Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bachelor Ben Episode 5 Recap: Look, I Waxed My Coral Reef

Hello, Readers. Welcome, yet again, to another week of Ben's Amazing Journey into Mediocrity. I'll give the guy some credit. If he's nothing else, at least he's consistently dull each week. I'll still say that I like the guy but I'm becoming less and less convinced when I hear the women fawning over him like bees on a lavender plant seemingly intoxicated by his charm and charisma. "Safe" guys are sometimes appealing, but there's a fine line between "safe" and "boring" and Ben has certainly been inching over it this season.

Before we begin, look for a bonus "off season" type post coming soon. Let's get to it.

We begin as we always do. Tropical vistas sprinkled with bursts of colorful flowers and waterfalls set the tone on Vieques Island, Puerto Rico amidst a voice over of our heretofore rejected Bachelor looking for a "real" chance at lasting love this time around absorbing the majesty of America's unofficial 51st state. Of course, the women soon arrive via Flipcam flight in their locationally appropriate travel attire with some still hanging on to the 30 foot scarf look despite the sub-tropical climate. Hey, planes are cold and one never knows when a giant piece of silk might need to be fashioned into an over the shoulder sarong/skirt combination in a pinch (Nicki). As expected, Puerto Rico is soon Christened as an "amazing place to fall in love." . . . and we're off . . .

After the standard woo-hoos for the W Resort and Hotel Suite Emily begins teeing up her impending "I hate Courtney" speech to Ben. As bored as I am with that scenario, I have to admit that I was anxious to see it play out considering the fact that Courtney is clearly inside Emily's academic head and it appeared in the previews that she was poised to make the exact same mistake that should have got her sent home last week yet again.

Not one to reject a tropical bungalow, Harrison shows up with an index finger ring for some reason and states the rules that we all know before dropping the first date card and splitting to grab some Puerto Rican Rum down at the trendy W Bar.

The usually mute and always well-mascara-ed Jamie puts her shiny shirt to good use by taking center stage and reading the date card aloud. "Nicki, Encontremos un nuevo amor en el Viejo San Juan" it reads as the women struggle to process something like totally written in Porto Reecan. "Let's find a new love in Old San Juan" Emily spouts off in translation, proving that her pre-Ph.D. foreign language elective hours did not go to waste.

I found it comforting to know that Emily speaks three languages: English, Spanish, and Crazy Person. As we'd learn a bit later in the show, she's also intimately familiar with Desperation; however, we all know that's simply a dialect of Crazy Person and, therefore, cannot count as its own language. At any rate, Nicki is excited to learn that she gets to encontremos some amor with Ben and heads out to blow dry her hair and turn her 30 foot ubiquitous scarf into a Winnie Mandela-esque sarong-miniskirt combination as Courtney gnawed on her lip implant while wearing her "Be Nice" shirt ironically.

Ya estaba muy aburrido.

Ben shows up in an inexplicably poor wardrobe choice of a hot pink v-neck and those soon-to-be infamous gray cut off shorts with flip flops. I'd rather see Ed's green swimsuit. Prior to me digesting his getup he then proceeded to refer to Old San Juan as "so rad" before escorting Nicki and her yellow nails to the Bachelor-copter and heading out to walk around, fake an understanding of the Spanish language, and buy her a phallic-shaped snow cone.

As if on queue--and I'm sure it was considering the fact that all of the one-on-one comments were made while their clothes were dry--a big rainstorm "surprises" the two would-be lovers and they throw caution into the crystal blue ocean by "spontaneously" deciding to go buy some new clothes with a local flair.

Nicki emerges from the dressing room in another 30 foot ubiquitous scarf turned fashionable silk dress that sadly clashed with her yellow nails. Ben, on the other hand, decides to go with the post prison escape Hannibal Lecter meets Tito Puente white Mexican restaurant bus boy shirt and pants with a matching white hat look.

Far from looking like "locals" they both reminded me of the German tourists I see here in Austin on South Congress Avenue on the weekends sporting their newly purchased "cowboy boots" and weird fitting euro-jeans trying to be Texan until their tour bus leaves for Fort Worth on the next leg of the Tour of the Southwest vacation excursion they purchased at the John Wayne Booth at whatever beerfest was happening in Munich that week. The last thing anyone needs is a bunch of Germans marching around their town in knee high boots. Annnnyyyyhooo . . .

Ben proclaims himself as having "Latin swagger." Actually, a different word starting with "F" and rhyming with "swag" came to my mind. Regardless, he pretends to not look like an elongated version of Tattoo from Fantasy Island as they watch a fake wedding of ABC interns and extras at a local church before heading to dinner and busting Nicki's balls about her three year failed marriage while sitting uncomfortably in a papasan chair and sipping chardonnay. She eventually earns a "You Did Enough to Stick Around" rose. Ben seemed genuinely interested in her crap; however, he's simply boring to watch. I won't even comment on the gray pants, white long underwear shirt, and suspenders he was wearing that date. He was dressed like a 1920's circus strongman for crying out loud. Frankly, he didn't look very rad.

Back at the Rainman Suite at the W Elyse, Jennifer, Blakeley, Rachel, Courtney, Lindzi, Kacie B., Jamie, and Emily sit shoulder-to-shoulder on one love seat despite the vast expanse of the room and plenty of alternate lounging space. The Group Date Card arrives and Emily again uses her brain to explain the "Process of Elimination" Rule. I think we all realized that whoever failed to make the card was going on the one-on-one. There's nothing like being collectively condescended to by some nameless ABC staffer. I sighed as I sipped my final Lone Star realizing that if I failed to go to the store I'd have zero Lone Stars in my refrigerator. I wished Emily had called me and explained that.

"Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" the card reads and the women proceed to slobber like Man's Best Friend at the thought of Neil Lane inspired jewelry. Elyse gets the one-on-one as Blakeley and her raccoon tan complain about it. What both of them failed to realize is that getting the second one-on-one date on the first tropical excursion is tantamount to being given the keys to the Don's Cadillac and told to head out to the driveway and see if it starts. Oblivious, Elyse revels at the possibility of escaping the close confines of the love seat and heads out to put on more eye make up and bronzer. She makes Lindzi look like an albino.

The group date begins with a school bus ride to Roberto Clemente Stadium. I realized that Blakeley, who's--cough cough--34, was the only one old enough to realize who Roberto Clemente was but too self centered to appreciate it. The closest these girls had ever come to anything Puerto Rican was sipping Red Bull and vodka on the dance floor of some neon lit, chachi-infested night club while Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" blared over the sound system. Even he ditched Ricardo Martinez in favor of its WASPY equivalent.

Incidentally, for years my mother insisted that Ricky Martin was a heterosexual. My response was usually a smirk followed by "that guy is the George Michael of the 2000's." Think of how happy I was when he came bounding out of the closet like Errol Flynn in those pirate movies. Back to Ben.

Ben dons a Carolina Gigantes' uniform as Lincee Ray sighed uncontrollably and made a note on her laptop that he didn't look like Roberto in his baseball uniform. Please post your "Amens" on her site at www.ihategreenbeans.com.

We learn that we'll have two teams vying for the right to attend a cocktail party with Ben contingent upon winning a baseball game. Since there's an odd number, we learn that we need Ben to designate a girl who's comfortable playing for both teams---Where was Monica when you needed her? Apparently, the "Odd Number Rule" was too much for even Emily to wrap her Courtney-infested head around because Harrison showed up with a bullhorn to explain it and implement it. Solid day's work, CH. Solid.

This portion of the show was entirely too long; however, it did yield one of Courtney's best lines of the night. Regarding Blakeley's surprising athletic ability and competitiveness she quipped, "who knew that strippers could play baseball." Priceless. Look, I know most of you hate her because that's what ABC expects you to do. However, watching her be the bad guy this week was a lot like watching Nicholson as the Joker in the first Batman. Sure, you're supposed to hate him. After all, he's after Batman and he's mean to Vicki Vale. However, he's just so damn good you can't help but root for him a bit.

Red wins, Blue cries. Blakeley shows her sensitive side. Jennifer unselfishly gives Blakeley credit for not having had a one-on-one and Courtney talks trash about everyone on the show save Harrison because she realizes where her bread is buttered. Losers bus it back to the W and the winners clean up and hit the tiki bar to mingle.

Kacie B. gets "stolen" by Ben and eventually gets a Safety Rose. We see Courtney worry a bit about her competition during her one-on-one camera time before hatching a plan to skinny dip. Before I address that last part of the sentence, allow me to address the first part. Why, you ask, does Ben fawn over Courtney and seem increasingly less attracted to "normal" girls like Emily, Nicki, and (as we'd see later) Jennifer? Surprisingly, it has a hell of a lot less to do with looks and sexual energy than it does with how he's treated. Still not getting it? Watch the tape.

Courtney's interaction with Ben is brief, focused totally and completely on him, flattering, and confident almost to a flaw. She doesn't bog him down with drama about the other girls, her past, or how "hard" the process of lounging around five star hotels and drinking free booze until the helicopter arrives can be. She's a master of the uncomfortable silence and assertive without looking selfish in front of him. She plays a very convincing game and she also allows the other girls (Emily) to dig their own graves, albeit slowly, with Ben. The truth may eventually come out, but I'd be willing to bet that Courtney is well on her way to the Fantasy Suite. The skinny dipping stunt wasn't even necessary. In fact, it was more like the sprinkles on top of the icing on the cake.

As Courtney retires to the suite to shave her cha-cha in anticipation of her skinny dipping plan, Elyse gets the "Let's Find Somewhere Private" Date Card and as I pondered possible locations for the date in my head I quickly eliminated Courtney's pants and Blakeley's bra. A nervous Elyse cries a bit before the date (that's a first) but fails to soften the layers upon layers of mascara around her tear ducts. Frankly, that would require sandblasting, but that's neither here nor there. What's important is that she's excited about the date. What's more important is that Ben wasn't.

Courtney gets in a few tiny jabs in order to set up her Jersey Shore smack later in the show. Ben drops "Elyse and I's" relationship proving that he still carries with him remnants of Ashley. Speaking of Ashley, Elyse apparently earned that Master's Degree she talked about from the Ashley Hebert School of Diction. She and "Ban" jump off the yacht an enjoy a salt water enema before she tells him she's "sick of being single" and he responds by kicking her and her mascara to the curb. Note to Elyse: "Sick of being single" is a rotten reason to get married. If that's the case you'll quickly be "sick of being divorced."

A tuxedo clad Ben walks Elyse to the ocean as Seal Team 6 arrives in a zodiac and takes her and her purple luggage back to whatever gym in Chicago will now plaster "Come train with Elyse as seen on the Bachelor" posters on its front door when she returns to put her Master's Degree into good use by coaching overweight women on how to use that giant rubber ball to "strengthen their core." She was quiet all season and I gave her a hard time for being a bit hermaphroditic; however, she seemed really nice and she is an attractive girl. She'll do fine as long as she stays away from over-supplemented meatheads who use more bronzer than she does at the gym. Chin up, Buttercup. You'll do fine.

Back on the sittin' couch, the girls congregate like arctic penguins and agree that "something in the air is not right." I assumed it was the rich Puerto Rican cuisine that caused that problem; however, some guy in white shorts shows up to grab Elyse's mascara bag and Courtney drops a "maybe she drank too much and the Jersey Shore came out." Wow. That was funny. Mean, yes. But funny nonetheless.

Courtney downs yet another Gigante glass of wine before leaving the pity party and heading over to Ben's room to ensure a place on next week's show. She drinks quite a bit, doesn't she? In fact, if she's not careful, all of that drinking will lead to the need for a liver transplant later in life. I suppose she's not worried about it, though. There's no possible way that Courtney's body is capable of rejecting a strange organ. (Thank you. I'll be here all week).

"I'm a sight for sore eyes and after a date with Elyse I'm sure his eyes are pretty sore." It's like I was tasked with writing her dialogue this week. Courtney lies in wait for Ben as he returns to his room and pretends to be surprised to see her in her robe with a bottle of wine ready for some action. She lays it on extremely thick. I thought Ben was about to cry. He proved me right when he dropped "I'm not so sure this is a good idea." How is that NOT a good idea, you homo? I screamed at my television. Maybe Ben is the George Michael of the 2000's.

Watching Ben handle that situation was like watching a monkey at a chess board. "You only live once," is Courtney's closing line and Ben (wisely) takes the opportunity to skinny dip with a model. Pulling a stunt like that won't get you married, Courtney, but it might get you to the Fantasy Suite and it sure as hell will get you through to the next episode. Nice work.

Ignorant of Ben's recent exploratory dive in Courtney's Great Barrier Reef, the girls doll up for the cocktail party attempting to conceal their sunburn. Jennifer looked pretty and so did Casey S. Kacie B. and Nicki? Well, they showed up. Ben uses "rad" a few more times as he one-on-ones with everyone while simultaneously thinking about Courtney's little stunt. She's now in his head too.

A newly minted Blakeley literally bumps herself from getting bumped by laying it all on the line and giving Ben the hard sell in a one-on-one, or, as Blakeley usually refers to it, a lap dance. I had no reason to doubt her sincerity this week. She did look a bit horsey though. I was afraid Lindzi was going to try and ride her.

The girls discuss the producer-suggested topic of skinny dipping while huddling on the outside patio love seats like arctic penguins. Courtney drops "she sucks" about Emily and I smiled broadly as I quickly realized that Emily was about to prove Courtney right.

After swearing that she was over the drama Emily proceeds to bring up more Courtney drama to Ben and he shuts it down quickly with a diplomatic yet clearly annoyed "drop it," "tread lightly," and "be careful." Nice job, Ben. You should have had the balls to send her home.

After referring to Courtney as "shallow and vapid" Emily laments, yet again, her poor judgment. Ironically, her behavior has been far more shallow and vapid over the past two weeks, but what do I know? Let's face it, Emily from North Carolina is no Emily from North Carolina.

The Rose Ceremony kicks off and goes down as follows:

1. Nicki
2. Kacie B.
3. Lindzi
4. Jamie
5. Rachel
6. Courtney
7. Casey S.
8. Blakeley
9. Emily (weak)

Sent packing is Jennifer. I couldn't disagree more with Ben's choice this week. Then again, I don't own a pair of cut off gray jeans, suspenders, or a series of vests. Let's hope he ends up happy. Jennifer was cool and normal. Alas, that usually means doom on this show. 

Well, there it is. With the Amazing Count at 37 and the Journey Count at a stagnant 13 we head into next week. Take care of yourselves. In the meantime, if you need me, I'll be skinny dipping with Ricky Martin and George Michael. DP

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bachelor Ben Episode 4 Recap: Look At That Beaver, Damn

Hello, Readers. Welcome to Epidode 4. Some Guy has been inordinately busy doing some fancy lawyering lately and that's put a cramp in my style larger than the mythical "don't swim less than 30 minutes after eating" type of cramp. My mother used to tell me that in addition to swearing that if I watched too much television my eyes would turn into squares. Ah, God blesss my mother. It's that type of under-parenting that made me who I am today. I always knew square eyes was a reversible condition anyway.

At any rate, I forced myself to endure the full two hours of our least favorite favorite show last night in order to share my thoughts with all of you today. Sure, I'm a day late, but like a high school girl's period, I'm certain you're all relieved that I showed up. The new job is great, by the way. Thanks to those of you who took the time email me your best wishes and recognize that it's taken a real effort to get the show watched and the posts up on the site lately. I'm confident that I'll find the balance I forever seek eventually and those of you who choose to stick around will undoubtedly be the beneficiaries of that balance. With that out of the way, let's get to it.

We begin with shots of the wonderfullness that is Park City, Utah in the Fall. Like every first trip setting before it, it's deemed "a perfect place to fall in love." Rolling hills, colored foliage, and pure streams cradle Ben like a tiny, v-neck wearing infant as he takes in their majesty aboard the ubiquitous Bachelor-copter and then on horseback. He looked as out of place atop that horse as...oh, I don't know...an Italian cruise ship atop a bunch of underwater rocks.

V-neck shirts now yield to v-neck sweaters as Ben recaps and the girls FlipCam their way to Utah in off-the-shoulder sweaters and 35 foot scarves breathlessly anticipating the arrival of their knight in shining armor. After woo-hooing the hotel suite and sighing collectively at the absence of a telescope, they get a surprise early visit from Harrison and his flip collar sweater. Not one for ceremony this season, he restates the rules, drops the first date card, and hightails it from the suite undoubtedly in search of a highball.

"Rachel, Let's let nature take its course. --Ben," the card reads. I was thankful that Lindzi proved her ability to read. Chalk up another point in the "Hot" column for her. I prayed that the Fall climate in Utah would deprive her of enough Vitamin D so that her skin would return to a normal tone. I also prayed that whoever is in charge of the bronzer and the light meter during pre-production blocking sessions would fall ill with some sort of stomach ailment so she wouldn't be painted like an Ooompa Loompa in the first (and best) Willie Wonka movie.

Rachel and her husky voice take her bangs (and her heretofore well-concealed hooters) back to her bedroom to give those puppies a little breathing room before packing her bag and putting them back in their kennels. In the meantime, Kacie (bless her 24 year old heart) begins the Ashley-esque, post superfun first date decline by letting us know that she's in love with Ben. Poor Kacie. That first date is always a tough one. If it sucks, she has to worry about getting booted. If it's wonderful, she has to worry about the other broads throwing some come-from-behind moves at Ben for a couple weeks until she gets another date.

She did seem overly neurotic, however. Perhaps she was worried about her unfilfilled Administraive Assistant responsibilities back in Tennesee or perhaps her mother yelled at her for not putting her pajamas in the hamper and leaving them on the floor of her room before she left to go find love.

While she laments her lack of focus, Rachel leaves with Ben on the first helicopter date of the season and they ignore each other until they arrive at their lake for a secluded canoe ride and a picnic. Rachel does an excellent job speaking in Hemmingway-esque sentences and Ben does his best to coax each word from her perpetually sealed lips. Not until they hop aboard the canoe christened "Jupiter" do they abandon all hope of conversation in favor of some kissing. Incidentally, I assume that "Jupiter" was one member of a small fleet of similarly christened canoes. I suppose we'll have to wait until Fantasy Suite week for Uranus to appear. (I'll be here all week, folks).

Luckily, whoever edits this show shares my unapologetic affinity for anatomy jokes and innuendo because we simultaneously got a shot of the still upset Kacie talking to the always make-upped and updo-ed Monica about "how hard it is" and "how hard it's going to get" while Ben dropped "look, it's a beaver dam" on a mute Rachel before telling us that there is something Rachel has that he "just can't put his finger on." Apparently, they outsourced the editing of that segment to the Park City Junior High School Audio Visual Club this week. Nice work, boys.

Rachel certainly didn't do herself any favors on the first part of the date. To her credit, she admitted that she has a communication problem (read: severe trust and intimacy issues), but didn't seem too intent on solving it right away. It's usually the ones who can maintain a cool head amidst all of the spilling estrogen that are more emotionally removed. I was bummed to see that Rachel was a bit too removed. She's attractive and, up until this episode, seemed fun and cool. I was still rooting for her, but like most of you probably felt, I was discouraged. Props to Ben for not giving up too.

Back at the hotel the girls devour glasses of wine proportionate to their oversized scarves and the Dreaded Group Date Card arrives. Jamie, Casey S., Blakeley, Samantha, Nicki, Kacie B., and Courtney get the "Let's see if you're a great catch" card and Emily and Courtney take their places on opposite sides of the cat box.

With crabcakes cooling on the counter, Ben takes out his can opener and attempts to pry any information out of Rachel that she'll volunteer and she gnaws on her lips for fear that if she releases them from the steady grip of her incisors they might form a word or two. Ben eventually gives up in favor of shoving that delicious crabcake in his mouth. Again, I'll give him credit for trying. He tossed more softballs than Jenny Finch and Rachel simply wouldn't swing.

In lieu of any substantive information, Rachel gives him the "just ask if you want to know" speech before actually gaining some ground and making an adequate, albeit poor, recovery and earning a rose. Getting that safety rose was tantamount to reaching first base after a third strike is called and the catcher drops the ball. That "just ask" speech will work . . . sometimes indefinitely . . . in the real dating world, but not here. Rachel, you're hot and I like you a lot but it's time to put the crock pot away and turn the microwave on high. At this rate your bangs will grow out before you open up to Ben. If you like him, find a way around it and take a chance. If not, throw on some waterproof mascara because that limo ride to the nearest airport is lurking behind you.

Group Date time. The girls arrive proving they can follow the "jeans, ubiqutous 30 foot scarf, and cute seasonal winter boots" dress code suggestion on the back of the date card. As they await Ben's arrival on the river bank he awkwardly rides up on the least aggressive horse the animal consultant hired by ABC could find in the dude ranch barn and still almost castrates himself on the saddle horn while attempting to execute his best Tristain Ludlow in Legends of the Fall arrival by crossing the river on horseback.   He should have tried side saddle for crying out loud.

I'm certain Lindzi will share that story with Mr. Ed or whatever her horse's name is when she gets booted. Knees bent, heels down, sit up tall, and take a deep seat with your weight on your butt and not your crotch, Ben. Forget any of those and you'll be pulling your testes from above your v-neck back through your inguinal canals. Poor form aside, he made it across the river and the girls pretended to be impressed.

After a steady horseback ride though the beautiful flora and fauna, the girls suit up with Ben for a day of fly fishing and for the first time in the history of this blog Some Guy was jealous. That jealously yielded to sheer aggravation when it was clear that the scenery, horses, and opportunity to spend an afternoon (for free no less) fly fishing in a pristine river was lost on most of them. I suppose those same girls would feel the same way if they took me to Nordstrom's or Nieman's and allowed me to try on whatever I wanted all afternoon. I get it, but I was still annoyed.

Courtney is relieved to have a stiff rod in her hand and manages to get Ben alone and distract him while the producers pull a half dead trout from a nearby cooler and slap Courtney's fly in its mouth. The envy lasts long enough for the girls to give up on the "fishing" in favor of the contents of the other nearby cooler and the entire excusion turns into a wine party again. Sigh...

With all of that icky outdoors stuff out of the way, the girls are thankful to return to their natural habitat: the poolside martini bar. Casey S. looked pretty, but she's also as mute as my television during the State of the Union Address and I wasn't much more interested in hearing her open her mouth any more than I was interested in listening to that speech. She's done a masterful job of looking pouty and hot in the background all season and between her and Jamie, I'd be remiss to tell you who'd win a round of The Silent Game.

Nicki is first up for some alone time and margaritas her way into trying to "relate" to Ben by telling him that her boss recently passed away. Come on, Nicki. "My boss recently died"? Dude, his DAD died AND he's his own boss. Read the notes in the packet you got before leaving Hurst and heading out to L.A. Despite the pathetic effort, Nicki stumbled into getting a "you thrive in a group setting" from Ben. Wow. That's a lot like "you have the perfect face for radio" but Nicki seemed satiated and returned to the herd.

The next exchange will almost certainly sit atop my favorite Bachelor moments of all time list. After greasing her wtih a couple of those giant glasses of wine the procuction crew sends in Former Miss Pacific Palisades, Samantha, to c*ck block Nicki and question Ben's judgment. After donning an appalled look and a grin of sheer disbelief an incredibly even tempered Ben suggested that she's "kind of highly emotional" and quickly followed her indignance with "I can't justify a one-on-one based on what I've seen so far" and punting her out of the end zone.  Her cry-face was worse than Jaclyn's too.  I didn't even think that was possible.   

I strongly considered simply retiring after that exchange. Hell, Ben didn't even need that fat guy with the leather hat who helped Roz pack her s*it after she banged a Producer and Harrison had to clean up the mess to help him get her out of the mansion. Unlike that panty waste Jake, Ben did the job himself.

The entire crew is probably still laughing in the production van outside of the resort. As I've said many times before, "desperate and alone equals limo ride home." I'd like to amend that truism by adding "desperate and alone and a bitchy tone equal instant limo ride home." Do your homework, Samantha. You won't be doing the point and wave out of the roof of that limo when it pulls into Pacfic Palasades. Priceless.

Finally, the Date Card arrives and Jennifer, our "red head" from Oklahoma is asked to "pick our love song." She pakcs her purple suitcase as Ben follows producer's directions by taking Kacie and her off-the--shoulder sweater and royal blue bikini top to a secluded couch and making sure her Crazy remains in check.

Courtney--we have to give credit here--sees the lip gloss on the wall and gets Ben alone for a brilliant preemptive strike against Emily and her co-conspirators. She masters the art of the uncomfortable silence and actually has Ben use the word "us" in reference to them, gets a direct apology from him for not trying harder, and eventually gets him to go downstairs and take the rose from the plate in the middle of the party and give it to her. She played that perfectly. Granted, it was deceptive, manipulative, anti-social, and a case study in self-centeredness, but it was pretty to watch. She lost me with the Charlie Sheen-isms, but she's clearly experienced at that whole act. Marry her and Ben can look forward to a lifetime of that exact scenario--well, at least until she tires of him and he can no longer forward her modelling career.

Ben picks up Jennifer and they head to a crater for some light spelunking and Jennifer shows Ali how a yellow bikini should look. I'll gloss over this entire date by saying that Jennifer is exactly what Ben thought she was: laid back, cool, relatively fun, sincere, and less enthusiastic than the other girls. In other words, she's normal. I like her. I just don't see the sparks there. I think it's telling that she appears to get along well with all of the girls, including Courtney, really well. She's a catch. However, she's not a catch in this environment. Her quiet class will be mistaken for a lack of enthusiasm for Ben and her redeeming qualities will be eclipsed by the over-the-top personalities and gamesmenship of the other women. She'll do fine back in Oklahoma. She's more likely to find a guy who can dance too.

The date features a "private" concert by Clay Walker. The guy is a Houstonian and it's arguable if he's actually "country". That's a tough one for me because he's on the fence between real "country" music and that garbage that jerkoffs like Jason Aldean are getting rich off of today. "Where Do I Fit in the Picture" is my favorite Clay Walker song, if you're interested. Check it out.

Incidentally, a few years ago (10 or so) I met Clay Waker at a private donor party for the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. The company I worked for was a major sponsor and he gave a concert for about 100 people at a private residence and I was invited. He talked a lot about his Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis and about what he does for local hospitals and for people with the disease. He was a decent guy and I was relieved to see him rather than Chicago, Train, or Jeffrey Osborne.

I'll gloss past all of the details of the cocktail party. Not because I don't want to share, but because we've all seen it play out the same way for the past three seasons or so. Keeping in line with most unprepared girls in recent history, Emily ignores her PhD caliber intellect and allows Courtney to get in her head. I hated to admit it, but Courtney proved herself to be smarter than Emily in this environment. She stirred the pot until the Crazy Stew was perfect temperature and then allowed Emily to fill up her bowl and go feed it to Ben while she sat back and drank about 3 bottles of red and 1 bottle of white wine.

Emily regresses and makes an arguably bigger mistake than The Former Miss Pacific Palisades and Former Miss Bachleor Contestant, Samantha, made by dropping the "there's a girl here who acts differently in front of you than she does in front of us" speech. This is also known as "The Right Reasons" speech but that nomenclature has clearly been outlawed by the powers that be. Complaining about Courtney is tanatmount to Martha Stewart complaining that Rachel Ray has her own cooking show. It's useless and pointless. I'm sure she'll regret the hell out of that choice when she gets herself sent home next week after squandering her second chance by making the same mistake twice. She'll have plenty of time to think about it while icing her puffy eyes and sipping through a couple bottles of chardonnay in her apartment near campus while listening to Pink's Missundaztood album over and over again and ignoring her girlfriends' calls and texts. Ph.D? PHenomenally Dumb move, Emily.

Again, Courtney emerges victorious and puts a big fat (and well-deserved, I might add) cherry on top of her Emily cobbler by throwing in a "what an idiot" when she finds out what Emily did. If you'll recall, I predicted that Samantha would be the first to get booted for this particular breach of Bachelor ettiquette. I wasn't all wrong, but Emily should have learned her lesson.

After shaking off the laughter and getting himself together, Harrison rings the champagne glass and the rose ceremony begins in earnest. Emily sweats and Courtney gloats. She had a 1 in 8 chance of getting booted heading into the cocktail party. By caving into her own stupidity, upped her odds to 1 in 2. It went down as follows.

1. Jennifer
2. Courtney
3. Rachel
4. Lindzi
5. Jamie
6. Nicki
7. Kacie B. (keep it together, honey)
8. Elyse (why?)
9. Blakeley (she's calmed down)
10. Casey S. (Silence is Golden)
11. Emily (You're more sane than Samantha and you're not bi-sexual)

SEE YA, Samantha and Monica.

Well, there you have it. With the Amazing count at a steady 32 and the Journey count at an early season 12 (the "Journey" has not yet begun), we finally head out of the Western United States over to lovely Puerto Rico for next week's festivities. Until next time, take care of yourselves. In the meantime, if you need me, I'll be searching hard for a beaver dam. DP

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bachelor Ben Episode 3: On a Scale of 1-10 I Just Can't Take It

Hello, Readers. Welcome back to a VERY late on-season post. I'd apologize but who'd listen? Truth be told I changed law firms over the past two weeks and I've been inundated with the new gig. It's been a positive move so far, but The Man has a way of keeping his foot on my neck. Between that, my rampant alcoholism, loose morals, and my last two trials at the old firm and Some Guy simply hasn't had the time to type.

Nonetheless, I've dedicated the next couple of hours to you in the spirit of elevating your day like a goose in the rear end lifts up an old lady in an elevator. Before I get started on my metaphorical goose in your collective rear end, I'd like to thank all of you (all 191 of you) who emailed me various links regarding the selection of our newest Bachelorette--Emily and her white shorts. I do have to give a special shout out to my fellow blogger, Captain Barbarossa at www.barbarossasblast.blogspot.com, who emailed me weeks ago generously sharing that particular piece of information he apparently obtained from a very reliable source. Nice work, CB. If that source can get me that pair of white shorts for my mantle, I'd appreciate you looking into that for me. Benjamin Franklin would be very proud, if you know what I mean.

I'm fairly excited at the prospect of watching Emily skip around the beach next season in various stages of undress. How badly do you think Mondays are going to sting for our old buddy Brad, though? Ouch. I saw him at the gym two days ago, by the way. While his legs stay the same size, his chest continues to expand each time I see him. I'm beginning to wonder if Axe Body Spray comes in testosterone scent. That would explain the localized muscle growth. Annyyyyyhooo . . . Let's get to it.

Sans a couple of last week's crazies we begin Episode 3 a mere 44.5 miles (thanks, iPhone) from Sonoma, California in picturesque San Francisco. We see our standard shots of Alcatraz, trolley cars, Coit Tower, that big gazebo thing and, of course, the Golden Gate Bridge before Nikki debases it all by saying she's "like totally pysched" to see the city. I was already "like totally bored."

Incidentally, there's no need to go across the Golden Gate when traveling from Sonoma to San Francisco. Marin County lies across that bridge so I was mystified as to why they insulted all of us by taking that route. Good views, I suppose, and most of us were probably none the wiser.

Forgetting that he referred to Sonoma as "my home" as many times as Courtney referred to herself as a model last week, Ben strolls aimlessly through the Castro in search of a hot oil rub and tug at a local bathhouse before meeting himself in drag at a local restaurant.

Himself in drag turns out to be his equally nice sister, Julia who has unfortunately drawn the "we need someone for Ben to talk to while he recaps the past two shows" card and is forced to sit there and force a smile while she's force fed every fact about forces of nature, forceful women, and forced conversation. She feigns interest well and they adjourn . . . forcefully.

After woo-hooing in their heels and scarves while tooling around the Fairmont Hotel and ending up in the community hotel suite, the women become fascinated with the telescope in the room. Frankly, most of them are probably fascinated by anything long, stiff, and cylindrical, but that's beside the point. Courtney uses her thinking muscles and manages to put the narrow end to her eye instead of her mouth and seems relieved to learn that it's a telescope.

As a cool sip of Lone Star Beer was pulled from the cold neck of the bottle, I sat up in wonder when Harrison walked into the suite in full v-neck sweater complimented by a full v-neck undershirt and a sport coat. Suck it, Ben, I thought. That's how you make a solid v-neck work. Put that in your cut off jean shorts and smoke it.

Harrison does his job, drops the date card, and splits for some absinthe at the Fairmont Bar in order numb himself for the impending cocktail party.

"Love Lifts Us Up. --Ben" the date card reads and Emily who is "coincidentally" afraid of heights draws first date duty with our poorly coiffed Bachelor. She squirms in her seat a bit but is generally gracious and excited about the big date. She leaves to go buy some new hiking boots and Courtney drops "book smart can be a little boring." Then again so can vapid self-importance and transparent jealousy, but what do I know?

Proving she takes direction well (she's a PhD. candidate, after all) Emily does an alright job executing the jog, jump, and squeal greeting. She's no Jillian, but she makes it work. At this point, I frankly saw more chemistry between Ben and his sister, but I like Emily and again, she seemed grateful. That's a good quality to have and I don't think it's one a person can fake for very long.

Ben tells her that San Francisco is "my home" and that he's been in "every nook and cranny in the city." Look, I know there's an obvious gay joke lurking in the shadows, but I'm not going to take it. Gay people get enough fun poked at them from behind their backs and I'm not going to torpedo them over and over again like that. It's simply mean to bend a group of perfectly peaceful folks over a barrel by making them the butt of a joke all for the sake of a cheap laugh. It's not fair to drag them around town like that I just won't do it. The last thing they need is a pain in the ass like that. Being gay is extremely hard, even in open-minded cities like San Francisco. (You're welcome)

Speaking of gay, Ben shows off his Lululemon (I have to be psychic) yoga shirt and tells Emily they'll be exposing her greatest fear by climbing the suspension cables of the Bay Bridge. That date looked really fun, by the way. That sure beats the hell out of walking around town and buying trinkets from Rastafarians in Jamaica.

I will say that I was impressed with Emily's ability to "conquer" what obviously was not a real fear and have fun with Ben. For those of you who actually have a genuine fear of something or have experienced a person with that type of fear you know that Emily was pensive, but far from "afraid." I once had to spend half an hour coaxing a friend of mine down from atop an 8 foot wall. He was afraid of heights and when that fear unexpectedly took hold of him at that short of a height he became literally paralyzed in fear of his life. THAT's real fear. Before we go and give Jake credit for his little crying fit atop the bungee stand, I can tell you that what he was experiencing was not vertigo. He was just being a p*ssy. There's a difference. Annnnyyyyhooo . . .

Fake fears aside, Emily dons a purple dress (that color suited her) and Ben puts on a lot of lip gloss as they metaphor their way through the rest of the date before capping it off with fireworks and a big kiss. Good date. Good girl. Ben would do well to keep her around. She's not as wild and exciting as some of the others, but she's also not bitchy and vacant either.

Knock knock. The much maligned Group Date Card arrives and Blakeley, Jaclyn, Elyse (man), Jamie, Kacie B., Erika, Samantha, Monica, Rachel, Nikki, and Casey S. get the "Let's Cross Something Off Our Leap List" invite and a meaningless discussion ensues. Sigh.

Sporting ubiquitous oversized necklaces and accessories, the girls leave the hotel in order to meet Ben in his purple t-shirt and yet another pair of jean shorts. These were grey and I couldn't help but say a silent prayer that those were not THE gray jeans. You know, the ones that go so well with that yellow sweater.

In a shameless and gratuitous plug to the Honda whatever, the group piles in some sponsor cars and pretends to be fascinated with the feature allowing a driver top post a head shot of his favorite Bachelorette. What. Ever. Are the production folks at ABC really that lazy? At least attempt to disguise it for crying out loud.

Ben and the women arrive at a fake snow covered San Francisco street and proceed to risk torn knee ligaments and ice burns by skiing in their bikinis. Ben saw fit to ditch the purple shirt and the urine soaked hippies seemed to enjoy the show. The drunkest looking hippie was treated to a real show when Kacie inadvertantly found herself roaring uncontrollably backward down hill while bent over. In nature, that little trick is known as "presenting." She's lucky that telescope wasn't at the bottom of that hill or it would have ended up at the top of her throat.

Knock knock. I found myself missing the ding dong of the doorbell, which I found extremely ironic. Not being able to find a ding dong in San Francisco is certainly ironic. At any rate, the next date card gets dropped. A less-than-enthused Brittney gets the "let's unlock our love with the key to the city" card and proceeds to hate all of the potential fun in addition to hating all of the actual fun. Lindzi feels left out. Emily is positive. Jennifer and Courtney can taste the disappointment. Boooooring.

After retiring from street skiing the group ends up at Tonga, which apparently has "a pretty rad" pool according to Ben. Rachel lays on a lei and throaty voices her way into "you're greats" with Ben. Kacie's claws come out but she resists the urge to bend over and take a backward run at Ben. She gets some outdoor alone time and a kiss. Keep it together, I shouted. You're fine.

Ben tells us that "something about Kacie B. sparkles." It's her dress, dumbass. Well, either that or she dated that brooding a-hole in the vampire movies who sparkles in the sun.

Brittney and Emily discuss the fact that both of them need to lighten their roots if they stand a chance at the Fantasy Suite before Brittney disappoints her aging grandmother by throwing in the towel and hitting the road. She characterized that choice (more than once, by the way) as "the hardest choice of my life." Either she's clearly oblivious to overstatements or her life has been a freaking ferris wheel ride. Incidentally, that sweater she was wearing might have actually been the worst decision of her life.

She "struggles" some more with the enormity of packing her suitcase and changing her flight home before c*ck blocking Blakeley and telling an apathetic Ben that she's "leaving forever." Let's hope that it's forever forever and not Brad, Jake, Bentley, or that D-bag Ryan "forever." Poor Ben.

Like a newly discovered beauty queen college sex tape, Brittney's departure clears the way for Lindzie to pinch hit on the one-on-one date. Ben finally shaves whatever that thing on his face can be characterized as and Lindzie puts on a very flattering short dress in ignorant of the fact that her entire date will be tainted with the smell of stale urine and nicotine as she's forced to ride on public transportation and hang out at City Hall where some jackass who sounded like Adam Levine and Dave Matthew's love child serenaded them as Ben proved, yet again, that remedial dance knowledge is nowhere on the Bachelor application form.

Ben rallies, however, and they visit a speakeasy dive bar for dinner as Lindzie sits in Brittney's chair and eats Brittney's dinner before quickly earning Brittney's rose. She was like an older, hotter Goldilocks. Ben Grobans it up again on the piano and I was reminded why I like the guy. I'm rooting for Lindzie. Perhaps I'll send over a coupon for some dance lessons at Arthur Murray when they get engaged. Lord knows that effeminate bore Neil Lane won't get them anything.

Here's where the show began to get stupid.

Ring ring. Still no ding dong. ABC plays both ends of the pre-recorded Harrison/Shawntel phone call and Harrison commits to lose the silk hotel robe and slippers in favor of his well-tailored black suit and "come down" to meet Shawntel in order to escort her to the pack of fully accessorized, Jimmy Choo-wearing, wine swilling wolves at the cocktail party in the lobby.

I'll make this short because it frankly doesn't deserve the time it would take to play-by-play it back here. Shawntel shows up, the women go absolutely ape-shit, and Nikki plays a flash card game with Ben. The best line of this segment came from the normally droll Courtney who hit Blakeley with "she's the kind of girl your boyfriend cheats on you with." Ouch. That one falls into the "I'll give credit where credit is due" category. That's exactly what I did after I stopped laughing.

With estrogen flying around like women's underwear at a Chris Harrison hotel suite after party, even the sane women get caught in the frenzy. The heretofore resilient Emily diagnoses Courtney with a "social disorder." It looks like SOMEONE's been studying for finals, I thought.

Courtney secrets Ben away in some anteroom where JFK cheated on his wife with Marilyn Monroe and they have an eighth grade "I like you" conversation before he kisses her lip implant and she says, "we could make cute babies." Yea, and crazy ones too. I instantly pictured a swaddled baby boy with Ben's hair and Courtney's inflated lips. It wasn't very cute.

Shawntel ends up wishing she'd embalmed herself prior to walking into the party, Ben drops a "holy sh*t" when he sees her, she pretends to like him and unattractive Jaclyn proceeds to make herself really unattractive by aggressively going after Shawntel. Lindzi "big balls" Shawntel (I love Lindzi), and Elyse almost pulls out her balls and puts Shawntel to shame . . . and probably Ben too (sorry, MH. She looks like a man).

Cringing behind a throw pillow I endured this in real time for you, my loyal readers. As painful as it was it all became worth it when after the usually calm Rachel asked in a bitchy tone, "why are you here." Shawntel didn't do herself any favors by playing the "I have Harrison's cell number" card. The looks were priceless.

Another thing I couldn't figure out was when the women characterized Shawntel as "Brad's dumpster trash." I suppose Ashley's dumpster trash doesn't bother them, but that's neither here nor there. "So she just did the season before this and she just gets to come back," one of them asks. Uh, yea. I was over it at that point.

Harrison shows up looking like the freaking Cheshire Cat and the rose ceremony begins amidst classless and catty behavior usually reserved for the Flavor of Love and shows of its ilk. Erika the law student passes out proving she's not cut out to be a trial lawyer and the entire bulls*it is put on hold as she's tended to. The best part was that Ben still dumped her anyway. It went down as follows:

1. Lindzie
2. Rachel
3. Emily
4. Courtney (Ben called her bluff)
5. Kacie B.
6. Elyse
7. Jamie
8. Jennifer
9. Casey S.
10. Blakeley
11. Monica
12. Nikki
13. Samantha

Booted: Erika, Jaclyn (good), and Shawntel (I guess Ben didn't want to spend Christmas in Chico).

Well, there it is. With the Amazing count at 23 and the Journey count at 10 we head into next week. Thanks, as always, for sticking around even in spite of my tardiness. Take care of yourselves. Until next week, if you need me I'll be cutting off all of my variously colored jeans at the knees. DP

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bachelor Ben Episode 3 Post

I'll be posting late this evening or tomorrow before lunch. My "real" job is riding me like Lindzi rides her horse. Hope you're all well. DP

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bachelor Ben Recap Episode 2: Orange You Glad It's Bachelor Season?

Hello, Readers. Welcome back to what has quickly proven itself to be the b*tchiest season in Bachelor history. For crying out loud, what is the world coming to when we can’t even count on our reality television to fairly and accurately represent a cross-section of our population?

Then again, if we narrow that cross-section down to attention seeking, morally flexible females who have the ability to ditch their lives for five weeks with no consequences, then I suppose we got the real deal on Monday night. Top the cat fights, crying, and pettiness off with the fact that I missed the first half of the National Championship game to watch the show and Some Guy is a little disenchanted. No worries, however. My disenchantment often breeds sarcasm and sharp insults. Let’s get to it.

We begin—oddly enough—as we’d begin our hometown episodes usually much later in the season. After some gratuitous bikini shots and a sneak peak at Blakeley’s inexplicable frilly, turquoise bathing suit which, based upon the size and girth of her implants I can only assume was reinforced with some material taken from Superman’s leotard, we see Ben walking his Jack Russell terrier through the mean streets of Sonoma, California in an army green shirt he clearly borrowed from Ames.

Grapes, sun, and the hominess of Ben’s home town are interspersed with Flipcam (or the latest equivalent sponsor) shots of the girls in their casual airplane attire . . . and heels . . . arriving at the local airport. In anticipation of their arrival, Ben drives aimlessly amidst the grapes in “his” Scrambler with his dog as the women hop aboard convertible Studebakers and coif champagne while—you guessed it—driving through the grapes.

Two points before I move on: First, Jack Russell terriers are terrible dogs. They suck. Sure, they’re cute and all but they’re surprisingly nasty, they never calm down, and they stink like a homeless man under a bridge when they get older. They’re horrible with children as well. If you have one (a terrier not a child) please save your time defending the breed. I don’t care how “intelligent” they are and I don’t care that John Mahoney had one on Frasier. I’m sure they’re lovely in the right environment.

Second, what happened to the budget on this show? Upon further reflection, I assume the top picks will be traveling somewhere exotic. It makes no sense for ABC to drop significant dough on the window dressing. Still, hometown walking tours are about as cheap as it gets. Like ABC, I’ll chalk that up to Ben’s “simplicity” and move forward. I miss zip lining and bungee jumping, though. Remember when Jake—who is allegedly a pilot—cried like a fairy at the top of that bridge? Now THAT was good television. Annnyyhooo.

The girls arrive just in time for Blakeley to exit the Studebaker in her younger, smaller sister’s romper that she borrowed because “it would look SO cute on.” I’m not a big fan of the foul language and blatant insults spewing out of the women’s mouths like fresh oil from Spindletop (we’ll get to that later), but I have to agree that she looked as cheap as a stolen pistol in that getup. I smiled, shook my head, sipped my Lone Star, and sat back waiting for Harrison to arrive and welcome everyone to “an emotional week” before dropping the first date card.

Sadly, an early Harrison appearance was not in the budget this week either. What. The. Fu*ck? No Harrison? Having Ben welcome the ladies to Sonoma and drop his own date card instead of Harrison is like going to a strip club and having the bartender hop up to center stage and do a pole dance. I felt cheated and I let my television set know it. Regardless, Kacie B.—who looked lovely, by the way--gets the first date and the back biting begins in earnest.

Ben tells us that he wants “to show her something that’s extremely personal.” Now we’re talking, I thought. Usually we have to wait until Fantasy Suite week for thinly veiled statements about unabashed, anonymous copulation. Kacie throws on some tiny black shorts and a striped sailor shirt and Ben arrives—for some reason—in an oxford and a vest. A vest? Is he a magician? A blackjack dealer? Is he a banker in the 1800’s in Tombstone, Arizona? Is he moonlighting at Chippendales? Does he work in the mall? Is he planning on trying his hand in Vaudeville? Does he own a haberdashery? A vest?

By the way, feel free to post your comments regarding other proper places to wear a vest. In the interest of time, I’ll move on. A vest?

After strolling past the Sonoma Cheese Factory—where they would probably find Jake, Wes, and Brad—Ben does another Josh Groban impression at the local hotel piano bar and heads to the local candy store for some lunch box and baton shopping with Kacie. They “quaint” and “so neat” each other (and us) to death before having some good dinner conversation and some laughs.

I’ll say this about Kacie: she was attractive, fun, a good listener, and seemed to genuinely appreciate Ben and his home town. She’s didn’t come across as fake, uncomfortable, or insincere. Top that off with the fact that she has the flexibility to leave her administrative assistant job and high tail it from Tennessee to California and we may be looking at a finalist. Then again, Brad had a killer first date with Ashley before she melted down over the course of the next few episodes. It’s early, but she hit a home run on this date. She got a rose before heading to the theater for some home movies.

The only thing I’ll say about this portion of the date is that I’m glad it was Kacie and not one of the fake, insincere, attention seekers who got to share the dad video with him. I’m sure the Producers knew that when they called her parents for the video. My only regret is that we didn’t get to see Blakeley’s childhood videos. My guess is that she would have been wearing that same romper. Granted, it would have fit a bit differently.

Ding Dong. Date card. STILL no Harrison. Brittney, Rachel, Jennifer, Blakeley, Emily, Jenna, Shawn, Monica, Samantha, Jamie, Nicki, and Jaclyn get the “Come play with me. Ben” date card and Blakeley gets bitchy. By the way, I thought Rachel and Jennifer looked great. With toned down make up and hair they both looked several years younger and much more attractive than I gave them credit for initially. Sure, the “red” hair is a bit over the top, but I’ll chalk that up to lighting and television. Monica, on the other hand, looked as bad as she did last week. She had enough rouge splattered all over her face to repaint an old barn.

Ben wanders around with his borderline feminine dog in white cut off knee shorts that we assume once held the same proud place as the gray Levis in his closet before becoming shorts. Blakeley shows up in her romper with her boobs flailing around like flags in a windstorm and tells us that she hopes Ben “sees her.” Trust me, Blakeley, with that outfit and those implants Helen Keller would have seen you. She looked cheap and unattractive in the daylight. She acted like it too.

As Samantha commences peppering Blakeley with the “hooker” and “whore” comments that would eventually drive Blakeley to fake cry under cover of rolling luggage bags, we learn that the community theater will host “Prince Pinot of Bachelorville” as written by Sonoma’s fifth through seventh graders. I’ll skip the tryouts in favor of pointing out that the kid who upon realizing that Blakeley’s outfit wouldn’t fit his younger sister asked her if she could jog in slow motion. I’m not sure if it’s a statement about me, eighth grade boys, or men in general, but that’s exactly what I was thinking when she hit the stage. Her whole cans hanging out and sexual energy act might go over like gang busters at whatever VIP lounge she waitresses at, but Ben and his small town are not likely to buy it.

Incidentally, I have to give Jenna’s psychiatrist proper credit for phoning in the right dose of sedative for the group date. Up to this point in the show, she was surprisingly calm and docile. I’ll also go ahead and back off my “gorgeous” comment from last week. She didn’t look very good even before the meltdown this week. Even Some Guy makes a mistake every now and then. Hell, she’s so tiny that she probably has a hummingbird feeder instead of a refrigerator in her studio apartment in NYC. I’m certain that the Xanex she took was in liquid form. A pill was likely to get stuck in her esophagus.

As the play takes place it becomes glaringly apparent which girls have the motherly instinct and which ones will continue soaking their ovaries in vodka appletinis until they stop spitting out eggs. As over the top as it was, I found myself actually appreciating Ben. They guy is a real guy and he’s clearly not worried about how many egg whites he eats or what scent of Axe Body Spray compliments his deep v-necks. He clearly put in the work in the gym in the off season but didn’t overdo it. It sort of annoys me that I like the guy. Hell, I have a lot in common with him. How am I supposed to insult him for another 10 episodes? I’m sure I’ll figure something out. There’s always that haircut.

After the play and another few “b*tch, slut, and hooker” comments concerning Blakeley, we head to the Fairmont Spa for the after party after all of the girls stop off for an over application of eye make up and tanning cream. Samantha ends up “slut and hookering” herself into a frenzy and escapes to the bathroom to cry about it before the well grounded girls enter the fray and attempt to calm her which proves as effective as urinating into gale force winds.

Before the hot tub fondling begins we cut back to the mansion where Kacie reads the “Let’s Spin the Bottle. Ben” date card meant for Courtney. Erika gets annoyed, Kacie gets offended, and Courtney gloats. At least I think she was gloating. It was increasingly difficult to tell based upon the vacant look that was constantly plastered on her face. At least she didn’t mention she’s a model prior to rubbing the date card in the face of everyone within close proximity.

As chicken fights ensue Blakeley sheds some light on her overly competitive, spiteful behavior by attributing all of it to the fact that she’s a Scorpio. Whatever. Jennifer and Ben get some alone time in some interior hot tub lined with votive candles and she sneaks a kiss after pronouncing the word “perfect” correctly for the first time in the last two seasons of this show. As I said before, she looked good this week and she didn’t overdo it by trying too hard in the hot tub. She was sufficiently engaging without being overly anxious. Some of the other girls would do well to take notes of her performance. She ended up feeling a bit insecure about the entire interaction; however, from the male perspective, she earned more points than the sexually aggressive Blakeley and her frilly turquoise bathing suit. Michelle Money learned that lesson the hard way a couple of seasons ago. Apparently, Scorpios don’t watch television.

Despite homely Jaclyn’s “Blakeley is super-fakely” zinger Ben dons a tank top that matches Blakeley’s frilly swimsuit and presents her with the rose. That rose presentation was as staged as a Don King Promotions title fight. Oblivious to the Producer’s manipulation, the heretofore confident and calm Jennifer has a semi-meltdown before getting it together and Samantha again “slut and horseys” herself back into that aforementioned frenzy making one of the cardinal sins of mansion living proximity by allowing Blakeley to get in her head. Amateur.

Ben arrives along with Scotch the dog to pick up Courtney the fox in her white Emily-esque shorts so he can drive her past another few miles of grapes in order to show her some firm, hard wood. In the absence of firm, hard wood, Ben takes her to a redwood forest instead. Once she dropped the vixen act, she actually seemed nice—vacant and boring, yes, but nice nonetheless. Ben’s black jean cut offs seemed to agree. All of us have been attracted to a person solely based on looks and there’s no bigger bummer when that turns out to be the only thing worth noting about that person.

After a tractor ride through—you guessed it—more grapes and dinner in the vineyard, Courtney uses the word “cathartic” before garnering a rose from a tipsy Ben. Look, she did well and they seemed to get along fine. I tend to think that was more about Ben’s openness and comfort rather than any overwhelmingly fantastic personality trait she possessed. At any rate, she gets a rose as her hotness eclipses her lack of personality thereby fooling Ben.

Overall, it was a vanilla evening and Courtney came across as extremely hollow. To paraphrase a famous poet; This is the way the date ends. Not with a bang but a whimper. I suppose we’ll have to wait until Courtney makes it to the Fantasy Suite before anything ends with a bang. T.S. Eliot probably just rolled over in his grave. For you literature buffs out there, I promise to tie in Heart of Darkness sometime this season.

Back at the cocktail crying party Ben arrives dressed like The Transporter and we get some clever juxtaposition a la Ali v. Foreman between Blakeley and Courtney’s scheming. Like the hypothetical WWIII in Red Dawn, that conflict is bound to happen sooner than later. My money is on Courtney. She’s hotter, more subtle in front of Ben, and “my girlfriend is a model” sounds better than “my girlfriend is a nudie bar waitress.” Regardless of the outcome, that one should be interesting to watch.

Monica shows off her Rosacea, Lindzi looks orange, and Jenna still appears medicated and sober although I noticed her sipping some chardonnay. As we’d soon see, the synergistic effects of alcohol and anti-anxiety medication are never pleasant, especially in neurotic, bulimic waifs.

Ben and Lindzi get some alone time. She admits to never wearing make up, driving an F-350 pick up truck, and being at home in the country. Had she also mentioned an affinity for Lone Star Beer and honky tonks I would have instantly forgotten about Emily’s white shorts. She’s cool and she kept her head about her. Sadly, that combination doesn’t equal success on this show, but I still like her.

Moving from the sublimely hot to the pathetically ridiculous, Ben makes his way from Lindzi to Samantha who “jugs and hookers” her way into her third Blakeley frenzy. Ironically, Blakeley’s c*ck block of Samantha saves Samantha from making another cardinal mistake in the Bachelor world: being the first to badmouth another contestant. I think we can all count on that occurring much sooner than later and it will likely be Samantha who does it. Oh, and the first girl to say “I hate drama” and “I promise I’m a really cool chick” doesn’t hate drama and is a pain in the ass more often than she isn’t.

Enter a chardonnay-primed Jenna on the heels of the freshly Christened “Blakeley Situation” and proceeds to (see the above rule) tell Ben that she’s “not like your typical girl” before literally melting down in front of him like Frosty the Freaking Snowman on a hot day. Blakeley was so sick of it she went to go fake cry in the corner of the “Luggage Room.” Poor Ben. To hell with pruning and trimming. He’d do better to just torch the whole forest and start over.

Just as the wheels are about to come off (and the channel was about to get changed), Harrison arrives on his steed with his magical champagne glass and butter knife. It’s about freaking time, I said to my television set. Let’s get to chopping.

After dealing with the carrying on, Ben dispenses the remaining 13 roses as Kacie, Blakeley, and Courtney reveled in their safeness.

1. Kacie
2. Courtney
3. Blakeley
4. Jennifer
5. Elyse
6. Jaclyn
7. Erika
8. Rachel
9. Lindzi
10. Nicki
11. Casey S.
12. Samantha
13. Monica
14. Jamie
15. Brittney

Jenna and Shawn get sent packing. Predictably, Shawn is silent. She likely packed immediately while simultaneously calling her daughter and telling her she couldn’t wait to get home. Jenna, on the other hand, reverts into her familiar state of shock and mortification while crying uncontrollably. That poor girl needs Dr. Jamie.

Well, there it is. With the Amazing count at 16 and the Journey count at 6 we head West/Southwest to San Francisco for another week of stupidity. Until next week, take care of yourselves. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be coating my face and neck in orange tanning cream. DP

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bachelor Ben Recap Episode 1: Flajnik at the Disco

Hello, Readers! Happy New Year and welcome back from what proved to be a long off-season. If you’re like me, I’m certain you’re all recovering from shaking your respective tail feathers until the wee hours of the new year. For those of you who stuck around and attempted to digest my drivel each week, I’m thankful. For those of you who rely solely upon me for Bachelor material, well, I’m thankful for you too. From the looks of it, I’m going to have a lot from which to draw from this season. It’s good to be back again.

In hopes that some of you (a lot of you, actually) are new readers, allow me to dispense with my once-a-season disclaimer before we begin in earnest. What I comment on within the pages of this blog is based 100% on the first thing that pops into my head when I watch the show. I watch it once without rewinding and then I write. No edits, no rewrites. It’s that simple. Take what you see with a big fat grain of salt and, most importantly, enjoy it. If you don’t, then thanks for trying me out. With that out of the way, let’s get to it.

Yes, folks, it’s that time of year. It’s the time of year when we put away the holiday decorations, stop pretending to be cheery, retrieve the liquor from wherever we hid it so as not to alarm judgey mothers-in-law, and return to the droll, unsatisfying grind that we call life. Alright, hopefully it’s not that bad for most of you, but you get the picture.

Some Guy spent the weekend dismantling the tree in the living room. I carefully stored my colored balls. You know, so as not to damage them. And, as is my tradition, the last thing I did was (sadly) put away my mistletoe belt buckle for another year. Then, like an overgrown goldfish in an aquarium, I waited patiently for my manna from above. Finally, there it was: The Bachelor season began.

We begin as we always do—slowly and repetitively. I will admit that it was nice to be reminded that I liked Ben last season. Fortunately for him, Ashley didn’t feel the same way. He showed some sack at the Final Rose Ceremony and left, albeit on a fishing boat in a tuxedo, with a modicum of dignity. Frankly, I’m surprised he took the gig, but why the hell not take it, right? He gets a free trip around the world (again), tons of attractive (notice I didn’t say sane) women fawning over him and his poor haircut for 6 weeks, and the option of tapping the three hottest ones like kegs of fermented grapes in the Fantasy Suite in some tropical locale. All of that and he gets to hang out with Harrison and Neil Lane. Odd are if he’s cool enough they’ll deal him in on the yearly poker game in Harrison’s tropical cabana. I’d do it and that’s saying a lot.

Down to Earth or not, we still need to address the issue of Ben’s wardrobe prior to getting the to back biting, blatant bisexuality, and bipolar bulimics this week. As predicted, ABC had the wherewithal to stay away from Ben’s sub par Bachelor build and lack of supplement rich diet in favor of the ample scenery of Sonoma, California and San Francisco Bay.

Granted, Ben does look like he added some muscle in the off season. I could tell that because I saw his arms and shoulders through his coral tank top with the blue trim as he drove “his” yacht and “his” Scrambler around various local landmarks. Ames would love that tank top. In fact, he probably sent it to Ben as a congratulatory gift when he got the Bachelor job. However, Ben is comparatively soft around the mid line and no one wants to see that. Gasp! That would be too close too---well, reality.

We see a few more minutes of our formerly “emotionally stuck” Bachelor as he demonstrates the deep v-neck t-shirt in every color of the rainbow in addition to several earth tones. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I suppose. That little montage—plus or minus some shower and gym shots—has worked for 16 seasons.

In summary, we all got the point: Ben is eligible, his heart is healed, and he’s as available as a Congress Avenue hooker on a rainy, cold night. Ashley Smashley. For those of you with skulls as dense as a bank vault door, ABC took the liberty of dressing Ben up in a royal blue oxford and a sport coat and slapping him in front of the piano at the mansion so he could further drive the point home amidst the sweet sounds of the ivories. The guy already looks like Josh Groban and they dress him up like Josh Groban and throw him behind a piano? I sighed as I sipped the year’s first Lone Star and said aloud, “where’s Harrison, for God’s sake. I get it.”

Thankfully, Harrison emerges from the subtle blue and purple back lighting on to the freshly sprayed cobblestones of the mansion driveway. I was also thankful when he cleared up the pronunciation of Ben’s last name. “Fl—ANN—ick” is apparently the proper way to say it. I’m certain I’ll have something clever to say about the silent “J” as the season progresses but for now, I’m ust too tired to think of any okes. I’ve been uggling a lot over the holidays and now that anuary is here, I’ll need to get the ingle bells out of my head and ust relax in order to og my memory for some good material.

It is later revealed that Ben is spawned from an Italian/Slovenian father and a German/English mother. I suppose that means he’s a ¾ fascist who drinks tea ¼ of the time. Now, let’s get to the ezebels.

Prior to the arrival of the estrogen and champagne loaded limos, we see a disinterested Harrison meeting Ben for a sit down and some more (you guessed it) recapping. The “A” word is revisited as Ben puts a good (and boring) spin on getting dumped in the tropics. Surprise, he’s over it and ready to move on. Throw in Dr. Jamie and a gallon of Axe Body Spray and this is beginning to sound familiar.

The message carried the same weight as when it was delivered via tank top and deep v-neck mere moments before. Again, aside from the haircut, I like Ben. Let’s hope that he picks the right one this season. Meeting adjourned, the limos begin to arrive and we quickly learned that each woman was clearly instructed (or given) to invent a gimmick. Frankly, the entire thing was painful and obviously scripted. Reality Schmality. Even Ben looked bored.

Now comes the problem with the first episode for Some Guy. This one is always especially hard to write about because it’s not chronologically organized and many of the key “characters” get a lot more air time than the rest of the temporary tramps. What I’ve elected to do is to break down the 25 (plus the old maid) “women” in alphabetical order and then comment a bit on the big cocktail party (poor Jenna). As the herd is culled, I’ll revert to my preferred format.

Harrison checks in as usual and lets us know that the limos are packed with women who have come “to specifically meet Ben.” I suppose that beats generally waving to him from a distance as one bachelorette would soon discover, but whatever.

1. Amber B., 23 --- I know, it’s shocking that there’s more than one “Amber” in the mix, right? This one arrives in a flowy, multicolored dress. It reminded me of a dress you’d see at the annual company awards banquet for the top sales achievers in Maui. She likely bought it for that occasion and recycled it. Her last name is Bacon. After hearing her badmouth the other girls in a brutal way—that’s so unattractive—I quickly learned that she’s named after the breakfast meat and not the famous author. Ironically, her hooters were so big it looked like she was smuggling two hams underneath that awful dress. Trust me, ladies. Few things are less attractive to a man than an attitude like hers. Thankfully, she got No Rose.

2. Amber T., 28 --- I know, it’s shocking that there’s more than one “Amber” in the mix, right? She’s the nurse from Nebraska who loves to eat cow balls. We call those Calf Fries here in Texas. We see her shooting skeet over a cornfield in Nebraska while dressed from head to toe in camouflage. I realize that it didn’t strike the vast majority of you who believe that hunting or shooting is an activity reserved for unsophisticated rednecks; however, I know no one who dresses in full camo to go shoot skeet. It’s not like the skeet are going to see her and change direction. Unnecessary perpetuation of stereotypes aside, I got what she was going for. She’s a tomboy and a daddy’s girl who’s not afraid to get dirty. She showed up to the mansion in a yellow dress that was the opposite of camouflage and hair looking a la Nikki Sixx circa 1987. She seemed cool, but alas, No Rose.

3. Anna, 25.--- She’s 25 and a “student.” In reality television world, that means she’s taking a semester off while working at Hooters. She went with the no introduction fly by. Guess what, you dunce? That equals No Rose.

4. Blakely, 34 --- She’s a VIP Cocktail Waitress with 4 tattoos. Her dress was awful but she’s very pretty even though her face is longer than Mr. Levi or whatever Lindzie’s horse’s real name is. She had a pseudo make out session with Monica and appears to be a bit naughty. She has a forearm tattoo and a slutty disposition. She seems smarter than her career choice implies. We’ll see how she does. She got a Rose. Duh. If Ben is smart he’ll take her and Monica along on one Fantasy Date. From the looks of it, that could work out well for Ben in addition to saving ABC the cost of a helicopter rental for the third date.

5. Brittney, 26 --- She’s in medical sales and she’s from Colorado. She brought her grandma to show solidarity to Ben’s family commitment. Clearly contrived by someone other than her, Ben was able to look past the stunt and appreciate the fact that she’s nice. She got a Rose despite being brutally stabbed in the back.

6. Casey S., 26 ---She’s from Kansas and she kept it short and sweet. A nice smile along with staying below the radar often equal no elimination in the first round. She proved that. She got a Rose.

7. Courtney, 28 ---I think she’s a model from Santa Monica. She made it a point to drop that into the conversation a half dozen times. She also dropped “I deserve a 2 carat ring” and “I’m better than the rest of the girls.” She’s clearly this season’s vixen. While my initial take on her was a hopeful one, she appears to be a snotty, self-important brat with no tolerance for anyone but herself. Like Michelle Money before her, her mean streak will backfire. Being competitive is one thing, but being cutthroat is another. In the understatement of the newly christened year she says, “I think Jenna might be a little sensitive.” Right. I think the Germans might have been a little aggressive in the late 1930’s.

She bonds with Ben telling him (after she mentions she’s a model) she’s Italian, Scottish, and Native American. That means she’s 1/3 fascist who drinks 2/3 of the time. Perhaps Ben can talk her into selling him her dress for a handful of trinkets and some fire water. From the looks of the previews, he apparently does.

Ben will likely remain oblivious to her conniving ways considering the fact that she’s super hot. Sorry ladies, but that’s how it works most of the time. As for me? I’m disappointed. Her looks will eventually fade and she’ll be left with the sad inadequacies of post-mid life plastic surgery. She might as well change her name to Janice Dickinson right now. No surprise, she got a Rose.

8. Dianna, 30---Cute brunette in a white Fay Wray dress who was so perky and tongue tied Ben had trouble not laughing in her face. King Kong’s giant hand should have mercifully emerged from stage right and scooped her off the show. She seemed nice enough but she didn’t stand out. No Rose.

9. Elyse, 24 --- Personal Trainer from Chicago who attended the Ashley Hebert School of Diction. It’s in Madawaska, Maine and they offer online classes and a night program. She got No Rose but will undoubtedly parlay her limited appearance on the show into multiple “celebrity” appearances at local Chicago gyms. She still looked like a man. She got a “you’re less worse than the bottom 8” Rose.

10. Emily, 27. She’s working on her PhD. in epidemiology. She showed up with mouth spray and anti-bacterial lotion to drive that point home. I was impressed that she worked in a kiss, but my joy quickly faded to horror. Apparently, all of that time buried in textbooks made her oblivious to the fact that white women should never try to rap. She’s like a female Jason Aldean for God’s sake. That whole exchange wherein she rapped some ridiculous verses about Ben and epidemiology was horrible. I contracted a sickness from watching it. Like walking a tightrope drunk, that’s never a good idea. She did enough to get a Rose, but she needs to relax on the gimmicks if she’s going to stick around.

11. Erika, 23 --- Law student with a lip tattoo from Chicago with the horrible purple sequined mess of a dress and the equally horrible “the verdict is in and you’re guilty of being sexy” opening line which she drove home with finger guns. Go back to Chicago and work on your Esquire. She annoyed me, but not Ben. She got a Rose.

12. Holly, 34 ---She wore a giant Kentucky Derby hat to hide her weathered skin, Vienna-esque eyes, and accentuate her marginally attractive boobs. She tells Ben that Kentucky is known for Beautiful Women and Fast Horses---or was it the other way around? Regardless, the stunt lost steam down the stretch and she didn’t Win, Place, or Show in spite of dropping the word “cock” into the mix. No Rose

13. Jaclyn, 27. I still find her incredibly unattractive. However, I liked her personality. Ben did too. She got a Rose. I hope she gets a one-on-one date before she gets sent home. She seemed sweet.

14. Jamie, 25 – She’s an RN from NY with no dad. Dude, when I’m right, I’m right. I was called a misogynist for the following comment based upon her picture and profile last week.

“Hey Ben, run. The career choice is nothing more than the manifestation of her disproportionately overwhelming desire to care and nurture others caused by the neglect of an emotionally unavailable father. She’s looking for everything he wasn’t. Get out while the getting is good.”

Look, she seemed nice and I found her attractive. She just seems to have a lot of baggage stemming from her childhood. If it comes out the way it did in a brief interview, then it’s bubbling just below the surface. I like her and like Lucius said to Maximus in Gladiator, “I shall root for her.” I’m afraid her baggage will prove too heavy for Ben to manage. She got a well-deserved Rose.

15. Jenna, 27 ---Alas, Poor Jenna. I knew her, Harrison, a woman of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. She hath bore me on her back a thousand times, and now how abhorr'd in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it.

Notwithstanding my blatant Hamlet heist, I had such high hopes for our blogger from New York. The bottom line is that she’s troubled. I suppose her big meltdown and her clear anxiety issues made for good TV, but I actually felt sorry for her. She’s gorgeous, albeit a tad thin for my taste, and her profile made me laugh. I suppose she’s comfortable at home in her 400 sq. ft. Manhattan loft with everything in its place exactly where it should be in support of her daily routine. We saw that in her lead in as she blogged and walked around town in a sarong. It wasn’t until later that we found out that something was clearly “sarong” with Jenna. She squeaks more than a rusty swing set.

People with her types of issues do not handle change, conflict, or stress very well. We saw that in spades last night. I won’t even pay homage to the “share a tampon” comment. Suffice it to say that I think we’re all hopeful that she’ll emerge from this as unscathed as possible and move toward dealing with her obvious anxiety issues. She’s gorgeous and she drinks wine while blogging. I’d be lying if I didn’t’ say she made my gorge rise. She got a ratings Rose.

16. Jennifer, 28 --- She’s a red headed accountant from Oklahoma. I was a tad harsh on her when I saw her head shot. She looks older than 28 but seemed relatively nice and certainly “together.” She’s probably too nice for all of the back biting and gamesmanship, which is a shame. Regardless, she’ll be on the Trail of Tears back to Oklahoma very soon. Rose.

17. Kacie, 24 – Naughty looking administrative assistant from Tennessee. She’s dumb. Really dumb. Notwithstanding that, she had a decent personality and proved herself a contender at the cocktail party by remaining sane and sober which, as you’ll all undoubtedly agree, proved to be a challenge for a good deal of the “ladies.” Her solo shots showed her watching the Bachelor and walking around her home town. Does she have any interests? I suppose we shall see. She got a rose.

18. Lindzi C., 27 --- She’s a DP front runner and by far the most attractive woman in the bunch. I know I’ll get some push back from some of you, so allow me to explain. Yes, the whole horse entrance was hokey, but we all know she didn’t invent it. She’s attractive, seems normal, has a true passion, and seems to have her s*it together. My favorite part was that she saved the “Welcome to Dumpsville, population you” text she got from an ex-boyfriend. Sure, it’s a little creepy that she saved the text, but just think of the high fives that guy got from his buddies in some Bellvue bar as he sipped his pale ale and exclaimed “I nailed her” before picking up the complimentary shot on the table and pounding it home. Either that guy is a Class A Jerk (or is it erk?) or there’s more to that story. She got a much deserved First Impression Rose. Hokey equals memorable and watering that stunt down with a nice smile and some sanity equals a good start. Stupid name spelling (which is not her fault) aside, she’ll do well.

19. Lindsie J., 29 ---She’s the English broad with the giant, attention seeking personality and the John Travolta chin to match. Her lead in featured her donning various costumes from around the world and dancing around in them while spouting off various colloquialisms. Mary Poppins would slap her. As painful as that was, it was less awkward than her over-the-top recitation of a poem to a clearly horrified Ben in the driveway. If she tones it down, she’ll find a guy in Phoenix. No Rose

20. Monica, 33 --- Incredibly bitchy, Type A, Alpha Female who looks like a poor man’s Paris Hilton. She’d likely be asked to star in a pornographic parody a la “Nailin’ Palin” if Paris hadn’t already made one. Her claws came out the second she hit the mansion door and put her broom in the hall closet. Perhaps she’s just mad a house fell on her sister. Annnyyyyhoooo.

She went after Jenna well after it was apparent that she won the first exchange and she demonstrated her bisexuality by openly hitting on Blakeley. She also accused Jenna of having no class for mentioning the word “tampon” even though she dropped the “C” word in addition to words likely to make Joe Pesci blush all over the mansion. She was mean and that will likely be the extent of her role this season. She’ll serve as the evil nemesis to Jenna’s anxiety ridden sweetness. She got a ratings Rose and I assume she’ll be praying for a jaunt through Holland where she’ll undoubtedly get her finger caught in a dike.

21. Nicki, 26 --- She’s a cute dental hygienist from Hurst, Texas with a penchant for posing on top of longhorns. She married at 21 and then divorced, which is her big cross to carry this season. She’s as dingy as a rowboat but was sufficiently nice and perky to keep Ben’s interest. Her cocktail dress looked like the Von Trapp nanny sewed it from curtain fabric but her intro was short and she seems sweet. I like her. She’s from Texas too.

22. Rachel, 27 --- She’s the one who looks like Olivia Newton John who looked great in her red dress and attempted to mediate the Lesbian vs. Looney battle between Monica and Jenna. I really liked her and the “My middle name is Rose” line actually worked. She also dropped my favorite quote of the evening when asked by an irrationally upset Jenna, “Why does Monica hate me out of nowhere?” Rachel calmly responded, “Because that’s what girls do.” Solid. She earned a Rose.

23. Samantha, 26 – Exits the limo perkily in her “Miss Pacific Palisades” sash. “I’m Miss Pacific Palisades,” she announces to an obviously unimpressed Ben. Uh, no Samantha. You WERE Miss Pacific Palisades. Now you’re just weird. Her most priceless moment of the night came when she saw Monica and Blakeley cuddling on the couch. The stunned look on her pageanty face said, “ooooooo, you could totally lose your crown for behavior like that forcing the runner up to assume your duties and ending your pageant career leading you to pursue unlimited fame and fortune as a pop star or an actress.” Priceless. She got a Rose.

24. Shawn, 28 ---She’s this season’s single mom and I have to admit that she looks much better than her initial head shot. We see her in her daily life as a finance manager and then reading to her child after bringing home the bacon. “What’s the difference between a fast poke and a slow poke,” he asks as she reads him a passage from an age-appropriate book. I’m certain she responded by making the distinction between time in the hot tub vs. time in the Fantasy Suite, but I’m not sure what she said.

We all know—minus that harlot Michelle Money—that single mom’s tend to exhibit an exorbitant amount of maturity and composure when compared to the rest of the drunken twenty-somethings on the show. My guess is that Shawn will be no different. She seemed nice. Too nice for this mess. She got a Rose in spite of an ill-fitting green dress and a Bump-It.

25. Shira—She’s the ageless waif of an actress who can’t remember the lines she wrote for herself. I could just see her agent cringing behind his pillow when he realized that the favors he cashed in to get her on the show were all for naught. She was plain and Ben realized it early. No rose

26. Sheryl—She’s the sweet and out-of-place grandmother who killed everyone’s buzz when she crashed the bitch party. She’s 72 and dropped, “if I was 30 years younger” she’d be into Ben. 30? Try 45. If you were 30 years younger you’d be Gwen. She seemed sincere and sweet although she didn’t “get” the show. It must be nice for Brittney to have her in her life. Many people (including me) don’t get the chance to know their grandparents like that. Cynicism aside, I’m glad the old biddy showed up.

After more drama than a summertime production of Shakespeare in the park, the roses are handed out by an ice water with a lemon toting Ben and the stage is set for another season of addictive ridiculousness. It’s good to be back. I’ll be seeing all of you every Tuesday—give or take—this season and I look forward to a fun ride. With the Amazing count at 8 and the Journey count at 3, we head toward next week. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be sorting my R.O.Y. G. B.I.V. tank top and deep v-neck collection. DP