Wouldn’t it be great if we could watch people as they date and learn from them? How fabulous would it be if we could pick apart what they do right and, most importantly, what they do wrong? Enter the hit show “The Bachelor.” While it may not always be an accurate representation of real-world romances, thankfully the new season of everyone’s favorite reality dating show has begun. So starting this week, I’ll be breaking down each episode and analyzing the show’s highlights (and lowlights). Are you ready to get started?
Meet Sean Lowe. He’s your typical blonde, stereotypically “All-American” 29 year-old guy from Dallas, Texas. (Yawn.) There are two mildly interesting things about Mr. Lowe. One: He’s a former contestant on “The Bachelorette” who made it into the final three but was ultimately dissed by Emily. The first ten or so minutes of the season’s opener were dedicated almost entirely to Sean discussing how brokenhearted he was when Emily eliminated him. This raises a couple of questions. Namely, if he was so devastated, is he truly ready to meet someone else? Or maybe he wasn’t really that in love if he’s already thinking about meeting someone new? (My vote? Scenario number two.)
The second semi-interesting thing about Bachelor Sean is that, by all accounts, he appears genuinely eager (translation: desperate) to get married and start a family. Of course, this might be a ploy by the producers to have the audience believe that maybe - just maybe - the almost-certain, end-of-season engagement will actually stick. And Sean and his bride-to-be will, unlike the vast majority of the series’ contestants, actually walk down the aisle. Only time - and a few tabloid magazine covers - will tell.
After the whole “let’s meet our new bachelor” thing, Sean receives a brief visit from Arie. Remember him? He’s the man who beat out Sean in getting to the finale on “The Bachelorette” and yet ultimately lost Emily’s heart to Jeff. Arie’s first contribution to the show was to help Sean rehearse the famous “Will you accept this rose?” line. I don’t know about you, but I felt like I was watching two students from the worst acting school in the country practice a scene before an audition for a walk-on part on “Law & Order.” Awful. Simply awful. Keep your day jobs, boys.
Arie also instructed Sean in the fine art of making out. No joke. The kissing bandit told our Bachelor that he should play with a girl’s hair and touch her face. Okay, that’s not bad advice. He also said Sean should just use a little bit of tongue. Again, good advice. But was it just me or did it seem like Sean wanted Arie to actually kiss him? Perhaps Arie’s skills are indeed that good...
Now for the best part: meeting the ladies. First impressions are a funny thing, aren’t they? You don’t want to completely blend in or be the type of person whose name is forgotten as soon as it is said. However, you shouldn’t strive to be so memorable that you come off like a lunatic either. And nowhere is the first-impression freak show so apparent as it is on “The Bachelor.” In the interest of brevity, let’s sum up a few of the “don’ts” displayed on last night’s episode. Ladies, do not attempt these stunts when meeting a man for the first time; be it in a bar, at the gym, or even on a cheesy reality show.
Don’t do a back flip á la Robyn. The lovely 24 year-old from Houston with an apparent sticky note addiction ended up face planting right there on the walkway in front of the mansion. To her credit however, the dress she wore was spectacular.
Don’t tell a guy you’re into kink during your first conversation with him. Michigan’s Ashley P. introduced herself to the viewers by saying that she was obsessed with “Fifty Shades of Grey” and wanted Sean to rip her clothes off and spank her. Yes, she really said that. And yes, she practically said the same thing to Sean himself after giving him a tie. (With which to bind her to a bed, presumably.)
Don’t compliment him to the point that he becomes embarrassed. Actually, don’t compliment him much at all during your first meeting. Telling a guy how hot he is, what a “hunk” he is (yep, one of the ladies actually used the word “hunk”), pointing out that you drove 2,000 miles just to meet him, or referring to him as “Mr. McSteamy” as soon as you lay eyes on him comes off as desperate and cloying. Further, it makes a self-confident man uncomfortable. Better he tells you how beautiful you look and how excited he is to meet you.
Don’t tell a guy that if he breaks your heart, your father will break his legs. Ever. It wasn’t a shocker that girl didn’t get a rose.
However, all of these “don’ts” pale in comparison to the woman who earned the title of “Hot Mess of the Week” for the opening episode. And that honor is bestowed upon Lindsay. The substitute teacher decided to show up on the first night wearing a wedding dress, complete with train and veil. As if this weren’t enough, she proceeded to kiss Sean on the lips while cackling madly. She explained that she wanted him to see her “goofy” side. Goofy? Absolutely. If you define “goofy” as “crazy.” As the evening wore on, the hopeful bride proceeded to get rip-roaring drunk, asked Sean to dance with her despite the fact there was no music playing, and then slurred “gimme a kiss” while groping him. Bravo! Sheer delight is the only way to describe what I felt when she was handed a rose. Hopefully Lindsay will not disappoint and she can look forward to many more “Hot Mess of the Week” awards in her future.
In the midst of all the antics and craziness there were, however, a couple of bright spots. At first, I liked Taryn. Not only is she very beautiful and seemed well put together without being over-the-top, I also thought her initial approach was refreshing. Instead of acting like the other girls and gushing over Sean as if he were her long-awaited soul mate, she told him that she had not watched the last several seasons of the show and was looking forward to getting to know him in person. (Well played, sister.) Taryn also refused to approach Sean during the cocktail hour and waited for him to seek her out. Unfortunately, she lost some serious points when she broke down and cried about the process to the other girls, but she managed to get a rose anyway. We’ll see how far her play-it-cool approach gets her.
My favorite, however, is Sarah. The 26 year-old advertising executive seems as sweet as she is pretty; and she happens to have been born with one arm. Sarah came off as assertive without being aggressive, straightforward, and poised. In fact, she appeared the most balanced and sane of the lot which most likely means she won’t be around too long. How sad.
All in all, the premiere of “The Bachelor” proved to be as educational as it was entertaining. And if past seasons are any indication, the following episodes will provide just as much material. There’s plenty to be learned from watching others make mistakes while searching for love - even if it is on television.