Bachelor in Paradise
Who would have thought that the romantic hero we all needed was blond, baffling, and bilious? Who knew the man we were all looking for was someone who would laugh at his own jokes like Ray Liotta in Goodfellas while talking like Ralph Lauren Spicoli. There’s only one man shaving his own nipples and cartwheeling into our hearts, and his name is JOHN PAUL JONES — and, yes, you have to say all three. If you’d asked me, “Ali, do you think that this week will feature JOHN PAUL JONES involved in a love square where he ends up vomiting in public AGAIN?” my answer would have been, “Of course. Anything is possible. Nothing means anything anymore. Who gives a shit?”
THIS is the content I signed up for. This is exactly what we need in a world where entire ecosystems are on fire and the president is threatening to drop a nuclear bomb on a hurricane. Finally, we got what we needed: two ROCK-SOLID HOURS of JOHN PAUL JONES madness.
Bachelor in Paradise really shines when it drops the pretense of being the place where you find true love and just delivers the nutritional and intellectual value of a bag of Skittles. Give me someone having an emotional breakdown that they are narrating. Give me a “doctor” wearing acid-washed jeans and a clearly fake mustache. That man could not have been a doctor. He obviously was a member of a Mexican boy band that Paradise hired to appear as a doctor. I’m fully obsessed with that man and everything he brought to the table, and he brought a toy stethoscope and a tray of guacamole for Tahzjuan.
Let’s get to it. It’s a NEW DAY in Paradise and everyone has decided to bury Derek in order to hide his sadness and let him be born anew with a marg in his hand. Wait — hold on … before we go any further, I have a theory about the recent seasons of The Bachelor Cinematic Universe that I think explains what is throwing everything off.
All these people are too young and entirely too steeped in very Christian-whatever culture. Listen, there is nothing wrong with being in your early 20s and trying to get laid. That frantic, sexual energy will power the planet when our sun dies. There is also nothing wrong with having faith in your life. But what is happening is an entire beach full of people who have had either ZERO relationship experience or a wildly intense relationship history (remember when Hannah Brown mentioned she had been engaged TWICE?!?!?!) are ardently seeking MARRIAGE with people they just met. It produces a culture where folks are willing to continue to pursue things that probably aren’t good for them just because the only option is DEEPLY COMMITTED RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR HUSBAND AND WITH GOD. It’s a Venn diagram that ends up being one circle that just says “BAD DECISIONS” in the middle. That’s how you end up with Demi and Wells somehow being the wise sages of Paradise with little evidence that either of them have good ideas, and Caelynn deciding to ignore everything she wants out of a relationship and every single red flag about Dean just because they sort of had a difficult conversation with no resolution.
I know that the show pushes the “end up engaged” story line because Bachelor in Paradise has produced more marriages than The Bachelor, but c’mon, selecting Colton and Hannah B for the last two leads has definitely lowered the median age and increased the number of folks with Bible verses in their Twitter bios.
So how does this manifest? Tayshia has just decided that she’s ready to settle down with a Serious Man, so she’s no longer interested in an untroubled boy like JOHN PAUL JONES. It’s this odd combination of “He’s Older So He’s a Man” and “I Need a HUSBAND” that leads to Tayshia unleashing the Chaotic Wholesome that is JOHN PAUL JONES into the world. She tells him that he should take advantage of everything Paradise has to offer. And Paradise has to offer Tahzjuan.
WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? HOW DID SHE GET THERE? She didn’t prepare a single thing before heading into Paradise. This bitch did not buy sunscreen. This bitch did not pick out a setting spray or matte foundation. She also did not familiarize herself with the temperature in Mexico. She’s too warm and she’s not having fun. Also, Tahzjuan is saying everything a bad bitch would say but she does not have the actual attitude of a bad bitch. She’s talking smack but she’s also about to cry. “I’m here to take everyone’s man … [sniffle].”
She arrives on the beach and immediately asks JPJ on a date. This is like Hollister Philip Seymour Hoffman going on a date with Forever 21 Azealia Banks. Everyone’s emotional reaction is wildly inappropriate and it’s UNSETTLING. The best part is when JPJ decides to eat the staged date food and screams, “WHAT? WE’RE AT A RESTAURANT,” when Tahzjuan tells him not to. There is a bat flying around the entire date. This is abstract. This is postmodern. This is absurdist. This is Paradise.
Back at the resort, all the women from Colton’s season say he was the worst kiss of their life. You can’t be a virgin who also can’t kiss. That’s worse than being a virgin who can’t drive.
Caelynn gets it in her head that Dean is thoughtful and caring, but Demi and Wells tell her that she’s a naïve, stupid bitch if she’s falling for Dean “being kind to her” and “making her feel special.” Caelynn brings her concerns to Dean and instead of just saying, “Hey, I’m having concerns about our relationship,” she says, “Everyone is saying that you have a bad reputation and you’re going to break my heart. Thoughts?” Dean is the worst and says that he’s the worst. Dean, mere acknowledgment of your flaws cannot and should not be confused with self-accountability or growth. Dean even says, “You’d hate being my girlfriend.” That should be Caelynn’s signal to get the fuck out of there, but she wants a relationship and there’s nothing she could possibly do in this situation to get what she wants. She is legally obligated to kiss his weird mustache and that’s it.
The next morning, Haley, one of the twins, arrives because her sister has a boyfriend and Haley needs a hobby. She sets her sights on JPJ. A few of you are probably wondering why so many women would be after JPJ, but I think it’s because he gives off “great at oral” vibes. He’s playful, eager to please, and has a big appetite. Haley and JPJ go horseback riding and when they come across a beach, JPJ says, “I should have brought my goggles.” That’s a man who lives to get wet.
At this point Tahzjuan is undergoing a full meltdown. She says she’s so over this shit and forces her body to shut down out of frustration and pettiness. While she’s being attended to by the “doctor,” she asks for “guacamole and TOR-TIYYA chips.” At one point, Tahzjuan takes a sip of her drink and lets the entire thing dribble out of her mouth. She stands and screams into the ocean. She’s eating spaghetti in the pool alone while crying, which is what the kids call “a mood.”
Haley and JPJ stand at the top of the Paradise stairs full on Winnie the Pooh-in’ it and make out before heading back onto the beach. Tahzjuan looks at them and declares their date “lame,” calls Haley a “pigeon” to her face, and lies that she jumped into the river naked with JPJ. Oh! I forgot she says she wants to spit in Haley’s wine. Now she’s just regular Azealia Banks.
It’s time for the cocktail party. Tayshia looks FULL-ON AMAZING. WOW. The unoccupied women all head in with an agenda. Tayshia is going to lock down Derek, Katie has to win Chris back, and for some reason, Kristina is insisting that Blake give her a friendship rose. Even more weirdly, they all accomplish their goals. Tayshia and Derek have a VERY flirty and sexy moment where Derek’s case for Bachelor is solidified. Katie tells Chris that she wants him and him alone, and he tells her some vague nonsense but ends up giving her his rose. Kristina interrupts Blake’s time with Caitlin and Caitlin says that Kristina is a bitch, which is what sisterhood is all about.
JPJ pulls Demi aside to hang out with her and Kristian is upset to see Demi maybe flirting with someone. She says, “This is not what I signed up for.” How funny. I also never signed up for her to be doing any of this. She also makes the really great point that there’s no one there for Kristian to be tempted by. So they’re just not even pretending to be part of the show anymore. We’re just watching two people go on a couple’s trip. When I want to watch people in formerly secret relationships go on trips, I’ll watch 90 Day Fiancé.
It’s time for the rose ceremony and Chris says they’re going to be doing things a little differently. Demi is going to give Kristian a rose first and — oh, that’s it? Okay.
Dylan gives Hannah his rose, Clay picks Nicole, Mike picks Sydney, Dean gives his rose to Caelynn. Blake gives his rose to Kristina because he’s just bad decisions personified. Derek gives his rose to Tayshia and I ship it. JPJ gives his rose to Haley even though she’s his second choice, and Chris gives his rose to Katie. Caitlin, Tahzjuan, and Jen are going home.
Dean takes Caelynn aside to talk to her about something and we all can see the breakup (ON HER BIRTHDAY) coming a mile away.
To be continued …