Shakespeare wrote that, “Parting is such sweet sorrow” – but he obviously never had to watch a bunch of jabronies compete against each other for a woman’s affection on national television. If he had, he might have gone with something along the lines of, “Parting is pretty great. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.”
Speaking of ol’ Bill, the guy also wrote a little play called Hamlet that takes places in Denmark; and if you’re still unaware of that fact this morning then you were watching some other reality dating show last night. Rachel’s a smart cookie and I’m sure she knows a thing or two about the Bard, but she needs to ditch the intern who’s getting their BA in Drama who decided to throw all the other Danish facts out the window and leaned hard on, “Shakespeare wrote a play that took place here. Let’s talk about that.” Live and learn, Tiffany. Live and learn.
Truthfully, the goodbyes were not only necessary, but long overdue. As per usual, the two-on-one date was just an awkward trek to a destination in the middle of nowhere where cheap furniture had been set up by interns (good job, Tiffany) and the unhappy trio sullenly sipped low-shelf booze out of expensive glassware until it was time to get the show on the road. Recapping this drama would have all the excitement of listening to a thirteen year old explain a middle school love triangle that a friend of a friend is involved in, so I’ll stick to the facts: Lee and Kenny talked a bunch of shit about each other, Lee’s a bigot, and Lee got sent home. Everything else is beside the point, even the fact that Rachel looked like they were filming in the Arctic Circle (down jacket, hood up, shivering), Kenny appeared to be in Upstate New York in October (light jacket and clearly cold because he was underdressed and should have known better), and Lee was seemingly taking in a balmy morning New Orleans (Henley, booze, and a smile). Unpacking their individual reactions to the climate was really the most compelling thing of that segment.
All that being said, Kenny does deserve a little more attention. The man has heart in every sense of the word; he dug himself out of the Lee-sized hole he put himself into with Rachel by speaking honestly about their potential, not making wild claims that he’s in love with her after only a few weeks. More importantly, he’s not only looking for a wife, but someone ready to be a mother (I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but Kenny has a daughter). Look, everyone – Kenny included – knew he wasn’t winning this thing, and in the end he decided the woman that mattered most was waiting back home for her dad. This bookie isn’t made of stone, and watching Kenny call his daughter is as close to a human moment as this show gets. I’ll take it and any future calls we may get as a result of Kenny’s tenure with the Bachelor-industrial complex.
The other man who deserves some acknowledgment after this brace of episodes is Dean, who clearly just wants to go home. Poor Dean, out of his element in Scandinavia, really has the look of a guy who misses Venice Beach, acai bowls, and his lacrosse bros. On back to back group date parties he’s sported a white t-shirt under other poor wardrobe choices while the rest of the guys dressed to impress. He wore a jockstrap outside his singlet during the handball match (though he did make a good Pippen to Will’s Jordan, dishing lobs unselfishly), and spent the majority of the Viking training looking like he was practicing nonviolent resistance. I was genuinely disappointed for him when he received his rose and I think he was too. Rachel, give the guy a break and either take him somewhere warm or cut him loose. Especially when he publicly speculated that maybe Bryan – a clear frontrunner – was potentially getting sent home from his one-on-one date. If he’d take that bet, I might be able to offer him exclusive odds on the sun rising in the west, the Knicks winning a championship in the next twenty years, and other seemingly impossible events.
In the midst of notable departures by Alex (most eccentric), Anthony (most insightful), Josiah (most unbearable), and Will (most embarrassing shirt/most likely to maintain swagger), perhaps the least surprising exit came courtesy of Jack Stone who set the simple act of going on a date back at least a hundred years. I’ve seen actual train-wrecks that were easier to look at than Rachel gritting her teeth through what may have only been sixty minutes, but felt like several days, with Jack Stone – a man who very likely has people tied up in his basement at this exact moment. There was a point where it got so bad that Rachel was drinking water, understanding that it was best to eschew booze and keep her wits about her. When a guy responds to the (paraphrased) question of, “What would you like to do if we were back in Dallas?” with, “First off, I’d lock the door,” it’s time to go. And not just go like, “I’ve got a thing, but I’ll call you, I swear,” rather, “I need to go file for a restraining order right now.”
The one positive of watching that dumpster fire nestled in the Valley of Woe was Matt Damon making a killing at The Geek’s. I advised him to lean heavy on that action and he did not disappoint – a fact I found out early when I got a call from Chris Harrison shortly after Jack Stone’s dismissal:
“I know what you’re doing, Clint.”
“Hello, Chris,” I said, lighting a cigarette. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“Why do you think you still have kneecaps?” he asked, getting right to the point.
“Yoga and good calcium intake?”
“Because I haven’t ratted you out to Jimmy.”
“I haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about,” I replied as I wiped down the board, readying it for this season’s action.
“Taking Kimmel’s money is one thing. But using Matt Damon – someone he likes even less than you – to take his money? That’s suicide.”
“It’s my goddamn money,” I shot back. “I just plan on reclaiming it. With interest.”
“So you are involved.”
“Boy, nothing gets past you, Harrison. You’re a regular brother Seamus. When’re you going to teach this level of detective work to your producers?”
“Can it, Jackson. You want to keep this game running? It’s gonna cost you. Twenty percent of the take.”
“Looking to add blackmailer to your resume?” I asked.
“Blackmail is such a dirty word, Clint. Let’s call it ‘hush money.’”
“Well whatever you call it, you’re talking to the wrong guy. I don’t touch the money.”
“You’re telling me it’s all on Matt?”
“I’m not saying that. Buy if you do start implying otherwise, I might start telling people the information he receives is coming from you.”
“You wouldn’t,” Chris said, with as much edge in his voice as Dean’s Viking war cry.
“Keep your mouth shut, Harrison,” I said. “And I won’t.”
I switched the phone off and went back to work on the board, which took full shape after the end of the second episode. We’re down to six, and while I still don’t know who Matt and Adam are, I know they’re not winning this thing. To make the action a little more interesting, I decided to offer odds on the next man eliminated – because why should I have to wait until the end of the season to make my payday?