January 23, 2012
Having ruined the rest of the continental United States, forever, Ben the Wine Dude and the ladies have been banished to Vieques Island in Puerto Rico. Ben the Wine Dude flies in on a wee little plane, assuring us that this whole process is really, honestly, he means it you guys, going to get serious now. And this might be a Bachelor record for The Least Amount of Therapeutic, Self-Important Pre-Talk by a Bachelor or Bachelorette. Congratulations, Ben the Wine Dude!
Things I find fascinating: The caste system on The Bachelor franchises. While Ben the Wine Dude, the Bachelor, is flown onto the island by private plane, the ladies are given 3rd class steerage and herded onto a boat of questionable seaworthiness. Roll up your pants, ladies, and get in the raft. And be prepared to row.
MC Infectious and Courtney the Villainess are still sniping at one another, with Courtney promising the camera that if MC Infectious continues to come at her, she will embarrass her terribly. MAKE THIS HAPPEN. I WANT THIS TO HAPPEN. Listen, it’s not that I don’t think MC Infectious isn’t a nice-seeming young lady. She is! And smart(ish) too! But she’s out of her depth, here, and her little crumpled crying face is sort of getting on my nerves now, and she hasn’t been rapping at all, and so the only thing making this series worth watching is Courtney’s Reign of Terror, because it certainly isn’t Ben the Bland Dude.
Anyway. Chris Harrison. One-on-one dates. Bring your suitcase. Group dates. Cards. &c.
The first date card goes to Texas Nicki and her limp hair (Honestly, girl, you are cute! But that hair, oy. From one limp-haired girl to another, do something about it. PRO TIP: Wash your hair every once in a while!): “Encontramos un nuevo amor en El Viejo San Juan!” The ladies stare uncomprehendingly at one another, fairly certain that they did not order any Mexican food, until MC Infectious is like, “It says ‘Let’s find new love in Old San Juan,’ (you idiots).”
And then the producers herd the ladies onto a haunted boat and monsters eat them all up and it is awesome, the end. WAIT. NO. That’s a commercial for ABC’s new series, The River. But what I wouldn’t give for a cross-over. THINK ABOUT IT, ABC. THIS COULD HAPPEN, ABC.
Ben the Wine Dude takes Texas Nicki on a helicopter ride to Old San Juan, which Ben the Wine Dude declares is “SO RAD.” Ugh. He explains that he’s planned a very laid back day for the two of them, to see if they “click,” which includes walking around and eating snoballs piraguas, which he orders in Spanish. Which, OK! good for you, Ben the Wine Dude! Sure, it’s just a little “dos piraguas” here and a “gracias” there, but had Wombat been in the same situation, he would have just blinked at the vendor for a long, uncomfortable amount of time until he blurted out “GIMME SNOCONE,” so I grant you style points. Texas Nicki is thrilled to be with Ben the Wine Dude, doing things she’s never done before, like eating snoballs and walking.
And then it begins pouring on them, again. Running through the rain, running through the rain, running through the rain, and Texas Nicki takes it all in stride, laughing that you have to take what life gives you, and that it’s not going to ruin this date for her. Texas Nicki giddily chirps that, “Nothing can rain on this parade!” Except rain, Dummy. Rain can, and has, quite literally rained on your parade.
Ben the Wine Dude realizes that his big date plan, Walk Around, has now been ruined thanks to it suddenly “raining gatos,” which is helpfully illustrated by un gato running under un coche. Muy bueno editing, editors! Ben the Wine Dude’s nuevo plan is to go buy new clothes, NAY, costumes. Puerto Rican costumes. Because, sure. Tto this end, he buys himself some white linen pants, a white guayabara, white shoes and a “Columbian” hat. Texas Nicki, whose hair has been VASTLY IMPROVED by the sudden downpour, puts on a scarf and declares Ben the Wine Dude to be, “Mooey, mooey, mooey caliente!” They then march around San Juan without even a flicker of shame.
They stop, COMPLETELY COINCIDENTALLY, YOU GUYS, in front of a wedding. It was all synchronicity and happenstance and why would you think that the producers directed them there, you cynic? Ben the Wine Dude is all rico and suave* and announces that he wants a big wedding one day and OH HEY BY THE WAY, weren’t you once married, Texas Nicki? Texas Nicki begins barking that the next time she’s in a relationship, she’s gonna live with the guy first, that’s for sure, completely avoiding the actual topic at hand. Ben the Wine Dude then announces that the wedding is playing “Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major,” because that’s how cool he is — he recognizes one of the most famous classical songs in the world, by name, y’all — and they sit grim-lipped and watch the wedding and not talk about Texas Nicki’s previous marriage.
*Shame on you, Internet, for not having any animated gifs of Gerardo. SHAME.
Oh, hey, you guys know anyone that they can set up with St. Emily? NO, NOT YOU BENTLEY. YOU GO AWAY NOW, JERK.
That night at dinner, Texas Nicki finally relents and explains that her first marriage ended after 3 years because she and her husband became two different people. Did they try counseling? Ben the Wine Dude prods. Uh, sure? Kinda? Not really. They just got divorced, because she owed it to herself. Never mind the logical conclusion being drawn here, that people are always changing, and always growing and that Texas Nicki’s answer to that pesky little problem appears to be: divorce! She tries to claim that the next time she gets married, she’s going to change and grow with that person rather than immediately file divorce papers just because he one day wakes up and decides that he likes mushrooms after all. And Ben the Wine Dude, he’s satisfied with this answer and gives her the date rose.
Back at the hotel, Elyse the Terrifying Trainer and Juggs are in a staredown over who deserves the one-on-one date more.
Points in favor of Elyse the Terrifying Trainer: She has gone on exactly one group date. That’s it. ONE GROUP DATE.
Points in favor of Juggs: Her chest.
“Hey, what about us? We haven’t gone on any one-on-one dates,” whisper Casey S. and Someone Named Jamie. No one hears them.
The group date card arrives, and since everyone gets to go on the group date this time, but for the woman who is going on the one-on-one, by process of elimination whomever’s name is not on the card will go on the one-on-one date. Math! “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Lindzi the Horse Girl, Courtney the Villainess, Jennifer the Accountant, Sparkle Pony, MC Infectious, Rachel, Casey S., Someone Named Jamie, and Juggs.” Juggs pouts while Elyse the Terrifying Trainer squeals and hops and gloats. “You know, neither of us have gone on a one-on-one date either,” peep Casey S. and Someone Named Jamie. Everyone ignores them.
After paddling their way across the Caribbean, the women are herded onto a chicken bus and driven into San Juan to the Roberto Clemente baseball stadium, where Ben the Wine Dude and Chris Harrison explain to them that they are going to be split into teams to play two innings of baseball. Whichever team wins will have a beach party with Ben the Wine Dude, and whichever team are a bunch of losing losers must ride the Chicken Bus of Shame back to their dinghy and row themselves back to the hotel. Additionally, Ben the Wine Dude will choose one woman to play on both teams (not like that, get your filthy mind out of the gutter), guaranteeing that she will go to the Ben the Beach Party. Ben the Wine Dude chooses Lindzi the Horse Girl to play both teams, and Juggs and Courtney the Villainess as team captains.
TEAM VILLAIN: Courtney, Sparkle Pony, Casey S. and Someone Named Jamie
TEAM JUGGZ: Juggs, MC Infectious, Jennifer the Accountant, and Rachel
And everyone goes to the locker room and gets changed into their uniforms of short shorts and tube socks and it all becomes very clear all of a sudden, very clear and very sad: Ben the Wine Dude, he’s still not over Dr. Tube Socks. And so he’s making all these ladies put on Dr. Tube Socks costumes, and jump and run around, but none of them are ever going to be Dr. Tube Socks, Ben. You can’t turn them into her. Dr. Tube Socks has moved on and so should you.
Anyway, after a bunch of hitting the balls and catching the balls and running around and ill-advised chest-bumping (Really, Juggs?), and Courtney the Villainess calling Juggs a stripper, again, the game goes into an extra inning where Jennifer the Accountant strikes out, losing the game for Team Juggz. While Team Juggz cries and pulls their hair and pouts their way back onto the Chicken Bus, Ben the Wine Dude and Team Villain run around on the field with champagne while awaiting the arrival of the helicopter. SO SORRY, LOOSERZ. As Courtney the Villainess would like to remind you: There’s no crying in baseball. Juggs, who keeps incorrectly insisting she’s the only one who has yet to have a one-on-one date with Ben the Wine Dude, would beg to differ.
At the beach, Courtney the Villainess dissects her competition: Lindzi the Horse Girl, “annoying;” Someone Named Jamie, “hot mess;” Casey S., “not a threat due to lack of interaction;” Sparkle Pony, “rubs [Courtney] the wrong way; worries [Courtney] a bit.” Which she should! She should worry you, Courtney! Because in this story you are the obvious Villainess and Sparkle Pony is the obvious Princess and we all know how these things end, and it’s not with the Prince marrying the Villainess. Even if he is insufferably boring and has terrible hair.
Then to just make that point even clearer, Ben the Wine Dude gives Sparkle Pony the date rose. WHO CARES, hisses Courtney. WHO CARESSSS. She doesn’t need a stupid date rose, she just needs more time with Ben the Wine Dude. And with that, Courtney the Villainess lures Ben the Wine Dude away to the beach to the other womens’ OUTRAGE! Not that Courtney cares. In fact, to show how much she doesn’t care, Courtney is going to let her boob slide out of the side of her dress, and whisper things at Ben the Wine Dude about drinking wine and skinny dipping and what are those other women going to do about it? A WHOLE LOT OF NOTHING, THAT’S WHAT.
The next morning, Elyse the Terrifying Trainer receives her date card: “Let’s find love somewhere private. Ben the Wine Dude.” As she explains that she left her job to be on The Bachelor, Elyse the Terrifying Trainer packs her suitcase full of foreshadowing. Don’t forget your dramatic irony, Elyse!
Ben the Wine Dude picks her up for the date, and points out the giant yacht they will be spending the day on. Wowiewowow! exclaims Elyse the Terrifying Trainer as Ben the Wine Dude explains that the yacht trip with Dr. Tube Socks was where he really fell in love with her, and that he’s hoping to recreate those feelings. Which, you know, Ben the Wine Dude, this is just becoming pitiful now. Maybe you’re just not ready to date yet.
On the yacht, Elyse the Terrifying Trainer cheerfully tells Ben the Wine Dude that she’s accomplished everything in her life that she wanted: undergraduate degree, master degree (in what?), moved to Florida, lives alone. PERFECT LIFE. So she decided she was ready to share herself with someone, which is why she quit her job and is missing her best friend’s wedding to be here with him. And if that didn’t set off enough warning bells in Ben the Wine Dude’s head, Elyse the Terrifying Trainer “jokes” that they should just get married right now.
That night, Elyse the Terrifying Trainer puts on a fancy dress and Ben the Wine Dude wears what appears to be a tuxedo made from three different tuxedos. The two have dinner on the beach, where after all of five minutes, Ben the Wine Dude is like, Yeah, so, nope. You go home now. And then Ben the Wine Dude puts Elyse the Terrifying Trainer into the Boat of Spinsterdom, and shoves her out into the ocean where she will stoically spend the last of her days, alone and barren.
Back at the hotel, some man wordlessly shoves open the door, grabs Elyse the Terrifying Trainer’s suitcase and disappears. The other ladies gasp and exclaim and clutch their pearls, but for Courtney the Villainess, who announces that Elyse’s departure is bittersweet: bitter for Elyse the Terrifying Trainer and sweet for Courtney. Which, you have to admit, is awful and wonderful. So, so wonderful. I am filled both with awe and with wonder at Courtney the Villainess’ sociopathy. Courtney then tests my affections by announcing that Ben the Wine Dude’s decision to send Elyse home “blew [her] panties off.” GOD. GROSS. LET US NEVER USE THAT EXPRESSION AGAIN, PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
Courtney decides that Ben the Wine Dude sent Elyse home as his part of a promise they made each other at the beach party, a promise that she must now fulfill by going to his room clad only in a bathrobe, and bearing a bottle of wine and an offer to either draw him a bath and do something untoward with some lotion she has in her robe pocket (!!!!) or go skinny dipping. Ben the Wine Dude seems as surprised as anyone at Courtney the Villainess’ appearance, and unclear that he had made some sort of bargain with Courtney, but is he going to turn away a purring half-dressed model on his doorstep? COME ON.
And so, despite Ben the Wine Dude’s better judgment, they go down to the beach and fling off their clothes and run into the ocean and frolic. 1. Thank god for the blur video feature, and 2. PUT ON YOUR PANTS. EVERYONE. PANTS. SERIOUSLY. YOUR MOTHER IS GOING TO SEE THIS, BEN THE WINE DUDE. Dios mio.
Cocktail party! Ben the Wine Dude, he is having a little regret over not being able to literally keep it in his pants, and decides that he needs to be open with everyone from here on out. To that end, he sits stone faced while Jennifer the Accountant blathers at him about how great their one-on-one date was in Utah and how she really likes him and that conversation is so easy with him. “Huh,” grunts Ben the Wine Dude in response. Such repartee!
Juggs, in the meantime, has decided that she’s had some sort of emotional breakthrough and that this is Very Important to share with Ben the Wine Dude tonight. She takes Ben the Wine Dude asides and announces that for all 33 years of her lonely, single life, she didn’t think she deserved someone as wonderful and charming as Ben the Wine Dude. But now she thinks she does! EPIPHANY. Ben the Wine Dude is all, “Huh!” before essentially announcing to the cameras that he was just about to get rid of Juggsy, but now he has some things (in her tube top) to think about.
Courtney, she is not concerned about the other women. In fact, she laughs at this farce! LAUGHS. She knows that she has a naked connection with Ben the Wine Dude, a naked connection that none of these other women do. In fact, she will tease them all with it! Courtney the Villainess villains at the other women that she looooves being in her birthday suit, all the time, always. In fact, she wishes that they could go skinny dipping, which is something she would do. You know, skinny dipping. Being naked. In the ocean. It’s soooo freeing to be naked. With someone you care about. The other women, oblivious, yammer about wanting to get naked with Ben the Wine Dude, while Courtney the Villainess openly gloats, fully aware that when they find out — and they will find out — she’s going to be despised even more. Because she is awful. (And wonderful.)
MC Infectious takes Ben the Wine Dude out onto the beach to talk privately. Listen, the thing is, MC Infectious, she knows that talking about Courtney last week was a mistake, and she’d take it all back in a heartbeat if she could. BUT. She also stands by what she said: Courtney the Villainess is a weirdo and she is not showing Ben the Wine Dude her true self. And if you watch her eyes carefully, you can actually see the moment MC Infectious’ brain realizes what is going on and begins screaming at her mouth to SHUT UP. WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? CAN YOU HEAR YOURSELF? SHUT IT RIGHT NOW, DUMMY. But it’s far too late. Ben the Wine Dude sighs and tightens his mouth and warns MC Infectious again to stay out of it before leading her back to the hotel to cry and cry and cry and cry and await her fate. And cry.
Rose #1: Lindzi the Horse Girl
Rose #2: Someone Named Jamie
Rose #3: Rachel
Rose #4: Courtney the Villainess
Rose #5: Casey S.
Rose #6: Juggs
Rose #7: MC Infectious
Which means into the Jeep Wrangler of Tears with you, Jennifer the Accountant. Sniffle your way back to Oklahoma City and your boring job, and hold onto the one time when you spent a few weeks trapped in a series of hotel rooms with dozens of other women trying to win the affections of a hair-challenged dullard. It’s a story you can tell your grandchildren one day.
As for the rest of you, you’re going to “the most glamorous city in Central America (which, no offense to my Central American friends, is a kinda low threshold), Panama City!” ¡De alante!
The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 7 p.m.
This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Chron.com.