The time has come again to watch 25 men with questionable sanity vie for the affections of one woman with questionable desirability. This time, it's Emily Maynard, dubbed by Chris Harrison "the southern single mom with heartbreak in her past." In case you're wondering about the heartbreak, her then-fiancé died in a tragic plane crash. But more on that later.
The season premiere began with a snapshot of Emily's everyday life. She makes her daughter Ricky pancakes, brushes Ricky's teeth and mugs for the camera crew in her bathroom. When alone, she rides horses, reads in bed and stands around awkwardly gazing at the sky. She is in serious need of a husband, you see. And a father figure for her daughter, which is why for the FIRST TIME EVER (!!!) the show is filming in her home town of Charlotte, NC. Yes, this season will be totally different than every other identical season of The Bachelorette.
Cue the back-story. Remember that time her fiancé died in a tragic plane crash? Remember that time Brad won her heart and then broke it? Well, concluded Emily, "You gotta just put on your big girl pants and move on with it."
And how I wish she had elected to wear pants to meet her Potential Future Husbands. Instead, she opted for a figure skating costume, with sheer material barely covering everything and silver glitter almost covering up some things. It's a look.
First, she sat down with Chris Harrison for some quality Harrison Therapy. "How do you prepare for bein' The Bachelorette?" she wondered. Well, you go on The Bachelor and get rejected -- or win it and then break up after. Duh. Anyway, Chris made sure to talk about her deceased fiancé's tragic accident, in case we'd missed it the first 10 times. Emily said she had made peace with it and didn't want to talk about it anymore. No one seemed to get the memo.
Then it was time for Emily to meet "25 of the most eligible bachelors in America" and they wooed her with props, costumes and dance moves. It was like a variety show of desperation and over-styled hair.
The Potential Future Husbands
Sean is an insurance agent who seems up to the task of siring a gaggle of blonde babies.
Kalon is a guy who wears too much lip gloss. It was hard for me to hear anything he said, because I was too mesmerized (and simultaneously horrified) by his ridiculously shiny lips. I did look past the lips to see him arrive in a helicopter, inciting the rage, envy and "there for the wrong reasons" accusations from the other PFHs.
Ryan is a former pro-football player and dog owner. He held up a sign that said "You are beautiful. I'm so Nervous" when he met Emily. I predict he'll go far. As long as he starts using his words. I don't know how much Emily is capable of reading.
Tony is a guy who sells plywood and works out topless. But he's also "just a single dad trying to find love"... and a good hot tub make-out session, methinks. He introduced himself as Prince Charming and offered Emily a shoe. She let the strange man who didn't know his own name touch her foot, and that's how it all begins kids!
Lerone is from L.A., has a tiny dog, and very pronounced nipples that burst from beneath his t-shirts. He wisely covered them up with a suit jacket when he met Emily.
David is a singer-songwriter from New York. Will he write this season's "They say love it ain't easy"? Only time will tell.
Charlie "pretty much lived just a normal life"... until he fell off a balcony and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Though, he assured us, "I may have had a head injury, but there's nothing wrong with my heart."
Jef with one F is the CEO of a bottled water company in Utah, who wears jean jackets, sports 1992 hair and skateboards. He even wheeled in on a board, tossing it aside for good measure as he walked up to meet Emily. (And that is how the show had its first production assistant casualty.) Emily said she felt like a nerd next to "super cool" Jef. And any shred of hope I had for her sane judgment this season has gone out the window.
Arie is a professional racecar driver who worried his job would evoke memories of Emily's tragic past. (Have you heard about that?) But Emily was cool with it and thought "he'd be hot in a race car." Non-existent conflict resolved.
Jackson is a fitness model who took Emily's hand, got down on one knee and spouted some lame line about moments in life taking your breath away -- that I can't repeat with out vomiting on my keyboard. But more on him, and my gag reflex, later...
Joe is the way-over-enthused dude of the season. (Think: last season's Ryan)
Kyle is a nervous fellow.
Chris from Chicago has a very awkward gait. He's an even more awkward hugger than walker. (Like -- Ames awkward. Okay, no one can be that awkward.) He gave Emily a bobblehead doll of himself and one of her and then they played with their dolls -- which moved more naturally than Chris.
Aaron, introduced himself as a biology teacher, and then tried (and failed) to suavely take off his glasses, while he flubbed a cheesy line about chemistry.
Stevie is a Party MC (You heard me right. Why does The Bachelorette seem to perennially exist in the nineties?) who entered toting a boom box and dancing.
Randy emerged from the limo dressed up as an old lady. Then he took off the costume to reveal his real boy face and greet Emily. But he seemed much more comfortable in Granny attire. Maybe some girls are into that?
Nate is an accountant from Arizona who is indistinguishable, other than being labeled "so cute" by Em.
Brent is a 41-year-old technology consultant, with six kids. One of the less attractive of the bunch, there was no way he'd make the cut.
Alessandro is a Brazilian grain merchant with facial hair spouting from places it shouldn't. Like to werewolf proportions. He greeted Emily in Portuguese and she responded in Spanish. She's a catch, that one.
John is a guy who goes by the name "Wolf," which is especially confusing given that another PFH is actually a werewolf.
Travis showed up with an ostrich egg, symbolizing Emily and her daughter -- and vowed to protect it (guard and protect, perhaps?) throughout the show.
Michael is a rehab counselor with shiny, flowing locks. He has better hair, and may also have a prettier face, than Emily.
Jean-Paul is a marine biologist, with expressive eyebrows, and a strangely modulating voice. Maybe the eyebrows cut the waves and the voice sounds better under water?
Alejandro, originally from Colombia, spoke Spanish and Emily responded with pretty terrible Spanish. At least it was the right language.
Doug, a single dad from Seattle (Jason much?) gave Emily a handwritten letter from his kid and she ate it up. Much like, I imagine, how Doug's son ate up all the candy his father had to bribe him with to write the letter.
For what it's worth, I'm putting my Monopoly money on Ryan, Arie and Doug.
Emily told the guys they had "exceeded my expectations a million times over." I was underwhelmed. Daddy Doug was already safe with the first impression rose. Bobble Chris got the first rose in the ceremony and the last one went to Ostrich Egg Travis, who held onto his egg for dear life.
Nips, Granny, Geezer, the gag-worthy fitness model and the eyebrows. (That's Lerone, Randy, Brent, Jackson and Jean-Paul, fyi.) During the credits, Jackson stripped to show off the body Emily missed out on, and I finally stopped being the vomit-tease that I am, and actually puked.
Next Week's Drinking Game
1. tragic (As in Emily's ___ past.)
2. beautiful (Like all the contestants' souls)
3. thank you (You can thank Emily's southern manners for this one.)
Follow Tasha Gordon-Solmon on Twitter: www.twitter.com/tashags