Do you want to know what is the most cursed thing about Bachelor in Paradise? No, it’s not the lack of air conditioning, or even the fact that it’s ultimately just a show that asks us to watch people make out on daybeds for four hours each week. It’s that even when the season ends, we, as viewers, will never know peace. There is absolutely no closure. These cast members will continue to haunt us for the rest of our lives.
For a little context behind the brief existential journey you just followed me through: Pieper James would like us all to know that she and Brendan Morais are back together again. Although their hellish season is over, we’re still being forced to follow this whiplash-inducing journey. Yes, the season 7 power-villain couple who low-key admitted to dating before going on BiP (which, as a reminder, is still technically a show for single people to find relationships on, not for couples to use for fame) have somehow found a way to make it work. Maybe true love does exist. The duo briefly broke up last month, but on a recent episode of former Bachelorette Becca Kufrin’s Bachelor Happy Hour podcast, Pieper revealed that she and Brendan are giving it the old college try.
While it would probably be a stretch for me to say that I’m happy for Brendan and Pieper, I have to admit that their reconciliation does make a lot of sense. Two people who are looking for a relationship founded on Instagram analytics are probably made for each other anyway and not going to find a better fit swiping through Hinge. Sure, Raya would likely be a more effective platform for them to each find another fame-hungry partner to suit their needs, but I am unsure that they’d be approved for the app after the severe loss of followers they both suffered after America turned on them in support of Natasha Parker, the innocent woman Brendan briefly pursued to buy time until the producers let Pieper on the show.
During the podcast episode in which Pieper *checks notes* publicly shared the news of her relationship status, she noted that she and Brendan have some work to do before taking their relationship—which played out on one of the most popular reality television shows in the country—public. Before you go back and reread that sentence to see if it makes any more sense the second or third time around, I’m just going to save you a moment and let you know that no, it does not. Here’s a direct quote from Pieper that does not offer a shred of clarity:
“The reason that we didn’t choose to go public like everybody else on the show was just because… our experience was a little bit different. We tainted our own experience in that way,” she explained. “So, we’re kind of working on ourselves, and each other and we’re focusing on being a couple before taking that public.”
On the podcast, Pieper also noted that “it was a rumor that we broke up” and that the backlash they received from Bachelor Nation made them stronger. To which I reply:
I’m unsure what Brendan and Pieper would consider to be a more public recognition of their relationship than literally saying the words “we’re together” on a podcast that is available to stream on multiple apps, but the mess-seeker in me does, unfortunately, look forward to the day that we all find out. Will they unveil couple’s tattoos? Will they sneak away to a foreign country for a secret wedding, hoping to sell the exclusive to PEOPLE? Perhaps they’ll formally announce the news in partnership with a couple’s therapy app! Whatever these two have up their sleeves, I’m assuming it will be big. (On a midtier influencer level, anyway.) At the time of publication of this article, Brendan hasn’t made a single peep on Instagram since his September 16 “Paradise Apology” video. I do predict he will take the popstar route and archive all of his past posts before they “go public.” We might even get a teaser video, if we’re truly lucky.
Images: ABC / Craig Sjodin ; Giphy
Well, kids, we made it. I’m exhausted, I’m out of breath, and my liver is fighting hard not to crumble under the amount of boxed wine it took me to get through this season, but we did it. We have (supposedly) made it to the finale of Bachelor in Paradise. It’s not like I’ve been begging for this moment to happen ever since the producers started making food foreplay a thing before each rose ceremony.
Speaking of rose ceremonies, this is a big week for the couples. We’ll get to find out which of these lovebirds will ruin their lives by getting engaged to a person they’ve known for about as long as I leave my suitcases packed after a trip and which couples
will break up have just brought shame upon their households by dry humping anything with a pulse all summer. Let’s dive into it!
Abigail & Noah
Last week was a tough one for Noah and Abigail. Not only did Noah get a glimpse of their future and then promptly attempt to moonwalk away from it, but they were forced to have that conversation while dressed like extras from the set of Pretty in Pink. And not, like, the popular extras from that movie. God, imagine looking so heinous during a breakup that is broadcast to millions of people? That 80s theme was definitely crafted to humiliate them further. Bravo, ABC. Bravo.
As Abigail gives a full-on Josie Grossie meltdown, Noah gives her a solid five extra minutes of his time before being like “well, good season everyone! It was fun while it lasted!” Sir, this isn’t the ending to a Mighty Ducks movie. What kind of exit speech is that? Hearts are on the line here!
NOAH: She’s a great girl, but are we each other’s soul mates?
I do appreciate how realistic Noah is being here. I mean, he’s not wrong. In a matter of days these people will have to get engaged to each other. And while the sanctity of marriage means nothing to this franchise, it still seems laughable to me that any of them feel the relationship they built on mimosas and tequila shots is strong enough to withstand an engagement. Noah is still trying to figure out how to layer all of those delicate necklaces, for god’s sake. He’s not ready for that kind of commitment!
Oh, Jesus Christ. Why is Serena crying? Word gets out about Abigail and Noah’s breakup and the news rocks the rest of the contestants. Why they’re mourning this relationship like it’s a beloved grandparent and not some white dude with a penchant for wearing shirts unbuttoned to his navel turning out to be a fuckboy, I’m not sure. I can only assume it’s the Stolkholm Syndrome fully setting in that has these people in such stitches.
Becca & Thomas
Every time I see Becca and Thomas on my screen, I’m taken aback. A former beloved Bachelorette talking to a man who was banished from his season with all of the power of a generations-strong witches curse? Make! It! Make! Sense!
While Thomas and Becca were mooning over each other at prom and picked each other at the last rose ceremony, Becca is having doubts about attending the fantasy suite with him. Case in point: Thomas tells Becca that he’s all in with her, and she visibly cringes. Wow, not a strong start.
BECCA: I’m just not sure I’m there yet. I think I need more time.
HAHAHAHA. Thomas is so messy for drama and I love it. Before Becca can even finish her thought, Thomas begins openly weeping on that day bed. He warbles something about one day maybe being able to love again and then stumbles for the exit. Becca chases after him to probably tell him to slow his roll, she just meant she wants to continue dating him, but Thomas has already committed to the main character energy and can’t be tamed. He’s like, “if you ever loved me just let me go!” and I’m dead. DECEASED. I’ve had less dramatic exits leaving a Macy’s dressing room in 7th grade. If you really want to perfect that method acting, Tommy, try embodying the mindset of a barely pubescent girl who is both looking for a “sexy” dress for the school dance and simultaneously afraid to shave her legs above the knee.
Also, it feels very meta watching their relationship play out on the show because if you’ve been following either of them at all IRL, you’d see that they don’t go a single day without @ing each other on social media. So, like, what am I even watching here? They’re clearly still together. ABC, stop wasting my time with this old footage and give me the good stuff!!
Maurissa & Riley
Riley and Maurissa continue to prove that love isn’t actually dead. They decide to go to the fantasy suites together, partly because they want to see if their relationship can make it in the real world and partly because they ran out of whipped cream on the beach anyway. Also, I love that they all think a night in the fantasy suites will properly prepare them for the real world. Yes, champagne and private hot tubs is exactly the harsh dose of reality they needed to get an accurate picture of life outside of Paradise.
One of the most raw moments of Bachelor television I’ve ever witnessed occurs when Riley tells Maurissa that he has this recurring dream about Sunday mornings, one where he wakes up to a wife and kids and lazy days in bed and, Y’ALL, I AM CRYING IN THIS CLUB RN.
RILEY: When I see you, I see Sunday morning
I AM NOT WELL. It’s actually unhealthy how happy I am for these complete strangers. I’m so happy for them that I will even ignore Maurissa slipping in a joke about sucking his toes during the proposal scene the next day. I’m so happy that I’ll even ignore how distracted I am by the fact that these people are melting right before my very eyes. My god, did they have to propose on the surface of the sun?! I’ve seen people leave less wet after a SeaWorld performance.
Also, just gonna leave this here:
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Mari & Kenny
Like every other couple this week, Kenny and Mari also have to decide if they’re going to take their relationship to the next level. Kenny says that his only concern about Mari is her age, which is fun because last week his biggest concern was that she wouldn’t let him dip her entire body in queso on a Wednesday. Those seem like two contrasting concerns, but okay.
Going into the fantasy suites, Kenny continues to question Mari’s commitment to their relationship. He says that she’s never really been 100% with him. LOL. This coming from the guy who played topless volleyball with Tia and brought Demi to the boom boom room. But sure, Mari is the one who isn’t ready for marriage…
KENNY: No one expects me to get married, no one expects me to have kids.
Yes, well, that could be because of the smattering of star tattoos sprinkled across your ribcage.
Cut to the proposal day and Mari looks absolutely stunning. Kenny, meanwhile, looks less like he’s about to propose and more like he’s about to shout “SPRING BREAK, BITCHES” into a crowd full of college kids and then pelt them with jello shots. His actual proposal isn’t much better. He says that it wasn’t love at first sight with them but it was “something.” Why do I have the feeling he’s referring to his boner here? At least class it up for this one thing, Kenny!
KENNY: *waggles eyebrows* I asked Mari to mari me
And just like that, they’re engaged! I can’t wait to see the tuxedo-printed bro tank Kenny designs for their wedding day. Should be magical.
Serena & Joe
ABC tried hard to make the finale into something that wasn’t 180 minutes of footage of melatonin given physical form, only to fail miserably in that endeavor. They particularly focused those efforts on Joe and Serena’s relationship. I assume they took one look at Serena’s butterfly hair clips and Soffee shorts and struggled, as I did, to take this relationship seriously. It seems like low-hanging fruit to me, but who am I to judge?
The happy couple goes off to the Fantasy Suites for a night of Joe having to explain to Serena that it’s impolite to ask the waiter the alcohol percentage of each wine. Joe says that he thought he would be more confused going into proposal day, but instead he’s never been more sure about his feelings for Serena. I mean, actually his exact words were: “everything that just happened between us is just natural” and it’s like, we get it, Joe. She’s so young you don’t need lube. Enough.
Cut to proposal day and Joe is standing on the beach wearing his best Costco bulk order polo when who should appear? KENDALL. Okay, this is just cruel at this point. What is the point of bringing Kendall back? Haven’t we exhausted this plot point already? And Kendall, girlfriend, I’ve defended you throughout this season but this is… too far. Which family member is ABC holding for ransom behind the scenes, because I can’t believe you did this of your own free will!
Ultimately, Kendall’s reappearance does nothing to deter him from proposing to Serena. He says that even though he’s old enough to have a MySpace account and she’s young enough to have a Finsta, they can make it work (I paraphrase). Never mind that Serena isn’t even a U.S. citizen. I for one, cannot WAIT to see the 90 Day Fiancé x Bachelor Nation spin-off this relationship has the power to generate. I ask for so little, just let me have this one thing!
JOE & SERENA:
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KENDALL, A GIRL WHO IS TOTALLY DOING FINE:
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And that’s the season, kids! We have exactly two weeks until Michelle’s season of The Bachelorette airs, so I’ll be spending that down time constantly refreshing Maurissa’s IG feed to live vicariously through her happiness. Until then!
Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC; Giphy (4); @joeamabile1 /Instagram (1); @itskendalllong /Instagram (1); @bachelorettewindmill /Instagram (1)
Just when you think ABC has hurt you for the last time they go and do it again. If last week’s episode could have been an email, this week’s episode could have been the pile of shit my roommate’s dog likes to leave in the middle of our living room. To clarify, ABC, when I said “please, dear god, give me something to work with, I beg of you” I was not actually asking to watch three hours of emotionally stunted barn animals reenact their prom glory days. *sighs so deeply it creates a new fault line in the earth* Let’s get into it!
Last week things left off on a cliffhanger between Ivan and Aaron. I’m using the term “cliffhanger” here loosely, as the term implies a sense of suspense or tension building, whereas this altercation barely roused me after the three glasses of pinot I chugged to feel something during this episode. But, sure, things between Ivan and Aaron were “heating up.”
If you’ll recall, the source of their feud started when Ivan made one last-ditch attempt at staying in Paradise by making out with Chelsea, even after he explicitly told Aaron he wouldn’t. Aaron responded in the only way his PBR-soaked brain knows how: by choosing violence. Surprise, surprise, Aaron doesn’t trust another man. At this point, it wouldn’t shock me if Aaron decided to fight a mop because it was looking at his girl wrong.
Aaron when he can’t go an entire episode without starting a fight with someone. #BachelorInParadise #bachelorinparadiseabc pic.twitter.com/3qpCxmWXj1
— The Roast Ceremony (@RoastCeremony) September 22, 2021
It does make me wonder, though, if there’s something else going on here… Ever notice how Aaron only ever gets this impassioned when another dude is involved? Be honest with us, Aaron. Are you upset because Ivan kissed Chelsea or are you upset because Ivan didn’t kiss you? This is a safe space, pal!!
Also, I should mention that I’m Team Ivan. I’m always Team Ivan. I don’t care if Chelsea didn’t pull Ivan first or if Ivan talked to Chelsea first. That Ivan hasn’t been the #1 draft pick since night one is an absolute travesty and I will be drafting a letter of complaint to ABC HQ immediately following the conclusion of this season. You hoes don’t deserve him!
When Aaron is rebuked for physically trying to rile Ivan, he tries a more covert route of Regina George-ing the others into turning their backs on him. It’s a massive fail because, you know, it’s Ivan. Lol. What’s crazy is that this isn’t even about Chelsea anymore. This is about Aaron’s ego and him looking embarrassed in front of other people. The possessiveness he displays over women who seem mildly interested in him is… staggering.
AARON: *sniffles* and do you know what the worst part about all of this is?
CHELSEA: That you thought I might have made a connection with someone else?
AARON: THAT THOSE MEANIES LAUGHED AT ME!!!
My GOD this man is so insecure.
You’d think that would be the end of the Ivan drama. Not so! Right before the rose ceremony Wells pulls Ivan aside to “chat” about something he did last night in the hotel. So, apparently while the rest of the cast was riding out the tropical storm, sequestered at whatever Mexican hotel had the cheapest last minute drink package, Ivan was canoodling with a yet-to-appear-on-the-beach cast member. Okay, they’re acting like Ivan murdered his mistress, not snuck out past curfew to get a half-hearted handy by the ice machine. Come on! This is so high school.
WELLS: So, you saw a text on a producer’s phone about room assignments and you just… read it?
WELLS: Do you understand the severity of this?
Okay, come on. This is absolutely ridiculous. Wells wants Ivan to come clean to the rest of the cast members before he kicks him out of Paradise. Like, what does Wells expect these people to do with this information? Bend Ivan over their collective knees to give him a spanking? These are all grown adults!
Ivan leaves with relatively little fanfare and the rest of the rose ceremony continues. The rose lineup breaks down as such:
⭐︎ Serena picks Joe
⭐︎ Abigail picks Noah
⭐︎ Maurissa picks Riley
⭐︎ Mari picks Kenny
⭐︎ Becca picks Thomas
⭐︎ Chelsea picks Aaron
⭐︎ Natasha picks Ed
⭐︎ Tia picks James
Mari & Kenny Are In Retrograde
We’re reminded multiple times throughout the episode that this is the last week of Paradise. Mmkay, can I get that in writing though? Because this three-hour not-a-finale episode begs to differ…
Because it’s the last week of Paradise, many of the couples are crumbling over the pressure of having to face the real world. Yes, I could see how it might be difficult to have to go back to the harsh realities of influencer life. Please tell me more.
Kenny and Mari in particular struggle this week. Keep in mind that exactly 12 hours before their “struggles” they were eating Taco Bell off of each other’s pubes. Kenny’s like, “it just worries me that this morning it feels like things fizzled.” I’m sorry, Kenny, but not every day can involve some sort of deviant sex food game. That’s not medically advised by gynecologists!!
What can solve their issues? A bruja! Yes, ABC conjures up a Latin American spiritualist (seemingly straight out of a “So You Think You Might Be Culturally Appropriating?” pamphlet) to “cleanse” their relationship and “plow through” Mari’s emotional barriers. If this feels rife with sexual undertones, just wait until the bruja starts waving around those girth-y ceremonial candles.
Also, I love that ABC heard “I’m worried that the longest relationship this 40-year-old boy band manager has ever had is with his hair gel brand” and thought hexing the man into submission would be the right fix. It’s not like when mercury is in retrograde—these are real problems! And why is it that when ABC orchestrates shit like this everyone thinks it’s “cute” and “kismet”, yet when I do it in the privacy of my own home it gets me an in depth conversation with my roommate about “boundaries in shared living spaces”? Hmm? Riddle me that.
Whatever plowing Kenny does to Mari’s spirit seems to work, because by the end of the ceremony they’re suddenly committed and ready to do this thing called life together. Booooo. Call me when you two get interesting again.
The New Girls Strike Out
ABC spends a solid hour of last night’s programming wasting our time by teasing two new additions to the house: Anna and Mykenna. I’m not sure what the purpose of airing any of this footage is other than to burst one of my blood vessels. These women are coming in at last call and expecting to find true love and not the last, drunkest baboons at the bar. Or in this case, Ed and James.
Mykenna especially struggles. By the time she arrives on the scene, there are approximately two single men left on that beach and one of them is a sand crab. She tries to ask Aaron on a date and he declines in front of everyone. He’s like, “I’ve just had a really tough week.” Hmmm. I’d believe you more, buddy, if you didn’t say that as you were fast-tracking it back to the mimosa bar.
Mykenna starts crying on the beach about how embarrassing this is and how she wants to go home. Honestly, I’ll give her that. This is a little embarrassing and it’s not at all her fault. I know she has the emotional maturity of a butterfly hair clip but, christ, ABC, you could have thrown her a bone!
THE BONE ED: I’d like to go on a date with you!
THIS GIRL. Okay, I take back everything nice I just said about her. This man—who has both a six pack and a personality—is literally throwing himself at her feet and she’s like, “nah, I’d rather spend my evening waiting in a customs line.” That’s how I know quarantine hasn’t been that bleak for you. Also, isn’t she 24? Shouldn’t her dating mentality still be “at least it’s a free dinner”? You’re not better than this, hunnie.
I will say Ed is quite the salesman. I would follow that man straight into a pyramid scheme, he’s that charming. He eventually convinces Mykenna to go on the date with him and it looks like it’s a fine time. As fine a time as can be had for the last two pandas at the zoo, anyways. Every happiness to you both, kiddies!
The last 45 minutes of the episode are devoted to Paradise’s first ever prom. Why prom? I can only assume it’s because production spent the majority of the episode’s budget on financing that bruja. But you know what? The contestants are eating it up. It makes sense, I suppose. I think I have credit cards that are older than the time that’s elapsed since some of these girls’ last attended a high school prom.
I will say, the contestants understood the assignment in terms of manifesting all the moods that go into prom. We have Abigail who is representing every Josie Grossie who never got asked to prom in high school. There’s Serena, the girl who always got five promposals and had her friends vote on them American Idol-style. Then there’s Tia, the Moaning Myrtle of the group. She looks like she’s about to drink too much spiked punch and spend the last two hours crying in the bathroom (relatable).
In typical prom fashion, the night is pure chaos. Tia spends the first half of the dance wallowing in self-pity, grinding in the awkward spaces between couples. But by night’s end Aaron swoops in to sweep her off her feet. They end up horizontal and making out on one of the hotel lobby couches. If this feels random, that’s because it absolutely is. It’s almost like the carbs in the spiked punch went straight to Aaron’s head and he asked the wrong girl to go to the couches. Whatever, I’m sure Chelsea will totally understand…
Abigail and Noah also have a rough night. Abigail spends the majority of prom basking in the fact that someone actually asked her to prom. She says she wants to tell Noah she loves him and she’s ready to ride off into the sunset with him. Cut to Noah, who heard “80s prom” and decided to come dressed like the sixth-year senior who sells you coke by the football field. So, like, basically how he’s been dressing all summer.
Prom is bringing out the opposite feelings in him. Even though a mere 12 hours ago he told Abigail he was “falling for her” he wants to take it back. He asks if it’s possible to be in love with someone but not want to commit to that person in any way, shape or form.
The fact that he thinks “true love” can be contained to a vacation makes me worry that he models his relationships after a Mary-Kate & Ashley movie. And on that note, we’ll have to wait until next week to see how this little admission of his blows up in his face. Until the finale!
Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC; Giphy (4); @roastceremony /Twitter (1)
Welcome back to another week in Paradise! Never mind that it feels slightly sacrilegious to be watching this much beach-themed nudity while also being simultaneously assaulted by PSL everything. It’s truly a very chaotic time to be alive. ABC, you have no business pushing this much Mexican vacay content this close to October. No. Business.
Kendall Might Be The Inspiration For Olivia Rodrigo’s Next Bop
Speaking of people who have no business, last week ended with Kendall tearfully declaring that she needs to leave, get out, right now, it’s the end of you and me. What was her breaking point exactly? Watching her ex-boyfriend loudly declare “I’m falling in love with you” to a girl whose entire work experience can be summed up as “head lifeguard for three summers, TikTok linked here.” Yes, I can see how that might be upsetting.
KENDALL TRYING TO DATE AND BE FLIRTY ON THIS BEACH RN:
Kendall decides that she wants to have one more one-on-one conversation with Joe. It’s the least she deserves after production held her hostage during that Joe and Serena beach date.
She tells Joe that this whole thing has been so hard for her and that she wasn’t expecting him to reenact their love story with another girl. Honestly, I feel for Kendall. I think she thought they were both coming on this show to rekindle things and Joe went off-script. Also, it doesn’t help that the reason they broke up is supposedly because of distance (he wants to live in Chicago; she wants to live in LA) and yet he’s currently smooching a person who doesn’t even live in the same country as him. Seems sus.
JOE, AN ADULT MAN WEARING SOCKS WITH SANDALS: You’ll be okay, Kendall.
Jesus Christ. Kendall, let’s take a long, hard look at this moment. The man, though completely adorable, always looks dressed for laundry day in a college dorm and is dating a girl whom it would have been age appropriate for him to babysit in high school. He’s living the midlife crisis. Believe him when he says you’ll be just fine. Also, Ivan is riiiight there…
It’s All About The DTR
How is it legal for more men to be allowed on this beach? Once again, new men trickle into Paradise despite literally no one asking for this. We’re told that Ed and Demar will be joining Paradise to “shake things up.” I sure hope so. The last time I felt this particular brand of excitement, I took a ZzzQuil at 7pm and passed out before the finale of Law & Order: Organized Crime.
Also, Ed and Demar?? Ed, fine. Who could forget the man who accidentally wined and dined Chris Harrison? But Demar? If anyone is gaslighting anyone on this show, it’s ABC gaslighting me with all of these fake contestants.
The arrival of new men shakes something in Maurissa. It’s like she suddenly realized she hitched her star to a man whose emotional spectrum doesn’t surpass licking his lips when he likes something. She says she wants “more” from Riley and it’s like, what more do you want from the man? You sucked his toe on national television!! I’m pretty sure those ground rules should have been established before any toenail breached your lips.
Maurissa hints that she wants more than just the physical and she worries that with Riley that’s all she’ll ever get. You guyssss. I want them to work out so badly. The last time I was this deeply invested in a relationship, I was aggressively following #Jelena fan accounts and listening to “Lose You to Love Me” on repeat. Please, god, can I have this one nice thing?
Riley admits that he does need to be more vulnerable with Maurissa. He tells her that he’s not looking for anyone else, he’s all about her. He also opens up about some deeply personal family stuff that’s affected his ability to be vulnerable in relationships. At one point he even starts crying, almost against his will. The moment is so raw that it feels invasive that ABC ever filmed it in the first place.
Riley tells Maurissa that he’s falling in love with her, and my, how far they’ve come from their first date when they were truth-or-daring each other into admitting the intricacies of their masturbation schedules. It’s true what they say: you can find love in a hopeless place!
Meanwhile, Mari and Kenny are finding themselves equally troubled. While Maurissa and Riley’s relationship hurdle was more of an emotional intimacy issue, Mari and Kenny’s hurdle is more of a Kenny’s intimacy-with-every-other-woman-on-the-beach issue. I mean, his dick is literally still wet from sleeping with Demi…
They’re allowed a date card because apparently Kenny knows the right producer to bribe. Stick with him, baby, and you’ll see all the doors his garage band managing experience will open for ya.
I am absolutely sickened by the caliber of one-on-one dates this season. Why is every “romantic” date these people plan an egregious example of a health code violation? The theme for Kenny and Mari’s date is Taco Tuesday. The catch? They have to make and eat the tacos off of each other’s naked bodies. Honestly, they probably didn’t even tell Kenny to take his clothes off, he just started shedding his shorts and was like “no hablo español but this is good, sì?”
Oh god, she’s really going to eat that right off his Axe body spray-doused body. Sometimes I can’t believe I willingly watch this show. I hope they’re allowed to at least rinse off all of that melted cheese and sour cream before they go back to camp? I know this is supposed to be sexy, but I just feel like I’m watching a yeast infection grow in real time.
Mari is like, “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to see tacos and not think of this date!” Yeah, Mari. Thanks, me too. You’ve scarred me.
Rain On My Parade
It seems as if the universe is as fed up with these people as I am. While I’ve spent the last 90 minutes fantasizing about ways to shut it all down immediately (I still think my strongest case lies with those blatant health code violations), it seems Mother Nature beat me to it! As the contestants sip mimosas and agonize over which Revolve outfit to don for the rose ceremony, production tells us that filming must stop immediately. There’s a tropical storm headed straight for them and legally (they already asked) they can’t film the couples being traumatized by a natural disaster—only disasters of their own making.
PRODUCTION: We need you to evacuate immediately.
By all means, move at a glacial pace, people.
I will say, watching these people clamber for a ride like it’s the last life raft on the Titanic is, perhaps, the most exciting thing to happen all episode. They’re all like, “if I don’t make it, remember we had some good times, okay?” If you don’t make it?? Sir, it’s drizzling outside. Calm yourself. Also, I imagine they’re all going to the same hotel? Why are they acting like they’ll be separated?
THE COUPLES RN:
And just like that, they’re back! It seems like a mere 12 hours have passed since the contestants fled the beach before they’re back and ready for a “brunch” cocktail party. A brunch cocktail party. Have you ever heard of such a thing? It’s like they’re trying to tempt fate and give Mother Nature another excuse to wipe this beach from existence.
There shouldn’t be any real surprises at this rose ceremony. Most of the couples are pretty established at this point and are busy basking in each other’s awesomeness in a way that makes me want to singe someone’s eyebrows. The only real wild card is Chelsea. At the last rose ceremony, Aaron gave her his rose. But since then Chelsea has gone on a date with Demar and made out with Ivan. That’s right. You read that correctly. Mere moments before Chelsea was set to hand out her rose, Ivan made one last play for love (or, at least, 72 more hours of a free beach vacation).
Cue Aaron immediately flying into a rage. Look, I could write an entire dissertation on how problematic I think Aaron is, but I’ll leave it at this: Aaron is the most underratedly toxic and misogynistic contestant I’ve seen in a long while. At least since the Luke P days. Think about all the fights he gets into. What are they over? A woman’s honor. He has this disgusting savior complex, this warped view that all women need saving, as if they aren’t rational, free-thinking individuals who are perfectly capable of making their own decisions, romantic or otherwise. He claims he “respects” women, but then the first insults out of his mouth are to call Ivan a “little bitch boy” and a “fucking pussy.” Yes, I can literally feel how much you respect my gender, Aaron. It’s really evident in the way you hurl feminized slurs at other men to make them feel less masculine. The feminist movement needs more allies like you, pal!!
And on that note, we’ll have to wait until next week to see if the Aaron/Ivan confrontation manifests into something physical. How ever will I pass the time? Anyways, I would just like to end things by screaming into the endless void of the internet, that this episode could have definitely been an email. You’re on my list, ABC. You’re on my list.
Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC; Giphy (4); Tenor (2)
Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelor in Paradise recap. Well, regular in the sense that I have recapped it despite ABC upending the very fabric of my being by moving all Bachelor-related content to Tuesday nights. There are only a few things I’m certain of in this life: death, taxes, and my right to watch filler-filled twentysomethings tarnish their family names for 120 minutes every Monday night. How dare you, ABC.
Mess With The Bull, You Get The Horns
Speaking of audacity, let’s pick up where we left off last week, shall we? Chris and Alana have just been cast out from Paradise like whores from Babylon. Never mind that the true Judases, Pieper and Brendan, remain untouched by scandal. Look, all I’m saying is if tonight doesn’t end with Pieper and Brendan being tied down in the town square as residents of Paradise launch tomatoes and the dregs of Wells’ shitty cocktails at them for an Instagram Live, then there’s no justice in this world. Give the people what they want.
Thank god for Demi, though, because she’s using her last two brain cells to put two and two together and is realizing Brendan did Natasha just as dirty as Chris did Jessenia. And if anyone gets to be the villain on this beach, it’s her. Don’t get it twisted.
As we move into the third formal rose ceremony, Demi brings her argument to the Powers That Be: the last remaining single women… and Joe. Oh good, the council is convening.
Demi starts pointing out the similarities between the Chris/Alana thing and Brendan/Pieper. She says that the only reason the guys haven’t chased Brendan off the beach with their pitchforks yet is because they like him more than they liked Chris. Say it louder for the people in the back, Demi!!
When Natasha starts in with her story, ABC frames it just right. I mean, I’ve seen less sad Humane Society commercials. They should have put her voice over a Sarah McLachlan track for maximum effect.
And no one is more affected than Joe. He looks positively ill at being bamboozled by a boy who knows too much about the brand Revolve. Oh, sweetie. The dating apps would eat you alive.
Does anyone else feel like Joe is the kind of guy who sprung fully-formed from his mother’s womb, complete with a five o’clock shadow, mortgage, and five teenage daughters to support? He was destined for this shit right here. He’s truly thriving with all of this drama. With every lurid accusation Natasha lobs against Brendan, Joe’s sighs get heavier and heavier. Everyone is tattling to daddy and now he has to dole out the punishment.
Next time he’s cracking skulls, y’all!
Joe leads his kindergarten class of enraged women to confront the happy couple. Brendan doubles down on his claim that he and Pieper definitely weren’t dating before Paradise, he only bought her ticket to Mexico, gave her a key to his apartment, and listed her as his emergency contact. But you can do that with buddies too, okay!!
The crux of Brendan and Pieper’s argument is that they didn’t realize there were any rules to Paradise and thus, them showing up as a fully formed couple didn’t seem “wrong” to them. I don’t think there necessarily is a rule against coming on the show and thinking you might pursue a certain person. I don’t even think there’s a rule against having casually met that person IRL and then coming on the show to form a deeper connection. What’s wrong is how Brendan strung Natasha along for his personal gain. She flat-out asked him if he had a thing for Pieper and his response was the equivalent of calling her crazy.
BRENDAN: We weren’t dating before, I barely knew her.
PIEPER: I knew him and I came here only for him
My god, it’s actually stunning how bad Pieper is at PR. She simply cannot help but bury the two of them alive. At one point Brendan suggests they leave before the producers procure a date card for a cage diving with sharks excursion and accidentally forget to properly secure the cage, and she literally responds with: “I guess, but I would have liked the chance to stay so I could make more money.” It’s like she’s given up on all pretenses that she’s anything but the like-hungry friend my mother warned me about when I joined “Facebox” all those years ago. By all means, live your truth hunnie.
What’s nuts is that the cast doesn’t even know the true depths to Brendan and Pieper’s treachery. Even now as they debate if they should or shouldn’t leave Paradise, they can’t seem to help but sabotage whatever scraps of their reputation they had left. Just wait until everyone hears these behind-the-scenes soundbites, kids.
PIEPER, GEN Z REPRESENTATIVE: I didn’t know it was taboo to use people for followers
JOE’S DELICATE MILLENNIAL SENSIBILITIES:
In the end, Brendan and Pieper decide to leave. Brendan’s final words are that he never meant to mislead anyone, he just “intentionally withheld information.” And that, sir, is exactly the phrase Bachelor Nation will inscribe on your headstone! Good riddance.
The Rest Of The Rose Ceremony
I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss the rest of the rose ceremony, however uneventful it felt after the dismissal of Dumb and Dumber back there. Whilst half of the contestants were off battling Brendan and Pieper for the soul of Paradise, Riley and Maurissa felt their presence was best used to recreate soft-core porn. I have never seen so many close-up shots of whipped cream, sand, and random body parts in all my life.
Look, Maurissa is stunning and for that fact alone there’s not much I wouldn’t watch her do, but I have to draw a line at sucking a grown man’s toe. The only person who should be that up close and personal to an ingrown toenail is your pedicurist, and even then, tongues should be left out of the equation entirely. Is nothing sacred to you people?!
Moving on to the Tammy/Thomas/Becca love triangle. If you’ll recall, last week Becca politely asked Tammy’s permission to take Thomas on a date AND TAMMY SAID YES. I’m just not sure what Tammy’s game plan was here. As a child, did no one ever read to you If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? Well, if you give a hoe an inch, she will steal your man!
When Tammy confronts Thomas about his date, he basically tells her that Becca seems more stable. Do you mean more stable mentally?? Than Tammy does?? Bold to just say it to her face like that. Clearly he likes to live life on the edge.
Lol Tammy is having the worst birthday of her life. First her eyelashes look about ready to take flight from her eyelids completely, and then Thomas straight-up dumps her. Look, speaking as a woman who was not only dumped on her birthday, but the dumping was also done whilst the guy was in mid-beer pong swing, I’m telling you, you will get over it. Look at me! It’s been 10 years since that particular offense and I can confidently say I only think about it every night right before bed and hold it against every man I ever meet. I’m a success story in the making!
Speaking of the rose ceremony, the line-up goes as such:
- Pity picks Natasha
- Riley picks Maurissa
- Joe picks Serena
- Ivan picks Kendall
- Noah picks Abigail
- Kenny picks Mari
- James picks Tia
- Thomas picks Becca
- Aaron picks Chelsea
It’s a new day in Paradise, which means new men are rolling in! Blake arrives on the scene first and I’m starting to think that ABC is doing some sort of social experiment on all of us. Like, were these people actually contestants on the show or are you just hiring actors, slapping them with hot guy names, and telling us they “went home early during Clare’s season”? Is Blake one of Dale’s contacts from his Party City modeling days? Be honest with us, ABC. WHAT IS THE TRUTH?
As if ABC can sense my skepticism hot on their trail, they nudge the contestants into acting like this “Blake” person is sooo well-known in Bachelor Nation that everyone just calls him “Tatty Daddy.” *Gags repeatedly*
And no one is stanning this stranger harder than Tia. She asked the lord to give her a man with tattoos and the lord delivereth.
TIA: Tatty Daddy makes my vagina dance
TIA’S ACTUAL DADDY:
Another new arrival this week: Joe. The other Joe. Doctor Joe. He hits it off with Natasha, which feels especially delicious given Brendan’s recent proclamations that no man would touch her with a 10-foot pole.
Things were looking up for Natasha. Joe asked her on a date and even offered to drink the margarita with a bug floating in it. You won’t find that shit on the apps. But because we cannot have nice things, the date quickly takes a turn for the worse when it’s revealed that Joe and Brendan are in a committed broship. They have the friendship bracelets to prove it.
Unfortunately, the two can’t get over the whole Brendan thing. Natasha was hoping to meet a man who would help her cast a curse on the next three generations of his lineage and instead she met a man who would rather do this:
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For shame, Joe. For shame.
The final moments of the episode set us up for more Serena/Joe/Kendall drama next week. It appears that being marooned on a beach, watching your ex fall in love with a girl who thinks anything from the 1990s is “vintage”, is actually not great for your mental health. Shocking. Until next week!
Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC; Giphy (5); @josephparkmd /Instagram (1)
Welcome back to the best Bachelor in Paradise recap you’ll ever read! It’s your lucky day, betches, because you’re getting two recaps in one. This of course has everything to do with convenience for you, dear readers, and nothing at all to do with me being so violently hungover from LDW that my stomach still turns if anyone even thinks the words “green tea shots” near my general vicinity. I do it all for you!
And I’m not the only one going hard for America. It looks like this week ABC stopped being polite and started getting real. Monday and Tuesday night’s episodes were truly wild. At one point I had the distinct thought that next the producers might let loose live tigers on the beach to eat them all alive. It would be a kindness at this point.
THE BiP CAST MATES AT ANY POINT THIS WEEK:
There is A LOT to cover from the last two days so, for those of you looking for more of a highlights reel situation (the audacity), luckily for you, I got lazy. So without further ado:
Batshit Things That Happened That Were Only Mildly Entertaining
• Noah’s neck started to look like a Francesca’s clearance rack with the amount of delicate necklaces he’s accumulated
• Tituss Burgess took over as host and I’m not impressed (smite me, I dare you)
• Noah and Abigail’s love was rekindled (or at the very least, they have agreed to go back to being friends who politely kiss for the sake of roses)
• Tia lusted over Kenny
• Mari lusted over Kenny
• Demi lusted over Kenny
• Kenny lusted over himself for being a heartthrob for the first time since the original 90210 aired
• ABC threw a house party
• Becca made the moves on Thomas
And now for the real dirt…
Hurricane Kendall: Continued
Monday night’s episode opens with Kendall returning to Paradise. For those of you newbies to BiP, Kendall and Joe met and fell in love on this very beach a few seasons back. I think I speak for all of us when I say her return is the most shocking thing to happen all season. And by “shocking,” I mean a producer orchestrated the entire scene to within an inch of its life.
The first thing Kendall does is pull Joe aside for a “talk”, and it definitely feels like this conversation didn’t have to happen under such high stakes circumstances. Like, Kendall, whatever happened to getting blitzed on wine flights with your girlies, realizing three drinks in that you’re the last single one at the table and the only guy to get fresh with you recently had the hobbies of a stock photo person, drinking three more drinks, and then ending the night crying in a bathroom, scrolling through photos of your ex before finally finding the courage to leave a tear-stained voicemail on his phone that sounds suspiciously like Olivia Rodrigo song lyrics?? Be a normal person, okay!! You’re not better than us!
I can already tell that Kendall’s interference with Joe’s new relationship will have America wanting to skin her alive like one of her taxidermy babies, but honestly I’m on her side. Supposedly the reason they broke up was over logistics. He didn’t want to stay in LA, she didn’t want to move to Chicago. I’m getting the feeling that the breakup was a temporary move to prove a point, except neither of them caved. And yet here he is dating some Gossip Girl-named Gen-Zer who lives in a whole-ass other country. THE FACTS AREN’T ADDING UP, JOSEPH.
Speaking of which, where does this leave Joe and Serena? While at first it very much seemed like Joe would like to have his cake and eat it too, in the end he decides to only pursue things with Serena. He admits that Kendall’s arrival is bringing up old feelings for him, but they’re done 100%, which is not really how he phrases it to Kendall, but okay pal.
And look, it’s not that I’m rooting for Kendall, I’m just actively rooting for Joe to date someone his own age (hi). Sorry to all you #Jerena shippers, but that’s just the way the cookie is crumbling, okay!!
The First Rule About Influencing Is That You Don’t Talk About Influencing
Every generation needs a Bonnie and Clyde, a hot couple to upend society and blow up their lives for our own entertainment. This season our Bonnie is a girl whose name is spelled like it’s a mistake and a guy whose love language is turtlenecks. Not really what we asked for, but if you’re looking for the end of civilization as we know it, I think it might start with any offspring spawned by these two (and, yes, I’m counting any Instagram couple accounts).
Monday night we saw the return of Pieper. For weeks now, Brendan has been dogged by rumors that he and Pieper were dating prior to his coming to Paradise, and that he’s actually currently in a relationship with her. He, of course, denied the rumors and pledged his feelings to Natasha (if vague affirmations and minimal touching can be considered a “pledge”). Now we know that story was absolute bullshit.
Pieper walks into Paradise and WITHOUT EVEN READING HER DATE CARD OR LOOKING AT ANOTHER HUMAN ON THE BEACH chooses Brendan for the date. Sus. Then we get to their date. Brendan is trying to play it off like the two of them just have some sort of instant connection. Meanwhile, Pieper is blowing their cover story to smithereens.
PIEPER: Why are you acting like we don’t know each other? We’re dating. Here, let me say it 1,000 more times on camera. WE’RE DATINGGGGG.
And this, friends, is why you don’t enlist someone whose resume is just a link to their TikTok to assist you in your grift.
Okay, these two are both garbage monsters who deserve to be banished to a remote cave until the end of their days. Why did they do this? For followers? An Us Weekly spread? A free trip to a mediocre Mexican resort with no air conditioning and a bartender whose “official training” included two hours of liking things on Pinterest? I repeat: I. don’t. get. it.
And what’s worse than Brendan’s betrayal of Natasha or their outright disrespect for the fandom is how supremely bad they are at controlling their own narratives. Brendan fully admits to Pieper that he manipulated Natasha into keeping him around so he could wait for her to show up. He says this ON CAMERA. Like, do they understand they’re being recorded? Just because you yell “cut!” doesn’t mean the cameras have stopped rolling.
And then there’s Natasha. She has been so chill and mature throughout this whole thing. I just really want her to give herself permission to set something ablaze. Instead of acting petty or starting hurtful rumors, she goes straight to the source. She asks Pieper outright if they were dating already and Pieper is like “yeah, but it’s not like we even made a vlog about it yet, so what’s the big deal??” A VLOG. It’s sickening.
While Pieper’s confrontation with Natasha made me want to scream violently into the void, Brendan’s confrontation actually made me consider commenting on his mother’s Instagram to tell her, in detail, what kind of trash her son is. Did you raise him to behave like this??
Instead of coming clean or acting remotely remorseful, he chooses to emotionally bully Natasha into silence. I think at one point he says that he never had feelings for Natasha and that her own “selective hearing” is to blame if she ever thought that was the case.
BRENDAN: She had no viable options other than me. I didn’t keep her from anyone here.
ME TO MY DOG, ALONE IN OUR LIVING ROOM:
Wow, the producers really are trying to get this man killed. Brendan keeps acting like Natasha is not gorgeous and sweet and someone absolutely anyone with working eyes and ears would want to fuck. But by all means, continue to bury your IG stats alive…
Do you hear that?? The sound of Brendan’s popularity plummeting? #bachelorinparadiseabc
— The Betchelor🥀 (@betchelorpod) September 7, 2021
More than anything, the thing that cements their fates is how obvious they are about their clout-chasing. The morning after their date, the cameras pan to them lounging in (what they assume is) a secluded corner. To the delight of the producers they then proceed to dissect their Instagram stats and predict how their fake love story will result in better magazine coverage and sponsorship deals. On camera. While talking directly into their microphones. Jesus fucking Christ. Okay, listen kids. The first rule of influencing IS THAT YOU DON’T TALK ABOUT THE INFLUENCING. YOU IDIOTS.
What’s most infuriating is that they seemingly get away with their scam. When Natasha voices her frustrations about the situation to the other contestants, they mostly ignore her. The guys even openly side with Brendan.
By Tuesday’s episode, Brendan and Pieper’s clout-chasing is barely a plot line anymore. Instead, the focus shifts to Chris and Jessenia’s relationship, where Chris is accused, tried, and convicted of the very same crime Brendan and Pieper are guilty of.
Let’s set the scene: One of Tituss’ first decrees as host is to invite a chosen few to a “VIP” party off site. “VIP” feels like a strong exaggeration of the vibe, given the high school gym setting and middle school dance flashbacks the scenery evokes. They might as well play Usher’s “Yeah” and see how long it takes for these boys to pop an accidental boner in their khakis.
Side note: to emphasize the fact that ABC is done talking about the Natasha/Brendan/Pieper storyline, they don’t even invite our queen to their sad little house party. Like, if anyone on this planet deserves a drink rn…
NATASHA NOT GETTING INVITED TO THE VIP PARTY:
The party creates maximum chaos for Jessenia and Chris. I wasn’t far off earlier when I mentioned ABC producers’ inclination to throw live tigers at these people. Sub out “tigers” for “random hoes” and the effect is about the same. That’s right, the moment the party begins, four new girls arrive on the scene to shake things up. Chris immediately hits it off with Alana, whom we are told is a person who was on this franchise at some point in her life. Seems fake, but okay.
Even though Alana has been in Mexico for less time than it takes to go through airport customs, Chris decides he’s in love and breaks things off with Jessenia. I tried to tell you, Jessenia. Never trust a boy with vocal fry.
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Tbh, I barely even took notes during this section because it was so boring compared to the other drama that happened this week. But alas, this is what the people of Paradise choose to rally against. While Brendan and Pieper discuss which TikTok dance to use to debut their couple status, the rest of the contestants plan how to get away with Chris’ international murder.
Riley and Joe are at the forefront of this angry mob. Joe is talking like he knows people who could “handle” the situation. Just say the word, guys. Seriously. Say it. Though I appreciate them standing up for Jessenia, it feels a little hypocritical after Joe completely blew off Natasha’s concerns the night before. I mean, where is the outrage against Brendan?
Sure, Chris and Alana probably knew each other before filming. But I think it was more of a flirty crush and/or one-time hook up. I don’t think they were full-on dating like Brendan and Pieper clearly were. At the very least they gave a decent go at pretending to be strangers before the show. (Thank you for humoring us, btw). Their crimes feel juvenile in comparison. Chris is getting the backlash that Brendan and Pieper so clearly deserve, and it’s infuriating to watch.
We’ll have to wait until next week to see if Natasha gets the justice she deserves. Until then I’ll just keep refining my manifesto that warns against the dangers of trusting men in skinny jeans. TTYL!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (4); @thebetchelor /Twitter (1); @bitchelorette_ /Instagram (1)
Welcome back to Hell! Once again, we find ourselves shackled to our couches for the sake of watching grown adults slowly poison themselves one skinny margarita at a time. Ah, yes. It’s good to be home.
The Never-Ending Rose Ceremony
Speaking of home, when last we left off we were moments away from finding out which of the men would live to black out on the beach another day and which of them would have to take their talents back to the DMs (honestly, where all of these barn animals belong). Up on the chopping block tonight we have: Aaron, Thomas, Karl, Connor, Ivan, Chris, and Chasen.
In my last recap, I alluded to there being an undercurrent of sexual tension between Aaron and Thomas, and I’m happy to report that, boy, is that tension still alive and thriving. They both claim that Tammy is the object of their affections and yet “Tammy” appears to only be a thinly veiled excuse for the two of them to bump chests and make heated eye contact on a secluded corner of the beach. I’m picking up what you’re putting down, boys.
Aaron is pissed because he thinks Tammy should be happy with their relationship. I’m sorry but, “relationship” is a bit of a stretch. The two of you have built some sort of connection off of looking hot on beaches and agreeing to generally stand near each other when the cameras are in range. That’s not a relationship, that’s a business transaction.
Meanwhile, Thomas has, like, actually shown physical interest in Tammy. I know because I yell “hands!!” and cover my eyes in disgust every time the two of them start to go at it on a day bed. Idk, Aaron. I feel like this is a you problem, not a Thomas problem.
AARON: I can’t believe she would do this to me… I gave her EVERYTHING!!
ABC’S GREEK CHORUS:
Also, let’s talk about Aaron’s behavior for a second. For someone who has built a reputation on this franchise as some sort of knight in shining armor, slayer of bad-intentioned men, and self-proclaimed “savior” of grown-ass women who have working eyes and ears and can look out for themselves just fine—he is acting like quiet the fuckboy this evening.
Tammy tries to have a calm, adult conversation with him about her feelings for Thomas. Sure, she could have been more honest and upfront with Aaron, but they’ve been dating for five days. Get over it. Aaron, in turn, starts gaslighting the shit out of Tammy. He says that Tammy “straddled” Thomas in front of everyone, and the use of that term feels very strategic and slut-shamey to me. This has everything to do with him feeling embarrassed and hardly anything to do with his actual feelings toward Tammy.
Look at the way he positions this conversation. It’s all about what Tammy did to him. She humiliated him. She made him a laughing stock. And then he ends the conversation with a threat: you will regret this. Yikes.
Our women’s ally, everyone! It’s good to know that we’ll have Aaron in our corner, fighting the good fight, so long as we continually pad his ego and never engage in consensual semi-sexual acts with people he tried to control us from interacting with in the first place. The women’s movement needs more support from guys like this, amiright?
The rest of the rose ceremony is pure chaos. While Aaron sends smoldering looks toward Thomas from across the bar, another love triangle plays out between Karl, Deandra, and Chasen. Both guys have set their sights on Deandra’s rose, and have decided that the best way to go about winning her affections is by gifting her with heinous jewelry. A bold move, Cotton.
Meanwhile, Tre decides to take himself out of the rose ceremony completely and self-eliminate from Paradise, despite absolutely no one asking him to do so. Like… you already had… a rose…? He’s like “me and Tahzjuan just aren’t clicking” and it’s like, is it that you’re not “clicking” or is it that she “clicked” with your uncle first? What’s the truth, Tre!
TRE’S UNCLE RN:
By now, the rose ceremony has dragged on for approximately three quarters of this episode. ABC does love to punish their audience, but this feels particularly Promethean in nature. For those of you uncultured swine whose eyes just stumbled over that analogy, Prometheus was a figure in Greek mythology who was punished by Zeus for gifting man with fire. His punishment involved having his liver devoured by an eagle every day for all eternity. Replace “violent removal of entrails” with “listening to Aaron moan about his romantic prospects on loop”, and I’m feeling Prometheus’ pain. Honestly, I’d take the eagle.
Let’s look at the results of the rose ceremony, shall we? The lineup goes as such:
- Natasha picks Brendan (idiot)
- Serena picks Joe (belch)
- Jessenia picks Chris (why)
- Tammy picks Thomas (lol)
- Demi picks Kenny (of course)
- Abigail picks Noah (snooze)
- Maurissa picks Riley (cute)
- Mari picks James (random)
- Deandra picks Ivan (random-er)
- Becca picks Aaron (acca-EXCUSE ME?!)
That’s right folks! You read that last line right. At the tail end of the rose ceremony, Becca Kufrin makes her triumphant return to the Bachelor franchise. Well, as triumphant as you can be slinking into Mexico to find love with franchise rejects after breaking off an engagement with someone who probably thinks QAnon theories “have merit.” Good luck to you, sweetie!
I guess I’m the only one who’s unimpressed, because everyone is acting like ABC just dropped a Hadid on the beach with them. The girls are like “it’s over for us hoes, Becca can have anyone here!” but they do realize that Becca is just a mall-person from Minnesota… right? I mean, for god’s sake, Tahzjuan took one look at Becca and hopped in a cab back to the airport. It’s madness!
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I wonder if it has anything to do with her age. At 30, Becca is one of the oldest women here. Perhaps it’s that air of authority, that knowledge that Wells won’t question her I.D. at the bar, that makes her so attractive. Like how when you’re growing up you think your babysitter is the hottest person alive, but in reality she’s just an 11th grader with a penchant for scrunching her hair. Yeah, like that.
Tia Booth also returns to Paradise this week. The addition of Tia and Becca to the cast effectively raises the median age of female cast members from “basically 21” to “if I drink two margaritas I’m going to need a Tums.” I love this vibe.
While Becca hits it off with Aaron (ew), Tia only seems to have eyes for Kenny and asks him to go on a date with her. Joe’s like, “I knew it, Kenny is very much her type.” Okay, but who would call that man their type? He’s not so much a “type” as the kind of person you can’t avoid once you cross state lines into Florida.
DEMI: Life is hard when you’re dating the hottest guy on the beach
Seriously, WHAT is the appeal here?
If Demi thought she had reason to worry about Tia, just WAIT until she learns about the other three naked people on their date. While some couples get to go jet skiing or enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner, Tia and Kenny get to play nude volleyball with random beach people. Well, ABC is certainly creating a mood here (even if that mood is “y’all need Jesus”).
The amount of times I’ve heard “labia” and “flaccid penis” in the last five minutes is making me want to soak my brain in bleach. Like, this isn’t even sexy! It’s a miserable day for a beach volleyball game, naked or not. You can tell it’s humid as hell and in a constant state of drizzling. Wet sand has got to be everywhere. The vibes on the beach now are less “second chance at love” and more “naked and afraid.”
What’s crazy is how easy it is for Kenny to talk Tia out of her top. All it takes is a wink and cajoling smile from a townie cover band manager and suddenly she’s throwing away her morals and bringing dishonor to her family’s good name. It’s a tale as old as time.
DEMI: I’m not worried. She’s not as fun as me.
TIA: *flashes china pot*
Tia! What will the prayer circle back home say??
Most of tonight’s episode highlights the love story blossoming between Serena P and Joe. By “highlights” I mean they show a clip of Serena asking Joe what his last name was and we are to understand that this means they’re connecting on intimate levels. The bar is so low here.
But of course, ABC would never just let people be happy. No, no, no. The second they sense Joe isn’t about to fling himself into the ocean from despair, they decide to bring him right back to the brink by calling in the big guns: Kendall. That’s right, KENDALL IS BACK, BITCHES. Question: Has Kendall always had that slamming body? Or did she bring it out just to torture Joe in this moment?
JOE: I’ve finally moved on. I’m so happy.
KENDALL: Hey butthead.
HEY BUTTHEAD. HEY! BUTTHEAD!!!
Can you imagine being Serena P in this moment? And having to watch your new love interest get emotionally ruined after his ex shows up and greets him with a third grader’s slur?
I’ll be on the edge of my seat until next week!
Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC; @bitchelorette_ /Instagram (1); @floridaman_ /Twitter (1); Giphy (2)
Perhaps, instead of writing a full recap about what went down on the fourth episode of this season of Bachelor in Paradise, I could save us both a lot of time and show you a few images of burning heaps of garbage. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s actually an option, so I guess I’ll just have to unpack every disturbing detail of the first two of four hours of absolute chaos that ABC has chosen to impose upon us this week. It begins with a naked dude named Kenny shimmying in the opening credits, and to be honest, it’s really all downhill from there.
Clearly, a year of doing little but scrolling through memes has done a lot for the contestants of BiP, who now cannot complete a full sentence without the phrases “woke up and chose chaos,” or “dumpster fire.” I can’t really blame them, though. The English language has little else to describe how messy this season has become. After the culmination of what has been described as the “perfect date,” Maurissa and Riley wake up in the Boom Boom Room. Obviously, Riley worked some magic up in there, because Maurissa leaves saying, “Connor is such a sweetheart. He’s amazing. But Riley? He is a dream man in my eyes. He’s an amazing kisser. And literally everything a woman needs. It completely blew me away.” I’m sure if this doesn’t work out, Riley will have no trouble finding someone in his DMs.
The morning kicked off as most mornings following a date in Paradise do: with sheer panic. The girls have the roses this week, but those who aren’t sure who to give them to are starting to look around at any other canoodling couple and consider it a personal attack. If this feels dramatic to you, just think back to precedented times and remember how horrified you felt any time you saw a couple kissing on the subway. Perhaps the girls can petition for a mask mandate to clamp down on the rampant PDA in Paradise.
DEMI: Everyone is fricking married around here.
(Which is, coincidentally, the exact same thing I say every time I open up Instagram on a Sunday morning.)
The Ladies Get Some Fresh Meat
Two new dudes have entered Paradise, and it’s almost as though the producers are trying to get us to mix them up on purpose. They’re two pretty average guys with similar sounding names who you probably wouldn’t remember if the season they previously appeared on wasn’t literally written across the screen every time they spoke. Meet: Chris Conran and Chasen. And no, that’s not the name of the hedge fund responsible for Fyre Fest.
CHRIS CONRAN: I was on Clare’s season. Just barely. Just a little dab. Just a touch of salt.
And you know what? He’s right. I do not know this man. In the iconic words of Keke Palmer: “Sorry to this man.”
What Chris lacks in relevancy, he makes up for in confidence and the “Can I steal you for a sec?” persistence. He has set his sights on Jessenia and has a plan to “scoop” her up. He also has a backup plan, and that includes running off into the sunset with Chasen.
Chasen and Chris get a double date card (barf), which means they have to dabble in a bit of forced, sweaty flirting before they can decide who they’ll take with them. Chasen makes a beeline for Deandra, which obviously upsets Karl. Their chemistry is undeniable.
CHASEN: So, tell me about yourself. What brought you to Paradise?
DEANDRA: I like Paradise because everybody comes here with a common goal.
Yeah… to get laid and gain Instagram followers?
Next, Chasen pulls Mari aside for a chat, and Kenny starts to sweat as much as a man who refuses to wear clothing physically can. Mari and Chasen’s conversation is honestly pretty snoozy, and consists primarily of Mari throwing out a lot of words that end in “ing” in an attempt to define her non-relationship with Kenny, such as “vibing,” “talking,” and “conscious not officially, but also not unofficially, coupling.”
Chasen and Chris head off on their double date, which is Kama Sutra themed. Chris brings Jessenia, and Chasen brings Deandra. Deandra explains that although she normally hates to be touched, getting essentially felt up by Chasen made her “very relaxed” and “more than pleasantly surprised.” Well, okay then! Jessenia also seems to be quite taken by her date… for some inexplicable reason.
CHRIS: Every chance I get tonight, I’m going to steal you away.
What does this man have to offer that is not coming through on screen? Genuinely would love to know, because personally, I would not respond to a thinly veiled kidnapping threat with the same energy I’d use to reply to a passive-aggressive text from a roommate asking me to do the dishes.
Back at the beach, Demi is laying down the groundwork for a Plan B if Chris and Jessenia’s date goes well. While she swirls a mimosa around in one hand, she tells Ivan that he should start talking to some of the other women as a backup. Honestly… that’s a great game strategy. It’s a shame that Demi naturally has such villainous delivery, because it sounded pretty evil.
In Which Mari Gets a Lesson in Casual Dating
Clearly, Mari’s conversation with Chasen sparked a little fire in her, because it immediately prompts another conversation with Kenny in which she basically tells him that she would like to have her cake and eat it too.
MARI: I want to see other people.
ALSO MARI: I think things with Kenny might be a little awkward.
Mari’s suggestion to “open” things up definitely upsets Kenny, who reflects, “This is the first time I’m sensing that she’s not feeling as strong as I was. Why not say it’s completely done, then? If you want to be totally open, let’s be totally open.” And you know what? I’m kind of obsessed with Kenny’s logic that an open relationship is synonymous with a breakup. It seems like the kind of miscommunication that’s going to give us episodes worth of drama.
After telling Kenny she’s trying to play the field, Mari has a discussion with Demi, which is where things really go left. Demi provides some more sound advice that comes across as evil because she’s, well, Demi. She tells Mari, “we should all be dating each other,” and then in a confessional moment seconds later, exclaims, “Sorry, I’m goin’ for your mans!”
Once Mari catches wind of Demi and Kenny’s shenanigans (read: once Mari looks over at them, because all of the events of this show play out in like, an area the size of a tennis court), she’s furious. She seems to genuinely have believed that telling Kenny that she’s interested in seeing other people would make him think she’s playing hard to get, and is now truly shocked that it backfired, and I don’t know what else to say about that. It’s kind of like watching the milk crate challenge. Like, yes, of course I want it to work. I really want to see someone pull it off successfully. But at the end, everyone ends up with the sharp corner of a milk crate up their butt. And that’s just science.
Male Rompers Are Back
Connor B., knowing that Maurissa had just been on a date the night before, decides it’s time to step it up if he’s going to get that rose. He throws on a matching set (or perhaps a romper; I cannot confirm the intricacies of Connor B.’s drip) and makes his way over to invite Maurissa on a DIY date. I’d give anything to hear the behind-the-scenes conversation Connor B. had with a producer that was like, “Can I have a date card? No? How about some craft supplies? Cool, cool, cool.”
Unfortunately, Connor does not know that Maurissa made a little trip to the Boom Boom Room before wasting the best outfit he packed. Ya hate to see it. This leads to a downward spiral in which Connor describes himself as “just the friendly guy who everybody likes,” and yup, I’m crying.
Next, we get an appearance from guest host Lance Bass, who does a little wellness check on Natasha. Natasha says she’s definitely feeling where things are going with Brendan, but that the intimacy is lacking—as if this is year three of marriage and not episode four of a television show. Lance suggests Natasha make a move on Brendan. (Side note: Does Lance Bass’s southern accent feel… stronger than usual? Is he hanging out with Jax and Brittany again?)
Natasha proceeds to give Brendan a very sweaty massage. I’ll hold off on the commentary here, and just let you know exactly how it went down, because I truly don’t have words for this one.
NATASHA: *Massaging Brendan*
BRENDAN: I’m the sweatiest man in America.
NATASHA: We’re not in America.
BRENDAN AND NATASHA: *Kiss*
And Now For a Slew of Relationships That Must Be Defined
After making the very astute observation that “Everyone on the beach seems to be breaking up,” Serena P. uttered the words that will likely curse her relationship with Grocery Store Joe and said, “But Joe and I are going strong.” On BiP, “going strong” means headed to a romantic date in a dark auditorium with a dinner table set up in the middle of a wrestling ring to discuss why Joe seems so miserable.
SERENA: I feel like in Paradise… You hate it here.
JOE: You’re warm.
Joe continues to be the most relatable man on this beach. He explains that he kind of hates Paradise because if he’s “not going to meet someone,” he doesn’t really want to be sleeping in a bunk bed in a room with no air conditioning. Fair! They ultimately decide that they’re “100% all in” on finding that with each other. After defining the relationship, Joe says, “It’s time to have fun.” Um, do you guys know you’re on Bachelor in Paradise? There is an entire team of people whose full time job relies on you guys not “having fun” after defining the relationship. But please, proceed.
Speaking of defining relationships, Karl decides to throw a Hail Mary pass and pulls Deandra aside for a talk. He gives Deandra a charm bracelet he bought in Miami. He’s trying to position this stunt as spur-of-the-moment, but he clearly bought all of the charms before he even had a “connection” with Deandra. Honestly, I’d tell you more about the bracelet and what each charm represents if it wasn’t obvious he just rolled into a Pandora store in an airport. At best, this thing is an Alex and Ani.
Over at the beach, the rest of the cast members are enjoying a little bonfire. Which means it’s time for Demi to ruin the mood, of course. She shows up with a cake she made for Kenny because he spent his 40th in quarantine and makes everyone awkwardly sing happy birthday to him. Then, Demi hits us with a perfectly rehearsed line and says, “Let them eat cake!” before dragging Kenny to a secondary location (which, please never forget, is statistically the point at which you are more likely to be murdered). Demi has decorated a little party set up for Kenny, which includes a piñata full of condoms, to which I say: damn, production will really do anything for Demi. From bringing Kristian in for her last season, to setting up this weird belated birthday party, they’ll go to no end to make sure this girl has the tools to stir the pot.
While Demi and Kenny are off celebrating, Mari grabs the cake and throws it in the fire… which honestly is the least interesting thing she could have done. 3/10.
Mari pulls Demi aside for a little confrontation, which again leads us to another gem from Demi that would actually be sound logic if she didn’t deliver it like a Disney villain laying out their grand scheme to take over the world.
MARI: Earlier today, I confided in you, and now you’re going for Kenny.
DEMI: Well, you said you guys were being open, so why can’t I date him?
MARI: He says he wants to fuck me.
DEMI: I… also want to fuck people?
MARI: So, you’re okay being a second option?
DEMI: No, we’re… all just… dating people here.
Mari short-circuits at this reminder that you don’t have to get engaged to someone the second you decide you’re “vibing” with them, and basically just tells Demi that she threw the cake in the fire and storms off.
Kenny actually is handling the situation quite maturely, which I guess I shouldn’t be giving him so much credit for because the man is literally 40. He tells Mari that everything with her has become “too toxic” and that he’d like to move on.
The episode ends with a dreaded “TO BE CONTINUED” screen while all of the Paradise dwellers run around and set small fires. We also get a little tease of Demi and Kenny entering the Boom Boom Room, and a moment in which Demi says she is “fully prepared to just be massacred out here.” And that’s on self-awareness!
Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC (2); Giphy; Tenor