The Bachelorette 14.7: Whittling The Top Five

This season’s Top 5 may have been the easiest Top 5 to pick of all time. Blake, Colton, Garret, Jason, and Wills were all clear front-runners from the very first episode. In fact, seven of the eight brackets chose exlusively from that group of five to fill out their Top 4 at the very beginning of the season. The only bracket that didn’t was, obviously, Danica’s, but even she still managed to pick three of them for her Top 4.

But now that there are fewer than five contestants left, the turmoil begins. I went ahead and broke down how many times each of these guys made it into the Final Four of our brackets. Blake picked up the rear by only being in the Top 4 on four brackets. Next was Jason who made five. Tied for second were Garrett and Wills who both made seven, and in first was Colton who made it to hometowns in every one of our eight brackets.

There was a different temperature amongst the bracketeers going into this week, though. Using their one-change-per-week, two people swapped Wills out and Blake in, one person swapped Colton out and Blake in, and one person swapped Jason out and Wills in. After the tinkering, Blake, Garrett, and Colton were all in seven Top 4s, Wills was in six, and Jason was down to just four. It is worth noting though that the only bracket that Garrett was left off of was Danica’s, so, for all intents and purposes, he was in all of our final fours.

            Commentary

Becca was not happy that Colton is a virgin and her Bach Nation approval rating took a hit because of it. So, as a committed defender of Becca as the Bachelorette I’m going to try to justify her reaction.

Becca Kufrin is a 21st Century woman working in the confines of a very conservative matchmaking structure. The modern institution of marriage is supposed to be rooted in love. Before it was about money or security or procreation, but now it is just love. And a vital part of love is intimacy. Not only does Becca believe that one has to meet lots of different people to understand what personality compliments their own, but one should have experience with intimacy in order to know if they can be intimate with a potential lifelong partner. All that to say, Becca wants Colton to be fuckin’!

But let’s take a look at another reason why Becca could be skeptical of Colton. Colton Underwood played quarterback for three different NFL teams between 2014 and 2016 and never played a single NFL snap. That has nothing to do with the point I’m going to make next, but I thought that it was some information you all ought to know. Colton dated Olympian gymnast Aly Raisman for a year following the 2016 Olympic games. That is, presumably, the long-term relationship he has repeatedly referred to. Colton also dated Tia from Arie’s season of The Bachelor after she appeared on the show.

How often does a relatively unknown person—I don’t know how many members of the Chargers’, Eagles’, or Raiders’ fanbases know who Colton Underwoos is—manage to date two national figures in two years? And then how does he do that and still not sleep with either of them? It is high time, ladies and gentlemen, to start scrutinizing Colton’s motives for coming on this show. I’ve never been a fan of the “here for the right reasons” trope, but I’m starting to legitimately think he’s not here for the right reasons.

Garrett, on the other hand, is playing this game masterfully. He is the only one of this group to never show a sign of weakness. He has remained historically level-headed through the process and it’s making me furious. This racist homophobe is stealing the heart of a woman who just changed her Twitter cover photo to Joe Biden in aviators driving a convertible. Becca deserves better and I, frankly, will not stand for it.

Blake has categorically solidified himself as the frontrunner this episode. We aren’t even at the hometowns yet and Becca has already admitted to the audience that she was in love with Blake. Even before this episode started, there was a significant move to coalesce behind Blake in our brackets. While he started the week in just four of our Top 4s, three of us swapped him in. With Colton being too shady and Garrett being a MAGA fuckboi, it’s really just between Blake and Jason, and after this week, Jason looks like he’s on the ropes.

The success of the beach volleyball game on the three-on-one date is a further testament to Becca’s quality as a Bachelorette. On Nick Viall’s season, Nick set up a beach volleyball game in Week 6 and he was nearly mutinied on the spot. Becca, on the other hand, not only inspires the men to be better, but has selected this specific group of great guys to make it this far.

After Leo left, as expected, the real showdown between Wills and Jason began. Fortunately for me (and my bracket), I became a Wills-skeptic a few weeks back. Here are the five different conversations I remember hearing Becca and Wills have at cocktail parties. 1) I love Harry Potter. Look at this tattoo. 2) I’m such a nerd. You are also is such a nerd. But I am also, also such a nerd. 3) Harry Potter is a very good series, I’m still here and I’m still a fan. 4) Are you a nerd? Because, I don’t know if you knew this, but I’m also a nerd, that’s very interesting about the two of us, nerds. 5) I’m falling in love with you.

Jason is also being faulted for having a late start. He had his first date with her last week. She then spent most of the night talking about how she didn’t feel it enough with him and that giving him a rose would be a risk. Fortunately for her, she had room to take that risk. Blake, Colton, and Garrett all had roses and were all safe choices for hometowns. Wills would have been another safe choice and since he didn’t have as strong of a connection with her as with the other three guys, he was sent to the chopping block. Jason is not as tested as Wills, but he has greater potential, so Jason got the rose.

            Scoring

Kristina (234 points) barely held onto first place despite having Wills in her final four. Doug (230) swapped Blake in and Wills out to put together his second perfect week in a row and jump into second place in the standings. Bonnie the Oracle (223), made a game-time decision to swap Jason out and Wills in, so she actually had chosen a perfect Final Four at the start of the season and she was the only one of us to do it. This only further proves that Apollo himself visited Bonnie as she made her bracket after Week 1 and any change she makes now will not be blessed. Justice (222), who also picked Wills, is now in fourth by just one point.

Jenny (213) was the only other person besides Doug to have a perfect week, which helped her climb back up to fifth where she is now tied with Caitlyn (213). Kelsey (204) is stuck in seventh after also dropping Wills.

Last and most certainly least is Danica who, radically picked Lincoln and  “Willis” to round out her Final Four AND Final Three. At just 176 points and a horrendously low forty potential points remaining, Danica is staking her claim as the worst bracketeer of the season for the second consecutive season. A historic feat indeed.

The Bachelorette 14.6: The Tugboat

Week 6 is statistically tied for having the second most vicious cut of the season. It begins with nine contestants and ends with six, meaning a full 33% of the guys are cut. Week 1 is occasionally worse, but this year there were only 28 contestants, so the cut was a mere 25%. After that, Week 2 is 14%, Week 3 is 17%, Week 4 is 20%, Week 5 is 25%, and Week 8 is 25%. Weeks 7 and 9 are tied with 6 at 33%, but, of course, Week 10 takes the cake as 50% of the contestants are kicked off (it’s just the runner-up, but it’s still sad). And yet even though this was the biggest cut we have seen so far this season, the end result was entirely predictable.

Commentary

Chris began this week in Richmond, Virginia by stating that he would rather have a one-on-one or a two-on-one than be designated to the group date. If you take the statistics of that at face value, everyone can see that he is wrong. A 50% chance at a rose is worse than a 67% chance at a rose. Even if you assume that the two people getting one-on-ones automatically get roses, he still has a 57% at a rose.

But Chris put himself in an intriguing predicament last week. Everyone can see that he is on the outs, so he had to make a bold move to stay alive. He probably looked around and saw that he was near the back of the pack and, if the status quo remained the same, he would have well under a 50% chance of getting a rose, so taking a chance on a two-on-one, where he would have time to shift the status quo, was a decent bet. Unfortunately for him, he never got the chance, but he definitely took as many other chances as he possibly could to climb out of the hole he had dug for himself.

It was telling last season that Becca and Ari always had the dates where they would just wander around the city together and still have a good time. Putting Ari’s fuckboiness aside, Becca won the competition because they could just be themselves together wherever they went. Now Jason is the one just meandering through towns with Becca and they are doing it right. And they’re taking public transportation together for goodness sake. If that doesn’t say romantic, I clearly don’t know what does.

It’s good that Becca let Jason see his friends now, because it’s going to be a while before he sees them again. He is in this one for the long haul. It’s hard to picture any of the other contestants’ friends showing up and being such effective advocates. I mean could you imagine any of Garrett’s fuck head friends from Reno or Colton’s football goons having a positive impact on Becca? No. Jason’s the real deal.

I wasn’t sure where Jason was going with the story about his grandmother other than it just being a sad story, but him concluding with the meaning of it all—“It made me realize I can’t take any moment for granted”—showed a level of emotional intelligence that the rest of these guys haven’t displayed. As a result, he is the first person that Becca has really opened up to about her father’s passing.

And at the end of their first date, she said that she was falling for him.

Now we turn to the Beccalection and what a timely way to shit on American history. A reality TV star is in the White House, so why don’t we put a reality TV show fake debate on the steps of one of the most historic buildings in the country. And even Ralph fucking Northam showed up for the festivities. That’s alright; he’s a Democratic and he knows where Becca stands.

Chris spent the debate throwing around racist dog-whistles about Lincoln in the former capital of the confederacy, so that was cute. Then at the cocktail party he told Becca that he feels hurt when people say they feel threatened by him, which is the rhetorical equivalent of a racist saying they feel hurt when they’re called a racist. He’s from Orlando, Florida so how much can we really expect out of him.

Let’s leave Chris alone one more time as we turn to Leo. Jason reading Leo’s date card to Leo when Leo and Jason were the only ones in the whole hotel room was the cutest thing of all time. I passed away briefly in the moment.

This is the first one-on-one of the season where the odds were stacked against the guy. Colton last week and Jason this week both had a solid foundation that they could build off of. Not only did Leo not have that foundation, but there are literally fewer spots left remaining for frontrunners in Becca’s heart. And add onto all that the drama from the day before weighing Becca down and Leo needed to do backflips in order to turn things around. Thank God Leo is a stuntman.

Leo telling Becca that he would be hers in the “real world” is one of the only acknowledgements of that elephant-in-the-room difference between the real and bachelor worlds we have seen on the show. He openly discusses the absurdity of the process in such a refreshing way all while staking his claim as a legitimate contender. The ship was sailing away from him from the beginning and he turned that thing around like a goddamn tugboat.

Chris’s exit and the subsequent rose ceremony were entirely uneventful. Chris and Lincoln were on their way out and it’s remarkable that Connor I’m-gonna-throw-this-framed-picture-into-the-pool-on-the-second-episode-because-I’m-that-much-of-an-asshole made it to the Top 9. I even called the order in which the contestants would be picked before the ceremony started: Garrett, Colton, Wills. It was too easy. We all agree on the Top 5 and Leo was the only outlier, so when he got the rose, the Top 6 was set in stone.

Scoring

Kristina, Caitlyn, Doug, and Justice all had perfect weeks. Kristina (204) is clearly the team to beat as she sits 11 points ahead of the second place bracket. Bonnie’s (193) oracle vision slipped up enough to let Lincoln into her Top 6, though she maintained second place. Justice (192) is now just one point behind Bonnie and Doug (190) is two points behind Justice, which rounds out those in legitimate competition for the championship.

Caitlyn (183) jumped way ahead of Jenny to take the lead in the second tier of brackets. Kelsey (174) also jumped Jenny despite having Ryan held-over on her bracket. Jenny (173) threw away another opportunity by not replacing either David or Ryan in her Top 6, leaving her deep in seventh place.

I didn’t mention PPR or HPS at all this week because every single one of us has a fully-intact Final Four and beyond, which is truly remarkable. We crowded our brackets like crazy and we are still all correct thus far. All of us, that is, except for Danica Martino. You know who Danica put in the Top 3? (Other than “Willis” of course.) Flat-Earth Lincoln. I’ll give Danica a break on not knowing that he’s been convicted of assault, but Lincoln’s biography is literally just a list of places he’s lived and the fact that he’s named after our sixteenth president. There are presumably no interesting facts about him other than that. Congratulations, Danica. At 48 points behind Kristina and 17 points behind Jenny, she has again found her way into last place likely for the remainder of the season.

The Bachelorette 14.5: The Best Bachelorette

We are HALFWAY through the season already. Poor yourself some rosé to celebrate, or maybe some vodka to get rid of all the stress Chris caused you this episode. You deserve it.

Commentary

Becca may be one of the best Bachelor(ette)s we’ve ever had and there are three reasons why I believe that.

The first is because of this Instagram post of her wearing a shirt with the likeness of our former vice president that says “Biden my time,” accompanied by the hashtags #haveyouseenhimeatanicecreamconetho and #bidenisbae. It speaks for itself.

The second reason is that she is easy to read. We know exactly what she is thinking when we look at her. Every other principal this show has seen is just a plastic, emotionless, shell of an attractive human. Becca is sharing her soul each time she raises an eyebrow or lifts the corners of her mouth or tilts her head back to see the sky. It has become effortless to root for her.

The third reason is that she does not tolerate bullshit. If you don’t give it to her straight, she will know, she will let you know she knows, and she will hold it against you.

Colton’s date just confirmed our assumptions. She really likes him and he’s a frontrunner.

Wayne Newton was a show. He criticized all of the guys’ lyrics but a) he didn’t even write the song he’s most famous for, Danke Schoen, and b) he was infatuated with the use of foreign languages, which proves he doesn’t give a shit about the lyrics anyway as long as it sounds pretty. Also, his wife, Kathleen, was literally not even born when he first recorded Danke Schoen in 1963.

Have you guys seen the Netflix show American Vandal? The only reason I bring it up is because there is a character in it that is notorious for confidently saying “hundred percent” every time he lies. The number of times Chris said “hundred percent” this episode was outrageous.

When Senator Ted Kennedy passed away in 2009, the state of Massachusetts held a special election to fill his seat. A Republican had not won a Massachusetts Senate race since 1978, so the Democratic nominee, Martha Coakley, was a clear shoe-in to win the seat. It was reported that she didn’t even take the time to go knock on doors, because she was so confident in her chances. And who wouldn’t be? Scott Brown, the Republican nominee, saw the hill he had to climb, so he busted his ass until January of 2010 in order to even have a shot. You want to know what happened? Scott Brown won the goddamn seat with 51% of the vote.

David was a shoe-in to win this two-on-one. He took his foot off the gas and tried to coast to victory. He made unforced errors. Jordan, on the other hand, laid it all out on the table. He was legitimately vulnerable, which is not something I thought he was capable of.

To circle back to an earlier point, Becca smelled the bullshit on David. Becca already knows Jordan is an idiot, so David didn’t need to make stuff up to get his point across. Honestly, Becca made the right choice to send David home right there. She will not reward people who don’t take her seriously.

She also knew that the best way to sink Jordan’s chances is by giving him time to talk. I think that was best captured by this snippet of their dinner conversation:

Jordan: What’s a weekend look like to you?

Becca: Um, I think it depends—

Jordan: Yeah, me too.

Goodbye, Jordan. In your own immortal words, “Cheers to you being a bitch.”

Wills gets full marks for how he handled the situation with Chris. He was respectful, he gave Chris time, and he stood his ground. Chris feels entitled and Becca wasn’t having it. Sure the producers made her keep him on for another week for drama, but we all know where her head is at.

Garrett standing up for Wills and explaining to Chris why he is in the wrong was very impressive. One would think that with that level of analytical thinking he would be less of a racist homophobe, but I guess he hasn’t gotten there yet.

The first five people to get roses this week (Colton, Blake, Garrett, Jason, and Wills) happen to also be the clear Top 5 in all of our brackets, which leads me to this week’s scoring!

Scoring

Kristina (168) is still in first followed by Bonnie (163) in second after both picked 8/9 correct. Justice (156) is still in third but dropped further behind due to going 7/9. Jenny (154) jumped up to being tied with Doug (154) in fourth after being the only other person besides Kristina and Bonnie to get 8/9 correct. Kelsey (149), who got 7/9, is sitting in sixth. Caitlyn (147) unfortunately missed all three of tonight’s losers dropping her down to seventh.

Danica, amazingly, did not have a single person who was kicked off tonight on her bracket this week. But she still dropped three because she had Clay, Ryan, and Nick, all kicked off in previous weeks, on her bracket. She has 138 points.

Of the eight brackets, no one had either John, Jordan, or David in their Top 6 except for Jenny. Jenny had David in the Top 6, making her the only other bracket besides Danica’s with fewer than 5/6 of their Top 6 contestants still in the running.

Bonnie McHeffey is an oracle. She has not made a single change to her bracket this entire season and yet she is still in second place. Not only that, but she still has a perfect Top 6 and has the best Highest Potential Score in the league at 359.

The Bachelorette 14.4: The Politics of Love

Commentary

Lights up on Becca and Blake leaning into each other on a bunk bed. They’re talking about how many kids they want and the names that they’ve picked out. They peer into each other’s eyes and see a future. I. Love. This. Episode. At least the start. The start got me.

And now I’m off the high because of Nick. The only thing worse than showing up to a rose ceremony in a track suit is believing that a track suit is part of your identity.

First rose ceremony: Ryan was a bracket buster. As a league we had him receiving 2.4 more roses, which would have put him around 10th place instead of the 16-18th where he ended up. Five of the brackets had him in the Top 9 and two (Jenny and Kelsey) had him in the Top 6.

While Clay hurt our hearts more by leaving, he didn’t hurt our brackets quite as much. On average, we had him getting 2.0 more roses, which would have left him in about 12th place.

We’ve left the mansion and gone straight for the mountains and I am hyped! Arie’s group went from LA to Lake Tahoe and so Becca had to one-up him by going LA to Park City, UT.  

Garrett got the first date. He lives in Reno, so he definitely has a leg up in these mountains. The best acting I’ve seen on the show this year was Garrett pretending to be excited about two women being married. Nice try, you fucking homophobe.

For an in-depth analysis of what I think of Garrett, please visit my first recap of the season.

In the 280 Bach Nation [rose emoji] [bumblebee emoji] group text, we discussed this article about ABC’s poor vetting this season. Former Bachelor contestant Ashley Spivey said, “Nowhere in the [casting] process does anyone ask you what your political views are. That’s the thing I can’t get out of my mind as a viewer: I have a hard time even thinking [Garrett] could fall in love with Becca. I wish I didn’t have to say that.”

In response, I would posit that maybe ABC knew about Garrett’s views, or, even if they didn’t know, maybe they wouldn’t have cared. I know of multiple families where the spouses are in different political parties. (For example, my mother is a Democrat and my father is in the Green Party, though not’s not the point I’m trying to make here.) But times are changing, and ABC may not realize it. This article in the New York Times discusses a Gallop poll that says, “In 1958, 33 percent of Democrats wanted their daughters to marry a Democrat, and 25 percent of Republicans wanted their daughters to marry a Republican. But by 2016, 60 percent of Democrats and 63 percent of Republicans felt that way.” As our nation becomes more polarized, fewer and fewer Americans are willing to commit themselves to someone on the other side of the ideological spectrum.

This borders on being antithetical to the vision of the Bachelor Franchise. If they believe that true love can outlast anything, then ‘anything’ should include being born in a different environment where a different political party happens to reign supreme. Because that’s all it is: the best indicator of one’s ideological leaning is whether they grew up in an urban or rural environment. Can the openly liberal Becca fall in love with the openly bigoted Garrett? Time will tell.

Moving on to another frontrunner: Colton. Jordan has found a way to drag Colton into his madness. But if Colton wants to remain a frontrunner, he can’t be bogged down by this bologna. He needs to shape up or ship out.

Jason looks like Al Pacino in The Godfather. Jason acts like Al Pacino’s character in the beginning of The Godfather. I really hope he doesn’t end up turning into the godfather and breaking Diane Keaton’s heart, because Jason is amazing and capable of anything watch out world I love you Jason.

ABC pulled a fast one on us. They showed the clip of Jean Blanc saying he was falling in love with Becca in the season promo and I obviously thought that that meant he was going places. Psych, Jean Blanc is a fuck.

Wills had a great date and we were blessed with two rose ceremonies this week. The second rose ceremony was aggressively unsurprising though. The bracket busters came the week before/earlier this episode.

Scoring

Kristina is leading the pack with 128 points followed by Bonnie with 123 and Justice with 121. Doug (119) and Caitlyn (117) hold fourth and fifth, while Jenny and Kelsey are tied for sixth with 114.

Bringing up the rear is our perennial champion of last place, Danica Martino with 108. It is worth mentioning that this week she put Wills on her bracket as Willis. In fact, she wrote Willis instead of Wills every single time in her bracket. And guess what? According to Danica Martino’s 2018 official prediction, Willis is going to WIN The Bachelorette.

Like last season, I put together the Potential Points Remaining (PPR) stat and the Highest Potential Score (HPS) stat. Unfortunately, every single one of the brackets has their Top 4 completely intact. Right now, we are just competing on the margins for the extra mid-season points.

Despite being in second in points currently, Bonnie is leading the league in HPS with 359 points. She is one of only two with a perfectly intact Top 6.

Kristina is in second with a 358 HPS, because she has Clay going to the Top 6. Justice is in third with a 357 HPS and a perfect Top 6, like Bonnie. In fourth, Doug put Jean Blanc in the Top 6 and Ryan in the Top 9 to drag down his HPS to 344. Caitlyn made identical mistakes to Doug and is left with a 342 HPS.

Jenny and Kelsey are tied at 339. Both have Ryan in the Top 6, but Kelsey has Clay in the Top 9 while Jenny has Jean Blanc there.

As per the scriptures, Danica is in last with an HPS of 322. Making five incorrect picks in Top 12 hurt, but having Clay and tracksuit Nick in the Top 6 really hurts. Fucking tracksuit Nick, Danica? Remarkably, she still has a perfect Top 4.

The Bachelorette 14.3: In Their Element

Well, everyone. I made it to 280 Bach night to watch the Bachelor live. I made it and brought a bottle of wine and drank three-quarters of the bottle and now I am categorically intoxicated. It’s time to write a Bachelorette recap.

Commentary

I talked about the Colton-Becca-Tia love triangle—or lack there of—last week, so I’m all out of hot takes on that front. ABC does a great job of taking everything just one episode too far. I want a new plot line, not more of this old “relationship” bullshit. Give us something we can sink our teeth into.

Speaking of things we can sink our teeth into: Jason. Becca has a crush on Jason. Problem is, I also have a crush on Jason. I’m supposedly a straight man, but alas. Turns out I picked Jason to win my bracket. Is he going to win? Probably not. Is he going to be a frontrunner? Certainly so. He and Becca had instant rapport. She forgot his name, but their moment after that moment was precious. They seem genuine with each other, which is really all we’re looking for on this show, isn’t it?

I really like David. He showed up in a chicken costume and he’s pretty cute underneath the feathers. Maybe he’s not the most charming guy, but he’s pretty smart. He’s a venture capitalist after all. He wants to see the numbers.

So when Jordan said he got 4,000 matches on Tinder in one year, David knew to ask the right questions. How many matches a day is that? Oh, Jordan says he’s not on every day? Okay. Let’s say Jordan goes on Tinder four days a week. That’s 209 days out of the year, which leads to 19 matches a day. Jordan also says he’s selective, so let’s say he swipes right on one out of every eight women. And one hundred percent of them swipe right.  That means he views 152 profiles every time he goes on Tinder.

How engrossing is it to examine the clashing of two worlds? The 2000s with reality TV and true love and you-can-meet-the-love-of-your-life-anywhere-perhaps-even-on-a-reality-TV-show and the 2010s with an app where you swipe through thousands of people all to be left sad and lonely with only a badge saying you got 4,000 matches this year to keep you company and you decide to go on a reality TV show where there is only one possible match.

And

Of course

“Here’s to you being a bitch.”

That’s my favorite line of all time ever from now until the end of ever.

Thank you, Jordan.

And then we paused the programming halfway through to watch some fucking handshake between two dictators. I have dedicated my life to the participation and study of political science. I watch The Bachelor franchise to rid myself of the evil of the Trump presidency for a few hours a week. I felt truly nauseous during the break that ABC forced upon us. That’s all.

This is the point where I wanted to talk about second night letdown: the idea that the second date is actually the swing-and-miss for the bachelor(ette). But I may not be on to something here. The second dates of the past four seasons (Krystal, Anthony, Vanessa, Chase) averaged 4 more roses after their successful date rose. The third dates though (Lauren S., Dean, Danielle L., James Taylor) averaged just 2.25 more roses. But if you take out Lauren S.’s blunder then you’re at 3 roses, which is equal to the second date’s 4 roses if you add the week that normally separates them. According to FiveThirtyEight’s more thorough empirical investigation (though it is only updated through Nick Viall’s season), you get 4.9 more roses for a successful Week 2 date and 4.6 more roses after a successful Week 3 date. All that to say, the numbers are bullshit.

As far as second daters go, Chris probably did better than Anthony, but worse than Vanessa and Chase. Even though I don’t think he has the capacity to be a ‘Krystal,’ I don’t see him going much farther than her.

Clay’s job is to be a professional football player. It’s fun to see when the contestants are in their element. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re going to get to see Venmo John coding the next billion-dollar app faster than his opponents to try to get a rose, but we’ll take what we can get on a football field I guess.

I think Clay is great, but the fact of the matter is that he isn’t going to win. So this is Becca’s—and the producers’—out to get him to leave without sending him home. Many think that Clay will be back, but I think it is better to imagine what could have been. Also, I made a 2-1 bet with Justice that he isn’t going to return. If he does, Justice gets $5. If he doesn’t, I get $10.

The last commentary of the week comes from Kristina Lew. Becca’s “Okay, come here” to kiss the guys is Arie’s “I love that” from last season.

Scoring

Fucking ABC decided not to have the rose ceremony tonight. I blame Trump and Kim those fuckbois. But, we have some data to work with. Every single one of the eight brackets EXCEPT for Justice’s had Clay moving on. That’s the only stat we get today. Sleeper Pick of the Week Award goes to Justice.

The Bachelorette 14.2 Recap: The First First Date

Hey 280 Bach Nation [rose emoji] [bumblebee emoji], I have news. I got a job. I started on Monday—BACH NIGHT. And I ended up staying at work late and missed the show. And I haven’t really had time to write the recap until now, so I’m going to keep it short and sweet. I’m also going to keep it short and sweet, because everyone is adding people to their brackets, so the numbers I come up with now won’t mean much by show time next Monday.

Commentary

            Everything is relative. The concept of relativity is one of the most fascinating things in this world. That’s only possible because of the adaptability of the human brain. Today’s lesson in everything-is-relativity? Connor is a meathead. When Connor first entered the mansion, I thought he was a suave, metro-style guy. I was wrong. He is a certified meathead. The only reason I didn’t initially see this was because there are so many meatheads this season. It feels like there are more than normal, but maybe that’s just because Becca is really into meatheads and therefore most of the frontrunners are meatheads. Relative to all of those meatheads, Connor might as well be a theatre major.

            Look, Lincoln is a fuck. After this week, it’s so outrageously obvious. But Becca’s not stupid. She can also see that. And she knows that she doesn’t need to make a fuss about Lincoln being a fuck, because she’s going to vote him off as soon as the producers allow her to. So I am sincerely trying to comprehend how Lincoln and his wedding photo can make you so angry that you take the picture and you chuck it out the window. It would be easy to call Connor a sore loser, but I really don’t want to dumb it down that much. I want to examine the mentality that you have to be in to take a person’s prized possession—while they’re watching you—and hurl it into the pool. What has brought this grown man to such an extravagant level of anger? I don’t think I will ever know.

            Blake got the first first date. On average, the first first date rose will typically buy you five additional roses. So, essentially, he has a 50-50 shot at reaching the Fantasy Suite.

            Blake was the perfect person to take to the demolition party. He’s ~fit~, but he doesn’t have as combative personality at all, so Becca could be as aggressive as she wanted without being upstaged by the man. Had she gone with one of the 73 football players on this season, then they would have just made the demolition about themselves and how strong they were, when it should be Becca’s demolition with the physical and emotional support of the man. Blake fit the bill exactly. And, again, he’s still semi-secretly ripped, so it’s not like she’s losing anything in that department.

            Leo is Mandy Patinkin in the Princess Bride. Prove me wrong.

            Becca’s reaction to Colton revealing his “past” with Tia didn’t satisfy me. First of all, this is the 21st century. If you’re not comfortable dating someone who had spent a fun weekend with one of your friends a few months ago, then you should kindly return to the 19th century. Second of all, weren’t Tia and Becca just dating the same person for two months? Yes they were. His name was Arie. He has since passed away from being hit in the head with a sledgehammer, but that’s unrelated. Get over yourself, Becca. Colton’s wifey material.

Scoring

            Justice and Kristina were perfect this week and walked away with 46 points. Bonnie, Danica, and Doug each dropped one, leaving them with 44. Caitlyn and Kelsey dropped two and finished with 42. Jenny didn’t drop any, which should put her at 37, but since we gave her five free points for being in Israel, she climbed all the way up to 42 to tie for sixth.

The Bachelorette 14.1 Recap: First Impressions

Hello fellow Bach Nation. We’re back and I couldn’t be happier. This will be my second season of writing recaps for The Bachelor franchise. Last season the thesis of this project was to examine the currents underneath the splashes of each episode and write the takes that weren’t being written. I plan on continuing that this season. Also, you all know I love numbers, so I’ll still be taking my statistical analysis to the recaps. Prepare to get dunked on again, Danica.

Like last season, I’ll be splitting up the recap into two parts: commentary about the episode and scoring for our brackets.

Commentary

“Please don’t edit this out, because fuck him.” Rachel Lindsay is still the straightest shooter of all time. I didn’t realize how much I deeply missed her until she showed up and also, dear God, she is so much better than the other ladies there. We never deserved her. Also, fuck Bryan still.

How many viewers thought their own fire alarms were going off when they set the mansion’s alarm off during the saging process? I certainly did.

Jo Jo made an excellent statistical point! All three of the former bachelorettes ended up getting engaged to the man they gave the first impression rose to! Overall, 20% (5/25) of the contestants who received the first impression rose went on to win. She also mentioned that they all kissed their fiancés on the first night. Who knew ABC would take up the anti-slut-shaming movement? I certainly didn’t.

Alright, the following will just be a series of hot takes about a few of the first impressions.

Jean Blanc saying that Haiti isn’t a shithole country was excellent.

Trent committed to the hearse and goddamn I respect that.

Colton’s character arc of being a fuckboi football player to starting a charity is hot.

Leo is Jon Hamm with long hair. Prove me wrong. He looks like him, he sounds like him, he has his quick wit, they’re the same person.

Christon the Harlem Globetrotter jumping over the moon for her was the perfect amount of corny. Sign me up.

David the chicken/venture capitalist being hot and charming was maybe the best reveal of the night. Look, the first night is always a bloodbath. A full third (it was a fourth this year) of contestants are sent home on the first night, but the people who dress up in a costume are NEVER sent home. If you’ve got a good personality but don’t know if you’re hot enough to secure a path out of Night One, then throw on a costume and you’ve got ten more one-on-one minutes with the bachelor(ette) to pitch yourself the next week.

Wills sold me on his patronus tattoo. It’s not just Harry Potter, it’s also “I await a guardian,” which is SO cool. I eat up that multi-layered name game like potato chips when I’m drunk.

Garrett, Garrett, Garrett. I don’t know what to do about you. This is going to be my one deep dive of the week, so bear with me. I’ve done my best not to show my hand on what I think about too many bachelors, so that you don’t take my bracket ideas, but I will here. I gave Garrett a 1/5 on his bio. If you grew up in the Central Valley, CA, you might as well be from the South. Not only that, but he went from the Central Valley to RENO?! Reno one of the worst cities in the fucking country and, believe me, I’ve spent a good deal of time there. Garrett’s bio segment before first impressions was deeply unsettling, as he just seemed to emanate Reno. But back to his online bio, he said that whenever he’s not outdoors he is perfecting his CHRIS FARLEY IMPRESSION. I do not want anyone in my house to ever, EVER impersonate Chris Farley. I’m happy to watch him on my screen once every year and a half, but I do not need someone screaming at other guests in a football stance in the middle of the living room of my small, New York apartment.

But his first impression… his first impression was amazing. Sure it was just product placement for Chrysler, but if someone drove up to me in a minivan saying, “Hey, look at how wholesome our life could be together with our whole family climbing into this minivan to go to the park or out on a road trip,” I would say, “Yes, please, marry me right now, you incredible human being.”

And now we get to his time during the extended cocktail party where he takes her out to the pool to teach her how to fly-fish. This whole bit I go back and forth on. 1) That’s very cute, him teaching her how to fly-fish. 2) But fly-fishing has, for a long time, been a very gendered activity where husbands will go in order to “escape” from their wife. That shit is problematic. 3) But he’s teaching her to do it WITH him and breaking down the gendered aspect of that activity and bringing her into his world while doing it. 4) And it reminded her of being with her family and the outdoorsiness of Minnesota. His performance on the first night was truly outstanding from beginning to end and he deserved that first impression rose.

During this first episode, I thought back to Rachel’s season and thought about who was the closest man to the Whaboom guy. The only person who came to mind was The Reno Guy. Well, The Reno Guy got the first impression rose, so I guess that’s out the window.

Lastly, my worst fears about Garrett were, in fact, realized. If you look through this Twitter thread, there is evidence that he went around liking a litany of alt-right propaganda and conspiracy theories including a post about David Hogg being a crisis actor, transphobic posts, and anti-immigrant posts. It’s really a trip and, sadly, unsurprising.

Lastly, lastly, Garrett, Colton, and Alex all look the same in the season promo and I can’t figure out which of them is going anywhere. They’re going to fuck up my bracket so much.

To end the commentary section this week, I just want to say that Joe the Chicago grocer deserved better. That is the least hot take I have as just about everyone on Earth agrees with me, but that doesn’t mean I am going to be any less upset about it. He was the only contestant I gave five out of five points to on their bio. The. Only. One. And you know what? He was even cuter on air. Sure he totally blew his first impression, but he should have gotten a second chance. He should have worn a costume. If he had worn a costume he would have won the competition.

Scoring

And now for one of my favorite segments: Jenny Threw Her Win Away. Jenny threw her win away in the first week of competition. I think Jenny is very good at this Bachelor bracket thing. She clearly understands the show inside and out. And I no longer have the “orientational advantage” I had with Arie last time around. But Jenny didn’t finish filling out her First Rose Ceremony elimination list and walked away with fewer than half the points everyone else did. I am sincerely looking forward to her losing by seven points in the final week.

Everyone else got exactly 16 out of their 20 picks correct. So basically everyone who took the time to make their Week 1 selections will be starting on an equal playing field. That’s nice.

Roses without thorns,

Douglas

ON MEETING THE LOVE OF MY LIFE JACQUELINE TRUMBULL

I spent a very long time constructing my bracket for this season’s Bachelor, and, frankly, it paid off, because I won. I watched and rewatched the first episode, I went through all of the bios, I gave every contestant ratings in multiple categories, I aggregated and categorized my work into different sections of contestants, and I put together and took apart and put back together multiple brackets until I finalized my roster. Something that I realized early on—and texted to the 551 Bach Nation [rose emoji] [race car emoji]—was that I was picking my bracket based on who I would fall in love with, not who Arie would fall in love with.

There was only one woman who I gave a perfect 5-5-5 score to when doing my bracket research and that was Jacqueline Trumbull. It was her bio that really put her over the top as she was the only person who seemed to have real, legitimate interests outside of brunching on weekends (not to disrespect the glory that is brunching, but it’s not a unique phenomenon). She was, in fact, the only person to whom I gave a 5 out of 5 on their bio.

Then, of course, I began following this season’s contestants that I liked on Instagram and, in the midst of stalking Jacqueline’s page, I found out that she lives in NEW YORK. Not only that but she lives SOMEWHERE IN HARLEM. Who would have GUESSED that this woman who has already taken my heart lived just a FEW BLOCKS AWAY!

Now it took me four weeks to even bring up Jacqueline in the recaps, because I thought that you guys would catch onto the fact that she is an angel and a clear frontrunner if I went out of my way to tell you that she was an angel and a clear frontrunner and you would change your brackets accordingly. I ended up confessing the severity of my love to you all around Week 6 when she got her first one-on-one.

But alas, I’ve spent the past four months searching the city for the love of my life Jacqueline Trumbull. I’ve taken her Instagram account to forensic teams (ie. my friends who are better at stalking than I am). I’ve kept my eyes peeled on the subway, in cafes, on sidewalks, everywhere to see if I would run into her.

Then

Last night.

My roommate Tom was having a birthday celebration at the Holiday Cocktail Lounge on St. Marks. Great spot, would recommend. Our whole group sat down at a few tables in the back. Out of the corner of my eye I see a brunette gal seated with a few finance bros in their late-20s-early-30s at the table next to mine. At first I did a double take, because I thought I recognized this person, but because the bar was fairly dark I couldn’t make out who it was. I tried to stealthily catch a few more glimpses of her, but they were not that stealthy as she clearly noticed. The more I looked, the more I realized that it was, in fact, the love of my life, Jacqueline Trumbull. I quietly confirmed with the other Bach fans at the party.

It was at this time when I sent out the following panicking message to 551 Bach Nation: “JACQUELINE IS TO MY ROGHT IN THIS BAR WHAT DO I DO”. My phone had just enough service to send the message out, but then not enough to receive any messages, so my phone only blew up with all of your encouraging words after I had left.

The next half hour consisted of me trying to figure out what I should say to her. I ran a bunch of ideas by the people there and they ran a few ideas by me.

Maybe I should try Jacqueline, I rate every woman on the Bachelor at the beginning of the season in order to make a perfect Bachelor Bracket and you are the only person to whom I gave a perfect score. No, I don’t think telling her that I rate women is a good look. Nor would admitting my obsession with that TV show.

I could maybe go with Jacqueline, you had the best bio of anyone I have ever seen on The Bachelor. WHO puts that the three people that they’d want to have dinner with is David Foster Wallace, Julius Caesar (with a translator), and Thomas Jefferson? That is an incredible answer and I would also desperately want to have dinner with them, you’re so cool, Jacqueline. And also when you were asked what marriage meant to you and you said Creating our own world. Creating our own values and goals. Becoming better people together. Respect, admiration, protection. my heart absolutely gosh darn melted. That is such a good answer. Marriage also means those things to me. I really can’t get over how freaking spectacular you are. But I don’t think I should say that, because I think if she knew I had memorized her bio, she would rightfully be scared off.

One of my friends suggested I just go up to her and say You’re the most beautiful person at this bar. But I don’t think that would give me any legitimate leg up on the older, wealthier, and more attractive finance bros she was with. And that wasn’t really the point of me talking to her anyway.

In the midst of this deliberation, she got up to go to the bathroom and a few people moved around in their seats, so when she came back she sat down NEXT TO ME AND IT WAS AT THIS POINT WHEN I WAS TRULY AT A LOSS OF WHAT TO DO.

Before I knew it, the party was getting up to go to the next bar and, as it happened, Jacqueline and the finance bros were on their way out too. I let everyone in my group get their coats on and start heading towards the door and Jacqueline was still in her seat putting on her coat that was next to my coat and so I made my move.

I think I partially blacked out the next thirty seconds, but I remember sitting down and saying, “Here’s the thing, Jacqueline.” She looked at me, laughed at my introduction, and said, “What’s the thing?” “You are just too smart—you are just too smart for any of that.” That was the last thing I firmly remember saying. I’m pretty sure I also said, “You’re amazing. I’m a huge fan of yours. I knew from the beginning that you were going to do well. You’re awesome and I’m such a fan and you’re going to become a doctor and that’s so cool and you deserve the best,” or something along those lines, it’s incredibly blurry and incoherent. But she was very sweet and said, “Thank you” many times throughout and at the end asked, “Hug?” And I melted into the arms of Jacqueline Trumbull, the love of my life, for the first and last time.

I then ran up to the bar to close my tab and then out to catch up with my group where my dear friend Leah physically caught me and she and her girlfriend Marilyn basically carried me down the street even though I was remarkably sober—drunk off love I suppose. They saw the interaction happen and wanted to know everything, so I relayed to them what I could remember of my encounter and then we made our way to the next bar.

It was a glorious night and one that I will cherish forever.