Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Bachelor Ben H. Ep 1: Four Laurens and a Funeral--I Mean Unicorn

Dear readers, The Bachelor is back! As the song about Bachelor premiere night croons, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” and no one is more excited than yours truly. With each Bachelor season, I emerge from a cocoon filled with snark and am reborn, ready to talk smack with fresh eyes and metaphors. 

This season’s bachelor is Ben Higgins, a 26 year-old software salesman who hails from Warsaw, Indiana and insists that he’s a “normal guy” (but a normal guy with a killer body, Peter Brady-like face, and perfect teeth). We watched Ben shoot hoops at sunset by a barn, attend his high school homecoming football game, and lean up against a tree while staring longingly at the flat landscape of Hoosier Land. This guy is so damn American I bet that his farts sound like a haunting rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and that John Cougar Mellencamp is his godfather.

Bachelor Nation embraced Ben last season when he confessed to Kaitlyn that his greatest fear is being unlovable. I’ll admit that he won me over in that moment because—not to get too Dr. Phil on ya, but I’m about to—isn’t that such a universal fear?  We each plod through life hoping to find a partner and engaging in flirty bullshit on Tinder or OKCupid or at the local hotspot, but underneath all of the snarky artifice, we all just want to be loved and fear that somehow, we don’t qualify for the club.  Oh Bachelor, you are more than a show about bikini shots and open bar—you’re a show about the human condition.

Where was I?

Yes yes, we get the standard opening items: Ben cruising in a killer vintage Mustang down the Pacific Coast Highway (how very Brandon Walsh circa Beverly Hills Beach Club era), Ben getting advice from 3 previous bachelors (maybe not the best idea and Prince Farming Chris Soules admits as much), and Ben chatting with his sweet parents. There are tears within the first 10 minutes of the episode and they’re from Ben’s charming mother, but there’s more where that came from!

The producers serve up some preview footage and we meet a few gals, but that’s no guarantee that their storylines will play out (I’m looking at you, Tiara).  Let’s get to the good part: the limo arrivals.  

As Chris Harrison said to Ben after a helpful hug, “let the journey begin.” 

-Lauren B, 25, a knockout flight attendant who LOVES the beach!  In a weird moment of life imitates art imitates life imitates art (or something), Lauren is a look-alike and act-alike of Anna from The Bachelor parody show on Lifetime, UnReal. Don't you see it?

Reality TV blonde TWINS!!! 

-Caila, a dark haired software saleswoman who lives in Boston (so, yes, I’m blindly in her corner) and runs then jumps into Ben’s arms. She’s funny and likeable.
-Jennifer, 25, a brunette from Florida who subtly negs Ben with the line “you’re pretty handsome
 then makes a joke that “Ben + Jen is too cute to forget,” though I bet that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Garner would beg to differ.
-Jami, 23, bartender from Canada who is rocking killer white separates and tan heels (that’s how it’s done, kids) and she’s pals with former Bachelorette Kaitlyn. Sometimes The Bachelor feels like the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disney Land, but instead of an assortment of different races, it’s mostly just white/very tan/light skinned black people who are all stunners and all friends. 
-Samantha, 26, Florida law school student who we met earlier and she lead with the death of her father. To me, during her entrance she seemed either already tipsy or just a bit of a kookoo bird in general. Thoughts?
-Jubilee, 24, war veteran, rocking a KILLER white dress who seemed to knock Ben on his ass (figuratively, though we know that she could do it literally, also). 
-Amanda, 25, divorced esthetician with 2 kids who is certainly beautiful, but whose voice is a stunning mix of high-pitched child and also valley girl.  How does she do it?
-Lace, 25, real estate agent who needs to learn some boundaries. Sure, she’s beautiful and her dress choice is on point (lacey—get it, black, drapey), but she asks Ben to close his eyes and plants a kiss on him. Someone teach this girl about affirmative consent! Also teach her how to open her damn mouth and quit holding so much tension in her jaw!
-Lauren R, a math teacher who tells Ben that she has been stalking him on social media and then recites information ABOUT him TO him (super creepy).  He asks for her name 3x and she never hears him—great listener, that one!
-Shushanna, 27, mathematician who speaks Russian and forces Bachelor Nation to read in order to understand what she’s saying. Come on, Ruskie Girl—we didn’t get into The Bachelor to read!
-Leah, 25, blonde event planner whose look is completely my style (sparkly dress, blonde, side hair) but she pushes the GONE GIRL phenomenon of the “cool girl” a little too far for me. We get it, you’re a knockout who likes football! Let me guess, ya also like whiskey and you’re not like other girls? Yeah yeah yeah.
-Joelle/Jojo, I didn’t catch her age because she entered wearing a frigging UNICORN MASK! I don’t know why I have such a strong reaction to those masks, but the horse/unicorn mask trend gives me the CREEPS and completely freaks me out. No thank you.

-Lauren H, 25, kindergarten teacher who subverts gender roles by throwing a bouquet at Ben. I like it, even if her Midwest accent is like a jackhammer to my delicate east coast ears.
-Laura, 24, redhead from Kentucky who tells Ben to call her “Red Velvet.” Girl, let me shoot you straight: everybody love that cupcake, but nobody likes that nickname.  Your fate is sealed.
-Mandi, 28, dentist from Portland Oregon who LOVES weird stuff (OF COURSE she does! Did Portlandia teach us nothing?) but pulls off a fierce white dress and even looks OK in an oversized rose headpiece. She’s a weirdo, but a hot weirdo, so she gets a pass (I don’t make the rules! Society does!)

It's weird, but she sorta pulls it off.
-Haley and Emily, 22 going on 13, blonde twins from Las Vegas whose story arc will inevitably be about how they start off like a package deal—sisters and besties! Then after a few weeks the demand to be treated as unique individuals. I give them 4 weeks max.
-Maegan, 30, cowgirl who rolls up with a baby pony, bad hair, and awful shoes. Bye, Felicia (may I confess that I don’t even know where that catchphrase is from but I just love saying it?)
-Breanne, 30 (a Bachelor senior citizen), nutritional therapist who walks up with a basket full of bread a violent anti-gluten agenda. Blech. Go back to your juice cleanse.
-Isabel “Izzy,” 24 from CT who probably thought it would be really cute and quirky to wear a onesie but probably quickly realized that the other women in the house would be actually LOOKING GOOD in there. Bad call. Also, didn’t she remind you of Lucy the “Free Spirit” from Juan Pablo’s season?
-Rachel, 23, unemployed brunette Arkansan who cruised in on a hoverboard (ugh).
-Jessica, 23, accountant with brown hair, sparkly black dress who didn’t leave much of an impression.
-Tiara, 27, chicken enthusiast who should have worn her hair down (trust me).
-Lauren “LB,” 23, brunette fashion buyer who rolled up in a pink bandage dress. Where is she a buyer for—the year 2005? Come on.
-Jackie, 23, brown hair and red gown who gave Ben a Save the Date card for their wedding. Subtle, simple, demure.
-Olivia, 23, blonde news anchor (you could SMELL the “late breaking story” a mile away) who was rocking a killer silver dress (so many metallics this season—I was in heaven!) and nice dimples.

This next question isn’t helping the disprove the stereotype that all people from Boston are Irish, but as I looked at all of those women’s backs last night (so many backless dresses!), I couldn’t help but wonder: Where are the freckles?? Do NONE of these girls have ANY freckles? Am I an alien in my freckly body? Even the redhead—what’s up the porcelain skin and ZERO freckles? Seriously, what is going on here?

But I digress.

Ben quickly called his parents then headed into the house where Competitive Flirting kicked off before Ben could even finish saying “my wife could be in this room” thanks to Mandi’s aggressive approach. Yowza.

Just when the ladies got comfortable, a bombshell was dropped in the form of 2 familiar bombshells: Becca and Amber from Chris Soules’ season. Becca still loves tan lipstick and Amber is looking good which incenses the ladies (mostly Lace and Mandi). Lace starts in on the weird needy mindgames as soon as Ben talks to her and he plays into that dynamic, seeking her out to reassure her (ON NIGHT ONE!?!?!) and trying to assuage her fears. Oh Ben, you’re about to get in way over your head with this one.

Olivia the newscaster scores the first impression rose (which stuns Mandi since she kept calling herself the first impression rose) and before we know it, the Rose Ceremony is upon us.  I won’t bore you with the run down, but I’ll share these important items:

-Lace was given the last rose (STEW IN YOUR OWN ANXIOUS SWEAT, WEIRDO) and she had WORDS for Ben after that. You can truly live a year’s worth of ups and downs and relationship drama in a single night—just ask Lace! I give her 3-4 episodes before Ben realizes that Lace is his season’s Tierra (from Sean’s season--a ton of drama and not interesting enough to justify it). 
-Who was sent packing on night 1? Baby pony girl (that will teach you to wear sensible boots into the Bachelor Mansion!), Tiara (chicken enthusiast—welp, at least her beloved chickens will be happy), Breanne the gluten free chick, redhead Laura, forgettable Jessica, and Lauren R. (hattrick of not revealing her name). 

Ben seems like a simple, steady Bachelor, so the job of creating chaos falls on the tiny, unfrocked shoulders of these women, but I'm confident that they're up to the task.  


  1. I'm excited to read your recaps this season! It's gonna be a great one, I think. The ladies are gorgeous. They do skew really young though, don't you think?

  2. I totally agree, Patricia. I'm stunned at how many 22-23 years olds there are and how much they bang the drum of "I'm sad and single" at that age!! Ladies, go live a little! He's pretty young at 26 and the bachelor, though. I think it will be a strong season--looks like Olivia turns into the house villain, which will be a nice switch from Lace. I don't think Lace will be around too long. Thanks for reading!! :)