On the second episode of Juan Pablo, ABC’s latest man-in-waiting on The Bachelor, the ladies vying for his undying love were the central focus, and hoo lord, it’s gotten real hard real fast with this season. You know what I mean? That sad, guilty sink starts to creep immediately following an eye roll or laugh. Right? Or is it just me? I can’t help but feel as though someone behind the scenes is high-fiving over how stupid these women look. There’s no rationalizing this in the name of love and people doing stupid stuff for love. Moon Indigo this is not, folks. Blerg.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The night was full of hopeful exuberance and overcooked expectations — very similar to last week's premiere. And that’s innocent enough. Right off the bat, the first one-on-one date recipient — Clare — admitted that she doesn’t go on dates, nor does she ever meet men out in the wild, wild world so now that she’s meeting a man, obviously she’s going to put ALL OF THE PRESSURE ON HIM, NO PRESSURE, FUTURE HUSBAND.
But our Juan Pablo is not easily flustered — must be the strength he cultivates through his core — because he loves surprises. So he blindfolded Clare before putting her in the car, which was just so ca-ray-zay and adorable that the rest of the women were all, like, so totally jealous. And off they were to chill. And chill they did, in literal ice and snow! But not before Clare uttered this gem: “All I can do is sit there and smell him.”
And he probably smelled like buttercups and moonbeams because, OMG, Juan Pablo is just so handsome and hilarious, he makes her feel like a kid! (Spoiler alert: it’s probably because he’s a man child woopsies.) Some might even say that's all he is, but she’ll pay you no mind, dissenters, because oh man what love this is blossoming between Clare and JP under the icy glow of a portable hot tub. He’s not just teaching her to skate, he’s teaching her to love!
Clare spent the portions of the date she wasn’t giggling and talking about her daddy issues gushing over Juan Pablo’s body. Why is that all the women seem to talk about on this show? Is it the only feature of his being that’s worth discussing? Which begs another question that might also answer the latter: Why are these dates all voiced-over? Were their conversations that deep and complex? But we’ll get back to that point in a few.
First we have to talk about women being princesses and having high standards — something they both agreed on. Juan Pablo even declared, “I’m having very very much a good time.” Clare told him, “You taste like snow” after they kissed. There was snow artificially strewn about in far-from-chilly Los Angeles while someone from X-Factor came out and sang (I don’t know anything about him other than the fact that he worked at a Chipotle, according to my roommate). As they ran through the snow in their suits, dancing and kissing as the snow began to fall, the truth was clear: THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF THEIR LOVE STORY! You guys!
As if that weren’t enough to make you feel a little bit less intelligent, perhaps Lucy’s declaration (while topless) that she’s “not going to go unnoticed” will.
The next one-on-one date when to Kat, the dancer/sales rep from Arizona and the electricity she purported to have felt from the first moment she saw Juan Pablo was translated quite literally into a date at the Electric Run in Salt Lake City. There was a private jet, red carpet, and everything — something Kat loves and would enjoy in her future man. That character-building ability to — on a whim! — hop on a private jet and jet off somewhere, jettisoning all reasonable though and financial and practical responsibility. I mean, how else is one expected to shoot down to Rio for dinner otherwise? How, pray tell, how?
But tonight’s date is not about excess, it’s about utility: which is exactly why Juan Pablo gets the tracksuit made for winter jogs and Kat got a sleeveless short-short number. OK! The date proceeded on despite the disparity because it wasn’t about all that. It was about running, and dancing, and everything other than talk and get to know each other. “Perfect date for me and Kat,” said Juan Pablo, without missing a beat. It’s so electric!
After that came the group date, which was a further emotional manipulation of the highest order. The women were told they’d be doing a fashion shoot — yay! — that would help out a charity — double yay! — and there were even fucking puppies — OMF-YAAAAAAYYYY! — involved. Puppies! Adorable, adoptable shelter puppies! And then came the assignment of scenarios and outfits for the photos, which was nothing short of a producer-crafted circle jerk to throw these women into an insecurity-fueled tizzy. Cool story!
Some of the girls were in bikinis. Others had conceptual looks, like a dog or a fire hydrant. And others still were dressed to look like that bastardization of Old Hollywood Glamour that literally no one can get enough of these days. Lucy, the free-spirited naked wonder was initially dressed as a fire hydrant; Kelly the dog lover was painted to look like an actual hairless dog. And Andi and Elise — the goddamn district attorney and first grade teacher — were told they must post straight-up naked, because conceptual integrity or whatever.
I mean, seriously? There are not enough blergs in the world (Liz Lemon, you’ve failed me!) for this nonsense, for so many reasons. First of all: COME ON, ABC. This is just obvious manipulation, telling these women whose integrity is very much tied to upholding a particular image. Clearly someone was baiting these girls for a reaction, or at least playing out some tired old sex fantasies. But also, GIRLS: just fucking say no if you don’t want to get naked. Seriously. No guns to your head, it’s just a TV show. Puppies will not die if you’re not comfortable taking a naked photo.
Of course things were remedied: Andi ended up being swayed when she heard Juan Pablo would be naked, too (solidarity), and Elise asked Lucy to switch costumes, which she was more than glad to do (but not before taking a naked and — I shudder at the thought, more so than being naked — barefoot stroll in Hollywood). Though it was far from cute or appropriate for Elise to then have the gall to complain about the fire hydrant outfit not being cute enough or whatever. Girl. GIRL. Perspective. And also shut the fuck up you got what you wanted.
See what I mean from before though? This barely feels fun to snark-watch anymore. It feels like a gratuitous bashfest against women. Mostly because we have barely anything to make fun of Juan Pablo for — he doesn’t talk except in interviews or his fed little introduction lines. (In fact, my roommate also surmised that he’s likely got an in-ear feeding him the names of the girls during the rose ceremony. Which, let’s face it: seems legit.) So it’s all about the girls, and all about how absurd and inane their edited bits of sad-sack desperation come across. Hey, ABC: if you don’t want people to think those that run your little dog-and-pony show don’t hate women, maybe let Juan Pablo look as dumb as everyone else on the show. We’re sure there’s plenty of comedy on that cutting room floor: I mean, c’mon, the guy barely speaks English. All’s fair in love and making fun of each other.
From there things just got sloppy. Victoria the 24-year-old proved herself emotionally incapable of being a mother figure to Camila (imagine that!) following a case of the schwasties that was impressive even for this show. It was, in no short order, a drunkicane of crazy. She was straight up belligerent and completely inconsolable. It almost made me feel bad for how she probably felt about it now, watching it as a viewer. Almost. Juan Pablo sent her home the next morning in what was an admittedly mature moment (hey, at least he let the talking count this time).
But before we say goodbye to Victoria forever, a moment of recognition for the beautiful life lesson she bestowed upon us this evening: “That’s what life is about, straddling people… and things.” I guess that’s the hymen maneuver.
The night went on quite uneventfully form there, with Nikki stating the obvious: “I feel like I’ve never been in a situation like this.” A valid statement, because you haven’t done anything like this before, have you, Nikki? I think us Internetters would know about it if you had.
In the end Amy’s audition for every on-air personality job in America didn’t cut it with Juanie P, as she was sent packing alongside Chantal, who was apparently really falling for our main dude for some reason. I guess that reason is feelings. Or emotions. Or insecurity — whatever! Ahh, sorry, guys, I forgot: desperation for love isn’t sad and pathetic, it’s totally cute and ~romantic~ right? The journey. It’s all about the journey.
The favorite is still Sharleen the opera singer. Renee the perma-mom was also up there. Oh and question: does anyone want to play the “which professional basketball player is the father of Cassandra’s child” game? Because it’s got to be, right? Somebody else who cares more than I could research that and post their findings somewhere and I wouldn’t hate it. Just saying.