''Bachelor''

On the Lamb

Cristina C. and Liz get greasy for Andy. Liz eats meat for her man, but Liane Bonin says dark horse Tina Fabulous' chilly attitude may be exactly what makes Andrew melt

Andrew Firestone, The Bachelor | LEISURE SUIT Andrew took his time choosing his remaining six, but wasn't quite as slow when it came time to make out with them
Image credit: The Bachelor: Mitchell Haaseth
LEISURE SUIT Andrew took his time choosing his remaining six, but wasn't quite as slow when it came time to make out with them

Cristina C. and Liz get greasy for Andy

Since ABC served up a doublewide episode of ''The Bachelor'' Wednesday night, I decided it was my personal responsibility to increase my enjoyment of the show twofold as well. But after discovering that wine, though thematically resonant, just made the episode seem longer, I settled on this: Instead of tearing my hair out over Andy's every girl-crazy misstep, I simply imagined what funny, sincere Bob from ''The Bachelorette'' might have done in his place. It was kind of like consulting one of those ''What Would Jesus Do?'' bracelets, except completely different.

Just imagine it: Instead of Andy awkwardly shuffling through the ice skating date with the appropriately frozen Amber, the ''WWBD?'' version would have Bob thaw out the chickcicle with a six-pack, three boxes of Twinkies, and a complimentary package of Alka-Seltzer. But I have to admit, by the end of the episode it was getting harder to make light of Amber's chronic compulsivity. When she started shoveling in hors d'oeuvres like a Hoover vacuum stuck on the pile carpet setting, it was clear she has less to worry about being the ''fat one'' at the reunion. Amber complained that Andy didn't offer her a ''sincere'' reason for giving her the boot (woman, if you don't realize the ''what's wrong with Olive Garden?'' conversation sunk you, you really weren't paying attention), but how does a guy say ''you’d drink away my profit margin'' without sounding mean?

Speaking of the show's dates, I have to hand it to the producers for picking cheesy movie themes for each one. We had Amber's ''Ice Castles'' (sure, no one died, and the blind girl was recast as a lush, but it was just as much of a downer), Kirsten's ''Pretty Woman'' (all Kirsten needed to do was slide up to the limo and tell Andy what she'd offer him for $200 to complete the picture), and the ''Urban Cowboy'' group date (except I don't think Debra Winger ever executed Audree's face plant when she dismounted the mechanical bull). I'm still not sure what movie the Moroccan group dinner was from (I'm thinking ''Ishtar''), but it was fun to see how quickly Cristina C. fell into the role of happy harem seductress.

Honestly, though, I'm still not quite sure how she got a rose after the ''why did you kiss me if you kissed everyone ELSE'' freak-out. I was waiting for her to grab a steak knife and chase Andy around the kitchen or stick her hand on a hot burner to prove how much she loves him, but, hey, maybe next week. This woman reeks of desperation like Jimmy Kimmel without a guest host, and yet Andy calls her ''more mature'' than the rest of the pack. If maturity is coming this close to covering yourself in lamb grease and couscous and slithering across the table, may none of us grow up.

Despite Cristina C.'s status as The One Most Likely to Pole Dance for Love, the emergence of Tina Fabulous as a serious contender suggests what Andy‘s really looking for is a gal who's smart, bitchy, and completely terrifying to him. Although I think Andy gave Ms. Fab way too much credit for throwing a football in stilettos (dressing like you‘re always ready for a White House dinner does not a tomboy make), the lady has spunk, a substance which has been in diminishing supply as the rest of the bachelorettes bounce between channeling Sally Field's ''he likes me, he really likes me!'' Oscar speech and sharpening their claws on Kirsten’s back.

I'll admit: I'm on the fence about ''hot as sh--'' Kirsten. We haven't seen concrete evidence of the evil, bitchy side that all the other girls keep yapping about, but when nine girls gang up against you, it's either a sign that we're back in junior high school (not that I'm bitter or anything), or that the ladies are onto something. Kirsten is clearly the competitive type -- sucking up to Andy's pal Kevin and his ex Shannon any harder would have required a lap dance -- but when she realized the rumor mill was rising up against her, her teary feelings of betrayal seemed real enough.

And when it comes to backbiting, the rest of the girls would be well-advised to take a lesson from Sporty Tina (if Tina P. can be Tina Fabulous, we might as well start handing out the Spice Girl nicknames right now). Sporty Tina, whose idea of wooing Andy came just short of handing him her resume and a recent credit check, managed to look even less appealing by blowing what little time she had with Andy recounting Kirsten's flaws (and about Kirsten's rumored boyfriend -- did everyone forget that Andy‘s seeing five other women?). Granted, Sporty Tina's dressing like a Swedish picnic table (Heidi braids? A bandana top?) wasn't helping, but let's not kick her while she’s down.

I hate to admit it, but I find myself rooting for Liz, who gets so gulpingly teary-eyed at each rose ceremony I suspect even mentioning the words ''rose'' or ''ceremony'' will forever send her into paroxysms of grief, preventing her from ever watching the Rose Bowl parade without a jumbo box of Kleenex and an asthma inhaler by her side.

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

Originally posted Apr 17, 2003
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