Happy New Year, Bachelor Nation! I hope the holidays treated you all well, and that each and every one of you started off 2012 on the right foot. Or at the very least on a better foot than Jenna did…yikes. Somewhere, Melissa Schrieber is mouthing a silent ‘thank you’ to whoever decided to cast that girl.
Anyway, I don’t know about you all, but I’m super excited to watch my buddy Ben Flajnik on his journey to find love. He really is a cool, down-to-earth guy; and he deserves every bit of happiness that he finds through this experience. So without further ado, let’s get right to it.
As always, the show begins with a little background on how Ben became the Bachelor--we get a quick replay of his proposal to Ashley Hebert along with her subsequent trampling of his heart, followed by the obligatory montage of Ben’s life since the Bachelorette. Heartbreak notwithstanding, Ben is still very happy he decided to come on the show--it gave him clarity, opened his heart to finding love again, and bestowed him with the confidence to wear heinous orange tank tops. It presumably also helped his wine business (do yourself a favor and order the Sav Blanc; it’s delightful--http://www.envolvewinery.com/) and, if rumors are to be believed, landed him a date with Jennifer Love Hewitt. But that’s neither here nor there…the point is, Ben is now whole and healed, and he’s ready to find love again.
Next we get to see the intro packages for some of the ladies ABC has assembled to vie for Ben’s affections. Here are the ones that made an impression on me.
First up is Lindzi C., 27--she has sandy blonde hair, a gorgeous smile, and great dimples. She works in sales and loves riding horses, so right away you know she’s personable and is comfortable with big things between her legs. She tells the story of how her last relationship ended with her being dumped via text, and holds her phone up to the camera: “Babe, welcome to dumpsville, population YOU.” For her sake, someone should probably tell Lindzi that dating 7th graders is illegal.
Next is Amber T, 28--her intro shows that she’s good with guns and crossbows, which immediately makes her more manly than 60% of American males. Still, she definitely has the hot farmgirl thing going on…until she starts talking about eating cow balls. NEXT!
Kacie B, 24--she thinks she and Ben will get along because they’re both goofy. She seems sweet enough, but then she busts out the dreaded sun heart. Somewhere, Ryan Park just went from six to midnight.
Jamie, 25--had an absentee father and a mom with dependency issues. She was awarded custody of her siblings at a young age and raised them all in a single-wide trailer while working as a nurse. Wait, are we sure she Jamie wasn’t supposed to be on Chris Harrison’s other show, You Deserve It?
Lyndsie J, 29--a goofball with a British accent who vaguely resembles Big Bird. Oh, and her name is painted on her car. That’s really all you need to know.
Jenna, 27--a freelance writer (read: unemployed) who blogs (theoveranalyst.net) about relationships while living in New York City. Jenna, darling, I hate to break it to you, but you’re about a decade too late for that schtick. Let’s hope you’ve got a day job.
Nicki, 26--a cute brunette with a mischievous smile and a bubbly personality. She got married at 21, but the relationship fizzled and the marriage ultimately failed. Now she’s back and ready to find love. I don’t know why, but I LOVE this girl. Definitely an early favorite.
After the intros, we cut back to Ben, who’s getting ready to meet his ladies. He’s looking sharp in a well-tailored suit and skinny tie, and thankfully his hair has grown back out from where he had it cut at the end of the Bachelorette. He tells Chris Harrison that he’s nervous, but ready to begin his journey. And with that, the first limo arrives.
Here are the Limo Exits that caught my attention--
Rachel, 27--an attractive blonde in a stunning red dress. She does have a bit of the Jewel snaggletooth thing going on, which I find endearing, but Ben seems to be staring at it. Good thing there are like 19 dental hygienists on this show.
Erika, 23--a law student in a bad prom dress who tells Ben that he’s guilty…of being sexy. Gag.
Amber Bacon, 23--a Canadian who makes the mistake of telling Ben that her friends call her the Baconator…because that’s what you want to tell a man you’re hoping will fall in love with you--that your friends associate you with a giant, fatty hamburger.
Jenna--Oh Jenna…Jenna, Jenna, Jenna…someone clearly had a cocktail or two in the limo ride over, didn’t they? Her introduction to Ben consists of no less than three awkward silences, six ‘yeahs,’ and a serious case of crazy eyes. This night will not end well for her.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Courtney, a model who confidently struts up to Ben saying ‘Hey cutie pie, come here often?’ I don’t know how she manages to take such a cheesy line and make it sexy, but boy does she. I have to admit, I’m a fan…and so is Ben, apparently, who coos ‘THAT is pretty girllll’ as she sashays away from him.
Emily, 27--a PhD student who’s studying to be an epidemiologist, and is apparently also a bit of a germophobe. She sanitizes Ben’s hands, sprays half his face with Binaca, and then steals the first kiss of the season. Her entrance was a little geeky, but cute. I like her.
Holly, 34--got out of the limo wearing a giant hat that covers most of her face. My initial thought was ‘what is she hiding?’ My second thought was ‘well, if things don’t work out with Ben, ABC can always set her up with the Mask.’
Shira, age undisclosed--Shira’s entrance was pretty standard, but I found it strange that no age was given for her. What’s up with that? Is she a vampire? Aging backwards? A sentient robot? Wait, she’s kind of young looking…is this a sting? WHERE’S CHRIS HANSEN??
Just as I find myself thinking this is going to be just like any other season of the Bachelor, out of the limo steps 72 year old Sheryl, complete with crutches, a walking boot, and a SERIOUS crush on Ben. Suddenly I’m happily picturing incredibly slow strolls along the beach, a hometown date at the Sunnydale Retirement Community and a night in the fantasy suite that no one dares to film. Unfortunately, Sheryl is actually there to introduce her granddaughter, Brittney, so my dreams are for naught. Still, it’s a pretty cute intro.
Lyndsie makes fun of her butt chin, Anna doesn’t even stop to talk, and Shawn slugs him on the arm.
Last, but certainly not least, comes Lindzi clip-clopping up on her horse, Levi, and looking very sexy in all black with a black riding hat. Ben helps her down, noting that he’s never dismounted anyone before. There’s a joke to be made here, but it’s just too easy. As she walks in, Ben is heard saying ‘well, save the best for last I suppose,’ and I find myself nodding in agreement.
Inside, the claws are already coming out. Some of the girls are mad because they think Brittney got a leg up by bringing her grandmother; others are freaking out because Lindzi arrived on a horse. Ladies, the intros are over…just because another girl’s put them in a better light than yours did should not cause you to go into bitch mode. The only thing you should be focusing on is making the most of your time with Ben. Period. Now play nice.
The girls start getting their one on one time with Ben, and for the most part it’s pretty standard. He seems to hit it off with Nicki and Lindzi, which makes me happy because these are two of my favorites thus far. Ben meets with Brittney and Sheryl together, and while this is cute, it could end up backfiring on Brittney because Sheryl seems to be making more of an impression than her granddaughter is.
Holly makes Ben wear her atrocious hat, Shawn busts out a soccer ball, and Dianna force feeds him hot tamales and sour patch kids while he wears a blind fold. I’m not sure who these girls think they’re trying to impress, but I don’t think it’s working.
Emily the epidemiologist shows us her gangster side when she busts out a surprisingly coherent and well-done rap about love as a disease. Ok, Emily, you’ve officially earned my vote (and presumably Ben’s as well, given his own history with rap--http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWt_DifczOM)
Courtney talks about how she works really hard. As a model. Yes, you read that right. But Ben thinks she’s pretty so all he hears is Dreeeeaaaaammmweaver, I believe you can get me through the niiiiiiight.
Back inside, Jenna is coming completely unhinged. She asks Monica if she feels anything for Ben, and Monica truthfully answers that she doesn’t. After all, she’s only spoken with him for about 20 seconds. But this isn’t good enough for Jenna, who at this point has clearly had way too much to drink, and she Freaks. The f%&k. Out.
(Side Note: What a lot of people don’t realize is that these first night cocktail parties are REALLY long. Think about it, there are 25 girls--everyone has to do their initial introduction out of the limo, then Ben has to address them as a group, then they each get about ten minutes of one on one time with him, then Ben has to deliberate, and THEN comes the rose ceremony. So it’s important to pace yourself, or you could end up getting a bit too schnockered and embarrassing yourself on national television).
While Jenna proceeds to lose her ever-lovin’ mind, Monica decides that if she can’t find love with Ben, she’s just going to have to find it somewhere else…like with fellow female contestant Blakely.
Suddenly I feel like Lloyd talking to Harry in Dumb and Dumber--’just when I thought this show couldn’t surprise me anymore, they go and do something to COMPLETELY REDEEM THEMSELVES.’
Later, Rachel tries to restore the peace between crazy eyes Jenna and Monica the Lesbifriend. Since both are hammered, nothing productive comes of this exchange except the following line: “Oh, you’re a girl? Maybe we can share a tampon sometime.” I have no idea what that means, but in all fairness it might be the best line in Bachelor history.
Ben steals Lindzi away to give her the first impression rose, and while I’m pleased with his choice I find myself wondering why on earth she spells her name Lindzi. Of course, I’m named after a direction, so it’s probably best not to judge.
There weren’t many surprises in the rose ceremony. I might have kept Amber the farmgirl over Erika the law student, but other than that I really wouldn’t have changed anything. And say what you want about keeping crazy Jenna or lesbian Monica around, but who would you have kept over either of them? Overall, I think Ben made some pretty good choices.
The promos for the rest of the season are off the chaiiiiiiiiiiin. Skinny dipping, cattiness, Courtney channeling her inner Michelle Money, more Jenna craziness, lots of gratuitous making out, and the return of a past cast member?? Next Monday can’t get here soon enough!