Michael Slezak
October 23, 2007 AT 08:20 PM EDT

There are moments, however brief, when I stop viewing The Bachelor as a tragicomic social experiment staged solely for my amusement, and get the sudden, sinking feeling that I’m watching real people with real psychological issues, experiencing very real pain on my TV screen. Like, for example, the end of last night’s episode, when Hillary, freshly jilted by Brad, had a sobbing, gasping, makeup-smearing meltdown (watch an abbreviated version of it, after the jump). Sad but true, Hillary’s cries of ”Why are you sending me home?” and “I just want to go away” stared to make me feel a little queasy. And her final, parting shot — “I wanted my dad to be proud of me!” — made me sincerely hope that the show’s producers set her up with some kind of post-show counseling.

Of course, if I’m being honest, my feelings of concern and sympathy lasted all of 8 seconds. And then I laughed and laughed and laughed. I mean, seriously. Hillary wanted her dad to be proud? The same Hillary who, in the midst of a pool-party with Brad, confessed to the cameras, “I would let him ravish me any time,” and then followed it up with a tirade that was ostensibly so blue, ABC’s censors not only bleeped out the sound, but also blurred Hillary’s mouth like it was some kind of errant Nike logo. What could Hillary have said that was so skeezy, ABC didn’t want to risk innocent toddlers lip-reading it?

Oh, and speaking of things ABC should’ve bleeped, how about dim Sheena’s ear-curdling poem to Brad? If you have any love for the English language, or you’re about to eat lunch, you might want to skip to the next paragraph. Otherwise, I give you Sheena’s opening four lines:

addCredit(“Hillary: Adam Larkey”)

I love your laugh, your smile, your touch
And the moles that run up your arm
The patch of blonde hair on your ears
Your goals, and most of all your charm

Okay, first of all, while props must be given for the mid-verse rhymescheme of moles and goals, dudes do not like beingcalled out on their ear hair. Secondly, why is Sheena obsessed with it?Third, how come she finds it romantic that Brad picked her up for adate, then tried to dress her up like she was Malibu Barbie? Does shelet him choose her undergarments, too? Not that I should expectenlightenment from a woman who can’t tell her ass from her face.Literally. That scene of Sheena coming down the stairs and dropping toher butt was hilarious, but no more so than her declaration, “I fell onmy face!” No. No you did not.

Anyhow, as we head into the hometown dates, I’m guessing Bettina is onher way out. Brad keeps robo-spouting words like “sincere” and”comfortable” when he’s with her, but aside from that moment she toldhim she wanted his hands on her (nasty!), the bachelor looks downrightdrowsy whenever they’re together.

I’m guessing it’ll come down to DeAnna, the sharpest, funniest womanleft in the competition, and Jenni, whose chipmunk wave to Sheenabefore the latter’s one-on-one date was the most annoying moment of theseason. And no, I cannot explain what I mean by chipmunk wave, I justknow it when I see it. There’s something creepy and conniving aboutJenni. Who did she think she was acting all haughty when Bettina made athrowaway remark about having a sucky date with Brad? I can’t wait todance a jig when she’s rejected at the final rose ceremony.

How ’bout you? Who are you hoping will “win” this season of TheBachelor? Was it just my TV, or do the producers need to make sure Bradslathers on the SPF before his outdoor dates? And how long before oneof the “lay-dees” breaks the stem off a champagne glass, wields it likea weapon, and takes her spot by force at a rose ceremony?

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