‘The Bachelorette’: Blue Ballers

The Bachelorette
October 20, 2020

Welcome to the first week of actual Bachelorette dates. Please note: therapy will be required when we are done here, so take notes now, younger selves, we’re all going to be many many years older when this episode is said and done.

We begin with the men moving from one set of hotel rooms to other hotel rooms? What is happening here? Were they not at the resort last week? Were they at a different part of the resort? Where were they? And why does American Psycho clearly get a larger room than anyone else? Is he paying for that? I am so confused.

Right. So. Chris Harrison arrives and chats with the men for a few before handing over the date card: “Groany McBadJoke Esq.; Foureyes; InstaCheater; Bobby Fisher; Sukhasana; American Psycho; One of the Zacs; Fart Box; and The One: I’m looking for a guy who can speak to my heart. Love, Clare.”

The men follow a trail of heart stickers that lead them on a path through the resort to a ballroom, I guess, where they meet Chris Harrison and Clare. There, the men are told the date is all about their “love languages” — how they express love. For those of you who don’t know the intricacies of relationship and self-help books, back in the 90s, a pastor wrote The Five Love Languages, a book that claims there are five general ways people express romantic love in relationships:

  • words of affirmation
  • quality time
  • receiving gifts
  • acts of service
  • physical touch

The idea is, everyone has a primary, sometimes a secondary “love language.” Problems arise in relationships when one partner’s “love language” is different than the other’s and they feel unloved or neglected — when, maybe, it’s just that their partner expresses their love by taking the garbage out instead of showering them with gifts.

So, the men are going to be given this list of languages, choose the one that applies best to them and do something with that language to demonstrate to Clare, a person who is a virtual stranger to them, how they feel for her through that “language?” That would make sense, but no.

Instead, they are forced to perform three of the love languages in front of all the other men as they watch and judge and seethe.

First, Clare stands in a leftover balcony set from Romeo and Juliet that I guess this hotel has laying around and each of the men is told to express to Clare how they feel — again, about a woman they just met hours ago. The men say a bunch of bland nonsense about being excited to be there and how she deserves love and how they love her energy and other platitudes that could be said to any Bachelorette on any season.

The men are then sent running to their rooms to collect a gift for Clare that they were clearly instructed to bring with them, and The One, he literally Hulks out of his pants.

The men return with their items and proceed to present them to Clare:

Bobby Fischer gives her a chess piece.

Groany McBadJoke Esq. gives her a baseball from the last game he ever played on which he wrote: “don’t complain, figure it out.”

Sukhasana gives her one of his old t-shirts. NO THANK YOU PLEASE

Fart Box gives her — and I could not make this up — a bunch of boxes.

The One gives her dog perfume. As in perfume for her dogs, not perfume that smells like dog. And I would make fun, but damned if you Google “dog perfume,” an article with the headline “The Best Perfume and Cologne for Dogs (Review) in 2020” doesn’t pop up. WHICH MEANS THERE ARE MULTIPLE DOG PERFUMES. ENOUGH DOG PERFUMES THAT YOU MIGHT NEED REVIEWS TO HELP YOU NARROW DOWN YOUR DOG PERFUME OPTIONS.

The final challenge is “physical touch” and to that end, one-by-one, the men come up to Clare, they both put on blindfolds and then they grope each other while the other men look on, sick to their stomachs.

With that, Clare burbles about how everyone “really showed up” and showed her different sides of themselves — namely their hands —  and everyone leaves to prepare for the cocktail party.

Clare arrives at the cocktail party, takes her place on the couch with the men, and they all toast to finding new love … and then, nothing. Silence. No one asks to talk to her, everyone just sits staring at their hands like a bunch of seventh-grade boys at a dance.

Clare literally has to ask, “HEY. DOES ANYONE WANT TO TALK TO ME OR WHAT?” And American Psycho is the only one who stands up, declaring he’d love to talk to her. “YEAH, DON’T ALL JUMP UP AT ONCE.”

Clare and American Psycho head off to chat, and he literally opens with “New York, Harvard …” making us 2 for 2 episodes in which he brings up where he went to college.

But Clare is so distracted by the fact that no one wanted to talk to her that she is like, “Shut up, Harvard. I don’t care. I have to go yell at some dumb bitches,” and marches back out to the men. There she’s like, “WHAT IN THE ACTUAL HELL? Do any of you even want to talk to me?” InstaCheater tries to interrupt to “speak for the group,” and she’s like, “NOPE. Back to what I was saying: if y’all just want to hang out with each other, that’s cool, I’ll go home and go back to bed. But you jerks hurt my feelings.”

The men all jump up, apologizing, and asking if they can talk to her now. The One — and the only one she really wanted to talk to in the first place — stands and delivers an entire monologue about how he feels like shit for making her feel like shit.

And that’s when this asshole InstaCheater stands up and finishes his thought, speaking on behalf of the group: “You’re crazy …”

And Imma stop you right there and cordially invite you to fuck right the fuck off.

But Clare does not rip out his tongue through his throat Khal Drogo-style and he is able to finish his thought: she’s “crazy … if you think we didn’t all come here for you.” Clare insists that she doesn’t know that though, as The One leads her away from this mess.

Groany McBadJoke Esq. does NOT appreciate InstaCheater’s bullshit, pointing out that 1. he does NOT speak for the group and 2. DO. NOT. TELL. A. WOMAN. SHE. IS. CRAZY.

I maybe love Groany?

Meanwhile, Clare and The One make out and talk about how they’re already developing feelings for each other. Clare and One of the Zacs talk about self-esteem issues and her past abusive relationship. Clare and Groany pretend to dance to Boyz II Men.

Finally, Clare offers the date rose to Groany McBadJoke Esq. because 1. The One should have been the first to jump up and ask to talk to her but HE BLEW IT, and 2. Groany knows YOU. DO. NOT. TELL. A. WOMAN. SHE. IS. CRAZY. Seriously, he deserved all of this week’s roses just for that.

But has InstaCheater paused and considered that maybe what he said might not have well-received even if he intended to reassure her? NOPE. This asshole is over here murmuring that Clare is hot-headed, immature, not living up to who he thought she was and assures the producers that if he has to address it with her, he will.

OH, WILL HE?

While all of this nonsense was happening, the first one-on-one date is delivered to My Cousin Vinny: “Love will set us free.”

Free from what is not immediately clear.

Along with the date card is a note from Clare, instructing him to write a letter to his younger self, and promising that she will do the same. OH BROTHER, WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE ABOUT?

 

Vinny tells us that writing the letter was hard, that he had to open up and reveal some of his “darkest secrets” and that HE DOES NOT LIKE IT AT ALL.

On the actual date, the pair walk out into the desert somewhere, sit next to a campfire, and proceed to literally have a therapy session. They primal scream, they write a list of negative things they believe about themselves on tablets which they then shatter on some rocks, they read out loud their letters to their younger selves, and they burn the dress Clare wore in the finale episode of Juan Pablo’s season.

Fun.

I mean, just imagine thinking you’re going on a romantic or adventurous Bachelorette date — maybe a nice dinner you’re not allowed to actually eat, maybe some bungee jumping or massages and some hot tub action — only instead to be forced to discuss the faults in your parents’ marriage to a stranger on national TV.

JUST. IMAGINE.

Finally, she gives him the date rose and sends him back to his hotel room to have a good long cathartic cry.

And listen — I am not here suggesting that these people don’t need therapy. THEY ALL NEED THERAPY. CHRIS HARRISON NEEDS THERAPY. EVERY SINGLE PRODUCER ON THIS SHOW COULD USE THERAPY. I’m just saying The Bachelorette conducting amateur therapy sessions on unsuspecting contestants is not the stuff of riveting television and it might not be entirely ethical.

The last date of the week is another group date: “Fun Garin; Bowtie; Faux Lou Perlman; Parachute Guy; Grizzly Adams; Sir Dumbass; Besame Mucho; Eazy; Dr. Joe and Straightjacket: I’m looking for a man with some balls.” SEE, LET ME EXPLAIN: IT’S A DOUBLE ENTENDRE. SHE IS PROBABLY TALKING ABOUT A SPORT, BUT THE JOKE IS THAT BALLS IS A CRUDE WAY TO REFER TO TESTICLES. GET IT? DO YOU GET IT?

Right, so the men go to some gym somewhere presumably on the resort’s campus where Clare flings dodgeballs at them, and she explains she wants a man “with some balls” who will fight for her. To that end, they are going to play a game of dodgeball. The team that loses has to go home for the night, the winners get to go to the afterparty with Clare. Additionally, they’ll be playing strip dodgeball, so the losers will literally be doing a walk of shame.

And it’s worth an entire dissertation on gender power dynamics to explain why I’m not as upset about this as others are, but it’s worth pointing out that some people did not think this was a cute idea:

OK, a couple of things:

1. This was absolutely not Clare’s idea. I agree, she had some agency here chose to go along with this game, but this was production, not Clare, who came up with the idea that the men strip. I mean, they literally have her sitting behind a table that reads “STRIP! CLARE’S EXTREME DODGEBALL BASH.”

But 2. Can I “imagine if female contestants were forced to take their clothes off and run around?”

ACTUALLY YES. YES, I CAN. LET ME ILLUSTRATE WITH ONE IMAGE:

THE BACHELOR – “Episode 1603” – Ben surprises 11 of the women by taking them skiing for the day. They don’t realize that he has shut down a San Francisco street in the middle of the city and covered it with snow for their adventure. The ladies strip down to bikinis and hit the slope. The competition for Ben’s rose continues to be fierce at the after party, but one emotional bachelorette crashes the festivities to give Ben some very unexpected news. She declines the one-on-one date invitation he extended to her. The moment is a real gut-check for Ben and causes him to question everything, on “The Bachelor,” MONDAY, JANUARY 16 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/RON KOEBERER)
BEN FLAJNIK, JACLYN, NICKI, ELYSE

My bigger problem with this date is less the stripping and more the dodgeball because: UGH, AGAIN? We’ve done this before. TWICE.

So yeah, I could make the wrench jokes and The Ocho jokes but I’ve done them all before and, y’all, there are other sports.

The bottom line is that the Blue Team — Fun Garin; Bowtie; Faux Lou Perlman; Parachute Guy; Grizzly Adams — lose every single round, and are soon left in nothing but their blue jockstraps. Some of the men gamely remove even those before returning to join the other men who were not on the date.

The other men find this situation hilarious, including American Pyscho who also worries that the couches need to be steam cleaned after these bemuscled jockstraps have spread themselves out all over them. Neat freaks gonna neat freak.

Back at the cocktail party, Clare receives a foot rub from Eazy; talks to Sir Dumbass about how he was bullied as a kid for being short; and is in the middle of chatting with Straightjacket when who should show up to interrupt but a thankfully fully-clothed Grizzly Adams of the Blue Team.

Grizzly Adams demands to speak to Clare because he doesn’t accept “lose three consecutive rounds of dodgeball and be sent home naked and ashamed” for an answer. Straightjacket summons the other members of Red Team, who all come marching out to confront Grizzly for breaking the rules, but Clare assures them she’ll handle it. Once they leave, she tells Grizzly that she appreciates the gesture, hugs him, and attempts to send him away. He leans in for a kiss, but she’s like “NOPE,” and he’s all sadface because he hasn’t been rejected that hard since his beard fully grew in.

Clare then returns to talk to the rest of the men who actually earned their spot at the cocktail party, including Bésame Mucho. She asks Bésame a fairly easy question: what made him want to be on her season, what was it about her, specifically that he found interesting?

Bésame:

Eventually, Bésame comes up with, “you’re gorgeous,” followed with, “you’re from Sacramento.” 

Sometimes — and it is very, very rare — but just sometimes, this show is worth it.

Clare, understandably, is unimpressed with “you’re from Sacramento” as a reason he wanted to be on the show, and shoves Bésame Mucho out of the quarantine bubble.

Bye, Bésame! See you in Paradise!

Clare informs the other men that she IS OLD and doesn’t have TIME for BULLSHIT, gives Sir Dumbass the date rose, and sends their asses home.

The next day, the men are discussing Clare sending Bésame home, how she said she’s dated empty pretty boys before and she’s not about that anymore.

And InstaCheater over here, he starts going on about how if he were Bésame, he would have said, “Yeah, well, I liked you more before you humiliated me,” adding that he, for one, wouldn’t have participated in the strip dodgeball game because he has more respect for himself and his daughter than that. CLASSLESS, he spits. RED FLAGS. LEFT A BAD TASTE IN MY MOUTH. I’M DEFINITELY GOING TO TALK TO HER ABOUT IT TONIGHT.

The other men:

Finally, cocktail party time. After greeting all the men, Clare asks to speak to Grizzly Adams first, and all the men are like, “LOL, FURRY IS GOING HOME.”

But, instead, Clare reassures Grizzly Adams that she likes his initiative and how he is willing to take a risk, and she doesn’t want him to be tortured all night: here’s his rose.

Blake returning to the other men:

Clare then takes The One out for a talk where he discusses their “deep connection” and more about how he’s been praying for her mother because, y’all, THEY TALKED BEFORE THIS SEASON STARTED. IT’S SO PAINFULLY OBVIOUS.

Then they make out some more with those blindfolds on and it’s just a matter of time until they run off together. Bachelorette fans, they can not wait:

The Men Who Have Been Dumped by Clare:

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The Men Who Are Going to Soon Be Dumped by Clare:

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The Bachelorette airs on ABC on Tuesday at 7/8 p.m. and I need more box wine.

 

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