By Kyra Lisse
“What comes first — the chicken or the Ben?”
It’s a question all viewers were trying to decipher during the opening moments of The Bachelor, one proposed by a girl who had yet to part with a … special friend. And with that, the 20th season was off to a riveting, eggstraordinary start.
The reality show, whose premise revolves around one man finding a wife from a set of twenty-five (or, in this case, twenty-eight) smitten women, has created quite a following since its debut in 2002. It is The Hunger Games of the dating world, if you will. And this year’s eligible bachelor (pun intended) is Ben Higgins, a twenty-six year old business analyst from Denver, Colorado. Last season, Ben was left heartbroken when The Bachelorette’s Kaitlyn Bristowe chose another man over him — leading him to believe that he was virtually “unlovable.” However, his thousands of fans were not yet finished with him, and it wasn’t too long before he was brought back to the California to take another chance at love.
To say that Ben has a … dynamic group of ladies at his disposal would be an understatement. Of course, there are the fast favorites: Caila, a bubbly software sales rep who took a running start into Ben’s arms, and Olivia, a poised (which is rumored to change in the second episode) news anchor who left everything behind to be with him. Then there are the other contestants, those who take up the most intriguing of job descriptions (Tiara, Chicken Enthusiast), and demand the best from their man’s smile (Mandi: “Do you floss?”). Also in contention for Ben’s heart is war veteran Jubilee, cowgirl Maegan and her beloved pony, a single mom named Amanda, three Laurens, and Shushanna, a Russian mathematician who so far has only spoken in her native language. Infamy seems to be a fitting word when it comes to Lace, a contestant whose intentions (and morals, for that matter) have been questioned by many. Believe it or not, some have even gone as far as to say that the real estate agent is “fifty shades of crazy.” Whatever the case, Lace is most certainly an attention-grabber this season.
And not to be forgotten are the twins, Haley and Emily. Nearly identical in appearance and speech, the twenty-two year olds are head over heels for the same man. It is important to note that a pair of sisters is not the show’s only novelty this season; former Bachelor contestants Becca and Amber are back at it, too, which is viewed as an unfair advantage to the rest of the group.
Love it or hate it, the TV series is deeply rooted in drama, angst, a tad of comedy, and even more drama. In the past, the show has had its fair share of tears, lies, betrayal, and surprise, all of which are must-haves for the entertainment industry. “The amount of gratitude that these women go through to find love is ridiculous,” quips UD’s very own Rachel Madnick. Some critics speculate that the dialogue is false — scripted, even, to increase popularity — and that few couples have lasted because of it. In fact, only two of the show’s twenty-six relationships have made it further than engagement. Whether this is a question of validity remains largely unknown; but the fans have kept their memories alive, even fourteen years later. “It’s only week one and I’m having #Bachelor withdrawals…” tweets Princess Problems, a clear Bachelor connoisseur. Former contestant Ben Zorn is confiding in the Twitterverse as well: “Watching this rose ceremony brings back so many nerves! I thought I was going home night one!”
As the two hour premiere drew to a close, seven devastated girls returned to the limo empty-handed. Among them was Laura, a twenty-four year old who most fans figured would stick around for a while. “Maybe [Ben] doesn’t like redheads,” she uttered through tears.
That means seven down, twenty to go until Ben settles down with a fiancee. “Lauren B. is going to win!” confirms sophomore Lily Levis. In the meantime, you can catch The Bachelor Mondays at 8 PM on ABC. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to find the Ben before the chicken.
Predictions on who Ben may marry? Comment below!