So here’s the thing, guys. I didn’t necessarily see this coming, with Ben being adorable and a former basketball and football star and all, but there’s simply too much evidence already to ignore that fact that Ben, in actual fact, is a super-tall, whiter-than-white, nerd.
Before you go and get all ‘oh no you DI-int’ on me, let me just round out the statement with this; I’m cool with it. He is undeniably a nerd. From his ‘wazzuppp’s and various other awkward openers and closers when he enters and leaves a room, to the lack of confidence in his camera walk, to his clear turn-on resulting in anything school-related, the guy is just not the coolest cat. But you know what? Nerds rule the world, and what he lacks in swag, he makes up for in very sweet gestures, solid eye contact and somewhat confusing (but entertaining, nonetheless), taste in women.
So the episode opens with a select few getting chosen to be schooled in subjects most of us had hoped to never learn again (said the university English major whose math advice for her children, much to the chagrin of her husband is ‘get a good calculator’). What? Name one instance in your adult life where you needed to know the value of ‘X’. See?
This group date was really a lesson in how many metaphors can be thrown at a TV audience in a seven minute span. Personally, my fondest TV memory of high school involves Jordan Catalano (the Riggins of the 90’s, if you will) and a boiler room full of hormones and angst, but thanks to The Bachelor, I can now add the image of a volcano ejaculating what appeared to be a mountain of smegma as a bunch of grown women squealed with laughter and yelled out the word communication in an attempt to work together and teach us all the valuable lesson that relationships take lots of ingredients, like love, friendship, patience, etc., and if you don’t find the right mix, you’re going to end up with some shpunk in your eye.
The words ‘get your shit together’ clearly didn’t apply to Lace and Jezebel, an unlikely pairing if ever there was one, who could barely pull off a high five, let alone a science experiment. And the rest of the girls, who bravely sacrificed their flat iron jobs to bob for apples weren’t much better. Notice how I’m not judging at all for not being able to properly place states on a map? Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be put to that same test. The only thing I excelled at in my high school geography class was a very convincing role play of a Green Peace activist for a class presentation and doing a damn fine job at colouring in maps. Who’s with me?
For the final ‘hurdle’, Mandi rolls up those horrific palazzo pants with determination and literally flings herself to victory in bare feet winning the chance to wear a tiara and ugly-cry in a circle around the track, while Amber lags behind, contemplating if she should get some mom jeans to go with her mom haircut.
As the girls get ready for the long sleeve pencil dress theme night, back at the house, a massive #nomakeupselfie is happening and we receive the (confusing) news that Caila is getting the first one-on-one. Huh? Guess she’s not the only one who likes surprises. Is this because the early bird catches the best rate on software? I’m confused.
Everyone seems to take their time processing the news, as evidenced by the first of many instances of crickets on the episode. I think no one is more surprised than Olivia though, whose mouth opens so wide, I half expected her to shed a layer of skin, coil around poor unsuspecting Amanda and swallow a goat.
The evening portion of the group date is pretty productive as far as relationship development goes. Becca’s one on one time is exactly as it should be – laid back, smiley and connectey. Jubilee’s one-on-one time is humbling. As if we didn’t already admire her for being in the military, we find out the girl lived the first six years of her life in a Haitian orphanage, and went on to not only thrive, but find multiple perfect lipstick shades for her skin tone and absolute kill it in periwinkle. She also learned to almost make eye contact when a guy is complimenting her.
Ben goes in for the kiss with Jennifer who gets cornered by the girls within seconds for a full report, and JoJo gets an A+ for having noticeable sexual tension with Ben, vocalizing her disdain of Lace, not seeing the humour in exclaiming she’s never been this high in her life when Ben whisks her up to the rooftop to fondle her in my daughter’s tattered Cinderella costume and appearing to have made an impression on him all without really trying that hard. Gotta say, I might be on team JoJo. Negative points though for being the first one of the season to say the line ‘I didn’t expect to develop feelings for “Bachelor’s name” so quickly, but I’m “insert percentage” falling for him’. Oh well, nobody’s perfect.
So here’s where Lace starts to unravel. She kicks off the night with every intention of being normal, which in her world basically means hiding her true self for as long as possible by repeating some sort of ‘I think I can’ mantra. But before you know it, she’s convincing herself they’re ‘eye-fucking’ (I guess cuz he looked you in the eye this time?), talking about herself in the third person, and apologizing to Ben for initially appearing crazy followed by…appearing crazier. And that’s just the group date…no doubt that one cried all versions of herself to sleep.
Caila pops out of bed the next morning like Princess Anna on Coronation Day all set to write a new story in the ‘how to fall perfectly in love and have a good anecdote to tell your friends’ handbook. I knew something was up when Chris Harrison joined the gang and before we knew it, tiny little Kevin Hart and Ice Cube are on the scene, just waiting to add some actual humour and interest to the date-to-be.
It started off fairly smooth but after a few minutes of Kevin and Ice Cube bickering like an old Jewish Couple, I started to wonder just how much comedic value they’d really be adding to the date. Where’s Jimmy Kimmel when you need him? I’m sure he could have come up with better romantic memories than simply marrying a woman (though that’s probably good enough for at least half of the ladies on the show) or making a woman fried chicken in a slow cooker (which for the record is not possible, because the moisture in the slow cooker would make the chicken soggy and not crispy at all. At the very least you’d have to put it under the broiler once it’s cooked to crisp up the skin…and…oh, forget it…).
Back to Caila, the squeaky clean, soft-spoken and actually quite lovely young lady dressed like an 80’s mother of the Bar Mitzvah who clearly has no place on The Bachelor. Ben, Caila and the rest of the gang head out on their ghetto-fabulous date night which consists of harassing a street-side flower vendor for artificially-coloured daisies, eating giant loaves of unidentifiable food and drinking giant glasses of wine (wait, did I say eat? I meant sitting in front of plates of food that will not be consumed like every Bachelor episode ever) and acquiring Herpes in a second hand hut tub store. Ben and Caila’s earnest conversation about what they’re looking for in relationships was touching and heartfelt, and they do have that constant fear of rejection and not being loved to their full potential in common, but I just can’t see them living a life filled with laughter, which is tops on my priority list. I mean seriously, the girl bleeped out ‘hell’.
The night ended with Ben blowing his load a bit too early in my opinion – usually private concerts are like a fourth episode date. I think Ben would have been emotionally invested in any girl he got to see that with. I mean, he did get to hear his favourite song of all time, right? Based on the torturous content of the lyrics and Ben’s tearful rendering of them to Caila, the poor guy really just needed to relive his break-up mix tape and have a good cry. I will go on record though, that his voice was pretty effing amazing (Amos’s not Ben’s).
Okay. Moving onto the weirdest group date ever which once the girls donned those white outfits, will forever be known as ‘Camel Gate’. Olivia, Amanda, Samantha…and a whole bunch of other blondes head out for a fun day of human experimentation and self-esteem crushing.
Don’t even get me started on the smell test and the fact that Shushanna or whatever her name is, was worried about her cabbage consumption and that they had to literally get graded on their BO. My heart broke for Samantha whose sweet and sour odour, not to mention every other possible score of incompatibility led to her ultimate demise at the rose ceremony the next day. On the flip side, there’s Olivia, the overconfident, passive aggressive (“well…if you believe in science, you might want to be concerned”), wanna-be seductress who has convinced herself that Ben is her man, as much as Lace has convinced herself that Ben’s hers. Obviously, Olivia knew that all the girls were watching her beg him for a kiss, which made it about as sincere as Shushanna’s vodka, jeans and a dream story she shared about coming to America.
Amanda and Ben’s moment was by far my favourite of the night. Even though she didn’t get the rose (you can’t blame a guy for going with the girl who can dislocate her jaw), he handled the news of her daughters like it was the cherry on top of her tiny, adorable head and even sealed it with a kiss (which I heard…and it made me feel a bit sick…but that’s ok). If nothing else, Amanda and Ben’s time together reaffirmed what all of us women know in our heart of hearts…that it really is important to find the perfect neutral nail colour. Make or break, guys.
The next night at the cocktail party, tensions are running high. Like the broken record that she is, Lace begins the night by explaining to us that she wants Ben to know that she isn’t crazy and that she didn’t want him to see the Lace she’s trying desperately to hide. Even before she starts drinking, you can see the slippery slope she’s plummeting down. It begins with her taking Olivia aside and accusing her of monopolizing Ben’s time, you know, in exactly the same way she has done at virtually every opportunity, and it ends somewhere between her admitting to Ben that she was an ugly child, she’s a lot to handle and that her personality is best described as ‘bold’ which is for sure what her parents told her in the same way Tierra’s parents from Sean’s season told her she had sparkle. Right. And my daughter is – what do they call it, now? Oh yeah: Spirited.
Even though I’m clearly not a Lace fan (even Lace is not a Lace fan), at least you can almost feel bad for her, whereas Olivia is teetering on a very thin mean girl rope right about now, which almost snapped when she flopped onto the couch and gallantly offered Ben’s sloppy seconds to the other girls once she had snagged her alone time.
Ben’s gestures are mostly adorable, if not somewhat confusing. He offers Lauren H a first place ribbon for her epic fail of a science project and offers Lauren B a custom gift he ‘had made’ (aka printed off a computer at Kinkos, it’s not exactly etsy). She uses this sweet moment to admit to him that she’s proud of herself for making it this far (um, you’re not even done episode two) and that she’d be cool with going home.
Of course, the best moment of the night by far was when he took Amanda aside, not just to tell her he is again, totally on board with being a Daddy but to do some friggin’ Arts and Crafts for her girls to prove it. Like he knew they were called berets, guys! Are you kidding me with this adorableness? Spoiler alert: I cried.
I don’t know why we didn’t just end the season right there, but for some reason Ben felt compelled to have a rose ceremony, where LB, a shy girl from Oklahoma made an anti-climactic exit because she couldn’t hack it in the hen house and some chicks got roses, including a girl named Rachel who I am positive is just like a maintenance person who was watering the plants or something and got thrown into the mix (never seen her before), and Lace (are you kidding me? One more episode, with this one, Ben, that’s all you get), and Amber, who spent the whole night blaming everyone around her for her lack of time with Ben when she could have, oh, I don’t know, approached him herself?
We said goodbye to Mandi (can’t believe she outlasted Lace), Jackie, and Samantha, who all left us with a big question that will perhaps never be answered, and that is…seriously where do these girls shop for their dresses?
Next week: Lace cries. Be there.