Run from this 'Bachelor,' ladies
It's been almost two months since we first embarked on our journey with "The Bachelor," Juan Pablo Galavis. In that short time the professional soccer player-turned-club promoter-turned-Venezuelan baseball memorabilia mule has gone from likeable but boring to lascivious and brainless.
Back in early Juan-uary, JP's pretty face, taut tush and carefully constructed charm lured me in like a sex-deprived single mother with cats named "Chris" and "Harrison" and a terrifyingly large collection of romantic comedy DVDs (no one should own "From Justin to Kelly," imaginary cat lady). I praised him for being "charming, down-to-earth and honest" and believed that his decision to give the first impression rose to the worldly, sophisticated Sharleen was a sign he might really be looking for someone with whom to share lasting love.
But just as Sharleen did, I soon discovered that JuanPabs is all sizzle, no steak. My worries that he might prove to be a "fame-seeking man-whore" were realized with every tonsil-seeking tongue-dive into the mouth of another suitor. And my concerns that he might be lacking in wit, intellect and depth were confirmed with each moment of crucial one-on-Juan time devoted to canoodling instead of conversation.
In the real world, a few weeks of playful groping doesn't earn you a Sunday dinner with the fam, but this is "The Bachelor," where two people might jump from first kiss to engagement in the span of roughly two weeks. So on Monday night's episode, Juan Pablo headed home with all four of his girlfriends (likely cataloged in his brain as "Blonde 1," "Blonde 2," "Single Mother" and "Lawyer Lady.")
Blonde No. 1 Nikki welcomes JP to Kansas City, where she enjoys watching him lick-and-strip a rack of ribs at the famous Oklahoma Joe's Bar-B-Que. We don't know much about JuanPabs, but we do know eating is just barely behind dancing and sexing on his list of favorite activities.
The country-themed date continues with a mechanical bull ride. As soon as he sees the "animal," JP turns alpha-male superhero, whipping off his jacket and jumping on, refusing any tips or advice from Nikki. "I'm okaaaay," says JuanPabs during a slow, jerky ride that sees crotch meet saddle horn more times than doctors would recommend, but the David Beckham-esque tone of his voice reveals he's in serious pain. Nikki isn't concerned about threats to JP's child-creating abilities; she makes her Latin cowboy jump on again and they share a bumpy ride together.
Dinner with Nikki's family is fairly uneventful. JuanPabs says he digs Nikki because "she's beautiful, she's smart." Those are the only two words he's ever used to describe any woman throughout the duration of the show. When asked what she loves about Juan Pablo, Nikki can't think of a single specific quality. "There's just something about him," she muses. "I can't explain it. it's just magical." Touching and insightful. I hope she decides to write her own vows.
Next up we see Andi's hometown date in Atlanta. The assistant district attorney was out of her comfort zone dancing and singing on past dates, so she turns the tables on JuanPabs here, bringing him to a gun range. He passes his "southern initiation" and proves his "manhood," earning a spot at the dinner table by hitting the bull's-eye (after many failed attempts).
The target practice doesn't stop there, as Andi's dad Hy fires away at JuanPabs as soon as he walks through the door. Hy can't believe how long it took for Andi and JP to have a one-on-Juan date together and he (rightly) believes he's seeing two people who are still in the infatuation period, nowhere near love. JP says he likes Andi because, you guessed it, "she's beautiful, she's smart."
When Juan Pablo asks if he has Hy's permission to propose, he gets perhaps the most logical answer ever given by a parent on "The Bachelor." Hy tells JP to reverse roles for a moment and consider a man with three other girlfriends asking him for his daughter Camila's hand in marriage. "My answer to you is, I won't answer you, OK?" he says. "Because the person that is gonna be good enough for my daughter is going to come to me and say, 'There is no one else in the world for me.' When and if that time comes, we'll have this discussion."
Hy also crushes with the least welcoming dinner toast of all time: "To two wonderful daughters, a good son-in-law ... and a visitor."
Next up, Sarasota, Fla., to hang out with Renee and her adorable son Ben. It's clear that Renee is far too sweet and kind to keep the attention of our Latin lothario -- she's getting a hometown date only because Sharleen bailed. Renee and JP hang out at the beach, watch Ben's Little League game and head back for a snooze-fest dinner with her family, who are all polite and kind and don't wanna get in the way of Renee finding a man. She admits she's madly in love with JP, but it's clear he doesn't feel the same.
The "Bachelor" folks save the best hometown date for last. Juan Pablo visits Clare in Sacramento, Calif., meeting her at a park for some rock-throwin' and nature-lovin'. JP tears up while listening to Clare talk about her father, a sign that this sex-seeking missile can occasionally veer off course for a genuine moment of emotion.
Things get weird when JuanPabs gets to Clare's house and meets her mother, brother and several of her dozen or so sisters. One sister in particular, Lara, takes the train to Crazy Town almost immediately, accusing Clare of trying to influence her mother into giving JP her blessing. Lara questions the validity of Clare's feelings, claims it's all just fake TV BS, refuses to let "Momma" speak, stands over Clare, arms folded, like a bouncer in a nightclub and does her best impression of a movie villain, diabolically stroking a tiny dog.
It's all very bizarre and dysfunctional and even though Lara does manage to make Clare cry, she can't keep Momma from giving JP her blessing. Before meeting her family, JuanPabs told Clare, "I can't wait to see why you are the way you are." Lara's a good place to start.
The rose ceremony goes as expected, with Nikki, Clare and Andi receiving roses and thoughtful, caring, dependable, kind, mature Renee heading home to explain to young Ben that Juan Pablo won't be his daddy, and Mommy will be crying herself to sleep a lot again.
Tuesday night's episode promised to be full of drama and intrigue, as teaser clips showed Andi calling JuanPabs an "a--hole" after a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad night in the fantasy suite.
But first, Clare gets her mitts on Juan Pablo, meeting him in St. Lucia. At this point we have yet to see a quintessential running start into a flying, jumping, leg-straddle "Hello." And if there's any indicator of how far along a relationship is on "The Bachelor," it's the flying leg-hug. JP and his ladies always reunite warmly, but awkwardly, like a couple of college kids who slept together the night before and run into each other on the quad, not sure where they stand.
Clare and JuanPabs end up on a yacht, where they spend most of their time tangled in each other's bodies, with Clare occasionally coming up for a breath and a chance to purse her lips into a classic "duck face." She still hasn't found the courage to tell him that she loves him -- in fact, despite already being onto fantasy suite dates, no one has dropped the "L" word to JP.
After chatting on a loveseat (obvs), ignoring dinner (natch) and pretending to talk over an invite to the fantasy suite (they're obviously going), they head inside to "get to know each other better." Clare stares into his eyes, finally ready to tell him how she feels. "You're thinking a lot," says JuanPabs. "Why are you thinking so much?" This pretty much sums up JP's approach to "The Bachelor." Why think -- or talk, or get to know each other -- when they can be getting down to business instead?
Clare manages to get out that she's falling in love with Juan Pablo before he interrupts her heartfelt confession to kiss her and put an end to all that silly talking stuff. The last we see of them, they're canoodling in the hot tub.
The next day JP meets Andi, who says her feelings for him have only grown since their hometown date. Still no leaping leg-hug, but they're excited to see each other. After wandering around the market, eating, drinking and playing soccer with some local kids, they take a land buggy to a waterfall for a picnic. Much merriment is had under the waterfall and Andi doesn't even seem to care that she's wearing an armful of bracelets and a big gold watch underwater. Oh, the things we do for love.
Snuggled up on a loveseat for dinner, the two have a bit of actual, meaningful conversation. They decide to "talk" even more in the fantasy suite, and, before the lights dim down, we hear JuanPabs telling producers in a confessional, "I think Andi could be the one. She could be my wife."
Cut to the next morning. JuanPabs says his time with Andi in the fantasy suite was amazing and that they talked and laughed for hours. "Andi could be the one because I like the way she is. I just like it." Thrilling, heartwarming stuff from a real romantic over here.
Andi feels decidedly different about their night. "Waking up this morning, I could not wait to get out of the fantasy suite," she says. "The fantasy suite turned into a nightmare. The whole night was just a disaster. I hope he didn't think that went well. I really hope he did not think that that was a good date." Ay dios mio. Trouble in paradise.
Andi explains that JP didn't have any interest in learning about her, but spent the whole time telling stories about himself, name-dropping, talking about how he'd had an overnight date with Clare the night before and telling Andi that she almost didn't make it to the St. Lucia dates.
"It's extremely important for me to be with a guy who loves me a much as he loves himself," Andi says the next morning, pointedly.
While Andi stews and JuanPabs blissfully remembers their time together, Nikki gets her date (sloppy thirds!). Nikki, dressed in what appears to be a "Sexy Paisley Pocahontas" Halloween costume, meets Juan Pablo for a horseback ride, the setting for which can only be described as drop-dead, life-changingly gorgeous. Of course JP is more interested in telling his very first joke of the entire season, a charming crack about wanting to spend the whole day riding behind Nikki while she rides her horse in a thong.
Juan Pablo's romantic overtures don't end at thong jokes. The charm continues when he describes why Nikki is such a great life partner for him. "Nikki is pretty. She's very sexy and she's a very good kisser, too. Mmm, so sexy. Oh, so sexy."
After rolling around on the beach for a bit they head to dinner, which, of course, is served in front of a loveseat with colorful throw pillows. "You've been thinking a lot." There's that line again. Juan Pablo seems almost frustrated that the women who are about to spend a whole night alone with him might have some thoughts or feelings to discuss.
Once again he moves quickly past emotional declarations, smiling when Nikki tells him that she loves him and then getting right back to making out. Nikki's deep thoughts on JuanPabs as marriage material: "Juan Pablo is a great kisser and a great dad and that being said he's a great person ... for me." These two are made for each other.
Juan Pablo says he has no idea what he's going to do at the rose ceremony, as he had an incredible time with all three women. He and Chris Harrison share a very awkward exchange wherein the host tries to get him to reveal strong feelings for at least one of the women, but JuanPabs can only say, "I like these girls." He blames his apparent lack of emotion and connection on the language barrier, saying, "My English is not very good-looking."
Juan Pablo cries while watching the videos Clare and Nikki made for him, professing their love. He tends to cry a lot thinking about how great he is and how he's going to break someone's heart. Andi's video ends with her saying they need to talk in person. A half-hour of passion-free, one-sided fighting later, Andi has dumped Juan Pablo and he appears to give zero you-know-whats. His only response is, "It's OK," a throwaway phrase that drives Andi crazy.
"'It's OK.' Everything is always 'It's OK,'" she says. "I want to die if I have to hear 'It's OK' again! Feel something ... or have some emotion about it."
"It's fine," says JuanPabs.
Andi departs, bemoaning JP's inability to "get it," and says he's likely back there saying, "It's OK." And of course, he is. Not only that, he's decided that because Andi pointed out his flaws and disagreed with him, he's hardly even disappointed at all that she left. JuanPabs is starting to give off a little crazy-Jake Pavelka vibe. Just like in his spat with Clare earlier in the season, he seems to have a real problem with people disagreeing with him or challenging him. If that's the case, maintaining a real relationship outside fantasy "Bachelor" land is gonna be mighty tough for JuanPabs and the woman he chooses.
Clare and Nikki are shocked to arrive at the rose ceremony and learn that Andi has left. They're both still in it to win it, but teaser clips hint that one or both might start to question why two different women have packed up and left of their own accord.
It took Andi a little bit longer than Sharleen, but she, too, discovered that what she was feeling physically wasn't powerful enough to override what she was feeling mentally. And so the beautiful assistant district attorney joins the stunning opera singer on the Island of Misfit Women, a magical place reserved for the rare women ballsy enough to blow off their chance at (two to three months of) happiness with the world's most (attractive, empty-headed) eligible bachelor.
Meanwhile, back on St. Lucia, sworn enemies Clare and Nikki are left to fight it out for a bachelor that America is already totally over -- and Us Weekly hasn't even caught him cheating on his chosen lady yet. I think it's going to get even worse, too. I'd go so far as to guess that JuanPabs' relationship with the winner will already be over by the time they're set to meet the public for the first time after the finale.
But since I'm probably about as invested in this as Juan Pablo is (read: meh), my guess is, if it doesn't work out, "It's OK."