art meets crap

Peek Into a Hilarious Sketchbook All About The Bachelor

Lisa Hanawalt is an illustrator who habitually busts out her sketchbook when she’s mesmerized by movies and TV shows, drawing what she sees and jotting down spur-of-the-moment observations. Her most recent obsession is romance-based reality TV, and she found herself putting pencils to paper when getting sucked into this season of The Bachelor, which concludes tonight on ABC. Click on to see a glimpse of her pages of thoughts and images about the cult of Ben, the strange sea of indistinguishable women, and the show’s odd helicopter fetish.

All these women have so many shared features: pert button noses, high cheekbones, bleached teeth, big eyes. They’re all white, I think. Psychologists could use this show to test facial recognition abilities. If you had prosopagnosia, you would just see an ocean of blondes and brunettes plus one-and-a-half redheads. Trying to tell them apart comes down to weird specifics; Nikki has fanglike teeth, Kacie B’s hair gets puffy with the humidity, Rachel sucks on her lower lip, Samantha keeps spilling ice cream in the jacuzzi, Emily’s wanted for murder. Okay, so I made a couple of those up. Photo: Lisa Hanawalt
These women don’t talk like real people! Topics of conversation are limited to Ben and feelings about Ben. If they discuss their work, political beliefs, or even a book or movie they love, it’s been edited out. Are they really this boring, or have the editors pancaked their personalities and erased their opinions?   A lot of these women seem perfectly nice, but I can’t come up with any other words to describe their personalities. Lindzi is nice + horsey, Nicki is nice + divorcée? Photo: Lisa Hanawalt
This really feels like watching a cult. Ben behaves like the creepiest camp counselor; he makes out with everyone, tries to keep the peace in the most detached way possible, and women who aren’t 100 percent in love with him by the fifth episode are eliminated. It’s considered offensive for the girls to acknowledge that Ben isn’t the only man left on Earth.   Ben looks like someone boiled all the flavor out of Jason Schwartzman.   In his interviews Ben says “I could really see myself with this woman,” or “I’m falling in love with this woman.” It sounds like he’s talking about different sandwiches he could see himself ordering. Tuna, ham, or turkey, Ben? “This is a tough decision, I can only take two sandwiches with me to Switzerland.”   None of the contestants can articulate what they like about Ben, he’s just “Ben,” and  “Ben” = everything that’s good. Some of them even manage to compliment his awful hair, they’re such devotees of the Cult of Ben.   In one of our many e-mail threads devoted to discussing The Bachelor, my friend Julia guesses, “When Ben goes back to the hotel at night, he just stands very still in the corner facing the wall until the producers come get him the next morning.” He’s such a blank slate, it’s hard to imagine him having any kind of internal life or off-camera existence. Photo: Lisa Hanawalt
My favorite girls are the ones who don’t need to be here. Monica appears to find the whole thing funny and doesn’t really give a hoot about Ben. She even has a pseudo-lesbian encounter on the first episode, although it’s never mentioned again. What was that about?! Photo: Lisa Hanawalt
Emily’s a Ph.D. student and we know she’s smart and cool because she raps about epidemiology. She’s genuine and articulate; I like her. Tragically, she tries to warn Ben about Courtney being duplicitous, and from then on he sees Emily as a troublemaker and she’s DOOMED! How dare she have an original thought! Photo: Lisa Hanawalt
Ben likes to test the women in Fear Factor-like ways. There are helicopters in every episode, and half the dates revolve around jumping out of those helicopters, falling into pools of water from great heights, standing close to cliffs, and climbing tall things. The “falling in love” (Get it? FALLING in love?!? Falling) metaphor is pushed and restated until it’s as stringy and flavorless as a two-week-old piece of gum. Photo: Lisa Hanawalt
There’s food on all the dates, but I never see anyone take a bite. I hope there’s a craft services table off-camera? The women look starved during the Rose Ceremonies, but maybe they’re just hungry for roses.
Some of the womens’ beautiful faces warp in frightening ways when they get upset. Casey S.’s crying is particularly fun to watch — she’s just another pretty girl in the background until the producers find out she has feelings for an ex-boyfriend, Ben banishes her, and her tears transform her into a gremlin. Photo: Lisa Hanawalt
Courtney, this season’s villain, struggles with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Confident Model Syndrome. She’s lithe and weird and the show would be an unwatchable snooze without her.   It’s fun to hate Courtney; she really seems like a born wedding-ruiner. But she’s also undeniably better at playing this game than the other girls; It’s like watching an Olympic athlete demolish civilians. I placed a $5 bet on her to win after her skinny dipping “fiasco.” Photo: Lisa Hanawalt
There’s so much kissing, I wonder what Ben’s breath smells like.   I want to know what goes on during those overnight dates. I’ll just keep imagining the girls farting and “dutch ovening” Ben under the covers until I have further information. Photo: Lisa Hanawalt
I can’t help but wonder, what would it look like if I competed on this show? What would reality show producers do with my personality? I hope I never find out. Photo: Lisa Hanawalt
Peek Into a Hilarious Sketchbook All About The Bachelor