Grantland Reality TV Fantasy League: Meet Elan the Talking Racoon, President of ‘Paradise’


After watching so many reality shows over so many years, this was the week I finally found love: I’m in love with Bachelor in Paradise.

Over the last few days, Farmer Chris was confirmed as the next Bachelor, J.A. Adande continued live dating on The Singles Project, they broke the color barrier on Naked and Afraid, and Joseline Hernandez tried to shmurda everyone in sight while allegedly high on crack. But none of that matters.

All that matters is that ABC put a bunch of crazies and cameras in Mexico along with bathing suits and a bar tab, and that we were treated to four hours of the resulting footage this week. We witnessed an anxiety attack, a talking raccoon, spontaneous vomiting, witchcraft, and a sneaky handy. And honestly, it didn’t feel like enough. I love this show.

AshLeeeeeee Is an Emotionless Robot Who May or May Not Practice Witchcraft

Listen, I’m not saying AshLeeeeeee is an emotionless robot witch; I’m just saying she has emotionless robot witch tendencies. AshLeeeeeee is a professional organizer, but prioritizing a neat, clean, and put-together appearance isn’t just something she does in her clients’ homes — it’s also something she does on reality TV.

When AshLeeeeeee was on Sean’s season of The Bachelor, there were rumors she had different on-camera and off-camera personae, but we had to take that with a grain of salt because, you know, everyone always hates on the hottest girl in the house. This week, though, off-camera AshLeeeeeee got caught on film for the first time.

While doing something I previously thought was impossible — platonically sharing a hammock — AshLeeeeeee went into full off-camera mode, unleashing her catty feelings about her “friend” Clare to Clare’s man Zack:

“Are you attracted to her? Or, like, sexually attracted to her? Or do you just think she is pretty … ?”

(Let me interrupt off-camera AshLeeeeeee for a second to point out that the three consecutive questions she just asked are not only redundant, but also rhetorical. OK, back to it.)

“… she, like, gets it going? If you are not totally sold on her and committed to her, I totally advise you meet other people. I mean, I love Clare, but, cuckoo. She fucked a guy in the ocean, are you kidding me?”

So there’s AshLeeeeeee, telling her “friend” Clare’s man that Clare’s crazy, questioning why he’s even attracted to Clare, advising Zack to date other people, and then reminding him that Clare is the queen of televised ocean coitus. Off-camera AshLeeeeeee doesn’t give a fuck. Oh, wait? What’s that, Zack? There’s a secret camera? Where?


This is the exact moment off-camera AshLeeeeeee realized she was actually on-camera AshLeeeeeee. She immediately went into damage-control mode. In a panic, she told the other girls in the house what she’d done, and, predictably, they told Clare, who got all mad about it. AshLeeeeeee eventually apologized to Clare in the least apologetic way possible.

This all had quite an effect on Nice Guy Graham. Nice Guy Graham is all, you know, nice and normal and stuff, and he was quite thrown by the idea that his girl might be a duplicitous, deceptive, emotionless robot. So when AshLeeeeeee offered him her rose, he freaked the fuck out.

Nice Guy Graham walked off the set and found a weird, curtained-off production area where he could chill out. Michelle Money came over to comfort him, and found him all sweaty and anxiety attack–y, and ready to show her how he can make his hand look like a semitransparent eagle claw:


While Michelle Money was talking Graham down from his “Is my girlfriend an evil, emotionless robot?” anxiety ledge, AshLeeeeeee just stood at the rose ceremony, waiting for him to return. She didn’t check on him, or go after him, or ask about him; she just stood there, perched, like an evil, emotionless robot.

When Graham finally returned and accepted his rose, Lacy immediately declared that she didn’t feel well and ran off into the jungle:


Then she puked:


The only explanation for Nice Guy Graham running off with an anxiety attack and Lacy subsequently running off into the jungle to vomit is that AshLeeeeeee is using some sort of witchcraft. What other cause could there be for all of these people in her presence breaking out into sweaty anxiety attacks and suffering stomach ailments?

Oh yeah, they’re probably just hungover. Didn’t think of that.

The Talking Raccoon Returns

Way back in Episode 1, Clare had a breakdown, wanted to leave the show, vented to a compassionate raccoon, decided to stay on the show, and got coupled up with Zack. The talking raccoon seemed like a spirit animal of sorts, a friend who was there in a moment of need with the perfect mix of encouragement, empathy, and advice for the rough times. Well, as I mentioned, when off-camera AshLeeeeeee was platonically sitting in a hammock with Zack, she aired Clare the fuck out. Unsurprisingly, Clare broke down. She, too, took to the jungle so she could have her anxiety attack in peace. At first the cameras couldn’t find her, and we were treated to POV shots of the crew searching the Mexican jungle. When they found her, she was deep in conversation with her spirit animal, the talking raccoon. What was she telling him? The truth (presented in subtitles):




Wait for it …


Last time, the talking raccoon was able to talk Clare off the “leave the show” ledge. This time, he was less successful. When Clare returned to the house, she told Michelle Money about what had happened when she talked to the raccoon:


Wait, this can only mean one thing!


Not only is the talking raccoon named Elan, that little fucker also has Mexican Uber. Elan can arrange for cars to pick up sad women in the jungle in the middle of the night, because Elan has connections.

But before Clare left the show, she woke up Zack in the middle of the night and did the old “Hey, I came here to tell you that I’m leaving the show, but what I really want is for you to tell me not to leave the show” thing. Zack, not really into it, did his best to make Clare feel better, but was careful not to make her feel so good that she would, you know, decide to stay on the show and kill his chances of getting some more strange. He put an arm around her:


Remember, Clare’s entire meltdown was triggered by Zack telling her “I think that you have a lot of the qualities that I look for in a girl, but, at the same time, it just got kind of intense very quickly and I wasn’t prepared for that. You are more all in, and I take things so much slower. I do feel like you have pushed things a little too quickly, in my opinion.” Clare was devastated. She’s 0-for-2 on finding love on these shows, and 2-for-2 at looking foolish on the way out. At least that wasn’t lost on her: When she sat down to give her exit interview, she opened with, “Awesome, going out looking like shit once again.” To be fair, she did:


Then she opened up: “It’s never easy to hear a man say that you’re not what he’s looking for, that he’s not sure about you. It’s not the first time this has happened, and, it just hurts. [Starts crying.] I’m so sick of it. [Starts REALLY crying.]” At this point I started to feel bad for her, and then she dropped this: “Like, I know I’m going out crying with a stuffy nose and puffy eyes, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting the perfect love that I’m looking for.” Oh, no, then I WAS CRYING. Then she asked: “Do I have snot on my nose?” Then I was crying and laughing. Craughing. Then she finished with: “THIS IS WHY I JUST WANTED TO DO DANCING WITH THE STARS.” Then Elan, in a tuxedo, walked over and asked: “May I have this dance?” And they both went into the Atlantic for one last bit of ocean coitus. Maybe Clare found love in paradise after all.

Christy and Lucy and Jesse, and the Sneaky Handy, and the Threesome That Never Was

Two FANTASTIC new women joined the show this week: Christy the Sexy Drunk Chick and Lucy the Sexy Naked Chick. Christy arrived first and went in on Jesse. Lucy arrived second and immediately took off all her clothes:


What’s better than a naked chick on the beach? A BASKETBALL COURT ON THE BEACH! This is obviously the GRTFL Questionable Moment of the Week:

What is that thing? Why haven’t they been shooting hoops this whole time? Is the net made of leaves? Why isn’t it a regulation 10 feet? Who made the 3-point line? Is this thing always there, or is it for the show? Who do you think the best basketball player on the cast is? How could we not have seen this thing until now? Is Lucy wearing a thong, or is she really naked? Does it bother everyone when the hoop isn’t at the bottom of the backboard? Do you think they get into tons of arguments about 3-point shots that are made at the top of the key, where there’s no line?

Anyway, Lucy the Sexy Naked Chick went up to Jesse, asked him out on a date, and, like, three hours later was giving him a secret standy handy:



At that point, Christy was back at the beach basketball court with all the couples, bored out of her mind because the couples were so couple-y, and she dropped the best sound bite of the season: “There is soooo much booze here, and no one is drinking it. Why? IT MAKES ME SO MAD.” Her anger is what took it over the top. Being disappointed is one thing, but being angry about how unparty-ish her peers were being is something else. It didn’t help that her friend was out on a date giving standy handies to the dude Christy had been making out with right before. Christy’s take on that? “It sucks because she’s my best friend here, and now we’re competing over the same guy.” Lucy’s take was, well, more progressive: “It’s not the end of the world if two friends like the same guy. For me this is fun. I just go from paradise to paradise.”

When Jesse and Lucy got home, Jesse went to Christy’s paradise and got handsy:


That’s when the editors tried to make it seem like Lucy joined them in bed. Here’s the thing, though: Do they expect us to believe that they’re too classy to show us the threesome footage? If they think that’s going to work, they’re as delusional as the cast.

Sarah and Robert and the Romance That Isn’t

If you’re interested in someone, and spend a week with that person, and you’re both half-naked all day and half-drunk all night, and you aren’t making out all the time … IT ISN’T HAPPENING. Dear Robert and Sarah: IT ISN’T HAPPENING.

Cody and the Pain of Witnessing Michelle’s Desperation

When Cody wandered up on the beach for the first time, he pulled Clare aside and told her she was the only girl he wanted to date, that he could see a future with her, and that if she didn’t date him, he would go home. When she didn’t date him, he pulled Michelle Money aside and told her that she was the only girl he wanted to date, that he could see a future with her, and that if she didn’t date him, he would go home. He’s constantly telling this woman how much he cares for her, and how they’re going to have a future together, and what a strong connection they have, and blah blah fucking blah. Has this dude ever dated before? Doesn’t he know how this works? Their “relationship” is basically this screenshot:


After their (first, mind you) date, Cody told producers, “I definitely am falling for Michelle. I’m falling in love with this girl.” WHAT THE HELL IS HE TALKING ABOUT? You cannot fall in love with someone after two days. You can, however, fall in love with a television show after five episodes, because I’M THERE.

Enjoy your weekend, listen to the Right Reasons — screw it, watch the Right Reasons — and enjoy your weekend.

Filed Under: Reality TV, TV, Recaps, Grantland Reality TV Fantasy League, GRTFL, Bachelor in Paradise, ABC, The Bachelor Ocean Sex Scandal, The Decline of American Civilization, David Jacoby

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

Archive @ djacoby

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