The reason that The Bachelorette is better television than The Bachelor is that watching twenty six handsome dimwitted, overconfident, narcissistic men deal with rejection for the first time in their lives feels less cruel than watching twenty six insecure women do the same. The guys on The Bachelorette? These are not good guys, and so, to a certain extent, watching them flounder as they reconcile with the fact that the woman they are pursuing may like someone better satisfies one’s sense of justice.
This year’s titular bachelorette is Joelle “JoJo” Fletcher, the 25-year-old Dallas real-estate developer who was runner-up on the last season of The Bachelor. As the episode begins, the show flashes back to JoJo’s whirlwind romance with Ben Higgins, showing us moments of Ben tenderly professing his love to JoJo and telling her that she would not be blindsided, only to blindside her by telling her he loves Lauren. Alas, it seems that Ben H. was, like most men on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, a low-grade psychopath who is only able to respect his own feelings.
So after JoJo receives some advice form former Bachelorettes Kaitlin, Dez, and Allie, it’s time for her to meet her suitors. So who are they?
Grant, 28, firefighter: A San Franciscan, dark and handsome, his tattoos suggest what the producers of The Bachelorette would like to think of as a “bad boy” vibe. He gets points immediately for making a fire-related pun “I hope JoJo is the one to light my fire,” recalling the divine Bachelor parody Burning Love.
Jordan, 27, former Pro Quarterback: He’s THE YOUNGER BROTHER OF AARON RODGERS! So that’s going to be his thing.
Alex, 25, Marine: The real “bad boy” in that he seems to have bought the things that make one a bad boy, a motorcycle and tattoos. They play electric guitar music when he’s introduced.
James S., 27, Bachelor Superfan: James marks himself as “a bit of a cutup” when, in his introduction, he strikes a pose by putting his foot up on a rock and announcing “This is my favorite Bachelor pose.” So he’s the funny guy, meaning his is funny for a contestant on The Bachelorette but not for real life. His listed career as Bachelor superfan does not bode well.
Evan, 33, Erectile Dysfunction Specialist: His relatively old age, un-muscled physique, and hilarious job title mark Evan as this year’s underdog. Also scores points for punnery when he mentions that he used to be a pastor but has found a new way to “lift people’s spirits.” Evan, you rascal.
Ali, 27, Bartender: What a god-damn dreamboat. He plays the piano! He surfs! His three-day beard is perfectly even! He skateboards with his adorable dog!
Christian, 26, Telecom Consultant: Introduces himself as “The most motivated guy you’ll ever meet.” He’s into working out, but he’s also a bit of a geek.
Luke, 31, Veteran: Luke is the “country boy,” even though his polar fleece Columbia vest says otherwise.
The other guys are not given special introductions as they were, undoubtedly, deemed “not very interesting,” or “a bit of a douchebag.” We are introduced to them as they step out of the limo to meet JoJo.
Derek, 29, Commercial Banker: Gives little information about himself but let’s JoJo know that what really makes her sexy are her “grounded-ness” and “sense of self.” Makes very little impression. His game may be to fly under the radar for the first few weeks.
James F., 34, Boxing Club Owner: “I didn’t come here for a rose, I came here for a relationship.” This guy seems pretty slick and his job is probably delightfully seedy.
Robby, 27, Former Competitive Swimmer: This guys is gunning for the traditional “white douche” spot. Shows up with a bottle of wine (with a twist-off cap) and invites JoJo to take a pull. Class, class, class.
Will, 26, Civil Engineer: Opens by dropping his note-cards. For what reason does he have note-cards? So he can do a bit about mixing up his note-cards. “Cutup number 2” has landed. JoJo does not seem amused.
Chad, 28, Luxury Real Estate Agent: Another “white douche,” he seems marvelously ineloquent.
Daniel, 31, Canadian: They didn’t figure out this guy’s job, I guess. Doesn’t say much goes for a second hug.
James Taylor, 29, singer songwriter: No, it’s not the legendary writer and performer of “Fire and Rain,” it’s the guy who’s “thing” is playing the guitar. This guy seems to have made a tremendous first impression upon JoJo buy singing and also being from Texas.
Jonathan, 29, Technical Sales Rep.: He steps out of the car wearing a kilt, which is not even the boldest move he makes in introducing himself. That would be his decision to inform JoJo “I’m half Chinese, half Scottish but luckily for me I’m half Scottish below the waste.” Referring, of course, to racial stereotypes regarding penis size. He also informs her “I’m not wearing any panties.” He may come to view these statements as missteps later on.
Saint Nick, 33, Father Christmas: Yeah, it’s just some dude dressed as Santa Claus. That’s fun. The given age of “33” is a bit odd…
Chase, 27, Medical Sales Rep.: Another “white douche,” comes out of the car with a fake mustache attached to his sunglasses. States: “I mustache you a question but I may shave it for later,” which is, technically, a joke.
Jake, 27, Landscape Architect: He’s barely given an introduction but one notices he gives his occupation as “architect,” not “landscape architect.”
Sal, 28, Operations Manager: Brings a couple of stress balls and gives JoJo “permission to squeeze my balls.” You see, this is a double entendre as the word “balls” is sometimes used as a slang term for testicles. This man is a comic genius.
Coley, 27, Real Estate Consultant: Makes a real estate joke about taking JoJo “off the market,” Keep it coming Coley.
Brandon, 28, “Hipster”: Introduces himself by telling JoJo “I did not watch the last season at all, I know nothing about you.” It seems like he is a “hipster” only by the standards of this television program, not the world.
Nick S., 26, Software Salesman: He can do the splits, and dances with JoJo. He’s going to be the “smooth operator.”
Vinny, 28, Barber: Says that he’s “prepared a toast” for JoJo and hands her a piece of toast. This man knows what a homonym is.
Peter, 26, Staffing Agency Manager: Gives JoJo a giant plush heart.
Wells, 31, Radio DJ: Rolls up with R&B group All-4-One, like, it’s actually them and they sing “I Swear.” That’s a baller move, I mean, it’s not Boyz II Men, but it’s still a baller move.
Luke rides up on horse with a horn attached to its forehead and tells JoJo, “I wanted you to know that I believe unicorns are real.” Which is a weird thing to say, but JoJo seems charmed. Meanwhile, inside the house, the guys are sizing each other up. Robby offers a summation of the types of guys that have been rolling in: “It seems like there’s two types of men: Confident, successful, well-dressed men that are probably more JoJo’s type, and then you’ve got the other guys who resort to the gimmicks to grab JoJo’s attention.” Obviously, Robby places himself in the former group and disdains the latter. His attitude is reflected by the rest of the, more traditionally handsome, traditionally masculine-looking men, who all claim that they see the more “eccentric” men as guys who are not a threat, but whom are clearly threatened. Chad expresses his thoughts on the “eccentrics”:
There are a few guys giving her this fake, or talent show style introduction, they want to do their little dance, they want to entertain. I do feel like some of the guys are trying a little too hard to be cool When I came to this show I thought it would be the number one guys from each state but it almost seems like some of the guys literally signed up because they actually couldn’t meet a girl.
Clearly Chad, Robby, and their ilk are planning on winning on looks alone and see view those contestants who choose to demonstrate a talent as cheaters of some kind. Daniel seems straight-up angry about Jonathan’s kilt, saying “Just keep it cool for the first night.” After the initial introductions, things proceed in the usual fashion with the guys pulling JoJo aside for one-on-one conversations, except for Wells who brings All-4-One along for his one-on-one.
For all his disdain for the “weird” candidates, Daniel really sets himself apart from the other candidates in some ways that could only be considered negative, getting drunk and stripping down to his skivvies to swim in the pool Daniel is not the only dude to get drunk, but his drunkenness brings his abject awkwardness to light. He remains out of his clothing far too long, clearly wanting to show off his physique. Daniel also drops this gem during the intros: “She’s a lucky girl because there’s a lot of good looking guys I see tonight If I was gay I would be in paradise,” a statement that certainly sounds more telling that he thinks it does.
Jordan makes the best first impression, earning the “first impression rose” and a tender kiss from JoJo. Chad establishes himself as the villain, disdaining the other candidates expressions of sensitivity. Saint Nick continues to be dressed as Santa Claus, a one joke premise if there ever was one. AND THEN: Former Bachelor Jake shows up and all bets are off. And then they are back on, he just shows up to give some friendly advice to his friend JoJo. It’s a bummer. This show thrives on drama.
Then it’s time for the Rose Ceremony.
Jake: Made almost no impression.
Peter: Similarly, no impression made.
Coley: Also not making his presence known.
Jonathan: The kilt and penis jokes were not a turn-ons, no surprise there.
Nick S.: Drunk and awkward, gets the boot for interrupting a interview.
Sal: The “Blue Balls” guy clearly made a bad impression.
Daniel: Awkward, drunk, made a terrible first impression. We’re glad to have Daniel around for another week as, undoubtedly, are the producers.
Saint Nick: Almost certainly benefitted from those guys getting as drunk as they did.
VINNY: Got really drunk. Says about himself “I’m a good judgment of character” and “In the end, guys like me overcome on top.” This week, guys like Vinny really do overcome on top.
WEEK ONE POWER RANKINGS
- Jordan: Got a kiss, got the “first impression” and, so far, he’s about the most likeable guy on the show.
- Chad: He’s established himself as the villain, which ought to keep him safe for a couple weeks at least.
- James F.: His musician schtick is really working so far.
- Ali: The guy’s a damn dreamboat.
- Christian: While he doesn’t set himself apart this week, Christian seems like a strong Dark Horse candidate.