The Bachelor US (Season 20, Episode 2): Something stinks and it’s more than Pheromones

It’s group date day and Ben has taken ten of the girls back to school to compete in a series of elimination challenges in order to win some alone time with him.

JoJo wore her pockets to the school challenge, but forgot to put on her pants.

There is not a lot of intellect required for the tasks which mostly seem to be designed around ejaculation metaphors, wet t-shirts and a couple of “athletic” challenges to determine who has the most robust boob job. The game of “Pin the Indiana on the USA” game proved difficult and they weren’t even blindfolded.  Ben expresses his frustration: “It’s not like I’m asking you to pin Indonesia on the USA!” I agree, Ben.  That would be harder, since it’s NOT IN THE USA.

Lace has been selected for the group date and quickly teams herself up with Jubilee who Lace is confident will dominate the athletics, her being ex-military and all.  Too bad they never actually get that far, as they are eliminated in the race to “make Ben’s volcano explode” stage, which required Lace to read some instructions correctly.

Jubilee’s military training did not prepare her for uncoordinated high-fives.

The loss has put Lace in a fine humour, and since she’s already feeling a bit dusty after the cocktail party, this does not bode too well for the others. It’s not helped by the fact that Mandi won the one-on-one time and got to wear another fancy head-dress. Not that the alone time seemed very exciting.  It basically consisted of three laps of the high school oval sitting in the back of a Mustang. Mandi tries to do her best giggly airhead beauty queen, but sadistic dentist is a much more natural fit.

That one time when Mandi wore a crown instead of applying one to a tooth.

Lace starts the day all remorseful about her actions and how Ben hasn’t seen the real her.  But by the time they get to drinks and nibblies, the same green-eyed monster has come out to play.  Perhaps it’s got something to do with the magic glass in her hand which seems to spontaneously change from a sav blanc to a gin and tonic and back again. So having barged in on Jubilee’s one-on-one time in order to apologise for her terrible behaviour the following evening, she alienates all of the other girls and then barges in on another one of them. And she keeps cutting Ben off mid-sentence. Lace doesn’t even have to borrow Jubilee’s service revolver to shoot herself in the foot.

It’s all to no avail because Ben gives JoJo the rose, which proves one thing.  Mandi must have been a real dud in the Mustang.

Jubilee shares in JoJo’s joy at receiving a rose.

Next morning and Caila (and to Olivia’s surprise, not Olivia) is off on a one-on-one date with Ben…and rapper Ice-cube…and comedian Kevin Hart.

Olivia demonstrates why she should have been chosen for the apple bobbing challenge.

Actually, the premise of this date was kind of cool, even if it was staged within an inch of its life.  The idea was that they were going to have as great a date as possible as cheaply as possible.  I assume then that Messrs Cube and Hart were providing their services gratis.

“Ice Cube is amazing.  He’s done everything from acting to rap,” says Ben.  Hmmm.   I wonder what fills the gaps on that continuum.  Neurosurgery? International diplomacy? Anyway, whatever his skill set it makes him qualified to drive around in the back of a big old Buick convertible and help Ben pick out alcohol and condoms at the liquor store.

Thrill ride. No seatbelts.

After James has haggled down the price of a bunch of blooms from a conveniently placed roadside flower seller, the date culminates in manky hot tub store where Ben and Caila get to try a hot tub (Wow!  How incredibly spontaneous!).  Since filling a hot tub with Ice Cube would be counter-productive, it’s left to Kevin Hart to provide humorous innuendo.

What’s up, Caila?  You never seen a black box before?

Finally Ben and Caila head off to dinner and she opens up to him about her previous relationships.  She tells him that the last time she was waiting for her heart to catch up with the plane.  It was a really sweet conversation and could have gone much worse had they chosen to talk about their shared profession – software sales. Anyway, he whips a rose out of his pants which means Caila gets to stay a bit longer.  This is good.  She can pick crazy, but doesn’t seem to be crazy.

The next day it’s another group date.

Shushanna must have knocked her head on something overnight because she has woken up with the ability to speak English. The second group date is one of the weirdest things I have ever seen.  Ben and five of the girls go to the “Love Lab” (which looks a bit like the Ponds Institute from those woeful TV ads) where the somewhat suspiciously named Dr Love puts them through a number of tasks designed to test their compatibility with Ben.

It must be legit science.  They’re all wearing lab coats.

But really it’s all a bit creepy, especially when, having already had their visual cortexes probed to see if they prefer babies or diamonds (Duh!  You need science to figure that out?), the girls run on treadmills so that a blindfolded Ben can sniff their pheromones. Then the girls get to sit on a couch while they watch a big television screen to watch Ben’s infrared body reactions with each of the other girls. It’s like the worst porno ever.

Ben’s audition tape for the next “Fifty Shades” sequel

Poor old Sam does pretty poorly on the test and is probably starting to regret not taking up Hughey’s offer.  Olivia, on the other hand does pretty well and her smugness knows no bounds.

Olivia also gets the rose that night which causes poor Amanda to question life, the universe and everything.  She, of course, has just divulged the second most difficult thing one can divulge to a Bachelor – that she is a single mum.  The most difficult thing is to reveal one’s virginity (a much less common occurrence), and the token maid in this mob has apparently already let the world know in a previous series. Anyway, Amanda thinks she missed out on the rose because of the kids and not because Ben is making decisions based on ten minute conversations he is having with women he scarcely knows.

So, it’s cocktail party time again and nothing makes a party swing more than when Lace has a drink in her hand and bullies her way into conversations with Ben. “I’m…sho…shorry. I’m shorry…” God. I’s excruciating to watch, and you just feel like this must be the one that they pay him extra for every week that he keeps her around.  Like that nutcase Courtney in the first season of “The Bachelor: Canada.”  But I digress.

Lace barges in to apologise for how she always barges in.

All of this angst is aggravated by Olivia deciding to break one of the great unwritten rules of “The Bachelor”; if you already have a rose, you don’t do the one-on-one thing at the cocktail party.  By the time Chris comes to announce it’s time to hand out the roses, there’s a whole lot of pent up female frustration going down.

Somewhere in all of this, Ben finds the time to sit down and make hair ornaments with Amanda  for her daughters and have a bit of a laugh with Becca (or was it one of the Laurens? Or one of the twins?  I give up…one of the blondes).

But it’s all too much for poor old LB who, being the third Lauren remaining in the pack, has been reduced to being referred to by her initials, which are too easily converted to “elbow”, one of the least memorable body parts.  It’s reminiscent of that Seinfeld episode where they have all forgotten the name of a woman.  All they can remember is that it rhymes with a female body part. Her name turns out to be Delores, hilarious in America where the emPHARsis is on different syLLARBles.

Half-way through the rose ceremony, LB takes Ben aside and calls it quits. Ultimately she says it was hard to stand out in a group of girls.  Not really, Elbow. You can play the back-stabbing conniving bitch card anytime you want, or wear a unicorn on your head.  Oh…I see. What you mean is, it’s hard to stand out and keep your integrity intact. Point taken.

When Ben comes back in, he announces LB’s departure which means that he can now keep someone he was going to discard.  This of course leads Sam and her stinky pheromones to realise her lack of rose means she didn’t even make the second cut.

Also eliminated this week was Mandi.  I must say she was very inconspicuous this week.  I guess there’s only so much mileage you can get out of dental probes and oversized floral fascinators (which are incredibly impractical when one is bobbing for apples in a fish tank).

But Lace got a rose even before LB withdrew.  So there you go. Crazy dentist doesn’t have long-term appeal, but crazy bitch is the stuff of men’s fantasies.

Lace gets her rose.  Meanwhile the rest of the girls look like they’re at a funeral.

So the stage is set for some excellent Lace v Olivia, deluded v smug showdowns and I look forward to the fallout.

The Bachelor, Tuesday 8:30 pm, 9 Life (Channel 94)


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