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‘The Bachelor’ Recap: Maggots vs. Hamburgers

Demi goes full ‘Deadpool,’ Colton craves fast food in Thailand, and Heather—who is a grown woman—considers kissing someone for the first time


For a few minutes on Monday, The Bachelor made a very compelling argument against anybody kissing anybody else ever. The argument was made by Colton, who, as you have heard 300,000 times thus far, is a virgin, and Heather, who, as you have heard 299,999 times by now, has never kissed a man before. She’s sort of an exponential virgin.

On Monday night’s episode, the two went on their first solo date. Normally you can count on The Bachelor’s music selection to tell you how to feel about such dates—if it’s going well, romantic music swells; if it’s not going well, dramatic music will play over hand-picked awkward moments. But when Heather and Colton stared at each other, wondering if and when they would kiss, we got … nothing. Just the ambient sounds of a man and a woman sitting across from each other at a table, with zoom-ins on their mouths and every last wet, popping noise or lip smack amplified as loudly as possible. I never realized how many sounds the human mouth makes while eating shrimp.

The Bachelor doesn’t do a particularly great job at capturing actual human romance. I mean, maybe your first date with a significant other took place on a hot-air balloon ride in a foreign country while violins played in the background and fireworks exploded, but that doesn’t seem like a common experience. (And besides—I’m pretty sure you can’t steer hot-air balloons, so you shouldn’t fly them anywhere near fireworks shows.) With Colton the Virgin though (and on Monday night, with Heather the Super-Virgin), the show has done a surprisingly good job capturing the monumental awkwardness of figuring out how all this works. It really felt like we were watching two people who wanted more than anything to be normal but couldn’t stop staring at the other and thinking, “Wait, so we’re supposed to latch the gooey foodholes on our faces onto each other? Is there a way to be good at doing that? Maybe we should just sit here without mashing our gooey faceholes together?”

The show makes it seem like Colton feels this uncertain all the time. Sometimes it’s when he’s explaining why he’s a virgin yet again. (Just for the final record, it’s intentional. Well, I mean, it started out being unintentional, and now it’s intentional, and he’s just waiting for the right person, but also maybe it doesn’t have to be the only person he ever has sex with.) Sometimes he’s bursting into a fully clothed in-bed make-out session—and my goodness, does this dude like fully clothed in-bed make-out sessions. It just always seems like he’s unsure what the next step should be, and that he really doesn’t want to do the wrong thing. I felt that so deeply Monday night, as he and Heather sat in silence exchanging tongue clicks.

Winner of the Week: Demi

Sometimes it’s very clear that Bachelor producers go out of their way to give certain contestants a competitive advantage. Like when everybody rides up in a limo, but one girl arrives on horseback. Or when one woman presents the Bachelor with a photo album filled with pictures of moments they spent together as a couple. Where do you think she got those pictures from? The contestants don’t even have phones! No, somebody else got those stunning professional pictures developed.

This week, the blessed contestant was the one everybody wanted it to be—Demi. She was on a massive 10-woman group date, where the women were split up into teams and taught basic survival skills by a Thai man named John, who, according to Colton, “was raised in the jungle.” They learned to eat bugs and find water and were sent off to prove they learned the lesson.

Demi’s team did not. They left the jungle, returned to their hotel via shuttle, and came back with burgers and booze while everybody else offered Colton bugs and river water. “These other girls can suck maggots,” Demi said. “I’m drinking champagne.” And let me tell ya: Colton lusted after those burgers in a way previously reserved for … I guess nothing, in Colton’s case.

The producers didn’t set Demi up with a private, intimate moment. Instead, they told her how to cheat, but in a way that makes her look like a better hang than the dummies who followed the rules. Which is way better. Everybody else played by the book and suffered, while she cut corners to get what she (and any other rational person, including Colton) wanted.

We’ve been wrong to call Demi this season’s villain: She’s actually the antihero. No, she doesn’t play by the rules, but the rules restrict everybody else from doing what’s best, so she breaks them with a smile and a catchphrase. She’s basically Bachelor Deadpool.

Worst Play: Elyse

Monday night was the end of the road for Elyse, who decided that she was “heartbroken” by the fact that Colton continued dating the other women on the show after her one-on-one date with him. She trekked to his room in the middle of the night to emotionally tell him that she couldn’t go on with the show.

It seemed like she was expecting Colton to fight to keep her. Instead, his first reply was “So, you’re saying you’re leaving?” He seemed disappointed, but recorded as many stops as he did in his zero-game NFL career.

What Elyse didn’t realize is that she’d already served her purpose on this show. Her one-on-one date on the season’s third episode—when they hung out with some kids served by his charity and she later she told him about her sister’s death—seemed less about her and more about proving early on that Colton was a stand-up guy. The date was evidence Colton cares about kids, that he is willing to earnestly pursue a relationship with an “older” woman interested in starting a family, that he can listen to a contestant’s tragic story and respond sincerely and thoughtfully. Those are all things the show wants to prove up front instead of leaving us thinking that the main character is a dick-brained playboy. (Not that this was something they really needed to worry about with Colton the Chaste, but the dates are boilerplate.)

Elyse leaving is actually a way better scenario for Colton. By eliminating herself, she saved Colton from the unenviable task of dumping the woman he had the most wholesome time with. Now, it looks like he got the bum end of this interaction. All her exit needed was a shot of Colton half-heartedly mumbling, “No … stop … come back” while playing Candy Crush.

Biggest Fear: Fear Itself

In last week’s episode, Colton went bungee jumping with Tayshia, an experience that was meaningful for them both because they both considered heights a major fear. In fact, Colton called it his biggest fear.

But Monday night, Colton shockingly revealed that he was a liar. When presented with a snake in the jungle, he announced that snakes—not heights—are his biggest fear. And in an introspective moment, Colton revealed his biggest fear and worst nightmare is proposing to a woman at the end of The Bachelor and learning they were more interested in fame than love.

Like Colton, I too fear many things. Heights. Tsunamis. My Twitter mentions. But I know my greatest fear and always have: bugs. I react to even the smallest bug like my dog reacts to thunder.

It’s OK to be scared of things, but Colton is the boy who cried “My biggest fear is wolves.” What will his next biggest fear be? Clowns? Alien abduction? Sex? I suspect we won’t have to wait long to find out.

Worst Person: Onyeka

Monday night’s episode ended with drama. (You know, I probably don’t need to write that every week.) Viewers expected the episode to end with a rose ceremony, but instead we got a fight between Onyeka and Nicole, with Colton wading into the midst of their beef and then staring off into the distance, unsure what he had gotten himself into.

The beef went like this: Before leaving, Elyse had a conversation with Nicole and Tayshia in which Nicole apparently said something to the effect of “You need to follow opportunities in life.” Elyse, who had just decided not to chase an opportunity, apparently believed that by saying that, Nicole meant that the show was her opportunity to “get out of Miami.” Elyse told Onyeka about this before leaving, and Onyeka warned Colton about Nicole’s apparent fame-chasing. (Because we all know that when people want to chase fame, they leave Miami.) Nicole seemed genuinely distraught by this turn of events, and Tayshia explained to Onyeka that she had been in the initial conversation with Nicole and Elyse, and that the story Onyeka told Colton was at best a misunderstanding and at worst a lie. (It probably would have been more productive for Tayshia to explain this to Colton, but alas.)

But when confronted with the fact that she may have committed an error by Tayshia, who had nothing to gain from the matter, Onyeka doubled down. She insisted she was just trying to protect Colton and said that she “can’t feel bad” about hurting Nicole’s feelings because Nicole “literally cries every day.” I don’t know—I think maybe somebody who literally cries every day deserves sympathy? Anyway, Onyeka eventually tweaked her argument to note to Colton that Nicole is “mentally unstable.” She then denied that she would accuse somebody of being “mentally unstable” and then seconds later called Nicole both “crazy” and “a psycho.”

I didn’t think I had it in me to be genuinely upset by a Bachelor argument, but it’s so clear Onyeka was in the wrong. There comes a point in everyone’s life when you realize you’re on the wrong side of an argument and are compelled to atone for that. Onyeka realized it, gathered her thoughts, and then decided to crank up the cruelty. Nicole didn’t deserve any of it; Onyeka realized that and decided she’d rather be meaner than admit fault.

Onyeka began her run on the show by interrupting competitors with the loudest noises she could find—whistles, blow horns, and so on. That was annoying. What she did on Monday was borderline evil.

Toughest Situation: Kirpa

Kirpa hasn’t gotten on camera much this season. I don’t recall her talking to the camera or having one-on-one time with Colton in any of the first four episodes. We hadn’t really heard from her since the season opener—until Monday night, when she got some brief alone time with Colton and served as an intermediary in a few beefs.

But her one-on-one time was rough—she investigated Colton’s teeth, which is a really First Night at the Mansion After Revealing You’re a Dental Hygienist move, not a I Revealed I’m a Dental Hygienist Five Weeks Ago, Do You Still Think That’s Funny move. And of all the episodes for Kirpa to finally get screen time—it’s really unfortunate that it had to be the one where she had an unexplained bandage on her face:

I’m going to presume that Kirpa suffered some sort of off-screen accident. But if you’re going to let her on camera, why not let her explain the face bandage? Otherwise people are going to assume that she grows beard hair and cut herself shaving. That’s not true, right?

Most Consistent: Thailand

The Bachelor won’t stop going to Thailand. Last year we pointed out that two of the most recent three seasons had filmed fantasy-suites episodes in Thailand, proving that if you need a spot to have sex with the three people you’re simultaneously dating, Thailand is the place to go. But Colton couldn’t wait until the fantasy-suites episode to get to Thailand, and just one season later, they’re back. The Thai tourism board is putting in work schmoozing with Bachelor producers.

Anyway, I just want to brag about a life choice I’ve made in the past few months—I live in Thai Town in Los Angeles now, and it’s great. There are like 17 restaurants within five blocks of my house that sell cheap, delicious food and $3 beers. My body is 70 percent panang curry. I’m sure what I eat is an Americanized version of Thai food, but still, it’s great.

And guess what: Colton did not try any Thai food, Americanized or otherwise. He was happiest about eating a burger. In Thailand.

I bring this up because I want to gloat. In my recap of the season premiere, I wrote that Colton “seemed like the type of guy who calls Chipotle ‘ethnic food.’” Then in a People article published last week, Colton confessed that when he got back to America from filming Bachelor in Paradise, the first thing he ate was … Chipotle. After living in Mexico for months. He wanted Chipotle. And this week, he ate a hamburger. In Thailand. The mecca of spicy basil. The point is I was right. I get to take 17 victory laps on this one.