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Charlie O'Connell The Bachelor
CHARLIE O'CONNELL - THE BACHELOR

ZAP2IT MARCH 28, 2005

Meet the New 'Bachelor,' Same as the Old 'Bachelor'

By Rick Porter

LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) Not three minutes into Monday's (March 28) premiere of "The Bachelor," host Chris Harrison is already laying down the "most [insert adjective here] 'Bachelor' yet" gauntlet, in this case going for "surprising." I'm sorry, but after nine iterations of the "most shocking/amazing/emotional" show ever, this is not the way to prove the show is changing.

Moving on: The 25 women, Chris tells us, think the show is starting the next day, so they're asleep or whatever at their hotel. Until, that is, a gaggle of crew members pound on their doors and tell them they have five minutes to get ready, get downstairs and meet their man -- 29-year-old Charlie "Jerry's Little Brother" O'Connell.

Predictably, there's a lot of thrashing about and omigodding and complaints about how that's not enough time, and some footage of the women running through a hotel hallway. Model Danushka sums things up for the group by saying "He better be hot."
They must think he is, because no one leaves after laying eyes on him.

Instead of a fancy party, Charlie gets to meet the girls -- he seems to prefer that word over "ladies" -- in a round of speed dating (edgy!). Each woman gets two minutes to impress him, so we see swimsuit model Kimberly putting her best, uh, self forward by opening her shirt and sitting on his lap, we see Emilie try to thumb-wrestle him, we see Jersey girl Valerie show off her belly ring and tattoo, and we see Californian Geitan enter clucking like a chicken. Later, she whoops like a monkey.

We also get the fastest kiss in "Bachelor" history when cap-wearing Katie leans in for a smooch. Charlie is nonplussed.

All the baring of body parts and barnyard sounds can't measure up to fashion-design girl Sarah showing off her extreme-sports scars. The tall blonde wins one of two roses in this round, meaning she's good to go through the end of the episode. Another blonde, Kerry, gets the second.

Charlie's feeling pretty good about his choices when the serious show music starts to play and Chris reveals the first Big Twist: Charlie has to send five women home right now.

We hear him mutter "This is not nice" as he heads off to make his decision, and it isn't, really. But it's hard to muster up much sympathy for someone who's had maybe 45 seconds of camera time thus far. For the record, Kristina, Heather, Brenda, Debby and Katie get the gate.

Group dates bring another wrinkle in the game: The women get to decide among themselves who goes on which date (ooh, catty!), and Charlie can hand out two roses on each (suspenseful!). Some of the women literally wait by the phone for Charlie to call -- dear god, that's sad -- and there's much confusion about who's actually going on a date (particularly for us, as the women aren't always identified).

Five are supposed to accompany Charlie on the first one to shoot pool at a neighborhood bar. Kindle is not among them, but the Dallas Mavericks cheerleader sneaks downstairs and gets in the van before the others, leaving Carrie the odd girl out.

Charlie rewards Kindle for her initiative/third-grade behavior with a rose. Anitra, who was on the date fair and square, gets the other one because she wasn't pushy about wanting it.

Date No. 2 involves drinking and dancing at a different bar with eight women -- "one more than Hugh Hefner," Charlie astutely notes. Chicagoan Siomara makes like she's in charge of choosing the group and apparently excludes former NFL cheerleader Gina Marie at the expense of either tall Sarah (W.) or not-tall Sarah (B). Gina Marie then allows the remaining women to goad her into tracking down the group at the bar and fighting for her man, with whom she's spent all of two minutes. Fight on, Gina Marie.

The interestingly named Krisily gets a rose right after Charlie does a body shot off her belly, but he insists that's not the reason why. She's "down-to-earth" and "exciting." And also, she kissed him.

With all the dancing and the grinding and the drinking, Geitan is becoming uncomfortable. The bar scene "is not who I am," she tells the camera while Charlie makes out with tall Sarah.

Gina Marie shows up, but Geitan steals her thunder by announcing she's leaving "while I still have my dignity" -- this is the woman who first greeted Charlie by clucking, remember. She manages not to cry, Charlie walks her to a cab, and that's that with that. In light of the downer ending to the night, Charlie pockets the second rose.

The final date takes Charlie and his angels (had to get that one out of the way) to the sports complex at Chelsea Piers. Danushka, with her runway-model thinness, doesn't feel like she fits in with the curvier women on the date. "If I wanted big boobs, I would've bought them, like some of the other girls," she says, and it's here we start hoping Charlie keeps her around for another episode -- not because she's nice or anything, but because she clearly doesn't care if Charlie likes her and therefore has quit editing herself.

Canadian Jenny, who does seem nice and puts Charlie at ease, gets the first rose of the date. Kimberly gets the second because, as Charlie says, "she's hot." Hey, at least the guy's being honest.

Cut straight to the rose ceremony, which by virtue of the on-the-fly rose giving now feels more like Charlie filling out his roster just so he has enough bodies to run a good practice. To review, tall Sarah, Kerry, Kindle, Anitra, Krisily, Jenny and Kimberly already have roses, and Charlie has five to give out.

Before Charlie calls out his final five names, though, the women get a chance to air their thoughts and grievances in public. Now here's a change to the show that might actually be entertaining, and the women don't let us down.

First, Geitan comes back -- maybe she left her dignity back at the women's brownstone? -- to explain herself again. See, the other girls with all their sexy dancing made her feel uncomfortable on the group date, and she now realizes she wants to give Charlie a chance to get to know her. How thoughtful.

Danushka asks Charlie if she would have received a rose had she let him do a body shot from her stomach. Charlie wonders if, because she was wearing sunglasses and acting all model-y during their speed date, if she's there for the right reason. Yeah, says Krisily, who then basically admits she didn't actually come to the game looking for a soulmate, and she doesn't care if that makes her the house bitch because she can take it, even if people do talk about the body shot.

"That doesn't make you a bitch," Danushka says, returning to the body shot, "that makes you a slut." You can practically hear "Bachelor" creator Mike Fleiss slapping his forehead off camera for not coming up with this rose-ceremony innovation sooner.

The actual handing out of the roses, though, is its usual shrug. Not-tall Sarah, Carrie, single mom Kara, Gina Marie and Megan join the other seven. Sadly, Danushka won't be around to stir the pot anymore, and bikini model/government agent (according to her anyway) leaves in tears, having already fallen in love (!) with our boy. Geitan turns around and leaves again too.

Call me a cynic, but after one episode, all it looks like we have on "The Bachelor" Unplugged is more manufactured conflict than usual. Some change.

Article obtained from zap2it.com

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