Here for the Wrong Reasons: Episodes 6 and 7 of ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ Season 7
A recap of the sixth and seventh episodes of the latest season.
September 8, 2021
Welcome to “Here for the Wrong Reasons,” where each week I’ll be recapping all of the champagne-guzzling and petty “Can I steal you for a second?”’s of Season 7 of “Bachelor in Paradise.” Nothing boosts your confidence about your own love life like watching a bunch of desperate 20-somethings competing for a stranger’s affection! Check in every Tuesday (or Wednesday, because this season is wilding) for episode recaps and updates on your favorite “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” rejects’ journeys to
become Instagram influencers find love.
As you all know, this column is titled “Here for the Wrong Reasons.” This week, “Bachelor in Paradise” (BIP) was either intentionally trying to shout us out, or we witnessed the wrong-est of reasons that the Playa Escondida resort has ever known. While I wish it were the former, I’m pretty sure it’s the latter, so let’s discuss.
Here comes the ex-girlfriend. You might remember Kendall Long as the taxidermist from Arie’s season of “The Bachelor” (you can’t make that up) or from Season 5 of BIP, where she started dating our unproblematic fave, Grocery Store Joe (GSJ). As we learned earlier in the season, the two broke up in 2020 due to geographical logistics—GSJ wanted to live in his hometown of Chicago, while Kendall is a California girl, which apparently was the recipe for a breakup.
Anyway, she’s back in Paradise, and naturally, she pulls GSJ aside to chat. During the convo, it becomes abundantly clear that Kendall is not over GSJ (understandably so), and he can tell, saying to the camera, “I think it’s pretty clear that Kendall still loves me, but I don’t know if I still love Kendall.” In his usual endearing way, he’s pretty awkward about it. However, since he truly is unproblematic, he goes to talk to Serena right after and tells her that she’s still his number one priority. Healthy communication has entered the chat!
All the feels
While it looked like Noah and Abigail were about to board the train to Splitsville last week, they have a conversation about their ~connection~ and it seems to go well, so they’re still an item for now.
I’m not sure what these 20-somethings have for a 40-year-old boy band manager, but Kenny is getting it this season. He’s in a “giant love square,” as Ivan put it, with Mari, Demi and Tia, and it’s time for him to sort his shit out. Mari has a talk with Kenny to tell him how she feels—she really likes him and wishes she hadn’t played the “we should be open to going on dates with other people” card—and he tell her that he needs some space, but he tells the camera that “there is something special” between him and Mari, so take that as you may. Demi tries to salvage the situation by inviting Kenny to the Boom Boom Room, but in a rare act of male self-denial, Kenny declines.
How to lose 50k Instagram followers in ten hours
While I’ve got to love the shoutout to this column, Monday’s episode featured the most blatant display of being here for the wrong reasons known to this show, which is saying a lot. I like to joke about how contestants go on the show for the exposure—who doesn’t want to do HelloFresh #ads for a living?—but most of them at least have the decency to pretend that they’re here for love. Not Brendan and Pieper, though.
Here’s what went down: Pieper *finally* arrives on the beach in Monday’s episode. As we all know, she and Brendan are clearly already a thing, but he tries to pretend otherwise (spoiler alert: he does not pull the ingénue act off successfully). Pieper doesn’t even attempt to act, telling us point-blank, “I’m here for Brendan, he is my boyfriend, we are dating and I’m here to, like, continue our relationship.” Tell me you’re here for the wrong reasons without telling me you’re here for the wrong reasons …oh, never mind, they straight-up told us. Brendan had told Natasha that he and Pieper only hung out twice, but Pieper quickly reveals that they’d actually hung out at least ten times, including right before he flew to Paradise.
Naturally, things on the beach are getting heated—and I was getting ready to go to war for Natasha—so Brendan has to defend himself. What tactic does he choose? Gaslighting, of course! Sure, this is a buzzword, but damn was this the textbook definition of it. Brendan tells Natasha that they never actually had an intimate or romantic relationship, that he never had those feelings and that she has “selective hearing.” The most egregious thing he says—to the camera, not Natasha, thankfully—is, “She had zero prospects otherwise, it wasn’t like I was keeping her from anyone.” Um, sir, last time I checked, a woman is not a charity case. Can you spell egotistical? (Honestly, he probably can’t.)
Okay, now onto the wrong-est of reasons. Once Brendan has tossed Natasha to the curb like yesterday’s trash, he and Pieper sit down to have a romantic discussion as a couple. You might assume they’d talk about missing each other, their future, taking a trip to the Boom Boom Room or other such things, but you’d be sorely mistaken. Obviously, they have to discuss Instagram followers. Pieper brings up how back in June, U.S. Weekly broke the news that Brendan and Pieper were dating, and tells him that as a result, “You got a lot of followers, so you’re welcome.” Pieper brags that she also gained followers from the article, to the tune of 10,000 poor, innocent suckers. I’m beyond pleased to report that the Instagram account @bachelordata has been tracking their followers since the episode aired—and let’s just say that Brendan and Pieper will not be getting any new brand endorsements soon. Here are the numbers: as of 24 hours ago, Brendan was down by 58.6k, Pieper was down 6.7k and Natasha was up a whopping 178k, and it’s only gone on from there. I’ll pretend not to be giddy with delight.
During their deep discussion of followers, Brendan attempts to muffle his mic when he tells Pieper, “I’ve incriminated myself enough,” which, indeed, he has. Now I’m just waiting for the beach to go full “Lord of the Flies” on their clout-chasing asses.
Another day, another dollar, another host
Tuesday night’s episode kicks off with the arrival of our third guest host, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and Broadway star Tituss Burgess, who announces that he will be hosting a “tight-ass” VIP party that night. (“Tight-ass party” gave me war flashbacks to the “grown-ass man” plague of Tayshia’s season.) The catch is, only some contestants are invited. The lucky invitees are Becca, Aaron, Noah, Abigail, Kenny, Jessenia, Chris, Riley, Deandra, James, Thomas and Demi, which means some of the couples are split up, and let’s just say that Maurissa is not having it. We get lots of tears from her tonight, even though Riley is rivaling GSJ in the unproblematic department; shots of Riley at the party show him glancing around the room looking bored and participating in a conga line.
The “tight-ass” party
Tituss Burgess might consider this party “tight-ass,” but if you ask me, it looks a lot like my middle school gym dolled up with some Dollar Store decorations for the homecoming dance. Turns out, the super-exciting VIP guests are just more Bachelor Nation girls, specifically Chelsea, the runway model; Mykenna, who rivals Justin Glaze in the facial expression department; Alayah, who took down Victoria P. on Peter’s season and Alana, one of Pilot Pete’s night one rejects. The musical guest of the night is, for the first time ever, someone I’ve actually heard of: Olivia Holt, of Disney XD’s “Kickin’ It” fame. (Look, I didn’t say I’d heard of her because of her music.)
Think we hit the “wrong reasons” jackpot last night? Well, buy another lotto ticket, because this one’s a doozy. Alana pulls aside Chris, who Jessenia psychotically left sweetie cutie Ivan for, and they instantly connect and start making out. Chris says that he has feelings for Alana, even though they’ve been talking for five minutes. While it may be a match made in night-one-reject heaven, it’s also a match that was clearly not made in Paradise. Jessenia witnesses the kiss, and homegirl breaks down. Thankfully, she has the entire cast in her corner, and everyone, including a surprisingly aggressive GSJ, is outraged. We stan the support, but as Demi puts it—and I’m disgusted that I agree with her—it’s “pretty bizarre that nobody is calling out Brendan, ‘cause Brendan’s honestly being worse than Chris.” This is true, because to our knowledge, Chris and Alana weren’t full-on dating prior to the show. They’re also totally sleazy, but the mob should take their torches and pitchforks out for the more pressing priority first.
In any case, the mob is successful. After Chris and Alana return from a ziplining date, the other contestants are so (rightfully) mean that Chris the Smoke Bro and Alana “I’m here to be selfish” are basically forced to leave. Notably, they don’t leave together: Chris tries to get into the same SUV as Alana, who pointedly tells him that it is *not* his car. Too bad, because they could have done some great his and hers #SponCon (sponsored content, aka brand deals, for those of you who haven’t done a late-night deep dive into the influencer side of Reddit like I have).
The end of the love square?
It’s finally happening, Bachelor Nation … Kenny seems to have made his decision on
how big of an age gap he’s comfortable with which woman he wants to be with. The lucky winner: Mari, duh, because it’s been a huge plot line. Mari tells him, “I care about you, and I want to be with you” and explains that her flip-flopping was because she was scared. Kenny, though dubious, accepts this excuse, because he’s “not sure” he’s ever felt “this kind of feeling before, to be honest.” Ah, romance.
And now, my favorite part of the episode: Demi gets dumped. In character as always, Demi goes for the attack, telling Kenny that Mari is “stuck-up as f*ck,” “evil” and “rude to everyone,” unlike her. (I would strongly suggest that Demi do a little reality check here.) Kenny’s 40 years of life count for something here, because he handles the breakup like—forgive me—a grown-ass man. She’s acting like a 15-year-old whose crush asked someone else to prom, and he’s had enough, effectively shutting her down her verbal insults. You love to see it.
Oh, there are other couples, too
Runway model and certified giant Chelsea arrives on the beach with a date card, and to Becca’s dismay, chooses Aaron. Thank goodness, because Becca is way too good for Aaron, but I still feel for her. Chelsea and Aaron go horseback riding on the beach, proving how this show sets up unrealistic expectations for coupled-up life. I’d pay so much money to see contestants go on a date to the grocery store or, hell, wait together in line at the DMV. Now that’s real life, people. Aaron goes in for the kiss and decides that it’d be a good idea to literally levitate off the ground as he makes contact with Chelsea’s mouth. Uh, okay.
Next, former Bachelorette Becca gets a date card and must have had a stroke, because she invites Thomas along with her. I’ll give props to Thomas because he makes a “do the damn thing”—Becca’s catchphrase—joke, but we still hate him. I love Becca, but I’ve gotta say, her taste in men is atrocious. Arie, Garrett, Aaron and now, Thomas? Don’t do it girl, it’s not worth it.
And thus concludes this week’s ode to being Here for the Wrong Reasons. Check back next week, because if BIP producers know how to do anything, it’s a denouement. Until then, I’ll be wishing I were sipping a piña colada at Wells’ tiki bar.