Ah to be back in my piratical saddle, firing salvos and cutlass whacks at desperate, fame-seeking douche bags; sometimes we just know our rightful place in the world. Life is good. As regular readers of my coarse rants may have noticed, I was forced to abandon the hunt late in Brad Womack's quest to prove to the world that he was actually an arrested teenager with wrinkles. Family illness and business concerns drove me from the con of my beautiful ship and off the internet, but your fair redbeard has returned, as grouchy and curmudgeonly as ever. Its good to see I'm not the only third string, half-assed entertainer abandoning their day job and returning to the Bachelorette this season. Relentlessly perky one-day-soon-I-swear-to-god-dentist, Ashley Hebert has heeded the siren's call of wayfarer of malice, Mike Fleiss, and decided to perform a root canal on the viewing public and get a BIG head start on paying back those dental school loans before she hangs up a shingle. As her graduation approaches, Ashley took a look at her Guaranteed Student Loan bill, gasped, and then accepted Fleiss' offer to fill the shoes of two other gals nearly everyone wanted to see be the Bachelorette instead. That fat check will help alleviate the humiliation, I'm sure. But I'm afraid before she can fully step into the role of America's (and Canada's) new Love Goddess, some rewriting of history will be required. And there's only one man who rewrites history better than Joseph Stalin.
Chris "Wingman" Harrison, kicks off his 75th season of hosting the Bachelorette by appearing in front the of the Bachelor Mansion--for the 75th time--and spinning a little magical revision. The winger sets us straight on the past: Ashley got her heart broken by Brad. No, no; you never saw her self-destruct that relationship so she could get the hell out of there. It was insecurities. Yeah, that's it--insecurities. She could never tell Brad that she really, really loved him. Honest to Pete. It wasn't because she saw him drooling all over Emily. Nope. And drunkenness? Nah, she was never drunk much, that was just exhaustion--yeah, exhaustion. Golly gee, America, this little gal has learned from her mistakes. Yep, if she could do it over again, she'd be the first one to soberly declare her undying love for a 38 year-old barkeep with a less than stellar record on relationships who was in love with someone else. Yes, indeed. Oh, and one other thing: she has bangs now, so forget you ever saw that enormous Fivehead of hers. Its all covered up and you can forget it. Since you are all now hypnotized by my Dark Jedi magic, lets see the idiots we conned into coming onto our show and having their reputations ruined and give their former classmates, acquaintances, and family members a chance to sell dirt on them to the tabloids!
A quick preview of the men flashed past me and two things immediately came to mind. First of all, this is a brainier group than I ever remember seeing. Felt a lot like Jillian's season. Second, did anyone else notice how many of these guys looked like the same guy? It was like Fleiss hired six guys and just kept dressing them in different suits. We had the clean cut Ken Dolls, the Long-haired artist/hairdressers, the square-jawed, financial sales types, and a few guys thrown in just for their entertainment value. Once the intros are complete, Ashley arrives at the mansion looking beautiful as expected and Harrison moves to justify his paycheck by coaching her along on her new and improved experience with Brad. Agreeing to admit she was a fool last time (does anyone actually care?) she is welcomed into the fold as the new Star and immediately joins in by spiking the punch about a contestant who is there for "the wrong reasons". That statement is now so universally cliche that she even makes the quotation sign with her hands when she says it. She lets the stunned winger know that a former contestant let her know that this guy is up to no good. The stage set, it's limo time:
1) Ryan P.--relentlessly "sunny" entremanure. Balanced earnest and geek for a while. Geek won out. 1st Impression Rose for being almost believably golly-gee.
2) Jon--Hey! That's Matt Grant without the British accent! Oh, I thought this separated about birth thing was going a bit too far there for a minute. Anyway, e-commerce business criminal who's not married to Shayne Lamas either. Or Ashley Hebert for that matter.
3) Lucas--Texas oil field-business criminal. I'm sure Ashley has charming memories of guys who have worked in Texas oil fields.
4) William--The 1st of the Ken Doll 'droids. Spouts off about "seeing myself marrying Ashley!" like he's trying to become the next Cheesemachine. But saves his bacon in my book by actually doing some damn funny impressions, especially in the credits at the end.
5) Mickey--escapes characterization in any particular group. Fortunately for Ashley, "creepy" and "gross"are not categories. Mouth rapes her at "hello!" Shocked she didn't rose-rape him at "Goodbye!"
6) Tim-Mr. Entertainment! Liquor salesman who's not averse to sampling the wares. Pushy, obnoxious New Yorker and future AA member.
7) Ben C.--Ken Doll lawyer from Cajun Country. Speaks some French and brags about how passionate he is. Ok.
8) Stephen--1st of the long-haired artist/hairdresser types and the scruffiest. Said barely a word all night.
9) Chris D.--square-jawed financial money-pusher. Didn't this guy already get out of the car?
10) West--Adam West! No, I'm kidding. Lawyer who escapes categorization. Widower--wife drowned. Actually seemed nice. Handed her a broken compass stuck on "West". Decent trick.
11) Anthony--Silvio Dante. This guy has seen way too many Ratpack Movies and Soprano's episodes. Spent the whole night slicking back his jet-black pompadour like Dean Martin while aping the mannerisms of Frank Sinatra. Tried to work in every Italian Stereotype known to man. By the time the evening was over, I was certain his hair was slicked with olive oil and he had a dead guy in the trunk of his long black sedan. Shame she took out a "hit" on him really. I was going to call him Douchebaggio.
12) Rob--Baby-faced Tech Executive who had suit-filler written all over him. Alas, he even failed at that one.
13) Ames--Highly-educated Ivy League finance 'droid with a last name for a first name, a pointed chin and a perfectly squared eraser head. Was this guy even real?
14) Matt--Square-jawed sales rep. I'm telling you this guy has already stepped out of the car!
15) Jeff-The Phantom of the Opera. Yet another entremanuer, but unlike the last one, this guy wore a mask all night. Somehow Ashley bought this shtick. Previews show him still wearing his mask even on the crapper. The Lone Ranger its not.
16) Ben F.--Long-haired artist type # 2. Winemaker who brought wine. Actually seemed ok.
17) Frank--square-jawed college admissions guy who sinks himself immediately by winking at her. See ya.
18) Michael--another unshaven tech salesman.
19) Chris M.--High-strung Canadian construction CEO (read: handyman)
20) Ryan M.--another construction guy, but looks more like another square-jawed special. Is there any end to them? Takes pics of her and apparently wants to stalk the wingman for an autograph.
21) J.P.--Is that the skinhead look? Regardless, wins major points by announcing that he has "no props, no frills." Well it only took 21 guys before one acted like a normal human being.
22) Nick--tall, lanky personal trainer with a bad hair day.
23) Blake--smarmy dentist.
24) Bentley--Big Head Bentley. The drama star of the night. Yes, some dumb parents actually named their child after an snotty English touring car. Why "Big Head?" Two reasons: one, he's full of himself. Two, he has an ENORMOUS cranium. Seriously, this guy's head was the size of a basketball, literally and figuratively. Has obviously agreed to be this season's Greaseball Wes-Rated-R Rego. Producer's couldn't wait to run footage of him comparing Ashley to an ugly little mall rat who is way beneath him. How this portrayal is supposed to help a new Family Fun Center business in Mormon Utah remains a mystery.
25) Constantine--3rd long-haired artist type. Looked ready to audition for Hercules: The New Adventures. Ties floss onto her ring finger as a reminder of who he is. Cheesy but effective. Strangely silent all night.
To The Party We Go!
The wingman presses like a madman. "Is your husband in there?"
"I hope so! I really hope so!"
(After commercial and Jedi Mind Control probably involving waterboarding)
"Is your husband in there?"
"I think so."
"Much better answer this time. You can go in now."
Ashley goes in and is showered with plaudits, raises her glass and its off we go. Ever-sunny Ryan P. is up first and the earnest/geek race is quickly lost. Lets hope this guy is a red herring. Ben F, goes next and they speak about wines. He seems honestly interested in her. We'll see. Matt, one of the Ken Dolls goes next and in an obvious producer-stunt, he has Ashley call his mom with him. Mom, being the eternal hipster, warns her boy to wrap it up with a fast mover like Ashley. Mom must watch the show. Michael, the tech guy, threatens Ashley and the audience with a guitar, but then warms my heart by tossing it in the drink. Whew! No singing on night 1. Maybe this season will be ok. Most of the rest of the night focused on Tim, the New York drunk and Jeff-the Masked D-Bag. Foul-mouthed Tim hammers away at Jeff, and then gets so drunk he can't hammer away at anything. Ben C. and his super jowls steal some producer-written signs and gets to establish his Frenchness. William pulls out the sense of humor and for the most part, he does well. Meanwhile, Tim the drunk has gotten so plastered that he can't even talk, then passes out on the couch like a college fratboy. Attractive. His last bow will consist of slurring away at the Phantom of the Opera before passing out cold. Ashley gets a herd of her boys to carry him out to the car where all of viewing America shared the exact same thought: Just how many times did Tim puke in the back of that car? C'mon, you know you did. And you thought I was the sick one.
Apparently shellacked by Tim's breath, Ashley hands Ryan P. the 1st Impression Rose. Anyway, the second the rose falls, the wingman comes in tinging his champagne glass with his signature cheese knife.
Already safe: (Inexplicably) Ryan P.
1) Jeff--The producers call the number of the Phantom of the Opera. What's next, vampire fangs? sheesh.
2) Constantine--said nary a word. But the Hercules looks and dental floss must have said plenty.
3) Ben F.--Looks solid. Might be a fan favorite.
4) Lucas--I'm feeling suit-filler here.
5) Steven--Ben F's twin. Silent as well.
6) Matt--Tell mom she is a filthy old pititsa. (If you get that joke, you watch Stanley Kubrick movies)
7) Nick--Bad hair day doesn't cost him.
8) Chris D.--even watching it back, I can't tell which one he is.
9) Ryan M.--more chances to cozy up to Harrison.
10) Blake--dental courtesy. Didn't say a word.
11) Mickey the Creepy--looks like a numbers game to fill suits.
12) Ben C. and his mighty passionate jowls.
13) West--not a surprise.
14) William the impressionist.
15) J.P. --zero doubt on this one.
16) Ames--the 'droid ambles up stiffly and gets a buttoner.
Wingman cue--"Gentleman, this is the final rose and the story arc is under way. Bentley, ham it up!"
17) Big Head Bentley.
1) Douchebaggio. Gives the camera a two-fingered Sinatra kiss off and ambles into the night like Count "Vinny" Dracula.
2) Rob, the Baby-faced tech nerd.
3) Jon, the Matt Grant doppleganger. He seemed actually disappointed that he got the Bachelorette he wanted, and struck out on the 1st night.
So, one night in the books. What's next? No idea. I'm thoroughly unspoiled so you are safe about this ship. See ya next week.