The Bachelor Episode 1 Recap – Clayton Echard

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Bachelorette. There’s just something about the Bachelor that kicks all of my tea-consuming, drama-adoring, histrionic-hounding, and yes, blog-writing senses into Mach-10 overdrive. This partiality is quite staggering given the two soporific snooze-fests we were subjected to with Colton and Peter’s seasons, and then the hand-warming Houdini himself, Matt James, who managed to escape the devilish clutches of such women as Queen Victoria and Katie Thurston. This season will be different though right? We have a new host, Jesse Palmer, who bears a startling resemblance to our new protagonist, Clayton. We are also back in the Bachelor mansion, where the bunk rooms that house our lovely ladies are intentionally kept at a just-above-comfortable temperature to encourage the maximum number of angsty overheat-induced outbursts. It’s good to be back with you all, let’s jump in.

The season started with Clayton filming himself breaking some “exciting news” to his family. That “exciting news” was that ABC’s focus groups came back after Matt’s season, and all America really wants in prime time is red meat-eating, football playing, God-fearing, Middle American white dudes who simultaneously date 30 women. I believe their business intelligence team calls it Analytical Race Theory… Regardless of the provenance of his promotion, his 8-minutes of screen time during Michelle’s season is certainly an interesting route back into the spotlight. He claims that he is the Bachelor because he “truly believes in the process.” Ask any Philadelphia 76ers fan what they think of believing in “the process” and they will tell you that this theory doesn’t mean shit. We can theorize until the cows come home about how Clayton assumed his position despite the presence of thousands of eminently more qualified and interesting candidates, but here we are.  

The intros are always great. A couple stood out in particular:

Rachel, the simultaneous aviation student and instructor (inmates running the asylum?!), doesn’t know that much about Clayton, but says that he has really nice teeth. Seems like as good a reason as any to drop everything in your life and join the show!  

Daria is a Yale Law student and had her intro filmed in the Starr Reading Room. I’m glad that this particular academic weight room is finally getting some buzz on national television, it’s been an entertainment-starved locale ever since my freshman year, when in pursuit of a fake ID, I had to stand up on one of the desks and give a 15-second singing and dancing rendition of Hollaback Girl as penance for my counterfeit papers! Roll dawgs.

Teddi is a regretful virgin. Honestly all power to her, but the fact that she is beholden to her maiden status just because she has maintained it to this point seems like a poor reason. Sexual scholars are calling this one the sunk cost phallusy – someone needs to tell her she holds the keys to her own chastity belt.

Salley “Previously engaged” and Heather “never been kissed” are currently in a run-off for most brazened Bachelor tag lines in history (we are of course excluding Bachelor in Paradise here as they are in a different stratosphere). There was a lot of pre-season buzz about her candidacy, so it was nice to finally get a sense of what caused the breakdown. Salley claimed it was a lack of trust that derailed her relationship… a lack of trust that could potentially be embodied by one member of the impending conjugal union immediately deciding to go on the Bachelor in pursuit of Colton Underwood’s heterosexual doppelgänger perhaps? Whatever the trust issues were, I’m glad that Salley’s difficulties were all magically overcome when she saw the Clayton was good looking. The two had a nice chat, after which Clayton offered her a rose. Salley saying off camera “why did he have to pull out a fucking rose” is like saying “why did he have to pull out a fucking scope” at a colonoscopy appointment – it’s what you signed up for sweetheart. I have a not-so-sneaking suspicion that this won’t be the last we see of Salley, but Clayton starting out his Bachelor career 0/1 on rose acceptances doesn’t do wonders for the old confidence I’m sure.

Following Clayton’s fumble at the 1-yard line, the ladies started arriving in a combination of limousines and other interesting modes of transportation. I hate writing about the limo exits because they all pretty much include one, or multiple of the following: Hugs made awkward by the fact that Clayton is, on average, 18 inches taller than any of the ladies; uncomfortable arms-length hand holds; rehearsed lines that make 1st grade Nativity Play participants seem ready to grace Broadway stages; gimmicky and overly-sexualized tokens of faux-appreciation; incredibly strange requests like opening a jar of pickles; puns that would make even the most stalwart New-Balance-wearing, barbeque-tong-clicking, pants-that-double-as-shorts-unzipping dads cringe; if you speak a foreign language, you MUST introduce yourself; and of course the fake fucking Barbie and Ken smiles etched on these people’s faces. I think that pretty much covers it… on to the cocktail party!

Clayton’s whole shtick is that he’s just a regular old guy from Missouri. “I’m just a guy from a small town, and I’m so excited and humbled to be here” was his introductory line to the group. It’s tough for him to maintain any kind of credibility as the poster child for Eureka Missouri however, when not only does he drink the classic middle-American male staple of a vodka soda, but he proceeds to spill it all over himself while making a toast.

Pretty much my only consolidated takeaway from the cocktail party is that Clayton really does not have the maturity or emotional intelligence to manage the simultaneous courting of 30 women. He treated the cocktail party, not as an opportunity to get to know the ladies, one of whom he would eventually be asking for her hand in marriage, but as a prime chance to re-enact the time that he manned the kissing booth at the Eureka town fair in 2012 to raise funds to repair the town hall roof. In a post-COVID world, who knows how many opportunities like this there will be, but this is the Bachelor man, not a do your best impression of Morgan Wallen at an Alabama bar competition.

Clayton made out with EVERYONE, except this one girl called Clare, who “kicked his ass” at corn hole and then proceeded wander around telling everyone how much she hated him. Clayton promptly kicked her out and then started putting his tongue to work with a couple of the other ladies in his admittedly substantial orbit.

He had a long conversation with Rachel the pilot, but instead of trying to get to know her, he started hustling her to help him tick of items on his bucket list like skydiving, and then asking her if she could hook him up with some frequent flier miles… I’m no expert on aviation perks packages, but I’m pretty sure the people attending flight school aren’t the gatekeepers of the air miles stockpile.

The first impression rose ended up going to Teddi, a pretty amazing accomplishment considering her hair stylist, clearly unenthused by her recent tipping perhaps, gave her the Chad Danforth for opening night. Hair aside, she stuck to the status quo, which in this case means making out with Clayton for an additional lengthy period of time.

A couple of takeaways from the rose ceremony: First, not only does Genevieve look like an airbrushed Amy Winehouse, but the way she was talking about Clayton after having snuggled up by the fire for all of 45-seconds, it seems like she would have said yes, yes, yes to Rehab had she not snagged a rose!

Is there anything worse than staying up until 7AM, getting rejected by the world’s most average guy, and then having to attend a 9AM contract law section, Zoom video on, with your Yale Law School classmates who have been up all night drooling over Elena Kagan eminent domain dissents? I highly doubt it.

It’s still a marvel to me that these girls can sit around crushing cheap Andre and gossiping about Clayton’s time allocation until the sun comes up during the first night. Whenever I’m up until the sun rises, I’m not dishing out roses, I’m dishing out hugs and high fives to my boys at Kips Bay Deli before falling asleep straddling a half-eaten chopped cheese (w/ hot sauce).

Might be time to go grab one right now – until next week folks!

Clayton Echard Bachelor Hometowns Recap

Going into someone else’s home to meet their parents is a simultaneously exhausting and terrifying process. It’s a unique mélange of wanting to appear nice and wholesome, twinged with wanting to appear cool and fun, and sprinkled with a crippling fear of potentially clogging their downstairs toilet. Rumor has it the 14th century Lord who commissioned Dante’s Inferno vetoed his idea for a 10th circle of hell where sinners are forced to meet suitors’ parents in their homes for eternity. I say this all entirely in jest, I love meeting people’s parents, my girlfriend’s parents are wonderful, but four parent meetings in one-week when the families know you’re courting other women simultaneously doesn’t exactly sound like a walk in the park!

Poquoson Virginia was Clayton’s first stop on his Hometowns journey. He and Susie met in the kind of secluded woodland area that would have had Ted Bundy licking his lips. Bundy’s buzz would no doubt only have intensified when Susie asked the burning question on everyone’s lips: “today we’re going to find out if Clayton likes being choked.” I came into this thinking that Virginia was for lovers, but apparently, it’s also for fighters as Susie took Clayton to her jiu-jitsu dojo for some light wrestling.

After Clayton was taught some crustaceous jiu-jitsu moves (notably the shrimp, because of course…) Susie began to really open up about her dad and his recent illness. The reason this process is such a big deal to her is that she wants her dad to be able to walk her down the aisle – why else would you join a show that is literally built on the premise of get married prematurely? I sincerely hope that Susie’s dad didn’t see her carrying the umbrella for Clayton in the rain, but even if he had, her family was so cute that he might have scolded Susie for not carrying Clayton on her back whilst feeding him delicate morsels from an elaborate charcuterie board.  

It speaks to the hilarity of the show that when Clayton said “she was the first one-on-one date” he intended it to be meant as a good thing when implicit in her being the first is that there were many more dates that followed with other ladies, but what can you do? Susie’s family was so nice that the harshest thing either of her parents said was “proceed with caution.” In the indelible words of Pat Benetar, “love is a battlefield” Gabby!

Clayton’s next stop was Denver Colorado to meet Gabby’s family. I had no idea that Gabby was a Denver Broncos cheerleader until this point, so you could say that I left this episode with one additional piece of knowledge that I did not have before. If Ted Bundy was licking his lips watching Susie’s hometown, he would have been positively paralytic at the serial-killing potential of Gabby’s heart-stopping hometown.!

They went for a hike, which according to Gabby, you “can’t do without a backpack” and visited “proposal rock.” The person who made the sign was clearly on so many psychedelics that they probably thought they were proposing to Margot Robbie rather than a very loosely anthropomorphic tree stump.

This hometown date had shades of pandemic hometown dates as the two ended up drinking champagne in a secluded hot tub. Where in the past they’ve made an effort tracking down rustic-looking wooden hot tubs, Gabby’s tub looked like the piece of shit I had in the back yard of my fraternity house in college. Let’s hope this hot tub doesn’t get abandoned after one exorbitant utility bill and turn into a short-term vacation rental for the local neighborhood wildlife; believe me, there was nothing hot about that tub.

Clayton’s biggest challenge in all of these hometown dates is remembering the names of all of the family members. Mom and dad are always easy, but the third cousin Kira with her third husband Chad, who is there to make up the numbers because the girls parents are not on speaking terms? That’s a tough one.  Gabby’s grandfather was probably the most all around wonderful person to ever appear on this show. He was out there crushing beers, calling Clayton out for blushing, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone laugh harder than he did during Gabby’s face-sitting joke despite the subject of her carnal crack being his granddaughter. Gabby’s grandfather had probably the greatest edit in the history of the Bachelor. My only conclusion was that they must have been setting him up to be the Bachelor on the old person version of the show.

The meeting was interrupted by some horn honking, Gabby went outside and immediately burst into tears when she saw her dad. I was half hoping that the honking was her ex-boyfriend, or legendary former Denver Bronco Tim Tebow or something, but no, it was her dad who maintained safe social distance and showed Gabby a series of signs telling her how sad he was he couldn’t meet Clayton and how much he loved her etc. Gabby proceeded to break the seal and told Clayton she was falling in love with him.

Serene’s hometown of Oklahoma City was next up and the two lovebirds spread their wings and ascended to what looked like a pretty unpleasant metal ropes course. I don’t know which focus group they conducted where the respondents asked for additional GoPro close-up footage of Clayton’s face, but I sure as hell was not in it… As if his pearly whites weren’t already part of a sophisticated big dentist deluge! Clayton is afraid of heights and made sure everyone knew it. His lover on the other hand lived up to her name – boy was she serene, calm and composed while Clayton’s histrionics made him look like a tantrum-prone child who was just denied a super-sized frozen custard at the Eureka town fair! Serene said in reference to their leaps from atop the ropes course that “much like falling in love, the first step is the hardest” – what is this, Sheryl Crowe lyric adaptation night? I guess it’s my turn for a Bachelor-related one: “the first fantasy suite is the only one that you would ever want to be in.” Rolls off the tongue, right?

Clayton jumped off the tower and went down kind of hard relative to Serene, who floated slowly down like Moaning Myrtle trying to get a look at Harry Potter in the bathroom stall. My extensive network across the state of Oklahoma told me the reverberations from Clayton’s landing were felt as far as Tulsa… as if one bombing wasn’t enough for the poor population of Oklahoma City!  

Serene clearly does not talk much about any of her trauma and the fact that she opened up to Clayton on “The Pleasure Pier” in Galveston about all of her difficult circumstances was clearly crazy to her family. Clayton can put on the smooth moves and talk the talk with the best of them… this is until he gets asked the question that any responsible parent would ask a man trying to get engaged to your daughter: “do you love her.” Clayton goes from Volodymyr Zelenskyy, confident, composed, sneaky hot, parents, siblings and friends willing to take up arms and lay down their lives for this man, to a spotty teenager tripping over his words trying to ask one of the cheerleaders, already sure of his rejection, to go to Junior Prom with him. Where Clayton’s response to the whole love thing was ambiguous, Serene was the first girl to come out and say that she was in love with Clayton.

Rachel’s hometown date was very Florida. So much so that her voice sounded like she had closed down a Fort Lauderdale karaoke bar the night before Clayton jetted into town… Taylor’s 10-minute version of All Too Well takes another voice for its collection! Their nature cruise date was also very Florida. They saw a massive spider (clearly planted by producers me thinks), there was lots of B-roll of alligators, and if jumping from high heights wasn’t enough action for Clayton’s hometowns weekend, the two lay in the gator-infested waters underneath the kissing tree. Clayton was probably wishing he had the Matt James affliction of kissing with his eyes open so he could keep an eye out for gators circling after their fourteenth hour of making out in the water!

Rachel mother is called Mary, but when Clayton found himself in times of trouble during his conversation with Tony, mother Mary did not come to him. I was prepared for a tough reception for Clayton… but I didn’t realize that Rachel’s dad was literally Tony fucking Soprano. He’s not only called Tony, but has the haircut (or lack thereof), the kind of stoic but calculating facial expressions. Hell, I was half expecting him to come out in a bath robe and tell his therapist to fuck off!

In the end, Tony wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting. He was candid about the entire process and Clayton really rolled with the punches. I guess when you’ve had to go through the same conversations with four separate families, you’re able to gin up some pretty good answers by the fourth hometown! Tony is a dad, and you can’t begrudge a dad getting a little frisky when one of his daughters’ suitors struts through the door and he’s simultaneously dating three other women.

In the end, Susie, Gabby, and Rachel got the roses, Clayton literally had no choice but to pick Rachel, otherwise he would have ended up dead behind a dumpster. This season in particular it has been a really cruel process. It sucks because you hear all about the incredibly difficult circumstances in these girls’ personal lives and then they just get unceremoniously cut off at the knees by this happy-go-lucky guy who can’t stop grinning ear-to-ear the entire time…

Anyway, the best bit of the show is coming right up, when the girls have to sit in the same room dodging the gargantuan coital elephant in the room while their competitors jet off to get lucky with Clayton.

Happy watching people!  

Clayton Echard Bachelor Week 7 Recap

So, I didn’t watch last week’s episode, and I didn’t read any recaps – everyone knows that Bachelor blogging is a zero-sum game and I can’t be out here supporting other pathetic part-time bloggers if I’m hoping to drive ad-sales revenue that amounts to a 1 1-millionth of what some 7-year old doing the griddy on TikTok gets! The grind doesn’t stop people. Anyways, enough moaning about the lopsided economics of the creator economy and back to my dereliction of duty in front of the television last Monday night. Fortunately, the amazing thing about the Bachelor is that you can get a perfectly accurate sense of what is going on through Instagram memes, so that is exactly what I did. See you later Shanae, thanks for nothing!
Let’s dive into Monday’s episode, which for clarity, I did watch!

The episode started with an audience air-drop into Sarah’s second one-on-one date with Clayton. These might actually have been the first two dates of her life for the 23-year-old wealth management specialist. She carries herself with the simultaneous ruthlessness and entitlement of an only child who has been helicopter-parented to within an inch of their lives and this is very much how she interacts with the other ladies in the house. She confronted the entire group and said resoundingly that she was ready for an engagement to Clayton, something that anyone who was actually ready for an engagement would have avoided saying like the plague.

After Shanae got unceremoniously stuffed back into Pandora’s box, the primary protagonists in the quest for a dramatic season are now Sarah and Mara. They had a nice set-to on the steps of their Croatian castle, much to the delight of the other contestants who were listening behind a set of conveniently positioned curtains. Mara is clearly right in this situation that Sarah is a manipulative and insincere child (more to come on that later), but I can’t take her seriously given the startling resemblance of her mouth structure to King Julian’s skeletal love interest, Julia, from Madagascar.


The girls are clearly fed up with a lot of what is going on. Gabby narrates the show with a candor that we haven’t seen since Aaron’s facial expressions during Katie’s season. She also sounds “I-don’t-feel-it-let-me-take-another-edible” high whenever she opens her mouth to provide commentary. And then there’s Genevieve… she is so over this whole charade, her resting bitch face isn’t just resting, its reclining relaxedly like a naked French girl trying to be painted; it’s chilling harder than Snoop Dogg hitting the blunt (perhaps with Gabby?) before he strolled out for the SuperBowl half time show.

It got me thinking, for most of the girls this isn’t about Clayton at all. Part of what makes the show amazing is that 95% of the girls go on the show to increase their online profile and live the high-flying life that accompanies dating the L.A. Rams 12th string running back on the back end (shoutout Hannah Ann!). What they don’t think is going to happen is that they become so embroiled in interpersonal turmoil that they pursue Clayton feverishly just to spite the other ladies they have grown to despise in the house. All of the “sayonara,” “bye bye bitch,” asides just underscore that this is a competition for a lot of these girls, not for love, but to assert themselves as the queen bee in ABC’s toxic honey hole.

Perhaps my favorite line from the entire episode was Clayton’s reaction to his conversation with Susie. “You have to be able to fall in love to be in love,” he stated. Yes Clayton, but don’t you also have to be able to eat one piece of sushi to eat 100 pieces of sushi? I get the procedural aspect here, but Clayton definitely thought he was re-inventing the way people would talk about love for generations with this little line. In reality, the line was much more Fortune Cookie than Foucault, but whatever helps you sleep at night Clayt!

The next stop on the world tour was Vienna, Austria. The streets of Vienna have been graced with the musical mastery of Mozart’s Magic Flute, the winding wanderings of Schubert’s seven symphonies, and the birth of the string quartet at the tip of Joseph Haydn’s quill… and now the poor Viennese have to listen to these 7 American sorority girls screeching “hello Vienna” at the top of their lungs. People were dropping their brown paper packages tied up with strings and coughing up their crisp apple strudel all over the city as these harpies descended in search of Clayton’s conjugal clutches.

Susie was treated to the first 1-on-1 date and she rode “like a princess” in a classic car to go try on some designer dresses. As if it wasn’t a slam dunk already, Susie cemented her status as the most compelling Taylor Swift lookalike in Bachelor history when she tried on this very fluffy, frilly red dress. Loving Susie is a far cry from driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street, and Clayton absolutely loved her in her red number. The two are cute together, and Clayton unsurprisingly slipped her a rose, and booked his ticket to her hometown to see the original guitar that she used to cry on. Clayton introduced the rose gift with “I know you don’t like gifts, but I do want to give you this rose.” Everyone knows that “I don’t like gifts” is code for “if you don’t get me a consistent and high-quality stream of unsolicited gifts then it’s literal disemboweling season,” so I guess Clayton passed the test on this one!

They were then treated to a concert by Chris de Burgh, otherwise known as the oldest person to ever feature on the Bachelor. This certainly ages me, but I have never heard of this guy – was this guy just in Austria and COVID restrictions necessitated his inclusion? Or maybe no D-list country singers that you have never heard of wanted to fly coach for 12 hours an extra $12.48 in Spotify stream revenue? He sang Lady in Red, because she was wearing red.

The group date was introduced by a Freud quote. “How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved.” Now I’m not sure if it’s the best move to be banding around relationship quotes from the guy who is convinced that all men want to sleep with their mothers’, but Clayton is a weird guy I guess? I took intro to psychology pass fail my freshman year of college so I’m perfectly positioned to diagnose Clayton with any kind of psychological condition. All I will say, is of the three conflicting parts of the psyche battling for supremacy, Clayton’s penchant for making out with anything that moves is no doubt an off the chain id.

The ladies on the group date were subjected to a couple’s therapy session with a psychoanalyst… They were all clearly nervous, but Genevieve in particular looked like she was going to vomit. I know she’s Yeung, but to completely abandon the Freudian process and not let any walls down to a man you’re about to bring home to your family? This is a little immature. She ultimately met her end with her inability to say anything during her therapy session, a blind side for sure, but clearly a decision she had no qualms about. She was clearly getting unhappier and unhappier as the season progressed (hence her steady-state facial expressions) so I’m glad she Freudian slipped out the door for her own mental health!

Sarah’s session was ridiculously contrived and the therapist called her the fuck out for it. She said, “some of the sessions were honest, but some of them were kind of performative.” Clayton looked absolutely shocked to hear this. It was like he had just been told someone had beaten his record of 47 hot dogs in 15 minutes at the Eureka county fair; horror twinged with incredulity. He went about rooting out the master manipulator the only way he knows best – talking it out and staring confusedly at the different ladies. I don’t know what he thought would happen, but if you ask the manipulative, performative therapy queen if she’s a manipulative, performative therapy queen, I’m going to go out on a limb and say she might not be entirely truthful. He ultimately came to the conclusion that it was indeed Sarah who was messing him around. “I’m going to be honest and say you’re fake crying to me” was uncharacteristically cold from Clayton, and Sarah’s response of “it’s because I have no tears left” was just laughable; you got kicked off a show you didn’t really want to stay on anyway, it’s not like Harambe died all over again or something.

The next 1-on-1 date was with Serene. I don’t really know anything about Serene, but it’s kind of cute that the last person she has taken home is her high school boyfriend – let’s hope there are no hometown stories about “party-Serene” in college that refutes this innocent façade! The two ate some chestnuts and danced around with some locals. Despite having exhibited a surprising level of ruthlessness earlier in the episode, Clayton was back to his love-struck self as Serene professed her love for him – he had his signature goofy grin at dinner and then pulled out the smooth moves whilst wandering around an art gallery. If all else fails, Clayton is not going to be able to fall back on art museum tour guide as a second career path. He sidled up to “The Kiss,” one of the most famous pieces of artwork in the world, and told Serene “we have to recreate one of the most famous pieces of artwork in all of Austria.” Let’s just say Serene is a lucky girl that they didn’t stumble upon this Gustav Klimt beauty while Clayton was in re-enactment mode (although body type a build, Clayton isn’t too far removed from our gorilla friend down there)

Dodged a bullet there Serene!

Serene got a rose, setting up a rose ceremony where the only major decision was between Teddi and Gabby. Gabby ultimately walked away with the rose, and our hometowns lineup is set: Gabby, Serene, Rachel, and Susie.

Until next week folks!

Clayton Echard Week 5 Bachelor Recap

Here we are again people, back with Clayton the limp shrimp pimp on another haphazard journey of imperceptive discovery; or should I say an “international tour to find love” in Houston, Texas…

Serene got the first date rose and clearly doesn’t understand how the entire show operates. She said, “no one has ever shut down a pier for me before” like it was Clayton’s doing… credit where credit is due, but literally Clayton showed up in the air-conditioned limo provided for him and went on some rides with no wait times. Give me a goddamn break.

It may be testament to how unmemorable this date was, or the fact that the Ottolenghi crispy tomato and garlic baked rice that I had foolishly attempted to concoct for dinner was concurrently billowing plumes of dangerous looking smoke so that I couldn’t take notes, but I remember very little from the entire date. One thing about their date did catch my eye however, and it wasn’t Clayton’s glistening game or childish charm. Serene’s broccoli literally­ looked like Napoleon Dynamite’s head had been severed, spray painted green and was lying happily on her plate, safe in the knowledge that eating food fucks with the microphones and that he wouldn’t have to endure any more pain. That broccoli is currently undergoing stem cell research in the General Mills underground bunker where they keep the Green Giant. World hunger? Not if this bad boy hits the shelves in 2022. I hope something good becomes of this food after they’re done with it, that or its actually the plastic food that you see in sketchy-looking ramen places in Chinatown.

Clayton has a good amount of rapport with Serene, but their interactions are almost too youthfully exuberant, much like an owner and a puppy where you can’t really tell who is who. “I couldn’t be happier at what I’m seeing out of you” – Clayton, this is a romantic love interest, not you speaking to your dog after they stop peeing on your living room rug. Yes, she seems into it, but she’ll have to up her game if she wants to get Serenedipitious later on in the fantasy suites!

Shanae’s “I can’t think of one thing I’ve done wrong so far” is the kind of self-awareness that this show has been clamoring for for seasons. At this point, the entire Shanae charade reflects so poorly on Clayton’s judge of character that some kind of psychiatric evaluation is likely not too distant in his future. His inability to sniff out Shanae’s psychopathy, and his gullibility to her every word are astonishing. Stealing candy from a baby and confusing Clayton’s brain into thinking you’ve done nothing wrong are birds of a feather. Given the opportunity, Clayton would probably keep Beth Dutton and Darlene Snell around for a look around their rustic hometowns, get Lestrange with Bellatrix in the Fantasy Suites and give the final rose, draped in recently murdered Dalmatian fur, to Cruella fucking Deville.

Anyhow, Clayton finally plucked up the courage to talk to the girls about the Shanae situation. “Sorry to interrupt” is quite the opening sentence to a group who are literally there waiting around for you. Clayton seems to forget that he’s the Bachelor sometimes and addresses the girls like he’s drawn the short straw amongst his buddies and has been tasked with infiltrating a group of girls at a bar. “Sorry to interrupt?” This is like a butcher sidling up to a pig pen and apologizing to his swine for interrupting their latest session of rolling around in the mud whilst awaiting their slaughter. The ladies are there for a reason so don’t portend their fate with insincere pleasantries and get right into what you’re going to do about Shanae.

“Throwing the trophy in the pond was not the right thing to do” was another startling display of self-awareness from Shanae, and has pretty much been the only chink in the Big Lie that she has been propagating to Clayton and the ladies so far. Clearly buoyed by the ease with which she managed to deceive Clayton, she took this admission a step further, going on to issue legitimately the most half-assed apology I have ever seen! Her apology was met with a Genevieve death stare would have turned the Gorgon Medusa to stone and it was interesting that none of the girls on the winning team acknowledged Shanae’s apology whatsoever. There were a couple of bridge-builders, keen no doubt to maintain a furry façade for would be future advertisers, but Shanae is so full of it that she was lucky they all didn’t put headphones in and choose the ambient sounds of nails scratching chalk boards in lieu of her faux expressions of regret. Off-screen, Shanae professed “that was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my entire life” – the only thing harder during the episode were the producers backstage when they realized that Clayton was falling for it and Shanae would get to make jokes about murdering Genevieve at Niagara Falls for another week!  

Shanae went on to compare herself to Meryl Streep, presumably for her deceptive détente – the only thing they have in common is they are both goats in very different senses of the word – Shanae more Bully goat, and Meryl, well, her performance in Julie and Julia speaks for itself. I’m genuinely convinced that Clayton still doesn’t know half of the girls’ names and as a result, has to give Shanae a rose every week to avoid ridicule in the face of his amnesia. Safe to say it, regardless of Shanae’s self-proclaimed sweat levels, she managed to stroll out of there with another goddamn rose.

For the second week in a row, we were promised globe-trotting travel, and this time they followed through on the international piece of the pie. “We’re taking our travels international… to Toronto, Canada” is like “you get an all-inclusive, all expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas… with Marilyn Manson.” I can’t get over Peter’s season where they literally went to Australia and just cruised around there a few months; everything else seems to pale in comparison. Anyway, Gabby got the one-on-one date and literally started crying as soon as she found out.

According to the man of the hour, our good friend Clayton, Gabby wasn’t really on his radar until the one-on-one date – Clayton there are literally 9 girls left – if they’re not on your radar yet I don’t know what to tell you; maybe upgrade to sonar from whatever current cartographic contraptions you are using. Maybe Gabby flew under Clayton’s radar because she’s just a really nice, down-to-earth, wholesome girl – something that the show decidedly does NOT reward in the slightest. She’s goofy and funny, and rolls around with random dogs that she sees on the streets. If this is not wifey material I don’t know what is. Their dinner date was very cute and VERY vulnerable. I hope Gabby wins for her self-esteem and then ditches Clayton to find the prince charming that she deserves.

The next group date involved roasts – you all watched the show so I’m not going to rehash the individual lines. The overall quality was low, and the general delivery was even worse. Comedian Russell Peters came out and finally called out Jesse Palmer for not actually finding love on The Bachelor despite claiming erroneously in the first couple of episodes. Marlena was the most scathing, but nothing really to write home about other than Clayton categorically denying that he kisses his mother with his mouth open.

The rest of the episode basically set up the Shanae Genevieve Niagara Falls date. Is it too much to ask that we just get a normal episode that has three dates, one big bust up between the ladies and then a rose ceremony at the end? We’ve been given the run-around all season with cliff-hangers and cancelled rose ceremonies and strange trips to Niagara Falls that don’t end with any kind of resolution…

Until next week folks!

Clayton Echard Bachelor Week 4 Recap

Whenever a Bachelor contestant says, “I have a really good feeling I’ll be down on one knee at the end of this,” it might as well be a dog whistle to Bachelor nation; a Ron Burgundy conch blast; a sighting of lit beacons across the mountains from Minas Tirith to prepare yourself for an impending shitstorm that makes Boris Johnson’s current party-gate onslaught actually seem just like a “work event…” What unfolded at the outset of the most recent episode was as shocking as it was predictable under the circumstances. The long and the short is that Shanae is chiseling her spot onto the Mount Rushmore of all time Bachelor franchise villains, and Clayton is sitting idly by soaking up the South Dakota sun just letting it happen.

Trying to describe exactly what happened would fail to do justice to the ridiculousness of the entire charade. What it boiled down to was Shanae made a rival garlic butter shrimp dish, tried to give it to some girls in the hot tub, the hot tub ladies weren’t hungry, and now Shanae is accusing people of bullying her because they all ate Elizabeth’s shrimp and not hers. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m similarly obsessed with frivolous attention-seeking after I cook something that crosses even the lowest difficulty threshold imaginable, but Shanae was on a mission to drag every sorry soul into this cluster. I literally cannot find a more appropriate example of the old adage “don’t wrestle with a pig, because you just get dirty and the pig enjoys it” than the ladies trying to reason with Shanae in this instance. Elizabeth took the moral high ground again (she must be requiring oxygen at this point), but Genevieve couldn’t resist getting down and dirty. She is scrappy and when aggravated howls like some kind of prehistoric banshee. While her dress was no doubt modelled after Princess Elsa’s finest, Genevieve would not Let It Go, and really stuck it to Shanae before realizing she was arguing with a 4-year old incapable of coherent thoughts and sentences.

Same stylist?

Shanae got the rose over Elizabeth at the rose ceremony and her rubbing it in was simultaneously pathetic but also really aggravating. I never want to hear “ding dong the witch is dead!” unless the lullaby league and the lollipop guild are cutting it up over some wicked witch’s bejeweled feet, or Demi Burnett is saying it in response to vanquishing one of her foes. Shanae is certainly echelons below that esteemed company!   

Elizabeth is ultimately the real winner in this entire thing. She consistently showed class and grace in the face of adversity, won the battle of hearts and minds by the biggest margin since the fucking miracle on ice, and now gets to walk away with a small, freshly-rejected posse of eligible bachelorettes, move to New York, and eat expensive food in a pencil dress until Revolve decides that they’ve found someone better. Conversely, she could literally waltz into the role of the Bachelorette, riding a wave of national sympathy to even greater e-marketing opportunities.

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Perhaps more fascinating is how Shanae goes out into the real world and accomplishes anything in her life now? Queen Victoria was insufferably annoying and stirred the pot like Gordon Ramsay had just chewed her out for an under-seasoned lamb sauce, but she was nothing even close to Shanae’s level. No amount of legislative criminal justice reform, unearned second-chances or even Jesus’s full-hearted forgiveness could atone Shanae for her deadly sins.

Anyway, enough Shanae drama… Jesse Palmer strutted in and promised the ladies “a worldwide, international journey to find love with Clayton” that starts in… drumroll please… Houston, Texas? If I was looking to watch some underwhelming football, or maybe grab a slice of brisket en route to see Alison in Galveston then maybe this would be a good destination, other than that, I don’t know. Clayton caught up with one of his buddies and asked the question that every hopelessly optimistic man would ask in this situation: “is the drama over?” Clayton, the drama ain’t over until the fat lady sings, and given that the average size of the remaining girls is about a one-and-a-half, you better be hoping Shanae can muscle down a few more pounds of shrimp and another dead comes along to loosen up her vocal cords!

Rachel the pilot received the first one-on-one date, and fortunately she’s not kiss-averse because Clayton’s lack of a good makeout in about 48 hours was evident and he wasted no time is slurping up Rachel’s 14 gallons of lip gloss upon her arrival. They went on a horse ride, which must have been disappointing because horse-riding was literally the only thing that happened during the quarantine dates, and ended up at some poor family’s barbeque? WHO IS THIS FAMILY?? AND WHY ARE THEY FEEDING REALITY TV STRANGERS ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON? If it wasn’t uncomfortable enough already, Clayton and Rachel started aggressively making out in front of everyone as well. Now I’m all in on body positivity, but if I was a Texan man cooking lunch for my family and this absolute man mountain showed up asking if he could join? Let’s just say Clayton looks like he wouldn’t back down from the Bubba Gump crispy shrimp challenge and might perform the same rites on my family BBQ.

They dined and dashed to a rustic waterfront setting, and while sitting on a dock is technically on, not Under wood, Clayton wasted absolutely no time in quoting Carrie, telling Rachel “I don’t even know your last name.” I don’t if their mamas are ashamed right now, but even a slightly prudish maternal figure would be quite perturbed by the amount of lip-smacking that followed between these two meet cutes.

The two then had dinner were treated to a concert by Restless Road, which I honestly can’t really remember too well because I was so perturbed by how similar their haircuts were to Clayton’s.

The football date is always hilarious, although in this iteration, the ladies were stuffed full of burgers and dogs beforehand, and did look a little sluggish on the field. Clayton was doing a full-blown Hyundai electric car commercial in the corner while the ladies tossed bags, grilled meats and stuffed their faces before they trotted out onto the field for game that can only be described as poor. Under bettors would have been pulling out their hair at the 7-0 half time score, but football purists were likely decrying the fundamental lack of understanding of even the most basic principles (passing, blocking, double cross flea-flicker check-downs on third and long etc.). While the NFL and NCAA have placed a big emphasis on concussion safety, The Bachelor franchise clearly has not… Shanae got her clock absolutely cleaned, or should I say her brain deveined? And the Purple Punishers were just that, punishing, and Shanae in particular is going to have some purple limbs after some of the punishment she was subjected to.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, and the contestants having to go back to their house in full gear is always fun. What happened next wasn’t altogether surprising. Shanae wasn’t about that losing team life, and so dolled up, hopped in an Uber (perhaps? No waaay that the producers would have driven her there devil face emoji) and hijacked the group date. Clayton barely backed an eyelid, and is in danger of falling down the Peter Weber hole of allowing and even condoning bad behavior (bar makeout duh!)

How Clayton deals with this situation will make or break his credibility going into the rest of the season. We’ve been promised a Genevieve Shanae two-on-one date next week which will be ELECTRIC – until then folks!   

Clayton Echard Bachelor Episode 3 Recap

For those of you out there with elephantine memories who can remember what happened nearly THREE WEEKS ago when we were treated to our last instalment of The Bachelor (yes apologies for the late blog), the episode started as you might have expected. My previous-episode amnesia was at Jason Bourne levels on Monday night, but the Cassidy drama, where another girl tattled on her for FaceTiming her lover in advance of the show, was right back to the top of the agenda. Lest we forget, Cassidy had a rose at this point and when confronted about clearly not being there for the right reasons, “there’s a guy who I’ve slept with a couple of times over the past three months who knows I am here” is very much code for “I never thought I would make it this far, I’m terrified of being alone, so hell yeah I’m keeping my options open and doing some pre-emptive damage control back home.”

The house at the beginning of the episode was like the Wild West, and Cassidy was doing her finest Butch impression, pointing her rose in everyone’s face with the insufferable support of her Sundance kid Shanae! Fortunately, the tears rolling down her face were futile in the Mexican standoff between her and Clayton and she was sent packing like an overserved patron at the local saloon. Either the entire drama was weighing on the other ladies in the house or someone was prepping some French onion soup during the rose ceremony because the tears were flowing. Even the girls who got roses and have strong prospects with Clayton – I’m looking at you Genevieve – were bawling. Obviously, Shanae and Elizabeth got back to back roses at the end of the ceremony, much more to come on this simmering stew later!

The first group date was introduced with a rather cryptic Clayton note. “I see you, love Clayton.” My brain went in a couple of different directions here as to what this could mean.  Does he have cameras bugging the showers? Is he all of a sudden, a champion for underrepresented and minority communities? Is he prepping for a post-show career in corporate communications at Waystar Royco? Whatever the intended meaning, the viewer discretion advised messaging means to buckle up! Clayton donned a very fetching fuchsia sweater (probably in the hope he would set in motion some kind of Chris Evans white-cable-knit-in-Knives-Out trend) and the ladies were brought in for a roundtable therapy session with Kaitlyn Bristowe. Kaitlyn is qualified to be a really below average singer and a Tayshia Adams understudy when presenting The Bachelorette, but parading around as a mental health professional and leading group therapy is likely not going getting the same top billing on her resume. She asked everyone to stand up and explain the things that they’re not proud of, amongst other deeply personal questions that elicited some equally as personal responses.

Now don’t get me wrong, Clayton looks like a real meathead but I am actually impressed at how he grew into the episode and is growing into the season as a whole. Whether the whole thing is scripted or not, or they give him very favorable edits, he was given the opportunity to come across as a caring and conscientious person during the group date, and he really did this. Nothing else really to report other than I might actually be starting to like Clayton! “If I could give out 8 roses today, I would” is one of the most city boy phrases of all time however. Clayton knows he’s got a solid roster and he sure doesn’t seem afraid to string these girls along in the process. Clayton seems to be making inroads with the ladies in ways that I never saw during Matt, Peter’s or Colton’s season – there’s heartbreak on the horizon and I’m fired up for it.  

Apparently falling in love is full of surprises – almost as big of a surprise as Sarah getting the date card – I know we’re still early but I feel like I’ve never seen this girl before! Sarah and Clayton had a date which involved stripping down to their underwear and embarking on a scavenger hunt around downtown L.A. Now I don’t know what kind of waivers these people have to sign before they go on the Bachelor, but forced indecent exposure in a bustling metropolitan area is clearly covered… Clayton is a textbook example of chunky but chiseled and him and Sarah look genuinely cute together. Neither of them are going to win a singing contest anytime soon, but this isn’t The Voice, this is The Bachelor, where near nudity is the only qualification that determines success!

You want to know how much the Bachelor is balling out this season? They went to the Van Gogh immersive experience to have dinner… Anyone who has been on the receiving end of the bold-faced racketeering job that is that venture’s ticketing department cannot have failed to notice this. The data was largely unspectacular, however the waves that were being made at the house while they were on their date have the potential to escalate this season from a tame fire crackling merrily away, to an out of control blazing inferno – I am of course talking about Shrimpgate.

The long and the short is that Elizabeth made some very delicious looking garlic butter shrimp (they’re eating good in the Bachelor house this year!) and Shanae took it upon herself to eat the vast majority of it. The event was pretty unspectacular in and of itself, however we were treated to one of the most incredible pieces of television production, with the shrimp counter in the top right-hand corner of the screen. It was up there with the NFL broadcasts on Nickelodeon where everything is just covered in green slime whenever there is a touchdown!

The second group date was a beach day on what looked like a pretty shitty day to be at the beach. I’m sure there were thousands of people in L.A. collectively groaning about June Gloom when the ladies started walking down the beach; ever go to L.A. in June and I promise you the incessant complaints about the haze is way worse than the actual condition! Get it together Angelenos! Anyway, Nicole Eggert from Baywatch arrived and made me feel incredibly young and hip because I have no idea who she was (as someone straddling the Gen Z-Millenial line this was big for me). If the girls thought they were gonna have a nice beach day catching some rays and dropping absolute pigskin lasers from Clayton, they had something else coming. Instead they had to do a lifeguard training session that involved slomo running down the beach and CPR. It’s somewhat reassuring that the ICU nurse excelled in the CPR portion of the group date, and Gabby was rewarded with a rose at the end of the night after applying copious amounts of aloe to an absolutely burned-raw Clayton’s back and shoulders. As someone who knows a thing or two about blistering third-degree burns, believe me, it was bad.

The entire episode devolved somewhat into the Shanae-show as Shrimp-gate and her altogether really unpleasant personality both took center stage. What is so interesting about her portrayal is that her edit is almost embarrassingly bad; there are literally no redeeming qualities on display ever! It’s so bad, that the producers play literal villain music in the background reminiscent of Robert Downey Jr’s Sherlock Holmes when he’s about to interrupt some bad guy doing some bad thing.  The fact that she’s saying “I’m here to win” is entirely indicative of her intentions, but it is so brazened that she actually might have a chance to go far. It’s gas lighting season and we’ll see if Clayton can spot the Shanaery in the coal mine and get the hell out of there!

Clayton Echard Bachelor Week 2 Recap

  • Hillary Duff gets cheap party planning
  • Susie snags the 1-on-1 date
  • Never have Elizabeth and Shanae EVER gotten along

David vs. Goliath has always been one of my favorite Bible stories. For the non-denominational amongst you, the story chronicles a young boy with a slingshot and a stone, who knocks out an absolute man-mountain overcoming overwhelming odds in the process. The Bible story bears a startling resemblance to the pitched battles taking place across the living rooms, parlors and bedrooms of the United States on Monday night. On the one hand, the Davids – remotes clutched in sweaty hands, fresh off 3-days of relentless dish-washing and laundry folding trying to gin up some good will going into battle for the night’s entertainment. On the other hand, the Goliaths – hair curlers in, red wine stains already adorning their most comfortable pajamas, blissfully unaware that there is ever anything else on television on Monday nights. Where this analogy differs entirely from the scriptural staple is that in this instance, the Goliath’s resoundingly covered their spreads, and the tuning of the television was angled unambiguously away from the College Football Championship game and firmly set on Clayton’s cootie fest.

Now I’m no Los Angeles housing expert (that’s a total lie, just ask my poor girlfriend who has been subjected to more hours of Selling Sunset in the past 2 weeks than is safely recommended by the CDC for an entire year) but did no one check on the Bachelor mansion during the pandemic? The place looks in horrific shape. I know it’s always been a little overgrown, but the side of the mansion looked like Stanley Yelnats (without a doubt Shia LaBeouf’s best role) was about to come dig a fucking hole on it. Had Stanley brought any of his friends to the dig, the irony of finding Zero good candidates when their shovels broke through the cracked walls would certainly not have been lost on me! Anyway, enough about the shoddy state of the house and onto Monday night’s episode.

Major shoutout all my Holes Stans

The episode started at Hillary Duff’s house. If there are still people out there looking to find Hillary’s emails who haven’t died of COVID yet, she probably hid them in her namesake’s fuckin mansion in Beverly Hills. Her house, if it was indeed her house, is an absolute unit.

The worst thing about having literally the biggest star of everyone’s childhoods come on the show is that all of the ladies cease to give a flying fuck about the Bachelor and just melt into a puddle of Lizzie Mcguire induced blubber. I’m gonna Come Clean here, Hillary is one of the most fabulous, well-spoken women I have ever seen, but if I was her kid and these random girls just showed up to my birthday party and started shoddily building dollhouses, chilling on the bounce house, spreading their germs all over my cake and running a Squid Game re-enactment of red-light, green-light, then Child Protective Services would be hearing about it. The girls were entrusted with making Hillary’s child’s day special, all except Cassidy, who whisked her man off for a poolside powwow. Making out with Clayton is SO Yesterday, but I guess she didn’t get the memo and parked her lips firmly on his to the intense displeasure of the remaining ladies.  

A little aside, Hillary Duff is only appearing on the Bachelor to market her new show. This would usually stir up some cynicism, but the show genuinely looks amazing. It’s refreshing to finally be treated to some quality commercials in between segments; having watched years of The Good Doctor commercials, I’d honestly take Joe Namath slinging Medicare instead of that!

The cocktail party was largely uneventful, and Cassidy was ultimately rewarded for her group date confidence and received the rose. I feel as though Clayton’s kisses are more frequent, but also way longer than anyone else’s kisses I’ve seen in my short career of watching this show. The guy literally sucks face like he’s just tracked down Sirius Black and returned him safely to Azkaban. The guy makes Genghis Kahn look prudish. He also leads in with some of the worst delivered lines I’ve ever heard. Poor Serene, an elementary school teacher who probably went on the show to get away from young boys drooling all over her, was told “I love the effort I’m seeing out of you” before falling into Clayton’s tongue trap. You’re the Bachelor, not a peewee soccer coach trying to find a silver lining in his kid’s poor play.

Susie got the one-on-one date. She is a very cute combination of Valentine’s Day Taylor Swift, Colton’s season Hannah B and then this guy from my high school’s ex-girlfriend. Right? The two drove Clayton’s G-Wagon to a helicopter ride over the Bachelor mansion. They had a nice conversation about cooking and dancing while awaiting takeoff. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really take them seriously wearing the headsets – I’ve been called a motherfucker and then brutally murdered in Call of Duty by enough Russian 8-year olds to be incredibly wary of the headgear. The two weren’t dropped at Tilted Towers as I was expecting, but landed on the back of a yacht. This was “the coolest thing I’ve done in my life” according to Susie, and also took this date’s dollar value above the combined value of every single COVID-season dates. No more woodland hot tubs and horse-back rides, the producers are back in LA and give less fucks than Kodak Black at a hockey game.  

The two enjoyed dinner after disembarking from their steamy sunset cruise. Usually it takes a couple of weeks to ascertain the verbal ticks of the Bachelor… Matt James had his “thank you for telling me that,” and Clayton’s is undoubtedly “I love that.” Everything Susie said he LOVED, and he no doubt loved their private concert from Amanda Jordan. When they cut to the pianist at the beginning of the song, I thought for a second the concert wasn’t going to be a D-list country singer… and I was right, she is about a V-lister. Amanda is an attractive young girl about to experience an explosion in her popularity due to a national TV appearance… she’s lucky she kept her lips glued to the mic or Clayton might have tried to make a move!

“Where we dropping?”

We’re at the stage of the season where some very unfortunate girls don’t get on either the group dates or the 1-on-1 date. Jill was one such girl, and she responded with one of the most genuine portrayals of just how difficult it is to go on this show. She described how she left her cat behind and proceeded to burst into tears. It’s probably for the best that she missed out on the Ziwe (has anyone ever heard of this Ziwe character?) monologue in which she mentioned “kitten-fishing”??? That probably would have brought on a new wave of tears.

The ladies played a hasty game of never have I ever, before embarking upon the relationship red flag obstacle course. I don’t know if Shanae is gluten intolerant, but there was a breadcrumb portion that brought out her IBS in an explosive way. Irritable Bitch Syndrome is no joke, especially when it comes to demeaning other contestants’ mental health conditions. The push heard round the world, during which Shanae pushed Elizabeth into a quagmire of sticky liquid (giggity), incited the first major inter-personal duel of the season; and boy, is it personal!

Shanae is a recruiter – and if that means recruiting the most contrived and fabricated drama imaginable then she’s in line for a promotion. When she eventually got to speak to Clayton, instead of attempting to get to know him, or revert back to the mean and rip off a casual 13-minute kiss, she decided to throw Elizabeth under the bus because she has ADHD and appeared two-faced because she didn’t give her undying attention to her during one conversation.   Elizabeth actually handled the situation with a startling amount of grace given how clearly unhinged Shanae is. Shanae even went as far as screeching that she had ADHD, a clear mistruth given how focused she was on ruining Elizabeth’s experience in the house.

The episode ended with a good old-fashioned cat amongst the pigeons situation. One of the girls approached Clayton about Cassidy’s f-buddy back home who she was FaceTiming in advance of the show. This all squares away nicely with the recently leaked social media clip in which Cassidy says, “she’s going to be a great influencer” when the show is said and done. Maybe she doesn’t realize that a predicate to being able to influence is actually developing a rapport with the audience… currently, every time I see her face I want to toss something at the television. Anger management pills are pretty much the only thing I’d be inclined to buy from her currently!  

Maybe I misheard, but I thought that the latest promo said “coming up in 2 weeks?!?!” Talk about a slap in the face to MLK’s legacy…

Until next time folks!

Michelle Young Bachelorette Week 1 Recap

It’s here. We’re back in business people with another season of the Bachelorette. I surely cannot be alone in thanking the fucking lord that we don’t have to watch this season’s empty vessels crit their way around some non-descript, middle-of-nowhere resort with an uppity marketing manager who finally used their Bachelor addiction for use and floated their hotel for consideration. I still get targeted ads from Nemacolin, ads which consistently make me think about Matt James menacingly rubbing his hands together and licking his lips in woodland settings, thoughts that no hopeful, curious 26-year old should be having! If this season achieves nothing else, hopefully it spells the end of “big resorts” having their way with my Instagram feed!

Michelle’s intro was sweet. It predictably began at schooI with a couple of questions from Michelle’s students. I wish I had gotten to have asked my fifth-grade teacher “how many boyfriends are you going to have?” That would really have shifted the power dynamic in the classroom and put Miss Evans on the hot seat big time. One nice piece of advice that came from a pupil was “don’t change yourself for anyone Miss Young.” Now forgive me, maybe I just don’t understand the strength of the youth Libertarian movement in Minnesota, but this quote reeked of producer influence; it was kind of like the kid that said it had come into school after the build your own planet assignment with a topographically accurate Mars sculpture, complete with moving Mars Rover and pull-out cross section of the crust… no way you did that yourself kid. The papier maché, pop-the-balloon equivalent would have been something like “good luck Miss Young.”

What was the conversation like in the production meeting as they were brainstorming her intro? “Ok, let’s go to her school and have a couple of kids ask wildly personal questions about her dating life; then let’s do the All-American back-yard BBQ with the parents to try and claw back some of the family values viewers who attended the antebellum parties with Rachel Kirkconnell; and then let’s have Michelle galavant around screaming “I’m the Bacheloreeeeette” at the top of her lungs all over the Midwest. Alright Pinnochio, we get it, you’re a real boy! Oh, and let’s tie everything back to the fact that she played basketball in college and can seemingly drain threes on command.

When the limos arrived, Nayte was the first one out, and ended their little chat with “better Nayte than never.” Then a guy called Romeo who was inexplicably speaking French despite being a mathematician from New York. Jack Russell was wearing a white tux and made a very rehearsed joke about how he’s loyal and attentive like the dog; Clayton got spanked with a ruler; Rick was clearly listening to a little too much Lizzo while brainstorming his entry, because he wasn’t “just a snack at all, baby he was the whole damn meal,” emerging with his head on an entrée platter; there was a firefighter who showed up on a toy firetruck who proceeded to get summarily big-dicked by another firefighter who showed up in a legit firetruck and that was kind of it for the notables!

The male intros are always hilarious, although a suspicious number of contestants are either basketball players and others have strong connections to teaching. There’s an academic interventionist (boy I wish I had known those existed before), an academic administrator, two contestants with teachers for mothers, and one guy who rocked up in a school bus dressed like AC/DC’s Angus Young in his school uniform.

It must be spooky season, because Michelle was re-introduced with a ghost from her past – the last man out of the limo, Joe, and Michelle had DMed back and forth about “basketball” (yeah right) and then he had ghosted her. Getting dragged out of the maelstrom of men and having to explain why you ghosted someone on national television is one degree of difficulty away from public crucifixion, but hey, good for Joe for thinking he could come on the show and get away with it!  His reaction to being called out was “It’s something I’ve been working on…” When it comes to communication in the DMs, this isn’t necessarily the best thing to say to the girl who you are trying to court, but hey, toxic kings gonna stay toxic.   

The crux of the entire episode was this guy Ryan, who showed up in an ice cream truck, and had basically put together a dossier with dos and don’ts for going on the Bachelor. The topics in this dossier ranged from how to get more screen time, to tips such as expressing extra interest in Michelle’s teaching. Now this probably would never have come to light had Tayshia and Kaitlyn not been going door-to-door and performing Stasi-style searches of these guys’ belongings, but alas. Given her seeming disregard for personal data, if this whole Bachelorette thing doesn’t work out, Kaitlyn can just go found her own consulting firm and call it KaitBrist Analytica!

Michelle was tipped off about the dossier by the slithery snakes Kaitlyn and Tayshia and proceeded to pull Ryan out of the pack and speak to him. The two had had a quite jovial initial encounter, but this one was anything but… Now I’m all for a bit of research, but when confronted about said research, you have to just own it. Ryan went for the old “those were notes written by my friends’ wife,” a foil that usually works until the person you’re lying to asks to go up to your room and check the notes. If Shaggy is looking to remaster his cult classic It Wasn’t Me with Ryan’s help, the lyrics might go something like this: “But she caught me on the counter, it was my friend’s wife; saw me banging on the sofa, it was my friend’s wife, I even had her in the shower – it was my friend’s wife, she even caught me on camera – it was my friends wife.” Ryan didn’t just have notes, he has an absolute encyclopedia of oppo. research longer and more detailed than a CVS receipt around Christmas-time. He was unsurprisingly and unceremoniously sent home as a result.   

The first impression rose went to Nayte and then we were right into the rose ceremony! The rose ceremony locale is very interesting. Usually the setting is intimate, dark and sweaty; the walls feel like they’re closing in on the candidates as they sweat it out for roses.

This location felt much more like a photo that would be taken at the end of a gala dinner in front of a the spiral staircase. It was too open, and there were too many architectural distractions for the men to be fully focused on the dwindling rose count next to Michelle’s giving hand. There was nothing super surprising about what unfolded. Thank God dinner plate Rick got a rose. I hate to keep bringing it up but the fact that the Sloth didn’t get a rose night one on Peter’s season is still the greatest miscarriage of justice in Bachelor franchise history.  

Joe ultimately got a rose as well which was unsurprising. As we know from Katie’s season, all you have to do is fire off a couple DMs back and forth before the season and you’re pretty much guaranteed the win! Oh Blake!

Anyways, happy watching folks and looking forward to the season kicking off proper next week!

The Bachelorette – Michelle Young Season 18 Preview

Well, well, well… it’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the turtlenecks are starting to peer ever more expectantly out of the back of the closet, and the squalid stench of Bachelor in Paradise that has been wafting so ignominiously over our airwaves for the past several months has been shunted aside for the glorious return of America’s favorite franchise. In a world where feverish swiping, night-and-day DMing, and apathetic ghosting are the predominant state of dating, it’s nice that the we are once again back to match-making in it’s finest, most feudal form: The 24-on-1 crunch-fest that requires careful positioning, a lot of luck, and the near unique ability to watch the girl you’re about to propose to engage in sexual relations with other men mere days before you’re down on one knee. If you thought Odysseus had it tough when after a troublesome ten-year trip back from Troy, his wife made him string up his own bow and shoot an arrow through a bunch of ax-handles, you understand nothing of what this upcoming crop of eligible bachelors are going to have to endure to win Michelle’s fractured heart!

As is tradition, I have done approximately zero research into this year’s format, contestants, locations, hosts, protagonist, intrigue, the list goes on and on… Fortunately for those who are Bachelorette-inclined, all of the information required for a quick pre-season gander is available in the Meet the Cast section of the Bachelorette website. To this end, I have been poring over this page trying to find pertinent parallelisms between cast members and their real and fictional lookalikes, and hope to dive into some of the more nuanced aspects of some of these guys’ characters throughout the course of this blog. It’s certainly a colorful cast vying for Michelle’s affection, let’s jump in and explore some of my favorites

If the pre-photo instructions were to smoke as much weed as possible and then smile like someone just walked in the room with an enormous plate of Twinkies, then Brandon understood the fuck out of the assignment. Brandon J seems like an appropriate nickname! While I’m sure that Brandon is keeping himself incredibly busy with his travelling nurse recruitment activities (imagine having to keep tabs on an Abigail-entranced Noah and his recently returned moustache) but if all else fails, with the shape of this guy’s head, he can always fall back on the Veggie Tales!

A beefy, white, NFL player from Chicago named Bryan you say? While our guy Bryan has slightly more follicles than his namesake Mr Urlacher, I get the distinct sense that the only first team all-pro this guy is gonna be is all-projectile out of the running! Bryan pegs his romantic side on all of the romcoms his older sisters made him watch as a child… let’s hope for his sake that he finds his happily ever after much like his lookalike Human Shrek!

Embrace debate – is Shrek 2 a RomCom?

If this guy doesn’t win, then what chance do the rest of us have at achieving anything even remotely romantically fulfilling? To quote Seth from seminal classic Superbad, “looking into this guys was like the first time I heard the Beatles.” Even writing this, all I can think about is the startling similarities between his piercing blue eyes and the water color on some fabulous travel magazine cover exploring Bora Bora’s hidden gems. Not sure what kind of commodities this guy is brokering, but he’ll be hoping he can overcome the intense volatility in the market and lay some lumber by the time Fantasy Suites roll around!

Garrett is a college dropout, pickle loving, “plant daddy.” He also founded an “incredibly successful tech company” and now spends his time galavanting around the world doing various extreme sports (skydiving, paragliding and speed flying) that presumably force his hair back into the strange, windswept coif that he is sporting in his picture. Whether or not this same wind molded his ears into enormous elf-like vessels remains to be seen, but he’ll be hoping the ears afford him Legolas-like skill with cupid’s arrows in pursuit of Michelle!

Jamie can deny it all he wants, but there is no way that this “Biotech CEO” isn’t a retired Derek Rose in the lab trying to biotech his way to some new knees! Got ’em.

It’s a pretty well established path at this point… join the army, leave the army, get a sweet combover haircut, and then go on the Bachelorette. Worked pretty well for Ben Smith who now has accumulated over 350K Instagram followers and launched his own fitness lifestyle brand! No doubt Jack is shooting for a similar play here. Watch for uncompromising abdominal muscles, unexpected nudity, and unrelenting toxicity.

Pardeep, a neuroscientiest, might be praying for a touch of amnesia when it comes to Michelle’s previous dalliance on the Bachelor where she expressed her undying love for Dancing with the Starts flameout and open-eyes kisser Matt James. Fortunately, Pardeep’s favorite holiday is the New Year “because he loves new beginnings” so it looks like he’ll give Michelle a pass this time. His bio also reads that he loves sleeping in on Saturdays… so anyone who loves Eric Church will know that he also probably loves college football games, not acting his age, and good barbecue.

PJ is the last single man standing of all of his friends, not altogether surprising when his bio’s principal positive stroke is his love of Rubik’s Cubes. PJ will be looking to solve the mystery of Michelle but don’t hold your breath… his bio reads that he “doesn’t like opera…” Characteristics formed of dislike don’t usually bode well for budding candidates (I dislike peanut butter and mixed berry fruit roll-ups but I don’t go shouting about them in the off chance that the girl I’m vying for with 23 other dudes likes these things) so expect PJ to extinguish any spark between him and Michelle.

Nayte is 6 foot 8, which for my readers everywhere in the world except the US, Myanmar and Liberia who are probably more familiar with the metric system, translates to really fucking tall. As if Nayte needed any other reason to stand out, he also spells his name like a phonetic dictionary… interestingly, and worth noting for all of my SEO specialists out there, this Nayte is the first Nayte to pop up when you type Nayte into the Google… way to sell yourself there Mr. Executive!

Edward is a wellness coach who dreams of going to Disneyland one day. He lives in Los Angeles. Not mentioned in his bio is that he isn’t a very good wellness coach because there is literally a Disney Land literally right down the road from him and any wellness journey should be about making your dreams come true, right? Mix in a ride on the 405 my guy, maybe catch an Angels game while you’re down there! Edward looks a lot like if Snape hadn’t been rejected by Lily Potter in high school, and instead had settled down in Godrick’s Hollow as a slippery magical trinket salesman who models his own wares. Don’t see this ending well for this wellness coach.

Being a motivational speaker and being from Canada are legitimately two sides of the same coin. Ever met anyone from Canada? Try telling me that Justin Trudeau doesn’t motivate the entire female population to melt into a sorry puddle when he opens his mouth. Try telling me Justin Bieber doesn’t motivate the entire world to begrudgingly admit that My Worlds was his best album. Try telling me that Nickelback doesn’t motivate the entire universe to bow in deference to their intensely superior musical abilities. Try telling me that Blake Moyne doesn’t motivate you to want to throw a brick through your television. Not sure what Chris G. does, but it’s bound to be motivational.

Happy watching people!

Bachelorette Hometowns Recap – Katie Thurston

It seems like this season has gone by like a flash in the pan. How are we at hometowns already, and by the time you’re reading this, you’ll probably be settling in for an afternoon of fan-theories in anticipation of the finale (apologies again for the interesting cadence of blogs this season – I will endeavor to improve during BIP this year!)  

Blake Moyne had the first hometown date, and of course the entire date revolved around the remarkably unremarkable fact that he is from Canada. For those of you who can’t remember (as much as I have tried, I cannot banish the hometown dates from Matt’s season from my otherwise Swiss cheese brain), Serena P did the whole Canadian hometown bit as well and achieved nothing but Canadian cultural appropriation by hanging out in bars, eating Poutine and playing hockey… in this iteration, I was half hoping Blake was gonna bring back Brendan (the Patron Saint of Canada) and Brendan’s dad to drink Labatt Blues and watch Maple Leafs 2001 playoff reruns with Katie, but alas, Blake re-did the bar and hockey bits, once again distilling Canadian culture to these two arbitrary archetypes.

Blake loves maple syrup – so much so that he tried to convince Katie that people drink it like they would a shot of whiskey. I don’t know a lot about maple syrup drinkers, but there is one thing that they all have in common, and it’s type 2 diabetes! After the syrup suck, Blake and Katie played darts, with Blake taking special care to mention that darts “is what I do, every Friday and Saturday I go to the bar and I play.” I don’t know if Katie is looking for a man in his mid-thirties who is still trawling the bars and flinging darts at the local ladies every Friday and Saturday night, but if she is, then Blake is her man. The next portion of the date was of course some hockey, a game that an unsuspecting Greg, gazing out across the New Mexico plains, was made privy too. He didn’t just capture a glimpse of the street hockey, but also the tonsil hockey afterwards, an experience that made him “sick to his stomach.” Whether this nebulous nausea was the result of emotional distress, or the fact that he took advantage of Blake’s absence by over-indulging in his bedside maple syrup we shall never know!

Blake might be the least inspiring motivational speaker of all time. His “you don’t have to be great, you just have to be you” to Katie right before she met his family was about as inspiring as a pre-game pump-up speech from Eeyore. I understand the sentiment and I guess it’s a nice idea to encourage personality, but also encouraging mediocrity when you’re potentially about to marry this girl was a little off the mark. Blake’s family was pretty awesome all things considered. his mother in particular was poised, collected, and produced unbelievable soundbites from start to finish. If I am ever in a position to executive produce the Real Housewives of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, then I will be calling up Blake’s mother to headline the bill! His sister was even more blunt in her lines of questioning, basically calling Blake out for being in love with three girls in the space of a year after only having seen pictures of them.

Blake I’m sorry, but “if things keep going the way that they are, I see myself getting engaged to Katie” is a pretty enormous leap of faith even for a man who has claimed to be unconditionally besotted with three different ladies in the past year. This is like saying your child, after logging an infield single in their first at bat in peewee tee-ball, is going to the Major Leagues because “if things keep going the way they are” they will bat 1,000% and never record an out in their life. I understand trajectory but come on Blake.

Justin’s parents not showing up to his hometown says all you need to know about his status on the show – I don’t really know what he’s still doing here, but the producers probably told his mother and father behind the scenes just not to bother so they could save a couple of bucks on flights and hotel rooms!

Compatibility is obviously an enormous part of a relationship, but in most cases it shouldn’t boil down exclusively to what kind of sauce you prefer on your buffalo wings: “Blue cheese or ranch?” When Katie said blue cheese and Justin practically got down on one knee it perfectly encapsulated the ridiculous parody that is his enduring presence while better candidates were dropping out left and right. Justin showed a side of himself that hadn’t really been on display to this point in the show – he’s a pretty smooth guy and his personality is far more outgoing than has been exhibited outside of his incredibly meme-worthy facial expressions. In the absence of Justin’s parents, a couple of his friends joined the happy, sauce-synergized couple. His friends seemed very nice and supportive and to be honest, that’s all I’ve got on Justin’s date.

Greg always does the most random selection of things on his and Katie’s dates. This time it was a game of horse in memory of his father. While it was a nice touch, I think that an actual horse might have put up a better effort at getting the ball in the hoop than Katie did. The two of them have a pretty unfortunate run of getting absolutely soaked on their 1-on-1 dates as well, this time Greg emphasizing that it also rains in Jersey… Greg’s family are very sweet and went to enormous lengths to include his sisters – a moment that clearly tugged at Greg’s heartstrings. I don’t want to be mean, but there is no way that Greg and his brother Joe are from the same gene pool. He was such a nice guy, a characteristic that clearly runs in the family, but Greg took every ounce of the good looks and left poor Joe in the dust.

At this point of the episode, I very clearly said to myself that “if Greg doesn’t win and Blake fucking Moyne with his stupid facial hair and maple syrup addiction runs away with Katie’s heart then I’m never watching another episode of a Bachelor franchise until August 16th when Bachelor in Paradise starts.” I could never have anticipated what was going to come next… except that I did a couple of weeks ago… Greg has been set up to fail this entire time and those pesky producers once again edited the season so masterfully to set up this fall from grace. Greg laid it all out there… literally all of it, and Katie replied to his magnum opus by saying “I just love looking at you” – it was a true Matt James “thank you for telling me that” moment.

This entire ensuing sequence was quite something. Greg’s hometown date ended with him wandering around like a lost puppy trying to figure out why Katie wasn’t willing to call off the season for him AND THERE WERE STILL 33 MINUTES OF THE EPISODE LEFT! Greg is confused, and he has every right to be – he is the only candidate who has opened up to Katie in any meaningful way and Katie is basically saying that Greg has to trust in their relationship when everyone knows that enormous Fantasy Suites elephant is just trumpeting in the corner. Greg decided to take matters into his own hands and confront Katie about her lukewarm reaction to his positive Tsunami of emotions the night before and Katie reacted by going on the defensive when Greg opined that “this is real life,” with quite strange responses like “I was just listening more” and “I can’t even comprehend what you’re trying to say here.”

Katie is too loyal to the franchise. She keeps referencing roses and one-on-one dates and the other men, and the process, but if she really felt how she claims to feel about Greg then she would just call the whole thing off right now. She’s a company girl who is seemingly willing to go down with the ship for the sake of prolonging the show and defending the integrity of the process. She’s too close to the product – she’s an unconditional GameStop holder; she’s a stop the steal militant storming the Capitol Building – sometimes you have to wake up and smell the coffee and actually make decisions that are based in rationality rather than some strange and idiotic adherence to Trumped-up (pun intended) principles.  I hate to sound like a sentiment from an early One Direction song, but Katie, when it comes to love, sometimes you have to check principle at the door! She owes Blake and Justin the square root of absolutely nothing in this situation and who knows, maybe she doesn’t like Greg as much as she has let on, but to risk losing him for some strange, never-before-seen in the show principle of equal opportunity lack of access to her love seems like a very dumb move. She even admitted it at the end when she was speaking to Kaitlyn through the door – “I just feel like I went through this process telling myself it will be worth it, doing all the stuff you’re supposed to do and it ends up blowing up in my face.”  

The long and the short of it is that Greg left. There is a lot of chit chat on the internet about whether Greg was gaslighting her and whether he is the narcissistic sociopath or she is the unstable, unemotional heart-string-tugger. I have no idea what is right, but at a very high level I thought that Katie kind of dropped the ball on this one. She melted down big time, so much so that she locked herself in the bathroom and was uncontrollably sobbing and bemoaning the loss of her “number one guy since the beginning.”

Now I haven’t been enormous fans of Kaitlyn and Tayshia as hosts of the show to this point; I’m struggling to really see how they add intrigue to a process where they effectively act as a friend to the Bachelorette, but Kaitlyn did really shine as an empathetic and genuinely kind individual when she was speaking to Katie through the door.  My favorite line from the whole Kaitlyn reclamation project was “There was one point where I cried into my salad and I said I’m done, I’m done, I’m done I want to go home.” This doesn’t sound like something a Bachelorette would say, this sounds like me dining in at Sweetgreen when they don’t put enough hot sauce in my chicken pesto parm!

Katie wants someone to book her flight home – maybe she had just watched the montage of her and Greg throughout the season that they played at the end and realized that she had made a grave mistake. Everyone I was watching with by myself had tears in their eyes – it could only have been made more emotional if Everybody Hurts was playing in the background.

Anyway folks, what a ride it has been! The finale is tonight and I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen. Please don’t let Blake win, please please please don’t let that guy win.

Until next time, happy watching!