Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Bachelor Nick V. Hometowns: Olives, Okra, Scrapbooks


As ever, I'm late.  I'm sorry!  Also, FYI next week I'll be away on vacation so my recap will be very, very late.  I know--how dare I take an Adult Spring Break getaway mid-season!?!?!  Who do I think I am: an unpaid blogger who is only doing this for the love of the game?

OK first, if you prefer to listen to two major Bachelor heads discuss this episode, you can do so here where my sweet pal Dava Krause and I discuss each episode mere moments after it has ended.

But here's my run down.  I need to keep this short, so we'll go with bulleted lists for the hometowns.

The episode kicks off in Bimini after Kristina has just been sent home and Corinne is STILL freaking out because she knows how to keep the attention on her.  Nick shows up to their paradise house with a handfull of roses ("I can't tell HOW MANY roses, though--I mean, what, should I use my eyeballs to count? Raquel always counts FOR me!" -Corinne) and conducts the most casual rose ceremony of all time, doing it right there on the couch.

So Raven, Corinne, Rachel, and Vanessa are each going to take Nick to their respective hometowns to meet their families and/or servants!!!

HOXIE, ARKANSAS -Raven's Hometown

  • I'm a sucker for a Razorback because I have wonderful family in Arkansas (Searcy, what what!) and have visited that beautiful state numerous times.  
  • Nick and Raven hop on some 4 wheelers to go mudding, drive through a friggin' swamp, then hop off their 4 wheelers to HOOK UP in said swamp.  Wowie zowie watching that swamp make-out made me want to get another Tetanus shot.  
  • They go to hang out at the "grain bin" (felt very Dazed & Confused "party at the Moon Tower") where Raven's police officer brother BUSTS them and demands their papers. TRUMP'S AMERICA, people!!! 
  • Everything about this date felt like a Top 40 country video come to life. 
  • Nick meet's Raven's dad (newly cancer free!), mom (seems super sweet), brother again (barely ANY camera time at dinner) and everybody cries a lot. 
  • Raven and her family ALL agree that they thought Nick would be a smug prick and are pleasantly surprised that he's not. He seems to get that a LOT. 
  • Rather than saying "I love you" Raven tells Nick "there's no hesitation on my end of what becomes of this." How romantic!??!!?

DALLAS, TEXAS - Rachel's Hometown

  • Rachel's outfit is classy and sexy--serious heels, black dress, white, sleeveless jacket thing over. Nice work! 
  • Their daytime date is CHURCH and I am loving it! I'm impressed with how well ABC is talking about race head-on and also, putting Nick into situations where HE is the minority. 
  • Rachel's church is what would probably be called a MegaChurch and they make a point to welcome Nick. Later on he says that "this a little bit different from my church at home" (ya think?) but that "Amen is Amen, ya know?" So corny. 
  • Rachel and Nick de-brief then head to lunch with her family. Sadly, Federal Judge Dad won't be there (because he has "work obligations" on a Sunday afternoon (riiiight) and also probably doesn't want his face plastered all over TV). 
  • Family lunch goes well and Nick properly identifies okra (10 points, whitey!) then has good conversations with everyone there. 
  • Good points are made by Rachel's big sister and mother that while Nick and Rachel might be totally comfortable with being an inter-racial couple, society at large sometimes has issues with it and speaks out about it--especially in THIS political climate.  Those conversations were a sharp contrast to Corinne's date (up next) which was basically shop 'till you drop!! 
  • Overall, great date but it was painful to watch, knowing that Rachel gets sent home soon!! 

MIAMI, FLORIDA - Corinne's Hometown 
  • Date planned for a place that Corinne calls her "holy ground," THE MALL! HONK! BLECH! 
  • Corinne and Nick shop like maniacs and Corinne does secret handshake with all of her BFF salespeople who have missed her over these last 6 weeks.  She drops $3,423.00 on a silver Amex and Nick breaks out in anxiety hives (as would I). 
  • Over drinks in nearby restaurant, Corinne says "I love you" in the most adolescent, roundabout, robotic way and Nick responds, "it was a fun day today." Maybe these two idiots deserve each other? 
  • They eat lunch with her family (mom, dad, sister who MAY have lip injections going on, and woman of the hour Raquel) and Nick is force fed homemade Greek olives. 
  • Could those wine glasses have been ANY larger? Good Lord! 
  • Corinne's dad raises important questions: can Nick support her or will she support him (she claims she's happy to support him--GOOD ONE, GIRL!) but for reals, will Nick ever have a job? 
  • Dad and Nick have some laughs over single malt Scotch and as Corinne and Nick say goodbye, I wonder, maybe these two playful wackadoos are made for each other? What is going on here? 
Corinne enjoying her dinner. 

MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA - Vanessa's Hometown

  • First "activity" that Vanessa's students (developmentally disabled adults who seem like absolute GEMSTONE sweethearts) get to do is make a scrapbook about Vanessa and Nick! What fun for them! JK JK JK not at all! But hey, glue sticks! 
  • Dead pan guy at that school was CRUSHING with his commentary. 
  • Vanessa seems pretty hung up on Nick quickly learning Italian phrases and also memorizing all of the names of her relatives.  You realize he's on a friggin' TOUR of family dinners, right? 
  • Vanessa's family dinner looks and feels like an Olive Garden commercial. 
  • Vanessa's sister is full of threats and doubts and I love it. How is is that Nick and his final 4 have not discussed AT ALL their plans for what will come post-show, where they might live, stuff like that? 
  • It always makes me sad when the show has to do TWO "meet the family" meals because of divorce. Meeting with Vanessa's dad and new wife is not super comfortable and Dad and Nick's 1:1 conversation is BRUTAL! Wooooowie. That was painful, and not just because that dad is a lil awkward and speaks with a thick accent. Dad was asking the important questions!! 
  • How much did Vanessa's face FALL when she realized that Nick is going around asking EVERY dad if he can marry his daughter? OOof. That's a punch in the gut. Also, girl, have you watched the show before? Come on. 

Finally Nick heads to The William Vale, some ritzy hotel in Brooklyn that I have never seen or heard of, despite the fact that I live in that borough.  There's a whole lotta staring off at the NYC skyline and we get exactly what we thought we'd get, a surprise drop-in from NYC's newest resident, former Bachelorette Andi Dorfman.  But it will have to wait until next week. 

So we got 4 hometown dates, 0 people sent home, 2 extremely skeptical families, and a whole lot of wine drinking. Not too bad, but I'll be curious how the rest of this season plays out.  Stay tuned! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Bachelor Nick V. Episode 7: CAN HE EVEN DO IT ANYMORE?

As ever, I'm late with my recap.  Sorry, Bachelor heads. Things have been bananas lately!

OK so Monday night's episode kicked off with Nick and the 6 remaining ladies still in St. Thomas, fresh off the departure of 3 women. There is tension in paradise and Nick can't stop crying.  He chats with his spiritual advisor, Chris Harrison, and says, "I don't know if I can keep doing this." Oh man yeah--what a heartbreaking decision--do you have the strength to keep traveling all over the world for free and having producers plan fantastical dates for you with a harem of knockouts??? CAN YOU DO IT, BRO??? DO YOU HAVE THE FORTITUDE??

He plays up this manufactured drama because the producers need something more to happen in the story and he even emotionally manipulates the women!  This guy can do it all!  Nick goes to their hotel room and addresses the gathered women, giving a tearful monologue about how he has been confident in his romantic choices before and he has had the rug pulled out from under him. The ladies cuddle each other (they are VERY physical with one another which is sweet, but feels a bit forced to me) and stare at him with sympathetic eyes as he subtly insinuates that maybe none of THEM are right and he's worried about it.  The whole thing feels like when a standup comedian berates a small audience for not being more people. Just when we think all hope is lost and Nick simply CANNOT cruise around on ANY more yachts, he does a metaphorical U turn and reveals that WAIT--he is excited about YOU all, ladies!! You six give him faith!  No like those other bitches! Wheeeee!! I love drama!

They scrap the rose ceremony and hop on a death trap sea plan bound for Bimini, the northernmost island in the Bahamas (other than Bermuda, but is Bermuda considered a Bahamanian island with how far up it is? I'm going there in August and I can't WAIT. Just me, my sister, her husband and kids, my parents, and old Aunt Selena FLYING SOLO because dating in NYC is a daily hell and I literally gave up two months ago).

They land in Bimini and Vanessa scores the first 1:1 date, so she dresses up in her red bikini with metallic accents (great choice) and dumpy romper (WHY WHY WHY?) to meet Nick on a yacht. Vanessa reveals that has never been on a boat before which STUNNED me, but perhaps that's because I grew up not far from the ocean? They sit on the boat and talk, do some snorkeling in a shipwreck, make out underwater, and then clean up for dinner.  Vanessa rocks a grey-ish dress with interesting cut-outs (too many cut outs, though?) and Nick wears a snug, white henley shirt (kid has been working his pecs) and she confesses that she's falling in love with him but he doesn't give her much back. Ouch. Corinne claims that Vanessa doesn't have much personality and I hate to agree with her, but I think she may be right.

Up next is a group date for Corinne, Kristina, and Raven and the activity of the day is drinking, swimming with sharks (LITERALLY), and tangling your hair.  Corinne has been on a bigger boat than this, she reminds us, then strips down and presents herself to Nick (barf). Kristina seems to dominate the date (foreshadowing) and Corinne loses confidence (delightful), but Raven is the big winner in that she scores the date rose and will definitely be taking Nick to Hoxie, Arkansas. I have been a Raven fan since the start and I'm so psyched for her! I also LOVE her baby pink lip--great choice.


That night at the "afterparty" (for 4 people, 3 of whom are trying to date 1) Kristina is very pragmatic ("listen, you can't keep us all"), Raven seems to forget that female relatives exist (speaking only about how her "daddy" or brother might be skeptical of Nick), and Corinne can barely keep her eyes open as she rambles and repeatedly refers to herself in the third person.  After Raven wins the rose, she and Nick walk over to a private concert (of some dweebus named Adam Friedman whose entire performance gave me dumb chills--especially the part when he and his band mates jumped up and down) where they dance and kiss.

The next day blonde Danielle gets a 1:1 date and I'm sure that Nick is hoping she somehow found a personality in the last few weeks, alas NO.  Danielle rocks some TINY jean shorts and the cruise around on bikes, eat, drink, shop--a cute date overall.  They dance on the beach (SO AWKWARD) and then sip beers and engage in stilted conversation about their shared home state. Nick puts it tactfully as if Danielle is part robot, saying, "we seem to be struggling having a natural conversation" and it's hard to watch. That night Danielle rocks a red romper (again--I just don't think that rompers are flatting in the stomach/butt area on ANYONE yet this season has been all rompers, all the time) and cute gold jewelry, but the damage is done and despite the fact that she's "fun to have fun with" (Nick's own words), he sends her back to Wisconsin.  She goes back to the house, tearfully packs her bags, and says goodbye to the rest of the girl gang.

Corinne is continuing to spiral and thinks that it's a good idea for her to put on HER OWN romper (STOP STOP STOP), high heeled shoes that she can hardly walk in, and surprise Nick at his hotel with her "sex charm."  This is when we get her most gloriously awful quote of the season: "My heart is gold, but my vagine is platinum" but sadly, Nick doesn't get to experience that platinum "vagine," as he pumps the brakes when she tries to initiate sexy times.  Oof.  Corinne handles it with ZERO GRACE and walks off like a 5 year-old who got into mommy's shoe closet.

Up next is Rachel with the final 1:1 date before Hometowns, which she poetically explains is quite fitting since she got the first impression rose and now she gets the last date.  She rocks a hot, black, crop top and a flowy skirt with shorts built in (island attire perfection) for a daytime date of walking and drinking in a local bar (my kind of date!).  Rachel talks about her family and says she's a daddy's girl and has never brought home a white guy before, so this will be a first.  We know that Nick and Rachel DO NOT end up together, though, as she is slated to be THE NEXT BACHELORETTE!! I am SUPER fired up for that, but confused about the timing of the announcement.  Was there a leak, perhaps?  Who knows.  They have a great, quick date and Rachel goes back to the house floating on air as Corinne continues to unravel.

That afternoon Chris Harrison and Nick have a heart to heart and Nick knows which lady he wants to send home and doesn't want to wait for a rose ceremony.  Go for it, man.  He heads over to the ladies' house and all of Bachelor Nation says a silent prayer that he will call for Corinne and send her back to Florida, but no, he inquires about Kristina.  Oh girl.  Nick retrieves her from a bedroom and walks her outside by the hand and she must know by now, right?  Perhaps not, as she seems STUNNED (and ANGRY) as Nick launches into a diatribe that starts, "you're someone... from the moment I met you.." and ends as you'd expect it to.  Kristina is ANGRY immediately and says he never gave her a chance, but girl, the heart wants what it wants.  As some random asshole said to Desiree when she dumped him on the beach, you can't be ANGRY at someone for not loving you. Kristina and Nick have a somber hug goodbye and she heads inside to pack and double over in tears.

Somehow, through all of this, Corinne is STILL FREAKING OUT because she's the second biggest narcissist in the world (Trump is #1 obvi) or MAYBE it's because she knows the camera will stay on her if she continues to freak out.  Either way, girl, take a deep breath and calm down.

Next week we have a surprise woman showing up at Nick's door (my money's on Andi--that hair) and the proposal will take place on the goddamn arctic tundra!  I'll be back on my podcast as normal and recapping here!  Talk soon! xoxo

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bachelor Nick V. Episode 6: Russian Orphanages, "Chokey," and Too Many Rompers

Bachelor Nation!

Last night's episode was a doozy!  We saw the departure of SIX women in one episode (unprecedented this late in the game?), we had a conversation about child prostitution in Russia (spooky/timely), and joked around about "chokey" aka erotic asphyxiation! All on network television during prime time! Holy shit what is going on?

I've got to whip through this recap today, so let's get to it and get through it quickly.

The episode opens up with Corinne and Nick on a dinner date (after Taylor's recent dismissal), but we haven't seen the last of America's Favorite Emotional Intelligence Expert!  Taylor BUSTS INTO their date to say two things to Nick:
1. Corinne lied, and
2. Come outside so I can berate you on the dimly lit front steps of this old church, please.

Nick and Taylor talks outside and she continues her same diatribe as before--SHE IS NOT A BULLY! Part of love is respect! SHE IS NOT A MEAN GIRL! But Nick needs to "open your eyeballs" (exact quote) because Taylor, a girl he has known for mere weeks, KNOWS what is right for him!!!  Why won't he let TAYLOR make his choices!?!??  That's what gets me about all this--these girls are like, "Corinne isn't right for you!" but they hardly know Nick!  Sure, Corinne's a helpless, obnoxious booze bag who needs to grow up, but maybe Nick WANTS that?  Who knows?

Nick essentially says, thanks for caring, Taylor, then sends her packing again. He returns to Corinne, they make out, and he wants to see what could happen (or at least play tonsil hockey for a few more weeks).

Now we're down to 12 ladies and it's rose ceremony time!  The women get dolled up, hop in a horse drawn carriage, and head to a huge plantation house where they sip on BIG glasses of wine (Danielle's was almost larger than her face). Chris Harrison informs them that Nick has chosen to skip the cocktail party (WHAT!?!?! WHAT!? But I brought a PowerPoint Presentation about why he should love me and now I don't get to show it?!?!) in favor of going straight to the forced departure ceremony--I mean, rose ceremony.

Corinne, Danielle M. (blonde one), and Rachel all have roses.  Who will live to see another group date?

-Kristina - wearing a lovely maroon dress with interesting cut outs up top.
-Raven - in an odd blue dress with, again, detachable arm cover things. WHY WHY WHY?
-Vanessa - our 2nd maroon dress of the night, looking great.
-Danielle L. - hair back in sorta curled bun, tits out in a low cut black patterned dress.
-Jasmine - looking great in a retro style black and white cocktail dress.
-Whitney - aka Astrid's Body Double in a bizarre mesh dress that has some white pieces, but is mostly tan white girl flesh tone, so she looks like a L'Eggs plastic egg with a brown wig attached to it. Her skin looked great, though--fantastic shimmer contouring.

Actual photo of Whitney in her weird mesh, flesh toned dress. 

So heading home we have Josephine (who seemed perfectly nice but didn't have much real, 1:1 connection with Nick), Alexis (who is RAD and goofy and seemed to have a great friendship with Nick, but no romance), and Jaimie (whose purple lipstick was BOLD but who we never saw going too far, did we?).

We're down to 9 girls and it's time to head down to an island whose weather can best be described as "perpetually overcast": ST. THOMAS!

The gals land in St. Thomas and do the requisite beach walk, patio scream, and suite exploration. They meet up with Nick plane-side and he announces that a 1:1 is starting right then for KRISTINA, the sweet Russian girl who was adopted by a Kentucky family. As Jasmine begins to unravel, Nick and Kristina fly away and head to the Annaberg Ruins for beers and real talk.  Nick is fascinated but also wants to get Kristina out of those pesky clothes, so they head to the beach for swimming and straddling.

That night over dinner, Kristina (done up in a super cute white dress and tan wedges) shares her harrowing life story--a brutal childhood in Russia, a neglectful mother, and 6 years a Russian orphanage before she was adopted at age 12. Kids who aren't adopted are forced out of the orphanage at age 16 and often go into prostitution and I must say PROPS to Kristina and The Bachelor for having the guts to speak about child sexy trafficing with such candor and for shining a light on this issue.  Wow.  Kristina dealt with some feelings of guilt when she was adopted but decided to move to the U.S.A. and "live life in color" (sorta corny, but also very sweet) and Nick seems to be smitten.  She gets a rose and they dance in a gazebo surrounded by steel drum players and local dancers.

Meanwhile, Corinne has found a local St. Thomas woman (Lorna) to act as her new Raquel and sure, I suppose it's a funny little aside, but there's also something very yucky about watching a native woman wait on a white woman who is visiting the resort, ya know?

Up next is a group date for Rachel, Raven, Vanessa, Corinne, Danielle M., Jasmine, and Nick and I haven't seen that much sloppy day drinking since season 3 of Bachelor In Paradise or maybe Sunday at my friend's boyfriend's Superbowl party!  Corinne wears a beige bikini top (NIGHTMARE), Vanessa rocks a super cool black bikini, Raven does mismatched bikini top and bottom (my favorite style), and nobody has any fun.

That night the gang SOMEHOW rallies for more drinking (I would have been riding the struggle bus--a day of drinking, a hellish forced volleyball game, then MORE drinking a few hours later? Can I get a nap and some uppers, plz?) and alone time with Nick.  Nearly every woman is saying that this has been more stressful than any week before and Jasmine, unfortunately, goes a step farther, telling the other women that she feels completely ignored and forgotten.  She has been stewing on this for a few days, so when she finally gets alone time with Nick, she pounces. She starts off OK, simply saying, "I like you a lot and I feel overlooked and it sucks" but then she DOES NOT STOP TALKING and it just gets worse with every moment.  She's upset that she hasn't had a 1:1 so far, she is here to find love--not just score a free vacation and enjoy open bar.  Then she goes off the rails and "jokes" that she wants to choke him and slap him (cringe!), then bizarrely tries to sorta redeem herself by saying that she wants to do "chokey" and straddle him, choke him (which, if this were 1996 and I were a high schooler watching this show in my parents' basement would DEFINITELY be THE MOMENT when my father would come downstairs and say, "WHAT IN THE HELL DO THEY SHOW ON TV NOWADAYS??). Nick literally looks scared and creeped out, so he gingerly suggests that maybe it's time to say goodbye and he walks her out.  Jasmine was such a solid contender at first--it's sad to see her leave in such creepy circumstances, but this show makes people go crazy.

Everyone is emotionally drained and snuggling, but soon it's time for another 2-on-1. ANOTHER ONE!? Bachelor lovers--I thought that usually we only had ONE 2:1 per season--am I wrong? Right? The greatest of all time?

The 2-in-1 is Nick, Danielle L. (aka Tits McGee), and Whitney (snooze) and both ladies are in rompers, though Whitney's is a LOT more unflattering. Does no one own separates anymore? Am I an old lady for owning frigging tank tops?

You're both in rompers? Cool cool. I'm over here in separates like a goddamn pilgrim.

The trio hops a helicopter and cruises to a desert island where there is nothing except a canopy bed and drinks.  I got the feeling that Nick wanted to ditch BOTH women on that island, but somehow Danielle L. charms him, so he only abandons Whitney (who turns MEAN and begins trying to insult Danielle L. because she's a pawn in the hand of the patriarchy and they love to always pit women against other women).  Whitney gets the Olivia treatment--being forced to stand there alone on the beach as Danielle and Nick escape in the helicopter.  Man--the only thing more brutal than being ditched on a desert island is being ditched on a desert island while you're wearing a super unflattering romper.  Sorry, Whitney.

That night Nick and Danielle L. (aka D. Lo) have dinner and D. Lo explains that they have so much in common because they both enjoy hanging out with friends and being close with family (OMG they are like, FATED to be together with those SUPER UNIQUE commonalities that aren't shared by the majority of humans on the planet).  Nick seems to suddenly realize that he and D. Lo actually DO NOT have much in common (perhaps because of the answers to that "2 word to describe ideal relationship" question?) and finally notice that she says "like" every other word, so he sends her home and cries about it.  Danielle handles it gracefully (and rocks a gorgeous, very vacation chic, flowy dress) and reminds us of Bonnie Raitt's immortal words: you can't make someone love you.

Nick's down to 6 women and he's having a personal crisis.  Did the casting directors pick a girl who he can marry? Is one of these 6 "the one"?  And whatever will he do if he does NOT find love on national TV--what then?  Will he be forced to just KEEP DATING!??! We'll find out next week!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Bachelor Nick V. Episode 5: Haunted Houses & VooDoo Priestesses on The Bayou

Greetings, fellow Bachelor Heads!!

Sunday night was the SAG Awards but I didn't tune in because I'll take my drama on Monday nights, thank you very much!  And Nick Viall's episode 5 did not disappoint in the drama department! Also in the Voodoo Priestess Department, which seems to be a new department for Bachelor Nation.

Episode 5 picked up right where we left off last week--with Taylor and Corinne brawling about emotional intelligence and maturity while lit by a stunningly flattering fire.  It was like Nature's Glamour Shots in there!  Taylor and Corinne are like, "are you ready to marry him? do you have self awareness? blah blah blah" and I was just like, "Corinne's make-up is on point and the glow of this fire is absolutely beautiful on their angry faces!"

As Taylor and Corinne brawled fireside, the older, seemingly more mature gals had a conversation about how that drama isn't worthwhile, you've simply got to avoid competitive tension, and run your own race.  Amen, ladies!  Is ANYONE surprised that the biggest drama among the women is a 23 year-old vs. a 24 year-old?  Also, a blonde vs. a brunette? Ha!

Corinne did a pretty manipulative mind fuck on Taylor (not sure if she fell for it, though), insisting that the other women HATE her, think she's not nice, and has a stank face.  It was pretty rich to hear Corinne--the girl who legit SLEPT THROUGH a rose ceremony--refer to Taylor as "entitled" but Raquel's favorite employer seemed to be dropping any insult she could.

Corinne ran to Nick and told him that Taylor's widely disliked (not true, I don't think?) and she's not here for the right reasons (also seems untrue but admittedly, Taylor isn't keeping her eyes on the prize right now).  Nick is receptive to it and Taylor seems to regret wading into these drama waters.

Soon it's time for the most dramatic--and CHILLY--rose ceremony yet.

Three ladies already have roses: Raven (Arkansan rollerskate pal), Kristina (eastern euro straight talker), Danielle L. (aka Tits McGee, nail salon entrepreneur).

Who else scores chilly flowers?
-Whitney (aka Rich Man's Astrid, in a leather jacket over a dress)
-Danielle M. (blonde from Wisconsin and this is when I realized you could see their breath)
-Jasmine (NBA dancer in a great black dress but does she have a connection w/ Nick?)
-Rachel (looking great in a sparkly, silver dress)
-Jaimie (back to curly hair with big earrings and a choker)
-Josephine (who is again SHOCKED to be picked and I want to be like, girl, act as if, OK?  Cute red dress and jacket, though)
-Vanessa (patterned dress, leather jacket, solid look)


-Corinne (ugh she suuuucks and honestly, her "conversations" with Nick are mostly about the here and now--we have no sense of where she came from, her family, any connection)
-Taylor (seems tired and defeated and isn't looking amazing)

Actual photo of the ladies at the rose ceremony

So heading home are smiley Sarah in a cute, lace, tan dress and no jacket (way to DO THE WORK, girl) and Astrid (aka poor man's Whitney) in a putrid suede jacket. Bye ladies.

The gals can stop doing their best impression of the T Birds because it's finally time to go somewhere warm--NEW ORLEANS!!

Nick's Dozen Beauties arrive in New Orleans and freak out at the sight of a hotel room as if they just escaped from solitary confinement.  Chris Harrison arrives in a very "summer Friday at the office" look and informs them of this week's calendar: a 1:1 date, a group date, and the infamous 2:1 date (which Corinne and Taylor MUST KNOW they will be going on, as this date is ALWAYS reserved for 2 participants who HATE each other).

The 1:1 goes to Rachel who immediately suits up in a super cute white halter top, yellow short shorts, Chuck Taylor high tops, and big hoops.  Nick is waiting for her in the French Market where they make out a LOT, eat hot sauce and oysters, and try on glasses and masks.  They head over to Cafe Du Monde for beignets, or as we used to call that delicacy in Quincy Market, Boston, friggin' fried dough.

After that, they stumble upon a Second Line (something Rachel is cool enough to be familiar with, of course) and they join in the street brass band parade, leading the whole shebang while carrying lace umbrellas, kissing, and dancing.  It was so damn cute and I was sitting on my couch alone thinking, "damn that date would get me EXCITED about even a guy--even a guy as meh as Nick!"  The parade stops RIGHT BELOW the hotel where all of the other ladies are cooped up in their Gilded Cage, so of course they look out the window and torture themselves by watching Nick and Rachel kiss. Ouch.  It's like a live action version of when I stalk my ex-boyfriend's current girlfriend on Instagram--don't do it, ladies (and self)!!!

That night over "dinner" (beer for her, wine for him), Rachel and Nick compare their parents' marriages (Rachel's are clocking in at 36 years; Nick's at 38), talk about fathers (Rachel's is a Federal Judge who DON'T PLAY), and Nick sweetly says that he's breaking the rules but, "I'm super into you."  Rachel gets a rose and a make out session on a parade float.

Up next is a group date in a "haunted house" (an Antebellum era sugarcane plantation but of course there is no mention of slavery because this is The Bachelor and their idea of progress is having more than one black woman in the harem) for Josephine (learn to be cool, girl) Kristina (do you think she speaks any Russian? We should all learn that now, da?), Alexis (goofball shark/dolphin), Raven (Razorback rocker), Jaimie (seems like a good time sally), Vanessa (fun girl, but are she and Nick still connected at all?), Danielle M. (snoooooze), Whitney (poor man's Astrid and Astrid isn't even HERE anymore), Jasmine (slow burn?), and Danielle L. (I bet BOTH Danielles are wishing there were fewer Danielles in the group).

The ladies and Nick sip on Mint Juleps while the strange caretaker Boo (real name? COME ON) tells them that this plantation--errr--HAUNTED HOUSE-- is where an 8 year old girl named Mary died of Scarlet Fever and she haunts the house searching for her doll.  They are instructed NOT TO TOUCH certain things, so naturally later that night they touch all of those things, get spooked, shriek, and run around wearing daisy dukes by candlelight.  Nick makes a few comments that Mary, the ghost, is ALSO on the date and I just hope he gave enough 1:1 flirty time to that dead 8 year-old! The crew plays a game of Ouija and this group date goes on MUCH too long, until we are finally relieved when blonde Danielle L. is given a rose and it's over.

Up next is the infamous 2-on-1 and it is, in keeping with Bach tradition, in a remote, weird location (the bayou--previous locations include the Badlands, a stormy island, the woods) and it's a date of the 2 people who HATE each other the most (Taylor vs. Corinne; previous seasons paired up Chad vs. Tiny Hero in a woods brawl, Olivia vs. Whichever Blonde Twin That Was on an island; Ashley I. aka Poor Man's Kim Kardashian vs. That Weirdo Frumpy Chick Whose Fiancee Died and She Loved Talking About That Tragedy in the Badlands).

Corinne and Taylor get dressed up for a date: Corinne in a super bland outfit that includes wildly unflattering pants, Taylor in a hippie-style top and almost NO make-up--a look that I might call "First Day of School In Sixth Grade."  The trio meet on the water's edge and hop in a small motorboat that is captained by a true Louisiana Character: a "husky hottie" wearing jeans, a snug black tank top, who has a long, blonde ponytail.

Hello there, Husky Redneck. Will you give me a tour of YOUR bayou? (Know what I mean?)
You can just sense how much Husky Redneck FRIGGING HATES Taylor, Nick, and Corinne, but he does his job and drops them off on an island where they walk through the woods and come upon a Voodoo Priestess and her crew. Ummmm HUH?  Did all of this feel very exploitative of that culture? Am I being too PC? I dunno--I could just imagine some other Voodoo Priestesses being angered that she did certain rituals on camera, for show, ya know?

The trio walked over to a table where a Tarot Card Reader read each girl's cards (WHY NOT NICK'S CARDS???) one at a time.  During their alone time, Corinne told Nick that Taylor "emotionally attacked" (ummm is that a thing?) her and has been bullying her.  Sure, Taylor has come off as a bit smug smartypants lately, but "emotionally attacked" is a bit much.  As we watch this convo, we see a montage of clips of the Tarot Reading and hungry alligators.  When Taylor gets some 1:1 time with Nick, she attempts to set him straight but she's very defensive (understandably so, but still) and angry.  And so she has already lost.

How many times must we learn this lesson? When you are the person in the house who is CONSUMED with pointing out the REAL ASSHOLE (and, make no mistake, Corinne IS the real asshole), you put YOURSELF on the chopping block by focusing too much on HATING another participant and not enough on LOVE.  Who cares if Nick and Corinne are building a relationship based on "whipped cream and lies" (sounds semi-delicious)--it's between THEM! Eyes on your own paper, Taylor!

[steps off most pathetic soapbox in the world]

Corinne scores a Voodoo doll off the Tarot Card reader, stabs it, and Nick sends Taylor packing. Ouch. Corinne and Nick hop on a boat and cruise off, leaving Taylor sitting alone at a table in the woods (the 2:1 exits NEVER disappoint). They make out HARD while the poor Husky Redneck drives the boat.  Taylor stays on the island and joins in a Voodoo Priestess ceremony (CREEEEEEPY) then hops on Husky Redneck's boat, cruises back to shore, and shows up to Corinne and Nick's dinner date to confront them!!!!  I'm betting this will be the most dramatic 2:1 date departure since Chad roamed through the woods and showed up at the house last season!

Next week will be amazing.  What do you think will happen? It seems like Taylor has a bombshell to drop, but what could it be? Corinne has a boyfriend back in Florida?  Corinne is secretly dating Chris Harrison? Raquel the "nanny" is Corinne's secret wife??  We'll soon find out!

Also, listen to THE FANTASY SUITE to hear me and the wonderful Dava Krause cackle over how ridiculous this episode was.