Monday, January 25, 2016

Bachelor Ben: Talent on display

Welcome back. I had a comment last week from CNoelle, who does her own Bachelor blog here, asking if I actually enjoyed the show or just enjoyed making fun of it. I've been mulling it over. It's a really good question. I enjoy much of it and I really dislike lots of it. I like the genuine people (or at least those that fake it well) and truly detest the phoney aspects of the show. Maybe it's 40-60? Hard to say, though.

She also asked if my assertion that the producers make some of the picks was really true. Obviously I'm not an insider. I don't really know. But there's no way I can believe some of the batshit crazy contestants getting selected (usually last) over some great women. There's no other explanation except that the producers prefer to have "dramatic" situations over generally nice contestants, so they either make the choice outright or somehow influence the decision.

Okay, questions answered. On with the show!

The two to watch are Jubilee and Olivia. They're the ones the others girls don't like. The twins are just... twins. They're insignificant. There for the novelty. They do everything together, including the treadmill. As in the same treadmill at the same time. And Ben doesn't try to pry them apart. They go on all the group dates together.

This week they're all in the "marriage capital of the world," Las Vegas, Nevada.

They walk into a "sky suite" and it's "unlike anything" the kindergarten teacher from Ann Arbor, Michigan, has ever seen in her life. Go figure.

JoJo gets the one-on-one date. Olivia isn't sweating it because she feels so good about what she and Ben have. But her eyes say otherwise when she watches Ben take JoJo away.

A helicopter arrives as the other girls watch from the room. The wind from the copter blows over the table. Ben and JoJo hide behind it and kiss. Now reality hits Olivia. The roller coaster has begun.

JoJo and Ben don't take in any of the sights from on high. They're too busy kissing.

The group date card is read and Olivia is on it. She's not happy. But let's get back to JoJo. No idea about their date. We're at the nighttime portion already and they're sitting and talking. Somewhere. JoJo is talking about her 1.5-year-long relationship. There were trust issues. Ben is looking like this is the most traumatic story ever. It ends with more kissing, as every good traumatic story does.

JoJo says she was scared opening up about her past. Maybe I missed it. Didn't seem like anything unusual at all. She gets a rose. Because this date is so edited down, it must mean there's lots of drama coming up elsewhere. Let's get to it!

But the date isn't over. They head to the balcony and watch fireworks. So special. Only Ben, JoJo and the rest of the city of Las Vegas could see them.

Now the group date and (probably) Olivia drama. It's Caila's first group date. The gang meets Terry Fator, a ventriloquist impersonator. No, he doesn't impersonate a ventriloquist. Rather, he does impressions through his puppets. But they're not there to learn ventriloquism. Or impressions. It's a talent show. The twins learned Irish dancing  and Jubilee plays the cello so they're set, but many of the others are struggling to find their talents. Many think Olivia has a secret talent. As long as it doesn't involve her feet, I'm sure she'll be okay.

One thing I love about Terry Fator is that he gives his dummy a microphone. A dummy microphone, I'm sure, but a microphone. I always thought it was a mistake when the ventriloquist got a mic but the dummy didn't, yet we heard them both equally. Before you take any shots at me, I know what ventriloquism is. But we're supposed to buy into the reality that there are two people talking up there. So thumbs up to Mr. Fator for recognizing this.

Olivia's talent is impersonating a Vegas showgirl. She tells us she shaved this morning so that's all taken care of. Not sure what she thinks Vegas showgirls do. They're usually topless, not bottomless. Maybe to go along with her ugly toes, she's got a hairy chest.

They're going to perform in front of 1200 people. Hope they got in free.

Caila is still terminally cute. Olivia is still too much.

Haley and Emily are first up. They are pretty good. I mean, all things considered. And Jubilee knows her way around the cello. Then we see some juggling, hula hooping, balloon animals, pogo jumping, and a whole lot of other non-talent. Then finally it's Olivia's turn. A giant cake is wheeled out. She pops out in her bikini and garter belt and starts... dancing? Kicking her legs? Shimmying? She's laughing, anyway. But clearly the least talented of a very non-talented bunch. After the show backstage she has a meltdown. Everything you want in a news anchor and more.

She's weeping that she doesn't know if she can do "this." She's taking this realization that she has no talent pretty hard. She's embarrassed for herself that she didn't show herself off to be marriage material.

Who knew the most talented of the group would be the Ditz sisters?

The cute, sweet, innocent Caila turns into a "sex panther" when alone with Ben. She just grabs him and rams her tongue down his throat.

Ben grabs a puppet and talks with Lauren H. She kisses the puppet. Then Ben. She says, "Little Ben is way bigger than I expected." A penis joke from the kindergarten teacher.

The group date rose is hanging in the balance. Olivia thinks she may be out of the running. But it's showing vulnerability and may help her in the long run. She tells Ben she's not good at being showy or sexy. He tells her she shouldn't be embarrassed because it wasn't bad at all. But she sees through his comforting. She feels like things have changed. She thought the conversation was as awkward as her performance. It was the first time they've talked and not kissed. She "400 percent" needs to see him again.

So she gets up and goes to see Ben again when he's been talking to Emily for three minutes. Has he kissed either of the twins? Olivia tells Ben she wants to start over. He tells her she doesn't need to apologize and she finally gets her kiss. All while standing. She's relieved.

Now it's rose time. It goes to Lauren B., the flight attendant. He hugs her with another girl sitting between them.

Next up is Becca's giant box. Did we know she was going on a one-on-one? Well, she is, apparently. The box contains a wedding dress. Jubilee says Becca's the perfect person to wear white. "If she hasn't lost it in 26 years, I doubt it's going to happen in six hours. Just sayin'," she says.

Becca is driven in a pink Cadillac convertible to a wedding chapel. Ben gets down on one knee and says, "Becca, will you marry... other people with me today." You see, he's been ordained. She's ecstatic for his misdirection. She didn't want to have to say yes to Ben. That's what she said! Why is she even there?

The first couple enters the chapel. Becca helps with the ceremony, but is she ordained, too? Is this on the up-and-up? But Ben's doing a bang-up job. Looks like Chris Harrison has some competition in the cheesy wedding competition.

After their marriages, Ben and Becca go to the neon museum. They sit down and he tries to find out if Becca's capable of loving and feeling. "It's good to feel. I want you to feel," says Ben. What's he getting at? They talk about virginity. He asks if it's been hard for her. (It has.) He equates her commitment to God and virginity to marriage, which is also a commitment. So he knows she's serious. And they kiss and make vows to each other. He makes vows to her to look her in the eyes, to smile when it's appropriate, to be honest and open, and to take her on the coolest dates. Her vows to him are to always tell him he's great, to make sure he knows she's in this, to always express how she's feeling when she's feeling it. And they kiss some more like they mean it, like it's leading somewhere. But I'm not buying her vows. She gets the rose, though.

When she said yes to the rose, her teeth looked to me like dentures.

It's rose ceremony night but Chris Harrison arrives to say Emily and Haley are going to spend the day with Ben. That means one's going home. Which is not far, since they're from Las Vegas. It's going to be an early hometown.

Ben goes into Haley's bedroom (or maybe Emily's, who can tell?) and she's embarrassed that there are a bunch of photos up of her and her old boyfriend. Whoops.

Emily's talking too much. She's sounding desperate. She says she has a stronger connection than Haley. She's throwing her sister under the proverbial bus. Ben thinks he has a stronger connection with one of them, too. I wonder which one.

The mom says Emily is more dominant. I bet Ben chooses Haley.

He sits them down on the couch, with mom right there. Nope, I was wrong. Ben says goodbye to Haley. Finally he kisses one of the twins in the limo.

At the cocktail party, Olivia changes history, saying the group date ended badly. Did she forget the kiss? But Jenn takes Ben first. Not for long, though. Olivia gets up to interrupt them. "I don't care about anyone else's relationship with Ben. I don't care," she says. She thinks they need to progress and move forward.

She brings Ben some cheesecake. The other girls aren't happy, but why don't they go interrupt her? Caila asks Jenn if she now wishes she had gone last instead of first, giving the impression that they're each allowed one one-on-one meeting with Ben at the party. I wish they'd lay these rules out so we knew them. And are there rules about when someone can interrupt? There should be, and we should know what they are. Either way, Olivia gets her full time. No one interrupts.

Olivia tells JoJo that she told Ben she's falling for Ben. We have no evidence of that. Did it happen? Not sure. JoJo says she'd never say that unless it was reciprocated. Olivia doesn't blink and says, "It was." Okay, that was a lie.

Who is pre-rosed? JoJo, Lauren B., and Becca. Olivia speaks in the third-person saying, "Olivia's here to stay. She's not going anywhere." She's talking trash throughout the ceremony. The other roses go in order to:

  1. Amanda
  2. Lauren H.
  3. Jubilee
  4. Emily
  5. Caila, naturally (I want her to be the next Bachelorette)
  6. Jenn
  7. Leah
  8. Olivia
Remember, last pick is always producers' pick! (Unless it isn't.)

Rachel, one of the unemployed ones, goes home. I have zero recollection of her whatsoever. The 30-year-old matronly Amber takes off her shoes and cries curled up in a ball: "I don't want to be hurt again." Is that it? Only two cut? I guess three with Haley, too, but still.

Next week they're in Mexico. In the teasers, we hear Ben saying maybe there's a side of Olivia he hasn't seen yet. They're always the last to know, aren't they?