If you’ve got a hankering for two hours of supremely uncomfortable television, I invite you to go back and watch Week 3 of Arie Luyendyk, Jr.’s season of The Bachelor. (Side note before we get started: I can finally type Luyendyk without Googling to make sure I’m spelling it right, so that’s neat.)
At virtually no point between 7 and 9 p.m. Central Time on Monday was there not some form of a wince or grimace on my face as the action unfolded. This week, ABC hit us with some way-too-intense wrestling women, painfully awkward conversations, aggressive makeout sessions and much more.
Let’s get to it!
‘Did your parents know how to spell?’
We start with a group date at a wrestling arena. Two old, washed-up GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) wrestlers come in to teach the girls how to pretend to fight each other, insulting several of them along the way.
Thankfully, one of the GLOW girls makes fun of Bibiana’s name so I don’t have to do it here in this space. She asks, “did your parents know how to spell when they named you that?” Bibiana cries.
The pro wrestler tells Tia “I’ll annihilate you.” Tia cries. Bibiana and Tia cry together.
After practice time is over, it’s time for the ladies to perform their “wrestling matches” for a live audience. This, of course, requires a list of vaguely sexist alter-egos complete with costumes: Gold digger, cougar, sex kitten, southern belle, bridezilla, lunch lady and princess among them.
Kenny, the contestant from Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette who was obsessed with his daughter and got in fights with a semi-racist dude named Lee, makes a cameo in the ring to fight Arie. It’s a battle between a “pro wrestler” and “pro race car driver,” who are each bad enough at their respective sports that they have the free time to appear on reality television.
Arie “wins” the fight with a questionable move in which he grabs Kenny by the crotch.
The girls wrestle each other. Bekah says “this is so weirdly sexual,” which kind of sums up the entire episode if you want to stop reading now.
In the evening, the girls get to hang out with Arie in a bunch of Airstreams, which is basically a more hipster, slightly classier version of a trailer park. Krystal takes the first opportunity for a one-on-one conversation and asks him if he wants her to “be aggressive or just sit back” on group dates. With no better way to answer that stupid question, Arie tells her to do what she wants, which she takes as permission to keep being insufferably pretentious.
Bibiana, who mic-dropped herself after a war of words with Krystal last week, finally gets her chance to talk one-on-one with Arie, and spends that time talking about Krystal. Because talking about other women who the guy probably likes more than you is a great way to win him over.
Lonely violin ensemble
Krystal delivers a weird monologue about her struggle with other girls being jealous of her, further solidifying her status as The Worst.
Lauren S. gets the one-on-one date with a date card that reads, “You had me at Merlot.” Channeling her inner Sherlock Holmes, Lauren says, “I think it has to do with wine.” Arie flies her to Napa, marking the second use of a private jet in three weeks of this super-realistic quest for true love.
ABC does a masterful job at making every second of conversation between the two incredibly painful. They talk about sleep schedules in the wine field during the day, and Lauren rambles on incoherently about her family over dinner. It's so unbearable, Arie actually eats some of the food put in front of him -- possibly a first in Bachelor history.
In the aside chats with the producer, she talks about how poorly the date is going and how she can’t stop talking.
Arie condescendingly but understandably declines the opportunity to give her a rose, and she’s walked out into the darkness. He dramatically walks through the winery, rose in hand, to a small ensemble of violins playing a depressing tune.
No word on how Lauren got out of wine country, 360 miles from the Bachelor mansion...
The second group date of the week consists of playing with puppies in a field. Annaliese, she who shared her traumatic bumper car experience last week, reveals that she also has a rough past with dogs. ABC packaged together another strange dramatization of an encounter with a dog that Annaliese alleges almost cost her an eyeball.
Bibiana prays for a dog attack on the group date: “Dear God,” she says, “thank you for this beautiful day, thank you for my friend Tia, and let one of those girls get bitten by a puppy. Love you, bye.”
After an afternoon playing with the dogs, the girls are expected to have memorized routines to perform in the latter portion of the group date. Arie says the dogs “had a tough time” with the impromptu show because apparently ABC chose poorly-trained dogs for some reason.
‘Moonshine tastes like gasoline...in a good way’
During the pre-rose ceremony cocktail party, Annaliese continues her quest for her first kiss with Arie. It doesn’t go well. She essentially asks for a kiss, and Arie, who will suck face with just about anything that moves, says they “aren’t there yet.”
Bibiana sets up a private cabana complete with a daybed and a telescope for stargazing, even though they’re in a suburb of Los Angeles and on a set lit for television production. In another classically-staged series of events, Arie takes a bunch of other girls out to the cabana and it’s Bibiana who happens to discover it.
In one of the daybed conversations, Bekah M. tells Arie he thinks she’s “unsafe,” and notes that she “doesn’t need him” like other girls have needed him in his past. Arie swoons over the unsolicited psychology lesson. And, while it’s weird to watch a 36-year-old dude make out with a girl who looks 15, I’ll admit that Bekah knows how to play the game and play it well.
Annaliese wasn’t content with just one denial, so she goes in for a second time to talk about why they haven’t kissed. She’s rejected again and nervous-laughs her way out of town.
Arie tells Tia that moonshine “tastes like gasoline in a good way” and takes advantage of a wasted Jenna, who straddles him -- can I say that? The network showed it, so I’m going with yes -- whilst making out with his entire face.
Bibiana doesn’t get a rose, and all but seals her future on Bachelor spinoff Bachelor Winter Games by saying she’s “broken” and “doesn’t deserve this.”
We’ll miss her hilarious attempts at witty burns of Krystal.