As the 13th season of The Bachelorette commences, host Chris Harrison trots out his canned introduction: “Never have we seen anything like the outpouring of love and support for our new bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay.”
This time, though, it might actually be true.
It’s 2017, and “Bachelor Nation” and all those still lonely enough to be watching this show after 33 seasons, myself absolutely included, have been waiting 15 years for a person of color to helm the show. You guys, we had a black president before we had a black person deemed capable of commanding an audience for a dating show.
I don’t want this season to be all about the color of Rachel’s skin when she’s one of the few stars of this show who genuinely seems smart, successful, savvy, and interesting, but this casting decision was a long time coming, so let’s take a moment to celebrate Rachel. And later, we’ll drool over all the sexy black suitors who ABC rounded up for this milestone of diversity on television (and also one each of a Colombian-American and an Indian-American, because baby steps).
Once Rachel, the 32-year-old attorney from Dallas, settles in, the audience is treated to the obligatory introductions of a handful of suitors. Highlights include a pro-wrestler named “Pretty Boy Pitbull Kenny King,” who you just know will be making ring jokes for the entirety of his time on the show, and Blake, a personal trainer who is seemingly obsessed with his own manhood. Actual quote: “Women have told me about the amazingness of my penis.”
There’s also Josiah, a prosecuting attorney who reveals that his brother hung himself and that he, Josiah, had to cut his brother down from the tree when he was freaking 7 years old. And then he got arrested for burglary when he was 12, which set him on a path toward a legal career. This show just got super real. I wasn’t ready for that yet, Chris Harrison. Damn.
Oh, and we also meet Lucas, a cartoon character come to life. I hate him. More on him later.
Annnnyway, Rachel is ready to go back to the Bachelor mansion, and she thinks she needs some advice from some of the people who know her best: her friends and family. Just kidding, it’s some of the ladies from her season of The Bachelor, of course, cause after fighting over the same man for six weeks, y’all might as well be sisters, right? Half of Nick’s ladies have returned to give Rachel advice, since, you know, they’ve all been so wildly successful in love. Also, why is Raven so jaundiced? Did Nick give her hepatitis?
And then the limo exits commence. Each season, the limo exits get more and more outrageous. Some of these guys are keeping it simple and sincere. Some, like Brady, choose to break the ice by bringing a block of ice and literally breaking it with a hammer.
Blake, aka Mr. Talk-About-My-Dick-Constantly, comes in with a full marching band, which makes me question the legitimacy of his claims. What are we overcompensating for here, buddy? Also on the roster of props and gimmicks, we have a guitar; a Polaroid camera; a vacuum (still not sure what the joke was there); an Erkel costume; a squeaking penguin costume; an ambulance; Bible quotes; brownies; and an incredibly creepy doll called Adam Jr., who turns out to be my favorite ennui-filled, French speaking diversion of the episode.
Just when all the guys are starting to wonder if anyone there is crazy, Lucas, a corporeal Roger Rabbit doing an impression of Jim Carrey in The Mask, steps out of the limo. Did I mention I hate him? I hate him.
After explaining that he’s not here to play around (ready for commitment, marriage, etc.), Colombian hottie Bryan grabs Rachel sensually, pulls her in and plants a big, ol’ kiss on her. I hope Bryan keeps speaking Spanish and professing his willingness to commit, because it makes my ring finger twitch and my ovaries flutter.
As the night drags on, the men start circling Rachel like sharks. They’re pulling the “Excuse me, but can I steal her for just a second?” move left and right, and poor Rachel is totally overwhelmed. Meanwhile, Whaboom — I mean Lucas — the human equivalent of old silly putty covered in lint and Axe body spray, is trying to put on a show for the dudes, but literally no one cares about his middle-school-theater-kid-who-just-drank-12-Red-Bulls routine.
Toward the end of the evening, Rachel decides she’s seen enough of her men to hand out the first impression rose. And the winner is ... Colombian hottie Bryan! If Rachel doesn’t end up with him, can I have him?
Later, the rose ceremony commences, and Rachel says goodbye to no one you cared about anyway, with the possible exception of Mo, who was too nervous to talk to Rachel and just got hammered instead. We’ve all been there, buddy.
Next week, maybe we’ll find out what has Adam Jr. so filled with existential dread. And maybe Whaboom will finally shake something loose in his head and be carted away in an ambulance, never to return. One can only hope.