Bachelor in Paradise
September 28, 2023
I don’t know, y’all. I don’t know why I’m doing this. I didn’t do this last year and you know what? My life was better. It was good. I wasn’t spending a significant portion of my week watching and writing about a bunch of bikinied idiots’ merry-go-round love lives and I slept well and ate healthy and got plenty of exercise.
And yet, here I am again, trapped in this existential hellhole full of sand crabs and toe-sucking. Why? I DON’T KNOW. Part of my decision to return was because it appears we will only have two hours of this nonsense each week, instead of the 45 hours it usually is. And I thought, “O ho! Two hours! That’s practically nothing!” And I also thought, “And I didn’t do it last year, and who knows what I missed out on!”
NOTHING. I MISSED NOTHING. IT’S A DUMB BAD SHOW AND IT IS A WASTE OF ALL OF OUR TIME AND INTELLIGENCE.
And yet …
I do it to myself, I do, and that’s what really hurts.
I can not and I shall not discuss this opening featuring some of the contestants packing their bags and dancing to “What a Feeling” by Irena Cara from the film Flashdance which came out in 1983, a full seven years before the oldest contestant on this show was born. Reject. I reject this.
And then it is time to meet the losers at love who think isolating themselves on a beach in Mexico with a bunch of other losers at love will, somehow, like a equation involving two negative numbers, result in a positive outcome.
We have Rachel, the co-Bachelorette with Gabby, and originally a contestant on that dipshit Clayton’s season, where I called her Pilot Rachel on account of being a pilot. She will be known as Bachelorette Rachel here and I’m so disappointed in and for her that it has come to this.
Rachel explains that her Bachelorette engagement didn’t work out (you don’t say) and that she’s in a different place now, ready to go on this journey which she knows can work because she’s fallen in love twice. Of course, both times she fell in love on these dumb shows it failed in SPECTACULAR fashion, so I don’t know how much of an endorsement for this experiment that really is.
Oh, and she wants to meet Dangly Earrings.
Brayden is “Dangly Earrings” from Charity’s season who I called “Dangly Earrings” because look at that shit hanging off his goddamned earlobes.
This guy was the heel from Charity’s season and I will never understand how people come into Paradise being like, “I want to date the guy who was toxic, manipulative, who all the people he lived with hated, and who left the show in disgrace.” MA’AM, DID YOU NOT WATCH THE SAME SHOW I WATCHED? Of course, this is Bachelorette Rachel and she has a record of poor decision making, so.
— Sarah (@sar_endipity61) September 29, 2023
Anyway, Dangly Earrings goes shopping for some terrible hats and necklaces and earrings and claims he’s grown as a person since 3 months ago. Dangly Earrings is interested in meeting Kat, Jess, and …
Kylee, from Zach’s season, who I nicknamed “Bullhorn” because she arrived at the McMansion screaming through a bullhorn for some reason.
Bullhorn reminds us that she was sent home via a video chat which was pretty
hilarious embarrassing, and explains that she wants to meet Aven from Rachel and Gabby’s season, with whom she has been flirting over Instagram.
Also joining Paradise is Aaron whom I nicknamed A-A-RON, because he himself made the Key and Peele joke and I strongly approved.
A-A-RON talks about how Charity broke his heart but that he is looking for the person who wants the love he has to give. And he hopes that person is:
Mercedes who I called “Henry the Pig’s Mom” because she arrived at the McMansion on Zach’s season with her pig, Henry.
Mercedes would like to remind us that she’s a farm girl from Iowa, and the way she reminds us that she is just a farm girl from Iowa is by riding a tractor in a bikini.
Also joining Paradise is Sean from Charity’s season who I called “Big Check” because he arrived with a big check. Never underestimate my cleverness.
If Big Check had his druthers, I would be referring to him as “Ken” because he’s convinced he looks like a Ken Doll.
The editors would beg to disagree.
He spends a bunch of time talking about his skin care and hair care routines before revealing that he is most excited to meet …
Jess from Zach’s season, who I called “Glitter Bomb” because of the way she rolled around in a giant tub of body glitter ahead of every Rose Ceremony.
Glitter Bomb talks about self love and giving herself more grace and something about meeting someone in a gas station because she wants to have a beautiful love story?
Meeting someone in a gas station sounds more like the start of an abduction story than a love story, but whatever floats your boat, lady.
Also joining Paradise is Will from the
wayback machine Michelle’s season, who I nicknamed “Swaggy” because that is how he described himself in his bio.
Swaggy explains that HORRORS! he’s turned 30 and since he’s getting “old” now, it’s time to get engaged. As for who he is interested in meeting, that would be Bullhorn, Olivia L. from Zach’s season and …
Brooklyn who I called “Rodeo Girl” on account of her being in rodeos.
Rodeo Girl reminds us of her catch phrase, “lace that bitch up” which she used regarding fellow contestant and irritant, Kat. Rodeo Girl says she won’t be pleased to see Kat in Paradise mostly because of what a whiner Kat will inevitably be, bitching about the bugs and the heat and the whatnot.
So obviously, Kat from Zach’s season, who I called “Julia Roberts,” because she thinks she looks just like Julia Roberts, is coming to Paradise.
Julia Roberts is already complaining that she can’t “open [her] eyes” in the sun, that she hates bugs and crabs and salt water and sand. So obviously, she’s going to isolate herself on a beach in Mexico in a “resort” that has no air conditioning and lax protocols when it comes to pest control.
She’s hoping that Blake will be in Paradise …
You know, Blake, who I called “Grizzly Adams” on account of the beard and his whole animal thing.
Grizzly Adams reminds us that he was first on Claire’s season, and then on Tayshia’s season, and then showed up for Katie’s season which he won! And they got engaged! But then … things happened and now he’s here, 32 and relatively clean-shaven and still trusting a process that has not worked out for him THREE TIMES NOW, God bless him.
With that, we head to Mexico where Jesse Palmer switches the little Paradise sign from “Closed” to “Open” before taking his place at the entrance to greet the dummies.
First down the stairs is Bachelorette Rachel who is none too thrilled to learn she’s the first to arrive.
A-A-RON is next, where he and Rachel have an inane conversation about their respective outfits. This will be the only time these two speak to each other in Paradise.
Rodeo Girl arrives and informs A-A-RON that Charity was her best friend on their season of The Bachelor and that she does have some insight on him.
Next to arrive is Cat, who I called “Gabagool” because she greeted Zach by screaming “GABAGOOL!!!” at him for some unfathomable reason. She’s a whole lot, which is exactly what I said at the time. Nothing has changed.
Big Check follows Gabagool into Paradise wearing what appears to be a cardigan sweater which he is immediately called out for. Bachelorette Rachel says that she’s open to talking to him later, which, OK, BUT WHY?
Swaggy is next to arrive and everyone’s like, “Who?” but then A-A-RON remembers: he’s jacket guy from Michelle’s season. THE QUICKEST RECAP: Swaggy won a date competition and received a bomber jacket as a prize. Another guy who was SO MAD Swaggy won and who called himself a “Pizzapreneur” (true story) took the jacket when Swaggy wasn’t there and threw it into a pool. Swaggy thought hard about kicking Pizzapreneur’s ass; didn’t.
— peter’s golf cart (@petersgolfcart) November 3, 2021
Swaggy explains that he doesn’t want to be known as the jacket guy, but as a “lover boy” (gag) and that this is a new chapter in his life.
Swaggy and A-A-RON discuss who they’re interested in meeting and when A-A-RON mentions Bullhorn, Swaggy is like, “me too!” before adding that he’s “open to sharing.” A-A-RON is like, “I’m not sharing shit.” Indeed.
Bullhorn arrives, and is anxious to see if Aven is in Paradise because this one time he put a fire emoji on one of her Instagram posts. A love story for the ages.
Bullhorn is immediately pulled into conversations with A-A-RON and Swaggy, to which she’s like “they’re nice and all, but they’re no Aven.”
Dangly Earrings shows up wearing one of his mom’s outfits from Chico’s and spoiling A-A-RON and Big Check’s moods.
— Bachelor in Paradise (@BachParadise) September 29, 2023
Dangly Earrings is ALSO interested in Bullhorn and takes her aside for a little chat, only exacerbating A-A-RON’s irritation. He also pointedly does not greet either A-A-RON or Big Check because he’s a weird coward.
Next to arrive is Eliza who allegedly was on Clayton’s season where I called her “German Sausage” because she arrived to the McMansion with some sort of wurst that she forced Clayton to eat with her Lady and the Tramp style. She also was allegedly on last season of Bachelor in Paradise but I didn’t watch or recap that season because Mommy needed a goddamned break. Anyway, she’s back.
Bachelorette Rachel is thrilled to see German Sausage because she’s the only one who has any idea who she is.
Houston’s own Greer, also known as “Blackface Defender” because she defended a girl who once wore blackface to a high school party, arrives next. And I should probably let her live the blackface thing down already and move on, maybe call her Cup of Tea over the tantrum she had about not receiving a high tea date in London, but … nah.
Her arrival prompts a count of how many times the children in Paradise use the term “vibes” and it’s a lot.
Spoiler alert: This season's a vibe. pic.twitter.com/C2FU0QHQZ5
— Bachelor in Paradise (@BachParadise) September 29, 2023
Henry the Pig’s Mom enters, swiftly followed by Aaron S. from Charity’s season, also known as “Firebug” because he is a firefighter. I KNOW IT’S A BAD NICKNAME. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO COME UP WITH LIKE 25 NICKNAMES IN ONE RECAP?
Anyway, at 34 years old, Firebug is the Golden Bachelor of Paradise this season.
Peter from Charity’s season is the next to arrive, also known as Pilot Pete, Jr. because he’s another Peter who happens to be a pilot.
His arrival is barely noticed by anyone, including the editors.
Julia Roberts is the next to show up to Rodeo Girl’s exasperation.
Following Julia Roberts is Sam from Clayton’s season who I never even had an opportunity to give a nickname because this legend eliminated herself from the season ON THE FIRST NIGHT. Considering how that season and that man turned out — a huge dumpster fire — this was nothing less than a queen move.
Our Legend promises to stick around until at least the first rose ceremony and then breaks out in an anxiety rash.
Girl, I feel you.
Olivia L. from Zach’s season arrives next, and having been eliminated the first night, she only earned the nickname “Olivia #1.” For reasons that will become painfully evident in a moment, we shall be calling her “Big Toe” from here on out.
Big Toe enters, and Swaggy is already talking about how good she smells, before leading her over to a beach bed for a private conversation. It becomes weird … fast. When Swaggy makes a comment about how he likes her pedicure, Big Toe begins asking him if he wants to suck her toes.
Swaggy tries to get out of this by noting that her feet are all sandy, but she’s not to be deterred, noting that the ocean is right there, they can go wash off her toes. And so they go to the water’s edge, wash off her feet, and then he carries her back to the beach bed. Swaggy then avoids putting THIS STRANGER’S FOOT IN HIS MOUTH by kissing her instead, and some others nearby are all, “OOoooooOOOOooOooOOO!” because we are in the eighth grade.
Meanwhile, Big Check shoots his shot with Glitter Girl, noting that he’s a big Swiftie, too. Glitter Girl, who didn’t realize this guy has been stalking her Instagram, is like, “Do what now?”
The editors have her back:
And the final person to enter Paradise (for now) is Grizzly Adams, causing all of the women’s tongues to fall out of their mouths as if they had not watched him FLAME OUT SPECTACULARLY ON THESE SHOWS THREE OTHER TIMES. (I mean, to be fair, really only two other times since he did get engaged to Katie, but HOW’D THAT WORK OUT FOR HIM?)
Now that everyone has arrived, Jesse Palmer calls them over to the Breakup Palapa to go over the rules: there will be dates for a few select people, and then a rose ceremony and if you don’t get a rose, GET OUT. There are fewer men than women this week which means they are handing out roses first. Four women are leaving this week, so all the ladies should completely panic.
The group is dismissed and sent to their respective dorms: the women’s rooms and the Mojo Dojo Casa House, where they are clearly instructed to discuss who each of them are interested in. There, Bullhorn admits that she’s hoping Aven arrives, but adds that she had a nice conversation with Swaggy. Big Toe reveals Swaggy kissed her earlier and that she liked it, which comes as a bit of a surprise to Bullhorn who had clearly planned on using Swaggy for her rose into week two.
So obviously, the producers give Bullhorn the first date card.
DON’T FALL FOR IT, BULLHORN. THEY’RE GOING TO SEND AVEN INTO PARADISE AS SOON AS YOUR DATE IS OVER, BULLHORN. DON’T ASK ANYONE TO JOIN YOU WHO IS GOING TO CREATE THE SLIGHTEST BIT OF DRAMA, BULLHORN. YOU KNOW, BULLHORN, LIKE SWAGGY.
Bullhorn obviously asks Swaggy to join her on the date, and Swaggy obviously accepts. Neither of these people have a conversation with Big Toe before they leave and receive her explicit permission to go on this date, so obviously, Big Toe spends the rest of the night completely losing her mind.
As for the date, Bullhorn and Swaggy go to a hotel where they have a pool dinner — as in, the table is set up in the middle of the pool — which, bless his heart, Swaggy falls into while trying to push in Bullhorn’s chair.
— peter’s golf cart (@petersgolfcart) November 3, 2021
That bit of embarrassment out of the way, Bullhorn notes that she knows Swaggy and Big Toe shared a kiss and she doesn’t want to be in the middle of any drama. OH YOU MISSED THAT EXIT WHEN YOU PICKED SWAGGY FOR THIS DATE, CHICA. Literally any other man in Paradise = No Drama. Swaggy = ALL THE DRAMA.
Swaggy insists that it was no biggie and that the conversation he valued the most was the one he shared with Bullhorn because it was more “intentional” and she didn’t insist he shove her foot into his mouth.
They then have a boring conversation about what they want in a relationship and Swaggy starts talking about how he’s feeling butterflies and falling for Bullhorn already.
Back at Paradise, Dangly Earrings and his narcissistic personality disorder are pouting that Bullhorn didn’t pick him for her date, so All-4-Wells encourages Dangly Earrings to go make a connection with someone else. Dangly Earrings takes the advice and soon finds himself making out with Julia Roberts. (Whose favorite color, we also happen to learn, is beige. This checks out.)
Thus begins the make out portion of the show: Bachelorette Rachel and Big Check make out; Glitter Girl and Grizzly Adams make out; Firebug and Legend make out; A-A-RON and Mercedes make out and there is so much tongue. SIR. PUT THAT AWAY.
Meanwhile, Big Toe is at the bar, yammering at All-4-Wells about toe sucking and plotting murder.
The next morning, everyone is reckoning with their first night in Paradise. Over breakfast, Bullhorn does her level best to pretend Big Toe isn’t there, but Swaggy, to his credit, does take Big Toe aside to talk to her about going on the date.
After insisting to Swaggy that she FEELS FINE, Big Toe tells him that she felt disrespected that he went on the date with Bullhorn without having a conversation with her first. Swaggy apologizes for making her feel disrespected, but adds that he thought she, like everyone else, was here to explore her options, and that he didn’t think he owed her an explanation on day one, kiss or no kiss. When Big Toe reminds him that it wasn’t just a kiss — they were at the level of discussing toe sucking — he reminds her that the whole toe sucking thing was her idea, not his. He again repeats that he’s sorry if she felt disrespected and with that, the conversation is over.
As Swaggy joins Bullhorn at breakfast, Big Toe turns her murderous rage towards Bullhorn, noting accurately that she’s just using Swaggy as a placeholder until Aven can arrive.
Meanwhile, Swaggy swoons over Bullhorn, claiming that he can’t believe how strongly he feels for her — he expected to feel this way on week two not DAY two.
Cue Aven’s entrance.
Bachelor in Paradise airs Thursdays on ABC at 8/9 p.m. and streams on Hulu.