Welcome back to the beach, betches! And while we’re at it, happy Halloween! Bachelor in Paradise is back yet again to show us four hours of footage that could have been an email. That this week’s episodes happen to coincide with the devil’s day is just good timing. If we’re already in the Bad Place, might as well revel in it, amiright? This did mean that I was forced to watch Monday night’s episode in between handing out Dollar General candy to small children. The parents didn’t appreciate their children’s “trick or treats” being drowned out by the sounds of a half-nude Shanae and a more-nude Jacob perverting the simple act of brushing teeth by turning it into some demented form of foreplay, but what can you do? I can only be me!
Speaking of haunted things, though ABC’s programming tells me I’ll be watching this godforsaken show through Thanksgiving, this week’s episodes felt very end-of-days. After all, the four horsemen of the apocalypse are famously famine, plague, and two twins from Long Island who will let you slurp tequila from their navels.
This must be why the women are doing their damnedest to trick the men into expressing genuine human emotion. Lol. Nice try, ladies. Eliza, Kate, and Genevieve all go the extra mile to get their guys in line. By “extra mile,” I mean they verbally box the guys into a corner and watch in real-time as their pea brains try to Cirque du Soleil their way out of admitting any sort of commitment.
It’s a nice try, but ladies, say it with me now: men are idiots. They just don’t have the critical thinking skills that women do. I once watched my best friend find out who was viewing her Facebook profile page—and how many times—by teaching herself computer code. AT A SORORITY PRE-MIXER. As she was taking shots of Jager and crafting monogrammed wall decor for her Little that could put HomeGoods to shame. I once watched my ex-boyfriend mistake a bowl of sour cream for soft-serve vanilla ice cream. Evolutionarily speaking, we are not the same
But what am I saying? You’re going to read all about it. Let’s get into it!
A Rose Ceremony? During Paradise? Groundbreaking.
More evidence of an impending apocalypse: Jesse Palmer gives us a rose ceremony within the first 20 minutes of the episode. Resolution? Forward momentum? On Bachelor in Paradise? It simply couldn’t be.
But Jesse is full of surprises tonight. He tells us that not only will there be a rose ceremony, but the women will be the ones handing out the roses.
SHANAE HEARING THE MEN ARE ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK THIS WEEK:
Back before split week (when humanity was still discovering fire and inventing the wheel), the guys were supposed to be the ones handing out the roses. ABC tries to frame it like they’re doing the OG ladies a favor. Sure, the producers may have emotionally waterboarded them for a week, but at least they have the roses tonight! I’m sure that decision had everything to do with their compassionate response toward human suffering and nothing at all to do with wanting Victoria to implode her love life.
She is in quite the pickle. On-screen, she’s told us multiple times about her strong urge to settle down and procreate. She just doesn’t know who to choose! On the one hand, she has Alex, a man who could impregnate you with a single, smoldering glance. On the other hand, she has Johnny, who thinks cutting out buzzwords from magazines (“PASSION,” “INTEGRITY,” “GIRL BOSS” ) and gluing them to a vision board is the same thing as having a five-year plan. Yeah. That’s really a tough decision there.
Rose Ceremony Couples:
- Serene picks Brandon
- Danielle picks Zaddy
- Eliza picks Rodney
- Genevieve picks Aaron
- Jessenia picks Andrew
- Brittany picks Tyler
- Kate picks Logan
- Shanae picks Jacob
- Victoria picks Johnny
- Aussie Hottie picks Alex
Unpopular opinion: I’m thrilled Alex will continue to grace our television screens. I know Aussie Hottie only chose him because producers were threatening to load her bags with Spencer’s used sex toys should she not comply with their pre-planned storylines, and that his presence will surely trigger an existential crisis in Johnny, but it’s worth it. That face was made specifically for my viewing pleasure.
A Swarm Of
Locusts Losers Descend Upon The Beach
First Jesse Palmer gives us a rose ceremony, then Hayden from Gabby and Rachel’s season makes his Paradise debut. You can practically smell the sulfur in the air. The end is near. My favorite thing about Hayden’s return is that he was too scared to attend the Tell All, but will follow production to a secluded beach in Mexico where no one can hear him scream. Again, where are the critical thinking skills?
For those of you who don’t remember, Hayden was the guy who called Gabby and Rachel—ya know, THE LEADING WOMEN OF HIS SEASON—“bitches,” and then tried to use his terminally ill dog as a living shield to defend his character during rose ceremonies. You hear that, women of Paradise? You traveled all the way to Mexico just to date a guy you could have met in the comments section of a Russian bot’s IG post (he’s the one leaving sexually harassing messages).
Shanae’s like “What are your core values?”, and I’m interested to see how he tries to spin overt misogyny into a quirky personality trait. Do go on.
He eventually asks Kate to go on a date with him. She accepts, not so much because she’s actually interested in him, but because she’s playing a verbal game of chicken with Logan and wants to see if he’ll drive straight into the oncoming traffic of his emotions for her, or if he’ll veer left. One guess as to what he chooses.
I will say, Kate deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for sitting through that date and not committing a violent crime.
HAYDEN: I paid the vet six figures and lent him a copy of Dr. Frankenstein’s lab notes, but the good news is that even though Rambo now looks like an extra from Pet Sematary, at least he can live long enough to watch me vacation in Mexico for an undisclosed amount of time.
HAYDEN: Yeah, I called Gabby “rough around the edges,” but what I meant by that is she’s not a serious person and I don’t take women seriously. Sorry! I don’t take Gabby seriously. And also women.
HAYDEN: Did I call the Bachelorettes bitches? I couldn’t tell you, and neither can the concrete video footage that shows me doing it.
HAYDEN: And if I did call them a bunch of bitches—not saying I did!!—but if I had done that, it’s only because they weren’t there for the right reasons. Not like me, obviously.
And to think, she could have just settled for Logan’s lukewarm attention!
Hayden was not the only
locust loser to pollute the beach. On Tuesday night, the twins from Gabby and Rachel’s season show up and turn the island into their own personal frat party. They take Shanae and Aussie Hottie on a double date. I stopped taking notes right around when Justin stuck a ping pong ball up his butt and Shanae turned Joey into a human-sized burrito.
But the most shocking return happened on Monday night, when Justin of Justin/Genevieve/Aaron love triangle fame waltzed back into Paradise to steal Rodney’s girl.
“I’m dying to know, why’d you come back?”, Jesse Palmer asks, as if production didn’t physically shove Justin down the beach themselves.
Look, I have no problem with Justin getting a second shot at love, especially when Genevieve did him so dirty the first time around. But there are rules to this franchise. People can’t just come back after being voted off the island, let alone receive a date card! If we let Justin back, who’s next? Pizza Pete? I’m not supposed to listen to another minute of Mr. It’s-Not-Delivery-It’s-DiGornio without my therapist’s written consent.
Justin says that he’s here for one person, and one person only: Eliza. Even though he dated Genevieve before, he was really waiting for Eliza the whole time. Meanwhile, Eliza sees Justin’s interest as a way to test her relationship with Rodney. Like Kate, she plays her own game of emotional chicken. She wants Rodney to tell her not to go on the date, because it would emotionally devastate him. Instead, he acts mature and rational. Boo, you whore.
They go on a date, leaving Rodney to sit alone by the bonfire amongst 20 other couples. I love that everyone is just gathered around the bonfire waiting for Rodney’s life to implode. Do we think they’ll throw spoiled fruit and excess tequila at him if his anguish isn’t entertaining enough?
Unfortunately, we get no resolution from the date. Eliza decides that she wants to date both men now, and that has everything to do with her genuine romantic feelings for two individuals, and not her utter panic at having to engage in conflict management. I’m picking up what you’re putting down, Liza.
Genevieve & Aaron Exhaust Me
The above statement is not a subtitle so much as me giving a wellness check to my readers. ABC has been force-feeding us the Genevieve/Aaron love saga for almost this entire season, and you know what?
Rooting for this couple is like rooting for the end of Daylight Saving Time, a thing that also shrouds us in darkness and is ultimately pointless. The problem with these two is that they conflate sustainable love with passion. And I’m not talking about “passion” as it’s defined by Merriam-Webster, I’m talking about “passion” as it’s defined by Stephenie Meyer.
^Aaron and Genevieve in between rounds of Skinny Girl margs
They spend the majority of this week’s episodes arguing. Justin returns and Genevieve gives, perhaps, a too-detailed account of his history on Paradise. Aaron storms off. Genevieve cries. They fight by a daybed over Aaron’s wanting to bro-out with the boys. Aaron storms off. Genevieve cries. Genevieve threatens to leave Paradise. Aaron storms off. Genevieve cries. Are you sensing the pattern here? These two communicate like they are speaking through cups attached by a string across adjoining windows instead of directly at each others’ faces. This is what you get, Genny, for dating a man who has a tiny tattoo behind his ear!
If I’m being honest, I’ve never liked Aaron. Last summer, I wrote in a recap that I think he has a gross savior complex and that his rhetoric on the show is not only problematic, but toxic and misogynistic. At that time, he painted himself as the “defender” of women by standing up for their honor (honor that was only violated when they expressed interest in men that weren’t him) by calling guys he viewed as disrespectful and less than names like “little bitch boy” and “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!
This summer, it seems Aaron is up to his same tricks. Instead of using feminized insults, he tries to discredit Genevieve’s feelings by calling her “crazy.” “You really need to talk to her,” Victoria says. “Well, is she making sense or talking crazy?”, he responds.
ME GETTING TRIGGERED IN MY LIVING ROOM:
I know Genevieve is annoying and prone to crying, but she literally asked for five seconds of your time to tell you that she loves you. You’re the one who freaked out on her and called her—incorrectly!—a gaslighter because she interrupted your time with the guys. Buddy, I’m about to light YOU up.
Meanwhile, Genevieve is reacting to this fight as if she is the one hostage the armed assailant just let go. She runs off to pack her bags and actually locks both her friends and production out of the room so they don’t dissuade her from leaving.
I’ll spare you the agonizing details, but the this fight results in Genevieve, bags packed and seconds from getting in the Uber, screaming at Aaron that she’s unhappy and Aaron screaming back that HE’S UNHAPPY TOO, OKAY. Then, somehow, what follows those admissions is that they love each other and both decide to stay. Fuck watching Michael Meyers mutilate babysitters and torture Jamie Lee Curtis. This relationship is the scariest thing I’ve seen all year.
And on that note, I’m outtie! See you all next week!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (8)
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 Bachelorette recap! This week, spring break is officially over for the girlies. No more desecrating foreign cultural landmarks with over the clothes fondling, or taking artfully staged photos that make it look like the Eiffel Tower is their penis. The S.S. Fuckboy has docked for the last time, so the women can head off to hometowns.
Personally, this is my favorite episode of every season. More than watching the men emasculate themselves during fetish-forward group dates, more than wanting to disintegrate into my chair when the Bachelorette pretends to orgasm during the fantasy suites, more than shrieking when Neil Lane eventually slithers out of the hole ABC holds him hostage in to pander his last-season diamonds to whatever schmuck is still standing—more than any of that, hometowns are my jam. There is literally nothing quite like them.
This is the moment where things stop being polite and start getting real (and by “real”, I mean the lead pretending they might move to a town that only just got a Walmart last year). This is the time in the season when we get to see where these guys hail from. The houses that built them, if you will. Some of these houses are beacons of light and domesticity, the likes of which make you wonder how a human being raised in such a setting could grow up to be this person wearing skinny jeans and promoting his tequila brand on Instagram. Then, there are other houses that are being held together with nothing but the fruits of the HomeGoods sales their mothers frequent in order to feel something. And hometown dates are so important to The Bachelorette process! How will you know if you’re truly ready for marriage unless you’ve witnessed firsthand the cycle of familial trauma that haunts these highly attractive, upper-middle class gene pools? How?
This season, we’ll be witnessing even more trauma than normal, because we’re getting double the hometowns. Gabby heads home with Jason, Johnny, and Erich; Rachel with Zach, Tyler, Tino, and Aven. I will do my very best to be as detailed and thorough as possible, so that when future generations are studying our culture in a million years, they can point to this and marvel at how intellectually inferior we were. Like we do with the cave men and their sad fire-starting sticks. Let’s get into it!
Hometown #1: Jason In New Orleans, Louisiana
First up is Gabby’s visit to Jason’s hometown of New Orleans. Imagine your hometown being New Orleans. Jesus Christ, no wonder Jason is so reserved. All this time I thought he just wasn’t that into Gabby, but it turns out he’s really seen some shit. At one point he says that he can’t wait to show Gabby what he loves about this town, and then the two proceed to throw beads at drunks and ask people on the street to strip. This is the thing he “loves” about this town. Berating drunks and mild nudity. The childhood this guy must have had.
JASON AS A CHILD ON THESE STREETS:
Gabby meets the family and they are surprisingly well adjusted. Booooo. The dad is especially heart-melting to watch, as he speaks more words in his three minutes of screen time than Jason has spoken in his entire tenure on this show. The rest of his family are fine, though Jason’s mom is doing some sort of Priscilla Presley cosplay that is especially unsettling to behold. Jason’s sister appears way too excited about having an F-list celebrity in the family. She’s like “it’s weird, but I’m ready for their wedding”, and you can practically see the sponsorship deals dancing in her head.
The most surprising moment comes at the end of the date, when Jason lets it slip that he’s not ready to get engaged… ever. EXCUSE ME? He doesn’t want to get engaged, but goes on a show where the sole purpose is to produce a marriage?? Is that what you’re telling me right now??
JASON: I don’t know if I’m ready to be engaged
Of course, Jason tells Gabby none of this. He whispers it secretly to his mother and her Bump It, hoping she’ll hold that secret as securely as her hairspray is holding that hair three inches above her head. Neither Gabby nor Jason says anything about falling in love with each other–a proclamation that typically occurs during hometowns after a suitor’s family doesn’t immediately unhinge their jaws and consume the interloper. As far as hometowns go, it’s downright platonic. Where is the drama? The high-octane emotions? She could be meeting Jason’s chiropractor for all the emotional depth Gabby has with him and his family. This lack of emotional connection doesn’t bode well for the rest of the hometowns…
Hometown #2: Zach In Mattel’s Headquarters
Up next is Rachel, and she visits the Mattel factory in which Zach and his family were forged. They’re part of a new line of Barbie, the Politically Neutral Barbie, that wears mostly denim and khaki, and comes complete with a Barbie backyard barbecue set bedecked in twinkle lights and last season’s farmhouse decor.
Here’s the thing: I don’t need to see any more of Zach. The most interesting thing about him is that he spells his name with a “ch” instead of just a “c.” Seriously, what do we even know about this guy aside from the home movies thing and the pilot fetish? That he’s family oriented? Who isn’t family oriented?? Who is going to be like “nah, fuck my family” on a show that contractually obligates you to sacrifice your family’s legacy for the sake of ABC’s ratings? Literally no one.
To their credit, Zach’s family does act the appropriate amount of scandalized that their son wants to marry a woman he only just met six weeks ago.
ZACH’S DAD TO RACHEL: I mean, you go to the most romantic places on Earth, and you’ll fall in love with a monkey.
Sir, don’t insult the monkeys.
As if to emphasize that there is nothing between these two beyond the sum of their own egos, ABC plays them ANOTHER home movie, this time of their love story. You guys, this is so, so, so, so dumb. And what’s worse? This highlights reel of their love story is longer than the “compelling” footage production could string together of the hometown. Zach’s date takes up a whopping seven minutes of our two-hour hometowns journey, and it’s about six minutes too long.
Hometown #3: Johnny In Palm Beach, Florida
Of course Johnny is from Florida. What little I know of this man is that he frequently wears acid wash jeans and felt right at home with a Dutch mistress licking hot wax off his happy trail. That he willingly claims Florida as his home suddenly makes so much sense, just like Gabby showing up in a corset top makes so much sense. She’s not just meeting any family; she’s meeting a Florida family. That is the appropriate attire for such an occasion.
Like Zach, Johnny’s hometown barely makes a dent in the episode’s narrative. The only thing I recall about his family is that his dad wore far too much Brooks Brothers for a man who raised a bunch of sons that look like wannabe band managers. Gabby connects with his family, but there’s no depth to that connection. Like Jason, Johnny also admits to being hesitant in taking the next step with Gabby. My god, does anyone want to propose to this woman?? You know, the thing they signed up to do??
They part ways on chummy terms, like when you go long-distance with your camp boyfriend. The almost-sexually-gratifying hand stuff was fun while it lasted, but after a few pen pal letters written with your best Lisa Frank pens, it’s time to move on to the real thing.
Hometown #4: Tyler In His Boardwalk Empire
I should have known things would not go well during Tyler’s hometown when his first stop on the Tour of Tyler was to show Rachel the saddest beach boardwalk in existence. I don’t know much about Tyler’s hometown of Wildwood, NJ (I prefer my New Jersey beach towns to be actually civilized), but this boardwalk is haunting to behold. It looks like the kind of place where a body would be found in a Law & Order episode. And yet, Tyler is beaming. He is thriving in this ghost town, this coastal graveyard where the human spirit surely goes to die.
Despite not one (living) soul frequenting this boardwalk, every business is open, and the carnies all know Tyler. I’m starting to worry that Tyler’s bio line of “business owner” has been somewhat misleading. Here I thought “business owner” meant that he did real estate, or at the very least dabbled in Bitcoin. Now, I worry that his “business” is that he owns one of these boardwalk game stands. Is it really a business if you just pay rent on a Ms. Pac-Man, Ty? Hmm?
Rachel takes one look at his carnie beginnings and is immediately horrified. After an afternoon spent meeting Tyler’s friends, who run the off-brand Nathan’s Hotdog stand, she quietly excuses herself to cry in a Wildwood bathroom. This is bleak. This is not a chapter in your epic love story. This is a chapter in your therapist’s ever-growing file on your emotional traumas.
Rachel knows she has to break it off with him before she meets his family. She’s not in love with Tyler. They’re from two different worlds. She was raised in suburban Florida, and he was raised in a circus tent. It could never work.
She sits him down to have “the talk”, but Tyler can’t quite grasp that Rachel is actually breaking up with him. No, he thinks her intense crying is a sign of her intense feelings for him. Oh, sweetie. No. He proceeds to express every single emotion that has ever penetrated his soft boy body. He’s practically a human gusher, high fructose corn syrup leaking out of every heartfelt word. As he talks, Rachel stares, horrified, directly at the cameras, The Office-style. This is the first time I’ve ever genuinely thought ABC deserved an Emmy for their camera work.
In Tyler’s defense, he’s saying some incredibly nice things about a woman whose coat is stylistically offensive. Imagine getting dumped by this:
Tyler is still smiling even as he enters his family home alone. They’re like, “where is she, Ty??”, and their hopeful smiles will haunt me in the afterlife. This is low, even for ABC. It’s a level of emotional torture we rarely see on this show, and I’m sort of at a loss for words.
Hometown #5: Erich In Bedminster, New Jersey
As much as I hate rooting for this man and his silent “h”, I do think Erich and Gabby have the most chemistry. This feeling is only reinforced for me when Erich tells us that Gabby will be meeting his terminally ill father. Okay, I’m crying in the club.
This is maybe the heaviest hometown I’ve ever witnessed in all my years watching this godforsaken show. The focus isn’t even really on Gabby so much as this family trying to hold things together. This feels raw—almost too personal to be watching as I guzzle boxed wine and eat frozen pizza. I’m not emotionally equipped to deal with genuine human emotions on a Monday night. When Erich’s mom starts crying and saying that love is not giving up on each other, even my blackened heart is crying uncle.
Later, Erich tells Gabby that he’s falling in love with her, and she reciprocates. It’s all very sweet and romantic. I’m even willing to forgive Gabby when she promptly straddles his lap in the middle of the restaurant, in front of god and that man just trying to eat his calamari, to suck face. You get one of those, Gabby. Just one!
Hometown #6: Tino In Santa Clarita, California
Finally, my favorite baby back bitch is on screen again, and his family is already delivering. Tino’s hometown is like watching one of those Animal Planet videos. You know, the one where the predator plays with its food, giving well-placed strikes designed to produce maximum pain? Tino’s family is that apex predator.
From the moment they meet Rachel, the family is out for blood. They aren’t pulling any punches. Tino’s dad asks how they could possibly be ready for marriage after only knowing each other a short amount of time. His mom goes so far as to reduce their love story to playtime. I think her exact words are, “this isn’t real, call me when you get to the real world.” I screamed. Tino’s mom, you aren’t supposed to say the quiet part out loud!
But the worst of it comes when Rachel sits down with Tino’s dad. He spends their short interaction sautéing what little is left of Rachel’s self esteem. He demands that Rachel convince him that she knows his son. Sir, is that really fair? She might not know who his best friend is, or his darkest fear, or even his last name, but she does know stuff about him! Ask her what the ridge of his penis feels like semi-erect, or that thing his tongue does. Ask her! Go on!
Through it all, Rachel’s southern upbringing is working overtime to salvage the date. At the end of the night she even whispers, in the most submissive tone possible, “thank you for being so welcoming”, as she looks straight into the gaping maw of hell itself. Oh, bless your heart.
TINO: Well, I think they adored you.
HAHAHAHA. My god, men will say anything to get their dicks wet. “Adored” is not the word I would use to describe their feelings towards Rachel. “Mentally poisoning her spray tan formula” is perhaps a better interpretation of their feelings. I mean, the last time a family meet-and-greet went this well, a blood feud started in Verona.
RACHEL & TINO @ TINO’S FAMILY:
And that’s all she wrote, folks! Next week, Aven rounds out the hometown dates before The Men Tell All. Also next week, we’ll (hopefully) find out who is making it to the fantasy suites, assuming Jesse Palmer isn’t too busy cracking himself up with these Bachelor ads to enforce any real rules. Until then!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (5)
Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! Once again, our Bachelorettes and the men who humble them are on a cruise ship bound for nowhere. The last time a ship that size was so tragically fated, Leo DiCaprio was gambling for a ticket onto the Titanic. Except in the case of The Bachelorette, humanity’s ruin isn’t at the expense of an iceberg, just a man named Logan.
Speaking of He Who Must Not Be Named, last week Logan made the very harrowing decision to switch teams and follow his hard-on—ack, sorry! I meant heart. He made the very harrowing decision to follow his heart. (It’s just coincidental that his penis is also the anatomical location of his moral center). Logan told Rachel that though he’s spent weeks getting to know everything about her and only moments getting to know the very surface level of Gabby, he would rather pursue a meaningful relationship with that surface. And they say all the good ones are gone!
Incredibly, Logan is barely a blip on the radar this episode. Why? Because next week the S.S. Fuckboy is setting sail for hometowns. That’s right: hometowns are on the horizon, and the stakes could not be higher for Gabby and Rachel. They’re about to meet these guys’ families, enter their childhood homes, see which one of them still has a crusty Playboy shoved under his mattress, and which one of them is a little too enthusiastic about kissing his mom hello.
If it feels like we barely know the guys, imagine how Gabby and Rachel must feel! Up until a few weeks ago, rose ceremonies were still operating like thinly-veiled orgies, and now they’re supposed to have “connected” enough with these guys to decide whose family is worth meeting?
As if to emphasize the direness of the ladies’ situation, the episode opens with shots of a totally barren cruise. It’s bone chilling to behold. This week, the gang is ending their Euro trip in Amsterdam. Personally, Amsterdam is not the place where I would want to decide who I take home to mom. It’s the place where I would want to decide which edible to take before noon, but that’s about it.
On that note, let’s get into the good, the bad, the sad, and some other things from the episode!
The Good: Rachel Is Allowed One Nice Thing
For most of this season, Rachel has been less focused on her journey to find love and more focused on the battle for her eternal soul. I’m not sure what Rachel did in a past life to offend ABC’s dark lords, but they are running her storyline like it’s a very specific ring of Hell. You know, the ring where the false prophets and sorcerers all congregate to languish for eternity. Except these prophets and sorcerers have names like Hayden and Logan, and their brand of torture is utilizing their working vocal cords.
But this week, Rachel must have made the appropriate human sacrifices, because production is finally, finally cutting her a break. For once, none of the men are rejecting her, embarrassing her, or using their dying dog for sympathy points. Truly a miracle.
Rachel’s peak has to be her one-on-one date with Zach. Remember, these two have already had a one-on-one date together (who could forget the fake red carpet and the saddest struggling actors in all of LA pretending to be “paparazzi”). Bonds were forged that day when they realized that at one point in their lives they were both children and have been near a plane. That bond strengthens during today’s date as they ride bikes and desecrate tulip fields.
This date is mostly just a waste of all of our time, as we know that Zach is definitely going to Hometowns. Very early on in the date, Rachel says that she would be “honored to meet the people that raised that man,” a phrase I’ve literally never said in my life. Honored to meet? More like “my therapist demands that I forgive the people that raised this man.”
Their date is exactly the format we’d expect with hometowns a week away. Rachel wears a dress that I don’t understand. Zach lets his trauma show during dinner—but the acceptable kind of trauma, not a red-flag kind of trauma. They make out. Rachel says she can’t wait to meet his family. She gives him the rose.
My problem with Rachel’s relationships is that she says things like “we can be goofy!!”, and then prompts Zach to take Polaroid pictures of her. Meanwhile in Gabby’s relationships, she’s having an existential crisis about motherhood (more on that later). Rachel’s journey is just so… one-dimensional. It makes it hard for me to root for her. Don’t get me wrong—I’m glad the men aren’t slicing into her self-esteem like it’s one of those delicate Dutch cheeses—but her dates have a decidedly animatronic feel to them. At least when she’s crying I see genuine human emotion from her. Sometimes when she’s on these “romantic” dates, carnival ride-clowns have more realistic facial expressions than what she plasters to her face.
RACHEL WHEN PRODUCTION TELLS HER TO ACT IN LOVE:
The Bad: Mistress Decides Who Meets The Mothers
How do you decide if you want to meet a guy’s mother? See which of them survives having a strange Dutch woman in head-to-toe leather tickle their feet and pour hot wax on their crotch without accidentally climaxing or involuntarily whispering “yes, mommy.” To each their own, I suppose.
Gabby’s group date is S&M-themed, which is fun because I’m pretty sure the kinkiest thing these guys have ever done is picked up their girlfriend’s copy of 50 Shades of Grey and used it as a coaster. Mistress Susie tells the men that she wants to get down and dirty. It’s time to talk about s-e-x. The reactions around the room are priceless. Erich and his mullet look absolutely petrified, Johnny is unsuccessfully trying to hide the bulge in his pants that grows every time Mistress cracks that whip, and Jason straight up says this is his worst nightmare. You and me both, buddy.
First question from Mistress: do they know how to treat a woman in the bedroom? I love that they all don’t immediately raise their hands. Honestly, Mistress, take a good look around you. That man has a mullet. Do you think he knows where a woman’s clit is?
Jesus Christ. No, he does not.
I will say, it is fun to watch a room full of men be tortured in a random Amsterdam basement. At one point, they’re all forced to lie in a circle, half-naked and blindfolded, as Gabby and Mistress defile their six-packs with hot wax and chocolate sauce. In any other context this would be a deleted scene from Taken, not ABC’s warped version of romantic foreplay.
The nudity extends into Rachel’s group date as well. She takes her guys on a stroll through the streets of Amsterdam. It’s all very casual and touristy until the men start leading her off into different secluded corners to make out with her in earnest. What must the locals think of these public displays of affection? One random guy after another walks off with her to various side streets and park benches and returns with his hair askew and bearing a satisfied smirk? What are they supposed to think is happening over there??
HOW RACHEL THINKS THIS DATE LOOKS:
HOW THE AMSTERDAM LOCALS THINK THIS DATE LOOKS:
Later, one of the locals makes the mistake of challenging Rachel’s men to feats of strength… with cheese. Boy, ABC is struggling to build compelling plotlines this season. Then, Rachel makes it even weirder by asking them all to strip. MY GOD, RACHEL. This isn’t a wet t-shirt contest, this is a family friendly square!! Look, I’m happy Rachel isn’t crying, but dear god this is a lot of nipple for 9PM on a Monday.
There is decidedly far too much chest for two group dates that are supposed to help these women decide whose family homes they’d like to enter. It’s like they’re trying to wring all the sex appeal out of these guys before their childhood traumas kill the vibe. It’s all fun and games until Tyler’s mom lets it slip that he breastfed until he was eight years old. (He looks the type, no?).
The Sad: Nate’s One-On-One Date
Nate has been a front runner so far, but the moment his name is announced for Gabby’s one-on-one date, I feel nothing but trepidation. She has a healthy relationship with her father, she doesn’t need his daddy energy. That said, Gabby does show up to the date dressed like she’s about to surprise her husband at the office with a quickie (seriously, is there anything underneath that coat?), so maybe that’s a good sign?
Almost immediately, Gabby breaks down and starts crying. How do you tell someone it’s not them, it’s their daughter? You can tell Gabby is really feeling Nate, but she really isn’t feeling being a mother. She’s only 31! She’s too young to be a teen mom.
In all seriousness, the conversation she has with Nate is heartbreaking. At one point she admits that she’s terrified of being a mother. These are the conversations that rivet me on The Bachelorette because they seem like an accident. The whole purpose of this franchise is to glamorize heterosexual matrimony in tired and contrived ways. That Gabby, a woman in her 30s, is speaking so candidly about not being into motherhood—a pillar of hetero societal norms—I’m just gob-smacked. Did the foundation beneath my feet just shake? A woman of childbearing years being happy with an empty womb? And admitting it on national television?? Yes, I think that’s the sound of ABC creating a new fault line in the Earth.
I’m sad to see Nate go, but I think Gabby did the right thing. She seriously considered how hometowns might affect his real life outside of this show. Rather than ignoring her fears, picking him, and having it go down in flames, she’s doing the mature thing by voicing her concerns—even if it means losing the guy in the process. There is a child at stake here, and no one gets that more than Gabby. I’m proud of her for being honest and, more importantly, realistic. There’s only so much therapy a growing girl can endure.
Randomest Cameo: Logan’s Covid
The last few episodes have been dominated by Logan propaganda, but Logan was suspiciously missing during the second half of the group date. Jesse Palmer tells us that this is because he tested positive for covid. AHAHAHA. You’re telling me, that the guy who treated the feelings of America’s most eligible women like his a goddamn slinky got covid and had to self-eliminate before Hometowns?? Karma, you ratchet bitch.
I do have a few questions though. After all, this is the first time since the pandemic began that covid has infiltrated production. First, why is everyone like “thank god only Logan has it!” Um, Gabby just licked chocolate off certain orifices of their bodies in an abandoned warehouse. I’m pretty sure that was exactly how the CDC said the virus spreads. Second, what are these quarantine timelines? Jesse makes a point to cancel the evening portion of the group date “just to be safe”, but eight hours later they can all go to the rose ceremony. I guess covid stops spreading after eight hours? Be honest, ABC. Does Logan have covid, or did production just want a break?
Best Breakdown: Tino
Here’s how I know Tino and Rachel are meant to be: they’re both the drama. If Nate was Gabby’s frontrunner, then Tino is Rachel’s. Anyone with working eyes and ears can tell it’s not even a close competition between Tino and the rest of the guys. And yet, when Rachel gives the group date rose to Tyler, Tino immediately starts spiraling. I don’t know why Tino is sweating it so bad. While the rest of the guys had to give their best sales pitch regarding their families, Tino merely had to exhale before Rachel pounced on him with her tongue. She wants you to say less. You’re good to go, kid.
But Tyler getting the group date rose really upends his whole reality. Immediately after the close of the cocktail party, he power walks off-stage, practically hissing at his producer. He’s like “I’m about to put Zach out, I’m about to put Aven out—anybody else who tries to fuck in these waters, you’re toast. Done. Let’s roll.” Anybody else who tries to fuck in these waters? What are you even saying, Tino!!
It’s scenes like these that solidify for me that man did not discover fire. There’s no way men had the biggest scientific eureka of an era when they barely have the tools to process basic human emotions. I simply won’t believe the lies!
So, who’s going to hometowns? It’s less dramatic than you might think. Next week, Gabby will head to Erich, Jason, and Johnny’s hometowns, while Rachel heads to Zach, Tyler, Tino, and Aven’s. I personally can’t wait to meet the lunatics who decided to spell the most basic white guy name known to man with a silent “h.” The monsters!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (4)
Welcome back, friends, to your favorite TV recap! I don’t know about you, but this season of American Horror Story has been especially gripping. By “American Horror Story” I am not so much referring to the Ryan Murphy brainchild as I am the journey ABC is leading Rachel on. I think ABC knew when they decided to cast two Bachelorettes in one season that they had offended the universe in some fundamental way. In order to appease the gods and save our civilization from an apocalyptic reckoning, they would have to make a human sacrifice. Rachel is that sacrifice.
While Gabby and her men are deepening their connections, butchering common French, and making out in the Parisian moonlight, Rachel is in full on final-girl mode. She’s just trying to survive whatever serial killer ABC wants her to marry next—and serial killer is perhaps a kind summary of her dating pool. I don’t think Ted Bundy would have let his girlfriend be subjected to armpit smelling, nor would he have hidden his crimes behind a compelling story about his dying dog!
Last week, not only did Rachel have to put up with ABC planning “dates” that could double as peewee football league-level hazing, but she also had to deal with Hayden. You know it’s a bad season when the villain’s name is Hayden. Hayden is not the name of a guy who should have any sort of power over your self-esteem. Hayden is the name of a guy who drinks Jager exclusively, has never met a girl whose bed he didn’t urinate in, and says things like “you’re not partying if you’re not pissing!”, leading people to immediately arm themselves with holy water and garlic. And to think, Rachel, you could have just downloaded Hinge…
Though Hayden did try to use a scrapbook of his cancerous dog like a literal shield, Rachel still eliminated him before the rose ceremony. This means he’s back on these streets, ladies! Be vigilant!! If you see a guy stroking a duck paw and muttering nonsensically about “dumb bitches”, run while you can!! The condition of your mattress is at stake!!
Hayden might be gone, but the hardships aren’t over for Rachel just yet. This week, another man wants to do her dirty. Logan, who accepted her rose not once, not twice, but FIVE TIMES, wants to jump ship and date Gabby instead. Again I say, this is some final-girl bullshit. Rachel might not be running from lunatics in Halloween masks or chained to a meat grinder by some guy named Jigsaw, but what she’s dealing with is worse. Much worse. She’s dealing with average American men.
Hey, Rachel? The call is coming from inside the house, babe.
Logan Jumps Ship
Last week’s episode ended with Logan ominously saying he needed to talk to Rachel ASAP. Never mind that Rachel is about one piece of bad news away from willingly walking the plank of the Virgin Mobile cruise ship. What? Is this journey supposed to be about the Bachelorette or something? But he’s a man with feelings and very little self-control! He can’t wait any longer to express himself. Five weeks spent in the company of a gorgeous, self-possessed, pilot is far too long when you have a boner that just won’t go away.
LOGAN: *knocks on Rachel’s door*
I love that when a man shows up to Rachel’s door, her immediate response is to brace herself for disappointment. Pavlov should have done this experiment with the dog.
Also, the timing of this little confession is sociopathic. He’s knocking on Rachel’s door as she’s getting ready for a group date to tell her there’s not enough cleavage in the world to make him stay on her team. It’s like he knew exactly how to implode her whole day. If Hayden is that guy who makes out with his dog and calls you a bitch in front of your parents, then Logan is that guy who dates you for two months, ghosts you when it gets the least bit serious, and then floats in and out of your DMs the second he senses you might be happy without him.
When Rachel asks why he accepted her rose the night before (great question, Rach!), he pretends not to hear her but tells us off-camera that he just didn’t want to break her heart so soon after Hayden’s horrifying exit. Look, cut the bullshit. I’m not buying what you’re selling. This isn’t about wanting to shield Rachel. It’s about trying to advance your own agenda. You want to have Rachel’s rose and fuck Gabby too, but you want us to think you have a complex about it. At least that’s what I’m assuming all the tortured glances in the mirror are about.
I’m sorry, but are you the brooding-but-off-limits senior in a Meg Cabot novel? Are you a Salvatore brother wrestling with your totally age-inappropriate feelings for your vampire brother’s human girlfriend? No on both accounts? Well then CUT THE SHIT WITH THE LONGING LOOKS IN THE MIRROR.
Naturally, Rachel takes the news very hard, but I would challenge her to question if this is really such a loss. His job title says “videographer” which is probably code for “makes TikToks nobody asked for.” I think you may have dodged a bullet, girlfriend.
After Rachel sends him on his way, Logan wastes no time in professing his feelings for Gabby. This is how I know Logan is the kind of guy who lives his life in the cinematic landscape of his own delusions. While he’s trying to tell Gabby about his very tortured and conflicted feelings for her, he vocalizes those feelings as if he were reading straight from a Bridgerton script.
LOGAN: I was on fire for you!
On fire for you? Stop butchering the Duke of Hastings’ best lines, Logan!
Gabby admits to Logan that he was the only guy both girls were interested in pursuing. Have you ever seen a man ejaculate without even touching him? Because Logan’s face right now is making me nauseous to look at. This is the emotional handjob he was looking for when he risked
everything moderate internet shaming for love five to seven more days of cruise booze-induced makeouts. Two bachelorettes fighting over him? He’ll be rubbing one out to that for the rest of his life.
In her bedroom, Gabby gives Logan a vague answer about needing to talk to her sister-in-trauma-bonds Rachel, but I can read between the lines. It looks like good things are going to continue to happen for men who don’t deserve them. The thing is, I do think Gabby likes him. Remember that during week two she wanted to call dibs on him, but Rachel got to him first. She only stopped pursuing him out of respect for Rachel’s feelings.
That doesn’t mean that Logan won’t have to struggle. During the rose ceremony, it dawns on him that his pining and mirror-gazing might not be enough when he’s competing with guys who have had way more time building a relationship with Gabby. Or, as he phrases it: “I need to pursue Gabby in a way that’s fierce.” Dear god, he needs to stop talking. It’s like he speaks exclusively in TikTok.
But you know what? It works. It all works. Logan beats out both Michael and Mario—a guy who got Gabby’s first impression rose, mind you—for her final rose at the rose ceremony. Oh, Gabby. I was rooting for you. We were all rooting for you!
A List Of Men Who Don’t Make Me Totally Embarrassed To Claim Them As Part Of The Human Species
The rest of the episode passes by in a haze. It’s as if Rachel’s pain and Logan’s self-importance are the only narrative structures ABC can handle at the moment. I won’t bore you with the episode details. Only one of us should have to forfeit those brain cells. Instead, here’s an update on all the men who don’t make me completely embarrassed to claim them as part of the human species. This is a tentative list, subject to change at literally any moment should one of them do something weird with their hands or wear a turtleneck. Carry on.
Nate (Team Gabby): Nate and his dad energy are as strong as ever. He seems VERY in love with Gabby and it makes me VERY concerned that she is going to break his sensitive little heart. There’s a sweet moment where Gabby thinks to buy a gift for his daughter from their Belgian travels. This gesture feels huge to me. It could mean she’s already thinking about hometowns and meeting his family. Meeting his daughter! Can you imagine Gabby as a stepmom? Because I can’t. I feel like her parental duties would extend about as far as helping her stepdaughter secretly buy a thong and then hiding it from her dad.
Aven (Team Rachel): Aven got a one-on-one date with Rachel, and he didn’t totally piss me off. That’s it! Those are the notes! When they tire of looking beautiful and sucking face in front of Bruges’ most scenic and historic landscapes, he tells Rachel about his rebellious teen years and complicated relationship with his mother. (Mommy issues are so sexy.) He didn’t really need to express complex emotions for me to root for him. He already has a jaw that could cut glass and is as tall as a small building. Say less.
Johnny (Team Gabby): Johnny snags Gabby’s one-on-one date for the week. Don’t ask me for further details about Johnny, because up until this episode I wasn’t aware he was on this season of The Bachelorette. Their date involves getting drunk off of wine flights, soaking in beer baths, and spanking each other with random branches. Again, don’t ask me for further details. I went catatonic when Gabby started screaming “DO YOU LIKE THAT” at a decibel that isn’t fit for human ears.
As if to explain away the random, primitive sexual energy between the two, Johnny says that normally he isn’t that aggressive on first dates but that “Gabby just brings it out in me.” Is it really “aggression” she’s pulling out of you? Or is it just a boner?
To their credit, they do try to dig deeper with each other. Well, Gabby tries. Johnny just mumbles something about struggling with self-confidence and depression as if he didn’t Google “manliest mental health struggles” right before this date. I’m only saying that he seems just as surprised as Gabby does at the words coming out of his mouth. Overall, they’re fun to watch, but I don’t see them going all the way.
Tino (Team Rachel): Tino is a god among men. Every week he makes me reevaluate my dating strategy (smothering my homicidal rage towards men while willing an Emily Henry book boyfriend into existence), because he continues to be both hot and heartfelt. Those two traits should seemingly not exist together in one human male without some sort of apocalyptic fallout—but they do in Tino! Every week, he shows up for Rachel and reminds her that not all men are trash. Only most of them.
During the group date, Rachel tells the men about Logan’s switching teams and then, in a very low, heartbreaking moment, offers to let them all switch to Gabby’s side if that’s what they want. She doesn’t say it angrily or even sarcastically. She means it genuinely. She doesn’t think any of the guys are here for her anymore, and it is harrowing to watch on screen. But Tino is there to pick up the pieces, and it is adorable.
TINO: I’ll take any piece of you any day
MY COLD DEAD HEART:
Those are all the men who don’t suck, which brings us to Erich—the only guy to blow as hard as Logan this episode, as far as I’m concerned. Erich, whose name is a phonetic abomination, is going to fuck up Gabby’s happiness, I just know it. He doesn’t get much air time this week, but that doesn’t stop him from taking a grenade to his own edit. He’s pissed that Gabby let Logan stay on. He’s pissed that he didn’t win the group date rose. He’s so pissed that he says on-screen, as if his whole stupid life isn’t being recorded, that he doesn’t know where he stands with Gabby, but “I don’t need to be here eight more weeks just to see what happens.” Dude, you have a MULLET. You’re lucky anyone allows you to be here for eight more weeks.
And that’s all she wrote, kids! Next week, the gang is off to Amsterdam, and I didn’t miss the way all the guys’ eyes lit up at that announcement. Well, all the guys except for Michael, Mario, and Meatball, who will not be returning next week. Also, I hate to break it you, boys, but you aren’t going to Amsterdam to watch live sex shows and get high. You’re going there to humiliate yourselves at various historic landmarks. Do not be excited.
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; ABC (1); Giphy (4)
Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! When last we left off, the ladies had just been served a slice of humble pie. Well, not so much “served a slice” as had the entire thing slammed in their faces repeatedly by a guy in a man bun who lives life nipples first, but you get the gist. It’s clear now that the inmates are fully running the asylum. More than that, the Bachelor producers are totally fine with the foundation of this show crumbling to the ground so long as enough chaos (and tears) ensues in the process. Ladies, repeat after me: men. ain’t. SHIT.
Speaking of men and shit, apparently Meatball gets to live another day on our television screens! What a treat! I was just thinking that a guy whose entire personality is a subpar potluck appetizer really deserves to find love. Thank god for second chances!
Meatball isn’t the only one getting a second chance this season. Gabby and Rachel are getting a second chance at love along with actual rules with which to govern their seasons. Amazing. There are now two teams: Team Gabby and Team Rachel. Each team of men will only be allowed to date their appointed coach (Gabby or Rachel, but not both). Did the men get any say in which team they were traded to? Absolutely not. There’s no crying in baseball. Each week, filming will be on parallel timelines: two one-on-one dates, two group dates, two rose ceremonies, two more glasses of wine that I will need to consume.
Problem solved, right? Wrong. ABC never solves problems, people!! They only make them worse. No one is feeling the brunt of ABC’s bad decision making more than Rachel. During last week’s rose ceremony, multiple men refused her rose in favor of trying their luck with Gabby. Let me say that again: multiple men refused the rose of a sitting Bachelorette. That has never happened in the entire history of The Bachelorette. That’s sort of the whole point of this show is that the women can’t get rejected. This is a safe space for them to cultivate love and, as Rachel puts it, “feel chosen.” Refusing a rose is the opposite of feeling chosen—and it forces the very fabric of what makes this show work, what makes it entertaining and watchable, to start fraying at the seams.
Sadly, this week doesn’t get any better for Rachel. At one point Rachel even says that Clayton—the worst Bachelor to ever pollute our television screens—treated her with more love and affection than these men vying for her attention. Woof. That is bleak. Though she has a romantic one-on-one date with Tino (more on that later) the group date and rose ceremony were dismal, to say the least. And, if next week’s teaser is any indication, this is only the beginning.
On that cheerful note, let’s dive into the episode…
Falling In Louvre
After last week’s fuckups, ABC knew they had to give the women two things to salvage this journey: they had to give them rules and they had to give them Paris. It’s the same strategy Mary-Kate and Ashley’s parents used in Passport to Paris when they wanted their 13-year-olds to get off the head-sets please and broaden their cultural horizons. What I’m saying is, this plan has documented success and can absolutely not go wrong.
It’s actually wild that they filmed in Paris. Usually when the host proclaims that they’re going to “a city famous for romance,” they end up in, like, Cincinnati. But of course, ABC does not know how to let us have a nice thing. The gang might be going to Paris, but they’re staying on—wait for it—a cruise ship! So, they’re not so much “going to Paris” as they are going to stay on a giant floating toilet in a body of water somewhere near Paris.
JESSE PALMER: Anchors up! Welcome aboard!
ME: *hisses* you uncultured swine
To capitalize on the Paris momentum, ABC starts the week off with the more romantic dates. The ladies have one-on-one dates planned with Tino (Team Rachel) and Jason (Team Gabby) and the results are a chaotic 20 minutes of the camera crew trying to find narrative structures during two very dissimilar dates.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: Gabby and Rachel are not the same kind of girl. Nor are they girls with very much in common aside from the trauma bond of having to date Clayton on national television. Rachel is much more of a big picture romantic. She wants grand gestures and flowery declarations. Gabby is more of a laid-back goofball. She thrives on the small moments and lets the serious conversations happen more naturally (if at all). Because of this, Rachel’s date has the vibe and narrative structure of an Audrey Hepburn movie, while Gabby’s has the vibe and narrative structure of Emily in Paris.
For example, as Rachel and Tino make out in a rain-soaked street, Gabby and Jason get their foreheads sized for berets (“I’m a size small?? Yay!!”) and get drunk off wine they can’t pronounce. Meanwhile, ABC is grappling to make these dates seem as if they can exist in the same thematic universe. The result is b-roll that feels Mod Podged at best; the only thing holding it together is the same score of swelling music.
I will say that Tino and Rachel have palpable chemistry. Rachel even admits—out loud and to Tino’s face!!—that she “really likes” him. And she wasn’t even being held at knifepoint or anything! Willingly expressing genuine human emotion is something I could only do under the duress of torture, and even then I might prefer the waterboarding. Good for you, sweetie!
But Gabby’s date moves a little slower than Rachel’s. She doesn’t immediately click with Jason and wants to know if there’s anything deeper to him. Gabby keeps saying that Jason is “reserved,” but is it that or is he just not interested? “Reserved” seems like a nice way of saying he’s a blank canvas on which we can project anything onto. Convenient, no?
When Gabby confronts Jason about his quietness, he admits that this process has been really hard on him. Why? He has tennis trauma. Tennis. Trauma. Do not ask me for details, I blacked out halfway through his spiel. It’s not that I don’t believe him, but it did feel a little like he was ad-libbing a sob story for the cameras.
Where Jason wins me over, though, is his reaction to Gabby’s own traumatic past. Jason seems genuinely empathetic when Gabby talks about her relationship with her mother. If you’ll recall, Erich’s reaction was to pray his dinner plate was some sort of Portkey that might transport him to the Triwizard Tournament (or really, any place where he wouldn’t have to console a human woman). In comparison, Jason’s reaction is downright heroic (the bar was so high, I know). Erich, take notes.
What’s French For “This Is Totally Fucked”?
The group dates are where things start to go off the rails for Rachel. She had a nice time with Tino but she forgot that good guys are the exception, not the rule. Oh, honey. We’ve all been there.
The first blow occurs during Gabby’s group date. As I mentioned earlier, there are two group dates this week, one for each woman. Unlike the one-on-one dates, Paris will not allow any more “dates” to take place on Her soil. I guess the berets thing was Her line in the sand. She really said, “you can bring one man to shore and THAT’S IT.”
It’s hard to say what Gabby’s group date even is. There is some sort of boxing element, though the men are doing a fair amount of grandstanding as well. Most of the guys dedicate their fights to Gabby with long-winded speeches that make me want to disintegrate into my couch I’m so embarrassed for them. I hate when ABC makes them seriously fight. This is Paris. Can we not just poke each other with baguettes on the banks of the Seine like CIVILIZED PEOPLE DO?!
And what is Rachel doing during all of this? Watching. That’s right, they make Rachel and her team of guys watch Gabby get serenaded for an afternoon. Do any of Rachel’s men think to serenade Rachel as well? Well, that would require them to use their two remaining brain cells.
As Rachel watches guy after guy shower Gabby with praise and adoration, the camera catches every break in her face. I don’t know why production would think this would be fun for Rachel. After all, until a few days ago some of these guys were still vying for her. It probably stings to suddenly watch them acting in love with her friend.
After the match, Rachel gives the men a verbal spanking, and it is…
She pulled the “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” line and executed it flawlessly. There’s nothing men respond more to than being called disappointments. They don’t want crying or loud confrontations. They want a woman who weirdly reminds them of their mom scolding them in a sports bra.
At this moment it’s clear that there are two different Bachelorette journeys happening this season. One woman (Gabby) is on a journey to find love. The other woman (Rachel) is running the gauntlet of Dante’s Inferno. Like, Frodo encountered less strife on his journey to the fiery pits of Mordor than Rachel has to endure in one episode.
After she begs eight men to pay attention to her, ABC sends her on a group date that could double as a season plot line for American Horror Story. The French are going to instruct Team Rachel on the art of seduction. I was expecting them to rub feathers down Rachel’s skin or learn how to write her sonnets. No, apparently France’s idea of “seduction” aligns more with the goings on in a middle school boys’ locker room.
What comes next is a testament to Rachel’s enduring human spirit. She watches as the guys—one of whom she may have to publicly claim in a few weeks—make out with their fists. Then the French blindfold Rachel, spin her around like a piñata, and thrust her face into the armpit of the nearest man. Tell me this isn’t some kind of biblical-level trial of the soul.
Rachel, sweetie, it’s not too late to run. Get out while you still have some semblance of your dignity intact!!
Rambo: The Bitch He Told You Not To Worry About
Every season ABC casts a guy who reminds me why, instead of giving a human man a chance, I would rather die alone in my apartment with no one to find my cooling body but my faithful dog. This season, that guy is Hayden. Last week he told Gabby that she was a little too “rough around the edges” for his tastes, a phrase she used to communicate her worst fears about herself and he used to throw right back in her face. Classy. This week he doubled down on that statement. I think his exact words were: “My dumb ass uses the verbiage that Gabby uses to describe herself, and she fucking didn’t like that. Well, bitch, maybe you shouldn’t use that word to describe yourself then.”
Do my ears deceive me? Did he just call the Bachelorette A BITCH and then roll his eyes about it with nary a care in the world? Did he?!
Another fun quote from Hayden this episode: “I’ve been comparing my ex to, like, this , right? They don’t hold a candle to her, and I don’t want to just settle. I can tell you right now, I don’t see how any guy here could be like, I’m fucking marrying these girls.”
Hayden is the kind of guy that thinks because he says the word “y’all” and smiles a lot that he gets a free pass for hating women. I’ve grown up around these guys. I’ve dated these guys. These guys are dangerous because they will say and do the most vile things behind your back and then lie right to your face about it.
Case in point: To smooth things over with Rachel, he spends the rose ceremony telling her about his dying dog Rambo. The first red flag here is that he named his dog Rambo. Is his pooch’s IG account sponsored by the NRA? And, I hate to say this about a potentially dying dog, but how do we know this dog even exists? Yes, he has a scrapbook, but “Rambo” could be any golden retriever on the internet. I would not put it past Hayden to lie about a dying dog in order to manipulate a woman.
And then! Hayden has the nerve to say that Rachel wasn’t appropriately sad enough about him carrying around Rambo’s duck paw. Buddy, you are not appropriately sad enough about being a blight on this planet. Let’s call it even.
But Rachel seems to be falling for the pet propaganda. She was on the fence about Hayden after he insulted Gabby last week, but he’s winning her over now. Meatball sees this and decides to do something for his country (he’s a maverick like that) and tells Rachel about Hayden’s alter ego. I did not think it was possible for a man who, two weeks prior, was rubbing meat sauce through his chest hairs to be the unsung hero of this episode. Who knew that Meatball—MEATBALL!!—would be worthy of a song by the bards??
RACHEL: Do you know why you’re here?
HAYDEN: I’m assuming this is about Rambo?
I’M ASSUMING THIS IS ABOUT RAMBO!! I love that he openly talked shit about the women in the house and can’t fathom that conversation coming back to bite him in the ass. No, this isn’t about your cancerous dog. This is about you being the scum of the fucking earth.
Rachel sends him packing but she should have made him walk the plank. Why else charter a boat, ABC? Hmm?
As Rachel storms back onto the ship, probably wondering what kind of centuries-old witch’s curse was placed upon her bloodline for her love life to be going this way, Hayden stares wistfully after her and says, “I wanted this to work, but… I wanted Rambo more. No one loves me like Rambo does.” Rambo only loves you unconditionally because Rambo doesn’t have access to a TV!! Just wait until he gets his paws on a working remote…
Here’s who else got eliminated this episode:
Team Rachel Eliminations: Hayden, Jordan
Team Gabby Eliminations: Quincey, Kirk
We’ll have to wait until next week to see what other horrors ABC has in store for Rachel’s soul. Until then!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin (2); Giphy (5)
Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap! Last week, we got a taste of how this season would play out—and let me tell you, there were far too many milky white thighs involved for my comfort level. ‘Tis my cross to bear, I suppose…
But this week the ladies are refocused. After a rocky rose ceremony where they banished a man who dared to have opinions about their sex lives beyond “I will worship the lint between your toes if it means you might breathe in my direction some day,” they’re feeling pretty good about themselves. They have all the control. They hold all the power.
ABC PRODUCERS WATCHING THIS EXCHANGE FROM AFAR:
Ladies, ladies, ladies. That isn’t how this show works! Female empowerment doesn’t inspire higher ratings; misogyny and mild nudity does! Get with the program.
As if to illustrate this point, the cameras cut to the men, who are discussing which of the women make them feel tingly down there. No, no, no, NO. You do not get a say in this. Your job is to sit there and look pretty. Nothing else. Once they open their mouths, the fantasy is ruined.
The problem is the men are starting to realize they have options. Have you ever read If You Give A Mouse A Cookie? The cautionary tale of giving lesser species (in the book’s case, rodents; in the show’s case, men) a modicum of choice and control. Do you know how that book ends? With the mouse making grabby hands at every shiny object in sight. The men are doing something similar here. Instead of considering Gabby and Rachel’s feelings, they’re focused entirely on who *they* want to be with. I’m sorry, but if I wanted to listen to a man named Meatball wax poetic about who makes his nipples hard, I would interact with the comments section of a Barstool article. You never give the
Meatball mouse a cookie. You get that asshole a rat trap.
Sparks Are Flyin’
Before I get to the doom and gloom of the episode, let’s talk about the high points: the one-on-one dates. Rachel in particular struggled with her one-on-one date last week and ended up sending the pore-less Jordan home. He and his skin care routine will be missed.
This week things go a bit smoother for her. She invites Zach on her date, which is quickly crashed by Queer Eye’s Karamo. Wow, I definitely thought Queer Eye paid better than this. Karamo says that he just had to be a part of the fun—he loves Rachel so much! I would believe him more if he didn’t direct those statements to a random mannequin instead of Rachel. I don’t know what kind of Real World blackmail ABC has on that man, but if he’s gracing our television screens tonight then it can’t be anything good.
Karamo sends them to “an exclusive movie premiere” but not before styling Rachel like Oscar the Grouch first. (Seriously, that outfit was so mean of them). The “exclusive movie premiere” is not, as I guessed, a private screening of He’s Just Not That Into You (ABC clearly doesn’t understand comedic timing). The movie they’re attending is not even a movie so much as a cinematic scrapbook of their childhoods. Home movies on a first date should be illegal. Footage of me during a time in my life when I had unsupervised access to a hair crimper and body glitter? That’s not romantic, that’s a war crime.
^^12 year old me treating my shopping trip to Claire’s like a religious experience
Though watching home movies is a specific ring of hell for me, Rachel and Zach seem into it—and into each other. The two find out that they have so much in common: they were both once children and have watched a plane before (I paraphrase). Dare I say… they’re cute?
But not as cute as Gabby’s three-on-one date with Grandpa John and Erich. When I say I screamed at the sight of that old man and his knitwear. I have never been so happy in my life to see a man return to this show. I can’t wait to watch Grandpa John’s look of abject horror at learning how Erich spells his name.
Speaking of Erich, I can’t get a good read on him. He’s polite and engaging with Gabby and her grandpa, but does he seem to like Gabby particularly? I can’t tell. This becomes especially apparent during their alone time together. Erich is all for feeling Gabby up during the bowling excursion (hands, Erich!! Grandpa John is right there!!), but he struggles to comfort Gabby when she shows more complicated emotions.
During the dinner portion of the evening, she tells him a little about being estranged from her mother. At one point she even says that lack of maternal love has broken her in some way. Erich’s response? To stare longingly at his dinner plate in the hopes that it might transport him to an alternate dimension where he doesn’t have to deal with a woman and her emotions. Jesus Christ, Erich. I know you thought you’d end dinner with some light groping, but the human condition is a little messier than the condition tenting your pants rn. Have a heart, not a hard-on!
I will say, Gabby has never been more relatable than when she abandons the dinner table to cry in a corner with her white wine. That doesn’t make watching Gabby’s breakdown any easier. She’s been struggling this whole episode. She doesn’t think she’s deserving of being the Bachelorette and wonders if Rachel is more of a natural fit for the role. This is expressly what I did not want to see this season. They need to stop comparing themselves to each other (there’s no logic to that) and start comparing the men to the shit on their shoes (there is logic in that).
Erich eventually comforts Gabby—but only after she’s guzzled another bottle of wine and prophesied a future wherein she dies alone with only her dog to find her rotting remains. What I’m saying is, he waited far too long to get his ass in gear. He handles the whole thing very politely. But that’s just it: it’s polite, not genuine. I’ve seen Delta representatives show more compassion than what Erich’s giving me right now.
Erich, I’m watching you…
Men Do Not Deserve To Have Brains
This next part of the recap is a section I like to call: “Strong Evidence Against Men Being Allowed To Have Brains.” And let me tell you, the science is compelling! As I mentioned earlier, the men are starting to think this season is all about them. If there’s one thing I don’t want to see on my Monday night, it’s men exercising their rights. In fact, I would be totally fine with ABC keeping the men corralled in a pit underground, only to be brought out for dates and aesthetic purposes. But of course this franchise is not interested in my wants and needs. They’d much rather play a game of Jenga with the women’s emotional states. After all, who wants to watch strong, capable women navigate their emotional depths when you can watch production sauté their self-esteem so a guy with a man bun can feel like the biggest stud in the room?
Which brings me to my working hypothesis: men should not be allowed to have brains. I’m not convinced they entirely have them in the first place, but they definitely shouldn’t be allowed access to whatever sad synapses that do manage to fire off. Let’s look at the evidence:
Exhibit A: Bromance > Romance
During Rachel’s date with Zach, Gabby heads to the house for a casual hang. First of all, I could have told her that nothing good comes of a casual hang. The last time I got conned into one of those, it ended with him asking for my Snapchat handle and Venmoing me for half the six-pack he picked up.
Do the men take advantage of the extra alone time with their Bachelorette? Lol, as if! No, they would prefer to spend the day playing slap and tickle with each other.
It’s just… sad to watch. Gabby is doing her best to pretend like their disinterest isn’t bothering her, but there’s only so many times a girl can yell “nice fumble!!” before she slips into a catatonic state. I give her props for lasting as long as she did.
Exhibit B: Blood In The Water
Things only get worse for Gabby during the group date, when a large faction of the men give her the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech. In fact, it feels like almost every guy on the group date (and there are 19 of them!!) are not interested in dating Gabby. First of all, it’s week three. You’ve known Gabby and Rachel for less time than it takes me to do a load of laundry. You don’t know either of these women enough to write one of them off. YOU FUCKERS.
Not only are they not interested in Gabby, but they also vocalize these feelings with about as much sensitivity as an atomic bomb. I’ve seen sharks play with their food in more humane ways than what’s happening on my screen rn.
The worst offenders by far are Hayden and Jacob. Hayden tells Gabby that she’s more “rough around the edges” than he’d like for a wife, insinuating that Rachel is somehow “better” than Gabby. Then Jacob tells her that even if she was the last woman on Earth he would not compete for her attention. He’s like, “yeah even if you were my only option on this show, I wouldn’t want to date you.” Jacob, you look like you masturbate to your own headshots. Are you really one to talk about options?
Gabby spends the rest of the date crying off-camera. She doesn’t give out a rose. In fact, she looks like she would rather live the rest of her life in a bunker than interact with any of these men for a second longer. I can’t say I blame her.
Exhibit C: The Men Go Rogue
But perhaps where we really see the wheels come off is when the men simply don’t understand the assignment during the rose ceremony. In response to the group date, the women decide to have two separate journeys from here on out. There will be a set group of guys for Gabby and a set group of guys for Rachel. The women will be handing out roses to their guys, and the guys will only get to date the woman whose rose they accept. This is what should have happened from the beginning, but I get the sense that ABC didn’t want to have to do double the filming. The result is this farce of a season.
As the rose ceremony begins, Gabby looks like she is bracing herself for combat. Meanwhile, Rachel is confident in a way that makes me think production is about to screw her. At first, everything is fine. They both hand out a few roses without being rejected. The only downside is that the rose receivers start calling themselves “the winner’s circle.” That tells me everything I need to know about how serious these guys are about marriage. They’re like, air humping each other with their roses, for Christ’s sake. I’m sickened.
But still, at least the women’s dignity is intact… until it isn’t. Overly confident Rachel is the first to watch shit crumble. Termayne says he can’t accept Rachel’s rose when he’s really here for Gabby. That in itself is shocking. She’s getting rejected in public, in front of men she’s still trying to date. Then Jesse Palmer materializes like the bridge troll he is, only instead of accepting his payment in riddles, he strips Rachel of her roses. That’s right. Not only does Rachel get rejected, but they’re taking her roses from her. They’re punishing her for the men’s insolence. It gets worse. Alec turns Rachel down, followed by Meatball. Let me emphasize: Meatball turned a human woman down. Meatball!!!
This is so fucked. I’m seething. What kind of misogynistic hell realm have we fallen into where humiliating women on national television is supposed to be good wholesome fun? I hate ABC for doing this to us. I hate myself for not having enough rosé to dull this edge.
By the end of the episode we have our camps: Team Gabby vs. Team Rachel. The line-up looks like this:
Team Gabby: Nate, Johnny, Spencer, Jason, Mario, Kirk, Quincey, Michael, Erich
Team Rachel: Tino, Logan, Tyler, Ethan, Jordan, Hayden, Aven, Zach
We’ll have to wait until next week to see if the men are any more well-behaved… I think hell might freeze over first. Until then!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (3)
Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap! Last week, ABC debuted a new kind of love story for us Bachelor Nation plebs. Instead of watching one woman survive a wasteland of overly-groomed men (I paraphrase), this season we get to watch two best friends on their journey to find love! Two best friends, or at least two individuals who are contractually obligated to promote the same products on Instagram for the next 6-12 months. You get the gist.
For a season that promised big drama and even bigger love stories, the season opener left me unimpressed. But perhaps I just had unreasonably high hopes. The Bachelorette is, after all, my favorite ABC abomination. Why? Because the women seemingly have some control over the narrative. You want to fuck a guy in a windmill? Fine. You want to abandon your season after 10 days to run away with a Party City model? Also fine. Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine. This season, NOTHING IS FINE. There are simply no rules—just ask Jesse Palmer! Oh, wait. You can’t. At all times, he is silent and stone-faced in the background, watching as Gabby and Rachel essentially descend into that scene from The Lion King where Scar’s hyenas catcall Simba on his way to Pride Rock. He emphasizes that this is Gabby and Rachel’s thing, and he’s just here for support. What kind of support? Well, he can gesture vaguely in the direction of the open bar.
The lack of rules and structure bleeds into their dates, and the amount of effort the men are putting into said dates. They’re starting to understand that they can reasonably date two women at once. In fact, it’s encouraged! Why intimately get to know one woman when you can make surface level small talk and maybe get to make out with two?
It doesn’t help that Gabby and Rachel’s approach to everything is to act cool girl casual at all times. The way they’ve set up the dates feels less romantic and formal, and more like a frat party gone awry. There aren’t even enough beds in the house for everyone! Within the first few minutes of the episode, we’re told that the housing accommodations are something akin to the Fyre Festival’s. The cameras pan to a slew of bunk beds that could double as set pieces from Orange is the New Black. I would not be surprised if production enacted some sort of Hunger Games-style cornucopia where the guys battle it out for linens and toothpaste.
While the season hasn’t totally gone off the rails yet, it’s getting there. You can see the strain in Gabby and Rachel’s relationship with each other (they’re still acting tentative about who they like and if it’s okay to like the same guys) and with the men. And on that very foreboding note (can’t wait to tell my old creative writing professor that, SEE, I do know how to write tension), let’s get into the episode!
The Group Date: There Are Some Things Your Eyes Can’t Unsee
You know that thing I said about there being no structure, and how that anarchy was fueling the format of the dates? That starts with the group date. Normally, group dates serve two purposes: to humiliate the contestants and simultaneously restore my faith in justice and the universe. Group dates are also structured like my friend’s baby’s playdates: everybody pretends to be on their best behavior, or else they won’t get a little treat afterwards. There’s usually an activity and then some sort of afterparty. A rose is given out to the most well-behaved good boy. This group date is all of those things and none of those things. Instead of the group date revolving around a structured activity, it’s more of a clothing-optional hang.
Gabby and Rachel invite the men to compete in a “pageant.” I’m using that term very loosely here, because “pageant” implies we will witness a modicum of talent, and not a man known only by the name of “meatball” lasciviously pouring meat sauce down his hairy chest like he’s Paris Hilton in a Hardee’s commercial.
To be fair, the ladies did only give the men 28 minutes to prep their acts, 26 of which were used to apply an obscene amount of body oil, and the last two reserved for calling their mommies to remind them what special boys they are. The amount of preparation shows. There are just some things my eyes can’t unsee. At one point my roommate, who watches this show only after I’ve bribed her with wine and cheese, but who always leaves an hour into every episode, gasps and says “are they allowed to show this many little penises?” Yes. In fact, I think that’s entirely the point. And there are so many penises. That little black bar is working harder than ABC’s producers for its holiday bonus.
Where is Jesse Palmer during this showcasing of fragile masculinity? Mentally, he’s doing push-ups at the sight of all those exposed pecs. In actuality, he is telling us that the winners of this “pageant” will get invited to an exclusive afterparty. The way he says “afterparty” has the same vibe as the guy who drove the party bus at my friend’s 30th birthday party. He also invited us to his timeshare in Florida after handing us his album Girls Kissing Girls.
JESSE: The winners will be invited to an exclusive afterparty!
JESSE PALMER IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THAT STATEMENT:
The “pageant” is about as horrific as you might expect. One guy does the worm and pretends his ballsack didn’t just slip out of his speedo. A lot of guys—too many guys—are into juggling. Tino wishes he didn’t skip leg day. Jacob, the guy who looks like a housewife’s mid-life crisis, straddles a chair (again, why is no one concerned about what may or may not fall out of their speedo) and goes through a Powerpoint on fixed-rate mortgages. Chris commits a crime against my eardrums and starts singing. How Gabby and Rachel are supposed to pick winners from this shocking display of talent, I do not know.
In the end they do pick winners—six of them—and Aven, Logan, Brandan, Jason, Johnny, and Colin are all invited to the afterparty. Do not ask me to elaborate on details such as what their talents were, or even how to describe their physical builds. As of right now, they are all still faceless mannequins to me.
While Gabby seems to hit it off with a few people, Rachel really struggles through the cocktail party. After some truly titillating conversations about *checks notes* how many American states she’s visited and what Harry Potter house she would be sorted into, Rachel is wondering where the nearest interstate is so she can walk straight into oncoming traffic. The feeling intensifies when Jason tells her he’s only into Gabby, and then immediately after that conversation she stumbles upon Gabby making out with Johnny (a guy she already called dibs on).
JASON: I’m actually here for… Gabby 😬
RACHEL: hahahahahahahahaha!!! Omg that’s totally fine!!! hahahahahahaha!!!!
Rachel’s experience on this date—a dinner party where there is minimal alcohol and you are constantly rejected—is definitely an outer ring of hell. So, it’s no wonder that by the night’s end she has strong-armed the last guy at the afterparty into a guest bedroom. Goddamnit, she wants to get felt up by a potted plant just like every other Bachelorette on this franchise! Logan says all the right things. He tells her she’s brave for coming on the show and that she inspired him during the “pageant” (reminder: his talent was the doing the worm). This would all be fun and cute (especially after they go to town making out on that guest bed!) if not for the fact that Logan has that exact same conversation with Gabby… and also makes out with her.
See, this is why I’m advocating for more structure and rules. Logan is getting way too comfortable about dating two women at once. He is literally rinsing and repeating his conversations.
Gabby, for the most part, is having fun. She seems to be genuinely enjoying the process, while Rachel worries constantly about finding “the one.” The only time things get weird is when Rachel reveals she made out with Logan and Gabby has to pretend she’s happy about that. She lets Rachel choose Logan for her group date rose, while Gabby chooses Johnny.
The One-On-One Dates
The one-on-one dates prove equally challenging for Rachel. She chooses Jordan, the race car driver from Georgia, to go on a zero-gravity plane ride. I have a few comments. First, I’d just like to know what Jordan’s skin care routine is because damn that boy is fresh-faced. My god, does he even have any pores? Second, I need more logistics about what a zero-gravity date entails. I looked it up, and in order to hit zero gravity they have to be flying through that layer of ether thingie right before space (“layer of ether thingie” is the technical term). How is it legal for two people who are not astronauts to just take a spin in the ether? How many holes are they creating in the ozone layer so Rachel can straddle him mid-air?
I will say, Rachel looks great. This whole zero-gravity thing is like a hair commercial for her.
But when they land, gravity hits hard. Don’t get me wrong, Jordan does everything he’s supposed to. He talks about how their lifestyles align (pilots and race car drivers are notoriously very similar professions in that they… both require a license?). He even brings up his parents’ divorce and appropriately dramatizes the split so it mirrors the PTSD of a Vietnam war vet. But none of it works for Rachel. She’s just not feeling it. She asks the producers if she can send him home, and I would genuinely like to know the answer to that question. What if Gabby was into him? Does she have to run her decision by Gabby? Who gets the final say over cutting a guy loose?
The answer to these questions is apparently “WHO CARES about Gabby, and I’m sending this guy home.” Rachel tells Jordan that she won’t give him the rose, but she does want to know what nighttime moisturizer he uses. Or is that just me? I’m actually astounded he’s just allowed to walk off the premise without Gabby having a say in any of this. Again… what! are! the! rules!
Meanwhile, Gabby’s one-on-one date goes a bit better. For her date she chooses Nate, the girl dad who wears more accessories than a Claire’s clearance rack. This is not a dig at Nate. Nate is hot and Nate stood up for the ladies when Chris was slut shaming them for sex acts they have yet to complete (more on that later). Nate seems very in touch with his feelings, as evidenced by the fact that he can’t stop crying (okay, I’ll admit that part was a bit of a drag). He also seems very in touch with his tongue down the back of Gabby’s throat.
The energy between them feels natural and easy. I mean, yes, Gabby does have a private helicopter pick them up like it’s a goddamn Uber, but for the most part their date is super normal. I’m rooting for these two. For now…
Worst Storyline: Chris As A Villain
Chris started off the episode by declaring himself a triple threat: a sports enthusiast, a music man, and a leader. Somewhere in a dance studio in LA, Beyoncé just stumbled during her choreo. Then, impossibly, Chris got even worse: he sang. Well, it was less singing and more tunelessly stringing together random words, but the overall effect will haunt my nightmares until my dying day. But the singing could have been forgiven had I only had enough wine to find it tolerable (my box ran out). What really sealed Chris’ fate for me was when he started running his mouth about the fantasy suites.
Why was Chris talking about the fantasy suites during week two? Why does a man offer any opinion unprompted? Why does a bear shit in the woods? Because they simply cannot control themselves. Chris says that when—not if—he goes to fantasy suites, he has a few deal breakers for the girls. Namely, that they not be intimate with anyone else.
CHRIS: If the female has sex with someone else, I wouldn’t be interested in that person being the person I’m with.
Slut shaming? In this economy, Christopher??
Chris is already trying to control the sexual choices these women make, and he hasn’t even so much as breathed in their direction this season. The audacity straight, mediocre men have is astounding.
I will say that it’s nice to see the other men quickly jump to Gabby and Rachel’s defenses. Nate gives an impassioned speech where he says that Chris needs to have more respect for these women. They could be their queens or the mothers of their children! Y’all. He called Gabby and Rachel queens!! The last time a guy called me anything it was by the wrong name, and as he was asking if I could buy him another Bud Light. So, yes, I am crying in the club right now.
During the rose ceremony, some of the guys tell Rachel about Chris’ presumptions. She keeps nodding her head but you can tell she has no idea who this “Chris” is. I’m glad she was able to block out his singing. I have not been so fortunate.
Gabby and Rachel confront Chris who looks as if women giving opinions is something he’s never encountered before. He’s like “no, no, no you misunderstood. I said it exactly that way but that’s only because I start a relationship at the ending and then work backwards from there!” He works his way backwards?? What does that even mean?? I do love when a man starts our relationship by immediately telling me the theoretical ways I’ll betray him in the future and how I should start making up for it. It does wonders for my blood pressure.
But Gabby and Rachel are having none of it. They’ve been entertaining an entire fleet of men for 10 days straight. They’re exhausted, and they can’t keep anyone’s names straight anymore. They especially don’t have time for Chris and his fan fiction. He can tap dance his way home.
This Week’s Body Count (Who Goes Home):
And finally, this week’s body count. Here’s who Gabby and Rachel kicked to the curb:
- Race car Jordan (one-on-one date)
- Music Man Chris (cocktail party/rose ceremony)
- Boston Ryan (rose ceremony elimination)
- A rando named Brandon (rose ceremony elimination)
- A rando named Colin (rose ceremony elimination)
- A rando named Matt (rose ceremony elimination)
- A rando named Justin (rose ceremony elimination)
- A rando named John (rose ceremony elimination)
And that’s all she wrote for this week! Until we meet again!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (6)