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:
Kaitlyn Tiffany: You may have heard that all is fair in love and war, and while that’s true it does not mean it’s always an equal playing field. This week our seasoned pro, Bachelor Nick Viall, squared off against the women he is dating in a battle of strategy and subterfuge.
When we left him last week, Nick was gearing up to do some damage control in the wake of the revelation that he and Liz had at one point shared, as Corrine calls it, “intercourse.” The first step obviously was adios-ing Liz into the dark night, but we had to wait until this week to see The Bachelor’s masterful reality TV instincts at work. Nick, 36 years old, a professional who is now starring on his fourth television show, repeated the same two lines to about a dozen 20-somethings in the first 10 minutes of this episode: “Liz and I had sex, but I’m more interested in our relationship” and “ask me anything, I’m an open book.” [Kaitlyn pantomimes violent vomiting.] It worked! A huge congratulations to Nick, for skillfully avoiding some sex drama, and a big “you asked for it” to the Bachelor producers, who I’m guessing are now thinking twice about the wisdom of creating this smooth-talkin’ monster.
Our intrepid editor Chris Plante has argued that The Bachelor is better than scripted television and competitive sports, and folks, this week it was better than “Ozymandias” and the Immaculate Reception.
Lizzie Plaugic: I don’t know what the Immaculate Reception is, Kaitlyn, but football means less to me than Corrine’s next “plan.” She had several this week, the first of which involved a trench coat. Unless you’re blissfully unaware that the trench is the flasher costume of choice, you can guess what Corinne is getting at. Unfortunately, Corinne muddles her seduction tactics by never removing the trench and choosing instead to coat her boobs in whipped cream for Nick’s pre-dinner snack. After a few licks, Nick gets a stomachache and Corinne runs away to cry in peace (+5), as the full embarrassment of Operation Trenchcoat Dessert finally hits her.
Corinne’s foiled plan exhausts her so much she sleeps through the rose ceremony. Unfortunately for Kaitlyn, sweet dreams won’t earn you any points. Kaitlyn was also the only BFL player who lost a contestant at the rose ceremony after Nick dropped Hailey (-10). Hailey walks out after one last redemption: the goodbye cry (+5).
Hailey’s elimination may have been the only traditional one this week, but I was also down a player thanks to Liz’s unceremonious departure last week, and Jake lost Dominique last night after Nick sent her packing mid-episode (-15). This week, already-drafted contestants were free agents for one round. So Kaitlyn grabbed Danielle L., I drafted Rachel, and Jake, currently in last place, banked on a blowout from Corinne.
Kaitlyn: I wish I could award points to Dominique for pointing out “this isn’t dating, it’s just waiting,” before she got the ax because it was very astute. Unfortunately this is a blood sport, not an insight contest. Sorry, Jake! Moving on, the first group date this week was Backstreet Boys-themed. Finally, an acapella musical performance element to this TV program. Personally I refuse to believe that these women care about the Backstreet Boys, as many of them are the same age as me and I spent this entire segment wondering if Harry Styles would ever agree to appear on a reality TV dating program. No, he wouldn’t! He likes and respects women. I will say it’s a step up from the tradition of inviting country bands no one has ever heard of, but that’s all I’ll say. Oh, and the Backstreet Boys will kick off a three-month residency at the Las Vegas Planet Hollywood in March, please buy tickets #sponcon #ad.
At the group date, everyone was required to learn terrible choreography and wear terrible chokers, but because Danielle L. did the best pop-lock (+5) she was serenaded by a person named Brian (how is that the name of a person in a boy band?) and got to make out with Nick in front of everyone (+7) and Nick gave her a rose (+15). As the animated sea monster Ursula would say, “never underestimate the importance of body language ha ha growl.” Congratulations to Kara Verlaney, who gets all points scored by any Danielle and is now officially in the lead in The Verge’s Bachelor fantasy league.
Corrine, who will certainly be included on every group date if these Bachelor conductors are worth their paychecks, was consistently Too Much, but not in a way that contributed directly to the scoreboard. She has moved on to causing bad behavior in others, which is definitely going to get wild. For example, I really don’t remember what prompted her to say “I made Corrine great again,” but she did say that right after talking about her nipple for five minutes. Minutes later, Jasmine G. yelled “HOW DOES CORRINE HAVE A NANNY?” (btw, Corrine has a nanny) and then dropped to the floor, extremely drunk (+5). It’s all really happening.
it’s all really happening
Lizzie: Vanessa got this week’s solo date (-10), earning Chris Plante some much needed pointage. Nick took his girl on an anti-gravity space simulation plane, an event he referred to several times as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Vanessa’s hair looked like a mermaid’s as she and Nick floated around an aircraft, but eventually she started barfing, as one might after being tossed around like chicken wings marinating in a Ziploc bag. Kaitlyn has a theory that the barfing was just a way to inject some life into this date, because Nick seemed to have no problem putting his mouth back on Vanessa’s mouth (+7) after her chunks spew. The sound effects were also questionable.
After Vanessa heaved up her lunch, it was time for dinner. Here we learn that Vanessa took a limo to her grandfather’s funeral (+5) and Nick cries because finally he can see that his years as a reality show dancing boy might finally pay off with true love. Vanessa gets the date rose (+15).
Kaitlyn: True love means never having to say “I’m sorry I just barfed.” And always having to say “my dead grandpa gave me a rose from beyond the grave… it was a sign.” If Nick and Vanessa don’t end up together there’s no justice in this world, but there’s no justice in this world anyway so what do I care? Anyway, the second group date of the night is sports-themed, presumably in homage to this humble fantasy league. The women threw javelins shaped like Cupid arrows and jumped onto a sheet with a shirtless Nick laser-printed onto it. This is a standard American courting ritual. Then Astrid (an undrafted player) won a race (via cheating) to earn some solo hot tub time with Nick (+5 to no one). I can’t overemphasize how much this hot tub was sitting on a patch of gravel behind a high school and it was the middle of the day and Astrid was compelled to wear her pants into the water.
true love means never having to say “I’m sorry I just barfed”
Nick ended up giving the group date rose to dry-pants Rachel (+15), who then said “I’m starting to believe I could be one of the last ones standing,” revealing herself to have a cool competitive edge that I truly respect. Lizzie and Loren are both lucky to have her, Nick is lucky to have her and 15 other people, and Bachelor nation is lucky to have a six-day breather in between every two-hour episode of this sexy steeplechase.
Lizzie: Nick’s time in the hot tub must’ve reminded him how much he loves making out while soaking in a body of water, because he decided to forgo the traditional pre-rose ceremony cocktail party in favor of a pool party. The producers still haven’t figured out a better way to mic shirtless men than by making them wear statement necklaces, but Nick’s abs proved a decent distraction, and provided a canvas on which the women could rub their extra sunscreen.
Corrine returned at the pool party with her second plan of the episode, which was to trap Nick inside a bouncy castle and straddle his body. The other women, curious about the new inflatable settlement in front of the mansion, spied on Corrine and Nick until they were mad enough for confrontation. Raven’s tactic was to alert Nick to the fact that Corrine has a nanny (+5).
Taylor said something along the lines of, “Corrine is annoying, okay?” and Vanessa put her serious marriage face on. “I’m not judging Corrine,” she tells Nick, “I’m judging your actions. Are you looking for a wife or someone to fuck around with?” Nick’s face said “both” but his mouth said nothing.
Kaitlyn: Next week on The Bachelor: what will Nick’s mouth say and what will it eat and off of whom?
1) Kara Verlaney: Danielle L. (+42), Danielle M. (0), Whitney (+10)
Week total: 52
League total: 82
2) Lizzie Plaugic: Liz (0), Jasmine G. (+26), Taylor (+11)
Week total: 37
League total: 68
2) Kaitlyn Tiffany: Alexis (+16), Corrine (+14), Hailey (-5)
Week total: 25
League total: 68
4) Chris Plante: Jaimi (+10), Raven (+15), Vanessa (+30)
Week total: 55
League total: 65
5) Loren Grush: Kristina (+10), Rachel (+32), Sarah (+15)
Week total: 57
League total: 57
6) Jake Kastrenakes: Christen (+10), Dominique (+2), Josephine (+10)
Week total: 22
League total: 28
New Draft Picks
Jake Kastrenakes: Corrine
Lizzie Plaugic: Rachel
Kaitlyn Tiffany: Danielle L.