Clare Crawley and Dale Moss in episode 1 of “The Bachelorette” (ABC/The Bachelorette)
Clare Crawley and Dale Moss in episode 1 of “The Bachelorette” (ABC/The Bachelorette)

Here for the Wrong Reasons: Episode 1 of ‘The Bachelorette’ Season 16

A recap of the first episode of the latest season

October 14, 2020

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 16th 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 Clare Crawley’s journey to become an Instagram influencer find love. Make your picks in Vanderbilt’s (very un)official Bachelorette Fantasy League.

 

The Bach is back. Well, kind of. You know that old wedding saying, “something old, something new?” I’d say that just about sums up the first episode of Clare’s season of “The Bachelorette.” It had all of the usual tropes, but the overall vibe was just off. Of course, the pandemic is going to make any show weird, but it’s almost as if Clare and company felt they had to one up the virus and create their own “new normal.”

I may have lost count, but did Clare seriously only kiss two of her guys tonight? By Bachelor standards, that’s basically virginal (not Colton level, but still). Besides the low degree of PDA, there was only one personal trauma reveal, no one’s ex showed up, and exactly zero shirtless, intoxicated men jumped in the pool. Bizarre. Of course, there were all of the typical limo exit gimmicks, weird costumes—Jay wore a straitjacket the entire night, which is so unsexy and probably indicative of deeper issues—and plenty of complaining about not getting time to talk to Clare, but on the whole, something still felt wrong.

Overall, this episode was simply not as compelling as the season premiere usually is (one of my friends was ready to tap out and put on “Love Island” after the first half-hour). The sexual tension between Clare and Chris Harrison at the beginning of the episode was an intriguing touch, though…maybe the mystery plot twist is that they end up in a fantasy suite together? Since we all know that the season implodes—though exactly how it implodes is still unclear—it could be that the premiere fell short because viewers just didn’t buy into playing dumb.

 

Clare

I’ll be honest, I feel very ambivalent towards Clare as a lead. Nothing about her personality particularly grabs my interest, and I found myself getting bored during the Clare-heavy beginning of the episode. I only refocused once her 31 men began to arrive, which maybe just speaks to why I watch the show, but still not a good sign for Clare. Her one defining character trait is that she’s big on “energy and vibes,” so I’ll bet you $5 that next episode will feature a group date with Clare and the guys aligning their chakras. Thankfully, my disinterest in her shouldn’t be much of an issue, since even the official season preview tells us that Clare bails as soon as she freaking can. I’ve got to hand it to her for the way she handled the biggest “drama” (read: petty middle school squabble) of the night, when Tyler C. tattled on Yosef for being “reckless on Instagram,” a.k.a. DM-ing a girl from his hometown. If being reckless on Insta is a crime, someone take away my phone before I post my 4th solo shot in a row. The clippy “Thank you” Clare threw before grabbing her drink and walking away to talk to the other men who weren’t being obnoxiously theatrical was everything (note: I have never seen a Bachelor remove himself from drama like this, just saying). 

 

Dale

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that rumors have been flying about Clare and Dale, the ex-NFL player who never made it off the practice squad. The predominant theory about Clare’s dramatic exit from the show is that she left to be with him, and it was pretty obvious when he got out of the limo that she was smitten. After a sweet and simple introduction—always go for the hug, gentlemen—Clare announced to herself (a.k.a. the camera crew and some plants) that she “knew it…it feels like I just met my husband, I’m shaking.” Contestants on this show do tend to settle early, but declaring to the camera crew that you’ve met your future spouse approximately 30 seconds after meeting them is a little fast, even for this franchise. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight, though. Last night on “Jimmy Kimmel,” Clare admitted to Googling her contestants, even copping to taking notes on Dale. I’ve gotta respect the research—what is dating in the digital age besides a thorough background check to make sure he’s not a serial killer or Yankees fan—but I wonder what these notes actually were. “Killer abs, dreamy eyes, blinding smile” sounds right. I’m sure that something negative will come out about him eventually, but for now, Dale passes the vibe check.

 

The Other Men

Honestly, very few of Clare’s guys made a lasting impression on me, but there are a few that caught my eye, and not necessarily for the right reasons. The new Tyler C. has some big shoes to fill, yet he falls flat. Compared to his dreamy predecessor, he’s a size 4 Croc sandal to OG Tyler C.’s size 12 Gucci loafers. 

If I were Clare, I’d have taken Kenny the “boy band manager” aside for a chat, because seriously, I have so. many. questions. How do you manage a boy band? Do you tell them to do their homework? Buy them hair gel? Do boy bands even exist anymore? 

It’s always cringey when someone does a fake proposal as a limo exit, but when, instead of a diamond ring, it releases a scarring farting noise, I am beyond out. What was Zach J. thinking? I’m kind of scared that may be the only move in his playbook, and I’m very scared if it’s ever worked for him before. Do less, Zach J.

Bennett the Wealth Management Consultant from New York is a stereotypical finance bro douchebag, sure, but am I mad at it? Nope.

Yosef came prepared with homemade moon pies. Other than that, he’s kind of annoying, but there’s nothing wrong with a man who knows his way around the kitchen (at least, I think they were homemade…if they were store-bought, I retract my approval).

The Long-Islander-turned-Vermonter (too irrelevant to be named) had some incredibly romantic banter with Clare about his cabin. “Are you gonna be murdering people there?” Clare quipped. Based on the looks of him, she is likely correct. Unless this was just a promo for some new ABC true-crime show, “RUN, CLARE. RUN.”

Chasen arrived in full “knight in shining armor” gear, and promptly stripped it all off, leaving Clare and Chris Harrison to pick it up in a painfully awkward attempt at a blooper. I don’t think “Chasen” is a real name, but I’ll give him a chance to prove himself.

Joe made Clare a bunch of origami animals. If I could include all of the heart eye emojis, I would.

 

Fashion

I hate to judge a woman for what she wears, but seriously, that dress? After having months of quarantine to figure out her debut ‘fit, Clare really chose to mimic the Times Square Ball on New Year’s Eve. Or maybe she was trying to look like a mosaic mirror I made as a child. Moving on.

Let’s talk about the guys, though. Besides the fact that half of the men wore pants that were two sizes too tight, there were a lot of bold fashion choices on the first night. And in true reality TV viewer fashion, I judged them. 

The fashion faux-pas: Garin’s floral tie and sparkly collar; Kenny’s dog t-shirt; Tyler C.’s velvet jacket (maybe passable on anyone else, but I don’t like him so I’m biased); Brendan’s bowtie.

The fashion favorites: Eazy’s salmon suit; Jordan M.’s velvet loafers; Bennett’s scarf; Garin’s burgundy suit (sans the aforementioned tie and shirt collar).

To absolutely no one’s shock, Dale got Clare’s First Impression rose. Then, during the rose ceremony, Clare “said goodbye” to seven contestants, who I’m sure are gutted to be cheated out of true love the HelloFresh Instagram #ads they went on the show to get. So sad. It’s probably just me, but whenever Chris Harrison is kicking out the rejects, I always expect him to tell them, “You’ve been chopped.” 

TL;DR: this was a pretty bland episode, especially given all of the twists and turns that were teased. It ended with a season preview showing a new limo arriving at the resort—insinuating Tayshia’s entrance—so things are looking up. Instead of focusing on what this lackluster episode did have, I’m choosing to focus on the things I’m glad it didn’t have: Pilot Pete, the phrase “Roll Tide,” virgin jokes, Luke P. (who has to pay the “Bachelor” producers $100,000 for breaking his contract), double standards, terrible rapping and absolutely no mention of getting it on in a windmill.

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