As if The Bachelorette weren’t already a groundbreaking entry in progressive television, similar to Sesame Street in its power to change hearts and minds on the subject of diversity, we now learn that Andi’s role on the show may ameliorate negative attitudes held by America’s reality TV-viewing anti-Semites.
Writing in the New York Times, and proving just how far that publication has fallen in the substance of its content, a Dorfman cousin reasons that “if one of the most beloved franchises on television can star a complex, self-made, Southern Jewish woman, perhaps it will encourage more kindness toward a place and people commonly dismissed by the liberal elite, who gladly consume barbecue and wear farmhand chic.” If only there had been a Bachelorette in 1930’s Germany.
After some cost-effective filler footage, Chris cries, “It all starts right now!” This week we’re in Santa Barbara, where Andi notes that there’s sand, air, and mountains. She’s been reading the brochure. At the mansion, Chris tells the guys they’ll be joining her there, they clap appreciatively, and he leaves the date card before departing. He really deserves some vacation time from his grueling 15-minute work week.
The one-on-one date goes to Nick V., the software sales executive who got the first impression rose. He is “ecstatic,” he tells us, which makes you wonder how he feels when something of actual note happens. They start their date riding bikes because, Andi says, they’re “stepping away from all the extravagance” of the previous one-on-ones. I bet Nick wouldn’t have been so ecstatic if he knew that was the plan. But right now Andi just wants to be normal, which is why she is appearing on a TV show to find a husband. Back at the mansion, two shirtless guys lounge by the pool, earnestly discussing how to form a meaningful connection with Andi that will also ensure high ratings during sweeps week.
Andi and Nick are hiking at someplace called Lizard’s Mouth, which is at the opposite end of the mountain from Lizard’s Ass. It has quite a view beyond Andi’s cleavage. As they drink water out of glasses, they talk about their emotions, since apparently that’s the go-to subject on first dates these days. I can’t get over them carrying water glasses as they clamber over boulders. The sun sets as they cuddle picturesquely at the summit to establish a charming screencap for the website. Nick imagines what it would be like if she were The One. Andi tries to remember what the V. stands for.
As they go to dinner, Andi explains that she wants to know more about Nick beyond the initial attraction. After spending the entire afternoon together, it appears she has learned only what he looks like in a bike helmet. She asks if all his friends are married, and why he’s not. I have a great-aunt who recommends that same line of questioning for potential partners.
Another date card arrives at the mansion as the guys are sitting around like a bunch of sorority girls on beauty night. It’s a group date. There seems no rationale for who gets chosen for these. Ha ha, look at me, expecting reasoning to be behind any decision made on this show.
Nick and Andi blather on in vague terms about past romantic experience. Although, admittedly, the legal department probably forbids the mentioning of any specifics. “We have a lot in common,” Andi declares, in that they’re both vacuous and superficial. She gives him a rose, and they share a long kiss. “There’s a potential for something very special happening with her,” Nick says, immediately prior to our witnessing him sucking on her neck like a spray-tanned Dyson. She enthuses that she feels “a spark and a tingle” with Nick, which may derive from her rapidly developing hickey.
Two limos arrive to take the group daters to their destination, where Andi continues to preserve the wardrobe budget by not wearing a bra. They are at a classical music training center, but to no one’s surprise, no classical music will be involved in this activity. Inside, Boyz II Men are rehearsing, wearing sunglasses to hide the abject grief in their eyes. The guys rejoice that they will sing the group’s hit “I’ll Make Love to You.” Bradley, the opera singer, is downright smug at his advantage here. They are divided into rehearsal groups to demonstrate that the rest of them can’t carry a tune in a Birkin bag.
Andi tells the guys that they are going to perform live at a concert tonight. If it’s for charity, the fundraisers aren’t going to meet their goal. The two groups arrive at the concert dressed alike, in either ill-fitting blazers and jeans, or varsity sweaters and backwards ball caps. They are all thrilled to be performing with the legendary band. The same cannot be said of the audience.
Bradley leads off the singing, then things devolve rapidly. To say they massacre the song is an insult to the victims of My Lai. Boyz II Men laugh gleefully, perhaps secure now that there will be an upward trend in their plummeting career trajectory. One of them remarks that if this is the litmus test to choose a husband, Andi will remain forever alone.
Time for the evening-time gathering in front of the fire pit. Everyone toasts each other for their great day, then Andi culls Cody from the crowd. She wants to talk about the rumors she’s heard that he has a girlfriend. He is flabbergasted. Ha ha! She’s kidding! She’s actually heard he has a boyfriend.
Eric is next. He’s concerned she could just as easily like a few of the other guys, too. Make lemonade, Eric, and suggest a menage a trois.
At the mansion, a bunch of the manscaped guys soaking in the hot tub together hear about the next one-on-one. Are all men this girly these days? What happened to sitting around slugging beer and talking the ball scores? The date goes to JJ, the pants person.
Now Marcus goes off with Andi. He tells her he’s wanted to kiss her, and she’s all for it. None of that Juan-Pabl-ish discretion for her. Next she sits with Josh, who constantly jabbers about how nervous she makes him. This doesn’t bode well for his bedroom performance. But they make out enthusiastically anyway. Does she at least gargle between each one?
The rose goes to the guy who “opened up” to her, which was Josh. I thought it was more her opening up to him, but okay. A dejected fellow makes the sage comment that everything happens for a reason. According to the Reality Television Competition Show Guide to Talking Head Interview Statements, that’s Comment #134b under “Responses to Events that Do Not Advance Your Standing (Philosophical) (Optimistic).”
On her date with JJ, he tells Andi she’s gorgeous and Santa Barbara is gorgeous. They are going to get “aged” with makeup in order to see what they would look like if they were married for 50 years. To really make this exercise effective, though, they should also have arthritis, fixed incomes, and ungrateful grandchildren. As JJ notes, the make-up people were not egalitarian, so she’s aged as well as Sophia Loren, while he just looks like a a skinny Ed Asner. However, I can vouch that her purse is an authentic Old Person Accessory, since my grandma had at least three in different colors. They go off to hobble through the park and ride Hoverounds. This is probably the weirdest date ever on the series franchise, and likely sponsored by AARP. Or possibly Cialis, since the faux-geezers are seen smooching while riding on a tire swing.
Back at the mansion, we learn Ron is packing to leave. He tells the guys he must say goodbye, since a close friend has passed away. The combination of this news, Eric, and the constant ads for The Fault in Our Stars has caused this season of the show to develop a distinctly morbid theme.
Meanwhile, Andi and JJ continue to laugh it up, riding the carousel and charming each other in the shadow of Ron’s mourning. At dinner, their make-up has come off and they can digest spicy foods again. Tonight is “about being in the present and being in the moment with each other,” Andi tells us, as if they had actually traveled forward in time to 2064 that afternoon. JJ discusses how difficult things have been for him socially, which may explain why he became something called a “pantsapreneur,” and how Andi can help him overcome that. Andi just wants free pants.
Back at the mansion, in one of their completely spontaneous rap sessions, Dylan talks about his sister who died from drugs, and someone else describes the agony of a brain-dead grandfather. You can’t be eligible for a reality show unless you have experienced heartbreak due to the death of a loved one, overcame challenges as a child, or are a relative of a producer.
Andi interrupts JJ as he is going on about a previous relationship to offer him the rose. “I’m floating right now,” he tells us afterwards. Maybe those people who claim the Left has feminized American men are onto something.
At the gathering before the Rose Ceremony that night, Marquel is wearing a solid-colored shirt and plain tie. The show has already broken him. Andi tells the group that Chris informed her about Ron’s departure, and tears up as she relates how important they all are to her. “We have lives outside of this,” she reminds them. She can only hope the audience is not recalling the very same fact.
As she’s sitting with Eric, flowers are delivered from Nick in a tactical move sponsored by FTD. He has included a note about what a great date they had. Eric is thrown off his game by this smooth operator. For a guy who was almost shot by hostile Syrian soldiers, he’s pretty easy to rattle. She finds Nick and paws at him in gratitude, as a fountain in the foreground burbles spray metaphorically.
Next, a confrontation that does involve exchange of saliva. JJ is annoyed that Andrew got a girl’s phone number when they were all out together, and then bragged about it. It’s an insult to their reason for being there, he declares indignantly, as if appearing on the show were in any way dignified to begin with. Some of the guys approach Andrew about it, but he refuses to address the issue. As he stalks away, they marvel at his lack of integrity. “Is that the kind of man you are?” Josh calls derisively after him. Because he gallantly courts a love interest by a method equivalent to winning the Fish Bowl Toss at the carnival.
Meanwhile, Andi the trophy is now oozing at Marcus’s compliments, before making out with him while the camera tries desperately to focus on their quivering forms from a distance.
Andrew decides to return to face the wrath of his fellow bachelors. His defense is that the woman just handed him her number unsolicited, as women often do with strange men outside of the Penthouse Forum–but he didn’t brag about it. They others argue with him that he did. Irate at their accusations, Andrew asserts that “it’s clear now that this is a straight-up competition,” which suggests he did not read his contract with the show prior to signing it.
Finally, it’s time for the Rose Ceremony. Everyone is still all disgruntled over the Andrew Incident. Since probably half the women in the country under age 30 are sending every one of them naked selfies on the hour, you have to wonder what all the fuss is over a random phone number. By the way, rounding out ABC’s distinguished line of programming is something called Mistresses, premiering this week with at least one scene where a half-naked woman flings herself on top of a prone man. I wonder if Josh is all heated up over that guy accepting another woman’s phone number.
Andi arrives to dole out the flowers. In her formal address beforehand, she expresses her gratitude, possibly not just for having her luxury room and board covered for the weeks of shooting. Marcus gets the first rose, then Brian, followed by Marquel. Then comes Tasos, who can at least plan the wedding if he doesn’t win, Cody, and Patrick. Chris and Eric are followed by Dylan. The final rose goes to Andrew. So Batman was wrong–crime does pay.
Brett, who has a mullet and should therefore date no one, regrets being shy and nervous. Opera singer Bradley showed her who he was and loves to be loved, but apparently Andi prefers other moldy old relationship cliches. He breaks down pitifully as he leaves. The Bachelorette cast is not ripe pickin’s for the Army recruitment center.
More drama tomorrow night! Maybe someone else will be disrespectful of the show’s purpose by harboring lewd thoughts about Andi’s sister.