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The Lint Collector: The Bachelor, Take 2!

By Nora Zelevansky / January 11th, 2012

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Phew.  Thank goodness I get to finally watch. It's been pure torture to wait!  Weirdly, it's also sort of like torture to watch.  But such is the complexity that is The Bachelor.

And we're off to Sonoma, a place that I love and I'm afraid they might taint.  I'm surprised that they let these chicks into wine country.  I'm surprised they let his HAIR into wine country too.  NOTE TO PRODUCERS: Paleeeeese stop styling his hair.  It's AWFUL.

Kacie B. has the first one-on-one date (yes, there are several Kacies).  She's cute and from Tennessee and yet another girl whose parents just made up the spelling of her name.

Courtney — the evil model — is hoping Kacie B. won't get the rose, which is not surprising.  I'm just a little shocked that she didn't start her sentence with "cause I'm a model."  Seriously, that should be a drinking game: Take a shot every time Courtney reminds us that she's a model, at least based on last week.  Why?  Cause she's a modeeel.

They get in a convertible Bronco, which I think is sort of the world's coolest car.  They're in Downtown Sonoma, which is just a quaint square.  I love it there.  Kacie B. says Ben brings out things in her that she "hasn't been in touch with in a while."  And I am starting to wonder if she's already about to say, "I'm falling for him."

Kacie B. says she has a secret to reveal: As a child, she … twirled a baton!  That's a secret?  She grabs a baton from the candy store.  Ben feels a little emasculated by twirling a baton, walking down the street.  And he should.  She's kinda boring and lame.  But whatever.  At least she's not crying in a bathroom.  They eat at The Girl & The Fig and I want to yell, "Order the burger!"

They talk about his dad.  She says their chemistry is natural.  I think it's non-existent, but Andrew (the hubby) says Ben F. just brings out the boring in people.  Time will tell!  She gets the rose.  They kiss.  Snoooooozeville.  They go to a theater — Is this going to be one of those humiliating private concerts?  Nope.  Home videos of her and her dad.  Why?  I have no idea.  These people barely know each other!  Why would it mean anything to them?

But obviously this is just to push Ben's buttons about his Dad.  Home videos etc.  He's literally about to start crying.  Then she is crying in a talking head.  I mean, this isn't as bad as the roast for insecure Ashley, but … buzz kill for a date.  She says, "She has found what could be a lifetime of love with Ben."  It's been 3 hours, people!

Back at the house, the group date card shows up.  I have no idea who is going because there are eleven of them and they're barely even familiar from last episode.  Ben says, "That's a lot of pairs of legs."  That's not at all superficial.

He's back in the town square again and they're doing a play.  Eek.  They "playwrights" are kids.  Couldn't be more PG, I guess.  They make the girls act like pigs, weasels and princesses.  They request that the ladies do "sexy dances" and "jog in slow motion." Tricky with no bra, Blakely.  She did not win praise from the kids.

Back at the house, Courtney also hates Lindzi, the horse girl who got the first impression rose last week.  Is there anyone she doesn't hate?

Back on the date, crazy Jenna — who lost her mind last week — has to wear a beard for her part.  Prettttty funny.  Turns out that there is an audience, including some of Ben's closest friends.  Do they not have something better to do?  (Who am I kidding.  I would be there in a hot second.)  Interesting though that some of his peeps will get an early impression of some of the women.

On a side note, is it weird to involve middle schoolers in The Bachelor?  Like are these kids going home and watching later episodes of Ben in a hot tub?  Well, never mind that — Ben basically strips on stage and it is just WEIRD.  The dental hygienist from Texas Nicki dressed as a donkey and she's super into him.  Jennifer with auburn hair from Oklahoma City wins the Oscar for best performance (as a weasel?).  The two blonds ask for kisses together because they got skipped during the play.  Really though?  At the same time?

The girls are not feeling Blakely (the VIP cocktail waitress — really, that's her job).  Apparently, she's aggressive.  She looks a little like she's in drag and she's got a LOT of teeth.  I'll give them that.  Ben starts talking to her and says she seems "grounded."  Um. Really?  Can you not see her CRAZY eyes?  She's 34, so they call her a "cougar."  No comment.

Someone named Samantha is hiding in the bathroom because she hates Blakely.

Back at the house, Courtney gets the one-on-one date.  Kacie B. reads the date card, which says something about spinning a bottle.  "How does that taste coming out of your mouth?" says Courtney.  Um.  The other girls don't even know what to say.  Cause I'm a model …

And the first hot tub kiss goes to Jennifer "The Weasel."  He's getting kind of down and dirty with her, so I think he'd be sort of wrong not to give her the rose.

Blakely announces that she's a Scorpio.  I am too.  Now, I sort of wish she hadn't said that.  Second hot tub kiss goes to the old lady!  And so does the rose.  The girls are maaaaaaad.  Jennifer cries and say she wants to fall in love, which I feel like is always a bad sign.  You should want the actual person, not to be in love with some amorphous idea.

The one-on-one date starts and Ben brings his dog Scotch.  If that dog has any instincts, it will whimper and hide from Courtney.  Every girl in this house is wearing knee-high boots and shorts on her date.

And it's the season's first picnic!  Courtney says she hasn't been asked out in a while.  I think that's because, when you're doing coke at a club with whatever dude has bottle service, it's not officially a date.

She is pretty though.  Her hand is on his knee.  He says he has his career and is just looking for someone to share his life with and that she probably feels the same way.  Yes.  Courtney would like to model for the rest of her life.  Or at least until she's a 34-year-old cougar like Blakely.  Then she can just kill herself cause she's so damn old.

Ben loves Courtney and she is doing a good performance of normal, but mostly I think he's blinded by the fact that she's hotter than him.  Ben asks, "Is this too good to be true?"  Yes, Ben.  It is.  He parties hard and now he is growing up blah, blah, blah.  I think she's bored out of her mind, but pretending to be interested.  All I can think about is how, even if he picked her, one day he will watch this show and see her say to Kacie B., "How does that taste coming out of your mouth?"

At the end, she poses with her rose in front of camera and cackle — no joke.  She's so doing this for her "career."

Time for the cocktail party and OMG his hair looks SO deeply bad!  Lindzi tries to sell him on her being a farm girl.  Blakely — who is safe this week — breaks up Samantha's one-on-one time and she's pissed.  Apparently, they call Blakley, JUGS.

OMG — This has gotten looooong.  Let me sum it up: Jenna is crying again.  They blame Blakely.  It has nothing to do with JUGS, but what can you do?  She's the scapegoat and then she's crying.  Ben finds her and tells her to "collect herself."  Was that supposed to make her feel BETTER?  OMG — everyone is crying.  Jenna is under the covers on a bed!!!

Rose ceremony time: Crazy Jenna and the girl with the skunk hair go home.  I think it's a good thing.  Jenna needs to get home and find a psychiatrist STAT.  See you next week (cause I'm a model …) when someone either passes our or dies during the rose ceremony.

xo – N.

THE LINT COLLECTOR: The Bachelor Premiere (Christmas Comes Late For Bach Lovers!)

By Nora Zelevansky / January 3rd, 2012

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It's January 2nd and already I'm prepared to trash my resolutions, forget about avoiding junk food, cooking more and boning up on high-culture and serious news.  Because the temptation is simply too great — THE BACHELOR IS BACK!  And that is cause for major debauchery and celebration in my book.

So, for better or worse, I am stuffing my face with takeout, as I rebuff my half read New Yorker magazine, Antiques Road Show on PBS and even 2 Broke Girls (well, somethings aren't hard) for the greatest show on earth at 8pm sharp!  Yes, like an avid sports fan who refuses to DVR, I will even watch commercials.

(I need to make up for missing by mere hours a personal appearance Ben F. made at a wine shop in Sonoma, when I was up north.  Crushing.)

Before the show even starts, of course, we all have some inkling of what is to come (toned butter faces doing headstands on the beach before slipping into synthetic prom gowns … and even a grandma, according to carefully leaked rumors!).

But certain issues are up in the air: I wonder, will they still call him "Ben F." The Wine Guy a la Kindergarten, when there's only one Ben?  Will they drag out this grandma thing as long as the stupid masked man from last season's Bachelorette?  As my sister speculated, will Ben F. be a horn dog like Jason Mesnick, a dummy like Brad or a creepy wife-beater-in-training type like Jake?  Will the ladies be as doggy as they look?

Well, first, I learned two very important things when googling for the above image:

1. Ben F. is extreeeemely asymmetrical in the nasal area.

2. When you google "Ben F." images, mostly pictures of Benjamin Franklin show up with a few of Ben F.  Two great men.

And so it begins!  David Gray plays in the background because Ben is so indieeee.

We're reminded that Ben was mad at the end of last season.  And we get to see him tell off Ashley H. again, after she dumps him.  But, since we last saw him, Ben has grown as a person.  He's learned to see that tough experience as valuable and also he's gotten a spray tan.  No really.  He's orange.

Of course the next montage begins with a woman on a horse — what else?  And the first thing that's obvious is that her parents were super confused about how to spell her name.  It's Lindsey, people.  Or Lindsay.  Not Lindzi!  Jeez.  I mean, give your daughter a fighting chance.  (I'm already having visions of Shawntel from last season.)

What else?  One girl likes to shoot cute animals and eat "beef balls" (which are what they sound like) in a tube top; another named Jenna (and we will meet her again) is a neurotic New Yorker with her own blog, who she does a disservice from the very beginning to freelance writers everywhere.

Of course, there is the requisite "model" who announces that she is a model about 50 times and also says: "Girls are intimidated by me."  We all know that translates to "I'm a terrible person and can't play nice."  She also incidentally tells Ben that she fell for him during his season when he said something that really touched her.  He said, "I'm available."  Seriously.  That's all.

A nurse without a father, who raised her younger siblings, seems like a nice, relatively (operative word) normal girl, but is only a viable option if Ben takes the time to get to know her.  Basically, we're on track for a great season!

And now for the ever humiliating "cute" quips the girls make in an attempt to be memorable when they meet Ben for the first time, exiting the limo.  Let me tell you, folks.  There were some doozies this time.  Here are my top 5 cringe-worthy intros (nevermind the heinous dresses):

1. From the law student: "You're guilty … of being sexy."

2. From Amber Bacon: "My friends call me the baconator. Want to taste?  This is Canadian bacon."

3. The girl who just walked past him without saying anything.

4. The chick from Kentucky in the absurdly huge hat that made everything awkward from the hug to whatever else.  Abandon the prop!  Prop fail.

5. From train wreck Jenna, trying to quote him back to him, but failing miserably and instead saying, "I loved when you said, 'Good things always end badly.'"  (That was not in fact what he said, but I think maybe for her they do.)

Turns out the grandma gimmick is just the intro to one of the girls and that turns out to be cute actually.  "Too cute," according to Ben.  I would like to add the rap by the PhD candidate though to my list of horrible moments.  That was really pretty damn awful too.  Why do skinny white people from the suburbs feel like they need to rap?

Can I take a time out and ask why oh why the producers insist on "styling" Ben's hair a.k.a. straightening it in the most horrible way?  I mean, it's sort of acceptable curly, but really?  He looks like a wet dog.

Moving on … the girls get catty as usual.  One chick in a purple dress seems to be hitting on another woman and oddly she is NOT the girl who plays soccer.  Neurotic New Yorker Jenna has an insane meltdown because she feels picked on by the purple dress woman, who seems mean, but also like she has no clue whatsoever what Jenna is talking about.  And, despite attempts to console her by a blonde in a red dress named Rachel who seems nice, Jenna ends up crying alone in the bathroom.  (I also sort of think she's barfing from too much champagne.)

And suddenly I feel like I'm watching Intervention instead of The Bachelor and I'm wondering if anyone in the history of the show has ever tried to escape via the toilet.  This girl needs some lithium STAT.

Though Ben picks the horse woman for the first impression rose, that's really overshadowed by the disaster sobbing in the bathroom.  But instead of sending Jenna home mid-party per usual for the first episode drunk, she stumbles out for the rose ceremony.

And, though I seriously think they may have endangered Ben, Jenna and all the girls in the house, the producers actually make him keep her around!  She is just too good TV.  She is his last pick at the rose ceremony.  And, yes, she will accept this rose.  (And so will Miss Blondie in the purple dress, who will no doubt torture her.)

Ben sends a funny, but not so pretty British chick home, a few crazies (including the baconator) and one really pretty non-profit worker chick, who didn't manage to make a good impression.  (She was the token ethnic girl.)  Already the frontrunners seem to be the horse chick, a sweet brunette from Tennessee and the blonde Rachel girl.  But only time will tell!

And perhaps the best part of the whole episode is the scenes from the upcoming season, which I watched ALMOST all the way through, though I was afraid of knowing too much.  It looks plenty scandalous and I personally cannot wait. I will be here weekly for all the right reasons.

xo – N.

PS 10 points for anyone who can locate Jenna's blog!