Let’s make it clear. I need another Bachelor franchise like I need a hole in the head. But when a headline like this one tantalises my news feed, what was I to do?
So stuck at home on census night and the Rio Olympics incompatible with prime viewing time, I couldn’t resist having a quick peak at the train wreck that is The Bachelor in Paradise.
Wikipedia (a credible source for something this low stake) describes it as “a constant love shuffle where surprise arrivals can rekindle old romances, spark new ones, or splinter existing love affairs.”
Now I haven’t watched too many seasons of The Bachelor US, but judging by the faces I do recognise, it looks as though the producers have rounded up every sloppy drunk or basket case (and sometimes both) ever to grace a cocktail party and dumped them on an island somewhere to eat each other alive. And some of these combinations just might do that.
Amanda, Jubilee, Evan, The Twins, Daniel, Grant, Lace, Vinny and The Chad I recognise from the Peter Brady and JoJo seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and they are joined by Jared, Nick, Carly, Izzy, Sarah who I don’t recognise because they come from older seasons, or because they are so generic that I just can’t tell. Reckon I would remember the one-armed chick though.
And I’m having a bit of a hard time telling how seriously this show takes itself. The opening sequence promises tears and violence and MULTIPLE marriage proposals, but the cheesy, Love Boat inspired opening credits (and gawd-awful theme song), complete with all sorts of suggestive symbolism like iguanas poking out of hollow logs (followed up, disturbingly, by a glass full of crabs) suggest it is taking the micky. It is clearly hard work, much harder work than placing envelopes on a table and counting to one (“Ladies, there is one rose remaining”) because Chris Harrison has a side kick: a vertically-challenged bartender, Jorge. The latter is pronounced “Whore-hey”. It’s as much of a man’s name as it is a catchphrase for the entire premise.
The whole concept does see a little familiar, however:
Hayley and Emily re-introduce themselves first and are very excited to be dating different men this time because they are soooooo different. Their teeth are different, their noses are different and one of them has a black box.
The twins are followed by Nick, who is a perpetual Bachelorette reject. He says that if you are honest and sincere then you good things will come to you. Like twice being dumped in an audience of millions.
Next up is Jubilee. My indelible image of her is spitting an oyster into a napkin before making a pile of racist jokes in Ben’s hot tub. I am really amazed to see her here, because I wouldn’t have thought that her last Bachelor experience was a very good one, but there she is springing out of a whole in the sand, jubilant. She says she learnt from her previous experience though and she has been working on her resting bitch-face. I guess we’ll see if practice makes perfect.
Next up is Evan. Of course he’s there as Chad bait, but I’m sure the only other reason he is back is because the producers love putting the words “Erectile Dysfunction Specialist” up on the screen. I have to admit, I had gone on holidays to places where there was no television before JoJo gave him the boot from The Bachelorette, but from what I saw he was such a whiny little dweeb. I admit, he is very good at his job. I get erectile dysfunction every time I see him, and I don’t even have a penis.
Chad is next. Since his less than gracious exit from The Bachelorette (“I will hunt you down and I will kill you all!), Chad has been hanging out with his dog, a perpetually worried animal named Pumpkin. I assumed he gave her that name because of the vegetable’s relatively low protein content, and it prevents him from accidentally eating her.
Next is Lace. “You might remember me from Ben’s season of The Bachelor,” she says. Yes indeed. She’s the one who would get tipsy after half a glass of chardonnay, and bat-shit crazy after two. Jorge is going to have his work cut out for him.
The Canadian, Daniel is the next to be introduced. At least they have given him a decent spray tan this time, because he was so pale last season he looked like a vampire. He hasn’t quite lost the Edward glow though, because he now lays claim to a magical pair of underpants that light up his maple leaf.
I’d be worried about all that fluorescence around my nether regions, but if his performance on The Bachelorette is any indication, he won’t have them on for long anyway. He is quite the wordsmith though. Who can forget his sage words of advice to Chad: “Just be a little bit less Hitler and a bit more…you know…Bruce Lee.”
This time he describes himself like a disease you can’t get rid of. “Like herpes.”
Look up “dumb fucker” in the dictionary. There will be a picture of Daniel there.
And then there’s squeaky-voiced Amanda, who is again proving that she is a good mother by dumping her little children with some relative so that she can pash men she has barely met on global television.
It’s soon clear why Chris Harrison needs an assistant. He actually has to greet the entire cast HIMSELF. That is about twelve times the workload he normally has right there.
In no times the cast is mingling. According to both Amanda and Jubilee, Evan looks much better in person than he does on television, like the camera adds twenty pounds of dork. Jubilee is so impressed that she will stop calling him “the penis guy” and fair enough, because she might need that for when she meets Daniel.
Up at greeting central, Chris is fighting off the aches in his arms from interacting with the new arrivals, the next of whom is a girl called Carly, something of a novice, because her heart has only been broken once.
On the beach, Nick is asking about the bloke who was mates with Chad, and like Beetlejuice, Daniel emerges from the palm fronds. This sends Evan into apoplexy, because where there’s a Daniel there’s a Chad. Daniel’s no threat to Evan’s chances with the ladies however, because Daniel thinks all those assembled thus far are dogs, and not just any dogs: “… poodles and corgis and washed-up street dogs.” Ouch.
Sarah is next up. She’s still looking for a man. OK. I’m going to be politically incorrect here, but it must be said. How cruel is it to send a girl on a TV show that MIGHT end in a proposal when she doesn’t have a left-hand ring finger…or a left hand? Come on. You know you were all thinking it)
Daniel is still not impressed. He thinks “all the fruit is over-ripe or bruised.” Enter the twins.
Then there is Izzy. She’s from Ben’s season. I don’t remember her. That’s fine, but neither does Jubilee. Or Amanda. She got out of the limo the first night, apparently. Lace arrives, she doesn’t remember Izzy either, but then after her second cocktail, she wouldn’t have remembered anything.
Gerry arrives next. Never seen him before and not much is offered up about him. Jubilee seems to be all hot and bothered, but he scarcely notices her. For his part, he looks sooooo disinterested in the whole experience.
Next minute the skies cloud over, the butterflies lose their colour, and birds start dropping out of the sky. Chad has arrived. Evan is dancing around on razor-blades, but most of the women and all of the other men are enamoured with him.
Chad greets everyone and his eyes lock with Lace’s. The connection is instant. Isn’t that a crazy, fucked-up match made in paradise?
Chris calls them all aside and explains the rules. It’s all a bit more complicated than the regular franchise, but one pathetic rule is the same; the twins count as one annoying, whiny bundle.
And it’s not long before that whine winds up. Jubilee gets a date card and asks Gerry to accompany her. One or other of them likes Gerry.
“Wah, wah, wah!” whines a Twin. “Wah, wah, WAH!”
So Jubilee and Gerry go off to prepare for their date while all the rest mingle around the pool. After an early flirtation on the back of Grant, water finds its own level and Chad and Lace start to morph. Ninety-seven cocktails later and they are swapping spit.
Of course it’s only a matter of time before Chad is accusing her of stealing his protein and calling her a bitch. The poor bloke is clearly missing Pumpkin.
It all gets messier and messier. If Daniel was any sort of a friend he would have thrown Chad a raw sweet potato or something to munch on and all of the imminent carnage could have been avoided. But he didn’t, and before long a drunken Chad and Lace are rolling around in the surf like that scene in From Here to Eternity, if Burt Lancaster was a misogynist steroid junky and Deborah Kerr was a sloppy drunk.
I’d almost forgotten about Jubilee and Gerry’s date, which despite the colour provided by a grove of pinatas, is a boring talk fest, until a FREAKING clown springs out of the bush, talks in whistles and dances like it is simulating ejaculation. RANDOM. Jubilee is right: that’s scarier than anything she ever saw in war.
Meanwhile, Izzy has made a connection with Vinny, a crab scuttles across the bottom of the pool and Chad and Lace have a few more drinks. Jorge clearly has not done his Responsible Service of Alcohol course.
Finally, Lace is drunk enough to realise that Chad is a fuck-wit and Daniel finally tries to stop his mate from self-destructing. But Daniel is drunk, Chad is drunker and besides which, Daniel is talking in Canadian and metaphors, and so Chad either can’t or won’t listen.
And then he crosses the line. Chad calls Sarah a one-armed bitch. Evan fronts up to Chad but manages to escape unscathed. Daniel throws a few more metaphors at Chad.
“You’ve got more chance of making out with a turtle tonight than with a girl.”
Chad attempts to throw a punch, then staggers off looking for turtles before finally collapsing in a drunken stupor.
“He’s screwed,” says Daniel. “None of those girls are going to give him a rose now.”
A new day dawns and Chad, his behaviour and his bowel movements are the topic of conversation.
For the first time in the history of the franchise, Chris Harrison has to earn his exorbitant salary. He has to take on Chad about the events of the previous evening. He uses big words like “glib” which Chad doesn’t understand.
“See if you understand this, Chad,” gulps Chris, narrowly avoiding soiling his own pants. “You have to leave.”
“Sure,” says Chad. “No problem.”
Of course it didn’t end that way. Chad tells Chris to fuck himself.
And it’s all to be continued…
I have to finish on a serious note here:
One of the reasons that I started this blog was to poke fun at the unreality that is reality television., This time it was harder than usual Tonight’s episode of Bachelor in Paradise got a bit too real; about abuse of alcohol, about the how some men treat women, and indeed how men treat each other. The producers should have stopped this far earlier than they did, and they are fortunate that no-one got hurt, including Chad himself. In Chad’s foul-mouthed rant at Chris Harrison at the end of this instalment, he managed to make a valid criticism; that the program put Chad in this position and they got what they wanted and it was ugly. Maybe viewers got what they wanted too. I’m pretty sure I’m not one of them, and I’m not sure I’ll be back