Episode 2: Lies and Basketball

DeMarioChris Harrison sets the tone for this episode right up top with one clear line: “I hope everyone is as sincere as Rachel is.” Obviously the camera zips over to Whaboom as Chris Harrison lays down the law, because everyone is fired up about Whaboom. I refuse to call Whaboom by his human name. I also hope I’m spelling it “wrong.” He’s obnoxious, he’s here to promote something that I can’t quite put my finger on, and ABC clearly cast him to get us all talking. If only we knew then what we know now. This guy is the least of my TV induced anxiety problems after this episode. I need a Hannibal Lector jaw restraint and straightjacket to contain my myriad of emotional responses. Let’s get into it.

GROUP DATE #1

Date Card:  I’m Looking for Husband Material…

Featuring: Dean, Jack, Jonathan, Blake, Iggy, Kenny, Fred, Whaboom

Clearly this date is designed to highlight the fact that Rachel is serious about finding a strong partner, someone who is ready and excited to be a husband and a father, and duh, Whaboom is in the mix because he’s definitely not here to be a hubby or a dad.

Before we head to the group date, I want to point out that we had the chance to catch a glimpse of the Westlake Village Inn where Rachel stays while her suitors are shacked up at the mansion. I don’t know why I never tried to imagine where the bachelor/bachelorette stays, but it was intriguing to get some insight there. What does she do when she’s not with the guys? Is she cut off from all things good and entertaining as well? Good thing she has Copper the pup to keep her company. He is proving to be another key player in this season. He is giving Adam Junior a run for his money. God, this is all so dumb.

Rachel is womaning the grill and rocking a cute sundress when the bros show up and Whaboom employs the classic Donny Trump shove to make his way to the front of the pack and score the first hug. Of course there’s the obligatory confession cam shots of Blake donning the white hat and proclaiming that the bad guy (ie: Whaboom) is winning, that Whaboom is garbage, etc. Blake shares that he himself is the only person who can actually ruin this for Whaboom…Blake, do tell. I’m serious. Tell me what you mean. Right now. Wait actually shut the fuck up because…

Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher just showed up.

Why yes, this show is their guilty pleasure and they’re happy to support Rachel. This beautiful celebrity couple helps host the friendly competition on this group date. Just a casual husband material challenge where each potential father/husband has to change a baby doll (yup, there’s fake shit in the fake diaper), wrestle the rugrat into a baby björn, vacuum down a carpet runway with the kid björned to his chest, rip a rope of hair out of a bathroom sink, unplug and drain the kitchen sink, set the dinner table so it’s insta ready, grab a bouquet of flowers, and sprint to the finish line. Ashton admits to the audience that he doesn’t think that Rachel’s guy is on this group date. And he’s right. Mila tells him that things take time, it’s only week two. Ashton’s like I knew on day one. MY MAN.

Ok so whatever, fucking Whaboom somehow wins this god awful race. He once again strong arms someone, but this time it’s in the throat, and it’s not just “someone”…it’s Kenny, the professional wrestler, who admits to having a lot of experience with white dudes acting crazy based on interactions at work. Whaboom makes the mistake of trying to engage in a friendly banter with Ashton. Paging Whaboom. Paging. You are not boys with Ashton. Clean-up on aisle 13. As if that’s not horrific enough, Whaboom tries to get Ashton to whaboom. Ashton blows a foghorn and calls a “foul on play.”   Ashton fucking hates this clown. The target on Whaboom’s back is getting bigger and bigger. Blake is livid that Whaboom didn’t follow the rules. Blake, I fucking hate this kid, too, but there’s nothing worse than a rule lover. It’s not that serious, Blake. Relax. Let Whaboom do the heavy lifting. During the group gathering after the husband material challenge there’s a desperate attempt made by Whaboom to earn some resemblance of respect from the audience.  Fuck you and your shitty poem. Go home.

Big takeaway from this boring date: Fred is still Rachel’s little camper, conversations about diaper changing techniques and five year career goals are not enough to turn Rachel on, and Blake lives with Whaboom’s ex-girlfriend. But they’re just roommates. Oh, and she’s getting evicted…? WHAT?!

Dean was the only one who managed to spark it up. Even though this kid got a ton of flack for saying “I’m ready to go black and never go back” on live TV, Rachel admits that she was really hoping to use that line on him first. Dean landed the group date rose, a sensual kiss, and some lipstick on his face. Well done, Dean.

1:1

Date Card:  I’m looking for my best friend…

Featuring: Peter

Peter, a fellow gap toothed smiler like Rachel, gets a surprise guest joining him on his date with Rachel. It’s Copper the pup. Copper has a cast on his front right leg, but his spirits are high. These three hop onto a private jet and head to Palm Springs to enjoy a day at….BARKFEST. Yes, it’s a dog swag party. Gotta cross promote BarkBox, the sponsor of Barkfest. This gathering has dachshunds, beachballs, shih tzus, a DJ, photobooths and little doggie swimming pools. Woof!/Woof.

Ultimately, Peter and Rachel had some open, real conversations about willingness to relocate for a relationship, Peter getting his family’s support for being on the show, both of them managing heartache and seeking professional help to better understand who they are as individuals.  I love the exposure of two “regular” adults going to therapy, and I love that Rachel loves that Peter opened up about going to see a therapist. Mental health is where it’s AT. No one is above therapy. More therapy for everyone.

After having conversations of substance and connecting on a romantic level, Rachel called herself “a smitten kitten.” Blah blah blah then there’s some fireworks, they MO. Fun. Moving on.

GROUP DATE #2

Date Card:  Swish…

Featuring: Will, Jamie, Diggy, Alex, Adam, Lee, Matt, Eric, Josiah, DeMario

DeMario is on an emotional high when he learns he’s on a basketball themed group date. He tells us that he is in his ZONE, and he’s going for BLOOD. His advice for the other men on this date:

“You could either sink with the fishes or you could swim ashore.”

-DeMario

Rachel comes through with another amazing guest star, Mr. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. This man is a legend. He is 70 years old and 7 feet 2 inches tall. Rachel comes up to this man’s elbow. It’s awesome. Rachel knows that she wants a man who is confident, assertive, and stands out. DeMario is proving to fit the bill.

I’m confident, I’m confident like Michael Jordan in the finals, I’m confident like Tom Brady in the superbowl, I’m confident like Derek Jeter. I’m straight up a winner. Born a winner.

-DeMario

He definitely has game, but Kareem reminds Rachel that even though she may love an athlete, being able to ball does not a husband make. ALTHOUGH, basketball is much like a relationship. It’s about teamwork. He later states that sometimes people pull a Jekyl and Hyde on you. You never know…All valid points. Thank you, Kareem.

This group date was not going to stop with lay-up lines, dribbling drills, and DeMario dunks. Kareem announces that there’s going to be a game in front of a packed house. Adam Junior is in the audience. The locker room is filled with Gatorade, uniforms, and sweatbands. It’s serious. Eric is a little too thirsty when he steps onto the court. He is dancing and making a scene mid-game before he picks up the basketball, dribbles down the court and promptly chucks up a brick. But it’s fine. It’s fun. Rachel is dancing with the cheerleaders and shimmying with the marching band. DeMario does some showboating, his team ends up losing.  The men go back to the locker room, Rachel is bonding with white fans. I cannot unsee the cut away as soon as black woman and her daughter approach Rachel to say hi.   Show us this interaction! Rachel is everyone’s bachelorette, and Bachelor Nation is not Nazi Germany or Donald Trump’s America. Fuck that.

Just when things can’t get more fucked, some chic walks over and introduces herself as Lexi. Lexi tells Rachel that she was watching TV last week and much to her surprise, she saw her boyfriend of seven months was one of the first few guys who met Rachel on After The Final Rose.

It’s DeMario. He still has the keys to her apartment. He never broke up with Lexi. He ghosted her. Three days later she turns on TV and there he is with an “engagement ring” and tickets to Vegas as his shitty canned intro. Rachel goes to get DeMario to figure out what the hell is going on. Of course, this guy thinks that he is being rewarded for his baller performance. The man has no idea. He rounds the corner with Rachel and sees Lexi with her arms crossed as she smugly shoves “karmas a bitch” right in his face. DeMario is in a tailspin. He requests to have a conversation off camera because this particular matter is very personal. Rachel confidently states that she has committed to having the nitty gritty of her personal life on camera for this entire journey, so yeah we are having this conversation right here, right now.

This whole shitshow was Cops/Maury/Judge Judy combined. I deeply admire Rachel’s ability to have a clear, logical conversation with two emotional people running their hysterical mouths at the same time. She never once lost her cool with Lexi despite the fact that she was heated as hell and kept interrupting DeMario. She gave DeMario multiple opportunities to explain his side of the story. Bottom line, he’s fucking lying. DeMario is talking in circles, making up stories that he broke it off with Lexi in person at her house. Lexi retorts: “The last time you were in my house you were fucking me.” Moment of silence. He prides himself on being respectable and being real. Well, that’s confusing! Lexi whips out her cell phone to provide proof of their relationship, that DeMario promised to try harder and introduce her to his friends and family, and that he never broke it off with her before coming onto the show.

“I’m really going to need you to get the fuck out.”

– Rachel

Demario claims that his “character has been assassinated.” That is some bold shit right there.

My heart breaks for Rachel as she feels enraged, embarrassed, and defeated. The producers are following her around trying to get her to talk about it. She escapes to the women’s restroom for a second to be alone. What a goddamn nightmare. But this woman is a force.  She rises from the ashes looking fine as ever at the rose ceremony. She reconnects with her first impression rose recipient, Bryan, who gives her another mouth snack, and Rachel cashes in on her “gift card” for a massage. God bless Bryan’s chiropractor hands.

Oh, and then DeMario fucking shows up outside the mansion. Obviously the boys are pissed at him, too. DeMario promised Josiah that he could be the best man at his and Rachel’s wedding! He was keeping this dirty little secret from everyone, not just Rachel! The episode closes with Chris Harrison escorting Rachel outside after she has confirmed that she would like to see what DeMario has to say for himself. Lee rallies the troops to flood the driveway and back up their girl.

DeMario, DeMario, DeMario, we unfortunately knew ye.

Exes and UH-OH’s,

Ann


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