''Bachelor''

Group Grope

Another group date, another make-out session. But two women are making themselves Jennifer Armstrong's favorites -- Meredith and Lee-Ann

Bob Guiney, The Bachelor | A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME... Is still Guiney's way of keeping women in the game
Image credit: Bob Guiney: Craig Sjodin
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME... Is still Guiney's way of keeping women in the game

Another group date, another make-out session

Note to Bob: Please, please, please make it a Lee-Ann vs. Meredith showdown at the end. Think of it as your personal dating version of a Cubs vs. Red Sox World Series -- regardless of who's the most deserving, it will simply be the best matchup to watch. The win-at-all-costs resident bitch going head-to-head with the level-headed favorite -- it sure would beat the plots on ''The West Wing'' these days.

Lee-Ann owned this episode, and not just because she got her one-on-one date (thanks to being crowned Miss Least Compatible with Bob by her peers). Sure, the date was cool: She got a million bucks' worth of jewelry to wear and a gorgeous sparkly gown. There was a private fireworks display while they stood on the deck of the Queen Mary (''orgasmic is the word to describe the moment,'' she purred) and the requisite make-out session (this time during a slow dance). But she saved her Emmy-worthy performance until just before the rose ceremony -- more on that to come.

Meanwhile, Jenny, Antoinette, Brooke, Karin, and Estella were less than orgasmic over the prospect of their five-on-one date at a water park. Instead of pricey jewels, they each got a very impractical bikini to wear (while the producers, no doubt, prayed for someone to lose a top while navigating the water slides -- but no such luck). Bob, however, declared this outing ''very important because there are several women on this group date that I haven't gotten to know very well.'' He remedied that by, yes, making out with several of them. The girls deserve a little credit, though, for calling him on his wandering tongue. And, well, he deserves a tiny bit of credit for owning up to his sluttiness, saying he's not going to be like some of his predecessors who'd kiss and not tell. It's all about honesty for this Bachelor.

Next came the very big, major, incredibly important rose ceremony (Bob and Chris Harrison could not stop talking about the overwhelming significance of this event). Because of the historic weight of the decision he faced, Bob took some ever-popular ''one-on-one time'' (seriously, did anyone ever use this phrase before reality dating shows?) with each of the gals. This included a solemn talk with Meredith, Miss Most Compatible, whose one-on-one date was marred by the news that her grandma had died. ''It's kind of early in a dating relationship to be dealing with grief like that,'' Bob intoned. ''And I think the date was all the better for it.'' Hey, whatever Grandma can do to help.

Lee-Ann, however, quickly took center stage by flying into a meltdown during a fireside discussion with Karin, raging, ''I really don't think I should have to share a guy with nine other women.'' I happen to feel the same way, Lee-Ann; and that's why I have chosen real-life dating over, say, auditioning to be one of 25 women vying for one guy on a television show. She took her anger right to the man himself, a risky strategy to be sure. ''I guess I'm just not used to waiting for a rose and just quivering,'' she told him. Later she added, ''I didn't sign up for this.'' No one broke the news to her that she had, in fact, done just that.

At the end of the day, though, her reverse psychology worked. Lee-Ann got her precious rose, as did Mary, Kelly-Jo, Brooke, Estella, and, of course, Meredith. Incidentally, Misty gets this week's award for Best Mascara-Smudged Rejection Breakdown. Good-bye also to Antoinette, the gorgeous Karin, and southern sweetheart Jenny. And here's to hoping Lee-Ann keeps batting a thousand till the end.

Originally posted Oct 16, 2003