Memorial Day is a time to thank our veterans for giving us all the freedom to enjoy the spoils of American traditions: barbecues, swimming pools, and, of course, turning the intrinsic human desire for love into a highly-produced advertiser-friendly reality show.
The 19 remaining guys start their morning raising their Bloody Mary’s to Andi, the girl of everybody’s desires. Chris Harrison asks the excited group what they think of Andi, and amidst the responses of “great,” “she’s cool” or “down to earth” one bro shouts out “HOT!” My money is that was Craig, but you’ll see why later.
Chris Harrison elaborates the stakes, “I’ve been doing this a while, obviously, and she’s one of the best. I mean, she’s an impressive woman. And to think that hopefully, one of you will not only will fall in love with her but she might become your wife. I mean that’s where this is headed."
And we’re back to the standard format: one group date, and two one-on-ones. Let's get it started.
First One-on-One: Explorer Eric
“Eric, love is everywhere,” reads Firefighter “Hot” Carl.
Ok, let’s just get this out of the way. Eric tragically passed away. But rather than watch through teary eyes and analyze his appearances with the caution of walking on broken glass, the only way to appreciate the guy is with the levity I use with everybody else. RIP Eric, but with that, we’re moving on.
Andi comes to pick up Eric in a sweet BMW convertible, which would get me into an early argument if I were Eric since I'd insist on driving. I didn't think Explorer was a legitimate profession since the days of Teddy Roosevelt and Indiana Jones. But apparently, today's explorer is less about finding canals and Biblical artifacts and more about just doing cool stuff abroad. Whether visiting witch doctors or riding a motorcycle halfway across Africa, Eric proves quickly that he has a story for everything.
The two arrive to the beach where Andi strips down to her first televised two-piece. The two make sand angels, fly kites and build a sandcastle which causes Eric to gush, "What's nice is that I can say we already built our first home, together."
Eric surprises Andi by sticking a perfect backflip. But Andi sees his backflip, and one-ups him with a surprise of her own, a helicopter pick up from the beach. The helicopter takes them in their swimsuits and flip-flops from the beach to the top of Bear Mountain, as the 20 minute ride took them from sand to snow.
Snowboarder Louie Vito arrives just in time to save their bare feet from certain frostbite and possible amputation. The two switch into their snow clothes to take boarding lessons from Andi. She struggles and falls over into cute embraces with Eric who (surprise surprise) is a fantastically skilled snowboarder. Andi admires, "He's good at everything."
The two retreat to a cabin for a secluded dinner where Andi continues to marvel over the "Renaissance Man" Eric's attributes. She asks him to name 3 things he's not good at. Eric admits, "I'm bad at playing the piano..." then gets stumped. I'd suggest "coming up with things I'm bad at" counts as another thing Eric is bad at.
Then if things weren't heavy enough watching Eric, Andi asks to hear about his dangerous trip to Syria. Eric had arrived as a journalist, which are targeted by the rebel armies. Six days before sneaking across the border, the city Eric was in was shelled and destroyed. After, when the group stopped for food, two militants entered with a full arsenal when their guide went pale and said, "I'm sorry, things are going to get very bad for you. They think you're spies." Eric gets choked up as he recalls having to text his parents, "Goodbye" then I get choked up when all of this just comes together to become too real.
Andi gives Eric the rose, the two roast marshmallows prompting Eric to have one more one-upper story, “In Guatemala, we roasted marshmallows over a volcano.”
Group Date: "Let's Bare Our Souls"
On the date card are Cookie Monster Marquel, Opera Singer Bradley, Firefighter Carl, Party on Craig (who, true to form, chugs a beer in celebration), Brett the Mullet-Stylist, Suns-out-Guns-out Cody, Smooth Pepe le Tasos, Unemployed Josh M, Ron the Other Black Guy, Handsome Marcus, Balding Golfer Nick, and some guys named Brian, Patrick and Dylan.
Marquel hopes that “bare our souls” meant actually grizzly bears, since he’s less nervous about fighting bears. Nope. It involves thongs.
Today, the group will be learning how to be extras in the Magic Mike sequel. The instructor, Scott, explains, “Today we are going to expose you gentlemen… no pun intended… to the world of male exotic dancing.” Oh, come on Scott, that pun was clearly intended.
Andi tells the guys she understands they’re nervous just like she was when the Perverted Pixie Fairy photographer made her pose naked to save animals. In other words, she told them to suck it up and shake their rumps.
The guys do a warm-up booty shake before separating into groups of firefighters, army men and cowboys with Nick S set to perform a solo act as a robot and Marcus as a fighter pilot. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Nick S got screwed. I don’t claim to know everything about women, but I’m pretty sure they’re more attracted to Top Gun than Wall-E.
Marcus is understandably nervous and vows he’s going to calm himself by just focusing on dancing for Andi. Meanwhile, instead of falling for Andi, Party On Craig is smitten by another. “Josh is a stud!!! … He’s kind of the full package.”
Rehearsals are over, spray tans are done, and the muscles are lubed. Party on Craig takes it a step further and stuffs a towel in his underwear, which seems ridiculous. I mean, we all know cucumbers work wayyy better.
Another surprise for the guys, the dance will be performed in front of a large audience of horny, lonely, screaming ladies, including two of our favorites from last year, Sharleen the Opera Singer and Kelly the Dog Lover, to help Andi judge the guys.
First up are the four sexy cowboys. Marquel’s an early star saying, “You know the crowd is going crazy and Andi is watching. Made me feel sexy.” Andi confirmed his thoughts, pointing to Kelly, “Look at Marquel’s bod.” Kelly counters with, “Look at the packages,” and we all remember why we liked Kelly.
Next up is Nick S the Sexy Robot. He went from Awesome-O 2000 to naked guy in no time, even going so far as to take his pants off and bend over to show the crowd his region that rhymes with Emil. Andi’s reaction was, let’s say, mixed...
“When Nick S bent over, oh my God, I kind of saw a part of a man no woman is supposed to see.”
The firemen got it hot in there next. Not even the real-life robot, Chris Harrison, could avoid temptation…
While Eric’s life goals to help the needy and visit every country were noble and all, after seeing Chris Harrison spank a contestant, I think my personal bucket-list is complete.
Brian the teacher and basketball coach impresses with Kelly announcing, “He can teach me!” Andi, on the other hand, is impressed by Handsome Marcus, “Marcus was amazing. I felt like he was kinda dancing for me."
The clothes come on for the night-time cocktail party. Brian giggles over the dancing, Josh M asks Andi not to stereotype him as an athlete, and Party on Craig... well, gets the party going. "Can we do a cheers so I can take a drink of this?!" he interrupts with the neediness of a crack addict.
Party on Craig drunkenly reminisces about the dancing including how hot he thought Josh was, how bad he thought his own body was, and how much it would have sucked to be the robot, which makes Nick S look like he wants to cry. Poor, screwed over Balding Golfer Nick. Party on Craig concludes, "Grab some shots boys, this is gonna get real! Real stupid..." Oh, I can't wait.
Opera Singer Bradley is, you may have guessed, singing opera since he can only express feelings through song before Party on Craig interrupts for his one-on-one time. He asks which guy is her favorite and Andi responds with a good-humored, "You" which makes annihilated Craig giggle like a schoolboy. Then after Andi says he can ask anything he wants, Craig drops a doozy, "What's your worst thing about your parents? How about that? Boom."
It doesn't take very long before Party on Craig takes it up a notch and jumps in the pool with all his clothes. Can we introduce Party on Craig to bikini-twerker-Victoria?
Things got out of control and put a damper on the night before the producers took him home. Andi is flustered and, uh oh, questioning who's there for the right reasons.
Handsome Marcus, with perfect white knight timing, takes Andi aside to calm her down from her lecturing on Craig's drunken antics. Between his pilot striptease and evening comforting, Marcus deserves the group date rose.
Second One-on-One: Farmer Chris
Eric reads, "Chris, let's get our love on track." Farmer Chris is one of the more excited dude contestants I've seen, and goes to prepare, "Let's go put some lipstick on this pig."
Andi is waiting at the horse tracks in her finest glam, adding another look that she can rock like a goddess. Chris, though, arrives in mandals, which couldn't be more inappropriate. With summertime here, this is a good time to tackle this issue. Women have to deal with their hair, eyelashes, makeup, pregnancies and periods. The least us guys can do is keep our dirty, stinky feet away in a shoe. Unless you're a Spartan warrior, don't show up for a date in mandals.
Naturally, she takes Chris to change into his finest Derby outfit which turns into a fancy pink shirt and bow tie. The racetrack is in a beautiful mountainous Santa Ana, and the natural picturesque tableau puts Chris right in his farmtown element.
After some mint juleps and horse betting, a sweet old couple can't help but inquire as to how long Andi and Chris have been together in a scenario that seemed so perfect it could have been thought up by producers... hey, wait a minute!
The older couple has been together 55 years, and the wife talks about how she saw her husband first at the baseball field, which unintentionally gave Josh M an unexpected endorsement. The married couple advises that you just "kinda know" when you're meant to be together.
That is a lesson Farmer Chris learned the hard way, as he explains he was engaged to a college sweetheart. The engagement broke off as he learned more and more that he was using his head more than his heart. Andi looks like she wants to kill the girl momentarily, but is swept away by Chris' openness. Not only does Chris get the rose, but he gets our first private concert of the season!
"There is a band called 'This Wild Life," Andi describes. I couldn't have phrased it better myself, Andi, thanks for explaining this band exists before discussing the concert. Some guy with an awesome playoff beard sings as we get another first of the season... the first kiss!
The two dance behind some velvet ropes that don't really serve a purpose since nobody else is around. Chris got his rose, his kiss, and can't stop smiling ear to ear.
Although Chris got things right with Andi after the Craig fiasco, the rest of the guys wonder how it's going to go. It's Hail Mary time for those on the edge.
Since Polka Dot Dweeb Nick didn't get a date card, he made his own, "Andi, let's get things popping." He take her to champagne and strawberries and impresses by planning his own one-on-one. Marquel, despite wearing an outfit that looks like he spilled Fun Dip all over himself, charms Andi with flirting. Mullet Stylist Brett plays with a sock puppet, since he hasn't proven he's freaking weird enough yet. Wedding Planner Tasos smashes plates in another wedding tradition, but probably doesn't have much to him if it can't be choreographed.
Then Josh M starts rambling about how he really likes Andi, and giggles like a nervous mess. I've hated on Josh M for not admitting he's now unemployed, but he turned a corner, and his vulnerability lands him a kiss with Andi.
Craig tries to make up for being a drunk idiot, and plans a showy apology by playing a song on a guitar. "I messed up laassst niighttt. I had too much Fireflyyyy. I bared my junk to 13 guyssss. But I hope and pray that it'sss alrighttt." It was an endearing apology, but no girl has ever thought, "Well he's a drunken idiot, but at least he also writes stupid songs on the guitar." Andi isn't exactly thinking of a mortgage and kids with Party On Craig.
This week we say goodbye to three housemates. We make it down to the final four with one rose to give, and three of them are my favorites. I hope that Opera Singer Bradley who does nothing but sing Opera is going to be one sent home, but sadly, he gets the final rose. I think Andi is the perfect Bachelorette except for every time she gives JJ the Pantsapreneur and Opera Bradley a rose.
Nick S the Balding Golfer is sent home since showing your "Emil" to your love interest is the fastest way to kill romance other than taking a number 2 in front of your significant other. Stay strong Nick S.
I had Firefighter Carl number one in my Power Rankings last week because he seemed like the prototypical chilled out sleeper and I was bias since Carl is my middle name. But the only Carls I've known are my grandfather and that little punk on The Walking Dead and neither were particularly well known for attracting the ladies.
And of course Party On Craig goes home. Andi sends him out saying, "I just couldn't get past it, but I have a lot of respect for you." C'mon, Andi. You maybe have pity, you may have affection, but the one thing you don't have is respect for the guy. Forever stay partying Craig!
Tough for these guys, worse for me. Looks like Farmer Chris is the new rooting interest. Til next week, when the two night special may make all our heads explode!
1. Handsome Marcus
2. Unemployed Josh M
3. Farmer Chris
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