I don’t know if it’s good news or bad, but the pandemic is no longer holding up new production of The Bachelorette—or, for that matter, new productions of commercials featuring people wearing masks and social distancing. There’s nothing like the ad industry to Keep America Great.
In tonight’s premiere of the first post-shutdown season, Clare Crawley will be cloistered with her bachelors at some tacky inn in California. No visits to exotic locations with generous tourism boards for these losers and suckers. They should be grateful for the free booze.
But there’s something else different about this season, aside from everyone being about 10 years older than the standard participants (Clare is elderly for this franchise. She’s 39, while her boobs are nearly 34). This Bachelorette leaves the show before the Choosing of the Potential Spouse.
A former contestant who was rejected during a previous season of The Bachelor, Clare wastes no time in IDing her man, some guy named Dale, early on. Will they run off together to make their own reality TV show, possibly titled The Anti-Bachelorette? Or will she come back for yet another stint on the show after this hook-up inevitably fails, based on how often she asserts in the previews that she’s truly ready for love? In any event, we know Chris will have something turgid and unoriginal to say about it.
To mop up after his shocking state of affairs,
Among the 31 guys this season, we have two Tylers, two Jordans, and two Zacs (one with a H on the end) to keep track of, a Brendon and a Brandon, as well as two Blake M’s., who will have to be referred to by both their first and last names so we can isolate them. Apparently, there are so few people willing to be on this show that they couldn’t find a Blake with a last name that starts with a different letter.
Within moments during the precaps, someone makes an ageist remark about Clare, a Rose Ceremony is canceled, and Chris accuses Clare of destroying the show. As if he doesn’t just love it. He opens the episode talking earnestly about how coronavirus has deeply affected everyone’s lives, work, and homelife, which of course includes a heavy rotation of watching a reality dating show.
The show opens in February 2020, back in Ye Old Pre-Virus Tymes, with Chris calling Clare to tel her she’s been chosen to head up this stupid series. It’s her fourth shot in seven years, so the call probably didn’t come as much of surprise. She’s already plowed through the horrendous Juan Pablo, a stint on Bachelor in Paradise, and another gig in the franchise called Bachelors on Ice or So You Think You Can Bach.
Despite Clare’s hopes that the fourth time is actually the charm, the pandemic shut down this season of The Bachelorette until further notice. Clare nevertheless feels she may never have another opportunity to participate in a manufactured scenario in which she can have people she barely knows choose a slate of potential mates to vie for her while flexing.
Chris arrives at her front door to tell her she’s clear of Covid, so she can pack up and hustle down to the fancy resort at La Quinta to begin group dating a variety of Neanderthal strangers, like in normal times. You’d think she’d want a medical professional approve that first.
Meanwhile, all the guys are wearing masks as they head eagerly to their hotel to begin the pre-dating quarantine period. I’m sure this whole process was signed off on by Dr. Fauci. They all suffer from their testing-swab experience, but concede their suffering is for the greater good of ABC’s ratings. We get to see lots of beefcake, which is for the greater good of the audience. As their medical clearances come through, the men rejoice. How about a moment for all the people who died of Covid while already happily married?
Finally, it’s time fosr Clare to meet the men. Were her boobs that large in her last appearance, or is it just the skimpy halter dress? She reports how she has suffered the past several months under lockdown, what with not being allowed to make out with a a roomful of men every night for weeks. But now she’s raring to go. After comparing her Juan Pablo self to today’s version, which admittedly includes an eye tuck, she reviews with Chris how her dying father left a CD for her to watch with whatever clown she ends up with. Most likely, it’ll be Dad recommending stock tips and advising her to rotate her tires regularly.
Anyhoo, Clare sincerely hopes this season will conclude with a marriage proposal. She tells us confidently she now knows she can pick out her husband the moment she sees him. To be fair, she’ll be presented with a lot more options than the average person.
The limos approach. I’d immediately eliminate the guys who whoop and holler like they’re arriving at a college football game. Ben, Reilly, and one of the Zacs lead the fray, followed by a very tall Jordan who’s wearing either swamp pants or capris. Ivan calls her beautiful in Tagalog, while Kenny and Brendan are even more boring.
Clare enthuses that she has been waiting her whole life to meet all these men who have the same level of beard growth. Bennett shows up next in a Rolls Royce wearing a tux, making the rest of the guys envious of how shallow they could have been. Chris steps in see how things are going, as if Clare would ever point out the losers.
Blake Moynes is Blake #1, followed by a different Chris and AJ, then Joe. After them come Robby (nix to anyone with a nickname he should’ve outgrown at age 11) and Eazy (ditto). The next guy appears in a straitjacket, followed by a guy in a suit of armor and one dragging in a parachute. The producers made use of the extra time and a substantial budget to choose these random, idiotic concepts.
Brandon seems semi-normal. He’s followed by Dale, the One She Knows As Soon As She Sees Him. Once they’ve chatted and he’s dispatched to the house, she starts quivering like a tuning fork, and declares in a tizzy that she may have just met her husband. Chris appears to question her about her staged reaction, and to remind her that more guys are on line behind Dale. Well, one guy is. Poor slob.
Inside, everyone is champing at the bit like they came dressed as race horses. For her part, Clare is very emotional since she hasn’t hugged anyone in months and she already binge-watched all the new HBO series. She’s so thankful and hopes the men all know how much it means to her that they came (emphasis on “came”). Everyone brings up their feelings about the quarantine. The rest of us stopped discussing it endlessly months ago, but it’s fair to recall that these people were still filming then, and anyway, they don’t have much to talk about in general.
Her dog comes out to receive some genuine love. She’s the best-looking thing on the show so far, and likely the only one with her original teeth. The guys assess Clare’s appeal as they await their turn alone with her and the camera crew and assistant producers. We learn that Jason is a weirdo who says Clare is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen since My Cousin Vinny and his mother.
First Drama Alert: Tyler C. knows something about Yousef being reckless on Instagram. At his first opportunity, he takes the man aside to confront him. Yousef claims he has no recollection of what’s been happening on his Instagram, nor can he tell us why Tyler would be following his account in the first place. But he wisely wants to get ahead of the situation. He’s seen the last eight seasons.
The other guys gape as Clare marches out to address the issue with the two men. This is no more compelling than why Tyler thinks being a single guy on Instagram is anything unusual in 2020. Tyler describes Yousef sending a group message of “hi, how are ya?” to a bunch of women. Yousef suggests it was harmless fun, since after all, he has a daughter. He hasn’t explained where he got her, though.
Clare seems more concerned that she hasn’t been talking to the other guys who may want to foment needless conflict. She zeroes in on some guy who broke the rules of the show by contacting her when they weren’t supposed to be in touch. Growing tearful, she forgives the man for breaking the rules for good reasons, and assures him how much it means to her to learn he would do anything to get a look at her naked. He grins in anticipation of earning the First Impression Rose.
Clare is now ready to present that special bloom. She awards it to Dale, telling him she wants to talk more to him. But first they need to make out.
Although she didn’t get a chance to speak to everyone, Clare is glad they were all there and she got to ogle all their bods under their tight suits. This really makes no sense. Why have 31 guys at the outset, only give her time to talk to three-quarters of them in the space of a few hours, and then send the unspoken-to packing? Then again, if I understood, I might qualify as a producer *shiver*.
The Rose Ceremony is here. After her typical flowery speech of gratitude, Clare presents her first rose to Blake, or Brendon, the one whose name starts with a B who broke the rules by also not changing his name to something more memorable. The next ones go to Eazy, Ben, and Greg. Jay steps up next, followed by Tyler F. and Joe, who showed her a box filled with origami animals, reducing his chances by underscoring the fact that he’s Asian.
Demar gets the next rose, along with Chasten, who pronounces his name nothing like the Chasten we all know and love, and Jordan C. This net guy’s name I didn’t get, followed by Ken, Brandon, and Gary (?). Brandon gets a rose, as do some other guys, including Jay, who is still in his straitjacket, and Ivan. The final rose goes to which member of an 80’s hair band? It’s Yousef.
For some reason, they all leave in the day light. Tyler C. regrets snitching on Yousef, but hopes he will eventually be proven right so he can get revenge in some small fashion. At the very least, a blog post in Heavy.
Next week, the fun continues as Dale and Clare become closer, the others bicker predictably, and Clare tries to showcase her bosom in new and exciting ways. At least it beats Covid reruns.