A history making season of The Bachelor begins tonight, featuring the first Black Bachelor, Matt James!
The episode opens with Chris Harrison reminding Bachelor Nation that Matt has NEVER appeared on any version of the show from the Bachelor franchise. He’s never been on TV before! Actually, Matt was set to be a Bachelor on the most recent version of The Bachelorette, before he was plucked from obscurity to star on The Bachelor.
Matt’s history making season filmed in Western Pennsylvania
WHO IS MATT JAMES? Chris asks the audience, before introducing an introductory clip. Matt is a real estate broker in New York City. He works with kids from the inner city. Aw. Matt grew up in North Carolina. He likes to skateboard!
Like The Bachelorette, ABC filmed The Bachelor at a single resort location. The spot, Nemacolin Resort is located south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Apparently, the show shot scenes at the resort during JoJo’s season of The Bachelorette.
For those of you familiar with the area, it’s located just south of Ohiopyle, and down the road from Uniontown. It’s pretty close to the West Virginia border. The season was filmed during the fall. The scenery is gorgeous. His bachelor pad is sweet. This resort is >>>>> than the California resort where the network filmed The Bachelorette.
Mom visits. Matt admits that his heart has been broken
Matt goes on to explain that he’s biracial–his dad is black and his mom is white. His parents split up very early on. Mom, who raised Matt as a Christian, comes to visit him at the resort. She grills him. “When were you last vulnerable?” she pointedly asks. Matt explains that he’s had his heart broken and he’s a little afraid. But he’s ready to open up! Mom gives Matt her blessings to embrace the process, as they say.
Matt meets the women
Next, it’s time to meet the women. Weird that we’re meeting the women before Matt does? Usually, the show begins with the first cocktail party. There’s a ballet dancer, a hearing impaired woman who wears cochlear implants, and an Ethiopia native. There is also a contestant who worked in TV news. She moved back home after her father’s ALS diagnosis.
Finally, it’s time for Matt to roll up in his Limo. Before he meets the ladies, he nervously pulls Chris aside for some questions. He’s a Bachelor newbie and needs some hand holding. “It’s super intimidating!” Matt admits. Chris advises him to be “genuine and honest.” Chris says a time will probably come when Matt wants to “choke me out.” OK then!
Matt feels the weight of being the first Black Bachelor. Basically, he figures if he chooses a white woman, he’ll piss off Black ladies and vice versa. Also, he believes that he’s never been in love. His mother’s complicated relationship with his father colors how he deals with relationships. He wants to let his guard and walls down. “I’m done running,” he says.
In the next 20 minutes, you could meet your wife, says Chris
Finally, Matt is ready to meet the women. “In the next 20 minutes, you could meet your wife!” says Chris. Surely, a remark that will make him less nervous. Bri is first. She seems nice. Next, is Rachael, who is a graphic designer. She is also very nice. The broadcast journalist Sarah greets him. Her dress is very sparkly. Jessenia is next. She’s looking for a partner that can be her rock.
Chelsea is spilling out of her dress. Cool natural hair! She wants to make history with Matt. The next big Bachelor milestone would be for a black couple to emerge from the competition. Right? Oops. That’s the kind of talk that makes Matt nervous.
Mari, a marketing director is “looking forward to this journey with you.” Matt is a little flummoxed by Mari. Up rolls another limo. Magi is the gal from Ethiopia. Carolyn, a journalist from Los Angeles, brings lavender from her mother’s garden to calm Matt’s nerves. He meets several more women. Anna brings a “stress ball.”
One gal brandishes a vibrator (no really)
Khalaya rolls up in a pickup truck. Product placement! She’s from North Carolina, where Matt grew up. Serena tripped on a step, which Matt found comforting. Serena, only 5′ 2″, brings a stool to stand on. Alicia the ballerina dances her way to Matt on point. Sanah wears weird goat slippers. Matt gets his first kiss from Alana who brings a bowl of spaghetti, and invites Matt to do the Lady and the Tramp move. The girls watch, jealous, from a window.
Now, things are getting even weirder. Kaili rolls up in her underwear with two dresses on a rack. She asks him to pick an outfit. The women watch, a little appalled. Abigail is the deaf contestant. She warns him that she’ll be reading his lips a lot. Her speaking voice is very clear. But the implants probably help a lot.
After a montage of more women, MJ a hairstylist (GOOD NAME) brings a pizza. Katie’s got something behind her back. It’s a vibrator. She claims it got her through the pandemic in quarantine. Welp. It looks p*nis shaped (It’s blacked out! See official Disney Company photo still for an un-blacked out view). The girls decide to name it “MJ.” O really?
The gimmicks keep on coming
More weird gimmicks, Amber rides up on a bicycle for two. Kimberly tosses a big fish at Matt, which he misses. Cassandra wears a football jersey that has “Mrs James” printed on the back. Illeana asks “Can I put my balls in your mouth?” Kit, a “fashion entrepreneur” drives up in a Bentley and wears a feathery dress. “If you’re not going big with your entrance, you’re definitely wasting your time,” she says. Victoria is carried to Matt on a throne. She’s calling herself “Queen Victoria” as she trips up the steps. Kit is super annoyed by her.
Matt kicks off the night with a prayer. The ladies swoon
Now, Matt joins all 32 women inside. He kicks off the night with a Christian prayer. He tells the women that when he’s nervous, or feels pressure, he prays. He promises to put himself in the women’s shoes and be vulnerable. “I saw the vibrator and I lost my train of thought,” he jokes, before revealing that he always feels like he needs to be a perfect person.
In his first sit down with Sarah, he reiterates that he looks forward to “unpacking” all the women’s personalities. But he understands that it’s difficult to open up and share imperfections. “Nobody can relate to perfect,” she says.
IS IT OK IF I STEAL YOU? Women vie for Matt’s attention
Opening the night with a prayer was a smart move. The women loved it. Rachael likes that he’s never been on the show before. Just like the women. She’s really caught Matt’s eye. Oh. It’s the first “IS IT OK IF I STEAL YOU.” Heh.
Mari is very worried that she won’t get an opportunity to talk to Matt. She finally grabs him, and hands him a fake airline ticket with facts on the back. She’s from Puerto Rico. She worries about her family. And then vibrator chick interrupts them. “Talk about a buzz kill,” Mari complains, “I got tapped by a d*ldo” she adds. Also, vibrator chick thinks her shtick is so clever, as she becomes annoying pretty fast. “Mari would definitely benefit from using my vibrator,” she says. “And if she is my roomate, I’ll definitely let her borrow it.” Snap.
A villain emerges
Khalaya and Matt share some sweet tea in the back of her truck. They toast to their North Carolina roots. He seems to really like her. Kit brings a snow globe containing a miniature New York City. She was raised there. But before their conversation even begins, Queen Victoria interrupts them, dismissively calling Kit “princess.” That makes Kit very catty. When the Queen returns from her chat she chastises Amber for not insisting on her time with Matt. Kit gives her the stink eye.
Finally, Chris arrives with the first impression rose. Victoria decides to seek Matt out again. Oooh. She’s the villain, I guess. The rest of the group, especially the girls who didn’t get time with Matt, are BIG MAD. Victoria doesn’t feel bad visiting Matt twice “because they’re idiots anyway.” She asks for a show of hands from the women who hadn’t talked to Matt yet. There are several. Victoria gloats, “I hope I get the first impression rose.”
Chris wants to talk with everyone, but he admits “It’s hard.”
Matt bestows his first impression rose
Next, Bri explains that her mother is Persian but “white passing,” while her father is black. They split up before she was born. Her mother stayed single after that. Abigail, the deaf contestant, is next. She explains that her older sister is also deaf. Matt seems a little smitten. They kiss! The first makeout sesh of the season.
Matt picks up the first impression rose….and gives it to Abigail. So sorry, Queen Victoria. He explains that her fighting spirit and vulnerability impressed him. “Will you accept this rose?” he asks. The women who didn’t speak with him are now freaking out a little.
The first rose ceremony: Eight women are sent home
Chris shows up to announce the first rose ceremony. Dun Dun DUN! Bri, Rachael, Chelsea, Sarah, MJ, Serena P., Khaylah, Kristin, Kit, Magi, Pieper, Mari, Illiana, Jessenia, Kaili, Marylynn (after she kvetches and worries in the background), Serena C., Lauren, Sydney, Alana, , Katie, Anna, Victoria receive roses.
Of course, the last rose went to villain, Queen Victoria. So predictable. Also, Alana and Anna are wearing the same dress. Is that some shtick that wound up on the cutting room floor? Matt called Alana first, and Anna thought for a minute he meant her, so I think so.
Twenty-four women receive roses. Going home are: Alicia, Emani, Cassandra, Corrinne, Carolyn, Kimberly, Saneh, and Amber. After the sads, Matt breaks out the champagne to celebrate with the remaining women.
Coming up in future episodes: “Random ass hos” join the competition. Uh oh.