Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Bachelor 20x02 Roundtable Discussion: The Villains Come Out [Contributors: Alisa Williams, Lizzie, Maddie, Rae Nudson]

On the second week of The Bachelor, the group dates have started, and so have the insecurities. Olivia takes advantage of this, but Lace is floundering. The rest of the women face off in horrific group dates that test how willing they are to be cool. No, really, everything’s cool. Why would it be weird?! I love group dates!

Rae, Alisa, Lizzie, and Maddie take a look at how everyone is handling the pressure below.

What do you think was best and worst date?

Rae: Caila is cute as a button, but that cross-promotion they tried to pass off as a date did not look fun to me. Also, did they get into their skivvies to get into that hot tub? You need to prepare a girl for that. They looked very hot and sweaty, and not in a good way. That concert they went to, though, was really adorable and sweet.

I didn’t even play games in P.E. when it was required, so I can’t imagine a world in which I would play games at school to go out with a guy.

Actually, wait a second, that date where they had to watch other girls get into bed with Ben with heat sensors on actually seems like some sort of horrible psychological experiment. But, man, those girls were putting a lot of stock into Doctor Love. They know he’s not a real doctor, right? So maybe all of the dates were terrible.

The big group dates are the worst part of The Bachelor for me. It is always uncomfortable to see women literally compete for a man’s attention in games that have no bearing at all on what kind of person they are. The Bachelor always says things like “I want a wife who is up for anything, someone who can just roll with it,” which is a bunch of nonsense. I would want a wife who is confident in who she is and wouldn’t just go along with something that is terribly unfun for her, but no one asked me.

I agree that all of the dates were terrible! I adore Caila. Give her all the roses! She definitely deserves them after being such a great sport putting up with Kevin Hart’s nakedness and Ice Cube’s insistence that Ben buy condoms and strong liquor. Poor girl. Just glad this was Ben and not Juan Pablo or the purchases would have been much more in line with Ice Cube’s recommendations.

And those group dates? Gross. Let’s be honest, the “Bachelor High” nonsense doesn’t even matter. Like Ben’s going to care that the girls can’t locate Indiana. The Bachelor was never won with intelligence, and it’s not going to start now. But on a related matter, it was very concerning how many of the girls referred to themselves as “dumb” in this episode. Because I’m pretty sure most of the girls are actually very bright, which just leads me to believe they’re dumbing themselves down for Ben, thinking that’s what he’s looking for. And maybe it is, since the women who couldn’t do a simple science experiment or locate Indiana are all still around...

That love lab date was just slimy. I don’t even want to discuss it other than to say it legitimately made my skin crawl and Olivia is the worst. Now I’ll go back to actively trying to block that date from my memory.

Lizzie: Was there a good one? The level of embarrassment I felt for all these women made watching this episode a painful experience. I understand that this show has been on the air for many, many years, and coming up with new ideas for dates must be hard, but come on — anything is better than what they came up with this episode! My level of second-hand embarrassment when the girls couldn’t locate Indiana... I need a "banging my head against the table" GIF or something!

Maddie: All of the dates possessed immense levels of awkward. Honestly, this episode made me once again mourn the unjust cancellation of The Soup because of all of the lost comedy potential. Also, I have highly mixed feelings about Chris Harrison in his teacher getup. It was a little too reminiscent of Will Schuester for my tastes. Literally all of the dates were completely cringeworthy. The product placement was joyless and there’s a special place in heaven for how good of a sport Caila was. The ”Bachelor High” date was as awkward and awful as, well, high school. The Dr. Love date was just plain creepy.

Do you think Ben made the right choices with his roses?

Rae: I am not convinced that Ben has had even one second of fun with Lace. I’m assuming the producers are working their magic to keep her around (yeah, I’ve seen UnReal). Either that or Ben feels too bad for her to not give her a rose. Other than that, it seems like he has chosen well and kept people around who he connects with.

I was surprised his first kiss was with Jennifer because I had forgotten entirely who she was. I am pleased with who he’s kissed so far, and that he has kept himself from kissing Lace again, which will only end in disaster. However, I think it was a mistake to give Olivia both the first impression rose and the group date rose. When you’re on a group date, you have to think about the other girls, and looking like you are favoring one girl too much can make everyone else feel ignored and a little resentful. He does seem to have a great connection with Olivia, probably because he hasn’t seen her crazy yet. (The girls you should really watch out for are the ones who are the best at hiding their crazy — they’ve had a lot of practice. That goes for romantic relationships as well as platonic ones. I like my crazy out in the open.)

I was also surprised at Ben’s reaction to hearing about Amanda’s kids. He was so excited and very sweet, and when he had them making barrettes for her daughters it was too cute and ridiculous to be real. Who does this guy think he is?

Alisa: Oh, Ben. You have chosen poorly. I get that he can’t see through Olivia’s crazy yet because she’s keeping it well hidden from him, but Lace? You gave a rose to Lace?! There was definitely some shouting at my TV that happened when he handed that one out. Unlike previous Bachelors, though, who seemed to only be keeping girls around based on looks and totally disregarding the crazy, I think Ben’s motives are different. I think he is just too dang nice! He doesn’t want to hurt anyone and here’s this girl having an emotional breakdown every five seconds, and he seems to think that if he doesn’t give her a rose she will dissolve into a puddle of misery and taffeta right there on the mansion floor. Or that she’ll cut off one of his more treasured appendages. I would put nothing past her. Heck, I’d probably keep giving her roses too!

Lizzie: Of course he didn’t. What would be the fun in THAT? Lace had to stay. I’m not even sure Ben wanted her to stay, but she had to stay. It’s the UnReal side of this whole thing. (Will I ever stop referencing this show?). And I agree with Alisa, it doesn’t come off as purely physical with Ben. Which just makes it worse. You can’t be NICE and win at this dating 25 women game, Ben! You just can’t. Someone’s going to hate you either way. That’s the way the show is scripted (or not scripted, whatever). But hey, Lace (and Olivia, really) just make the show more fun. So his loss, our gain.

Maddie: Lace’s rose obviously is as dubious most of these ladies' occupation titles. Ben looks miserable in every interaction with her. I guess the producers needed the crazy for a little longer and Sam’s tragic backstory wasn’t enough to keep her in the competition. Personally, I only really start judging the rose choices until a few week into the process. It only matters when Ben has enough time to actually get to know the ladies he eliminates.

Who is a bigger villain, Olivia or Lace?

Rae: I have to hand it to Olivia, who seems like a master at manipulation and intimidation. Lace is sort of accidentally a villain because she is insecure and needy, but Olivia knows exactly what she’s doing. And she is good.

Alisa: Olivia is definitely the biggest villain of the season, no contest. Lace needs to be taking notes from the master that is Olivia. Lace very much reminds me of Ashley I. from last season who was an unlikeable villainess simply due to her needy and self-absorbed nature. Olivia is a different beast entirely. She knows the game and knows it well and it’s terrifying to watch. I’d like to say I hope Ben sees through it soon, but she’s so good that I just don’t see her slipping. These are the times when I really wish the producers or the beloved Bachelor interns would just slip Ben some raw video footage from the mansion and be like, “you need to watch this before the next rose ceremony. And if anyone asks, you didn’t get it from me!” But alas, that will not happen, so settle in folks. Olivia will be here for awhile.

Lizzie: People who can hide the crazy are always scarier than people who just go full-crazy on you. At least you can prepare for Lace. But Olivia? Oh, no. You can’t prepare for what you don’t see coming.

Maddie: In the grand scheme of things, Lace is the lesser villain and Olivia is the one you really need to watch out for. Sure, Lace is needy and delusional, but that’s all upfront. Lace is but a flash in the crazy pan. Olivia already has the kind of hidden Machiavellian tendencies that made me want to look up the autopsy report of Crazy Kelsey from last season’s dead husband. Plus, I’m pretty sure Olivia’s mouth has the ability to open wide enough to open a portal to Hades.

Who are your top three contestants this week?

Rae: Caila moved up my list. I was a little worried last week when she said she broke up with her boyfriend after seeing Ben on the TV for the first time, but this week it just sounded like she knew it wasn’t right with her boyfriend and she was ready to move on. Also I loved the sequined jacket thing she wore. Jubilee is great, of course, and that Ben likes her makes me like Ben more. But I am still afraid she is too cool for Ben. Ben and Jojo were super cute together, and I very much enjoyed their time on the helicopter pad, which is not a sentence that normally makes sense.

Alisa: Caila is my very favorite of the group and I think her and Ben have a great connection. She seems like such a genuine person, very down-to-earth and if she doesn’t win Ben’s heart, then she better be the next Bachelorette! Jubilee is also amazing — such a classy woman right there. I loved that she didn’t kiss and tell after her and Ben had their little make-out session. She came back to the group and very artfully avoided the rapid fire questions of the other girls. Seriously, class act, and I hope she goes far, but I worry she’s going to get her heart broken because she admitted it’s hard for her to open up and that’s always the downfall of people on this show. I still adore poor Jami who got absolutely no screen time this episode and only narrowly managed to get herself a rose. I have hopes that she’ll stick around for awhile but her lack of screen time does not bode well.

Lizzie: I’m in love with Jubilee. Can I marry her? I also really like Caila and Lauren B. (you know, the one that’s still around). But, at this point, it’s mostly about me liking the women for who they are, and not really because I like their connection with Ben or whatever. So, all in all, I’m not sure who I want with Ben. I’m just sure who I like.

Maddie: Jubilee is incredible. I almost feel that she is too classy and awesome of a person to be on this show. I see actual chemistry between her and Ben. I’m definitely pulling for her. Ben’s moment with Amanda was absolutely precious. I’m so glad that she didn’t keep her daughters an extended secret. I don’t know if there was romantic sparks just yet but their arts and crafts time was cuteness overload. While I superficially support Ben and Jen merely so we can have Bennifer 3.0, I really do love Caila. If those two can still have a good time and connect on a date during groan-inducing product placement, then there’s something there. Caila is sweet without being saccharine, and I could see the possibility of her and Ben really working.

Which group date do you think was the worst? Let us know in the comments.


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