The Bachelorette recap: Drag, derby, and chicken-nugget drama
We are only two weeks in, rose lovers, and this season of The Bachelorette has already featured a disturbing amount of bad rapping.
Knock it off, Team Bachelorette. If I wanted to watch white people rap, I’d rent 8 Mile.
Anyhoo, it’s day one in the mansion and Chris Harrison arrives — with markedly less energy than he has when he’s greeting a room full of “ladies” — and tosses the first date card down on the coffee table. One of the dudes (is that Garrett? I honestly can’t tell these bros apart) reads the card, and it’s a group date: Grant, Luke S., Mike, Jed, Jonathan, John Paul Jones, Dylan, and Luke P., please get spiffed up and head to the Belasco Theater. And look who’s waiting for them!
That’s right, it’s America’s Next Top Model catwalk queen Miss J, and he’s brought along drag icons Alaska Thunderf— (Hannah left her surname out of the introductions, obvs) and Alyssa Edwards. They’re all here to judge the Mr. Right Pageant, which — if the Speedos are any indication — will be an exercise in equal-opportunity objectification. And I am here for it! “The drag queens, being fearless and embodying who they are as a person is just resonating with me,” says Mike, as he practices walking in size-15 (!) heels. “I need to let Hannah know that I’m Mr. Right.” Yeah you are, buddy!
The pageant begins with, of course, the runway walk, a.k.a. the excuse to get all the guys nearly naked. One note from this sausage parade: Why didn’t anyone tell Jonathan to take off his dress socks before strutting down the catwalk? Mike wore ankle socks, but when you look like this…
…nobody’s lookin’ at your feet, amirite? (Why yes, I am fully in the tank for Mike. Thank you for asking.) The judges seem a bit perplexed by John Paul Jones (aren’t we all?), and they definitely approve of Jed, who paired his Speedo with a pair of cowboy boots. But no one gets a higher score on the beefcake scale than Luke “God spoke to me in the shower” P.
“Luke has the body of a Greek god,” drawls John Paul Jones with reluctant appreciation. “The guy looks amazing.”
The “talent” portion is a bit of a misnomer. John Paul Jones almost rides a unicycle, Luke S. almost plays the trumpet, and Jonathan almost juggles and tap dances at the same time. Do I even need to tell you that “singer/songwriter” Jed performs an original composition?
Of course, the Bachelorette LOVES it. How on earth can Luke P. and his 12-pack top such basic charm? Why, with a totally creepy and premature declaration of kind-of-love, of course! “Hannah, I can’t believe I’m saying this right now. This is pretty crazy because it’s so soon,” says Luke P., as the audience begins to whoop expectantly. “Hannah, I’m genuinely… beginning… to fall…in love with you.” Apparently, his talent is… bullshit. In a move that will shock no one who has ever seen this show before, Hannah crowns Luke P. as the winner of her Mr. Right Pageant.
The real victor, though, is poor judgment. Congrats again, old pal. Though Jed is disappointed, he’s keeping his eye on the prize. “There is a rose up for grabs,” he reminds us. “And that means more to me than a sash.” Mike, meanwhile, throws a little shade Luke P.’s way when he offers the first “cheers” (FOR GOD’S SAKE PEOPLE, IT’S CALLED A “TOAST”) of the night at the cocktail party: “I want to give a cheers to people just being real,” he says. “Make sure that this is for the real reason — that this is love forever, not just 15 minutes.”
Luke P. handles this constructive criticism about as well as you might expect: He annoys the guys further by stealing Hannah away from the group first. Once they’re alone, the Bachelorette quizzes him about how he could possibly be feeling anything close to love when they haven’t even known each other for 48 hours. “I am… starting… to fall in love with you,” Luke replies. THAT IS NOT AN ANSWER, SIR. Hannah doesn’t press him on it, though. “I asked for bold, and you’re bold!” she giggles. “He’s saying everything my heart needs him to say,” she tells us, willfully ignoring how close that sounds to “he’s telling me everything I want to hear.”
The other guys are definitely not ready to let Luke P. off the hook. “You’ve had less than two hours with her,” says Mike. “In the history of man, I’ve never heard someone say ‘I think I’m starting to fall in love with you’ that fast.” The “good Christian boy” lets the dudes know that when he wants something, he gets it — “no matter what it takes.” In other words, he’ll do/say anything to “win” Hannah. Mike shrugs in disgust, a gesture that likely speaks for all of Bachelor Nation.
At the end of the night, it’s Jed, not Luke, who takes home the date rose. Better luck next time, thirsty boy!
The next day, Hannah dons an all-white ensemble (god, I hope the Bachelor interns have a good supply of Shout wipes) and picks up Tyler G. (in a helicopter, of course) for her first one-on-one date of the season. The Bachelorette thinks this Tyler is a “stud” with his dark hair and blue eyes. “He feels like a Tim Tebow — but hotter.” I recognize those as English words, but that’s about it.
Oh, for the love of all that’s holy — Cam’s rapping again. Someone get the chloroform!
Oh, now I know why Hannah dressed like a member of the Guilty Remnant: She and Tyler G. are going mudding, and nothing says “this Bachelorette is different, we really mean it” than mud stains on some crisp white jeans.
Duly noted. After four-wheeling, the dirty duo cuddle on the couch and talk about, you know, the importance of “being real.” At dinner, the Real Talk about Real Stuff continues. “You’ve gotta just reach out to the people you care about,” says Tyler, “and be genuine.” Hannah then outlines some vague goals for the future: having a family, being a “strong woman,” building a career that will “help people,” and doing “incredible things” with her “future husband.” Tyler G. claims to be pro-helping people and just keeps repeating how lucky he is to be with Hannah. It should not come as a surprise to anyone reading this that Tyler G. gets a date rose.
Aaaand group date number 2 is upon us! The Bachelorette greets Devin, Matteo, Daron, Connor J., Kevin, Dustin, Tyler C., Joey, Peter, and Garrett outside a nondescript warehouse-type building. No, they won’t be stacking pallets of paper towels. Instead…
Today’s group humiliation comes courtesy of Los Angeles’s own Derby Dolls. “Get ready to get hit!” announces the Doll on the right. Of course, the majority of hits are coming from the floor, which is repeatedly slamming itself against everyone’s asses.
Team Bachelorette treats us to a montage of wipeouts set to Strauss’ “Blue Danube,” which is a nice touch. The wipeouts continue during the match; the orange team is the first to lose a player after Dustin gets run over by the other dudes and does something unpleasant to his leg. “There’s your injury, Chris,” notes co-color commentator/delightful TV legend Fred Willard. “I hope you’re happy.” I’m not sure if anyone really understands how Roller Derby works, but somehow the green team takes the victory (and the hideous golden roller-skate trophy).
The post-match cocktail party takes place at one of those musty-looking antique warehouses that production is so fond of using. The evening is plugging along as you would expect when suddenly — what’s this? — a Reject SUV pulls up to the curb, and out pops the season’s biggest reject (so far), Cam. The last we saw Mr. “ABC,” he was moping around Casa Bachelorette, wheezing a mournful tune into his harmonica and wishing he’d been chosen for a date this week. Clearly, some helpful producer talked him into crashing the group date that he wasn’t “invited” to (air quotes are Cam’s, who does not know how air quotes work).
“This is a very Cam thing to do,” Cam informs us. (Always be crashin’!) Though Hannah does not look particularly happy to see Cam, she allows him to interrupt her one-on-one chat with Devin. All he wants is to make sure Hannah knows that he misses her and that he’s trying not to “over-Hannah-lyze” the situation when she’s out on dates with other guys. (So, Cam’s a bad rapper and a pun abuser — good to know.)
The rest of the men are not pleased to hear that Vanilla Ice has entered the building. “That’s a stalker boyfriend vibe right there,” notes Daron. (My, he has a deep voice! Have we heard this guy talk before?) Tyler C. is so annoyed — and worried that Cam’s arrival will leave him less time to talk to Hannah — he follows Cam out into the parking lot … when he probably could have been using that time to talk to Hannah. “The guys are a little beside themselves,” Tyler C. mumbles. “We’re all fighting for time.” Cam politely makes it clear that he does not give a frog’s fat ass about anything but spending time with Hannah, so Tyler slinks inside, defeated.
Suddenly, it’s like that scene in Airplane! when everyone lines up to slap the hysterical passenger: First, here comes Garrett — another guy who could be talking to Hannah instead of yelling at some other bro about how he hasn’t talked to Hannah. “I don’t really appreciate that, dude,” says Garrett. “You’re not sorry, dude… You stepped on our toes and you stepped on her toes a little bit, too.” And now here’s Kevin, who chides Cam for crossing the invisible “boundaries” that help maintain a civilized order in the Bachelorette universe. “Cam’s a piece of s—,” he tells the other guys. Chill out, everyone! Cam didn’t get the date rose — he’s not even eligible this week. Instead, it goes to Dustin (and his nose ring, which I am just now noticing).
Wow, are we at the final cocktail party already? And why is Hannah crying before it even begins?
“I wanna be real with you,” she tells the guys through her tears. As she talks, her sniffles become more prominent, so Mike asks someone to get her a tissue. (Devin hands her an old-fashioned handkerchief instead.) “I’m so sorry,” Hannah continues. “I’m just overwhelmed with emotions about how lucky I am. [sniff] And it’s also scary. And it’s hard to make decisions [sniff] when I don’t know all you that well [sniff] as I want to.”
Awwww, the poor girl is just exhausted. Could someone get her a Red Bull? After she pulls it together, the one-on-one chats begin. Connor J., who didn’t get a date this week, moves in first. “I thought about you a lot this week,” Hannah tells him, and they smooch. Kevin suggests that he and Hannah purge their inner anguish by unleashing a primal scream upon the heavens above the mansion.
“That was awesome!” says Hannah giddily. But just as her chat with Kevin is getting underway, up walks Cam. “I’ve actually got something planned for all three of us,” he announces. Uh…
That does not look comfortable if I’m being totally honest. And I have nothing against chicken nuggets, but honey mustard sauce, Cam? Everyone knows true epicures choose spicy buffalo. For some reason, Kevin agrees to bring the tray of nuggets inside while Cam and Hannah enjoy their driveway picnic — but he’s pretty salty about it. “What he was doing was control freakish and weird,” he huffs. Once his rival is back inside, Kevin lets him know exactly what he thinks about his fast food-themed tomfoolery.
Grudging props to Cam — he didn’t even flinch in the face of those deep-fried flying objects.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, what is going on in the next room? It looks like Luke P. has asked production to set up some kind of makeshift massage table in the little green sitting room. “You’ll learn, I’m really good with my hands,” he tells Hannah. (I yelled “Ewww!” at my screen when he said it, and again just now when I typed it.) Pretty soon, the quasi-massage situation turns into a full-fledged make-out sesh.
“He’s so hot,” purrs Hannah. “It’s like, can we just skip the main course and go to the dessert?” All together now, rose lovers: Ewwwww. Poor Jed walks into this hormonal hot mess just as Hannah’s about to rub oil on a shirtless Luke P. “It’s not what it looks like, I promise,” chuckles Luke. Jed mutters something about how the awkward encounter is “not super appealing” and shuffles off, embarrassed. The Bachelorette is completely mortified. “F—, f—, f—, f—, f—, f—, f— me,” she whispers to herself, as the bleep button goes haywire. “I don’t know what to do.”
Hannah eventually works up the courage to go talk to Jed, and he graciously brushes the whole thing off with a joke. “There’s a lot of dudes in here that are after you,” he says. “Isn’t that weird?” Awww, it’s nice when a guy on a reality TV dating show actually understands that he’s on a reality TV dating show.
The rest of the Bachelorette’s conversations with the guys must have been pretty boring, because suddenly Harrison is standing there with the Butter Knife of Bad News in his hand, and we cut right to the rose ceremony. Joining Jed, Tyler G., and Dustin in the Circle of Safety this week are: Tyler C., Garrett, Devin, Connor S., Luke P., Dylan, Luke S., Mike, Peter, Kevin, Jonathan, Joey, Matteo, John Paul Jones, Grant, and Cam (ugh). Alas, we must say goodbye to Connor J., Daron with the deep voice, and… I don’t know, is that Matthew? Farewell, one of many indistinguishable white guys.
The evening ends with two final douche moves. First, Cam makes a toast to “Hannah Ayala.” (“That’s my last name,” he explains to the confused Bachelorette.) And once the guys disperse, Luke P. peels off and crashes the Bachelorette’s last ITM (“in the moment”) interview she has to do before getting some much-needed sleep.
“I’m coming to talk to you,” he announces, and when Luke P. says “talk,” he means “keep laying it on real thick.” Seriously, listen to this florid prose: “I felt like everything in time stopped when I was looking in your eyes for the first time.” Oh Hannah, if someone has to say things like, “everything I’m telling you is 100% real” and “you can trust me,” it almost certainly isn’t — and you can’t. Is the Bachelorette buying what Luke’s selling? I’m not sure, tbh. What is clear is that Hannah likes making out with him, and at this point in her “journey,” that’s fine.
Well, rose lovers, I want to hear how you’re feeling now that week 2 is behind us. Is Luke P. a “stalker” or just a good Christian boy who believes in love at first sight? Was it evil or brilliant (or both, maybe) that Hannah made poor Matteo eat ALL the bugs? And finally, why was the Bachelorette’s nose so red all night? Post your thoughts now!
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC
Chris Harrison hosts the romance reality contest series. Will you accept this rose?