Warning: This recap of the Season 13 premiere of The Bachelorette contains spoilers.
Happy lucky number 13, rose lovers! Full confession: I’ve already decided that our new Bachelorette — the “sassy yet classy” Rachel Lindsay — is too good for any of the bozos this franchise could ever find and this is all, once again, an exercise in emotional futility … but if this franchise has taught me anything, it’s that life is about the “journey.” So let’s kick ours off, shall we?
Yes, I object to the lengthy, episode-padding “refresher” about Rachel’s doomed courtship with Nick on The Bachelor, and honestly, if I never see the clip of Dean saying ,“I’m ready to go black and I’m never going back” again, it’ll be to soon. But the preamble was all worth it for this moment alone:
Nosy old ladies FTW! Anyhow, let’s meet (a handful of) the guys:
Kenny, 35: Perhaps it’s just because he’s a professional wrestler (aka “Pretty Boy Pitbull” Kenny King), but Kenny’s declaration that he’s “coming to The Bachelorette to win your heart” sounds a little bit more like a threat than it should. But of course in real life, he’s a softie. Just look at how sweet he is with his 10-year-old daughter:
Fine, we’ll allow it.
Jack, 31: This lawyer from Dallas lost his mom to cancer in high school, so his intro package consists almost entirely of him staring pensively off into the distance.
Alex, 28: A meathead who can read! Revolutionary.
Does this Detroit-based “information systems supervisor” still live with his parents? Unclear. But we are down with mom’s advice: NO KISSING ON THE MOUTH. It worked for Pretty Woman, pal, so it could work for you.
Mohit, 26: All you need to know about this guy is he likes to participate in Bollywood dance competitions (along with his regular job of launching some kind of startup).
Lucas, 30: Meet this season’s Designated Idiot. Not sure whether Lucas has a job or any family members who still talk to him, but we do know that he has a catchphrase — “Whaaaboooom!” —and he’s committed enough to get that catchphrase printed on a T-shirt.
Blake E., 31: Though he identifies himself as a “personal trainer and sports nutritionist,” Team Bachelorette prefers to call him an “aspiring drummer” onscreen, because that sounds so much more pathetic. Not that Blake needs any help sounding foolish, as he says things like “I would say scientifically, my libido is above average” and “Many women have told me about the amazingness of my penis.” And how does Blake repay his penis for earning him all that praise? By forcing it to squeeze into these nut-hugging jeans.
Diggy, 31: This dude from Chicago (real name, Kenneth) has 575 pairs of sneakers. So, yeah. Next?
Josiah, 28: Do you enjoy sobbing uncontrollably? Then this terrible backstory is for you. When Josiah was 7, his older brother hung himself in the backyard after being bullied — and Josiah was the one who cut him down from the tree. Traumatized, Josiah turned “to the streets” for a mentor and got arrested for burglary when he was 12. Fortunately, a Wise Judge pulled the boy aside and told him, “You’re not a thug.” Now Josiah is a lawyer who represents his community and puts bad guys in jail! Plus, he looks great in a tank top.
When Rachel arrives at Casa Bachelorette for the first time, she’s greeted there by “the people that know me the best”: The cast of Bachelor in Paradise Season 4!
Joining Jasmine, Dolphin Shark, and Platinum Vagine are Raven the Runner-Up, Kristina, and two women I couldn’t identify until I consulted a cheat-sheet: Astrid and Whitney. Anyhow, the “ladies” give Rachel a pep talk about following her heart, etc. Then Whitney (or is it Astrid?) tells Rachel that her best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with a girl who says “the second guy” from After the Final Rose isn’t there for the right reasons. (FYI: Said guy is Blake E., of the much-praised penis.)
In all seriousness, though, all of these women really do seem to like and respect Rachel, which is, frankly, a miracle given how women usually respond to each other on this show. “One reason why you connected with all of us, even though we’re all so different, is because you pulled the best out of us,” Raven says, tearing up. “I hope someone goes hard for you.” That sounds kinda weird, but still, it’s sweet.
At last, it’s time. Harrison greets our queen at Casa Bachelorette with a warm hug, before sending in the limos. Let the Robot Roll Call Begin!
Peter, 30: It’s a solid opening effort for this “business owner” from Wisconsin: He makes a little joke about being from Nick’s home state and then heads inside before he says something stupid. Watch and learn, fellas.
Josiah emerges next, looking sharp in a silver-and-black ensemble — and he makes the first of what’s sure to be many legal jokes of the evening: “I am convinced that by the end of our experience together, you will have no reasonable doubt that I’m the man for you.”
Bryan, 37: Chris Harrison told Yahoo TV that Bryan is a “Latin-lover type,” and the chiropractor from Miami lives up to that description with his suave Spanish-language intro.
Kenny the professional wrestler wisely does not lead with a gimmick related to his day job, and instead breaks the ice with an arm wave.
It makes Rachel laugh, so mission accomplished.
Rob, 29: Pretty sure this guy is here solely to help ABC plug their Bachelorette Fantasy League.
Iggy, 30: Quick, genuine-seeming “I’m so happy to be here” intro. Too bad this consulting firm CEO didn’t tell the story featured in his ABC bio about the time he got a boner in a board meeting.
Bryce, 30: A beefy firefighter, he shows up in uniform and sweeps Rachel up in his arms, because … he’s a firefighter, so it’s OK? Anyhow, she doesn’t seem to mind.
Will, 28: I’m 100 percent onboard with this guy’s Urkel-inspired introduction. It was silly, funny, and best of all, quick.
That said, it would have worked even better if he stayed in his Urkel costume all night. If Alexis can get a rose in a shark costume, pal, you should be able to score in suspenders.
After a quick hello from Diggy, we meet Kyle, 26, who tells Rachel he wants to show her his “buns” — meaning, of course, that he brought her food. Nothing wrong with that.
Blake K., 29: Finally, a Blake who doesn’t talk about how great his penis is! This Marine tells the Bachelorette that his grandparents only dated for “a few months” and they’ve been married for 65 years … so who says an eight-week reality show can’t lead to love?
Brady, 29: Has it really taken 13 seasons of The Bachelorette and 21 seasons of The Bachelor for someone to make this “break the ice” joke?
I’m disappointed in us, America.
Dean, 26: This is the dude who used the “I’m ready to go black” pickup line at After the Final Rose, and after taking flak for it on Twitter, he feels a little sheepish about facing Rachel again.
The Bachelorette is once again gracious about it and tells Dean she appreciated his “confidence” on ATFR night. The “but don’t do it again” was clearly implied, though.
Eric, 29: This personal trainer met — and danced with — Rachel during ATFR. “This is gonna be our thing,” predicts the Bachelorette, as she and Eric dance it out again.
DeMario, 30: Hello again to DeMario, the guy who brought a ring and tickets to Vegas on After the Final Rose. If you thought he brought the confidence on ATFR, he’s even more focused now. “I’m looking forward to being able to have many more first moments — first date, first kiss, first Christmas…” And she LOVES it.
Oh DeMario, if only you hadn’t ruined your great second impression by falling victim to the most insidious grammatical error in the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise: “I have that confidence that it’s gonna be her and I.”
Blake E., 31, arrives with a full marching band in tow — confirming everyone’s suspicions that yes, he is overcompensating for something. (And, to be fair, Blake’s also trying to make up for his tongue-tied intro at After the Final Rose.)
What’s that you say, Harrison? We’re “not even close to being done” meeting the guys? Oof, keep ’em coming, then.
Fred, 27: Thank goodness Harrison explained this situation for us last week in his 5 Guys to Watch interview, otherwise I would have been completely lost. Turns out Fred and Rachel went to a camp together when they were younger — she was a counselor, he was a camper — and he’s carried a torch for her ever since. “I knew exactly who he was when he came out of the limo,” insists Rachel. “He was a very bad kid!” I dunno, this could either end up like a rom-com … or a Lifetime Movie Network thriller.
Jonathan, 31: There’s a reason Team Bachelorette doesn’t give this guy an onscreen ID when he first emerges from the limo. It’s because this is the asshat whose occupation is listed as “tickle monster” on his ABC bio … and that’s exactly what he does to our Rachel.
Hands off, pal. As Davey points out in the Judy Blume classic Tiger Eyes, tickling is a form of torture — and torturing someone is not a great way to make a first impression.
Lee, 30: Speaking of torture, this “singer/songwriter” from Nashville arrives with guitar in hand and begins serenading Rachel with a half-assed composition.
Literary meathead Alex, 28, dances out of the limo with a vacuum, in a cute callback to Rachel’s original Bachelor intro.
Milton, 31: What’s a “hotel recreation supervisor”? We’ll never know, because once he takes a selfie with Rachel, producers move on to…
Adam, 26: On what planet does “arriving with a creepy doll named after you” sound like a good way to impress a woman you’re trying to date? Seriously, this thing is the stuff of nightmares.
Why is “Adam Jr” from France while human Adam is from Dallas? Who can say. Either way, Rachel wants them both to go away right now.
Matt, 32: This “construction sales rep” from Connecticut shows up in a full penguin costume, in a less-than-subtle homage to the fantastic penguin pajamas Rachel wore on her overnight date with Nick.
And props to Matt for keeping (most of) the costume on all night.
Grant, 29: This “emergency medicine physician” gets a blink-and-you’ll-miss it intro (seriously, the ambulance he came in got more screen time). He’s quickly followed up by…
Anthony, 26: “I’m here to help you understand me, and I will commit myself to understanding you as well.” A little stiff, but I suppose we can’t fault him for choosing not to make a fool of himself right off the bat.
Jamey, 32: Barely has time to utter one compliment — “This dress is ridiculous!” — before Team Bachelorette shuttles him inside.
Jack Stone the lawyer (why does he get two names? There are no other Jacks!) shows up next, followed by Mohit. But the “sausage fest” (Bryan from Miami’s term) isn’t over yet.
Jedidiah, 35: This ER physician with a Biblical name doubles down and goes with a full-on Old Testament intro: “When Jacob met Rachel, he wept.” The Bachelorette is impressed … or at least she pretends to be: “Oooh, Biblical. I love it.”
Michael, 26: This “former pro basketball player” from Chicago had time to bake Rachel some brownies, because he is a “former pro basketball player,” which is not, in fact, a job. “The blacker the brownie, the sweeter the dude,” Michael informs our heroine.
Naturally, Team Bachelorette saves the worst — that would be Lucas “Whaboom” — for last. Do I really need to tell you that Lucas subjects our Bachelorette to a performance of his catchphrase — which makes him look like a dog having a seizure while sticking its head out of a speeding car — and that Rachel somehow still manages to sound completely genuine when she says, “So nice to meet you”?
The guys aren’t as forgiving. “That’s the crazy one,” notes DeMario. “Let the circus begin,” adds Jonathan Tickle Monster, who really isn’t in a position to judge, but whatever.
Praise be to the heavens, the intros are finally over.
So do we, honey. Josiah is the first to ask Rachel for a one-on-one chat, and he leads her outside to the (not really) good-natured jeers and catcalls of his jealous competitors. You snooze, you lose, boys. Josiah’s got an amazing story and he’s not going to waste any time making sure Rachel knows it.
Not everyone can have a “full-circle” backstory, though, so many of the other guys need to rely on props to make an impression on Rachel. Dean, no doubt hoping to erase his ATFR blunder from the Bachelorette’s mind completely, has the Bachelorette Interns bring in a small sandbox where he and Rachel can play while they chat. Rob pulls out an actual Rachel Lindsay trading card he had made for his Bachelorette Fantasy League.
And don’t forget about AJ, the terrifying doll version of Adam the real estate agent. Team Bachelorette spends a good three minutes on this joke, as Adam Junior stalks Rachel from place to place while she chats with the other guys. The doll even gets its own confessional, complete with a steamy French voiceover.
Let us all take a moment of silence to remember the guys who will, in the end, get less screen time than AJ, an inanimate object.
Moving on to Frederick. “You were a bad kid!” Rachel reminds him, a scolding tone in her voice. Though in the privacy of her confessional, the Bachelorette admits to finding Fred “very attractive” today, she’s not sure she can get past seeing him as a misbehaving third-grader.
From boys to men: Bryan steals Rachel away from Fred to give her a Spanish lesson … and then he goes in (a little too hot, in my opinion) for a kiss.
Oooh, someone really wants that first impression rose. As soon as Harrison chums the water, the FIR feeding frenzy gets underway, and it seems a little more aggressive than usual. Guys are jostling each other to get in front of Rachel, and giving each other pep talks from the sidelines.
Unfortunately, poor Mohit is too drunk to walk the few steps to where Rachel’s sitting, so Lee the “singer/songwriter” slides into the opening instead. Indeed, as the night wears on, everyone’s getting a little sloppy — including Lucas, who pulls the jackass (but admittedly kind of funny) move of narrating Peter’s conversation with Rachel through his bullhorn.
“He’s a f***ing clown,” explains Blake E., in case we didn’t already know. Correction: Lucas is a f***ing drunk, exhausted, and hangry clown. “Forget the whabooms, forget the ‘let the big dog eat…’,” mumbles Lucas, when he finally gets to sit down with Rachel. “Who’s the big dog? Are you the big dog?” Rachel replies, in a tone normally reserved for toddlers on the verge of a meltdown. “Do you need to eat?” Yes, someone please get this man a burger and some black coffee, preferably spiked with Ambien.
As gracious as she is, even Rachel is starting to get annoyed with the guys’ buffoonish antics as the night wears on. Milton’s incessant growling, for example, is working her last nerve. “The first time he did it, he got a pass. The second time, I said, ‘Oh no, this is his thing,’” sighs Rachel. “It’s not mine.”
Meanwhile, Blake E. is trying to get Lucas to admit that he’s just Here To Be On TV™, but by doing so Blake’s giving Lucas exactly what he wants — more screen time.
Lucas: “I think everybody has a little Whaboom in them.”
Blake E.: “I have no Whaboom in me.”
Though it looks for a second like Kenny the wrestler — who has a heartfelt chat with Rachel about his life as a dad — would get the first impression rose, it goes to … Bryan, the ambush-kisser. When he and Rachel kiss this time, though, the only one surprised about it is poor, drunk Mohit.
Oh Lord have mercy, Chris Harrison and his Butter Knife of Bad News have finally arrived. It’s rose ceremony time! Rachel tells Harrison that she’s “confident” about the cuts she’s about to make, before heading into the slaughter. And the roses go to: Peter, Will (who? oh right, Urkel!), Jack, Jamey, Iggy, Eric, DeMario, Jonathan the Tickle Monster (!), Bryce, Alex, Kenny, Dean, Matt the Penguin, Anthony, Brady, Josiah, Lee, Diggy, Fred, Adam (minus AJ), Blake E., and … Lucas? While this is terrible news for humanity in general, it does provide us with some pretty amazing reaction shots from the guys who Rachel chose over Whaboom.
First there’s Milton, the living embodiment of SMDH.
And there’s Mohit, who chooses this exact moment to reevaluate every decision he’s ever made in his life.
And so we also bid adieu to Rob, Matt, Blake K., Grant, Jedidiah, Kyle, and Michael. (And yes, I had to triple-check who some of these guys were.)
One “this season on” supertease later, and we’re done, rose lovers! And I want to hear all of your thoughts. Who do you like? Who (besides Whaboom) do you want off your TV screen ASAP? And which guy do you think has the very angry, cellphone-wielding ex-girlfriend? Post your thoughts now! And don’t forget to check out Chris Harrison’s exclusive blog right here.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to see if I can find a half-sized Chris Harrison Jr. doll on Etsy.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Watch: Rachel Lindsay explains why she kept “Whaboom” guy:
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