The food that didn’t get eaten on The Bachelorette, week 8: Wine is not a food group

Illustration for article titled The food that didn’t get eaten on The Bachelorette, week 8: Wine is not a food group
Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Let’s dispense with this right away.

Was The Bachelorette actually meaningful this week, thus temporarily negating the entire premise of this column?

Nah. And thus this semi-permanent subsection of your food-centric Bachelorette coverage comes to an end, having been useful exactly once. That’s not to say that the eighth episode’s most important scene, the climax of Zac C.’s one-on-one date with Tayshia, didn’t include some significant moments, and nor is it intended to ignore the significance of Ben talking openly about a decades-long battle with bulimia. But last week’s actual conversation between two people about stuff that matters makes a traditional Bachelor Nation recitation of struggles, no matter how compelling, ring a little extra false. So it’s back to business as usual: sloppy kissing, contrived drama, and food that no one eats.

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Did The Bachelorette actually eat food this week?

Since last week’s episode included a baptismal font’s worth of melting ice cream, I am disinclined to once again pretend that wine counts. So no, she did not eat food this week.

What didn’t The Bachelorette eat this week?

Day-old pastries, bacon, two juices, breakfast wine, orange slices, a cake that’s definitely not real, something that requires a pour-over sauce, coffee, a pepperoni pizza made out of modeling clay, breakfast-in-bed made out of modeling clay, a brownie made out of modeling clay, a penis made out of modeling clay, more coffee, a carrot, some chicken, a salad with all the goat cheese picked off, a pile of picked-off goat cheese, mystery guacamole and margaritas, and the four components of emotional intelligence.

Leftovers from a continental breakfast

Illustration for article titled The food that didn’t get eaten on The Bachelorette, week 8: Wine is not a food group
Screenshot: ABC
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The episode begins with Tayshia still on her journey to find love, tra la la, so many men, such bliss. She’s setting up a nice little crunchy-looking breakfast spread for two, but the person joining her is not one of her suitors, and nor is it Chris Harrison, who this week departed the Bubblechelorette so he could take his son to college. Hosting duties are instead filled by former Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher, and if you’re hoping this will create a whole new exciting dynamic, you’re going to be disappointed. It’s a peaceful and orderly transfer of power. She and Tayshia don’t eat the bacon, pastries, or bowls of orange wedges that one assumes were stolen from a kid’s soccer practice.

Fake cake and mystery sauce

Illustration for article titled The food that didn’t get eaten on The Bachelorette, week 8: Wine is not a food group
Screenshot: ABC
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This episode may be best described as workmanlike. It’s all very familiar territory, even given the general weirdness of the world. So, sure, it’s amazingly, wonderfully dumb that all the dates are just [random activity] in [available La Quinta conference room], and the utter lack of variety has its own kind of surreal appeal. But take away that aspect and this is all paint by numbers. Tayshia’s first one-on-one is merely the latest in a long line of photoshoots-as-dates, one of the strangest Bachelorverse traditions. So she and Zac C. try on a bunch of fancy clothes (none of his suits fit correctly, all of her “wedding” dresses are impeccably fitted, it’s amazing) and take some not-great pictures, and once it’s in front of a big fake cake. That’s fake, right? Has to be.

Sauce pouring mechanism and... a calzone, maybe?
Sauce pouring mechanism and... a calzone, maybe?
Screenshot: ABC
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Later, they “have” “dinner” and Zac tells Tayshia about his marriage and talks to her about his recovery journey and what life was like before he got clean, as well as his experience living with a brain tumor. He’s fairly articulate and seemingly self-aware, so it’s well-handled. There’s a little tiny pitcher of what I’m assuming is some kind of sauce, but we get even less of a glimpse of the “food” than usual. Probably safe to assume that Zac, who got the “let’s pretend we’re getting married” date, is a frontrunner.

Artistic interpretations of food made from modeling clay

Dare to defy, Spencer.
Dare to defy, Spencer.
Screenshot: ABC
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The group date this week, which of course Bennett and Noah are both on so that they can yell at each other on television some more, is all about the creative spirit. The dudes have to try sketching nude models (if you watch one section of this week’s episode, make it this one; the drawings are hilariously bad) and then create a representation of their “journey” with Tayshia out of modeling clay. And just like that, I have a new favorite among the roving pack of single men stalking the halls and parking lots of the La Quinta Bungalow Park And Art Emporium, because Spencer—he’s the one that looks like he just became a series regular on a mid-tier show on The CW—made his a pepperoni pizza, because who doesn’t love pepperoni pizza? Computer, enhance.

Illustration for article titled The food that didn’t get eaten on The Bachelorette, week 8: Wine is not a food group
Screenshot: ABC
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There were also representations of breakfast in bed, wine, a brownie, and a penis, because apparently Blake is a regular American Vandal. Then they do “self-portraits,” which make Tayshia cry, and not because they’re incredibly dumb, but instead because they’re all “opening up” to her. One of the self-portraits is like a potato head with hearts around it, and that one is Ben’s, and he clearly knows it sucks because he decides to get naked and be like “this is me vulnerable, I am literally vulnerable in that I am on television covering my wang with my hands and talking about my feelings.” He gets the group date rose. The only other important development is that Bennett and Noah continue to be dicks at each other, the former in a “did I mention I went to Harvard and that you’d totally hate me if we met in real life but hey I’m great television” kind of way, the latter in a “we all know I’m just here to stir up shit, right?” kind of way, and at one point Noah tries to mock Bennett misspelling limousine by asking him to spell privilege, which Noah himself misspells in the process. Art!

Some sort of carrot thing with a piece of chicken or whatever?

Illustration for article titled The food that didn’t get eaten on The Bachelorette, week 8: Wine is not a food group
Screenshot: ABC
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The second one-on-one date of the episode is with Eazy, and their date—”ghost-hunting”—is so dumb and I loved every moment of it. Apparently the La Quinta Heart O’ Palm Springs Sleep Palace is haunted, and while my sleuthing turned up precious little about the story producers cook up for Eazy and Tayshia here, I found multiple dubious references to La Quinta ghosts, including a Trip Advisor review. Despite the ludicrous contrivances, it really does look like fun! More stuff like this please, even when world travel becomes an option again! Tayshia seems to agree with me, and they look like they’re having a great time, but then Eazy makes a fatal mistake—he ignores the fact that he got a comedy date and also barely knows this woman and plunges boldly ahead with the “I think I’m falling in love with you” talk. A risky maneuver! It’s like shooting the moon!

Illustration for article titled The food that didn’t get eaten on The Bachelorette, week 8: Wine is not a food group
Screenshot: ABC
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And in this case, it’s less shooting the moon and more shooting himself in his foot, as it takes Tayshia basically no time to say, “uh, that’s nice, but we barely know each other so you’re obviously full of shit,” though it comes out more like, “I like you but I don’t feel the same way and I don’t know if I can get there on my journey.” Bye, Eazy! No one eats the food, but at least this time they’re not there long enough for any kind of meal. Next!

A salad with all the goat cheese picked off, a pile of picked-off goat cheese, mystery guacamole and margaritas, and the four components of emotional intelligence

Illustration for article titled The food that didn’t get eaten on The Bachelorette, week 8: Wine is not a food group
Photo: ABC
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Apologies for the catch-all section, but there’s no way I can skip Spencer picking all the goat cheese off his craft services salad. He’d just arrived in my favorites tier and now I have to boot him again, because anyone who rejects goat cheese simply cannot live in my heart. Also there’s a shot of Tayshia just chilling in her suite with chips, guac, and two margaritas, and there’s no explanation. Then Noah and Bennett get paired on their inevitable two-on-one date, and JoJo tells them that two men will enter, but only one will leave.

And I am sorry to say that I think it will be Bennett, because he was dumb enough to bring a fake troll gift to the date during which he should be attempting to convince Tayshia that he’s the mature one. Spoiler, dudes: None of you are the mature one. Dr. Joe is the mature one, and he went home last week. We end on a cliffhanger, but I suspect that Bennett should have his “LIMOSINE” ready for departure when the show comes back next week.

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Who most deserves a plate full of macaroni and cheese or a huge piece of cake or something?

Read this Entertainment Weekly review with Dr. Joe and then try to convince he that he’s not too good for this world. I dare you. But he’s not on the show anymore, so let’s go with Tayshia, who had to keep a straight face through all those art projects. I mean, come on:

Illustration for article titled The food that didn’t get eaten on The Bachelorette, week 8: Wine is not a food group
Screenshot: ABC
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That’s a heavy burden to bear, taking that seriously. See you next week.

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!

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The food that didn’t get eaten on The Bachelorette, week 8: Wine is not a food group

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