Katie Thurston Episode 2 – Golden-Parachute Edition

The show opens with the surviving 23 men exploring the resort where they will be living for the rest of the season. The resort seems nice enough, but maybe not if you are going to be there for a month as part of some televised dating tournament.

These men have just survived the first all-night rose ceremony and already it appears Karl is a little too into the competition of it all, referencing The Hunger Games and delivering a riff on the “ask not” JFK inaugural address in the voice of Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday. The other men seem… nonplussed. Basically what you would expect if you stayed up all night just to find out you were going to live with a motivational speaker who is also going to be dating the same person as you. 

Katie tells new hosts Tayshia and Kaitlyn that she needs to “find out who’s here for the right reasons.”

Speaking of new hosts, we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a few, maybe 20 million, words or so to discuss tha franchise giving Chris Harrison a golden parachute to leave the franchise. I’ve gotten a severance package one time in my life – and let’s just say that it was closer to $20 than $20 million. I also didn’t have a crapload of dirt on the granddaddy of all reality-dating shows – so I guess good for you Chris Harrison??

Finally that guy caught a break! It is kind of hilarious that this severance is being openly discussed as hush money for the terrible things Chris Harrison knows about. I mean… maybe? But if that were true, wouldn’t other people who work on the show have the same leverage? And they probably made a lot less than Chris Harrison. 

Ratings took a tumble for Katie Thurston’s opener last week – and the jury is still out on how the Franchise can best replace its milquetoast figurehead. I don’t think Tayshia, Kaitlyn, and that rotating salad bar set to host BIP is the answer. And I do think there’s a lot to be said for having a male host for the Bachelor and a female host for the Bachelorette, and having those two hosts combine to host Bachelor in Paradise. And I do happen to know a funny Twitter troll who’s good on TV, would be a great host and confidante for the lead, needs a new platform to rehab her image, and has a husband who’s good at everything!!!

Sex Talk Group Date

Christian, Garrett, Tre, Quartney, Mike P, James, Justin, Thomas, Connor B, and Karl will be on a group date, and the date card says: “I’m looking for a great love.”

This date is being hosted by Heather McDonald, who they describe as a comedian and host of The Juicy Scoop podcast. Apparently both Salt and (-N-?) Pepa were unavailable, but we are still talking about sex. 

Heather tells us that we’re doing this sex talk date because Katie is “sex positive.” Woah woah, this is the first I’m hearing of this. Tell me more!

Heather McDonald asks a bunch of questions to the men to show that they don’t know what the word “erogenous” means, and also to basically out Mike P as a virgin. To the camera, Mike P fully cries about having had to answer the question “what is your go-to sex position?” He draws a question mark. It isn’t like Mike P couldn’t have seen this coming. The show has had virgins before and the producers basically try to make them talk about being virgins. 

To his credit, Mike P is not embarrassed that he has never had sex nor seemingly judgmental about those who have had sex. But he doesn’t like that he is being forced to reveal that to Katie in a different way than he’d initially intended.

The producers, for their part, think they can humiliate Mike P by having all of the men perform on stage to show Katie what makes them the best lover. There will be “an audience,” but this isn’t our first pandemic rodeo so we know it is just the other dudes. 

Connor B, fresh off making out with Katie in a cat outfit, sings a song with a guitar that has okay lyrics and, well, he’s not the worst singer the show has ever had. That might be true George – but can Connor B sing a dog food jingle? Tre did a sock-puppet show featuring sock-puppet sex, everyone else either took off some clothing and/or talked about being really good at sex. James, who showed up in a giant box, used a smaller box to recreate the dick-in-a-box SNL joke. Most annoyingly Karl sexually harassed a cardboard cutout of Katie as part of a long and very boring and surprisingly bad motivational speech. At the end everyone clapped like he was Bill Clinton at the 88 DNC, not for the speech but to celebrate that it was finally over. 

Deep cut for my very old DNC heads! He went on for so long that even the old guy in the donkey mask had to come up for air. Never get your biggest cheer when you say “in closing,” unless you are planning to run for President in four years and need your party to lose this election…

You can tell the differences between George and me because his cultural reference is the DNC and my cultural reference for doing a bad stage hit is this

After seeing Karl crash and burn, Mike P pulled Katie up on stage, and said “I want to share where my heart’s at.” If it isn’t “I think you are attractive and would like to get to know you better” then you have forgotten that this is your first date. Mike P reads a very emotional letter “to [his] future wife” about why he is waiting for marriage. It ends with “I would wait another 31 years to have sex, if it was what proved to you that I would sacrifice everything for you to feel loved and secure, and that is why I would be the greatest lover for you.” Everyone claps and Mike P gets an award because Katie’s thing isn’t vibrators, it is authenticity. Also, all of the other guys except Connor B were fucking awful. Still, a real win for Mike P and for the guys who either respected his honesty or read the room and clapped for him. I cannot imagine Mike P and Katie are out there engaged to each other right now, but he had a good night.

At the cocktail party, Connor B tells Katie that he would like a re-do of their first kiss because he thinks he was awkward. Sadly, Katie likes this tryhard math teacher, so they smooch again. And… it turns out the awkwardness wasn’t because of the costume. 

Karl asks Katie about her last relationship, and then refuses to answer the same question in return. Then Karl dives right into a prepared bit featuring furry handcuffs, which is interrupted by Thomas. I think Karl was going to cuff himself to Katie, but Thomas stopped him, meaning Karl just had a furry purple handcuff on. He should probably have cuffed himself to Thomas out of spite. Thomas doesn’t have a bit, he is just a handsome guy who tells Katie that he likes her and kisses her.

Following up on recent precedents, Katie gives three medals. Connor B and Mike P get rewarded for doing well on the date, but the date rose goes to Thomas for saving her from Karl.

Greg One-on-one Date

Katie drives up to the house in a flannel over a hoodie and a red pickup. Greg is also wearing a hoodie under a flannel. Kismet! All of the guys are jealous of Greg, and as he heads out for his date Box-Guy James nearly injures himself. A piece of patio furniture fails, almost causing him to fall off the deck. If only he had stayed in the box, and filled it with foam-rubber padding. 

Katie tells the camera that she used to fish with her dad, who passed away in 2012. Greg claims to love fishing, though he admits he has never set up a tent before. Katie explains that when she camped it was real camping. Her dad and her used to dig a hole, put a bucket over it, and then cut a hole in the bottom of the bucket for a toilet. I mean, I don’t think the bucket was totally necessary, but it isn’t a terrible idea. Greg is supposed to cut the hole in a bucket that Katie has brought on the date, and inexplicably he uses a hand-axe. This seems like a real faux pas, but sitting on the bucket-toilet, Greg and Katie share a kiss. 

Katie and Greg appear to eat hot dogs, though their campfire was never lit, so either they were cold or they DoorDashed them. Katie tells Greg that this reminds her of her dad and that since Greg can’t meet her dad, this is maybe a good substitute. Katie gets emotional talking about how short life is, and everyone who is able may want to give a quick call to their parents. We will wait.

This is kind of an important date, especially because we didn’t get Katie’s backstory during her season as a contestant. Katie tells Greg she sees him “being around for a while” and that is good news for Greg. Greg promises the camera that he will open up to Katie when the time is right. Turns out the right time was dinner, because Greg tells Katie about hearing that his dad had stage IV cancer a couple of years ago. Greg’s dad had a month left when Greg found out, and Greg is still quite emotional about losing him. Greg fully cries while noting that his father will never meet the girl that he marries. Katie tells Greg that they shared a date that both of their fathers would have appreciated, and that she was able to enjoy it because of Greg. An emotional connection over dinner and a kiss on a bucket toilet are great, but Greg also gets a fireworks display and a date rose. 

So Greg gets an intro package, the full limo entrance, the first impression rose, the first date, and a shared experience involving recently passed parents. You don’t need to have been watching the show since the Bush administration to know that Greg might be here for a while. Fortunately for you, this blogger has been – and he will confirm that Greg is going to be here for a while.

Katie tells the camera “it feels like” she is falling for Greg. That is better than what Greg’s old boss said:

Mud Wrestling Group Date

John, Andrew S, Kyle, Josh, Aaron, Brandon, Hunter, and Cody get the call for this date. Really, this is Cody and Aaron’s date. Widower Michael is left out altogether this week, which seems to upset him. But he should be happy that he isn’t risking injury on a violence date, as his connection with Katie seems pretty strong based on the first night. 

I feel like this is my annual rant that these competition dates are incredibly poor fit for this show. The Bachelor(ette) is not The Challenge. These Bachelor(ette) athletic competitions (almost) never tell us anything useful about the contestants. Unlike the sex talk date, the guys don’t get to show off their personality here – and the audience does not care how good they are at mud wrestling, dodgeball, boxing, or whatever the physical competition du jour is. If I want to watch guys beat the crap out of each other with something on the line, give me a hall brawl so I can root against Bananas. I’m watching the Bachelor to learn about the wannabe influencers. We’re two episodes in – and the only thing I know about Josh (who’s on this date) is that he used to be obese. Do better!

I think the goal of mud wrestling was to get some actual rough stuff going, but it completely failed. The matchups weren’t particularly fair or interesting, and since the guys started from their knees it would have been difficult to actually get hurt being pushed down onto mud or, at worst, hay bales. Even the Aaron-Cody matchup, which featured a refusal to make eye contact by the two men, didn’t showcase their conflict very well. Beyond I guess giving each other some very superficial scratches on their arms. They did have an ambulance on hand, because there was no need for medical professionals outside of this mud-wrestling date during this season that was HELD IN A RESORT BECAUSE OF A GLOBAL PANDEMIC.

This function of this mud wrestling date is to highlight for the audience that Aaron and Cody do not like each other. Much like their confrontation from the opening cocktail party, the audience is given no real explanation of the animosity. And if you thought that we would get some clarity about the root of it at mud wrestling or the group date nightcap – you would be wrong. Aaron tells Katie that zipper-salesman Cody is malicious and a POS, but without any examples. When Katie confronts him, Cody furrows his eyebrows, claims confusion, and explains that Aaron may be exaggerating. Katie (and I) find Cody’s absence of a genuine reaction to be a red flag and sends Cody home. But after an episode and a half of non-character development – I still don’t know a single thing about Cody, or Aaron for that matter. 

But I suppose we’ve finally gotten to the part of the group date where we find out some information about the people we’re watching. Andrew S comforts Katie after Cody’s departure, and the two bond over shared experiences of growing up poor. I can relate. 

Once we were in our garden (read: “crappy”) apartment, we saw a new structure going up from our back door. We saw it was brightly lit and it looked like a store, or at least to my 9 year-old eye, a fun place. So we planned a weekend walk (we did not have a car then) to check out this brand new place, whatever it was. I was super excited and got up early on a Saturday. My parents urged me to wait because the place might not be open at 7AM. I waited until 9, we walked half a mile to … a new … Stop N Go. Yep, we planned a weekend outing to a convenience store. We weren’t going to come home empty handed, so we spent 79 cents for a 6-pack of Sprite and checked off another box on our immigrant checklist. Whenever I meet new people (a very infrequent occurrence nowadays), nothing draws me to a person more than finding out that person grew up poor. I mean, other than that person telling me they also blog about the Bachelor of course. 

We don’t find out a lot about other people (Hunter writes a letter; Josh reveals he lost weight; Kyle got about a half second of camera time), and Andrew ends up getting the group date rose. I mean, after Katie told Andrew S that her dad once created a fireplace out of construction paper for Christmas so Santa can pay a visit, she’s almost obligated to hand him the rose because you don’t give away those precious stories for nothing!

Katie thanks Aaron for successfully getting her to dump Cody and Hunter for not costing his dad a pretty important election, which together suggest that there was not a lot of competition for Andrew S on this group date.

Cocktail Party

Katie arrives and tells the guys that she sent home Cody, and is ready to meet guys who want to be here. She takes the initiative and grabs (single dad) Michael first. Michael oozes nervous theater-kid energy, which Katie actually likes. They both affirm a connection and Michael asks Katie for permission to kiss – score a point for being intentional about obtaining consent I suppose? 

Karl tries to engage the guys in a game of “guess who else isn’t here for the right reasons.” John doesn’t take the bait and said that it’s not really worth their time or energy to investigate the answer. John is absolutely right because what is the actual “right” reason to come on the Bachelor? These days, you are out of your mind if you think coming on this show is the most efficient way to meet a potential spouse. In the current era of Bachelor(ette), everyone comes on the show to get famous. A reasonable distinction between the “right reasoners” and the “wrong reasoners” might be if you’re open to falling in love and being engaged to the lead, as opposed to just being on the show to become famous. So I’m team John on this one – no one is here for the pure “right reason” – and it’s a matter of degree of who’s here for the most wrongest reasons. 

I think that is an excellent summation of the issue. If you are actually there for “THE right reason” you are an insane person and no one should marry you. 

By the way that Karl is projecting, I’m pretty sure that he’s here for the wrongest reasons. Only that’s not what he tells Katie. Instead, he tells Katie that he thinks multiple people are not here for the right reasons. What he doesn’t tell Katie is why he thinks that or who those people are. This is a great combination of things to tell and to withhold from a lead who (like any lead) wants people to be here for the lead. 

She gathers the men and tells them that if they’re not here for the right reasons and to get engaged, then get the F out. She then grabs Aaron (the one person who’s told her about someone who’s not here for the “right reasons”) for a chat. Aaron thinks he’s going to the principal’s office and he wouldn’t be wrong about that. 

Karl fesses up that he’s the one that told Katie about the multiple people here for the wrong reasons without context or support – and the guys are predictably thrilled about Karl. And I suppose we’ll figure out how the guys will get together and thank Karl in next week’s episode!

See you next week for a rose ceremony and I <sigh> probably more Karl. 

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