And here we are. Week 2. The week where we began to face fears, and find love, and not come here to make friends, and play Fruit Ninja on a stolen iPad until the producers hear all the slicing sounds and take it away, and so forth. For Sean, they’ve replaced the time-honored early-show Balcony-Think with a Topless Cybex Routine-Think that John Basedow would term “adorable, but seriously, this guy is basically DJ Qualls compared to me, buy my workout tapes.” After Sean also does an on-camera shower — with his shirt off, like a totally vain person — semi-Casual Chris saunters in, in a very crisp plaid shirt, jeans, and some loafers. It’s time.
The First One-On-One Date: Sarah
Oh man! The girl with less arms than the rest of the girls just locked down the first date of the whole season. This is kinda awesome. Plenty producer-rigged, I have to assume, but still awesome. You’ve really gotta feel good for her — all the other girls certainly do. Normally they’d hate her because she gets to go in a helicopter and spend time with “THEIR man,” but because it’s Sarah everyone just does a knowing nod and kinda says “awwwwww.” It’s a really unique situation, and I can’t remember ever seeing it. Go Sarah!
The card reads: “Are you ready to fall in love today?” They’re probably watching Legends of the Fall, because Anthony Hopkins is mad sexy in that movie and he gets chicks all hot and bothered. They’re really wasting no time here drumming up the classic tropes — the Traditional Bachelor Chopper touches down and they’re off to…one of the three buildings in LA higher than Spencer Pratt’s house next to that annoying weird kid, which he surely had to sell so Heidi could get elbow-reduction surgery.
Turns out Sean brought her up here for a champagne toast but — doh! — he forgot all the champagne way down on the ground. God he’s silly. Now a normal person would just take the elevator, or politely ask the helicopter pilot they’ve rented at extreme cost to set them down on the landing pad on the ground, but Sean is no normal person!! He’s the kind of wild and crazy guy who wants to jump off the building, then let a professionally controlled industrial winch lower him down in a 300-foot “free-fall”, then drink a bunch of Moet to celebrate making people other pay for all this stuff.
And he’s a total pusher so he’s gonna make Sarah do it too. She thoughtfully goes through the motions of pretending to be alllllll terrrrrrrified, but in the end just kinda jumps off and lets it happen, then slams Sean’s Overcoming Stuff Champagne. Seriously, this date, for this chick? You think this phases her? She’s been through so much in her life that she’s tough as nails, and by “nails” I definitely mean Lenny Dykstra. Mets-era. And also, can’t they get a new thing for people to be scared of, other than heights? Scorpions? R.L. Stine books, most notably the Fear Street series? Donatella Versace?
Of course everyone’s proud of everyone else, mainly for enduring the crotchal discomfort from the harness, and the reward is dinner. And we get our first Highly Inventive Sean Toast of the Season. I’m gonna start tracking these all season so you don’t have to log them on your Palm Pilot. “Cheers to an incredible afternoon, and what will hopefully be an even better night.” Inspiring! And to think — he’s just getting warmed up with these! At dinner, Sarah leads with this story about how she’s really glad she got to do this building-jump, because one time she wanted to go ziplining with her dad in Vegas, but some asshat employee wouldn’t let her because of the arm. DON’T TELL HER WHAT SHE CAN’T DO!! SHE WILL GO ON THAT WALKABOUT!!! Um, I mean zipline.
Anyway, Sarah’s into Sean now because she always wanted a man who could stand up for her, and deal with these situations. Clearly that man is Sean — you could see the looks on all the producers’ faces. Just like the asshat, they didn’t want to let her jump off the building. He talked them into it, because he is a strong man who cares deeply about her. What a dude. They discuss her past relationships for a bit — she pulled a three-year stint with this one guy, but he wasn’t spontaneous or into the Gin Blossoms enough or something. Then they make out for a while, and she says she’s, ummmm, FALLING IN LOVE WITH HIM ALREADY. Second episode? That might be a record. All the while, it’s painfully obvious that Sean needs a full semester in The Arie Luyendyk Jr Makeout Academy For People Who Don’t Make Out Very Well. His mouth seems like it’s epoxied shut and he totally forgot about the hands things. And we’re going to talk about why that might be right now.
Quick Aside: Sean — Like A Born-Again Virgin
So I try to avoid Bachelor press as much as possible, because that Reality Sam guy eventually tells you everything that happens. But the other day I read this. It’s a story about Sean being a “born-again virgin,” which, theoretically, means that he was once a virgin, and then not a virgin, and now kinda a virgin, but the kind of virgin that has definitely had sex. He’s clearly already 1) going to hell, and 2) ruled himself out of being someone who gets to bang the Muslims once they die and go to virgin-heaven, so I’m not sure I see the point of all this. But it really does explain a lot about his awkwardness — no normal dude who’s built like a young Lou Ferrigno just stops having sex once he becomes a famous TV-person. That’s the entire point of becoming the famous TV-person. So he’s either completely weird, a huge liar, or an ACTUAL virgin, and trying to cover himself. What are him and his dates later in the season going to stay in? The Fantasy Hand-Caressing Suite? Stay tuned for more on this.
The Group Date
And just like that, our Bachelor who hates sleeping with women so much that he stopped doing it invites 13 attractive ones on a date. We’ve got Bigmouth Kristy, Amanda, Brooke, Lobbyist Lesley, Daniella, Catherine, Robyn, Katie, Jerseychaser Selma, Diana, Karen, Kacie B, and Tierra, who I would definitely call Tierra Del Fuego, although she’s not quite hot enough. The card reads “Let’s capture the romance,” as if Sean was a poacher, and romance was an adorable, helpless rhinoceros. Sean takes the girls to a very large house that’s almost as nice as Chris Harrison’s house. Turns out they’re going to be doing photo shoots for Harlequin Novels, “the most trusted name in romance,” and publisher of such steamy titles as “A Bodyguard for Christmas” and “The Greek Tycoon’s Disobedient Bride.” They also have a whole NASCAR series, no joke.
The challenge: dress up in Halloween-level slutty stuff and hang all over naked Sean. The winner gets a three-book deal to pose for the covers. Sean doesn’t get to bang any of them. In the end, this whole thing is totally pointless. Mainly because all the other girls kinda suck, and Kristy is a model — and an awesomely skanky one, not a high fashion editorial one, and you’re damn right I watch America’s Next Top Model — so she wins. Even all the other ladies are kinda dying to bone her by the end of her shoot. The best part is, Kristy actually somehow wins that three-book-cover deal. I can’t wait to see her on “The Postman Always Rings Twice, Except When He Rings Three Times Because He Wants To Bone You On Your Washing Machine.” Highly Inventive Sean Toast Of The Season II: “Here’s to a great day, and hopefully a much better evening.” Dude’s on fire with these.
At the after-party, Sean rolls through a bunch of solo time with the girls. We’re still really getting to know them, so I think it’s worth it to lay out some quick, updated takes:
Lobbyist Lesley: I’m kinda digging her actually. She’s definitely smart, but doesn’t go too hard on the annoying DC seriousness. She failed horribly at making Sean kiss her the first time they hung out, then specifically pulled him aside again just to make out, so I respect that. Nothing better than heavily awkward persistence.
Daniella: She’s hot! And pretty funny too. They show her doing her interview when Lesley goes all heat-seaker on the makeout, and she sees it and says some goofy stuff. She’ll never win, but I like her style.
Kacie B: I need to get way more into what the hell she’s even doing here, but for right now, the best thing about her is that when they display her name, her profession is listed as “Ben’s Season.”
Selma: Just a straight-up babe and knows how to play the game. Thanks to her jersey-chasing experience, this whole scenario is familiar territory — Mike Napoli may have 15 chins, but he also had at least that many girls gunning for him at any given point, and she won. She’ll be around for a while. It’s also cool how hot Middle Eastern women can speak openly in Arabic and not worry about getting detained by the feds.
Catherine: Also hot and cool! She says she’s a vegan but really into the beef. I gather that this seeming contradiction is some manner of wordplay referencing her high regard for Sean’s impressive and ample musculature. But seriously, what the hell is going on here? There actually seem to be a bunch of very legitimate contenders right now.
Tierra: She really hasn’t even been that bitchy yet, but has already secured her spot as the Girl That Everyone Will Tell Sean Is Totally Fake, But He Won’t Realize Is Fake Until Much Later. She also has much bigger boobs than I thought, so that’s pretty cool.
Katie: Leaves the show on her own in the middle of the party. Don’t care.
When it’s all said and done, Kacie B gets the rose and is “out of the friend zone.” Now she’s in the “potential girlfriends without benefits zone.” Congrats. Why are you here.
The Second One-On-One Date: Desiree
Alright! There’s my girl. Her card reads “Love is Priceless,” which reminds me, I wrote this story about getting on the Price is Right, have I mentioned it? Oh, I have. Yeah, whatever. This date represents Sean getting back to his roots — displayed in detail last season — of always wanting to be Jamie Kennedy of The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, or some much more hilarious Japanese guy that Jamie Kennedy steals all his material from. That’s right: it’s Prank Wars Time.
You surely remember on Emily’s season, when Sean pretended like he lived in an armadillo and ate his bedroom for dinner every night. Well he just can’t help himself from pulling another whopper, because pranks are how he shows he’s human. Here’s the setup: they put her in a gallery full of terrible art clearly created by Ben Flajnik, ensure a situation happens in which a “priceless” piece (actual retail price of “priceless”: $1.5mil) gets broken and she’s the only one in the room, and have the artist Sven (my fake name I sometimes go by when I want to seem Swedish) freak out about it. Before it all goes down, we get Highly Inventive Sean Toast of the Season No. III: “Here’s to what I hope will be a wonderful first date.” This guy should seriously be a toast-mercenary hiring himself out for weddings and milestone birthday parties.
When it all goes down, Dez’s reaction is pretty fantastic. She starts laughing almost immediately, then when Sven and others charge into the room and accuse her of breaking it, she just keeps laughing. This proves one of two things: 1) she was onto the ruse the whole time, which makes her pretty awesome, or 2) she’s has a severe mental condition that transmutes extreme fear into uncontrollable giddiness. Either way, she didn’t freak out and sure looked cute! This was really a total fail, as there was no payoff and now she probably hates him for wasting her chance to go on a private-jet date to the Maldives, just so he could ineffectively eff with her. Sean’s prank game is hurting, man.
To make up for it, Sean takes her back to his place, where someone thoughtfully burnt really weird looking steaks for the merry pranksters while they were gone. Yet another Inventive Sean Toast: “Here’s to no more pranks, and just us having a good time getting to know each other.” Inventive Dez Toast: “To a good night.” Super-Inventive Sean Toast-Back: “To a GREAT night.” The rest of the date is boring as poop (lots of babbling about how they’re comfortable with each other, and just how very happy their parents’ marriages are), right up to the point where Dez hits the hot tub in a bikini and looks nice and put together. He asks if she’ll accept the rose and she kinda reverse-pranks him, making him sweat a bit before saying yes, and they make out for a while, quite awkwardly. I gotta say, I really like this one’s style.
The Cocktail Party
The main takeaways from this:
-Wedding Dress Lindsay is somehow totally cool and not psycho, and very cute. She also has a father who is an army general, which explained why she wore her dress whites to opening night.
-Robyn brings the tough questions. She’s noticed that the show is “more culturally diverse” but clearly assumes it’s some sort of play by the producers. So she straight comes out and hits Sean with it: essentially, “do you, like the rest of them, refuse to have sex with attractive not-white chicks?” Sean can’t wait to assure her of this, and so makes up a bunch of gfs — “I’ve dated everyone. Hispanic, um, Persian, and my last girlfriend: BLACK!!” It works. She likes him now.
-Amanda is a very insane person. She alternately sits/splays out on the couch and doesn’t talk to anyone, even when she’s addressed with a nice question from the also-very-nice Dez. It looked like she was just getting shithammered the whole time, sucking gin out of a coffee mug, but when Sean finally pulled her away, she was all on-point — not only was she not as drunk as Bachelor Pad Ed, but she perked right up and her eyes went wide and she remembered how to smile, and it was all really bizarre. I know that none of these chicks can be having fun when they’re sitting around all awkwardly at these cocktail parties, before the cliques have even been formed, just waiting for a producer to come get them, but c’mon. You’ve gotta give at least a little — there’s no way this behavior could ever be sustainable. That said, I sure hope it is, because her consuming, potentially evil weirdness is the most interesting thing on the show right now aside from what Selma will look like in a bikini.
Chris is looking smooth. Sean is super-optimistic that his wife is here, just waiting for him. Let’s do this.
First up for a rose!: Ashley the Closet Organizer. Quiet episode for her, but she’s classy, hot, and really knows her way around a built-in shoe rack. Well deserved! After that, we’ve got Wedding Dress Lindsay, Robyn, because Sean dates black girls, Jackie, Lobbyist Lesley, Selma (of course), and Catherine. Kristy has on some weird colored lipstick to draw even more attention to her gigantic mouth. Doesn’t stop her from getting a rose. After ther it’s Leslie H, because again, Sean dates black chicks, Tierra, Taryn, and Daniella, who sneaks in as the second-to-last rose getter despite a strong showing this week.
And it’s down to a three-for-one: Amanda, Diana, and Brooke. Annnnnd it’sssss…Amanda! All right! She’ll provide everyone with a second girl to hate on top of Tierra — you kinda need that dispersal of fury, or the girl they all 100% hate gets railroaded right off and the show gets mad boring. Good choice, Sean! I’m proud of you for not understanding this in the least, but still letting it happen.
Next week: someone goes to the hospital!