Dear readers: I wasn't planning on recapping this season. I still don't even know if I'll have the time or interest to stick with it until the end. (I'm saying this as a disclaimer! Don't hold it against me if either I'm not able to finish this season or if some recaps are shorter or less detailed.) The thing is, I watched Monday's premiere and had a lot of observations. I guess you could say I felt compelled to do a Pretty Pandas recap. So here it is. Many thanks to my loyal readers. I adore you guys. ♥
DAS SAUSAGE FEST
The premiere opens with Bachelor Ben receiving advice that only former Bachelors could provide. You know, like, "Follow your heart", "Be honest", and "Don't close off anybody". Like I said, you'd have to be a former Bachelor to impart such wisdom.
The best part of this segment, however, was Chris (who's unmarried and therefore the clear red-headed stepchild of this threesome) processing Sean's recounting how he gave each girl his all:
The girls' intros are the standard mix of serious contenders with broody and/or bikini clad B-rolls and the eccentric-seeming ones who appear willing to perpetuate the idea that all the girls on this show are crazy. (Spoiler alert: They aren't.)
Lauren B stood out to me as being remarkably normal and un-cheesy, never over-emoting (a peeve of mine) but always sincere. I think the following moment says a lot...
... she says "Oh, gosh" in an appropriately skeptical, almost embarrassed way. The girl lives on Planet Earth. I like.
It's no secret production takes serious liberty when changing contestants' occupations for the show. I think I've mentioned before that Kelly Travis, infamous "Dog Lover", has a legit career. However, when she was hesitant to leave her dog Molly behind for who-knows-how-long, a producer suggested she bring her along. Next thing Kelly knew, when they announced the cast online, her occupation read "Dog Lover." Needless to say, she was pissed.
With all that in mind, you've got to respect the vigor with which Tiara's thrown herself—here the proverbial chicken—to the wolves. Not only has she embraced her occupation as "Chicken Enthusiast", she allowed some production assistant to arrange this:
I don't have the energy to talk about every girl, but a few entrances stood out. First, Caila. She's very likable so far, but this move was not good:
If nothing else, it's a testament to her core strength.
No words are really necessary for Leah's hut-hut-hike:
Ben, despite being the perfect on-paper Bachelor, hadn't quite shown us a glimpse of his sense of humor, until Jojo addressed her choice to meet him with a unicorn head...
Oh, and does anyone else think Jojo's the spitting image of Isla Fisher?
Ben gave us another glimpse of his humor when Mandi appeared with her epic rose headpiece:
As is tradition, we cut to inside the mansion to hear the girls talk about each other, how hot they think Ben is, and how intimidatingly pretty all the girls are. It's all cameras on Lace, who's rapidly proving the casting department's worth with each bitchy comment. Note how editing makes it seem like Lauren B can somehow hear their conversation, as if her looking down at her chest isn't taken from a completely different moment:
I noted in my Flare recap that the first and last out of the limo are usually major players; the gag entrance girls tend to fill out the middle in a sort of montage sequence. Case in point, we consecutively get Mandi with her rose headpiece, the twins (who insist on speaking in sync), Megan with her pony, Breanne with her breaking of bread, Isabel "Izzy" in her onesie, Rachel on her hoverboard. Then leading up to the last girl, it's only basic limo exits: Jessica, Tiara, Lauren "LB", Jackie (who brings a Save The Date, but that's not huge), and finally Olivia, who we know will play a part based on her position alone.
Remember, last limo exit girls in recent history were Jade Roper, Andi Dorfman, Lindsay Yenter, Lindsay Cox, Michelle Money... They're never the "winner", but they either make Final Four or are some sort of a major player.
Speaking of Tiara, does anyone else think she looks just like Kirsten Wiig?
After Becca and Amber arrive, Ben subtly breaks the fourth wall, his eyes darting to the people behind the cameras, which you know I'm always into:
While Lace is on the rampage after Mandi interrupted her time with Ben, there's a rare glimpse of producer Elan Gale, so I'll call this Producer Watch™:
During the Rose Ceremony, an ITM with Jubilee is shown which is a good example of a Pick-up. Note that she has almost no make-up on, no earrings, and her hair is different (though clearly styled to approximate her Night One hair). The room is generic and the only thing that's the same is her dress:
This could be a clue that Jubilee sticks around for at least a little while.
After the roses have been handed out, Lace, who's too inebriated to realize she was given the last rose just so the cameras could watch her squirm, confronts Ben. What ensues is the most painfully passive aggressive conversation about how Ben didn't make enough eye contact with her, making all men in the audience cringe at the thought of what she'd be like had they not just met that same night. That's right, folks. This is Lace on her best, we-just-met behavior:
As always, my Top 4 predictions as well as overall thoughts on this episode can be found in my Flare recap.
There was a lot of solid fashion in the premiere. I felt for the first time that the bar was really raised, like these ladies know what they're doing. I have three runners-up for Best Dressed...
First was Lauren B in her simple and feminine strapless gown:
The star of this dress is that baby blue color. The silhouette is basic enough (though that mermaid lower-half is gorgeously) but the color is unexpected and a total hit in my eyes. Sadly this color is sold out, but the dress is still available HERE in ivory and teal (worn by Laura, the lovely redhead with bigger boobs than Lauren B, according to Lace).
Next is Amber with her backless delight:
It's no secret I'm a sucker for backless dresses, but it matters to me that for every inch of skin shown in the back, there's that bit more of simplicity in the front. Both the color of the dress and the draping in the front are beautifully understated, and you'd never expect the dramatic open back. That's how open backs should be! Unexpected. In the words of Mandi (and mullet-wearers everywhere):
I'm not wild about Amber's bun, which looks a bit too casual, but I appreciate that her hair is up and off her back, the star of the show. Amber's exact dress is by Calvin Tran (apparently a Project Runway designer) but I couldn't find anything about it online. The closest dress I could find is THIS dress by Misha Collection.
I don't tend to favor sequins, but Olivia did them right:
Sequins are such a loud material, I feel like the color must be neutral so keep it from being tacky. Olivia's gown manages to elegant and opulent and classic all at once. Her exact dress is by couture designer Zuhair Murad and, frustratingly, I couldn't find anything about it either. There's a fairly similar (and certainly much cheaper) option with a slit HERE, though.
I know Jubilee's dress got mixed reviews—it seems people either loved it or hated it—but it was a massive win in my eyes and she's my Best Dressed this week:
I don't know if what I'm wowed by here is the dress itself or the balls it takes to wear it. This is NOT an easy dress to pull off. That rayon-y kind of fabric, when tight, is extremely unforgiving, and in white?!! Forget about it. It's the kind of dress that requires equipment (such as body-shapers, tape, nippies, etc.) underneath but would show said equipment. Just brutal. And Jubilee KILLS it in this dress. She somehow manages to look like she didn't try that hard yet brings the drama big-time. The dress is not too young or prom-y, and though it does have an vintage feel, it's updated enough to not feel old. It's daring and slinky and makes a statement (whether you loved it or hated it, you talked about it). I haven't been able to locate her exact dress but there's a super similar one HERE.
I liked Tiara a lot, but sadly I couldn't say the same for her dress:
First, there is just too much going on up top. It's all sequined and beaded with weird designs ON TOP of French lace. Then, there's suddenly nothing going on from the waist down, giving a hodgepodge look. It reads very old-fashioned to me and ages her, in addition to doing nothing for her (hot) bod. The dress is too mother-of-the-bride meets pageant for me. Sorry, Tiara. :(
Until next week, fellow pandas!