Intelligence not required for 'Bachelor Pad'

Sun Aug 8, 2010 2:43pm EDT
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By Barry Garron

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - If you took some of the memorable "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" contestants and laid them end to end, you'd have just about everything you need for ABC's latest spinoff, "Bachelor Pad."

Anyone familiar with those series will immediately recognize this regurgitation of the form, right down to the use of a rose as a sort of immunity idol.

In Monday's two-hour premiere, 11 former "Bachelor" contestants join eight former "Bachelorette" contestants in the Bachelor Pad, otherwise known as Chateau Superficiality. Each week, the men vote a woman out of the house, and the women vote off a man. At some point, co-host Chris Harrison promises, the numbers even out, though he doesn't explain how.

Ultimately, there is a winner and a $250,000 prize. En route, a comfortable-looking Harrison says, there is "love, hookups, backstabbing, cheating, scandals and crying," though not nearly enough to distract from the show's tedious obeisance to a formula that has become more familiar than the lyrics to "Happy Birthday."

Nearly all of the contestants are from the past two seasons of the parent series, and all are endowed with physically excellent DNA and wardrobes that display it to its best advantage. Intelligence likely was considered a detriment. In the main competition, a good old-fashioned game of Twister, at least four of the contestants were eliminated for failing to distinguish left from right.

A disproportionate focus in the premiere is on Elizabeth, known as "the tease" in the most recent season of "The Bachelor" with Jake Pavelka. She describes herself as "a very feeling kind of girl" because she gets a vibe immediately upon meeting someone. She has bad history with another contestant, Craig. If he asks her out, she blurts, "that would be the worst nightmare of my life." You can't make this stuff up.

To facilitate sleazy scenarios, all of the contestants sleep in a single room, which resembles a bunk-bed showroom. The winner of each week's contest gets a rose, which guarantees immunity for the week. Then, after interminable discussion among the contestants, the winner selects three of the opposite gender for a date. To no one's great surprise, this week's date was a frolic at the beach. No need to ask about whether there were close-ups.

In the end, one of the three dates gets yet another rose and with it immunity for the week. This is where there might be a spoiler alert, except none is necessary. ABC, fearful of sharing the secret ending with potentially blabbermouth critics, declined to make the final few minutes available, a reasonable precaution if you assume anyone could sit through this and still care.