The Bachelorette season premiere recap: Katie has a ball
New Bachelorette Katie Thurston meets 30 potential husbands, while Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe make their debut as fill-in hosts.
Welcome to season 17 of The Bachelorette, rose lovers! This "journey" is one of many firsts: The first season without Chris Harrison. The first season featuring a blow-up doll named Sandy. The first time most of us have encountered the phrase "surgical skin salesman."
"This season, get ready for a Bachelorette like we've never had before!" I'm sorry, voiceover man, have we met? I'm a little thrown off by your presence, to be honest. Nobody does "dramatic preview copy reading" like Chris Harrison. (The man can even make doll drama sound intriguing.) This current VO guy sounds like a fake movie trailer announcer. He's definitely not nailing the proper Bachelor/Bachelorette voiceover tone, which can roughly be described as "grave concern mixed with undertones of excitement about the contestants' impending misery and humiliation." Sigh.
Okay, shake it off, Baldwin. It's time to meet our Bachelorette, Katie Thurston. Raised by a single mom, Katie grew up "very poor" and moved around a lot, so she had a hard time making friends. (I'm assuming she moved a lot — she went to "five different elementary schools.") Anyhoo, our Bachelorette says growing up, she didn't have an example "of what a healthy marriage looks like." But you know she's "ready" for this "journey," rose lovers, so it's off to the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa in Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M.!
Damn! Back in Colton's season, Kirpa made a joke about being "wet" and ABC made producers take it out… but a "dry bush" joke was deemed acceptable? Fetch me some pearls to clutch!
Hey, look who's here!
Hello, "ladies." Allegedly, Katie doesn't know that Tayshia and Kaitlyn will be acting as her romantic tour guides throughout this "journey." What a fun "surprise" that will be for her. Enough girl power, though. It's MAN O'CLOCK™!!!
Connor B., 29
Oh, Connor. You're a math teacher! And yet you failed to calculate the odds of this tub shot being extremely unflattering. Your eighth graders back in Nashville are going to see this! Put away that hairy upper thigh.
He's a motivational speaker from Miami. And I suppose that illustration "portrait" he made of himself and Katie is, like, his vision board?
Somebody call 911, because this firefighter trainee from Toronto is giving me heart palpitations!
Andrew S., 26
He's handsome, funny, and he can do the Carlton? This guy's a keeper.
If the giant crucifix necklace didn't tip you off, Mike is a man of faith. He's also a virgin. Because every season with a "sex positive" Bachelorette needs at least one.
Day job? "Investment Sales Consultant" in Baltimore. Passion? Art. Calls Katie a "girl" twice, which I don't love.
"I read Latin. I know 40 digits of pi. I'm into rap music, I'm into classical music. I think I'm well-rounded," says this software engineer from Georgia. Tre is also a devoted son who gets a little verklempt talking about his parents, who have been married for 29 years. It's very sweet, and he is officially adorable.
Everyone in Greg's family "is just popping kids out left and right," and this marketing sales rep from New Jersey is ready to get started on his own family. I just wish he had gotten a quick haircut before filming.
Eight men down, only 22 to go. Meanwhile, producers decided that it was a good idea to startle Katie while she waits for the first limo to arrive. Not like she isn't on edge enough!
It's all fun and games until someone cries and ruins her makeup. Katie and her "dream team" of advisors head inside for a pre-game pep talk. Both Tayshia and Kaitlyn encourage Katie to keep an open mind and not rule any guy out on night one. (Though, like, she's got to rule at least eight of them out, right?) "I ended up with Zac, and he was not my top pick on night one," admits Tayshia. Our Bachelorette says she's open to smooching a guy on night one, but she also wants a man who understands her "serious side," too. "I need a grown-ass man," says Katie. Correct!
It's limo time!
Thomas, 28: "I can't wait to understand more of what makes you you," says the real estate broker from Poway, CA. Like the tux. He seems nice.
Aaron, 26: This young man from San Diego is very tall, and his pants are tight. People say he has a nice smile, and they're right. Katie gives a thumbs up to Tayshia and Kaitlyn, who are spying on the limo exits through the window.
Andrew M., 31: On paper, this guy is total husband material. He's a deputy district attorney from Newport Beach, Calif. who (according to his LinkedIn page, which I stalked) is also a former Division 1 water polo team captain, and he speaks Spanish. Can't tell much about his personality from his introduction, though. Fingers crossed!
David, 27: Oh, no. David. What is happening with your pants?
I was hoping his capri-style suit pants were part of some kind of limo exit joke, but no. David is just a technical product specialist from Nashville who really likes to let his ankles breathe. Still, Katie's into it. "They're literally all 10s," she whispers as David and his short pants walk away.
Michael, 36: Okay, I've got to hand it to this "business owner" from Akron — the "fake 200-year-old family heirloom watch" gag is a new one, and it's cute. Plus, Michael follows through with a genuine message: "Time is precious. Be happy. Spend it with the people that you want to be with."
Now it's Tre's turn! I was about to say that he drove up in a pickup truck, but instead he was driven to Katie in the back of the truck… which is filled with those multicolored ball-pit balls. "You're a baller Bachelorette!" he announces. (Side note: Even before the pandemic, those ball pits were disgusting. Would you ever let your child in one now? End of side note.)
Up next is Greg from New Jersey. He's appealingly nervous, and just keeps rambling about how happy he is to be there. Katie seems cautiously intrigued. "He looks like my ex-boyfriend," she whispers to no one in particular, as Greg walks inside. "I don't know if that's good or bad."
Gabriel, 35: Hmmm, this 35-year-old "entrepreneur" was already giving me douchebag vibes with his official cast photo. And then he shows up and imposes a deep-breath hug exercise on our Bachelorette? A little too intimate for a literal introduction, buddy. Katie seems to like it, though. She keeps smiling and watching Gabriel as he heads inside.
John, 27: This bartender from Pacific Beach, Calif. has a real baby face. He seems like a nice young man.
"Okay, that's my type!" whispers Katie… just as John turns around to give her one last wave. "[Bleep], did he hear me?" Don't worry, honey. Everyone's going to hear everything eventually.
Oh, we've reached the speed round! There's Garrett, a 29-year-old software marketing manager from Salinas, Calif.; next is Austin, 25, a real estate investor from Mission Viejo; Marty is a 25-year-old dancer from Reno, Nev.; Landon, 25, is a baseball coach from Dallas; he's followed by Karl the motivational speaker, who we met before; and last in the montage is Josh, a 25-year-old IT consultant from Miami.
All righty, time for the super gimmicky entrances.
Andrew S., the dude who plays football in Vienna, Austria drives up in an old-timey, Model T looking jalopy, complete with a wheezy horn. Not sure why. Oh no, he's also inexplicably speaking with a fake British accent. (Fortunately, he doesn't try to keep the gag going into the night, like Bri the fake Australian.) "I knew it!" squeals Katie when Andrew comes clean.
Brandon, 26: This auto parts manager from Queens shows up on a moped, but producers must have been so dismayed by his terrible hair that they cut the rest of his introduction short.
Connor C., 28: He's a former baseball player, so naturally he brings Katie his first baseball glove. "I figured if I'm going to be catching feelings, why not bring a glove?" We see what you did there, Connor.
Kyle, 26: Yes, this man decided that the best way to ingratiate himself to Katie was to pull a pair of tighty-whities out of his pants and hand them to her. Nope. "It's a bit weird now," says Andrew S.
Hunter, 34: Aww, the old "here's a fish because I'm a catch" joke. I'm sure that kills with the other software strategists back in Houston.
Jeff, 31: Yes, I know this man showed up in an RV. But can we discuss the real situation here?
What in the name of all that's holy is "surgical skin"? And do we think Jeff's RV is stocked with it? Actually, I don't want to know the answer to either of those questions. Let's move on.
James, 30: "I wanted to make sure I was present for you tonight," says James. GET IT?
He also informs Katie that she if she wants to open her present, she needs to find him inside. (Meanwhile, props to whichever guy made the inevitable "Aw, what's in the box?" joke.)
Is it hot in here, or is it just Brendan the firefighter trainee from Toronto arriving on scene? ("Why are they all so hot?" murmurs Katie.)
Marcus, 30: He's a real estate broker from Portland, Ore. Seems polite, and he looks good in his maroon suit. Approved.
Mike the gym owner keeps his shirt unbuttoned low enough for Katie to see his giant Jesus necklace… but what I can't stop looking at are his socks.
I suppose you can't go wrong with a little pop of color.
Cody, 27: Tayshia and Kaitlyn can barely contain their enthusiasm over this zipper sales manager (!) from San Diego. "He's so handsome for her!" gushes Tayshia. (I'm guessing by "for her" she just means "they look cute together," but who knows.) "I'm already in love with him!" adds Kaitlyn. Let's see how they feel about Cody after this:
Meet "Sandy," Cody's faithful pandemic companion. "She's been a huge part of my life, helped through a lot," says Cody. I have to say, I can't believe it took this long for one of the guys to make a sex toy joke in honor of Katie's vibrator entrance on The Bachelor.
Speaking of The Bachelor, isn't it interesting that producers didn't show any of Katie's footage from her time on Matt's season during her Ready to Find Love™ package earlier in the episode? That was definitely a deviation from the norm. Was it because she and Matt never really had any chemistry, and their breakup was inevitable? Was it because they want us all to forget about the behind-the-scenes mess with Rachael and Matt and Chris Harrison, etc.? A little of both? Discuss.
And we're back with more sex puns! Justin the investment sales consultant/artist talks about how he would "stroke and stroke and stroke it out" (with his paintbrush) to relieve stress during the pandemic. Christian, a 26-year-old real estate agent from Boston, offers Katie an oil lamp and suggests that they try to find a genie: "I'm hoping we could rub one out together."
Quartney, 26: Oh fun, word games! In keeping with his name, Quartney recites a few verses for Katie that feature a lot of "qu" words: "question," "queen," "quest," "quarantine," "quality," "queue," "quirky," and "acquainted." Then he veers, somewhat uncomfortably, into a series of double entendres. "I hope that you COME… to the right conclusion at the end of this," and so on. And… she LOVES it?
And the silliness is not over!
First the tub shot, and now this? In fairness, Katie loves cats. So at least the guy did his research. Finally (finally!) it's time for Katie to go inside and meet her maybe-husbands.
"I appreciate every one of you who took time out of your lives to be here," the Bachelorette says, in her pre-cocktail party toast. "All I ask is that you be yourself, because that's the only way this is going to work." Cheers to love! Cheers to James, who is still in the box! Cheers to Sandy, who's already falling-down drunk!
The night begins on a sweetly goofy note, as Katie chats with Andrew S. and attempts her own fake British accent. (She sounds more Australian than British, but points for effort.) Next comes Thomas the real estate broker, who wows the Bachelorette with uninterrupted eye contact and enthusiasm. "I haven't been able to stop smiling!" he says. "I can't express how excited I am that you're you." Katie says she's "impressed" with Thomas, who makes her blush.
Many of the guys are very nervous, but Katie does her best to put them at ease. David, the nice-looking guy with the capri pants, can't fidgeting as he tries to make small talk during their one-on-one time, so Katie grabs his hands and leads him in a cleansing breath. She even listens patiently when Marty the dancer pulls out a LITTLE RED BAG OF CRYSTALS and begins naming them all for her.
In his bio, it says that Marty's personal tagline is "Marty brings the party," but he obviously needs to change it to "Marty brings a bag of rocks to the party."
It's possible that the Bachelorette isn't looking for a one-man party, though. Indeed, Katie is feeling the shy guys, including Greg. During his first sit-down with the Bachelorette, he gives her a special necklace made by his niece — a master jewelry maker with a long waiting list for her creations.
"It's not real gold, by the way," Greg deadpans. "It's, like, pasta." And she LOVES it. "There's just something that's really sticking out about him," says Katie. Next up is a game of ball hockey with Brendan and the rest of the men… and it must have been really cold, because producers broke their own rule and allowed Katie to wear somebody's suit coat.
We've reached the point in the evening where Harrison usually walks in with the First Impression Rose… but tonight, that honor goes to another Bachelor Nation treasure, Big Paulie. So, who will recieve the First Impression Rose? Tre, who has a nice chat with Katie in the pickup truck ball pit, seems like he might have a shot. Ooooh, then Justin gets the first kiss after showing Katie his rose painting, so maybe he's the one to beat. I'm sure Karl, the motivational speaker, thinks that his illustrated "The Adventures of Katie & Swizz" poster will make him a contender — but the drawing itself features Katie as a vibrator-toting "princess" in a tower waiting to be rescued… and this Bachelorette ain't no damsel in distress.
Jeff the surgical skin salesman (yep, still creepy) treats Katie to some iced tea and a grocery-store tray of crudité in his Breaking Bad RV. Unfortunately, he forgot to pick up after himself before inviting Katie inside, and she does NOT love it. "He's throwing his dirty boxers," shudders the Bachelorette. "I just wasn't feelin' the vibes with the RV."
Hold up, something strange is going on out on the patio. Suddenly, we cut to Aaron (tall insurance agent) giving Cody (not-as-tall zipper salesman) the business… seemingly out of nowhere. "I don't like you, bro. Like, I've never liked you," huffs Aaron. "It's not my fault that I don't like you." Um, what did we miss here? At least most of the other men are getting along: Two of them wheel James (box dude) into a private room so he and Katie can have a chat. "Good luck, buddy," says Michael, patting the top of the present. Bros supporting bros — we love to see it! Anyhow, are you ready for the big reveal, rose lovers?
Meet James. "I think he's super-hot," says Katie of the 30-year-old software salesman. "I definitely have a crush on him." Phew. Imagine if the poor guy had spent all night in a stifling wooden box only to get rejected! (Yes, I know that's what the producers were hoping for.) The rest of the guys are understandably nervous when they first lay eyes on James' handsome visage. "Is this Jay Gatsby?" cries one of the men. (Katie! Pick whoever made that joke! He has READ A BOOK!)
Katie really likes this guy, rose lovers. "I couldn't stop thinking about you!" she giggles. And lo, Connor B. the Cat Dude gets the second kiss of the night — after which, Katie is going to need a makeup wipe for her nose.
Their make-out session goes on for quite a while. But no, Connor B. does not get the First Impression Rose, nor does nice-guy Michael, who tells Katie all about his four-year-old son during their one-on-one chat. Related side note: Katie is pretty ambivalent about having kids. She tells Michael that she's open to it in "some way," but she's also "fine" with it if the love of her life doesn't want children. She truly is a Bachelorette like no other!
Back to the FIR. And the "winner" is…
Congrats, Greg! Katie gives him the FIR, and they seal the transaction with a kiss.
With that over, rose lovers, there's only one thing left to do: Rose ceremony roll call! Here are the men joining Greg in the Circle of Safety™: Tre, Michael A., Thomas, Garrett, Connor B., Andrew S., James, Justin, Quartney, Karl, Mike P., John, Kyle, Andrew M., Josh, Connor C., Brendan, David, Aaron, Christian, Hunter, and…
…Cody! (Definitely weird having someone else announce the Final Rose Tonight, but I guess it's good that they didn't leave us to figure it out for ourselves.)
Anyhoo, this means we must say goodbye to [deep breath] Austin, Brandon, Gabriel, Skin Salesman, Landon, Marcus, and Marty. Kids, let this be a lesson to you: Bowl cuts can kill (relationships).
We did it, rose lovers! We made it through the first night of Katie's "journey." Who are you rooting for? (I'm #TeamTre.) How are you feeling about Tayshia and Kaitlyn as quasi-hosts? And do we seriously have to deal with Blake M. again? Post your (spoiler-free) thoughts below! Until next week, I am done, I am done, I am done, just like Katie.