I’ve gone back and forth on the idea of recapping this season of the Bachelorette for lots of reasons. On one hand, it’s a pretty stale idea. Tons of bloggers who are funnier and more insightful than I will also be writing about the same two hours of television every week. Feel free to read them instead. Also, as an avid Bachelor franchise fan (I’ve watched every season except for Juan Pablo’s since Travis Stork in 2006), I am of the opinion that it’s gone downhill in recent years. It’s more predictable, edited more severely, and the Bachelor/ettes and contestants are spoon-fed the same trite lines year after year. It’s eye-roll inducing and way less fun than it used to be. Plus, it’s now full of (only hot) people trying to make a buck when it’s all over by shilling Sugar Bear Hair Care products on instagram. It’s all pretty gross, yet I can’t turn away.
I have a love/hate relationship with this show and have contemplated the freedom I might feel if I were to free up two hours of my week by just not watching it. Enter: Rachel Lindsay, the heroine this franchise needed. And so my guilty pleasure continues.
ABC seems to be mostly glossing over the fact that it has finally, FINALLY, picked a person of color (save for Juan Pablo) to be its main character, but this is a pretty big deal, and obviously way overdue. On Nick’s season, Rachel said that she hadn’t really seriously dated anyone who wasn’t black, which means that most likely the producers will pick more men of color for her to choose from than there has ever been. Everyone jokes that the white bachelorettes have to keep the black guys on for at least three episodes, so as not to seem like she has a preference, and then it’s back to all white people again, but presumably this season will be different. Maybe a person of color even makes it to the top 4, and our next bachelor will be black, too. I won’t go into a diatribe about representation here, but needless to say, I hope that’s what happens.
I happened to adore Rachel on Nick’s season. She seemed smart, genuine, kind, and she was really funny. While literally most conversations filmed for the show seem forced and awkward, Rachel and Nick were playful and silly. She kept him on his toes and was a joy to watch. I am SO HAPPY for her that my cynicism for this crappy yet addicting show has softened some. I hope she finds love, and according to several reports, she definitely has.
Half an hour in to the second episode of the season, and I’m already loving her as the Bachelorette. She is calling the guys out left and right, being her bubbly and outgoing self, and actually admitting that some of the conversations are sucking. She is a breath of fresh air from the more bland Emily Maynards and JoJo Fletchers of the franchise. So, I decided to write about it. Let’s see how long I can keep this up.
First group date
The first group date features Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, who are fans of the show, and rank high on the list of America’s Favorite Couples. They plan a weird and humiliating obstacle course for the men to prove they are “husband material” involving baby Bjorns, baby dolls, and diaper changing, and I think to myself that watching grown men make absolute fools of themselves in the name of love (or really at all) never gets old.
Lucas — a.k.a. WABOOM guy — wins thanks to a hilarious stiff arm to the pro wrestler at the end (I really appreciated Lucas’s effort here, even if America is already tired of his antics). Rachel isn’t that happy about it. Girl can not contort her facial expressions into something neutral/fake happy to save her life, and I love her for it. My favorite part of this date is when Rachel flat out tells the cameras that she isn’t feeling any of her conversations with these guys. They are all about small talk, her career, etc., but she wants the lawyer talk off (she gets it, she practices law), and the romance on. Again, she can’t hide her boredom and gives one guy this face as he’s asking her about her future career plans:
But then, a wild Dean appears. Dean is only 25, but the rest of these dudes need to take notes on the ways he makes Rachel laugh instantly. They’re cute. He’s perfectly vulnerable when he says he was terrified to meet her with the line: “I’m ready to go black, and I’m never going back.” She’s obviously into it, and he snags the group-date rose easily. He THEN seals it with a kiss. Good job, my smiley friend. You get to stay another week, and you kinda made me blush, too.
Next, comes Peter’s 1-on-1, where Rachel grimly announces that it’s actually a 2-on-1. But the extra person is her dog, Copper, so Peter’s really the winner here. They fly (because you have to fly on the Bachelorette) to a dog amusement park or something, and Peter only seems mildly interested in the dogs, which, red flag. During dinner (a.k.a. let’s just costume change into the serious part of our date and sit at a very small table while definitely not eating), Rachel and Peter bond over the fact that they both have gaps in their front teeth. It is very cute and seems natural.
Rachel also loves the fact that they’ve both utilized a therapist to get through some past relationship struggles. It was pretty cool to see two beautiful people very casually de-stigmatize something a lot of people would be ashamed to go to right there on national television. You go, Peter and Rachel! Rachel is all smiles. She likes this one. A lot.
Group Date #2
Cue group date numero dos, where they keep showing DeMario in the interviews. Rachel also keeps talking about DeMario in her interviews, so any smart viewer of this show knows that whoever is about to be ousted as a player by a current girlfriend (as per multiple teasers throughout the night) knows that DeMario definitely will be said player. And so it goes. Ex-Girlfriend claims she and DeMario were going to work out their problems, then he literally disappeared off the face of the earth (ouch), and next thing she knows, she sees him on TV about to appear on Rachel’s season. Rachel asks very specific and direct questions to get to the bottom of this, none of which DeMario can really answer, so she sends him packing.
The guys then offer SO MANY shoulders for Rachel to cry on, though she honestly seems fine, but she appreciates their efforts anyway and is encouraged that they’re all here for —say it with me now—the right reasons. Josiah gets the group date rose. He managed to steal a kiss, but in my opinion, had Josiah not literally made Rachel kiss him, he might not have gotten any “KISS ME” signals from her.
At this point, I look at the progress bar on the bottom of my screen and realize that there is definitely not enough time left for a cocktail party and a rose ceremony. We’re getting a to-be continued. Just as Rachel is starting to leave the DeMario drama behind her, he shows up, begging to explain himself. The rest of the house is WAY too hopped up on their own testosterone, which apparently seems to multiply exponentially in settings such as the Bachelor mansion, and upon realizing that DeMario is outside, decide that they’re gonna fight him for hurting their girl Rachel. Typical meatheads, thinking this neanderthal display will in any way help them with winning over Rachel, but that’s why they got chosen to appear on TV.
Next week, we’ll get to watch it play out much less dramatically than ABC teased, because they are good at what they do.
Who is winning my heart this week:
Dean, group date #1 rose winner
He actually said: “I don’t want to disrespect her by going in for a kiss too soon, but I really wanted to kiss her.” What planet is this 25-year-old from? Most guys as young and good looking as him would never even consider that kissing a girl too soon could be unwanted. I want to give his parents a hug. They did good. He is sweet and probably most importantly, genuinely funny, and I bet he’ll be around for a while.
Who I’m over:
Blake, the one who vehemently hates Lucas (Waboom).
I’m tired of hearing him complain already. I want one of them gone (preferably both) so I don’t have to hear about it anymore.
I’m genuinely surprised that ABC didn’t make DeMario’s girlfriend wait a few weeks to reveal their relationship to Rachel. That would have made for better TV. At this point, Rachel didn’t know him well enough to really care. Would that be unethical? Yeah, but the producers on this show pull stunts like that all the time. Just watch Unreal, people.
Also, a few of these guys are straight up WEIRD during their 1-on-1 times with Rachel. One guy (too lazy to look up his name) demonstrated for Rachel with the baby doll they were given to take care of how to correctly WIPE a child’s dirty bottom, saying that most parents wipe too much??? WHAT?? Why is this a thing you feel the need to discuss when you have precious little time with this woman? Do you think she wants diaper butt to be the topic of conversation?
Later on, I guess in a desperate attempt for some physical contact, a different contestant literally challenges Rachel to a thumb war. Because we’re clearly on the elementary school playground here. I’m not amused, boys. Do better.
That’s all for now, folks. Hopefully this week I’ll like more than just two of Rachel’s guys.