A gig with Facebook is good. Being the new Bachelorette is better.
Which brings us to Ali Fedotowsky. The girl who ditched Jake Pavelka for her social networking job on The Bachelor last season has resurfaced to find love again. And this time, she, like, means it. During the intro segment of The Bachelorette premiere (ABC, May 24, 10 PM), Ali not only declares, "I'm ready to meet someone and put him first," she informs host Chris Harrison that she's ready to have a child!
But first things first: Let's meet her 25 potential soul mates. Yes, they're all handsome, winsome and have the kind of chiseled features that can be found on the front of a coin. It's not fair! Have these producers been on Match.com? Do they really know what's out there?
Where was I? Right, Ali's suitors. Here are the first-impression standouts:
Justin -- a cocky wrestler who goes by the moniker "Rated R." He broke his ankle prior to filming and spends the episode on crutches (and flashing his chest).
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Jonathan -- a Houston TV weatherman who has the shameless, gung-ho charisma of, well, a Houston TV weatherman. He gives Ali a gift when he comes of the limo. He thinks it's hilarious. It's not.
Kyle -- a cute outdoorsman who is clearly more comfortable hunting deer than flirting with women. Loves it.
Roberto -- a sexy Latino (is there any other kind?) who promises Ali that he'll teach her how to salsa. Aww, poor Kyle can't keep up with that!
Craig -- unremarkable except for the fact that he greets Ali by exclaiming, "I'm so happy you're not Vienna [Girardi, who won last season's Bachelor]."
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Chris -- a tall landscaper from Ali's home state of Massachusetts. His mother just died. This info is brought to you by Kleenex.
Jason -- he's the last man out of the limo and celebrates with a back flip off the top of it. You'll see it on You Tube soon enough.
During these encounters, Ali has a genuine smile plastered on her face. In fact, she comes off a lot warmer in this episode than she ever did during her entire Bachelor run. (Side note: With her long blonde hair extensions, petite frame and form-hugging dress, she also looks remarkably like Jessica Simpson).
Up next is the requisite cocktail hour where the men compete for one-on-one time with Ali -- and as usual, a first-impression rose is at stake. Here's where the contestants should really take a cue from their catty Bachelor counterparts. These guys are actually courteous and respectful when they interrupt a conversation. At one point, a Texas-based Internet account exec named Hunter actually serenades everyone with a ukulele and an original song. Come on! Man up! Do we need to bring in Vienna to show how this is done?
But Ali is impressed. She gets that salsa dancing lesson from Roberto, and Midwest-bred Jesse gives her a wooden-heart necklace as a token of his affection. How very Ryan Sutter of him. At least a guy named Shooter brings the laughs when he brazenly tells Ali how he got his nickname.
It involves a gun. No, not that kind of gun.
The only real moment of drama is a contrived one: Harrison tells the guys to single out the guy who's there for fame, not love. Secret-ballot, style, unfortunately. I won't play spoiler, but based on some recent Us reporting on what happens later in the production, the result is an insightful one.
Tragically, the ABC screener cut off just before she passes out her 17 roses. I'm assuming one of them is the poor shlump who mistakenly told Ali that he loved it when she wore cowboy boots getting out of the limo to meet Jake in the Bachelor premiere. (She didn't. Hello, Hulu!)
As for the Bachelorette herself . . Well, at least Ali has shed her petty ways -- this character trait really took the bloom off her rose on the Bachelor. Still, she's so affable, I worry that she'll turn into the female version of Jake (i.e., affable and well-intentioned, but in desperate need of cojones). But for now, let's Friend her.
By Mara Reinstein for UsMagazine.com