After the last season of The Bachelorette, I almost decided to skip this season of The Bachelor and find some other show to write about. But, after the premiere, I'm glad I decided to stick with The Bachelor, because this new season could be a lot of fun. For once, the changes promised by the Bachelor producers aren't just hype. And, Bachelor Charlie is as different from Bachelor Byron as body shots and booty dancing are from bass fishing.

Now, I'm not saying that The Bachelor has suddenly changed into classy, thought-provoking TV. Quite the opposite, in fact. Let's face it, all along, the whole setup of The Bachelor/Bachelorette has almost ensured that there would be no "fairytale ending." In fact, we should probably be impressed by the fact that six seasons of The Bachelor and three seasons of The Bachelorette have resulted in even one marriage (Trista/Ryan) and one ongoing engagement (Byron/Mary).

So, this time around, the producers aren't even trying to convince us that the show will lead to "happily ever after." They found a fun guy who likes women and loves to party, and set him loose with 25 women. On the premiere episode alone, there was more kissing than almost all the last season of The Bachelorette. The basic setup of The Bachelor lends itself to catfights, groping, and gratuitous boob shots, not "happily ever after," so why fight it? The result was the most enjoyable Bachelor premiere yet.

Some posters have said that they don't find new Bachelor Charlie O'Connell physically attractive, but I do. That doesn't mean I'd marry him, or that he's even my type. But, while Charlie isn't traditionally good-looking, I'm a sucker for dimples. Granted, Charlie is no Rhodes Scholar, but neither are most of the 25 women he's been matched with. Maybe because he's a sometime actor, Charlie plays well for the camera. He's funny, has a lot of energy, and comes up with lines that sound spontaneous and friendly. And, so far at least, Charlie seems to be a genuinely nice guy.

I've put together a longer commentary on Charlie, but decided to put it at the end of this recap, so you would have more basis for deciding if you agree with me, or see things differently.

One more thing. I had strongly intended to write much shorter recaps this season, because the longer ones were taking too much time. But, because this was the premiere and a two-hour episode, and because I know that some of you missed it, I got carried away and wrote a longer recap, despite my best intentions. However, I'm hoping that tonight's longer recap is a one-off, and my plan is that, as the season progresses, my reviews will become less recap and more commentary. We can only hope.

Okay, let's get into the highlights of the premiere:


From the opening of the show, we knew that this season of The Bachelor was going to be different. Yes, Chris Harrison is still the host. But, yikes, Chris isn't dressed like an funeral director!...Chris has also gotten a partial script makeover. While he still has to deliver a lot of the stilted lines we've come to expect from The Bachelor, every once in awhile Chris is actually allowed to talk like a human being. And, some of the dumbest lines, like telling us "This is the final rose tonight" have been left out. With any luck, those changes will be permanent.

Unlike past seasons of The Bachelor, this show didn't start with a lengthy documentary on the new bachelor (e.g., "Then, in fifth grade, Bachelor X won third place in his school science fair.") This time, we got a short introduction to Charlie, with just enough recycling of traditional Bachelor lines to assure us that we hadn't accidentally tuned into the wrong show, such as "29-year Charlie O'Connell is definitely looking for love."....Chris warns us to "expect the unexpected" (hmmm, shades of Big Brother) and says that Charlie wanted "more reality from this reality show." (Notice that Chris doesn't promise we're actually going to GET more reality.)....Then Chris moves right away to the "ambush" of the women for their surprise first meeting with Charlie. (Geez, we're hardly five minutes into the show, and the producers have already stolen ideas from both Big Brother and Survivor.)

Good-Morning, Ladies

On most previous Bachelor seasons, the women have met the bachelor wearing long gowns, with their hair done, etc. This time, the staff wakes up the women at 8:30 am and tells them that they have five minutes to get ready and go down to the ballroom to meet the bachelor before the ballroom doors are locked.....So, we see lots of scenes of half-dressed women madly getting ready, putting on clothes and make-up, and running down the hall to the ballroom, some of them with wet hair or in their pajamas. Several of the women are afraid that the elevator will take too long, and run down nine flights of stairs to get to the ballroom.....It's obvious that the producers of The Bachelor have scrapped efforts in earlier shows to make The Bachelor classy and tasteful, because in the first five minutes of the premiere, we see more shots of women in their underwear than in the entire season of Bachelor 6 with Byron.

While the women scramble, Chris picks up Charlie at his loft and they go to the Roosevelt Hotel to meet the women.....They enter through the service entrance and head toward the kitchen....I think the five-minute threat to the women was an exaggeration, because by the time the last woman gets to the ballroom, some of the others are already sipping champagne.....Most of the women are wearing jeans, and some type of camisole or shoulder-baring top...Some women complain that several of the others look like they had an hour to get ready, not five minutes. (But, an 8:30 am wakeup isn't THAT early, and unless the producers deliberately kept the women up late the night before, some of the women, particularly those who aren't suffering from jet lag, may have already been awake when they were called.)....One woman, Danuska, says in a bored voice that she isn't going to run like the "desperate single girls" because she doesn't run for men. (Well, excuuuse me.)

Chris leaves Charlie alone in the kitchen as he heads into the ballroom, kidding Charlie, "Don't throw up."....Chris walks through the kitchen door, and is greeted by screams of excitement from the women, who sound like a bunch of 13-year olds greeting their favorite boy band....Chris tells the women they all look great for only having had five minutes to get ready. (Why does that not sound like a compliment to me? It's sort of like saying, "For a 40-year old, you don't have a lot of cellulite.")....Chris tells the women that this season they should "expect the unexpected" and "anything can happen and probably will." Then he gives them a "sneak peek" at the bachelor they are about to meet.

Chris shows the women the bio video about Charlie, complete with pictures of him as a kid, and an interview with Charlie and his more-famous older brother, Jerry. The video is actually kinda cute. In one scene, we get a glimpse of Charlie's parents. You can see where Charlie gets his sense of humor, because his dad warns him, "Your mother doesn't like those floozies, Charlie." And, Charlie's mother (kiddingly) asks him, "Are you gonna have to make out with these girls?" And, while so far we have seen mostly Charlie's fun, party-guy image, in the video, Charlie says several times that he could be ready to settle down and start a family.

After the video, Chris brings Charlie out from the kitchen, and he is greeted with more teenybopper cheers.....Charlie is dressed almost as casually as the women, wearing a zippered brown sweater with a black T-shirt underneath, and jeans....Chris tells the women that there will now be a round of "rapid dating." Each woman will get two minutes with Charlie to make a good first impression. Charlie will have two roses to give to two women, and those women will be safe from being sent home until the next rose ceremony.

Chris takes Charlie to a couch in a room next door to the ballroom, and the women come in one-by- one. Here are my quick impressions of the women:

Anitra—Brunette, wearing what looks to be a terrycloth bathing suit cover-up with only a thong underneath. (We know about the thong because we saw a earlier shot of Anitra getting dressed.)...Charlie comments on Anitra's nice tan and her nose ring, and asks her if she has any tattoos. Anitra replies that she'd show Charlie her tattoos if she was wearing pants, but (in her dress) she'd have to hike everything up....As she leaves, Charlie says, "Stay warm."

Carrie—Blonde hair, which is still kind of wet. She greets Charlie with, "Friends don't shake hands. Friends gotta hug."...Charlie doesn't mind hugging her at all. In fact, Charlie ends up hugging most of the women. I don't know if this is a way for him to tell if there is physical attraction, or to determine whether their boobs are real or fake. At any rate, Charlie is a huggy, affectionate kind of guy.

Jenny—Brunette. Jenny chugs champagne with Charlie, then snuggles up next to him on the couch after Charlie says to her, "You're cold. Here, I'll warm you up." After Jenny leaves, Charlie tells the camera that he liked Jenny, but he didn't give her a rose because he didn't know "what else was coming up."

Kristin—Blonde hair. She tells Charlie that she's a first grade teacher in Boston, and Charlie says that his mom is a teacher.

Brenda—Straight dark hair with bangs. She tells Charlie that she rides a Yamaha motorcycle. (She looks kinda like a biker chick. Poor Brenda is obviously going tonight because the producers gave her about 15 seconds of screen time.)

Kristina—Brunette. (There are too many "K-girls" in the original 25 for me to keep them straight.) As she walks away, she tells the camera that she thinks she wasn't "unforgettable," which was something the women needed to be today. (She's right.)

Kimberly—Brunette. Kimberly (or at least her generous boobage) is unforgettable. She's wearing an unbuttoned shirt with a bra/bikini-top underneath. She sits down in Charlie's lap, and Charlie asks her to tell Santa what she wants for Christmas. Charlie says in a voiceover that he normally wouldn't like someone sitting in his lap, but will make an exception for Kimberly because she's cute. When Charlie asks her to tell him about herself, Kimberly replies that she's Ukrainian and can cook.

Krisily—Blondish/reddish hair. Krisily is wearing a blue sweater with a white T-shirt underneath that makes her look very clean cut, but she tells Charlie, "I've got to tell you first that I am a bartender, dancer, Harley-riding girl." Charlie replies, "So far, perfect. So tell me something bad." She replies in a cute way, "I can be a little bitchy."

Kyshawn—Kyshawn is the only African-American bachelorette (and none of the women are Asian). She asks Charlie, "Tattoos or piercings?" Charlie, "Piercings." Then Charlie asks, "Bad breath or snotty nose?" Kyshawn, "Snotty nose."

Siomara—Medium dark hair, glasses. (But when we see her later in the show she is wearing contacts.) Siomara tells Charlie she is Spanish, and Charlie tries out his grade school Spanish on her. (I swear Siomara looks just like one of the women on Bachelor 6, but that woman's name was Alma, so I guess they're not the same person.)

Emile—Brunette. Emile asks Charlie if he has ever played "thumb wars." They agree that if Emile wins, she gets a rose. She loses.

Debby—Brunette. Charlie asks Debby if she can samba. She can and demonstrates. Debby gets about 10 seconds—I figure she's history tonight.

Sarah W—Long blonde hair that's still kinda wet, bangs....Sarah tells Charlie that she's into extreme sports like downhill mountain biking, snowboarding....Charlie asks her if she has any good scars, and she shows him one on her stomach that she got rollerblading....Then Charlie asks Sarah if that's a bruise on her shoulder. Sarah says it's a spider bite that went away, and Charlie kids her that he thought maybe she got a hickey making out last night.....Sarah W gets the first rose, and Charlie says to her that he hopes that doesn't make the other girls jealous. Charlie tells the camera, "I think (Sarah and I) clicked a little bit, and I thought, 'Here's a good opportunity to throw down the first rose and see what the rest of them bring.'

When Sarah comes back with her rose, some of the women seem a little jealous, and ask Sarah what she did to get the rose....Danuska (she of the sunglasses) is above jealousy, and says that means there's one rose left and that's for her.

Kristine—Brunette. As soon as she walks in, Kristine tells Charlie that she is a swimsuit model, and immediately takes off her dress to show her bikini (and huge boobs)....She also reads Charlie a poem that is so lame I have to give it to you verbatim. As she reads it, Charlie kiddingly puts his head on her shoulder (but I think Kristine may think he's being serious.)...Here's the poem: "Who are you, Mr. Bachelor? I want to meet you. My heart beats with anticipation. Desire is kept alive by imagination. Why must we be kept isolated? We are about to experience something fairy-tale-like, a journey breathing, adventure, intimacy, and beauty. Are you ready?"...Charlie tells Kristine that he doesn't know if he can give her a rose, but pulls a flower off a nearby flower arrangement to give her. In return, she takes off her bikini top and gives it to Charlie. (Note: Kristine had put her dress back on before she took off her bikini top.)

Geitan—Reddish-brown hair. While we are still marveling on the strangeness of Kristine, Geitan walks into the room making a very loud sound of a chicken. She tells Charlie she learned how to do that on a farm in Northern Alberta. Then, sitting on Charlie's lap, she tells him she can also do a monkey imitation, and the two of them have a monkey imitation contest. Geitan's imitation is better (and louder).

Katie—Brunette. Katie tells Charlie that she'd like to kiss him (rather than talk to him) to find out if they have chemistry. Charlie agrees, and kisses her. Katie tells Charlie she's in trouble, because he's a hottie. After Katie leaves, Charlie tells the camera, "I just wasn't feeling it, but, um, thank-you for the kiss."

Gina Marie—Brunette. Gina Marie tells Charlie that she is a retired NFL cheerleader, and the two of them have a kick contest.

Valerie—Blonde hair, big boobs. Valerie tells Charlie that she is from New Jersey, and Charlie tells her that he went to high school in Jersey City.....Charlie comments on Valerie's belly button ring, and she asks him if he is into belly button rings. Charlie replies that he is now.....He asks Valerie if she has a tattoo, and she unzips her pants to show him her tattoo that is only inches above her crotch. She then asks Charlie if her tattoo is worth a rose. Charlie seems kind of embarrassed (as much as he appeared to enjoy the view) and tells the camera, "Some tattoo. It was---downtown."

Sarah B—Blonde hair in short pigtails, and a pink sweater. On meeting her, Charlie asks Sarah if she wants a hug. Sarah says, "Yes," then Charlie kiddingly asks her if she wants to make out....We hear a voiceover from Sarah that some girls had said they were going to go sit on Charlie's lap and kiss him, and she decided she wasn't going to do that....Sarah tells Charlie that she is a labor and delivery nurse, and she and Charlie practice the breathing techniques she uses....As she leaves, Charlie tells Sarah to treat the other girls nice. No catfights.....Charlie says to the camera that he thought his two minutes with Sarah were going well, but she gave him a pretty wimpy hug at the end and he doesn't know what that's about.

Kara—Brunette. Kara tells Charlie that she likes to have fun but was brought up right with all the Southern values. Charlie asks her the craziest thing she's ever done. Kara replies, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, sorry."....After Kara leaves, Charlie says he was surprised by her Las Vegas comment, then says, "If she makes it to the end, our trip might have to be to Vegas."

Kerry—Blonde. Kerry tells Charlie that she is an "adventure girl" and that she grew up on a farm and loves horses. Charlie tells her that he likes to jet ski and taught sailing to little kids. Kerry tells Charlie that she doesn't know how to sail but he can teach her....After this, Kerry gets the second rose. Charlie tells the camera, "Kerry and seem to have a lot in common, so I thought it was time to hand out the second rose." As Kerry leaves, Charlie says, "Hopefully the other girls won't be too mean to you with the rose."

Megan—Brunette. Charlie compliments Megan on her tan and asks her if it's real. She assures him it is real because she lives in Florida.

Kindle—Blonde, athletic looking. Kindle is one of the few women who didn't dress "sexy." Kindle tells Charlie that she is from Dallas and dances for the Mavericks. He asks her how old she is. When Kindle says she is 23, Charlie asks her if she has a problem with older men. (She doesn't.)

Danuska—Blonde. When Danuska comes out, she says in a voiceover, "I'm not gonna belly-dance and recite poetry and do all kinds of crazy [Bleep] It's just gonna be Danuska. Take it or leave it." Charlie asks Danuska if he can search her purse. She's fine with that, and says, "I got the purse, and I got the sunglasses--just no underwear and no bra, you know?" (Note: Some posters were offended that Charlie went through Danuska's purse, but I thought it was funny, and she didn't seem to mind.) As she leaves, Danuska tells the camera that she'll be getting a rose at the rose ceremony.

Whew! That's it. After all this, Charlie is exhausted and says it was weird meeting 25 girls. But, he thinks there were a lot of connections and there's a good shot that maybe he will fall in love. Just as Charlie is starting to get relaxed, Chris breaks the news that now Charlie has to go back in the ballroom and immediately send five women home. (Charlie hadn't been told about this ahead of time.) But to help him, Chris gives Charlie pictures and names of the 25 women. Charlie seems genuinely bummed about having to send women home, which made me like him. I hope we don't find out in later episodes that he's really a jerk.

In the ballroom, the women are not pleased to hear that five of them will be going home right now. Chris goes back to get Charlie, and Charlie comes in looking just as upset as the women. Chris tells the women that if they hear their name, they need to leave the ballroom immediately. Charlie calls the names: Kristina. Heather. (Heather????? We never even got to see Charlie's meeting with Heather!) Brenda. Debby. Katie. As Brenda walks by Charlie, she says to him, "You don't like brunettes, do you?" And it's true, all five women that Charlie sent home were brunettes. But, as little as we got to see of the women, I don't feel bad about any of the five that Charlie sent home. Something tells me that Charlie didn't have THAT difficult a time deciding to send these five home.

Loft Story—Women Only

One big difference between New York and the previous Bachelor mansions in LA is space. Our first impression of the women's loft is that it is very pretty—shining wood floors, and walls painted different colors. The immediate next impression is that it is small—at least small for 20 women...Last season on The Bachelorette, also in New York, the bachelors had three floors of a townhouse. This season, the women's loft is one floor, and the bedrooms are crammed with iron bunk beds. In fact, Geitan says, "Oh, we're in summer camp again."...There doesn't appear to be any space for the women to put their stuff, except under the beds.....Poor ladies. First, they were deprived of gowns and limos, and then they have to sleep in boot camp quarters (albeit with beautiful floors and red walls). The women might as well have signed up for Survivor the way things are going. At least they would have had a shot at a million dollars.

Every season of The Bachelor seems to get more low budget, not surprising considering the show's dwindling ratings. But, we also know that the Bachelor producers love catfights, and this environment is guaranteed to be stressful, even if the women weren't all competing for the same man.

The First Group Date—Pool for Five, Please

The living room of the loft is so cramped that there isn't even seating for all 20 women, so some of them are standing when the elevator opens and Chris appears. He tells the women that there will be three group dates before the next rose ceremony, and Charlie will be calling the house to invite the women on the dates. It will be up to the women to decide who goes on each date. On each of the three dates, Charlie will have two roses to hand out....Chris' last words are, "And, ladies, the rules are--there are no rules."

After Chris leaves, the women start freaking out about who is going to go on which dates, and hover near the phone waiting for Charlie's call. (Heck, there is nothing else to do.) In fact, Carrie says the women are like vultures. Geitan must be the mother vulture, because she guards the phone as closely as a bird sitting on its nest, so she can be sure to be the one who answers....Eventually Charlie does call, and invites five of the women to come with him to play pool. Immediately the women try to figure out which five women are going to go on the date.

While the other women dither and pick the favored five by doing rock, paper, scissors, Kindle takes matters into her own hands, and puts on her coat and sneaks down the stairs so she can be the first one out the door. Kindle says in a voiceover, "I really wanted to go on the date. I'm not here to make friends. (The other women) wouldn't do anything for me, so I'm not gonna give up a rose for them."

Meanwhile upstairs, the chosen five are looking out the window waiting for the van to pull up, and for Charlie to call them down on the intercom....As they start down the stairs, Kindle is already out the front door, giving Charlie a hug, and getting into the van....Meanwhile, the other five women troop down the stairs and line up on the sidewalk to get in the van. Charlie notices that there are six women, and the women see Kindle in the van.....In the end, it's Carrie that gets left behind and she's pissed. Carrie tells the camera that if Kindle comes back with a rose, she'll feel like Kindle took her rose.

As Charlie and the women drive to the bar, Charlie tells the camera, "Today I'm taking the girls to a dive bar. We're gonna shoot some pool.. I just want to do things that I normally do. Going to a dive bar is one of them."...First the women and Charlie play some pool. Then Charlie and Kindle go downstairs by themselves....Charlie likes the way Kindle snuck onto the date. Charlie tells Kindle, "I want to congratulate you for cheating the girls." Kindle assures Charlie that she's actually a very nice girl.....Then Charlie invites Kindle to have a "dance-off" with him. Charlie goes first and does some silly moves. Then Kindle gives Charlie some dance lessons. For the date, she is wearing low-cut jeans with her midriff showing. Kindle has an athletic body, but can also do some very sexy moves with her hips. Charlie says in a voiceover, "Kindle had some spunk, and I think cheerleaders are great. I still haven't figured out if I want to be with a cheerleader for the rest of my life, but at the moment, rah-rah, bring 'em on."....Then Charlie tells Kindle to wait because he has to get something upstairs, and he goes to the table where the other women are sitting and takes a rose. As he takes the rose, he apologizes to the other women and says to them, "It's something that has to be done." Charlie tells the camera, "Going back into the room to get Kindle's rose was a little awkward, but I think it was a good way to start it off and say, 'Hey, listen, this date is about giving out roses.' As Kindle leaves, Charlie says to her, "Try not to rub it in. Be nice to the other girls, too." Kindle assures Charlie that she is nice.

When Charlie comes back to the table with the other women, he tells them, "Don't think that that doesn't mean everyone's not getting a rose here or anything like that."....Charlie then gets some alone time with Anitra and they talk about her terrycloth cover-up at the two-minute dates the day before. Charlie asks her why she wore "the washcloth." Anitra explains that she sleeps in nothing, and then just grabbed the first thing she saw. Charlie tells her he gives her credit (for her outfit) because it was probably a tough day sitting around in it....Charlie tells Anitra that he thinks she's a cool person, and likes the fact that she's a little shy. Anitra explains that she can be shy initially, but her friends would never call her shy.....Charlie comments on her nose ring, which means she must be a little bit of a rebel, and Anitra agrees. Anitra tells the camera, "I like Charlie, and I would like to stick around, but I'm not the type to really pursue and go after somebody."

Charlie also chats a bit with Kristin, who tells him that if the feeling between she and Charlie is mutual, she'd love to get a rose from him. Charlie tells the camera, "Kristen's a sweet girl, but I don't like it when a girl pulls me aside and says, 'You know, I'd really like a rose.' I think it might be better if they said, 'You know, I'd really like to stick around. I really think we've got something that's starting here. Let's have a good time.'

Back at the table with the five women, Charlie says, "There's definitely more nights and more roses to be had, so on that, Anitra, I'm gonna give you the rose."...Kristin says in a voiceover, "Looking at all the girls that (Charlie's) given the roses to, they're great girls, but they're really different. I'm thinking, 'Is it physical? Is it personality? What's going through his mind right now?'

As Charlie escorts the women back to the van, he says to them, "Be nice at the house." Back at the house, as the women return from their date, things aren't so nice. When Carrie sees that Kindle did indeed get a rose, she says, "Elbows are coming out, but I'm going on the second date."

The Second Group Date: Body Shots and Booty Dancing

If Geitan was a bird, guarding the cell phone like an egg in her nest, Siomara is like a kangaroo. As the second date looms, she carries the cell phone around, hugging it to her chest so she can be the one who answers....When Charlie calls, the women are in the living room, and he invites eight of them out for "a night on the town." And, he'll be there to pick them up in about ten minutes.....Since the other women couldn't hear what Charlie said, Siomara tells the other women that Charlie told her that she was supposed to decide which eight women would go on the date. She teams with Krisily to pick women who will have a good time, but who will also be less competition for them, and increase their chances for getting a rose. So, for example, they invite Sarah W who already got a rose from Charlie during the two-minute rapid dates.

This time Charlie comes up the elevator himself. It's his first time seeing the women's loft and his comment is, "This place is colorful," without a lot of enthusiasm....Siomara takes charge and points to the eight women who are going to go on the date, and they all squeeze into the elevator....Back in the loft, Gina is pissed, because Siomara had promised that she would go, but then didn't pick her.

Charlie and the women pull up to nightclub, and sit in a dim bar area....The women want to hear from Charlie how the first group date went. He tells them it was a little boring....Then Charlie and the women go out on the small dance floor, and he tells them this is definitely better than a pool date.

Charlie also takes each of the women off by themselves for a little time alone with him. Siomara tells him how she told everyone that she was in charge of choosing the dates. Charlie laughs and says, "Oh, you sneaky girl," and high-fives her....Alone with Kyshawn, she asks Charlie how he feels about interracial dating. Charlie says he is fine with it, and once took a black girl to the prom....Sarah B tells Charlie that she loves to cook and have people over to her home, and Charlie agrees....Krisily asks Charlie to tell her something about him that she doesn't know, and Charlie admits that he's dyslexic. It turns out that Krisily is dyslexic, as well, although she has trouble with numbers and Charlie has trouble with letters...Krisily asks Charlie what he is looking for, and he gives her what I think is a pretty pat answer, that he is looking for someone to have fun with, and when it comes to being boyfriend and girlfriend, he feels they have to be best friends. At the end of their talk, Charlie gives Krisily a nice kiss on the lips. He seems sorry that he has to let her go.

Then we go from the sublime to the absurd. Charlie tells the camera, "A lot of (the women) are easy on the eyes--A lot of them aren't so easy on the ears." We see Charlie talking with Kristine, who is wearing an ugly black hat. She tells him at length how she used to work in TV production, but quit because she didn't get any sleep....Charlie asks her how the swimsuit modeling is going, and Kristine tells him that swimsuit modeling is only half her job. The other half of her job is working as a private investigator for the government. Charlie isn't impressed by this, and tells the camera, "You don't come in a bikini, tell me you're a bikini person, then be the FBI. If I was working in the FBI, I detect a girl that is crazy." I found Kristine's story kinda hard to believe, too, but, to give her due credit, she never said she worked for the FBI....Kristine asks Charlie if she can have a hug, and he gives her a long hug...This hug showed me one thing I like about Charlie. We know from the voiceover that he wasn't impressed by Kristine, but when he hugged her, he was facing the camera, but he didn't make fun of Kristine by making faces behind her back that would have said he was faking it or not enjoying it.

Back at the ladies' loft, Gina decides she's going to crash the group date, and the other women encourage her. Gina says, "Wait until Siomara sees me. She's not calling the shots now."

At the nightclub, the women decide to do body shots because a couple of the women have never heard of them. Krisily lies down on the bar on her back, and the women pour some sugar(?) in her navel. Charlie then takes a shot and licks the sugar off Krisily's navel while the other women cheer....After he does the shot, Charlie goes over to the table and grabs a rose and gives it to Krisily. He tells the camera, "I wanted to give Krisily a rose because she's exciting. She's nice. It's not because she can do a body shot."....Meanwhile, Sarah B (the blonde nurse) tells the camera that she's not going to let Charlie lick her tummy to get a rose. But she says that she did feel that she and Charlie had a little connection when they were doing some booty dancing together.

During the body shots and booty dancing, Geitan sits at the table looking uncomfortable. She tells the camera, "Throughout the night, I kept thinking, 'What am I doing here? I don't want to dance and grind up against somebody I hardly know or don't know.' It's frustrating being in a bar setting when that's not you."

Meanwhile Charlie goes off with Sarah W. He tells her that he hopes the other girls are treating her well, and that he's glad she took someone else's spot and came on the date. Sarah W admits that she's a little shy. Then Charlie leans over and gives Sarah W a very long, passionate kiss. When they come up for air, he says to her, "You don't seem so shy." Charlie says in a voiceover, "All these girls are fighting for roses, and Sarah's giving kisses. I thought I had a connection with Sarah from the first day, and I thought she was a pretty girl, but I was mistaken. The girl's a knockout." From both his words and body language, Charlie is definitely smitten with Sarah W.

Charlie goes back to the table and is making general conversation with the women when Gina walks in. She says, "I heard there was some sort of party going on here."....Siomara is definitely not happy to see Gina, but Charlie laughs....Gina grabs Charlie's hand and takes him away. Gina tells him that she was left behind and it was boring at home. Charlie seems glad she came, and says, "I thought the date was coming to an end, and here it is, we're starting a new one. You completely confused everyone when you showed up there. That's a pretty good trick. I thought it was hilarious. I applaud you for coming."

Back at the table, the group is about to go back to the dance floor when Krisily cuts in, "Before you go have fun, I'm gonna be the mom for a minute. There's someone (Geitan) who hasn't had their five minutes with you, and she's been waiting for a long time." Geitan says, "To be honest with you, I personally don't think that this whole scenario is me. So I prefer to remove myself from it right now while I have my dignity, and I wish to give that rose to somebody who actually deserves it or who's more fitting to your personality. I don't mean any disrespect to you or any of the girls." Geitan starts to cry and Charlie reassures her that it's okay, and goes over to give Geitan a hug. Geitan says to Charlie, "I honestly don't need the five minutes. You're comfortable in this environment. I put myself in this position, and now I have to get myself out." Charlie tells Geitan that he'll walk her out and is sorry that it had to end this way. Geitan replies, "Maybe I didn't give you enough time, but I think I knew enough about the situation that, you know, I'm not your girl." Charlie gives Geitan a big hug and says he hopes she finds what she's looking for.

At first, I had mixed feelings about what Geitan did. I understood why she was uncomfortable, because I would have felt exactly the same way in the nightclub. The nightclub scene is also not me. On the other hand, Geitan talked about keeping her dignity and meaning no disrespect, but, earlier, on the two-minute date, she was one of the women who sat on Charlie's lap. But, after I thought about it for awhile, I remembered that I'm someone who can be quite uninhibited behind closed doors, alone with a guy <blushing>, but in public I don't dress or act in an overtly sexy way. Geitan could be similar....However, Geitan's correct that she's not a good fit for Charlie. He is a guy who seems like he can have fun and be comfortable in almost any situation, and is looking for a woman who can be the same way. There's nothing wrong with Geitan feeling uncomfortable with the bar scene, but that's not Charlie.

Back at the table, the mood has broken. Charlie tells the women that he had a great time, and is sure there are going to be more fun times. But, he doesn't think that this is the right time to hand out a rose, and they're just going to call it a night. The other women are disappointed, but Gina Marie tells the camera that she thought that it showed that Charlie was sweet and admirable because he decided it wasn't the right time to give out a second rose.

The Third Group Date: The Women are Climbing the Walls

It's the "morning after" and the women who didn't go on the second date are confused that Geitan is gone, but her stuff is still in the house. The women on the second date explain, while the six women who haven't been on a date yet wait in the living room for the phone to ring.....Jenny answers the phone, and Charlie invites the remaining women for some rock climbing and volleyball....They drive to an arena that has a sand floor for "beach volleyball" and a rock climbing wall....As the group plays volleyball, Danuska tells the camera that she doesn't fit in because she doesn't have "big hooters." Danuska says, "If I wanted big boobs, I would have bought them like some of the other girls." Meow.

After playing, Charlie and the women lie on the sand and share some general chit chat. They ask Charlie how he got into fencing. He says that he liked sword fighting as a kid so his mom put him into fencing. He wanted to be a ninja.....Then Charlie takes Jenny aside for a talk. Charlie repeats to the camera, "I'm looking for girls that just like to hang out, you know? I'm no rocket scientist. I'm just trying to have a good time and a laugh."...Charlie tells Jenny that his perfect weekend in "normal life" is to play golf on Saturday and watch football on Sunday. Jenny says that she lives with her best friend so they hang out, go shopping, and go places like the museum, the art gallery, and the symphony. (Hmm, that sounds more cultural than Charlie.) But Charlie says he could see doing that, and excuses himself to go get a rose to give to Jenny. He tells her, "I thought I'd give you this, and so, hopefully, you stick around. I like talking to you. I know it hasn't been much time, but I think, as it goes on, we'll get more time to spend and see how we work together."...Charlie tells the camera that his conversation with Jenny was his easiest going conversation yet, that it was refreshing and relaxing, and that's why he gave her the rose.

Next, Charlie takes Kara away for a talk....Kara tells Charlie that she has something to tell him--that she is a single mom with a nine-year old daughter, Kaitlin. Charlie asks Kara how old she is. Kara says she is 26 and you can see Charlie mentally doing the arithmetic in his head of how young Kara was when she had her daughter. Charlie asks Kara if she misses her daughter. She says she does, but that that this is also a good getaway. Charlie assures her, "I hope you're enjoying getting away because I do like you, and I've been having a good time knowing you. It's a new twist on you. I hope you don't miss her too much that you're not -- that you don't want to stay and stick around." Kara tells Charlie that she is really having a great time....Charlie tells Kara that he thinks it was important for her to tell him about her daughter, because she doesn't need to hold any more secrets, they'll drive you crazy....Kara is relieved by Charlie's reaction to her news, and Charlie gives her a big hug.

Then Charlie tells the camera that he has one more rose to give out and has his eye on Kimberly, because he believes she sat on his lap on the two-minute dates, and she was the one he didn't mind sitting on his lap.....He takes Kimberly off by herself and they each talk about what they're looking for. It's pretty much the same story. Charlie is looking for someone to have fun with, and is easy to talk to, and that being best friends is how a relationship starts off....Charlie gives Kimberly a rose, and says in a voiceover, "I really like her, and I wanted her to be safe this round."

The Most Catty Rose Ceremony Ever

This episode we're spared scenes of Charlie looking at pictures of the women to make his decision, and go right to Charlie and Chris getting off the elevator of the women's loft for the rose ceremony. Charlie continues his casual style, and is wearing jeans and a black shirt. But, Charlie doesn't look happy—he looks like the black shirt could be for a funeral.....The women are in two groups. The seven women who have received roses already are sitting on the couch on one side, and the remaining 13 women are standing in front of Charlie and Chris.

Chris tells the women that before Charlie hands out the roses, the women will be given the opportunity to speak their minds to Charlie and to each other. Also, he announces that, although Geitan left last night, she decided to return. Geitan walks into the room to a few smiles, and mostly frowns from the other women.....Geitan says to Charlie that she is here for love, but felt that her integrity was being compromised, and doesn't believe that dancing provocatively and acting like a sleaze or a trashy is her....(Okay, I'm taking back my "benefit of the doubt" for Geitan. It's one thing to feel uncomfortable, but another to call other women sleazy and trashy when she was one of the women who sat in Charlie's lap. Thankfully for Geitan, Charlie is too much of a gentleman to remind her of that.)....The other women, particularly Krisily, are offended by Geitan's comments. Krisily says to Geitan, "I thought that the reason why you left was because you didn't think that Charlie was your type." Geitan replies, "I did say that, and I know nothing about Charlie. I prejudged him, and I should have given him an opportunity to talk to me and get to know him better."...Sarah W chimes in that just because dancing provocatively isn't Geitan's style, doesn't mean it's a negative thing....Danuska says to Geitan, "I think you left because you knew you weren't getting a rose. But now you're coming back, and you're deciding that you can get another chance." Geitan replies, "I'm not deciding that. Charlie's gonna decide that."

After some more back and forth, Danuska says to Charlie, "My question is, if I did a body shot, would I have gotten a rose? Is that the kind of thing you're looking for?"...For the first time, Charlie loses his cool, and replies, "To be honest with you. I think that you came out acting like a big shot with sunglasses and a purse and all these things, and at the end of the day, you know, I don't think maybe you're here for the right reasons." Danuska replies in her usual bored voice, "Sunglasses makes me here for the wrong reasons? I'll make a mental note on that one."...Krisily says to Danuska, "Saying on tape when he's not around that you don't want to be here isn't the right reason, either."...Danuska asks Krisily if she is there for the right reasons. Krisily replies, "I will totally admit that when I came here, I came here for the experience and for the game 'cause I'm competitive. I may be the bitch of the house. I feared coming back to the house with the whole body shot thing." Danuska cuts in, "That doesn't make you a bitch, that makes you a slut." Krisily replies, "But I have a rose and you don't."....Chris decides to cut this off and ask if anyone has any last words.....Kristine tells Charlie that she's been praying for him and for his heart, and if her name is written on his heart she would be honored.

After this, Chris turns to Charlie and asks him if he's heard enough (Duh, yes), and says there are still five roses to be handed out.....Charlie looks totally unhappy as he hands out the final five roses. Sarah B. Kara. Carrie. Gina Marie. Megan.

After her name isn't called, Kristine has tears in her eyes.....In her exit interview, Geitan says that she came back to set the record straight, and that she hopes the nasty girls in the house are sent home and the nice ones stay.....Danuska says she never felt a connection with Charlie, and thanks him for sending her home.....As for Kristine, Charlie says in a voiceover that he knows she had true emotions, but he doesn't understand how someone could fall in love with him already. Still, Charlie is very nice to Kristine when he says good-bye, and thanks her for her poem.

As a reminder, here are the 12 women remaining (in alphabetical order):

Anitra, 29, Makeup Artist, Manhattan Beach, CA
Carrie, 27, Computer Specialist, Minneapolis, MN
Gina Marie, 28, Bartender, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Jenny, 23, Marketing Coordinator, Edmonton, Alberta
Kara, 26, Nanny, Woodland Hills, CA
Kerry, 32, Director of Mergers & Acquisitions, Chicago, IL
Kimberly, 25, Swimsuit Model, Edmonton, Alberta
Kindle, 23, Pro Basketball Cheerleader, Rockwell, TX
Krisily, 25, Salon Coordinator, Warwick, RI
Megan, 23, Retail Marketing, Tallahassee, FL
Sarah B, 24, Labor and Delivery Nurse, McKinney, TX
Sarah W, 24, Fashion Design, Los Angeles, CA

BTW, the remaining women aren't all blondes. In fact, half are brunettes (although a couple of the brunettes have very light brown/reddish hair that could be dark blonde).

I don't have any strong feelings about the women Charlie kept versus those he let go, because most of the women he sent home got almost no airtime anyway. The women he kept all made sense to me. Actually, that was a surprise because usually the producers have the bachelor keep some women you wouldn't expect, just for plot purposes. I'm just glad the producers didn't make Charlie keep Danuska or Kristine.

Next week on The Bachelor

Wait a minute! Usually on the premiere episode we get a fairly long "spoiler" of with teasers about what's coming up this season. The premiere spoiler pictures are normally analyzed endlessly by Bachelor fans to try to determine the identity of the finalists. This time, all we get are teasers about next week. Not fair!

Next week Charlie goes on two one-on-one dates. From the few scene's we're shown, it looks like one of the first two one-on-one dates is with Sarah W. Chris reminds us during the preview that if Charlie doesn't give a woman a rose after her one-on-one date, she goes home immediately......Also, one of the women (Megan?) decides that since Charlie seems to be very interested in blondes, she will go blonde herself.....Charlie sends one of the women home before the rose ceremony......The remaining ten women go on a group date that looks like it involves bikinis and pools.....And, the rose ceremony once again turns into a free-for-all.

Over the closing credits, we get a glimpse of how funny Chris Harrison can be when he's allowed to be himself. He and Charlie are riding in the car on their way to the first introduction to the women and the two-minute dates. Chris is completely stone faced throughout the conversation. First, he hassles Charlie about his first words to the women, and tells him he'd better practice. Then, with a straight face, Chris tells Charlie that all the women are foreign this season, and for a minute, Charlie almost believes him. Finally, he says to Charlie, "Don't screw up. You have one chance to make a good first impression. Don't blow it." Poor Charlie is so nervous, he doesn't quite know what to make of any of this...Okay, this is probably one of those things that's funny to watch, but gets lost in the description, but trust me, it was funny.

Parting Thoughts: What Makes Charlie Tick?

As I said in my introduction, I ended up liking Charlie. I think he could be fun to watch this season. I was expecting Charlie to be a party-animal jerk, but he could surprise us. Here's are some initial thoughts based on what we've seen of Charlie so far:

--Charlie seems to be a genuinely nice, easy-going guy. He seems to make a special effort to make the women feel comfortable, and he doesn't like hurting people. So, it's possible that Charlie could have a very difficult time as the season goes on and he gets down to the final four. It will also be interesting to see if this initial "nice guy" persona is the real Charlie, or if we will see other sides of him as the season goes on.

--Probably because of his acting experience, Charlie comes across much better on camera than previous bachelors. He is animated, his timing is better, and he has a natural comic side. However, there is a possible downside to this if Charlie becomes so aware of playing to the camera and being witty that it gets tiresome, or that we never see the real person.

--Charlie doesn't like conflict. I lost count of how many times Charlie said to the women tonight to be nice to each other, or acted concerned about how women were being treated by the others. So, it will be interesting to see how Charlie deals with conflicts between the women. If the first rose ceremony is any indication, the producers are setting this up as "the season of the catfight," not a comfortable thing for a guy who appears to dislike conflict.

That's more than enough for now. See you next week!