'The Bachelor' Season 15, Episode 1 (Season Premiere)
by Laura Prudom, posted Jan 4th 2011 3:45AM
['The Bachelor' - Season 15, Episode 1]
Attention, America -- just in case you hadn't heard, we're here to reassure you: Brad Womack is a Changed Man.
That's right, folks; it's 'Bachelor' time once again, and we'll forgive you for feeling a distinct sense of déjà vu. But even though many viewers may be familiar with Brad's cautionary tale of two women scorned, ABC, Chris Harrison and the intrepid bachelor himself have gone to great lengths to reassure us that it won't be a case of second verse, same as the first.
Can the most hated 'Bachelor' in the show's history find redemption (and perhaps even love) amongst this crop of lovely ladies? Maybe. Will there be enough bitching and backstabbing between the bachelorettes to make it a fun journey regardless of the outcome? Definitely.
Join us after the jump to hop on board the crazy train: We have a feeling that Brad's in for a bumpy ride ...
Alright, avid 'Bachelor' fans, before we get started, let me adjust my gown, flick my hair, and get something super serious off my chest: I didn't watch Brad's season. Gasp!
I know, I know -- shun the nonbeliever -- but sadly, my 'Bachelor' obsession began relatively late (with Jakebot's scintillating attempt at proving that he had a heart) so as with a small number of the bachelorettes this year, Brad gets a clean slate with me too. I'm sure that many of you will be coming into this season with your own baggage relating to Brad and whether or not he's deserving of a second chance, and I'm looking forward to reading your reactions in the comments, but from this recapper, at least, you can expect a side-order of impartiality along with the snark.
I've seen the clips and I know what the guy did, but I didn't take that journey along with DeAnna and Jenni as some of you might have, so it was interesting to see the two women return to face Brad one last time -- clearly more for his benefit than theirs (you know, just in case his contrite opening monologue wasn't heavy-handed enough for you).
The segment was designed to reiterate, for the cheap seats, how Brad has changed, thanks to three years of (repeat after me) "intensive therapy" and "soul searching". The guy is a self-help book waiting to happen.
Regardless, it was made clear by the long, lingering shots of Jenni and DeAnna's engagement rings that both women are now happily settled with other men, but it was obvious that DeAnna was still harboring a little resentment over Brad's on-air rejection. She displayed a healthy dose of skepticism when it came to evaluating both Brad's intentions and his chances of finding a wife in this fresh batch of unsuspecting women.
The bachelorettes themselves were a mixed bag (to put it delicately), with the usual mix of single moms (buxom Melissa and southern belle Emily), sob-stories (Emily again, along with first impression rose recipient Ashley) and complete whackjobs (vampire fangs Madison).
To make a change from the usual 'Bachelor/ette' schtick of worrying whether the large group of contestants are there for the mythic "Right Reasons," this time around, it was the girls' turn to wonder whether Brad was truly calling a do-over because he was ready to find love, or if the whole thing was just a very public attempt to improve his image.
I've been wondering the same thing myself. On the one hand, I truly do believe that all of Brad's intensive, soul-searching therapy and pensive cereal eating is the real deal (not to mention all of those lonesome showers and heartbroken shirtless jogs along the beach he's been taking), and that the guy has obviously put a lot of time and effort into resolving his commitment phobia.
Does he believe in the infallible, fairy tale magic of an ABC reality dating show that has produced only two lasting marriages out of 20 seasons? Hopefully not, if he's sane. My only concern, after all of Brad's protestations of rising like a phoenix from the ashes of his daddy issues, is that the man may have painted himself into a corner, and that even if he does go through this whole process again without being hit by cupid's reality TV love arrow, he pretty much has no choice but to pick someone, or else prove all of the naysayers and skeptics right.
As one of the women observed in the premiere, if Brad doesn't go home with a girl this time around, he's pretty much going to need to go and live in a cave. So will he find "love" because he has to, or will he fall in love because there's actually a heart beneath that chiseled chest?
That remains to be seen, but for the first episode, the only thing actually worth seeing (besides those soulful shower scenes) was the animosity that instantly began spreading between the women as they vied for Brad's attention. I particularly loved the two girls who practically launched into a game of tug-o-war for the guy as they kept interrupting each other's alone time. Awk-ward.
Did anyone else get the feeling that Ashley S. (winner of the first impression rose) was chosen back when ABC was still trying to convince Chris Lambton to assume the 'Bachelor' mantle and give love a second shot? Call me a cynic, but I'm betting that the producers figured that the tragic loss of her father would have provided a nice symmetry with his own sad history.
As it was, she didn't even need to bring up her recent trauma to make a great impression on Brad -- all she had to do was offer to be his friend. I thought that their moment together was genuinely sweet, and it made a nice change to see one of the women not trying too hard. The same couldn't quite be said for "manscaper" Rachel, who left a literal lasting impression on Brad with her waxing trick. I guess it's just as well she didn't go straight for the bikini line.
The promos have certainly made a big deal out of Chantal's first-out-of-the-limo slap, but the whole thing felt way too staged to me (interesting that Brad saved the last rose of the night for her).
At this stage of the game, the crowd of hopefuls is still a little too much of a blur to really care too much about eliminations (although Brad's decision to keep the vampire chick was probably a little more to do with his downstairs brain than his upstairs brain) but if you want a list of the 20 women still in the running, here it is:
Alli Travis (fashion buyer), Ashley Hebert (dentist), Ashley Spivey (nanny), Britt Billmaier (food writer), Chantal O'Brien (executive assistant), Emily Maynard (hospital event planner), Jackie Gordon (artist), Keltie Colleen (dancer), Kim Coon (marketing coordinator), Lindsay Hill (teacher), Lisa Morrisey (marketing coordinator), Madison Garton (model), Marissa May (production assistant), Meghan Merritt (marketing manager), Melissa Schreiber (waitress), Michelle Money (hair stylist), Raichel Goodyear (cosmetologist), Sarah Powell (real estate agent), Shawntel Newton (funeral director), Stacey Queripel (bartender).
'The Bachelor' airs Mondays at 8PM ET on ABC.
Who were your favorite bachelorettes? Are you feeling more hopeful about Brad's second quest for love, or will you need further convincing? Share your thoughts in the comments!