January 24th, 2012
11:35 AM ET
There was plenty of cat-fighting, romance and adventure on last night's episode of "The Bachelor," as Ben Flajnik took the 13 remaining women to Park City, Utah.
And while most of the attention was given to Courtney the model's feud with all but one of her opponents, a peculiar incident during the group date caused this blogger to scratch his head.
Following a group date involving fly fishing, Ben and the women went poolside (oh joy, another pool) to mingle. After spending some time with Nicki the dental hygienist, Ben came face-to-face with Samantha, the woman who wore a beauty pageant sash on the first episode.
Samantha asked Ben why she's been on three group dates in a row, and has yet to be chosen for a one-on-one date. Ben says that "group dates are a good way to watch and observe." He then remarks that Samantha has been "highly emotional" on group dates, and wonders if she's even there for him.
Finally, Ben lamented that due to her "track record," Samantha should be eliminated immediately, if not sooner. The other women acted quite shocked at the developments, thinking Samantha was into Ben, and vice versa. Even Courtney the model, who believes she's the only woman on the show with the hots for Ben, noted that Samantha may have been more into Ben than she let on.
But the way Samantha was eliminated looked incredibly awkward, forced and scripted. Yes, we all know there isn't much "reality" in this reality show, but Samantha's departure reminded me of ways World Wrestling Entertainment writes out a performer when they get injured or fail a drug test.
Rather than be upfront about why the wrestler will be gone, the wrestler will be shown losing on TV in an embarrassing manner, or fall victim to a locker room "attack" that the cameras never catch. And given that "The Bachelor" is essentially pro wrestling for women, something has to be up.
In his blog for People magazine, Ben Flajnik writes that it was "brought to his attention by some of the other women" that Samantha wasn't there "for the right reasons," but doesn't really elaborate.
Still looking for answers, I turned to the website of "Reality" Steve Carbone, whose site routinely runs spoilers about "The Bachelor" and its spinoffs.
Three weeks ago, Carbone posted that Samantha reportedly told producers during the San Francisco leg of filming (which aired last week) that she didn't want to be on the show anymore because she had feelings for someone else. Carbone alleges that Samantha fell head over heels with a show producer, but that "nothing physical" happened between the two. Carbone adds that Samantha was supposedly "convinced" by producers to continue on to Park City, where she was eliminated.
I have reached out to both the show and Carbone for reaction to last night's episode. In an e-mail, Carbone said...
"I trust my sources on this one, and everything they told me months ago about what would happen on the first four episodes has all been right. I don't doubt that [the] Samantha storyline is right as well, and I never suspected they'd show it, which they didn't."
The show has yet to respond at this time.
As for the rest of the show, the other highlight was the escalating feud between Courtney the model and several other contestants. Courtney continued her "reign of terror" over her suitemates, talking trash and quoting Charlie Sheen ("Winning!") when Ben wasn't around, but acting unsure and nervous around our hero.
At one point, Emily the epidemiologist accused Courtney of acting like a fourth-grader, with Courtney responding by alleging that Emily acts like a fifth-grader. Does that mean Emily acts better than Courtney?
But Courtney does have one friend in the house: Her name is Casey S., and she's a trading clerk from Kansas. Casey is more than willing to stand up for Courtney when the others bash her, and doesn't mind telling Courtney in private that she's being bashed.
When all is said and done, Courtney contemplates ripping Emily's head off, then verbally assaulting her. Wouldn't the latter be pointless if the former took place? Courtney appears to realize this, as she opts to consider "Plan C" - shaving Emily's eyebrows off.
At the rose ceremony, Ben opts to eliminate Monica the "dental consultant," who seemingly had "lead villain" potential when the show started, only to fade away as the weeks wore on.
Next week, Ben and the ladies head to Puerto Rico.
What did you think of last night's "Bachelor" episode, and what are your thoughts on Samantha's peculiar elimination?
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