Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Bachelor Ben Episode 1: Laced with Drama

Well hello, Readers.  I trust all of you had a fulfilling holiday season and a Happy New Year:  all just a precursor to the big Bachelor Ben season kickoff.  I'm sure most of you have been as giddy as school girls breathlessly awaiting the excruciating first two minutes of the episode in anticipation of Ben's first shower scene.

I'm just thankful I have something to watch now other than (Not) Finding Bigfoot reruns.  A person can only watch so many of those episodes before reaching one inevitable conclusion:  Bigfoot has a severe aversion to fat middle-aged men and lesbians.  

Where's Bigfoot?
We begin with the standard first episode montage.  Yachts, helicopters, first class hotels, exotic locations, unbridled passion, rampant crying, and unmitigated jealousy.  You know, real life.  Hey, why shoot the mule that's carried your baggage for 20 seasons?  I'm positive that montage was in the can before Harrison left last season's wrap party, whiskey decanter in hand, in search of a dejected (former) wannabe reality show starlet at the hotel piano lounge.       

We cut to Los Angeles for Ben's aw shucks I'm just an Indiana guy from small town Warsaw, Indiana who wants to settle down photo session.  Before all of you go all gooey-eyed over our Midwestern, formerly heartbroken charmer, I'd suggest you see what became of last season's Midwestern, formerly heartbroken charmer from another "I" state.  

Ben tells us that "every Hoosier can shoot a basketball" but should have added ". . . against a weathered picturesque barn you don't own."  

We tour every school in the Warsaw Independent School District and see Ben perform his duties as Grand Marshall of the homecoming parade.  He wants small town values, damnit, and he hammers that point home whilst walking amongst the wheat fields in his lime green oxford shirt in communion with the deer before introducing this season's "Fear of Being Unlovable" theme which he dispels (for now) by having a parents lakeside chat.  

Before getting to peruse this season's parade of potential paramours, Ben seeks "expert advice" from the over-exposed Sean Lowe, the far-past-his-fifteen minutes Chris Soules (shouldn't he have been harvesting something in Iowa?), and the contractually obligated Jason Mesnick who has to be older than Gwen (remember her?) by now.  

Sean sports his Pony Boy Curtis look.

I stayed Gold for Catherine

Mesnick dispenses advice about the show and marrying Molly, which is evidence that he's either blocked out the memory of  first choosing Melissa Rycroft and then summarily dumping her a week later or hoped that we blocked it out for him.   Chris Soules pretends he didn't make a jerk of himself. 

Harrison shows up in understated grey pinstripes and a grey shirt and tie and the boat is out of the harbor.  Let's get to it.      

As I always say, this episode is both confusing and frustrating from a chronological standpoint due to the fact that the limo arrivals are staggered and pushed out between individual bios of girls who don't show up until later in the episode.  Because of that, I've recapped the girls in alphabetical order. 

Amanda, 25, Esthetician. ROSE  Divorced, two daughters.  Kicking it on the beach in a one piece with the offspring.  She tells us that her kids are the center of her life--so she's leaving them for 5 weeks to poontang around the mansion.  She's very pretty and selected the perfect cocktail dress to let Ben know it.  Perfect intro.  My guess is that Ben (at 26) doesn't want a ready-made family and a bitter ex-husband to deal with, nor does he want to listen to her complain about the child support checks being late.  I still think she stays around for a while.  Total.  MILF.    

(Still) Amber,  (Still) "30", (Still) Bartender. ROSE   If you put her and Becca together you might end up with one personality.  Maybe Fleiss isn't so dumb after all.  Her "controversial" return to find love fell flat as she was largely ignored (and unrecognized) by the other women.  And therein lies the problem, Amber.  She seems nice enough, but she's passed the point of making a fool out of herself by signing up for every iteration of The Bachelor.  Hell, if she keeps this up she'll be on these shows more than Harrison.     

(Still) Becca, (Still) 26, (Still) a Chiropractic Assistant. ROSE.  See above.  I'm surprised the first thing out of Harrison's mouth when she and Amber stepped out of the limo wasn't, "thanks for being the first to answer the phone and agree to a modest per diem to be here.  Fliess appreciates it."   Sweet, nice, attractive, and virginal.  "Who wants a virgin," Lace slurred through her partially paralyzed lips.  I don't know.  Maybe 26 year old Midwestern guys with traditional values?  We shall see. 

Breanne, 30, Nutritional Therapist. NO ROSE.  Horrible entry with loaves of French bread that she sacrificed in the name of hating gluten.  Hate ISIS, Breanne, not delicious baguettes.  I hope they fed those to Huey the Horse rather than letting them go to waste.    

Caila, 24, Software Sales Rep. ROSE.  She lives in Boston and paints flowers.  I thought she was much more attractive than her head shot.  Seemed nice.  The awkward run and jump greeting in her awful rhinestone number didn't go so smoothly.  She's no Jillian.    

Emily, 22, Twin. ROSE . Annoying "look at the twins" intro.  The limo exit with her sister was excruciating; as was the rest of their camera time.  I kept thinking about those creepy twins from The Shining or Jeremy Iron's twins in Dead Ringers.  Again, the twin dating thing is hokey, hackneyed, and tired.      

Haley, 22, Twin. ROSE.  Obnoxious "we're twins" double intro. She seems like the competitive one.  My money says she cries before her sister this season.  Props to Fleiss for planning a two-on-one date with them.  I don't know that for sure, but that would be a stroke of genius.        

Izzy, 24, Graphic Designer.  NO ROSE. She shows up in Pajamas.  "You're the 'onsie' for me," she tells Ben as he fights back the urge to vomit.  When it came to getting a rose she got None-sie.  

Jackie, 23, Gerontologist. ROSE.  She showed up with a pre-printed Save the Date card with their "wedding" date.  Uh oh.  Run, Ben.  She seemed nice enough but the fact that I have to think about who she is in order to write this speaks volumes.

Jami, 23, Bartender.  ROSE.  Amber . . . I mean Jami.  Giggly Canadian who knows Kaitlyn.  Dude, don't lead with "I know the ex who dumped you last season on national television and she's told me all about you" line.  She seemed sufficiently perky enough but she might as well be Amber's little sister. 

Jennifer, 25, Small Business Owner.  ROSE. Forced, awful entry in a nice black dress.  She didn't make much of an impression and then got WAY too philosophical in her one-on-one time and used the word "important" more times than Samantha said "imporant".  She struck me as weird and never mentioned what her "small business" entailed.  I wonder if Harrison will by any of her AmWay products on her way out the door.        

Jessica, 23, Accountant.  NO ROSE.  Very pretty girl who got that makeover I suggested she needed.  She seemed sweet and humble.  She looked great.  He shouldn't have sent her home.  Lace took her Rose.     

JoJo, 23, Real Estate Developer. ROSE.  WAY too hot to have to use the unicorn mask.  Shame on whoever won the intern bet by talking her into that.  Be yourself, JoJo.  She was nervous and a little scripted, but still hot.   Top 3.   

Jubilee, 24, War Veteran.  ROSE.  Her pre-limo bio was a huge cliche.  We see her fighting, shooting, and dropping military metaphors before she complains about the cliches associated with females in the military.  She tells Ben that she's lost all of her pick up lines.  She should have lost the one she ultimately remembered.   Personally, I would have gone with "You know what kind of fabric this dress is made of?"  "Wife Material."  Boom.  Call Neil Lane.   

Lace, 25, Real Estate Agent. ROSE (almost fumbled).  Hot.  She steals the first kiss out of the limo, belying her uber-competitive personality.  She's trouble.  Hyper-competitive, control issues, insecurity issues, and foul-mouthed.  Mr. and Mrs. Ben's Parents would squirm in their Adirondack chairs if he brought her home.  I couldn't figure out if that was her name or if she was telling Ben what her dress was made out of.  She apparently drinks too.  She's way too physically attractive to behave like that.  Her pathology is far more complicated than run-of-the-mill narcissism.  Huge control and insecurity issues spell haunted past, traumatic event, or (let's hope not for Ben's sake) bona fide personality disorder.  Sadly, I don't think she's faking for the camera.  Someone remind the crazy dentist to hide her pointy metal things.   You think Ben regretted that decision to give her a rose after she did everything she could to almost slur her way out of it?  She dropped the first kiss and the first "bitch" of the season.  She'll stick around to stir the pot.  He was done with her when she pulled the "you didn't look at me once" routine after the Rose Ceremony.  Unfortunately for Ben, the Producers are just getting started with her.              

Laura, 24, Account Executive. NO ROSE.  "Red Velvet".  She was much better on screen than in her head shot and seemed to have a great sense of humor.  What did her in was her rampant insecurity.  That's a shame, because I actually found her really attractive.  Her parting comment about "maybe it's because he simply didn't like redheads, some people don't" was insightful and probably true.  

Lauren B., 25, Stewardess. ROSE.  She begins by tramping around the beach in a bikini in her bio.  She's the first one out of the gate and down the jetway for both the bio and the limo and the first to get a rose in the Rose Ceremony.  Could that be foreshadowing?  Light blue strapless dress (also picked out by Red Velvet) and simple jewelry.  I like her.  Ben seemed to as well.  She could be a sleeper.  Why?  She's simple.  Not simple like Sling Blade simple, but simple in the sense that her life is not complicated.  She's a stewardess who wants to settle down.  He'll appreciate it if she's not jumping up and down for attention like some of the other front runners.  Subtlety does not go unnoticed.  Then again, he could send her home next week.  

Lauren H., 25, Kindergarten Teacher. ROSE.  Sooooper Midwestern accent.  Nice, sweet, Midwesterner with a nurturing job and a simple lifestyle.  She could be a sleeper but I didn't sense a ton of chemistry.  

Lauren R., 26, Math Teacher. NO ROSE.  Less attractive than her head shot. Note to Women: don't open a conversation with a guy by telling him you've been stalking him for months--even if it's true.  Oh, and certainly never actually use the word "stalking."  That's horrifying.   It's sort of like farting:  All guys know that women do it.  We just don't want to hear about it.  Her creepy entry and poor attempts at humor spelled her demise.  Well, that and the fact that she never told Ben her name.  

Lauren B. ("LB"), 23, Fashion Buyer from Oklahoma. ROSE.  She looked great in hot pink.  Awkward entry, though.  She seemed pleasant, looked better than her head shot, and did enough to stick around.  SGIA's jury is still deliberating when it comes to her.  She might be a tad shy to stick around with the sharks.    

Leah, 25, Event Planner. ROSE.  She's the one who bent over and hiked the ball in her evening gown.  You have to love a real Lady, don't you?  Awful.  Her dad must be proud.  The dress was an awful compilation of fake colored gems and rhinestones.  She looked like a church window.   Fourth down, Leah.  Call a good play next week or you're going home.    

Maegan, 30, Cowgirl. NO ROSE.  Shows up with her Shetland pony, Huey.  She seemed cool, but destined to be sent home.  God knows what would have happened to ole Huey the Horse if Maegan would have been cast on Bachelor in Paradise.  He'd probably be married by now.

Mandi, 28, Dentist.  ROSE.  There was a guy riding a unicycle and playing a flaming bagpipe in her bio.  My first thought was "She's Nuts."  She also wore that ridiculous rose hat out of the limo.  My second thought was "She IS nuts."   She interrupted Ben's initial greeting toast in favor of a dental exam to see if he was suitable for her to kiss.  That might have been marginally funny if she wasn't serious.  I can spot a nut job blocks away.       

Olivia, 23, News Anchor.  Austin, Texas. FIRST IMPRESSION ROSE.  She looked the best out of the limo.  Let's face it, she's stunning.  I was less impressed to find out she quit her news anchor job to "bet it all on love" or whatever.  That puts her in the "unemployed" category.  She also laid it on as thick as a bottle of aerosol Aqua Net during her one-on-one time.  Frankly, I thought it sounded like too much of a sales pitch, but she earned the F.I.R.  Props to her.  Be careful what you ask for, however.  The F.I.R. might as well be a freaking giant target on her back.    

Rachel, 23, Unemployed. ROSE.  It's difficult to determine what will blow up first:  the Chinese Hoverboard she rode up the driveway or her chances with Ben.  She seemed very positive for an unemployed person zipping around on a fire hazard.  Let's hope she parked that thing close to the hose they use to spray down the driveway at the mansion.    

Samantha, 26, Attorney.  ROSE.  "Imporant" beach-running "lawyer" whose dad had ALS and died when she was 13.  Dude, don't lead with the buzz killer.  Ease into it.  I liked her entry better than her bio.  She seemed very genuine but about as stable as a three-legged table.  She's too nice not to cry and will likely get bullied by the alpha-females in the house (see Lace).  She bemoaned the fact that there were so many women at the party.  As a law school graduate with a lack of math credits, she doesn't understand that the more women who show up on night one, the more of a statistical chance she has of getting a rose.  She should befriend the mathematician once she stops faking like she only speaks Russian in order to discuss statistical probability.   By the way, Samantha, your name in Spanish is still Samantha.           

Shushanna, 27, Mathematician. ROSE.  She relegates herself to speaking Russian or something Eastern European.  Awkward.   The dress was awful too.  Regardless, she did enough to stick around.  As a mathematician, she clearly understood the odds.  What's that?  You don't like her?  Shush.    

Tiara, 27, Chicken Enthusiast. NO ROSE.  She loves her pet chicken, Shelia.   That's disgusting and stupid.  She showed up in a very Crystal Carrington-esque dress and ditched the chicken talk in the intro.  Cute, but the fact is that at the end of the party, she just wasn't that interesting.  

A few ending thoughts: 

Ben's new haircut was a little 1939 Nazi invasion of Poland for me.  He carried himself well, however, and I thought he treated everyone with a lot of respect.  He even made it a point to go after Lace's drunk ass and unnecessarily clarify himself after she got snappy with him.  

Harrison sauntering into the cocktail party and dropping the First Impression Rose on to the coffee table without saying a word was brilliant.  The ting, ting, ting of the butter knife on the crystal champagne flute was music to my ears.   Hell, Santa's sleigh bells have nothing on that sound.    

Well, there it is.  Episode One is in the bag.  Let's hope for the most (Insert provocative adjective here) season of The Bachelor ever.  It's good to be back.  Comment below or Tweet me @someguyinaustin.  In the meantime, if you need me I'll be calling Ben over and over to figure out why he never looked at me.  DP


  1. impressive turn around time.

    1. I try, ann. I try. Ironically, while this episode is the most frustrating to write about, it's also the one that takes the least time. Sigh, the things I do for my fans . . . .

      Thanks for reading! DP

  2. Glad to have you back SG! Lace proved that she can't hold her liquor and she doesn't know when to say when. If I were Ben I would have booted her out the door when she started in on him for "not looking her in the eye". No one looks crazy in the eye Lace.

    1. Agreed. He looked pretty over it when she was doing the ball busting. I'm sure she's a ratings catcher so she'll stick around long enough to get drunk again and make someone nice cry. DP

  3. Ben's haircut was horrible. It looked much better on the after show. I also loved his face when he saw Becca. There was no faking his genuine surprise. I couldn't believe he kept rose head (ok the producers must have made him, but still).

    I also couldn't believe they had Chris show up. He barely made it a couple months with Whitney. Although hearing his girly laugh made me giggle.

    1. Ah, the girly laugh. It may be the only genuine thing left about him at this point.

  4. Nazi haircut...too funny. Lace is the spitting image of Sarah Silverman with many of the same mannerisms.

    1. True. She's like a non-Jewish Sarah Silverman. I was thinking Sean Young too.

  5. Nice surprise to see you posted so early. Unreal number of women this time for Ben to be confused about then to add Amber and Becca in the mix either made it more confusing for him or easier since he could let go some of the nuttier ones.
    Mandi is one scary dentist -would not want her anywhere near my face and giving his teeth a check up? Crazy for sure. The twin angle is just dumb and these girls are too young. Lace is one insecure high maintenance lady-can't believe how she was upset that Ben wasn't making eye contact with her during the rose ceremony-red flag for sure. Samantha the lawyer with her boxers or legal briefs question was very sleazy to me. Should be interesting how this goes. Caila reminds me a little of Sean's wife Katherine so she might be a sleeper.
    Sal in Utah

    1. Sal in Utah, always glad to have you chime in. Stay warm out there. DP

  6. Welcome back, DP! So excited for your post and that it was up so quickly (yes, I teed that one up for you!). :)

    I laughed about your description of Ben's awful Nazi haircut. As bad as it was, he's still handsome enough to pull it off so all was forgiven. It's still too early to get a good sense of everyone's true colors but the obvious ones were hard to miss. Lace is most definitely a "producer pick". As she proceeded to get White Girl Wasted, it was clear to see that she was going to be this season's bitch. I can't see someone like Ben with someone as insecure and shallow as she is, not matter how pretty she is on the outside. Props to him for handling that situation with class. You're right, he certainly didn't need to explain himself to her but he went out of his way to do so and that alone showed his character and integrity. I hope he can keep that through this crazy process.

    I thought Olivia was great, she was in my top 3 and I was happy to see her get the FIR. I also really liked Caila. (Is it just me or does anyone else read her name as "Cialis"....No?! Just me?!?) She seemed really bubbly, cute and normal. Looking forward to seeing if she can stay above the fray.

    Thanks again for taking time out of your busy life to continue to entertain us. Watching this show wouldn't be the same without you! Looking forward to a fun season!

    Rose in OC

    1. Thanks for taking the time to thank me, Rose in OC. Glad I could give you a break in your day. DP

  7. Good afternoon Some Guy: Thank you that was wonderful. What kind of fabric is this dress? Wife material. Loved it. Did I say I loved it? By the way I loved it. The automatic water feeder was a block of ice this morning. My horses were more interested in water than feed. That never happens. So glad you made me laugh!!!

  8. Any recap containing the sentence, "She tells us that her kids are the center of her life--so she's leaving them for 5 weeks to poontang around the mansion." is a recap I need in my life. Stunning Week 1 performance, DP.


    1. CK, that was early in the recap. Hopefully, I made you laugh throughout. Thanks for the comment! DP

  9. DP, so glad to have you back! I missed your earlier post on the contestants. I had checked here a couple of times thinking you would have something and then got busy with the holidays.
    So funny you pointed out Ben's Nazi haircut, I had texted my girlfriends about it as soon as he came on camera. Looking at the upcoming shows it appears he lets it grow out.
    Lace, WOW, totally surprised me he kept her around. She was pretty drunk before the night was over and I could hardly understand what she was saying because she spoke with her teeth clenched. She'll make a good ventriloquist.
    Liked Olivia and the stewardess, they may go far. I'm over the twins already. Amber, please stay home and you'll find a nice guy someday.
    Sean Lowe can't stand not being on TV, what a chach. And the farmer, has he done any farming since his season ended last year?
    Looking forward to the rest of the season, you and Lincee make it worth watching.
    Happy New Year

    1. Happy New Year, Liana. 2 for 1. Thanks for reading since day 1. DP

  10. So glad you're back, SG. Loved your take on the usual bad TV. In what world is being a "twin" a profession? Keep up the good work -- looking forward to your blog.

    Marti in Dallas
    (PS --Sean Lowe lives a few blocks from me and I see him lots)

    1. marti, any dirt on Sean and what's her name? Do tell. DP

    2. Unfortunately not, but the next time I see him at Whole Foods, I'll ask Ponyboy if he stayed gold for his bride. That was my favorite part of the recap.

  11. Sooooooo good to have you back, Some Guy. I hope your holidays were swell. I hadn't realized that you actually have two careers going---now I am even more impressed that you have time to write. Thanks for taking time from your busy life to entertain us.

    My money is on JoJo and Lauren B. (the flight attendant one). And I have to half-heartedly root for my Austin homegirl, even though there is something a little hinky about her.

    Stay gold, Some Guy!


    1. Thrilled to be back. Agree on JoJo and Lauren B. Olivia is hot but appears to melt down. We will see. DP

  12. It's a wonderful public service that you add the photo with the girl since you know I can't tell them apart until further along. I think Lincee needs to link to your photos because I just use hers to know who I need to go back and watch.

    Did we get an answer to the question about why they keep casting Amber and Becca who dont have pesonalities?

    Also I think Lacy's exact comment on Becca was "who the F wants a virgin" but I'll rewatch and let you know

    I LOL at these:

    She tells us that her kids are the center of her life--so she's leaving them for 5 weeks to poontang around the mansion.

    Mr. and Mrs. Ben's Parents would squirm in their Adirondack chairs if he brought her home.

    1. I love that you love the Adirondack chair tie in. Solid. DP

  13. So excited Australia gets The Bachelor "express from the US" now and I don't have to search for it online anymore to catch up!
    I'm no longer reading your blog months behind.
    Did anyone else think Ben's (speaking) voice is a little Buble-esque?

    1. Glad to have a fan on the other side of the world!