Hello, XOXO Nation! After a week of rest to survey the terrain, we’re back with recaps of The Bachelor, or as the original pilot was called, Regrettable Decisions Live. Buckle your seatbelts, top up your wine glasses, and prepare for another season of hair extensions, lip plumpers and spray tan. (And that’s just your recapper!)
This season has been proclaimed the Most! Dramatic! Ever! because our Bachelor in question is one Nick Viall, or as we like to call him around here, Number 25. (If you don’t know why, then you need to pick up former Bachelorette Andi Dorfman’s tell-all, IT’S NOT OKAY. It’s required reading for this season, although if you watched Bachelor in Paradise last summer, you got the Cliffs Notes.) Nick has signed on for another season of “journeying,” convinced that a national TV search is the best way to meet a life partner–despite three failed experiences to date. Will #4 be the winner?
The show opens with a group date in which the women have to dress up in costumes for various “themed” wedding photo shoots. Ugh. I hate when the show forces crazy upon its female contestants–we know they’re all “desperate” to get married, you don’t have to make them dress in poofy bridal gowns to prove it. The themes include “traditional,” “beach,” “shotgun” and more, but they all pale in comparison to the crazy-ass photographer who is wearing some sort of brightly patterned romper and a vintage ’70s pornstache. And guess what? He’s judging which photo shows the best “connection” with Nick, so you can imagine how this goes.
The ladies take their pictures, getting into various clinches with Nick (who is walking the delicate line between enjoying the events with good humor, but not enjoying them too much, lest he come off creepy), until the “Eden” photo shoot arises. Nick emerges from the changing area clad only in a fig leaf Speedo, while his partner, name forgotten by me–could she be a Britney?, is wearing only bikini bottoms and long hair. (I wonder what they would have done if a short-haired contestant got this theme? Ha ha, short hair’s not allowed on The Bachelor.) They do their shoot–great apple work, kids–and it seems to inspire the trashiest of the contestants, Corinne, to even further heights.
Now, Corinne. Corinne, Corinne, Corinne. How do you solve a problem like Corinne? She first came to prominence last week as the 24-year-old Miami “businesswoman” who “runs” a multi-million-dollar company. That’s owned by her dad. And she lives with a nanny–nope, she doesn’t have kids, the “nanny” is for her. (Maybe “nanny” is Miami-ese for “indentured servant”?) She could be the poster child for vocal fry, and is basically what Donald Trump would be like as a post-college Bachelor contestant–naked aggression and no filter.
Anyway, Corinne drew “beach” for her wedding theme, so she’s in a bikini and Nick’s in a sheer white shirt as they enter the conveniently placed swimming pool. Corinne apparently finds her bikini confining, so she doffs her top, much to the shock and horror (and envy) of the other girls, who slut-shame Corinne while grudgingly admiring her moxie. Corinne, meanwhile, is urging Nick to do the “Janet Jackson” pose with his hands over her breasts, and he, like a gentleman, obliges the lady.
Naturally, Mr. Pornstache awards the “connection” rose to Corinne, who wins some alone time with Nick after the shoot. Their conversation is exhausting in its banality. High on an L.A rooftop, the other women split into factions. The Anti-Corinnes, led by a woman I think might be Jasmine G.?, declare that Corinne is obviously insecure and thus had to whip her lovely-jubblies out on the first date, and that Nick would never pick such a woman as his wife. The Pro-Corinnes (that might be a little strong; the “Don’t Care to Fight About It” Corinnes, anyway) respect her level of commitment and are the sort of people who probably say YOLO unironically. The Antis get even more outraged when Corinne, who’s already had her private time with Nick, comes over to interrupt him just as Taylor (mental health counselor) was trying to forge a connection.
And then! Bachelor history is made! After Corinne steals Nick away for some more kissing (since it’s night now, and far too chilly to take one’s boobs out again, even if a man is willing to do the courtly thing and hold them for you), Taylor doesn’t simply go grumble to the other women that she lost her time. She gets up and INTERRUPTS THEM RIGHT BACK. Hallelujah! Someone has finally broken the “Can I steal him?” force field! Seriously, people, it’s like we’re watching that 1984 Apple commercial.
But despite Taylor’s groundbreaking contribution to Bachelor history, at the end of the night the group date rose goes to…Corinne. Not super impressed with your choices there, pal, but it’s early days yet. And I suppose, since you’re not paying for dinner, this is the only token you can muster.
The next day, a one-on-one date card arrives for Danielle M., one of the 7,000 nurses on this season. (Seriously, there are nurses in specialties I didn’t know were careers. What’s a travel nurse?) I think this Danielle (because of course there are two) is the neonatal nurse who talked about saving the future when she helps tiny babies.
Danielle’s date begins when Nick takes her on a helicopter ride down the coast. The conversation is desultory–the view, how excited they are to be in a helicopter–and then the helicopter lands on a yacht, which seems insane. That boat does not look big enough to hold that helicopter. They survive the landing and disembark for some champagne and cheese on the aft deck. Nick tells Danielle that this feels–helicopter and yacht notwithstanding–like the first “normal” day of dating for him.
Meanwhile, back at the house, a low-rent version of Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” begins. Liz has a secret, and she is burning to share it with someone, no matter how bad an idea that is! Liz, we learned last time, has met Nick before, and by “met,” we mean “hooked up with at a wedding after they’d both had a lot to drink.” Liz didn’t tell anybody when she got to the house, because she feared the other women’s judgment…so revealing her secret now that they’re three days in will probably go fine, right?
For good or ill, she must break her silence, so she chooses Christen (pronounced like Kristen, not like christening) to spill her beans all over. Christen listens politely as they lie by the pool, but in post-confession confessionals, notes that Liz might be…a bit of an oversharer. And once she starts, she can’t seem to stop! At least, this conversation seems to be taking place in like 3 different spots in the mansion. So now Christen knows the truth, even if she still can’t quite make sense of why Liz wouldn’t have taken Nick’s number when he offered it.
After their day on the yacht, Nick and Danielle come to the closed-off Balboa pier in Newport Beach for more wine and cheese. Their wine is served in enormous stemless glasses that are designed to make ladyhands look small and delicate. The wine is served with a leading question from Danielle asking Nick to rehash the revelations about him in Andi’s book, and on last season’s BIP. He says that he had an instant connection with Andi, and was hurt when she turned him down in the finale, and then the same thing happened with Kaitlyn. But he believes that to truly find love, you have to stay vulnerable, and he’s willing to risk being hurt if that’s what it takes.
This appeases Danielle, so she’s ready to share her own vulnerable story, which–spoiler alert–is way more serious and poignant than Nick’s. She was engaged some years ago to a man who died of a drug overdose, and she’s the one who found him. She had no idea he was an addict, so it was of course shocking. Nick is listening to this story and saying sympathetic things, but he has a too-eager look on his face, like he’s getting really good gossip…or like he recognizes this as a perfect setup to show off “New Sensitive Nick.” And then he mansplains to Danielle how she should feel about her experience. Fortunately, if you sit through the whole mansplainspeech, you get a rose!
Back at the house, it’s time for the next group date card! Christen, Josephine, Astrid, Jaimi, Kristina and Liz are called, and the clue on the card is “We need to talk…”. How apropos! Liz is very nervous while the others just seem happy to get out of the house. Everyone is clad in bikinis and short shorts, so they’re going to talk…on the beach? Who knows.
Nick is waiting for them in Hollywood, and shows them into “the Museum of Broken Relationships.” (Yes, it’s a thing.) He tells them he’s contributed something of his own to the museum, and they walk by display cases of cheerleading uniforms, journals, a pair of breast implants, and more. They spot Nick’s contribution, consisting of a dried rose with the ring he chose for Kaitlyn on its stem. I call bullshit, because you know Neil Lane took that sparkler straight back to the showroom!
As the group continues to stroll around the main room, suddenly shouts arise in the next gallery. Our bachelorinas scurry over to see what’s what, and it’s a “random couple” “spontaneously fighting” in a way that is totally not staged. Christen, in a talking head, says, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this is happening on the same day that we’re here!” Oh, Christen, you sweet, summer, misspelled child. It wasn’t real! They were part of a “symposium” on “The Art of the Breakup”…and all the ladies are going to have to practice breaking up with Nick!
Nick assures them that he’s ready to see what they bring to the occasion, but reminds them that it’s meant to be fun. Yeah, so much fun. In a talking head, Nick says that he’s feeling a little anxious about having Liz on the date, because he doesn’t want the other women to feel like he’s keeping secrets. So maybe don’t keep the secret! Instead, he and Liz circle each other like secret agents at a dead drop, never connecting.
After some other performed breakups (in which the actors look vaguely familiar to me–wonder if “Museum of Broken Relationships” would appear on IMBD?), it’s Nick’s turn. Astrid starts, and refuses his rose! Nick fails at improv by not “yes and”-ing her premise right away, but he catches on and lets her end with a big finish as she snaps the rose over her knee. Then Kristina breaks up with him for not flossing (she’s the dental hygenist). Jaimi accuses him of being a slob and not doing the dishes (I feel like she’s channeling some previous-boyfriend rage there), and Christen’s drama is obscured by my cable, which has pixelated out of self-protection.
Josephine has crazy eyes as she approaches Nick for her turn, and without saying a word, she hauls off and slaps him. It looks hard. “How many more bottles do I have to pick up before you realize you’re losing me?” she demands. “No more!” Nick pleads. He just doesn’t want to get hit again, and now I worry that I’m condoning domestic violence by recapping this.
Last and possibly least, it’s Liz’s turn! She tells us in a talking head that she’s going to use the time to speak from her heart about their actual time together. As anyone could tell her, this is a terrible idea that is about to blow up in her face. (We know this, because in her confessional her eyes are pink from crying.) She’s reading from a notebook, which seems weird since she’s talking about her own life, but also gives the other girls the clue that this isn’t pretend. Nick is just staring through this whole speech in a way that he probably thinks reads as “active listening” but looks a bit more like, “would like to murder this person.” The other women are baffled because it felt like a real breakup, and Nick doesn’t know what to say, so shuffles there awkwardly until she announces, “We can stop there!” Girl, believe me, you’re stopping here.
So off we all go for night cocktails, while Nick sweats it out, wondering if all the women already know that he and Liz dated. The ladies ooh and aah as they’re seated in a silent, empty nightclub, and Nick starts the “let’s chat” routine. But his mind is racing as he wonders whether the women know, and if so, will they feel that he lied to them? He thinks it would be uncool of Liz to be telling this secret without consideration of how Nick might want to handle it…and HERE is where I will refer viewers once again to IT’S NOT OKAY, in which Andi talks about how she felt when Nick called her out on live television for sleeping with him in the Fantasy Suite. ‘Nuff said.
It’s Christen’s turn with Nick, and Little Miss Won’t Tell A Soul wastes no time in telling Nick that Liz has told her everything. I knew you couldn’t trust a girl who spells her name that way. Nick thanks Christen for spilling the beans, and now it’s time for a convo with Liz herself. (Liz, incidentally, is in a rather unflattering open-backed romper that is giving her a wedgie. I feel that bodes ill for her prospects.)
They rehash what we covered on night one–basically, they had fun, there was some attraction, but she didn’t take his number and he never heard from her. So does she just want to be on TV? She tries to explain it away, but Nick basically doesn’t trust her and isn’t buying any of it. Basically, Liz tried to cast herself in a real-life “Serendipity,” but that premise was dumb in a movie and even dumber when dealing with actual humans. Nick ultimately tells her, yeah, it was fun, but I don’t believe you and I’ve moved on anyhow. And he ESCORTS HER OUT! Booted to the curb, like just another exhibit in the Museum of Broken Relationships.
Now Nick has to do “the hardest thing of all.” Harder than windsurfing? Harder than calculus? Harder than saving the future? Yes, it’s harder to tell six strangers you asked out on a date all at once that one of them was someone you already went on a date with. Nick is basically Gandhi.
And that’s it! TO BE CONTINUED!
The “next time” scenes suggest that all the women are dismayed and broken hearted–but since he got rid of the offending contestant, who cares? She’s no longer a rival! This show is actively making us all dumber.
Anyway, that’s it for tonight, gentle readers. Tune in next week for a whole new round of shenanigans. Until then, you are all my perfect roses!
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Love all things Bachelor? Check out our podcast interview with Andi Dorfman!