Make no mistake about it, The Bachelor Pad is sleazier, ickier and more shameless than a late night Cinemax special and a whole lot less honest. This is prime time television after all and you can't just show people cavorting around in hot tubs wearing next to nothing and macking on a different person every five minutes... Oh, wait. Never mind.
As I dive into the second installment after having watched the premiere while vacuuming my living room and taking phone calls from friends, I admit, I'm a bit fuzzy on some details. Such as, why are these people here and more importantly who are most these people? I think I recognize only 20% of them. I feel relieved. I feel amazing. I feel hopeful for the future! Because I'm not sure I could've lived with myself had I been able to name what season each person was originally on. My next thought is of course sheer panic as I suddenly realize that I will need a spreadsheet, charts, graphs and possibly Valium, to keep track of all them. Sigh.
Side note: Following the action on this freak show is like trying to decipher a dead language. Half of it makes about as much sense as Justin Bieber's memoirs. The other half will rot your brain. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Old and trusty Bachelor pimp, Chris Harrison, promises love, hook-ups, betrayal, cheating, scandal and a whole lot of crying and he's not kidding either as the preview is filled with all of these things and more. We pick up the action after the last Rose Ceremony as the remaining 7 girls and 10 guys settle down with their champagne glasses and roses to discuss the status quo. Right away, I realize I'm going to be in trouble as I have no earthly idea who is who. Blonde Elizabeth, who doesn't ring any bells, says it's important to keep up relationships in the house. She puts thought into action and approaches Kovacs saying they should “make sure [their] pasts match up”. Kovacs, apparent genius that he is, agrees that it may be beneficial to have a partner in the house. Yay, alliance #1!
Natalie, whom I recall from Charlie's season, thinks Jesse B is cute and I guess he thinks the same because they snuggle, snog and - after some lingering shots of roving hands and a soundtrack of heavy breathing - promise to trust and help each other to win the money. Alliance #2 is in the bag.
Man, this is going better than I thought. This thing is Survivor slash Big Brother slash possibly Texas Chainsaw Massacre in a hot tub, and so far, I'm not tempted to bash my head in with a baseball bat either, so that's good news. But this show is two horrific hours long so I may change my mind soon.
Pie à la vom
As a new day dawns in the mansion, we find out that there are already several camps in the house. There are the so-called Inside Girls who apparently have a, well, inside track with the male contingent. They went on Bachelor reunion retreats, they hooked up, they dated each other. They're plugged into the mainframe, man! And then there are the Outside Girls – Krisily, Gia, Gwen, Nicky and Peyton - who have done none of the above and feel like pariahs. Perfect excuse to form an alliance, natch!
As I'm slowly getting excited at the prospect of watching them cannibalize each other in the weeks to come, we're moving on to desert in the form of a pie eating contest. And then in walks Melissa Rycroft from Jason's season taking over announcer duties from Pimp Harrison. Heavily tweezed eyebrows, red nails, hoop earrings, iridescent lips and that godawful whiny voice and robotic personality, all come together to assault in one horrifying second. This may just turn out to be a long, arduous season after all.
The Bach gang shuffles outside for today's entertainment segment which will consist of a gross, no-hands pie eating contest with the prize being a safety rose and a romantic date. But not before we get some obligatory, serious confessionals from Weatherman - who? - who mumbles something about his urgent need to win the challenge because, well, he just needs to. Gia is concerned that she has a boyfriend out in real life and is therefore not able to properly slut it up with the guys. Yet. I predict she'll be swapping spit with somebody by the end of this episode. Call me crazy.
Krisily flips a lid right away at the prospect of eating pie since she doesn't have a gallbladder and her body can't process fats. She tearfully passes on the contest. As good an excuse as I've ever heard! Of course her act of self-preservation just paints a target on her back as one of the guys whom I've never seen before so helpfully points out. The girls are up first and I must say watching them getting sick, crying, whining and throwing up is quite fun if fairly gross. On a more endearing note, or mercenary, depending on your point of view, some of the guys prove to be useful by actively encouraging the girls and even holding their barf buckets out for them. Wes, in particular is very happy to help Gia. Aww, isn't that almost like true love? Fast forward. Gia, with her ponytail hanging in the gross pie and her face and nose full of it, finally wins the contest by finishing first, just a mouthful or two ahead of Tenley.
Will the boys fare any better? David, owner of many tattoos and proud alum of Jillian's season, is very self-confident. As an “athletic dude” who eats a lot he feels he has a belly up on the competition as do the other cool dude beefcakes he calls friends in the house. Weatherman, small and dorky, sends up what looks to be a silent plea for mercy towards the cloud free sky before everyone dives in. A few bites in, most of the ones who bragged about their eating prowess are gagging and doing as badly, or worse, than the girls did. Craig M., who seems to be an out and out wacko, even breaks up the pie with his head or maybe he's just trying for a gooey hair mask. Hard to tell at this point. In the end, Weatherman, the smallest man there, wins and is crazy happy about his victory. He even wants a kiss from Chris Harrison and for a split second I'm thinking, hey, now, this could be a good show. The feeling only lasts a split second though. A manly hug and Weatherman is off to brag about his triumph in his confessional.
Gia and Weatherman both get their roses and their date each on which they'll be able to hand a rose to a
unluckylucky person they want to save.
Highlights of strategy talk:
Craig M., sure that he is on the proverbial chopping block, plots with some girl I don't recognize, in hopes of keeping himself safe. Gia tells Weatherman that Natalie, Elizabeth and Tenley will block vote to keep their boyfriends Kiptyn, Kovacs and David in the house, and they, meaning the people who aren't hooked up with somebody else, need to do something to stop them. Weatherman wisely agrees that some people are tight and they will be hard to break up. Thus the Gia/Weatherman alliance is formed. I'll call it the Githerman in my head.
Fair Weather date
Weatherman, man of strategy and wisdom, is the first to get his date. He picks Gwen, Peyton and Ashley to go with him by limo to a dingy warehouse looking place downtown which turns out to be an artist's studio. Turns out that on this date, they'll be making sweet, beautiful art with their bodies. Their bathing suit clad bodies. Or as in Weatherman's case, his Speedo clad body. Remind me to send hate mail to ABC. Add in a few gallons of brightly colored paint and you have a pointless mess. But it's a half naked pointless mess which, I guess, is precisely the point.
Back at the house, the Insiders are heating up the hot tub while some Outsiders are upstairs cooking up ways to get rid of the cool kids. Krisily wants to see an Outsider win because, well, it's High School all over again and who ever wants to see any of the popular kids win anything? So they hatch a plan. Since Weatherman will be giving a rose to an Outsider on his date and Gia has a chance to keep another person as well, they decide that perhaps keeping Craig is the key to their success. Clear as mud? Krisily thinks it's the bestest plan on the face of the planet and if it works, “this might be the best Rose Ceremony ever”. Oh, yeah. Like we haven't heard that one before...
Of course all that nakedness will make a body hungry, so they all change into their cocktail attire to eat and talk. Weatherman, very intent on his duty, pulls Peyton aside for the first one-on-one conversation which is just a recruiting session whereby Peyton is solemnly admitted into the Outsiders alliance after Weatherman surprises her with the news that Gia is already on board.
Did you think the cool kids were too busy in the hot tub to plot? Think again. Elizabeth, Kiptyn and Natalie are down for a powwow. They all agree that little Weatherman is up to no good and perhaps he's grown a brain while they weren't looking. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Elizabeth tells them that she knows Ashley, that she is a smart girl whom they might be able to woo over to their side and use her to beef up their numbers. Elizabeth thinks that if little Weatherman picks Ashley, they're home free.
Speaking of Ashley, Weatherman is working her next. He's trying to convince her to move over to the Dark Side but Ashley is conflicted because she is close to Elizabeth and Tenley. Half promises are thrown around - such as “I'm ready to make it a fair competition” - which mean nothing, least of all a commitment but, hey, nobody ever talks straight on a reality show. That would be too... real. However, Weatherman is happy thinking he's got her in the bag.
Their tête-à-tête is interrupted by Gwen who is apparently Weatherman's crush in the house. He doesn't even want to talk strategy lest it get in the way of romance because, as he puts it, Weatherman could see himself dating her in real life. With some cheesy music in the background they make some awkward conversation during which Weatherman proves that he's a creepy stalker type as he talks about that things he's dug up about Gwen's personal life such as her travels to Italy. Things are going so well that Weatherman, the smooth operator, shuffles back into the house to snatch the rose away from right in front of Ashley and Peyton and deliver it to a grateful Gwen. Ashley looks none too happy. Uhoh. Do I smell trouble in alliance land already?
For the record: By her own admission, Gwen will never hook-up, “not in a million years”, with Weatherman. However, I'm assuming she'll be smart enough to not tell him that. Peyton is happy with the way the offensive is shaping up. Ashley is miffed that while she committed to the Outsider alliance, she didn't get a rose. In other words, from where she's sitting, she did the job but the payment check bounced. Oops.
In which the best laid plans go to Wes
It's getting serious, folks! Gia is ready to change the game with her date. She and Weatherman compare notes and agree that saving Craig M. is the way to go for the sake of the Outsider alliance, however Weatherman doesn't much like Craig and is reluctant to be allied with him. On the other hand, Gia doesn't trust Ashley and berates Weatherman for being naïve and taking Ashley on his date against Gia's recommendation. In the end, they have a tiff slash pep talk and he is duly cowed. Score one for the bathing suit model.
In the driver's seat, Gia picks Wes and Craig right away but makes a clever little show of picking out the third person's name from a hat. However, the only name she writes down is Jesse Beck. Amazingly, Jesse Beck ends up being the third guy on the date. Incredible! I like this girl! Of course Gia's goal is to convert Jesse to the Outsiders' side in order to fulfill her grand evil plan of total house domination. I feel like I should be listening to Beethoven or maybe even Wagner right about now.
Their date is in a Moroccan looking tent situation where Gia gets down to business right away. Back at the house, the remaining boys and girls correctly figure that if Craig gets a rose, their necks will be on the line. The date goes like it's on a conveyor belt. Craig is first to talk to Gia and it's all strategy, no romance. She tells him right away that he will be getting the rose – she gives him her word, in fact - and solemnly inducts him into the Outsider coven. Craig is relieved and happy as a clam to be safe.
Next up is Jesse Beck and he gets a bit more wooing before being served with the strategy talk. Gia paints a henna design on his arm to soften him up and Jesse is duly awed saying he always wanted to meet her before the show. Gia flips her hair and gets down to business telling Jesse that he needs to ally with Craig and Weatherman to protect his own hide because he's too low on the Insider alliance totem pole. They talk about how Jesse needs to not spill the goods to Natalie and Jesse swears up and down that as much as he likes Natalie, he's just here for the money. Oh, and to meet Gia. Promises, promises.
Meanwhile, up at the mansion, it's more Big Brother/Survivor style plotting minus all the claustrophobia and food deprivation. Kovacs and Elizabeth conspire by the pool, with cold drinks in hand. Kovacs feels he or Kiptyn are the next logical targets if Craig gets a rose and that... Oh, never mind! The big strategy session ends when Elizabeth declares herself to be a “dumb smart girl” and they end up making out by the pool then in the shower. Hey, that's not how it usually goes on Survivor! After some heavy breathing, rising steam and more of that good ole' Cinemax soft-core sleaze feel, Kovacs redeems himself by saying that he is just using Elizabeth to win the game. Atta boy!
Some people get henna tattoos painted on, other guys get hand massages with lavender oil. Wes and Gia get giggly and a bit oily on their one-on-one while they talk shop. Wes swears he has no strategy even as he swears even harder that he's smitten with Gia and wishes things were different and she could be his girl because he's in sweet luurve with her. He even makes her cry because he's a good guy and different than what she expected of him. Be still my heart! Will Gia follow her heart or her head? Who am I going to send hate mail to next? As a commercial comes on, all I can hear is dun, dun, dun in my head.
You get a cookie if you guess who got the rose. Yup, it was Wes. So much for me liking Gia. Hey, at least Wes is happy!
A rose by any other name
With the entire Outsider plan down the drain, I'm smelling a bloodbath ahead at the Rose Ceremony. Ooh, it's getting fun! David is happy because he's a big boy and he wants the not-so-big-boys out of the way so the cool boys can play alone. Yeah, that's big and oh so macho talk. Ashley quickly turns tail and tells on the Outsider alliance but Krisily takes Kiptyn aside and throws Jesse S to the wolves. Wait, I'm not sure who this second Jesse is! I obviously need help.
Elimination day dawns and everyone is maneuvering at the last second. Jesse B breaks up with Natalie who now claims a broken heart and she wows to focus just on the money from this point on. But not before a little crying session in the bedroom. Jesse B is not terribly apologetic about it all and feels that he should fly solo if his gameplay is to work. Gia also does some maneuvering. Her new plan is for the five Outsider girls to all vote for Kiptyn. She knows the Insider girls are voting for Craig but since Gia holds a rose she will be the tie breaker. Huh? The rose holder is a tie breaker now? Sigh.
Chris Harrison shows up for the cocktail party in a mismatched outfit out of hell and quizzes the pack Survivor Jeff style about the state of the game and trust and such things. Tenley makes a catty remark about Elizabeth sleeping with Kiptyn; Krisily and Craig both bitch about lies and broken promises, Wes tries to keep the peace; Gia speaks in riddles; Jesse S – oh, she's the other chick with the long dark hair who looks like that other dark haired chick who is..., oh whatever - wants everyone to call everyone else out to clear the air. And the rest are just on edge.
Ashley, Natalie, Elizabeth and Tenley all vote for Craig, and they think Jesse S is also on their side. But they need one more vote to lock this puppy in. David works on Jesse S, trying to convince her to vote off Craig but he's not totally sold on her despite the fact that she even lets a pretty tear fall on her cheek to convince him. He lets slip that the boys were planning to vote her off which Jesse S says comes as a shock to her. In the end, Jesse S votes for Craig. In light of their convo, David thinks they need to vote off Krisily. She gets voted from Kovacs, Kiptyn and David. The Outsider boys – Craig and Weatherman - are still voting for Jesse S. The Kiptyn-Kovacs-David triumvirate, KiKoDa for short, agree that they need to swing a vote and Kiptyn thinks he can work on Nikki. They have a heart to heart and Kiptyn assures her that he won't hold her vote against her, whatever that vote is. Of course not. It's all very emotional and terribly entertaining. Nikki feels torn but she thinks she needs to suck it up and keep her word to the Outsider girls. I'll eat my keyboard if she keeps her word.
The Rose Ceremony is your run of the mill affair and a bit predictable: Tenley, Jesse B, Peyton, Nikki, Ashley, David, Elizabeth, Natalie, Kovacs all get roses and then it's down to the wire. Krisily and Kiptyn are safe which means Craig and Jesse S are out. Yay! Now I won't have to struggle to remember her. Immediately the Outsider girls are wondering who betrayed them. Gia feels guilty and Nikki, who finally confesses to Gia that she kept Kiptyn, feels alienated. Boo freakin' hoo! Oh, and I didn't have to eat my keyboard. Win!
On the next Bachelor Pad: Tears, recriminations, nudity in the hot tub, blindfolded kissing, Wes sings and plays his guitar and Gia thinks he's a modern day Shakespeare. Yeah. Girl is definitely dumber than I thought. I will either feel like taking out my eyes with a melonballer or I'll become a Pad fan. Could go either way. The fab BritLit will serve it up cold and it will be good. Don't miss it.