Okay, they’ve got me confused about episode numbers, sorry about that. Apparently, all these specials and clip conglomeration hours that pass for new shows count among the total episode count for the main branch of The Bachelor. No wonder I failed geometry.
As part of my exhaustive dedication to documenting this season, I watched Sean and Catherine”s wedding, broadcast live last night in between a series of pre-produced segments about the dress, the flowers, and the cake. Viewers learned that the couple chose not to have sex until their wedding night. In fact, they were informed of this approximately once every seven minutes during the course of the two-hour special. Apparently, ABC finds the idea of a voluntarily sex-free romantic relationship so astonishing that it must be remarked upon as frequently as if the couple had revealed themselves to be inhabitants of the planet Jupiter.
To help underscore the point, Sean was seen buying sexy lingerie just for Catherine and all of America; Catherine had sexy boudoir photos taken just for Sean and all of America; and the two of them discussed how eager they were to finally jump each other’s bones during several intimate private moments while all of America watched. Meanwhile, inset boxes showed a housekeeper making up the bed in the honeymoon suite, so that we might witness the fresh 1,000-thread-count sheets on which the conjugal act would momentarily happen. At least we know Juan Pablo isn’t a virgin, so if he gets married, the Television Special Event will have to settle for obsessing about Camila’s anticipation at being the flower girl or whether the wife-to-be gets along with the ex.
Tonight we’re going to South Korea! More tongue-kissing, this time Gangnam-style. Nikki is accused of being one way with JP, another way with the girls. Do they want her making goo-goo eyes at them?
JP opens the show by telling us Camila is his everything, but now is his time and he must focus on himself. I’m sure that’s a new concept for him. Just ask his ex-wife.
Only 13 girls are left to cull from the herd. Chris tells them there’s only one one-on-one date this time, as well as a couple of group dates. They clap and squeal when he tells them they’re off to Seoul, although they have only one hour to pack. “I don’t even have a kimono,” one shrieks. I hope that’s not the first-grade teacher. Cue vaguely Asian-sounding music as the Travelogue shots and ham-handed cultural stereotyping begin.
Those girls sure managed to pack a lot in 60 minutes, they’re each pushing a cart loaded to the hilt. I guess all the hair products and cheap cocktail dresses take up space. At the hotel, they find the first card. It’s a group date with six girls. Nikki is annoyed. She yearns for private time with the guy who says “hoo!” a lot and just bought a pink fuzzy heart pillow that says “I love you” on it.
A series of pagoda shots later, JP tells us that the girls on the date will be dancing to the “music” of a top K-Pop band. Nikki repeats her resentment at the group date. She doesn’t share well, she explains, since she did not have sisters, which is the only way one can learn to share. Chelsie says it’s “weird to see JP halfway around the world.” Like, if they were in Australia, he’d be upside down!
They go into a gymnasium to join the K-Pop group 21, who look to have had as much cosmetic surgery as any of the bachelorettes. They will be teaching the girls to dance, while offering the opportunity for JP to see them in leggings and sports bras. The 21 girls invite the ABC girls to come to their show and perform tonight. Everyone is excited, except Nikki who considers herself a horrible dancer. I see a theme developing here.
Following footage of misty mountains and street signs in Korean, the girls go to wardrobe and Nikki bitches some more. The camera zooms in on J’s gyrating crotch in red pants. At least there’s equal opportunity exploitation. We learn that K-Pop style is highly influenced by 90’s fashion and Nickelodeon cartoons.
The performance place, which looks like a mall, is mobbed. Nikki doesn’t like that either. If she were complaining about the quality of the music, I’d be on board, but this general grumpiness is just irritating. JP is proud of the girls’ performance, though. Considering that he’s on this show, however, we know he doesn’t have very demanding standards.
A temple and some lantern lighting, and the group arrives in a garden to find the rose waiting ominously. How the hell did he figure anything out about any of them from this date? Other than that Nikki is a party pooper. He goes off with someone–Clare? Chelsie?–who tells him she doesn’t want him to think of her as “just fun and games.” Too bad he wants to think of her that way. She had a severely alcoholic dad, she says, as plunky, non-Asian music plays. “It’s good to have a conversation and have feelings,” she tells us emotionally, suggesting these things are an unusual experience for her.
Meanwhile, the rest of them criticize Nikki for being negative and bad-tempered, which are not desirable mothering traits to offer Camila, who gets to be the negative and bad-tempered one in the relationship. Off with JP, she claims she had a good time on the group date, so she’s a liar, too. She whines that she feels nervous and shy in this situation. “How do you feel about Camila?” JP says impatiently, because Nikki’s feelings are not of consequence. She says afterwards that he gets who she is as a person, which apparently is a poor dancer who is shy and nervous. She feels she deserves the rose tonight because she “was me.” Remember, Nikki, Stalin was also himself. But she gets the rose, and they kiss. Her sports bra probably had the best side-boob view.
There’s a nice lathering-up-in-the-shower moment with JP’s torso, after we learn that Sharleen has been awarded the one-on-one date. She exercises her tongue in preparation. They go to a market. It’s just the thing to walk past piles of dead fish as you get to know one another. Then they go to a tea house, where Sharleen hopes they can “dig deep” in front of the cameras and crew members. Nobody is serving them any tea, what’s that about? She favors him with the compliment that he’s not bland, a word which he needs defined. Just look at a picture of your usual facial expression, JP.
Now she’s going to sing for him, in a courtyard with poor acoustics. But she just trills a little. “Now I have opened up for him,” she tells us, which prompts more tonsil massages. Maybe that’s how she limbers up for a concert.
Meanwhile, the girls bitterly review how terrible she is and what a crappy mother she’d make. Of course.
Sharleen’s skepticism about JP has faded and she thanks him for a perfect date. He asks pointedly how many kids she wants; he wants two more. That’s kind of a loaded first date question. Ah, and here is the conflict: She’s never thought about it because she’s been career- focused. Add that to the tongue-thrusting and the backless dresses, and the GOP is ready to pass legislation against her.
JP appreciates her honesty, and her tongue. He gives her the rose, and his tongue.
Some bridges and inscrutable music later, six girls go off to see JP. They’ll be getting crazy in Korea, he tells them. Better not try that in North Korea. First they’re going to do karaoke. It’s over quickly, possibly because no one is all bitchy about it, and go to take silly photos in a booth, then to ride some swan-shaped pedal boats. Notice that JP lets the girls do all the pedaling. Next it’s to a place where wee fish bite the dead skin off your toes. So romantic!
There are complaints that Clare is too territorial with JP. Seems strategic to me. But now she must eat some octopus, which she dreads, as it is the “epitome” of her fears. Mine is being squeezed to death by an octopus, but to each his own.
Night falls, and the girls who haven’t kissed JP are growing concerned. They are less distraught that they have not yet had a conversation with him that lasts longer than four minutes. Renee is asked to go off with JP first. She’s all upbeat, although cleverly remembers to mention that it’s hard missing her son. She really wants to kiss him and creates an awkward situation by telling him so. He refuses because he’s thinking about how Camila shouldn’t see her dad kissing all these women. It’s just fine, however, for her to see him whoring himself out on this show. Or perhaps he’s afraid the other kids at school will taunt her with cries of “Your daddy kissed more than five women in the course of four weeks on network television!” Kids can be so cruel.
Andi is next. She wants to dig deeper, too, so they discuss watching soccer and sleeping in. What a remarkable meeting of the minds. They snuggle but do not kiss, which must be Camila-Approved Conduct®.
He refuses to kiss the next girl, too, even when she paws at him. “I have a daughter,” he says prissily. So there was no kissing involved to get her? Lauren cries about it, because she doesn’t know what he’s feeling right now. He’s feeling like not kissing you, lady. You should’ve offered some tongue. JP feels bad that he must deny the petal-soft perfection of his lips to Lauren, who so desperately desires his kiss. She’s trying to stay optimistic, though, that one day they might even see each other in a room without a director present.
JP and Clare go off together next. She tells him she threw up in her mouth after eating the octopus, and that she really liked kissing him on their first date. Surely he will want to kiss her again now. He admits he didn’t want to kiss anybody tonight–although why this is so now, after he vacuumed the molars out of Sharleen’s mouth–but Clare and her cephalopod mollusc vomit story are irresistible. One day Camila will understand, probably when she is on The Bachelorette in 20 years.
Back with the others, JP gives Andi the rose. So he just wants Clare for her body.
Now gathered at a “Korean palace,” the girls are joined by JP prior to the Rose Ceremony. Nikki walks off moodily, and hoves into view as Clare is talking with JP, ruining their mojo. The girl already has a rose, what is her problem? She meets with him next and again mentions how nervous she is. She really is a stellar conversationalist. JP brings up possible issues arising at the house, but Nikki dismisses it. She is indignant, suggesting Clare introduced the idea to JP. Kelly creates conflict by informing Clare that Nikki suspects she discussed the topic with JP. Clare expresses the opinion that anyone who would waste their precious moments in the company of Him complaining about another girl is foolish. She further considers Nikki’s paranoia unworthy of a rose. Nikki counters that Clare is not the individual dispensing roses. This paragraph would be much longer except I left out all the “like’s”, “I mean’s” and “you know’s”.
Finally, it’s time for homeroom and the Rose Ceremony. Chris shares his incredulity that they’re standing in an ancient royal palace in Seoul, Korea, “but it’s time for another Rose Ceremony.” JP lectures them about how it’s getting tougher to make decisions, and to resist kissing everybody. Renee gets the first rose, then Chelsie, followed by Kelly. Next are Danielle, Cassandra, and Alison, the one I never remember. The next to last rose goes to Clare, causing Nikki to whirl angrily and glare daggers at her. One rose remains. It goes to Kat. So long, Lauren, you blew it with the clinginess; Elise, who knows what she did wrong. Maybe weighed too much. And she’s an ugly crier.
Another week of despair, joy, kissing, and not kissing is over. Until next week, when we’ll go to Vietnam! They’ll probably use the same soundtrack.