Once upon a time, a marketing executive for Disney Studios and a producer at ABC woke up next to each other and gazed longingly into each other’s eyes. The producer smiled and leaned in for a kiss, but stopped right before the executive’s lips and whispered one word, one darling, sweet word: "Synergy." Ah, honeyed, starry-eyed, calculated synergy. It’s the thing that makes the world spin and reality TV shows stay in business.
But seriously, have you guys heard of this Cinderella movie? It looks pretty good. It’s totally a thing that’s happening that comes up naturally in conversation, because people are so interested in it.
Amazingly, the movie tie-in with Cinderella stirred up enough drama and schmaltz to make this episode vaguely watchable. It never reaches the complete meltdown status of last year's Bachelorette/Hundred-Foot Journey synergistic cooking session between Andi and Brian where she tastes her food and says it has no flavor and then realizes she's talking about their relationship.
Let’s check in on our own Prince Charmless.
Instead of stumbling upon his lady love in a wooded thicket or hearing her beautiful voice drifting down from an ivory tower, Prince Charmless gets to see some titties.
Chris takes some of the ladytestants to a non-enchanted lake for an all-natural camping trip. Everyone is terrified that they will have to forgo makeup, and everyone (especially Ashley I., who has a rough week this week) shrieks and gasps, terrified that the man they all want to wake up next to for the rest of their lives will see them without their eyelashes and contouring.
Ashley I. and Kaitlyn are so nervous to be around Chris that they take their bikinis off. Thank God they didn’t forget to contour their vulvas with waterproof bronzer. That would have been really embarrassing for Chris to see their vulvas without any makeup.
Instead of having some goddamn fun, Kelsey takes this opportunity to throw some shade on California’s lakes by saying, “This is absurd. I’m from Michigan. We have beautiful lakes. You don’t go to this dingy pond. Whatever, I’m here pretending to enjoy this hellhole. I would rather be taking a fork and stabbing it in my eye.” Use the hashtag #PureMichigan to henceforth disparage the lakes of other states.
Kelsey gets stung by a bee on her inner thigh.
While the ladytestants are airing their nips, Chris’s three sisters come in and pick his one-on-one date for the week. Seriously? This dude has three blonde sisters who live in far-flung parts of the globe yet are going to come together to help him find love? Is the aforementioned producer named Hannah Christina Anderson? (Get it? Hans Christian Anderson? He wrote a lot of fairy tales?)
Britt, Jade, and Whitney all gush about how much they like Chris, while Carley says she’s looking for a love like her grandparents have and wants Chris to be her grandpa. She is not picked for the one-on-one date. Jade is, because she’s laid back but not a pushover. She likes compromise, but is all about balance. She’s taking this seriously. She’s here for Chris.
At the campsite, various women corner Chris, but Ashley S. stares into his eyes for way too long, makes him look at the moon, and then asks him, “What are you? What are you?” over and over until her vocal fry manages to creak out the message that He’s so fun. Ashley S. is the Luna Lovegood of the ladytestants.
Pretty much from here on out, the topic of virginity and princesses comes up so often I thought I was watching a 1950s sexual-education tape targeted toward the young aspiring secretaries at the Wallenda Wellington Finishing and Typing School for Lithe Blonde Girls.
Quick Virginity/Princess Rundown: Ashley I. corners Chris in his tent to tell him she’s inexperienced in every way and makes out with him all over his face; Jade gets an Eastern European woman as her Fairy Godmother to dress her in glass Louboutins; Chris practices his waltz by himself, repeating, “I farm, but tonight I’m a prince,” all the while; Jade’s dress is inspired by THE MOVIE CINDERELLA COMING SOON TO THEATERS, Becca reveals to the other girls she’s a virgin, the producers make Jade run back to her limo at midnight after watching a clip from THE MOVIE CINDERELLA COMING SOON TO THEATERS; the other group date is a MuckFest run in wedding dresses; the girls are shocked Ashley I. is a virgin because she’s made out with Chris about 3,000 times (giving us the greatest line in reality TV: “Her mouth isn’t a virgin”); Britt questions Chris’s integrity because he gives roses to women who show him their titties; and Kelsey calls the group date “a date for bimbos.”
See what I mean?
Anyway, Jade gets a rose, Kaitlin gets a rose, and, in a shocking turn, Jillian does not get a rose despite winning MuckFest because she runs her mouth so much that she confuses the oatmeal-brained Chris because, and I quote, “the words are coming out of her mouth faster than I can process.” Chris eliminates her on the spot and leaves her on an L.A. rooftop. Jillian lives there now.
Before the rose ceremony, Ashley I. forces herself onto Chris, as best a virgin can, to tell him again that she’s a virgin, and did he hear she’s a virgin? She’s never had a boyfriend because she is a virgin, and she’s a virgin because she’s never had a boyfriend. Britt confronts Chris about the connection between his rose-distributing habits and his penis. His integrity has officially been called into question.
Chris gathers the girls and chastises them for questioning the man in which they're supposedly interested. He doesn’t say that, per se, but that was the subtext. How dare you question my integrity or my methods? I’m allowed to kiss whomever I want and give roses to whoever shows me their sweater pillows and that doesn’t make me corrupt. I'm looking for a wife!
Things have changed. Emotions are involved. Things are getting real.
At the rose ceremony, the following ladytestants get roses: Whitney, Carley, Meghan, Samantha, Mackenzie, Kelsey, Becca, Ashley I., Britt. Two virgins get roses.
Chris thinks Juelia needs to spend more time with her daughter and cuts her loose.
Who else didn’t get a rose?
As she saunters out of the house for the last time, poor, feral-cat-finding Ashley S. slurs out, “I feel nothing. I have no feelings so ……. Like, honestly. I can’t believe …….. I’m not worried about me at all! Who? Who? Chris, all I have to say to you is …………….. nothing.”
Good night, sweet princess.