The Bachelor: Bob D'Amico
Tom Conroy
November 10, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

”The Bachelor”: The show’s cheatin’ heart

Oops. As several of you pointed out (see below) when I posted my original response to this episode — I wondered why the women had to take a limo to the rose ceremony if they were living in the same house with Byron — I seemed to have missed the moment when the contestants moved into separate hotels. Thanks for setting me straight.

All the same, my point remains: It’s not a good sign when you find yourself wondering about little details like that during an episode. The producers’ decision to visit the women’s hometowns but save the ”meet the parents” segments for a later show took all of the drama out of the hour. There were no opportunities for off-camera hanky-panky, no embarrassing questions from family members, and, since the outings were all one-on-one, no cat fights between the women. (Maybe that’s why the women arrived at the rose ceremony holding hands with one another, disappointing hissy-fit fans everywhere.) If all dates were this dull, there wouldn’t be any second dates.

We did learn some fun facts about each of the women. Mary has a nice softball swing. Texan Tanya has a blondes-only policy when it comes to female friends. And Cynthia has no backbone when it comes to ultimatums. During her date with Byron, she flat-out told him, ”If you don’t see a future with me, do not give me a rose,” later adding, ”Don’t pick me to be a runner-up.” But as the possibility of a roseless evening approached, she completely reversed herself, saying, ”I didn’t mean to come down on you so hard yesterday,” and basically implying she’d take what she could get. When she tried to pin the slippery Byron down about his feelings, he lapsed into fisherman imagery: ”I don’t know if you catch the fact that I’ve been totally immersed in this with you.” Translation: ”You and I are appearing on the same show.” Or, ”Don’t go buying a bud vase anytime soon.”

Mary started hinting she was ready to bail too, but at least she has an excuse to be skittish: the memory of her previous Bachelor experience with Bob, whose name is uttered with such dread that sometimes you think they’re referring to the murderous spirit from Twin Peaks. Mary told her friends that what really bothered her last time was watching the show after being dumped: ”I don’t want to see what I saw before with that Bob thing where he was kissing everybody.” That booming noise you’ve been hearing around 9:30 p.m. eastern time each Wednesday is Mary’s head exploding.

One could almost start sympathizing with Byron (and not only because he has to keep doing penance for the sins of Bob): As Bachelor all-star Trista once blurted out, you have to keep pretending to like all the remaining contestants even if your mind is made up. Duplicity is built in to the show. And the producers have no respect for the contestants’ feelings either. After failing to get a rose, Cynthia improbably managed to hold back her tears in the limo ride of shame, but in the coming attractions we saw teaser footage of what the narrator called “Cindy’s meltdown after she got home.” That’ll show her for trying to escape with some dignity.

What do you think? Is Byron being a good sport or a player? Will both Tanya and Mary eventually go home brokenhearted?

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