It is with heavy heart and churning stomach that we pass along the most gut-punchingly tragic development of the 2013 television season: Bachelor Pad will not be returning this summer for an expected fourth cycle of booze-guzzling, hot tub–tainting, trust-obliterating shenanigans.
The news, since confirmed by a bummed-out EW, was first delivered not with a bang, but with a whimper by Mike Fleiss, the mastermind behind the The Bachelor family of reality TV products:
We hate to say we told you so, but the uncomfortable fact of the matter — a fact that once again validates the ruthless efficacy of our Bachelor School learning program — is that we were right. We told you after the premiere episode, and we're reminding you now — not for ego-gratification purposes, but out of our solemn commitment to helping you win that final rose at all costs:
Don't wear a wedding dress on your first day.
It's the simplest of lessons. When you step out of the limousine delivering you to the threshold of Bachelor Mansion, wear anything but a wedding dress. Even now, the morning after Sean chose his ForeverLove, you might wrongheadedly question the logic of this rule, dismissing us as a rose-petal-devouring Cassandra while thinking, That wedding dress got Lindsay noticed. She made it all the way to the finale. Seems like it worked.
Congratulations! If you find yourself on a two-tiered stage, surrounded by gently flickering candles, a studio audience comprised almost entirely of women, and the faint, metallic whiff of blood in the air, you have nearly completed your journey through The Bachelor's brutal emotional gauntlet. Yes, this means that you failed to find your ForeverLove, but if we're being honest — and in our dual roles as educators and life coaches, honesty is imperative — your chances were never that great; consider the "Women Tell All" special your near-victory lap, or a final consideration of the potentially horrific possibility that you almost found yourself staring down the barrel of a loaded Neil Lane jewelers box.
Let's break down the "Tell All" round and learn what we can before next week's finale.
In previous seasons, Fantasy Suite Week was serious contestants' last chance to prove their betrothal-readiness, a punishing carnal gauntlet of roiling hot tubs, thousands of menacingly dripping candles, and rotating water beds overlooking vistas so awe-inspiring that one wouldn't be surprised if the Lord Himself parted the sublime twilight skies to extend a hand down from Heaven and offer a thumbs-up to their marathon lovemaking sessions. This year, however, our Bachelor has torn up the sexual playbook; a "born-again virgin," Sean Lowe decreed, again and again, his nonpenetrative intentions for the now-rechristened Cuddling Suites.
To say the least, this is a challenging situation for a competition in which the cardinal rule — especially in these high-leverage, late-and-close situations — has always been "PUT OUT." This year, there will be no putting out, no getting-it-in, no physical intimacy more intense than the most uncomfortably arid of dry-humps. And so you need our tutelage more than ever.
Because The Bachelor is running a two-night, four-hour extravaganza this week, this installment of Bachelor School will temporarily narrow its focus. It's a long semester, and it's important to slow things down and embrace a more targeted kind of education when such opportunities present themselves. And so today we're offering a detailed breakdown of one of the season's pivotal moments: Tierra's successful infiltration of the group date in Whitefish, Montana. We urge you to study these advanced diagrams with the same level of intensity as any of our other lessons; visual learning and pattern recognition are crucial parts of any prospective contestant's cognitive toolbox. Let's get on with it: Two more hours await us tonight, and more lessons tomorrow.
When new enrollees arrive for their first day of Bachelor School (this is, of course, assuming a full matriculation, and not participation in one of the 16 different tiers in our Online Curriculum), they each find a single manila envelope atop their desks. Inside that envelope is a mirror, because before we can truly begin to learn the most effective way to capture a Bachelor's heart, we must know ourselves. Students spend the next eight hours staring into that mirror, a lesson that ends only when (a) they achieve a deep understanding about their essential beings, usually characterized by explosive weeping and/or a desperate tearing at their hair, or (b) they suffer a psychotic break, usually characterized by superficially similar weeping/tearing behavior — but don't worry, our instructors are trained to recognize the subtle differences between these very different mental states, and always retrieve the mirrors before they can be shattered and turned into instruments of either self- or other-directed harm. Once these personal breakthroughs are experienced, students are finally ready to discard their previous selves and get down to the difficult work of reconstructing their identities in a way that maximizes their appeal to an individual who has entrusted a broadcast television network with his quest for romantic fulfillment.
Indeed, that first day is very hard. But those who stick with the program realize dramatic and immediate gains in the crucial area of ego-annihilation. And we let them keep the mirrors.
If you're open to the possibility that every waking moment is an exciting Learnportunity™ just waiting to be ingested by a knowledge-thirsty mind and converted into actionable information, the two hours you expend watching The Bachelor each week suddenly transform from a chillingly effective exercise in brain-cell degeneration to one that actually grows new, stronger neurons in a part of the cerebral cortex once ravaged by reality-TV consumption. Indeed, these fresh cells are mostly useful to people who seek to become contestants on The Bachelor — and that's what keeps the lights on at our main campus in downtown Los Angeles, nestled between a superb Rock'n Fish and a high-end bowling alley concept. But that's no reason to close yourself off from the potential self-improvement value of any incidental life-lessons one might glean from the on-screen trials of a bikini-clad cosmetic consultant soaking in a hot tub, hoping to find the answers to the love-puzzle in a bottomless wine glass, should your (probably misguided) ambitions lie elsewhere. What we're trying to communicate here is this: Those 120 minutes we collectively spent in the thrall of Sean Lowe and his 18 remaining temporary soul mates were not wasted, even if you're not hoping to one day undertake a similar quest. At the moment. Plans change. Oh, how plans change! And when they do, you'll thank us for the following lessons compiled from last night's episode, and we'll be happy to accept your enrollment deposit.
So much has happened in the 10 interminable months since our last online offering from the Bachelor School curriculum: We've opened satellite campuses in Studio City, in a defunct Yogurt Odyssey stall in the Arizona State University student union food court, and next door to a modeling agency in Manhattan's meatpacking district that charges aspiring beautiful people $500 per "portfolio submission" (i.e., e-mails to ads in the back of the Village Voice seeking "open-minded masseuses"), to maximize our reach into the places where hopeful contestants obviously need our educational services the most. We've explored a promising international partnership with the reputable bride-importation concern AnastasiaDate.com. And, in an effort essential to the ongoing success of both our flourishing academic institution and the Bachelor franchise itself, we've had our best minds deconstructing the tragic and completely unexpected dissolution of Ben Flajnik's ForeverUnion with Courtney "The Model" Robertson, the greatest competitor in the history of televised dating shows. It is only through noble failures like these that we can improve the quality of our product, and, ultimately, the human species itself.
While watching the debates, and then reading the flurry of critiques that inevitably follow them, it’s hard not to let your mind wander into the realm of personal possibility: Could you have done better? Thinking about actually being president is a complicated brain-knot, and it doesn’t take too long before you decide that the math of budgets and soul-killing nature of political compromise is less fun to wonder about than, say, how you would do as the art director of a K-pop music video. The debates, however, are more manageable situations to superimpose your imaginary self into — arguing and promise-making that don’t require leaving the podium. It’s like contemplating how you’d stand up to verbal torture.
As a television show, The Bachelorette has depreciating returns. At first there are a couple dozen delusional dudes around to point and laugh at: This season, we had a goateed bar mitzvah DJ, a millionaire mushroom farmer, and a dude who carried an ostrich egg around to symbolize well, to be honest, it was never 100 percent clear why he was carrying the ostrich egg around, but that was the beauty of the show in the early going. It was a spectacle. Last night’s three-hour finale wasn’t a spectacle, it was two people making the most important decision in their lives in the least appropriate manner. While the finale provided the formatted resolution it intended when Emily the Mom accepted Jeff With One F’s proposal, it still left a lot of questions on the table: Will they actually get married? Will Arie the Race Car Driver Who Slept With a Producer be the next Bachelor? Will Jef and Emily’s wedding get its own TV show? Will jeweler Neil Lane get his own TV show? What’s up with Jef’s hair?
To address the questions still unanswered, a special Monday edition of GRTFL, with two GRTFL Top Fives, was in order. On to the scores:
Have you ever fallen into Internet quicksand? You know, when you search something simple like “how to do the moonwalk” and that leads to a YouTube instructional video, which leads to a Rock Steady Crew documentary, which leads to the 1983 New York City subway map, which leads to the purchase of the island of Manhattan, which leads to Native American religious theory, which leads to spending three hours of your day exploring the entire Internet for your spirit animal? You haven’t? Weird. You must have, like, a real job, then, because that is what like 80 percent of people under the age of 40 call “a workday.” I fell into one today after googling “The Bachelorette,” and it wasn’t until four hours later, when I came across this creepy video of The Bachelorette host Chris Harrison barnstorming Bachelor watch parties and reviewing the ladies’ GRTFL teams, that I was reminded that I still had to, ya know, write the column this week. Sorry, cute Asian chicks listening for ghosts in Midlothian, Illinois’s haunted Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, I’ve got reality TV to make fun of. I’ll get to you later.
Well, here is a development of note: The Bachelor host Chris Harrison told Access Hollywood that he personally asked miraculous Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow to be the show's next bachelor — and that Tebow said yes! Harrison explains, “I’ve actually met Tim Tebow. I met him about becoming our next Bachelor. I think he’d be a great Bachelor ... He did say yes ... but he would never do it. He has a little job called quarterback for at least another year.”
Take a minute. Process the information. Go ahead, let it sink in. OK, ready to discuss?