4. Season 5 (Jesse Palmer)

First, let me start this season by saying Happy New Year to you all. I hope this new year has greeted all of you well and it is my hope that it is a wonderful, successful year for us all. A little irony to start this new season off: I’m home for the holidays and writing this first blog sitting in Dallas, Texas, which also happens to be the hometown of our new bachelor Jake. In fact, he came over and we spent some time together watching football on New Year’s Day. He’s a good Texas boy who I think you’ll grow to like more and more as the season goes on. Because time is short I’m simultaneously prepping for my TV Guide Network red carpet hosting duties by watching Inglourious Basterds while I write this. I doubt this is how Quentin Tarantino would want me to be experiencing his film but you gotta multitask you know.

I just released a list of ten of my favorite Bachelor/Bachelorette moments of all time in Entertainment Weekly. I have to admit that while those were some of my faves, those are purely “TV” moments and they’re not exactly what I remember most about my time on this show. Teaching Aaron Burge to drive a Maserati on the PCH (while network execs looked on in horror), sitting around the fire with Ryan and Trista’s family and friends trading stories the night before their wedding, gaining a love and appreciation of wine with Andrew Firestone, tossing the pigskin and talking football with Jesse Palmer (still haven’t gotten my Roger Staubach throwback jersey, Jesse), living in Paris and Rome with my family, stalking Bono on his yacht (I’ll explain this story later this season) — those are some of moments that have really stuck with me over the years, and the kinds of moments I will truly remember and cherish.

Couple things you may have noticed that are very different about this season. First of all, we’re in HD. This would have been awesome news about eight years ago. I’m only slightly excited now as I’m kind of on the back side of my HD quality days, if you know what I mean. Damn you, technology. The other big difference, and I know you all love this, no lengthy teases and recaps heading into commercial breaks. I love this too and think it gives us that much more time to show you the women and, of course, Jake. I’m sure you noticed we’re back at the same house we’ve now used for the last few years. Your first inside scoop about Jake is that he loves to fly but doesn’t love motorcycles all that much, but I think we’ll all agree he looks damn cool on one. I have to say this is a pretty impressive group of women and I’m anxious to read what you all have to say. As is always the case, the limo arrivals gave us many cringe-worthy “bless her heart” moments. Ali with the peacock feather, still have no idea what that was about. I do have to give Ali credit as she was deathly ill with the flu and did everything she could just to get well enough to say hello to Jake that first night. Jessie, “do you have registration for those guns.” Ron Burgundy called and wants his line back. Vienna just went straight for the abs, sure most women have no problem with that tactic. Ashleigh, no, not Ashley with the Jake-Ashley spinner (what?), the Ashleigh who pulled off a magnificent fake trip into Jake’s arms. I’m sure many of you spent the night debating with friends if the trip into his arms was fake and the answer is yes. She admitted later to Jake that she fell into his arms on purpose. Chevy Chase couldn’t pull off a pratfall that good on his best day. Might have dated myself with that reference. The other Ashley is the one who put on the flight attendant uniform to impress Jake. Not sure if it worked on Jake but it definitely didn’t impress Kathryn, who is a real flight attendant and was a bit annoyed with the stereotype.

One of the more interesting moments of the night I loved was the football game. Elizabeth and Jake were out front tossing the ball and talking. Then all of a sudden there were 25 women in cocktail dresses and heels playing a full-on football game. Not sure if you could tell but it was blondes vs. brunettes. For the record, the brunettes won the game. The good news is the blondes didn’t realize it. Sorry, blondes, too easy! Jessie was by far the player of the game, dominating with 5 TD’s. I’ve heard from many women, and some men, that Jake has an amazing body but I will call him out on this — the guy kinda throws like a girl. See, he isn’t perfect.

It was great to have Jillian and Ed back in the house. She is such a spark and it’s good to see that despite what was “reported,” they are great and looking forward to a wedding. If any of you had a game going at home, yes, there was a reference to the mile high club already. But it was Channy who took the pilot analogies to a whole other level by telling Jake he could “land his plane on her landing strip.” Wow, that’s aggressive in any language!

I think one of the best parts about episode 1 is the super tease at the end of the show. No doubt you saw or heard about the controversy next week surrounding one of the bachelorettes. I’m sure you will read and hear more about this situation this week and I promise I will talk in much more detail about it in next week’s blog. For now I will leave you with this. It was very unfortunate that two adults decided to selfishly make the decisions they made. They forced me and the show into a very tough spot. It had to be dealt with and next week you’ll see exactly what I mean. This is a very good season and I hope this incident won’t draw much attention for long. Jake and this group of women have a lot to offer and if you’ve ever been a fan of this show you will love what you’re about to experience. As always, I love reading your comments below. Good, bad, or ugly, bring it on. You can also find me on Facebook or on Twitter @chrisbharrison. Until next week, crank up “On the Wings of Love” in your head and let’s do this!

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Episode Recaps

4. Season 5 (Jesse Palmer)
The Bachelor

This romantic reality competition series follows a gaggle of women vying for the Bachelor’s heart — and a wedding proposal. Will you accept this rose?

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