I started this season with no hope at all that Boring Ben would be even remotely interesting. The season premiere, with its annual parade of women who have career titles like “Chicken Enthusiast” gave me an inkling of hope that the casting would offset Boring Ben’s bland personality. I was wrong. Boring Ben is not only stupidly boring, he clearly has favorites and everything that doesn’t involve those 3 is an exercise in prolonging the inevitable.
After last week’s first “To Be Continued” of the season, we pick back up with Ben talking to Olivia about the things other girls say about her behind her back. Olivia says the other girls like painting their nails and she likes to “read books and talk smart things.” Ben doesn’t send her home because there’s literally not one other interesting person on this show and the producers are smart.
A brunette girl that I swear has never appeared on this season before says that because she doesn’t know who will be going home, she’s afraid it will be her (she is right).
After the Rose Ceremony, the women jet off to the Bahamas, and the world’s most realistic robot human, Chris Harrison, lets the women know that there will be a 1:1 date, a group date, and the dreaded 2:1 date, where a woman is eliminated on the date. Ben chooses Caila, one of his clear favorites, for the one on one date (a fishing trip?), and the other women balk because they can tell Ben has favorites, too. BE SLICK ABOUT IT, BORING BEN. Leah, another woman I swear I haven’t seen on this show, breaks down into hysterics because Ben isn’t taking her on a 1:1 date. The universe has brought them together, he’s told her she’s beautiful, and they live 10 minutes apart. Why won’t you love her, Ben? Because it’s clear he likes one of the other identical blondes and Caila. At dinner, Boring Ben asks Caila if she’s ready to commit, and Caila gives a series of strangely non committal answers, says she “feels” like she loves him, but then says she can’t share anything and is afraid can’t totally and completely fall in love with someone. They talk through her fears and Ben ends up offering her a rose and saying it was one of the best dates of his life.
At some point during a commercial break, I decided to watch Formation and then was mesermized by Her Majesty and forgot about the show. And then I looked up, and the group date had started and somehow, there was a flock of pigs paddling madly in crystal clear water as the ladies and Boring Ben cruise towards them in a catamaran. Thank you, ABC, for this life affirming gift of a date involving wild pigs. Back during Sean’s season, a lot of the dates veered more into The Hunger Games challenge territory rather than dates that humans that were romantically interested in each other would go on. I miss those dates. I don’t care about Caila sea fishing and wearing a harness to weigh her down because she weighs less than the fish she’s trying to catch. I don’t care about singers I’ve never heard of crooning middling songs at two sort of attractive people. I want weird and bizarre dates that make me question whether the 4-day old wine I just drank is causing me to halluicinate.
Leah, the girl who definitely did not exist before tonight’s episode, stands on the beach crying, surrounded by women frolicking with wild pigs, and eventually attracts Ben’s attention and tells him how upset she is that she did not get chosen for a 1:1 date. Do the women who go on this show know what show they’re on? Because. Group dates are the name of the game. If you wanted to go on a date with one person at a time, you’d craft a Tinder profile like other normal single Americans.
After the Cinemax version of Lord of the Flies concludes, Ben has drinks with the other women, and Becca takes Ben off to the side for a wee chat. Ben tells Becca she’s been standoffish, and Becca says that’s true—because it’s obvious Ben has a favorite (Lauren B.) and it’s hard to compete with her. Leah, who again, clearly has never watched the show because if she did, she would know that the girl who complains about their competition goes home before their competition does, decides to tell Ben “the truth” about Lauren B. She says Lauren B. hasn’t been genuine, and Ben in turn goes to Lauren B., who is dressed in what looks like a funereal beach romper, to tell her that someone said she is not genuine. Lauren B. cries to the other girls and says Leah was the one who brought it up to Ben, and Leah flatly denies it. Leah is a terrible liar. Ben gives the date rose to Amanda.
Dressed in the jean shorts that Lauren H. borrowed from one of her kindergarteners, Leah sets off for an obviously doomed attempt at winning Ben’s heart and visits him in his room. They spend their entire conversation talking about Lauren B. instead of Leah selling herself as a good match for Ben. Ben tells her there’s something missing between them and that it doesn’t feel right. And he sends her home.
Survivor: The Bachelor Island
Ben embarks on the amazing 2:1 date with Emily and Olivia and it appears to be a filming location for a season of Survivor more than a place for a date on The Bachelor, and so again, really jazzed about all these terrifying “dates.” Winds are furiously blowing bleached blonde strands of hair and sand and obscuring Ben’s vision and, Olivia hopes, his better judgment. There doesn’t appear to be an activity of any kind, they’re just on a deserted beach with a single bottle of San Pellegrino and a hotel towel and did they let Boring Ben plan this date? Olivia says that her love with Ben is huge and all consuming and I just want her to confirm to me that she means Boring Ben and not an imaginary Ben that she speaks to at night and when she’s alone? Or some sort of hair doll shrine Ben like the one Helga had on Hey Arnold? Because Boring Ben is not into you in that way, baby girl. But still, she says she’s in love with him, and then
unhinges her jaw and devours his soul kisses him.
After awkward little chat sessions with each girl, Ben picks up the date rose and guides Olivia to a set of deserted rocks, and as the wind blows angrily and ocean mists swirl and roil in the background, he tells her that he’s glad she opened up to him. But that he has to say goodbye to her. He then leaves her, alone, wild-eyed and dampened, to look on as he hands the rose to The Strong Twin. I think Olivia is a complete psychopath, but I admire her restraint in not running directly at Boring Ben and The Strong Twin (who was wearing what looked like ACTUAL PANTIES MADE OF DENIM–when she stood up, I was sure ABC would need to blur something) and pushing them into the churning currents. Then, they leave Olivia to stand, shivering, alone on a beach as the camera pulls away to her watching Ben and The Strong Twin drive away in a boat. This show is SO CRUEL, you guys. Not even a Bunny Boiler deserves to be abandoned in that way.
Back at Caribbean Valtrex Manor. Ben cancels the pre-Rose Ceremony cocktail party, and eliminates Lauren H. during the Rose Ceremony. Now that she’s gone, is Lauren B. just Lauren? Or do we have to do this grade school last name initial game for the rest of the season?
How are you feeling about this season? Are your favorites still around? Who is your pick for next season’s Bachelorette?