'The Bachelor': Meet, greet, and try not to drink too heavily

Bradwomack_bachelor_s11_240 This fall, I'm absurdly psyched to be recapping the eight zillionth season of The Bachelor, which my friends assure me is the progenitor of the completely hysterical Age of Love. (Believe it or not, I'm a Bachelor virgin!) ABC's intro sums up how tired this show is far better than I ever could: "After 956 roses, 620 limos, 355 crying girls, 19 crying men, 167 hot tubs, $35 million in diamonds, 719 kisses, 2 gun-toting dads, 8 proposals, 1 marriage, and 1 happy and healthy baby boy named Max, the show is better, and sexier, than ever." Um, right. Not buying it, ABC.

Our bachelor this season is Brad Womack, a 34-year-old businessman from Austin, Texas. They say he's the hottest bachelor yet, but I'm unconvinced. Can any regular viewers weigh in on that? Brad, as you may have read, is quite the catch. He co-owns four bars with his brothers (one of whom is an identical twin). Yes, co-owns. Yes, four. Yes, bars. Um, score? He's "here to find true love" (yawn). We get his whole life story (literally), interspersed with video of him jogging shirtless. Which I can't really complain about.

We head over to the girls' hotel, where we get shots of the contestants working out, jumping on furniture, showering, choosing outfits, and interviewing about their sad, desperate love lives and how much they want him to fall in love with them. So far I'm going to give this show an '8' for depressing, and only a '6' for hilarious. Pick up the pace, ladies! As they meet each other and head off to meet Brad, we see interviews of them discussing their various strategies. "Talk Greek to him" isn't quite a surefire winner. But "not cry, and not get drunk" could at least get you through the opening rounds, I'd imagine.

And now, it's time to meet our "sexiest bachelor ever!" Chris Harrison, the host, sits him down for a little chat. After an uncomfortable amount of pushing, Brad admits he's a millionaire (those must be some bars), emphasizing that he worked for every penny. He says that his brothers are supportive because they've seen some of the success stories from previous Bachelor seasons, which confuses me a bit. According to Wikipedia, only two of the ten previous bachelors are still with the show's winners. That's not a real great record, Brad's brothers. Chris acknowledges up front that some of the contestants are crazy, which shows what I think is an impressive commitment to the truth for a reality show. Brad, rather than running for the hills, confirms that he's optimistic about finding his future bride here.

The girls arrive and meet Brad, limo by limo, at the Malibu mansion. He greets them all with a mildly salacious "How are you?" After they're all in the mansion, he tells Chris that he can't believe his wife may be in there. I'm fairly certain he means that in a good way, but the girls seemed so overly made-up and fake that I could kind of believe the flip meaning, too. Chris instructs Brad to give one girl a "first impression" rose, which will keep her safe from elimination, once he gets inside the party.

Inside the mansion, the girls pee themselves over Brad's babe-itude and treat him like a hot chick walking through a construction site. Um, if they were the construction workers. And they were guys. Shut up, you know what I mean. There are wolf whistles and many, many "woo-hoo's." He revels in the attention, and all the girls try to get one-on-one time with him. Apparently, these sorts of parties aren't very fun if you're stuck in a corner sipping champagne with a bunch of other jealous chicks. Who knew?

Jenni_thebachelor_11_240 The women who managed to not painfully embarrass themselves at the party are: DeAnna, 25, a realtor. Brad likes that she bartends on the side, and is southern. Lindsey, 25, a model. She cleverly gives him a rose, which is pretty funny. But then she ruins the moment by singing terribly about a yellow rose in Texas. Mallory, 24, a nanny. She puts on a bikini and hops in the pool, genius-style. The giant, um, flotation devices on her chest convince Brad that it's safe to join her poolside, although she isn't able to lure him into the water with her. Jenni, 27, a Phoenix Suns dancer. She does that thing where you laughs hysterically at everything your crush says, which he appreciates. Oh, and she also dances for him, which...doesn't hurt. At all. In fact, it gets her the first impression rose.

The women who weren't quite so lucky are: Jessica, 27, a news anchor. When she meets him, she says, "They told me you were hot, but I didn't know you were a fire extinguisher!" Which makes absolutely no sense, when you think about it. At the party, she busts in to "interview" Brad as he's talking to Erin and Hilary. Juli, 24, a law student. She puts her legs behind her head for him. Um, wow. Kristy, 29, an acupuncturist. She diagnoses him as stressed out after looking at his tongue. Melissa, 28, an event planner. She gets drunk, loses one of her boob inserts, and rambles on about "sweetness" in front of him. Morgan, 24, a grad student. She shows him her webbed toes in an attempt to get the first impression rose. It's amazing. He can't even get through describing it without cracking up, which makes me like him a little. Tauni, 31, an ER nurse. She sticks her butt in his face. Seriously. There's really not much more to it than that.

And now, we've got our first rose ceremony. Hilariously, there's a special "deliberation room," complete with framed photos of all the women. He's so measured in his comments, though, that we don't really get any dirt from the so-called deliberations. LAME! Brad tells the girls that this is the toughest decision he's ever faced in his life. Really, Brad? Tougher than the decision to go on this crazy show?

Those receiving roses are Jade (24, boutique sales), Bettina (27, realtor/surfer girl), McCarten (26, account manager), Hilary (27, registered nurse), DeAnna, Michele (30, realtor), Sheena (23, internet marketing), Estefania/"Stefi" (26, executive assistant), Erin (25, publishing sales), Solisa (25, esthetician), Lindsey, Sarah (23, bar manager), Mallory (much to the other contestants' dismay), and Kristy the tongue whisperer.

Regina_thebachelor_11_240 This leaves the remaining contestants out in the cold, including several we barely even met: Kim, 31, a very tall realtor. Lori, 33, a biology teacher whose strategy not to cry or get drunk goes out the window as soon as she gets the boot (well, the first half, at least...I'm assuming the drunkenness will occur soon enough). Natalie, 25, a law student. Rigina, 31, an account representative who introduced herself as "Miss Brown Sugar." And finally, Susan, 35, a project analyst. Farewell, desperados. We hardly knew ye.

This season on The Bachelor: Nudity, extreme sports, extreme catfights, and identical twins! Get psyched, y'all. Get psyched. But in the meantime... Is Brad the sexiest bachelor EVER? Do you have any early favorites? Is it even possible to have favorites on this show?

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