Previously on the Bachelorette: Brooks broke his finger, a woman yelled, the looming specter of Disney's The Lone Ranger loomed, and Dez told an emotional, sincere guy that he didn't have to go home, but he also couldn't stay near her.
Chris Harrison informs us we're leaving Southern California for New Jersey in the (what looks like) winter!
Specifically, everyone has packed up for Atlantic City, where they will neither gamble nor see a strip show (well, a traditional one).
Dez picks Brad, who last week casually revealed he is a single dad with a past domestic violence incident, for a date at the boardwalk, despite it clearly being one chilly ass day. The general docket: Rides, games, a spin on the carousel, a trip to a salt water taffy shop, and dinner in a lighthouse.
Here is a representative sample of actual things Dez and Brad say during and about this date:
- "It's really nice to spend a day on the boardwalk"
- "We're playing games and winning prizes"
- "We're having fun on this date"
- "I love this date, it's so awesome, it's perfect for me."
- "Oh my gosh. That's cool."
Imagine if conversation somehow had the texture and consistency of balsa wood.
It's a cousin to the disease of "amazing"—seemingly the only positive adjective anyone on the Bachelorette knows. Conversation generally on the Bachelorette harkens back to those Spanish orals during freshman year of high school when, in times of crisis, the two adjectives everyone defaults to are "interesante" and "simpático."
Anyway, this is all so wretched that even Dez can't abide by it, though the awkwardness may be a symptom of this hilarious shot where the camera guy must have been sitting directly across from them.
She leads him up to the lighthouse and tosses him onto the rocks.
Anyway, next day, we're back to Dez's apparent lifeblood: the ruthless, ceaseless embarrassment of all men.
Today's "group date" is a beauty pageant for men. The reaction is mixed.
The training scenes are a travesty and I can't relive it. A hot mic picks up Dez asking, "Do you guys hate me?" but without an answer. Drew at one point says, "It's a hodgepodge of tomfoolery," which is actually kind of accurate and great. Basically:
The pageant involves the real life mayor of Atlantic City, Miss America 2013, and Dez evaluating each suitor—like a Greek Week event, pretty much—on their looks, intellect, and ability.
Talent, as it is loosely defined here, ensues. Drew (the one with the wet hair) delivers a Shakespearean monologue, Kasey "tap dances," Ben waves those ribbon streamer things around, and there is not only one but two terrible Magic Mike tributes.
There's also this:
It's been established that Nerdy Chris here was a baseball player. This is, I will say, the sort of thing that a baseball player might do given the situation and constraints. But it also sums up the general despondency at hand.
"This day has been the best so far," Dez informs us in voice over. Kasey is crowned the victor, but Kasey does not receive a rose, kind of rendering the whole event pointless, beyond satisfying Dez's whims.
After the pageant, the crew all heads back to the pool to drink and make overtures for that single rose of the evening.
For his talent, Zak W. here actually played a country song—which he was really very good—so he finishes the song for Dez back at the pool. What I want to know is why he only played half the song at the pageant. Was he, like, booed off? What was wrong with that song?
A weekly reminder that everyone still loathes Ben, for what sound like good reasons. "We've heard more about his bar than his kid," one suitor says of him.
Chris informs Dez that he writes poetry, which he proceeds to sample for her.
Chris seems like a pretty good guy, and I've now moved into that phase where I'm actively hoping a few of these more normal ones get cut so they can escape.
If you thought, boy, "weather the storm" seems like a little insensitive given that the coast of New Jersey just got torn up by a crippling hurricane that's disrupted millions of lives, well, James and Dez—for their date—go out with the Red Cross to tour the affected areas, first by helicopter, then by meeting a couple who lost their home.
The show actually handles this very well for almost the entire segment, offering a tour of the devastation free of gimmicks. The couple the show profiles, Manny and Jan, have been married for 38 years and lost their house on the night of their anniversary. They are, of course, entreated to the date intended for James and Dez, and it's really nice.
Unfortunately, the entire series doesn't just end here with this living testament to the endurance of marriage over time and tragedy. We also have to keep up with James and Dez.
"I'm okay with giving up my date because they deserve it," Desiree notes.
They go to a local dive kind of place to eat dinner and drink Blue Moon, where James informs Dez that he once cheated on his girlfriend during freshman year of college. Which, like, I'm not excusing cheating here—say my name, etc.—but I mean, what's next? What is the statute of limitations on indiscretion? Will he apologize next week for lifting a can of Axe from Walgreen's in middle school?
Anyway, Dez and James do their best to make this about them and, weirdly, Darius Rucker, who is both on this date with them and seems to be doing well enough in the country music industry, fulfilling the parable of that old Alan Jackson song, to not need to do this. But I guess none of us need to do this.
As is tradition, the plaintive wail of a once prominent musician is the starting pistol for last ditch efforts leading up to the week's rose ceremony.
Michael goes with an acrostic poem.
And it works! He makes the cut. He always does, that federal prosecutor. Zack K., who the show barely acknowledged but seems normal, is cut this week.
Good for you, Zack! Good for you!