ABC premiered their new series The Bachelor Pad last night, and it was all kinds of crazy. It had everything they promised - tears, fights, hookups, guitars - with one key difference.
It was far more honest. The pretense of "looking for love" that has kept The Bachelor going for so many years, lending it a certain nobility of cause that it never really deserved, has worn incredibly thin, revealing the ugly truth: We don't watch this crap for romance. The point isn't love - it's drama. Hideous, screaming, tearful, over-the-top drama.
If my thesis holds, last night's premiere was something of a success. The premise of the show is actually nothing like The Bachelor/ette; it's far closer to Survivor or even Bad Girls Club or Big Brother. The producers followed the tried-and-true recipe for delicious drama: take one part beautiful people, two parts brain-dead cretins, add alcohol and the promise of financial gain, throw everything into a hot tub and stir. They say the contestants are there "for love or money," which really means one person will win $250,000, the rest will go home with a brief extension on their 15 minutes, and several will probably engage in some awkward, semi-public bunk bed sex.
Last night, two clear stars shone forth, and both of them were female. While the men generally acted like jerks, they were also rather subdued, even downright boring. But on the estrogen-side, we have Michelle, who was scarily aggressive, and Elizabeth, who was, without a doubt, the meanest of the mean girls in her high school. Unfortunately for us viewers, Michelle got sent home, and I suspect it might be because she locked Tenley in the bathroom and threatened her until she cried.
Elizabeth, on the other hand, is slightly more pitiable. She may be cast as the villainess, but she's a rather pathetic and clumsy one. On the last season of The Bachelor, she tried futilely to manipulate Jake into keeping her around by pledging not to kiss him. Then saying she would. Then changing her mind. This continued until he finally learned how to work the strings governing his wooden head and turned it around to see the other howevermany girls who were willing to shove their tongues between his splintery lips and try to spit some life into him without promises of a coveted rose. This time around, Elizabeth comes across as just as inept, albeit far more crazy. She has a "history" with one of the male contestants (meaning: they probably fucked) and tries everything in her power to make him commit to a relationship with her. She even threatens to use her influence with the women to get him voted off the show. Jesse, her lightly-bearded victim, doesn't exactly fall into her trap.
Though these were the
low points of the two-hour premiere, there were a few other notable moments, which I will serve to you plain and unadorned, without any explanation to cloud the WTF-ness that is The Bachelor Pad:
You think you're going to bed drunk but you're not...
My brain just, like, ate itself.
Women have proven to me how sneaky they are. They're really, really sneaky.
Lying and deceiving is my middle name.
Though they may try to dress it up with rose ceremonies and group dates, The Bachelor Pad is clearly not about love, or romance, or even money, for that matter. It's about the mindless pursuit of sex and fame. Strip away the flimsy champagne-tinted covering, and it is - in the words of one contestant - "brutal to watch."