Well, well, well. Here we go again. The driveway is wet, Chris Harrison’s skin suit is freshly pressed, and it is time for me to eat my words. Every year, people complain about who the Bachelor is - Nick, Arie, whoever, whomever - and every year I’m like “Guysss, it’s fiiiine! It doesn’t matter who the leaaad is! We watch the show for the contestants!” I thought there was no lead so terrible that I’d ever give up on wanting to watch this show. I was deeply wrong. I’ve never been less interested in anyone or anything than I am in Colton “I’m not giving up on my dream, Dad, I’m giving up on yours!” Underwood. I don’t want to watch this season! Fuck! Seriously? If I wanted to watch a bunch of 23-year-old women try to win the affection of an unbearably mediocre 26-year-old dude whose only qualities seem to be being white and kind of tall, I could literally just go outside. I watch The Bachelor to try to escape from my horrifying romantic life, not watch it all play out in front of me like a shitty episode of Black Mirror.
Dating in your 20’s is a disaster and that’s my official stance. It’s not fun! It’s not fun because no one knows what they want and everyone seems disposable and it’s so much easier to lie in bed and watch proposal videos on Instagram than it is to actually go on a date and have to make small talk with someone whom you don’t like and whom you don’t know and whom is probably on Tinder under the table. And you’re patting your night cream into your face and you’re like “it’s fine, I’m young, I’m so young” and then the 21-year-old you used to babysit announces that she’s engaged in a Snapchat story.
This is all to say: I don’t want to watch Colton’s season because it’s literally what I’m experiencing in real life. I know exactly what it looks like to have a conversation with a 26-year-old who washes his hair with shower gel and thinks it’s noble to defend Aziz Ansari, and to look at this person and very seriously think “I don’t know, should I just marry you so I don’t have to freeze my eggs?” Colton in particular is so young and so insecure and seems to have some real shit to work through. He seems… deeply broken. He is not, by any measure, ready for a lifetime commitment. 26-year-olds in general are not ready for a lifetime commitment! I know this for a fact because I am nearly twenty-five and cried this morning when my Amazon Echo couldn’t understand what I was saying. You think I can take that kind of communication deficiency to a lifelong partnership and expect it to go well? ALEXA! Give me a fucking break!
Let’s just dive right in. I am already so tired.
Caitlin brings Colton a red balloon which is decorated to look like an apple, pops it, and says “Now that I’ve popped your cherry…” Of all the virginity-themed limo exits (and there were many), this was the worst. First, it’s poorly executed. That balloon looked nothing like a cherry and everyone knows it. Second, it uses the most grotesque and least accurate euphemism for ~engaging in heterosexual penetrative sex for the first time~ that there is. Nothing is supposed to pop when you have sex! That’s a myth! And an outdated one, at that! Your body doesn’t undergo a momentous physical change when you become sexually active. Your doctor cannot certify that you’ve never had sex by examining you. My god - imagine thinking that your penis was powerful and important enough to change someone’s body. Anyway. The people who read these articles are mostly my aunts and grandmother so I have to stop now. All I’ll say is this: virginity is a social construct and I’m so tired of hearing about it. More next week.
Catherine… gives… Colton… her dog? I don’t know how else to say it. She gives him… her dog. Like she hands him a dog and is like “this is your responsibility now.” She says that if she can trust Colton with her dog, she can trust him with her heart. This is profoundly upsetting. Who is actually going to take care of the dog? Not Colton! Colton has to go to Thailand and make out with blondes! What poor production assistant is going to have to pick up this dog’s shit? What’s going to happen when they travel internationally? Does Catherine want the dog BACK?
Demi is the first one out of the limo which is… super interesting. Producers pick their frontrunners to come out of the limo first (and last), and even if the person they pick turns out to be a dud, they can easily edit around it (example from the archives: Britt on Chris Soules’ season came out of the limo somewhere in the middle, but was shown exiting first). Anyway. The reason I say this is “super interesting” is because Demi is not just a beautiful blonde in a silly dress, she’s a beautiful blonde in a silly dress who says the sentence “I have not dated a virgin since I was twelve” on national television. This is deeply disturbing to me for many reasons, not least of which is that my hunch is not that Demi has been banging it out since the seventh grade, but rather that she’s only ever dated much-older men. At another point in the episode, Demi offhandedly says that her mother “had to go to federal prison” like her mom’s at the DMV or something. Lots to unpack here.
Tracy arrives in a police car with sirens blazing - which, aren’t there laws against that? - and announces that she is the Fashion Police, which is interesting considering that she is wearing… what she is wearing.
Katie, who is very pretty, performs a card trick for Colton in which she takes… his V-card! How did you guess???!?!?!???
Erin arrives in a Cinderella carriage, which like, why. Just because you can doesn’t mean that you should, Erin! People always give these girls so much credit for their limo exits when really they do none of the work. You know who had to go pick up that Cinderella carriage from a wedding rental place and buy Christmas lights to string around it and hand-feed carrots to the horse? Not Erin! A 21-year-old intern who’s getting paid in “work experience” and craft services. The intern is the real Cinderella. Send HER to the ball (e.g. back to her house to take a nap), darn it!
Nicole tells Colton - in Spanish - that half of her heart is in Havana, but half of it is with Colton. Seconds later, she reveals that she is not actually from Havana, she’s from Miami. Colton is like “I can’t believe I just met Camila Cabello!”
Courtney offers Colton a “sweet Georgia peach,” which was absolutely purchased moments before this shoot from an Agoura Hills Safeway.
Erika’s last name is MCNUT and her friends call her NUTTY and she gives Colton a BAG of NUTS!
Elyse is 31, which is admirable, but she won’t win.
Laura’s big plotline is that she’s wearing the same dress as someone else.
Angelique’s dress is, I think, very pretty and striking. She gets almost no air time. Sad.
Devin is very beautiful and has a real job and wears a legitimately interesting dress, all of which will likely add up to a swift elimination.
Caelynn (@ Caelynn’s parents: JUST NAME HER CAITLIN AND BE DONE WITH IT) arrives wearing a dress that might be pretty, but who knows, because it has a giant MISS NORTH CAROLINA sash hanging off of it like a limp squid. Caelynn turns the sash around to reveal that it also says MISS UNDERWOOD! America is a racket.
Onyeka - whose name is actually several syllables longer, though we don’t spend much time on that - watches Colton stumble over her name in a way that is profoundly Midwestern. She laughs and says that Colton looks like a snack. A snack of unbuttered toast, girl, but sure.
Colton asks Annie how many points you score in a touchdown, which makes it seem like he’s doing that annoying boy thing where they’re like “Oh yeah?? You claim to have a particular interest?? Let me fuckin QUIZ YOU!!” In a disappointing concession, Annie cheerfully answers “Six! Seven with a kick!” Colton is impressed (why? Even I know this) and Annie is allowed to live another day as a woman in America. Cheers, guys.
“Never Been Kissed” is not just the name of an excellent 1999 film about teachers developing inappropriate crushes on their students, it’s also the listed occupation of Heather, 22. Heather tells Colton that he is “incredibly rare,” which probably means that he has the darkest hair she’s ever seen. Heather has never kissed anyone despite looking like a sexy American Girl doll and seeming to be pretty socially competent, which indicates to me that there is some spooky Jesus stuff going on. I am… excited to see how this plays out.
I always wish these extension-ed and ombré-d girls would wear their damn hair up with their evening gowns, but I actually wish Kirpa had worn her hair down! Her dress is tight and sparkly and the updo looks way too stiff. She was the only woman in the history of this show whom I’ve felt could actually benefit from some glossy waves. I don’t remember what she said to Colton.
Tahzjuan apologizes to Colton because her name is “so hard to pronounce.” Which it’s not! It’s two syllables! Hard to spell, maybe, but not pronounce. If white people are going to force everyone to get on board with names like “Braxtyn” and “Kinsley” and “Lakynn” then we can all learn how to pronounce “Tahzjuan.”
11. HANNAH G.
Hannah (is “Hannah” the new “Lauren?” Have we reached the mid-90s?) steps out of the limo looking like an Instagram filter came to life. She is holding a box that she says contains Colton’s favorite brand of underwear. Much like Hannah, the box is wrapped in gold and, much like Hannah, it is empty inside.
Nina introduces herself in Croatian, her first language (!), which is honestly very cool. This was also one thousand percent the first time that Colton heard of Croatia.
Tayshia is a phlebotomist, which I mistakenly read as “lobotomist,” which was significantly funnier.
Sydney gets points for wearing the most interesting dress of the night. As soon as she stepped out of the limo I chirped “Finally! An Asian contestant on this show!” but I think I might have jumped the gun. I have no idea whether she’s actually Asian or not. I mean, not that it should matter and not that it’s any of my business. Her race is her business! I just wish this show featured more than two (and really, it’s mostly just one) ethnicities!
Okay. Not to hop back on the “let’s prescribe racial identities to strangers” train, but I think it’s safe to guess that Revian is Asian because she introduces herself in Mandarin and says the sentence “my parents are both from China.” I’m obsessed with the idea that Colton would only allow an Asian contestant on his season if she was also blonde.
6. HANNAH B.
Hannah B. is blonde, dimpled, Southern, and, I think, a hologram designed based on an amalgamation of all the other contestants on this godforsaken season. Roll tide! I only know what “Roll Tide!” means because a character was always saying it on Jane the Virgin. While I have you: Jane the Virgin is the best narrative television show currently airing and a glittering example of the medium. Roll tide!
5. JANE (??)
Jane’s name is listed as Adrianne - “Jane” on the ABC website. What is her name?? Is Jane a nickname for Adrianne? Jane shows Colton a picture of her dog, which is MUCH more reasonable than giving Colton her actual dog. @catherine
Cassie, whomst is dressed like she stepped out of an Urban Outfitters catalogue and not really in a good way, tells Colton that she has “a lot of butterflies.” No really - she ~literally~ has a box of butterflies! She opens her box and dumps them to the ground and, full seconds later, I realize that they are plastic. I’m grateful to Cassie for giving me the momentary thrill of believing that she had a box of dead butterflies. I’ll never forget it.
3. ALEX D.
Alex D. arrives in a full sloth costume, which, as someone who loves sloths but is also resentful of their recent meme-ification, I deeply enjoyed. It’s so stupid it’s charming. Alex walks and talks extremely slowly for the duration of the episode, which is A. great commitment to the bit and B. an excellent way to guarantee lots of airtime. Also, spoiler, Alex takes off the sloth suit eventually and is revealed to be very hot. Which is good, because imagine if she finally took off the costume and Colton was like “oh no.”
2. ALEX B.
Alex B. holds up cue cards like Andrew Lincoln to explain that she can’t talk because she’s sick. And then she tries to speak and is actually so sick that she can’t make a sound! I truly enjoy this! It feels so genuine and reminds me of all the times during my brief but illustrious high school choir career in which my friends and I would make a huge show of “being on vocal rest” and not talk but gesticulate wildly and drink many many performative thermoses of ginger tea.
This is it, the clip that you’ve seen all over Twitter and that seven (7) people sent me in the past couple of days. And you know what? I watched it every single time and every time I enjoyed it more than the last. Bri’s fake-accent cop-out is like… is it clever? Is it stupid? Is it funny? Do I care?? Is her Australian accent terrible? I guess I don’t know much about Australian accents (interesting considering that I’ve seen Finding Nemo about 40 times) because she totally got me the first time. Yes, after a few views, it becomes blatantly obvious that she’s avoiding telling a lie (Colton asks her where she’s from and she gives a perfunctory “the accent is Australian”) and that her accent is a little far off from 42 Wallaby Way, but man, what a gag. Moments of genuine surprise are extraordinarily rare on a show like this and I applaud Bri for adding a sparkle to what was otherwise the dullest evening of my life.
See you next Monday!