Bachelor Pad, ABC's answer to the question no one asked ("How can we make The Bachelor sillier and more scantily clad?") premieres tonight at 8pm.
I had the chance to preview the two-hour episode that introduces the 19 former Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants who will compete for $250,000, and went into it thinking that my history of watching these characters on the Bachelor franchise is the only thing that would make this show even remotely watchable.
Instead, I came out of tonight's episode with the need to tip my cap to executive producer Mike Fleiss once again, because whether you've seen The Bachelor or not, I'm willing to bet that Bachelor Pad will entertain you. Make no mistake: It will entertain you in the basest and most brain-barren of ways, and you may not like yourself much for it ... but it will entertain you. Here's why.
1. Hot people. Hot people EVERYWHERE.
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With only a few exceptions (who clearly gained admission based on abnormally high crazy levels) everyone on Bachelor Pad
is, as Zoolander would say, "really, really ridiculously good looking"--and by spending the majority of the two hour premiere by the pool or at the beach, their abs and bikini bottoms won't let you forget it. Ever. It may get a little tiresome to listen to these folks rave about each other's hot bods all season long, but for now, the show is basically giving us (men and women alike) the opportunity and permission to be a little pervy--why not take them up on it?2. It may well redefine "mindless entertainment."
The first challenge pits the 19 contestants against each other in a massive game of Twister
, the physical contortion game marketed to kids ages 6 & up. But that doesn't keep several (yes, several
) of the competitors from getting eliminated for failing to distinguish between right and left. Confronted with the dilemma of whether to hook up with all the ladies
in the house or not (as if he had a chance), one male contestant laments, "My brain just, like, ate itself." To get the $250,000 at the end of all this, they'll need to outsmart each other--but from the looks of tonight's premiere, we're in for plenty of hilarious stupidity en route. 3. And yet, the rules are quite confusing.
Mixing the money and immunity aspects of Survivor
with the roses and fantasy suite rewards of The Bachelor
makes for a muddled blend of rules that even Chris Harrison has a hard time explaining them with much clarity: The guys vote off the girls, and vice versa, but each week one person
will win immunity, and get the power to choose a number of the opposite sex to go on a
date ... and then also elect someone of the opposite sex with whom to
share immunity ... by giving that person a rose ... which may or may not also constitute an invitation to the "fantasy suite," but not necessarily ... and
at some point the show will just dump off the excess women to even out the numbers, though we don't know how or when. Huh?
At least we're not the only ones getting confused, though: All this "love or money" mixing of objectives makes the contestants' attempts to strategize against each other even more misguided ... and amusing.4. As with so many great dramas, we open in media res.
As you may or may not know/care, being on The Bachelor
or The Bachelorette
comes with some after-perks: Namely, admission into semi-frequent "reunions" for past cast members to mix, mingle and mate. So while we might not know these folks together, various alliances, rivalries and bad blood between cast members from different seasons are in full swing starting Day One: Nikki hates Juan for the way he loved and left her; Natalie and Dave are "good friends" willing to spill secrets across gender lines; and, most bizarrely, Elizabeth is crazy in love (emphasis on the crazy) with Jesse K., who treats her more like an annoying acquaintance than any sort of girlfriend. It's not hard to catch on and keep up with who likes whom and who wants whom to go choke on a rose and die--and these incoming prejudices just get the "DRAH-muh!" ball rolling that much earlier.5. The "L word" comes out even earlier than it usually does on The Bachelor.
Following up on #4: It seems that the combination of their collective social history, and their collective propensity toward flowery, fairytale expectations about romance (hence why they all signed up for The Bachelor(ette)
in the first place), some of these people seem to genuinely believe they could meet someone and fall in love here. (Hell, Elizabeth's already there
.) The cognitive dissonance is delightful. Love: At a party house. Love: In one communal, bunk-bed infested sleeping area. Love: In six weeks. Love: While perpetually plastered and surrounded by TV cameras. "I came here for the money, but now I want the money AND the man" seems like it could turn into the refrain of the season. So, in regards to that question at the back of your mind when you watch some sorry sap get dumped on The Bachelor
("Did they learn their lesson?") the answer--at least when it comes to these 19 former Bachelor
dumpees--is no. Not by a long shot.Tune in at 8pm tonight for the premiere of Bachelor Pad, and check back here at BuddyTV for my weekly recaps of the ridiculousness.
(Image courtesy of ABC)