Some might find the manufactured drama on The Bachelor the most purely entertaining part of the show; I find it interesting only because it’s fun to figure how exactly it was manufactured. But this season of the show, the work being done to get the drama is so transparent, it’s hard to get particularly amped up about any of it.
I had high hopes for Nick, given his extensive experience with this franchise, but honestly, most everything this season has barely kept my attention. That’s probably because they’ve spent all their energy focusing on Corinne, the most carefully constructed villain seen in some time. Corinne’s drunken, entitled acting might be entertaining to some, but she’s boring to me: Everything she does is so clearly over-the-top and planned, it’s barely compelling as part of the reality oeuvre.
Monday night’s episode could have been split into three parts: Nick’s nice date with Rachel, what felt like hours of footage of a group date at a “haunted” house, and Corinne and Taylor’s multiple showdowns, the most notable of which was their two-on-one date which occurred in a “swamp,” where they met a voodoo priestess and got their tarot read. This provided an ample opportunity for the tarot reader to recite scripted predictions to both women that perfectly matched their issues with one other, and ample opportunity for both women to sit on a random log and complain to Nick about the other. The scene was so heavy-handed that Corinne asked the tarot reader “How do you make a voodoo doll specific to a person?” as if the premise of her making a voodoo doll of Taylor to punish was funny or mildly believable as anything other than a troll.
As with most two-on-one’s, the drama was supposed to come from the fact that the two women picked hate one another, a prime example being Chris Soules’s also very boring season, when Ashley I. and and Kelsey were both left alone in the desert after Chris realized everyone he was stuck in The Badlands with sucked. During last night’s episode, Nick ultimately picked Corinne and sent Taylor home, but even that choice didn’t have much oomph—he has barely seemed interested in either of their stories about the other (wonder why?), and you know a person who makes their whole relationship with the lead of the show about someone else in the house is ultimately doomed. As we’ve seen in the preview for next week, it’s likely Taylor will “come back” (i.e. the producers will bring her back) to confront Nick and whatever she tells Nick will result in Corinne leaving as well, her shelf life as a villain coming to a close right about the time the show usually stops being silly and starts getting real.
Who’s to say what makes a season interesting or not, though my preferred theory is that Nick is too much of a pro at this show to make any semi-fresh moves, and that his late casting meant that the women of the show were not picked for him, which has dampened the chemistry factor. (Ratings are also down about a million viewers from last year.)
Even if Corinne doesn’t go home in next week’s episode, we know she is not long for this world; she is in it for Corinne, not in it for Nick. He’s keeping her around for an opportunity to get it in and/or because he’s done this so many times he thinks she’s good TV; once either or both of those moments has passed, she will be gone. There’s a girl who is presented as hated in the house each season, but if that’s the game they’re going to play, my only wish is for it to be more believable or compelling than this. Or that the producers had realized that the truly good TV—worth more than the blooper reel she’s been dominating at the end of most episodes—is Alexis, the “aspiring dolphin trainer.”