Monday night's episode of The Bachelorette was in ... Argentina! It reminded me a lot of the previous episode of The Bachelorette, which was in Argentina. The Bachelor has an episode in a different place every week; The Bachelorette sometimes just goes to a random foreign country and just stays there until it's time to come home.
They actually used one of the same gags from last season of The Bachelorette: To start off the episode, one guy, Alex, got to go on a road trip with JoJo while everybody else had to ride on a bus together. They got to drink beer (and coordinate Beastie Boys songs about the situation) while Alex had to entertain JoJo with nothing but Pringles and his own poor freestyling capabilities:
I don't mean to digress, but in the middle of this post about The Bachelorette, I'd like to include a complete list of times a person who isn't actually good at freestyling has impressed a woman by saying, "Hey, I can freestyle about anything." Here goes:
Anyway, sorry about that digression. Back to The Bachelorette. Alex and JoJo went to go watch some gauchos do gaucho stuff, which apparently includes extremely sensual horseplay:
For the record, this isn't something all gauchos can do. This is one dude who has trained six horses to do incredible things. I suppose the idea is that watching this guy make out with his horse will convince JoJo and Alex to make out?
It works? As they proceed to snuggle on top of this horse with a guy next to them:
Eventually, Alex worked up the courage to tell JoJo he loved her, at which point JoJo realized she didn't get the feeling from hearing that phrase she'd hoped for and sent him home, even though this was hypothetically a date he couldn't get sent home from.
This is kind of a theme for JoJo, huh? She brought Wells on a one-on-one date after they hadn't kissed for the entirety of the show, then after he worked up the courage, told him the kiss didn't inspire the emotion she'd hoped and that she'd realized he wasn't the man for her.
On the one hand, this is hypothetically good usage of the show. Gauging 26 different relationships is a hard task, and if somebody were trying to do it as correctly as possible, this would be how: Putting themselves in as many experiences simulating meaningful relationship moments as possible and seeing how each one felt.
On the other hand: holy crap that is so freakin' cold. Pretty much every contestant on a Bachelor show talks about how difficult it is to open up, and while it begins to sound like a reality TV cliché, it's completely understandable. We can only get pain from things we're emotionally invested in, so we often tell ourselves we're not emotionally invested in things to avoid pain. When you're on a reality TV show, it must be easiest to just tell yourself you're not emotionally invested in it, brushing it off as a fake Hollywood experience to avoid actually getting hurt by it.
JoJo seems to have a knack for waiting for the exact moment guys are willing to admit to the world that they're legitimately emotionally invested in this experience, THEN telling them it just isn't right and they should go home. Sorry, Alex! On the plus side, it makes for great TV.
JoJo and Jordan then flew on a private jet to a vineyard where they stomped grapes, which they then proceeded to drink.
Just FYI, guys: You're not drinking wine. If you want some wine, you're gonna have to remove all the unpopped grapes, stems and skin, filter out whatever gross stuff your feet just put in there, and then let it ferment for a few weeks. You're drinking non-alcoholic footgrape juice. (Winemakers don't actually smash grapes with their feet anymore, because it's 2016. However, I would definitely jump around on grapes if given the opportunity, so I won't rain on JoJo and Jordan's parade too hard.
The third date of the show was an UNREVEALED OUTDOORS ACTIVITY, which was canceled due to thunderstorms. So they couldn't study how to be a mime, go cross-country skiing, or learn the art of traditional Argentine barbecue from a friendly grandma before -- surprise! -- participating in a barbecue contest judged by JoJo herself!!! Instead of whatever other dumb date they were planning on going on, JoJo and her three suitors had the best date in Bachelorette history: They got a hotel suite, ordered room service and drank all day:
James shoved as many french fries into his mouth as possible:
(James also gets eliminated on this episode. No word on whether it was related to the fries incident.)
Robby ran up and down the halls in his underwear:
And they played Pictionary! (This was "Chad.")
And because everything on The Bachelor is an ad for The Bachelor, the date ended with everybody snuggling and watching the Brazilian version of The Bachelor.
I promise you that this is a more effective way of determining a better future partner than taking Argentine quilt-making classes under a waterfall. You don't make Argentine quilts often in real life, but you do get rained in, drink wine and watch bad TV a lot in real life.
THE BACHELORETTE POWER RANKINGS
(Remember, these aren't power rankings of who will win, but rather power rankings of who will actually win by getting invited onto further Bachelor-related TV shows and therefore continue living in a semi-vacation with free booze and appear on TV often enough to get enough Instagram followers that you can make side money hawking shirts and beauty products.)
Jordan's developed into a bit of a polarizing character here.
He's the show's obvious front-runner, so much so that other characters have begun to develop inferiority complexities about his obvious front-runnership. Never forget that quarterbacks have literally everything going for them: They are required to be tall, thin, athletic, but not overmuscular, and smart. There's an alternate universe where the quarterback is an unimportant football position that only touches the ball twice or three times a game, but the quarterback is still the most popular kid at every high school. And on top of that, Jordan is really handsome and funny. And he's related to a famous multi-millionaire. He's got a lot going for him.
But there's also the overriding sense that he's just ... kinda ... not really into this? He just seems like he's not really that into this, right?
A few weeks ago we speculated that Rodgers might be on this show because it would be a great career move for a former quarterback interested in a TV career to show a large national audience that he is handsome and charming. Last week it was reported that Rodgers had landed a job with the SEC Network, which is owned by ESPN, which is owned by ABC, which of course shows The Bachelorette. (Neither Rodgers nor the SEC Network has confirmed the hire, but it would be a good one.)
At this point, Rodgers could do a series of very normal and understandable things that lead to his relationship with JoJo working out and him getting a very good job that he'd be perfect for. That makes him ... smart, right? But I'm sure he'll seem like the newest reality TV villain for it.
Luke had a huge advantage here, due to my longstanding theory that Argentina is just South American Texas. They're big on beef and barbecue and here let me just show you:
They've both got cowboys:
JoJo was seen putting Alex into a pickup truck, which is very Texas:
And then the final rose ceremony was held in this building. Which looks familiar:
(If any of you go truther-ing about how the Alamo is a very typical example of colonial Spanish architecture I'll fight you.)
I guess that's why they call Argentina "The Lone Star Country."
Anyway, Luke's date involved riding horses. Luke grew up on a farm. He is good at riding horses.
He mentioned breaking a horse to JoJo, who apparently thought this meant physically breaking it in half. But since we've already learned that the key to JoJo's heart is man-horse sensuality, I think this is a good sign for Luke.
Luke's date involved shooting guns. He went to West Point and served in the Army. He is good at shooting guns.
I'm not being bold, but either Luke or Jordan is going to win this show and the other is going to be The Bachelor. Everybody else is trash.
ayy buddy Harry Potter called and he wants his damn tie back
ay Rob this is a rose ceremony not a sorting hat ceremony. Gryffindor-ass tie
I'd also like to chastise Rob for stealing the shower slippers they give you in fancy hotels:
ayo Rob how many miniature shampoo bottles you bringin' home from Argentina? are you hoarding all the tiny little chocolates they put on your bed when they do the turndown service? DID YOU STEAL A BATHROBE? ROBBY. ANSWER ME. DID YOUR HOTEL ROOM HAVE A TERRYCLOTH BATHROBE TO MATCH THE SLIPPERS AND DID YOU STEAL IT. LET ME KNOW.
evil Will Forte-lookin' mofo
4. James Taylor
James was eliminated Monday night as JoJo thinned her herd from five to four, making him the final person eliminated who didn't get to have a hometown date. Alas, we did finally learn that his father is also named "James Taylor," which makes his own name more understandable -- his dad was probably born before James Taylor was a famous musician, which is how "James Taylor" became a family name -- and more baffling -- James' dad just lived through 30 years of your life where people have noted that he has the same name as a famous musician, how could he then place the same name upon his child? But we're getting off topic here.
James started out as one of the more likable characters because he seemed to enjoy fun things and seemed genuine about things. But in the last few weeks of the show, he became sorta insecure about how all the other remaining cast members were better looking than him -- he straight up asked JoJo if her relationships with everybody else were more "physical," which at first I thought was him asking if she was having sex with them.
His method of dealing with this perceived inadequacy was just to snitch on everybody else for other perceived inadequacies, telling JoJo of Jordan's "entitlement" while playing cards and telling JoJo about Robbie's wandering eyes when pretty Argentine women walked past.
Well, you know the old saying: Snitches get ... I believe it goes "snitches get eliminated from The Bachelorette."
As noted, Alex got eliminated. You knew it was over when JoJo said he looked "cute" in his "little gaucho outfit." Just not a good sign.
Alex got to be the sympathetic character on Monday night's episode, because he was getting eliminated, but don't forget the near-crippling Napoleon complex that made him the show's highly confrontational expert on Bachelorette rules and etiquette for almost an entire season.
Chase is one of the last four contestants on a show that started out with 26 and I still know almost nothing about him, which is all I have to say about him, I suppose. Instead, let's talk about something else!
A few weeks ago I was out of the country for the first time in a long time, which is why I didn't write a recap of the last episode of the Bachelorette. On it, Chase found himself on a 2-on-1 date with Derek, which he won, eliminating Derek. So Chase walked into a ballroom where an Argentine lady belted out "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" because, you see, they were in Argentina while Derek got into a car, told himself not to cry and started crying:
I love The Bachelorette, so I don't say this lightly: This is absolutely the best thing I have ever seen on The Bachelorette. Yes, even better than when we compared the dating strategies of Mussolini and Hitler. (OK, maybe not quite that good. But close.)
It was great for so many reasons. First of all, it's hilarious that they asked two people to dance to "Don't Cry For Me Argentina." Argentina invented tango, and they're asking a couple to dance to a seven-minute-long ballad from a Broadway show about the country's long-dead first lady. The people who wrote this song never quite understood why it became a worldwide hit instead of just a popular song in their musical. A DJ explained to Tim Rice that DJ's played it when they needed everybody to get off the dance floor. NOW DANCE TO IT, JOJO.
The Bachelorette's producers knew they only had one shot to use the only song most Americans know about Argentina. I cannot praise them enough for having the foresight to make it the exact moment when somebody was most likely to cry, right in the middle of our planet's most famous anti-crying song. Just brilliant.
Anyway, every word I say takes away from how great of a reality TV moment this was. I just wanted to talk about how great it was. It will never be recreated, although I look forward to a teary-eyed Bachelor contestant being driven to the airport in Vietnam while an extremely inappropriate and treacly version of Billy Joel's "Goodnight Saigon" plays.