Broken fingers and bad toes: 'The Bachelor' weeks 3 and 4

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 6:14pm

I’d like to watch an episode of "The Bachelor" without the background music. Strip away the suspenseful clash of cymbals, bittersweet guitar music and saxophone music that queues an awkward moment, and what would remain? Without this music playing constantly on screen (and in my head) I wouldn’t know how or what to feel.

Cue the cymbals.

A helicopter rises and in the distance we see a view of the mansion. Ben sits with a girl beside him. The pair stare into each other’s eyes as if they’re staring at the face of God, and then kiss deeply, almost desperately, trying to savor the time they’ve been granted. A panorama tells us they’re alone over a desert, no sign of humanity in sight. A laugh, a smile, a stroke of the cheek. Then the girl gently says over the scream of the plane’s engine, “Does my hair look OK?”

Repeat about three more times, each time with a different girl, and you’ve got yourself Week Three of “The Bachelor.”

At some point in a brainstorming session for season 20 of “The Bachelor,” the problem of what’s missing from each episode must have come up. “How will we attract new demographics?” asked the producers. “What can we do to expand the viewers beyond women ages 18 to 55 and hospital patients on bed rest who can’t reach the remote?”

“More hot tubs,” said the confident contributor. So they threw some in stores, fields, pools and children’s toy stores. We’ll have to wait until next season to see if this tactic worked.

Other than a vicious reminder of my fourth grade soccer career and a confidence boost for anyone capable of kicking a ball, Week Three didn’t provide us with much. There was an extremely controversial massage, an introduction to a girl named Leah who has apparently been there the whole time and a farewell to the Russian. She wore pants to the final rose ceremony and learned her lesson the hard way.

But let’s not forget the triumph of feminism that a forgettable contestant left us with: “Don’t ever expect anything from humans,” she tearfully proclaimed. “I’m just going to start adopting cats now.” I’m truly sad to see her go.

Now, what can be said about the twins? What can be said is that they owned Week Four like none other, and left me with questions that no musical score can answer.

The tag line that appears below each contestant's names has never been more helpful in a season of “The Bachelor.” While Ben uses the rose ceremony to differentiate between Emily and Haley, viewers are left to their own devices until the sub-text appears.

That is, until Emily turned up with a broken finger, and nothing further was said on the subject. And so presents: question number one.

The sub-text did something else for us too, something that nobody but the most attentive viewer who has four dollars riding on whether or not she watches the episode would notice: the twins are no longer 22.

Yes, that’s right. At some point in the last two weeks, they celebrated their birthdays. On the set of “The Bachelor.” And how did the Bachelor follow the time honored tradition of celebrating someone’s day of birth? They made twin puns, twin merchandise and an episode dedicated to wedging a wrench into their sibling relationship.

Poor Emily and Haley parted ways this week. It was dramatic, tearful and almost, not quite but almost, sad. They treadmilled confidently into the episode, only to be separated, Ben Carson style.

Becca may or may not be a automaton because Ben doesn’t think she can feel, love or breathe, but regardless, she’s still a virgin.

In the end of week four, we turn our eyes to Olivia, the signature trainwreck of this season. Lace left at some point. I couldn’t tell you when.

Turns out Olivia can’t dance, she doesn’t have any humility and has bad toes. She is desperate for some sign of approval from Ben, and repeatedly finds subliminal messages in everything he does. When will she realize those are probably the voices in her head? Why can’t she see that her persistence isn’t endearing? Why does it sound like I’m describing myself?

There was a big move to Vegas, but no one ended up blackout on a roof or OD’d with Raoul Duke so there’s still hope for at least two of the women. Next week, Mexico. A risky move on ABC’s part because I’m at least 75 percent sure Leah is the wanted leader of a drug cartel.