Having been wildly disappointed by last year’s season finale of HEROES, I reluctantly tuned in to last night’s return and have to say I was… entertained. I won’t say that it was gripping, and it didn’t have that magic of the first few episodes, but the writers knew what they needed to do and they delivered. We got a charming new rogue — and an unexpected twist in Takezo Kensei, a new beau for Claire, two new Hispanic characters… but what we didn’t get was any information on Niki or her family. One thing fans of daytime soaps hate is when the story is overrun with newbies while beloved favorites are left to rot on the sidelines… just FYI, NBC. We also got some silliness. Yes, seeing HRG threaten his boss was designed to let everyone who’s ever worked for a prick have their “stand-up-and-cheer” moment. And really, wouldn’t a family on the run do a better job of changing their names? (For that matter, how seriously are we to take any threat they might be under when Claire proves not to be all that concerned by waving her hand over a flame in the middle of a classroom and indulging in other attention-grabbing behavior.) Finally, why on God’s green earth would the makers of a show which relies on plot twists and cliffhangers allow the promo department to slap together a post-show preview which gives away several major twists? Yes, if you really want to find spoilers they’re easily accessible on the web, including a fairly detailed outline of the next few episodes on wikipedia. And I suppose those not wanting to know could just skip the scenes for upcoming episodes, but who expects them to give away so much?
When talking with a friend recently about THE BACHELOR, I pointed out that in ABC’s promos we see him showering, cooking, running — all shirtless — but we never actually hear him speak. Well, five minutes into the premiere, we found out why. Turns out Brad Womack likes the word “very” a lot (“It was a very big lesson on how life can change at the very drop of a hat”) and makes constant references to things he’s learned. It might go without saying that some of those things aren’t exactly lightbulb moments. Like, “it’s difficult growing up poor.” Whenever the producers suspect we’re getting bored with Brad’s blah bio, they cut to him running or cooking eggs or showering… shirtless. And what does this “self-made millionaire” do for a living? Run bars, of course. Apparently, the meat markets he runs aren’t hot spots, ’cause this guy’s coming on television to find his… altogether now… soulmate. Then comes the part we’re all waiting for: the squealing, primping, crying, girls. Let’s face it, we’re all watching for the same reason: to pick out the bitch, the crybaby, the girl who’s there for the wrong reason, the psycho… all the stereotypes that we know are going to be shoved under that roof. And they don’t disappoint! “My strategy is to not cry and to not get drunk,” says Lori. “It’s going to be like high school all over again,” says another in a manner which leaves me convinced she thinks that’s a good thing. At every commercial break, we’re told that Brad is about to meet 25 beautiful women. And they are. What, they couldn’t throw a couple average girls with great personalities into the mix? Perhaps we’re supposed to be content with the fact that as always, there’s a token lady or two of color. Rigina, for example, is a beautiful african american woman who introduces herself as “Miss Brown Sugar” and is almost immediately given the “I can’t wait to get to know you better inside” brush off. About halfway through the endless bimbo parade, I start fast-forwarding. There are only so many times you can hear the exact same small talk exchanged before brain meltage sets in. But by the time one of the girls offers Brad a tongue analysis, another dances and a third warbles an off-key tune, I’m all in. I swear, if this guy said, “Gals, I wanna see some lesbianic action,” they’d start swapping spit. One chick actually hikes up her dress and casually throws her legs behind her head in an effort to get the First Impression rose. I kid you not. And that was before Melissa got drunk and lost a (fake) boob, Morgan revealed that she has webbed feet and Mallory stripped down to a bikini for a swim. I want nothing more than to sign all these women up for a self-esteem course, but instead, I’ll be here every week to laugh at… er, support them on their journey.