There are only two good sports in the world. One is that awesome handball thing from the Olympics. The other is The Bachelor, a show that features 30 women competing to gain as many Instagram followers as they can before they’re eliminated by a slightly-above-average guy who once got dumped on national television. This year is the best yet, because the Bachelor, Nick Viall, got dumped on The Bachelorette … twice! Every week we’ll be telling you who, uh, rose to the occasion. So read on, but only if you’re reading for the right reasons.
Worst Decision: Nick
There is no better Bachelor thing than the two-on-one date. The show takes about four or five weeks to figure out which participants really don’t like each other, then it drives them to the wilderness and tells them one gets a rose and one has to go home. It’s like Thunderdome for romance. My personal favorite was last year, when Ben brought Olivia to an island and broke up with her, and then the boat and cameras pulled away. I assume she’s still stranded there.
This time we had Corinne, the entitled, manipulative, rude liar with a tendency for treating everybody else like crap, and Taylor, who Corinne has accused of being an entitled, manipulative, rude liar with a tendency for treating everybody else like crap.
This episode took place in New Orleans, so they share a swamp boat ride through the Louisiana bayou, where Corinne is extremely concerned with bugs.
For a second, I was hoping Nick was going to drop the woman he passed over into an alligator pit; instead the three of them walk up to a group preparing to do a voodoo ceremony, which they promptly ignore in favor of a lady sitting on the side doing tarot readings. Corinne asks for and receives a voodoo doll; even though it’s blond and she’s blond — and her opponent is black — she begins sticking needles into it. If voodoo is real, Corinne is in for some serious trouble.
Ultimately, this should have been an easy choice for Nick. For weeks now, virtually every person on the show has warned Nick about Corinne’s overwhelming flaws, while only Corinne has really said anything about Taylor, whose biggest fault is that she’s perhaps a tad too enthusiastic about her master’s degree.
Luckily, Nick made the wrong choice, ditching Taylor and picking the best character on the show, Corinne. He makes out with her on the boat ride back, and Taylor is forced to wait until the dead of night for her rescue. After staying in the swamp long enough to join the voodoo party, Taylor returns to New Orleans to settle her beef with Corinne, and that’s where the episode ends.
After the second episode, I compared Corinne to Donald Trump. Since then, she’s ended interviews with the phrases “Make Corinne Great Again” and “Make America Corinne Again.” Whether Corinne is supposed to be great or America is supposed to be Corinne, it’s clear she embraces the comparison. In this episode, the blond multimillionaire repeatedly lies, tells people that she’s smart while using a word that doesn’t exist (“intelligency”), calls her opponent a “swamp monster,” and eventually wins in spite of her immense unpopularity. I can’t wait for the president to release his nanny’s Cheese Pasta recipe.
Best Argument: Taylor
Corinne has, on many occasions, bragged about the “multimillion-dollar business” she runs. This week, Taylor became the first person to actually question whether or not she actually runs a multimillion-dollar business.
Unfortunately, Taylor didn’t have Google on hand to confirm her suspicions — but we do. Corinne doesn’t appear to operate a million-dollar business. Her dad does own an epoxy flooring business that seems pretty reputable, and Corinne does work in sales there, according to TMZ. However, it’s pretty obvious from her various online profiles that she’d prefer to work in modeling. Her LinkedIn shows her in a bikini and lists her as a “model/actress.” She has a profile on a talent-search website that says she has “a passion for modeling, acting, and singing” and claims that she’s appeared in music videos for artists such as — and I quote — “Pitpul, Akon, Acehood, DJ Kahled, and Lil Jon, Two Chainzz, and juicy j.” Apparently you don’t need to know how to spell someone’s name correctly to appear in their music videos. Her claim is partially backed up — she definitely did appear in this video that features 2 Chainz. Skip to about 1:50 in to see Corinne taking one of her signature naps alongside the rapper, whose name is spelled with one z.
It’s possible that Corinne is involved with her parents’ million-dollar business while pursuing a side gig in modeling. But considering her tendency to lie even when her claims can be disproved on camera, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s more of a semi-employed model than she is a million-dollar business owner.
Biggest Letdown: Raven
Raven became the first person this season to reveal that she’s falling in love with the Bachelor, as she let the words slip during a sit-down with Nick. If this show were about romance, this would be the most important moment every single season. Luckily, it’s actually a show about drama and not emotional depth, so Nick decides to give his group-date rose to Danielle M. instead. Raven wonders if she’s “not in sync” with Nick, which is something I also wonder when I tell people I love them and they tell me they like somebody else better 15 minutes later.
Most/Least Appropriate Location Usage: New Orleans
I joked a little bit about last week’s episode being in Milwaukee, so I was intrigued to read this article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about how that episode came about. The show was supposed to film on Kiawah Island, a barrier island on the coast of South Carolina, but Hurricane Matthew forced the show to quickly relocate to Nick’s hometown, call up some dairy farms, and scrape an episode together. Fun fact: The show had to provide its own shovels for the cow-manure-shoveling scene since actual farms use mechanized equipment rather than making their employees scoop thousands of pounds of crap by hand.
Anyway, this week’s episode was more normal, since it was in New Orleans, which is a place people really go on vacation. Nick’s one-on-one date was with Rachel, and they ate beignets (the sugar got unwieldy) and dined among some Mardi Gras floats.The show featured real New Orleans music! The show’s producers organized a second line for Nick and Rachel to dance in. Good! That’s a famous regional thing!
They also featured some very not–New Orleans music! They dipped into a restaurant where somebody named LoLo was playing. She was born in Tennessee and seems to live in New York, judging from a cursory glance at her Instagram. I get that all the musical bits on the show are organized for business reasons by record companies and whatnot, but there is probably at least one musician in New Orleans who might have been interested in getting some exposure on The Bachelor. New Orleans has lots of music, but not all music is from New Orleans.
Most Problematic Part of Any Bachelor Episode I’ve Ever Seen: Houmas House
A large part of this episode was a group date held at Houmas House, a plantation that Nick describes as “one of the most haunted buildings in Louisiana.” Top five? Top 10? Who’s producing these hauntedness ratings? The caretaker of the mansion tells us about how it’s haunted by “May,” a girl who died in the house in the 1850s. For about 20 minutes, various spooky things happen: The lights dim, some bookshelves crash, and the girls act frightened. Note to self: Make a horror movie called The Rose about girls on a reality TV show getting hunted in a haunted house.
Houmas House really does claim to be haunted, with a 1,500-word article on its website about the plantation’s various apparitions. But while Houmas House does have plenty of ghosts, I doubt they’re little white girls: According to the National Park Service, Houmas House was “the center of the largest slave holding in Louisiana,” home to over 800 enslaved blacks, “the largest economic unit in the prevailing slave economy of the state’s pre–Civil War period.”
Houmas House is beautiful, and it’s been used as the filming site for many movies. But it’s beautiful because of the immense wealth generated by slave laborers. The plantation’s operators don’t like to talk about this. They urge visitors to “experience the splendor of antebellum plantation life,” but their website doesn’t mention the word “slave” once. (Fifteen hundred words about ghosts — which are not real, because ghosts are not real — and zero about the real slaves who worked and died there.) A visitor wrote a review on TripAdvisor wondering why slavery was not mentioned on the tour, and the Houmas House’s owner replied that slavery is an “important subject, but we do not feel it is the primary story at Houmas House,” saying that they are better equipped to tell “the story of the wealthy Sugar Baron.” Of course, slavery is the primary story of Houmas House. By operating as a business that focuses on the beauty of the buildings while ignoring its history, the people who own Houmas House continue to profit off of the work of slaves.
There are so many things, romantic and otherwise, that The Bachelor could have done in a city as incredible as New Orleans. Maybe the producers read only Houmas House’s alternative-history website? Maybe they don’t know what happened on plantations? Whatever the answer, they inadvertently romanticized slavery.
Of course, the MVP is Corinne, but I can’t just write about Corinne every week.
Alexis had my personal favorite moment of Monday night’s episode. Last week, she revealed that her two greatest fears in the world are aliens and Nicolas Cage, a perfectly reasonable pairing. This week, Nick strapped on a Nicolas Cage mask and chased her around before making out with her. The only way it could’ve been more romantic is if they’d used this picture of Nic.
Alexis deserves credit for making the most of her time on this show. With something like 70 percent of camera time devoted to Corinne and Corinne-related activities, we haven’t really gotten to know many of the other women. This show has been on the air for 10 hours at this point, but every time somebody is eliminated, I realize I barely know who they are. This week, Nick eliminated Sarah, a grade school teacher from California, and my only recollection of her was that she was one of the women who occasionally chimed into feuds with Corinne. She was the one who once called Corinne “entitled” and first asked if Corinne was ready to marry a 36-year-old man.
Alexis is not here to win. She’s here to shake her boobs, speak in an increasingly thick New Jersey accent, and participate in gimmicks and goofs. And that’s fine! Even though she appears to share no chemistry with Nick, she’s outlasted half the show’s cast. Perhaps Nick truly does enjoy her sense of humor; perhaps the show’s producers are asking him to keep around somebody capable of providing a few seconds of levity in between the heavily Corinne-themed episodes.
My one regret about Alexis’s brief spotlight Monday night is that the show didn’t go all out with it. They were already in New Orleans, a city Cage is obsessed with. They needed to bring Alexis to the enormous pyramid-shaped tomb Nicolas Cage purchased for himself. (Yes, Nicolas Cage has purchased an enormous pyramid-shaped tomb for himself in New Orleans.) And then they could’ve had somebody pop out with a Cage mask. There were no ghosts in that slave-built mansion, but there is literally a Nicolas Cage tomb in New Orleans, and I will never forgive The Bachelor for not taking advantage of that.