It’s early morning at La Casa de Chicks. Host Harrison (presumably with his magic knife and orange-juice glass) summons the ladies for a homeroom meeting. In various states of deshabillé and wakefulness, they pay rapt attention. Harrison dramatically announces, “Everything is about to change. Go outside.”
Parked in the courtyard, looking eerily like robotic brown-striped lizards, are two enormous “Recreational Vehicles.” Harrison gives them an hour to pack their bags and get aboard for a road trip up the California Coast. Never again, he sadly informs, will they visit this ugly pile of stucco they call the mansion. Kathryn is pleased, “I was excited ‘cause I knew we were gonna get out of the house and go somewhere.” City-girl Gia is a little hesitant, “I’ve never been in an RV before.” Ella can hardly contain her enthusiasm, “I’m a fixin’ to get on this RV and Dang, I’m excited. I’m ready to get my relationship rollin’.”
Ali, Jessie, Kathryn, Ella and Tenley are in one bus. Tenley confesses, “We’re all happy Vienna is in the other van.” Vienna feels the same antipathy, “I’d rather ride a bike behind the RV than be in there with Ali and Tenley.” Corrie sums it up, “We are probably gonna be the most dysfunctional family that’s ever driven down the California coast.” Umm, except for the minor fact they’ll be driving up the coast, it’s probably as close to a true statement as we’ll hear for the next two hours.
In the first of multiple vignettes designed to portray our Bachelor-guy as a macho man, we see him roaring up the Pacific Coast Highway on his rented motor-bike. I’m disappointed: I thought for sure they’d let him drive one of the RVs. I guess the pedal-extenders didn’t arrive in time.
Inside the buses, there is speculation about who’ll be sent on the dreaded “two-on-one” date. Ali volunteers she’d gladly go on it with Vienna along, feeling confident Vienna would be the one who failed to return. On the other bus, the observation is made (by Jessie?) that a two on one with Ali and Vienna would be “awesome, like Tyson and Holyfield.” My favorite part of the trip was the stop beside the highway. Ella, who’s no doubt had a little experience handling the critters back home in the woods of Tennessee, reaches down and grabs a snake mid-wriggle. Vienna takes off in a run, screaming in mock-terror. I’m hoping they put the snake back under its rock; I can barely keep track of the ones already on the show.
Jake wheels his bike off the highway into a the midst of a scenic vineyard at the (appropriately product-placed) Sanford and Benedict winery. Almost magically he’s able to set up camp with a really nice tent and a stone-ringed campfire. Funny, watching him on that bike, you’d never have thought he was lugging all that stuff around with him, would you?
The buses pull in, and Bachelor Jake is waiting for his harem, dressed like a really tough lumberjack. Tenley’s impressed, “Jake looked pretty hot in his flannel, looking like a Real Man.” (I’m seeing stampedes in the mens’ departments at Sears stores across the country.) Vienna wastes no time in marking her territory. Coyly pointing to his campsite, she prompts Jake, “Is that our tent up there?” Tenley looks as if she’d like nothing more than to throttle Vienna.
Jake has the first Date Card handy, but tells the girls they can’t open it ‘til he’s headed back toward Ponderosa. It’s for Gia, “Let’s go over the moon and under the stars.” Gia flips her swimsuit-model tresses back over her shoulder and wonders what to wear. Seeing her choice of a Chinese-restaurant-hostess top, leggings and eight-inch stiletto heels, I’m thinking maybe she should have thought a little more about the nature of the date.
Vienna thinks GIA has zero chance to succeed. “Jake’s a southern boy. He likes the out of doors. GIA’s completely a city girl; she’s from New York. She is totally wrong for him. It’s not gonna work.” As outdoorsman Jake strips off his shirt and shaves with the aid of a mirror atop a wine barrel, he too worries about Gia’s ability to adapt to his (ahem) rugged lifestyle.
It’s obvious that Jake has invested much thought in planning the perfect date. A spirited round of “hide and seek” amongst the grapevines proves thrilling. What is meant to look romantic—Jake running through the field carrying Gia, her legs wrapped around his waist—instead looks hazardous. He’s staggering under her weight, huffing and puffing with the exertion. She’s desperately tugging on her strapless top in an effort to keep it from going in a naughty direction. “Are you all right?” she asks with genuine concern. “I’m all right” he gasps, valiantly managing to stay upright.
Over wine (appropriately product-placed) and cheese, Jake and Vienna bond over their shared nerdiness. Gia claims her parents had to take her out of school because of the bullies stealing her backpack and her lunch money and Jake confesses that in ninth grade he was called Mr. Dateless. Since when do ninth-graders date? Anyway, poor Gia, who you probably mistakenly thought was some kind of vixenish skimpy swimsuit model, didn’t get kissed ‘til a game of Spin-the-Bottle in high school.
“Wow,” says smooth-move-man Jake, “let’s finish off this here bottle of vino, clear the cheese board, and have ourselves a game right now.” “Well,” Gia blushingly replies, “if you think that’s a good idea. But you know, the first kiss is on the cheek, the next is on the lips and the third is all the way.” Shame on you, people, for thinking what you’re thinking.
Amazingly, the bottle keeps pointing at one or the other of the pair and they wind up smooching. A scene from Fatal Attraction it’s not. But compared to Jakey’s usual pathetic attempts at lip-locking, I’ll give it a grade of B. Until he gets bored and winds up nuzzling her neck like a horse. Just for the record, though: I’m pretty sure the rules of Spin-the-Bottle clearly state that you can only play with Coca-Cola bottles.
Again demonstrating his manly qualities, Jake loads Gia up piggy-back style and lurches off toward his camp to roast some hot dogs and cook s’mores one-handed for the sophisticated city gal. Sort of cuddling by the fire (Jake has his hand over his chest instead of around Gia), there’s discussion of their hopes for the future. Gia confides she wants to have two children, then adopt a little baby girl from China. Jake tries to sound enthusiastic, but I get the impression he’d rather have the measles. “Oh,” adds Gia, “and a pig. I want a pig.”
They’re startled by howling sounds. Luckily, it isn’t coyotes, just the other girls down the hill, bored with nothing to do. Jake announces with gravity, “There’s something we have to do tonight.” He gets up and walks over to retrieve the rose. Every time Jake gets ready to hand out a date rose, he makes such a production of it you think he’s going to have to jump on his space ship and head to a galaxy far far away to retrieve it.
Nevertheless, Gia is thrilled to be rosed: “The best part of the date was I wasn’t worried I didn’t have makeup on.” Yes, that’s always an excellent way to gauge the quality of an evening. Oh, and there’s some blather about “Jake and I’s first kiss was the best kiss of my life.” At least she’s grammatically qualified for this show. “I never experienced anything like that. Your heart stops; you just kinda stop thinking.” Funny, I didn’t know she’d started.
IN THE SAND BOX
Meanwhile, back at camp, a new Date Card has arrived. It’s for Jessie, Ashleigh, Tenley, Ali, Vienna and Corrie. (That leaves Ella and Kathryn for the dreaded “two girls leave; only one comes home” date.)
It’s a new day and the RVs are rolling up the Pacific Coast Highway. Tenley thinks the scenery is beautiful, but “I’m kind of just dreaming of Jake being my husband.” Almost all the girls agree that they’ll throw up if Vienna winds up with the rose from today’s date. As for Vienna herself, she’s not worried, “I feel like Jake’s my boyfriend.”
The date today is at Pismo Beach. Jake is on hand to welcome and greet. He extols the virtues of Pismo: “It’s one of the few beaches in California where you can bring your pets.” I can almost see the thought balloon over Vienna’s head, wishing little Chloe were here for one of their Mommy/Daughter outings. And what big plans does Jake have for the ladies? He tells them to prepare to “Get Dirty.”
The first activity for the day will be cruising in dune buggies. Ali manages to snag the seat beside Jake, but Vienna doesn’t really care, “Have your fun with him, ‘cause I’m gonna Marry him.” Jake is obviously most impressed with the women who drive fast and with abandon. Poor Jessie, alas, is too slow and cautious; she and Vienna end up suspended over the peak of a dune. But don’t despair, it’s the pilot to the rescue. Vienna coos, “So we’re driving off the cliff. We get stuck. All of a sudden here comes Jake to the rescue. He like picks it up and we take off. He’s my HERO.” What a man, he’s gone from barely being able to pick up the girl to lifting heavy vehicles out of the sand. I’m afraid I must have sneezed or something during the event, because I don’t remember actually Seeing Jake lift the dune buggy out of the sand. Sorry about that—I really like to describe these things in more detail.
Everyone will now attempt, with almost no success, to stand on a foot-and-a-half wide piece of lumber and remain upright while sliding down the face of a giant sand dune. I feel safe in predicting that should Sand-Boarding become an Olympic sport, we will not be seeing one of this lot named to the team. Still, it’s an opportunity for everyone to roll around in the sand and get totally filthy. Jake and Tenley even manage something similar to an embrace as the sand spews from her mouth. Jake’s out of breath again: “Why” (huff, puff) “don’t we” (huff puff) “slow it down a little bit.” Honey, if this season of the Bachelor gets any slower, it’ll petrify.
Obviously shivering from the cold, Jake and the girls have a picnic, and slosh down some wine.
There is now a break for commercials. The featured ad is for the ABC show, “The MANNY.” I have no idea what that’s about, but I’m betting he’ll be wearing a plaid flannel shirt.
Next stop on our California Coastal Tour is the Madonna Inn. Tenley is awed: “We’re here at this Inn where real celebrities go.” The others are far more excited by the opportunity to avail themselves of the luxury shower facilities. They’ve had it with tea-cup-sized showers on the RV.
Jake awaits the ladies in the inn’s restaurant. The décor, which looks more like a forties’ movie starlet’s boudoir than a dining establishment, is cotton-candy pink. The girls, all wearing cocktail dresses, are greeted by Their Man. Incongruously dressed in a white tee shirt and fleece jacket, he looks as if he came directly from shooting pool at the local bar. I guess what with having to pack his tent and camping stuff, there just wasn’t room on the back of the bike for a sports coat and tie.
Jake admits to the camera, “Group dates are just not my FORTAY. I’m looking forward to getting them on a more intimate basis.” More intimate than Spin-the-Bottle, I wonder.
Ashleigh is first up for some one on one. She and Jake sashay off to the suite titled “Romance.” Ashleigh seems to think this means she should behave like the vixens in bodice-ripper pulp fiction. Her skirt hem sneaking up toward her waist line, she’s practically man-handling the poor boy. The button on his trousers is resisting valiantly. He’s hyperventilating, trying to make his escape. When he says, “Ashleigh’s beautiful, but I’m not feelin’ a whole lot of chemistry with her,” there’s little doubt he really means it.
Jake extends an invitation to Vienna to join him in private. No, she saucily announces, “I want to have the last time with you.” I am so hoping he’s going to look her straight in the eye and warn her, “It’s now or never. Take it or leave it.” But, sigh, no, he wusses out as usual and mumbles, “Uh, sure, I could do that.”
So it’s off to the Austrian Suite with Ali. Being conscientious, she reminds Jake that there’s something of a rose shortage going on. He shrugs, “I’m just caught in the moment with you. I’m not gonna worry about it.” There doesn’t seem to be any making-out or smooching; they just sort of lounge around.
Tenley’s time with Jake in the Madonna Suite (meant to remind, no doubt, of Tenley’s virgin state since her divorce) is better spent. Jake wants to give her the opportunity to convince him that she’s no longer pining for that cad and ready for looove. Indeed she is, Tenley assures our Lochinvar. “Oh, and did I mention he was a Policeman?” (This is important, why?) Poor thing, she found out about his affair from the phone bill. (Bet Elin Nordegren wishes she’d thought of that.) The rose petals strewn about the bed work their magic and Tenley and Jake are last seen K-I-S-S-I-N-G. No bottle required.
Finally, Vienna gets her wish to get the last time alone with the Bachelor, “I want to be the last girl he kisses before he goes to bed.” Vienna is wearing a dirndl skirt she either stole from some kindergardner’s dress-up box or her dog Chloe’s closet. She prances off with Jake, fishing for a compliment. He offers her sympathy for having a hard time with the other girls, but cautions her, “sometimes I think you bring it on yourself. You need to be more careful.” Whatever is Vienna’s reaction, “could we please just talk about anything besides the other girls. I promise I’ll do better.”
Jake lets us know he’s being cautious, “I’ve been pumping the brakes with Vienna ‘cause I’ve been listening to what some of the other girls have been saying about her.”
The end of the evening necessarily involves the awarding of the posey. After much deliberation, and a rather weird apology to her for “ignoring her in the beginning” Jake gives Tenley the Date Rose and immunity for the next Ceremony. She squeaks like a pet guinea pig, “It feels good having a rose.”
For Ella and Kathryn’s long-promised two on one, we find ourselves at the (appropriately product placed) Big Sur Cabins and Campground. Jake and his Bike are parked by the roadside. I’m excited; I’m pretty sure this is the part where we get to see Jake lose his temper and yell at the producers, kick over a lantern and stomp off in a mad huff. Sorry, what did you say? That was only in the previews?—it’s not in the “real” show? That’s just wrong.
As the girls are getting ready for their date, Ella using an entire can of Aqua-Net hairspray ($1.99 on sale at Walmart) on her coiffure, Ali is drooling over how hot Jake looks in flannel, “He is so … hot. Seriously, he looks very sexy in his lumberjack get-up.”
But this is about Ella and Kathryn and their romantic evening in the Cabin with Jake. He appears, carrying a little red lantern to light their way. “Tonight I’m having the women over for a quiet dinner in my cabin.” He offers each of them an arm. (Is Ella really wearing that Red Satin coat? Darn it, now I can’t get that “Peter and the Wolf” theme out of my head.)
Ella has obviously practiced her speech. Taking a deep breath, she launches in, “So, Jake, what are the qualities you’re looking for in a wife and MOTHER?” (MOTHER in all-caps, bold-face italic). Jake starts to answer, “faith, family values…” when the override kicks in and Ella goes into auto-pilot. (dialog exact only as to author’s best recollection) “The most important thing is my Son and you should know that because we spent the whole day together as a Family and you practically had him calling you Daddy and you wouldn’t dare break a little kid’s heart would you and I want to marry you and we’ll be best friends forever and we’ll have passion and giggles and you’ll be the Father to my Son and the Breadwinner and I can quit this stupid job at the Beauty Parlor and I’ll be married to a pilot and I can finally get out of backwoods Tennessee and…”
Poor Kathryn, gulping like a goldfish accidentally sloshed from its bowl, tries several times to break in to Ella’s monologue. Both Jake and Ella pretend she isn’t in the room. Jake has now turned several shades of white and is furtively looking around trying to remember the location of the Exit Row.
Fearing he’s dangerously close to some kind of Shotgun Marriage with Ella, Jake asks her to accompany him to the exterior of the cabin. He begins rather awkwardly, “You said the other day you had a ton of questions for me, but couldn’t ask them because Ethan was there. Oh, and by the way, great kid.” Saying exactly the wrong thing, Ella points out to Jake that “with me you get the Whole Package.” Uhh, yeah, about that, Jake mumbles. “Ella you are such an amazing person. You are the complete package. I’m looking at the next sixty years. I’m developing feelings for some of the other women that are stronger. I can’t tell you how much it means you’ve come here to share your life with me.” (dialog following exact only as to author’s best recollection). “I’m just worried sick about keeping you away from that kid, and hey look, here’s this nice limousine driving up right now to take you straight back where you belong. Really, great kid.”
Riding away in her carriage, Ella is bitterly disappointed. “I hope Jake doesn’t crash and burn on this journey he’s on. If he doesn’t make the right decision, the God Help Him.”
CABIN ATTENDANTS, PREPARE FOR DEPARTURE
One down. One to go. Earlier in the evening, Jake has spent some time with flight-attendant Kathryn. She accuses him of never looking at her and generally ignoring her when they’re around others. Aw, gee, Jake tries to explain. “It’s just ‘cause you’re so beautiful. You have beautiful eyes.” (When Jake can’t think of anything to say he tells the girl she has beautiful eyes and compliments the dress she’s wearing.) He claims they have an “amazing connection.” Apparently, one can make an amazing connection with another person without ever actually talking to them, because we’ve never seen Jake and Kathryn in conversation, ever.
Now it’s just Jake and Kathryn and the rose on the table. He’s musing, “The last thing I want to do tonight is give the rose to somebody who’s not right for me.” Kathryn, waiting inside the cabin, anticipates receiving a rose. Instead he gives her the “Thank You for Participating” certificate and the perfunctory good-bye speech: “You have such an honesty about you. I wanna be that guy, but my heart’s telling me I’m not that guy.”
She gives him one final chance. “Are you sure about that?”
Jake is sure: “Yeah.”
Poor Kathryn: she doesn’t even get a limo ride, just a van to the airport. She’s convinced Jake has blown his chance, “He’s making a Huge Mistake.”
Jake, alone, portends the future for Bachelor watchers, “This is the first of many decisions I’m gonna make that no one’s gonna understand and it’s only gonna get worse.” I need a paper bag to put over my head.
In the most dramatic Rose Ceremony Ever, Jake picks up the rose and bears it outside. With all the resolution he can muster, and what regrets we can only imagine, he tosses it into the hell-fire of the Weber Flame-Broil Grill.
Would that we could end here, but there’s still a cocktail party and another Rose Ceremony to endure. Jake is worried. Can he possibly summon the strength to send another of these fine specimens of American womanhood back to whence they came?
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
It’s time for cocktails. And roses. And staying in the game. There’s more talk among the women about one of their number: Vienna.
Tenley: “He’s looking at a wife. Vienna going home that’s pretty [sure]… but if not…
Ali: “She’s gotta be goin’ home. If not, he’s gonna get a talking to.
Corrie: “I think it’s gonna be Vienna going home. I think after this week maybe he realizes she’s not going to be his [makes air quotes] wife.
The camera shows Vienna, looking supremely confident.
The Jakester roars up to the house on his bike. Finally, he’s found a tie to wear. A really ugly one. The girls parade down the stairs in their finery. (One note—don’t ever remember a season before where the girls wore the same dresses to party after party after party. Probably just the show refusing to pay the airline fees for extra luggage. And not enough room in the RVs.)
Jake takes Corrie aside for a chat. “You look beautiful. Love your dress.” She’s trying to get some response from him, “Do I make you nervous?” Nah, he says. Wrong answer, Jake. He makes a bit of an effort, “I like you, but you’ve got to keep opening up with me.”
Okay, now I’m doing double-takes. Jake’s wearing two ties! No, not in the same shot. It’s just that in every other scene he’s wearing a different tie. Either he’s switching neckwear between conversations or part of this was filmed at a different time. I am shocked to find out there is gambling in this establishment.
Ali gets some time with Jake. “I think I have great chemistry with Jake.” I think Jake thinks so too. They’re snuggled under a blanket outside. She boosts his ego, praising him for sending home both Ella and Kathryn, “I think what you did last night was unbelievably honorable.” Major smooching. When Jake’s at a loss for words (which is most of the time), if he likes the girl he starts kissing her. Otherwise, he tells her she has a pretty dress or beautiful eyes.
Jessie gets her chance to be with Jake. Probably realizing there’s no way she’s ever going to be Mrs. Pilot Pavelka, she decides to tell him what she thinks of Vienna. “There’s something I want to tell you because I care for you. I would never say something unless I was a hundred and ten percent. I feel Vienna is not the one for you. She’s very self-centered and spoiled. Like when she crashes cars and her daddy comes in and writes checks. I don’t know whether you want to be that daddy.” Jake thanks her politely.
Camera on: Vienna inside obviously enjoying herself.
Now it’s Vienna’s last chance to lobby Jake. “When I’m with you I feel like I’m the only girl in your life. I know what we talked about my having a huge personality. None of the girls like me; I’m hoping your family will like me. When the girls talk about me, it’s only because they see me as a threat.” Jake assures her he isn’t influenced by what the other women say. Vienna crows, “It’s just you and me here to the end.”
SOMETIMES YOU FEEL LIKE A ROSE, SOMETIMES YOU DON’T
Host Harrison with his wine glass and the Magic Grapefruit Knife appear to announce the imminent Awarding of the Roses. He helpfully mentions that Tenley and Gia are already rosed.
Jake begins eloquently, “This week was so fun getting dirty. Rose ceremonies are so hard for me. I don’t want to hurt anyone.” He’s semi-sniffling with emotion. “These rose ceremonies come too fast for me.”
Jake gives the first rose to Ali. Vienna is obviously displeased. He picks up the next rose and carefully inspects it to make sure it isn’t diseased or disfigured. He calls Corrie’s name and gives her a rose. By now, Jake is looking distinctly nauseated and rather green about the gills. He shakes his head and picks up the next-to-last rose. He tears up, swallows hard. “Ladies, I need just a minute.”
Camera on: Vienna. Poor thing, she’s in desperate need of some Clairol Root Touch-up. And a rose.
With the help of a producer, and the camera-man scurrying behind, Jake has stumbled outside to find Host Harrison. “I need some advice, Um, there’s, um, um, I I, I there’s a couple of women tonight, that I just uh..What would you do if you were in this situation and you just knew that you know, tonight it should be only one girl going home, but if there’s two. I’m definitely sure on one girl, but I’m pretty sure the other one, you know….”
Harrison is astounded. He wants Jake to spit it out. “What are you askin’?”
“Do I have to give out two more roses?”
Harrison (in a kindly, avuncular voice): I’ve respected the fact already that you’re here to find a wife. The fact that you’ve sent two women home already this week shows how serious you are. You’re sure two women in there are not going to be your wife?”
Harrison: “Okay, two roses in there. We’ll take care of it.”
Harrison shepherds Jake, his head sunk to his chest, back into the Ceremony Chamber. Harrison faces the girls: “Ladies, these rose ceremonies are tough. Jake’s here to find a wife. Every rose he hands out, he hands to a woman he sees as his wife. He asked me to take away one of the roses.” He picks up the offending blossom. “Ladies, Jake, THIS is the final rose of the night. Jake, when you’re ready.”
Harrison departs. I’m wondering what’s going to happen to the poor innocent rose. Will it be martyred, burned at the stake like its comrade? We are not told its fate.
Jake breathes in. “Vienna.”
Ashleigh and Jessie look chagrined. Ali and Tenley are holding tightly to one another’s hands. Everyone, save Vienna, exchanges heartfelt hugs.
As Ashleigh and Jessie take their leave, Ali and Tenley are whispering furiously. Ali hisses: “How could he possibly keep Her here? My heart is racing. If that’s what he wants, I’m not what he wants.” Tenley is in complete agreement, “We have to tell him. We have to tell him.”
On her way out, Jake assures Jessie “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the advice you gave me.” I’ll just bet. Outside, Jessie is disgusted, “I can’t believe he kept Vienna. Vienna---ughhhh-I can’t see it.”
Ashleigh seems more shocked to have been eliminated. She’s crying, “Are you kidding me? If he can’t see what kind of person Vienna is over me…..and I’m the one going home. The person who’s a liar and deceiver staying. Really, I go home before Vienna?! [BLEEP] Please—spare me.”
Jake, obviously shaken, offers a toast to the remaining ladies and reveals their next stop will be San Francisco. No one looks particularly happy.
It’s my favorite scene of the night. Gia, Ella and Kathryn are home by the campfire while the others are off on the dune-buggy date. They hear a strange noise. A raccoon is peering at them from a nearby tree. Then there’s another. And another. City-girl Gia runs into the RV, terrified, thinking it’s a killer skunk on the prowl.
I’m pretty sure I know why the raccoons were there. They were hoping to break into Vienna’s luggage and reclaim their eye makeup kit.