Sean kicks off his "journey" by changing up the rose rules and displaying a shockingly snappy sense of humor, proving he's more than just a delicious slab of man beef

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March 13, 2015 at 09:07 PM EDT

Happy 2013, rose lovers! It’s a new year! There’s a new Bachelor! We have a new opportunity to collectively examine our codependent relationship with this morally barren TV franchise! God, as they say, is good.

And a big welcome back to you, Sean Lowe! You’re looking as buff and rosy-hued as ever. I suppose a few months relaxing at home in Dallas — or, even better, in your niece’s giant pink princess playhouse emporium — would soothe anyone’s broken heart. (And of course, never underestimate the healing power of schadenfreude.) Though Sean’s pecs, lats, delts, and biceps have clearly lost the will to cover themselves after getting dumped by Emily, the newly-minted Bachelor refuses to let this slow down his pre-“journey” training regimen. “I know it’s going to be physically exhausting,” says Shirted Confessional Sean, while Sweaty Shirtless Sean towels off after a set of bicep curls. “I might go through that same heartache that I experienced with Emily.”

Orrrr… you might end up like that couple behind you Sean, taking wedding photos on the beach as the surf crashes around them! “I want to protect my woman, I want to love my woman,” declares Shirted Confessional Sean, as Sweaty Shirtless Sean scales a sun-baked rock. “I can’t wait to find her.” Whoa, slow down there, pal! Do you really think you’re ready to hand out the roses? Clearly, Team Bachelor doesn’t think so, because they’re sending their first choice over to give you a few pointers. Knock knock knock — it’s a Speed Racer at the door! “I don’t know the reason for the visit, but it will be good to see him,” muses Sean, who stops slicing strawberries long enough to let Arie in.

The “good friends” haven’t seen each other since Sean got dumped in Curacao, so of course they need to spend a few minutes reminiscing about their televised love triangle. “I thought I had it in the bag,” admits Sean, as he pours Arie a beer. (Strawberries and beer: Breakfast of champions.) “Then she called Jef’s name, and then my first thought was, ‘Dude, Arie’s going home — that sucks!'” Arie laughs politely and pounds his beer. He’s not here to have a human exchange – he’s got a script and he’s sticking to it. “Tonight you’re going to obviously to be delivering a lot of roses,” he informs Sean. “Have you thought about how you’re going to deliver them? How are you going to say it?” Sean plays along — Will you accept this ROSE? WILL you accept this rose? Will you accept THIS rose? WILL YOU ACCEPT THIS ROSE? — until it’s time for Arie to move on to the next comedy bit: breakup techniques. Sean muses, “I can’t use ‘It’s not you, it’s me,’ because it’s obviously going to be them.” Zing!

Like Sean, I’m not really sure what the purpose of Arie’s visit was — and I rapid-cycled through many reactions during this segment: Disbelief (are the “ladies” really so boring that Team Bachelor had to fill five minutes of the premiere with this fabricated bromance?), confusion (was Arie’s hair always that gray?), and existential dread (if a recapper mocks a show that has pretty much transformed into a mockery of itself, does her sarcasm make a sound?). But then Arie starts teaching Sean how to kiss and I got distracted — and, I’ll admit it, a little turned on — by their latent sexual chemistry. This show is messing with my head. Let’s get to the “ladies,” shall we?

NEXT: Is every girl here named Ashley?

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