Juan Pablo sets off tonight on his journey to find everlasting love and a new entry on his Wikipedia page. Nine women will lose their chance to cleave their flesh with their one and only soulmate and be on Leno. Those of you who struggle to reconcile that a loving God can permit such hellish human suffering, please consult a member of the clergy or knock back some bourbon before tuning in.
Meanwhile, Juan Pablo has been busy offering more substantial contributions to Western culture than an impossibly pretty face and wildly lucrative ratings for a non-cable network. For example, he taught loutish, monolingual Americans how to say “duck face” in Spanish (la cara de pato), and doggedly pursued the definition of “jeggings” through a Twitter-based interrogation.
Once Wheel of Fortune is blessedly over, we’ll launch into the 18th timeless love story of a man and his 27 romantic dates arranged by a production company. It’s a tale as old as Romeo and Juliet, Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester, and Kody Brown and the sister wives. By the way, the answer is PRYING QUESTIONS, you moron. Good gravy, he had almost all the letters.
JP can’t believe he’s The Bachelor. It’s a great opportunity for him to
make money get his own show find love. Before we get to all that, though, we must review again how much he loves his daughter Camila. Finally, he mentions the child’s mother — as anonymously as if she were in the Witness Protection Program, but we’re making progress, feminists. We learn how hard it is to be a dad, especially with cameras following you. Apparently, the job requires a lot of heart-drawing. JP contemplatively kicks a soccer ball on the beach at sunset as he considers what love will mean for his future and Camila’s.
“It’s all tonight,” Chris intones after yet another montage of cocktail-dress-clad store mannequins alternately sobbing and complaining about the unexpected emotions of their situation–the one they’ve watched a previous parade of their own doppelgangers experience 17 times before, only while wearing the styles of those fashion seasons.
JP has called upon Sean Lowe to stroll casually over and discuss the delicate intricacies of being a Bachelor. Sean is a veteran, having done it once. “I’m horrible with names,” JP tells him. That’s what he’s worried about? Although, true, yelling out a passionate KayLee when you’re with AshLee could be uncomfortable. Sean asks if he has a kissing strategy. Is that a thing? Sean himself had many difficult nights worrying if he’d jettison someone and then regret it, or if he’d invest his six-figure weekly paycheck in a plummeting stock.
We are treated to JP preparing for the big moment of the women-meeting, which includes soaping up his torso–did the camera crew get in the shower with him?– and finally shaving that scruff, for God’s sake. He contemplatively (again) walks in the twilight, this time in his yard, possibly calculating whether he should go with bonds or real estate with the first payout.
Chris starts babbling yet again about JP’s tremendous popularity after being seen on a previous Bachelorette show. They’re really hammering that point home. Then we meet the first girl, a blond named Chelsea or Chelsie or Cheyl’Si who is probably not a member of Mensa. Next is Renee, who likes to appear in a bikini and has a son. She’s ready to be vulnerable. She better be. Andi is a “gang prosecutor” who thinks people are shocked to see her in the courtroom, probably because she considers herself too beautiful to be perceived as intelligent, but most likely because ombre hair is rarely seen on people interrogating witnesses to gangland executions. The next chick is a massage therapist with a cuteness issue.
Nikki is a pediatric nurse who stares contemplatively into the distance as she considers love. If she also likes running on the beach, she’s a perfect match for JP. Lauren H. had a bad breakup that she regards as having gone through “adversity.” Next is Valerie, a personal trainer, who describes herself as pretty and feeds some horses, perhaps to embroider on her point. Lacy works with special needs kids and owns a care facility? At 25? In Sacramento is Clare, who is part Mexican and looks completely vapid. Everyone of these chicks so far has hair well past her shoulders, stenciled eyebrows, and figures that could be on the cover of Self magazine. The challenge for JP won’t be remembering their names, but distinguishing one from another in broad daylight.
Back at the villa, JP’s limo arrives. He and Chris manhug. It appears JP has regrown his stubble since leaving his house earlier. That’s some kind of man. Chris dramatically tells him that there are two more women to meet than he expected, due to the huge influx of shameless floozies who wanted to be on the show. They start arriving to meet him, an assembly line of plunging necklines, spray tans, rhinestones, and laser whitening. It’s like visiting the Cheap Whore section of an American Girl doll store.
The nurse brings a stethoscope so he can listen to her fluttering heart and put his hand on her boob. Smooooooth. Chantel, the sole woman of color, gets the briefest moment of camera time. Lucy, the free spirit, is dressed like a cast member of a high school production of Hair. After a couple more totter by on their five-inch heels, Lauren S. shows up struggling to push a piano, which she plays for him, messing up the tune. So much for culture. Chelsie, a science teacher, claims she’ll do an experiment, then squeals about the two of them having chemistry instead. Who writes this stuff?
Elise is wearing about 25 yards of gold sequins. Ashley went rogue and chose a mini dress, weighing the odds that JP is a leg man. Next there is groaning and moaning from another woman inside the limo. Did she get carried away in there thinking about JP’s naked upper body? He looks questioningly at the opened door. She emerges in a swathe of hot pink and…she’s pregnant!
It’s Clare, who was not pregnant before. They hug and I think I can hear the balloon squeaking under her dress. The next girl has a soccer ball, but not under her dress. Lauren H. has a weirdly lopsided face. Maggie forgets to tell him her name. She’s southern and likes goin’ fishin’. She should have gone for a show on Food Network. Next out of the limo is a dog–oh, pick her, pick her! She came with dog lover Kelly, who apparently has nothing else to recommend her. Lacey or Laci or Laycee brings him red hots. Alexis speaks a few words in Spanish but otherwise seems to have nothing to say, distressing for a communications director. Sharleen looks vaguely Asian and is an opera singer. She flew in from Germany for this turgid drama without singing. Andi follows and barely opens her teeth when she talks.
THIS IS EXHAUSTING. At least the Miss USA pageant has the native costumes.
Afterwards, Chris enthuses to JP about the Rockettes line-up of beauties, “In what world does this happen?” Maybe the world of low-rent, exploitative reality shows that treat women like so many Twix bars dropping out of a vending machine? The girls are all crammed onto the sofa, squashing their collagen and sucking down Chardonnay. JP whines about the painful dilemma of having to eventually dispatch 26 of them before he can see them all naked. They drink a toast to the powerful impact of the ABC publicity machine, and proceed to party down.
Soon JP goes off to an intimate corner, surrounded by crew members and cameras, to have a tete-a-tete with Nikki the nurse. He asks her name, a suave first move. They discuss romance philology and Wittgenstein. Next he meets with Renee, whom he likes because she has a kid and is cute, which I understand is what sealed the deal for Sartre when he met Simone de Beauvoir. Lucy is next. She tosses her legs over his lap and explains that she doesn’t do anything. That may appeal to a guy who does little but run around on beaches with his shirt off. The massage therapist brought her table and some oils, which she uses on his suit. She’s nuttier than the free spirit. JP thought it was awkward. He wants to be the one doing the feeling up.
Chris brings in the single First Impression rose, leering like a Bond supervillain. “You know what to do with it?” he cackles, rubbing his hands in satisfaction when JP nods. He was far better hosting Designer’s Challenge, when they had him in a medically induced coma.
Everyone is breathlessly waiting to see who gets the other roses and why, as if the whys are the result of any more critical analysis than the movement in his crotch. Emotions mount, as much as they can with all the Botox, and the girls speak passionately of their hopes and fears for their Q scores.
Next to meet JP is Elise. She tells him her mom is dead, a great conversation starter. The girls still waiting their turn are losing confidence, worrying that they will be forgotten or not featured in the montage in the preview for next week. Lauren H. is crying already, claiming she wants to keep perspective. She better ask someone what that means. Finally, JP arrives to grant her her allotted four minutes with him. She tells him this experience brings up insecurities for her, and how she was just dumped. She obviously has not read The Rules. JP looks bored. So long, Bridget Jones.
When Andi tells him she’s a lawyer, JP groans and asks if she reads a lot, like he’s asking if she gets rashes a lot. She insists she doesn’t because she’s in court sending people to jail. That’s a relief. With Sharleen, he seems fixated on her dress, despite the fact that her bosom is completely covered. He likes her very much, possibly because when she stands up, you see that her dress plunges in the back to the top of her derriere. She has mundo, says JP with respect–she has a world. Let’s hope she doesn’t ruin it with a lot of reading.
And then JP appears beside Sharleen, who is sitting alone and looking troubled, with the First Impression Rose. She looks surprised and not all that excited. “Thank you, sir,” she says. “I was not expecting this,” as if he were the mailman who has delivered a package from Amazon two days early.
Chris returns to drag JP away from all the pheromones. Someone finally utters the copyrighted reality competition show remark about not wanting to go home this soon. The rest of the women await their flowery fate.
Chris introduces the Rose Ceremony before JP strides in and “hoos!” nervously. He’s thinking about his life, his family, and his daughter, so those roses ain’t going to any old wannabe actress calling herself a real estate agent. As the Piano Music of Emotionally-Charged Suspense plays, Clare is called first for a rose, then Nikki, then Renee. Andi is next, followed by Alli and Chantel, then Lauren S., whom he calls “Lauren S.” as her hugs her. Then comes Kelly and her dog–doesn’t she get a Milk Bone or something?–Cassandra, Danielle, and Chelsea. Then a few shots of sad, anxious girls. Someone steps forward when he calls Kat, but that’s not her! Oh, no, this chick thought he called her name! Despair and shame for whoever that is, she’s a goner so who cares. After Kat takes her rose, it’s Victoria, Christy, Lucy, and Elise. How does he remember their names? There must be a teleprompter back there.
Now one rose remains. Someone murmurs that she wants to throw up, probably from all that wine. Amy L. is last. She gasps in relief.
Tears in their eyes, the rejected and damned say goodbye, their future a dim uncertainty after dedicating whole hours of their lives to this singular dream. They’re going to do a PBS documentary on all the adversity Lauren H. has gone through now.
On to next week, when there will be that many fewer women’s names to get right, and only one Lauren and Amy apiece. See you then!