According to ABC, which appears to have hired Donald Trump’s PR team, “viewers were excited and truly happy” for Nick Viall when he took another shot at finding love on Bachelor in Paradise. Despite the fact that he was the second person to run on a platform of being a creepy cad who cons people, Nick did not come away from the island with the girl of his dreams, or even the script girl of his dreams.
That’s why the producers made newly bearded Nick, described as “the fit Wisconsin native”– a term never applied to Scott Walker–Season 21’s Bachelor. After all the heartbreak, ABC pleads, will this finally be how he discovers the love he so greatly deserves, although not as much as a punch in the groin?
To find out, he’s going shopping at the Flowing Tresses store, which is overstocked with Elizabeths, Danielles, and Jasmines. Also among the inventory are more non-white women than in any other season–even more than the ones hired to stand behind Trump at his last pre-election rally.
Nick can use the self check-out to take home an aspiring dolphin trainer, a plastic surgery office manager (her discount will come in handy), a travel nurse, which must be the female version of Adam Bricker on The Love Boat, or a wedding videographer (her discount won’t come in handy). For variety, there’s also a doula, a “pro basketball dancer,” and someone mysteriously titled just business owner, which I hope isn’t a nice way to say Madame. Raven, Dominique, and Astrid win the award for Most 80’s Night-Time Soap Opera Name.
For the win, I have a hunch about Sarah, a blond grade school teacher from Newport Beach, CA, who asserts that she would be a puppy if she could be any animal at all. I suspect Nick likes the lapdog types.
And here’s some shocking news, if you find what happened every night at Studio 54 shocking: Contestant Liz has revealed that she’s not only met Nick before, but had sex with him outside of a Fantasy Suite. “It was just a fun night,” she recalls, as if they’d gone out for a malt in 1954. Now she’s wondering if he’ll remember her when she greets him in the first episode. Probably not, since she’s the notch on his belt that would only buckle around a sapling.
As the show opens, Nick is introduced by Chris as “the most controversial bachelor in history,” although I think Ted Bundy may actually hold first place. Nick reviews all his previous failures on two seasons of The Bachelorette, one of Bachelor in Paradise, and countless Vines. It doesn’t bode well for his private life being too admirable.
But he loves being in love, and he won’t stop until he finds it with someone whose last name he knows. Meanwhile, the word “journey” has just been uttered for the 684,931th time on the show since Season 18. Next some former Bachelors gather to discuss Nick’s assets, or lack thereof. Hopefully, he will show all those doubters that he’s not the inch-thick layer of compressed dog hair under my sofa cushion that everyone thinks he is.
Nick joins them, confirming that no man of this age group does not have the kind of scruffy, partly grown beard that used to be the singular domain of prison escapees and plane crash survivors in movies. Gillette’s stock must be in the toilet. Ben explains how humbled he was by the experience of being a bachelor, while Nick claims he’s learned a lot about himself through the process. Hopefully that includes how to keep a job when you keep leaving to shoot reality shows.
At the hotel, Nick displays his toned chest and impressive abs as he dresses for the big meeting of the ‘ettes. That part they shave. Finally, Chris welcomes us to the premiere. He explains that Nick’s pain and heartache resonated with everyone who participated in the network’s polls without giggling.
The first potential wife to be introduced is Rachel, an attorney who likes to vacuum. Next is Danielle L., who owns a nail salon and is ready to settle down. She feels that by being on the show so many times, Nick has shown he’s committed, although it’s not to monogamy. Then we meet a special ed teacher who speaks a few languages. Nick will like that he can pretend he’s sleeping with women from different countries.
Following is Josephine, a nursing student who wants more for company than her cat. Nick may be a less intellectual companion. Raven, the southern chick, goes full Ellie Mae Clampett on us as she describes her enjoyment of mudding and reading her Bible. In between, she operates a boutique that sells clothes for busy harlots on the go. Corinne runs her family’s successful company, so she could just have just gone on the Millionaire Matchmaker. The aspiring dolphin trainer needs only for Nick to love dolphins. We already know he’ll like that she wears a bathing suit most of the time. The other Danielle is a nurse. The job is challenging and rewarding, unlike dating Nick.
Now we have someone with a masters from Johns Hopkins, so she obviously just needed the money. In Vegas, we meet Liz, the one who slept with Nick already. Before the break, Chris asks if their secret will be discovered, but he probably included it in his newsletter that week.
At the mansion, Nick greets Chris warmly, since they’ve seen each other more often than I do my mail carrier. Nick explains that he must be willing to have his heart broken again if he wants to reach his goal of being in the Guinness Book of Word Records as Biggest Famewhore. He accepts that people are dubious about his motives, and even more so about the quality of his veneers. Meanwhile, the ladies in the limos flip their extensions and exhibit vocal fry as they discuss his potential.
Danielle L. is first to exit the car, in black with a plunging neckline and extra double-sided tape. She giggles after virtually every sentence. Next is Elizabeth in a backless white mermaid gown. Now Rachel arrives in one-shouldered red with sequins. Christen is in strapless yellow lace. I’m describing all the dresses because everything they say sounds as inviting as when my car’s exhaust system failed. Inside the mansion, they concur that Nick is super, tee hee hee, and like, right?
Lauren, a law school graduate in shiny silver, points out that he’s Viall and she’s a Hussy. Finally, a sense of humor, or at least a sense of exquisite irony that should earn some angry letters to the network. Dominique is excited to be there. Ida Marie is baring her midriff, exciting Nick. Olivia is in a fur coat because she’s from Alaska. Being from New Jersey, I’d have to wear toxic waste.
Here’s Sarah, who assures Nick she does not see him as a runner-up. He even gets a participation trophy. Jasmine #1 mixes metaphors, and has brought Neil Lane to show Nick the ring she likes. Credit for efficiency. Hailey indicates that she’s not wearing underwear, so she becomes first choice for now. The next woman is the polyglot, who tells him her breasts are real in another language. Also in another reality.
Now he will meet his ex-one-night-stand. He likes her dress, but apparently does not recognize the enormous cleavage. She sees his failure to recall her as an advantage. It adds mystery to a relationship already defined by mystery similar to no one having yet identified Jon Benet’s killer. Privately, Chris asks Nick about the relationship. Nick thinks he remembers that special night when whatshername finally agreed to put the room service on her AmEx. He’s almost certain, in fact, now that he thinks about the way she murmured, “Get your elbow out of my side.”
Corinne arrives next. These women all go to the same hair person, who obviously keeps that Farrah Fawcett poster above the blow-dryers. Next is Vanessa. She speaks to him in French, and he looks at her like the cat Pepe LePew always chases. With only small cut-outs in the sides of her dress, by comparison Danielle M. looks as sexy as the Duchess of Cornwall. She brings him a bottle of maple syrup, but he’s thinking it wouldn’t work well as a lubricant.
The southern girl, Raven, calls the hogs in her sequinned silver halter gown. She’s right out of Central Casting, if they ever chose sl***y people to appear in Gone with Wind. Jami, who is wearing a mini, tells Nick he has some balls, and that she has a nose piercing. Not sure what the connection is. Maybe I don’t want to know.
Taylor, who is some kind of medical person, listens to his heart with a stethoscope. With the level of gimmicks we’re seeing this season, I would have thought she’d present with a rectal thermometer. Susannah strokes his cheeks like I do when applying Olay Age-Defying Classic Daily Renewal Cream.
Justine has brought him a gift of a raw hot dog, aaaaand we’re finished here. No, they keep coming like Law & Order episodes on WeTV. Brittany and Jasmine B. appear next, also wearing red like most of the impertinent Jezebels so far.
Next is a camel, who is so humiliated he wishes he’d gotten the gig on HGTV’s new series Desert Flippers. He is carrying Lacey, who tells Nick she knows he likes a good hump. To add insult to injury, we learn the other girls think this is a winning concept. The 30th and final member of the teeming horde of StyleWe shoppers is Alexis, who is wearing a shark costume. Maybe she wants to tear his leg off in a sequel. She claims it’s a dolphin outfit, though, so clearly she’ll fail her SeaWorld training course.
Nick comes inside the mansion to address the harem. He says he’s a big believer in not running from your past, especially when it’s all over YouTube. He is eager to learn from his mistakes so that when he finds love, it won’t be listed in IMDB’s “Goofs” section. Christen feels this talk was empowering, but she feels that way about Facebook memes with quotes from Joel Osteen.
Nick talks with Rachel first. They discover they both have large families who are mortified by them appearing on this show. Then Christen teaches him to dance so we can see her behind more prominently. After a couple more bland exchanges with these animated lobotomy survivors, Chris brings in the First Impression Rose. Everyone discusses it with the gravitas of the prospect of a nuclear Iran.
Nick keeps complimenting everyone’s dress, but one gathers he is not admiring the luxurious textile. He then makes out with Corinne. The others are scandalized, despite having signed a contract to make out with him in other scenes. As the evening continues, the women begin worrying about not getting enough time with Nick. Later they’ll transition to wondering if certain people are there for the right reasons. But he wants to have meaningful conversations, not just spend the minutes trying to figure out who has implants.
I bet Alexis, who has gotten into the pool, doesn’t have anything on under her shark costume. Nick argues with her about which species of fish is represented by the blue fleece and foam-filled googly eyes. It’s like being privy to the conversations at the Algonquin. Next he sits with Liz, who is dying to remind him that he made her sleep on the side with the wet spot. He claims to remember her, but really it was just scribbled on a Post-It note stuck to his script. They are interrupted by another woman before they can discuss whether he was tested for STDs.
Tension mounts as it’s evident there’s still an entire half-hour left of this slop. Nick is enjoying the many tete-a-tetes, and also seeing more leg when the women sit down. Danielle M. seems smitten with him, and also drunk. “I kinda save the future, so that’s awesome,” she says of her job as a neo-natal nurse. There’s a plaque in the unit that attributes the quote to Dr. Christian Barnard.
Time to present the First Impression Rose. Which pair of breasts impressed Nick the most tonight? Whose empty platitudes about relationships deeply touched him? He asks to speak to Rachel. Despair reigns among the remaining women as he tells her she stood out from the first moment, possibly because her dress is slit to mid-thigh. She accepts the rose, and they kiss.
Now Chris appears to earn half my deferred compensation account for uttering fewer words than I do when ordering lunch. The women shift their distress from not being the rose recipient to the potential for being rejected for good. I apologize to Gloria Steinem for helping to normalize this.
Nick and Chris fill some air time with inanities before the Rose Ceremony begins. The first rose goes to Vanessa. Next is Danielle L., then Christen, followed by Astrid and a lot of kvetching from the yet-unchosen. Corinne gets a rose, as does Elizabeth W. Nick probably wants to have slept with two Elizabeths within the same fiscal year. Jasmine is called up next, then Raven and Kristina. Danielle M. also receives a rose, as do Sarah (yay! Place yer bets, ladies and gents), Josephine, and Lacey. After them come Taylor, Alexis the Candygram deliverer, and someone whose name I missed because, come on, we just elected a fascist president. Angela is next, then Dominique, Jami, and Brittany.
Cue dramatic music. The final rose goes to Liz, who must have had acceptable breath when she woke up.
Off the rejects go in a flurry of sequins, sheer panels, and Spanx. We lost Lauren, Briana, and some others whose names I’m not paid enough to keep track of, but all of whose dress seams likely separate easily with sudden movements. Previews of the coming weeks show beach visits, boat trips, and a sleigh ride as the background for talk of prior relationships, emotional confrontations, and crying jags that are less engaging than an Archie comic.
Aw, The Bachelor, you just keep being you.