Ben Higgins Bachelor Recap Episode 1: Meet the Contestants

Ben Higgins Bachelor Recap Episode 1: Meet the Contestants

Welcome everyone, to the entirely unqualified and subjective observations of the twentieth season of ABC’s The Bachelor.

0 Minutes into the first episode, and we've his our first snag - I assumed that all of the episodes would be on Hulu. Over to the ABC website, and into the Bachverse!

The first segment is of course an overview of the entire season. Let’s see what we’re going to get:

  • Snogging: Nothing new here, there’s considerable snogging every season.
  • Delusion: Multiple contestants stating they “can see themselves” or are “are falling in love” with Ben. I don’t know why, but this is acceptable in the Bachverse while “I love Ben” is not. I don’t think my girlfriend (hi Kat!) or most people I’ve met would let someone off on a technicality like that. In the Bachverse, those translate to “I’m serious about this competition, but clearly I’m not crazy enough to say I love someone after a choreographed meet-cute and one date with someone less exclusive than most Mormons.”
  • Drama: Crying, call-outs, and of course “I don’t know if I can be here right now.” Don’t worry, ladies! It’s impossible for more than one of you to be here at the end, so that’s something you’re all likely to say at some point.
“Get ready for the exciting season premiere of The Bachelor.”
— Voiceover

It’s not the premiere I’m worried about, it’s that plus the other eight episodes.

Finally, we get to meet Bachelor Ben, The Second of His Name! He’s 26, single, and ready for another shot at love. That’s good, because he’s only 26 and from a tiny town in Indiana. Plenty of time and plenty of fish in the sea, especially now that he lives in Denver.

“Warsaw (Indiana) feels like America.”
— Ben

It should: it definitely is part of America.

Ben worries that he might love someone on the show only to not be loved in return. Every contestant comes onto this show mostly in love with someone they’ve only seen on TV. That will not be a problem.

He and his parents are cute, though, and they have a lakefront view. Knucks to you, Higginses.

After apparently toasting with water (I hope the parents, seemingly retired, have something stronger), we move into the First Impressions preview. These montages are really challenging my typing skills – we have shots of a mini-pony (great if you’re seeking the affection of a young girl), twins (fine, but also doomed from the start, more on that later), and great consternation over Ben getting touchy with someone on the first night. Stop that! Jealousy doesn’t make anyone look good. Bachelor Pad, Bachelor in Paradise, and numerous seasons of the flagship show should have eliminated any expectations of exclusivity by now!

Ben cruises in an old car to meet three former Bachelors: Chris Soules, Sean Lowe, and Jason Mesnick according to my internet research. Chris recommends kissing them all, while Sean recommends not kissing a girl in front of other girls. These are not exclusive goals, so Ben might be able to pull it off. Unfortunately, I can’t help but feel bad for Jason – he is not as good looking as Sean Lowe or Chris Soules and he has to be on TV next to them. He also wore a shirt that shows sweat, but he’s married and has a kid, so it’s forgivable. One little gem here comes from Sean: “halfway through the show, I didn’t have strong feelings for my wife”. Ahh, the story behind so many lasting relationships.

Coming back from commercial, I’m starting to think this show is named “The Exciting Bachelor”. As I like to say, if you have to tell me how Something you are, you’re probably not very Something. I can’t imagine people tuning into this premiere aren’t already excited. Superfluous adjective use, ABC!

Okay, time to meet the lucky(?) ladies:

  • Lauren – Flight attendant from Southern California
  • Caila – Software Sales Rep in Boston. Wait. Let me rewind. My ears did not deceive me: Caila said she ended her previous relationship after seeing Ben step out of the limo last season. Wow.
Caila: We need to talk.

Caila’s Significant Other: Okay, what’s up?

Caila: I’m sorry, I just…I don’t think this is working anymore. I think we need to break up.

Caila’s SO: Wow, I’m shocked! What happened? Did I do something wrong?

Caila: No, no, it’s not you. I saw a man on TV step out of a limo to compete with ten other men for the heart of a girl he’s never met, and now I must pursue him.

Caila’s SO: Oh. Yeah I think we should definitely break up in that case.
— A conversation that definitely happened


And here I was excited that she had a real job.

  • Jubilee – joined the military at 18 and talks with some serious confidence.
  • Mandy – Claims to be very weird, which I believe because she lives in Portland. Dentist.
  • Emily and Haley – 22 year old twins from Las Vegas. Let’s discuss why this can’t work out. Either you’re interested in both of them and then have an attraction to your future sister-in-law or you’re interested in one of them and have rejected your future sister-in-law. It’s a lose-lose.
  • Amanda – 25 year old esthetician. Is doing this show for her two kids because Ben could be a good role model. I am not a parent, but competing on The Bachelor is being a bad role model.
  • Tiara – a chicken enthusiast. NOPE. Has a chicken that stays in her room with her. NOPE NOPE NOPE. “What comes first? The chicken or the Ben?” HOLY FUCKING NOPE.
  • Samantha – attorney in Florida. I am a bit scared of the weird Florida news stories, but she goes right into a very sad story featuring ALS so I’m going to drink and wait for the next contestant.

Suddenly the limo is already pulling up, so First Impressions are upon us:

  • Lauren B with a normal, adult introduction. That might make a very distinct impression, actually.
  • Caila jumps into his arms, earning a “this is the best first impression ever” from Ben. Best of two.
  • Jennifer, small business owner from Ohio, forgets to say her name, which is kind of cute.
  • Jami is from Canada and knows the former Bachelor contestant (and winner) Catherine.
  • Samantha goes with the awkward frontal two-hands hold. Unfortunate.
  • Jubilee says she’s very good at pickup lines, which is kind of like being good at burning coffee. I don’t doubt you, but who wants it?
  • Amanda arrives. That’s all I got.
  • Lace shows up and plants a kiss on Ben with his eyes closed. Smart play!
  • Lauren from Houston is a math teacher who admits to stalking him on social media. Hopefully Ben realizes all of these women are doing that.
  • Shushanna begins speaking in a foreign language. If her goal is to make Ben panic, good move.
  • Leah the event planner snaps a football to Ben. Good idea, but throwing a spiral is a lot more impressive than snapping. You thought too hard about it!
  • Oh Christ. Someone just showed up in a unicorn mask. It’s JoJo. The goal is to make an impression I suppose, and she’s winning the First Impression rose so far.
  • Lauren H brought the bouquet from a wedding she was at recently. That’s a little scary.
  • Our first redhead claims to be called “Red Velvet” by her friends, which I refuse to believe.
  • Mandi the dentist arrives with a weird hat, and offers Ben the chance to pollinate it later. Unnerving. It also earns a “Bold move. I wouldn’t have done that” from another contestant, which I think means “what a fucking weirdo” in the Bachverse. Lace makes one comment to the camera in privacy, and is slurring her words already. THIS SHOULD GO WELL.
  • The Lace intoxication clearly has a source – every girl inside the house has a wine glass except for Lace, who appears to drinking a pint glass full of something clear. If she’s been avoiding food for her first national television performance (God knows I would), it’s probably a vodka soda or something along those lines. I like to think it’s a vodka-vodka, though.
  • The Twins say they’ve never dated the same guy. I WOULD HOPE NOT.
  • Maegan has arrived with Huey, who is a very, very cute miniature horse. Maybe that’s not a bad play after all – I kind of want to pet it now.
  • Breanna, a nutritional therapist arrives and demonizes gluten before breaking a baguette on the ground. Back off my bread, bitch. There are starving people all over the place who care not for your falsified job title and temporarily popular dietary guidance.
  • Lace is now hammered. I don’t know how long this has taken in real time, but in show time it has been about ten minutes. She openly admits to judging people because that’s what you do, and I pretty much just respect her honesty.
  • Izzy the Graphic Designer arrives in a onesie. Not going to be able to compete wearing that.
  • Rachel, unemployed, arrives on one of those stupid not-actually-a-hoverboards.
  • Lace says she’s prettier than everyone. Lot of competition for that, but she is DEFINITELY drunker than everyone. At least she’s winning something.
  • Jessica the accountant arrives, and Ben is already showing fatigue. As am I.
  • Tiara arrives looking not much like a chicken enthusiast. Ben’s eyes light up, but that will be extinguished as soon as he learns his won’t be the only cock in their bedroom.
  • Another Lauren shows up. Poor Ben.
  • Jackie the Gerontologist is hopefully our last contestant. I Google Gerontologist. She shows a wedding invitation for her and Ben. Knucks for you, Jackie.
  • Olivia is a news anchor and comes out very nervous.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s possible (that my wife is in that room)”.
— Ben

Undoubtedly possible, like every outcome.

Ben joins the cocktail party but is immediately stolen by Mandi. Everyone is bummed out that they didn’t do the same, which is really their own damn fault. Mandi gives him a dental exam, forgetting the critical rule: don’t stick sharp objects in someone’s mouth during the meet-cute. You’re welcome.

Olivia seems shockingly normal in her conversation with Ben, which might be bad for her in the long run.

Caila attempts to bond with Ben over software sales. Cute in a very dorky way, potentially effective on the right person.

Ahh the twins. They sit Ben down and promise to let him know how it works. Somehow they don’t lead off with “it doesn’t!” and that in fact it’s a fantasy that people build up in their heads. I’m starting to blend together Bachelor and Game of Thrones, which I did NOT anticipate doing.

Partway through the cocktail party, two former contestants arrive, one of which I think I remember as being the craziest one from a couple years ago. It turns out she was actually the virgin from a couple years ago.

“Becca, a lot was made about your virginity and saving yourself for the right guy, and it turns out Chris was not that guy”.
— Chris Harrison

I bet no one has felt that way before!

The arrival of Becca and Amber triggers a lot of nerves in the crowd. I’m not sure why, because their presence only demonstrates that they know how to lose. Even Lace sounds concerned, which I didn’t think she would be capable of at this BAC. She then asks for another wine glass. Her wine glass is full.

Ben pulls a classic “please stop adding more girls to this house I have met 25 people in the past few hours and I’m supposed to talk to all of them” face.

After about the tenth time I see this happen, I have to ask: WHY DOESN’T ANYONE SAY NO WHEN ANOTHER CONTESTANT ASKS TO BORROW THE PERSON?! Everyone gets irritated by it, but they stand up and leave quietly. Stand your ground!

Lace corners and challenges Ben for another kiss. Ben requests time to talk. Lace is capable of the former, not the latter. Lace slurs some maybe-words together and finds her wine glass. Somehow she feels it went very, very well. With enough alcohol, “non-calamitous” and “very well” look the same.

Chris Harrison arrives just to drop off the First Impression rose. I really want his job.

Lauren B holds her wine glass in a fist while talking to Ben. Not very dainty, but probably better than dropping a wine glass on the object of your affections.

The first impression rose goes to Olivia the news anchor. I thought I predicted that earlier, but I don’t see it written anywhere so I guess I’m lying. Sorry everyone!

Chris is back. He says less than 30 words before leaving the room, and prompts at least ten of the girls to attempt setting things in the room on fire with their minds. I would combust under those gazes, and feel like I’d gotten off easy.

Ben mimes his heart beating loudly. EVERYONE laughs. I wish my jokes were that good.

Victorious in battle this week: Lauren B, LB, Caila, Amber, Jami, Jennifer, Jubilee, Amanda, JoJo, Leah, Rachel, Samantha, Jackie, Haley, Emily (you can’t pick one twin and not the other, don’t act surprised), Lauren H, Becca, Mandi, and Lace. Lace looked near to vomiting for much of the ceremony; whether due to alcohol poisoning or nerves, no one can be sure. In any case, it’s very exciting that she gets a rose because I really want to find out if she ever stops drinking or if this is just how every episode with her will be. I hope it’s the norm.

Awkward hugs all around, even though most of these people didn’t know each other before tonight.

Redhead has the right attitude on her way out, suggesting that maybe Ben isn’t into redheads. There’s a fine line between delusional and confident, and I prefer to err on the side of delusional myself.

Before the episode ends, Lace confronts Ben about not making eye contact during the rose ceremony. Ben counters with an “oops I should have picked someone else” face.

One episode down. This may have been a very bad idea.


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