''Bachelor''

Spa Kids

Nervous Andy faces Girls Gone Wild! Tequila, mud baths, and one badly perspiring bachelor make for a super episode, says Liane Bonin

Andrew Firestone, The Bachelor | FIRE-D UP Some of the girls took offense to getting the boot by Andrew
Image credit: The Bachelor: Mitchell Haaseth
FIRE-D UP Some of the girls took offense to getting the boot by Andrew

Nervous Andy faces Girls Gone Wild!

Let's take a moment to calmly, objectively assess Wednesday night's episode, shall we?

AMBER? ARE YOU FRIGGIN' KIDDING ME? Did aliens swoop down and abscond with Andy's tiny little brain while I wasn't looking, or did that dimwit really pick the walking blond joke who could barely crawl out of the bottle long enough to stagger to the rose ceremony? What, is Firestone Vineyards short on customers? Or has the whole world gone MAD?

But I digress. Except for that one unforgivable moment which will likely result in an ugly curse descending on the Firestone family for centuries to come, the show was a bucket of fun. Watching Randy Andy narrow the playing field from 15 to 10, I had a sudden revelation: He may look like Dean Cain, he may talk like Keanu Reeves (listen carefully and think ''whoa''), but he's got all the social skills of Carrot Top.

Granted, most guys would get a little flustered watching five women hosing off apres mud bath or seeing the naturally well-endowed Kirsten whipping off her bikini top for a massage, but on the spa group date I half expected Andy to break out into hives and call his mother. Later, when the last group went gambling in Lake Tahoe, it was almost heartwarming to watch the girls scramble to put a positive spin on Mr. Perfect's episode-long flop sweat. They were so darn earnest I half expected them to call him ''perspiration-challenged" or ''geekiness-abled.'' ''It's so cuuute how he's nervous all the time!'' one girl cooed. ''It means he's down-to-earth!'' Yeah, sweetie, and if this Bachelor thing doesn't work out, Michael Jackson might want to date you.

The spa outing may have been ABC's feeble attempt to give us some Girls Gone Wild action (hot chicks! Wait, hot WET chicks! In bikinis! With mud!), but the party didn't really get started until the second date, during which five girls who seemed desperately afraid of chipping their nail polish had to pretend to be excited about playing basketball. With future stalker Elizabeth pouting about not being the center of attention, Rachel playing the part of bitchy cheerleader, and Heather definitively proving that white girls really shouldn't jump, it was damn near the best group date we could have asked for that didn't include sharp shooting.

The best moment from the second date occurred on the sidelines, when Elizabeth coolly noted that the Bachelor had a problem making eye contact (that is, unless one of the girls had eyeballs sprouting from her cleavage that we don't know about). For just an instant it seemed like that their collective, cult-like fantasy that Andy is something other than Rob Schneider with a slightly better genetic code would finally shatter, but no dice. I'm almost sorry to see that little troublemaker Elizabeth hit the road. That she was able to tell us all about giving Andy the lowdown on women's conniving and manipulative ways without cackling and rubbing her hands together like a silent movie villain just made me like her more.

But of everyone who left the show (goodbye, Amy Cookie Head, goodbye Creepy Soulless Pageant Queen Shannon), the one I'll miss the most is Christina S. You've got to give the girl props for not only plopping the Bachelor down under a bush and breaking up with him using the standard ''you're a great guy, but I don't like you that way'' speech, but also sparing him the indignity of getting his chops busted at the rose ceremony. Of course Andy, never one to shy away from an opportunity to make a goober of himself, had to gallop back into the house and announce he'd been dumped, but that's our Bachelor.

On the bright side, we're left with Amber (40 percent manmade materials, 60 percent tequila), super bitch Tina S., scary aggressive Cristina C., and poor little Liz, who cried so hard when her pal Christina S. left the show I feared her eyes would swell shut. Looking at this roster of nut jobs, weepers and brutes, Andy can forget about slugging down a nice, relaxing glass of Firestone vino to settle his nerves -- I'm thinking horse tranquilizers may not be enough to help him face the final 10.

What did you think of ''The Bachelor''?

Originally posted Apr 10, 2003
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