After 20 seasons, “The Bachelor” franchise decided to do away with the flimsy pretense that it has anything to do with love, marriage, or common decency. What we’re left with is “Bachelor Pad,” a tasteless and classless version of a show that was never particularly tasteful or classy to begin with --in other words, a ‘Jersey Shore’-caliber guilty pleasure.
An extended opening montage features a lot of horribly annoying people being horribly annoying, and the guilty part of guilty pleasure kicks in. I recognize all of these horrible people. I hate all of them. I hate myself for knowing them and hating them and not changing the channel. Eventually, I push past the shame and the pre-game highlights reel is over. From what I can glean, ‘Bachelor Pad’ is a sex den where housemates compete for $250,000. No one needs to be there for the “right reasons.” No one needs to be single, honest, sane, or anything but the beautiful disasters that they are. Also, there are roses.
We meet the cast of Bachelor/Bachelorette rejects who were good enough television to secure a bed in the ‘Bachelor Pad.' Everyone is positively giddy over the level of hotness in the house when Chris Harrison shows up to explain the rules of this experiment in legalized prostitution. In a nutshell, they all have a shot at love and $250,000. Each week is a competition. The winner gets a rose which means 1) they are safe from elimination and 2) they get to go on a date with the guy/girl(s) of their choosing. The guys will vote off the girls and vise versa. Game on.
Since this is a bit more complicated than his usual hosting gig, Chris brings in co-host Melissa Rycroft-Strickland (the winner on Jason’s season who was dumped on ‘After the Final Rose’ and made it to the finals on ‘Dancing with the Stars’) to handle the humiliating things like leading a supersize game of Twister. In this sea of buffoons, Harrison's the only guy who always manages to keep his dignity intact. Gotta respect that.
On the other hand, any ounce of respect I had for perky Disney princess, Tenley is gone. I’m thinking the girl got seriously lucky with her edit last time when she was cast as Jake’s lovely alternative to the villainess Vienna. With no responsibility to make anyone likeable here, Tenley becomes exponentially more grating. The talking foot over her talking head demonstration of her impressive"Twister skills" seems to epitomize the Tenley we’re getting on this show. If only she knew her right leg from her left...
In the end, Craig M (Ali reject, arch nemesis of The Weatherman, creep with Spencer Pratt-like hair) won the Twister game. No surprise there. When every girl comments on how much they want to get rid of him this early in the show, it can only mean that Craig M* is guaranteed to live another week.
*There’s really no reason to keep calling him Craig M since there’s no other Craig on the show and he’s not a character in the Archie comics.
Surprisingly, Craig M has a few likable moments in this episode. Sure, he lets the limited power of holding a rose get to his head and doesn’t hold a spot for Michelle on his date, despite knocking boots with her the night before. However, he gets points for taking Gwen (Season 2 alum, Age ??, dubbed the house mom) on the date to get to know her better. He honors his Twister alliance with Jessie and takes her on the date and gives her the rose at the end of the evening, resisting the manipulative temptations of Elizabeth.
Speaking of Elizabeth, the kook from Jake’s season (who made a whole production of not kissing him until the final rose before asking every 2 minutes if he wanted to kiss her) is full of drama. She’s hooked up with Jesse Kovacs on these mysterious retreats for Bachelor/Bachelorette cast members who are shameless, tanned, and independently wealthy enough that they never worry about things like work. Jesse says they are just friends and Elizabeth says that she's completely in love. Even though she came to win money, with Kovacs there, she says, “my emotions are involved and I’m all twitterpated.” (Um what???? If anyone has a clue what she was going for here, please share!!) None of this bodes well for Kovacs. When Elizabeth gets back from her date with Craig M (who she hates but would kiss for money but thinks is gross but still wanted a rose from), Kovacs sits her down, tells her to chill out and says that to him, this is a competition – nothing more. Somehow, after that, Elizabeth thinks it’s a good idea to tell him that she’s completely in love with him and ask if he has any feelings for her. Not content with his response, she goes all 'Fatal Attraction' on him and warns, “if you treat me badly it will have negative consequences.” Elizabeth’s lucky everyone’s dubbed Michelle the crazy one, since she too is absolutely bonkers.
Everyone schemes and plots and shows how shallow and awful they are while Natalie (ditzy, blonde, Jason reject, likes diamonds and bears) and Jesse B (woodworker from Ali’s season, tattoos, smoking hot body, newly shaved head) get it on. A lot of people have opinions about the impact coupling up will have on their futures in the house. Krisily and Juan think they're on ‘Survivor’ and favor the 'keep it in your pants' strategy. Minutes later, they are both at risk for elimination.
Before the rose ceremony, we get one more twisted Elizabeth/Kovacs scene. It turns out all her crying put Jesse on the girls’ elimination shortlist and hell hath no fury like the housemates of a woman scorned on a reality show. Luckily, Elizabeth is out of her mind and wants to help the guy stick around. Her advice is simple. He needs to act like he cares about her, say he feels bad that he hurt her, and admit he really is in love with her. Jesse realizes that he has a stage 5 clinger on his hands and knows that the only thing that will end this conversation is an apology. He relents and saves himself.
Michelle, the Crazy One on Jake’s season does not fare as well. Though she never copped to unsuccessfully trading her goodies for a spot on Craig M’s date, he admits to voting her off, even though they were bunk bed buddies. Regardless of the truth, Michelle does not like listening to Tenley chirp about her affairs and corners the perky rumormonger in the bathroom to make that perfectly clear. We’ll never know if Michelle threatened to jam a toothbrush down Tenley’s throat or merely caused her to lose count of how many times she’d brushed through her hair that night, but whatever happened in that bathroom scared the bejeezus out of Tenley, fragile flower that she is. Michelle got the ax and Tenley began to recover from the confrontation.
The other contestant to get the boot this week was former nice guy, current gigolo Juan, who trades sex for lodging and screwed over Nikki on one of those crazy retreats I mentioned earlier. With Juan gone, Kovacs lives to suffer Elizabeth’s obsession another week and thus, we all do. She’ll probably get all twitterpated and then they’ll live happily ever after. Now that would be a dramatic twist.