I come to you with a broken heart. One of my reliable TV boyfriends has taken off for parts unknown, and after being together since 2001, through amazing journeys of nuclear threats, murdered presidents, moles everywhere, and really efficient man-purses, I am understandably down. So I must console my eviscerated thoracic cavity (oh, Bauer, how you kill me so) with watching Ali try to have a go at love with one (or more!) of the many camera-ready dudes ABC has chosen for her. Somehow I doubt it will cure my woes, but I'm sure to have a laugh or two.
Victim of love, victim of fashion.
Of course, we cannot begin the journey to true love without reliving what brought Ali to this magical place of Bachelorette-land. Ali entered Jake’s season only looking for true love, but it ended in tears when she made the choice of a steady paycheck over a (at best) 25% shot at happiness with Jake. We all know this isn’t the first time Facebook has caused relationship troubles, but now Ali regrets choosing a desk, computer, and keyboard over someone who could be the love of her life. Even a dalliance of a look at “Dancing With the Stars” shows she made the better choice, even if her job were in public relations for BP.
Now all is different for fair princess Ali. She promises that she is not going to be the victim of her own insecurities—she will now put the man in her life first, which always works out so, so well. She’s got a new take on life, is trying to rock the one-shoulder Flashdance look, and has a big red mansion (with an easily accessible sea-side cliff for making sacrifices to the love gods) to find her new man. She is Everywoman—she kicks a soccer ball, she fears she’ll end up alone, she giggles, and she’s got wonky teeth. And, should you forget, although she’ll remind you at least 40 times this episode, she’s given up her job and apartment to take a gamble at love. Someone should tell her the house always wins.
Chris Harrison steps on the scene and tells us—so we must believe—that this season is going to be exciting. Look, truth be told, 50% of the reason I watch this show is for Harrison; he is awesome at the faux surprises, the straight man, and the clinking of the glass. The other 50% is because I like to see dudes cry over really trivial stuff. It’s a reality show, not a life or death situation, after all. He drums in the career versus love theme of the season, which starts to grate on all my nerves inside of eight minutes. Let’s face facts…going on The Bachelor/ette is even more humiliating than trolling for dates on Craigslist. At least there, you don’t always run the risk of ending up on video.
The dudes…all looking for a little love and camera time.
There may be folks who like to read something into who gets the bigger introduction at the start, but I think it’s the weirder ones who get the most screen time, and if I’m wrong, so be it. For some reason or another these dudes (I’m fond of that word, get used to it) get some camera-love before the first date even begins.
First up is Frank from Chicago and runs around the Chicago River waterfront to prove it. Back in the day, Frank was a mergers and acquisitions guy; he claims he gave that up to find happiness in a screenwriting career, but my working knowledge of the M&A business and recent events makes me think he was “downsized”. Hey, it happens to a lot of good people, so I’m not going to rag him on that. On the other hand, moving into his parents’ basement to start a film writing career seems a bit slacker-esque. Frank finds passion more important than money, and when told Ali is the Bachelorette, he starts planning the wedding. Next up is Jay, a Rhode Island ambulance chaser who thinks it is awesome that Ali left Jake to follow her career. He’s got plaintiff-lawyer hair and a job sponsored by his daddy.
Speaking of hair, next up is Craig M. of Toronto and of the poofy hair; he claims he’s 33 but I’d bet if you cut him open and counted the rings, it’d be closer to 50. He’s big on the local club scene and loves the single life “oot and abooot”. (My apologies to Canadians everywhere.) Of course, that’s a perfect segue into Kyle from South Park, CO. Okay, maybe not actually South Park, but the guy is shown ice fishing in a remote area, devoid of people, let alone available women. This fella is handy with a rifle, so should anyone get out of hand, we might just see some bloodshed.
Up next is Justin a professional-slash-entertainment wrestler who goes by the stage name “Rated R”. He’s recently broken his ankle, but shows his soft side by talking with his grandmother about how all pretty girls are trouble. He’s also from Toronto and I think after all this goes down, there may be a rumble with Craig M., so someone should put the Mounties on alert. Phil is an investment banker also from Chicago (did they do casting anywhere warm?) who brings a sad tale of his brother’s recent passing. Since his brother’s death, Phil has realized the importance of physical fitness and finding love. Similarly, we’re introduced to Chris L. from Cape Cod who taught in the Bronx but moved home to take care of his ailing mother before she passed away. Cue cute dog, need for a soul mate, etc.
The only two southern dudes introduced in the long-form interviews are Jonathan, a ridiculously hammy humorist and weatherman from Houston and Ty, the divorced guy, from Tennessee. Of course, as Ty is southern, he must play guitar and have a dog.
Short-form intros are given, all during prepping for the first big night, for: Roberto an insurance agent from Charleston; Tyler V. an on-line ad man from Vermont with a boatload of tats; Derrick the construction engineer from San Diego who finds it necessary to tell himself he’s awesome in the hotel bathroom mirror; Steve a sales rep of some kind from The Cleve who thinks he already has Ali in the bag; and John C. from WA State, in hotel development, and is overly confident for his receding hair line.
In the limos, we get a few more quick introductions. There’s Kirk, a sales consultant from Green Bay, who is glad things didn’t work out between Ali and Jake. And there’s Chris L. again, the Cape Cod former teacher/current landscaper; he concluded Jake was a moron when he didn’t do anything while Ali was crying in the hall of the hotel after she left to go back to her job. A bit slow on the uptake there, Chris…Jake’s been a moron since pulling a Mesnick after calling Jillian. At least since then!
Sponsored by the words “See ya inside!”
It is time, people, it is time…Ali is going to meet the 25 guys ABC has picked out for her (and the handful they hope will make it on The Soup). Outside the mansion, Chris Harrison meets Ali. Okay, enough. There are too many freakin’ guys named Chris in this season, even one named Chris H., so I’m going to refer to our zany host as Harrison from henceforth.
Harrison drives home, once again, that these guys have left their family, their friends, and their jobs for the shot at marrying Ali. Speaking of whom, Ali arrives in a lovely long black gown with draped cowl neckline and open back with either a large mic pack on her lower back or a bustle. After the usual platitudes of how amazing (drink!) the process is, how much it works (really?), she once again expresses regret for going back to her job and not sticking around for man-child Jake. She tells Harrison her ten year plan is to have kids, but this makes her giggle in embarrassment, so I’m not so sure she’s really got a plan. Harrison tells her that they’ve got a great bunch of guys waiting for her—a television weatherman, a lawyer, and a professional wrestler. That last one gives her pause, as it should.
Ali waits on the sprayed-down driveway with her long gown resting in the water on the pavement. Someone with tv production experience needs to clue me in on why the pavement always has to be wet; I’m seriously worried about the train of her dress. Also, Ali needs to stop hunching up her shoulders and stand up straight; she’d carry that gown much better.
The first car arrives bringing Chris H., a nervous real estate guy from Vancouver; Jesse, a general contractor from Peculiar, MO; Chris L., a Red Sox fan; Ty, who is all “we’ll see what happens, good luck to you”; and Frank, now labeled a “retail manager” rather than a basement-dwelling aspiring screenwriter, who emerges from the sunroof of the limo.
The second limo holds Justin/Rated-R and his broken ankle; Jay, the ambulance chaser who calls Ali “sweetie” three times inside of thirty seconds; Kasey, an ad man from California whose hug nearly removes Ali’s dress; and Kyle who casts an imaginary fishing line to reel her in. Someone please find the lactase for me…the cheese is going to do me in.
Limo Three brings Roberto, the Spanish-speaking salsa dancing hottie; Craig M., sporting an insanely bright stripped tie; John N., a salesman from Kansas whom Ali keeps at arm’s length; Tyler V., a guy very excited she’s not in Jake’s airplane; and John C., who “proposes” with a CZ ring and asks for the promise of some alone time. We’ve gone from string cheese to cheese in a can at this point, so Harrison returns to see how Ali is holding up. Her dress has nearly fallen off about five times, her face is permanently fixed in a smile, and her feet are probably hurting, but she’s doing fine.
Emerging from the fourth limo are: Jonathan, the weatherman who brings Ali a sunshine weather magnet; Craig R., a lawyer from Philadelphia; Steve, who is disappointed Ali is not wearing yellow; Kirk, who makes Ali a rose out of red paper; and Tyler M. from Texas, who wears cowboy boots because she did when she met Jake. This does not impress Ali, because it was not she who wore the boots. Anyone know who did?
Finally the fifth limo arrives, carrying dudes who are doing the “I have to pee” dance. Hunter, from San Antonio, freely admits his need for the lavatory and dashes off. Derek, a sales guy from Michigan, brings a handful of leaves which he tosses up in the air for Ali to catch and make a wish. Phil, from Chicago, is excited to see Ali, but I think more excited to run to the little boy’s room. Derrick also does a sprint to the bathroom but not before dropping that his nickname is “Shooter” and she’ll find out why later. Finally, the last dude, Jason, gets out of the limo on the wrong side, gets on top of the car and does a back flip off the roof. He lands solidly and greets Ali, avoiding the earliest elimination EVER. I know Harrison has to be a little sad he couldn’t use that in a teaser.
Crossing the line from honesty to oversharing.
Ali is excited to get the party started; Harrison reminds her that she’ll have to send home eight guys and notes there will be a First Impression rose. Ali heads into the house, where all the guys are waxing poetic about how beautiful, gorgeous, and sweet Ali is. With all the gobs of praise, you’d think she invented the planet. She addresses the lot of potential life-partners by warning them to be open and honest and in return, she’ll have their backs. Hmm, maybe this Shooter guy is a gunslinger.
It’s about halfway through the show and the onslaught of one-on-one moments begins with Frank, the former M&A guy now residing with his parents writing scripts. He doesn’t exactly say “parents” this time around but “Paris,” and promises to take her there one day. Kirk, for reasons that are unclear to me, the other guys, and possibly Kirk, spent over eight hours making a scrapbook for Ali. I was a bit relieved that it was a scrapbook of his life—his pictures, his family—and not some creepy stalker thing. We then learn that Kasey is a really, really earnest dude and will never cheat on a woman because his dad cheated on his mom and he’s a momma’s boy. Kasey reminds me a lot of Jake, hence I immediately don’t like him.
There’s at least one singer at every first date night, and this season is no exception. Hunter has brought his ukulele and proceeds to sing a little ditty he wrote about himself. Derek regrets that he didn’t come up with a gimmick like a song, but Jason concludes Hunter is just a nerd who won’t get a girl ever. After Hunter’s tribute to himself, Ali takes a few minutes with Derrick/Shooter to find out the origin of his nickname. Hey, remember earlier when I said there’s always someone perfect for The Soup? Well here he is. Shooter got his nickname not because he’s a gunslinger or did 25 shots at a bar or is an avid fan of killing skeet. Those explanations would be okay to admit on national television on what is ostensibly a first date and might start a conversation. What you do not admit is that “in college” you were known for premature ejaculation. This implies (1) he talked about it a lot; (2) he had a lot of public incidents; and/or (3) it happened with a lot of girls and they started warning each other.
Ali slinks away quickly from Shooter and heads outside with Jonathan, the weatherman, and Craig M. of the big hair and loud tie fame. Jonathan talks non-stop, allowing neither Ali nor Craig M. to get a word in. Another potential husband springs Ali from the wall of words being hurled at her and Craig M. tells Jonathan that he needs to dial down the chatter.
The whole group chills out for a while in the living room, but never to let tensions die down too much, Harrison arrives with the first impression rose on a silver plate. Most of the guys are freaked out, but Roberto takes the opportunity to ask Ali for some alone time. Outside they talk about his long-married parents in Tampa, his new business in Charleston, and he gives her a salsa dancing lesson. Ali is in full-on swoon mode with Roberto.
Ali and Chris L. have a pleasant chat about his brothers, his black lab, and his parents. He glosses over the fact that his mother is recently deceased, and points to him for not playing the sympathy card. Kyle, the outdoorsman from Colorado, brought Ali a fishing lure that is exactly like his lucky charm. Jay, the personal injury lawyer, reads the room and knows he’s in the weeds with Ali and doesn’t know what to do about it.
Go green & recycle plot points.
Ugh, I’m exhausted trying to keep these guys straight; I wonder how the Bachelor/ettes do it? Justin helps out by standing out—he’s got the broken ankle for starters—and when he sits down with Ali for his one-on-one moments, he pulls back his button-down to reveal his “Rated R” t-shirt and talks about his career as an entertainment wrestler. He attempts to drop his voice to a serious tone, but is practically a soprano compared to Bale’s Batman. The two Craigs both give Justin crap about his wrestling career and Craig R. goes so far as to warn Ali that some folks suspect Justin is there only for self-promotion. Craig R. also has brought Ali a present; I’m guessing it’s pretty late in the night at this point because Ali is giving that “I must sober up and focus” look. I know that look—I’ve had it many times. Craig R.’s gift is a little yellow sneaker keychain. He has one too that he’ll keep and maybe the pair can be reunited one day. Cheesy, yes, but more like cheddar than Velveeta.
Harrison returns once again, this time followed by a large techie carrying a locked box. The guys are to write down who they think is not there for the universally accepted “right reasons.” Uh-oh, we’ve seen this before…just like when it happened on The Bachelor, the guys think the person they pick is going to get the boot, but we know that is not how this game plays out. From the comments around the room, the most reviled guys are Justin (self-promotion), Frank (trying way too hard), Jonathan (won’t STFU), and Craig M. (bad hair). Craig M. doesn’t even want to vote at all—he thinks the box is stupid. He should take his ugly tie and go home if he doesn’t want to roll with the game.
While the voting goes on, Jesse gets a bit of time with Ali; he’s made her a heart-shaped wooden necklace on the advice of his older sister. Her last chat is with Ty, who charms her with his southern accent, and who wisely doesn’t bring up the divorce quite yet.
Finally all these one-on-ones are done; Ali grabs the First Impression rose off of the coffee table and heads through three rooms to find the recipient, Roberto. He accepts the rose gladly and she doesn’t stab him with the pin, which is a risk given how shaky she is. With that bit of business done, it’s on to more action as Harrison returns with the vote tally and the same techie now carrying another rose on a plate. Harrison says that Justin had the overwhelming majority of the votes and Ali can send him home right there or give him the rose to keep him around. Ali takes him aside to find out what the deal is; he says the guys think he’s there because of his wrestling career but he’s really there to find a wife and best friend. Ali buys his story and gives him the rose. Craig M. stares daggers at Ali upon seeing Justin is safe. I can’t wait until he loses his cool big-time. That will make for some excellent television.
As the sun dawns over the house, the rose ceremony begins. The soul patch brothers, Justin and Roberto, hang out off to the side as Ali (I’ll say it again—stand up straight and stop slouching!) hands out roses to Jesse, Ty, Craig R., Tyler V., Frank, Steve, Chris L., Kirk, John C., Chris N., Chris H., Hunter, Craig M., Jonathan, and Kasey, who still looks like Jake to me.
Harrison sends the non-selected guys home and heads to get some sleep. Kyle says his goodbyes to Ali and admits he feels like a failure. Derrick/Shooter is out and realizes he made a fool of himself; I hope he’s on the reunion show so, so much. Jay gets in one last “sweetie” in his farewell to Ali and blames himself for not bringing himself to her more directly. Back in the house, Ali toasts to the guys, saying she couldn’t have hoped for a better bunch. There was a long montage of previews for the upcoming episodes, but all I’m going to say is that I think we might have found the cause of the volcano eruption in Iceland. Come back next week when my esteemed co-counsel, LG., will guide you through Ali’s amazing journey.