The Bachelor: S21, E1

The Bachelor: S21, E1

Ok, first things first. Clearly ABC did NOT go with my proposed theme for this season, BACHELOR: APOCALYPSE, but try to tell me that wouldn't have been a great season? 

Ok, where were we....OH RIGHT!

Friends and lovers, it’s the beginning of a new year and a new season of The Bachelor. That just can’t be a coincidence.

Apparently Nick is the most controversial bachelor in history, due to his unrepentant views on eugenics having been on the show several times before. Since he wasn’t on the only season I’ve ever watched, I’m ignorant of these crimes. But apparently it doesn’t matter, because he’s changed!

“From Bad Boy to Bachelor, we’ve all seen Nick grow” is the theme of the opening few minutes of this episode.

Dude is 36, btw.

The narrator promises that this premiere is unprecedented, which is an odd way to describe a show entering its 21st season.

So here's Nick! Apparently Nick spends most of his time running shirtless around Chicago, where apparently public decency laws aren't a thing.

(I guess anything goes in Chicago!)

(I guess anything goes in Chicago!)

He also likes to take his clothes off in a bathroom before the camera crew has a chance to escape. The camera lingers on his body in a way that is nearly exclusively reserved for women, so that’s interesting.

(This is the new Male Gaze)

(This is the new Male Gaze)

Nick then charms America by listing his many, many faults: he mumbles his words, he’s not perfect, he speaks a lot, he writes poetry, and doesn’t know how to sit on furniture.

To me, his biggest fault is the glaring fact that he’s not Luke.

(Never 4get, together 4ever)

(Never 4get, together 4ever)

I’m not going to do research on Nick’s history, but from what I gather:

  1. He was in love with Andi
  2. He was also in love with Caitlin
  3. He’s been a jerk at times but somehow redeemed himself on Bachelor in Paradise

These are just the facts, man.

We get to visit Nick’s family back home and he says “I have, honestly, a lot of siblings.” I find honesty very refreshing Nick! I have a feeling we might get along just fine.

He really hopes he doesn’t fuck it up and be the first bachelor rejected. What advice would you give him?

(When in doubt, go with Mama Ru)

(When in doubt, go with Mama Ru)

Then we get to be a fly on the wall of some extreme BRO TIME with some extremely nondescript dudes. If this show is trying to remind me of the boring men we could have had instead of Nick, it’s working! Is it a threat? Like, behave or we’re going to bring one of these guys back!!!

All the dudes are drinking some straight up heterosexual whisky and we hear yet again the ballad of Nick’s redemption tour on Bachelor in Paradise.

Ugh, I have to see Ben, which reminds me of JoJo, which reminds me of this. I guess if she was into this guy, I should have known she had terrible taste. This is what you get when you don’t know your past! History IS important!

("If you don't learn from me, you'll be doomed to repeat me.")

("If you don't learn from me, you'll be doomed to repeat me.")

The men all discuss how much of a sacrifice it is to be on this voluntary show. Ben, rather dramatically, says of the girls: “You’ve given up your lives for this.”

Jesus, what happens to the women who aren’t picked?

The group keeps referring to “all those mistakes in [Nick's] life.” WTF did he DO in past seasons? I feel like so much evil is being hinted at in this season. 

I will say that Nick looks MUCH better with a beard. Which is the first (and likely LAST) compliment I will be giving him this episode.

We get a video medley of what’s to come on this episode/season, including one woman screaming “what a ho!” about another woman, which, in this case, roughly translates to “she’s kissing him before I’m able to!”

But in HUGE news:

CONTESTANT CHRIS IS BACK!

("Won't someone please love me!?")

("Won't someone please love me!?")

Wow! The first surprise of the season. I appreciate ABC’s relaxed policy towards a middle-aged bisexual man just trying to find love with whatever person is currently the Bachelor or Bachelorette. Like Nick, he’s looking for love and he’ll never ever ever ever ever ever stop!

Contestant Chris, rarely jealous, promises that “an incredible group of accomplished, interesting women from all over the country are dying to compete for Nick’s heart.” AGAIN! What the fuck are these stakes? Why must they be life and death?

CUT TO: SOME OF THESE WOMEN WHO ARE DYING FOR LOVE!

First stop is Texas! Rachel Lindsay, she of the two first names, is a lawyer and is super cute! We’ve been chatting with her for just a few seconds and I already know she’s too good for this nonsense. She works hard, and AFTER work? She vacuums! But she’s whacky, so she sings while she does it.

Also, not to be terribly conspiratorial, but is she twice MARRIED?

(I'm onto you)

(I'm onto you)

A bold reveal!

Next is Danielle, and she’s referred to as Danielle L, so we know there will be another Danielle here soon enough. The tension on this show is unrelenting.

Danielle (L) runs not one but THREE salons! Her main hobby, however, is standing on a beach in a shirt that’s only half finished.

("Fuuuuck, I knew I forgot something. The rest of my shirt.")

("Fuuuuck, I knew I forgot something. The rest of my shirt.")

There is something dark behind Danielle’s motivations. If there is someone not here for the right reasons, I think it’s her. She also managed to say this with a straight face:

“He’s definitely shown by being on these shows so many times that he’s interested in really trying to pursue true love and trying to find a good partner.”

If there’s someone who doesn’t care about reality, it’s also Danielle L.

NEXT! Is Vanessa, and she is from Quebec! She speaks French! And Italian! And even English! She’s also super hot and is a Special Education teacher.

She wonders to herself if she’ll find “The One" while also standing near water with her shoulders exposed.

("At least I remembered my shirt.")

("At least I remembered my shirt.")

“Maybe it’s Nick!” she says, in such a way that you can tell she really doesn’t believe it will be.

Next is Josephine from Santa Cruz, CA! She ALSO enjoys walking near the water in a weird shirt!

(Is this some kind of conspiracy?!?)

(Is this some kind of conspiracy?!?)

She has a frankly adorable cat, and enjoys dressing in cosplay with it and talking in her second language, Meows.

(Actual transcript: "Meow meow meow meow. Meow.")

(Actual transcript: "Meow meow meow meow. Meow.")

Josephine seems like someone who is constantly walking a line between fun and dangerous.

Then there’s Raven, from Hoxie, Arkansas and she enjoys mudding, shooting guns, and reading your bible. She sums up life in Hoxie as: “Family, faith and football, because that’s literally all we have.” That’s bleak.

ALSO WTF are these shirts?!

Because Arkansas is landlocked, Raven can't pose in front of an ocean and has to settle for an overgrown field in which to show off her weird shirt.

(What the fuck is going on here?)

(What the fuck is going on here?)

She owns a fashion boutique, which can’t be right based on everything I’ve seen on her body thus far.

NEXT! It's Corrine, from Miami. Her world, she promises, is “glamorous.” Cut to her mother taking her food order, and then cut to it being served by her nanny Raquel.

(I'm pretty sure Corrine is a Trump.)

(I'm pretty sure Corrine is a Trump.)

She is 24, by the way. She lives with her family and runs her father’s “multi-million dollar” business. She’s “a very serious business woman” she promises, but it’s hard to take her seriously with a belly full of cucumbers served to her by a nanny.

This goes without saying, but Corrine is definitely going to be a villain on this season.

But soon enough it’s time for Alexis from Secaucus, NJ! She seems like a wackadoo, or at least like she’s trying to seem like a wackadoo. What are Alexis’s priorities?

“I’m like obsessed with dolphins.....He needs to love dolphins, otherwise this isn’t going to work out.”

("Ha, honestly dolphins were the first thing that popped in my head when the producers asked me, and I just went with it!")

("Ha, honestly dolphins were the first thing that popped in my head when the producers asked me, and I just went with it!")

Next is the OTHER Danielle we were promised, Danielle M, from Nashville. You can tell by the way soft guitar music plays as she walks on camera that she’s “wifey material." She talks gently and is a neonatal intensive care nurse. She also often looks like she's baked.

("I may be high but at least I have a full shirt on.")

("I may be high but at least I have a full shirt on.")

My boyfriend says "I think she's hiding something. In fact, I'm fairly certain of it." 

THEN! It’s Taylor from Seattle. Hi Taylor! She’s a mental health counselor. She ALSO likes to regard water while displaying her shoulders.

(You can't tell in this lighting, but she's just 100% naked here)

(You can't tell in this lighting, but she's just 100% naked here)

These ladies actually do seem quite accomplished. Is the economy really so bad that they are forced into doing this show instead of pursuing their careers?

NEXT! It’s Liz from Las Vegas! She’s a doula! And she’s got a dark secret. I think it might be that Liz is short for Elizabeth, because you can't get anything past me, but it's actually not that.

The secret is this: she’s met Nick once before at Jade and Taylor’s wedding. She was Jade’s Maid of Honor and she “spent some time” with Nick.

(Busted!)

(Busted!)

AKA they boned. Is this even allowed!?!?!?

The narrator is all “will Nick even remember this girl he boned within the past year?”

THIS SHOW IS SO PROFANE!

But there's no time to dwell on it, because the contestants are soon arriving! Contestant Chris gets there first. Sure, because he’s been there waiting since last season.

I’m hesitant to admit this, but Nick seems sincere. Or is he just a fantastic actor?

Chris waxes poetic about love and says “it all starts right here, on this driveway tonight.”

Most good love stories start on a driveway!

One by one the women arrive, with very little intrigue. The women are greeted by Nick and then sent inside, where they sit around and miserably fail the Bechdel Test at every turn.

One consistent theme of this episode is the constant references to Nick’s mysterious past of running an underground dog fighting ring being on several past seasons.

Jasmine G. arrives with Neil Lane, aka the man who provides rings for every sham proposal on this show. She points out which ring she likes the most and what size her finger is, which is a pretty baller move, Jasmine G.

Side note: There are two Jasmines,  but if there were two Jasmine Gs, how would we distinguish them? Surely this has happened with a Megan or a Heather on this show before, right?

Then it’s Hailey! From Canada! I didn’t realize we were opening our borders to love. Hailey has QUITE an opener:

“So do you know what a girl wearing underwear says? Neither do I.”

(She might not actually know what underwear is)

(She might not actually know what underwear is)

“Nick is a very sexual man.” Hailey promises the audience. Then the girls are shown inside, also talking about sex amongst themselves.  Horndogs all!

Next up is Astrid.  She says something about her real boobs in a fake German accent.  

NEXT! Liz, the Las Vegas Doula, arrives. Will he remember her from just 9 months ago?

It’s unclear, and Liz says she kind of likes that he doesn’t recognize her, because it’s mysterious, and we cut to Nick looking off dumbly into space.

("Did I leave the oven on three years ago when I first got trapped in this hellish cycle?")

("Did I leave the oven on three years ago when I first got trapped in this hellish cycle?")

“Somebody get her a glass of wine!” I hear an anonymous party girl scream. LOL......dare I get high hopes for this season?

The adult-baby Corrine arrives, and she gives him a “hug token” to cash in later. But then he just hugs over, sans token. Is the exchange rate different as the night goes on? If she accepted a hug for free she’s not really the business woman she made herself out to be.

Next up is hot Vanessa, she of the trilingualism. And it looks like there are sparks! She speaks French and it CLEARLY works on him. “That’s a keeper.” He says to himself as she goes inside.

Next the Danielle M. theme song comes on, and she’s come bearing a gift of homemade maple syrup, which she feeds him off her hands.  

Nick kills it with this sexy response: “I’m going to trust that your fingers are clean.” Nick!

Raven arrives with a PIG SOOOOIIIIIE! Jamie is after that and surprises Nick with her septum piercing. Nick is shocked at first, but regains his composure, I guess.

(Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Next time warn me!)

(Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Next time warn me!)

These people must live in a weird bubble if the sight of a facial piercing throws them off so.

Brianna is next and gets a “crazy music” edit and sort of leans into it.

("We both know I'm not staying past tonight!")

("We both know I'm not staying past tonight!")

Some more girls arrive, including a woman who gives Nick a beard massage. “There’s more where that came from!”

Is that a threat?

Josephine is next!  She kind of looks like Rumer Willis, and gives him the gift of a totally nonsensical pun. Nick is a “weiner in my book," and then of course she pulls out a hollowed book with an uncooked hot dog inside. Side note, you know she already had those items and came up with the pun around it.

“Do you want to Lady and the Trump it?” She asks as Nick, and then the two of them bite into either end of the uncooked hot dog. Wow. Just to remind you, this is one of the most popular shows in the USA.

(This show is also very popular among conservatives)

(This show is also very popular among conservatives)

“Very nice to meet you,” Nick lies.

I also like that when Josephine arrives, they list her profession as REGISTERED nurse, as if to assure us that she's legit. Have they had a problem with this in the past?! (Note: I know that "registered nurse" is a designation for having graduated a nursing program, I just think in this case ABC is covering their ass)

("We have her license if you need to see it!!" - the producers)

("We have her license if you need to see it!!" - the producers)

A woman arrives on a camel just so she can make a "hump" joke.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a camel before.” Nick says to himself. Hmmm...what an odd yet revealing aside!

The camel looks humiliated to be a part of this, for the record.

I wonder if he comes from the same school of embarrassed animal actors that The Bachelorette clearly employed last year.

“A girl came out on a camel, and I was like why was that not me?” A woman kicks herself for not dreaming big enough. Wow, such aspirations.

In case you didn’t remember that Alexis is crazy about dolphins, she shows up in a shark costume. All the other women correctly point out that she’s actually wearing a shark costume. Rachel, rather hilariously, says:

“There’s a debate about whether she’s a shark or a dolphin. We don’t know and I’m not sure if she does either.”

“No, it’s a dolphin costume.” Comes Alexis’s response from within the shark costume.

("Honestly, I've been trying to get on this show since 'Left Shark' was a thing.")

("Honestly, I've been trying to get on this show since 'Left Shark' was a thing.")

The contestants all debating the true identity of this costume is the first time the show has passed the Bechdel test! Assuming the shark costume is a female, of course.

But then they go right back to talking about how hot Nick is. Keep in mind he did not notice the shark/dolphin discrepancy when he first met Alexis.

Liz announces out of nowhere that she thinks that having boned Nick before will give her an advantage: “I’m sure it will."

Most of these women seem nicer and less like macho jerk dudes than the macho jerk dudes from last season, so I anticipate it will be harder to see some of them go than it was, say, to see Erectile Evan walk out of our lives.

Soon enough the PARTY STARTS!

Nick seems to like acknowledging how awkward things are, and I kind of appreciate that quality.

Rachel is shown talking with him first. He seems to like her and they have good chemistry, but I’m concerned because of this show’s abysmal record with black contestants.

Rachel’s type of law is civil defense litigation, which Nick repeats slowly, as if with every word he realizes he’s not sure what that means.

Nick also talks to a few other bubbly, attractive, sweet women. Seriously - how is he going to choose between 30 strangers 29 strangers and one women he’s boned who he’s forgotten?

Before we can believe it, the FIRST IMPRESSION ROSE makes its first impression on the show!

I actually find myself excited for this! What a change from last season!

Corrine swings by with another big bag of tokens. Are these more hug tokens, or are there different denominations in the mix? It's never clarified.

Vanessa tells him some stuff, but it’s mostly an excuse for them to stare at each other. While they are staring into each other’s eyes, VILLAIN CORRINE COMES BACK TO STEAL A KISS! 

“I want Nick right now. RIGHT NOW.” Corrine says to the camera with all the subtlety of that runaway bus from Speed (excellent topical ref!).

(Also a great idea for a future season! "He can't slow down...his heart!")

(Also a great idea for a future season! "He can't slow down...his heart!")

They kiss! With tongue! It’s gross! I had forgotten in these Bachelorette-less months how much close up kissing there is on the show and how uncomfortable it makes me.

“I didn’t feel very comfortable.” Nick says later, of the kiss. That makes two of us, dude!

The other women are pissed that Corrine stole him twice. Corrine is all “what, does this make me an interesting and watchable villain?! Then so be it!”

“It’s a really bold move to kiss someone on the first night.” Someone says. Didn’t this happen during the ENTIRE first episode of last season?

The rest of the women stress about the march of time and the idea that Nick might be slipping through their fingers. They are all fighting for his attention, and this is the reason I was concerned about this season, which is centered on one of my least favorite conceits: a bunch of women fighting over one man.

The dolphin/shark is getting trashed, and the other women point out admiringly that she’s wearing heels with her costume. Corrine ruminates on why Alexis is wearing the suit, and wonders if she has a good body. “Hopefully it’s just not a trainwreck under there," she says, quite charmingly.

Of course the shark gets in the pool and calls Nick over. By this time he seems to have been informed that it’s actually a shark, and this exchange occurs:

Nick: “It’s not a dolphin!” 
Alexis: “You’re smooth!” 

Then later, to the camera, Alexis says “I want to be the first dolphin to get a fucking rose tonight.” Her odds are pretty good on that, actually. Set attainable goals!

To another camera, Liz is still reveling in her shameful sexy secret. She says “I didn’t tell anyone that I’d met Nick before.” And then “I’m kind of glad that he didn’t remember that we had sex.” Girl, get your confidence up.

But! Nick shocks her by telling her he does remember meeting her within the past year.  

“You didn’t think I’d remember?” Nick asks, kind of insulting. Yeah, it’s kind of insulting Nick!

He's all In FACT, I remember that you wouldn’t even give me your number!

Liz is all “it’s cool because I watched Bachelor in Paradise and realized you were ok,” to which he can’t really hide his annoyance that she thought he was a dick even after/while they boned. You following this sordid tale?

Liz seems awfully pleased with herself that he remembers her and that this whole weird story played out the way it did.

("Im going to go far because Nick and I once engaged in sexual congress and he remembers!!!!")

("Im going to go far because Nick and I once engaged in sexual congress and he remembers!!!!")

“I like Canadians.” Nick says enigmatically while talking to Hailey.

One woman gifts him a picture frame with handwritten quotes from Sex and the City inside. I don’t think I’d like that gift and I’ve seen every episode of that show.

But we can’t freaking talk about that any more, because suddenly Nick appears in the house and dramatically picks up the first impression rose! This sends the women into a tizzy.

“I honestly can’t stand flowers.” Vanessa declares, but she wants that rose! That’s how much she wants to stay - she’ll stay and wait for a thing she HONESTLY CAN’T STAND to be closer to Nick. I'm glad honesty is important to both Vanessa and Nick - something to build a relationship on.

The first impression rose goes to RACHEL! Nick! You made a good decision! I was not expecting that!

“Are you aware of what this is?” Nick asks Rachel while holding the rose, and I’m not sure if he’s quizzing her or asking because he’s not quite sure himself.

("No but seriously....any idea what this thing is?")

("No but seriously....any idea what this thing is?")

I catch myself smiling as they flirt. DAMNIT! This is actually cute - what is happening to me?!?!?

But soon enough, the real carnage beings, because it’s now the Rose Ceremony.

“This is where the hard part starts.” Nick promises.

Nick acknowledges “taking the risk” of coming out here and filming this show. SERIOUSLY WHAT DANGER LURKS IN THIS HOUSE?

I’ve noticed that lots of the men from last season were just straight up not attractive, but all these women are good looking. Wtf!

Anyway, the roses are given out as follows!!

  • Vanessa (DUH)
  • Danielle L.
  • Kristen 
  • Astrid
  • Corinne (who is PISSED she wasn’t picked earlier)
  • Elizabeth W.
  • Jasmin G.
  • Raven
  • Kristina (who has been offscreen weeping for most of the ceremony)
  • Danielle M.
  • Sarah
  • Josephine
  • Lacey (she of the HUMP idea)
  • Taylor
  • Alexis (the Shark/Dolphin)
  • Hailey
  • Whitney
  • Dominique
  • Jamie
  • Brittany 

I hope you like drama! Because only ONE ROSE REMAINS!

And it goes to LIZ! His once and future sexual partner!

The women who are kicked off are forced to leave immediately. Yet again, the first women to be cut exit the house to discover that’s it DAWN. They were up ALL night. This lack of sleep is why, in addition to liters (litres for our Canadian contestants) of champagne, they are all now crying. It can’t because they lost out on a chance with a guy they’ve known for less than 24 hours.

The rest of the women size up their competition. Corrine seems focused on winning “love” to a terrifying degree. Liz is all “I don’t care if someone else has kissed him, I literally had sex with him.”

THIS SEASON ON THE BACHELOR!

Lots of kissing in different locales, including in space (or at least zero gravity). Actually The International Space Station would be a great exotic locale for them to escape to!

We find out that that Jaimi has an ex-girlfriend. Has this ever happened on the show? We’re also promised a visit from The Backstreet Boys! And a visit from Corrine’s breasts when she takes her top off in the pool!

We’ll also get to see Christen make this hilarious shocked face:

(I love everything about this)

(I love everything about this)

There’s a slap in some episode, but I’m almost positive it’s part of an acting challenge, so I won’t wonder about it too much. Then there’s Corrine acting like a villain and saying things like:

“My sex abilities are definitely top notch.”

and

“My heart is gold, but my vagine is platinum.”

And of course, lots and lots of crying.

(And whatever this is!)

(And whatever this is!)

See you next week!

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