Well, Bachelor Nation, I’ve got four words for you: WE. ARE. BACK. BABY!!! It’s been a wild ride since Peter’s season of The Bachelor ended last March. So wild, in fact, that it feels like we could be living in a nightmare hellscape plucked directly out of one of Barb’s revenge fantasies. You know, the ones she reserved for anyone who wouldn’t f*ck her son in the fantasy suites. And don’t get me wrong, the hiatus has been nice! I’ve truly enjoyed spending 12-15 hours of my day binging on my second favorite reality TV show, 90 Day Fiancé, in its entirety. But there’s just something to be said for the soothing voice of Chris Harrison as he passive-aggressively eviscerates the lead’s attraction to a grown man wearing microscopic skinny jeans. God, I’ve missed that man and his thinly veiled disdain that’s fueled by Skinny Girl Margaritas and no-carb diets.
On that note, I’ll be your resident recapper for the season! If you’re wondering what makes me qualified for such an esteemed position, then let’s just say I’ve earned that title through blood, sweat, and
tears the deterioration of my liver. I’ve been recapping all things Bachelor for the last three years, and not only has that experience left a permanent stain on my soul (I still break out into a cold sweat anytime I hear a strumming guitar for fear that Jed will manifest out of the aether and try to serenade us with a dog food jingle again), but it’s also left me with a permanently low tolerance for bullsh*t. So, if you have any issues with the recaps, feel free to take it up in your group chat because the comments section is strictly for praise and adoration only. It says so in my contract.
Moving on. We’re told right away that tonight’s episode will only be two soul-sucking hours long, of which I’m sure Clare puns will make up approximately one hour and fifty-eight minutes of the episode. Cheers!
Speaking of our heroine, Clare enters from stage right and I am immediately shocked that she has not aged at least 10 years since her Bachelorette announcement at the start of the pandemic. Like, have they been harvesting her in a cryogenic chamber these last seven months?? Was she being kept in the same facility as Austin Powers before being reanimated to take on Dr. Evil?? That lady is pushing 40 and it appears a global pandemic, the deterioration of our democracy, and a summer of 11pm alcohol sale curfews have had literally no effect on her skin care regimen.
ME AFTER ONE WEEK IN QUARANTINE:
Someone make it make sense!!
Clare starts things off by taking us on a journey down memory lane and I actually did forgot just how extensive Clare’s Bachelor resume truly is. She’s like: “my journey ended so horribly wrong every time and yet somehow exactly as the producers intended.” Yes, it is curious, isn’t it Clare?
WHAT. SHE IS SO OLD HER MOTHER IS IN A CARE FACILITY?! Look, I know ABC is trying to spin her as the “mature” Bachelorette, but this is getting a little out of hand. What’s next? Will she let it slip that a former lover once gave her the hope diamond in her youth?
Things are looking dire for Clare. Production has shut down, the world is in quarantine, and she looks about moments away from starting a TikTok account for her dog when Chris Harrison saves us all from this painful vision of Christmas future by telling us that the men are currently waiting in quarantine and are on their way to meet her. Our hero!
First Impressions Of The Men
Usually, this is the part of every season where we’re treated to little snippets of the men’s lives before coming on the show. You know, the real who’s who of the season. (And by “who’s who” I mean, who is here to get some free publicity for the CrossFit they just opened and who is here to wear Clare’s skin as a suit.) But not so in 2020! Instead, we see less childhood homes and painful sob stories, and more of where all the n95s went in the shortage. Seriously, this summer, I was out here making hand sanitizer in my bathtub like it’s f*cking moonshine in prohibition, and ABC is over here flaunting that they have more Purell than lube this season.
Also, I know it feels like I’ve been glossing over the whole “production shut down because of a deadly pandemic” thing, but that is truly because ABC is giving it about as much air time as Grocery Store Joe’s first appearance on The Bachelorette. They briefly discuss their health and safety measures for the season (lots of testing and a strict quarantine) and no one seems the least bit traumatized about having to interact with 30+ strangers in close quarters where swapping bodily fluids is heavily encouraged. I guess I’ll just hyperventilate into a paper bag for them.
Speaking of the COVID tests, I am DEAD at watching these men get swabbed. They’re acting like production forced them to be waterboarded before going on national television. It’s just a little nose swab, guys! People are dying, Kim!!
Meeting The Men
After months of quarantine and weeks of COVID tests, Clare finally gets to meet her men. She steps out of the limo and it’s like, I’m sorry, but not even a global pandemic is a good enough excuse for that dress. Her stylist should be burned at the stake for that fashion atrocity. Look, I know early 2000s style is all the rage now, but literally, nobody asked you to refashion Hilary Duff’s purse from the 2004 Teen Choice Awards and make into a goddamn evening gown.
Dear GOD, my eyes!!
And would night one be complete without at least 15 minutes of filler bullsh*t? I think not! Chris sits Clare down to have a little heart-to-heart before the evening starts. He asks her what kind of man she’s looking for this season and Clare holds up a stock image of a human male. Seriously. She could have described a stick figure for all the detail she gave!
Moving on to the limo entrances. Let’s talk highlights:
-The first guy walks out of the limo, and I love that his big bold stunt is to breathe air near her face. The audacity!
-Jason’s schtick with the fake pregnant belly makes me want to take up witchcraft and place a gruesome curse on his future lineage. He says it’s to prove he’s “willing to hold the weight of the relationship and the labor of love” (sure, Jan), but I get the feeling Jason is the kind of guy who, whenever he gets into an altercation with a female coworker, makes a joke about her “being on the rag.”
-AJ tells us that he is horrible at first impressions and then follows that statement up by cumming in those very tight maroon pants after Clare accidentally touches his hand. He’s like, “that’s the first time I’ve touched a woman in months!” And if by “months” he means “ever,” then I believe it.
You certainly blew something, AJ.
-This is less of a highlight and more of an observation, but MY GOD there are a lot of “former athletes” this season. I feel like The Bachelorette has become a graveyard for failed NFL players. This is insane.
At one point Clare gushes that all the men “are just so sincere” which would go a little farther with me if the woman hadn’t been single for the last seven years. Yeah, I’m just really not going to take your word for it, Clare.
And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: DALEEEEEE. Dale walks out of the limo and I’m… underwhelmed. This is the man who brings The Bachelor franchise to its knees? Who supposedly causes production to shut down 4 weeks early—a feat that not even Colton and his fence jump could properly execute? Yeah, I’m not seeing it. I mean, he’s hot and all, but he acts like a Dale from South Dakota. I’m not impressed.
After exchanging five words with a man who has the personality of a blade of grass, Clare makes the bold proclamation that she’s found her husband. This causes Chris Harrison to immediately spit out the last sip of his Skinny Girl marg and dash out on camera to remind Clare, in a way that only feels mildly threatening, that she did in fact just meet Dale and he is a virtual stranger and so help him, you better not even THINK about mentioning DMs on camera, Clare.
The Cocktail Party
Fast forward to the cocktail party, and I’ve never seen such a hedonistic display of social interaction in all my life. 30 people! Maskless! Indoors! Speaking directly to each other’s faces! I have PTSD just watching this.
By far the most interesting part of the evening is when Clare’s dog breaks free of ABC’s least favorite intern, the one whom they’ve entrusted to watch the poor guy, and crashes the cocktail hour. I think my dog would have rather walked herself to the local Humane Society than subject herself to this, but at least someone’s enjoying themselves tonight!
Also, a plot twist I’d be very much down for: have the dog pick the winner! I’m sure it would be just as accurate as Clare “following her heart.”
The guy from Long Island who joked about dragging Clare to his cabin in the woods and then followed that up with a very strange statement about her being just as beautiful as his mother is the first guy she says has “great energy.” K. See THIS is why she’s been single for 40 years.
Sidenote: never has anyone said “I love your energy” about me. I mean, I’ve gotten a few “your personality ages like a cheap wine” or “you eventually wore me down.” But “love”? Not so much. That is a RED FLAG, CLARE! Nobody likes personalities anymore, let alone comments on them!
Ah, and just when I thought production was done trying to instigate petty fights on the first night. Tyler C, the man who showed up with only a few bags and a station wagon to his name, is upset that Yosef has used Instagram at some point in his life to interact with women. Oh, for god’s sake, GROW UP, man. This is the world we live in! Sliding into attractive people’s DMs is the equivalent of learning to ride a bike: it’s a coming of age moment that all people
TYLER C: *sniffles* But his Instagrams!!
“I’m not here for high school drama,” Tyler says as he begins the high school drama.
I wonder if this is what Clare’s father envisioned when he made her that DVD: a relationship that spawned out of his only daughter having to break down an Instagram DM at two in the morning with two men whose weekly grooming bill costs more than Clare’s entire outfit.
Wow, I love that Yosef has no qualms about using his daughter as a prop to qualify his being a “good guy.” Ted Bundy had a daughter too, Yosef! What’s your point?
Clare, to her credit, does not seem phased at all by this turn of events. After all, she did meet the boyfriend that she is most definitely dating on this show currently at this exact moment in time, through Instagram DMs.
Dale scores the First Impression Rose and I’m confused because it’s blatantly obvious that these two are dating. Like… they’re dating right?? Their conversations have been awkward at best and have mainly consisted of Clare profusely sweating and nervously giggling as Dale stares blankly in her face. I’ve had more chemistry with a TJ Maxx candle. You’re not fooling anyone, ABC!!
Yosef is still up in arms that anyone would think him here for the wrong reasons. I mean, he said he was a single father! According to Hallmark that and his rugged good looks is all he needs to validate his good intentions.
YOSEF: How dare you besmirch by character! I’m here for one reason and one reason only.
ALSO YOSEF ONE MINUTE AFTER THE ROSE CEREMONY:
#EverythingIsComingUpRoses, amiright Yosef?
Alright, let’s get to the good stuff. I don’t think anyone is really surprised by how the rose ceremony went, except maybe that the boy band manager was allowed to pollute our television screens for one more week.
Rejects Of The Night
Page, Chris, AJ, Jeremy, Jordan M., Mike, Robby, and Tyler C.
I guess Page, the tatted up chef from Austin, is the only one the producers could manipulate into giving an interview and I’m surprised no one offered him a tiny violin to go along with his lamenting. Do we think that Page knows that just because he flashed the heart tattooed on his cleavage, that doesn’t literally mean he’s showing anyone his heart? I feel like this is a line he frequently delivers to online dating prospects in the Austin area, and he must be stopped at all costs.
And that’s all she wrote, kids! Man, this was fun. These last few months I’ve been channeling all of my inner rage and angst into meaningful discussions with my therapist, and I forgot how much more satisfying it is to verbally skewer people on the internet instead. Can’t wait to do it again next week!
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Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; @montgomerycollins /Tumblr (1); Giphy (4); @tvgoldtweets /Instagram (1); @inthebach /Instagram (1)