Say what you will about Jojo—no, don’t scream “CLEAVAGE,” you’re at work right now—but she certainly has a type when it comes to men, and wastes no time pretending otherwise. This week, the victims of her ruthlessly efficient winnowing process were James Taylor and Alex The Tiny Marine, and since they were the only remaining contestants that don’t look like investment bankers dressed up as “Zac Efron in Neighbors” for Halloween, this surprised exactly no one. If I had told you before the episode that you had to bet your life savings on which two were getting cut, but that you COULDN’T pick “Alex The Tiny Marine and James Taylor,” you would have shrugged resignedly and started calling bankruptcy lawyers.

As dully predicable as the franchise once again proved itself to be this week, even I was unprepared this recent bit of delightful below-the-fold sports media news:

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Left: what I wrote about Jordan before the season premiere aired. Right: an actual thing that has happened since. Not pictured: me dropping the mic.

BAM. This season may still be inexorably hurtling toward a horribly boring Jordan-Luke showdown, but I can SEE THE FUTURE, so if you want to know just how closely your life in Supreme Warlord Trump’s America will resemble a Mad Max: Fury Road-style post-apocalyptic hellscape, but with bad neckties and worse Tweets, feel free to ask. For now, let us fondly remember the most recently dashed round of reality TV hopes and dreams.

ALEX THE TINY MARINE

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After emitting increasingly indignant squeaking noises each time Jojo passed him over for a one-on-one, ATTM was overjoyed to finally hear his name called this week, only to learn that for some reason his “date” was what seemed like a ten-hour drive across Argentina to a working gaucho cattle ranch (remember, it’s not The Bachelorette without a little uncritical cultural appropriation). Although clomping around a remote, dusty agricultural workplace was probably not his first choice of forum for sparking romance, Alex’s fate was sealed well before they arrived, because THEY HAD NOTHING TO TALK ABOUT THE ENTIRE DRIVE. Shot after painful shot showed the two of them sitting side-by-side and staring vacantly out their respective windows, like unfeeling fortysomethings maintaining a loveless marriage for the sake of their three screaming kids in the backseat. Painful periods of dead silence were interrupted only by halfhearted interjections that made you think, hey, you know what, the quiet really wasn’t so bad! When Alex exclaimed “Is that wheat?” as they passed yet another rolling field, I assume a producer had to physically restrain Jojo from hurling herself from the moving vehicle. I’ve seen siblings with more chemistry than these two.

Things did not improve upon their arrival at said ranch, as Alex was forced to traipse around on a horse while wearing a beret, a bolo tie, a billowy white shirt, and matching pants ripped straight from the “Street Rat” Aladdin Collection. He looked like an eager young insurance salesman who just moved to a gentrifying neighborhood and is way too excited to star in the community theater production of Hook. (Meanwhile, on Jordan’s date, Jojo whisked him away on a private jet to a relaxing day in Mendoza wine country, because life is not fair). 

Nonetheless, Alex had come way too far, both literally and figuratively, to not shoot his shot. Over their untouched post-date dinners, he giddily confessed to Jojo that this had been the happiest day of his life, which is a deeply sad admission, and that he had fallen in love with her THE MOMENT HE SAW HER, which is an actual insane thing to say to anyone, much less a woman who laughingly called you a “cute little gaucho” two hours earlier. A visibly uncomfortable Jojo, realizing she could no longer keep up the charade, mercifully dismissed him, explaining that it would not be fair to act as if she felt the same about him as she does about Jordan, Luke, or any of the other contestants who both a) have an actual shot at winning and b) don’t have to pack pedal extenders in their carry-on luggage every time they rent a car. Alex feels like a strong candidate to go back to Oceanside, open a mediocre casual dining restaurant in Mission Beach, shamelessly hit on every 17-year-old hostess he hires, and quietly default on his loan obligations within eighteen months.

JAMES TAYLOR

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Like Alex, it was obvious what was going to happen to James, your token friend from college who works at GameStop and for some reason still talks enthusiastically about the latest Dave Matthews Band album every time you get together. But unlike Alex, James absolutely knew what was coming. With each passing week, James had grown increasingly insecure as he realized that he was David Kidney to her Elle Woods (in this analogy, Luke is Emmett, Jordan is Warner, and Chris Harrison is Paulette the Manicurist). And as he stood alongside the remaining collection of ur-bros during the fateful rose ceremony, James wore the same terrified facial expression of someone who had decided to watch The Human Centipede under the mistaken impression that it was the big-screen adaption of an obscure Marvel Comics superhero.

To his credit, fifth place is a decent finish for someone who has literally no cards to play other than “I’m just a nice guy who never got over my Acoustic Guitar Phase.” And although Jojo has proven herself to be profoundly skilled at selling the fake cry, she seemed genuinely sad that he was leaving—not because she had any romantic interest in him whatsoever, of course, but because he was her last remaining human friend among this collection of functionally identical animatronic Ken dolls. Although he didn’t win it all, I am quite sure that James will be a welcome guest at the Dallas-area dinner parties thrown at the unhappy marital home of Jojo and whichever of Jordan and Luke she eventually, inevitably picks.


Previously in insightful commentary on today’s most pressing issues:

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2 thoughts on “Take A Moment, Say Your Goodbyes: Bachelorette Obits, Vol. 6

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