Week 1 - Part 1
Two nights of Bachelor in Paradise for the rest of the summer? This is a test of sanity. After a quick rehash of the contestants joining the show I will give you my top three highlights. 1. Tanner's video package depicting him as a guy Kaitlyn didn't remember with a sad, lonely life. 2. Black box Jillian is getting breast implants right before Paradise because I think that's on all packing checklists. 3. It is Playboy Jade who reminds us of how insane this show is when she says, "Maybe in three weeks I'll end up engaged." That's a hard maybe, Jade.
Chris Harrison is embracing the casual wear of a Mexican vacay, while also serving as greeter to everyone arriving in Paradise. Chris Harrison is one notch above hotel staff. Jade is the first woman to arrive, quickly followed by Jared, fresh off heartbreak from Kaitlyn but ready to immediately hold hands. Soon more people arrive and I could listen them all but that is pointless except for one. Faux-Kardashian cry baby Ashley I. brings her "naughty" sister Lauren along. The girls wonder if it's fair and the guys are like, "Who gives a crap, she's hot." Self-decribed alpha male takes a liking to Lauren immediately, flirting and taking her into the ocean to get handsy. Ashley isn't jealous and that's because she's got eyes for Jared. Always one for attention, Jillian (and her new boobs) is the only one to arrive in a swimsuit. JJ from Kaitlyn's season arrive and all the moment needed was a record scratch since no one likes him. But last to arrive, the true gem on the franchise's crown: Ashley S., lover of onions/pomegranates. If you're wondering if she's leveled off, she's distracted by a birdcage while meeting up with Chris Harrison so... nope.
With the cast fully assembled, Chris Harrison corrals the troops to explain how this hookup fest works. For the first week, the men will hand out the roses at the Rose Ceremony and one woman not in a relationship or connecting will go home. There is one twist: if you offer a rose to a sister, the other gets to stay. "Is that like incest?" Carly asks. What I call it is rigging the cast to make sure the drama stays around, which Tenley notices as well. But this is quickly brushed under the rug as Chris Harrison escorts the cast to a bunch of benches: they're attending a wedding! Not just any wedding, but the nuptials of Lacy and Marcus who met last year on Bachelor in Paradise and it didn't crash and burn like most relationships this show produces. For a minute it seems like the only attendees are these reality rejects, but in fact family and friends arrive to sit on the other side. Chris Harrison officiates, the couple writes their own vows, and they're married. In front of one wedding guest wearing a neon bikini. But to Marcus and Lacy who actually found love in this crazy franchise, congratulations!
With the bouquet caught (Juelia) and the wedding over, it's back to the Paradise shitshow it was meant to be. Juelia and Jonathan start to hang out, and Kirk and Carly the "funny" ones have an immediate connection and kiss, then snuggle all night. But basically, every guy wants a shot at Jade but they adjust their focus on easier targets. Lauren starts crying profusely and requires a vent session with her sister, apparently to knock on how old everyone is and her desire to go home and not date these losers. But Ashley I. wants to date one of those losers, Jared, and really wants to stick around to get to know him, and it takes her hours to start a conversation. It seems like progress, but instead Jared takes Jade for a walk and Ashley mopes from the sidelines and cries in her interviews.
Ashley I's breakdown pays off as she gets the first date card of the season. She's super stressed that he'll say no and practices asking him via her sister, the surrogate Jared. Really Ashley's not that far off given the miserable face he initially has when Ashley gains possession of the date card. Jade is a little jealous but not that much and no one else thinks it'll last. When Ashley finishes her rehearsals and asks Jared out, he accepts with a smile and a hug AKA politely. In their matching Ray Bans, they go off-roading in a dune buggy and Ashley thinks Jared's driving is so hot. They park, swim, sip wine, and talk of Jared's post-Kaitlyn heartbreak. Their connection is a little better, I guess?