Well folks, I hate to break it to you…but I think this one may already be a wrap. Yep, you heard me. Cut. Fin. Game over. Of course, the show isn’t going to come out and say it until the end, because they want you to keep watching. In the same vein, I’m not going to tell you why I think that just yet, because I want you to keep reading.
I know, I know; I’m an ass. Sorry.
When the lights come up on the third week of The Bachelor, the girls find out they’ll be headed to Ben’s hometown of…SAN FRANCISCO! Wait, weren’t they just in his hometown? How many places is this guy from? Could he be…Frankenstein: “BEN ARM FROM PHOENIX, HEAD FROM TACOMA...BUT HEART STAY HERE WITH YOU, PRETTY LADY.”
I can’t speak for everyone else, but I’m pretty excited about going to San Fran. I’m envisioning pot smoking competitions, electric car races and the always popular ‘who can dress like the biggest d-bag and hate on everything the rest of society likes’ game, otherwise known as Hipster wars.
While the ladies are getting checked in to their hotel, Ben meets with his sister, Julia. She says she’s really excited for him to have a girlfriend, presumably so they can go on double dates and stuff. I have two things to say about this:
1. She does know he’s not leaving this with a girlfriend, right? More like fiance. Fee-ahn-cey. Like Beyonce, but with an F.
2. Thank God Ben didn’t choose Shawntel. She and Julia could be twins. Could you imagine that double date? Turn the lights down a little too low and you could end up making a BIG mistake.
Emily gets the first date card, which makes me happy because I really like Emily. She’s pretty, smart, not afraid to act a little goofy, and seems like one of the most normal girls in the group. Unfortunately, being ‘normal’ doesn't usually get you very far on this show, so I’m gonna go ahead and predict that she doesn’t win. But hey, at least I can enjoy her while she lasts.
The date card reads ‘let’s scale to new heights together.’ This worries Emily, because she’s afraid of heights. She hopes she doesn’t pee her pants, but I kind of hope she does…you know, for comedy’s sake.
When she arrives at the date, Emily’s worst fears are realized when she discovers that she and Ben will be…SCALING THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY BRIDGE! Wow, are you kidding me? I’d have given at least one of my baby-makers to go on a date like that, even if it was with Ben; but no, let’s give it to the girl who might actually defecate on herself out of fear.
Life is so unfair sometimes.
Emily freezes about halfway up the bridge, so Ben does the only thing he can think of, which is to kiss her. This makes sense, because everyone knows that Bachelor kisses come equipped with angel wings and fluffy clouds. That way if Emily falls she’ll float gently to the ground like an autumn leaf.
Once Emily is healed by Ben’s magical lips (Bachelor kisses also cure anxiety, vertigo and, in some cases, scoliosis), the two finish scaling the bridge. They’re both really excited because if they can climb a bridge together, they can accomplish anything! Yay for tenuous metaphors!
Later, at dinner, they share their dating history. Ben reveals that he proposed once, but it didn’t go well. (Wait, really? When did that happen?) Emily says she tried online dating once, but the site set her up with her brother. There are quite a few jokes about the south I could make here, but 1. I’m better than that, and 2. I’m from South Carolina--my state has single-handedly kept the Daily Show on the air for the past several years. So yeah, we’re gonna gloss right over that. Emily gets the rose, in part because Ben thinks she’s smarter than he is and that’s what he wants in a girl. Really? If that’s the case, I’m pretty sure we could shorten this show by about 6 weeks.
I’m actually excited for Emily because she seems really happy and genuine about her feelings for Ben. One little nit-pick though: she said perfect about 10 times in 30 second. “I conquered my fear, and it was perfect. And then we had dinner, and it was perfect. And then we kissed, and it was perfect. And now I’m doing this interview, and IT’s perfect! Perfect perfect perfect PERFECT!!!!” I’m not even going to dispute that Emily is a jillion times smarter than I am, but good lord, someone get that girl a thesaurus.
The next day, it’s time for the group date. The girls exit their hotel wearing short, summery dresses only to find out…they’re going skiing? Turns out the show has closed down a street in San Francisco and made an artificial ski slope, all so Ben and his lovely ladies could strip down to their skivvies and ski down the street.
Yep, a fake ski slope. In San Francisco. I wanted to hate this idea so bad, but as a general rule my brain completely shuts down when I see two things: hot girls in bikinis, and ski bunnies. Combine the two and I was officially a mouth breather for about 15 minutes.
Ben says this has always been on his ‘leap list,’ whatever that is. I’m guessing it’s basically a bucket list, but since that was probably trademarked, ABC had to change the name. Anyway, it ends up being a pretty enjoyable date to watch. For the most part, the girls look great in their bikinis, and if that wasn’t good enough some of them are TERRIBLE skiers. Kacie B. is a prime example of this--she falls about once every three seconds, but she seems to be having a lot of fun with it anyway. This earns her a lot of points in my book.
(Related Note: I find that women will often get frustrated if they aren’t good at something because they think they aren’t impressing their guy. Ladies, we are much more impressed when you are terrible at something but are comfortable enough with yourself to laugh and enjoy it anyway. Fact.)
Back at the hotel the second date card arrives, and it’s for Britney. This is a little surprising to me, as I would’ve at least waited until she turned 18 first. She doesn’t appear to be very excited about the date, and without much explanation decides to remove herself from the competition. Poor girl, she must have been missing her Dora the Explorer cartoons.
Returning to the group date, it’s time for the after-party, which Ben leads off by saying he thinks the night will be drama-free. Either he has a serious case of amnesia, hasn’t actually met these women, or he meant that they weren’t going to be acting out any more plays, because those are the only possible explanations for why he might’ve said that. In any case, bad joo joo my friend. Bad joo joo.
The highlights/lowlights from the after-party are as follows:
1. Rachel and Ben get their first kiss. It’s pretty tame, mostly just pecks. I find this a little disappointing, mostly because Rachel has a nose ring. Don’t get me wrong, I think nose rings are HOT, but they kind of scream naughty don’t they? All I’m saying is if you aren’t going to get after it, you shouldn’t be allowed to wear one. It’s false advertising. (I still adore you though, Rach).
2. Kacie B. shows flashes of jealousy when she sees Ben kissing other girls. I love this, as I think a little jealous streak is sexy.
3. Ben checks in with Blakely and asks how she’s doing. Blakely says all the girls hate her. Ben then clarifies that what he MEANT to ask was how are her boobs doing. (Not really, but that would’ve been funny, right?)
4. Brittney shows up to announce that she’s leaving. I kind of feel bad for Ben, because in a way it’s like he’s getting dumped on national TV again, but I don’t think Brittney was a strong contender anyway, so he probably doesn’t care.
5. Rachel gets the rose, and we get a brief shot of Monica crying. I’m not sure if she’s crying because she’s upset she didn’t get the rose, happy that Rachel did, or sad that Brittney left. Regardless, is it possible we’re seeing someone else start to unravel? It would be only fitting that after Jenna’s departure, Monica-who set the Jenna crazy train in motion-would be the next to go.
Second One-On-One Date:
I’m afraid I don’t have much to say about this one. After Kacie B., Lindzi is my favorite thus far. She seems like such a sweet, real person, and she and Ben appear so comfortable together that there just isn’t a whole lot to make fun of. I mean, I could say something about their awkward dancing, but even that was cute.
Finally, the good part! Here are my thoughts on the cocktail party, in bullet form:
1. Ben tells Jennifer she’s the best kisser in the group. If by best, he means loudest, then yeah…definitely the best.
2. Jennifer says she feels herself falling in love with Ben. For the love of God, people, it’s been three weeks! Granted, it’s an intense situation and I’ll admit that Bachelor time is the emotional equivalent of dog years, but THREE WEEKS!
3. Is it me, or is Courtney ALWAYS giving the stink eye? Is it possible she was that kid our parents told us about growing up whose face actually got stuck like that?
4. Best line of the episode award goes to Courtney: “Blakely is the kind of girl your boyfriend cheats on you with.” Yeah, you know exactly what she’s talking about.
5. Ben tells Courtney he doesn’t know what she did to him, but he’s been thinking about her all week. Two words, Ben: Roofie colada. Or is that a one-word-hyphenate? Roofie-colada? Whatever.
6. Shawntel may have been a little over-confident in saying that Ben was going to fall for her after they’d only exchanged texts a few times…well, unless they were picture texts. In that case, it depends on the pictures.
7. It was highly entertaining to watch even the ‘nice’ girls go into bitch mode when Shawntel showed up. Dumpster trash? Really, ladies? Look, there’s only two reasons a girl is going to be that mean to a girl they’ve never met before--either because they feel threatened, or they’re jealous. It’s that simple. And they were right to feel that way. I mean, did you see that dress?
8. Watching the ladies audition for Mean Girls 2 made me think they should have me back on the show to be the ‘Ben Nazi.’ It’s like the soup nazi from Seinfeld, but for Ben. Every time I caught a girl being unnecessarily catty, I’d be all like ‘hey Elyse, NO BEN FOR YOU!’ What do you think, producers? Can we make that happen?
9. Finally, I don’t know why Ben was having such a hard time deciding on what to do. If I were him, I’d have traded Erika, Jaclyn, Jennifer AND future draft picks for Shawntel. Salary cap be damned!
Ok folks, it’s finally time to reveal my conspiracy theory on why this thing might be a done deal already. Only two people needed to be eliminated tonight, and I whole-heartedly agreed with Ben’s choices to send Erika and Jaclyn home. They just seemed like a bad fit for him. He’s a laid-back, low maintenance guy, and their hysterics at the rose ceremony only proved why I think they’re weren’t right for Ben. Fainting? Cursing at another girl before the rose is even handed out? Come on, ladies. You’re better than that. I hope.
But there’s just no legitimate explanation for choosing not to hand out that final rose and send Shawntel home. Sure, you can say there would’ve been a lot of drama if she’d stayed, and you can agree with Ben that it wasn’t fair. But Shawntel was right when she said this wasn’t about drama, or fairness. It’s about love, and if Ben felt a connection with her he owed it to his heart to explore that connection.
So I call BS on the stated reasons for sending her home.
Instead, I call your attention to Courtney’s little acceptance speech upon getting her rose. She made it clear that she wasn’t pleased with how Ben conducted himself around ‘what’s-her-butt’ and then thanked him for not putting her throught ‘that.’ What could she have possibly meant with that? The night had already taken place; she had already gone through it. She was talking about not putting her through that going forward, as in ‘don’t you dare give that b!tch a rose, or we’re gonna have problems, mister.’ And my take is that Ben, already being seriously taken by Courtney, decided right then and there to cut his losses and send Shawntel packing.
So there you have it. Maybe you agree with me; maybe you don’t. Maybe I’m right; maybe I’m wrong. But if it’s true, and Courtney has that much influence on Ben’s thinking already, maybe--as Bentley would say--we should just hit the reset button on this thing and start over.