After just two and a half short months -- an appropriate amount of time to recover from Sean Lowe's excessive shirtlessness -- "The Bachelorette" is back. Desiree Hartsock has graduated from "Bachelor" dumpee to "Bachelorette," ready to find true love by sorting through 25 (mostly bizarre) gentlemen. Chris Harrison, we've missed you so. Let the endless weeks of dude anger, dude emotions and dude tears begin!
'Bachelorette' Buzzwords: Fairy Tale, Cinderella, Prince Charming
Des is having "like the best dream [she's] ever had" -- which is being on reality TV of course. "As of this moment you are officially the bachelorette," Chris Harrison informs Des as she pulls up to her sweet bachelorette pad in Malibu. He replaces Desiree's "everywoman" car with a Bentley, and we're reminded that Des was poor when she was a child (the first of many OMG-she-wasn't-rich-growing-up references) and that she was once dumped by Sean Lowe. But never fear, her life is now a fairy tale. We're then treated to an inexplicable montage of Des rollerskating in pink knee socks, jean cutoffs and a bikini top. Because nothing says "I'm ready for love" like trying on sunglasses and cowboy hats dressed like a half-naked roller derby girl.
Des also says the words "fairy tale," "Prince Charming," "Cinderella" and "castle" more times than anyone has ever said those words in a 10-minute period. Because she used to be poor, so now she's Cinderella -- get it?
The Wisdom Of Chris Harrison
The Chris Harrison pow-wows/therapy sessions are starting early this season. Chris informs Des that she's about to meet "25 amazing men" and asks her whether she thinks her "fairy tale has a happy ending," which made me want to vomit a little bit. He also commends her for not having any rules about first kisses (go girl!). "I feel like my Prince Charming is one of those men," says Des, not having met any of the 25 weirdos ABC is setting her up with. "I could be designing my own wedding dress!" (So... does this mean Des is a designer? Because this is literally the first hint that she even has a career.)
Bring On (Some Of) The Bros
"There will be drama, conflict and, no doubt, heartbreak," Chris Harrison informs viewers. But before Des actually gets to meet any of the 25 dudes who might be her fiancee for three months, we get introduced to a few of the men whose dude tears we'll be subjected to over the next 10+ weeks:
Bryden, 26: An Iraq vet -- because it's Memorial Day, y'all. He's also totally ready for post-war love and a serious relationship.
Will, 28: A banker and this season's token black man. He does bikram yoga and gives high fives to random strangers on the streets of Chicago.
Drew, 27: An adorable digital marketing analyst who runs shirtless and has an even more tug-at-your-heartstrings childhood story than Des. He'll have sooo much to open up about.
Nick R., 26: A magician/tailor -- best job description ever! "Every magician needs an assistant," he says, pulling out just one of many uber-creepy lines these dudes will use to woo Des.
Zak W., 31: A "drilling fluid engineer" who lives in middle-of-nowhere Texas. He gets lonely a lot and is pretty much always shirtless. (Foreshadowing...)
Robert, 30: A (very pretty) entrepreneur from LA who claims to be the "man behind sign spinning." We're skeptical that he invented the art of spinning advertisements next to major roads, but he gets extra points for skateboarding with his dog.
Mike R., 28: A British-by-birth (but not accent) dental student living in Dallas. He's "lived a lot of life."
Brandon, 26: A painting contractor (a.k.a. a painter) who's an "adrenaline junkie." He also had a sad, difficult childhood -- but loves his grandparents. (Awww!)
Don't Dip A Woman When You Meet Her, Do Have An Adorable Child
After the first batch of Des' bro-suitors have sufficiently blended together in my head, we get to meet the rest of them and are reminded that yes, this show is indeed two FULL hours long. Here's the short version of Desiree's post-limo meet and greets:
--Drew is super nervous and awkward, which Des somehow finds adorable.
--Brooks keeps it shockingly normal.
--Brad makes Des make a wish on a wishbone with him.
--Michael G., also goes with the "make a wish" theme, but he chooses to wade around the Bachelorette mansion's fountain looking for a penny to do so. It doesn't go well.
--Kasey works in social media, yet commits social media's cardinal sin and admits to stalking Des online. (The admission, not the stalking being the sin. Everybody stalks a little.) He also insists on speaking in hashtags. #Horrible.
--Mikey T. decides to give Des a lesson on family. "Family knows best," he intones. So wise.
--Jonathan gets the worst entrance of the night award when he gives Des a letter asking her to go with him to the "fantasy suite" on the first night. "I'm not that kind of girl," says Desiree, clearly unimpressed.
--Zak W. arrives shirtless and asks Des if she'll "accept these abs." Dear god, make it end.
--James tells Des that it's totally fine if they both get fat.
--Larry chooses not to mention that he's an ER doctor and instead tries to dip Des while she's wearing a super tight, sparkly dress and nearly knocks her over. Nearly ruining the Bachelorette's dress on the first night does not make a great impression.
--Nick R., the magician/tailor, does some magic.
--Diogo shows up dressed in full armor. Enough said.
--Chris kneels down on one knee and ... ties his shoe. Good one, Chris!
--Mike R. informs Des that he's going for a McDreamy AND McSteamy look.
--Robert takes off his tie. "Are you taking more off?" asks Des, excited. I like her already.
--Juan Pablo is a pro soccer player from Venezuela. Des can't pronounce his name, but he IS pretty.
--Brandon rolls up on a motorcycle in a pinstripe suit. Too much to prove.
--Brian wears a velvet jacket on the first night. Des is understandably confused.
--Micah shows up in a suit he designed, which makes the world glad he is not, in fact, a designer.
--Ben shows up last, but makes quite the entrance. He sends his adorable toddler son Brodie out of the limo first to give Des a flower. It's absolutely a ploy, but when he and his son fist bump and give each other goodbye kisses I can't even begin to care. "You just melted my heart," says Des. Everyone watching agrees.
How Not To Woo A Woman
"I am blown away by all of them," Des says, describing her 25 suitors. Considering the horrors we all just witnessed, America feels very bad for her. To dull the pain of such an ... interesting ... group of gentlemen, Chris Harrison gives Des permission to go first impression rose crazy. As all of the dudes stare longingly at a plate full of roses, Des makes a toast to "new faces" and "new hot bodies."
The magician pulls a (somewhat) smooth move at the beginning and says he's going to "make Des disappear for five minutes." We learn that he only does magic on nights and weekends, but before he does any other tricks, Brandon steals Des away. He opens up to her (so soon!) about how he flipped his mother's seven-years-sober coin to determine whether he would go on an interview for "The Bachelorette." Spoiler alert: He did -- and then decided to give Desiree his mom's AA chip. (Is that supposed to be sweet?)
Ben leverages his cute kid capital and woos Des with tales of childhood family camping and road trips. He easily gets the first rose. "Could it be because my son is the most gorgeous kid the world?" he wonders. "Possibly." Then the trying-too-hard portion of the evening begins. One dude dances too enthusiastically, another names a star after Des and Zak W. strips down to his tighty-whities and jumps into the pool. Des gives him what seems to be a pity rose for his nudity.
Bryden gets another first impression rose for being a soft-spoken veteran who's BFFs with his dog, and Juan Pablo scores points for being a sexy soccer player with a sexy accent. Drew soon becomes the 4th man of the night to get a rose by talking about the butterflies in his stomach and continuing to be adorably awkward. On the other side of the "doing well" spectrum, Larry, the ill-fated ER doc, tries to overcompensate and apologizes 12 times for dipping Des badly.
Welcome To The 'Love Tank'
But the biggest fail of the night goes to Fantasy Suite Man, Jonathan. After drinking too much of some anonymous amber liquor, he rigs up a faux fantasy suite in one of the mansion's spare rooms and sets out to proposition Des. He pulls Des aside, tells her he has no filter and tries to bring her to his fantasy suite while slurring his sentences. When Des says no, he comments that his mom finds him good-looking and then utters what may turn out to be the best line of the entire season: "My love tank has not been depleted for years."
After he goes back and tries to force her into a private room again, Des lays down the law. "You're making me feel very uncomfortable," she says, sternly. Some of the other dudes wonder if they'll have to "save" Des, but she makes it pretty clear she can take care of herself and asks Jonathan to leave immediately. I mean, he was totally NOT there for the right reasons.
The First Final Rose
After the love tank drama subsides, it's (finally) time to start eliminating some of these guys.
SAFE: Brandon, Zack K., Will, Brooks, Juan Pablo, Brad, Kasey, James, Robert, Brian, Danny, Chris and Mikey. (Ben, Zak, Bryden, Nick M., Michael G. and Drew had roses already.)
ELIMINATED: Larry, Nick R., Diogo, Micah and Mike R. (Jonathan was already long gone.) Unsurprisingly, Des ditched the ER doctor who can't dip, the magician and the knight.
What To Look Forward To This Season
Castles! Fairy tales! Des is one in a million! Des is a dream girl! Des is the luckiest! Yelling off mountains! Hugs! Dudes fighting! Dudes wringing necks! Dudes cursing! Someone has a girlfriend! Ben isn't here to make enemies! Ben makes out with Des! Ben's a lying, cheating pig! James accepts a rose! Something will erupt! Something's a big deal! Someone can't take the bullsh*t! Des can't handle it! Des cries! James cries! Brooks cries! Everyone cries! There are good guys! Fireworks! Boats! Making out! More making out! Running through orchards! Love!
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