Wow, what an episode right? On The Bachelor this week, Ben went on two one-on-one dates in San Francisco, one group date, AND had a surprise visit from the mystery gal we’ve all been waiting to see. Don’t read on unless you a) Already saw the show, or B) Do the smart thing and skip the show in favor of reading my blog.
OK, so let’s cut to the chase. The mystery gal who came to make a go of it with Ben? That would be Shawntel, the funeral director who placed fourth in Brad’s season. Wow, did any of you guys see that one coming? Apparently Shawntel and Ben spoke a few times, she felt a connection and she was bummed when she discovered he’d be the new bachelor because she wanted to get to know him better. Fair enough, right? What’s not fair is how the Bachelor producers sprung this on Ben – it was a total surprise to him, and he had to deal with the overly dramatic and catty fallout from all the other women. I’ll touch on this more at the end of the blog post, but I have to repeat my favorite line from one of the distraught ladies:
“We don’t reuse, like, Brads’s dumpster trash.”
Except, you know, that’s EXACTLY what they’re doing. Brad rejected Ashley, who rejected Ben, who all these women have now shown up to date. And most of them will, yes, be rejected. So many pots and kettles! How do I even keep track?
OK, let’s talk about the dates.
A Bridge Over Troubled Water
Look, I know that I’ve willingly signed on to watch the most ridiculous show ever, and that I just need to accept that. But can I just say that I’d totally prefer if Ben and the women stayed in San Francisco the whole time? The chat he had with his sister (who looked eerily similar to Shawntel) was normal and adorable. I’d like to see that happen every week. There’s something to be said for going on dates in your hometown, where you’d actually be dating the person. But I know, I know, the Bachelor franchise is not about realistic expectations. I’ve always said Sweet Home Alabama is better at that, but it’s not even a contest.
The first date of the night went to Emily, a PhD student who I’ve yet to make up my mind on. She’s pretty enough, and her bit with the hand sanitizer and mouth spray was funny, but she also performed that horrific rap. Emily’s date kicked off with the ubiquitous fear-facing outing – this time, they’d be climbing the Bay Bridge together. Argh, you have no idea how much these “If we can face this together, we can do ANYTHING!” and “I’m about to take a leap of faith, both literally and in this relationship with this person I just met” analogies bother me. Dudes! I went bungee jumping! It was something that I accomplished with the help of some South African dudes I’d never met before, but we did it together! Yet, I fully understand that I could not do anything with these guys. They were from rural South Africa and we had some pretty different values, so I’m pretty sure raising a family together was out of the question. I’m also pretty sure that none of them would be able to, say, paint my nails. So conquering a fear together does not equal the ability to do absolutely anything.
Emily was afraid of heights, and about halfway up the bridge had a panic attack. Hey, at least she made it that far – I thought my boyfriend was going to puke just watching it. OK, that was because of the lame metaphors, but he also thought it looked scary. Ben was at a loss for how to help poor, trembling Emily. I would have suggested like, holding her hands and telling her not to look down but Ben had another idea. “I did the only thing I could think of,” he said. “I gave her a kiss.” And as we’re beginning to learn, giving someone a kiss is often the only thing Ben can think to do.
Personally, I think Emily should have just bailed. Why put yourself through that? This isn’t The Amazing Race, it’s only a winemaker with floppy hair that’s at stake, not a million bucks. But, of course, as soon as they got to the top Ben said “If we can accomplish this, there’s nothing we can’t do together.” Sigh. Try going camping together, in the pouring rain, and telling her you forgot to pack the tent. If you can get through that then I’ll believe you can get through anything.
Later, Ben and Emily had dinner together and she told him about her unfortunate foray into online dating – after filling out her profile, she was matched with her older brother. Yes! Someone told a normal, amusing anecdote! Anytime someone on this show has a conversation that doesn’t revolve around how excited they are to be there, or how they’re falling in love to fast, I almost die of shock. Emily got the date rose, and a pretty cool fireworks display.
It’s All Downhill From Here
Group date time! I hate to admit it, but this was actually kind of cool – although I don’t understand why everyone had to be in a bikini. Wouldn’t shorts and a tank top have been fine? Team Bachelor had arranged to shut down a San Francisco street and fill it with artificial snow so that Ben and eleven of his girlfriends could go skiing.
Afterwards, everyone goes for dinner cocktails. But meanwhile, the next date card has been presented to Brittney, aka Grandma Girl, and she’s surprisingly unenthusiastic. While Lindzi mopes that she still hasn’t gotten a date, Brittney wonders if she should even bother going on hers. Turns out the Bachelor circumstances just aren’t for her. Personally, I was shocked – shocked! It’s so rare that we see someone on this show with that much self-awareness. Instead of spending the rest of the night trying to decide what shoes to wear on her date, Brittney packs up her stuff and interrupts Ben’s group date to politely excuse herself from the competition. Personally, I thought Ben was too hard on her. Can you really blame a gal for deciding that she doesn’t enjoy hanging around with a bunch of catty strangers and being one of about 18 women a guy is dating?
Frankly, it seems like Ben is doing just fine without Brittney. First he pulled Rachel aside. Rachel is pretty, and I thought she seemed cool. They spoke for approximately 4 seconds, and promptly started making out. Later, Ben stepped outside with Kacie B., who was suffering from First Date Syndrome – they had a great time, but now she’s jealous of the connections he’s making with other girls. “We pick up right where we left off,” Kacie said – which meant, of course, that they immediately began making out.
Despite a deep conversation with the always winsome Blakeley (Ben: “How are you doing?” Blakeley: “They all hate me.”), Ben gives the group date rose to Rachel.
With Britney out of the picture, Pony Girl Lindzi gets a one-on-one date after all. She tried her best to act like it didn’t bother her to be the Bachelor equivalent of the first runner-up on Miss USA who gets to step in after photos of the winner doing crack while naked surface, but you know it was killing her inside. Luckily for Lindzi, she got to go on what appeared to be the world’s longest date.
First, they rode the trolley and had ice cream. Next, they went to San Francisco City Hall after hours for a private concert. I always feel like this is so awkward, these private concerts. Of course, they kiss, because who doesn’t Ben kiss? Next, the couple goes for dinner at a cool, secret bar. OK, this is when I would get really jealous. Giving a password at the door? Bookcases that are really secret revolving doors? Be still, my hipster heart. I would eat that up with a spoon.
During dinner, Lindzi told Ben a requisite bad dating story. Unfortunately, her story wasn’t nearly as charming and funny as “I got matched up with my brother on an online dating site.” The one love of her life, a guy she dated for a year and a half, broke up with her via a text message that said “Babe, welcome to Dumpsville. Population: You.” Red flag! Red flag! This guy was a club promoter, wasn’t he? He had to be, I can just tell. Finally, Ben takes Lindzi to an empty piano store and serenades her with some sappy song. Again, this is something I would find incredibly awkward, but Lindzi LOVES IT.
Finally, the date is over and Lindzi gets a rose. There actually seems to be chemistry between these two, but I’m convinced that Lindzi is secretly crazy.
Dead on Arrival
Scandal time! Team Bachelor teased us for quite a while with the arrival of a mystery gal, as we were treated to her voice saying “He’s gonna totally fall in love with me” as she drove to the rose ceremony. “I’ve talked to him many times and I feel like there’s a connection there already,” she said. Did anyone (anyone who doesn’t read spoilers online) guess that it would be Shawntel? I have to say, even though I found her boring and vaguely creepy on Brad’s season, she was one of the less obnoxious people from the Bachelor franchise. I mean, it’s not like she’s been making a career of appearing on these shows like some people have.
Even before Shawntel showed up, though, the night was beginning to reek of drama. While Ben was off telling Jennifer the Accountant that she’s “by far the best kisser in the house” (and believe me girl, he’s kissed most of them!) Courtney was causing trouble with the other women. Out of nowhere, Courtney announced that Lindzi should stop giving dirty looks to Elyse. Everyone looks uncomfortable, and then Lindzi leaves. Emily summed it up best when she looked at the other girls and said “Why is she so weird???” Later, Emily elaborated, saying “She has, I think, a social disorder and I think she should be diagnosed.” Unfortunately, it’s clear that Courtney is here to stay. Ben pulled her aside, saying “I don’t know what you did to me that day, but you did something — I haven’t gotten you out of my head.” Ugh. This guy is way too vulnerable to pretty women.
Meanwhile, Shawntel finally enters the picture and the girls go nuts. As she approaches Ben, he greets her with a warm “Ho-ly S—!” Every girl’s dream, right? As Ben and Shawntel sit and talk, all the women stand apprxoximately eight feet away from them and begin freaking out. “Why are you here?” “You don’t know Ben! You were on Brad’s season!” Least classy of all was Erika, who sneered “I think she’s uglier in person, which made me feel better. And she’s got thicker thighs than I do, which always makes me feel better.”
With all that drama brewing, Ben cut the cocktail party short and moved on to the rose ceremony. He’d only have to let two girls go, and he could opt to give Shawntel a rose or not. Emily, Rachel and Lindzi already had roses.
First called was Courtney, who talked a big game about not accepting the rose if Miss Funeral Director got one, but instead muttered “Tonight was a lot. It was heavy for me, I saw you talking to what’s-her-butt, and it was not easy.” Courtney may have sneered at higher education earlier in the episode, but it’s clear that her career as a model hasn’t done wonders for her vocabulary.
Next called were Kacie B., Elyse (I don’t care for her), Jamie, Jennifer, Casey S., Blakeley, Monica, Nicki and Samantha. Ben had only one rose left (which Chris Harrison came to announce, just for the women *coughCourtneycough* who can’t count to one) and Erika, Jaclyn and Shawntel are left. Ben would like to say a few words – except he can’t, because Erika is giving the entire room a play-by-play of her fainting spell. Quick, can we get some water? No? How about some orange juice? No? OK, does anyone have a mimosa? It’s clear that none of these women are doctors.
Finally, Erika is back on her feet and Ben reveals that he’s decided not to give out the final rose. Erika, Jaclyn AND Shawntel would be leaving. I was not shocked by the first two – I never cared for Erika and after seeing that disgusting mouth tattoo, I’m not surprised that Ben sent her home. Gross! And she has to get it redone every six months??? Why would anyone do that? And Jaclyn, well, you know…she just has a sort of unfortunate face.
I have to say, though, I was disappointed that Ben didn’t give Shawntel a chance. I understand that he wanted to be fair, but I’m pretty sure we saw more emotion coming from Shawntel over this elimination than we ever saw during her season with Brad. I think she really liked him, and I think Ben was bullied by the other women into sending her home. Personally, I blame Team Bachelor. They should have just allowed Shawntel to be a part of the group from the beginning, instead of going for the drama factor and throwing her into the picture at the third rose ceremony. Alas, this is the orchestrated, overly dramatic show I choose to watch and mock, so I won’t complain. It’s all a load of crap anyway, right?
Shawntel left, hurt and embarrassed – probably thanks in part to Courtney, who screeched “See ya!” as she walked out. That girl is a piece of work. So, what did you guys think of the show? Do you think Ben made the right call? Sound off in the comments!