Grantland Reality Fantasy League: Bachelorette Shockers and Ketchup Terrorism

MTV The Challenge

With a brokenhearted Bachelorette, battle-rapping rivals, and mortuusequusphobia, reality TV killed it this week. The Challenge provided its usually oddity and idiocy, but The Bachelorette really exceeded expectations. It was emotional, it was shocking, it was weird, it was genuine — I have watched it four times and I still have no idea what the hell happened.

Fine, I watched it twice. But whatever, four sounded more impressive. Let’s get to it.

Brooks (The Bachelorette, Lisanti), TBD Points: There are three types of breakups:

1. You grow apart, you see it coming, and it’s sad but ultimately for the best.
2. Someone cheats, all hell breaks loose, and murder is attempted.
3. One person doesn’t see it coming and gets emotionally Chernobyled.

This week on The Bachelorette Des got Chernobyled. It was apparent before the date even started:

Brooks’s approach to their impending overnight date: “Desire is expecting for us to have a date today, and despite my feelings I have to tell her that despite the fact there are so many things I love about her I don’t feel prepared to propose to her and I don’t think I ever will be.”

Des’s approach to their impending overnight date: “Today is just going to be Brooks and I, hand-in-hand, stress-free.” It was Brooks and her, they were hand-in-hand, it was not stress-free.

Brooks dropped the hammer on poor Des, explaining that their time away from each other has proven to him that not only is she not the one, but she never will be. This is not how this game is supposed to work. The whole premise of the show is “You watched this chick have her heart broken last season, now watch her find foreverlove!” not “Let’s watch this chick get her heart broken over and over and over and over by boring bros.” The breakup itself wasn’t particularly entertaining, but it was interesting because it was so familiar. Anyone who has ever been part of a breakup is familiar with the story beats we saw Monday night. In fact, this week’s GRTFL Top Five are The Top Five Ways That The Bachelorette Breakup Was Like A Real Breakup listed from, “That isn’t consistent with my experience” to “That is TOTALLY what happens — you know, to my friends.”

5. He didn’t just come out and say it: Look, rip it off like a Band-Aid. Lead with it. Own it. Don’t muddle the message with, “Let’s talk about my feelings” or whatever. Just open with, “I don’t think we should be together anymore” and everything else will be much smoother.

4. The person getting broken up with thought her life was over: I would love someone to get broken up with and take it in stride. Des did not take it in stride. “What sucks is that for once in my life I was hopeful. I mean, I have never felt completely loved by anyone and it sucks. It sucks. It just sucks that I loved you. I do love you regardless, I do. I can say it, I don’t care. I don’t care if you broke my heart, I do love you.”

Des, chill. We have watched you fall in love twice in the past 18 months, so cool it with the “for once in my life” thing.

3. The consoling was super-awkward: Unpopular opinion alert: It is harder to break up with someone than to be broken up with. There is comfort in being the victim. You have a passive role in the onslaught of shittiness, you didn’t start it. It is harder to intentionally hurt someone whom you care about than it is to be hurt yourself. The most entertaining aspect of this breakup was Brooks’s attempts at consoling — both physical and verbal — being alternately requested and rebuffed. I feel like if you gave Brooks the option to have his arms instantly removed from his body without pain he would have accepted it just so he no longer had to worry about whether is was appropriate to hug her.

2. It lasted for fucking ever: The data point that was most consistent with real-life breakups was the fact that this one went on for what felt like four days. If you are ever going to break up with someone, book a flight or something to guarantee you have an out, because if you don’t the breakup conversation can last damn near as long as the relationship.

1. They hinted at potential reconciliation: There is never a clean break. There is always a “we can be friends” or a “let’s just take a break” or a couple of parting-shot coituses. This was no different. When Des drops a, “I don’t know what to say, I love you, I do” and Brooks fires back with a “You should have told me that earlier” he opens the door for the whole, “This was just a miscommunication because of the pressures of this stupid reality show, let’s give it another shot.”

Which brings me to the scoring …

Should Brooks get 30 points for leaving the show as we were led to believe he had? Should he get 15 points for threatening to leave and not following through as I believe he will? Or should be get “all the points” for stating “This is fucking silly” and walking off the show? We’ll find out what really happened next week and we will find out later in the column what I think will happen.

First, though, we have to deal with some ketchup.

Jemmye (The Challenge, Simmons), 15 points: “There is ketchup on me. I can feel it. I can smell it. Ketchup is legitimately my biggest fear.” It isn’t being suffocated by ketchup that scares her. It isn’t that she doesn’t like the taste. It isn’t that it kinda looks like blood. It’s the idea, the concept, the mere existence of this tasty condiment that freaks her the fuck out. Don’t laugh, she isn’t alone. Being deathly afraid of a killer condiment is a real thing, and it is called mortuusequusphobia. I have no idea how to say that word out loud and I just tried for seven minutes.

Anyway, after accusing Diem of battle-rapping (more on that later, obviously), Jemmye turned her attention to Knight and decided to argue with him (5 points). It started innocently enough. They were tag-team ass-slapping, pushing, and threatening to drown each other:

… then the ketchup came out and shit got real.

Knight, being Jemmye’s ex-boyfriend, knew about Jemmye’s mortoosawhateverphobia and broke out the bottle. He somehow managed to fling a few globs on Jemmye, which turned her into a crying, screaming psychopath (5 points):

Now, just as odd as Jemmye’s fear of the stuff is Knight ability to wield it as a projectile weapon. Anyone who has tried to douse a burger knows that you have to work that bottle pretty hard to get even a drop out of that damn stuff — and somehow Knight not only extracted some, he sent it airborne, WITH ACCURACY. It was pretty impressive. Oh yeah, one more thing: The whole time Jemmye was carrying on, all crazy, screaming about how she can feel the ketchup on her back, SHE IS WEARING A SWIMSUIT AND IS RIGHT NEXT TO THE POOL but somehow never thinks to jump in.

I am 100 percent aware that none of what you just read made any sense, but it all happened. I love The Challenge.

Cooke and Cara Maria (The Challenge, Litman/Undrafted), 40 and 35 points: It was actually Cooke’s ass that Jemmye and Knight tag-team slapped (5 points), but when the fun and games were over Cooke and Cara Maria both knew that they were headed into the jungle (this year’s term for “elimination round”), so they didn’t participate in “the wave” when TJ arrived. TJ made mention of it, and Cara and Cooke notched 35 of the easiest, “Making TJ verbally express his disappointment in your behavior” points in GRTFL history.

When they finally made it to the jungle and saw that they were soon to be hooked up to car batteries and electrocuted …

… Cara Maria was unfazed:

Cara Maria: “I actually have a battery like that at home and I hook that [bleep] up to my nipples.”
Cooke: “What does it feel like?”
Cara Maria: “Little needles.”


Chris and Drew (The Bachelorette, Jacoby and Simmons), 10 points: So here is where we stand on The Bachelorette: Drew made out with Des a couple times and is still in the running (10 points), Chris made out with Des a couple times and is still in the running (10 points), Brooks, with whom Des is in love, broke up with her and is out of the running. This prompted Bill to announce, “Des is like the Cavs with the first pick in this year’s draft, she’s going to end up getting engaged to Anthony Bennett.” I can think of only four ways this could possibly break:

Scenario 1: She ends up with Chris.
Chris has long been the understudy to Brooks’s lead. If Brooks is truly out, then he is the natural choice for Des. But methinks ABC producers aren’t too cool with the idea that their show would feature someone searching for the oft-advertised fantasy that is true love and settling for the all-too-realistic “dude I am not in love with but seems chill.”

Scenario 2: She ends up with Drew.
I don’t see this working either, for the reasons above and, you know, well, you know.

Scenario 3: She doesn’t end up with anyone.
This would be excellent and make for a great live-studio show finale but won’t happen because foreverlove.

Scenario 4: Brooks comes back.
Of course he does. You know when you are watching a movie and it is that final battle scene and it looks like there is no chance the good guys will win and nothing is going their way? What happens? There is a twist of fate, the tides turn, and Luke blows up the Death Star. Brooks is coming back to blow up the Death Star. It is the only scenario that ends this show cleanly.

One more thing on Brooks: You know how he kept talking about how it was his time away from Des that made him realize that she wasn’t the one for him? I have a theory about that … side girl. Think about it, it makes total sense.

Ty and Leroy (The Challenge, Simmons and House), 45 points: TJ, we have been through this, man — ONLY ONE TEAM CAN KILL IT. If Leroy and Ty killed it (25 points), how could Paula and Emily kill it as well? This goes against everything I have ever learned about killing it. Leroy and Ty also scored 20 points for an impromptu freestyle R&B/vaudeville comedy act in the kitchen during which Ty sounded a little too good. Singing, dancing, and dressing are things that you want to be good at, but don’t want to be perceived as trying to be good at. I would not be surprised if Ty was in Blackstreet for a hot second — it seems like everyone was in Blackstreet for a hot second.

Paula and Emily (The Challenge, Jacoby and Lisanti), 25 points: Paula and Emily scored 25 “You killed it” points during The Challenge even though Emily wearing her helmet like this:


Diem (The Challenge, Simmons), 10 points: Nany was dancing with Silverback CT at the nightclub and Diem took notice. Not only that, upon returning to the house Jemmye insisted that Diem made a dis rap about Nany that no one heard but her. This made Diem argue with her (5 points) and cry (5 points), and is EASILY the GRTFL Questionable Moment Of The Week:

Is Jemmye saying that Diem raps to herself? When out at the club? Let’s imagine that this is true; what else does Diem freestyle about? Was she rapping to Jemmye? Is Diem’s “I don’t rap” alibi even remotely believable? What would incentivize Jemmye to make that up? What beat did she rap to? How come Jemmye can’t remember anything she said during this rap? Why doesn’t any of this make any sense? Why am I even trying?

Knight (The Challenge, Litman), 5 points: Knight argued with Jemmye and was all:

“Guys, if you need me I will be in the pool wearing sunglasses, drinking white wine from a vase. Get at me.”

Jordan (The Challenge, Litman), 5 points: Jordan made out with Jonna (5 points) and is becoming likable on The Challenge after a rough go on Real World. It’s almost like he never went on a racist tirade and mocked an African American woman by acting like a monkey. Almost.

Jonna (The Challenge, Lisanti), -5 points: Wait, has Jonna been on this show the whole time? Why hasn’t Zach acknowledged her as his ex-girlfriend? Why hasn’t Bunim/Murray set them up as Diem and CT 2.0?

Well apparently she is on the show, because this week she scored 5 points for making out with Jordan but lost 10 for wearing another contestant’s Under Armor gear in support at the jungle. Does Cara Maria really hook her nipples up to car batteries? Do you start with AAAs and then work your way up? How does this all work?

Nany (The Challenge, Yoshida), -10 points: Nany also lost 10 points for wearing someone else’s jersey. Next week she better return fire with the “ether” to Diem’s “takeover.” Now that I mention it, why haven’t they ever done a freestyle-battle challenge? Who wouldn’t enjoy that?

Check back next week to find out who Des ended up with, where Knight is drinking wine out of a vase, and what else Jemmye is terrified of. Enjoy the weekend.

Filed Under: ABC, Mtv, Reality TV, Reality TV Fantasy League, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, The Challenge, The Decline and Fall of American Civilization

David Jacoby is an ESPN producer who somehow became a writer and editor for Grantland.

Archive @ djacoby

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