Chris Harrison is a messy bitch who lives for drama. He didn’t even make it through the introduction to this, the first part of the “shocking” two-part finale to one of the strangest seasons of reality television the American Broadcasting Corporation ever did see, before informing us that Tayshia will either get engaged or “lose her chance at love forever.” He wheeled Neil Lane out from storage specifically to fuck with Brendan’s head. And he orchestrated a situation in which that little gem, Ivan, had to sit in an ice bath with his mouth weirdly clamped on Tayshia’s while Chris and Bachelorverse institution Big Paulie dunked on him in their play-by-play commentary.
With all that energy, you’d think the man* could come up with some better activities for the young lovers, even confined as they are to the breezy byways of the La Quinta Comfort Inn And Engagement Ring Emporium. It’s Fantasy Suite Week, after all, so they should be cultivating an atmosphere of f*A*n*T*a*S*y. But alas, it seems the powers that be have mostly just given up this season. And loathe though I am to disparage the good names of champagne and doughnuts, it must be said that the producers seem to have given up when it comes to food, too. Somebody tell Tayshia to come down from her Balcony of Deep Thoughts, and let’s get to it.
* — Chris Harrison does not singlehandedly make The Bachelorette by himself, but it’s way funnier if you pretend he does.
These dates were so dull that, despite watching the episode twice, your faithful Bachelor Nation food correspondent would have sworn confidently that Tayshia never once put any of the food that appears in this episode directly into her mouth whilst on camera, and she would have been wrong. Tayshia ate a single piece of honeydew melon, one fed to her by a nice young man who is definitely getting eliminated tomorrow. Presumably, this happened as I was rolling my eyes, a vital and involuntary reflex that allows one to vent some of the grumpiness building up inside one while removing one’s focus from the television screen for the briefest of moments. There was also, of course, wine.
Nothing of consequence happened in either of these scenes, which is too bad, because a) JoJo looks just unspeakably bored and b) Rachel Lindsay is a hoot. The fact that Rachel was basically just there so that Tayshia could casually mention Ben is such a waste; I would much rather have listened to the two of them talk about, well, anything. Wine is probably actually consumed on camera? I don’t know. Again, the eye-rolling was a problem.
They also didn’t eat food in these scenes, but as they’re not worth discussing, I’ll just make note of the uneaten scrambled eggs, bacon, unidentifiable garnish, pickles, cheeses, plates of fruit, meats, and nuts here and exclude them from the already long list that follows.
A large mystery cake-or-steak, some carrots, champagne and doughnuts, coffee, breakfast pastries from the dumb food case at Starbucks, paint, a number of charcuterie boards and/or cold collations, needlessly elaborate chocolate-covered strawberries, more eggs, toast, fruit, tiny desserts that some producer probably described to Brendan as “wedding cake samples,” a mushroom-like mass with orange bits, and Ben’s Wheaties.
After the now-traditional* awkward waiting room banter between the remaining three men, all of whom will potentially be exchanging fluids with the same woman in immediate future, Ivan heads out on the first of three “overnight” dates. It goes well, or so we’re told.
Would it surprise you, dear reader, to learn that Ivan was not, in fact, eliminated in tonight’s episode? Shocking, but true. It just feels like he was. So tell me: when did you know, deep in your bones, that poor sweet Ivan was doomed?
- Was it when his final date was smooshing his mouth onto Tayshia’s without moving for six minutes while sitting in an ice bath? Because Ivan’s super romantic, super sexy final date was “setting” a “record” for “world’s longest coldest kiss,” a “record” he and Tayshia “set” while listening to Chris and Big Paulie trash talk from like 7 feet away.
- Was it when, over a romantic “dinner” of a large darkly colored area on the plate that might be a steak or might be a piece of cake and a strange hybrid of lasagna and muffin dipped in pesto, he told Tayshia he was falling in love with her, only for her to respond, “I’ve been falling for you too,” without the words “in love” anywhere to be found?
- Perhaps it was when, while staying at what we’re told is an extremely exclusive Palm Springs resort, his Fantasy Suite was revealed to be an Airstream that was just chilling in an employee parking lot?
Any of the above answers is as correct as the next. For me, each was a death knell, but the final nail in Ivan’s dating-show coffin was when Rachel asked Tayshia to tell her about her final two men and Tayshia described Ivan as “someone that has been here.” So, yeah, Ivan’s toast. Toast is a food, but I have my doubts about the “meals” on their “date.”
* – You can blame this tradition on Peter’s season, something I encourage, as blaming things on Peter is good for the digestion.
Despite all that, Ivan and Tayshia had their fantasy suite night, during which they “stayed up all night talking,” which in this case I 100% believe. Upon arriving at their Airstream of Love, they were greeted by champagne, which they drank, and doughnuts, which they neither ate nor drank. Then they “made” “breakfast.” Ivan is doomed.
Wait, I forgot an option amongst the surest indicators of Ivan’s inevitable unjust dismissal: Did you know he was doomed when Zac’s date was not “ice bath” but instead “put on tiny white swimsuits, cover each other in paint, roll around and make out a lot, and then tenderly wipe the paint from each other’s trembling limbs while standing beneath a public outdoor shower?” Because that’s another solid pick. Anyway, Zac and Tayshia try very hard not to get paint in their mouths, and I’m counting it as a food they didn’t eat but come on, you know they did.
Then they have their “dinner.”
They don’t eat it, but they do exchange I-love-yous, and it’s not Zac saying I love you and Tayshia responding, “mmm, me too, yeah, that,” like she did with Ivan. So then they go to their Fantasy Suite, which is another fancy hotel suite and not a large tin can with some metal chairs outside. There are these strawberries, and they don’t eat them, and instead roll around on the bed and make out.
The next morning, Zac and Tayshia wake up and dance on the bed to no music like normal human adults do all the time when cameras aren’t around. Then they “make” “breakfast.”
You know what, I shouldn’t judge them for the bed-dancing. Normally, yes, it would be safe to assume that was a contrived bit of nonsense designed to illustrate how fun(!) and relatable(!) they are. But 2020 will do weird things to the brain. I recognize the signs; it’s the same state that led to me watching all of Murder, She Wrote this summer, the one in which I impulse-purchased a cheap and essentially non-functional bidet in mid-July, just to feel alive again. Eat something, kids. You’re losing it a little.
Tiny desserts that some producer probably described to poor Brendan as “wedding cake samples,” and a large brown substance
Should you ever find yourself thinking that the stated purpose of the Bachelorverse is sincerely to help people find love, I want you to think of Brendan. Brendan, a nice guy with great cheekbones, has been taking this whole “journey” pretty damn seriously, which is to say he’s treated it like reality, not like he’s an actor playing himself. Remember him saying (I’m paraphrasing) that he’s not sure being well-rounded is all that sexy, but ah well? Remember his candid conversations about the importance of meeting the family, and of making sure his second marriage is more likely to be successful? (As Zac says, no one wants to “stack divorces.”) Those thoughts are not incompatible with falling in love with someone. Quite the opposite.
So of course Brendan’s final date was tailor-made to make him freak out: a nice, friendly engagement ring shopping session with Neil Lane Of The Bachelor Franchise. Tayshia tried on jewelry and Brendan just stood there with terror in his eyes, sweating profusely. There were tiny little cakes everywhere and I bet you a nickel some poor assistant had to tell Brendan they were “wedding cake samples,” just to fuck with him.
At dinner, Brendan tells Tayshia (in short) that he, a sensible human man who recently got divorced, is not yet ready to get engaged. He seems very sad. They do not eat the brownish area with orange points.
Because Brendan self-eliminated, there was no real need for a rose ceremony, but Tayshia conveniently decided to have one anyway, and then Ben showed up, both legs pulled through his big-boy pants and ready to tell Tayshia he loves her. So probably nothing will come of it, but you never know; this time tomorrow we might be talking about Tayshia and Ben’s epic love story. Probably not, but hey, he’s got more of a shot at this thing than Ivan. Ivan, you’re great! You deserve the world! Please do not let reality television and/or hypothermia get you down!
Imagine going through the mandatory Bachelorette bubble quarantine only to have a conversation about nothing while not eating tiny meats and cheeses. The audacity. I hope they validated your parking, Rachel.
Next: the finale. I can hardly wait. It’s gonna be a mess, and like Chris Harrison, I, too, am a messy bitch who lives for drama.