Last night’s episode of The Bachelor kicked off with Chantal O. explaining that this season’s crop of lovetestants can be divvied up among two groups: “Normals” and “Crazies.” I’m not quite sure who falls into the former group, but before we recap the action, how about some words of wisdom from Chris Harrison? “When you get time with [Brad], use it wisely.” Hear that, ladies? It doesn’t matter if you can still smell your bunkmate’s strawberry-flavored lip gloss on the Bachelor’s lips, when he goes in for a kiss, you’d better submit!
The first one-on-one date went to The Nanny — don’t worry, I’ll start using her real name if she begins to look like a legitimate threat to make the hometown visits — who’s clearly all about setting achievable goals. “I’m gonna make sure that Brad kisses me tonight!” she cooed about our makeout-loving protagonist, who later in the episode would be moved to get his smooch on by such unlikely inspirations as raging insecurity, stalker-ish behavior, and stories about deceased parents and fiancés.
Luckily for The Nanny, Brad’s turn-ons also include awful karaoke. On a date concocted in reality TV hell, Brad took the wide-eyed gal to Capitol Records, where they got in touch with their “true selves” by recording a duet of Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” — which just so happened to be a very special song to The Nanny and her late father — then hearing the song performed by Mr. Heidi Klum himself. The Nanny sweetly confessionalized that she felt like her dad had orchestrated the moment from above. And if by “dad,” she meant “the show’s producers,” and if by “from above” she meant “cynically based on extensive interviews I submitted to before taping,” then by golly, she was right! Naturally, the date ended with lots of kissing and caressing, and The Nanny’s jarring declaration that “Even though I lost my dad, I’m gonna get a great husband.” Memo to ABC: Maybe you should consider sharing Brad’s on-camera therapist with some of this season’s more, um, fragile female participants?
Moving right along, this week’s group date found Brad and approximately 100 sports-bra-clad women on a fake movie set shooting a fake action flick called Love Hurts, because, again, there’s no more truthful path to authentic love than testing a potential partner’s camera-readiness, ability to memorize dialogue, and engage in stunt fighting. Funeral director Shawntel N.’s impressive combat skills caught Brad’s eye and resulted in a steamy on-screen makeout session, but I was more impressed by her use of the word “hyenas” to describe her romantic rivals. Michelle called Brad and Shawntel’s public display of affection “really offensive” before declaring her intent to plant a “sensual, sexy, slippery (!) kiss” on our protagonist before the night was over.
With filming completed, it was off to the late-night wrap party, where (surprise!) all the ladies were wearing bikinis underneath their daywear. Here, Brad proved to be really in touch with women’s feelings. Chantal O. dissolved into sobs sharing the story of how she tracked down her biological father only to discover he had already died, and Brad comforted her by putting his tongue in her mouth. Michelle shared that she felt selfish for leaving her young daughter to pursue reality TV fame love, and Brad made it all better by putting his tongue in her mouth. Shawntel N. stood on a breezy rooftop, and Brad made sure she didn’t get a chill by putting his tongue in her mouth. Ultimately, though, the sassy funeral director won Brad’s taste test and took home the coveted rose trophy at the end of the evening. Sorry, Michelle, you should’ve Listerined away the lingering notes of stale champagne and bitterness!
The week’s final date went to Emily, whose “Children’s Hospital Event Planner” chyron puts her a singing chipmunk and an evil stepmother away from becoming a full-fledged Disney princess. Seriously, not even Emily’s competitors can hate on her. And naturally, since the father of Emily’s daughter died in a tragic plane crash, the producers decided to reward her by starting her date with Brad with… a romantic airplane ride! No wonder the poor woman was such a frazzled mess during the first half of the date. Once Brad and Emily got to an abandoned barn and the white wine began to flow (see photo), however, she opened up and shared the story of losing her love and finding out she was pregnant in the same week. Brad was left feeling “the way people feel when they begin a future with somebody.” Heck, even my cynical heart grew a half a size when Emily’s face lit up talking about her little girl. Michelle, meanwhile, boiled a bunny back in Brad’s mansion and made plans to sneak up behind Emily in a steamed-up bathroom mirror while clutching a massive butcher’s knife.
Faced with the prospect of attending a cocktail party with close to 20 semi-intoxicated, insecure women, Brad wisely made an appointment with his therapist, and forgetting he spent an entire previous season on The Bachelor, explained that prior to his karaoke date with The Nanny, that he’d never let a girl see him act like a fool. Ha!
Back at the house, The Dentist desperately sought reassurance that Brad was still interested in her. (I hope that their resulting “teeth-cleaning” session was worth her reputation as a respected member of her hometown medical community.) Michelle, meanwhile, haughtily chastised Brad for kissing other chicks, but because she’s smokin’ hot, scored the first rose of the ceremony. And then there was Madison, who popped out her fake fangs and fled the rose ceremony like a vampire at sunrise. The other ladies’ eyes bulged with shock and incredulity: A bachelorette leaving the show…by her own choice? Shouldn’t Chris Harrison have reentered the room to explain how, exactly, the laws of nature, decorum, and televised dating had been rewritten?
“If any of you don’t feel right about this, please don’t accept these roses,” Brad said, his voice trembling. “You understand what I’m saying?” NO, BRAD, THE LADIES DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU’RE SAYING. If you want them to leave the mansion and their final chance at love ever, then you’ll have to get an ABC security crew to drag their thrashing, tear-soaked bodies out to a limousine, stuff them in the trunk, and drive them down to the docks for a date with a burlap sack and a pile of bricks. MADISON, HOW COULD YOU?
And then, as if Madison never really existed at all, Brad continued with the rose ceremony, sending home Kimberly (“F*** Brad! His loss!”) and sad spider-mascara’d Sarah P. (“Rejection sucks. I just wanna go home.”), while introducing us to Stacey, a woman I have no recollection of seeing in the previous two episodes of the season. Welcome to the journey, Stacey! Until next week, I leave you with he top three out-of-context ways in which Brad sounded like a serial killer in this episode.
3. Sending the women a note that said “Love Hurts” prior to the group date. Yikes.
2. “These women have no clue what I’m about to put them through.”
1. “I’m sure Ashley S. is going to feel completely tortured.”
What did you think of this week’s episode? Did the right women get sent home? Do you think Brad is into Michelle, or are the producers forcing him to keep her crazy curves in the game? And does anyone else think Brad’s speaking cadence resembles Hank Hill from King of the Hill? Sound off below, and for all my reality TV coverage, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.