Bachelor in Paradise is a television show in which the discarded men and women from The Bachelor and The Bachelorette come to a place called "Paradise" (technically a resort in Mexico) for a second (or sometimes third, and occasionally fourth) shot at love. Each week, they pair off in a game of sexy musical chairs. Throughout the season, the surplus human beings are granted blissful reentry to the real world, and two more men or women are added to the cast as tribute. Who knows how long this could last. Probably forever. We'll stick around for as long as it takes, because we need to know if love is real and we need to know what two dozen hot people will do to find it. We need to know if a game show about love in Paradise is more game or show or love... or Paradise or purgatory.
Kaitlyn Tiffany: Welcome to Paradise, a real place. Anytime you think Paradise might not be a real place, someone will say "We're in Paradise!!!" to remind you that actually it is a place — one within the reach of anyone granted a television crew and a primetime network slot. In Paradise, the rules are simple — get drunk, make out, cry, and, if you feel like it, fall in love. Actually, the rules are laughably complex and malleable, but who cares when you're three piña coladas deep on a Tuesday night.
Host Chris Harrison welcomes us back to Paradise for a third season of the ABC television program Bachelor in Paradise by proclaiming with glee, "They're all here for love. Who will find it? Who will leave here brokenhearted? We'll just have to wait and see!"
And wait we will. The theme of the first episode of Bachelor in Paradise is waiting. "I don't know about all these birds dude," says Nick (Kaitlyn's season). "Something bad is gonna happen."
"He's coming!" says a bird.
Lizzie Plaugic: Birds are an ominous sign, as we've learned from horror movies like The Crow, The Birds, and Birdemic: Shock and Terror. It's nice to see Bachelor in Paradise taking some cues from classic cinema. Speaking of classic cinema, the relationships forming in Paradise already seem to be living up to the romantic ideals of old Hollywood: beautiful, straight, and white. Specifically I'm talking about Chad and Lace.
KT: The relationship between Chad (JoJo's season) and Lace (Ben's season) lasts only two hours (in both TV time and real-world time, which is one millisecond in Purgatory time). It was teed up exquisitely by the increasingly nihilistic producers of the shows in The Bachelor stable. Lace dismissed herself from Ben's season after a series of embarrassing drunk meltdowns, and explained that she needed some time to work on herself and her issues with drinking. In the opening of Bachelor in Paradise she pulls a bottle of red wine out of the trash. Chad was dismissed from JoJo's season for making physical threats on his fellow contestants and burning through too many deli meat platters. In his Bachelor in Paradise entrance, Chris Harrison gives him a slap on the back and basically says "be good, and please go for Lace."
"i didn't rip his head off and shove it down his throat"
Of course Chad proceeds to make out with Lace hard, then calls her a bitch, and something much worse that gets the extended bleep. He then compliments himself for abstaining from murdering Evan (JoJo's season): "I didn't rip his head off and shove it down his own throat, so that's good." I had to agree with him! It was good he didn't kill someone! Then he tells Lace that he will tie her to a railroad track and make sure she smells like "peppermint." I'll let that hang in the air for moment.
Throughout all this, everyone forgets to flirt with each other because they're watching Chad and Lace and charting their positions like they're two highly unpredictable tropical storms. Also, they refer to them as tropical storms.
LP: Chad loves murder, but he also loves cuddling. He is what one might call a Renaissance Man. At one point he asks Daniel (a Canadian, Jojo's season), "Why are you being so unmurder-y?". Lace also made up a word last night: "genuous," which I'm assuming is a portmanteau of "genuine" and "generous." Sometimes love is so powerful it hijacks our very language, bending words to match its needs.
Things seemed to be working for them in the beginning — Chad loves a woman he can hold under water and casually chat about violence with! But joking about murder gets a lot more uncomfortable once you're so drunk you can't say words. And Chad's vibe got less slapstick and more threatening as the night went on. His lowest point came when he mocked Sarah (Sean Lowe's season) for having one arm, and referring to her as Army McArmenson. So the next morning, while Chad's eyes are still puffy from his hangover, Chris Harrison puts on his business time face and asks Chad to leave Paradise.
chris harrison says it's time for chad to 'leave' paradise ;)
KT: It's hard to describe the surreality of the episode's climactic scene between Chris Harrison and Chad. After Chris Harrison expresses his dismay at Chad's behavior, Chad retorts, "You don't watch the show, you're in a hotel room a thousand miles away! Go drink your mimosas!" It's not too hard to remember that Bachelor in Paradise is a carefully constructed performance, but it's a lot easier when Chad is shouting it in your face.
He's calling out Harrison specifically — taking down the figurehead of the Bachelor franchise. When Harrison confronts Chad in front of the entire cast, he asks him if it's "really the time to be glib." It's an interesting question both because there really is no "time" per se in Paradise, and because Chad was already kicked off The Bachelorette for threatening people with violence but Chris Harrison chose to glibly welcome him back to Paradise earlier this very day. The game is all too obvious — pretend you think Chad will behave, knowing that he won't, send him home out of "respect" for the women he just cursed and shoved into tiki bar walls, and then drown in ratings. Oh, and Chad is back next week, "breaking onto" a television set that has security guards. Someone gave him water balloons!
LP: Something Chris Harrison said to Chad stuck with me: "We all came here to be in Paradise, and in a matter of one night you made it into Hell." That seems like an unfair assessment to me, because Bachelor in Paradise is neither heaven nor hell. It's a purgatory: an empty, stagnant place with a high population turnover. The only way out is to perform the motions of dating on national television, which sometimes allows you to briefly escape the purgatory, and head to paradise. If you're left without a mate, you're cast off, a useless single being.
KT: In one of the final shots, Chad runs up the beach, kicking off his flip flops and yelling, "there's a lot of crabs everywhere. Why are there crabs everywhere? Fuck you crabs!" Chad had too many wits about him to be in Paradise — you're not supposed to notice that the sun is too bright, the drinks are too sweet, the birds are talking out loud in human sentences, or that there are adorable ghost crabs literally everywhere. You're supposed to cling to this in-between world full of hot people with all you've got. You're supposed to believe that love will save you, as it may or may not save us all!
PARADISE: Jubilee and Jared
LP: Jubilee (Ben's season) got the only date card this episode, and she gave it to Jared (Kaitlyn's season). They technically never left the resort (they're stuck here, remember?) but the producers did set up a little date, the theme of which was "pinatas and a clown." Jared and Jubilee sat at a table surrounded by pinatas and discussed Lord of the Rings. Then a clown came out of nowhere, Jubilee screamed, and the clown thrust his pelvis back and forth — perhaps the worst visual in all of Bachelor history. Still, what matters is Jubilee and Jared found at least one shared interest and managed to escape purgatory for the night — even if it meant dealing with a lewd circus employee.
We'll be doing this every Wednesday until someone finds love or the Bachelor in Paradise production team finds the outer limit of this resort's hot bod capacity. This show will be airing every Monday and Tuesday at 8PM on ABC.