The Bachelor — Season 18, Preview Episode — Live Blog and Discussion

In tonight’s introductory “event” (ABC at 8/7 c), mysteriously titled “Countdown to Juan Pablo,” we’ll witness a day in the life of our Season 18 Bachelor, which doubtless includes a session of chest-waxing and a visit to the cosmetic dentist. We’ll also meet his four-year-old daughter, Camilla, and perhaps learn whether her name is spelled with one “l” or two, since the ABC site seems unaware. We’ll also be treated to glimpses of what happened behind the scenes during show casting—preferably only a glimpse, as some of that activity has to be inappropriate for young viewers.

This comes after a series of teasers that declare it all to be Juanderful in the month of Juanuary for us to see Juan–in-a-million. Juan day the ABC copywriters are going to run out of material and be forced to try that gimmick with Pablo. Nevertheless, everyone and her Aunt Flossie and gay Uncle Roy are excited to see this dreamy fella flex his pecs as he hands out roses every week. Also, the production company’s florists are excited.

Described by ABC as a “former Venezuelan soccer player” — if he has a green card, perhaps his bio should read “current American famewhore”—Juan Pablo is a music promoter and the first Latino Bachelor. He hopes to give his daughter what she wants “more than anything else in the world:” a brother and sister. So basically he’s appearing on the show to select a functional uterus. Even Bentley Gregg wasn’t that crass.

Anyway, for those unfamiliar with JP’s provenance, he was rejected by Season 9 Bachelorette Desiree Hartsock, who denied him a rose because even she thought Desiree Galavis sounded like the make of your dad’s car. Experience true luxury-vehicle performance, responsive handling, and distinctive styling with the 2014 Buick Desiree Galavis.

Incidentally, what in the name of all that is holy is this thing?

There are 27 beautiful bachelorettes for JP to choose from this season. Among them are Kelly, whose occupation is listed as “dog lover” (note to Kelly: I’ve been doing that for years, the pay scale doesn’t increase appreciably); Lauren H., a mineral coordinator, which is probably resume talk for “Bare Escentuals sales rep;” and Lucy, a “free spirit,” meaning she is either a high school drop-out or was not in the control group for a prolonged clinical trial of hallucinogenics.

We open with a bare-chested running-on-the-beach moment, of course. For JP, that is, not the potential wives, although talk about ratings. He tells us he’s happy to be on his way to find love. And he’s willing to make out under a waterfall with a chick in a bikini to do it.

Chris Harrison arrives in front of the mansion, where he had been programmed to explain how the show works for those in the viewing audience who have been Luddites for the last decade. The casting department received thousands of submission tapes from potential bachelorettes, probably a great many of which depicting naked people and nearly as many desperate, grasping ones.  Some of the women demonstrate actual talents like singing, hula-hooping, and playing trumpet in the bathroom. One shoves her entire fist in her mouth, a skill that could prove useful in certain situations. They’re all mortifying one way or another, especially those that are filmed in portrait mode.

The selection process is grueling, mostly for the producers, as many of the candidates exhibit vocal fry and an inability to formulate coherent sentences. But to a woman, they all adore JP. “Juan Pablo! Juan Pablo! Juan Pablo!” they cry in various settings and states of undress. You can virtually hear the search engine optimization chugging away: #cleavage #shortshorts #blowupdollmouths

Gesturing in a lifelike fashion, Chris declares that tomorrow night is the big moment when JP meets all these Craigslist readers.  He’s going to surprise the women to let them know they’ve been chosen to be on the show. Lucinda is first. In the clothing store where they find her, she wraps her legs around Chris like he’s a stripper pole. She’s so overcome by joy that she may finally be meeting Mr. Right that she immediately tries on a  skintight micro-mini dress. Next comes a pair of Great Danes—no, it’s actually Kelly, wearing a suspiciously elegant and flowy red dress for a day at home vacuuming dog hair, who answers the door.  She giggles as she practices her Spanish: “Si, si! Hee, hee!”

Christy calls someone to explain that she has to leave town to be on the show, then starts packing.  She wants a husband,  she says fervently. The Millionaire Matchmaker must have been all booked up for the season. Next comes bespectacled Lauren, who squeals enthusiastically but gets no more camera time than that. Hmmm. Alli is reading at a table at a sidewalk cafe, as if they just happened upon her as they strolled down a random street. Several of the women announce, “I’m coming for you, Juan Pablo!” No double entendres during family hour, please.

Why is everyone all hot and bothered by Juan Pablo, you ask? His abs hold the answer. In a window into his life, we see him run on the beach, work out in the gym, play soccer, and practice his English. That window could use some heavy curtains. Then he does something with some people in sports, who knows what the hell it is. Finally come the childhood photos accompanied by the Plucky Guitar Chords of Nostalgia.

After some action footage of his soccer playing—apparently he participates in no activities that don’t require a jock strap—he rapturously recounts the day of his daughter’s birth without mentioning anything about her mother.  But he adores his daughter. Unconditionally. Wow, does he love her. No end of love. She’s his life. His valentine forever. Everything to him. He sings to her, plays with her, laughs with her, gazes worshipfully at her. Good look, bachelorettes. You’ll enjoy being Veruca Salt’s stepmom.

Now Chris explains that JP’s extended family is also important to him, evident in the fact that we learn their names.  When he has time for them outside seeing the kid and running on the beach, which is two hours on alternate Thursdays, the uncles, cousins, brothers, and parents all gather to happily slice vegetables and say disturbing things like “Sexy Grandpa!” in Spanish. They are delighted he’s on the show, but no one wants to see JP make out with strange women on TV. It’s just America that wants to see that. A cousin advises him to brush his teeth in between women. JP’s sister announces she’s pregnant, leading us to hope that her husband doesn’t dump her and find another mother for the kid on a future season of The Bachelor.

Then, in a quiet moment alone with his son, JP’s telegenic Dad reminds him to keep an open mind and think about Camila when making his selection. Because we all need fatherly guidance in picking a wife from 27 pre-selected women while appearing on a nationally broadcasted reality TV show. JP gets misty and hugs him. Wrap moment of perfectly natural-seeming  tenderness between a sexy grandpa and his sexy son.

Time for a memorial of Gia Allemand, who committed suicide last year at age 29.  She was a Season 14 bachelorette who was second to last to get a rose from Jake Pavelka. We know her death is very sad, producers, even without the emo music played over the photos of her life. But points for having her mom offer a helpful message, as well as providing a link at, that there’s support for people who need it to prevent such a tragedy.

Back to business. Tomorrow night JP will take his first step toward finding love, or at least a few easy nights in the sack. He gets words of wisdom from Sean Lowe, especially about all the kissing (breath mints?). JP is bamboozled about who he’ll give roses to, they’re all so wandairfool. There’s a blur of sequins and extensions. Someone cries. Someone else gets to film one of those shots where the helicopter cam swoops in as the couple perches perilously on a scenic mountain top. Someone doubts herself. Someone else cries. Someone is indignant. Someone can’t take it anymore. Mouths drop open, hands cover faces, abuse is hurled. JP tears up manfully, then dramatically leaves the interview room. Basically, it’s last season with a different assortment of hair colors.

See you tomorrow night! I can hardly stand the wait.






About E.M. Rosenberg 240 Articles
Favorite 40-volume series issued by Time-Life Music: Sounds of the Seventies. Favorite backsplash material: Subway tile. Favorite screen legend I pretend wasn’t gay: Cary Grant. Favorite issue you should not even get me started about: Venal, bloodsucking insurance industry. Favorite character from the comic strip “Nancy”: Sluggo, or maybe Rollo. Favorite Little Debbie snack: Nutty Bars. Favorite Monkee: Mike.