Having already survived the non-stop thrills of Sonoma and Utah, The Benchelor this week ups the ante by taking his harem to Puerto Rico (or more specifically: Vieques Island, Puerto Rico, which I think translates to "Island of Spray Tan and Breakdowns".)
Meanwhile, what's with all these destinations? When did The Bachelor turn into The Amazing Race? Why don't they just rename it The Amazing Bachelor and be done with it.
Hmm, maybe "amazing" isn't really an option.
Amid all the serenity and beauty of tropical Puerto Rico it's good to see the epic battle of Emily and Courtney is still raging away from episode four - a war so fiercely fought, the other women have stitched a tapestry to commemorate it.
For generations, historians will attempt to unravel its secrets.
"I absolutely feel that Courtney's not good for Ben," whinges Emily, while every red blooded male watching this show (ie: all three of them) beg to differ.
"She better watch her back because if she slips up with me again I will embarrass her so bad," says Courtney, who wins this week's award for Most Ironic Ironic T-Shirt Ever.
If by "nice" you mean "rip off Emily's head and verbally assault her".
Chris Harrison turns up to collect his paycheck and says a few things on the way through like "rose ceremony" and "one on one date" before handing Jamie the first date invitation to read out because, well, what - you think HE'S going to read it?
"You're kidding, right?"
Jamie does a great impression of a lost American tourist reading directions out of a Spanish guidebook and dental hygienist Nicki screams. I didn't really pick up what was said, but I THINK Nicki is going on a date to the train station with Ben.
"Los huevos rancheros amigos para siempres Corona burrito."
Nicki races off to get dressed and perfect her dentist drill vocal impression, while Courtney mopes on the couch, ruminating over her war with Emily.
"She's still on my list and once someone's on my list they're kind of dead to me, there's nothing you can say to recover from that, YOU BETTER CHECK YOURSELF, BITCH," she says.
Just a reminder.
"If I don't get a rose tonight I will be extremely bummed," says Nicki, revealing a somewhat controversial strategy for staying on the show. However you get your kicks, girl.
Meanwhile - nice try ABC, but are we actually supposed to believe that each of these girls is living out of A SINGLE CARRY ON BAG on this show? They've each got more costumes than Lady frickin Gaga. One of Blakely's bras would barely fit in one of those things. You'd need at least two just to carry Elyse's spray tan.
I call bullshit.
"Nicki brings out a playful side in me, almost like a kid side of me," says Ben who, just to remind you, has already skiied down a street in the buff, performed in a pantomime and twirled batons with Kacie B. Good to see he's finally discovering his childish side, though.
Suddenly a helicopter appears and, at exactly the same moment, Nicki is attacked offscreen by ninjas who start beating her with sticks and giving her Chinese burns. At least I ASSUME that's what happens, as that's the only thing that can explain her incredible high pitched scream.
As it turns out she's just REALLY excited to see a helicopter, which seems to be a recurring theme on this show. Anyone else think these girls should just marry some helicopter pilots and be done with it?
"Oh the weather couldn't be nicer!" exclaims Ben, in what is otherwise known as "a huge cue for the weather to change".
"It's like god is smiling down on us right now," says Nicki, in what is otherwise known as "the second huge cue for the weather to change".
While they're both waiting for the emotional drama that will no doubt ensue from the oncoming rainstorm Nicki and Ben stop to sample one of Puerto Rico's local delicacies, "Piragua", otherwise known as "Cock in a cup":
"Wrap your lips around that one, babe."
"What could possibly go wrong?" says Nicki 30 seconds before things go drastically wrong and the two get caught in a torrential downpour.
If this were Courtney, she'd just take off that wet dress and saunter through the storm naked. Thank god it's not Courtney.
"Nicki's flexibility and being able to go with the flow is really attractive to me," says Ben, which is good because it's safe to say that Nicki's sodden hair and stick-on, vomit-coloured dress is NOT attractive to him.
Soaked through, the two decide to go on a shopping spree to "try and find the most authentic Puerto Rican outfits we can".
Oh please. PLEASE.
"Ben is moo-ey, moo-ey, moo-ey cally-entay!" enthuses Nicki, who has somehow managed to choose the one dress in Puerto Rico uglier than the one she had on. As she walks down the street children chase after her asking when the circus is starting.
Still, at least she doesn't look like an extra from the Smooth Criminal video.
Their date gets even more thrilling when they crash a stranger's wedding and ruin it for everyone by sitting out the front of the church with TV cameras crapping on about relationships.
"You think they already got married?" asks Ben as the bride heads in to the church, demonstrating a worrying lack of understanding of how a wedding works.
Or perhaps he's just asking if 26-year-old divorcee Nicki thinks the bride has been married before. Takes one to know one, right?
"I think being married is very different from being engaged," says Ben while collecting the inaugural No Shit Sherlock Award for Services to Obviousness.
"This could be my second chance at my fairytale, and I'm so ready," grins Nicki.
Meanwhile, anyone who uses the word "fairytale" to describe anything other than an actual fairy tale is a moron who probably wears too much pink and should be slapped back into reality. This goes double if the person is only 26 and has already been married and divorced once.
As they watch the bride finish climbing the steps to the church (which so far has seemingly taken her about 22 minutes) Ben ominously says: "I want to walk away with a woman at the end of this", as if he needs one more to complete his collection or something.
Cut to night time and Ben and Nicki are by the beach among lush tropical greenery, listening to all the croaking frogs and... oh no wait, that's just Nicki talking.
It seems Ben has found the perfect conversation topic for a first date - Nicki's divorce.
Nicki starts talking about her ex and marriage and couples therapy while Ben nods sagely and pretends to look interested. I have to admit I missed most of her speech, because I was distracted by a piece of fluff on the carpet that was frankly more interesting.
Fortunately we cut away from this thrilling discussion to check back in at the Piss Up Palace where Blakely the 34-year-old Hooters waitress and Elyse the human Cheeto have interrupted the ladies' "Wine, Cheese and 18th Century French Philosophy" evening by arguing over who should get the next solo date. Rude.
"Time out guys, can we get back to Voltaire's views on theology?"
The group date card arrives and Elyse's name isn't on it meaning she's scored herself the week's second solo date. She's so happy she sheds some of her cheese flavouring.
Meanwhile, what name does Blakely have hanging around her neck?
Jed? Jess? Jo? Tex? Ted? Fox?
Perhaps it's the combination to her brain.
Back at Boring Beach Ben announces he doesn't care that Nicki is a divorcee at 26, possibly because he is distracted by her cleavage (or by the jugglers under her circus tent dress) and in a completely unpredictable move, pashes her and gives her a rose. Glad we came all the way back here for that.
We move on to this week's group date, on which The Benchelor has craftily promised The Women something to do with "diamonds".
Potential activities for this date:
- A visit to a foundry where The Women will be made to carve their love on a concrete effigy of Ben using diamond-tipped drill bits;
- A trip to a South African diamond mine where The Women will be forced to work for no pay, and prove their love for Ben by being the first to break out;
- A night at a Neil Diamond concert;
- Anything at all that has absolutely nothing to do with wearing or receiving actual diamonds.
As it turns out Ben was referring to a "baseball diamond", and all The Women are going to have to suit up and start swinging bats for the afternoon, which is actually more disappointing than any of the above options.
Everyone's wearing their tightest singlets and their tiniest shorts for what is basically a game of baseball as styled by The Playboy Channel. Let's call it "Assball". While we're at it, let's get all of the sexual innuendo out of the way right now too:
- Gripping sticks
- Playing with balls
- Going deep
- Fourth base
- Gripping one's helmet while sliding into third
OK, so I made that last one up but it's good, isn't it? I bet Blakely would use it.
Speaking of innuendo, I feel that Ben's t-shirt is rather overstating his attributes.
Don't flatter yourself, mate.
The Women start racing around the field doing sprints and drills as a bunch of professional baseballers yell instructions at them while Ben watches from the sidelines. Just to remind you, this is a date.
Would still rather do this.
It's all gone a bit A League of their Own, although it's unclear which one is Rosie O'Donnell.
I guess it's him.
"Do you catch it like this, or like this?" shrieks some unnamed blonde, turning her hand around as millions of viewers slap their foreheads while muttering "That's right, you catch a ball ON THE BACK OF YOUR HAND."
Suddenly - the sky darkens and the wind starts whistling through the bleachers. Somewhere, a dog barks.
He always pops up when you least expect it.
The Harrison announces The Women will be split into two teams and made to compete in a baseball match, the winners of which will get to party on Boring Beach with Ben. The losers will, of course, be sent to a south east Asian concentration camp to manufacture fake Louis Vuitton wallets for export.
"I want to win this game so bad, I can literally taste it," says Blakely, who may or may not be actually tasting last night's chilli instead. It's hard to say.
"Blakely is a champion out there - who knew strippers could play baseball," slags Courtney.
What follows is 10 minutes of baseball, which is to say I take a 10 minute nap. I wake up just in time to see Jennifer lose the game for the blue team by standing still to watch the pretty balls whizz past her face.
"What was I supposed to do with this big stick again?"
Helicopter envy sweeps the stadium again as the red team gets ferried off in yet another chopper, and we lurch forward in what is proving to be the most boring episode of The Bachelor yet. Hopefully Kacie B will fall out of the chopper, or Blakely will commit hara-kiri with her bat just to liven things up a bit.
Courtney punches herself in the eyes, a thoughtful gesture that many have already considered doing, but thrill is short lived.
"I'M NOT THREATENED!"
The red team goes off with Ben to sit around a campfire and drink cocktails, while the blue losers get on a bus and cry all the way back to Goon HQ. Never mind, I'm sure they'll find something there to drown their sorrows.
Add some Adele and you've got a pity party!
"I can only handle so many more group dates where my head just pops off, I'm getting exhausted," sighs Courtney as everyone sits around on Boring Beach drinking mojitos.
Sorry, have I missed these? When has Courtney's head popped off? What was underneath it?
Oh. OK, then.
Meanwhile, it seems the shampoo situation here on Puerto Rico is even more dire than back in America.
Just let your Soul Gloooooow!
Let's check back in at the Silicone Shack shall we? Oh look, Elyse is applying more orange foundation and practising her patented "attractive" face for her upcoming solo date.
That's sure to win Ben over, I'm positive she'll get a rose. FOR SURE.*
*Note: may not actually be sure.
Over on the Beach of Wasted Youth, Courtney has reattached her head and is musing over her next plan of attack.
"I don't need roses, I need more time," she says. "And eye of newt, bill of duck and three dozen babies. AND A CAULDRON."
Sadly Courtney doesn't get all the ingredients in time (eye of newt is really hard to find in Puerto Rico)(three dozen babies, not so much) and she fails to cast her evil spell, so Kacie B ends up getting the group date rose.
And THERE'S the duck bill.
"Can I steal you?" Courtney says to Ben, leading him off down the garden path to the sand where OH MY GOD WHO IS THAT?
"Hey Gary, am I in shot? I SAID AM I IN SHOT? Oh, I am?"
The professionalism on this show is overwhelming.
Courtney may have given up on witchcraft but she proves she's still a wordsmith and a scholar with a heart rending speech professing her love for Ben.
"It would just be nice to like spend some time with you and like alone like not in this setting like that's what I need at this point like just you and me like I went swimming the other night in the ocean and it was like all I could think about was you and like it's romantic here," she says.
Sensing her monologue has been lost on The Benchelor, she launches herself at him instead, wrapping herself around him and cooing "If only we could just have a bottle of wine and GO SKINNY DIPPING!"
Now, having a half drunk model drape herself over one while declaring she wants to get naked is not usually considered cause for alarm for most straight men.
Ben is not most men.
Scared. As. Fuck.
"Er.. I don't doubt that that won't be fun," stammers Ben in an absurdly constructed double negative that even Deep Blue would struggle to decipher, before ushering Courtney off the beach and back to the safety of the fully clothed campfire party.
Everyone has a nice cold shower and goes to bed early, and they all wake up refreshed and bushy tailed (or if you're Blakely, just bushy) to prepare for Elyse's one on one date.
"Let's find love somewhere private," reads Courtney from Ben's date card. That makes a nice change from last night, when Ben almost found love IN someone's privates.
Elyse manages to put on the only dress in Puerto Rico that is more orange than her tan, and heads off to the Snooki-themed fancy dress party Ben is throwing on the other side of the island.
"Do we have any pickles?"
"Ohhhh... what a SIGHT!" exclaims Ben as Elyse careers towards him down the garden path which, let's face it, is up there with "What is THAT on your face?" and "Do you mind if I bring my workout buddy Chip along?" as the top things you don't want your date to say.
"That thing is SO BIG!" shouts Nicki which, funnily enough, ranks as the number one thing most guys DO want their date to say.
Although this time it appears Nicki is referring to the big white yacht in the harbour. Ben sadly takes off his "gigantes" shirt and throws it in the bin.
Elyse and Ben get on the yacht and start steadily downing glasses of champagne. HOW COME NO ONE IS EVER HUNGOVER ON THIS SHOW?
"I gave up a LOT to be here," Elyse tells Ben, reeling off a list of things including her job, her best friend's wedding and her dignity.
They jump off the boat into the ocean but the combination of Ben's hair oil and Elyse's fake tan are enough to cause an international incident, and emergency crews have to be called for a cleanup.
"Why did we let them go in? WHYYYY!?"
After President Obama vows never to let the couple return to the water, Snooki and The Situation sit down to dinner and some awkward conversation.
"I'd like to propose a toast to the best dressed couple on the beach," says Ben.
Sadly the camera doesn't show whoever it is he's referring to - Ben himself looks like he's thrown on his Year 11 formal tux about 25 seconds before walking out the door. He looks like he smells of Bacardi.
"I bet the late fees on this rental are like, through the roof now!"
"I'm SICK of being SINGLE, I wanna be ENGAGED, I wanna get MARRIED," moans Elyse in between glasses of champagne in what is a note-perfect impression of:
A) Any single girl who's ever been to any wedding ever;
B) Any single girl who's ever been drunk, ever;
C) A girl on a first date who wants to make the man run away screaming.
Elyse follows up all this flirtatious talk by complaining about having not been on many dates with Ben, and feeling "left behind" the other girls, and how she's desperately looking for love and...
30 minutes later.
Finally Elyse pauses to take a breath and Ben jumps in with some kind words about their day and how nice Elyse is, but it's all working up rather obviously to the least surprising surprise ever - that Elyse isn't getting a rose tonight.
Well, not surprising for anyone with half a brain, at least. Elyse is rather taken aback. The moment she realises what she's being told is priceless.
The moment of recognition.
Hey, I know the perfect thing to do after breaking up - a romantic walk along the beach! Great idea!
"I don't know what I did wrong," Elyse wails as they wander along the sand.
"You didn't do anything wrong, you're an incredible, incredible woman," says The Benchelor somewhat unconvincingly, given that he's only really spent half a day getting to know her.
Actually, that was enough.
Elyse is bundled unceremoniously into a dinghy and is shipped off to Guantanamo Bay to the sounds of David Gray, while Ben wanders back to his hotel room to console himself with mini bottles of Jack Daniels and Toblerones.
IS he wearing his Year 11 tuxedo? At least get the pants re-hemmed, dude.
Meanwhile back at the Palais de Plonk, The Women are all sitting around playing Dungeons and Dragons when suddenly - the award for best performance by a valet in a reality TV series goes to...
"OH MY GOD WHAT JUST HAPPENED?" everyone shrieks, grabbing their heads and wailing as the valet walks out with Elyse's sole piece of luggage, fake tan leaking from the corner.
"Maybe Elyse drank too much and the 'Jersey Shore' came out," says Courtney before shrieking "IT BLEW MY PANTIES OFF!" at nothing in particular which, as anyone knows, is about the Jersey Shore-iest thing one can say apart from "DTF".
"I'm gonna refresh him, I'm gonna rejuvenate him," says Courtney, heading off to Ben's room with a bottle of wine. So THAT'S what the kids are calling it these days - rejuvenation. Remind me to avoid that "rejuvenation facial" at my local salon then.
Ben arrives back at his room, totally devastated at having had to farewell Snooki the human Twistie, to find Courtney casually relaxing on the cold concrete stairs like the most ineffectual hitman ever.
"So nice to see you again, Mr Flajnick."
"I didn't think she would take initiative like that and break the rules," frets Ben. "I don't know how I feel about that."
There is a reason Ben's room has an entire wall covered with knobs. It's clearly a "knob" themed room. For knobs.
"I have some lotion in my pocket if you need a massage," slurs Courtney before casually opening up her robe to show off her lacy bra.
"Oh... my..." stammers Ben who clearly missed that first year university class "What To Do When A Half Naked Model Throws Herself At You With Wine And Massage Oil".
"Don't look don't look don't look, just keep drinking and maybe she'll go away."
"We could go to the beach and we could probably do something else too, if we're feeling frisky," she continues in what could easily double as an audition for Frisky Models Volume 3: Beach Babes in the Buff.
"As I'm talking to her I'm thinking - this is probably not a good idea, but at the same time I want to spend more time with her and she's taken it upon herself to magically appear on my doorstep," Ben says, which I think is Puerto Rican for "I want to see Courtney's tits".
"Have you ever gone skinny dipping?" she asks, as she starts taking off her robe on the beach and the cameraman practically does a baseball slide on the sand to get her full body in the shot.
THAT one's going on the Christmas reel.
While the cameramen are having the best night ever, Ben looks more frightened than anyone thought was possible for a man swimming with a naked model. Maybe he can't swim.
And as Ben's sea cucumber gets acquainted with Courtney's clam in the Puerto Rican ocean, we head back to the Prozac Pad where it's time for the rose ceremony.
Rose ceremony in a nutshell:
- What with Courtney swapping conversation for face sucking lately there's a position vacant for for "most vapid conversationalist" in the house, a role which is quickly filled by Jennifer.
JENNIFER: "You're so easy to talk to."
BEN: "Yeah, our conversations are easy."
JENNIFER: "Yeah, they are."
Well done, Jennifer. Well done.
- "I've always wanted to find love, and I've always wanted it to be right, that's why I'm 33 and still single," says Blakely, who is 34.
- As Blakely continues speaking to Ben orchestral music swells under her - either this is her Oscar audition clip, or it's her acceptance speech and she's about to be ushered off by Jack Nicholson.
- "I like to be in my birthday suit as much as possible," declares Courtney to no one in particular, before sighing "I wish we could go SKINNY DIPPING!". I think this is Spanish for "Christ, can you guys ask me if I've shtupped Ben yet so I can just tell you what we did last night? PICK UP THE CUE, BITCHES."
- Emily tries to impress Ben with her gardening prowess by doing an amazing demonstration of digging her own grave, apologising for bitching about Courtney last week before immediately bitching about her again. Ben is not impressed. Maybe she should have rapped it.
- A whole bunch of girls get roses, including Casey S, otherwise known as "who?".
- Courtney's night time minge flash gets validated with a rose, which reminds me of a commercial I saw once for Summer's Eve.
There's an almighty crack of thunder and the spectre of Chris Harrison comes on to announce the final rose, like that cloud that displays the laps in Super Mario Kart.
It's down to Emily the rapping LeAnn Rimes lookalike disease specialist and Jennifer the... was she an accountant? Ah who cares. Neither of them is guaranteed a rose here, because neither of them is Kacie B or Courtney.
And even though she's a massive bitch who is way more interested in Courtney than Ben, Emily gets the last rose and Jennifer gets sent off to GitMo to join Elyse despite being the only person in the house with natural skin tone.
But there's no time for sadness, they must move on to the next roadblock... or is it a U Turn? Or a detour? Whatever, next week they're going to PANAMA CITY!
"Oh. I was wearing one of those hats just two months ago."
STEP BACK IN TIME AND READ LAST WEEK'S Episode 4 | OR READ ON TO Episode 6