If you had told me in middle school, back when my ideas about love were mostly informed by the movie Casper (“No, Devon Sawa’s beautiful cartoon ghost, can I keep YOU?” — me, then) that at age 25 I would be alone, recapping The Bachelor on Valentine’s Day, surrounded by a metaphorical army of cats and drinking a non-metaphorical bottle of wine, I would be like, “Nu huh! I’m gonna be married to Devon Sawa, and on Valentine’s Day he’ll take me out to a fancy dinner at the top of the Eiffel tower, where he will have arranged for our seven children to put on a musical revue for our amusement. Also, I will be a famous painter and writer and also a secret princess.” (Big, achievable dreams.)
As my life and the lives of the broken souls on The Bachelor go to show, things don’t always work out the way we plan them, but that doesn’t mean things are so bad, or that we need to turn a stupid candy-sales-based holiday into an excuse to feel lonely and worthless. (Although, if you’re in the mood to feel pathetic, I hear this game is just the trick.) I may not be married to Devon Sawa, but at least I’m not engaged to Brad Womack! It may be my job to recap The Bachelor on Valentine’s Day, but overall my life is awesome, because it’s my job to make jokes with you all! So, chins up, sisters. Now that the requisite lovey-barfy Valentine’s Day moaning is out of the way, let’s get to normal Bachelor stuff, which ALSO HAPPENS TO BE LOVEY-BARFY MOANING!
ROSES ARE RED, VIOLETS ARE BLUE, THIS JOKE FORMULA SUCKS BUT MY RECAP DOES NOT:
The ladies and Brad are now in romantic, exotic Anguilla, which is in the Caribbean if you, like me, are too poor (and poorly educated) to know where the world’s most exclusive romantic tropical hot spots are located. In a very special (not special at all) Valentine’s day episode, they will go on fancy fantasy dates, and some of them will kiss the Bachelor while others of them will not kiss the Bachelor and be punished for it with a trip back to dumb ugly America! Let’s see how the dates go! This week there are three one-on-one dates and one group date, if you care.
Date #1: Stranded on a deserted island with Emily
Date card: “Three things I would bring to a deserted island: Picnic lunch, champagne, Emily.”
What it should have read: “Let’s pretend we’re in the movie Castaway. You be Tom Hanks, I’ll be Wilson. Chris Harrison is Helen Hunt.”
Brad picks up Emily and OH LOOK it’s a helicopter, big surprise! Emily pretends that’s not the usual mode of travel on The Bachelor, and also that Brad plans anything: “You do too much on our dates!” she exclaims with grateful excitement, because she’s a doll and we love her, never forget it.
Brad’s hoping that some time on a tiny deserted “private island” will take his relationship with Emily to the next level because “this is the ideal scenario for a guy to tell a girl how he’s feeling.” Yeah, when she can’t run away! And if she tries, you can catch her. Haha, what is she gonna do, SWIM HOME? Not with Brad grabbing onto her legs she’s not!
Brad and “Em” (whom he should stop calling that like he knows her!) are all alone on their tiny beach, and it’s … awkward. Brad says, “I planned this perfect date” (NO YOU DIDN’T) and he’s shocked that it’s tense.
“WHY YOU NO HAVE FUN? I LUB YOU SO MUCH!”
He blurts and spurts out that he cares about Emily “so much,” and then the sun and the moon magically align in the sky, and all of sudden they’re kissing and it’s all better now! Emily and Brad are like, “It’s been a good day!” But HAS it, really? It looks like they just sat there and talked about feelings for five hours. Emily, I love you, you’re better than this, why can’t you seeee?
Back at the villa: The next date card shows up, and Britt is devastated that it’s for Shawntel N. Will Britt EVER get her time to show Brad the marble bust of his likeness she carved while all the other women went on their dates?!
Back on the date: Brad and Emily are off their tiny private island and back on their slightly bigger private beach on Anguilla for dinner. Brad asks her if she’s going to allow him to meet her daughter. Emily lets out a “deep sigh,” and she says she has anxiety about it because she’s over-protective, she’s never introduced Ricky to anyone she’s dated, and this is an even weirder situation than most. Translation: “There’s still a 1 in 6 chance you’re going to dump me before this is over, and a 0 in a million chance that we would ever actually get married.” Brad tries to talk her into it by dangling the future proposal in her face, and she finally seems like she might let him meet little Ricki.
Just to sweeten the pot, Brad throws caution to the wind and declares “I’m gonna BREAK DER RULES!” and tells Emily that she’s definitely getting a rose this week, and they’re going to her hometown, so she can go ahead and “make some calls” (?!) to arrange for the daughter hand-off I mean meet-up. Then they kiss, but it’s “MORE than just a kiss!” exclaims smitten kitten Brad.
It’s also kind of a face-grope.
Sidenote: During commercial, the news just teased a segment about “the dangerous ways that some women are getting bigger bottoms”! Ladies, we might need to hold a meeting, because between The Bachelor, whatever THAT DANGEROUS FAKE BOTTOM THING is about, and this new Android commercial I keep seeing with a crazy murderer woman in a tree spying on the guy she likes, our PR is in the toilet today.
Date #2: Street-walking with Shawntel N.
Date card: “Let’s find love in the streets of Anguilla.”
What it should have read: “Daytime Baby Goat Red Wine Party Time!”
For their date, Brad and Shawntel go bike riding (WITHOUT HELMETS!) and marvel at the local culture by attending a farmer’s market. “I start tripping out a little bit and being like, this is like my perfect date, and he had no idea.” Whatever THAT means, I still like Shawntel. She seems real. Well, real-er.
At the market, we learn that Shawntel is easy, breezy and beautiful, and that “you never interrupt a man’s game of dominoes.” They meet an old mystic named Auntie Bee, and she tells gives Brad and Shawntel relationship advice: “Hold hands and maybe kiss sometimes.” Then she tells them to tell their parents if they’re going to get married. Shawntel loves watching Brad talk to other-people-who-aren’t-her-direct-competition and says, “I just think he’s all-around the perfect guy.” (Note: She has not interacted with another single human man for seven weeks. So.)
They go sit among a bunch of BABY GOATS (!!!!!!) and drink massive goblets of red wine in the daytime.
Babygoat-chelor, will you accept this rose?
Daytime Baby Goat Red Wine Parties are the BEST! Shawntel tells Brad that watching him interact with the locals has made her realize that she’s falling in love with him. Brad thanks her, but inside he is feeling torn and confused, and hopes his dinner with Shawntel brings him “clarity.”
At dinner, Shawntel tells Brad that she wants him to come home to Chico with her, and they bond over how much they both love their moms, which brings up how Brad isn’t close to his dad, and also calls my attention for the first time to the fact that the Womack boys are named CHAD ‘n’ BRAD. Oh, Texas. It starts to rain, which gets Shawntel revved and ready to mack, which they do.
It’s fun if you imagine them holding this exact pose for several hours without moving.
Brad says his catchphrase, “My God!” and then Bankie Banx, “the most famous singer in Anguilla,” shows up to throw them a concert. Yes, THAT Bankie Banx, the “Bob Dylan of Anguilla”! Brad and Shawntel are so star-struck that after one song (which they spent making out) they ditch out on the concert and go swimming in the dark. From the way Shawntel mounts him in the water, Brad seems to have found his “clarity” about his “growing” feelings for her!
Back at the villa: Another date card shows up, and Britt is practically pulling out her long Rapunzel hair in anxious anticipation. But luck is finally on Britt’s side, because THIS date is ALL HERS! Michelle never gives up an opportunity to sound like an ominous supervillain: “I think there’s a good chance their ship will go down.” (“Because I built a bomb and put it on their boat! I’m CRAZY!”)
Date 3: Yacht-sailing and cliff-jumping with Britt
Date card: “Let’s set sail on the sea of love.”
What it should have read: Ideally, it’d be the entire “Boats ‘n’ Hoes” rap from Step Brothers.
Britt is always dressed like a pretty, pretty princess. Now Brad is going to treat her like modern day royalty: He’s picking her up in a BFY (big f***ing yacht)! They swim out to it while the other women stand on the shore and judge. “I don’t even see them friending each other on Facebook!” says Michelle, who’s looking more haggard than usual, like perhaps her sea-witch beauty spell is wearing off over time. But soon the sun will set on Ariel’s 16th birthday, and she’ll have Prince Eric forever!
Britt and Brad (Michelle’s right, that DOES sound cute!) go to a place called “Little Bay,” where they’re going cliff jumping. Again, WITHOUT HELMETS! I can feel my mom at home being stressed on their behalf. Don’t worry, Mom, only people with brains worth saving are in need of helmets.
He talked out his fears with his therapist beforehand, so Brad has no problem jumping off the cliff, but Britt is freaking out. It’s a METAPHOR for how she’s scared to jump into love! But after some wavering and coersion from Brad, she jumps. Go Britt! You’re a big kid now!
Back at the villa: The final date card shows up, and Chantal hopes it’s just for her and Ashley, but NO DICE: Michelle is invited too. Michelle then says the obvious: “I really don’t want to be on a date with you guys. Group dates suck.” And they suck the most when certain people go on them and intentionally make everyone else miserable. Have fun with Michelle, you guys!
Back on the date, Britt looks (and … is?) about 20 years younger than Brad, and they’re sitting about 20 feet apart. OK, more like 2 feet, but seriously, he could be her dad. And her bright pink sparkly earrings and pastel swimsuit aren’t doing anything to make her look like any more like Brad’s date and any less like his adopted ward. Brad is surprised to realize that he is not romantically attracted to Britt (and I’m relieved, because yuck, Dad!) as they sit in the cove at Little Bay, but he hopes they can find the passion at dinner. Does Chris Hansen make yacht calls? He might need to interrupt this date before it goes too far.
It’s dinner time on the yacht! Britt is wearing an indefensible peach negligee thing.
Britt, I love you, but NO.
Brad is getting “Lolita” brain quakes, and acting standoffish. “There’s just no romance between me and Britt. There’s just not,” says Brad, finally totally allaying my fears that we’d have to call Child Protective Services. Brad tells Britt that he “thinks the world of her,” but “there’s a but.” And the “but” (haha, he keeps saying “butt”!) is that he doesn’t want to “bow-chicka-wow-Brad-n-Britt-be-bonin’!” with her. Britt says her final words before she’s forced to walk the plank: If this situation was normal, she would want to keep trying to date Brad, to see if they could “find” the romance. But Brad is stalwart: He no longer wants to hit that, and he won’t string her along, since he was “CRUCIFIED” (eeek, bad word choice, Brad!) for that the last time he was The Bachelor.
Having lots of affection and respect for Britt but not wanting to spend another loathsome second in her presence, Brad sends Britt away from his fancy yacht in a dingy little motor boat like she’s one of the last survivors to disembark the sinking Titanic. She’s forced to walk home to the villa alone and tell all the other girls that she just got dumped. They run up excitedly and say, “Did you have fun or WHAT!” and she’s like “actually, or what,” and other girls are like “WHY WHY WHY WHY WHYYYY!!!” when an hour ago they were sitting around and saying Brad would even reject Britt on Myspace. So she packs up her big orange suitcase, gets back in her tiny motorboat and attempts to find her way back to America in the dark. Good luck, Britt! We hardly knew you and your luxe golden locks.
Date #4: Half-naked objectification with Michelle, Ashley and Chantal
Date card: “This is the dawn of a new love.”
What it should have read: “I wanna see some booooobiiiiiies.”
Brad rolls up to the women’s villa at 2 AM and wakes up Michelle, Chantal and Ashley to tell them the date is starting now. The women are confused and angry that Brad surprised them. Brad brags that they are about to fulfill the dream of a MILLION women! (Who are too ugly or fat or smart, so they got real jobs instead.)
Michelle: “I look atrocious and feel disgusting.” Finally we agree on something!
The ladies meet “MJ Day” (that’s someone’s real name, apparently!) and she tells them that they are going to “grace the pages” of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue (which hits newsstands February 15! Hey, that’s TOMORROW!) And now it’s basically a mashup of my two favorite hate-shows, The Bachelor and America’s Next Top Model, except these “models” feel like “fat lards” in their bikinis. Good thing Brad would never actually keep a fatty. Or a woman who would object to objectifying herself!
The photo shoot commences. Ashley is first, and pretty quickly she takes off her top and replaces it with seashells. Michelle is furious to see the artifacts of her home used to sell sex, and I have a thought: What if this issue ends up in Ashley’s dentist waiting room? AWESOME.
“Hehe, I’m a doctor!”
Chantal is next, and for all her talk of feeling insecure and disgusting, she too is not shy about taking off her top. Brad starts to get nervous: “I’m watching the girls get very competitive.” Competitively NUDE. The Bachelor producers miss a prime opportunity to give host Chris Harrison some much-needed face-time:
But oh, when Brad said competitive, he means Michelle. No duh. She says she’s not the “type of girl” who’s “easily persuaded” to go topless, even though she’s “done a little modeling” (probably nude) in her life. She’s the one who usually does the persuading/emotional manipulating, and she’s at it again: Instead of going topless, Michelle coerces the photographer into posing her on top of Brad so she can have a sandy dry-hump with him on camera.
FIXED IT AGAIN
Ashley and Chantal throw up a lot in their mouths. “On a scale of 1 to 10 for how hot my photo was with Brad, it was a 15,” says Michelle, who can’t count. Brad regrets that he got caught up in how “aggressive” Michelle got and made out with her in front of everybody, and he can see that Ashley and Chantal are now miserable.
At their after-shoot pool party (LIFE IS SO HARD), Brad tries to do damage control with the two topless tantrum-throwers. Ashley says she feels “disconnected” after watching Michelle wrap her talons around Brad’s eerily hairless chest, but Brad makes her feel better (or so she says) when he reassures her that he doesn’t think of her as a “kid sister.”
Chantal pouts about Brad’s sucky body language, and she reminds him that she’s in LOVE with him so he better give her dat rose.
Next up is Michelle, and Brad says the stupidest thing yet: “I think all of our conversations are deep.” No, wait, this is stupider: “I’m scared we’re almost too much alike.” I guess he means that she’s “volatile” and “stubborn,” not that she’s abusive and manipulative. Michelle says she’s “the first person to admit she’s wrong,” which is a wrong, wrong lie, but she doesn’t admit to THAT one either! Oh my gosh, you guys. What if we have to go home and meet Michelle’s family next week? Do you think she has a huge tank in her house that she keeps full of eels and shrunken souls? How’s she gonna explain THAT to her Southern gentleman caller? (Answer: More brainwashing.)
“Those? Those are just my … plants! They’re special plants with eyes! From Japan!”
When Brad brings Michelle back to their private cabana (again, life is SO HARD), Chantal asks to have another go on Brad’s emotional carousel, and she asks why he’s acting so cold and distant. “This pool party is beyond difficult,” says Brad, effectively becoming the king of White People Problems.
So now we’re gonna go around on the carousel again, this time with Ashley, who’s flipping out about how she flipped out earlier, and also flipping out anew: “Don’t send me hoooome!” Her desperation is super sexy, so Brad gives her the date rose. But first, after worrying for HOURS that he was making everyone feel worse than necessary, he tells Chantal and Michelle, “Now for the most awkward moment of the date, har har hurrrrrr,” and walks away. Is there such a thing as being emotionally disabled? I feel like Brad might need to get himself checked out.
They see Ashley got the rose, and it’s Hate Time at the OK Cabana: Chantal is PIIIIISSED, and Michelle is trying to burn holes into Brad’s face with her laser eyes. Chantal starts to sob in front of everyone, and refuses to talk to Brad like a little baby in a bikini. (Eww.) When she finally uses her words, she complains to Brad that since he picked Ashley, he clearly hates her and will send her home. He tries to tell her that “it’s just a matter of timing,” and she shouldn’t count herself out just yet. (HOW GENEROUS OF YOU, BRAD.) Chantal says, “Ugh, I’m OK,” while crossing her fingers like a brat, and I’m starting to … what’s the word … loathe her? Although I think she genuinely loves Brad, because only a person truly in love would act like such a crazy whiner.
The women pull up to “LE BLEU” (which is what one of them is about to be!) for their final cocktail party before Hometown Dates. Chantal still thinks she’s about to get dumped, but my money’s on Michelle, because I always bet my money on my DREAMS.
Chris Harrison approaches Brad from behind and is like, “Hey! The blogs have been giving me a tough time for being an absent host. Let’s talk.” Brad tells Chris that he doesn’t want to have a cocktail party. He already decided who he’s going to send home (PLEASE PLEASE MAKE IT MICHELLE) and he doesn’t want to give the women time to change his mind. Which is such a shame for Michelle, because between the date and the party, she had time to recast her beauty spell and draw on her eyebrows of evil enticement. She was going to find a way to change Brad’s mind and make him LOVE her!
Sidenote: Is this the first time the whole season we’ve actually seen Brad looking at the framed pictures of the remaining women? And it’s with only FIVE of them left, like he can’t remember who his final five are?!
“Wait. Who’s that?”
Good grief. I hope they make him carry those framed photos around in his suitcase, and that he carefully stacks them in the order of who he likes the most every time he packs them. “My god, does anyone have extra bubble wrap?” … is probably what he says when he packs them. Emily’s probably goes on top, sealed with a kiss.
Chris Harrison breaks the news to the ladies: Brad’s mind is made up, so the party is canceled. “No need to delay the inevitable,” says Chris. “And this way we save money on booze, and whoever gets dumped has to feel the full, sober brunt of the rejection.” It’s a win-win-win-win-lose!
All the women except for Ashley and Emily are scared and weepy. It’s time to break a heart, OR, if Michelle’s going home, it’s time to invoke a wrath as fierce as a thousand suns. Brad shows up and explains why he’s BREAKIN’ THE RULEZ once again: Because he cherishes them like the fragile little china dolls that they are, and always wants to tell them the truth. Now: Who’s gettin’ dumped on TV?!
Ashley already has a rose. And the remaining three go to…
Ding dong, the witch is … well, you know. Brad walks her out and asks if he can hold her hand, and Michelle says, “Uh, probably not.” She’s eerily silent, like maybe she’s going to lash out like a rattlesnake, but instead she just tells Brad she doesn’t want to talk and gets into her limo. In the limo she decides to lay down morosely, like her heart died, like she even had one, which is totally unexpected! I have to admit that I am a little disappointed that she didn’t throw a fit and looks so … human. But good exit, Michelle. You kept us guessing until the bitter end.
For Valentine’s Day, Brad got Michelle a special box of assorted “forever alone.”
Next Week: Brad goes to the women’s hometowns. Chantal’s parents look like Lorelei’s parents from Gilmore Girls (and Chantal wears a NECKERCHIEF!!!), Brad gets “freaked out” at Shawntel’s funeral home, and Brad gets to meet Emily’s daughter, who doesn’t seem to like him very much!
(Images courtesy of ABC)
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