In some ways it’s difficult for me, even as a former contestant, to relate to this season. There are a lot of intense feelings for the lead this season, and thus feelings of jealousy towards the other girls. I’m not saying the feelings had by all for Juan Pablo were not authentic, but I don’t think jealousy played as major a role in our unfolding of drama. I always take interviews and obviously-staged girl chats with a grain of salt, but the two hidden-camera conversations where Caila and Jubilee were each seen crying over their potential heartbreak (both to this year’s apparent house mom, Jojo) showed me our experiences couldn’t have been more different. That’s not to say I didn’t develop any feelings for our lead—I absolutely did—but jealousy wasn’t really a huge factor for a lot of us. Insecurity and comparing ourselves to each other, yes. But anger or envy over another girl receiving a one-on-one, or jealousy that someone else got a kiss before you did? I don’t think so.
The rampant emotions we viewers see aren’t always jealousy, however, and can be the result of creative editing. While I don’t agree with how the women chose to confront Jubilee for giving Ben a massage during this week’s rose ceremony, I can understand why they were upset. I’ve mentioned this before but I cannot stress it enough: the evening is not over until you’re told it’s over. This means that while Ben talks with every single woman and does interviews throughout the evening, you’re waiting. On my season, we dreaded rose ceremonies because we knew it would always be a long, tedious night spent almost entirely with the other girls—your roommates who you’ve spent every day with—chatting, drinking, reapplying up your makeup… all fancy words for “waiting.” Waiting your turn, waiting for everyone else’s turns, waiting to either pack up and go home or to change into your PJs and call it a night. This reminded me of a group date during my season in Vietnam, when Juan Pablo took Clare to hot tub. (Yes, hot tubbing is a verb now.) Contrary to how editing made it appear, we weren’t angry that Clare and JP had private time in his villa. Frankly, we couldn’t have cared less. What we cared about was that we were made to sit there and wait for hours while they hung out as though they were on a one-on-one date. Of course, just as with last night’s rose ceremony, editing made it seem like we were jealous. We weren’t. We just would all have rather been in bed. I’m certain the girls felt the same way about Jubilee. They weren’t pissed about the massage itself. They were pissed they’d been waiting who-knows-how-long because of the massage.
So, about Jubilee. What a compelling contestant. First of all, proclaiming yourself “so much more complicated than anyone else here” is usually enough to guarantee eye-rolls from viewers, but the more of Jubilee we see and learn, I kind of think she might be right. I couldn’t believe the wrath she got for jokingly asking if anyone else wanted to go on her date. I understand that they desperately wanted out of the house themselves, but people show their excitement in very different ways. Jubilee clearly uses sarcasm to try to be funny when she’s uncomfortable or nervous, so heavily that it’s hard to tell when she’s being serious or not. (Speaking of which, assuming she was indeed serious about all the hot dogs she eats, how the hell does she have that body??) While I think it was a nice sentiment to give Ben a massage when he was down, it just wasn’t the time or the place, particularly the night after their one-on-one. Do I think it was 100 percent her idea? No. But we’ve been over this!
My frontrunners this week are…
1. Lauren B., 25: I’m a huge fan of Lauren B. and Ben together. First, on a purely practical level, Lauren B. is wonderfully not annoying in any way. Seriously! She’s never involved in any drama, she never talks trash, yet she’s not a goodie two-shoes either. She’s a critical thinker who seems totally taken off guard by her own feelings. Second, Ben confided in her about his father’s triple bypass surgery, something we haven’t heard mentioned at all but surely has weighed heavily on his mind. Third, the way Ben looks at Lauren B. is on another level. Her looks at her like he’s trying to soak in the moments of learning her, knowing those moments are precious. I’d been waiting for their one-on-one and it didn’t let me down.
2. Caila, 23: I appreciated Caila’s discretion this week. The first one-on-one recipient often ends up possessive and in tears over seeing Ben with other girls. Yes, Caila did shed some tears, but it was in a private moment that I’m certain she didn’t know was being filmed. We didn’t see much development between her and Ben this week but last week’s date provided enough mileage to keep her solidly at the front of the pack.
3. Jojo, 24: I finally had to bump Jojo because she’s gotten NO time shown with Ben! I still have high hopes, however; Ben is obviously super attracted to her. She wasn’t on a single date this week, so I’m anxiously awaiting (and expecting!) a one-on-one date card with her name on it. Her relationship with Ben aside, Jojo continues to be a voice of reason and is clearly well-liked by the other women. She’s still a top pick for me.
4. Jubilee, 24: I think Ben is fascinated (rightfully so) by Jubilee. She’s a rare mix of aloof and vulnerable, but with the substance and backstory to warrant it. I don’t really get the sense that the two are on the same wavelength—their senses of humour weren’t quite aligned—but the attraction is there. Ben clearly has a soft spot for Jubilee, as evidenced when he defended her at the rose ceremony. The more I learn about Jubilee the more I want to know.
4. Olivia, 23: My first-ever tie! Oh, Olivia. Why? Why must you continuously whisk Ben away before he’s even finished his “let’s cheers to the evening” speeches? Why even broach the subject of your cankles on the evening Ben revealed two family friends just died in a plane crash? (I sincerely doubt this is the only thing they discussed, but frankly the topic shouldn’t have even been in the mix.) Olivia strikes me as so mature and beyond her years in many ways (I still cannot believe she’s only 23) but her naiveté with the producers’ influence is giving her age away. At least she’s keeping her sense of humour about it all. (And for the record, you know you’re scraping the barrel bottom when you’re criticizing a girl’s toes. I’d trade my perfectly fine toes to look like Olivia any day.) Despite her slip-ups this week, I still don’t think Olivia’s going anywhere anytime soon. Ben was obviously struck by her on Night One and continued to be so last week, so as with Jojo, I’m awaiting Olivia’s one-on-one. Further research pending!
For more on this season of The Bachelor from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, All the Pretty Pandas.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on Omni 2.
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