I can't remember the last time I was more excited about a Bachelor as I am for Sean "Sexual Vanilla" Lowe. After suffering through Jason Mesnick and Ben Flajnik, Sean is taking us back to a more classic Bachelor set-up (despite his unprecedented and not-thought-out decision to hand out roses like tic-tacs during the first cocktail party). It's because, to put it frankly, he's classically good looking. Sorray! I am so damn sorry that the eyes in my head are wired to a brain that millions of years of evolution have taught to appreciate broad shoulders and big muscles. Yes, his face is a little like a snickerdoodle, but he could defend the shit out of my young.
I don't know if it’s a nod to the class-action suit against the producers for being overtly racist or if Sean just checked the "no" box on the "Whites only?" question on the Bachelor Dream Wife Profile, but for the first time in Bachelor history we have several African-American contestants. This brings us ever closer to a season centered on an African-American Bachelor or Bachelorette which, really, it's kind of embarrassing that hasn’t happened yet.
This series puts gender relations, economic taboos, and religious mores under a microscope in a way no other show on TV can claim to do. Because it tries to be so mainstream conventional, it lays our conventions bare for examination in a way other reality shows don't. Most reality shows deal in the exceptional, the removal from society: We're all on an island! We're young people on a house for a summer! We're in a finite bubble! But The Bachelor/ette is all about looking forward, presenting yourself for long-term judgement: Prove you're a good life partner. Failing that, win the audience over by proving you're a sincere/good person and ABC will shower you with Dancing With the stars and Bachelor Pad seasons and perhaps your own harem of beaux as the next Bachelor/Bachelorette.
It’s an exercise in converting a complex human identity into a brand that one person and an audience will get behind, yet at the same time it's a format engineered to strip away contestants' facades with cold, hard rejection—personal, physical, sexual rejection—in the most public arena. Honestly, why there aren't college courses on this series blows my mind, it’s the most Orwellian shit going.
Last night's premiere hit a lot of high notes and contained all the classic elements of a good first cocktail party. Let's start with The Drunken Mess, a personal favorite of mine:
Did your teeth grind when she started talking about her mom? Everyone, male and female, never talk about your mom on a date in a good or bad context. For that first date, just let the other person imagine you were chiseled from a piece of marble by the gods and then someone breathed the breath of life on you. Once you're two weeks in, you can regale them with your impression of your mom fretting about her brood of shar pei lap dogs, but right out the gate it’s a bit much.
There was also The Audition:
I blame the handlers who tell these girls to lead with a gimmick for all the corny dumbass jokes, "My name's Lacey so here is a lace heart." But someone who leads with any kind of performance, be it rap, dance, song, or oboe (yes, oboe has happened) needs to be checked. The X Factor is a different soundstage, bitch! Take your headshots when you go!
The Heartbreaking Backstory:
I just about teared up when she was talking about her struggle before she was adopted. I guess when she was six and being shuttled from foster home to foster home no one realized she was going to grow up to look like a freaking supermodel and love to clean. Their loss, baby girl!
The Sporty Tomboy:
Ugh. Because every man dreams of playing football with someone half his size. Nothing like tip-toeing around the possibility of manslaughter to bring edge to a scrimmage.
The Secret Mom:
Guys, when did Audrina Patridge have kids?!
There were also some girls who brought their own damn flavor to the mix. Like...
This tenacious bitch did not know how to take a hint and she got very weird about making Sean kiss her. If you ever find yourself promising someone you don't have a disease during a first date, you are doing it wrong.
The JumboTron Operator:
Who left the door open to the kennel where they keep the Bachelor Pad contestants? Now everyone's been exposed to Parvo!
And of course, The Weeper Creeper:
Sack up, ho!
One contestant who I don't even know how the producers are going to handle her is Sarah, yes, the one-armed woman. First of all I think it's genuinely amazing that she's going about her life doing everything you and I do single-handedly, and let's be real she is effing gorgeous.
Like if she had lived her whole life with both arms she'd probably be a hateful beautiful evil cheerleader type, but because of some fluke birth defect she's not just outrageously gorgeous but also probably full of empathy for other people and not at all superficial. But I worry that ABC's intentions are not exactly pure; I'm just saying, I'm keeping an eye on them with how they edit and handle her. I mean, is the network really that interested in championing disability? Because it's never featured a contestant in a wheelchair as far as I know.
Anyway, Sean certainly has his work cut out for him and he clearly does not appreciate that the format of the show has been engineered to give him maximum comfort. Once he started doling out roses at the cocktail party, it became really awkward when conversations didn't end with a rose. The rose system is here to help you, Sean. It's like all the other constructs of patriarchy: there to make your power seem pre-determined, safe from questioning, and full of dignity.
It's hard to get all worked up about the ladies sent home this week, because frankly we don't know them yet. Throwing sofa pillows at the TV will come many episodes and bottles of wine later. Still, I want to hear all your snap judgements on these ladies, including...
– Love ‘em or hate ‘em, which girls do you think will make Sean’s top three?
– Best dress of the evening?
– Did Tierra really inspire Sean to start handing out roses or had he planned to do that anyway?
– Is Sean a “big f-cking improvement” over the last couple Bachelors?
– Who’s your favorite lady and when did she win your heart?
– Does that bitch Kacie B. need to stop and have she and Sean already knocked them boots?