Record Review: The Bachelor Week 4

At the start of Week 4’s episode, Corinne asks the camera, “Why are [the other girls] so obsessed with me?” At first, it sounds like the smug redirection of an attention-seeker who’s been called out for her nonsense. But as the episode progresses, it becomes clear that Corinne kind of has a point.

Just as last week ended with Corinne drama, so does this week begin with Corinne drama. After straddling Nick in a bouncy castle, Corinne goes upstairs and passes out in bed with a creepy Joker smile on her face. Sarah and Taylor take it upon themselves to call her out, telling Corinne that she is acting entitled and privileged (I can’t provide a direct quotation because I was eating pizza at the time and my notes are incoherent. I refuse to apologize for that).

Corinne is for sure acting entitled: entitled to Nick’s time, entitled to special treatment, entitled to buck the rules of the franchise by which all the other women abide (rules such as: show up for rose ceremonies, stay just a hair shy of alarmingly hammered, be awake more than 50% of the time). And aside from that, Corinne is definitely privileged in that she is a white person who grew up with enough wealth that at age 24 she continues to have a nanny. While there are (obviously) many, many conversations to have about race, wealth, and privilege in the universe of The Bachelor, this particular one felt forced (maybe by producers looking to tap into bigger national conversations or, more cynically, legitimize their show by injecting some gravitas). Because Sarah and Taylor’s charge against Corinne isn’t that she is unaware of the social effects of her race- and class-based privilege. Rather, it’s that she has the audacity not to care what other people think.

I’m not defending Corinne (after she purred “I’m not privileged in any way, shape, or form,” I don’t think anyone is defending Corinne) but the comments from the other women seemed motivated by jealousy, jealousy that is very familiar to me personally as a lifelong resentful rule-abider: Corinne breaks the rules, has fun without consequences, and (most galling of all) feels no shame about it. Is that linked to her entitlement, which has its roots in her super-privileged upbringing? Yes, absolutely. But was that really the conversation Sarah and Taylor wanted to have? I doubt it.

Unsurprisingly, Corinne dodges. She claims she has no privilege whatsoever, then pivots to that age-old chestnut, “Why are other people so obsessed with me?” Well, Corinne, because anytime you leave the room the producers do whatever it takes to get the other girls to talk about you. You’re the “villain” this season; that’s how it works.

We finally make it to a rose ceremony in which there are few surprises. Christen and Brittany are eliminated and Corinne stays.

After Vanessa’s grandstanding from last week – offering to return Nick’s rose – I was a little disappointed she wasn’t called out for not following through, but memories are short on this show. They have to be.

The next morning, Chris Harrison makes an exciting announcement: the ladies have reached the traveling portion of the show, and they’re headed to … Milwaukee!

“Milwaukee!” the girls scream. “Backdrop of Evicted, Matthew Desmond’s seminal work on the housing crisis? Fourth-poorest city in America? What a fascinating place to discuss these issues of privilege with which we’ve only begun to grapple!”

No, I’m just kidding, they shriek with enthusiasm at the prospect of a place I’m willing to bet they couldn’t find on a map and begin to pack their bags.

In a typical bait-and-switch, the ladies aren’t headed for Milwaukee at all; they’re actually going to Waukesha, Nick’s hometown. Waukesha County is one of the most conservative counties in the country. It is extremely white and fairly wealthy. It remains unaffected by the housing crises in Milwaukee (a socio-geographical distinction I’m sure the ladies of The Bachelor appreciated and thoughtfully discussed among themselves). But hey! Nick’s family is cool! You can tell because his mom has a nose piercing and a pixie cut, and his dad has hip glasses. Of course, they promptly act like total parents and start crying over their own meet-cute from a million years ago, but Nick is such a tool that he starts crying, too. YOU’RE A SCHEMER, NICK. DON’T PRETEND TO BE A ROMANTIC NOW THAT YOU FANCY YOURSELF AMERICA’S SWEETEST GENTLEMAN.

The first one-on-one date of the week goes to Danielle L., a nail salon owner from Los Angeles. Danielle seems sharp, fun, and age-appropriate (…relatively speaking. She’s 27 to his 36, but I’m pretty sure women are sent into the forest to die when they turn 30, so she’s basically a hag). They eat cookies with Nick’s face on them (weird), bump into an ex of Nick’s (contrived), and hang out in a public park while Nick tells her about all the girls he frenched in middle school (gross). Then they go to a bar and have what appears to be a genuine and thoughtful conversation about Danielle’s childhood and her parents’ divorce. In previous episodes their connection seemed more physical in that their tongues were physically in each other’s mouths, so this is a promising turn of events. (Also Danielle L. is on my fantasy Bachelor team and I got a lot of points this week! So I’m all for this turn of events.)

Afterward, they get serenaded by some “country” “star” (didn’t I tell you last week that this is the typical type of date entertainment?). Danielle L.’s dress was so low-cut that at a couple points her nipples were blurred out, but she and Nick looked cute enough sway-dancing on a plinth in front of a screaming crowd. A normal date night for all of us, I’m sure.

Back at whatever generic AirBnb McMansion was hosting the ladies in Waukesha (AirBnb is also contributing to the affordable housing crisis, which I’m sure they discussed in great detail), the group date card arrives. Danielle M. reads off the names in a series of accents, showing more personality in thirty seconds than we’ve seen from her all season. Maybe she’s more herself when she’s not around Nick? In which case, go home to Nashville and go on with your cool life, lady! You don’t need this! And yet, alas, here she is. The group date features everyone but Raven, meaning Raven gets the second one-on-one of the night.

The group date is an excursion to a dairy farm. I’m guessing many readers of this very review have not had the distinct joy of spending time on or near farms with many animals. I’m here to tell you from personal experience: animals are straight-up disgusting. There are lots of great things about them, but there are also lots of terrible things about them, specifically that they are really, really gross. Even animals that are smart, such as pigs, are foul (pigs are so smart that they will sometimes poop in their own food bowl to spite you. Which, if you think about it, is really dumb because I felt no guilt eating that pig. None whatsoever. YOU DESERVED WHAT YOU GOT, PIG. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.)

The point of all of this is that animal farms are gross, and dairy farms are some of the most notorious. In fact, Wisconsin dairy farms have been associated with groundwater contamination from manure spills. So when Corinne inevitably resisted shoveling poop and acted disinterested in getting her hands dirty, I got it. This brought out the same rule followers/rule breaker dichotomy that we’ve seen all season. None of the women wanted to be at a dairy farm shoveling poop, but they all did it, they were all game, they went along with the plan to show Nick what team players they could be — except Corinne, who didn’t give a rat’s A and went to sit on some hay bales instead. (Jasmine: “We’re all shoveling **** and she’s sitting outside!”. Sarah, with some cute wordplay: “I don’t know if it’s the cow****, or the bull****, but either way I smell ****.”)

Finally, the portion of the date involving waste products is over and the girls hang out in a barn full of candles in mason jars or some garbage like that. (Are these dates supposed to be fun, or is the running theme just “Being uncomfortable in the most boring spreads from a Pottery Barn catalogue”?) It takes about fifteen seconds for the other ladies to swoop in and begin the inevitable confrontation with Corinne. My favorite exchange, which the show glossed over, was the following:

Corinne: “I know I’m not everyone’s favorite person—”

Jaimi: “Shut up.”

It doesn’t take long for the other women to tell Corinne this is about protecting Nick, which is a complete lie. It’s about creating drama! And someone even admits as much in voiceover a couple minutes later, remarking to the girl next to her: “I don’t know why we keep talking about her.” Probably because the producers tell you to! And because you’re bored stupid and freezing your giblets off in this dumb barn! And because you’re drunk all the time!

But the little spat does lead to one of Corinne’s best lines of all time after the women clumsily try to vilify her for napping (the napping isn’t the issue; the issue is that she skips cocktail parties and gets away with it): “Michael Jordan took naps! Abraham Lincoln took naps! And now I’m in trouble for napping.” Corinne and Kristina also have a brief throwdown in which Kristina tries to play nice but when playing nice inevitably fails, she fully goes in on Corinne, creating the potential for another ongoing feud. Kristina receives the group date rose, which I’m sure just fans the flames in Corinne’s eyes. (Kristina is also on my fantasy team, so I’m not mad about it at all. Keep it up, girl.)

Finally, it’s time for Raven’s one-on-one. I fully expected this to be a roseless kiss-off, like, Nick confirms that they have no chemistry and then sends home one of the more thoughtful, better-adjusted ladies of the season. But as little as I might think of Nick’s judgment, he really exceeded my expectations here. He and Raven had a great day hanging out with his family at a soccer game (where his dad asks her about her name, and she reveals her parents named her “Raven” because she was born with jet-black hair. The producers must have known that everyone was speculating she dubbed herself that after a particularly spooky séance and felt the need to put those rumors to rest) and roller skating (which, like, wasn’t that the best part of elementary school? Going skating at Happy Wheels and doing the Macarena on quad skates? No? Just me? That’s cool.).

They end the evening with dinner at the Milwaukee Art Museum. “What was your favorite part of today? Because for me it was all my favorite part,” Nick asks very sweetly. Setting aside my corrosive and pathological cynicism, that’s a pretty cute thing to say after a date. Raven agrees: she’s starting to fall for Nick, but she also (unlike many, many, many women who have participated in this show) knows her own worth: “I’m valuable, I’m intelligent, I’m smart, I’m kinda cute … if someone can’t value me the way I deserve to be valued, they’re not worth my time.” YES RAVEN. YESSSSSS. And for the rainbow sprinkles on top of this sundae of joy, they get to roller skate around the museum. That even warmed the cockles of my shriveled heart! I don’t think these two will go the distance, but I do appreciate that they have fun and that Raven isn’t taking any crap.

Finally, the cocktail party. Danielle L., who already has a rose from her one-on-one, steals Nick right away (WHY) and Taylor tries to interrupt, but is so awkward she ends up lurking behind them for a full two minutes. I was cringing into my pizza. Meanwhile, Corinne and Josephine (whose role is to nod along with what other women say and play with her hair? Or maybe now she’s the Daniel to Corinne’s Meat Chad? (Please, for your personal health and happiness, I implore you to watch that clip)) are sitting around talking shit about Taylor for talking shit about other people. Josephine breathily exclaims, “People have said things behind your back but you’ve hardly said anything behind anyone’s back.”

The episode ends with a Corinne-Taylor showdown. Taylor, a mental health counselor, tries to diagnose Corinne, which, one, seems unethical, and two, did anyone think it would affect Queen Corn’s behavior? Corinne responds by telling the camera that Taylor is “like the *** I put in my shovel: rude, fake, and nasty.” So, with the reveal that Corinne has, for some reason, been shoveling fake ***, the episode comes to a close, with the preview for next week revealing much drama on the horizon. Can’t wait for that awkward two-on-one date; maybe someone will be fed to a crocodile.

Laura Dismore is a 3L.

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