I give my lady a lot of crap on this blog about some of the TV she watches, and she largely shrugs it off.  A few weeks ago though, I (yes, I) elected to start watching ABC's The Bachelor because a) nothing is on Monday nights, b) I enjoy making fun of people taking themselves and their surroundings too seriously and c) should I ever have a daughter, she'll need some dating advice -- of what not to do.

I could make a laundry list of lessons learned from The Bachelor, but instead, I thought I'd keep a running diary of the latest episode.  So tonight, armed with nothing but my wife, my MacBook and a bowl of chocolate animal crackers I give you my notes.  Here's what transpired:

8:00 P.T. -- Tonight's episode of The Bachelor takes place in my parents' old stomping grounds of Panama.  For a moment I considered calling them, and suggesting that they tune in.  But I'm not clear if my parents are awake*, care that much, and frankly...I'm uneasy even admitting that I watch this. 

*My father mounted a 60" flatscreen on my parent's bedroom wall.  This fascinates me because I've never seen my dad stay awake for more than about nine minutes while lying down.  I picture him falling asleep to Law & Order and then getting some kind of RF tan from the light of the TV all night.  He put a ton of reseach into his TVs, but really only uses them to occasionally watch Law & Order and the PGA Tour.  But more often than not, my parents watch the DirecTV logo as it bounces around the screen on one the many music channels.

8:04 -- Right away Ben (the bachelor, who doubles a dopey version of Dax Shepard, or if you ask my buddy Danny: Roger Federer) takes Kasey B (a front-runner) into a helicopter.  The helicopter date is a double-edged sword.  Good views.  Loud blades spinning very quickly.  Exciting, yes; but no woman looks sexy in the giant headphones.

8:06 -- Ben and Kasey B. spend somewhere between, what I estimate as, 35-90 minutes on one of the San Blas islands.  She was instructed to bring three thing with her and chose: a cork-screw/knife (HANDY!), a bag of candy (Um...Ok...), and a green, stuffed monkey toy (...check please!...).  They cut down coconuts, catch a fish with a net the size of Rhode Island, and build a fire.

8:08 -- My wife mentions that is the first date that's ever been worthwhile on The Bachelor.  It's clear that these two kinda have something.  They work well together.  He makes a fire, she brings more sticks.  He compliments her.  They could end the show now, leave them on the island forever and we could all go on with our lives.

8:10 -- Ben and Kasey B. are now having dinner somewhere on the mainland.  They're making some really awkward chit-chat as Kasey reveals in her on-camera interviews that she's really trying to go deeper and be more open.  This will be a reoccurring theme throughout the episode tonight.

8:16 -- It's at this point I notice that Ben is wearing a watch the size of a garbage can lid.  The timepiece is enormous and he is no way compensating for anything.

8:18 -- Kasey B., in an effort to remind Ben how deep she is, reveals that he had an eating disorder in high school.  It lasted a year,  This came as no surprise to me as I've noticed she hasn't finished any of her dinners on these dates.

8:33 -- On a group date, Ben and most of the ladies travel down The Chagres River (Ben pronounces it wrong, and I know this for a fact) and spend some time with the Embera tribe.  They all dance and wear the customary tribal clothes.  All the ladies wear bright and shiny tops over their bikini tops except for one.  She is blurred out for much of the segment.  When in Panama...**

**I'm surprised there weren't more "blurcles" in this segment.  Every slide-show and photo my parents and grandparents have shown me of the Embera women indicate that none of them wear anything above the waist.

8:40 -- Some time has passed and the women are enjoying a cocktail hour at the hotel.  These women are never separated and it appears that every moment they're not on a date (which is often) they lounge around knocking down cosmos while casting judgement and aspersions on one another.  Courtney, the sociopath model takes Ben by the hand to a giant chair/sci-fi exhibit and gives him her room number.  She is, without a doubt, the most aggressive and forward of any of the women and is hated by all.

8:42 -- My wife udders the obligatory "Who is she?" question, referring to Jamie (a woman we've barely seen through the first five episodes).  I shrug.  But I think we both agree she's too nice to be a contender.

8:43 -- Ben appears bored, which is the first time I've felt like we have something in common.

8:45 -- Jamie has pulled Ben aside and the dental hygienist from Houston is doing her damnedest to be engaging and finagle a kiss (she's the only one who hasn't been kissed by Ben yet).  Courtney however, has decided to strip down to a bikini and a glass of red wine and prance around behind Jamie during the entire conversation.  This is distracting to Ben.  And myself.  Jamie and Ben stand up and eventually surrender, knowing that the last three minutes has been an utter waste of their time.

8:50 -- Emily, a PhD student from UNC, is now having a private conversation with Ben.  On each of the previous two episodes she has expressed concerns about Courtney's motives during her one-on-ones with Ben.  It's a huge turn-off to him, and this appears to be going in the same direction.  She starts by explaining that she has feelings for another man (FORESHADOWING) and then jokingly reveals that it was the Embera chief.  I'll say this for Emily, she has a sense of humor and also makes the best 'shocked' faces of any woman on the show.

8:55 -- During her one-on-one time with Ben, Courtney gave him her room-number and is now fixing her hair in the mirror.  On the counter is a hairbrush, toothbrush, a bottle of conditioner, perfume, and half a bottle of Clozaril.

8:56 -- Ben doesn't show and we watch Courtney be sad though a Barbara Waltersesque camera filter.


9:00 -- There's a commercial for the new Drioid Razr in which the 'scientists' put the phones on some kind of turntable and then multicolored paint is sprayed down with laser-like accuracy.  I called BS on this commercial because of the number of physics and geometry laws it ignored.  My wife rolled her eyes at me.

9:02 -- Ben informs the ladies that "I have a bit of fun planned for us today."  Me: "No you don't.  The thirty-three producers do."

9:04 -- Ben has selected two women to join him for Salsa dancing lessons.  The instructor looks a little Venus Williams and is dressed like Venus Williams as well.  I'm unclear as to why she's busted out the $200 active wear to slowly teach three people how to dance in a 6' x 6' square.

9:05 -- Rachel (not my wife; one of the two ladies on the date) attempts to cut-in and dance, but is rebuffed.  It's an awkward walk back to the chair, which she leans against somewhat casually.

9:07 -- Blakely (the VIP Cocktail Waitress...do the math...) and Rachel are at dinner with Ben.  During this meal he will choose one of them, and the other will head back the US of A.  (I know, why can't she just stay there and be forced to live among the Embera?)  My wife pleads that Ben will offer the rose to neither of them and they'll both be forced out.  Ben elects to keep Rachel though, and Blakely, despite her cute scrapbook made from hotel pamphlets and magazines is sent home.  When told of the news, Emily makes her shocked face.  I'm telling you, it's Oscar worthy.

9:14 -- A lonely cat is shown walking the dark streets of Panama City.  I am not making this up.

9:22 -- Chris Harrison***, the host, shows up in the ladies' hotel room and asks to borrow Casey S.  "It's a serious matter," he explains.  If this is serious, then I'm dying to know what Harrison's take is on the situation in Darfur.

***Harrison has the best gig in the world.  He makes sure there are roses at the swanky five-star resort and then heads to the next exotic location to sight-see and play on his iPad.

9:24 -- It appears that the producers have discovered that Casey S. actually has a boyfriend back in her hometown of Leawood, Kansas.  When first confronted with this news, she denies it.  But moments later exclaims, "Maybe I should be in therapy or something."  Note to any women who are considering finding love on a game show: You need to be therapy.  Years of it.  Seek treatment!.

9:35 -- For the last few minutes Casey S. has been crying.  Not little tears, but flat-out ugly crying.  No.  That's not accurate.  It's ugly, ultrasonic crying.  Imagine a dolphin watching the scene in The Neverending Story where Artax the horse drowns in the Swamp of Sadness (I refuse to link to that because it's late and I can't handle it.)  Ben dodged a bullet with this one.  She is asked to leave.****  Upon hearing the news that Casey S. is no longer a contestant Emily makes yet another shocked face.  I need to have T-shirts made.

****My wife makes a point that this is pretty hypocritical of Ben, seeing as that he's dating multiple women at once.  When she's right, she's right.

9:36 -- Harrison explains to the remaining women that "If you're not open and honest in finding love, this will never work."  Letsee Chris, The Bachelor has been on for what, 16 seasons? And how many couples are still together?  I rest my case, and suddenly have more sympathy for Courtney.

9:48 -- In an effort to make up for the lousy conversation and shy demeanor from earlier, Jamie takes Ben aside at another cocktail party and puts the moves on him.  She straddles his lap and attempts to make-out for what amounts to the most excruciating five minutes of passion I've ever witnessed.  Anne Heche and Harrison Ford had better chemistry in Six Days Seven Nights.  In fact, I imagine a love scene between John Stamos and one of the Olsen Twins would be less painful...or Jack Nicholson and Megan Fox.  Know what? You could watch a film staring Jake and Maggie Gyllenhall as star-crossed lovers and it wouldn't make you cringe as much as this scene on The Bachelor.

9:55 -- After a pretty obvious rose ceremony, Jamie is sent home and I can look forward to next Monday.

10:03 -- Castle?  People watch this?