August has been given a breath of fresh air with the premiere of The Bachelor Pad, that bastardization of Big Brother and The Bachelor that has it all: love, gossip, politics, laughs, snark, betrayal, and lots of tears.
Adding to the evil joy that lurks quietly within me, we have the return of Jake and Vienna. If those two were unable to make it permanent in the real world, God bless that they’re going to make the late summer sing and sizzle as they take their feud public.
The series began with 18 contenders, all of them former contenders for either a Bachelor or Bachelorette’s affections in the other ABC love show for which this series is named. The prize for being the last remaining human in the Pad is a quarter of a million dollars.
This year we have one former Bachelor, Jake Pavelka, an airline pilot who sought love and thought he found it in the form of Vienna Girardi. Only Jake and Vienna not only did not create a loving relationship of any kind, they turned into the stuff of romantic nightmares.
To my delight I learn that both Jake and Vienna will live together in The Bachelor Pad. To add to the drama, Vienna has begun a new relationship with another Bachelorette contender, Kasey. Kasey had been a contender for Bachelorette Ali’s hand. While he was not chosen by Ali, Vienna stepped right in to have him fill the void in her life left by her breakup with Jake.
I loved every minute of it. And I was not disappointed a whit by the turn of events in the first night in The Bachelor Pad.
The elimination contest involved a challenge that would only work on this show. The intrigue began with a bevy of beds all side by side under some sort of rope and harness device spanning overhead. The challenge required the male of a paired couple to be affixed into a harness device that would have him hanging face down over a bed below. The female half of the pair would hoist herself up onto her hanging partner and hang face up by wrapping her legs around her partner’s torso and her arms about his neck. It was the sort of visual that screamed sex.
Vienna coupled with her beau Kasey and Jake paired with another female with whom he claimed to be but a friend. All nine couples entered the challenge and as these things are planned, they began to drop down, thus losing their chance to win. The winners of this challenge, i.e. the couple that remained hanging in the air the longest, would be awarded a swanky date on the town so there’s an added dimension in the choice of partners. Pad residents choose partners they are attracted to, using the logic of romance. The winners would also be able to grant amnesty from eviction to one other resident of the Pad.
But of course the final two hanging would be Jake and Vienna with their respective partners. It was a hoot for this viewer.
Kasey eventually had to drop Vienna, complaining that his shoulders were being ripped off. To no one’s surprise, Jake won the challenge.
Jake and Jackie did go on their date. Jake used that occasion to explain his position with Vienna. He told Jackie that he once had feelings for Vienna, was in fact engaged to marry her. It was obvious to this viewer that Jake seemed to still be a bit smitten with Vienna. I’m not sure this drama isn't more scripted than "real" but it adds an intriguing element.
For her part, Vienna came off as a bit of a skank, chastising Kasey for giving up too soon, for disappointing her like every man ever did in her life...ever. Lots of tears, angst, and despair followed. Kasey kept saying he was in excrutiating pain but with Vienna it was all about her.
Jake and Jackie discussed who they should grant amnesty to for the upcoming eviction. In this series, all of the remaining men choose a female to evict, and all of the remaining women choose a male.
Just as soon as Jake began suggesting that he and Jackie should give the saving rose to Vienna my eyes began rolling around in their sockets. Say what? Vienna was his biggest enemy, both in the Pad and in life, for goodness sake! He had his chance to roust nominations to evict Vienna with his bribe of safety to another resident and he was, instead, going to save Vienna? If this turn of events wasn’t scripted it should have been. How utterly delicious. “I want to show her I wish her well,” is how Jake put it.
Adding to the cackling joy of it, in on-camera solo vignettes Vienna mocked Jake’s silly decision, leaving the viewers all across the fruited plains anxious to see what happens next.
It’s a harmless diversion, The Bachelor Pad, and might well be only half truth and half script. It’s hard to believe a guy would be so dumb but by my experience, guys can be pretty dumb.
We’ll be watching the remaining episodes with anticipation. Check back for updates.
The Bachelor Pad airs on Mondays on ABC at 8p/7c.
Below, a short video of Vienna in action: