The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: And We’re… Happy About This?

Welcome back to your favorite Bachelorette recap! If you were hoping to see happy endings for our gals Gabby and Rachel—or at least some sliver of healing after the trauma of having to fake being into Clayton’s foreplay only to be dumped 24 hours later—well, it’s not that kind of program, kids! What kind of program is it? Apparently the kind that slow-smokes the emotional sanity of two previously perfectly normal women like it’s a rack of ribs at the family reunion barbecue. You gotta love ABC’s consistency. 

For most of this season, I sat in my humble abode, guzzling wine in quantities that would not be approved by a medical professional, steadily chanting “men are garbage, men are garbage, men are GARBAGE,” in the hopes that if I chanted it enough it would manifest itself into existence. Imagine the sounds of Gabby and Rachel’s sobs triggering some sort of biological reaction in which the men transformed, Animorphs-style, into the saddest, least desirable item at a yard sale. 

That is the bright future that I wanted for them!! But alas, we will get no such reprieve. 

Part one of the season finale aired last Tuesday, and I have seen more optimism in a History Channel special about plagues. Both Gabby and Rachel had started to realize that the happy ending ABC promised them, the ending that involved engagement and marriage and an onslaught of new Instagram followers, might never even happen because the men just couldn’t seem to get on board. This is what happens when you make deals with bridge trolls calling themselves Neil Lane! I tried to warn you, ladies.

Which brings us to tonight. We are back in the pits of hell, where the audience sits in angry silence. This is juxtaposed with the white noise machine ABC brought out to subtly impose “calming wave” sounds upon the crowd. I guess they’re worried that this live audience, fueled on complimentary champagne and a collective feminine rage that could crumble cities with its force, might go all Pride Rock on the men and rip them limb-from-limb for America’s viewing pleasure. A girl can dream. 

And then there’s Jesse Palmer who is back to using “After the Final Rose” as his own personal audition tape for Juilliard. “It feels like there’s been more scandal and betrayal than true love,” Jesse says, and yes, he has been practicing his “serious” monologue.

It’s giving me this:

Before we even start with the proposals, Jesse threatens that we will need to consume more wine to get through the next 2.5 hours of programming. The Pavlovian response I have to this man… he says “jump,” I say “how many glasses??”

The episode starts, and already the energy is giving “the call is coming from inside the house.” To enhance this vibe, ABC makes a point to include footage of Gabby and Rachel gushing over what great guys they have left. “Our literal dream guys,” Gabby swoons about a man who has the haircut of an Animal House extra. “DREAM,” Rachel emphasizes as Tino practices dissociating from his body in the next room. 

“Dream” feels like a strong word to use here. “Total body hallucination as the result of surviving a six-week hostage situation” is perhaps more accurate. But whatever makes you happy, ladies!

Tino Did WHAT Now?!

Now we get into the real drama. The finale is split into thirds: part one is Rachel’s journey, part two is Gabby’s journey, and part three is ABC’s half-hearted attempt at gassing up the crowd for the new season of The Bachelor (more on that later). We kick things off with Rachel’s proposal. All I can say is that watching her engagement is a wild exercise in cognitive dissonance. On screen, we see Rachel practically bursting with joy. She shows up to the proposal spot already plotting their farmhouse-style wedding, down to the monogrammed mason jars. I have never seen a woman look so sure about a man who sweats that much. This is juxtaposed with shots of Rachel in real-time, looking like she would rather go back to sniffing contestants’ armpits than relive this moment.

It gets cringier when Tino starts in on his speech and says that this love is “never going away.” Turns out the “never” part lasted about 3-5 business days. 

ABC doesn’t even have any footage of them as a happy couple. Instead, they pan back to Jesse’s hell realm, where he asks Rachel what the hell happened post-filming. “Catch me up!” Jesse says, but what he really means is “where did you bury Tino’s body?” Jesse! That’s one secret she’ll never tell. 

Rachel says that post-filming, she and Tino struggled in their relationship. There were long-distance growing pains and trust issues with watching Rachel date other guys. By the time the season was aired, Rachel and Tino were in a bad place. I would argue that entire season was a bad place, but fine. Carry on.

It’s at this point that Tino apparently sheds his human skin to reveal his true nature. He’s not Rachel’s forever guy, but actually Axe body spray taken human form. Rachel says that during this “bad time” in their relationship, he cheated. 

ME ON MY COUCH, ALREADY TWO GLASSES OF WINE DEEP:

EXCUSE ME?! You’re telling me this man couldn’t even keep it in his pants for the 90 days it takes ABC to edit and air this show? Not only did Tino cheat, but he apparently called Rachel and begged her not to tell anyone so they could fake it through ATFR. THE AUDACITY OF THIS MAN. 

“He only cares about his image,” Rachel says, “he doesn’t care about me.” And isn’t that the crux of it? Look, in the grand scheme of things is a kiss that big of a deal? No. Especially when you’ve only known your fiancé for a short period of time, a period of time in which she was very transparently dating other people. Yes, he promised her unwavering commitment and (lol) honesty. Yes, he lied to her. But I think Rachel would have probably forgiven him for the kiss had he not asked her to fake it for the show. She already faked a few things in the Fantasy Suites for him. She can only fake so much. 

Jesse Palmer is a messy bitch. He tells us that he has footage of a confrontation between Tino and Rachel post-cheating reveal. He almost cackles in excitement at the news. You may want to tone down that unrestrained glee at watching Rachel’s life implode, Jesse. It’s tacky. 

The footage shows the two meeting at an undisclosed location. Rachel looks calm, cool, collected; Tino looks like that kid who put a book down his pants to avoid getting spanked. This doesn’t mean that Tino came to the confrontation empty-handed. Oh no! He came armed with a dream journal, the pages filled, I’m sure, with his serial killer scrawl. While the purpose of the dream journal has yet to be revealed, I’m worried that he’s about to do something absolutely unhinged like put his feelings into a song. 

TINO: Would you like to go first?
RACHEL:

WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO FIRST. Do you have a brain injury, Tino?? My god! What is wrong with you?

It turns out that the purpose of the dream journal is not to assault our eardrums with a song or reveal the secrets of Tom Riddle (my second guess). Instead, Tino used it to secretly record their conversations, supposedly verbatim, so he could read from it here today like he’s giving the last rites at his own execution. Rachel should take that journal from his hand and smack him with it. 

Tino tries to clarify the cheating thing by saying it wasn’t with some random girl, but rather with a girl he had a flirtation with before the show. And that makes it… better? Oh, Tino. That little reveal is not doing what you think it’s doing for your credibility. 

Incredibly, Tino tries to turn the whole thing on Rachel. It’s her fault he kissed that girl. She drove him to it by saying she wouldn’t wear her engagement ring at ATFR and accusing him of trying to be the next Bachelor.

I seriously can’t wait for him to face this live viewing party. The carnage these people are about to unleash. They didn’t get their day in court with Hayden “These Bachelorettes Are A Bunch of Bitches” Markowitz at the Men Tell All. They’ve been whetting their rage appetites ever since. 

JESSE PALMER: Alright, everybody, let’s all welcome Tino to the stage!
THE AUDIENCE WELCOMING TINO TO THE STAGE: 

Tino says that he finally wants to take responsibility for his actions. He’s the one that cheated; his actions are on him. And then he looks anxiously to stage left, where a producer is holding his dream journal over a fire off-screen.  

I still think we aren’t getting the full story. They keep alluding to “hard times” in their relationship. These hard times are allegedly the catalyst for Tino’s cheating, but they refuse to divulge the specifics on camera.

“There were things that production didn’t air, that we both don’t want to air, but do you want me to talk about it?” Rachel threatens Tino. All the while her eyes are saying she will spill national secrets if it helps to destroy this man on national television. But what is the “it” that they don’t want talked about?! I worry they’re two consenting adults who like to have sex in front of their beanie baby collection. I wouldn’t put it past them. 

But all hope is not lost for Rachel. Tino may have broken her trust in men, but Aven is here, and he is ready to pick up the pieces. Maybe Aven’s showing up unannounced at the finale was because he truly wants another shot with Rachel. Or, maybe ABC just hired him to humiliate Tino one final time, just in case his manhood wasn’t shriveled up enough. We’ll never know! Rachel and Aven ride off into the sunset together, where I hope they can build a strong romantic relationship off stabbing the ill-wish doll Rachel made out of the skins of Tino’s journals. 

Good luck kids!

Erich Bends The Knee

Last time we checked in with Gabby and Erich’s love story, Erich was just telling Gabby that he only wants to date her. You better be joking, bitch. Gabby is 31! Her reproductive organs are rotting like a banana one day after purchase. She doesn’t have time for you to sort out your commitment issues. 

Nevertheless, on proposal day Erich shows up. Gabby tells him that she loves him and she trusts him despite the fact that every bird in Mexico is currently telling her to do the opposite. Dear god, you can barely hear her speech over those squawks. It’s like something out of Pet Sematary. These birds must be trying to warn her. They’re yelling “check the yearbook!”

It seems no one is going to acknowledge the bird apocalypse hijacking this proposal. After Gabby gets done laying her heart on the line, Erich starts in on his speech. 

ERICH: It’s you and me until the wheels fall off.
THE WHEELS: 

Well, he certainly follows through on his promises!

Despite Erich’s original hesitations, he proposes and Gabby accepts. Look, I know Erich is problematic and all, but I still believe in them! Call me crazy! There’s just something about their chemistry that you can’t deny. It may not be shiny and Instagram-perfect, but it’s there and I’m rooting for it. 

Am I broken? They’re so cute! I, mean, if dragging each other on social media isn’t love then I don’t know what is!!

Back in Jesse Palmer’s hell realm, we find out that Gabby and Erich are still together. But that doesn’t mean Erich is completely off the hook. Jesse does interrogate him about his recent run of bad PR. Specifically, he asks about the leaked text messages from Erich’s ex that indicate he was only on the show to advance his career. (What career does he have again?? Funemployed seems like the only professional space that would consider a fauxhawk business casual). 

Erich, having seen Tino limp off stage earlier like a maimed gazelle, immediately takes accountability for his actions. He admits to leading this girl on and being too cowardly to tell her the real reason he wanted to stop seeing her. This is all his fault and he wishes he was more direct with her. A man admitting he was wrong? And meaning it? It couldn’t be. I think the foundation beneath my feet just shook. On a less positive note, we get exactly zero discussion of the blackface yearbook photo. Like I said before, ABC is nothing if not consistent.

We Asked For A Bachelor, Not A Blowup Doll

And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for: who will be our next Bachelor? Will it be Nate the single dad? Will it be Ethan of “baby back bitch” fame? (Btw, you were right about that, Ethan). No, on both counts. Our next Bachelor is Rachel’s third runner-up: Zach.

They might as well have made Earl Grey tea the next Bachelor for all of the excitement this announcement ignites. We asked for a real leading man, not a dude with less substance than a blowup doll. 

And that’s all she wrote, kids! I will not be talking about the absolute farce that was ABC polluting Gabby’s happy ending by parading Zach’s girls out during the last 45 minutes of the show. Not only did Gabby and Rachel have to share their season, but now they have to share their finale? No, I’m sorry. I simply won’t stand for it. You may have made Erich bend the knee, but you won’t make me!

See everyone next week for Bachelor in Paradise!

Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (5); @ryanneprobst (2); @erich_schwer /Instagram (1)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Can’t We Just Date?

Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! As we move into week one of the two-week season finale, I only have two questions for you, readers: have you been getting yourself ready? And have you been taking the time to “prepare” yourself for the most dramatic ending yet? I know I have (and not just because on Monday I had an almost Pavlovian urge to douse myself in rosé and self-soothe to Gabby’s vocal fry). Whenever a white dude with the personality of a banana tells you to SHUT UP AND SHAPE UP in any context that isn’t CrossFit, that should send a swift chill down your spine.

Last week, Jesse Palmer sat us all down in his doomsday bunker to threaten us with a particularly upsetting season finale. The mood he created suggested that Gabby and Rachel would have to face off against live tigers before accepting marriage proposals. Or at the very least, they would have to whisper “bloody Mary” three times in front of a mirror and if Chris Harrison appeared, drink in hand and slurring about the “woke police,” then they must spend another six weeks on the USS Fuckboy.

The thing is, Jesse Palmer didn’t have to suggest that some sort of sinister oracular vision was at play in predicting a bleak future for Gabby and Rachel. The numbers speak for themselves. While Rachel still has two men and a bitch baby in play, Gabby is down to her last remaining guy–and that guy has a faux hawk!!! (And a problematic history of other fashion, um, choices.) Out of Rachel’s three guys, Zach would sooner fling himself off a cliff than verbalize what happened between him and Rachel in the fantasy suite, Aven just looks confused, and Tino is still choosing to live in the alternate reality where his family wouldn’t show up to a Thanksgiving with Rachel brandishing garlic and holy water. We have working eyes and ears, Jesse. It’s clear the odds are not really in their favor! 

Which brings us to tonight. The showrunners want to emphasize that this footage is BREAKING NEWS. They even got special permission from ABC to extend the episode by 15 minutes, despite no one asking them to do so and, in fact, begging them to do the opposite.

What on earth could be left to watch next week that we couldn’t cover tonight #TheBachelorette

— The Betchelor🥀 (@betchelorpod) September 14, 2022

Tonight’s episode will alternate between the finale moments in Mexico and Jesse Palmer’s live viewing party. The viewing party appears to take place in the pits of Hell, where he has summoned his denizens of flying monkeys (the crowd of sad single people and unfulfilled wives) to feed off of Gabby and Rachel’s anguish like it’s half-price wine night.

For once in her life, our favorite coastal grandma (Rachel) looks absolutely stunning. No notes. Gabby looks fine, too. This is all offset by their haunted facial expressions. These women are about to relive special moments with their supposed dream men, and they look like they’re the last two standing in a Final Destination movie. It’s at this point in the evening, as Rachel stares dead-eyed into the crowd and Gabby tries to disappear into her hair, that Jesse Palmer decides we’re ready to watch the fourth wave of feminism crumble final moments of the season. Let’s get into it!

WTF Happened In That Fantasy Suite

As I’ve mentioned, Jesse Palmer is working overtime for his Christmas bonus. He tells us that tonight we will be shocked, disgusted, and thankful that we never blacked out so thoroughly as to actually hit send on our Bachelor applications. And all of that starts with Zach’s abrupt exit from the rose ceremony. 

Up until this point, Zach was convinced Rachel was the Skipper to his Barbie. The two of them were the perfect matching set, complete with some assembly required. But after what happened in the fantasy suite, the two of them can’t even make eye contact with each other. 

Y’all. This is WEIRD. They’re speaking words, but those words aren’t adding up to the visceral reactions they’re having to each other’s bodily presence. We are definitely missing something. Zach keeps saying that Rachel wasn’t acting like herself, and Rachel keeps pretending she doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I would still like to know what in the actual fuck went down in that fantasy suite. Like, what could be so bad that the two made a secret blood pact to never speak of it on screen? The meaningful eye contact they keep making has me wondering if one of them proposed eating ass and it gave the other one the ick. I can read between the lines!

Zach sees himself out, but again, there’s no formal dumping. It’s like that Spider-man meme where all the Spider-men are holding guns at each other and slowly backing away. Zach and Rachel are those Spider-men. 

Since this is The Bachelorette and the contestants are not living, breathing people, but rather the producer’s personal silly putty, Rachel and Zach must answer for their vagueness. Jesse Palmer invites Zach to the stage, where he and Rachel continue to exchange half-hearted apologies. 

RACHEL: I’m really sorry
ZACH: No, I’m really sorry
JESSE PALMER: 

THANK YOU, JESSE. Finally you’re asking the hard-hitting questions! 

Zach confirms what we were all thinking: the butt stuff got weird Rachel was trying to quiet quit their relationship. She thought she could muster up the energy for one last over-the-clothes fondling, but in the end realized she should have dumped him when he tried to impress her by ordering “uno más” tequila while dressed in head-t0-toe khaki. 

Big Tony Is In The House 

It’s time for the guys to meet Rachel’s fam or, as I like to call them, the Florida Mafia. You can’t tell me Big Tony has a day job that doesn’t involve blackmail or making cement shoes. I won’t believe it. 

Tino’s meet-and-greet is absolutely delusional, but it takes up all of seven minutes of tonight’s 2+ hour programming. Instead, ABC focuses almost entirely on Aven’s date. The signs for all of this going terribly are immediately obvious. First, Rachel shows up for this very important date dressed like she’s about to start her shift at the White Lotus. Seriously, what was her thought process in packing for Mexico?

^^Rachel on this date rn

Then, she tries to tell her family what she loves about Aven, and all she can come up with is that he’s so hot it’s upsetting. Where is the lie though?

She got one thing right at least. Aven is so hot and Big Tony is upset. Big Tony isn’t vibing with Aven AT ALL. I’m not exactly sure what Big Tony wants from him. Perhaps a big declaration of love? Weirdly, I think he expects that declaration to involve Aven challenging a camera operator to a fight for looking at Rachel too much. I mean, his lexicon is very hostile. He keeps saying things like, “No one is going to take my daughter away from me!” Sir, this isn’t that kind of program. 

Things go from bad to worse when Aven decides to speak words. Oh, sweetie. Why wouldn’t you let that face and those abs do the talking for you? It’s been working for you your whole life! Why switch things up now? While Rachel is singing his praises to her mom, gushing about how she’s had sooo many conversations about marriage and she 100% trusts him to propose in five days, Aven is telling her friends that he, um, actually would be fine with just leaving here girlfriend/boyfriend. Grab the lighter fluid, ladies; it’s time to hunt the witch. 

The thing is, I get what Aven’s saying. He’s 100% serious about Rachel, but the timing of the engagement is negotiable. All very reasonable, normal requests in real life, but this isn’t real life, buddy. This is ABC’s chocolate factory, and Rachel is the Veruca Salt demanding a golden goose of an engagement ring. She doesn’t care how, she wants it right now!

Honestly, I think I would be fine with Aven not proposing to me. I would take that man’s breadcrumbs. But to each their own! 

Rachel goes to confront him in the hotel room, and she is so tunnel-visioned on the engagement that she won’t listen to anything he has to say. I get the sense that Aven would propose in five days, even if his heart wasn’t fully into it, because his feelings are that strong for Rachel. And also, ABC is likely holding his loved ones at gunpoint off screen… but I’m sure that has nothing to do with it!  

Rachel’s tunnel-vision isn’t totally her fault, either. Traditionally, the franchise has emphasized engagements as clear measures of success. What has the Bachelorette been doing for the last six months without her family, friends, phone, or work, if she doesn’t get engaged? But this is not a normal season. These Bachelorettes have had half as much time as as other leads to get to know their men. For almost a quarter of the journey, these guys were dating both women. Maybe an engagement shouldn’t be the measure for success this season. Maybe it should never be again. 

But don’t tell Rachel that—she’s still going on and on about how hurt her feelings are and how embarrassed she was in front of her family. Oh, sweetie. You’re on The Bachelorette. I think they were already embarrassed for you. 

They go back and forth for a while before Rachel eventually sends Aven home. This would be a good time to mention that I would like Aven to be the next Bachelor. He’s hot, he’s age appropriate, he’s hot… need I say more? Of course, this is something that I want and ABC has done nothing but take steaming piles of shit on my personal desires. While I, and any living creature with a heartbeat, can see that casting Aven as the Bachelor is a no-brainer, I’m sure ABC will gift it to some loser from five seasons ago. We can never have a nice thing. 

“He’s a Little Shit, But I Like Him!”

Gabby gets a whopping 20 minutes of the episode, 15 of which are just ABC fan-girling over Grandpa John. Look, I get it. The man is adorable. The reason why he’s sitting down right now is because he’s been carrying the franchise on his back for the last year of Gabby’s Bachelor/Bachelorette reign. But the fanfare over this grandfather is getting to be a little much. At this point, ABC is all but asking him to sign their tits. It’s embarrassing. At least pretend to have a narrative arc in mind for Gabby’s segment of the show. 

Speaking of Gabby, Erich absolutely kills it with her family. It goes so well that Gabby’s aunt even encourages her to be her full, vulnerable self with him. She’s like, “Don’t be afraid to show him how much of an emotional hurricane you really are!” I don’t know, Gabs, you want to save something for the honeymoon. I’m not introducing my forever guy to the internal FEMA that takes place every time I’m mildly inconvenienced unless he’s legally bound to me. That’s just good business.  

Gabby is on cloud nine. She’s ready to get engaged, and Erich is ready to propose… right? RIGHT?! Just to double check (the foundation of the hotel has been shaking all day after Rachel’s uncontrollable sobbing registered more seismic activity than a magnitude 8 earthquake), she heads to Erich’s hotel room. She wants to make sure that the blood oath Erich took with ABC still stands, and he is READY for an engagement. 

GABBY: I don’t want to put pressure on me or you or this relationship
ALSO GABBY:

And boy, is Erich ready to propose. Ready to propose… that they just date after the finale. What the fuck is going on this season? Did the men make a secret pact off-camera to refuse an engagement? Is the work of an anti-engagement union? Is Nick Viall the union rep?

This is unprecedented behavior. Sure, every few seasons we get a singular guy who isn’t ready to get engaged to a total stranger after six weeks. But this season, we’re five days away from a proposal and not one, not two, not three, but FOUR GUYS are refusing to get married at the end of this thing. The audacity of these men. Go on Love Island if you want to fuck around! I don’t have time for it. 

Thank you, ABC, for extending the show eight extra minutes so we could bear witness to that footage! Now, instead of going to bed mildly depressed, I can spend the evening lying awake, staring into the dark abyss that is our life and dating culture. Truly, I needed that. 

Until next week!

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

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Big Fat Dumpster Fire (Part 1!)

Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap! Well, “regularly scheduled” in that it’s a Monday and ABC is airing an episode, regardless of little things like national holidays or my raging hangover. When I think about it, it actually makes perfect sense that ABC would air the first of two two-hour-long Fantasy Suite episodes on a day that celebrates labor. Is there a union that advocates for 30-year-old dog moms with a taste for mediocre wine just trying to scrape by? Asking for a friend. 

This week, the gang is off to Mexico for Fantasy Suites. Let me tell you, the vibes are immaculate. If ever there was a hotel to ignite sexual fantasy, it would be this White Lotus wannabe. If one of their dates doesn’t end with Jennifer Coolidge sobbing through her lip fillers, then it’s a missed opportunity. MISSED. OPPORTUNITY.  

Normally during Fantasy Suites, we get to see 2-3 of the season’s strongest contenders wooing our leads with powerful statements of love on camera and even more powerful statements of their index finger off camera. But, of course, this season does not care for tradition or rules of any kind. With double the Bachelorettes, we’re getting double the Fantasy Suites. That’s right: six men, two women. It’s not so much a “Fantasy Suite” as a luxurious harem. 

And let’s not forget the seventh man haunting this Mexican hellscape: Clayton. Thought you’d heard the last of him? Well, surprise bitch! You know what they say—you never forget your first (man to humiliate you on national television). Rachel and Gabby open the episode by casually shitting on Clayton, every woman’s favorite foreplay. There’s nothing like dissecting a past relationship in excruciating detail to get you in the mood to fuck other people. Better than a vibrator, amiright ladies?

Let’s get into it!

Fantasy Suite #1: Erich & Gabby

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, but Erich and his silent “h” are growing on me. I am a little surprised immigration let Erich into the country with that mullet, though. Feels illegal somehow.

I’m not the only one happy to see Erich. From the moment he steps onto the scene, Gabby is giddy and giggly and butchering common Spanish slang. Though she puts on a good show of pretending to be into her other men, it’s pretty clear that Erich is her guy. Last week, they bonded over Gabby meeting Erich’s terminally ill father. It was somber, it was sweet, it certainly did not deserve to be cheapened by ABC censoring Gabby’s bikini-clad bottom half as they discussed how special and meaningful the moment was to their relationship. 

The two go to “Lover’s Leap,” a lagoon with a rickety structure from which they are supposed to leap, supposedly for trust and romantic purposes. It becomes increasingly evident that the point of this date is not to show any sort of romantic connection between Gabby and Erich. The point of this date is to show that the ABC production head who planned it took one screenwriting class in college and now thinks he’s the Steven Spielberg of creating cinematic metaphors. 

GABBY: My heart wants me to leap… off the bridge!! But physically I’m scared to take that leap… off the bridge!!
ERICH: I only jump… off the bridge!! If you jump… off the bridge!!
THE METAPHOR WEIGHING IN: 

I hate how they always over-explain these metaphors. Like, you don’t have to tell me that a physical leap is just as scary as an emotional leap. I get it. A baby who has yet to develop their sense of object permanence would get it. 

Gabby says that before she can take things to the next level with Erich, she needs to know if he can love her unconditionally, and by that, she means if he’ll be okay if she does some hand stuff with the other guys? I’m picking up what you’re putting down, girly pop. 

It does seem like prior to this moment, Erich hadn’t realized that Fantasy Suite dates were a plural thing. Look, this is a guy who saw 30 fast approaching, and his immediate reaction to feeling old was to get a faux-hawk. Something tells me his ego was not built for Fantasy Suites!

Cut to the next morning, and that crinkled silk jammies set tells me that Gabby was able to, ahem, calm his fears. Nothing says “I faked an orgasm but still had a nice time” quite like wrinkled silk. 

But Erich is still unsure if he can handle the rest of the week knowing Gabby will be with the other guys. Gabby asks him to have patience with her. She knows it’s Erich in the end, but she wants to at least do some over-the-pants fondling with Johnny before she sends him home. You get it, Erich! 

Fantasy Suite #2: Aven & Rachel

Has there ever been a hotter sight than Aven’s bronzed body gallivanting all over the Mexican coast? That man was born to be topless on a yacht. Finally, ABC is giving the people what they want. 

Aven and Rachel spend the day boating and basking in each other’s hotness. I have nothing to say about this date. They look good together, but in the way that catalog models look good together promoting the Belk End of Season Sale. I’m also not sure how into any of this Aven actually is. Case in point: during the evening portion of the date, he tells Rachel that he’s “100% ready to be engaged to her next week”, but while his mouth is saying he’s ready, his body language is saying he wants to drown himself in the Gulf. Which is it, buddy?

That does not stop the two of them from spending the night together in the Fantasy Suite. I’m not sure what went on in that suite, but when Rachel emerges the next morning she looks like she survived a goddamn natural disaster. Ya know, if that natural disaster originated in Aven’s pants. 

RACHEL: Aven is definitely the full package. The full package.
ALSO RACHEL:

Say less, Rachel! You have my blessing!

Fantasy Suite #3: Tino & Rachel

While Rachel was busy getting a contact high from Aven’s abs, Tino spent his first few days in Mexico lamenting his relationship status with Rachel. He thought his hometown went great. Sure, his dad fed on Rachel’s spirit like a dementor in Harry Potter, but that’s just how you know he likes you! My favorite is that he brings his whining to Jesse Palmer. Jesse Palmer does not care about your problems. Jesse Palmer is just trying to drink enough piña coladas to feel something again, and Tino won’t stop trying to stir shit up. 

But before Tino can hash things out with Rachel, they’ve got to go on their date. I see the production head who conceptualized the Lover’s Leap date is back for round two. He’s not a one-trick pony, even if the instrument for his next metaphor is, in fact, a pony. The two saddle up for a horseback ride through the jungle. Despite the fact that Rachel is doing just fine, Tino can’t seem to get a hold of his steed. He’s like “I haven’t ridden a horse in a while!” and then fails to tame the wild beast between his legs. What, oh what, could ABC be trying to imply here?

Later, Rachel brings up the hometown date from hell. She hasn’t forgotten about when his family tied her to a stake and tried to sacrifice her to wild animals for blessings and a plentiful harvest next season. Rachel is genuinely concerned that Tino’s parents hate her. Meanwhile, Tino deals with the entire situation the same way that I deal with anything that causes me mild anxiety: by blacking out and dissociating entirely. 

TINO: I’m not sure why Rachel is so upset? I mean, they did ask her some really penetrating questions, but so what?
ME TO MY TV:

Tino holds firm throughout Rachel’s spiraling. He says that he isn’t worried about their future, and repeats over and over again how much he loves her. I’ll give the guy points for consistency. He’s like “you’re my future, that’s it, they’ll get on board.” Ah, the confidence of a mediocre white man. 

Good luck, kids, you’re going to need it!

Fantasy Suite #4: Johnny & Gabby

It’s always fun to watch Johnny and Gabby, because they seem like the kind of couple who meets at a hostel and burns bright for as long as it takes them to get to US Customs. There are no hard feelings after the breakup. They’ll think of each other fondly whenever they look at a stamp in their passport or remember the one time they jumped a turnstile abroad. 

To his credit, Johnny seems to be aware of their relationship’s expiration date. When Gabby asks him if he’s ready for an engagement, he seems shocked that she would ask him. Of course he’s not ready for an engagement! He’s here for the free vacations… isn’t she? Does that hair say “commitment” to you, Gabby? Do those capris??

Gabby breaks up with him before they can escalate things to the Fantasy Suite. She’s like “this is my worst fear come to fruition” and, yes, I agree. My worst fear is also getting dumped by a man who looks like he manages bands in Florida. What humiliates us only makes us stronger, hunnie!

Fantasy Suite Date #5: Erich & His Anxiety

Remember when I said a grown man with a mid-life crisis haircut was perhaps not ready for the emotional gymnastics it takes to survive Fantasy Suites? Well, don’t say I didn’t try to warn you, Gabby.

After her date with Johnny, she’s feeling mostly fine about the breakup. So what if she lost out on a guy whose most romantic declaration was calling her “dope”? She’s still got Erich and Jason… right? Right?!

Erich writes Gabby an ominous note telling her to meet him under a bridge. Erich, I’m not trying to critique your methods, but that delivery is the kind of thing a serial killer would do. Girls do not follow unsigned, foreboding notes alone to abandoned locales unless they live in Rosewood, PA, and are being stalked by an entity known only as “A.” They just don’t!

Erich tells Gabby that he doesn’t want her having “what they have” with anyone else. I’m pretty sure what you have is an orgasm and a half between each other, but do carry on. Gabby seems surprised he’s bringing this up again when, apparently, they hashed all of these issues out off-camera. She’s giving him the same look I give my dog when I take her to happy hour and she shits in the grass outside the restaurant. Don’t embarrass us like this, Erich!! 

We’ll have to wait until part two to see the conclusion of this fight, as well as Jason and Zach’s dates. Don’t say ABC never gave us anything (even when we explicitly begged them not to). Until then!

Images: ABC (3); Giphy (3); @RyanneProbst (1)

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Waste My Time, ABC, You Know How That Thrills Me

Welcome back to your favorite Bachelorette recap! Last week, Gabby and Rachel headed home with their men and it was… certainly something. Give these ladies a Purple Hearts, because they have seen some shit. Gabby spent a harrowing 24 hours in both Florida and New Orleans, while Rachel faced off for Middle Earth with Tino’s dad and discovered that Tyler’s entrepreneurial ventures amounted to renting a Ms. Pac-Man machine somewhere on a boardwalk in New Jersey. 

But if you thought there would be any sort of resolution from hometowns, think again, because this week ABC is delighting us with two hours of men explaining things to us. As if that isn’t my whole damn life, but carry on. Be prepared to watch a room full of America’s supposed “eligible bachelors” remind us why therapy is important. There will be screaming, there will be yelling, there will be Meatball refusing to tell us his legal name. Let’s get into it! 

Hometown #7: Aven In Salem, Massachusetts

Before the men fight it out gladiator-style for relevancy and Instagram followers, we’ve got to round out hometowns with Aven’s date in Salem, Massachusetts. This should be fun. I can’t think of a better spot to foster deep, romantic feelings than the first place in American history where men fucked over women en masse. 

Rachel seems worried that their relationship is as cursed as Aven’s bloodline. He mentioned several episodes back that his parents have never liked the girls he’s brought home to meet them. She doesn’t want his parents to hate her. She actually can’t have his parents hate her. Tino’s dad is already demanding a lot from her. He wants her to write a 500-word essay, written in her own blood, on why she likes his son, and then to track down Voldemort’s seven horcruxes. She can’t take on any more parental hostility at the moment. 

I shouldn’t have worried, because Aven has been thinking about ways they can ensure his parents root for their love story. What does his rock-solid plan entail? A visit to see the “Love Witch”, of course!

RACHEL IN THIS WICCAN STORE RN: 

I’ve never seen Rachel’s face light up quite like at the mention of half-priced crystals. Of course Rachel is into crystals. That is the most white girl shit I’ve ever heard. I worry she’s also the type that needs to consult her psychic before making basic adult decisions. 

The Love Witch wants to do a love spell, because nothing says “unbreakable bond” like words chanted directly from an Urban Outfitters basic bitchcraft spell book. As if the universe can sense a white girl trying to change her fate, Rachel’s good vibes come crashing down—along with the table carrying the weight of their spell. I love that their love spell just chose to spontaneously combust rather than enter the world. Not a good sign, girlie. Your moon isn’t even rising right now!

Next up: meeting the parents. My first reaction upon seeing Aven’s parents is that the Wiccan store/love spell date suddenly makes so much more sense. His mom is definitely the type to charge her moonstones. It’s also incredibly obvious how his parents ended up divorced. Aven’s dad is the type to talk about how romance is more than fancy dinners and romantic trips, and Aven’s mom is a woman in her 50s with a nose ring. The one thing they agree on is that they support their son and, begrudgingly, Rachel. But don’t worry, Aven’s mom is already communing with the spirits to bless their union with happiness and a prosperous lineage of women. Aven’s dad will be ready and waiting with the divorce lawyer. 

The Men Tell All… Or At Least, Whatever Their Brand Partners Allow In Between Breaks Of Their SponCon

What occurs next is a 90-minute montage of ads, trailers, and promotions. The last time someone was selling me something this hard, I accidentally liked my sorority sister’s IG story about her CBD business. Suddenly, the Euro trip budget makes so much more sense. Here I thought ABC’s bountiful budget was the result of the showrunners performing a human sacrifice of their least lucrative Bachelor contestants. Instead, it appears to be the result of ABC selling what little soul it has left to any advertiser willing to shill out for prime Tell All real estate. So, in a sense, they are still performing a sacrifice, just of our remaining brain cells. 

No one is earning their paycheck more than Jesse Palmer. After spending an entire season practically being green-screened into each episode, the man is front and center for tonight’s Tell All. He tells us that we won’t get a rose ceremony tonight (all the men apparently make it to Fantasy Suites). He can’t be bothered to air that footage when he’s got Meatball in front of a studio audience ready to lather himself in marinara sauce. 

I cannot emphasize enough how little tea is spilled. By all means, ABC, waste my time. You know how that thrills me. I’ll spare you the monotonous details and give you the highlights:

Jacob: Jacob was the guy this season who looked like he would have banged your mom the summer he lifeguarded at your neighborhood pool. He also told Gabby (to her face!) that she is the last woman on earth he would date. Him! A man whose entire sexual appeal is affixed to the tiny bun he wears on his head! Because of his faux pas, he spends the Tell All doing major image rehab. He seems sincere enough. I mean, it’s not often that you witness a man say “I was wrong” without immediately adding the caveat of “BUT” to his statement. He says that he shouldn’t have disregarded Gabby’s feelings. He also says that he’s trying to change. His black silk shirt says otherwise, but I suppose only time (and a free Mexican vacation) will tell if the change holds.

Roby: Roby came to the Tell All dressed in full Draco Malfoy cosplay. Roby, you’ll recall, was the magician Gabby and Rachel eliminated on night one because, well, come on. If they wanted to introduce their parents to an adult magician, they would have continued to online date. He does have one great line from the Tell All. After giving us his opinion on the romantic flip-floppers of this season, he dramatically screams “You need to grow some balls, Meatball!” How long do we think he was workshopping that?

Hayden: Hayden, a man who used the story of his dying dog as an excuse for calling the Bachelorettes “bitches”, refused to come to The Men Tell All. Imagine that. He preferred not to be burned at the stake by a crowd full of women drunk off complimentary champagne. Honestly, the odds weren’t in his favor. We’ll always have my fantasy!

Logan: If we can’t tar and feather Hayden, Jesse Palmer will just have to move on to his next human sacrifice: Logan. But even that public roasting lacks drama. Logan basically denies any wrongdoing and after two minutes of benign push-back, he ends his time in the hot seat by announcing his spot on Paradise. So, let me get this straight. The man plays with the emotions of a hot nurse and a hot pilot like the Bachelor mansion is his own goddamn Chuck E. Cheese, and he gets rewarded with a free trip to Mexico? This is what you’re telling me??

 

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Nate: If anything, Nate spends the most time in the hot seat. Jesse holds his feet over the fire for a whole five minutes while he grills him on social media rumors. Allegedly, prior to coming on the show, Nate had dated two girls at the same time, one of whom he dated for a year and a half and never even told he had a daughter. Just when I was starting to think men should be allowed to breathe the same air as me, they go and prove me wrong again. Smdh. To his credit, he does come clean about the rumors. He says it was all true, but he was a different man then. He didn’t even have an Instagram sponsorship yet! Oh, Nate. I was rooting for you, we were all rooting for you!

Meatball: If you thought the episode wouldn’t end with Meatball rolling his body through a Slip ‘N Slide of marinara sauce, well, think again. I’ve seen a lot of shit during these Tell Alls, but the sight of Chef Boyardee rolling down Meatball’s newly-waxed chest is a thing that will haunt my nightmares indefinitely. *shudders*

And that’s all she wrote, kids! Seriously, there is nothing else to write. Feel grateful that you were not contractually obligated to sit through two hours of trailers and commercials for the sake of “content.” Until next week!

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

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: How Many Hometowns Are Too Many?

Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap! This week, spring break is officially over for the girlies. No more desecrating foreign cultural landmarks with over the clothes fondling, or taking artfully staged photos that make it look like the Eiffel Tower is their penis. The S.S. Fuckboy has docked for the last time, so the women can head off to hometowns. 

Personally, this is my favorite episode of every season. More than watching the men emasculate themselves during fetish-forward group dates, more than wanting to disintegrate into my chair when the Bachelorette pretends to orgasm during the fantasy suites, more than shrieking when Neil Lane eventually slithers out of the hole ABC holds him hostage in to pander his last-season diamonds to whatever schmuck is still standing—more than any of that, hometowns are my jam. There is literally nothing quite like them.

This is the moment where things stop being polite and start getting real (and by “real”, I mean the lead pretending they might move to a town that only just got a Walmart last year). This is the time in the season when we get to see where these guys hail from. The houses that built them, if you will. Some of these houses are beacons of light and domesticity, the likes of which make you wonder how a human being raised in such a setting could grow up to be this person wearing skinny jeans and promoting his tequila brand on Instagram. Then, there are other houses that are being held together with nothing but the fruits of the HomeGoods sales their mothers frequent in order to feel something. And hometown dates are so important to The Bachelorette process! How will you know if you’re truly ready for marriage unless you’ve witnessed firsthand the cycle of familial trauma that haunts these highly attractive, upper-middle class gene pools? How?  

This season, we’ll be witnessing even more trauma than normal, because we’re getting double the hometowns. Gabby heads home with Jason, Johnny, and Erich; Rachel with Zach, Tyler, Tino, and Aven. I will do my very best to be as detailed and thorough as possible, so that when future generations are studying our culture in a million years, they can point to this and marvel at how intellectually inferior we were. Like we do with the cave men and their sad fire-starting sticks. Let’s get into it!

Hometown #1: Jason In New Orleans, Louisiana 

First up is Gabby’s visit to Jason’s hometown of New Orleans. Imagine your hometown being New Orleans. Jesus Christ, no wonder Jason is so reserved. All this time I thought he just wasn’t that into Gabby, but it turns out he’s really seen some shit. At one point he says that he can’t wait to show Gabby what he loves about this town, and then the two proceed to throw beads at drunks and ask people on the street to strip. This is the thing he “loves” about this town. Berating drunks and mild nudity. The childhood this guy must have had. 

JASON AS A CHILD ON THESE STREETS: 

Gabby meets the family and they are surprisingly well adjusted. Booooo. The dad is especially heart-melting to watch, as he speaks more words in his three minutes of screen time than Jason has spoken in his entire tenure on this show. The rest of his family are fine, though Jason’s mom is doing some sort of Priscilla Presley cosplay that is especially unsettling to behold. Jason’s sister appears way too excited about having an F-list celebrity in the family. She’s like “it’s weird, but I’m ready for their wedding”, and you can practically see the sponsorship deals dancing in her head. 

The most surprising moment comes at the end of the date, when Jason lets it slip that he’s not ready to get engaged… ever. EXCUSE ME? He doesn’t want to get engaged, but goes on a show where the sole purpose is to produce a marriage?? Is that what you’re telling me right now??

JASON: I don’t know if I’m ready to be engaged
ME:

Of course, Jason tells Gabby none of this. He whispers it secretly to his mother and her Bump It, hoping she’ll hold that secret as securely as her hairspray is holding that hair three inches above her head. Neither Gabby nor Jason says anything about falling in love with each other–a proclamation that typically occurs during hometowns after a suitor’s family doesn’t immediately unhinge their jaws and consume the interloper. As far as hometowns go, it’s downright platonic. Where is the drama? The high-octane emotions? She could be meeting Jason’s chiropractor for all the emotional depth Gabby has with him and his family. This lack of emotional connection doesn’t bode well for the rest of the hometowns…

Hometown #2: Zach In Mattel’s Headquarters

Up next is Rachel, and she visits the Mattel factory in which Zach and his family were forged. They’re part of a new line of Barbie, the Politically Neutral Barbie, that wears mostly denim and khaki, and comes complete with a Barbie backyard barbecue set bedecked in twinkle lights and last season’s farmhouse decor.

Here’s the thing: I don’t need to see any more of Zach. The most interesting thing about him is that he spells his name with a “ch” instead of just a “c.” Seriously, what do we even know about this guy aside from the home movies thing and the pilot fetish? That he’s family oriented? Who isn’t family oriented?? Who is going to be like “nah, fuck my family” on a show that contractually obligates you to sacrifice your family’s legacy for the sake of ABC’s ratings? Literally no one.

To their credit, Zach’s family does act the appropriate amount of scandalized that their son wants to marry a woman he only just met six weeks ago.

ZACH’S DAD TO RACHEL: I mean, you go to the most romantic places on Earth, and you’ll fall in love with a monkey.

Sir, don’t insult the monkeys. 

As if to emphasize that there is nothing between these two beyond the sum of their own egos, ABC plays them ANOTHER home movie, this time of their love story. You guys, this is so, so, so, so dumb. And what’s worse? This highlights reel of their love story is longer than the “compelling” footage production could string together of the hometown. Zach’s date takes up a whopping seven minutes of our two-hour hometowns journey, and it’s about six minutes too long. 

Hometown #3: Johnny In Palm Beach, Florida

Of course Johnny is from Florida. What little I know of this man is that he frequently wears acid wash jeans and felt right at home with a Dutch mistress licking hot wax off his happy trail. That he willingly claims Florida as his home suddenly makes so much sense, just like Gabby showing up in a corset top makes so much sense. She’s not just meeting any family; she’s meeting a Florida family. That is the appropriate attire for such an occasion. 

Like Zach, Johnny’s hometown barely makes a dent in the episode’s narrative. The only thing I recall about his family is that his dad wore far too much Brooks Brothers for a man who raised a bunch of sons that look like wannabe band managers. Gabby connects with his family, but there’s no depth to that connection. Like Jason, Johnny also admits to being hesitant in taking the next step with Gabby. My god, does anyone want to propose to this woman?? You know, the thing they signed up to do?? 

They part ways on chummy terms, like when you go long-distance with your camp boyfriend. The almost-sexually-gratifying hand stuff was fun while it lasted, but after a few pen pal letters written with your best Lisa Frank pens, it’s time to move on to the real thing. 

Hometown #4: Tyler In His Boardwalk Empire

I should have known things would not go well during Tyler’s hometown when his first stop on the Tour of Tyler was to show Rachel the saddest beach boardwalk in existence. I don’t know much about Tyler’s hometown of Wildwood, NJ (I prefer my New Jersey beach towns to be actually civilized), but this boardwalk is haunting to behold. It looks like the kind of place where a body would be found in a Law & Order episode. And yet, Tyler is beaming. He is thriving in this ghost town, this coastal graveyard where the human spirit surely goes to die. 

Despite not one (living) soul frequenting this boardwalk, every business is open, and the carnies all know Tyler. I’m starting to worry that Tyler’s bio line of “business owner” has been somewhat misleading. Here I thought “business owner” meant that he did real estate, or at the very least dabbled in Bitcoin. Now, I worry that his “business” is that he owns one of these boardwalk game stands. Is it really a business if you just pay rent on a Ms. Pac-Man, Ty? Hmm?

Rachel takes one look at his carnie beginnings and is immediately horrified. After an afternoon spent meeting Tyler’s friends, who run the off-brand Nathan’s Hotdog stand, she quietly excuses herself to cry in a Wildwood bathroom. This is bleak. This is not a chapter in your epic love story. This is a chapter in your therapist’s ever-growing file on your emotional traumas. 

Rachel knows she has to break it off with him before she meets his family. She’s not in love with Tyler. They’re from two different worlds. She was raised in suburban Florida, and he was raised in a circus tent. It could never work. 

She sits him down to have “the talk”, but Tyler can’t quite grasp that Rachel is actually breaking up with him. No, he thinks her intense crying is a sign of her intense feelings for him. Oh, sweetie. No. He proceeds to express every single emotion that has ever penetrated his soft boy body. He’s practically a human gusher, high fructose corn syrup leaking out of every heartfelt word. As he talks, Rachel stares, horrified, directly at the cameras, The Office-style. This is the first time I’ve ever genuinely thought ABC deserved an Emmy for their camera work. 

In Tyler’s defense, he’s saying some incredibly nice things about a woman whose coat is stylistically offensive. Imagine getting dumped by this:

Tyler is still smiling even as he enters his family home alone. They’re like, “where is she, Ty??”, and their hopeful smiles will haunt me in the afterlife. This is low, even for ABC. It’s a level of emotional torture we rarely see on this show, and I’m sort of at a loss for words.

Hometown #5: Erich In Bedminster, New Jersey

As much as I hate rooting for this man and his silent “h”, I do think Erich and Gabby have the most chemistry. This feeling is only reinforced for me when Erich tells us that Gabby will be meeting his terminally ill father. Okay, I’m crying in the club. 

This is maybe the heaviest hometown I’ve ever witnessed in all my years watching this godforsaken show. The focus isn’t even really on Gabby so much as this family trying to hold things together. This feels raw—almost too personal to be watching as I guzzle boxed wine and eat frozen pizza. I’m not emotionally equipped to deal with genuine human emotions on a Monday night. When Erich’s mom starts crying and saying that love is not giving up on each other, even my blackened heart is crying uncle. 

Later, Erich tells Gabby that he’s falling in love with her, and she reciprocates. It’s all very sweet and romantic. I’m even willing to forgive Gabby when she promptly straddles his lap in the middle of the restaurant, in front of god and that man just trying to eat his calamari, to suck face. You get one of those, Gabby. Just one!

Hometown #6: Tino In Santa Clarita, California 

Finally, my favorite baby back bitch is on screen again, and his family is already delivering. Tino’s hometown is like watching one of those Animal Planet videos. You know, the one where the predator plays with its food, giving well-placed strikes designed to produce maximum pain? Tino’s family is that apex predator. 

From the moment they meet Rachel, the family is out for blood. They aren’t pulling any punches. Tino’s dad asks how they could possibly be ready for marriage after only knowing each other a short amount of time. His mom goes so far as to reduce their love story to playtime. I think her exact words are, “this isn’t real, call me when you get to the real world.” I screamed. Tino’s mom, you aren’t supposed to say the quiet part out loud!

But the worst of it comes when Rachel sits down with Tino’s dad. He spends their short interaction sautéing what little is left of Rachel’s self esteem. He demands that Rachel convince him that she knows his son. Sir, is that really fair? She might not know who his best friend is, or his darkest fear, or even his last name, but she does know stuff about him! Ask her what the ridge of his penis feels like semi-erect, or that thing his tongue does. Ask her! Go on! 

Through it all, Rachel’s southern upbringing is working overtime to salvage the date. At the end of the night she even whispers, in the most submissive tone possible, “thank you for being so welcoming”, as she looks straight into the gaping maw of hell itself. Oh, bless your heart. 

TINO: Well, I think they adored you. 

HAHAHAHA. My god, men will say anything to get their dicks wet. “Adored” is not the word I would use to describe their feelings towards Rachel. “Mentally poisoning her spray tan formula” is perhaps a better interpretation of their feelings. I mean, the last time a family meet-and-greet went this well, a blood feud started in Verona. 

RACHEL & TINO @ TINO’S FAMILY:

And that’s all she wrote, folks! Next week, Aven rounds out the hometown dates before The Men Tell All. Also next week, we’ll (hopefully) find out who is making it to the fantasy suites, assuming Jesse Palmer isn’t too busy cracking himself up with these Bachelor ads to enforce any real rules. Until then! 

Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (5)

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)