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The Bachelor fantasy league, week four: villains rising

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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: Welcome back to another exciting week at your favorite “people who wear leather jackets indoors” convention!

This week on The Bachelor we learned some interesting truths about reality TV and history, like they will both repeat themselves until the Sun swallows us all. Corrine — our villain, whose main crimes are being overconfident, making fart noises with her mouth, and napping — was the main and only event of the episode. Or at least, that is how it would appear if all you did was scroll through your feeds while the show was airing: she has the voice that launches a 1,000 tweets.

Lizzie Plaugic: This week kicked off with a rose ceremony, and while none of the contestants seemed eager for Corinne to stay, it was pretty clear to anyone watching that she wasn’t going anywhere. It’s a classic Bachelor tactic to make a villain out of the first girl who says just enough bizarre things to cobble together an unflattering edit. Without an early villain, this show would be pretty boring, something Vanessa (who threatened to return her rose if Nick kept Corinne on the show) should probably have figured out by now.

After Corinne makes it through the rose ceremony (+10), Sarah and Taylor decide to earn themselves some camera time and cursing points by confronting her about her “plethora of issues” under the guise of helping her be her best self. “You need to do yourself a favor and you need to pull it together,” Sarah says, while Corinne pulling it together is exactly what no one wants.

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Kaitlyn: Just to be clear, Corrine is annoying — or more specifically, the producers only show the annoying bits. Her statement that she is “not privileged in any way” is patently absurd considering she is white and hot and appears to be running her father’s business at age 24. However, in the grand scheme of Bachelor villains, there is one important thing she is not — mean. She barely interacts with the other women in the house, and even when she does try to needle them she rarely lands a coherent insult.

The other women on the show have been conned by the producers into ganging up on Corrine, as evidenced by the fact that the words that come out of their mouths when confronting her are “you’re not here for the right reasons,” (+5 to Kristina) and the slut-shaming euphemism “I don’t think you’re doing yourself any favors by leading with your sexuality.” Were there a Bachelor textbook, these sentences would be in it.

This is the point in the villain arc where the contestants become convinced that the Bachelor has no choice but to send the villain home at the rose ceremony, which means it’s also the point where the Bachelor doesn’t do that and it makes everyone else question why they are there. It’s also the point where the audience realizes it will be seeing this villain on an upcoming season of Bachelor in Paradise. And it’s also the point where I personally start to sympathize with the villain, who is 24 years old and having to do some tough growing up in front of a nation of judgmental viewers.

In yet another showdown on the group date, Sarah (age 26) pulls off the most fascinating logical maneuver of the night: arguing that Corrine shouldn’t marry a 36-year-old man because she’s not “qualified” and doesn’t match his maturity level. Never mind that the extremely mature Bachelor spent most of this episode taking his dates to places where he got lucky in high school. For one thing, Sarah argues, Corrine fell asleep during a rose ceremony. For another, the bouncy house. Corrine rebuts this line of inquiry by pointing out that Michael Jordan took naps and Abraham Lincoln took naps. Am I fully, 100 percent Team Corrine at this point? No. But I’m sure I’ll get there before this all goes down in flames. Corrine has officially reached meme status, which is great fun for all of us.

Corrine (+5) and Taylor (+5) way more than max out the five-point swearing cap by yelling at each other about nothing off and on throughout the group date, and they also net five points each for fighting.

Lizzie: These squabbles between Taylor and Corinne play as some pretty heavy foreshadowing (if you’re into that kind of thing) about how some future dates will pan out. My money’s on a tense 2-and-1 with these two, which will become yet another victory story about the power of true love when Corinne is inevitably sent home.

But Corinne’s still got a chance. This week the women had their first destination dates on the beautiful tropical island of Wisconsin. What do you do when you realize you’ve brought 15 women to your hometown of Waukesha, WI? If you’re Nick Viall, you take Danielle L. on a solo date (-10), where you draw your own face on a cookie (a “Nickerdoodle,” which is actually a rectangular sugar cookie) and serendipitously run into an old flame, who is coincidentally mic’d and available for a brief chat about your struggle to find love.

After dinner, Danielle L. says, “I don’t wanna rush into a relationship or a marriage,” presumably having just emerged from a fugue state in which she was not on a reality show to find a husband. This date ends with another mandated Bachelor moment: the onstage serenade by a band no one has ever heard of (+5).

Come to think of it, the producers seemed to be checking off a lot of their contractual obligations throughout this entire episode. The group date involved going to a dairy farm, and as we’ve learned from past seasons of The Bachelor, the best way to figure out if a woman is marriage material is to force her to happily interact with farm animals in front of you.

Our girl Corinne was not having this, another sign that she is not long for Nick’s world. While the other women were literally shoveling shit inside a barn, Corinne pouted on a tree trunk outside. To be fair, she later claimed she would have loved to shovel, but was unfortunately incapacitated by a “serious hand situation.”

the bachelor

Kaitlyn: Honestly I can’t believe this is controversial. Is it that weird to not want to prove your romantic interest in someone by doing gross menial labor that you are probably performing incorrectly? (Cows are not fed by hand...) Anyway, this move allows Corrine’s fellow contestants to double down on their perception of her as a spoiled brat, something the internet also loves. In fact there is a GoFundMe called #FreeRaquel2K17, ostensibly raising money to liberate Corrine’s nanny from her household. It has raised none of it’s $100,000 goal.

Personally I can’t wait to see Corrine go, not because I don’t like her but because I would rather we focused our time and meme-making energies on how deeply unlikable the Bachelor himself is, and how unbelievable it is that any of these women are actually into him. His “moves” this week included compelling Danielle L. to make out with him on the grass patch where he had sex for the first time in high school, as well as forcing Raven to meet his parents and young sister on their first date. The most fascinating childhood story he told in this two-hour television event was “one time I jumped in that river, which is not that clean.” (A direct quote.) While the usual Bachelor Twitter crowd was preoccupied by charting Corrine’s every move, they seemed to ignore this simple fact: Nick doesn’t seem like a good person, and fighting over him is not a good investment of anyone’s time.

In any case, it was another stimulating week on The Bachelor and with all of our #BachelorNation friends on the web, who are smart enough to know that the only sport worth watching is the sport of love. We all found a new hero in Raven, who netted some bonus points for wearing tulle swim floaties (+3) to the rose ceremony and responding to Nick’s incessant morbid questioning about her cheating ex-boyfriend by detailing how she kicked down a door and beat the guy with a shoe (+5).

the bachelor

To borrow a phrase from Nick Viall — who proved this week not only that he can’t use inline skates but also that he doesn’t know what a snickerdoodle is — “what was your favorite part? Because for me it was all my favorite part.”

Lizzie: My favorite part was discovering this Instagram of a raccoon stuck in an attic in Nick’s hometown.

THE POINTS

1) Kara Verlaney: Danielle L. (+24), Danielle M. (+10), Whitney (+10)

Week total: 44

League total: 126

2) Kaitlyn Tiffany: Alexis (+10), Corrine (+20), Danielle L. (+24)

Week total: 54

League total: 122

3) Chris Plante: Jaimi (+10), Raven (+20), Vanessa (+20)

Week total: 50

League total: 115

4) Lizzie Plaugic: Jasmine G. (+10), Rachel (+7) Taylor (+25)

Week total: 42

League total: 110

5) Loren Grush: Kristina (+30), Rachel (+7), Sarah (+11)

Week total: 48

League total: 105

6) Jake Kastrenakes: Christen (-10), Corrine (+20), Josephine (+10)

Week total: 20

League total: 48

NEW DRAFT PICKS

Jake Kastrenakes: Taylor (League scorer’s note: Jake now has a formidable team thanks to constant losing.)

Loren Grush: Becoming the first to use her free, once-per-season swap, Loren ditched Sarah and picked up Raven.