“I’m in it to Vinny!” – Izzy, struggling to pronounce “win it”
So how do you Vinny Bachelor in Paradise?
Don’t Play Hard to Get
As we saw last week, Wells explains that you probably shouldn’t play “hard to get” on a dating show with 20 other competitors. While this might work for frontrunners, it doesn’t help backrunners. I just made up a word.
Ashley pursues Wells with the same subtlety with which Lady Gaga dresses.
“She just touched his hand to her butt.” – Grant”
As she should.” – Evan
“Yeah, smart move.” – Grant
If the Grant-Evan seal of approval isn’t enough for you, I don’t know what is.
It also shockingly leads to Wells Adams picking Ashley Iaconetti over Jamie and Shushanna, the latter who bursts into tears and shouts, “I don’t fight for guys!” I’ve never tested this strategy myself, but it doesn’t work for Shu. Last-one-in Tiara just plain gives up and sits on the beach eating chicken, which is a strategy I actually have tested.
It doesn’t work.
Terrify Us with Your Passion
“It was right in front of me the whole time.” – Carly quoting every rom com ever made
Cynicism does not work well on this franchise. Being guarded does not work. These might work well for your self-respect, but it’s important to embrace the faux fairy tale narrative of the show. Last week, Jared Haibon ran after Caila Quinn’s escape van. This week after being dumped by Lamp Guy Brett, Izzy Goodkind decides to pack her suitcase and reunite with Vinny Ventiera. Evan screams down, “IZZY! IZZY! Go get your Vinny! Go get Vinny!”
“I’m in it to Vinny!” she screams back sanely.
And while the success rate might not seem so great on the surface, it beats out the success rate of calm, measured thought. The ability to get engaged after at max 18 days of dating requires a certain amount of spontaneous lunacy, but maybe those people deserve each other. It certainly works for the tattoo artists. It works for Grant Kemp and Lace Morris.
When he sees the vendor with the “Grace” bracelets, Grant’s over the moon. “It’s Grant and Lace. We had to buy them.” He solemnly points at his wrist. “This… is no joke.” I may have burst out laughing, but that’s because I am dead inside. In truth, I admired his earnestness.
In fact, a streak of romance is important to the show. You need to terrify us with your passion. Paradise is a great big engine that runs on the fuel of shattered hearts and soulfire.
Apparently, the worst day of Carly’s life is when Kirk dumped her. That was the worst day of her life??? Either way, she threatens to chop off Evan’s balls if he does the same, which is a good start to an engagement. You might make fun, but Carly Waddell and Evan Bass will soon be married, and you will not. (I assume you’re single because you’re reading this.)
Meanwhile, Ashley giggles, “It’s very exciting that I will have Wells locked in the room with me! You’re mine for the next 12 hours!” And Grant eats cheese with a giant knife.
I don’t know if the last part is relevant, but he seemed pretty passionate about the cheese.
Learn to Narrate
This skill is crucial. People like Ashley and Lace and Chad Johnson make an impression and are recast because they bring the drama. But the ability to form coherent thoughts goes a long way towards audience likability and the producers actually rigging things to keep you around. Remember Juan Pablo and Chris Soules? If I were them, I’d think about hiring speechwriters. I’d be surprised if they can even get out an order at McDonalds.
Consider the long list of steroidal beefcake and bimbos the show seems to specialize in. Where do Carly and Evan fit into that archetype? Even Daniel Maguire and the Ferguson twins were incredible meme generators.
But The Bachelor is different from Bachelor in Paradise. Ben Higgins was successful because he was a pleasant blank. ABC loves their blanks because they’re less polarizing, the same way the protagonists on TV shows sometimes aren’t as exciting as the wacky side characters. Unfortunately this can lead to nice bland plateaus, which is probably what’s written on Ben’s resume.
Nick Viall’s ability to narrate is precisely why I am so pumped for the next season of The Bachelor. We need contestants who don’t pull their punches. Juan Pablo never became interesting until he became a villain. Andi Dorfman was memorable for giving him a post-coital shredding. Sean Lowe became memorable for… No sorry, he was never memorable.
Have a Redemption Story
America hates those on top. We like people who are dragged through the cesspool, before they rise dripping from the muck to delouse themselves into shining Greek gods and goddesses. The reason why no one likes Superman is because he’s perfect. We empathize with Batman because he’s a gnarled mess. Perfection is boring. The ability to overcome a painful past or a catastrophic decision? That is not.
This season had a laundry list of success stories:
Carly surviving Kirk
Evan surviving Carly and their habanero kiss
Daniel surviving his own personality
Nick and his first two seasons
Vinny and his hair
Play the Game
Break the rules. Court controversy. Write a tell-all.
Nick stormed his way into the public consciousness when he pissed off every male contestant on Andi’s season before slut-shaming her. He showed up out of nowhere on Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season, and she became the greatest Bachelorette of all time by unashamedly sleeping with him before the Fantasy Suites and then bravely defending her actions. Ben Flajnik and Courtney Robertson had ocean coitus and apologized to no one.
There’s a reason Luke Pell was cast aside like the quinoa salad at a meat buffet (once the working title of this franchise).
Nick is a wily competitor. He knows every trick and every trade. He’s seen it all. He’s pulled the stunts, shmoozed the producers, completed his redemption arc, exercised unhealthily, and sobbed uncontrollably.
When Chris Harrison eventually retires, I hope one day to see Nick as host, wearing his robes and sipping a mimosa.