Love’s a game and this year we’re playing. For the full rules and intellectual justification of The Verge Bachelor Fantasy League please see this explanatory post. For a little background on why this is poised to be the best-ever season of The Bachelor, see this essay by culture editor Chris Plante:
Lizzie Plaugic: Hey there, Viallettes, we’re now two episodes and four hours into the biggest sporting event of the season, and boy is it hot out there. The name of the game this week was villains — or should we say, “Viallns?” Who is one, who's not one, and who's going to become one in the pursuit of everlasting love. Having a villain on your BFL team won't help your diamond ring dreams, but the nice pile of villainy points should ease the burn.
This week, there were two group dates and one one-on-one date. The first group date was "wedding photos," where the women pretended to be taking shots to commemorate themed matrimonies with Nick. (The shotgun wedding! The Adam and Eve wedding! Etc.!). There was very little talking, but there was a lot of kissing (these kisses only counted for three instead of five points — it's too easy if you're playing bride and groom dress up). Here Corrine solidified her villain standing by taking her top off and forcing Nick to hold her naked body in front of the rest of the women. “I was daring enough to have clothes and take them off,” she says. That'll get you a cringe and 10 points! And Taylor a +1 for cursing.
Later, at the post-date cocktail sesh, Corrine nabbed herself some more camera time and a new stack of points by “stealing” Nick away from the other women. She’s a bank robber and we’re all just tellers at Wells Fargo, baby. At one point a visibly drunk (+5) Corrine stole Nick from Taylor (+5), just as Taylor was about to impress Nick with stories of her graduate degree. Moments later, Taylor decided to flip the tables on Corrine and steal Nick back (+7). At this point, Nick was getting very dizzy. Corrine decided that Taylor had broken some unspoken rule of “classiness,” because it is okay to interrupt convos, but not to “re-interrupt” them. Corrine’s tears didn’t last long because Nick gives her the date rose (+15). Interruption 1, re-interruption 0.
Kaitlyn Tiffany: Two villains already this season! They don’t fight but you can tell they really, really want to. Traditionally the group date rose goes to someone you barely see the Bachelor interact with at all on the = date — a producer-coordinated move that makes frontrunners and villains alike question what they’re doing wrong. This season they went in a different direction, rewarding Corrine’s bizarre behavior in an effort to make normal people like Vanessa (who calls Corrine “phony-ass” +1) wonder if Nick might actually be disgusting. Ladies, he is. This week’s highlight: dragging the hand of Hailey (age 23) onto his own butt during their “biker” photoshoot.
In happier news: Lizzie’s first-round draft pick Liz burned bright and burned fast, just as Lizzie predicted. Incredible. You should ask Lizzie to pick your lotto numbers for you. Liz orchestrates our first “back at the ranch” drama of the season. It’s a beloved Bachelor tradition to trap the women who weren’t selected for a 14-hour group date in the secluded Bachelor mansion and pump them full of champagne until they’re willing to barf up their deepest, darkest secrets. Or fight. Liz does the former and tells Christen the whole sordid story of her and Nick and the time they had sex at a mutual friend’s wedding (+10). Surely a huge disappointment to the Bachelor producers, Christen reacts by saying “life and love are crazy” and promises to keep Liz’s secret, which she actually does. I wish I could give Christen 1,000 points for this legitimately respectable behavior, but those are not the rules. A huge apology to news editor Jake Kastrenakes, for the 1,000 points I can’t give him.
LP: Danielle M., already a clear frontrunner due to having a voice that sounds like a feather landing on a bed of snow, got the one-on-one date with Nick this week. They spend the day on The Bachelor’s two preferred methods of transportation: a helicopter (+7) and a yacht. Thanks to all the changes in elevation and eating cheese in a hot tub (+5), Danielle is quickly feeling that Nick buzz, and opens up to him during dinner about her former fiancé (+5) who died of a drug overdose. Nick quickly reassures Danielle she doesn’t need to be embarrassed for telling a sad story during their date, and Danielle beams. Despite losing 10 points for the solo hang, The Verge’s Kara Verlaney ends up scoring 27 points for this relatively innocuous trip to Balboa Island, though should lose points because Nick and Danielle never visited the banana stand.
KT: Congrats, Kara!
The second group date is to LA’s Museum of Broken Relationships, where Nick wants all of the girls to look at the engagement ring he picked out for Kaitlyn Bristowe, the second woman to leave him hanging on bended knee. It’s at least the 14th time she’s come up on this show. So far, Nick’s primary character traits are talking about Kaitlyn and serving as Corrine’s shirt replacement.
nick is shaping up to be a villain in his own right
At the museum, everyone has to fake break up with Nick and that’s when Liz decides to tell the gals that she and Nick have met before (+5). Unfortunately everyone thinks she’s just acting, except for Christen who is having heart palpitations. This is some real Molière shit, as well as literally the plot of Hamlet. (Editor’s note: minus the ghosts and sword fights.) Very dramatic. Then, in a shocking turn of events, Jake Kastrenakes took the lead in the Bachelor fantasy league on the back of Josephine’s unprecedented 5,000-point choice to slap the Bachelor in the face without provocation. Just kidding it was all acting and this whole segment counted for nothing. Sorry again, Jake!
LP: The losers this week were Chris (10 points), Jake (6 points) and Loren (0 points), who flexed their drafting muscles last week by choosing contestants with long-term potential. Unfortunately, long-term potential means nada in the early weeks of The Bachelor, when the producers wring drama from the smallest mishaps like a wrestler wringing sweat from his neck towel. In the Bachelor fantasy league, it comes down to a choice between true love and the power of competition to turn relatively rational human beings into people who cry over Nick Viall. Eventually the latter group will fade away, and the former group will turn into the latter group, and the cycle continues.
KT: Very good color commentary, Lizzie. Nick ran out the clock with an extremely long and boring series of interrogations, meaning we didn’t get a rose ceremony this week but we did get to watch Christen crack under pressure and spill the Liz beans (+5). Minutes later, Nick confronts Liz yet again about why she didn’t call him after they had sex. He’s very serious. He’s also pissed because her one super long earring (+3) is very distracting. It looks like one of those $14 bookmarks at the checkout at Barnes & Noble. I wish I could give Nick lame accessory points for his camo jacket but I’m pretty sure it’s from the Adam Levine line at K-Mart and I also own it.
the ‘bachelor’ cycle is just getting started
He sends Liz and her brilliant bookmark storage idea home, not a minute too soon — she was too powerful for this game. Even with the 15 points we have to dock for a pre-rose ceremony exit, all the swearing and spilling and ear-adorning she does notches a solid 11 points for Lizzie’s team. A true champion.
It was a huge week for us, Lizzie, as we invested everything in wild card players with nothing to lose. But the show only favors bad behavior in the early weeks, and usually course corrects around week four to get serious about love. We don’t know how long our luck will last, but with the ultimate villain — Nick Viall himself — seemingly playing on our side, I’m pretty optimistic.
LP: Maybe Nick is the true wild card.
Kaitlyn Tiffany: Corrine (+43), Hailey (0), Alexis (0)
Week total: 43
Kara Verlaney: Danielle M. (+27), Danielle L. (+3), Whitney (0)
Week total: 30
Lizzie Plaugic: Liz (+11), Taylor (+12), Jasmine G. (+3)
Week total: 29
Chris Plante: Vanessa (+1), Raven (+8), Jaimi (+1)
Week total: 10
Jake Kastrenakes: Christen (+5), Josephine (+1), Dominique (0)
Week total: 6
Loren Grush: Rachel (0), Kristina (0), Sarah (0)
Week total: 0