"Tonight's a nice, small group date." – Andi
Wow, this was a rough week. When I watch an episode, I usually type notes throughout as an email draft to myself which I later use to write the actual recap. This morning, before getting to it, I accidentally deleted the draft and thus all my notes, forcing me to RE-WATCH this episode. I MUST REALLY LOVE YOU GUYS.
This week our men find themselves aboard a real deal ship, which I have to admit looks pretty cool. The coolness ends when Marcus sells out and shouts way too loudly, "WHERE'S ANDI? WHERE'S ANDI AT?"
Of course, where else would our Bachelorette be other than aboard a red vinyl-clad gondola that looks like it had a previous life as a set for Venice-themed pornos:
We get a lot of ITM time with Nick, and this is the perfect example of how an ITM works. Remember, it's an "In The Moment", an interview where the contestant responds in full sentences and in present tense.
First, Nick describes just how very unlikely it is that he'll receive this one-on-one date. Note the background:
Then, after being informed that the one-on-one is his (what an upset!), he gleefully describes his shock:
If you get my drift, it was the same ITM.
I love how after the lovebirds depart some cameras remain to circle the guys as they stand awkwardly and generally show sympathy for Cody, who's the last man yet to receive a first one-on-one:
No one showed more sympathy than Josh, Too-Serious face in tow:
Back at their Venice digs (The Abano Grand, which frankly looks a bit on the crummy side for the Bachelorette world) Chris and Cody engage in a textbook Boy Chat. Note the slightly out-turned seated positions, and the fact that they say a lot of words while managing to really say nothing at all:
Cody: I just don't know what to think, man. I thought I'd get a one-on-one, you know?
Chris: Nick's got a second one-on-one. That's a tough thing to digest.
Cody: Everyone's had their time with her except me. I do kinda feel like the odd duck out.
Chris: Maybe she's starting to have questions where Nick's at.
Cody: She obviously has a connection with Nick. It's like either she's really into Nick or she, like, needs to get some questions answered today.
Chris: I mean, there was definitely some unsettled business from last week. They weren't just jivin'.
Cody: I think her and Nick are prolly gonna figure some things out today.
(I kind of can't believe I just watched that twice in order to type it.)
I'm torn between liking parts of this date and despising others. First, you know I love a good Direct-Look-Into-Camera, especially a dirty, askance one like this:
Andi says to Nick, "All I can do is go on your word. When you say you're gonna do better, I guess I gotta wait for you to do better."
This conversation encapsulates what I find innately wrong with this entire process. There is SUCH a lack of equality in the relationship, it in no way can come close to providing a taste of how these two would be in real life. What exactly did Nick do wrong? He rubbed other guys the wrong way by seeming confident? (When really, he has reason to be confident.) Not loving being publicly humiliated as a mime? Teasing Cody for always vocalizing how #grateful he is? Give me a break.
Anyway, his HORRENDOUS behavior duly earns him a date with Andi's sour face:
... until he concedes with, "You were right, I was wrong", the verbal equivalent of rolling over, which Andi LOVES. She laughs, "How'd those words taste coming out of your mouth?"
Naturally, Andi "feels better about Nick now."
The fact is, in this alternate reality, one person in what should be an equal relationship is calling the shots and essentially holds all the power. SHE LITERALLY SENDS PEOPLE HOME BY NOT GIVING THEM ROSES. How can someone stand their ground and not end up groveling when there are signs of friction? Well, they can, but then they "risk" going home. It's an aspect of this show that I've always struggled with.
There are more glimpses of that same ITM throughout this date...
"Andi so far has everything I'm looking for in someone I could spend the rest of my life with":
"Kissing Andi is a comforting feeling. It's like, 'We're back!'"
Nothing so remarkable, except it means this ITM was done likely later or at the end of the daytime part of the date (at least post-kissing). So in one single go he expressed – in present-tense – the unlikeliness of his receiving the one-on-one, the shock at having received it, analyses of Andi's long-term partner potential, joy at kissing her again, and most if not all voice-overs. ITMs are powerful shit.
In the evening, Andi takes her trusty porno gondola to meet Nick for "dinner". Masked, of course, because I guess she wants to maintain anonymity with the gondola driver, and stern-faced, of course, because these dates are SERIOUS BUSINESS. Life or death, remember?
The one redeeming part of this entire date is when Nick refuses to say he doesn't consider himself a frontrunner, yet states his case and defends his ground eloquently and sensically.
Andi: (attorney-faced) Do you think you're a frontrunner?
Nick: (pausing) I don't like the word. (cue ominous music)
Andi: (irritated) Okay. What other word can I use?
Nick: (carefully) I feel incredibly fortunate to have the connection that we have and it's hard to imagine anyone else having that with you. I cherish that and I don't take it for granted, but yes, that's how I feel.
Unrelated, I was delighted by Nick's quivering voice when he was handed a mask: "This is for me..."
Okay. You knew I couldn't let this "masquerade ball" pass us by without making sufficient fun of it. First of all, it's actually referred to as a "masquerade ball." Except, there are only three instrumentalists, no other guests, certainly no other masks, and there appears to be a residential street a few meters out. Oh, and they're playing the waltz from The Merry Widow, an operetta by Franz Lehár, which is about as solidly Viennese – NOT Venetian – as you can get. #facepalm
I don't know what we did to deserve another cheesalicious secret admirer segment but it must have been bad:
Dylan, Brian, Josh, Marcus, Chris, and JJ embark on a scenic group date which includes encountering two Italian actors whose too-serious faces could give Josh's a real run for its money:
Of course, they're not actors, but ITALY'S FINEST EXPERTS IN ADMINISTERING AND ANALYZING LIE DETECTOR TESTS.
Josh's reaction to this news was so priceless that I called in a favor with my more video-savvy sister, Andrea, to properly capture it with a .GIF. This will never, ever get old:
The lie detector test is done in a weird weapons room because swords, like lie detector tests, are scary:
A laugh-out-loud moment for me was when Andi escorts a suddenly-deathbed-bound Dylan out and we catch a shot of the guys looking utterly miserable:
Back at the illustrious Abano Grand, Cody and Nick, who dislike each other, naturally share an intimate moment in the sauna to sweat out their differences:
The evening portion of the group date basically consists of this....
... and this...
We catch a glimpse of Andi and Josh's hypothetical future together, which is nice, I guess...? It turns out they bring out the combative side in each other, talk at each other instead of to each other, and are generally at home arguing with each other:
In a way it could be seen as a pro that Josh doesn't back down to Andi. But, he oddly takes the lie detector test personally—as if Andi had anything to do with the selection of that group date activity—and has trust issues caused by Andi's trust issues which are caused by his trust issues and this conversation just went in circles and left me exhausted.
Later, Andi's group date rose preamble sounds suspiciously like a dig at Josh: "I feel like there is a trust and there is this confidence and there is this hope... CHRIS."
After Andi's departure Josh gives a very intense Direct-Look-Into-Camera that I enjoyed:
An inebriated-looking JJ picks a fight with anyone who dares congratulate Chris on his rose:
And Chris shockingly (impressively?) stands up for himself and is suddenly/strangely more attractive for it:
But the best part of the whole exchange was definitely Marcus' I'm-not-involved nose scratch:
CODY'S EXCRUTIATING ONE-ON-ONE
Did the opening shots of happy couples in Verona make anyone else long for something more wholesome and pure and natural?
You know you're off to a good start with a one-on-one when Andi is visibly exhausted and describes herself as emotionally drained:
And Cody, who's been captive in the palatial Abano Grand since move-in day, is all:
I'm frequently asked if I would have considered being Bachelorette. (As if they would have wanted me!) I have a plethora of reasons as to why I would've been a terrible choice but this date sums them all up PERFECTLY.
The Bachelorette is tired, she has lengthy dates every day, talks about her feelings ad nauseam dozens of times a day, and at this point has her favorites picked out. Nonetheless, she has to go through the motions and take Cody, for whom she clearly has zero romantic feelings, on a full-day date, spend the whole day pretending to be interested, only to break up with him on national television. And as humiliating as that is for him, it's possibly even less enviable a position for her.
All that said, I think Andi is doing a truly excellent job of being engaging and "on" for all the guys. It's very impressive. I could never do it.
I've made fun of Cody in the past but I can't anymore. I just feel bad for him and, in a way, he did redeem himself by the end. He showed humility and likability. I can't help but think the evening part was edited heavily. I have a hard time believing anyone would continue to rant about their hopes and dreams with a girl while said girl avoided eye contact and visibly teared up. Either way, it was tough to watch and while I think it's right that she sent him home, I have always thought sending someone home from a one-on-one is one of the cruelest traditions of this series. No matter how likable the person being sent home is, his/her dignity is never spared.
Arrghhhh Nick. WHY did you have to do the famous faux-pas and steal Andi away... WITH (gasp) A ROSE ON YOUR LAPEL.
I may be #TeamNick but this was a shitty thing to do. The thing is, though, I GET why he did it. I mean, it's not like he stole the girl away against her will:
Andi: He missed me. He wanted it. Come get it.
Sigh. Andi LOVED that shit. She beamed in her ITM, "Good job, Nick." Too bad he made a lot of enemies in the process of proving his supposed manliness. (What does that have to do with being a man, by the way?)
Anyway, the rest of the rose ceremony cocktail party looked a hell of a lot like the evening portion of the group date, with...
Josh brought extra reinforcement in the form of his Too-Serious face:
Like every other female viewer I giggled girlishly at Marcus' fought-vs-fart in public segment:
Every time I watch a Bachelor/ette's "deliberation" I can't help but be distracted by thoughts of the poor production assistant whose job it is to pack and unpack those framed portraits and lug around a 500-pack of tealight candles:
SEATBELT POWER. You may think it looks funny, but it's akin to characters on a TV show wearing condoms: IT SETS A GOOD EXAMPLE. (That, and the producer in the car makes you wear it.)
No Best Dressed this week. That's not to say there weren't any good looks, but they were all repeats. Marquel's elimination was a sad day for this section.
On the whole I liked Andi's looks this week. Her green trench was a bit nondescript so I didn't include it. As for her evening "masquerade ball" gown, though:
The adjective that comes to mind is certainly not "nondescript." I do like this gown... There's something operatic about it. It's dramatic and fairytale-like and if you can't whip out a dress like this on a one-on-one Bachelorette date in Venice, when can you?
My favorite daytime look was her group date ensemble:
This look is so easy and chic. I love the graphic Hermés scarf, simply tied, the loose flowy shirt over skinny white jeans (which she continues to kill), and the gold accents. This whole look screams "Andi" to me; this is very much her style, and it's fantastic.
Her daytime look with Cody was an interesting combination of choices:
Something about this look... I have a feeling on a different girl this would look disastrous. I love a modern skort, especially in nude-pink, a soft turtleneck, and princess-y hair, but I don't know if I would have envisioned them all together. That said, she pulls this off, and well.
For the evening part, this body language and facial expression pretty much sum up how I – and the rest of Bachelorette Nation – felt about this entire look and the accompanying camel-colored camel toe:
It amazes me how wrong they can get it (above) and how RIGHT they can get it:
This glittery racerback gown was EVERYTHING. I'm obsessed with it. It's glamorous yet understated, demure yet sexy (hello side-boob), and ballsy yet elegant. WIN.
DRINKING GAME WORDS OF THE WEEK
2. I mean
Until next week, fellow pandas!