Archive | February, 2013

“I don’t bother nobody”: Survivor Caramoan February 27 2013 recap

28 Feb

I thought Reynold had some game, Survivor-wise, but he pretty much proved me wrong at the beginning of this episode by giving an “I have no friends here and trust no one” speech as soon as everyone got back from tribal council. Not a good move if you want to try to win the million dollars (just ask Ozzy).

This is followed by Shamar going on the first of his many rants where he shouts at someone or other for little or no reason. I wonder if it will come out later that this dude never saw any combat action in Iraq at all and is just a flake. I would not be shocked. None of the other players can deal with this guy, or want to… except Sherri who is able to reason with him! State Department, hire this woman ASAP!

Thankfully, we soon cut to the Favorites’ camp. Phillip (aka the CEO of Stealth ‘R Us Inc.) is talking about his basketball moves in the pickup games he plays against guys “half my age,” and somewhat more improbably, “twice my height.” He describes his signature move thus: “Do a little double dribble… one step back [pantomimes a shooting motion], all air baby.” Basketball cognoscenti would point out that “double dribble” and a shot that’s “all air” are actually both bad things.

Phillip and Andrea are certainly odd bedfellows, but apparently the bonds of being on the same season (Redemption Island) are strong indeed, and they’re on the same page about many things, one of which is that they sense Corinne is not to be trusted. And indeed, we see Corinne join Malcolm on a search for the immunity idol, which he finds. Whether Corinne knows it or not, he’s skilled at how to use an idol too. Also, he promptly hides it to avoid the possibility that some well-meaning soul will hang up Malcolm’s pants and find the idol, as Lisa Whelchel did last season.

Back to Shamar for an interesting quote: “I’m not gonna be the angry black man on Survivor, it’s just not gonna happen.” Two episodes too late for that, guy.

We go to commercial, and just before we come back (for Dallas viewers anyway) there’s this tease for the local newscast: “Tim Tebow a wimp? A local pastor fires back.” Just think, it’s late February and Tim Tebow is still in the headlines, and in a city where as far as I know he’s never even played a game. By the way, a memo to anyone who is curious to find out whether he’s a wimp or not: he’s not.

Back to Survivor, and the challenge. Michael exchanges some friendly high fives with his fellow fans… except Shamar who can’t be bothered to slap five. Then they’re off on a challenge that involves swimming out to a fenced-in area, opening an underwater door to release a heavy crate, and getting that crate back to shore and dragging it across a platform in which they have to toss a rope to hook the missing sections. The only part I remember about the underwater portion is that we get several closeups of Brenda’s butt (which could be said to be a Survivor “Favorite” in its own right). The Favorites win, with Brandon Hantz playing a key role, so the Fans need to go to tribal council.

Among the Fans, Eddie-Reynold-Hope is one alliance, with six against them. Though there are some red herrings to the contrary, the other six decide to split their vote between Eddie and Hope just in case Reynold wants to give his idol to one of them. That makes the vote 3 each for Shamar, Eddie, and Hope (since none of those three can vote the second time around, only Reynold is left to re-vote for Shamar). The six know that Eddie is too valuable in challenges to let go, so Hope is voted out.

Contender list: 1) Malcolm, 2) Sherri, 3) Michael, 4) Matt, 5) Andrea, 6) Brenda, 7) Reynold

Not sure yet: Corinne, Dawn, Erik, Cochran, Laura, Eddie, Julia

No-chance list: Brandon, Phillip, Shamar

Hashtag heartbreak: The Bachelor February 25 2013 recap

26 Feb

In the midst of the romantic Thailand dates on this episode, the producers felt the need to put a bunch of tweets about “The Bachelor” on-screen. I really hate to say it but… these tweets really were more interesting than the dates! A very bad sign.

This week Sean was down to the final three, which means it’s the “fantasy suite” week in which each girl can choose to forgo her individual room to spend the night as a couple in the fantasy suite. My pre-show thought was that Catherine and Lindsay were dead-solid locks to choose the fantasy suite, and I put AshLee’s chances at about 95%.

Lindsay the general’s daughter got the first date, which started with a golf-cart-like vehicle called a sambo (???) pulling up. And not just any sambo but one with a camera mounted inside the roof. She and Sean stroll through a market. Sean decides it’s a good time to make Lindsay confront her greatest fear and eat a dead bug. Is Sean a bit of a sadist? Then the two of them go to a beach where a bunch of monkeys come up and swipe food out of their hands. This part was incredibly entertaining, they should make this into its own show. Or maybe even its own channel? Less entertainingly, Lindsay says yes to the fantasy suite. (A blogger named Jen Frase has said before that every time there’s a fantasy suite she pictures Chris Harrison under the bed masturbating.)

AshLee’s turn. Yet again, instead of just taking his gal to dinner and a movie, Sean gets his jollies by making her confront one of her greatest fears. They have to swim through a dark, scary, and very cramped cave (aided only by an inner tube that has a light and a camera on it). They come out in a spectacular cove that looks like Scaramanga’s hideout in “The Man With the Golden Gun.” Later at the romantic dinner, the topic of the fantasy suite draws ever nearer, and Sean tells the camera,”What I would love is to stay up all night with her, just talking.” Fathers everywhere are shuddering at the thought of their daughters falling for that line. Soon thereafter we see the best tweet of the night: “The Fantasy Suite is the combine before the draft.” AshLee says yes to the fantasy suite, but also gives Sean info on what kind of ring she would want and what her ring size is. It’s a shame she didn’t say her favorite jeweler is Neil Lane, since that’s what Bachelor gals get regardless.

Catherine gets the third date, and mentions a couple of times that this hunk is out of her league. Sean apparently remembered at this point that he was on The Bachelor, not Fear Factor, and didn’t put Catherine through anything more than some splashing around in the water and good conversation. You’ll recall Catherine is the one who told him “I like the beef” at one of their first conversations, so unsurprisingly she’s 100% up for the fantasy suite.

Three dates down, yet the show is 37 minutes from being over. How to pass the time? Well, a Chris Harrison-hosted infomercial for the new Oz movie accounts for part of that. Finally we get to the rose ceremony. The first rose goes to Lindsay (who surely will be the winner now) and… Catherine. And AshLee is more mad than sad. She tells Sean “just stay here” as she heads for the exit van. Finally she agrees to listen to his explanations for a minute, but she just wants out of there. A very sad moment, but I have to say I did not see much chemistry between her and Sean at any point.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Phillips: Survivor Caramoan February 20 2013 recap

23 Feb

First of all I have to say that Survivor is the best show on TV by a wide margin. The visuals are more spectacular than ever. And I don’t just mean the always-great nature shots, like this season’s two shows which have both captured an unidentified little beast hopping from tree to tree.  All the visuals are great, the music is great, and this has the makings of a strong season. I was just watching a couple of episodes of Survivor: Amazon concurrently, and comparing those episodes of 10 years ago to now is the difference between watching a musical on Broadway and then going to watch a high school put on the same show.

The casting of this season has also been a hit, including a guy I didn’t really want to see again, namely Phillip. The previous episode featured Phillip listing his “B.R. Rules” (named for “Boston Rob” Mariano): 1) Form an alliance, 2) form an alliance within your alliance, 3) get rid of your alliance before it gets rid of you. In this episode, Brandon Hantz wants to check out where he stands with Philip, and the answer is “Trust or not trust fully? Don’t have enough data yet. I think I’m gonna pause.” Then he tells Brandon “the CEO don’t call in mid-management unless he’s got somethin’ he wanna tell him” Classic. Also, while other reality shows have named their alliances (like “Chilltown” on Big Brother), there hasn’t been much (or any?) of that on Survivor, but Phillip does have a name for his alliance: “Stealth ‘R Us Inc.”

Brandon later tells the others about Phillip: “I think he’s starting to Boston-Rob us a little bit,” but just minutes before Brandon had himself evoked a different ghost of Survivors past: “I’m thinking of going Russell Hantz-style on these [bleeps], man.”

With all of these big personalities it’s tough for the Fans to get too much camera time, but we see that Sherri (who has a “Real Housewives” look about her but is supposedly only 41) is thinking ahead. As Shamar the 300-pound former Marine continues to get on everyone’s nerves, Sherri says to the camera “Shamar is my Phillip,” meaning someone ideal to ally with to the very end because he won’t get any jury votes.

Time for a combined immunity and reward challenge that begins with three on each tribe riding a raft out to a floating platform and then having to dive to release rings. This brings me to one of the few things that was better on previous seasons: there used to be many more underwater challenges. I miss these a lot! The fact that the Favorites’ division of labor means many shots of Brenda and Andrea’s bikini-clad bodies frankly did not hurt the entertainment value here. It comes down to a ring toss at the end with Malcolm going against Reynold (a rematch of last episode), but then Phillip steps in for Malcolm and seals the win for the Favorites.

Back at camp there’s much criticism of lazy bum Shamar (Marines the world over must be cringing at this guy), but Sherri’s group needs Shamar’s vote to have the numbers against Reynold, Eddie, Allie and Hope (“the pretty people” as one girl designates them). Meanwhile Reynold is smart enough to go looking for a hidden immunity idol even though nobody has told him that there is one in the game. He finds it and keeps a pokerface, though Laura mentions at Tribal Council that she sees a bulge in his pocket. With not much to lose, Reynold shows it around and announces that he’s playing it, but wisely doesn’t, and Allie is sent home over Shamar by a vote of 6-4.

Contender list: 1) Malcolm, 2) Michael, 3) Matt, 4) Andrea, 5) Sherri, 6) Reynold, 7) Brenda

Not sure yet: Corinne, Dawn, Erik, Cochran, Laura, Hope, Eddie, Julia

No-chance list: Brandon, Phillip, Shamar

It’s not you, it’s me… actually, it’s him. The Bachelor February 18 2013 recap

18 Feb

Time for trips to all four remaining contestants’ hometowns, presented in reverse order of drama. I don’t believe for a second that they really took place in the order shown, as that would require going from Houston to Seattle, then back to Missouri before going back to Los Angeles (?).

Anyway, we begin in Houston with AshLee, or as Tierra dismissively called the 32-year-old, “the cougar” (perhaps that was just a nod to the sports teams at U of H?). AshLee and Sean enjoy a picnic, and what more romantic spot for a picnic is there than…. a vacant lot in some neighborhood? Anyway, it turns out both of their fathers are pastors, and Sean’s visit turns out to be a low-drama affair, which is why it takes up just 18 minutes of the 2-hour show.

On to Seattle, where Sean meets Catherine at the famous Pike Place Market. There’s a booth where guys yell crazy things as they throw fish around, and Catherine loves the idea of joining in the fish-tossing… as long as Sean is the one doing it. When she is put on the spot to try herself, she half-asses it. When the two take a break thereafter, the question of Catherine’s ethnicity is clarified to the viewers: she’s Filipino. We go to her mother’s house and get to know Catherine’s older sisters, who are very hot and say “like” just as much as Catherine does. The food being dished up looks delicious too.

For Lindsay’s date it’s off to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Sean ends up doing pushups before the date is done… between this season and The Bachelorette, ths guy has done enough pushups to put Jack Lalanne to shame! Sean is a bit nervous about meeting Lindsay’s father, the two-star general (and yes, a two-star general is the same thing as a major general).  But not only is Pops a seriously affable dude, he is even fairly quick to give his blessing to a possible marriage!

OK, now it’s time for the visit to Desiree in LA. No sooner is she showing Sean around her pad than there’s a knock on the door and a jerky guy shows up wanting to speak to Des. Obviously an ex-boyfriend, he tells Des he loves her, and he’s fairly rude to Sean. “Now that he’s here I do have to tell you something,” Des sez. As we cut to commercial I smelled a rat and I’ll tell you why: no way there’s a dramatic confrontational moment that hasn’t been plugged in promo after promo. When we’re back from the break, Des fesses up: it’s a prank and the douchebag is actually an actor. Smiles all around.

Then it’s time to meet the parents and brother Nate, he of the tatted-up hands and 99-cent haircut. Nate pulls Sean aside in the middle of dinner and says how he really feels: Des may be in love, but Sean’s not reciprocating. “I think you’re just a playboy,” Nate says. When they get back to the table the tension is thick, the evening is ruined, and Des’ tears are flowing.

Now, Nate seems like an awful guy, but I picked Desiree to win this thing right from the start, and haven’t changed my mind that she seems to have the most chemistry with Sean. I would even say it’s by a wide margin…  I just can’t see him with AshLee, Lindsay, or Catherine. But when Sean talks to Chris before the rose ceremony, he admits either Catherine (who he thinks may be a bit too free-spirited) or Des will be going home.

Time for the most dramatic rose ceremony…ever.

Just before Sean hands out the first rose, Desiree asks to speak to him in private. She apologizes for Nate’s behavior the previous night. Sean goes back in and hands out two roses to AshLee and Lindsay, but then he has to leave and go ponder some more. You can almost see the thought balloon above his head: having to buy Nate a gift every Christmas… Nate looking on disapprovingly when he carves the Thanksgiving turkey… heck, maybe even Nate poisoning the roots of the trees he plants on Arbor Day. He can’t take it, and Desiree is the one sent home. She says he’s making a mistake and I think I agree.

“I hate to go down this paranoid road”: Survivor Caramoan Fans vs. Favorites II February 13 2013 recap

14 Feb

When the list of returnees for this season was announced, I did give Andrea an approving nod, noting she was “a good character with an expressive face.” But forgive me for being so nonchalant: Andrea is gold. Thinking back to her season, she really played a fantastic game, getting pretty close to the end. The fact that she was overshadowed by Boston Rob and that I wanted Rob to win led me to dismiss her somewhat. Producers: I salute you for bringing her back.

Anyway, Andrea and her 9 fellow returnees are facing 10 newcomers this season (and I love the fact that the tribes are not mixed together). The newbies stand on the beach while two helicopters fly menacingly close to drop off the Favorites.

Jeff Probst wastes no time in calling for the first challenge which involves facing off two at a time to move an inner tube close enough to one’s goal that a player is touching tube and goal at the same time. We see that Phillip Sheppard has the same droopy red briefs as last time (or similar anyway… I refuse to scrutinize before-and-after photos to compare). We also see that Francesca is one big, and pretty athletic, lady. The best part is an epic struggle between Malcolm and newcomer Reynold, a male model type. Both guys get their pants pulled down in the course of the battle, keeping the Survivor effects software busy pixeling out all the genitalia. When the smoke clears and the junk’s put away, the Favorites have won the reward: flint and some beans.

In addition to Andrea, Phillip, Francesca and Malcolm, let me introduce the other Favorites. There’s Brandon Hantz, who stunningly is not wracked with guilt at any time during the episode (this guy can get wracked by guilt brushing his teeth in the morning), and reminds us that he is a pretty good challenge player. Please let him make it to the loved ones episode so one of the other Hantzes can come out! Then we have Brenda and Corinne, two villainesses of the past who wisely opt to keep a very low profile in the early going. Overanalyzing nerd Cochran is back, looking like he hasn’t been out of doors once since he was on Survivor South Pacific a year and a half ago, as is his former castmate Dawn, who shockingly holds no grudge against Cochran for costing her any chance to win the last time around. Erik, who prompted a yell of “[ice] cream scooper guy!” from one of the Fans, rounds out the group.

The Fans haven’t gotten as much camera time, but some that have are Matt the bearded BMX salesman, his early ally Michael the (presumably) gay event planner who the camera focuses on almost constantly, Eddie who can’t stop talking about how good-looking, athletic and cool he is, and Shamar, a former Marine who, while fat, can do yoga stretches. The fact that Michael is shown so much despite not doing much leads me to believe he will be a major character in the game.

Speaking of foreshadowing, you may recall that Francesca was the first person voted off in her Redemption Island season. She is shown early on saying “If I’m the first person voted off again, I’ll eat this rock,” holding up a rock that looks too big to swallow. Hmmm, when on Survivor someone says that something is a lock to happen or is guaranteed not to happen, that usually means one thing, hmmm…

Back to Eddie for a second: this guy’s braggadocio made me think of an old Dennis Miller Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, circa 1991. They showed the poster of the Richard Grieco vehicle “If Looks Could Kill,” and Miller quipped, “Hey, if looks could kill, somebody get Grieco a mirror.”

In the Favorites’ camp, there’s talk of alliances very early on. Phillip makes clear that his apprenticeship with Boston Rob Mariano was not wasted, and essentially says he asks “what would Rob do?” in most any situation. He quickly gets the idea for a majority alliance and goes on the recruiting trail, but curiously he identifies Cochrane and Erik as potential go-to-guys. Uh, Phillip, don’t forget those two have made two of the most famously idiotic moves in Survivor history. Also, when he goes to put his sales pitch on Erik, he decides to go straight to hardball… it’s more “what would Russell do” than “what would Rob do.”

The immunity challenge, alas, is won by the Fans, and Francesca, taking the lead, quickly identifies Phillip as the one to be voted out. Andrea and Francesca had made somewhat of a pact in the early minutes of the show, and they know each other from Redemption Island, but Phillip was on that season too, and by this time Andrea would rather ally with Phillip than Francesca and tells him so. The fact that Francesca was only ever on one episode of one season works against her, as she has no track record. Neither does Malcolm (his season having not yet aired when they filmed this one), but he’s keeping a very low profile whereas Francesca is strategizing hard, even proposing to split a vote with some voting for Corinne, in case Phillip has an immunity idol (though there has been no mention of an idol yet this season). Then Erik and Brandon get “a bad vibe” from Andrea and at the very last second put her name in the mix.

At tribal council Francesca is voted out by a vote of 6-4, with Brandon, Erik, and Brenda joining Francesca in voting for Andrea. It didn’t look like Andrea and Phillip had the votes to make this happen, but Cochran and Dawn, who appeared to be tight with Francesca, actually went with Phillip and Andrea. In retrospect it makes sense: they’ve seen Andrea and Phillip play an entire season, with Andrea playing well and Phillip at least being loyal. Francesca has no track record as noted and seems like a threat, Erik and Brandon are not impressive guys, and Brenda is known to be dangerous.

Time to eat that rock, Francesca. Phillip hit the nail on the head when he said a couple of times that she did too much strategizing too early. It hurts to get outsmarted by Phillip.

Early Favorites To Win: I’d have to mention Michael because they show him so much, and also Reynold, Andrea and Malcolm.

Skeletons in the Closet: The Bachelor February 11 2013 recap

12 Feb

Often on this blog I comment that a contestant being sent home hardly constitutes the end of the world for her, since what she’s shown on TV will have hordes of guys champing at the bit. A case in point is Lesley. The DC resident has got to be one of the hottest women our nation’s capital has to offer, and while she perhaps didn’t show an all-time Hall of Fame personality, she seems agreeable enough and also very bright.

However, I cannot say the same for Tierra. In fact I can’t think of one guy who would want to have anything to do with her, spectacular chest or no spectacular chest. Tierra is the type who, if you gave her a Rolls-Royce, would be disappointed that she didn’t get … whatever the top-of-the-line Rolls Royce with every extra is. And she can hardly blame editing… she was on the screen so much this season, what’s to edit?

Anyway, this episode begins with Sean and the gals flying to St. Croix (Croix rhymes with “boy” — I learned something!) together in some puddle-jumper of a plane. Errr, I don’t think they came all the way from Banff, Canada in that. The gals check out their new digs and Tierra grabs a foldout cot rather than share a double bed with another girl. Actually I don’t think I can fault her for that, as these women are a bit old to be sharing beds, no?

Speaking of age, when AshLee gets the first date Tierra murmurs “The cougar’s back in town,” referring to AshLee being 32. I do have to say I don’t think a younger man is right for AshLee. I see her being perfect for a 50-year-old widower who has a couple of kids. OK, maybe 47 but no younger than that. I feel the need to play matchmaker with AshLee for some reason.

On the date with AshLee Sean broaches the subject of Tierra and he doesn’t need to do much to get that topic started. She gives him the full lowdown, and then the two reenact the makeout scene in “From Here To Eternity.” As we go to commercial we learn that when we come back, AshLee will be making a… shocking revelation. Aaand we’re back. Sean says something to the effect of, “Are there any shocking revelations that I need to know about?” And then AshLee spends more time prefacing her point than the lady in the Monty Python “dinosaur theory” sketch. There was so much prefacing I thought we might reach the next commercial break before she got to the story. She eventually divulges that it regards something that happened when she was 17. Wow, this must be bad … did she have sinful 6-ways with the entire Houston Rockets’ starting lineup? Gulp, she’s still prefacing… could it have been sinful 12-ways with the entire Houston Oilers’ starting lineup? No, actually she got married when she was 17, and it lasted one year. No biggie for Sean, and sighs of relief all around.

The next one-on-one date goes to Tierra. Sean asks early on: if you had to do it all over again, would you relate to the other girls differently? She says no, those girls aren’t going to be around much longer so who cares about them. Bad answer, sister. Guys want wives who the rest of the world likes, not ones the rest of the world hates.

Next is a group date with Desiree, Catherine, and Lindsay. Sean gets to roust them out of bed to see what they look like at 4 a.m., and he even snaps Polaroids of all of ’em… yessss! That information is gold when figuring out if he wants to spend the rest of his life with one of them. Off they go to the easternmost tip of the island to be, according to Sean, the first people in the USA to see the sunset that morning. What the…? Turns out St. Croix is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands and thus a territory of the United States. I say territories, schmerritories, and that people from Maine (like the Bachelorette Ashley Hebert) have reason to be upset by this claim. And I’ll tell you what proves my point: during the show we see that in St. Croix they drive on the left. Can you get more un-American than that?

Anyway, Sean’s second genius move of the day is to take the gals to a treehouse. Anyone who does not find treehouses cool is not someone I care to associate with, and no doubt Sean sees it the same way. Catherine and Lindsay like treehouses well enough, but they don’t like seeing that Sean seems to have a stronger connection to Desiree than to either of them.

At night, Catherine has a shocking revelation for the second week in a row: it’s that her father has a troubled past and she no longer sees him very often. Sean does have a rose to give out and it goes to… Lindsay? That means she has a home visit in the bag and Sean will be meeting her father the General next week. Boo ya!

Nobody goes without a date this week, and that means Lesley has a one-on-one. Frankly if there were a nuclear apocalypse and you had to restart the human race, you could do worse than Lesley and Sean as your specimens. Anyway, Sean asks if she has a shocking revelation. And she’s on the verge of saying that…. she loves him… but doesn’t stay it. Instead, true to her Beltway profession, she launches into a sort of romantic filibuster. Mind you, to me it’s no negative that she doesn’t say she loves him after 2-3 dates, but in the alternate reality that’s The Bachelor, this is considered a shocking slight.

Time for a previously unseen female face. namely Sean’s sister Shay. He mentioned earlier in the season that the reason he grew up a quiet guy is that his sister never stopped talking, and we certainly see that here. Talk turns to Tierra, and he suggests bringing her over to meet Sis to get her take, but when Sean goes to get Tierra she’s in the midst of her breakdown du jour. Even Sean has had enough and (despite 10 producers no doubt on their knees begging him to keep her around) he sends her packing. Don’t worry Bachelor fans, I’m sure she’ll be back for more on “The Women Tell All.” Or you can find her in her job as a leasing consultant in Denver. “Here’s an upstairs unit with two bedrooms. I DESERVE THE BEST! And you see it’s got a stackable washer dryer. I HAVE SUFFERED! And the deposit is two months’ rent. Did I mention that I DESERVE THIS?”

Cocktail party time! Well, actually it’s not. Sean has made his decision and wants to go straight to the rose ceremony. Alas, Lesley does not get a rose and has to go home, leading to long, uncontrolled sobbing… by Catherine? Quote from Catherine (still in tears later that night): “If he doesn’t want Lesley I don’t know why I’m here… She has more in common with him than I do… My beliefs are shattered about what he wants.” And mine are shattered about why Catherine is sticking around.

Well, after last year, when I correctly predicted the final four, I obviously got too cocky. Back on January 28th I did pick Desiree and Catherine to get this far, and at least had AshLee fifth, but the biggest surprise is Lindsay. I guess there was more chemistry there than I thought.

In the teaser for next week we not only see that Catherine has two hot sisters, but also that Desiree has a redneck brother who (the preview implies) is no fan of Sean and might even want to step outside with him and settle this like men! Can’t wait.

“Let me introduce you to our EMT”: The Bachelor February 5 2013 recap

12 Feb

Alas, I’m an entire week behind, but I would not want to gloss over the two hours from last Tuesday in which “the two-night event concludes.”

The scene is Banff, Canada. And Catherine awaits her one-on-one date with Sean. The producers apparently had no problem sending her into the freezing cold wearing a light jacket and no hat! After letting her shiver a bit, Sean motors up at the wheel of a huge “snow bus,” but the really good news is that he has brought a snowsuit for her. Apparently Catherine has some sort of bus driver fantasy, as she seems majorly turned on by the whole thing.

When the evening rolls around, it’s time for a romantic carriage ride — and again they don’t give her much to wear, while Sean has a nice warm scarf! The carriage takes them to nothing less than a specially made ice castle…. groan. This thing looks like it took 10 skilled artisans a month to make.

Cut to the spectacular hotel in Banff, where the group date card is read out, and it becomes apparent that Desiree will get the one-on-one date and Daniella and Tierra will have to keep waiting for their first one-on-one. The women arguably look even more amazing in sweaters than they did in bikinis.

Back to Catherine, and time for her to “open up”: it seems that when she was 12 she saw another girl die by having a tree fall on her (through no fault of Catherine’s).

She and Sean close in for a kiss, and I couldn’t help but notice that Sean’s nose is running BIG time. Now, whipping out a Kleenex and blowing your nose is not the most romantic thing in the world, but Sean, I have to say it beats the alternative, bro. Remember that next time.

The group date begins, and Sean and the girls have to paddle canoes across Lake Louise. Yes, that’s right: Sarah the girl with only one arm now has had to paddle a canoe for the second consecutive episode! Once everyone gets to the other side, Sean challenges the girls to join him by taking the “Polar Bear Plunge” and totally immersing themselves in the near-freezing water. I’ll tell you what, any finishing school headmistress would approve of the forced smiles the gals somehow managed to keep on their faces. It’s not exactly encouraging when Sean then introduces an EMT and a lifeguard (the latter looks like a nerdy version of Andy Dalton) to talk about all of the dangers.

Remember, these are girls who couldn’t roller-skate without getting hurt. Did the producers really think this through? The gals disrobe, all feeling peer pressure to participate, except for Selma who values her life more (I think Selma may have made the best decision). We see a quick glimpse of a godawful tattoo on the top of someone’s foot, but can’t see whose it is. Then they make the girls stand around in robes for a really long time, jeez producers! Cue AshLee and the most sobering blanket statement of the day: “No one’s ever in my life made me want to do something for them.”

Now the action comes thick and fast. Sean and all the girls except Selma shuck their robes to reveal swimsuits and take the plunge, and everyone gets right back out and cheers, except Tierra who acts like she’s dying. They put her on a stretcher and carry her all the way around the lake, then bundle her into a car. Then it gets confusing: did they just circle the circular driveway one time and let her back out? We soon see Tierra with a Starbucks cup and mascara running, saying “I miss time with him.”

All and all it was amazing and the experience of a lifetime… but enough about seeing Lesley in a bikini.

The general consensus is that Tierra was faking to gain sympathy. For the second week in a row she tries to crash the group date, though this time the other girls are still there when she arrives. The pity quest only goes so far though, as Lesley gets the rose.

Later that night, Sean realizes that he is not “feeling it” with Sarah (the girl with one arm), and he wants to do her a favor by not keeping her in suspense for two more days. So he sends her home. I had a couple of witty quips all ready for this eventuality, but as it turns out it’s one of the most heartbreaking moments since I’ve been watching the show.

Don’t put the Kleenex away too fast, Bachelor fans. Desiree, now on her second one-on-one date and still the favorite to win, is ready to open up too, namely about having lived in a tent at the trailer park for months at a time when she was a child. I think I might hear the peal of wedding bells for Sean and Des.

Cocktail party: Selma decides, traditional Iraqi family be damned, it’s time to kiss Sean. Only one problem from my point of view: when the light hits her a certain way she looks like Michael Jackson, circa Dangerous album. That’s a romance killer.

By the way, can any of these girls say a sentence without using the word “like”? Any sentence? Case in point is AshLee opening up by saying “I, like, adore you.”

Despite Sarah’s ouster Sean has two more girls to cut. He decides Selma, if not exactly Dangerous, is no Thriller, and Daniella is left without a rose as well. Poor Daniella, how will she ever get a man interested now? Oh wait, she’s 24 and a knockout. I think she’ll recover.