- Marcus is the most boring man alive—but Clare don’t care!
I’m about halfway through I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends, a memoir and shoo-in for the Pulitzer by Bachelor villain and season 16 “winner” Courtney Robertson (cowritten by an actual writer person). It’s full of enlightening tidbits, for instance that a psychologist—the same one who administers a 150 question personality test during an advanced stage of the audition process—always travels with the show and “is a permanent fixture on set.” The implication is that the shrink is winnowing out the mentally unstable, but she sticks around just in case a few happen to slip through, despite her best efforts of course. And sure enough every season features at least a few sick pups who’ll have their idiosyncracies and insecurities played up by cruel producers and brilliant editing, and their carcasses picked to bits by avian-beaked host Chris Harrison. The show would be a real snooze without them.
Bachelor in Paradise is like an all-star league populated by some of the franchise’s most afflicted former contestants. Which is to say it’s extremely entertaining. In the first episode, twelve of our old pals are placed in a beachside house in Mexico to immediately commence with pairing up and dry humping (or, I guess, wet humping) in the ocean. To make sure they’ll receive a rose at the rose ceremony, everyone has to act fast to secure a partner, whether by initiating sexual contact like a dog peeing on his territory, or by emanating enough instability that the person she’s latched onto and the other women in the house are all sufficiently frightened they’ll be killed in their sleep if they don’t play along. (The plot thickens when newbies arrive each episode.)
For instance, AshLee, who was on Sean Lowe’s season and would appear to be a deeply troubled woman plagued by abandonment issues from being orphaned during childhood. She immediately sets her sites on Graham, who I seriously don’t remember, but who quickly becomes a hot commodity in the house despite that he looks and acts like one of those middle-aged guys who coaches prepubescent pageant queens. When he’s invited on a date by Clare, a woman as eager to please as her porcelain veneers are long and white, AshLee becomes unhinged. She walks around the house slamming doors and muttering to herself about Clare being a “whore” who’s “not even that pretty.” She’s reduced to hot, angry, irrational tears—irrational because she began her relationship with Graham 24 hours ago. Still, Graham gives her a rose at week’s end because she’s pretty—except for those eyes, the eyes of a madman—and physical attraction is of sole importance on this program.
Things only got better in episode two. Elise from Juan Pablo’s season has become extremely attached to Dylan from Andi Dorfman’s season, and he’s begun to sour on the constant attention. As they lie on the beach and she prattles on about their astrological signs, he looks like he’s either about to have a panic attack or violently attack her—whichever would make her stop sooner. And when he finally tells her he thinks they should date other people in the house, she accuses him of sending mixed messages. That or he’s just afraid of their deep connection.
But really, not everyone’s awful. They brought back Marquel—also from Andi’s season—a smart, handsome charmer who should’ve been the next bachelor, but was instead sent to this disease-infested hovel as a consolation prize. There’s also Sarah Herron, who’s kind of like the show’s conscience, a blonde, blue-eyed Jiminy Cricket who guides us through the season and agrees with us when people are being “fucking crazy.” But when she’s sent home—she’s definitely going to be sent home—I won’t be sad. It means more screen time for the rest of these sexual sociopaths.
Bachelor in Paradise, ABC, Mondays at 7 PM