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This post isn’t that long, but we’re only working with about an hour of real programming here.
I have dreaded recapping this, if only because, not unlike that time with the King of the North, I have backed the wrong horse according to all sources, including Kaitlyn herself, who let a bunch of stuff slip.
Part I: Packing and We’re Back in Los Angeles!
We leave our inexplicable location of Utah, where Nick and Shawn are both talking about how much they love Kaitlyn. They are both packing their suitcases, reminding us of everything that has happened, and saying the. Same. Thing. Over. And. Over.
Kaitlyn’s family flies in to Los Angeles and she explains to them that she is, indeed, in love and is, indeed, in love with two men. Her father looks dumbfounded. Her family seems not so into Nick being present, but nonetheless giddily receives all of the information about the season so far.
This is definitely one of the more boring “Men Tell All” episodes, if only because it made me hate everyone a little less and it was padded out like WHOA. Nonetheless, the sight of all of these men who I vaguely remember reminds me of how terrible people are. Also, this story will largely be accompanied by animal gifs. Just because.
A promo for Bachelor in Paradise: Redux. So much crying. So much drunk. So much drama. The cast appears to be made up entirely of Kaitlyn’s castoffs and Farmer Chris’s castoffs. Oh, and Clare is returning, turning into the Beth S. of The Bachelor. Oh, and it’s going to be on twice a week.
We pick up with Shawn telling Nick how horrible he is. It feels fake, if only because Shawn has a piece of paper in front of him that is likely a script or a rundown of reminders of what he hates about Nick. Again, the “Eskimo Brothers with a Country Singer” item comes up.
I don’t care. Team Nick 4-Eva. Also: congratulations to The League, which has achieved the level of notoriety that this “Eskimo Brothers” business keeps coming up without any additional explanation.
We are still in Ireland. Kaitlyn walks the moors and talks about how difficult her journey was this week. But then, a date!
One-on-One Date: Ben H.
They’re on a boat. A rowboat, to be precise. They go to an island with a castle and no other people except the crew. And deer, if you count deer as people. Which I will this evening. There’s making out and sitting on a bench, talking about relationships. This is, as it often is, uninteresting.
BUT THEN: Ben wants to share his “biggest fear” with Kaitlyn, which is the idea that he could be unlovable. Kaitlyn assures him that he is, in fact, lovable.
Listen: insecurity comes in all types of packages but BEN. Come ON. STAHP. You’re gorgeous and you love kids and you’re one of the only dudes on this show who doesn’t seem like a total monster.
Where We Left Off
In case you forgot, and somehow weren’t reminded by the squawking ninnies on the Internet who love slut-shaming, Kaitlyn and Nick Did. It. Last week.
Shawn is in the middle of drunkenly confronting Kaitlyn about whether or not she is “in love” with him. She says that she “is falling in love” with him. Watching people talk while end-of-the-night, Semisonic “Closing Time” drunk is the worst. They make out and Kaitlyn confesses that she feels guilty about taking one relationship where she took it while also having feelings for other guys.
Meanwhile, Nick is talking with Tanner (I think?) about how Shawn has called him a “master manipulator.” Yep, Nick is still on everyone’s minds.
We pick up where we left off: with Ian insulting Kaitlyn to her face about how he’s so much better than she is. “I feel like you’re here to make out with a bunch of dudes on TV…I wonder if you’re really that shallow.”
Ian also discounts the importance of humor in relationships which, I don’t necessarily know that much about anything, but I do know you spend a lot of time sitting in the car, sitting in the waiting room at Time-Warner Cable, and as the only two people you know at a wedding, during which having stuff to laugh at is essential.
Kaitlyn, God bless her, tells him where to get off. He seems almost surprised that she doesn’t burst into tears and apologize to him, because you know, he’s so amazing and deep and handsome and can get all sorts of girls to sleep with him and should totally be the next Bachelor. He keeps SAYING that. He simpers out, “You told us to be honest. And that’s what I had to say.” And she responds, “And you feel good about that?” And gives him a glare that is terrifying.
Yeah, Ian, do you feel good about what you just did there? Douchebag.
Ian is so pleased with himself, complaining that he is being “punished for being intellectual. People have trouble relating to me because I am too deep. Seeing how bad Kaitlyn has been at being the Bachelorette makes me see how good I could be as the Bachelor. I feel like I am destined to be The Bachelor.”
Dateline: New York City, late in the evening. Nick: arriving at the suite with all of the other contestants.
They greet him with unfriendly glares and overdramatic piousness, focusing on the sanctity of this reality show taping prior to Nick’s arrival. Tanner angrily cross-examines Nick. Joshua and Ben follow suit. The undertone of “it’s not fair” that accompanies Nick’s arrival is pretty special, as if it matters who Kaitlyn ultimately chooses.
The Cocktail Party
The cocktail party is held at CitiField (where the Mets play, sports fans – though it appears MLB did not license any of the logos). Nothing like an empty stadium and a dozen men’s barely contained rage to make an evening special. JJ takes Kaitlyn out onto the field, saying to the camera, “I’m ready to hit a home run.”
Shut up, JJ.
This episode…man. The slack is intense. It’s two hours of waiting for a guy to walk into a room and watching a relatively emotionally healthy woman make a decision that’s right for her, intercut with some of the most awkward dates in the history of this program. But first.
The Part Where Clint Leaves
Clint douches his way through a conversation with Kaitlyn, full of slimy double-speak and straight-up lies. Kaitlyn says that unfortunately, she cannot trust him. He’s all, “This is insane. I can’t even.”
Somewhere, his parents are incredibly proud. Hey, Clint’s parents? Nice man you raised. Good work.
So before we catch up with Kupah mid-tantrum, I want to address the “Clint and JJ are Gay For Funsies” thing, because my intermittent rage throughout this episode makes for a very chaotic recap. Between dates, we are treated to choppily edited footage and barely-contained giggling interviews where Clint confesses his love for JJ and talks about how close they are. They play guitar together and stare into each other’s eyes, trying not to burst out laughing.
It’s so utterly and horrifyingly offensive that I am not entirely certain how to write about it without throwing my computer across a room. Here we are, in 2015, on the very day that Caitlyn Jenner is joyously greeted by the world, and “pretending to be gay” is cooked up by some of the parties associated with this show for ratings, screen time, and humor. Because pretending to be gay is hilarious, apparently. SHAME.
Mea culpa: The internet LIED to me and told me that some show about 500 questions was preempting The Bachelorette last night. Once the error was noted, I kept the vessel pure and am recapping nonetheless. Guys: Never believe anything you read on the internet.
OK, now, climb into your time machines, dateline: Mitt Romney’s 1960, where women can be criticized for having sex outside of marriage (not like today, where women are treated as equals) and can be either a “natural” or “trophy” wife, where The Bachelorette: Kaitlyn clearly takes place.
Just a stray overall observation: We’re three episodes in, and there’s already a real Altamont vibe to all of the proceedings, just a malevolent, apocalyptic undercurrent to all of the interactions and to the way the men respond to one another. It feels like someone is going to pull a knife at any moment.
We join the program immediately where we left off. Like Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Mercifully, this episode is only one hour long.
Everyone’s just like, “What’s going to happen oh my God.” Chris Harrison immediately cuts to the chase and goes to Britt and tells her that she will NOT be the Bachelorette. Unhelpful Therapist™ Chris Harrison crafts every sentence for maximum run time, a quality I admire in a man.
Britt: there’s a place for your Gelfling beauty…it’s called Bachelor in Paradise. Don’t worry about it. See you a in a few months.
Britt holds it together and then…she doesn’t. Britt asks the camera, “I don’t know how many times you have to go out there…” Oh, honey, STAHP it, you’ll be fine, with your beauty and willingness to hug. Then she whimpers a few things.
So…Kaitlyn wins. Chris Harrison assures her that there will be wonderful footage of Britt in the limo, crying. (He didn’t actually say this, but it’s like reality show jazz: I’m hearing the words he’s NOT saying.) Kaitlyn is informed that she still has to do a rose ceremony this evening. Ryan, the drunk junk yard expert who insinuated that he wanted to have non-consensual sex with Kaitlyn, Britt, and fellow contestant Canadian Steve Sanders, has already been forcibly removed by security, so that easy decision has been made for her. The rest is pretty much a dice roll.
(His parents must be proud.)
I’m writing these first two recaps of Season 11 of The Bachelorette from high atop my Killjoy Feminist Mountain, where frankly, I am utterly unamused by this season’s ridiculous and offensive conceit.
How’s this going to work? Thirty or so interchangeable men with too-white teeth and overly gelled hair will vote on which woman gets to stay to be fought over: Britt the Huggable and Kaitlyn the Beat-Boxer. Immediately, the women get to be incredibly uncomfortable.
THEN, following this, the Bachelorette will emerge and continue her season. The first night is always madness, teeth, fancy neckties, and drunkenness, so we’re all going to buckle in for now and just try to get to it.
Introduction of the Ladies
Chris Harrison dismisses my disgust with this new format as “change,” which is “never easy.” Thanks for the mansplanation. I didn’t realize that I shouldn’t be offended.
Following Chris Harrison condescending to me, we re-meet the women. Kaitlyn: goofy, sexy, inappropriate. Britt: sweet, sincere (as sincere as a “waitress in Los Angeles” is as a contestant on a reality show), beautiful. The show further highlights how Kaitlyn loved taking off her clothes and Britt loved to cry. The women get glammed up to travel via limo to the house that one of them will pretend to live near throughout this season.
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