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!  

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Bachelor Ben H. Ep 5: Teen Mom Dramz


When we all first started this journey of watching 20 somethings talking about journeys, I never thought that I’d feel an intense kinship with a 20-nothing teetotaler twin from Las Vegas, but last night Emily won my heart with her white hot hatred for Olivia and her repeated reminders that Olivia has bad breath. Who knew that a shared hatred for a stank breathed bully can indeed a friendship make?

ME + EMILY = BEST FRIENDS FOREVER! 
But let’s start at the beginning—we’re in Mexico and all Bachelor participants are required to shout “Viva La Mexico” at the camera multiple times!  There are 11 girls left and they storm the Four Seasons Mexico City suite like they have never seen a queen sized bed before. The first date card goes to 25 year-old divorcee and mother of 2, Amanda (she’s nothing if not efficient). The Bachelor again becomes like sorority pledging when Ben surprises the ladies in the middle of the night with an unexpected wake-up call (“line up in the Glen and recite all of the sisters' birthdays, pledges!!”). Ben arrives at 4:20 am (heh heh) but he’s no there to get high, he’s there to pick up Amanda (who just HAPPENED to sleep in a full face of make up) so that they can get high in the sky in a hot air balloon! I’m having flashbacks to when Farmer Chris picked up Britt for the exact same date and she ALSO slept in a face full of make up! Life is a circle of repeated bullshit! Wheeee!  It really IS Groundhog Day! 

Ben and Amanda go up in a hot air balloon and look down at the Mexican ruins then enjoy a picnic in a field where they both talk in circles about how they’d like to get to know each other better, but they don’t take any steps to actually DO that.

That night Amanda rocks a beautiful, black cocktail dress with geometric cut outs in the front and perfect hair (what’s new) as she tells Ben about her failed marriage (a super sad story and a deluge of “likes”). She had her first child when she was 22 and married that guy 6 months later, but there were always red flags and “he had other priorities” (read: dude was immature cheater who would rather party than settled down at the age of 22).  She got pregnant again and then found his cell phone with texts from ex-gifrlfriends and girls from dating sites. Oof.  Ben is, as always, really sympathetic and sweet (I’m drinking the Ben H. Kool Aid AND I LIKE IT) and is flabbergasted that any guy could not wrap up Amanda and her sweet daughters. Ben gives her a rose and then they make out while standing next to a reflecting pool that makes them both look like they are standing IN said pool OR they both had their legs cut off at the shins. ROMANCE!

Up next is a group date and Olivia thinks she’s too good for it, despite being on it. The gang is Jubilee (who is feeling anxious), Becca (who continues to resemble a Floridian grandmother out on the lanai), Jojo (whose style is amazing), Caila (who doesn’t really excite me), Emily (who should be receiving my BFF heart locket by mail any day now), Lauren B. (who is sweet and cool), Jennifer (who is a nap of a human), Leah (whose eyebrows inspire both my love and my hatred), and Olivia (whose cankles accentuate her bad breath). 

The date is a Spanish class and Spanish cooking at a restaurant and Becca’s look is “insane Boca Raton retiree” (that bold patterned dress shirt thing? That half up/half down topknot? WHAT WAS GOING ON HERE?). As usual, Jubilee’s insecurity manifests in flippant comments and Olivia is the whitest white woman I have ever seen.

The crew heads into a huge market to meet Nico and Lula, brother and sister (with hipster style) who own a local Mexican restaurant and will be supervising this cooking challenge.

This photo doesn't capture his pointy edged mustache and her braids, but trust me--these two look like hipster twins 
Everyone must pair up (and Olivia elbows Jubilee out of a pairing with Ben), shop for ingredients, and then cook a Spanish dish to be judged by the hipster siblings.  During the cooking portion, everyone seems to be having fun except for Jubilee who is understandably perturbed that Olivia is essentially getting a 1:1 date out of this. The Hipster Twins (this name gets more official every time I use it) judge all of the plates and declare Jubilee and Lauren B.’s dish the winner saying, “when you know how to cook, you’re ready to get married” (oh is that when? Not when you find a partner who supports and validates you while also enabling you to preserve some modicum of independence? WHAT DO I KNOW?).

That night they get dressed up for an after party and Ben can barely squeak out “great cooking today, ladies” before Olivia snatches him away. The Bachelor producers give us a serious cankle shot as Ben and Olivia descend a few stairs and sit down to talk and reconnect. Lauren B. is rocking white separates (for the 2nd time!) and Ben leads her outside for a street side make-out and chat. Jubilee is becoming increasingly anxious and when Ben finally grabs her, she refuses to hold his hand. Ouch. She does so out of respect for the other women and while that’s a super kind instinct, she’s shooting herself in the foot. Ben and Jubilee have an intense conversation and he says that he doesn’t think that they have a strong enough foundation to build on anymore, then offers to walk her out. That escalated QUICKLY. Jubilee looks gorgeous and holds it together as she exits, then weeps in the interview room saying “I’m the most unlovable person in the world right now.” Oh, sweet girl, what you need in your life is a good therapist—not a boyfriend. Take a page from Lace and focus on loving yourself for a little while.

Ben returns to the ladies and explains what happened with Jubilee, but is interrupted by Jojo (which I found slightly inappropriate) because this romance train has gotta keep moving down the track.  They have a nice conversation but it’s Olivia (who Ben describes as “someone who struggled for a while” HA!) who wins the rose.

The next day is Lauren H. and Ben’s 1:1 date and it’s all about fashion. They try on clothes, chat with designers for Mexico Fashion Week, and ultimately walk IN a fashion show. Backstage, Lauren asks the models how long they have been in the industry (“4 years,” “6 years”) and tells them that she’s on DAY ONE in the industry! HONK! She reminded me of that guy who does standup ONE TIME and has some serious beginner's luck, then tries to hang out with those of us who have been at it for around a decade. Sit down, Lauren H., the adults are talking.


Ben resembled a poor man's Enrique Iglesias while on the runway.  I LIKE IT! 
Over dinner, Lauren H. tells Ben about her 4 year relationship that ended because he was cheating on her (ouch) with 3 different girls (double ouch), 1 of whom was a friend (TRIPLE ouch) and, Bachelor Nation, I think we have found the underlying theme of this season: EVRERY GIRL ON THE SHOW HAS BEEN CHEATED ON!  It’s uncanny. Lauren H. talks about how she actively chooses to be happy now and I appreciate that sentiment and admire her worldview, but still find her a little bit “aww shucks” corny. Ben walks and Lauren clomps out of the dinner (seriously girl walks like Big Foot), she scores a rose, and they awkwardly make out in the street.  She won’t make it to the final four—mark my words.

The next day it’s cocktail party/rose ceremony time and everyone looks fierce except Olivia. Becca and Emily are both wearing sparkly disco numbers,  Jennifer is masking her drab personality with a gorgeous fuscia frock, and Jojo’s filmy, white dress is a bold choice that pays off (especially because of the pink lip).  Olivia’s red dress is very David’s Bridal (in the words of my wonderful pal and Fantasy Suite co-host Dava Krause) and as Amanda is talking about babysitting arrangements for her daughter, Olivia chimes in that this conversation reminds her of the TV show “Teen Mom” then fails to understand why that comment stunned the ladies. She cries crocodile tears and says “I’m trying” because a producer probably told her that a person with a heart or emotions would react that way. 

The women have had enough and they each confront Ben—Emily (great work, girl), Amanda (who has felt targeted and judged by Olivia since day 1), and even snoozefest Jennifer!  Emily remarks that she’s not sure how Ben can be drawn to her AND be drawn to a person like Olivia. (BACHELOR DEEP CUT: That love triangle reminded me of the wonderful Ali Fedotowsky during Jake’s season with regard to Vienna—who’s with me?)  Unlike floppy haired Ben Flajnik from his trainwreck of a season, Ben Higgins listens to the women, trusts their judgment, and wonders if he’s not seeing the real Olivia.  So just as the Chris Harrison is about to whisk Ben away to start the rose ceremony, Ben pulls Olivia aside for a conversation and everyone is stunned. Will Ben revoke her rose and send her home? Can he do that? Are there any rules on The Bachelor OR in love? The Bachelor producers leave us hanging with a “To Be Continued” cliffhanger and I CANNOT WAIT 7 DAYS TO WATCH OLIVIA’S DEMISE!!  What do you think will happen, dear readers?  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Bachelor Ben H. Ep 4: There IS Justice In the World

My middle sister Laurel and I have always said that the Coppock family is a family that loves justice.  We have a hard time sitting idly by and watching injustice occur—we seek justice and think that fairness is important. Which is why Monday night’s episode of The Bachelor was so delicious.  Mercury may be in retrograde (at least until midnight Monday night) but damned if episode 4 didn’t make things seem right in the world. 

The episode kicks off with the ladies “casually” hanging around in the Bachelor mansion saying that the vibe has changed.  Chris Harrison appears and says that their next destination is “the marriage capital of the world” (Salt Lake City, Utah for those Mormon brides? Appalachia for those child brides?)—LAS VEGAS!  More like the divorce capital of the world, am I right, Britney Spears? 

The ladies walk around the Vegas Strip and come upon a giant sign that says “Welcome to Vegas. I can’t wait to see you –Ben.” The women find this gesture WILDLY romantic and head back to their gorgeous suite in the Aria hotel.  The twins make use of the fitness center and “work out” by sharing a treadmill and walking slowly at a zero incline.  Keep up the hard work, Parent Trap!

Jojo scores the first date card (“you set my heart on fire”) and with that text, I’m hoping that they are going to see the live show of Backdraft (yes that’s a Waiting for Guffman reference, Corky St. Clair!).  Jojo gets ready and when Ben picks her up from the suite, Olivia is giving serious bitch face. In her interview, Olivia says “Ben is like, my piece—I’m Zen with Ben—I’m good.” Wow--I haven’t heard anyone refer to anyone as “their piece” since middle school.  Jojo and Ben sip champagne on a helipad and then their helicopter lands nearly on top of them, knocking over their glasses, then their table, and forcing them to run for cover from the whipping winds.  Jojo’s flowy black shirt is nearly ripped off of her and they make out behind the upturned table like two army privates sucking face in the trenches.  Jojo asks Ben “how does my hair look?” which was one of the more relatable moments of the episode. The ladies in the suite above watch it all unfold and can’t stop rubbernecking until someone finally states the obvious “are we watching them kiss?” and they scatter into their respective beds to cry and stare at the ceiling. 

That night Ben and Jojo get dressed up and eat dinner inside a suite at the MGM Grand. Jojo is rocking a fierce black, fancy jumper (very American Hustle—I love it) and they chat over “dinner” (drinks and probably prop food since it never gets touched).  Jojo says that she wants to open up to Ben and share the things from her past that make her cautious today, but her “big reveal” is a strangely vague, hard-to-follow situation.  She doesn’t even use a pronoun!  She says that she ended her last relationship 5 months ago (after a year and a half together) because she wasn’t the only person with "this person" (huh?) and that situation gave her trust issues. Ben asks if she was cheated on and she somehow avoids answering it, preferring to only say that this vague situation has made her cautious.  Huh? There’s no there there. Either Jojo is hiding a VERY serious situation (was she a mistress like Ashley’s sister from Bach In Paradise?) OR that whole “big reveal” is a lie but she wants to have SOMETHING to “reveal” and she’s not good at lying so she keeps it vague (a rookie liar's mistake).  Who knows? Either way, her hair and fashion style RULE. Ben gives Jojo a rose then leads her out on the deck where they watch a fireworks display that was set up just for them.  The fireworks are being set off from the roof of the Aria hotel directly on top of the other concubines—I mean, ladies. There’s no more brutal way to experience fireworks than to FEEL them but not SEE them and know that somewhere nearby, your boyfriend is making out with your friend while watching those same fireworks.  It’s like a sad, creepy “Somewhere Out There.” 

Up next is a group date and the gang is Amanda (valley girl mama), Jubilee (a woman of MANY talents, we soon learn), Caila (that hair!), Lauren B (blonde dream girl), Amber (ugh—she’s still here?), Haley (one of the twins), Emily (the better twin), Leah (a blondie that I LOVE), Lauren H (a blondie that I HATE), Jennifer (wake me when she’s gone), Rachel (unemployed Arkansan who has made ZERO waves), and a girl who thinks she’s too good for group dates, Olivia. 

The date card said “show me what you got” and no, that doesn’t mean a wet T-shirt contest (sorry, boyfriends/husbands who were forced to join Bachelor Nation), but rather, a talent show!  Ben and the ladies enter the gorgeous Vegas showroom of Terry Fator, a man who describes himself as a guy who “does impressions of singers through puppets without moving my lips.” I believe there’s a word for that, Terry, and it’s VENTRILOQUIST.  In between making puppet Elvis call the girls “sexy,” Terry informs them that they will each be performing a talent in front of 1,200 people as his opening act tonight.  We quickly discover that almost none of these girls have any talent, save for the twins who do Irish step dancing (impressive) and Jubilee who plays the cello (more impressive).  Everyone else does silly tricks (juggling, hula hooping) except for Olivia who seems to think that being pretty is a “talent” so she dons a slinky showgirl outfit (garters and everything! How ya like that, 1,200 Americans who paid money to watch a funny ventriloquist?) and emerges from a giant cake.  Her plan was to basically wing it, with some “shimmy shimmy” and kicks (as she described it) and it was PAINFUL to watch.  Deliciously painful. Call me Justice League cause I LOVE watching the intimidating, mean spirited bully EAT SHIT before a crowd of 1,200 horrified onlookers. The icing on the cake is that after her cringe-worthy performance, she got zinged by a puppet! Bless you, Terry Fator.


This seemed like such a great idea mere moments ago!
Is this seriously happening?
Dear God. I'm FROM here and this is brutal.
Post-show the ladies are toasting their fun opening acts and Olivia LOSES IT, which was also fun to witness.  She is mortified because she gambled and lost with that performance and now she fears that Ben doesn’t see her as “marriage material.”  Girl, it’s not that you’re no longer marriage material, you’re just hella corny.  Olivia plays the card that embarrassed Bachelor participants LOVE to play—she “hyperventilates” and has a “panic attack” (I am sure that these are REAL things that CAN happen to SOME PEOPLE but I am also sure that they were NOT happening to Olivia at that moment). 

That night the afterparty Ben refers to lovely Caila as a “sex panther,” Lauren H. kisses the weird “Little Ben” puppet, and Olivia tries to frame her horrific performance as “getting out of my comfort zone” and she ended up being “awkward  and not sexy—that’s me.” Ben basically won’t have it and keeps saying, “what you talking about? Today was great” which was kind of him (to downplay it) but you could tell that the spark is GONE between them.  Their conversation is disrupted by Haley, and Olivia wanders off, bewildered as to how she is feeling.  What is going on here!? This feels strange? I am NOT BEING WORSHIPPED? I don’t like this! I shall chew on my fingers!

Oh how the mighty have fallen.  Also, girl, I highly encourage you to get a warmer blonde color in your hair—that drab, cool, grey-ish blonde is doing NOTHING for you. 

Later, Olivia gets 1:1 time with Ben, during which she apologizes more, awkwardly dances/snaps, and generally acts THIRSTY AS HELL.  The group date ends with Ben giving Lauren B. a rose (she’s looking great in light separates and heels) as Olivia looks on and says that “it hurts my brain.”  God I love this show. 

The next day Becca gets a 1:1 with Ben and it starts with a wedding dress being delivered to the suite as Jubilee jokes, “she’s the perfect person to wear white.” Becca gets driven in a convertible (brutal on the hair) to the LittleWhite Chapel where Ben is waiting for her on bended knee, asking, “Becca, will you marry… other people with me today?” It’s a misdirection and he’s an ordained officiant who can legally marry people! Line up, Bachelor Nation fans, and break our your best Tuxedo T-shirts cause Ben + Becca are going to marry you off in front of a camera!  Bachelor producers have finally figured out how to have this show result in marriages: Bring in randos who want to get married! 

That night, Ben and Becca go to the Neon Graveyard in Las Vegas and have a heart-to-heart during which they talk about their faith, virginity, and commitment.  Those two kids have a strong connection and Becca scores a rose.   

The next day we have a mini hometown date for twins Haley and Emily, since they’re from Las Vegas and their equally blonde mother lives nearby with a ton of small dogs. Ben chats with each girl individually while surrounded by PINK body spray and photos of their ex-boyfriends, then he sits down with their mother. She’s a sweet and lovely women, but I haven’t seen that much bronzer on a face since my family held a Bronzer Intervention for me circa 2006.  Blonde Mama explains that Haley is more shy while Emily is more dominant and gregarious.  Ben picks Emily, the entire family ugly cries, then they leave and head back to the hotel for the cocktail party. At least Haley can nurse her broken heart at home with Tan Mom. 

The ladies are dressed up and Olivia’s plan to grab Ben right away is thwarted by snooze-a-thon Jennifer who snaps him up.  Olivia has fallen so far, it feels like watching a former NBA All Star who somehow can’t make a single basket now AND I LOVE IT.  Olivia eventually gets 1:1 time during which she assures Ben that she’s NOT insecure (yeah, and Lace wasn’t crazy) and Ben tells her to stop apologizing please. I love it, I love it, I love it!!!! 

Before you know it, it’s rose ceremony time and Becca, Jojo, and Lauren B. already have theirs.  Ben tells the gals that he belives his wife is standing there, then hands them out to:
-Amanda – mother of 3, cute red dress
-Lauren H. – bad accent blonde, cool back to her black dress but I generally dislike her
-Jubilee – nice black lacy dress
-Emily – funny twin, bold lip, niiiiiice
-Caila – sparkly white dress, looking great
-Jennifer – brunette in sparkly white dress (did Olivia say “SERIOUSLY?” quietly as Jennifer’s name was called? Did you catch that?)
-Leah – blonde, hot dress w/ cut outs that was Ice Capades-y but I love it

and coming in LAST, the dregs of the round,

-Olivia – grinning and saying “Benjamin, you’re sending me a message here—best for last, right?” Erm, no.

So who’s hopping a Greyound bus home?
Amber (who sealed her fate last week when she cornered Jubilee in a bathroom and told her to stop crying so that she could insult her) and Rachel (who perhaps shouldn’t have said she was “unemployed” but rather, “freelance journalist” or something?). 

Up next the gang heads down to Mexico where everyone is thirsty for Coronas and Olivia is just plain thirsty.    

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bachelor Ben H. Ep 3: Cankles, the Coliseum, and Confrontation

On episode 3 of The Bachelor, we saw a date that was so self-parodying it felt like an episode of Burning Love, Olivia got choked up over her cankles, and Lace made the healthiest decision of her tenure on Bach.

Lauren B., the sweet, blonde stewardess who either doesn’t have much personality or is an expert at revealing herself slowly in time, scored the episode’s first 1:1 date with Ben.  They drove to the airport in Ben’s convertible and Lauren foolishly didn't put her hair up as they cruised.  Look, I know that a bun isn't the most flattering look, but sometimes you gotta protect your hair and/or build volume for later.  

 
Girl, for your sake, I pray that you brought along detangler or leave-in conditioner

They arrived at the airport and boarded a tiny plane because there’s no better date activity than your profession, right?  How would Ben feel if Lauren B. surprised him with a date that was a software trade show? They landed in the middle of nowhere and, as luck (and Bachelor producers) would have it, there was a Jacuzzi sitting in the middle of an empty field!  Lauren B. rocked a white bikini top (my favorite) and the couple canoodled in the hot tub as I stared at Lauren’s roots. RootWatch 2016 has officially begun and it’s taking place on Lauren’s sweet head.  That evening over dinner, Lauren tells Ben that she grew up in a “really strong knit family environment”(do ya mean close knit or tight knit, blondie?) and talks about her father’s simple pleasures that inspire her.  Ben gives her a rose and then walks her to a barn where a country trio named Lucy Angel is performing. I’m a big country fan and like to think that I know some D list country singers, but Lucy Angel was news to me.

Meanwhile, back at the house, Caila gave us our first ugly cry of the episode within the first 14 minutes because she somehow JUST realized that her boyfriend is dating all of her friends and they all live together. Don’t you hate it when you realize that you’re on The Bachelor while you’re on The Bachelor? It’s like Groundhog Day, but every day you wake up and obsess over the same dude and hope he’ll keep on liking you.

The next day is a group date and the gang is mother of 2 Amanda, twin Haley, forgettable brunette Jennifer, vodka Ruski Shushanna, blonde with dark eyebrows Leah, second time around Amber, corny blonde Lauren H., ugly toed Olivia, poor man’s Amber Jami, random brunette Rachel, other twin Emily, and still unraveling Lace.  The ladies form a parade of yoga pants as they enter the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and reveal that they ALL slept through gym class because they’re ignorant to the simple basics of soccer.  Lindsay says that she has “no ball handling skills” (I believe her), Leah’s eyebrows increase their intensity, and Olivia looks pretty rough when her hair isn’t worn down and curly. 

The women split into two teams—stars and stripes—for a tournament, the winners of which will get to attend the afterparty with Ben. Lace plays goalie but doesn’t realize that soccer goalies may use their hands (HAVE NONE OF THESE GIRLS EVER GLANCED AT A SOCCER GAME ON A TELEVISION?) and Amber manages to score the game winning goal in sudden death, securing the stripes team a place at the after party. 

At said after party, Olivia rocks a cute blue dress but her hair is hella drab, Amber looks cute in a green dress and gets her first kiss with Ben, and Emily wins my heart. In a typical Olivia move, she pulled Ben away as soon as the party started and then shouted down to the ladies from Ben’s deck (to be sure they know that she’s up in his room—cool move, bro).  The remaining women begin badmouthing Olivia (she was asking for it), saying that she has ugly toes and then in a private interview, twin Emily lets it rip, saying that Olivia has fake boobs, ugly toes, and bad breath. When did Emily get a personality transplant? Or did it comes in the mail? Either way, keep it up, girl! Later, Jami pulls Olivia aside and tells her that the girls were talking smack about her and Olivia guesses that it was about her bad legs and cankles. It’s not! It’s about your ugly toes and bad breath! Oh man, that was the most unintentionally hilarious exchange of the night!  Also, after that moment, I noticed more leg/ankle shots of Olivia than ever before. If you tell Bachelor producers what you’re self conscious about, they will focus attention on it, friends. 

At the end of the date, Amber scores a rose but I’m sure Ben regretted that choice at the cocktail ceremony.

The next day is a 1:1 date between Jubilee and Ben and Jubilee’s nerves unfortunately manifest in a sour attitude and awkward jokes.  Ben arrives at the house with a helicopter to whisk them away and all Jubilee can do is complain that he’s 20 minutes late and she’s afraid of heights, so the helicopter transportation is terrifying for her (not to mention, maybe it gives her flashbacks to her military service?). Jami (as my friend Dava described her, Fake Amber) describes Jubilee’s behavior as awkward, but uses the phrase “awk-o taco” to mean awkward (I can only assume). Hey ya know what, friends? Not every word and phrase needs to be made into some weird catchphrase.  You could just say “awkward” and it’s OK.  

Jubilee softens up once she and Ben are alone, though, and they have a fun afternoon together eating and spitting out caviar and playing shuffleboard (a date straight out of a retirement home).  She tells Ben that she LOVES hot dogs, which is bizarre to me since hot dogs are widely known as garbage tubes, but to each her own. She refers to getting the 1:1 date card as “one of the better moments of my life” and then ribs Ben, calling him “white boy” which cracked them both up. 

That night over dinner, Jubilee speaks more about her traumatic childhood, sharing that her entire family is dead and she has intense survivor’s guilt (I can only imagine) and difficulty making friends and letting people in. Ben plays the role of gentle Barbara Walters, asking follow up questions to draw Jubilee out of her shell but giving her room to breathe.  I started crying and I wasn’t even drunk.  Ben gives Jubilee a rose and she gets up and leaps into his arms, then sits on his lap, and it’s so darn cute I kept crying.  Damn you, Bachelor producers! Quit playing with my heart. 

When Jubilee returns from the date with a rose, the other women seem surprised and it smells a tiny bit like some faint racism/classism here with Lauren H’s comment that “Ben wants to have a wife who will be friends with the other soccer moms who will set up playdates with other kids parents.” Really? When did BEN say that, huh? Also, who says that Jubilee can’t be that person? She’s not a warm, fuzzy person right away—that’s OK.  There’s nothing wrong with having your guard up a bit not being a walking wound like Lace. 

That night Ben starts the cocktail party by sharing the somber news that 2 pillars of his community died in a plane crash the night before and that he’s a bit down, but excited to be there. Before he can finish commenting on the recent tragedy, Olivia is pulling him aside to launch in on a tear filled monologue about how much she hates her legs and cankles. You can’t make this shit up!

Jubilee asks Ben to trust her, then leads him down to a massage table because nothing says “I’m sorry your friends died” quite like a clothes-on massage beneath a spotlight. Jami interrupts the massage because nobody in this house knows how to mind their own business and then Amber attempts to lure Jubilee into a “conversation” that is more of an attack (as Caila put it nicely).  Jubilee tries to avoid the drama by walking off but Amber follows her into a bathroom to “clear the air” about all the “tension in the house.” You know what makes MORE tension? Cornering someone and telling them not to cry, then attempting to wave away their tears—THAT CAUSES TENSION, AMBER. Blech. Also, talking about Jubilee to ben as if Jubilee is not sitting right there—that also causes tension, you moron.  Blech. Amber dug her own grave and I’m confident that Ben will send her packing next week.  He very gentlemanly defends Jubilee, saying that he likes her sense of humor and candor. 

Finally, Ben sits down, emotionally exhausted and ready to hand out some roses and hit the sheets but Lace wants to talk. Oh Lordy Lordy. Ben obliges and they go outside where Lace shocks Bachelor Nation by saying that she needs to focus on self-care and leave the show. She says that you must love yourself before you can love anyone else (which I don’t entirely agree with because there are plenty of messed up people out there in relationships and I don’t think there’s some magical mindfulness moment at which you are guaranteed to find a mate—we’re all evolving each day) and leaves the Bachelor Manse. Goodbye, Lace. We hardly knew ye.

Finally it’s rose ceremony time and Jubilee, Lauren B., and Amber already have roses. Who joins them in the winner’s circle?
-Lauren H (corny blonde whose assumption about soccer moms made me gag)
-Amanda (wearing a very drab dress, but you can’t wear your favorite dress every night, I suppose)
-Becca (in a killer pink dress with great hair)
-Haley (the non-funny twin who resembles a painted lady with that look)
-Emily (the funny twin in a maroon dress)
-Rachel (brunette who went on her first date of the season this episode)
-Caila (has a good head about her, rocking a sparkly dress that I dig)
-Jojo (in a fantastic red dress, nice earrings)
-Jennifer (show off all the cleavage you want, but you’re still a snooze and a half)
-Leah (she’s a lovely girl and seems cool, but those eyebrows!)
-Olivia (who has gone from first to LAST thanks to her vanity and cankles diatribe and I sort of love it)

So who is going home? The poor man’s Amber aka Jami and the Russian girl Shushanna.  Gotta say, I won’t miss either of them. 

Next week, Olivia’s delusion tour continues as the gang goes to Las Vegas! I’m just hoping that we can see a shot of her infamous toes. 


Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Fantasy Suite: A Bachelor Podcast

Lovebugs!

Just when you think I can't get deeper into the morass of Bachelor Nation, I decide to be co-host of a Bachelor recap podcast called THE FANTASY SUITE!  Yesssss!  Every Monday night after the episode airs, my sweet pal and neighbor Dava Krause (a fellow comedian, performer and Bachelor addict) comes over to my apartment so that we can discuss the night's events. We then post it to iTunes and Soudcloud.  Here's where the episodes live on SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/thefantasysuite


We post new episodes very Tuesday afternoon or so.  Tune in! :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bachelor Ben H. Ep 2: Olivia Loves Dated Catphrases, LACE IS NOT CRAZY

Monday night’s episode opened with the ladies drinking mimosas and shrieking from atop a patio, most likely punch drunk from the rose ceremony that ended mere hours earlier, no doubt.  Lace admitted that on the “first night I got too drunk, too emotional, that wasn’t me, let’s start over” and we proceeded to watch Lace unravel for the next 2 hours (yes, that’s an impeccably crafted fabric joke). 
I'M NOT CRAZY. There's this photo of me as a kid where my hair is like this and like this and I'm getting on the school but and my brothers are teasing me and my dad's like "Roseanne Rosanadana" and I'm working on myself right now but I'm totally not crazy--I just want to have super forced small talk with you, OK?

The first group date was a day of challenges at “Bachelor High” because Ben won’t stop beating the dead horse of his high school glory days and the crew was Jackie (forgettable brunette), LB (fashion buyer from the booming design mecca of Oklahoma), Lauren H. (goofy blonde with bad accent), Becca (back in the saddle again), Amber (also back for another round), Mandi (goth dentist), Jojo (whose personality and balayage hair color are growing on me), Jubilee (veteran who don’t take no mess), Jennifer (intense brunette with a pretty flat affect), and the girl who is like a pushy drug dealer but with kisses, Lace. 

Professor Chris Harrison rocks glasses and a sweater vest and leads the women from class to class and challenge to challenge just like in a high school day. The first challenge is a science lab, but if this were truly like high school, nobody would wear their safety goggles over their eyes because that looks lame.  Jubilee and Lace are disqualified immediately. In “lunch class” (Chris legit called it that), Jackie confuses the game “Bobbing for Apples” with “Licking Wet Apples” and her team gets disqualified.  Out of 8 girls, none of them can place Indiana on a map (ouch—just find Chicago and pop it below there, ladies), and the score is settled in the gym (well, I guess that IS like high school) where the yellow team (Amber and Mandi) win the challenge, united by their shared love of belly tops.   But there can be only one Homecoming Queen at Bach High, so Amber and Mandi take it to the tack for a 50 yard dash with hurdles which Mandi wins handily. She is crowned Homecoming Queen and, oddly enough, that giant rose headpiece from night 1 looked better on her than the tiara. 

During the after party, Becca gets some quality time with Ben and rocks a gorgeous bright white manicure/tooth combo then Jennifer kisses and tells.  Lace is PISSED and when Lace is pissed she morphs into her version of The Incredible Hulk that I call LOCKJAW LACE.  Lace interrupts Mandi so that she can assure Ben that she’s a “really good girl” and that she’s NOT CRAZY.  Then moments later she interrupts Jubilee and Ben (discussing the fact that Jubilee is an orphan adopted from Haiti) so that she can again tell him that she’s “NOT CRAZY” and then launch in on aggressive small talk (“SO HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN DENVER? DO YOU LIKE THE WEATHER? I AM EASY BREEZY AND TOTALLY NOT CRAZY, RIGHT?”)

Man, oh man, nothing says “I’M F-ING CRAZY” quite like a girl who leads with “I’m not crazy.” The other girls are pissed that Lace has disrupted multiple conversations and Jojo and Jubilee have the guts to bring it up.  Ben scoops up Jojo so that they can have some 1:1 time on the rooftop helicopter pad (that I’m convinced was used in the Guns N Roses video “Don’t Cry”) and kiss, then he gives her the rose, much to Lace’s dismay.

The next day is a Ride Along-movie themed 1:1 date for Ben and Caila (Boston-based software saleswoman) complete with the stars of Ride Along 2, Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. Ben introduces them to the shrieking ladies and hilariously describes Ice Cube as “an actor who is also a rapper.” ALSO A RAPPER? Sure, he was the first member of NWA to really cross over and his acting resume is solid, but to me he’s a rapper who also acts. That intro felt like calling Michael Jordan a restaurant entrepreneur who also played basketball, ya know?

The date is unexpected and cute (a ride in a classic hoop, a trip to a liquor store, a dip at a hot tub store) and over dinner, Caila reveals that she believes far too much in fate. Caila met her ex on a flight to the city where they both lived and then ran into him on the street 2 weeks later and she thought that was a sign, but I think the chances are pretty damn high that a run-in like that would happen! Ben and Caila seem to have a good chemistry and are alike in their corniness. After dinner, they head into a theater where Amos Lee is performing and if you’re not familiar with Amos Lee’s music, you should be. Here’s my favorite song by him:


It’s time for the second group date and the lucky ladies are Emily (one of the twins, who knows and who cares which one), Shushanna (the Russian who is like a caricature of a Russian), Samantha (sweet lawyer who seems a lil bit unstable), Olivia (newscaster who has spent the episode catching flies in her giant mouth), Hayley (the other twin—God I can’t wait for those girls to get bounced), and Amanda (mother of two with valley girl speech patterns).  They go to a Love Lab where they spend the day as guinea pigs in a series of love experiments. Because there is no justice in this world, Samantha somehow loses every experiment and Olivia can’t stop winning.  We learn an important lesson, too: Even a super hot guy looks like a DWEEB when rocking Google Glass and a bunch of tech accessories.

Hey Bachelor Nation, did you think I was hot? Well bad news, I'm not! 
After her and Ben’s chemistry is “proven” by science, Olivia becomes insufferable and recites the tag line beloved by Courtney Robertson during Ben F.’s season and an unemployed actor/drug addict who had a very public meltdown: WINNING! Hey Olivia, 2011 called and they want their catchphrase back. 

TWINS!!!! 
During the after party at the Four Seasons, Ben takes Olivia back to his room for a quick make-out.  Ben lives at the Four Seasons? Who does he think he is, Dylan McKay?  Olivia returns to the group and asks them where they plan to talk to Ben, then refuses to reveal where she just talked to Ben. Oh girl, you’re a nightmare. Amanda isn’t having it and I’m beginning to like her. Amanda and Ben finally get some 1:1 time and somewhere in between her constant use of the word “like” as a filler, she explains that she has two small children who have ridiculous names.  Ben is warm to this news and asks her to “tell them I said hi” which she promises she’ll do. “Hey, Sharley and Lindslee (I know those aren’t their actual names but it’s close and I don’t want to talk about tykes by name), this random hottie software salesman dude named Ben says HELLO!”

Finally, it’s cocktail party/rose ceremony time and two blonde Laurens disprove my theory that blonde women look bad in yellow dresses, Olivia is misuses the phrase “rest on your laurels,” and Lace goes on a TEAR to prove just how non-crazy she is by sharing information about just how dorky she was as a child—huh?  Increasingly, she seems like a girl who has never spoken to a handsome guy before in her LIFE and she blossomed into a beautiful girl, but her social skills are still lacking and she’s just floundering. 

Ben gives small, personal gifts the aforementioned yellow dress blondes and Amanda while Lace pulls Olivia aside to give her an eye full of lockjaw and whine about her situation.  Before Lace can grind all of her teeth into oblivion, Chris Harrison mercifully leads them into the rose ceremony.  Jojo, Olivia, and Caila already have flowers and Ben hands out roses to…

-Amanda – mom of 2 in a dress that resembles my disco fantasies
-Jubilee – backless black dress, looking fierce and sharing personal information at a healthy pace
-Lauren B. – super cute, confident blonde gal
-Leah – no dates this week, but she makes her mark with a funky look (black dress, super bold lip, hair down and straight)
-Becca – gunmetal dress and beachy hair on fleek (may I use that phrase as a 35 year old woman?)
-Rachel – dark hair, cool dress, dark horse
-Lace – somebody needs to get her some Xanax STAT
-LB – instead of taking the rose, she pulls Ben aside and opts to leave. Props to you, girl! If you’re not feeling it, no need to stick around!  Ben then tells the girls that he’ll now be able to keep a girl who he doesn’t really like but he phrases it in a shockingly graceful way.
-Jennifer – brown hair, super flat speech patterns. No thank you.
-Emily – one of the twins in a cool, metallic dress
-Jamie – nice patterned dress, slow burn
-Lauren H. – bright yellow bandage dress, goofy but fun
-Shushanna – the girl who can hardly communicate with Ben makes it through!?
-Haley – other twin in a super cheesy red dress
-Amber – I can’t look at without hearing that line from the opening credit of Step by Step: the second time around….

So who is jumping ship without a life preserver?
-Jackie the forgettable brunette who would really stand a trim. Trust me, girl, it would get the weight off the ends of your  hair and really freshen things up.
-Mandi the goth dentist who was probably gobsmacked to go from Bachelor High Homecoming Queen to Total Reject in a matter of days.
-Samantha the Florida-based lawyer who is gorgeous and seems very sweet, but perhaps doesn’t have the mental fortitude to handle The Bachelor (that’s a compliment to her, really). 

Next week promises drama involving Jubilee, Olivia, and Lace. I can't wait!