Greetings once again, Bachelor Nation, as we embark on yet another journey of fairy tale love that probably won’t end well but still has a better chance of a happy ending than The Bachelor! (Statistically, anyway).
I was indisposed during the two-night premiere, and I thank Jennifer Lind-Westbrook for dutifully filling in. But now I’m back, and so are the nicknames! After all, it’s oh-so-difficult to keep the guys straight at this early juncture. How else will you remember who they are?
Before we get to any of that, though, can I get a ho-lee cow at that “coming up this season” teaser? My fiance and I watched with our mouths agape at the return of Nick, the behind-closed-doors tryst and the fact that there are at least two challenges that allow the guys to beat the crap out of each other. Do they really think that boxing and sumo wrestling are good ideas when there’s this much testosterone involved?
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My First Impression Roses
I’m tapping poor man’s Michael Buble, Ben H., as the guy I’m pulling for, solely because he asked Kaitlyn about her bird tats. Everyone else was focused on talking about themselves, but he made it about her. I’m just unsure how the fact that he was on team Britt will factor into things. I’m also a big fan of every-metal-rose-has-its-thorn welder Josh and cupcake-mobile dentist Chris.
One of my favorite moments was when I’m-probably-here-to-get-famous singer/songwriter Brady casually mentioned that he played a few years of minor league baseball, basically summing up Josh’s entire existence in one throwaway statement.
But he is one of six who is gone basically with the perfect amount of soon-ness, now off chasing fame Britt. But who knows what drunk wannabe rapist Ryan N. (did he really just say that?), stripper Josh, carpool anal bead Shawn E. (don’t get it stuck in your bowels), guy-with-a-tennis-racket Bradley and no-nickname real estate agent David are up to? We hardly knew ye. But yet we knew enough.
The Best of the Rest
Next on my chopping block are weirdo Zenmaster Tony (dude never smiles, and what’s up with the black eye?), Love-Man Jared and literally-was-just-in-love-with-Britt JJ (and though he does get some bonus points for his “puck you” line, it’s all washed away by the fact that his Josh-esque description is “former investment banker.” What do you do now, broseph?).
Then, in no particular order, we’ve got Mario supervillain King Kupah, moonshine Joe, fashion designer Daniel, Disney princess Ryan B., volleyball Corey, auto spokesman Jonathan (because cars can’t speak for themselves), other-Cory Cory (who?), first-impression rose recipient and Ryan Gosling impersonator Shawn B., trainer-who-had-an-NFL-tryout Ben Z., trainer Justin Aurelius (why do we do this to our children?), president of the Kaitlyn fan club Ian and tissue Tanner.
All nicknames are pending based on lasting accuracy and the always-prevalent possibility that I think of a better one.
And you can never trust first impressions. I initially pegged Clint as that douche you knew in high school and the most likely to get drunk, and then he handed over a hilarious self-drawn caricature of Chris Harrison on a triceratops and sipped on coffee. Go figure.
Now let’s get to some dates!
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Moving into the Mansion
With the pleasantries of the booze-fueled marathon first night in the books, it’s time to get down to business. Chris Harrison sits down with the Bachelorette to talk connections and kisses, as Kaitlyn locked lips with a handful of dudes already. They also discuss the guys who might have preferred Britt as they drink lemon water from mason jars. Classy living.
The guys knock back mimosas in their new temporary digs and talk about Team Britt, while the jilted potential Bachelorette tearfully breaks the news to her mom before Brady arrives to sweep her off her feet.
There will be three dates in this episode, with two of the group variety and a single one-on-one. The first date card — I see this ending with a ring — goes to Daniel, Justin, Jared, Corey, Tanner, Kupah, Ben H. and Ben Z. JJ, ever the gentleman, sees no competition among his competition.
Enter the Machismo
The first date of season 11 takes place in a seemingly-abandoned warehouse, where Kaitlyn and Laila Ali greet the guys for a day of pounding the speedbags. Apparently, boxing is a lot like a relationship, and Laila is putting them through the ringer. Ben Z., he of one-time NFL dreams, apparently packs quite a punch, while Love-Man Jared seems a bit over-matched. And Kaitlyn notices that Kupah is more into the workout than her.
The training culminates in a king-of-the-ring-style tournament to crown the brutest of the brutes, and some of these dudes have never been in a fight before. It’s a terrible idea all around, and I applaud ABC for never ceasing to bring things down to our level. They also pack ringside with more cheering women than have ever been at a boxing match.
First up is behemoth Ben Z. versus fashion designer Daniel, and they come out throwing haymakers. Ben notches the easy win as the female audience members cover their mouths in horror as if they just realized what boxing is.
Then it’s trainer Justin Aurelius and his 36-pound weight advantage against volleyball Corey, who is also taller in addition to weighing in at a buck-75. And yet he pulls out a victory. Then Love-Man Jared knocks down Buble Ben H. in, like, three seconds before King Kupah takes out tissue Tanner.
Ben Z. beats Tanner, while Love-Man gets scrappy and stuns Kupah to set up a David versus Goliath final bout. It’s 6-foot-2, 225-pounds against 6-feet, 170 pounds, a full 55 pounds separating them. Poor Jared can’t get away or cover his face fast enough, and it ends in a full-on knockout and hospitalization. Kaitlyn is upset because she just wanted everyone to have fun. I mean, really, who could have seen something like this coming?
The Party Continues
The gang, sans Love-Man, hits the town for dinner and drinks, and champ Ben Z. gets the first alone time. He feels bad about beating the snot out of the little guy, though Kaitlyn is attracted to the “hunk of meat” and feels a connection. They talk about cooking, and he opens up about his mom passing away when he was a teenager.
Justin Aurelius talks about his son, volleyball Corey would strike up a conversation if he saw her out, Tanner didn’t want to get knocked out and Daniel is wearing white capri pants with loafers.
Then a note arrives telling Kaitlyn to go outside because someone is dying to see her, and the mystery man is sort-of-medically-cleared Jared, who may, in fact, be a superhero. Just a terribly-named one. The doctor prescribed rest, but they allow him to stop by for a quick kiss before he heads back to the mansion. She describes the smooch as “fireworks,” then gives the rose to champ Ben Z. before another make-out sesh ensues.
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A Caricature of Love
Back at the house, JJ is still being a massive cocky tool before the date card arrives. It reads, “Clint, you take my breath away,” and JJ is bummed but unfazed. Kaitlyn hops behind the wheel of a Benz and takes Clint to a underwater photo shoot at a fancy villa in the Hollywood Hills.
They get all gussied-up before working on breathing exercises, and somewhere, Zenmaster Tony’s ears are ringing. Back at the house, he is voicing his displeasure over boxing being involved on the date, because there’s no room for violence in his love-topia.
Clint and Kaitlyn hop in the pool, and there’s just something strange about five people in goggles constantly dunking and resurfacing. Clint’s hair was not meant to be wet, and Kaitlyn just wants to hold her nose while submerged. They get closer and closer with each dunking, and eventually they just start kissing in all the photos. And that leads to a post-shoot corner-pool kissfest, an inconsequential dinner date, more smooches and a rose. I think I like Clint, but he’s both monotone and vanilla.
Make Me Laugh, Funnyman
The third and final date card — I’m looking for a man to stand up for me — arrives, and super serious Tony needs to be on it to see if his vision of love can coalesce with Kaitlyn’s. It goes to JJ, Jonathan, Joshua, Chris, Ian, Joe and Tony, which means there’s no love this time for Gosling imitator Shawn B., Disney princess Ryan B. or other-Cory Cory. But Tony actually smiles for the first time in three episodes, and he also keeps saying “surprise, surprise” like he’s David Wooderson. Then he accidentally calls Kaitlyn “Britt.” All reasons why he’s on my cut list.
It’s off to the Bachelorette Amateur Night at the Improv for a stand-up showdown with the help of it-girl and show superfan Amy Schumer, because having a good sense of humor is tops on Kaitlyn’s wish list. And Ms. Schumer has brought comediennes Nikki Glaser, Rachel Feinstein and Bridget Everett along to help the guys get their acts together. I instantly fall in love with Nikki when she tells Ian he must do a joke about looking like the Old Spice guy.
Line of the night so far, courtesy of Amy Schumer: “JJ’s a sweetheart. He’s just missing, like, charisma and humility and a sense of humor. But other than that, he’s basically, you should hire him as the next Bachelor. Maybe when he sees the show, he’ll reflect on himself a little bit and not be such a turd.”
Showtime at the Improv
First up is president of the Kaitlyn fan club Ian, who struggles right out of the gate … with the mic stand. But then he tells a solid joke about having a lifetime supply of Old Spice because he sweats like Juan Pablo at the “Women Tell All.” Welder Josh opens with a hearty “Hi!” and then tells the audience that he refers to himself as a steel infusion specialist when he wants to impress people (“science educator” is still my all-time favorite).
Auto spokesman Jonathan works the crowd, cupcake-mobile dentist Chris simultaneously bombs and wins while talking about how unfunny he is (because he’s right), and then it’s on to Tony, who feels like he’s been training for this his whole life. The crowd thinks he’s doing a shtick at first, but then he just talks for a bunch of minutes without telling any actual jokes. Good thing they’re all drinking. But I am not.
JJ kicks things off with a jab at Tony, but then we don’t get to hear any more of his routine and it’s disappointing to not know if he was terrible. Moonshine Joe talks about being from Kentucky. I think the crowd should pick a winner, but alas, the jokes end here.
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A Rose By Any Other Name is Made of Steel
Welder Josh snags the first one-on-one time, and he says he’s a love virgin who has never felt those feelings before. Then he talks about his pooches, and Kaitlyn laughs like a 5-year-old when he says “fart” and “drool.”
Meanwhile, Tony rambles on to the guys about how complex he is, and JJ dubs him an “enigma wrapped in a riddle” before the Zenmaster sits down with Kaitlyn and basically terrifies her with his Zenmaster talk of her being a combination lock instead of key lock and that they could create something together that is beyond their imaginations.
JJ has been FaceTiming with his little girl, and Kaitlyn is attracted to him talking about her, which leads to a kiss. He would “put 50 grand” on him getting a rose, because who has a better case than him? But then moonshine Joe pulls her outside and lays one on her while porn music plays in the background. Still, it’s an imaginary $50,000 well spent because JJ snags the rose.
On a side note, I wonder if they screen for lip herpes during the casting process. It would be a disgusting shame if someone had an outbreak.
The first cocktail party commences, with JJ feeling very good about himself and his chances. Most of the guys agree to let the trio of dateless wonders get the first time with Kaitlyn, but JJ is not cool with that because this is his time, so he grabs her before anyone has even settled in. And the power move is not appreciated.
King Kupah calls him out for drawing a line in the sand between him and the other guys, but JJ doesn’t care. He’s only sorry that he’s not sorry, and he takes pride in prodding Tony, Kupah and everyone else who is unraveling.
Ian grabs Kaitlyn and gives her the quick version of his childhood and his hit-and-run experience and how it taught him resiliency. She is a fan of his authenticity and rewards him with smooches.
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Stomping on Kupah
Kupah feels like he might be the token minority, so he asks Kaitlyn about the state of their relationship and if he’s left an impression. And she lets him know she felt slighted by him not talking to her while training during the boxing date. He responds by asking, in a roundabout way, if she dates black guys. He didn’t feel a connection until this point and this conversation, while she did feel a connection until this moment because she doesn’t know why he’s questioning her so much.
He butters her up with niceties and asks for a shot to improve their situation, but she’s not sure how to proceed and wants to think it over. Then she hears him chatting up the guys about the conversation and how she wouldn’t even look at him, and she sends him home on the spot. He momentarily refuses to leave, says what she’s doing is shitty and even tells her she’s wrong when she says that their relationship has already fallen apart. It’s early in the process, and it’s supposed to be a fun and happy time and not full of forced drama.
She’s getting all this out in the confessional room when Kupah falls apart during his exit interview. He gets super aggressive with the cameraman, screaming and raging around, and he may or may not be wasted. I’m pretty sure he also thinks the only reason he lost is because he’s black and not because he just bugged the F out of her. She rushes outside, and it’s to be continued…
Will You Be My Girl?
I get that this is the most dramatic moment of the show, but it’s a pet peeve of mine when they don’t end with the rose ceremony. Having one at the beginning of an episode just feels wrong.
And instead of previews, we get the epilogue to the Britt-Brady saga, as they’ve now hung out for nearly a week and are clearly in love and will last forever and ever, at least until Bachelor in Paradise. So he asks if she’ll be his girl, and she responds in the affirmative. Also to be continued…
My list of favorites and time-to-goes remains the same, though Buble Ben and welder Josh put some distance between themselves and the rest of pack on the frontrunner front. Who are your favorites? And who, other than JJ, have you had enough of? Tune in next time to see who survives the rose ceremony, and if the cameraman survives his run-in with King Kupah. Where’s Luigi when you need him?
You can watch The Bachelorette every Monday at 8pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)