Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After? Recap: Flip or Flop

Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?

What a Difference a Year Makes
Season 1 Episode 7
Editor’s Rating *****
Ben Higgins, Lauren Bushnell. Photo: Josh Vertucci/Freeform

Can you believe it’s been one whole year since these two human mason jars filled with salad met? It seems like just yesterday that these crazy kids were on a completely different reality show trying to make it work. A year? It feels like, just ten minutes ago, Oatmeal was actively pursuing Nickname TBD’s best friends (plural) as romantic options! How the time does fly.

Oatmeal knows that the last few weeks of their lives have been an emotional roller coaster. At first, I thought they were commenting on the election and the emotional roller coaster I personally have been on, but then I remembered that these shows tape in advance. (Who do you think Oatmeal and Nickname TBD voted for? Did they write in Chris Harrison?) For their anniversary, they are getting a “surprise” sponsorship from Secret deodorant to renovate the home of one lucky woman named Ranya. They’re reviewing the video Ranya’s friends made about her and how worthy she is.

Guys. I can’t make fun of Ranya. Yes, I will concede that her name is Ranya. Like if Scooby-Doo was trying to read Uncle Vanya, but that’s it. Ranya started a charity to help veteran in the ‘80s. Since then, she’s raised over $82 million and has contracts with major furniture stores to donate furniture for veterans. Ranya, you are such a great person. I desperately wish my job were writing about Ranya. She deserves a show more than these two human versions of ugly Christmas sweaters. Somehow, Oatmeal and Nickname TBD decide that their strengths are construction and interior design, so they’re going to give Ranya the home she deserves. Don’t fuck this up, you two.

They call up their friends to get ready and they try to set up the Twins with Mattias. Oatmeal describes the Twins as “they look like Tara Reid but sober.” If I had to describe Oatmeal to someone, I would just say, “Tara Reid is his ideal woman.” He’s trapped in 2002. I bet he keeps asking Nickname TBD to do their first dance to “The Reason” by Hoobastank. Also, if you look at Nickname TBD, there’s some Tara Reid in there. He clearly went to the Bachelor producers and asked for some Tara Reid types. This is all making sense now.

Oatmeal also unveils a dance called “The Higgy.” It is his celebration dance and it is simply the whitest thing I have ever laid my eyes upon. There’s no other way to describe this dance. Oatmeal also wants to improve himself while helping Ranya, so he sneaks off to have dance lessons with a man who looks and acts like Sparky Polastri from Bring It On.  He learns to waltz while Nickname TBD unloads a massive shipment of Secret deodorant that was left on their doorstep.

Oatmeal and Nickname TBD head out to Ranya’s house to surprise her. She has absolutely no idea who they are or why they’re there. They take a tour of her house and it is the same level of unfinished as Kenya’s house on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. They send Ranya off to the spa and get to work. The rest of the episode is a pretty standard HGTV construction montage. What makes it so awesome, though, is the random shots of Ranya and her husband getting pedicures and facials and drinking cucumber water. The Twins use the construction to hit on guys and discover their inner Tom Sawyer and paint various things. Oatmeal keeps talking about how this good deed will bring him and Nickname TBD closer together. He wants a partner who will give up her life for others, so it makes sense he’s marrying a lifestyle blogger. The greenhouse is in danger of not being finished on time and Ranya and her hubby don’t have any more areas to be scrubbed. They’re coming home soon. Ranya’s friend calls a battalion of Army men to come help them finish the greenhouse. The Twins don’t understand why the greenhouse isn’t … wait for it … green.

It’s time for Ranya to come home and see what two non-construction, non–interior decorator people have done to her home. She walks in and it’s like the after house on Flip or Flop. It’s devoid of any personality and completely generic. At least on Flip or Flop the complete lack of color and pattern is so the house can sell. Nickname TBD has turned a selling tactic into an aesthetic. She watched all those hours of HGTV and learned the wrong lesson. She also didn’t have enough time to plant all the vegetable plants in the greenhouse. Oh well, enjoy your chore, Ranya.

Oatmeal and Nickname TBD go back to their greige house where he has a surprise for her. He set up tons of lights in their backyard and a giant “B HEART L” light and they waltz under the stars and drink Champagne. They go over their highs and lows from the year. Oatmeal then gives Nickname TBD her anniversary gift: He had the wings she gave him on their first night on The Bachelor cast in gold with their initials and made into a necklace. It’s actually sweet and nice. She didn’t get him anything.

Ben & Lauren Recap: Flip or Flop