Mary: Bob D'Amico/ABC
Liane Bonin
October 06, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

”The Bachelor”: A Bob reject moves in

So nice to see Lord Byron curled up on his bed at the beginning of the show, jotting meaningful thoughts and healing New Age affirmations in his diary. Who said guys who reek of fish guts can’t be sensitive Renaissance men?

Dear Diary,

I guess you’re wondering why I’m sitting in my bachelor pad writing to you instead of rolling naked in the grass with the hot babes who live with me. But the truth is, I’m so terrified of Krysta I’d rather hide in here with the doors locked than risk running into that raving lunatic in the kitchen, where she might tie me to the oven with a garbage-bag twist tie and not let me go until I propose to her or wet my pants, whichever comes first. And Andrea seems nice, but I think she gets a little too excited being close to me, because she nearly speared my tonsils with a fork trying to feed me cheesecake, which would have been sexy except for the gag reflex. Gee, with so many swell girls to choose from, how’s a poor bass fisherman to decide?

Okay, I’ll get to Fabio Lite’s terrible taste in women in a minute. First off, what the hell is wrong with the producers of this show? Krazy Krysta rips off her clothes and dives into the pool like a greased seal, and that scene and its juicy aftermath gets dumped into the end credits?

I mean, if the rest of the episode were chock-full of high drama instead of endless reaction shots of the women gaping fishlike (just how Byron likes ’em) every time they hear about a new twist in the game, I could understand it. But really, once you cut out the dead air during the rose ceremony, the shots of Byron getting into and out of a car, and the repetitive upcoming-scenes promos, the actual show is about four minutes long.

You just know the girls were plotting ways to sneak Nair into Krysta’s shampoo in retaliation for that little skinny-dipping stunt, but did we hear one word about it? Of course not. It was much more important to watch Andrea drool over Byron during their one-on-one date, giggling like a helium-huffing serial killer whenever he opened his mouth.

I did, however, love hearing Andrea tell Byron that she was going to find her soul mate this year, whether it be him or the first guy she can get drunk enough to drag to a drive-thru wedding chapel on the Vegas strip. (Okay, maybe I imagined that last part.) When Byron told her on their airplane date that ”if we’re soul mates, we’re going down together,” Andrea nodded a bit too vigorously, as if the thought of plummeting to her death sounded fine just as long as she could drag him into the afterlife with her. The funny thing was, Andrea’s desperate groveling for love didn’t really look so bad considering that all of the women seemed to be getting their crazy on this week.

When it was revealed that former bachelorettes Heather (rejected by Aaron in season 2) and Mary (dumped by Bob in season 5) would be joining the show, it had the magical effect of transforming a group of marginally sophisticated women (well, everyone except for Krysta) into the pig-blood-pouring teens in Carrie. I could have predicted that Krazy Krysta would dance around the house imitating Heather, but to see the rest of the gals cackling with such malicious glee was downright disturbing. I really thought the next scene might show them smothering Heather and Mary as they slept. (Now there’s a twist I can get excited about: What would you do for love? Um, twenty to life.)

As much as Byron seems to appreciate crazy women, I’m not surprised he kicked Heather to the curb as fast as he possibly could. Even though he’s never seen any previous seasons of The Bachelor, I’m sure even a dunderhead like him could sense her creepy pageant-queen vibe a mile off. Ironically, although the women directed most of their contempt towards the Texan flight attendant, the real threat was clearly Mary. Even with her biological clock ticking so loudly it may be responsible for that little Mount St. Helen’s problem happening now, she’s the calm, centered type that Lord Byron seems drawn to.

Speaking of calm and centered, I used to think mousy Jayne was exactly that until she went crawling into Byron’s bed to demand that he pledge his undying devotion, since she wasn’t interested in competing with the other girls. (Note to Jayne: You’re on a reality TV show, you dimwit!) For someone who talked about being paralyzed by shyness, Jayne certainly got some brass in a hurry when she realized she didn’t have her fisherman completely on the hook. Still, Byron seemed more flattered than pissed by Jayne’s whiny attempt to ruin his fun, so I think the dog groomer could still take home the ring.

But one front-runner who’s got to get her game on is Cheresse. Though she has the hands-down coolest T-shirt (”I’m what Willis is talkin’ ’bout!” — how much do we love that?), her clothes seem to have more personality than she does. Other than sniping that she won’t nurture and feed Byron the way Andrea does (no kidding, considering Andrea seems one step away from brushing the guy’s teeth for him), Cheresse was surprised when Byron told her she’d have to, like, talk to him every once in a while to earn that rose (the nerve!). If she makes the exhausting effort to walk past the pool (maybe she didn’t bring comfortable shoes with her) to pop in on Mr. Right, she could still have a chance. God knows, if Krysta’s still in it, anything is possible.

What do you think? Does Mary have a prayer? Do you hate Krysta or just hate to love her?

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