Hello, Bachelor fans, and welcome to the new season where Brad Womack searches for true love in a false reality. This series has recycled more contestants than bums recycle cans and bottles, but this is the first time that the person in charge of the picking (I shudder to label these folks the “star” of their season, but that is their role) gets a second chance. ABC has made sure that everyone with a tv knows about Brad’s return, but we’ll see if his passel of paramours have picked him personally, or if they are willing to date whomever the producers pick as the star this season.

Regarding Brad himself, I actually think he made the right choice when he walked away from both finalists in his last season. Heck, if my choice was eternity (or even a long weekend) with either Deanna or Jenni, I’d probably bail too and risk the wrath of a throng of angry villagers with torches and pitchforks. I know that I’m not alone in thinking it is better to be happy alone than unhappily paired, as that isn’t good for either partner.

I never resented Brad for walking away at the finale, but I am still mad at Brad for setting in motion the series of events that caused Deanna to be the next Bachelorette, then causing Jason to be the next Bachelor, leading to the “full Mesnick” move of crying over a balcony because you can’t pick a woman, and his embarrassing waffling over his final two. Brad’s rejection of Deanna also lead to Deanna’s rejection of Jake, which lead to Jake being the Bachelor, searing the image of cross-eyed Vienna into my brain, and of course their angry reunion show with Jake turning creepy right before our eyes, just like Tom Cruise over the past 10 years. Why, Brad, why couldn’t you have just picked Deanna even though you didn’t love her, marry her to keep her off the market, just to spare us the last 4 years of Bachelor viewing? I know it would have been a miserable marriage, but sometimes you need to dive on that grenade for the benefit of everyone else.

Mea Culpa

We start off this season with Brad talking about his three years in therapy, trying to get over not marrying someone he doesn’t love just for the sake of a tv show. He’s been working on his failure to commit, apparently. His two brothers (one is his twin, the other is younger) are now both married with young kids, and Brad is ready to join them at Babies R Us, buying diapers and strained peas. We get it. Brad is ready for love this time.

Our host Chris H drives it home, declaring that Brad is a “changed man.” Um, does that mean that he will propose to someone he doesn’t love this time? Either the producers feel the need to try to rehabilitate him to the audience, thinking we actually are watching the show hoping for genuine romance, or they just wanted to drag this episode out to two hours. We’ve finally berated Brad enough for now. It’s time to meet some of his panel of Bachelorettes.

The Unsuspecting Ladies Introduced

First we meet Ashley the dentist, who is an artist whose canvas is people’s mouths. Then she dances around in her skivvies, pulling a Risky Business dance routine with knee-high sweat socks.

Shawntel is a funeral director and embalmer. I went to school with someone who went on to be an undertaker. We called her “Digger Deb” but hey, it’s an honest way to make a living. Better than being a “slash” as in “actor/dance/model/waitress” who so often work their way onto reality shows for publicity.

Next is Ashley S., a southern girl living in New York. She lost her dad from a brain hemorrhage a couple years ago, and she’s counting on a sign from the afterlife to tell her when she’s found the right person. Shades of Chris L. the landscaper here.

Chantal works for her dad’s car dealership. She’s recently divorced after a ten year relationship. I can only hope that she’ll provide a “dance of love” like recently divorced and still obviously not over it Tenley did on her season with Jake. That Disney princess production had me in stitches for hours.

Michelle is a single mom who is dating for herself and her daughter. She gives the “I’m here for the drama” speech that she is going on the show to fall in love and find a husband, not to make friends with the other girls. Oh yes, they cast someone in this role every season, the person who is “here for Brad [or Jake, or Jason, or whomever], and not to make friends.” Well in that case, be a complete jerk, as that makes everything much easier. Yes viewers, we have a designated Drama Momma.

Next up, someone’s intro involves waxing some dude’s backside. Was this part of her submission video? Raichel claims her profession is “manscaping” but I think the actual role is esthetician. Apparently she only waxes men, not women, as she’s got a sadist streak and women don’t flinch and cry like men do when being waxed. Mr. LG’s theory on that one – guys who get waxed would cry over pretty much anything. Mr. LG is not a metrosexual. Brad doesn’t really strike me as one either, but who knows, maybe this Texas guy has gone Hollywood.

Meghan works “in fashion” and claims that looking for a man is like shopping. She’s apparently picked a lot of ugly, cheap, and cheating men in the past, and compares them to poor fashion choices. I may have some ugly clothes, but something is definitely amuck in your closet if your clothes are cheating on you, Meghan. I’ve never caught my apparel sexting others.

Madison claims to be a vampire, complete with fangs. That’s got to be one of the stupidest uses of dental resources I’ve ever seen, unless of course she is trying to rip apart animal flesh with her super long canine teeth, in which case she might be reality show competition for Billy the Exterminator. Perhaps we should introduce her to the concept of silverware (or a silver bullet, or is it a wooden cross). She jokes that she can’t see her reflection in the mirror, so she’s an old school vampire rather than the sparkling Twilight variety.

Next up is Emily, an event planner for a children’s hospital. I’m guessing it is charity and fund-raising events rather than “wow, you had an appendectomy” room parties for the kids, but it could go either way. She gets a sentimental edit, talking about a former fiancé who died in a plane crash on his way to a car race. She has a daughter from that relationship, and Mr. LG thinks there is no way that Brad or any other guy is going to compare to what she’s got in her mind about her lost love. I wonder if they’re grooming her to be a future Bachelorette, as they spend a lot of time introducing Emily.

I avoid spoilers, so I could be way off, but I really don’t see Emily with Brad. Maybe Drama Momma Michelle, as she didn’t seem hung up on her kid’s dad. This show has come a long way since casting their first single mom back in Charlie O’Connell’s season when it was practically verboten to mention that she had a child. Brad is old enough to date a “ready made” family, so I don’t see that as a show-stopper, but Emily is obviously still in love with Ricky and hasn’t healed enough to move on, in my humble opinion as a recapper.

Next up is Lacey, an insurance agent and bunch of other ladies given very little intro and simply shown primping at the hotel and getting ready to meet the Bachelor. Chris tells us that the ladies do not know that Brad will be this season’s bachelor. They may have been suspecting that it would be Chris the landscaper from last season, as the producers pushed hard to get him for this season. Chris was wise to avoid coming back and avoid “The Curse of Bob Guiney” where someone is popular their first time around and then comes back and is much less likable. This makes perfect sense when you think about it, because what is likable about someone who is dating of other people? That dude from Sister Wives – creepy. Brad never really had a fall from grace because he was never a member of “the field” so he started out as “the star” and has been vilified ever since.

Mea Culpa, Part Two

As further punishment, Brad now has to sit down with Chris and apologize to Jenni and Deanna. Brad starts squirming while they saunter out dressed to the nines. Brad starts off saying how good they both look, and then apologizes that he was such a failure as a man four years ago. Deanna, who had her own season and picked Jesse the snowboarder but then broke up with him within a year, is still bitter that Brad didn’t pick her. Um, aren’t you glad you didn’t marry him? Why would you wanted for him to continue a relationship that wasn’t love for him?

Maybe it’s my old age talking, but I always feel that everything you go through, try to learn something from it and then move on. Why be mad that something didn’t work out? If something is meant to be, it will be. If it wasn’t, move on. Makes me start humming some Rascal Flatts “God bless the broken road” for you country music fans. Unless there is lying and cheating going on (which is nearly impossible in the context of this show, as everyone knows he is dating 25-30 women), I fail to see the reason for the bitterness.

Nice To Meet You, Or Maybe Not

Chris advises Brad not to “screw this up” while Brad confesses that he worries all of the ladies will walk out en mass and leave him lonely. First up is Chantal the recently divorced woman who delivers the “slap heard around the world” which looks even more rehearsed in context than in the thousands and thousands of ads featuring that footage. If they are going to script this “confrontation” I’d have preferred going the old Airplane! movie route and having a line of women wielding baseball bats, boxing gloves, and brass knuckles.

Women are streaming out of the limo faster than I can capture it, flinging insults at him and trying to catch his attention. Alli tries a different approach and gives him a kiss rather than a slap. Fashionista Meghan has very strange pink shoes. Marissa is a sports publicist whose life revolves around sports, which Brad thinks is a refreshing change to other ladies, whose lives revolve around hating on reality tv contestants.

Lindsey from Dallas comes in right before dentist Ashley, who offered to leave with him in the limo right then and there. I thought maybe Madison the vampire was going to bite him in the neck, and then Melissa jumps out of the limo and into his arms. More and more women are streaming out of the limos and onto the steps of the mansion to meet Brad. Chris comes out after 15 ladies, and I’m shell shocked that there are still 15 more to go. The first episodes with all of these people are just more people than I could possibly care about.

There are some strange hairstyles on the ladies tonight. French rolls and odd pinned up combinations that would have been great bridesmaid hairstyles in the 80s with just a touch of baby’s breath stuck in place with Rave hairspray. I’m watching the parade of dresses, hairstyles, and shoes (someone from Kansas is sporting ruby slippers), and it’s all a blur. Then I see Keltie the Radio City Music Hall Rockette stick her leg up into the air. That was odd. Ok, back to more of the same.

Last out of the limo is Drama Momma Michelle, who catches his attention with her exotic dress and her proclamation that he was exactly who she wanted to meet coming onto the show. That was a marked difference from other women whose first impression on Brad is “you need to prove yourself to me because I’d like you better if you were married to Deanna.” Um, you wouldn’t be dating him if that were true, I’d hope.

Cocktail Party Drama

Brad gets his first impression rose from Chris and heads into the cocktail party, where some of the ladies have had plenty of time to indulge on the show’s champagne. Then Brad launches into a long and boring rehearsed speech about how he has changed, and offered all the ladies the chance to leave if they don’t want to get to know him. I think it was a shrewd move, as now he can say “well I gave you the opportunity to leave the first night if you didn’t want to give me a chance, so why didn’t you” any time some lady nags a little too long on the “you’re a creep” theme. Nicely done, Brad.

One of the bachelorettes narrates by pointing out that he needs to go through the same speech over and over to many of the ladies separately when he spends one on one time with them in the odd little cabana hut out by the pool. Then we get to see footage of him saying the same thing over and over. I’m still waiting for someone to jump in the pool fully dressed, attempt a wrestling move, throw a football, salsa dance, or do something else to try to stand out this first night. As if on cue, “manscaper” Raichel is whipping out the hot wax and rips a strip of hair off the back of his wrist. To his credit, Brad doesn’t flinch, but also doesn’t seem like someone who values being hairless.

Then we get some bad singing, but not yet on par with Casey’s mumble singing of last season. Then someone (brunette Alli, I think) wants him to judge whether or not her ass is too big. The Kardashian sisters seem to do ok with their large backsides. Renee and Alli get into some competition of trying to steal Brad away from each other, and both get aced out by someone else who wants to tell Brad all about herself. Renee in a blue dress keeps trying but Brad keeps leaving with everyone else who wants to steal him away. I’d take it as a sign if he doesn’t say “in a minute” to the third of fourth intruder. Single mom Emily for some reason doesn’t need to fight to get a minute alone with Brad (thanks so much, producers) and gets good lighting and soft music, so she’s obviously a favorite of someone. She claims to be “absolutely ready” for love again, so we’ll see.

Madison the vampire girl has Brad’s attention. He likes the mystery, but not her smirking attitude as he thinks she’s taking it as a joke. As the mom of a 10 year old girl, I know that look all too well, and it isn’t endearing. Recappers are allowed to treat this whole spectacle as a joke, but not contestants. Single mom Michelle states that she was impressed with his decision as it was honest, and then declares that she is a woman in a sea of girls. She spilled the beans that she is a mom, and Brad talks about how much he enjoys being an uncle.

It is edited to look like Brad is getting the first impression rose to Michelle, but it was a hoax. Brad then walks nanny Ashley S out to the courtyard to give her the first impression rose, thanking her for her offer of friendship and to be his sounding board. Michelle announces that she wanted that first impression rose and show some hints of psycho-Michelle from Jake’s season.

Time To Cull The Herd

After having met the ladies, Brad now has to make his first round of cuts. I’m still confused as there seems to be very little diversity and they all look to be in a very narrow age range that tops out around 5 years younger than Brad. With 30 women, you’d think they’d pick at least one person whose time in high school at least partially overlapped with his, but no. Brad is no spring chicken any more. I wish they could have cast someone in their mid 30s. Oh well.

Ashley S has the first impression rose, and it’s time to start handing out the rest of the bouquet. And the winners are:

2 Michelle, the single mom
3 Kimberly
4 Alison
5 Emily, the other single mom
6 Raichel – is she a producer’s pick, as I saw no interest from Brad in ending up with a bald backside.
7 Keltie the Rockette – who gives off a Tenley vibe with her babytalk “yeay”
8 Ashley H
9 Lisa M.
10 Lindsey from Texas
11 Alli – who may or may not have too large of a behind
12 Sarah P. – who seems shocked to have been called
13 Marissa
14 Britt
15 Stacey
16 Chantal the undertaker
17 Jackie – who did the lame singing and looks like Rachel from Glee
18 Melissa

And we’re down to the last rose. Chris comes out to announce the obvious, and that 10 people will be leaving without a rose tonight. Wait, I’m missing someone. Who was it? Shoot. I can’t even remember him talking to some of the ladies he picked. Maybe if we hadn’t spent the first hour talking about Brad’s three years in therapy and unnecessary apologies to Deanna and Jenni we would have seen him talk to these people. Who did I miss? First though we need the final rose. And it goes to -

Chantel O, who was the first out of the limo who slapped Brad. I’m guessing another producer’s pick.

Lauren and Britnee, both sporting weird twisted hairstyles got highlighted as eliminated contestants bitter that they were picked. So, now we know that Brad isn’t a fan of the updos. Also departing on the first night, someone named Lisa P who starts crying. Of course. I always cry when I don’t get picked from a herd of people to date someone that I’ve met for mere minutes.

Apparently the rose I missed was for vampire girl Madison, as she is in the previews, but I don’t remember her getting a rose. Maybe I couldn’t see her because receiving a rose is like appearing in a mirror and it doesn’t work for vampires. Or maybe I’m just tuning her out because I’m already annoyed with her silly fangs and vampire shtick.

When I was younger I had learned how to tune out the weather when watching the news. It was so colossally dull that, try as I might, I could not pay attention and had no idea the forecast even after watching the news. As someone who drives in Minnesota rush hours all winter, I need to pay more attention now, but it’s hard to pay attention when your brain has decided to tune something out, so it’s likely that Madison will get missed in future recaps by me (if she survives the next round of cuts, that is).

Join us next week when my partner Arielflies takes the recapping reigns and tries to care about these women who seem so alike in so many ways at this point.

To comment on this recap, click here: Bachelor Brad 2.0: The Redemption Tour