In case anyone cares, season 17 of “The Bachelorette” premiered Monday night. While an insane number of people actually enjoy watching the show — why, I’ll never know — the rest of us have much more refined taste (see: HGTV). Regardless, Bachelor Nation is loud, and you’re bound to enter a cultural conversation about the show at some point. In an effort to preserve your brain cells, here’s the deal: I’ll watch it so you don’t have to.
The episode started out just as you’d expect: half-clothed and in New Mexico. This season’s bachelorette is Katie Thurston, who was a contestant on Matt James’ season of “The Bachelor,” where she achieved fame for introducing herself with a sex toy. Thurston was loud about her sex-positive attitude on James’ season — and she hasn’t changed a bit. After all, it’s 2021, Thurston said. It’s about time people get comfortable with sex.
Thurston was understandably nervous. She’s “never dated 30 guys at once.” At least she has that going for her. Don’t worry, though. Thurston said she’s ready for the love she deserves and “won’t settle.” If the 30 men she has to choose from are any indication of what she deserves, it’s not a whole lot. I’ll spare you the pain of going through the entire list of suitors, but there were a few standouts.
We got pretty familiar right off the bat with math teacher Connor B., who was in the bathtub playing Fur Elise on a ukulele while nude. Honestly, nothing explains the show’s nature better than this wildly imperfect mix of entertainment, class, and debauchery.
Motivational speaker Karl is a self-proclaimed “mover and a shaker.” In a moment of truth, Karl told us all his family members are married with kids, and he’s stuck wondering, “What the hell is wrong with me?” For starters, Karl, you’re competing with dozens of men on a reality show.
Tre knows 40 digits of pi, Andrew S. plays football in Austria and likes to fake British accents, Cody is a zipper sales manager, and Jeff lives in an RV. Take your pick, Katie.
Then there’s Mike. A gym owner and former baseball player from California, Mike is the only distinguishable contestant: He’s a virgin. I can’t wait to see how sex-positive Katie, who just posted a photo of herself in a “no fake orgasms” shirt on Instagram, will react.
Our nervous bachelorette finally got to meet her 30 suitors, but not without some help. After longtime host Chris Harrison was booted from “The Bachelor” franchise in February for allegedly supporting a racist contestant, former series stars Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe joined Thurston as guest hosts for the season. Luckily, Adams and Bristowe lightened the mood when Katie was faced with the inevitably painful reality of meeting 30 obsessive strangers at once — and there were some weird ones.
Aaron wins the award for best introductory line: “Generally, people say I have a good smile, and after I found out you were the Bachelorette I could not stop smiling, so thank you for that.” Humility, dear boy.
Double ear-pierced Austin is “on the pursuit of happiness” and wants to “make Katie [his] last step.” Swoon.
Our man Jeff decided to bypass the limo and arrive in his portable home, thinking “Katie could be happy in an RV or a palace.” Spoiler: She’s not, especially when she saw the dirty underwear and trash lining the floor of his breaking bad-esque vehicle.
Cody brought Thurston his blow-up doll named Sandy who’s been “keeping him warm through those cold nights.” I would make a joke, but at this point I like Sandy more than Katie, so I’ll be fair.
Twenty-seven-year-old Greg gifted Thurston a specialty macaroni necklace his 3-year-old niece made. It was cute until Katie thanked the stranger with an unnecessarily long kiss. Greg received the first-impression rose for being smart enough to exploit his kid niece.
At the end of the night, Katie sent seven of her boyfriends home: Gabriel, Austin, Brandon, Landon, Jeff, Marcus, and Marty. Needless to say, they were devastated. Poor Austin didn’t even get to put one foot forward in his pursuit of happiness.
Katie is “living the dream.” I, on the other hand, felt like I was in a nightmare.
There’s something about a room of 30 “grown-ass” men with shirts so tight they look like they’re being strangled that makes me rather depressed. I saw more ankles and Italian loafers on this screen than I had ever seen in my entire life, and at this point, I’m just praying Mike gets out of this with his innocence intact. I suggest you all do the same.