Over Christmas break I was reminded that I would have to reluctantly watch the season premiere of The Bachelor before it airs on Jan. 6. If I recall correctly from past seasons of the franchise, the season kick-off is only two hours. I was surprised when I got the media review copy to see that it was two hours and seven minutes — that equals three hours in TV time when commercials are added. So, I stocked up on rum and eggnog and got to it. Here are my thoughts about Peter’s quest to find manufactured temporary TV “love.”
The show opens with a preview of what’s to come throughout the painfully long season. As with all respectable Disney shows, a woman is overheard saying, “I just want to lick him up and down” within the first minute of the episode. “If he sleeps with anybody else it’ll be hard for me to move forward,” is said moments later on the Mickey Mouse-adjacent TV network. There’s also talk about someone waiting so long to tell him that she’s a virgin. Peter also makes comments eluding to multiple sexual partners during the run of the show.
The show opens with an attempt at a high-profile majestic entrance with a sunrise and Peter getting into a plane as though he’s auditioning for Top Gun. He’s shown flying over the water and giving the usual spiel about how he “has faith” and will “find his wife” on the show scripted for drama and ratings. “I’ve been in love before and it’s the greatest feeling in the world,” he says to imply he believes this show will “work”… to get him on Dancing with the Stars this spring. (He didn’t say that. Maybe that’s me editorializing.)
Peter sits down with his parents and they discuss his previous failure on the Bachelorette. He says his parents are an inspiration based on their long-lasting relationship. Somehow he equates a couple getting together back in the day with two people appearing on a set-up reality show.
Chris Harrison appears early in the episode to drive around with Peter. I’m guessing there were travel cost cuts since the condom and pregnancy tests ate up most of the budget this season.
Peter gets into his suit and bow tie (really awkward choice. It’s too formal for meeting a bunch of bimbos in the middle of the night on an oil-slick driveway in the valley) and is ready to take his position at the rental mansion.
From there, we meet perfect-teethed plastic-faced insecures vying for their 15 minutes of shame. (Oops, am I editorializing again?)
“I am a caregiver and I also wax vaginas for a living,” says the first gal we meet. To her credit, she is a business owner so she must have a brain — ish? Someone who can wax boobs is destined to go far on this show.
Next up — and you won’t believe this — is a small-town model. But “ultimately she’s just a normal girl,” she insists. Cut to her holding hands with her family around the dinner table praying. Perfect for Bachelor casting!
We move to the standard nurse character on the show. She’s framed as being compassionate and caring as she interacts with her patients. One asks her if she’s married yet. She has a tragic story about family misfortune where she had to take care of her sister growing up. Mom was a drunk. That’ll surely come up during one of those food-less overly serious dinner table conversations.
Kelley is an attorney and works with her family. They are gathered in their suits and ties around a boardroom table and inquire about Peter’s induction into the Mile High Club. She feels because she saw Peter in a hotel lobby across the country at one point that it was fate and meant to be.
Madison is a basketball star who’s coached by her dad. Seems like a real daddy’s girl relationship. If this goes to hometowns you know Dad will give Peter a run for his money.
Another contestant is in the beauty industry. She works with a plastic surgeon. She is a former pageant queen who was ridiculed for her weight and became a chubby-chub. Alas, she overcame and is now “confident and real” and sounds like she’s had a brush with death or something. Truthfully, she didn’t look that overweight — but I guess by pageant standards, yeah, she was obese (eye roll).
The show cuts back to Peter adjusting his cuff links and grinning foolishly like there will be success at the end of this. The cackling women pop the champagne cork in the limo and head towards the mansion. And so it begins.
Chris greets Peter, makes a James Bond reference (not even close) and Peter talks about his nervousness. He describes his last experience on Bachelorette as amazing and incredible and insists that he is over Hannah (who later appears in the episode… a few times — spoiler).
Peter begins to get nervous as the first limo arrives and seems to handle the soaking wet driveway OK. It’s interesting how they used to devote so much time to meeting the cast in their hometowns but now that doesn’t take up very much time, especially considering this is an extended episode… to make room for Hannah drama. (spoiler)
The first chesty arrival to emerge from the car is Alayah, an orthodontist assistant. She talks about the importance of family and presents him with a letter from a relative. They bond about grandmas and it’s a quick entrance into the house. He “oh my gods” as he watches her wiggle into the mansion.
The typical Alabama gal shows up. She insists she’s not a typical Alabama girl but we’ll see. Pour a drink and we’ll check back in with you shortly.
He “woos” and “wows” and comments how he’ll “be in trouble” — well, only if he doesn’t use the condoms.
The quota girls begin to arrive. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones that are typically gone by episode 3 or 4.
“Peter is literally a doll.” So, here we go. Another cast of fools who don’t know what the word literally means. If he were literally a doll he would not be moving and speaking the way he does. This reminds me that we’ll also hear endlessly about “Peter and I’s relationship.” Ugh.
Eunice tries to overcompensate for her stupid name by wearing angel wings and tries a pun for being a flight attendant and Peter being a pilot. From there, Megan does a pretend in-flight announcement to bond with him. “Apparently everyone and their mother is a flight attendant,” whines one contestant. And with that, another gal arrives, this one with a paper airplane. Someone else arrives with a metal detector and scans his crotch and makes a groan-inducing “package” reference. Naturally there’s the usually punny entrances: a rickety plane, in a suitcase on a baggage cart, dressed as a windmill (think Hannah’s windmill sex confession), etc.
Then the women start discussing the Hannah sexcapades. They sort of discuss his stamina. Did one bring him a strip of condoms? Another really just said, “You’re going to fall in love with my hairless pussy… cat”?
Prediction: I will hate the word “like” by the end of this season. It’s, like, so distracting that, like, these people, like, always say like and, like, don’t know, like, how else to, like, express themselves.
Third glass of eggnog starts now.
There are multiple Victorias this season so that leads to discussion about who should be called what. Sounds like it’ll be the default last initial thing.
Enter the “emotional support cow” — and it’s a real animal, I’m not referring to a person. Strangely, the gal leaves the cow with Peter and goes inside. Clearly it’s really supportive. Some of the ditzes peer through the window and proclaim there’s a pony on the premises. Yup. A pony. It’s the cow. High-caliber cast this season. Up to Bachelor standards, anyway.
There’s jealousy once it’s revealed that the one gal met Peter and somewhat has a past with him. Sounds like she’s going to use that to her advantage this season, despite them only sharing a few minutes in a hotel lobby. But they have a dance routine already? Was it more than just a quick meeting? Hmm.
“What is literally happening?” Literally. Sigh.
There are screams from the house as Hannah arrives. She’s back and dressed for open-heart surgery in a love-me-for-my-mind and pay-no-attention-to-my-tits outfit. Hannah’s appearance has the catty gals freaking out that she’ll have an advantage. Instead, Hannah returns to give back a gift to him and pretend she actually cares about his well being on the show. “I’m really happy for you,” she gushes.
Finally, Peter enters the house. The first thing he addresses is the Hannah spotting. He reiterates that he fell in love with her in a monologue that is meant to be reassuring but seemingly sounds insecure. (What could possibly go wrong?)
And so the one-on-one sessions begin.
First up is the letter from a grandma. She’s a “lover of good books,” but Peter demonstrates his illiteracy — and ABC’s perfect casting — by reading it as “good looks.” Cut to the other gals commenting about how wonderful Peter is and how hot he is. Cut to Peter talking to another spotlight hopeful gushing about how excited she is to meet him.
The first-impression rose arrives which instantly has everyone scramble and has “hearts beating” — thus, the competition begins. “It’s on like Donkey Kong,” one proclaims, before the show fades to black (goes to commercial for the TV audience).
The cattiness continues as the desperates sip their champagne and attempt to sound like desperate housewives from a Bravo show. The trash talking begins despite them only knowing each other for mere minutes. Would we expect anything less?
Peter is already locking lips and that quickly captures the attention of onlookers in the other room. Suddenly, the insecurity revs up and people start to step up their game. Peter moves into kissing someone else. “I didn’t expect to be kissing so many girls, it just kind of happened,” he shyly says to the confession camera.
Let the interruptions begin. “Can I steal him for a second?” And the outcome: rejection! She’s actually turned away and told to come back. It’s noted that there’s “cats and rats” on this season.
I don’t understand why people come on and talk about how their parents or grandparents having long-lasting relationships is somehow a reflection of them. “My parents have been married for 30 years and so have yours.” So, you didn’t grow up in a broken home. So what? That doesn’t make you automatically a success in your own relationship. What’s the point of making that connection? Irrelevant.
“Can I steal you for a moment?” This time he obliges. “I’m not usually the aggressive type, but…” Um, OK. And it was a second sit-down with him. You know that gets the gang rumbling. She already had time with him. Gasp. The whore-or. Oops, horror. Seeing that Peter’s fairly loose with his lips, a gal approaches him and says she needs to seal the night with a kiss. But guess what. She had three interactions with him. Of course, she gets confronted about that.
“Like, I don’t know if, like, you’re being, like, honest and like…” Let’s make the “like” thing a drinking game. The triple-time-stealer confrontation falls flat. It didn’t have the impact that the jealous gal had hoped.
Back to the first-impression rose as the competition ramps up. “We’re all freaking out” about it, says one single.
More apologetic stealing happens. “I’m sorry, can I steal you for a second?” It seems like a super cut of thefts with a constant stream of couch chatter interruptions. If you’ve seen the SNL skits about Bachelor/Bachelorette you totally know what I mean.
A gal is reduced to tears because Peter didn’t remember the conversation he previously had with her. She has a breakdown and others wonder what’s wrong. She starts to emotionally gush about how he will judge her and decide if she could be his wife based on the forgetful interaction. She blames the number of competitors on her not being memorable. “I have an amazing group of women and they all made a great impression,” Peter later says. Apparently they didn’t though!
The Jaws/Shark Tank music begins as Peter goes in for the first-impression rose. I’m not allowed to give “major plot spoilers” so I won’t tell you who it is. But it’s someone who had a lot of Peter’s attention throughout the night. She’s possibly one of the people the other gals are jealous of. “I knew when I met him there was an instant connection,” she says as she convinces herself she’s there for the long haul.
Commence the crying over first-impression rejection. This is where the cast begins to question their involvement and if anyone could love them. Before it gets too tearful, Chris clinks the glass to prepare the desperates for the rose ceremony and the “freaking out.”
The meet-and-greet took so long that the rose ceremony happens in the morning. The plastic faces seem worn and exhausted. That’s always a sure sign that people will be emotionally stable for a rose ceremony.
With that, the ceremony begins and you know he doesn’t remember all of their names already. If I ever resort to interviewing people from this show again, I’ll ask how/who prompts him for names in this moment.
“I will literally be heart shattered if I get sent home tonight.” That sounds fatal. Medics: standby.
The stream of rose recipients continues. We haven’t really had a proper introduction to most of them so they’re likely not lasting long in the competition. As the parade of rose retrievers drags on, there’s a montage of random insecure voiceovers from the gals who don’t yet have their flowers. They complain they didn’t get enough time with him and declare the experience a failure before he’s even finished giving the roses.
“If I don’t get a rose tonight it’ll be heartbreaking.” Let’s think about this for a second. A guy you’ve known for a few hours doesn’t see you as being his temporary wife after a reality show and it’s the end of the world for you? Can we take a moment on this? If you’re already that insecure and/or attached to someone, maybe it’s for the best. That should be a red flag for anyone hooking up with these people in the future.
The tearful goodbyes and disingenuous hugs begin with the wish-you-all-the-best farewells. “I thought we were meant to be together. I didn’t see this coming at all,” cries one — literally cries one of them. See, I know what that word means.
From here, we head into the first dates of the season.
Peter is shown shirtless and hosing down a plane. He fires up a rickety plane and makes reference to his potential wife. Back at the house, Chris talks with the females and has the wife talk to get their hopes up. The squealing begins as Chris presents the first date card. They clamor to get it and sip their drinks while expecting to hear their names. They clap for themselves and glowingly shrug their shoulders in anticipation as Peter flies over in the plane.
Cut to the hangar where they come running (and shrieking) towards the plane in sports bras. The challenge is flight school. Who’s got the stomach to be “his co-pilot”? You know, I don’t know if I have the stomach for all the stupid plane references this season.
The crew is challenged with a series of math questions that, as you can imagine, don’t go so well, though they blame nervousness for their stupidity.
As the challenges intensify, fears are tested and the usual breakdown happens. But he’s worth it, right? Puke. Literally. Yup, hurl time. “This is real life,” she justifies. Yeah, the throwing up, not the relationship.
There’s the usual pointless obstacle course that really proves nothing. It’s simply when the cast is reduced to competing for his time — and there’s certainly nothing degrading about that, right? “It was time that I needed with him and I lost it because she cheated and didn’t play fair,” one loser cries. She stands on the tarmac as he literally flies off into the sunset. Yes, he gets in the plane and actually flies away. That’s literally. (If there’s one thing I want to do this season, it’s to educate these boneheads about the word.)
CheatingGate begins as the hens bitch that they got the shaft in the obstacle course competition. The dialogue continues as the so-called cheater arrives back from her time with Peter — that didn’t seem to be anything special, anyway. She’s lightly confronted about her alleged cheating and she pleads ignorance.
Peter presents one gal with flowers after she claimed to have never been given flowers before. He suggests he “just went out” and got them — presumably from a producer or prop handler. It’s like when they talk about the dates: “I thought what we’d do today is…” and “I have such a special date planned…” — yeah, what the producers told you that you’re doing.
Back to the do-you-mind-if-I-steal-him interruptions. As the truly insecure wallow in the theft, the frontrunners succeed at getting Peter’s attention. But the crime victims cry to others and are encouraged to go and steal him back. The pep talk doesn’t lead to anything though it probably temporarily gives them confidence that they won’t have the nerve to display. So, let’s declare it a failure all around.
In an alleged romantic move, Peter shows up for his parents’ vows renewal with one of the gals. Awkward. “Hey, this is so-and-so who you won’t see again after this TV scene.” Wait a second, Chris Harrison isn’t elbowing his way in to officiate this ceremony? He’s too busy carpooling with the rest of the cast, I guess. (If you’re recording the show, zip through this scene. It’s fairly boring to see Peter’s parents gushing as if they’re getting married again. Pointless time-wasting scene. Move on.) Peter’s date is thrilled to be “part of you guys’s…” day. Yup. Guys’s. Another one of those contestants.
Following the forced family time, it’s the way-too-serious food-less dinner table conversation. The talk quickly leads to marriage and parents’ relationships. Again, as though this success is hereditary or something. There’s never anything fun about watching these conversations, nor can I believe they’re enjoyable to have. If anything, at least in this instance it didn’t lead to tragic family history recaps that has someone in tears with a woe-is-me story.
Enter the unknown singer to perform as the one-night-only couple dances. His family reappears as a party vibe begins. After they revel in the day, we revisit the mansion as another date card arrives for the hopefuls awaiting any of Peter’s attention. There are some modest celebrations and audible gasps when names are announced, which only heightens the hilarity of their desperation.
Hannah returns for the group date and the drama is taken to a new level. Her clinging overshadows the date. The windmill is brought up again and the four-count fucks is mentioned… by Hannah. She puts them on the spot and reminds the group that Peter is “special to her” and will always have a place in her heart. (What could possibly go wrong?) The gals begin to connect the dots and question why Hannah has returned and if she “still likes him.” As they speculate, Hannah and Peter reconnect and discuss the past and potential future for the two. He discovers her backstage crying and consoles her in a moment that Peter describes as “so weird.” She says she’s happy for him but her tears say otherwise. Hannah is able to steal his attention as Peter completely ignores the people with whom he’s officially on a TV date. Suddenly, he goes on to console her as if this were her season of The Bachelorette again.
The next several minutes is Hannah “questioning” what happened between the two of them and the date is suddenly about them as she snorts and blows her nose. The dialogue clearly has Peter questioning if it’s over between them as the past is rehashed. Hey, remember there’s a gaggle of girls waiting to complete the assignment Hannah gave them before running off to have her breakdown and subsequent terrible makeup smear. Clearly, her return has worked because Peter proposes the idea of Hannah joining his collection of cooch. Seriously, this scene plays out so long that you forget that this is The Bachelor and that he’s on a date with other people.
“What do you want? I’m so confused right now,” Peter whines. “I’m obviously not 100 per cent where I thought I was.” To the confession camera, Peter says he’s not over Hannah and he wants “to kiss her and have all this work out.” He cries that he’s a jerk and “doesn’t know…” as TO BE CONTINUED appears on screen.
With that, it’s two hours and seven minutes of my life I’ll never get back. I feel worse for the regular TV viewers who watch live and waste three hours. Thank god for live tweeting to kill time.
Follow along with my live tweets all season – @jeremydbradley. And truthfully, the only reason I painfully sit through this show is because it’s my job and I’m paid an impressive amount of money to thrash the cast each season.