Matt James Episode 6 – Thank You For Your Feedback

Feeling a bit let down after so much build up? Did you expect something exciting and unpredictable last night and get something, well, lame? Did you expect a once-in-a-lifetime battle between the best of Gen X and the best of Gen Z, and had to settle for a 10 second Shaggy cameo instead? Tonight, we’re here to cure your disappointment. 

We left off last week with a simmering dispute between Jessenia and MJ about whether MJ has been toxic in the house, and tonight, we are going to get resolution, and hopefully without being interrupted by weird images of a flattened Matthew McConaughey.

But first, the lame cold open: where Heather Martin, the formerly never-been-kissed girl from Colton’s season of the Bachelor, shows up at Nemacolin and requests a meeting with Chris Harrison. For a purportedly “surprise” appearance they sure have a lot of film and clear audio. She hasn’t gotten a chyron yet, but I’m assuming that it will now say Heather – “Kissed by a stalker.”

Will Heather be let into Nemacolin, or did she drive across the country from California for a 45-second cameo? We have to wait for the resolution of M-Jesseniaghazi to find out. 

Matt arrives at the two-on-one “date” and pulls Jessenia first, and Jessenia is coming in hot – she says that MJ has been lying to Matt’s face and was at the forefront, along with Victoria, in bringing the toxicity to the house. For good measure, she tells Matt that everything from MJ is coming from a place of malice. Given that Nemacolin is looking like an absolute palace this season, I can’t help but be hopeful that this battle lives up to the moment that really sealed George and my friendship for life. Oh yes, the “Malice in the Palace.” I would like to amend my advice from that night and say you should drop Ron Artest from your fantasy team. 

Meanwhile, MJ is pumping herself up after getting emotional about the whole thing. She diagnoses herself as having a “weak-bitch moment” and apparently cures herself with a pep talk – resolving to keep being a “bad bitch.” MJ seems to have wanted to make this into her catchphrase, but unfortunately for her, other people like Lizzo already. Truth hurts, amirite?

In her conversation with Matt, MJ tells Matt that she’s exhausted from having her character put into question, and that her biggest fear is losing Matt. Sensing that her audience is having doubts, MJ is going to trot out her greatest hits – “I preach harmony and peace.”

She immediately shows what she means when she returns to confront Jessenia and advises Jessenia to “literally check yourself.” I’m stumped – I don’t know how one literally checks oneself. But once again, Jessenia wins the argument by calling MJ by her real name “Meredith.” Boom! There’s no going back to MJ after that!

During the commercial break, I saw an American Idol commercial where Claudia Conway is apparently going to be auditioning this season. Claudia, your family needs therapy, and I don’t think Luke, Lionel, and Katie are licensed therapists. 

When we return, Matt is telling us that he’s conflicted: on the one hand, he likes Meredith; but on the other, he trusts Jessenia. And trust wins out as he sends Meredith on her way. 

Cocktail Party and Rose Ceremony

The women gather to talk about how excited they will be to talk to Matt James once he settles the Jessenia-or-MJ question. In walks Jessenia, with rose in hand – she tells group that MJ had no argument and that she felt that she took a step forward with Matt. The other women are bubbling over with excitement that they might also take steps forward with Matt tonight, and this is a dramatization of what happens next.

Right on cue… Chris Harrison is here to tell the women that there will be no cocktail party and it is time for the rose ceremony.

Serena C is not happy about this – she asks Katie, “why did you have to bring up all that stuff about bullying and toxicity?” Great point Serena C – it’s always better to just sweep these kinds of things under the rug – nothing bad will ever come of it. Right, Penn State football? 

Already with roses are:

1. Rachael – Bloody Shoes one-on-one

2. Abigail – Farming group date

3. Kit – Cooking one-on-one

4. Jessenia – impromptu two-on-one

The rest of the roses go in order to”

5. Serena P (the Serena who has talked to Matt James)

6. Michelle (the teacher from Edina)

7. Pieper (the grad student from the Portland area)

8. Bri (the daughter of a teen mom)

9. Chelsea (the model)

10. Katie (we like Katie, and rumor has it we are not alone…)

11. And the final rose goes to… Serena C. They have something planned for her, right? Because she keeps getting the producer rose.

Going home are Ryan (the new-girl and dancer), Brittany (the new-girl and NOT an escort), Magi (she is from Ethiopia and you should not take her up on any offers to paddle you somewhere in a pumpkin boat). 

We also check in with Heather, who films herself in quarantine at Nemacolin, creating a record of her descent into madness. She is doing TikTok videos I think. Though I am not an aficionado of TikTok. This may seem like a way to connect with Matt James, but if she were better at these videos, she would have been invited into the Quarantine Crew and not, you know, humiliated on television.

Not satisfied with her bad takes the prior night at the rose ceremony, Serena C decides that maybe Katie didn’t understand the subtle nuances in her argument that Katie should have ignored the toxicity against the new women in the house. Instead of hashing this out with everyone, Serena C decides to confront Katie one on one. The Serena who sucks tells Katie that she’s frustrated that her time is being taken away by these allegations, and that Katie is being an arsonist in lighting fires everywhere. “You’re like a Jewish space laser!” she does not add. Katie calls the Serena who sucks “Pathetic” and draws out each syllable. Katie explains that she never dropped any names, but she’s not going to let the mean girls environment persist in the house. Maybe this is hitting too close to home for the Serena who sucks – but she raises her voice at Katie, and soon, everyone in the mansion can hear the screaming match. Seeing that you can’t win an argument against an irrational person, Katie closes with a line that I will definitely steal the next time someone makes an observation about me that I don’t like – “Thank you for your feedback!” and then leaving. 

Person: “Victor, maybe you should cut your hair at some point during the pandemic.”

Me: “Thank you for your feedback!”

 

Person: “Victor, this Bachelor blog you’re writing – it’s not even funny.”

Me: “Thank you for your feedback!”

 

Person: “Victor, on work Zoom calls, you should wear pants.”

Me: “Thank you for your feedback!”

The Serena who sucks realizes that she can’t deliver her bad opinions to an empty room, or else she’d look like Heather Martin – so she retreats to some communal room with six mattresses laid out and talks to the four women assembled there about why she thinks Katie isn’t here for Matt. But I guess everyone must sleep in this communal mattress room, because Katie comes back to the same room and the two continue their argument. The women around them are obviously overjoyed. Jessenia tells us that she just wants them to stop screaming at each other; and Kit can’t understand why Serena C is mad at Katie. In her 21 years on earth, Kit has already learned a valuable lesson – you can’t argue with an irrational person.

Before we get to Pieper and Matt’s one-on-one date, we see the full scene where Heather “surprises” people at Nemacolin. Chris Harrison greets Heather at the security gate and asks Heather why she’s here. Heather tells Chris that Hannah Brown (one of her “best friends”) told Heather that she would be perfect for Matt. I mean, you can’t go wrong acting on relationship advice from the person who was going to pick Luke P until she finally learned that he was crazy, and ended up picking a guy who had a girlfriend and a blossoming career focused around singing dogfood jingles. But whatever Heather, go get your 16th minute of fame. 

Very true! Heather notably has not quarantined at this point, but she still had these conversations without a mask in sight. Even when you are making a very bad life decision, you can still make a good public-health decision. 

Chris tells Heather that he can’t say yes right now, but he’s gonna take this “up the hill” (to Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi I presume) and advises Heather to “go back to your motel.” Oof – not quite getting into Nemacolin yet Heather!!

Carnival Date with Pieper 

Matt drives Pieper deep into the woods on a single lane dirt road, gives her a lantern, and then asks her to walk. In no circumstances other than if I’m on the Bachelor will I be doing this with anyone. If even Barack Obama or Taylor Swift asks me to do this – I’m gonna say no thank you and go back to bed. But Pieper knows she’s on a nationally-televised show and the ABC waiver she signed probably doesn’t include intentional homicide so she bravely follows Matt. They arrive at a giant circuit-breaker-looking thing, which Matt asks Pieper to flip. The electricity comes on, revealing a giant carnival with games, Ferris wheels, and the whole nine yards (minus the carnies).

This is a lovely date where the two of them connect over games (which, when there is no one behind the booth, probably lose some of the tension you feel when trying to ring the bottle). The two get on some rides and share some cotton candy, wrapping up a well-produced date in Pandemic time. This is so much better than the carnival date that Brendan planned for him and Tayshia. Also, the best possible outcome when you find a hauntingly empty carnival in the middle of the woods late at night. 

At dinner, Pieper tells Matt that her family doesn’t communicate their love, and she’s been wanting affirmation throughout her life. Matt promises that they will work on that together. Sensing an opening, Pieper tells Matt that she doesn’t want to be afraid of her feelings anymore, and that she’s starting to fall for Matt. I’m guessing she was hoping for a better response from Matt than “I will be open with my emotions as well.” I know the feeling, I was hoping for a better response from MIT when I applied 25 years ago than “We received an overwhelming number of applications this year.” 

Matt still gives Pieper the rose because there’s a D-list country music act waiting for their spotlight on ABC and it’s Tennille Ar..,nope… it’s Temecula Road. They didn’t even pretend that either Matt or Pieper had any clue who this group was. I long for the non-Pandemic days when the Bachelor could get real musicians on the show. I mean, the Backstreet Boys and Boyz II Men both appeared on dates!

Bowling Group Date

Bri, Kit, Rachael, Michelle, Jessenia, Serena P, Abigail, Chelsea, and Serena C get a date card. The name not on the card: Katie. Who, by process of elimination, has the other one-on-one. The card says “This lane leads to love.” Time to bowl!

This exact date was done on Arie’s season, and they may even be reusing the bowling shirts. On that date Krystal famously melted down, calling Arie a “needle dick” (to the other women on a bus, not to Arie) and also allegedly yelling “hashtag Not Peter” referencing the suspicion many people had before the show that the Bachelor would be Peter, Rachel Lindsay’s second-place finisher. Krystal’s anger was because Arie violated the terms of the bowling competition by allowing the losing team to come to the cocktail portion of the date. The monster!

This bowling alley is an underrated gem at Nemacolin. Nothing like a classic but random six lane bowling alley in the middle of nowhere – and it’s where my older daughter went bowling for the first time! And now I can tell her that her first bowling experience occurred at a lane featured on the highest-rated program on television (other than every season of the Apprentice, of course).

There are nine people on the date, but that just means we will have uneven teams competing for access to the cocktail portion of the date. The Pink team features Chelsea, Michelle, Serena P, and Jessenia. The Pink team seems to have the best athlete in Michelle and looks pretty confident despite being short-handed. The Blue team has Abigail, Kit, Serena C, Bri, and Rachael. I think Kit is pretty bad at bowling if her first efforts are any indication, so these are probably fair teams. Serena P gets a strike on her first ball and Abigail gets a single pin. Which might make Abigail Blue’s best bowler. The first score we see is Pink – 287 to Blue – 93. And that’s just… not very good. Turns out Blue’s offensive line had a lot of injuries and Pink was able to get pressure on Mahomes and… wait, wrong game. 

The Blue team mounts a suspicious comeback to trail 451 to 448. Then we see Michelle pick up a ball and knock down 3 pins with Pink’s last shot of the game. Abigail was Blue’s last hope. Needing a six to tie or a seven to win, Abigail hit the gutter pretty hard. Tough look for our girl Abigail, though Michelle didn’t exactly show up in the clutch either. Also, this is not how bowling works. This show conducts competitions with the same fairness that Sydney Powell thinks Georgia conducts elections. 

Kit makes a compelling case for inviting the Blue team to the rest of the date anyway, saying “what do you want in a wife? A bowler?” Good point? Kit and Krystal should never meet, they are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the sanctity of reality-show bowling group dates. Rachael says “I’m sick of losing stupid games.” Not sure I am excited for Rachael overall, but she has the right attitude to be the next coach of the Vikings. 

Matt James sits down with the winning team on what may be the first group date in show history with no white people. Or so it seemed. Naturally, the camera focuses on the Blue team, back in the common room licking their wounds, until Chris Harrison arrives with a date card from Matt James. Turns out they are invited to the rest of the date. This is good news for the Blues, bad news for Krystal’s television if she is watching and has easy access to a heavy object. Possibly bad news for Kit, who had already put on a bathrobe. If I am in my bathrobe, odds are not great I would be roused for a date. Especially if I have already bowled. 

The only drawback of the Nemacolin lanes was that there is no radar gun. We had a bowling alley next to our apartment that had a radar gun to measure how fast you roll. The only way I’d get out of my Cynthia Rowley bathrobe if it’s to go to a bowling alley with radar.

Serena P and Chelsea are talking math and their 25% chance of a group-date rose when the Blues show up in contravention of the show’s rules.

The math is slightly harder now! Matt James kisses Chelsea, Serena P, Michelle, and presumably some people from the losing team. The date rose goes to Michelle, with Chelsea and Serena P also on the podium. 

Matt James and Tyler Cameron One-on-one

Back at Nemacolin, Matt James has a visitor. Tyler C is here, in his fourth-nicest pink t-shirt, to help Matt James with his season. They shoot what appears to be two-thirds of a game of pool while talking about the experience. Matt James describes Katie as “the one with the cactus-sized vibrator.” Umm… maybe not the best comparison? For one thing, cactuses (or cacti) come in many shapes and sizes. For another, they are often covered with spines. That’s like referring to a beer as “poop-colored.” Unhelpful and also gross!

Gasp! We also ate at the same place as Tyler C!! I don’t remember playing pool there, but if Tyler C was there, I definitely would have asked him to watch my daughter so I could play some nine ball. Unclear whether Stephanie would have joined me or Tyler C – but my guess is that I’d be playing some solo nine ball.

Tyler Cameron tells Matt James that his own relationship got off to a slow start with Hannah B, and encourages Matt James to give Katie a chance. Matt James tells Tyler C that he could see himself getting down on one knee at the end of the season, which inspires good-natured celebration from his best friend. 

Matt James notes that he “saw this process work for Tyler.” Did it? I mean, Tyler C got famous and was in a position to get his roommate onto the show. The process is not, under this formulation, finding a spouse. It very much did not do that for Tyler C, who famously roomed with the girl he dated on the show after she got engaged to someone else. But sure, Matt James saw that Tyler C fell in love and maybe Matt James will too. That would be nice. 

Katie One-on-one Date

Kate shows up for her date, and it will be at the Nemacolin spa. But not in a fun spa-day way. Matt James invited Tyler C on this date, though Tyler C does not yet know that. Katie and Matt James will be feeding suggestions to an actor who is posing as Tyler C’s masseuse. The date is basically humiliating Matt James’s friend. Which, oddly enough, is what the show is doing to Hannah B’s friend Heather. 

Matt James and Katie have the masseuse twist Tyler C’s nipples, answer her cellphone and talk about Tyler C in front of him, use the roller on Tyler C’s head, etc. It is funny. OTOH, massages are intensely personal, sometimes awkwardly so. Hidden cameras in a massage parlour seems like a bad idea even if you don’t own the New England Patriots. There are ways this could have gone wrong, though it appears it did not. 

Matt James and Katie sneak into the massage room and Matt James takes over for the masseuse briefly until Tyler C notices and the jig is up. This was a fun showcase for their personalities, and makes hanging out with Matt James and Tyler C seem like a fun way to spend one’s twenties. One might speculate that getting to hang out with Tyler C and the Quarantine Crew is a selling point for dating Matt James, and it is a good look for Katie that she alone among the contestants gets the opportunity. 

Over dinner, Katie tells Matt James that her last long relationship was three years, and that she got out of it because she “did a lot of reflecting and was not being who [she] was meant to be.” That is a soft-pedaled critique of that guy, right? She realized she wanted more than he would ever give her and moved on. So glad Katie wasn’t around ten years ago to give Amy advice. Katie said she is ready to meet someone “who is ready” and not someone that she needs to try to change. Unfortunately that doesn’t sound like the experience of a lead in the franchise, who has to deal with many people just seeking fame and social-media opportunities. She she is definitely not interested in being the Bachelorette, right?

Over dinner Katie tells Matt James he “is doing a great job.” Validating Matt James is probably a smart move, and people like to hear they are doing a good job. Matt James gives Katie some validation too, noting that he appreciates Katie for the impact she had in the house, including rooting out some of the bullies. But he says he owes her honesty, and he can’t give her the rose. This is a tough break for our girl Katie, who will technically go home before Serena C who HAS NOT MET MATT JAMES. But it seems like a very sympathetic exit and it is pretty clear from the things we have seen that Katie is not Matt James’s type.

Doesn’t Austin 3:16 say something about “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only pink vibrator, so that everyone will have everlasting pleasure.”? Am I misremembering? 

In the limo, Katie says “I don’t regret being myself, I’m just sad that it wasn’t enough.” Oof. She also says “I could see a future hanging out at football games with Matt and Tyler and their friends and my friends.” I bet Katie’s friends would have liked that too. Katie also says “I know what I deserve” in what is presumably something they will use if they decide to cast Katie as the Bachelorette (as some have speculated). To the credit of the women in the house, most of them do not celebrate too much when they find out that Katie will not be returning from the date.

Cocktail Party

Back at Nemacolin, Heather is putting on a dress and preparing to be dropped into a very difficult situation. It is unclear if she realizes how this will go, despite having had the experience of being on the Bachelor before. I can’t imagine she would have been happy to see a random lady show up to date her lead halfway through the season.  

Matt James takes Abigail away first and kisses her. The camera cuts back to Heather, who is apparently driving herself to the Nemacolin chateau for our cliffhanger. Matt James kisses Bri while Kit tells the women she is excited to have it be “about the love stories now” and not the dramas that shortened the last two cocktail parties. Talking about how the last few cocktail parties have been derailed is just tempting fate. And sure enough, in walks Heather. Matt James interrupts his talk with Pieper when Heather walks in and says “it’s nice to meet you” to him. Matt James says “Heather?” Kudos to Matt James for recognizing Heather despite never having met her. 

Though this being their first in-person meeting, Matt James sits down and immediately puts his hand on Heather’s knee. The other women are able to work out that this is Heather from Colton’s season and note that she is friends with Hannah Brown. Which, I mean, Hannah B roomed with Matt James during quarantine. If Hannah B was a good friend, she probably would have introduced Heather to her roommate, right? Even if she were not a good friend, telling Heather to go join the show seems like the opposite of good advice. Though if Heather is reading this with her fiancé Matt James right now, perhaps before her bachelorette party planned by her Maid of Honor Hannah B, I will happily admit I was wrong.

Anyway, that is our cliffhanger. We lost Katie, added Heather, and saw Tyler C in his undies. 

 

 

 

 

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