Hey, did you guys know Colton is a virgin?
I could end the recap there, after three straight hours of ABC imposing this little factoid on us in punishingly redundant and predictable fashion. But that’s no fun, is it?
The Bachelor premiere was more than just a Millennial’s Guide to Mocking a Stranger’s Sex Life. There’s an incarcerated mom, an impromptu classical dance session (and one bachelorette mistaking the string quartet for an “orchestra”), a sloth, and, of course, boatloads of estrogen.
In the spirit of awards season, I’ll hand out some superlatives from the Season 23 (ugh) premiere.
Storyline most likely to pull my hair out
Colton’s virginity. I can’t write any more about this because I have to appear on television to talk about this, and I don’t think pulling my hair out would be good for my on-camera look.
Most likely to earn ABC an FCC violation
This is a tough one, as the premiere was rife with envelope-pushing innuendo. A girl named Katie – which feels like everyone on this season – pulls a “V card” from a deck of playing cards.
But this award is gonna have to go to Caitlin, who gives Colton a balloon cherry and pops it in front of him, proclaiming that she’s just “popped his cherry” – a stunt that, if the gender roles were reversed, would banish the guy to the bowels of #MeToo Hell never for all of eternity. Colton, though, defies any pre-established logic of dating and embraces the otherworldly amount of discomfort it had to cause him, doling out a rose to Caitlin.
Honorable mention in this not-so-honorable award goes to Hannah G., the girl who made a no-underwear reference on first meeting Colton; and Demi, the Red Oak, Texas native whose TMI intro revealed she “hasn’t dated a virgin since she was 12.”
Most likely to give us a hometown date in federal prison
Speaking of Demi, she did North Texas proud with her nationally-televised personal value proposition, invoking the tale of her mother, who she says has been incarcerated for embezzlement – but it turns out it’s probably more than that.
To me, this storyline almost assuredly punches her ticket to the final four, so we can see the first-ever, hometown-date visit to a penitentiary in Bachelor history.
Biggest power move
I want so badly to give this to host Chris Harrison, who encouraged viewers across the country to “like” an Instagram post from the official Bachelor account to unlock “exclusive footage.” With the required like count blown to smithereens, the footage was revealed, and it was a minutes-long tribute to, who else, Chris Harrison through the two decades-plus he’s been hosting the show.
The Lake Highlands High School grad, however, was either genuinely surprised or did a bang-up job of acting like it, so we’ll bestow the Biggest Power Move Award upon Bri, who faked an Australian accent to get Colton’s attention.
“I’m not really Australian, but you have to do what you can to stand out,” she tells the camera.
In a deleted scene, she revealed the truth to Colton, telling him the accent is an “ice-breaker” – but the job was already done. He was roped in. The Bachelor: Where founding a relationship on a lie is not only kosher, but encouraged.
Most likely to wage biological warfare
Alex B. brought a bold strategy to the Bachelor mansion. She showed up with cue cards saying she's sick and can't talk... But then is seen inside the mansion sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow bachelorettes. Was it a fib to get sympathy? Or is she trying to inflict Contagion on her competition?
Least necessary bit
The premiere could’ve easily been squeezed into the customary two-hour window, if it wasn’t for the inclusion of live correspondents at watching parties across the country. Bachelor alums were stationed with groups of women swooning over Colton and the men that were forced to go with them – a truly viewer-repelling tactic.
To make matters worse, we were forced to watch like 13 random guys propose to their girlfriends at the aforementioned watching parties. The girls weep, possibly because they’re set to marry the love of their lives, or maybe because this was *actually* happening at a television show watching party.
Most likely to be hospitalized with dangerous pruning
One of the watch parties involved a group of strangers hot tubbing with each other, and a weirdly-placed line of bathing-suit clad women waiting to voluntarily immerse themselves in the germ soup.
In the hot tub were two of the Bachelor franchise’s more repulsive contestants in recent memory, Krystal and “Goose.” I fear they hot-tubbed for the full three hours and suffered a medical emergency involving intoxication, damaging pruning or both.
Someone check on them, please.
Most likely to find her name in a fresh bowl of alphabet soup
I’m not talking about a bowl that’s been manipulated by a slow eater’s spoon. I’m talking straight-out-of-the-can alphabet soup.
And this award goes to Dallas’ own risk consultant, Onyekachukwu Ehie, who goes by Onyeka.
Shortening the name is likely a good thing, as the daughter of Nigerian immigrants looks like she could be around for a while after a strong showing in episode 1. Plus, her parents got engaged (in real life, mind you) after two weeks, so the whole 10-week sprint to an engagement can't be too crazy for her.
Colton’s favorite pageant contestant
One week in, there’s already a battle brewing between Miss America pageant contestants. And so far, it’s awfully close.
Miss Alabama, Hannah, calls herself a the conductor of the “hot mess express.” Miss North Carolina, Caelynn, wears a sash that says “Miss Underwood,” neglecting the fact that she would be “Mrs. Underwood” if she wins this competition.
In an attempt to jog his memory, Colton guesses that Caelynn was crowned “Miss Carolina,” and my watching party wonders if “Miss Dakota” also applied for the show. Colton does overlook her sash typo and goes in for a kiss during their second conversation of the night.
Hannah feels threatened by another beauty queen in the room, and laments that she “didn’t want it to feel like a competition.” Because 30 women competing for one man on national television was going to remain within the confines of playful banter for 10 weeks, I guess.
Biggest waste of effort
This one goes to Plano’s own Erin, who went through the trouble to hire a Cinderella-esque horse-drawn carriage for her introduction. She then takes off a silver sandal – she wanted the carriage, but not the right kind of footwear for her Cinderella bit – to give to Colton, and limps into the mansion to meet her counterparts because, well, she only brought the one other shoe.
Most shocking exit
O, sloth, we hardly knew ye. The most cringeworthy introduction of the night came from Alex D., who wore a full sloth costume over her cocktail dress, walking and talking painfully slow in a nod to Colton “taking things slow” in his dating life.
And while the bit went on far too long, it’s the kind of material that almost always grants a contestant a rite of passage to the second round. But, despite what seemed to be pleasant conversation with the Bachelor, she was sent packing.