The Bachelor – Season 23 Premiere Recap and Live Blog

On the first day of Bachelor, ABC gave to me
30 Botoxed women
And a virginal former tight end . . .

It’s season 23 of this perilous threat to our nation’s security. Experts recommend building a wall around Chris Harrison.

Tonight we witness the return of Colton Underwood, who was rejected by Season 14’s Becca Kufrin, much as several members of the current administration have been thrown out of their failing roles. Did the 26-year-old  have to prove he’s still untouched, like a Jewish bride of old on her wedding night? Did they package him in shrink-wrap to preserve his status? Maybe he had to get an affidavit notarized by a urologist?

In any event, among the inventory—I mean bachelorettes—are two Alexes, a Caelynn and a Caitlin, an Erika and an Erin, two Hannahs, an Adrianne who goes by “Jane,” and several women with names that are either ethnic or Junior Jumble clues. I hope Tahzjuan gets sent home early, only because I’ll never remember how to spell that.

There are several women of color, a variety of shades of blondes, and a lone redhead. No one wears glasses or has teeth less white than freshly fallen snow on a gated community.

Among the fun facts about the ladies: Annie says she hates mosquitoes, but they love her. Catherine’s favorite author is Dr. Seuss. Erin loves pumpkin spice lattes. Heather has a cat named Kitty. And Kirpa thinks Denver, Colorado, is the most romantic city in the US. How will Colton choose among all these alluring Holly Golightlys?

Chris is live as he opens the show at a viewing party in LA, a new and innovative feature for the moldering old franchise. As expected, there’s a lot of emphasis on Colton’s lack of experience with cervixes. But he is ready to find love and an orgasm not induced by own hand.

His journey, says Chris, will be shocking—even more so than Arie’s or Juan-Pablo’s or Stephen Miller’s. I’m mostly horrified that it’s a three-hour premiere larded with more empty filler than a bag of Lay’s. Other viewing parties are happening around the country, preventing Americans from researching how the shutdown genuinely affects federal employees.

We get to meet Chris’s mom, who probably wishes her son had become a doctor on a reality show. A more intimate viewing party is happening in a hot tub with Crystal and Goose, whose relationship has lasted longer than Rex Tillerson’s stint as SOS. Neil Lane is also with them in LA, drinking to yet another effortless sale of his overpriced bling.

Chris tells everyone he needs 10,000 likes on an Instagram photo to unlock some unseen video that is probably a big letdown. I refuse to be lured into these unrewarding gimmicks, and anyway, I’m not sure how Instagram works.

After Chris refers to former cast members as “alumni,” a superfan at one party declares Ben her favorite bachelor. Another respects Colton for being a virgin. Everyone cheers these lame op-eds.  When does the damn show begin, you cheapskate producers?

Okay, now it does. Cassie is a speech pathologist who loves the beach and resembles a branded character for an instant cocoa company. One of the Hannahs greets us from under a traffic overpass. She’s a former Miss Alabama who has only kissed four guys, although she says she is not a virgin. Of Colton’s own sex-free status, she claims “But then I’m like ‘how?” It’s simple, Cassie. He has never inserted Tab A into Slot B.

Heather is also a virgin. What is going on with the young people of today? She hopes to have her first kiss with Colton, which is preferable to jamming her tongue into her MyPillow. Kirpa is a dental hygienist. She hopes Colton flosses, and not just his teeth. The next gal’s mom is in federal prison for embezzlement. That’s one hometown visit we’ve already seen on Law & Order: SVU. She feels Colton’s virginity could be a problem, as one should try all flavors of cupcakes before committing to one. I suspect he would only like vanilla. All these girls are so similar, it’s like they were cast using facial recognition technology.

Back at the Lansing viewing party, the guests are visited by Kendall and Siene, because no actual celebrities would attend.

Now we shall learn more about Colton. As the first virgin bachelor (not counting Jesus), he’s excited to finally get some action between the sheets. He describes himself as a weird, lonely kid. Now he’s a weird, lonely adult. Football gave him a passion, a personality, and probably several concussions. He further states that falling in love with Becca was painful and disappointing, as it probably remains for Garrett, the guy she ended up with. But he is here today to fall in love again for a paycheck, only with dibs on who wins.

Chris introduces the topic of how one is seen by potential mates when one is untested in the sack. Colton cites the fear of their dissatisfaction and his potential to not perform well since he’s inexperienced. “You’re not a man,” Chris suggests with his patented clueless bluntness. Colton declares that now he’s ready to dive in head first. That’s not how you lose your virginity, son.

“Will Colton get down on one knee, or will he leave disappointed?” Chris intones before introducing successfully sexual Bachelor couples with children. The little ones are all very cute. Good casting director on that segment. Chris then visits the hot tub viewing party, where a line of people in bathing suits waits to be swapped out for the crowd already in the water. That seems unhygienic.

At the Texas viewing party, more mindless drivel ensues until they’re interrupted by the Park City party, where some guy proposes to his girlfriend. She accepts. The ring probably came from Jared. Meanwhile, I swear that’s Susan Sarandon doing the voice for the Tylenol Cold & Flu Severe ad.

The meatiest part of the show is about to begin now, but first, Chris discusses things with some more long-forgotten cast members. Nick has a beard and glasses, probably so no one will recognize him. They have nothing substantive to offer.

Onto the mansion. Colton dresses in a too-tight suit, tugs at his cuffs, and marches to his destiny. The ladies climb into the limos and drive to their improved Q scores. Colton tells Chris he wants to be present and living in the moment, blah blah blah. The women swill liquor and squeal in the moment.

First out is Demi, in a pale yellow lace number that looks like it came off the Mod Squad wardrobe rack. She announces that she hasn’t dated a virgin since she was 12. I hope she doesn’t do PR. Tayshia is next in a one-shouldered metallic number. She praises Colton’s work with kids. Heather follows in strapless red. Next comes Nicole, who speaks to him in Spanish without subtitles. Caelynn arrives wearing her Miss North Carolina sash, which she flips to show it says “Miss Underwood.” Not Mrs.? Is this fourth-wave feminism?

Elyse is nervous in cobalt blue. Tahzjuan pronounces her name carefully, then tries not to fall over. Cathy, in a floral hippie sundress, offers plastic butterflies in a box to represent her anxiety and perhaps the threatened extinction of her role on the show. Kirpa, in purple sequins, finds Colton soothing and genuine. He probably knocked back some Xanax before the limos arrived. Caitlin gives him a red balloon, bursts it, and tells him she popped his cherry. Charming.

Courtney brings him a peach from Georgia. Katie plays a card trick on him. He’s starting to look addled. Then someone in a sloth costume appears, moving very slowly toward Colton. She says she’s heard he takes thing slowly. Sloths are probably excellent at foreplay. She’s Alex D., and she’s dragging out this bit far too long.

Onyeka is next in silver, calling Colton a snack she’s ready to eat. Hannah B., the former Miss Alabama, is sleek in black. Inside the mansion, there is immediately tension fomented between the two southern pageant ladies.

Tracy’s thing is she’s the fashion police who gives Colton a pair of handcuffs. Prison sex is not what he’s after, though. Angelique is all lavender sequins, followed by Devin. Inside the mansion, the camera seems to be enraptured by Nicole.

Revian speaks Mandarin, while the next gal speaks Croatian to Colton. Alex B. uses cue cards to tell him she’s sick and can’t speak. Probably in her favor. Bri claims she’s Australian because she figures he’ll like the accent. Two gals are in the same strapless red dress, right out of a scene in I Love Lucy. There must have been a sale on StyleWe.

The next gal brings him underwear because she’s heard he doesn’t wear any. We know too much about Colton, and it’s never the right things. Catherine brings her dog and gives it to Colton. The poor creature is then palmed off on Chris, which means animals were harmed in the making of this show.

And finally, arriving in a white carriage wearing white lace, is Erin, seeking a Prince Charming. She came to the wrong place.

Back to the viewing parties. This could have been a two-hour show without all this sausage roll filling. At one site, there’s a couple who chat with Jason and Blake about their Bachelor-viewing obsession. She’s pregnant, and he proposes to her. About time, you slob.

Finally, we’re at the cocktail party, where the ladies discuss Colton’s stud factor. They should be wearing name tags. Sequinned name tags. Chris reminds Colton about the First Impression Rose, and he braces himself to enter the room and face the tidal wave of estrogen. He promises to be open and honest, and expects that back from all of them. Oh, hahahaha!

They toast to new beginnings and finding love, as well as to the hope that he knows where the G spot is located. He meets with Demi first; they discuss their home states and mutual love of animals. She vocal fries the hell out of every topic. Then he meets with Erica, who brings up the virgin thing right off the bat. He explains that he made the decision young, and then his career took over all his time. Seems legit. Now he feels like he must wait for the right person and right moment. She agrees that’s a solid plan. After all, it worked for the Osmond family.

Colton is impressed that he is dating six times as many women in one night as he has his whole life. That’s often how I consume Little Debbies. He then meets with Miss North Carolina, who grew up in Virginia. Did the pageant people know that? Colton tells her his life experience has made him more of a man than many 30-year-olds. Playing football and not having sex ages a fellow four whole years.

The rose is deposited on the coffee table, intensifying the drama which has not yet put in an appearance, unless you count the increasing resentment of the guy who vacuums after the cocktail party’s over. The usual complaints about not having enough time with the Big B are tossed back and forth with little enthusiasm.

Colton is taught to dance by Sydney, who was a pro dancer. The gal from Alaska teaches him to fish in the pool. Tayshia, who has a little carnival set up, orders him to give her a pony ride. Good Lord.

The sloth, relaxing in a tree outside, is still talking like a stroke patient. But then she has Colton help her out of her costume so she can tell him she’s an account manager who loves animals. The sloth was more attractive.

Catherine, with the little Pomeranian and the big lips, meets up with Colton next. She is interrupted by another girl who wants him to draw on a pair of sneakers with her.  Catherine returns to grab him back. The other ladies are angry that Catherine was out of order, so one of them busts up their convo and tells Colton she’s CPR-certified.

Catherine reappears when Colton is with yet another girl. She feels her time with him was too short, although not as short as her dress. Tayshia asks to speak to her privately, during which they debate whether Catherine had more than 30 second with Colton. They part amicably, having reached an understanding of how to measure time periods. Then, as Colton sits with Onyeka, Catherine appears yet again to seize possession, like a deputy sheriff in bell sleeves.

The other girls are acrimonious. Tempers flare as they note that several of them have not yet had the opportunity to tell Colton that they love animals. Meanwhile, in Utah, the beanied woman who thinks Ben was the best Bachelor gets to meet him. I fear she may stalk him now.

The speech pathologist teaches Colton sign language. With Katie, he discusses his experience with independent woman in his family, valuing being close to relatives, and life balance. They kiss. It’s a big ‘un. After that, it’s love of dogs again with Other Alex.

Hannah B. asks Colton what the scariest thing he’s ever done is, which appears to be admitting he’s a virgin on national TV. She’s afraid of not being good enough. So basically the same thing.

Now it’s time to present the rose. He chooses the other Hannah, who is wearing hoop earrings from Claire’s. He finds her refreshing and easy to be around. She accepts the rose and they kiss, although less passionately than he did with Katie. Now comes the first Rose Ceremony. Colton first gives the group a performance evaluation similar to one I got at work last month, only without any credit for cleavage.

Back at the LA party, Colton joins the screaming throngs, which Chris thinks is the most amazing event since President Obama’s inauguration. Colton explains that First Impression Rose recipient Hannah reminded him of home. She has great entertaining space and lots of decorative niches.

Now about that Instagram thing. Did they unlock the unseen footage? Of course they did, they have the budget to buy all the likes they want. Mom Harrison introduces the video, which is a tribute to her son. We witness his hair changing color and the wrinkles appearing with the years. As the footage ends, Chris is overcome by a semblance of emotion.

Onto the Rose Ceremony. Colton is pleased with all the gals he met tonight, and has the hots for the ones he didn’t. He knows who will stay and who will go, though. The room is chooked with sequins.

The first rose goes to Caelynn, Miss North Carolina. The next goes to Katie, and the third to Alex B. She’s followed by Hannah B., then Onyeka and Caitlin. After them come Annie, Kirpa, and Heather. Next in line are Elyse, Tayshia, and Courtney, followed by Cassie, Demi, and Other Hannah. After Erika, Sydney, Bri, Angelique, Nicole, and Tracy, one rose is left. Will it go to that grasping bitch, Catherine? How could it not? No one else has shown any sign of being a phenomenal jerk.

And indeed, it is so. The remaining gals look dismayed and tearful. Tahzjuan is angry that her name is so hard to pronounce. Erin did not get her Prince Charming, worse since Harry was already taken by an American. Devin must go back to being a broadcast journalist, probably reporting fake news.

The rose-getters celebrate, unmoved by their companions’ despair at being sent home. They’re also drinking again even though it’s daytime. This show has virtually no redeeming qualities.

Now a sneak peek at the “most dramatic and unpredictable” season of The Bachelor. Maybe Colton gets abducted by aliens, and the probing turns out to be his first sexual experience. Otherwise, it looks like the usual melodramatic display of accusations, bitter recriminations, and bare flesh. Apparently, at one point, dogs are brought out to locate Colton in the forest after he’d fled in emotional distress. Nice try, Show. We already know they found him.

About E.M. Rosenberg 240 Articles
Favorite 40-volume series issued by Time-Life Music: Sounds of the Seventies. Favorite backsplash material: Subway tile. Favorite screen legend I pretend wasn’t gay: Cary Grant. Favorite issue you should not even get me started about: Venal, bloodsucking insurance industry. Favorite character from the comic strip “Nancy”: Sluggo, or maybe Rollo. Favorite Little Debbie snack: Nutty Bars. Favorite Monkee: Mike.