Matt James Episode 3 – Eat The Rich

Rose Ceremony Continued

At the end of last week Matt James had given out 12 roses when Sarah appeared to faint. That is where the action picks up. We see people reacting to Sarah’s sudden illness. The ladies don’t come off looking great, mostly Anna (our faux Hannah B) who thinks Sarah is doing this to get attention. Matt James stands right outside the doors to the meeting facility where the rose ceremony was happening and wraps his jacket around Sarah’s shoulders. The brilliant camera person gets footage of this scene with the frustrated other women sitting inside, just visible through the glass doors, glaring at Sarah. 

They reconvene and roses go to:

  1. Khaylah (from Durham)
  2. Mari (she was the MVP of the losing team on the bride date)
  3. MJ (not the vibrator)
  4. (H)Anna(h B) (she reminds us of Hannah B)
  5. Kaili (she showed up in her undies on the first night)

And the final rose goes to:

  1. Victoria, who has gotten the final rose twice in a row. That’s not usually how engagements start on this show. 

Goodbye to Marylynn (who probably hates orchids now), Alana, Sydney, Kristin, and Illeana. We don’t even get a farewell for anyone but Marylynn, which is okay. Matt James has done a pretty bad job about spreading his affection and time around beyond his top binders handful of women. I mean, there are several contestants who received roses and seem to exist only to give ITMs about not having had time with the Bachelor.

Chris Harrison says there will be two group dates and an “unbelievable” one-on-one date. I don’t know, Chris Harrison. This week I had to legitimately ask myself if the MyPillow guy (and future Minnesota governor) was going to declare martial law. So, you know, I can believe a lot of things right now.

Erotica Group Date

The first date is for Rachael, Bri, Lauren, Kit, Serena C, Victoria, Caitlin, (H)anna(h B), Kaili, and Katie. The women enter a conference room to see Ashley I, a former contestant who married a guy from Paradise (Jared) and is on every season of the show now. Her gimmick at first was that she was a virgin (on Chris Soules’s season) and now her gimmick is that she will quarantine to be a guest on the show whenever they need her. Ashley I is reading a sex scene from The Perfect Letter by Chris Harrison. I have not read it, and I probably won’t now.

The women on the date will be reading their own erotic writing about a physical encounter with Matt James, and the reading will be “in front of a live audience.” The other women, obviously. Though I like to think that for a moment the women on this date thought that covid had been cured and they would get an actual audience of strangers. Alas. 

The women seem to think they are required to honestly discuss their sexual fantasies. Which is an interpretation of this date. Hilariously Ashley I sits down with Victoria, who reads a heavily bleeped and presumably filthy scene that I will grudgingly admit is not something we likely would have gotten from Marylynn. The Victoria redemption arc is beginning, I guess.

Matt James reads an erotic scene to kick off the date. I’m not in the key demo, but I don’t think I would give this narrator the full five stars on Audible. I will try to write an audible review for each of the contestants on the date, however.

(H)anna(h B)

Overall: Five Stars

Performance: Five Stars

Story: Five Stars

Titled “Chapter 17 – the fantasy suite.” A quick summary of this story (***spoilers***): 1) boobs out; 2) implication that Matt James is well endowed; 3) at the end he says “you’re the only one left” and she immediately cums. This story has a happy ending (get it?) and also was well delivered by the narrator, who had a challenge going first and still landed the joke.

 

Bri

Overall: Two Stars

Performance: Three Stars

Story: Two Stars

Basically a recounting of a slightly sexier version of the gross mud date they went on, though much of her story was cut off. That date sucked, and this was a mediocre effort. Asked for a refund.

 

Katie

Overall: Five Stars

Performance: Six Stars out of Five

Story: Five Stars

Strong effort from a giant in the genre. The right amount of dirty, featuring lots of bleeps delivered with a sly smile. Fair warning, near the end after his pants came down my TV burst into flames, which made it hard to focus on the orgasmic finale. To quote Serena C, “that was a little too good.” Enthusiastically recommend, but do not listen in the car if children are present.

 

Lauren

Overall: Two Stars

Performance: Three Stars

Story: One Star

Very tame, which at least allowed the author to keep her law license. This is the kind of sexy writing you can expect to find on a bar exam. 

 

Kaili

Overall: Three Stars

Performance: Three Stars

Story: Four Stars

This was a story about being intimate in front of an audience of onlookers, written by an author who introduced herself on national television in a bra and panties, so it is on-brand. This is not my thing, so perhaps I am not the target audience.

 

Kit

Overall: Three Stars

Performance: Two Stars

Story: Four Stars

This story had a heavy reliance on innuendo, but the narrator read very slowly. I almost fell asleep waiting for the sexy part, but it never arrived.

 

Serena C

Overall: One Star

Performance: One Star

Story: Two Stars

This was just a fragment of a very bad poem. It rhymed “lacking” with “packing” and not in a sexy way. Would not recommend.

 

Victoria

Overall: Five Stars

Performance: Five Stars

Story: Five Stars

Shockingly strong effort, as I was not expecting much. This author has a definite voice, which is evident from the first line: “The king and queen were celebrating their engagement.” Victoria went medium-core pornography and did so somewhat successfully. It turns out you can say “he smacked her ass hard” on ABC. Who knew? Many great tidbits, such as: “he knew her orgasm was real because she wasn’t fake like the other girls.” At the end he screamed “Yes queen!” I almost did too. Five stars and a “Marylynn who?” for this story.

 

Khaylah

Overall: Five Stars

Performance: Five Stars

Story: Four Stars

This is a quick story that got sexy fast. Lots of bleeps, which is the mark of a good effort in this genre. It was short, but on the plus side, that means you will be able to listen again pretty soon after you finish the first time.

 

Rachael

Overall: Four Stars

Performance: Five Stars

Story: Four Stars

This was a pretty good effort from a first-time author. The narrator read with feeling and seemed emotionally connected to the subject matter. This one felt like a potential preview more than just a story. Very thrown off by her use of the word “groin” and that costs her a star. 

 

My Audible Review of these reviews

Overall: Five Stars

Performance: Five Stars

Story: Five Stars

Quite simply – the greatest faux-reviews in the history of faux reviews.

 

The women on the date and most of the live audience seemed to really enjoy the performances. It was fun and we got to see the spotlight on some of the women who are not getting a ton of camera time. The only takeaway from the “live studio audience” is that Sarah seems to be very upset about seeing Matt James with the other women and I guess hearing them talk about made up sexual encounters with him. In the aftermath of Sarah almost fainting at the second rose ceremony, it seems she is not going to hold up under the pressure of her boyfriend kissing all of her roommates. 

After the reading, Matt James sits down with Rachael and confirms that she remains a frontrunner. Rachael tells Matt James she feels really good about him, and he kisses her. With his eyes open, which is a bit weird. 

Katie has a very sex-positive conversation with the other women, which is nice. She should get an advice podcast if she has time after writing and narrating erotic audiobooks.

Matt James kisses Bri and has his eyes open there as well. This is now a thing I will notice every time.

The storyline about how Sarah is upset continues when the rest of the audience gets together after the date. We see Sarah expressing her concern about seeing Matt James with other women to her roommates, which is an odd choice since these roommates are also dating Matt James. We also see her getting emotional in the ITM. I can see how it would be difficult for her, but literally the only thing you could be sure of is that going on the show the lead is going to date other people. If Sarah didn’t anticipate this, it is on her. She seems to have withdrawn from the other women and tells the camera she feels “emotionally exhausted.” She also tells the camera she has, in the past, dealt with “faithfulness and commitment issues and jealousy.” Possibly with G-Eazy, if the tabloids are to be believed. 

I had to Google G-Eazy – which is something I do every time George (or anyone) mentions some musician that’s become famous in the last 10 years. To me, the best new thing in music right now is probably Adele. 

We see Sarah walking through an empty resort, presumably to go bust up some other people’s group date. Katie was with Matt James when Sarah arrived. This is a tough beat for our girl Katie, who goes back to tell the other women that their date has been crashed. Victoria speaks for the rest of the women when she says “that’s just disrespectful, I mean, I’ll interrupt my own group date, but I would never step outside on another group date.” 

Sarah tells Matt James that she is really struggling but that means she has feelings for Matt James. He seems to be happy that she likes him, and completely oblivious about how this interruption will go over with his other girlfriends.

At the prodding of the other women, Katie goes back to fight for her man, and after negotiating with Sarah over how much time this should take, she awkwardly stands in the corner of the room. Then interrupts again after the allotted two minutes are up. This is not a great look for Katie, who sits down on the couch with Sarah and Matt James, very obviously being the third wheel on her own date. But really it is not a great look for Matt James. Matt James kisses Sarah (basically in front of Katie). I disagree about this not being a great look for Katie. Her sitting down on the couch next to Matt and Sarah is perfectly in line with her sass. I mean, the only way it could have been better is if she brought her vibrator with her.

Sarah, to her credit (I guess?), goes to the other women to apologize. Though she says “I wanted to be the bigger person” which is not what you are supposed to say out loud while you are apologizing. The other women get pretty annoyed with Sarah, which is understandable. Sarah leaves and Victoria rushes outside to track Sarah down. Victoria finds Sarah and, in a treacly voice, says “we all assumed it was about health because we don’t see Sarah as a malicious person!” to Sarah. That is some Minnesota-level passive-aggressiveness. Katie follows them outside also and tags in for Victoria. Katie smirks through Sarah’s tearful explanation of her insecurities, then says Sarah could have waited to talk to Matt James unless she was literally about to go home, and adds “I encourage you to really figure it out.” 

Serena C and (H)anna(h B) sit around talking about how much they can’t wait to talk to Matt James, and it is pretty clear they won’t be getting time. This is basically their role on the show: women who don’t get to talk to Matt James. This time it will be blamed on Sarah. On cue, Matt James comes out, thanks the women for their time, and gives the group-date rose to Rachael. (H)anna(h B) says “time is like a commodity, and Sarah is a billionaire right now.” But this isn’t a compliment to Sarah for her savvy investment in bitcoin, it is more of an AOC-inspired belief that every billionaire is a policy failure

The dynamics on that group date just exposed all the ways in which Matt has been a bad Bachelor this season. Of course every lead will have his/her favorites, but the key to being a good bachelor/ette lead is that you can’t let the other people know that, and you gotta make sure every other “contestant” is valued. Clare dismissing everyone but Dale made her a terrible Bachelorette (and apparently a terrible judge of what she needs in a relationship). Nick V is a great Bachelor because while he may have wanted to get in Vanessa’s pants from the jump, he made sure every contestant still got their money’s worth by coming on the show. Tayshia made you believe that she might not pick Zac and let her relationships with Ivan and Ben breathe when, in hindsight, it was Zac all along. 

So Matt, if Sarah is in her feelings and interrupts your group date and you really like her – give her ten minutes and some validation, but acknowledge that interruption with the other women and don’t take away their time. I thought he started doing that the next day when he met Serena P for their date, but he got distracted by Sarah again, reassured her for 20 minutes, came back down – and didn’t address how the interruption affected the process. By not doing that, Matt unknowingly turned the women’s angst on Sarah – when he could have absorbed some of that ire by acknowledging that he messed up.

I’m really thankful that I have knowledge like this when ABC asks me to be the Bachelor. I think there’s a huge potential for casting a balding 42 year-old who hasn’t seen the inside of a gym since he had his second kid. If nothing else, this blog shows that you are perfectly qualified to be the first married Bachelor in show history. 

So the women (and Serena P) wait for Matt to reassure Sarah (for the second time in about 12 hours), they talk themselves into hating Sarah more. I think there have been studies on how groupthink polarization happens in real life, as illustrated here. While the group speculates about how Matt might be saying goodbye to Sarah, Matt is actually telling Sarah that it would be a “tragedy” if she leaves. No one tell Matt James about the pandemic if one of his eighteen girlfriends leaving is his definition of “tragedy.” Matt tells Sarah that he will “come here every day” if that’s what it takes to get Sarah to stay. If you were betting money on the outcome of the Bachelor (and this would be stupid because you’re betting on events that have already happened), you’d be gobbling up shares in Sarah right now. 

Matt comes back to the group, barely acknowledging the Sarah conversation, and grabs Serena P for the date. Because we haven’t seen enough foliage porn, this date is a horseback-riding date to a picnic, where Serena P teaches Matt how to make a charcuterie board (which I think is a stupid concept, but maybe that’s because I dislike cheese).

I don’t understand that sentiment, as the below live feed of me will demonstrate.

Serena P One-on-one Date

Serena P tells Matt that her dad is not supportive of her coming on the show because he’s lived a very “linear” life of college, job, wife, kids (hey that’s me!) and she doesn’t necessarily agree; and Matt agrees with Serena’s disagreement! He shares that he was on the path too – but I guess once he became a commercial real estate broker, he realized that he was living in someone else’s dream – his dream involved a lot more IG followers than the typical CBRE junior associate. 

Matt shares that his mom is very optimistic about the process, and eager for Matt to find someone to grow old with. Moved by that sentiment, Serena tells us that she’s “falling in like with Matt.” Whoa whoa whoa Serena – have you forgotten what show you’re on? You’re already halfway through your 1 on 1 date – you should definitely be at least at the “falling in love” stage of Bachelor emotions. You’re not going to see hometowns with that type of attitude! Too bad if she doesn’t, as the “dad who isn’t so sure about this whole thing” is a trope we get every year. How will they find another father to ask questions about the fact that his daughter’s boyfriend has three other girlfriends?

This entire picnic is conducted on a field that is just lousy with donkeys, who adorably interrupt the proceedings whenever possible. I hope these donkeys are being fed regularly. They remind me of the Nara deer, which get pretty vicious when not being fed in the best of times. 

At dinner, Matt and Serena trade stories about their past relationships. While we learned that Serena’s been in one serious relationship, the biggest nugget was Matt revealing that his definition of love has changed and he has not yet been in love (at least not according to his current definition). Slow Clap: this is a great way to present a narrative on national TV of seeking love where you’ve found none before, all the while plausibly denying the fact that you’ve probably dropped “I love you”s to multiple women in your past. 

So true. Matt James says he might have said “I love you” before, but things look different now that he isn’t “fresh out of college.” “Like Serena P?” Amy asks, because Serena P is 22. 

Matt gives the rose to Serena P and… surprise! the producers present Matt with an opportunity to take off his shirt. This time, the pretext is a hot tub celebration – but really, it’s because Matt’s abs haven’t gotten enough screen time this episode. 

Back at the house, the women are all lounging around in what I’m sure is $200 leisurewear that look like sweatshirts from H&M. As Rachael was about to read the group date card, Sarah finally emerges from the room and grabs a seat next to Bri. 

The house, having talked themselves into thinking that Sarah probably wouldn’t even let her producers use the bathrooms in her suite, is staring down Sarah like Mitt Romney staring down an over-eager insurrectionist.

Sarah starts by apologizing to Katie for taking her time and then apologizes to everyone for how she’s been acting (and imposing a second – nonmandated – quarantine on herself in the resort). She blames her actions on being overwhelmed by the process, but the women are not buying it. 

Victoria, Serena C, Kit, and others are leading the charge against Sarah, and we eventually land where Serena C calls Sarah calculated, manipulating, and toxic, and no one defends Sarah. 

I mean, did Sarah behave in a way that was a little bit of all those things? Sure. Did she fail to fully consider how her insecurities (after getting a 1-on-1) would look in the context of interrupting a date with women who haven’t had even a full group-date with Matt? She probably didn’t. But c’mon, it’s not like Sarah didn’t let her producers use any of the 6 BATHROOMS IN HER SUITE. Sarah has nowhere to go but retreat to her room (after presumably hearing that she was on the group date – which we never saw). Kit was nice enough to tell Sarah to avoid her at all costs because Kit is going to make sure that the rest of this experience is going to be horrible for Sarah. Kit – your privilege is resonating loudly within you. 

Apparently, we’re not going to see the second group date (let alone a rose ceremony) because we return to Sarah in her room crying. Katie – the undisputed MVP of this episode – comes to chat and tells Sarah that she did not like what happened downstairs when the women bullied Sarah. Sarah tells Katie that she’s made the decision to leave because she’s not in the right headspace for this experience. Katie, with maturity that’s almost never seen on this show, tells Sarah that she would want her to stay if Sarah has a genuine connection with Matt because she doesn’t want to be Matt’s backup plan. Sarah shows self-awareness in confiding that this type of situation makes her worst insecurities come out and she cannot give herself to the experience, especially with her dad’s terminal illness. Katie shares that she lost her dad in 2012 and that she understands Sarah’s predicament completely. She encourages Sarah to not waste the time she has remaining with her dad. 

Katie returns to the girls and informs them that Sarah has decided to leave. Victoria starts clapping, joined by no one because she doesn’t know how to read a room (or behave in social settings). Katie urges the women to give Sarah space because they don’t know each other’s stories – which is good advice in all respects. She is coming hard for Kaitlyn Bristow’s triple crown of Sex Joke limo entrance, Bachelorette, DWTS Mirror Ball.

Katie says she wants to “remind everyone to stay classy” and that gif is just too easy… no… we shouldn’t… okay fine.

Sarah was a California news anchor for goodness sake!

We see Sarah packing up and going over to Matt’s suite. While she makes it more about the maliciousness of the women while talking to Matt than she did in her conversation with Katie, Sarah probably deserves some leeway in this situation. When Matt tries to convince her to stay, she says “I’ve been called to go home” – which I imagine is code to a Christian person that means “you can’t change my mind.” Matt – perhaps learning day by day how to be a better Bachelor – tells Sarah that he will be thinking about her and her dad, that someday, she’ll make some man incredibly fortunate, and that he’s bummed it won’t be him. 

Matt walks Sarah to the limo – and we have our first tearful limo exit in episode 3 – which I’m pretty sure is a record, right next to the entry for the longest coldest kiss (Ivan and Tayshia). 

That’s it for the episode. Tune in next week for the first episode of the Biden Administration and the third date we never got to see.  

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