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'The Bachelor': Mayday! Mayday! Jake's first flight is a bumpy ride

January 5, 2010 | 10:23 am
118249_D_0537_pre OK, before I say anything, let me say this: I am a huge fan of "The Bachelor." I have been for years. I loved Jason even when he dumped Melissa for Molly. I thought Jillian was spunky and cute and brought new life to the franchise. I even like Chris Harrison, with his cliched, unnecessary announcements about the various types of roses about to be delivered.

But I don't think I'm going to be able to stomach this season of "The Bachelor."

I was disappointed the instant I heard ABC's announcement that Jake Pavelka, the 31-year-old commercial airline pilot who was rejected by Jillian on the last season of "The Bachelorette," would be the next eligible man on deck. Why not Reid Rosenthal, last season's runner-up, who though dorky, was really cute and at least seemed to have some character to him. Or maybe Kiptyn Locke, the not-yet-ready-to-settle-down cutie from San Diego. Not sure that either of those guys would make for good TV, I even decided that this might be the ideal season to select a new "Bachelor" who hadn't appeared on a previous season of "The Bachelorette."

But no. Instead, apparently thousands of eager American women penned letters to ABC begging the network to choose Jake. Well, they got their wish, and I got my nightmare.

On paper, Jake is the ideal "Bachelor." In fact, his archetype seems to hearken back to earlier seasons when the leading men were always impeccable looking, had cool or prestigious jobs and wanted nothing more than to get married to the woman of their dreams. In recent years, "The Bachelor" has become more imperfect -- which I think fans have appreciated. Jason, the single dad from Seattle with an average gig in finance, blew the show's ratings through the roof due to his relatable, down-to-earth vibe.

In contrast, Jake is the quintessential all-American guy. There's no denying the guy is great looking. His body is flawless, he has a winning smile and charming eyes. Plus, he's a pilot -- which the women on this season seem to find irresistible. To be fair, I thought the segment in Monday night's episode featuring Jake flying a commercial airliner and doing loops in smaller planes was one of the most intriguing parts of the show. I liked getting a glimpse into what really makes the guy tick, beyond his cookie cutter dreams of love and marriage. It was also interesting to learn that he's the only one in his family who didn't go into medicine. Maybe that explains why he always feels he has to live up to such a high standard.

Perhaps it's his good looks that make it so hard for me to pity a guy who, at 31, says he's rarely been in a successful relationship and often never gets a call back after the first date. I know the guy is a little intense, but really? I'm sure there are some women out there who would have been willing to look past his eagerness and give him a shot.

118314_6933_pre I loved that the producers brought Jillian Harris and Ed Swiderski back to help Jake select the women he was going to keep around. When I interviewed her last spring, Jillian was eager to begin her relationship off-camera with Ed. So despite rumors of his infidelity, I was happy to see the pair still together. It was so amusing to watch them interacting while sitting next to Jake. As they giggled, swore and called each other "babe," Jake sat stiffly, letting out fake-sounding chuckles. I know he's a good guy at heart, but I wish he'd just loosen up a bit. Geez.

Of course, I wasn't surprised to see at the end of the episode that most of the women who seemed intelligent were sent home. I thought that Elizabeth, the captain in the Air National Guard, seemed like she had her head on her shoulders and was still cute, to boot. Alexa, the girl who rode the motorcycle, also seemed assertive and smart, though she wasn't as feminine as some of the other contestants.

Remaining women I like:

Elizabeth, the 29-year-old nanny from Nebraska. She's one of the best-looking girls on the show -- is she really a nanny? -- and I thought it was cool that she brought along a football and actually knew how to play.

Tenley, the 25-year-old in college admissions from Oregon. She got the first impression rose probably because she was the only one who kissed Jake, but she's also beautiful and seems genuine enough. If I had to pick an early front runner, I'd say it's her -- though her emotions over her ex-husband who cheated on her could get in the way.

Ella, the 30-year-old hair stylist from Tennessee with a son. I'm a sucker for the women with children, but she seems like she has good intentions.

Women I don't like:

Vienna, the 23-year-old marketing executive from Florida who is a self-proclaimed spoiled daddy's girl. The Chihuahua-toting Paris Hilton wannabe thing is not working for me, and I'm guessing it won't work for Jake in the long run, either.

Michelle, the 25-year-old office manager from Anaheim. This woman is a loony bin. Why was she on the verge of tears throughout the entire show? I absolutely loved Jillian and Ed's reaction to her during their one-on-one meeting. Did you catch Jill trying to hold in her laughter? "She seems too...emotional," Ed later told Jake, obviously trying to stop him from an impending train wreck.

Rozlyn, the 28-year-old model/makeup artist from Virginia. She spells her name with a "Z." I couldn't stop staring at her fake boobs throughout the entire two hours. And she actually said "fasten your seat belt, it's gonna be a bumpy ride" to Jake upon first meeting him. Enough said.

Other horrible lines from the evening, by the way, included:

"Do you have a registry for those guns?" -- Jessie, upon grabbing Jake's muscles when first meeting him.

"Jake, you can land your plane on my landing strip anytime." -- Channy, translating a Cambodian phrase she embarrassingly uttered to Jake. Instant goner.

What did you think about Jake's debut as "The Bachelor?" Can he really be that perfect? Which women do you think have what it takes to make it to the end? Chime in in the comments section!

-- Amy Kaufman (follow me on Twitter @AmyKinLA)

Photos: From top, Jake Pavelka, this season's new "Bachelor." Jillian Harris and Ed Swiderski from last season of "The Bachelorette" stop by to help Pavelka vet the women. Photo credit: ABC


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