As you may recall, this seasons new Bachelor is Ben Higgins from the most recent season of "The Bachelorette." Despite keeping Kaitlyn up all night in the Fantasy Suite, Ben was sent home right before the finale. As you may also recall, I guessed that he was the next Bachelor long before it was announced. Being right isn't always easy, but someone has to do it.
Like always, the season intro reel is a series of women crying, women fighting, a panic attack and a devastated Bachelor. Welcome back, kids.
As we are re-introduced to Ben, we are reminded that he is "just a normal guy from a small town in Indiana with small-town values" as he shoots hoops on a net attached to an old red barn. ABC producers never disappoint.
It is also recalled that Ben's biggest fear is that he is unlovable, which is what he stressed during his exit interview last season. Again, I love being right.
Ben arrives at the Bachelor mansion for the first time this season, and I'm not quite sure what is going on with his hair but it looks like ABC went with John Travolta's (likely blind) barber.
As he approaches the front door, Ben is greeted by three former Bachelor contestants who are there to give him "advice." They are: Sean Lowe, who is still married to Catherine Giudici and expecting their first child; Jason Mesnick, who proposed to one of the finalists from his season and broke up with her at "The Women Tell All" to tell the woman he'd previously sent home that he made the wrong decision and meant to propose to her; and Chris Soules, aka Prince Farming, who proposed to Whitney, the should-have-been Disney princess, at the end of his season. He went on to do "Dancing With The Stars," broke it off with Whitney and is now on a "celebrity" cooking show with JWoww. Chris was definitely there for the right reasons.
Their advice consists of Sean sharing "the easiest way to piss off a group of women is to kiss one in front of the rest of them," to which Prince Farming responds, "kiss all of them!" And I'm pretty sure that Chris is drunk. Similar to the entirety of his season.
THE CONTESTANT TEASERS
Chris Harrison is back and reminds us again that Ben fears he is "unlovable" so this will be "the most dramatic season ever" which he says every season, naturally.
As always, we are given teasers into some of this season's contestants before we meet them one-by-one. Tonight, we are privy to:
Lauren B., a flight attendant from Marina del Rey, Calif., who tells us she'd "love to land Ben's heart." Get it? Because she's a flight attendant.
Caila, whose name should just be spelled Kayla like a normal person, who claims that she knew she had to break up with her long-time boyfriend after seeing Ben on Kaitlyn's season. She tells us this while sitting at her kitchen table painting the vase of flowers sitting in front of her.
Jubilee, a "war veteran" is introduced by shooting a gun while telling us, "You don't want to mess with me" followed by her throwing a male colleague to the ground. It also appears she has a tattoo on both her collarbone and her upper thigh. Jubilee seems fun.
Mandi, a dentist from Portland, who describes herself as weird. She "loves the weird," she "embraces the weird" and she wonders, "Who wants to be like everybody else?" She tells us she is a dentist and therefore would never date a guy who has gingivitis. After a few giggles she finishes with, "I'm going to have to give Ben an oral exam," which I appreciate, except that I just know she's going to be insufferable to watch.
Haley and Emily are next. Yes, two of them together. Because they're 22-year-old twins from Las Vegas who think it's a good idea to go on "The Bachelor" as a pair. I hate them already. They are shown riding a tandem bike and rollerblading wearing matching outfits as they introduce themselves. Did I mention I hate them?
Now we're in Orange County, and Amanda, who has a Disney princess voice, becomes our first mother of the season — with not one, but two children. It's a good thing ABC owns Disney because half of the contestants on this franchise could easily get a job at Disneyland if jobs like "twin" or "unemployed" don't work out for them.
Tiara is a self-proclaimed "chicken enthusiast." Seriously. And her biggest fear is leaving her chickens while she heads to LA to find love. We see that she has framed photos of her pet chickens next to a framed photo of Ben and tells us she really had to struggle in making the decision — "what comes first, the chicken or the Ben" and I actually may prefer the twins to her.
MEET THE WOMEN OF THIS SEASON
After those teasers, we are taken back to the mansion, where all of this season's contestants will be introduced to Ben and, more importantly, to us.
First out of the limo is Lauren B., the flight attendant we already met with the airplane pun. She gives Ben one of those wings pins you give to babies after their first flight and makes a joke about "taking off" on this journey together. Girlfriend's airport puns are at "gold status." Yes, I'm embarrassed I just wrote that.
Caila, whose name should be spelled Kayla like a normal person, runs out of the limo and jumps into Ben's arms saying, "Thank you for catching me." I'm willing to bet we're going to have to see her run and jump into his arms at least twice every episode this season.
Jennifer, a small-business owner from Florida, forgets to tell Ben her name until he asks. She then says, "Ben and Jen is too cute to forget" making me believe "small-business owner" means she sells custom statement jewelry on Etsy.
Jami, a bartender from Canada, makes her "first impression" by telling Ben she knows Kaitlyn — the girl who just dumped him on national television. Smooth, Jami.
Sam, who is listed as an attorney, tells Ben that she just learned on the way there she passed the bar exam, which confuses me because can you be an attorney if you haven't passed the test that makes you an attorney?
Jubilee is the next to step out, wearing a dress with a plunging neckline. Ben says, "I love that dress" and, well, Ben is a boob guy. I'm glad I learned this early.
Amanda, the mom from Orange County, steps out of the limo and I swear that the music from "She's All That" starts playing while Amanda nearly trips exactly like Rachael Leigh Cook did after her makeover.
A woman named Lace (seriously) steps out, in a lace dress, and asks Ben, "Will you close your eyes for a second?" He does and she kisses him telling him, "I wanted to be your first kiss." He responds with, "Well… you were." Lace is definitely going to be the woman who gets too drunk tonight.
Lauren R. tells Ben that she's been able to stalk him on social media for two months now and lists all of the things she's learned about him while doing so. I'm no expert in love, but I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to tell someone you've just met all of the things you've learned about them by "stalking" them on the Internet. You're supposed to just pretend you're hearing for the first time that he was homecoming king in 2000, despite the fact that you sent that photo to all of your girlfriends. She also forgets to tell him her name, although he asked her what it was three times.
Shushanna, a mathematician, approaches Ben and speaks to him in a different language. I'm not sure what language it was and neither is Ben.
Leah, an event planner from Colorado, walks out with a football behind her back and asks Ben if he's ready for some football. When he says, "yes!" she turns around, bends over, lifts her dress up and "hikes" the ball to him. I think that's what it's called when someone throws a football between their legs to another person. Regardless, it was as unflattering as it sounds.
As the door limo opens to welcome the next woman, a chick wearing a unicorn mask steps out and after stumbling toward Ben, takes it off to say, "Unicorns do exist and I am yours." It's no surprise her name is JoJo.
Lauren H. is next and all I can think is "Are there really fifteen Laurens this season?"
Laura, a redhead from Louisville, tells Ben that her friends call her "Red Velvet" because she has red hair, and I feel badly that she probably practiced that in front of the mirror for weeks before realizing it was a failure after saying it to Ben.
Mandi, the self-proclaimed weirdo, steps out with an enormous papier-mache red rose on her head and tells Ben, "Maybe if things go right you can pollinate this later." So basically when she says she's weird she means she's one of those girls who will tie you to her bed and like burn you with hot wax.
Haley and Emily, whose profession is listed as "Twins," walk out together, and a confused Ben asks, "group hug?" I really hope this whole thing isn't a package deal. Save that for the porn version of "The Bachelor," please.
Maegan, a "cowgirl," walks up to the mansion with a mini-horse on a leash, cowboy boots and a thick Texas accent. There is no way she makes it past tonight.
Breanne, who looks exactly like Samantha from the last season of "Bachelor in Paradise," introduces herself by telling Ben that "gluten is the devil" while carrying a picnic basket of baguettes. Like all people who don't eat gluten, she feels its imperative to really hit this one home and asks him to break the bread with her by smashing the baguettes against the sidewalk. We get it, people who don't eat gluten. Like, we really get it.
Isable, aka "Izzy," walks up to the mansion in a onesie and says, "I am a little underdressed because I had to see if you were the onesie for me." While I appreciate the creativity here, no one looks cute in a onesie. Even if your whole family is wearing matching onesies for a Christmas photo. Ew.
Rachel, whose job is listed as "unemployed" rolls up on a hoverboard. Pun intended.
At this point, we're given a little bit of a look into the women interacting in the mansion, mostly to learn that Lace, who kissed Ben immediately upon meeting him, hates everyone and is definitely drunk. Did I call that or what?
Jessica, an accountant, clearly strikes Ben's attention the second she steps out of the limo, and when she says she is nervous he suggests they take deep breaths together to calm each other down. Smooth move, Higgins.
However, Tiara, the chicken enthusiast, also tells him she's nervous and he says exactly the same thing to her. Hopefully this is good foreshadowing into this season.
Lauren, or "LB," arrives and, honestly, I can't believe there is another Lauren. She doesn't do anything memorable, so it kind of sucks that her name is also Lauren.
Jackie, who looks like the salsa dancing girl emoji, brings Ben a "save the date" for their future wedding. Is this worse than the Internet stalking confession? I can't decide.
Olivia, a news anchor, puts on the charm, which makes me believe she is actually a news anchor and not just like an intern at KTLA.
Before Ben heads into the cocktail party, he calls his parents on the cellphone you're not supposed to have while on this show. You know, because he's a small, hometown man with great family values.
As Ben greets the group of women for the first time, during the middle of his welcome and before he gives his toast, Mandi gets up to steal him away. They walk outside and she lays him in her lap — not for anything fun, but to check his teeth with the dental equipment she apparently felt the need to bring. Weird was an understatement, Mandi.
After that, there are a lot of brief interactions that Ben actually describes as "dizzy," which is the perfect word. Good thing I'm the writer here.
Olivia tells Ben that she left her job as a news anchor to be with him; Caila, whose name should be spelled Kayla like a normal person, says they have so much in common because they both sell software. You know, because nothing says sexy like selling software.
While everyone is inside for the cocktail hour, another limo unexpectedly pulls up and Becca, the virgin, and Amber, the bartender — both from Chris Soules' season — have arrived for a second (and third for Amber, who was on "Bachelor in Paradise" this summer) chance at finding love on national TV.
As to be expected, the other women are not happy with the "veterans" showing up. I've never understood this reaction because, like, if you have to compete for love on national television more than once you may need to rethink a few things — and I'm not sure that's an enviable quality.
After arriving, Becca interrupts one of the Laurens who is talking to Ben, and Ben is visibly pleasantly surprised to see Becca. We see a few minutes of Lace boozing and complaining before Amber joins Becca and Ben outside. Ben is bemused, likely because he has no idea who Amber is, and asks, "are there any more of you coming?" I want to make the obvious joke here but it's still early in the season. We're just getting warmed up. Yes, that was intentional.
Lace stumbles her way outside with Ben and asks for a better kiss than the one she gave him upon their first introduction, but before anything happens, Mandi, the self-proclaimed weirdo, returns. When he sees her, Ben asks where her rose headband is, and I hope for a minute that we get the snarky Ben more often this season.
Obviously, Lace and her bottle of white wine don't handle this well.
After some time with Mandi, Ben goes to find Lace again and tells her that, to answer her request for a better kiss, he wants to get to know the women before he gets physical with them. She's too drunk to understand what he actually means, so she feels honored by this.
Chris Harrison brings in the first impression rose, which leads to our first insight into which women have an ego, who drinks too much and who is going to cry each week.
Ben grabs the first impression rose to give to Olivia, the news reporter who left her job for Ben. She accepts.
After Ben gives out all of the roses and the eliminated women leave the mansion, Lace pulls Ben aside and cries to him that he didn't make eye contact with her one time so she's pissed. I wonder if Lace and Ashley I. from Chris' season are friends?
Let the drama begin…
Laura, the red head who called herself "Red Velvet" from Louisville.
Breanne, who doesn't eat gluten.
Maegan, who walked up to the mansion with a mini horse, cowboy boots and a thick Texas accent. Called it.
Izzy, the girl who walked up to the mansion in a onesie and said, "I am a little underdressed because I had to see if you were the onesie for me."
Jessica, the second girl he used the "deep breath" line on.
Tiara, the "chicken enthusiast."
Lauren R., who told Ben she stalked him on social media for two months before the season started.
HOMETOWN DATE PREDICTIONS
Olivia, the news reporter who left her job to be with Ben, because she's gorgeous and has the same charm that Ben does.
Lauren B., because airport jokes.
Caila, who should spell her name Kayla like a normal person, because she feels like Ben's type to me. Since I know him so well and all.
Becca, the virgin from Chris Soules' season, because she was cast the same role essentially on "The Bachelor" franchise and it just works.
LINE OF THE NIGHT
"Let's be honest, who wants to f--- a virgin?" — Lace in all her white wine glory.
It's going to be another good one, you guys. Let me know what you think on Twitter @abbydraper. See you next week!