It’s a thin line between love and hate, at least according to a classic 1971 ballad by The Persuaders. But on this season of The Bachelor, there’s a much closer relationship between love and abject terror. Seriously, what is the deal with Brad Womack and his pathological desire to make every date look like a combination of Fear Factor, Paradise Hotel, and 48 Hours: Mystery?
Take Brad’s “romantic” one-on-one with Chantal O (top left, in helmet, and bottom, crying), which he ludicrously said he hoped would make her feel like she was experiencing something “completely out of the real world.” (Because, of course, Chantal needed a beak from the totally real-world existence of being cooped up in a mansion with 25 perpetually intoxicated she-beasts and competing with them for the love of a dull man.) After a quick helicopter ride to Catalina Island, Brad told Chantal that she needed to don what looked like an underwater moon suit, leap over the side of a boat, and explore the ocean floor.
Uh, just one catch, Brad. “When I’m in the water I feel absolute anxiety and terror. I’m so scared,” said Chantal, who then went on to audibly express this nightmare scenario: “I worry I might not come back up.” No dice, lady! You want a rose? You need to stare down something a little more tangible than your fear of commitment, intimacy, and being able to taste another woman’s cocktail on Brad’s mouth when he goes in for the kiss. Yes, in Womack’s World, you must come face-to-face with your worst nightmare, and then be rewarded with al fresco dining on a cold, rainy beach, followed by “intimate” time in a tent. Let’s just hope Chantal isn’t freaked out by Silence of the Lambs, or on their next date, Brad might stuff her in the back of a van, hurl her into a basement pit, and demand that she rub the lotion on her skin.
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The other one-on-one date this week went to single mother Michelle (pictured, top right), whose overwhelming fear of heights naturally led to a date that involved rappelling — or, as Brad would say, “reee-pelling” — down the side of a Los Angeles skyscraper (with a totally spontaneous stop for a kiss at the exact floor on which an ABC cameraman was positioned to catch the action). Not to worry, though, Michelle wasn’t about to let any anxiety get in the way of vanquishing her female enemies, laying waste to their villages, and drinking Jägermeister shots from their grandmothers’ skulls. After all, this is a woman so “bad-ass,” she beats herself up in her sleep. Come again? “I kicked my own ass in my sleep,” Michelle proudly declared about her shiner of unknown origin. Um, what was there for Brad to say to that, aside from “let’s slip into some warm water and play Marco Polo with our tongues” — which they did. (Side note: Did anyone else wonder if the rose wedged between Brad and Michelle was used to cover up a wardrobe malfunction? Show of hands, please!)
Next, let’s recount the soul-crushing group date, in which nine ladies packed themselves into a stretch Hummer and headed to a radio taping of Loveline with Mike and Dr. Drew. “I’m nervous because I think I’m one of the people that has a sense of how reputable Dr. Drew is,” said Stacey, slightly slurring the only word in that sentence with more than two syllables. (Yes, because every great therapist starts out his sessions by offering his patients some frosty alcoholic beverages in the green room, then allowing them the use of the public airwaves to vent their range of insecurities.)
Naturally, deep conversations about who’d cheated in the past (Stacey!) and Brad’s need for acceptance and appreciation led from the radio station to the hot tub, where everyone except Meghan (what a horrible person!) stripped down to bikinis and competed for Brad’s attention like combatants in The Hunger Games. Worst of all was The Dentist, who kept looking at the camera and pronouncing things like “Fear and frustration are like my top two emotions right now.” Oh, Dentist, so many years of higher education, and yet still so many “like, y’knows” in your vocabulary!
Back at the final cocktail party, we found Brad sailing on the joy of pure grain alcohol on the advice of his L.A.-based therapist, and Meghan committing the ultimate Bachelor crime: Pointing out that it’s just as unhealthy to fall in love too quickly, as it is to put up walls and delay the romantic gratification.
And then Emily got a basket of wine and pillows and a blanket to cover what wasn’t handled by her micro-mini — all for an intimate, on-the-ground chat with our bachelor. Said display of affection toward the blonde beauty made Chantal O. feel “cheap” (hello, and welcome to The Bachelor, doll!)
Whatever, people! Let’s say goodbye to Cheater, Redhead, and Bikini Hater. “I think my dad is gonna be so proud of me,” was Lindsay’s parting shot. Yes, he’ll always always cherish your hottub scene, dear, and that audio tape of you muttering on Dr. Drew.
What did you think of this week’s Bachelor episode? Who are you rooting for, and who do you think should go home next? Anyone else horrified about what it looks like Emily will endure next week? Sound off in the comments, and feel free to follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.