Here for the Wrong Reasons: Episode 1 of ‘The Bachelorette’ Season 18
A recap of the first episode of the latest season.
October 21, 2021
Welcome to “Here for the Wrong Reasons,” where each week I’ll be recapping all of the champagne-guzzling and petty “Can I steal you for a second?”s of the 18th season of “The Bachelorette.” Nothing boosts your confidence about your own love life like watching a bunch of desperate 20-somethings competing for a stranger’s affection! Check in every Wednesday for episode recaps and updates on Michelle Young’s journey to become an Instagram influencer find love. Make your picks in Vanderbilt’s (very un)official Bachelorette Fantasy League.
Guess who’s back, back again? That’s right, it’s Season 18 of “The Bachelorette,” a mere two weeks after the “Bachelor in Paradise” (BIP) finale. I hope you had time to rest up and cleanse the rosé and charcuterie from your system, because it’s time to dive headfirst back into the world of hot tub toasts and group dates.
Our fearless lead this season is Michelle Young, a 28-year-old fifth grade teacher from Minnesota. Michelle was the runner-up on Matt James’ season (she dodged a major bullet there) and is known for being quietly confident, playing Division I basketball in college and having the toned arms to prove it. She comes from a super stable home—a rarity in this franchise—and her parents, an interracial couple, have been married for 35 years. I’m calling it now: basketball, teacher puns, family and the word “genuine” are going to be recurring themes throughout the season.
The season will start filming at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, California, but rumor has it that Michelle and her contestants will get to travel later in the season.
The episode starts out in Michelle’s fifth grade classroom, and I can only imagine what the Minnesota Karens had to say about that during the last PTA meeting. One of her students says that she’s excited Miss Young is the Bachelorette, and I’ve gotta say—if her parents are letting their 10-year-old watch a show with “Fantasy Suites,” let’s hope they’ve already had the Birds and Bees talk.
After successfully facilitating Katie Thurston and Blake Moynes’ engagement on Season 17, former Bachelorettes Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams are back in the hosting gig. We can look forward to more of Kaitlyn’s edgy humor, Tayshia’s goddess energy and no Chris Harrison to be seen.
As the men are preparing to meet Michelle, Kaitlyn and Tayshia decide to pay a visit to a few of their hotel rooms. While they’re impressed by the orderliness of Chris G.’s room, they find something shocking in Ryan’s—in a Joe from “You”-inspired move, Ryan has compiled a booklet of everything he needs to know about the show, and, most shockingly, how to avoid becoming the villain and do well on the show. I’m sorry, did someone say “here for the wrong reasons?”
Bring on the men
Based purely off their behavior on night one, it looks like Michelle has a decent crop of guys vying for her heart. There were fewer gimmicky limo exits than usual, which seems like a sign that they might actually be there for the right reasons … big if true. Plus, has the Bachelorette ever ended up with someone who got out of the limo dressed as Santa Claus? I think not.
Keep an eye on intro videos the producers selected—chances are, the finalists and villains are featured (and, spoiler-but-not-really-since-The-Hollywood-Reporter-already-released-his-name alert: the next Bachelor’s video is in there). Chris S. is a self-proclaimed goofball (ew); Joe is the male version of Michelle: he’s from Minnesota, loves basketball and is biracial; Clayton is from Missouri and his mom is a teacher; Brandon J. is very into sports and family; Nayte also has a teacher for a mom and is sporting a Riley Christian-inspired dangly earring; and Ryan claims he works on his family’s farm, but his crisp, plaid J. Crew button-down suggests otherwise.
I love the limo exits, because there’s something so fantastical about them—can you imagine 30 hot men pulling up in a limo and trying to impress you? Tayshia and Kaitlyn are poised to watch the exits from the bushes, glasses of champagne in hand, and I’ve never had such severe FOMO. At least Kaitlyn once responded to my tweet.
Clayton brings Miss Young a yardstick in case he misbehaves in class, and she gives him a light spank for good measure. They have a cute connection, so he might want to keep it around to spice up the Fantasy Suite, just in case.
Romeo makes a pun about Michelle being his Juliet, obviously. He’s also a Harvard graduate, so Bennett Jordan might want to watch out.
Olu says that it feels like NBA draft night, and he hopes he’ll be Michelle’s number one pick. Cute.
On the same basketball note, JoMarri arrives and rips off his jacket sleeves. Think basketball pants, but a suit jacket. He’s a personal trainer, so I am not mad to be staring at his biceps.
Ryan—the one who rivals Mitt Romney for worst binder faux-pas—arrives in an ice cream truck offering a “double scoop of love.” I’m pretty sure that Michelle’s love of ice cream was in his creepy binder and I’m afraid this episode of “The Bachelorette” is going to turn into an episode of “Dateline” soon enough.
There’s a guy named Jack Russell, “like the dog.” Maybe not the best idea to equate yourself with a dog on a dating show?
Rodney arrives dressed as an apple in a nod to Michelle’s career, but when asked what kind of apple he is, he says that he’s a Granny Smith. His costume is red. An “A” for effort, but he definitely failed her pop quiz.
Joe is also from Minnesota, and Michelle thinks he looks familiar. Turns out … she slid into his DMs, and then he had the audacity to ghost her and show up here. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, and I expect a full-on interrogation. (One bright spot here: if Michelle Young can get ghosted, it’s okay if you do, too.)
There’s always got to be a weird job title (remember the surgical skin salesman on Katie’s season?). Peter introduces himself as a “Pizzapreneur,” despite unceremoniously dropping his pizza dough on the ground. Mamma mia.
Chris S. skips the limo in favor of a school bus, opting for shorts and a backpack along with his suit jacket. He makes a joke about giving Michelle a “D,” and she quips back, “’C’ you inside.” Girl is witty.
In a move befitting our favorite BIP 40-year-old Kenny, LT arrives in tuxedo undies. Something tells me he won’t be making it far enough to show them off again in the Fantasy Suite.
Rick arrives hidden inside a room service cart, because he’s “the main course.” I’m getting big box boy vibes, and huge “there are bodies in my basement” vibes from his facial expressions. Respectfully, I’d like to “Rick and Morty” at him until he gets sent home.
Firefighter Daniel arrives on a toy fire truck. He says he heard there was a fire, “but it looks like it’s just a smokeshow.” Chasen, where you at? Next, other firefighter PJ one-ups Daniel by arriving in an actual fire truck. Brutal.
Brandon J. is pushed in on a bed so Michelle can get a feel for what it would be like waking up next to him. Besides the fact that he definitely has navy sheets under the plaid duvet, imagine telling your kids, “Mommy and Daddy met when he made her get in bed with him!” The optics here aren’t great, to say the least.
I like big binders and I cannot lie
Like the girls’ girls they are, Tayshia and Kaitlyn warn Michelle about the creepy notes they found in Ryan’s hotel room. Michelle takes Ryan to go inspect them and is rightfully turned off. He says that he took the notes to get to know her better, to which she retorts, “The notes were about how you should act … You have to write notes about how to be yourself?”
He claims that most of the notes are from his friend’s wife, which is somehow supposed to make him look better? The nail in Ryan’s coffin is when he details his fatal flaws.
“Your biggest fault is that you are overconfident, arrogant; it’s a massive turnoff to people,” his notes to himself read. “You come off as mean and demanding. It’s better to just keep those thoughts to yourself and express a positive outlook to others.”
You can’t say he’s not self-aware. Michelle promptly sends him home because she doesn’t want to start with red flags. He starts whining, but she sticks to her guns—and she does have great guns—and goes into teacher mode, telling him to GTFO or else. Hope you weren’t planning your Instagram ads yet, Ryan.
Ghosting Slore Joe
Yes, this is a play on “Grocery Store Joe,” and no, I won’t apologize. Michelle confronts Joe, the fellow Minnesotan who ghosted her via Instagram DMs. His excuse is that he’s the head of property near George Floyd Square and got overwhelmed; Michelle is understanding, but calls him out for not communicating that to her; “I’m also a woman of color living right there when George Floyd and all these different things are going on. I’m right in the heart of it, too … If anyone were to be understanding, you would have just had to say the word.”
Joe reveals that he’s been working on his communication skills with a therapist, and Michelle thanks him for sharing and tells him she needs to think about it.
First Impression Rose
The Holy Grail of every “Bachelorette” premiere is the First Impression Rose. After all, eight out of 18 Bachelorettes gave their First Impression Rose to their season’s winner, so this rose is the big leagues. Nayte—who reveals to Michelle that his parents are divorced, he never saw them kiss and he really wants to provide a solid family for his kids—gets the prize, because Michelle, much like every Bachelorette ever, is all about vulnerability and family.
And with that, it’s time for the first rose ceremony of the season. Twenty-two guys get to stay, and we say goodbye to JoMarri, Jack, Garrett, Edward, Bryan and Brandon K. Nice not knowing you! For Michelle’s sake, I’m hoping she didn’t send home any Grocery Store Joe-level gems.
Will Michelle keep around the guy who ghosted her? How did she find a long-term substitute for her fifth graders? Is she ever going to share her arm day routine with us? Tune in Tuesdays at 7 p.m. CDT to find out. Wishing you the best on your journey to find love, Michelle!