Look, I’ve made it clear that I’m not riding hard for Arie as the Bachelor. He’s old and boring. Even Chris Harrison has cut back on how much he appears in each episode.
I figured Chris Harrison’s absence could be explained by the fact that he is as bored of Arie as we all are. Little did we all know he was deep in his cave lair, cooking up a new scheme to subject these simpleminded Instagram models to! Take the thrill of competitive sports with the pent-up horniness that can only come from hot people sharing a hostel, add snow, and you have…THE BACHELOR WINTER GAMES.
HARRISON, YOU SPICY LITTLE DEVIL.
Guys, I love this show. It makes me feel like I am curled up in my stretchiest pants under a tarp and just cramming Cheetos and Ben & Jerry’s into my face and feeling no shame. It is 100% unfiltered, unpasteurized, medical-grade, VH1 circa 2008 programming garrrrrbbbbaaage. Like everything in this franchise there’s some problematic elements at play, but until we hit those LET’S GET INTO IT.
Chris Harrison grew a beard for this! He descends upon a small town with two co-hosts and hijacks a high school homecoming parade to kick off the Bachelor Winter Games. The real Olympics are in PyeongChang, South Korea, but the closest the Bachelor could get is…Vermont? OK!
Much like the real Olympics, the Winter Games pit Team USA against an international team of Bachelor rejects. With the exception of like, 4 people, everyone repping Team International has some kind of blonde beach wave going on and I cannot tell these women apart!
Ben Higgins, the former Bachelor and attempted Republican state senator, muses that the Bachelor “brings together so many beautiful people”. That’s the only criteria for being on the show, guy!
The excruciatingly long parade introduces rejects from around the world. Each country is also represented with a culturally relevant mascot, like a moose for Canada and Santa Claus (???) for Finland. It culminates with Trista and Ryan (the OG Bachelorette couple, forever contractually obligated to show up at these events) lighting the flame of love which is DEFINITELY NOT a lawn ornament some poor PA had to run out and purchase from Home Depot a few hours earlier. There is also a Bachelor Winter Games theme song, which is so terrible I couldn’t even hear it over my own shrill hag cackling.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN
The 30 or so competitors descend upon the Winter Games village, which is a perfectly lovely mountain lodge that will have to be burnt to the ground after these people get done puking and screwing on every rustic surface. Champagne is popped, bunk beds are claimed, and the contestants get down to getting to know each other.
Yuki from Bachelor Japan notes that on her show, the Bachelor only kissed the woman he proposed to. Courtney (a guy) from Australia is like…yeah, we did things a little differently on my season? (Everyone kissed). Yuki is fascinated and horrified.
Josiah from Rachel’s season chats with Ally from New Zealand. They hit it off, and Ally says the next thing you know “we were having a snog!” IT HAS BEEN 15 MINUTES. Christian notes in his heavy German accent that “Yosiah and Ally are having a kiss, I zink the Vinter Games are vorking!”
Canadian Kevin and Bibiana from Arie’s season also couple up within the first 15 minutes of being in the cabin. Kevin has an unfortunate haircut and small features that kind of make him look like a thumb. Ashley I (you know, the Kardashian knockoff who is always crying) decides that SHE likes Kevin too! This will end well!
EVENT 1: THE BIATHLON
Chris Harrison and his beard round up the contestants for the first event of the games. It’s the biathlon, a confounding sport that logically combines skiing and shooting guns. The winning dude and lady will each win a date card. Everyone’s thirst kicks into overdrive as they strap on their skis.
Most of the contestants have never been on skis. Ally from New Zealand wipes out and sobs about bruising her bum bone, and some evil editor captions her name with “butt cracked” for the duration of the event. Canadians Kevin and Benoit already know how to ski, but American dude Luke knows how to shoot guns good. Who will win?! Much to Bibiana and Ashley I’s delight, Kevin wins the date card.
The ladies event is barely televised, so you know it must have been painfully tedious. Rebecca (Bachelor Sweden) wins the date card.
Back at the lodge, everyone changes into their best flannel outfits and resumes binge drinking. Ashley I’s thirst intensifies as she stares at Kevin from across the room. “He kind of looks like Mark Wahlberg,” she gushes. (He does not. He looks like a thumb).
Kevin invites Bibiana on the date, and Ashley is DEVASTATED. She made eye contact with Kevin, that means they were in love! Why is she always in the friend zone?? She’s a mess, and her sob laughs make everyone uncomfortable.
Rebecca takes Luke on a date, and it was so boring all we get to see is the two of them making out. Kevin and Bibiana make out on their date, and he kisses with his eyes open which to me is WEIRD.
Back in the house, Clare flirts with Benoit while he cooks dinner. She tells him to wear his glasses more, which, GOOD CALL CLARE. They make out! Dean, the millennial scamp from Rachel’s season/#1 fuckboy in Paradise, makes out with Lesley. This is just like what happens in the real Olympic village!
No one is really sure how the Rose Ceremony is going to work, because there are 150 PEOPLE HERE. I feel like some of these people just showed up today, because there’s at least 2 dudes I don’t recognize. Yuki demands that Dean give her a rose, and I appreciate her directness! Chris Harrison shaves his beard (boo) and interrupts the cocktail party to let everyone know that there are no roses.
WHAAAAT? Instead, they’ll be voting each other out of the house, Survivor-style.
The girls deliberate about which guy isn’t here for the right reasons. For some reason, they choose Josiah. Despite the fact that he and Ally have been steadily snogging this whole time–and therefore are already in reality show love– there’s just something about him they don’t like. If you were wondering if International Bachelor was just as racist as USA Bachelor, there’s your answer.
Chris Harrison tallies the votes and declares that Rebecca, Kevin, Jenny (???), Lesley, Dean, Stassi (??????), Ben, Lily, Boy Courtney, Yuki, Christian, Benoit, Clare, Bibiana, Ally, Michael G (????????), Tiffany (no way she’s been here the whole time), Ashley I, and Josiah are safe.
That means it’s goodbye to Laura from the UK, Jamey (???), Zoe, Lauren, and Eric (noooo!). Which like, really, Bachelor contestants? I’m supposed to believe that you all thought half of the non-white contestants just weren’t here for the right reasons?
Brief housekeeping note: Arie’s season is still happening simultaneously with Winter Games, meaning there is 6 HOURS of Bachelor content on per week. Being one lady with a day job and a cat, I can’t cover it all. However, the talented Ali Barthwell has recaps of Arie’s episodes over at Vulture, so check those out in the meantime.