TV Article

Let the Dames Begin!

On the season premiere of ''The Bachelor,'' the first cut is the deepest, as a slightly older group of women picks their man, who then carefully selects a harem full of hysterics

Byron Velvick, The Bachelor | LORD BYRON The women chose a fisherman with a mullet
Image credit: The Bachelor: Bob D'Amico
LORD BYRON The women chose a fisherman with a mullet

''The Bachelor'': The first cut is the deepest

Is it me, or did the montage of scenes from upcoming episodes suggest that following a nonstop orgy, one or more of the women will go completely insane, run away from the house, and try to commit suicide in the swimming pool? It's all very Knots Landing, but honestly, the way this show is shaping up, I would not be the least bit surprised.

I have to admit, I was worried that the latest edition of The Bachelor would be a little too grown-up to be fun. After all, the dueling bachelors aren't callow youths but 40-year-old men. And gone are the giggly 23-year-old bachelorette bubbleheads whose life experience consisted of binge drinking at keggers and, like, totally getting monster sick in the Delta Delta Gamma bathtub. This time around, not one of the women on the show is younger than 27. (If you ask me, 33-year-old Lisa looked a hell of a lot closer to 45, but I digress.)

You gotta hand it to the producers of this show for finding a lovely chocolate box of nutjobs and hysterics, along with some otherwise functional women whose biological clocks are about to drive them to the nearest mall to snatch a baby from an unattended stroller. All I can say is, I hope Byron is filling out his restraining orders now, because the paperwork is going to kill him if he waits until the last minute.

Speaking of Byron Velvick, the Nevada bass fisherman and walking men's deodorant commercial who was chosen over uptight real estate agent Jay Overbye, I've already got the sneaking suspicion that he's a smarmy jerk who's watched just enough Oprah to be dangerous to women. The truth is, Jay seemed like the better catch, and not because, as Krysta pointed out, he could pick out the right wine and lavish her with gifts until she sent him spiraling into bankruptcy.

Jay seemed smart, honest, and responsible, while Byron had good hair and could probably have a successful career as a used-car salesman. So in their quest to find true love and the man who would beget their children, the women overwhelmingly voted for what we all know is most important in life: good hair.

Of course, it didn't help that Byron was running around hinting that Jay just might be a drooling psychopath since he'd reached the ripe old age of 40 without getting hitched. I kept waiting for some smart cookie to say, ''I'll take the never-married guy over a dummy who goes skipping down the aisle with a party girl who makes Anna Nicole Smith sound shy and retiring,'' but I'm sure the glare of Byron's dazzling smile so stunned the women it rendered them incapable of snappy comebacks.

The good news is, as much of a cheese ball as Byron may be, he has excellent taste in women. I mean that strictly in the ''women who are so thoroughly insane their antics are ready-made for TV'' sense of the word. And I'm clearly not the only person who thinks this. Did you hear the off-camera woman in the coming attractions who whined, ''I think he's a little crazy for keeping around the loony tunes.'' To her I say, go find some boring-ass Learning Channel show to be on. Those loony tunes are the one thing that keeps this show from drowning in sap.

Is it possible that Krysta thinks she's actually on a luxury edition of Survivor? After licking her chops at the prospect of spending Jay's money and campaigning tirelessly to keep him in the game, she had no problem rubbing up against Byron because, after all, ''the point is to get the guy.'' And do what with him? Kill and eat him? See how much she can get for him on the black market? I don't think it was a mistake that the music became faintly ominous when Krysta accepted her rose, people.

Byron already seems a little frightened of her, but I hope she sticks around long enough to engage her nemesis, bar owner Kristie, in the series' first claws-out death match. I'm still not sure why Krysta hates Kristie so much (perhaps she thinks the poor girl is trying to steal her name), but I'm pretty sure a tough chick who voluntarily deals with drunks for a living could wallop Krysta right back to the coven she came from.

My favorite fledgling stalker on the show is crybaby Andrea, who sniveled more than a cocker spaniel with a sinus infection. This woman is a heartbeat away from ending up secluded like a 21st-century Miss Havisham, using the yards of silk intended for her wedding dress as a gigantic Kleenex. Just spying on Byron from behind a hanging plant nearly sent her around the bend at the evening's cocktail party, so I'm guessing an actual one-on-one date may cause her to start screaming and freaking out like a lottery winner or Courtney Love. You'd think Byron would be able to smell the crazy a mile off, but I guess her little ''This is a strawberry. This is a strawberry in love'' routine did the trick, because she's going to be back next episode, hopefully with a jumbo-size box of tissues.

She's going to need them, because I'm already betting the farm that the shy, quiet Florida dog groomer Jayne is going to win Byron's heart. (Hey, he already called her his favorite, and that was before he even met her.) Maybe nice girls can finish first, but let's hope the bad girls stick around long enough to make it interesting.

Who do you think will win Byron's heart? And do you think the women picked the right guy?

Originally posted Sep 23, 2004