|So this happened. . .
Oh, I learned so much last night.
I learned Ben’s kiss has restorative, redemptive, and possibly supernatural powers.
I learned that a thing called a “Leap List” exists, but only in an alternative TV universe sponsored by Honda.
I learned that Ben, much like a Miss America contestant, only knows how to play one song on the piano. (David Gray’s “This Year’s Love” for what it’s worth).
I learned that Shawntel—the femme fatale of funeral homes, the queen of caskets, the Elektra of embalmment—also exists. And for that I am grateful.
Okay, let’s take it from the top.
They are now in San Francisco, which is the second most meaningful place in the world to Ben, after Sonoma Valley. (Or maybe it’s the first most meaningful and Sonoma Valley is second, I can’t keep up with Ben and his passionate connections to various zip codes.)
“The only way to experience San Francisco is with Ben,” says Nicki. Really Nicki? Because I can think of 10 better ways to experience San Francisco, just off the top of my head.
First solo date goes to Emily, who is the oddly unspecific “PhD student” and therefore deemed “smart” by everyone.
Emily seems like a lovely girl and all, but I haven’t seen any evidence of this rapier intellect she supposedly possesses, just yet.
“Booksmart is a little boring,” sniffs Courtney. (But crazy never gets old.)
Emily responds to the datecard message—“Love Lifts Us Up”—in pretty much the way I react to all first dates: “What should I wear? Will he like me? Does this involve heights? Am I going to pee my pants?” (The answers, in no particular order: Yes, hell yes, maybe, and crampons.)
Turns out they are going to be scaling the Bay Bridge, which has also been on the kind of “Leap List” that inspires calls to 911, if you know what I mean.
Poor Emily is deathly afraid of heights and is, therefore, having a panic attack. So about halfway through the climb, she just stops. She can’t move forward, she can’t move backward. She will just waste away and die, right there, midway to the top of the Bay Bridge.
But luckily, Ben and his lifesaving lips are right behind her. He kisses her, and together, they scale the bridge.
“If Emily and I can climb to the top of the Bay Bridge together, there’s no telling how far we can take this relationship,” he says. Barf.
Next, they have dinner and Emily is side-eyeing that rose, which mocks her from the table.
“The two things in life that I’m most scared of are heights and. . .rejection.” (Followed closely by floppy hair and Jack Russell terriers.)
Ben puts her out of her misery, and quickly gives her the rose. Thank. God.
One of the other big themes of this season is voyeurism. The bachelorettes are always creeping around and watching Ben make out with other girls. Whatever floats your boat, ladies.
They take it to a whole next level during Ben’s date with Emily, actually watching the date, Rear Window-style, through a telescope.
(If you like Hitchcock and schadenfreude, you’ll love this season of The Bachelor!)
When fireworks go off, one girl says forlornly: “She totally got a rose.”
Another one says, “I’m so sad right now.”
Next, the group date, with its ridiculous Leap List concept.
A Leap List is a like a Bucket List but without the inconvenient dying part. You do it before major life milestones, like giving birth or getting married.
Now I consider myself something of an expert on cultural trends and the Leap List didn’t even ring a distant bell. Have I been living under a rock? Is everyone making Leap Lists but me? Am I being intentionally excluded from Leap List mania? Um, no.
Because Leap Lists are not a real thing, people, despite the fact that Rachel matter-of-factly describes what they are to her fellow bachelorettes.
It’s all part of this stupid Honda CR-V advertising campaign. I feel so used.
So anyhoo, the Leap List activity in this case is for Ben to see all the girls in bikinis—I mean, uh, ski in bikinis down one of San Francisco’s notoriously steep hills.
Ben is rockin’ the sk8ter boi look—ski cap, no shirt, board shorts. Me likey.
As that date is going on, the rest of the girls sit around waiting for the next solo date card. Everyone is expecting it to go to Lindzzzzzi, so the room is pretty stunned when it goes to Brittney. Who? Yeah, she’s the one who brought her granny to the first date, remember? Actually, it appears that Brittney herself has forgotten who she is. She looks truly shaken, bordering on horrified, to have received the datecard.
She has decided that this whole reality-TV dating life isn’t for her (if only there had been 15 previous seasons of the show to prepare her for what to expect!!).
“This really isn’t for me, so I’m going to go home,” she says.
“Noooo!” the other girls say. (Translation: “Yessssss!”)
Meanwhile, back on the group date, Ben is kissing Rachel, the stylist, and all the other girls are watching, because that’s how they roll.
|Why don’t you take a picture—it’ll last longer!
Kacie takes it particularly hard and needs to steal a private moment alone with Ben. He comforts her with one of his magical kisses and she feels better about things.
(Just as a social experiment, Ben should try kissing Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas and see if it brings about peace in the Middle East.)
Anyway, since Brittney is gonzo, Lindzzzi takes over for her on the one-on-one date.
For her evening sight-seeing trip around San Francisco, she decides to wear the single most painful-looking pair of stilettos I have ever laid eyes on. It’s excrutiating to watch her stagger down the street. (She probably would’ve worn those on the scale-the-Bay-Bridge date, too. Hey, a girl’s gotta keep up appearances. )
They take a trolley, eat some Rice-a-Roni (that joke just totally dated me), and then Ben has the key to City Hall—because he is San Francisco’s most beloved son—and they have the place to themselves.
“I don’t know who this guy is, but he’s kind of amazing,” Lindzzzi says.
(She does realize that Ben doesn’t usually carry around the key to City Hall, right? Also, fireworks don’t usually go off when he kisses someone. And he can’t summon snow at will.)
They step inside and it’s that awkward moment when Matt Nathanson is getting his big break on national TV and after a few half-hearted dance moves you basically ignore him and make out.
|Can we kiss yet?
“I don’t normally kiss. . .boys on the first date,” Lindzzzi says. (And somewhere, back at the house, Monica’s ears are perking up.)
Then they go to this kinda gimmicky, but kinda cool Speakeasy place and Lindzzzzi tells Ben about her horrible breakup.
Ben’s internal monologue: You think you had a horrible breakup? Ha! My humiliating proposal rejection has aired repeatedly on national TV! I had to exit, alone, on a rickety little boat—the S.S. Misery!
Lindzzzi: I got a text that said, ‘Welcome to Dumpsville, Population You.’”
Ben’s internal monologue: You win.
So Lindzzzzi gets a pity rose—just kidding, Ben seems to really like her—and they go back to the house for the cocktail party and rose ceremony.
“Nothing can ruin tonight,” says Lindzzzi. She doesn’t actually say, “Unless that mortician bitch from Brad’s season shows up unexpectedly,” but it’s implied.
First a few pre-Shawntel highlights of the cocktail party:
Ben tells Jennifer she’s the bestest kisser in the whole wide house and she’s positively floating on air and then lets it slip out in an interview that she “loves him.” Oh girl, check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Ben takes Courtney (“who is super mellow and drama free!” he had insightfully informed his sister) on the roof and grants her one of his elixir kisses. He’s super into her.
(Good news: Shawntel’s presence throws things so far out of whack, Courtney actually slips up and exposes her inner Mean Girl to Ben! More on that soon.)
So Elyse—who is a person, I believe, who is on the show. . .I think— is getting some alone time with Ben and that’s when Shawntel sashays into the scene.
So yeah, Shawntel in the house. Not an ex girlfriend but they’ve . . . talked? Had a connection? It’s a little confusing how they even know each other (possibly a key party at Mike Fleiss’ house?)—but Ben seems extremely flustered and flattered by her arrival.
And the other girls are positively freaking out. I mean, they all have the vapors or something. (In Erika’s case, quite literally.)
I’m not quite sure why Shawntel’s presence sent them all into such a tailspin but I guess they were pretty much on edge to begin with.
Some quotes about Shawntel:
“You guys, if he kisses her, I’m going home right now.”-Emily.
“This isn’t what I signed up for. If she stays I’m out.”- Courtney
“She says she’s here for Ben and I’m not okay with it.” -Nicki.
“I’ll be perfectly honest, I don’t like the bitch.” – Rachel.
“I hope these women are gracious and welcoming.” –Bachelor Ben.
So they all line up for the rose ceremony and some sort of teamster gets in the shot—a real friend of Tony Soprano type—and I’m thinking maybe he’s also there to protect Shawntel in case one of the other girls puts a hit out on her?
Erika gets the aforementioned vapors and Jaclyn cries and cries and cries (and utters the awesome phrase of my title) and Shawntel looks defiant—but Ben decides to gets rid of all three of them.
Good move, Bachelor Ben.
“See ya!” trills Courtney to Shawntel—in front of Ben!!! “Sayonara!”
(Earlier she had referred to Shawntel as “what’s her butt”—in front of Ben!!!!)
Exactly how mellow and drama free does she seem NOW?
Ball’s in your court, Bachelor Ben. I’m sure you’ll do the wrong thing.