Second Verse, Better Than the First

Yesterday was my flight home. I applied the lessons learned from last week: I was prepared for the TSA agent to ask me to lower my mask and I approached the counter at the gate before picking my seat.

At the security screening, the agent asked me to put my sweater (tied around my waist) on the belt. Obviously I couldn’t understand what he was asking, so I told him I was deaf. Through hand gestures, I figured it out. He told the agent by the scanner that I was deaf (he pointed to his ear as he spoke, so I could tell), which I appreciated.

When at the gate counter, the Southwest employee pulled down his mask during our interaction. He printed out a new boarding pass that identified me as deaf and told me when pre-boarding would likely start.

When it got closer, I realized I was waiting at the wrong door. I approached the right one as the Southwest employee was making an announcement. I introduced myself afterwards. She lowered her mask and explained there was a ground delay. She gave me an update after her next announcement, and then let me bypass the long line of wheelchairs to board the plane first.

Upon boarding the plane, I told the first flight attendant I saw that I was deaf and read lips. When a woman asked to sit in my row, I could tell she was talking to me, so I gave her my short spiel. She was sweet; she showed me some adorable photos of a grandchild or great-grandchild and offered me hand sanitizer and a hard candy.

After everyone boarded, the plane door closed, and we moved a little. Then, nothing. I tried using my text-to-speech app to transcribe some of the announcement, but realized I couldn’t without internet. As we waited and waited and waited, I grew increasingly frustrated not knowing what was going on. Finally, one of the flight attendants opened the bulkhead in the row ahead of me, so I got her attention. I told her I was deaf and asked what was going on. She asked if I read lips, and pulled her mask down to explain that we were in line to take off but only one flight was being allowed to leave every half hour due to air space. She estimated another half hour wait.

The next time there was an announcement, she came over and told me we were leaving in about 10 minutes. Now THIS is what I wish happened on a regular basis — remembering to update passengers who can’t hear the announcements! In the past, I’ve told flight attendants to please let me know of any announcements. Either they don’t remember, or if I say “important announcements,” they don’t deem any of them important enough to share.

This flight attendant said it wasn’t until masking that she realized how much she lipreads people when taking their drink orders. She also said in a previous job years ago, she used sign language, though she doesn’t remember much now. I told her I only know a little myself.

It was a long day, but could have been a lot worse. Here’s hoping for more travel in the future. Hear that, COVID? Stay away!

BIP E11 The Finale

The prom-goers get suspicious when they realize they haven’t seen Noah and Abigail in a while. That’s because they’ve been busy breaking up!

When Abigail finishes her crying jag in the bathroom, Noah asks if they can at least finish chatting and puts his arm around her shoulder. She takes it off. He says he wasn’t trying to blindside her. She asks why he waited until now. He explains that part of the struggle was that he wanted it to work out.

Finalllllly, Abigail tells him that she was actually planning to tell him she was falling in love with him too. He pushed her to open up, she says. “Like, that [bleep] hurts!”

“At the end of the day, I wasn’t your person,” Noah says. Abigail responds, “You’re right. You’re not my person. I kind of just want to forget about this and just…move on.” She’s emotional and puts her hands over her face. When she says, “I don’t want to do this anymore,” she must not have been speaking clearly because subtitles are provided on the screen.

The drawn-out drama ends when they hug goodbye. Noah leaves Paradise with dramatic music and no regrets. He denies having lied to Abigail and calls their time together fun and effortless. They were great, but not each other’s soulmates, he adds.

Abigail, meanwhile, returns to the prom where she tells Chelsea that she and Noah are going home separately. Chelsea, Serena, and Mari (Abigail’s friends from Matt’s season) console Abigail as she tells them what happened. She calls out Noah for getting to walk out of BIP without having to face anyone. Abigail feels humiliated. Serena says Noah should be, and Mari reassures her that she did nothing wrong. They all wonder why Noah waited until the end of Paradise. The girls are mad on Abigail’s behalf.

Abigail leaves the prom and walks up the stairs barefoot. Serena reels from the news, because they’ve been attached at the hip the whole time and she can’t imagine being at Paradise without her.

In the car, Abigail says she’s numb and it’ll take some time to process everything because she was blindsided. “That’s what hurts the most about all of this is he was the one to say he was falling in love and for him to just give no indication that anything was wrong or having doubts, it fucking hurts,” she says. “Why would he get me all happy and excited just to take that away from me?”

Abigail’s theory is that Noah is scared, which is causing him to hold back and use his gut feeling as an excuse. She knows she can’t convince him to stay with her and work it out; he needs to figure it out on his own.

Word spreads about the breakup, leaving everyone in shock. They were all inspired by a relationship that started on Day 1, but now they’re scared because if a couple doing that well can crumble, what does that mean for them? Thomas calls Abigail one of the sweetest people he’s ever met. Joe calls the break up a reality check for everyone.

The breakup remains the topic of conversation for a while. Serena and Mari fill Wells in on the drama. Mari says you never know what’s going on in someone’s head, which is why you need open and honest conversation.

The rest of the episode is predictable. The cocktail party is cancelled, couples have serious conversations about whether they want to stay together, continue on to the Fantasy Suites, or even possibly get engaged. I still don’t understand why it seems to be an all or nothing choice. But several “couples” break up, yet a new couple leaves Paradise together: James and Aaron, BFF Forever. That part is clearly staged but hilarious.

The three remaining couples are Riley and Maurissa, Mari and Kenny, and Joe and Serena. They all have Fantasy Suite dates, which basically means they get alone time without cameras. You know what THAT means! We’re treated to an unnecessarily graphic preview before they close the doors.

The remaining six people all say ILY to each other. They all get engaged. But before Joe proposes to Serena, his ex shows up to talk to him. Totally unnecessary producer manipulation and a time filler.

In the end, we’re provided with some cast updates. Two couples got back together after BIP, including Abigail and Noah, who are now “taking things SLOWLY!” Um, how much slower could they get?

Abigail posted a video montage on Instagram (which I can’t share because it’s a Reel), with the caption, “I love you, @noah_erb.” Looks like they’ve made lots of progress, though I wonder how they got over what he said to her. Hopefully this match made in reality TV heaven will last…

And now we know deaf people really can do anything – even survive a break up on national TV!

BIP E9 Abigail Becomes a Meme

Noah opens the episode narrating the Joe, Serena, and Kendall situation. Joe and Kendall talk and discover they’re on different pages. Actually, Kendall’s in a whole other book. She displays some smarts by realizing she can’t torture herself anymore, and leaves Paradise.

Becca lists the solid couples, including Abigail and Noah (still) – shown in the pool (still).

Two guys arrive: Demar and Ed. They ask Chelsea and Natasha on dates where they paint each other.

Meanwhile, Noah surprises Abigail with a date. He gives her a piggyback ride and says, “Remember when I told you we’d get a hammock and margaritas?” I wonder if she was able to understand him or if she didn’t get it until the reveal. She tells him she’s very impressed.

Noah tells the camera it’s a week for serious conversations. There’s a lot he and Abigail have to talk about. They haven’t told each other that they’re falling in love. Don’t get your hopes up; if they have a serious conversation, it’s not shown on air.

Kenny gets a date card and takes Mari on a cooking date. The chef says presentation is the most important. The plating will be their bodies. So they eat tacos off each other’s naked bodies, sour cream running down legs and all. It’s every bit as gross as you’d expect, though to their credit, they don’t seem to be inhibited by the chef’s presence.

Kenny and Mari talk about their relationship and admit they’re falling in love with each other. Abigail and Noah are shown kissing in a hammock at night. Maurissa wants to know why Riley holds so much back. He finally opens up and shares about his family, and then they admit they’re falling for each other.

Serena lists the serious relationships, as if we haven’t heard this a million times already.

Then, even more drama! Instead of a rose ceremony or cocktail party, everyone has evacuate because a dangerous tropical storm is approaching. While the crew is notifying everyone, Abigail’s about to eat a French fry and stops it in midair. Thus, a meme is born.

Everyone’s super dramatic. Oh no, Paradise could be shut down for good! I don’t know when I’ll see X again! Civilization will cease to exist! My brain cells will atrophy!

Spoiler alert: No one dies. They all return to Paradise, which is still standing. Despite the daytime, they have an hour to get ready for the cocktail party. With 8 women and 12 men, four guys are going home.

There’s a quick glimpse of Noah who’s wearing even more gold necklaces. Abigail’s seen wiping something off his face while they’re in a hammock, so clearly they’ve reached the old married couple stage of the relationship.

Tia is torn between James and Blake. One gives her the attention she craves, while the other makes her vagina sing. What’s a girl to do?

Aaron walks down a makeshift runway for Chelsea, the runway model. She admits she likes him more than Demar. But then Ivan, desperate for a rose, pulls her aside and they end up vibing. And by vibing, I mean kissing. Aaron won’t have this. He calls Ivan a desperate little bitch boy and calls him out for saying he wasn’t trying to take someone else’s rose. There’s face to face yelling, which we’ll see more of next week in a “three hour extravaganza.” It’s not even the finale, which is the following week. This show…

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 E7 VIP Party

Someone asks Noah — who’s hanging out with some of the guys — if he and Abigail are a thing. Noah confirms this, but says it could be better; they have to work out a couple of things. “You sound thrilled!” someone notes. “I just woke up, buddy,” Noah replies.

When he’s ostensibly woken up a bit, he tells the camera how happy he is that the guys have the roses. He’s feeling good, and he and Abigail are doing great.

The new celebrity guest host is Tituss Burgess, who announces that he’s throwing a special VIP party that night, with only a few from the group invited – a “tit-ass party.” All the guys are included, and only some of the girls, like Abigail. Some girls were clearly invited to create drama.

Abigail walks in on Noah’s arm to a room that’s decorated like a club, with a dance floor that’s lit up. There’s a shot of Abigail happily dancing. Thankfully, Noah doesn’t talk to any of the new girls.

Of course there’s a twist. Tituss says there will be other guests, who might be recognized. All bets are off; if anyone makes a connection with one of the new VIPs, they could potentially join the house. Four women enter: Chelsea, Alana, Alayah, and Mykenna.

Chris blindsides Jessenia by going for Alana. She catches them kissing in another room. Abigail consoles a sobbing Jessenia (and at the beginning of the episode, she wipes glitter off Mari’s face – the friend we all need and want!).

The VIP party continues with a surprise concert by Olivia Holt, an “acclaimed singer/actress.” That description seems like a stretch. Chris and Alana make out in full view, causing everyone to feel bad for Jessenia and annoyed with Chris.

The next morning, Alana shows up at the house and asks Chris on a date. Chris is told he should talk to Jessenia before he leaves. Abigail is sitting with Jessenia when he approaches. I noticed her eyes were always on who was talking. Jessenia tells Chris that she has nothing to talk to him about. “Badass,” Abigail tells her when Chris walks away.

Chelsea joins the house. Everyone remarks on how stunning and super tall she is. Abigail is laying next to Noah and smiles at her. Becca asks Serena, “You know her the best. Who do you think she’ll pick? Who’s her type?” Serena says that Abigail’s probably the better judge of this. She moves so she’s in Abigail’s line of sight and repeats the question to Abigail, knowing she probably didn’t hear it. Abigail says Thomas, but Chelsea picks Aaron. They go horseback riding on the beach and then have a picnic and make out.

Tammy’s happy and secure with Thomas but worried about being blindsided. So guess what happens? She gets blindsided when Becca gets a date card and picks him. They have a dinner date that ends with mariachi music. Thomas says all the right things, Becca’s a “smitten kitten” (groan), and they kiss. When they start dancing, Becca says, “Oh my god, you’re so tall!” That must have been like foreplay for Thomas!

Meanwhile, Joe has been suspicious of Chris, who had asked how to get followers. Jessenia says Alana has talked about this before too. When Chris and Alana return from their date (where they went ziplining and had a badly choreographed make out session), Joe appoints himself as judge, jury, and executioner. He grills Chris, calls him on his BS, and says he should leave. Jessenia flat out asks him to pack his bags and leave. Chris and Alana look shell shocked but ultimately leave – in separate cars.

This whole thing is bizarre because it’s similar to Brendan and Pieper, only they’ve been all but ignored. Brendan and Pieper were more blatant in their strategy for clout. Perhaps it’s an editorial choice to give them little airtime after they were unmasked. Hopefully next week, they’ll get their comeuppance as well.