January 10th, 2012
11:30 AM ET
Last night's episode of "The Bachelor" began in Ben's hometown of Sonoma, California, where our hero met up with the 18 remaining women. (I was surprised that the ladies left the manor this early in the season, but perhaps the home needed a flea bath after what happened on "Bachelor Pad.")
The ladies were happy to see Ben, saying he looked "amazing" as the "Sonoma-fied" version of himself. We don't know what that means, so we're going to guess that he smelled like a vineyard.
This week's show featured a pair of one-on-one dates, as well as a group date involving 12 women.
Kacie B. from Tennessee landed the first one-on-one, and she and Ben began their date in an abandoned parking lot. Ben showed off city hall, various sidewalks and possibly a traffic light. Meanwhile, a glacier appeared to pass by.
The two then went to the general store, where cast members from "Petticoat Junction" could drop by at any moment. It was just outside the store when Kacie announced that she had something "embarrassing but important" to tell Ben. When she was little, Kacie used to twirl a baton.
Ben and Kacie then staged their own parade down a Sonoma street. Yes, it was as embarrassing as you'd think. Kacie said it felt like she and Ben were "the only two people on Earth." Given how abandoned Sonoma looked when they filmed this, she might've been right.
The two moved on to a fancy restaurant, where Ben presented Kacie with a rose. The dynamic duo concluded their day at the local cinema, where they caught the world premiere of "Ben and Kacie's Home Movies." Guess "Sherlock Holmes" was sold out.
The next day, Ben welcomed the 12 women chosen for the group date to Sonoma's town square. He announced that he'd "hired some of the best playwrights in the land" to pen a play for them to perform in. The playwrights appeared, and happened to be random school-age children.
The "auditions" consisted of the women making animal noises, acting like hippies (one woman didn't seem to know what a hippie was) and jogging in slow motion. Nicki the dental hygienist was asked by the "playwrights" to do a "sexy dance" - just how old are these kids?
The play, if you can call it that, was set in "Bachelorville," and featured Ben, as "Prince Pino," turning into a sheep and then stripping down to his underwear. "Inception" made more sense than this. After a few more minutes, I changed the channel to the BCS title game - I can actually follow that without getting a headache.
Back to the show, where Ben and the ladies headed to the pool (another season, another swimming pool) to compete for a rose. The focus turned toward Blakeley, the "VIP cocktail waitress" who looks like the love child of figure skater Nancy Kerrigan and soap actress Kristian Alfonso.
She believes that her "kissing skills" will land her a rose, and she's right, as Ben gives her one. Rival Samantha responded by channeling her inner Eric Cartman, comparing Blakeley to Kyle's mom.
Courtney the model and Katie Holmes look-a-like had the second one-on-one date of the show, and she prepared for it by quoting Charlie Sheen. After about two hours of driving, Ben and Courtney walk through the forest for what appeared to be another two hours. Did Thoreau start this way?
Courtney said that she and Ben "have this thing and it's there." No, I don't know what that means, either. Ben complimented Courtney for having the "full package" - intelligence, wit and beauty. I agree with Ben on the third part, but I'm lost on the other two.
Courtney filled Ben in on her poor dating history (too many Tom Cruise doppelgangers, I guess), and Ben responded by giving her a rose. Frankly, Ben is the equivalent of watching paint dry.
But then it's cocktail party time, and Ben's ready to hang out with the ladies he didn't have time for earlier on the show. Out popped Blakeley, who interrupted Ben's time with Samantha. For once, I'd like to see the stars of these shows tell the interrupters to wait their turn.
Ben got together with Jenna the blogger, who nearly broke down last week over her issues with Blakeley and Monica. Jenna mumbled and stumbled about how "she's not like a girl," then proceeded to have another breakdown in a bedroom. Meanwhile, Blakeley was having some sort of breakdown in the "luggage room." This surprised Ben, who may not have realized that there can be a room devoted to luggage.
When it's rose ceremony time, two women get the boot. One of them was Jenna, who responded by having yet another breakdown. The other woman leaving was Shawn, whom I don't remember a thing about. All I can say is that I think she had long hair, as every woman on the show appears to have lengthy tresses. Since "The Bachelor" didn't bother identifying her as one of the eliminated, I guess we'll pretend she never existed.
Next week, we head to San Francisco, where someone leaves early, another faints and a surprise comes to Ben. A personality transplant, perhaps?
What did you think of last night's "Bachelor" episode?
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