Five months after the original airdate of The Bachelorette season 16 episode 1, we finally get to start watching Clare Crawley’s—and Tayshia Adams’—journey to find love.
Even before the pandemic hit, I was skeptical about this season. Clare has been on 20 different Bachelor franchise series, where we watched her get her heart broken, rip a new one into the biggest a**hole in Bachelor history and even get engaged to a guy who seemed…nice. I was never the biggest Clare fan, but as a hardcore member of Bachelor Nation, that wasn’t going to stop me from tuning in to the first episode of a Bachelor show in over six months.
And so the journey begins. I’m loving this new intro where we start with the Bachelorette learning they were chosen as the lead. I hope this scene is genuine because it was really cute.
We move onto memory lane where we watch Clare give it to Juan Pablo and leave Paradise in tears (twice). But are we just going to totally skip over Winter Games where she got ENGAGED to Benoit?! Interesting choice producers. Most people may have forgotten but I certainly did not.
Clare is all excited and raring to go when, OH NO! Flashing ambulance lights appear on screen and George Stephanopoulos announces California is on a state-wide lockdown due to COVID. Her pensive stare out the window set to dramatic music is sending me. This is The Bachelorette I know and love.
After reminding viewers 87 times that Clare is 39 (this may be even more mentioned than Colton’s virginity), we get this chef’s kiss of a scene with Chris Harrison set up at a rose-adorned desk telling Clare via video call that The Bachelorette is back on. Is this desk at his house? At the ABC studio? I have so many questions, mostly because I want an exact replica of this masterpiece in my home.
Clare arrives at La Quinta resort where she awaits the result of her COVID test, and gets the good news delivered by Chris Harrison himself. I feel like they should have been wearing masks here to at least pretend she doesn’t already know that she tested negative. Like, I know this show is contrived but they could at least try harder to fool us? IDK moving on.
Next, we move onto the men arriving at the resort and getting tested. Look, I am all for the dramatics, but when it comes to showing millions of people what a COVID test is like, maybe we can go with the “it’s super easy and not a big deal!” route instead of “that was miserable.” We’re still riding out this pandemic, and the more people are open to testing the better. Let’s use this platform for good, Bachelorette producers!
As we head into the first cocktail party, I couldn’t help but notice the absence of water on the driveway, a feature that’s become synonymous with the Bachelor franchise. RIP wet driveway, RIP.
And we’re off! I love seeing what dumb, hilarious and actually pretty good entrances these men come up with, but straightjacket guy takes the cake. Not only can he not hug Clare when they first meet, but he leaves the jacket on the entire party. Take that thing off and hug your girl!
Kenny’s dog t-shirt was probably the most well-thought-out schtick and definitely left an impression with Clare. They didn’t get to talk at the cocktail party (more on that later), but he still got a rose in the end. Nice move, Kenny.
And finally, we meet Dale, the contestant Clare allegedly shuts down the show for. He’s cute and arrives looking nervous and fairly normal. No schtick with his entrance, just a sincere speech and a dazzling smile. But Clare honey, you can’t just decide someone is husband material off a vibe and an energy.
I’m hoping Clare at least gives the other guys a chance for a little before she sets her mind to Dale. She’s so focused on him she doesn’t seem to be giving the other guys a fair chance. Bad move, Clare!
I was personally charmed by Blake, Ivan and Ben and his Listerine packets. They all seemed pretty down to earth and I was pulling for Blake to receive the first impression rose. He honestly deserved it for “breaking the rules” and reaching out to Clare during quarantine. He even got a hot and heavy kiss! But, deep down I knew it was going to Dale.
I’m not even going to get into the pissing contest between Yosef and Tyler C, but I’m pretty sure producers made Clare keep Yosef for *the drama* and if it were up to her, they’d both be going home.
Now let’s talk about that preview where Chris Harrison says, “In the 18 years I’ve been doing this show, we’ve never dealt with anything like this.” We all know that Clare is going to “blow up The Bachelorette” pretty soon. She’s already dead set on Dale and we don’t get many previews where it looks like there are less than 10 guys.
I can’t wait to watch this go down. We’re truly wading into unprecedented waters and honestly, I’m excited to see Tayshia as The Bachelorette instead of Clare. Clare is deserving of love, but does she deserve to take up two hours of my reality TV time every week? Jury’s still out on that but I’m leaning towards no.
We end the episode with the rose ceremony and previews for what’s to come this season. I find it very suspect that we’re seeing the same few scenes over and over again in previews. Clare is definitely leaving, and she’s doing it sooner than we know. Can’t wait to watch!
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