In Movies & TV Commentary

Taylor and new arrival Christen have some words. (PHOTO: Twitter/Bachelor in Paradise)

"Bachelor in Paradise" recap: Love triangles and tears in the TV tropics

I came to a startling realization amidst the tears and love triangles on Monday night's "Bachelor in Paradise" episode: Thanks to having a pair of two-hour episodes every week, the amount of time I've spent watching the entire seventh season of "Game of Thrones," a show about a sprawling, continent-spanning, centuries-old war between standard and supernatural enemies, has already been surpassed by the time investment required for "Bachelor in Paradise," a show about tipsy people on a beach deciding whether or not to fall in fake love.

There's just no reason for two-hour episodes of this show, and there's just no reason for two of those two-hour episodes each week. Even if there was enough material – which, as the ten minutes spent on the nickname "Scallop Fingers," complete with puppetry, showed, there isn't – mindless fun things are best in small, tight packages.

Film comedies, silly action movies and jumpy horror flicks are best at 90 minutes or less. Pop songs barely run four minutes – if that. And yet there's four hours of "Bachelor in Paradise" a week, a crushing, suffocating amount of fluff.

So no, I'm not enjoying this season of "Bachelor in Paradise" – even episodes like Monday night's, which had rare glimpses of something resembling fun. And also I made a tremendous drinking game out of the number of times people mentioned scallops and passed out 30 minutes in.

On the topic of seafood, Alexis and JACK! STONE! play a game where he guesses mystery foods while blindfolded. It starts off fun with papaya and both a jalapeño and a Gummi Saver dunked in hot sauce, but quickly sours when Alexis tries to shove a dead, stinky crab into his mouth, fresh from the hot tub. JACK! STONE! harrumphs away, way too seriously talking about how she did him wrong and how she may have just cost herself a rose. And what was once fun has gone on too long and become tediously dramatic. If only that could be used as a metaphor for something ...

The guys get do to their best He-Man impressions this week, as they have the power, but before they do, a new arrival pops down the stairs: Christen from Nick's season, who notes she was most remembered for being a virgin. Nope, nobody remembers that.

She arrives with a date card, so she chats up some of the guys. Ben manages to go ten seconds without a single dog reference. JACK! STONE! gets some time with Christen, but then Matt comes snooping in and clarifying to Christen that he is definitely not off-limits for a date – despite what Jasmine, his kind of girlfriend on the show, says.

She's intrigued by Matt, so she chooses him – and thus Jasmine's slow decent into madness begins, as she berates Matt about taking the date (complete with a profanity edited out with a slide whistle sound effect) and then goes to berate Christen about her pick. "I'm about to give you good TV, ABC!" she announces, marching down the beach. OOOOOH BOY!

So she gets to Christen's room ... and basically just talks at her for a few minutes while Christen's just trying to finish brushing her teeth. And then Christen goes to her confessional to cry less than an hour into arriving. That's that. I WAS PROMISED GOOD TV!

Things get worse from there. While Matt and Christen are on their date to the Bluth Frozen Banana Stand, Jasmine and company get cruel and mean on the beach, gossiping about Christen being "Scallop Fingers." Long story short: Christen once ate scallops with her fingers while on a road trip. THE GALL! It's some really mean high school bullying garbage that the show uncomfortably LOVES, lingering on making fun of her for some 15 minutes and even making Christen "Scallop Fingers" in her lower third while she's on an otherwise enjoyable date with Matt.

And then, to make matters worse, Wells busts out his puppets. Everybody's losing their mind – especially Jasmine, probably Wells and definitely me.

In the name of taking a break from Jasmine's intensity, let's get some token updates on the rest of the relationships. KrisDeana still seems tense, as he casually spends A LOT of time with Danielle while giving cold, distant answers to Kristina. Robby tries enticing Amanda into a kiss, but still gets Heisman-ed. Adam, Sarah and Raven are still a thing, I guess; apparently bringing a murder doll to the beach isn't as much of a deal breaker as you'd think.

The biggest drama oddly comes from the most stable couple thus far, Derek and Taylor, who fall apart when Derek sarcastically tosses off a "f*ck you" that triggers Taylor into a breakdown that almost ends the relationship. HER EMOTIONAL PIGGY BANK IS FULL! True, it's best not to use harsh words, even if just sarcastically, with your significant other – especially if they've had rough relationships in the past. But it sure feels like this minor grievance could've been solved with a simple, honest conversation rather than storming down the beach. Not a lot of emotional intelligence on display.

Anyways, at the cocktail party, the two sort things out, with Taylor jumping from "This relationship may be over" to "This is just how relationships go sometimes, LOLZ." I guess the producers realized that they needed to create some drama with the lone, safe couple on the show. If only the show was just an hour-long, then we wouldn't need these fake subplots! A boy can dream ...

As for the rest of the cocktail party, Raven and Sarah try their final moves on Adam to secure a rose. Raven smartly drags Adam down the beach, both getting good flirting time while also keeping him literally far away from Sarah. Sarah eventually gets her time and impresses Adam with her blunt, real honesty, but that rose is going to Raven. Lacey tries to get Diggy back from Dominique by angrily berating him for taking her date card. Surprise: not a great approach! Diggy flat out says Dom's getting the rose, so Lacey will be in the gone section tomorrow.

Dean keeps playing both women in his life, telling Kristina he'd like to keep Danielle L. around because she's a good, interesting person, nicely gilding that info with telling Kristina how much he cares about her feelings and how fascinating he finds her. Kristina's happy – good thing she doesn't have access to the footage of Dean then pulling out basically the same compliments to D. Lo moments later. It's gross, Dean. WE THOUGHT YOU WERE DECENT!

Meanwhile, Robby finally gets that kiss from Amanda, while Wells does more puppetry because this show bends the mind to one's breaking point.

But let's get back to the "important" "drama" of the night: Matt, Christen and Jasmine. Matt takes Christen aside during the cocktail party and explains that, while she's great, a rose may not come from him at the end of the night. It's brutal honesty – and understandable considering how imposing and intense Jasmine is and the time committed to her. A rose definitely isn't coming from him, however, because shortly after, Matt realizes that this is all very stupid and not fun, and he bails. He legit packs up and leaves the show, because this vacation is exhausting work.

As Wells points out, it's a bit of a douche move since he's basically put Jasmine and Christen both on the chopping block with no real time to save themselves, but given a choice between a bully who keeps threatening to choke ... everyone and a person who's already cried three times in about a day, sure, hit that emergency eject button.

Luckily, the ladies' luck turns right at the end. For one, JACK! STONE! graciously decides to put his rose up for grabs for Jasmine and Christen. I guess he was serious about how much he hated that crab taste-tasting with Alexis (but if Alexis is gone, I'm finding that beach, buying the land and building a children's waterpark on it so "Bachelor in Paradise" can never return).

Then, as bonus good news, Daniel is back! This means ... something! Probably still overlong episodes that pummel their manufactured dramas into the dirt and "romances" that somehow make the latest incest on "Game of Thrones" only the second most regrettable love connection on TV this week.


At least one guy named Matt gets to be done with this show.


Welcome back to America, Madre Mueller! Come watch this show with me featuring a woman force-feeding a rotten ass crab to a blindfolded guy and sleazy relationships and people exploiting relationships as free vacation tokens and ... wait, where'd you go? Oh, you're back in Europe? Fair enough.



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