I gave you fair warning that this week’s episode was a wild one. We started by making the short trip over from Sonoma to Ben’s hometown of San Francisco. I love this seemingly simple change in the show of going to locations that mean so much to our bachelor. Obviously we always travel to the contestants’ hometowns towards the end of the season, but this is completely different. It’s great for these women to see Ben in his hometown and get a real glimpse of what life will be like with him… minus Matt Nathanson, climbing the Bay Bridge, and skiing in the middle of the city. But other than that, it’s exactly what life would be like with him in San Francisco. We stayed in the historic Fairmont hotel in San Francisco. We’ve stayed in many of their properties around the world and they’re all great but I have to say the crew we worked with here was second to none.
Emily got the first date this week and I can easily say this was the scariest date we have ever had on this show. Before each date a member of our team will go through it first to make sure it works and to make sure there’s a good chance everybody will live to tell about it. When our crew member returned he told us climbing the Bay Bridge was beyond the craziest-scariest thing he had ever attempted, and this guy has done pretty much everything from skydiving to bungee jumping. Emily and Ben slowly made their way up the bridge, and what we failed to mention was once you start up there’s no turning back. The only way off the bridge was to go up to the top and down the stairs that are in the column that runs back down to the ground. Turns out they cheated death and made it to what turned out to be a very romantic dinner. These two really hit it off and have a good thing going. If you noticed at the end of the show Courtney and Emily have a rivalry brewing and this will continue to build and spill over in the coming weeks.
Words can’t quite describe just how awesome the group date was this week. Only our producers would come up with the idea of putting snow on a San Francisco city street and setting up a ski slope. And in true Bachelor fashion everybody hit the slope in what else… their bathing suits. One of the other changes in our show that I like is how we hold many of these dates now in public arenas. As you saw people were all over the place watching this spectacle and that really adds to the atmosphere. It’s hard to explain exactly what happened with Brittney and why she left. What I can say is for the first time ever a woman walked off the show before she ever went on the date. It appeared that Brittney just wasn’t feeling comfortable in the house and felt like she was just taking time from Ben that the other women would appreciate much more. In the end it was a noble gesture to pull herself out before the date so somebody like Lindzi could have that time. Lindzi did get Brittany’s sloppy seconds one-on-one date and it turned out to be fantastic. Once again I love how we’re infusing more good music and musicians onto the show. Matt Nathanson performing “Faster” was fantastic and of course we’ve been playing a little David Gray all season long. This will continue next week as we hold a huge concert in Park City, Utah, that we opened up to the public.
I know I’ve buried the lead in this blog by not talking about Shawntel yet, so here we go. Shawntel called and informed me that she and Ben had started a dialogue via text after he was on The Bachelorette. Shawntel told me things were going well and she would really like to see if there was more to this relationship, and that she would deeply regret not doing so. I invited her to join us in San Francisco. I obviously knew the other women wouldn’t be happy but I had no idea it would go this bad. I didn’t foresee the complete nuclear meltdown that took place once Shawntel strolled into the cocktail party that night. You all saw the result, so what I want to mention is how pivotal this moment was and how it changed the rest of the season. The ladies’ reaction was so strong Ben couldn’t help but realize just how serious these women were taking this. In return, Ben made the decision to send her home, which sent a definite message to the women that he’s equally serious and sincere about this. This gesture and the good vibe definitely carried over and followed us the following week to Park City.
As I say goodbye this week I want to thank those of you who bravely opened your doors to Ben and I as we crashed several Bachelor viewing parties around Los Angeles last week. The response we got was priceless. We’ll have a video up this week on our official website. This went far better than we could have ever hoped and we will definitely be doing this again. So on Monday night if you hear a knock on your door, it just might be us!
More Bachelor from EW:
Ben’s Bachelor blog on people.com