Welcome to Sonoma CA. Bachelor Ben lives here and makes wine here, so he’s brought all eighteen of his lady friends here because it’s where, he hints pretty strongly on several occasions in this episode, he intends to live and make wine. That is to say, he might be looking for love, but wherever in the world he happens to find it, it’s gonna have to come back to live and make wine with him in Sonoma. “Let’s have a party,” he says as he uncorks the first bottle of wine. Yes, let’s.
The problem is, sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how to get a party started*. We could probably do a whole lot worse than to kick things off the Ben way, on a wholesomely wholesome first solo date with enthusiastically bubbly little Kacie B. We could take a cute lil’ downtown stroll, maybe check out some cute lil’ Hello Kitty and Kermit the Frog lunch boxes in a candy store that also stocks, coincidentally enough for a young woman who used to excel at baton twirling, batons for twirling. And then we could learn to march and baton twirl, right there on Main Street!
This would make a lot of sense, actually, because Ben’s looking for someone who can be a part of his life in Sonoma, and so, if things work out**, he could give her the date rose, they could have a little smoochy smoochy time and after that, one more surprise – they’ll kill a hobo! Erm, no. The surprise is, they’ll go to a quaint, olde tymey movie theatre and watch old home movies of each other, and then Ben’ll mist up at the sight and sound of his dad, prompting a nice bonding moment that will mostly be for naught, if we recall past seasons of The Bachelor where the first solo date person, after hitting it off so well with the Bach’, goes slowly insane in the time it takes for him to get back around to her.
Some party so far, eh? Oh – not really? Hmph, I suppose you were thinking something funner would be with a group date, putting on some stupid play that Sonoma kids wrote and casted, about a bachelor prince who’s looking for his princess? Well, you could be right, just as long as Blakely’s invited along.
Here’s something we didn’t know about Ben until now – he might not actually be looking for his princess so much as he’s looking for his Queen Bitch. And Blakely might just fit the bill. The kids clam up as soon as she says a word to them, just like they should, and cast her as a gingerbread man***. The other women clam up whenever she enters a room because they’ve been talking shit about her while she was out of the room because they hate her, not without justification. You may well ask, “What other women? Who else is on this date?” I tell you, even though there are ten other women on this date, Ben likes her, so there’s really nobody else on this date. But here’s something really funny that happens whenever Ben talks to her: Blakely is the one who shuts up, I suspect largely because he says things to her like, “You seem super grounded. That’s what I like about you,” and “You came out of your shell today,” statements so completely devoid of insight into her true character that the words have zero meaning to her. The group date rose is hers, no contest****.
But, as Blakely is likely to discover, Courtney the model is not going to just let her walk away with the title of Queen Bitch. When sweet lil’ Kacie B. reads the date card announcing that Courtney will go on the next solo date with Ben, Courtney answers her with, “How did that taste, coming out of your mouth?” Yikes.
Away Courtney goes on a picnic date in the redwoods with Ben and his dog, Scotch, and during that entire time, her forehead does not move, not even once. It might be botoxed, or she might work really hard to remain as expressionless as possible. While exchanging dating histories, Courtney the model tells Bachelor Ben , “I meet nice people, but I’m not interested in them.” Who wouldn’t get a rose after a line like that? If it’s true what they say, that it’s not truly a party until the Bach’ expresses interest in at least two people who seem like genuinely awful human beings, then, just in time for the cocktail party/Rose Ceremony, this has finally become a party.
Now, about the cocktail party/Rose Ceremony at the end of each episode of The Bachelor. If you ever find yourself in, or about to participate in, one of these and you’re feeling the nerves because the resident Blakely is a nasty piece of work who constantly cuts in on everyone else’s one-on-one time and says vacuous things, or perhaps you’re just naturally kind of nervous/buggy (Jenna-types, I am mostly talking to you here), take note: The Blakely, with a rose already in hand, has the luxury of having a small breakdown involving the curling up in a ball and crying in some remote corner of the house. You do not.
But also, take heart: especially in the early going, just about everybody moves on to the next round. All you need to do is keep it together enough to make nice conversation with the Bach’ whenever he happens by and not come across like a total freak. If you can do this, your chances of staying are pretty good (unless you’re that girl with the outdated black-hair-under-blonde look – Shawn? – who must have eaten some glue or doesn’t have any teeth or something, because if not, WHY DON’T YOU TALK?), but if you can’t muster up even that much, then GO THE FUCK HOME.
*That is, after you’ve opened the wine.
** “This worked for me once, and I genuinely want it to work for me again,” he says, referring to The Bachelor process, which naturally and beautifully leads to a ‘What the fuck?‘ moment because, well, What The Fuck?
***Because there aren’t any wicked stepmothers in their stupid play. Another contestant made this riddle: “What do you get when you cross a gingerbread man and a hooker? Blakely!” There are still too many contestants for me to know exactly who it was that said it, but I am jealous that I did not make that joke.
****Jennifer the accountant got in enough smooching to trick herself into thinking that she stood a chance, but she was mistaken. Blakely is “100% confident in (her) kissing ability.”