Photo: John Fleenor/Disney
Well, well, well …
Well, well, well …
WELL, WELL, MOTHERFUCKING WELL … Would you look who’s back?! It’s me, my dear, dear readers. It’s been quite the minute since I’ve been gone. I’ve got another Emmy (that makes three, girlies!!), I made it through the WGA strike, and I got all new blood. But most important, I checked the absolute fuck out from Bachelor Nation. I watched Charity on Dancing With the Stars and saw her giant fiancé cheering her on almost every week and thought, Huh, good for them. I couldn’t tell you the name of Zach’s fiancée, or anything about the inevitable blackface controversy. The Bachelor — how does this keep happening? I tried to watch Paradise and gave up halfway through the season when no one was jumping at the chance to snag a petite, curvy Bachelorette at a discount. For the first time in my life, my brain was empty. Nothing whistling between my ears and fresh new chemo curls on top of my head.
But was I happy? Was I fulfilled? Was there more for me out there? I knew there was, and so now I’m back, you li’l nerds. But as a result, I’m watching with absolutely zero context. So who is Li’l Joey? He’s cute, he’s got intense green eyes, something-something tennis. He got his heart broken when he didn’t end up engaged to Charity in … Bora Bora? I cannot stress enough to you that I did not pay attention to what was happening!! I WAS HOOKED UP TO TUBES!!! But our dear, sweet Li’l Joey has refilled his Philadelphia energy and is ready to find lov — oh no, Billie Eilish! ABC has upped its music budget for this moment of Joey being left at the proposal altar. What was Joey made for?
After several rewinds and flash-forwards and time jumps, it’s two months earlier but also the present and he’s ready to find love! Joey’s sisters tell him he needs to work on making out with people because it’s cringe, and like a true brother getting advice from his sisters, he says, “Yeah, sure, whatever, fartface,” and makes out with everyone even harder. Let’s get into it.
Some trends for the arrivals, which I’m going to attempt to speed through: a lot of sequins and a lot of Canada. When Maria arrives in the single worst dress of the night, and of 2002, she’s waving a tiny blurred-out Canada flag. ABC didn’t clear this usage with the Canadian government. There’s Lexi (clearly a front-runner), who has been dealing with health issues that mean she might not be able to have kids. Rachel from Hawaii gives Joey a lei. Erika plays Latin dance music and makes Joey shuffle around awkwardly. One of my favorite entrances is Autumn, who stiffly throws two fistfuls of leaves and then asks Joey his favorite season. He answers like Sherée when he says, “Spring, summer.” You have to be a bit like a prosecutor in these moments, Autumn. Don’t ask a question you don’t know the answer to. She’s visibly upset for the rest of their interaction. Kelsey A. brings him a voodoo doll that she kisses on the cheek and then we get a montage of girlies in sparkly dresses. Chrissa! Chandler! Marlena! Starr!
It’s time to meet two chaos agents, Lauren and Allison, sisters from Philadelphia who look alike and are going to pretend that they don’t know each other. Lauren is older and has a real Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club vibe. She shotguns a beer with Joey and beats him. Is this what it takes to find love? Joey lets out a giant burp. Everyone involved is out of college. None of this seems sexy.
Katelyn is a nuclear radiochemist, and she’s brought an experiment to see if they have chemistry. She has Joey pour a liquid into another liquid and makes a volcano. One of my absolute favorite entrances, simply because it makes zero sense. Taylor throws an absolutely mammoth bra at Joey. He’s trying to figure out what it is and just says, “Is it giving very wedding?”
Is it giving very wedding? Is it giving very wedding? That’s poetry. Say it out loud. Right now at your desk. Ask Tanya to put her headphones on so you can say out loud, “Is it giving very wedding?” (She’s here for the massive support. 1/10, barely a pun.) Someone asks him to compare his dick to an array of bananas! Then there’s a series of tennis-related entrances with Kayla making very unconvincing orgasm noises and calling them “tennis grunts.” One of the final entrances is Daisy in one of those red Christmas-tree trucks that’s just a part of Christmas decorations now, I guess. She grew up on a Christmas-tree farm, has a cochlear implant, and is ready to find her husband. I feel like she’s hitting a lot of quadrants on the “Bachelor Contestant Personality Matrix.” I’m not entirely convinced that an AI didn’t pull her application out of the pile.
The absolute last entrance is Lea, who Joey met on “After the Final Rose” or whatever. I wasn’t there, and she was given a letter that she must open once she sets foot in the Bachelor mansion. It was written in the blood of the ladytestants who came before her and sealed with the waters from La Quinta Resort. Everyone is speculating that maybe the letter gives her immunity from the Rose Ceremony or the first-impression rose or she gets to eliminate someone. It’s somehow better than all of those things, and Lea lacks the killer instinct to fully take advantage.
Joey gives a toast to finding his doubles partner and we’re off!
Things I learned about Joey: He wants the relationship his grandparents had, he asked everyone if they’re willing to move, and he LOVES TO SMOOCH. This man is SMOOCHING! This feels like it’s gotta be a first-night record! First, he kisses Jess on the boat she rode in on and Jess immediately tells everyone that they shared a little smoochie-poo. For that alone, I hate this bitch. I need one of these women to be ready to play! Maybe I’ve watched too many episodes and international versions of The Traitors while I waited to make my return to this franchise, but I need someone with some gameplay! You fools! For as mad as everyone gets, Joey manages to even out the experience by kissing so. Many. Women. Almost every sit-down ends with a kiss. Because Jess is thinking she’s the only one who got a kiss and the clear front-runner, she decides to go in for her second sit-down with Joey. She asks Taylor, a woman who has declared Jess her nemesis, to steal Joey away, and thankfully Taylor says they need a minute. Jess just kinda hangs out like a Sim without any instructions. When they both get back inside, Taylor pulls her aside and tells her that it’s disrespectful to eavesdrop and go for a second convo when other people haven’t gotten time yet. Jess says, “I’m sure it’ll come back around.”
Lauren and Allison reveal to the ladytestants that they’re sisters, and someone yells out, “Eskimo sisters!” and I can’t believe that made it on network TV. They talk to Joey back-to-back, and he figures it out when they say they live in the exact same neighborhood and say the same things about their parents’ marriage. They tell him they’re sisters, and you can see him doing the math to get him out of this situation with the least emotional damage. But he still kisses Allison.
It’s time for Lea’s Letter. She opens it up, and it says she has the opportunity to steal a one-on-one date from someone else before Hometown dates. HELL. YEAH. This is great! I love this! What a twi — oh no, she’s crying. Cue the Billie Eilish. Girl. Get a fucking grip. I’m sorry, this not only guarantees you a one-on-one date but a story line for the season. This is your ticket to Paradise and possibly whatever Franken-reality-love competition Netflix is cooking up next. She takes it to Joey and cries about how she doesn’t want to do that to the amazing vintage-store owners and Christmas-tree heiresses she just met. If she’s going to fall in love with Joey, it’ll be because they have something real, not because of shenanigans. Very nice, goody two-shoes. Joey says he admires her character. She goes and tells the other women, and before she can get a word out, she starts crying again. Okay, this is a bit much. It doesn’t say you have to stab someone. She throws it in the fireplace, and everyone else’s Terminator Vision identifies her as “Not a Threat.” She gets the first-impression rose for having morals or whatever.
This simple action begins to unravel Evalin to a degree that I think she should go home. Stand up, Evalin!!
Time for the Rose Ceremony. The sun is rising. Evalin is still weeping. Allison gets the first rose, and her sister turns around and says, “You did not get the first rose. Go fuck yourself.” PHILLY BABY! Daisy, Kelsey T., Lexi, Jess, Jenn, Autumn, Chrissa, Edwina, Kelsey A., Katelyn Rachel, Erika, Madina, Sydney, Starr, Marlena, Maria, Taylor, Evalin, and Lauren all get roses. Lauren says, “You’re really gonna give Allison the first rose and me the last rose?” Fly, Eagles, fly!
This season on The Bachelor: a drone show! Surfing! Walled Cities! Niagara Falls! Someone fully leaps over a table! The tears! “I don’t know what’s happening. It feels wrong. I’m sick of feeling like this. I don’t know what to do!” WE ARE SO BACK!!!