It seems like it was just a few days ago that we saw JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers crowned king and queen of the Bachelorette ball (because it was). Now, with this week’s premiere episode of the Bachelor franchise spin-off, Bachelor in Paradise, we have a fresh crop of dating show leftovers to contend with every Monday and Tuesday night, for the rest of the summer.
The rules for BinP are as follows: Former contestants from past Bach seasons come together in equal parts boys and girls for a brief stint in “paradise” (i.e. the exploited town of Sayulita, Mexico) and a second (sometimes third) shot at love.
This season begins with the men passing out roses to the women. Couples pair up, whoever doesn’t get a rose goes home, and that person is replaced with the arrival of a new cast member. Next week the women will pass out the roses, and so on—it’s like musical chairs, only more cruel.
Now in its third season, Bachelor in Paradise is the Bachelor’s low-rent, low-stakes cousin. Helicopters are replaced with cheap Tiki lights, and the women don’t just stand around in sequined dresses holding perpetually half-full glasses of wine. In Paradise, they’re sincerely drinking.
The other key difference is that you don’t really “win” the show. If you and your makeshift partner make it to the end of the season, you’re given a choice: Will you keep dating after the show ends, or part ways? Usually, it’s just as anti-climactic as it sounds.
So far, BinP has resulted in two TV proposals and one actual marriage. Perpetually, fans argue about the show’s “realness,” which I think is beside the point. Yes, these people really do want to be beautiful on television, so already they have everything in common. Even if it weren’t a dating show, it seems likely that a few of them would wind up pairing off and dating based on sheer genital proximity.
So about this new cast! This season’s first string consists mostly of players from Ben H and Jojo’s season, plus a few BinP alums.
First up are Emily and Haley Ferguson, aka, “the twins” from Ben H’s season. They are blonde, ditsy, relatively drama-free and hopelessly interchangeable. As a weird, unnecessary twist: If one twin gets a rose, both are allowed to stay. How this will play out as the show progresses is anyone’s guess.
Jubilee Sharpe from Ben H’s season is a war veteran, model and gorgeous woman of color in a sea of cast members so white you can see through them.
When Izzy Goodkind walked onto the beach, everyone was all, “who’s that?” But I remember her clear as a bell. Ben H sent her home on episode 1 for wearing pajamas to the cocktail party (“Are you the onesie for me?” she said, and he was like, “Get out of here, I can’t see your body.”) Anyway, her early departure completely ruined my BachFantasy season.
Yet another from Ben H’s season, Lace Morris achieved fame early on for being repeatedly drunk, and by her own admission, “A little crazy.”
Amanda Stanton made it to the final four in Ben H’s season, only to be sent home immediately after Ben met her daughters. Everybody loves a contestant who’s desperately trying to find a father for her children on a reality dating show!
Carly Waddell, the cruise ship singer from Chris Soule’s season is back for a third shot at love after suffering from routine heartache in season 2 of BinP. You’d think her entire family had died in a faraway war, the way the show played the tragedy of her last breakup. Let’s hope she fares better this time around.
You just have to say it once to get it out of the way and then it’s not a big deal: Sarah Herron has one arm. She originally appeared on Sean Lowe’s season and again on season 1 of BinP.
Now the boys
Vinny Ventiera left Jojo’s season relatively early and failed to make an impression on me one way or another. Let’s see how he does in paradise!
“Erectile Dysfunction Expert” Evan Bass from Jojo’s season is the unlikely underdog who just keeps resurfacing. In real life, he’d be an ordinary looking man, but in a sea of TV-ready bachelor contestants, he looks like a lost boom mike operator who accidentally wandered onto the set.
Jojo sent square-jawed firefighter Grant Kemp home entirely too early, and now he’s back for more.
Chad Johnson from Jojo’s season is famous for his violent fits of rage at the slightest provocation, but I’m sure he’ll be just fine in paradise.
Another one from Jojo’s season, Daniel Maguire is the resident Canadian. A lot of people think he’s gay, and he probably is, but I’m more interested in his weird and frequent use of complicated metaphors and similes. I think he’s the show’s secret genius.
At 35-years old, Nick Viall is famous for coming in second place on both Andy and Kaitlyn’s seasons. In the interim, Nick seems to have focused primarily on developing his ab muscles, as evidenced by a lengthy CrossFit montage in his introduction.
Finally, we have Jared Haibon, from Kaitlyn’s season, as well as BinP season 2, an all around nice guy who thus far just can’t seem to find a lady he likes.
The show’s first episodes are always sloppy and sad. There are a lot of faces to keep track of and the contestants seem especially vulnerable in their swimsuits. They arrive one by one and immediately section off into boys and girls camps like a high school dance.
An early favorite for me is Daniel the Canadian. “None of these girls are pretty,” Daniel complains, while one stunning woman after another walks onto the beach. A self-proclaimed model, Daniel seems single-mindedly focused on physical perfection, particularly his own body. So far, Daniel thinks he might go for one of the twins, but who’s to say? (Those are his words, by the way. “One of the twins.” He’s not even going to PRETEND like it matters which one.)
Always on BinP, a few of the women tend to make the mistake of honing in on one man and psychotically trying to trap him for the duration of the show/their lives. Jubilee has early eyes for Jared, who seems not very interested. Also, the show’s intro features spoilers of him torn between two women who aren’t her, so when Jubilee gets the first date card, it’s kind of sad to watch a date unfold lamely that we already know will lead to nothing.
Vinny and Izzy have cutely similar names and seem to hit it off right out of the gates. They’ve been hanging out for like three hours when Izzy laments, “Why has not Vinny kissed me!” In a separate interview, Vinny says that he wants to take it slow, but Izzy doesn’t give him the option. We watch them make out in the ocean.
All of this is secondary to the night’s big event…
There’s so much to say about Chad that it’s hard to know where to begin. Straight away on Jojo’s season, Chad defined himself as a different kind of contestant. He was going to “tell it like it is” and not fall in line with the show’s basic formula, and this attitude left him immediately ostracized by the other men. Chad is a prototypical bad boy, and should have been the show’s clear villain from jump street, but on the contrary, the women of Bachelor Nation really seem to like him.
Of Chad’s personal life, we know a few key things: He’s a luxury real estate agent who owns a Ferrari. He’s a bodybuilder who eats a lot of protein, has virtually no fat on his body and probably takes steroids. He owns a tiny Maltese. His mother died about a year ago (which, all kidding aside, really seemed to mess him up) and finally, he LOVES being a TV celebrity.
To a woman who doesn’t yet have the wits to see him coming, Chad is a wounded bird in need of healing. He’s the kind of guy who disarms you with his candor and then threatens to murder your entire family once you’ve let your guard down.
Early on, it seems like Chad has finally met his match with the equally crazy Lace. The two of them get drunk, make out in the hot tub and engage in lots of slap fighting while the rest of the cast looks on with exaggerated incredulity. “It’s like they enjoy hitting each other…” the onlookers say, as if they’ve never heard of such a thing.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the situation turns, but it turns, and suddenly Lace doesn’t want Chad to continually call her a bitch anymore. (Women, am I right?) Chad has gone from a little drunk to full-on slurring his words in the span of like nine seconds.
“You’re being really disrespectful right now,” Sarah points out, and Chad’s like, yeah, well, you have one arm. It’s a declaration met with stunned silence, and like a family torn apart by divorce, the children are helpless and skulk off to bed. Meanwhile, a very drunk Chad stumbles around on the beach until he falls face down into the sand and we watch a crab claw away at his hair.
Longtime host of the show Chris Harrison shows up in the morning to assess the damage, and it’s not looking good for Chad. Far from being repentant, Chad is unfazed by his behavior, which makes the unraveling of his face all the more heartbreaking when Chris Harrison tells him that he’s crossed the line and has to leave the show.
“Are you serious?” Chad says with pitiful sincerity, and then, “Fuck you, Chris Harrison.” It’s a moment I would have found genuinely shocking if they hadn’t previewed it 100 times beforehand.
All along, Chad has been ridiculing the other cast members for their lame attempts at seeking fame, but now we see the pot call the kettle black. “Now I’ll never be the bachelor!” Chad says. And then he adds, “I have nothing else in my life.” How quickly he forgets his Ferrari and Maltese!
Episode one ends with the dreaded TO BE CONTINUED, after which we’re treated to a montage of what looks like Chad’s drunken revenge, but I don’t know, we’ve been bamboozled by these Chad-on-a-rampage cliffhangers before…
What will happen next? Nobody knows! Tune in next week for a recap of Monday and Tuesday night’s episodes, where all will be revealed.