Grantland Reality TV Fantasy League: Cheers to You, CraigABC
Since I’m on the road this week, GRTFL Super Scorer Caitlin Mangum and I will be tag-teaming this column. I’ll handle The Bachelorette, while Mangum will tackle The Challenge. Luckily for me, The Bachelorette surprisingly out-inslopsicated The Challenge this week, as my man Craig slurred and blurred his way through the entire episode amid a relentless slammeredocity exhibition. It was brilliant, it was terrifying, and it may have altered the show’s “let’s allow them to pour their own drinks” policy forever. Let’s start there.
Craig (The Bachelorette), 151 points
“The logic isn’t there with anything he is doing.”
—Patrick (and pretty much everyone watching)
I beg to differ, Patrick! There was plenty of logic behind Craig’s masterful Monday-night performance. Granted, it probably sounded a lot more like “I’m here to drink alcohol until my sentences sound like long, monosyllabic words” than “I’m here to artfully woo the woman of my dreams on network television,” but it was logic nonetheless.
I suspect Patrick had trouble finding the logic behind Craig’s actions because he had trouble understanding Craig’s worldview. THIS IS CRAIG’S WORLDVIEW:
You may think that pint of beer is distorting Craig’s face, but Craig’s face is actually distorting the pint of beer. You know how plants naturally lean toward the sun? Well, containers of alcohol naturally bend away from Craig’s face in fear. To alcohol and the containers that hold it, Craig’s face is like the chupacabra: By the time they recognize what they’re seeing, it’s too late. This particular picture of Craig’s face distorting the pint glass — thereby breaking all laws of physics, and putting into question all that we know about consciousness, the soul, and inanimate objects — came early in the group date, likely before noon. As the glass made a futile attempt to escape the wrath of Craig’s thirst, Craig announced, “Cheers to that boys, c’mon!”
Saying “cheers” is important to Craig, because saying “cheers” immediately leads to drinking alcohol. Later in the episode, as Andi was addressing her group of bros and talking about what a nice date they were having, Craig, his priorities apparent, interrupted with, “Can I have a cheers so I can have a drink of this?” Like California Chrome in the starting gate, Craig couldn’t wait to do what he was born to do. Also like California Chrome, Craig went for the Triple Crown on national television … and he succeeded.
Here’s the thing about cameras: When they’re pointed at you, they record your actions so an audience can later witness those actions. Many reality TV stars seem to forget this simple fact while they’re shooting, resulting in one of three behaviors that can leave a deep, lifelong scar of regret. Craig didn’t stop at one leg, though. He completed this trident of scarring embarrassment. Let’s break it down one by one:
Reality TV Regret Phase 1: Getting Naked
This week’s group date was “Let’s make the guys be strippers … for the female audience.” Oh wait, no. It was “Let’s make the guys be strippers … for (an unspecified) charity.” Just when viewers probably started thinking, That isn’t really fair, they would never do this on The Bachelor … Andi gave her suitors a helpful reminder that basically boiled down to this: “On my season I had to get naked and get out of my comfort zone, and now it’s your turn.” I see what the producers did there, but the women on Juan Pablo’s season had to pose in revealing outfits for a photo shoot; until the show ships 10 Bachelor hopefuls to Spearmint Rhino and makes them dance for dollars like the dudes did on Monday, it isn’t exactly apples to apples.
Our man Craig, not yet fully slammered, wasn’t bothered by the idea of taking off his clothes and dry humping a folding chair, though; he was bothered by the idea of taking off his clothes and dry humping a folding chair NEXT TO JOSH. “I don’t care about taking my shirt off. I do care about taking my shirt off in front of Josh.” You see, Josh is a handsome, athletic fella and a ForeverLove front-runner. He’s the type of guy girls go for and the type of guy guys want to hang with, but to Craig, Josh represents the high-water mark. To Craig, Josh is a measuring stick constantly reminding Craig of what he’s not. To Craig, Josh is, well, let’s let Craig explain: “Josh is a stud. I’m not going to look as sexy as him, but maybe I have a couple more moves. Probably not that, either. He’s kinda, like, the full package!” Craig may be a little insecure.
Insecure enough, in fact, that before going onstage, Craig had a long back-and-forth with someone from production about the exact amount of fabric he should stuff into his shorts to achieve the desired bulge. He was concerned about using too much and raising Andi’s expectations beyond what he could ultimately meet. Josh’s presence did nothing to calm Craig’s nerves. In fact, it did the opposite: “I had the most horrible body onstage for sure,” Craig said. “And so when we, like, ripped our shirts off, I was like, ‘Josh, I want to kill your face.’” Honestly, given Craig’s mumbled words and insecurities, I could tell you that Craig said, “Josh, I want to kiss your face,” and it would seem just as honest.
Embarrassed, belittled, insecure, and nude, Craig moved on to the next spike on the trident of reality TV regret.
Reality TV Regret Phase 2: Getting Slammered
“Today we are all very nervous to bare all. I think he’s handling it a little different than the rest of us. He started drinking.”
Yes, Tasos, yes he did. When we first saw Craig on Monday, his face was distorting a pint of beer. Later, he was force-cheersing the group with a glass of champagne in his hands. And at this point in the group date, he was straight-up pouring himself shots of cinnamon whiskey and screaming, “Grab a shot, boys, it’s about to get real, real stupid.” Guess what? He was right.
Craig was inslopsicated. Noisy, brash, stumbling, distracting, and, yes, stupid. He went hunting for Andi. He didn’t really have a plan for, you know, what to do when he found her, so he went with the ol’ “Let’s get real” bit. Andi, initially game, told Craig to ask her anything he wanted. Craig, in a weird moment of brilliance, gathered the energy to bridge the slammered synapse gaps to form a question: “What is the worst thing about your parents?” Now, that’s pretty much an unanswerable question, especially for someone on TV. Andi dodged the question and humored Craig for a bit before catch-and-releasing him back to his whiskey and fellow bros.
And that’s when Craig decided it was a good time to jump in the pool. With all of his clothes on. And to be super loud about it. While Andi was trying to get to know the other guys.
It didn’t go over well with Andi, who did the whole “I don’t think some of these guys are here for the right reasons” routine and acted all upset. Craig eventually tired of the pool and moved to the hot tub before retreating with his old friend alcohol and moving on to the final spike in the trident of reality TV regret.
Reality TV Regret Phase 3: Singing
In the two days between getting naked, getting slammered, and completely ruining his chances with Andi and all other single women in the United States, Craig apparently allowed the producers to feed on his insecurity and talk him into voluntarily squeezing every last drop of embarrassment out of the fermented fruit of his life. They told him to write and sing a song for Andi.
When Craig walked into the room with a guitar, everyone watching presumably face-palmed and mumbled “oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, please don’t, please don’t, please don’t, please don’t …” in horror. But he did. He strummed a chord, then broke out in song:
I messed up last night
I had too much Firefly
I bared my junk to 13 other guys
But I hope and pray that it’s all right
Oh Andi …
Please let me stay
She did not let him stay. Mercifully, she let him go. But not before Craig snuck in one final snuggle with his man Josh:
Craig, you will be missed. And much like you compared yourself to Josh, all future Bachelorette contestants who make complete fools of themselves will be compared to you. Cheers!
Tamara (The Challenge), 0 points
This week’s episode opened on a somber note, mourning Tamara’s death and celebrating her fully teased life. Who is Tamara, you ask? A contestant from the forgotten Real World St. Thomas season, perhaps? Not quite. Tamara is Devyn’s wig, and Tamara met her untimely demise following overexposure to water, sand, and tomatoes.
The castmates decided to hold a funeral for Tamara partly because they’ll miss the QB1 of wigs, but mostly, I suspect, because these people are mind-numbingly bored. Naturally, the ever-pious Johnny Bananas stepped up to give the eulogy … while wearing a conveniently packed banana suit.
Devyn later emerged with an auxiliary wig, because Challenge competitors bring “clothing” best suited for a drag or burlesque show.
I’d love to get a glimpse inside their suitcases. What’s their packing strategy? If I were going on this show, I’d pack Under Armour, sweatpants, and a pair of water shoes. These people look at an empty duffel and think hair weave, beanies, and a schoolgirl outfit (we miss you, Jasmine!). This has got to be the GRTFL Questionable Moment of the Week:
Why doesn’t Devyn take off her wig for each challenge so she’s not rolling it through a field of tomatoes? How many extra wigs did she pack? Like, a rolling carry-on’s worth? How many bags is each contestant allowed to bring? Which Jasmine outfits didn’t we get to see because she was kicked off so early? Who is the lightest packer of the group? Does CT only pack tank tops and protein powder? Why so many winter caps? Isn’t it hot in Uruguay? Seriously, The Challenge franchise is single-handedly raising the country’s GDP through knit headwear consumption. How much extra packing space does TJ have now that he exposes his head from time to time and doesn’t need as many hats? Does he have one suitcase dedicated exclusively to ugly graphic tees? When is TJ going to get his own daytime talk show? America is ready for more TJ.
Now Tamara’s twin sister, Tia, will have to step up to help Devyn through this game. Luckily, we can all take solace knowing that Tamara is hanging out with CT’s razor in that big old beauty shop in the sky.
P.S.: CT, dude. Please shave. You’re starting to look like a cross between Chris Klein and a yeti.
Farmer Chris (The Bachelorette), 50 points
There are guys like Craig, who go on this show, make fools of themselves, and essentially eliminate themselves from the dating pool in all English-speaking lands. And then there are guys like Farmer Chris, who go on this show, fail to win … and spend the next decade in bars watching women whisper and wonder if he’s Farmer Chris from The Bachelorette because they LOVE Farmer Chris from The Bachelorette and think Andi should have picked him, but are glad she didn’t because they’re taking him home tonight.
Farmer Chris is handsome, nice, well-dressed, fun, and pretty much everything a young woman would want in a potential mate. Well, almost everything. Farmer Chris isn’t the most worldly, challenging, or edgy guy out there. Farmer Chris looks great on paper and was excellent on his date with Andi this week, but I get the sense there might not be too many layers on this onion. It’ll be interesting to see how Farmer Chris’s character develops over the season, though I’m guessing it won’t much.
Farmer Chris got the obligatory “private concert” date this week. I appreciate how the show played it, though. Instead of Andi acting like she was the band’s biggest fan, she simply said, “There is a band called This Wild Life, and we get a private concert.” Andi’s a lawyer, so she states the facts, and this time the facts were that a band would be playing for them. The private concert thing is always awkward, but at least they got to do the slow-jam sway instead of having to, you know, really dance. Still, something struck me about the setup:
This has to be the second GRTFL Questionable Moment of The Week:
WHY THE FUCK ARE THEY SURROUNDED BY VELVET ROPES? They are not Jay Z and Beyoncé at a nightclub; they’re the only people there. Who are the ropes keeping in? Who are they keeping out? What is their purpose? What do all those numbers mean? Why is there a gas lamp in the middle of the racetrack? Seriously, what do those numbers mean? When a woman arches her back like that when you kiss her, does that mean “I am enjoying this” or “Get the fuck off of me, you monster?” Is the platform necessary? Is the rug on the platform necessary? Is this date even necessary? There’s no chance Andi the lawyer from Atlanta ends up with Farmer Chris, who are we even kidding?
Josh (The Bachelorette), 15 points
What is it about Josh that everyone loves? Andi gets all school-girly around him. Craig has decided that Josh is the human high-water mark and wants to kill his face. And check out Marquel’s reaction after Josh got a rose:
WHY ARE YOU SO EXCITED, MARQUEL? HE IS YOUR COMPETITION.
Thanks to GRTFL Super Scorer Caitlin Mangum for handling The Challenge this week. Listen to the Right Reasons podcast and enjoy your weekend.