The good people responsible for The Bachelor have a formula, and they haven’t mixed things up all that much during the last 17 seasons. Why should they? Folks—including me—still watch this very predictable two-hour train wreck of a show that always features a blandly good looking, asexual man interacting with women suffering from varying degrees of self esteem injuries. This time around, we have Sean, an awkward, fair-haired man with big muscles and no clue as to what to do with his hands when he is forced to kiss assorted game show contestants. We have a gang of women who happily utter sweet nothings to Sean such as, “My focus and intentions are to show you that I’m interested in you.” and “Our physical connection is phenomenal.”
But for whatever reason, the producers have decided to jazz up this season’s show. One imagines they asked Sean for a list of his favorite television programs. And then from there, they booked a placement deal with Harlequin, and the dates were set from there.
Date 1: Fear Factor. After having to stomach Sean’s hand on her bottom during a helicopter ride, a one-armed woman is forced to jump off the top of a building. I’m not kidding. Love contestant Sarah and Sean really do jump off a roof. After taking the plunge, Sean has the decency to ask how she’s doing. “It meant a lot to me that he took the extra time to see if I was okay,” she says. It’s the small things. After sipping champagne and changing out of the clothes they likely soiled on the way down, Sean nibble kisses Sarah’s mouth and gives her a rose. During a voice over, she reveals that she’s already falling in love with him. What could go wrong?
Date 2: Product Placement Partnership with Harlequin. You know how sometimes you and 11 other girls go on a romantic date/photo shoot with a shirtless gentleman? This is that. The Thrilling 13 show up at a mansion, ready for their closeups. A word here about the shoddy production values this season. Has the crew all but given up? During one-on-one time, Sean is shown sitting with various women on a terrible couch, and they’re practically in the dark. It’s like a light blew and no one had the energy to replace it. The decor where the girls are staying is particularly hideous. During various shots, production people can be see moving things in the background. We deserve it. We’re still watching this thing.
Anyway, each girl is given a “look”—cowgirl, glamour girl, saloon girl, Lisa Vanderpump from Real Housewife of Beverly Hills, the girl from The Ring, Kim Kardashian, and so forth—for a shoot with Sean. (I may be wrong on some of those looks.) The victor of the challenge—Christy, the model!—wins the opportunity to appear on four book covers, so look for those at your local grocery.
The real star of this group date is a woman with a pronounced dent in her forehead—perhaps from a tiara—named Tierra. (Her parents might have been confused on that spelling.) She’s a lady who wears a constant pout along with a jumpsuit adorned with fringe. She also makes menacing pronouncements like, “I’m not here to meet friends. I’m here to meet Sean!”; and “Trust me, I’m smart!”; and “I’m not here to get hurt!” And she follows up these statements with maniacal laughter. Also, she winks with both eyes.
Alas, Tierra does not win the coveted rose on this group photo shoot. That honor goes to Kasi B., a woman who has competed and lost on a previous season. Also noteworthy: Reggie B. from Comedy Bang Bang decides to drop out of the game. Okay, it’s not really him. But a yoga instructor who borrowed Reggie’s hair really did opt for the limo out of this thing.
Date 3: Punk’d. You know what’s fun? Making your date look like an a**hole. To that end, Sean and the crafty producers have set up a hilarious practical joke for the bridal consultant. They’ve created a fake art gallery full of actors and junky installations. The big joke happens when they leave the poor wedding planner in a room alone with a terrible piece (priced at $1.5 million) that crashes to the ground and breaks. “I want to be married to my best friend,” Sean says by way of explanation. “I want that personality…Part of that is a sense of humor.”
Anyway, it falls. The consultant is far from it and knows she’s completely without blame so she doesn’t freak out or cry or gnash her teeth or do anything but smile calmly—even as the “artist” yells at her. All is fine. She really doesn’t care—the gag is a total bust. After the big reveal, she and Sean go back to his place for a steak with a side of hot tubbing. They make out, and she gets a rose.
The Rose Ceremony. The only person of interest here is a woman named Amanda, an angry woman in yellow. I don’t know what’s going on with this woman, but as my friend Allison noted, “She’s reminding me of Kevin in We Need to Talk About Kevin.” Incidentally, she gets a rose. The only folks who don’t are community organizer Amanda (“Love was just not here.”) and single mom Diana. Poor Diana. She closes with “I just wasn’t enough for him.” Sads.
Until next time.