Sorry for the extra delay, friends. I was having technical difficulties yesterday and spent today traveling to Atlanta to visit everyone's favorite Dog Lover. ;)
I found I had a hard time making fun of this episode because a) the two girls with one-on-ones were legitimately great, and b) with Jimmy Kimmel on hand, the show essentially made fun of itself for 2 hours. I gave this week my best shot!
"The fact of the matter is, God named him the Bachelor and his divine mission is to... is to have a lot of sex, I guess." —Jimmy Kimmel, God's gift to this show
There were a lot of excellent Chris-isms this week, first and foremost his recognition of and reaction to Jimmy Kimmel's appearance:
You can tell he had NO idea this was coming and he looks straight at a producer. These real moments are the best.
I'm just going to come out and say it: I was jealous of this date. Given the choice of any Bachelor date over all the seasons, this is the one I would have wanted. My one-on-ones were certainly cool, but the mere thought of roaming around Costco with what's basically a perpetual "Get out of Jail free" card makes me giddy.
Plus, Kaitlyn and Chris are SO cute together:
I enjoyed his ultra-focused face as he earnestly engulfed her in the Jumbo Fun Ball:
In the evening, Chris says, "My lifestyle is not glamorous" with lipstick already on his mouth despite there having been no kiss shown yet...
... to which Kaitlyn responds, "That's what I actually like about you." Chris' touched expression is adorable, but lo and behold, it was apparently pre-kiss:
Kind of makes you wonder what the above expression was really in reaction to.
Jimmy Kimmel crashes their date and hilariously addresses the Fantasy Suites. I do have to agree with Kaitlyn; if you go on this show and end up "winning", you can't really hold it against the Bachelor that he made "sweet, sweet, sweet love" (Kimmel's words, not mine) to the other women in the final 3. I'm aware I'm particularly liberal-minded when it comes to this stuff.
I'm not condoning sleeping with three different people three nights in a row, particularly on national television (which is super messed up when you think about it). But you know the (again, messed up) premise of the show when signing up. And remember, you don't have to do anything you don't want to and a night in the Fantasy Suite doesn't necessarily mean sex.
The best was when Kaitlyn said she would deserve a hall pass thereafter. Excellent comeback.
Jimmy then demonstrates how astute he is:
... and on the whole there's plenty of mockery of the very show they're all on. Funniest one-on-one in Bachelor history.
The girls are made to compete in a "Hoe-down Throw-down", a (frankly fun-looking) competition involving shucking corn, hunting for eggs, milking goats, manure-shoveling, and greased piglet-wrestling. We knew a farm-themed activity had to be around the corner so this didn't come as any surprise.
Some have argued that the women "demeaned" themselves by running around doing this, but I found it all tongue-in-cheek and amusing; unlike on last week's group date, they had their clothes, and this activity is exactly the sort of thing they'd have men do on the Bachelorette. (I know, I know: Two wrongs don't make a right. But if you take issue with this, maybe this series isn't for you.) Besides, how is this any different than any Survivor Immunity Challenge? My point: I pick my feminism battles and if this bothered you, you probably shouldn't be watching reality TV.
Mackenzie picks a battle of her own with Jillian's now infamously tiny shorts: "Jillian's shorts! The cows like it... That's what they're mooing at; her ass."
On the day that she herself wore:
The evening portion was downright painful to watch. It was basically all the non-frontrunners putting heavy moves on Chris, a concept which you know by now I couldn't possibly disapprove of any more.
In their one-on-one time, Carly educates Chris, "you're a man and I am a woman", and moves in for a kiss. Amber suggests they slow-dance without music—
Fun Fact #1: No joke, I know a girl from another season who was pressured to suggest this exact same thing. (You read right: Slow-dancing without music.) It never aired which makes me wonder how many times it's been suggested.
—which looks every bit as awkward as it sounds. Jillian aggressively makes out with Chris as well.
Mackenzie, poor picker of battles, asks Chris why he's kissing all the girls. He responds, verbatim:
"Well, I, you know, it's (sighs), it's a good question. I'm, uh, yeah, I don't know. I guess it's, um, (clears throat) honestly, kissing is something that is, something I think part of a relationship, getting to know someone. It's, I guess I don't feel it's right if I don't just be who I am and put myself out there."
His eloquent explanation suffices, I think?
Becca's approach is decidedly different: She has an actual conversation with Chris and instead of kissing him, says something I couldn't agree more with:
HALLELUJAH. This was pretty much my mantra while I was on the show. I remember at one point I was being reticent (once again) about emoting BIG about something. In an ITM, a producer asked me, "But don't you want to look back and feel you made the most of this experience?" and I responded, "Yes, but it's more important that I look back and recognize myself."
Chris unsurprisingly awards Becca the date rose and it appears Crazy Eyes Ashley S reacts unfavorably...
... but I have my doubts. Based on how low Chris' head is in the shot of her making that face, as well as how this is cut, I suspect she was reacting to something else entirely. Just a hunch.
What was cool about this date is that I do believe the whole "wedding crash" thing wasn't planned. Of course they'd need to get all the guests (whose faces are shown) to sign releases, but I do think the original idea was unplanned. First of all, Whitney's date card from Jimmy Kimmel mentioned "No whining", a riddle that never got solved. Second, they showed Whitney and Chris asking and looking over at producers, along with all the shaky camerawork. I do love it when they show even the tiniest glimpse of the behind-the-scenes. If nothing else, this shows once again how close the cameras and producers are during your intimate conversations:
There is a HUGE advantage to the date unfolding where cameras can't openly follow. Sure, they're miked, but I assure you, you forget about that easily. Whitney and Chris have an easy rapport already and not having cameras up in their business could only have helped them get to know each other naturally.
I was entertained by Chris' moves on the dance floor...
... and HOW COOL is it that their first kiss is utterly real? (This is their first kiss, right?)
Chris is SO into Whitney. And I love that it's because she's composed and together, not because she's chasing after him. Just watch him after he's given her the date rose:
He's thrilled. He thanks her for having accepted the rose. Even though he's technically the one "in power", she holds power over him. YES. I love these two together.
Ahhh, the Episode 3 "Surprise" Cocktail Party-turned-Pool Party. We had one of those in Episode 3 of my season, too. And like Ashley I, I was mentally prepared for a normal cocktail party (though I can't say I was planning on going "full Kardashian" in my look) and was NOT happy about the change in plans.
On my season, after being told about the pool party, I was fighting back tears while doing my makeup in the mirror. It wasn't so much the pool party per se, but rather the feeling of having no control. Just when you feel like you know what to expect, a curveball designed to make you uncomfortable is thrown at you. I noticed the harder I came to "cracking", the closer zoomed in on my face a camera was. I had to consciously pull it together because at that point I was still too proud to cry on television.
Pair that feeling with the fact that you've now been there for about a week and you're both desperately homesick and getting irritated by the other personalities. It's easy to laugh and judge, but until you've experienced it, you don't know how you'd react either.
I wasn't a huge fan of Juelia's timing in revealing her tearjerker backstory to Chris. I don't have a problem with her mentioning it at some point, but something about her tapping his shoulder while he was happily lounging in the pool, only to then tearily tell him about her ex's suicide... It, er, wasn't the greatest timing. As per usual, I would wager she was pressured to share her story that day.
More on Ashley I... Being faced with super strong personalities 24/7 can be both grating and alienating. I remember feeling the exact same way at the exact same point:
Ashley I had reached her tipping point and in her vulnerable state couldn't take on the (intentionally) intimidating Jillian. For the millionth time, I can relate. And lest you think her tears were a sneaky way to get alone time, I'll share another story of mine...
Fun Fact #2: What you see isn't necessarily what happened. When I cried to Juan Pablo on the exact same date last season, it appeared as though I was crying because of the other girls in the house. What actually happened: We discussed being around all these different personalities. He asked me about my family. As I got talking about how wonderful my parents are, I just lost it. I was so homesick and felt so out of place, I started crying uncontrollably. He was very understanding and comforting. We talked further, the subjects changed a few more times, and eventually, when the moment felt right, we kissed. Contextually, it wasn't strange. Now, what aired: Edit out the whole part about the family and cut straight to me crying and then us kissing. The entire tone is changed and now comes off strategic, even conniving. The whole conversation was probably closer to half an hour than the few minutes shown.
My point? We don't know what Ashley I was going through that day. We don't know what or whom triggered insecurity in her. We don't know what was discussed between her and Chris. I guess I can just relate far better to someone who cracks under the bizarre, unique pressure of this social experiment than I can to more dominant personalities who are able to take it all in stride.
In closing, this moment sums up how I felt in Ashley I's position:
This Rose Ceremony was MADE by Ashley I's epic eye-roll when Ashley S' name was called:
If there's one thing I hope every young girl—who am I kidding? Every woman, period—watching this episode takes away with them, it's to NOT listen to Amber explain what she should have done for Chris to get to know her better:
I love cuddly sweaters that can dress up even yoga pants. Effortless yet chic.
I loved Jade's rose-print kimono cover-up:
That print just wins. Love it.
Runner-up for best-dressed is Britt with her hot pink peplum minidress:
She just looks so feminine and adorable. I also like her messy topknot. Britt really knows when to wear her hair up versus when to show it off (in all its glory) down.
My best-dressed (for the second week in a row!) is Whitney with her one-on-one date dress:
I'm not always a fan of two-tone dresses, but how this dress combines black leather and that unique slit did it for me. I also dug the pop of color with her emerald green earrings. Whitney, too, knows how to style her hair depending on what she's wearing. The whole look is sophisticated and edgy. Win.
Jade tragically decided to pair her pretty swimsuit coverup with white patent heels:
Just, no. Not with swimwear. Not ever. No.
I couldn't decide between which of Juelia's following looks were my worst-dressed:
First, neither of those lipsticks do anything for her. (I'm all about gutsy lipstick but know by now that anything slightly brown or mauve-y doesn't work on me so I avoid them. Juelia should follow suit with bright pinks.) The lipstick/earrings/unflattering yellow of the first outfit are all rivaled by that purposeless headband. I think what bothers me most is how effortful (yet still unsuccessful) it all looks. Sorry, Juelia. :(
Until next week, fellow pandas!