BIP E8 Pool Time

The episode opens with [soft, tense music] just before the third rose ceremony. With 9 guys and 14 girls, it’s the largest number of girls going home so far. Abigail summarizes this for the camera, and says a lot of people are really nervous.

Thankfully, the bizarre hypocrisy of last week when everyone called out Chris but not Brendan is somewhat rectified. A small group, led by Joe, confronts Brendan, who denies things and blows them off. But ultimately, he and Pieper leave, blaming the environment.

There’s an extended scene of Maurissa playing a whipped cream game with Riley. He picks a body part out of a bowl, and that’s where she licks whipped cream off of him. Including his toe. Despite that deliciousness, they end up in the Boom Boom Room.

Thomas tells Tammy he’s more interested in Becca. Tammy tries to convince him to stay with her. Tammy is a great feminist role model. Tammy has a meltdown and says it’s the worst birthday of her life. Last year she got COVID on her birthday, yet she says this is worse. Tammy is a great public health role model.

Everyone sings Happy Birthday to Tammy. Abigail is next to her, singing along. I wonder if she can sing in tune. I’m always self conscious about singing the HBD song ever since I found out it has a tune (duh, I know!).

Natasha is given a rose to make up for her shitty experience so far.

Abigail says she’s super grateful for where she and Noah are. When he offers the rose, he says, “You’ve been the surprising little butter to my toast and I’m excited to see where this goes.”

“That was cute,” Abigail tells him.

To the camera, Abigail says, “There was drama, tension in paradise. We were able to survive up until this point and just focus on our relationship.”

The four girls who leave are Tammy, Demi, Jessenia, and Deandra.

The new celebrity host is Lil Jon, who has grills. Not only do I find that unattractive, but I would imagine that makes it difficult to lipread!

The first new guy to show up is Blake from Clare’s season, who might be the cutest guy on the beach so far. He picks Tia for an off road vehicle date. The best line of the night goes to Tia, who says, “If it doesn’t make your vagina dance, it’s not worth it.” Needless to say, she confirms that her vagina dances when she’s with Blake.

Kenny and Mari think they’re leaving BIP together. They go to the Boom Boom Room to cement it. The gross thing is Maurissa has been leaving her stuff in there. Has the bed been cleaned in between visits? Gross!

The second new guy who shows up is Dr. Joe, who picks Natasha. They have a dinner date with the largest margarita goblets I’ve ever seen. Everyone wants Natasha to have a good date after being screwed over by Brendan. But the producers have a trick up their sleeves. They gave Natasha a rose, only to bring in Brendan’s best friend. Sure enough, once he finds out what happened, he loses interest and stands by his friend. Jerk.

Abigail and Noah are called out a couple of times during the episode for being one of the established couples. One time they’re shown kissing on a hammock or bed, but multiple (different) times, they make out in the pool. One time Abigail even has something sticking out of her mouth, and Noah leans in to grab it with his mouth. Another time, there’s a scene that almost looks sexual.

Looks like they have their mojo back! And hopefully they no longer have pruned skin from all that time in the water!

Joe sets up an evening picnic for Serena, and they admit to each other that they’re falling in love. Joe’s ex Kendall is stupidly sitting where she can see them, and finally walks away.

The final scene has Aaron listing facts from his stay on BIP. One of them is, “When it comes to Noah, Noah doesn’t no-ah when to shut the fuck up. Fact.”

BIP E6 The Reconciliation

Noah’s had some time to think about what he wants out of Paradise and his relationship with Abigail. He realized that he has feelings for her. Joe advises him to try again if he thinks it’s worth it, and to take things to the next level. Noah thinks that’s something both he and Abigail want. He doesn’t think they should throw it all away just because there’s a couple of small things to work on. Surprisingly, the weight of all his necklaces isn’t draining his brainpower!

Noah and Abigail have a face to face, heart to heart conversation on the couch. Abigail admits that she doesn’t communicate very well. Noah thinks she has guards up. He’s giving and not getting much in return. He admits he could have verbalized this, so she’d be more aware, and says he could have done a better job. Abigail says she’ll work on communicating better.

Is this for real? An honest, mature conversation on BIP? Someone pinch me!

Abigail honestly thought she messed things up, which made her realize how much she cares about him and wants to try to do this.

“So you still wanna be the power couple of the beach?” Noah jokes.

“Royalty,” she replies.

*KISS* [soft music]

Noah tells the camera he’s feeling good and is happy about where they are. Whether it was the environment, poor communication, his being a dick, he doesn’t know. He says, “We got in our heads and overcomplicated things that don’t need to be overcomplicated.” (Like that sentence.)

They kiss. And not just a peck, either. They really kiss. Because they really mean it this time.

There’s drama with the love triangle – or square – with Kenny, Demi, and Mari (and Tia?). Kenny is a 40-year-old man who has a rope necklace plus a thick silver chain necklace. Why they all want this bro (who admittedly is quite fit) is unclear.

Jessenia says Abigail and Noah look so cute together. “Every time we see them as a pair, we gush over it,” she says. Cue to a shot of them by the pool. Noah kisses Abigail’s shoulder. All together now, Aww!

Natasha tells the camera how hopeful she is about Brendan. Which means she’s gonna get screwed – and not in the Boom Boom Room way. Yup, Pieper shows up and immediately picks Brendan for her date. There were rumors earlier in the show that they’d dated prior to BIP. Turns out they had more of an actual relationship than they let on. They’re on the show to increase followers, but this strategy backfires when they’re given the villain edit (and rightly so). Apparently their follower count has been going down since the truth came out, and Natasha’s has been increasing. Now that’s karma!

The end credit scene features Serena and Joe (who has a convo with his ex at the beginning of the episode, realized he may no longer love her, and is committed to seeing things through with Serena) doing a blind taste test. Serena feeds him warm lunch meat (eew). Then for the last test, she kisses him. Jokingly, Joe guesses, “Abigail?” LOL.

BIP E5 The Conversation

*This is a picture from a previous Rose Ceremony. It’s hard to find ones to use!

Abigail and Noah have The Relationship Conversation. But first, the Tammy love triangle plays out. Even though Tammy started it, Abigail consoles her and asks what she wants.

The other love triangle involves Deandra, Chasen, and Karl. Chasen one-ups Karl by giving Deandra a necklace. Demi calls it “ugly ass jewelry,” and she’s not wrong. Noah fills Abigail in on Chasen’s gift. Did he do so because she literally hadn’t heard people talking about it?

Tre leaves before the Rose Ceremony. Lance announces one last surprise that will change everything. He introduces the first Bachelorette to appear on BIP, Becca Kufrin. She was Bachelorette on Season 14, in 2016. The guys all light up, but the girls are less than enthused. In fact, this propels Tahzjuan to leave.

“All I know is the second Becca showed up, Abigail’s never grabbed me as much,” Noah says.

Wells has been doing BIP for 5 years, but this is the craziest he’s ever seen it. Three men are going home. There’s a shot of Abigail looking nervous, which seems out of place. Ivan says it’d be nice to be in Abigail & Noah’s position. Of course, Abigail offers her rose to Noah, who happily accepts.

There’s a long shot of the “resort,” which isn’t very flattering. It looks a built up shack that could fall down any second.

Tia from Colton’s season arrives and begins another love triangle when she picks Kenny for her date, angering Demi.

Abigail talks to the other women about her relationship. She feels like Noah wants to just chill in Paradise, “all happy and stuff,” but she needs a little more. They have such a good emotional connection. She’s never been able to be friends with a guy or laugh this much with a guy. They’ve kissed and stuff, but they aren’t able to keep their hands off each other like the other couples. She’s wondering if they’re moving slower — which she’s ok with — or if they’re friend zoning each other.

Maurissa tells the camera that Noah & Abigail have so much fun together, but it seems they’re not sharing their true emotions with each other. This will bite their ass in the end, she says. They’re having fun but have to communicate.

“I just feel bad because I feel like I self sabotage,” Abigail says.

While she feels it’s going great with Noah, she also thinks he’s playing it safe. It’s hard for her to see other couples be all over each other and wonder why she and Noah aren’t there yet. Are they not pushing the relationship to its full potential, or are they just friends who should be exploring other options? She knows she has to have a conversation with him despite her nervousness about doing so.

Someone else notices Noah on the chaise by himself, looking moody, and asks what’s up with him. Jessenia explains that he and Abigail have been so comfortable recently. She says Abigail’s ready to have more serious conversations and for things to be a little more legit, while Noah’s just comfortable where he is. Jessenia feels bad because she knows Abigail really likes Noah and vice versa, but he takes things slower than she does.

Someone — can’t remember if it’s Jessenia or someone else — can imagine the couple making it beyond Paradise and would be surprised if they split up. To see them separately would make this person doubt the process.

Going into the conversation with Noah, Abigail says she doesn’t want to be stale in their “situationship,” but isn’t ready to throw it away. She tells Noah she’s really attracted to him and likes him, but is curious about what he wants out of their situationship and how he’s feeling about it.

Noah reassures her that he likes her and they’re solid. He thinks everyone’s obsessed with their relationship.

“I feel like you and I make a lot of sense,” Abigail says. “To everyone else we make sense. But why are we holding back from being full fledged? I love that it’s easy between us, but at the same time, it’s a blessing and a curse.”

They discuss whether they’re meant to be just friends. Abigail thinks he stopped trying. He tells her that a minute ago was the first time he heard her say, “I like you.” If he does something, he doesn’t get much of a response. Abigail says she didn’t realize she was giving off that vibe.

She wonders if they’re just delaying the inevitable or if they should try again. Noah needs some time to think. He tells the camera he’s blindsided.

Abigail cries while talking to the other girls. She feels bad and wonders if they’re doing something wrong. “Are we getting in each other’s way ‘cuz we’re scared to open up?” she asks. “I feel like we could be throwing away something potentially really good. I’ve never had something so easy. We’ve both said that. I think he just shut down.”

Serena says Abigail is her best friend there and it kills her to see Abigail so upset. This conversation with Noah was coming sooner rather than later, and it’s hard since they started off so strong.

Abigail continues to berate herself, saying she literally just self sabotaged. “We had such a good thing going and I just fucked it up,” she says. “It’s not even like I want to go on dates with anyone else. There’s no one else I’m interested in. It’s Noah.”

As a friend points out, Abigail is comparing her relationship to the others on BIP, and worried that they’re not moving as quickly as the others. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because they’re probably going at a real world place, not a BIP pace.

I say it’s important to talk about the relationship and get everything on the table; that’s a mature move.

Meanwhile, the BIP producers must be on drugs when they dream up the dates. Tia and Kenny’s date is nude volleyball (with three strangers). Who wants to see the jiggly bits? What if they fall in the sand? The people, not the jiggly bits. Unless they’re all fake. Which is very possible!

The episode ends with Joe thinking he and Serena are the strongest couple with nothing getting in their way. Cue Kendall, his ex. Why do people go on this show? Don’t they know the producers will fuck with them?!

Anyway, the scenes with Noah and Abigail leave me confused. Did they break up? I think they’re just on the rocks, with their future to be determined next week…

BIP E4 Dumpster Fire

This episode is a dumpster fire, literally and figuratively. Two “smoke bros” (Apparently these are guys who call hot girls “smoke shows” – and now we’ve learned something. So why do I feel debased instead of educated?) show up, and their double date involves a triple XL bed, an intimacy guru, and a clothed reenactment of positions in the Kama Sutra.

The next big scene — which is not so much awkward as it is an interesting editorial choice — features Abigail and Noah on the daybed. Abigail thinks she has a bug in her nose and discovers there IS a bug in her nose. We’re treated to a longer than expected scene about this, but I’d rather see a more humorous grossness than the ickiness that was the double date.

Come to think of it, this whole episode could be characterized as a gross fest. There are unnecessary close ups of couples making out with tongue (or even chewing food, in Chris’ case). I leave it to you to decide which is more palatable to watch: these makeout sessions or the Fear Factor buffet from Riley and Maurissa’s date.

Random thought: Kenny looks like Ryan Seacrest.

Noah and Abigail are in the background during Demi and Mari’s conversation. Someone — pretty sure it’s Abigail — gets up from the chaise and her butt is blurred. She is wearing a beige bikini, so maybe ABC was covering their bases (no pun intended).

Connor wears a crazy outfit that’s dubbed “kimono convict” by the boys. Joe and Serena have a date inside a wrestling ring. It ends with them wearing wrestling costumes. There are also love triangles, betrayals, Boom Boom Room action, and a cake thrown into the fire. Good lord, this show.

Sitting around the bonfire, Riley asks the others where’s the craziest place they’ve had sex. Abigail is second to answer. After thinking, she says, “On a golf course.” “Abigail!” someone exclaims. I’m impressed she even heard/saw the question since it’s dark, the flickering fire can make it hard to lipread due to its shadows, and there’s got to be background noise from the ocean.

It’s clear one reason why Noah and Abigail are a good fit is because they’re loyal, caring friends. When Ivan is reeling from his breakup with Jessenia, Noah consoles him. Likewise, Abigail is there for Mari.

Noah and Abigail get a few shout outs throughout the episode for being one of the solid couples. Though by the end, after several couples break up, are they the only ones left? Noah even says — as he’s hand in hand with Abigail on the chaise — that there’s been so much going on, it’s ridiculous.

When the women arrive at the Rose Ceremony, Deandra asks if anyone is confident in who they’re giving their rose to. Someone points to Abigail and says, “Abby!”

The episode will be continued tonight. In the preview, where “paradise is about to be turned upside down,” there’s a sad, solitary shot of Noah, and one of Abigail upset. Will the drama hit them next?


I FINALLY watched “CODA,” the film that swept the Sundance Film Festival and is now on Apple+. Despite its rave reviews, I was nervous to watch because of how it might portray deafness. As someone who was raised to lipread and speak (and isn’t an exception), I’m sensitive to the pervasive assumption that all deaf people sign.

But like many other things, deafness is a spectrum. And this film shows one part of it, in a beautiful way. Thankfully, it doesn’t present an idealized version of Deaf Culture, and there was a lot I could relate to. It’s a well done, lovely film.

The Beginning Set the Tone

As soon as the film began, I knew it would be different. The first sign was when my (hearing) husband Aaron told me that the ambient sounds were very clear. He said there was a lot of work and effort put in to make the audio landscape a rich sound experience. This level of effort isn’t typically done. As Aaron said, “I know why they did it. They’re trying to accentuate to a hearing audience, to remind us that it’s about all those sounds out there in the world.”

The second sign was when the first song came on. The captions told me the name of the song, the musician(s), how it was being played, AND the lyrics – and continued to do so throughout the movie. This rarely happens. In fact, most of the time, song lyrics don’t appear at all. This is a huge pet peeve. Why would you caption a film but not the entirety of it? Why would you censor a feature that actually adds MORE to the experience?

Relatable Scenes for Me

The first time we meet Ruby’s deaf parents, they pull up in their truck outside her school with the music blaring. Ruby’s embarrassed because everyone is watching. Her dad signs, “I love rap music; my whole ass is vibrating!” Ruby’s parents and brother don’t wear hearing aids or cochlear implants (it’s unknown whether they choose not to or if they just don’t help with their kind of hearing loss), so they need the music at a high volume to be able to feel it. Bass and defined beats help.

Because I have a cochlear implant and hearing aid, I don’t need things at a loud volume. I can tell if something’s high or low, but not the specific pitch. Forget melodies or tunes. I don’t even know the difference between the two. I gravitate towards music that has defined beats and/or lyrics that can be heard over the music. There’s a reason I loved Harry Connick Jr. and the Red Hot Chili Peppers when I was in high school!

When her family attends Ruby’s concert, they’re out of their element. Jackie asks her son Leo if he can read Mr. V’s lips on stage. “Not really,” he responds. This is always the first thing I do at an event; I gauge how much I’ll be able to understand independently.

The Rossis are completely lost. They notice audience members laughing, but don’t know the joke. They don’t know to clap until they see others doing so. They’re so bored that Frank notices the buttons are off on his shirt, and they talk about Ruby’s outfit and what to have for dinner.

This is exactly how I am at my kids’ concerts (and other events when I can’t follow or enjoy the proceedings). Sometimes I go to support them, even if it feels like torture to sit there, bored and missing out. I always wish I could discreetly read on my phone, but I don’t want other people thinking I’m rude. Sometimes I deal with this by only attending the “more important” concerts, like my daughter’s last high school orchestra concert. Thankfully, my family understands!

I also enlist my hearing companions to be my ears. Aaron and I now have a shorthand; he knows when I’m asking, “Are they good?” or “Does she have a good voice?”

At one point, the sound fades out during Ruby’s duet to illustrate what it’s like for the Rossis. This normally cliched trick is usually heavy handed. But in this case, it’s effective. It’s not indicative of my experience, since I wear hearing devices, but it’s representative, if that makes sense. I hear music, but can’t appreciate it in the way hearing people can. The Rossis observe their fellow audience members and their wide range of experiences; this is one thing I do to amuse myself as well.

Aaron pointed out that the songs chosen for the movie were done purposefully. He thinks they picked songs for which the original singers conveyed their emotion and presence. The songs have a lot of soul in them, and further emphasizes the contrast between the audience and family experience.

Relatable Scenes for Hearing Family Members

I wasn’t the only one who could relate to many scenes. Aaron said the parenting stuff hit; that’s universal.

“The really noisy kitchen table scene when she’s trying to study and they’re all making a lot of noise… YEAH!” my husband said. “There’s a reason why a lot of our plates have chipped bottoms, because you put them down hard. You are not the quietest person in the kitchen, that’s for sure!”

Ruby is her family’s de facto interpreter, and we both noticed she paraphrases. Aaron has seen our kids do this, and has done it himself, like when someone on the phone is rambling. As he pointed out, however, Ruby was paraphrasing in ways that showed she was getting frustrated. When he does it, it’s for efficiency. “But I’m not a teenager!” he added.

I do try to utilize my kids as interpreters as little as possible, and I would never put them in the situations portrayed in the movie. They usually voluntarily step up when they notice I’m missing out. One difference is interpreting for me is different than for the Rossis. When my family interprets, it’s English to English, which isn’t the same as English to ASL.

Unrealistic/Unrelatable Scenes

Being the only hearing person in her family is difficult for Ruby. She has to interpret for them with no thought to her own schedule or desires. Alarmingly, she interprets for her parents at a doctor’s appointment in which sensitive information is revealed, and at a Coast Guard legal proceeding.

In real life, these situations legally warrant an interpreter, whether in person or remote. Having a child interpret these is wrong for so many reasons. The Coast Guard knew the Rossis were deaf; it’s why they were there in the first place. The lack of accommodation violates the ADA and should never happen.

There’s a touching scene between Jackie and Ruby, when Ruby asks her mom if she ever wished that Ruby was deaf. Jackie admits she prayed that her daughter would be deaf, though she says it’s because she was worried they wouldn’t connect. Deaf Culture folks actually want their kids to be deaf, and this is only one reason. I’m the opposite. I prayed that my kids would be hearing. Isn’t it our job as parents to ensure that our kids’ lives are easier and better than ours? Granted, it’s a little different in the capital-D Deaf Community, because there’s literally a communication barrier.

I was shocked that Ruby never provided her parents with printed lyrics to the songs sung at the concert and in her audition. Or that they didn’t use their phones to look up the lyrics based on the songs listed in the program. I kept waiting for Ruby to sign and sing as a way to include her family!

Communication Difficulties

Ruby’s family is dependent on her because they communicate via ASL. The film did a good job of showing how difficult this method can be. Frank, Jackie, and Leo miss out socially and professionally. These examples are exactly why I’m thankful my parents made the choice they did. You can always learn how to sign later in life, but you can’t always learn how to lipread, hear, and talk if you miss the early language development window.

Humor and Heart

The movie’s humor is evident early on and provides a nice break from the heavy topics. There are lots of laugh out loud moments, like when Frank demonstrates the need for putting a helmet on a soldier. That’s one way in which the visual of sign language is much more effective!

The scene between Frank and Ruby after her concert brought tears to my eyes, despite myself. It’s that age old trope of a parent trying to understand their child, but with a twist.

The movie is about Ruby realizing what her dreams are and having to choose between that and helping her family. In actuality, Ruby and her deaf family members help each other. She pushes them outside of their bubble and forces them to think about relying on others. She stands up for herself and her bravery allows them to do the same.

Today’s generation of deaf kids with cochlear implants – and hearing kids of deaf parents who speak, for that matter – can’t really relate to the Rossis’ struggles. And that’s a good thing. My children are CODAs, but not in the way the definition is traditionally used.

I went in expecting the worst, that it would amplify deaf stereotypes in the media. Instead, it was a nuanced portrayal that still captured realistic parts of the deaf experience. I’m glad I watched.