By Amy Kaufman
10:52 AM EST, January 15, 2013
In the words of Golden Globe winner Anne Hathaway: “blurgh.”
Did this episode of “The Bachelor” drag for anyone else? I always forget how painful I find the beginning of the season. The tedious group-dates with 9,000 girls and “I’m not here to make friends” declarations. The way-too-early proclamations of love on one-on-one dates. The jealous crying. It’s all a bit too predictable.
At least Sean is good eye candy. OK, opening the episode with a shot of Sean in the shower with water dripping down his abs may have been just a tad over the top but hey, I’m not complaining. This man’s biceps are not to be disrespected.
Alas, Sean eventually had to emerge from the shower and take one of these chicks out. He selected Sarah, who only has one full arm, for his first one-on-one date. As a result of a complication from birth, one of Sarah’s arms got amputated at the elbow. Not that you’d be able to miss it, since the cameramen couldn’t stop zooming in on her shorter arm.
Listen, guys, we get it. Clearly this woman has faced a lot of discrimination in her life because of her disability, and I’m sure it’s had a deep effect on her. But does her whole storyline have to be defined by it? It seemed that no other topic of conversation came up on Sean and Sarah’s date.
“My ability to love someone is not affected by how many hands I have,” she said. Um, yeah, I’d hope not.
Because it wouldn’t be a true “Bach” date without some unnecessary risk-taking, Sean and Sarah free-fell 300 feet from a downtown Los Angeles building at 40-feet-a-second! Fun!
Turns out, the date actually had some resonance for Sarah, who once tried to go ziplining in Las Vegas but was told she couldn’t due to state law.
“I want more spontaneity and adventure,” she said.
“Someone a little bit more adventurous?” Sean responded.
Thank you, captain obvious.
Then Sarah got a rose and said she was falling in love with Sean after three hours. While she’s perfectly sweet, her personality isn’t exactly the most vibrant. I don’t see her and Sean going the distance.
But no worries! There were 13 other women to choose from on Sean’s group date. Mr. Clean and his gaggle of ladies headed to a fancy mansion to do a photo shoot for Harlequin novels -- you know, those super gushy, sexual romance books they sell in the checkout aisle at the grocery story with, like, Fabio on the cover? Replace Fabio with Sean.
At least this provided us with another opportunity to see Sean shirtless. And the ladies were enjoying his abdominal region a bit too much.
“Oooh, getting all oily,” Kristy the “25-year-old” “model” said while touching his stomach.
As the girls were getting dressed in their ridiculous get-ups, they of course took the opportunity to start snarking on each other’s looks.
“Kristy has extensions?” Tierra said. I know, it’s shocking, gurl. She looked so natural otherwise!
The best part was that an anonymous makeup artist totally got in on the hate session.
“Tacky hos are a dime-a-dozen,” she lamented. You speak truth, woman with an eyelash curler.
Lesley, the political consultant, did well on the group date, largely because she was half naked in some cowboy-inspired halter top. The two shared a kiss during their cover shoot, which immediately sent a dozen glares Lesley’s way.
“Lesley’s made a big impression on me,” Sean said, googly eyed. “I see another side of her, and it’s a sexier side of her.”
You like her more barely clothed? Let me just get my jaw up off the floor.
After the photos were finished and Brooke was given permission to remove her Willy Wonka hat, everyone headed to a cocktail hour. Kacie B., whose title card does not describe her profession but instead reads “Ben’s season,” asked Sean if she had been “friend zoned” during the first time they met. He said he was starting to see her in a new light and even gave her the group date rose, but I feel like the fact that he wasn’t initially attracted to her may be the kiss of death.
Tierra and her fringe NFL cheerleader top do seem to rev Sean’s engine, however. I have a gut instinct that Tierra is going to go far, because she’s being painted as the villain so obviously that there’s a Ben-Courtney vibe to the whole scenario.
“Trust me when I say I really like you,” Sean told Tierra, something he didn’t feel inclined to say to any of the other women.
He also wasn’t inclined to say anything to Katie, the yoga instructor, who randomly decided to peace out on the group date because she wasn’t “adjusting very well” to the show.
“Let me walk you out then,” Sean responded bluntly. Can’t say I don’t understand why he didn’t put up more of a fight. Two words, Katie: Frizz-Ease.
The next day, Desiree got the final one-on-one date. And no, guys, I absolutely refuse to call her “Dez.” That is a terrible, horrible, no-good nickname and it makes me shudder uncomfortably.
Because Sean is a good Christian boy, he seems to get his kicks by pulling pranks. During Emily’s season, he pretended like he lived at home with his parents in squalor. This time around, he decided to take Desiree to a faux art show and have her break a supposed $1.5-million piece of artwork.
The only problem was, I think Desiree got wind of what was going on, because when the artwork shattered on the ground, she barely reacted. So let’s just leave the punking to Ashton Kutcher, mmkay, Sean?
The two then went back to Sean’s place, where he pretended to serve Desiree dinner by pulling a steak someone else had prepared out of his oven.
“I think she knows she has this in the bag,” Sean said in an interview later, referring to the rose he was about to give Desiree. “She’s probably gonna be here for a pretty long time.”
Oh yeah, he went there. Guess that means I’m not going to be able to escape that horrid nickname for a while.
Before sending home Brooke and Diana at the rose ceremony, Sean had a discussion with Robyn about the race issue. You’ve probably noticed that there are a few African American girls on the season this year -- a change for the show, which recently faced a lawsuit claiming ABC excludes people of color from the casting process.
“I have noticed that the show is becoming more culturally diverse,” Robyn told Sean, in a line that seemed just a tad scripted. Then Bach responded by telling Robyn that yes, he does actually like girls of all ethnicities, and has dated Latino, Persian and black girls. When the producers asked him what kind of girls he wanted on the show, he said, “Physically, it don’t matter.”
“I’m so glad you asked me about that,” Sean told Robyn. Yes, dude! Now we get to see how culturally inclusive you are!
Anyway. I can’t believe only two girls were sent home this week. Like, can we get a move on here, dude? I want to get down to the biz and see if Sean’s religious values keep him from opting for a night in the fantasy suite. Until then, have an AB-solutely fantastic week.