Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC Television Group ©2010 Disney    
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The Bachelor

Recap of The Bachelor Season 15, Episode 2: Happy Hot-Blooded Birthday, Michelle!

Nothing says "I love you" like a first date spent exchanging stories about homeless absentee fathers with addiction issues. Unless it's a date with 15 women cat-fighting their way through a Spanish soap opera starring Brad Womack as "Gustavo." Yes, The Bachelor Season 15, Episode 2 was alive with romance and vampire three-ways, which is how we like it.

If Michelle Money had just mentioned it was her 30th birthday to someone — anyone — we're sure Brad would've done something special for her. But she was so shy and demure about it (NOT) that she had to settle for pitching a fit, stealing Brad away, and threatening to dissect him. Then again, we're pretty sure Starbucks is going to call her for a promotional gig, so that can be her b-day present.

By the way, have we all forgotten that it was Jessica's birthday last week on Brad's redux premiere — and he sent her home? Maybe she should've kicked up an epic fuss about it. Then maybe she, too, could've dressed as a butch woman in a neck brace and double arm casts in some twisted way of getting people to give blood. (Tip: Next time, Red Cross, just make the whole PSA about Madison Garton in her dominatrix gear.)

Going diva worked for Michelle, who got the group date rose and all the attention she wanted. It was more attention than anyone else wanted her to get, but in the pantheon of crazy women, we're not even sure Michelle takes the top spot. That may have to go to either onion pizza-loving Melissa Schreiber or Jesus-loves-me Raichel Goodyear, who both got the boot along with poor butch-clad Keltie Colleen.

Jackie Gordon is the only one who got a really romantic date. In fact, all of Season 15's romance (so far) was packed into Jackie's Pretty Woman date. Even Ashley Hebert had to spend her carnival date acting as Brad's second therapist. Spread the love next time, Womack!

Emily Maynard didn't get a one-on-one date, but she still managed to steal the show from everyone else. She even charmed Season 6 Bachelorette cuties Ali Fedotowsky and Roberto Martinez. Does Ali recognize her Bachelorette successor? We certainly recognize Miss Emily as a rose among onion-scented thorns — and we're glad "Gustavo" sees her potential, too.

Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC Television Group ©2010 Disney    

Bubbly dentist Ashley Hebert gets the very first date of the season. She shows great trust in Brad by allowing him to drag her off down dark Serial Killer Road. She says it feels like something out of a horror movie. They do usually kill off the cute blondes in those films, so she's right to worry.

But when Brad switches on some random light it turns out to be a makeshift carnival, which is just as scary from a safety perspective. (Do not go on the Ferris wheel!) Very early on, Ashley — in her cutesy tulle dress — says it's the best date she's ever been on. Brad says Ashley has the entire package and he can be himself around her, which is very important to him. She kisses him and eats his face like cotton candy.

Then things get serious. Ashley says she's driven and wants to be able to stand on her own two feet in case "something happens." Her mom took care of them growing up because her father had problems with addiction. He was homeless almost her whole life, and she doesn't know where he is right now. Brad says they are almost too much alike. He launches into his own daddy issues, which may also have included addiction. We careen into depressed therapy territory again. It's the opposite of romantic, especially when Ashley divulges her fear that Brad feels obligated to choose somebody out of redemption.

Brad: "I don't need redemption at all." We're not buying it. Anyway, he does need to stop being such a downer. He calls her Ash. She gets a rose.
Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC Television Group ©2010 Disney    

A whopping 15 chicks go on the second date: Keltie, Chantal, Madison, Melissa, Kimberly, Marissa, Raichel, Britt, Meghan, Emily, Stacey, Alli, Shawntel, Michelle, and Lisa. Emily thinks that might set a world record.

The very idea of sharing this much time with other women on her birthday is abhorrent to Michelle, who has clearly missed the past 14 seasons of a show where one man dates multiple women at the same time. Having said that, her earrings are gorgeous.

On this date, Brad and his ladies have to film odd little skits for the American Red Cross. At some point it's said that the point is to go over-the-top to show what giving blood isn't: dramatic. Really, it's just an excuse to dress everyone up in ridiculous clothes and get the ladies to fight each other to win Brad's attention.

Melissa interrupts the "Gustavo" soap opera to steal a kiss from Brad. This launches, or at least fuels, the Melissa vs. Raichel drama that persists throughout the episode and takes everyone down with it.

Britt worries about her three-way with Chantal and Brad, but then goes so wildly porn star about it that Michelle feels compelled to use air quotes when calling the scene a "nightmare." She pulls Brad aside to complain about how this is her birthday and everything should basically stop for her. Raichel and Melissa use this opportunity to fight more; Melissa says Raichel is acting like a 21-year-old, and Raichel admits she's usually the "beyatch." Lucky for her, Melissa is there to take over. They should just run away together.

Birthday girl Michelle gets the rose from a very hot and shirtless Brad. It was inevitable. She already said she felt they should "dissect" Brad, which is probably all the threat he needed. Besides, it was her birthday. Did she mention it?
Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC Television Group ©2010 Disney    

Ashley H., Jackie, Michelle, and Emily all have roses already.

Brad tells the ladies he made more connections in a week on this season than he made in a month on Season 11. Take that, DeAnna, Jenni, and forgettable Season 11 chicks!

1. Chantal O.
2. Sarah
3. Alli
4. Kimberly
5. Shawntel N.
6. Stacey
7. Ashley S.
8. Madison
9. Lisa
10. Marissa
11. Meghan
12. Lindsay
13. Britt

Eliminated: Raichel, Melissa, and Keltie

Wanna know what happens next? Check out Reality Steve's episode-by-episode spoilers here.
Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC Television Group ©2010 Disney    

Quick question: Do you prefer Starbucks or The Coffee Bean?

Did you pick Starbucks? Fist pump!

For whatever reason, it's important for Michelle to steal Brad away to get that information. After that, everyone else seems sane. It's especially nice to see Emily, who looks GORGEOUS with her straightened hair and hot dress. Brad tells her, "You make me lose words. I feel like an idiot talking to you." And as much as we'd like to add a joke about that, we can't really blame him. Emily says she was intimated when she first saw Brad, because he's so good-looking. Earlier in the episode we saw Emily call her daughter, Ricki, to talk about Ricki's cheerleading practice (at age 5?), so Emily is still keeping the cameras on her.

Also keeping the cameras on them: Raichel and Melissa, aka the new Ali and Vienna Girardi. They call each other toxic, going to the other women in the house for backup when it couldn't be more clear that the other women want nothing to do with The Drama Girls.

Melissa sits down with Brad and cries. Raichel sits down with Brad and cries. The other women watch. Brad is allergic to conflict, so he tags in Ali and Roberto. (Ali is still in her short hair phase here, and her cocktail dress is a bit too short.) When Melissa sits down and tells Ali she's the targeted girl in the house, Ali seems to hear "Vienna." Interestingly enough, Ali and Roberto ask Chantal O'Brien to give thumbs up or thumbs down to Melissa and Raichel. Why are they consulting her? Interesting...

At the end of the night, there's no competition: Ali and Roberto give their list of good chicks to Brad, and he gives the special rose to Emily.
Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC Television Group ©2010 Disney    

Jackie Gordon is already 90 percent Lea Michele on Glee, so she's perfect for the sweet, romantic, "I feel pretty" date. She even starts the date by saying, "It smells like roses," which made us throw up a little. Brad says her date is surprise after surprise, which the other women must've loved hearing about when she got back to the ranch.

Jackie tells Brad she didn't have a boyfriend in high school, and Brad practically falls out of his chair at this news. (A girl can wear fangs and he barely bats an eye, but she didn't get around in high school and he's shocked?)

She wonders if it's weird. He says she could have any guy she wants, and this just shows that she's extremely careful about the men she dates. This is Brad's second one-on-one date cue to be reminded of himself. He's concerned that Jackie might wake up and realize this is way too much of a risk for her, à la Brad circa 2007. But this is the romantic date, so he gives her a rose and tells her he's willing to be patient. If he picks Jackie in the end, this will be a date to remember. If he doesn't pick her, this will be a date for his Chosen One to remember and ask, "Why didn't I get that date?"

01.11.2011 / 10:02 AM EDT by Gina Carbone
Related: The Bachelor, Recaps

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