Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Episode 1: We're Back! A Bachelor's Story

I'll be honest with you. When the clock struck 7:00 here in the Central Time Zone and I saw The Bachelor title on my screen, I immediately got my Ray Lewis pre-game face on because it's Chris Soules time. Amid the chest pounding, chanting, and general excitement for what can be thought of only as the playoffs of dating, I must have missed Host Chris informing us that this episode was three hours long. Had I known this before the episode I definitely would not have been doing my full Ray Lewis pump up routine. More likely I would have been sitting motionless in front of the TV while grumpily hating everything that happened. So I guess not knowing was a good thing. Also I never stabbed two people which (unlike Ray Lewis) was a good thing as well.

I'm not saying he's a bad guy. Just that he definitely probably killed two people.

Football murderers aside, this episode was all over the place. Might as well start at the very beginning, which I hear is a very good place to start. In this case we open with what I can only describe as a very odd red carpet setting where former bachelor contestants mill about while fans scream their heads off for minutes on end. That's real by the way. The fans in attendance were screaming like they saw The Beatles in 1964, and not strangers from the TV today. Kudos to them for even having the energy. I know it's just a reality TV show but they really should win some kind of award for dedication alone.

Host Chris (HC) introduces himself and the season by letting us know that this year there will be wacky contestants like "virgins, individuals with an X-rated past, and two widows." Ok. Stop right there. I know that virgins and porn stars are hilarious because Seth Rogen has made movies about both. But widows? You might be hitting that subject a little cavalierly. There isn't much inherent wackiness in saying "Chris is dating a girl with a dead husband?! Can you believe it? Her husband is so dead!" 

HC also spoils Tara's drunkenness during this pseudo-red carpet event. Come on, man. It's not like we couldn't have guess that she would be the first one to get shit housed, but don't just hand us the answer. For shame.

 This was an odd choice...

The vast majority of our time on the red carpet was pretty worthless, at least from my point of view. Multiple personalities from previous seasons came back to give the same half hearted commentary any person would when prompted with "Can you say a thing about a guy on a TV show?" Maybe it's because I only started watching around 18 months ago, but a vast majority of this came across as white noise to me. The only real point that stuck was seeing that Lacy looks way more like a person and less like a swamp rat now. Good for you Lacy. You go Lacy.

If it can be considered a "red carpet segment" the video intros were the only even remotely interesting part of the pre-show. For some reason only about seven contestant's profiles were aired, which seemed like an odd choice considering there was literally 1.5 score to choose from. The seven that aired weren't even front runners or necessarily kept on the show past tonight. An odd choice indeed.

The best moment of the episode came when we got a video recap of Chris' time before the show started where we got to see him with Cody (Mackelmore) as the two trained together. All jokes aside, I would sincerely watch these two training for weeks on end over anything the actual show has to offer. You just won't find bromances as entertaining as the one between Cody and literally every guy from last season. 

Basically Chris and Cody minus the bulk.

I'm going to skip some of the video package minutia and go right to the real meat and potatoes of the episode, the introductions of the women. First up we have Britt, who hugs Chris for no less than 10 seconds. A lot of people are going to make fun of this but I thought it was cute. Yeah it's dorky and vulnerable, but that's also a vast majority of actual life. Personally I'm cheering for Britt if for no other reason than to see some cute ass shit in the future.

The first batch of limos also introduced us to Megan, Ashley I, Trina, Reegan, Kelsey, and Tara. Kelsey is the cutest person in the world and immediately gets my support for no reason beyond that. I am a shallow man. On the other hand, Tara immediately loses my sympathy by introducing herself to Chris while wearing a plaid shirt and jean shorts. As if to prove her own stupidity, Tara declares that "If the other girls don't like me that's their problem," and after receiving disapproving looks from the other women, immediately changes outfits to a more occasion-appropriate dress and reintroduces herself to Chris. Just to recap that, a grown woman declared her individuality, then received a negative reaction and immediately bowed to peer pressure, all of which we saw and was justified on TV. That's nuts.

This is me. Take it or tell me to do something else and I will.

The next batch of limo passengers saw some of my favorite introductions of the night. First, there was Amanda who took the bold strategy of not actually introducing herself to Chris and instead pretending to be a secret admirer for about 20 minutes before revealing herself. Then we met Jillian, who is jacked as shit and could probably dead lift myself over her own head. After that was Mackenzie, a 21 year old vying for the heart of a man 12 years older than her, as well as an Andi Dorfman look-a-like in Nikki. Personally my favorite was Kaitlyn, a Canadian dance instructor who told Chris that he "could plow the fuck out of my field." Kaitlyn immediately became my favorite in this moment because that's an insane thing to say on national TV. She's going to be a fun one to watch going forward.

After we meet these women there is a long lull where everyone wonders if they are the only ones to compete this season. It's honestly nothing more than a time filler, and if you've read previous posts on this blog (or frankly ever used the internet before) you know it isn't the end. There's still 15 women left!

We've got limos full of women!

In a brief audience segment with Host Chris, we get to hear previous contestant Claire utter one of my favorite/most confusing things I've ever heard in my life. In regards to I can't remember what, she says "If there is one girl for him then there can be 100 or 200 on the show and it should be fine." I think what she means is that true love finds a way (a la Jeff Goldblum) but good lord why would more pain and suffering caused by eliminating additional women from the show be equally ok to what is currently happening? It's already bad enough that 29 women will get embarrassed, I really doubt that it's "ok" to embarrass hundreds more. But then again that's listening to someone who previously had a heart to heart with a raccoon...

Only because it's my favorite picture.

In lieu of actually writing anything significant about the final two limos worth of women, I'm going to simply post my notes directly.  Realistically this is somewhat because I don't have much to say about them, but also because the lack of comment will actually speak volumes about themselves as contestants. Ready? Here we go.

Samantha - Nice
Michelle - Nice
Juelia - Nice 
Becca - Sparkly dress, nice
Tandra - Motorcycle, pretends she drove on the freeway and not just on the driveway.
Alissa - Flight attendant, weird, not sure if she's in on the joke.
Jordan - Whiskey
Nicole - Pig nose
Brittany - Weird ass outfit
Carly - Karaoke, NOT OK
Tracy - Cute note from children
Bo - Nice
Kimberly - Nice
Kara - Nice
Jade - Nice

Notice anything a little messed up about that? I probably shouldn't only be able to say "nice" about 1/4 of the contestants on a major show like this. Now sure, this could easily stem from my lack of journalistic experience or frankly lazy writing, but I personally refuse to believe that I am the sole culprit here. There are just too many women for the audience to be legitimately invested in, and ABC can't give them enough time. 

Wait. I take that back. 

ABC can give them enough time, but they choose to fill it with non-sequitors of previous faux-celebrities offering advice to individuals from their past. Not to get too real here, but that is bullshit. The show isn't about previous contestants, it's about the people on now. If I wanted to see shows about people from the past (and I do) I'd watch PBS (which I do) and tell people about it (which I am.)

The rose ceremony comes and goes and there are legitimately a few surprises. Chiefly, Tara stays which blew my mind. You can't show 45 seconds of her drunkenly lazy eyed bullshit and expect me not to be mildly outraged when Chris picks her to stay. At one point another person (I don't remember who) says "The room is so quiet and all I can hear is Tara's footsteps." Come on. Is she really just drunkenly stomping around back there? That's a person who is too drunk to function being validated by producers. It's not that drunk people haven't been showcased on TV in the past, but to see them still highlighted today is a bit of a bummer.

Speaking of relevant drunks...

In the end we saw Amanda, Bo, Brittany, Kara, Kimberly, Michelle, Nicole, and Reegan leave. I was bummed to see Amanda's big eyes go, as well as Brittany's insane dress, and Reegan's potential organ harvesting but all were probably good calls. None were particularly interesting in this opening episode, and unsurprisingly eliminated. There was some business about Kimberly talking to Chris post elimination, but honestly after nearly three hours of Bachelor watching I couldn't focus on what she was saying or how it ended. It's fair to assume that I'll see it all in a recap next week. In the meantime I've got to admit, I'm looking forward to what this season will hold, especially drunk Tara.

I'm so tired I look a lot like this right now...

Longtime readers will notice a difference between this post and those from previous seasons. With all sincerity I am trying to be more optimistic towards The Bachelor and its contestants. In part this is because I don't think that I can maintain my previously pessimistic attitude towards the show without developing a severe distaste towards this blog. But as a larger point, I'm not sure these shows deserve to be solely shit upon. My first foray into The Bachelor was enough of a shock that pointing out the stupidity of the show was all too easy. Going forward, however, I am going to make a real attempt to engage in the show. There are no promises to be made in regards to how long this good will can last given the inherent insanity that it brings. However I am hoping that by not immediately calling everything I see "stupid" to really see the show for whatever value it may have.

Then again we will see how my tolerance holds in the coming weeks.

Much Love,

Gossip Squirrel

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