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Is Trista losing her mind?

Is Trista losing her mind? Liane Bonin says a fiendish brainwashing plot must be the reason the Bachelorette gave a nice guy the boot to make room for a sleazeball

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Trista Rehn, The Bachelorette: Trista
Trista Rehn: Craig Sjodin

Is Trista losing her mind?

I had such high hopes for ”The Bachelorette.” With a smart chick like Trista, we’d have none of Alex’s pukey smarm or Aaron’s boooring parade of blondes. She’d sniff out the weasels, find a nice guy with six-pack abs, and live happily ever after (which, if she stays in L.A., translates to roughly eight months). I’m not giving up on her yet, but after this week’s episode I’m beginning to think Trista’s the sucker every sleazeball player (a.k.a. Russell) dreams of finding passed out in his satin-sheeted waterbed.

The first hint that Trista is a clueless babe among wolves came when pals Sarah, Shannon, and Missy sashayed into the house. Doesn’t she have any friends who look less like lusty Victoria’s Secret models and more like, oh, Janeane Garofalo? The gals’ lip service about helping out their best buddy might have been more convincing if they hadn’t been eyeing the bachelors with all the desperate, drooling lust of Anna Nicole Smith in a Twinkie factory.

Instead of helping Trista steer clear of Russell, whom even they shuddered to think about, they led her straight into the lion’s den for a date that should have succeeded in creeping the girl out once and for all. Does anyone else think that stupid Tiffany bracelet is just a disguise for some high-tech brainwashing device?

While Trista cowered in the corner of her limo and chattered incessantly about how much she loathed aggressive guys, good ol’ Russ kept banging away at her boundaries like a brain-damaged wrestler. ”I’ve never kissed anyone on a blimp before” sounded more like a threat than a promise, and at the end of the evening Russ had the gall to whine about how Trista’s silly standards were cramping his ”take no prisoners let me clean your tonsils with my tongue” style.

Instead of telling her boorish date to get a grip, she fell into a trance (clearly, the evil forces of the charm bracelet at work) and kissed the twerp. Even Russ’ voiceover about Trista’s smooch sounded like the gloating of a fifth grader sinking his buddy’s battleship instead of the warm fuzzies of a guy falling in love.

In handing out the rest of her roses, Trista seemed to value a guy’s chances of competing on ”Star Search” above any real or sincere connection. Bad call, sweetie. Maybe Greg T.’s singing is worth waiting for, but everybody but the Bachelorette herself can tell Ryan’s poetry is god-awful (what was that about the laughter through the pain? Paging Michael Bolton!).

Sure, Ryan seems sweet in a vapid kind of way, but the guy is so thoroughly charisma-free you can feel the breeze from the energy being sucked out of the room every time he opens his mouth. But hey, a bad poem and a stuffed Shamu doll seem to be all it takes to win Trista’s heart — Russ could have stopped at a card shop instead of Tiffany’s and saved himself some bucks.

Granted, some of the guys who got the boot didn’t seem particularly rose-worthy either (how the heck did Michael make it this far?). But Trista may have missed out in bypassing Jamie and Bob this time around. Even though she wasn’t ”feeling it” with the blond basketball player, there’s no denying Jamie had the most in common with Trista. While the other guys buried their awkwardness behind dumb poems and sleazy moves, Jamie tried to be a straight shooter, even though his game face obviously got in the way (come on, he’s a pro athlete, what did you expect?). Keeping him for one more round (especially the all-important home visit) might have been all it took for Jamie to relax a little and make the transition from good-on-paper to good-in-person.

It’s easy to see why Bob got the boot. Let’s face it, he’s the big, cuddly bear of a guy girls date on the rebound until they find someone cuter. But if Trista’s serious about looking for a committed guy, Bob is the real deal. Although we never really saw evidence to confirm his status as resident funny guy (other than his nervous, twitchy jokes about whether or not Trista liked him), when he showed Trista his serious side, he blew fluffheads like Ryan and Russell out of the water. And as the saying goes, Bob can always lose weight, but Russell will be a soulless jerk forever.

What do you think?