the condescension of being perfect and other wisdom from Paradise
EPISODE 4: Treehouse Harems, Pizza Moans, and Caila the Destroyer
So I didn’t know it was a legitimate approach to go to women while their tongue is literally jammed in another person’s mouth and ask them out, but apparently it is! And with this newfound knowledge, the world is my oyster!
Evan interrupts Amanda’s make-out session to take her back to his pre-arranged treehouse harem of love, which if I were Amanda, would suspect there was about a 28% chance of being murdered. To my shock, Amanda actually accepts, though she is a giant people pleaser. (She later reveals she thought Evan was going to ask her for advice, such is her complete dismissal of him as a romantic partner.) They talk for a while as Josh Murray looks on and the Bach editors splice in what felt like hours of him moaning as he eats pizza. After I went to go vomit, I came back and found that Amanda had politely rejected Evan. Crying, she goes back to Josh, who continues to scarf down pizza while her tears season the remaining slices.
Jared sits down for a post-mortem with Evan, who in a complete delusion believes he still has a chance and that she said she wanted him to ask her out. (I checked the tape. She did not.) Jared, trying to prove my bad guy thesis wrong (and thus, proving it right!) from last week tries to comfort him, but in the least confidence-boosting way possible.
Jared: And like it sucks right now because the girl you wanted is with a guy who is 6’3, 225.
Evan: It’s been 24 hours. (smiling) We’ll see what happens.
The parallels to my life are absolutely bone-chilling.
Then Daniel shaves Vinny’s back and ABC just doesn’t want me to keep my dinner down. Nick’s job is listed as “runner-up.” Carly won’t stop calling Evan her ex-boyfriend even though they dated for exactly six hours, which is so fantastic I want to make that statement my ex-boyfriend. Josh continues to sweat. I mean this guy is drenched. Or maybe it’s just his natural greasiness.
Lightning round over.
Sarah recaps her lukewarm reaction to her kiss with Daniel. After Carly had to throw up last week from Evan, I’m starting to grow more and more terrified. Do all women discuss their kissing with each other? I always thought this was some kind of movie-born stereotype, like pillow fights or braiding each other’s hair. I thought this ended in high school but apparently it is still a thing.
Evan, in an ugly pattern, goes immediately to throw Josh under the bus. This leads to a girl talk, which leads to Lace telling Grant, which leads to Grant wanting to go to tell Josh, except NEITHER of them realize Josh is sitting right next to them! Evan is annoyed that Josh won’t give genuine answers about some bad allegations; Josh is annoyed that Evan is a snitch. Josh the Moaner is also a former-athlete who sounds exactly like a former-athlete. I feel like he’s going to thank God for the ability to suck Amanda’s face, that he had a lot of heart to pull it out in a hostile environment over Nick, and he’s got a car dealership to plug.
Evan flip flops on his choice of women the moment he gets Carly’s platonic rose. He remembers he’s on camera right? And Haley platonically picks Nick over Brandon. Floppy-haired Brandon says, “It’s pretty confusing to be honest. She gave me all the signals that were there that she was feeling it.” Thereby proving that he missed all her disinterested body language as easily as he missed her swapping identities. High marks though for self-awareness. “Nobody knew who I was. That’s probably what it was. I was just boring.”
“Nobody knew who I was. That’s probably what it was. I was just boring.”
– Brandon’s tombstone
Then Caila arrives and the game changes.
All the men are blown away by Caila. All the women are intimidated by Caila.
“I think she just comes off as perfect and sometimes it comes off as condescending. I don’t–what does ‘condescending’ mean?”
It’s kind of amazing. Caila is like a company that is so hot they decide to spin off a separate business to help the share price in stock. It’s Caila the person and Caila the voluminous hair. Two separate entities.
Even more incredible? The difference between Interested Jared vs. Uninterested Jared. It’s so apparent now how much he sleepwalked (sleptwalked?) his way through his dates with Jubilee and Emily. He’s so excited. It’s like Limitless, the movie where Bradley Cooper is a burnout who takes pills and suddenly unlocks the other 90% of his brain and becomes a super-genius. Jared is the producer who managed to get that bullshit script backed and make millions.
Caila asks out Jared, who is honest in telling her who he’s gone out with. Before Caila can politely let him off the hook, he cuts her off so quickly my head spins. He’s learned from Ashley I. and Jade last season. He says he’s still more than willing, but he wants to talk it out with Emily. Poor Emily actually handles it pretty well despite the fact that her heart is ripping in two and says she doesn’t want to stand in the way. (She will later go on to undermine this feeling of empathy about every 5 sentences.) I’m floored. Is this what it looks like to see two people making non-terrible romantic decisions? I can’t even comprehend this. Are Jared and Emily now my role models?
Unfortunately for Emily’s sake, I feel like Jared and Caila actually make sense as a couple.
We have a light-hearted interlude where Daniel drinks water from Vinny’s belly button, proving that since his previous run-in with Evan on JoJo’s season, Daniel definitely has a navel fetish. Izzy also asks how Vinny got his back shaved, who in a hesitation that has been done since time immemorial, spends half a second pretending he doesn’t remember who helped him before deciding the lie would be too ridiculous. “Daniel,” he says. “That’s cute,” she says. It’s a great moment.
Jared and Caila return from their date, and he has an amicable break up with Emily. Except Jared can’t look her in the eye, and she is pretty broken up. “I don’t want to cry because I’m like–look cute right now.” I empathize with you completely, Emily. “I like always meet great guys who like–never pick me. Like they always pick someone else and they’re always way uglier than me, so there must be something wrong with me.” Emily has also brought a stuffed animal with her. The lesson, 23-year old Emily, you must learn is to NOT CARE ABOUT ANYTHING. HARDEN YOUR HEART AND NEVER LOVE AGAIN.
“I don’t want to cry because I’m like–look cute right now.”
The Grant-Lace and Izzy-Vinny duos go on a foam party double date. To counter, Sarah-Danny and Evan-Carly go on their own informal one. Daniel does that awful thing that people do when they try and thrust two people together and one of them is clearly not into the other. Evan gets drunk and passes out, and the producers ask for a medic, which is weird because no one seemed to care when Chad did the same. Meanwhile, Carly won’t stop talking about how she’s simultaneously grossed out by Evan and attracted to him, which is about his ceiling.
The showrunners switch to night-vision for Amanda and Josh as they settle into bed and pretend that she has no children that will definitely see this on YouTube one day. Then they put in an amazing stock footage montage of flowers opening, trains going through tunnels, water crashing on rocks, fountains spraying, and fireworks.
The episode ends with a teaser of Ashley Iaconetti’s return. It’s so perfect it’s almost condescending.
EPISODE 5: “Don’t Kill me!”
Chris Harrison is kind of gross and asks Ashley I. how far she’s gotten with Jared in baseball terms. Second base, if you want to know.
Ashley I. says her goal is to cry only three times and to be mature, which reminds me a lot of all the failed New Years Resolutions I made to exercise more. And also to cry less and be more mature.
She greets them all by saying, “Don’t kill me!”, which is a very normal greeting. Jared breaks it to her early on that he’s into Caila. Ashley I. cries. It has been about 7 minutes by my count.
The worst part is that I hear she’s actually kind of funny with some self-awareness. When she’s talking to a producer she predicts she’ll be made to look like she’s talking to a raccoon (they opt for parrot). You can almost make out the outlines of a human being beneath all that flaming wreckage.
“She’s a backstabbing whore of a friend.”
-Ashley I’s unbiased assessment of her friend Caila
Jared talks Ashley into asking Daniel out so she can get over him. Jorge the bartender tries to comfort her about her upcoming date by saying Daniel is hotter because he has bigger boobs. They go to eat at a fancy restaurant that’s been cleared out for them.
“Ashley and Daniel going on a date together could quite possibly be the most entertaining thing anyone could ever see.”
– Grant, actually showing personality
Daniel goes straight for the sex jugular. He’s way too interested in her virginity. Then he mentions his bicuriousness in a way that Ashley I. is unclear to whether he’s being ironic, and quite frankly I can’t figure out that too. This guy is hard to read. I feel like he would make a great spy because if he gets captured, his torturers would have no idea what the hell is going on.
This is about the point that I start to think about how Ashley I. has a master’s degree. I went into some deep debt for my own, and I’m starting to feel like they’re handing these out like candy.
Then Daniel’s mouth makes words again.
“I can deflower this American beauty. You know, does she want Canadian sex? Does she want some Canadian bacon? With maple syrup drizzled on it? Maybe some Canadian sausage and bacon. Maybe she wants some Canadian poutine.”
Alright, I think it’s necessary to do some play-by-play analysis of this.
“I can deflower this American beauty. You know, does she want some Canadian sex?”
This is maybe more nationalist jingoism than I’m used to in romance, but okay, I can respect that. Represent your country.
“Does she want some Canadian bacon? With maple syrup drizzled on it?”
Now he’s mixing metaphors, but I get it. The bacon is his penis.
“Maybe some Canadian sausage and bacon.”
I get this as well. Daniel has two penises. Probably the most nonchalant revelation of double-penis ownership I’ve ever heard.
“Maybe she wants some Canadian poutine.”
If you somehow missed the poutine craze, it’s a messy dish of french fries, cheese curds, and gravy. Basically, he wants to know if she’s interested in contracting syphilis.
Before much more can happen, ancient Aztec warriors (or actors???) show up in full regalia to carry Ashley I. and chair off so that they can “sacrifice a virgin.” Daniel sits there and continues to eat as she vanishes into the distance, thereby showing that he is the right choice to take up the Die Hard mantle when Bruce Willis eventually retires. He just doesn’t even have any more shits to give. Even Bruce cared about Holly.
Ashley I. continues to cry to the twins. When Jen (who?) from Ben’s season shows up, she also goes straight to the twins. Apparently everyone feels comfortable going to the twins for the skinny. And the twins continue to fail the Bechdel Test even among themselves.
Jen and Nick manage to relax on a yacht date together, which is pretty impressive considering they place a camera between Jen’s breasts and leave it there. Meanwhile, Evan has to go to the hospital for swelling in his ankle and thinks this is a great time to get some time with Carly. The medic gives him an I.V. and basically squirts blood all over his arm, which is concerning.
Carly gets back on board the Evan train. Then she says “choo-choo.” She even mimes pulling the horn. Basically, she’s taking her romantic cues from Ralph Wiggum.
Nick continues to kill it in an amazing image-rehab. He has such a good rapport with the other women. He tells Ashley I. that she’s infatuated and obsessed with Jared and that they will never end up together. Ashley I. proves him wrong by sobbing all over Jared enough that he considers leaving. We might finally witness a full-on Jared breakdown and proof of my hypothesis. Jared wears the black hat!