Ah, the first Monday of the year. It's that time again. The Bachelor is back, baby!
Our relationship with the ABC franchise remains complicated as ever. Neither love-hate, nor unconditional affection, nor unabashed disgust, it's hard to define.
What we do know is that Ben Flajnik captured our hearts last season when he was rejected by Ashley Hebert. That was rough, but he has NO REGRETS!
Follow this link for The Bachelor spoilers we know so far, including the rumored winner. Then join us for THG's +/- Bachelor season premiere recap!
WILL YOU ACCEPT THIS AIRBRUSHING: Ben F. is retouched and ready to go!
At the end of the day, and two-hour episode, despite the contrived nonsense that is The Bachelor, Ben somehow comes off as a genuine, All-American guy.
Will the California winemaker fall madly in love? Will it last? Will discarded women cry along the way? Will some people be there for the wrong reasons?
Possibly, probably not, definitely and most likely.
For all the scripted BS, cue cards, misleading promos and manufactured drama, we were excited to see the season premiere, and it didn't let us down ...Ben says he's "grown" and is "a more complete person" for "following through" on his proposal to Ashley. The Bachelor cliches are the best. Plus 9.
Minus 3 for bringing up his father's death, AGAIN, in the opening minutes.
Odds Ben is actually playing the piano in his intro? 2:1 against. Plus 10.
Unlike stiff Brad Womack, Ben seems at ease, as he did all last season. Simultaneously embracing the process while subtly acknowledging that it's an absurd show and he's there for the experience, he's a credible, likable Bachelor. Plus 13.
The bubbly Lindzi Cox (above, left) loves horses. And is "not horsing around" in her quest for love. High-five on that one, writers ... or not. Minus 7.
Shotgun-toting Amber wants to bring Ben back to Nebraska for some "beef nuts." Somehow we can't see Ben hunting with her on the fam, or chowing on cow balls. She cleans up nicely, though, and has a sense of humor. Plus 5.
Amber's Canadian namesake, with the surname Bacon, is nicknamed the Baconator. Because ... she makes everything better? Plus 9 regardless.
Courtney Robertson (above right) is a model, unafraid of competition, not worried about the other girls and almost overly confident. She says she deserves at least two carats when the time comes. The other girls are gonna HATE her this season. Plus 30.
Jenna the NYC relationship blogger even gets SATC-style intro music? Minus 18.
Shawn, financial analyst, soccer playing single mom, is always the type of girl we like to see on the show, as it probably is about relationships for her. Sort of like a less Barbie-like, Arizona version of Emily Maynard. Plus 8.
Okay, Jamie the nurse needs to win hands down. Plus 100.
Ben's hair should get its own show BTW. Plus 11.
Nice to see they cast such an ethnically diverse group of aspiring trophy wives this season. Oh wait, no they didn't ... this is The Bachelor. Minus 50.
BIG PIMPIN': CH in effizect. Recognize.
Obligatory time-killing fireside chat with Chris Harrison? Minus 39. Despite the venerable host-pimp's charisma, dashing good looks and unparalleled command of the screen, we could lose this segment and the MANY reflections on last season.
Again, the dad thing. "Is your dad with you" on The Bachelor? Really? We're sorry he passed and all, but stop trying to drum up sympathy, ABC. Minus 24.
Erica the law student: "The verdict is in, and you are guilty ... of being sexy." [crickets] Even if you're going for cheese, you can do better. Minus 10.
Courtney's not messing around, busting out the do-me eyes and voice five seconds after stepping out of the limo. It totally worked, though, so Plus 35.
Pageant girl Samantha wearing the sash? Fail. Minus 15.
Kentucky Derby hat? More original at least. Plus 3.
London girl wins for most coked up. Plus 9.
Nicki Sterling seems nice and normal, despite "her past," i.e. a normal-ish divorce. Kacie Boguskie too. Keepers? At least for awhile? Good possibility. Plus 11.
Anna just walks by Ben. Playing hard to get, on The Bachelor? Definitely a first. Plus 10 for the intro, and other Plus 5 for her last name: Snowball. Really.
The scripted-ness is cranked up when a senior citizen gets out of the limo: Sheryl, is Brittney’s grandma. Plus 6. That was a good one. But not as good as ...
"How 'bout this ride in?" - Lindzi, on a horse. Indeed. Plus 28 for the equine arrival and the first impression rose it landed her. Did he even have a choice?
Ben and Rachel's conversation? Not awkward at all. Minus 10.
Nicky's goes a little better. Okay, light years better. Plus 6.
LOL at Brittney's grandma still hanging around. Plus 23.
Dianna's blindfolding gimmick? A little weird. Minus 11.
Emily can rap pretty well, even if she needed index cards. Plus 13.
Courtney is, like, a model, who, like, travels the world. Everybody got that? Minus 15. She's also "better" than the other girls. Her words. Minus 14.
The claws come out between Jenna and Monica, who basically claims she has no interest in Ben, loves women (!) and is just there to party. Plus 20.
She proceeds to get full-on inappropriate with Blakeley. Girl was in Maxim, so it's easy to see why. Still, Minus 55 for such absurd attention-whoring.
Minus 12 for Jenna caring so much. Get over it. "Why does she hate me out of nowhere?" she whines. "Because that's what girls do." True. Plus 30.
Monica = Female Bentley. Existing solely to start $h!t. Plus 13.
"They look like a big lesbian cream puff." Yep. Plus 37.
"Maybe we can share a tampon sometime." - Jenna to Monica. Minus 50, because no cat fight needs to reach that level of awkwardness. It just doesn't.
Side Note: Where do these girls FIND some of these dresses?!?!? Minus 46.
Okay we're kind of scared of Monica. Minus 7. And Jenna for other reasons. At least she lives up to her blog's name. Totally the over-analyzer.
Plus 35 for that epic promo of the rest of the season.
EPISODE TOTAL: +69!
ROSE RECIPIENTS: Lindzi (first impression), Jamie, Rachel, Blakeley, Emily, Kacie B., Casey S., Brittney, Erica, Shawn, Nicki, Jennifer, Elyse, Samantha, Courtney, Jaclyn, Monica and ... Jenna. The rivalry continues!
OUT: Amber, Anna, The Baconator, Lyndsie (London Girl), some others.