it just liquor, or would they be open to ordering some Veuve for the table?
KATE: Call me old-fashioned, but I just want that provider energy.
Well, if you go with Hayden, he will certainly be providing you with something. My guess is a long lecture about the power of Bitcoin.
Kate makes a big show of being absolutely tortured over her decision (my sister in Christ, how can ABC ask her to choose like this??). I think she forgets that the men she’s torn between are two of evolution’s greatest mistakes.
But in the end, it’s Logan to whom Kate begrudgingly gives her rose. “You’re gonna need to step it up for me,” she threatens, as Logan tries to hide both his fear and burgeoning chubby. Later, Logan whispers anxiously to the cameras that he doesn’t like how Kate treats him. Is that really fair to say, though, Logan? I think you like how she treats certain parts of you, don’t you?
Good luck, Kate! I hope you can find happiness with this man and his Planet Fitness membership.
A Moment Of Silence For Rodney
The second love triangle to decimate the beach comes in the form of Justin, Eliza, and Rodney. Ever since split week, when Rodney broke things off with Lace, things have been going well for him and Eliza. But then last week, production allowed Justin to return to Paradise. Outwardly, production tells us that they made this decision because they think Justin deserves a second chance. Justin, apparently, was always interested in Eliza and was hoping she would make it to Paradise before he was eliminated.
When Justin asked Eliza on a date last episode, she didn’t initially want to accept. She wanted Rodney to forbid her from dating anyone else, as if he were the suspiciously young dad in a YA novel who cares a little bit too much about who his little princess dates. Since Rodney is not a cave drawing, he acts maturely and rationally. He insists she go on the date if this is what she needs to do to be sure about him. Naturally, Eliza responds by going on the date to spite him, but then develop real feelings for Justin.
Which brings us to tonight! Eliza is definitely feeling the pressure. Any time either Rodney or Justin breathes in her general direction, she looks like she might be violently ill. I definitely don’t think she’s emotionally mature enough for this decision. She might not be emotionally mature enough for an Ulta credit card.
I will say, Eliza perhaps has more chemistry with Justin, but doesn’t want to dump Rodney. How do you dump the human embodiment of a weighted blanket? It doesn’t help that the rest of the beach cannot stop talking about how great Rodney is. Okay, so why don’t you sleep with him then? Hmm?
It all comes down to the rose ceremony. Eliza is crying so hard her sobs could create entire new fault lines in the earth. She wants to dump the weighted blanket for the human meme, but would like to do it without the rest of the beach getting together and casting a dark curse that damns her future lineage for centuries to come. The stakes are so high.
Rose Ceremony Couples
- Genevieve picks Aaron
- Jessenia picks Andrew
- Victoria picks Johnny
- Brittany picks Tyler
- Danielle picks Michael
- Serene picks Brandon
- Aussie Hottie picks twin 1
- Shanae picks twin 2
- Kate picks Logan (with a lecture)
- Eliza picks Rodney
Rose Ceremony Rejects
The level of joy these people exhibit at Rodney getting to stay another week is wild. They’re acting like Rodney and Eliza just did a blood ritual, binding themselves to each other for all eternity, and not like Eliza was so visibly distraught handing out her rose that she almost passed out in despair. Call me skeptical, but I suspect their relationship has a very real, very imminent expiration date.
Case in point: immediately after giving Rodney a rose, Eliza grabs Justin’s hand and walks him to a secluded corner. She spends more time comforting Justin than she does reuniting with Rodney.
RODNEY: It’s you and me until the end. I can’t wait to make you my wife and introduce you to my mother and we should start looking at apartments after filming and when the time is right adopt a labradoodle and maybe name it Paradise (Parry, for short) and—
Oh, Rodney. Sweetie, no.
Eliza is an absolute mess. While Rodney is writing in his dream journal about their future life together, Eliza looks like she spent the night battling her own personal sleep paralysis demon. Her confessional is giving Kelly Kapoor straight off her juice cleanse.
Tell me this isn’t the same energy!
I meant it when I said Eliza is not emotionally mature enough for this relationship. No tea, no shade to her, but it’s just a thing that is pretty obvious. I think she’s maybe more scared of confronting Rodney than her actual feelings for him (or lack thereof).
Eventually, she does muster up the nerve to have The Talk. She tells him that she made the wrong decision and only picked him because she felt influenced by her peers. Eliza! Don’t tell him that! That’s a thing teens say when they have to explain to their parents why they vomited up a six pack of Bartles & Jaymes Strawberry Daiquiri wine cooler all over their Pottery Barn rug. That’s not a thing you say to soften the blow of dumping the most emotionally intelligent man to ever bless this franchise!!
I don’t necessarily think Eliza did him dirty (the heart wants what it wants and all of that), but I do think Rodney deserved more than Paradise could offer him. I’ve been saying ever since Michelle’s season that he deserved to be the next Bachelor. It’s clear he has leading man energy. If only ABC had a space and platform for women to seriously date only one man? Oh wait. I forgot that ABC only celebrates eligible bachelors if they are mediocre white guys whose personalities are as compelling as rubber cement.
And that’s all she wrote! Next week, we find out if democracy is dead, and also if Eliza can lock things down with the human meme. I’m on the edge of my seat either way. Until then!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (3); ABC (1)
Welcome back to the beach, betches! We’re now officially halfway through the season. Let that sink in. Halfway. Through. The. Season. Even just typing that exhausted me. And I get paid to be here! I can’t imagine how I would feel if I was here of my own free will and not because I’m financially dependent on grown adults making sexual innuendos out of shrimp. Alas, we all have our crosses to bear.
Last week, in an unprecedented move, ABC tried to switch things up with their show formatting. By “switch things up,” I mean they copied Love Island’s homework and hoped we wouldn’t notice. Well, the joke is on you, ABC, because I’m a single woman in my 30s who only derives pleasure from watching bikini-clad degenerates with stunted amygdalas hump each other for Instagram followers. Of course I noticed.
After ABC separated the women from the men, the producers brought in newer, hotter cast members to tempt the original Paradise crew. “Tempt” implies that they have an urge or an inclination to do something wrong, but something tells me the only thing these guys find “wrong” is having to make do with their right hands. Now that ABC has wasted six hours of my life that I’ll never get back, they’re ready to send the OG women back to Paradise to reunite with their men.
Let’s get into it!
Lace’s Last Stand
When last we left off, Lace had just returned to the men’s side of the beach. If you listen to Lace, the women are being kept in a secret bunker where they are denied food, water, and their skincare products. The only entertainment they are allowed is to listen to ASMR recordings of Jesse Palmer describing in detail which female body parts the men have corrupted since they left. The only reason Lace is even on that beach is because she was able to somehow Shawshank her way out of her cell.
LACE AT THE SIGHT OF WELLS’ TIKI HUT:
In reality, the women are living in a palace of AC and working wall outlets, surrounded by actual bartenders serving actual drinkable beverages and ogling their own harem of ridiculously attractive men. But Lace is not here to talk about semantics. She’s here to get Rodney back. She’s still waiting for Rodney to return from his date with Eliza, when she will demand that he either leave the beach with her or live out his days with the spectral energy of her hurt feelings haunting his future romantic connections. It’s his choice, really.
I love how Jesse Palmer keeps saying Lace will “burn down” Paradise. The woman is 32. Whatever spark existed in her spirit was snuffed out the day she started taking antacids before happy hour.
Meanwhile, the men are like “Yooo, Rodney is going through it!!” As if navigating a relationship with a woman in her 30s is the equivalent of walking through a field of live landmines. You know, erratic and could possibly kill you, but you don’t know when.
Rodney, to his credit, is very sweet about the whole thing. He tells Lace he doesn’t want to waste her time and he hates thinking he hurt her. He’s really trying to soften the blow, but she’s not upset over you, buddy. She’s upset that she’s going to have to re-download Hinge. Don’t flatter yourself.
Lace does leave with one final warning: that all is not as it seems over on the women’s side of the island. “We’re getting to know the new guys, too,” she says. “NEW GUYS?”, Brandon shrieks as Lace evaporates into a cloud of smoke and tequila. That’s right, Brandon, there are new guys. Did you really think they were just doing face masks and syncing their cycles? Well, think again. Not all fun and games now, huh?
Boo, You Whores
Speaking of the women, they are absolutely blowing their one chance at having the upper hand over these guys. While the OG men have been desecrating hot tubs and sucking tequila out of other women’s navels, the OG women have been generating enough renewable energy with their tears to end climate change. The guys think they know where they stand with the women. They have no idea the women are being tempted as well. Why wouldn’t they use that to their advantage??
Jesse Palmer comes in and tells them that he’s not sure what they think is going on over at the guys’ side of the beach, but just to make it clear, they are 100% “connecting” with other women.
Yes, we’re picking up what you’re putting down. Honestly, this is the pep talk the ladies needed. Don’t they know that the best relationships are built on lies and schemes until eventually you wear the other person down enough with your bullshit? Newsflash: get your fucking ass up and work. It seems like nobody wants to work these days.
The only one who’s even slightly doing this right is Victoria. Though she initially hit things off with Johnny, she decides to go on a date with Alex during Hotel Amour. “Physical touch is my love language, and Alex just gets that,” she says about a man who used his index finger to barely scratch her head once. I really hope that’s not a precedent for how else he’s going to use that finger.
But just because she’s going on dates with Alex doesn’t mean she isn’t still conflicted about Johnny. “I’m used to doing life with Johnny!!”, she moans. Honey, sweetie, baby. IT’S BEEN THREE DAYS. That’s not doing life. That’s doing a vacation. Who’s gonna tell her?
Meanwhile, back on Fboy Island, Logan is torn between three women: Shanae, Sarah, and Kate. While he accepted Shanae’s rose at the last rose ceremony and went on a date with Sarah last week, now he only has eyes for Kate. I love that the only explanation production can come up with for these sudden romantic feelings is grainy footage of Logan and Kate mumbling incoherently to each other with a time stamp of 1:30am. Say less.
The thing about Kate is that she is also in a love triangle with Jacob, who is kind of dating Jill. This does not stop her from asking Logan to go on a date with her. They do a weird massage thing where Kate says things like, “I can’t wait to tear your skin off so we can start fresh and raw,” and then treats his back like her own personal slip-n-slide. She loses me when she starts beating Logan with a cactus paddle. “Am I expected to give a tip?”, Logan jokes. Honey, I think you’re already sporting one.
But Logan is going to have to face the music at some point. During Tuesday night’s episode, Jesse tells the women that they are finally allowed out of their kennels and can return to Paradise.
JESSE: It’s time for you to go back to the beach
ME ALONE IN MY LIVING ROOM:
Shanae is one of the first to be set loose on the beach. She says she’s all in on Logan, as if she didn’t try with every fiber of her being to be all in on someone else. (She made a run at Tyler, but he was more interested in Brittany). I get it though. Logan has big “last man on earth” energy.
“I went on a date with someone else but he wasn’t you!” she tells Logan, and leaves out the part where she tried to turn the boom-boom room into Tyler’s personal carnival stand. You can tell Logan was hoping she would admit to some more concrete cheating so he would have an easy out. Instead, he’s going to have to stare directly down the maw of the beast and tell it he’d rather exchange bodily fluids with a girl named Kate. Good luck.
The one thing I don’t appreciate about all of these reunions is how the OG guys are acting like the OG women are monsters for having feelings. “Here comes Laceifer!”, they cackle when Lace walks calmly down the beach. “There’s the Shanaedo!!”, Aaron giggles as Shanae cries by the ocean. “Pompeii is about to explode!!”, Brandon squeals (also about Shanae crying). Don’t you guys think you’re being a little tough on them? The scariest thing about these women is their reading levels. Maybe the peanut gallery should cool it.
Speaking of scary things, I’m worried that this might be the end of Jill’s screen time. Jill is hoping their full moon ritual meant as much to Jacob as it did to her delusions, but their reunion doesn’t go as planned.
JILL: My biggest fear is that Jacob didn’t miss me at all and I’ve just been sitting here rotting.
JACOB: But rotting is a form of growing, no?
Jacob admits that he “kissed” Kate while Jill was away. That is a very nice way of describing the UTI you gave that woman in a hot tub. He tells Jill that even though things didn’t work out with Kate, he would rather date a banana leaf than continue things with her. While I appreciate Jacob’s point of view, it’s a wrong point of view. Jacob and Jill are different sides of the same penitentiary. They’re meant to be!!
Personally, I don’t want to conceive of a Paradise without Jill in it. Who else is going to deliver us with such finite wisdom as this: “he sold his couch for cash and I cried over him??” You think Genevieve is going to have such prowess over her comedic timing? She has about as much control over her delivery as she does those hair extensions. They just don’t make them like Jill any more!
But I know Jill is going to be just fine. Karma is a cat purring in her lap cause it loves her, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.
Other Things That Happened
If you were hoping to come to the end of this recap and find something like “and then there was a rose ceremony” well, I hope you’re used to disappointment. For weeks now, ABC has been dangling the prospect of a third rose ceremony. No, there haven’t even been three yet. Yes, that high-pitched keening sound is just me screaming into the void.
This week, ABC continues to focus on dragging out over-played plot lines instead of moving the season along. I, for one, cannot give more attention to their bullshit. So, with that said, here is a list of couples that production desperately wants me to care about and I absolutely refuse to. You’re welcome.
Genevieve + Aaron: Stay together. Watching these two on screen makes me feel like a prisoner of Azkaban. You can’t tell me Genevieve’s wailing doesn’t acutely feel like a dementor is feeding off your will to live. But good luck with Aaron!
Brittany + Andrew: Break up. Like Victoria and Shanae, Brittany was one of the few women to explore new relationships in Hotel Amour. She tells Andrew she’d rather be with Tyler, and the only thing I wrote in my notes about the exchange is “Why does Brittany look like the Olsen twins’ medium?” So… do with that what you will, I guess?
Victoria + Johnny: Move into the gray area. Victoria would like to have her cake and eat it too. She tells Johnny that while she still really cares for him, she would also like to explore things with Alex. Ladies, this right here is what we’ve been marching for. Equality is being able to treat your significant other with the same care and respect a guy named Ian would give his iguana. You do you, honey.
The thing is, Victoria is right to have her doubts about Johnny. Is that a Sanskrit tattoo that says “live laugh love” on his forearm? Methinks it might be.
When Victoria asks him a simple adult question like “What are your career goals?”, his only answer is that he’s passionate and motivated. These are things you say in your interview to be a YMCA lifeguard. The woman said she’s ready to have kids, and his five-year plan is about as mature as Kraft macaroni and cheese. Of course she has her doubts!!
And that’s all she wrote, friends! The descent into madness continues next week. See you there!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (4); ABC (1)
Welcome back to the beach, betches! Every week, ABC promises us that the footage we’ll see will be the most dramatic content to ever grace our Bachelor in Paradise screens, and then I sit through four hours of Ashley I peeing on a public beach. It seems like ABC has been holding us hostage all season, dangling promises of a supposed high-stakes “twist.” A twist that is so dynamic, so dramatic, it will allegedly stir up such strong emotions in Bachelor Nation as to generate the 1.21 gigawatts needed to transport Marty McFly back to the future.
And, look, I’ll admit that I’ve been curious about what this twist entails. Bachelor in Paradise used to be my favorite in the franchise. It was under-produced and overly dramatic. Now, it’s but a pale comparison to its former self. More drama happens at Stagecoach than on that godforsaken beach. It’s been needing something to reignite viewer interest and love for the franchise.
Well, after watching this week’s big, twisty reveal, I can confidently say the twist is certainly… something. By “something,” I mean that ABC is just going to copy and paste directly from Love Island’s homework.
Similar to Love Island, ABC will introduce a Casa Amor situation, wherein they break up the current couples into separate houses and then bring in new, hot singles to ramp up the tension and emotionally devastate those who were stupid enough to tentatively trust the opposite sex. Let’s get into it!
Before I launch into the meat of the episodes, let’s first talk about the rose ceremony, which dominated much of Monday night’s footage. I promised myself I wouldn’t fall for the low-hanging
fruit mozzarella anymore, but here I am writing about Pizza Peter. I didn’t mention much about Pizza Peter in my recap last week, and that was strategic. We all need to protect our peace. My “peace” is not wasting brain cells talking about a man whose existence is the result of some sort of synergistic explosion of influencer hashtags given human form. There’s only so much the wine can dull.
Last week, Peter took Brittany on a yacht date, and my credit score went down just listening to him describe his business practices. How did Brittany feel about the date? Well…
BRITTANY: I feel really grateful. It was a really nice yacht.
Brittany chalks up the bad energy to a “win some, lose some” situation, and I assume she is talking about her brain cells here. Same, girl. Peter, on the other hand, handles the rejection differently. He starts telling all the guys that, actually, he’s not into Brittany. He’s the one who didn’t have a good time on the date.
Not only did he not have a good time on the date, but Brittany was just using him for clout. Lol. He’s like, “I’m not trying to stir the marinara sauce, but I don’t think Brittany is here for the right reasons,” and then directs us to his swipe up code. Sir, you have not once stopped talking about your CiCi’s Pizza empire since you’ve walked onto that beach. Methinks the pizza-preneur doth protest too much.
Old Man Winter—I’m sorry, Casey—is willing to be the hero the beach didn’t ask for and confront Peter about his shit talking. Well, actually, he’s not going to confront Peter. He’s going to gossip with Brittany about it a safe distance away and then she’ll actually be the one doing the confronting. What can he say? He’s a feminist!
Watching the Peter drama play out during the rose ceremony is making me take a good, long look at this world we live in. It’s also making me wish I grew up on the Oregon Trail and then died of cholera. A girl can dream.
A couple of things happen next: first, the women of Paradise confront Peter about his bad behavior. The energy is very “kill the beast,” and though none of them are carrying pitchforks or metal pipes, I would not put it past them to inflict some blunt force trauma with those margarita glasses. The next thing that happens is that, in the midst of all the yelling, Casey falls and can’t get back up. That’s right, our unlikely hero went full on Bridgerton and actually swooned to get the attention back on himself.
CASEY ON THIS BEACH RN:
But boy did that “fall” backfire. Instead of getting a pity rose from Brittany, he leaves Paradise early via an ambulance stretcher (he twisted his ankle). Peter takes that as his cue to get the hell back to his Sbarro’s, but not before leaving us with one final, stunning quote:
PETER: All I gotta say is, BUONGIORNO BITCHES!!
JACOB: *using his last remaining brain cell* doesn’t that mean “good morning” though?
I love that Jacob is like “that’s not even linguistically accurate!” I appreciate that you’re putting the one Italian class you took in college to good use, but I think you’re missing the bigger picture, buddy. Speaking of the bigger picture, here are the rose ceremony results:
Rose Ceremony Couples:
- Serene picks Brandon
- Jill picks Jacob
- Lace picks Rodney
- Genevieve picks Aaron
- Shanae picks Logan
- Victoria picks Johnny
- Brittany picks Andrew
- Danielle picks Zaddy
Rose Ceremony Rejects:
- Pizza Peter
Play Time Is Over
Post-rose ceremony, production would have us believe that the couples are in a catatonic state of blissed-out love. I’m sorry, but I think that’s just the bottom-shelf tequila Wells is poisoning them with. We’ve got Serene and Brandon baby-birding each other fresh fruit. Genevieve and Aaron making out with so much visible angst they could be two high school seniors in a Meg Cabot novel. Jill. who’s looking at Jacob over the breakfast table like she now sleeps with a lock of his hair. There’s Lace, who’s holding on to Rodney with as much strength as that glue is holding onto her eyelash extensions. And Shanae and Logan, who still seem shocked to find themselves dateable prospects on the beach. There’s so much peace and tranquility, it makes me sick.
Thank god for Jesse Palmer, who takes one look at all that burgeoning love and sets fire to the whole damn thing. He gathers all the idiots around and tells them things are about to change.
JESSE: Are you happy? Do you trust your partner implicitly?
Jesse tells us that the women will be banished to another property for a week, and in their place a new set of women will descend upon the beach: Jessenia (Matt’s season), Kate (Clayton’s season), Australian Hottie, Eliza (Clayton’s season), and Sarah (Clayton’s season). At the end of the week, the men (who have the roses this week, mind you) will decide if they’re happy in their original pairings, or if they’re ready to find love with someone else.
Jesse tells us that the point of this “twist” is to test their relationships, to see if they’re ready to do this thing in the real world. Oh, Jesse. These are not test-taking kinds of guys (unless those tests are court-mandated, of course). They think self-restraint is that one time they tried edging and hated it! They’re never going to get through this.
JESSE PALMER ON THE BEACH RN:
I will say, I’m enjoying myself watching this chaos unfold. The comedic timing of the new girls’ arrival cannot be overstated. Johnny’s like, “These new girls look ready to be here,” as the cameras pan back to the original women dragging their sweat and sand-crusted luggage down the beach. “We’re haggard!”, Jill shrieks, as Lace loses half an eyelash and Genevieve disintegrates into a puddle of body glitter and tears.
The men are welcoming the new women as if the beach is their own personal Playboy mansion. Guys, you’re a little less Hugh Hefner, a little more sad Space Jam aliens beholden to the Monstar overlord. Know your place.
Cut to the original women, who are hauling ass down the freeway in the world’s saddest car ride ever. I’m sure they didn’t think that car ride was going to be on national television, but I am living for their bad attitudes. I have seen that despondent look before, but it’s usually etched on the faces of a group of girls who just survived 72 hours of SARA’S LAST FLING BEFORE THE RING without any water, sleep, or hope of recouping the Christmas bonus they spent so Sara could chug Veuve Clicquot out of a penis-shaped bong.
They get to their new abode, and even the sight of running water and full-sized beds cannot turn those frowns upside down. Serene’s like, “I was sad to leave, but I think we’ll have fun,” with less enthusiasm than words can describe. Ladies, buck up. At least you have AC! These men are not better than AC.
But when it rains, it pours. Literally. As the women settle in for the night, they hear a crack of ominous thunder in the distance, and Jill smiles smugly as if all is going well with her spell. They’re like, “I hope it rains on the guys’ parade tonight!”, and then cackle at the thought of those new, fresh-faced women testing the life expectancy of their hair extensions in that downpour. Meanwhile, the men are like, “Rain? Sweet! Wet t-shirt contest!”
The energy radiating off of these guys right now… you’d think they got a second lease on life. They keep talking about how fun and awesome these new girls are, and it’s like, yeah, they haven’t spent three weeks stranded on a desert island being bogged down by your bullshit. Of course they seem fun and awesome! Talk to me next week, when you’ve sucked the life force out of them.
It’s at this time that Michael and Danielle return from their date. On Monday night’s episode, Michael was saved from self-eliminating during the rose ceremony by the fortuitous timing of Danielle M’s arrival. While the rest of the island descended into a bacchanalian orgy, they were discussing the trials and tribulations of dating after loss (Michael is a widow and Danielle’s fiancé overdosed). Imagine coming back from your date and finding that the island has gone to complete shit. Like, they just went through an intensive therapy session, only to walk into toga night at the frat house.
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Back at the new BiP house, morale is low. Luckily, Jesse has a gift for them. He may be the grinch who stole Christmas, but he still has a show to host. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the ill-wish doll Jill made of him out of a bar of soap and a banana leaf. Hell hath no fury like a woman with a charged crystal.
He tells the women that just like the men, they will also be getting a new batch of Paradisers to flirt with: Rick (Michelle’s season), Olu (Michelle’s season), Alex (Rachel Lindsay’s season), Tyler (Gabby + Rachel’s season), and boy Australian Hottie. I know the women don’t see it this way because they can’t get their hair extensions out of their asses, but this is HUGE for them. They have the advantage here. They know they have new guys, but the boys back on the beach think they’re crying in a motel right about now. Take advantage of the narrative, ladies!!!
THE GUYS REALLY THINK THE GIRLS WERE SHIPPED OFF TO BE ALONE AND GET MASSAGES. LMFAOOOOOOO #bachelorinparadise pic.twitter.com/w4cVvjWhvm
— 𝐤𝐚𝐲𝐲𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐜𝐢𝐭𝐲 (@kayyorkcity) October 19, 2022
Out With The Old & In With The New
So, now that the stage has been set, let’s look at the brave few who were willing to test the bounds of their relationships:
Tyler is a hot commodity. Tyler arrives on the women’s side of the island and immediately attracts the attention of Shanae and Brittany. I’m not sure I understand Shanae’s type. She says that the Australian guy is attractive, but Tyler is “WOAH.” So she dates Clayton and James (meatheads), Logan (who is the human equivalent of an AOL away message) and now… Tyler? Is it attraction, or will she just go for whoever’s face production’s dart lands on this week?
Brittany is also very into Tyler. So much so that within minutes of his arrival, she’s like, “Andrew who??” (Reminder: after the Pizza Peter drama, she and Andrew coupled up). I’m watching all of this Tyler propaganda, and I really just want to scream HE OWNS A BOARDWALK STAND IN NEW JERSEY. He thinks knowing people in “the industry” is knowing the people who work the Auntie Anne’s stand. What is the allure here?
But it’s Shanae who secures a date card and some one-on-one alone time with Tyler. How does their date go? Well, Shanae is quick to tell us that she’s “Wet in every crack.” So I guess… well?
Shanae is not even thinking of Logan, who actually struggles during his date with Sarah, she’s just thinking about what kind of carnival tricks Tyler can lay on her in the boom boom room. Sadly, they aren’t able to consummate their attraction for one another, as Jill does the lord’s work and cock blocks the hell out of them. She’s sitting there eating late-night pizza, making wounded animal sounds, and deflating Tyler’s penis, as Shanae tries to commit homicide with her mind. The way I need a spin-off show of Jill just dating in the wild. It’s not a want, but a NEED.
Jacob is the first to misbehave. On the men’s side of town, Jacob barely hesitates before going all in with Kate. By “all in,” I mean he starts doing things with Kate in that hot tub that would break certain laws in the Midwest.
KATE: I will take a crab and ride it into the ocean if I have to.
You’re more apt to ride him until you get crabs, but whatever you have to tell yourself to sleep at night.
How is Jill handling this new development? Not well, bitch! While Jacob is well on his way to giving Kate a UTI in that hot tub, Jill is praying to her moonstones and telling us that she will “blow his dick clean off” if he messes around. I LOVE this energy. I want fire and brimstone, all dark no stars. Her wrath better create a new fucking fault line in the earth. Live your truth, Jill!
Lace returns to the beach. All episode, Lace has been succumbing to every inch of the hysteria that comes with being 32 and competing for male attention with women who still let their parents pay for their car insurance. I think Lace knows this thing with Rodney was tenuous at best, but as Serene so wisely puts it: it’s one thing to know that, and another to accept it.
The energy Lace is giving us is full-on Victorian gothic. She is the madwoman in Rodney’s attic, and Eliza is the governess about to steal her man. After two days of languishing in bed and generating enough tears to replenish the world’s oceans, she decides she just has to know what Rodney is thinking.
Here’s how I know Lace has already given up: she shows up to the guys’ side of the beach dressed in jean shorts. There’s nothing wrong with jean shorts, technically, but I ask you—is that the kind of outfit you wear to steal your man back? Eliza is dressed like she stepped off the Revolve runway, and Lace looks like she’s about to go to a half-priced tequila shot night at Margaritaville.
LACE: Do you guys know what Rodney is feeling?
ANDREW: Like, is he okay? Yeah he’s okay!
Lmao, she’s not asking if he’s been left in a ditch someplace. Don’t play coy with her, Andrew.
They tell her Rodney is on a date, but that’s all they tell her. In exchange for that information, they want to know how the original women are faring, to which Lace gives them nothing. She doesn’t tell them about their sad van ride, or the working air conditioning, or the five hotties tempting them with chicken fights in the pool. Truly hostage negotiations at play. I love it.
And that’s all she wrote, kids! We’ll have to wait until next week to see if Rodney returns from his date with Eliza and if Lace pulls a Bertha and burns his house to the ground. Until then!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (4); @thebetchelor /Instagram (1); @kayyorkcity /Twitter (1)
Welcome back to the beach, betches! Last week on Bachelor in Paradise, it felt like ABC was looking directly into my soul as they developed their editing strategy. And that soul was looking more and more like the sliver of Lord Voldemort that’s soul Dumbledore and Harry found curled in the fetal position on that dreamscape Platform 9 ¾ . He Who Must Not Be Named may have had to split his soul into sevenths for unfettered power in the Wizarding World, but She Who Must Have To Recap is splitting her sanity watching Ashley I talk about what’s coming out of her butt.
On that note, let’s dive into the episode…
A Match Made In Tequila
When last we left off, Teddi had just fled Mexico. She took one look at her romantic prospects and decided that spending the evening being felt up by TSA was better than this shit. Tell me the lie. But this means Rodney is left in a bind. He wanted to give his date card to Teddi, but with her gone, he doesn’t know where he stands.
Enter Brandon, who is ready and willing to gas this man up. Y’all, I’ve not seen this much enthusiasm for a person’s success since Kris Jenner adjusted the pearl beads over Kim Kardashian’s erect nipples in that first Playboy shoot. He’s like “Rodney? My boy is the hottest commodity to hit the sand!”, and all Rodney did was breathe in a woman’s general direction.
Look, I love Rodney, I do. But the “hottest commodity” on the beach? Seems like a bit of a stretch. The rest of Paradise is equally up in arms about his singleness. Who will date Rodney now that Teddi’s gone? How could he possibly choose anyone else for this date? They’re acting like he deserves a Purple Heart for his valor in deciding to stay on that beach to drink bottom-shelf tequila. He knew Teddi for five hours. I think he’ll be fine.
It’s around this time that Lace browns back into the conversation. I should sue ABC for underutilizing the Jennifer Coolidge of this beach, but I’m glad to see she’s finally getting some airtime. Lace decides to set her sights on Rodney. Whether her romantic interest is based on genuine attraction or because Rodney happened to be at the bar as she was guzzling down a fourth tequila soda is anyone’s guess.
LACE WHEN RODNEY WALKS OVER:
But actually, Lace does have some game. “Look at me staying up late for you,” she says, and both eyelashes actually bat at the same time. It’s amazing what happens when she puts down the shot glass.
The fact that these two are giving this thing an actual shot is wild, but I’ve seen worse pairings. Here’s hoping they last past last call!
Production Needs To Chill
Is it just me, or has BiP been particularly hard to watch this season? The magic of Bachelor in Paradise was that it was one of the more under-produced parts of the franchise. They put a group of beautiful, semi-nude people on a beach, doused them in tequila, and waited to watch the monkeys dance. Now, not only is production part of the storyline (“I told them I didn’t want to talk about my ex!”, Salley wails), but their manipulations are about as subtle as Lace’s eyelash extensions.
The result of all of this over-producing is that there are fewer genuine moments captured on screen. Everything feels produced to within an inch of its life and it takes the fun out of watching it. There are two moments from last night that really highlight this shift for me: Salley’s BiP debut and the return of Dr. Kira.
The running joke of this season has been that Salley, a woman who didn’t even make it to night one of Clayton’s season before bailing, is more of a flight risk than her sex-toy buzzing luggage. I’ll never forget the way the women ripped into her luggage like rabid dogs scrambling for the last bit of kibble, or Wells reliving his community theater days by doing a live-action retelling of how Salley missed her flight to Paradise. But no one is able to articulate why they hate Salley so much. “I don’t trust her,” Genevieve scoffs, “she’s not here for the right reasons.” To this I say: look around, honey! You’re living in a bacchanalian hellscape. People are dry humping on beach crabs and dried up tequila limes. Nobody is there for the right reasons.
The thing I can’t get my head around is why Genevieve cares so much. She has a man and is secure in that relationship. The whole reason she initially didn’t like Salley was because she was talking to Justin and she knew Justin hooked up with Salley at Stagecoach. But she’s not with Justin anymore (more on that later), she’s with Aaron. So where is this animosity coming from? Producers, obviously.
Moments after Salley’s arrival, Genevieve and Shanae team up in some sort of unholy alliance to scream at Salley about being there for the wrong reasons.
“Why were you really late to the beach?”, Shanae sneers.
“WE KNOW ABOUT YOUR EX-BOYFRIEND!”, Genevieve shrieks.
Salley says that she missed her flight because of a work thing, but Romy and Michele over here are convinced there’s an ex-boyfriend in the picture. Some of the information they hurl at her aligns with Wells’ story from last week, other information doesn’t make sense with the context we’ve been given as an audience.
Privately, Salley tells Justin that she was promised “they” wouldn’t bring up her ex-boyfriend on screen. She specifically asked “them” not do this out of respect for that past relationship. The “they” she’s referring to is obviously production, though editing would like us to believe it’s Shanae and Genevieve. Salley then leaves barely an hour into her debut. “They have no respect for me!”, she cries. Again, I don’t think she’s talking about the women.
Salley’s abrupt departure was strange to watch. Much like Teddi’s mad dash through the night, it feels like we’re missing something. Half the narrative is taking place on screen, while the other half is taking place during off-camera conversations between producers and talent. The effect is jarring and chaotic. I can’t get a clear sense of anyone’s motivations.
Then there’s Dr. Kira’s return. She waltzes onto the beach during the tail end of Tuesday night’s episode like she wasn’t eliminated at the first rose ceremony. She’s supposed to be stashed away at some discount Mexican Hilton engaging in hostage negotiations with production for the return of her phone, not putting in a drink order with Wells and gabbing with the rest of the cast. The only reason she’s on that beach is because production wants her to be.
But when Kira pulls Jacob aside to deliver the lines production seemingly wrote for her, she isn’t sure of why she returned.
KIRA: Uh, you feel like… home to me?
ALSO KIRA READING THROUGH THE SCRIPT:
Unlike in past seasons, Kira wasn’t just encouraged to return to the beach, her return actually seems staged. She knew what lines to deliver and where to stand. When Jacob won’t play her game and she asks Romeo to leave with her instead, her eyes even keep darting back to the cameras as if she’s concerned she isn’t selling the scene.
What sort of deal did she make with these people? Are they holding her
loved ones sex toys hostage off-screen, threatening to throw the batteries into the ocean if she doesn’t comply? The look she’s giving Romeo right now is pleading with him to follow her lead. Think of the butt plugs, Romeo! They never did anything to hurt you!
Don’t get me wrong—there are still real moments happening—those are just fewer and farther between. Take the Jacob/Jill one-on-one date. That was one of the only bright spots in the Monday/Tuesday content lineup, and the kind of date that makes me love this goddamn show. Jacob and Jill don’t need to be coached into any antics. They’re weird enough to let the story write itself.
At one point during their date, Jacob says that he loves doing breathing exercises because it’s good for his body and “lowers inflation.” That bit of dialogue is STUNNING. My masters degree may have just visibly quaked at transcribing that sentence, but my god does it make for good television.
Watching these two sync their menstrual cycles as a shaman instructs them on how to do a full moon ritual is exactly how I wanted to spend my Tuesday night. When the shaman tasks them with rubbing oil all over their bodies and stripping completely naked, I screamed. “I have so much anxiety about being naked and vulnerable,” Jill says, “but that’s where the most growth happens.” Yes, I imagine that is where the most growth in Jacob’s pants happens.
Later when Dr. Double-Dose-of-My-Titties Kira shows up, Jacob actually entertains her antics. Not because production told him to, but because he’s genuinely that stupid. It takes another contestant physically pulling him away from Kira to remember that he was just rubbing nipples with Jill only 20 minutes ago. “Don’t worry,” he tells Jill. “I’m here for you. I told her good luck and god bless.” What he actually said was “that was hot,” but I appreciate his taking creative licensing on the events.
What I’m saying is, Jill and Jacob work because they can’t be managed or produced. They’re acting exactly like who they are and it’s refreshing to watch. I don’t need production going all Wile E. Coyote on the influencers, luring them into production traps with false luggage and off-screen gossip. You don’t need to manipulate these people into acting like lunatics—they’re already on the beach! Let the tequila absorb whatever brain cells they have left, then sit back and watch the damn show.
Other Things That Happened
Ashley I & Jared are now
producer plants season regulars. ABC devotes almost two of the four hours of episodes to ex-Paradise contestants Ashley I and Jared. Watching these two on my screen again feels a little like the second act of a horror movie. You thought you staked the vampire or escaped the chainsaw-wielding psychopath, only to realize that all the while the killer has been lying in wait for you in West Hollywood.
Production seems intent on marketing their love story as a Paradise success. It’s revisionist history at its finest. They’re like “it’s boy meets girl but with a twist!”, and then the twist is that Jared tried to date literally every other girl in the franchise until Ashley finally wore him down and they started dating in a last-person-on-earth kind of situation. But by all means, tell us more about how infatuated he is with Ashley’s toxic farts!
The Justin/Genevieve/Aaron saga continues this week. When last we left off, Genevieve was torn between two men. Last week, she went on a date with Aaron despite accepting Justin’s rose. This week, she is practicing for a two-episode character arc on Days of Our Lives. Genevieve has been waiting her whole damn life to be at the center of a love triangle and it’s a loooot.
I know ABC wants me to care about this love triangle, but I just don’t. Genevieve is a melodramatic hypocrite who dragged Justin for doing to her what she’s doing to him right now. Justin gives me nothing, and Aaron shows more affection to his protein shakes than any woman on that island. I do think Gen made the right choice by choosing Aaron. They’re perfect for each other in that they are both the type to count kisses. Congrats, kids!
Michael dumps Sierra. Sierra started off this week telling us she’s ALL fucking IN with Michael. She doesn’t care that Michael hasn’t taken his shirt off once since he got on the beach, nor does she care that he spends their foreplay talking about gas prices and the best way to grill meat. She doesn’t need to see any more. She’s in full-on mommy mode and she doesn’t care who knows it.
SIERRA: I can see a life with him
THE LIFE SHE SEES:
To show Michael how serious she is about him, she plans a star-gazing date for the two of them. She tells him that she bought three of the stars they’re looking at, one for each member of Michael’s family: Michael, his son, and… his late wife!!! Y’all. She bought his dead wife a star. I know she had good intentions with that, but seriously, she’s known the man for seven days. This is too much!!
Michael is looking at Sierra like he finally realized there’s a 12-year age gap between them. He takes in the telescope, his deceased wife’s celestial grave stone, and the five gallons of body glitter, and goes all middle school yearbook on her. He’s like “HAGS and let’s be friends, okay??” Oh, Michael. I’m afraid the damage is already done.
And that’s all she wrote, betches! Until next week!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (9)
Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelor in Paradise recap! Much like the contents of Salley’s “luggage,” we’re shaking things up this season. Moving forward, there will only be one recap per week. What can I say? I’m crying uncle. When I heard there would be four hours of new Bachelor content every week for the next five weeks, I immediately dissociated from my body. Is it even legal to show that much mild nudity in one work week? How many double entendres can I possibly make about that infestation of sand crabs? (“The crabs are everywhere!” one girl screams. Ah, the symbolism. First, you’ll find them in your luggage, and then in your nether regions). I’m sorry, but something had to give, and it certainly wasn’t going to be my sanity. Not again!
Does that mean the recaps will have a consistent narrative thread? Lol. It’s not that kind of programming, honey. The producers for Paradise do less building of legitimate storylines and more throwing dildos into a booze-infused crowd and hoping one of them takes the bait. I can’t make lemonade out of Lace. But I will do my best to tell as much of the story as I possibly can—or at least the parts that interest me most personally and/or spotlight my joke-writing abilities. As my kindergarten teacher told me when I asked to move seats away from the guy in my class who ate his boogers a little too enthusiastically: you get what you get and you don’t pitch a fit.
Let’s get into it!
Victoria F Is Nothing If Not On Brand
Victoria Fuller made her debut on the beach during Monday night’s episode. You may have to retreat into the catacombs of your memory for this one: Victoria F was on Peter Weber’s season of The Bachelor. For those of you who still go into a fugue state whenever Patchi’s name is mentioned (a totally natural reaction, BTW), she was the one who had a reputation for ruining the lives and relationships of every happy couple in Virginia Beach. When she wasn’t crumbling the foundation of Target’s core customer demographic, she was banging the country music talent from her one-on-one date. Iconic.
She was the “villain” of her season, which sounds very sexist and slut shame-y considering her villainous traits are that she… got some? I’m pretty sure Arie was banging half of Nashville’s sorority girls before he became the Bachelor, but do carry on. I, for one, think it’s poetic karma that a professional mistress came on a show that promotes matrimonial monogamy. No wonder she thrived!
And I’m glad to see that Paradise won’t change her brand. Victoria spends all of two minutes on the beach before she sets her sights on two taken men: Justin and Johnny. Though it’s only been three days, Justin has a strong connection with Genevieve, and Johnny has been vibing with Hunter.
The first thing I notice about Victoria and Justin’s connection is that it’s built on a throne of lies. Victoria tells Justin that she lives in Nashville, but is definitely not a Broadway girl. Honey, we both know you moved to that town because you wanted to live in a country music song and send nudes to singer/songwriters. You’re not better than Broadway. None of us are.
She ends up taking Justin on a date, but he still has eyes for Genevieve. Enter: Johnny. My god is Johnny perfect for Paradise. That man knows how to work women into a frenzy. Before her date with Justin, Victoria connects with Johnny on the beach. By “connects”, I mean Johnny pretends he didn’t know her name and acts generally uninterested.
JOHNNY: Hey Caroline
HEY CAROLINE. Don’t pretend like production doesn’t hold cue cards up every time a new person walks out on the beach. You know her name, just like I know this intentional wrong name thing is your signature move at whatever Florida den of sin you crawled out of to be here. That boy is playing the long game.
Incredibly, it works. On rose ceremony night, Victoria can see that Justin is still weak over Genevieve. But that’s okay, because she still has Johnny. Sure, he has a thing with Hunter, but did he call Hunter by the wrong name while licking his lips and picturing her naked? I don’t think so! They do things on that daybed that can’t be entirely hygienic, and Johnny gives her his rose. I do love a happy ending.
Move Over, Ashley Iaconetti, There’s A New Human Tear Duct In Town
And where is Genevieve during all of this? Deep within the bowels of her own delusions. She spends almost two whole days of filming wallowing in the pits of despair. By the end of the 48 hours, there’s not one inch of that beach that she hasn’t doused in a seemingly endless supply of her tears. Then comes the spiraling. She decides that men ain’t shit—no, Justin ain’t shit—and who needs them anyways? But definitely she won’t find love here, she can’t find love here, and she should just leave, right? Will anyone want her? Will she die alone with no one to find her body but her cats? IT’S TOO MUCH, and I say this as a girl whose college nickname was Moaning Myrtle, because I used to end Saturday nights drunk and weeping in my backyard about how nobody loved me. Even I know this is too much to be feeling on week one of Paradise. Sack up, WOMAN.
ME TO GENEVIEVE:
Now that the porny doctor is no longer in the picture, Romeo is realizing that the only love triangle he’ll be in is the one with Jill and her multiple personalities. You can see the panic fully setting in with each smoldering look from Jill. He needs to get out now, before she offers him a replica of her taxidermy cats.
Panicked, he makes a move on Brittany, but doesn’t account for the fact that he is 100 percent average in every way, shape, and form. She actually slithers out of his grip when he tries to kiss her. Yikes. See, this is why guys like Romeo should never be allowed to have two girls interested in them at once. He made the mistake of assuming that just because he’s technically been in a love triangle before, that makes him desirable in any way. Oh, sweetie. Let’s look at the women who were “fighting” over you. Kira would gladly hump a tree stump if she thought it was capable of getting her off, and Jill ‘s ideal man is any guy with a torso. Let’s not kid ourselves here.
Jill hears from Brittany about Romeo’s duplicities and begins emitting sounds that would make even the most feral of jungle creatures recoil in fear. Romeo takes this as his cue to have “the talk” with her. He tells Jill that he would rather just be friends. Imagine a man like Romeo telling you it’s not you, it’s just him living in his slut era?
Like Icarus who flew too close to the sun, Romeo shoots his shot with too many women in close proximity. He’s practically playing musical chairs with the ladies, and doesn’t understand why no one is into it.
ROMEO ON HIS 12TH GIRL OF THE NIGHT: Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.
My personal favorite is when Romeo, tail between his legs, tries to win Kira back, and she tells him that she can’t go there with him anymore because he’s been making “a lot of rash decisions” lately. This from a woman who showed up to the rose ceremony wearing a thong made out of banana leaves!
If I’m being totally honest, I don’t think Romeo did anything that egregious. Should he have communicated with Jill about exploring his options before hitting on every woman with a pulse? Absolutely. But this is only day three! He doesn’t owe Jill anything. Romeo’s real downfall is that he argued with too many women after too many margaritas. He’s lucky that didn’t result in his death.
In the end, Romeo realizes that he is not better than the woman whose perfume of choice involves dabbing a little bit of Fancy Feast on her wrists, and Jill realizes that she is not above accepting a rose from Romeo, no matter how pitiful it makes her look. Guys? I think I’m rooting for them.
Michael & Sierra Are Still Going Strong, Somehow
Monday night’s episode focused more on Michael and Sierra’s relationship, so I feel it’s worth commenting on for the sake of my readers. To be honest, I can’t really wrap my head around this couple. The thing they seem to have in common is that they both look fantastic in swimwear, but that’s where the similarities begin and end. Michael is a 37-year-old widowed, single father, and Sierra wears more body glitter than a Cullen.
SIERRA ON THIS BEACH RN:
Case in point: the following interaction between the two. Michael tells her that he’s not used to dating. “This is all new to me,” he says, “I haven’t dated anyone since…” and trails off. “Oh right,” Sierra replies, “since the thingie.” The thingie?? Do you mean the death of his wife?? I’m paraphrasing of course, but it feels like these two are very much not on the same wavelength maturity-wise.
But Michael’s not worried. “Sierra understands that old type of love,” he says as if he’s not talking about girl in a bedazzled thong bikini. I don’t think that’s proving the point you think it is…
Dumb & Dumber Are Back
After the first rose ceremony, the producers throw the women a bone. Or at least, two boners. Aaron and James make their Paradise return, and I could have gone my whole life without ever seeing this duo again. The women are acting like production just put Jesus Christ himself on the beach, and not two guys who def masturbate to their own workout reels.
Tell me those aren’t the same people.
Aaron and James don’t come empty handed either. They come bearing date cards! Dumb (Aaron) asks Genevieve, and Dumber (James) asks Shanae. Yes, I’m sure that was a carefully considered choice and wasn’t at all influenced by production. Nice work, boys. Way to earn your Paradise bonuses.
To her credit, Shanae only tries to drown Genevieve once, and she has the convenient excuse of blaming it on their pool games. But at least Genevieve is having a good time. Never mind that only 12 hours prior she was screaming about how Justin ruined her life and now she’s happily shoving her tongue down Dumb’s throat. She says that she feels “seen” with Aaron, which is a nice way of saying she’s happy he’s still willing to acknowledge her existence after they got to second at Stagecoach. Remember, these two were rumored to have hooked up sometime after Clayton’s season and before the Women Tell All. Stagecoach feels like a convenient setting for such an entanglement, if only because it fits the timeframe and nothing gets these horndogs more in the mood than a cowboy boot.
Shanae, who went on a date with Logan on Monday night, seems very into Dumber as well. What does she like about him? Well…
SHANAE: I can shake my ass in front of you and not, like, really feel timid
And they say chivalry is dead! Finally, a man who respects our god-given right to twerk.
Other Things That Happen
Salley makes her Paradise debut. Well, technically her luggage does. I think we can all agree that luggage is not actually Salley’s and is in fact a producer plant. I’m not sure what’s more horrifying to behold: the girls rummaging through her suitcase like rabid coyotes until they find a vibrator, or that Kira steals said vibrator and proceeds to use it on herself in the boom-boom room. Kira, honey, you’re a DOCTOR!! Surely you must know that using a used dildo is how yeast infections happen. I hope the Instagram follower growth was worth it…
Rodney joins the beach, which results in Teddi and Andrew breaking up. What’s that you say? You forgot Teddi and Andrew were even a thing because they’ve received zero screen time and have only exchanged a handful of awkward mumbles? When I put it that way, it’s absolutely shocking they weren’t meant to be. I’ll sum up the breakup like this: Rodney had the hots for Teddi and she found him mildly attractive. This causes her to question her four day-old connection with Andrew. When she can’t articulate why something is missing with Andrew, she flees Paradise entirely. That’s right. She literally flees the scene. To me, this reaction has less to do with her relationship with Andrew and more to do with her immaturity. I’m not saying all virgins are immature, but I do think Teddi was intimidated by how quickly things move in Paradise and wasn’t really ready for that kind of environment.
And that’s all she wrote, kids! See below for rose ceremony pairings and rejects:
Rose Ceremony #1 Pairings
- Andrew picks Teddi
- Brandon picks Serene
- Zaddy picks Sierra
- Logan picks Shanae
- Casey picks Brittany
- Jacob picks Lace
- Justin picks Genevieve
- Johnny picks Victoria
- Romeo picks Jill
- Hunter and her IBS
- Kira and her second-hand dildo
- Hailey and her eternal sadness
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (4); ABC (1)