“Is this the way it’s really going down? Is this how we say goodbye? Should have known better when you came around that you were going to make me cry.” Justin Timberlake, What Goes Around
Hello and welcome to our first recap of season three of the train wreck also known as Bachelor in Paradise. And I know what you’re thinking- aren’t we skipping something? Well, yes, we are, and that something would be the finale of The Bachelorette. I tried, guys- I really did. I took pages upon pages of notes and really tried to find something- anything- that would justify a whole post, but I couldn’t do it. So I’m going to quickly summarize a few key points of that sleeper of an episode and then we will get to the good stuff.
Where to begin with the Bachelorette finale? First and foremost, they should have called it “the most predictable finale yet,” because there was no part of me, for even a second, that thought she was going to pick Robby, even when they tried to spin it that her family preferred him, or when they tried to give us the fake out of Jordan not asking her dad for her hand in marriage. I’ll also cop to the fact I haven’t been a big fan of either of these guys from the start (just in case I hadn’t made that clear enough so far) but she was always mad about Jordan, pretty much from their first meeting. They open in Phuket, Thailand, which is where both guys will meet her family. She spends the whole episode trying to say how conflicted she is and how she’s in love with both of them, but I didn’t buy it. She knew Jordan was her first choice, Jordan knew it, her crazy mom knew it, and we all did too. But here are a few observations I made during the first scene with her family: Her little sister strongly resembles a pre-plastic surgery Kylie Jenner, and her mom looks like she’s never met a cosmetic procedure she didn’t love. And then there’s JoJo’s dad- her bald, paunchy, waistband up in his armpits on his “dad shorts,” seemingly well-intended dad… Let’s just say that I jotted down that he and JoJo’s mom don’t exactly look like two people who would end up together. And then at some point, I hear him referred to as “Dr Fletcher” and it makes a bit more sense. And then Jordan saunters in, all cocky and insincere, as usual, and it seems the parents may be on to him. But then he flirts a little with Mama Fletcher and she deems him “so genuine.” Clearly English is not her first language. And her parents just keep talking about JoJo’s previous “trust issues” to both Jordan and Robby and I can’t help thinking that this is the first time she’s come off as wildly insecure. There is another moment when she’s talking to her family and a we see a very bratty, whiny version of her, which either she’s kept under wraps all season long, or the producers have worked very hard to provide a more flattering edit for her. I mean, it’s pretty clear to see where it comes from when her mom tells Robby, “She was raised as a princess. I want to make her the queen of your heart.” Robby asks for her hand in marriage off the bat and both of her parents cry. I yawn, as the sound of Robby’s voice puts me to sleep every damn time.
Both Robby and Jordan get another shot at a date with JoJo and nothing much at all happens there. Everything just feels so cheesy and manufactured, just like Mama Fletcher’s face. And JoJo’s boobs. She gets a little bratty with Jordan when she finds out he didn’t ask her dad for his blessing to propose. Dare I say it, but was Chad right when he called her “naggy?” They both write her a letter the day of the rose ceremony. She wakes up and says she’s had a “moment of clarity.” Then they show Jordan calling both of her parents to ask for their blessing. The guys pick out rings, JoJo lays out her dress and talks some nonsense about the “most important day of her life,” and before we know it, the first car is pulling up, carrying none other than (do we really even need a drumroll here?)… Robby. I find it interesting that they never, EVER mix it up in the edit to throw us off. The person who arrives first is always, ALWAYS the loser. Anyway, Robby goes off on a tangent about their special love and at least she cuts it off before he gets down on one knee. But then, for some reason, she tells him she loves him. Not really sure what that was supposed to accomplish, but at least we are nearing the end of this giant snooze of a season. She and Robby both cry, and then Jordan arrives soon after. He gives a speech that sounds like it was written by the producers and then, he’s “down on a knee” (his words- not mine. If I never hear that phrase again for as long as I live, it will likely be too soon) and she basically shouts YES!! Then she gives him the final rose, and we move on to After The Final Rose, where I’m hoping we will at least learn who the new bachelor is, which we do not. They talk about Aaron Rodgers and whether JoJo has met him yet (in short, no. JoJo says, “It’s not our focus right now.”) and Jordan says they are moving to Dallas together. Robby talks to JoJo and gets “closure.” JoJo and Jordan admit the tabloid talk has been “tough” but they “can’t wait to go to Chipotle together.” Jordan hints that a wedding will be next year. I say that marriage will never happen. But I am happy to move on from this season and get to something interesting. So without further ado…
Chris Harrison calls it “the summer of love with multiple marriage proposals” and teases the “jaw-dropping season premiere,” and for once, he’s not overselling it. The cast of Paradise, so far, is Amanda, Jared, Jubilee, Nick V, Evan, Emily and Hayley, Vinny, Carly, Daniel, Izzy (who?), Grant, Lace, Sarah and “The Chad.” The setting is Mexico, where Jorge, the bartender who got a little air time last season, is slinging drinks once again. We do a little cast intro, which is kind of boring, and definitely repetitive to anyone who follows the show, as all of these people are pretty recent cast members that we know at least a little something about, with the exception of Izzy, who is apparently from Ben’s season but I cannot for the life of me remember her. Amanda is the first to arrive- sweet, cute little single mom Amanda from Ben’s season. Nick V, the perpetual second-place finisher (from Andi’s season and Kaitlyn’s season) arrives next, and he and Amanda have a little flirtation. Jubilee, from Ben’s season, is the next to come, and notes that Ben dumped her in Mexico, so she hopes her luck is better this go-round. Evan enters next, and I still find him every bit as repellant as I did on JoJo’s season. Many of the girls note that he “looks better in person” but I don’t buy it. Jubilee says that now that she’s met him, she’s going to make an effort to call him “Evan” instead of “the penis guy.” Evan is into Amanda. I don’t think she reciprocates.
Vinny, also from JoJo’s season, arrives and says he’s “ready to party.” Carly, from Chris’s season, is on her second trip to paradise, and says she “doesn’t give up on love,” despite a bad experience last season. Grant, also from JoJo’s season, is next, and enters saying he wants to “play it cool.” Daniel, the resident proud Canadian, arrives, and says he’s disappointed in the caliber of women. “So far I’m unimpressed,” he says, elaborating that there’s “Nothing I would really touch.” Charming. Everyone talks about the imminent arrival of Chad and they are all looking forward to it. Well, except maybe for Evan. Sarah H (from Sean Lowe’s season) arrives for at least her second, maybe third, go at Paradise. Vinny says Sarah is beautiful but Daniel longs for some “better, fresh fruit. That looks not so worn-out and not so ripe.” I’m going to hate him so hard this season. I can already tell. Emily and Hayley, the twins from Ben’s season, make their entrance and Daniel is into their fruit. One of them (not sure which, even though they insist they are easy to tell apart) has a bit of an interest in Daniel and they hang out alone for a minute. His Canadian accent is a million times stronger than it was on JoJo’s season and it is ROUGH. All kinds of “ays” and “ya knows.” Jubilee notes that she’s waiting for someone specific to show up. That chick Izzy, who nobody knows, but was on Ben’s season, walks in and is kind of into Daniel too. They proceed to have the world’s most awkward conversation. Lace, the resident crazy from Ben’s season, is in the house, and she says she’s made a lot of “progress.” Grant finds her attractive but is afraid she might be a little crazy. Jared, from Kaitlyn’s season walks in, and Jubilee admits he was the one she was hoping would be there. And then, “Hurricane Chad” arrives, and the mood shifts. He says he’s “misunderstood” and that he is looking for a girl but is unwilling to be “fake” to get one. He immediately hones in on Lace, and it’s clearly a case of crazy meeting crazier, and I’m not entirely sure which is which.
Daniel and Chad frolic in the ocean and Carly calls them the “first couple in paradise.” Chris Harrison enters to remind them that there is no catch, no prize, and that everyone is there to maybe find love. This week, the guys hand out the roses and if you find yourself without a rose, you will be sent home. We cut to Evan going through Chad’s luggage to find his protein powder while doing a lame Crocodile Hunter impersonation. Chad, meanwhile, finds some cold cuts somewhere, so he happily eats meat and cackles like a crazy person.
Nick V gives Jubilee the first date card, and she wastes no time asking Jared to go out with her. One of the twins (Emily, maybe?) is jealous because she had her eye on Jared. But he agrees to go out with Jubilee and she goes to get ready for the date. Back at the bar, Lace and Grant seem to be hitting it off, but then Lace starts talking to Chad, trying to find the “softer side.” I note that Daniel’s occupation is listed as “Canadian” and Nick V’s is listed as “runner-up.” Lace and Chad waste no time in making out in the pool, but their kissing somehow seems aggressive. Chad wears his sunglasses in the dark and sings out, “I brought so much prooooooooooh-tein.” None of this behavior screams sober. Lace and Chad keep making out and then choking each other, slapping each other and hitting each other. It seems like a drunken hot mess.
Jared and Jubilee go to dinner at a restaurant that looks like it was decorated in Tim Burton’s imagination. She tells him he was on her “hit list” and Jared remarks that she has “depth.” Some creepy-ass clown shows up and she freaks out. Then they hit piñatas. It’s all very strange. Meanwhile, back at the house, Izzy and Vinny are becoming a thing as well, and Lace and Chad just continue to get worse and worse. They “kiss fight.” He tells her “I will tie you to a railroad track.” Then, he takes it too far and calls her a name of some kind- I think maybe “bitch”- and she freaks out and cries. They are both so far from sober that it’s not even funny. Sarah says it’s going to “get messy.” Oh, girl, you said a mouthful. Carly calls Chad “The Hulk” and Daniel tells him people are legitimately afraid of him. Sarah steps to Chad and calls him disrespectful, to which he replies (wait for it, cause it’s bad) “F#*^ that one-armed bitch.” Sarah breaks down. Evan tries to talk to Chad, but he pushes him. Again. Daniel tries to talk to Chad and he gets super-aggressive, while Daniel gets super-Canadian and also tells Chad he will “take him down.” Chad finally passes out in the sand and when he wakes, he’s surprised to find that he doesn’t have underwear on. According to Vinny, there’s a reasonable explanation for that, and it’s that Chad “pooped his pants” while he was passed out. Good lord- is there no low too low for this franchise to exploit?
Once Chad is semi-conscious again, he learns how angry people are at him and how much damage he did the night before. He makes a joke, which my husband legitimately had to explain to me, because it went over my head. Chad says, “The only one that should be offended is Army McArmerson” and I thought he was talking about someone who was in the military. But, no, that was giving Chad too much credit- he was once again referring to sweet Sarah H and her one arm. Lace remarks that Chad reminds her of “the old Lace.” Chris Harrison enters to address the group. He says he heard that “things got a little out of hand” last night. Sarah remarks that Chad was very disrespectful and Chad tries to make light of it. Chris is annoyed that Chad is trying to be “glib” to which Chad replies, “It is not the time to be glib. I don’t really know what that means, but…” CH has had enough- he says they were all willing to give Chad a second chance but that he ruined it. “I saw what you did to Sarah, I saw what you did to Lace, I saw what you did to the staff of the hotel.” Evidently, Chad told some members of the staff to “suck a dick.” Lovely. CH is done- he needs Chad to go. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” Chad might actually be a legit psycho or a hard-core alcoholic, because his response is, “Are you serious? I make a couple of jokes and you’re all upset?” Chris tells him he’s making it harder than it needs to be, and we hear “F@#* you, Chris Harrison. Go drink your mimosas!” And we end it with ‘To Be Continued.”
I have a lot of mixed feelings on this, because yes, it’s great television- hard to watch and yet hard to tear your eyes away from- but something about it also doesn’t sit well with me. Yes, Chad is clearly a psycho with some anger issues- yes, he is easily combustible- yes, he’s definitely going to bring some drama with him. But he’s also a young guy whose mother died less than a year ago and to ply him with alcohol and light that fuse just to see what happens comes off a little… I don’t know if it’s the right word, but irresponsible comes to mind. I can only hope that a lot of this is staged and not totally authentic, because watching a guy get that drunk, threaten a bunch of people and then pass out in the sand, presumably to soil himself and have it all captured on camera, is perhaps the lowest common denominator of television viewing. And yet, I’ll be tuning in next week, with wine and popcorn, so what does that say about me? Until then, I’ll be catching up on my Bravo shows, which will feel like a walk in the park after this hot mess. See you next week, friends.