The Bachelor rewatch: The very first Women Tell All!
Chris Harrison talks to the ladies about media backlash, breast implants, and more.
Wow, is it Women Tell All time already? (Yep, because this first season of The Bachelor was only seven episodes/hours long.) Even though most of the women didn’t even have time to make an impression (good, bad, or otherwise), The Bachelor was a big hit when it debuted in 2002 — so naturally, ABC wanted to squeeze an extra hour out of it with a reunion special.
Given that there was very little drama among the ladies back in season 1, there’s not a ton to say about this inaugural Women Tell All gabfest — so let’s recap the top five highlights.
Even before social media, the “ladies” got hate:
When Chris Harrison asks the women to name the “toughest” part of being on The Bachelor, a contestant named Jackie (no idea) doesn’t hesitate: “Dealing with the media and the public reaction in general,” she says. “It’s been really hard having everyone come up and say, ‘So you really wanna just marry this guy?’ I think that we’re all intelligent and attractive women, and we all had our reasons for doing this show.” Adds Daniela (who?), “I was really surprised by the media’s reaction, as far as saying, ‘Gosh, these women are so desperate!’”
Producers drive home that point with a taped package, in which Shannon, LaNease, and Rhonda watch the series premiere with their friends and family. “Who wants to marry a guy who goes on TV to find a wife?” says Rhonda, reading a newspaper article about the show. And plot twist: Rhonda brought her new boyfriend to the viewing party!
“I’m real happy for her,” says Ryan gallantly.
What passed for “cattiness” in 2002 seems really quaint in 2020:
Nowadays, the Women (or Men) Tell All specials are all about rehashing intra-contestant drama — I mean, last season’s WTA was essentially just two hours of women yelling at and over each other.
In the very first WTA, Harrison promises us “never-before seen moments where the claws come out.” And by “claws,” he means Cathy the 22-year-old nanny saying “I don’t know what is up her butt” about Alexa, and Trista saying that some of the other women are “jealous” of… something.
When they cut back to the reunion (which is taking place in some random soundstage, not the Tealight Candle Thunderdome), Alexa defends herself for being “outspoken.” Amy, the 28-year-old from New York, says there were some “cliques” formed “based on who you roomed with initially,” but she insists, “overall, I think everyone really got along.” Bor-ing.
The first WTA featured audience questions!
And this little baby-faced kid named Trevor has a doozy.
“Do you think Alex only kept you around because you made out with him right before the rose ceremony?” he asks Kim. And the answer is an emphatic yes. “You know what? He didn’t even know who I was until I made out with him!” Kim jokes. “I don’t regret it. He was a great kisser.”
And the very first hot seat interview ever went to…
…Cathy, the 22-year-old nanny! She took more heat than any of the other ladies, says Harrison, because the women thought she was too young and “immature.” The host then introduces a highlight reel that features footage of Cathy getting so drunk on tequila that she passes out in the bathroom.
Reminder: This was 2002, long before the Bachelor in Paradise debacle and subsequent two drinks per hour limit. Anyhow, something tells me Cathy knew how to have a good time even when the booze wasn’t flowing.
“I don’t regret a thing,” says Cathy. “That’s who I am.” She’s also very happy to discuss her recent breast implants, which Harrison actually asks her about. (Blech.) “I figure, you fix your car, you fix your house — I fixed myself,” explains Cathy. Sigh.
Only seven? He’s practically a monk.
Producers flashed Bachelor trivia up on the screen heading into commercial breaks — e.g., “Number of women with college degrees: 22” — but this one really threw me:
I’m pretty sure Pilot Pete snogged that many ladies on night one. (Also, "made out" should not be hyphenated.)
Next week, rose lovers, we'll look back on the very first "most dramatic season finale ever"! And if you're still itching for Bachelor-related content, check back here later tonight for my episode 2 recap of Listen to Your Heart.