Warning: This recap contains spoilers for the season premiere of The Bachelor.
Welcome, rose lovers, and please join me in saying a hearty good riddance to 2016! While events in our nation’s recent history make it a little difficult to be optimistic about 2017, at the very least we can take comfort in another season of ABC’s glorious reality franchise. And not just any season:
If we’re being literal, that is technically true. And while Nick is quite similar to most bachelors who have come before him —white, scruffy, too much hair product — the difference is Bachelor Nation used to hate him for being a d-bag (for a refresher, click here) and now — after his transformative season on Bachelor in Paradise — we like him… or, at least, can tolerate him for 9 weeks.
The “meet the Bachelor” segment kicks off with a goofy montage of our star trying to say, “I’m Nick, and I’m the Bachelor” — but much like Fonzie trying to say he’s sorry, Nick simply can’t do it. No, literally, he cannot say the word “bachelor” — instead he says “bash-lor,” over and over again. But never mind that. Shower scene!
Because producers know most of the folks watching don’t really need a primer of Nick’s history with the franchise, they instead treat us to a montage of Things The Bachelor Has Learned About Himself.
No. 2: He’s not great at eye contact.
No. 3: “I don’t know how to sit sideways on a couch. It’s hard.”
That said, Nick isn’t completely useless: He’s an expert at getting dumped on TV. So hey, why not go for the trifecta? “It’s very possible,” says Nick about the chance he’ll get his heart broken as the Bachelor. “It’s actually, you know, arguably likely!” Well, at least the guy is self-aware.
A brief stop with the Viall family back in Waukesha, Wisconsin gives us this beautiful flashback to Nick’s vampire days…
…as well as a quick chat with fan-favorite Bella, Nick’s “wise beyond her years” little sister.
Don’t worry, Bella — your big bro is ready to “give America a happy ending.” (Yeah, he heard it.)
Is it time to meet the “ladies” yet? Nope. Up next:
This thoroughly unnecessary segment does have a few choice moments, most of them courtesy of Sean: He calls Nick a “toolbag,” tells the Bachelor “a lot of people don’t like you,” and reminds him that “a lot of people probably didn’t tune into Bachelor in Paradise.”
Awww, they’re just joshin’ with ya, buddy! Just be yourself and you’ll be fine! Fine-ish. You’ll be ok. You’ll survive. Probably. I mean, it’s very unlikely that you’ll die and/or kill someone else in this process, so… get out there and find some “love”!
Lookin’ good, Harrison! Shall we now peruse the menu of Nick’s “lady” buffet? Yes, let’s.
Rachel from Dallas, 31: An attorney from the South? Sorry toots, but Nick’s been there, done that. JK, she seems lovely, accomplished, and too good for Nick. I mean, the woman even likes to vacuum — she is the total package.
Danielle from LA, 27: First off, points deducted for the midriff-baring top. If I wanted to see belly buttons I’d watch 90210 reruns from the late ’90s. Danielle owns “three businesses” including a nail salon, and now she’s ready to close the deal on a husband.
Vanessa from Montreal, 28: This one’s trilingual (English, French and Italian), so she’s already far too smart for this ridonkulous show. And she’s a special needs teacher? Good Lord, I’m amazed the producers didn’t burst into flames in the presence of such human decency.
Josephine from Santa Cruz, 24:
Though this looks like a scene from an amateur porn shoot, in fact it’s just this charmingly goofy nursing student who has a cat and talks to sea lions. “It does take a certain kind of guy to handle my energy,” she explains.
I think I made the amateur porn comparison a little too soon, because our next contestant is named Raven Gates. Raven Gates. And like many a Bachelor contestant before her, Ms. Gates (who’s from Hoxie, Arkansas) loves Daisy Dukes and off-the-shoulder tops.
Raven owns a boutique, but those racks of peasant blouses and flowy sundresses aren’t going to keep her warm at night. She wants a man, y’all.
Corinne from Miami, 24: This blonde minx refers to herself in the third person (“Corinne’s world is glamorous”) and still has a nanny (an unfortunate soul named Raquel). Look, this bish doesn’t have time to cut up her own cucumber, because she runs a “multi-million dollar company” — which apparently involves emailing and calling people her dad asks her to contact. Man, careers are hard. “I just know him and I will be so great together,” says the self-proclaimed “serious businesswoman,” who is clearly not serious about grammar.
Alexis from New Jersey, 23: Alexis really wants us to know that she’s “weird” and likes to “really embarrassing things” like walking to CVS in a sumo wrestling costume. She’s also “obsessed” with dolphins. Why? No time for that. Team Bachelor‘s got lots of “ladies” to burn through, folks.
Danielle from Nashville, 30: A neonatal nurse in a doctor’s office that seems to have a liberal definition of “patient privacy.”
Taylor from Seattle, 23: She’s a “mental health counselor,” which means this biracial beauty can do her own exit interview in the Reject Limo. Efficient!
Elizabeth from Las Vegas, 29: Well this is a first: Team Bachelor have tracked down a woman their hooked up with at a wedding — of course, it wasn’t that hard, since the hookup in question was at the #Janner wedding, and producers have all of Nick and Lizzy’s drunken flirtations on camera.
But that was, like, months ago. Will Nick even remember? We’ll find out soon enough.
That’s right, the limos are on their way at last. And I can’t tell if Chris Harrison is just really excited or is trying really hard not to laugh.
Either way, we feel ya, buddy. And now, let us begin the Parade of Potential Wives!
Danielle L. and her solidly-constructed cleavage get the pimp spot, and Nick is very pleased. “You are… wow,” he stammers. A pleasant Southern blonde named Elizabeth is next, and just to make things easier on Nick she arrived in a wedding dress.
Rachel the attorney is the first “lady” to come prepared with a cheesy pickup line — “I just finished studying up my fantasy teams, but the only plays I want to make this season are for your heart” — but Nick doesn’t seem to hold it against her. Christen the wedding videographer from Tulsa decides that performing a half-assed Japanese fan dance is the best way to introduce herself to the Bachelor (it earns a half-assed slow clap), and she makes things even more uncomfortable by gushing over Nick’s “celebrity” status: “I’ve watched you on my TV for the past three years!”
Just as my cringe muscles were starting to relax, in walks Taylor the mental health counselor, who informs Nick that all of her friends think he’s “a complete piece of s**t.”
Of course, Taylor assures the Bachelor that she knows her galpals are all wrong — but the damage has been done. “I cannot wait to meet her friends,” mumbles Nick after she’s gone inside.
While some “ladies” make their first impressions with a bit more aplomb (“I want to get to know you for you,” says Kristina the dental hygienist with the indeterminate foreign accent), Team Bachelor spends more time on the ones who don’t. Like Lauren, who bonds with Nick over their terrible last names (Viall for him, Hussey for her): “So basically, together you and I are a disgusting slut!” she chirps. While “disgusting slut” might not be the phrase you want to be forever attached to your face in a guy’s memory, at least Lauren can be confident that Nick will remember her.
Ida Marie the sales manager from Texas rises above her regrettable two-piece lace gown with a flirty “trust fall” opener that says, “I know other people think you’re a weasel, but I’m putting my trust in you.”
Nick seems to appreciate that gimmick a bit more than what comes next: Sarah the grade school teacher jogs up the driveway in a gown and sneakers before announcing, “I thought you might appreciate another runner up.” Get it? Because he got his heart broken on TV twice? “As far as runner-up jokes go, that was pretty good,” admits the still-sensitive Bachelor, reluctantly.
Producers must like Jasmine G. the “pro basketball dancer,” because they let her bust Neil Lane out of hibernation for a limo gag.
I was all set to root for Hailey the Canadian photographer with the young Lauren Hutton vibe, but then she had to go and overshare about her lack of underwear.
“Nick is a very sexual man,” she explains. That may be so, honey, but you’d better dry clean that gown before you return it. Moving on, Astrid the plastic surgery office manager also decides to talk about sex — though she does it in German, because that’s such a sensual language. Do we believe her when she says her boobs are real?
I dunno, maybe her boss doesn’t offer an employee discount.
Let’s keep the hanky-panky theme going: Hey Liz, time to find out if Nick remembers you exist! At first it sure looks like Nick has no clue, and Liz doesn’t offer any hint that the two know each other in the Biblical sense. “I look forward to getting to know you a little bit better,” says the Bachelor blandly. But once she walks away…
That’s right, buddy. As we say on the New York transit system, if you see something, say something. And Harrison arrives right on cue to find out what, exactly, is going on in the mind of our Bachelor. “I think I met her before, at Jade and Tanner’s wedding,” confesses the Bachelor. “I’m 99 percent sure.” Well if that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.
Oh good God, we’re only halfway through introductions? Speed it up, guys! Corinne gives Nick a “hug token” (think those homemade “hug coupons” you used to give your mom when you forgot her birthday as a kid); Vanessa turns Nick on with a few phrases in French; and Danielle M. brings the Bachelor a jug of maple syrup and then proceeds to stick her fingers in his mouth.
“I’m going to trust that your fingers are clean,” jokes Nick. Dude, you’re gonna need a lot more than trust, as you just ingested a sampling of every germ in that last limo.
Raven embraces her Arkansas background by teaching Nick a “hog call,” while Jaimi introduces herself to the Bachelor (and America) by announcing that she has balls. “Figuratively?” asks Nick, warily. Yes… but that’s not necessarily better.
The chef from New Orleans digs inside her nostrils to unearth a gold septum piercing. God I hope they have Purell in Casa Bachelor.
Other “ladies” choose to use their hands on Nick rather than their own body cavities: Briana the nurse uses her stethoscope to listen to his heart, while Susanna the account manager gives the Bachelor a “beard massage,” which is just another way of saying “scratches his scruff with her nails.”
Self-proclaimed weirdo Josephine, however, goes for the sight gag. If only she had stopped at “You’re a wiener in my book.”
Great, Josephine. Now that you’ve asked Nick to “Lady and the Tramp” the wiener, he’s forever going to associate you with the taste of a room temperature hot dog. Not great.
Meanwhile, inside the mansion, the “ladies” are starting to realize that producers thought it would be funny if half a dozen of them wore red dresses — and apparently Team Bachelor thought we’d be more interested in seeing the women talk about that then finding out what Brittany the nurse did after she told Nick to “bend over.”
At least they let us see Nick’s face after Lacey arrived on a camel, simply so she could make the “I hear you like a good hump” joke.
Sorry, Nick, but as the late, great George Michael once said, some mistakes were built to last.
Anyhow, we must have reached the wild kingdom portion of the evening, because next up is Alexis the “aspiring dolphin trainer” has arrived… in a shark suit. Maybe that’s why Nick looks so confused by her “I dolphin-itely can’t wait to talk to you more inside” pun.
Sweet Jesus, we have reached the end of the arrivals at last. So get in there, Nick, and let’s get this feeding frenzy started — after your earnest “I’m here to find The One” speech, of course.
That’s right, “ladies”! Time to get your empowerment on, courtesy of Mike Fleiss and the American Broadcasting Company. Rachel the attorney kicks off the one-on-ones, and she and Nick have an easy chemistry as they talk football and Milwaukee, where she went to law school. “She stands out to me,” says the Bachelor.
But just as Nick is settling in to “enjoy the experience,” Harrison arrives with the First Impression Rose. “My heart is in my ass now,” whines Taylor. Corinne uses her alone time to hand Nick a bag of cartoon money (actually “tokens,” which the Bachelor can cash in for whatever he wants or something), and when she doesn’t get a kiss after their first chat, she cuts in on Vanessa’s time to make a run at Nick’s mouth. And he LOVES it.
Damn, buddy — pace yourself! Especially since there are 29 other women glaring at you through the patio doors. “I hope that no women saw us kiss,” says Nick, who absolutely has to know that all the women saw it.
And if anyone missed it, don’t worry — Corinne is back the house and ready to spread the news like a tipsy Paul Revere.
With the stakes thus raised, competition for Nick’s time intensifies accordingly. “Ladies” start openly lurking in the Bachelor’s eyeline…
…and all but trying to physically remove Nick from his conversations with other women. And kudos to Nick for giving Jasmine the stiff arm when she tried to steal him away from Ida Marie. “She actually asked first,” he says, apologetically. “I’m trying to be respectful.” There’s a first time for everything, right rose lovers?
While Jasmine heads outside to compose herself after that public rejection, the other women find productive ways of killing time until the rose ceremony arrives.
Alexis, who has really committed to the dolphin-shark thing, lures Nick over to the water for their one-on-one time. “You know this is a shark, right?” asks the Bachelor, echoing everyone in America. But Alexis is too drunk to care about properly identifying aquatic creatures. Go find a lagoon and sleep it off, toots. We’ve still got a long way to go.
One of those women who hasn’t had time with Nick — lately, anyway — is Liz, and when the Bachelor sits down with her for a chat he puts his one-night-stand cards on the table. “I remember when I asked for your number, you were like, ‘Let’s just leave it,'” he recalls. “It’s kind of like, ‘Why haven’t I heard from her since then?'” In other words, though Liz says she not just here to be on The Bachelor, Nick isn’t really buying it. “My number’s very easy to get for you,” he notes.
So Liz gives Nick a song and dance about having “a stereotype” about him — until she watched Bachelor in Paradise and realized, along with the rest of America, that he wasn’t a complete d-bag. Nick does the math and realizes that Liz viewed him as a “stereotype” the night they met — yet she still had sex with him anyway. For a guy who’s allegedly working very hard to put his jerkface image behind him, that isn’t great to hear.
I think we can safely say that Liz will not be getting the First Impression Rose tonight. So who will Nick choose? Will it be Corinne and her aggressive tongue? Angela with her Sex and the City-themed picture frame? Or Danielle M., with her low-key charm and ability to save sick babies?
None of the above! The FIR goes to… Rachel!
By the way, nothing this entire episode has been more entertaining than the look on Corinne’s face when she realized that her confidence was tragically unfounded.
Clink clink clink! Harrison and his Butterknife of Bad News have arrived. WHO will be sent off into the grey light of dawn broken-hearted and destined to die alone? Robot roll call: Vanessa, Danielle L., Christen, Astrid, Corinne, Elizabeth W., Jasmine G., Raven, Kristina the weepy dental assistant, Danielle M., Sarah, Josephine, Lacey, Taylor, Alexis the dolphin-shark….
…Hailey No Panties, Whitney (who?), Dominique (who?), Jaimi and her balls, Brittany, and… Liz the One-Night Stand! You best believe Nick’s sending you a message by making you wait until the end, Lizzie. Commence proving yourself…NOW.
And with that, we say goodbye to Olivia from Alaska, Angela the model, Lauren the lawyer-to-be, and Briana the nurse. Fare thee well, “ladies.” You’re better off, trust us.
With now interesting goodbye meltdowns to focus on, producers skip ahead to establishing this season’s villain.
“I don’t want to be a runner-up or something cute like that,” says Corinne. “Nobody’s getting in my way.” Nobody has to, honey — if the “this season on The Bachelor” promo is any indication, you will do a bang-up job getting in your own way.
Other revelations from the supertease: Jaimi the chef apparently swings both ways; the Backstreet Boys are still adorable; the “ladies” eventually learn of Lizzie’s past hookup with Nick; the Bachelor cries a lot; and Christen’s “downtime” hair is ON POINT:
Phew, that was a lot of crazy to absorb so early in the year. Tell me how you’re feeling, rose lovers. Did Nick made a decent fourth impression? Which “ladies” do you like/hate? And why did Chris Soules pack tissues and a Magic 8-Ball in a gun case? Post your thoughts now! And be sure to check out Chris Harrison’s exclusive blog right here.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go shop “leopard print headbands” on Amazon.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.