Seriously, there's a reason we named this section "Thank God for TiVo." There was no way I was going to watch the season premiere of ABC's The Bachelor last night — not when Monday Night Football was on ABC's sister station, ESPN.
But thanks to the miracle of TiVo, I was able to catch the premiere, which featured two local women — Erica and Jami -- vying for the affections of one Prince Lorenzo Borghese. The show opens with the handsome prince, who lives in NYC and comes from a family steeped in Roman history. The Borghese name is everywhere in Rome — on the streets, in parks and even on the Vatican. (The Borgheses even boast a Pope in the family.)
The handsome prince Lorenzo Borghese says that he never introduces himself as "Prince," he's "just Lorenzo," and that only his friends mention that he's a prince when they're out and trying to pick up women. (Well duh, Lo, what's a wingman to do?) There's a short interview with his parents. What did his father (also an Italian prince living in the USA) say when he learned his son was going to be The Bachelor? "Mama mia!" (Seriously.)
The next segment finds each of the 25 American women selected for the show at their doors -- at supposed surprise visits — where they learn they're flying to Rome. The show spends extra time on 23-year-old blonde Houston "socialite" Erica, who answers the door with an "Oh my gawd, are you serious!?"
She then calls her mom over, who just happens to be wearing a low-cut red dress in the afternoon. Sez Erica about her selection: "I thought I would be the perfect match for this particular Bachelor and they'd be crazy not to pick me." Mom, Erica and the family maid proceed to comb through Erica's apartment-sized closet for suitable clothes, since Erica has to leave "right away." There's this heartwarming mother/daughter exchange:
Erica: "You think it'll be cold enough to bring a fur?"
Mom: "Well, you might not want to bring a fur, because of animal rights."
Excuse me, I'm getting a little verklempt.
In another interview, H-towner Erica says that marrying the prince would "be like, my biggest dream come true." But:
"I really hope he's not one of these guys who falls for the girl from the farm."
A perfect segue to Jami, a 27-year-old event planner from Galveston. She's first seen wearing a straw cowboy hat and overalls. The bouncy blonde isn't worried about impressing a big time prince:
"Call me small town, little Texas girl, call me what you will. But dammit, I am totally, hands down, eight million percent princess material."
If Erica and Jami were more eloquent than this, you'd never know it from the editing. Thanks, ABC.
A few segments later, handsome prince finally meets each contestant as the emerge from limousines. Prince Lorenzo tells a beaming Jami that he "loves Texas people." Well, he ain't met Erica yet. Here she comes, wearing a tiara and a purple gown:
Erica: "I'm like, so excited to meet you! You're much cuter in person, even though you're already cute in your pictures."
Prince: "Thank you. That's...complimentary, I guess."
In typical reality show fashion, there's some drama. Two (painfully) hot Italian women crash the party, showing off their legs and dance moves to the very American prince. Later, Jami and Prince Lorenzo get cozy, and he reveals that he's into the Grateful Dead, the Stones and, um, Bon Jovi. And later, Erica gets some chat time with the prince:
Erica: "I flew coach for you, which I've never done."
Erica: "Yeah, so you should be flattered."
Coach? The horror! How could a prince not be flattered by that?
Later, the prince must give a rose to one of the 25 women, signifying that he's most enjoyed spending time with her. He gives it to Lisa, a marketing manager from Portland and self-described tree hugger who, in fact, makes the prince hug a tree." Erica's not impressed. "I don't judge people," she judges. "But I judge them on a compatibility scale to Lorenzo. They [Erica and the prince] don't have much in common. All she had to do to get that is running around drunk and hugging trees." (Imagine if Lisa had flown coach. This would be all over!)
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Finally, there's the real rose ceremony, where half of the 25 contestants will be sent home. After some dramatic moments, the prince hands a rose to Jami. A few more dramatic moments — it's down to the last three roses — and Erica gets hers. "Oh my gawd, I was so nervous," she says. "You have no idea!" Yeah, we kinda do.
The prince then sends the rest o' the ladies packing, one of whom is Rosella of Chicago, who sold her car to cover expenses while participating in the show. The end credits feature more footage of Erica, who's clearly becoming the diva of the season:
"The worst thing about this will be having a roommate. I'm used to having a maid all the time...my freshman year of college, I paid my roommate to clean my room."
Well, Prince Lorenzo, don't know about you, but I'm in love. — Steven Devadanam