Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Bachelor Ben H. Finale: Ben Regrets Nothing

Last night’s episode of The Bachelor was introduced by Bachelor Nation President (no term limits!) Chris Harrison as “the most dramatic finale EVER” and sure, he’s legally required to say that phrase 10 times per season, but I’ll contend that Bachelor Ben’s finale lived up to the hype.  We had a “disturbed” mother, even more family where that came from, lots of tears, a bathroom floor confessional, and, of course, a proposal on bended knee. 

The episode kicked off back in the Bachelor studio with Chris Harrison introducing the episode and showing us that Ben’s pastor was in the house (and presumably ready to marry the final couple after he was done paging through his Bible), plus both Lauren’s entire family and Jojo’s parents. Did anyone pause right there? I had Lauren to be the last woman standing most of the season, but the fact that her ENTIRE family showed up and just Jojo’s parents? That’s a bit of a giveaway, huh?

A battle for the ages: blonde vs. brunette
But first, we must go back to the final proposal/heartbreak.  Lauren is still walking like she just got off a horse and she and Jojo are both dressed like Whitesnake groupies roaming around Jamaica and wondering if the man who said “I love you” actually does.  Ben is torn and terrified and his parents’ input doesn’t help at all. Ben’s mother is “disturbed” that Ben loves 2 women, but put your outrage on hold, Mama Bear, Lauren’s here with flowers and wine!

Amy and Dave (the rentals) are excited to meet Lauren and she conducts herself with a calm, graceful demeanor as she shares her love of Ben and calls him “seemingly perfect” which KILLS with Mama Bear Amy (note: Lauren and Ben’s mom held hands during that convo, which seemed intense). Amy talks about the tough times of marriage, which I found to be a refreshing balance to the fantasy environment of the show.  Lauren and Ben sit on the steps to say goodbye alone and she says “I’m in love with you” like she’s announcing a Bingo game, then reminds him that she’s only getting married once and she wants to be part of the Higgins family.

The next day Jojo arrives in a patterned jumper carrying a small horn of plenty filled with flowers (very odd) and shaking from nerves (poor thing).  She comments to Amy that she’s extremely nervous, to which Mama Bear Amy responds, “we’re not scary people” which felt sort of negating to me, but perhaps I’ve been reading too many self help books and spent too many years in the improvisation world of “yes and”?  Jojo and Ben trot out their courtship stories and Jojo definitely makes an impact on Ben’s parents with her enthusiasm and love for Ben. Amy event says that with jojo “it did feel different” but ultimately, the parents love both girls (and who wouldn’t?).   Ben just still doesn’t know who to plant his stake with.

Then we transition back to the studio and Chris Harrison says “he’s got himself into a bit of trouble, right?” which sounded like a line straight out of The Dukes of Hazzard. 

Then it’s time for final dates and Lauren gets a catamaran ride with Ben during which they cuddle and say “I love you” numerous times.  Bachelor Producers try to mislead us by inserting clips of Ben saying that perhaps things between them are “too good to be true” and editing final date footage to look a bit boring and stale.  That night they dress up and talk by candlelight (“You look great” “You look great”) and Ben tells Lauren that he’s confused and “no matter what happens, you’ve made me a better person” which sounded like a friggin’ breakup speech!  If I were Lauren, I would have been crushed (but psyched to have such great hair and a nice bum).  They say goodbye and Lauren, ever the strong steady, tears up and says that, “if tonight were the last time that I heard Ben say he loved me, I don’t really know what I would do.”

Then it’s time for Jojo and Ben’s final date and, unlike Lauren, Jojo has truly jumped in completely (both literally and figuratively) while Lauren has wisely played things a bit cooler, but much of that is simply your personality and you can’t stop being who you are. If I were on that show, I wouldn’t be as measured as Lauren—I’d be more like Jojo (and pray for her killer curls). 

Jojo and Ben drive to a literal blue lagoon (it’s more than just a Brooke Shields flick circa 1980, apparently), strip down to their swimsuits, and jump right in. As we saw last time, Jojo’s hair is immediately tangled and wet and her make-up is gone and if I were jumping from that rope in Jamaica (is my Tuesday morning quarterbacking super obnoxious or absolutely delightful?), I would do one of those Lifeguard-style stride jumps to keep my head from going under.

SAVE YOUR HAIR, JOJO!!!! 
As the waterfall screams behind them, Jojo and Ben talk about what they would do next—Denver or Dallas? Jojo never gets any answer on that, but says that she has faith in Ben and trusts him, to which Ben responds, uninspiringly, that he loves her but his mind is in 1,000 different places. 
My mind is in 1,000 different places... and so are my bowl movements (I have diarrhea). 
That night Jojo pulls out the hail mary pass of rompers and shows some serious cleavage as she and Ben discuss what is going on between them and what doubts Ben may have.  They retire to the bathroom and have a teary-eyed heart-to-heart on the bathroom floor (off camera, but still mic-ed) during which Jojo seems crestfallen that Ben loves Lauren, also, and has told her such.  The tile commercial ends with Jojo saying that she feels foolish and expressing that she didn’t realize that Ben had dropped the L bomb to anyone else (Lauren).  Oh girl.

Ummmm hi--may I remind you of how damn hot I am, Ben?

The next day Ben wakes up and before we know it, Neil Lane is here with a case full of blood diamonds, ready to be the transition into a flashback montage of the ladies.  Ben finally says that he has made a decision, picks a diamond (square diamond with step stones up to it), and gets suited up. 

The ladies are prepping, also: Lauren in a royal blue, floor length dress (great pick) and hair down and Jojo in a surprisingly bad choice—a super pageant-y, light pink gown covered in sequins, hair down.  Oh Jojo, every dress you picked was better than the last up until this final rose ceremony—where did it all go so wrong?

The ladies hop in their helicopters and head to the site and, as any lifelong Bachelor fan knows, the first to arrive is the one being sent home brokenhearted.  We see a shot of silver heels emerging from the helicopter and they are soon followed by a sparkly, pink grown.  Oh Jojo, I’m sorry, girl (but your big brothers are sorrier, no doubt). 

Jojo walks across the bridge to Ben and delivers a sweet speech about her love for Ben as he stares at her with an absolutely blank facial expression.  Once she is done, Ben launches in on his part about how he was unsure at first and he didn’t know if he could find love, but he found it with Jojo, but he found it with somebody else more. Ooooouch.

Jojo tries to breathe and hold it together while I was tempted to crank this song:


Jojo exits gracefully, saying that she feels blindsided and confused and scolding him for telling her that he loved her.  They hug goodbye and Jojo hops in the limo, saying “I just want he kind of love that I can count on.”  Oh girl, don’t we all.  I feel you. 

Ben goes back to his spot and calls Lauren’s father to ask for Lauren’s hand in marriage. Listen, I get that this is tradition and some fathers think that it’s really noble and honorable to do that, but may I remind everyone that it completely ignores the MOTHER? If you want to show your respect for a woman’s family and be sure that they’re OK with you joining that family, then please please PLEASE ask BOTH parents. Presumably BOTH parents raised her and BOTH parents put up with a lot—let’s not forget out mothers, OK?   (This is also why I love the Jewish tradition of BOTH parents walking a bride down the aisle.)  I’ll get off my soapbox, but Lauren’s father is thrilled and gives his blessing, which prompts Ben to shriek like a tool. 

Lauren arrives and tells Ben that their first kiss was her “last first kiss” and “you are my person.”  Ben responds that this has been a journey full of goodbyes and he never want to say goodbye to her, then he gets on bended knee and proposes.  Lauren is laughing and clutching her mouth, then Ben hands her the final rose and they immediately start dropping the “f bomb” (fiancée—a word that will forever give me dumb chills). 

Hour 3 of the Bachelor Finale extravaganza takes us back to the studio where Chris Harrison interviews Ben and asks Ben if he regrets anything.  Ben responds that he can’t live in a state of regret, which is a really easy thing to say when YOUR heart wasn’t broken and YOU got what YOU wanted no matter the emotional cost to others. 

We have the standard parade of people—the jilted ex (Jojo) looking AMAZING in a black dress with strategic cut outs and just the right amount of bronzer (a lot).  Chris Harrison thrills Bachelor Nation by announcing JOJO as the next Bachelorette (Halleluiah!) and Jojo and Ben have a friendly conversation about their breakup. 

Lauren comes out and she and Ben cuddle and talk about what life has been like since the show and then all of their family and Ben’s pastor (DENNY!) join them onstage for a giant hug off. Lauren’s sister rocks a weird circus style red dress and Ben’s mother is serving Hillary Clinton circa 1993 realness in a maroon dress with shoulder cut outs (remember when that was SO popular?). 

Chris Harrison bids us adieu promising, I think, a new season of The Bachelorette (starring JOJO!) in May (that’s pretty damn quick, no?) and Bachelor In Paradise this summer and the Bachelor Train keeps rolling on!

To hear me yammer about this solo (because my sweet co-host was having bedtime problems with her sweet baby who was as emotional about the finale as Jojo was), listen to The Fantasy Suite here.

Thanks so much for reading, lovebugs! I really appreciate it and I’ll be back in May to make jokes about the lunks who line up to date the gorgeous, wonderful Jojo!  xo 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Bachelor Ben H. Ep 10: The Women Tell All

Monday night Chris Harrison wore many hats: cheerleading squad for Jubilee and Lace, mediator in a few tense conversations, and shameless journalist who is itching for an ugly cry. It was the episode that promises closure, but in reality probably opens up a world of hurt feelings and unresolved issues: THE WOMEN TELL ALL.

The episode kicked off with clips of Bachelor Ben and Bachelor Nation President Chris crashing Bachelor viewing parties and these fans are the real thing.  There were #hometown onesies, fantasy league scoreboards, decorated cakes, grandmothers, and—of course—roses.  Chris Harrison was feeling the love, saying that the fans are “like fuel” and they “blow up your world.”  Wait, is that what Lace’s tattoo says? I can’t quite remember.

Actual photo of Bachelor fans 
Then it’s time for the good part: when a dozen relevant cast-offs get DONE UP and look better than they have ever looked because they know this is their last moment in the limelight. Though a few of the ladies’ ideas of “super dolled up” weren’t so appealing to me and yes, I’m talking to you, Olivia. Who was there?

-Lace: Oh sweet, simple, inspirational tattooed Lace. She has some good highlights and a cute, white dress.
-Tiara: The girl who brought the chicken. You’re tiresome and you haven’t even said 3 words, but I like your big hair and white separates.
-Amber: Looking good, though I still think she’s bad news after she went after Jubilee. She’s rocking a bold lip, bright eye make-up and cleavage out.
-Jami: Her twin (not really, but kinda) in a yellow dress, tits out.
-Izzy: Who? Who cares.
-Rachel: Who? Is there an own here or just an assortment of blah brunettes who failed to make any sort of impression?
-Jubilee: Looking good in a blush, flowing gown and red lip.
-Shushanna: The Russian whose curls and highlights are absolute perfection.
-Lauren H.: Sure, she has good hair (still), but she also has a grating accent a mild case of racism/classism methinks.
-Olivia: WHO IS YOUR STYLIST? She’s rocking flat, blah hair with an odd bend in it, raccoon eyes, a bare lip (NO NO NO), and a bland white jumper. No thank you!
-Leah: DO YOU HAVE THE SAME STYLIST? Ladies, your shared stylist is trying to ruin you both! Leah is rocking a brown lip (I loved Melrose Place, too, girl, but come on), maybe lip injections on the top lip (anyone?), and a blah tan dress.
-Becca: She may have half shut eyes that remind me of Janice from the Muppet Band, but we share a love of sparkles and the color gunmetal, so I love her.
-Haley and Emily: The Vegas twins looks like Vegas twins.
-Amanda: Mama is looking good in a red, lace dress despite her cold.
-Caila: She has looked better and I wish she’d worn a brighter lip, but her black jumper is cute.

They kick things off with a montage of all the terrible things that they did and that were said about them as if to say, “Ladies, are you going to let her disrespect you like that?” and get the talons out.

Hi, I'm another pretty but forgettable brunette. Don't you remember me? 

Leah defends her bizarre anti-Lauren move saying that she heard that Lauren said a comment that the girls were “losers” for being upset about something or other (really detailed, reliable story there, Leah—I totally believe that that happened) and then insist that she didn’t “intentionally lie, though” despite the fact that there’s a videotape of her intentionally lying (though). 

The conversation is repeatedly disrupted by that stupid chicken, which some people found funny and odd, but I just found hella tiresome.  Then again, I’m a disgruntled old man who wants everyone to get off my lawn trapped in the body of a smoking hot fox, so I find everything tiresome. 

Jubilee (who is black, or as she says “full black”) has a tense stand off with Amber and Jami (who are both biracial) when they say that her repeated comments about being “real black” and “full black” were offensive to them and Shushanna backs them up by saying she heard it, too. The conversation continues after the break with Jubilee sitting down with Chris Harrison (after Leah chimes in to “get over it” and GIRL I wish you’d just shut up—I used to support you before you turned into a nightmare).

Jubilee and Chris have a touching conversation (and I mean that truly) about her heartbreaking family history and the trauma she has endured.  She says that she’s complicated and that she overthinks things to the point of self destruction and it certainly seems that she does, but hey Jubes, just as they say in GI Joe (which is a poor imitation of actual military people like you), knowing is half the battle.  I nearly got choked up when Chris Harrison ended her segment saying, “you might be complicated, but I hope you realize you’re a pretty special woman.” Oh Chris, may you lead Bachelor Nation until the end of time!

Lace hops in the hot seat and says that she’s working on herself more, trying to avoid the word “crazy,” and listen to people.  Good calls all around. As she’s talking, a random guy (seemingly from the crew) interrupts Lace in a moment straight out of an unrealistic romantic comedy that we were all force fed during our adolescence and gave us completely unrealistic expectations of what dating and romance would be like as adults and shouts that that she’s crazy… crazy beautiful, then he pulls up his shirt to reveal a tattoo of her face on his torso. 

Check that Lace tat!

It’s during this crucial juncture that Chris Harrison informs Bachelor Nation that this summer, Bachelor In Paradise will be back!  Huzzah! Apparently Lace will be the token kookoo bird and I just pray that sweetheart bartender comes back!

Olivia and her unflattering hairdo get in the hot seat and says that the show was hard to watch because she didn’t realize quite how much everyone hated her and she felt that no one quite “got” her.  Olivia claims that she “owns up” to the thinks she did wrong and that “we all did things we regret” which makes a bunch of the ladies laugh out loud.

ASIDE: I hate it when people say stuff like that—comments that assume that, hey, everyone is an unadulterated, selfish, horrifying sociopath at certain points, right? NO. Not everyone is. I remember back during my college sorority days, some girls would hook up with another girl’s ex-BF or current crush and say, “hey, we all do it—our sorority is so big—it’s just bound to happen.” No it’s not. YOU CHOOSE YOUR CHOICES. I somehow NEVER hooked up with a friend’s crush or ex-BF, so we don’t just ALL DO IT, OK? And same with Olivia—I doubt that many of the other women (save for Lace and Jubilee, maybe) did or said things they regret.  Most of the women there conducted themselves well and didn’t bring shame upon their families, so don’t generalize to serve your own ego.

ANYHOoOoooooooooo

Olivia apologizes to Amanda for calling her “Teen Mom” and saying that men should run away from single mothers (yikes) then previously boring Jennifer says that Olivia acted like the women in the house were airheads, but if she had gotten to know them or asked them questions she would have learned that they also like to “talk smart things.”  Olivia’s closing Hail Mary pass is that she was severely bullied as a child and that the house dynamics brought her back to those sad times and made it hard for her to socialize. I have a lot of sympathy for that, truly, but I’m not sure if I believe her.  Random drop-in Izzy makes a cogent point, saying that if Olivia HAS been through “the bullying thing” (there are better ways to phrase that, girl), then you should have learned and perhaps had more sympathy for her bunkmates. 

Olivia says that she doesn’t look at social media anymore because it’s so hurtful and prompts a really interesting conversation that breaks the fourth wall of “reality TV.” She apologies profusely, says that there’s no way of knowing how to do this, and she didn’t do it right but she learned. Way to go, girl.  Now if I may make a recommendation: big hair is much more flatting on you, Olivia. Go now in peace.

Then Caila gets to watch herself get dumped in front of a studio audience while wearing a very plain lipcolor.  She watches clips of Ben calling her a “sex panther” (and members of the studio audience are wearing homemade “SEX PANTHER” shirts) and them sitting on that bench in her hometown (that you KNOW will come up in her season as The Bachelorette—oh yes, did you hear the news? I’m NOT excited, but I will probably watch because this is an addiction and I surrender control).  She’s still blue over the breakup but after watching Ben and Jojo and Ben and Lauren, she sees how he looks at them and she wants THAT (which is a perfect sound bite to launch her journey to find love as The Bachelorette, aint it?).

Finally, Ben comes out and speaks with a few of the ladies to answer their questions and give them “closure,” but a few of those conversations seemed like that bad move you make when you and your ex agree to meet for drinks a few months after the breakup “for closure” or “to catch up” but you both know damn well it’s just so that you can look good in front of him and be like, “LIFE IS GOOD! Everthing’s coming up roses! But maybe we should make out in the coat room—wouldn’t that be funny and fun? Just for old time’s sake? What, no? You don’t want to do that? OK that’s fine. I’m doing great, so I don’t need your validation at all—am I drunk? No I’m not DRUNK, Jared. I’m FINE. I just wanted to meet up with you and catch up because I care about you, but I’m completely MOVING ON—can’t you tell by these new heels I’m wearing and this slimming dress that’s sort of similar to your favorite dress of mine but even TIGHTER? Hahah! I’m great!  All is well! WHY DID YOU FUCKING DUMP ME?”

ABC serves up some delicious Bachelor bloopers, Chris Harrison says that Ben belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Bachelor Nation history, and we watch a finale sneak peak in which Ben’s mom says that she’s “disturbed” that he’s in love with two women.

Next Monday is the 3 hour live event and I’m placing my bets now: Ben will propose to Lauren and Jojo’s brothers will be out for blood. What do you think? Who's going home broken hearted?

ALSO, if you want to hear me and my wonderful neighbor/fellow comedian Dava Krauss chat about this episode (and every episode) subscribe to our podcast, The Fantasty Suite here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Bachelor Ben H. Ep 9: Fantasy Suite Nights

Last night’s Bachelor was the infamous fantasy suite episode—the night when Chris Harrison bizarrely invites the bachelor +  his lady of the night (three total!) to “forego their individual rooms” and stay as a couple in the fantasy suite. Most members of Bachelor Nation can recite that fantasy suite card text like 3rd graders can recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Ben is in beautiful Jamaica, a country I have visited twice and I absolutely adore. Ben wanders the gorgeous vistas of Bob Marley’s homeland saying, “Jamaica has a freedom to it” which is ironic since Jamaica only gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1962. But enough about Jamaica’s pathway to freedom from Spanish and British rule and its history of slavery crossed with indentured servitude followed by a hard fought emancipation—Ben Higgins has come all the way from Warsaw, Indiana to GET LAID!

We’re down to Caila, Lauren, and Jojo and Ben roams around Jamaica in a pink button down shirt summarizing his feelings on each of them.

Caila arrived on that first night in a sparkly dress and jumped directly into Ben’s arms, setting the tone for her puppy dog-like antics for the rest of the season. Caila is beautiful, smiley, and bubbly and Ben likes it, but will she ever join him in his favorite hobby—crying?

Lauren makes Ben feel like he has a schoolboy crush and seemed like love at first sight to Ben, but is it too good to be true? Is she holding back on Ben?

Jojo is goofy like Ben (at least he seems to think he’s goofy, but I’m not sure I see it) and he feels like himself with her, but her brothers are walking nightmares and the hometown date “added confusion,” as Ben tactfully puts it.

The producers show us the ladies in their Jamaican hotel rooms and we endure SO MANY SHOTS of them staring out the water, staring out windows, staring off while sipping tea, taking deep breaths, and walking around in sexy robes. Life, huh?

Caila is first at bat and she’s wearing daisy dukes and a bikini top-style shirt for their daytime date cruising on a lazy river. The energy is awkward and a bit tense, as Caila feels weird post-hometown and with 2 other girls still in the running. They hop off their raft at a jerk chicken shack where they sip coconuts while Caila admits that she’s overthinking things and doesn’t want to ruin the mood by being the heavy. Ben remarks that it feels weird and Caila is very melancholy and wow, it seems like there is no room for error with that guy, ya know?

That night they dress up and Caila’s black separates are sublime. They sit on a couch directly behind a bonfire and surrounded by tiki torches and I am stunned that they didn’t melt. Ben dives right in and says that today was weird and she’s usually bubbly and communicative and Caila says that she’s glad he called her out (GLAD? ugh) and that post-hometowns she’s very scared and nervous because it’s very real now. She says that she has doubted every other relationship she has ever had (hear that, ex-boyfriends! EAT IT!) but with Ben, it feels right all the  time and she continues making bullet points about him that sound like dialogue, then she closes with “I’m in love with you.” Ben grabs her and kisses her, but doesn’t say it back (per The Bachelor rules) and they read the fantasy suite card together. They strip down to their swimsuits (and Caila’s swimsuit is TINY, also when did I become an old nun?), make out while fireworks go off, and then retire to the fantasy suite. 

The next morning they say “good morning” to one another about a dozen times, then sit on the patio as Caila says “love ya” way too many times.

But don’t bask in the afterglow of night 1 of humps too long, Benny boy—you’ve got another date! And it’s with the woman who you’re obviously going to marry, Lauren!

Lauren meets Ben and somehow she has constructed the most unflattering outfit of all time—ill fitting daisy dukes, a tank top made of sweater material, and a bikini underneath. They take a boat to Gibraltar Beach where they release a nest of baby sea turtles and Lauren says that this is “one of my dreams” (to open up an underground nest of tiny sea turtles? Really? I guess my dreams just aren’t specific enough). After their conservation efforts, they sit down on a tapestry and each says that the other is too good for him or her and I guess that’s cute, but also, please shut up.  They strip down to their swimsuits and another TINY bikini is in play and I wonder, do all these ladies have tiny bums? My badonkadonk just needs more coverage—is that too much to say?  Have I just alienated my small-rumped readers?

That night they attend a reggae concert (as Lauren rocks fierce peach separates) then sit down to dinner where Lauren describes Ben as “legitimately the man of my dreams” (legitimately? Seriously? Literally?) before they read the date card and opt to head into the fantasy suite.  Lauren says that she’s excited for alone time with Ben to “just be us and do us” and that she’s ready to “open up” and OMG WE GET IT! You won’t be playing Tiddly Winks in there! In the fantasy suite, Lauren tells Ben that she’s completely in love with him and—in a moment that Chris Harrison would call UNPRECEDNTED IN BACHELOR HISTORY, Ben responds that he has been in love with her for a while as well.

I was expecting an alarm to go off because THAT is against The Rules of Bach, but then again, are there any rules, truly? Aren’t we all making it up as we go along (that is, in life and love) and doesn’t ABC want better ratings each season (that is, on The Bachelor)? What ARE rules, truly? Must we abide by any social norms at all? (Can you tell that I took a lot of philosophy courses in college?) 

They repeat their “I love yous” a bunch of times, then close the curtain for love saying while love making (that phrase just made me throw up in my mouth a lil). The next morning they sip coffee and stare at each other and then Ben’s got to bounce and tell another woman that he loves HER. This schedule of “I love yous” is unrelenting!

Jojo and Ben’s daytime date is a helicopter ride to Negril (where Katie Compa and I have taken adult spring break twice) where they explore a waterfall and jump off a ledge into the water (BAD CALL, JOJO! Do you know how gnarly your hair is going to look as it dries? Take it from me, a girl who didn’t dunk my head underwater for a decade in order to preserve my award-winning hair). They sit in the water and talk about the future and upon Jojo’s confession of love, Ben says “I love you, too” which makes her start crying and ask “are you allowed to say that?” Ahh Jojo, your hilarious mother may not understand what this show is about, but you definitely know your Bachelor rules.

That night they “eat dinner” (drink and flirt) as Jojo marvels at how good it feels to hear these “words of affirmation” and then they opt to enter their fantasy suite, which is named the “Romeo + Juliet” suite (woa—double suicide as Bachelor finale? The producers really DO want ratings!). They strip down and then sip bubbly in a hot tub before closing the curtains for 1:1 time.

The next morning they nibble on fruit as Jojo tells ben “you gave me so much more than I expected yesterday” which Bachelor Nation unanimously assumed was code for oral sex, no? JK!

That afternoon Ben thinks about the choice he must make as he roams around alone and can we all agree that he walks like an absolute DWEEB? I don’t know how you “walk cool” but Ben, you’re definitely not doing it. Could all shots be from waist level or above from now on, please? Thnx.

Ben reveals that something is missing with Caila and in a move that has the producers fingerprints all over it, she immediately arrives to surprise him! She’s wearing a skirt and a pastel sports bra and she surprises Ben by coming from behind and putting her hands over his eyes—a move that should be outlawed when you graduate from middle school.   Ben is surprised and things go downhill fast.

That Face When you know you're about to get dumped

Ben is talking about how much he appreciates that she “tried to come over here” and Caila asks “are you OK?” which is—in my experience—what you ask when you think someone is pulling away and/or about to dump you. Ben explains that he’s in love with 2 women here and he simply couldn’t say “I love you” back to Caila so he has to send her home and, much to her credit, she calls him out on a few comments that sound like stock lines (truth) and leaves quickly. Good girl. I handle breakups the same way—just go. There’s no “figuring it out” that is of use to anyone. He walks her out and she furiously plays with her hair (again, I feel ya, girl—rub on your safety blanket) then hops in the car. She sits there for a moment, then gets back out (ya sure you want to do that, girl?) and takes advantage of that time to get some answers. She asks him, in so many words, if he slept with her knowing full well that he didn’t love her and he says that no, as the week progressed he felt that he couldn’t hold back with Lauren and Jojo’s confessions of love and so here we are.  They hug goodbye and in the car as she cries, Caila says that she still loves Ben, which is completely valid and very adult of her. But does this mean that she’ll be the next Bachelorette? I just don’t think that Bachelor Nation can handle such a naïve puppy of a Bachelorette for an entire season.

Soon it’s rose ceremony time because The Bachelor is nothing if not addicted to rituals. Jojo arrives in a fantastic floral dress and wedges (I heart wedges) and takes her mark. Lauren makes a shocking dress misstep and rolls up in an unflattering, low cut, red potato sack of a dress that is an odd length. 

An actual photo of Lauren's rose ceremony dress 

Chris Harrison greets each girl and wins the Best Actor Oscar as he pretends to be surprised at their confessions of love and the news of Ben’s reciprocation.  They have the rose ceremony, though I wish that Ben had given both ladies roses at the same time (his order was Jojo then Lauren, for what it’s worth) and the trio toasts to falling in love and meeting family.  


Next week is the Women Tell All and I can’t wait to see some of our favorite Bach Ben alums: Leah and her pathetic lies, Olivia and her cankles, Lace and her self improvement plan. Has Lace learned to love herself? We’ll soon find out!  

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bachelor Ben H. Ep 8: MVPS = Lauren's brothers, Jojo's mother

Last night was the all-important HOMETOWNS episode of The Bachelor and the first 3 families served up some pretty standard fare—wine, stilted conversation, McMansions awash in Pottery Barn—but the big finish was found in Dallas, Texas with Jojo’s hilarious family who need their own sitcom PRONTO.

We started off not far from the Bachelor mansion in Laguna Beach, CA, hometown of Amanda, the beautiful mother of two who managed to turn some really bad roots into seemingly deliberate balayage. Ben and Amanda run to each other on the beach and Amanda’s shirt is barely hanging on. Did anyone else notice that shoulderless, drapey black shirt that left her practically nude? At points it almost looked as if the video editor had to “fix it in post” and draw on a higher neckline than was really there.  Amanda’s sweet daughters, Kinsley and Charlie (no comment from the peanut gallery about trends in baby naming these days), run up and a tearful reunion is had. The girls are both rocking tiny gladiator sandals which is cute, I suppose, but must be a bear to get wiggly kiddo legs and toes into. Ben, Amanda, and the tykes chase each other around the beach and generally act like a family unit much too soon.

That evening Ben meets Amanda’s parents and sister and answers questions about whether he’s ready to be an “instant dad.” Amanda’s father says that Ben looks like a deer in the headlights (about to get hit by an SUV full of TYKES) and asks Ben if he’s ready to step up and make sacrifices for the children, telling him that “you can’t go to the gym with your buddies.” That LONE example of parental obligation inspires Ben to suddenly think seriously about what it means to be a father. Oh Amanda, your fate is already sealed. The couple shares a chaste goodbye kiss in the driveway and Ben heads out to Portland, OR.

Lauren is waiting for Ben in downtown Portland and the cute couple explore her hometown together, walking around Pioneer Square, eating from food trucks, and stopping by a “Keep Portland Weird” mural which was probably painted by that Goth Dentist cast off from earlier in the season.

They enjoy a drink at Whiskey Library and reminisce on that first night when Lauren was homesick and skeptical. Then it’s family time and Ben meets Lauren’s parents, sister, 2 younger brothers, and elderly dog.  After pleasantries and “dinner” (drinks?), Lauren’s sister pulls Ben aside and asks him what he’s saying to the other families and—point blank—what makes Lauren different. In a move straight out of the Idiot’s Guidebook for Dumb Shit Not To Say, Ben insists that that he simply can’t put it into words (but, ya see buddy, language is a powerful tool, so hows bouts ya try?) and that he just feels really lucky, then he looks away and tears up.

Lawdy lawdy! I don’t think that Ben’s tears were crocodile tears necessarily, but I DO think that he is EXHAUSTED from selling snake oil to 4 families in a row this week and that will make the tears flow like white wine at a Bachelor viewing party.

Who needs words when you can use tears?
 (Also, aren't my frames fantastic?)

Lauren chats with her sister Mollie and says “I feel like Ben’s my person” and then they embrace while clutching their white wine glasses. Lauren’s father asks Ben how he’s holding up and Ben admits “not well” (for reals) as Lauren frets about whether she should tell Ben that she loves him. The couple say goodbye and kiss in the driveway but Lauren doesn’t drop the L bomb and says in her interview, “there are things left unsaid on my behalf.” HUH? ON MY BEHALF? Did you ALSO not attend middle school? Do you mean that, on your side of the fence or for your part, there were things left unsaid? Somebody gets these kids some Language Arts education!

The next stop on the Trail of Tears is Hudson, Ohio where Caila will introduce Ben to her parents and brother but not until they sit on a cute swinging bench in the town square and build a toy house together. Caila’s father is the CEO of a toy company (what, no free promotional consideration for said unnamed toy company?) so Caila and Ben spend the afternoon “designing a house” (picking out colors) then “building the house” (pouring chemicals and polymers into molds and, we hope, not inhaling those toxic fumes) before they exit the factory Officer & a Gentleman-style.  

Despite her insistence last week that she doesn’t have deep roots, Caila’s family is warm and welcoming, with her nerdy sweet dad, bubbly Filipino mother, and quiet brother.  Caila’s father Chris (or as she calls him “Daddy”—yikes) asks Ben about his “microwave fame” and remarks on his and Caila's mother's 24 year magical marriage (so sweet). Caila has a lovely rapport with both of her parents and the line of the night goes to Mr. Toy Company CEO, “darling, there’s no rule book to love.” We see another driveway goodbye and Caila admits that there’s an unknown in the back of her mind and it’s scary.

Finally, we’re down in Dallas, Texas where Jojo lives and we watch her walk up to her apartment and see a dozen roses and a note, presumably from Ben. BUT WAIT—these producers have coordinated something super shitty and are throwing her a curve ball like it's last week at Wrigley Field and the Cubs are losing—the note is from her crappy ex-boyfriend Chad. OF COURSE THE KID’S NAME IS CHAD! Jojo becomes very upset and, in a move straight out of the Guide for Shit NOT TO DO When You’re Actually Attempting to Move On and Truly Seek Closure, SHE CALLS CHAD.  GIRL! Closure is a gift you give yourself—how many times must we go over this!? She talks to Chad, hangs up the phone, Ben knocks on the door, and she tells him everything that just happened. Ben is sweating bullets and looks horrified but they talk through it and area soon walking through the giant front door of Jojo’s family’s public library-sized McMansion. Everything’s bigger in Texas indeed. 

The couple is greeted by Jojo’s pushy brothers Matt and Ben (Insert Good Will Hunting joke here), sister Rachel, dad Joe, and mom whose name we never catch, but whose spirit we embrace. Jojo’s mother definitely looks like she has had some work done (no shame in that game) and throughout the dinner we fall in love with this jazzy spitfire. While Jojo’s brothers are busy being handsome and GRILLING Ben about the process (“have you been coached on what to say?” “will she end up hurt or happy?”), Jojo and her mother are having girl talk and I want to have Jojo’s mother’s advice stitched onto a throw pillow: “You’re not going to get hurt—you’re beautiful.” God bless you, sweet lady. Jojo’s mother seems surprised to learn that there are still 3 other girls in the running (ya see it’s this show called The Bachelor, mom, and it sounds crazy, but he dates about a dozen women at the same time—ya know what, let’s just keep talking about how pretty I am).  The entire family assembles in the kitchen and while the less hot brother says that Ben has brainwashed these girls, Mama Jojo chugs champagne straight out of the bottle and officially captures Bachelor Nation’s hearts. 

The greatest moment in Bachelor history

The family seems to love advising Jojo on whether she should put up a wall or open up or go 150%, but how about we all let Jojo decide what is right for Jojo, mmmmmkay? Ben and Jojo talk in the driveway and she’s scared that she’ll lose him.

You can just hear the producers saying "GET OUT OF THE SHOT!"

Before we know it, we’re back at the Bach Manse and it’s rose ceremony time. The ladies arrive and everyone has gotten their hair cut and/or colored during hometowns, thank God. They line up and Ben hands out the roses in a pretty predictable order:

-Lauren: rocking smooth, straight hair and an off-the-shoulder dress. Her taste in jewelry is a bit delicate/small for my taste, but she looks great.
-Caila: wearing a floral dress (meh) and big hair.
-Jojo: rocking a sexy red dress, big silver earrings, and awesome hair.

So mama bear Amanda (wearing what resembles a lace nighty) is going home and she tells Ben that she wishes he hadn’t made her travel to Los Angeles to get dumped, but that’s only an hour away from her home, so cry me a river, lady.  I once got dumped 2 hours after getting back from vacation in Jamaica.

Speaking of Jamaica (and my ex who is a nice guy, but one of those dudes who just refuses to grow up or wear shirts with sleeves no matter what the season), next week is FANTASY SUITE week in Jamaica!! Yes, the series of potential humps after which Dava Krause and I named our podcast, The FantasySuite!

The Jamaican getaway promises 3 instances of “I love you” + 2 instances of “I love you too” = 1 broken heart.  Who says that math is for nerds? 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Bach 20 Special + Bach Ben Ep 7: Everyone Act Like You Aren't Freezing

Lovebugs!

On Sunday and Monday nights, ABC served up so much Bach goodness--I could hardly digest it all!

Sunday night's episode was called "The Bachelor at 20: A Celebration of Love" and Bach producers trotted out their handful of successful franchise romances to remind Bachelor Nation that, once in a blue moon, "the process" actually works and results in a marriage and/or kids.  All of our favorites were there--assorted Bachelors and Bachelorettes, random rejects, and comedians Paul Scheer and Ken Marino (which killed me). Clare and Michelle Money were like a long haired Statler and Waldorf duo checking out the "fresh meat" and cracking jokes. Ashley "poor man's Kim Kardashian" Iaconetti was there and, as usual, in tears over a disinterred and bland Jared. Kaitlyn and her fiancee Shawn (the human knot) were there along with Trista and Ryan, heavyset Bachelor Bob, that strange Andrew Firestone character--so many Bach Alumz!

ABC knows what we like, so they served up montage upon montage: breakups, man cries, scandals, characters you love to hate, hot tub scenes, bloopers, and casting tapes. Sure, it was a shameless clip show, but it was super fun to watch.

Hour #2 was dedicated to the gorgeous wedding of Bachelor In Paradise lovebirds Tanner and Jade and I'll admit that I cried like baby learning to "cry it out" and self soothe. During the fall of 2015, I had the pleasure of chatting with Tanner and Jade a few times for a potential project that didn't come to fruition and they are super lovely people--totally in love, extremely genuine and humble--the kind of people who you'd hope to meet when trapped in a weird reality TV situation.  Their wedding was gorgeous and having Chris Harrison as the officiant was a lovely touch, though the camera shots cracked me up.  Chris opened up talking about love stories--some are long (camera pans to Trista and Ryan), some are short (shameless shot of 2 time Bach loser Nick V.), some are just getting to the good part (camera pans to Kaitlyn and her poor man's Ryan Gosling fiancee, Shawn).  Their vows were touching and they exited as Mr. and Mrs. Tobert to exploding sparklers flanking the aisle, which resembled a kickass Whitesnake concert.

In a moment that felt like putting a hat on a hat, Seal sang "Kiss from a Rose" at the reception and I'm just impressed that their floral arrangements weren't entirely roses (I bet Jade had to veto some producers pushing for that).  Overall, a beautiful celebration and who doesn't love seeing all of our favorite bach alums?

Monday night we were back to present day Bach: Ben Higgins and his remaining 6 gals in his hometown of Warsaw, Indiana ("the Orthopedic Capital" whatever that means!) and this episode played out like an extended cut of John Mellencamp's "Small Town." Lordy Lordy WE GET IT, you're proud of your small town heritage and somehow don't feel completely stifled and strangled by small town life.  Ben, you are a very different person than I am (and apparently, than Caila is, too).

To kick things off, Ben cruises around town in a classic truck and meets his parents at the local diner where he tells them about each of the 6 women by saying how beautiful each is and where they are with regard to connection/chemistry. I was somewhat stunned that he never mentioned their jobs or hometowns or hobbies AT ALL.  Just like, Jojo and Caila are beautiful and Amanda is "shockingly beautiful." Great character descriptions, bro.


Lauren B. scores the first 1:1 date and she's feeling anxious because of Leah's bizarro lie that Lauren is two faced. Her hair may be two toned (with the dark roots creeping in), but Lauren is definitely not two faced. She and Ben drive around in his truck, play basketball with a crew of sweet kids at the Baker Youth Club (and Ronnie makes bucket after bucket from half court), and meet a handful of Indiana Pacers players with "George" somewhere in their names.  That night over drinks, Ben and Lauren discuss how stressful it was for her to be badmouthed unfairly, then--in a move straight out of my dream date--they hit up Ben's favorite local dive bar (REX'S Rendezvous) for drinks with his crew. They make out on a patio and Lauren says, "I'm not in love with Ben the Bachelor. I'm in love with Ben from Warsaw, Indiana." If Ben doesn't have the zip code or coordinates of Warsaw tattooed somewhere on his body, I'd be SHOCKED.  Next is Jojo's 1:1 date and the card references the "windy city," which inspires the saddest conversation on reality TV:

Emily: Well, it's pretty windy here? 
Becca: Chicago is known as The Windy City
[le fin]

LORDY LORDY when BECCA is the smarty pants in a conversation you are in TROUBLE.  I guess they don't cover basic geography in Las Vegas Public Schools. 

Jojo takes a car to Chicago where she meets Ben on a street corner and jumps into his arms just as a family is walking by and blocking the shot (HA!). Ben says that his favorite thing is that Jojo doesn't quite realize how much he likes her, even though he has told her many times. Blech. I hate that kind of "what I like the best about you is your ongoing insecurity and lack of self-awareness," bizarro "compliment" from dudes, ya know? It reminds me of that horrible One Direction song about how what makes a girl beautiful is when she doesn't know that she's beautiful. No thank you. 

Anyheeeeer.  They're up in my old stomping grounds of Wrigleyville (3200 North--what what!) and their date is a day at Wrigley Field, which is a truly magical experience.  I was loving this date until we heard two instances in rapid succession of both Ben AND Jojo not understanding what a friggin' personal possessive pronoun is.  KIDS, the phrase is "Ben's and my relationship" or "Jojo's and my date" NOT "AND I'S"??  Good Lord did you attend 5th grade? Aside: I once got a thank you note from a wedding that referred to "[name redacted] and I's wedding" and I was STUNNED. You're writing that on your formal wedding thank you notes!?  Doesn't that LOOK weird to you? Anyway--Jojo's style is, as always, completely on point and even though they both appear to be freezing, they look great as they play ball and dine in the baseball diamond.  They close the night by going to first base at home plate. HEYO! 

The next date is the dreaded group date and the theme is, as ever, act like you aren't freezing. Amanda, Caila, and Becca enjoy an awkward day of row boating at a swamp, kite flying, and barn sitting during which each couple gets 1:1 time.  Amanda talks about her kids and her past, Becca says that she likes Ben so much that it scares her and asks him to not blindside her (ya smell that foreshadowing???), and Caila compares herself to a moss that grows on a tree (the sturdy tree growing wherever it wants to grow being THE MAN, of course) and saying that she could move or live anywhere. I find it sad that she seems self-conscious about her family and the fact that they moved around a lot when she was a child because hey--the measure of your life is your life--there's no "right way" to do it. You don't lack "deep roots," Caila with the great hair, you just have a different kind of roots than Ben has and both are rad.  (Why am I treating this recap like it's a self help book written specifically for Caila? But seriously---pick up a copy of Caila's Journey: A Long Road to Self Love wherever books are sold).

Amanda scores the rose, so Ben and Amanda walk off to continue the date while Caila and Becca cry in the barn (and we get a prime shot of Becca's roots). 
ROOT SHOT! Caila's talking about Ben's family's
roots while Becca's roots grow in.


That night, Ben and Amanda do a "normal thing" and go to McDonalds where they are waited on by a cashier who does NOT have roots growing in and who is blonde and proud (get it, girl). Ben and Amanda ask if they can "work" the drive through, which I'm sure pissed off the REAL staff and was probably a health code violation (no hairnet, Amanda? COME ON), but Ben & Amanda had fun. Then they chow some food and eat a fry like those two dogs from Lady and the Tramp.  



Those dogs made it look so easy! 
As if that date weren't High School enough, around the corner is a Warsaw Town Carnival where Amanda and Ben make out on the ferris wheel.

The next day is Emily's first 1:1 and Ben takes her to meet his parents, which is an extremely aggressive move for her first 1:1 and also, too little, too late. Emily is decked out in her Vegas best--a look that clearly horrified Ben's sweet parents.  Caila's description of Emily as "a bright eyed puppy" with a  lot to learn is dead-on and her conversations with Ben's parents reveal as much. Emily rambles nervously as Amy and Dave grin awkwardly and nod their heads, learning that she overthinks everything (reeeeally? No seriously? Really?), that her dream is to be an NFL cheerleader (oh good! Are you hearing rumors about layoffs at the Twin office where you currently work?), and, most embarrassingly, that she's "very average" in her life, but plans to be above average as a wife and mother. Oh girl, just stop talking.  Ben's mother Amy legit CRIES to him and says that she's "fun" but too young and Ben finally decides that yes, turns out she's 23 and that's just too young.  He then takes her on the boat back to the house where the ladies are staying and dumps her on a scenic dock. I feel for Emily--ya go meet a dude's parents and think that you're doing great, then CURVE BALL you're getting dumped lakeside.  Even worse, the other 5 women watch it all go down through the window!  In a sweet move, then run to her as she walks toward the house and comfort her as she cries. I kano that when I get dumped by a guy, the ONLY people I want comforting me are his other girlfriends.

Emily departs and says that she's shocked but grateful for the experience says "why not me" which is a golden opportunity for me to share my favorite Judds song of all time:



Before ya know it, it's time for a very spooky and very chilly rose ceremony outdoors. Amanda already has a rose, and Ben hands them out to...

-Lauren B. - hoping that next week when she's home for hometowns she can see her colorist to avoid disaster (brown hair) 
-Jojo - as ever, a  killer look on this one
-Caila - sparkly dress with cape, looking good 

So who got blindsided after asking SPECIFICALLY not to be blindsided? The newly crowned Female Nick V., Becca. She cries in the limo and wonders why she put herself in this position again. Sweet Becca, cause we gotta. You can't get a hit if you don't swing the bat a couple times and hey, if nothing else, your nail color is fantastic. 

Next week: HOMETOWNS and Jojo's brothers are NOT buying what Ben's selling! I can't wait!

ALSO, after each episode, my friend and neighbor Dava Krause and I rehash the drama on our new podcast THE FANTASY SUITE. Tune in here for laughs and convo. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bachelor Ben H. Ep 6: Desperate Times, Desperate Measures


Monday night’s episode was another GEMSTONE and I didn’t think that ABC could top last week’s brilliance. We had all the ingredients necessary for a clutch Bach episode: desperation, sabotage, and the dreaded 2-on-1 date.

Last week’s episode ended with a cliffhanger: would Ben wise up send Olivia and her ankle girdles packing or would be believe her constant refrain that being in the lead put a target on her back? In their whispered 1:1 conversation, Olivia turned elitist (that’s a fun, new trick!) and said that she can’t relate to the other women since they are all “into” painting their nails and doing each other’s hair but she’s interested in reading books and “thinking” (yes, she literally said that) and “I want to talk smart things.” Olivia, you’re a news anchor (supposedly) and a D list catalogue model—you’re not a rocket scientist, so cut it with the claims that you’re simply too smart for this crew. Also, you sound a lot like Ian from Kaitlyn’s season and we all know how that ended (not well). 

Ben hears her out and wisely asks her about her part in it, but ultimately he’s sympathetic toward her so they walk back in together. We then see shots of Olivia saying “come at me, bro” and “I’m not going anywhere—every else can suck it” which I’m sure makes both her family and her employer feel REALLY proud of her tenure on this show.

The Cankles Stay In the Picture
  

So it’s time for the rose ceremony and already clutching roses are Olivia, Amanda (“Teen Mom” as Olivia would call her), and Lauren H. 

Who’s safe?
-Caila (who seems pretty damn smart, OLIVIA)
-Lauren B. (nice style, love the black dress and hippie style)
-Jojo (filmy white town and fuscia lips “on fleek” as someone cooler than me would probably say)
-Beccca (loving the mixed texture hair—braid, curls—it’s very Britney in her heyday)
-Leah (nice mint green gown, side braid)
-Emily (blonde with funny personality)
So the person going home is no surprise to Bachelor Nation: Snooze-A-Thon, Brunette, Monotone Jennifer. Oh Jennifer, we hardly knew ye, but perhaps we DID “know ye” and there just aint much there there.  Jennifer exits gracefully.

The next stop is introduced by Ben as “a lot of sun, a lot of beach, a lot of ocean” (yeah, those 3 things often go together), THE BAHAMAS! There is sunshine but the weather is generally hurricane-like and the only thing rougher than the wind and tides is how Olivia looks without make up. 

Chris Harrison brings the girls up to speed: this week will have a 1:1, a group date, and an infamous 2:1 from which at least 1 girl is sent home (and historically, often both girls are sent home). 

Software saleswoman Caila gets the 1:1 and Leah is upset because she has only had group dates so far. I hear that, but Caila and Ben’s first “1:1” was more of a “3:1” with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube and everyone feeling VERY obligated to promote the movie Ride Along 2.  Ben picks up Caila at the hotel and Leah is awkwardly wedged between them on the couch (that seating situation was BRUTAL to watch) before they head out. While Caila and Ben spend a sunny day deep sea fishing, Leah begins to unravel back at the hotel saying that she feels like a fool. Outside of the show, Leah lives only 10 minutes away from Ben, which she takes as a sign of their inevitable compatibility (girl, plenty of people live near me and that doesn’t mean I’ll have anything in common with them other than a subway stop and a local coffee shop). Leah, I’m sorry, but the universe didn’t bring you and Ben together—casting directors did. 

Caila's favorite book
Over a candlelit non-dinner, Caila and Ben have one of the most confusing conversations in Bachelor history, with Caila pulling back the curtain and saying that she knows she’s “supposed” to be vulnerable but she feels put on the spot, that she’s afraid she’s going to break his heart (yikes), and that her mind and her heart want different things (but like, what does your crotch want, also?). She chooses her phrases so deliberately and carefully (“I feel that...”) that it felt like watching a non-native speaker learn English phrases (“I would like to visit the library”). 

Somehow she emerges from that conversation triumphant, with Ben saying that he LIKES that Caila is confusing and that makes her “authentic.” Whatever you say, bro. Enter at your own risk.

The next day is the group date and Lauren B., Becca, Amanda, Jojo, Lauren H., and Leah resemble a sea of bikinis, tan skin, and bayalage hair. The ladies and Ben hop on a boat, drink a bit, and then come upon some wild pigs by a deserted island.  Ben has turkey hot dogs for them to feed the pigs (thank GOD they weren’t regular hot dogs, as I thought they were for a moment) and after that, everyone mostly stands around and feels insecure and weird.  This “acticity” is an audio mixer’s nightmare with loud waves and squealing pigs and no ability to mic each girl since they were in the water. There must have been multiple boom operators running around like crazy people—brutal. 

Leah confronts Ben about how she feels sad that she hasn’t had a 1:1 yet and he says “can you make the most of this with me please?” then hugs her, which was like watching an abusive husband ask his wife to please smile and nod through another dinner party.

That night at the afterparty, Becca’s rocking a fantastic leather & lace outfit when Ben pulls her aside to ask why she was standoff-ish to him today. Becca shoots him straight, saying that the date felt awkward because he has such obvious chemistry with Lauren B. (I smell foreshadowing) but that she’s still really into him, he hasn’t done anything wrong.  He proceeds to then assure almost every girl that he really likes her and I wish that we could have seen it as a montage, but alas. 

Leah finally gets some alone time with Ben and producers give us an ominous voice over of Leah saying that she “needs to do something extreme.”  Turns out, it’s not just Leah’s eyebrows that are intense and crazy—it’s also her personality.  Leah goes full Single White Female while claiming that she doesn’t want to sabotage anyone and then tells bold-faced lies to sabotage someone. Bachelor Nation was STUNNED to watch her throw Lauren B. under the bus, claiming that she’s two-faced and not genuine.  HUH? Say what you will about Lauren B. (perhaps she’s a bit simple and shy?), she is NOT an Olivia type who is some Jekyl & Hyde.  I swear I heard her say Lauren B.’s name in that conversation, but my podcast co-host Dava didn’t hear it—did you hear it, dear reader? It was all so confusing.

After dropping her bomb, Leah exits, like a blonde haired Iago and Ben immediately confronts Lauren B. about what he was told (without naming names). Lauren B. starts crying and feels weird even responding to this, since it’s so far from the truth. Moments later, Lauren B. is visibly upset and tells the other women what happened and Leah COMPLETELY LIES AGAIN about her involvement, saying that she’d never single somebody out and that she didn’t do it. I cannot wait for “The Women Tell All” episode later in the season because Leah is going to have to pay the piper for that whole charade.

Then, as if she hasn’t done enough damage both to herself and to Ben and Lauren B.’s relationship, Leah shows up on Ben’s hotel doorstep that night for more conversation. If she truly wanted to say around and honestly liked Ben, she’d use that alone time to build a bridge, flirt, maybe even make out. But Leah seems dead set on going out with a bang, so she squanders her limited time by again, doing the exact thing that she INSISTS she does NOT want to do (“sit here and talk bad things about Lauren”).  Ben sees through her and makes subtle digs, saying that the first night felt so great between them but it never moved beyond that (got to be hard to hear, even if you’re an Iago type) and that they’re missing something between them.  Finally, Ben says that he doesn’t want to put her through anything more and it’s best for us to say goodbye. Yesssss. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out, Psychopath! See ya at The Women Tell All—bring ya boxing gloves!

The next day is the 2:1 between Emily and Olivia and going into it, I thought that Emily was a dead man walking.  Ben and Emily get along well, but don’t seem to have a romantic chemistry and at this point in the game, that’s worrisome.   Olivia makes a joke that she and Emily are the same age but that she feels like her mother and YEAH YA DO with your dumpy clothes and bad taste. The match up truly looks like the fight of the century: 


The trio hops on a boat and braves some rough waves (buns all around, ladies! Do you know how much conditioner you’ll need to undo these tangles later?) as they make their way to an empty island for a date that consists of sitting around and drinking (well, most dates do, but it just feels weird to schelp so far into a hurricane for that activitiy, ya know?).

Olivia and Ben have some alone time during which she rambles about herself and claims to both be an introvert (doesn’t seem like it) but also extremely intimidating and confident yet grounded. I was ready to hear her end with “and I’m extremely humble” but instead, she ended her bizarre monologue by telling Ben that she’s in love with him, which is the Hail Mary Pass of Bachelor conversation moves.  Again, Ben Higgins can smell a rat and he seems completely uninspired by her confession of love.

Ben and Emily have some alone time during which she delivers an extremely enthusiastic diatribe from behind a curtain of hair and soon it’s time for Ben to give the rose to one lucky lady. He plucks the rose from its spot and asks Olivia to walk down the beach with him, with all signs pointing to Olivia being given this rose and Emily being sent home.

BUT WAIT!

Olivia’s open-mouthed grin disappears as Ben clutches the rose and says that he simply CANNOT give it to her because he can’t reciprocate her feelings. Who could have predicted that Olivia—the girl who has been referring to Ben as her “husband” all season--would leave with a whimper and not a bang? Ben walks back to Emily and gives her the rose as she squeals loud enough for Olivia to hear. Sometimes, The Bachelor is pure poetry. Ben and Emily hop a boat out of there while Olivia stands alone on the shoreline and a helicopter shot captures her heartbreak. 

Back at the hotel room, the ladies are stunned and relieved. It wasn’t a celebration quite like we saw when snug know-it-all Kelsey was sent home from Farmer Chris’s season (Badlands), but it was still notable.

Finally, it’s cocktail party time and everyone is wound up, even moreso when Ben cancels the cocktail party because he’s emotionally exhausted.  We’re going straight into the rose ceremony and Caila, Emily, and Amanda already have roses. Then Ben gives roses to…
-Becca (whose white dress is gorgeous against her tan skin and perpetually sleepy eyes)
-Jojo (whose style is top notch, including this army print, backless filmy number)

SO THEN WE ARE DOWN TO LAUREN H. VS. LAUREN B. 

A match-up unparalleled since the legendary Vegas Vs. Talbots bout earlier in the episode.
Who gets the rose? 
-Lauren B. (looking great in a flowy dress, beachy waves)

So Lauren H. is going home, which didn’t surprise me at all. She and Ben had fun, but also didn’t seem to have much romantic chemistry there. And with Lauren H.’s tear-stained departure, Lauren B. becomes LAUREN. Congratulations, girl! The last Lauren standing. But not the last woman standing.

If you want to hear me and my pal Dava run our mouths about The Bachelor, check out our podcast The Fantasy Suite here

Next week, ABC is giving us 2 nights of Bachelor: A Bachelor 20th anniversary celebration on Sunday then a new episode on Monday. If you overdose on Bach, does your tongue taste metallic like with a Pine Nut overdose? We’ll soon find out!