Premiere of 'The Bachelor': Vying for Ben Flajnik (review)


There’s a lot of crazy in the air. My skepticism that Ben actually finds true love during his season of the Bachelor was only heightened from watching the premiere.  What promised to be one of the most highly anticipated Bachelor seasons since Ali Fedotowsky’s season of The Bachelorette, is not looking good. This week’s display of just how moronic, catty and evil women can be was a disgrace to females everywhere. It wasn’t all horrible, but most of it was.  It seems as though the producers have given up on the hope that lasting love is even possible on this show.  So they have thrown in the towel and have opted for fireworks and a live insane asylum dressed up with roses and romantic dates.  That said, I’m here to point out a few of my favorite highlights from the premiere and then to discuss whether there are possibly any salvageable pieces of this season worth investing in. Let’s start with the positives:

 (1) Ben the Bachelor. In terms of the choice of Ben as The Bachelor, he’s right on the mark. He’s not the caveman, robotic spokesperson that Brad was and this is why I like him. He seems like a nice guy. Someone everyone would like as a friend.  Ben says he’s got a really great life and now he’s just looking for someone to come join him in it.  Who wouldn’t want to spend 4-5 days a week in Sonoma making wine with your husband and his childhood friends? He’s smart. He drives some sort of a red old fashioned convertible. And he may have a boat somewhere in those Sonoma Hills. During the “learn to love Ben initial montage,” we were reminded why we like Ben. He didn’t take Ashley’s rejection lightly. He was straight up pissed, “Good things don’t end, unless they end badly.” [Side note: Ashley Hebert was watching this week’s premiere in NYC at Ashley Spivey’s viewing party. She’s still happily with JP and just officially became a dentist last month]. Ben’s really tan and thankfully they didn’t show him showering and thinking deeply about his Ashley rejection. That’s probably next week. He still has the tennis player Rafael Nadal look alike floppy hair thing going, which makes him as likeable as a chocolate lab retriever. And wait, what is this? He plays the piano?? Is that really him playing David Grey or is he playing Chopsticks and they’re fooling us?  Ok, Ben might actually be well spoken, cute and talented? Unheard of in Bachelor land. He’s a gem!

(2) Lindzi C “Hoarse/Horse” Lady.  I found her way too intense and giggly to get that excited about, but I had to laugh when Lindzi revealed the iPhone text from her last boyfriend, “Babe, welcome to Dumpsville, Population You.” If this is a legitimate dump and not something the producers (or Lindzi) made up, it’s pretty awesome.  I also liked her dimples.  Chris Harrison noted in his blog today that Lindzi arranged to borrow the horse from a friend that lived in the area.  That’s a great friend to have!  She has a scratchy (or hoarse) voice, which kind of bothered me. Like she was too lazy to clear her throat or something, but I’m going to chalk this up to nerves, or perhaps dry throat obtained from a windy horse ride.

(3) I Love Grandmas.  Ben’s lines in between his initial meeting of the ladies were actually very funny.  This is one of the first times we get to hear a Bachelor’s reaction upon meeting the ladies.  They rarely show this. Some of my favorites were: “I’m liking the brunettes” (after meeting Jamie); “That is a pretty girl” (after meeting Courtney the model) and “This is good” (after Emily sprayed him down and kissed him).  When Grandma arrived and thankfully did not try to make out with Ben, I was happy to see that my earlier prediction about her was correct – she was in fact there to promote her ripe granddaughter. Brittney was nice enough, but seems way too normal to make it in the lion’s den.  Poor Grandma was already crying in the limo before the night even started!

(4) I cracked up when Jenna approached Ben and got absolutely tongue tied trying to repeat his quote about good things ending badly. The rest of their conversation was complete gibberish. She absolutely butchered the intro and then almost became the earliest crier in Bachelor history when she came into the house and got so upset about her flustered Ben introduction. (Was semi-amused that the Bach producers wanted us to think that Jenna was still getting the first impression rose while crying in the bathroom after her mental tampon war with Bullying “Let’s Be Honest” Monica).

(5) Rapping Emily.  I really liked Emily’s gangsta rap and attempts to be the only person with a brain besides Ben. I didn’t like some of her comments about the other girls. The best strategy on this show is to just stay sane as long as possible.  If Emily can stay the course and keep her eye on the prize without getting caught up in the nastiness that’s sure to be brewing around her, she may have a good shot.  I loved Ben’s impersonation of Emily’s rap – noticing the attitude she put into it.

(6) Beautiful Things to Look At.  There were definitely some head turners, even if they did come off at crazy. It’s hard to deny that Courtney is extremely attractive.  She took a cue from Michelle Money, putting it out there and telling Ben straight up that she has a crush on him (all of the ladies knew before they arrived that Ben was the Bachelor – unlike in previous seasons where they are not told who the Bachelor will be).  Michelle, as you may recall, told Brad Womack and Graham Bunn (her love interest on Bachelor Pad) that she had crushes on each of them.  It takes a very self confident woman to be able to put it out there. As we see in the upcoming attractions of some ocean skinny-dipping, Courtney is not exactly the “shy” type.  Despite that Courtney and Ben have little hope of making it in the real world (she tells Ben that she travels constantly for her modeling jobs, which will never work with his Sonoma winery ties), I liked Courtney’s strategy of letting the other ladies shoot themselves in the foot.  That is, until she starts to get this glassy eyed, evil stare during her individual cameos where she declares to Hoarse Girl, “Screw you and the horse you rode in on.”  Besides Courtney, there was Elyse, the raven haired personal trainer, who looked very much like Pia Toscano from American Idol.  She had striking dark hair and peachy tan skin.  Rachel the Peacemaker in the beautiful red gown, was a classic blonde beauty.  But once she mentioned that she quit her job to come on the show, I started to question her sanity.  This is also particularly unfortunate, considering Ben’s stated interest in the brunettes. Casey S, another blonde beauty who didn’t say much, will probably go another couple of rounds based on looks alone, though not sure she’s in it to win it.

(7) I keep confusing Kacie (Southern Secretary with love letter writing grandparents) who I think resembles Sandra Bullock slightly with Divorced Nicki from Texas.  Nicki is slightly more Bambi-ish and has a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – the type of dog The Husband and I are looking into getting!  Kacie and Nicki (and the Cavalier) are all adorable, bubbly brunettes with cute Southern accents.  One or possibly both of them should have brought hair straightening products with them to whatever humid beach location they are heading to based on what I have seen in the previews.  That said, they both seem like nice people so far, particularly Kacie, who was comforting Blogger Jenna in her time of complete Mental Patient Mode.

And now for some WTF (What the Fudge) moments or Eye-Rolling Worthy Acts:

(1) Horrible Introductions.

Erika (Trishelle from The Real World Las Vegas), is a law student. So somehow she thinks approaching Ben and telling him that he’s “guilty of being sexy” will make her stand out. Awful, cheeseball statement.  This can not be forgiven.

Samantha Sash – Miss Palisades Barbie? Was this a joke? I wasn’t laughing when Ben gave her a rose. She’s more than a pageant girl, but I have yet to see anything appealing about her other than she may know how to compete against other Barbie dolls.

Holly Hat – send her back to the Kentucky Derby!

Anna’s approaching of Ben in a dramatic sort of way. She’s a walking soap opera but she keeps right on walking into the mansion – not even attempting to say a word to Ben. So she’s relying on her over made up face and dramatic stare to do the talking for her. Very risky move, which did not pay off in the end.

Monica’s “confession” that she misses her dog more than anything. Really? That’s your confession? How about the fact that you’re possibly bi-sexual and have no interest in Ben?

Shira claiming she’s an expert on wine and then when Ben tests her knowledge, she admits she knows nothing. A brain surgeon, that one. The best way to make a great first impression on someone is definitely by lying to them.

(2) Horrible, Vicious Personalities.  I hated that so many of these girls played the “shy girl” card upon meeting Ben, but then turned into these nasty, catty aggressive types when Ben wasn’t around.  For example, Amber Bacon may be one of the meanest ladies we’ve seen in a while.  “It smells a lot like grandma…” she hisses and then goes on to insult several other ladies in the house.  I was so happy that Ben didn’t choose her.

 (3) Poor Lyndsie J from the UK. She tried to bring an international, cultured flare to the show but went down fast and furious – doesn’t she know there’s no tolerance for worldly knowledge or free spirited personalities?  I was cringing at her attempts to stand out – both in her individual cameo by dressing up from the different countries she’s lived in to her quirky, odd poem that she laughed at. I also feel sorry for my UK work friends – because as one of the only female UK contestants they have had on the show, she certainly does not represent them well.

 (4) Absolutely no Diversity. Yes, we know there is no diversity on this show – but that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to ask for some.  Mike Fleiss says that there are very few diverse candidates who audition.  Can you blame them?  To make up for this lack of diversity, they started revealing some of the ethnicities of these women, including Courtney, who is part “Native American.”  Does that count?   I thought Dianna had a chance, because she was cute (especially when flustered upon meeting Ben) and possibly Hispanic, but Ben probably got freaked out that she showed up to meet him in a wedding dress.  (Side note: I’m secretly loving Ben for not immediately saying that his wife was in the mansion.  Because she isn’t).  I’m sure there are plenty of diverse ladies out there (Indian, Asian, African American, Middle Eastern, Hispanic, Eskimo, Pacific Islander, etc.) would be all to happy to make wine with Ben in Sonoma.  The best they could do was a Canadian, a UK chick and the most Caucasian looking female who claims to be part Native American.  Is that diversity?  Ok, I’ve said my peace.

(5) The other Amber (who also got rejected by Ben) wants Ben to eat cow balls (known as beef nuts)?  Really? And why does she call herself a tomboy when we she wears strapless magenta corsets?  I have never met a tomboy who would wear that outfit.

(6) Blakely is a VIP cocktail waitress? What on earth does this mean? Does she know Tiger Woods? Would she not provide a cocktail to the Average Joe? And is it remotely possible that the Monica flirtations with Blakely weren’t staged? This may have been a case of far too much alcohol, but we may have seen our first semi-lesbian moment in Bachelor history (I say bring it on – any chance at a successful blossoming romance in that mansion is strongly encouraged!)

(7) The Elephant in the Room. Otherwise known as Monica.  First, let’s discuss the Jenna vs. Monica showdown.  Jenna was wildly drunk. And my Scottish Work Friend thinks she looks like Pippa Middleton.  I agree.  Poor thing was an emotional wreck (Jenna, not Pippa).  The Husband was angry that a spot was even wasted on Jenna, who he strongly thinks should have been stress tested before being allowed to come on this show and take up our attention.  I agree with that. When Monica reveals to Jenna that she is not remotely interested in Ben and is only staying on the show to party, Jenna takes this as a personal insult against humanity.  Who could possibly want to stay at an all expense paid Malibu mansion and go traveling for free?  Monica picks up on Jenna’s horror for such a rogue contestant, and literally starts to haunt her.  The more upset Jenna becomes, the stronger Monica’s cackling becomes. Then there’s the whole Monica and Blakely scene where Monica is either hitting on Blakely or is EXTREMELY complimentary for no reason and REALLY wants to connect with her. Hard to believe that wasn’t scripted.  It’s also hard to believe that Ben finds Monica attractive in any way.  Perhaps the producers are allowed to pick 3 people that must be given roses?  How else can you explain him choosing her over innocent Dianna and her wedding dress?

 So there are 7 positive and 7 WTF moments of the week.  A couple of other thoughts:

 Who didn’t feel bad for Jamie, the nurse who had to raise her siblings? She may be the best of the lot. I wonder what she meant by her mom having “dependency issues.”  I hope Ben keeps her around long enough to appreciate her and so we can find out more.

Look for hummingbirds throughout the season. Ben thinks this is a sign from his father. It’s the equivalent of Chris Lambton’s seeing his late mother in rainbows.

The previews for the rest of the season make it seem like whoever Ben chooses will not choose him back and leave him standing at the final rose ceremony alone.  This has never happened before – the final contestants initiating the break up.  I’m not sure the show could sustain the backlash from its fans if that happens.

Crying seems to be as common as breathing on this season. Some of that seems to be triggered by a visit from a former Ben flame.  If one of Ben’s ex girlfriends was really to come on the show to pursue him – how exactly is this done? Do all of Ben’s ex girlfriends have Chris Harrison’s phone number handy?  Or do all of these crazy women make Ben pine for someone from his past – making him the initatior of contact with an ex?  If Ben does decide to keep her in the running, does she start joining the rose ceremonies? Wouldn’t all the other ladies just walk out?

Out of the 25 women, I’d say only 5 have potential for being the future Mrs. Flajnik. In no particular order: (1) Kacie (Secretary who had love letter writing grandparents); (2) Emily (the rapping epidemiologist); (3) Jamie (nurse who helped raise her siblings; (4) Lindzi (Hoarse/Horse Girl – only because Ben seems to really like her and she has a great dimple and intense adoring eyes) and (5) Nicki (divorced, Southern belle who looks like Bambi and Kacie). Honorable mention to Shawn because of her soccer playing skills and the fact that she slapped Ben on the arm after meeting him instead of giving him a fake, cheesy hug. I’m sure some of the pretty faces (Courtney, Elyse, Casey and Rachel) will stick around until Ben can determine what’s behind the exteriors.  The rest are history.

Who are your early favorites?  Do you have any that you just can’t stand?  Is Jenna going to last another week or will Monica tear her apart?  What did you make of the Monica / Blakely interaction?

By Stacey B