The Bachelor Review: No Horsing Around

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Ben Flajnik is not horsing around. When it comes to some of the women, anyway.

In what was by and large a fairly even-keeled and benign episode of The Bachelor Monday night, he said goodbye to one hopeful who confronted him about a lack of one-on-one time during a group date.

He also fell victim again to the machinations of Courtney Robertson, who is either a really good actress and faking her evilness during all her confessionals, or has this guy whipped like no one's business.

No Horsing Around

If you've read The Bachelor spoilers for this season, or even if you're only mildly observant, you know Courtney survives for a while (follow the link to see how long) and has been set up as the villain from day one.

Make no mistake, Ben is The Bachelor, but this is the season of Courtney.

This model is so grating, so conniving, so flat-out painful to watch on screen, it's amazing she even got cast ... until you realize this is exactly what the show wants you to think about one of the central female "leads."

Pause your DVR during the end credits and you will see "Story Editors." On The Bachelor. They deserve a raise, too, because they do a heck of a job of making Courtney out to be the worst human being imaginable.

How much of her suckitude is real? Probably a decent amount. But the producers have more tricks up their sleeve than you think. They will manipulate people and edit meticulously to get the narrative they want.

Which isn't to say that's all bad, it's just important to realize before taking this contrived nonsense too seriously. I have no doubt there are genuine connections forged on the show, but that certainly isn't the goal.

It's all about the drama these days, and from a business standpoint, ABC is hitting home runs year after year with the types of people they drum up and the focal point of these (interminably long, two-hour) episodes.

Gone is the pretense of fairy tale romance, despite the recycled, quality sound bites sprinkled throughout the night. The women and the conflict in the house play an equal, if not greater role than the Bachelor himself.

Highlights of last night, for those actually interested:

  • Ben riding in on a horse, no doubt turning on Lindzi Cox who did the same in the season premiere, then taking a bunch of prissy, made-up girls on a fly-fishing excursion in Utah.
  • Ben tossing a "catch" back into the sea after she whined about group dates and not getting any one-on-one time. Why was Samantha Levey even there? Who's to say really.
  • Ben's first one-on-one with Rachel Truehart almost self-destructing because she "does not like to open up" but ultimately ending well when they talked like normal people.
  • Kacie B. acting really sad that other girls are dating Ben at the same time as her ... wow, who would ever have guessed that coming into a season of ABC's The Bachelor?
  • Emily O'Brien being that girl (there's one every year) who says, re: Court, “I feel like there is one girl here who is very different around you than around the rest of the girls.”
  • Emily adding that Court totally is “condescending and self-centered," and Court replying to her one friend that she is "like a nice girl" followed by "don't f--k with me."

And thus concludes another gripping installment of the guilty pleasure known as The Bachelor. You are likely feeling sufficiently dumber for it, but that doesn't mean it can't be a good time, right?

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Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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