Bachelor
Brad and the Women Go to South Africa

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"What's Wrong with You? Tell Me."
The Bachelor is still ruining New York as we open this week, with Brad packing up to go to South Africa. Jesus Christ, South Africa. First Apartheid, now you let The Bachelor come over? Brad feels excited, anxious and nervous. "I thought I had things under control. Not a clue," he says, adding that he's freaking out, and he's scared to give himself to someone, and he has trust issues, and a whole lot of crybaby whining that sounds like it's all adding up to guaranteeing yet another season of The Bachelor that scars many women and viewers emotionally but produces no marriage. Of course, Brad doesn't want to be oh-fer-two: "I don't want to be that guy again. I'm terrified of ending up alone," he says, which is always a recipe for relationship success. And then we have to watch him board the plane and talk to stewardesses because that's all so exciting.

We watch some -- well, "highlights" isn't the right word -- of his relationships with the three remaining women: Chantal, Ashley and Emily. He has some concerns over Chantal, mainly that she cries all the goddamn time, and he uses the word "rollercoaster" for the second time less than five minutes into the episode.

And then there's Ashley, with whom he can be himself, which is almost like "magic" for some reason. "We're falling hard for each other," he says, but they've had some "speed bumps" like the fact that when we listen to them talk they seem so brain-dead it's frankly amazing that the two of them are both able to breathe unassisted. He doesn't know where her heart is, and that scares him "a little bit."

Emily is "one in a million," he says, by which he means there are almost 7,000 Emilys worldwide. "I want to find a truly sweet woman to spend my life with, and Emily is that woman," he says, and then talks about how intimidated he is by the fact that a) her previous love died, and b) she's a mother. I think he should add c) that Brad seems like a big baby about a whole lot of things that any grown man Brad's age should have figured out by now. Anyway, he hopes coming to South Africa will give him the clarity that he needs.

You know, I really could watch just two hours of animal clips instead of the two hours of shit in a typical Bachelor episode. Oh, and then Brad says "take it to the next level," which usually means nothing, but this is the "overnight date week," where Chris Harrison gets all pimped out and the Bachelor takes the remaining women for a test drive. Brad was too scared to kiss Emily last week, but since Emily's daughter isn't here, I guess boning her won't be a problem tonight.

We're in Sabi Sands, and Chantal is the first one to greet him, but I didn't recognize her at first because she wasn't crying. "Every time I see Brad, my love grows more and more. We're experiencing new things together," Chantal tells us. This is the longest way to say "anal" I've ever heard. She feels spoiled, because she's going on safari with this amazing man, but she must be confused because there's just Brad in the jeep, apart from the guides.

They say "oh my god" about a hundred times when they see some lions, like WHAT WERE YOU EXPECTING TO SEE. There are also giraffes. And rhinos. I guess all of these animals signed release forms, since their faces aren't blurred. Chantal: "We're driving, and it's like oh my god, a rhino. And wildebeests. And crazy monkeys." Wild Fucking Kingdom with Chantal here.

Anyway, Brad and Chantal go for a picnic by the river while there is a (hopefully) hungry hungry hippo in the water. I think I used to like Chantal, but when she babbles about how this is a metaphor for how she feels so safe with Brad even though there are animals around... Yeah, Chantal? You should feel so safe because of the two guides with RIFLES guarding your Picnic of Banal Meta-Relationship Small Talk. Maybe you should go on overnight dates with them!

I will give Chantal this: She's one of the rare women who says "I love [the Bachelor]" instead of the qualifying "I'm falling in love with [the Bachelor]" or "I can see myself falling in love with [the Bachelor]."

And now they're going to dinner, like NO WONDER Chantal has clearly gained weight since the last time I recapped this show, not that I'm judging her for that or anything. They should just do something else other than eat, because at least when they're ziplining or rappelling or whatever they don't have time to indulge in the boring relationship banter. "Never in a million years has my heart been this open to falling in love. I'm talking about throwing caution to the wind here," says Brad. THIS IS ACTUALLY A THING THAT HE SAYS. And then Chantal is all, "Let's just get married here, now, just kidding, UNLESS THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT, just kidding." And then she babbles for half an hour and says something like "If that's what I wanted I would just want to do the thing that I wanted, so if I wanted to do it then that means I would want to do it." "She really is an incredible woman," Brad tells us. Still waiting for some evidence! I mean beyond the obvious.

And then out comes the Pimp Chris Harrison card, the one that offers them a fantasy suite if they choose to use it together. "Would you care to join me?" says Brad, and Chantal is so excited that she wants to leave right now, and then Brad points out where the fantasy suite is. It's an open-air treehouse. I mean, it's like the nicest treehouse I've ever seen, but still: treehouse. All future bachelorettes might be wise to reserve a decision on the Pimp Card until they find out if the fantasy suite has a goddamn roof.

So anyway, Brad and Chantal fuck in a treehouse.

"Last night was incredible," Brad tells us. I hope he's at least showered, because here comes Emily. They run into each other's arms and hug, and then Brad says he forgot something, and Emily stands there alone, and seems genuinely afraid that a lion might eat her. If I were ever on The Bachelor, I'd be much more worried about NOT being eaten by a lion.

And then Brad shows up on the back of an elephant, and then they ride around on the elephant for a while, and talk about stupid things, and say stupid things like "This feels like The Lion King but better," whatever THAT'S supposed to mean -- "Yay! No fatal stampedes!" -- and now they are talking about Emily's daughter, and Brad says he wishes her daughter was there, which is a big fat lie, considering he was too scared to kiss Emily with her daughter around, and then Emily asks him if he's ready for a five-year-old, and Brad takes MUCH too long to figure out what the correct answer is (yes). And then they make out while we watch some elephants playing with each other.

Dinner time, and Emily looks great, and I don't think Brad has even changed his clothes. Hey, they're showing the women's ages on the on-screen graphics now! I missed that development. Anyway, Emily is thrilled that Brad says he's ready to be a father figure.

Brad's really nervous: "There's so many things I want to know, it's crazy," he says. Emily tells us that she can be hard to read some times, which might be true if you consider a completely blank page hard to read. Anyway, the two of them babble on at each other about feelings or whatever. I thought that maybe having two weeks off while I was in Europe might have recharged me and let me be able to process the things they say, but by this point in any given Bachelor season, I'm completely worn down by the inane nonsense that these idiots spew, that in no way resembles any conversation any adults in adult relationships have. I mean, they talk for ten minutes and I cannot make sense of any of it.

So let's just get right to the pimp card: this ought to be good. Emily's been worried about not being able to tell Brad how she feels about him, and then she takes five minutes to tell him that she wants to set a good example for her daughter, but more than that she wants to spend some more time with him. "Just talking," she specifies, and Brad really overdoes it with the broad "I'm totally cool with not putting my p

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