How, exactly, did a guy like Bob Guiney go from being a poked and discarded bonbon in Bachelorette Trista Rehn's man sampler to the messianic husband figure he currently plays on ABC's latest installment of The Bachelor? Nothing confers virtue and humanity on a bachelorette like appreciating a good personality, and Rehn, who knows how to milk a video op when she sees one, made sure to meow sympathetically in his direction from time to time. A few self-deprecating jokes (he was 30 pounds heavier at the time) and a dopey jig won Guiney the ''great guy'' label. And this -- as well as six Oprah appearances -- was all it took to turn Guiney from a nice, 32-year-old divorced mortgage broker from Detroit into America's Nice 'n' Regular Guy™. In today's crowded marketplace, that's as good a branding strategy as any.
Guiney appears to have unwittingly detonated a 50-megaton estrogen bomb in the bachelorette pad. By the third episode, his girls were asked to vote for the bachelorettes they believed to be most and least compatible with Bob -- and they reacted to this request as if somebody had died. When somebody actually did die -- 29-year-old makeup artist Meredith's grandmother passed away suddenly from a heart attack -- the bereaved proceeded to go on her scheduled one-on-one date with Guiney within an hour of learning the news.
None of the previous Bachelors -- neither haughty, Harvard-educated Alex Michel nor corn-fed studmuffin Aaron Buerge nor even angel-faced bazillionaire Andrew Firestone -- managed to extract this degree of nervy desperation from their bachelorettes. And as Guiney has been quick to point out, he's not even as funny as the editors of ''The Bachelorette'' made him out to be. (He has a funny laugh, a Beavis-like rat-a-tat that could prove startling in war-torn regions.) Of course, in the absence of an Ivy League degree, a gorgeous mug, or a family vineyard, Guiney needs to play nice -- which is proving difficult for him under the circumstances. He has made out with seemingly every girl in the house and acted like it never crossed his mind that this behavior might create tensions. (''Do you like dating multiple women?'' one of the girls asks him. ''Yeah!'' he replies. ''What, are you high?'') Later, he asks the assembled hot-tub mavens, ''Does that make you guys feel weird?'' It does, but he shrugs it off, saying ''I'm very kissy.''
Sure, he says ''Thank you'' after every smooch, but his politeness isn't cutting it. This group of bachelorettes has been promised Mr. Nice Guy, but what they got is Mr. No Promises.