Ben Flajnik: 'The Bachelor' editors gave me a 'raw deal' [Video]
Fans and critics -- including your's truly, of course -- have complained that the winemaker is only interested in girls with looks (e.g., Courtney, the model) and not brains (Emily, the PhD student). He's too bland, many whine. And perhaps the most common gripe: Won't this dude get a haircut already?
So when I scored an invite to attend the behind-the-scenes taping of the Women Tell All last week, I jumped at the opportunity. No matter that it'd require spending nine hours in a chilly sound stage listening to a handful of catty women scream at one another. I wanted to grill Ben on behalf of America.
As you can see in our interview below, that proved to be a bit more difficult than anticipated. Since Ben has had harsh critiques lobbed at him over the last couple of months, perhaps I shouldn't have found it surprising that he had quick, defensive answers to most of my questions. One of those most pressing, of course: Are you really expecting me to buy that Courtney's occupation didn't give her an advantage?
"The model thing was a deterrent in the beginning," Ben insisted. "I specifically told the producers before I started this, 'No models. No hair and makeup people, and no fashion.'"
OK, but then Courtney shows up, and she's drop-dead gorgeous and she is a model. That must have an impact on you, I insisted.
"They're all drop-dead gorgeous," he fired back. "That's the thing I don't understand. Take a poll -- I bet half of America thinks Kacie B. is more attractive than Courtney. They're all beautiful women."
Alrighty, then. So maybe him wanting to score a model really had nothing to do with his affinity for Courtney. Even so: Why did he ignore the many warnings from the other women about Courtney's bad attitude?
"If we're going to speak frankly about Courtney -- I asked for specific examples from what these women were seeing, and I never got any," he explained.
Sure. But every time contestants warn the Bachelor or Bachelorette about someone on the show, they always end up being a bad person! Um, hello, Bentley?
"But are they bad people in real life?" Ben countered. "Have you met the villains from previous seasons? Do you know Bentley, do you know Michelle Money?"
Fortunately, I do not. Ben was proving to be sassier than expected, which led to this question: Why does he often come across as vanilla on television?
"I'm not that boring in real life," he said. "I'm just this laid back, calm, cool and collected guy that does not take himself very serious. You know, it's a love show. It's about love, so it's not about comedy hour and being funny and being light. I think I got a little bit of a raw deal on the fact that the other side of my personality -- the main side of my personality -- was not shown."
For more with good ol' Benji, check out the video here. And check back later in the week for interviews with Kacie B., Emily, and Nicki.
-- Amy Kaufman
Photo: Ben goes on a date with Courtney, one of the two remaining women. Credit: ABC