''Bachelorette''

Nifty First Dates

Meredith really digs first dates -- The Bachelorette seems to frolick and kiss in just about every one-on-one meeting. Hmm... sound familiar? asks Karyn L. Barr

The Bachelorette: Meredith | THE QUIET AMERICAN Ian made it through this time, but will his luck hold out?
Image credit: The Bachelorette: Bob D'Amico/ABC
THE QUIET AMERICAN Ian made it through this time, but will his luck hold out?

Meredith really digs first dates

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that our ''Bachelorette'' Meredith confused the hell out of me tonight. Just seven days ago, she undoubtedly seemed like she was falling head over low-stacked heels for my man, Ian, the cool, calm New York City financier. They frolicked in L.A.'s Chinatown, tossed coins into an oh-so-cheesy wishing well and couldn't keep their hands off each other due to their self-described ''magnetic connection.''

It was undeniably an addictively great first date (and a far, far cry from Bachelor Andrew Firestone's all-too-awkward date with the Olive Garden-lovin' Amber). So, come last week's rose ceremony, I was convinced -- as was EW's other ''Bachelorette'' commentator Jennifer Armstrong -- that this winsome duo was a match to be signed, sealed, and practically delivered to TV heaven.

But what a difference a week makes. Perhaps it was just creative editing to keep Ian-iacs, like myself, on their toes, but for 89 minutes of this week's 90-minute episode, I thought my sweet, adorably shy Ian was going to get the boot. Granted, Meredith and Ian shared a few private lint-picking moments during the show's group golfing date (Ryan M., Brad, and Sean watched from the clubhouse), but a couple quick smooches in a tiny hammock didn't seem like enough to keep Ian in the game.

Why? Because the lady of the hour-and-a-half felt frustrated by his reserved, not-so-forthcoming demeanor. (Hmmm… slightly hypocritical, no? Considering she swore a couple shows ago that she would give the quiet guys a chance because she herself thought Bachelor Bob unfairly dumped her for being shy.) Completely baffled by Meredith's sudden mood shifteroo, I was sadly left to wonder, ''Will she pick my boy in the most dramatic rose ceremony ever?''

Meanwhile, it seemed Ian's loss was Matthew's gain. The Bachelor Bob doppelganger came out of nowhere this week with the ole' heart-on-his-sleeve approach. During his one-on-one date in Napa Valley (which he won, by the way, because Kelly Jo from last season's ''Bachelor'' and Meredith's friend TJ loved his supersappy letter to the Bachelorette), the uber-polite Matthew dazzled the Portland model because he was ''open, honest, genuine, and real.''

They frolicked in a vineyard, tossed the ideas of marriage and past relationships around (Meredith admitted to cheating on an ex), and couldn't keep their hands off each other in front of a roaring fire because Matthew made her feel ''safe, comfy, and good.'' Meredith unquestionably looked like a gal in love. It was indeed a great first date. (Hmmm…sounds familiar, right? Yeah, thought so too. Poor Ian. Sniff.)

By the third one-on-one date with Lanny (again, which he won for writing an ''Ode to Meredith''), I was convinced that Matt would remain No. 1 since Lanny's date got off to an awkward start. The horse breeder tried to dazzle Meredith with a home-cooked meal of shrimp cocktail and halibut, but she thought he just looked ''out of his league'' and ''uncomfortable'' in the kitchen. But after a couple glasses of wine, Meredith was back in her first-date routine. The two of them frolicked on the couch, tossed a couple pillows onto the floor to make a little more room and couldn't keep their hands off each other. Lanny had replaced Matt who'd replaced Ian. Follow?

So by rose time, it's no surprise that two of the four final flowers would be given to Lanny and Matt. And they did, indeed, receive buds. But the destiny of the other two roses wasn't so certain. Chad, the 32-year-old pharmaceutical salesman, did land a one-on-one date with our gal. But his James Bond-themed date was such a snoozefest (hence, why I didn't mention it before) that I thought there was absolutely no way she would sacrifice one of her precious buds. Wrong! Meredith must have bought into his whole ''everything happens for a reason'' BS because as of next week, she's off to Buffalo to meet his parents.

So that leaves us with one rose and four men: Ian, Ryan M., Sean, and Brad. Since Ryan M. overanalyzed and blabbed his way to dumpsville, and Sean failed to show any personality, I was convinced that she was going to choose Campbell Scott, er, I mean, Brad, even though ''they had to work on their kissing.'' Yes, I seriously believed Ian was a goner. But God bless the ''Bachelorette'' gods that Meredith didn't pull a Bob. My guy Ian got a rose because she chose to overlook his shyness and get to know him better through his friends and family. Looks like the Bachelorette has a pretty sane head on her shoulders and is not such a hypocrite after all. You go, girl! Go for Ian, that is.

Originally posted Feb 05, 2004