Tuesday, June 18, 2013

An Affair of the Hartsock: Episode Four

Chris Harrison announces to the room of guys that there are 13 men remaining, for those of them who can't count themselves. Decked out in yellow and blue plaid, Harrison proclaims the first stop in the Bachelorette World Tour to be Atlantic City. Although I think Atlantic City was brought to Cali based on the amount of GTL evident this season (Gel, Tan, Long stories).
Des arrives in Jersey before her dates and gets hit on by some random PoPo on the boardwalk interspersed with some travel shots of the gentlemen on parade. It's like following a fraternity house on constant camera.
After settling into their sweet new pad on floor 43, the guys receive Date Card #1: "Brad, let our love shine through..." *spoiler alert* The light didn't make it. Don't you hate it when your dates don't measure up to your metaphors?
As you recall from last week, Brad is the one who may or may not have been convicted of domestic abuse in the past. The couple heads to the Atlantic City boardwalk for an afternoon of line-free fun. After partaking in saltwater taffy, Des' sweet tooth is not satisfied and she begins a mad search for the chocolate she swears she smells. Her hypersensitive nose leads her to a line of chocolates fresh off of a conveyor belt. And when I say fresh, I mean she took them off of the belt with her bare hands. That cannot be FDA approved. 
They leisurely ride the carousel, allowing their snacks to settle, while unbeknownst to them, at least three of the remaining 13 guys are spying on them from the floor to ceiling windows on floor 43. 
Following the ride, the couple sits on the side of the most elaborate sand castle known to man. Harrison spent his time off camera with a few shovels.
Dinner consists of awkward sips of wine, the clattering of utensils, and poor attempts at conversation. 
Hiking 8,000 steps to explore the top of the lighthouse seems like the most logical decision after such a magical meal. Des and Brad look out over Atlantic City and it just seems like the perfect moment to...break up. Not a wise choice, Des. A heartbroken man could catapult off the side.
Brad chooses to walk down the stairs alone. Which is probably a complete metaphor for love and how the spark is missing and the depth of this show is just out of this world. 
Go count your numbers, Accountant Brad. And stay away from lighthouses. The bad memories will haunt you. And most lighthouses are haunted enough anyway from what I hear. 

Date Card #2 arrives back at Swankville (now population 12 for those keeping score at home): "I'm looking for my Mr. Right." Brooks, Bryden, Zack, Kasey, Drew, Juan Pablo, Zak, Mikey, Ben, Michael, and Chris are invited to apply. 
I'd say the highlight of the entire afternoon was Brooks comparison of Des to a unicorn. If you missed it, YouTube. That clip is gold. 
But short story long, the group heads to Boardwalk Hall to meet Miss USA and learn they will compete in the Bachelorette's Mr. America pageant. 
The flamboyantly gay coach was obviously planted by Des to weed out the undecideds of sexual orientation in her selection of men. I can count at least 2. 
Des assigns swimsuits to each of her guys, from speedos to boardshorts, likely based on which man she wanted to see more of. 
The highlights of the interview portion included comments like, "I'm a giver. I like to touch and I think both people should give in a relationship" by Kasey, and "most women don't understand that men cry inside and we are more than just meatheads" by Mikey. 
He then proceeds to confuse his point during the talent part of his performance by taking off his shirt and doing a handstand against the wall. You could just see the sensitivity all over his abs. Brooks made up a song accompanied by a banjo, Ben twirled ribbons while the gay coach salivated in the corner, Chris hula-hooped in heels, and Zak sang an actual heartfelt song. 
At the conclusion, the entire group of men held hands as they waited for the judges' results. Brooks received third place, Zak got second, and Kasey is crowned winner, complete with a sash, roses, and a king's crown. 
Des concludes the evening with a banquet of appetizers and alcohol by the pool. Chris and Des sit in the most echo-y part of the pool to discuss his poetry. Which Des also writes apparently. The word bonding earned a kiss. 
Ben and Des balance on the edge of the pool right in front of the rest of the men. The echo doesn't bother Hotshot and he has zero hesitation in alienating his roommates. 
Meanwhile, back on floor 43, James preps with his date with a bubble bath, a glass of red wine, and a plate of chocolates. He reads his date card, "Can our love weather the storm?" in a fluffy white robe. 
Zak finishes up his song during his one on one time with Des by the pool. His guitar skills were enough to garner a bundle of petals. Date rose secured.

The following morning, James gels up for his date after his GTL routine. #wheninJersey
The couple get in a helicopter with a representative from the RedCross to see the damage from the recent hurricane Sandy on the East Coast. They walk through Seaside Heights (holding hands) with the lady and converse with a local couple about the experience of the storm. After hearing Jan and Manny's story, Des decides to give the rest of their date to the couple for their anniversary. Unfortunately that meant the cameras went with them and we were treated to the dinner of Jan and Manny. Will he accept this rose? I'm on pins and needles!
Des and James talk over pizza and beer about relationships and how dumb money is. Probably because ABC has been picking up the tab for the past few weeks. James also drops the bomb of how he cheated on his girlfriend of 5 years back in college. 
The Seaside Heights couple receive a restored version of their wedding album and the Des and James duo crashes their date in order to invite them to a private Darius Rucker concert. He was supposed to serenade me on June 8th. And he cancelled. And I'm still bitter about his unexplained absence. Des and James share a moment, a few kisses, and a rose exchange while Jan and Manny get their dance on. Des and James then kick out the older couple and steal the rest of Darius for themselves. A little generosity only goes so far. 

At the cocktail party, Bryden rambles about his insecurity while giving everyone the side eye because he "needs to get his time." I think Des is wearing fishnet tights...or just regular tights. Either way, I'm not digging it. And why more sparkles, Des? What's wrong with mature and muted tones for variety?
These are my burning questions.
Michael kisses Des after sharing a cute acrostic poem with her and I notice his thumb has a bandage. Did he get oxygen for this injury? Where was his ambulance?
The burning questions continue to multiply. 
Bryden and Des have their serious talk and Des tries to encourage him in their relationship by focusing on what he knows and not what he perceives in the guys around him. 
Harrison breaks the magic with a lively clink and Des withdraws to ponder the portable frames in a nearby maid's closet. 
She returns with rose offers for:

Chris (the poetry writer)
Brooks (the dramatic broken finger guy)
Juan Pablo (the popcorn cleavage bandit)
Drew (the most attractive one)
Michael (the acrostic, non-dramatic broken finger guy)
Ben (the dad who needs to go. he needs. to. go.)
Kasey (the hashtagger who only hashtagged on night one)
Bryden (the new crybaby)
Mikey (the meathead with feelings)

Zack (I don't remember seeing him before tonight EVER) leaves roseless, overshadowed by Guitar Zak. He gets the hotel hallway walk of shame and a limo ride to the airport. 
The remaining men (now 11 for those of you keeping score at home) receive an invitation to Munich, Germany. Next week, Armageddon happens. Not my words. A Very Lucky Girl is saying her prayers. 

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