It’s May, which means springtime, Memorial Day, and a new season of The Bachelorette! This is actually only my second season watching the show, which I first saw in 2010 with Ali (aka if-Britney-Spears-and-Jessica-Simpson-mated) since all of my coworkers watched and, obviously, I wanted to be included. I opted out last year since Ashley (a contestant on Brad Womack’s season, which happened to be my first-and-only season of The Bachelor) was annoying, although I appreciated that she had an actual job – not exactly the norm among contestants – plus I was about to enroll in grad school (which I need to broadcast since I’m currently unemployed, and thinking of my useless advanced degree makes me feel less of a total failure).
Back to The Bachelorette! Our lucky lady is Emily Maynard, also a contestant (actually, the winner) from Season 15 of The Bachelor, though obviously she and Brad Womack broke up. (Wow, couldn’t see that coming.) Emily, as we were all reminded 10 times per episode on The Bachelor, is a single mom from Charlotte, NC, whose fiancé Ricky was killed in an accident a few days before she realized she was pregnant with their daughter, named for her dead dad whom she’ll never know. Sniff.
The premiere opens with images of the two feeding ducks and playing on the swings. Aw! Typical mommy-daughter activities, except these two are followed by cameras. Emily says that it’s “wild” that she’s the Bachelorette. (She’s actually the third Bachelorette out of eight from a Brad Womack season, but sure, we’ll go with “wild.”) They release helium balloons into the sky that will probably wind up in the throat of a bird or a sea animal, but Ricky says that she’s thankful for love in her life, so you know Emily is a good mommy.
We see Emily’s house and it’s fucking huge. She’s 26 and lives in this house from a salary as a “children’s hospital event planner”? (Clearly, I chose the wrong major and should probably move to Charlotte, NC, immediately.) Emily says she can’t risk an engagement not working again after being engaged twice, so she’s going to put on her “big-girl panties” to be the Bachelorette. (Emily, dear, if finding “love” on TV constitutes 50% of your failed engagements, the odds aren’t so great of this working out. And your regular panties will do just fine.)
Chris Harrison, who recently announced the end of his 18-year marriage, reminds us that Emily’s first fiancé died before the montage of potential suitors begins. Notable dudes include Kalon from Houston (a “luxury brand consultant” who has a helicopter), Black Guy Lerone from LA (obviously not going to happen), singer-songwriter David from New York (who plays bars of a non-song called “Emily,” which reminds me of Tommy Page singing “Stephanie” in Full House that he admits was a song originally called “Melanie,” for his girlfriend), One-F Jef who skateboards and contemplates deep thoughts by a calm stream, and Race Car Driver Arie who worries that his profession will drudge up memories of Emily’s dead fiancé.
We see Emily in a bathroom literally the size of my studio apartment (honestly, how does she live in this house?) and her gigantic makeup kit. Ricky comes to help her get ready to wear a very nude and very sheer dress that strategically covers her lady bits, which she wears to meet with Chris Harrison, who mentions her “tragic past” that Emily claims she doesn’t want to discuss. We’re reminded again that they’re in Charlotte and that Emily is the first single-mom Bachelorette. Thanks, ‘cause I forgot.
Here comes the parade! Everyone tells her she looks beautiful, which she is, but she looks more like a hot 40-year-old than a 26-year-old. Anyway. Some guys go in straight for the kill by mentioning their own single moms or their own kids, which seems like a good idea since anyone who says “golly” would probably think it’s totally sweet and not at all manipulative. Others have prepared pick-up lines – like Aaron who declares, “I’m a high school biology teacher but I’m here to have chemistry with you” – or break out their foreign language skills like Brazilian Alessandro from Minneapolis (whose stream of Portuguese prompts Emily to respond, “Gracias”) and Colombian Alejandro from San Francisco (whose rapid-fire Spanish seems to perplex Emily, who can actually sort of respond). Other guys who stand out include lumber trader Paul Bunyon Tony who presents Emily with a glass slipper and makes her take her shoe off, some guy named John who insists that everyone calls him Wolf, Sales Rep Travis who arrives with an egg, and Kalon mints himself as Douche of the Season by showing up in a helicopter.
Now that everyone’s inside, it’s time for all the guys to try to win that First Impression Rose, which Chris Harrison (he’s never Chris, always Chris Harrison) brings out on a plate. Emily says “golly” again before talking to a 41-year-old guy with six kids. Next! Someone brings bobbleheads of himself and Emily, which isn’t at all creepy, and Single Dad Doug asks about Ricky before giving Emily a letter that his 12-year-old son wrote for her. She says that it means a lot, which probably means as much as some kid who sends you a letter via his dad whom you’ve just met.
After a commercial break, Kalon – who announces that he was raised by a single mom – thinks it’s fortunate that he arrived in a helicopter even though all the other guys hate him. (Are guys really this gossipy?) He tells Emily that he would have walked there for her, which she says “means a lot,” a phrase that she’s repeated maybe ten times already. Sean approaches them to say that he wants to talk to Emily, and Kalon says that he does mind the interruption. Oh, snap! Later, we see Race Car Driver Arie ask Emily about any apprehensions she may have, but she says not to worry because she loves racing and that it’s the only sport she knows.
Finally, Emily approaches the group and takes aside Single Dad Doug to give him the First Impression Rose. Huh, so that letter did work, big surprise. It’s time for the actual ceremony, and some guy named Tony says that it’d be “devastating” to go home. How, exactly, Tony? You don’t even know her! Whatever. The finalists (or whatever the terminology is) are Tall Chris, Ryan (who?), Kalon the Helicopter Guy, Race Car Driver Arie, Charlie (who?), One-F Jef, Nate (who?), Sean, Joe, Kyle, Aaron, Alejandro (OMG A NON-WHITE), John, Alessandro, Long-Haired Michael, a grown man who thinks it’s acceptable to still go by Stevie, Tony, and – ooh, Chris Harrison reminds us that there’s just one slot left – Travis the Egg Guy. Seriously, I don’t know half of these guys that she picked.
Who wasn’t picked? Some guy that Emily tells, “I really do think you’re wonderful” (which is pretty sweet, since she obviously doesn’t know his name), the 41-year-old with six kids, obviously Black Guy Lerone, and Jean-Paul, who claims that his heart was broken when he didn’t get a rose. (Right.)
Highlights from the upcoming season! There’s a castle, archery (so hot right now), a tropical place, Emily kissing some random dudes including One-F Jef, shots of London, shots of Emily with Ricky, everyone flipping out because some guy referred to Ricky as “baggage,” OMG EMILY SAID “FUCK,” Emily talking about her “journey,” and Dolly Parton.
Oh gross, in the closing credits, the Pink Shirt Guy takes off his shirt to exhibit what Emily is missing. Ew! A grown man should not be emulating The Situation. Luckily, we shan’t be witness to his shirtless self for the remainder of the season.
Will we hear more of Dead Ricky? Will we see mommy-daughter shots of Emily and Alive Ricky? I guess we’ll have to keep watching to find out!