Here we go again. Another revolution around the sun, and a brand new season of The Bachelor that will probably make me want to hurl myself into the sun. Big wheel keep on turnin’, The Bachelor keep on burnin’ (as fueled by a million candles and a bottomless tank of lady-on-lady hatred).
Last season, we watched as Ben Flajnik (there he is, sitting on the world’s most uncomfortable and least sexy chair!), the adorable weirdo with a quasi-lesbian haircut, fell slow and hard for Ashley Hebert (star of the new FOX movie, Chipwrecked!) But when he proposed, she said no, so he said back, “Good things don’t end, unless they end badly.” And sometimes bad things don’t end at all. Like this show, which has been on for approximately 86 seasons and 10 million years.
Since Ashley broke his wooden heart, Ben’s been keeping busy. Too busy to find a wife by any normal means. When he’s not working on his winery, he’s wearing neon orange tank tops on his sailboat, playing piano outside and highfiving the dirt in his vineyard. With that kind of schedule, who has time to date girls one at a time?
So Ben left his winery in Sonoma and returned to Los Angeles for his chance to ferment himself a bride out of the 25 luscious sour grapes (er, ladies) who are about to turn his life into a steamy hellscape of stupidity, jealousy and bullying. And along the way, he’ll encounter many obstacles, like a randy Grandmas, closet lesbians and merciless testicle-eaters, both literal and figurative.
We get to meet a handful of Ben’s would-be wives before he does. In their native habitats! Some first observations/impressions:
Lindzi: Lindzi wishes that she could legally marry her horse. But since she can’t, Ben’ll do.
Amber T.: It’s Farmer Barbie! Amber’s hobbies include wearing camo, shooting shotguns, feasting on the genitals of castrated steers, and doing all of this in a hot pink tube top.
Kacie: Kacie is precious. Her favorites include gigglin’, tickle-fights, scrapbookin’ and reminiscin’ about the adorable everlasting love of her grandparents.
Courtney: Courtney, who’s a MODEL, which I’m sure will never come up ever again, wishes that she could legally marry herself. But since she can’t, she plans to get off on torturing the other women in her pursuit of killing, I MEAN MARRYING, the object of her sociopathic mindgames, I MEAN AFFECTIONS … Ben.
Jamie: Jamie is a caregiver. She’s a nurse, and growing up, she took custody of her younger siblings because her dad was absent and her mom had a drug problem. Jamie is the kind of woman who would make an AMAZING wife and mother someday … if only she hadn’t signed up for this show, which is going to destroy her goodness and break her spirit.
Lyndsie J.: She’s the daughter of a British diplomat, and the phrase “GIVE IT A REST” was invented for her. I’m not entirely convinced that she’s a real person. Maybe she’s a bit that Sasha Baron Cohen is working on?
Jenna: Jenna “blogs about love” outdoors while drinking a mid-afternoon syrah. Jenna thinks that naming her blog “The Overanalyst” makes her neuroses cute and not annoying. Jenna’s hobbies include buying Groupons and never using them and crying herself to sleep while clutching her man-shaped body pillow.
Shawn: She’s a doting single mom looking for a daddy for her little boy. Maybe that strategy worked out OK during Brad’s season, but I don’t see it happening with Ben. He can barely supervise his own hair.
Nicki: She’s a young, fun-loving divorcee who’s already talked to her mom about moving in with Ben. Cute, but kind of a rusher.
This segment is a largely forgettable blur of glitter, boobs, kisses and awkward conversations. But let’s talk HIGHLIGHTS:
Erika the law student: “The verdict is in, and you are guilty. Guilty of being sexy!” If this country’s legal system were just, those kinds of jokes would count against her score on the bar exam.
The girl whose last name is Bacon makes Ben kiss her hand to “taste her.” Only The Bachelor could manage to make bacon gross. Oh, there’s Jenna, our sad little blogger mouse. She tells Ben how much she admired his pessimistic “end badly” philosophy when Ashley rejected him, but she butchers the quote, and that’s all it takes to send her into an insecure shame spiral for the rest of the night. Jenna is just too pathetic to be completely hateable. It’s like I want to hug her, but then squeeze a little too hard.
Courtney calls Ben “cutie pie” and touches his hair and purrs “I’m a model.” Ben’s instantly under her spell, which is great! Keep her around, because I am going to have so much fun hating her.
Emily once got matched with her own brother on a dating site, so we probably shouldn’t blame her for carrying Purell everywhere. But we probably should blame the highest-educated girl here for making Ben kiss her right off the bat. Girl, you’re a PhD student. Have some self-respect.
Samantha, who is the current reigning “Miss Pacific Palisades,” whatever THAT is, shows up in her sash and says, “I don’t know how this happened.” That’s usually what you say after you leave The Bachelor with your life in shambles, not before you even enter the house. Kentucky Holly appears in a big flowery sombrero with her ta-tas all hangin’ out. The hat forms a shield around her face so that Ben can’t even see underneath its shadow. Indeed, Holly is being eclipsed already.
Shira looks like a young Calista Flockhart and gets blown away when Ben coughs in her general direction. Blakely looks like Elizabeth Berkley in Showgirls, which is cool because Ben looks like Rafael Nadal’s twin sister. They could celebrity-impersonate together.
The most-teased moment of the evening turns out to be completely tame: Sheryl is old, married and on crutches. GAMECHANGER!
She’s a GILF! (Grandma I’d like to free.)
But she’s also just here to introduce Ben to her granddaughter, and that granddaughter is Brittney, and she’s cute enough, I guess.
Lyndsie, the British ham, shows up in a full-length black garbage bag and rambles off a strange poem she wrote in which she calls Ben a “farmer.” Everything she does is a grating and over-the-top performance, like she thinks her whole life is going to be uploaded onto YouTube.
A beautiful girl named Anna walks right by Ben and goes straight inside without introducing herself. I think I’m in love.
A few more girls trickle in, but the last entrance is clearly the most memorable: It’s Lindzi on her horse. And to this cheesy display, I say…
Ben says “Nice horse!” like he’s trying really hard NOT to notice that this is a sign of the absurdly over-the-top spectacle he’s just signed his life away to. Lindzi says of her horse, “His name is First … Impression Rose?” like she doesn’t hate the producer who came up with that. Levi the Horse snorts, embarrassed for his owner and ashamed to be a part of this. When Levi the Horse snorts, he snorts for us all.
Ben comes inside and gives the standard rallying speech to the lady-troops about opening their hearts and finding connections or whatever. This is the women’s cue to begin drinking and making fools of themselves. Remember what you’re fighting for, ladies: A spot on Bachelor Pad 3: Bigger, Paddier and Unhinged. First impressions count.
Because they watched him on The Bachelorette, the women’s Stockholm Syndrome for Ben is already fully developed. They all talk about how beautiful and sexy and amaaaazing he is. Then, each time, the show cuts to Ben, making a dopey expression with his normal-to-slightly-above-average face. Are the editors mocking Ben, or are they under the seductive spell of his center-part, too?
The first woman Ben talks to, Rachel, quit her job to be on the show, and Ben is like, “Grrrrreat!” (“Yikes.”) Then he talks to Nicki, who says, “Life’s too short to be serious all the time,” so Ben gives this heavy sigh and drones something about life’s tragedies like the most serious guy in the entire world. Zzzzz. More like Bachelor BenADRYL.
Lindzi, the Horse Girl, tells the winemaker that she tried to make wine once by buying grapes at the grocery store and stomping on them. Ben finds this story adorable. Guhhhhh.
Brittney‘s grandma Sheryl sticks around through most of the party, which just makes Brittney seem more sad than family-oriented. Like if you brought your grandma to the prom. Ben finally walks Grandma to her car, where she cries of happiness that Ben could be her future grandson-in-law. Brittney says that she made a “really strong family connection” with Ben. I’ve heard of the “friend zone,” but did Brittney just invent “the family zone”? They sort of seem like cousins now.
The Fight for the First Impression Rose
It’s time for Ben to hand out the all-important first impression rose, which marks the woman he is most immediately taken with, so that the other women can organize and systematically destroy her. Everyone wants it, but only one can have it. Time for the big guns (boobs) to come out!
“Sammy Sash” and “Holly Hat” corner him first, until Shawn the Mom steals him away to play some soccer. Diana blindfolds Ben so they can play a little game: She feeds him different candies, and he has to guess what they are.
“This one tastes sour, like … desperation?”
Emily, who’s never been whiter than when she said, “There’s a GANGSTA side to me,” performs a rap that’s more like an awkwardly paced poem. Though, granted, her wordplay is impressive. She manages to work in her job (epidemiologist), a lesson about taking vitamins, and a suggestive quip about how she and Ben should “spend some time in quarantine.” Ben gives Emily a “standing O,” and then, in private, mercilessly mocks her ugly rap faces. This is the best part of the entire episode, especially if you pretend he’s making these faces while looking at the women:
Ben sits down with Courtney, the maaaaaahdull, whose mouth drips with self-love and lipgloss and disdain for all us uglies. She literally says, “I’m at the point of my life where I’m a model. I’ve traveled the world and I’ve worked very hard.” Did you catch that? “I’m at the point in my life where I’m a model.” You are unbelievable, Courtney. Then she interrupts Ben to say again just how much she LOVES his hair. “You’ve got great hair.” She repeats this three times, like an incantation. Courtney’s hair is long and lustrous too, for it has been nourished with the blood of all the lives she’s destroyed. LIKE JESSE METCALFE’S. To the camera (after saying “mirror, mirror on the wall”) Courtney says she’s better than all the other girls, and she’s just going to sit back and let them shoot themselves in the foot. Damn her and her brilliant plans.
Monica always looks like she’s masterminding an evil plan on a soap opera.
She gets her jollies by hooking her claws into fragile women and playing evil-puppet-master. And she’s set her sights on Jenna the blogger, whose bird-bones and pudding-brain weren’t strong enough to withstand this to begin with.
Jenna always looks like she’s being surprised with terrible news on a daytime talk show.
Monica claims that Ben is still a stranger and she doesn’t care for him yet. Jenna is incensed, as she believes that anyone who’s less than obsessed with Ben should “move on to something else.” Obviously, this little disagreement means that Jenna “I’m just gonna go with it, but I’m not so good at going with it” Blogertson and Monica “I come off aggressive, but I’m really a nice girl” Lezpinoza now hate each other. So each girl goes around talking to anyone who will listen about how she’s being attacked by a meanie who hates her for no reason, to which she is told, “She’s just jealous because you’re more beautiful.” Seriously, we’re still doing this, ladies? HOTTIES OF AMERICA, GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK AND LOVELY HEADS: Sometimes the reason someone doesn’t like you ISN’T because they’re jealous of your face. It’s because the brain inside your face is an a-hole.
But then, out of the fight, love blooms, for you see Monica has fallen instantly, deeply, inexplicably in love with Blakeley the Cocktail Waitress.
What I’m really sexually attracted to is camera time.
“There’s something to be said for a beautiful and real woman,” Monica says while gazing wistfully at Blakeley’s cosmetically-altered clown-lips. “You’re my experience and if you’re the only thing I get out of this, I have lived and I have lived great,” Monica coos to Blakeley, who’s too dizzy with drunkenness and sexual confusion to bother sitting up. “You’re in my life forever. You’re beautiful.” So Monica likes girls. But that’s not the uncomfortable part about this. The uncomfortable part is that she’s professing her love to Blakeley, a straight girl she just met who (at this moment) seems to have the mental capacity of a soggy walnut. Then again, I guess I sort of get her confusion. Of all the girls here, Blakeley looks the most like a blow-up doll. I hear it’s easy to get attached.
Jenna is still fuming about her feud with Monica, but does anyone even remember why they hate each other? She frowns, fans herself, says she’s about to hyperventilate, then asks us, “How do you maintain sanity?” Don’t ask us, Jenna. We’re watching The Bachelor. WE’VE GIVEN UP ON SANITY AROUND HERE.
Monica the Purple People Eater and Jenna the Self-Hating Chihuahua keep talking about their “conflict” to other people, but neither of them will cite a specific reason for the fight. Neither of them even uses a proper noun that might clue us in as to why this garbage-spat between garbage-people should be interesting. “She made me cry.” “I’m gonna punch her in the face.” “She’s here to stir up sh*t!” Shut up, both of you! I’d rather watch British Lyndsie do impressions than listen to this. And I’d rather chop off my head than watch that.
Rachel (blonde hair, red dress) volunteers to mediate this non-fight between complete strangers, even though she too has no idea what it’s about. She literally has nothing better to do.
Someone just say “I’m not here to make friends” and get this OVER WITH.
The mediation consists of Jenna saying, “I feel like you don’t like me,” and Monica saying, “I don’t know you.” So that’s what this is about: Jenna needs everyone to like her, but nobody likes someone who tries so hard to be liked, while Monica needs someone to toy with, until it gets serious and then she gets bored. Their cold, pointless talk ends with Jenna saying, in what she thinks is some passive-aggressive slam, “Maybe we can share a tampon sometime.” MAYBE WE CAN SHARE A TAMPON SOMETIME. What is it called when you cry and laugh and dry heave all at the same time?
And that’s how the turn of events that everyone saw coming, came: Jenna became our first crier of the season.
“I can’t wait to blog about this.”
“Everywhere I go, this happens,” she weeps. It couldn’t get worse, until it does: Ben comes over and Jenna’s melting face stumbles over some nonsensical words (“we all could be more nervous, but the way you’re calm, like, we’re, like all nervous…”). Then she makes a bunch of Courtney Stodden faces and tells him that she blacked out for a minute. Good God, Jenna!
Self-destruct sequence complete.
Jenna goes into the bathroom and cries about all the “mean people.” We can hear her through the door, hugging a roll of toilet paper like it’s a baby and thinking, “Maybe, if I just hate myself hard enough, I’ll turn into a ghost and fly away.” But only the lack of a rose can ring that bell. Very soon, Jenna. Very soon you will be free. I hope.
Ben gives the first impression rose to Lindzi, the Horse Girl, but he says it’s because of their conversations, not her grand entrance. I’m getting a pretty fragrant Molly Malaney-Mesnick vibe off of her. She’s magically bland-licious.
Everyone has to wait until Jenna comes out of the bathroom.
Good question, Holly Hat’s cleavage.
Jenna smiles as she joins the other girls, like she’s accomplished something major by pulling herself together enough to stand silently in a row and await judgment on her attractiveness.
And the roses go to…
Jamie the Nurse
Rachel the Mediator
Blakely the alluring cocktail waitress who killed a falcon to make her earrings
Emily the PhD MC
Kacie B. the Sweetie Pie
Casey, whose motto is “Half the dress, all the attention”
Brittney, who hopes to become Ben’s kissin’ cousin
Erika, who’s guilty … guilty of being cheesy!
Shawn the Mom
Nicki the Pretty Divorcee
Jennifer the Redhead
Some brunette named Elyse
Samantha the Sash
Courtney the Demon-Model
Some blonde named Jaclyn
Monica the Monster
Jenna the Mess
And so our first casualities of the season are: Calista Flockhart Jr., Candy Diana, obnoxious British Lyndsie, the bold and the beautiful Anna, both of the Ambers and Holly Hat.
“This Season, on The Bachelor...”: There will be mountain mounting, shark swimming, helicopter jumping, hot tub humping, canoodlin’ canoeing, flirty fireworks, musical makeouts, picturesque picnics, Aztec arousal, sexy straddling and a secret stranger from Hell! THEN: Lots of yelling and crying, with someone saying, “It’s a freaking three-ring circus right now.” AND: Courtney the evil model says “It’s all about meeee!” and someone says “She’s a black widow,” and Courtney says “I just want to rip her head off.” PLUS: Steamy skinny-dipping, which causes spying and whispering, followed by lots of gasping, screaming and evil cackling. PLUS: More crying. Crying to the point of fainting. Fainting to the point of someone saynig, “Your lips are turning blue. Breathe!” THEN: Drinking champagne on the beach. Close-up shots of Ben’s squinty face thinkin’ ’bout serious stuff. Serious stuff like an engagement ring. Which he will give to a woman getting out of a star-covered helicopter. AND FINALLY: A girl may back out at the last minute, saying she thought she was ready to be a wife and mother, BUT NOT ANYMORE! Then Ben proposes to and/or dumps someone on top of the Matterhorn, where all major life decisions should be made.
What do you think, Bachelor fans? Will Ben find his wife? Will Courtney kill her competition and eat their corpses? (But then how does she stay so SKINNY?) Did Ben keep Jenna around because he thinks he might adopt her? Any other thoughts on this episode and what’s to come for Ben? Those go in those comments down there. I honestly can’t wait to hear what you all think and believe and hope and dream and gripe about this season!
(Images courtesy of ABC)
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 Office, It’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.