Photo: Rick Rowell / ABC

As Clare As The Nose On Your Face

Bachelor In Paradise gets crazier and creepier, and this time it only took an hour!

I'm in the minority, hating the silly opening to this show. Because I feel like they're trying to become Burning Love, but THAT'S NOT HOW THIS WORKS, ABC! The Bachelor franchise is the Bachelor franchise and Burning Love is the response. The Bachelor franchise is NOT supposed to then respond to Burning Love. Don't cross the streams, Venkman!

There are a few unanswered questions. Like why does Ashley have a Ziploc filled with ice against her face at the beginning of the show. Did somebody punch her face? Did she punch herself in the face? The latter is much more believable to me. Also why did Juelia's butt hurt after the date with Joe? Finally, why am I watching three hours of this in two days again? I've lost track of reality. Oh well, guess I'll just steer into the skid!

Mikey Beats Depression

The show proper opens with Mikey in his underwear on a mattress on the floor next to a box fan. In the real world, this might look like Rock Bottom. In the world of this show, that's called Luxury Accommodations. But then he shakes off his depression and arrives at the beach, freshly shaven and with a tiny top ponytail. Somehow, this represents a change for the better.

Clare And Jared's Boat Date

"How much does Jared look like Superman?" Clare asks us, as if we're all like, "Oh my god, you're right!" Instead, my reaction is more along the lines of, "You have obviously never seen Superman in any form." But if I'm going to pick on all the times that things Clare says make no sense to me, I'll be here all night. Let's just get to their date, which begins on a boat and ends at the end of a bungee cord. The classic reality show date and/or challenge! Speaking of classic reality-show moments, Jared pulls the classic pre-terror gambit: Get a girl terrified, then kiss her, then just let the Stockholm Syndrome work its magic.

"I am so scared and I'm so excited," Clare says, getting the Jessie Spano from Saved by the Bell quote completely backwards. But she jumps anyway, and screams incessantly. So much screaming and screaming and screaming. Probably right in Jared's ear. So much for his super-hearing. There are also many shots of Clare's CGI bikini bottom, which might explain the screaming. Maybe she was getting a Superman-sized bungee wedgie.

Later, when Clare's recounting the date moments after the date in her interview, she does this whole gross body shiver and moan business that ruins passion for a generation. There is something seriously wrong with Clare. But don't worry, her enthusiasm for Jared will get snuffed out very quickly later in the show, when Jared says, "You know, you're eight years older than me…" Insert awkward pause here. "But you look great!" he adds with a happy laugh, as if he's convinced he just saved it with a silk-like smoothness. He didn't do that though.

Joe's Motives and Ashley's Nightmare

Joe goes on and on about Samantha, asking, "Is she here? Is she coming here? Does anyone know? Have you seen her? Is someone hiding her from me?" The rest of the cast also notices that Joe hardly pays attention to Juelia. This to Juelia represents "quality dating," apparently, so she's cool with it. During all of this Clare is giving her "My Date Was So Amazing" performance for a few of the ladies, well within earshot of Ashley I., who listens and complains and cries. But never does something like, oh, let's say, get up and leave. Or put on headphones and listen to music. Or leave. Seriously, why didn't she leave? Instead she just lounges there like a Kardashian and cries. She cries so much you can only understand about forty percent of what she says. Which is still twenty percent more than you ever need to hear. Ugh with Ashley I. already!

Michael Arrives

As my wife accurately said, "So, I guess they just bring people in randomly?" Yes, I guess they do, honey. Because now some dude named Michael, who wants to date Tenley, has arrived. I don't remember who he is, even after he is identified as a diabetic trial lawyer. But that's no surprise. I hardly remember the current cast of the show from scene to scene. I'm convinced that's why they put the LOVEtestants's names on the screen so frequently. It's for people like me, who cannot keep the names in my head for more than nine seconds before they evaporate.

Michael says, "Her name's Tenley, but to me she's an Elevenley." He says this with no inflection, which convinces me the producers made him say it and he only delivered it once and basically under duress. Tenley, despite being almost one hundred years old, is suddenly the hottest property on the beach. Well, second-hottest, after amoxicillin.

Michael And Tenley's Date

Michael gets to take Tenley to a fancy resort where they dine in a slightly flooded courtyard, I guess? It's the most Bachelor-esque date I've seen on this show. They sit down at a table that is literally sitting in about two inches of water, as if this is inherently romantic. Later, a hundred mariachis -- no exaggeration -- march into the water as well to serenade them. It's obvious the producers are wanting to tip Tenley's (ancient and brittle) hand in favor of the diabetic newcomer. But I have to wonder, why is it special to eat dinner with your feet in water? "Remember our first date, dear? Wasn't it so romantic that our feet were never dry?"

Booze Times!

Chris Harrison barely gets a word out before Juelia says, "I'm giving my rose to Joe." This sets Ashley S. off, and puts me in a very awkward position. How is it I'm siding with super-crazy Ashley S.? Something is seriously wrong with the world if this is the case. The whole cocktail party becomes a showcase for the true monster that Joe is. It begins with Jonathan pulling Juelia away to tell her that Joe isn't here for the right reasons. Moments later, Mikey does the same thing. Juelia then pulls Joe aside to confront him about it. He eases her fears with a romantic combination of threats and logic, before giving her a super-gross kiss. "What are my intentions now?" he asks with a leer afterwards.

Intercut shots of snakes! Add thunder sound effect! Just in case you didn't get hip to how terrible Joe was yet.

After Juelia leaves, Joe spends a long time explaining (to an off-screen producer?) exactly how severely he'd beat up Jonathan. How he'd do it until he saw Jonathan's brains coming out. Then he adds a quick description of beating up Mikey. But Jonathan, the black guy, gets the specific and super-graphic description. Make of that what you will. Provided the conclusion you draw is that Joe, in addition to being a gross flesh golem, is also a racist.

Joe confronts Mikey and plays him big time. Then he gloats and says, "Hashtag JoeMadeHimHisBitch." Then he confronts Jonathan. "You kind of just pushed me out of the bus," Joe tells Jonathan. Close enough! Joe makes Jonathan apologize to Juelia IN FRONT OF HIM. Which is creepy. Jonathan even cries while he's doing it. Then he goes away and TOTALLY LOSES IT in a distant bathroom. But that's not enough for Joe, who follows him and condescendingly humiliates him even further. It's some next-level creepiness and Joe is super-proud of what he's done. But what do you really expect from a monster made from discarded parts of other reality-show contestants.

Meanwhile, Jared kisses Ashley, who literally says "Okay" into his open mouth. So those two are totally cool now. Good for them!

The Rose Ceremony

Right before the rose ceremony, Clare gives a totally weird speech about how this season is "really, seriously a LOT different from last year" and how "people last season were here for the right reasons," as opposed to this season. And she goes on and on, and everyone in the room couldn't be more OVER IT. Jade calls out Clare before the ceremony for her weird outburst. Clare says, "If the shoe fits, wear it." And she's proud of it, like that's a devastating burn. Which, surprise, it isn't.

Then, the Clare breakdown begins. "How hard is it having a rose, knowing that you don't have a romantic connection with anybody?" she asks. Probably the hardest thing ever. I mean, not probably. It must be. Because Clare falls apart. So, that means having a rose but no romantic connection is harder than, let's say, being faced with the "choice" from Sophie's Choice, for example.

When it's her turn to give out her rose, she asks Chris Harrison to take a walk with her. Now it's Chris's turn to console her and dry her tears. Then come the three worst words in the Bachelor canon: To Be Continued…

Verdict

Are you fucking kidding me that it's a cliffhanger this week? For fuck's sake! There were three hours of this show over two days and we still didn't get to the roses? No thank you! Maybe I'll see you next week, but if I don't, please understand that I died doing what I love: making fun of the Bachelor franchise.

After Paradise

I will never tell you to watch this. I'm not a monster.

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