Image Credit: Bob D’Amico/ABCI want to start off this blog — and this season — with a big “Thank You!” This is our 20th season of The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise. It’s a remarkable accomplishment in this day and age of television, and on behalf of the hundreds of people who make this show happen each and every year, I’ll say it again: Thank you. Making this show is much more than a job for all of us; it’s a passion and a labor of love. While this show has evolved with the times over the last eight years, it really hasn’t ever changed or wavered from its roots. It’s still really about that one thing we hope to achieve and find in our lives: love.
Watching the recap of Ali and Jake at the beginning of the first episode was a little strange. For some reason, that night at the Beverly Wilshire, when she chose her job over Jake, seems like years ago. I want to point out something very important that Ali mentioned several times throughout tonight’s episode, something that will play a huge part in and essentially shape this entire season: Ali is a vulnerable woman. Her biggest fear this season is that she will fall in love but not be loved back. This is a wild, tumultuous season for Ali. Unfortunately, her greatest fear is somewhat realized, and it’s something Ali had to face head-on and deal with.
The first episode is always hard to blog about because you’re just getting to know everybody. I do, however, love to break down the different styles the guys use to make a first impression. First off, there are way too many guys named Chris this season. I promise you, I will see to it this will not happen again. Then we have Frank, who is the first bachelor or bachelorette to ever come out of the top of the limo. Kyle, who went home, went with the fishhook maneuver — a classic move that I normally would rip apart, but you know what, it played okay. Craig M., who will undo all the goodwill Jillian created for Canada on our show, came out with a knock on Vienna. I’ve got to stick up for my friend Vienna and say, “Not a cool move, buddy.” Kirk created a paper rose for Ali. I think Ali saved him a little bit, but it worked all right. Tyler M. made the biggest gaffe of anybody during the arrivals. Note to all men: If you’re going to make mention of something that a woman did, like wear cowboy boots, make sure you’ve got the right woman! Ali didn’t wear cowboy boots on night one. And then there’s Derrick … ohhh, Derrick. I would say bless your heart, but you did this to yourself, my friend. Telling Ali your nickname is “Shooter” was bad enough. “Shooter” is just not the kind of nickname a woman is going to find cute or endearing. But when you tell her you “earned” that name due to premature ejaculation…. Damn, dude, what can I tell you? That’s just not something any woman wants to hear two minutes after meeting you. The good news is at least you didn’t share this information on national television. Oh wait.
After cleaning up the hot tea I spit across the control room from hearing Derrick explain his nickname, I brought out the ballot box for the boys. Well, actually my man Paul Danner brought it out (by the way ladies, Pauly is still single). The guys didn’t like the idea of the ballot box at first, but then quickly changed their tune. As it turned out, Justin easily got the majority of the votes. Ali decided to go against the guys’ decision and give Justin (aka “Rated R”) a rose and keep him around. I will back up her decision here. Justin said and did nothing wrong that first night to be sent home. The whole wrestling, “Rated R” thing rubbed some of the guys the wrong way, but Justin was really good with Ali, and I understand her choice. With that said, this is not the end of Rated R’s controversy, nor is it the end of his problems with the other guys in the house. On the flip side, Roberto received the first impression rose. Ali appeared to be blushing when she was trying to give him the rose.
The first night of the season really just gets the ball rolling, and things take off in a hurry from here. This season takes us around the world and back. We even dodge a volcanic eruption, only to be delayed by that very volcano when we least expected it. I’ve been known to throw around the word “dramatic” from time to time, but to say this season has plenty of drama doesn’t fully explain all that lies ahead. The tease at the end of the show gives you just a little taste of all the trials and tribulations Ali will have to deal with right up to the very end. It’s our 20th season, a huge milestone; I think you’ll agree when it’s all said and done that this may be our best ever. As always, I look forward to your comments below. Please remember this is a fun blog that is meant to entertain and lend a little inside perspective on the show, and please keep that in mind while leaving your comments. For more, you can find me on Twitter @chrisbharrison and on Facebook.