Croatia: the perfect place to fall in love. Not any of those other places–they were only so-so. Anywhere in the world (except, say, maybe the bathroom floor of a New York City Starbucks) is the perfect place to fall in love, according to these reality dating competitions. “The perfect place to fall in love” is this show’s version of “I’m not here to make friends.” Perhaps they will film The Bachelorette‘s exotic getaways in Detriot, Michigan next season, as I’ve heard it’s a great place to fall in love! Enchanting! Romantic! Ooh! Ahh! Look at that dilapidated infrastructure! Magical.
But for now, Emily Maynard and her rosebuds are in Croatia (which, all jokes aside, is a totally beautiful and amazing country). And in a totally new, shocking twist never-before-seen-on-reality-television, the star wanders aimlessly around the town with an overdub of her innermost thoughts: decisions! Love is hard, guys.
Travis gets the first date card (hand delivered by Emily herself; what a treat), and the two skip off like children. Because this is a date clearly made for children. They eat ice cream and buy crosses and Emily has to hold Travis’ hand while he tries to show off (and fails) on some rock that juts out of a wall. There was some ancient proverb (what is with the old sayings and weird superstitions this season? Ugh) written on the back of a McDonald’s wrapper, tied to the shoe of a vagrant that a Production Assistant stole when she was drunk the night before. Ricki found it in the hallway of the hotel that morning, and Emily knew it was a sign! A sign from the heavens that she should make Travis decide his own fate on a rock. It read that if you stand on a stone and takes your shirt off while still balancing on the stone you’ll be lucky in love. See? There’s no way that gobbledegook could be real. Oh Emily, fooled by a drunk PA and a kooky Croatian vagrant! In any event, Travis does not take his shirt off, so clearly they are doomed.
Back at the house, the guys don’t believe Travis can come home from this date. Ryan and his didn’t-know-it-was-possible-to-make-a-tank-top-look-douchier tank top agree. Ryan clearly shops at the brocery store. It was his magical tank top that wrangled him his second one-on-one date with Emily. He starts talking his looney talk about being able to manipulate any situation to get the girl. Oh yes, true love.
Back on the playground date,Travis says Emily is the type of girl he dates “to a T” so of course that means he’s donezo. Emily does not give Travis a rose, and Travis is forced to wander around Dubrovnik, Croatia in the rain for all eternity. Forced to cry and sniffle for the rest of his days. That is what actually happens when you can’t stand on the stone and take your shirt off, Americans. Take note on your next family vacation to Croatia.
Also if someone could get me a GIF of Travis’ rainy umbrella-throwing tantrum ASAP, it would be greatly appreciated.
Onto the group date! You’re in a foreign country, so why not spend the whole day inside watching an integrated marketing placement a movie about a country you are not-at-all in! That’s right—let’s all watch Brave and talk about how it oh-so-totally relates to Emily or whatever: because I’m sure Merida would be thrilled that a show like The Bachelorette exists. Just tickled by the idea and everything it represents.
But we’re not done yet, oh no. Because it’s time to take part in an age-old tradition that dates back hundreds of years: The Highland Games! Man, what a neat way to integrate yourself into the area’s cultural history. Except they’re in Croatia, who I guess just didn’t have enough culture (read: money to give ABC) to plan a group date around. So we’re pretending we’re in Scotland but in Croatia. Cool and not at all weird, guys. Totally. Now let’s go put some dudes in kilts!
Chris is SO ready for the Highland Games because he’s actually a Scottish cow. Arie got a bullseye because he IS a bullseye! Everything is just so great and not-at-all painfully dull/frustrating about this date. Who needs to explore the legitimately beautiful and rich Croatian landscape when you can go out to a field and pretend you’re in another country for the sake of a movie?! Pish posh!
Chris makes an ass out of himself and manages to win some sort of dumb bravery cup or whatever. A for effort or something. The guys also mucked around with something called “Maide Leisg” (which took a really long time to figure out how to spell because it sounds like “made leash” and that just doesn’t bring up anything other than Etsy pages for homemade dog leashes when you Google it). It was fine.
Arie and Emily are walking around after the group date, and he starts rambling about how he should’ve stood up for her more because wah wah wah this is all because he was second to last in the rose ceremony last week and now he’s nervous. Arie, you are a dream boat. You’re going to be fine in this competition. You’re like Arya Stark—you will always be fine! My bets are on you getting into the Top Three (if not going all-the-way with it), but even if you don’t, you have The Bachelor written ALL OVER YOU so don’t worry about it, OK? Just let it all happen. Slow your roll. You’re cute, don’t mess it up by being all neurotic about things, OK?
Next up is everyone’s favorite neanderthal, Ryan. He has his blue suede (sorry, turquoise) shoes. Dress to impress? He also reminds us all that he believes himself to be very attractive. He’s getting ready for his date with his new favorite plaything.
Back in Scotland…Gah! F**K you, Jef With One F! F**k you and your adorable chivalry and the elbow patches on your professorial blazer. OK fine he is definitely in the top two. I’m a sucker for an elbow patch. Especially when he says nerdy/embarrassing things like “You give me the type of feeling that people write novels about. I really like it; I really like you.” He also admits he was scared to kiss her which is totally precious. Ugh, JEF! JEF WITH ONE F! You are creeping in, my dude. Burrowing yourself right into Emily’s heart like a little floppy-haired chipmunk. I am OK with Jef. Lose the blankets, though, dude.
In the end—despite the fact that she so totally prefers Jef and Arie over everyone else on the group date—our dude Chris somehow gets the date rose. Anyone else think they just have absolutely baseline chemistry at best? Am I the only one? I can’t be.
Next: Ryan The Shocked, Ryan The Ryan So now it’s time for the cage to be opened and for Ryan to jangle his way out into society. He’s laying his BS game on so thick when she comes to the house to pick him up. He talks about how Emily is a pearl because the world is their oyster and the house literally vomits him out of it because it was so offended by the bad taste Ryan left in its mouth. Second-hand embarrassment is a real killer. The dudes bust up after he leaves, which, duh. I’m amazed they stayed composed while he was shoveling all that horses**t in Emily’s general direction, hoping that the least stinky piece of s**t would stick. Oy!
On their date, Ryan admits he’s rotten and trouble and wants a trophy wife (we’ll come back to THAT one later. Need to let the firepit heat up). Emily needs to figure his BS out and fast.
The best and most metaphorical moment of the date occurs when they go oyster harvesting! Emily is apparently not a fan of oysters and spits it out. Oh, reality television. When it comes together, it really does come together.
Afterwards, Ryan makes sure to reiterate to Emily that he considers her not another human with a mind, thoughts, opinions, internal organs—but rather a piece of shiny, gold-plated metal.
That’s right, America! It’s time for “Let’s Get Cranky!” with Alicia Lutes.
Ryan calls Emily a trophy wife again. Apparently she’s supposed to be flattered by such talk! Oh ladies! What, with our tiny lady brains, we can’t understand that being called an inanimate object is a compliment. When will we EVER learn, amirite?! BRB, going back to the kitchen to make some pies while barefoot—they’re filled with feminist rage, these pies! So juicy! The choicest bits of the conversation include Ryan saying “every man should believe his wife is a trophy.” Yes! Of course! This is 100% accurate and not-at-all offensive to humans. Emily quickly retorts that “trophies don’t talk back.” Ryan chuckles and immediately gets lost in a daydream. It’s a reoccuring dream. He’s sitting on the porch of a log cabin. It’s 1662. A quiet, subservient mouse of a woman makes him dinner after serving him some homemade ale. (He needs it after f**king all the barnyard animals all day!) She silently cleans the home under the cover of night—after he’s fallen asleep, of course. Later, she’ll pop out a bunch of sons—and only sons! He feeds the girls to the zombies like it’s Game of Thrones up in here—and only enters their marital bed when its time for some P in the V. What a romantic! Snapped back into reality, Ryan replies “you would be the very first of that kind.”
Which, OH MY LORD, SOMEONE TAKE THE WHEEL, I’m about to go offroad on this motherb***h. The beauty of this show, though, is that I realized I am actuallly a superhero with real, superhuman powers. Every time Ryan opens his mouth I turn into FemiHulk and HULK SMASH all of the misogynistic bulls**t that emits from this man. Which is a lot. Seriously. It’s as if he was hot garbage on a summer sidewalk next to a mountain of rat corpses. Instead of shorts I wear a flowery skirt that never tears and doesn’t fly up when a draft or an aggressive smash occurs. See? Magic!
But seriously, did someone pick Ryan up out of an Ed Hardy factory dumpster and send him back in time 10,000 years JUST to bring him back after he got real comfortable with the complete and utter disregard for women back there? Like, what alternate universe does he come from that he thinks this sort of attitude with modern-day women is going to get him anywhere? If you find out, let me know so I can never book a vacation there.
This crap continues into the dinner scene. I can’t get into all of the details because I will probably keel over and die from hysteria, so I’ll stick to the key points. They go to dinner in a fancy-looking ballroom situation. She is wearing a gold dress and actually, har har har, looks like a trophy. Ryan actually has a list of the qualities he’s looking for in a woman, and he decides to share them with Emily. Here’s his full, unabridged list:
2. Logical (aka a non-hysterical woman. LOL is there such a thing LOL?)
3. Fairness? Or something?
4. A respectable dowry
6. To be a nurturer
7. To be confident
8. To be magnetic (so he’ll never lose his keys!)
9. To be easily drawn up in case a replacement is needed
10. Someone who loves to laugh
11. Someone who hates the outdoors and friends
12. Someone that’s a servant (This isn’t even one that I threw in as a joke, you guys. This was actually on his real list and yes that is worthy of this many exclamation points!!!!)
13. A unicycle
15. Mouth like a blowfish
16. Loves to catch my eye (??)
17. Is an anatomically correct Barie Doll
18. Loves to be cheated on!
Emily feels like she has to be perfect around Ryan. She grabs the rose. She thinks he’s funny and handsome and a good kisser. Which, Emily, I know this is a TV show and you want to be nice and all, but STOP inflating his ego with this stuff! These superficial, stupid things are not important, but they do make him feel more important than he is, and allows him to continue to treat women as objects and playthings because he believes those are the only things he needs to get a woman and keep a woman. It’s perpetuating a lie that he’s lodged into that cavernous hole where his brain was supposed to be, but he left it in that Ed Hardy dumpster.
At least she tells him to go home, which, yay! And Ryan is so mad—so double yay!
A moment of silence for Ryan: GO HOME GET OUT OF HERE SEE YA NEVER BYE.
He’s shocked but that’s because he doesn’t have the mental capacity to feel anything other than proud and horny, so this new emotion (we call is humiliation, my dude) is causing the tinker toys behind his eyes to whirr and buzz and overheat as they try to process something they cannot.
But Ryan also cannot just quietly walk away and respect Emily’s decision. Oh no! She must be wrong! She couldn’t possibly know what she wants in this situation because Ryan hasn’t yet been able to tell her what she should want, of course! So he lectures her. FOR-EV-ER. Seriously. He’s so surprised he’s going to lecture her about about why she’s wrong for 47 hours. He thinks she’s making the wrong choice and that he’s right for her. He’s really shocked, you know? So shocked that he feels the need to repeat that word to Emily no less than 800 times.
The funniest part of all of this is how transparent Ryan is in his lack of respect for Emily (or probably any woman, for that matter) since he cannot seem to respect her enough to think she can’t make up her own damn mind and have an original opinion! ufhisudbnkjdfiugrisgunbdujnoiuhrg?! It’s so offensive and totally misogynistic that I’m about to throw my laptop, my television, and myself out the window.
Oooohhhhhhh mmmmmmyyyyyy gggggggggoddddddddd juuuuuust ggggggoooooo hhhhhooooooommmmeeeee RRRRRRRyyyyyyaaaaaaaannnnnnnnn!
But of course he cannot just go home because he needs to spend every last second after Emily has reiterated her decision talking into the camera to state his case. (Emily also started crying at one point, which Ryan OF COURSE jumped on because he was trying to exploit her and undo her decision because he is quite literally the world’s worst human. I would say I want him to get slapped in the face with a million STD-infected d**ks if I didn’t think he’d like it so much.)
Choice quotes from Ryan’s taxi ride of shame include: “you look at me you’re looking at a winner!” and “spend five minutes with me and i’ll tell you though i’ve been blessed with a lot of worldly gifts.” PLEASE MAKE THE BAD MAN STOP.
He also begs the editors to not edit him to look like an “arrogant ass” which, ha! No need, dude, no need.
After this there was a whole bunch of crying on Doug and John’s part. It was sweet and all but I’m just so exhausted from Lord Brodemort up there that I can’t really get into it.
In the end…no one goes home! Surprise! And here I thought they’d be announcing the finale to be next week (I mean, Emily really knows how to cut the men, doesn’t she? It’s all Boom! goes the dynamite! with her.)
Next week they’re off to Prague, and we’ll FINALLY get to hear the dirt on Arie’s former relationship with a producer of the show! Steamy.
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes