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The Premiere is Here - Your Bachelorette Recap! (S16, E1)

Well, here we are at the intersection of pop culture, a global pandemic, and the hell the that is the Bachelorette franchise. I watch so you don’t have to! You’re welcome – I think.

This most dramatic season kicks off with Clare Crawley, the oldest lead ever in the show’s history, at the wretched age of 39! Everyone take a moment of silence to honor ABC’s bravery.

In case you were hoping to watch this in a bid to escape the world’s reality – surprise! The show isn’t going to let you. Instead they choose to kick things off with a lengthy pastiche of COVID-related activities, including Clare sheltering in place while doing yoga at sunrise and baking cookies with her dogs. Meanwhile, her perspective suitors get tested for a deadly disease. (They show the men shuddering and crying after getting their noses swabbed, because this is in no way responsible television. And if you were expecting it to be, you are in the wrong place! That said – wouldn’t it be rad if ABC stepped up, for once? With their huge platform, it would be amazing if they highlighted getting tested in a more positive light, instead of playing up the fear factor. We expect so little. Can’t we have one nice thing?)

I’m telling you, I’ve made fun of Chris Harrison in the past, but he’s finally earning his paycheck. I can’t imagine the rigors he’s undertaken to proceed with hosting this round. However, is it just me, or is everyone pretty loose with the hugs? I mean, yes – you’ve been tested (and tested and tested) but let’s not get crazy here. A curt nod and an elbow bump is all we really need from Papa H.

Speaking of crazy, we get a brief recap of Clare’s time in Bachelor Nation, starting with getting dumped by forever-villain Juan Pablo, as well as her two-time appearance on Bachelor in Paradise (where she entered the Meme Hall of Fame for being edited to look like she was talking to a racoon). But, somehow, they “skate” over her time on Bachelor Winter Games, where she left an engaged woman. Hmm…

Now that we’re setup, let’s head over to the La Quinta. No – not that La Quinta. This La Quinta! Needless to say, I would not touch this season with a 10-foot pole. There is no freaking way you could convince me that joining a dating show is in any way remotely a good idea during this terrifying time. But at least the men get their own rooms, so score!? For the first time, these contestants are free of the fetid bunkbeds at the Bachelor mansion – a true luxury.

We’ve reeeeeeally stretched out as much as we can of Clare and Chris catching up. Now it’s finally time to meet the (crazy fuckers willing to die for Instagram followers) men. Here are a few highlights:

· Ben – stands two inches away from Clare’s face and asks if she’d “like to take a deep breath together.” She accepts – girl, why?! – and they proceed to blow air into each other’s mouths. Dr. Fauci would not approve!

· Riley – a lawyer, who declares Clare “guilty as charged” for looking beautiful. You are not a judge – case dismissed!

· Zach – So. Many. Hugs. I know you haven’t touched anyone else in 6 months, but slow your roll, bro. When you end a fast, you don’t eat all the candy at once, you start with one piece.

· Kenny – the Boy Band Manager! Tell me more, immediately, if not sooner. Is it BTS? I totally die if it’s BTS.

· Tyler C – rolls up “Griswold” style in a junky station wagon. I appreciate the reference, but there’s only one Tyler C welcome in Bachelor Nation and you, sir, are not it.

· Bennett – drops the “H bomb.” That would be Harvard, for those of us watching at home that totally did not go to Harvard. To juxtapose the wagon, Bennett arrives in a Rolls Royce. He’s sockless and works in wealth management. I assume he owns stock in Rohypnol.

· It gets kitchier!

Jay shows up in a straight-jacket.

Chasen shows up in a suit of armor.

Demar arrives with a parachute, claiming to have, “Fallen for you already.”

· Then the green-eyed Dale arrives, and Clare hyperventilates, claiming she “just met her husband.” Love at first sight, or totally have been dating for months before the show began? I’m going with the latter.

There’s some kind of protracted drama between Josef and Tyler C. I really don’t know what it’s about. I got so painfully bored that I stopped taking notes and started shopping on Amazon. Two hours left of Prime Day – hello! I got two totally adorable tops, both with leopard print; if I’m going to be trapped at home all winter, I at least want to be feeling myself. Meanwhile, Clare kisses someone that is not Dale. I guess love at first sight does not equal lust at first lip.

And there’s a Rose Ceremony, all in one episode! A lot of men stay. (Whyyy?) Some men go. The men staying for this absolutely insane experiment/luck of the health odds are:

Blake, Eson, Ben, Riley, Zach J, Tyler S, Joe, Jason, Tamar, Jason, Jordan C, Blake, Ken, Brandon, Ed, Bennet, Zach C, and Evan, with the final rose going to Josef.

Going home: I think four or five dudes? One of them is definitely Tyler C.

Coming up later this season: Someone calls Clare old! Testosterone roils! Men are jerks! Clare is sure of her worth because she didn’t settle! Plus “a very special episode” where Chris Harrison guilt trips a woman! One thing of note in the current previews – the tried & true “someone gets taken away in an ambulance” piece is missing. Maybe they realized that would be in poor form this year? Stay tuned!

Follow and share my weekly recaps – here on Jenna Zine every Wednesday!


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