‘The Bachelor’ recap: Britt takes a ride on the struggle bus
Watching The Bachelor was hard last night. It was hard because half of me wanted to watch the Saturday Night Live 40 Year Special, while another 45-percent of me wanted to see what the Dowager was up to. Sadly, I gave into the five-percent minority by devoting not one, not two, but three hours to witnessing Britt manipulate her way through the corn fields of Iowa.
The good news is that Our Host Chris Harrison graced us with his presence for hour one, making those particular 60 minutes a delightful blend of a ruggedly handsome interviewee sparing with one self-proclaimed Mensa candidate, dissecting the broken relationship of one emotional basket case, and livening up the dull conversation of one farmer.
Our Host is a pro. This is why they pay him the big bucks.
Harrison wastes no time diving straight into the deep end of Kelsey’s patronizing pool of narcissism by announcing that she was one of the most controversial women in the house. Kelsey smiles graciously and begins to tap dance around reality, hoping that her informer will get caught up in the razzle dazzle of girlish giggles, raised eyebrows, and fancy vocabulary.
OHCH: They said you were condescending, faked a panic attack, and claimed you were smarter than anyone in the house. What do you have to say for yourself?
Kesley: I think a flippant comment was misconstrued, and I would hope to ameliorate the situation. You see Chris, Ameliorate means…
OHCH: I know what it means. I use “word of the day” toilet paper too.
NOTE: For those of you who are not currently studying for the SATs, the definition of ameliorate is, “to make something bad or unsatisfactory, better.”
Harrison turns the screw a little tighter, asking Kelsey if she faked the panic attack? Kelsey explains that it was a tumultuous day, and she felt flooded with emotions. Losing one’s motor functions will cause one to fall gracefully to the ground in a convenient location. She knew she was having a panic attack because she is a mental professional and deals with this sort of thing all the time. Our Host rolls his eyes, makes a note to check out where Kelsey practices her mental health career, and asks her about Ashley I-Lashes. Kelsey claims she and Ash were super tight. As tight as someone can be when one resides up here and the other is down there.
Chris Harrison rags on The Farmer for telling Kelsey that Ashley I-Lashes said she was a super freak. The Farmer admits that he doesn’t know anything about women. Harrison seconds that emotion and salutes this revelation by removing his flask from his boot and taking a celebratory sip of his Jameson
For the next 20 minutes, Harrison ticks through the jilted Who’s Who of The Farmer’s rolodex. Remember Drunk Tara and Sorority Girl Jordan? What about Juelia? Raise your hand if this seasons has been missing something since Jillian and her black modesty boxes left the show? Was it weird having Jimmy Kimmel on a date with Kaitlyn? Was the love guru a real consultant or just a randy hippy from Santa Fe?
OHCH: What America didn’t see was your horseback riding date with Becca. There was an issue with a donkey?
Farmer: Yeah. Sully the donkey. He got suddenly began running, causing our horses to get spooked. I was scared for my life.
OHCH: What a jackass.
This is why ABC needs to let Harrison go unscripted.
Moving on. It wouldn’t be a Who’s Who without Melrose. According to Our Host, Melrose had a completely normal audition tape. Clearly the meds had not yet been mixed with the sauce. Fun fact—she had a tendency to wander the backstage area. She even made up a story that the behind the scenes team was betting on the girls in a trailer by craft services. Harrison never let on that this was indeed his entourage, gathered around his traveling bookie. You know Roberto has Becca going all the way, and Brooks has $3K on Kaitlyn taking the first boat to Paradise Island.
Y’all, Andi was a hot mess. She had clearly been dumped, and for some unknown reason, decided it was a good idea to go on national television and cry about it! She is riding the struggle bus around and around, with no stopping in sight. To make matters worse, Harrison offered his condolences on her breakup, and then launched into a conversation about her romantic her engagement. To make a long, uncomfortable story short, Andi and Josh had the exact same personality and temperaments. Neither felt supported because both wanted the power. Every orifice from Andi’s face leaked some sort of fluid, and this situation reached a disturbing level when Harrison asked if she is still in love with Josh. Andi was unable to speak due to the snot that collected in the back of her throat.
Our Host wants to know what’s next for Andi? My guess is another Suave shampoo commercial.
Suddenly, the scene switches from the provision and protection of Harrison’s haven, to seven girls huddled around a coffee table in Deadwood. The Farmer bumbles into the waiting area and it becomes evident that this is a rose ceremony. I thought that leaving two contestants (one up there and one down there) in the Badlands would be enough carnage for one day, but Mike Fleiss does not have my merciful bandwidth. Britt puckers her fuchsia lips, cocks her head ever so slightly to the left, and asks the bachelor what went down on the dreaded two-on-one date.
This is unprecedented territory. The nervous Farmer mumbles something extremely generic, and Britt praises him for staying true to his heart. Carly shouts that she’s proud of him for getting rid of the narcissist and the princess, and even admitted that the other girls celebrated once they learned of his wise decision. Obviously “words of affirmation” are The Farmer’s love language, because the next thing he does is escort Megan to a rejection SUV. When he returns to the six remaining ladies, he expects to be greeted with waving palm fronds and bunches of grapes for his good decision-making skills. Instead, Whitney is crying and Carly is working to keep her eyes from popping out of the sockets.
The Farmer retreats to his relationship Yoda, baffled by the fact that separating the wheat from the chaff did not earn him any points. He asks permission to try something a little different. Harrison replies, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
The Farmer announces to the women that there will not be a rose ceremony tonight, because THERE ARE NO RULES. Instead, he invites them all to join him in God’s country. I immediately wondered if that would be weird for these girls to be on the same plane traveling to Texas as Kelsey. Can you say, “Awkward!” Plus, is it really safe?
You can imagine my surprise when the girls end up in Iowa instead of the Lone Star State. Welcome to Arlington, ladies! Well—not really. Welcome to Des Moines ladies! The girls get sucked into the “this isn’t so bad” mindset just as Jade scores the first one-on-one date.
She hops into the SUV and after two hours of nothing but rolling fields, Jade begins pointing out inanimate objects that are not corn. Sorry Jade. Your solo game of I Spy isn’t going to ameliorate the ride out to the farm. Oh look! A cow! Jade arrives at The Farmer’s house and a cautiously takes in her surroundings.
Farmer: Land is my passion. I love owning it and working it. Everything the light touches is my kingdom. And it could be yours too.
Jade: Uh huh.
Lincee: I spy with my little eye, someone despondent.
That evening, The Farmer takes Jade on a 40-second tour of downtown Arlington. There are no cars, no people, and no way Jade can see herself living in a place where Old McDonald opens up the building he owns downtown to brew a few pots of coffee. She needs a real Central Perk—not a farm version of Gunther.
Jade begins to walk around slowly, trying hard to mask the the depression in her eyes. I agree with my friend Susan who said it looked like she had been dumped into District 12 after the Capitol bombed the place.
The thought of meeting Gale brightens Jade’s mood, but The Farmer assures her that the citizens of Arlington are not tucked away in an underground bunker. As with any small town on a Friday night, everyone is at the football stadium. The same stadium where The Farmer was a big time star back in the day.
He drags Jade through a throng of people and introduces her to his parents. HIS PARENTS. Just like that, Jade is chatting up Mama and Papa Farmer with zero prep time. Her face turns a little ashen. We assume it’s because of nerves, but later learn that Jade has a secret. She may have done a little nude modeling once or twice for Playboy and the LAST thing she wants is for the family to Google her name before she’s had a chance to tell the bachelor. Figuring that is little to no Internet connection in Arlington, Jade buys herself a little time.
The same guy who brews the coffee in the morning is the principal of the high school. He opens the door for the Farmer so he can take Jade on a tour. They roam the halls and talk about how they were both rebels. The Farmer’s version of rebel is ditching band practice to go play tractor chicken with Old Man Robert’s John Deere. Jade’s version of rebel involves pasties and dusting glitter. Unfortunately, neither went into great detail, so Jade’s Playboy secret is still safe. The nostalgic memories of days of yore cause the Farmer to become all hot and bothered. He grabs Jade’s hand, swings her around, and pulls her into his chest for a passionate kiss. I give him props for trying to be suave, because let’s face it, other than “I own everything you see,” this was as close to game as The Farmer will ever have. Let the record show, it was nowhere near this:
I’ll give you a second to watch it again. Or bookmark it for later. Are we good? Okay, back to The Farmer.
Since he is Arlington royalty, the bachelor is allowed onto the football field at the conclusion of the game. He and Jade bow to social convention by making out on the 50-yard-line. She tells him that she doesn’t want him to feel bad about where he is from. He should be proud. The Farmer is ecstatic that Jade wants to live in Arlington (this is nowhere near what she said) and forces a victorious arm in the air that he got the girl!
We do not know if Jade gave him her diamond earring as a souvenir, but can bet a copy of a certain calendar is probably in his future.
Second One-On-One Date
Whitney greets The Farmer with the obligatory jump into his arms and wrap her legs around him move. While they talk baby talk to each other, I notice that she has a flannel shirt tied around her waist. Someone please tell me if this fashion statement has returned, because I’m going to have to prepare myself for the lumberjack flashbacks I will inevitably experience as a result. A plaid pearl snap is one thing, but a nod to the Seattle grunge generation of the ‘90s is quite another. I lived it once and I do not wish to live it again. The next thing you’re going to tell me is that overalls are back. Oh wait…
The Farmer gives her a camera and tells her that they are going to document their day together. This means that Whitney is going to have a wonderful photo album of every place she and The Farmer kissed in Des Moines. Whit is super excited to spend the day with The Farmer, because this could be her home one day!
Jade would beg to differ. Whitney’s real home would be roughly three hours away. Only the strong survive.
That night, The Farmer introduces Whitney to his three best friends, and she slays the interview. She has no qualms telling the trio of strangers that she is in this for the right reasons (right reasons) and that when you are in love, it doesn’t matter where you live. She knew what she was getting into, and she feels good about her decision.
The guys leave, and Whitney tells The Farmer that if she is chosen for hometown dates, hers will look a little differently than others. Her dad is not in her life, and her mom passed away 10 years ago from a blood clot on a routine procedure. The one thing that she’s always wanted in this world is to marry a man with an incredible family, because she doesn’t have any. She tells this story with so much grace, that The Farmer and I insist on crying since she is able to hold it together. He rewards her with a piece of artwork on the side of the building, derived from one of the pictures taken earlier in the day. The Kurt Cobain flannel shirt made an appearance, and the fact that it was a take off of Ah-ha’s “Take On Me” video was an interesting aesthetic to tackle. I’ll allow it because my love for ’80s nostalgia has been surpassed in this one episode. Someone in the production department at ABC loves me.
Meanwhile, Britt is looking for her ticket to board the struggle bus. All she can do is complain about the fact that Jade has an extra edge since she got to go to District 12 and see for herself what they are all getting themselves into. Carly makes a bold suggestion that they commandeer a vehicle and drive to the farm. This is a perfectly viable option because, as we know, THERE ARE NO RULES. Road trip!
Three hours later, the girls leave Arlington before realizing that they had actually driven through Arlington in the first place. Kaitlyn explains that a slow lap of the town takes a whopping two minutes. The girls get out to explore downtown. Carly wears her denim romper because it’s the most small town thing she owns. Britt wears a crop top because it’s a day that ends in “y.” They try and break into The Market, the bank, and the Methodist Church before they stumble upon an actual living/breathing Arlington resident—the pastor. Britt asks where they should eat. She is stunned by the response, “Not in Arlington.” And if you want to watch a movie, you’ll be driving at least an hour away. People live in Arlington because it’s nice and quiet, and Jim over there on the porch is a mighty fine treasurer.
Britt begins to question this entire endeavor. Becca dreams about popping out babies. One of these things is not like the other.
When they return to Iowa’s version of civilization, Britt reports to Jade that she could see herself living in Arlington. Carly is surprised to hear this discovery, since Britt all but told her that she couldn’t picture herself living there. Carly copes with her frustration by drawing a picture of Britt’s big purple lips on her hand and making fun of her “I’m number one” attitude.
Jade pulls Carly away to get some advice about her days in bunny ears and puffy tails. Carly unfiltered response of, “He’s not going to be happy about that,” leaves Jade deflated. Jade wants to tell him before someone else does. She’s been down that road with her father and it was not fun. People can be so judgmental.
Carly: Hey mom, don’t Google my wife.
Best line of the entire season. Well done Carly. Well done.
That afternoon, Britt, Carly, and Kaitlyn play hockey while The Farmer constantly falls on the ice. Once his body gives out, he pulls Britt to the side to do what they love to do…make out. She confesses that they road tripped to Arlington and SHE LOVED IT! It’s a wonderful place to build a family. She couldn’t have said anything else to make The Farmer want her more.
Carly has a different approach. She has decided to break Bachelor Rule 101 and tattle on Britt. She tells The Farmer that Britt flat out said she could NOT see herself living in Arlington. Then she begins crying, because all she wants to do is protect The Farmer’s heart. Just like any little sister would do for her non-blood-related brother. Congratulations Carly! You’ve just landed the covet role of Girl He Turns To When He Has Problems With Girls He Wants To Date!
The Farmer is crushed. He asks Britt again what she thought of Arlington. Her charming answer includes the phrases “reinvent myself” and “good thing to try.” Then she drops the “mom” word and her pants catch on fire.
Like any winner, Britt is adapting to what she thinks the judge wants to see. She’s molding herself to be the person The Farmer is looking for, and will stop at nothing to win the competition.
Kaitlyn, on the other hand, is nervous that The Farmer doesn’t remember her name. She feels a step behind the others, and tells him that she really wants him to meet her family. He goes out of his way to prove to her that he feels really good about where they are at in this process. So much so, that he gives her the date rose.
And then it gets really good.
Britt’s winning facade cracks a little. I’m unsure if this was on purpose, or a small blip in her world of manipulation. She interrupts The Farmer’s “this is hard” speech and basically chastises him for giving someone else the rose. Oh, she’s not mad. She’s just confused that her future husband would validate Kaitlyn (love you girl) instead of her.
Britt: Logistically, I get it. But I’m just hurt. I want you to meet my family. I want my husband to really want that too. And you validate another girl? I’m just processing out loud. I’m sorry. I can’t mask how I’m feeling right now. I only have one family and I don’t introduce them to just anyone.
The Farmer explains to Britt that his decision is made, and it’s disrespectful to talk about their relationship in front of Carly and Kelsey. Whoa! Look at The Farmer go! Then he leaves them to fight amongst themselves. Annnnnnd there’s The Farmer we all know and love.
As soon as the bachelor leaves, Britt apologizes again for processing in front of them, and Carly counters with the well-timed, “That was you last week! If anyone should have validation, it should be me!”
Britt’s mini tantrum and encore cry fest will look great on her actress reel. Everyone knows that rule #1 is to never be #2.
But will her meltdown backfire? According to Carly, the fact that The Farmer saw Britt’s true colors means more than a date rose. Who will get the chance for their families to meet the man who may potentially take them away to live in a one horse town?
Stay tuned for tonight’s extravaganza!
All about the shame, not the fame,