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'The Bachelor' recap: Shawntel's back from the dead to fight for Ben

January 16, 2012 | 11:19 pm

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It was all fine and dandy until "what's her butt" showed up.

Which girl is deserving of such a flowery moniker, you ask? The one and only Shawntel Newton. That's right, the chick from the morgue. You know, the girl from Brad Womack's season who works as a funeral director at her family-owned morgue. She was one of Brad's favorites, until she forced him to lay on an embalming table and showed him her trade -- scalpel and all.

Turns out Shawntel was already somewhat acquainted with our lovely Bachelor Ben. Though the extent of their prior interactions was never fully revealed, Shawntel seemed to think that she and Ben had shared some meaningful conversations before he became the Bach. Accordingly, she was inspired to leave her coffins behind and drive to San Fransisco -- nay, "San Fran," as it seems to be known to our well-traveled contestants. 

Like any drop-in visitor to a season of "The Bachelor," Shawntel somehow had host Chris Harrison on speed dial. 

"Be there in 20 minutes!" she said cheerfully as she approached the hotel where Ben was busy entertaining a cadre of ladies during a cocktail hour.

While Shawntel's arc on Brad's season obviously left an indelible impression on me, many of Ben's would-be wives were perplexed as to her identity upon her arrival. Was she an ex-girlfriend? Was it a member of the Bachelor community coming to warn Ben about one of the women on his season? Or maybe there had just been a death in the family? No. It was "what's her butt," as model Courtney would later name her.

While Ben was surprised at Shawntel's entrance, the ladies were downright horrified.

"I am also here to date Ben," she alerted the confused group of onlookers.

"So now you're just, like, part of us?" Jaclyn -- who is unfortunately from my hometown -- said. "Is that's how it's going to be?"

Indeed, it was. Shawntel had told Ben that she'd like to vie for one of the evening's remaining roses, upsetting the ladies greatly. Many threatened to walk out. But most fled to a quieter room, where they could vent -- read: make snide remarks -- about Shawntel.

"She's uglier in person," said Erika, who would later be sent home. "She has bigger thighs than I do."

Shawntel's presence even made some girls physically ill. Erika nearly passed out. Jaclyn, answering her own hypothetical question, whined: "On a scale of one to 10, I feel like I'm going to throw up."

Fortunately for everyone, Shawntel didn't get a rose. I thought she might have a shot, considering the fact that a woman named Brittney -- the one who brought her grandma along with her on the first night -- had bowed out of the competition earlier in the evening. "I don't want to be in a house with 25 girls," she shrugged, proceeding to roll her luggage outside and break the news to Ben. He didn't seem to care much, especially since he'd selected Brittney to go on one of those dreaded one-on-one "on-the-fence" dates, where odds were he would have sent her packing anyway.

But no fear, the remaining women were irrationally head over heels for Ben after mere days. Two lucky ladies scored individual dates with the man himself this week, beginning with PhD student Emily. Because she had continually cited her fear of heights, of course, she was sent on a date with Ben to scale the Bay Bridge. And folks, this date was no joke. It's dates like these that remind me why I've never tried out for "The Bachelor." And trust me, I've considered it.

Emily put on a brave face for the first part of the climb, but as they continued to scale the 535-foot bridge, she began to panic.

"Talk to me, Goose," Ben said. When his lame "Top Gun" reference failed to comfort Emily, he decided instead to plant one on her. It was an oddly romantic moment -- let's just say, on a scale of one to 10, it made me want to throw up.

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-- Amy Kaufman

twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Ben Flajnik is the star of "The Bachelor." Credit: ABC

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