The Bachelor US (Season 20, Episode 9):  Who’s up for some Jamaican out? 

Bachelor Word of the Week:  SURREAL

Used in a sentence:  It is so surreal that an educated woman such as I has held in for nine episodes of this rubbish.

For the record, Caila and Lauren.  The word surrealism means “above and beyond realism”.  The whole premise of The Bachelor is that Ben is going to try to find his bride, and for that to happen he is going to have to eliminate twenty-eight women, one by one.  At some stage that means there will be three of you left who hope to be invited to the fantasy suite.  This is not surreal.  This is the formula.  That you three have made it could be considered lucky; it may be the result of your feminine wiles. Surreal it ain’t.

What is surreal is that I am typing this blog eleven kilometres above the ground on a flight to Uluru, having run out of time to get it up before jetting off for a week. So without access to my taped episode, I must hope that the notes I took stand up to the test, or this recap could get real surreal, real quick.

Anyway, it’s Fantasy Date week.  To be perfectly honest, I could quite happily have stopped watching at this point, save for the fact that I have invested so much time into it and I do like to see things through to the end, no matter how dull and homogenous that end might be.

Let’s face it.  There are hopeless romantics who are “Team Lauren” or “Team JoJo” and even a couple who hope Caila finally shows Ben that “true her” he’s been probing about for weeks.  But it is deadest boring.  How I wish the final three had ended up being Olivia, Jubilee and Lace (Remember perpetually inebriated, multi-personalitied, Lace?)! Now there would have been some fireworks, and we know Ben is partial to fireworks almost as much as he is to open-topped cars, sea craft and helicopters.  And for we home voyeurs, there was always a distinct possibility that one of those three would turn out to be part mantis, and having mated with Ben in the fantasy suite, would rip his head off and then eat the rest of him whole.  Probably Olivia, because she definitely had the mouth for it.

Oh what could have been!  Sigh….
But that’s my fantasy, not Ben’s, so let’s get to it.  This week Ben has taken the girls to Jamaica.  Jamaica is just like the Bahamas without the pigs and the hurricanes or the chance of running into the marooned Olivia.

Ben gets to Jamaica before the women so that he can perform some important jobs, like test the bed for bounciness. Ability to rebound confirmed, it’s off for his first date, with Caila, the always perfect, always smiling, Caila. For her part, she’s up for it. Caila is going for the “early bird gets the worm’ theory.  She’s out for an early morning ponder, while the other two are just lolling about in short satin bathrobes sipping on coffee.

Now I have a bit of a new theory about Caila, having discovered last week that her father is a toymaker.  I am less convinced now that she is his daughter, rather than a prototype for the Cliff Richards’ “smiling, talking, sleeping, walking livin’ doll” and it’s all a plan for he of the orange trousers to eventually dominate the world! It would certainly account for those luxurious locks.

Alright, so I’m a bit off-track, but if Caila isn’t battery operated and in need of a re-charge, then something else is wrong this week because our chippa little Caila just ain’t herself.

To be fair, she could just be sick to death of watercraft and traversing bodies of water.  She’s been rowing on a dam, she’s cruised around on Ben’s motorised waterbed on the lakes in Warsaw (Indiana), she’s been fishing for Barracuda in the Bahamas, and now here she is faced with some sort of floating bamboo day bed, traversing what must be the only ugly stream in all of Jamaica.

floating daybed

Ben does greet her with a kiss. Then in his cut-away to camera he says that he has gone deeper than he has ever gone before.  Either Ben has a very long tongue or Caila has a very short throat.

Despite this, the day bed date results in the most awkward silence that I can remember in any episode of The Bachelor and really, Ben should have done her a favour and shoved her overboard to swim home, rather than put her through the stiltedness of the rest of the date.

“It’s surreal,” Caila offers when she emerges from her micro-coma.  “I can’t believe that I’m here with you.” (See above rant about the abuse of this adjective.)

But with all that surrealism, comes a big problem – dodgy eyesight.

“All I can see is two other women,” she laments, confusing the large Jamaican pole pusher in the stained and stretched polo shirt as Lauren and JoJo.

floating daybed 2

After the river trip they push around a bit of rice on a banana leaf to make it look like they have eaten something.  Maybe the pole guy will get to eat it, because after all, he was the only one who put in any effort in that part of the date.

Then day magically transforms into night, and Ben and Caila sip wine on the beach.  Both of them have sweaty brows – sorry, Caila has a GLOWING brow – which could be the due to the Jamaican humidity, could be sexual tension (nah!) or could be the result of sitting about two feet away from a dozen citronella flares.

Jamaican fires
Ben’s fallen into a burning ring of fire
None of it does anything to take away from the akwardness. Caila doesn’t want to mention that she’s anxious because there are still two other women in the mix.  Oh…that old chestnut.  If I had a dollar for every time a girl on The Bachelor mentioned that, I’d have…hang on…twenty series with three girls left at the end of each …(play thinking music)…twenty x three equals…sixty…sixty dollars.  I’d have SIXTY DOLLARS!

Anyway there is eventually a distraction from the tedium when there is an explosion in a nearby Jamaican fireworks factory, and Ben does the gentlemanly thing and takes Caila to the nearest shelter, which happens to be the fantasy suite where they have to spend all night until the Jamaican fire marshalls sound the all-clear.

Caila is in some sort of constructed and deluded post-coital haze, but Ben can’t stick around, because he’s off to see Lauren.

Ben says that with Lauren he experienced the closest thing to love at first sight.  Well thanks, very much Ben.  Maybe you should have called that back in episode one so we didn’t have to invest so much time and effort into the rest of the series.

I know she has her fans, but I don’t get it.  I honestly thought when he sent Lauren H home he had accidentally called the wrong one.  There was a girl who I thought had some chemistry in her one-on-ones with Ben.  She was a girl who knew that the word “like” was not its own part of speech, nor a punctuation mark. Honestly, that conversation Lauren B had with Ben about how great her father was at mowing lawns was like watching grass grow. (See the word function like it is supposed to, Lauren)

Lauren lumbers out to meet Ben like the Jamaican humidity has presented her with the worst case of chafe, or her cut-off shorts have literally cut her off.

Luckily for her crotch situation, she is not going to have to spend her date floating around on a Jamaican bamboo torture device. Ben’s taking her off to help itty-bitty turtles reach the sea.  How cute! (The turtles, I mean).

Lauren has been there all of about three minutes when she has become some sort of expert in marine biology;

“It’s like amazing that they live for like a hundred years and it’s like emotional watching them because they’re like not going to be like extinct and stuff and it’s just like me and Ben and how we’re like starting out on our like…journey…”

For his part, Lauren certainly has a magical power over Ben.  Whenever he is around her, his grammar also turns to SHIT.

“It’s like amazing when I’m like around you, like blah blah blah like blah blah blah like…”

love child
BREAKING NEWS:  First pictures of Ben and Lauren’s love child!
For the night time component they head off to listen to a couple of Rastafarians sing about love and then go to dinner.  Neither of them eat anything (surprise).  Maybe they have been served up a platter of baby turtles, sautéed in garlic butter.

Over dinner, they have a deep and meaningful conversation about their feelings:

“I Heart U-a,” because I’m sure Lauren speaks in emoticons and she also has an unusual knack for making some one syllable words sound like multis. “It’s like, surreal.” (No. It’s not.)

“Me 2. You’re g8!” because he also speaks gibberish when he is around her.

Lauren is presented with the envelope inviting her to Ben’s suite and now I’m thinking about Lauren’s creepy brothers last episode, with Chris Harrison thrown in for good measure. Does anybody else not find it odd that Ben is just sitting there and could easily have extended the invite in person, or if feeling a bit tongued-tied could have pre-written his own note? I’m actually starting to think Ben has lost the art of handwriting, unless it is something scribed in neon (think Las Vegas and Wrigley Field).

They walk into the fantasy suite where we assume that house-keeping has changed the bed linen.  I mean, imagine the reaction if Lauren found a great long brunette hair in the pillow?

The camera man goes all jiggly in anticipation of it…

There’s more sickly-sweet emoti-conversation before Ben pries himself apart from Lauren long enough to close the curtains in case anybody looks in, forgetting that there is a camera man limbering up his masturbation hand in the corner.  Just in the nick of time, Ben discovers him, and he is ejected to take metaphorical shots of the pool.

Darling, dod you put the cameraman out
Ben, darling?  Did you put all the animals out?
They are still all full of love in the morning, and Lauren doesn’t look the least bit worried about the impending date with JoJo.

Ben says that from the moment he first saw JoJo there was an instant connection. I’m not sure what this says about Ben because she had a horse’s head attached to her shoulders.  But he’s worried after meeting her bad-ass brother Ben and her Dr Phil doppelganger father.

For his date with JoJo, he meets her at a helicopter.

Really, Ben.  Another effing helicopter?  JoJo’s been on so many of them that I was beginning to wonder if she wasn’t training for her pilot’s licence.

Their ultimate destination is a private waterfall, never before seen by non-Jamaicans.

Hang-on. I’m assuming that the boardwalk was not built specifically for the show. All I can imagine is that there are some pretty pissed off tourists denied access. Imagine:

“Doris, we’ve been married for sixty years and this might be our last holiday together.  I always promised I’d take you to that Jamaican waterfall, the one they say is the fountain of youth. It’s our last day in Jamaica today, Doris. So today’s that day, Doris.  Today’s that day….”


But it’s all OK, because JoJo and Ben get to declare their love for each other. Then poor Ben realises he has told two women that he loves them.  He only wishes that there was some sort of guide who could give him some advice.  Where is Chris Harrison when Ben needs him?  Somewhere on the island counting out two roses, I suppose, and handwriting an invitation to the fantasy suite.

Soon it’s the night date.  No fireworks. No Rastafarians. Just wine and uneaten food.  And an elephant in the room…the brotherhood.

“Oh. They just make dicks of themselves to protect me from wankers like Chad,” explains JoJo.

“Oh. OK.  Then I love you,” says Ben, all doubts dissipated.

Then it’s off to the hot tub where Ben shoots his cork into the ceiling before the pair of them eject the camera guy again and next time we see JoJo she is awake and delirious with happiness.

champagne hot tub

So Ben’s decided.  He’s in love with two women, and neither of them is Caila.  So how unfortunate is it  that as he adopts his pondering position in his station master’s chair, that Caila sneaks up behind him and pounces in her last ditch expression d’amour?

Quite convenient, as it turns out, because it means he can kick her to the kerb without having to do the rose thing. And poor pretty, smiley Caila is all heart-broken. Luckily the car has waited  for her, so she can cry her little heart out with no-one to see her except however many million viewers have tuned in this week.

Caila broken looking forward
Caila, while broken, looks forward to a future career in shampoo commercials
For Ben’s part, he is left sitting head in hand, obviously in pain.  This could have something to do with the way he is sitting which has pressed the seam of his shorts into his testicles making a man version of camel toe, and after three fantasy dates in a row, he’s probably quite tender down there. He stands and stumbles around awkwardly, waiting for the blood supply to pump back into his manly bits.

tight pants

He somehow gets himself together to change into his good clobber and meet Lauren and JoJo at the rose ceremony, where they are all confused about Caila’s whereabouts.  Really, girls?  Remember Jubilee?  Remember Leah?  Remember Emily and her twin, what’s-her-name?  Alright, I’m having a hard time remembering them all too, but the point is there have been plenty of precedents set this season for girls not making it to the rose ceremony. Count your blessing that you are into the final two, are off to meet Ben’s folks and stop being all confused.

Caila’s been eliminated, not abducted by aliens.  Now that WOULD be surreal.









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