A 'Bachelor in Paradise' premiere recap: 'Sloppy Segundas, Bro'
|Aug 15||Public post|
As my Great Great Grandma Walker used to always say, in between rationing wheat for The Great War and sewing parachutes out of panty hose: Nothing good happens on a daybed after dark.
In the land of Paradise, daybeds are the platform upon which good and evil is harnessed; one's "energy" is described with the lexical abandon of a teenager attempting to explain their favorite Vampire Diaries couple; and not a single one of these adult humans has ever learned that there is a real, live transitive verb to use instead of "cheersing.”
**To toast (v): to drink to the health and honor of someone or something by raising one's glass together with others** So, let's cheers our condensated glasses, friends, and raise a Wells-crafted margarita to the return of the sweaty, frantic, horny energy bomb that is Bachelor in Paradise.
You may have noticed that the TATBT newsletter has skipped right over Becca's Bachelorette finale as though it did not happen. That is because I wish to pretend that Becca's finale did not happen. That's right, in the name of good energy, I'm taking some Artistic License which, because my dad is also a writer, I grew up thinking was a very real thing that mostly meant you could tell lies to make your stories more interesting, and fib to cops that you were on your way to church if you got pulled over for speeding [ed. note: okay, THAT one he called Preacher's License, which I also assumed was available at the DMV, and still feel I have the right to invoke on account of preaching the Good Word of The Bachelor].
Basically, I come from a long line of liars and daybed aficionados, so while I do not have an actual laminated card in my wallet that says I can breeze over The Bachelorette finale next to my ever-present handful of loose Alieve, I do have a good reason to do so…
The Bachelor(ette) finales suuuuuuuck. They're so sad — especially this one! I've said it before and I'll say it again, and probably 1,000 more times as I continue to write about reality TV until I'm Great Great Grandma Walker's age: The Bachelor(ette) is not a show about love; The Bachelor(ette) is a show about heartbreak.
Out of 30 people, two end up (temporarily) happy and in love, 28 end up sad and single, and they save the very saddest, singlest boy for last: Balockaye. [Ed. note: that's Blake's Instagram name, I BELIEVE a reference to a hilarious Key and Peele sketch that makes me think Blake is probably a pretty fun bro when he's not preoccupied with having his heart ripped out of his chest and put through a Spiralizer so that Becca can make her signature zoodle pasta].
In addition to heaving-sobbed heartbreak, Becca's Bachelorette finale also contained trace amounts of horror-film as it became more and more evident that she was going to choose Garrett, a man whose interest in both political memes and deeply considering one's own feelings in order to live a more intentional life, seem to oppose her own in every way. But, this finale did give us one win, which was getting to hear Becca's uncle describe Garrett as — I'm not kidding — "a poet," and then witness Garrett's very first attempts at understanding and expressing his nuanced feelings for Becca:
If asked by The Bachelor producers — excuse me, WHEN asked by The Bachelor producers #TheSecret — I would have a lot of recommendations for the franchise: a nostalgic 90s star as the next Bachelor; a date where the couple has to host a dinner party for every important person in their life with their own money; replacing Chris Harrison with Wells in the very near future; etc.
Among those suggestions though, would certainly be not airing the Bachelor in Paradise premiere the very next day following The Bachelorette finale. Because it's hard to pay attention to the joining of two boring brunette souls when there is a trashcan fire spitting glitterbombs and extended Vietnam War metaphors right next to it. How is one supposed to care about a sort of loose love amalgamation when Bachelor in Paradise is the drunken Ambien dream that keeps on giving?
I guess, basically… one isn't. Let's party.
In addition to trying to skate past Becca's distressing engagement, you've probably also noticed that this Bachelor in Paradise premiere recap is arriving in your inbox after a whole other installment of BiP has already aired. That is because I briefly forgot that Bachelor in Paradise airs two nights a week for two hours each night. That means that by the end of this season, we could have invested enough time in this show to receive a full college course credit in Bibiana Bilogy 101.
I do apologize about getting behind on the season, and I promise I’ll catch up, however I should also tell you that this is one of those Real Housewives "I'm-sorry-if-I-offended-you" apologies.
Because, given that this premiere was so overflowing with pure entertainment and Grade-A toxic masculinity that I actually had to outline this recap — with bullet points!!! — to make sense of it, I'm feeling quite sorry for myself. Have you ever attempted to parse out how an ambiguously hair-lined man could take his own bruised ego and turn it into aggression toward another man in the name of protecting a woman who has not asked for his protection and whom he has known for no more than 24 hours, all while actively referring to himself as "a silly goose"?
Well, I have. So let's get started, taking it one lash extension, one bout of performative masculinity, and one alarming wish for "my Evan and Carly story" at a time…
Tiiiiiiia, Tia, Tia. (Auuuunt-in-Spanish, aunt-in-Spanish, aunt-in-Spanish.)
I know a lot of people probably find the continuation of the ColTia drama inside this Bachelor in Paradise safe-space frustrating, and I get that. But I also find the reveal that Tia is just a normal woman who is entirely hung up on a guy she barely knows kind of…quaint? Or a little comforting, at least? I'm the kind of person who can still muster up visceral feelings of 7th grade embarrassment from over, oh say, telling my church friends I had kissed some boy from school and telling my school friends I had kissed some boy from church, and wondering if they ever cross-referenced the facts and realized I had never kissed a boy in the 7th grade, and consider me lame and unkissable to this day…
So. Watching Tia be so embarrassingly obsessed with Colton on national television is near-delightful for the sheer fact alone that it's her being embarassing, and not any of us. When Chris R arrives on the beach and has a little chat with Tia, she tells the camera, "Chris seems cool so far — like, there's so many people that could come down though, I feel like there's gonna be someone better." Oh, Tia. To be fair to you, that statement is simultaneously rude and true, but most of all, its intention is more transparent than the Sayulita seas.
Who hasn't been the person that was so into someone else, you would do anything to casually bring their name up in conversation; all in hopes that the person you’re talking to will somehow come around to confiding in you that they've actually heard Colton totally still has feelings for you, Tia. And doesn't it make you feel just a little retroactively less embarrassed about those moments in your own life knowing that Tia, a gorgeous, sane-enough person, is out there performing her I'm-keeping-an-open-mind routine, and then nearly body slamming David when he says he's the last arrival with no Colton in sight?
Is it healthy for Tia's embarrassing behavior to make me feel better about myself? Surely not. But who cares? The most important thing is that I'm not Tia — I'm Jodi, and I had kissed a boy in the 7th grade, he just didn't go to our sküle!
KENDALL & JOE
Let it be settled once and for all that there is nothing particularly interesting about Grocery Store Joe. He is hot and quiet and he doesn’t have game, and that's kind of his whole deal. The ladies are into it. Now, Kendall is interesting in that she's interested in a lot of weird shit, but she is also hot and quiet and doesn't have any game (except for the fact that she's eye-wateringly beautiful). It completely makes sense that these two would hit it off. Just listen to this sexy repartee that is fully in context because it is the very beginning of their daybed conversation:
Kendall: I love picnics, and the best place to go is to a cemetery. I know I lost you a little bit there…
Joe: No. I just don't do picnics…
Alright, alright, everybody keep it in your pants! Why does Kendall like cemeteries so much, you might ask? Well, there's rolling hills, and all that free parking, and also…
Joe is completely undeterred by Kendall's awkwardness, and in fact, seems to find it comforting. So naturally, she takes this comfortable moment to ask, "Have you ever seen, like, a dead body in person?" Now, I assume, because of her love of taxidermy, that Kendall was thinking along the lines of seeing a cadaver when she asked that question. But Joe answers "yeah" in a way that implies he's really seen a dead body…like, in a Harry-can-see-thestrals-after-Goblet-of-Fire sort of way. It is uncomfortable!
For us. For them, it is fine, and they proceed to couple up and have more halting chats throughout the episode and eventually make out. Conversation — to some people, it's just not that important!
Krystal is back, and she is on a mission to rehabilitate her image after being a nightmare person on her season of The Bachelor. That includes dropping the breathy-baby-voice thing, and Tia is all, "Krystal sounds so different, isn’t that funny?"
Which, no, it's pretty reasonable on account of you, me, and the rest of the country mocking her relentlessly about her voice. So she… changed her voice. Of course that thing she was doing with Arie wasn't her real voice. It was insane! And everyone changes their voice when they get nervous, or talk to their grandmother on the phone, or go back to their hometown. I once witnessed my best friend speak in a dog whistle when she unexpectedly encountered a college ex in the wild. When I get together with a certain group of friends, we speak almost exclusively in the voice of the little boy from the "Bacon is Good for Me" video, and then it takes at least a week to fully transition out of it…
Krystal isn’t off-putting because she spoke in a weird voice for a while; Krystal is off-putting because sometimes she gets a look in her eye like she’s going to take a life today.
There is a brief moment in the premiere where it seems like Joe is interested in Krystal, and Krystal is definitely interested in Joe… but ultimately, Joe keeps his interests pointed firmly in the direction of the adorkable taxidermist. This is nerve-wracking for Krystal who is trying very hard not to suck, but as we know, nothing makes Krystal act like she's the queen and everyone else is the sorry people quicker than not getting to spend time with a man she likes.
Luckily, Kevin, the hot Canadian firefighter from Winter Games, is also interested in Krystal and “Krystal’s lifestyle" (meaning she has a lifestyle that accommodates forming triceps visible from space), and serves as a distraction.
Because Kevin dated Ashley I on Winter Games, and because Ashley I seems like a cool person if you can just be open-minded and empathetic enough to look past the Kim-Kardashian-cry-face, I assumed that Kevin must be a pretty decent person. But there was something oddly grotesque about the way he lured Krystal out onto that daybed, stuffed 100 chips into his mouth, and then lolled his head in her direction to say, "So, you're the hottest girl here."
Oh, wait, I’ve figured out what the gross part was: all the fucking food in his mouth!!! Plus the follow-up where Kevin darted his eyes around, said, "I feel like we're totally alone now," and then pounced on Krystal, not eight seconds after hoovering an entire bowl of table-side guac. She seems fine with it, but I think I would have to witness this man rescue a child from a burning building — and that child would have to somehow be the adorable kid from Jerry McGuire in some kind of time machine scenario — before I could ever come back around on him after this display.
The antithesis of my not-totally-fair disgust for Kevin, is my not-at-all-fair love of Jordan, who I just can't quit. I did bring myself to see him in a more honest, uh, fluorescent light after witnessing his pre-Paradise package at home though…
That couch; those vertical Venetian blinds; the orchard-themed throw pillow that has not been in textile production since 1982; that — gulp — cat. I mean, this was a startling setting in which to find Jordan. This is not a home built to accommodate salt spray in the medicine cabinet.
Surely this is his grandmother's home? Does Jordan…live with his grandmother? I have so many questions but there's just! no! time! Because, as always, Jordan gave us so much more content than we deserve: mostly it was things he planned and has been rehearsing (beneath the cover of what I'll now have to assume is a sparkly-popcorn-ceiling) for weeks, but also a few unintentional bits, like this deliciously awkward hot tub sesh with IMDb-credit-Woman-in-Hot-Tub (allegedly "Nysha"):
Jordan says he's interested in Bibiana and Annaliese, which of course we know he absolutely is not. Jordan is sexually attracted to two things: his own hair and talking shit. The thing I appreciate about Jordan though, is his shit-talking prerogative rarely seems to be to antagonize others. He just likes the sound of his own voice. He loves the sounds of his own voice. He would take the sound of his own voice to a day bed with a plate of guacamole, a Listerine Pocketpack, and make sweet, sweet Sayulita love to it.
So, Jordan saves most of his best lines for the camera, unlike David, who arrives on the beach, and immediately marches over to where Jordan is chatting up Annaliese (I mean, he's telling her his mom likes her, but whatever) just to "say hi” and unsettle Jordan. David also makes the very odd narrative choice of using his pre-Paradise package to paint himself as the new Corinne: a spoiled man-boy who lives at home and gets waited on hand and foot. But David’s whole deal is distinctly more…Oedipal.
Jordan just drinks white wine, and gets nervous when he actually hast to talk to human women, and says something hilarious every two out of five times.
When Colton finally arrives to the beach after Chris has become interested in Tia, and Jordan says, "Colton showing up is Chris' personal Vietnam"…that has to be, pound-for-pound, one of the funniest things ever said on this franchise. Jordan then goes on to lay out an extensive metaphor about Chris being an unprepared Apache pilot, attacked by Captain-America-Colton with his shield…
Honestly, I don’t know exactly what Jordan is talking about, but after all the conversations about dead bodies and how hot everyone is, listening to Jordan make a weak, kind of offensive analogy is like changing the channel to CBS Sunday Morning after watching… well, Bachelor in Paradise.
It is clear by now that Tia came on this show to meet back up with Colton. But what Tia didn't take into account is that the devil works hard, but the Bachelor producers work harder…
The one person on this beach who doesn't want a date card because she wants to wait around for Faptain America, is Tia. So who gets the first date card? Tia… who acts like she's been delivered a small envelope of human feces for all her fretting about it. But instead of forking it over to someone who hasn't made a connection yet like Astrid who seems cool, or Bibiana who’s her friend, Tia decides she'll ask Chris.
On their date, Chris says he was hoping to get to talk to Tia "aside from all that," and Tia, if you can believe it, says, "You mean Colton?” Then, if you can believe this, she offers to “just talk about that for a second?" Tia goes on to say that if something was going to happen with Colton, it would have already happened which is some truly masterful self-manipulation. But, girlfriend is dedicated to pretending like she's dedicated to this date. She asks Chris what his type is, and he says, "Someone who's not from a fast-paced lifestyle, comes from a good family — like, a good girl."
Yuck. Chris has more red flags than an NFL game taking place on an airplane landing strip. But I'm going to save a full break down of all of his views on "good girls" for another time, because I have a feeling there will be plenty. Chris and Tia do that thing where they talk about how they both want a relationship so badly, and then mistake wanting the same things for perhaps seeing those things in each other. Tia, who rolled into Becca's season of The Bachelorette to inform her friend she still had feelings for Colton months after she said that she didn't is suddenly all, "I came into this with the idea of finding my person, but I never really considered that it could happen." And then she says, I kid you not…
"The second Colton walked down on the beach, I felt these feelings rush back" –Tia, the most embarrassing woman on the planet, a mere handful of hours after saying “Colton who?”
When Colton walks onto the beach, Tia hops up so fast to hug him, I'm surprised she didn't get a runner's high strong enough to compensate for the extreme anxiety that overtakes her when Colton reads his date card aloud, and immediately asks Kendall if she wants to chat. Then he chats with Angela. And then pretty much every other woman on the beach except Tia. Astrid and Bibi, some take-no-shit women if I've ever seen them, both tell Tia that this is a sign that the door is closed, and she needs to let Colton go and open herself up to other people. Tia nods solemnly.
And when Colton finally lopes over to Tia and asks her if she wants to go on the date with him, she nods with the fervor of a Nos-fueled bobblehead doll.
What happens on the date doesn't matter. Tia would have accepted a mud sandwich and a pat on the pack, if that’s what Colton had offered her, and she still would have called it the first day of the rest of her life. Tia says she's going into this date looking for a definitive answer from Colton on if they can move forward after him being in love with Becca, and her sort-of-kind-of ruining his chances. So Colton gives her a definitive answer…
Just kidding, he says, "I have to be fair to you, and I have to be fair to myself — I'm here to figure my shit out, and that includes you."
Wow, somebody ring up Hallmark, we've got our next best-seller. Colton’s televised figuring-shit-out vacation includes you, Tia!
Tia says, "He feels like the door isn't automatically closed for us, so I'm hopeful," which is just the saddest, most relatable thing. Tia talks about how big Colton’s arms are for a few hours, and they make out, and none of that matters. What matters is the ego circle jerk happening back at the house…
THE GOOSE GANG (I refuse to explain this name)
Something about Chris is insidious. I really tried to be open to this dude’s alleged emotional reckoning after his gross display of male entitlement on Becca's season… and then it took all of one night and one woman not giving him the interest he thinks he deserves for him to completely unravel again.
Well, not completely unravel, that seems like it's still to come. What we get is Jordan and Nick hyping up Chris like he's about to go into battle when Colton and Tia return from their date. Jordan tells Chris what he has going for him that Colton doesn’t: "You're not a virgin; she picked you; you've got great hair product — he doesn't really have enough hair to even use hair product." Chris, very earnestly replies: "Wow, I didn't think of that."
I didn't think of that! What Chris does manage to think of on his own is some bizarre white-knight-narrative where Colton toys with Tia's emotions while she's totally incapable of protecting herself from his manipulative ways. "She doesn’t need to be that doll on a shelf getting played around with and only being used whenever someone else wants to," Chris says, using Tia as a prop for his own performative masculinity. "It's not fair to her," he says, meaning it's not fair to him that Colton gets to come in play with the doll he wanted. "She doesn't deserve that," he says about a woman that he's been on one date with, but has deemed the "good girl" he's been searching for.
Nick, who we were blessed to never hear a peep from on Becca's season because, apparently, every word out of his mouth is a financial-bro-nightmare-scenario, tells Chris that Colton doesn't matter: "He's getting sloppy segundas, bro." Grrrrr-oss. Somewhere on a day bed, Kendall rolls her eyes at "this man chat," and I love her for it.
Next time on BiP: Men argue over which one of them has the right to use a woman for their own emotional gratification, and later, another woman is accused of witchcraft because she doesn't care for some dude. Truly, we are knocking on heaven's door.
See you later this week for more of Paradise!