What have I gotten myself into?

Last night gave humankind the premiere of the 20th season of The Bachelor, and I had to watch it. I’ve had to watch many a-Bachelor and Bachelorette because I’m married and that’s what happens when you love someone—you wear sweatpants, you order Chinese food, you watch the motherfucking Bachelor, and then, mercifully, you die.

But I’m a good sport, so I volunteered to recap this season for y’all. Here’s the premise as explained by me, a guy who usually only half pays attention to the show while playing games on his iPhone:

The Bachelor is a quest for love by a man who thinks love can be found out of a preselected group of people that the man has no say in. Which kind of makes sense because isn’t that what high school is? And aren’t all the people we know who got married right out of highschool super happy they didn’t meet anyone else? Anyway this man, this fabled Love-Quester, has to go on bunch of dates over the course of a few weeks. Every week he separates the wheat from the chaff, dismissing one (or more) of the women, sending her back to whence she came. And giving roses as trophies to the women he “feels a connection with”. This process repeats until there is only one woman and then he makes the insane choice of whether or not to PROPOSE TO HER.

Another interesting aspect of these Bachelor/Bachelorette shows is that each season seeds the next. A previously well liked, but ultimately dismissed “contestant” vying for the attentions of the Love-Quester is chosen by the gods to become the next Love-Quester of the next season. This season’s chosen-one is named Ben. I vaguely remember Ben as a tallish-shortish man who had hair, but no beard. He was cast aside by Kaitlyn, who was cast aside by Chris, who was cast aside by Andi, who was cast aside by Juan Pablo. There is a lineage to the Bachelor. Motherfuckers got almost as many “begats” as the bible.

I think that covers it. Well… enough set up. The show is starting, let’s meet Ben:


First off this guy’s 26. A self described “normal guy” from Indiana. You know normal, like how most people date 28 women at once on television. He takes us on a tour of Warsaw, his home town, where they seem to cheer him the way North Korean dictators want their people to cheer them without threat of death. We meet his parents who have been married 32 years. He obviously wants what they have. Keep in mind this guy is 26. When I was 26 I was doing mushrooms and taking limousines to nude beaches for vision quests– love wasn’t on the radar. But to each their own. To cap off this segment Ben says he thinks love will make him a better man. No, Ben—love will make you wear sweatpants and watch The Bachelor.

Now that we know Ben, we see him pull up to the Bachelor house (they re-use the same house every season) in a car that can’t possibly be his. He’s greeted by three previous Bachelors. I have to believe this is some sort of rite of passage. A sort of council of elders. They’re giving him advice on how to date a bunch of women at once, which is in no way applicable to real life unless you’re an awful person or you’re already a great communicator. They also tell him “You have to follow your heart” which is something I’d never heard before.

Next, Ben says, “If I let my fears keep me from doing, like, really cool things, then what’s the point?” This motherfucker is self-aware. I wish I had that kind of insight when I was 26—OH WAIT I was high on mushrooms at a nude beach, so I was.

Anyway it’s time for Chris Harrison (who has hosted every season, and doesn’t age, and can’t die) helps us meet some of the women who will be offered up for Ben’s judgement. I’ll sum up the more interesting ones:

Caila, a 24 year old software sales rep, fell in love with Ben after watching him on last season’s Bachelorette. She broke up with her longterm boyfriend because of that. That’s fuckin’ NUTS, and shitty. Unless she wins, then it was meant to be.

Jubilee is a 24 year old war veteran. Her name is Jubilee and she’s a war veteran. You can’t come up with this shit. I can only assume she was born on the 4th of July. Her segment starts with her shooting a gun and flipping a dude OVER. Ends with bikini shots.

Mandie, 28, is from PORTLAND. She “embaces the weird” and she’s a dentist. Says she wouldn’t date a guy with gingivitis, which means you’re safe, dear reader. Her segment features the Unipiper and my disdain for her is total.

Emily and Haley, 22, are TWINS. Their occupations are listed as twins. How’s this going to play out? What an awful idea. “Hey sis, do you want to go on TV and date the same guy? There’s no way our feelings could get hurt or it’ll come across as a gimmick.” Then, in unison, “Yes.”

Amanda, 25, is an esthetician. A mom of two daughters, and guess what? They’re the most amazing kids in the entire world. She hasn’t dated in two years since her divorce. But now she’s ready to start again. Glad to see her taking it slow.

Sam, 26, is a law school grad
who thinks it’s important to be driven, but at the end of the day thinks it’s important to come home to a family. Uh oh. Piano music… aaaaand fuck, her dad died of ALS. Can’t make fun of that. Sam, I hope you find what you’re looking for, girlfriend.

So now that we’ve met SOME of the women, here come the limos. All the women are crammed together in limos so they can pile out of it one-by-one like clowns at the circus. Except they aren’t clowns, they’re people. And this isn’t a circus, it’s a nightmare.

This is the part where the women meet Ben. They come bearing gifts and japes to garner favor with the Love-Quester. Again, I’ll include the more interesting exchanges:

Caila (the one who broke up with her boyfriend) JUMPS INTO HIS ARMS.

Sam, the law school grad, asks him, “boxers or legal briefs?” I object.

Lace, who is new, kisses him right away. She’s gonna be TROUBLE. I can already, tell. I mean, her name is Lace. Dear Love-Quest gods, help Ben.

LACE MORRIS: Umm... hello? Im WA-STED.

Shushanna, came out speaking only in Russian. I hope she never speaks English for the entire show, and wins.

Joelle “JoJo” Unicornhead. I assume that’s her name because that’s what she was wearing and that’s just a great name.

Lauren H., who is the third Lauren to get out of a limo (three fuckin’ Laurens?!?), brought a bouquet she caught at a wedding she went to last week. A little murdery, but still sweet.

A Laura now? Fuck, three Laurens and a Laura? Laura is a redhead who tells Ben to call her “RED VELVET.” I hope she’s a spy secretly here to assassinate Shushanna the Russian.

Mandi, the Portland lady, comes out with a GIANT rose on her head and tells Ben “he can pollinate it later if things go well.” What a disgrace to our city. And America. And our species.

Support The Portland Mercury

MANDI: Misrepresenting Portland since NOW.

With too many women introduced to possibly keep track of, we head into the house where said women start to mingle, and more importantly—drink. Guess what, they’re all intimidated and surprised that everyone is all so beautiful. As IF they let ugly people on primetime TV. Meanwhile the limos keep coming:

Next up are the Coors Light Twins. Ben is overwhelmed by them and the other women are bowled over. Everyone is aware that they don’t come as a set right? Like, he can’t marry both of them.

There’s a ton of women, so we gotta churn through ‘em. The show hits the hyperdrive:

One woman brings a mini horse. Then a girl, whose name I missed, starts hitting the ground with a baguette. Another girl comes out wearing a onesie, uses the same bad “you’re the onesie for me” joke twice. Rachel comes in on a “hoverboard” that doesn’t catch on fire. It’s a bummer.

Inside, Lace (trouble) is developing as a judgy, aggressive, character. She’s wasted. I feel vindicated, and alive.

Outside, another limo arrives with—ANOTHER LAUREN. Nothing to her really, she’s just ANOTHER LAUREN. Four Laurens. My wife makes a “fourlauren” (forlorn) pun. I’m reminded why I love her and put on another pair of sweatpants to prove it.

Finally, Jackie comes on strong, bringing a mock up “save-the-date” for their future wedding. That’s intense, gives bouquet lady a murdery run for her murdery money in the murdery department.

The gang's all here. Ben enters the house. He address the girls and Mandi the PDXer almost immediately interrupts him to take him aside. Which is rude and makes us all look bad, fam. Then, I shit you not, she starts giving him a literal goddamn dental exam.

This kicks off a stream of brief interactions that Ben has with all the different women:

Oliva, 23, who was unremarkable in her limo meeting, is emerging not just as a beautiful girl but also a news anchor who quit her job to be on this show, and loves the outdoors. Sure. Ben and Caila bond over being salesman or something. Ben gets sandwiched by the twins. He plays catch with a football. There are too many people to track. The conversations are boring.


And holy shit, it’s two girls who I think I’m supposed to remember from a prior season. I think I’m supposed to think this is crazy. One of them is a virgin (that IS crazy). Becca and Amber, I guess. Becca is the virgin. Once they walk into the room hearts stop. The other women are acting like these two are preordained winners. But we all know anything can happen in Bachelor, don’t count yourselves out ladies! Or do. I don’t know how to give a shit.

Then a new story develops where Lace (trouble) is wasted. She starts spying on Ben having conversations with other women. Oh shit! She steals Ben away. She’s slurring her words. Asks him for a do-over kiss (she’s the one who kissed him right out of the limo). But OH shit. Now Portland Mandi steals Ben from Lace, and Lace calls her a bitch under her breath. Lace starts going into meltdown mode. But then Ben comes back to find Lace and pulls her aside. To explain why he rejected her second kiss (He wants to not focus on the physical so much right away, awww).

Then Chris Harrison comes in and drops a rose like a bomb. This is the First Impression Rose. Which is a thing that grants immunity in the first rose ceremony. Not from bullets or anything, but from rejection. Only one lady can lay claim to the the rose, and ALL the girls want it. If you can even imagine.

Ben picks up the rose and gives it to boring/hot Olivia. Other women cry. Lace (trouble) is mad about not getting enough attention. But who gives a shit because it’s finally time for...


The offering of women line up to await their judgement. Who will be worthy? I’ll tell you:

Lauren, LB (Lauren 2), Caila (Boyfriend dumper), Amber, Jami, Jennifer, Jubilee, Amanda, JoJo, Leah, Rachel, Samantha, Jackie, , Hayley (twin 1), Emily (twin 2), Shushanna (Russian), Lauren H (Lauren 3), Becca (the virgin), and Mandie (PDX)

If most of those just seem like unfamiliar names, hey, I’m right there with you, and I had the luxury of pausing and rewinding this shit on my DVR. At least he whittled it down to three Laurens.


It comes down to Red Velvet, a bunch of people I don’t remember seeing, and Lace (trouble) who has made a drunken fool of herself and seems like “she isn’t here for the right reasons.” SO of course he picks Lace.

Ben hugs all the women who didn’t make the cut goodbye. Red Velvet seems bummed about it, but we all know it’s really because now she can’t complete her mission of assassinating Shushanna the Russian spy. Basically America is the real loser here. Hug your children tight tonight.

Post ceremony, Lace pulls Ben aside to drunkenly berate him for “forgetting about her” and starts drumming up drama about maybe he doesn’t really want her to stay. Hello Ben, can you say red-flag? I told y’all she’s trouble.

We end with a big preview of things to come:

Sailing. Bikinis. Ben is the best. Bi-planes. Fireworks (literal). Fireworks (metaphorical). People saying I love you way too fast. Lace hits someone! Piñatas. Olivia is a liar? Crying. Panic attacks. A decision that would “absolutely change EVERYTHING”. Waterfalls. Kissing. Et cetera, et cetera.

The only way to get over being hurt by love, is to fall in love again. That’s what Ben says. So what do you say reader? Are you ready to wear sweatpants with me this season?