It has begun.
The first episode of Season 20 of The Bachelor has aired. In less than an hour and twenty minutes of footage (there were a LOT of commercials) we have learned:
- ABC is going to capitalize on Ben’s previously revealed fear of being unlovable,
- Ben is going to sport the man-scruff that Jared wore on the last season of Bachelorette (and do it better), and
- some of the women pining for his heart are straight up crazy.
Okay, we didn’t really “learn” that last one. It’s not a question of if, but how many.
To help you fill out your Bachelor Bracket, I’m recapping all the important parts of Episode 1. Who made a big impression and who made no impression at all.
Jumping right in!
There’s the Get-to-Know-The-Bachelor bits: hometown footage (Warsaw, Indiana, where he grew up but does not currently live), Ben’s heart-to-heart with his parents (still together and he admires them) and the “advice” session with previous Bachelors (follow your heart and be true to yourself), but that’s just filler. Let’s get right to the women.
There are pre-arrival montages of a select few contenders. All of them are cliches, but only some are noteworthy:
Caila (24, software sales rep) reveals that she ended a year-long relationship because she got a crush on Ben during Kaitlyn’s season of The Bachelorette. I need to repeat that. She left a significant relationship for someone she saw on TV. This sounds a little crazy to me.
Mandi (28, dentist) looks crazy.
It’s probably the eye makeup, but then there’s this horrible “Creepy Dentist” bit. Dental professionals across the nation cringe. It’s likely intended to be humorous. It is not. Whether or not she is crazy, this montage sets her up as being a complete nut job.
Emily & Haley (22, twins) Is “twin” a legit occupation? And while it’s easy to guess what producers are thinking, what are these girls thinking? Why would you choose to date the same person as your sister? It’s emotionally trying enough to be rejected on Bachelor. Imagine being rejected in favor of someone who not only looks exactly like you, but likely shares a significant number of personality traits with you. Fair to assume the publicity they’re getting is factoring into their decision to participate.
Amanda (25, aesthetician) has two daughters and is doing this “for them.” She has taught them that Prince Charming’s name is Ben. My internal feminist shudders and dies a little.
Tiara (27, chicken enthusiast) loves her pet chickens. Particularly Sheila, who stays in her bedroom. The sole purpose of the segment is to set her up as Crazy Chicken Lady.
The montages are the WORST. Whoever creatively developed and produced them should be fired.
Then the limos arrive.
Lauren B. arrives in a great dress. Caila jumps into Ben’s arms and refuses to put her legs on the ground, forcing him to hold her. Jennifer is forgettable. Jami tells Ben that she knows Kaitlyn.
Sam just passed the Bar! Jubilee is killer in a white skintight dress. Amanda’s entrance is boring. Lace sneak-attack kisses Ben and then says she “got” the first kiss. The background music playing during Lauren R.’s approach is promising, but she then tells him she’s been stalking him for two months and refuses to answer when he asks for her name (the consensus at our watch party is that she seems super stoned). Shushanna speaks only in Russian.
Leah turns around, contorts herself into a disturbingly unattractive position, and hikes a football at Ben.
JoJo is wearing a unicorn head. Lauren H. tosses a week-old wedding bouquet at Ben. Laura arrives in the exact same dress as Lauren B., but in a different color (Laura mentions this later in the episode, but I notice it immediately). Mandi puts a huge rose fascinator on her head and makes a joke about him pollinating it.
Cut to activity inside the mansion: Mandi walks into the room where the other women are waiting. Lace’s reaction tells us that she will be The Bitch this season.
Emily and Haley tell Ben that he will talk to them both individually and as a unit. Maegan walks up with Hughie, the tiny horse – I’m immediately a fan. Not because she brought the horse, but because she is clearly the most down-to-Earth woman walking across the driveway tonight. To the camera, she says, “how can you compete with twins?!? With a fucking mini horse, that’s how.” Yep, love her. Breanne thinks gluten is evil and breaks beautiful, innocent French baguettes on the ground.
Inside: Lace says she is judging everyone because “that’s what you do.” She determines there are some “dumb ones” and some “pretty ones.”
Izzy walks up in footie pajamas. Rachel, who is unemployed, floats in on a $300+ hoverboard.
Inside: Lace explains that there is no competition because she is “way prettier than everyone.” She’s also visibly drunk.
Jessica has an underwhelming intro. Tiara comes across well (i.e. not crazy). Lauren “LB” introduces herself without fanfare. Jackie gives Ben a Save the Date card, dated for the final episode of The Bachelor. Olivia is stunning, but looks much older than her actual age of 23.
Ben calls his parents (at lord only knows what wee hour of the morning) then goes into the mansion to mingle. He begins his official welcome to the women, but Mandi interrupts him. Cuts him off mid-speech and walks him out. She then performs a dental exam on him. Crazy confirmed.
Olivia advises that she has walked away from her job as a news anchor in order to meet him (translation: I gave up my job for you so you have to give me a rose). Caila thinks that a shared occupation of software sales is “romantic.” JoJo uses Pictionary-style slides to tell him about herself.
Back outside, another limo arrives with Becca and Amber, both from Chris Soules’ season of The Bachelor. I mean, apparently. My friends and I recognize Becca immediately, but aren’t able to place Amber. The other women are not pleased. Caila says that “girls who… deserve the opportunity to fall in love will miss out on that chance because [Becca and Amber] are here.” Does this mean she thinks Becca and Amber don’t deserve the opportunity to fall in love? Or that they only deserve one opportunity? Watch your words, Caila. Your crazy might come out.
The women may be unhappy, but Ben is clearly excited about the two newcomers. Lace, with a full glass of wine in hand, is asking for another glass of wine. And peering through cracked doors, spying on Ben. She finally decides to steal him away from Jubilee and promptly asks him for another kiss. He denies her. 10 points to Higginsdor!
Back on a couch with several other women, Lace tries to start drama against Mandi, and gain co-conspirators by saying, “we all see right through her.” Unfortunately, no-one knows who she’s talking about, so her attempt fails. We then watch her stumble through the house in a drunken haze. Ben snags her in an attempt to clarify his kiss-denial. His actual words are lost on her since she can barely focus on his face.
Chris Harrison brings in the First Impression Rose. Ben spends some time with Lauren B, who I think looks like a cute little mouse, then Jennifer, who – due to an unfortunate camera angle – is entirely boobs. Olivia gets the First Impression Rose. Guess the guilt trip worked.
When Chris pulls Ben out of the room Lace starts complaining that Ben isn’t looking her in the eye. Time for the Rose Ceremony!
Sticking around for one more week (in order of roses received):
Olivia (guilt trip means she might be manipulative)
Lauren B. (cute little mouse)
Lauren “LB” (forgettable, not enough screen time)
Caila (sneaky crazy)
Amber (from Chris Soules’ season)
Jami (seems sweet)
Jubilee (military, I just want to know what the tattoo on her boob says)
Amanda (the mom)
JoJo (forgettable, ample screen time but nothing sticks out)
Leah (they played football)
Rachel (stressed out a lot, dress and hair were going to different parties)
Samantha (stressed out a lot, wore a lot of makeup)
Jackie (seems like a normal 23 year old)
Emily (other twin)
Shushanna (spoke only Russian, but we assume she also speaks English)
Lauren H. (seems genuine)
Becca (from Chris Soules’ season and drop dead gorgeous)
Mandi (rose on the head, dental exam, crazy)
Lace (The Bitch)
And then, right after the group toast which usually signals the end of the episode, Lace drags Ben into a hallway and berates him for ignoring her. Trying to understand, he asks “the issue was that I didn’t make eye contact with you during the Rose Ceremony?” Yes. You just know he’s wishing he could take that last rose back.
We learned a little bit about a few women, nothing about most of them, and that Lace is essentially Courtney (from Ben Flajnik’s season) with Cecily Strong’s face. Actually, more accurately, Lace is The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party.
Tragically, two of my early favorites were sent home – Maegan (and Hughie) and Tiara, the chicken enthusiast. Also sent home were Breanne, Izzy (Isabel), Laura and Lauren R.
Who are you rooting for? Whose loss are you mourning today? Better get started on that bracket!