Sometimes a TV series will change its premise over the course of one episode, like Sidney Bristow bringing down SD-6 after the Super Bowl. Or maybe something so shocking happens that you’re left gaping in disbelief, Red Wedding-style. Or maybe a dating game show turns over a live network feed to the Too Much Tuna guys. When that happens, we like to stop for a minute and think about the fact that That Just Happened. This time, we’re looking at Monday’s episode of The Bachelor Live.
Cards on the table. I hate The Bachelor. It’s not just that I don’t like watching it – I think it has the potential to do a lot of harm to the people who participate, and it pretty regularly traffics in the kind of gross sexism that’s not doing anybody any favors. It’s not even something I can watch ironically, and I watched all of The Island.
And somehow, a lot of comedians I really like are watching this show and seemingly enjoying it. I genuinely don’t get it. I tried, thinking maybe Paul Scheer and Lauren Lapkus were on to something, and it left me questioning their tastes. And then things got weird. ABC launched a live aftershow, and they started getting guests like the aforementioned Scheer and Lapkus.
Watching their appearances was…. strange. Host Chris Harrison seems to have a decent sense of humor, but the studio audience doesn’t show much interest, and the focus is definitely on failed contestants from five seasons ago, so the comedians don’t get a lot of screentime. Still, I gave the aftershow one more chance since this week’s guests were Paget Brewster and Paul F. Tompkins. Frank and Sadie Doyle, reunited at last!
They are both great and usually enough to get me to watch something on their own. PFT is one of the funniest people in the world, and per his Twitter, this year he watched The Bachelor “for the first and last time”. Paget, on the other hand, loves the show. She and her husband visited the Bachelor in Paradise location for their anniversary I couldn’t pass that up. And no, I didn’t watch the actual episode of The Bachelor first.
It’s worth noting that PFT downplayed the fact that he doesn’t watch the show – he claimed only to watch “mass on Sundays” and Wings. The audience didn’t like that nearly as much as I did. He was very gracious, considering his previously stated lack of interest in the franchise. Paget, of course, pretty much lost her mind. There are very few things more endearing than Paget Brewster getting really excited about something.
As ever, the show focused more on the past contestants on the panel, but there was still enough of Paul and Paget to make it worth my time. (I particularly enjoyed PFT comparing the Bachelor to a cult leader.) And then they brought out this season’s Lace, and I assume the thing with her is that she seemed crazy and was often drunk on the show. This is one of the things I hate about the franchise, the way it not only exploits people when they’re vulnerable, but then brings them back to laugh at them.
I’m pleased to say that Paget and Paul were both very sweet and supportive of her, treating her like a person rather than a character. It’s always nice to see people like that actually being awesome and making you feel good about being a fan. But the whole reason why this episode earned “That Just Happened!” status was still to come.
See, they said Nick Kroll and John Mulaney were going to be joining the panel, which just indicates somebody involved with this show is a comedy fan. But it gets better. They came in character as the “Oh, Hello” boys. Yeah, Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland had free rein on live network TV. And where Paget and Paul were well-behaved guests, the same can’t be said for Gil and George. They just took over the show or nearly twenty minutes, occasionally referencing The Bachelor and thoroughly baffling the audience. Kroll even proposed to Lace with a Werther’s Original.
I can’t even imagine how people who aren’t familiar with the characters must have reacted to what appeared to be two crazy people crashing the show. I don’t know how a thing like that happens – the actual show has never, in the times I’ve seen it, exhibited any kind of self-awareness. But somebody involved with the production turned a live show over to Gil and George and knew exactly what they were doing. It was either the best or worst night of Chris Harrison’s career, and I honestly can’t tell which it was.
This episode is one hundred percent worth checking out on ABC’s website. It starts slow and thoroughly unravels by the end. I can’t believe it exists. I’m certainly not going to start watching The Bachelor, but I’m going to DVR the aftershow, because apparently all bets are off.