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