By Denise Weiss
For The Baltimore Sun
7:35 AM EDT, June 11, 2013
It’s Week 3 of "The Bachelorette" and we are down to 16 guys in women’s tank tops.
Chris arrives at the mansion with the first of two group-date cards. The “Love Is A Battlefield” date goes to Chris, Brian, Drew, Michael, Brooks, Brad, Mikey T., Brandon, Zack and Ben. Let the battling begin!
After a quick limo ride in a stretch SUV, the guys are greeted by Des covered in pink lycra. Instead of being treated to a Pat Benatar concert, the guys are introduced to the men of the National Dodgeball League. Unbeknownst to most people, there is a professional dodgeball league. The overzealous commissioner of the league introduces himself and explains that the league is made up of “serious” players. How serious can they be? The game can be summed up with the 5 D’s of dodgeball, which according to Patches O’Houlihan are “dodge, dip, dive, duck and dodge.” Just ask Ben Stiller. It’s a good thing Brandon wore his lucky orange headband. That should scare the bejeezus out of the professional dodgeball players.
After sizing-up the pros, Michael G., who becomes more feminine each week, refers to them as “very intimidating looking fellows holding dodgeballs.” Uh, Michael, real men don’t use the word “fellows.” After a lot of “balls whizzing by my face” references, Des’s men get their girly butts kicked by the real men of the National Dodgeball League. Chris Harrison shows up and tells them that the professionals have sufficiently humiliated them, and it's time to play against each other. The guys have been “randomly” assigned to two teams, and the winning team will get more time with Des.
The red team consists of Mikey T., Michael G., Brooks, Chris and Brandon; the blue team is Ben, Drew, Zack, Brad and Brian. Des is excited to watch the guys play dodgeball because she likes to watch men in their natural state. Nothing says "back to nature" like an intense game of dodgeball.
Speaking of nature, the men arrive at the dodgeball field dressed like fifth graders going to field day in their two-sizes-too-small Soffe shorts and knee socks. No man ever looked sexy in soffee shorts. Brandon exchanged his lucky orange headband for a red one, and Brooks put his hair up in a pony tail to keep his longs locks out of his eyes. I’m assuming he keeps a hair tie on his wrist for just such an occasion. Speaking of hair, Michael G. must have gone back to the mansion and set his in curlers before the game because his hair looked fabulous. Clearly, he didn’t spend the time waxing his chest; he is the only guy with hair sticking out of his tank top. Michael G.’s dodgeball strategy is to hide behind Mikey T. to avoid messing up his hair.
After a manly Red Team cheer and a "not so manly" Blue Team jig, the battle begins. The blue team wins the first game after going “balls to the wall.” The red team wins the second game. The third game, according to Michael G., is for “all the marbles.” Again, not a manly thing to say, dude. Speaking of marbles, at the start of the third game, Brooks goes down in what looks like a kick to his marbles. Fortunately for Brooks, his family jewels are safe, but his finger is broken. Off to the hospital he goes.
Despite Brooks’ injury, the game must go on -- because, according to Drew, “this is do or die, this is game 7 of the World Series, it’s intense, it’s palpable.” Take it easy Drew: we know it's for all the marbles, but no matter how hard you try, this pathetic game will not turn into the World Series. In the end, Drew’s intensity pays off and the Blue Team emerges as the dodgeball victors. Michael G.’s hair holds, but he cries because he lost the marbles. I have clearly lost my marbles, because I am sitting and watching this stupidity. Good news, Michael! Des was tricking you and all the guys get to come on the date, even the losing red team. Damn, I was hoping to have to listen to Michael whine all the way back to the mansion.
Speaking of whining, we find out that Brooks has been taken to the hospital via ambulance with sirens blasting and lights a-flashing. We next see Brooks on a gurney in the Emergence Room, where he is getting oxygen because he passed out in the ambulance. Grow a pair of marbles, Brooks -- it's just a broken finger! Put a Hello Kitty band-aid on it and get back in the game. It’s not like your shin bone protruded through your skin during an NCAA basketball tournament. Even that guy didn’t pass out. I think you can handle a finger bone alignment. I had three human beings come out of my body and I didn’t pass out or require oxygen. And one of them was almost 10 pounds!
Group Date - Evening
The games are over, but the date must go on. Brad gets some alone time with Des, and just in time; he has something he has to get off his chest. After a lengthy and unnecessary lead-in, Brad’s big reveal is that he has a three-year-old son named Maddox who lives with him full-time. Sorry Brad, but Ben beat you to the “exploiting your child for personal gain” angle. Brad does, however, use his son to explain a domestic-violence charge and restraining order filed against him by his alcoholic baby mama. Sure Brad, we believe you. If that weren’t bad enough, Brad reaches a new low when he tells Des that he would not have left Maddox “if anyone but you were the Bachelorette.” I just threw up a little in my mouth. Putting everything else aside, Brad, who are you and where have you been the past two weeks?
Meanwhile, Chris is getting impatient. He takes Des to a private spot he “found” -- the rooftop of the hotel -- and they talk and bond. It’s looking really good for Chris until Brooks arrives at the hotel in a Vicodin-induced haze, holding his broken finger up in the air and wearing his Red Team uniform (obviously, no one at the hospital had the heart to tell him that his team LOST). Brooks and Des sit under a purple blanket, talk and kiss. It is obvious that Des is into Brooks, marbles or no marbles. Although Brooks got the group-date tongue, Chris gets the group-date rose and a private concert with some unknown lady singer. They dance and kiss. No one cares.
Back at the mansion, a date card arrives and Kasey gets the coveted one-on-one date
Crazy Stephanie and Cheating Brian
The next morning, Des is relaxing on the couch wearing skin-tight, hideous flesh-colored pants, when the phone rings. It’s Chris Harrison with some “bizarre” news. Chris has forgotten the #1 man code rule -- bros before hoes -- and is clearly about to throw one of the guys under the bus.
Des immediately heads to the mansion and calls Brian and his hot pink t-shirt outside for a chat. Des questions Brian about his last relationship, and he assures her that it was over a long time ago. As the words are leaving Brian’s lips, Chris Harrison is escorting Brian’s ex-girlfriend/girlfriend Stephanie through the mansion. In one of the most dramatic, staged, phony, set-ups to date, Stephanie, who has taken way-too-much Adderall, goes off on a hysterical, fast-talking, tear-provoking tirade. She screams at Brian for lying to her and for not caring about Donovan, (“Don’t you care about Donovan, my son, my son Donovan).” She is also a little upset about him dating six or seven other girls, including a stripper. For a guy with a crooked face, Brian does OK for himself. Stephanie goes on and on, and not even Jerry Springer could stop her. Brian may be a louse who hooked up with her two days before he came on "The Bachelorette," but can you blame him for flying to the other side of the country to get away from her?! Stephanie is a lunatic. ABC better make her the next Bachelorette, because that’s the only way she will ever date again after admitting on national television that she threw rocks in Brian’s face.
Eventually, Chris’s eardrums shatter from Stephanie’s high-pitched squealing, and security guard Paulie escorts Brian to his room to pack and then out the door back to Baltimore. The cleaning people must have had the day off, because that room is a pigsty!
After Brian leaves, Chris and Des head into the mansion and tell the guys what just went down -- like they weren’t all listening at the back door. Des demands to know if anyone else has any secrets. Twelve seconds of silence later, Des and Kasey finally leave for their date.
As soon as Des leaves, the guys start talking about Brian and Hurricane Stephanie. Michael G. struggles to open a jar of pickles, while Brandon has a breakdown in the kitchen. It seems that Brandon’s mom was not only an alcoholic, but also brought home a lot of guys who Brandon fell in love with. Sadly, these men abandoned him and his mother. Brandon says he loves Des and doesn’t want anyone leaving him anymore. Someone call security guard Paulie back -- Brandon needs a hug.
Des and Kasey try to put the Brian debacle behind them and head to Sunset Boulevard, so they can dance down the side of a building. Been there, scaled that. Next they head to the top of the same building for a night of romance. Too bad Mother Nature is a witch and sends a strong message -- this date is OVA! Instead of heeding the wild wind’s warnings, Des and Kasey attempt to salvage the date by jumping into the freezing rooftop pool. Kasey kisses Des, but Des is emotionally drained from her stealth attack on Brian. Des and Kasey go inside and sit in a stairwell. Des gives Kasey the rose for being a good guy. #poorkasey
Second Group Date
The second group-date card arrives for Dan, Bryden, Zak W., James and Juan Pablo, and reads “Who Will Be The Lone Man Standing.” Dan is someone we haven’t seen before. He is a beverage distribution specialist, which means he works the register at the 7-11. His claim to fame is that he is in charge of the Slurpee machine. Back to the date: The guys are picked up in a stagecoach and Des throws a stunt man off a balcony. The sole purpose of this date is to shamelessly promote the next Disney film, “The Lone Ranger.”
The guys get dressed up in cowboy gear and learn how to be stunt men. This is just as stupid as playing dodgeball, but is slightly entertaining when Dan splits his pants getting on the horse. Perhaps he had one-too-many Slurpee and burrito combos. Juan Pablo plays his part in Spanish and wins the challenge. His prize? A private screening of "The Lone Ranger." Des and Juan Pablo sit on hay bales and eat popcorn. At one point, Juan Pablo attempts to feed Des a piece of popcorn, but misses her mouth and the popcorn falls down her dress and lands on her right breast. Being the man-whore that he is, he reaches into her dress, picks it up and places it in her mouth. Then he leans with his tongue and they make out for the rest of the movie. Juan Pablo is quite the player and something tells me this isn’t his first rodeo.
Later that night, Des and the boys sit around a campfire. Des hasn’t sucked face with enough guys the past 24 hours, so she and Bryden make out in a tree. When she is done with Bryden, Zak is next, but gets no action. Zak and Des just talk, and Zak does the throw-the-head-back, open-mouth-laugh move, which shows his mouthful of very white teeth.
James gets one-on-one time with Des and tells her that his Dad has pancreatic cancer. In addition to the spot on his Dad’s pancreas, James puts Des on the spot and asks her if he should stay and waste his time with her, or return home to his dying Dad. Instead of insisting that he go straight home and be with his father before he drops dead, Des gives James the group-date rose. James and Des end the date with some kisses. With all the men Des kissed in the past few days...
In lieu of a cocktail party, Des decides to throw a pool party, because it is easier to get people half-naked at a pool party. Before she can even step one foot out of the Bentley, Ben, who is wearing one of Des’s tank tops, steals her away for a quick ride and some sneaky one-on-one time. After a quick ride, Ben and Des pull into the driveway, kiss and head into the pool party. But not before being spied on by Michael G. and Mikey T. Michael G is mad!! He says “why does Ben feel the need to steal her away and take underhanded measures to get more time with her? It doesn’t make sense.” Uh, Michael, it makes perfect sense, you fool! I have been watching this show for 26 seasons -- there are no rules. Who died and made Michael G. the Bachelor/ette rule police?
Mikey T. says that Ben deserves a punch in the face. Michael and Mikey bring Ben out front and tell him they aren’t going to be his friend. As if Ben gives a crap. Ben says, “it’s called 'The Bachelorette' for a reason, it’s not called 'Let’s Make Friends.'” Ben is 100% right.
Brandon hasn’t had enough off-camera therapy this week and can’t get over the men who abandoned him and his mother. He tells Des that he will never hurt her, he thinks about her all day, that he is falling in love with her. He leans in to tell her a secret -- “I’m needy, damaged goods” -- but instead tries to give her a kiss. #epicfail
After what seems like an eternity, it is finally time for the rose ceremony. James, Kasey and Chris have roses and are safe. The remaining roses go to Bryden, Juan Pablo, Zak W., Brooks, Drew, Zack, Brad, Michael G. and Mikey T. The final rose goes to Ben.
Upon hearing Ben’s name for the final rose, Brandon looks shocked and confused and is thinking #WTF. Des basically says “It’s you, not me” and tells him there was no chemistry. Brandon says “once again, someone left me.” For Brandon’s sake, I hope that Paulie is in the kitchen keeping an eye on the knives.
Next week: Atlantic City and more Ben drama.
Copyright © 2013, The Baltimore Sun