‘The Bachelor’ By The Numbers: No One Eats Food On This Goddamn Show

I have gone my entire life without ever watching The Bachelor. On the occasion of its 20th season, I have decided to watch the entire show for the full season. Wish me luck.

The appeal of The Bachelor is slowly dawning on me. Watching women rend their garments and gnash their teeth while drinking copious amounts of chilled wine makes me deeply, deeply sad. The key to success in watching this show without wanting to unplug my brain and walk into the ocean is divorcing any and all sense of reality from the proceedings and dive in. If I look at the entire show and everyone on it as occupants of an uncanny valley where finding true love is an act performed with the precision of a general preparing for war, then I’m all in.

Ben’s narrative of being the unlovable and floppy puppy dog who peaked in high school is the engine that drives this train straight to Love Station. These women — these women! — are the best part of every episode. I can tell that every week will be a test of both my endurance and my white-girl face blindness. Here’s this week’s episode, by the numbers.

Things that could have flown out of Olivia’s wide-open mouth, ranked.

1. A swarm of particularly pissed-off bees.

2. This pretty bird.

3. Yards and yards of ribbon.

4. Hopes and dreams.

Spells I’ve cast to ensure that Olivia and Lace make it to the very, very end: Three and a half.

Grown women that stated on national television that being a high school homecoming queen is still their greatest dream: Three, at a minimum.

Challenges Lace succeeded at: Zero.

Challenges others succeeded at that I would have certainly failed: Just the simple United States geography test.

Bachelorettes interrupted by Lace: Three on air, but surely countless others.

Minutes Lace spent referring to herself in the third person or as “crazy:” I’m guessing about 25, but it felt closer to 80.

Number of times I yelled “Who are you!?!” at a contestant on my television: Just once, because I couldn’t remember who or what or where Lauren B. came from.

Number of sloppy, open-mouthed kisses administered by Ben Higgins: Seven…that we know of.

Number of bachelorettes that temporarily forgot how normal human mouths operate when kissing: At least three.

Cheese plates, crudite platters and chicken satay plates untouched by contestants in lieu of goblets of rosé: 8 or more.

Unnatural and stilted integrations of the phrase “ride along” to promote Ride Along 2: Four from Ben, maaaaybe one from Caila.

Hot tub showroom employees traumatized and amused in equal measure by a “date” happening in the middle of a brightly-lit store: Just one.

Three-pointers sunk by that bachelorette that hiked Ben a football that one time: At least three.

Three-pointers sunk by Ben: One.

Blonde bachelorettes that I had a hard time telling apart: All of them, except for the twins.

Begrudgingly-felt frissons of bizarre sexual attraction experienced by me with regards to Ben, the golden retriever dressed in a human suit: Like, one and a half.