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.
At the end of last season, I decided I wouldn’t write recaps of this season because I thought he wouldn’t be interesting enough to snark on. But it’s cold and dark in Seattle, my blog hasn’t been updated in 5 months, and I’ve decided to bring a little extra light into my winter evenings (also people repeatedly asked me if I was recapping, and I’m a little vain and so of course!).
We begin with a tour of Ben’s little town, which looks a lot like Chris, Hamster King of Iowa’s town if his town hadn’t been abandoned by all the other little Iowan hamsters. We learn that Ben was the wholesome all-American boy of every insane Bachelor lover’s dreams—the high school quarterback, homecoming king, with a heart of gold. We pause for an uber depressing chat at Ben’s family’s beautiful, lakeside home. Ben’s parents tell him that he’s not unlovable and that he’s a wonderful man. And man, I really don’t want to make fun of him! Either he’s a gifted actor or he’s genuinely a good dude and I can’t mock him because I’m not a monster.
I cannot believe this season is over. It feels like there have been four rose ceremonies, total, and I feel robbed of the experience of hometown dates. Will someone explain to me why they all met in Utah? Does Kaitlyn only get one exit visa a year? Anyways, on to the actual FINAL EPISODE. We meet Kaitlyn and her family in a beautiful, oceanside Luxury American Express Black Card Airbnb that would be an excellent second version of Valtrex Manor. Kaitlyn tells her family that she had sex with both Nick and WRG and I…is this a normal thing? I would rather have my teeth pulled “The Americans” style than tell either of my parents anything about my sex life. Like, isn’t the assumption that two consenting adults are doing the nasty? Why must you tell your parents? ICK.
Looking back on this season, I’m regretting the fact that I didn’t have some sort of drinking game prepared. I mean, it would’ve been based purely around the word “intimate” as a catch-all for everything that goes on below the neck between two consenting adults. I’d have renal failure by now for sure, but it would’ve been quite the ride. In any case, we pick up where we left off last week, with Walmart Ryan Gosling confronting Nick, the “dirt” that collects between your toes when you wear flip flops while walking through any downtown area in the middle of the summer. Nick brings up the “eskimo brothers” story again and I have some real questions about the producers of this show—Kaitlyn is forced to say “intimate” instead of “sex,” we cannot see tampons inserted on a dummy, but Nick is allowed to repeatedly say something I am absolutely terrified to look up on Urban Dictionary.
I stopped at Whole Foods on my way home from Happy Hour Monday night, and while I won’t say what exactly I purchased, the checker said “ooh, you’re having a little party.” I leaned in conspiratorially, glancing to my left to be sure that none of the gluten and reality TV eschewing Whole Foods shoppers could hear me say “I’m going home to watch The Bachelorette.”
“OMG!” she exclaimed, and then quickly clapped a hand over her mouth. We whispered theories about Kaitlyn and Nick and Walmart Ryan Gosling and it was a delicious break from my shameful solo viewing of this show. The checker said she’d have to wait until Tuesday night to watch, but would be following my meal plan (okay fine, pretzels, Theo Dark Chocolate, and Framboise Lambic beer) for viewing.
And so I rolled into this viewing on amazing high, geared up for the BIG REVEAL. We start this episode with Kaitlyn staring “pensively” outside the ruins of a castle as she contemplates revealing her secret. Kaitlyn and Ben go to a beautiful island and play hide and go seek in the ruins of another castle. They make out, Kaitlyn says it feels good and it feels right, blah blah blah when is the big reveal? Next, Kaitlyn and Ben H. (AKA Lesser Ben, #bringbackbenz) head off to a cozy nook to discuss their feelings and whether or not Ben is loveable. The dates this season have been decidedly boring and run of the mill—more romantic comedy set in Europe than Hunger Games Dating Show dares as in seasons past—I would very much love a Pinterest board of all the places Kaitlyn visited. During their heart to heart, Kaitlyn asks Ben if he is a virgin, then the scene cuts away to Walmart Ryan Gosling and Bargain Bin Josh Hartnett and then back to Kaitlyn again. Honestly, would they cast a man virgin on this show? A real virgin, not a born again virgin like Sean (admirable though it may be to reclaim your virginity, it does not make you an actual virgin).
I must begin this recap by saying I am in a terrible mood. As I write this, it is approximately 1,000 degrees in my un-air conditioned, pre-war apartment. My dog is currently sprawled on the bathroom floor, relishing the cool, porcelain tile. And I am upset with myself because in addition to the fact that I decided to cook an actual dinner on an actual stove in this heat, I also stupidly decided to take a peek at Twitter while The Bachelorette was airing on the East Coast. And lo, the news I bring you is sad, and yet…not entirely unexpected. That’s right. Beloved normal person Chris Evans, AKA Ben Z. has been eliminated. Honestly, I have no other reason to continue watching this high production value Valtrex ad other than inertia. He was my favorite, favorite. Like, genuinely. He seemed like a good guy. Who is there left to root for?
But first, before the saddest of eliminations, we pick up where we left off last week, with Walmart Ryan Gosling confronting Kaitlyn about her extracurricular activities with Nick. I don’t think Kaitlyn sleeping with one of the contestants is a big deal, because I don’t actually know anyone in real life who waited until their honeymoon to “do the deed.” But I do think it’s shitty to sleep with someone as fundamentally untrustworthy as Nick, and it is my vain hope that when Walmart Ryan Gosling eventually finds out the truth, he will be upset not over the act of having sex but because Nick is such a POS. Kaitlyn discusses how difficult it is to have such deep feelings for multiple people and not wanting to hurt anyone, and I do feel genuinely bad for her because that can’t be easy and she seems legitimately sad.
Our episode picks up in San Antonio, Texas with the men reflecting about how little 1:1 time Ian received with Kaitlyn. Not sure how I missed Nick and his Howdy Doody bow-tie last week, but he and his smarmy face say that he hopes Ian doesn’t insult Kaitlyn. Ian says he came to the show to find love and to find a wife and not to be around men making poop and fart jokes. And it was sweet and sad, until he said that Kaitlyn is shallow, brings up “having her field plowed” (alluding to the joke she made when she first met Chris, Hamster King of Iowa). Ian makes some valid points but then immediately negates every last one of them with his attitude and his arrogance. Why even say these things to her? Why not just leave and voice these opinions in the talking head/post-rejection interview? Nothing is accomplished, Ian gets up and walks away, and he comes off terribly. It’s possible to tell other people that you are intelligent and multi-faceted without also putting them down. You could go the classy, Charlene route. When Charlene was confronted with Juany Pabs, who may have been dumber than Chris, Hamster King of Iowa, she let him down gently by saying there was no intellectual connection. But Ian. Oh, Ian. Last black dude standing. If you were as self-aware as you claim to be, you would know that every single thing you said makes you look like a dick instead of making Kaitlyn look easy or dumb or shallow.
The episode begins with Nick entering the dudepartment and enduring some actually sane, logical questions about Nick’s motivations for being on the show—including the fact that he was hanging out with Andi a couple weeks before the season began filming, and that all his antics make him seem like a fame/Bachelorette-seeking d-bag. Farmer Josh, bless him, says “is she just a cool chick or an amazing woman to you?” And my heart grew 10 sizes. He will eventually get kicked off the show, but somewhere in America’s heartland is an amazing woman waiting to be swept away by his awesomeness. Nick holds up to their questioning pretty well, and the dudes remain skeptical.
Dressed in one of Miss Venezuela World’s cast offs from 1996, Kaitlyn confronts Brokeback Bachelor/Clint. Clint is the best actor this show has ever hired, he stares Kaitlyn dead in her eyes and tells her that no one in the house has a problem with him and that he has never said anything bad about any of the other dudes. Which is patently false. But Kaitlyn blinks slowly at him and sizes him up, and in perhaps the most intelligent move of any early stage Bachelor/Bachelorette, eliminates Clint. Typically, this move doesn’t come until they’re somewhere in a 2nd tier European country in some sort of beautiful lodge, and the contestant with Borderline Personality Disorder has misplaced their meds and gone off the rails.
Kaitlyn brings Clint back inside to say goodbye, and Clint’s BFF JJ turns on him, saying Clint owes everyone in the house an apology. For a split second, Clint looks legitimately crestfallen, and just as quickly as flickers of human emotion spark in his eye, they disappear. Next, we find JJ and Clint in a strangely yellow hallway, standing incredibly close to each other and lobbing insults through gritted teeth. And just as quickly as the flare up begins, it is over, with Clint complimenting JJ on his tie as he departs for the looser cruiser waiting in front of the Valtrex Manor.
I hadn’t planned on recapping this season of “The Bachelorette” because I find Kaitlyn not very engaging. She is beautiful but seems devoid of personality, and like maybe the body double for Mila Kunis in a role as a manic pixie dream girl/cool girl. But people have asked me (okay, two people—Hi, Anna! Hi, June!) if I’m going to start, and now that all of my stories (rest in peace, Mad Men) have gone on hiatus for the summer, I don’t really have anything else to do with my Monday nights.
First off, let me say—parents of America: please start raising your sons to understand and accept rejection. No one likes hearing no, no one enjoys having their romantic interest thwarted. But it is a fact of life. However, we live in a society filled with men who, when rejected on Tinder, in real life, or on reality television, seem completely unable to process strong, complex emotions and instead resort to schoolyard taunts and insults. And often—without warning. A switch is flipped, circuits overload, and the Incredible Hulk bursts forth from a formerly human body.