• gnome chompsky

In Which Provo's Most Eligible Does Its Best to Kill God

Updated: Dec 31, 2019


A large frog and a small frog leaping through the air toward the same fly and the larger frog accidentally inhales the little one. A clammy, limp, dead-fish handshake but the hands are two gaping mouths. A minuscule male angler fish latching onto its grotesque, needle-mawed mate with its mouth until it fuses parasitically to her body. An erotic cut scene in your computer game circa 2005 but also your mom walks in while you’re watching it. Two mannequins whose entire bodies are hard plastic but who inexplicably have human tongues. The subject of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” giving mouth-to-mouth to its wig-wearing clone. These are some images that I hope will make you feel the way I felt, and the way some forty-thousand odd folks around the country felt watching the kiss between Ellie and Scott (SCOTT!!!) at the end of Provo’s Most Eligible episode three.

I have said before both here and on Twitter that Ellie has terrible, abysmal, jaw-droppingly low-standards for men. I get it, she’s 19 and clearly has a lot of growing to do, but there is no reasonable explanation for her infatuation with Summer Sales Boyd Crowder, a guy who talks like he’s written down a sales script for every single conversation but whose delivery is reminiscent of an animatronic corporal from a Confederacy-themed Chuck E. Cheese knock-off. Ellie, please. Ellie you are a daughter of God. Ellie.

Luckily, Ellie appears to be about as emotionally invested in the show as most of the Gold’s Gym extras she’s recruited for her team. (I saw a recent viral tweet about how often a woman gets approached by strange men who offer her training advice while she’s working out and let me tell you every single guy on Team Ellie is That Guy.) Whether it’s a stiffness brought on by the camera or just sheer but absolutely understandable indifference toward her suitors, Ellie constantly wears an expression that never leaves the range between “ambivalence” and “murderous antipathy,” and while it makes it hard to care all that much which of the Chippendale Junior Squad members she ends up with, it’s commendable in its own way, all the same.

Let’s move on. There’s never been so much to say about something that matters so very, very little.

The episode begins with a crossfit challenge among the three teams that I can only guess was a special request from Lauren, who seemed to take inordinate pleasure in watching men suffer for her sake. The bench press challenge in particular deserves a tip-of-the-hat to the producers for splicing together a wonderful montage of grunts, screams, and “bros” that is probably hovering in the form of a sweaty cloud of narcissism over Utah Lake as we speak and will likely be blamed for an inversion sometime this winter. It was particularly satisfying that the bench press challenge was won by Nice FHE Boy and not one of, for example, Jacked Combover Guy or Definitely Committed Felony Assault During a High School Hazing But His Lawyer Dad Got the Charges Dropped Guy. The entire gym scene was far, far too long.

Despite Ellie having doped her team up with dudes who definitely don’t wipe down the machines when they’re done with them, Team Lauren came out of the crossfit challenge winners and so were treated to a group date at Seven Peaks Ice Arena that was so utterly forgettable that despite the fact that I watched it not 24 hours ago, I had to go back and look up what actually happened. That’s it. That’s the summary. The Icecapades Date scene was far, far too long.

It’s hard to figure out what the advantage of the group date is, to be honest, except it provides an opportunity to showcase what a counterfactual Mormon polyandry type society might look like, and I guess if for no other reason than that, it’s worth keeping around. At the end of the group date, Lauren chose all around sweetie-pie Canadian Fella for her one-on-one date to the Orem’s Summer Fest even though he, despite literally being Canadian, did not win the ice skating race. She was joined by couples Bee and Keaton and Ellie and Preppy O’Daniel for a full day of tepid romance and elephant ears under the Utah Valley summer sunshine. Highlights of the Summer Fest date included Scott dressing like a stage-play version of the “You Know I Had to Do It to Em” meme, Canadian Fella dropping Lauren and making the past-tense of “swing dance” into “swung danced,” and Bee complaining that Keaton couldn’t have a sincere conversation because he kept referring to himself in terms of his meme account. The Summer Fest Date scene was far, far, far too long.

The second half of each episode is the most brutal part of the show because the producers are no longer providing any kind of scaffolding on which the bachelors can construct a persona and they are left to their own often threadbare devices. This week’s personality Soylents included a hammock, the Phantom of the Opera, Diet Coke, numerous flowers (girls like flowers), a limousine, a Southern accent, and some of the most uncomfortable kisses in online broadcast history. The first kiss (that we see) is between Bee and Walker, who whisks her away to a scrub pine clearing next to the golf course for Diet Coke in plastic cups, leading up to that awkward moment when one person is trying to ascertain whether or not the other person will allow them to put their mouth on their mouth. Let’s talk really quick about Walker. First off, it’s genuinely difficult to puzzle out why a vivacious and energetic young woman like Bee would be attracted to a guy who has all the makings of a circa 1999 teen movie villain when she otherwise has a group of some of the nicer boys on the show (including Nice Blond Nerd, Keaton the Meme Lord, and Dan the Other Meme Lord). Is Walker a monster? No, that would require a non-hair-based persona, among other things. Is Walker right for Bee? Also clearly “no.” Will Bee inevitably choose Walker over objectively more likeable candidates? Sigh.

The second kiss on the show is significantly more surprising and it’s harder to know what to make of it, frankly. Immediately following a conversation between Lauren and the Brazilian Back Stroker in which Lauren expresses her strong desire to avoid kissing anyone until she has gotten to know them particularly well, Fanny Pack (who has unironically used the words “shook,” “extra,” and “yeet” during his interviews, in case you’re trying to get a sense of what we’re dealing with here) accosts her in front of the club house to engage in a sort of parody of seduction that does eventually lead not just to one kiss but a follow up and then a series of comedic whoops and fist pumps. It’s hard to gauge exactly how Lauren feels about this entire interaction because she’s either too demure or too polite to express her exact feelings, but she does seem visibly shook as she seeks comfort in the sincere arms of Boy Canada, who has emerged as one of a very small handful of bachelors that one feels like they can actually pull for.

The contrast between one of these few earnest suitors and the numerous neo-dandies that surround them grows starker with each episode and it’s particularly noticeable on Teams Bee and Lauren, given that there seems to be a level of emotional investment on their parts that utterly lacking in Ellie (which, frankly, makes it hard to care what happens in that whole sphere). Another noteworthy example is when the bench press winner (I want to say Devin but there are so many generic white boy names on this show that it’s extraordinarily difficult to distinguish between them), in lieu of flowers or fruit snacks decides to hold a five-minute FHE with Lauren. It should be eye-rollingly saccharine but Devin (we’ll go with that) is just so genuine in his presentation, not to mention the complete lack of any kind of manipulation or personal sales pitches or Don Juan in a Skinny Tie games, that it becomes one of the few moments that actually lands with something like emotional weight. It goes without saying that every single conversation we are put through feels very much like Alex’s Ludavico pyschology reconditioning in A Clockwork Orange in that they feel endless as well as being both mentally and physically traumatic. Too long.

There are no surprises in the elimination round except to find that Fanny Pack’s loose lips don’t appear to have sunk his ship. There’s a rare moment of wisdom from an otherwise refreshingly honest “tool” in the classical sense of the word when he opines during an interview that if Lauren were to pick Fanny Pack over Boy Canada it would be an absolute travesty. Luckily, I don’t see it playing out that way in the long run. There’s an absolutely fantastic moment during the goodbyes when Generic White Dude Gamma and Ellie exchange their farewells following a disastrous hammock cuddle attempt which he later describes as having been like trying to cuddle a “two-by-four.” It’s not exactly compelling television but there is the occasional pay-off.

And then, at the very end, comes the kiss to end all kisses, a kiss so grotesque that it’s enough to put one off the entire industry for good. In a clearly staged final cut-scene, MAGA gives Ellie a spiel in his that off-brand Southern accent of his that leads to...well, I already said it all in the first paragraph, didn’t I? All those eons of human evolution leading to this moment and I think it’s impossible not to ask the question of whether it’s all been worth it and come to an affirmative conclusion. Shut. It. Down.

See you next week. For some reason.