The third episode of The Golden Bachelor reminded us why our interest in this dating show universe has waned over the years. It’s not the catfights or the bro brawls — that’s the low-stakes drama that keeps things interesting. And it’s not the inescapable fact that most of these relationships aren’t built to last because life (and love) isn’t some televised fantasy filled with over-the-top romantic dates and tropical getaways where two people never have to confront the hard realities of their relationship … or the fact that one of them Facetime’s in public without headphones.
No, it’s that, most of the time, the guy these women are vying for is just plain boring.
That’s what Gary Turner is, at least at the moment. Nice? Sure, but boring. He’s the human equivalent of dial-up internet access and we’re all just waiting for him to boot up and show us something interesting. This week, he takes the ladies with performing in a talent show but never takes the stage himself. (Although, what talents he possesses other than not being able to drive on the freeway at night is anyone’s guess.) And it’s not Gary’s fault. The Bachelor has never asked any of its male cast to be extraordinary so a man with an emotional IQ greater than that of a peanut is miles above the low set bar already.
But dammit, we’d love to see something in Mr. Turner that justifies the somewhat problematic behavior on display from his potential love interests in this episode. Oh well. We gave peace a chance. Let the backstabbing begin.
Winner – Whoever Captioned The Talent Show Performances
In front of a backdrop constructed by what we can only assume was an elementary school theater troupe, the ladies must perform for their lives — and Gary’s amusement — in front of a celebrity judge and a crowd full of strangers. We don’t remember The Hunger Games ever being this dark. Most of the women have something entertaining up their sleeves. Sandra performs a stand-up set funnier than anything Chris Rock has done in years. April is the Beatnik chicken farmer giving an empowering spoken-word endorsement of Botox. Faith does her best Taylor Swift impression if the Eras tour was a retired woman with an adventure streak standing in front of an Indiana bumpkin, begging him to hop on her Harley and just live a little. Sandra shows Gary her karate skills — because nothing says romance like being able to bust through a plank of wood inches from a man’s genitals with just the force of your unsocked foot. And Ellen’s performance is a sex ed lesson she regularly gives to middle school students, which seems less like a talent and more like a punishment from the Universe for misdeeds in a past life.
The other women impress with poems, pushups, and party tricks but the real winner — besides Joan — is whoever was in charge of captioning their talents. Calling Nancy a “Whip Cream Catcher” is a hilarious interpretation of the word “catch.”
Loser – Motherhood
Motherhood is a truly confounding state of being. It’s both a gift and a curse, a role that many claim is the pinnacle of their existence, and also a job you never get to retire from that forces you to leave a reality dating show after scoring a rose and another one-on-one date with a man who had the potential to heal your broken heart. We understand why Joan had to bow out of the competition early, and it’s certainly not her daughter’s fault for having a difficult postpartum experience, but man, is this episode the best form of birth control we’ve seen in years.
Winner – Senior Citizen Saboteur Kathy
Does Kathy from Texas think she’s on a more glamorous version of Survivor? We’re truly asking because she’s forming alliances and sabotaging her fellow contestants like she’s on the chopping block of a tribal council, and Jeff Probst is about to unscroll her name on a piece of parchment. Her beef with Theresa is valid but her cutthroat tactics are eye-brow raising considering she hasn’t exchanged more than a dozen words with Gary since she arrived at the mansion. Theresa’s on her hit list because she got the first one-on-one … and because she wears t-shirts in child sizes. Over a cocktail party, she proclaims herself a bada** b*tch before crying in her confessional and then weaponizing those tears into guilting an early rose from Gary. That satisfied smirk she wore when walking back into the house to show off her hard-earned stem had us cackling out loud, as did her verbal sparring match with Theresa on the stairs. Girls watch out because Kathy came to play the game.
Loser – First One-On-One Date Boaster, Theresa
As devious as Kathy was this week, Theresa more than earned her ire. The woman has done nothing but brag about being chosen for the first one-on-one date, waxing poetic about her kitschy dinner death drive for three episodes now. As a viewer, we could interpret it as an insecurity. She hasn’t gotten alone time with Gary since that night so, perhaps, she’s feeling vulnerable and a bit unsure if the connection they had was real or just imagined. But to Kathy, it reads as mean girl tactics — an attempt by someone Gary obviously has a bond with to dissuade the women he has gotten to know yet from even trying. It’s territorial behavior but Theresa is definitely not an alpha type so when she’s confronted, first by April, then by Kathy, and finally by Gary, she breaks down in a blubbering mess.
Loser – Leslie’s Cookies
Leslie lets the competitive drive that helped her to bag Prince all those years ago hurt her chances with Gary this week. Her confidence in her on-stage moves convinced her she had scored a solo date before the rest of the women had their turn at the mic but a public lap dance only gets you so far … especially when you follow it up by force-feeding a man your stale cookies. What if he had a gluten allergy, Leslie?!
Winner – Sex Ed
Other than Nancy’s whip cream acrobatics, Ellen did the least during the talent show by simply reciting her memorized syllabus and encouraging grown men and women to get comfortable shouting the word, “vagina.” And yet, something about this fun-loving, free-spirited broad has got Gary hooked. He took all of two minutes after Joan’s abrupt departure to swoop Ellen off her feet with a custom dress fitting and a hot air balloon ride. From dark horse to front runner, Ellen made moves this week and we couldn’t be happier for her. (Or more terrified of what will happen when Kathy finds out she’s got a new rival.)
Loser – Good Hair
We know nothing, absolutely NOTHING about Edith, the retired realtor from California, except that she has likely lived most of her life under the envious glare of fine-haired women everywhere. Seriously, that coiffe is TRESemmé commercial quality and it deserves better than to be rejected in week three of a reality dating show competition. Get Edith’s hair an agent, stat!