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The Bachelor, Season 20, Episode 1: Ponies and Flowers and Unicorns

Lace greets The Bachelor, Ben Higgins, outside the mansion in Monday night's season premiere. It was her last moment of sobriety/sanity.

ABC

Lace greets The Bachelor, Ben Higgins, outside the mansion in Monday night's season premiere. It was her last moment of sobriety/sanity.

5

January

Smoking hot does not equal infinitely interesting. 

The first 40 minutes of The Bachelor premiere Monday night was all Ben Higgins and co. and I could hear the sound of toilets flushing and wine glasses refilling across the country. Being tall, dark, handsome and square as a Wendy's burger doesn't make for riveting television until you add in the special sauce of 28 thirsty women vying to become his wife. 

Even before the show aired, we were all gassed up to meet Tiara "the chicken enthusiast" and Haley and Emily, who listed their job occupation as "Twin" on their official ABC profiles. 

That parade of insanity had a queen and a grand marshal, who undoubtedly became the impetus for watching next week. 

Straight out of the limo, there wasn't a single live Tweeter who didn't like deep dimpled Olivia and her trendy lob (long bob). She possessed metric tons of chill and pageant levels of poise. Even after she told Ben she'd quit her job to meet him, people were still cheering her on. But make no mistake, the type of woman who quits a hyper-competitive job as a news anchor at 23 -- even in a tiny Texas market -- is not someone to be trifled with on a game show. She is most certainly crazy, just you wait. 

Then there was Lace, who gave off distinctive Regina George vibes even before she stole the first kiss of the season. After grabbing her glass of champagne inside the mansion, she proceeded to cozy up to girls like Laura, who left the first rose ceremony empty handed, and talked junk about the girls she thought were competition. Her crooked smile permanently downturned when Ben denied her request for a second kiss and kept her hanging on until the very last of the 21 roses was awarded. She berated our poor bewildered Indiana Boy for failing to make eye contact through the entire rose ceremony and making her feel insecure. On the one hand, I felt very sorry for him -- but then I realized his life choices lead him to that moment. He was staring down the barrel of a crazy woman who thought she was owed eye contact on a game show because of a peck on the lips after a few words of greeting hours before. #thatsyourbad

The whole point of the first episode is the entrances. They tell you much more about who these women are than 100 bios or video diaries. 

Here are the top 10 most embarrassing entrances ranked:

1. Leah, 25, a Denver, Colo. event planner, showed up in a glittering sheer gown and then proceeded to bend over and hike a football at Ben to make a silly "You were a catch" pun. In the process, she exposed her Spanxed bottom to the world. 

2. Joelle "JoJo", 24, a Dallas house flipper, barely got out of the limo in a frightening realistic Unicorn mask and hobbled over to Ben, who looked scared.  "Unicorns do exist. I'm yours," was the line that went with that nightmare fuel. 

3. Mandi, 28, a dentist from Portland, Ore., topped off her sleek white dress with a giant paper rose hat. "Maybe if things go well tonight you can pollinate it later," she quipped.

4. Jackie, 23, a San Francisco gerontologist, gave Ben a save the date for THEIR wedding set for the series finale date with the hashtag #tohigginsandtohold. Bold and creepy.

5. Maegan, 30, a Weatherford, Texas cowgirl, was the only girl to walk up to Ben leading her pet mini-horse, Huey, and sharing the reality of her beer soaked life on the trail.

6. Lauren R., 26, a Houston math teacher, spent her entire introduction telling Ben about her advantage because she knows so much about him from stalking his social media profiles while forgetting to give her name. I think he still doesn't know who she was to this day.

7. Breanne, 30, a Seattle nutritional therapist, showed up with a beautiful bread basket and then quickly declared "Gluten is satan." She asked been to smash the perfectly good food with her. I wept. 

8. Izzy, 24, a Branford, Conn.graphic designer, exited the limo in footie pajamas with hood. "I had to find out if you were the onesie for me." Blergh. 

9. Rachel, 23, an unemployed person from Little Rock, Ark., somehow ginned up enough money to make her entrance on a hoverboard. No need to ask when she found the time to practice.

10. Caila, 23, a software sales rep from Hudson, Ohio, jumped directly into Ben's arms. "Do you mind if I catch up with you inside?" she asked. Kill me now. 

The atmosphere in the mansion got catty immediately but turned up to 10 when Becca the Virgin, who made a deep run into The Bachelor's season 19 with Chris Soules, made her entrance with Amber from The Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise in tow. 

All the girls with common sense collectively passed a brick. If the producers deigned to bring back a fan favorite from the previous season, she's either the likely winner or the next Bachelorette. Either way, the share of roses just decreased for everybody else. Lace, however, took that sound logic and went off the deep end. "I think it's not fair that Becca is here," Lace bemoaned. "We all know that Becca has one up on everyone. We all know that. But, um, I'm not going to let Becca stand in my way."

Our resident villainess tried to drink her body weight in champagne and started eavesdropping on Becca and Ben's conversation. Then she torpedoed war veteran Jubilee's one on one time to try and get a better kiss, leaving angrily when Mandi did the same thing she'd just done to someone else. 

Needless to say Olivia got the first impression rose. TV people generally just converse a little better than us normals and anchors have to fill dead air all the time. 

Of the seven women who went home, only Jessica, 23, an accountant from Boca Raton, and Laura"Red Velvet", 24, an account executive from Louisville, Ky., managed not to embarrass themselves in any way Monday night. 

The other five Breanne, Izzy, Lauren R., Maegan and Tiara, the 26-year-old chicken enthusiast from Redmond, Wash. were doomed before they crossed the mansion threshold. Ben Higgins might be a good sport about a lot of things -- but there is nothing particularly cool about him. Hopefully, the producers will be heavy handed this season and keep him from eliminating all the crazy early on. What will we watch if Lace goes home or Olivia bows out?

We come for the love, but we stay for the lunacy.

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 5, 2016 12:57pm]

    

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