Jan 25, 2011

'The Bachelor' episode 4: 'On dates you kiss women, of course'

THE PUBLIC CRY: Chantal can't handle the truth that Brad has a thing for Tragic Single Mom.

Tears, anxiety, and blind rage are the order of the day as Michelle wakes up with a black eye and Chantal breaks down over Brad's connection to Emily.

By Kristen Baldwin | Published Jan 25, 2011
Hello, fellow rose-lovers! How are you this fine morning? Any mysterious bruising? I hope not. Our "journey" this week begins with Michelle, who -- like any good narcissistic wannabe actress -- is looking in the mirror. She is not pleased with what she sees -- and it's not because this is a special mirror that can see into the pitch black wasteland of her soul. No, it's because she has a black eye. A mysterious one. Alas, this black eye is not the result of one of the "ladies" sucker punching Michelle in the night -- as we were so deviously led to believe by Team Bachelor. "Maybe it's stress," muses Mole Hair. "It is so bizarre." Maybe, or maybe her dignity punched her from the inside.

Harrison arrives in a Mr. Rogers cardigan that is so distracting -- Why a cardigan? Was he chilly, or did the stylist pick it out for him? If the latter, why put a drab grey-blue, extra-large sweater over his jaunty plaid shirt? -- I pretty much don't hear anything he says. All of a sudden Lindsay is opening the date card (how nice that the "ladies" gave her something to do!) and revealing that Chantal will be going "deep" with Brad, one-on-one. Black Eye is not pleased. I'm pretty sure she's never pleased. At least she gets to hijack the moment when Brad arrives to pick up Chantal by announcing to the Bachelor in her sneery little girl voice, "I woke up with a black eye this morning!" Brad doesn't really know what to say ("Uh, you ok?"), but fortunately the whoosh of helicopter blades soon fills the air, and he's able to make a great escape with his slappy brunette in tow.
The whirlybird whisks them to Catalina Island, where Brad informs his aquaphobic date that they'll be walking on the bottom of the ocean, aided with those cartoonishly large deep sea helmets. Chantal manages to overcome her terror ("he's worth it"), and the duo has a lovely time strolling the sea floor hand in hand amongst the seaweed and tiny fish. (Stop! I'm on romance overload!) Once they wriggle out of their wetsuits and giant white helmets, it's off to a beachfront cabana tiki torch picnic situation, which is super dream-datey, but Chantal is feeling scared. "I was in such a long relationship with my ex-husband, the dating world is definitely out of my comfort zone," she explains. Still, she's "falling for" Brad, which results in this deep exchange of emotional insight:
Chantal: "I like you a lot."
Brad: "I like you a lot, too. No doubt about it. Absolutely no doubt about it."

She gets a rose, and they make out in the cabana. Meanwhile, back at Casa Bachelor, Black Eye Mole Hair McGee is talking Ashley 2's ear off about how much she hates Chantal. "I don't like being compared to Chantal," she whines. Guess what, toots? NO ONE IS COMPARING YOU TO CHANTAL. Michelle is unable to comprehend that fact, however, and her obtuseness is wreaking havoc on her digestive system. "I wake up with heartburn," she whimpers. "I don't sleep." (Wait, which is it? You're waking up or you're not sleeping? I'm confused.) All the while, Ashley 2 looks on with a Fake Furrowed Brow of Concern. As thunder rumbles ominously in the background, Michelle continues her tirade, calling Chantal "loud" and "hard." Oh, honey -- pot, kettle, black on both counts.
Was Dr. Marcia Fieldstone not available?

Group daaaaaaaaaaaate! Ashley 2, Stacey, Lindsay, Britt, Meghan, Alli, Lisa, Ashley 1, and Jackie pile into the stretch hummer and head to… another studio. But this time, it's aradio studio, home of Loveline with Mike and Dr. Drew. (Wow, I had hoped that by disabling my VH1 and avoiding those Teen Mom reunion specials I'd be able to live a totally Dr. Drew-free life… but some dreams aren't meant to come true, I guess.) Brad thinks appearing on this show is a good idea, because he's been in therapy for years. The only downside was, his therapy was in private! "I'm hoping to create an environment where these women can open up to me," explains the Bachelor, as the "ladies" silently shuffle into the studio. "The fact that they have a chance to talk to Dr. Drew will allow them to have a safe space." On the radio. With a silver-tongued witch doctor who likes to wear a stethoscope around his neck on Celebrity Rehab as though he actually practices medicine.
The interview begins, and Brad announces, sort of apropos of nothing (or apropos of choppy editing), "Never in my life have I cheated on a woman." (He has, however, been accused ofcheating people.) Expert Mike then asks the "ladies" who's cheated, and after an extremely pregnant pause, Stacey raises her hand. "It was in college, I was being drunk and stupid," she says, sounding a bit drunk right there, interestingly enough. The other women purse their lips in disapproval. Then some blonde woman who I swear to god I've never seen before in my life starts talking, telling Brad that she's "really interested" in him, but she's "nervous" because she only gets 10 minutes here or there. "I love hearing that," says Brad, as Jackie gives him a death glare in the background. "Give me the chance to make some time with you." (Ok, after poring over the ABC bachelorette bio page, I'm pretty sure the nervous blonde was Britt.)
The action eventually moves to Brad's backyard hot tub, where the "ladies" drink beer out of kegger cups and commend Brad for "opening up" on the radio. (Lindsay is so impressed with him, she says "really" six times in her confessional.) Back at Casa Bachelor: Ding Dong! The Accent Table of Doom is at the door! It seems to have parked itself further away from the door this time… perhaps because it's reluctant to deliver the terrifying news that MICHELLE MOLE HAIR will be getting the one-on-one date! Chantal quickly puts a damper on Michelle's celebration with the slyly sinister observation that the date card -- which read "Michelle, let's hang out together" -- did not include the word "love," while all the others did. "Oh, it's probably nothing," she purrs, almost keeping a straight face as Michelle's emotional threat level raises from orange to red. Well played, "lady." Chantal: 2; Mole Hair: 0.
Michelle rappels. Unfortunately, the rope doesn't break.
The happy vibe on the group date dissolves quickly once the land grab for one-on-one time begins, and soon Alli is crying because her chat with Brad was cut short by Ashley 2. And the other Ashley is having a total melter, freaking out in the hot tub because Brad hasn't handed out the date rose yet. "I just can't do this," she whines. "I don't want to do this!" Girl, is someone holding you hostage? LEAVE! Instead, she bolts out of the hot tub, grabs a blanket and barges in on Brad's makeout session with Britt. "It's hard, like, girls come home and they talk about their date," she whines. "It sucks." Brad suggests perhaps the experience can sometimes be "fun" and "exciting," to which Ashley 1 shoots back, "Foryou." Oh, snookums, don't make the Bachelor angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry -- because instead of giving you the date rose like he originally planned, he may just call you out in front of an entire hot tub full of your rivals when you whine that the presentation of said date rose is "awkward." The women silently enjoy Ashley 1's humiliation, which only deepens when Brad pulls Britt out of the hot tub and angrily hands her the date rose. Bless her heart, she's just happy to be there. "It's exciting," she says with a sweet smile. Go blonde chick who I probably won't recognize next week!

The next day, Michelle paints her face and gleefully awaits Brad and her one-on-one date. Her triumphant exultation ("NOTHING is going to stop me today!") turns deadly, however, when Brad strides in and asks for a few minutes alone with Ashley 1. As the Bachelor assures the dentist yet again that he wants her there, they could have something special, yada yada yada, Michelle seethes in the living room. "She's taking about 30 minutes of my time to deal with her issues from her behavior," she whines. "It's very frustrating." Chantal, never one to miss an opportunity to poke the angry bear with a stick, jumps in: "In all fairness, though, Michelle, the first group date, you kind of had your own little emotional issue where you had to go off and it created a scene… So I don't see why you don't have more sympathy for her right now." This of course gets Michelle all riled up -- "I created no scene!" -- and by the time Chantal sticks in her final shiv ("I guess we agree to disagree"), Michelle is in a full-blown snit. Mission accomplished, Chantal! (For those of you keeping score, it's now 3-0.)
A helicopter arrives and flies them to the top of a skyscraper in Los Angeles, where they'll be rappelling down the side of a building to a pool. Wouldn't you know it? Michelle is afraid of heights. She cries. She swears. She threatens to barf. She makes that whole "leap of faith" analogy that's tripped off many aBachelor contestants' tongues before hers. And then they inch their way down to the pool. Team building activity complete! Michelle cannot wait to lord her new death-defying bond with Brad in front of the other women. "None of the other girls back home can even compare with what I've been able to share with him," she gloats, before shouting "Boom!" and throwing some kind of white girl gang sign. Though she lets her cockiness show a bit in front of Brad -- "I don't see you with any of [the other women]; I see you with me" -- Michelle still manages to snare a date rose.
Emily and Brad, sittin' in a tree, p-i-c-n-i-c-k-i-n-g...
Oh for the love of all that's holy, must we endure TWO fake therapists in one episode?Doc Hollywood returns to counsel Brad, who, interestingly enough, is feeling conflicted about kissing so many women. Oh, really? Yes, really, insists the Bachelor, who says that even if he's just left one "intimate" conversation with a woman that's led to a smooch, he's "expected to" pucker up for the next bachelorette at the cocktail party too. "It's driving me crazy!" The teletherapist does what he's paid to do, giving Brad a series of blind validations ("go with it", "take a risk", "go for it") and sending him to the cocktail party as blissfully ignorant as ever.
To his credit, Brad spends his time at the party checking in with women who didn't get a date this week, including Shawntel (who -- fun fact! -- was actually cast for ABC's first-choice Bachelor Chris L.), and Emily, whom he surprises with a ready-made picnic. The "ladies" -- especially Chantal -- are beyond demoralized by the fact that Brad (or, let's be honest, a PA) threw a couple of pillows and a bottle of wine in a basket for Emily. When Shawntel wonders aloud whether the gesture "like, reassures… their love," Chantal starts bawling. Man up, missy! There's no crying onThe Bachelor! (Oh, if only that were true.) Later, Brad dries her tears with an elliptical compliment ("you're everything I've not been with in my past") and then darts out to prep for the rose ceremony. (Once again, no debrief from Harrison. What gives?) When the wheat is separated from the chaff, Ashley 2, Alli, Emily, Shawntel, Lisa (she's still here?), Jackie, Marissa (wait, she's still here too?) and Ashley 1 make the cut, while Meghan, Stacey the cheater, and Lindsay fulfill their destiny as set dressing. "Maybe I'm not as cool as I think," sighs Meghan, as she half-jogs, half-marches out of Casa Bachelor. Stacey takes it in stride, but Lindsay's fa├žade of strength crumbles when she tries to convince us, and herself, that her father is going to be "so proud" of her behavior on The Bachelor. Probably not as proud as he would have been had his daughter chosen not to appear on The Bachelor, but whatevs.
So, rose lovers, what say you? Is this Emily's race to lose? Ugh, sorry for the pun. (Speaking of tasteless, was it really necessary for Team Bachelor to manufacture drama for next week's episode by making poor Emily go on a NASCAR-themed date? That's beyond harsh.) Will Ashley 1 continue to self-destruct? Will Chantal stop crying long enough to insult Michelle again? Post your comments now! When you're done, be sure to check out Chris Harrison's exclusive Bachelor blog on PopWatch. Now, cover up that black eye and let's talk Bachelor!
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