Bachelor in Paradise, or as my husband put it, “Fuck City, but on the pretense that everyone’s gonna get married.” The intro leaves us in no doubt that these people deserve everything they’re going to get.
Who’s our first contestant? I’ll give you a hint.
Peek-a-boo! It’s dizzy-for-Disney, Crazy Ashley I. (not to be confused with “Crazy Eyes” Ashley)! The producers told her she could come along if she brought her more experienced sister, Dottie, who got her into this league, goddammit! For the record, Crazy Ashley I. likes Everyone’s High School Ex-Boyfriend Jared, who was dumped a month earlier by last season’s Bachelorette, Kaitlyn. He would like everyone to know he’s fine, and is in no way still really messed up about it.
Captain Anonymous from last season’s Bachelorette is a favorite among the ladies, forcing me to finally learn his name. He reads us his casting breakdown: “Tanner: From Kansas City. Normal. A decent catch.” It confirms everything any woman has ever thought about this cardboard cutout of a man. He’s okayish. He’ll suffice. Tanner likes Jade, the sweet and beautiful Playboy model that is in no way every man’s type, living and dead.
Also in the cast is Jillian. Previously known for her butt, she also would like to be known for her new breasts. Dan the Libra has a pet beagle and runs in slow motion. Someone named Juelia [sic], who all the girls like, has a daughter that would like Kirk to be her new daddy. An extremely intense woman named Tenley is here to win, and if that requires boiling a pet rabbit, so be it.
Jade and Jared are the first to arrive on set, establishing them as the Hot Commodities. Jared can’t wait to date someone he can compare to his ex. Contestants Jade, Carly, Tenley, Clare, Crazy Ashley I. and her a-hymenal sister, Lauren will all volunteer for the challenge this episode. Jonathan and Mikey arrive. Jonathan meets the sisters and lets us know he’s into both incest and virgins. We’re all rooting for you, Jonathan! May you find love. We meet Mikey, the guy from college who always finds a reason to take his shirt off at the bar. J/K(about the college part). He’s into Lauren until she makes it really clear she’d rather go home than hook up with him. It’s already been established that Lauren is a give-the-milk-away-for-free type of gal, though, so other women feel threatened and show her the kind of pity reserved for outgoing, sexually available women.
Definitely. Kirk comes on next, and together with Jared and Tanner, he forms the triumvirate of desired men. Kirk notices that the bartender knows their names, but doesn’t make the connection that he’s a planted member of the production staff. Everyone approves of Jillian’s breasts and disapproves of JJ. Crazy Eyes Ashley/Courtney Thorne-Smith crazies her crazies with some birds.
Amidst the insanity, our positively gleeful host Chris Harrison gathers everyone to officially kick off a show that’s “just about love.” And cold-hearted elimination. The men will choose who stays while the women focus on getting on each other’s cycles. Just kidding- I suspect getting your period is a huge disadvantage on this show. While most of the girls need a rose to stay on the show, the sisters are BOGO- one rose saves both women. There will be further markdowns as the season continues.
Then we find out two previous contestants named Marcus and Lacy are getting married! Right now!! With only five guests in addition to the contestants/strangers!! These family-less, friendless people are married on set by Chris Harrison, Scientology Minister. Lacy says the phrase “sacred covenant” and I snort my water onto my shirt. Let’s hope the five wedding guests that the newlyweds actually know hit it off with someone, or they’ll be sent home before cake. This wedding is as legit as when Uncle Jesse’s cousin walks DJ around the kitchen table three times to Greek-marry her (an absolutely real Greek custom).
Then everyone gets drunk and says woohoo! Woohoo!! Back to the show.
Lauren cries because she hates all the guys here and doesn’t want to have to bone them. I suspect she’ll adjust her standards after she accepts the LImited QUantity Of Real options.
Carly and Kirk circle each other and compare unnaturally small features before then rubbing them together. Afterwards, their kiss and tell plays out like the opening song in Grease.
Crazy Ashley has been struck dumb by nerves around her crush, Everyone’s Ex Boyfriend Jared, but finally works up the courage to tell him her favorite Disney princess (Jasmine, obvi!). After this deep confidence, she thinks he’ll invite her to ride his carpet, but instead he asks Jade out for a walk. What is going on?? she wonders. Ashley has done everything Cosmopolitan told her to do and it’s STILL not working.
She gets the first date card, decides to try Cosmo Tip To Finding Love #19: You take the reigns! You’re an empowered woman. Ask out that cute guy you’ve been eyeing for a wild off-roading adventure. Show him your dirty side! Jared graciously accepts. He’s a Scorpio and she’s a Pisces, so it just makes horoscopically statistical sense.
Jade gets the next date card, and with Jared claimed by Crazy Ashley I., Jade reconsiders her options. She asks out Tanner, a move Crazy Ashley I. dismissed as “The most demoralizing thing ever.” He is thrilled to be the guy she picked to make Jared jealous. On their date, he asks her to describe herself as a little girl, and then they slender dip.
Dan notices that Crazy Eyes Ashley is weakened and on a stretcher, and makes his move to pick off the injured member of the pack. Carly is thrilled to be with Kirk, and then…Clare. I don’t know who this is. But Chris Harrison evil laughs when he sees her and then she gets a date card, so apparently she is going to make as least Crazy Ashley cry.
Let’s just acknowledge how incredibly amazing the intro number was. It was pure Saved By the Bell at the Malibu Sands Beach Club.
We pick right up where we left off with Clare, the surprise new girl who has a date card and causes actual real life lightning. Clare, Mistress of the Elements! Unfortunately for her, everyone is paired up except for Mikey and JJ. These are not ideal options, so she creeps on people’s convos and relashies trying to find anyone else to steal. Mikey, freshly rejected by “I’ll do anyone!” Lauren, hopes to win a date with “I’ll do anything!” Clare. He asks her to take him out, and she makes it clear she really doesn’t want to. He begs and she reluctantly agrees. They walk in on a baffling scene of two people yoga-screwing, but fortunately Clare speaks Cultural Appropriation.
Mikey enthusiastically drips sweat on Clare’s “privies” while she wretches into her mouth. Pukies! He says he likes her. She says never ever ever. Not ever. Yuck. Never. He thinks they’re together.
Cut to Tenley. She is apparently running out of time at the dried up old age of 31. She makes a play for Jared, who is thrilled to talk to anyone that isn’t Ashley. Crazy Ashley panics and decides getting drunk is the only way to compete with desperate old ladies like Tenley. But Ashley, it may be her last chance to have a child!
The women are running out of time, but Jillian feels secure. Oh Jillian. The last time she dragged herself through the mud to secure a rose, Chris Soules dumped her. Unfortunately, history repeats itself and she spends a day making out with JJ for his rose. JJ realizes he’s not long for this show, and makes it clear that his vote will go to the highest bidder. Jillian volunteers that she likes him a little as a person. Old Lady Tenley counters that JJ can touch her legs and they can kiss. Going, going, gone! To Old Lady Tenley for a leg grope.
Jared takes Clare aside to tell her he ranks her at least above Crazy Ashley. If no one else gives Clare a rose, he will. However Mikey, who still doesn’t fucking get it, lays claim to Clare. Jared saves Crazy Ashley and her discounted sister, who together equal one real person, and Tenley scratches her obedient puppy behind the ears for saving her and eliminating Jillian.