Even though we won’t see the results until January, winemaker Ben Flajnik’s Bachelor journey officially began last Tuesday, as filming began on the sixteenth season at the infamous Bachelor mansion. (Let’s hope that gave the crew enough time to disinfect the entire estate after Bachelor Pad 2.)

And with the beginning of filming comes the beginning of something else near and dear to our Bachelor-loving/hating hearts: Spoiler season!

If you want to experience Ben’s Bachelor journey with fresh eyes and an optimistic heart (oh, you sweet, naive, destined-for-devastation thing, you), you best stop reading. For the rest of my loyal Bachelor-heads, here’s what we know about this season so far, summarized and accompanied by delightful commentary for your reading ease and pleasure:


So far, Reality Steve has identified 5 of Ben’s 25 prospective brides, and he must be right about them, because they are all classic Bachelor types (young, pretty and white). And the lucky ladies are…

Elyse Meyers, 24: A personal trainer from Florida. She’s what we call “Bachelor babe bread and butter.” Photo here.
Erika Uhlig, 22: She’s the current “Miss Chicago 2011” because apparently that’s a thing, and now she’s on The Bachelor so, fingers crossed, if she wins Ben or gets onto Bachelor Pad 3 maybe she’ll NEVER have to get a real job! Photo here.
Heather Freshwater, 25: A 7th grade language arts teacher from Tennessee. Aww! That’s cute. Also, she looks like a 7th grader. Maybe that’s why she picked that job? Aww! Photo here.
Jamie Otis, 23: A maternity nurse from New York. Will the next baby she delivers be … her OWN? (With BEN? As the FATHER?) Photo here.
Shawn Reynolds, 28: A financial advisor from Arizona. She has a young son and a LinkedIn account. Photo here.

Sonoma News also got this shot of 11 of Ben’s ladies
while they were on a “date” (look at all the crew members and spectators, romaaantic!) with him in his hometown. Most of their identities are TBD, but the top left brunette is Jamie Otis, and the blonde with the pigtails front and center is Shawn Reynolds.

Stadium seating is the best kind of seating for a polyamorous first date.

Here’s another photo of the girls from the same day/location.


FIRST NIGHT: Ben’s filming began last Tuesday (September 20) and host Chris Harrison posted this shot of himself and The Bachelor on location at sunset, saying, “Promised I’d keep you up to date on #Thebachelor Well roses are flyin!”

Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss tweeted from the scene, “Live from the bachelor set– the girls love Ben!!!” and later, “These are the best group of girls collectively on one of my shows since “More To Love.” ” You remember, his Bachelor-inspired one-season show about overweight women looking for love with an overweight man? The one that was all sorts of demeaning and offensive? Yeah, that one. This is gonna be better than that!

SONOMA: After the initial cocktail party at the Bachelor mansion, Ben will narrow his dating pool to 15, and 11 of those ladies (above) will accompany him to Sonoma for a hometown tour. The group was spotted in the very public Sonoma Plaza, and later, Ben and a mystery girl filmed a one-on-one in downtown Sonoma. The Morton Report had these riveting details about their “private” date:

“According to our sources, during the day, Ben and a mystery lady were seen entering a local store in downtown Sonoma, also known as “The Square,” where they purchased a baton that they saw in the window. The bachelorette twirled her new baton down the street, and apparently, she was pretty good at it, too (really?). The twosome were later seen at a movie theater, but it’s not yet clear whether they actually saw a movie, or just stopped in for a visit.”

Mike Fleiss was once again on the scene in Sonoma to tweet tidbits: “Live from the Bachelor set- Ben and the woman are enjoying the wine country and each other. Got a couple crazy jealous chicks already.” It wouldn’t be The Bachelor without them.

SAN FRANCISCO: From Sonoma, it sounds like Ben and his remaining suitresses headed an hour south to San Francisco for almost a week of filming. The SF Weekly reports that Ben “began his “journey” (a hallmark Bachelor cliche) in San Francisco this weekend and wraps up shooting Thursday.”

They couldn’t give too much away about Ben’s adventures there, but hinted that filming took place “in Nob Hill and “along the waterfront,” around the Embarcadero,” adding that “Flajnik will take a chartered tour of the city that includes stops at popular shops and “a bar that’s a local favorite.”‘ ” This photo of Ben and an unidentified date (with production in tow) was snapped in the city’s Marina neighborhood.


Surprisingly, so far the biggest drama that we’ve heard hasn’t been between the ladies, but between production staff and the local media in Sonoma. While attempting to photograph and film The Bachelor cast and crew as they filmed in the public Plaza, reporter David Bolling was told to stop by what he called “openly hostile” crew members. “I have to say that some of the people from the production company were polite,” Bolling told The Morton Report. “And some were very much in your face, and ‘you have no right to be here,’ and ‘get out of here now.’ ” Citing his right to film in a public place, Bolling kept filming, “and a woman who identified herself as the “studio publicist” for “The Bachelor,” left a voicemail message at the Index-Tribune threatening to cut off access to information and interviews if the newspaper staff did not stop shooting the production,” he wrote in the Sonoma News today.

Bolling then posted this amazing, gripping, behind-the-scenes video of his ordeal, which also features (fuzzy) shots of Ben between the hostile crew members yelling at him to stop filming:

There you have it: The ugly, hostile, secretive underbelly that is the Bachelor filming process … EXPOSED!

I’ll keep bringing you Bachelor spoilers as I find them. In the mean time…

(Images: ABC/Sonoma News) 

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.