Timed, fittingly, as a prelude to this Sunday’s Oscars, the eighth episode of The Bachelor, in which Ben went home to meet his prospective in-laws—all eight of them—had the makings of an Academy Award Show. For starters, there were the opening numbers: from Lindzi’s skillful equestrian display to Kacie B.’s seasoned baton twirling performance with the town’s marching band, to Nicki’s wacky boot-and-Stetson shopping spree, each of our wife nominees was out to entertain.
But, as ever, it was industry vet Courtney, with her wealth of modeling experience, who stole
the show with a wedding ambush we’re calling Extremely Forward and Incredibly Premature. The cast was small: Our two stars, naturally, plus one, jarring cameo: a guy who appeared out of nowhere and seemed qualified to conduct a fake wedding ceremony—let’s just hope he has a SAG card. Modeling her performance on Kathy Bates’ Oscar winning turn in Misery, Courtney informed her captive Ben that he would now be writing his vows. If we’re honest, the script let us down at this point, namely because Courtney blatantly plagiarized from Sex and the City (Courtney: "I'm looking for love, real love, all-consuming, can't live without it love." Carrie: "I’m looking for love. Real love, ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each other love."). And also, we might add, Bob Marley (Courtney: "I want to love you and treat you right, every day and every night." Bob: "I want to love you and treat you right, I want to love you, every day and every night."). "I hope you know I’m 100% ready for marriage," Courtney finished. If we could be so bold as to offer our own director's commentary: I think the "Almost Married" sign on your Ford Explorer and the rings you fashioned out of reeds probably tipped him off.
Moving on to Best Father in a Protective Role: It was stiff competition. Lindzi’s father borrowed a page from Adventures in Babysitting, riffing on the infamous "no one comes here without singing the blues" line, but improvising with a horsey twist: "At the Cox household, we like to have carriage races," Mr. Cox told Ben, with a take-it-or-leave-here undertone. "Are you interested in partaking in that?" Kacie B.’s dad meanwhile, gave one of those slow burning portrayals that stay with you even after you leave the theater: "I had a nice chat with Kacie’s dad, but the more I think about it, I’m not sure he likes me," Ben reflected. Powerful stuff! Courtney's dad took the likeable Kenny Rogers route, delivering a know-when-to-hold-‘em monologue along the lines of "marriage is a gamble." But come voting
time, it was Nikki's dad who was the clear winner, taking a tried and true page from the parental playbook: dropping the D-bomb. "If you don’t wind up together I’m not going to be mad," he said. "I’m going to be disappointed." And as everyone knows, there’s nothing worse or more effective than a dad using the word disappointed. (Not to be outdone, Nicky's brother also took home the Best Silent performance award. Though, to be fair, he was the only one in the running.)
Costume design was another hotly contested category of the night. Nicky’s Texas adventure
had all the bells and whistles the Academy loves: A drapey silver sequin shirt, rust and teal cowboy boots, a chocolate Stetson and an oversized silver buckled belt. She was pretty much begging to be in Annie Get Your Gun, and in any other context we’d be politely horrified, but in Texas, with her blinding dental hygienist pearly whites to offset it all, it somehow worked. Kacie B., on the other hand, failed to convince (on more levels than one, poor thing) in a black unitard paired with a red button-down shirt and topped off with brown knee boots. It was somewhere between Footloose and West Side Story, and sadly, it wasn’t working. Lindzi’s costume was most authentic: her shrunken plaid button-down with worn-in skinny jeans hit all the right notes. But this year it was a low-budget production that would emerge victorious: Courtney’s gauzy white sundress as wedding gown (topped off, we might add, with a fetching jade pendant), and a black construction paper bowtie for the groom.
And finally, to Best Actor. As always, it was Ben, and only Ben, for your consideration. We
could dig into a highlights reel at this point, or detail his catchphrases ("There were moments when I thought: I could love this girl!") but the true testament to his acting skills was best summed up by fellow castmember Nikki: "He makes me feel special," she gushed. And to do that, while balancing three other fiancés in training, diffusing professions of love and drinking endless glasses of wine, now that is the measure of a true professional.