Well, well, well, here we go again! Welcome back, ladies and (both) gentlemen, to yet another season of The Bachelor
franchise, the 28th occasion in which a collection of usually single men or women lay it all on the line for a slim chance at fairy tale love. And this time, it's a lady's turn, meaning we're replacing the catfights, cattiness and drama for muchisimo, one-upmanship and some good old-fashioned bullying.
That's right, after fan favorite and everyone's momma Renee did something totally irrational and got married outside the confines of network television, Andi Dorfman is the reluctant choice as the next Bachelorette, she of awkwardly staged courtroom antics (if you recall, her co-counsel was wearing a T-shirt) and random guns-drawn servings of warrants at select buildings that are likely either abandoned or inhabited by one of her friends. And that doesn't include the time she spends at the shootin' range.
The People's Bachelorette
This assistant district attorney who specializes in gang prosecution was not my first choice as maiden of honor, but she admittedly looks smokingly hotter than she did during Juan Pablo's season of The Bachelor. Funny how being the center of America's attention can help motivate a person to look their best, huh?
I don't have any particular problem with Andi, despite the cheesy and forced vignettes, but I didn't find her quite charismatic enough to carry a season. She seems a little uncoordinated, as evidenced by her dance moves ("sprinkler" aside), and she's a bit too practical and vanilla, even.
To back up this point, I will reference two of her answers on her Bachelor Bio when she was a contestant. When asked what three things she would bring if stranded on a desert island, she responded, "A pilot, plane and fuel," which is like using your third wish for three more wishes. It defeats the purpose of the question, which is supposed to shed light on what a person can't live without, but it also gives you a peek into Andi's well-thought-out mind.
Then when asked what the most outrageous thing she's ever done is, she said, "That's tough -- either getting a murderer convicted in eight minutes or climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa." Oookay. So the first one is your job, and being good at it is far from outrageous.
And the only way climbing the Leaning Tower is outrageous is if you did it in the dead of night with a grappling hook and a rope, then made off with the jewels. I once got mugged at gunpoint in Puerto Rico and manged to keep half my money and my wallet (true story). Your move, Andi.
(Also, I could've used your gun-drawn presence in said scenario.)
Still, I choose to reserve my judgment until we progress into the season and hope to be pleasantly surprised. People were super excited about Juan Pablo's quest for like, and we all saw how that worked out. And she can't be worse than Ben Flajnik.
A Late-Night Affair
The season is kicking off at the odd time of 9:30pm to account for the finale of Dancing with the Stars, which is made up for by the fact that we only have to sit through a more-tolerable 90 minutes. I'm assuming that means less pre-produced standouts prior to the limo arrivals, after which I will pick my preseason favorites.
I have a pretty good track record running, with nurse Nikki (winner), eight-pack ab Drew (runner up) and, pre-recapper, racecar driver Arie (runner-up) and Ashley's J.P. (winner). My one miss was Catherine. I did not see her coming at all, as I expect most didn't, but I quickly jumped on the bandwagon and was pulling for her at the end.
The only final choice I was horribly against was Desiree and Chris, because love them or hate them, she totally settled after Brooks broke her heart. But as they are both into crappy poetry, perhaps it is a match made in heaven.
For real, they published a book together, called Diamonds and Hearts: A Poetic Memoir
. And a whopping 21 of the 31 Amazon reviews gave it five stars. Sadly, I'm not sure which are funnier, these 21 or the hilarious five one-star reviews. But enough about the past and all this drivel! It's time to kick off Andi's journey for love with our sights set solely on the future.
A Look Back at How Andi Got Here
When we last saw Andi, she was giving Juan Pablo the business, telling him things were most certainly not "ees okay." She wanted to give ol' JP a piece of her mind, and she kind of lost her cool when he didn't care and told her to pack up the drama in her practical luggage and hit the road.
She stood up for him a bit at the "Women Tell All" and the "After the Final Rose," accepting that he is who he is and just wasn't right for her, but also not deserving of all the crap the other chica-monkeys were hurling at him.
She's still "putting the bad guys away" these days, and they do a much better job with the courtroom scenes this time around. It appears everyone is properly attired, though I'll stop short of considering them real. She loves her job and her life and her family and friends, and we get it, you're happy. And in my experience, people who talk that much about how happy they are usually aren't. But we'll give her the benefit of the doubt.
Anyway, she's ready to share her life with someone and find true love and all the normal hoopla, so let's kick this pig and meet the guys. But not before Andi gives her dad a little more sass about how he treated Juan Pablo on her hometown date, and then frolics in the LA ocean while keeping up her tradition of not revealing too much (remember, she only wears one-pieces). She's certainly no Sean Lowe in the skin department.
Chris Harrison opens things with a tribute to Eric Hill, one of Andi's suitors who died in a hang gliding accident shortly after his time on the show ended. It's a tragic loss for the Bachelor family, but the show must go on, and his parts will not be edited out. He was a vibrant man who impressed with his passion and courageous spirit. This season will be dedicated to him.
Limo No. 1 is Normal But Fun
After a brief visit from her sister to talk about how many guys she's going to kiss on national TV, Andi dolls herself up like the Belle of the Ball, and it's off to the stoop to meet some dudes. And boy, do we have a cross section. We're talking two and a half mohawks. And three long-haired gentlemen. And no standout vignettes.
As usual, there are five first impressions I can take away from these 25 guys: memorable-good, normal, memorable-bad, forgettable and memorable-disaster. And I'll be ranking each entrance.
It's also tough to remember the Who's Who Among Bachelorette Contestants in the early stages, so I'll help you out by coming up with little nicknames to keep them straight as we go along.
First out is Marcus, a 25-year-old sports medicine manager from Dallas. They share a hug and some hand holding, and he tells her he has a lot to offer. Potential, and not too weird. Grade: Normal.
Next out is Iowa farmer and semi-mohawk-sporting Chris, and Andi is the reason he's here. He can't wait to get to know her. Meh. Grade: Normal-Forgettable.
Then we've got JJ, a "pantsapreneur" who looks like Bill Nye when he was 30. He already feels like an idiot, and he's excited to kick off this noble love quest. Grade: Normal-Forgettable.
Sponsorship Salesman Marquel is our first man of color out of the limo this season, and judging by his style, manners and smile, he could be a trailblazer. Grade: Memorable-Good.
Tasos is a wedding event coordinator and full-on mohawk number one. If he's not gay, he loves sleeping with the brides before their big day. He also loves to travel and wants to visit Lover's Bridge, of which Andi is very familiar, having listed that as one of the three places she wants to visit on her Bachelor Bio page. It's a weak attempt at having similar interests, but she seems to eat up their lock-and-key reenactment using the mansion gate and water fountain. Grade: Memorable-Good.
A Limo and an Idea Break Down
Mohawk number two is sported by Cody, a personal trainer who looks like the slenderer-yet-meatier version of Sean Lowe. He's a middle-class man's Sean, and he insists on pushing the limo up the driveway to show off his hulking muscles (unless the car actually broke down, in which case the other guys are just d*cks). She calls him out for being short of breath. Grade: Memorable-Steroid.
Steven is rocking the Ben Flajnik hair, but he can pull it off because he is a snowboard product developer. He's stoked to be here, and he will teach her how to surf. She likes his lingo. Grade: Memorable-Good.
The way Rudie spells his name should be enough to prepare for what's coming, and the fellow attorney opens up with, "May I approach the Bachelorette?" He reaches out for a handshake, and she offers a hug. He pulls out a Voluntary 4th Waiver and offers her an unwarranted search of his story, including but not limited to attorney, surfer and musician. Ugh. Nothing like lawyering humor to bring down the crowd. Of lawyers. Grade: Memorable-Bad.
Carl is a good-looking firefighter, which basically means it doesn't matter what he does next, even though he also goes with a handshake. He brings her a Christmas ornament globe and points to where they are starting their journey, then becomes the first guy to ask her how she's doing and if she's excited. Grade: Memorable-Good.
Urgent care physician Jason likes to rock out with his band of ninth-graders, at least if I'm judging by the flowing blond locks. He looks like a cross between Edwin McCain and Owen Wilson. Being a doctor, he can make a diagnosis just by looking at someone, and he has determined that Andi has a fever. She needs five CCs of terrible pickup line, stat. And he doesn't disappoint because her fever is caused by her being so hot. Grade: Memorable-Bad.
Limo No. 3 is Crazy ... Wheeeeee!
Software sales executive Nick V. is the first one out of the third limo, and he's excited to be there. The only memorable thing about him is his polka dot tie. Grade: Forgettable, unless you really love polka dots.
Dylan is a 26-year-old accountant from Boston, and he stands back to give her personal space and then forgets everything he was going to say. He also has the same haircut I did my sophomore year of high school. Grade: Memorable only in that he himself is forgettable.
Patrick is an advertising executive with a soccer ball who assures her he is different from the last guy she knew who played soccer. He's also not nearly as good at soccer and not nearly as good-looking while playing soccer. I get what he is doing, but it's probably not a good idea to remind her of Juan Pablo while trying to differentiate himself from said Venezuelan. She compliments his ball punt, though (and will probably respond in kind later). Grade: Memorable-Bad.
Helicopter pilot Emil is up next, but his name isn't pronounced like you'd expect. "It's like 'anal,' but with an M." Yikes. "Like anal" is not exactly the lingering first impression you want to leave with your future bride. Grade: Memorable-Disaster.
Brett is a hairstylist, and you can tell from the change in music that something either hilarious or cringe-worthy is about to happen. Annnnnd, it's the latter. He saunters up with a floor lamp because his mother told him to never greet a lady empty-handed. He brought it from the hotel. Grade: Memorable-Disaster (though my girlfriend later said she found it both stupid and hilarious).
Party More in Limo No. 4
Craig is a tax accountant who hops out of the limo with a swagger, uncorks a champagne bottle and sprays the contents everywhere. I'm not saying it's a bad first impression, but do you really want to make the explosion seem that, um, premature? I guess they edited out the footage from the previews where he struggles to open the bottle, signaling, well, an opposite type of problem. Grade: Memorable-Bad.
Beverage sales manager Ron is up next, and if experience tells me anything, it's that beverage sales people go nowhere. It is a bit strange that Sean Lowe got three models and Andi gets a plethora of salesmen and accountants. Ron is from Israel and Barbados (man of color No. 2), and he's anxious to get inside and get himself a little drinky drink. Grade: Forgettable.
Oh boy, here comes opera singer Bradley, who, unlike Sharleen from last season, has no problem showing off his pipes. He's already ready to serenade her, and he's cocky enough to be convinced that he can teach her his trade. Grade: Memorable-Bad.
I'm not announcing my frontrunner pick quite yet, but telecommuncations marketer (so many business folk!) Josh B. might get my first-impression rose. Just seems like a normal, cool guy. Grade: Memorable-Good (for me), Forgettable (for her).
The Golf Cart of Glory
Because limosines be damned! Pro golfer Nick S. drives up on a golf cart, honking wildly, and I like him because we share a hairline, a genetic trait seldom seen on the grand Bachelor stage. He'll have to have a zany personality to match, and it is prominently on display in his introduction.
Some research, however, shows that he's not a particularly accomplished golfer. He's not ranked or anything, and he lists his biggest glory as playing soccer at Indiana University. He also models golf clothes. So for the time being, Grade: Memorable-Good.
Limo No. 5 Brings Up the Rear
Brian is a 27-year-old basketball coach -- aka, physical education teacher -- from Pennsylvania. He ties his tie six times, which is as many times as it takes me to get the length correct, and he can't wait to talk to her. Grade: Surprisingly Memorable-Good. Endearing.
Andrew is a social media marketer, which means he sells stuff on Facebook, and he thinks she just has the most adorable smile. He thinks Andrew and Andi has a nice ring to it. Really? Andy and Andi? The rest of us do not concur. Grade: Forgettable.
Utah bartender Mike also has the "He's still preoccupied with 1985" rocker hair, and he wants to pretend they're in a normal natural setting by laying the most unnatural compliments on her. "Your smile is so sunny right now, it's knocking me down." Then he gives her his number. If this is what feels normal and works in Utah, I'm glad I live elsewhere. Also, his nickname is Camps. Grade: Forgettable-Awkward.
Eric is an explorer. He brings dolls. From Peru. Given to him by a girl who lives in the Andes. To give to his girlfriend. So here. Have these dolls. Grade: Memorable-Good.
The last man out is former professional baseball player Josh M., or as sports fans know him, who? He just moved to Andi's hometown of Atlanta, presumably because he couldn't hack it in the minors/Mexican league. Who knows what he does now, other than live in Andi's backyard? Grade: Forgettable.
Let the Manly Lack of Boozing Begin
The guys pine over how beautiful Andi is before their prize finally enters the mansion and toasts the temporarily-still-gentlemen with a bunch of y'alls and promises that the process works. After some mingling, ballboy Josh M. pulls her aside for the first one-on-one time. He might not have a fancy job playing center field in Summer Catch anymore, but he's her type and his mom loves her. Not liking sushi is a dealbreaker for her, and they flirtingly threaten to throw each other in the pool.
Marquel loses some of his earlier classy appeal but gets a bit sweeter when he embarks on a wine-like cookie tasting, because the love of his life at this moment is cookies. Andi takes a few bites and says the sugary deserts may be the key to her heart, but I'm disappointed that Marquel has now earned the nickname Cookie Boy.
Explorer Eric thinks what he does is really cool and goes into depth about his travels, which encompass about four weeks of every month for the next two years. His job is filled with adventures, and she is envious, but my first impression is that he's a bit more into himself. Or maybe he just loves talking about his passion, and it comes across that way sometimes.
Roses and Safaris and Bukowskis, Oh My!
The mood immediately changes when Chris Harrison brings out the first flower, and Bill JJ Nye (that nickname might change once I figure out what a pantsapreneur is) drops a "Dun Dun Dunnnn." But I'm more disturbed with how surprisingly sober everyone is.
The mood changes further when previous Bachelorette suitor Chris Bukowski shows up with flowers and begs to talk to Andi, who is preoccupied deciding if any of the long-haired folk are worth her time. Then she gets gifts of pants and golf lessons and some sort of apple cobbler, and thank god Chris showed up because this is a snoozefest.
Tasos asks Andi if she travels, and while she admits she's not very worldly, she would love to go on an African safari (also from her last season bio). And he's like, oh my god, me too! I totally love tigers and elephants and stuff. She asks where he has been, and stop the presses, Tasos has been to Greece! Never would've guessed that. He's learning French, and they both know how to say their names. He can also order juice with ice cubes.
Big Families, Big Voices and Big Bromance
Family is really important to polka dot Nick V. because he has 10 siblings, and I'm reallllyyy starting to fall asleep. (Like these guys, I am not drinking.) Then opera Bradley starts singing, and limo pusher Cody pines about how he hates dressing up.
Andy and Andi-lover Andrew is not intimidated by the other guys, but he gets along with not- Juan Pablo soccer player Patrick because he fancies them both suave racecar enthusiasts who dress well. As they drop which drivers are their "boys," Patrick returns the bromantical sentiment. He feels they are a class above the rest, a different caliber, if you will.
Yes, these are really the events that are transpiring. Just go to bed and skip to the bottom in the morning. I mean, what fun is it if no one gets inappropriately wasted? The drunkest thing we've seen is one guy who says, "I've got a bit of the Captain in me." Woo. I don't even think there's a single dad in the group. No coats of armor. No weird sex stuff. Hmph.
Tossing Chris Off the Lot
The security guard really, really wants to escort Chris Bukowski from the premises, but Chris Harrison gives Andi the chance to make up her own mind if she wants another suitor. She weighs the pros and cons and then sends him packing to spare the feelings of the other guys.
But the Bukowski isn't taking no for an answer, and he defies Harrison and demands to speak with her. Security is just itching for some action, so Bukowski leaves the flowers with Harrison and departs the craft services area.
Wow, even the confrontation is anti-climatic.
Back to the Party
The dudes are panicking over who hasn't gotten one-on-one time, with the first-impression rose looming. Coach Brian gets emotional, talking about how improving a student's academic scores (in the bent arm hang) can bring a tear to the eye, while Snowboard Steve progresses his vocabulary from "stoked" to "rad."
With all these amazing guys to choose from, how will she ever make a decision? Farmer half-mohawked Chris opens up about his fourth generation corn and soybean plantation, and she really appreciates the outdoor life and scenery. His nervousness shines through, and he's desperate for a rose to calm himself.
She thinks sports medicine manager Marcus, the very first guy she met, is so hot that she says it three or four times. His first language is Polish, but he now speaks more German. She is impressed with his worldliness, and he loves Copenhagen. Gag me.
Then she gives the first impression rose to polka dot Nick V. and his house of many brothers. And he's as shocked as anyone, even assuming she felt sorry for him. I imagine the scraps were hard to come by in a house with 11 kids.
The Rose Ceremony Beckons
Maybe it's the lack of vignettes, but I don't think we've gotten to know many of these guys as well as we normally do in two hours. So much so that I haven't even come up with a frontrunner yet. Still, the time has arrived to send the first batch of losers home.
Well-siblinged polka dot Nick V. is safe, and the other roses go to:
Bill JJ Nye and his collection of exotic pants
Cookie boy Marquel
Premature champagne sprayer Craig
Wedding coordinator and mohawk traveler Tasos
Former baseball player Josh M.
Endearing gym teacher/coach Brian
Hot, hot, hottie, hot, hottie, hottie, hot, hot Marcus
Andy and Andi-lover and Patrick boy-toy Andrew
Ron (the guy from Israel and Barbados)
Christmas ornament globe-toting firefighter Carl
Forgetful high school haircut Dylan
Hairstylist and lamp aficionado Brett
Not-Juan Pablo and Andrew boy-toy Patrick
Middle-class man's Sean Lowe and mohawk-rocking personal trainer Cody
Balding golf pro Nick S.
That means it's the end of the line for six guys, and apparently no hair is better than long hair, as all three lusciously-locked men are sent packing. So no more snowboard Steven, Doctor Jason or Utah bartender Mike. Also going home are anal helicopter pilot Emil, attorney Rudie and, most regrettably, cool guy and potential frontrunner Josh B., who deserves better than to be grouped with the two creepsters and three longies.
Sorry, Josh B., I still think you were the best Josh in the house. Your bitterness is warranted (like she'd ever end up with Cody over you), but hold off on all the embarrassment talk. It's her loss.
A Season of Fights, Threats and Potential Violence
With this collection of jabronis, who knows if it's even possible for love to flourish? I'm sure there's a few good apples in the group, but the preview doesn't paint a very optimistic picture. There are screaming matches, taunts and people not giving a s*** about what the other guys think of them. Jealousy abounds, and as is par for the course, Andi considers giving up and calls the fairy tale a too-good-to-be-true farce because it just doesn't exist.
What do you think of these guys? I'm going to hold off on picking a frontrunner because I don't have a favorite among the group. I guess Coach Brian is the most endearing thus far, but not enough to get excited over yet. How do you think the season will play out? Will the competition consume the sweetness, and will Marquel's cookies be enough to counterbalance the fallout? We'll find out as Andi embarks on her quest for love and brings us along for the ride.
You can watch The Bachelorette every Monday at 8pm on ABC.