bachelorette premiere 'The Bachelorette' season premiere: William and Matt are early faves for AshleyThe spring TV season is winding down, the summer season is starting up – we all know that means another “Bachelorette” season. This time it’s Ashley Hebert who has her choice of 25 bachelors.

WARNING: Please, no spoilers in the comments. Those comments will be deleted.

This seventh installment of “The Bachelorette” kicks off with (what else?) a video replay of Ashley’s time on Brad Womack’s “Bachelor” season. I sincerely hope I end up liking her as bachelorette, since I was really hoping Shawntel would get the gig.

After Brad’s season, Ashley was back in Philadelphia, apparently doing a lot of jogging, walking or dancing while gazing off in a contemplative manner. I am digging her darker hair, but what I am not digging is the “Rocky” thing. We get it. It’s Philly. They couldn’t have had her lick the Liberty Bell or something?

We get to meet a few of the men before the official Limo Meet ‘n Greet. Ryan P. works in solar power and says the only thing not “sunny” in his life is that he doesn’t have a woman and that the only thing stronger than the sun is love. That better be a one-off deal because if we have to listen to his sun puns every week, he shoots right to the top of my s***list. “My love for you burns like the fire of a thousand suns. If I fly to close, my waxy heartwings melt. You’re so beautiful, I need one of those elementary-school eclipse box thingies just to look at you!” Ugh.

Ames works in finance in New York City and is quite the Ivy Leaguer. He also looks like he’s missing a chromosome, but to his credit, Ashley H. is his first choice as bachelorette, so that’s cool. It’s easy to forget these guys sign on for this before they know who the girl is.

There’s a lawyer from New Orleans named Ben C. who plays the piano. That’s hot, he needs to work that in for Ashley. Speaking of Bens, Ben F. the Winemaker is the first sob story ’cause his dad died. That’s too bad, but I can’t like him as much as he “casually” leans against some barrels and swirls his wine.

And the third Ben is Bentley, who lives in a huge house and has a daughter named Cozy. I hope that’s a nickname for Cosette, but I do not believe it is. He’s hoping the bachelorette is Emily. Oh, won’t you be disappointed. Also, he has a “family fun center” in Utah. Home plus is us, Bentley.

West is the next sad story – he lost his wife in an “accident,” where she had a seizure in the bathtub. Have you heard about this guy already? He was apparently questioned in his wife’s death. But surely ABC vetted this guy, right? I mean, it’s not VH1 here we’re talking about, right?

William is a “starter boyfriend” – all the girls he’s with get married right after him. Aw, poor guy. He also has some dead dad issues. It’s too bad the other Ashley isn’t the bachelorette. She’d have so much in common with these fellas.

Limo Time

Ashley looks very pretty in her gown, beautiful color on her and really highlights the girls. She’s nervous the guys won’t like her and says a past contestant has already warned her about one of the guys – Bentley, who is there to promote his job. The “family fun center”? That … makes way less sense than a guy coming on the show to promote his stupid country love song. But I guess “family fun,” it don’t come easy either.

The guys arrive, here are the highlights:

  • Jon says they should skip straight to the honeymoon and then picks her up in a fireman’s carry. He looks juuuuust unstable enough for that to not be 100% of a joke.
  • Mickey the Chef says he’s going to give her something from all the men in America and goes in for a kiss. And is DEEEE. NIIIIED. Ashley laughs it off, but you can tell she’s like, “Ha ha. Ha ha. Mace?”
  • Tim has a bit of a problem talking to her and it’s actually kind of adorable because he is clearly so awkward. Aww. I feel bad for Tim.
  • Ben C. busts out some French, so in addition to his piano playing … wow. So many points for this guy.
  • Stephen C. the Hairstylist looks exactly like about 50 guys who have all gone home on Night 1 of this show.
  • Chris D. does some … well, rap is not the right word at all. Some lame beat poetry as way of introduction? Yikes.
  • West gives her a broken compass that is stuck on west. And some daisies to stick on the bathtub floor. No, he doesn’t do that.
  • Zachary Levi doing De Niro Anthony the Butcher is a bit dramatic with his Dracula turn from the limo.
  • Ames has on rather ill-fitting tan slacks. I wonder if those are his Whiffenpoof slacks? He brings her ballet tickets and she lets him keep one. Chances that will ever happen? Slim to none.
  • Jeff, who I pegged as possibly the Ice Truck Killer from his headshot, shows up in a mask so that Ashley can’t judge his face. And then he takes her down into the bowels of the mansion and we never see her again.
  • Frank winks at her, which goes right in line with how I thought his headshot made him look like a used car salesman.
  • Mike makes a crack that this is the first time he’s ever been excited to go to the dentist. My inner demon/angel fight and the demon wins, so I make this joke – “Obviously.”
  • Sven the Viking Chris M. is from Canada, though I’m fairly sure he’s fresh off the boat from Scandinavia.
  • Ryan M. apparently jumped in the limo on the way here and thinks he’s on a Homes of the Stars tour or something, as he has a camera and takes Ashley’s picture, one of them together (actually two, because apparently the first one wasn’t up to snuff) and then really weirdly asks her if she’ll take one later of Chris Harrison. Being there ’cause you’re crushing on the host might be the worst “not there for the right reasons” yet.
  • Nick has some lame beat poetry too, which not only is lame because it stinks but you’re second, dude.
  • Bentley visibly looks disappointed when he steps out of the limo – sorry, dude. No uptight Southerner with too much makeup for you. Later, Ashley says she’s kinda bummed Bentley is good looking, since she wanted to dislike him. Heh.

Cocktail Party

Sunny Ryan P. wins Ashley over with his solar power talk. Matt is already thinking ahead that Ashley is going to get along with his mom and so then they call his mom, Gail. OK, that’s pretty cute and way to be memorable. Then! His mom hilariously says when they decide to forego separate rooms and use the Fantasy Suite, to remember that their moms are watching and not to forget protection. Gail for next bachelorette! Or spin-off!

Mike busts out the guitar and Ashley actually says, “I cannot believe that there’s one that plays the guitar!” Really? You can’t? I wonder if Ashley’s days are always like that? “I cannot believe there’s milk in the fridge! I cannot believe my shoes tie like that! I cannot believe the sun rose today!” He then chucks the guitar in the pool because he was just using it as a way to get her attention. Mom thing? Cute. Guitar thing? Douchey.

The guys are fixated on Jeff‘s mask, which Jeff says is because they’re judging a book by its cover. No, it’s because you’re being a big weirdo. BUT – the guys are being
typical guys, too. They’re threatened because he’s being different. Don’t go outside the box too much or they’ll beat you up and throw you in the dumpster out back.

Tim, who was so cute being all speechless when he stepped out of the limo, has now turned into just this side of raging bully. He’s like Michael Madsen from every Tarantino movie ever, too. The sound editors really dropped the ball on not having “Stuck in the Middle With You” ready to go for this jerk.

I mean, Jeff was trying to do something cool and different. He just whiffed. That doesn’t mean he’s actually a serial killer or whatever. I made a crack about him earlier in the recap, but I’m writing jokes to be entertaining. I think Tim is an honest-to-god tiny man bully. We saw the same thing with David and Juan during Jillian’s season. David turned out OK eventually (“Bachelor Pad”), but on “The Bachelorette,” he clearly had some issues.

Chris Harrison presents the First Impression Rose and I sincerely hope Matt gets it. But it makes everybody really ramp up the efforts – partially, I suspect, because they like Ashley and partially because they want to win.

Ben C. gets Ashley’s attention by busting out some “Love Actually” cards with writing on them that he shows her through the window. He just cannot get any cuter. William sells himself short [ba-dump-ching] by saying he’s “just” in sales. He then does a few impressions, which are kinda lame, but at least they’re fun and amusing.

Ashley talks to Tim and he’s completely awkward again, except this time he’s drunk too. What is this guy’s deal? And he thinks the guy in the mask is a creeper? Ashley is a bit disappointed, but she also feels bad for him. Don’t feel bad for him. He sucks. Thank God he got drunk and you didn’t mistakenly keep him around.

Of course, now that Tim is trashed and even more mush-mouthed, he starts harassing Jeff about the mask again. He takes off his coat and asks Jeff is he “wants to dance.” Oh, I hope he falls in the pool. But even better! He passes out on a couch on the patio. Hot. Super hot.

So Ashley has some guys pour him into a limo.

And back to the Jeff of the Opera. Ashley likes the reasoning behind the mask and says it’s not a gimmick. Well, it’s a gimmick because you gotta stand out the first night. But there is also a ring of sincerity behind it.

Bentley gets his time alone with Ashley. She seems wary and questions him about his daughter and previous marriage, but ends up very smitten with him. Oh, Ashley.

The First Impression Rose goes to Sunny Ryan P. Bentley talking-heads that even though he’s not “overly attracted” to Ashley, he wanted to win the FIR because he’s competitive. Ughhh. Tool.

Rose Ceremony

Ashley gives roses to Ryan P. (already), Jeff of the Opera, Constantine, Ben F., Lucas, Stephen, Nick, Chris D., Ryan M., Blake, Mickey, Ben C., West, William, J.P., AMes and Bentley.   

So that means in addition to Drunk Tim – Anthony, Chris M., Frank, Jon, Michael and Rob are going home. No big surprises there. A couple of the guys eliminated could’ve been interchanged with a couple who stayed to absolutely no consequence. Because she had to keep 18 and had to get rid of six. The only hottie she got rid of was Rob, but he just must not have made much of an impression.

The eliminated guys try to act crushed in their exit interviews. It doesn’t come across as as sincere as when the first-night girls are eliminated. Their wailing and gnashing of teeth seems much more genuine.

This season: Dancing! Kissing! Dancing! Fountains! Dancing! Airplanes! Heights! Boats! Boats! Kissing! Boats! Fire! Kissing! Boats! Temples! Boats! Elephants! Trains! Mopeds! Temples! Lanterns! Boats! Boats! Foreign language! Champagne! Lights! Lanterns! Dancing! Dragons! Fire! Mopeds! Golf carts! Hugging! Kissing! Man claws! Pissing contests! Masks! Pooping! Running! Kissing! Drama! Tears! Man tears! Running! Fists! Sit-ups! Boxing! Hospitals! “Bodyguard” carry! Fiji! Planes! Kissing! Waterfalls! Kissing! Checklists! Emily! Profanity! Tears! Bed-riddenness! All on this season!

Thoughts & Tidbits

  • Thank god Tim got drunk and we didn’t have to put up with him all season.
  • Bentley is clearly the villain. And honestly, acting disappointed because the bachelorette isn’t the girl you were hoping for is about the douchiest we’ve encountered and that includes “Rated-R,” I think. Way to make a girl feel like a loser, dude.
  • William and Matt are my early picks. Hope to see them go far. The over-the-credits outtakes of William doing impressions was delightful.

What did you think of the premiere, “Bachelorette” fans? Remember, no spoilers in the comments. We will delete your entire comment.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."