The other morning I was putting on my mascara when something occurred to me: With all the crying and swimming they do, there should be a lot more runny mascara on the ladies of The Bachelor. Then I remembered last week, when Sarah P. got dumped and it looked like she was auditioning for the part of the Black Swan. And that’s when it occurred to me that there is probably a person whose entire job it is to clean up (or NOT clean up, for dramatic reasons) runny mascara on the set of The Bachelor. And it made me really sad. Sad for that person whose job is awful. And sad for the women, always crying and forever alone. But mostly for myself, whose brain has been so completely infiltrated by this show that I think about it even when I’m not thinking at all, and involuntarily compose theories (I’ve got more!) about it in my free time.
I guess what I’m saying is that I’m sort of afraid this is my calling in life. But that’s appropriate because, according to tonight’s episode of The Bachelor, dating is all about fear. And torture. Why shouldn’t writing about it be, too?
But enough about my all-consuming pain-and-joy cycle of recapping The Bachelor (and how that is a fitting metaphor for the show itself … UGH I CAN’T STOP, I TOLD YOU!), because did you hear Michelle got a black eye in her SLEEP? “I wish I had given it to her. I want to rip her head off,” says Ashley S. Yes, Miss S. We all do. We ALL DO. Let’s talk about why.
HERE COMES THE BRIDE RECAP:
So Michelle woke up with a black eye. She doesn’t know why. And apparently there are no infrared cameras in the Bachelor bedrooms to capture all those midnight lingerie pillowfights, because no one else does, either! Meghan (this one, and the one on the show) thinks she gave it to herself “for attention.” Here’s a hint, Michelle: Drive off a cliff. For “attention.”
However she got it, Michelle sees an opportunity to make “I woke up with a black eye” the new “It’s my birthday.” And I see this:
“Could Michelle BEEE more Ursula the Sea Witch ?” – Chandler Bing
All the way down to the eyebrows. It’s uncanny!
Date 1: Catalina Island with Chantal
Date card: “How deep is your love?”
What it should have read: “How deep is your deepest fear? Because I’m going to expose you to it today.”
At some point between secretly psycho Jake Pavelka and openly psychologically traumatized Brad Womack, the definition of “date” got changed to “phobia exposure.” It should be called The Bachel-Fear Factor! So, naturally, Chantal, who is afraid of being underwater, and Brad fly to Catalina Island, where they will “walk on the sea floor” in a couple E.T. scientist suits (my technical term) and look at fish through 3 inches of foggy glass. Romantic and educational.
Chantal is all sorts of anxious about getting trapped and drowning, but what she should really be afraid of is entering Michelle/Ursula’s native habitat unarmed.
It’s so murky, but I think I see something … What is that … ?
OH GOD WATCH OUT BEFORE SHE MAKES YOU AN ADDITION TO HER UNDERWATER SOUL GARDEN!
I kid, I kid. (Kind of. Not really.) Back to the date: Chantal credits her burgeoning love for Brad for healing her irrational fear of drowning, and they “kiss” by touching their helmets together. If only everyone else on this show used such serious protection!
Back at the ranch: Michelle learns that she is not going on the group date, and says, if she doesn’t get the second one-on-one date, “Brad will get his own black eye.” Aggressive!
But apparently the black eye isn’t her only problem. Michelle outlines her symptoms to Ashley S.: “I beat myself up in the middle of the night, I wake up with heartburn, I don’t eat, I don’t sleep … My skin is falling off in chunks, my eyes are bulging, I’m growing wing and four more legs, my toes on each of my feet are grafting into one large mega-toe …” Maybe I was off with the sea witch thing. Is Michelle turning into THE FLY?
Same symptoms according to WebMD.
Back to the date: Chantal and Brad talk about her divorce, and how they both want to get married (again, for her) and have lots of babies. Then they practice!
When the curtained-hut is a-rockin’, don’t come a-knockin’, because they’re probably filming The Bachelor in there because no one else in the world goes on dates like this, ever.
After playing a winning game of Bachelor Word Bingo (“I have trust,” “He’s worth it,” “Follow my heart,” “Find the right person” … seriously, she sang AAAALL THE HITS!) Brad says he could see having a long-term relationship with her. Then he says “I want to continue this, badly, with you,” in which the placement of that comma is crucial. (As opposed to “I want to continue this badly. With you.”) So Chantal gets a rose.
She also apologizes for slapping him on the first night, in an “I’m sorry I’m so strong and accidentally hurt your fragile face” sort of way. I kinda like Chantal! They’ve got chemistry, and she seems to bring out some personality in Brad that the other women don’t. I mean, with who else would Brad EVER say “Will you please quit talking and just kiss me already”? It’s dorky and cliche, but at least it’s real. I mean. Realish.
Date 2: Visit Love Line with Ashley S., Stacey, Lindsay, Britt, Meghan, Alli, Lisa, Ashley H and Jackie
Date card: “Let’s put our love on the line.”
What it should have read: “Let’s talk about feelings until everyone needs real therapy.”
Brad wants to find out which of these background singers are “here for the right reasons,” so he’s arranged for them to go before the emotional firing squad that is Dr. Drew and “Mike” (whoever that is). But that means he needs to open up his own Pandora’s Feelings Box again too!
Sweating? Who’s sweating? Why would I be sweating about sitting with two relationship therapists and nine of the women I’m simultaneously dating?
[Silence as they ponder the delicious irony that the best love advice they could give Brad is the love advice they are contractually unable to give Brad, which is to NOT SEEK OUT LOVE ON TV. AGAIN.]
“PLEASE, LET US OOOOUT!”
(Where’s Sarah McLachlan when you need her?)
The women are opening up! Gabbin’ ’bout heartstrings and celebratin’ their lady-thoughts! Call Brad “McDonald’s,” because he’s “LOVIN’ IT!”
… Until Dr. Drew asks who’s cheated before, and Stacey is the only one to raise her hand. So goodbye, Stacey. Then it’s just a lot of vague-isms and platitudes whose overall lesson is “Try to find someone you can be yourself around.” (No one asks the begged question: “But what if yourself … kinda sucks?”)
Now that they’re all jacked up on honesty, it’s hot tub time! Actually, it’s awkward time, as the women take turns “stealing” Brad from each other every five minutes, like some twisted “Rock, paper, scissors” game where the person with Brad is always paper and the person interrupting them is always scissors. Paper NEVER wins. And scissors usually says “I’m sorrrrry” when she usually means “Get out the way, bitch.”
Spurred by Dr. Drew’s wisdom, copious red wine and hot-tub dehydration, Ashley H.’s feelings are “erupting” out of her like Mount Crazy, but instead of lava, it’s just the word “UGH!”
Brad beckons Britt in for a kiss by saying “Come here, to me, please?” and I am about to die, but just then, Ashley H. interrupts their passionate make-out to tell Brad that she’s PULLING AWAY FROM HIM.
Oh God, NOT THAT!
Brad is going to give her the date rose to make her feel better, but OH NO, here comes another eruption: “UUUUGH, this is AWKWARD!” she exclaims in front of everyone, interrupting Brad’s rose-giving speech. Since H ruined the moment, he gives the date rose to (sweet, heart-earring-wearing, hardcore-kissing) Britt instead. And finally bad behavior is not rewarded. At least for now.
Date 3: Rappelling with repellant Michelle
Date card: “Let’s hang out together.” HA! Michelle is pissed that her card doesn’t include the word “love.” (WHAT? DOES BRAD NOT LOVE HER YET?!)
What it should have read: “Let’s hang out over the edge of a cliff. Holding on using only our pinkies. No harnesses. Just to see how it turns out.”
The next morning, Michelle is SO excited for her first one-on-one date. Now “It’s MY DAY!” is the new “It’s my BIRTHDAY!”
Venom reapplication time! It’s MY DAY!
But stupid Ashley H. keeps ruining MICHELLE’S DAY by talking about her stupid emotions and stupid thoughts about what happened the night before, like she thinks she’s allowed to think and speak and breathe and live. Nuh uh, Ashley H. Not on MICHELLE’S DAY.
When Brad shows up to pick up Michelle, he asks to talk to Ashley H. for a quick sec before they leave, and Michelle is all:
ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME?
When Michelle throws a fit about how Ashley is taking Brad’s attention away from her, Chantal calls her out for doing the EXACT SAME THING on their first group date, when she stormed off and forced Brad to leave the rest of the girls to deal with her personal Mt. Crazy eruptions. Michelle says it’s different because that was a “moral issue.” Just like how my need to get her off my TV by any means possible so that I don’t throw it out the window onto pedestrians is a “moral issue.” I like Chantal more and more.
OK, so. The date. The barf. Do we really need to talk about it? In the immortal words of Ashley H.: “UGH.”
Michelle and Brad go rappelling down the side of a building because why not, it’s The Bachelor. They’re scared. She’s crying. We’re secretly hoping her harness is shoddy. It’s not. They make it down alive. They kiss along the way. They are bonded forever through fear.
And, of course, through THE CURSE.
They rappel down to an Olympic-sized hot tub (of course), where Michelle tells Brad that she “doesn’t see the other women with him” (of course she doesn’t) and she’s “just felt really good about” this whole process (no she hasn’t).
Brad: ” I can see my day-to-day life working out well with Michelle. I see this happening.” WHAT? No, don’t blame Brad. Like I said. CURSE.
Her dark magic growing ever stronger over the faculties of our innocent prince, Michelle gets a rose.
For some reason I/my TV accidentally changed the channel to a Zumba Infomercial for the first few minutes of the cocktail party, I guess to prove that there ARE people more insufferable in the world than the people on The Bachelor. When I finally figured out that commercial breaks should not be 7 minutes of kick-dancing long and found my way back to ABC, everyone was FLIPPING their S*** over how Brad took Emily outside for a super-special private picnic.
“Maybe the picnic basket has a ring in it.” Maybe it should! “Maybe 13 girls are going home tonight.” Maybe they should! But they don’t. Brad just wanted to make Emily feel special … at the expense of ruining everyone else’s evening. Small price to pay for the smile of an angel!
Chantal is most affected by Brad’s gesture to Emily because “It’s hard to be reminded that he has special things with other people, too.” She questions whether she isn’t “unstable” and “meek” enough for Brad. (Somebody should be wearing a sign around her neck that reads “GONE FISHIN'”!) Brad heals her insecurities with his sweet, sweet mustache tickles. All better!
This is the face Chantal makes when Brad tries to “act tough.” So it’s cool, I still like her.
Chris Harrison wakes up from his cryogenic slumber mode to remind everyone that they’re on a schedule, and there are hearts to break. And since this season the dates are all about facing your fears, tonight’s rose ceremony is technically a “date” for whoever fears dying alone!
Chantal, Britt and Michelle already have roses and oh man CHECK THIS OUT:
Chantal: From Slappy to Stink-Eye!
Brad promises “I want to propose to one of you at the end of this,” and then gives roses to:
Which means Lindsay (America’s silent sweetheart!), Stacey (Lesson: Honesty is the worst policy) and Meghan (Silence can be deadly) are eliminated. Brad says “Come here, to me, please?” as he hugs them goodbye. Is that his catchphrase now?! Again, I die. I die a thousand virtual deaths for this absolute poet. (Later, when they cheer their champagne flutes, he said, “I said what I meant.” Darn tootin’!)
NEXT WEEK: They’re going to Las Vegas, where the torture will hit a new low on the “exploitation of human suffering” scale when they put Emily (whose racecar driving fiance tragically died) IN A RACE CAR. And you thought it couldn’t be done!
(Images courtesy of ABC)