One year, while on a baseball-themed summer trip in Nevada, my father and I decided it would be a good idea to drive from Reno to Las Vegas. After all, on a map, it's only seven hours – so what's the worst that could happen? We would soon discovered the answer to that question: Your car could break down in the middle of an empty desert seemingly pulled from "Mad Max: Fury Road," hours away from help in any direction save for abandoned ghost towns clearly burned out of life decades ago, and if the elements don't kill you or at least your automobile, the boredom will. But once we committed to this very bad idea, the only way out was through to Las Vegas.
I thought about that experience a lot while watching "The Bachelor: Jeds 2: Cruise Control," another very transparently bad and misguided journey that's been lethally boring, that requires liquids for survival (gas and water in our drive's case, wine in the show's case) and that we've all gone too far to turn back now from this miserable trek. Oh, and I guess also because they too took a road trip to Vegas on Monday night. But mostly it was the deathly boredom driving these flashbacks.
Before we head to Vegas, though, Matt recaps last week's events and does a respectable enough job pretending like Julia and Brandon getting the boot was a sad thing. Chris Harrison then comes out and teases a very emotional change. No, they're not canceling the show. (Hey, at least I would've gotten very emotional about that.) They've simply leaving the mansion, with each couple getting a tour bus to travel through Bat Country to the City of Lost Wages. The journey may all be exciting for them – but for the audience, it's an hour of television that feels like we're trapped on a dull road trip, our phone just died and there's no charger to save us. Each week, "Listen to Your Heart" barely qualifies as television, desperately trying to find ways to fill its first hour of network airtime – whether it's transparently drama-seeking dates that created no drama or, this week, staring out a bus window for an hour.
OK, they did more than that – but it was all pointless and tedious all the same. The only deal drama comes from Rudi and Matt having stiff conversations about their relationship. You see, Matt moves slow while Rudi wants Matt to love her NOW DAMMIT. And you know what else moves slow? THIS SEGMENT OF THE SHOW as the couple stops off randomly at a bottle tree ranch (not fair; Jamie and Trevor got to stop for snacks while these two have to visit a bottle graveyard) before deciding that what their relationship REALLY needs is a bonfire and a night at a shady roadside desert motel. Meanwhile everyone else is in Vegas, waiting on Rudi and Matt to arrive as if these detours were THEIR idea and not the producers trying (and failing) to make something interesting happen.
After a night of no chemistry, Rudi and Matt finally arrive at the hotel, and the show starts dishing out date cards – with the first going to Bri and Chris, sending the two to A Little White Chapel. No, they're not getting married – though that would be a pretty genius way to rig the system and win the show. (What judges are going to question their relationship and connection when they're hitched!?) Instead, they're basically doing an unpaid gig singing for a random couple's wedding that apparently no one was invited to – and I mean no one. I'm all for small intimate weddings or having whatever wedding you want ... but I guess I'd like something more than an empty room with seven people, two of them singers forced to be there and the other five cameramen watching them and ignoring us as much as possible. But Bri and Chris are into it – and it inspires them to have a tender heart-to-heart about how Chris' dad and best friend died on the same day. As far as couples on this show go, they seem like the real deal – so much so that even the producers find them too adorable to mess with. They've really been the saving grace of this otherwise lame spinoff.
The next date card goes to Jamie and Trevor, with the clue "your love will keep you warm" – aka the Vegas Golden Knights hockey arena. Bet Jamie wishes she packed more than belly shirts for this trip now! She's got other things on her mind, though, to distract her from her stomach freezing into a glacier: She wants to tell Trevor that she loves him, but she's JUST SO SCARED. So after the two skate around on the rink a bit and Trevor teaches her how to shoot a hockey puck – WOO! THE CLOSEST THINNG WE HAVE TO SPORTS RIGHT NOW! – the two chill out quite literally on a couch in the middle of the ice. And just as Jamie's about to bust out the L-word, Trevor goes on a little speech that's like, "Hey, if there's one thing I hate, it's using the L-word to soon in relationships; anyways, let's skate some more." So that's suboptimal. Thankfully, the show started playing "Rainbow" by Kacey Musgraves, though, so I just happily jammed out to that for three minutes while Jamie was sad and talking about ... stuff I wasn't listening to.
But apparently ALL HAIL THE HEALING POWERS OF MUSGRAVES because by the end of the song, Jamie gets the courage to tell Trevor her feelings anyways, saying that she's falling in love with him – only for Trevor to bust out the L-word in return. YAY FOR LOVE! Now let's get Jamie the rest of her shirt now, please; I'm concerned she's gonna catch a cold.
Meanwhile, Natascha and Dark Universe Shawn Mendes get a date card to a junkyard to crush up cars – but the show fully does not care about them whatsoever. The episode shows up late for the date and is then like, "Did we miss anything important? Meh, who cares" and bails. These two are guaranteed going home tonight, if only because the show could not give a single fart about them.
That leaves Rudi and Matt, who go to a Shaggy concert for their date card night on the town. I think Matt cries about seeing Shaggy live – which feels like the correct reaction to seeing "It Wasn't Me." The one-hit wonder even brings the two on stage, and they get to sing together. TRULY A NIGHT OF DREAMS, RIGHT!? Welp. Grabbing drinks in the empty bar afterward, Rudi tells Matt that she's falling for him, and he responds with an "I've got bad news" face and a "that's nice." Hey Matt, you have a performance tomorrow night with this woman, mostly judged on you two at the very least tolerating each other's company. MAYBE YOU CAN WAIT UNTIL AFTER THE GIG TO BREAK HER HEART!? And my guy, if you don't like rushing relationships, maybe don't sign up for the rushed, six-week version of a dating reality show. YOU ARE DISGRACING THE NAME MATT!
Meanwhile, Rudi is sad and despondent, but she decides that she's going to love Matt until he loves her back, dammit. Because that's definitely how love works. I see a GREAT future for these two.
But before then, we've got this week's performances. That's right, we're done stalling with road trips and literal waste-of-time detours; an hour in, the show can finally begin. Judging this week's musical numbers are Ashlee Simpson and Evan Ross, a married couple, musical act and answer to the question, "What's Ashlee Simpson been up to these days?" There's also the lead singer of Train, aka the lead conductor of my own personal musical hell. But it gets worse, as this week's requisite "Bachelor" alum judge is ... my god, it couldn't be ... Arie Luyendyk Jr. HOW. DARE. YOU. My reward for sitting through an hour of nothingburger television is having to see THIS GUY AGAIN!? Frankly: This is cruel, "The Bachelor: Jeds 2: Cruise Control." At least Lauren is there too, and she's nice – and I think she said more sentences during Monday night's show than she said throughout Arie's entire season all those years ago.
Bri and Chris are up first with "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis. No one would say these two have the strongest voices on the show, especially Chris who comes in weak and low right at the start, but they're just so sweet, adorable and precious. They're like a karaoke performance – but I mean that in a nice way, like watching two lovebirds sing together, not caring that they don't sound great or that they're a little stiff and awkward on the stage. Instead, they're just enjoying singing meaningful words to each other, and I want to hug them both. They're not the best musical act on the show – but also if they don't win this season, we revolt at dawn.
Jamie and Trevor are up next with "Just a Kiss" by Lady Antebellum – and it's probably the most I've liked these two all season long? The song is nicely in Jamie's range, not testing her thin voice too hard, while he finally made an impression for the first time. His voice is still sleepy, and I still forget he's on stage most of the time, but the song sounded good. I admit it: They kind of crushed it, which is probably good news for the producers because they're CLEARLY the show's favorite.
The show finally makes time for Natascha and Dark Universe Shawn Mendes – though they'd probably prefer the cameras didn't pay attention to them during their performance of every single person's wedding slow dance song over the past three years: "Perfect" by Ed Sheeran. Props to the two of them for trying something different, attempting to make the song their own with a bluesy salsa groove cover instead of just doing the usual. Unfortunately, that's where the props must stop because the song is a nightmare. The arrangement plays clunky and awkward, never cohering into a performance – and that's even if Natascha didn't sing the wrong part and almost knock over the microphone stand AND also hand Dark Universe Shawn Mendes a microphone while he was playing the guitar. It's never good when we're getting confused cutaway shots to the background musicians – and even worse when judge Evan Ross looks legitimately angry about what they've done to "Perfect" sitting in the crowd. I guess good thing we didn't waste more than two minutes on these two during tonight's episode?
That leaves Rudi and Matt singing ... "Shallow"? You sold this damn spinoff on this song, basically making it seem like we were gonna hear this song every five minutes, and now it's finally happening ... AND THESE ANNOYING, CONFUSED TWO ARE THE ONES WHO GET IT!? Lucky for them, the two kill it – in Lady Gaga's intimate performance space at that, for bonus pressure. Her voice is great – it's actually no wonder they got to do "Shallow"; she's the only singer on the show who could do it justice, much less do the famous riff – and Matt's ... on stage too. He's not quite meeting her halfway on the performance, but his voice melds with hers really well.
So yeah, Natascha and Dark Universe Shawn Mendes are going home. But for some reason, "Jeds 2: Cruise Control" insists on having a rose ceremony, so finally, after ten wildly undramatic minutes, they get the boot – and strangely enough, they seem really sad that they're leaving each other. I never got the impression these two were a real couple, just a pair of professionals who wanted to go far on the show and could perform well together to achieve that goal. But here they are, seemingly really into each other and tearfully saying goodbye for now. It almost makes you wish WE SPENT MORE THAN 20 SECONDS WITH THEM OVER THE PAST TWO HOURS. Could've used a little more of that than Rudi spending her seventeenth segment being sad that Matt is an emotional brick wall with a good haircut.
But that's behind us – and soon, so will "The Bachelor: Jeds 2: Cruise Control." First, however, we have to go to Nashville for the finale – where Jamie calls home. (How convenient.) Hopefully the show doesn't make them drive from Vegas to Nashville – and certainly doesn't make us watch it like this week.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.