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


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:


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. 

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! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Bachelor Ben H. Ep 1: Four Laurens and a Funeral--I Mean Unicorn

Dear readers, The Bachelor is back! As the song about Bachelor premiere night croons, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” and no one is more excited than yours truly. With each Bachelor season, I emerge from a cocoon filled with snark and am reborn, ready to talk smack with fresh eyes and metaphors. 

This season’s bachelor is Ben Higgins, a 26 year-old software salesman who hails from Warsaw, Indiana and insists that he’s a “normal guy” (but a normal guy with a killer body, Peter Brady-like face, and perfect teeth). We watched Ben shoot hoops at sunset by a barn, attend his high school homecoming football game, and lean up against a tree while staring longingly at the flat landscape of Hoosier Land. This guy is so damn American I bet that his farts sound like a haunting rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and that John Cougar Mellencamp is his godfather.

Bachelor Nation embraced Ben last season when he confessed to Kaitlyn that his greatest fear is being unlovable. I’ll admit that he won me over in that moment because—not to get too Dr. Phil on ya, but I’m about to—isn’t that such a universal fear?  We each plod through life hoping to find a partner and engaging in flirty bullshit on Tinder or OKCupid or at the local hotspot, but underneath all of the snarky artifice, we all just want to be loved and fear that somehow, we don’t qualify for the club.  Oh Bachelor, you are more than a show about bikini shots and open bar—you’re a show about the human condition.

Where was I?

Yes yes, we get the standard opening items: Ben cruising in a killer vintage Mustang down the Pacific Coast Highway (how very Brandon Walsh circa Beverly Hills Beach Club era), Ben getting advice from 3 previous bachelors (maybe not the best idea and Prince Farming Chris Soules admits as much), and Ben chatting with his sweet parents. There are tears within the first 10 minutes of the episode and they’re from Ben’s charming mother, but there’s more where that came from!

The producers serve up some preview footage and we meet a few gals, but that’s no guarantee that their storylines will play out (I’m looking at you, Tiara).  Let’s get to the good part: the limo arrivals.  

As Chris Harrison said to Ben after a helpful hug, “let the journey begin.” 

-Lauren B, 25, a knockout flight attendant who LOVES the beach!  In a weird moment of life imitates art imitates life imitates art (or something), Lauren is a look-alike and act-alike of Anna from The Bachelor parody show on Lifetime, UnReal. Don't you see it?

Reality TV blonde TWINS!!! 

-Caila, a dark haired software saleswoman who lives in Boston (so, yes, I’m blindly in her corner) and runs then jumps into Ben’s arms. She’s funny and likeable.
-Jennifer, 25, a brunette from Florida who subtly negs Ben with the line “you’re pretty handsome
 then makes a joke that “Ben + Jen is too cute to forget,” though I bet that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Garner would beg to differ.
-Jami, 23, bartender from Canada who is rocking killer white separates and tan heels (that’s how it’s done, kids) and she’s pals with former Bachelorette Kaitlyn. Sometimes The Bachelor feels like the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disney Land, but instead of an assortment of different races, it’s mostly just white/very tan/light skinned black people who are all stunners and all friends. 
-Samantha, 26, Florida law school student who we met earlier and she lead with the death of her father. To me, during her entrance she seemed either already tipsy or just a bit of a kookoo bird in general. Thoughts?
-Jubilee, 24, war veteran, rocking a KILLER white dress who seemed to knock Ben on his ass (figuratively, though we know that she could do it literally, also). 
-Amanda, 25, divorced esthetician with 2 kids who is certainly beautiful, but whose voice is a stunning mix of high-pitched child and also valley girl.  How does she do it?
-Lace, 25, real estate agent who needs to learn some boundaries. Sure, she’s beautiful and her dress choice is on point (lacey—get it, black, drapey), but she asks Ben to close his eyes and plants a kiss on him. Someone teach this girl about affirmative consent! Also teach her how to open her damn mouth and quit holding so much tension in her jaw!
-Lauren R, a math teacher who tells Ben that she has been stalking him on social media and then recites information ABOUT him TO him (super creepy).  He asks for her name 3x and she never hears him—great listener, that one!
-Shushanna, 27, mathematician who speaks Russian and forces Bachelor Nation to read in order to understand what she’s saying. Come on, Ruskie Girl—we didn’t get into The Bachelor to read!
-Leah, 25, blonde event planner whose look is completely my style (sparkly dress, blonde, side hair) but she pushes the GONE GIRL phenomenon of the “cool girl” a little too far for me. We get it, you’re a knockout who likes football! Let me guess, ya also like whiskey and you’re not like other girls? Yeah yeah yeah.
-Joelle/Jojo, I didn’t catch her age because she entered wearing a frigging UNICORN MASK! I don’t know why I have such a strong reaction to those masks, but the horse/unicorn mask trend gives me the CREEPS and completely freaks me out. No thank you.

-Lauren H, 25, kindergarten teacher who subverts gender roles by throwing a bouquet at Ben. I like it, even if her Midwest accent is like a jackhammer to my delicate east coast ears.
-Laura, 24, redhead from Kentucky who tells Ben to call her “Red Velvet.” Girl, let me shoot you straight: everybody love that cupcake, but nobody likes that nickname.  Your fate is sealed.
-Mandi, 28, dentist from Portland Oregon who LOVES weird stuff (OF COURSE she does! Did Portlandia teach us nothing?) but pulls off a fierce white dress and even looks OK in an oversized rose headpiece. She’s a weirdo, but a hot weirdo, so she gets a pass (I don’t make the rules! Society does!)

It's weird, but she sorta pulls it off.
-Haley and Emily, 22 going on 13, blonde twins from Las Vegas whose story arc will inevitably be about how they start off like a package deal—sisters and besties! Then after a few weeks the demand to be treated as unique individuals. I give them 4 weeks max.
-Maegan, 30, cowgirl who rolls up with a baby pony, bad hair, and awful shoes. Bye, Felicia (may I confess that I don’t even know where that catchphrase is from but I just love saying it?)
-Breanne, 30 (a Bachelor senior citizen), nutritional therapist who walks up with a basket full of bread a violent anti-gluten agenda. Blech. Go back to your juice cleanse.
-Isabel “Izzy,” 24 from CT who probably thought it would be really cute and quirky to wear a onesie but probably quickly realized that the other women in the house would be actually LOOKING GOOD in there. Bad call. Also, didn’t she remind you of Lucy the “Free Spirit” from Juan Pablo’s season?
-Rachel, 23, unemployed brunette Arkansan who cruised in on a hoverboard (ugh).
-Jessica, 23, accountant with brown hair, sparkly black dress who didn’t leave much of an impression.
-Tiara, 27, chicken enthusiast who should have worn her hair down (trust me).
-Lauren “LB,” 23, brunette fashion buyer who rolled up in a pink bandage dress. Where is she a buyer for—the year 2005? Come on.
-Jackie, 23, brown hair and red gown who gave Ben a Save the Date card for their wedding. Subtle, simple, demure.
-Olivia, 23, blonde news anchor (you could SMELL the “late breaking story” a mile away) who was rocking a killer silver dress (so many metallics this season—I was in heaven!) and nice dimples.

This next question isn’t helping the disprove the stereotype that all people from Boston are Irish, but as I looked at all of those women’s backs last night (so many backless dresses!), I couldn’t help but wonder: Where are the freckles?? Do NONE of these girls have ANY freckles? Am I an alien in my freckly body? Even the redhead—what’s up the porcelain skin and ZERO freckles? Seriously, what is going on here?

But I digress.

Ben quickly called his parents then headed into the house where Competitive Flirting kicked off before Ben could even finish saying “my wife could be in this room” thanks to Mandi’s aggressive approach. Yowza.

Just when the ladies got comfortable, a bombshell was dropped in the form of 2 familiar bombshells: Becca and Amber from Chris Soules’ season. Becca still loves tan lipstick and Amber is looking good which incenses the ladies (mostly Lace and Mandi). Lace starts in on the weird needy mindgames as soon as Ben talks to her and he plays into that dynamic, seeking her out to reassure her (ON NIGHT ONE!?!?!) and trying to assuage her fears. Oh Ben, you’re about to get in way over your head with this one.

Olivia the newscaster scores the first impression rose (which stuns Mandi since she kept calling herself the first impression rose) and before we know it, the Rose Ceremony is upon us.  I won’t bore you with the run down, but I’ll share these important items:

-Lace was given the last rose (STEW IN YOUR OWN ANXIOUS SWEAT, WEIRDO) and she had WORDS for Ben after that. You can truly live a year’s worth of ups and downs and relationship drama in a single night—just ask Lace! I give her 3-4 episodes before Ben realizes that Lace is his season’s Tierra (from Sean’s season--a ton of drama and not interesting enough to justify it). 
-Who was sent packing on night 1? Baby pony girl (that will teach you to wear sensible boots into the Bachelor Mansion!), Tiara (chicken enthusiast—welp, at least her beloved chickens will be happy), Breanne the gluten free chick, redhead Laura, forgettable Jessica, and Lauren R. (hattrick of not revealing her name). 

Ben seems like a simple, steady Bachelor, so the job of creating chaos falls on the tiny, unfrocked shoulders of these women, but I'm confident that they're up to the task.