Welcome back to The Takeout’s weird column about the food, or absence thereof (welp), in the many corners of the Bachelor cinematic universe! I’m your host, Allison Shoemaker, and I, too, have been ostracized by the house because they’re demonsterizing my character. Since this season began, I’ve been joking about Katie Thurston putting me out of work, and it was a nice little gag that underlined what’s made her turn as the Bachelorette such a breath of fresh air. See, if I were to sum up the point of this column, I’d say that it’s a) funny and stupid and weird, and b) a means of commenting on the artifice and manipulation of the franchise as a whole by focusing on the “meals” they don’t “eat” on their “dates.” Fun, dumb, and (in my mind at least) justified.
But now Katie might actually put me out of work, for reasons that should become clear shortly. So without further ado, if I could have your attention, please?
Let’s rip this bandage right off.
She did. In fact, for this week at least, the whole column needs a new starting point. Here goes:
A few things. A bird. A piece of Lunchable. And that’s about it.
ALL THE THINGS.
Group Puke Date, pt. 1: A pyramid of Twinkies, a mountain of mashed potatoes and gravy, the chocolate cake that Miss Trunchbull made that poor kid eat in Matilda, habanero peppers, and large jugs of apparently spoilt milk
This isn’t even one of those dates where the dudes eat bugs and the Bachelorette just laughs and stuff. First, of all, Katie nibbles on a pepper. Second, it’s so much better than making them eat deep-friend testicles or something: it’s a CARB STATION.
That! Is! Camp! (Also: honesty!)
The “date” isn’t so much a date as a really strange improv show for an audience of three, ostensibly by playing Truth Or Dare. In pairs, the dudes on this group date—last week’s episode ended with Sweet Michael’s one-on-one, so this finishes out the week—scamper around the grounds of the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Forced-Fun Farmer’s Market, doing goofy shit. There’s the station where they force-feed themselves carbs, which is called Katie’s Mystery Snack Shack. Another station requires them to wax each other, leading to a mild but still disappointing “no homo brah” moment with Tre, a.k.a. Buzz Killington. Great in the premiere, kind of sucks this week. There’s also a giant ear they’re supposed to whisper sweet nothings into, which is incredibly cringey but also great TV. Andrew busts out his lackluster British accent again. Greg’s is... all about states. It’s stupid and weird and fun.
The Fear Factor dates have never really done it for me, but this was pretty great, especially if you assume production checked with all the men first to make sure none of them had an eating disorder or diabetes or anything else important like that. (That’s a big assumption.) It’s slightly less shitty than these things typically are, which helps, but more importantly, they all honestly seem to be having fun, and seem to know that they’re making very entertaining television. Good job, team. Please insist on being allowed to call your therapist if that in any way fucked you up.
Oh, and they had to finish it all off by eating peppers and then proposing, and poor old Not British Andrew immediately rubs his eyes. Greg handled the heat particularly badly, so if you’ve ever wanted to see a marketing bro with come-to-this-open-mic-I’m-playing face chug milk from a jug as though his life depended on it, check this segment out. And Tayshia also drank some and apparently it had turned. Chris Harrison could never. Kaitlyn and Tayshia are killing it.
Group Date, pt. 2 (plus a little rose ceremony): Taco Bell, gummies, more food we didn’t even see, and Thomas, because Katie Thurston chews him up and spits him out
Okay, so Andrew brings Katie Taco Bell and it’s cute and they eat it, and she also eats the gummies in the Lunchable. But we don’t even see any of this shit:
Really, the story here is Thomas. In addition to getting weird about another man seeing a portion of his tush, Tre also decides he’s going to be the one to tell Katie about how Thomas is kind of the worst. Katie a) seems sincerely glad to know, if pretty pissed at the same time, and b) knows exactly what she’s supposed to do from there on out. So we’ll skip his shitty plea to stay where he uses the word “demonsterizing” and head straight for the finale. She is giving us drama! She is crafting an arc! She is creating a moment!
Well played, madam. One last note about this: Other than Katie, the person who looks the best coming out of this debacle is, surprisingly, Not-British Andrew, who achieves a rare reality TV merit badge when he looks at the Thomas mess with something resembling nuance and tries to get others on board. He does not succeed, but my, what a valiant effort. Anyway, goodbye, Thomas and a bunch of other dudes whose names I never learned because you got at most three minutes of screentime! And hello, Blake!
Katie gets the now-traditional cameo from a Bachelor Nation alum courtesy of this strapping, book-reading Canadian (from the Tayshia/Clare season). They don’t eat anything, but it’s cheesy as hell. (Get it?) After Katie kicks Thomas to the curb, she does an incredibly smart and savvy thing. Thanks to the Thomas drama, the rose ceremony started quite late (“It’s midnight, bro”). But Katie doesn’t wait until a reasonable hour to tell Blake she’d like him to stay. Nor does she tell him she’s coming over. The result is an honest-to-god real-life (also inherently fake) rom-com moment. That dude has never been more likable. The show has rarely ever seemed so genuinely unscripted without also descending into chaos. Katie is a very, very good Bachelorette. And she ate some food this week. Thanks a lot, Katie.
You decide, folks. Not-British Andrew, or Tayshia?
See you next week, when Katie will probably find out someone else isn’t there for the Right Reasons and will then dismiss him by saying, “Your dog and your mom are both very ashamed of you. BEGONE!”