Michael Stagliano: Episode 5

Courtney’s face is always in a wine glass! I forgot to put that in last week’s blog and have been waiting to write it for 7 days.

Whew! Good to get that one out. Anyone agree here? I keep little notes whil e I watch the episodes to refer to while I write this, and this week I wanted to keep tally marks of how many times I saw Courtney drinking wine. My pen ran out of ink after the group date.

Now onto the episode!

Yikes, I didn’t like this one. I had my face covered a lot of the time, I didn’t agree with anything Ben said or did. Puerto Rico was a giant step in the wrong direction and I have to admit it got me kind of down.

Nicki gets the first one-on-one, and this was a wonderful start. Still love her attitude and her openness with Ben. Her smile is endearing and contagious. Nicki strikes me as someone who takes life not too seriously, but does take it seriously when she needs to. She seems young at heart and strong of mind. Sure of herself and about love, and a few seconds before Ben said it, I said out loud, “Nicki seems like she has a very youthful, playful side to her, like a little kid.” Ben said that almost verbatim before their time together and he certainly seemed to be proved right in that regard.

There date was just a regurgitation of everything we have already seen. We know that Nicki is divorced, wants to find love again, and wants it with Ben. Ben seems mildly attracted to her, likes her attitude and her playfulness, but unfortunately for Nicki, I don’t see any sparks in it for Ben. She gets the rose, but I don’t see to many more in her future. : (

The group date was the highlight for me. I thought the baseball game WAS intense and was greatly entertained by Blakeley’s BEAST mode, with the tied up t-shirt. With some chewing tobacco and a baseball cap she could have passed for an Major League short stop. She was shockingly aggressive, played really well, but said some sub-par words of anger to her teammates after the game: blaming them, and actually shedding some tears over the loss.

The other highlight was Lindzi playing for both sides. This meant she was definitely going on the night portion of that date, which I was ALL for, cause we haven’t been able to see much of Lindzi since night one! Right? She is far and away my favorite, but she is slipping through the cracks with a lack of screen time. I was certain this episode would remedy that, and instead she was replaced AGAIN by Courtney’s face in a wine glass. Not cool.

The second portion of the group date, might as well have been just Courtney. She very cleverly plants a seed in Ben’s mind about a potential skinny dip sometime in Puerto Rico. Though Kacie B gets the rose, let’s be honest, Ben spends that entire night (and episode) thinking about Courtney naked. And here’s the thing: can we REALLY blame Ben here for being sidetracked mentally? He is clearly into Courtney, finds her attractive, and if a woman that a man feels that way about offers to get naked and splash around in the ocean with you THAT is pretty hard to NOT think about. I get it, but it sucks. Even more frustrating is Ben’s time with Lindzi, which consists of:

Lindzi: “Hey! How are you?”
Ben: “I’m good, how are you?”
Lindzi: “Good…it’s been awhile.”
Ben: “Yep.”

So disappointing. I want to see much and more of Lindzi in weeks to come.

The Blue Team, (typically the losing color in the Bachelor franchise. I was reminded of a certain curling date a few years ago that left my team wallowing in despair after our loss against the Red team and an even bigger LOSS of time spent with Jillian…) reacts as if a family member dies and Blakeley and Jennifer shed tears on camera. And I think these are “home-sick” tears, honestly. The show really does take a mental and physical toll on you. By week 3, without contact with family and friends, travel, the stress of the dates and rose ceremonies it is easy to overreact at the small things.

Our last date of the episode is with Elyse, and I think we were all on the same page to start. I wasn’t expecting her to get a rose. Although I got my hopes up while she was on the boat, and loved Elyse’s attitude and smile throughout. Ben might as well have been sitting in a room with 10 TV’s and playoff football on. He appeared incredibly distracted and between the boat ride and dinner, he just wanted to get out of there and into Courtney’s skinny dipping extravaganza. The physical proof of this was when Ben asked her, “Do you want to jump off the boat.” I can’t think of a more obvious (though indirect) way to say he did not want to be there.

Elyse does plead her case, and puts up pretty good fight. We learn she has given up a lot, and I was convinced that she did in fact want to find love on the show. It is unfortunately for her, too little too late. There is about as much love going on between her and Ben as is there is was between Jenna and Ben. The tears are warranted, and Ben wishes her well, and I think he means it.

And then the skinny dip:

Oh gosh. If there was anyone who was still holding out hope for Courtney to be a wonderful woman it’s all gone now. My guess is that was shattered after this part. I, for one, was immediately reminded of a certain serpent in the Garden of Eden, cunningly and seductively whispering to Adam/Ben to taste the forbidden fruit. And no, I am not comparing Courtney to Satan (but close). It’s just wrong for so many reasons. It really made my stomach turn, and though (as I mentioned earlier) I get it…I get that Ben has probably been on the road, traveling, falling asleep alone at night, maybe a little backed-up and here comes Courtney with a bottle of deep-red wine (his kryptonite) and a bath robe. Almost any man would be powerless against Courtney. But guess what? Ben is not any man, he is The Bachelor and I think you friggin’ keep it in your pants. Out of respect for the other girls, out of respect for Courtney (hard to muster), and out of respect for his family watching. Oh man this was like watching a car crash in slow motion. I kept saying, “don’t do it, don’t do it, DON’T DO IT.”

Argh, they get naked, get in the ocean, make out and who knows what else…and Courtney returns back to the house (maybe) and by the cocktail party she seems openly and outwardly proud of what happened. AND, if she has at any point been clever enough to wear her sheep’s clothing, covering her wolf-like behavior with the other girls, THAT goes out the window.

Making things worse is Emily’s time with Ben. She immediately apologizes for bringing up Courtney last week (YAY!) then the next second launches into why she doesn’t like her again (ARE YOU SERIOUS?). Was anyone else cringing at this point? Ben couldn’t make it more obvious that Courtney is sticking around for A LOT longer. Emily leaves the date with her tail between her legs.

At the Rose Ceremony Emily’s face suggests that she thinks she is going home. She looks sea sick, and upset and I think all of us are more than shocked when Jennifer gets the boot. Again, if we had any confidence left in Ben making the right choices it gets smashed in the face with this decision. Really? Jennifer…REALLY!?!? They just had an incredible one-on-one date. I really learned to like her after last week and without a better way to say it: I don’t understand how you can give a girl a rose on a one-on-one, have little to no time with her the next week, then send her home. I don’t get it and didn’t like it. I will miss Jennifer a lot.

Argh, I hate to have been so negative blogging this week! But son of a Puerto-Rico THAT did not go well.

My hope is that Panama City brings some better decisions and hours and hours of Lindzi on camera.

Holding my breath till then.

With Love,

(Like This)

Michael