The Benghazi hearings were not as grueling as tonight’s three hours of The Bachelor will be, although the women involved will be treated with more graciousness. Worse, only the first 60 minutes will be devoted to the featureless white noise (especially after Rachel is sent home) that is Nick continuing his journey to find his one true love, after his first two one true loves rejected him.
The ensuing two hours, which will feel longer and more painful than saying “Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III,” will be filled with vacuous caterwauling as The Women Tell All. For this we marched on Washington?
Much like looking at Rosemary’s pregnancy test results, tonight we’ll learn the results of Raven, Rachel, and Vanessa’s Fantasy Suite dates. Reports have it that President Obama ordered wiretaps of the room–wait, no, that was from Breitbart News. In fact, we can verify advance notice that “Rachel opens up to Nick about her feelings; Vanessa and Nick talk through the hurdles they are facing; and Nick struggles with his decision,” as these dramatic revelations are similar to what happened by this point during every other season ever, not to mention on several soap operas, installments of Apartment 3G, and at my high school prom in ’79.
Since we know that Rachel will be The Bachelorette this coming season, the suspense will be vastly diminished for the first hour, when Nick must ultimately choose between southern-belle boutique-owner Raven or impassioned Italian special ed teacher Vanessa. Actually, the suspense is vastly diminished because it’s far less compelling than figuring out how President Trump will tweet testimony during his impeachment hearings.
It’s a very special three-hour event, explains Chris, particularly since we need to know if Raven had an orgasm. Then all of our favorite women will be back to dish the dirt about each other and especially Corinne. The first hour opens in Lapland, with Raven and Nick waking up together. “Nick is really good at what he does,” Raven proclaims, apparently not referring to software sales. She’s feeling pretty good now. In fact, she frolics in the snow, greets reindeer, and makes snow angels. To be fair, that’s what an orgasm feels like for people who live in Scandinavia.
Nick meets up with Rachel next to go cross-country skiing. More reindeer are visited, though no elves or Mrs. Claus put in an appearance. As much fun as all this is, Rachel is holding back her feelings for fear of rejection. The reindeer seems to like her well enough, though. She and Nick discuss her concerns in front of a roaring fire. Nick is scared, too, he assures her with a broad smile, as if he’s just agreed with her that The Big Bang Theory is educational as well as entertaining.
“You’re rare and refreshing,” Rachel says after he cites a quote he read in an inspirational Facebook graphic featuring a sunset.
That evening, the pair heads off to experience the defining moment wherein we don’t care if they declare their love since he’s obviously getting engaged to Raven or Vanessa. Rachel can’t deny that she is falling in love with Nick, but still she is afraid to be open and vulnerable. They drink to being open and vulnerable, which could be an issue if he has roofies. “I like strong people and strong women,” Nick tells her. That’s as long as he knows where he stands with people, but even by now, after they’ve spent a total of five hours together since meeting weeks ago, he’s not sure where he stands with Rachel. Hasn’t he read the script?
She has a hard time verbalizing things, she admits. How about texting him? Finally, she reveals she’s falling in love with him, which is the standard cue to make out. He is also falling for her, too, 100 percent! A perfect moment has occurred before our eyes, rivaling in emotive power the scene in Jane Eyre where an agonized Mr. Rochester pleads, “Jane, you would leave me to star in another season of the franchise?”
Nick presents the key card. Rachel would love to use it, at least on the door. “I feel loved,” she declares giddily. He’s going to love feeling her. They wake up the next morning looking sated. Rachel fries some eggs romantically. It’s so hard for her to say goodbye. She wants to seal the deal, or file suit.
Next it’s Vanessa’s turn to trade bodily fluids with Nick after belaboring their feelings at length. He wants them to get out of their heads, and later their clothes. To that end, they are going to sit in a sauna, then jump into an ice bath, and then rush back into the sauna, a local tradition. No wonder the Finns never won a war.
After a second round of freezing and warming, not unlike me trying to microwave a Totino’s Party Pizza, Vanessa feels she can face her fears with Nick’s support. First try getting audited and see how he holds up. Nick points out that her family is very “traditional” and he is not. In fact, he hates his family. She wants to know in what way they’re traditional, other than being concerned that their daughter is dating a stranger on TV who is also dating several other women. Vanessa bridles. She won’t compromise her values just to score a blog on People.com. The sex will have to be 9½ Weeks-level if he chooses her over Rachel now.
Night falls, probably at 3:30 pm, and they head into their final talks. Vanessa’s upset that Nick seems to not want to be as dysfunctionally embroiled with her family as she is. He insists he wants to share in her traditions, but that she also has to want to share in his values, such as making a career being on reality TV shows. He also does not want to live in Canada, which is rare to hear these days.
Vanessa admits she can be hard-headed, which Nick feels he is, too, mostly because he’s unfamiliar with the word “obtuse.” This circumstance could complicate things. For example, who will load the dishwasher? Neither wants to get engaged if this obdurate conflict remains. Too bad Elizabeth Taylor didn’t consider these implications. It sure looks like the show is setting up a shock for anybody who’s been on jury duty for the last month, and hasn’t read about Rachel being the next Bachelorette. Vanessa tells him she loves him, but he remains concerned about the potential for problems. Nevertheless, he’s glad to shtup her tonight.
“Nick is my other half,” oozes Vanessa over the scene of them pawing each other on the bed. He certainly has a part he wants to share with her. Morning arrives, and Nick and Vanessa wake to soaring theme music. She is sure he is everything she wants in a husband, except that he’s not Canadian. Similarly, Justin Trudeau is everything I want in a national leader, except he’s not American.
We’re now at the Rose Ceremony. Nick says his fears of this not working have been overtaken by the love he feels, just as my fear of obesity is often overtaken by the presence of Little Debbie Nutty Bars. He is following his heart, and probably a large number of misspelled tweets demanding he choose Raven. Snuffling back tears, he thanks the women for everything.
The first rose goes to Raven. The second goes to Vanessa. Rachel casts her eyes downward with a dignity unexpected on this watery imitation of actual human relationships. She walks off with Nick to say goodbye from a fur-draped twig-couch. I doubt everyone in Finland lives like they’re on the set of The Thing. She really thought they had a really, really good thing. Nick is glad he had her. In his life, he means. They walk off to the limo tearfully. Is she wearing heels in the snow? A person could get frostbite.
Nick covers his face with his hands as he watches her drive off, perhaps to ward off the glare from the series of little fires lining the walkway. Rachel wonders how you could tell someone you love them, then send them away. She must have missed all of Nicolas Cage’s marriages.
A harsh wind blows as the lead-in to The Women Tell All begins, which will feature a lot of hot air. First all the rejects will attack each other, then Nick will be attacked, and in between the commercials will attack our very humanity. Chris is delighted to helm this toxic hen party where there’s more rancor than at a cabinet appointment hearing. This was one of the most talked-about seasons of The Bachelor in history, he tells us. Just like the inaugural audience was the biggest ever.
First Chris and Nick visit some viewing parties, one of which appears to be held at one of the same West Elm-decorated homes they rented for the family visits. Chris is thrilled at the love Bachelor Nation has for ensuring his weekly paycheck. They then join the Backstreet Boys for some wine and singing awkwardly. Finally, on the UCLA campus, they visit a sorority viewing party where virtually every girl has on short-shorts.
Let’s now sit back, relax, and denigrate people. The women are introduced so we can all go, “Oh, right, her!” Whitney discusses what the first night on the show is like. Alexis’s shark costume is noted, and she admits the gills identify it as not a dolphin. So do the googly eyes. Jade and Tanner’s wedding is also invoked. The phrase now has an entry in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. This is followed by clips of Corinne’s most evil moments, although she can’t hold a candle to Steve Bannon.
The women start complaining about Corinne’s frequent naps and top-removal. At least Kellyanne Conway never did that. Josephine asserts it was for Nick to judge these shortcomings, not them, but then she’s also wearing lipstick the color of eggplant.
Liz now joins Chris on stage. Her and Nick’s whole relationship to date can be summed up as “Jade and Tanner’s wedding, one-night stand, she didn’t call him,” a description with less substance than a Trump Executive Order. She admits she went on the show because she felt by then that they were both ready for a serious relationship, such as the one you form while a national audience is viewing it on TV and tweeting their opinions. Chris asks what she has learned from her experience on the show. Liz says it’s that people care about who you are, not what you do. While a nice sentiment, it hasn’t yet been a successful defense at a murder trial.
Taylor is up next. Sadly, she did not land the man of her dreams. Instead, she ended up defending her reputation, which, to be fair, is necessary even for those who end up with the Neil Lane ring. Everyone claps as Corinne triumphantly calls Taylor stupid. How did things go awry, Chris asks, he’s likely already aware that the producers snorted some coke and set it up that way. Taylor tries to define emotional intelligence, and how she tried to advise Corinne about not having it. Corinne is inflamed, and suddenly leaves to get a glass of champagne, a move which the audience seems to find as witty and urbane as a Dick Cavett interview.
Taylor is upset about what people said about her. It has affected her career, at least the one that doesn’t involve reality shows. She wants an apology, which will hardly make things right with clinical directors. Corinne insists she never said a bad word about anyone in the house. Her tweets must be as reliably informative as President Trump’s.
Now it’s Corinne’s turn on stage. After watching her clips with great joy, she suggests that she had to do what she did to land Nick, which apparently included ordering room service alone and comparing herself to a corn husk. She is again forced to defend her many naps, which made the other women anxious and resentful. Since my hot flashes began, I am also anxious and resentful at women who can sleep through the night.
Corinne repeats that she never said anything bad about anyone. The women rise up as one to contradict her. She accuses Taylor of saying she wasn’t intelligent. Taylor sneeringly disagrees. There’s more arguing about the nature of naps. If any of these dimwits bought a pink pussy hat, they are morally obligated to return it.
Chris refers to the damning two-on-one date in the bayou. Taylor becomes emotional that anyone was upset by her behavior, and Chris thanks her. Corinne refuses to say anything accommodating. She remains bitter that Taylor dissed her to Nick early on, and for no reason other than it’s proved to be a winning strategy on other seasons.
Now Chris wants to talk about Raquel, Corinne’s nanny. She’s a very special person who’s been there for Corinne through her most difficult times, like when her mother had cancer and her dad had to plan her funeral. Apparently, Raquel just ignored those two during their difficult times. Corinne only calls her a nanny because saying “cleaning lady” would be disrespectful, similar to how Ben Carson feels calling people slaves is disrespectful when they’re really immigrants.
Now Kristina must be grilled. I bet they can prove that she spoke to the Russians. Chris calls her departure from the show the most emotional, even more heartbreaking than when her mom threw her out for breaking the rule of not eating, and she ended up in a Russian orphanage at age six where she only got a handful of gruel once a week and had to play with a doll made of a discarded shoe stuffed with dust. He probes why she cried while watching herself tell this unbearably bleak story, which makes Dickens seem like Dr. Seuss. It turns out that even Kristina is all about being vulnerable–but no wonder, with all these media elites making bank off desperate people’s deepest pain.
The other women weep at their own privilege. Liz lectures everyone about supporting each other and building each other up instead of competing ruthlessly for the booby prize that is Nick. But if they did that, there would be no show. Moving right along.
Now for the unbearably bleak appearance of Nick. It’s his first time on this version of the show, since he was in the final two on his previous stints. His bitterness was never captured on film. Lacey goes on the attack first. She accuses Nick of talking to her about one of the other girls right before he tossed her to the curb. What, she expected him to discuss the Christian existential view on the human condition?
Chris wants to talk about Corinne. Nick claims he admired that she took the initiative, which means she came to his room under cover of night. Nick also loved that Kristina exuded fun–she was always at the ready to chase moose and squirrel–so it was very hard to send her home. She ain’t buying, though. She wants to know if they had chemistry, fun, and intellectual conversations during the total hour and a half they spent together. He confirms that they did, and further promises to complete the survey at the end of their call. So what went wrong, Kristina persists. Only that her English isn’t adequate to star with him in an infomercial for a Best Love Songs of the 90’s CD collection.
Then another woman goat-bleats her hurt and confusion at being rejected seemingly out of nowhere. Nick explains that she was essentially a less appealing breakfast cereal than the one with the marshmallows. Why do they even ask why it didn’t work out? They should all just accept that it wasn’t them, it was him. And the producers.
Chris wants to know what Nick’s experience in this capacity was like, as compared to his other role as two-time second-place finisher. Nick blathers something less substantive than a Twitter biography. Dominique asks why he often sent away women who seemed to meet his requirements. Nick reveals that he even surprised himself with the relationships he found himself more invested in, especially when he got a good look at everyone’s cleavage. Now it’s time for bloopers. Take a deep cleansing breath.
Rachel, the next Bachelorette, comes out next. She is humbled to have been asked to take the role. In a man, she wants a great smile, she wants to laugh, she wants a guy who’s secure and knows what he wants. So why did she fall for Nick?
Chris brings up that she is the first Bachelorette of color. She’s the Rosa Parks of crass, low-rent TV programming. Nick is also satisfied with her appointment to the role. She thanks him for making her a believer in the process of finding love via Craigslist casting call, and for helping her understand what she wants in her life, which is not him.
What happens next week? Chris promises it’s going to be one of the most dramatic and emotional finales ever, if you don’t count the last presidential election results. Nick is terrified of breaking hearts or having his heart broken or the ratings not being as high as they were for the last episode of Mork and Mindy. In log cabins and on snowy landscapes, the drama will play out to the bittersweet end. The trio will visit the capital of Lapland, where it will be Raven vs. Vanessa vs. phony ending where he chooses neither.
There’s a joke in here about Helsinki freezing over, but I just don’t have the energy anymore.