The Bachelor Recap: Pinot Me Gusta

“I’m in shock.” “I feel sick.” “Are you kidding me? No, really, are you kidding me? I can’t believe this is happening. I’m mortified.” “I’m gonna pretend this never happened.”

Those were the tear-streaked words that Weepy McCrazypants uttered as her brief and humiliating journey came to an end on Monday night’s edition of The Bachelor, but they’d have been just as apt applied to at least a half-dozen other moments during the episode. Seriously, try mentally playing back Jenna’s quotes while visualizing any one of the following scenes of horror from the two-hour telecast:

* Ben arriving to greet the ladies in an olive green shirt, black shorts, and powder blue boat shoes.
* Ben corralling innocent grade-schoolers to commune with cleavage-baring harpies willing to marry a virtual stranger for the promise of increased screen time and future opportunities to grace the covers of Us, People, and InTouch Weekly.
* Ben’s mouth moving from Kacie to Jennifer to Blakeley to Courtney with barely enough time to pause for a Listerine breath strip.
* Ben discovering bodies and/or dignity of at least a half-dozen women collapsed in piteous heaps throughout the Bachelor mansion during the final cocktail party.

Jesus, this show is the worst. Not that I won’t still be DVRing it when I’m in my 90s and Season No. 377 is essentially a real-life version of The Hunger Games starring Vienna, Kasey, and Jake. So let’s recap the action, shall we?

We now know Emily is a skillful liar, given how genuine she seemed in complimenting Ben’s awful outfit as the “dressed-down Sonoma-fied version of himself.” We also know that Courtney aced her summer classes at the Michelle Money School of Bitchy Sound Bites, given how easily and breezily she dismisses her competitors every time she enters the confessional. And we now know Kacie is a front-runner, since Ben chooses her for the first one-on-one date of the season.

Things kick off with an announcement from Ben: “There’s something I wanna show Kacie that’s extremely personal.” Yikes! Is Chris Harrison already issuing invitations for couples to share some “alone time” in the Overnight Fantasy Suite? Thankfully, no.

In what may be the most normal/least contrived date in franchise history, Ben takes Kacie for a walk through his hometown of Sonoma, CA, where they  play a hotel piano, awaken her inner child, “serendipitously” find a baton (which former twirler Kacie uses to lead a parade of two down the street), and eat dinner at an actual restauarant (as opposed to a giant, glittering lilypad suspended above a man-made Las Vegas lagoon). Then they hit the local theater and sacrifice cherished memories of their childhoods on the altar of ABC’s reality dating franchise watch some cute home movies from when they were kids. They share a first kiss, and then Kacie shares a quote that might better have been saved for Date No. 3 or 4 or 27: “I think that I have found what could be a lifetime of love with Ben.”

Yowza. Good thing Kacie didn’t see Ben interacting with THE CHILDREN on his group date, or she might’ve slipped him a copy of her ovulation calendar.

Anyhow, because Ben loves THE CHILDREN, he thought that involving them in his Bachelor journey would be “a really good idea.” (Cue impressionable grade-schoolers asking things like: “Mommy, what’s a group date?” “Mommy, why is that one man going out with 12 ladies?” “Mommy, how come that Rachel lady can’t correctly pronounce ‘pinot’?”) THE CHILDREN — none of them brought in from central casting — proceed to audition Ben’s prospective sister-wives to take part in a play they’ve written that involves multiple kissing scenes, women wearing animal costumes, and Ben having his clothes blown off by a dragon. They go public with this mess, and despite one female audience member leaning out into the aisle with a face full of “WTF,” Ben thinks the show is a success that Sonoma won’t soon forget. (Cue the Sonoma townspeople armed with brickbats and torches descending on Ben’s vineyard.)

Since Ben ends the play with his clothes off, the group heads to the pool, where there’s plenty of alcohol consumption, insult hurling (Samantha notes that Blakeley is — gasp! — a “cougar”), and bikini-top adjustment. Jennifer scores some makeout time with Ben (though his mack game seems more a product of “we’ve got a good camera shot, might as well make use of it” than genuine physical desire). Blakeley, surprisingly doesn’t wear her heels in the water, but she does announce “100 percent” confidence in her kissing skills. (Does she typically offer a money-back guarantee? Badum-bum!) We also learn a little bit about the heirarchy of what turns Blakeley on: Kissing Ben is good; knowing Jennifer is watching her kissing Ben is better; talking to a TV camera about kissing Ben while Jennifer watches, well, that’s the equivalent of Meg Ryan’s deli sandwich in When Harry Met Sally.

To maximize the simmering feelings of hatred, self-doubt, and paranoia that have left Jennifer in tears, Jaclyn skulking around the complex in “spy” mode, and Samantha locked in a bathroom stall, Ben gives the date rose to Blakeley.

And with that, it’s time for the last one-on-one date of the episode. When Kacie is forced to read the “date note” declaring Courtney as the “winner,” the latter woman lobs an emotional grenade at her rival: “How’d that taste comin’ out of your mouth?” Kacie, for her part, proves not quick enough or not bitchy enough to respond by saying, “I’m not sure, but you can bet Ben’s mouth still tastes like my lip gloss, beyotch.” File it under #MindGameFail.

Ben and Courtney, a model, go for a hike in the woods with Ben’s dog Scotch, and actually engage in some reasonably intelligent conversation. (Say what you want about Ben, but his willingness to discuss his educational background, family business, and emotional growth is a major step forward from Brad’s brand of “durrrrrr” during the last Bachelor season.) The duo shares an “a-ha!” moment (which doesn’t involve the discovery that Ben wears Champion underwear), and then they kiss. It’s all sort of sweet until Courtney talks about winning and then cackles in her confessional. Subtext: She is the villainess of this season/hero of Season 3 of Bachelor Pad.

Cue the sight of stark branches against the night sky. (See screengrab.) It’s time for a cocktail party. Lindzi stands out by joking with Ben about her fear that he might not remember her name and through her confession that she drives a diesel truck and typically uses dirt as her makeup.

The remainder of the show is less about “love feelings” and more about the sound of women tearing into each other like hyenas into a bloody piece of steak. Blakeley brings a cocktail to Ben during his one-on-one with Samantha, and her rivals interpret this as open warfare, instead of giving her the benefit of the doubt that she’s merely keeping fresh her “VIP cocktail waitress” skills. The other women wonder aloud if Blakeley has any morals, label her a “stage-five clinger,” and accuse her of “continuously ruining the party” (which actually sounds kind of impressive, if you think about it).

“I don’t want her horse face in my face!” rages Jaclyn, in a classic example of the donkey calling the clydesdale a pack animal.

Jenna, who I’m pretty sure has only just emerged from her bathroom cave, decalres that “everything is a big mess because of Blakeley.” No, Jenna, everything is a big mess because you can’t hold your liquor, you besmirch the name of bloggers everywhere, and because you left your therapist behind in New York in order to compete for your final chance at love ever on The Bachelor. “I’m not like a girl if that makes any sense,” she slurs, right after tossing her shawl onto an open flame. “Let’s not put that on a candle,” says Ben, gently, as he calculates the chances of Jenna trying to boil Scotch in a pot on his stove if he rejects her at the rose ceremony.

Eventually, Blakeley collapses in tears and shame behind a pile of luggage, Jenna crawls under the covers of her bed — Ben, no one would’ve blamed you if you’d walked on by — and Shawn and Jenna fail to receive roses in what I’m surprised Chris Harrison didn’t call The Coldest Rose Ceremony Ever. (Kudos to those ladies who kept their cleavage out and proud despite shivering beneath the Sonoma moonlight. The ghosts of Susan B. Anthony, Marie Curie, and Eleanor Roosevelt stand in solidarity with you!)

Naturally, the frigid conditions prompt me to engage in this grim flight of fancy: What if, for the rose ceremony, all 18 ladies were held in a glass-walled meat locker, and only allowed to come out if Ben called their names and asked them to accept one of his roses? Would any of them voluntarily take themselves out of the running and walk away from the TV cameras? Chew on that one at your next Bachelor discussion group! Until next week…check out the “Beauté” section of Jenna’s “under construction” Over-Analyst blog!

What did you think of this week’s Bachelor? Sound off below, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

TAGS: , , ,
GET MORE: Reality TV, Recaps