Let’s dive right in, shall we? No sense in delaying when there is JUST SO MUCH DRAMA to discuss. Cue the rose petals and the promise of undying love. It’s Bachelor time!
Getting to Know Ben
Season 20 started with an intimate peek into Ben’s life. He’s quick to let us know that his heart is “wide open” and he is “ready to find love.” Ben’s just a small-town guy, after all, with small-town values. A Hoosier from Warsaw, Indiana, he sure knows how to handle a basketball. We see him shooting hoops by himself in front of a barn – we’re led to believe it’s the barn he grew up next to, where he spent hours playing sports and milking cows as a child. Look at that glistening corn field in the background, that tractor rolling in the distance (likely holding up a line of honking traffic just out of view.) “Warsaw feels like America,” Ben says.
He shows us around Warsaw, past his elementary school, where he just likes to casually “pop in” and visit his elementary teachers from time to time. (Really? Even as an adult, Ben? I’m sure they don’t remember you. Well, I mean, they’ll say they do now that you’re on the television, but we all know the truth.)
This reminds me of one of my first visits to Warsaw, when Bryan drove me past his elementary school. Of course, that was to show me the playground twisty slide he once peed down to “see what it looked like swirling around,” but it’s basically the same thing.
Ben takes us to Warsaw Community High School. (Go Tigers!) At a WCHS football game, the announcer proclaims over the loudspeaker, “Ben is the bachelor on The Bachelor TV show,” to the applause of tens of fans. Poignant.
Suddenly, we cut to Ben at his parents’ house on the lake. Wait, I thought he was raised at that red barn next to a field? Nevermind. Now’s not the time for paying attention to details. Ben needs to pour his heart out to his parents about his desires for finding his wife and settling down, like all 26-year-old men do. His mom tears up, Ben tears up, we all tear up.
Then – WHOOSH! – we see Ben in L.A. It’s time for the process to begin. He’s sitting in some weird cabana having a heart-to-heart with three former bachelors, whose names everyone’s forgotten. No matter, it’s time to meet the ladies!
A few contestants are featured in spotlight bios. First, we meet Caila. Caila met her ex-boyfriend on a plane and then two weeks later on the street in what seemed like a serendipitous turn of events, but she was compelled to break up with him the moment she saw Ben exit the limo as a contestant on The Bachelorette. Wait, really? That seems reasonable. FOLLOW YOUR HEART, CAILA!
Mandi, a contestant on my roster, assures us she is “not your average girl,” which she is about to make abundantly clear to us.
And there are the twins, Emily and Haley (who I’ve also drafted.) We see them doing normal things that twins do every day – popping out from behind a tree, riding a tandem bike in matching outfits, doing a fun, secret twinsy handshake. Just a normal day in the life of this dynamic duo.
We meet Amanda. She’s at the beach with her two daughters, and all three of them are wearing matching bathing suits. I ruled out Amanda in my Bachelor draft, based solely on the shallow fact that she has two kids. But now that I see her, I’m having second thoughts. She’s a babe with a sweet voice. I think I made a poor choice in not selecting her.
Then there’s Tiara, the chicken enthusiast. She introduces us to Sheila, her “one true love,” who is a chicken. They apparently brush their teeth together, which is weird, since chickens DON’T HAVE TEETH. The fact that Tiara has a framed photo of Ben on her dresser is no less concerning than the fact it’s surrounded by framed photos of all of her chickens.
The Limos are Here!
Now, we’ve snapped back to L.A. and it’s time for the real fun to begin. Ben waits nervously outside of the mansion, and Chris approaches to give him a pep talk. “How ya doin’, Ben? Eh? How ya doin’ now? How ’bout now?”
The first limo arrives, and Lauren B. is the first to step out. HERE WE GO. She’s a flight attendant, so she gives Ben plane wings and says she hopes he’s ready to “take off on this journey together.” Smooth.
Next is Caila, who does a weird jump that forces Ben to pick her up in a side-saddle fashion..? She asks twice if she’ll see him inside and he’s like duh yeah where else am I gonna go?
A few more forgettable girls exit the limo, and just as I’m thinking they’re all duds, I realize I’m smiling awkwardly at the TV.
That is, until Lace emerges on the scene. Lace is apparently a sleeper cell who I thought seemed boring online but is in actuality a psychotic nut job. She accidentally lets some of her crazy slip out when she tells Ben to close his eyes and KISSES HIM ON THE LIPS within three seconds of meeting him. Whoa, girl.
Lauren R. is a self-admitted stalker, Shushanna doesn’t speak English, Leah hikes a football through her dress and I wonder how her parents feel about seeing her whole bottom side on national television. Jojo is a unicorn, but somehow it comes off as adorable.
And then here’s my girl Mandi, who emerges from the limo wearing a giant rose blossom on her head. I drafted this girl because I thought she seemed like she’d get me TONS of crazy points, and I am so overjoyed that she’s delivering already. And so early in the game! KEEP IT COMING, MANDI.
Inside, Laura says she expected to see at least one ugly girl there and wonders why she hasn’t shown up yet. I’m afraid to point out that if you don’t see an ugly one, maybe that’s because it’s you. But I don’t say that, because that would be mean.
Back outside, the twins have arrived, speaking simultaneously obviously, and when Ben hugs them, it seems like his wildest teenage fantasies are starting to come true. All of those hours he spent as a teen, laying in the hayloft of that barn, listening to the lapping waves of the lake (still not clear on the geography here) dreaming about dating twins. Ben is just so happy, and I think his dad would be proud, too. And so would his elementary school teachers, with whom he’s kept in such close contact all these years.
The twins enter the house and the girls already inside start FREAKING OUT.
Finally, Maegan is here, who I’ve been dying to see all night. Unfortunately, she pronounces her name like the usual “Megan,” not “Mee-gan” like I was hoping. As predicted, she makes a splash when she arrives with her mini horse, Huey (how the fu did he get in that limo?) who she hopes “doesn’t pee on the carpet.” Huey immediately stands on a contestant’s dress, which leads me to believe Meeegan has been training him his whole life to sabotage every girl in the house. Very clever, Meeg.
Not to be outdone, we meet the last crazy on my roster, Breanne. “Gluten is Satan!” she proclaims, as she starts bashing crunchy French bread loaves against the beautiful stone curb. Bless you, Breanne. You’re sure to bring us hours of entertainment this season.
Izzy is wearing pajamas, but then asks Ben if he’s “the onesie for her” which makes me kind of like her?
Inside, Lace is turning out to be a stone cold bitch. Also how did she get drunk already?
Outside, girls are still pouring out of the limo. Jessica who I barely remember, Rachel on a hoverboard, Tiara sans chickens. (If Meeegan is allowed to bring a mini horse, why couldn’t Tiara bring Sheila?) Here’s my girl LB, Jackie with a wedding hashtag, Olivia who might be there for the wrong reasons.
By now, all 26 girls have arrived, and before going inside to visit with them further, Ben takes a minute to call his parents for another pep talk. They are so proud of him for dating 26 (soon to be 28) girls at once, which is lovely. Americans hate when two members of the same sex fall in love and spend decades together in a monogamous relationship, but they think there is truly nothing better than a handsome man dating nearly 30 women at once. Totes adorbs.
Ben Joins the Ladies
Ben enters the house and the mini horse neighs, but no one seems to notice. Immediately and without pause, Mandi interrupts Ben’s welcome speech and steals him away to a garden bench where she begins to FLOSS HIS TEETH! (Did I mention she’s a dentist? So that’s normal.) The girls are PISSED and I am nauseated.
Now, everyone is having fun, chatting it up, getting buzzed and UH OH here comes another limo! Becca and Amber. Two more girls. NO ONE EXPECTED THIS TWIST!
Cut to Lace, who is about to cut a bitch. I can see it in her crazy eyes. She somehow manages to wield her crazy power and gets time alone with Ben, and she’s just about to kiss him against his will when crazy Mandi re-emerges and pulls Ben away.
Lace’s eyes are tear-filled and she is going to murder someone. Of course, then the Manitowoc, Wisconsin police will probably show up to handle the case and frame Steve Avery for it.
After his time with Mandi, Ben has to come back in the house and pull Lace aside. As soon a he shows her attention, Lace is over the moon. Smiling like a maniac, slurring her words. Also, she is most definitely drunk.
We’ve seen remarkably little from my #1 LB at this point. Come on, girl. Get in there!
Chris Harrison ruins the mood by entering the house – who let him in here? – and placing the First Impression Rose on the coffee table. Everyone gets catty and all bets are off.
Meanwhile, Meeegan is drinking wine near the fireplace, but her mini horse is nowhere in sight…? Probably nibbling on one of the twins’ perfectly curled locks while no one’s looking.
Ben picks up the first impression rose and gives it to Olivia! WE CAN ALL ALREADY SEE SHE’S HERE FOR THE WRONG REASONS, BEN.
Samantha’s confidence is waning. “Umm, I feel like I’m a confident person?” she squeaks a few octaves too high from the end of a darkened hallway.
And just as Ben tries to calm the whirlwind night by sitting down to talk to the ladies, Chris swoops in and pulls him away to prepare for the Rose Ceremony. Everyone is distraught, including Lace who is crying AGAIN about how Ben didn’t make eye contact with her.
Ben is “more confident than ever” that his wife “could be in this room.”
Lace is drunk off her ass and no one can understand what she’s saying.
The First Rose Ceremony
A preview before the commercial shows Lace CHASING BEN DOWN to ask why he hasn’t made eye contact with her since their one-on-one conversation in the garden. If he gives her a rose he is OUT OF HIS LIVING MIND.
We’re back from the commercial break, and we enter the Rose Ceremony. Lace is scowling and perpetually playing with her earring. I fear she may try to stab someone with it.
Ben picks up the first rose and gives it to Lauren B. Roses also go to LB, Caila, Amber, Jami, Jennifer, Jubilee, Amanda, Jojo, Leah, Rachel, Samantha, Jackie, Haley, Emily, Shushanna, Lauren H (with the strongest northern accent I’ve ever heard), Becca, Mandi (is this man out of his mind?), and the last rose…!
…which goes to Lace!
Ben is crazy. Someone has paid him to choose her. This is a conspiracy! He immediately regrets this choice when Lace confronts him and wonders why he didn’t even look at her once EVEN THOUGH HE SPENT SO MUCH ALONE TIME WITH HER. Can he revoke her rose and give it to someone else? Like Meeegan, who can get me points? Bitch is crazy. Lace gives Ben an ultimatum: “If you want me to go home, tell me to go home.” OKBYEEEE LACE! Unfortunately, he tells her to stay. Buh.
Tonight, we say goodbye to: Jessica, Laura, Lauren R., Breanne (which I feel is the truest loss because I thought she had so much entertainment potential), Meeegan (which also robs us of oodles of country gal fun), Izzy and Tiara. And any promise of Ben meeting Tiara’s chickens.
Laura came and did what she thought she could do, but it wasn’t enough.
Ben closes the show by saying, “I have a feeling the drama is just getting started.”
Oh, that’s not just a feeling, Ben. That’s a promise.
“On This Season of The Bachelor”
To round out the night, Chris Harrison introduces us to highlights from this season. Quick as a flash, we see Ben kissing, well… lots of girls. Like, all of the girls? Jojo is “falling in love.” Ben’s in a limo with the twins with the goofiest grin on his face. Jubilee and Ben are kissing. LACE IS STILL AROUND? LACE GAVE SOMEONE A BLACK EYE? The twins are in a fight, Olivia’s a liar, Ben’s crying, everyone’s crying. Ben is in love with two women. However will he decide?! BEN IS KISSING LITERALLY EVERYONE.
What a rush! That was fun. Meet you back here next week?