I’ve just come from recording Huffington Post’s Here to Make Friends podcast, where we dissected and analyzed many a detail from last night’s episode. And now I’m writing this. I never could have predicted how active a member of the Bachelor community I would become. Who knew?
The world travels typically begin in episode 4 and true to form, this week brings us to, um… Las Vegas. Not to diss Vegas, but a city to which you might spontaneously book a last-minute party trip seems like a slightly anticlimactic first destination for the much-hyped 20th anniversary season. It did, however, allow for what was probably the most humane 2-on-1 date in the show’s history. Don’t get me wrong: I think 2-on-1 dates are inherently inhumane. And I had a sinking feeling the sole purpose of the twins being cast was to ultimately pit them against each other on one. However, this 2-on-1 was as civil as could be, done in their own home with their (absurdly cute!) dachsunds and mother at hand. Frankly, though, I’d hoped Ben might cut both twins at the same time. It’s clear he doesn’t really have any real compatibility with Emily either, so why cause any rift between the two sisters? No matter how happy Haley is for her twin, it’s a brutal (and unnecessary) blow to her ego. Plus, hearing that Emily is already the more outgoing and confident twin, it probably hits very close to home. In any case, I think it’s about time the 2-on-1 tradition got scrapped altogether. If the lead cares enough about a girl to the point where he might end up proposing to her, he’ll take her on 1-on-1 dates, period; not make her suffer through this bullcrap. Can you remember any 2-on-1 survivor ever “winning”? Didn’t think so.
I found this week’s group date to be horrific both in theory and in practice. Group dates already often involve activities most people would really not want to take part in, but an impromptu talent show in front of thousands is up near the top on the undesirability scale. (Second only to stripping, of course.) Hell, I perform for a living and even I feel this way! In a secret, schadenfreude way, it was neat to see girls scrap together “talents” and, in Tim Gunn’s words, make it work. The twins’ river dance was impressive, and many of the performances were downright adorable. But watching Olivia’s sequined cake dance took things too far. She was obviously so deeply uncomfortable up there, I had to wonder what—or rather, who—possessed her to come up with such a choice. (And on the subject of “who,” I truly wonder how that person sleeps at night.)
We discussed this at length in the podcast and Claire made a good point. She said that up until that point, she hadn’t cared much for Olivia, as seems to be the case with most viewers. But the show went to such great lengths to humiliate her (oh, you think a giant cake just happened to be there?), we all agreed that as a result, she became a sympathetic character. I have to wonder what path Olivia’s story might have taken had she not received the double-edged sword that is the First Impression Rose. Might she have been less confident and thus behaved differently, more tentatively? What if her main producer wasn’t on this season? Would she have bonded with and trusted another producer to the same extent, and ultimately made the same detrimental choices? Her talent show performance alone wasn’t terrible. She was obviously untalented but self-deprecating and willing to make fun of herself. But the number just went too long, and paired with the editing department’s favorite trainwreck music, the whole thing rapidly went from good-humoured to sadistic. Were you uncomfortable watching Olivia’s talent show segment, including her tears after the fact? Good. Me, too. Empathy FTW.
My frontrunners this week are…
1. Lauren B., 25: The only bits we ever see of Lauren B. are completely relevant and further solidify her as the frontrunner. She’s never seen causing (or retaliating to) drama and only emerges to have very touching moments with Ben. I like that their conversations seem from “this world,” if that makes any sense. They’re just two reasonable human beings talking. I’m a fan.
2. Jojo, 24: My early pick Jojo finally got her one-on-one this week, but I was disappointed at the length of it. It seemed to serve the sole purpose of making the other women jealous since they could conveniently see everything, and suddenly the date was over before we knew what happened. I understand the short length was likely to accommodate the surprise 2-on-1 twin date later in the episode, but I wanted to see more between the two of them past the now-standard conversation about trust issues from past relationships. Nonetheless, the physical chemistry between the two keeps Jojo near the top of my list. Ben is constantly touching and stroking her. I dare say he wants to, in his words, “jump her bones.”
3. Becca, 26: Becca seems to be pulling her #DarkHorse maneuver again, as she did on Chris’ season. I’d almost forgotten she was on this season at all, and then BAM, a date that shoots her to the front. I still don’t completely buy them together—Ben doesn’t seem as chemically drawn to her as he does the other three women in my top picks—but they certainly bonded on both a cerebral and spiritual level.
4. Caila, 24: Ben is very attracted to Caila, that much is clear. (As we discussed on the podcast, he apparently called her a “sex panther.” Yes, like the cologne from Anchorman.) I still have my reservations about Caila as she just strikes me as young. Unlike with the other three women here (who are about the same age), I have a hard time imagining her settling down and getting married. This is not a bad thing by any means. I know I certainly wasn’t thinking about it at 24. Regardless, her time with Ben is consistently shown and they have undeniable chemistry.
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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