Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! Keep in mind that the title of this recap has not at all been endorsed by any governing body or organization and is mostly just a manifestation I’m shouting into the abyss after my third glass of wine. I just want to be upfront about that.
Moving on! For those of you who went into this season blind (you’re not better than me), you’ll want to meet your new Bachelorette: Katie Thurston. If you’re thinking to yourself “who?” and “no, seriously who??” Katie was the girl from Matt James’ season of The Bachelor whom I benevolently dubbed “Dildo Girl” in every single one of my recaps. On night one, Katie came out of the limo wide-eyed and fresh-faced, looking less like a girl fit for reality TV and more like a girl who would work the register at a Panera Bread. And I say that with love! I’m thrilled to be watching a girl who looks like she buys her makeup at CVS and has never once in her life heard of a lip filler dare to find love on national television. In fact, if not for the sparkly, average-sized dildo she waved in Matt’s face like a baton from her senior year marching band routine, we probably never would have heard from her again. But alas, Dildo Girl was born!
Unlike previous contestants we’ve seen on this franchise, Katie did more than just cry and bring general shame to her family name. During her time on The Bachelor, she took on girl-on-girl crime in the house by banishing the words “whore” and “slut” even though that was the majority of the script the producers provided to the girls. (And they would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for that meddling kid!) She tried to normalize sex toys by mentioning it one time as a gimmick and ABC never letting it f*cking die. She wore an ankle length parka to her one-on-one date. The woman was breaking boundaries everywhere she went! So, you could say that I have high hopes for her season.
With that in mind, let’s get into last night’s episode: the good, the bad, the cringe, and the things that will haunt my spirit until my last dying day.
The Good: First Impressions & The First Impression Rose
Let’s start off with the positives from last night (however slim they may be). The theme of this season is clearly “average,” if the beginning montage of Katie f*cking up normal day-to-day activities is to be any kind of indicator. Our preview of the men is in much the same vein. Sure, we get some former pro athletes, some CrossFitters, a 40-year-old virgin whose massive bedazzled cross barely hides his repressed sexuality, but there are also just as many teachers, dudes who probably ride New Jersey transit, guys who talk to their grandmas and play with kids. ABC is trying very hard to show us that they’ve selected average guys who do average things and are totally not at all looking to add thousands of followers so they can become full-time Instagram influencers.
Even the limo entrance gimmicks were tamer this season, which just goes to show that the ABC intern reading Instagram DMs has finally passed along my demands. Out of the first impressions, there were a few standout guys to me. There was Brendan the Toronto firefighter who looks like he would cheat on you with a Ruby Tuesday waitress if given the chance, but who is so attractive I don’t think any of us would care. There was Justin the investment sales consultant who scored the first kiss of the evening. While this is in no way an endorsement for Justin, I would feel remiss if I didn’t at least mention him. I mean, who among us hasn’t made out with a “sales consultant” early in the night and then promptly forgotten about him for the next guy to buy us a vodka cran?
Andrew S was also memorable as the man who decided that he wanted Katie’s first impression of him to be that he lied straight to her face. Bold move, cotton. In fact, one of my favorite moments of the evening was when, after absolutely butchering an English accent in a way that would send chills down the spines of the Windsor family, he asks Katie if the accent is no good and in response she tries to disintegrate into the nearest wall. Let’s just say I’ve witnessed better accents in Winning London. Know your strengths, buddy.
But the real winner of the evening is the first impression rose recipient: New Jersey’s Greg Grippo. He came out of the limo looking like a brunette Devon Sawa, handing out macaroni necklaces from his niece, and blushing every time Katie made direct eye contact with him. Honestly, the state of New Jersey hasn’t had a win like this since Vinny rebranded himself as the Keto Guido. Look, am I rooting for Greg? Yes. Do I think it’s rude that in all the time I spent trolling bars in Red Bank I never once met a Greg, only a man named Lorenzo who flirted with me only long enough to see if I’d pay for his Rolling Rock? I mean, it’s something I’ll be bringing up with my therapist. It does feel a little kismet the moment Greg and Katie first meet. Greg says Katie looks like a girl from a bar and Katie tries to hide her arousal from the cameras when she says he looks like her ex. If that’s not love at first sight, then I don’t know what is!!
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The Bad: The Hosts
Look, I know Chris Harrison is bad, bad, bad and we love women supporting women, but the new hosts just didn’t work for me. For those of you who weren’t aware, while Chris Harrison is off googling racism for the first time in his life, former Bachelorettes Tayshia and Kaitlyn took over as hosts this season. Here’s the thing, Tayshia and Kaitlyn’s presence makes for a lot of feminine energy that Katie then has to compete with. Tayshia is STUNNING and even though Kaitlyn looked like her lips were struggling to let her speak through all of those fillers, she has the sex appeal of an off-brand Megan Fox. It’s a lot of chaotic energy to bring into the mix.
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Then there’s the fact that a hero always needs a wise old spirit guide to help them navigate their journey. Where would Buffy be without her watcher? Where would Frodo be without his Gandolf? Kim without her momager? I have makeup brushes older than Tayshia’s engagement. What seasoned advice could she possibly give to Katie? At one point in the evening, Katie says her relationship with the hosts feels more like a sisterhood, but I’m not sure that works here. As a person with a biological sister and who spent her entire undergraduate career knee-deep in sorority
chants politics, a “sisterhood” only ever encouraged me to hook up with a guy who publicly went by Ugly Paul. But, you know, I’m sure it will all work out for you, Katie!
The Cringe: ABC’s Take On Sex Positivity
If there’s one thing I hate about Katie being the new Bachelorette, it’s that ABC will not stop referring to her as “sex positive.” Sex positive makes it sound like she’s blazing some sort of trail, holding seminars on the clitoris, and doing Instagram ads for the Kama Sutra. Is she normalizing talking about sex on national television? I guess. But she’s not the Wife of Bath, for Christ’s sake! She’s a twentysomething who owns a vibrator. Welcome to 2021. Maybe she shattered every man in America’s ego by insinuating that sex toys facilitate orgasms, not the dude asking “you good?” after ramming a finger into your cervix for five minutes of “foreplay,” but the women back home are not surprised!
As if to highlight Katie’s sex queen status, they’ve dressed her in whore red for her Bachelorette debut. Subtle, ABC. Very subtle. Then there were the limo entrances. Dear god, those limo entrances. I would say the moment it all went downhill was when a grown-ass man decided to bring a blowup doll to the Bachelor mansion. A BLOWUP DOLL. IS NOTHING SACRED ON THIS SHOW ANYMORE?? I think he was trying to do what Katie did with the dildo, as if a tool for female pleasure is similar to a man sticking his penis into a faceless woman made of plastic. Do go on though, pal.
And the night only goes downhill from there. The remaining men test out every sexual pun they learned in middle school because apparently that’s the only mature way to respond to female pleasure.
MAN WHO THINKS BECAUSE A WOMAN IS A LITTLE WET SHE SQUIRTED: I can’t wait to stroke it out with you… with my paintbrush!! Because I’m an artist but you masturbate, get it?!
KATIE: Lol, yeah I love the sexual puns!
Honestly, Katie, I would quit while you’re ahead.
The Things That Will Haunt My Dreams: The Catastrophe
There are some things on this franchise that you can’t unsee. The string of saliva the cameras zoomed in on after Carly and Evan’s first kiss. Kendall Long introducing Arie to her taxidermy collection. Chad waking up on a Mexican beach with a suspicious brown smudge on his shorts. But the thing that will haunt me until my last dying breath, and perhaps even beyond the grave itself, is Connor B licking his paws on national television and then smearing his cat makeup all over Katie’s face. Connor B, a Nashville-based teacher and person who never should have been let out of the cave he grew up in, walked out of the limo in a full-blown cat suit, complete with drawn-on whiskers and an underlying cry for help. Though he looked like a walking, talking fetish, Katie seemed to be into it—proving there is a lid for every pot, even if that pot is probably on a no fly list somewhere.
And that’s all she wrote, friends! Katie called it quits with Austin, Brandon, Gabriel, the man who sells skins out of his van, Landon, Marcus, and Marty. Here’s hoping the man who coughed up a fur ball is next!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (2); ABC (1); @tvgoldtweets / Instagram (1); @bachelorettewindmill /Instagram (1)