I often skip this episode of each Bachelor season, but this time, I’m looking forward to it! It seems that the women in the house, by and large, like each other a lot more than they like Juan Pablo–and if the previews are to be believed (admittedly, a big if), they will be talking some shit!
But we have to start out with newlyweds Sean and Catherine, who recently televised their wedding. I confess I never believed these two would make it to the altar, and I still don’t “get” them as a couple the way Ashley and J.P. seemed to suit. Catherine got new bangs as a wedding present, apparently. Sean loves the fact that their entirely relationship, from first meeting to wedding, has been captured by ABC’s cameras. He in no way indicates a sense that THAT’S WEIRD. The wedding night was great (“and quick!” adds Catherine–heh) and the honeymoon was good. Sean got beaten with a stingray. Chris asks if they’ve talked about kids (and seeing as they got married, I hope they did!), and Sean announces that they’re going to start trying in a month. Whoa, dude! That’s a little personal. Catherine just giggles.
Moving on, there’s a bit with Miss Piggy and Kermit which I refuse to recap. It’s a stupid plug for the new Muppet Movie, and since I remain unconvinced that half the people on the Bachelor are real, I’m certainly not going to spend more time on the foam rubber guests.
After commercials, we return and introduce the women at last. And Molly the dog is back! Yay, Molly! Chris asks about 1st impressions and Kelly says that Molly wasn’t interested in JP and almost blew it for her on the first night. Then it’s on to the “JP is sooooo sexy” montage, with clips from all the women falling under his spell. Then Chris asks Andi, “He’s clearly attractive. Why wasn’t that enough?” Stupid question. Andi’s all, “Looks fade, and you need more than that” and then Danielle chimes in to say “The conversation stayed on the surface level” and Lauren (who?) echoes Andi’s complaint that he never asked the women about themselves.
Chris interrupts the pile-on to say that some people had different experiences…Renee? She said they talked about their kids, which brought them closer. But then one of the other women says, “But Renee, I remember you coming back from dates and saying, ‘Well, we didn’t get past Ben & Camila again.'” Ooh, cross-examination! Cassandra felt the same, and says that it’s important to have a life outside of just “mother of your child.” Kat chimes in to say that she tried at times to take the conversation deeper, and was met with incomprehension. One woman says, “He asked me on one date, ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years?’ and then the next time, he asked me where I saw myself in 3 years. I told him, ‘Pretty close to that 5-year plan!'” Hee. I’m not going to have to make any jokes tonight–I see the ladies are going to take care of that for me. That’s what you get for letting them cast the smart girls, JP!
Lauren jumps back in to say that JP didn’t seem that into the women, but apparently we’re at the end of our female solidarity segment, as Kelly turns on Lauren, saying that she talks big now, but that wasn’t how she acted in the house. Looks like someone thinks this second-stringer has had enough air time. Kelly thinks some of this is sour grapes. Andi actual throws him a bone and says that she believes that JP was there to find someone–she just thinks he wanted to find someone to date, while the women were looking for someone to marry. Chris seizes the opportunity to throw to commercial.
When we come back, Chris asks the women what it’s like living through the situation. Kat says that it’s a bit odd, because at the time, you’re enjoying yourself, spending time with JP, but all you hear is that he wants to be fair to all the women, and then “he changes every rule he makes, which adds a layer of complexity.” I wonder if Chris will have to stand up for JP on this one because he’s the host, or if he’ll let it stand–Harrison has made more or less the same observation in his EW blogs on the show this year. Kelly accuses him of using his daughter as a buffer so he didn’t have to tell certain women he didn’t feel the chemistry: “It was all Camila, Camila. He didn’t say Camila when he was in the ocean.” BURN! The audience is laughing at this, and I don’t think most of them like JP either.
Chris warns Kelly off about criticizing JP’s handling of the Camila situation, and cuts to Renee–is she his only ally here? Oh, I guess so, because Nikki and Clare are the only two who haven’t come out yet. Renee is her usual chill, sensible-mom self, and she’s all “I respect his feelings [about holding off on kissing her], but I talked to Ben about this before I left, and had I known he was deferring to my kid, I would have just kissed him myself.” Kat jumps back in to talk about how it kind of hurt to hear JP refer to the two moms as “my special ones.” “So what the hell am I?” she asks.
Cassandra pipes up to say that JP kissed her plenty, but then told Renee he had too much respect for her as a mom, so she was left to think, “Either he doesn’t respect Renee, or he doesn’t respect ME.” Chris suggests that maybe JP just was being honest about his feelings at any given moment, and Kelly jumps back in to shut it down, saying “He’s always like, ‘I’m just being honest.’ That is not honest.” You know what’s next, don’t you? It’s time to discuss…The Clare Affair.
Amusingly, Kat and Andi say that they were rooming with her the Night of the Ocean, and neither of them had a clue that she’d snuck out! And both of them thought (as did many viewers) that the scene of Clare and JP in the hot tub was much more disrespectful to the rest of the contestants than the ocean shenanigans that night. They’re both like, “Fair play to Clare for going for it.” Chris asks if JP handled his regret the next day well, and of course all the women say no. Some dark-haired girl says that it wasn’t fair to put his own feelings of guilt onto Clare, and Sharleen opens her mouth for the first time to say, “I think he had buyer’s remorse,” which seems bitchier than I think she meant it? The audience oooohs as though she was trying to be mean. But she goes on to say that he needed to “man up” and handle himself better. All the women are on Team Clare for seizing the day and acting on their obvious connection, and think JP treated Clare shabbily.
Next up: Sharleen in the hot seat! Chris begins by saying that Sharleen is the most intriguing contestant who’s ever been on the Bachelor, because her relationship with JP was so hot and cold. We then run through a Sharleen-and-JP montage, completely with little picture-in-picture of now-Sharleen cringing at their incredibly awkward soccer field kisses. In voiceover, she tells us that despite feeling special when she’s with him, she misses that “cerebral connection.” Then we get the whispered farewell between them, and now-Sharleen looks a bit sad and wistful. I assume this is for the cameras, because c’mon. And in fact, back with Harrison, Sharleen says basically she’d date him, but she knew she’d never marry him.
And here we come to our first bullshit editing of the show: in the previews, we saw Sharleen saying, “I often have sleepless nights,” and the implication is that she regrets her decision. But now, in context, it becomes clear that she’s saying that she thinks too much in general and that can keep her awake. Yeah, she’s not second-guessing her decision with this bozo. She does, however, make a misstep (at least with the other women) when she says, “I’m sure I’ll get a lot of eye rolls for this, but I found him very curious. He wanted to know about me.” Um, yeah, you’re gonna get eye rolls, honey, but not because of JP. Don’t hurt your arm patting yourself on the back there. Chris teases her a little, asking if everything will be OK when she and JP are in the same room. “Any besitos?” Sharleen laughs awkwardly and takes too long to reply before saying “I’ll do my best,” which makes it worse. And frankly, Chris, the question is pretty disrespectful to Clare and Nikki, who are presumably still vying for JP’s affections.
Renee’s turn–she’s coming up to talk now, and I suspect she’s here as a JP character witness, really. She too gets a relationship montage, in which every single shot appears to be “I’m a mom, he’s a dad.” This belies her claim that they weren’t just relating on a parental level. Then we come to their kiss, and Renee’s sad twirling of joy, followed by the Miami rose ceremony where they said goodbye. Now-Renee looks a bit wry and embarrassed, but not particularly sad. Chris asks if she thinks telling him she loved him would have changed things, and she immediately says no. Basically, she’s under no illusion that he felt as strongly for her as she did for him. The fact that JP was telling Renee “I’m not kissing anyone else” and then is macking on someone 20 seconds later comes up, and Renee is rueful and self-deprecating about “asking permission” to kiss him. She gets the last laugh, because Chris asks her if she’s dated since the show, and with a cat-who-ate-the-canary grin, she says, “I’m in a situation where I’m very happy.” The audience cheers for her, and I concur. You go, girlfriend!
OK, back to the mudslinging–it’s time for Andi to take the hot seat! Andi elects not to request her lawyer for this deposition, and she does have an interesting path to walk–she was insecure and clingy for weeks, and then turned on him in one night. She tells us that at first, it was fine in the fantasy suite–they had some fun, but then the talk became all about him. She says he also became very negative “about the process,” which turned her off. She says, “I think he thinks he’s a very good Bachelor,” and the audience laughs. Chris pushes her on that point a bit, but she won’t be drawn out. She brings up the “barely here” comment again, and the fact that he told her he’d already had his overnight date with Clare was hurtful. Andi was shocked by his insensitivity…but she didn’t actually tell him that she found it offensive. She acknowledges that she should have done so, and then gets caught out confessing that she basically feigned sleep and waited for the date to be over. Heh.
Andi also admits that although JP said inappropriate and hurtful things, he wasn’t being mean to her. Basically, he has no filter and is thoughtless, but not malicious. Chris asks, “Do you think he understood what you were saying?” and Andi says no way. But despite all that, she’s fine now–and although she is not “in a situation like Renee,” she still believes “the process” can work, and she hasn’t given up her dream of finding a “great love.” Of course not, because she is clearly going to be the next Bachelorette. Right?
At last, the man of the hour (and a half) comes out to give as good as he got. Chris asks how it feels walking into a room full of ex-girlfriends. JP doesn’t say “It’s OK,” but he tells us it’s been a couple of months, and he feels that he can be friends with some of these women. Renee gives the camera a look like, “Eh, maybe.” And then JP pointedly says, “Hi, Andi.” She smiles back in similarly fake fashion. What, no “hi” for Sharleen?
Chris asks, “Now that you’ve seen the show and some of the moments that the women have brought up tonight, would you have done anything differently?” JP is too quick to say no, which means that once again, he has not understood (or cared about) the fact that a good 15 women sat here and told him in various ways that he’s a bad listener, that he’s egocentric and insensitive. He’s too intent on getting out his line: “You have to be realistic, mature and honest in this situation, and I’m sorry if my honesty can seem a little rude.” Cut to Cassandra, shaking her head like, “Screw you, man.” He tells Andi, “It’s OK” now, but it’s a joke. He has no regrets.
Chris opens it up to the women, and Lauren (who?) jumps in to relive her humiliation when her request for besitos was denied. Honey, why bring this up again? You had your say earlier, we’re done with you now. But she says, “You say you’re so honest, but why didn’t you just tell me you weren’t feeling it instead of saying it was about Camila?” JP insists that he isn’t letting Camila watch the show, but he worried that some other kid would say things to her…which doesn’t actually answer Lauren’s question, but no one on the show wants to let her talk further, so we move on. JP insists that he moved only as fast as he felt with each woman (which “explains” why he waited with Renee, but plunged down Clare’s throat at every opportunity), and that because Renee had told him how upset Ben had been when she broke up with his father, he was extra-cautious.
Cassandra calls bullshit on this one, and says that if he really cared that much about Renee’s feelings, he would have dropped her before the hometown date instead of coming to meet Ben and then ending it. JP is baffled, and doesn’t understand why a mother would want to keep her child from meeting a suitor just because it wasn’t super-serious yet. (Interestingly, Chris Harrison addresses this as a cultural issue in a great interview he did with Grantland’s The Juliet Show. It’s almost a half-hour long, but good watching for Bachelor fans! Essentially, he says that JP’s culture is so family-based that dates would meet family very early; it’s not a “reserved for much later” type of thing, and he didn’t get that for many U.S. singles, it is.)
Chantel (who?) says that his claim of wanting to be fair is belied by the fact that the moms were “his special ones.” How is that fair? This is a losing argument, babe. JP won’t even entertain it, saying, “Because they left their sons.” It devolves into “when you’re a parent, you’ll understand,” and while I agree that it’s a big deal, it’s just the sort of comment that non-parents find smug and annoying. However, we still don’t care if Chantel left her job or her dog or whatever. Other Lauren (who who?) tries to get JP to “give a little more compassion to everyone who’s left something–act engaged.” She has barely finished the sentence before JP’s breezily saying, “Ya I understand. You gotta understand something too, though–it’s a lot of people.” Andi actually steps in to say that the “fair” thing and the “special” thing are maybe semantics, and that JP wasn’t calling the moms better than the others, just perceived differently. “It’s OK,” says JP with a grin. (Ugh.)
We’re still not done with the Andi show when we come back from commercial, apparently. Chris asks “is there anything you would like JP to understand?” Isn’t that what her whole storyline was about? But yes, of course there is. She just reiterates her point about JP not really looking for a wife, and not asking the small questions of preferences and history that would have indicated he was curious about any of the women. JP says he understands, but that he preferred to get to know people in a “real” way and just interact. Chris turns to Sharleen, asking if she thinks JP took the process seriously. She says yes, but in a weird awkward way points out AGAIN that basically, he was asking her all those questions and was interested, and she didn’t have the same experience the other girls did. I wish we could go to some videotape of JP and Sharleen actually conversing. I would like to know if she had some crazy juju that drew him out and made him actually talk.
Lucy the “free spirit” suddenly wakes up and realizes that she’s been sitting there for an hour without saying a word, so she jumps in to add nothing to the conversation. “It’s not a game, this is a relationship.” Well, it’s mostly a game, but whatever. JP agrees with her, but is staring at her like he can’t quite recall who she is. All this talk from the back row sets Kelly off, who begins, “I have something to say.” You know that’s not good. That is the universal signal for “I am going to talk AT you now. Take cover.”
Kelly brings up JP’s homophobic remarks, and tells him that as a child of a gay parent (I think? she actually says “coming from a parent who’s gay,” but as she is neither a mother nor a lesbian, I assume she meant the other version) she was hurt by his words. She’s crying already. JP apologizes but says, essentially, they’ll talk after the show and there isn’t enough time to do it on camera. (Not to mention I’m sure his PR handlers have forbidden him from the topic.) He begins, “I was taken out of context–” and Kelly is having none of it. “Taken out of context?!? Per-VERT?” she snaps. “Tell me that in Spanish.” JP’s still trying to say they’ll talk after, while assorted girls pet Kelly’s hair, when a dark-haired girl (Lauren?) interrupts to say, “As someone who’s only been in this country for ten years, and who didn’t speak a word of English until I was 15, please, please stop using ‘English is my second language’ as a cop-out.” She clearly expected that to be an applause line, but the audience doesn’t react at all. There’s a lot of crosstalk and Harrison finally jumps in to put an end to it.
JP tries to play the “I have gay friends” card which is stupid, and then says that gays were “born that way” and that he loves them and feels no animosity. Sharleen attests to his belief in equality, and now the audience claps. I think they just wanted the conversation to be over.
To finish the show, we get the blooper reel! This includes: singing the boat-car on his date with Cassandra; a montage of silly dancing from various contestants; and a variety of retakes in JP’s interviews where he talks about “his little package” until a PA explains that could be interpreted as him having a little penis. But hey, you guys, JP’s all about honesty, right?
We close on the ladies’ predictions for JP’s final choice. It’s universally acknowledged that Nikki and Clare are polar opposites (which you’d think would cast some doubt on the validity of the Bachelor as a method for finding true love), and several of the women say it’s anybody’s game. Kelly’s the first to come out and say that she is squarely on Team Nikki, as is Sharleen. But there are plenty of Team Clare women as well. The previews for next week are as expected: smooches, beaches, copters, tears. And Ca-meeeeeee-la! Until next week…