Falling tears, catty exchanges and references to 50 Shades of Grey marked Monday night's premiere of "The Bachelor" season 17.
If anyone doubted this season would be drama-filled with the all-American Sean Lowe as the Bachelor, they question no further after the antics of Monday night.
America fell in love with Lowe on the last season of "The Bachelorette" with Emily Maynard stealing his heart, only to crush and stomp on it when she sent him packing in the final three. Too harsh? Lucky for Sean, we all know how well her choice of Jef turned out…
So what do we know about this new all-American bachelor? Sean Lowe is the handsome 29-year-old former Kansas State linebacker that hails from Dallas, where he attributes his idea of southern values.
His bio on ABC.com describes him as a real romantic that will bend over backwards to make a woman feel special; and who wouldn't love that?
On the premiere we heard Sean say that he only wants to propose once, get married once, and live a life that speaks true to his faith and values. Thank goodness he didn't get the chance to get on one knee before the likes of Emily Maynard!
"What I want is just have a house full of love and laughter," Sean said. "I want to spend my time hanging out with those I love, which is my wife and one day kids. That's what I want. I know love is out there for me. I'm hoping I can find it with one of the 25 women."
Before Sean met his new ladies, he got a visitor from an old rival. None other than Arie, his competitor on the last season of the Bachelorette, showed up to hand Sean some useful advice about becoming the new Bachelor.
As if it wasn't weird enough to see Arie and Sean having a casual beer, the very awkward exchange when Arie tried to teach Sean how to kiss a woman could have thrown a few viewers for a loop. Uncomfortable may not be a strong enough word.
"Arie and I both fell in love with the same girl and had our hearts broken by the same girl," Sean said. "Arie may be the only one who knows what I went through."
The two friends seem to have bonded over their mutual broken hearts thanks to Emily. At least one relationship lasted after the end of Emily's season.
After Arie's visit, we had the opportunity to meet 25 hopeful (is that the word we should use?) women during the premiere that fantasize about being Sean's one and only in the end.
"I'm excited, anxious, a little apprehensive… but I really hope she (his new wife) steps out of the limo tonight," Sean said. With that being said, let's meet the 25 lucky ladies:
First out of the limo we meet AshLee F., 32, a personal organizer from Houston, Texas. She makes a statement in a red dress and told him not to be nervous. If all the ladies are this calm, it could make for an excruciatingly dull season.
Luckily the next to step out of the limo is Jackie, 25, a cosmetics consultant from Ormond Beach, Florida. When meeting Sean she pulls out her ruby red lipstick and puts her mark on Sean by kissing his cheek. "I want to put my mark on you before any other girls," she said.
Selma, 29, a real estate developer from San Diego, California immediately pulls a tissue out of her dress and wipes away his cheek, saying, "we don't want to make the other girls jealous." My question is, does she always keep a tissue box tucked inside her dress? That can't be comfortable.
Leslie, 29, a poker dealer from Ruskin, Florida comes up to Sean giggling and calls him a hunk. When she walks away she mumbles, "McSteamy." This is The Bachelor, not Grays Anatomy, Leslie!
Daniella, 24, in commercial casting from Belmont, California meets Sean and decides on being memorable by engaging him in an awkward handshake. I don't know if Sean, or anyone, will be able to forget that (as hard as we may try).
Kelly, 28, a cruise ship entertainer wrote and sang Sean a personalized song. "Sean and Kelly has a really nice ring to it," she sang. Nothing screams normal quite like a personalized song about someone you've never met.
Up next is Katie, 27, a yoga instructor from Woodstock, Illinois. When she tells Sean she is a yoga instructor, he asks if she could show him some moves sometime. She does him one better and shows him on the spot.
One of the weirdest introductions in Bachelor history is when Ashley P., a hair stylist from Macomb, Michigan, asks Sean if he's done any reading recently. She tells him that she recently read 50 Shades of Grey as she pulls a tie from her dress and asks him if he could teach her how to use it later. The look on Sean's face is priceless when it clicks that she wasn't joking. He was uncomfortable to say the least, as were we all.
Thankfully after the intro of Ashley P, we have tame Taryn, 30, a health club manager who tells Sean that she didn't watch his season so they can have a completely fresh start. She seems nice, how long until she starts crying?
Catherine, 26, a graphic designer from Seattle, Washington walks up and says, "I'm so glad it's you… find me later for a dance." Sean seems a bit disinterested
in this proposal. Perhaps she will be dancing alone at the end of the night?
Robyn, 24, an oilfield account manager from Houston, Texas tries to impress Sean by performing a back-hand spring/walkover out of the limo and fails miserably as one of her arms gives out and she yells on the way to the ground, "I'm just so nervous!" Sean was nothing but a gentleman as he said her entrance was definitely going to leave a lasting impression. I don't know about everyone else, but I may have replayed that 50-60 times.
Lacy, 24, a graduate student from Valencia, California, brought Sean a heart of lace to remember her by. She asked him to carry it in his pocket so not to forget her. He promised her he would…anyone else think it went into the trash five minutes later?
Paige, 25, a jumbotron operator (how can I get a job doing that??), walks up to Sean and immediately confesses that she was on Bachelor Pad season 3, not that Sean recognized her at all. She told him she would walk from Minnesota to California to be with him. He seemed flattered by her desperation.
We then meet Tierra, 24, a leasing consultant from Las Vegas, Nevada. She basically screams to Sean upon meeting him, "I'm so glad it's you!" She shows him an open-heart tattoo on her finger, and tells him that she hopes he will be the guy to complete it. Sean shocks fans and the other girls by grabbing the first rose and giving it to her. He said he loved her energy and positive vibes. "You have this sweet, exciting-- I don't know how to describe it, but a good energy and I'd like you to stick around longer," Sean said. "Tierra, would you accept this rose?"
She accepts while Sean unknowingly put an immediate target on her back for the other ladies of the house. One woman described Tierra walking through the door of the house with the rose as, "an animal attack of the eyeballs."
Amanda, 26, a fit model from Bakersfield, California decides to get the awkward introduction out of the way by requesting that they stare at each other in a very uncomfortable manner. Crickets were chirping (literally) when he said that it wasn't that weird for him. Does anyone believe that? I couldn't even stand to watch.
Keriann, 29, and entrepreneur from Agoura Hills, California told Sean that she drove 2,775 miles for a shot with him. While his words said he was flattered and humbled by the gesture, his eyes said he was scared of her hopelessness.
Desiree, 26, a bridal stylist from Northglenn, Colorado was very girl-next-door as she brought pennies for her and Sean to make a wish at the fountain. How many episodes do you think it will take before we see her crazy side? I give it three.
Sarah, 26, an advertising executive from Evergreen, Colorado asked Sean if this is the way he always imagined falling in love. When he says no, she retorts that it is exactly how she always envisioned it. Ah, a hopeless romantic, we know they don't ever walk away without a broken heart.
Up next we have Brooke, 25, a community organizer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She asks Sean if he is ready for the journey, then leans in to purr in his ear. I hope he's a fan of cats.
Diana, 31, a salon owner from Salt Lake City, Utah just comes right out and asks Sean, "Can we call it a night and go?" I give her credit for confidence, but he seems more interested in leaving her outside while he mingles with the other girls.
Leslie M., 25, a political consultant from Fort Smith, Arizona seemed to pull the "I'm so sporty, just a guy's-guy routine," as so many have tried in the past. However, she was really just looking for a good angle at which to admire him by. She made him bend over for an awkward amount of time before he understood her real desire. Who wouldn't applaud this tactic?
Kristy, 25, a model from Darien, Wisconsin didn't have much to say besides, "Did you invite these girls?" Pointing to the other ladies in the limo. "Because I didn't." I wouldn't say that being introduced to her was like watching paint dry, but it was like watching paint dry.
Ashley H, 25, a fashion model (Ok we get it, Sean likes models!) from Garner, North Carolina tells Sean that her dress matches his eyes while mumbling how nice it was to meet him five or six times. Nothing like being remembered by being un-memorable!
Then we have Lauren, 27, a journalist from Cranston, Rhode Island who tells Sean of her close Italian family. She seemed super sweet while telling him she would love to take him home and feed him Italian food, but her demeanor and the music seemed to become more daunting when she warned that her dad wanted to send him a message. "If you break my heart he's going to break your legs!" She said. I thought food was the way to a man's heart, but she enlightened me that threats work better.
Lindsay, 25, a substitute teacher from Fort Bragg, North Carolina scares us all as she steps out of the limo in full wedding dress attire. She tells Sean, "you may now kiss the bride," and plants a kiss right on his lips. He seems surprised
and scared while she says, "Well, I have balls." He retorts, "Well, I hope not!"
Lastly, we have a surprise mystery girl that brings the total number of ladies in the house to 26. Kacie B., 25, a contestant from Ben's season of the Bachelor steps out of the limo and shocks Sean. He said he was speechless and blown away by her appearance. Was anyone else questioning whether he was happy about her being there?
To say the girls of the house were unimpressed with Kacie B. returning is an understatement.
After meeting the 26 hopefuls, Sean pulls girls away for some alone time to discover if any chemistry brews between them.
In an usual move, Sean hands out roses left and right, not following procedure by waiting for the rose ceremony.
The girls seem nervous and very anxious about the uncharacteristic rose give-away, each vying for one. Meanwhile, Ashley P., seemed to be drinking away her anxiety as we see her behavior change through the course of the night. She dances alone in front of Sean and another contestant to gain his attention, and she succeeds.
The other girls display their fear for Sean as Ashley P. pulls Sean away. Sean said to her, "I brought a rape whistle in case I got in trouble." What says love more than that?
Sean hands out so many roses throughout the night that everyone loses track of how many he actually has left before the rose-ceremony. But alas, Chris Harrison collects the women and lines them up for the end of the road for some hopefuls. The ladies with roses are separated from the rest, and the cut begins.
Sean says goodbye to Kelly (the songstress), Paige (the Bachelor Pad contestant no one remembers), Ashley H. (unmemorable), Lauren (must have been her threatening dad), Ashley P. (50 Shades of Crazy), Keriann (that's going to be a long 2,775 miles back home), and Lacey (I knew he threw her heart in the trash!).
It's the first show of the season and already we have seen tears, fights, wedding dresses and scary blue ties. When they say every season that "This is the most shocking season yet!" I never believe them. I almost believe it this time.
In the end it comes down to a man looking for love. "I'm going to go through this crazy journey again in hopes I can find the one that's meant for me," Sean says. "I want to protect my woman, love my woman, and honor my woman. I want to be rich in love- I want to be that rock. I am so very hopeful that I might find the love of my life, I can't wait to find her."
We have hope you'll find her, Sean, and we'll be watching in case you don't so we can sign up to be your next wife.