'The Bachelorette' Recap: Aaron Rodgers' Brother vs. James Taylor
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night from a nightmare in which Chad was your personal trainer, and he punished you with eternal exercise? CHAD WAS THERE, IN YOUR ROOM, AND IT WAS ALL TOTALLY REAL, AND HE TOLD YOU TO DO MORE BURPEES?!?!? Oh, you haven't? Right. Me either. Worth checking with everyone on that once in awhile, though.
In a similarly terrifying situation, the Bachelorette gang went to Buenos Aires this week, without Chad, and therefore without much hope for anything interesting to happen. Chad was like Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner. The light that burned twice as bright burned half as long. Chad's light burned at least 165 times as bright, and still half the season. Chad could beat the crap out of Rutger Hauer.
The real issue here with this season is that we got a taste of Chad. Chad enslaved us, placed us into blissful opium hazes, and when the opium (opium = Chad, in case you're not following this simple metaphor, because you're on actual opium and have attention-span issues) is abruptly taken away, you realize: shows about really tall handsome guys telling JoJo that they're into her and sometimes grabbing her butt are way more fun when you're on Chad opium. The crash is real, and it's brutal. And this time, he's not coming back. Adjustments will be necessary, and perhaps not immediate. But together, we can do this.
The one-on-one date: Wells"Bésame, bésame, muchacho." The date card is a kiss-taunting gauntlet hurled directly at Wells' feet. It's a good thing it didn't hit those feet, because Wells is frail, and gauntlets are quite heavy. But it becomes immediately obvious why he got this date/card: Wells is the only guy who hasn't made out with JoJo. Will today be the day? Will it happen??
It does not happen at the mercado aire libre, a term that proves I won the Spanish Award in eighth grade. It does not happen while Wells does the things they do in Fuerza Bruta, like being attached to a harness, running on a treadmill, and getting pretend-shot. It does not happen while JoJo flies off that treadmill herself. It does not happen as they swim poorly around a suspended pool like beautiful but unfortunate dolphins who have had their fins removed.
Oh wait -- it does happen! He does it! And JoJo feels the need to embarrass poor Wells even more, shouting to the rafters from which people are also suspended from harnesses. “That was the moment, Wells, that was the mommmmmennnt! We did it!!!” Just one more notch on the very stylish JoJo belt.
After that, they head to dinner, where Wells talks about how he and his ex of four years ended up getting really comfortable with each other and realizing they were nothing more than best friends -- just not best friends who bésame each other -- so they went their separate ways. This cues JoJo to talk about passion found and passion lost, and how to avoid that last part. JoJo knows that everyone talks about how the passion fizzles, and that you get comfortable, but she wants someone whom she still thinks is hot way down the road; she thinks that exists! Oddly, Wells seems to disagree with this statement that's remarkably easy to agree with -- apparently he just likes getting comfortable and realizing they should move out.
JoJo picks up the rose, and goes into maybe the most straightforward cut-speech in Bachelorette history. She thinks they've built a friendship, but she's not feeling the other side 100%, and she's realized that Wells is not going to be the person she spends her life with, so he's not getting the rose. She says a bunch of nice things afterwards, which she seems to legitimately believe, but she didn't for one second let them affect the swing of her ax, and off comes Wells' smallish head.
This is the JoJo we've been waiting for: no bullshit, no shades of hemming and hedging gray, just down to business, but with a good heart all the while. It's become quite obvious that JoJo wants a guy who can curl 80-pound dumbbells, which is what Wells weighs while Casey Kasem sits on his shoulders. So, no more Wells. This would be where I might say all's Wells that ends Wells, but I won't. I would never say that.
The Group DateWe've got ourselves a crew here: Luke, Robby, Aaron Rodgers' Brother, James Taylor, and Alex. Which means that Chase and Jim from The Office are going -- dum dum dummmmmmmm -- on the dreaded two-on-one date, the record second of the season.
Since Aaron Rodgers' Brother is on this date, they play more sports. Fútbol, to be specific, not to be confused with fútbol Americano. They kick the ball around on a lovely concrete field, where Aaron Rodgers' Brother scores a goal and pulls his shirt over his head, to prove he's not wearing a wire. Although he IS wearing a wire!! Maybe JoJo just didn't notice?
Eventually the locals scheme up a sexy competition in which all the guys have to take penalty kicks, and the winner gets to kiss JoJo. James Taylor, who has been struggling with this date because he "doesn't see himself as sexy" and thinks that the other guys are "perfect" and "really cool dudes," is the only one to score, so he wins the kiss.
But he hasn't truly won anything yet, except that kiss and the eternal respect of Argentina's cement-soccer giants -- he's gotta hit the night date like everyone else. Luke and Aaron Rodgers' Brother are wearing the same goddamn leather jackets they both wear to every single group date. It's become nothing short of a leather jacket cold war, in which each knows that if he removes his leather jacket, the other will have a gigantic advantage, because he has become appropriately dressed for 95-degree South American weather, and therefore, completely uncool.
Luke's up first with the quality time, and he does what Luke does every time: says really nice things that ultimately mean nothing, smiles crookedly, and makes out with JoJo. They have become the couple whose entire relationship is based on talking about their relationship, which doesn't exist outside talking about it. He punctuates all his sweet nothings with an additional, bonus sweet nothing: "I want that. And I want that WITH YOU." And it's working, really well. We know quite literally nothing about Luke at this point -- his profession is still listed as "war veteran,” for chrissakes -- and yet here he is, just smoldering the night away and yapping about "connections."
James Taylor is the opposite of Luke in every way, other than not being named "Ekul." And he's probably the only one who could talk poop about another guy in the house and get away with it, because he’s a pure Right Reasons guy and everyone knows it. But James, if you’re gonna sell them out, sell them OUT! Don’t talk about how you didn’t understand the rules of poker and how Aaron Rodgers’ brother was mean to you, because he’s “got a million buck smile, and a stud arm, and is in magazines.” Maybe he’s had too much apple juice or something, but JT's making terribly little sense and coming to zero firm conclusions. Also, I checked, and Aaron Rodgers’ Brother is in no magazines; he wasn’t even very good.
When she gets time with Aaron Rodgers’ Brother, JoJo goes right for it -- she calls him out on the “altercation,” during which he was acting “entitled” and “snobby.” For someone who clearly has a rich past of manipulating women, Aaron Rodgers’ Brother is completely terrible in these situations. He never has anything slick to say, and keeps tripping over his words like he’s in one of those things at training camp with the ropes where you gotta do high knees. For his sins, he does not receive a makeout.
Back with everyone sitting on couches that are purposely way too small so they’ve gotta be riiiiiight next to each other, Aaron Rodgers’ Brother confronts James, again, boringly. He calls him “pathetic” and that’s about it. Luke gets the rose, because he knows that all you have to do on this show is stay away from Chad’s sweet potato stash and tell JoJo that you really see a future.
The two-on-one: Chase and Derek (a.k.a. Jim from The Office)It’s going down! Two very tall, fit men enter, one very tall, fit man leaves, in a minivan full of camera equipment. Chase is dressed like he just got to the part of the wedding where in addition to removing your jacket, the ties have come off, too. Jim from The Office looks confident, as if he had spent his entire workday coordinating a complicated joke involving a hole punch to spring on Dwight. They’re going to be engaging in a timeless Tango, in which they have to fight over JoJo, while stiffly dancing like guys who work out a ton but always forget to stretch at the end.
I think you know that I would never, ever undercut Chad by pretending that anyone else deserves to have quotes broken out for them, but Jim from The Office has some timeless ones here, so…
Jim from The Office, on life:
"The thing about dancing and music is life…TALKING about life.”
Jim from The Office, on fricking falling for fricking JoJo:
“The real feelings in my life are when I’m with her and how I feel when we’re fricking sitting together”
And then she picks Chase, who said nothing good at all. But that leads to…
Jim from The Office, on what is enough:
“I’m not enough. I thought I was. I’m Derek. And Derek is imperfect.” [ed note: not sure who Derek is]
Jim from The Office, on salty ocular discharges that occur as some possibly famous lady hilariously sings “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina”:
“Why am I…why am I crying?? I don’t…cry. And yet, I am.”
The Cocktail PartyAfter weeks of pushing these off, we finally have one! This JoJo, it’s like she’s breaking the rules even when she follows them. So crazy, so wild. Aaron Rodgers' Brother -- no longer directly on the spot, and fully aware that he needs to make up for being mean during poker to the nicest guy ever named James Taylor including James Taylor -- is the only one who makes moves here. He tells JoJo that he wants to be in love and engaged at the end of this, and that they can get there, and that he “wants to do life” with her. Because he threw for 2,539 yards and 15 TDs his senior year at Vandy, JoJo believes him.
The RosesChase and Luke are safe here. Who’s up first? Robby! You knew you were getting one. So come get it. At this point, despite doing literally nothing aside from plucking that onnnnnnne beard hair that decided to get unruly, or getting much JoJo time at all, Robby seems like a lock for hometowns along with Luke. Aaron Rodgers’ Brother gets the next rose despite only completing 50% of his passes as a junior, and it’s already down to the final flower: James Taylor vs. Alex.
AND THERE GOES JOJO!!! She tears outside, down a very nicely carpeted set of stairs, and finds Chris Harrison, the man who never gives advice, but instead lets people answer their own questions. JoJo tells him that she simply can’t hand out that final rose. Which leads us to believe that she’s going to cut James Taylor because he’s terrible at poker, and also Alex because he’s quite literally a foot shorter than what is clearly JoJo’s ideal man. But of course that can’t be the case, since there are four weeks left of this show and need more guys to cut in the future — so they both get one. Somewhere, Chad just did 450 clap pushups in a row.