It’s only Week Three, and already the gals will be coming to blows—although not the kind Aziz Ansari would expect on a first date. One group outing tonight features a wrestling match between the Gorgeous Ladies of the Bachelor (GLOB, oh, ha ha ha), wherein the women don skimpy costumes and roll around in a ring. ABC was challenging itself to sink even lower than The Pat Sajak Show.
At least they make up for this tawdry display with the second group date, in which the ladies join Arie to perform in a dog show. It’s a rare example of creatures without opposable thumbs being the most intelligent group on screen.
However, which b’ette earns the ever-important one-on-one date remains as much of a mystery as who sent out that bomb-attack alert in Hawaii. While Bachelor viewers are also praying for the reprieve that comes with a swift death, they find Kim Jong-Un less threatening than Chris Harrison asking invasive questions on After the Final Rose. Anyway, Reality Steve believes it will be one of the Laurens, but to be fair, that’s like predicting you’ll get fewer than two marshmallows in a spoonful of Lucky Charms.
Other rumors circulating on dull-witted people’s Twitter pages are that Bibiana will not receive a rose; that Brittany T. had to leave due to her demolition-derby injuries (is that a workplace-related accident?); and that diamonds from Ivanka Trump’s jewelry line were used in a massive money-laundering scheme through the Commercial Bank of Dubai. Only time will tell which assertion is accurate. We already know which one Fox News won’t bother to report.
After the usual re-caps, which ratchets up the drama like a PMSing teen, we see pre-caps of everyone’s rising tensions, jealousy, and anxiety. “I am broken,” declares Bibiana in a moment of personal despair, and after months of scriptwriter lethargy.
Chris, who doesn’t even bother ironing his shirts anymore, greets the 18 women by reminding them that some will go home soon. “Time is precious,” he informs them, although it’s not as precious as people in Hawaii were thinking recently. He reminds himself that time is ad revenue before leaving the group date card, and going to visit his customized wine racks that hold standard Bordeaux and Burgundy-sized bottles as well as the wider Rhone-size bottles.
Krystal and Bibiana are included in the group date, although they will be frisked for weapons before entry. As the announcer in the wrestling ring, Chris introduces a masked Arie as the Kissing Bandit, despite the fact that he has never had to steal a make-out session. Chris further explains that the gals will wrestle in front of a live audience. The goal of the exercise is to discover who is the strongest woman.”There could be some drama,” observes a b’ette prophetically.
Some real GLOW women arrive to help out, and possibly spark a “where are they now” piece in their local press. They teach Arie to do a somersault and land on his back with a disturbing crash reminiscent of when those three-legged seltzer bottles fall over in my fridge. He likes that this date will be “uncomfortable,” not to mention crass and undignified, because it will help him identify who can have fun in an unexpected situation. He could really put the pressure on if he brought them to a warehouse fire or public hanging.
A GLOW lady makes fun of Bibiana’s name, which, let’s face it, we’ve all been doing since early January. I bet Arie has even considered ditching her because he doesn’t want to waste all that time when texting. Now Tia is crying at this harsh treatment from middle-aged broads in gladiator costumes. I’ve had that experience, too, only it was my piano teacher and she was wearing a twin set. The girls vow to stick together and get through it, much as families in Hawaii did this week, only without the crying out to their gods.
The occasion is clearly designed less for acknowledging who’s emotionally uninhibited than who looks best in Spandex gym-wear. First, though, Arie will fight Kenny from last season’s Bachelorette. His abs make Arie’s six-pack of Coors look like half a can of Sprite.
When it’s the girls’ turn. Maquel goes up against Bekah first, with one dressed as a hair-netted lunch lady and the other as Catwoman. No bias there. The audience gasps and shudders as more gals manhandle each other and wham their opponents to the floor like in a lesbian porno from the 70’s. All that’s missing is the armpit hair.
At the cocktail party, Arie says he was proud of everyone for humiliating themselves on national TV yet again. He’s also glad he got to assess everyone’s belly buttons. Then, to the shock and dismay of everyone except those who have watched even one episode since 2007, he and Krystal go off together. Krystal bats her eyes fetchingly until they’re interrupted by another girl. Krystal is pleased that Arie wants her to be herself, which cements her plan to continue flirting with him like she’s Bugs Bunny in drag.
At her turn with Arie, Bibiana complains about Krystal, never a good move. Arie is concerned that she cannot concentrate on the two of them, instead of on the 17 other girls and him.
Meanwhile, Lauren S. does indeed get the one-on-one. Reality Steve isn’t famous for nothing.
Arie next meets with Bekah to discuss former relationships. I guess books, music, and philosophy are off the table as precursors to her grinding on his lap like a Black & Decker sander. “Nothing can spoil my sunshine right now,” she reports happily, the kind of statement that is always the harbinger of spoiled sunshine. She gets the rose, though. Effective lap-sitting pays off again. Krystal is dismayed, though, and vows to bat her eyes at Arie like a metronome set at vivacissimo.
Around the pool the next morning, the girls are bitter and insecure between applications of SPF 15. Lauren S. prepares for her date by packing a large suitcase. What’s she bringing, Naked Twister? She greets Arie to board a small private plane, which by now is more predictable than receiving the gift of a cell phone cover featuring a license image. Add a little excitement, show. Have them ride a camel or something.
As they head to Napa wine country, Arie claims Lauren is just the kind of woman he would want to marry. She’s got a good job as a social media manager, has long blond hair, and uses “awesome” every other sentence. Now he wants to get to know her better while they’re drunk.
“Are you early to rise?” Arie asks Lauren S. trenchantly over glasses of chardonnay. He goes on to inform her that he’s started going to bed earlier himself. Lauren determines from this profound exchange that they’ve established they’re on similar pages in life. Were they to marry, they could share an alarm clock.
The sun sets as the director calls for action. The couple arrives to have dinner in a room full of wine barrels. Lauren is excited, but feeling vulnerable. Arie wants to know how she came to be on the show, in case it didn’t involve boffing the casting director. She blathers about some ex and how they grew apart, and that her mom and dad are, like, amazing, and how music is such a big part of her life. She must manage social media for a senior class president.
The next group date is announced at the mansion. Everyone decides the note “Love can be ruff” has something to do with dogs, qualifying them as CIA analyst material. Uh, oh, Annaliese, who once had a bad experience with bumper cars, also had a bad experience with a dog. He probably couldn’t be vulnerable in their relationship.
Meanwhile, Arie denies the rose to Lauren. He’s very sorry, but the connection isn’t really there. She didn’t really let him in. She was not the Betty to his Archie. But she’s an amazing girl. He returns pensively to the winery to listen a string quartet play as Lauren bemoans her inability to be herself. Maybe she was being one of the other Laurens.
At the mansion, Caroline stalks away from the lively discussion about Lauren S.’s dismissal. Lauren is her friend, and she is insulted by Krystal’s Bachelorettesplaining about how Lauren must not have been vulnerable or opened up to Arie enough. Better stay off Twitter, Caroline.
The next group date has the girls meeting Arie’s dog, whom I hope was paid in Snausages. They will hang out at the park to train a bunch of other dogs to perform in front of a live audience, presumably not including cats. They set about learning to teach the pups to jump through hoops, a good skill to apply with Arie. We learn Annaliese’s tragic childhood story of almost losing her eye to a dog. I feel confident she provoked the attack.
Fred Willard of Best in Show is announcing the rag-tag dog show they put on. How the mighty have fallen. Dressed in shiny fringe, Chelsea fails at making a poodle sit on command. Ashley and Jenna don’t do much better with their pups. Children are pointing and screaming while Willard sneers from the sidelines. It’s like a nightmare after you ate too much Chipotle.
That evening’s party venue is a stately old bank building. Jenna says it sets the mood, which apparently is “Miss Jane Hathaway makes out with Mr. Drysdale.” Chelsea babbles about being pleased with who she’s become in life, which is clearly not a competent dog trainer. The other girls endlessly discuss getting enough time with Arie. If he wasn’t a shallow, self-absorbed bore before, he will be after watching all this footage. Annaliese is now concerned that she is behind the others in opportunities to make out with Arie after 45 seconds of conversation less substantive than three panels of “Mary Worth.”
Another girl (Bibiana? Tia? That other dark-haired one?) reveals to Arie, “Today was weird.” Only today? He reassures her that she is as amazing as the 14 previous girls he’s talked with. He then applies his pillowy lips with some unpleasant smacking sounds. She is so content and super-confident now. But Chelsea gets the rose. Annaliese desperately hopes she’ll survive the Rose Ceremony. She has a 2013 Honda to pay off.
Everyone is uneasy at this cocktail party, just as they were for all the ones over the last two-plus decades. Annaliese is especially concerned that she and Arie lack a physical connection, which after all is more important than religion, the desire for children, or what football team she supports. Arie proposes a toast to a night of connecting, being vulnerable, and opening up, which is out of his comfort zone.
Lauren B. is led out to a divan plunked in the moonlit garden where they can talk, much like during my interview for an administrative assistant post back in the 80’s. Next he’s draped over the upholstery with Bekah. He boldly asks if she actually wants to get married, or is just there for hot-air balloon rides. She declares confidently that she doesn’t need him, a trait she is certain he will find irresistible. Arie should be old enough to recall Hall & Oates: Watch out, boy, she’ll chew you up.
Tia gets the haybale-and-moonshine treatment exclusively reserved for the yokels among every year’s contenders. In keeping with the theme, her dress is as brief as Ellie Mae Clampett’s shorts. Marikh discusses with the others that only Annaliese has not been kissed. Then the Unkissed One drags Arie to the roof, where he notices she’s stressed out. She tells him she refuses to go in for the kiss first, as advised by experts. He demurs. It’s not the right time for them. What, did she forget her ocean-breeze-scented Secret? Is it dandruff? He was pretty much prepared to kiss Fred Willard. But after shoving her away like a plate of inferior sushi, he goes on to kiss every other girl, frequently while they’re in mid-sentence.
Determined to stay on the show and garner 150 more retweets, Annaliese returns to confront Arie. He looks concerned—cornered, even—as she questions his motives. Goodbye to your rose, hon. In fact, goodbye right now: Arie says that since she demands an answer right now, he must send her away. He sees no future for them, although she does have what it takes to be a successful telemarketer. He bids her goodbye while assuring her she is an amazing person. He needs to date a thesaurus.
With only 10 minutes left, will we even get a Rose Ceremony? Two girls have been jettisoned, and it appears Chris has already exhausted his contracted number of sentences this episode. But now the women troop into the room for the momentous occasion. Arie is sad that he had to make one hard decision tonight, which was bourbon vs. Scotch, and now he must make another.
Caroline gets the first rose, followed by Kendall and Ashley. Next come the final Lauren, Brittany, and Becca K., followed by Seinne and Krystal. Tia is next, then Maquel and Jenna. Jacqueline gets the next-to-last rose.
The final rose is given to Marikh. Bibiana is devastated. Krystal is elated. People with weird names everywhere are writing in to complain. “Get home safe,” Arie says to Bibiana, clapping her on the back jovially like they’ve just wrapped up a few sets of tennis. She clomps wretchedly to the limo as the survivors toast the future and all their new Instagram followers.
Next week: Bekah’s youth is made an issue, as are Krystal’s two-faced betrayals and something else that sucks. Let us share these emotional developments together, with some booze.