We open on Season 457 of The Bachelorette with America’s Sweetheart, Rachel Lindsay, taking publicity photos for The Bachelorette. This behind the scenes coverage is pretty trippy, right? We're watching the show take pictures to advertise the show that we're watching right now. This is like Inception levels of meta-ness for our little dog and pony show.
ANYWAY- mid photo-shoot, Rachel goes over to the monitor to see how it's going. She looks at the photos and says what any adorably neurotic person says when getting your picture taken a thousand times, “you only need one”. Way to condense the ENTIRE SHOW into one sentence while
simultaneously charming us with your winning brand of self-deprecation.
RACHEL IS THE BACHELORETTE WE NEED.
What a perfect way to establish in 2.4 seconds that Rachel is the most relatable, self-aware, thoughtful, fun and— I’m gonna say it now— greatest Bachelorette in herstory. I’d like to reinforce that statement with a few other supporting points from the episode— since Rachel would want me to make my case in a lawyerly fashion.
-She referenced the Greatest Movie of All Time— CLUELESS— while driving her TESLA(!) on the highway in LA
-She brought her dog(!) and her dog has a broken arm(!) but we don’t talk about it because I bet Rachel knew her dog would feel bad being scrutinized like that, and she respects her dog
-She immediately got the Urkel joke later in the episode and referenced "Stephan Urquelle", Urkel’s late season alter-ego
- Despite ABC’s weird push to revive The Backstreet Boys, she chose N*SYNC without hesitation when asked which group she preferred
In conclusion your honors, we have established that Rachel is the best. Or maybe, that Rachel and I grew up watching the same TV shows and movies and listening to the same boy bands. In any case, the prosecution rests.
(Guys, GUYS WHY is JT wearing kaki pants UNDERNEATH his jeans and WHY did Lance forget to change into his “fashion sneakers”?, And WHY is JC all the way to the left when he is secretly the best singer in the group and WE ALL KNOW THAT.)
Back to business. Let’s see who ABC suggested Rachel spend the REST OF HER LIFE with:
The first episode “meet the guy” montages are some of my favorites. In quick order here we are introduced to:
Kenny the Sensitive Wrestler with a 10* year old daughter.
*I LOVE CHILDREN. THEY ARE PRECIOUS. I’M ONLY SAYING SHE LOOKS 10 LIKE THOSE CHINESE GYMNASTS LOOKED “16", so variations on the theme of not really.
Jack Stone (two first names???)- a Texas Lawyer with a Sad Story and aggressively white teeth.
Alex- A “huge nerd” who “unfortunately” gets pegged as a “meathead” after introducing us to him with a GYM MONTAGE. I do appreciate the Rubik's cube moment- this season is already feeling steeped in 80s/90s nostalgia and I’m taking to it like Chad to cold-cuts. (THAT’S WHATCHA CALL A CALLBACK, Y’ALL)
Mohit and his adorable Bollywood dancing family.
Blake E.- The “aspiring drummer" obsessed with his own penis, stretching in tight pants, and Rachel’s sex life. (Hereby known as 76 TromBalls)
Diggy- the sneaker-head/"inventory analyst”. Perhaps he could teach some of the other contestants how to dress-y? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZglqkCRNt8
And lastly, Josiah, who has helped us reach yet a new peak of Sad Story. Both in facts and visuals. Seeing the backyard was devastating. I like him, I'm rooting for him. I just wish he had learned from our Russian friend Kristina and held on to his Sad Story Reveal for maximum potential later in the season.
Ok, moving on. Rachel goes to get “advice” from her BFF/sister-wives from last season at the Mansion. Asking advice from these women is a little uh, what’s the word? Pointless? The Corinne leading the blind? Maybe instead of “advice" we should call it “positive reinforcement”. The girls give that to Rachel in spades. Including Raven saying something really wonderful that I already forgot, but showed once again how low-key awesome Raven is. I hope she finds her love match, and her foundation match in Paradise. Maybe Ashley I can help a girl out?
Now, back a thousand years ago during Nick’s season, we were reminded that many of the first episodes of The Bachelor are filled with this creepy feeling that we’re watching a show about sister-wives and the joys and drama of polygamy. Like Big Love, but with commercials.
What’s the equivalent for The Bachelorette, you may ask yourself? 31 guys vying for the love and affection of the same woman? Now, I don’t want to speak for everyone, but the overwhelming emotion I feel while watching 10s of alpha males circle one woman like lions stalking their prey is, FEAR. I don’t want to even use the word “gang-bang” in the same essay about my darling Rachel, but truth is- I’m TERRIFIED. Men in groups are scary and unruly, and say what you want to about large groups of women on television, but they’re usually not two drinks away from physically harming each other for a reason they won’t remember in the morning.
I have to believe this is where Chris Harrison truly shines. On The Bachelor his presence is just kind of a constant reminder that the women would rather sleep with Nick/Ben/Chris/Juan Pablo/Sean etc. than him. He is presented as asexual and as we continue into Season 22, he’s turning more and more into a father-figure. Watching the The Bachelorette, I feel comforted seeing Chris’ freshly dyed brown hair come around the corner. He could step in if Rachel felt uncomfortable, or if she just wanted to talk to someone for a moment who’s not actively trying to princess-carry her away into a beautiful life of Instagram endorsements and paid vacations.
BUT I DIGRESS... Let’s get to the limo arrivals. Only on this show do people equate noteworthy entrances with marital potential. “I liked Kyle, but he didn’t enter with a marching band. And yeah the marching band guy is the guy that's obsessed with his penis and stretching in tight pants, but… that entrance, though!”
Peter is the first to exit the limo looking very cute and Brooks Brothers-ish. He is gorgeous and as my husband noted, could bond with Rachel over their teeth. He actually said, “they could get Invisalign together”, but I think he meant to say that he really likes both of their sets of teeth and respects their individuality. Anyway, I like Peter. More than how cute he is— well, let’s say equal to how cute he is— I like that he immediately asked Rachel how she was feeling. Points for the basics, folks!
I’m gonna need to know a lot more about just how bad Fred was as a camper. Rachel kept stressing that he wasn’t just bad, but like bad. How bad can a camper be? Time will tell.
Tickle Monster needs to leave ASAP. For anyone who’s seen that tickling documentary on HBO, you know why. For those of you haven’t- it will forever ruin the idea of tickling for you. My father-in-law is a Vietnam war veteran and he said, “that guy is a scary guy”. Agreed. Also- did anyone catch when he said, “let the circus begin!”? Way to compound two of the only should-be-fun-but-actually-freak-people-out things we have in society into one supernova of mid-range discomfort.
DeMario. He’s obviously very handsome, very alpha, probably very bad news, but we’ll watch that story unfold in due time. He looks like he was designed in a lab to be on this show.
Ok, now for the most important one-on-one time of the night between Rachel and First Impression Rose winner, Bryan of Columbia. Bryan seems nice enough. I like that he’s 37 and said he “knows what he wants”. I don’t love that he said something about being “trouble”, and Rachel could not get enough of that. Almost to the point where she kept bringing it up, like, “sorry wait, just checking, you said you’d be trouble right?” And Bryan’s like, “umm, I’m a chiropractor who speaks Spanish and I did mention trouble casually as I entered the mansion, just to sound interesting, but yeah, oh sure, I’m trouble”. For this reason, I will now refer to Brian as Bad Hombré. (Not to be confused with the majority of bad ombrés we saw last season s/ns.) Anyway, Rachel, easy with the “trouble” stuff and also- I don’t want to talk about it- but why did they kiss so aggressively? Is that a thing people do? Have I been doing it wrong my whole life? That made me nervous. Like they were gonna actually eat each other’s faces off.
So 15 hours later (am I even exaggerating??) the rose ceremony ends and we say goodbye to some men we barely got a chance to say hello to.
Not sad to see the purring guy go- although I did love his exit interview when he cried about how he bought a bunch of outfits that he wasn’t going to be able to wear. That I found very #relatable.
In conclusion, who can better express how I feel about this season than the ever-relevant Jessie Spano:
Rachel, as we’ve endlessly established-- is the best. I think they’ve actually found some good guys. But I am very concerned about this Lee fellow who self-identifies as a “country boy” and wants to cause trouble. I have a bad feeling about him. Meaning, I really hope he’s not racist. I hope I hope I hope I’m wrong and he’s just the normal villain with anger issues. But I don’t like it. Nor do I like Nashville based singer/songwriters coming on this show anymore. They are basically just lining up 5 years of Bachelorette party gigs for themselves and it’s transparent and I’m over it.
Odds and ends:
I have a feeling whoever made the French doll montage was responsible for Raven’s O-Montage through Finland and I just wanna say thank you and to never stop. I loved every second.
Shout out to "sales account executive" Jayme who referenced in one night, his “$2000 suit”, as well as his “perfect hair and facial features". Know your worth, girl.
If loving Josiah saying, “see you later, litigator”, is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Oh, and I forgot to write about Waboom guy. I don’t hate him. That shakey-face thing is cathartic to watch. It's kinda what I feel like doing having finished this 9,000 word recap. So, you do you, sir. Note to 76 TromBalls- stay in your lane, lest you become Taylor 2.0.