Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?
Freeform took a brief break from it’s 24/7 Hocus Pocus Halloween marathon to air a gently spooky episode of Ben & Lauren. This group of sexually active white people with an insistence on exploring the deep dark woods should have definitely ended with someone being taken by the Blair Witch, but somehow they all escaped mostly unscathed.
Oatmeal and Nickname TBD take a phone call with a Bachelor producer who pushes them to make difficult decisions like picking bridesmaid dresses and whether Oatmeal will wear a bow-tie or a regular tie. Oatmeal jokes that he definitely has thoughts about the bridesmaids’ dresses and it’s funny because he’s a man. Oatmeal is overwhelmed that a TV network would like to pay for his wedding so he decides that the couple needs a break because he’s the man. Nickname TBD takes Oatmeal to an aerial yoga class because it’s her secret hobby because of course it is. Nickname TBD got a Gilt City deal for an aerial yoga class six months ago and she won’t shut up about it.
The teacher gives Oatmeal a tighter fitting outfit that includes some terrible hot pink leggings so he can more effectively aerial yoga himself. Nickname TBD jokes that she can see his “whole wiener.” I do not think you should be allowed to get married if you refer to your partner’s penis as a “wiener.” Oatmeal says that he’s going to give up being cool because Nickname TBD has already accepted him. I do not think you should be allowed to get married if you believe that you’re allowed to stop trying once your female partner “accepts you.” Both of these things are terrifying. One is childish and the other is the basis for thousands of sitcoms with sad dads and nagging wives.
The other distraction from wedding planning is … a camping trip! Oatmeal and Nickname TBD have invited their closest contractually obligated friends — err I mean totally regular close friends — to join them in the wilderness. Can someone explain why it’s okay for Lace and the Twins, three women who made out with Oatmeal a couple times, to hang out with him and Nickname TBD but JoJo isn’t? Oatmeal is driving into the woods with Chris Soules, who jokes that the trip is going to be a Brokeback Mountain. What does he think a Brokeback Mountain is? Also, that would be a great spinoff. The internet already went crazy when two Australian ladytestants found love so I can only imagine how sweet it would be if Oatmeal and Chris fell for each other. Nickname TBD drives up with the Twins and they make up more raps and have a breath-holding contest. Riveting.
The only thrill of the episode is when Oatmeal reveals that he’s invited The CHAD to the camping trip. Why. Is. This. Happening. The CHAD is the ultimate gaslighting abuser. For some reason, the Disney-ABC Television Group is very interested in continuing to trot this leaky bag of garbage in front of America and have it drip hot trash garbage everywhere. The entire episode is just everyone wringing their hands about how terrible it will be when The CHAD shows up and they’re all right except Oatmeal and Nickname TBD. In addition to hooking up with Grant’s ex, the CHAD apparently also talked trash to Lace’s face at AFR (After the Final Rose) and harassed her on social media. But Oatmeal and Nickname TBD talked to him in person for like five minutes once and he seemed okay, plus their lives are being paid for by Disney-ABC, so The CHAD is coming! The Twins freak out about bugs. Oatmeal teaches Nickname TBD how to fish. They all build a fire and go whitewater rafting. It’s a fun little afternoon.
Then, for a pre-commercial clip, Oatmeal and Nickname TBD dress up like the lead characters in Trolls and dance around to the damn Justin Timberlake song that’s been everywhere since like June. If anyone wants to know what it’s like to completely sell out, show them a picture of Ben Higgins dressed like a character from Trolls. It will haunt my dreams.
Finally, the CHAD shows up and does exactly what we all expect the CHAD to do. He insists that he doesn’t know why he does what he does, but then mutters, “Well, maybe I did it for the entertainment.” He says he doesn’t feel bad for hurting people, but then says, “Well, maybe if I hurt them intentionally, I’d feel bad.” He gaslights Lace and everyone else and doesn’t take responsibility for any of his actions and y’know what? Oatmeal and Nickname TBD are just as gross during this segment. Oatmeal makes the case for an actual redemption story for the CHAD and doesn’t consider the feelings of anyone else present. Oatmeal so clearly buys into the whole “storyline” thing and wants to create the best moment for a verbally abusive jerk to “clear the air.” Then Nickname TBD just shames Lace by saying things like, “This just shouldn’t ruin your relationship with us” or that Lace is going to run into him eventually so she should just get over it. The CHAD attempts to apologize as Lace cries and says she wants to go home. It’s disgusting and I’m over it. He strolls off into the night to become one with the trees.
When Oatmeal and Nickname TBD return home, they’ve got 17 messages from Megan. It’s time to plan their frickin’ wedding already!