The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Who’s Walking The Plank?

Welcome back, friends, to your favorite TV recap! I don’t know about you, but this season of American Horror Story has been especially gripping. By “American Horror Story” I am not so much referring to the Ryan Murphy brainchild as I am the journey ABC is leading Rachel on. I think ABC knew when they decided to cast two Bachelorettes in one season that they had offended the universe in some fundamental way. In order to appease the gods and save our civilization from an apocalyptic reckoning, they would have to make a human sacrifice. Rachel is that sacrifice. 

While Gabby and her men are deepening their connections, butchering common French, and making out in the Parisian moonlight, Rachel is in full on final-girl mode. She’s just trying to survive whatever serial killer ABC wants her to marry next—and serial killer is perhaps a kind summary of her dating pool. I don’t think Ted Bundy would have let his girlfriend be subjected to armpit smelling, nor would he have hidden his crimes behind a compelling story about his dying dog! 

Last week, not only did Rachel have to put up with ABC planning “dates” that could double as peewee football league-level hazing, but she also had to deal with Hayden. You know it’s a bad season when the villain’s name is Hayden. Hayden is not the name of a guy who should have any sort of power over your self-esteem. Hayden is the name of a guy who drinks Jager exclusively, has never met a girl whose bed he didn’t urinate in, and says things like “you’re not partying if you’re not pissing!”, leading people to immediately arm themselves with holy water and garlic. And to think, Rachel, you could have just downloaded Hinge…

Though Hayden did try to use a scrapbook of his cancerous dog like a literal shield, Rachel still eliminated him before the rose ceremony. This means he’s back on these streets, ladies! Be vigilant!! If you see a guy stroking a duck paw and muttering nonsensically about “dumb bitches”, run while you can!! The condition of your mattress is at stake!! 

Hayden might be gone, but the hardships aren’t over for Rachel just yet. This week, another man wants to do her dirty. Logan, who accepted her rose not once, not twice, but FIVE TIMES, wants to jump ship and date Gabby instead. Again I say, this is some final-girl bullshit. Rachel might not be running from lunatics in Halloween masks or chained to a meat grinder by some guy named Jigsaw, but what she’s dealing with is worse. Much worse. She’s dealing with average American men. 

Hey, Rachel? The call is coming from inside the house, babe.

Logan Jumps Ship

Last week’s episode ended with Logan ominously saying he needed to talk to Rachel ASAP. Never mind that Rachel is about one piece of bad news away from willingly walking the plank of the Virgin Mobile cruise ship. What? Is this journey supposed to be about the Bachelorette or something? But he’s a man with feelings and very little self-control! He can’t wait any longer to express himself. Five weeks spent in the company of a gorgeous, self-possessed, pilot is far too long when you have a boner that just won’t go away. 

LOGAN:  *knocks on Rachel’s door*
RACHEL: 

I love that when a man shows up to Rachel’s door, her immediate response is to brace herself for disappointment. Pavlov should have done this experiment with the dog.

Also, the timing of this little confession is sociopathic. He’s knocking on Rachel’s door as she’s getting ready for a group date to tell her there’s not enough cleavage in the world to make him stay on her team. It’s like he knew exactly how to implode her whole day. If Hayden is that guy who makes out with his dog and calls you a bitch in front of your parents, then Logan is that guy who dates you for two months, ghosts you when it gets the least bit serious, and then floats in and out of your DMs the second he senses you might be happy without him. 

When Rachel asks why he accepted her rose the night before (great question, Rach!), he pretends not to hear her but tells us off-camera that he just didn’t want to break her heart so soon after Hayden’s horrifying exit. Look, cut the bullshit. I’m not buying what you’re selling. This isn’t about wanting to shield Rachel. It’s about trying to advance your own agenda. You want to have Rachel’s rose and fuck Gabby too, but you want us to think you have a complex about it. At least that’s what I’m assuming all the tortured glances in the mirror are about.

LOGAN: 

ALSO LOGAN:

I’m sorry, but are you the brooding-but-off-limits senior in a Meg Cabot novel? Are you a Salvatore brother wrestling with your totally age-inappropriate feelings for your vampire brother’s human girlfriend? No on both accounts? Well then CUT THE SHIT WITH THE LONGING LOOKS IN THE MIRROR. 

Naturally, Rachel takes the news very hard, but I would challenge her to question if this is really such a loss. His job title says “videographer” which is probably code for “makes TikToks nobody asked for.” I think you may have dodged a bullet, girlfriend. 

After Rachel sends him on his way, Logan wastes no time in professing his feelings for Gabby. This is how I know Logan is the kind of guy who lives his life in the cinematic landscape of his own delusions. While he’s trying to tell Gabby about his very tortured and conflicted feelings for her, he vocalizes those feelings as if he were reading straight from a Bridgerton script. 

LOGAN: I was on fire for you!

On fire for you? Stop butchering the Duke of Hastings’ best lines, Logan!

Gabby admits to Logan that he was the only guy both girls were interested in pursuing. Have you ever seen a man ejaculate without even touching him? Because Logan’s face right now is making me nauseous to look at. This is the emotional handjob he was looking for when he risked everything moderate internet shaming for love five to seven more days of cruise booze-induced makeouts. Two bachelorettes fighting over him? He’ll be rubbing one out to that for the rest of his life. 

In her bedroom, Gabby gives Logan a vague answer about needing to talk to her sister-in-trauma-bonds Rachel, but I can read between the lines. It looks like good things are going to continue to happen for men who don’t deserve them. The thing is, I do think Gabby likes him. Remember that during week two she wanted to call dibs on him, but Rachel got to him first. She only stopped pursuing him out of respect for Rachel’s feelings.

That doesn’t mean that Logan won’t have to struggle. During the rose ceremony, it dawns on him that his pining and mirror-gazing might not be enough when he’s competing with guys who have had way more time building a relationship with Gabby. Or, as he phrases it: “I need to pursue Gabby in a way that’s fierce.” Dear god, he needs to stop talking. It’s like he speaks exclusively in TikTok.  

But you know what? It works. It all works. Logan beats out both Michael and Mario—a guy who got Gabby’s first impression rose, mind you—for her final rose at the rose ceremony. Oh, Gabby. I was rooting for you. We were all rooting for you!

A List Of Men Who Don’t Make Me Totally Embarrassed To Claim Them As Part Of The Human Species

The rest of the episode passes by in a haze. It’s as if Rachel’s pain and Logan’s self-importance are the only narrative structures ABC can handle at the moment. I won’t bore you with the episode details. Only one of us should have to forfeit those brain cells. Instead, here’s an update on all the men who don’t make me completely embarrassed to claim them as part of the human species. This is a tentative list, subject to change at literally any moment should one of them do something weird with their hands or wear a turtleneck. Carry on. 

Nate (Team Gabby): Nate and his dad energy are as strong as ever. He seems VERY in love with Gabby and it makes me VERY concerned that she is going to break his sensitive little heart. There’s a sweet moment where Gabby thinks to buy a gift for his daughter from their Belgian travels. This gesture feels huge to me. It could mean she’s already thinking about hometowns and meeting his family. Meeting his daughter! Can you imagine Gabby as a stepmom? Because I can’t. I feel like her parental duties would extend about as far as helping her stepdaughter secretly buy a thong and then hiding it from her dad. 

Aven (Team Rachel): Aven got a one-on-one date with Rachel, and he didn’t totally piss me off. That’s it! Those are the notes! When they tire of looking beautiful and sucking face in front of Bruges’ most scenic and historic landscapes, he tells Rachel about his rebellious teen years and complicated relationship with his mother. (Mommy issues are so sexy.) He didn’t really need to express complex emotions for me to root for him. He already has a jaw that could cut glass and is as tall as a small building. Say less. 

Johnny (Team Gabby): Johnny snags Gabby’s one-on-one date for the week. Don’t ask me for further details about Johnny, because up until this episode I wasn’t aware he was on this season of The Bachelorette. Their date involves getting drunk off of wine flights, soaking in beer baths, and spanking each other with random branches. Again, don’t ask me for further details. I went catatonic when Gabby started screaming “DO YOU LIKE THAT” at a decibel that isn’t fit for human ears. 

As if to explain away the random, primitive sexual energy between the two, Johnny says that normally he isn’t that aggressive on first dates but that “Gabby just brings it out in me.” Is it really “aggression” she’s pulling out of you? Or is it just a boner?

To their credit, they do try to dig deeper with each other. Well, Gabby tries. Johnny just mumbles something about struggling with self-confidence and depression as if he didn’t Google “manliest mental health struggles” right before this date. I’m only saying that he seems just as surprised as Gabby does at the words coming out of his mouth. Overall, they’re fun to watch, but I don’t see them going all the way.

Tino (Team Rachel): Tino is a god among men. Every week he makes me reevaluate my dating strategy (smothering my homicidal rage towards men while willing an Emily Henry book boyfriend into existence), because he continues to be both hot and heartfelt. Those two traits should seemingly not exist together in one human male without some sort of apocalyptic fallout—but they do in Tino! Every week, he shows up for Rachel and reminds her that not all men are trash. Only most of them. 

During the group date, Rachel tells the men about Logan’s switching teams and then, in a very low, heartbreaking moment, offers to let them all switch to Gabby’s side if that’s what they want. She doesn’t say it angrily or even sarcastically. She means it genuinely. She doesn’t think any of the guys are here for her anymore, and it is harrowing to watch on screen. But Tino is there to pick up the pieces, and it is adorable. 

TINO: I’ll take any piece of you any day
MY COLD DEAD HEART: 

Those are all the men who don’t suck, which brings us to Erich—the only guy to blow as hard as Logan this episode, as far as I’m concerned. Erich, whose name is a phonetic abomination, is going to fuck up Gabby’s happiness, I just know it. He doesn’t get much air time this week, but that doesn’t stop him from taking a grenade to his own edit. He’s pissed that Gabby let Logan stay on. He’s pissed that he didn’t win the group date rose. He’s so pissed that he says on-screen, as if his whole stupid life isn’t being recorded, that he doesn’t know where he stands with Gabby, but “I don’t need to be here eight more weeks just to see what happens.” Dude, you have a MULLET. You’re lucky anyone allows you to be here for eight more weeks. 

And that’s all she wrote, kids! Next week, the gang is off to Amsterdam, and I didn’t miss the way all the guys’ eyes lit up at that announcement. Well, all the guys except for Michael, Mario, and Meatball, who will not be returning next week. Also, I hate to break it you, boys, but you aren’t going to Amsterdam to watch live sex shows and get high. You’re going there to humiliate yourselves at various historic landmarks. Do not be excited.

Until then!

Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; ABC (1); Giphy (4)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Rambo Is That Bitch You Have To Worry About

Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! When last we left off, the ladies had just been served a slice of humble pie. Well, not so much “served a slice” as had the entire thing slammed in their faces repeatedly by a guy in a man bun who lives life nipples first, but you get the gist. It’s clear now that the inmates are fully running the asylum. More than that, the Bachelor producers are totally fine with the foundation of this show crumbling to the ground so long as enough chaos (and tears) ensues in the process. Ladies, repeat after me: men. ain’t. SHIT. 

Speaking of men and shit, apparently Meatball gets to live another day on our television screens! What a treat! I was just thinking that a guy whose entire personality is a subpar potluck appetizer really deserves to find love. Thank god for second chances! 

Meatball isn’t the only one getting a second chance this season. Gabby and Rachel are getting a second chance at love along with actual rules with which to govern their seasons. Amazing. There are now two teams: Team Gabby and Team Rachel. Each team of men will only be allowed to date their appointed coach (Gabby or Rachel, but not both). Did the men get any say in which team they were traded to? Absolutely not. There’s no crying in baseball. Each week, filming will be on parallel timelines: two one-on-one dates, two group dates, two rose ceremonies, two more glasses of wine that I will need to consume. 

Problem solved, right? Wrong. ABC never solves problems, people!! They only make them worse. No one is feeling the brunt of ABC’s bad decision making more than Rachel. During last week’s rose ceremony, multiple men refused her rose in favor of trying their luck with Gabby. Let me say that again: multiple men refused the rose of a sitting Bachelorette. That has never happened in the entire history of The Bachelorette. That’s sort of the whole point of this show is that the women can’t get rejected. This is a safe space for them to cultivate love and, as Rachel puts it, “feel chosen.” Refusing a rose is the opposite of feeling chosen—and it forces the very fabric of what makes this show work, what makes it entertaining and watchable, to start fraying at the seams. 

Sadly, this week doesn’t get any better for Rachel. At one point Rachel even says that Clayton—the worst Bachelor to ever pollute our television screens—treated her with more love and affection than these men vying for her attention. Woof. That is bleak. Though she has a romantic one-on-one date with Tino (more on that later) the group date and rose ceremony were dismal, to say the least. And, if next week’s teaser is any indication, this is only the beginning. 

On that cheerful note, let’s dive into the episode…

Falling In Louvre

After last week’s fuckups, ABC knew they had to give the women two things to salvage this journey: they had to give them rules and they had to give them Paris. It’s the same strategy Mary-Kate and Ashley’s parents used in Passport to Paris when they wanted their 13-year-olds to get off the head-sets please and broaden their cultural horizons. What I’m saying is, this plan has documented success and can absolutely not go wrong.

It’s actually wild that they filmed in Paris. Usually when the host proclaims that they’re going to “a city famous for romance,” they end up in, like, Cincinnati. But of course, ABC does not know how to let us have a nice thing. The gang might be going to Paris, but they’re staying on—wait for it—a cruise ship! So, they’re not so much “going to Paris” as they are going to stay on a giant floating toilet in a body of water somewhere near Paris. 

JESSE PALMER: Anchors up! Welcome aboard!
ME: *hisses* you uncultured swine

To capitalize on the Paris momentum, ABC starts the week off with the more romantic dates. The ladies have one-on-one dates planned with Tino (Team Rachel) and Jason (Team Gabby) and the results are a chaotic 20 minutes of the camera crew trying to find narrative structures during two very dissimilar dates. 

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: Gabby and Rachel are not the same kind of girl. Nor are they girls with very much in common aside from the trauma bond of having to date Clayton on national television. Rachel is much more of a big picture romantic. She wants grand gestures and flowery declarations. Gabby is more of a laid-back goofball. She thrives on the small moments and lets the serious conversations happen more naturally (if at all). Because of this, Rachel’s date has the vibe and narrative structure of an Audrey Hepburn movie, while Gabby’s has the vibe and narrative structure of Emily in Paris.

For example, as Rachel and Tino make out in a rain-soaked street, Gabby and Jason get their foreheads sized for berets (“I’m a size small?? Yay!!”) and get drunk off wine they can’t pronounce. Meanwhile, ABC is grappling to make these dates seem as if they can exist in the same thematic universe. The result is b-roll that feels Mod Podged at best; the only thing holding it together is the same score of swelling music. 

I will say that Tino and Rachel have palpable chemistry. Rachel even admits—out loud and to Tino’s face!!—that she “really likes” him. And she wasn’t even being held at knifepoint or anything! Willingly expressing genuine human emotion is something I could only do under the duress of torture, and even then I might prefer the waterboarding. Good for you, sweetie!

But Gabby’s date moves a little slower than Rachel’s. She doesn’t immediately click with Jason and wants to know if there’s anything deeper to him. Gabby keeps saying that Jason is “reserved,” but is it that or is he just not interested? “Reserved” seems like a nice way of saying he’s a blank canvas on which we can project anything onto. Convenient, no?

When Gabby confronts Jason about his quietness, he admits that this process has been really hard on him. Why? He has tennis trauma. Tennis. Trauma. Do not ask me for details, I blacked out halfway through his spiel. It’s not that I don’t believe him, but it did feel a little like he was ad-libbing a sob story for the cameras. 

Where Jason wins me over, though, is his reaction to Gabby’s own traumatic past. Jason seems genuinely empathetic when Gabby talks about her relationship with her mother. If you’ll recall, Erich’s reaction was to pray his dinner plate was some sort of Portkey that might transport him to the Triwizard Tournament (or really, any place where he wouldn’t have to console a human woman). In comparison, Jason’s reaction is downright heroic (the bar was so high, I know). Erich, take notes. 

What’s French For “This Is Totally Fucked”?

The group dates are where things start to go off the rails for Rachel. She had a nice time with Tino but she forgot that good guys are the exception, not the rule. Oh, honey. We’ve all been there. 

The first blow occurs during Gabby’s group date. As I mentioned earlier, there are two group dates this week, one for each woman. Unlike the one-on-one dates, Paris will not allow any more “dates” to take place on Her soil. I guess the berets thing was Her line in the sand. She really said, “you can bring one man to shore and THAT’S IT.” 

It’s hard to say what Gabby’s group date even is. There is some sort of boxing element, though the men are doing a fair amount of grandstanding as well. Most of the guys dedicate their fights to Gabby with long-winded speeches that make me want to disintegrate into my couch I’m so embarrassed for them. I hate when ABC makes them seriously fight. This is Paris. Can we not just poke each other with baguettes on the banks of the Seine like CIVILIZED PEOPLE DO?!

And what is Rachel doing during all of this? Watching. That’s right, they make Rachel and her team of guys watch Gabby get serenaded for an afternoon. Do any of Rachel’s men think to serenade Rachel as well? Well, that would require them to use their two remaining brain cells.

As Rachel watches guy after guy shower Gabby with praise and adoration, the camera catches every break in her face. I don’t know why production would think this would be fun for Rachel. After all, until a few days ago some of these guys were still vying for her. It probably stings to suddenly watch them acting in love with her friend.

After the match, Rachel gives the men a verbal spanking, and it is…

She pulled the “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” line and executed it flawlessly. There’s nothing men respond more to than being called disappointments. They don’t want crying or loud confrontations. They want a woman who weirdly reminds them of their mom scolding them in a sports bra. 

At this moment it’s clear that there are two different Bachelorette journeys happening this season. One woman (Gabby) is on a journey to find love. The other woman (Rachel) is running the gauntlet of Dante’s Inferno. Like, Frodo encountered less strife on his journey to the fiery pits of Mordor than Rachel has to endure in one episode. 

After she begs eight men to pay attention to her, ABC sends her on a group date that could double as a season plot line for American Horror Story. The French are going to instruct Team Rachel on the art of seduction. I was expecting them to rub feathers down Rachel’s skin or learn how to write her sonnets. No, apparently France’s idea of “seduction” aligns more with the goings on in a middle school boys’ locker room.

What comes next is a testament to Rachel’s enduring human spirit. She watches as the guys—one of whom she may have to publicly claim in a few weeks—make out with their fists. Then the French blindfold Rachel, spin her around like a piñata, and thrust her face into the armpit of the nearest man. Tell me this isn’t some kind of biblical-level trial of the soul. 

Rachel, sweetie, it’s not too late to run. Get out while you still have some semblance of your dignity intact!!

Rambo: The Bitch He Told You Not To Worry About

Every season ABC casts a guy who reminds me why, instead of giving a human man a chance, I would rather die alone in my apartment with no one to find my cooling body but my faithful dog. This season, that guy is Hayden. Last week he told Gabby that she was a little too “rough around the edges” for his tastes, a phrase she used to communicate her worst fears about herself and he used to throw right back in her face. Classy. This week he doubled down on that statement. I think his exact words were: “My dumb ass uses the verbiage that Gabby uses to describe herself, and she fucking didn’t like that. Well, bitch, maybe you shouldn’t use that word to describe yourself then.”

Do my ears deceive me? Did he just call the Bachelorette A BITCH and then roll his eyes about it with nary a care in the world? Did he?! 

Another fun quote from Hayden this episode: “I’ve been comparing my ex to, like, this , right? They don’t hold a candle to her, and I don’t want to just settle. I can tell you right now, I don’t see how any guy here could be like, I’m fucking marrying these girls.”

Hayden is the kind of guy that thinks because he says the word “y’all” and smiles a lot that he gets a free pass for hating women. I’ve grown up around these guys. I’ve dated these guys. These guys are dangerous because they will say and do the most vile things behind your back and then lie right to your face about it.

Case in point: To smooth things over with Rachel, he spends the rose ceremony telling her about his dying dog Rambo. The first red flag here is that he named his dog Rambo. Is his pooch’s IG account sponsored by the NRA? And, I hate to say this about a potentially dying dog, but how do we know this dog even exists? Yes, he has a scrapbook, but “Rambo” could be any golden retriever on the internet. I would not put it past Hayden to lie about a dying dog in order to manipulate a woman. 

And then! Hayden has the nerve to say that Rachel wasn’t appropriately sad enough about him carrying around Rambo’s duck paw. Buddy, you are not appropriately sad enough about being a blight on this planet. Let’s call it even. 

But Rachel seems to be falling for the pet propaganda. She was on the fence about Hayden after he insulted Gabby last week, but he’s winning her over now. Meatball sees this and decides to do something for his country (he’s a maverick like that) and tells Rachel about Hayden’s alter ego.  I did not think it was possible for a man who, two weeks prior, was rubbing meat sauce through his chest hairs to be the unsung hero of this episode. Who knew that Meatball—MEATBALL!!—would be worthy of a song by the bards??

RACHEL: Do you know why you’re here?
HAYDEN: I’m assuming this is about Rambo?

I’M ASSUMING THIS IS ABOUT RAMBO!! I love that he openly talked shit about the women in the house and can’t fathom that conversation coming back to bite him in the ass. No, this isn’t about your cancerous dog. This is about you being the scum of the fucking earth. 

Rachel sends him packing but she should have made him walk the plank. Why else charter a boat, ABC? Hmm? 

As Rachel storms back onto the ship, probably wondering what kind of centuries-old witch’s curse was placed upon her bloodline for her love life to be going this way, Hayden stares wistfully after her and says, “I wanted this to work, but… I wanted Rambo more. No one loves me like Rambo does.” Rambo only loves you unconditionally because Rambo doesn’t have access to a TV!! Just wait until he gets his paws on a working remote…

Here’s who else got eliminated this episode: 

Team Rachel Eliminations: Hayden, Jordan

Team Gabby Eliminations: Quincey, Kirk

We’ll have to wait until next week to see what other horrors ABC has in store for Rachel’s soul. Until then!

Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin (2); Giphy (5)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Not Well, Bitch!

Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap! Last week, we got a taste of how this season would play out—and let me tell you, there were far too many milky white thighs involved for my comfort level. ‘Tis my cross to bear, I suppose… 

But this week the ladies are refocused. After a rocky rose ceremony where they banished a man who dared to have opinions about their sex lives beyond “I will worship the lint between your toes if it means you might breathe in my direction some day,” they’re feeling pretty good about themselves. They have all the control. They hold all the power. 

ABC PRODUCERS WATCHING THIS EXCHANGE FROM AFAR: 

Ladies, ladies, ladies. That isn’t how this show works! Female empowerment doesn’t inspire higher ratings; misogyny and mild nudity does! Get with the program. 

As if to illustrate this point, the cameras cut to the men, who are discussing which of the women make them feel tingly down there. No, no, no, NO. You do not get a say in this. Your job is to sit there and look pretty. Nothing else. Once they open their mouths, the fantasy is ruined. 

The problem is the men are starting to realize they have options. Have you ever read If You Give A Mouse A Cookie? The cautionary tale of giving lesser species (in the book’s case, rodents; in the show’s case, men) a modicum of choice and control. Do you know how that book ends? With the mouse making grabby hands at every shiny object in sight. The men are doing something similar here. Instead of considering Gabby and Rachel’s feelings, they’re focused entirely on who *they* want to be with. I’m sorry, but if I wanted to listen to a man named Meatball wax poetic about who makes his nipples hard, I would interact with the comments section of a Barstool article. You never give the Meatball mouse a cookie. You get that asshole a rat trap.  

Sparks Are Flyin’

Before I get to the doom and gloom of the episode, let’s talk about the high points: the one-on-one dates. Rachel in particular struggled with her one-on-one date last week and ended up sending the pore-less Jordan home. He and his skin care routine will be missed. 

This week things go a bit smoother for her. She invites Zach on her date, which is quickly crashed by Queer Eye’s Karamo. Wow, I definitely thought Queer Eye paid better than this. Karamo says that he just had to be a part of the fun—he loves Rachel so much! I would believe him more if he didn’t direct those statements to a random mannequin instead of Rachel. I don’t know what kind of Real World blackmail ABC has on that man, but if he’s gracing our television screens tonight then it can’t be anything good. 

Karamo sends them to “an exclusive movie premiere” but not before styling Rachel like Oscar the Grouch first. (Seriously, that outfit was so mean of them). The “exclusive movie premiere” is not, as I guessed, a private screening of He’s Just Not That Into You (ABC clearly doesn’t understand comedic timing). The movie they’re attending is not even a movie so much as a cinematic scrapbook of their childhoods. Home movies on a first date should be illegal. Footage of me during a time in my life when I had unsupervised access to a hair crimper and body glitter? That’s not romantic, that’s a war crime.

^^12 year old me treating my shopping trip to Claire’s like a religious experience 

Though watching home movies is a specific ring of hell for me, Rachel and Zach seem into it—and into each other. The two find out that they have so much in common: they were both once children and have watched a plane before (I paraphrase). Dare I say… they’re cute?

But not as cute as Gabby’s three-on-one date with Grandpa John and Erich. When I say I screamed at the sight of that old man and his knitwear. I have never been so happy in my life to see a man return to this show. I can’t wait to watch Grandpa John’s look of abject horror at learning how Erich spells his name. 

Speaking of Erich, I can’t get a good read on him. He’s polite and engaging with Gabby and her grandpa, but does he seem to like Gabby particularly? I can’t tell. This becomes especially apparent during their alone time together. Erich is all for feeling Gabby up during the bowling excursion (hands, Erich!! Grandpa John is right there!!), but he struggles to comfort Gabby when she shows more complicated emotions. 

During the dinner portion of the evening, she tells him a little about being estranged from her mother. At one point she even says that lack of maternal love has broken her in some way. Erich’s response? To stare longingly at his dinner plate in the hopes that it might transport him to an alternate dimension where he doesn’t have to deal with a woman and her emotions. Jesus Christ, Erich. I know you thought you’d end dinner with some light groping, but the human condition is a little messier than the condition tenting your pants rn. Have a heart, not a hard-on! 

I will say, Gabby has never been more relatable than when she abandons the dinner table to cry in a corner with her white wine. That doesn’t make watching Gabby’s breakdown any easier. She’s been struggling this whole episode. She doesn’t think she’s deserving of being the Bachelorette and wonders if Rachel is more of a natural fit for the role. This is expressly what I did not want to see this season. They need to stop comparing themselves to each other (there’s no logic to that) and start comparing the men to the shit on their shoes (there is logic in that). 

Erich eventually comforts Gabby—but only after she’s guzzled another bottle of wine and prophesied a future wherein she dies alone with only her dog to find her rotting remains. What I’m saying is, he waited far too long to get his ass in gear. He handles the whole thing very politely. But that’s just it: it’s polite, not genuine. I’ve seen Delta representatives show more compassion than what Erich’s giving me right now. 

Erich, I’m watching you…

Men Do Not Deserve To Have Brains

This next part of the recap is a section I like to call: “Strong Evidence Against Men Being Allowed To Have Brains.” And let me tell you, the science is compelling! As I mentioned earlier, the men are starting to think this season is all about them. If there’s one thing I don’t want to see on my Monday night, it’s men exercising their rights. In fact, I would be totally fine with ABC keeping the men corralled in a pit underground, only to be brought out for dates and aesthetic purposes. But of course this franchise is not interested in my wants and needs. They’d much rather play a game of Jenga with the women’s emotional states. After all, who wants to watch strong, capable women navigate their emotional depths when you can watch production sauté their self-esteem so a guy with a man bun can feel like the biggest stud in the room? 

Which brings me to my working hypothesis: men should not be allowed to have brains. I’m not convinced they entirely have them in the first place, but they definitely shouldn’t be allowed access to whatever sad synapses that do manage to fire off. Let’s look at the evidence:

Exhibit A: Bromance > Romance

During Rachel’s date with Zach, Gabby heads to the house for a casual hang. First of all, I could have told her that nothing good comes of a casual hang. The last time I got conned into one of those, it ended with him asking for my Snapchat handle and Venmoing me for half the six-pack he picked up. 

Do the men take advantage of the extra alone time with their Bachelorette? Lol, as if! No, they would prefer to spend the day playing slap and tickle with each other.

It’s just… sad to watch. Gabby is doing her best to pretend like their disinterest isn’t bothering her, but there’s only so many times a girl can yell “nice fumble!!” before she slips into a catatonic state. I give her props for lasting as long as she did. 

Exhibit B: Blood In The Water

Things only get worse for Gabby during the group date, when a large faction of the men give her the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech. In fact, it feels like almost every guy on the group date (and there are 19 of them!!) are not interested in dating Gabby. First of all, it’s week three. You’ve known Gabby and Rachel for less time than it takes me to do a load of laundry. You don’t know either of these women enough to write one of them off. YOU FUCKERS. 

Not only are they not interested in Gabby, but they also vocalize these feelings with about as much sensitivity as an atomic bomb. I’ve seen sharks play with their food in more humane ways than what’s happening on my screen rn.

The worst offenders by far are Hayden and Jacob. Hayden tells Gabby that she’s more “rough around the edges” than he’d like for a wife, insinuating that Rachel is somehow “better” than Gabby. Then Jacob tells her that even if she was the last woman on Earth he would not compete for her attention. He’s like, “yeah even if you were my only option on this show, I wouldn’t want to date you.” Jacob, you look like you masturbate to your own headshots. Are you really one to talk about options? 

Gabby spends the rest of the date crying off-camera. She doesn’t give out a rose. In fact, she looks like she would rather live the rest of her life in a bunker than interact with any of these men for a second longer. I can’t say I blame her. 

Exhibit C: The Men Go Rogue

But perhaps where we really see the wheels come off is when the men simply don’t understand the assignment during the rose ceremony. In response to the group date, the women decide to have two separate journeys from here on out. There will be a set group of guys for Gabby and a set group of guys for Rachel. The women will be handing out roses to their guys, and the guys will only get to date the woman whose rose they accept. This is what should have happened from the beginning, but I get the sense that ABC didn’t want to have to do double the filming. The result is this farce of a season. 

As the rose ceremony begins, Gabby looks like she is bracing herself for combat. Meanwhile, Rachel is confident in a way that makes me think production is about to screw her. At first, everything is fine. They both hand out a few roses without being rejected. The only downside is that the rose receivers start calling themselves “the winner’s circle.” That tells me everything I need to know about how serious these guys are about marriage. They’re like, air humping each other with their roses, for Christ’s sake. I’m sickened. 

But still, at least the women’s dignity is intact… until it isn’t. Overly confident Rachel is the first to watch shit crumble. Termayne says he can’t accept Rachel’s rose when he’s really here for Gabby. That in itself is shocking. She’s getting rejected in public, in front of men she’s still trying to date. Then Jesse Palmer materializes like the bridge troll he is, only instead of accepting his payment in riddles, he strips Rachel of her roses. That’s right. Not only does Rachel get rejected, but they’re taking her roses from her. They’re punishing her for the men’s insolence. It gets worse. Alec turns Rachel down, followed by Meatball. Let me emphasize: Meatball turned a human woman down. Meatball!!!

This is so fucked. I’m seething. What kind of misogynistic hell realm have we fallen into where humiliating women on national television is supposed to be good wholesome fun? I hate ABC for doing this to us. I hate myself for not having enough rosé to dull this edge. 

By the end of the episode we have our camps: Team Gabby vs. Team Rachel. The line-up looks like this:

Team Gabby: Nate, Johnny, Spencer, Jason, Mario, Kirk, Quincey, Michael, Erich

Team Rachel: Tino, Logan, Tyler, Ethan, Jordan, Hayden, Aven, Zach

We’ll have to wait until next week to see if the men are any more well-behaved… I think hell might freeze over first. Until then!

Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (3)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Stiff Competition

Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap! Last week, ABC debuted a new kind of love story for us Bachelor Nation plebs. Instead of watching one woman survive a wasteland of overly-groomed men (I paraphrase), this season we get to watch two best friends on their journey to find love! Two best friends, or at least two individuals who are contractually obligated to promote the same products on Instagram for the next 6-12 months. You get the gist.

For a season that promised big drama and even bigger love stories, the season opener left me unimpressed. But perhaps I just had unreasonably high hopes. The Bachelorette is, after all, my favorite ABC abomination. Why? Because the women seemingly have some control over the narrative. You want to fuck a guy in a windmill? Fine. You want to abandon your season after 10 days to run away with a Party City model? Also fine. Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine. This season, NOTHING IS FINE. There are simply no rules—just ask Jesse Palmer! Oh, wait. You can’t. At all times, he is silent and stone-faced in the background, watching as Gabby and Rachel essentially descend into that scene from The Lion King where Scar’s hyenas catcall Simba on his way to Pride Rock. He emphasizes that this is Gabby and Rachel’s thing, and he’s just here for support. What kind of support? Well, he can gesture vaguely in the direction of the open bar.

The lack of rules and structure bleeds into their dates, and the amount of effort the men are putting into said dates. They’re starting to understand that they can reasonably date two women at once. In fact, it’s encouraged! Why intimately get to know one woman when you can make surface level small talk and maybe get to make out with two? 

It doesn’t help that Gabby and Rachel’s approach to everything is to act cool girl casual at all times. The way they’ve set up the dates feels less romantic and formal, and more like a frat party gone awry. There aren’t even enough beds in the house for everyone! Within the first few minutes of the episode, we’re told that the housing accommodations are something akin to the Fyre Festival’s. The cameras pan to a slew of bunk beds that could double as set pieces from Orange is the New Black. I would not be surprised if production enacted some sort of Hunger Games-style cornucopia where the guys battle it out for linens and toothpaste.

While the season hasn’t totally gone off the rails yet, it’s getting there. You can see the strain in Gabby and Rachel’s relationship with each other (they’re still acting tentative about who they like and if it’s okay to like the same guys) and with the men. And on that very foreboding note (can’t wait to tell my old creative writing professor that, SEE, I do know how to write tension), let’s get into the episode!

The Group Date: There Are Some Things Your Eyes Can’t Unsee

You know that thing I said about there being no structure, and how that anarchy was fueling the format of the dates? That starts with the group date. Normally, group dates serve two purposes: to humiliate the contestants and simultaneously restore my faith in justice and the universe. Group dates are also structured like my friend’s baby’s playdates: everybody pretends to be on their best behavior, or else they won’t get a little treat afterwards. There’s usually an activity and then some sort of afterparty. A rose is given out to the most well-behaved good boy. This group date is all of those things and none of those things. Instead of the group date revolving around a structured activity, it’s more of a clothing-optional hang. 

Gabby and Rachel invite the men to compete in a “pageant.” I’m using that term very loosely here, because “pageant” implies we will witness a modicum of talent, and not a man known only by the name of “meatball” lasciviously pouring meat sauce down his hairy chest like he’s Paris Hilton in a Hardee’s commercial. 

To be fair, the ladies did only give the men 28 minutes to prep their acts, 26 of which were used to apply an obscene amount of body oil, and the last two reserved for calling their mommies to remind them what special boys they are. The amount of preparation shows. There are just some things my eyes can’t unsee. At one point my roommate, who watches this show only after I’ve bribed her with wine and cheese, but who always leaves an hour into every episode, gasps and says “are they allowed to show this many little penises?” Yes. In fact, I think that’s entirely the point. And there are so many penises. That little black bar is working harder than ABC’s producers for its holiday bonus.

Where is Jesse Palmer during this showcasing of fragile masculinity? Mentally, he’s doing push-ups at the sight of all those exposed pecs. In actuality, he is telling us that the winners of this “pageant” will get invited to an exclusive afterparty. The way he says “afterparty” has the same vibe as the guy who drove the party bus at my friend’s 30th birthday party. He also invited us to his timeshare in Florida after handing us his album Girls Kissing Girls

JESSE: The winners will be invited to an exclusive afterparty!
JESSE PALMER IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THAT STATEMENT: 

The “pageant” is about as horrific as you might expect. One guy does the worm and pretends his ballsack didn’t just slip out of his speedo. A lot of guys—too many guys—are into juggling. Tino wishes he didn’t skip leg day. Jacob, the guy who looks like a housewife’s mid-life crisis, straddles a chair (again, why is no one concerned about what may or may not fall out of their speedo) and goes through a Powerpoint on fixed-rate mortgages. Chris commits a crime against my eardrums and starts singing. How Gabby and Rachel are supposed to pick winners from this shocking display of talent, I do not know.

In the end they do pick winners—six of them—and Aven, Logan, Brandan, Jason, Johnny, and Colin are all invited to the afterparty. Do not ask me to elaborate on details such as what their talents were, or even how to describe their physical builds. As of right now, they are all still faceless mannequins to me. 

While Gabby seems to hit it off with a few people, Rachel really struggles through the cocktail party. After some truly titillating conversations about *checks notes* how many American states she’s visited and what Harry Potter house she would be sorted into, Rachel is wondering where the nearest interstate is so she can walk straight into oncoming traffic. The feeling intensifies when Jason tells her he’s only into Gabby, and then immediately after that conversation she stumbles upon Gabby making out with Johnny (a guy she already called dibs on). 

JASON: I’m actually here for… Gabby 😬
RACHEL: hahahahahahahahaha!!! Omg that’s totally fine!!! hahahahahahaha!!!!
ALSO RACHEL: 

Rachel’s experience on this date—a dinner party where there is minimal alcohol and you are constantly rejected—is definitely an outer ring of hell. So, it’s no wonder that by the night’s end she has strong-armed the last guy at the afterparty into a guest bedroom. Goddamnit, she wants to get felt up by a potted plant just like every other Bachelorette on this franchise! Logan says all the right things. He tells her she’s brave for coming on the show and that she inspired him during the “pageant” (reminder: his talent was the doing the worm). This would all be fun and cute (especially after they go to town making out on that guest bed!) if not for the fact that Logan has that exact same conversation with Gabby… and also makes out with her. 

See, this is why I’m advocating for more structure and rules. Logan is getting way too comfortable about dating two women at once. He is literally rinsing and repeating his conversations. 

Gabby, for the most part, is having fun. She seems to be genuinely enjoying the process, while Rachel worries constantly about finding “the one.” The only time things get weird is when Rachel reveals she made out with Logan and Gabby has to pretend she’s happy about that. She lets Rachel choose Logan for her group date rose, while Gabby chooses Johnny. 

The One-On-One Dates

The one-on-one dates prove equally challenging for Rachel. She chooses Jordan, the race car driver from Georgia, to go on a zero-gravity plane ride. I have a few comments. First, I’d just like to know what Jordan’s skin care routine is because damn that boy is fresh-faced. My god, does he even have any pores? Second, I need more logistics about what a zero-gravity date entails. I looked it up, and in order to hit zero gravity they have to be flying through that layer of ether thingie right before space (“layer of ether thingie” is the technical term). How is it legal for two people who are not astronauts to just take a spin in the ether? How many holes are they creating in the ozone layer so Rachel can straddle him mid-air? 

I will say, Rachel looks great. This whole zero-gravity thing is like a hair commercial for her. 

But when they land, gravity hits hard. Don’t get me wrong, Jordan does everything he’s supposed to. He talks about how their lifestyles align (pilots and race car drivers are notoriously very similar professions in that they… both require a license?). He even brings up his parents’ divorce and appropriately dramatizes the split so it mirrors the PTSD of a Vietnam war vet. But none of it works for Rachel. She’s just not feeling it. She asks the producers if she can send him home, and I would genuinely like to know the answer to that question. What if Gabby was into him? Does she have to run her decision by Gabby? Who gets the final say over cutting a guy loose?

The answer to these questions is apparently “WHO CARES about Gabby, and I’m sending this guy home.” Rachel tells Jordan that she won’t give him the rose, but she does want to know what nighttime moisturizer he uses. Or is that just me? I’m actually astounded he’s just allowed to walk off the premise without Gabby having a say in any of this. Again… what! are! the! rules!

Meanwhile, Gabby’s one-on-one date goes a bit better. For her date she chooses Nate, the girl dad who wears more accessories than a Claire’s clearance rack. This is not a dig at Nate. Nate is hot and Nate stood up for the ladies when Chris was slut shaming them for sex acts they have yet to complete (more on that later). Nate seems very in touch with his feelings, as evidenced by the fact that he can’t stop crying (okay, I’ll admit that part was a bit of a drag). He also seems very in touch with his tongue down the back of Gabby’s throat. 

The energy between them feels natural and easy. I mean, yes, Gabby does have a private helicopter pick them up like it’s a goddamn Uber, but for the most part their date is super normal. I’m rooting for these two. For now… 

Worst Storyline: Chris As A Villain

Chris started off the episode by declaring himself a triple threat: a sports enthusiast, a music man, and a leader. Somewhere in a dance studio in LA, Beyoncé just stumbled during her choreo. Then, impossibly, Chris got even worse: he sang. Well, it was less singing and more tunelessly stringing together random words, but the overall effect will haunt my nightmares until my dying day. But the singing could have been forgiven had I only had enough wine to find it tolerable (my box ran out). What really sealed Chris’ fate for me was when he started running his mouth about the fantasy suites. 

Why was Chris talking about the fantasy suites during week two? Why does a man offer any opinion unprompted? Why does a bear shit in the woods? Because they simply cannot control themselves. Chris says that when—not if—he goes to fantasy suites, he has a few deal breakers for the girls. Namely, that they not be intimate with anyone else. 

CHRIS: If the female has sex with someone else, I wouldn’t be interested in that person being the person I’m with.
ME:

Slut shaming? In this economy, Christopher??

Chris is already trying to control the sexual choices these women make, and he hasn’t even so much as breathed in their direction this season. The audacity straight, mediocre men have is astounding. 

I will say that it’s nice to see the other men quickly jump to Gabby and Rachel’s defenses. Nate gives an impassioned speech where he says that Chris needs to have more respect for these women. They could be their queens or the mothers of their children! Y’all. He called Gabby and Rachel queens!! The last time a guy called me anything it was by the wrong name, and as he was asking if I could buy him another Bud Light. So, yes, I am crying in the club right now. 

During the rose ceremony, some of the guys tell Rachel about Chris’ presumptions. She keeps nodding her head but you can tell she has no idea who this “Chris” is. I’m glad she was able to block out his singing. I have not been so fortunate.

Gabby and Rachel confront Chris who looks as if women giving opinions is something he’s never encountered before. He’s like “no, no, no you misunderstood. I said it exactly that way but that’s only because I start a relationship at the ending and then work backwards from there!” He works his way backwards?? What does that even mean?? I do love when a man starts our relationship by immediately telling me the theoretical ways I’ll betray him in the future and how I should start making up for it. It does wonders for my blood pressure. 

But Gabby and Rachel are having none of it. They’ve been entertaining an entire fleet of men for 10 days straight. They’re exhausted, and they can’t keep anyone’s names straight anymore. They especially don’t have time for Chris and his fan fiction. He can tap dance his way home. 

This Week’s Body Count (Who Goes Home):

And finally, this week’s body count. Here’s who Gabby and Rachel kicked to the curb:

And that’s all she wrote for this week! Until we meet again!

Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (6)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: The Titanic Had More Structure Than This Season

Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! Coincidentally that is the exact endorsement my mother gave with the qualifier that it is the only Bachelorette recap she reads… Fine, I’ll take it. I don’t know about y’all, but it’s been a loooong three months living in a Bachelor-free world. God, it’s nice to have a reason to live again. And what a time to be alive it is. This season we’ve got not one, but two Bachelorettes: Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia. Don’t you love when the entertainment industry treats strong female leads like a coupon deal at a Food Lion? Lol, the end of the world is fun.

If you’re wondering how I’ve prepped myself for this madness, let’s just say that my pre-Bachelorette viewing routine has only changed in the amount of wine I’ll be consuming: whatever quantity is enough to tranquilize a horse and/or allow the feminism to actively leave my body. Let’s get into it!

The Format: How The Hell Is This Supposed To Work?

Normally at the beginning of each season we have a basic idea of how the rest of the season will play out. Girl meets 30+ guys. Girl is somehow not disgusted by childish limo gimmicks even when gimmicks involve body oil and weird kid choirs. Girl is just happy not to be on Hinge. Girl dates guys. Girl loves guys. Girl contractually requires at least one guy to propose to her. Bada bing bada boom, we’ve got a season! But this season, not even Jesse Palmer has any idea how filming will work on a weekly basis. Will the women be competing for one spot, as was the case in season 11 with Kaitlyn Bristowe and Britt Nilsson? Or will it be more of a Hunger Games-type competition, where instead of fighting for food and resources they duke it out for male attention? 

Whatever the case, the women are ready. They both seem cautiously optimistic about being co-leads and are just happy to not be doing this alone. They also seem to both hate men. I love that energy for them. At one point Gabby says that she has her guard up, and that after everything with Clayton, men have earned the right not to be trusted. I have never liked her more. She sounds like a soothsayer in that moment, and I briefly wonder what “men have earned the right not to be trusted” would look like in sanskrit as a tattoo…

I do think that Gabby and Rachel should lower their expectations for the evening. Right now it’s all champagne and body glitter and “let’s meet these idiots who aren’t good enough for us!” but, like, eventually they have to date one of those idiots… so.

They meet up with new Bachelorette host Jesse Palmer, who again emphasizes that he has no idea how this will work. It’s not in his pay grade, okay. He’s like “how can the guys date two of you at once??” and, you know, I think they’ll be just fine, buddy. In fact, I think that’s sort of their whole area of expertise prior to this show. 

If Gabby and Rachel seem uncomfortable with the format, it’s nothing compared to the men’s reactions. Don’t get me wrong. They’re used to a two-on-one dynamic. They just aren’t used to the two knowing they’re dating the same one.

Their discomfort is apparent during the limo entrances portion of the evening. One guy pulls out noise canceling headphones so he can speak to each Bachelorette privately while in front of each other. Another guy calls Gabby by Rachel’s name and then looks as if he wishes the ground would open up and swallow him whole. The 25-year-old life coach (that descriptor is an oxymoron… what life have you lived enough to be able to coach it??) panics so badly he blurts out that he hasn’t had sex in over a year and the girls look at him pityingly.

If this is an indicator of what’s to come this season, then I worry for the fate of our Bachelorettes…

The First Impressions

As the men descend on the premises like locusts, I remain unimpressed by them. Where is the—and I say this in my best Abby Lee Miller voice—star power this season?? And MY GOD the gimmicks. How many gimmicks can we fit into one evening? The limit does not exist. There’s Roby the magician, whose sleight of hand tricks begin with pulling a rabbit out of a hat and end with knowing where to locate the clitoris. Then we’ve got Jacob, who shows up glistening and shirtless and riding a horse. He would definitely fuck your aunt at Thanksgiving. He cannot be trusted. There are a set of twins and a guy named Erich, whose spelling of his name is, in itself, a gimmick. 

THE MEN: *breathe*
ME:

It’s not until an hour into the episode that the men stop arriving and Jesse Palmer finally deigns to tell us the rules of this circus. Yes, both women will give out roses during the rose ceremony. Yes, there will be two first impression roses. No, he will not be taking any followup questions. 

At first, I was grateful for the limo shenanigans to be over. I can only mumble “Jesus fucking Christ” so many times under my breath before my dog will leave the room. But then, when Gabby and Rachel decided to Mary-Kate and Ashley the cocktail party, I knew this night was taking a turn for the worse. They start selecting guys to chat with privately together, and this can’t possibly be how the producers envisioned the show going. There is nothing flirty or romantic about this set-up. In fact, it’s giving me PTSD flashbacks to the one time Victoria’s Secret made me do a group interview in the mall food court for their register girl position. 

The madness doesn’t end even when they bring in the twins. Now it’s a weird double date in which two of the hottest girls in Bachelor Nation are being courted by The Suite Life of Zach and Cody. But it’s apparent this format is really not going to work when Rachel asks the guys what their hobbies are, and Gabby asks them if they can read each other’s minds. 

They just don’t date the same—and that’s fine! They don’t have to. They aren’t twins whose only difference is an errant freckle! They’re allowed to have different communication styles, different turn ons, different things that give them the ick.

Because of this, they decide that if they’re ever going to make out with one of these idiots then they need to divide and conquer. Though ABC does their best to follow their two journeys, something gets lost in translation for me. I don’t see any true connections in the making. There’s just not enough time to develop those conversations with ABC constantly panning between the two of them. That said, the women seem excited about a few guys:

Gabby’s Guys

Rachel’s Guys

RACHEL: I loved our conversation
THE CONVERSATION:

It’s interesting watching Rachel and Gabby talk through their connections with each other. They aren’t friends, exactly—more like two strangers who have trauma-bonded in a long-term hostage situation, and yet they seem eerily giddy about dating the same pool of men. Neither of them comment on the same guys, and I wonder if that’s intentional. For example, Erich had good conversations with both of them and neither of them mentioned that to each other. Of course, this is just the first night of many. If this were a horror movie they would still be innocently preening in front of a mirror as the serial killer lurked outside their window. I’ll save my judgment for the second act…

The Rose Ceremony

As I’ve mentioned before, there are no rules this season! ABC spent three months listening to the fandom question how such a format could possibly work, and their answer was essentially to let go and let God. Bible, that is the worst idea I’ve ever heard. 

Gabby and Rachel want to talk privately with Roby the Magician and the twins. They very casually tell them to gtfo and that their journey is over. I love that they’re dumping people in little groups instead of during the traditional rose ceremony. It’s bringing me back to that time in Miami where I got booted from a private table for crying too much and “killing the vibe.” We’ve all been there, boys!

They tell everyone else that they’re canceling the rest of the rose ceremony and that everyone gets to stay. This is absolute anarchy. I’m telling you, the Titanic had more structure than this rose ceremony does right now. And we know how well that worked out…

Until next week, betches! Xoxo.

Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (5)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: SoulNaytes

Well, well, well, kids, it looks like we’ve made it to the finale episode of Bachelor/ette content for the year 2021. After one season of The Bachelor, two seasons of The Bachelorette, and a season of Bachelor in Paradise that had such a long episode count it should have been illegal, ABC finally ran out of days in the year to ruin our lives with more content. I think I need a cigarette. But before I can dip my brain in bleach and pretend for a few blissful days that I’ve never heard the words “bachelor” and “nation”, we have to find out how Michelle’s story ends! That’s right, tonight it all comes down to Michelle’s final two men: Brandon, a man whose devotion runs so deep he would allow Michelle to wear his skin as a suit if only she asked, and Nayte, a man who is… *checks notes*… 6’8. Hmmm… whomever will she choose?

Meet The Parents

But before Michelle can choose anyone, the guys have to meet Michelle’s parents. I mean, technically, Brandon has already met Michelle’s parents, though I’m guessing he would like to meet his maybe future in-laws again under different circumstances. And by “different circumstances” I mean without having to use pool furniture to hide his water-logged chubby. 

Brandon’s second impression does, in fact, win over the in-laws. Brandon says all the right things: he loves Michelle, he wants to move to Minnesota for Michelle, he would work from home for Michelle, he’s been slowly siphoning off his own blood for Michelle in case she would ever like to wear it in a vial around her neck like he’s been wanting to do hers (it’s just a suggestion, take your time to think about it, baby!). Is anyone really shocked by Brandon’s stellar performance? Meeting families is his goddamn Super Bowl. 

While Brandon already has Michelle’s parents penciling in a family cruise for 2022, Nayte’s date with the in-laws goes less smoothly. Right off the bat, Michelle’s dad hates him. No notes. Iconic. 

NAYTE: *says literally anything*
MICHELLE’S DAD:

Miranda Cosgrove Interesting Meme

I love that her family is just like, immediately no. When Nayte evades their questions about relationship logistics by talking about the “awesome vibes” he gets from their daughter (I paraphrase) they’re right there to poke holes in his story and call him out for his vagueness. It’s like every time Nayte tries to make bold proclamations about their relationship, the parents are looking for JSTOR articles to back up his claims. Amazing. 

Things only get worse when Michelle asks her mother if she thinks Nayte is ready for a relationship and she straight-up says no. Her mom was like, “how do I put this gently? Um, he sucks.” LaVonne! At least sugarcoat it a little bit. Michelle is naturally devastated. She keeps saying that she’s got to rethink her relationship with Nayte and by that she means rethinking how is she going to tell her parents that she doesn’t care what they think, she’s picking him anyway. I’m reading you loud and clear, Michelle!

The Last Supper One-On-One’s

At this point in the season, it’s definitely Nayte’s game to lose. Brandon is less a realistic romantic suitor and more the guy friend you send pictures of your outfit to, to ask if it looks slutty enough for your real date. There is a reality where Michelle would choose Brandon, of course she would choose Brandon, but that reality can only exist in a dystopian world where tributes from each district fight for the death for food and resources. 

Of course, Michelle does get one last day with each of the guys before the proposal to finalize her decision. First up is Brandon and jet-skiing. If Michelle was looking to bring out more of Brandon’s sex appeal then, boy, did this date blow up in her face. If anything, their date reads very “mommy-son fun outing” to me. At one point, Michelle even tightens his life jacket in such a way that suggests this might be the start of Brandon’s new kink in the bedroom. Oh, mommy, safety first pleaseeeee. 

The one thing that comes out of this date is that Michelle does give a half-hearted “I love you” to Brandon. Previously, when Brandon had dropped the “L” word, Michelle had only said she was falling for him, not that she was actually in love with him. I’m not sure if she’s even conscious of how hard she’s trying to make it work with Brandon but, from the comfort of my own home where I can make snap judgements about complete strangers 3.5 glasses of red deep, I can confidently say that she doesn’t make their love look easy.

MICHELLE: Brandon loves so hard
BRANDON “LOVING HARD”:

When Nayte’s date rolls around, it’s almost a relief to watch Michelle stop faking it. Say what you want about Nayte being a seven-foot, human-shaped red flag, but their chemistry is undeniable. Unlike her relationship with Brandon, where the chemistry is maybe less tangible but he is at least able to articulate his feelings by using his big boy words, Nayte is all about the vibes. Enter Raul: a Mexican shaman ABC hired to both contribute to cultural appropriation and sage Nayte’s aura to get him proposal-ready. K.

Raul would like for them to sage each other and whisper their relationship wishes into the smoke. Look, no shade to Raul, but if he thinks literally blowing smoke up their asses is going to shake a man who has 28 years worth of commitment issues stored up inside, then he better think again. 

Speaking of Nayte, he is having a hard time speaking and waving smoke at Michelle at the same time. The only thing he’s good at multitasking is the girls in his DMs. Nayte’s like, “this is tough for me because normally my height sort of does all the talking.” Yeahhhh, I’m getting that. Say no more, buddy. 

Later, Nayte admits that he only came on the show with two suits because he didn’t think that he would make it farther than two rose ceremonies. And yet, here he is, falling in love when he definitely didn’t plan to. This admission does two things: 1) it clears up why his rose ceremony attire is more appropriate for spring break in Daytona Beach and 2) makes me tingle in places that are simply not appropriate to mention in my recaps. 

I will say that all of  Nayte’s “red flags” are only red flags in a world that’s been ABC produced within an inch of its life. What exactly are Nayte’s bad qualities? That he loves Michelle but doesn’t have a concrete answer for every single logistical thing about their relationship given that he has known her less time than it takes me to answer a DM? And the problem is… what exactly? 

Who Will She Choose??

Michelle Young contemplates who she will give the final rose to on the finale of The Bachelorette

Nayte. Aggressively, obviously, Nayte, though she does put on a big show of even considering her other dude, Brandon. The morning of engagements she seems nervous, which outwardly she tells us is because she “hasn’t made up her mind yet” though I think it’s less about her making up her mind and more about her making up her mind about how she will squash Brandon like a bug. 

Speaking of Brandon, guess who’s up first for proposals? Notoriously, the man who shows up first is the losing man and when the camera pans in on Brandon no one is surprised to see him there. The one reprieve we get is that most of his proposal/rejection is drowned out by the sound of waves aggressively crashing on the beach. Wow, this is bad. Seriously, did one of the crew members get high during the sound check portion of the show? Like, production has to be regretting this location choice. I can barely hear what they’re saying! 

 

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While I can’t quite make out the extent of their conversation (perhaps Mother Nature took pity on Brandon and caused this aquatic catastrophe to drown out his tears), I am able to hear Michelle when she clearly tells him she loves him as she dumps him. Brutal. She’s like “it’s not that I don’t love you, it’s that Nayte gives the better dick. You get it, right??” Not only does he get it, Michelle, but he’ll be talking about this moment for the rest of his days in therapy. Nice work. 

BRANDON: I truly wish you nothing but happiness, giving you my heart was worth it.
ME, TO MY DOG, ALONE IN MY LIVING ROOM: 

Speaking of next, Nayte looks absolutely delicious. He’s wearing his one of two suits and he’s ready to give Michelle the rest of his life. Probably. We’ll see. Only if the vibes are immaculate. Michelle, shocked that she conned this 6’8″ god into shackling himself to her in almost-matrimony, gives a tearful “yes.” It would have been a beautiful moment if Michelle hadn’t tarnished her “yes” by following it up with the words “you’re my soulNayte!!” I could have gone my whole life without hearing that pun. My. whole. life. 

After The Final Rose

In deciding how to spend the last hour of programming to wrap up the season, ABC took the route that most employers take at the end of the year: to eek the life out of their devoted subjects for as long as they possibly can, regardless of holidays or familial obligations. Seriously, this is 60 minutes of my life I will never get back. ABC, you’re lucky I don’t sue.

Honestly, the most dramatic part of ATFR was watching production get dragged on Twitter for not making the audience wear masks during a COVID surge. After that, everything else was a goddamn snooze fest. They bring Brandon out as if he is a slug and we, the viewer, are about to collectively pour salt on him and watch him disintegrate for our personal amusement. It gets worse when Michelle joins him in the hot seat and the two of them are MATCHING. They are literally a match made in heaven. I can’t. 

Michelle Young and Brandon sit on the couch in maroon outfits for After The Final Rose

After spending the appropriate amount of time flinging the remnants of Brandon’s heart into the audience like they’re free T-shirts being launched into the crowd at a sporting event, they bring out Michelle’s soulNayte. (Again, gag). They seem happy and cute together and we learn that post-filming, the two are house hunting in Minnesota. If there’s any cold feet happening in the relationship, ABC tries to circumvent that by gifting Michelle and Nayte with a down payment for their house. Bribery, much?

I will say these two look like they’re in it for the long haul, if only because they’re moms are now adorably BFF and there’s nothing that keeps people together quite like familial guilt. Ever happiness to you both! 

Michelle and Nayte kiss as confetti falls around them at the end of After The Final Rose

And that’s all she wrote, girlies! See you in two weeks when my New Years resolution of pretending to care about Clayton will immediately be put to the test. Until then!

Images: Craig Sjodin (3), Christopher Willard (2) / ABC; Giphy (3); @thebitchelorette_ /Instagram (1); @nayteandmichelle /Instagram (1)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Risking It For The Biscuit

Welcome back to another very exciting episode of The Bachelorette! I’m calling this episode “very exciting” because this is the moment in the season when Michelle becomes the reason the guidance counselor at her school has to work overtime come fall. That’s right, people: fantasy suite dates are here! Unlike the past few seasons of The Bachelor/ette, Michelle and her men are actually allowed to travel beyond the property line of whatever hotel ABC has been holding them hostage in these last few weeks. Fun! Truly, I think it is so much fun that ABC deemed it too unsafe for Michelle to travel for hometowns, but a Mexican Marriott for fantasy suites is totally fine. It really gives a whole new meaning to that phrase “risking it for the biscuit.” 

All jokes aside, fantasy suites are an important stage of these producer-manipulated relationships. For one, it’s the first time that Michelle is allowed to spend complete alone time with any of the men. It’s during that alone time that she can gauge how strong her emotional connections are with each of them—or at least gauge how strong her aversions are to finger-blasting as foreplay. Only time will tell!

Brandon’s Fantasy Suite Date

First up this week is Brandon, who looks like his idea of foreplay includes gentle eye contact and a Spotify mashup of Hallmark Christmas movie soundtracks. My feelings are only reinforced during the day portion of their date when they go on a romantic horseback ride through the jungle. At one point Brandon says he can’t ride horses, and I feel like this is a metaphor for his bedroom habits. In fact, the anxious “yeehaw” he lets out as they ride off into the jungle is probably the fun new “kink” he lists on his Bumble profile when this is all over. 

I think my problem with Brandon is that he cannot be taken seriously. His emotional angst ranks right up there with one of my diary entries from sophomore year and it’s unsettling to watch, let alone root for. Case in point is this little exchange:

BRANDON: I can’t wait to literally rip my heart out, throw it on the table, and just say, do what you want with it, because it only beats for you at this point.
ME:

Brandon! You can’t just go around telling people how you feel! What are you, eight? Grow up. 

Later, Brandon tells Michelle that he loves her and is this the part where he asks her to wear his letterman? Are they going steady now? I’m not shocked at all that Brandon is the type to make bold proclamations before sex. In fact, I think his climax absolutely depends on it. What I am shocked about is how into it Michelle seems. In fact, every single time she hangs out with Brandon she seems taken aback by her response to him. It’s like she knows he’s fully embarrassing but can’t stop herself from being into it. 

I will say that I’m not convinced any fantasies were actually enacted in that hotel suite. Though they do spend the night together, the next morning they both sit suspiciously clothed and with a healthy amount of distance between their bodies. It’s not immediately clear that they’ve done anything other than wear Korean face masks and binge watch HGTV. I suppose only time will tell…

Joe’s Fantasy Suite Date

I’m worried about Joe this week. It seems like Mexico—and having to listen to his girlfriend fake an orgasm with other guys through the adjoining wall—has not been good for his mental health. Wild. Out of all of the guys, he’s struggling the most with the idea of fantasy suites and, I’ll admit, I’m getting some sick satisfaction out of his reaction. I love that the guy WHO GHOSTED HER is the most torn up about this. I guess emotional sabotage is only a turn on when he’s the one in control of it. 

Overall, their date isn’t super impressive to me. I’ve never really understood Michelle’s connection to Joe beyond his physical attractiveness and this date in paradise continues to perplex me. They go ziplining and it’s maybe the first time I’ve heard Joe speak above the lowest decibel a human ear can hear. Michelle interprets the screams he emits from ziplining as Joe “opening up” to her and not Joe’s anxiety completely taking control of his bodily reactions. Tomato, tahmato. 

Michelle is really trying her damnedest to pull an intimate, emotional connection out of Joe and the best Joe can give her is this:

Christ. 

My problem with Joe is that their whole connection seems to hinge on basketball and their physical attraction to one another. Take basketball out of the equation and the two are struggling to engage in ways that aren’t single syllable grunts. I mean, I think I have more free-flowing conversations with my dog, for god’s sake. 

No matter, Michelle decides to give him another chance and invites him to spend the night with her. I’m sure that decision had everything to do with her very real feelings for him and nothing at all to do with the very real feelings his DMs made her feel in her vagina all those months ago. Yep. There’s no way this can go wrong. 

Nayte’s Fantasy Suite Date

Even though Nayte’s date is last this week, he seems the most unconcerned about the fantasy suites situation. While the rest of the guys agonized over if their girlfriend had given a half-hearted handy to another guy in the room, Nayte seemed more concerned that this conversation might cut into the hotel’s continental breakfast time. 

BRANDON AND JOE: I’m sick to my stomach thinking this girl I’m in love with is possibly falling more in love with someone else right now.
NAYTE, ALREADY ONE MOJITO DEEP: 

If anything Nayte seems more inclined to torture those around him than to feel any sort of torment regarding the situation himself. He’s like “hey, Brandon! What do you think Michelle and Joe are doing on their date? Soaking up that Vitamin D? Haha! Get it?!” Never mind that Brandon was already sitting there looking absolutely haunted. After that comment he’s going to spend the rest of the day actively trying not to imagine what else the guy who can spin a basketball on his finger might be doing with said fingers. 

When the guys try to rattle Nayte by asking why he’s not more upset, he says that he’s just that confident in his connection with Michelle. And here’s the thing: Nayte has every right to feel confident in their relationship. Their chemistry is palpable. My god, their yachting date?? I have not seen a couple this attractive on the open seas since I grew out of my Pirates of the Caribbean phase. Have mercy. 

You know who isn’t quite as confident in their connection? Michelle. She says that she’s worried she has stronger feelings for him than he has for her. Lol. Well of course you do, honey! It took the man 20 years to say the “L” word to the people who raised him. He probably doesn’t even sign his coworkers’ birthday cards, lest they get the wrong idea about their relationship and think they’re actually chummy.

MICHELLE: Is there anything on your mind you want to say to me before I read the fantasy suite date card?
NAYTE: 

I will say Michelle is persistent about getting the answer she wants to hear. When it becomes clear that they will sit outside in their own stink and perspiration until he says he loves her, then and only then does he break down and say he loves her, now please can they just go have sex now? Absolutely swoon.  

If I had doubts about what Michelle was doing with Brandon and Joe in the fantasy suites, I have no such qualms about her activities with Nayte. The morning after footage shows clothes askew, her makeup is half on his face, some of Nayte’s body jewelry is still caught up in her hair. There is no mistaking what went down here tonight (spoiler: it was Nayte).

And fuck, if the two of them don’t look so in love! But while Michelle is saying in her confessional that Nayte is her soul mate, Nayte is still throwing out words “might” and “possible”, as in: it might work out between them or there’s a possibility for real love. Though nothing can be worse than his response to the other men when they ask how his date went and he said they “vibed out” and really “kicked it.” Nathan! These are things I said about the CBD products a sorority sister conned me into purchasing as a part of her mommy group’s pyramid scheme. These are not things you say after spending an intimate night with your future wife!

Going into the rose ceremony, Nayte’s shine cannot be dulled. While the rest of the dudes look like they would rather have spoiled fruit thrown at them in the town square than be in this room where they might get romantically rejected after spending the night with a woman, Nayte is practically giddy to get his rose. He’s 6’6, what does he have to be worried about?

And what do you know? True love Height and inconsistent romantic feelings reign victorious once again! Nayte scores the first of the roses and, after a moment of wavering, Brandon lands the second rose. This means that Mr. Basketball is going home. As Joe exits he dead-pan mumbles “I just want to go home” and it’s a sentiment that reverberates through my bones. We all just want to go home, Joe.

We’ll have to wait until next week for the three (kill me) hour season finale. Until next week, betches!

Images: ABC / Craig Sjodin; Giphy (4)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: I Asked For Family Drama, Not Family Trauma

It’s the most wonderful time of the yearrrrrr! And, no, I’m not referring to those unhinged enough to already be dousing their homes in holiday cheer. I’m talking about the most wonderful time of The Bachelor year: Hometowns. It’s a pivotal time in the men’s relationship with Michelle, a time when she can look around at her four remaining boyfriends and judge for herself who is ready for marriage and who is still letting mommy cut his meat for him. Fun for the whole family, really!

Last week, Michelle whittled her men down to four: Brandon, Nayte, Joe, and Rodney. I had high hopes that this season might allow for Hometowns to exist again in places like a home or a town, but alas, for the fifth season in a row we’re going to be watching families interact in a sea of beige conference rooms. Boooooo. 

I cannot emphasize this enough: the Bachelorette needs proper Hometown dates if she’s going to make an educated decision about her future. The Bachelor? Not so much. He just needs to see which of his girlfriends has the best-aging mom and the least psychotic brothers and he’s good to go. But the Bachelorette? This date is crucial to seeing how the sausage gets made. Literally. And without a childhood home to fact-check if she’s been dating an actual human being and not just a pile of loose-leaf garbage masquerading as a human being, that likelihood gets slimmer and slimmer. I mean, how else is she supposed to find out which of these guys still masturbates to their high school yearbook quote if we don’t get a decent look at the house that built them? Hmm? How?!

Brandon’s Hometown

Speaking of Hometowns, Brandon’s is up first. We’re told he is allowed to bring his mother, father, and brother into the hostage situation. I say “hostage situation” because I’m not convinced Brandon’s family came of their own free will. My god, in order for the brother to be able to attend this sad little event he had to delay going into the Navy. The Navy! Imagine telling the Navy that you’re too busy to report for duty, you’ve got to support your brother on The Bachelorette. He’s either set himself up for a lifetime of mockery or his  presence on my TV isn’t of his own volition. Watch his hands, people. See if his fingers start quietly tapping out Morse code for “help me.” 

Before Michelle gets to meet the family, Brandon takes her to a place that feels like home to him: the skate park. Okay, how old is this guy? Aren’t skate parks for, like, the shitty kid you babysit and guys in their 20s who think living in a van is a personality trait?

I think my problem with Brandon, and what makes it impossible to root for him, is that he looks too fresh-faced to be taken seriously. He’s got poreless skin, good intentions, and a positive outlook on life. That would exhaust me. In fact, I know I would look absolutely haggard standing next to him at all times. 

MY COMPLEXION DATING BRANDON:

When we finally meet Brandon’s family they are just as poreless and good-intentioned as their offspring. The star of the show, though, is not Brandon or even his parents—the people who instilled Disney Channel-level ethics into him—but his brother. I just can’t stop thinking about the fact that his existence on my television screen came about because he told the US freaking Navy that his start date wasn’t sitting right with his energy. And what a lewk he has about him! Like, are we sure he’s in the armed forces? Or does he just have a TikTok account that references the US Navy in its handle? I’m gonna need some clarification here. 

Right off the bat, the brother grabs Michelle to “talk.” It’s less of a civilized conversation and more of a verbal assault of questions. He wants to know why Brandon is different than the other guys she’s dating and I do hope she mentions Brandon’s willingness to be semi-erect whilst wearing her father’s intimates. If that’s not a complete display of devotion, I don’t know what is. 

As the brother keeps relentlessly quizzing Michelle, I just keep thinking about all the questions I have for him. Like, how long are you allowed to ghost something like the Navy? Do you already get a demerit for ditching basic training to participate in the saddest part of humanity, reality television? And will you be able to wear that chain during basic training? These are the things that keep me up at night. 

Brandon’s dad also seems like a fun guy. He certainly seems to have more chemistry with Michelle than his son does. They’re both talking about drinking beers and Sunday Funday and I’m like, okay, should we get these two a room?? I mean the tension is practically palpable. 

Overall, Brandon’s family has a good showing. It’s really too bad that she’ll likely dump them all for someone taller and with more commitment issues. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles, kids!  

You poor, stupid fool. 

Joe’s Hometown

Joe is the only guy actually able to bring Michelle to his hometown as he’s the only one actually from Minneapolis. It almost feels like production withheld normal Hometowns not for safety reasons, but so that this front-runner could have a clear home court advantage… 

Whatever the case is, Joe needs all the help he can get. Instead of taking Michelle someplace special, he takes her on a tour of his old high school. WHY?? Not only is this an essential regifting of Michelle’s date idea from last week, but what is attractive about a high school exactly? Is it the stench of disinfectant and Axe body spray? Or the irrational fear that a 15-year-old in Uggs might verbally assault you if you even cross the threshold? Hmm?

The date gets even worse when he plans a two-person prom in the school’s gym that has all of the creative vision of a Party City clearance section. This is an absolute no from me. If a guy led me into an abandoned high school and surprised me with this manifestation of my nightmares, I would not only suspect the date to end in a Josie Grossie moment that involved me at the receiving end of an egging, but also, possibly, an untimely death. I’m telling you, nothing good can come of a prom! 

THE COUPLE:

ME TO MY DOG: Mark my words, something wicked this way comes…

Despite the foreboding energy of this date (read: me screaming “the call is coming from inside of the house!!” and other melodramatic horror movie warnings as Michelle has a perfectly normal time), Michelle eats it up. I can tell that the idea of Joe manifests from some sort of high school wet dream that she’s been harboring for the last 15 years. It’s the only explanation, really, for how attached she is to him. I mean the man takes the trope of “strong and silent” to an unheard of level. Seriously, I cannot hear him at all. He never speaks. (Why won’t you speak?!)

It’s only after we meet his family that I understand exactly where Joe gets his quiet demeanor from. Michelle meets his mom, dad, brother, and sister-in-law and, in that meeting, it becomes abundantly clear that the men in the family use mumbled single-syllable words and strategic eye glances as their primary mode of communication. 

 

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The real star of the family is the brother’s wife. She is milking this experience for all it’s worth. I don’t think her husband, you know, the guy WHO’S BLOOD RELATED TO THE REASON WHY THEY’RE ALL THERE, has said more than two words all evening. Meanwhile the wife is like, “I don’t want to have to see her in the grocery store if this doesn’t work out.” Forget the rest of the guys, can we get a hometown date with the wife? I would watch two hours of  Michelle trailing behind her in a grocery store, watching her passive-aggressively terrorize her enemies in the produce aisle. This is the content the people want!

Nayte’s Hometown

Nayte is definitely the date production wants to hype as the shit show. There’s always one. One family that is so aggressively embarrassed to be on this franchise that they would launch verbal nuclear bombs at the family meet-and-greet so as to sabotage any chance of their offspring embarrassing them further by actually, like, legally binding themselves to someone who supports this marital farce masquerading as a show. Nayte’s family is not that. Seriously, if these are the biggest, baddest monsters production could dig up, no one is getting that Christmas bonus this year. 

The worst that can be said about Nayte’s family is that they seem hesitant about his relationship with Michelle. Mostly because he’s never introduced a girl to them before. And they aren’t even dramatic about their hesitancy! They’re very calm, cool, and collected about it all.

MICHELLE: Do you think Nayte is ready for marriage?
THE STEP DAD:

Production would also like us to feel weird about the fact that Nayte doesn’t talk about his emotions with his parents, but sorry! I don’t think that’s weird. Who talks honestly and openly to their family about topics that aren’t what we want for dinner? I mean, my family expresses themselves entirely in movie quotes and passive-aggressive requests. In fact, if someone even discusses something remotely intimate, at least one of us makes an excuse about needing something from the fridge so that we can leave the room. What is weird about that? 

My favorite is when Nayte gets emotional and tells his stepdad that he loves him for the first time and we’re all supposed to clap and feel things about this. If it took him this long to say “I love you” to a man who has been an emotional constant for almost the entirety of his life, I hate to see what that timeline looks like for Michelle. Perhaps he’ll be ready to drop the “L word” when their first born goes off to college! 

You can tell ABC is desperately trying to sow the seeds of discord by using Nayte’s small amount of Hometown family drama to emphasize that Nayte isn’t ready for marriage and that Michelle won’t know who to pick at the rose ceremony. To that I say, no shit, he isn’t ready for marriage. But who cares! Commitment issues are female kryptonite. We’ve been conditioned from a young age to “fix” men, so OF COURSE his failure to drop the L word is getting her hot. Intimacy issues are better than foreplay. At the very least, she would like to see how this energy translates in the fantasy suites. Let the girl live!

Rodney’s Hometown

Finally, let’s talk about Rodney. I, personally, am very interested to see the kind of stock he hails from. It would not surprise me, for example, to learn that Rodney is actually related to the Charmin Ultra Soft bears. He’s just got that kind of vibe about him. 

RODNEY’S FAMILY, PROBABLY:

Look, let me say this. Rodeny is a cinnamon roll of a human, but you also don’t want to fuck a cinnamon roll. I’m getting big friend energy between the two of them, and it’s making me uneasy. I’m having the conflicting urge of both desperately wanting to meet the Charmin bears who raised this sweet specimen of a human and desperately not wanting Michelle to meet them at all, lest she crumble their son like a snickerdoodle cookie. 

My initial suspicions about Rodney’s family are proven correct. No, they aren’t Charmin bears. Yes, they’re actual human beings (or at the very least, full-grown marshmallows wearing human skin suits). His family seems so fucking tender I might actually have to look away from my screen. They are way too sweet. 

Knowing that his family is cute as shit does nothing to ease my dread. Michelle did say earlier in their date that Rodney is “definitely my best friend” which is how I know for sure that he’s going home this week. Look at the way they even describe their relationship to his parents:

RODNEY: She makes me happy. She’s perfect, she’s beautiful, she’s the future mother of my children.
MICHELLE: Yeah… it’s been fun. 

It’s been fun?! I’ve seen more heartfelt emotion in my yearbook from a high school acquaintance’s half scribbled “HAGS.”

In the end, no amount of family cuteness can save Rodney’s fate. Michelle sends him home with a smile and a promise to stay pen pals (as all summer friendships end). Until next week, betches!

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