Welcome to the 16th season of America’s favorite trainwreck of a show, The Bachelor. If you’re not familiar, the premise is pretty simple: 25 ladies show up at a house in the Hollywood Hills in the hopes of getting to date (and eventually become engaged to) Ben, our bachelor, whose heart was broken by last season’s Bachelorette. Ten are eliminated the first night, leaving us with 15 women who will surely embarrass themselves and/or their family in short order. Got it? Ok.
We begin with a recap of last season’s awkward beach proposal, when Ashley the Bachelorette let Ben get down on one knee and propose before she dumps him. Guys, girls, please, have some compassion: If you have to give someone bad relationship news, just come out with it; don’t let someone linger in front of you and humiliate him or herself. That’s just cruel. I personally became a fan of Ben after he was rejected and he pretty much told Ashley to stop with the apology blather and just go to hell. It may not have been what he was supposed to say, but it was honest and real. And because the producers of this show like to leave no awkward stone unturned, we again see Ben riding off into the distance after getting dumped in one of those tiny john-boats, after he arrived a tad more stylishly via helicopter.
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Now we get some shots of Bachelor Ben at work: He owns a winery in Sonoma with his best friends. Sounds like a hard job! For some reason we’re then shown Ben captaining a boat while wearing an outrageously orange neon ’80s tank top. (Think that was his “THIS will impress the ladies, I know it!” shirt? I think so.)
Ben then begins the traditional post-Bachelor/ette season monologue about how the first time on the show opened him up to his feelings: He never thought he could feel real love again until he fell in love with Ashley, blah, blah, etc. etc., he’s now “available and ready” but still “lacking that special someone.”
Next, we find out that Ben is a man of many talents: He’s shown playing “This Year’s Love” on the piano, then some model shots of him in spiffy blue plaid, and finally gazing out over a pier at the sea of love.
Chris Harrison, the show’s host, then promises the “craziest first night party in bachelor history!” If you’ve watched more than one season of this show, though, you know that Chris can often be hyperbolic, so I take this with a grain of salt. I mean, can anyone really top the girl who took her panties off and shoved them in Matt Grant’s pocket? No, they cannot.
Now, it’s time to take a look at some of Ben’s girls up close.
We’re first introduced to Lindzi (27, works in sales but her “real passion is riding horses,” from Washington state): Lindzi likes horses. A lot. She’s ready to “get back in the saddle” and “quit horsin’ around” (haha get it, because she likes horses??!!) after a particularly vicious (and I don’t think real) break up text.
Next we have Amber (28, from Nebraska, a nurse and “tomboy”). Amber likes to hunt and kill things. She hopes that Ben will come back to Nebraska to eat cow balls with her — yes, really. Tempting!
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Kacie is 24, an administrative assistant, and lives in Knoxville, TN. She says she likes Ben because “we’re both goofy,” and she proves it by proclaiming her straight-up love for Ben after only knowing him through a television show. She’d also like to find love like her grandparents. That’s cute.
Courtney is 28, from Santa Monica, and a model. “Girls don’t like me,” she says. Oh, ok, great idea to go on a show where you’ll be trapped in a house with 24 other women! She also thinks that girls are intimidated by her, and she knows exactly what kind of engagement ring she wants (two carats).
Jamie is a nurse from New York state. She seems way too all-American and nice to be on this show. She took custody of her siblings at young age after her parents couldn’t take care of them. She’s also 25 and wants babies.
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Lyndsie (not to be confused with Lindzi) is from Arizona by way of London. She is 29, an “internet entrepreneur,” and her father is a diplomat, which she demonstrates to the television audience by dressing up in various costumes and showing off various foreign language skills and accents.
Next we have Jenna, 27, lives in NYC, and oh, God, I’m pretty sure she thinks she’s Carrie Bradshaw because she has a blog. Oh, honey. Her blog is called “The Overanalyst” because she apparently believes that she is the only girl to have ever felt that she overanalyzes men and relationships. You are a unique and individual snowflake, my dear! Then, I’m pretty sure she said she “panics” about being single, and she sounds like she needs some meds.
Shawn works in finance in Arizona, is 28, and has a young son for whom she would like to find a father figure. Excellent.
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Nicki, from Texas, is 26, and can relate to Ben because they’ve “both gone through things in our past.” Nicki got married at 21 and is now divorced, so she’s an expert on love. “When I get married again, it will be forever!” she proclaims. Considering that the combined track record for Bachelor/Bachelorette couples is 1-21, I think she’s in the wrong place.
We’re now back to Ben, who stares at a hummingbird in his luscious southern Cal garden, and then tells Chris that he and his family believe that the spirit of his deceased father is represented when they see hummingbirds. So now he feels like he has his father’s blessing. That’s sweet, I guess.
Alright, now time for the girls to get in the limo, get ready to meet Ben, and get the party started with some champers! “Boobs up,” someone shouts, as they all adjust themselves and their dresses.
Ben is in position, ready and waiting in front of the Bachelor house. He unfortunately looks like he’s going to a funeral, with a tone-on-tone black tie and black suit. He sits with Chris in front of a fire, recaps his proposal to Ashley from last season once again, and states how he was humiliated, in pain, and emotionally stuck. But now he’s ready to fall in love again with a girl he’ll only know for about two months, so, let’s
judge all the dresses meet the ladies!
First out of the limo is red dress Rachel. She’s a fashion sales rep, 27, and lives in NYC. Her bangs are very noticeable and make her stand out. She tells Ben that her middle name is “Rose,” wink, wink.
Erika emerges next, wearing what can only be described as a stripper sequined dress, very short with lots of cut-outs. She’s 23 and in law school in Chicago. Her big line? “The verdict is in: You are guilty of being sexy.” Ben laughs politely, and oh, look, her dress has a sheer, see-through train. Of course it does.
Amber is a nurse, wearing an awesome white floral dress, 23, and from Canada. OH MY GOD HER NAME IS AMBER BACON! Incredible. She then asks Ben if he’d like a taste of bacon by offering him her hand to kiss. Really.
Elyse is 24, a personal trainer, and in a short taupe sequined number. “I’ll make you sweat,” she tells Ben. BECAUSE SHE’S A PERSONAL TRAINER.
We meet blogger Jenna again, this time in a a short white dress, and cute shoes. She doesn’t have much to say and is very awk. She tries to quote Ben’s semi-famous line from last season, “Good things don’t end unless they end badly,” but she messes it up and fumbles over her words. Ben doesn’t seem very impressed, and she immediately regrets her decision. Fail.
Here’s Courtney the model again, in a nondescript black dress. She runs her hands through his hair (bold move) and purrs, “Do you come here often?” Ben seems to enjoy this introduction.
Emily, 27, from Chapel Hill, NC, is next. She’s getting her PhD in epidemiology (the study of transmission of diseases — sexy). She proceeds to whip out hand sanitizer (letting him keep it because “he’ll be needing it later) and breath spray. “Just standard procedure,” she says, and then offers him his first kiss of the night, which is actually a cute move and seems to work on Ben. Take note, ladies.
Up next is Samantha, 26, who is proudly wearing her Miss Pacific Palisades pageant sash, but swears she’s “more than a pageant girl,” and hopes that Ben is “more than the Bachelor.” At first I think she looks like Lo Bosworth, but Lo is way prettier.
Casey is a trader from Kansas and 26. She is wearing a black dress that BARELY covers her hoo-ha, with a long very sheer black overlay skirt. She seems to make Ben very nervous. The lesson here is that sometimes a super sexy wardrobe can backfire when you’re trying to make a good first impression. Think twice about that negligee for a first date.
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Amber, the huntress from Nebraska, is next, and seems to have a BumpIt in her hair. Her yellow dress is very loud, and after she introduces herself to Ben, she seems to go the wrong way and miss the house entrance, but oh, nope, she just comes back around to tell Ben “In case you don’t believe in love at first sight, here’s a second chance.” Yikes.
Holly from Kentucky’s hat emerges before she does. She’s 34 and in pharmaceutical sales, and tells Ben that her homestate of Kentucky is known for “beautiful women and fast horses.” Does she think she’s in a pageant, too? Who cares?
Jamie, the 25-year-old nurse from New York, meets Ben in a shiny red dress and hairstyle straight from prom 2003.
During a break from the women, Ben lets us know that he’s “LOVING the brunettes” tonight. Sorry, blondies.
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Shira is an actress from LA, and gives no age. SUSPICIOUS. She tries to impress Ben with her wine knowledge, and then admits she actually knows nothing, but is willing to learn. Her dress also has a long, sheer train — was there a special at Caché?
Blakely is 34, a “VIP cocktail waitress” (COUGHstripperCOUGH), from Charlotte, NC, and is wearing an actually quite lovely peach and white color-blocked gown.
ANd oh, what a surprise! Next out of the limo is Grandma Sheryl, 72, from New Mexico. No, she’s not there to fall in love with Ben, she introduces her granddaughter Brittney, 26, who is a pharmaceutical rep sporting gold tasteful sequins. Ben enjoys this tactic, as evidenced by his tweet.
Canadian Bacon is the first to make bitchy comments about the other girls, dispensing with snide remarks about the other girls’ dresses and appearances.
Nicki from Texas meets Ben in a pretty marigold floral dress, and says, like so many of the other girls, “I’m glad it’s you!”
Dianna is wearing a long, white gown, and immediately poses with her hand on her hip. She’s 30 and works at a nonprofit in California. She can’t remember what she wanted to say, but she should have remembered that any dress that’s long and white looks like a wedding gown. Is that really what you want your first impression to be?
Jennifer is a red-head in a pretty navy gown, and she’s 28 from Oklahoma, and an accountant. She decides to tell Ben that she traveled 1,190 miles to meet him, tried on 54 dresses before choosing one, has been arrested zero times, and has been in love once. Girls, I’m not sure if you want to rattle off stats like this when you meet your date, but it might have worked for Jennifer. SPOILER ALERT: According to the season previews, it looks like she gets a long way.
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Next up is the diplomat’s daughter in an awful dress with a high collar and a bad hairdo. She recites a “funny poem” that she wrote for Ben, but he does not seem to enjoy her performance.
Anna is 25, a student, and in a lavender-gray gown that suits her coloring. She just walks on by Ben without stopping to introduce herself, and honestly, I’m not sure if she knew what she was supposed to do, but Ben is intrigued and thinks it’s “a bold move.”
Monica is 33, a “dental consultant” from Utah, and sporting a lovely deep purple gown with a ruffled skirt. She only tells Ben that she really misses her dog. Um, ok.
Jaclyn, 27, is wearing black leather Louboutins that definitely don’t go with her dress. She’s from Boston, in advertising, and tells Ben he looks “very dapper.”
Shawn is in an unfortunate lime green dress and asks Ben if she needs to “get a unicycle and do something crazy” to get his attention. He assures her that she doesn’t (um, I think the blinding dress is enough), and she says, “Ok, good talk, I’ll see you inside,” and tops it off with a slug to the shoulder.
Casey from Tennessee is next, and Ben likes her Southern accent. She says she doesn’t sugarcoat things, and Ben says he doesn’t either. Already one think in common! Casey is wearing a great, short, sparkly silver cocktail dress that fits her well. Good job, Casey.
Lindzi from Washington is the last to arrive, and she makes her entrance, yes, on a horse. Ben thinks it’s a “hell of an entrance.” She’s wearing a stunning black gown. He grabs her hand and says, “Come with me,” and leads her into the house with the other women after she introduces herself and tells him that SURPRISE, she loves horses. I, for one, think that Ben’s aggression in taking her inside is quite sexy. Nice move, Ben.
Everyone else inside is jealous of Lindzi, mainly because they’re mad that they didn’t think to arrive on a horse. Emily the epidemiologist says she is “ready to do whatever it takes” to get to Ben.
Ben stands in front of the women and, you’ll never guess, says he’s “ready for LOVE!” And with that, cheers, let the drunken times begin!
Red dress Rachel with the bangs is the first to get to him, and she asks Ben if he’s excited, and if he thinks his future wife is here. Ben isn’t so sure about the wife thing (you see, he got hurt last time he proposed), but, guess what, HE’S READY FOR LOVE! Surprisingly, Rachel ALSO wants “LOVE, TRUE LOVE,” and she even quit her job to meet Ben.
Nicki is SO ENTHUSIASTIC AND EXCITED BEYOND WORDS, and she tells Ben she thinks they’ll get along. Ben likes her energy and says she’s “nicely bubbly,” and that life’s too short to be serious. She says that “everything happens for a reason,” and she likes that he’s honest, genuine, and sincere, oh but oops, she didn’t tell him she’s divorced.
Lindzi explains her horse love, once again, and then asks Ben about himself. This is an outstanding move, because everyone else is so anxious to let their personality shine and to make sure Ben hears their life story that practically no one asks him about himself. She also tells him that she once tried to make wine with store-bought grapes. Right.
Grandma Sheryl thinks her granddaughter has competition! Granddaughter Brittney says grandma is why she’s there, she’s a big fan and also helped raised her. Grandma leaves, and lets us know that she thinks Ben is “sincere,” and she wants Britt to “open up her heart.” Grandma is the first crier of the season!
Canadian Bacon needs some Xanax — she’s a little too nervous about things. Shawn is a little bitter, and gives us the excellent nicknames of Sammy Sash (pageant girl Samantha) and Holly Hat (Holly from Kentucky) — thanks Shawn!
Shawn then shows Ben that she can play soccer in heels, and Ben gives a shout-out to his state champ 2001 teammates.
Blakely, in the peach and white, has a giant tattoo of a heart on her forearm, with everyone’s favorite wedding Bible verse: “Love is patient; love is kind.”
Elyse the personal trainer makes Ben do push-ups, and Kacie is intimidated.
Dianna (in the long white gown) then whips out a blindfold and a bag of candy, and proceeds to feed him candy while he’s blindfolded so he can guess what he’s eating. The other girls are pissed, because how are they supposed to have a conversation with him when she’s having him taste-test Sour Patch Kids?
Then, Emily the epidemiologist surprises us all with a bomb-ass gangsta rap! It maybe goes on for a bit too long, but Ben enjoys it (way more than Lyndsie’s poem), and he gives her a standing ovation.
Courtney the model is impressed that Ben’s realized that he’s now “available for love,” and she says she used to not be. She tells him that she travels a lot, spits out that she’s Italian, Scottish, and Native American, and then interrupts him with, “I love your hair.” He says he likes hers, and she is sure that she had “the best one on one” time. She reveals that her strategy is to “be patient and let the other girls shoot themselves in the foot.” I think that’ll work well.
Jenna the blogger is the first to throw out the “she’s not here for the right reasons” accusation, to Monica. Monica proceeds to laugh in her face and make Jenna wholly uncomfortable and self-conscious. Monica then says she’s a nice girl, she just comes on aggressive, but she is a “FIGHTER” if she needs to be. She also seems to be attracted to women, as she throws herself all over Blakely in the peach and white, and says that she’s in love with her eyes, calls her a “gorgeous real woman,” says that she doesn;t care if she doesn’t fall in love with Ben, she’s met Blakely and that’s all she needs. “You know I need your number,” she even says to her. Curious.
Jenna, meanwhile, is hyperventilating and doesn’t know how to proceed. But she says she is just going to go with it, but she’s not so good at going with it, so she’s just gonna fight this battle. But this is a lot, how is she supposed to maintain sanity? All of this happened. Poor Jenna.
After a commercial break, we’re back to the Monica/Jenna Battle of Crazy. Monica: “If this girl punches me in the face I’m going to f*ck her upppppp!” You stay classy, Monica.
Jenna then says Monica makes her feel inferior. Rachel decides to play peacemaker. It doesn’t work. Jenna ends her convo with Monica with the troubling line, “Maybe we can be friends, maybe we’ll share a tampon sometime.” I guess that’s Jenna’s idea of friendship? Monica is not pleased and threatens to punch her again, and “cut her face off.” This whole scene is dramatically scored by horror music, i.e. “dun-dun-dunnnnnnnn.” Subtle, producers.
Jenna immediately cries about the night to Casey, and then immediately denies crying to Ben. She also tries to explain to Ben that his calm demeanor helps calm the girls, but she trips all over her words, again. She then states that she blacked out and is wondering what she’s doing here. I’m sadly not making this up, guys.
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Now she admits that she feels like she messed up (ya think?), locks herself in the bathroom, and sobs.
Lindzi (horse lover!) is rewarded for her bold entrance with the First Impression Rose from Ben. This means that she is safe from the night’s cut, and will not go home tonight. I noticed that somehow she has a Southern accent, even though she’s from Washington state. Interesting. Ben says that he likes that she’s nervous and that she seems real (translation: omg thank you for not being batshit crazy), and also that she makes him laugh. Her smile is a bit too fake for me, and I think something is off with her. We shall see.
CLINK CLINK – TIME FOR THE FINAL ROSE CEREMONY!
The girls are “freaking out” as Chris takes Ben away to make his decisions.
All is a sudden, as the ladies gather, Jenna is missing, and yep, she’s still in the bathroom. The other girls are pissed at having to wait for her. She cites her own blog advice again, to “never look back,” and decides to join the ladies for the rose ceremony. Phew.
The girl in lavender who we never saw talk to Ben gets some camera time finally, and we’re left wondering if she ever chatted with him, or just showed up for the free drinks. I guess we’ll never know.
Ben proceeds to give a short speech, where he again manages to use the word “love’ approximately 542 times. And now, the first rose! To Jamie, the nurse who looks ready for prom.
Also getting roses are: Rachel (with bangs) in red; Blakely, the maybe-lesbian in peach and white (Monica applauds for her. Yes, seriously); Emily the epidemiologist; Casey from Tennessee; Casey S. in the sheer too-short nightgown; Brittney with the grandma; Erika the law student in stripper sequins; Shawn in the lime green, who played soccer; Nicki the divorceé from Texas; Jennifer, the red-head in navy; Elyse the personal trainer; Sammy Sash, who promptly grabs the rose without waiting for Ben to offer it to her; Courtney the model; Jacklyn (who??); Monica (in love with Blakely); and, yes, crazy Jenna is saved by the producers (you can totally tell by Ben’s face when he gives her the rose).
Huntress Amber doesn’t make the cut, and neither does the diplomat’s daughter nor Canadian Bacon or Dianna, who fed him candy in a long white gown. It must have been a seriously late night, because it’s definitely dawn as the girls are leaving the house.
Ben cheers to his harem of 15 women, and UP NEXT ON THIS SEASON OF THE BACHELOR: lots and lots and LOTS AND LOTS of crying, a mystery girl who comes to crash the party, lots of Courtney the model being crazy, lots of angry girls calling each other bitches, lots of tropical paradise dates, and of course, hot tubs, helicopters, and a diamond ring.
Meredith Rose (not her real name) is a writer living, working, and dating in Washington, DC. She enjoys dramatic rose ceremonies, college football and fashion. She has been a friend of HowAboutWe’s since attending the site’s launch party in April 2010.