‘Bachelor in Paradise’: What’s in a name?

Bachelor in Paradise
August 23, 2021

First things first, the opening credits are back for those of you who were, for some reason,  pissed they didn’t include them last week:

I had been watching an old episode of Kevin Can Fuck Himself earlier in the day and for those of you who aren’t familiar with the AMC series, it’s about the sitcom wife of an obnoxious slob of a dude (think King of Queens or Kevin Can Wait really, think Kevin James …) who decides she wants to kill her husband. The show goes back and forth between a dark gritty antihero drama when Kevin is not in the scene, to a traditional multi-camera sitcom when he is. And it feels like a real sitcom — bright light, obnoxious laugh-track, bad jokes.

This is a long way to go to explain that when my husband walked through the room while I was watching these opening credits, he asked if I was watching yet another genre-bending series in which a three-dimensional character is trapped in a two-dimensional hell, and honestly? you guys?


We begin the second episode with a reminder of who has coupled up in the less than 24 hours since they arrived:


So start planning what you’re going to wear to the weddings now because nothing will change these pair-ups, I’m sure!

This is the environment in which Red Flag arrives, greeting David Spade with, “Joe Dirt, what’s good?”

I’m just going to be honest with y’all, I love me some Red Flag, she is genuinely one of my favorite people on any of these shitshows. She’s annoying, she’s obnoxious, she starts unnecessary shit, but she knows who she is.

David Spade notes that she was last seen in Paradise getting engaged to her girlfriend, and Red Flag is like, “Yeah, it didn’t work out, obviously.” David Spade wonders, not without reason, if she’s going for the “P or V” this week, and she laughs that there are dudes on that beach that she wants to meet. With that, she’s armed with a date card and sent into Paradise to do violence.

Red Flag asks to chat with Cat Man, Old Naked Guy, and Bowtie before inviting Bowtie to join her on her date, much to Come Hither’s chagrin. And Bowtie is more than happy to go, to Come Hither’s further chagrin.

The date involves jet skiing and making out on the beach and it’s all going as telegenically as could be hoped when Bowtie decides to torpedo the entire thing. First, he tells Red Flag that he didn’t “know she existed a couple of hours ago,” which is decidedly NOT a compliment within the Bachelor universe. He then explains that this is the reason he’s there: to meet beautiful women just like her. And to that end, he is planning to continue meeting other women and keep his options open.

Red Flag:

Meanwhile, back in Paradise, word is quickly getting around that Bowtie is actually interested in Pieper from Matt James’ season, who I nicknamed “Mrs. James” because her last name was “James,” too.

Mrs. James = Pieper. (ABC/Craig Sjodin)

I know it’s hard to keep track considering there are approximately 334 people in Paradise right now, but Mrs. James is currently not trapped on the crab-infested beach with them. However, Bowtie has been seen with her outside of Paradise recently (which is a feat, considering he’s from Massachusetts and last I checked, she was in Oregon) and it’s pretty obvious he’s hoping she arrives in Paradise soon.

Word eventually gets back to Come Hither and she huffs that this is a bad look: why would you come to Paradise if you’re already in a relationship with someone?

Ah, yes, the eternal and apparently unsolvable riddle of Bachelor in Paradise. Why WOULD someone come to Paradise when they’re already in a relationship? You are supposed to come into Paradise with an open heart and mind, and yet every season, these dodos slide into each others’ DMs and plan to meet up in Paradise where they will be paid to make out with one another instead of doing it at home, in private, for free. By the way, before this episode is over, this issue will rear its ugly head once more.

For no reason whatsoever, let’s check in on Miss Louisiana and James-in-a-Box. James-in-a-Box is very interested in our Southern beauty queen; and as for Miss Lousiana, she can’t remember James-in-a-Box’s name even as she is sitting there talking to him. Jordan? Joey? Jason? It starts with a J, right?

She doesn’t actually care. Because listen, there are only two men here with an available rose, so she is willing to get to know him better even if he doesn’t give her the chills that her “healer” told her the right person would inspire. The thing is, that right person could be coming to Paradise tomorrow, so she needs to just be cool, hang out, and hide the fact that she has no idea what dude’s name is until he gives her his rose.

The next date card arrives, “Not Doormat: It’s time to make a splash.” Not Doormat invites Bobby Fischer to join her on the date, and he happily accepts. The pair is returned to the resort where a dining table has been placed in the middle of the swimming pool, and why not.

The two proceed to have a pretty mature conversation about their experiences on their respective shows, particularly the race issue, and how the fallout of the whole Chris Harrison thing overshadowed what should have been an overall positive experience on Matt James’ season. She adds that she was impressed by his conversation with Tayshia about his experiences as a Black man and the whole racial justice moment. And Bobby Fischer, God bless, notes that he had a lot on his mind at that moment, and found it interesting — and discouraging — that he faced zero backlash for his speaking out, while women of color face all sorts of abuse when they speak up. Not Doormat confirms that she dealt with a lot of nasty racism after being on The Bachelor, and she had to think long and hard about coming on Bachelor in Paradise, but that it seems it was worth it.

Adults! Having an adult conversation like adults! On THIS show! Whodda thunk it?

And then they make out in the pool for a while and you know what? GOOD FOR THEM. THEY EARNED IT.

Back in Paradise, Red Flag returns alone, and all the other women are like, “HOLD UP, SHE CAN’T ELIMINATE BOWTIE, RIGHT? THAT’S NOT HOW THIS WORKS, RIGHT?” But she clarifies: she left before him after he basically rejected her, and she feels like an idiot. “You’re a minor idiot,” Goddess Asshole assholes, before revealing that Bowtie has been seeing someone else outside of Paradise.

“Minor idiot.”

And now Red Flag is REALLY pissed and when Bowtie finally arrives, Red Flag is like BOY DO WE NEED TO TALK. She confronts him about having a relationship with Mrs. James outside of the show, and he’s like “I mean, define ‘relationship’ …” Red Flag is pissed, and tells him that she doesn’t believe anything he has to say.

Meanwhile, Come Hither is also grappling with the news that Bowtie is already interested in someone else, and also confronts him. They take their conversation out to the beach where he’s all, “I mean, yes, I’ve been talking to Mrs. James, sure, and we’ve hung out a little, but what you and I have built here since meeting each together 30 hours ago is so much deeper.” And this dummy, she believes him! Cue the plinky music, because she is believing this very bad lie right to her dumb face!

I swear to God, I’m going to start a rehab center for women who have been on reality shows to teach them how to spot lying, manipulative, and gaslighting assholes and how to avoid them. Miss Therese’s Home for Credulous Idiots. Sarah from FBoy Island is going to receive a full scholarship.

When Bowtie and Come Hither begin making out in full view of everyone on the beach, Red Flag freaks out even further, insisting that it is SO RUDE. Champagne Wishes tries to comfort her by reminding her that Red Flag literally just arrived, which is both accurate and hilarious.

Back to Miss Lousiana and ol’ What’s His Name. They chat about the little things: what they do first thing in the morning, whether they drink coffee before or after they brush their teeth, whether he pees outside or in the toilet …

James-in-a-Box is like, “Go back to the peeing outside part? What the hell is happening in Louisiana, exactly?” And Miss Louisiana, she doesn’t understand the question: where she’s from, guys just pee off the front porch, what’s the big deal?

Meanwhile, Rowdy Roddy Piper over here, she reveals that Miss Louisiana actually is in a relationship back home with a country singer and her entire presence in Paradise is bullshit. Her plan, according to Rowdy, is to string some poor sucker along in Paradise, break his heart, and then have the cameras follow her back to Nashville where they will meet her country singer boyfriend and make him famous. I can only assume she’s already tried to pull some strings in the Bachelor Department of Contempo Country Singers You’ve Never Heard of to get him on the show to serenade The Bachelor, and this is Plan B.

The next day is our very first Rose Ceremony, so David Spade greets them in the Breakup Palapa, where Bobby Fischer and James-in-a-Box declare that they know who they’re giving their roses to. O RLY? DO U? U THINK?

David Spade reminds them of the math: 10 men, 14 women, so four women will be going home tonight, and if they’re on his flight, he’ll give them a lift home. (I JUST BET HE WILL.) David Spade then wishes them luck and tells them to be nice to their next guest host, he’s leaving Crabtown for good.

One of the women in danger is our friend Sexy Fish who … wait … hold up … Sexy Fish is here? When did Sexy Fish come into Paradise? I completely missed her entrance in the first episode, somehow.

Yeah, so, Serena C. from Matt James’ season is also in Paradise apparently, and her nickname is “Sexy Fish” because she looks like that one sexy fish from that one animated movie.

“Sexy Fish” = Serena C. (Matt James’ season)

Don’t look at me like that, you know the one.

She decides that she should take her chances with Aggro, and in an attempt to seduce him, she … raps. Terribly. The last lines are something about this being “such a beautiful place, I want to sit on your …. lap.”

But it works, and soon Aggro and Sexy Fish are making out, to Rowdy Roddy Piper’s alarm. But rather than start a fight or confront anyone, Rowdy just takes her turn with Aggro, straddling him on the beach bed and chewing on his tongue. Paradise is back, guys.

Also desperate is Goddess Asshole, who tries with Ball Pit, but Tahzjuan is NOT HAVING THAT BULLSHIT, and interrupts their conversation. She takes Goddess Asshole aside and tells her she’s “not being genuine” and reverting to her old ways. Goddess Asshole becomes upset, telling Tahzjuan that she’s coming at her with negative energy and being aggressive before storming off while claiming Tahzjuan that she’s crazy. Goddess Asshole stalks around for a while until she breaks down in white tears, insisting that Tahzjuan is the crazy one.

I need Eboni K. Williams to be parachuted down into Paradise so that we can all have a long talk about white fragility. Maybe I’ll hire her to lead the racial issues classes at Miss Therese’s Home for Credulous Idiots.

Elsewhere, Rowdy Roddy Piper takes James-in-a-Box aside and tells him everything she knows about Miss Louisiana and her country singer boyfriend back home, how she was last with him on Thursday, that they share a dog together …

James-in-a-Box reels at this news, noting that he was just making out with her on one of the beach beds, and Rowdy is like, “Oh, and about that, she came to us after that and was like, ‘my guy, what’s his name again? Tim? Whatever …'” James-in-a-Box is stunned as he realizes he’s only being used for his rose.


And just to put the nail in the coffin of their relationship (“relationship”), Champagne Wishes, who also lives in Nashville and runs in the same circles as Miss Louisiana, confirms this bad news for James-in-a-Box.

James-in-a-Box takes Miss Louisiana aside and confronts her, asking if she has a boyfriend back home and she insists that she does not: she started dating someone in February, but they broke up in May, right around the time she was invited to Paradise. James-in-a-Box is like, “Huh. So you told me all about the boyfriend you had for 14 years, but the guy you were seeing a month ago, he slipped your memory?”

Miss Louisiana is irritated that he feels entitled to any personal information, pointing out that she doesn’t even know his last name.

Which, of course, is just a slow ball directly across the plate for James-in-a-Box, who counters that she doesn’t even know his first name.


Meanwhile, Rowdy Roddy Piper goes around and tells everyone that Miss Louisiana has a boyfriend back home that she was sleeping with as of Thursday, just to keep everyone in the loop, and ensure her elimination.

Miss Louisiana ends her conversation with James-in-a-Box by saying that she’s “having a moment” realizing that her friends sold her out and needs to take a break. She then whines in an interview that Rowdy and Champagne really should have come and talked to her about …

Wait, what’s his name again? …

Miss Louisiana then goes to confront Rowdy and Champagne, announcing that she is going to use her “therapy techniques to keep this healthy.” There, Miss Louisiana insists that she owns her mistakes and she is just so disappointed in them for not coming to her with this news about her having about a boyfriend and not trusting that she would do the right thing by James-in-a-Box. But Rowdy and Champagne are like, “Lol, this is not our fault.” Miss Louisiana starts using therapy talk, saying she is going to “take a pause” and “set healthy boundaries” and by “taking a pause” and “setting healthy boundaries” she means “run away” and “cry in the bushes.”

Miss Louisiana then takes James-in-a-Box aside and tells him that she walked into this 100% open but that the best thing she can do is take the “imperfect me, the growing me, the already committed to someone else me, and walk away from this.” She wishes James-in-a-Box luck in finding love, before adding that she wants him to know that Rowdy and Champagne Wishes, they are “better than this.” But James-in-a-Box is like, “No ma’am, they did the right thing by coming to me, and I have no issues with them.”

And with that, Miss Louisiana leaves the show, saying in the car that she realizes that she didn’t need to search for what she “already has at home.”

And with that, it’s Rose Ceremony Time, which is presided over by All-4-Wells who really should just be named host already. Seriously, guys, what are we doing here?

Bobby Fischer: Not Doormat
Porn Stache: Little Miss Nice
Grocery Joe: Queen’s Gambit
Cat Man: Nip/Tuck
Ball Pit: Tahzjuan
Shit-Stirrer: Windmill Costume
Bowtie: Come Hither
Aggro: Rowdy Roddy Piper
Old Naked Man: Pageant Reina

But just as James-in-a-Box is about to give his rose, Champagne Wishes goes weak in the knees, to Red Flag’s irritation. She’s soon upright and …

James-in-a-Box: Red Flag

Which means we must bid adios to: Champagne Wishes, Sexy Fish, and Goddess Asshole.

I am genuinely disappointed Goddess Asshole won’t be sticking around and creating chaos in her wake, but as for Champagne Wishes and Sexy Fish … considering I didn’t even realize Sexy Fish was in Paradise until about 15 minutes ago …

People still in Paradise:

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Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays on ABC at 7/8 p.m.


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