Monday, February 29, 2016

"Hometowns", The Bachelor S20 E8 Recap

 Week 8 of The Bachelor takes us away for the storied hometown dates. Ben is "excited about this group" and hopes that the women are feeling excited for him as well. He loves that word. Hometowns are always my favorite week. I'll be like Ben and admit that, I, too, am excited.

 The first stop for hometown dates is just south of The Bachelor mansion. Ben joins Momma Amanda and her adorable little girls in Laguna Beach. Amanda says that she's falling for Ben but won't know for sure until she sees the way he interacts with her children. Ben is sweet with the kids as the group plays in the sand and chases each other along the beach. It's an uneventful afternoon.

 After the day at the beach, the gang heads to meet Amanda's parents. Ben's facial expression says it all. He is exhausted and doesn't want to be there. I think he knows that Amanda is going to be staying home after this week. This unnecessary introduction to her parents is very taxing. Amanda's Dad notices Ben's lack of energy and describes him as a "deer caught in the headlights." 

 Watching Amanda and her Mom talk is somewhat unusual. There seems to be a distance between them. It's as if they're strangers. Maybe it's the camera crew capturing their heart-to-heart. Amanda's Mom is hesitant about the relationship. She likes Ben but has her doubts. She's serious about examining her daughter's choice in men because in the past, it wasn't always on the mark.

 Amanda's Dad and Ben also have a chat that's serious in tone. He's very firm about making sure that Ben grasps the severity of becoming "an instant Dad." He warns Ben that kids always have to come first and that he won't always be able to do the things he wants. Ben is clearly having second thoughts.

 Amanda is hopeful. I, personally, have never seen what these two have together. It just doesn't seem to be there. She disagrees. "After today, I feel like I am in love with him. I can 100 percent see him being a great Dad to my kids, being a great husband." 

 The next stop takes us to Lauren's hometown of Portland, Oregon. Lauren is my pick from week 1 so I am admittedly rooting for the bubbly blonde. She has the smarts to plan a date that centers around things that Ben would appreciate in PDX- food trucks, Voodoo donuts, and whiskey. The girl gets her man.

 Lauren shares with Ben that Portland is "the city of roses." He better be giving her one after she provides a tour of the hipster capital of the world.

 While Lauren and Ben are devouring a buttery concoction, Ben points out the health risks but says that he couldn't think of a better way to die than standing next to her.

 After lunch, Lauren takes Ben to a place that she refers to as the Whiskey "Li-berry." For clarification, it's called the Whiskey Library and it's phenomenal. Dimly lit, books, drinks, a massive fireplace. I'm moving to Portland. I'm still disappointed that I didn't make it there on my Pacific Northwest trip earlier this fall. I could have been there at the same time as The Bachelor! Missed opportunities. I am living vicariously through every moment of this hometown date.

 Later in the evening, Lauren takes Ben to her childhood home to introduce him to her seemingly perfect family. It's like the Cleaver household. Everyone acts normal and looks well-coiffed. Lauren's sister is also beautiful. Skeptical but warm and openhearted, she asks Ben all of the right questions. "There's something about your sister.... I feel really lucky," he shares as he holds back a few tears of gratitude. He wins the sister over rather quickly.

 Lauren privately tells her sister "I feel like Ben's my person. I was meant to meet Ben. I am definitely in love with him." Her sister says that she really likes Ben and that the couple has her full blessing.

 Lauren's Dad, Dave (same name as Ben's father), has an honest, serious chat with Ben to find out where he stands. Ben says that Lauren is special. "When I saw her for the first time, the world stopped." Heart. Melts. These are the things they say on The Bachelor that has distorted my sense of reality and kept me tuning in for the past two decades.

 Lauren's Dad likes Ben but he's worried that "his baby Lo Lo"  will get hurt because there are three other women still in the picture.

 Lauren knows that she wants to tell Ben that she loves him but she holds back as they make-out in front of his escorted vehicle.

 Ben's next hometown date is in Hudson, Ohio. He will be spending the day with Caila, with whom he describes as the girl that he "has the deepest relationship." 

 The finalists on The Bachelor are always loaded and Caila is no exception. I don't know if the show casts people who are wealthy simply because they're the only ones who can financially step away from their jobs to appear on TV or if it has something to do with the wardrobe thing (styling yourself for an entire season on the show costs money). I need to know if there is a provided stylist on the set at all times (or any of the time for that matter). I might reach out to Michelle Money via YouTube. But I digress.

 Caila gives Ben a tour of her prep school because she knows that Ben gets hard just thinking about high school. Caila is smart like a fox. She knows that she doesn't have "deep roots" so she is trying to lure Ben in by playing her cards strategically right. I don't believe anything she says. I want to see her transcripts.

 Caila is aware that sitting in the quad of her alleged high school is not going to get her an engagement ring. She takes Ben to her Dad's company to plug the newest toy to tell him that she's ready to build a house together. It's a plastic house but it symbolizes their future- artificial and built over the span of about an hour. Drawing upon what little Caila knows about Ben, she remembers that he told her his favorite color was blue. The roof will be blue. Something borrowed...

 Per usual, Caila is giddy and spilling her heart out to a producer type. "I know that Ben is the one. I know I'm gonna marry him and we're going to have the happily-ever-after I've been looking for."

 Caila's parents make total sense. I can see how she is bipolar so multi-faceted. She is the perfect blend of both of them. Her Mother is Filipino and fila-fabulous. Her Dad is a typical CEO but he reminds me of someone. I can't quite put my finger on it. A mix between George Bush and someone completely blonde and very obscure. An actor, perhaps? It's driving me crazy!

 When Ben and Caila's Mom have time to chat privately, he shares that one thing he appreciates is that "Caila doesn't say the right thing but the real thing." Caila's Mom is impressed that Ben seems to be attracted to the way her daughter's mind works rather than just her looks. This is what Caila has been searching for. Isn't that what everyone wants? Probably not. Most people are super shallow.

 Caila tells her Dad that she knows this is it. "This is what I've been looking for all of my life." Her Dad is surprised that his daughter is in love and fears that she might end up crushed.

 Caila still refers to her parents as "Mommy" and "Daddy." She keeps saying that she knows he's the one. Her Mom gives her what seems like obvious advice but it's much easier said than done. "Tell him how you feel." 

 Caila wants to tell Ben that she's in love with him per her Mom's suggestion but the side of her personality that favors her Dad's genes keeps her silent. She's still scared to trust Ben because he has three other girlfriends. The tally? Two women who love Ben but are afraid to tell him.

 Ben bounces from Ohio and heads to Dallas to meet up with JoJo and her Texan clan. JoJo is surprised to see red roses and a note in front of her house. When she reads the letter, she quickly realizes that it's not from Ben but her ex-boyfriend, Chad. I don't know a lot of Chads. All of them are TV-related. There's Chad Michael Murray; Chad, the son of Kim Richards from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills; and Chad from Scream Queens. I need a visual of Chad, the ex-boyfriend from The Bachelor. 

 JoJo is upset that Chad is just now realizing that he doesn't want to lose her. Perfect timing. She calls to tell him that it's supposedly over. She's in tears. Ben will be arriving at any moment. Way to go, Chad.

 When Ben does show up, he is confused. Today was supposed to be happy but JoJo is sad. Ben says that he is "very uncomfortable" with JoJo's ex-boyfriend drama because a similar situation happened to him in the past. JoJo's mood doesn't seem to spoil any plans because she apparently didn't schedule anything for the two of them to do together. I'm sure this is just an editing/timing issue but the couple is seen doing nothing around Dallas.

 Later, JoJo takes Ben to her parents' mansion to meet her family. Her protective older brothers are ecstatic to see her. I thought for sure that one of the brothers was "on the spectrum" from the way that he greeted his sister but I think that was just the alcohol talking screeching. Most of the family seems to already have a good buzz going. Rich, good-looking people who drink too much, are my type of crowd. It's all very Dallas.

 The brothers have a chance to sit down with Ben. They're concerned that JoJo could get hurt. They grill the bachelor. Ben looks terrified. He's honest and says that he's not sure yet what the outcome will be. This isn't good enough, ya'll. The brothers aren't having any of it.

 JoJo is feeling the same hesitations as her brothers. She tells her Mother that she's scared she's going to get hurt because there are three other women still involved. JoJo's Mom says that she won't get hurt because she's beautiful. Hot people are exempt from pain.

  JoJo's Mom may or may not be completely inebriated (she's drinking rosé straight from the bottle, attagirl!) but she offers the most sound advice, "Have faith and give the relationship 150 percent." 

 I feel like Ben and JoJo are just not right for each other. I could be totally wrong. Perhaps opposites truly do attract. If I were playing matchmaker, I just wouldn't pair these two together. One of JoJo's hot brothers (also named Ben) is skeptical. "How can you fall in  love with someone that you've only been on two dates with?" 

 The brothers confront Ben. "You've brainwashed these women. (She's) too emotional after only two dates." It's a confusing scene and a hard one to watch. I wonder if they're going to get out firearms from a fancy gun cabinet. For once, I am speechless. I can't make heads or tails of this introduction. It's obviously a mess but I don't know if JoJo's family were too tough on Ben or right in their convictions. Probably a combination of both.

 Ben is disappointed. "It wasn't the hometown that I would have liked." JoJo knows that Ben has everything that she's looking for but she's scared that she might lose him.

 The rose ceremony takes place back in LA at the mansion. The women all seem happy to see each other. I don't recall the last time that the final four appeared to be this close. It's nice to see women getting along with each other. Each woman says that she's in love with Ben but someone will be going home.

 Ben thanks the ladies for introducing him to their families. He eventually awards Lauren, Caila and JoJo with roses. Momma Amanda will be taking the 1 back to Laguna Beach. She's saddened by his decision but holds her composure. Before she departs, she asks why he made her come back to LA only to be let go in a rose ceremony. Listen, Amanda, at least you had the shortest trip home (if you don't count Lauren's LA pad).

 It's reality TV, folks. If everyone were given the gift of being spared the embarrassment and heartbreak of being dumped during a rose ceremony, the show would not still be on the air.

 The couple says their goodbyes and that "they'll miss each other." On the drive back to the OC, Amanda tells a producer that she's "shocked" and "at a loss for words." Just an hour ago, she said she was ready to accept a hypothetical proposal from Ben; now, she's single and left wondering if she will ever find a good man. Welcome to the club, lady.

  Until next week...

Monday, February 22, 2016

"Validation", The Bachelor S20 E7 Recap

 Week 7 begins where the season initially started off, Ben's hometown of Warsaw, Indiana. It's a quaint Midwestern town- "the perfect place to raise a family." Ben is seen driving around in, surprise, a classic red pickup truck... because you can't possibly cruise the streets of Warsaw in something basic like a Chevy Suburban. I grew up around classic cars and can appreciate the imagery of nostalgia but the producers have really taken this old timey car thing to another level.

 Ben arrives at a local diner with a sign outside that reads, "No, we do not have Wi-Fi, talk to each other!" Ah, those Midwestern values run deep. Momma and Poppa Higgins are waiting inside. Ben greets his parents and catches them up on the remaining women.

 Becca- She has a good side that Ben can't get enough of but last week she came across as standoffish during the piggie island excursion.

 JoJo- Described by Ben as unbelievably beautiful. He's able to be himself around her more than any of the others.

 Emily- The identical twin who he still has questions about.

 Lauren- There's something about her that has stood out to Ben since the beginning. He's interested to see how their relationship will progress this week.

 Caila- Beautiful but has a fear of being unable to fall in love.

 Amanda- Ben says that she is "shockingly" beautiful with 2 little girls from a past marriage. Momma Higgins doesn't seem thrilled by the news but Ben assures her that Amanda is an incredible woman.

 When Ben's time with his parents elapses, he heads out on the lake to greet the women who are waiting for him on a nearby dock. Caila can't contain her excitement as she nearly kills herself by lunging toward the boat. Maybe she is so overcome by her fear of falling in love that this was actually a cry for help.

 Inside the lakeside rental, Ben tells the women that Lauren will be the recipient of the first 1-on-1 date. With "hometowns" looming, Lauren is relieved as she feels that she needs more reassurance before introducing Ben to her family. She only has 30 minutes to get ready; that's half the amount of time that they're usually given. Things are getting serious! Lauren looks like she's already dressed and ready to go but she tells the other women that she might need help primping. Hmmm... would you trust the 5 other women who are vying for your boyfriend to do your makeup before a big date?

 Ben takes Lauren in the red pickup truck around his Indiana hometown. Maybe it's the lighting but I swear one of her eyes has makeup that is darker than the other. Ben is quick to show her all of his favorite places. He's still talking about high school and how he was the star player on his football team. We get it, Al.

 The tour culminates at a youth center where Ben used to work. The kids are all sweet and well-behaved. They seem genuinely happy to have Ben and Lauren join them for their after-school activities. Lauren is "starstruck" when the Indiana Pacers show up to entertain the group. The pro-ballers and mascot are all fine and dandy but one of the kids in the program, Ronnie, a basketball savant, locally referred to as "The Half-Court King", is the real star of the show. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate a GIF of Ronnie sinking his big half-court shot.

 Ben comforts a smaller kid who is crying. Ben is always going out of his way to show America how wholesome and respectful he is. If he were a Republican Presidential candidate, you'd expect some explicit photos to leak at any moment. A scandal is never far away from someone who tries so hard to come across as good. Lauren says her cheeks hurt from smiling. She's swooning over Ben and can see that he'd make the best Dad ever.

 Back at the lake house, JoJo learns that she will be getting the next 1-on-1 with Ben. "Let's find love in the windy city." She's relieved as this indicates she's most likely in second place.

 As evening sets, Ben takes Lauren back to his place. It's unclear whether this is a temporary residence that the show staged or if he really has a home in both Denver and Warsaw. Ben never really mentions his career but the show lists him as some sort of software sales dude. The two discuss trust and seem to grow closer. They end up at a local dive bar and hang out with what is presumed to be Ben's friends from his hometown. Lauren is happy and says that she has experienced a relationship breakthrough. "I learned today that I'm not in love with Ben the bachelor. I'm in love with Ben from Warsaw, Indiana." 

 The next day, Ben is ready to meet one of his other girlfriends in Chicago. "It's endearing to me that JoJo doesn't know how much I like her." I wonder if it's endearing that Lauren doesn't realize it either. The producers have set up the couple with a date at one of Ben's favorite places, Wrigley Field. When Ben and JoJo get inside the baseball stadium, they are met with a pair of Cubs' jerseys with a very premature embroidery stitched on the back, "Mr. Higgins and Mrs. Higgins." If Ben doesn't plan to propose to JoJo, that's a pretty cruel thing to do but I wouldn't put it past this batch of producers.

 The sky over Chicago is grey and rain is approaching. I have a flashback to the Lollapalooza storm of 2012. As JoJo frolics on the field with Ben, she says that she needs to feel safe in a relationship. As for feeling safe, maybe avoid getting struck by lightning? She tells a producer type that she's terrified of falling in love because she likes Ben so much. After the inevitable storm passes, dinner is had on the field. Ben questions "to what extent" JoJo's feelings actually are. She says that she's "scared but not too scared to fall." They playfully refer to each other by their jersey monikers, "Mr. Higgins and Mrs. Higgins." 

 A new day. A new batch of women. Caila, Becca and Amanda will be joining Ben on an awkward 3-on-1 date. The group will be spending the afternoon on a farm. They row boats on a pond. Caila, who has already had two solo dates, including one on another type of boat, gets to be with Ben. Becca and Amanda are left witnessing a real life scene from The Notebook. When the rowing loses its appeal, the trio flies kites. Amanda, thinking that she left her kids back home to avoid these types of activities, is bored and hoping for more. The group makes their way to a well-decorated barn where a single rose sits on a barrel of hay makeshift table. The rose will not only indicate that the woman will progress to hometown dates next week but she will also get to stay alone with Ben for the remainder of the date night.

 Each woman has time to chat with Ben. Caila worries that because she moved 17 times before college that she doesn't have the stability roots to keep Ben interested. That explains the Cleveland thing and so much more about Caila. Becca fears that she likes Ben more than he is into her. She asks that whatever he decides, that he doesn't throw her any curve balls.

 Ultimately, Ben gives the rose to Amanda. He feels that she needs the extra reassurance before introducing him to her children. Becca, the virgin, who definitely does not have any kids back home, thinks it's not fair to bestow someone with a rose just because they are a parent. She says that her family is important, too. It really isn't fair but neither is life. I finally agree with Becca on something.

 When Becca and Caila arrive back to the lake house, they inform the other women that Amanda is spending the rest of the date with Ben and will be moving on to hometowns. Becca is in tears and crying about not getting enough validation. JoJo drops the v word as well. "How can you give someone that much validation?" Validation. Validation. Validation. Everyone wants it. No one is getting enough.

 For the evening portion of their date, Ben takes Amanda to McDonald's in what should easily qualify as the most obvious plug in reality television history. Amanda feigns interest as her date escorts her behind the velvet ropes of the golden arches to work the drive-thru. What a dream come true. But in all seriousness, if you're with someone you're falling for, any date is magical.

 After Ben and Amanda serve enough breakfasts as dinners (gotta push that new menu!), the bachelor escorts his lady to a carnival being held, presumably, in his honor. Everyone in small-town Warsaw has come out to catch their 15 minutes of fame. It looks like a fun time. I love festival games and carnival rides. I can totally get behind this part of the date. Amanda says that being in this environment makes her miss her kids. She wishes they were with her. She says that she could see herself leaving sunny southern California to live in cloudy Warsaw, Indiana. She's "close to falling in love" with Ben and is anxious to see how he interacts with her little girls. Mmmhmm...

 If you're doing the math at home, someone still hasn't had a date and that lucky lady is Emily. Ben will be taking her on a very special 1-on-1 date to meet his parents. It's only fair since she introduced him to her Mom back in Las Vegas. Emily (23-years-old with 0 life experience) says that she's ready to forget about her twin sister move from Vegas to small-town Indiana to "start making babies" with Ben.

 Emily is overcome with joy as Ben takes her out on the boat. She asks if the large birds in the water are swans. Emily's invitation to join Mensa must have been lost in the mail. When the couple arrive at the Higgins house, Emily is all over the place. She's anxious, bubbly and talkative. Em goes on and on about not traveling at all in her life and being so impressed by Warsaw, Indiana. "We don't have ducks in Las Vegas." She already forgot that they were swans. Ben's Mom, Amy, pulls Emily aside for a private chat to learn about her deepest desires and hopes for the future.

 Emily shares that her greatest ambition is to be an NFL cheerleader. Listen, I cheered for over 10 years and I still miss it but there comes a time when you should maybe aim for something more ambitious long-term. She thinks further down the road. "I know that I'd be an above-average wife and mother." Ben's Mom hates her. "She's a young, fun, excited individual," she relays to a producer.

 When Dave Higgins has time to speak with Emily, she truly shines. When asked what she'd like to do with her life, she says with a coy smile that she'd like to sit around and watch movies all day. "Okay," says Ben's Dad.

  Amy and Dave can't believe that Ben has brought this girl home. His Mom is in tears at the mere thought of this woman raising her future grandchildren. "Is she mature enough?" Amy is one of those people who pronounces the word "mature" as ma-tour so you know that she's serious.

 As the meeting wraps up, Emily is shocked that the boat appears to be heading toward the lake house. It's only been about an hour. "You're not taking me home are you?" Emily asks, worried. She was hoping for a magical fantasy date like the other women but there will be no Wrigley Field or McDonald's in her future. Ben is honest and firm with the twin. "I don't think I could see you being my wife." Ouch. "I don't see the next step for us." Emily is in tears as she says her goodbyes to the bachelor. When she makes her way into house, she tells the other women that her date ended prematurely and she will be going home. "I'll always wonder what he didn't see in me."

 The rose ceremony takes place in the town square. Ben says that he doesn't know what he's going to do. He figures it out rather quickly.

 Lauren, JoJo and Caila are given roses which symbolize an invite for the ladies to introduce Ben to their families.

 Becca's only request was not met. She is blindsided. She didn't want to be put through the embarrassment of a rose ceremony if Ben knew that they weren't suited for each other. Ben claims he didn't know what to do until the very last moment. Mmmhmm... Becca hears Ben out and finally agrees that she'd rather he end it now before families get involved and things become more intense.

 Without Olivia running around, there really was a noticeable lack of excitement this week. Here's to hoping that hometowns provide some quality material! Until next time...

Sunday, February 14, 2016

"Oink Oink", The Bachelor S20 E6 Recap

  Week 6 of The Bachelor picks up in the midst of where we were left hanging the last time around. Ben pulls Olivia away to chat privately. He asks to hear her side of the story regarding the other women not getting along with her. Olivia says that because she started off strong, always getting validation with things like the first impression and date roses, that the other women put a target on her back. She's absolutely right. People throw rocks at things that shine and our girl O was Twilighting hard at the beginning of the season. But this is where Olivia loses me; she claims that she is too different from the other women to forge a friendship. Olivia says that she wants to "talk smart things" but the other ditzes depth of intelligence is as shallow as a bottle of nail polish or can of hair spray. Olivia says that she's such a special snowflake and would rather read than paint her nails. That's strange because it was just a week ago that the camera crew captured O manicuring her digits. And NEWS FLASH to the news anchor, this just in, you can love to read and still be social. You can enjoy being a woman by doing such VAIN things as styling your hair and painting your nails while still appreciating a good piece of literature. The only thing that rivals my nail polish and makeup collection is my library. I don't want to hear that the two are mutually exclusive. I once had your job, Olivia, and now one of the things I do is makeup. So shut your O-Face.

 When Olivia returns to the group with her rose still in tow, the other women are in disbelief. Emily is infuriated and worries that she might be sent home for tattling on Olivia. O-Face's response, "Come at me bro- everyone can suck it."

 By the end of the rose ceremony, Jennifer is the unlucky lady that is sent back home to Florida. The group learns that they will be finally going overseas to Europe to The Bahamas! It's hurricane season but bachelor Ben promises "a lot of sun, a lot of beach, a lot of ocean."

 The calm before the storm. The first 1-on-1 date card arrives. Caila's name is noted as the recipient. "Let's see if our love is reel."

 Leah, who is practically the only woman left who has not received a solo date or any sort of validation from Ben, is enraged, confused and lost. "Speechless. I don't know why I'm here." This will be Caila's second private date with Ben. Things aren't looking good for the blonde event planner.

 Ben picks Caila up for their fishing date. Caila says that she's the luckiest girl in the world. I'm not feeling the arrogant air she's been exuding lately. There's still something I just don't trust about her. Ben says that the first 1-on-1 with Caila was a long time ago and the black guys crashing the majority of it has left some unfinished business. Never got around to the Hennessy and condoms, huh? 

 Back at the hotel, Leah knows that a 2-on-1 date is imminent. She won't put herself through the embarrassment. First, there was Lace, bowing out to fix her own neurosis and now, we have Leah, questioning her direction on the show. Those Denver girls sure do know to leave before they are left. Peyton Manning must have billboards warning these Colorado chicks to only stick around if they're promised a Super Bowl ring an engagement ring. "I look like a fool. I look like a total fool for putting myself through this," Leah says through tears. Leah reminds me of the type of person who went to a small school all of her life and was always the prettiest girl but got to college and realized that hot chicks are a dime a dozen and subsequently went crazy. Or maybe she had parents who stroked her ego one too many times. Big fish, small pond syndrome. "He told me I'm beautiful. I live 10 minutes from him. We could have met at a bar but the universe brought us together for this process."

  After a day spent frolicking on a boat in the ocean, it's time for Ben and Caila's date to get a bit deeper over dinner. This is where things get awko-taco.

 "So, you smile a lot," Ben says to Caila. I don't remember the last time someone said that to me. 2004? Resting bitch face is a very real thing and it's tragic to deal with when you're actually an upbeat person.

 Ben attempts to get Caila to reveal more of herself but the bipolar brunette coldly says that she feels put on the spot to be a certain way for him. But it gets better.

"I feel like I love you but don't know why I can't share. Maybe it's that I'm not ready. I feel like my greatest fear is that I can't totally, completely fall in love with somebody. Part of me is afraid because your greatest fear is being unlovable and my greatest fear might be breaking your heart."

 Ouch. This chick is icy. 

"It doesn't feel right. It feels like I'm going to hurt you." 

 It's strange to see a scenario in which the woman is the one delivering the truth without any sugarcoating. It's even weirder to hear it coming from the sugariest girl in the bunch. I have determined that Caila is a sour patch kid.

 Ben is confused and so is "Bachelor Nation." One second he thinks Caila might be going home and the next, he's asking her if she's ready for a commitment. Ben, she isn't ready. She just told you that she's going to break your heart.

 Little Miss Sunshine has a manic swing and quickly changes her tune. Thinking of the UsWeekly cover story deals, Caila tells Ben that she could be falling in love with him because he makes her feel "understood." Ben says that it's "almost attractive" that Caila can be so confusing. He is turned on that she's not simply a ditz with good hair who paints her nails. Ben thinks her con-artist ways are so very deep and sexy. Ben rewards Caila's instability with the date rose because of course he does. Ben thinks that this is the start of their relationship and one of the best dates he has ever had.

 The group date arrives. Lauren B., Becca, Amanda, Lauren H., JoJo and Leah will be joining Ben. Leah is on the verge of not going at all because she wasn't even granted an invite to the 2-on-1 date. But she decides to go in hopes that she will have a chance to discuss the situation with Ben. 

 As the group makes their way to a private island, adorable piggies of all shapes and sizes are spotted swimming freely in the ocean. It's a magical place called Exuma. I've somehow never heard of this mystical locale but it's enchanting. 

 Ben tells the girls they will be feeding the feral pigs hot dogs. Have no fear. It's not a cannibal-themed date. The hot dogs are allegedly composed of chicken. The pigs seem to feel differently because they pretty much go into attack mode toward the ladies. It's hysterical. 

  Lauren B. is given all of the attention. The other women still aren't used to the idea of dating the same man at one time. JoJo attempts to have a chat with Ben but a pig interrupts. 

 When Leah finally has a chance to confront Ben about him not giving her a 1-on-1 date, all he can think to ask her is if she likes pigs. "I like to eat pigs," she rudely quips. Get those squealers after her! Nothing much is resolved. Leah is later seen complaining with Lauren H. that Ben is an idiot for not giving her a chance.

 As the evening portion of the group date gets underway, Leah decides that if Ben won't give her the time of day, she's going to make sure that he isn't happy with anyone. She devises an evil plot to lie about front-runner, Lauren B. 

 Leah is an absolute idiot to think that she's going to stick around longer by trying to get Lauren B. out. Not a bright tactic. She should have went for the other Lauren or the twin whose still around. Start from the bottom. Leah says that when she watches Lauren B. and Ben together, she is disgusted because it should have been her that won over the bachelor's heart. This entitled little twat needs a major reality check. 

 When Leah has her alone time with Ben, this is what she uses to sway him toward herself. "There are women in the house who aren't being real with you and it hurts me." Leah never names Lauren B. specifically (that would be an obvious editing dub) but she says it in so many words- "the person that you have the strongest chemistry with." Duh.

 Ben says that he's "bothered" by Leah's words and isn't sure if they're legit or not. He says whether there is validity to the statement or not, it still plants the thought in his head. When Ben confronts Lauren B. about the accusation, she is at a loss for words. Because she feels that the statement was so falsely inaccurate, she doesn't know how to even respond. 

 In tears, Lauren B. mentions the topic to the other women. Leah tells a bold face lie and claims that she "would never be the type to single someone out by name." Did the event planner take a law class or something because those words are very specific. Liars and those who lie by technicality are the worst people in my book. Lies are where I draw the line. I can't stand Leah. 

 The date rose goes to Bahama Momma Amanda because Ben finds her so sweet. Is Amanda really that sweet? I haven't seen enough of her to know but when people have squeaky Minnie Mouse voices, it's easy to be deceived. 

 Later that evening (or the next one, who knows), sociopath Leah makes her way to Ben's private hotel suite to "surprise" him. He opens the door and feigns excitement but all of us see where this is heading- all of us besides Leah, that is. She says that she's not there to sabotage Ben's relationship with anyone else but she utilizes her time to talk about the only thing relevant for her to talk about- Lauren B. Out of Leah's insane level of jealousy, she attempts to destroy Ben's image of Lauren B. She fails miserably as Ben tells her that they have a "disconnect." Ben goes on to say that they're "missing it" and that he hasn't felt anything truly wonderful towards her since the first night. He promptly decides to break things off with Leah the liar and sends her home to Denver without him.

Bachelor Nation's response to Leah's tears.
 The 2-on-1 date arrives. "Two women one cup one rose, one stays one goes." Emily and Olivia, who are bitter arch rivals, will of course be pitted against each other. It's a windy, grey day and the ocean is dangerously choppy. But the boat has already been rented and the private island is set up and ready for the flyover shot of whichever unlucky lady will be left shedding tears alone. 

 Olivia is feeling confident. "I'm giddy! It's my first almost 1-on-1 with the man I know I'm going to marry." Emily, on the other hand, is "terrified" because Ben has given O-Face validation time and time again. 

 "Not wanting to waste any time," Ben asks Olivia to take a walk on the beach with him. She puts her heart on the line. "From the moment that I met you, I knew that it was right... and I'm in love with you." She plants a few kisses on Ben. 

 When the bachelor pulls Emily aside, the hurricane-force winds have blown every strand of blonde hair over her face. The couple shares a laugh as the storm's waves crash onto the rocks they sit on. Emily talks a mile per minute about wanting Ben in her life and wanting to grow as a person. Blah, blah, blah. 

 When Ben returns, he takes both the rose and O-Face on another stroll on the beach. Olivia is voiced saying that she "feels sorry for Emily." The twin says that Ben is making "the biggest mistake of his life." But there's a plot twist. Ben reveals to Olivia that while he appreciates her opening up and revealing her undying love for him, he can't reciprocate the same feelings. Olivia is saddened and doesn't know what went wrong. She's strong in front of Ben but loses it when she is left alone on the island. "I thought Ben wanted everything that I am but I guess not," she says through tears. It's a gripping shot with the waves crashing and O-Face standing still. But I admit that I feel cheated that Olivia was not sent home in "the most dramatic rose ceremony ever." What will my recaps ever be without any of Olivia's words of wisdom? I secretly loved Olivia and I will miss her tremendously. A moment of silence for O-Face's departure.

 Prior to the rose ceremony, Chris Harrison informs the women that Ben is exhausted and can not handle a cocktail party. His decision has been made. In the end, Midwestern Lauren H. is sent home. Finally, there is only one Lauren left! 

 The 6 remaining women who will continue on next week and have the chance for a hometown date despite Ben's admitted lack of excitement for what's happening: Caila, Amanda, JoJo, Becca, Emily and Lauren B.

 But before we get to all of that, the question still remains, who punched Leah in the face? It was heavily teased in the trailer for the season but now that both Leah and the most likely culprit, Olivia, have been sent home, when will this footage air? The women tell all- deleted scenes? Could Leah make a triumphant return? Like Ben, I'm "discouraged, -could this all be for nothing?" I sure as hell hope not. But if it takes a failed season of The Bachelor to have someone punch Leah in the face, then perhaps it will still hold meaning after all. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

"I Woke Up Like This", The Bachelor S20 E5 Recap

 Week 5 of The Bachelor takes us to an exotic destination- Mexico. It's not exactly a far journey from Las Vegas but the ladies are out of the country (some for the first time) and are encouraged by how their relationships are progressing with their boyfriend.

 Bachelor Ben is strolling the streets of Mexico City. As he explains how excited he is to be there, a homeless man is seen in the background of the shot, taking an afternoon siesta on a park bench.

 Elsewhere, the ladies arrive at the beautiful Four Seasons hotel. It's another fancy suite for the group. They say they've never been anywhere like it before- so much for leaving a lasting impression, Aria Las Vegas. Olivia has developed an intimate relationship with the bidet.

 The date card arrives. "I know it's me," Olivia confidently assumes. She actually is long overdue for a 1-on-1 date. I wonder if editing is playing a strong role in the Ben-Olivia relationship. Lauren B. seemed to be the immediate front-runner. Perhaps, O-Face serves to only distract us from what's actually happening.

 The card reads, "Amanda, Let's put all our eggs in one basket!" Amanda is happy and says this will be her first real date in a long time. I guess the ventriloquist outing counts for nothing. Sorry, Terry Fator.

 Olivia is not pleased. She tells a producer that Amanda has children and she's the not the right girl for Ben. Amanda admits that she's been away from her little girls for awhile now and this date will let her know if it's worth it to stay.

 Cut to 4:20 am. Not 4:30 but 4:20. The producers must be high because they agree to surprise the women as they sleep. Ben will be taking Amanda on their early morning date. Ben says that he wants to see the women without their makeup in their element. Sorry, people, but no one is in their element in the midst of deep REM sleep. If I were these women, I would have been terrified that a gang of Mexican drug lords were kidnapping me for ransom.

 Ben creepily greets the ladies, "Gooood mooorning!" as he throws a flashlight in their faces.

 Lauren H. has her retainer in and lisps as she speaks to the camera crew, "I look so bad! This is how the guy I'm competing with 11 other women for his heart saw me this morning." It's not her best look but at least she's keeping it real.

 Ben assures Lauren H. that he, too, wears a retainer but questions which woman has her weave on the night stand.

 Olivia is also concerned about her oral hygiene. "I don't want him to smell my dragon breath but this is me, have at it!" Could Emily's insults about O-Face's breath be true after all?

 Amanda must have watched last season because she seems to have remembered Britt's tactic of never going to sleep without a full face of makeup. When Ben goes to catch Momma Amanda "in her element", he is surprised to see that she is completely done up with even her hair styled. I once was told by a guy in college that he was relieved that I looked exactly the same the next morning without makeup. Amanda isn't going to give America Ben that close of a glimpse just yet.

 Ben, ever the gentleman, says that the women have never looked better. As a makeup artist,
I can assure you that statement is true for about .00001% of the population. After the age of about 25, that stat declines to approximately .00000001%.

 Ben and Amanda head out towards the Mexican countryside for their early morning adventure. Amanda looks like she is wearing Becca's burgundy blouse from last season's hometown date. Maybe that top belongs to the stylist? Is she on set south of the border? 

 Back at the hotel, Lauren H. is chatting with Olivia about Ben and Amanda's chances. The women gossip that they don't think Ben is ready to be a Dad just yet. Olivia thinks that because Amanda has kids back home, she's not coming back to the Four Seasons.

 Ben and Amanda have made their way to the date location. It's another aviation theme but this is one that I truly envy- a hot air balloon ride over ancient Mexican cities! Balloon mechanics make no sense to me and that basket gives me major nerves but I desperately want to go up, up, up and away! 

  After the balloon excursion, Ben and Amanda enjoy a champagne picnic and chat about life. Okay, now I'm not typically a jealous person at all but this date is pretty spectacular. The Mexico location producers must be different than the ones back in Los Angeles. The Mexicans know romance. Ben tells Amanda that he enjoys her company and wants get to know her better.

 Back at the hotel, the women have noticed that Amanda's date has lasted longer than anyone else's. The date card arrives. The names of the women who will be joining the bachelor for a group date: Jubilee, Becca, JoJo, Caila, Emily, Lauren B., Jennifer, Leah and Olivia.

 This means that Lauren H. will have her chance with some alone time with Ben. Olivia says that at this point, it's not that she wants Ben but she needs him. She continues to mention her "save the best for last" theory. Tell it to Vanessa Williams, O-Face.

 Amanda and Ben are having dinner in Mexico City. Amanda opens up about her first marriage and subsequent offspring. She reveals that her ex-husband cheated on her. Is it just me or have all of these women been burned by two-timing men? If these beautiful bachelorettes have been wronged, what chance is there for the rest of us? The date rose is awarded to Amanda after she does a good job summarizing her situation. "We're going to see if this is a good thing for us," says Ben. Yeah, no. That doesn't sound good enough for me. I'm still not buying this relationship. I have a feeling Amanda will only be around for another week or two. He will use the excuse that it's only fair that she goes back to her kids because that's always the line the bachelor uses for single parents.

  The day of the group date has arrived. The women will be taking a Spanish course with Ben. I immediately have flashbacks to diez anos de Espanol en mi escuela. Year after year, I never mastered the language. I barely graduated from college because they required two more years of that torture. I wish I could speak every language on the planet but it's just not in my wheel house.

 Ben feeds each of the women a romantic line and one by one, they all swoon. Jubilee, ever the optimist, isn't having any of it. "I don't feel like it means anything because you said the same thing to all of us." 

 After the Spanish class, the group heads to a restaurant to partake in a cooking contest with a set of Mexican chef siblings. The group is paired into twos. Jubilee wants Ben as her partner but Olivia claimed him first. It's awkward. O-Face is due the time as Jubes did have a one-on-one date but remember "all's fair in love and war." 

 Emily is jealous that not only did Olivia excel with her Spanish language skills in the classroom, she now has Ben as her partner in the kitchen. "I want to punch her in the face." 

 JoJo and Becca are cooking partners because of course they are. The two are disgusted that Olivia is getting a mini one-on-one with Ben. The hostility needs to come down to a simmer. O still hasn't had a real solo date. Those clowns have. Be nice. Jeez. Emily is still harping that O's dragon breath has not improved. "I saw Ben make a dash for some fresh mint to share with her." The camera crew captures this moment. Maybe it really is true. Unfortunate but still... be nice. 

 At the hotel suite, Lauren H. receives her date card. "Let's design a life together." This reminds me of the name of my tumblr blog, "Construct a Life" (taken from a line in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five). But that's neither here nor there.

 At the Mexican restaurant, the chef is informing the ladies that a woman is ready to get married when she knows how to cook. Maybe that's why I'm still single. I enjoy making things but I'd be lying if I said I were a master at cooking. Baking is much more my thing. 

 Olivia is still providing all of the best lines. "I want to be Ben's partner in life. I want to be his partner in cooking." Jubilee, who partnered with Lauren B. is over all of this. "Group dates aren't fun anymore." 

 The judges sample the dishes. JoJo is boasting that her taco is delicious and she wants Ben to taste it. Awko-taco, indeed. Olivia and Ben's plate is harshly judged as looking like dog food. Delusional as always, O-Face thinks she came in second place. Lauren B. and Jubilee win the competition. I'm not interested in any of it. This is The Bachelor not Top Chef. 

 At the evening cocktail party, Olivia is back to feeling like her old, confident self. She predictably takes Ben away first for alone time. Emily doesn't waste much time interrupting the two (as is her custom). As Ben spends time with each woman, he continues to place his sport jacket over their shoulders. I'm sure the stylist does not appreciate her work being draped like the statues at the Vatican during an Iranian visit. 

 When it comes time for Ben to spend time with his favorite, Lauren B., he takes her for a stroll through the streets of Mexico City. It's so obvious to me that these two are it. "I NEVER wanted our date to end," he tells her. Hint, hint. The couple make-out in front of a church. 

 Jubilee is tired of waiting for her turn with the bachelor. "I'm not used to being overshadowed. I'm disappointed and pissed off." 

 When Ben returns from his midnight escape with Lauren B., Jubilee is not willing to hold his hand. The two discuss their potential for a future together. Ben admits that he doesn't believe that there is anything to build upon anymore. He takes this opportunity and runs with it. Jubilee is walked out and their relationship is OVER. Ben actually had me fooled. I thought he might truly like her but this entire scenario was pretty clear what was happening... contractual obligations...

Jubilee is in tears. "I'm the most unlovable person in the world right now." Aw, Jubes. The fear of being unlovable is not something you want to project upon yourself. I blame it on the fact that she wore pale pink. Up until this point, she almost always wore her best color, white. "I would have loved him unconditionally." Really? Because you were sent home in a Mexican taxi. They couldn't even get a Lincoln town car to swing by?

 Ben reports back to the remaining women that J was cast off. "Jubilee is someone from the moment that I met her was incredibly intriguing. Tonight, I had to say goodbye." JoJo is overcome with excitement and interrupts the bachelor. She wants to spend some alone time with Ben to assure him that he's making all of the right decisions, tough as they might be. She's still around, so in her mind, he is doing everything right.  Ben tells JoJo that he's done with breaking up with people after this. "Well, you have 10 more to go!" she tells him. Including you, girl. Trust. 

 The date rose is awarded to Olivia. I mean, why not? She took it upon herself to partner with him and make a valiant effort to appear normal during the cook-off. Who else would have gotten it other than his favorite, Lauren B.? She can't get it two weeks in a row. That would tip off the audience. JoJo says that there was a moment of silence after the announcement. "I was blindsided."

 It's time for Lauren H.'s date with Ben. She's bouncy and excited to be spending the day with the bachelor. Ben keeps using the word "engross." I'm going to engross myself in the Mexican culture! "It is wonderful to engross yourself in the language!" The couple end up at a design studio and are told that they will be walking in a show during Fashion Week in Mexico City. Cool date. Not particularly romantic but fun. Again, the Mexican scouts must have planned this one. 

 Lauren H. is looking like an '80s prom queen vision in her fashion week ensemble. She fits right in with the other models. If the Kindergarten teacher thing starts to become boring, she might have a career at the Detroit branch of Elite Models. Is there a Detroit location? Probably not. But she looks good. After the two walk in the show, they celebrate with a tequila shot. Fashion and alcohol are always a good idea.

 At dinner, Ben admits that their relationship has been a slow burner but he wants to find out more about Lauren H. She's able to open up about her past. Surprise! She was also cheated on by a previous ex. Ben seems relieved that their is some depth to the bubbly blonde. He appreciates how open she is and awards her with a date rose. The two makeout in front of a church that may or may not be the same spot where he kissed the other blonde Lauren. 

 And it's time for the rose ceremony cocktail party. The Mexican set designers outdid themselves at the Four Seasons. Sunflowers, tapestries and lanterns make for a beautiful courtyard locale. JoJo is impressed with the scenery. "I have chills right now!" Someone get Ben's sport jacket.

 Lauren B. and Ben have a chance to chat some more. She really seems hammered enamored this week. "People can like, tell that I really like, like you. Ben, I could see like a LIFE with you. Like, not just like getting married, like initially, like I could see a LIFE with you, which is like terrifying. Like a LIFE. Like a LIFE, LIFE!" 

 The ladies are gathered and chatting about life. Amanda says that she has been anxious this week and dreamed of her kids. JoJo politely asks if their Dad is involved in taking care of the children while she is away on reality television. Olivia, sensing the dysfunction, interjects. "I feel like it's an episode of Teen Mom." Silence. Eye rolls. Awko-taco. She attempts to recover. "Well, you know, like that show."

 Amanda says that she was in her early 20s when she had her kids and married after the first one. She doesn't appreciate the rude remark. I'm still not seeing why Amanda, who lives in one of the most populated cities in the country, is beautiful, young and healthy, felt the need to leave her kids to date someone on television but it's not for us to judge. That's Ben's job and as already mentioned, he's probably going to give it another week or two. 

 Emily is so jealous of can't stand Olivia. She is shocked by O's remarks towards Amanda. "God, that is the most offensive thing in the world!" Really? Because calling out someone for having plastic surgery and bad breath is supposedly kind? Emily says her jaw dropped to the floor when she heard Olivia's diss. Now, that's it. There can only be one O-Face.

 Amanda tells Olivia that it's "common sense" not to say such offensive things. Olivia tries to hold back her laughter as crocodile tears come streaming, "I'm learning a lot about myself. I'm sorry." 

 Emily has had enough. She has come to the end of her dynamite stick and wants to be the girl who takes one for the team. She is going to inform Ben that one of his top choices for a wife is loathed by the others. This almost never works out. It always blows up in the person's face as they are seen as jealous and insecure (which they usually are). With tears fueled by too much Mexican grain alcohol, Emily pours her heart out to Ben. She questions if she is right for him if he is interested in someone like O-Face. She says that O is disrespectful towards the other women. They aren't exactly nice to Olivia either but she just happens to be in the lead. 

 Olivia senses the negative energy being omitted across the room. "I've always had the vibe that people are talking about me all of the time and that makes me fucking pissed." 

 Ben says that he doesn't want people to feel disrespected and pries for further information. Emily says that O is fake. She's hysterical but still has a pretty cry face. I wish I was able to still look this good when I cry (which happens way more than I care to admit). Olivia isn't going to stand by and let Emily ruin her pristine reputation. She interrupts. Immediately, Emily snaps out of her tears and is suddenly calm. Um... who is crazier? Emily or Olivia? Emily is motivated by jealousy. Olivia is motivated by the drive to win and find true love fame. Jealousy is worse.

 Ben is warm to Olivia. He compliments her dress. He doesn't seem to get to the bottom of anything. She presents him with a ring. As the two chat, Emily tells the other women that she tattled on O. She later talks to a producer and calls her twin sister back home in Vegas. It's a ridiculous, drunken conversation. "Olivia is a bully!" "Ben gave her the rose!" Yada, yada, yada. Olivia might not be the best person in the world but at least she has kept this train wreck entertaining. 

 When Ben chats with Momma Amanda, she confirrms that Olivia has "targeted" her from the start. Jennifer agrees that Olivia doesn't clique click with the rest of the group. It's called the first impression rose. 

 Ben is questioning his feelings for Olivia. Typical. Listen to other people and let them influence your opinion? I thought you were stronger and smarter than that, B? 

 The ladies think Olivia is going to be sent home. "She's done for it! No more Olivia!" Um, that would be boring and make the task of writing these recaps all the more arduous.

 The rose ceremony... there is no time thanks to the Iowa caucuses. 

 A literal cliff hanger. Ben is seen on the edge in a preview of next week's episode. The water below appears to be a hurricane. Ben has fallen in love with two women (but there's like 10 of them left). Everyone is in tears. Did Ben pull a Cupcake and nearly jump? Who will Ben keep around? Come back soon to find out! And in the meantime, relive this sweet Cupcake moment in Bachelor/Bachelorette history. #TheBachelorAt20

Blog Archive

My photo
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
I'm living life in beautiful Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I hold a journalism degree from West Virginia University. I have worked in television news, fashion marketing, PR, and cosmetic sales. My love for writing and sharing with the world my various passions is strong. One of my many ambitions is to be published and continue creating in the fields of digital and print media, literature and film. In my free time, I enjoy listening to music, going to concerts, reading, following Pittsburgh sports and traveling as often as possible. Some of my favorite things include beauty, style, architecture, books, tarot and astrology, thrifting and my shih-tzu, Ireland. I’m engaged to the love of my lifetimes and we look forward to starting our next chapter together. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you!