The air is finally warming after yet another frigid winter, our favorite sitcoms and dramas are airing their season finales, and Dancing with the Stars is somehow about to award an astounding 24th Mirror Ball Trophy.
And that can only mean one thing: our gloomy two-month hiatus from Bachelor Nation has drawn to its glorious conclusion with the premiere of The Bachelorette season 13.
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The Bachelor-less gap began when twice-the-bridesmaid Nick Viall shocked literally no one by selecting pre-season favorite Vanessa Grimaldi as his potential soulmate, following a courtship that included a post-vomit make-out and capping a season that saw an orgasmless southern girl in a man-slut’s final two and a Bachelorette announcement that came while the future leading lady was still a contestant.
And despite all that, Rachel Linsday’s quest for televised love comes with a notable first.
White Elephant in the Room
Since the franchise premiered all the way back in 2002, 33 different people have donned the mantle of Bachelor or Bachelorette in 34 seasons (Brad Womack was not afforded the opportunity to screw up a relationship in real life, so he got a do-over. And then ironically, his do-over got a do-over, and that didn’t work out either — probably because he was a Mormon skateboarder from Utah who spelled his name “Jef.”) And the one thing they all had in common was a rather obvious lack of melanin.
But if you hadn’t noticed, Rachel is black, making the 32-year-old civil litigation trial attorney (finally) the first person of color to get engaged to a guy she barely knows while all of America oohs and ahhs her every fairy tale dating move. And, yes, she does end up betrothed.
First of all, it’s about damn time. Second, after years of focusing on diversity issues, the inevitable has finally come to pass. Tupac rapped, “Although it seems heaven-sent, we ain’t ready to see a black president.” And that may be where Rachel dropped from, as Nick’s loss is our gain.
It quickly became clear how things would ultimately play out, particularly after Rachel won the first-impression rose, and it only took two episodes for me to re-brand “vacuuming attorney Rachel” as “The Great Black Hope.” Now she’s at the head of the class, and regular reader CityOfAngels can finally stick around through an entire season.
Where Have You Been All My Life?
Rachel’s introduction kicks off with a photo shoot of her looking devilishly delicious in a bright red dress that matches her bouquet of roses. She came into previous season skeptical but hopeful, and she blames her bronze medal on waiting too long to open up and a struggle to say those three little words of affirmation that guys like Nick need to hear before they can fall in love.
She dances in the street, shoots some b-ball outside of a school and does some fancy lawyering (“Objection, your Honor, speculation“) in front of an intern-staged courtroom. And, yes, the objection was sustained.
Rachel has also brought along a furry pooch friend — who sadly wears a cast on his paw — on the journey from Dallas to Hollywood because it’s high-class living for everyone this season.
Rachel kicked off the pre-limo vignettes last time, and her first featured suitor this time is Pretty Boy Pitbull Kenny King. The professional wrestler has a 10-year-old daughter, and he’s ready to find her a step-mom.
Jack is a 31-year-old lawyer from Dallas (jinx!), and that alone should disqualify him. Can you imagine these two trying to settle an argument? Still, he has giant pearly whites and an emotional backstory — he is an only child who lost his mom to cancer when he was in high school — so he’ll likely stick around for a while.
Alex is 28 and gets characterized as a meathead because of his intense workout schedule, but he’s really a giant nerd who enjoys coding, Rubik’s Cubes and hanging with his parents.
Mo’s greatest achievement is launching his startup, but he’s also an accomplished Bollywood dancer. He’s 26, and family is a focal point of his life.
Lucas is the inventor of “whaboom,” which is a more energetic and douchebag-alicious way of saying “boom” while simultaneously screeching and suffering an apparent seizure. Whaboom is also what he lists as his occupation, which makes him the most likely candidate to be drunk before even exiting the limo. He describes himself as charismatic, affable and a catch, and he hopes Rachel will get his humor because we don’t.
Blake is a personal trainer and sports nutritionist whose fitness routine leads to increased testosterone and a naturally higher libido. His last relationship was heavy on the fornication and helped him earn a PhD in sex ed, and women constantly laud the wondrous specimen that is his penis. If you haven’t guessed, sex is rather important to him, but it’s not everything. After all, there are 23.5 other hours in the day.
Diggy is passionate about fashion, and compliments of his digs led to his nickname. He owns 575 pairs of sneakers and also admitted that he pretended to be asleep during a one-night stand when the girl got a text that her brother was missing. But he also has a pit bull, so it’s a split decision for me.
Josiah is a prosecutor looking to get “bad guys off the streets,” according to his pretend phone conversation, and his parents would describe him as hard-working, driven and caring. His older brother was bullied for being overweight and committed suicide, and Josiah cut him down from the tree when he was 7 years old. That left a void he tried to fill on the streets, which led to a burglary arrest at age 12.
The judge inspired him to pursue a career in criminal justice, and now he represents his community, apparently by putting them in jail. The one thing he’s missing is “the one,” and he’s coming to LA to “make [Rachel] my wife.” By choice? Or does she not get a say? It’s as heavy an intro as you can have, and it might be a wee bit too intense. He’s the polar opposite of the whaboom guy, and hopefully he saves a portion of his story for the second or 15th impression.
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Sage Advice from Rejects
No journey can begin without consultations from wise old birds, and the customary gaggle of all-Nick castoffs includes heil Astrid; Sharknado Alexis; very serious businesswoman Corinne; NBA dancer and Neil Lane companion Jasmine; Russian orphan Kristina; four wheeler-riding, gun-shooting and boutique-owning silver medalist Raven; and pilates instructor Whitney.
They discuss Rachel’s hopes and dreams for the upcoming adventure, with crucial never-before-heard nuggets like: follow your heart, give everyone a chance, don’t judge anyone who arrives in a costume (thanks, Alexis), beware of “wrong reasons” guys and let yourself fall.
Also, everyone pretends to like Corinne and remember Whitney.
A limo pulls up, and the first of a whopping 31 dudes steps out to get this man-juice and booze-fueled party started. As usual, I will loosely rate each introduction as: memorable-good, normal, memorable-bad, forgettable and memorable-disaster.
Blame it on seating arrangement and tight pants, but fancy polka-dotted socks are Peter’s first impression. The 31-year-old business owner compliments her physical beauty before announcing that he wants to change her luck with Wisconsin guys. Verdict: normal, but maybe such an immediate comparison to the ex is less than ideal.
Josiah with the intense backstory is next, and the prosecutor is convinced that Rachel will have “no reasonable doubts” about him at the end of this. He follows it up with “See you later, litigator.” Verdict: memorable-bad because she’s like, “Oh, clever! Because we’re both lawyers!”
Bryan is a 37-year-old Colombian chiropractor who woos her in Spanish. He’s trouble, but he’s good trouble. Verdict: memorable-good, especially after she admits, “I like trouble.”
Pretty Boy Pitbull Kenny greets her with a Lenny-like “pretty Rachel” and grabs her for a joint arm wave. Verdict: memorable-good, as she dubs him “Kenny with the dance moves.”
Cue the montage entrances of a trio of 30-year-old guys to whom we apparently don’t need to pay much attention. Rob is a law student who has Rachel at the top of his Bachelorette draft board (and he later refers to her as “jovial”). Iggy is a consulting firm CEO who hugs her and is excited. Bryce is a firefighter who attempts to literally sweep her off her feet. Verdicts: all forgettable.
7 Down, 24 to Go
Steve Urkel — er, I mean Will — trips while exiting and utters the nasally “Did I do that?” The 28-year-old sales manager hops back in the limo and emerges a second later (hooray for editing), having transformed into Stefan Urquelle in a spiffy suit. Verdict: memorable-good, but cheesier than Urkel’s favorite food.
Diggy fluffs his bow-tie and says, “My name is Diggy, and I’m hopefully here so I can teach you how to Diggy.” Apparently, his name can be used as multiple parts of speech, and I’m jealous because “I’m Bill, and I’m hopefully here so I can teach you how to Bill” has never worked for me. Verdict: forgettable, except for the on-point fashion sense.
Marketing consultant Kyle, 26, wants to show Rachel his buns … his delicious Jamaican cheese buns, that is! Yum! Verdict: memorable-delicious.
Blake K.’s grandparents only knew each other for a couple of weeks when they got married, and now they’re celebrating their 65th anniversary. Rachel appreciates the 29-year-old Marine’s real-life example of a love that predates their own potential union being legal. Verdict: awww.
Brady, a 29-year-old male model, carries a sledgehammer and a block of ice. He then hits the ice with the hammer and explains that he’s trying to “break the ice.” He’s officially the Bachelor‘s own “Dangle a carrot” reporter, ladies and gents! And with a man this literal, I’m sure she’s just happy he’s thinking “outside the box.” Verdict: memorable-bad, even if she pretends that she appreciates a joke this corny.
Dean famously told Rachel that he was wanted to go black and never go back during the After the Final Rose show, but the 29-year-old recruiter is nervous that he crossed a line. “It was cute, but I loved the confidence,” she said. “People will either love it or hate it, and I loved it.” Verdict: no need to go back, but the pin-drop silence when he enters the mansion signifies that others may not have found it so “cute.”
Eric danced with Rachel during the After the Final Rose, and he picks up where he left off. Verdict: normal.
DeMario was pleased to be the first to meet her during the After the Final Rose (he’s the guy who bought printed out fake tickets to Vegas so they could elope), and he’s looking forward to all their other “firsts” together. Verdict: normal/forgettable, with bonus points because he is fresh in her mind.
He enters the mansion touting that he’s the number one seed in the bracket and that the whole show is about to be over in 20 minutes because he’s apparently never heard of foreshadowing. He can ask anyone but Brady about that…
Rounding out the already-met-you group is libido master Blake E., who decides to “drum up” excitement by entering with a full marching band to make up for his less-than-stellar live introduction. Perhaps he crossed paths with my recap, in which I wrote, “Blake has douche hair and awkwardly kisses her hand before an awkward hug and an awkward photo pose.” Verdict: memorable-better, if not for the vignette.
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Wait, We’re Only Half Done?
Fred is currently a 27-year-old executive assistant, but a decade and a half ago he was a third grader at Rachel’s school. And can you guess the identity of his eighth-grade camp counselor? She remembers him as a bad kid but, hey, everything happens for a reason, right? Verdict: memorable-good.
Cue the creeper alert because Jonathan is a 31-year-old tickle monster. Yes, that is his listed occupation, and he backs it up by making Rachel close her eyes for a double-sided goose because, you know, she wants someone who can make her laugh and who has to inform the neighbors when he moves onto their block. Verdict: memorable-jeepers.
Lee is a 30-year-old singer/songwriter who I’m sure houses a family of baby birds in his two-foot-tall perfectly-quaffed hairdo. He croons country with his gee-tar and presents her with a flower. Verdict: memorable-good.
Meathead nerd Alex dances out with a vacuum, mimicking Rachel’s vignette, and he tells her to look for him by the fridge. It’s probably my favorite so far. Verdict: memorable-good.
Milton takes a selfie with a Polaroid, and she’ll only remember the 31-year-old hotel recreation supervisor if she keeps the photo handy. Even then, it’s a question mark. Verdict: forgettable but probably not his fault after the 100 guys who came before him.
Twenty-seven-year-old Adam is a real estate agent and a real dummy, as in he’s brought along a puppet named AJ (Adam Jr.) in an attempt to stand out. There’s no ventriloquism, and he really doesn’t do anything with the doll. But it’s better than a tickle monster. Verdict: memorable-bad.
Matt knows that Rachel has a thing for penguins, so the 32-year-old construction sales rep decided that it’d be a splendid idea to wear a full-body penguin suit to point out that the species mates for life. The issue is that the guy can’t see anything, so he has to arch his neck back even though his eyes are still covered. I know Alexis advised against judging guys in costumes, but I’m going to anyway. Verdict: memorable-disaster.
Are We There Yet? Are We There Yet?
Grant is an EMT who rides up in an ambulance to save Rachel from being bored to death. Verdict: memorable-good, but he’s part of a montage.
Anthony (education software manager) gives his word to strive for mutual understanding, Jamey (sales account exec) minces kind and boring, and twinsie Dallas Jack is yet another lawyer who hopes to talk to her inside and who no one will remember. Verdicts: forgettable.
Bollywood dancer Mo puts his palms on top of hers and declares, “This is the only time I’ll have the upper hand in the relationship.” My father-in-law had me do this during his wedding speech, so it’s old news to me now. Verdict: forgettable.
Jedidiah is a 35-year-old ER doctor, which seemingly gives him a leg up over the whambulance guy. But then he recites the Bible-like verse, “When Jedidiah met Rachel, he wept,” and he doesn’t even cry. Verdict: memorable-bad.
Michael Black’s occupation — former professional basketball player — sounds a lot more intriguing before you realize that he only played in Bulgaria. He presents her with a brownie and says, “The blacker the brownie, the sweeter the dude,” which makes “former professional basketball player” sound a lot more intriguing than it did a few seconds ago. Verdict: memorable-bad/forgettable/now I’m hungry.
Last but certainly least is Whaboom Lucas, who has brought along a tiny megaphone to aid in the obnoxious spreading of his silly catchphrase and to inform Rachel that (#FunFact) one of his testicles is bigger than the other. Visualize visiting a sibling during a child’s birthday party, and then imagine they’re all man-babies. Verdict: memorable because this trainwreck might end up being hilarious.
Now that we’ve met the bros, double check the above link regarding the sex stories for more filth on Bryan, Bryce, Adam, Kenny, Fred, Iggy and Jonathan.
Let’s Get This Party Started
Rachel is determined to make time for each and every suitor, but not even the cast of Bachelor in Paradise could get through this many people in such a short time.
Not two seconds after she finishes her toast, Josiah with the tragic backstory scoops Rachel to — you guessed it — share his tragic backstory. She’s impressed with his tale of redemption, but I assume that she would also like to have some fun before diving so deep into the darkness of one’s soul.
Black-and-back Dean brought a sandbox because he loves the beach, draft board Rob gives her a Bachelorette trading card to build on his first-round pick limo line, mutual understanding Anthony is the Corinne of emotions in that he’s very serious, and dancin’ Eric asks what loves means to her without offering his own definition.
Rachel doesn’t neglect anyone, including Adam Jr., who starts popping up in strategic background scenery as she chats with penguin Matt. But then she admits that AJ terrifies her, and Adam makes him “disappear” for good.
Bad camper Fred admits to a years-long crush, but Rachel can’t quite get past the third-grade version of him, at least not yet.
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Smooth Operation and Mic-Dropped Roses
Trouble-making Colombian chiropractor Bryan steals Rachel away to inform her that he’s good with his hands and lay a bit more Spanish on her, and she eats it up every bit as much as the ensuing inaugural make-out. She wasn’t planning on kissing anyone during the first night, but she loves it like Jake loved Vienna.
Host Chris Harrison drops off the silver platter carrying the first-impression rose, and the penile claws come out as seemingly confident gents mask their insecurity with bravado.
DeMario flexes his arrogance by expressly telling Rachel that he’s her number one seed, but the presence of the posie has a drastic effect on those who have yet to receive alone time.
The interruptions come fast, furious and even simultaneously, but some guys are more focused on the sauce. Bollywood dancing Mo is more stumble than grace, and not even a Josiah pep talk can get him into Rachel’s arms. It ends with Mo stealing a beverage, but it’s all good because it’s all free.
The Whaboom Era Begins
Lucas keeps the guys occupied (and not necessarily entertained) with his megaphone, even narrating Rachel’s time with fancy-socked Wisconsin boy Peter.
Libido master drum major Blake E. takes particular exception to the whaboom, and the sleeveless tee under the sport coat has him convinced that the obviously-wasted Lucas is here for TV time.
A calm confrontation follows, with Lucas claiming that everyone has a bit of whaboom inside and Blake countering that he has not an ounce. I may not be a Lucas fan (yet), but I don’t know if I’d ever date someone who had no whaboom. I never heard of whaboom before an hour ago and I’m still not sure what it is, but I know I need some of it.
Narrowing the Field
Pretty Boy Pitbull Kenny King talks wrestling, but it’s his sincerity when opening up about being a single dad hopelessly devoted to his daughter that wins Rachel over.
It’s not enough to get him the first-impression rose, though, and the first target on the back goes to the first smooch. Bad boy Bryan is crushing dreams in addition to cracking backs, and even Taylor Swift is blushing at the face-eating make-out sesh that follows.
And just like that, it’s rose ceremony time. Surviving the first night are:
Fancy-socked Wisconsinite Peter
Twinsie Dallas Jack
Jamey, that guy who said nice, boring words
Excited-to-be-here Iggy (all we got so far)
Confidently heading for a downfall No. 1 DeMario
Tickle monster Jonathan
Sweeps-her-off-her-feet firefighter Bryce
Vacuuming meathead nerd Alex
Pretty Boy Pitbull Kenny with the dance moves
Very serious understander Anthony
Literal idiom Brady
Josiah with the intense backstory
Croon me a Lee
No Diggy, no doubt
Bad camper Fred
Dummy Adam Sr. (and only Adam Sr.)
Libido master drum major Blake E.
That means eight disappointed lads are left without a rose, and it’s the end of the line for:
Former professional basketball player Mike Black
Marine with old married grandparents Blake K.
Ambulance-riding EMT Grant
Biblical verse Jedidiah
Kyle and his delicious buns
Polaroid selfie Milton (who was done when Rachel realized that his weird growl/purr wasn’t a one-time thing)
Bombed Bollywood Mo
Jovial draft board Robert
No real surprises, as most of them were montage guys. You’d be hard-pressed to pick a favorite with so many men remaining, but my gut screams vacuuming meathead nerd Alex and Will Urkel.
Boy boy chiropractor Bryan will probably make the final four, but Rachel ending up with him would be like so many chemistry-over-substance, doomed-to-fail relationships we’ve seen before. I’ll round out my early final four with Pretty Boy Pitbull Kenny King, a likely fan-favorite who will fall just short.
Who are your favorites and who do you think are easy cuts? How long will Rachel keep the blinders on and will she be quick to wise up when need be? And most important, will whaboom end up being obnoxious or hilarious? (Lee will seemingly emerge as the main villain, at least one guy currently has a girlfriend, and there will be violence and oh-so-many man tears. Buckle up, kids. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.) Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
The Bachelorette season 13 airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC. Want more news? Like our Bachelorette Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of ABC)