On Nov. 20/07 Bachelor Brad Womack decided he didn’t want to become what Reality Blurred called “yet another Bachelor failure” and left the final two bachelorettes if not at the altar, at least in the nave. Tonight, six months later, one of those bachelorettes, DeAhnna DePappas (it’s spelled DeAnna, but I was married to a Deanna and if you called her DeAhnna she would have corrected you quick), a pretty 26 year old real estate agent from a town of 25,000 in east Georgia, sets out to mend her broken heart in the season premier of The Bachelorette 4. In keeping with the series’ use of post–semicolon add–ons in the title (last one was The Bachelor: London Calling) we’re calling this The Bachelorette: R–e–b–o–u–n–d (rebound, rebound, yessiree).
The Bachelorette: R–e–b–o–u–n–d was filmed over a six week period. If we give them a couple weeks for post production and publicity, it means that when we see DeAhnna, luminous in a sparkling, pale gold evening dress, greeting the first of the 25 bachelors come to beg her favor, she is 16 weeks removed from having ripped her heart out of her chest in front of the reunion show live audience and 11 million TV viewers in a last desperate bid for Womack’s love, only to have the guy turn her down again. So we know two things: 1) the Bachelorette is not a woman who can take a hint, and 2) we’re about to watch a bunch of guys who watch The Bachelor show us what men are made of.
We open with a recap of “the most shocking season in Bachelor history.” Brad delivering his now famous oddly skewed kiss–off line, “I can’t look you in your eye and tell you that I love you.” (Boy they make convincing artificial eyes these days. I hadn’t even noticed; I would have sworn they were both hers). DeAhnna confronting him on the reunion show. The poor guy saying one thing with his mouth (“Whether you believe this or not, I’m just as heart broken as you are. I think about you every single day.) and something totally different with his body (I really loved the other girl, but sensed how dangerous you would become once rejected. So rather than have you stalk my beloved I chose to send her away).
After the recap we get a glimpse of the megalomania that envelopes people after a few weeks of having strangers recognize them on the street. DeAhnna tells the camera, “Everyone’s upset because I was the girl that everyone thought he was going to choose. And it didn’t just break my heart at that moment; it broke my family’s heart, it broke my friends’ hearts, it broke America’s heart.” Cut to DeAhnna on another TV show, getting advice on how to handle intimate relations with men from a lesbian. Apparently Womack had commitment issues. Don’t for a second think he simply chose not to pursue a relationship with a woman he didn’t love. That way lays madness. Cut to DeAhnna clothes shopping on the producer’s Mastercard. “It’s all up to me this time around and I cannot wait. I’m the one making the choices. I’m going to be the one giving out roses and I truly feel like the luckiest person in the world right now.” Four “I”s, two “the one”s and one “me” in three sentences. Run, men: run for your lives.
Oh yeah – “it’s not easy loving again after getting your heart broken,” she “learned a lot from dating Brad” and she “won’t make the same mistake twice.”
That last one is the remarkable thing about this woman and her interpretation of what she’s doing. The concept that a reality TV show might not be the best place to search for one’s true love isn’t rejected: it does not exist. In fact, she later tells the host, Chris, that she knows “the show works,” because she fell in love, albeit with a man who didn’t love her back. Maybe I’m missing something here, but doesn’t that happen naturally, whether you want it to or not? Whether you’re on TV or not?
As the introduction comes to an end we get a clip of DeAhnna walking the beach at sunset, alone, morose, dressed to the nines, while she tells us in voice–over how confident she is that she will find her life partner this season and we’ll all have a fairy tale ending.
Back from commercial we are treated to a montage of the bachelors dressing, which makes me think: I know we get lots of shots of the bachelorettes in bikinis, but there’s something about a women in a brassiere. Can we get more looks at the bachelorettes in their underwear on the next Bachelor?
The bachelors range in age from 23 to 39, include three pro athletes (if you count snowboarding) and 2 divorcees, one of whom is single parenting a five year old son. There are two Brians and, as per usual, we are given the initial of their last name so we can distinguish between them. There’s Brian W and (Oh no!) another Brian W. What do I do? The title operator’s handbook doesn’t say anything about this situation. I guess the odds of it happening are so infinitesimal it never occurred to anyone we might actually have to deal with it. But now, on my watch, the impossible has come to be. Well, when in doubt, do the usual. Maybe I’ll get lucky and she’ll eliminate at least one of them right away. So, for tonight at least, we have two Brian Ws.
Chris interviews DeAhnna. She informs him that “first impressions are everything.” Take that, you sad, pathetic, knowledge acquisition wimps. Oh, and for the third time in the first ten minutes she assures us, “Everything happens for a reason.”
It’s time for the bachelors to arrive. One by one the limousines roll up (actually, they only use two. The guys are bused to the mansion perimeter and only get to ride alone in a limo for the last 100 yards).
First up: a Brian W in a brown suit, a handsome football coach from Fort Worth, Texas. There’s a bit of a catch in DeAhnna’s voice as she greets him and I’m calling this guy to make the first cut.
Next is the kid of the group, 23 year old Paul, a sales manager from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. To think he served me a Big Mac combo just three months ago and now he’s been made manager. Give this guy a close look, DeAhnna. He’s got Mover and Shaker written all over him (and, we later find out, DeAhnna written all over his underwear). DeAhnna has to stoop to hug him.
Graham, a pro basketball player from Raliegh, NC is next and I realize Paul may not be as short as I thought he was. How high are her heels? The pro basketball player barely matches her height.
And yadda and yadda and yadda, 22 more times. The ones she seems particularly taken with in addition to the first Brian W are science teacher Richard, Eric, a senior analyst (of what?) from Boston, chef Robert, Patrick, an internet marketer from Elmhurst, IL, and the final bachelor, Jeremy, a real estate attorney in Dallas. The wild card is 25 year old pro snowboarder Jesse, who showed up in a loud sport coat and jeans.
Introductions done, DeAhnna joins the party. There are 3 first impression roses and she gives the first one to the last guy in, Jeremy. What follows is the usual series of suitors elbowing their way into the presence of the person who will determine whether they stay or not. Memorable moments include:
Christian football player Ryan takes DeAhnna outside, where it is chilly. He drapes a blanket over them and quickly hogs most of it while the bachelorette shivers. The guys in the house are, of course, watching. Quick thinking Spero, an actor, slips out and puts his coat on DeAhnna’s shoulder, making Ryan look like an idiot.
DeAhnna asks barbershop owner Ron, the single father I mentioned earlier, “what takes you to Kansas?” and he replies, “My ex.” You maybe should have left that one for later, Ron, or sugar coated it just a tad.
Robert, a chef from San Francisco, sautés crab in champagne and presents DeAhnna with a great looking crab cocktail that one guy keeps referring to as crab dip.
After too much of this we get a bit of a break with the introduction of DeAhnna’s rival for Brad’s affection, Jenni Croft, as her advisor. Jenni interviews the guys. Based on the interviews, she will make her recommendations for a first impression rose. While the interviews are going on, the guys get up to more hilarious hi–jinks. Twilley guarantees an early exit by answering Jenni’s “What do you do?” question with: “Right now, I’m looking for a new career.” Hey! Hey! Put me down. I just got here. Hey! That hurts.
Sean, the martial arts expert tells Jenni that one of the things he can offer DeAhnna is, “Security.” No Sean. When women say “security,” they mean in the financial and emotional sense, not the bodyguard sense. Donato inexplicably asks Jenni if she would like to sit on his lap and hold him. Eric reveals himself to be a true Greek, complete with a fixation on his mother. Smallish Jesse impresses with his wild card wackiness by climbing over the back of a sofa to sit between DeAhnna and bruiser Patrick. Sean kicks a lemon off Jesse’s head.
The girls talk over Jenni’s impressions. DeAhnna asks for 3 recommendations. Jenni recommends pro basketball player Graham, snowboarder Jesse (did I mention he took the worst haircut ever title from the guy in No Country for Old Men? It’s parted down the middle and would be shoulder length if it weren’t for his demented Mary Tyler Moore flip.) and Kirkland, WA, account executive Jason. DeAhnna kind of sucks her teeth at the last recommendation, which can be a good sign or a bad sign, in my experience.
DeAhnna gives the second rose to Jesse, which of course pisses off the bodybuilders in the group, of whom there are several.
Twilley gets hammered. Greg seems like if he doesn’t get a rose, he will happily punch out, if not DeAhnna, host Chris for sure. Chandler tries to impress her with his duck calls. Brian W (Not from Texas), sitting between the two, interrupts to pull up his dress shirt and display his “rock hard abs.” He grabs DeAhnna’s hand and forces her to touch his naked stomach. Paul, on a night it is too cold to be outside without a jacket, goes for a swim (giving him cause to display the aforementioned underwear with DeAhnna emblazoned across his butt). Two of the guys, Jeremy and Ryan, think it was a good idea and will likely win him a rose. DeAhnna has a sit–down with Graham. His bio emitted the word former. He is no longer a pro basketball player. “Right now, I’m an investor in several different bars, but what I’m really working on is a charity for children with illnesses, like a scholarship fund.”
It’s the funniest line yet in a night that has had several. Hey Graham — we’re in the same line of work. I’ve invested heavily in several different bars, too. Come on, Graham – go for the big one. Tell her you’re a secret agent – but only tell her because if anything happens and you have to leave the show suddenly, you want her to know that you were hers, even if just for a few nights.
The last first impression rose goes to science teacher Richard. He relates in voice over that he was “bullied mercilessly” in high school and this is a true screw you moment for him. What a romantic.
Chris and DeAhnna rehash the night. It’s all scenes we just finished watching and is a waste of time (like I haven’t got time to waste – I’m recapping a TV show, for God’s sake). Chris asks her, “When a man gets out of the pool with your name on his butt: turn on or a turn off?” She says, “Turn off.” I want her to say, “Right back at ‘cha, Chris.”
It is time for the rose ceremony. In addition to Jeremy, Jesse and Richard, the following receive a rose (but not before DeAhnna tells us for the 5th time (I counted) that she is, “The luckiest person in the world.”
–Ron, the barber from KC who didn’t sugar coat that he’s divorced.
–Graham. Hey – you played it cool and it paid off. You got the rose and you’ve still got the secret agent thing in your pocket for later.
–Eric, the Boston Greek with mother issues.
–Robert, the San Francisco chef.
–Sean, martial arts dude.
–Ryan, coat faux pas or not.
–Chris, a medical sales guy who looks like a Brady.
–Paul, the Canadian.
–Fred, a kind of goofy guy who looks like he’s be good to hang out with.
–Twilley, the drinker.
–Jason, who Jenni recommended as a keeper.
–Brian W, the first guy out of the limos and my first pick to make the cut.
That means that Brian W #2, Chandler, Donato, Jeffery, Greg, Jon, Luke, both Patricks and Spero are out of here. Chandler feels robbed by Brian W#2’s antics and has to fight back tears. Greg says his problem is that he just can’t compromise himself. Huh? He plays the honorable guy for about 5 seconds, then starts listing his possible flaws “Maybe I wasn’t as good looking as this guy, or as adamant as that guy…” getting more sarcastic and angry with the absurdity of him having flaws as he goes along.
The Bachelorette: R–e–b–o–u–n–d, episode 1, comes to an appropriate end; rejected suitor Greg asks permission from the cameraman to rip off his shirt (quickly and silently granted), rips it off and, all buff tattoos, the NYC personal trainer howls at the moon.