January 16, 2012
Pack up the trollopmobile, we’re headed to Ben the Wine Dude’s real hometown (maybe, sorta) San Francisco. It’s unclear where Ben the Wine Dude actually lives, but I suspect the producers wrung out as much fun/trouble there was to be had in Sonoma, and decided to move the party someplace where there were actually things to do, other than stare at an empty and darkened City Hall.
Also, Ben the Wine Dude’s sister lives in San Francisco, and so he meets her for tea and attempts to reassure her that the women he is dating on this ridiculous show aren’t a bunch of mindless idiots. There’s a woman who rides horses, for instance! And a rapping student of disease! And an accountant! And a baton twirler! And a model! Sister of Ben the Wine Dude remains unimpressed.
The producers unleash the women on the Fairmont hotel, where Chris Harrison herds them into a suite and explains what we already know: 2 one-on-one dates, 1 group date, take advantage of any time you may get with Ben the Wine Dude if you aren’t included on one of the three dates (i.e. act like a crazy person and cry and pull your hair and climb into bed and/or huddle in a corner of the luggage room and whimper until he finds you and tells you to cut it out).
The first date card is for MC Infectious: “Love lifts us up, Ben the Wine Dude.” MC Infectious decides that now is a good time to explain to the home audience that she has a debilitating fear of heights, and that she sure hopes this date doesn’t have anything to do with heights because she will PEE HER PANTS if she has to go somewhere up high. 1. Thanks for the visual, and 2. I wouldn’t worry, MC Infectious, I’m sure this is not foreshadowing.
Meanwhile, Courtney the Villainess hisses that she’s sure Ben the Wine Dude and MC Infectious’ date will be boring, because being well-educated and book-smart is boring. I shall refrain from commenting. For now.
Ben the Wine Dude meets MC Infectious for their date and gleefully announces that they are going to scale the Bay Bridge. Hope you packed some Depends, MC Infectious! LISTEN. Rule number one when applying to be on The Bachelor: Do not reveal your truest, deepest fears and phobias to The Bachelor producers. Because they will use it. THEY WILL USE IT IN A HEARTBEAT. This date was NO ACCIDENT. It’s not like he could have just taken Picasso Face or Jennifer the Accountant on this date; this date was made especially for MC Infectious. The Producers totally sat Ben the Wine Dude down and were like, “Listen, we know you like her, but you gotta hold off on taking MC Infectious out on a date until we get to San Francisco, because we have this HILARIOUS thing we’re going to do where she’s going to have to face her most panic attack-inducing fear and she’s going to totally pee her pants. It’s gonna be awesome, bro.” And then Ben the Wine Dude kinda shrugged and was all, “Alright,” because he’s super dull.
Anyway. Some people in hardhats strap MC Infectious and Ben the Wine Dude into harnesses with clamps and pulleys and bungee cords and bicycle locks and as the two begin shuffling along the giant suspension cable, Ben the Wine Dude begins repeating one of Wombat’s monologues from last season about love and trust and facing fears and it’s all a load of nonsense, BUT WHATEVER, PRODUCERS. You might be able to convince other people that going skydiving or cliff diving or free diving is the only way to find true love, but those people are idiots.
About halfway up the cable, as they start to reach an incline, MC Infectious begins to panic attack, as I think ANYONE MIGHT DO, fear of heights or no. But then Ben the Wine Dude kisses her, and her panic attack suddenly vanishes. The makers of Xanax would like to remind you that Ben the Wine Dude is not meant to treat all anxiety disorders, and that there can be severe side effects when using Ben the Wine Dude; most notably extreme to comatose-inducing boredom. MC Infectious gets in on the whole “Trust! Love! Get through anything!” noise, because sure. Now MC Infectious is magically been cured of her fear of heights, and it wasn’t just that she was either terrified of looking like a crazy person on the teevees, or that her fear wasn’t actually real at all. It was the curative power of “love.”
That night, Ben the Wine Dude and MC Infectious have dinner nearish the bridge, where Ben the Wine Dude begins asking her pointed questions about her dating past as he’s done with all the ladies, because he’s totally hung up on this point. I guess since his last real relationship (Jennifer “Love” Hewitt does not count.) ended with him being pushed out to sea on a rowboat of sadness in front of millions of TV viewers, Ben the Wine Dude wants everyone else to bare their romantic misfortunes, too. Fortunately, MC Infectious has a mortifying story about online dating and being matched with her brother, which ha ha ha, please tell me that’s where the story ends, MC Incestuous.
Ben the Wine Dude gives MC Infectious the date rose, noting that his father married his mother because he thought she was smarter than him, and that Ben the Wine Dude would like to live up to his father’s expectations. It’s always startling when there is a glimmer of self-awareness on this show. And then there are fireworks and kissing. NEEDZ MOAR RAPPING.
Back at the hotel, the other ladies receive the group date card: “Juggs, Picasso Face, Kacie B, Erika, Samantha, Someone Named Jamie, Monica, Rachel, Texan Nicki, Terrifying Trainer Elyse and Casey S.: Let’s cross something off of our ‘Leap List.'” One of the ladies then explains from a script that a “Leap List” is a list of things one wants to do before a big milestone in their life, like getting married or having kids, and leaves out the part that it is a completely fabricated term created by the Honda marketing department.
The women watch MC Infectious’ fireworks from the hotel room and make disappointed faces because she “definitely got a rose.” You think?
The next day, Ben the Wine Dude arrives at the hotel for the group date, and announces to the be-sundressed ladies that they are going snow skiing. In San Francisco. Which is something that has always been on his “Leap List,” ever since he found out about “Leap Lists” yesterday in the production meeting. They load up into a bunch of Honda CRVs and the women immediately notice that the cars display photographs on their dashboard because THAT’S SOMETHING THAT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE WHEN YOU ARE DRIVING. And listen, I just heard a piece on NPR from the recent autoshow about how young people today want the Twitterz and the Facespaces and the AOLs in their cars and how car manufacturers are climbing over themselves to install iPads in the dashboards, everywhere, and this one engineer came on and was like, Yes, but that’s a terrible idea. There’s a reason cars generally come with knobs and buttons, and it’s because drivers can control knobs and buttons without HAVING TO LOOK AT THEM AND TAKE THEIR EYES OFF THE ROAD, HOW STUPID ARE YOU PEOPLE. But whatever. Sure. Each Honda CRV comes standard with a endless slideshow of Hussies of The Bachelor which flashes non-stop at you in the dashboard. You should add “buying a Honda CRV” to your “Leap List” today!
Apparently, The Bachelor producers convinced the good people of San Francisco to shut down an entire street, which they then covered in fake snow. The women are invited to grab a pair of ski boots from that pile over there and strip down to their bikinis and do a little skiing and I’M SORRY TO STOP THIS AGAIN, BUT WHAT? Look. Ski boots are no joke. They aren’t bowling shoes. You don’t just go in and ask for a pair of 7s and be done with it. There are tons of fitting issues, and the best part is if they don’t fit just right you can break an ankle. So, did they pre-fit the women for ski boots? Was that part of the audition process? Also, no. I reject this nonsense of skiing in bikinis. REJECT. Put on some pants everyone, because I CAN NOT DO THIS. AND SKIING BACKWARDS IN A BIKINI WAS MOST CERTAINLY NOT ON KACIE’S “LEAP LIST,” BEN THE WINE DUDE, BECAUSE SHE DOES NOT HAVE A “LEAP LIST,” BECAUSE THAT IS NOT A THING.
EVERYONE. PANTS. PUT THEM ON.
Back at the hotel, where everyone appears to be fully dressed, thank God, Sheryl’s Granddaughter is given the one-on-one date card: “Let’s unlock our love with a key to the city, Sheryl’s Granddaughter.” And the date card comes with a giant novelty key necklace! BUT TWIST! Sheryl’s Granddaughter has standards, apparently, and decides that, You know what? Maybe she doesn’t actually like Ben the Wine Dude in that way, and it’s time to put an end to these shenanigans. To that end, she heads to her room, packs up a suitcase and announces to the other ladies that they can have Ben the Wine Dude and his terrible hair, she’s outta here.
MEANWHILE, IN THE TONGA ROOM: Ben the Wine Dude is having so much fun! Drinking fruity drinks! Not having the dramaz! FUN TIMES. He chats with some of the women, including Rachel and Elyse the Terrifying Trainer until Kacie has had E. NUFF. and steals him away for a walk outside where she whines at him about how hard it is for her to watch him with other women. Ben the Wine Dude reassures her and kisses her and then announces to the cameras that Kacie “sparkles.” Indeed. I hereby dub Kacie, “SparklePony.”
And that’s when Sheryl’s Granddaughter comes stomping into the tiki bar, dragging her suitcase behind her, and dumps Ben the Wine Dude before he can dump her and send her back to Grandma. SMELL YA LATER, HAIRDO. Ben the Wine Dude explains to the camera that this was a bit of a curveball, and a good reminder that these women, they aren’t actually prisoners or zoo animals! They can just go home if they feel like it! REVELATION. He then gives Rachel the date rose to SparklePony’s seething disappointment.
So, because Sheryl’s Granddaughter went and flipped the table, Ben the Wine Dude sends up another date card, this time for Lindzi the Horse Girl, and I suddenly realize that she has been I have been spelling her name wrong her entire life this entire time. Lindzi. With a “zi.” Huh. Anyway, “Let me show you San Francisco at night,” reads the date card. Lindzi the Horse Girl Who Doesn’t Know How to Spell Her Own Name is very excited to see “San Fran.” And it’s not fair of me to pick on Lindzi the Horse Girl for this, because in truth all of the women have been calling San Francisco, “San Fran” in this episode, BUT FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD, STOP IT. STOP DOING THAT. AND WHILE I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION, LADIES, LET’S DO A PANTS CHECK: DO YOU HAVE ON PANTS? IF NOT, FIND SOME.
Ben the Wine Dude and Lindzi the Horse Girl hop on a bus that looks like a trolley but is really a bus. Fun! They drive down Market Street and get ice cream and go through Chinatown to look at all the foreigns and end up in front of a locked-up and darkened City Hall, because there’s nothing Ben the Wine Dude thinks is more romantic than standing around a closed-for-the-night City Hall. This time, however, they “break in,” and discover that something called a Matt Nathanson has been trapped inside. They are then forced to endure a song by this Matt Nathanson as a thank-you for freeing him.
Ben the Wine Dude and Lindzi the Horse Girl then head to a speakeasy, which is what all the keen kids are doing these days, along with the Charleston and cutting their hair in scandalous bobs. And can I just add how grateful I am that this stupid speakeasy trend with the passwords and the nonsense hasn’t caught on in Houston? We’ll just take our pre-Prohibition cocktails without the contrivances, thanks. Anyway. The password at the speakeasy is “Horse of Course,” of course. Because of Lindzi the Horse Girl. Of course.
Inside, they go through a bookcase into a secret room where they drink bourbon and talk about that one time when Lindzi was dumped via text message by her boyfriend of 18 months. Which was super-hilarious. “Welcome to Dumpsville. Population: You.” That’s comedy gold right there. Ben the Wine Dude does a very good job of not laughing in her face as she tells her terrible story, but it’s clearly very hard for him because how could that not be. Ben the Wine Dude gives her the date rose before making her listen to him play the piano in a piano store they break into, and enough with the piano, Ben the Wine Dude. That’s enough.
As the ladies prepare for the cocktail party, Chris Harrison begins receiving phone calls from some woman whose face is not shown, who is driving towards San Francisco, talking about how she is on her way and that she knows Ben the Wine Dude, and he’s totally going to fall in love with her. TOTALLY. Also, MYSTERY!
At the hotel, the women file into some sort of library as Ben the Wine Dude promises that the night will be “positive” and “drama free.” Because he’s never watched an episode of The Bachelor, clearly. Ben the Wine Dude takes Jennifer the Accountant into another room where she whines at him about not seeing him this week, and he shuts her up by insisting that she’s the best kisser in the house, and then making out with her while Picasso Face watches, horrified, from the other room. And poor Jennifer the Accountant, she thinks she’s falling for him and that this means there’s a connection or something, and she obviously has no idea she is going to be sent home within 3 episodes. 4 tops.
BUT BACK TO LA SEÑORITA MISTERIOSA! And I was going to drag this out, but why bother? It’s Shawntel from the funeral home. The one Wombat dumped after she made him lie on her evisceration table. She apparently has “met” Ben the Wine Dude a few times presumably at some horrible Bachelor-related functions, and she felt a connection or something. The bottom line is, she knows that he’s going to be engaged for in a couple months, and if she didn’t put herself in the running, she would regret it. This seems like a plan fraught with disaster, but sure. Go squeeze into a skimpy dress and put on some trashy gold heels and get in there, Shawntel!
Upstairs in the misappropriated library, Courtney the Villainess glares at the other women as they chat with Ben the Wine Dude, and calls Texas Nicki an idiot, and Juggs the kind of girl with whom your boyfriend would cheat on you. While I don’t necessarily disagree, Courtney loses me when she announces that she can’t wait until there are “less girls” in the house. FEWER. YOU MEAN “FEWER GIRLS.” Proper grammar usage: it’s what book smarts will get you. (Also, everyone in the house needs to learn the proper usage of the pronouns “me” and “I” before I stab someone in the eyeball.)
After accusing Lindzi the Horse Girl of giving Elyse the Terrifying Trainer “a look,” which she most certainly did not, everyone agrees that Courtney the Villainess has some sort of social disorder. It’s called “Being a Model.” Ben the Wine Dude takes Courtney the Villainess out onto a balcony that is, again, hidden by a bookcase, because San Francisco is covered in secret bookcases, apparently. Courtney explains that, on account of her social disorder, she can handle all the dramaz that the other girls can throw at her, and she is not threatened. Courtney then (again, because of her social disorder) blurts out that she and Ben the Wine Dude will make cute babies together. Sure. Yes. Absolutely. All single women should take note of this move: The way to a man’s heart (and down the aisle!) is to announce to him, some three times after you’ve met him, that you will have beautiful children together. Such a proclamation neither inspires panic nor do men think it is completely insane.
Ben the Wine Dude is in a boring conversation with Elyse the Terrifying Trainer about how (TWIST!) he terrifies her, when in clomps Shawntel, to everyone’s shock and horror, including Ben the Wine Dude’s.
EVERYONE FREAK OUT!
Shawntel explains to a completely stupefied Ben the Wine Dude that she felt something when they “talked” previously, and that she wants to be included in tonight’s rose ceremony. And I don’t know what is going on here, but clearly something more happened between these two that neither Ben the Wine Dude nor the producers are disclosing, something more than the two of them merely meeting. ANYWAY.
The other ladies, meanwhile, have figured out who she is, and are livid that this funeral director just comes clodding in here in her gold lamé stripper shoes, thinking that she deserves a chance more than the other women who have already been sent home. The women roar their terrible roars, and gnash their terrible teeth, and roll their terrible eyes and show their terrible claws. Courtney the Villainess loudly threatens to leave if Ben the Wine Dude deigns to give Shawntel a rose, before calling her Wombat’s dumpster trash and a creepy blood-drainer. But Courtney, she’s not threatened by the other women, obviously. This is just about the rules, and how Shawntel is breaking them, duh.
Ben the Wine Dude sensibly goes into hiding, while Chris Harrison is thrown out to explain to the wild-eyed hysterics that this wasn’t exactly how things were planned, and that the cocktail party portion of the evening is over, we’re just going to move onto the Rose Ceremony and hope that everyone makes it out alive.
Rose #1: Courtney the Villainess
Rose #2: SparklePony
Rose #3: Elyse the Terrifying Trainer
Rose #4: Someone Named Jamie
Rose #5: Accountant Jennifer
Rose #6: Casey S.
Rose #7: Juggs
Rose #8: Monica
Rose #9: Texas Nicki
Rose #10: Samantha
And then Erika, the law student, she passes out for no reason whatsoever. COMMOTION. HER LIPS ARE BLUE! SOMEONE GET HER ORANGE JUICE, FOR THE LOVE OF ANEMIA! This is all, clearly, Shawntel’s fault. You just know she came in smelling all formaldehyde-y.
Eventually, Erika is propped back up on the risers again, which is just not a very good decision, Whomever is in Charge of Herding These Women into Rows. Can’t Erika have a chair or something? Does she really need to be standing up? But whatever, back to the rose ceremony: Ben explains to Erika that it’s been nice to meet her (the few times she was conscious), that he appreciates that Picasso Face opened up to him, and that he’s flattered that Shawntel came all this way for him. But none of them are getting the final rose. Get out.
Rose #11: NOBODY.
Erika attempts to faint again, while Picasso Face runs around with her broken face, sobbing. Ben the Wine Dude leads Shawntel out and explains that he simply didn’t think it was fair to the other women for her to just show up and take all the roses. Shawntel, she has a confused. She was fairly certain she was going to get a rose tonight, because there was a connection with “Ben and I” (SEE PRONOUN ISSUE ABOVE), but he just isn’t being man enough to accept it — he cracked under pressure. And I am telling you guys, something serious with the sexytime business happened between these two. The look of sheer panic that filled Ben the Wine Dude’s eyeballs when he saw her? They did a lot more than “talk.” Anyway, Shawntel feels “so dumb,” and dude, you said it. Not me.
NOW BACK TO THE FUNERAL PARLOR WITH THEE, HUSSY.
The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 7 p.m.
This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Chron.com.