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'The Bachelor' recap: Is Brad in this for the right reasons?

Brad-womack When I first heard a few months ago that Brad Womack would be reprising the role of the dashing suitor on "The Bachelor," I was skeptical. Here's a guy who led two beautiful women on, broke their hearts in front of millions of viewers, and then became a recluse in his hometown in Texas after apparently realizing his true color. His second shot at love, I imagined, would seem contrived -- a faux effort more focused on proving something that finding something.

Two episodes in, Brad still doesn't have me sold. To be fair, it's typically hard, I think, to jump on board with new "Bachelor" or "Bachelorette" candidates early on in the season. (I remember how sunny and grating I found Ali at first, and when she made a cameo on Monday's episode with Roberto, I swooned.)

But there's just something about Brad -- like there was with the last "Bachelor," Jake -- that doesn't ring true. He's overly earnest. He constantly says "please," as if he's trying to be deferential. And he's so intent on finding the one that I think he's often jumping to conclusions about the girls he's dating.

That was evident on his date with Ashley H. Sure, on "The Bachelor" you have less than six weeks to get to know your potential spouse, so you have to move fast. But when Brad's first date opened up about how her father had abandoned her family, Brad seemed to instantly light up. "We both have daddy issues! We must be the same!" Her admission made Brad feel so comfortable around her that he uttered this cringe-worthy line: "Ash? Can I call you Ash?" No. Please do not.

The two were on a date at a carnival that had been set up in the middle of the woods, which was part awesome, part creepy. (That huge clown sign at the entrance? Yikes.) Despite the fact that they had the fun all to themselves -- there were no lines or people to speak of -- they ran from one ride to the next like two giddy schoolchildren. In fact, Brad kept gushing how much the night made him "feel like a kid." Um, yeah, you're at a carnival.

In true high-school style, the pair made out on the Ferris wheel -- and they really went at it. It was the first kiss in a long time on the show that was so intense it was almost uncomfortable to watch. Case in point: He seems to like this chick a lot. 

However annoying Brad's date with Ashley H. might have been, it was nothing compared with the group date, which had to have been the largest group date in history. I can't stand these events early on in the season. I can just hear the producers cackling: "Let's put all the girls with a tendency for crazy that Brad doesn't really like in a room together and make them jealous to amp up their crazy."

On the crazy scale, Melissa and Michelle took the cake. Melissa -- who, thankfully, was voted off at the end of the evening -- was so envious that she didn't have a kissing scene with Brad during the shooting of an American Red Cross PSA that she stormed into another girl's scene and stole a lip lock. It was awkward. (More awkward? That she was cast as the cougar, when she's clearly one of the older-looking gals on the show.)

She proceeded to get in a tiff with Rachel, who was also later voted off. I can't even remember what they were arguing about, it seemed so insignificant. But good riddance. I loved how when Ali and Roberto showed up to help vet Brad's pool of girls later in the evening, Ali instantly seemed to sense the two girls that were bringing the drama. She's the woman.

Meanwhile, Michelle seems to have taken up the requisite "crazy hot girl" role this season. She reminds me of that beautiful woman Rozlyn from Jake's season -- the one who was kicked off for allegedly hooking up with a crew member. As one of the contestants aptly put it last night, these are the type of women who know they are good-looking and abuse that privilege -- acting in a manner so childish that "The Bachelor" would never put up with it if he didn't find them so attractive. 

Anyway, it was Michelle's birthday, and she wouldn't let anyone forget it.

"It's not my 29th birthday, not my 31st, it's my 30th," she whined. "This isn't how I thought I'd be spending my 30th birthday."

Maybe you shouldn't have signed up for the show, then? 

Even though she stormed off the PSA set because she wasn't getting enough birthday attention from Brad, he gave her a rose at the end of the night. Shocker. It was gross to watch her gloat about scoring the flower -- waving it over her head in the air. 

"When Brad and I kiss, it's going to be like fireworks," she said, bringing her hand over her face in a move that looked like jazz hands, but was meant to emulate fireworks, I guess? Craycray.

One woman who seems decidedly more normal is Jackie, who went on the last one-on-one date with Brad. Her date was arguably way better than Ashley H's: She got to go to the swanky Peninsula hotel, get pampered in the spa, pick out a dress from an array of fancy fashions, wear some Neil Lane jewels, have dinner on the stage of the Hollywood Bowl, and then get a private performance from Train.

Okay, so the Train part wasn't that awesome. My roommate couldn't stop laughing when Brad announced: "What could make this evening better? The band Train!" Yeah, not so much. They could have at least played "Drops of Jupiter."

In any event, Jackie seems pretty down-to-earth. I'm worried, however, that she's going to be a bit too complex for Brad. He seems to like his women uncomplicated -- also a bad sign for another woman I like, Emily, who lost her husband in a plane crash and is a single mother. When Jackie told Brad that she'd only had two boyfriends in her life -- something I don't think is thaaaat bizarre for a woman who's what, 25? -- Brad lost it.

"Clearly you pick men you're with very cautiously," he said, almost visibly recoiling. Oh no! Unlike the other women on this show, she might not magically accept you as the Best Man on Earth just because you're "The Bachelor"? Red flag. 

OK, OK. I know I sound a little bit negative about this season of "The Bach." But that's only because I love this stupid show. I expect a lot from it. And so far, Brad is really just not bringing it. I'm not into these guys -- the Jake and Brad types -- who are so stiff and formulaic. I wish we had another Jason Mesnick, who actually seemed to express genuine emotion.

That being said, I'm willing to give him a shot -- even if I think a lot of his motivation for finding a wife is rooted in redemption. Do you think Brad's in it for the right reasons? Weigh in below.

-- Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Brad Womack is "The Bachelor." Credit: ABC.

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Comments () | Archives (18)

I agree that Jackie, of all last night's dates, was the catch! Sweet girl, mature and positive, everything a guy should want! It was a positive that she hadn't been with a lot of guys, took her studies seriously, and wasn't a partier. It'd be a red flag for me if a guy I was dating didn't value my seriousness in dating. It'd just mean he doesn't like girls like me, which is probably why he hasn't made a go of anything that's worked. He keeps picking girls that aren't serious in dating! But, not everyone is the same. Maybe he needs someone like himself, that has the morals he has? Jackie is too good for Brad imho.

I don't know if Brad is in it for the "right" reasons, but I admire his courage for doing this again in front of zillions of people.

I love the show too, although I don't understand why people think they are going to meet "the one" in 6 to 8 weeks.

OMG! Everything you said was exactly how I felt! From the creepy clown entrance carnival to Brad being surprised that Jackie only had (gasp) 2 boyfriends. I thought the same thing....what is she, like 25?! He's an idiot. And the fact that he gave that stuck-up Michelle the rose-clearly expressed he's in it for the WRONG reasons! He'll be another typical bachelor who just keeps picking the "prettiest" girl who has no brains and is so full of herself-that of course the relationship will never work! Ugggh!

I don't think Brad's as bad as Jake- who was clearly in it for the 'fame', even from the beginning. I do admire his courage, as you said, but I think he's trying to find his Disney-fairytale, rather than a 'real' woman. Michelle is absolutely crazy, but there's evidence of that in the montages shown by ABC of what we can expect this season- so we know she will be around for at least a little while longer. I'll probably watch sporadically instead of religiously this season- mostly for entertainment value, and not out of a true desire to see what happens next.

He just seems lost when it comes to women.

You nailed it to a T. Nice analysis of a terrible but awesome show.

I am not even willing to give this man a shot. He is once again not even into it. If you read the BIO's of him and all the girls on the show it crazy. There are NO girls even near his age !!! What does he have in common with a girl who is 24 !! You can't tell me he had nothing to do with the age range of these girls on the show.. the oldest one was 32 and she was already cut. Grow up Brad and date closer to your age !!

Here is my take on Brad, first what is the difference between what he did in his first season at the alter compared to the other relationships that ended shortly after those episodes ended? At least he did not prolong the agony. My problem with Brad is that I am so tired of hearing him say how unworthy and undeserving he is and how fortunate he is to get a second chance. blah blah blah... Man up, build a bridge and get over it. Further what is up with Michelle being compared to Rozlyn from Jake's season how about comparing her to lets say Michelle from Jakes season. Both seemed to be a little needy (borderline stalking) to say the least. I am just waiting to hear fangs say something intelligent if she last that long. This season is all about the drama starting with the first slap to the booting of the drama sisters, so tune in next week to find out the answer to the teaser “I want to go home”.

Personally I like Brad. Yea he's not perfect but come on why do we keep blaming him for his previous season? Looking at other bachelor seasons there is a very small chance these relationships work out; they basically get engaged to break up. I do not blame him for not picking either girl; its his choice not Americas. I do admit though the dates are a bit cheesy because lets be real here when and if he chooses the girl in the end I doubt the dates are going to be that spectacular. Its too over the top. I rather it be simple and sweet; but they have to do something to keep us intrigued rite? All in all i do not know if Brad is in it for the "right" reasons but i definitely want to see him through this journey.

I've never watched The Bachelor before last week. Of course I knew of it -- anyone not living on Mars does -- but I'd always dismissed it is as a silly and kind of mean-spirited way to get grown women to act like 10th graders. Turns out I am (mostly) correct! While I feel a strange if inexplicably need to watch this season's Bachelor to the end and I do like Brad (he has excellent manners and was willing to let the two crazies cry all over him), I can't help wondering why it is these ladies are so willing to compete for a man they hardly know. What I find most disturbing is the low self-esteem and self-confidence they display. It's sad to see so many of them suffering from the "me! me! choose me!" syndrome most of us left behind in high school. Jackie is, so far, the only one who truly seems sure of herself and comfortable enough to let events unfold, rather than artificially forcing them.

The display between Melissa and Raichel was downright embarrassing. So glad they were sent home and shocked that neither saw it coming. How pathetic for Melissa to cry victim; from what I saw, she was doing most of the bullying herself. And if Michelle reminded us one more time about her damn birthday I would have thrown up. She's 30 years old (as she made sure to tell us) and acted like a 14-year-old whose parents forgot her cake.

I think that Brad is doing the second round of this show because he is deeply insecure (sad dad stories). After not choosing one last time (deana is a hypocrite...whatever happended with her jilted snowboarder?) and not feeling the love from the national media etc, he is back to patch things up with us, the public. Not so sure about "finding love". He is overly apologetic. Man up a bit there brad. Stand by your decisions. Learn from the other bachelors like Jason...oh, may be not a good example...or, uh...Trista, yeah 1/19 not too bad.

There is something very strange and disturbing about Brad and I cant put my finger on it. I dont think he is committed to finding a wife but is possibly trying to find himself. As for the women, a wierd bunch indeed with a couple of possible normal ones. The show has gone so wacko, it doesnt make sense. He might try living with someone first before he takes the plunge,spends alot of time and money; only to find out he is not the marrying kind.

I agree that Jackie by far appears to be the nicest, most mature and positive of the bunch. The fact that Brad seemed shocked that she has had only two previous boyfriends really showcases his ignorance. Michelle needs a dose of reality--I could have swore it was her 14th birthday and not her 30th. Even the most intelligent person sounds like an idiot when their entire conversation is sprinkled liberally with the word 'like'. I can't quite figure out what is up with Fang? Some where along the line she saw too many Dracula movies. Creeeepppyyyy!

Look, I watch this show with my wife to watch the goodlooking ladies, who apparently can't find a relationship anywhere else, and all their drama they bring to this "unrealistic show." It's not even about this dummy Brad. It's a 6 week reality TV single elimination tournament for these women! And they all get an opportunity to do other "Bachelor and Bachelorette Show" spins-offs and activities when they don't get a rose. It's like a party consolation prize. And if these women don't get picked for a certain rose, which, for some reason, they all strongly believe they deserve, they feel rejected. I think Michelle is the opposite of what she initially described herself. She needs alot of make-up to look decent, and she's extremely insecure. You're not in Utah anymore lady. And Brad is worse than Jake! He wants viewers to feel bad about what he's gone through since the last time he was on! Oh, boo hoo! Why would he go back for another season knowing it's going to be the same thing. He loves hooking up with all these girls, as almost any straight man would. He craves that attention and doesn't even talk a good game on camera. C'mon man! You can't find any lady in AUSTIN?....Really? Yet you gave a head case from Utah a rose because it was her birthday. That right there tells me you're not there for the right reasons man....Or maybe the producers told you to give her the rose because she brings drama! And that gets the ratings for ABC.

I think you hit the nail on the head. Everything you mentioned here is exactly how I felt watching the show. At first, Michelle almost seemed like she might be a favorite of mine in the show but she has quickly become my least favorite, even more so than the two fueding women who got booted off in episode 2. SO MUCH is edited out... I really want to know what they were fighting about. You can't tell from the little that they show you after the final cut. My top faves are definitely Ashley S and Emily. If you think about it, Brad is definitely either with someone right now or no one. The season may have just started, but the taping is over and someone may have gotten a fairy tale ending while the rest all went home with broken hearts. It's hard to tell if Brad is genuine. I have a lot of faith in people and believe they have the best intentions, and so I think I'm giving Brad a chance. I believe he genuinely wants a wife and will be a good husband and father. I hope he saw through Michelle and picked a more deserving woman. (There's times when I question if he has the right motives because he seems so keen and intent on reminding everyone that he's trying really hard to prove to them that he's changed. So much emphasis on the fact that he's changed almost makes me wonder if maybe he's hoping outloud.) But I still think he MIGHT end up getting married to one of these ladies afterall. If not, he will get married some day and I hope they stay together "til death do us part."

One thing that Brad did right was got rid of the two drama queens - they were awful, acting like they were kindergarten. But I don't think Brad is any different from the last time, draggy as ever.

I think the PREMISE of the show, whether it be Bachelor or Bachelorette, is sabotage in itself. How on earth can ANYONE be expected to meet a complete stranger, learn about their personality, their likes, dislikes, quirks, lifestyle, etc. , and determine that said person is their lifelong mate in a marriage all in the span of six weeks or so ? Call me old fashioned but my opinion is it takes a helluva lot longer to know someone well enough to determine they are "the one " for you in a lifelong , committed marriage than the short time allowed for the run of the show.
With that said, the very same premise of the show provides entertainment value for the viewing public. Unfortunately, it comes with a cost attached to the dignity and morales of the participants. In my opinon, the only winner in all this is the network broadcasting the show.

I was so upset that ABC gave Brad another try, I refuse to watch this season. Now I've read that Brad has been seeing a therapist and has a criminal record...COME ON ABC !!!!....I thought the Bachelor show had decent men who had their act together...men who know what they want, have a career, want to actually find love....this is so upsetting....
Brad only said yes to another season of the Bachelor because ABC is paying him to be on the show and he needs to pay for his criminal defense lawyer and his therapy sessions...BRAD ISN'T WORTHY OF A SECOND SHOT ON THE BACHELOR...


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