"Sometimes there's too much thinking going on, instead of having fun," Kristina, "25, Nick's Season," said toward the end of this week's first episode of Bachelor in Paradise.
"This is so f*cked up in every way!" Kristina said, one commercial break later.
That about sums it up, don't it? The first entirely non-DeMario non-Corinne episode of the season brought back the endearing lunacy of Paradise, allowing the Bachelor and Bachelorette rejects to look for love once again in a game that's completely rigged by the house. I mean, do these people even remember that they are on Bachelor in Paradise, a petri dish of desperation and Hornitos carefully constructed by puppet masters in a trailer whose only objective is to create chaos? Is anyone honestly surprised at how Dean is acting?
Dean is a dog. Such a dog that Ben Z. probably has to resist the urge to coo, "Who's a good boy, yeah you're a gooood boy!" every time he sees him. Dean is currently playing two women — Kristina and Danielle "Hot as" L. — and nearly getting away with it. When a rose isn't on the line, he'd rather take a shower than have a real conversation with Kristina. But minutes before the rose ceremony he's cozying up to Kristina like his life depends on it. Kristina, this season's unfortunate punching bag, can't see through the ruse and fell for it. Rose administered, mistake made. This guy, I tell ya.
And then Danielle LOL (STOP LAUGHING PLEEZE) shows up in a dress that doesn't look like it's finished — all her clothes look like she snatched them away from the seamstress about halfway through being made — and Dean dropped Kristina like a sack of potato vodka and Kristina soaked her pillow with tears of jealousy. I blame Carly and Evan for giving everyone unreasonable expectations that love can be found anywhere on this beach.
The final scene showed off just how transparent Dean is. After romantically thumb wrestling Kristina in an effort to wash away the bad taste he left in her mouth after accepting a date with Danielle, Dean continued to wrap his legs around her at the end-of-night campfire... until he decided to celebrate Danielle's half birthday (no half birthday has ever been celebrated for any reason other to get into someone's pants) with a watermelon cake in front of everyone else, but especially in front of Kristina.
It's the kind of dick move that only a person who can get away with it can pull off, and I'm going to go out on a limb here and say Dean may be arrogant enough to think he can get away with it. What he's doing of course is trying to get out of his thing with Kristina so he can be with Danielle, but he's so worried about how he'll be perceived he can't bring himself to break it off with Kristina. He's overplaying the nice guy hand and it's blowing up in his face. But damn if it isn't entertaining from my couch.
Look, this season of Bachelor in Paradise has been more like Disaster in Paradise with the amount of course correcting that the show has had to pull off with the shortened production cycle, the specter of controversy, the time off that allowed the show's worst thing — contestants thinking — to happen and the terrible batch of first-round guys for the girls to put up with (eliminating FOUR guys in the first rose ceremony wasn't a coincidence, it was a culling). The show needs a guy like Dirty Dean around to bring back the guilty glory of the series. Love him or hate him or really hate him, he's what the show needs.
(Liam Mathews was a victim of New York City preferring New York Giants preseason football over Bachelor in Paradise but he'll be back to cover Tuesday's episode and the rest of the season.)
Bachelor in Paradise returns Tuesday night at 8/7c on ABC.