This morning, after a long night of reflection—both about who I am as a person and what Bachelor in Paradise means as a franchise—I’ve come out with the latest edition of our Official Unofficial Bachelor in Paradise Leaderboard.
A quick note on our criteria: basically we’re answering the question, “Did you kill it, or did you sit by the pool narrating other people making out like a dweeb?” Note, too, that not everyone will make this week’s list. Though it is our sincerest hope they will try harder on a pre-recorded television series to do so next time.
20. Ben Z. (last week: not ranked)
Oh, Ben Z. Sweet, innocent, jacked Ben Z. Dude just can’t catch a break. First, he loses Raven to Adam. Next, he loses the date with Danielle L (aka “D-Lo,” aka “New Danielle”) to Dean. Then, to top it all off, Sarah comes in and, despite the best efforts of the other girls to set the two of them up, fails to get that date, too. Ben is too good-looking and has too much goodwill to be doing this poorly. The problem is—and it’s a weird problem—he just CAN’T STOP TALKING ABOUT HIS FUCKING DOG. Even if the producers edited all of his conversations down to just include the parts where he talks about his dog, which is certainly the case, it’s still a shit-ton of time to talk about one’s dog. I imagine them in the editing room throwing their hands up in the air and going, “welp, this one was easy, he literally doesn’t stop talking about his dog.” A few theories: 1) Ben Z.’s dog is the cutest dog in the entire world; 2) Ben Z. is a dog in a human costume, and he misses his best friend. You look at Ben Z. and decide for yourself.
19. Alex (last week: not ranked)
Cue the desperation reel, where Alex basically runs around pleading his case to every girl in Paradise on why he should receive their rose. It was hard to watch.
18. Lacey (last week: not ranked)
Oh, boy. Lacey. Lacey is the girl every other girl in the sorority is sort of out on but put up with anyway because her parents have a dope beach house or something. It’s clear she wasn’t as popular in high school as everyone else in Paradise was. I feel bad for Lacey, though. She picked Diggy for a romantic date, and got Jorge (the former bartender) as a third wheel on a beach where he was conceived; Dominique picked Diggy for a romantic date, and got strawberries and a hot tub. Forces outside of her control are conspiring against Lacey.
17. Nick (last week: not ranked)
Nick came in hot with Jasmine and then sort of disappeared. There is nothing else to say about Nick, except that it was kind of funny/sad to see a grown man undergoing a micro-existential crisis in the cab on the way home from Paradise with the subtitle on the screen of “Santa Claus.” This is the sort of strange juxtaposition that can only happen on Paradise.
16. Vinny (last week: not ranked)
Vinny barely made a blip on this season’s radar, but he did appear to give a few guys a haircut. Thanks Vinny, see you next time!
Kristina gives every indication that she’s not the type of girl to wait around for a guy to make a decision about whether he likes her, but then ends up being the type of girl to wait around for a guy to make a decision about whether he likes her. It’s a tragic condition, and compelling to watch: she’s gaga over Dean, and from the looks of it has never been gaga over anyone. I’d guess it’s normally some guy who’s gaga over her. I will stop saying gaga now, but suffice it to say: Kristina got burned this week by Danielle L., a bubbly beauty who took Dean on a date and prompted him to make her a cake for her half-birthday. So far, Kristina has prompted Dean to make zero cakes. Ouch.
14. Taylor and Derek (tie) (last week: both not ranked)
Taylor and Derek are a couple. If seeing is believing, then I believe they pretty much just nap in each other’s arms all day. This is boring. Not to mention, an inefficient way to nap. At least Derek ate a piece of pizza with sand on it. That was okay.
13. Matt (last week: 8) and Jasmine (last week: 4) (tie)
I don’t quite get why Matt and Jasmine are a couple but I’m into it. Jasmine seems like fun; Matt seems pretty chill. They might have a future together, I guess. Let’s move on.
12. Sarah (last week: not ranked)
Sarah came in, picked Adam for a date and got a kissy on her date. That’s pretty much all you can ask for if you’re Sarah.
11. Danielle L. (last week: not ranked)
Danielle L., or D-Lo, or “New Danielle, the One That Everyone Wants to Sleep with, Compared to Old Danielle,” arrived to literal guffaws from the guys. Adam actually bit his hand. She picked Dean, went ATV-ing, made out, returned, took a shot and apparently continued partying and winning over Dean by virtue of not being Kristina. Sound strategy, D-Lo. Keep it up.
10. Ben Z.’s Dog (last week: 12)
Consider your motives if you’re Ben Z.’s dog. You’re eight months old. You love your Ben Z. You want him to come home as soon as possible, so he can pet you and take you out and feed you and love you and give you belly rubs and say, “that’s a good boy, that’s a good boy.” Best case scenario for you is that he squanders his relationships with the women because he can’t stop talking about you--because you’re his true love. This is going very well for Ben Z.’s dog so far.
9. Dominique (last week: not ranked)
Dominique was in Paradise all of three or four hours before she was being fed strawberries and making out in a hot tub. If that’s not what Paradise is all about, I do not know who I am anymore.
8. Diggy (last week: not ranked)
Diggy. Wow. My boy. Here’s what Diggy did this week in Paradise: 1) He used his charm to get Lacey to give him a rose; 2) Once he had the rose and the power for the next week, he traded up for Dominique. That is a textbook Paradise power play, executed to perfection. Side note: someone needs to write an Econ paper on the supply/demand and power dynamics created in Paradise between men/women each week. FiveThirty Eight, I’m looking at you and your calculators.
7. Danielle M. (last week: not ranked)
Danielle M. is the Angel of Paradise. She saved Ben Z. at the rose ceremony because she thought he was a good guy. She offered sage wisdom to struggling ladies. She left Paradise because she just wasn’t feeling it—to help children in Kenya, no less!—so that another girl might have a chance at love. The only thing better than winning Paradise is realizing you’re better than Paradise altogether. Danielle M. is better than Paradise. That’s why she had a steamy makeout with Wells the bartender--also better than Paradise--on her way out the door. What an exit. The dare-I-say extra-textual relationship between Wells and Danielle M. has reinvigorated my hope in all mankind. Thank you, Danielle M. May you find whatever it is you’re looking for, and maybe hit me up on Twitter or something if you don’t.
6. Dean (last week: 6)
Dean managed to keep Kristina at arm’s length while also winning over Danielle L., perhaps the most desirable girl in Paradise, other than Raven. Dean’s got that slightly guarded, inscrutable “what is he thinking” kind of charm, mixed with a toxic dose of “trust me, I’m nice” and “I’m 6’4”, really good-looking.” It’s killer. Dean is the prince of Paradise.
5. Raven (last week: 2)
Raven referred to sex as “having stank on your hang-down” on a television show that airs on ABC during primetime. It’s hard to believe this is the same girl that walked in on her boyfriend and another girl and beat him with a shoe. That was sarcasm. I love Raven.
4. Adam (last week: not ranked)
First, Adam steals Raven away from Ben Z., and wins her rose, basically by salsa-ing with her, making out and not talking about his dog. Raven wants a real man, a man who knows and takes what he wants, and it’s not so much that Adam is that man, but that he listened and adjusted his game accordingly. (Listening! Who knew?!?) Later, Sarah picks Adam for a date. She seems to like him, too. It’s increasingly clear that Adam has never been in this situation before, and is doing his best not to blow it.
3. Wells (last week: 3)
“Wells is a good kisser.” —Danielle M.
2. Alexis (last week: 10)
Here is a list of Alexis-related activities/quotes from this past week:
-Jack Stone: “Let’s go get a shot.” Alexis: “You want this rose, brah?”
-Jasmine and Alexis stage a fake fight in the hot tub; later, Alexis proceeds to narrate Derek and Taylor’s nap with a shockingly good Steve Irwin impression.
-On her relationship with Jasmine: “We’re just two crazy bitches and we’re killing Paradise.”
-On Dean, after he hurt Kristina: “Get out of here you flip-flopper, you little [bleep] bitch.” Hell yeah.
-Alexis tells us how much she wants pizza, and that in Paradise, pizza takes two hours to make. A clip shows Danielle L. carrying the pizzas across the sand, only to drop them on the beach. Alexis, blubbering in a tearful interview, explains that all Danielle L. had to do was walk down the stairs and deliver the pizza, but she dropped it, and then Derek ate the sandy pizza, and then Taylor made out with Derek. Cries Alexis: “I didn’t sign up for this.”
The takeaway here is that Alexis is more upset about pizza, and someone making out with someone who ate sandy pizza, then not finding a potential mate. We have reached peak Alexis.
1. The Shutdown
It’s weird to have so much drama on a reality TV show take place “off-stage.” And yet, that’s exactly what happened in Paradise. During the shutdown, Dean traveled with Kristina. During the shutdown, Raven and Adam and Sarah spent the night together in Dallas, and Raven came down to find Adam and Sarah “cuddling.” During the shutdown, we can only assume that Ben Z. spent some quality time with his dog. Bottom line is, I have seven references to the shutdown in my notes! Seven! Nothing in the shutdown was filmed, and yet it’s clearly informing the drama on the show. The shutdown is like this great big novelistic backstory we’re supposed to put together through context clues and stuff. The shutdown is as big a part of Paradise as Paradise is a part of Paradise. The shutdown is like Chekov’s gun, except it will likely result in scandalous make-outs/hand-stuff instead of death. Because the question is: what else happened during the shutdown that we don’t know about? What else has yet to be revealed?
Not ranked, because they were just so irrelevant: Robbie, Jack Stone, Amanda, Jorge.