This week's episode of "The Bachelor" was chock full of the kind of drama (read: audience manipulation) that we've come to expect over the years: gratuitous nudity, drunken meltdowns, father issues, and a neon rave. Essentially, it had all the elements of an episode of HBO's "Girls".
The women have now settle in to the Bachelor mansion, also known as "The Snake Pit" for the uninitiated. In the opening, they are lounging around in bikinis, awaiting date cards, because that's just what single women do in real life. The date cards are indicators of who Juan Pablo may be serious about getting to know and who he wants to compete for his attention like puppies at the pound, barking on their way to the doggie death chamber.
The first date went to Clare, a hairstylist from Sacramento. Clare is the kind of sweet, earnest girl who comes in second or third in this show, only to rebound back as the next Bachelorette. Before you go yelling "SPOILER" on me, just let me say this is speculation based on years of tortured research.
Anyway, Juan Pablo arrives and whisks Clare off in a blindfold, because it's edgy and so very "50 Shades" and because he doesn't want her to know that they have just been driving around in circles for an hour, only to arrive at some soundstage in Burbank covered in fake snow. There's faux sledding, faux skating, and other faux winter sports, including snuggling up by a faux fire while wearing shorts and tank tops. It's the kind of Winter Wonderland only Disney could deliver, without the fun of the Matterhorn. After drinking some hot toddies, the two are treated to a concert by a faux Gavin Degraw, who, I'm told by @tippytoes, was not available because he is touring with One Direction. Good for him for not being suckered into this one.
Date #2 opened with Kat (Possibly Kit? Let's call her "Kit-Kat") hoping for a quiet, romantic getaway with Juan Pablo. He whisks her off on a private jet (so far so good), only to emerge from the galley area wearing an 80's track suit accessorized with neon. He gives her a similar outfit, and when they land in the World Capital of Romance known as Salt Lake City, they set off on a techno-fueled dance-run for charity. It looks like the Disneyland black light parade with 20,000 or so screaming people in neon dancing through the street. Although initially disappointed, Kit-Kat goes with it and shows that she's fun and "Essy-going" as Juan Pablo says, which he wants in a wife-mom.
After the Juan Pablo 2: Electro Boogaloo episode, there's another group date. The dozen or so women on the date are asked to don various costumes for a photo shoot to promote pet adoption for an animal shelter. Some get elegant gowns for a "Lady & the Tramp" tribute; others, swimsuits because it's the Bachelor and there must be swimsuits in every scene. The two last costumes are simple cardboard signs saying "Adopt Me", so the "models" will be nude except for the signage. Of course, these costumes are reserved for the prosecutor and the first grade teacher, in order to make it as humiliating as possible.
The wily first grade teacher finds a solution to her dilemma ("I want to be a good role model for the kids") by asking the professional Free Spirit to trade costumes with her. Free Spirit Lucy is thrilled, tossing aside the sign-costume to take the dog on a naked romp in the streets of Santa Monica, because California is a clothing-optional state, or at least a clothing-optional state of mind. As a resident of California, I can attest that I have only once seen someone walk down the street totally naked, and that was in The Castro. Draw your own conclusions on that one.
Juan Pablo shows himself to be pretty game as well, stripping down to "el buffo" as they say on El Bachelor, and helps the pretty DA feel better about having all the dudes she convicted see her naked on national TV. It's like "Prosecutors Gone Wild!" up in here. I kind of wonder what the guys she sent to Cell Block D have to say about that.
Afterwards, we get to see the real "drama" of the evening, in which one very young contestant gets drunk and makes an ass of herself. The telling part here isn't so much in her behavior, which, honestly, every woman alive has either done or been witness to in her teens and twenties, but in the reactions to her behavior. The reactions ranged from genuine concern and compassion to total judgey Bitchy McBitcherson from "Dog Lover" Kelly. My 13 year old was watching this and said, "I'd rather date the drunk girl than the mean girl, because at least the drunk girl can stop drinking, but the mean girl is probably just mean all the way through."
I sometimes wonder if the producers of The Bachelor think 13 year old boys are their core audience, what with all the naked and semi-naked women running around. If so, they just lost another one.
Juan Pablo tries to reason with Drunk Girl, but she wants to be left alone to sob in peace, so he leaves her be. She tries to escape, but is thwarted at the elevators by International Man of Douchery, Producer Elan of @theYearofElan fame. Somehow, they manage to get her to sleep it off in a hotel. The following day, she apologizes and seems genuinely embarassed by her behavior, but Juan Pablo humanely sends her packing.
The dullest Rose Ceremony on record results in reporter Awkward Amy being cut. Also, in keeping with 30 years of Bachelor history, the lone African-American contestant, Chantal, was also sent home. It's too bad. I liked her commentary.
Predictions for Next Week: More hot tubs, more bikinis, more drinking. In other words, more of the same. I also predict I won't have the names of the blondes sorted out until about Week 6.