A bevy of ''Bachelor''/''Bachelorette'' rejects compete for cash. Let the hook-ups begin!

By Kristen Baldwin
Updated August 11, 2010 at 06:07 PM EDT
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Greetings, Bachelor fans! Oh, how I’ve missed our time together! I’d like to thank my colleague Jennifer Armstrong for her dedicated and hilarious coverage of Ali and Roberto’s ”journey” on The Bachelorette. Rest assured, there will be nothing as romantic and heartfelt going on here, folks. I hope you’ve taken your prophylactic dose of Valtrex, rose lovers, because we’re about to enter the world of Bachelor Pad — a place that has definitely not been sanitized for your protection.

I’m amazed that it took Bachelor mastermind Mike Fleiss eight years to come up with the idea for this show. And this may just be the most honest series he’s ever done. There are no stakes, and while lip service is paid to the idea of a ”journey” toward ”true love,” these people are here for one reason and one reason only: Cold hard cash. Oh, and camera time. Wait, one more: to validate their rapidly diminishing self-worth the only way they know how — through negative attention. Okay, fine, so that’s three reasons.

Chris Harrison strolls out of the Bachelor Pad (previously known as Casa Bachelor/Bachelorette) in his weekend casual gear to welcome us to the ”exciting” series premiere, and of course to introduce the ”men” and ”women” who will be playing for $250K. If you’re like me, you forget pretty much everything about Bachelor/Bachelorette contestants as soon as they take the limo ride of shame back to Dyingalonesville, USA, so here’s a little cheat sheet:

Tenley (Bachelor, season 14) Danced the dance in her heart for Jake. Cheated on by her husband. Apparently stole her shirt from a waitress at her local Mexican restaurant.

Jesse B. (Bachelorette, season 6) Tattoos. That’s about it.

Natalie (Bachelor, season 13) Likes bears…and Jesse B.

Dave (Bachelorette, season 5) Watching a fellow contestant pretend to drink a shot sent him into a near hate-crime-level fury. Will heretofore be known as Captain Rage.

Gwen (Bachelor, season 2) From ye olden days of Aaron Burge’s season. Probably around 40 years old, which makes her the Australopithicus afarensis of reality TV.

Jessie (Bachelor, season 14) Last seen busting Justin (”Rated R”) from Canada on Ali’s season of Bachelorette.

Jonathan (Bachelorette, season 6) Weatherman. Cries easily. Tormented by ”category 6 a-hole” and fellow contestant Craig.

Nikki (Bachelor, season 13) Dumped by Jason on TV, and by Juan during a Bachelor/Bachelorette reunion trip.

Juan (Bachelorette, season 5) Shot-faking nemesis of Captain Rage, and Nikki’s relationship-faking ex-boyfriend.

Wes (Bachelorette, season 5) Aspiring singer, fameosexual, and ”huge, ginormous asshole” who snookered Jillian. Big in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Krisily (Bachelor, season 7) Made it to proposal day, but Charlie (a.k.a. World’s Drunkest Bachelor) chose Sarah instead. Self-proclaimed ”bitch.”

Elizabeth (Bachelor, season 14) Reality TV’s most inept tease. Let Jake ”make out” with her forehead. Now a bottle blonde and under the impression that she is dating…

Jesse K., a.k.a. ”Kovacs” (Bachelorette, season 5) Wine guy. Would like everyone to know he is not, repeat not, dating Elizabeth.

Kiptyn (Bachelorette, season 5) Jillian’s runner-up. Prominent ears. Admirable abs.

Ashley (Bachelor, season 14) Three words: Flight attendant costume.

Peyton (Bachelor, season 10) Dumped on an aircraft carrier by Dr. Andy Baldwin.

Michelle (Bachelor, season 14) In Natalie’s words, ”the crazy one from last season.”

Gia (Bachelorette, season 14) Swimsuit model with less self-esteem than a string bikini has fabric.

Craig (Bachelorette, season 6) Patrick Dempsey’s hair, Mel Gibson’s temper. Will heretofore be known as McAngry.

NEXT: Milton Bradley would be so proud

Okay, now it’s time to pour yourself a mimosa as Harrison explains the rules: Every week, there will be a guys vs. girls competition. The winner gets a rose — which means immunity — and the chance to go on an ”intimate date” with three guys/girls of the winner’s choice. In between the hooking up (all of the contestants will be sleeping in the same room, natch), one man and one woman will be voted out each week. Sounds good, right? Let’s get…wait a minute, what’s Chris saying about a co-host? Oh, for the love of all that’s holy, it’s Melissa Rycroft. I’m sorry — isn’t Chris more than capable of handling these hosting duties on his own? The only way this isn’t a bad idea is if producers are planning to fire Melissa and replace her with Molly during the live season finale.

Chris and Melissa waste no time pitting the contestants against each other in their first competition: A jumbo-sized Twister game. The next few minutes are just a squirming mass of asses, cleavage, and rippling back muscles, as the contestants contort their bikini-and-board shorts-clad bodies. Despite having the flexibility of a porn star, Tenley is knocked out second because she can’t tell her left foot from her right. The remaining ten women drop like flies, and eventually only poor Jessie is left on the polka-dotted board, facing off against McAngry. We’ll let the weatherman tell you what happened next: ”When Craig won the competition, I pretty much knew for sure there was no God.”

As the women watch their poolside plan to get Craig out of the house first go up in smoke, Elizabeth — who aggressively trash-talked Craig during Twister — worries aloud that she’ll be forced to spend an ”intimate” evening with McAngry. It does not take a doctorate in psychology to see that Elizabeth is actually desperate to be chosen for the date, a fact she does a poor job of hiding later that night, when she coos to Craig, ”Why don’t you win me over?” Not if Michelle gets there first, sweetie! When the lights go out in the Bachelor Pad bedroom, the darkness fills with the unmistakable smacking sounds of hanky-panky — and Tenley proceeds to tell everyone the next morning that Michelle and Craig were the ones getting biz-ay. Michelle denies it, but the ”ladies” think Tenley is a reliable source. So who’s telling the truth? Only the night-vision camera knows for sure.

Ding Dong — the Accent Table of Doom is at the door! Nice to see you getting a little extra work, pal! After reading the date card aloud — ”Sometimes you have to get a little cold to feel the heat” — Craig chooses the ”ladies” for his date: Jessie, Elizabeth (thank you, foreshadowing!), and…Gwen? Okay, so Craig may be angry, but he’s definitely not stupid — what better way to seem like a nice guy than to give the ”old” lady a night on the town? After a day at the beach (I guess the ”cold” part was making the ”ladies” ride in the air-conditioned limo wearing only their bikinis?), Melissa greets Craig and his harem at the Greek Theater with a rose and a directive: Pick one lady, and send the other two back to the Pad. Get home safe, Gwen and Elizabeth! Jessie will see you later — first she and Craig are going to enjoy a private concert by Alex Band. Cue the awkward dancing!

At least poor Elizabeth has ”Kovacs” to come home to…or not. As soon as she walks in the door, Jesse lets blondie know that he’d prefer she not tell the other bachelorettes that she has ”dibs” on him. This does not sit well with Elizabeth, who first bluntly professes her feelings — ”I am completely in love with Jesse Kovacs, and I don’t think he feels the same way about me” — and then tries to blackmail the wine guy into reciprocating those feelings: ”There are girls here who like me…. If you treat me poorly it can have negative consequences on you.” Awwww, Elizabeth Barrett Browning could not have said it better herself.

NEXT: Nobody locks Tenley in the bathroom!

Meanwhile, Michelle — still angry at Tenley for telling everyone she hooked up with Craig — has had all night to stew in her own crazy juices, so by bedtime she’s a steaming Crock-Pot of terror. She decides to confront Rainbow Brite in the bathroom, and while cameras don’t catch the catfight — according to Tenley, Michelle was holding the door closed with her foot — the microphones do pick up snippets of their conversation. ”You [bleep]! You started it all!” A tearful Tenley recounts her ordeal to the camera like a mugging victim testifying against her attacker. ”I was trying to get out of the bathroom,” she whimpers. ”But I was stuck in there, and it was really scary.” Really, honey? What was Michelle going to do — shave you to death with her Lady Bic? Get. A. Grip.

Elimination day arrives, and there’s so much strategizing going on, it’s like Big Brother, only with a higher votive candle budget. Juan tries to smooth things over with Nikki, but she knows he’s full of crap, while Natalie warns Captain Rage that Krisily wants to vote him and other ”athletic” players out. None of them come close, however, to master manipulator Elizabeth, who reveals her evil genius by turning all the women against Jesse (”I’m in love with Jesse,” she tells the ladies. ”My heart’s in it, and his isn’t. He’ll do anything to get the money.”), and then convincing him that the only way to save himself is to tell everyone he loves her. And if Jesse’s not sure what to say, well, blondie has a little suggestion: ”I hurt Elizabeth, and I was too focused on the money, but I saw how upset she was, and I literally am in love with the girl.” Oh, and she’s only getting started: ”I’m giving up $250,000 for you,” whines Elizabeth, wiping away tears, ”and you can’t show affection towards me?” Heaving a huge sigh, Jesse mumbles a completely insincere, broken-spirit apology. Oh, buddy…manhood FAIL. ”I thought I had a strategy,” Jesse admits to the camera, ”and I realize it was a terrible idea.”

One by one, the contestants head to the deliberation room to contemplate the collection of framed portraits. Revenge is in the air — Nikki predictably drops Juan’s picture in the box, while Michelle pulls Kovacs’ portrait from the frame to pay him back for his presumed poor treatment of Elizabeth. The rose ceremony happens in the Bachelor Pad driveway — and if that isn’t weird enough, Chris is the one handing out the coveted buds! I can’t wrap my head around this — is Harrison going to walk in and tell himself when it’s time for the final rose tonight? No such luck — instead, he simply calls the last two names, Krisily and Kovacs, and then politely asks Juan and Michelle to say their goodbyes. (Melissa is apparently not allowed to speak during the proceedings.) The weatherman gets the best line of the night — ”There just weren’t enough roses for all of Michelle’s personalities” — but judging from the promos for next week, there’s more than enough crazy left in the Pad to go around.

So, rose lovers, what did you think of this new experiment in Bachelor/Bachelorette debauchery? Are you hooked or horrified? Let your comments flag fly below! And be sure to check out Chris Harrison’s exclusive Bachelor Pad blog over on PopWatch. Put your left foot on the red dot, and let’s talk Bachelor Pad!

Episode Recaps

Bachelor Pad

Chris Harrison reassembles former rose-contenders for a second chance at reality fame, love, and televised skankiness
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