Welcome back to The Bachelorette, where Desiree Hartsock is looking for love on national television, as God (and programming executives) intended. Last week, Desiree earned our respect by recognizing the giant red flag that was Brandon, who declared his love after three episodes and a few group dates. Don’t worry, he will undoubtedly be the next Bachelor with a therapist in tow. After all, it worked so well for Bachelor Brad! This week, Chris Harrison tells the men to pack up their tube socks and Axe body spray, because they are taking the show on the road and heading to…Atlantic City.
Here’s what happened this week on The Bachelorette:
First Date: Brad gets the first Jersey date. Who is Brad? TBD.
Best Editing: While Mikey “Not From Jersey” T., the plumbing contractor, explains that he doesn’t think Brad is a good fit for Des and that he won’t be able to bring the fun out in her, we cut to Des and Brad screaming in glee on the carousel.
Best Acting: Des, dressed in a white turtleneck, manages to smile and laugh as Brad shoves melting, dripping chocolate into her mouth.
Bachelor Milestone: The Bad Date. Brad, who has a child, and Des have an awkward dinner date, and not just because it looks like was shot on the set of a 1980s soap opera. There is a lot of nervous drinking interspersed with interviews with Des saying things like, “I’m conflicted.” She takes him to the top of a lighthouse to bid him farewell. The ghost of their love now haunts the lighthouse. Sorry, New Jersey!
Second Date: Brooks (who looks like he’s recovered from his finger injury), Juan Pablo and a bunch of other guys who look exactly alike get invited on the group date. The only one not invited? A man named James whose most defining characteristic is that his neck is as wide as his head. He gets the one-on-one date.
Group Date: Sometimes this show hits bottom and starts digging, in the best way possible. If the rap song didn’t turn your stomach, the Bachelorette Mr. America Pageant will. The men are trained by the reigning Miss America and pageant expert Christopher Dean in the art of the interview, making the most of their talent, and how to score points in a swimsuit — all to be performed in front of a live audience.
Best Secret Talent: Former soccer star Juan Pablo grabs the baton, twirls it, throws it in the air, catches it and winks.
Truest Words: Looking around the room, Michael G. assesses the competition, “It’s like a train wreck at every station.” Yes. Yes it is.
Best Contestant: When asked what animal he would be, Brooks blurted, “The lion, no hesitation.” His “talent” involved a ukelele he didn’t know how to play (and smashed on stage) and a self-mocking swimsuit routine. He took second runner-up from the panel of judges.
Most Confused Contestant: “I’m tired of being a piece of meat.” — Mikey T., walking ham hock, who then stripped his shirt off, did a handstand as his talent and bounced his pecs during the swimsuit competition.
The Winner: Kasey earned his crown, sash and flowers by fake tap-dancing, mumbling his way through the interview (by saying he was “a giver”) and managing to not make too much of fool of himself in his swimsuit. Close enough!
Best Tweet: A particularly eye-opening tweet appeared on the bottom of the screen: Bachelorette executive producer Mike Fleiss wrote: “Coming up, James in a bubble bath.” Sure enough, within five minutes we see James sitting in a bubble bath, feeding himself chocolate-covered strawberries.
Biggest Disconnect: While Des thinks Ben is potentially husband material, everyone else continues to hate him.
Date Rose: Zak W., the fluid drilling engineer, gets the date rose after singing Desiree a song he wrote about her. Girls are silly like that.
Bachelorette Milestone: First Helicopter Ride. Just in case you like to get your news via reality television, on this episode, The Bachelorette tackles Hurricane Sandy and its devastating impact on the Jersey shore via a helicopter ride down the beach. While it’s good that the show is keeping attention on the plight of people still trying to rebuild from the storm, it was basically destruction porn while Des and James tsk tsk and cuddle.
The Bachelorette Gives Back: After Des and James step out of the helicopter to walk around the coastal community of Seaside Heights they are introduced to a couple, Manny and Jan, who lost everything in the storm. After witnessing the couples’ loss, Des decides to give her date to Atlantic City to the couple who had to spend their wedding anniversary in a Red Cross shelter. James goes along with it, because he has to. While Manny and Jan head off in a limo, James and Des go get a slice and a beer.
TMI: On their first date, James tells Des that he cheated on his girlfriend of five years. Turns out, Des was cheated on herself and isn’t in the mood to date a cheater, but does admire his honesty. She gives him the rose anyway.
Private Dancer: While Desiree apparently has a thing for dancing at private concerts (this is the third time in four weeks), this week, she passes along the opportunity to dance alone to Darius Rucker to Manny and Jan (the lovely couple she met in Jersey). Well, at least for one song. Then she boots them off the dance floor and makes them watch her make out with James.
‘B’ Stands For Barf: Mike G., the federal prosecutor, sweats profusely as he writes out the letters of Des’ name on notecards, adding a ‘G’ last, because that’s the first letter of his last name. Get it? Des does — and then they make out awkwardly on a bench.
Bachelorette Milestone: First Freak Out. Bryden, who is back to his unfortunate Dumb & Dumber hair, can’t handle the pressure of first-date syndrome. He had a great first date with Des but must now sit and sweat and watch Des date ten other men. He announces that he is kinda-maybe-sorta considering leaving before he gets stuck starring in his own personal emotional Hurt Locker. Des reassures him, because she has been there. Drama, diffused.
Rose Ceremony: Zak W. and James already have roses. Chris and Brooks take the first two roses, followed by Juan Pablo, Drew, Michael the prosecutor, Ben, Kasey, and Bryden, who waits a beat before accepting it, because Drama!
The Final Rose: Des gives the final rose of the night to Mikey the plumbing contractor, leaving the other Zack as the lone leaver. Desiree hugs him while he expresses his shock and dismay at being asked to leave, while the rest of ask, “Who?”
Best Reason To Come Back Next Week: Desiree wants sausages. And the men deliver. In Munich!