The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap! So regularly scheduled, in fact, that ABC is going to air footage regardless of little things like nationwide travel schedules or annual holidays. GOBBLE GOBBLE BITCHES, The Bachelorette schedule waits for no woman! I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d still be watching regardless of where Michelle’s journey fell on my Thanksgiving plans, but I’d rather be watching to actively ignore my drunk aunt humble-bragging about her son’s eight-year college track (“it just takes boys longer!!”), not because I have to. It’s the principle of the thing. 

Speaking of Thanksgiving, though ABC has “blessed” us with a new episode (I’m using that term loosely, obviously), we have very little to actually be grateful for. Much like the rest of this season, this week’s episode was the visual equivalent of an Ambien. You would think that whittling her group of eight down to a final four for Hometowns would have inspired some sort of frenzy for camera time Michelle’s affections, but alas even that couldn’t rouse the men into formation. I worry that at this point they’re just trying to coast by on their good looks and loud body jewelry. Look, all I’m saying is that nose rings do not a personality make, mmkay!

Count Your Blessings: The Kids Are Back

Did you guys know that Michelle’s a teacher? Did you?! It appears that whenever production reviews their footage and realizes that they casted a bunch of well-adjusted duds they turn to a tried-and-true method for producing grade-A television: kids. There’s nothing America loves more than watching a bunch of sweet but sassy children verbally spar with grown men whose IQ levels hover slightly below their own—and honestly, neither do I. At this point the kids are the only thing making this season interesting. 

We’re told that Michelle’s students will be planning this week’s dates and will be choosing who deserves to go on her first one-on-one date. Wait a minute. Is this how kids are spending their summer vacations now?? What happened to reading logs and math worksheets? Instead ABC has them entertaining a room full of strange men unsupervised (!!!) and plotting story arcs that even the executive creative team couldn’t come up with. Someone get these twerps on payroll!

As the kids descend upon the men in a plume of Hawaiian Punch and pre-puberty funk, I’ve never seen grown adults look so alarmed. I have a feeling they would take that g-force simulator from week three over this babysitting gig. But babysit they must, because the kids hold their fate with Michelle in their grubby little hands. How will the kids come to their decision? Through a series of nonsensical questions that range from “what’s your dream wedding” to “do you shave your nipples?” The questions serve the dual purpose of scaring the men right into an abstinence pact and entertaining the hell out of me (a tough feat, let me tell you).

Martin especially looks uncomfortable under their line of questioning, though that could be because he’s probably not allowed to be within 200 feet of children. Not for like, legal reasons, but because his personality sucks so much. While the rest of the guys bond with the kids by making fart noises with their hands, Martin entertains little Kelsey with a detailed breakdown of how to gaslight women. Meanwhile, Kelsey is looking at him like he’s the walking talking DARE ad her elementary school counselor warned her about. Run, Melissa, run!

 

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Out of the mouths of babes!

That Turkey Is Cooked: Clayton’s One-On-One

Though I trust these kids more than Michelle to find a suitable husband for her, I do question their pick for the first one-on-one date of the week: Clayton. Week after week I say I’m going to add a “Bachelor Watch” section to my recap, and week after week I write exactly one bullet note about Clayton that’s usually a variation of “boring,” “idiot,” “nothingburger,” or “why would they do this to us?” Ostensibly this should be the moment we’ve been waiting for all season, the moment where Clayton finally shows us why ABC chose him to be our next Bachelor—and yet, he falls short. Again. 

Even Michelle seems disappointed that the kids would choose him over, say, Nayte or Joe or the potted plant in the lobby. She sucks it up for date, though, a Home Alone-esque fantasy in which Ms. Michelle and Clayton are set loose in a museum after hours. What should be a romantic night between two beautiful looking people instead gives off heavy teacher-student field trip vibes. I kept waiting for Clayton to ask if he had permission to open his packed lunch yet. The only thing Clayton gave us at all during this date was the distinct feeling that he has an inner child. And by that I mean an actual child was wearing him like a man suit. Like, I would not be surprised if little Luke Freaky Friday’d him before this date. 

Later, Clayton says that he just wants to be vulnerable with Michelle and it’s as if he’s reading straight off some sort of script. Seriously, HOW is this guy become our next Bachelor?? Stock images have more life to them than he does.

Ultimately, Michelle feels the same way. She says that she doesn’t feel like she’s able to “get there” with Clayton before Homewtowns and it’s a sentiment that reverberates through Bachelor Nation. After all, Clayton is the only guy who managed to get sent home after a one-on-one date this season (even Martin finagled his way into receiving a rose and he insulted Michelle right to her face!). 

It appears that—just like the kids’ reasoning!—ABC went with Clayton because he has big muscles and can build a really huge fort. Stunning. Production does show us some mediocre footage of Clayton post-breakup discovering some hand-written notes from the children in his hotel room, but it all feels too little too late. I’m sure ABC saw those kid-induced tears and thought they’d hit PR gold. Here’s a grown man who shows emotions! About kids! And he’s not even ashamed about it! Everybody give this big, strong man a clap for his bravery. The problem that ABC doesn’t seem to understand is that we as an audience are asking for more than an emotionally stunted white guy who needed to have fifth graders validate his emotions for him so he could realize that commitment might be a thing he’s into, maybe. Come on. Do better. 

 

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Hateful & Ungrateful: Martin’s Big Exit Moment

Now onto things I’m even less grateful for: Martin. This week, once again, Martin proved that he’s unfit to exist in public spaces or be around people who don’t have the same life goals as a Scooby Doo villain. I have this theory that Martin is actually a barn animal masquerading as a human man and finally, finally, Michelle is starting to see that as well. 

Martin landed a spot on the farm themed group date where the only high points included watching the men assault cow udders and Nayte feigning a back injury to get out of shoveling poop. The real show came later in the evening when Martin started running his mouth off again about Michelle. He tells the other men that Michelle often “misunderstands” him and that this shows her immaturity. This is a bold proclamation from a guy whose style aesthetic can only be described as the floor of a Forever21. 

I think his way of feeling in control of the situation (i.e. being one of eight boyfriends) is to make Michelle seem less appealing to the other guys. That way if she rejects him, well, that bitch was ugly anyway. Martin’s dating strategy is to basically internet troll an attractive woman into complacency, and it’s time for him to go. 

Ulo, being the earth angel that he is, takes it upon himself to warn Michelle that Martin is a walking, talking red flag. Ulo tells her that when Michelle read her poem a few weeks back, Martin called her insecure for not being able to get over a little thing like the systemic trauma of growing up as a Black woman in America. 

MICHELLE: Did you call me insecure?
MARTIN: There’s a difference between being insecure and having insecurities, my love.
ME:

Michelle’s like, “you haven’t been honest about the fact that you’re a dick.” Well, I think he’s been pretty up front about it. He does look like a visual representation of an Urban Dictionary explanation of a TikTok insult.  

Whatever doubts we may have had about Martin’s character are immediately alleviated when he starts railing on Michelle after his elimination. He says that a girl like that doesn’t deserve his attention and it’s just sad, he feels so sad for her, and it’s like has Martin completely lost all control of the demon inside him? If he thinks Michelle’s denouncement of his character was bad, just wait until he finds out what the internet thinks of him!

More Blessings: Brandon Gets Busted

I’ll end on a high note, the final blessed moment ABC grants us: watching Brandon try and hide a chubby in a pair of Michelle’s dad’s waterlogged swim trunks. If that camera work doesn’t win ABC an Emmy, I don’t know what will. 

Michelle brings Brandon to her childhood home for their one-on-one date. Tbh Brandon seems a little much for me. I know people will swoon over him after this episode, but he’s so over-the-top about his affections for her it’s almost unbelievable. At one point he’s like, “Michelle is literally walking me through her heart” and it’s like, dude, chill. She’s walking you down a hallway. 

Once again I’m reminded that Michelle was an undesirable growing up because she’s way too excited about living out this high school fantasy of having a boy alone in her parent’s home. 

MICHELLE: You know what would be so hot? If you wore my dad’s intimates and dry humped me in the family hot tub.
BRANDON:

Brandon looks appropriately horrified by the suggestion—as if he knows this adventure can only end in his humiliation. And you know what? He’s not wrong! Seconds after Michelle straddles him and starts getting intimately acquainted with the back of his throat, who should walk in on them but the actual owners of the house: Michelle’s parents. Imagine that! You can tell first impressions mean a lot to Brandon and he was not expecting to meet his maybe future in-laws whilst trying to hide a wet spot. Well, think about it this way, buddy: you can only go up from here.

And that’s a wrap on the recap! Next week we’re headed to Hometowns where Nayte, Brandon, Joe, and Rodney will introduce Michelle to the human embodiments of their intimacy issues. Until then!

Images: ABC / Craig Sjodin; Giphy (2); @bachelorettewindmill /Instagram (1); @tvgoldtweets /Instagram (1)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Sleepovers Are For The Boys

Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! We are now on week four of Michelle’s journey toward love and the closest thing I’ve seen to a genuine romantic connection is the one I’m having with Michelle’s styling. (My god that woman is a vision). As we move into the middle of the season, connections should be getting deeper, rose ceremony eliminations more dramatic, and let’s not forget the rampant unrestrained emotions that can only be reproduced on a Bachelor(ette) set and in hostage situations. At least we should be seeing all those things on our television screens. Instead, Michelle’s season has felt… anticlimactic? Dare I even say, boring?

The thing about Michelle that I’m starting to realize is that her highest energy level functions like the starting effects of an Ambien. She’s just too damn calm and collected. And, look, I get it. Her day job is the equivalent of managing a crime scene every day. I mean, do you know what goes on in 5th grade classrooms?? She’s out here navigating fractions and teaching the Our Changing Bodies book to a bunch of kids who still pick their noses and hide the evidence on the bottom of their desks. Fractions and puberty, people! The amount of serotonin her brain must be firing off at all times has to be astounding. And yet, it might be these calm, cool, collected vibes that are unwittingly giving the men permission to count her as a Cool Girl, and thus, treat her feelings with about as much care and concern as the half-eaten bag of chips they discarded in the backseats of their cars.

The other thing I’m realizing is that her eliminating the villains so early on might be to her detriment. If there’s one thing men love, it’s an evil to defeat and a girl to save. Sure, it’s an outdated patriarchal fantasy, but so is the blueprint of this show. As I said, The Bachelor(ette) functions like a hostage situation—without house drama and emotional warfare, how else are they supposed to romantically bond with a stranger in six weeks? They need a bad guy so that they can rally around their girl and prove that their feelings for said girl are more intense, more genuine, than than the bad guy’s feeling for her. What? Did she think they’d just be mature enough to express their emotions without some sort of instigating catalyst? Lol, that’s cute. 

Saturdays Sleepovers Are For The Boys

And with that, I bring our attention to the group date where this cool girl energy and lack of a villain circumstance reach a crescendo. I’m not sure how this group date was ever supposed to rouse amorous feelings, as it was definitely  inspired by the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen sleepover party circa 1995. That’s right: the theme of the group date is slumber party, complete with jammies and teddy bears. What could go wrong? 

I’m sure when Michelle was pitched this idea for a group date she envisioned sexy pillow fights, maybe a truth or dare game that ended in makeouts or a coy removal of clothing. Instead, the guys are going with more of a “pull my finger” kind of a vibe. Case in point, this entire scene:

MICHELLE:

THE MEN: Does anyone want to play duck, duck, goose?

DOES ANYONE WANT TO PLAY DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE. You have a beautiful, smart, scantily-clad human woman in your presence and you want to play duck, duck, goose? The men really make it hard to root for them. Not just on this show, but as a human race generally.

And where is Michelle in all of this? Watching the men play slap and tickle from the corner and probably wishing she had never had that fifth glass of wine at happy hour before applying for this show in the first place. 

Just when Michelle is ready to confront the men, ABC brings out the Bella Twins to host that pillow fight. Not now, Bella Twins! Can’t you read a room? The Bella Twins tell us that the men will be divided into teams and each team member will go head to head with an opposing team member in a pillow fight. The winning team gets alone time with Michelle. Wow, ABC literally always chooses violence, don’t they? Oh, did you think this was a slumber party? Sorry, you’re actually here to beat the shit out of someone with a giant Mr. Wiggles.

It should be noted that this combination of protective instincts and expression of strong feelings through outward bodily harm, is exactly the catalyst needed for the men to start giving a shit about their Bachelorette. I knew they’d figure it out eventually. But Michelle, it seems, is still not impressed. Instead of coming off like they need to win her affections, their actions seem more aligned with just winning in general. Shocking. 

Michelle is the first bachelorette to realize that men wrestling doesn’t help her find a husband… #TheBachelorette

— C. Money (@Lil_Vil) November 10, 2021

Look, are the men acting like immature idiots? Absolutely. But she did invite them to a sleepover and get them all hopped up on soda and junk food. Of course they regressed to 8th grade. She’s lucky she didn’t accidentally fall asleep in their presence. She might have woken up with her hand in a glass of water and pee all over that Skims set. Count your blessings where you can, Michelle!

More Clown Energy: Martin’s One-On-One

Michelle’s one-on-one with Martin goes just about as smoothly as the group date. The theme of the date is some sort of off-brand Fast & Furious tribute, because apparently ABC’s idea of mature, stable relationships involves hot cars and traffic violations. At first Michelle seems equally into the date. She tells us she wants a partner that will help her “live life on the edge” and she says this as if she doesn’t think a dangerous double life entails purposefully skipping lesson planning to fall asleep drinking Chardonnay in front of the TV. I can read you like a book, honey.

I have to admit, I don’t understand the sexual appeal of Martin. This feeling is only strengthened when he shows up to the date looking less like a romantic prospect and more like an extra from Buckwild

Boy, does he make it hard to root for him. 

I wish I could say the first strike on this date is to Martin’s distressed flannel, but sadly that comes later when the two settle in for a little post-racing hot tub soak. I’m using the term “hot tub” here very loosely because the thing they fold their bodies into is less of a hot tub and more of a large garbage can filled with water. Like, did they displace Oscar the Grouch for this date? How is this romantic??

Then Martin starts running his mouth about what a “hell of a man” Jamie was. Strike two. Apparently, Jamie and Martin were good friends in the house. At least that appears to be his justification for using his limited alone time with Michelle to question her decision to send Jamie home last week. 

Martin talking about Jamie…. #thebachelorette pic.twitter.com/3j4v0H2phk

— Feelin’ Thorny 🌹🥀 (@feelin_thorny) November 10, 2021

What’s worse is that Michelle has no place to go during this attack. He’s got her pinned to the other side of that garbage pail, swigging her champagne for some small outlet of release. Read the room, Martin! No one wants to hear about your bromance with a psychopath. 

Later, when Michelle confronts Martin about their tiff, he blames his aggression and shitty communication skills on his parents. Woooooow. How original. Look, if he’s going to blame his parents for his communication skills, he should throw some other things into that pile as well. His hair. His accessories. His fashion sense in general…

ME TO MARTIN AT ALL TIMES:

Michelle accepts this explanation for his behavior, but it’s not the head-over-heels devotion I’m sure her producer sold her on when she signed The Bachelorette contract. If anything, listening to a man complain about how his parents just really effed him up and honestly the trauma of surviving a traditional nuclear family is really why he can’t ever be fully in control of his emotions (you get that don’t you?), is cementing for her that the caliber of “eligible bachelors” this season really wasn’t any different than the state of her DMs in Minnesota. 

Precious Angels Of The Week: Olu & Rick

Though the men spent the majority of the episode proving my working theory that men aren’t shit (trademark pending), two of the guys managed to actually impress me. Olu was perhaps the only bright spot on the group date. When, during the cocktail portion of the evening, Michelle broke down in tears about these jackasses ignoring her, her speech took Olu out. I mean, his performance on that group date was giving human tear duct Ashely I a run for her money. 

Olu connected Michelle’s feelings to his four sisters back home and, okay, he did say sister far too much during that cocktail hour. He sibling-zoned the shit out of her and it’s grossing me out. 

MICHELLE: It means a lot to me that you would compare me to your sisters like that
ME: 

Look, sibling love isn’t my thing, but Michelle seems into it and Olu does seem heartfelt in his apology. He ends up getting the group date rose and a coveted spot in my Precious Angels of the Week. 

Rick also proved to not be complete trash this week (a tough feat, let me tell you). He scored the second one-on-one date, which immediately followed the abysmal group date. The two of them go hiking and share family trauma because what is a hike without blood, sweat, and tears? 

Michelle said she was extra excited for the date because Rick has always “seen” her. I think it helped that the two of them were literally the last people in that forest, so it was either pay attention to Michelle or make conversation with the redwoods. I like to stack the odds this way as well.

And the odds do pay off for her. By the end of their date, she finally feels like she’s being seen and makes a strong connection with the back of Rick’s throat. Ah, to be young and in love again. 

The Final Drama

As I mentioned earlier, Michelle has done a pretty good job of getting rid of all the villains before they have a chance to sow too much discord in the house. As I’ve also mentioned, this could be to her detriment. But never fear! Chris S is ready and willing to take up that role. God bless him.

Now, every Bachelorette villain has a brand: Luke P was the Jesus freak, Chad was the human embodiment of an FDA warning label for steroid abuse, Jamie was the master manipulator, and it looks like Chris S has decided to lean hard into the brand of the little incel who could. 

His strategy is much like Jamie’s in that he wants to create chaos amongst the men, but his reason for doing so is because he’s butt-hurt that Michelle isn’t giving him enough attention. His off-screen interviews reek of entitlement, as if he deserves her full attention for merely existing in her presence. He hears about the drama that went down at the group date’s private after party and makes the bold proclamation that he needs to get out his “white horse” and save Michelle. Dear god, I hope he’s not talking about his penis. Giddy up. 

I will say that Chris S’ ability to compartmentalize is absolutely astounding. He convinces himself that even though he was a participant during the part of the group date where her feelings were hurt, he wasn’t actually a part of the hurting of her feelings.

CHRIS S DURING THE ROSE CEREMONY: I don’t think these guys actually understand the way she feels and how upset she was.
CHRIS S DURING THE GROUP DATE: 

In an effort to make everyone understand how Michelle feels, he decides to give a toast at Michelle’s rose ceremony to speak about Michelle’s feelings while standing directly in front of Michelle. You cannot make this shit up. 

He’s like, “these guys think they have this in the bag” and then proceeds to single Nayte out specifically. STAND DOWN, LITTLE MAN. I know he’s not talking about my boyfriend Nayte like that and thinking I won’t throw metaphorical fists in this recap over it. 

 

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Here’s how I know Nayte is a good guy: when he confronts Chris about spreading lies the worst thing he calls Chris is a “dweeb.” A DWEEB! These are iCarly level insults and it’s so cute. 

In the end, Michelle doesn’t take much stock in the “they have this in the bag” accusation because she gives Nayte a rose. But she also doesn’t consider how malicious Chris S’ intentions are because she gives him a rose as well. Or maybe she doesn’t care about his intentions. Maybe she realized these men need a little bad guy to rally against if she’s ever going to elicit any feeling out of these idiots. Whatever the case, we’ll have to wait until next week to see how part two of the Nayte/Chris S showdown plays out. Until then!

Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC; Giphy (4); ABC (1); @bitchelorette_ /Instagram (1); @lil_vil /Twitter (1); @feelin_thorny /Twitter (1)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Let’s Get Ready To Rumble

Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! Last week’s episode was certainly in keeping with the Halloween theme, as I’ve never been more scared for the public school systems than after watching grown adults butcher basic trivia questions. Spooky. What’s scarier? Learning that Jamie, a man whose under-eye bags you can see from space, is only one year older than me. I’m already haunted by my bad decisions from last weekend, don’t further traumatize me, ABC, by showing me this ghost of Christmas future! Excuse me while I go drown myself and my burgeoning fine lines in the leftover Halloween candy…

And it looks like I’m not the only one being haunted by Jamie! Michelle continues to struggle after last week’s rose ceremony when Jamie revealed that the men were questioning her “character” after she decided to keep Joe around for another week. To those of us in the audience, we know this to be a lie. None of the men were actually talking about this. But he tells Michelle that he heard from a producer friend back home that she was “boo’d up” with a “light-skinned baller” before even coming on the show, insinuating that she and Joe were already an item and just wasting everyone’s time. Honestly, I think the real crime is that Jamie continues to use the term “boo’d up” with a straight face as he barrels right into his mid-30s. 

As Michelle preps for the week she says that she doesn’t know who to trust anymore. She just wants to know who still believes in her. Believes in you? Oh, honey. Look around you! I have a feeling the only “strong beliefs” they have in this world are in Bitcoin and their hair gel. I have more trust in my astrological sign than I do in these guys giving a shit about your character. 

The Adventures Of Dough Boy & Little Willie

Let’s talk about the first group date of the week, which was Top Gun themed. Why Top Gun? Because ABC practically foams at the mouth at any opportunity to collab and increase their capital. Also, I just think they wanted to watch people throw up on that spinny thing. 

 

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Michelle says that she wants to find her maverick and thus will be hosting a maverick-themed competition judged by actors in the new remake of Top Gun: Jay Ellis and Glen Powell. This date boggles my mind. She’s making them compete for a fake pilot title and have the competition be judged by fake pilots with no actual pilot experience. WHAT IS THIS DATE?! These men aren’t mavericks! They read lines off a piece of paper and have a personal assistants hold their Juuls to their lips when they need a hit. My god, Pilot Pete has more credibility in judging this date—and he would have to run his ruling by Barb first!

So what makes you a “maverick”? How good your fake pilot nickname is. Will and Pizza Peter (who got into some beef during last week’s episode) manage to come up with names that a fifth grade bully would use to belittle you behind the swing set: Little Willie and Dough Boy.

In addition to heinous nicknames, the guys will also have to compete in flight-themed drills and survive a g-force simulator as they profess their love to Michelle. The men act as if conquering the g-force simulator is on the same level as a Middle Earth quest to return the ring to Mordor. You guys, they literally had that apparatus at my playground growing up. I’m not impressed. 

Little Willie ends up scoring the Maverick title, but the real competition occurs during the cocktail after-party when Little Willie and Dough Boy face off for round two. Dough Boy is pissed that Little Willie called him a narcissist last week and bested him with a stick in the maverick games. Yes, there’s more to their feud. No, I can’t go into any more details than that as my brain cells are literally flaking into dust with every word I type. 

MICHELLE: I just love what a mature group of men I have here
DOUGH BOY: 

I honestly find nothing more tragic than the fact that the guy who owns a pizzeria and brought cannolis and red wine on the first night is actually a blight on the human race instead of being Jesus Christ himself. 

Dough Boy and Little Willie spend the entirety of the cocktail party verbally sparring—that is, if comments like “bro you hate my mouth because you wish you had it” count as “sparring.” The stakes get even higher when Dough Boy throws Little Willie’s bomber jacket into the pool and Little Willie cries about it in the corner. Wait, what’s the sound? Oh right. Just my Masters’ degree physically quaking at having to type that sentence. 

In the end, it’s neither Dough Boy nor Little Willie who gets the group date rose. Instead, Martin gets that honor. I’m shocked by this development. Martin seems cool and all but Michelle can’t be serious about this guy… right?? She’s like “he has so many sides to him!” Yes, and is one of those sides is James Franco’s character in Spring Breakers

Tell me this isn’t the same energy!! Is this really the father of your future kids, Michelle? Is it??

Best Boyfriend Material: Rodney & Nayte

And now for a scheduled break in your programming to rave about my two favorite men this season: Rodney and Nayte. Am I wrong or are these the only two men worth Michelle’s time and attention? (I’m not wrong). Rodney scored the only one-on-one date of the week and proved that he is an Earth angel that deserves to be protected at all costs. For some reason the guys in the house don’t think of Rodney as a threat and that’s to their detriment. Not only did Rodney literally never stop smiling during their date (even when Michelle forced him to run naked around the hotel complex for ABC’s sick enjoyment), but he also had the audacity to ask Michelle personal questions about herself. Imagine! What a guy! 

Michelle reveals some pretty personal stories about herself, including delving into an old wound with a past relationship. She describes a moment when a stranger called her the N word to her face and her boyfriend at the time wasn’t supportive of her hurt feelings. Even with how heavy and personal the story is the two of them—who are virtual strangers, mind you—-handle this with easy, open communication. Is this what a healthy relationship looks like? I absolutely must stan.

And then there’s Nayte. I don’t mention him much in my recaps because I tend to focus on the absurd and unhinged (like calls to like and all of that). Nayte has consistently been a shining star this season. Every episode he finds a moment to sweep Michelle completely off her feet and, when possible, removes himself from any house drama. He’s so cute I’ll even forgive him for his excessive accessorizing. Watch out for these ones, y’all, I think we have some front runners on our hands…

 

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Jamie Digs His Own Grave

Jamie, Jamie, Jamie. What is there to even say? I never should have trusted a man with a good first impression. Last week Jamie and Michelle hit it off during their one-on-one date, but by the end of the episode Jamie had revealed his true form: a chaos demon who was summoned in the bowels of ABC studios by an overly ambitious producer. Seriously, where do they find these monsters?

Jamie spent most of the episode acting like a smug asshole and just generally digging his own grave in the confessionals. He wound up on the second group date which involved the men performing spoken word poetry. While the rest of the men showed surprising depth for a group who show that much ankle on a regular basis, Jamie’s poetry was almost word-for-word a Vanessa Carleton song. The assignment was to be vulnerable not to talk about making your way downtown, walking fast, faces pass and you’re homebound. 

 

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Later, Jamie took personal offense when Michelle offered Brendan the group date rose. By “personal offense” I mean he openly talked shit about Michelle to a producer after the group date ended. He’s like, “you’re telling me that Brendan and I are in the same league? Is this a fucking joke?” and then proceeds to laugh maniacally directly into the cameras. God, he’s a fucking moron. How does he this footage won’t air? THOSE THINGS WITH RED LIGHTS ON ARE CAMERAS, BUDDY. 

If that scene made your blood boil then just wait until the rose ceremony. I’ve seen gladiatorial rings handle their differences with more decorum than what happened here tonight. With the men still on edge from the last rose ceremony, Rick takes it upon himself to ask Michelle who confronted her with these supposed house rumors. 

MICHELLE: Jamie told me you guys think I’m a piece of shit
ME ALONE IN MY LIVING ROOM:

Once again I say, Nayte is a SAINT. While the rest of the guys are ready to tear Jamie limb from limb and bake his remains into one of Pizza Pete’s pies, Nayte would like all of us to just calm down, take it easy. Let’s hear it from the source first. Boo, you whore. 

Once confronted, it all starts to fall apart for Jamie. As it turns out, his spoken word poetry has more of a narrative arc than the story he fed Michelle about mysterious “men” passing judgement on her character. At one point Jamie says something about episodes and how things would look once the season aired and Nayte’s like “why are we talking about episodes!” WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT EPISODES. I screamed. See, this is what I watch this show for. 

Jamie tries to save face by actively hashing it out with Michelle IN FRONT OF THE OTHER MEN. My favorite is when Michelle starts parroting back his questions. You know when a teacher starts asking rhetorical questions you’re about to get your ass handed to you. She takes Jamie out back to finish the verbal skewering started at the rose ceremony and ultimately sends him home. You love to see it. 

We end things with a rose ceremony elimination: Spencer, Mollique, LT, and Pizza Peter all get sent home. Until next week!

Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC; Giphy (2); The Ringer (1); @bacheloretteabc /Instagram (1); @bitchelorette_ /Instagram (2)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Class Is In Session

Well, well, Bachelor Nation pals, here we are again. We’re back for another season of The Bachelorette. What did you do with your time off between the Bachelor in Paradise finale and the premiere of Michelle’s season? Let your takeout barely go bad in the fridge? Accidentally leave one lone wet sock to mildew in your washing machine? I mean, this is too much. I’ve had Taco Bell run through my digestive system at a slower pace than this break between seasons! I haven’t even gotten sick of scrolling through all of the successful BiP couples on Instagram yet. *sighs so deep it creates a new fault line* But I digress. 

Let’s go ahead and get into the premiere: the good, the bad, the cringe, and the things that will haunt my spirit until my dying day.

The Good: The Kids

We start things off with an introduction to Michelle Young, the hottest fifth grade teacher in all of Minnesota, and I’m already a fan. By “already a fan” I mean of the kids in this classroom. I love that ABC got enough signed parental consents to film her while she works. But I wonder, is ABC  also going to be liable for the inevitable therapy they’ll all be needing post-filming?

MICHELLE: Okay class, what happens when we take one woman over 30 and add 30 single men in various stages of steroid dependency? Hmm? Can anyone tell me what that equals?
THE KIDS:

The one kid is like, “isn’t it weird that she’ll be kissing 30 guys?” Yes, sweet child, it is weird. But if this weirds you out, just wait until Miss Young explains the Fantasy Suite dates to you… 

I will say, Michelle looks great this season. Like, she is so fit it makes me want to die. ABC must agree, because they took one look at those Pilates arms and wasted no time in branding her as “Hot Teacher.” They are leaning all the way in, y’all. Expect no less than 60 teacher puns in the next 120 minutes of the episode. Mark my words, people. 

The Bad: First Impressions Of The Guys

The kids are a nice introduction for when we get to see the real show and tell: the limo entrances. I worry the guys heard “teacher” and thought the way to Michelle’s heart would be to act like variations of Dennis The Menace. It’s the only explanation for these childish entrances. Here are some highlights of the lowlifes:

I will note that there were a couple of shining stars among the men: Brandon J and Nayte. Instead of leaning into whatever adolescent teacher fantasies the rest of the guys rubbed one out to before the cocktail party, they choose to woo Michelle with their honesty and easygoing vibes. A novel idea, truly. Michelle is especially taken with Nayte, whom she ends up giving her first impression rose to later in the evening. 

 

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The Cringe: Joe’s Ghosting Act

Nothing is cringier than witnessing Joe’s entrance. When he walks out of the limo, Michelle immediately says that she recognizes him from somewhere. He’s like “it’s because we’re both from Minnesota, lol!” and she’s like “nooo that’s not it, I think you’ve maybe wronged me before.” MICHELLE. You can’t just say that to their face! At least let your suspicions boil inside you to apocalyptic levels before bursting like a dam in one cataclysmic torrent!

She says that she DMed him years ago and they messaged for a bit before he ghosted her. “Ghosting” feels like a strong term to use in this instance. Isn’t that just what dating is these days? Messaging until one of you fades into the ether? Also, Michelle deserves a purple heart for verbally acknowledging that she slid into someone’s DMs. Michelle!! That is a sacred act between you and your 12th glass of wine. No need for all of America to know that. 

Later, Michelle confronts Joe about his ghosting her. My god, and now with the ghosting! Michelle, take that shit to your grave! Joe says that the reason he stopped messaging her was because at the time he was feeling overwhelmed about George Floyd, and Michelle is not having it. Honestly, bring out the receipts. I think I need to see the extent of the messaging before I pass judgment. Her reaction does seem a little harsh considering they probably met after she liked a shirtless picture of him by a pool. You can’t be mad at a stock image, Michelle!

The Things That Will Haunt My Spirit Until My Dying Days: Tayshia & Kaitlyn’s Search & Seizure

Look, I’ll admit. I’ve had my issues with Tayshia and Kaitlyn as hosts. What can I say? I don’t miss Chris Harrison, but I miss his barely contained disdain for “the process.” There’s too much pep in the Bachelor franchise these days, but these two were absolute gold this evening. Before the rose ceremony even begins, they’re going through the guys’ hotel rooms looking for incriminating evidence. I’m sorry, but don’t you need a warrant for that search and seizure? I didn’t realize Benson and Stabler were assigned to Palm Springs. 

TAYSHIA AND KAITLYN RN:

And BOY do they get the goods on Ryan. Ryan, the shirtless farmer from San Jose, was actually one of the bright spots from Michelle’s first night. He came off hot and charming despite wearing his shirt unbuttoned to his navel. Talk about a Cinderella story. Michelle was clearly feeling him after he surprised her with ice cream from his ice cream truck at the cocktail party—and that’s not even a euphemism for something dirty! He actually fed her during that 18-hour first date marathon!  

So, what exactly did the Special Victims Unit find in their search? Well, in addition to riding tractors and flashing cleavage, Ryan is also a criminal mastermind with files upon files of notes on how to win more screen time. You’re telling me that someone would actually come on this show for the wrong reasons? Color me shocked. Honestly, the bigger crime is how he did Jason Tartick dirty in his show notes.

 

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Okay, Kaitlyn and Tayshia have no chill. They’re acting like they broke the Watergate story, when in reality they just discovered a man with a pulse is actually a piece of shit. Their delivery of Ryan’s betrayal to Michelle is just as ridiculous. Tayshia’s like, “He doesn’t actually care about teachers!” Lol, yes, that’s the biggest issue with his cheat sheets, not that he literally labeled it “project rose” and had line graphs on personality types that get the most screen time. I hope Michelle sends him home or, better yet, throws his body over a burning pyre. It’s what he deserves!  

Once Michelle hears the news, she wastes no time in going full-on teacher on his ass. She forces him to show her his cheat sheets and then marches him to his room like he she’s about to break out Clayton’s yardstick once they’re in private. Ooooh, you’re in trouuuuble. 

RYAN: My friend’s wife wrote those notes!!
THE WIFE:

HAHAHA. I love that Ryan is blaming this on his friend’s wife. Honestly, let’s get her on the show. I want to hear about her part in this!

Sadly, Michelle lacks my lust for blood, and instead of requesting a medieval stocks be placed in the hotel lobby to allow her and the contestants a chance to throw fruit at Ryan’s prone body for the remainder of the cocktail party, she sends him home with a cold goodbye and moves on. Booooo. 

 

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After Ryan leaves, ABC positively zips through the rest of the episode, and we’re at the rose ceremony before we know it. The ceremony moves quickly and leaves little room for dramatics. After one long, drawn-out pause, Michelle ends up giving Casper The Friendly Ghost Joe her last rose of the evening. We say goodbye to JoMarri, Jack, Garrett, Edward, Bryan, and Brandon K (of the “show me your tits” pickup line). I can’t say any of you will be missed. Until next week!

Images: ABC / Craig Sjodin; Giphy (3); tvgoldtweets, @bitchelorette_ , @bachelornation.scoop / Instagram

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Meryl Streep Would Like To Be Excluded From This Narrative

Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! Can you believe we’ve actually made it to the season finale? That’s right, Katie has narrowed down her list of eligible bachelors to her final two men: Blake and Justin. If those names sound surprising to you, that’s because her selection process was done much like the way I used to select a partner during college at last call: by blindly reaching for whoever was left standing and hoping he wouldn’t puke in the cab ride home. But, you know, I’m sure this will work out great for you, girl!

Last week during Hometowns we watched Katie’s relationship with Greg—arguably the strongest relationship of the season—deteriorate faster than a New Years resolution. Ultimately, I think Greg needed more emotional validation (read: an “I love you”) from Katie and she wasn’t willing to give him that at this stage in the process. This resulted in Greg fleeing the Hyatt in a whirl of flannel and angst, an exit that would have given 13-year-old me a run for my money when I made a similar dramatic departure from a Dillard’s after my first bra fitting, and Katie questioning if she even wanted to finish out the rest of the season with the losers she had left. (I paraphrase.)  

Which brings us to tonight! I think it’s safe to say that the finale felt… anticlimactic? In the sense that no one f*cking cared who actually won Katie’s heart and everyone just wanted to know what the deal was between her and Greg. The first 45 minutes included ABC replaying old footage from the season on loop for the sake of a “recap.” It’s as if ABC expects us all to have the short-term memory of my grandmother, because there’s literally no excuse for them to insist on replaying something we just watched SEVEN DAYS AGO with this much fervor. We just want to see who she chose as her consolation prize and move on with our lives, okay!!

Slim Pickin’s

Katie Thurston and Blake Moynes

Speaking of the consolation prizes, Tayshia and Kaitlyn tell the men that Greg has left the show and that, congratulations, we’re moving directly into a Fantasy Suites/Proposal Day hybrid situation! I will say the horror on Justin’s face at realizing he somehow made it to the final two and will have to propose to a woman his parents couldn’t even be bothered to FaceTime is actually priceless. Don’t worry, buddy! You’ll only have to propose if Blake decides to slide into Claire’s DMs after all! On second thought, maybe you should start Googling “heartfelt proposals” now… 

 

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Pretty quickly it’s established that this game is Blake’s to lose. For a moment there I thought Katie might take Justin to the Fantasy Suites because he’s hot and hasn’t self-eliminated yet and his cum face is probably outrageous, but Katie sends him home before there’s time for him to waggle those eyebrows at her and change her mind. This means that Blake is her first and only Fantasy Suites date and she puts it all on the line. And by “all” I mean the one thing she swore up and down she would not do until a guy got down on his knee and proposed. 

During the dinner portion of the evening Blake fumbles out an “I love you” and Katie, realizing it’s either compromise her morals or have to re-download Hinge, says she loves him too. Excuse me, WHAT. Okay, so let me get this straight. Exactly 24 hours ago, she would not say the “L” word to Greg after he handed her his ravaged heart on a bloody platter AND YET Blake mentions soft kisses once and she relents?!

I’m sorry, but that “I love you” felt strategic AF. Like, that was a giant F*ck You to Greg. Not only did that feel petty and insincere, but if I were Blake watching this back, I’d feel a little used. 

Speaking of Blake, is it just me or does he seem especially out of sorts this episode? It’s like now that Katie has set fire to the entire foundation of this show by combining the fantasy suites with proposal day, his last two brain cells are malfunctioning and refusing to process it. 

TAYSHIA AND KAITLYN: How are you feeling about your proposal?

BLAKE: I feel like scrambled eggs.

Wow. So beautiful. Is that a direct quote from Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy?

Like, Blake looks positively ill at the thought of proposing and having her accept it by default. But you know what? They go through with it! They grin and bear it and get engaged! A love story for the ages!

Aunt Lindsey Is A National Treasure

One of my favorite parts of last night’s episode was Blake meeting Katie’s family. I love when ABC brings out family members just in general because there’s nothing that feeds my soul quite like watching large amounts of disdain and skepticism. And I knew we’d be in for a real treat when Katie’s mom entered stage right with the Charmed logo tattooed on her cleavage. I hope they make Blake swear his intentions on the Book of Shadows. 

But no one—and I mean NO ONE—stole the show quite like Katie’s Aunt Lindsey did. She was wholly unimpressed with this entire production. A total Phoebe, if you will. And look, Blake’s presence on this show is a hard pill to swallow for most people. For one, it’s not just that he’s trying to find love on reality TV, but that he’s tried to find love on reality TV multiple times. Then there’s the total suspension of disbelief you need to engage in when he discusses his “job” but supplies about as many details about it as a blank MadLib. So, you know, I understand the brazen lack of respect she showed to him. 

I will say, though, Lindsey was the only one really asking the hard questions. My favorites being, “so why do you want the beard” and, “what do you two have in common aside from both owning vibrators?” LINDSEY. YOU SAVAGE. The vibes I’m getting from this family is that they would definitely require a blood oath upon asking for someone’s hand in marriage. How else will they be able to vanquish their enemies?

An icon for the ages

Also, can I just say, it’s probably for the best that Greg self-ejected before this little meet-and-greet with Katie’s family? There is no scenario in which that boy wouldn’t have crumbled beneath the unrelenting gaze of Katie’s aunt. 

Greg’s Final Stand

Katie Thurston Greg Grippo

And now for the real show. Yeah, it was nice to see Katie get engaged and all that, but let’s get to the good stuff: Greg’s return to the stage. During “After the Final Rose,” Kaitlyn and Tayshia brought Greg out to have one final confrontation with Katie. Before I get into this section of the recap, I’m just going to make my stance known: I’m #TeamGreg AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT. 

Here’s the thing, I’ve been a long-time fan of Katie’s and, despite what I’m about to say, truly do hope she’s happy with her choice and got the love story she wanted from this franchise. BUT her behavior over the whole Greg thing was outrageous to me. I know a lot of people have been throwing the term “gaslighting” out there and calling for Greg to be drawn and quartered in the town square, but I’m gonna be real with you guys: I just don’t see it. And this is coming from a woman who has a bottomless pit within her specifically reserved for the unending, blistering rage she has toward the male gender! 

Look, do I think Greg overreacted last week? Absolutely. But fundamentally, I think they couldn’t effectively communicate their feelings to each other and because of that a very real connection was severed in the most dramatic of circumstances. Like, I think Greg was contextualizing their relationship as an entity beyond the show. He saw their connection as the real deal and something that went beyond rose ceremonies and cocktail parties. Meanwhile, Katie was wholly invested in this “process” and wanted to see it through to the end. That’s totally fair, by the way, but because of that I don’t think she was looking at their relationship as a thing beyond the show, but rather, as a thing within the show that she was still trying to figure out. The situation sucked, but I don’t think either of them should be vilified for the way they handled it.

Flash forward to ATFR, and Katie is out for blood. During Greg’s one-on-one interview with Tayshia and Kaitlyn he seems sad but ultimately accepting of Katie’s engagement with Blake—despite her throwing out an “I love you” before proposal day. He could have been super petty and snide, but the only person who acted that way last night was Katie. I mean, their confrontation was literally nuts. Katie had so much hostility and anger for someone who is supposedly very happily engaged to the love of her life. 

First, she accuses Greg of never loving her and only being on the show to progress his acting career, to which he replies, “I’m no Meryl Streep.” Look guys, I’m pretty sure Meryl would like to be excluded from this narrative, one she never asked to be a part of since summer of 2021. Also, I love that Katie just believes something that she read on the internet. She’s screaming at him about something she read about on Deux Moi for goodness sake! I’ll say it again, but if she’s soooo happy in her current relationship then shouldn’t this sh*t with Greg not matter?

Then starts in on how she thinks he gaslit her which… agree to disagree I guess. Personally, that was not my take on the situation, though I’ll concede that I’m an outsider looking in and ultimately don’t know the reality of their situation. But he seemed genuine and heartfelt in his feelings for Katie. Again, he could have been extremely petty in how he handled himself on ATFR and he was nothing but respectful to her. Plus, he’s apologized like a million times. What more does she want from him? For him to sacrifice his pinky finger as penance? 

The crowd seemed equally confused about who to root for. Though they gave Katie some half-hearted claps when she called him a gaslighter, the crowd also cheered for Greg after he declared, “I emptied my heart out to you on the couch and all you gave me was a pat on the back.” The thing about Greg is he seems authentic and maybe that’s the acting classes he took in undergrad, but MY GOD, if he were that good of an actor he wouldn’t be on this freaking franchise. Can’t we just leave it at they weren’t right for each other and be done with it?

 

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I think her behavior was so off-putting to me because she made her bones on the franchise by advocating against petty squabbles and bullying behavior, and here she was taking petty jab after petty jab. I know she’s upset and hurt, but I guess I was just expecting her to be kinder about the whole situation? Especially considering she was always the peace maker on Matt James’ season.

Throughout the interview she kept saying this was about MY journey and MY time on the show and it’s like, there are two people in a relationship. It’s not just about you. And poor Blake! He had to go toe-to-toe with Aunt Lindsey like he was facing off a starved lion in a gladiator ring. And for what? If I was Blake and saw this blatant display of rage and unresolved feelings I would have hightailed it off that stage. But, you know, ever happiness to you both!

On that note, I’m out! I would like to never hear or speak of any of these people again unless that person is Andrew S and he would like to finally respond to my DM. *manifests a response through the harnessed power of the Halliwell/Thurston sisters* 

See you hoes on Paradise! Xoxo

Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC (3) @tvgoldtweets /Instagram (1); @thebetchelor /Instagram (1); Giphy (4)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Get In Loser, We’re Going To Hometowns

Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! This week we’re off to Hometowns, if you can call a Hyatt conference room papier-mâchéd within an inch of its life to vaguely resemble whatever podunk towns these dudes crawled out of a “hometown.” Gone are the days when contestants would have to sully their family name by allowing ABC entrance into their childhood homes. It’s sad, really. How are we to know which of these guys still masturbates to their high school yearbook quote or lets his mommy cut his meat for him if we don’t get a decent look at the house that built them? Hmm?

O, Canadaaaa

At least Katie’s in high spirits! She seems far too excited about the first hometown of the week: Blake’s. If it feels like we’ve watched this date before, that’s because we absolutely have. This was the exact “authentic Canadian experience” that production cobbled together for Serena P’s hometown last season, right down to the maple syrup shots and pickup game of hockey. Like, I know Canada has a diverse and rich culture, and yet, production’s attempt at showcasing said culture was to google “Canada” once and follow the first pop-up ad on its Wikipedia page. 

And the contestants go right along with it! They make it out like the entire country of Canada is their hometown. Meanwhile, in America, if you even suggest that living in Greenwich Village is synonymous with living in the West Village, you get called uncultured swine and booed off the subway platform (or so I would assume).

THE BACHELORETTE: What did you do for fun growing up?

CANADIANS ON THIS SHOW: 

I love how Blake turns everything into sex. Like, hometowns is a time to connect on a deeper level, to share stories from childhood and bask in adolescent nostalgia. Meanwhile, Blake is like, “have you ever used syrup as lube before?” Blake! She asked you what your favorite sport was growing up, not to launch into your favorite way to incorporate food into the bedroom. Come on, read the room!

After Blake and Katie get done desecrating Canadian culture, it’s off to meet Blake’s family! So, who did Blake bring to hometowns anyway? His mother, sister, and a random man with a ponytail. Don’t ask me for more details. That’s all I can divulge at this time. 

I will say, I have a loooot of questions for Blake’s mother, but those leather pants are already telling me everything I need to know. She’s giving me major Stifler’s mom vibes. Does she or does she not look like the kind of mom who caught him masturbating and instead of leaving the room, sat down with him to give him better tips for reaching completion? 

The resemblance is uncanny. 

My favorite thing about meeting Blake’s family is that they clearly think he ain’t sh*t. His sister is like, “sooo this is the one you’re in love with now” and I may have spit out my wine at the audacity of such savagery. Later, his mom practically calls him a pussy for not telling Katie he loves her. There’s nothing I love more than watching strong women verbally emasculate a man on live television. Please do carry on, ladies. 

Blake’s date ends on a meh note. He never actually professes any deeper feelings for Katie, though he does allude off-camera to being ready to propose. If that sounds half-hearted to you, that’s because it is. He’s like, “when I know, I know and this is the most I’ve known.” Hmmm, doesn’t sound promising. It sounds like he’s convincing himself of this. Exactly the solid foundation on which you’d want to build a life-long commitment!

How Is Justin Still Here?

The most dramatic thing to come out of Justin’s hometown date was learning that he could not convince one single family member to show up for his date. He gets both of his parents on the phone and they’re like, “sorry we couldn’t be there, we just didn’t want to. You get it right?” Wowwwww. They seriously said “nah, I’ll pass.” I have so much respect for that family. 

Even though Justin was unable to lure any blood related family to New Mexico, he is able to procure two friends. Or at least, two hired actors portraying the role of friends. He’s like, “they’re the brothers I never had! Mostly because my actual brothers said they’re too embarrassed to be related to anyone willing to associate with this franchise.” Again, I say: I have so much respect for this family. 

There are actually other major red flags on this date aside from his parents refusal to bend the knee for ABC. For one, his “friends” are suspiciously hype about the intimacy of his and Katie’s relationship. They’re like, “we’ve never seen this much PDA from him!” PDA?? He touched her pinky once! They’re acting shocked that he would breathe in the same direction as the girl he likes. Red flag. RED. FLAG. 

JUSTIN BEING “INTIMATE” WITH KATIE:

But the real deal breaker happens during Justin’s tour of “the best of Baltimore.” I’m not saying production gave him a lot to work with here (I’m sure they gave him nothing) but MY GOD what a sad excuse for a date. The tour consisted of two papier-mâchéd signs (I told you there’d be at least one!) and a large suspense of reality. Apparently the best that Baltimore has to offer is a single 8 ft. piece of cardboard with doodles spray painted on it that’s supposed to represent “graffiti”. 

And then—AND THEN!—Justin has the audacity to feed her crabs whilst in landlocked Albuquerque. Look, my family also hails from Baltimore, so I get that blue crabs are, like, the glue that holds that culture together, but those ain’t no blue crabs and you know it, Justin. I’ve seen fresher looking seafood in the Costco frozen aisle. You’re sick, Justin! Just sick!

Pork Roll, Egg, & Emotional Breakdown

It’s hard to reflect on the other hometown dates when Greg’s dominated much of the episode. Their date starts off strong with Greg wanting to show Katie “a taste of my beach town.” I’m sorry, but I thought he said he was from Edison, NJ? Show me where the beach is in Edison, Greg, I dare you. Also, let’s be honest about the authenticity of this New Jersey experience. I think we all know the real New Jersey experience is less tandem bike riding and more giving someone the finger on the parkway. Be honest, Greggie!

And, look, it’s all so very cute up to this point. They’re making out in fake rain again and giggling through random activities that do not represent the state of New Jersey in any way, shape or form. Then Katie meets his family and the mood shifts. Things get very emotional very quickly. Greg tells Katie that she fills the void in his life that his dead dad left. She tells Greg that she loves… looking at him. Ooof. 

ME WATCHING THAT SCENE IN REAL TIME:

Katie has said time and again that she won’t say the “L” word until the very end, even if it kills Greg in the process. It’s very clear from this date that Greg would like to skip to the end and propose to Katie. When Katie doesn’t immediately offer to ditch the show, Greg spirals. Like, reallyyy spirals. Like, I’ve seen less melodrama in an Aéropostale fitting room. 

And this isn’t some new side of Greg we haven’t seen before. Greg’s jealousy and insecurity have been a recurring theme over the last few weeks. Though he’s been a frontrunner since night one, he’s struggled with the idea of Katie having relationships with other men. I’m not even talking about the physical aspects of dating multiple men at once. No, Greg seems most upset that Katie might be emotionally invested in a relationship outside of theirs. It’s like he doesn’t understand the foundation on which their relationship was built. This is a reality dating show, after all. 

I love that he’s like, “ditch the show! Who gives a f*ck!” Sir, she signed a contract. Also, Greg is an idiot. Even though Katie didn’t explicitly say “you’re the one, Greg” she does say over and over again that their relationship is the most important to her and she outright tells him he’s advancing to Fantasy Suites. I mean, she did everything but wink at him and he STILL didn’t get it. 

KATIE: I can’t tell you what the future holds for us, I can’t tell you if we’ll end up together.

ALSO KATIE:

Their date ends on shaky ground. Greg is still in his feels. I think for him, getting the green light from his family meant he was ready to take this relationship to the real world. He’s ready to commit right now and cannot fathom that she might need a little more time to sort out her feelings. 

The next day things get worse for the couple. Greg goes to Katie’s hotel room to tell her he’s leaving the show. Chaos ensues. He keeps bringing up that Katie dismissed his feelings from the night before and I honestly don’t think Katie could do anything to get him to stay, short of breaking the space/time continuum to travel back in time and say “I love you” at the exact moment he wanted her to. 

Greg keeps emphasizing that this isn’t about roses, that this is real life and she’s still thinking of people in a point system. Though he has a point, he’s not being very fair to her. She’s the Bachelorette, for Christ’s sake! That’s kind of the whole point! It’s a shame because even though he’s overreacting, there’s a real connection there that’s being lost in hurt feelings and miscommunications. Do I think Katie could have handled that conversation better? Sure. She did seem a little cold and standoffish. But I think that’s because she doesn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up—including her own. 

So how does their fight end? Well, Greg has left the Hyatt and is probably halfway to the closest CVS to Bridget Jones the sh*t out of his night with chocolate and drugstore wine before leaving that godforsaken town. Meanwhile, Katie is where any woman rapidly approaching 30 ends up after breaking up with a guy she’s known for barely three weeks: crying on a bathroom floor. Ah, yes. I know that scenario well. 

And that’s all she wrote, kids! Next week sets us up for the dramatic season finale. We’ll have to wait until then to see if Katie is able to recover from her breakup with Greg by letting some sexed-up Canadian pour maple syrup on her in the Fantasy Suites. Until then!

Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC; Giphy (4)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: By All Means, Waste My Time

This week, I’m taking a break from writing your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap in favor of providing you with a rare glimpse into my ABC burn book. That’s right, ABC, welcome to your tape. Now, you might be thinking to yourself: “but Ryanne, aren’t all your recaps just entries from a burn book?” Lol, you’re cute. Usually (for legal purposes) I try to contain my wrath as (legally) it’s a personal growth goal of mine to be less of a garbage monster and more of an emotionally functioning human being. But ABC, you have BURNED ME FOR THE LAST TIME. All bets are off now!

Here I was thinking this week we’d get to see a Hometown date Katie test out her dick jokes on unsuspecting family members in the Hyatt’s best conference room. BUT NO. Instead, we are gifted with about 25 minutes of usable, interesting footage and the rest of the time we’re forced to endure The Men Tell All. Here’s the thing about these “tell alls”: they tell nothing. It’s not like I was expecting Tayshia and Kaitlyn to spill state secrets or anything, but MY GOD the most interesting thing to happen this evening involved an audience member going rogue. Where was the drama? The intrigue? The big reveals? If I wanted to watch a bunch of straight dudes compliment each other, I’d go hang out around a beer pong table at a frat party. But I digress. Let’s dive into it.

ABC Goes In For The Kill Shot

Before we jump into the Men Tell All, ABC gives us one final twist in the Hometowns line-up. For weeks now, Michael A. has been winning over Katie—and casually all of America—with his blushing, sad dad act. Even if he didn’t have the background story of a Nicholas Sparks character, there’s just something about his affable personality that feels genuine in ways we definitely don’t often see on this show. Naturally, ABC’s first instinct is to obliterate that goodness. 

The episode opens with a conflicted Michael. He tells us that being so far away from his son has really been weighing on him emotionally. The producers, like the dementors they truly are, arrange for Michael to FaceTime his kid. Don’t be fooled for one second into thinking they did this out of the goodness of their hearts. No, this FaceTime was a strategic maneuver designed to inflict maximum pain. 

Case in point: Michael tells his son that he loves him and misses him and the kid shrieks “daddy left because he doesn’t want to see me” and then rushes off camera. DADDY LEFT BECAUSE HE DOESN’T WANT TO SEE ME. Are you kidding me with this, ABC?! While you’re at it, why don’t you take him out back and shoot him? It would finish the job and be kinder than putting him through this!

MICHAEL: *wavers emotionally*
ABC:

Michael ends up self-eliminating almost immediately after that call. He tells Katie that he can’t focus on Hometowns and their relationship when he’s this worried about his son. Look, guys, I love Michael. I do. He’s a scruffy angel without wings. But he’s acting like his leaving The Bachelorette early is on par with the sacrifice Harry Potter’s parents made to shield him from Lord Voldemort. Honestly,  I just feel like he’s already done the damage to his child’s psyche. What’s the harm in staying a little longer? At least he’ll have a fun story for his future therapist!

Katie takes the news HARD. Her reaction feels a little over dramatic for someone she was probably going to dump later that day anyway. Be honest, Katie, are you really that upset over Michael leaving? I mean, yes he’s cute and sweet and has the soul of a Christmas elf but were you actually attracted to this guy? He’s just so… soft. He looks like the kind of guy whose idea of foreplay involves softly crying to Hallmark movies. 

Also, if they really wanted to, they could have worked this out. If she actually saw herself ending up with Michael, as she so tearfully proclaimed to him, then her reaction wouldn’t be “I need to let you go” it would be “that’s fine, go home and I’ll dump everyone else and meet up with you.” If there’s anything I’ve learned living in this post-Claire Bachelorette universe, it’s that there’s no rules on this franchise.  

Later, during the Tell All, we get to catch up with Michael and Katie. They both seem at peace with their decisions and Katie even says she has “no regrets” about her journey. If I were her, I’d be a little regretful. Especially when Michael walked out on that stage and his stylist had taken him from daddy to zaddyyyy. Damn, he looked good. I always thought he had the sex appeal of fuzzy socks, but that grown-in beard is making me rethink my entire worldview.

In fact, I’m just gonna leave this here:

 

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Cat People, Am I Right?

Perhaps Michael had to sacrifice himself so that out of his ashes a phoenix could rise. And by “phoenix” I mean a grown man with a fondness for kitten costumes. As is typical for the Tell All specials, the host picks various men from the season to humiliate just a little bit extra. Their sacrificial lamb this evening? Connor. Seems like low hanging fruit to me, but by all means, carry on with your carnage, ABC.

Tayshia and Kaitlyn ask Connor to join them in the hot seat, and they proceed to replay his trauma from the season like it’s a submission from America’s Funniest Home Videos. Was it really necessary that they re-air that footage of Katie calling him a shitty kisser? Kaitlyn’s like “is that the usual feedback you get from women after being intimate with them?” Kaitlyn!! Jesus Christ. I didn’t know that in addition to drinking wine and podcasting, your hobbies also include emotionally castrating men for the fun of it! Noted. 

Connor tells us that after filming ended, he reached out to a few of his exes to ask if he was a truly “trash kisser.” A TRASH KISSER. ABC, you are going to hell for this. 

Connor must look so pathetic that it upends the natural order of the universe, because all of a sudden, something happens the likes of which I have never seen on this franchise: a balcony monster gets her moment in the sun. First of all, I wasn’t aware that audience members were allowed to do anything other than laugh, cry, or cringe dramatically. In fact, I’m pretty sure ABC places some sort of witch’s curse upon them that binds them to those automatic settings, lest they act on their own free will and go off script. And yet, somehow, a random audience hoe has managed to break free from the mystical energy constraining her to her seat. Not only does she have the audacity to interrupt Connor’s interview, but then she demands a kiss from. AND HE ACTUALLY DOES IT!! 

And it doesn’t stop at one kiss! They’re going to town on each other while the rest of the men openly gawk at them from behind. What am I watching here? This isn’t a foam party in Miami! This is a Tell All, goddamn it. Have some respect! 

I’ll tell you one thing, this would not have happened on Chris Harrison’s watch. When he was running the show, he barely acknowledged the feral crowd that made up the live audience at these things. Meanwhile, Tayshia and Kaitlyn are all but handing out condoms on stage. Ladies! Save that for the commercial breaks!

Less Romance More Bromance

The majority of The Men Tell All focused on the men who were “here for the wrong reasons,” but even that half-hearted attempt at manifesting hostile energy didn’t take. Despite ABC’s best intentions, these guys seem to genuinely care for one another. Yes, there were the Aarons and the Tres and the Karls of the group, the guys who spent the majority of this season acting out a Scooby-Doo plot line instead of focusing on building relationships. But there were also guys like Greg, who would openly weep when Michael talked about his dead wife, and guys like Andrew who ignored the drama entirely and focused on Katie. 

That bromance energy carried on into the Tell All special. There were minimal squabbles, and Thomas, the main source of their anger, didn’t even show up until the last ten minutes of the special, when he literally phoned it in via Zoom. Later, when Aaron and Tre started ripping into Hunter, Connor—Connor!!—stood up for him. I guess that little kitty grew some claws after all. Meow. 

Look, was this an absolute waste of 120 minutes of my life? You bet. But I will begrudgingly admit that this is actually a good group of guys who deserve nice things. *waits to be struck by lightning* I can’t wait to see how ABC decimates those tenuous relationships in Paradise!

And that’s a wrap for this episode! Seriously. That’s it. Until next week!

Images: ABC / Craig Sjodin; Giphy (1); @bitchelorette_ / Instagram (1); ABC (1)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Katie, You FOOL

Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! When last we left off, the Hyatt was starting to feel less like a nurturing environment for everlasting love and more like the location of sinister otherworldly energy. In the span of 120 minutes (100 of which were devoted to Blake’s masturbatory habits—absolutely sinister, I say!!) Katie narrowed down her husband pool from 12 to seven. It was absolute carnage. The last time I saw this much careless disregard for human feeling, I was sifting through my Hinge DMs. Truly chilling. 

First, Katie took out Connor the math teacher/SoulCycle instructor/man-who-is-far-too-comfortable-making-out-with-whiskers-drawn-on-his-face like it was nothing. Did we love Connor? Absolutely not. His signature look involved shirts unbuttoned to his navel, like a guy who has the personality of a Carnival cruise. But the man was precious in the way that you sometimes sympathize with the kid who eats his erasers in the back of the class. It’s just sad. And then! While Connor’s car is still idling in the Hyatt’s driveway, Katie has the audacity to dance on his still-fresh grave by dry humping Blake in a hallway corridor. 

Next on her kill list? The Gossip Girls. Any guy who participated in or was the subject of a house rumor got the axe. It’s like Katie performed a full-on exorcism, but instead of purging the house of antichrists, she purged the house of a bunch of dudes with finstas. My girl. 

The Battle Of The One-On-Ones

Which brings us to the present. Going into this week, the question on everyone’s mind is who will make it to Hometowns. I have my suspicions about who will or will not be bringing Katie home to a Hyatt conference room to meet their families, but first, let’s take a look at the remaining men:

⭐︎ Mike P – 30, a virgin, hopes Jesus will still save those who read erotica
⭐︎ Brendan – Canadian, firefighter, no other distinguishing qualities
⭐︎ Andrew – professional football player, casually the reason I trust men again
⭐︎ Blake – three-time Bachelorette contestant, big horse-girl energy
⭐︎ Michael – widower, single father, humanity’s single shining example of decency
⭐︎ Greg – a kid from New Jersey

Out of the guys she has left, two of them—the fire fighter and the virgin—haven’t had one-on-one dates with Katie yet. Lucky for them, there are exactly two of those date cards up for grabs this week. Unlucky for them, ABC doesn’t operate in happy endings (unless they can orchestrate one through strategic sound bites in the Fantasy Suites). No, Katie gives out her coveted one-on-one dates to Greg and Mike P.

How does Brendan take the news, you may ask? Not well, bitch! He gets sent home mere minutes after the date cards are read, and in doing so the natural order to this world gets restored.

First up is Greg’s date and it’s all very fine. Katie shows up in a shirt that feels less like a fashion statement and more like a punishment for a high school girl who broke dress code and showed too much collarbone.

Skinny jeans and side part. Come for me Gen Z. #TheBachelorette pic.twitter.com/QubCrFomdB

— Katie Thurston (@katiethurston) July 20, 2021

A travesty. 

Greg spends the majority of the date trying to prove he has substance. Why? I’m not sure. I guess Michael’s got the sad dad thing going for him and I’m still personally recovering from Andrew’s traumatic experience with biracial dating. I suppose Greg wants to prove he still has mettle. I mean, sure, he did bond with Katie early on over the tragic loss of their fathers but, like, that was week two! Since then he’s been letting his Devon Sawa haircut and Resting Sad Face do all the legwork for him. Surely there’s more to the story of Greg?

GREG: I’ve had a life-long battle with insecurity because one time in middle school I went through puberty.
ME: 

Look, buddy, I’m not trying to discredit your trauma or anything, but until you’ve been the first girl in your fifth grade class to develop boobs and had to make the harrowing decision of whether to wear a training bra (only sluts wear bras before sixth grade—it was written on the bathroom stall and everything!!) or not wear a training bra (the school called my parents, it was a thing)—I don’t want to hear about your middle school drama!

Despite Greg’s questionable woes as a middle schooler, Katie seems to dig it and ends up giving him the first confirmed spot in the Hometowns line-up. Mike P’s date, on the other hand, doesn’t go as smoothly.

Things start off  well enough. Katie tells Mike she never saw herself dating a virgin, but now that she’s met him she wants to reconsider. Before Katie is able to even finish that thought, she encounters something straight out of my nightmares: a cuddling community. See, this is the part  of the episode where I’m convinced that Hyatt Regency sits upon a hellmouth of demonic energy. What sick mind devised this? 

 

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You can tell Mike agrees with me. He’s looking at this woman with her PhD in cuddles like this is the satanic temptations his pastor warned him about before coming on this show. He seems half tempted to throw his Bible at her and make a run for it. 

Cuddle Queen Jean (yes, that’s her title, and yes, part of me died just typing that out) senses their awkwardness and reluctance to engage in non-sexual holds and encourages them to open up to one another. Mike is a little… too honest with Katie. Off screen in an interview, he tells production that spooning Katie reminds him of things he used to do with his mother. 

And it’s not just one line! If he’d only said it offhandedly once, I may have forgiven him, but the rest of the date he spends constantly comparing Katie to his mother. At one point he even whispers it directly into her ear as he caresses her forearm. Katie’s like, “lol!” and then looks directly at the cameras and says “that’s a lot” which has to be her safe word. 

Look, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really understand the whole wait-until-marriage thing. It’s something I’ve joked about all season and have constantly ridiculed Mike P about in my recaps because I’m a garbage human. But Mike does seem really sweet and he’s been a great sport during every sex-crazed challenge the producers have thrown his way. I still don’t think he’ll go any farther on this franchise, but at least he’s given me something to eviscerate in my group chat. Thank you for your service. 

And it looks like my feelings are spot-on! I’m not sure if it was all the mommy foreplay or that uncalled for whispering, but Katie sends Mike packing before the dinner portion of the date. She gives him the whole “it’s not you, it’s me” speech and says that they simply aren’t there yet for her to invite him to Hometowns. But I think we can all agree that if he’d kept the Norman Bates/Mommy Dearest vibes to a minimum, he might have at least made it to the next rose ceremony.  

My BFA Is Shaking

The group date this week is art themed, and when I say my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree was shaking… I guess instead of having the contestants travel abroad to deeply offend other cultures, the producers thought it would be funny to just debase culture in general.

Case in point: The guys are tasked with creating an abstract portrait of Katie. The examples given to them are various artist interpretations of self-portraits, the majority of which have sexual undertones: up-close shots of flowers in bloom, the center of a dripping fruit, you get the gist. The men, theoretically still refraining from self-love, almost immediately blow their loads as if this is the most pornographic thing they’ve ever seen. 

I’m almost positive the date was crafted entirely for Blake. If you’ll recall, the last time he was on The Bachelorette he went on a similarly themed date where his “self-expression” involved sculpting a giant penis that had to be completely censored on screen. Let’s see if Blake’s shown any, erm, growth since last season…

BLAKE: I’m trying to make my canvas full of feelings and emotions
ALSO BLAKE: 

At least that’s the gist of Blake’s artistic expression. Naturally, his painting is so censored all we get is the frame and Blake explaining that “not a lot of species can do” the specific sexual act he drew. At least he’s on brand! 

Justice For Andrew

Perhaps the wildest moment from this week was not when Mike P, clad in cult white, gamely whispered “mother” in Katie’s ear, but when Katie let Andrew go during the rose ceremony. I was, and absolutely still am, floored by that decision. 

Going into the rose ceremony, Katie had two roses left to give out and three guys on the chopping block: Justin, Andrew, and Blake. (Greg had already scored the one-on-one rose while Michael picked up the group date rose). I assumed Blake would get a rose because Katie seems to have a soft spot for guys who challenge my sanity. Justin seemed like the natural next option to be cut from the competition. I still know nothing about Justin except that his facial expressions will be the sole reason people buy the newest version of What Do You Meme?. I was shocked when instead Katie cut Andrew. Andrew!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, WOMAN?? I would never eliminate that man. If forced to choose between him and Greg,  I would marry them both and move to Utah. 

 

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Katie, you FOOL!!!

What makes this goodbye all the more painful is that it’s dragged out. Katie sends Andrew home at the rose ceremony, but in the last 20 minutes of the episode they reconnect the following day. Andrew shows up at her door wanting to get more closure. They talk and he leaves her a cutesy little letter that says “if you ever change your mind… I’ll be here.” IF YOU EVER CHANGE YOUR MIND, I’LL BE HERE! Be! still! my! heart! 

Katie immediately goes chasing down the stairs after him—she’s really making the camera crew earn their bonus check this year—and straddles him in the Hyatt’s lobby. She’s, like, aggressively making out with him in a way that makes me question if she gets off to gifs of The Notebook in her downtime. She even invites him back on the show despite her producer vigorously making the cut sign in the background. But Andrew turns her down. That’s right: Andrew. turns. her. down. Why must you waste my time like this, ABC? WHY? 

Whatever, all I know is Andrew is single now. So, if you need me I’m just going to finish this box of wine and make magic happen in his DMs. See you hoes next week!

Images: ABC / Craig Sjodin; Giphy (2); Betches (1); @katiethurston /Twitter (1); @andrewzspencer /Instagram (1); @bitchelorette_ /Instagram (1)