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'The Bachelor' recap: Brad needs professional help

January 17, 2011 | 11:34 pm

122012_9826_preOK, so um, since when does "The Bachelor" get to have a therapist?

Listen, Brad has made it very clear that he's "troubled."

He's a manly man who has repeatedly copped to the unthinkable: submitting to therapy sessions for the three long years after his first unsuccessful attempt at love on the show. 

But now he's back in the saddle, and has been saying he's a changed man. And then on Monday's episode, suddenly, his "L.A. therapist" pops up? Does that seem wildly unfair to anyone else? I'm sure that being on this show is a total mind trip for anyone who is at the center of it, trying to grapple with new feelings for multiple people. And all the past "Bachelor's" got were those lame heart-to-hearts with host Chris Harrison in a room lined with framed headshots of their potential soul mates? 

I guess it's not that much of an advantage, because the advice Brad's getting from his new trusted advisor is pretty weak.

"Make this women feel comfortable, and in turn, they'll show me who they are," a mantra Brad kept repeating to himself. A novel thought. Truly. Wise words. 

In any case, I'm sure Brad certainly needed some couch time with his therapist after this week's episode, when many of the women opened up and shared some of their most intimate stories.

It was also a week when the show's producers stooped to a new low, exploiting the contestants' troubles by arranging dates for certain women that they knew would prompt emotional breakdowns.

First up was Ashley S: she and Brad went to the Capitol Records building, where they recorded a duet of the Seal song "Kiss From A  Rose" and then were treated to a private performance from the singer himself. Sounds swell, except that Ashley's father recently died from a brain hemorrhage, and he and Ashley grew up together listening to "Kiss From A Rose" -- their favorite song.

Needless to say, hearing the song stirred up some painful memories for Ashley. Also painful? Ashley and Brad's joint rendition of the Seal song. Hearing them croon together completely off-key was one of the most cringe-worthy moments I've ever seen on the show -- so you know it had to be tragic. Despite her lack of vocal ability, I don't mind Ashley -- and it's pretty apparent she's already a front-runner with Brad, who seems to embrace her sweet, passive demeanor. One thing that was a bit off-putting was the age difference between Ashley and Brad. It seems like all of the contestants -- who on average are about 25 years old -- don't have a problem at all with the fact that Brad is 38. I don't think it's a deal breaker that Brad be older than whomever he picks -- but for some reason, seeing him with baby-faced 26-year-old Ashley starkly reminded me of the considerably large age gap.

Emily, who got the other solo date this episode, is even younger -- she's only 24. But she's arguably more mature since, as we've learned by now, she experienced tragedy at a young age. Even though Brad selected her for some one-on-one time, Emily was still reluctant to share that her fiance had died in a plane crash, only days before she found out she was pregnant with his child.

Knowing about Emily's past, the producers still decided to send her and Brad on a PRIVATE JET to a winery. I mean, really? I thought that was crazily insensitive. It was horrible to watch her, visibly uncomfortable and tearing up as the plane took off and memories of her fiance's crash swirled through her mind. 

Brad, of course, still had no idea about her history. As they sat in the middle of wine country, he kept prodding, trying to find out more about her dating history. She completely shut herself off, not wanting to burden him with the heavy news -- until later in the evening, when she finally opened up.

Brad took the news decently, I guess, reassuring Emily that everything she'd told him only made him like her more. But it was obvious he was completely surprised by the fact that she was a single mother.

"Ooookay," he said, trying to take the information in. "Are you really? Boy? Girl?" he asked, feigning interest in that overly-enthusiastic tone of voice he's perfected.

There were even more serious conversations to be had on the group date, when Chantal O. revealed that every time things "started to feel special" with Brad, she felt someone else in the group was having the same experience. I can't stand these type of proclamations from the women. I have no sympathy for you. You signed up for "The Bachelor." I'm sure the jealousy proves to be more overwhelming than you expected, but if you don't think you're going to be able to handle it, you shouldn't go on the show. Case closed. 

Michelle, the most freakishly jealous of the bunch this season, is clearly already losing her mind early on in the competition. Unsurprisingly, Brad continues to feed into her craziness because she's one of the sexier girls in the group. Which means he lets things like this slide:

"You and I are kind of in a fight," Michelle told Brad, trying to seem cute and failing. "We're in a fight because I shared my first kiss with you the other day. I was so happy to have shared that with you, and then I found out you kissed Chantal."

Blahblahblahwhinewhinewhine. Go home.

That's what Madison did, anyway. She was the other chick with a penchant for crazy -- the one who showed up wearing fangs and never explained her connection to the vampire world. Apparently, hearing about Emily's traumatic past made Madison realize that she wasn't as "deserving" of Brad as some of the other girls with sob stories were. 

What was even more disturbing than her fangs? The fact that Brad even attempted to keep a girl who wears fangs from leaving the competition to spare his ego.

--Amy Kaufman

Photo: Chantal O. and Brad have a serious chat. Credit: ABC.


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