Welcome, welcome, rose lovers. It’s once again time for us to embark on a journey of love, lust, champagne, and Chris Harrison one-liners. But before we get going, I feel like I need to address the obvious, as if I’m getting out of the limo in a super short dress and need to explain myself: I am not Kristen Baldwin, your beloved Bachelor/Bachelorette recapper. Kristen is no longer with EW, and on her way out, she passed the rose on to me.
The way I see it, this is our first night at the mansion. I will drink, maybe too heavily, and you will judge me for it. And then, at the end of this season-long journey, you can make up your mind about me and maybe forgive me for my night one mistakes. Look, I’m not asking you to pull a Mesnick and sob over a railing before ultimately deciding that your second pick was actually your first pick. I’m simply asking that you think about pulling a Desiree. In other words, your Brooks just left, and you’re devastated. BUT, you have all season to decide if this Chris is deserving of that final rose. Are you sick of me, yet? Good. Me, too.
Officially welcoming you to season 19 of the show is Mr. Hot Farmer himself, Chris Soules. Quick refresher: Chris is 33 and best known for being Andi Dorfman’s secret admirer on the last season of The Bachelorette. He’s a farmer in the very small town of Arlington, Iowa, and it’s pretty much a done deal that his chosen love has to want to live there, too. You also might recognize him as “that adorable guy whose family played ghosts in the graveyard.” And just in case you forgot, his sisters would like me to remind you that he’s loaded.
This season, he’s riding a motorcycle along his 6,000 acres of “God’s country”—I was wondering where that was—wearing a leather jacket and walking through his beautiful house. Did I mention he’s rich?
But before you can even think about making a joke about crops growing and flourishing, much like love, Chris is there to do it for you. “Love is a lot like farming: You plant a seed, you hope it grows, sometimes the weather isn’t always on your side but with a little bit of luck, something beautiful can come from it.” Well, if his journey to find love looks as good as he does shoveling grain, I’m in. (There’s a sentence I never thought I’d say.)
In our quick introduction to Chris’ life, we watch him fish with his father, enjoy a big family dinner, and lean pensively on a fence before heading down to the local bar where everyone literally knows his name. Also, “everyone” is like eight elderly gentlemen who enjoy talking about the weather, drinking coffee, and using words like “bushel.”
However, there’s one word that I prefer to “bushel,” and it’s “bale.” Specifically, it’s that bale of hay that Chris is currently using to do push-ups.
That’s right. He might be rich, but Chris doesn’t waste his money on pesky gym equipment. Instead, he hires his buddy Cody, whom you might recognize from Andi’s season/Bachelor in Paradise to come by the farm for some personal training. I have to admit that watching Chris do push-ups on bales of hay changed me. I’d never before contemplated using bales of hay in that manner, but now, it’s the only push-up scenario I’ll accept. As Cody says (with more conviction than anything he ever said to Andi), “Looking good dude. Seriously.” Yeah, we didn’t need that last part Cody. We know you’re serious.
After casually squeezing in a few squats while holding a rock—as one does—Chris cleans up and hops on his motorcycle. He’s not happy about leaving his farm in the middle of harvest—it’s a big deal—but he’s ready to find love. And step one of finding love involves trying on all the clothes Los Angeles has to offer. In this moment, it’s evident how much fun the producers are having with Chris, showing us some behind-the-scenes footage of Chris making crotch jokes, wishing he were harvesting corn, and saying, “I don’t feel like getting more needles in my ass.” But this is one game farmer. Chris allows himself to get poked for what feels like forever before posing with some hay and getting ready to meet a woman who loves “a real, grown-ass farmer.”
NEXT: Meet the ladies