Bachelor Ben: “On A Scale Of One To Wonderful…”

Would Ben Flajnik be the sort of guy that you followed around the world, forsaking all others in order to be only with him? What about if he wanted to take you along with him and a whole bunch of his other girlfriends? We got a little reminder of the #1 Rule of The Bachelor tonight, and that is, there’s only one person who’s allowed to be maybe-in-love with more than one person on this show, and if you’re a member of the supporting cast, it ain’t you, babe. No bet-hedging will be tolerated, total commitment is of the highest importance, in order to ensure maximum humiliation when you are eventually sent away!

So again, as far as Ben is this season’s The One who all must force themselves to find adorable and hunky and blah blah blah, is it so wrong to imagine that there’s maybe someone else out there in the world with whom each lady could find something approximating happiness, someone who’s a little less in demand? Chris Harrison says ‘yes’. Ben says ‘yes’.

To be honest, to watch the guy, sometimes it’s hard to get why he’s in such demand; does he not come across like a bit of a drip? Like, okay, maybe this can’t help but happen to every The One on this show. The show itself follows basically the same solo/group/solo date format from week to week, with only slight variations as the producers devise ways of spinning disinterestingness into drama. As The One, Ben spends way more time on-camera than anyone, placing on his shoulders a far greater responsibility for tour-guiding and small-talking and interviewing and narrating than most people would naturally be cut out for. And let’s face it, no matter how dreamy you are, with that kind of workload, you just can’t help but fall into some pretty repetitive habits.

BUT- it has been noted before that Ben conducts his quest for love in a remarkably passionless manner that more resembles a middle manager conducting a job interview for his executive assistant than a mop-topped vintner looking for somebody just right for proposing, and then narrowly escaping getting married, to. ‘How many times have you been in love? What happened? What did you learn from that experience about optimizing your future chances of realizing long-term love?’

Why doesn’t Ben ever want to talk to anyone about their dreams? I’d settle for goals redefined as dreams, as in, “Have you ever dreamed of just dropping everything and running away from all these cameras and producer/assholes to live with mountain gorillas, and if so, would you mind if I came with you, and could we leave this instant?” but I’d prefer, “How many times have you dreamed about flying since you got sucked into this shithole of a show?”

It seems like our little baton twirler, Kacie B.**, would be the sort Ben could talk about dreams with, but probably I should just face facts. The dude just wants to show up with a helicopter and fly her out to a deserted island where they can butcher coconuts and discuss topics like how ‘teamwork is important in a marriage’*** and “Are there significant points in time that have shaped you to get you to this place?” and “On a scale of one to wonderful, today was fantastic.”

So screw it, let’s move on to the group date, but let’s be mindful of the fact that Courtney**** is over the idea of group dates. But should she be so quick to speak, when they get to ride around in a leaky old boat like a bunch of good old-fashioned white-people explorers until they “discover” some naked little savage boys playing a game for naked savages*****? Why, it’s a whole village they’ve found, and the villagers are so generous with all the revealing clothing they have to offer******! Only Courtney and Ben wear their stuff the way they’ve been shown, all the other ladies insist on wearing their bikinis underneath and criticize Courtney for doing otherwise. Courtney refers to them accurately as “prudes”, then paints a B + C = ♥ on Ben’s shoulder while she wonders why none of the other girls try to make a move on him. This is not the first time she’s made such an observation. She might be Queen Bitch, but she’s not wrong.

Then, after they’ve returned to the civilization known as the Trump Club (fuuuuuuuck), we find Lindzi******* to be no more enjoyable than we ever have, but listen! Jamie talks! There she is, talking to Ben about how she hasn’t even shown that she likes him and talking about how she plans on kissing him if she can ever stop talking for long enough to kiss him, but oooooh nooooo!, she took so long with her talking that in the meantime, Courtney changed into her bikini and is now frolicking, solo, in the pool directly behind them, lounging on a lounge chair in the vicinity and generally being Courtney. Again, that’s a pretty Queen Bitch thing to do, but as much as she wants to blame Courtney for her not making her move, it’s Jamie that’s not making her move. Why? Be honest, Jamie! Ben’s alright and all, but – meh. Right? RIGHT?

The best part of this date was the last part, and not just because it was the last part, either. Emily apologizes to Courtney for whatever it was that she did that was so wrong, and Courtney accepts the apology, but only insofar as it affords her the opportunity to bitch Emily out some more. The nature of a true apology is such that it must be offered without expectations, and Emily takes the bitch-out like a trouper, but then, even though Courtney invited Ben to her room for a little one on one time later on, he doesn’t show, and we get this complaint from her, communicated via voiceover while she applies makeup in soft-focus: “I have a pattern of dating men who appreciate me in the early going and then take me for granted.” Tsk. Isn’t the nature of love such that it must not be offered with expectations?

Wow, nice, and now that we’re headed into a Blakely vs. Rachel two on one date on a bit of a roll, there’s one other thing to be offered without expectations: the craft project you’ve been working on away from the cameras. I’d say these two were headed down the perfectly acceptable path of nobody on this date getting a rose until Blakely whipped out her Ben Scrapbook and frightened that rose right into Rachel’s hands. Not that Rachel had anyone to gloat about it to, save for her cameraman. Ben was too busy outside with Blakely, showing that they must have had some kinda great relationship at one point or another for it to be ending this badly.

Same goes for Casey S., we guess, because according to Chris Harrison after he pulled her out of the hotel room, “You’re in love with somebody else and not in love with Ben!” She’s got an ex-boyfriend back home named Michael, with whom she doesn’t want to be in love, but thinks maybe she still is. A fairly inarticulate conversation results in her getting sent home and indulging in some very wheezy sounding crying. This must seem not even real to her, like a terrible dream********. god knows that’s how it looks from here. 

And then, thanks to another excrutiating scene where she tries to direct their kissing as it happens and won’t ever stop giggling, Jamie gets no rose.

*‘Love’, as subject to and defined by organizational requirements, doesn’t seem quite the same as LOVE, does it?

** “Ben, I dreamed that you got a better haircut. Any thoughts on that?”

***And it is, but come on!

****”Courtney, have you ever dreamed you were a tornado who measured your love via the swath of destruction you leave in your wake?”

*****er, soccer.

****** “Don’t we have some pox-infected blankets in the boat that we can offer in return?”

******* “Catherine the Great. All my dreams are about Catherine the Great.”

********Worth noting here is that Courtney’s reaction to her friend and ally getting sent home is a great deal more subdued than some we’ve heard in the past.

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  1. I think Courtney’s *actual* pattern of dating men is probably something more along the lines of: they appreciate her in the early days but then she sinks her sharpened incisors into their throats and starts slowly draining their lifeblood until they manage to pry her off with their fingernails and flee, barely in possession of their dignity, sanity and will to live. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

      • 68comeback
      • February 7th, 2012

      So there really are two sides to every story?

    • ric-racKaren
    • February 8th, 2012

    I missed this episode, but am disappointed that Courtney remains. How could previews mislead me? Honestly, what would be a better ending than for Ben to choose Courtney and then she realise that he is boring? I’m surprised she hasn’t clued in that he just isn’t much of a catch, but she is kinda dumb…

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