As crazy as it sounds, we're about to kick off the 17th (!) edition of "The Bachelor," television's demolition derby of romance. Yeah, we can't believe it, either.

This time around, our leading man is Sean Lowe, a businessman from Dallas. Yes, that guy: the humble, soft-spoken hunk who bravely put his heart out there for Emily Maynard on "The Bachelorette," only to have her put it through a wood-chipper.

As the two-hour opener unfolds, Sean recalls that experience as being absolute "torture," but he has come to the conclusion that "God has another plan for me." Apparently, God's plan is for Sean to seek the love of his life via the most surefire method known to man: TV! Who knew God was into dating shows?

Of course, you have to make certain sacrifices to be a reality star. So before the episode is even a minute old, Sean is forced to shed his shirt and show off his ab-ulous bod while pumping iron. Poor guy. A few scenes later, Sean is shown rock-climbing near a beach and he has lost his shirt once again. Can you feel a drinking game coming on?

Before Sean can start to build his harem, he gets a visit from his old pal Arie, who also had his heart shredded by Emily in finishing second on "The Bachelorette." Arie is here to wish Sean well and provide a few pointers.

Make sure to deploy eye contact when kissing, says Arie, who was known as the king of smoochers during his run on "The Bachelorette." Be sure to "come in with the hands and kiss with the whole body. ... Use only a little tongue -- as a teaser."

This playful little segment might actually be a disservice to Sean, because it reminds us that Arie has the much bigger personality of the two, and leaves us wondering if he might have made a better Bachelor.

But, hey, there's no looking back. Soon it's time for Sean to suit up and meet 25 gorgeous women, who, as usual, arrive via a parade of limos. With each passing season, the contestants find new and aggressively creative ways to make a solid first impression. Apparently, flashing a winning smile (along with a bit of cleavage) is no longer enough.

And so a hottie named Jackie pauses to apply some lipstick and plant her "mark" on Sean's cheek. But then Selma arrives to wipe it off. Daniella offers her own intricate handshake (and fist bump), while Kelly delivers a special song:

"... I really hope our love grows," she croons, "but we won't find out unless you give me a rose."

Robyn tries a back-flip in her fancy gown -- and blows it. Lacey fittingly presents him with a piece of lace in the shape of a heart, and Ashley P., a big fan of "Fifty Shades of Grey" pulls out a tie and basically implies that she's ready for some hanky-panky.

No one, however, is as audacious (dumb?) as Lindsay, a substitute teacher, who arrives decked out in a full-blown wedding dress.

"Did I miss the memo," Sean wonders.

Lindsay then gets even braver and plants a juicy kiss on Sean's lips.

"I've got balls," she proudly proclaims.

"I hope not," he replies.

It's during the limo parade that Sean shows us that he's not willing to play by the long-established "Bachelor" rules. When Tierra, a 24-year-old brunette from Denver, arrives, she shows him a small, open-ended heart tattoo on her hand.

"I hope you're the guy to complete it," she says.

Sean tells her to wait on the porch for a moment while he runs into the mansion. "What's going on?" she nervously wonders, fearing that she may be sent home. But, no, Sean comes back with a rose, which she gratefully accepts. This is "Bachelor" history, folks. It's the first time a woman has been handed a rose before she even gets through the door. Hey, this Sean guy is unorthodox and we like it.

As it turns out, this is just the start of a generous round of early rose rewards. Once the party starts, Sean hands out roses like they're Tic-Tacs, some after only a short chat on the couch. One of the early recipients is Sarah, a 24-year-old advertising designer from Los Angeles who was born with only one arm. This is an extremely big moment for the somewhat insecure Sarah, who sees it as a sign that Sean is willing to look past her physical handicap.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Actually, before the party starts, we are thrown another curveball. All 25 singletons have had their introductions -- but wait -- our intrepid host, Chris Harrison alerts us to the fact that there will be a 26th mystery woman coming to play this weird little mating game. Who could it be? Not Emily, right? A pair of long legs emerges from a limo and the camera pans up to reveal ... Kacie B. Who? Kacie B. -- a "Bachelor" returnee who finished fourth in Ben Flajnik's season. Turns out that she's attracted to Sean and wanted a chance to see "if anything was there."

Of course, when Kacie enters the house, the catty, behind-her-back talk begins. Clearly, she'll have a target on her back.

But at least she doesn't make a fool of herself the way Ashley P. does. Yes, our "Fifty Shades" girl appears to be having a little too much fun. Obviously tanked, she gets overly flirty with Mr. Lowe, who is quite taken aback.

"Do I need my rape whistle?" he asks, uttering a line that, again, may be another "Bachelor" first. Indeed, "Fifty Shades of Grey" is turning out to be "fifty shades of drunk" tonight. And it probably doesn't help her cause that Ashley P. admits that she has already told her mom that she plans to marry Sean.

Mercifully, we, at last, make it to the rose ceremony. But are there any roses left to hand out? Turns out, there are -- seven, in fact. Among those getting one are Kacie B. and wedding-dress Lindsay (the latter is greatly relieved after fearing that she had come on too strong).

Among those packing their bags was drunken Ashley P., who, unfortunately, won't be practicing any bondage with our buff boy.

But she doesn't appear too heartbroken as she playfully struts her stuff out in the courtyard and hikes her gown (way) up her thigh before proclaiming, "Sean, this is what you're missing out on!"

The next "Bachelorette"? Nah, probably not.