May 26, 2014
It’s the men’s first real day at the McMANsion and they all run around it and hoot excitedly as though they have never seen the inside of this place over the course of 18 seasons of The Bachelor, 9 seasons of The Bachelorette, 3 ill-conceived seasons of Bachelor Pad, or the night before. Pick your bunk bed, everyone, and go get a bloody mary, Chris Harrison is on his way. Chris Harrison explains for the thirty-thousandth time how the dates will work: two 1-on-1 dates, one group date, roses or go home, etc. etc. and his eyes, they are dead. Chris Harrison then leaves the first date card on the coffee table and goes outside to take a long, deep swig from his flask and contemplate what he’s done with his life.
“Eric (R.I.P.): Love is everywhere. –Andi”
True story: this morning when I was at my son’s school for his violin lesson, a mom (and friend — hi Anjanette! Sorry if I just outed you as a Bachelorette viewer!) stopped me to tell me that she became emotional over last night’s episode just thinking about this Eric (R.I.P.) kid and how cute and nice he was and how he was talking about all his hopes and dreams and his family and JUST, UGH. And while I can’t claim to have been similarly moved on account of my dead black heart, I am stuck here in an impossible situation. I can’t do what I am good at with this kid: mock and sneer and snark. Eric (R.I.P.) put himself in this ridiculous situation where he was competing to date a woman on national television, just like all the other men did, and for which he does deserve some light mocking, just like all the other men do. But unlike all the other men, Eric (R.I.P.) is dead, and there is a family and there are friends out there who are missing him, who are mourning him. I might be a jerk, but I’m not THAT much of a jerk as to put something out there into the world (or the internet, same thing) that they might come upon that would add to their hurt and loss just to get a few laughs. And in conclusion, WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO HERE? BE SINCERE?
So Andi picks Eric (R.I.P.) up for their date and she drives him to the beach and they build sand castles and fly kites because they are 7-year-olds.
But that’s not all! A helicopter arrives and flies them around Los Angeles, thereby getting our first stupid helicopter date out of the way pretty early into the season — about as early as was logistically possible outside of having the helicopter arrive at the McMANsion to pick Eric (R.I.P.) up for the date in the first place.
But that’s not all! And then the helicopter lands on the top of Bear Mountain where there is NO SNOW because, and I don’t know if The Producers, who live in Los Angeles, are aware, but California went through (is going through) something of a drought this winter and spring and so, when this was filmed sometime in late March, maybe they could have guessed THAT THERE WOULD NOT BE ANY SNOW ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN.
The fact that there is no snow on the mountain does not stop Andi and Eric (R.I.P.) from exclaiming over all the snow and flinging a few scoops of ice at each other in a “snowball fight.”
But that’s not all! They are then greeted by some snowboarder, Louie Vito, who Wikipedia tells me was a snowboarder in the 2010 Olympics, but I’m not finding anything about him in Tubular’s Olympic blog, so as far as I am concerned he does not exist. He’s here to teach them how to snowboard. The two put on snow clothes, and Eric (R.I.P.) burbles about what a cute snow bunny Andi makes, but all I can hear is the voice in my head screaming at Eric (R.I.P) TO PUT ON HIS HELMET. PUT IT ON.
And so they snowboard for a while, which Andi is not particularly good at, but Eric (R.I.P.) is, and then they do some sledding in the
But that’s not all! Andi and Eric (R.I.P.) go to a cabin for dinner and conversation and Andi wonders if there is anything Eric (R.I.P.) is not good at.
Andi then asks Eric (R.I.P.) about his travels and his life and he tells her about a harrowing moment in Syria when he thought he might be killed by some militants BECAUSE HE WAS IN SYRIA, DO NOT GO TO SYRIA, and how he sent a text message to his parents saying goodbye, that’s how convinced he was that he was going to die.
Eric (R.I.P.) tells Andi about his enormous family and 1 katrillion nieces and nephews and how after years of running away from it, he’s finally ready to get married and settle down, there are only a few more dangerous things on his list that he wants to do before he has children.
And because Eric (R.I.P.) is a mensch, Andi gives him the date rose which means he’s going to be sticking around, bumming me out for at least another week.
Back at the McMANsion, the men receive the group date card: “
Everyone with 7% body fat or less Brian, Cookie Monster, Pavarotti, Craig, Lamp Thief, D-Bag Twin #2, CODY!, Fireman Carl, Franck Eggelhoffer, Winner Josh, The Texan Pole, Ron, Arnold Palmer Vladimir Putin and Gordon Gekko: Let’s bare our souls. Love, Andi.”
And even the Man-Apes, they are bright enough to understand the stupid pun in the date card: There will be stripping.
THERE IS NOT ENOUGH BOXWINE IN THE WORLD, YOU GUYS. BETWEEN ERIC (R.I.P.) BEING ON FOR ANOTHER WEEK AND NOW THIS, JUST GO AHEAD AND CALL PROMISES, MALIBU, AND SEE IF THEY WILL SEND A SHUTTLE FOR ME BECAUSE I AM GOING TO NEED SOME MAJOR DETOXING AND YOGA AFTER THIS.
Instead, the party bus collects the Man-Apes and brings them to Andi at some nightclub where they learn from some slimy promoter what they already know: they are going to be stripping for an audience of shrieking maenads, but it’s for charity, so that makes it not sleazy somehow.
And, not to go on some sort of gender-theory diatribe here, because Lord knows I am not qualified, but I want you for one second to imagine The Bachelor loading up 13 female contestants, bringing them to a “gentleman’s” club and explaining that they will be pole dancing in front of an audience of men and collecting tips for charity. That would never happen because that would not be OK! But I am asking you, in all sincerity, to explain to me why it is perfectly fine to do this to male contestants? Does it have something to do with the entrenched power imbalance between the genders? I am genuinely curious!
Alright, climbing down off my freshman-in-college-soapbox. So after auditioning for Andi and Slimy Promoter, the men are divided into groups:
Sexxxy Army Men: CODY!, Franck Eggelhoffer, Ron, Gordon Gekko
Sexxxy Firemen: Fireman Carl, The Lamp Thief, D-Bag Twin #2, and Brian the Teacher
Sexxxy Cowboys: Cookie Monster, Winner Josh, Craig, Pavarotti
Sexxxy Aviator: The Texan Pole
Sexxxy Robot: V. Putin
The only notable moments from their practice sessions are how The Texan Pole is VERY SUPER NERVOUS and how Craig (oh, stop, Craig, honey) keeps making comments about how hot Winner Josh is, how Winner Josh is a stud, and how Winner Josh has the whole “package.”
To quote Michael Bluth: “Ok, you know what you do? You buy yourself a tape recorder, you just record yourself for a whole day. I think you’re gonna be surprised at some of your phrasing.”
Spray tans are sprayed; ill-fitting, highly flammable Party City costumes are distributed, and it is finally time for the performance. Andi is joined by not only a raucous crowd of women loaded down with singles, but also her friends from her time at The Bachelor: Cesar Millan and Maria Callas, the very two women I would never expect to see at an exotic dancing performance, much less anywhere near another Bachelor event, on account of being too clever for that, WHAT ARE YOU DOING, LADIES? YOU WERE FREE, LADIES!
And, truly, what better way to honor our fallen heroes this Memorial Day than to have a bunch of shaved man-apes wriggle around in camouflage boxer briefs, thrusting their little soldiers in strange ladies’ faces for single dollar bills? GOD BLESS AMERICA.
As for the solo dances, Sexxxy Robot, i.e. Vladimir Putin, gives a little too much of himself in his performance. “I SHOW WOMEN PUTIN ANNEXED AREA, YA? IS SEXY, NO?” The Texan Pole, he does his An Officer and a Gentleman routine with all the enthusiasm as a man who is receiving an unanesthetized root canal.
Andi astutely notes that some of the men appear to know their way around a thong, which isn’t entirely surprising since I have a sneaking suspicion that around 60% of all Bachelor/ette contestants hear about the castings from a flyer they saw on the bulletin board in their dressing rooms.
That evening is the obligatory group date cocktail party, and Craig (seriously, Craig, no) starts yelling about how THEY NEED TO GET TO THE TOAST ALREADY because HE NEEDS TO GET HIS DRINK ON.
I think we can all see where this is headed: straight into the pool, fully-clothed.
Listen, I feel sorry for this oaf. If I had to strip on national television — next to a professional athlete, no less — I would be drinking ALL OF THE ALCOHOL. So I do not even blame Craig (oh, Craig) for clearly getting his drink on long before he ever set foot on that party bus. In fact, if anything, I commend him for not throwing up mid-strip as he was obviously pounding Jagermeister shots before he ever left the McMANsion.
But Andi does not have time for this, and instead of ignoring Craig, the One Man Commotion, and talking to the other guys who are clamoring for her attention, she makes worried faces and huffs that there are men who “aren’t here for the right reasons.”
NOPE. NO, THAT IS PRINCESS DESIRE’S THING, THE WHOLE “RIGHT REASONS” THING. SHE EVEN SANG A SONG ABOUT IT. IT IS NOT YOUR THING, YOU DON’T GET TO HAVE IT, STOP. STOP RIGHT NOW.
Blah blah blah, Winner Josh tells Andi that he’s not a stereotypical jock and she believes him and Andi talks to The Texan Pole and tells him that he was very good at taking off all of his clothes. And after the Producers drag Craig (oh you sweet idiot) out of the pool and take him back to the McMANsion to dry out and think about his choices, Andi gives The Texan Pole the date rose. “Obviously she gave it to that guy,” says my 9-year-old viewing companion, which made me realize I HAD BEEN WATCHING THIS WITH A 9-YEAR-OLD. Mother of the Year right here, y’all! What what!
Back at the McMANsion, the men receive the final date card: “Farmer Teeth: Let’s get our love on track.” Bill the Pants Guy is disappoint.
The next morning, a very fancy Andi meets a flip-flops and shorts-wearing Farmer Ted at Santa Anita Race Track for a day of watching the ponies, but not before she sends him off to put on something appropriate, what is he, a farmer? So they promenade around in their fancy clothes and watch the horse races and chat with some old couple who have been married for 55 years who are OBVIOUSLY a Producers’ plant, come on, and the whole thing is as pleasant and bland as Farmer Teeth himself. After Farmer Teeth reveals that he had been engaged once before — but had the “courage” to break it off before going through with the marriage — Andi offers him the date rose. And then they dance as some bearded dude sings a glum song about being unloved.
Finally, Rose Cocktail Party time. Wesley Snipes is the first to take Andi aside, where he hands her his own date card that reads “Andi: Let’s get things popping.” But instead of leading her to America’s Got Talent‘s Orville Redenbacker’s lounge, he simply opens a bottle of champagne for her. And here I got all excited about a cross-over episode.
Cookie Monster and his very fine floral tie with his very fine plaid shirt (although I am not convinced they are very fine together) teases Andi about flirting. Franck Eggelhoffer breaks some McMANsion plates while yelling “OPA!” Someone else, I don’t know who, puts on a sock puppet show for Andi. And Bill the Pants Guy tells Andi that he hopes to be with someone who will still crack jokes with him when they are both 60. DREAM BIG, BILL THE PANTS GUY.
Winner Josh takes Andi aside and just cold makes out with her, because he’s already the winner, duh. And Craig (oh Craig, please don’t) takes her inside the house to apologize for his behavior the night before (oh, Craig … please …. DON’T) through song (NO, CRAIG, PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS THING THAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO).
It goes just as well as you think.
LINE UP THE DOLTS, HARRISON.
Rose #1: Ron
Rose #2: Gordon Gekko
Rose #3: Bill the Pants Guy
Rose #4: Cookie Monster
Rose #5: D-Bag Twin #1, Andrew
Rose #6: Franck Eggelhoffer
Rose #7: Winner Josh
Rose #8: CODY!
Rose #9: Wesley Snipes
Rose #10: D-Bag Twin #2, Patrick
Rose #11: Someone named Brian
Rose #12: The Lamp Thief
Rose #13: Pavarotti
Goodbye, Fireman Carl with your Clark Kent glasses that you are inexplicably wearing tonight. Goodbye,
Arnold Palmer Putin. No one wanted to see your Vladimir, dude. And goodbye, Craig (oh, Craig). You know what you did.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 7 p.m. on ABC.
This post originally appeared on Tubular, a blog on the Hearst site Chron.com.