Well, I've got to hand it to The Bachelor. Just when I thought the show would never again achieve the level of tense awkwardness it reached during the Jason and Melissa disaster last year, we get the excruciatingly uncomfortable Rozlyn ''Hot Seat'' encounter in this Women Tell All special. Truth be told, I've still got a little post-traumatic stress from the whole ugly experience — and just my luck, Xanax is verboten during the ninth month of pregnancy. Somehow, I'll soldier on.
But it's going to be awhile before we get to the woman at the center of ''the most shocking TV scandal of 2010'' (I guess that's fair, seeing as her eviction aired 11 days into the year). The episode kicks off with Harrison's one-on-one with the Bachelor, and after lots of soft-focus replays of the Infamous Cocktail Party, Jake reveals his first thought upon hearing the news about Rozlyn: ''Did I make a mistake, coming here to find love this way?'' Short answer, sir? Yes. The walk down memory lane continues with a random stop at Elizabeth/She Who Will Not Be Kissed (''I've had games ruin more relationships than I can count,'' explains Jake), before veering into well-trod territory: Vienna and the bungee jump kiss, Tenley and the coincidental fortune cookies, and Ali, who bolted and left Jake with ''no closure.''
The clip recycling finally ends after the commercial break, when we're treated to a ''where are they now'' segment focusing on (God, I can barely type this without vomiting in my mouth) ''a sexy new phenomenon: Bachelor cast reunions.'' What follows is a skanky montage of all the usual sad sack subjects: Jesse from The Bachelorette, tiara-wearing Erica from Lorenzo's season, Nikki and Natalie the bear-lover from Jason's season, and a bunch of other people who I couldn't name if there was a gun to my head. (Thank God for chyrons!) Apparently what these folks do with their free time is drink to excess while exchanging bodily fluids in various sunny locales. Oh look, it's Wes — a.k.a. ''America's Favorite Villain.'' I guess life has been treating him well since he snowed poor Jillian on The Bachelorette. ''My dating life didn't suck to begin with, but since the show, I'm having about 1,000 times more nibbles than I did before. That's a lot of nibbles, you know what I'm saying?'' (I had to watch four times before I realized he was saying ''nibbles,'' not ''nipples.'') Not everyone there is a fame whore — some folks really appreciate the ''friendships'' and the ''bonds'' they've formed while a,lherdfozjadjxldakossxs;a9oawt9aep... Oh crap, sorry — I fell asleep for a second there. Anyhow, the whole segment is essentially an infomercial for the recently announced really bad idea extension of the franchise, Bachelor Pad.
The ridiculata continues in the next act — ''The Bachelor gives back — which Harrison, bless his heart, somehow manages to introduce with a straight face: ''With great success also comes a greater obligation to give back — and that's exactly what we've been doing.'' While Idolatry host extraordinaire Mike Slezak summed up my first reaction quite nicely — ''What are these people giving back? VD?'' — after watching the segment, I changed my mind. I mean, if these folks want to extend their 15 minutes by performing charity work, more power to 'em, I guess. We see a bunch of assorted contestants and Bachelors (hey, it's London Calling's Matt Grant! And world's drunkest bachelor Charlie O'Connell!) painting murals with local children and distributing food to needy families in Los Angeles, while Harrison is shown donating a computer and other school supplies to students in St. Lucia.
NEXT PAGE: Gia, Michelle, and the 10,000-pound elephant in the room