Review | The Bachelor

Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC

Air Date: Monday 1/3

Us Rating: **

Back in 2007, Brad Womack, a chiseled and soft-spoken Texan, shocked viewers by telling Jenni Croft and DeAnna Pappas in the Bachelor finale that he didn't love either of them. While some would say the bar entrepreneur did the ladies a favor, he was universally despised. That was then. As he explains in the premiere, years of therapy and "soul-searching" helped him process his fear of commitment. Now, at 38, he's "ready to fall in love."

If only the show got rolling then and there. Instead, the producers, overestimating the allure of Womack's "I'm a changed man" refrain, confront him with a still-bitter Croft and Pappas. This was three years ago, people! Even sillier is this contrived moment: The first of Womack's 30 new paramours emerges from the limo and slaps him on behalf of scorned women across America.

The rest of the contestants are another enticing mix of oddballs (licensed embalmer Chantal) and empathetic types (widowed mom Emily) -- but their skepticism puts a decided damper on romance, resulting in a lackluster rose ceremony. Indeed, chemistry and drama are so scarce that Womack becomes smitten with the girl who says she wants to be his friend. Where's Vienna Girardi when you need her? (ABC, 8 P.M.)