If The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are sister shows, The Bachelor in Paradise is their slutty cousin. We were not going to cover Bachelor in Paradise but somehow I feel myself drawn to its relative tawdriness and, compared to the other shows in the franchise, its honesty. This show has a pretty naked economy: you do what you have to and couple up or you go home; there is no room for weakness. Sorry Evan. The Bachelor In Paradise is an irresistible combination of Bachelor and Bachelorette’s most lovable eliminated candidates and its least likeable.
Speaking of the most risible candidates, the time comes to say goodbye to fan-favorite villain Chad Johnson. Chad arrives in paradise (Puerto Vallarta) after the rest of the first week’s candidates, clearly with some PR rehab on his mind, positing that he is misunderstood. Things are going pretty smoothly for Chad at first, he seems charming and willing to laugh about the image he projected on The Bachelorette but as liquor (his unspoken Achilles heel on The Bachelorette, seriously, that guy was drunk all the time) takes hold and tightens its grip over the course of a long afternoon, evening, and night, the true Chad reels his ugly head and the heretofore lovable villain is on a course of self-destruction from which he is pathologically incapable of saving himself.
Chad immediately connects with Lace over their shared love of drinking a lot (like, really a lot), and the two get sloppy and makeout-y and weirdly violent. It seems like the beginning of a beautiful disaster until, suddenly and understandably, Lace is no longer having fun after Chad’s sexist banter crosses a line for her and she jumps ship, walking away while Chad fruitlessly pursues her, trying to reignite the spark. Soon Chad is in a predictably foul mood and pulls his usual move of sitting on the fringes of a group he suspects have been talking about him (they have been, because he is being an obnoxious dick), creating an awkward silence. That silence is, of course, broken when Chad starts instructing everyone in the group to “suck a dick,” and goes so far as to attack Sarah’s disability, calling her a “one-arm bitch.” This is, or ought to be, the final straw, where, in the minds of the viewer, Chad goes from reality TV “Bad Guy,” to just bad guy.
The next morning, at a group meeting, Chris Harrison informs Chad that he will be leaving paradise, much to Chad’s bewilderment. Chad, as ever, blames his unpopularity on others’ lack of a sense of humor and storms off after attacking Harrison for not being close enough to the action, suggesting he went to bed with “a robe and a mimosa.” Which, honestly, sounds pretty nice and is exactly how I imagine Chris Harrison living his life too, but in a good way. Chad does have a brief moment of clarity when he states that he should not have gotten drunk the first night. This is certainly true, but alcohol does not transform Chad into something he is not, it simply prevents him from hiding who he really is: an asshole. As Chad is leaving, he asks “What am I going to do now? (Perhaps Oklahoma’s real estate market isn’t so lucrative as he has previously claimed), I can’t be The Bachelor.” This is true, but Chad was never going to be The Bachelor, such a development would certainly damage The Bachelor’s brand, and he is likely the only person in the world who thought that might have been a possibility. Even if there had been a chance that Chad might have become The Bachelor, and there wasn’t (that’s not even a possibility for Bachelor in Paradise stars, is it?), it was torpedoed by the implication that he, while passed out, pooped his pants. I doubt very much that Chad, in fact, did soil himself while in this stupor, but would guess that the poopy sound was added by some righteous editors, avenging Chad’s boorish attack on Sarah. The punishment fits the crime.
Chad has no one to blame but himself. From the beginning it seems like things have been arranged for Chad to remain in Paradise for multiple weeks; the guys get to hand out roses at the first ceremony which would guarantee a second week and Chad would have had the buffer of two obvious duds in Evan and Dan, who almost certainly would have been eliminated before Chad if he could have simply kept his shit together. But he didn’t, so we say farewell to Chad who will hopefully disappear from the world of The Bachelor for good. In his defense, but not really, he was clearly over-served; that’s on Jorge.
Enough about Chad, let’s talk about his fellow duds. Dan and Evan arrive in Paradise and immediately go about the business of turning off all the women. Dan is, initially, thrilled to be reunited with Chad but is, as he was on The Bachelorette, quick to jump ship when the villain starts losing the PR battle. Dan is awkward, off-putting, and maybe more than a little dumb. He also does not seem particularly interested in the women in Paradise, just as he did not seem particularly interested in JoJo during his stint on The Bachelor. Early in the first episode, Dan is quick to say that he is “picky” and none of the women are up to his standard of beauty. This is preposterous as the people on the show are uniformly beautiful and I would guess that Dan is anticipating his failure to connect with any of the women and pre-excusing it. As it happens, Dan does not connect with any of the women because, as stated earlier, he is awkward and off-putting, but he does have a rose to give at the ceremony which he gives to Sarah, which is a legitimately nice gesture as she has just been passed over by Vinny. It’s a mixed bag for Sarah as she gets to stay another two weeks but is, at least temporarily, saddled with Dan who takes very little time in turning her off. Luckily, hunky Christian shows up and pilfers Sarah away on a sexy zip-lining excursion. I suspect we will be saying goodbye to Dan at the next rose ceremony.
Evan, poor Evan. He will never be cool. Evan is good-looking guy though maybe not by the standards of this show, and he seems, most of the time, to be genuinely nice and sweet guy but there is something fundamentally un-sexy about him. For a while he is connecting with Carly, who is, I’m convinced, the coolest person in Paradise. This is perhaps because he quickly becomes the only option for Carly unless she wants give it a try with Dan, which nobody would want to do. Things are going pretty smoothly until a goodnight kiss, initiated by Carly because Evan is too much of a weenie, thoroughly turns her off. The aftermath of said kiss is both comic and tragic as we hear Carly describe the awfulness of the event and watch Evan smile reflectively, smitten, as he drifts off to sleep. Carly sticks it out with Evan through the Rose Ceremony (she doesn’t like him but she doesn’t want to go home!) and on a date upon which the producers have contrived for them to share an even more unpleasant kiss, setting the world record for kissing while holding a habanero pepper between their mouths. Carly, feeling guilty for shining Evan on, “breaks up” with him soon after, letting him know that she will be seeking romance elsewhere. Evan seems truly devastated, because he is an immature weenie, and Carly seems truly remorseful that she has no chemistry with Evan. But who would? During the course of this relationship, Carly does get in a sick burn at Evan’s expense, hilariously stating that he gives her erectile dysfunction.
The end of Evan’s “breakup” with Carly dovetails beautifully with the other major plotline from these first two weeks. Up until the end of the Rose Ceremony, nice guy and two-time Bachelorette runner-up Nick has been connecting with sexy mother-of-two Amanda, passing over the sexy but awful-seeming Leah in Amanda’s favor at the ceremony. Nick, still a nice guy but now more beefcake-y, having put on considerable muscle (undoubtedly not wanting to be jilted in favor of a more traditionally hunky guy yet again), seems to be in his element until the arrival of his one-time Bachelorette rival Josh who immediately sweeps Amanda away on a date, which goes well. And for the remainder of the episode, Josh and Amanda are, it seems, constantly making out in front of poor Nick, with Josh occasionally taking breaks to taunt Nick in what must be a kind of waking nightmare for the sensitive, somewhat nerdy, Nick. It is clear that Amanda had designs on Josh all along but needed to get one of the guys to give her a rose so she could stay long enough for him to arrive. It is definitively unfortunate that she chose Nick for this role but game respect game. It is a bit hard to watch as Nick struggles to maintain his level-headed nice guy persona though, he will struggle to get a rose at the next ceremony. Where Evan comes back in is in how, after Carly has giving him the boot, he decides that his next best option is to forge a connection with Amanda, an unbelievably delusional goal. He asks Amanda out, undeterred by the fact that she has to break away from making out with Josh for him to do so. It is a David and Goliath scenario if you were rooting for Goliath because David is an embarrassing little weenie. We get a “to be continued…” before the question is asked.
There’s a lot else to talk about but little of real note. Jubilee and Leah are sent home; Jubilee seems really nice but shy and she fails to connect with sensitive heartthrob Jared, Leah seems pretty loathsome, sniping at Amanda as she prepares for a date with Nick. Similarly shitty are “The Twins,” Emily and Haley, who have clearly internalized the male chauvinist school of thought regarding the way women should look and use their interview time to pick at the other women’s looks while praising their own. Jared continues to be a nice guy but unfortunately is connecting with Haley. Grant forgives Lace for her dalliance with Chad and gives her a rose after, it seems (but not really) that they hook up. New arrival Brandon takes Haley out, but halfway through the date she is replaced by her sister, failing a test into which it seems stupid to have forced him. Vinny, showing a lot more moxy than he did on The Bachelorette quickly connects with Izzy, then with Sarah, but then goes back to Izzy at the rose ceremony. In short, there’s a lot of stuff happening. Most of it trashy, all of it fun.
Who’s The Best?
- Carly: Fun, funny, charismatic. She seems really cool and not just cool for a person on The Bachelor in Paradise.
- Sarah: She’s so sweet, it’s a relief when Christian shows up to take her away from Dan.
- Izzy: She has not made a huge impression yet, but has also has not yet been in some way totally awful.
- Vinny: Despite somewhat shadily making moves on multiple women, leading them to believe that they are both his number one, he seems like a pretty good guy.
- Jared: He’s nice. Maybe too nice… and his taste is questionable.
- Grant: He’s given Lace a second chance and the two of them seem to have a good thing going. Grant is a power player.
Who’s The Worst?
- Leah: She comes in acting like an asshole and is sent out the same way.
- The Twins: A package deal since if one of them gets a rose they both get to stay (which is bullshit). Leah acts like an asshole and all they can think to do is criticize her (maybe) collagen-enhanced lips.
- Amanda: She really is being unnecessarily cruel to Nick. I’m not ready to call her a an out-and-out villain yet, but her association with Josh does round her up to villain for as long as it lasts.
- Chad: Obviously. Chad Johnson seems to be on a mission to be for anyone he meets the worst person they have ever met.
- Josh: He steps into the villain role vacated by Chad. He is not as outright offensive as Chad but may be more douche-y.
- Evan: God, this guy is a turnoff.