What’s up Bachelor babies! Welcome to Season 20 of The Bachelor: Ben Is Sweet! I’m currently in the hangry throes of a sugar/carb detox where even just profile pictures of people eating donuts makes me want to murder something (which also meant that I could not indulge in my time-honored tradition of eating dark chocolate and drinking wine while watching the show, which is like…why even watch the show, then!); my new city of Portland broke the contract I made with it when I moved here regarding bullshit winter weather and is currently an ice palace; and I’m super pissed because I spent the last two months pitching this recap series to a bunch of sites and this fucking guy is all, “Oh, my wife watches that show why don’t you just give me an entire column about it” and so now he gets paid for this shit and I don’t AND SO I AM CURRENTLY IN THE PERFECT MOOD TO GIVE YOU THE RUNDOWN ON SOME ROMANCE.
So let’s get started, shall we?
So our new Bachelor is Ben, and in case you have no respect for the show and don’t even really remember who he is but have somehow been given a paid platform to talk about him anyway, he was one of two super hot Bens from The Bachelorette: Kaitlyn Is Funny, where he won America’s hearts and went all the way to the Top 3 by being funny, good at two-stepping, a tall dark drink of water, and not being a huge horndog like some of the other guys (Nick. Ian. etc).
Personally, I was rooting for Ben Z when the selection for the new Bachelor was being made, just because I felt like Ben was a little too Christian Bible Camp + young. Like, can we not have any more Bachelors or Bachelorettes under the age of 30? It’s kind of like seeing a 20 yr old college kid on OkCupid, in that, yeah, you might be struggling a lil’ bit to find that perfect person for you, but you’re still growing! You’re still in the phase of just starting to be in serious relationships! And now we’re supposed to believe that you’re totally all about settling down and getting married? When I was 26, I thought I was ready to marry my boyfriend, but I also thought Nelly had a long career in front of him, sooo. Plus, a horrible side effect of when we have a young Bachelor is that we then also have to put up with 21 yr old baby Bambis running around the Bachelor mansion, which is fucking annoying.
BUT. I have to say, after sitting through the first 20 minutes of filler for the premiere episode, I really like our Ben, and I think he has the potential to be one of the best Bachelors yet. Like, he even has the potential to be in the Sean category of best Bachelors.
The episode starts off with him giving us a tour of Warsaw, Indiana, where he grew up (even though he lives in Colorado now, because he’s not a total loser like Chris Soules). First we see him shooting hoops at some barn, then he drives us past his elementary school, then we go past the movie theater where he had his first kiss, and then he takes us to his high school.
This one time in my late 20s, I was sort of making out / friends with this one guy whose favorite activity was taking girls for a drive so he could show them all the houses he lived in when he was growing up. It was just as interesting and exciting and romantic as it sounds. I know we all like to think that we’re special flowers and the story of our childhood and development is fascinating to the world, but literally no one cares about what your elementary school looks like. I don’t even care what George Michael’s elementary school looks like, okay? And if I don’t care about something related to George Michael, I certainly don’t care about it when it comes to you.
Related: I really, really like George Michael.
As it turns out, Ben is the Grand Marshal of Warsaw’s Homecoming, which is just so perfectly timed with the start of the show! (Good goin’, Warsaw Chamber of Commerce!), so we get to see him riding in a parade and taking pictures and high-fiving people and talking a lot about small-town values.
Question: What exactly are small-town values? Getting married? Having kids? Saying hi to everyone you see? Going to church? Beating up gay people? Buying stuff at the local grocery store? Underage drinking? I want someone to explain this to me, because i also grew up in what one might consider a small town, and I’m worried about Ben’s emphasis on this.
And then we get to see him hanging out with his parents, which is also really boring because again: Parents.
Ben talks a little about being rejected by past loves, and it’s honestly like…who could reject Ben? It’s mystifying…kind of like how it seems impossible that a girl like me could go one night without being boned hardcore by someone super hot, and yet, it still happens. Many times. Sometimes the world just doesn’t make sense, you know?
And then Ben starts to cry when he thinks about all the people who’ve been there for him and bent over backwards for him that past month, and I can’t even because that’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen on this show and now I’m going to have a hard time making fun of him and making fun of the Bachelor is like, one of my most favorite things ever and so now I want to cry, too.
Ben Gets Advice From Two Favorite Bachelors & One Who Wasn’t Doing Anything Else That Day
Sean, Jason, and Chris show up the mansion to offer Ben some advice, which Ben is delighted by. “America’s favorite Bachelors,” he tells us.”Two of them are married, and…” AND WHY IS CHRIS THERE, YOU MEAN? That’s funny, nobody else seems to know, either! He probably doesn’t even know, as evidenced by the fact that he looks lost and useless when the other guys are dishing about finding their wives on the show:
Anyway, it’s always a delight seeing Sean, and I really like Jason and Molly and both Sean and Jason gave some good advice about just staying in the moment and treating everyone with respect and being honest when it’s time to let someone go. The End.
The Time In The Show Where We Take A Look Into The Lives of Ladies Who May Or May Not Be Staying After Tonight
The part where we meet some of the ladies always my favorite part of the season premiere, because the producers always do a really good mix: Some of them could be staying until the very end, some will be going home that night, and at least one is sure to be a stand-out crazy. is my favorite part of every season premiere. Also, I like seeing people’s houses and apartments because it’s so much easier to judge them that way, so that part’s fun, too.
For more about the ladies, you can also take a deep dive into the pre-season post about them here.
First we meet Lauren B., who is originally from Portland (YEAH!) but meant to be in Southern California (I get it).
She’s a flight attendant but also sooooooo single. She’s pretty. I like her. Her friend, however, earns the wrath of America when they cheers to Lauren meeting Ben and the friend says, “Hashtag Mrs. Higgins!” Even Lauren is like, “Oh god…”
Caila is a software sales rep from Boston.
Get this: She met her boyfriend on a plane, and two weeks later they ran into each other on the street. She thought it was fate…but then a year later, she found herself wondering if he was really The One. And when she was watching Kaitlyn’s season, she saw Ben come out of the limo and sort of said in her head, “Oh my gosh, he’s the perfect person.” “I mean, there’s definitely something wrong when I had butterflies for someone on TV…”
Nooo…that’s what happens to pretty much every other woman in America when she sees a cute guy on TV, Caila.
But it hit her that her boyfriend and her had to end it! So now she’s ready for Fate Part 2!
Um, are ya kidding? You broke up a real relationship with that kind of romantic backstory in order to meet someone you saw on a reality TV show?! Lookit this crazy broad!
(Also, how’d you like to be that guy, huh? Like, my last super-serious relationship started to break down after I convinced my ex to go out for an executive position at the MOA, which he did and got and then promptly met a cute new coworker who is now his wife, and I still have hard feelings toward that place…can you imagine if your girlfriend of a year dumped you because of a reality TV SHOW?!)
Jubilee is an army vet and actually went to Afghanistan. Damn, gurl!She says it’s been hard to date after she got back from active duty because there’s a certain perception of women in the military that she can’t seem to get away from.
Unless she ends up being a total train wreck later, I’m already campaigning for her to be the next Bachelorette. IT’S TIME, ABC. IT’S GODDAMN TIME.
Mandi is a dentist from my new hometown of Portland.
She embraces the weird, and wouldn’t date someone who had gingivitis because it means you’re not brushing or flossing properly, and if you’re not doing that, what else aren’t you doing? True. Very, very true.
Twins. Sigh. I’m not even going to bother learning their names.
The only redeeming factor of having to watch them is that they called themselves “double trouble” which made me think of the TV show, and I used to love that show!!
So that made me happy + forget about automatically hating them for a whole second.
Amanda is 25 and divorced with two kids. Yeesh. That’s alotta livin’ for 25. Is she a Mormon? Did she go to Bible Camp, like I did, only it actually took with her?
Also, she talks in a baby voice à la Trista Sutter when she’s talking to guys and Tenley when she’s talking all the time, so I instantly don’t like her.
In a bid to win America’s heart, she tells us that she hasn’t really been “a part of the dating world” but she’s ready, and she’s also doing it for her kids! “This is for them, too.” HAHAHAHAHA. You know what the best part about not having kids is, Amanda?
Not having to care about other people’s kids.
Also, tell me more about how you’re leaving your kids for three to five months to go meet a perfect stranger on TV.
Tiara is the infamous chicken specialist I’m sure you’ve already heard about.
She loves chickens, she even has one special chicken, Sheila, that she spends all her time with. And honestly…the way she acts around them, it’s kind of like they’re a litter of puppies?
Which just makes it worse, because I base my meat-eating choices on which animals are smart and sentient, and so I really only eat chicken and turkeys because they are dumb as fuck, but seeing Sheila stand on Tiara’s shoulder while she brushes her teeth MAKES ME THINK DIFFERENTLY.
FUCK! And I’m literally roasting a sweet lil’ chicken right now as I write this.
Anyway, this was the best shot of the entire night:
Samantha just graduated from law school and has the sob story of the season.
When she was in middle school, her dad was diagnosed with ALS, and he died when she was 13.
Which is, like. Sad.
Jo-Jo The Unicorn, Awks Ball Hikes, & a Living First Impression Rose
OMG IT’S FINALLY TIME FOR THE LIMOS TO ARRIVE. Chris Harrison chats a lil’ with Ben, and even though I love Chris, him bringing up the fact that he’s 26 and asking, “Too young to find love?” is such a softball move. CHRIS! I need more from you, Chris.
Lauren B is the first one out of the limo. She gives him a pair of wings, tells him she hopes he’s ready to take off on this journey. BRILLIANT.
Caila runs and jumps into Ben’s arms. “Thank you for catching me, do you mind if we catch up inside?” UGH GIRL NO.
Jennifer is pretty, but forgets to tell Ben her name. “Ben & Jen is too cute to forget.” Yeah. There’s actually a lot of forgettable Ben & Jens out there, giiiiirl.
Jami from Canada knows Kaitlyn, and tells Ben that Kaitlyn dished to her that he has a really, really, really big…heart. OMG. I bet that also means that he has a huge dick!
Samantha looks pretty in her long red dress, and tells Ben that on the way here, she just found out that she passed the bar exam. She’s a lil rambly and ditzy, and asks him to choose between “boxers…or legal briefs.” Uh.
Jubilee gets out, Ben immediately compliments her on her dress, she rambles on about having a bunch of pick-up lines but is so nervous she can’t remember them now, he asks her to tell him at least one, she does, it’s awful, but he’s nice.
Amanda gets out, there’s a lil spark between Ben and her, but I still can’t handle her baby voice so I’m choosing to ignore it.
Lace, a real estate developer, gets out. Tell Ben to close this eyes, and then kisses him. I’m only showing her photo because it’s going to be important for you to put a face to a name later.
Lauren R is next. There’s a spark, then she ruins it by saying she’s been stalking him over social media for the last two months. Which, I mean…with pics like this, wouldn’t you?
And then she literally walks away without telling him her name. HAHAHAHA.
Shushanna is next, and only speaks Russian to Ben the whole time. “I’m either getting tired or I’m losing my mind,” Ben says, as she walks away from him.
Leah arrives, as far as looks go, is super cute. She kind of reminds me of Kristun Cavallari.
She’s holding a football, and asks him if he’s “ready to play ball?” She literally bends over in her evening gown and hikes up her skirt.
She hikes him the ball, then says, “I knew you were a good catch.” OMG STAAAHHHP.
OMG IT’S A UNICORN!
Just kidding, it’s just JoJo!
“So unicorns do exist! I think I’m yours!” Ugh. THESE LINES ARE THE WORST.
Lauren H. is from Michigan and has a suuuuuuper strong midwest accent. She throws him a bouquet she caught at a wedding the weekend before.
Laura from Kentucky is a ginge and wore a really pretty navy blue dress. Tells him to call her Red Velvet. Ah, OK.
Then it’s time for Mandi! She walks up wearing a giant rose headband BECAUSE SHE’S FROM ROSE CITY, YA DORKS (in case you didn’t know, Portland is famous for its huge internationally-famous public rose gardens and thus boasts the nickname “Rose City”).
And also because she’s the first impression rose. “Maybe if things go well you can pollinate it later.”
That white dress, tho.
The Twins arrive. They are pretty pretty.
The Transparency of Lace
The twins – giddy and so, so young – add to the usual fray of “Oh my gosh, there’s so many pretty girls here, how can I possibly stand out” first-night jitters of the other girls. Also, I love the expressions when they walk in:
Lace appears to already be sloshed, and makes some catty comments about Mandi’s giant rose and the fact that Lauren B. has smaller boobs than Laura, both of whom just happen to be wearing the same dress but in different colors.
Megan from Texas shows up with her mini-horse, Bubba!.
“There’s twins, how can you compete with twins?!” she asks us. “With a fucking mini-horse, that’s how!” Damn right, gurrrrl!
Breanne is a nutrionist and brings a basket of bread because she hates gluten and tells Ben that, instead of breaking the ice, she thought they could “break bread together.”
“Are we eating this right now?” Ben so innocently asks. NOPE! YOU’RE GOING TO SMASH THAT BREAD AGAINST THE STONES IN THE DRIVEWAY!
I am hangry right now and off carbs so this is like a nightmare to me.
Izzy shows up in a pajama onesie!
Because she had to find out if Ben was “the onesie” for her.
Rachel, the only one gutsy enough to admit she’s unemployed, shows up on a Hoverboard.
You’re unemployed but you can afford a Hoverboard?! I wanna be your kind of unemployed!
Meanwhile, the other girls are noticing how catty Lace is being. Lace, for her part, doesn’t think there are any other girls there who are prettier than her, which is always a cool way to make an impression. Jami can’t tell if Lace is drunk or if that’s just how she is, which LOLZ.
Jessica arrives, which is not really notable – she’s nice, cute, etc – and then Tiara arrives. Ben comments twice on how beautiful she is, and honestly, if she wasn’t a chicken enthusiast you’d think she might be a front-runner.
Lauren – “LB” – is cute, and then Jackie shows up.
WITH A WEDDING INVITATION THAT SHE PRE-MADE FOR THEM.
That hashtag’s not bad, though.
And then there’s Olivia…
There’s definite sparks, because of course there are. Olivia is that girl that guys love, your parents love, your teachers REALLY love…but you know that she’s actually a catty, manipulative, totally fake betch who’s never had to struggle for anything in her life but still will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
You just wait. Just watch and see. I’m calling it right this second.
For instance, she basically asks him if he has dimples so she can point out that SHE has a dimple.
CALLING IT. CALLING IT RIGHT NOW.
Let’s Get This Party Started
Olivia is the last lady to arrive (or so we think HAAAAY) so Chris and Ben chat, then Ben calls his parents. Which is…I mean…did he call them after he lost his virginity, too? Like, “Hi Mom and Dad, sorry to wake you up, I just wanted to share with you that I just had sex for the first time. Yeah, I thought you’d want to know. It was great for me! Maybe not so great for me, but she’s pretending like it was, which is really sweet, you know? Okay, I’ll let you go back to bed. Bye! See you tomorrow at brunch!”
So anyway, Ben goes in and makes his speech, and then is interrupted by Mandi before he can even finish. She takes him by the hand and is like, “let’s get going”, which shocks the other girls and Ben, a little, too.
The Twins are like “So inappropriate”, except that your twins dating the same guy on a reality tv show and your occupation is “twins”, so. Maybe we don’t need any commentary from you on what’s appropriate.
Also, this is my favorite picture of them:
During their one-on-one time, Mandi gives him a lil’ teeth inspection, and says that things looks good, though they might have to work on his flossing a little bit. This girl isn’t an idiot, you guys. She knows exactly what she’s doing, and I gotta say…I kinda respect it.
Olivia gets some time with Ben and tells him she gave up a full-time anchor job to be on the show. Oh did she. “I think I left something really good…to find something really great. If that makes sense?” OH OLIVIA, YOU BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL BRILLIANT EVIL BETCH, YOU ALREADY KNOW IT MAKES SENSE. And even though she “really loved” her job, her life just didn’t have any “zest”, you know? She loves the outdoors, loves to travel, loves picking a spot on the map and just going. Ben is like, “Yeaaaaaah” because she’s basically saying the thing that all guys in their late 20s want to hear (I used to play that game, too, Olivia. I used to tell guys that I wanted to be an outdoor adventure guide. They practically impregnated me on the spot) and also, if you’ve even glanced at his Instagram, you know that Ben basically loves all those things. OH, and she also loves being part of the community – you know, like going to high schools and talking to girls – which is so weird, because Ben just so happens to the kind of guys who spends months in Honduras doing volunteer projects with kids!
Caila taks to him about software sales. Cool.
The Twins tells us that dating twins is like a fantasy that everyone has built up in their head.
Yeah, that’s not “dating” twins, that’s “doing” twins.
Jo-Jo plays a Pictionary or Catchphrase or whatever game it is where you put a picture on your forehead and the other person has to guess it with Ben, having him guess details about her.
And then. AND THEN! Another limo shows up. Who could it be?! It’s Becca and Amber!
Chris wants to talk to them about why they’re here. Amber mentions that she barely got any time with Chris, and then when she heard it was Ben, she was like, “I have to come out, I have to try this again.” Really?! Cause he’s, like…4 YEARS YOUNGER than you. And plus, you weren’t just on the Bachelor last season, you were ALSO on Bachelor In Paradise. Where you also did NOT find love. Maybe this format doesn’t work you?
Becca, for her part, actually seems like a good match for Ben (though she does seem a little more sophisticated than him? Maybe that’s just because she’s tall). They’re both beautiful people with the same type of values, and they both seem like virgins even though they may or may not be.
The pair walk into the house, and all the girls are thrown off (even though Becca is, like, the sweetest ever and is constantly like, “How are you guys?” Love her). Mandi’s hilarious, in that she calls out, “it’s open to the public now, shoot.” HAHAHAHA. Jubilee says that it’s unfair to bring two girls from other seasons back because it gives them an edge. “Everyone knows Becca, everyone knows Amber.” HAHAHAHA. Yeah…everyone does not know Amber. This is her third time on the show and barely anyone in America even recognized her.
Ben’s talking to Midwestern Lauren (I can’t believe I got this long into the recap without just giving the girls all disparaging nicknames) when Becca walks in. Midwestern Lauren is adorable and graciously leaves the two of them to talk. They chat a lil’ bit – with Lace eavesdropping from the other room – and then Amber walks in. Ben’s reaction is less than overwhelming. I actually think he didn’t know who she was, at first.
Lace and Ben are talking – or in more real terms, he’s talking, she’s slurring – and she asks him if it’s awkward if she asks for a better kiss. At first he’s like, “Sure”, but then she was like, “But you’re thinking about it right now”, and she instantly gives us the impression that she’s an incredibly difficult girl to date. Like, she is not the kind of girl who actually goes out of her way to make any guy’s life easier, you know? So he gives her such a thoughtful explanation about how he doesn’t want to dive right into the physical yet, even though she’s gorgeous so of course he wants to kiss her, but then they’re interrupted by Mandi, who wants to talk to Ben again. It’s fair for Lace to be annoyed by this – Mandi did already have time with him – but she gets a little over the top about it. She slurringly tells Kentucky Ginge about it, declares that she’s going to punch Mandi in the face, and goes off to find Mandi.
Basically, Lace is like this:
While Mandi’s like this:
Ben intercepts Lace to talk some more and to clarify about his intentions – he didn’t want her to feel rejected, but just doesn’t want to focus on the physical aspect of things yet. While he’s talking, she’s looking at him like this:
And then she’s like this:
Who wouldn’t want to kiss that, right?
Anyway, OMG BEN’S SUCH A GOOD GUY and Lace is a total conceited catty train wreck.
Chris Harrison delivers the First Impression Rose, and all the girls are abuzz with who’s going to get it. He’s talking to Lauren B, and they are SO CUTE together!! Then he talks to Jennifer, and it’s way boring.
But not as much as Olivia, who gets the First Impression Rose, because of course she does! “I’ve given up a lot to be here. I’m deserving. And I’m humble, but…I think our conversation tonight was…a really big deal for him.” OH DO YOU, OLIVIA? COULD THAT BE BECAUSE YOU BASICALLY AND PURPOSEFULLY TAILORED YOUR CONVERSATION AROUND ALL OF HIS BIGGEST AND WELL-KNOWN INTERESTS AND MADE HIM THINK THAT YOU HAD THOSE INTERESTS, TOO?
Look at her dumb smile.
Finally, it’s time for Ben to make his speech! He goes through the same spiel all Bachelor’s do, and Lace gets mad because he didn’t even look at her once while making it. OMG, I bet dating her is SO FUN!
It’s a tense, dramatic rose ceremony much like all the other 20 rose ceremonies in the history of the Bachelor. Ben waits until the last few roses to call Becca’s name, and waits until the very last rose to call Lace’s name. “You gonna do me like that,” Lace mumbles under her breath as she walks toward him. Oh jeez.
Jessica, social media stalker girl, Breanne The Bread Girl, Megan The Horse Girl, Tiara the Chicken Girl, Izzie The Onsie Girl, and Kentucky Ginge are all sent home. There’s the standard “I’m worthless, I’ll never find love, I’m going to be alone forever” crying to the camera, and Kentucky Ginge is like, “Like he may not have been into redheads. Some people aren’t,” Kentucky Ginge tells us. And she’s right. Some people don’t like gingers, mainly because they don’t have souls.
But it does gotta sting to get sent home when even the girl who only speaks Russian got to stay, y’know?
So Ben is with all the girls and they all have champagne and do a cheers and it’s fun and happy and then Lace interrupts Ben and is like, “can I be annoying and just talk to you for one second.” Jo-Jo rightly is like, “she wants to talk to Ben again. Like, again. AGAIN. What could she possibly have to talk to him about again?” OH YOU JUST WAIT JO-JO THE UNICORN. Lace calls him out on the fact that he didn’t look at her once and she’s wondering if this is the right thing for her or if she should just go home. “I want to be clear that the issue is that i didn’t look at you during Rose ceremony?” Lace says, “You didn’t look at me once. You would not look at me. I watched you.” with a little condescending, pissy smile. Oh boy. Ben’s like, “i gave you a rose! I have a feeling the drama is just getting started.”
Also, Caila does a whole “Fifty Shades of Crazy!” in reference to Lace, which upsets me because that is not correct. It is OBVIOUSLY “Fifty Shades of Cray.” Right? Cause it’s Fifty Shades of GRAY? So that rhymes. Like, get the pun right, Girl Who Dumped Your Actual Boyfriend To Be On The Bachelor, or don’t use it at all.
Then we get to see the season preview – OMG IT LOOKS SO GOOD LACE ACTUALLY PUNCHES SOMEONE IN THE EYE EXCEPT THAT IT’S LEAH AND I LIKE HER AND ALSO IT LOOKS LIKE EVERYONE HATES OLIVIA SO IT LOOKS LIKE I AM RIGHT ONCE AGAIN I AM A MASTER AT THIS I SHOULD PROBABLY DO THIS FOR MONEY EVEN.
My top stand-out favorites so far: Lauren B., Leah, Becca, Mandi (just for fun), and I have a feeling like I might end up liking Jo-Jo The Unicorn, too.
How about you? Who’s your favorites so far? Who’s your least favorite (besides Lace, who I find incredibly entertaining, btw)? Spill it!
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