The Bachelorette season premiere recap: Legally Bland
Andi's first night as Rose Queen underwhelms with tame limo exits and a former contestant's lame attempt to crash the party.
Welcome back, rose lovers, and as always, thank you for joining me on this “journey” to find temporary relief from the ennui of daily life by watching the humiliation of others. (Speaking of which, did I mention I joined Twitter?)
But before we begin, Chris Harrison would like to take a moment to honor Eric Hill, the contestant who died last month in a non-Bachelorette-related paragliding accident. “In the coming weeks you’ll see that Eric was a vibrant man,” Harrison tells us, as photos of a chiseled young man with sky-blue eyes and perfect teeth flash on the screen. There he is in front of the Eiffel Tower; posing next to an Egyptian pyramid; surrounded by little kids in Africa. “He will be greatly missed, and we dedicate this season to him.” I mean, of course they do. But, my God: 31 years old. His poor mother. Everyone go hug your loved ones. I’ll wait.
Okay, rose lovers, shake off that sobering reminder of your own mortality — it’s time to find Andi a man! Even though she “worked really hard” to establish herself in a competitive field, a single girl’s gotta do what a single girl’s gotta do — and according to Andi, that means “leaving behind a good profession and leaving my family.” (That’s too bad, because as we learned on Juan Pablo’s hometown date with Andi, her dad Hy is a big, awesome teddy bear with a fierce growl.) After a brief shopping montage (no to the rose t-shirt, ixnay on the irt-dress-shay, and hell no to those orange pants), and a klassy photo shoot in front of a wall of fake law books, it’s off to the Casa Bachelorette guest house, where Andi’s sister is waiting to tell her which cocktail party dress makes her look a little bit hippy. (Hint: It’s definitely that gold lamé number, which is why Andi changes into the spangled, flesh-colored sausage casing before the Big Night begins.)
The men, meanwhile, have been waxed, oiled, and herded into the limos for the ride to the meet market. It’s go time!
Marcus, 25: “I have a lot to give and offer,” says the admittedly nervous Sports Medicine Manager. (Is that, like, a steroid salesman?) “God willing, forever.” Ruling: Too much, too soon. Limo exit grade: B-
Chris, 32: This farmer from Iowa is far more relaxed. “I’m excited to get to know you and have fun,” he says. Ruling: His hugs seem a little too forceful, but whatever. Grade: B+
JJ, 30: A handsome, dweeby dude in a bow-tie who claims his occupation is “Pantsapreneur.” Ruling: Calling Andi’s “journey” a “noble quest” is, somehow, endearing. Grade: B
Marquel, 26: Brave enough to wear pink. Tells Andi she looks pretty. Ruling: If that’s his “A-Game,” he might not get drafted. Grade: B
Tasos, 30: At last, someone with a gimmick! This “Wedding Event Coordinator” says he loves to travel, and asks Andi if she’d mind replicating Paris’ “lovers bridge” with him by placing a lock on Casa Bachelor’s iron trellis. (He’s clearly into women, amirite?) Ruling: Oh, he was so close to sticking the landing! But I’m gonna have to deduct some points for the tacky gold piece of man-bling on his right earlobe. Grade: A-
NEXT: “Anal, but with an m”
Cody, 28: Was the limo really broken down? Doubtful, but the ruse gave this personal trainer a chance to show off his brute strength. Ruling: Goddang, this guy’s a meathead. Grade: C
Steven, 30: Shaggy-haired “Snowboard Product Developer.” (Is that, like, a guy who gets stoned and snowboards a lot?) No suit jacket. Ruling: Nice try, brah, but “y’all” is not the regional-dialect equivalent of “stoked.” Grade: C+
Rudie, 31: Fellow attorney with an aggressive smile. Ruling: Nice work with the “fun attorney humor.” I mean, he did a little art project in his hotel room! Like, with construction paper and glue and everything. Grade: B+
Carl, 30: Extremely low-key firefighter. Ruling: Was that a paperweight? I mean, I guess it’s always nice to arrive at a party with a gift for the host. Grade: B
Nick V., 33: Andi really, really likes his polka-dot tie. Ruling: The tie is louder than he is. Grade: C+
Dylan, 26: An accountant who finds being in such close proximity to the Bachelorette slightly terrifying. Ruling: I, too, like my personal space. Grade: B
Patrick, 29: “Another soccer player?” groans Andi, as this slick ad exec taps a pass in her direction. But all is forgiven when he gives the ball — and by extension, Juan Pablo — a hard kick into oblivion. Ruling: Clever but civilized jape at JP’s expense. Grade: B
Emil, 33: Burly, bearded helicopter pilot with a deep voice and a name whose spelling in no way indicates its pronunciation. Ruling: “Anal, but with an m. Just remember that.” No further comment necessary. Grade: C+
Brett, 29: Hairstylist who arrives bearing a lamp and some advice from his mom: “My mother always told me, never greet a lady empty-handed.” Ruling: Really, Team Bachelorette — a guy stealing a lamp from the hotel? That’s the best you’ve got? Andi is a prosecutor, for God’s sake — the options are endless! Do you mean to tell me no one thought to arrive in handcuffs and declare himself a “prisoner of love”? Not one guy decided to show up in a judge’s robe to announce that Andi was out of order — for being criminally sexy? There wasn’t a single dude out of the 25 who figured it’d be funny to show up in his “legal briefs”? Come on! Must I think of everything? Grade: F
Craig, 29: This tax accountant swaggers out of the limo and then sprays champagne all over the flagstones. Ruling: Not as masculine as you might expect, given his phallic stunt. Seems a little dim, but sweet. Grade: C+
Ron, 28: Multi-national “Beverage Sales Manager” from Nashville, TN. Ruling: Compared to Craig, the soft-spoken Ron comes across as class personified. Grade: A-
Bradley, 32: Opera singer with a vague resemblance to Billy Burke. Ruling: Nice laugh, charmingly shy and a little klutzy. Grade: A-
Josh B., 29: Unremarkable blonde. Ruling: Unremarkable blonde. Grade: Incomplete
Nick S., 27: Fast-talking, hair-losing professional golfer. Ruling: He seemed annoyed when Andi implied she’s not bad at golf. I didn’t care for that. Grade: C
Brian, 27: High-school basketball coach with the crooked tie. Ruling: Love the deceptive smoothness of the “Does my tie look straight?” move. Andi’s right — it’s “endearing.” Grade: B+
NEXT: What’s with all the Tarzan hair?
Andrew, 30: Brunette, five o’clock shadow. Ruling: Did all these guys hit the same checkered-shirt sale at the mall before date night or what? Anyhow, this guy seems fine. Grade: C+
Mike, 29: Two guys with Tarzan hair? What the hell? And a bartender, Team Bachelorette? Andi’s got a law degree, for God’s sake. Ruling: I don’t get it. Grade: C
Eric, 31: Oh, God, you guys, here he is. And he’s giving the Bachelorette some dolls he got from a little girl in Peru. “She told me to give them to my girlfriend,” he tells Andi. “But I didn’t have one at the time. And maybe this is jumping the gun, but these are for you.” Ruling: Guess what, fellow suitors? You were just outplayed by a dead man. Best limo exit of the night. Grade: RIP
Josh M., 29: Dapper “Georgia boy” with dimples, dazzling teeth. Ruling: Did I mention the dimples and dazzling teeth? And though he’s listed as a “Former Professional Baseball Player,” he does actually have a job. Grade: A-
All right, Andi, the house is yours! Time to engage with that scrumptious scrum of suitors. “My biggest fear coming in was like, is everyone going to be disappointed that it’s me?” Andi tells us, echoing the sentiment of absolutely no Bachelor ever in the history of the franchise. Naturally the men are full of confidence, including Josh M., who grabs the Bachelorette first and assures her that she’s “the whole package” and yes, he’ll eat sushi. “Obviously he’s my type,” admits Andi. “But there’s a reason that I’m single and I’m here. Maybe my type’s gonna change.”
Cut to: The black guy! In this case, Marquel, who treats Andi to a comically large tray of cookies. “Look to the black-and-white cookie,” he tells the Bachelorette with a winning smile. There’s that A-game, Marquel! Nice job. Oh man, now it’s Eric’s turn. He’s telling Andi about his “global odyssey.” Oh God, he’s saying he’s not going to finish for about two more years… “or longer.” I’m starting to hyperventilate, you guys. Oh no, no, no, no — now he’s talking about the “action-exploration side of things,” like “skydiving and base-jumping” and la la la la la la la I’m not listening or thinking about his parachute collapsing oh my god his poor family la la la la la la may he rest in peace…
Mercifully, something really stupid happens before we have to experience too many overwhelming feels. And by “something really stupid” I mean “the arrival of Chris Bukowski” — aka the sausage king of Chicago, or, as the Bachelor Pad pharmacist likes to call him, “patient zero.” Anyhow, he’s party-crashed his way into Casa Bachelorette with a bouquet of roses and a sharp suit, hoping to meet Andi. Unfortunately for Chris, the baritone-voiced security guard has no intention of letting him past production’s staging area without the express permission of Harrison himself. And no, Bukowski, you can’t have the roses back.
The Bachelorette has no idea any of this is going on, of course — she’s too busy putting with Nick S., eating pasta with Unremarkable Blonde Guy, and talking travel with Tasos. Andi’s also blissfully unaware that over in the drawing room, Andrew and Patrick seem to be falling in love. “He dresses well, he’s very suave,” says Andrew of Patrick. “I feel as if Andrew and I are a little bit on a different level than some of the other guys,” agrees Patrick.
NEXT: “I’d say you made my day, but it’s tomorrow morning”
Meanwhile, back at base camp, Baritone-Voiced Security Guard — who, by the way, is named Tyrone and is my new favorite person — is quietly taunting Chris B. “Yeah, I guess the ol’ wife will be happy tonight,” he murmurs, gesturing to the bouquet of roses. “No one’s ever gotten me flowers before.” (That is a damn shame, sir!) By the time Harrison finally informs Andi about the “party-crasher,” he can barely contain his glee. “He’s literally standing down by craft services with security right now!” he burbles. “He would like to vie for your heart.” The Bachelorette, who clearly has no idea who Chris B. is, thinks about it for half a second and makes a simple calculation: lips that touched a series of liquored-up floozies on Bachelor Pad will never touch hers.
With that, Harrison is dispatched to break the bad news to Bukowski, who is predictably reluctant to leave the magical land of cameras and fleeting fame. “The only thing that happens from here is it gets bad,” Harrison warns, and eventually Chris hands over the roses and sulks off into the darkness.
So much excitement! I almost forgot to care about who’s going to get the First Impression Rose. Will it be Chris, who thinks his job as a farmer is “neat”? Or Marcus, whom Andi thinks is “hot, hot, hot” and “worldly”? Survey says: Suck it, you two! The rose goes to Nick V., he of the 10 siblings and the nearly-silent limo exit. The Bachelorette finds his nerves and paralyzing shyness “cute” and “endearing.” You know what? She’s kind of right. “I’d say you made my day,” says Nick, checking his watch with a grin, “but it’s tomorrow morning.”
Clink clink clink! Harrison and his Butter Knife of Bad News are here to bring the party to a close. Okay, Andi: wheat, chaff… GO! JJ, Eric (God rest his soul), Marquel, Craig, Tasos, Josh M., Brian, Bradley, Marcus, Andrew, Ron, Carl, Chris, Dylan, Brett, Patrick, Cody (seriously?), and Nick S. join Nick V. in the winner’s circle. For those of you playing along at home, that means Brian, Emil, Josh B., Rudie, and the three longhairs (Jason, Mike, and Steven) will need to pack their ties and go. “Everyone in my life was like, ‘Oh my gosh, you guys are going to get married and have kids!'” says Rudie, who, as it turns out, can fail. The rejection shakes drunk Unremarkable Blonde out of his stupor long enough to exhibit something resembling a personality: “I’m going to call my parents tomorrow and be like, ‘Yeah, that sucked.'”
As for the remaining suitors, cheers to all y’all! Especially you, personal trainer Cody, who apparently makes it far enough to have a one-on-one date with Andi… perhaps even in another country… which is completely puzzling to me… but it’s too soon to start judging Andi’s decisions, right? Totes LOLZ guys, just kidding — judge away! And if this season’s supertease is any indication, there’s going to be plenty of questionable choices made — just ask the dude hurling over the balcony. (The “balcony cry” is so six seasons ago.) Rose lovers, please start your engines in the comments section now — and be sure to check out Chris Harrison’s exclusive blog over on PopWatch. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to send that security guard some flowers.