On this week's episode of the Central American Tourism Board Infotainment Hour we're in Belize, where once again the canny producers haven't missed an opportunity to put The Benchelor in a boat:
He's on a boat.
They obviously think Ben looks his best when surrounded by water, possibly because he is a massive drip. To recap:
"There's a slow lifestyle in Belize, so I'm going to be able to reflect on everything and where I've been," Ben says, as though he's been rushed off his feet working hard for the last seven weeks instead of fart-arseing about on tropical islands drinking cocktails and ogling women's chests.
As he goes off to enjoy the slow lifestyle (and by "slow lifestyle" I mean beer and perving) the women are shepherded into their advertisement for the week - a massive mansion on the beach that is no doubt way too expensive for anyone watching this show to afford to rent.
"I am as in love with Ben as I can get," sighs Kacie B which, given she's only known him for a matter of weeks, seems to suggest her relationship with Ben has nowhere to go but down.
Suddenly the sky darkens, there's a crack of thunder and frogs start falling from the sky - Chris Harrison has arrived.
I hear Chris Harrison is one of the signs of the Apocalypse.
He hands out some calculators and explains to The Women that there are SIX of them, but only FOUR roses, and there will be THREE one-on-one dates with ZERO roses and ONE group date with ONE rose, and FOUR women will take Ben home next week to meet their parents, which means that... are you keeping up with all of this?
"Sir, my calculator doesn't work."
Anyway Lindzi the horse lover gets the first date, and she's so happy she whinnies all the way back to her room to get ready. Nicki the human dentist drill is not so ecstatic.
Ben arrives in what looks like his underwear to take Lindzi away on their date, and it soon becomes apparent why - the producers have obviously slashed his wardrobe budget to accommodate the spiralling costs of the show's helicopter account.
Yes, ANOTHER one.
"Watching Ben and Lindzi today feels like somebody sliced a delicious piece of cheesecake, put it in front of me, and then someone else came and picked it up and said 'bye bye' and walked away with my cheesecake," says Emily, eloquently.
You can tell Emily is a PhD student.
GREAT IMAGERY, EMILY. It's JUST like that. Or actually, is it more like another woman went on a date with the guy you like? Maybe it's more like that?
"Gosh what's that?" asks Lindzi, pointing out the window of the chopper at something in the ocean.
"It's called 'the blue hole'," says Ben, who explains that it's a natural pit 500 feet deep that's really popular with scuba divers around the world. Coincidentally, these are all characteristics shared with Courtney's vagina.
Just FYI: This is a picture of the ACTUAL blue hole, not Courtney. They look similar, though.
Ben announces that they're going to be jumping out of the helicopter into the blue hole. Fortunately he had some training in diving into holes back in Puerto Rico, so he's not too scared.
After a dramatic buildup that makes it look like they're going to be jumping headfirst into the ocean from 100 storeys up, Ben and Lindzi leap what is actually about four metres into the sea and disappoint everyone by not drowning. Also sadly THIS doesn't happen:
That would have been too much to ask for.
Then they get onto yet another boat. Sigh.
So he likes boats, fine, whatever.
And then they get on another boat to go to dinner...
Anyone else think this show should be retitled "Ben Flajnik's Helicopter and Boat Hour"?
Despite having not seen a single horse all day, Lindzi is swept away with romance so when the Benchelor asks if she's prepared to let him meet her family her answer is a resounding yes.
And mum and dad just can't WAIT to meet him.
Meanwhile, back at the Chateau de Champers, The Women are playing their usual game of "Roll Your Eyes at Everything Courtney says". Kacie B is winning.
"I've been on the last three group dates so I feel like, if you like me Ben, you'd better give me one," Courtney laughs as everyone mumbles under their breath "I thought he already did".
The date card arrives, and it's for Emily. She's disappointed it's not cheesecake, but she'll take it anyway.
"Emily - do you BELIZE in love?" Rachel reads from the card.
Of course, having already demonstrated her own mastery of the English language with her earlier cheesecake metaphor Emily appreciates this hilariously clever wordplay. On the other hand Courtney, who often has trouble forming sentences without the word "I" in them, feels left out.
"Amily got a one-on-one deet with Ban, and I just want to kall mysalf," she cries in her stupid accent, demonstrating a toddler-like ability to switch from carefree laughter to a tearstorm of depression.
Oh no. Don't do that. Everyone would be really sad. Et cetera.
Back at the smelly, seagull-dung-covered pier Ben and Lindzi are spending their romantic night on, Ben reaches into a bag and pulls out the one thing every woman wants to be presented with on a date - a bottle.
Sadly for Lindzi, who along with all the other women on this show has developed a crippling alcohol habit, it's empty. Apparently they're going to write a note, stuff it in the bottle and then throw the bottle into the sea - a practice otherwise known as "littering".
"Should we draw an illustration... of er, you and I..." begins Ben, picking up the pen.
Sadly, Lindzi stymies this plan by instead opting to write "a fairytale". Yawn.
"Once upon a time," she begins, and Ben practically explodes with amazement as if that's the most original thing anyone has ever written.
"We'll win the Pulitzer for this!"
The two of them write the world's worst fairytale about falling in love and miraculously avoid vomiting in the bottle which they then throw off the pier.
Meanwhile, five years later, an African tribe undergoes a terrible run of bad luck.
When it comes to crappy dates, jumping out of a helicopter and throwing bottles into the sea is definitely up there.
Now it's time for Emily to fly off for her one-on-one and, speaking of crappy dates - it looks like her plane has interrupted Ben taking a dump on the beach.
I guess you really can't trust those central American toilets.
They're on yet another quaint island where they ride some bikes around, drink out of coconuts, hustle some locals in a game of basketball - you know, the usual holiday stuff.
"Yo is that Woody Harrelson in the blue dress? He's really let himself go."
Oh, and riding on boats. Again.
"One of my favourite things about Ben is that he's so spontaneous," gushes Emily, who seems to believe that Ben really did just spontaneously organise a casual boat trip to go catch lobster in Belize, as well as that casual boat trip for the massive camera crew following alongside them.
Meanwhile, back at the Moselle Mansion Courtney is still turning on the waterworks for the cameras about how Ben is so mean for going on a date with Emily, THE GIRL WHO SAID THAT NASTY THING TO HER THREE WEEKS AGO.
"I want a guy who doesn't let people treat me like shit, I feel let down," cries Courtney, who has clearly confused "The Bachelor: One man's search for love" with "The Bitch: One woman's attempt to beat a man into submission".
"I'm not really ready to bring Ben home to meet my family," she wails before concluding, ominously, "It sucks, I really liked him". Generally, referring to people in the past tense is not a good sign.
On the plus side, she really nailed the audition for that Advil commercial.
Back on Nameless Island Ben and Emily are sitting down to lobster dinner and talking about their future. Well, Ben is. Emily is still talking about Courtney, which proves that you can be a PhD student and still be an idiot.
"Do you feel confident in bringing me home to your family? Do you see something in us?" asks Ben, a simple question that requires a yes or no answer.
"You know, Ben, I feel like you and I have... uh... what really bugs me about the whole thing with Courtney..." she begins.
"Is there a boat somewhere I can get on?"
"I feel like we lost time there talking about her when we could have spent time talking about us," she continues, clearly oblivious to the fact that she is STILL SPENDING TIME TALKING ABOUT COURTNEY.
"I feel like after today though I was able to really focus on you and I feel like there was such a strong connection with us today and that is what I was looking for and it made me so happy and I hope it made you happy too and I would like to extend a formal invitation for you to come and visit my family..." she blathers as Ben starts to slip into a coma and slide under the table.
"Have I died? Is this hell?"
LISTEN, GIRLS, IT'S SIMPLE. IF A GUY ASKS IF YOU'RE INTO HIM, AND YOU'RE INTO HIM, JUST SAY SO. AND THEN KISS HIM. IT'S NOT EPIDEMIOLOGY, FOR FUCK'S SAKE.
Ben wakes up just in time to blurt out "I know I always call you smart, and people that are smart don't like to be called 'smart' all the time, so I'm just going to say you're a beautiful woman!" and then pash her.
"YEAH, SCREW INTELLIGENCE - LOVE ME FOR MY BEAUTY, DAMMIT!"
Back in the Hotel Hangover all The Women are patiently awaiting the next date card, except for Rachel who is busy perfecting her Jerri Blank impression again:
Seriously, someone needs to tell her to stop doing that face.
Courtney is making vague threats to anyone who will listen that she'll go ballistic if she doesn't get the next one-on-one date - I imagine her going all Carrie, covering Rachel with pig's blood and sending knives flying into Kacie B's head, so it's somewhat disappointing when it's revealed she will be going on the next date. Damn.
Fortunately Kacie B picks up the psycho vibe, labelling Courtney a "black widow" and saying "It took every fibre of my being to not spring across the room and punch her in the face".
Normally I would advocate for this kind of action, but knowing this show it would probably turn out like this.
Courtney is pushed into a Fokker, something she's kind of used to, and flown off to the jungle where Ben is waiting, grappling with English.
"Courtney and I's date will be different than the last," he mangles, as it dawns on everyone that his hilarious "Belize" pun earlier was actually probably just a spelling mistake.
They walk hand in hand through the jungle and miraculously stumble upon the one thing in Belize bigger than Courtney's ego, a Mayan temple.
"This is the place where human sacrifices would have gone on," says Ben, laying down a picnic rug.
Not to be outdone by Emily talking all about her on yesterday's date, Courtney kicks off conversation by talking about Emily.
She continues winning Ben's heart by whingeing about having not been on a solo date since week two (um, you're on one RIGHT NOW, Courtney) and how the group dates have been really hard (yes, right, but you're actually on a solo date at THIS VERY MOMENT) and how she wasn't going to accept a rose if she didn't get a one-on-one date (message received, Courtney, BUT YOU'RE ON A FUCKING ONE-ON-ONE DATE RIGHT NOW SO SHUT UP).
"I lost the spark, babe," she concludes, which is always a good way to ensure your date will be full of romance and fun.
Meanwhile, keep an eye out for Courtney's new range of Valentine's Day cards.
Ben does a good job of looking confused throughout most of this speech because he hasn't quite learned how to speak "Courtney" yet. Let's face it, he barely speaks English.
Here's a translation for you, Ben: "YOU SHOULD PAY ME ATTENTION EVERY SINGLE SECOND OF THE DAY, STOP TALKING TO OTHER WOMEN, LET ME DOMINATE YOU AND WORSHIP ME BECAUSE I AM A MODEL WHO IS PRETTY. ALSO I WANT TO WIN THIS GOD DAMN SHOW, JERK."
"It's unfair that Ben can't see the two sides of Courtney, but I have to trust that he's perceptive enough to figure it out for himself," says Emily, back at Booze HQ.
Yeah, don't put TOO much trust in that.
As if on cue, back at the Temple of Doom Ben is clearly moved by Courtney's speech, even though she pulls her duck face a solid five times.
"If I do this face he will see how vulnerable I am. Then I'll cut his balls off."
"I like you, I've always told you that I like you and I always notice you, out of everyone that's been here you've consistently seemed to care," he gushes, proving two things at once:
1) That men aren't the most perceptive beings in the world, and
2) All you need to get a man's attention is a hot body and a willingness to relentlessly throw it at him whilst stroking his ego. Skinny dipping also helps.
They climb further up the temple, Ben sadly misses all opportunities to throw Courtney off, and they sit at the top enjoying the view.
"Oh... my... dad," Ben says.
"That's what I say sometimes."
All the kids are saying it.
Courtney's spark sufficiently re-lit, the two head off to dinner where Ben continues to miss the obvious signs that she's more interested in winning the competition than winning his heart.
"To hear her say her spark has been relighted and all it really took was some time with me makes me feel really good," says Ben.
"To hear her say her spark has been relighted and all it really took was some time with me makes me feel doubtful about the truthfulness of her original statement," says Ben in a parallel universe in which his alternate version ISN'T a complete moron.
"God I'm bored with this shit."
The Benchelor all but proposes to Courtney then and there, and she responds by gushing about how in love she is. Well, sort of. Actually, she just gloats about winning.
"Snap girls, show's over, you can all go home and pack your bags," she slags, waving her fingers in the air like guns.
If this show doesn't work out, she totally nailed that audition for The Wiggles.
"I don't want to get cocky though," she says, in what is both a) a massive lie and b) the winner of this week's Least Genuine Sentiment Award.
After whingeing, moaning and making Ben think about his dead dad, Courtney makes the date even better by bitching about the other women.
"I'm so bored by them, they're not the type of women I'd be friends with in real life, they're just so vanilla. They're girls, I don't even think they're women," she slags.
"Hmm, this sound mean. Me think this bad. But woman chest so nice. ME CONFUSED."
Suddenly the two neurons left in Ben's brain that aren't affected by Courtney's boobs start firing and he realises that a woman who continually slags people off and boasts about not being friends with many other women is usually a GRADE A BITCH.
"One of my fears is being with a woman who I like but ultimately, other people don't," he says as Courtney pulls her best duck face to get his sympathy back.
It can't save you now.
Back at the Chateau de Chardonnay The Women are reading out the group date card, on which Ben has outdone himself with yet another witty pun.
"Let's SEA whose family I will meet," reads Emily, as everyone collapses in hysteria over Ben's clever wordplay.
Of course, you know what "sea" means:
As it turns out, the date involves waking The Women up at 4am to take them diving with sharks. You can file this under "Worst Bachelor Dates Ever" alongside "climbing up a massive bridge", "dressing up as a donkey for a pantomime", "throwing a bottle into the sea" and "going to Utah".
"Put on your bathing suit," he whispers to a half-asleep Kacie B as he creeps into her room, which coincidentally is exactly what got him arrested as a teenager.
Everyone is predictably scared and nervous when Ben announces they'll be shark diving. Meanwhile, what they should ACTUALLY be scared about is Ben's gradual transformation into an Amish woman.
He is just a black robe and a wimple away from being Whistler's Mother.
Just as with every other "challenge" on this episode so far the shark dive turns out to be completely non-threatening, and they all swim around with what look like oversized goldfish for about 10 minutes.
And yet again, this does not happen. Disappointing.
After the trauma of swimming with sand vacuum cleaners is over, Ben takes Rachel aside for a romantic chat. Not to be outdone by Emily and Courtney before her, she starts talking about how rough her week has been.
He shuts her up the only way he knows how - by covering her mouth with his. In some circles this is known as a kiss. In Ben's circles, it's known as "no guarantee that I actually like you at all".
Both Nicki and Kacie B tell The Benchelor they're falling in love with him. Of course, he doesn't say anything of the sort back (HELLO - HE HAS SIX GIRLFRIENDS HE HAS TO KEEP ON THE LINE, HE CAN'T GO FAVOURING ANYONE YOU KNOW).
"I know he can't say it back to me but to have him smile and kiss me says more than words ever could," says Kacie B, the way mistreated girlfriends have for centuries.
And then he gives her a rose. Just like every shit boyfriend on the planet has done for centuries.
Suddenly Nicki brings the smackdown on an absent Courtney, telling Ben to be cautious about her.
"Hmm, I wonder if I am seeing a different person in Courtney and if I'm being deceived," Ben muses.
NO, YOU THICKO. YOU'RE SEEING THE SAME PERSON ALL THE TIME, YOU'RE JUST AN IDIOT WHO CAN'T READ PEOPLE.
And then - OH MY DAD! IT'S THE ROSE CEREMONY!
In a nutshell:
- Tonight's event is fancy dress with the theme "Come as your favourite movie scene". Sadly, only Rachel got the invite.
She's the scene in 'The Birds' when Tippi Hedren gets mauled.
- All The Women murmur solemnly on how heavy a night it is, because there's only THREE roses and FIVE women and other such mathematical anomalies. Courtney meanwhile has clearly found the uppers in her toiletry bag, having sufficiently gotten over her deep depression of half an hour ago to crow "I'm feeling great!"
- "Ben's not the only guy in the world you know, we all have other chances to find love," Courtney continues, as hats fly off and monocles drop into champagne glasses all over Belize.
"NOT the only guy in the world? HOW VERY DARE YOU, YOUNG LADY!"
- Fortunately Courtney is unfazed by the gasps and shocked expressions around the table, probably because she has suddenly become possessed by the spirit of her three-year-old niece and has started to play with her cocktail umbrella.
"Oh no Mr Glace Chewwy, watch out for that howwible wainstorm! TWO PLUS TWO EQUALS BANANAS!"
- Suddenly - the shutters fly open, the lights flicker. Somewhere outside, a crow screeches. Chris Harrison has arrived.
"Honestly, NONE of you are interested? Come on."
- Ben comes out and - OH MY DAD! He pulls Courtney aside for a totally unscripted chat about her feelings, whether she's genuine and whether she should stay on the show. GEE I WONDER WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT.
- "I think Ben's definitely seeing who Courtney really is," Kacie B says.
"When they came back in the mood was definitely different between them," Nicki says.
"I feel like her time has come, goodbye Courtney," Emily says.
NEVER SAW THAT COMING.
So it's goodbye to Rachel the part-time Tara Reid and Jerri Blank impersonator and farewell to Emily the rapping epidemiologist. How he'll sleep at night without them, I'll never know.
Join me again next week for the event everyone's been waiting for - MEETING COURTNEY'S FAMILY. Will they be as demented as her? We can only hope.
GO BACK TO LAST WEEK AND READ Episode 6 | OR GO ON AND READ Episode 8