The Bachelor, Season Premiere Recap: Indominus Lace
Disclaimer: This recap is predicated on you, the reader, understanding that the show, at this point, is nothing more than satire, that it’s essentially a two-month long “women be shopping” joke. The crying, the overblown cat fights-all those things women be doing are encouraged and pushed to the limits by producers who know very well that the contestants aren’t the monsters they portray them to be. At times, it seems as if the show genuinely hates women. It doesn’t. It’s only testing you to see if you understand that. That’s what I tell myself, anyway. Otherwise, I’m forced to accept that my guilty pleasure is a horrid display of misogyny. At any rate, I thought it best that you consider this going in. Now, onto the recap!
The Bachelor, Episode 1
If you’ve seen Jurassic World, you know that the entire premise of the movie hinges on the viewer believing that people in a fictional society, at some point, become bored with seeing dinosaurs live and in person (they’re just, like, big zebras, after all), forcing the prehistoric zoo to create a super dinosaur, named Indominus Rex, just to keep folks coming back for more. It’s a ridiculous notion, obviously, but not one that producers of ABC’s The Bachelor necessarily disagree with.
The Bachelor, which, once upon a time, began as a romantic dating contest, has slowly morphed into the same beast as MTV’s The Real World, Simon Cowell’s American Idol and, yes, John Hammond’s Jurassic Park. The fear that a basic concept has turned stale has forced the people in control to turn the crazy knob all the way up to ten. This is how you end up with Mandi, the dentist from your childhood nightmares, and Tiara, a woman who shares a bed with chickens, as probably only the second and third most insane contestants in a season premiere, both taking a back seat to Lace, the 25-year-old, dark-haired vixen, who may or may not have dead bodies buried in her backyard. Before we get into Lace, though, let’s talk a little bit about this season’s bachelor.
Ben Higgins, a technically beautiful, 26-year-old account manager from a small town in Indiana, who appeared on The Bachelorette last season and is, I repeat, technically beautiful, can’t seem to find love at the grocery store or on Tinder, like the rest of us. His biggest concern in life, he tells us, is “the fear of being unlovable.” Life is hard out there for Beautiful Ben, the former high school quarterback who’s now the most famous person in his hometown (I mean, who can’t empathize with that?), so he’s attempting to find love in a more traditional place-on television, on a dating show that boasts a 16% marriage success rate in its 14-year history. Bless your little heart, Beautiful Ben.
Before meeting the ladies of Season 20, though, Ben needs to sit down with former Bachelor winners, Jason Mesnick, Sean Lowe and Chris Soules, to pick their brains about the process of dating 26 women at once. It’s an invaluable discussion filled with profound observations like, “You’re the only dude, so they can’t really compare you to anybody else,” and sage advice, such as, “Kiss ’em all.” The scene is punctuated, rather appropriately, with a series of bro-hugs, and the camera lingering on Mesnick’s amazing lake of armpit sweat.
It’s now time to meet some the ladies, one of whom might potentially end up as Beautiful Ben’s blushing bride. We have Lauren, a blonde-haired flight attendant who quips that she’s “so single, it’s sad;” Caila Quinn, who still believes in fate, despite the fact that the relationship between her and her previous boyfriend, brought together by fate, completely fell apart; Mandi, a dentist who won’t date a man with gingivitis and seems overly concerned with Ben’s flossing habits (her introduction also featured a man riding a unicycle around her in a parking lot, while playing a flaming bagpipe, so make of that what you will); Amanda, the requisite divorced mom who gushes about loving her children so much, even though she’s clearly willing to abandon them for two months to appear on a dating show; Emily and Haley, twins with seemingly nothing of note to offer other than looking exactly the same as one another and appealing to every middle-aged man’s late night Cinemax fantasy; and Tiara, a 27-year-old woman who hangs out with a chicken named Sheila on her couch, brushes her teeth with it on her shoulder, has pictures of chickens all around her house and, honestly, I can’t even with this woman.
— Dan Worthington (@danWorthington) January 5, 2016
By far, though, the most enjoyable part of any season of The Bachelor is when the women arrive to meet their future husband for the first time. As the ladies file out of their limousines, one at a time, for their initial encounter with Beautiful Ben, each attempts a creative and memorable introduction with the hopes of winning his affection and leaving an impression that might garner them a rose at the end of the night, allowing them to continue to make fools of themselves on national television for, at the very least, one more episode. At best, these introductions come off super cheesy. At worst, they make the contestant appear to have escaped from the local psychiatric ward. Here are a sampling of Ben’s introductions, in no particular order:
- A woman leaps into his arms with blind trust that he’ll catch her.
- A woman shows up in pajamas.
- A woman hands him a “save the date” invitation for their future wedding.
- A woman speaks to him in only Russian.
- Multiple women attempt terrible puns.
- A woman in a beautiful gown bends over and hikes a football to him, between her legs.
- A woman shows up wearing a giant rose on her head.
- A woman shows up wearing a unicorn mask on her head.
- A woman shows up with an actual miniature horse.
- A woman admits to stalking him and tells him that she has something to show him later. (It’s definitely his dog’s head in a box.)
- A woman who doesn’t eat gluten shows up with a basket of baguettes and literally “breaks bread” with him against a nearby rock.
- A woman shows up and her job description is listed as “chicken enthusiast.”
(On a side note, there’s going to come a time in the future when Ben is talking to his children about that magical moment when he first met mommy…and he’s going to have to explain why she was wearing a unicorn head. And I feel like we all deserve to be there for that conversation.)
None of the women mentioned above, though, can even hold a candle to the weirdness named Lace. Not the dentist who stole Beautiful Ben away to perform an oral hygiene exam on him (with proper tools). Not the Taylor Swift twins, who remind me more and more of Tomax and Xamot each time they’re on screen. Not the woman who walked away from a career as a news anchor simply to meet an attractive man she saw on television. No, none of them even come close to touching Lace. Here are just a few of her finest moments:
— ELLE Magazine (US) (@ELLEmagazine) January 5, 2016
- Upon arrival, Lace boldly asks Ben if she can be the first person to kiss him. He obliges and offers a quick peck on the lips. This, we will find out, does not satisfy her.
- Lace spends the entire evening making catty comments about literally every woman who walks into the room.
- Lace makes unnecessarily determined faces whenever the camera is on her.
- Lace is already tipsy.
- Lace grits her teeth and utters the phrase, “I’m not going to let Becca get in my way,” as if she’s a Bond villain, attempting to take over the world.
- Lace spies on Ben’s conversations.
- Lace asks for more wine. (The producers likely hand her the entire bottle.)
- Lace states that “this is ten times harder than I thought it would ever be” barely twenty minutes into the contest.
- Lace angrily mumbles to herself, “I think he forgot about me.” We’re still only twenty minutes into the contest.
- Not content with her first kiss, Lace steals Ben from another contestant in hopes of snagging the first real kiss of the evening, only to have Ben stolen back from her before she can pee on his leg and mark her territory.
- Lace is slurring her speech.
- Despite all of this, Lace somehow gets the final rose of the night (The Producer’s Choice Rose™)…and immediately pulls Ben aside to chide him for-waaaaaait for it-not looking at her enough.
Lace is served with a restraining order and escorted from the premises by two armed guards. Lace murders the guards with the horn from the unicorn mask and vows to return and exact revenge upon all who have wronged her. Lace’s eyes turn fiery red. Lace bursts into flames, screaming, “You’ll pay for this! You’ll all pay for this!”
By the end of the night, Ben has chosen Olivia, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed news anchor, to receive the “first impression” rose.¹ It was never hard to see that she was the clear frontrunner. He’s also kept notable contestants, The Twins; Jubilee, whose nipple has already had to be blurred out for television; and the fascinatingly bizarre dentist, Mandi. Unfortunately, though, we have to wave goodbye to Tiara’s chickens and Maegan’s miniature horse.²
As we’ve seen many times before on The Bachelor, there are elegant contestants, their dresses shimmering in the light as they saunter into the building. There are charming contestants, ones whose laughter can light up an entire room. There are even the perfect contestants, whom you can already imagine sharing a life with Beautiful Ben in Indiana, with their white picket fence and two-and-a-half children.
And then there’s Lace, The Bachelor’s Indominus Rex, a hybrid contestant, genetically modified to cause as much carnage and destruction as possible within the show’s two-hour time frame.
¹ The women react to Ben grabbing the “first impression” rose from the table and leaving the room in very much the same way that I would react to having a dismembered baby placed in front of me at the dinner table.
² The most surprising dismissal of the evening is, by far, Laura, the adorable, redhead, account executive from Louisville. She seems so shocked at not being picked that she inexplicably blames it on her hair color. What have we done to people with red hair that society routinely refers to them as creepy gingers? We’ve really crushed their spirits, huh? That remains, to me, one of the weirdest stereotypes around.
Brian Papa is a writer of internet things who hates ketchup, loves cats, and will eat your leftovers. If you’d like to discuss any of these topics further, he can be found on Twitter at @adamsmoot.