The Bachelor Season Premiere Recap: Introducing the Horse of Babylon

If your audio malfunctioned during the season premiere of The Bachelor: Only White Chicks Are Allowed at the All You Can Drink Wine Bar, fret not. The entire two-hour affair can be boiled down to a disconcerting combination of the following sounds: Glug, glug, glug. Slllluuuurrrrr. Waaaahhh. Neeeiiiiiigggghhhh. [Toilet flush.]

And really, what more do you need to know about the episode, other than the fact that The Bachelorette‘s righteously indignant runner-up Ben Flajnik selected seven women out of a pool of 25 to receive dreaded First-Impression “I’m Just Not That Into You/Your Gown/Your Cleavage” Carnations? I know, I know…you require a little more detail than that. So despite being in the middle of my vacation (cue tiny violin here), I feel obliged to do the honors.

Yes, we had the standard woman-against-woman verbal crimes. We witnessed a variety of misguided gown choices (if you looked closely, I’m pretty sure Erika’s was embroidered with the message “law student by day, streetwise hooker by night”). Naturally, there was the tired litany of “wacky/sexy” props to try to score Ben’s attention: An oversized Kentucky Derby hat (the better for Holly to obscure her face and reduce herself to a walking, talking pair of bazooms); a blindfold and a crumpled brown bag of candy (because Dianna apparently made the unfortunate decision to watch 9 1/2 Weeks before beginning her Bachelor “journey”); and a grandma on crutches (which seemingly innocent Brittney brought either to make what she called “a very strong family impression,” or as Emily surmised, to make herself look hotter up against “someone old and wrinkly”). And finally, Lindizi rode in on horseback, because even the most noble of God’s creatures must be brought low by ABC’s reality dating franchise.

But hey, at least Ben didn’t ask “VIP Cocktail Waitress” Blakeley, “Hey, do you know Tiger Woods?”

Sorry, sorry…that was in poor taste. Then again, we’re talking about a show whose primary function is to produce contestants for the summer famewhoregy known as Bachelor Pad. With that in mind, let’s count down — in semi-chronological order — the 10 most notable moments from the season premiere:

* I loved the opening montage of Ben in His Natural Setting: Riding a tractor! Sifting soil through his fingers! Carrying lumber! But fret not, bachelorettes, this fella can also scrub down his sweaty torso, put on a crisp dress shirt, and play a mournful ballad on the piano. I’m totally okay with that, by the way, as long as Ben doesn’t break into a cover of “You’re Beautiful” during one of the fantasy overnight dates, then reveal his secret ambition to become the next James Blunt or Josh Grobin.

* Penny loafers!? Does no one in the Bachelor wardrobe department have this man’s back?

* Pssst. Ben? That hummingbird you saw on your limo ride to meet the ladies? It wasn’t a heavenly nod of approval from your late dad, it was a battery-operated masterwork from the ABC prop department.

* In theory, I suppose you can’t blame Erika Bacon for asking Ben an important, deal-breakery question such as “Do you love bacon?” But following up by asking him if he wanted a taste of her own bacon, encouraging him to kiss her hand, and then informing him he’d just pressed his lips against some Canadian Bacon? That’s the definition of taking your shtick too far.

* Jenna may have thought she’d made her first misstep when she misquoted Ben to his face — although “good things end badly” really seemed more apt for the occasion than “good things don’t end unless they end badly” — but she was mistaken. Her initial error was actually letting ABC’s camera crew catch her typing ridiculata like “What does LOVE really mean?” while pounding red wine during a mid-morning blogging session. (Okay, maybe it was mid-afternoon, but I just have this image in my head of Jenna ordering a 10 a.m. Malbec while trying to blur the edges of her freefalling Carrie Bradshaw fantasy. Either way, I hope she disabled the comments section at “The Over-Analyst” before Monday’s premiere.)

* Lindzi actually made me chuckle when she told Ben her horse’s name was “First Impression Rose,” but I also admired Courtney’s candor when she confessionalized this zinger: “Screw you and the horse you rode in on!”

* I love that not even Brittney’s 72-year-old grandma was immune from crying during her limo ride home. Way to embrace the spirit of the show, Sheryl!

* It’s a shame epidemiologist Emily couldn’t find a word to rhyme with, say, gonorrhea during her heinous “rap” comparing love to an infectious disease. I might’ve tried something like “To all the other girls/ I wouldn’t wanna be ya/ ‘Cause they’re as appealing/ As a case of gonorrhea/ So look out Ben/ Don’t fall into their trap/ You might wind up/ With a case of The Clap!” (Hey, I said I’d try, not necessarily succeed.)

* I’m not sure if Monica is “there for the right reasons” — that scene of her snuggling up with Blakeley and telling her she was seeking “experiences” as much as “friendship” played like the opening of a bad Cinemax movie set in a women-only college dorm — but she immediately became my favorite gal in the house when she admitted to Jenna that she didn’t yet have feelings for Ben because she only knew “four things about him.” (Refreshing, no?) Jenna’s subsequent meltdown went from hilarious (describing Monica as “the girl that attacked me — emotionally!”) to depressing (“I don’t wanna be drama! I don’t wanna be drama!”) to disturbing (“Everything goes black. What am I doing right now?”) to visually poetic (that was some excellent supporting work by the espresso-colored bathroom door).

* Was there anything more brilliant than the “are you &%$#^@& kidding me?” looks on the faces of the seven evictees when Ben gave his final rose to Jenna? Come on ladies, it’s Season 16. You oughtta know by now that the man is contractually required to give at least 20% of his roses for the season to women who are good for nothing more than stirring up s*** in the house.

What did you think of The Bachelor season premiere? Any early favorites? Anyone you’ll be happy to see taking the limo ride of shame? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!