Where’s The AAPI Representation On ‘The Bachelor’?

Let me start by saying: I love love. Love can open new doors, help you see things in a different light, and completely change your world. I believe that everyone deserves a shot at experiencing true love, and finding the partner that makes them feel like the best possible version of themselves. And I’m all in—my entire career is built on helping others find their person.  

So yes, I’m a romantic. But when it comes to Asian dating in the U.S., I’m a frustrated romantic (though, not a hopeless one). As a longtime fan of The Bachelor franchise, I’ve tuned in every Monday (now, Tuesday) to watch live love in action. I love the romantic gestures, the fantastic dates, the proposals, and even the friendships that develop between contestants. But after nearly 20 years of watching the show, I’ve got to ask, where are the Asians at?!

Even though Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States, Asian contestants are rarely seen on dating shows. And when they are, they’re disqualified early on or made out to be drama-seeking villains. Tammy Ly, perhaps the best-known Asian franchise contestant, was continuously framed as a pot-stirrer by the editors and producers, despite being there for the same reasons as everyone else—to look for love. 

The phrase “reality TV” in and of itself is an oxymoron. We all know that what we see on screen is not a true reflection of life. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes and in the editing room that turns normal interactions into the dramatic, tension-filled scenes we love to watch. It’s easy to brush it off like it’s completely unimportant, but what we see on TV and in movies matters, even if it’s not completely true to life. 

In a period of time when Asian hate crimes are at an all-time high, we cannot stand by and ignore how the things we see on the screen perpetuate the real and terrible things happening to Asian people in the United States—on the street, in office buildings, and yes, on dating apps.

How many Asian women have been reached out to on Tinder with fetishizing, dehumanizing pick-up lines? How many Asian men have been told, “sorry, I’m just not into Asian guys”?

The true, lived experience of Asian people in the United States cannot be viewed as separate from the storylines we see on TV. Positive media representation alone cannot solve every problem, but it’s a critical first step in ensuring that Asian people are seen as human beings, who are deserving of respect, empowerment, and love, just like everyone else. 

It’s why I founded my company. I know what it’s like to be a member of the diaspora: I am so proud of my Japanese heritage and the beautiful culture that comes along with it, but it can be a challenge not to feel othered when living in the United States. I believe so strongly in the power of love, and am empowered by the amazing community of other diasporic Asians that I have been able to connect with.

I am proud that the community I have been able to cultivate runs counter to so much of what we see on television. My friends and colleagues are not the side characters we are relegated to on television, nor are we the self-hating characters who turn their backs on our culture and resent their parents’ accents and upbringing. We bring together the best parts of our cultures while remaining whole and proud.  

So this is what I ask: Let’s think critically about the media we consume. Are the Asian characters on your favorite show playing into harmful, dangerous stereotypes? Are they purposefully villainizing female Asian characters, or emasculating their male Asian characters? We’re no longer settling for crumbs when it comes to Asian representation. 

And to my Asian community: Don’t give up hope on finding your person. Find ways to build your community and find friendships. Not only will that make you feel more fulfilled, but opening up your network can help grow relationships with people who value your culture, and have morals that align with yours. We’re fortunate to have such a strong community here. Use that to your advantage when dating and seeking out relationships.  

Bachelor Nation, if you want to talk about casting, I’m happy to help find your next Bachelorette. And Tammy, if you’re reading this: We’re in your corner, don’t let the haters (or the Bachelor editors) get you down. 

Image: ABC/Craig Sjodin

The Best ‘Bachelor’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: I’d Like To Speak To The Manager

Well, fam, after 10 grueling weeks we’re about to find out which woman won Matt’s heart. We’ve come to know the best and the worst of these ladies. The best being a girl who carries a dildo around in her purse like it’s a pack of gum and speaks entirely in email jargon (no, thank you for your feedback, Katie) and the worst being a Gangs of New York-style living situation where absolutely not one person has heard of concealer before. But at least I do know these ladies. I can’t say the same for our pal Matt. In fact, his entire personality can be condensed into “guy who wears turtlenecks.” He’s really given us so much to root for.

Last week, Matt whittled his search for love down to two final women: a sexy, long-limbed school teacher and a girl who dressed as a sexy school girl for last year’s Halloween party. I paraphrase.

MATT: There’s Michelle—beautiful, smart, kind Michelle. And then there’s Rachael…
MATT TRYING TO EXPLAIN HIS CONNECTION TO RACHAEL:

Hmmm… whomever will he choose?

Michelle Meets The Parents

Okay, is anybody else just tired? I know we need to go through the whole song and dance of Matt introducing the girls to the parents and having one last great date with them, but must we really? Like, just freaking pick one already, I don’t need to watch you sit in a hot tub one more time. *takes one deep, calming breath* I suppose the show must go on, which means Michelle is up first!

Michelle walks into the room and Matt’s mom is already weeping. She heard “school teacher” and saw she was wearing a woolen force field that covered all skin from the chin down and knew this girl would be absolutely perfect for her son. Matt’s brother is also a huge Michelle fan. He’s asking her all these deep questions about her family and past relationships and she’s delivering clear, sincere answers without one single “like” or reference to TikTok.

Okay, yikes. Red flag that Matt’s brother has never seen him in a relationship. Michelle asks him about Matt’s last long-term relationship and his brother is like, “by long-term do you mean more than one date after slipping into a girl’s DMs?” Christ. The man is almost 30! This is just further proof that he’s not ready for an engagement at the end of all of this. If his last real relationship involved him checking “yes, I like you” on the back of some looseleaf math homework in grade school, then Matt has no business proposing in 90 minutes.

By the end of this date, it’s so clear that Michelle is absolutely the right pick here. Matt himself seems shocked that a girl like this is here and interested in him. He actually asks her in stunned disbelief how she’s still single after she absolutely kills it with his family. Hmmm, I don’t know, Mattie. Maybe it’s because men see that her TikToks involve less nudity and more fun multiplication hacks for her students and run for the hills from all that healthy, wholesome energy.

Rachael Meets The Parents

I already have a feeling Matt’s family is going to hate Rachael. For one, she’s daring to show her clavicle before noon. BOLD. For another, she’s wearing a look of barely contained disgust at all that rouge on Patty’s cheekbones. You can tell she’s itching to get that woman a makeup wipe and some subtle highlighter before this date goes any further.

Rachael, of course, shows up to meet Matt’s family wearing her standard muted palette of whites and blacks, and sporting that trademark middle part. Wow. Rachael is seemingly more committed to this middle part than Matt is to any relationship on this show.

Matt’s brother gives Rachael the same brotherly interview he gave Michelle, but it just hits different. For one, Michelle is just so much more poised than Rachael. She’s also a few years older and it shows. At one point, Matt’s brother asks Rachael how many serious relationships she’s been in and it’s like, five years ago she was still in SAT prep courses! How many do you think she’s been in??

MATT: So, mom, what do you think?
MATT’S MOM: She’s… cute.

HAHA. That is something my mother says right before she verbally fillets them in the car ride home from Applebee’s. In all fairness, Matt’s mom seems skeptical that Matt is going to end up with either of these girls. She’s like “so… you’re actually going to go through with this?” He better, Patty! If I don’t see an engagement at the end of this I will riot. MY GOD, THIS ISN’T A DATING SHOW. If Demi Lovato can give engagement the ol’ college try, then so can Matt!

Matt’s mom is like, “feelings aren’t forever!” and, boy, what a pep talk to give your son a mere 24 hours before a proposal. It’s cute that they think Matt has any choice here. Don’t they realize his Bachelor contract was signed in blood, as are all deals with the devil?

Matt’s Quarter-Life Crisis

I have never in my life seen a man spiral faster after a conversation about commitment than what I’m witnessing on my screen rn. Kidding! I have asked a guy “what are we?” before and watched the look of abject terror take hold of his face as he grabbed his pants, keys, and wallet, and backed away slowly toward the door.

MATT: My mom said feelings come and go… do you think that’s true Chris?

Chris is genuinely stunned by this conversation. You can tell he’s yearning for the day when contestants were jumping fences they were so in love, instead of having to placate these lukewarm feelings emanating from Matt.

CHRIS HARRISON:

 

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God, this is depressing. Matt’s trying to moonwalk out of his engagement obligations and I’m not having it. THIS IS THE BACHELOR. You signed up to make the biggest mistake of your life for our collective enjoyment. You can’t just go back on that sacred agreement because you don’t feel like it!

After that bleak conversation with Chris, Matt resolves to soldier on through the rest of his Bachelor duties. I’m sure it has everything to do with his feelings for Michelle and Rachael and nothing at all to do with the fact that ABC producers have his entire family sequestered at an undisclosed location. Carry on.

Similar to how I drag out menial tasks like emptying the dishwasher or answering my boss’ emails, Matt is going to drag out his Bachelor experience by taking the women on one last one-on-one date. For Matt’s date with Michelle, he makes her rappel off the roof of a building to wine and dine on what appears to be an abandoned airplane tarmac. Seriously, how come Matt only offers romance if your life is challenged in the process? Did he forget what franchise he’s on? This isn’t Final Destination, Matthew! Why does he keep trying to kill these women? So he doesn’t have to choose? “Whichever one doesn’t break her neck gets to be my wife!!”

Michelle calls Matt her “teammate” and okay, yes, I am crying in the club. She is way too good for this clown. She gifts him with (probably) hand-sewn jerseys and Matt is, like, eyeing all possible exits, he’s so freaked out. The more jerseys she hands him, the more massive his panic attack gets.

MATT: Michelle, I think I want a girlfriend, not a wife…
MICHELLE:

I love that Matt flees the scene crying. I’m sorry, but what did you expect from her? You just spent six weeks saying “my wife is in this room” only to take it back when it really counts. If she wanted a boyfriend she would have gone on that Zoom date with her coworker’s weird cousin Alan.

In the end, the jerseys are Matt’s undoing. His idea of commitment is watching your Instagram stories daily, but cropping you out of his profile picture for his Raya account. He can’t keep leading Michelle on like this, so he gives her the axe.

At least Michelle got to go on a date, though. Rachael put on these hot leather pants for absolutely no reason. Matt is too distraught over his breakup with Michelle to go on a date with Rachael. Instead, he sends his errand boy Chris Harrison to deliver the blow. Chris tells Rachael Matt needs “some space.” What’s left unsaid is that Matt’s “space” is in the Delta lounge as he books the next flight back to New York.

While Rachael falls into an abyss of despair, Matt has his own demon to face: Neil Lane. At this point, it’s clear that Matt would rather singe his own eyebrows off than embark on a lifelong commitment with a human woman, but he humors Neil Lane with this ring appointment all the same. Neil hands Matt one of his bottom-shelf rings, and Matt acts like he just touched one of Voldemort’s horcruxes, but instead of brushing the scraps of the soul of a genocidal sadist, he’s just visibly recoiling at the feeling of all of that commitment. Perfectly normal behavior for a man in love.

The Proposal

Matt tells Rachael to “meet him at the lake for answers” and that is how every episode of My Favorite Murder starts, not the beginning of an eternal partnership between two people. But good luck with that, girl!

Also, lol at ABC trying to make us think that Matt will actually use that ring. I think Matt knows he could get away with not proposing to Rachael. Like, she’s still buying gel pens to doodle in her Lilly Pulitzer planner. She would definitely be chill with just dating.

Speaking of Rachael, she shows up to the final rose ceremony dressed like the dragon Shrek fought to rescue Fiona. For someone who has dressed exactly the same for the last nine episodes, I’m shocked that this is the lewk she chose to be bold with.

Matt says rushing into marriage is what ruined his family, and it’s like WELL WHY ARE YOU ON THIS MF SHOW THEN?! This is what ABC gets for signing a TikTok star to be their lead. I’m so angry I would like to take an entire jug of kerosene to his most beloved turtlenecks.

Matt’s like, “I want to commit to you, but not in like any real, lasting way, you feel me?” And she does!! She signs up to be his girlfriend! This is insane! I bet she’s super glad she survived that skydiving accident for this happy ending!

After The Final Rose

Even though I am full of unending rage at just having wasted the last 10 weeks of my life watching—in real time!—a man sift through his roster until he got bored, I supposed I will tolerate one more hour of this worthless f*cking show. That said, I’m not going to recap minute by minute because, frankly, I don’t have it in me. So, here are the highlights:

Michelle Is Doing Just Fine

If you kids thought I was angry before, let me tell you, my rage boiled to cataclysmic levels when Michelle revealed that Matt refused to see her after dumping her. Before she left the Bachelor hotel, she asked production to ask Matt if she could have a few minutes with him to get some closure and, in classic f*ckboy fashion, he chose to ghost her instead. Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m just going to take a page out of Beastly and place a witch’s curse on Matt’s unblemished body until he learns how to properly treat a lady.

ABC Isn’t Racist, They Just Cast Racists, Okay!!

After a chill 120 minutes of finale footage and 15 minutes of Michelle updates, ABC finally, finally addresses the racism scandal. I still can’t believe the first Black Bachelor picked a woman who probably doesn’t understand how harmful the phrase “all lives matter” is, but here we are. Emmanuel takes over the hosting gig for the evening since Chris Harrison is currently in timeout. He gets into it with Matt about being the first Black Bachelor, and I cannot express enough how relieved I am that Matt is having this conversation with an actual person of color and not Chris’ milky white ass fumbling over production’s pre-written interview cards that start with: “so, my brother, how are you?”

Matt seemed genuinely hurt and upset by the Rachael scandal. One thing that stood out in particular to me was when he said his goal was to seem approachable to audiences. He wanted to normalize seeing Black bodies on TV and he was constantly aware of trying to seem nonthreatening. I’m glad he said that because, honestly, I’ve been pretty disappointed with Matt this season. Week after week he failed to show any emotion or personality. He seemed to gloss over any particularly heavy or dynamic conversations by pasting on a bland smile and giving the women vague, generic praise for their honesty. Now I’m wondering if that was a calculated move to seem, as he said, “less threatening.” If that’s the case, then I’m genuinely sad. It feels like we missed out on seeing some real, authentic conversations from people of color for the sake of placating The Bachelor’s white audience.

I thought Rachael did an okay job at sitting in the hot seat. She stuck to script and took accountability for her actions, even with her entire body breaking out into stress hives. I can only imagine she hired the Olivia Pope of PR teams to get her through this only mildly unscathed.

Rachael And Matt Are No Longer Together

Matt revealed that after finding out about Rachael’s past, he couldn’t in good conscience continue to date her. He said she needs to do some “work” on her own. I think that’s probably for the best. Though Rachael gave us some actionable items for how she’ll be putting in the work to better understand racism, she thought that after three weeks she’d learned enough for Matt to take her back. That doesn’t really feel like putting the work in, more like putting on a show so your S.O. will be less mad. At one point Matt says he doesn’t want to be “emotionally responsible for her tears” and that’s the most real thing that he’s ever said on this show. It sucks that she’s hurting, but it’s not on him to accept her guilt and pain.

That said, I would also like Matt to work on himself. The man had no business getting engaged on this show. I don’t want to see him on another Bachelor franchise until he’s stopped using those turtlenecks as security blankets. If I start seeing some neck, I’ll know he’s emotionally ready for an actual relationship.

And The Next Bachelorette Is…

Katie and Michelle! That’s right, double trouble, people! We will get not one, but TWO Bachelorettes. Katie’s season will start filming immediately and will air during early summer. Michelle’s season will film over the summer and air sometime in the fall. No matter that with the vaccine rollout we might actually be able to enjoy a summer spent amongst people—Mike Fleiss is having none of that. Chained to our living rooms we shall continue to be! Until then!

UPDATED: The ‘Bachelor’ Drama With Rachael Kirkconnell & Chris Harrison, Explained

Can you believe that just a week ago I was over here thinking that this season of The Bachelor’s biggest racism problem was a few fragile white girls bullying the other contestants? I mean wow, things sure did escalate quickly, because now we have a frontrunner with a social media rap sheet of behavior that ranges from “should have known better” to “overtly racist”. And if that wasn’t enough, we also have a host (Chris Harrison) who went on television to defend her, in response to which there is now a change.org petition with over 10,000 signatures calling for him to be fired. Harrison has since apologized, but there is a lot to unpack here, so for those of you that don’t follow Bachelor Franchise controversy like it’s a toxic ex that you still have feelings for, let me break it down for you.

Rachael Kirkconnell’s Problematic Social Media History Emerges

Piecing together a Bachelor contestant’s personality, political beliefs, and any problematic skeletons based on their social media history is today’s version of the game Clue, and I’m ready to open the envelope on Rachael displaying a history of racism. TikToker feministmama has summarized all of the evidence that’s out there on the internet that ABC couldn’t seem to find (or just didn’t care to). I encourage you to watch the videos, but here’s the TL;DR version. Among other things, Rachael:

– Liked insensitive photos on social media (such as one with a Confederate flag displayed, and people wearing culturally insensitive costumes)
– Culturally appropriated indigenous culture at multiple costume parties
– Re-shared QAnon conspiracy theories, and most notably:
Attended an “Old South” plantation-themed ball in 2018

Look, much to my parents’ disappointment, I am not a lawyer. But I think we can all agree that the evidence points to this being a very bad and pretty racist look. And these stories have been circulating for a few weeks now, so if any of it was false you’d think that Rachael would have said so by now. I know ABC has a lot of control over when contestants can speak publicly and what they can say, but if Rachael could confidently say “those pictures are Photoshopped,” then I think they would have let her.

What Does Matt James Think?

I’ve been watching Matt as the Bachelor for over six weeks now, and I still couldn’t tell you anything about him other than: he’s tall, he likes to work out, and he’s really into Jesus. So as a lead who hasn’t had much to say all season, it’s not surprising that he hasn’t had much to say about this. Especially since it seems pretty likely he chooses her and maybe they’re engaged? 

In response to questions about the allegations against Rachael during an interview with Entertainment Tonight on February 2, he said, “Rumors are dark and nasty and can ruin people’s lives. So I would give people the benefit of the doubt, and hopefully she will have her time to speak on that.”

First of all, an actual photo of her at an Old South themed event is not a rumor, second of all, this statement has “vetted and approved by Bachelor production” written all over it, and third of all, this response has big “Garrett getting exposed for liking problematic memes” energy. Judging by this response alone, it seems like Rachael goes pretty far in the show, if she doesn’t end up winning.

And Now A Word From Chris Harrison

Unlike Matt, Chris Harrison (unfortunately) had a lot to say on the matter, sharing close to 15 minutes of his thoughts on Rachael, what he likes to call the “woke police” and for some reason, a bonus mention of racist games he played as a kid growing up in Texas (literally, why?), during an interview with Rachel Lindsay, the franchise’s first Black lead, on ExtraTV. Although he later apologized (more on this later), his words were pretty on-brand for Harrison and Bachelor production, and by “on-brand” I mean, he made excuses for racist behavior and instead put the blame on those calling for accountability aka the aforementioned “woke police’’.

During the chat, Chris Harrison basically claimed that back in 2018 (three years ago, for those of you counting) when Rachael attended the Old South ball, she couldn’t possibly have known that romanticizing slavery was bad, that she deserves “grace, understanding, and compassion”, and that we should give her time to reflect and wait patiently for when she is ready to speak. To me it felt like Harrison was defending Rachael like he has his own Antebellum plantation-themed wedding planned for the spring and he doesn’t want to get sh*t for it. And if you, like Chris and Matt, still want to give Rachael the benefit of the doubt, here are a few things that happened prior to Rachael attending that racist-ass ball in 2018: 

– The Kappa Alpha national office (the fraternity that hosted the ball) had officially banned these events for being “culturally insensitive” in 2016
– Rachel Lindsay’s 2017 season of The Bachelorette aired, where a contestant’s racist tweets were kinda a big deal
The BLM Movement was founded (2013) in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer and gained traction from countless other similar situations

Bachelor Nation (Sort Of) Entered The Chat

It looks like I am not alone in being infuriated by what comes out of Chris Harrison’s mouth when you let him say more than “ladies, this is the final rose tonight”. A petition calling for him to be fired has thousands of signatures. Bachelor alumni were also incensed, and took to social media to share their thoughts.

Former Bachelor contestant and outspoken critic of the franchise, Ashley Spivey, was vocal on her Instagram stories and shared a number of tweets criticizing the interview:

We can leave grace and space for learning while still demanding accountability. I feel like @chrisbharrison expresses more empathy for people who romanticize the confederacy than people who are harmed by white supremacy in this clip. So disappointing. https://t.co/Lw2BabkLpb

— Emma Gray (@emmaladyrose) February 10, 2021

Rachel Lindsay responded to the same thread with, “my days are numbered,” perhaps alluding to the fact that this may be the final straw in her relationship with the franchise (she hosts the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast with Becca Kufrin). 

My days are numbered

— Rachel Lindsay (@TheRachLindsay) February 10, 2021

And Taylor Nolan, a contestant on Nick Vial’s season of The Bachelor and season four of Bachelor in Paradise, called Harrison out on Instagram: 

 

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Since Chris Harrison’s interview, some others in the franchise have spoken out about the controversy, but thus far, we’re still waiting on any comment from Rachael or the franchise as a whole.

Followed By, An Apology From Chris Harrison

Approximately 24 hours and a million Twitter call-outs later, Chris issued an apology:

 

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A post shared by Chris Harrison (@chrisbharrison)

Look, I’m glad he said something—I have to admit, I did not expect it. But is it just me, or did this apology somehow manage to sidestep any actual condemnation of racism? He ends his apology with a “promise to do better”, and I can’t wait to see what “better” means. 

UPDATE: 

In the 24 hours since we first published this article, many more members of Bachelor Nation shared their concern and criticism of Chris Harrison’s words and support for Rachel Linsday, who has often been a lonely voice when it comes to holding the franchise to account. The women from the current season issued a joint statement:

 

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And ABC finally let Rachael Kirkconnell finally said something, posting this apology on her social media accounts:

 

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A post shared by rachael kirkconnell (@rachaelkirkconnell)

As Rachael herself mentioned in her Instagram story, this apology is not for me or anyone who isn’t a person of color to accept.

This does feel like a pretty big moment for the franchise, one where a majority of its “nation” is taking a stand against racism and anyone making excuses for it. Here’s to hoping this is the moment production finally decides to make a change.

Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; emmaladyrose, therachlindsay / Twitter; taymocha, chrisbharrison / Instagram

What’s Really Wrong With This Season’s ‘Bachelor’ Villain

The Bachelor is the TV show equivalent of a f*ckboy. Every season I vow to stop dedicating hours of my life to an experience that gives me more aggravation than actual pleasure. But after the final rose, I delude myself into thinking that maybe, just maybe, it’ll be different next time. And as sure as an unwanted appearance by Ashley I., I’m back.  It actually is different this time, but not in the way I was hoping. My issue this season has nothing to do with the fact that Matt is a less-than-compelling lead. After all, this is a show built around mediocre men. The problem is with our villain. Coming off the literal garbage heap of Peter’s season where producers couldn’t even successfully produce a villain, this time they’re overcompensating by force-feeding us Victoria, a contestant so over-the-top, she’s practically a cartoon. Unfortunately, Queen V lacks all of the qualities that make for a truly great Bachelor villain.

She Lacks Complexity

Victoria is so outlandish, it’s hard to believe she’s anything other than a producer plant, sent to stir up drama and provoke the other contestants. This might actually be fine if it all didn’t feel so one-dimensional. Past villains like Corinne Olympios and Demi Burnett were so fun to watch because they had layers. At first glance, both women seemed like they were only there to seduce the lead and piss off the other women in the process. But as we got to know them, each woman gave us a softer side. Corinne had a sweet relationship with her former nanny, Raquel, who was a mother figure to her. Demi opened up about the struggles she faced while her own mother was in prison. Despite their villain-like qualities, each woman was vulnerable, which, despite being a comically overused term on this show, is key to not only winning the lead’s heart, but also being a good villain. Maybe we’ll get to see a different side to Victoria. But for now, waving around a crown and calling every person that you dislike “toxic” for no apparent reason feels more like the kind of shtick that should end in a night one elimination, especially given the targets she chooses. Which brings me to my next point.

She Chooses Unworthy Opponents

Almost immediately, Victoria gets into it with her roommate, Marylynn. She claims Marylynn is “toxic” and “psychologically disturbed”, even going so far as to tell Matt that Marylynn is bullying her. However, we’re given no actual proof of this being the case. On the contrary, Marylynn is sweet, docile, and seems to get along just fine with the other women. She seems genuinely shocked when confronted by Matt about the bullying accusations and tries to respectfully work things out with Victoria. Victoria, on the other hand, refuses to even hear what Marylynn has to say, steamrolling her with the “bully” narrative and finally bringing Marylynn to tears.

Targeting the mild-mannered Marylynn is like trying to kill a fly with an elephant gun. It’s unnecessary and, frankly, difficult to watch. Viewers enjoy a fair fight. Had Victoria been able to successfully spar with someone like Katie, it would’ve been far more impressive and entertaining, but she’s ill-equipped. Instead, she prefers antagonizing contestants who are unable or unwilling to fight back, which is why she then set her sights on Sarah.

Her Toxicity Has Infected The Group 

We enjoy villains not only because they’re entertaining and spice things up, but also because they serve as a foil to the hero and ultimately provide a comforting vehicle for “good” to triumph over “evil”. What’s been remarkable about this season thus far is that it’s unclear who the “good guys” actually are. Aside from the real queen Katie, the rest of the contestants went from looking visibly uncomfortable around Victoria to piling onto her takedown of Sarah. As someone who wrote under the pseudonym Betchina George, I can usually appreciate a catty moment when it’s warranted, but things went way too far there. Sure, Sarah was needy, and it was wrong of her to steal the other girls’ time. But for the women to not only sit silently while Victoria mocked Sarah in the midst of her apology, but then gleefully join in on the bullying by threatening to make the rest of Sarah’s time in the house horrible was totally unacceptable, whether they knew about her sick father or not.

Unfortunately, even with Sarah gone, the cattiness continues. Victoria has a new henchwoman in Anna, with the two delighting in the vicious rumor that new girl Brittany is an escort and cackling like Cinderella’s stepsisters after Victoria calls Catalina, who by all accounts has done nothing to Victoria, “the dumbest hoe I’ve ever met”. Not a good look.

Victoria: I’m an empath.
America:

Her Romantic Connection With Matt is Nonexistent

What’s made many past Bachelor villains believable is their connection to the lead. Krystal Nielson stuck around despite being extremely polarizing because it was clear she and Arie had actual chemistry. We even had a villain win an entire season, because Ben Flajnik was unable to hide his erection affection for Courtney Robertson. The same can’t be said for the connection between Matt and Victoria this season. He looks visibly pained calling her name at the rose ceremony week after week, and when they have had one-on-one time, the conversations we’ve seen have been totally superficial. Matt isn’t exactly shy about making out with the contestants he’s into, usually by attempting to engulf their entire face with his mouth. So far, he’s given Victoria the kind of half-hearted hugs I begrudgingly gave to distant relatives as a child.

Actual Footage of Matt and Victoria Interacting:

The chemistry is palpable.

It’s clear that this season is hitting differently when it comes to the usual villain trope. Maybe as we become savvier as reality TV viewers and the fourth wall breaks, it’s harder to suspend our disbelief and easier to spot the producer prompts and manufactured drama we glossed over in previous seasons. Or maybe we’re living in a political climate where we’re tired of the constant negative rhetoric and glorifying those who seem to be mean for its own sake. Whatever the reason, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to root for Victoria and almost all of the other women this season. I want to believe that she’ll surprise us and redeem herself in the coming weeks, but it’s The Bachelor. I’ve been burned before.

Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (2)

The Best ‘Bachelor’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Baby, Vibe Wit Me

Welcome back, Bachelor Nation! Though can it truly be considered a “welcome back” situation when the break between seasons has been shorter than my hangover was after New Year’s Eve? (By the way, yes, you can still be hungover even if you only spent the night drinking Trader Joe’s champagne and binge watching Cobra Kai. Welcome to your late 20s, people!). Part of the reason ABC was able to churn out content faster than my 14-year-old cousin’s TikTok account was that, instead of choosing the next Bachelor based on whichever loser from last season lived closest to the Bachelor mansion *cough* Peter *cough, cough*, they instead cast completely outside the franchise. I would say “what a novel idea”, but this feels less novel and more like someone put an ounce of energy into doing their job—but by all means let’s congratulate them with fervor nonetheless! 

And who is this nobody looking for love whom ABC decided was a better option than giving Nick Viall a 12th shot at love? Matt James! Matt is a former North Carolina college football player-turned-NYC transplant whose profession is being ridiculously good looking and famous-adjacent with Tyler Cameron. Sorry, I meant to say commercial real estate. His profession is totally that and not the sponsored deals he got through his time with the Quarantine Crew. He’s also the first Black Bachelor ever (we love to see it) and the only man to make Chris Harrison seem petite. It appears his worst quality is that he… only looks okay in that mustard turtleneck? Honestly, I’ve got nothing.  

MATT’S MOM: It sounds like you think… this process could… work?
MATT: Yes, I do.
MATT’S MOM:
The face of someone who just realized they will probably need to wait a solid 10 more years before getting grandkids. I’m equally skeptical, lady!

Matt tells us he’s been waiting a long time to find The One, and I’m deeply concerned for my own romantic future. The man is a romance novel’s wet dream and you’re telling me he couldn’t get a few meaningful swipes on Raya?! If the 6’5″ former college athlete-turned-real estate mogul and philanthropist is hard up for dates, then what hope is there for the rest of us? I might as well head back to the Jamba Juice and take up that register boy’s offer to “kick it” sometime. As if to illustrate my point, the cameras quickly pan to a close up of Matt James’ slick body doing an insane amount of pull-ups as every man in America watching this with his significant other just went limp with performance anxiety. 

CHRIS HARRISON: Damn, you’re tall!

You’re really not helping, Chris. 

 

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As we head into the first night of Matt’s journey toward love, I’m noticing a few things right off the bat. One, though the setting for this season is a far cry from the tacky elegance and bubbling fountains of the Bachelor mansion we know and love, this place is leaps and bounds better than that trash La Quinta Inn they forced Tayshia and Clare to gallivant about last season. They went from having rose ceremonies in between the continental breakfast and the lobby bathroom to a space that has crystal chandeliers and hors d’oeuvres that didn’t come from Costco. The glow-up is insane. 

The second thing I’m noticing is that instead of jumping right into whatever limo antics the producers have set up, we’re treated to a meaningful conversation between Matt and Chris about race and dating. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Chris Harrison is woefully inadequate when it comes to conversations like this, but I appreciate that they’re having them all the same. Matt talks about growing up in a biracial home and this pressure he feels to date a certain type of woman, while Chris prattles off inspirational platitudes that relate not at all to the situation, but that he saw on a Hallmark card one time. 

MATT: How do I balance this enormous legacy of being the first Black Bachelor with my own happiness?
CHRIS HARRISON: They call it a leap of faith for a reason.

Christ. Someone check Chris’s programming this season because this sh*t ain’t going to fly anymore. You’re gonna need to go off book at some point, buddy!

Moving on to the limo entrances! If we’re being honest, the limo entrances are pretty lame this season. There aren’t too many gimmicks and most people stick to the “hi my name is X and I’m excited to meet you” script. Not one person asks Matt to slap the bag or sneaks a Johnny Bootlegger in their bra. Where is the spunk? Where is the personality?? Personally, I would have introduced myself as someone whose “hidden talent” involves coming up with an insult within minutes of meeting you that feels not only inappropriate but somehow weirdly personalized to your specific childhood trauma. But, hey, that’s just me. 

That said, there are a few standouts from the limo entrances:

– Chelsea looked STUNNING in that little black number. I think at one point Matt says “damn she’s wearing the hell out of that dress” and he is absolutely correct. 

Chelsea and Matt James

– Magi is both gorgeous and a pharmacist. That feels like witchcraft to me.

– Kaili showing up in black lingerie and then immediately chugging red wine the minute after she met Matt is some real hero sh*t. 

– Victoria’s entrance looked like a knock-off of one I saw on My Super Sweet 16, except that those youths were able to afford hot hired help, not the less-than-enthused film crew who huffed her ass down the street. 

– Katie shows up waving around a sparkly purple dildo, and there is no WAY that can be COVID-safe, let alone sanitary. I hope that thing was fresh out the box before he puts his hands on it! 

After the limo entrances, Matt makes his first rose ceremony speech as the Bachelor. Instead of the half-hearted “to love!!!” cheers that most of his predecessors have used, he decides that prayer is more of a mood setter. And boy, does he know his audience. Before he even finished asking them to bow their heads, half those girls were closer to orgasm than they have been with any of their ex-boyfriends. Also, please note that I’m getting a huge kick out of watching all of these women pretend to be religious as they wear lingerie and clutch their used vibrators. 

 

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MATT: It’s about being vulnerable an— guys, I’m sorry but can someone move that f*cking vibrator. It’s winking at me. 

Is it just me, or is the cocktail party also kind of a snooze fest? Nobody is really standing out to me thus far except for Rachel. She looks HOT in that emerald green dress in a way that is making me want to report her social accounts for inappropriate activity out of spite. 

Mari also makes a decent impression on Matt. She tells him she’s from Puerto Rico and I’m immediately impressed. Not with her, she butchered the word “pressure,” but with Matt for both knowing anything about Puerto Rico other than he thought about going there for spring break one year, and also for not trying to twist his sympathy for Hurricane Maria victims into an opening for him to stick his tongue down her throat. Bravo! You’re not scum. 

Just as Mari is about to open up about her family’s devastation, Katie takes that as her cue to literally tap her out of the conversation with her crusty vibe. You guys, I think I might be rooting for Katie? First of all, she’s the only realistic one about her pleasure. I don’t care how much b-roll they have of Matt’s abs. If there isn’t a sparkly purple dildo in every fantasy suite then I’m not believing all those sound effects. Second of all, she’s average pretty, and I mean that in the kindest of ways. She’s the only one who doesn’t look like she immediately ran to a cosmetic dermatologist two weeks before departing for this season. I hope you go far, girl!

Okay, “The Queen” looks over-served—like me in any of my friends’ wedding reception videos. I know she’s supposed to be the villain of this season, but I think the cruelest thing about her is that she was born with one singular brain cell. Seriously, I’ve met potatoes that had more neurological functions than this girl. 

No one makes more of an impression than Abigail, who is hot, deaf, and has some semblance of a personality. It’s not hard to see why Matt likes her and she’s able to snag one of the only smooches of the evening. He breaks off their convo to get her the first impression rose AND WHAT’S THAT? IS THAT MY HEART GROWING THREE SIZES ON THIS DAY? I mean I’m actually smiling watching this, it’s so cute.  

And just like, that we’re at the rose ceremony! The only true surprise out of this rose ceremony is that he ends up keeping Queen V. There’s something to be said for keeping the drunkest slob kabob in the room. It makes whatever you say or do look less alarming when you have a girl in one corner singing “God Save The Queen” into her over-filled champagne glass and another girl waving around a dildo in the other. I mean, I wouldn’t know, as usually I am the slob kabob in question, but these are things I’m told make my presence so “fun” and “entertaining” when I’m in the company of friends. Here’s who gets the boot: Alicia, Amber, Carolyn, Casandra, Corrinne, Emani, Kimberly, and Saneh. Miss you already!

And that’s all she wrote! Until next week, kids!

Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (2); ABC (1); @bachelorabc @therealitybitch /Instagram (2)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Be Still, My Cold, Dead Heart

Well, friends, we did the impossible. After 11 weeks, two Bachelorettes, and one global pandemic, we’ve made it to the finale! Tayshia is down to her final two three men. As per usual, Chris Harrison is doing the most in his intro voice-over:

Chris Harrison: Will she get engaged to her soulmate, or will she DIE A LONELY OLD SPINSTER?!

Damn, Chris. I know we’re living in the time of COVID, but there are other men on this planet if she decides she’s not into these guys!

We pick up where we left off, with Tayshia having a sidebar with a producer. She’s being filmed behind some blinds after being blindsided by Ben. You gotta love the producers’ commitment to imagery and metaphors on this show. They had to get them where they could, because lord knows Ivan wasn’t going to liken love to his testicles morphing into icicles on his fantasy suite date. Ben is sitting awkwardly on Tayshia’s couch. He says that by looking at Tayshia’s eyes, he sees there’s more under there. Kind of a strange way to point out under-eye bags, but Ben’s never really had a way with words. I guess it beats the alternative I’m used to getting:

Who can relate?

Ben’s talking a lot about his “love” for Tayshia, but isn’t really saying much. When Tayshia pushes back and asks him if he’s always going to run when things get hard, his response is, “I blew it”. Accurate, but not promising! Instead of sticking with her gut and sending him home for a second time, SHE INVITES HIM TO THE ROSE CEREMONY! They then walk out together, hug, and Tayshia initiates a very passionate kiss. Who knew she was a sucker for a moose knuckle?! While I definitely don’t agree with her decision, I can’t wait to see Zac and Ivan’s reactions when Ben rolls up to the rose ceremony.

The Rose Ceremony

Ivan walks into the rose ceremony with the pre-elimination confidence that has become a hallmark of this show. Feeling the pressure from the producers for not delivering the required love similes on the ice bucket date, he offers the consolation prize of saying it feels awesome to be “open” and “vulnerable” (or “vonurble”, as Tayshia would say). Not for long, buddy. Zac says he’s ready for a proposal. Ben walks in with a goofy grin on his face, as if he expects Ivan and Zac will be happy to see him. I think Bennett gave the book about emotional intelligence to the wrong guy.

Ben:

Ivan & Zac:

Like many people who’ve gotten dumped, Tayshia proceeds to explain Brendan’s absence by saying “it just didn’t work out.” Control that narrative, girl! She’s about to start handing out roses but then stops and asks Ivan if they can go talk. Ivan’s face says he knows what’s coming next. They then have a cryptic talk about religious differences, but give no specifics about said differences. Is Ivan a Scientologist? That’s the only legitimate theory I can come up with for this abrupt dismissal.

All kidding aside, it may be that Ivan is atheist or agnostic. Tayshia has always been open about her devout Christian beliefs, so it’s possible this is the reason she sent Ivan home. It’d be a shame if that were the only reason she eliminated him, but, let’s face it, she’s been favoring Brendan and Zac for weeks. Given the honest conversations Tayshia and Ivan had about race, it seems strange, and frankly frustrating, that ABC isn’t allowing an unfiltered exchange about religion. Then again, this is ABC we’re talking about, so maybe that’s asking for too much. Ivan takes the elimination in stride like the angel he is. Love you, Ivan! See you in Paradise.

Ben Meets The Family

The next day we catch up with Tayshia writing in her burn book journal. She meets up with her family and I remember how much I enjoyed Tayshia’s dad, Desmond, eviscerating Colton when Tayshia was competing on his season. Like most viewers, Desmond doesn’t have time for BS. Tayshia tells her family that they’ll be meeting Ben, whom she had previously sent home. Desmond is understandably skeptical and wants some answers. This is gonna be good.

Ben meets with Tayshia’s mom, Rosario, first and keeps talking about how he’s never felt this way before, and the way Tayshia makes him feel, yet he can’t seem to identify the feeling(s) in question. Everything he says is surface-level and there’s no real substance to any of it. It seems like Ben is in love with the idea of love, more so than Tayshia specifically. It doesn’t go much better with Desmond.

Desmond: What do you see in Tayshia?
Ben:

Ben also tells Desmond about how he and Tayshia talked about “showing up” for Tayshia. Does he think that physically coming back after being sent home is what showing up means? She meant showing up for her emotionally, Ben!

Zac Meets The Family

The tone of Zac’s meeting with the family is completely different. Instead of making his answers all about him and his feelings, he expresses his love for Tayshia by showing love to her family. He even seems to win over Desmond, who says he’s going to be tough on Zac. Instead of saying the things he thinks Desmond wants to hear, Zac is honest about his failed marriage and is able to reflect on his past mistakes, even weaving in a reference to the standards Desmond has set and how Zac wants to live up to them.

I gotta give it to Zac; he is incredibly authentic and eloquent. He talks about marriage with Tayshia like it’s a real thing that’s going to happen, not some abstract idea like Ben does when he broaches the subject. Zac is making my job as snarky recapper very difficult, but he totally won me over — until he started pretending he was an authentic New Yorker with that whole pizza charade. Zac, you’re from South Jersey! Rep some hoagies like the Philly boy you are and cool it with the tired NYC cliches.

No one:
Zac:

The next day Tayshia hears a knock at her door. Fearing that Bennett has gone full American Psycho, she reluctantly answers. It turns out to be her dad, which isn’t a much better sign. He tells her that the family doesn’t want her to make the biggest mistake of her life by rushing into another marriage. Tayshia starts to break down recounting how her dad was there for her in the throes of her divorce. It was raw and one of her realest moments thus far. She’s starting to have doubts.

Zac & Tayshia’s Date

Tayshia and Zac Finale

On their date, Zac reassures Tayshia that he’s ready to take the next step, but Tayshia seems skeptical. Damn, Desmond really got to her! They find out that their date is to learn a wedding dance routine and Tayshia looks about as excited as Brendan did when he met Neil Lane to try on wedding jewelry. Gotta love karma. She keeps getting in her own head and is struggling to relax into the dance moves. Zac is patient with her and they actually pull off a sweet little routine. I’m honestly impressed they learned that in one lesson. It took me and my husband about two months to put together a solid first dance. Respect.

Later that evening they have a casual night in, and Tayshia is honest about her fears that Zac’s feelings will change. He tells her that he is nine years sober today and that his sobriety allows him to not run away and that he’ll love her no matter what she decides to do with her life. Ok, why am I crying in the club right now? And by “in the club” I mean “on my couch”.

Tayshia seems convinced, and frankly, so am I. It’s one of the most authentic exchanges we’ve ever seen on this show and it’s nice to see a couple talk about real-life issues for a change. “I think she believes in me,” Zac says, and I start to tear up. WTF is happening? Is this show…actually making me feel genuine human emotion?

Me watching this season of The Bachelorette:

Ben & Tayshia’s Date Breakup

When Ben meets up with Tayshia “the next day”, she is wearing the same tragic denim number she was wearing when her dad came to talk to her. So she’s either running out of wardrobe options in quarantine or there’s a bit of a continuity issue here and she went to dump Ben after talking to Desmond. She tells Ben that her heart is with Zac and, as usual, Ben looks like a deer in headlights. He takes it pretty well, albeit with way too many “umm”s, and says he’s happy for her. I do feel bad for Ben. He’s a sweet guy and he deserves to find love, but he needs to work through some of his issues with self-worth before jumping into a serious relationship, let alone a marriage. We’re rooting for you, Ben!

The Big Day

It’s engagement day! Tayshia and Zac are getting ready and Neil Lane is back to shill his gaudy rings. Zac looks handsome in his blue suit. Tayshia meets up with Chris Harrison and the exchange is kind of odd. She says she questions if she’s ever been in love until now and then bursts into tears that don’t really look happy. Even Chris seems confused.

Chris: What is going on?
Tayshia:

The proposal set-up is kind of a hot mess. The area rug from the Airstream trailer fantasy suite isn’t helping. Tayshia tells us she feels stressed, overwhelmed, and scared. So basically all of the things one should be feeling right before getting engaged after knowing someone for 30 seconds. She says she doesn’t know if she’s doing the right thing. I’m a little concerned. Is she feeling the pressure of not wanting to disappoint ABC and the fans given the whole Clare debacle?

Things improve when Zac arrives. His engagement speech is really personal and from the heart. It’s undoubtedly the best one I’ve ever heard on this show or The Bachelor. Tayshia starts her speech and after telling Zac that she knows she told him she loved him, takes an extremely long, producer-suggested pause. I admit they got me for a second and I was scared she was bolting. But she continues and tells Zac she wants to jump in fountains all over the world with him and star in endless FabFitFun endorsement deals together. He gets down on one knee and she says yes! Like the true New Yawkah he is, he yells “TAXI!” and the two ride off Flintstone-style into the desert sunset in a cardboard cab the way god and Chris Harrison intended.

And there we have it! Unfortunately (or fortunately, given the endless hours of our lives ABC takes each year) we have no After the Final Rose to catch up with Tayshia and Zac, but it looks like they’re still going strong. This was an excellent season with some of the most mature and authentic men we’ve ever had. Keep it up, ABC! Thanks for joining me this week, guys, and congratulations to the happy couple!

Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin (2); Giphy (6)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Blink Twice If You Need Help, Brendan

Well, everybody, we’ve made it to the final week of The Bachelorette. In keeping with the “unprecedented times”, ABC is breaking protocol and giving us fantasy suites and the finale in the same week. I’d like to think this is a gift to us for having to put up with Clare’s therapy sessions masquerading as dates, but we know better: they have to keep things moving in time for the premiere of Matt’s season. I’ll be filling in for my esteemed colleague Ryanne this week, so please be gentle in the comments. Let’s get to it!

We begin with Tayshia discussing the importance of the fantasy suite dates and her confidence in the final three. We then cut to Ivan, Brendan, and Zac being forced to sit together and allude to their potential future as eskimo brothers. It’s awkward AF and will be a running theme throughout the episode. Meanwhile, Tayshia has a forced Bachelorette synergy “girl chat” with JoJo. They’re really trying to make JoJo happen, huh? Despite Ed’s notes, Chris Harrison continues his practice of barging in on the men without even a courtesy knock. This time he tells them that they better be prepared to get down on one knee and propose.

Chris: If you’re not ready for an engagement, GTFO!
Brendan: 

And so begins Brendan’s mental spiral.

To my surprise, Ivan gets the first fantasy suite date. I personally love Ivan. He’s far and away my favorite of the three men, but he’s too pure for Tayshia and, arguably, this world. However, he tells us he did The Secret and manifested the first date. You go, Glen Coco Ivan! Zac is visibly pissed and Brendan looks like someone told him that it’s now a federal offense to wear turtlenecks. Zac reminds us that regardless of the men’s feelings about the other men, this is about Tayshia. Finally, a man who understands the concept of The Bachelorette!

Ivan’s Date

Tayshia Bachelorette

Just watching the way that Tayshia interacts with Ivan, it’s clear that he’s not the frontrunner in her mind. As if the lukewarm peck she gave him weren’t proof enough, we find out that their date is a f*cking ice bath. Now if that’s not a metaphor for her feelings for Ivan, I don’t know what is. “Are you excited?” she asks, with that pseudo British inflection she adopts when asking questions. Ivan smiles through the pain. This is the most unromantic concept for a date that I can possibly think of, especially one that’s designed to precede sex. The shrinkage alone! Rude, Tayshia. Rude. Even Big Paulie, who according to Chris Harrison is a “Bachelor Nation favorite” (sure, Jan), deems the effects of this date on Ivan’s prospects later on “devastating”. Slapping a potential “world record” on this turd of a date isn’t fooling anyone, Tayshia! You may as well have had an intern spray paint a football field on some cardboard with “Friend Zone” at either end.

Meanwhile, back at the house:

Brendan:

 

Zac seems to be handling things a little better. He gets the second date card and gives us his best Matthew McConaughey.

During the evening portion of Ivan’s date, he tells Tayshia he’s falling in love with her. She says she’s been falling for him too, but I’m just not feeling the sparks between these two. Their conversation doesn’t have much substance and basically consists of them parroting things back to each other. “I cried in front of you!” “I cried in front of you!” Apparently this is enough to take things to the fantasy suite, which in this case is an Airstream trailer that inside looks like it was designed by 2009 me after winning an Urban Outfitters shopping spree. I love a boho-chic moment, but this is not the mood for fantasy suites. This looks like it would be better for a Real Housewives girls’ trip (OC, obv). Apparently it had the desired effect, though, because they stayed up all night talking, according to Ivan. I don’t get the feeling they had sex. Maybe a little over-the-pants action, but nothing more.

Ivan returns to the house and recaps the date. Unsurprisingly, Zac and Brendan look pissed. Brendan, clearly a masochist, asks if they got any sleep. Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answer to, Brendan! Ivan is apparently an emotional cutter as well because a producer told him to ask he asks what Zac’s date card said. Yikes.

Zac’s Date

Tayshia and Zac

The vibe on this date is completely different than the date with Ivan. Tayshia is straight-up giddy. The feeling is mutual for Zac and he tells us no less than 14 times that he can’t wait to EXPLORE Tayshia. Vom. That’s exactly what the guy you go on one Hinge date with tells you right before he never calls you again. Their date is body painting, which may as well be the polar (see what I did there) opposite of Ivan’s date. This date is essentially foreplay with colors. They slap on some paint and proceed to aggressively make out in front of the camera crew. Do they have no shame??

During the evening portion, they get into deeper topics, specifically, Zac’s stance on having kids. Zac says he realizes now that he does want to be a dad and he then proceeds to tell Tayshia that he loves her. The moment was really genuine, so much so that it moves Tayshia to tears and she says she loves him back. I can’t even be snarky, it was a lovely moment. This is what happens when you put age-appropriate men on this show!

They move on to the fantasy suite, and the set-up alone is another personal affront to Ivan. Zac and Tayshia get a whole-ass suite that looks much nicer than the “El Presidente” suite Tayshia’s been living in all season. The unmitigated gall of these producers to do Ivan so dirty!

Ivan watching this back:

The next morning, Tayshia and Zac are jumping on the bed like two toddlers hopped up on pixie sticks. Interestingly, Tayshia says in a confessional that Brendan has had her heart since day one. This should be interesting given Brendan’s sheer terror all episode. Zac returns to the house with a sh*t-eating grin on his face. Ivan remains mostly calm. Brendan looks…constipated.

Brendan’s Date

Brendan tells us that he’s worried about the prospect of getting engaged again so quickly after getting divorced. Brendan clearly didn’t get the memo on not telling producers about your biggest fears, lest they be exploited to the high heavens, and so his fate is sealed. The date is hosted by F*CKING NEIL LANE! Neil, apparently pissed he had to cobble together a ring for Clare with barely 24 hours’ notice, negotiated some more airtime for his tacky wares and so we need to endure this product placement we’re calling a “date”. A date like this would be torture for just about any straight male who’s been dating a woman for a matter of weeks, but for Brendan, it is hell on earth, and it shows.

Neil keeps telling Brendan not to get nervous, then proceeds to talk endlessly about engagements and weddings. As if this wasn’t anxiety-producing enough, they then FORCE BRENDAN TO TRY ON WEDDING BANDS! I swear his hands were shaking. These producers are laying it on thick. They’ve even got Neil Lane waxing poetic about how rings are circular (no sh*t) and that marriage is FOREVER, as if Brendan, who has been married before, doesn’t already know this. Is Robert De Niro going to pop out and tell Brendan he’s been admitted into Tayshia’s circle of trust, too?

This date is messy AF. I guess this is one way to test his appetite for a proposal at the end.

Brendan:

The night portion of the date doesn’t get any better. Unfortunately, Tayshia saved her best dress for this date. Brendan is…wearing a black T-shirt. Not a good sign. Tayshia brings up Brendan’s distance and he admits he’s been struggling with the idea of an engagement. He confesses that he’s still broken. It was raw and honestly heartbreaking. Tayshia doesn’t put up a fight and sends him home. She says he’s the one she pictured herself with at the end. I’m sure whoever she chooses will be thrilled to watch that back.

Tayshia and Rachel

We get a surprise appearance from Rachel, who looks stunning. As happy as I was to see Rachel again, I didn’t really understand why she was there. The conversation was pretty superficial at the beginning, until Rachel asks Tayshia about any regrets she might have. Then it became very clear why she was invited: to create an opening to talk about Ben, who is obviously going to pull a Bennett and come back to ask for another chance. To which I say:

Michael Scott No

The Rose Ceremony Ben’s Mea Culpa

The men are getting ready for the rose ceremony and Ivan’s look here was giving me major Drake vibes. I’m not mad about it. We then see a shot from the waist down of some bulging thighs in capri pants making their way up the path of the La Quinta, and it’s immediately clear that Ben has returned. He tells Chris Harrison that he shuts down when things are tough and he wants to resolve things with Tayshia.

Tayshia, meanwhile, has two roses left, and to symbolize this she has brought the girls out for the night. She looks gorgeous and is feeling good about her final two, so of course Ben has to swoop in and f*ck it all up! He knocks on Tayshia’s door and she looks THRILLED to see him. He confesses his love for her, admits that he blew it in the moment, and tells her he sees a life with her. Tayshia’s immediate response is to freak the f*ck out and run to her producer. Not a great sign, buddy! All I know is if she cuts Ivan for this clown I will have ABC’s head continue to loyally watch this train wreck. See you tomorrow!

Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (3)

A Bro’s Breakdown Of Clare’s ‘Bachelorette’ Contestants

I’m Jared Freid. I’m a 35-year-old comedian who loves The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. I love them so much, I yell at every episode on my Instagram stories. As you can imagine, my father is very proud. Very. 

This is my preview for the season. I’ve been doing this preview for both shows for half a decade. When I first started writing this, Instagram couldn’t pay a person’s rent, and ABC would only give me a picture, a name, an age, a hometown, and a profession. That was my preview, and I’d make massive assumptions based on this small amount of information. Then ABC was like, “Let’s interview these whackos,” and suddenly my job got easier. Maybe too easy. The contestants began to give weird answers, and you could always tell who came on the show with aspirations to say to their IG followers, “a lot of you have been asking…” The last couple seasons, they’ve changed it to a short bio written by an intern who recently posted that we’re all in this together from their parents’ beach house. 

So, join me as I make massive assumptions based on very little (now secondhand) information. It’s like sitting with me while wearing sweats and screaming “Yuck” at what people wore for an awards show red carpet. Please enjoy and follow me on Instagram where I’ll be making fun of these crazies every Tuesday night. (Before you start this season with me, you can also check out the last two seasons in my highlights.) Let’s have a fun season.

Clare Crawley / Tayshia Adams

With every decision about the Bachelor and Bachelorette, there are two things to break down: the decision itself, and the audience’s reaction to that decision. Clare Crawley was a FANTASTIC choice for the Bachelorette. The show always needed an older Bachelorette so that it would force the contestants to be a bit older, making the show more realistic. There was just very little that was real about 31 25-year-old men looking to settle down after receiving 100,000 new Instagram followers. And because of that, we’d get a lot of contestants who could barely make it through the first night without becoming a cartoon. They’d basically fart on their way out of the limo as they flashed their Instagram handle where they were selling, “Yup, I just farted” T-shirts. What you’ll see from the men below is that they’re mostly pretty serious guys with serious jobs who all wrote something about being “ready”—and it’s all somewhat believable. So it wasn’t that I loved Clare as much as I loved how she helped the show. 

Well, the audience reacted to Clare weirdly. She was never really enough. She was never old enough. Every time I made the JOKE about her age, I’d get one person who was like, “38 ISN’T OLD!!!” But what people choose to forget is that she is old FOR THE BACHELORETTE. Even still, that storyline hit a little too close to home for some people. You could tell that Clare being considered “older” was a bit depressing for someone single around the same age who didn’t have a whole show revolving around setting them up. 

Clare was also never representative enough. Sure, she yelled at Juan Pablo, but it’s at least a year too late for her to be the face of #MeToo. The audience had moved on to wanting more diversity, and choosing Clare, a white woman, felt like sidestepping that movement—as if they’d searched every nursing home in the country to avoid picking a woman of color (again, I’m kidding. I meant “assisted living facility”). 

Lastly, Clare wasn’t aspirational enough. Her big moment came before you could cash in with a social media following, so it wasn’t like she had this army of people who felt like they knew her because they used her promo codes. 

(SPOILER ALERT…BUT NOT REALLY) Clare did find love on The Bachelor Winter Games, but that’s a bit of a letdown. It’s kind of like telling people you got engaged on a Carnival cruise ship. We’re like, “Good for you!” but also a little sad that it wasn’t one of the nice cruise lines. So when news broke about Clare finding a guy, basically ending her “journey”, and Tayshia coming on, everyone kind of perked up. Tayshia has the social media following, and as a Black woman, she’ll bring the diversity that the show desperately needs. Plus, she gave this season a bit of “anything can happen” vibe that The Bachelorette can sometimes lack, because there’s usually only two marry-able guys who own a box spring.

AJ

28, Software Salesman, Playa Del Rey, CA

AJ is a 28-year old-software salesman from Playa Del Rey, California, who says that he’s “very excited to pursue a woman like Clare who he sees as mature and experienced.” I hope to god that’s his opening line out of the limo: “Hi, Clare! I’m excited to meet someone who is as mature and experienced as you! Are you enjoying going through the change?! We can talk further about it in the mansion!” You thought the marches were tense this summer? Well, if AJ calls a woman under the age of 40 “mature” and “experienced”, you’ll see thousands of white women with midwestern haircuts marching on the White House lawn burning AJ cutouts in-between Activia yogurt breaks.

Ben

29, Army Ranger Veteran, Venice, CA

Ben is a 29-year-old army ranger veteran from Venice, California, who, due to a back injury that forced him out of active duty, is now a personal trainer who says he shows his affection through writing love letters. My favorite part of The Bachelorette is how they find guys I only thought existed in Hallmark movies. Ben probably looks at the moon while telling women how the nights in Iraq changed his perspective on life. (I, on the other hand, once told a woman that I have a bad relationship with cheese, and then we just stared at one another until she realized I meant it gave me diarrhea.) Ben’s bio made me wet. Until now, I didn’t know men could get wet. Well, tell that to my couch! Or maybe that was the cheese…

Bennett

36, Wealth Management Consultant, NYC

Bennett is a 36-year-old wealth management consultant from New York City who looks like he just shut down an orphanage to put an addition onto his ski mountain. Bennett’s bio casually mentions he went to Harvard, and he’s never really worked for a girl since high school. Bennett also lists that he “hates golf”, which is the white guy who works in finance’s version of a white woman saying she’s not really into brunch. As if we’re going to be like, “Whoaa, you hate golf?!?! Wow, Bennett, you’re not like all the other Bennetts who went to Harvard who work in finance. You’re like…different.”

Blake Monar

31, Male Grooming Specialist, Phoenix, AZ

Blake is a 31-year-old male grooming specialist from Phoenix, Arizona, who looks like he’s had more lines of coke than showers this week. “Male grooming specialist” is a job description that could only exist for a good-looking guy in Phoenix. Plus, men in Phoenix have the stupidity of a Floridian mixed with the confidence of someone who moved to Los Angeles to act. So I absolutely believe that a guy could walk around Phoenix claiming to be a “male grooming specialist” without anyone saying, “Oh, so you’re a barber!”

Blake Moynes

29, Wildlife Manager, Hamilton, ON

Blake Moynes is a 29-year-old wildlife manager from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. I like that there were two “Blake M’s” so we had to learn their last names. They could’ve just gone with “Blake Bottle Service” and “Blake European Henchman From The Taken Movies” and it would’ve been easier. Anyway, Blake Henchman’s bio is a lot like The Bachelorette in that it’s a fairytale that women want to hear. It says, “Blake spent his Saturday nights hanging with his best friends, but now all of those friends are married and he’s the last single man remaining.” This is written as if it’s a tragedy in Blake’s life. As if his friends were like, “What? No wife? I guess we’ll see you when you’re married…hopefully, our kids aren’t too far apart in age to hang at that point.” No; that’s a very female spin on a man’s life, and it’s just not how it works. Every time Blake mentions that he’s single, his best friends probably ask to see his dating app matches, and then they high-five for an hour.

Brandon

28, Real Estate Agent, Cleveland, OH

Brandon is a 28-year-old real estate agent who looks like he should be on Selling Sunset. (They’d probably make him permanently stand seven feet away from the Oppenheim Brothers so you could never tell that they’re actually three feet tall.) Brandon actually spent the last few years modeling in New York City, and now he’s moving back to Cleveland where he grew up. Can you imagine a guy this good looking living in Cleveland?! Brandon will get off of the flight from New York and the people of Cleveland will kneel as if he were a plate of cheese fries. Then they’ll remove their hard hats and unzip their zip-up hoodies as a sign of respect for their new leader. Brandon will rule the land benevolently and make sure that his people stay full on regular sodas and sampler platters for the rest of time.

Brendan

30, Commercial Roofer, Milford, MA

Brendan is a 30-year-old commercial roofer from Milford, Massachusetts, and his bio is the most 30-year-old single dude living outside of Boston bio that I’ve ever read: “After losing his dad at a young age, he knew that his purpose in life was to be a father. After relocating to Los Angeles, Brendan decided to move back home to Massachusetts to work for the family roofing business and be closer to his family—especially his nieces and nephews, whom he can’t get enough of.”

There’s a very specific Boston guy who paints himself as this Mark Wahlberg/Good Will Hunting/Manchester By The Sea type who has a tough exterior and a soft soul. They’re as plentiful in the greater Boston area as guys named “Sully”. They love their nieces and nephews even though they’ve never babysat them, they have a Boston accent even though they didn’t have one when they moved to LA, and they come back to work as a “roofah” because “Pop woulda wanted it that way.” And even though they went to LA for, like, three months and never even got a job there, this is literally all they talk about in-between sips of a “LAHHHGEE REGULAHH” from Dunkin’ that you paid for because they “FORGAHHT THEIHHH CAHHHHDDD.”

Chasen

31, IT Account Executive, San Diego, CA

Chasen is a 31-year-old IT account executive from San Diego, California. Nobody has ever looked more “Chasen” than Chasen. I’m waiting for his wife, Madison, to passive-aggressively explain to me that their wedding band is unbookable for the foreseeable future. Also, I can’t imagine any woman enjoying Chasen’s description of adventure: “He is a self-proclaimed adventure seeker and loves to say yes to things other people might consider insane. His latest insane adventure? You’re looking at it!” I’m sure that’s what every woman wants to hear! That dating them is like a hike where they encountered a moody bear who had a dream last night that they HAVE to tell you about.

Chris

27, Landscape Design Salesman, Salt Lake City, UT

Chris is a 27-year-old landscape design salesman from Salt Lake City, Utah, who got asked to “describe himself as a lover”. Being asked to describe yourself as a lover during an interview for The Bachelorette is brutal. There’s no right answer. Chris tried to be subtle by answering with “I like to think I’m good at what I do” but that sounds like you lick a woman’s belly button before asking if she came. Then again, what was he going to say?!?! He couldn’t have been like, “I’M A COCKSMAN!” while tonguing the air. This is a family show. 

If I were asked to describe myself as a lover, I’d say, “Like a waiter at an understaffed restaurant, you’ll appreciate that I’m doing the best that I can.” And anyone reading this is invited to use that at their next family Thanksgiving.

Dale

31, Former Pro Football Wide Receiver, Brandon, SD

Dale is a 31-year-old former professional football player from Brandon, South Dakota, who looks like he should be playing a guy on a soap opera who’s involved in an “entanglement”. I don’t trust Dale! He just says too many things that sound right, but ultimately could be huge red flags. He says that he’s “passionate”, that he “doesn’t hold back”, that he “doesn’t want a woman who’s turned off by his intensity”, and that he’s “yet to master patience”—which all sounds nice until you’re at a restaurant with him. Then Dale gets his steak, and he’s a little too passionate about medium rare. And instead of waiting for the waitress to come back, he starts snapping his fingers. And when she says, “Oh, I’m sorry about that!” Dale says, “You better be sorry or you’ll be working at Denny’s serving Grand Slams to widowers who can’t afford to tip 20%!” And when the waitress looks to you to see if this is all some cruel joke, you’ll have to say, “I’m sorry, he gets so passionate sometimes!” while reaching for your pepper spray.

Demar

26, Spin Cycling Instructor, Scottsdale, AZ

Demar is a 26-year-old spin cycle instructor from Scottsdale, Arizona, who says that his dream job is to be a DJ on the Las Vegas Strip. I’ve always believed that The Bachelorette should have a minimum age of 30 for the men. It’s just not believable that a guy who dreams of being a Las Vegas DJ would also want to get married. At 26, you can say stuff like that and it’s actually a possibility. You can mess up. You can go to Vegas, DJ, get sad, and come back to wherever you came from for rehab. At 30, you dream of a yard and naps and bars with comfortable bar chairs. A guy who’s ready to get married isn’t dreaming of becoming a DJ; he’s dreaming of a bar with a place to sit in front of a TV.

Eazy

29, Sports Marketing Agent, Newport Beach, CA

Eazy is a former NFL player who is now a sports marketing agent. Eazy’s bio says he has “a smile that lights up a room” and that “nobody hypes up Eazy like Eazy” because OF COURSE! His name is Eazy! Did you think he was going to be quiet and shy? Did you think Eazy’s bio would be about his love of accounting and plain Triscuits?! No. And I love it. I’m not sure if being named Eazy makes you a certain type of person, but it has to help. Like, maybe having the name “Jared” made me predestined to wait by the door where the appetizers come out during the cocktail hour. Maybe it’s the name “Jared’s” fault that I can only eat cheese while being confident that I’m in a comfortable toilet situation. Maybe if my name were Eazy, I wouldn’t flinch when a subway dancer does a move within seven feet of me.

Ed

36, Health Care Salesman, Miami, FL

Ed is a 36-year-old health care salesman from Miami, Florida, who needs a girlfriend. He needs one immediately, because look closely at his eyebrows. Those are single man eyebrows if I’ve ever seen them. Ed looks like he shut one eye to pluck each brow while forgetting that he was actually semi-blind. One is thick and the other is half missing. They look like they’re backing away from one another after a fight. They might be drawn on with a magic marker. And sadly, he has no clue. Let’s hope that Ed finds a woman so he can stop wondering why people always look at him just a bit above his eyeline.

Garin

34, Professor of Journalism, North Hollywood, CA

Garin is a 34-year-old professor of journalism at the University of Southern California. I’ve gotta say, the producers have made a real effort to diversify the cast this season. And not just racially, but also the ages and especially the jobs. A professor? Usually it’s some vague title like “tech entrepreneur” which actually means “my parents invested in my company that’s an app that already exists, but this buys me time to live at the beach until they make me go to fully-paid law school and become an in-house counsel that makes six figures right away.”

Ivan

28, Aeronautical Engineer, Dallas, TX

Ivan is a 28-year-old aeronautical engineer from Dallas, Texas, who is very obviously a “catch”. He builds jets for the U.S. Military and he talks with his mom on the phone every day (even though the person who needs therapy most at your brunch would probably be like, “talks to his mom every day?! RED FLAG!”). Ivan’s bio says that he’s “hoping to find someone who is not only beautiful and nurturing, but also smart and ambitious.” I just wish Ivan was a little more honest. Of course you want someone who is beautiful, nurturing, smart, and ambitious. Just once I want someone to be like, “I want a woman who doesn’t like to leave the house too much, will laugh every time I fart, and knows not to touch my stomach after we eat too much Chinese food.”

Jason

31, Former Pro Football Lineman, Arlington, VA

Jason is a 31-year-old former pro football lineman from Arlington, Virginia, who has lost 120 pounds since his playing days. Jason is going to have a problem. You see, the men on The Bachelorette aren’t built like normal people. For the most part, they’re all massive. I remember I met Jed from Hannah B’s season. Based on the show, I thought he was built like a miniature horse. Boy, was I wrong. Jedd was a full-sized horse! The point is that the men on the show are so jacked that they can make a strong guy look mini. The same thing happened when I met Josh Murray. I looked like the “before” picture in an ad campaign for a protein shake. Now, what does that mean for a guy who just lost 120 pounds? A roller coaster ride of emotions. He’s going to walk into the house feeling great with his shirt tucked in with a huge belt buckle (the championship belt for any guy who’s lost a lot of weight). Then someone’s going to yell, “POOL TIME!” And Jason will see abs so sculpted and ripped that he’ll probably yell, “Anyone want hotdogs?! I’m grilling!”

Jay

29, Fitness Director, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Jay is a 29-year-old fitness director from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who looks like a boy was being turned into a man and they stopped the process halfway through. Jay says that “nothing annoys him more than being on a date with a woman who is half in the conversation and half scrolling through Instagram.” I think that’s just called a bad date. I don’t think there’s this community of women who are defending their right to scroll Instagram during a date. Like, maybe Jay needs to take some responsibility in this one. Maybe his story about switching from Paleo to Keto wasn’t great. Maybe she pulled out the phone when he said, “I guess this is my cheat meal!” after ordering a burger. I’m just not buying that people act like disinterested executive assistants when you’re killing it on a date.

Jeremy

40, Banker, Washington, DC

Jeremy is a 40-year-old banker from Washington, DC. Remember when we all used that old person filter that made us look 80 while giving all of our facial information to Russia? Well, Jeremy is using that for his headshot. He is the oldest Bachelorette contestant in the history of the show. That’s either really fun or sad based on how you look at it. Like, you might say, “Wow, a banker who made some money, lived some life, and is still taking chances like going on a reality show!” And then you read in Jeremy’s bio that “during quarantine, Jeremy developed a love for painting and taught himself how to rollerblade” and it gets a bit sad. Like, imagine a 40-year-old man rollerblading home from his job at the local Chase Bank to paint in his apartment that has nothing in the fridge.

Joe

36, Anesthesiologist, NYC

Joe is a 36-year-old anesthesiologist from New York City. Joe’s bio talks about him working the front lines during the pandemic, and I love and appreciate all of the front line workers, but isn’t it still happening? Didn’t they tape this over the summer? I’m not saying Joe isn’t a good guy, but that must have been a weird exit. Like, “Hey guys, I’m taking a month or two off! Good luck with the global pandemic that still has no vaccine or really any end in sight! I’m going to find a wife on a TV show in Hollywood!”

Jordan C.

26, Software Account Executive, NYC

Jordan C. is a 26-year-old software account executive from New York City. He says his older sister has never liked any of the women he’s brought home. Well, I don’t think winning The Bachelorette is going to change that. “Hey sis! Meet my new fiancée! She decided on me after having sex with myself and two other guys like someone trying out flavors at Baskin-Robbins. And, oh yeah, about a week into the show, the original woman I tried to date freaked out and this was her replacement!”

Jordan M.

30, Cyber Security Engineer, Santa Monica, CA

Jordan M. is a 30-year-old cyber security engineer who is 6 foot 8 inches tall, likes to hike, writes poetry, and enters into “hacking competitions”. He also says that people his age “don’t have the same priorities” and they all seem to be “looking for the next best thing”. The whole “everyone is looking for the next best thing” is a very 2020 dating complaint that assumes liking someone means it should work out. Well, they have to like you too. And Jordan M., I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’re getting a lot of first dates because you’re over six feet tall. Go look at the millions of “Do I like him or is he just tall?!” memes that exist by people who claim to be funny. I’m assuming the person who goes on the date with any tall guy isn’t pumped to hear your newest poem about a robot you coded into having a heart.

Kenny

39, Boy Band Manager, Chicago, IL

Kenny is a 39-year-old boy band manager from Chicago, Illinois. If you’re wondering what a boy band manager is and why that job would take place in Chicago, then we are very much alike. Kenny’s bio says he “creates and manages boy band cover groups” and then the bio moves on to how he’s concentrated too much on his career and the type of woman he wants. Ummm, what?! Let’s take a step back to the creation of boy band cover groups. Imagine marrying someone with that job. I wish Kenny nothing but success, but I couldn’t handle the dinner time conversations. You have to hear about auditions and how he “really likes this kid Jason” because he’s got “that great pouty look teenage girls love!” And then you have to stop dinner so that he can take a phone call because the “Blumenfield Bar Mitzvah in Skokie is a mess!” and “JZ says they interrupted their final routine with a goddamn Weiner’s Circle buffet.”

Mike

38, Digital Media Advisor, Calgary, Alberta

Mike is a 38-year-old digital media advisor from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Mike has a whole bio about being a nice guy from Canada that lacks any real honesty—he’s looking to find the right girl?! What?! He wants someone who’s trustworthy?! OMG! At one point it says, “After his last relationship, Mike put up serious walls when it came to allowing himself to be vulnerable, but now he’s back and better than ever!” And that’s how you know that Mike is the nice guy who is good at lying. Mental issues don’t just clear up like that. Nobody just wakes up and says, “The walls are gone! Let’s be vulnerable again!” The only way to be 38 and sexually active without too many attachments is to tell women a vague story about an ex who hurt you. Women are so open about this stuff that they respect the troubled past too much and ask no more questions and when their friends ask, “So what’s the deal with Mike?!” You say, “I think someone really messed him up, so we’re taking it slow,” while he’s telling the same story to someone else on another date.

Page

37, Chef, Austin, TX

Page is a 37-year-old chef from Austin, Texas, who was featured in Food and Wine Magazine as one of 2016’s best new chefs. I’ve watched The Bachelorette for a long time and this is the best group of men that I’ve seen. For the most part, they have real jobs and ages that make sense for a guy to get married. Page basically has the character profile of a lead in a rom-com. Hannah B. had to choose a dog food jingle creator who came on the show already having a girlfriend, and Becca had so few options that she ended up with an Alt-Right sympathizer. So it’s not like the bar was too high for the producers. Page could’ve been like, “I’m pretty good at microwaving stuff!” and I probably would’ve felt the same way about this season’s cast.

Riley

30, Attorney, Long Island City, NY

Riley is a 30-year-old attorney from Long Island City, New York, whose bio says, “don’t ask him to go to a museum with you, because that’s not going to happen.” I love that. Men have no issues sounding uncultured. Not many women would give as honest an answer. My girlfriend claims to LOVE museums. And yet, not once has she said to me, “Off to the Met! See you in a few hours!” And I promise she’ll read this and say, “But you never want to go with me!”

No. No, I don’t. Because, just like Riley, I don’t like museums. I don’t want culture. I don’t want history. And I don’t want art! I want to sit on my couch and say horrible things about the dresses women choose on Say Yes To The Dress. And you know what? That’s exactly what my girlfriend wants to do, too! But Riley and I are the only ones willing to be honest about it. #Brave

Robby

31, Insurance Broker, Tampa, FL

Robby is a 31-year-old insurance broker from Tampa, Florida, who works at his family’s brokerage while splitting time between Tampa and LA. It’s always funny to me when someone is good at lying without lying. Like Robby could have the red pin with “Tampa/LA” as his Instagram bio and it would be “true”. But nobody “splits their time between Tampa and LA” unless they’re a professional athlete or they have a large OnlyFans following. And guess what? Robby doesn’t play for the Tampa Bay Rays, and he doesn’t look good in a Fashion Nova bodysuit. But that’s the beauty of the lie that isn’t a lie. None of us have the energy to look into his bicoastal life, so we all kind of accept that Robby is doing “well” and we’re kind of not. Luckily for you, I’ve sold insurance, and let me break it down: Robby’s dad sold a lot of insurance. Insurance contracts pay residuals to the brokers for the life of the contract. The goal of being an insurance broker is to sign enough contracts so that you can live off of the residuals. Robby’s dad sold so much insurance that he was able to make Robby the servicing broker on his accounts so that they could split those residuals. Now, Robby gets to fly to LA for a weekend a month and tell women at bars he has homes in Tampa and LA while buying drinks for them on a credit card that has his dad’s billing address. See?! That “📍Tampa/LA” can be VERY deceiving.

Tyler C.

27, Lawyer, Morgantown, WV

Really tough spot for “Tyler C.”. He didn’t ask to have the same exact name as the most mastubated-to Bachelorette contestant in the show’s history. And here we are, looking at a Tyler C. that is not even close to OUR Tyler C. The one that invented the acronym WAP. The one that’s responsible for the increase in removable showerhead purchases last year. No—this new Tyler C. doesn’t really have a chance. I can’t imagine how this Tyler C. is dealing with the pressure. He should’ve asked them to use his middle initial, too. Just as a subtle nod to his lack of Tyler C-ness. He’d get out of the limo and be like, “Hey, I’m Tyler FC! Like a Football Club!” And Clare would stare back at him a bit confused and he would break down like, “I’M SORRY! I’ll never be him!!” Then he’d look directly into the camera and be like, “I PROMISE TO UPHOLD THE NAME. I WILL MAKE YOU CUM. I WILL MAKE ALL OF YOU CUM IF IT’S THE LAST THING I DO!”

Tyler S.

36, Music Manager, Georgetown, TX

Tyler S. is a 36-year-old music manager from Georgetown, Texas, who manages his brother, Granger Smith. I had to look up Granger and he’s a legitimate country rock star. He’s the type of star who would come on The Bachelorette for one of those special concerts, and I’d make fun of the people acting like this was a big deal. Then I’d get, like, 40 DMs from people being like, “THAT’S GRANGER SMITH!” as if I just made fun of someone for getting too excited about Adele. Tyler S. spends a lot of time on the road with his brother and says that “if he can’t show his mama a girl’s Instagram, then he can’t date her.” And I’d love to ask him “What about TikTok!?!” and then watch him laugh for a few minutes before abruptly stoping and getting very stern to say, “No, she better fucking bring it on the Tok. Ain’t no mammas looking at no Toks. That’s for big daddy Tyler.”

Yosef

30, Medical Device Salesman, Daphne, AL

Yosef is a 30-year-old medical device salesman from Daphne, Alabama, who has a 4-year-old daughter. Yosef is the contestant that your Jewish mother won’t be able to stop asking judgmental questions about. She’ll be like, “Yosef? Is he Jewish? A daughter? Where’s the mother? Doesn’t he work? He’s from where? Alabama? What type of Jew lives in Alabama and goes on a dating show while his daughter lives at home?” Then she’ll tell you to look him up on “The Facebook” because “Ya nevah know!”

Zac C.

 36, Addiction Specialist, Haddonfield, NJ

Zac C. is a 36-year-old addiction specialist from Haddonfield, New Jersey, who looks like a mid-forties version of Nick Viall. Last year, we had Peter, who looked like a 13-year-old version of Nick Viall. I feel like we’re going to get a different Nick Viall every season until the end of time. And the only person in the world who will love that is Nick Viall. I’m honestly angry that I’m still talking about him. He’s the Voldemort of The Bachelor universe. We’re going to have to deal with all of his horcruxes until someone finds the Sword of Gryffindor and finally chops his head off.

Zach J.

37, Cleaning Service Owner, St. George, UT

Zach J is a 37-year-old cleaning service owner from St. George, Utah, whose bio says the following: “Zach J. says that he has had a major crush on Clare ever since seeing her tell off Juan Pablo during the finale of his season. And while he is definitely excited for the journey to begin, he wants to make it clear that he is only here because he believes Clare is the perfect woman for him.” That season was more than SIX YEARS AGO. Nobody found that creepy?! A producer heard that answer and was like, “Awww, I hope you make it to the fantasy suite!” Only hot people are allowed to have crushes on someone for over six months without it being creepy. If Zach J. looked like the guy who brought your Seamless order tonight, you’d be calling the police saying that “HE REMINDS ME OF SOME BAD PAD THAI I ATE ONCE.” But Zach J. has a great jawline, so we’re all going to be cool with him having a crush on a very obscure Bachelor contestant who most of us had to look up online before saying, “Oh, the one that yelled at Juan Pablo! Wait, she’s 38? Wow I’m old.” Okay, just making sure I got this straight.

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Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin (32)