‘The Bachelorette’: The Redemption of Meatball

The Bachelorette
August 1, 2022

It’s morning at the Bachelor McMansion, and the men are reminding themselves who is on Team Gabby, and who is on Team Rachel (including Meatball who has been given a reprieve), and who is on Team Right Reasons. Based on the montage of Southern Grocery Joe saying some questionable things, including his attempt to justify calling Gabby “rough around the edges” which somehow evolves into him calling her a bitch; casually mentioning that he’s been comparing Gabby and Rachel to his ex, and that they “don’t hold a candle to her”; and saying that he doesn’t want to settle and how he doesn’t think any of the men in the house actually think Gabby and Rachel are marriage material … I think we can eliminate Southern Grocery Joe from the latter category.

Also, Grocery Joe WOULD NEVER.

Jesse Palmer arrives at the McMansion with news: Gabby and Rachel are currently flying to France, and the men will soon be close behind. In fact, two men will meet Gabby and Rachel for one-on-one dates in Paris: Gabby will spend it with Motherboy; Rachel with Bob the Builder.

With that, the men pack their bags and say au revoir to the McMansion.

Jesse Palmer meets most of the men in La Havre, a northern French port town, where Jesse Palmer introduces them to the Virgin Voyages Valiant Lady cruise ship they will be living on for the rest of this process.

Y’all, I would love to know how much Virgin paid the production for this. If Houston spent around $300,000 to have them film one episode in our mosquito-filled sweatbox of a city, I can only IMAGINE what Richard Branson paid for this multiple week-long advertisement for his cruise line.

And listen, I know better than most hard-hit the cruise industry was in the past few years. My husband represents a different cruise corporation — one you’ve definitely heard of — in their COVID exposure lawsuits. This is why the idea of putting these meaty dumbells on a cruise ship together makes me instinctively cringe. Still, I have to simultaneously admit, if you are going to be on a cruise these days, it’s best to be a group of 20 or less on a ship designed to carry 3,000 people.

WHAT I AM SAYING TO YOU IS DO NOT GET ON A CRUISE SHIP UNLESS YOU DEFINITELY WANT TO CATCH THE COVID. OR THE MONKEYPOX. OR SOME NEW COMBO VARIANT OF BOTH. Cruise ships are just floating Petri dishes, guys. Trust me on this. I know way too much about the exposure risk of communicable diseases on cruise ships.

Anyway, the men board the ship and say all of the Virgin-approved phrases like, “this is more like a super yacht than a cruise ship,” so Branson is definitely getting his money’s worth.

Meanwhile, in a Paris café, Gabby and Rachel discuss Rachel’s humiliation at the Rose Ceremony, and how it was her lowest moment so far. However, she remains hopeful that Paris could be a reset for her, because she’s a dumb idiot who never learns. THIS SHOW IS NOT YOUR FRIEND, RACHEL.

Soon, Motherboy and Bob the Builder arrive, and the foursome splits up to go on their separate dates.

Rachel and Bob the Builder go to a chocolate shop before heading to a crêperie — and why the hell not? You’re in Paris: what, you’re NOT going to spend every waking minute shoving deliciousness into your maw? They wander around in the rain and make out in the rain and take selfies in the rain before eventually taking refuge from the rain in another café, where Bob the Builder calls her “charming.” There’s more making out. And presumably eating.

Elsewhere, Gabby and Motherboy are on their date, and Gabby is spending the entire time filling the space where conversation should be with a constant patter, because Motherboy is giving her nothing.

They eventually go to a hat shop to be measured for berets because, again, they’re in Paris, what are they going to do, NOT shop for berets? Allez.

Gabby regrets her hairstyle for this particular activity:

She’s perfect.

Later, Motherboy stumbles through an awkward toast in a wine shop, before they climb onto a carousel and chew on each other’s faces a bit.

Before dinner, Gabby, Rachel, Bob the Builder, and Motherboy meet back up and compare notes. Aside from Gabby clearly joking that she is “in love,” it is neither interesting nor insightful.

That evening, Rachel and Bob the Builder have dinner in what I can only hope is a deconsecrated church.

Rachel opens dinner by going on, again, about the Rose Ceremony and how humiliating it was for her. Girl, you have to let it go.

She then launches into a discussion of career and family and how her last real relationship didn’t work out because he believed all pilots cheat. Also, and perhaps more importantly, he didn’t want to be left stuck taking care of the kids when she is off providing for their family because men are weak.

Rachel is clear that she will never be able to provide a traditional home and family, but Bob the Builder says he’s cool with that. They agree that they are on the same page with wanting to get married and have children, and acknowledge that it won’t always be easy, but that they can make it work. And that’s all Rachel needs to hear. She offers him the rose, there’s more making out.

Apparently, there weren’t any other sacred spaces available for Gabby’s dinner date, so she and Motherboy have to settle for a regular ol’ restaurant. Over “dinner,” Gabby notes that Motherboy seems a little reserved, and he admits that he’s typically a very private person, and that all of this is way out of his comfort zone. In fact, he had something of a breakdown upon arriving on the show, unable to sleep or eat for three straight days. Seems healthy! What a super great way to “find love!”

He then opens up about never really feeling “good enough” as a kid, and how he devoted himself to tennis as a means to prove himself. But then, somewhat predictably, he grew to hate tennis, and quit despite being quite good at it. He began to take everything personally, and only as an adult did he find therapy and learning how to speak up for what he wants, and finding his power again.

Gabby, upon hearing that this grown man is in therapy, reparenting his inner child:

Gabby tells him all about her own Mommy issues, and how Southern Grocery Joe calling her “rough around the edges” confirmed her worst dating fears. When Motherboy assures Gabby that those are just that dirtbag’s issues he’s projecting onto her, she’s like, “I had a good feeling about you,” and offers him the date rose.

Therapy, my guys. It will do you a world of wonder.


Back on the Virgin Voyages Valiant Lady, Gabby’s remaining men receive the group date card: “Love conquers all, but not without a fight. Love, Gabby.”

These geniuses: “I bet it’s going to be something competitive.”

The next day right there on the Virgin Voyages Valiant Lady, Gabby meets with her group of men in a boxing ring, along with a couple who practice Savate, which is apparently a distinct form of French boxing that involves a lot of high kicks. The men are going to fight one another in the 1,000th version of this particular group date, and Gabby will invite one of them to dinner, with a rose on the line.

So, we endure the typical training sequences, and Gabby chats with the men individually when they’re not doing burpees; it’s the exact same group date package we’ve seen every single season.

But then! Rachel gets involved.

For funsies, Rachel and her group of men come join Gabby’s date as spectators to the fights. Upon arrival, all of the men on Team Rachel pay attention to the fights, because, of course they do, that’s what they were told they were going to be doing: watch their friends pummel each other.

HOWEVER, Rachel came into this expecting it to be a mini-group date of sorts, and is furious when no one is paying attention to her.

Rachel’s sense of victimhood is only compounded when, before each match, Gabby’s men — who it should be noted are well aware they are on a group date and a rose is on the line — spend a minute or two professing to Gabby how they feel about her.

Rachel: “WHY ISN’T THIS ABOUT MEEEEEEEE?”

And look. Rachel seems like a nice lady, and she had a rough rose ceremony that left her feeling insecure. I get it. But baby girl needs to pull it together. For one thing, this wasn’t her date, it wasn’t about her, and her sobbing and carrying on because she wasn’t the focus of attention on someone else’s date is not a good look. I know that there was some production and editing fuckery going on here, but still, she shouldn’t have given them anything to work with to begin with.

But for another, I am certain none of the men on Team Rachel went to these fights with the mindset that they were on a date. Should some of them have stepped up and used the opportunity to show some attention to Rachel? Sure! Of course! That certainly would have demonstrated some initiative! But I guarantee they were completely distracted by the spectacle of their buddies fighting, and it just never occurred to them.

Also:

But the situation is only about to get worse, because one man on Team Rachel, Chick Magnet, isn’t paying attention to the fights … because he’s paying to Gabby, and realizing that he’s made a huge mistake by accepting Rachel’s rose.

Anyway, after the fights, Gabby invites Mr. Thoughtful to join her for dinner that night, and from the little we see of their conversation, they spend their time talking about his military service. She offers him the rose.

Or so I assume, because we don’t actually see it. Instead, we’re back with Rachel who is still sulking about how disappointed and hurt she was that her group of men didn’t read her mind. She then complains more about how Gabby’s men “get it” and were showing her attention.

YES, BECAUSE THEY WERE ON A GROUP DATE. GABBY’S GROUP DATE. FOR GABBY.

Rachel finally confronts her men, telling them that they made her feel hurt and unseen because they wouldn’t make eye contact with her at the fights, and that she has spent the entire evening sobbing about it.

The men:

But great news, guys! Tomorrow you get to spend the entire day with this woman you’ve hurt and disappointed! What fun!

The next day, Rachel meets her men for their group date at … some building. Never explained. Taking them inside, they walk in on a couple who are in a full make-out session and these people have the AUDACITY to talk about how awkward it is to be watching these other people suck on each other’s tounges. OH, YOU DON’T SAY.

Apparently, the couple is Flora and Boris, who are “romance experts” there to teach the men how to seduce Rachel.

First, the men are tasked with demonstrating how they would flirt with Rachel, and … it’s not great.

Goose grabs her and begins sorta kinda dancing with her before ending up immobilizing her in something of a chokehold. Beats by Dre also goes with this awkward dancing maneuver. Turtle, for reasons completely unclear, drops to all fours and begins growling at her?

NO.

The men then have to French kiss their own hands.

NO.

And poor Rachel has to smell their armpits.

ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Where’s a Silkwood shower when you need one?

The men also write Rachel a love letter, and as luck would have it, Boardwalk Carny actually already wrote something for her the night before that he brought along with him. It rhymes.

With that, Rachel dismisses the men, and everyone returns to the Virgin Voyages Valiant Lady where she will choose to have dinner with one of them. Rachel chooses Boardwalk Carny to virtually no one’s surprise.

Over dinner, Boardwalk Carny tells Rachel about his previous serious relationship: he bought a house for them, when she suddenly decided she couldn’t do it, and left him. But, Boardwalk Carny insists, it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. He then promises to do all the cooking and cleaning if she wants to be a pilot, and Rachel is like, “HERE, TAKE ALL OF THE ROSES.”

Meanwhile, Chick Magnet meets with Jesse Palmer to reveal that he might actually want to be on Team Gabby. Whoopsies! Jesse Palmer is like, “You understand this is going to set everything on fire, right?” But Chick Magnet insists: he needs to speak to Gabby.

The next evening, the women arrive at the Rose Ceremony cocktail party and thank the men for a great week.

Gabby first visits with Girl Dad, thanks him for the kind things he said in the boxing ring, and notes how mature and attentive he is. They make out.

Meanwhile, Southern Grocery Joe takes Rachel aside to “share something important” with her. He proceeds to pull out an entire photo book of his Golden Retriever, Rambo, and explains that Rambo is one of the most important things in his life. He then tells Rachel that 8 months ago, Rambo was diagnosed with a brain tumor and that while he has been receiving radiation, Rambo probably only has four months to live. Southern Grocery Joe explains that he’s sharing this with her to demonstrate just how much it means to him to be there with her INSTEAD OF HIS DYING DOG.

And as if that’s not bad enough, this monster then pulls out Rambo’s “cancer duck,” the stuffed animal that Rambo took with him for all of his radiation treatments, and then pulls out of his jacket one of the cancer duck’s feet that he keeps with him.

SO, NOT ONLY DOES HIS DYING DOG NOT HAVE HIS OWNER WITH HIM IN HIS LAST DAYS, BUT HIS OWNER BOTH DEFILED HIS FAVORITE STUFFED ANIMAL BEFORE TAKING IT AWAY FROM HIM TO USE AS A PROP ON A DATING SHOW? WHO IS THIS SOCIOPATH?

Fortunately, their conversation is interrupted by Bob the Builder, and when Rachel agrees to visit with Bob the Builder, this lunatic has the audacity to be mad that Rachel wasn’t sympathetic enough towards him and his dying dog — THE ONE HE ABANDONED. Southern Grocery Joe then proceeds to rejoin the other men and bitch and bitch and bitch that maybe Rachel isn’t the person for him after all.

With that, Meatball grabs Rachel, sits her down, and tells her everything. Meatball explains that Southern Grocery Joe has been out here saying that Gabby and Rachel overreacted to him calling Gabby “rough around the edges;” that he compared Rachel unfavorably to his ex, specifically about their breasts; and that he has referred to both Gabby and Rachel as “bitches.”

Rachel is not amused. She dismisses Meatball, and goes back out to collect Southern Grocery Joe who is still complaining to anyone who will listen that he left his dying dog to be here, and that Rachel is not showing him enough respect for it.

Once alone, Rachel asks Southern Grocery Joe if he knows why she wants to talk to him right now, and this narcissistic idiot replies, “I assume it’s about Rambo.”

Rachel did not anticipate this answer.

Rachel is like, YEAH, THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE DOG, YOU NUMPTY. Rachel goes on to ask him if he called her and Gabby “bitches” and whether or not he was comparing her to his ex, and this idiot who doesn’t seem to understand how cameras work just lies straught to her face that he never said any such things, that he doesn’t speak like that, and it’s not his character.

BOY, THEY WERE FILMING YOU. THEY HAVE YOU ON TAPE.

Rachel is like, “OK, I don’t believe you, you have to go now.” And with that, she shoves him off the boat.

But honey, after what he said about Gabby, you really shouldn’t have kept him around in the first place.

On his way out, Southern Grocery Joe has the gall to say that he “wants Rambo” more, adding that no one has the amount of love that he has for Rambo and that Rambo has for him. THEN WHY DID YOU LEAVE HIM TO DIE ALONE AND TAKE AWAY HIS CANCER DUCK?

Ugh. Just the literal worst.

So, speaking of production and editing fuckery.

After Rachel walks Southern Grocery Joe off the plank, she gives an interview in her rose ceremony gown talking about how she has great days and then “something will happen” and she’s exhausted. The footage then cuts to her walking around the Virgin Voyages Valiant Lady, clearly still furious about Southern Grocery Joe, while she tearfully narrates over it about how she’s been “rejected” and that Gabby has men who really like her.

And I wasn’t in the editing bay, but I am 99.99999% certain this last part was taken from interviews after Gabby’s group date fiasco, and not interviews following Southern Grocery Joe’s elimination. What they’re doing is trying to set up the whole “Chick Magnet Wants to Dump Rachel and Move to Team Gabby” piece, but what they’re accomplishing is making Rachel look like jealous asshole who can’t stand to see Gabby be happy. It’s not great.

Anyway. Jesse Palmer addresses the men, explaining that Rachel received news that Southern Grocery Joe said gross things about her and Gabby, and after sending him home, she’s pretty upset and hurt. So the rest of the cocktail party is canceled mostly so they can prevent Chick Magnet from having time to talk to Gabby and they can drag that particular drama out for as long as possible.

And now, Chick Magnet has a dilemma: should he keep accepting roses from Rachel when he knows he wants to be with Gabby (no, obviously) or not do that thing (yes, clearly)?

ROSE CEREMONY TIME, DINGDONGS:

Gabby Rose #1: Girl Dad
Rachel Rose #1 : Junior

Gabby Rose #2: Mullet
Rachel Rose #2: Meatball

Gabby Rose #3: Vanilla Ice
Rachel Rose #3: Goose

Gabby Rose #4: Muggle
Rachel Rose #4: Turtle

Gabby Rose #5: Awkward Kiss
Rachel Rose #5: Chick Magnet

H’oh boy. This is going to get messy.

This means the men who must go away now are: Dry Spell, Coach Taylor, and Beats by Dre. And I genuinely have nothing to say about any of these men. Bye?

The Men Who Are Soon Going to be Dumped by Gabby:

The Men Who Are Soon Going to be Dumped by Rachel:

The Men Who Have Been Dumped by Gabby:

The Men Who Have Been Dumped by Rachel:

The Men Who Have Been Dumped by Gabby and Rachel:

The Bachelorette airs on ABC on Tuesdays at 7/8 p.m.

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