* is wearing your engagement ring
* has had prior hookups with other Bachelor Pad contestants
* really enjoys having intensely personal conversations in front of TV cameras
* is drunk on champagne
* has received an invitation to join you for an overnight stay in a Chris Harrison-approved “fantasy suite”
* has previously described his Bachelor Pad strategy as being akin to prostitution
* might increase his/her chances of taking home $250,000 via some cockamamie scheme that involves the exchange of bodily fluids
Okay, now that we’ve spelled out the basics for contestants whose names rhyme with Lacy and Bear-Wicca, let’s recap this week’s festivities!
With just one week left till the season finale, the shell of Chris Harrison — his soul is still enjoying a nice summer holiday in the Hamptons, you see — arrives to tell the contestants they’ll be playing as couples (and eliminated as couples) from here on out. Oh, and they need to get to know each other well. Really well. Not that well, Erica, so could you please take your hand off Blake’s zipper? Thank you. “Blake doesn’t realize it yet,” says our tiara-sporting, sound bite-spewing goddess, “but this is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.”
The couples begin to grill one another to prep for what they inherently know will be a trivia contest involving embarrassing personal questions. Test-prep takes a turn for the dark(ly comic) with this doozy:
Erica: What’s your biggest fear?
Blake: Dying alone.
Um, dude, if that’s your biggest fear, maybe you should stop skulking around the skanky edges of ABC’s low-rent dating franchise? Just a thought.
The morning of the competition, Vienna and Kasey are filled with hubris. “Losing this challenge is impossible for us,” grins Busty the Bachelor Slayer. The win is “so close I can smell it,” declares her boyfriend, vigorously sniffing his fingers and giving me a waking sensory nightmare involving wet dog, summer sewage, and fetid roast beef.
The “happy” “couple” bombs spectacularly, reaching a Nearlywed Game nadir when Kasey is asked what Vienna’s exes miss most about her, and fails to choose her nurturing personality, commitment to charity work, or Audrey Hepburn-esque personal style. Instead, he chooses her teeth. Forgive me for admitting it, but Vienna’s response — “Seriously? My exes miss my teeth?” — actually scores a laugh, and makes me wonder if ABC might want to consider developing a new series for Vienna and Kasey that’s one part Fear Factor and one part Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Get ready for Failed Dreams with Vienna and Kasey, in which the couple will endure all kinds of hideous weekly challenges involving bed bugs, hot coals, and packs of hungry hyenas, only to fall just short of getting their wishes granted.
Or maybe they could just go away.
Anyhow, back to this week’s contest, in which we get all kinds of awkward sexual intel. “Gentlemen,” asks Chris Harrison, how many dates before partner is ready to “make whoopie”? (Ugh.) Michael guesses three, but Holly reveals the correct answer is 14. Erica, for her part, lowballs with three. “I’m kind of a slut,” she giggles.
When Michael has to guess which other Bachelor Pad contestant Holly would sleep with if she had the chance, he writes down “Me/Michael,” proving that there’s not even a trace left of the winning sense of humor he showed during his own stint as a Bachelorette contestant.
Then, Blake reveals he lost his virginity at 16, which prompts this bit of horrendousness from Chris Harrison: “He didn’t just get his driver’s license that year!” Graham then answers the same question: “Seven.” Cue needle screeching across record, followed by record player getting hurled out into the window, where it lands in the street and gets crushed by a Mack Truck. Oh, and someone please slap a gag on our host so he doesn’t drop some kind of “seven-year itch” bon mot.
But wait, it’s not all as unsettling as we’re initially led to believe. Turns out Graham and Michelle have devised a system to crush the competition: For any numerical answer, they choose “seven.” For any query asking for a person whose gender is not specified, they choose Michael. So no, this week’s Bachelor Pad doesn’t involve any revelations of childhood sexual abuse. It does, however, include product-placement, as Graham and Michelle win a private screening of the movie What’s Your Number.
“What?!” asks Michelle. Exactly.
The duo get whisked off by helicopter — a mode of transport that always makes Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad contestants a lot more excited than I can begin to understand — and Michelle makes the most of her screen time, rocking a bikini, making out with her partner, and declaring (in not these exact words) that Graham is the kind of guy you have to hunt down, shoot, and mount on your living-room wall or else be filled with regret for rest of your life. I dunno, though: Isn’t Michelle way too crazy-interesting for this plate of boiled potatoes?
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Kasey is dropping the kind of euphemisms that make me want to drop to the bathroom floor and wretch into the toilet: “I want to enjoy some romantic one-on-one time [with Vienna] and have some stress relieved,” says Mumbles McGee, sporting a hideous gray heather tank with black trim. Vienna, however, is not in the mood to relieve, um, Kasey’s “stress,” so our chivalrous power player rips Vienna’s promise ring off her finger. (Maybe she didn’t realize that was a promise to wah-chicka-wah-wah?) As Vienna tries explaining that no means no, and attempts to help Kasey understand the dictionary definition of the word “ultimatum,” he gets in a snit and accuses her of having said “yes” to prior Bachelorette rejects on plenty of previous occasions. “Just like you told Wes. Just like you told Dave Good. Just like you told…” Somehow this leads to night-vision footage of Vienna and Kasey “going downstairs” and rolling in the sheets.
Erica, in all her cheeky wisdom, takes to the confessional to pass verdict on the uncomfortable showdown: “This is a mansion, not a trailer park. So Vienna needs to go back to where she came from and take Kasey with her.”
But soon it’s Erica’s turn to pick up the torch of sexual aggression from Kasey. She passes her bra to Michelle for inspection, declares herself “horny,” and announces her intention to seduce Blake during the one-on-one date they scored for finishing second in the Nearlywed Game. Holly — a bow in her hair, a bikini on her body, and treachery on her brain — offers herself up for Blake’s inspection (in the kitchen!) as he and Erica prepare to embark on their enchanted evening, but Erica isn’t at all bothered by her partner’s wandering eye.
Erica explains that the stars have decreed her destiny to be included the Bachelor Pad‘s final two couples. “You consulted an astrologist?” asks Blake. “Yeah, I have one,” Erica replies. “His name is Herb.”
As the duo explores a Spanish-style Los Angeles hotel called Mission Inn, Erica launches her sexual offensive — emphasis on offensive. She rubs Blake’s thighs, caresses his shoulders, says she wants to show off her sexy lingerie, and suggests they should relieve each other of their tensions. She even gives a Lucille Bluth-esque wink while raising a toast, but Blake is unmoved, offering a wide range of excuses for not wanting to dance the horizontal mambo with Erica, thus robbing her of her chance to exit the hotel the next morning and shout “Missionary accomplished!” But Erica continues to show a borderline sociopathic commitment to her cause. “As my partner, I’m asking you to do something for me,” she says to Blake, making her request sound as casual as fetching a glass of water or borrowing a paperback copy of The Hunger Games.
Blake tries a new tactic, attempting to shame Erica for telling the other Bachelor Pad ladies about her plan to bed him, but that doesn’t work, either. “Blake says that me telling the girls I’m bringing sexy lingerie is the same as if he told the guys he was bringing condoms. And I agree. I wish that he had,” Erica muses. But when Blake finally tells Erica that her relentless propositioning wouldn’t be acceptable if their gender roles were reversed, our gal rails against Blake’s sudden show of “attitude”: “I don’t like it at all and it’s disgusting.” Alrighty then!
Then we’re treated to a scene filled with all the heat and romance of a Hyundai ad: Michael trying to win back Holly with phrases from the Peabo Bryson playbook: “If you come running to me, I will take you in my arms and love you,” he says. Silly breakdancer, you cant win over a woman while wearing a black-and-white tweed cap with a wooly baby-blue print front!
Finally, it’s time to focus on the week’s elimination. In an effort to inject some suspense into the proceedings, ABC gives Blake and Erica a rose to save any couple in the house — just not themselves. They promptly purchase one-way tickets to hell by granting immunity to Kasey and Vienna — in exchange for their vote against Kirk and Ella. Vienna then goes on a screed about how just because Ella has a nine-year-old son doesn’t mean she deserves the money any more than anyone else. I mean, Vienna’s mom is four months behind on her rent, and if she gets evicted, Vienna’s 11-year-old sister won’t have any place to live, and then who’s going to fetch Vienna’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner when she’s recovering from her nose job?
Kasey, however, discovers his “Godfather” title doesn’t apply to Michelle and Graham, who declare their intention to vote off man-code violator Blake, and spare Kirk and Ella. And so it’s Vienna/Kasey and Erica/Blake voting for Ella/Kirk, and Ella/Kirk and Michelle/Graham voting for Erica/Blake. And since only the women are going into the voting booth, the final verdict will come down to Holly, who’s busy strategizing about how best to secure herself a quarter of a million dollars by probing Blake’s mouth with her tongue.
When Holly realizes it’s all down to her, she sits in the bathroom and cries. “I don’t want to hurt Michael, but if I vote off Blake, he’s gone,” Holly tells Ella, utterly ignoring the fact that if she spares Blake, she’ll be sending Ella on this week’s limo ride of shame. Ella somehow suppresses the urge to try to drown Holly in the shallow puddle at the bottom of the oversized shower stall, planting a kiss on the top of her head instead.
Finally, Holly makes her decision. “My heart hurts,” she sobs. (Incidentally, her brain feels nothing, since it’s down to a medulla oblongata eaten away by shots of Jagermeister.) And with that, Blake and Erica are sent home. “Tonight was a great injustice,” says Erica (she never got to strip down to her hot-pink bra!). But Blake is content. Holly slipped him a note — all seventh-grade-like — as he exited the competition, and now he has the chance to win “the best prize out of anyone.” Yes, he referred to Holly as a prize. No, I don’t have anything left to say about this episode.
Next week: Season finale!
What did you think of this week’s Bachelor Pad? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!