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.
For all the talk of this being “the most dramatic season ever,” this hack job of an episode was objectively one of the most boring I’ve ever seen. I started watching a little bit late because of tech issues, and I think that may have been the universe telling me it wasn’t worth it. Too bad I didn’t listen, because the pot of drama isn’t even starting to be stirred—at best, it’s at a light simmer. It didn’t help that the producers did that thing where they tease the beginning of a rose ceremony and then make us wait until the next week to actually see who goes home. I swear, this show is like a Hallmark card…for all the talk about “opening up,” “being raw and real” and “having serious connections,” the deepest reveal of the week was that Chasen was not cool in high school. On the bright side, every minute of this lackluster episode got us closer to Tayshia…she can’t save us fast enough, Bachelor Nation. According to Reality Steve (spoiler alert), Clare only had two rose ceremonies over the course of her term as the Bachelorette, so it sounds like sh*t starts to hit the fan next week, and I’m eagerly awaiting this Bachelorette coup d’état (as I write this, we have 5 days, 14 hours, 34 minutes and 11 seconds to go).
The five love languages group date was not actively terrible. The “words of affirmation” part was iconic—forcing a bunch of hot guys to say nice things to you while you stand in a fake castle window? That’s the ego boost we all need. As for the “physical touch” part of the date, in which a blindfolded Clare put her hands all over each dude, a text from my mother deigned that it was “Kinda mean to make all the guys watch her fondle all the other guys.” She’s not wrong. Of course, she was visibly most attracted to Dale and likely wanted to skip to the “quality time” portion of the date (if you know what I mean). Predictably, the “gifts” segment sucked—it was just a bunch of random crap from the guys’ hotel rooms—but ordering men to give you gifts is still a wonderful concept. There was no “acts of service” segment, but that checks out:everyone on this show is doing us an act of service by finally giving us the trashy TV we’ve been waiting for since the beginning of quarantine.
We need to talk about Clare’s one-on-one with Jason. In case you forgot who Jason was (me too), he was the one who exited the limo with a fake pregnancy belly, which is pretty much all you need to know about him. This date was like watching an amateur therapy session. Before the date, they both wrote letters to their younger selves and revealed profound traumas including “a Pandora’s Box of demons” (every dating show needs a nod to Greek mythology). After taking a cleansing scream break, Clare brought out a dress she wore on Juan Pablo’s season for the two of them to set on fire. Not sure if this was a “screw you” to Juan Pablo, or a warning to Jason about what will happen if he wrongs her. My personal favorite part of the date was when therapist Clare asked him, “Is there dark, like, heavy stuff?” in his past. My best guess is that his senior prom date cheated on him at the afterparty. This show loves to make deep-seated emotional damage out of nothing. Quid pro quo, tit for tat, trauma for rose.
On the topic of the strip dodgeball (I cannot believe I just typed the phrase “strip dodgeball”) group date: Alexa, play “Dance (A$$)” by Big Sean. Clare was thoroughly enjoying her view—at the last minute, she made up her own rule that the losing team had to leave pantsless—and Chris Harrison looked thoroughly uncomfortable. The red team quickly bested the blue team (self-entitled the “blue balls”), who promptly dropped their trousers and paraded back home in the ultimate walk of shame. Clare observed the very tan behind of Kenny the boy band manager, something everyone was eager to envision (not). Yosef declared the strip dodgeball game “classless,” and while it can’t be easy staring at that many washboard abs, he needs to get his little-man complex in check.
We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming of judgment and snark to bring you a message that’s actually important: do not reward toxic behavior. Blake Moynes (the one who looks like Sully from “Monsters Inc.”), who admitted to illegally messaging Clare before going on the show during last week’s episode, is on the losing team in strip dodgeball and throws a properly Bachelor-style hissy fit. Upon crashing the red team’s date with Clare, she actually gives him the time of day instead of telling him where he can stick it. So, to recap: first, this man slides into her DMs against the rules, and she’s into it. Now, he crashes a group date that he wasn’t invited on, and she personally pulls him aside to give him a rose? Clearly, Blake has trouble respecting boundaries, but Clare is totally giving him the green light. Red flags, red flags everywhere. At least he didn’t ask to pray over her, à la Luke P.
Clare and Dale
“First and foremost, Dale.” This is something Clare actually said. They were ALL over each other in the blindfolded “physical touch” segment of the love languages date, and I honestly felt bad for the other guys watching them. They know they don’t stand a chance. We learned that Clare is a “big smell person,” which is a fact that no one wanted to know, but it’s definitely true because she took one whiff of Dale and was ready to unlock the fantasy suite right then and there. At least we know that Dale and Clare don’t have any trouble in the chemistry department—and that’s with his full-on Keebler elf ears. The fact that he can still be that hot is just unfair.
Things I liked:
Clare’s square-necked tank top.
Brandon. Just in general. What a beautiful specimen. Clare sent him home for not complimenting anything other than her looks, so I think she’s forgotten the point of the show. Anyway, Brandon is now available, so I will be sliding into his DMs.
Clare saying, “It’s been such a long time since I’ve heard such kind words from men.” She speaks for us all.
“Château Bennett”— the brief glimpse into Bennett’s luxurious lifestyle was arguably the best part of the episode. His room features a fireplace, green juice, a hot tub and an extensive selection array of face masks (i.e. heaven). I’d happily quarantine at Château Bennett any day.
While I don’t approve of objectification in any scenario, it’s nice to know that the franchise doesn’t discriminate on the basis of gender—everyone is there to be objectified, including the men. The blue team’s thongs (jock straps?) might be pushing it, though.
Things that made me want to throw my remote at the TV:
Approximately half of the guys wearing neck chains (while the other half were not wearing socks).
The censor boxes during the strip dodgeball date (click on that link, you’ll thank me for it).
Yosef calling Clare “crazy.” He’s not entirely wrong, but still, never say that to a woman.
Clare’s admission that she’s not always “the skinniest or prettiest girl in the room.” Honey, you’re the only girl in the room, plus you’re conventionally attractive. Shut up.
How nobody on this show knows how to properly use a freaking adverb.
“I want to be your king”…gross gross gross.
Clare pouting because the guys aren’t paying her enough attention, when they are literally all here to meet her.
Tayshia not showing up yet. Period.
That’s all I’ve got for you this week, thanks to last night’s uninspiring episode. Honestly, I would have rather watched Clare swipe on Tinder for two hours, but what’s done is done. The good news is that Clare’s implosion and Tayshia’s subsequent arrival are imminent, plus we have some new men and a few Bachelor Nation cameos to look forward to this season. Stay tuned for next week’s episode, which hopefully won’t make me want to walk myself out of the living room.