The Bachelorette is now following ABC’s new game show, 500 Questions, and I bet our Kaitlyn has 500 questions for her passel of eager swains…not the least of which should be, “Did you vote for Britt?” But this morning Kaitlyn’s just happy to be the chosen Bachelorette, and cheerfully acknowledges to a visiting Chris Harrison that she’s already made out with several of the contestants. Go get it, girl! No blame from me.
The bachelors gambol around the Mansion exploring the fancy digs and…sipping mimosas? C’mon, guys, think of your visuals, you’re on camera now. A few of them acknowledge that they voted for Britt, and it’s just an excuse for us to cut to weepy Britt in her hotel room. Ugh, enough, you lost, go home.
Britt calls her mom “spontaneously” so that she can deliver a monologue about how she’s so shocked she hasn’t even packed her bags yet…perhaps so she can wait for the knock on her door that signals last week’s rogue bachelor, Brady? Brady looks exhausted and/or high in his talking head interview, but comes in and tells Britt, “After last night, I thought you needed a hug.” Britt’s tears are instantly dry, and now we can go to the more cheerful subject of date cards.
Who’s up first? Daniel, Justin, Jared, Cory, Tanner, Kupah, Ben H. and Ben Z. are invited to a date that’s described as “I see this ending with a ring.” Because ABC spoils half their show with the trailers, we know there will be boxing, not wedding planning. They pile into a limo and start drinking again…it’s still like, 10 in the morning, right?
We cut to a boxing gym, where Kaitlyn’s already outfitted in cute hooded robe and pink boxing gloves (which seems to be gilding the lily a bit, but no one asked me). Oh, they go with her pink shorts. The men are all eager to begin the Feats of Physical Strength, especially when they discover that their coach/supervisor will be Laila Ali. Kaitlyn looks like a 10-year-old standing next to her!
They start their exercises, and I’m having Tae Bo flashbacks. (Billy Blanks, anyone?
The guys all have their best Blue Steel faces on, while Kaitlyn bats at a speed bag like she’s a kitten with a ball of yarn. She begins her Bachelorette circuit training, which involves a little faux-workout with each guy. They’re all into it, except…Kupah. He’s so into the training that Kaitlyn notices he doesn’t even care about spending time with her! Kaitlyn confides in Laila that she forgot he was even in the group.
Fight, fight, fight, fight! Send the bachelors to the fighting pits for hand-to-hand combat! I just wish it was time for the Bachelorette-Game of Thrones mashup.
Our first battle is between Ben Z. and Daniel. Ben outweighs him by 30 pounds, but Daniel gets a few headshots in before Ben starts pummelling. Eventually Ben is just chasing Daniel around the ring until someone literally throws the towel in.
Corey and Justin are next up. Corey’s strategy is to flail away like a kindergartener shooing a bee, and Justin’s strategy appears to be “curl up into a ball and try not to die.” In the Jared vs. Ben H. match, Jared hits him so hard that Ben just falls to the mat. Kaitlyn winces and says, “I’m concerned that some of my one-on-one time is going to be in the emergency room.” Laila Ali looks like she’s thinking, “Am I liable if someone actually dies on this show?”
Kupah faces off against Tanner, and Tanner is under no illusion that he might win this one. The refs throw in the towel before Kupah can actually break Tanner’s face. Tanner seems relieved.
Now it’s the semifinals! (Oof, there’s more of this? Even with the teeny snippets we’re getting, I’m bored. Plus, if I’m going to select a stranger to get engaged to after only knowing him for a month, I’m not sure one of my criteria would be “best at punching.”) Anyway, Ben Z. faces off against Corey, and knocks him down. Kupah takes on Jared, and at first seems to have the advantage, but ultimately Jared wins.
Finally, Jared and Ben Z. compete for the grand prize. Ben Z. (who looks a bit Scott Foleyish to me) is apparently a football player, whom another bachelor describes as a “human brick wall.” Jared gets knocked off his feet. “I’m freaking out,” says Kaitlyn, while we look at a shot of her expression, which is less “is that guy OK” and more “did I take the chicken out to defrost?”
When we come back from commercial, Jared’s been pulled backstage for a medic to check him out, but he’s walking around, seems fine, and man, those cheekbones could slice proscuitto. Face is intact, ladies, I repeat, face is intact. But his reactions are a little slow for the medic’s taste, so off to the hospital goes Jared, with a case of “got his bell rung.”
Kaitlyn says she’s worried about him, but has to focus on making connections with the seven survivors assembled at that evening’s cocktail party. She starts off with Ben Z., who starts off sharing his love of cooking, and it’s all lighthearted until suddenly we’re getting the “Mom died of cancer when I was 14” story! Yipes, on the first night, buddy? But Kaitlyn is “intrigued.”
On to the next guy (no chyron! not sure who everyone is yet), who talks about his 4-year-old son Aurelius. Whoa. I could be jumping to conclusions, but I’m betting this guy is a fan of Gladiator, not ancient Roman history. (I would also put some money down on the chance that he spells the name Orelius.) Kaitlyn says she wants 4 kids.
The editors give me a break and just chop up the next chats, so we can see Kaitlyn’s conversation with Tanner (I think? Furniture designer, wearing suede loafers without socks) get interrupted by a hand-delivered note. Kaitlyn seems giggly but also baffled, and leaves her swain to investigate. It reads “Come downstairs right now. I need to see you.” Kaitlyn complies and comes outside to see…Jared, still in his boxing shorts. Doc said he had to go home and rest, but allowed him to stop and see Kaitlyn briefly. He has an attractively rakish bruise under one eye, and he plants a big smooch on her. Well played, Jared! I wonder if she can give you the group date rose in absentia?
I’ve almost forgotten about the handful of guys left at home, but the show hasn’t! It’s time for the first one-on-one card. It goes to Clint, and says “You take my breath away…” Clint has a receding hairline and is vaguely reminiscent of Jeff Daniels. JJ, also still in the house, is so bummed, yo, but not worried about Clint. All I know of JJ is his chyron, which IDs him as a “former investment banker,” and his face, which IDs him as a douche. So I’m bummed, but not worried about JJ.
Kaitlyn fumbles the group rose handoff, but gives it to the obvious candidate, Ben Z.. Guess trotting out his personal tragedy was the way to go! I am discomfited by the way Kaitlyn says “Ben Z.” without a pause, so it sounds like she’s calling him “Bensy.”
It’s the next day, and time for a possible suffocation-themed date! (Is this whole season going to be about trying to kill the bachelors? I could help write that one! The Bachelor: Dying For Love.) Clint earned his date by giving Kaitlyn a skillful pencil sketch of Chris Harrison riding a triceratops–a more than fair exchange, I think. Kaitlyn drives them to another beautiful hillside villa, and there are people gathered around the pool. Scuba training? Nope, an underwater photo shoot. Oh, Mike Fleiss, are you stealing old America’s Next Top Model bits now?
Kaitlyn is in a super-sparkly cocktail dress, and Clint’s in a tuxedo shirt and pants. He wins a point from me when he references Underwater Dogs and hopes that he’ll look better than a Labrador with a tennis ball. I dunno, dude–that’s a hella cute Labrador.
But before we can see our couple du jour take the plunge (geddit?), we’re back at the Pool of Broken Dreams and Unfulfilled Testosterone, where Tony “the healer” is objecting to the boxing date as a matter of principle. He launches into a litany of “Love is” cliches like the naked 70s cartoons, and I tune out.
Photo shoot! Kaitlyn ruefully admits that although she loves the water, whenever she’s underwater she feels compelled to hold her nose, which may interfere with the final result. As with ANTM, a lot of the shots are misses, but they’re having fun…and at some point Kaitlyn loses the cocktail dress and is just clad in flowy blue cloth. Plus, she gets her first underwater kiss! And then several more! And then they come up for air without coming up for air, if you know what I mean. A good time was had by all.
Back at the house, it’s the next date card! JJ, Jonathan, Joshua, Chris, Ian, Joe and Tony will all be on the next group date. I missed the clue, but one of the men speculates that it’s stand up comedy. We, of course, know that to be the case because WE SAW IT IN THE PREVIEWS GET IT TOGETHER ABC. But I can’t be too mad, because that means we are at T-10 for Amy Schumer!
Clint and Kaitlyn, now dry, enjoy dinner for two and things seem to be going well. Back at the house, Tony is asking [some blond dude, I think it’s Aurelius’s dad?] for advice about connecting with Kaitlyn, when he slips and uses Britt’s name. Think this will become a plot point later?
OK, time to take the other group bachelors out and run ’em a little! (Otherwise they chew up your furniture.) Kaitlyn says a sense of humor is a must, so she goes to the Improv to chat with the delightful Amy Schumer (who pinpoints why we love watching the Bachelor shows: “you sit at home and judge other people and think, “I’m fine”). I would rather watch these two all night than watch the impending terrible stand-up we’re about to get.
Kaitlyn trots out to great the men, who are approaching with varying degrees of trepidation. Joshua says “Holy crap!” as soon as he walks in and recognizes Amy, which earns him a point in my book. Amy immediately tells them they’re doing standup and solicits some jokes from the men. All are terrible, and of the found-on-Dixie-cups variety. Amy realizes she’s going to need some more help to whip these guys into shape, so calls in Nikki Glaser (very funny), Rachel Feinstein (new to me) and Brigitte Everett (who I think I saw open for Patton Oswalt at Carnegie Hall?).
The comedy advisors are all very gracious, and very appalled at what they have to work with–but god bless the Bachelorette editors for giving us an extended sequence between an increasingly perturbed Amy and JJ, who begins with his standard (terrible) pick up line and goes on to assert that he’s smarter than 90% of the audience. In a talking head, Amy says, “JJ’s a sweetheart. He’s just missing…charisma…and humility…and a sense of humor….maybe when he sees the show he’ll reflect on himself and not be such a turd.” Don’t hold your breath, Ames.
Time for the show! These poor people have to perform in front of an actual crowd, but at least the audience has been warmed up by Amy & her friends. But the show is gracious, and shows most of the guys getting off one decent line. But the dentist does a good job with the self-deprecating “I’m not funny” bit, and wins a hug from Kaitlyn as he scampers back to his seat.
And now it’s Tony Time! We weren’t shown any of his warmup, so I can only assume the editors hate him as well and are about to sandbag him in a big way. For which I am ready and eager. He launches into a speech, peppered with “y’knows,” about how grateful he is for the opportunity to be there, while the audience stares at him, baffled that there’s no funny coming out of his face. Basically, he awkwarded so hard that it came all the way around to funny–shit, is Tony actually Andy Kaufman?
Finally, we’re over, the crowd cheers, and everyone can get to drinking their memories away (no doubt including the comedians, who probably have hours of new material now). But those of us at home won’t need alcohol, because Tony is yammering on again and it’s endless and boring. Kaitlyn just sits there as Tony explains that he was initially interested in Britt, but now he can see that Kaitlyn’s awesome too, and can be the kind of partner he wants! Underneath all of his speech is a sly plinky-plinky soundtrack from the editors.
Cut to the Man-or, where the guys are messing with Justin, the fitness instructor. Justin is doing nothing to roll back the assumptions about fitness professionals as he repeatedly answers a knock at the door…which turns out to be one of the other guys knocking on the wall behind him. It reminds me of this pair of dogs I used to live with–there was a Thanksgiving-time commercial which involved a repeatedly ringing doorbell, and every time it aired, the dogs would go nuts running to our door to greet…no one. Multiple times per commercial! My mute-button reflexes were really fine-tuned by Christmas.
Back at the group date, Kaitlyn talks to JJ about his little girl, and then smooches with Kentucky Joe, who’s like a cartoon version of Tim Robbins. Gathering the bachelors together, she tells JJ that she prefers his “soft, sensitive side” and gives him the rose. Blech. Kentucky Joe’s not happy.
At last, it’s time for the cocktail party.Kaitlyn is weraing most of a dress, eliciting hoots and hollers from the assembled men. We’re told in a pre-interview that they guys had all agreed to let the three non-date-having bachelors get first crack at Kaitlyn when she arrived…but no sooner has she finished her opening toast than JJ (already-rose-having) spirits her away for a one-on-one chat. The men are not pleased, to say the least. (In a later conversation, someone not on camera says, “Villain’s gotta vill.” I love you, whoever that was!)
He finishes with Kaitlyn and smugs back into the house, telling the other guys, basically, #sorrynotsorry. What’s next, YOLO? JJ describes himself as “smugness wrapped in confidence wrapped in…” blah blah blah I hate him. While some of the guys scold him (Kupah looming over him rather threateningly), Ian whisks Kaitlyn off for a chat and to download his (admittedly amazing) sob story (which Becky detailed for us in the Bachelor review!). I hope she keeps him.
We’re getting more of the men freaking out about JJ than Kaitlyn meeting her men, and several of the guys say in talking heads that JJ is just prodding bachelors like Tony who are already unraveling a bit, in hopes of sending them home. Hey, he’s been nothing but upfront about being a jerk, I’ll give him that. I wonder which guy will take the bait and try to rat him out to Kaitlyn, thereby signing his own death warrant?
After a commercial, we’re back with Kupah, who puts a crack in the fourth wall when he says that he doesn’t want to be there “just to fill a minority quota” and that he doesn’t feel that he’s yet had an opportunity to make a connection with Kaitlyn. He actually tells her as much, and she points out the boxing date where he didn’t even come talk to her. He spins it a little, but he’s weird and feels insincere to me. I can’t tell if he’s just an awkward speaker, or if he’s a jerk. But I think he’s fumbling around a way of saying, “If you don’t want me, please don’t keep me just as a producer pick.” Which is valid! But his delivery is so aggressive and mishandled that she ends up saying, “To be honest, I felt a connection…until right now.” He’s flabbergasted and tries to backtrack a little, insisting that he wants to be there, but Kaitlyn looks suspicious. She tells him she needs some time to think about their conversation, and Kupah leaves her with a fist-bump. Suave, dude.
He goes off to recount the whole thing to his bros, and while he’s spinning it a little favorably toward him, he doesn’t say anything terrible–unless it was the slightly entitled “I flew 3000 miles to be here”? But the editors make clear that Kaitlyn can hear everything, and after a point she comes down and says, “You’re clearly upset, let’s talk.” She has a briskness about her that suggests Kupah will be escorted right out the door, though. And in fact, that’s exactly what she does–“I’m going to have to let you go.” He tells her it’s “bleep,” which I’m guessing is “shitty”? And then he pouts that it’s not fair, but she says it wouldn’t be fair to keep him “after I’ve completely lost my connection to you.” Kupah tries to fight it, but since his main tactic seems to be mansplaining, Kaitlyn’s not having it. She leaves him on the stoop (still holding his cocktail glass!) and goes back inside…where she can still hear him now shouting at a producer in his exit interview! Well, kind of him to make her feel reassured about her choice!
Oh, but Kaitlyn apparently still wants a little drama, because as she listens to Kupah rant, she hikes up her sparkly skirt and hightails it out to accost him again…but we’ll have to wait till next week to find out what happens next!
Until then, my fellow knights and ladies of The Rose…
P.S. Post-credits scene of Brady and Britt eating ice-cream, getting piggyback rides, smooching against a wall, and Britt giggling, “Brady’s my boyfriend!” Except I saw her last week on a late-night show saying that they aren’t together, so…