Riding Coattails: It's Raining Men

After watching the season premier of The Bachelorette almost two weeks ago, I was quite skeptical of Jen Schefft. I mean, I had already seen Meredith Phillips plod toward her knight in shining snobbiness, Ian McKee, with very little fanfare on the previous installment of Bachelorette. Meredith seemed like a nice person and even appeared to possess that highly sought-after quality of down-to-earthness. Proof: when visiting Lanny, her cattle-breeding suitor, in Texas, he showed her the A.V. (artificial vagina) that the bulls did it with, Meredith laughed. However, she was also supremely dull, way too laid back. I’m sure that in real life she’s an OK conversationalist, but when edited by ABC, she sounded like a real bore. Even her spicier discussion topics, such as when she asked Chad, “Are you a very sexual person?” came off as tired. Yes, she cried, and yes, she made out with boys on camera, but that sort of activity is de rigueur for reality TV.

I think Jen is already showing huge potential for drama. During her first one-on-one date with Keith, she quietly flipped out and confessed her nervousness to him after dinner. I liked that, although Keith’s inclination to act as Mr. Fix-It seemed a bit premature. He barely knew her; how was he going to help? He was probably just hoping to score (or at least make out), so he wanted to appear sensitive. And judging by his lovely words for the neighbor who complained about the noise the bachelors were making (“I’m going to chew him up and spit him out like a piece of garbage!”), I’d say it was all an act. He’s the kind of guy would probably grow out his hair and wear it in a ponytail in hopes that it would help him get laid more.

Later, as Jen was having her group dates, she admitted that watching so many men swoon over her was weirdly intense. Jen and the casting directors rounded up a particularly competitive bunch of suitors, all of whom seem dead set on “winning” Jen. She is painfully aware of this and it’s clearly creeping her out. As it well should. Finally, I get to see someone having what I consider a totally reasonable reaction to this situation.

On the other hand, it makes me wonder why she would choose to move forward in a situation that is making her uncomfortable. Perhaps she’s under contractual obligation or is just worried about disappointing her fans. But the business of hunting for a husband on national TV looks like a stress-laden recipe for disaster. Yes, things worked out for the ever-saccharine Trista and yawn-worthy Meredith, but so what? When Jen pointed to the success of her predecessors in the premier as a justification for doing the show, I thought it was weak. I don’t anticipate that things are going to work out as well for Jen, simply because she feels so damn uneasy about this.

And it’s not like things are going to get any simpler as the show progresses. But who knows, maybe she’ll get to know the men better, find a few she really likes, and there will be a fairy tale ending. And as we move closer to that ending (whatever it may be), the field continues to narrow. Last week, I predicted that Keith, Ryan S., Matt M., Wendell, and Michael all had solid chances of receiving a rose and that Jerry was teetering on the edge. What did I get right? Keith, Ryan, and Wendell all made the cut again, as did Jerry, Fabrice, Ben, John Paul, and Josh. Next week, Jen needs to send two more packing. Now that I’ve seen these guys in action a little more, I’d like to shift my predictions slightly.

The top dogs are:

Jerry, of “here Jen, let me just carry you down the stairs even though you have two fully functioning legs” fame. He’s the most attractive guy in the group. He’s passionate. He’s an artist looking for a muse. I predict Jerry makes it to the final two.

Josh, the virgin warrior. His resemblance to Brad Pitt is impressive, as is his ability to tell off Fabrice, who has a tendency to get catty. As long as he keeps his virgin status to himself, I think young Josh stands a good chance of making it a few more rounds.

Ben, the ski instructor. I think Jen is drawn to his trustworthy eyebrows. He also seems sweet, although I can’t imagine he’d be willing to relocate to Chicago.

The one that got away:

Michael, my favorite from last week. I’m sure that after Jen watched him flex his muscles in various, entertaining ways during the closing credits (my favorite one was the sails), she was totally sorry.

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