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Bringin' on the Heartbreak – The Bachelorette, Episode 1

The third installment of The Bachelorette is set in New York City, and this time the lady looking for love is Jennifer Schefft. You may remember Jen as the “winner” on The Bachelor with Andrew Firestone. He proposed, she accepted, and the two were off to San Francisco to live happily ever after. Or, in this case, for nine months. Their relationship from start to end was splashed over magazine stands, and even after the broken engagement, the tabloids continued to follow Jennifer in Chicago, linking her romantically to Bill Rancic, the winner of the first Apprentice (she contends that the two got together for dinner once or twice).

Now Jen is back on the husband hunt. In case you aren’t already familiar with her, Jen is a 28-year-old Ohio native, and currently resides in Chicago. She seems to be in search of what nearly every single woman is looking for: someone who is balanced, who has a good sense of humor, someone that is successful (he doesn’t have to be rich; even if he’s a gas station attendant, it doesn’t matter as long as he’s good at it), he should be kind to others, blah, blah, blah.

There are some new twists on The Bachelorette, as there are in most new installments. This time, Jen had a hand in choosing the 25 contestants that will vie for her affections. After the introduction, this is how the episode begins. Jen is shown going through piles of video taped interviews, attending open casting calls, and poring over thousands of photos.

Jen chooses her 25 men, and she’s ready for New York! Before she leaves, her best friends Abby and Michelle come by to help her pack and say their good-byes. They look through the album of bachelor photos and ask general questions, like, Are you nervous? Yes, she’s nervous, but this worked for Trista and Meredith, and she’s so impressed by this that she mentions it at least five more times throughout the episode.

The Bachelorette arrives in NY and checks out her huge new apartment. It seems to be a very large flat with sparse furnishings, nothing too fancy or ornate. The lighting is rather dim, though, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Her next chore is a shopping spree on which she buys something to wear to meet her bachelors. It’s nice that they let her have a day of relaxation, because the next few weeks are sure to be pure hell for our heroine.

We next see Jen enter the room where the host, Chris Harrison, is seated. It’s time to dish before finally meeting the 25 single men from which Jen must ultimately choose one. She is wearing a low cut, shimmery gold dress. Jen and Chris discussed her experience on The Bachelor. He asked her if their break up was painful, which she answered, to everyone’s surprise, that it was. She stated that as a couple, they traveled too much, and that she needed stability in her life. Jen also said that she had spoken to Andrew after being chosen for The Bachelorette, and he wishes her the best of luck. What a nice guy.

Chris then revealed the second twist of the evening. Jen’s friends Abby and Michelle were in NY, and would be posing as waiters throughout the evening to spy on the men while Jen mingled. Jen didn’t believe it at first, but then was pretty excited. Very sneaky.

It was now time to meet the bachelors. I have listed them below in the order that Jen met them, with their name, age, occupation, and location.

1. Ryan, 28, teacher, California
2. Eric, 37, firefighter, California
3. Chris, 27, hairstylist, Kentucky
4. Jason, 29, motivational speaker, virgin, Texas
5. Ryan, 34, attorney, New York
6. John Paul, 25, entrepreneur, Oklahoma
7. Stu, 27, attorney, New York
8. Matt, 32, firefighter, New York
9. Keith, 28, welder, California
10. Andy, 29, ski coach, Colorado
11. Michael, 31, teacher, Michigan
12. Kevin, 26, consultant, New York
13. David, 30, consultant, Chicago, Illinois
14. Chris, 33, sports marketing, Ohio
15. Fabrice, 28, real estate investor, Paris, France
16. Mark, 30, commercial finance, California
17. Josh, 28, pro marathoner, virgin, California
18. Eric, 35, magazine editor, New York
19. Wendell, 27, entrepreneur, Chicago, Illinois
20. Andrew, 37, bartender, New York
21. Ben, 26, ski instructor, Colorado
22. Collin, 27, sports agent, Texas
23. A.W., 27, mortgage consultant, California
24. Matt, 33, attorney, California
25. Jerry, 29, gallery director, California

Just as a side note, I included “virgin” for Jason and Josh because they talked about it as if it were their profession.

After meeting all the bachelors, it was time for Jen to mingle. Most of the conversation was pretty general and a few men managed to get some alone time with her. Jerry asked to “steal” Jen and took her upstairs to talk for a few minutes. He told her how happy he was to be there, they chatted, and then he picked her up and carried her down the stairs. Most of the other men were pretty disgusted by this and made snide comments.

While Jen is getting to know people, Abby and Michelle perform their undercover duties. Stu appears to be obsessed with Jen, and Michelle thinks that Jen might get creeped out by him. We also watch Eric seal his fate as he hits on Michelle, asking her what time she got done with work and telling her about a great place for sushi. As the women are serving drinks, they observe Chris getting drink after drink and getting pretty smashed. Not impressive. At one point Jen is chatting with a few of the guys when Josh decides to be sweet and tell her just how happy he is to be there, how beautiful she is, and how he is honored to be getting to know her. Chris lets out a loud guffaw in response to Josh. That’s how you win a girl over.

Stu gets some alone time with Jen, and despite what her friends fear, Jen doesn’t seem too freaked out. Michael also gets a moment alone with Jen, and tells her that their fathers went to the same school and gives her a gift of a teddy bear wearing that school’s sweater. This is met by a lot of razzing by the other guys.

Meanwhile, Abby, Michelle, and Jen sneak off to compare notes. They talk about Eric hitting on Michelle, and Michelle reiterates that she thinks that Stu’s obsessive trance will freak Jen out. They also both agree that Michael seems really sweet and that Fabrice is aloof and stuck up. Michelle and Abby giggle as they recall overhearing Chris offering haircuts to the other men. Michelle shares that she thinks Stu is onto them and could possibly be why he’s laying it on so thick.

It’s now time for the first rose, also called the First Impression Rose. Chris the Host reveals to the men that Abby and Michelle are really friends of Jen and have been spying for her. They will also be choosing who gets the First Impression Rose. The friends decide the rose goes to Keith, which surprises everyone including Keith, who moments ago had been complaining because he didn’t get to talk to Jen.

Stu is miffed because he didn’t get the first rose. He felt that all of his butt kissing should have guaranteed that he got it. Here we get the first glimpse of Stu getting mad when he doesn’t get what he wants. Chris the Drunk says in a private interview that the rose was wasted and that, “She’s going to hate her friends for that one.” I think I know of another choice that would have made Jen push Abby and Michelle off the balcony.

Jen says good-bye to her friends and is left to choose the other fourteen bachelors she will keep. Here is the list of who was chosen in the order they were offered a rose:

1. Keith
2. Ryan from California
3. A.W.
4. Matt from New York
5. Wendell
6. Ryan from New York
7. Mark
8. Ben
9. John Paul
10. Jerry
11. Jason
12. Josh
13. Fabrice
14. Michael
15. Stu

The rose ceremony was pretty uneventful except for when David passed out from nerves (and perhaps too much to drink, he can’t hold his liquor like Chris the Drunk) right after Mark was offered a rose. The previews built it up to be a big deal, but he pretty much passed out, Jen rushed over to make sure he was OK, he was, the rose ceremony resumed, and he still didn’t get picked. He thinks he didn’t get picked because he passed out, but maybe he did it on purpose with hopes for a sympathy rose and it backfired. After the ceremony, Eric says that he realizes that he probably didn’t get picked because of his raging hormones, but that he was just being himself, as if we should all be impressed by that.

At the end of the episode, we get a recap of the season to come, which includes a lot of the usual; romantic dinners, massages, moonlit walks, all things stereotypically romantic. Dating Godzilla would be great if you were jet setting all over the place to expensive spas and restaurants and everything was paid for. Maybe for a real look at life, they should have dates in one room apartments with broken plumbing and feast on Ramen noodles. But I digress. We also see Jen crying and saying that she knew it would be hard but didn’t realize it would be like this hard. Anyone heard that line before?

On upcoming episodes, it seems that Fabrice annoys everyone and Stu develops his stalker persona. I can’t help but hope that it really is as extreme as they make it look.

What would you like to see this season? Predictions, anyone? Tell me what you think. You can email me at rachel@realityshack.com.

Tune in next Monday at 9 pm EST on abc. For more info on The Bachelorette, check out http://abc.go.com/primetime/bachelorette .

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