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 season 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 along — we actually are here to make friends!
Biggest Failure: Corinne
The Bachelor does a great job of building up individual moments. At the end of the first episode, we still barely knew Corinne, but in the post-episode promo, she told us that her sex abilities were “top-notch,” and that “my heart is gold, but my vagine is platinum.” It also showed her sneaking into Nick’s room late at night, leaving us to wonder what this Borat-impersonating seductress just might do.
Monday night, we got the answer. Corinne snuck over to Nick’s room in an attempt to seal a space in the final four with a late-night booty call. They go into a bedroom, and Sex Music begins to play as we hear the dirty talk captured by the microphones they’ve forgotten to take off.
Note Nick’s dirty talk: “You are very attractive.” We already knew he was the worst dirty talker of all time, and he’s somehow getting worse.
Anyway, things seem to be getting hot and heavy. But then Nick puts a halt to the buildup, citing a previous mistake: Two years ago, he was in Corinne’s shoes as a contestant on The Bachelorette, and he snuck over in the middle of the night and had sex with Kaitlyn. He cites the drama that caused, and decides that having sex at this juncture in the competition wouldn’t be fair to his relationship with Corinne and his relationships with the remaining contestants. He says goodbye to Corinne, who is so distraught that she walks by an automatic door that opened for her and goes out a manual exit instead.
Watching her walk past that door was the most stressful thing I’ve seen since this. Remember: This is a woman who proudly never does any chore that her maid Raquel can do.
The payoff of the season-long wait for this moment was worth it. (Well, except for Corinne and Nick, for whom it was the opposite of satisfying.) Corinne is the ultimate reality-show villain. She’s mean, she’s entitled, she’s dramatic, she says and does things that regular humans wouldn’t think of doing. She’s so universally hated that rooting for her is a sin worthy of an insulting sign at a sports game.
Everybody on The Bachelor is trying to be attractive enough to entice the Bachelor, but everybody agrees not to act on the mutual physical attraction. Corinne is tipping the playing field by bringing sex into the game. Her cocksure confidence that she’s going to pull it off with no repercussions makes it infuriating.
But what makes it satisfying is that she isn’t particularly good at seduction. Her game worked once, when she got a rose after asking Nick to hold her breasts at a photo shoot. The other times — the time she approached Nick wearing a trench coat (?) and poured whipped cream on herself (???), the time she acquired a bouncy castle (?????) for the purpose of near-nude straddling, and of course, this time — didn’t lead to any, um, immediate gratification. It was meant to be irritating to see Corinne coast past more likable candidates because she was willing to be a bit more risqué, and we’re supposed to feel happy when Corinne is rejected.
Of course, this is all profoundly dumb. In two episodes, every remaining contestant will spend a night with Nick in the “fantasy suite,” and ABC’s producers will show the door closing on a bedroom and some fireworks exploding. Think about how strange it is that Nick doesn’t want to stir up drama by having sex with a contestant now, knowing full well that he can have sex with anybody he wants in two weeks and nobody will call him out on it. The show casts sex in the fantasy suite as something to be expected, which probably occasionally forces the hand of contestants who might not be ready, while also making any sex before then seem taboo. For all Corinne’s eccentricities, wanting to have sex with Nick is the most normal thing about her, but it’s ultimately the thing the show uses to make her look the worst.
Bravest Move/Biggest Dummy: Nick
I’m a coward. I’ve never broken up with a girl. I’ve ghosted on girls, I’ve been an asshole to girls until they’ve broken up with me, and, of course, I have been dumped for just being myself. But I’ve never been able to work up the courage to dump somebody.
Nick often has it easy. He’s on a television show where he’s expected to break up with 29 women. He’s given deadlines for dumping women in the form of rose ceremonies, where Chris Harrison is the one who does the dirty work by informing everybody without roses that it’s time for them to leave.
Except Nick has now skipped out on two straight rose ceremonies. He’s dumped six women, a fifth of the cast, including the past four women eliminated, in settings where nobody was expecting to be eliminated: He dumped Liz, Dominique, and Jasmine G. on group dates when they brought up issues to him, and last week he dumped Danielle L. after she won her two-on-one date. In the previous episode, he seemed to be breaking up with women haphazardly; this week it seemed a little bit more planned. He dumped Danielle M. during their one-on-one date after having had several hours to think about it, then he went to the women’s house to tell Kristina she wouldn’t be getting a hometown date.
I should applaud Nick for his boldness. There’s no good time for a breakup, so he’s being decisive and saving women the indignity of being dumped in front of other contestants while also giving himself an opportunity to explain his feelings.
But the good thing he’s doing also makes him look like an asshole. The rose ceremonies provide opportunities for clean, understandable breaks. Instead, Nick is opting for the most uncomfortable route. Danielle’s exit was heartbreaking — Nick: “You’re great.” Danielle: “Not great enough …” — and we felt for Kristina when she said Nick hadn’t given her a fair chance.
Smartest Move: Chris Harrison
I always like thinking about how great of a job Harrison has. He gets flown to a nice place, films maybe two or three scenes, and makes more money in a month than you or I make in a year. You ever watch Survivor? Jeff Probst is on that godforsaken island for 40 days, and he stands there for hours as the contestants go through endurance tests. Harrison puts on a suit and smiles while the Bachelor eliminates people. It’s the best job ever.
With Nick shirking all the rose ceremonies, though, Harrison’s job has shrunk. But instead of being marginalized, he made sure to come back on camera Monday to have a discussion with Nick about how and why he was canceling the rose ceremony. If his airtime continued to dwindle, maybe we’d forget about Chris and the show could bring in a cheaper, reasonably handsome dude with a reasonable amount of gravitas to fly around the globe and stand behind the Bachelor. But Chris wasn’t having that. He made sure he got his camera time. Chris Harrison will never let you forget Chris Harrison.
Worst Game: Danielle
It was hard to watch Nick dump Danielle, the Wisconsinite with a tragic backstory who is described by every single other person on the show as “sweet.” How could a nice relationship with a nice person have spoiled so quickly?
After rewatching the episode, it was easy to see why. Before Nick and Danielle played basketball, everything was easy-breezy. They smiled and laughed and rode bikes and ate food and kissed and held each other. Then they played basketball — it’s not a season of The Bachelor if they don’t giggle while playing sports with foreign children — and Danielle got stuffed by a 12-year-old on a 7-foot rim.
And then everything soured. Their conversations were laced with silence, and Nick seemed aloof. Even when talk turned to Wisconsin, it was merely a rote discussion of locations, with no emotion attached.
True love can overcome hurdles, but no love can overcome basketball embarrassment. If you get crossed over, stuffed, or — worst of all — dunked on, your relationship is doomed to fail.
Best Game: Raven and Kristina
They balanced three cheese cubes on the head of a sleeping Corinne and flawlessly executed an 8-foot hand-to-mouth cheese toss.
All without waking Corinne. They are cheese acrobats.
Biggest Burn: Corinne
My eyebrows were officially raised when Corinne called Vanessa out for not having depth as a human being. Vanessa is a trilingual teacher for children with special needs; Corinne is a failed video vixen who takes credit for the lucrative business her dad owns. Vanessa cooks pasta with her immigrant nonna; Corinne has tried and failed to re-create the “cheesy pasta” made by her paid nanny. Vanessa is a real adult human who is capable of accomplishing things; Corinne’s main talent appears to be sleeping.
However, I was proved wrong. When Nick takes Vanessa on their snorkeling one-on-one date, Vanessa is taken aback: She reveals that she’s never been on a boat. However, later in the episode, when Corinne sees the boat approaching for her group date, she is unfazed. She says that she’s been on boats even bigger than the one she’s about to board, since she goes on so many boats in South Florida.
Life isn’t about the loves you have, the people you meet, or the things you do. It’s about how many boats you’ve been on, and how big they are. And Corinne is running up the freakin’ score on Vanessa.
Best Save: Rachel
Every time Nick has spoken to Rachel, he’s gotten oh so close to asking Rachel if next week’s hometown visit will be weird because he’s white and she’s black. He’s acutely aware of race, but worried saying “black” or “white” will be a faux pas. Just listen to him bumble:
When Rachel finally reads between the lines, she explains the situation calmly. Yes, she’s dated white men before. No, she’s never brought one home. No, it’s not because she’s afraid to bring a white man home, but rather because she’s been choosy with her relationships. No, nobody in her family would think it’s weird, because there are people of multiple races in her family.
Like Nick, The Bachelor hasn’t had to have these conversations often: Rachel is the first black contestant on either The Bachelor or The Bachelorette to last long enough to make hometown dates. But we now know Rachel isn’t going to win The Bachelor. On Monday, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Rachel will be the next Bachelorette, the first nonwhite person to be the star of either show. It’s the end of a self-perpetuating cycle: For the first 20 seasons of The Bachelor and 12 seasons of The Bachelorette, Bachelors picked white contestants and therefore provided a white pool for Bachelorettes, who then picked white contestants who become white Bachelors.
But America looks a lot more like the extended family Rachel described — people of different ethnicities, some of whom fell in love with each other — than it looks like the usual finale of The Bachelor. It is long overdue for the show to try to match reality.
Worst Comprehension: Nick
People on The Bachelor often fear that the Bachelor himself isn’t seeing the “true side” of one of the contestants. Rarely has that been more true than with Nick and Corinne: When together, their relationship consists of Corinne saying Nick is cute and making out with him. When apart, Corinne is a discord machine, constantly fretting or starting drama. But Monday night’s episode brought the best example.
At one point, Corinne told Nick that she needed to “get Corinne locked in,” at which point Nick chuckled and expressed surprise that she had spoken in the third person.
Corinne speaks in the third person more often than Rodger Sherman does, and Rodger Sherman speaks in the third person a lot. On Monday’s episode alone, she says that “Corinne is going to keep doing Corinne,” worries that “Corinne is going to get sent home,” and then says that she has “made Corinne great,” which seems to be a reference to her past vow to “Make Corinne Great Again,” which came after her vow to “Make America Corinne Again.” If Nick doesn’t know that Corinne speaks in the third person, he really does have no idea who she is.
But that’s what next week’s visit to her hometown is for. I am so glad Corinne appears to have made the cut, because I cannot wait for Nick to meet Raquel — the woman who has molded Corinne into the woman-child she is today — and fall in love with her instead.