I couldn’t choose only one quote this week so here’s all three. You’re welcome. :)
“Initially I had it engraved in me. It was like, ‘Hey, you save yourself for marriage.’”
“It’s something that is serious to me and that I hold a lot of weight into.”
“That’s a heavy burden to wear.”
GROUP DATE #1
The first Group Date entails the ladies being required to tell a story about a “first” of theirs in front of an audience of 200. During the ladies’ preparations, we see a conversation between Colton and Hannah G that really encompasses scintillating conversation, nerves being put to rest, and jokes landing…
During the performances (?… speeches?) themselves, there’s a moment where it sounds like Demi says something gratuitously bitchy…
… but if you separate the “There’s no advantage to being an older woman here”, it seems to me Demi likes Elyse and she legitimately thought she did a great job. It’s amazing how one sentence can skew the tone of everything else.
Now give the same clip a listen:
File that away for later!
Back at the mansion, Hannah B is the recipient of the season’s first 1-on-1 date. Now, at this point we haven’t yet seen Caelynn and Hannah B carefully and subtly talking ill of each other (oh, how I wish they were just good friends!), but note how the seed is being planted already. The shots of Caelynn looking less than enthused could have been taking from anywhere…
Also, note Caelynn’s (easy to miss) smile as Cassie hands Hannah B the card; she’s smiling warmly along with everyone else.
Further, Hannah B is at Caelynn’s 11 o’clock…
… further proving that that shot of Caelynn unenthusiastically looking to her right is taken from somewhere else.
Meanwhile, back on the Group Date, there’s more where that came from. Note the seating arrangement as Demi returns from her 1-on-1 time and pretends the rose is hers. Then look at the background as Tracy gives Demi a death glare. It’s taken from a completely different moment (and seat!)…
Now, of course I realize there’s enough footage of Tracy being furious with Demi’s rose grab to know that that shot isn’t out of character or inaccurate. But it still stands out as one of many little ways the show paints its contestants.
Tracy confronts Demi and the conversation resolves, if tensely, with Tracy fixing Demi’s flyaways. Here we hear a voiceover of Demi’s…
Remember that previous audio clip? It’s clearly the exact same “There’s no advantage to being an older woman here.” Now, we never see these words coming out of Demi’s mouth but it’s safe to say she said them. I’m not excusing her saying it but it does make a lot more sense that she’d say a bitchy comment about someone with whom she’s having repeated conflict (Tracy)—remember, it could be taken from anywhere, even weeks later—rather than about Elyse, who Demi seems to genuinely like. The power of Frankenbiting! To me this was one of a few examples in this episode alone of Demi being painted as meaner than she is.
Now, about the rose grab. Again, I mentioned this over at Flare, but I do NOT see the big deal here. I get that tensions are high (I’ve been there, I get it), and that some may see the rose as something you shouldn’t touch. But I can honestly say that if someone did that on my season I couldn’t have cared less. ESPECIALLY not in Week 2 when you haven’t had time to fully grate on each other yet. Furthermore, watch in the above .GIF how quickly Demi puts the rose back down. She held it for barely 2 seconds. She wasn’t strutting around with it. It was a simple joke. Whether or not the joke is funny is up for debate, but it still was blown wayyyy out of proportion in my opinion.
Finally, since Tracy had a lot of venting to do about Demi, it’s only natural that there’d be a Pick-up to go along with it. Gotta get those residual next-day vents on camera…
HANNAH B’S 1-ON-1
First off, I don’t think Hannah B getting this date is just chance. I mean, sure, it’s her birthday, making the first 1-on-1 date a nice surprise. But I believe she’s also the type of personality to become especially attached based on that first 1-on-1 (as happens with a lot of first 1-on-1 date recipients). I feel like we got to watch Hannah B, in a sea of women, feel special, and singled out, and seen, which all support becoming attached to (and possessive of) the giver of such specialness (Colton) sooner than they might in real life. Given Hannah B’s obvious confidence issues, you can see how she could especially fall victim to this.
Next, I find Hannah B super compelling to watch. I mean, how often to get to watch someone say things like the following through a radiant, FULL ON, ear-to-ear, light-up-the-room smile?
My girlfriend Kate (who sends me a hilarious barrage of texts every week while she watches) worded it best with: “The grin with the eyes that look like she’s about to cry.” Hannah B, likely thanks to her years of pageantry, seems to be a professional smiler*. She clearly struggles with self esteem and confidence issues, and she appears to have developed a carefully honed armor to compensate for it.
Before you assume I’m being critical, I cannot stress enough: I LOVE Hannah B. Her pursuit of perfection is her undoing. She’s hard to read but at the same time completely transparent. She is magnificent television. We watch this show for the vulnerable, perfectly imperfect Hannah Bs of the world, not the too-confident, too-together ones.
The best part is that people like Hannah B tend to be the ones to get the most out of this experience. She is going to learn a TON about herself, from living with the others to watching herself along with millions of judgmental viewers, and I firmly believe she’ll emerge with newfound confidence and self acceptance. I thoroughly look forward to her story developing.
*Speaking of professional smiles, if you haven’t yet read David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, YOU MUST.
Finally, those eyes don’t only look on the verge of crying—they look Directly Into Camera, too!
In all seriousness, though, I thought Colton was a GENTLEMAN on this date. He was so kind and patient with Hannah B. He was able to point out her obvious desire to be “perfect” but without sounding critical. He’s intuitive and considerate and it genuinely feels like he wants to make the women feel comfortable and to have a good time, not like their sole purpose there is to seek his affections or serve as his supporting cast. (Case in point, his rose for Hannah B at the end of this date felt more like a ‘I want to reward you for opening up a bit and for you to continue to have this experience‘ rose, not so much a ‘I can see myself marrying you one day’ rose.) Colton has a gentle touch with women and it really showed on this date. 👏🏼👏🏼
GROUP DATE #2
THANK GOD for this Group Date. Megan Mullally and NIck Offerman are funny, but Billy Eichner is FUNNY. I happen to love Billy On The Street so I found this to be a very solid cameo. :)
You know who else is starting to prove funny? Caelynn, whose little quips are Tia-esque in the best way…
As for the ad nauseam virginity talk, I’ve decided I’m OK with it only as long as Billy Eichner’s the one delivering it. (I mean, hey, if you’re going to exploit it all season, at least let us laugh at how ridiculous that exploitation has become.) Colton gets bonus points for gamely laughing along…
The red team wins and gets to spend the evening with Colton while the yellow team goes home. Never mind that these senseless elimination-based competitions are the most counterintuitive approach to Colton getting to know all the women and finding his future fiancée. I say this every season but hey, IT’S TRADITION.
In the evening, there’s a fantastic meta moment when Caelynn essentially narrates the cuts back to the mansion…
Little did she know that this very cut to the mansion would be used to hear Hannah B talk shit about her. :(
We see one of the many ways contestants on this show are manipulated during Heather’s 1-on-1 time with Colton. Heather had been debating over when to tell Colton she’d never kissed anyone before. Her argument (revealed during a chat with Cassie) was that she didn’t want to be KNOWN for that. (I’m sure she really appreciates her bio reading “Never Been Kissed” as her occupation.) Now, this is totally reasonable. You can see why she might want to wait until, say, their 3rd 10-20 minute conversation to reveal this, right? WRONG. Remember what Chris Harrison said at the beginning of this very episode (and at the beginning of pretty much every Episode 2):
“Time is EVERYTHING. And so, when you have time, when you can find it, take advantage of it.”
It’s no coincidence contestants tend to tell their leads their life’s stories and air out their dirty laundry, and FAST. They’re constantly being told to not let their precious time go to waste. I’m not saying that time isn’t precious—it’s actually downright ridiculous how little time you have together (unless it’s a 1-on-1, but even then you’re looking at two 1-on-1 dates max before introducing him to your parents)—but rather, you can see how that can quickly become a tool used to manipulate people into revealing things they might not normally, far sooner than they might feel comfortable with.
Heather even SAYS, “I was gonna wait to tell you”. I mean, if this isn’t someone feeling pressure to reveal something sooner than she really wants to, I don’t know what is…
Of course, in Heather’s case it works out alright since she ends up getting the Group Date rose, but my point remains, dammit!
Finally, the red team gets “an incredible night, camping out under the stars with Colton”. These were Chris Harrison’s actual words. Talk about false advertising…
At the Rose Ceremony cocktail party, amid a very strange interaction between Onyeka and Sydney involving an air horn and pots and pans (I’m team Sydney, btw—Onyeka started it 🤷🏻♀️), we get a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of the food and drink situation…
Spreads like the above are at every single Rose Ceremony cocktail party, giving you insight as to how early those can start (before dinnertime) and long and late they run. Regular cocktail parties don’t have food spreads like this.
While the ladies gawk as a robe-clad Demi leads Colton up the stairs, Annie delivers a great, almost accusatory Direct Look Into Camera™…
I personally found the interaction between Demi and Tracy very strange and wonder if you guys agree with me. It seemed like the kind of conversation that ended with a resolution, except we weren’t shown that resolution. First, the shot of Tracy sobbing into a towel feels like it would have been from when she first went up to that room, not later, after she’d cooled off a bit. So right off the bat I’m suspicious of the sequence. Next, Demi talking about Tracy’s “story” and her as a “storyteller”—doesn’t it seem like we’re missing something? It feels like we weren’t shown Tracy’s words to which Demi was responding. Lastly, Demi was shown simply walking down the stairs as though she left Tracy to sob away. Given Demi appeared to make a modicum of effort with Tracy (whether or not you deem it authentic), this wrap up seems unlikely…
Also, let’s be honest: If this did end badly, or even mildly coldly, you KNOW we would have seen it. I know for a fact that the conflicts shown on this show are actually often resolved, yet those resolutions are conveniently left on the editing room floor. I’m not saying these two are good friends, but I don’t think this conversation went down the way it was shown.
As always, my first impression takeaways and frontrunner roundup can be read over at Flare.
The requests were a bit overwhelming this week, so forgive me if yours isn’t here!
Hannah G’s Show Me Your Mumu “Hildy” tank sells HERE.
Demi’s Chelsea & Violet embroidered tassel hem jeans are sadly sold out, but there’s a super similar pair selling HERE.
Demi’s earrings are a fantastic budget find—they’re from Amazon (!!) and they sell HERE.
Demi’s X by NBD “Madeline” dress sells (on sale!) HERE.
Caelynn’s Jules Smith “Supernova” earrings sell HERE.
I have a couple of Honorable Mentions this week. First up is Elyse with her adorable floral hoodie…
I love the dichotomy of a schlubby hoodie with a feminine floral print. This is cute and different and I’d totally wear it. Elyse got her Almost Famous hoodie at TJ Maxx but I couldn’t find it anywhere online. There are a bunch of alternatives out there but my favorite sells HERE.
Next up is Bri with her strong jewelry game…
I looooove not only every piece here, but also how she’s layered them. I would hesitate to wear hoops of that size with multiple necklaces, but she pulls it all off effortlessly and looks so chic. Bri’s necklaces are by Joolz by Martha Calvo and they sell HERE and HERE. Her hoops are by Luv AJ and they sell HERE.
I have a tie for runner-up. First up is Tayshia with her dark Rose Ceremony gown…
I love Tayshia’s understated style. You can tell she values fit and elegance over trendy bells and whistles. This is simple, timeless, the color is unexpected but BEAUTIFUL, and it fits her like a freaking glove. Seriously, it looks like this dress was made for her. The one and only thing I wish is that she’d worn her hair back so that high neck wouldn’t be obscured, but I appreciate that she at least did a partial updo. And surprise: Tayshia’s dress is another bridesmaid dress! As with last week, it’s from her friend’s bridal boutique, Styled by TC. This is the Amsale “Sophia” and it sells in tons of colors HERE. Looks-for-less were tricky since this is already decently priced for a gown, but there’s a black option HERE, a great bright teal option HERE, and a cocktail length option in red, HERE.
Second runner-up for Best Dressed is Courtney with her Rose Ceremony two-piecer…
Now this is just COOL. Even if you weren’t a fan, it was impossible not to do a double take when you saw this. I do happen to be a fan; it’s strange but sexy and so different. It could easily have steered costume-y but stopped short of that. I personally think I’d prefer it in a more basic color, given how not-basic it is (I’d totally buy it in black), and I prefer it with the full length sleeve (shown on the right), but overall this is a unique and bold choice that deserves to be applauded. How great would it be if more contestants took risks like this??
I’m afraid if you must have Courtney’s dress, it’ll be a tough one to hunt down. I’ve done this legwork for you: Courtney told me it was a custom piece by House of BxB. The fashion line doesn’t appear to be online yet (the site just reads “coming soon”, with its Instagram stating it’ll open March 1st), but after sleuthing the account of the founder, BlasianXBeauty, I found her wearing this same dress. The House of BxB Instagram account says pre-orders are now available, so maybe if you DM her you can order this dress? I dunno. 🤷🏻♀️
***UPDATE 01.20.19*** Thanks to Nadia via the comments, I’ve learned this House of BxB dress is actually a dupe for Aussie brand Portia & Scarlett’s “Jennifer” dress. It sells in Black (HERE) and in my favorite, the Plum (HERE). Since the Stone color doesn’t sell on their site, you can find that one HERE. Thanks, Nadia!
Finally… Best Dressed goes to Katie with her Rose Ceremony look!
It’s the total package here that I’m swooning over. Now, I know For Love And Lemons isn’t for everybody—their sheer dresses tend to be the sort of thing that people either love or hate—but I happen to love this particular one. It’s unique, funky, a bit daring, and ultra feminine. But what tipped the scale in Katie’s favor was her styling. Her partially pinned hair, the fact that she wisely opted for no jewelry (the dress is enough), and that MAKEUP. It’s easy with a dress like this to either go too far (costume-y makeup) or not far enough (too casual makeup). Her choices—and that lipstick in particular—complements the dress perfectly. She looks gorgeous.
Katie’s For Love And Lemons “Lotus” maxi dress is sadly sold out (HERE and HERE) but there’s still a S and M selling HERE. It also comes in a mini, HERE. As for the lips, she used Kylie Matte Liquid Lipstick in “Leo” (HERE) as her base and MAC “Diva” (HERE) for touchups. I may have to steal this combo.
Nothing offended me this week! No Worst Dressed. :)
Until next week, fellow pandas!