Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Bachelor 20x01 Roundtable Discussion: Unicorns And A White Knight [Contributors: Alisa Williams, Lizzie, Maddie, Rae Nudson]

All's fair in love and war... and behind the scenes of The Bachelor. Monday night was the first night of our hero Ben's journey to find his wife, and it started off with a chicken enthusiast, a tiny horse, and a unicorn. (Totally normal.) Rae, Lizzie, Maddie, and Alisa checked in with sweet Ben and his 28 new girlfriends on the first night of the rest of his life. We're here for the right reasons — are you? Check out our thoughts below and add your own in the comments.

So what do you ladies think of Ben?

Ben H. is the nicest human to ever be on this show or possibly to exist in the world. He is so nice that he allowed a stranger to poke around in his teeth and then he thanked her for it. If someone tried to do that to me, I’d run so fast the other direction it would set world records. I don’t even like it when my dentist does it, and I’m paying him to poke me with terrifying metal instruments.

It remains to be seen, though, if Ben is a nice guy or a Nice GuyTM. Nice Guys are the ones who are just looking out for you, they are just so concerned about you, and are you really sure you should be going outside alone, at this time of day... wearing that? Nice Guys seem nice at first but then are so wounded if you suggest that their good intentions are not needed because you can take care of yourself. Nice Guys can be difficult to spot, even more difficult to get rid of, and the worst part is that when you finally get yourself away from them, everyone looks at you like you’re crazy because he was just so nice.

Ben seems like a genuine, good person, but sometimes being kind and being nice are not the same, and setting boundaries about who is allowed inside your mouth and with what weapons seems perfectly acceptable to me. But he did stick up for himself with Kaitlyn, and part of being on The Bachelor is being open to opportunities, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. In fact, he’ll make a good Bachelor partly because he is so nice, which makes it fun and easy to root for him. Also he is very cute, and his laugh doesn’t sound like a dolphin, which was a problem with some recent bachelors *cough* Chris *cough.*

All in all, I am pro-Ben.

I’m a cynic with a soft spot, but I’m mostly a cynic. So, yeah, when I started watching I was all like, "Cute guy! Maybe I’ll like him." And then... he started talking. And, wow, I’m not even sure what happened, but at this point, I’m like "Where do I sign up for this show?" Or, okay, maybe that’s taking it a bit too far, but I liked Ben. I liked him a lot, which is the ideal situation for a show like this. If you don’t like the Bachelor, you’re not going to stick around. (This has been the case for me the last few seasons).

What I liked about him the most is that he didn’t seem afraid to go all-out on the vulnerability front. Also, he let the creepy dentist poke around his teeth. That was legit good guy stuff. Of course, this is just the first episode, and after watching UnReal (okay, I admit it, 97% of the reason I’m watching The Bachelor this year is to imagine the behind-the-scenes), I’m even more sure that I was before that it’s all manipulated. But it does seem like it’s not that hard to manipulate Ben into being a good guy, mostly because, he IS a good guy.

Just, please, please, don’t be so good that you’re boring, Ben. That’s all I ask.

I didn’t watch Kaitlyn’s season save for one episode: the Men Tell All special. One of my friends was having a viewing party and I decided to join in on the fun. It was at this party where I saw five grown women, one of them married, pause the episode to wax poetic on Ben’s greatness for about twenty minutes. Thus, while I still feel he looks like the lovechild of Marie Osmond and Chip Skylark from the Fairly OddParents, I began to see the appeal. This episode has put me firmly on the Ben-wagon, if you will. I apologize, but watching this show makes it impossible not to put in a Ben-related pun at some point.

Ben is adorable. Not since Sean Lowe have I liked a Bachelor this quickly. His conversations with his parents were positively precious. Plus, I enjoyed that he didn’t just write off whenever a girl said she was nervous; he legitimately wanted to make things better for her. Like Lizzie, I am now viewing this show through the UnReal lens, but contrived or not Ben is so gosh darn likable I am buying all of it. His reactions to Lace’s crazy made me realize he’s self-aware of the insane world he has entered. I loved his quote: “I'm either getting tired or I’m losing my mind.” Ben’s approach to this show reminds me of Kim Possible’s catchphrase: “so not the drama.” It is safe to say that I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing how this season pans out.

At the risk of enraging women across America, I have to admit that I’m not a fan of Ben. Sure, he’s attractive. But he’s Generic Cute Guy attractive. You know what I’m talking about, ladies. You may not agree with my assessment that Ben is a Generic Cute Guy, but we’ve all met this type of guy. You see a guy at a party or a business meeting and you think, “oh he’s cute,” and then you move on. Within hours (or minutes) you’ve promptly forgotten his very existence in the world because while he’s cute, there’s just nothing that pulls you in or makes him memorable. Ben is that guy for me. He’s just eh. And yes, he’s nice, and I truly believe he’s genuinely nice which is rare on this show and a very admirable and attractive quality. But again, his niceness is just blah. Why is he so nice? What drives him? What’s he passionate about? Does he like dogs? You’re not a true nice guy if you don’t like dogs. This is fact.

Throughout Kaitlyn’s season, every time Ben would appear, my response was always, “wait, who’s that guy again?” or, “oh, is he still here?” Because Ben just does not stick in my memory. Despite having watched Kaitlyn’s whole season, I know next to nothing about Ben. I can probably tell you at least one unique detail about each of the other long-running contestants last season, but not Ben. He just took up space, and now he’s just taking up space again, but this time as the show’s lead, and I’m not convinced he has enough personality or will open up enough to keep this season interesting. But we’ll see. I would love for him to prove me wrong.

Who do you think were the best contestants?

Becca is back! I think Becca and Ben would be a very charming, sweet, vanilla couple and I am rooting for them to go all the way — no pun intended. However, the show is obsessed with Becca’s virginity, which makes me feel a little queasy. If she sticks around, and I think she will, prepare yourself for lots of talking about sex, who has or hasn’t had it, and if having lots of sex makes you more or less rose-worthy.

I am not into Mandi mostly because she was very aggressive with Ben’s teeth, but I was feeling her look. I like a girl who makes a statement with her style, what can I say.

I really liked Lauren B., and on these shows, the first impression is usually the right one. I also really, really liked Jubilee, because I like strong, kick-butt women. And I like Caila, as well. The twins will probably go far, and I think so will Amanda and Mandi. God, the names!

Maddie: Jubilee is my fave! She was looking fierce in that white dress. I honestly think Ben has the most visceral reaction to her limo arrival. She is stunning and has had the kind of life-experience that makes a person truly ready to find someone to spend the rest of your life with. I also have a feeling she is going to have amazing reaction shots throughout the season. Jubilee can get it, and by it I mean a rose.

Caila is a precious cinnamon roll and I love her already. I’m going to call it now that if she doesn’t get the final rose, she is the next Bachelorette. She was my favorite limo introduction and I think her and Ben together would just be cuteness overload.

I also really like Jennifer who was confident but not pushy. She was sure of herself enough to make sure Ben remembered her name without having to resort to making a fool of herself to stand out. Plus, she did point out how good Ben and Jen sounds together. Just ask Mr. Affleck!

The first night is always such a jumble of names and faces and sequins that I think it’s really hard for the best ladies to stand out. The memorable ones are generally the terrible ones, and so I usually don’t decide who I’ll be cheering for until a few episodes in. But there were a couple that really stood out to me and they were Caila and Jami. Caila just seemed super sweet and adorable and the fact that her and Ben immediately bonded over being software sales reps made my little nerd heart glad. I think they definitely had a great connection right off the bat and that’s usually a sign of good things to come.

Jami had me at that first introduction. I mean, a bartender from Canada who exclaims, “goodness gracious!” at random. Yes, please. I don’t know how I feel about the fact that she’s friends with Kaitlyn. I mean, that could be a bit weird, dating your friend’s ex, even in the creepy Bachelor World, but whatever. She seems genuinely nice, as does Ben, so there ya go.

I also LOVE Jubilee. That is one amazing and accomplished woman right there. But I don’t see her and Ben working at all. She is far too much woman for his generic brand of man.

And the worst?

Okay, so if one girl is a “Chicken Enthusiast,” and two girls are just “Twins,” which is not a job or skill at all and literally just how they were born, don’t you wonder about the girl who is just “Unemployed”? Like, no one could think of any kind of ridiculous title for her?

I hate the twins. It has nothing to do with them (although they did agree to go along with this ruse to get on this show, which is either unfortunate or brilliant on their part), and everything to do with the gross idea that beautiful twins are twice as sexy because there’s two of them. They are sisters, bro, why do you want to make out with them both? I am not into them being paired together, as if they were one person, and speaking together, as if they only have one voice. Is Ben even allowed to keep one of them but not the other, or do they come as a pair? If he were to propose to one of them, does he have to marry them both? Do they know that’s illegal?

Normally, it takes weeks of being treated like trash to get to Lace’s level of “you didn’t even LOOK AT ME,” but with her it took one highly stressful date and a bucket of wine. I sympathize because a date with 25 other beautiful women and one man sounds like my version of hell, but accusing someone of not wanting you around right after they give you a rose is not the best way to go.

What’s up with chicken enthusiast? Like, why would you choose that as your description? Do they even get to choose? I don’t get it, and I don’t get her. Thankfully, she’s not sticking around. And, the twins — oh God. I’m sure they’ll be around for a while. And I don’t like them, not even one bit. And it’s not even the issues Rae pointed out above (though, amen). It’s that they’re just annoying. The voice is too much, the being on camera together almost all the time is too much, and the fact that they want to be in this show and date the same man is just... too much.

I’m not feeling Lace either. And I know it’s partly editing, but boy is she being set up as the bad one. How can I like her if the show doesn’t want me to?

Lace is the worst. Moreover, she was the one who most reminded me of UnReal. Some producer starved that girl and gave her more wine than Olivia Pope has drank in the entirety of Scandal in order to create “The Villain.” However, while contrived, she plays her part brilliantly. Someone on Twitter pointed out the similarities between Lace and The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started Conversation With at a Party from SNL. I can never unsee that. However, I see only her making it a few more weeks, somewhere along the lines of Crazy Kelsey from Chris Soules’ season.

The twins are pretty reprehensible, but I am going to give them a couple more episodes to see If I can see any remote individual personality traits from them.

Finally, Breanne, do you know what is also of Satan? Wasting beautiful baguettes, that’s what!

Lace is awful and clearly has issues — I mean that made-up drama after the rose ceremony? Please. Grow up. Also proclaiming herself more attractive than all the other women is not classy. You’re beautiful, they’re beautiful, everyone’s beautiful! You don’t have to put them down to try and make yourself seem better, that never works anyway. Though I do have to admit I’m kinda hoping Lace will make it to hometown visits just so we can have a serious sit-down conversation with her parents about their naming decisions. I mean, really. And does she have siblings? Do they all have fabric-based names? Will we get to meet Cotton, Satin, and Rayon? I do hope so.

And those twins. Yes and yes to everything Rae and Lizzie said. Going on a show to date the same guy as your sister is problematic to say the least. Well, if they do make it to hometown visits, at least ABC will save some money on travel expenses.

And can we talk about Breanne, the woman who declared “gluten is Satan” and then threw away perfectly good bread?! I’m glad Ben caught a glimpse of his possible breadless future and kicked her to the curb. Don’t get me wrong, I feel for ya if you have celiac disease or other gluten sensitivities. That sucks, and for you, yes, gluten is bad news. But leave the rest of us to our Italian loaves and sourdough dreams. There’s no need to hate on the gloriousness that is bread.

Who do you think will be the final three contestants?

I think Ben is smitten with Lauren B., and I like her, too! I also think Caila will go far. Becca rounds out my final three guesses because why not?

Lauren B. is my favorite so far. Let’s say Caila, because I have a feeling about her, and... eh, Amanda? Story-wise she seems like she’s one of those they want to stick around.

Judging by screentime in the promo: Caila, Amanda, and Jubilee. However, Jubilee might actually be the Britt of the season and flame out, so maybe a dark horse like Becca or one of the Laurens will be in the finale.

Well, from a purely statistical standpoint, one of the 57 Laurens will have to make top three, right? My money’s on Lauren H., the kindergarten teacher. She seemed super saccharine sweet which I’m guessing is right up Ben’s alley. I think Caila’s a strong contestant who will hopefully make it to the end, too. And to round out the top three? Hm, maybe Samantha? She seemed sweet and smart, and she has that really sad backstory about her father passing away. I could see her and Ben possibly clicking well, but she didn’t get much screentime so it’s hard to say.

Thanks for following along with us! Let us know in the comments below if you agree or disagree, and who your favorite contestants are!


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