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The Bachelor: What happens in Cabo ends up on TV

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Bachelor_l This week’s installment of The Bachelor proved to be a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am(s) experience. In an abbreviated, 45-minute episode set in Cabo San Lucas, Brad bedded three different women, booted one of them from the competition, and sullied the reputations of dolphins, the America’s Cup yachting competition, and famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in the process. No wonder our leading man was sweating like a barnyard beast through his clingy t-shirts!

Of course, in his defense, the final-three episode is always tricky territory for The Bachelor, who must perform the grotesque dance of trying to get each of the remaining women to declare their love for him (most likely under orders from the producers) while also cajoling them to spend a night with him in the “fantasy suite.” (Or, is that “Fantasy, sweet!”) Side note: For the love of all that’s holy, why is the hotel-room key always presented along with a hand-written note from Chris Harrison? There’s something inexplicably creepy about the way the show injects its smarmy host into the most intimate moment of the bachelor-bachelorette relationship, turning their decision to spend the night together into a sordid, three-way contract.

Anyhow, Date No. 1 this week found Brad and Jenni (a.k.a. Gummy Bear, pictured) swimming with dolphins. I wasn’t sure if Jenni’s squealing was a fear response or an attempt to communicate with the aquatic mammals, but thankfully, Brad was there to assure her he wouldn’t let their magic moment devolve into an episode of When Dolphins Attack. I just wish someone had been there to comfort Flipper. I mean, what did the little guy do to deserve winding up on the sleaziest episode of America’s most embarrassing reality-dating series. If that dolphin could speak English, he’d have turned to the cameras and demanded, “Bring back the fiery hoop! Anything! Just get me away from these freaks!”

Oddly enough, Jenni seemed far more comfortable when the camera crews zoomed in for a discussion of the overnight date, manically stroking Brad’s hand and declaring, “I’m pretty sure you have something special in your pocket, and I’d like to have it.” Classy!

Date No. 2 — or, more accurately, the Doomed Date — found Brad and Bettina (a.k.a. “Damaged Goods”) boarding a onetime America’s Cup yacht and sailing to a desolate beach for some sexytime. You pretty much knew this was going to be Bettina’s last hurrah, because on The Bachelor, being divorced falls somewhere on the scale between being an axe murderer and having the Ebola virus. While Brad said he needed to see “the woman in [Bettina]” (eww), Bettina, showing the kind of intelligence and survival instinct you don’t expect on a reality-dating series, declared herself “kinda scared” of getting intimate. Which meant, of course, that after her dinner at a Frida Kahlo-themed restaurant, Bettina confessed to the camera that her growing love/lust was “the best feeling in the world. I mean, it’s the best feeling in the world. I’m feeling it, and I’m shy about it. But at the same time I know I just need to go with it and be with it and be with him.” (Translation: “The producers really want me to go into that bedroom and shut the door.”) That aside, mad props to Bettina for refusing to cry after Brad ditched her, then put her in a stretch limo with a producer who I suspect did everything short of cutting up a pungent onion in an attempt to get the waterworks underway.

Finally, we had Date No. 3 with DeAnna, where Brad noted he was going to “focus on one woman and one woman only.” But which woman was that? After DeAnna crushed Brad on the auto track, we got three seconds of beach footage, and then — bam! — the couple ended up at a restaurant with very prominent Day of the Dead figurines and some truly awesome pink, carved-wooden chairs. I kind of suspect my brain zeroed in on the décor because I actually like DeAnna, and couldn’t bear to witness her rapid-blinking confession that she was falling in love with Brad. Said emotions, by the bye, must’ve ruined girlfriend’s appetite, since her plate was still chock full when she and Brad retired to their hotel room. Also, did anyone else love the way Brad asked, “Just you and I?” after DeAnna agreed to spend the night with him? Was he trying to hint that he wanted to invite Bettina and/or Jenni along for the ride, or was he merely alluding to the fact that a camera crew would need to be present to capture some candlelit foreplay footage?

I’m betting DeAnna “wins” the finale two weeks from now, since Jenni has expressed an interest in keeping her job as a Phoenix Suns dancer and dating Brad long-distance, and ABC probably would like Brad’s “engagement” to last at least three weeks into the next Bachelor season. Are you with me, or do you think Jenni will end up as Brad’s top dog? Also, is it just me, or are daytime rose ceremonies far less dramatic than evening ones, even if they take place at the precarious edge of an in-ground pool? Discuss!

Originally posted November 6 2007 — 4:48 PM EST

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