HE WAITED FOR HANNAH B FOR SEVEN [WEEKS]!
|Jodi Walker||Jan 14|
Know a Bachelor-lover? A Bachelor-hater? Grant them the sweet release of snark by passing along TATBT.
This Bachelor premiere recap is very personal to me; I wrote it, inexplicably, with my dad. And now I'm giving it to you, my co-boyfriend, on today, our first co-date. And SPEAKING of my dad, I wanted to tell you that my parents have been married for 45 years because I believe that foreplay is important...
If feel in my bones that if I DM'd Peter Weber the fact that my parents celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary two weeks ago [ed. note: dessert—split; cocktails—one each and they were fully tipsy; leftovers—brought to me, their adult daughter, still at home for the holidays, eating all their chips], we could be engaged, or at least making out on a tiny airplane within the week. This man loves to hear that monogamy runs in your family like some positive version of addiction. But monogamy is not hereditary, Peter! It's nice to have examples of healthy, loving relationships so close to you, but you know what else works? Rom-coms and therapy.
None of this is new territory though; janky homemade gifts, idealizing the nuclear family construct, and intimating that you want to fuck your dad is pretty much par for the course in a Bachelor premiere. Also included are sexually suggestive limo intros, that one woman who keeps interrupting the other women, the contestants who get too drunk and fall in love with each other instead of the lead, and Chris Harrison carrying in the First Impression Rose in on a giant Anthropologie coaster, looking all 30 of the women in the eye, and saying: We OWN you now—everything you feel, everything you want, everything you hope for and desire, it's OURS.
Peter's premiere had all of that, of course, but it also took the series into surprising new territory. And I don't just mean that it had a run-time longer than an entire season of Fleabag and included a couple of group dates…
Bringing a former lead back to advise the new lead is not unusual for The Bachelor — in fact, it's one of the most boring things the series regularly does, but I'm always glad to see Sean Lowe keeping busy, or Ben Higgins powering up his skin suit. Bringing the lead's ex back is a little less common, sure, but when things have ended somewhat amicably, there's precedence.
What there's no precedence for, however, is bringing the lead's ex-girlfriend back when she is highly single, serving a fresh Dancing With the Stars spray tan, and acting like a bonafide emotional wreck after making a series of terrible decisions in front of millions of people while also having to, like, carry the weight of feminism on her back.
The producers forced Hannah to come on Peter’s season with bad intentions, I’m sure. But in setting her up for the full emotional meltdown of their wildest dreams, The Bachelor inadvertently fessed up to something else entirely, something that its audience has known for years: this is not a fairytale. Not even close.
Because the thing about fairy tales — kind of the main thing, other than magical young princesses and evil old crones — is that they have endings. Happily ever afters…
Does this look happy to you?
The Bachelor has created a universe that cranks out endless content, but over much of which they have very little control. In recent seasons, they've maxed out their AirBNB budget just looking for L.A. houses that haven’t recently been used for porn where their engaged couples can secretly implode due to extenuating real-world circumstances.
Once the cameras stop rolling, the Bachelor world keeps spinning, and thanks to Instagram, Reality Steve, and security camera footage at Stagecoach Music Festival, we still get to be a part of it, completely devoid of ABC's otherwise careful curation. Jed's ex-girlfriend drags him for filth; Hannah breaks up with him; Hannah asks Tyler out; we see photos of him leaving her apartment the next morning; things quickly fizzle because Tyler starts dating one of the most famous supermodels in the world, and grandfathers out of Bachelor-fame and straight into regular fame.
And we see all of it…
And so does Peter.
In fairy tales, the stable boy doesn't see photos of the princess' bedhead moments after she's sent the baker boy from her bedchambers because the Knox-villain prince recently revealed himself to be a lying cheater who now edits his eyes on Instagram to look like a Twilight character…
No, this is not a fairy tale — it’s much more interesting than that when they allow it to be.
I know the Bachelor producers probably just wanted to make Peter's new co-girlfriends mad when they brought in Hannah Brown looking like a whole charcuterie board of hotness to talk about all the sex she had with Peter on her season. But they also managed to speed up the clock on the most interesting thing that happens during any season of The Bachelor(ette): the heartbreak. Watching Hannah and Peter reenact Marriage Story in the dressing room of some L.A. improv theater while the women who have quit their jobs at a chance to date this sentient Puffs-Plus-Lotion facial tissue sit outside trying to think of how to tell a funny sex story that doesn't make them sound like a slut but also suggests they give good blow jobs is…wild, y'all.
And it feels great! Do I care about the integrity of this show's purported construct? I do not. Do I care if these new women get a fair shake at dating a man who isn't hung up on his ex because she's contractually obligated to keep coming around, and seems personally obligated to keep fucking with his emotions on national television? I absolutely do not.
I care about bugging my eyes out like one of those Kitty-Cat wall clocks while I trying to de-code Hannah's mascara tear-tracks for editing mistakes because I am the John Nash of reality TV.
Plus, this premiere not only ends with the cliffhanger as to whether Hannah and Peter are going to give this thing one more go — it also starts with a cliffhanger that basically assures us there’s no way they will. (Because, I mean, duh—Hannah makes a lot of poorly informed decisions, but at the time of filming, she was a fan-favorite on Dancing With the Stars with five million Instagram followers, and I don’t think anyone's ego or digestive system could allow them to go from A-list lead back down to lowly contestant subsisting on cheese cubes and the agricultural run-off of crushing self-doubt.)
I have long wished The Bachelor franchise would take a few notes from The Real Housewives franchise (older contestants, more former child stars, etc.), and with Peter's season, they've finally done it. Opening with a flash-forward to the end of the season is classic Bravo fare, and even though it’s often false signaling for what will wind up being a boring season with just one dramatic moment, it gets me every time.
So you better believe I'm a sucker for Chris Harrison informing Peter and his fresh forehead scar that before he does what he's about to do there's something he should know. And Peter just collapsing on a bed full of producers saying, "That's just like the last thing I needed to hear”??? That’s money in the bank.
But much more important than any of that: WHAT IS PETER'S MOM TALMBOUT IN THIS SEASON PREVIEW?!
SO. We've got a flash-forward that has us thirsting for the end of this season…a cliffhanger that has us dwelling on the end of last season…and two hours and 40 minutes' worth of content in the middle during which one woman brought a whole ass cow with her to the mansion, never to be seen again; multiple women told Peter they wanted to marry their dad, bringing him to near-orgasm; and Peter the Pilot himself culled every single flight attendant presented to him in an adorable act of passive aggressive occupational-slaughter. So, let's just get into it, shall we?
IS THIS YOUR BACHELOR?
Perhaps the most important thing you need to know about Peter is that during all of this — the mysterious shocking news he receives just before proposing, the reappearance of the woman who broke his heart, reading letters from contestants' grandmothers, talking to a cow, giving toasts — our titular Bachelor is waffling between exactly a 5 and a 6 on the energy scale. Peter might be the most mild-mannered lead we've ever had, and I think that's because what's going on upstairs is basically a Thomas the Tank Engine cartoon where all the dialog has been replaced with a white noise machine, interspersed with occasional Sleepy Time Tea commercials.
Peter is exactly the kind of Handsome Tall who fails upward no matter what he does. That’s not to undercut his successes—oh wait, yes it is a little bit. It's just that he's entirely too corny and simple-hearted for me be mad at him about it. Look no further than the moment when Hannah Ann coyly tells Peter that she wants to "end the night with a kiss" and he exclaims, "oh, gifts!" and she says, "no, a kiss," and he says, "oh, a kiss," and then dutifully and kisses her. It is a moment devoid of chemistry, spontaneity, or charm, and it still ends with Peter getting a kiss, and probably falling in love.
Our Bachelor's personality traits so far are: airplanes, cob-level corniness, and having parents. Boy, does this guy have parents! Including his mom's Jean Valjean outburst to "bring her home to us" in the season preview, Peter Sr. and Barbara show up four times throughout this episode. That's three more times than the cattle-rancher/model who got out of a limo (shockingly, not with a cow), never to be seen or head from again.
Of course, the gag is: Peter lives with his parents. So if they're going to show him milling about his everyday life, it's going to be at his parents' home, surrounded by wholesome family values and script wall hangings where each new words is written in a different cursive font, but the greatest of these is LOVE.
And the worst of these is this apostrophe:
We're introduced to a handful of women in detail before the limo introductions, half of whom will likely comprise Peter’s final four, and half of whom The Bachelor simply cannot resist telling their interesting stories, even though they never stood a chance of dating Peter because they were far too interesting in the first place. For example, Alexa, who is an esthetician and describes herself thusly: "I love caring for people, it fulfills me …
“I also wax vaginas for a living.” I feel you Alexa! It can't all be watching the reality TV for a living, most of the time, you’re just in the trenches, cropping photos in Microsoft Paint and/or waxing vaginas for eight hours! (Alexa also manages to get the full name of her business and description of services into her intro package, so yes we do stan an entrepreneurial legend.)
Then there's Hannah Ann, who says that modeling has given her the opportunity to travel and meet different people, "But ultimately I'm just a normal girl." You know how to tell that someone doesn't think of themselves as just a normal girl? When they clarify to you that they're just a normal girl because they've assumed that their life as a fit model for Sonic are Downy has you shaking in your boots.
It's not that those aren't totally valid brands to model for; it's just like, yeah bish, you SEEM like a normal girl who’s good at her normal job.
Clearly, I had a very violent reaction to Hannah Ann's introduction, and I do not anticipate it getting better, mostly due to her habit of always looking for the camera.
If you are related to Hannah Ann, I would not recommend reading these recaps (and also know that she will use your mere existence to endear herself to Peter who loves nothing more than to hear that people have whole ass parents and siblings out there on this planet we call earth).
Thankfully, Hannah Ann’s introduction is followed by Tammy, the former high school wrestler and current house flipper, who I invite to kindly step on my neck as many times as possible.
We also meet Kelley, the lawyer from Chicago serving big Andi Dorfman energy who previously ran into Peter in a hotel lobby and allegedly did not bone him at that time. But when she steps out of the limo, he is thrilled to see her. And it makes sense that after seeing 29 new faces, it would feel totally comforting to just see someone that you recognize, and feel confident that you have something to talk with them about.
So then imagine how it would feel if after 29 strangers and one person that you briefly met once while you were six whiskey-gingers to the wind, you saw a woman that you were actively in love with not one month ago…
Let's just get through a few notable limo entrances before we get to the grand finale. There's Sydney who tells Peter that she's from Birmingham, but "not every girl from 'Bama makes bad decisions." Peter loves that intro because Sydney is gorgeous, but as she walks away, he inexplicably mutters, "Alabama city. Alright."
City??? This sweet toothbrush of a man.
Lauren wears a lace jumpsuit that is both skintight and conservative which is a total Cocktail Party power move. Because, y'know, it's hard to set yourself apart when you're, at the very most, getting 10 minutes with the Bachelor. That's why Eunice is so glad she's a flight attendant and will really stand out to Peter…
Jade is also excited to make her unique impression on Peter…
And Megan is thrilled to be informed that two other flight attendants have already arrived before her ass can even hit the couch…
And I kid you not, even though Peter seems to base his entire life around emulating his parents (a former pilot and flight attendant), he cuts all these flight attendants in the first round. It gives me some hope that maybe Pilot Pete has just the tiniest streak of rebellion in him buried somewhere under all that earnestness.
But if he does, it's not revealed when Katrina tells him he's going to love her "hairless… ,… pussy… ….. …. ………… …… ….. … cat." Just like he responds to everything else, it's a big smile, a little laugh, and Alabama City yourself right outta there.
Sometimes I'm not sure how much Peter is really computing in the moment. Like when Victoria F tells him that she has a dry sense of humor, but that's the only dry thing about her.
Just…such a weird flex that even Victoria F knew was in poor taste because she can barely get through the joke the first time; then for some reason, she brings it up again when she finally gets time to talk to Peter, and spends the rest of the night fretting that the one and only thing she's talked to Peter about all night is her sopping wet vagina. But she needn't worry, because to Peter, all words are basically the same. He doesn’t seem offended or intrigued or turned on or turned off when Victoria F says she’s wet the first time, and when she brings it up again, he can't even really remember what she said, and once she reminds him, he's like, Haha LOL…
You simply cannot rile this man up. Unless of course… you start talking about the marital history of your ancestors.
Listen, I don't think it's healthy to assume that just because your parents have a lasting marriage, you are preternaturally positioned to have the same, but I do love seeing the reflexive joy it brings to this sentient Pringle can's face. He loves it.
And taking a brief break to tell Peter how long all of the people in their family have been married is basically the only time many of these women stop talking about their own vaginas, Peter’s windmill-based libido, or Hannah, his ex-girlfriend that they’re happy to use as a talking point, but not exactly happy to see step out of the final limo…
Our fearless former Bachelorette arrives like the radiant chaotic neutral she is…
And even though you could cut the sexual tension with a knife, and even though Peter and Hannah both can't stop saying how weird it is to see each other, she is only there to give Peter back the wings he gave her during his own limo introduction all those months ago.
It is later revealed that for a moment Peter genuinely thought Hannah was there to join the house and he didn't hate that idea. It's also later revealed that Hannah isn't totally opposed to making that bad idea a reality. So let's just go ahead and get to that just as soon as…
PETER DATES WOMEN THAT AREN’T HANNAH
Once Hannah Ann has made all of the other women dislike her by stealing Peter three times during the Cocktail Party and earned the First Impression Rose…and once all three flight attendants, Maurissa, Jenna, Kylie, and Katrina have been released into the 8 a.m. sunlight…we just move right along to a group date.
It's a flight school simulation led by the first ever female Blue Angel in the Navy, and a decorated female Marine pilot. Peter, a pilot for Delta Airlines is also there, spraying down one of his li'l planes with a garden hose.
Part of this simulation includes getting spun around in a sort of hamster wheel device that I've seen in movies about becoming an astronaut, but not in any of the classic cinema about becoming a Delta pilot.
For Victoria P, however, it is all too familiar. See, Victoria had a bad experience with a teacups-ride when she was younger, and the producers give it the full Annaliese-childhood-trauma-flashback treatment…
…but I'm not even going to let them trick me into disliking Victoria P who I, in fact, absolutely adore. We already know that she raised her younger sister after her father died and her mother fell into addiction, and that eventually both her mother and her sister overcame addiction, and now they all have a great relationship. We know that she gets emotional just thinking about the opportunity to fall in love.
We know that Victoria P straps her ass into that spinning machine because she doesn't want to let Peter down, spins around, dismounts, and promptly sprints to the bathroom to vomit. And we know that later, during the nighttime portion of the date, Victoria P is wearing glasses and looking fantastic. I can’t remember any previous contestant wearing glasses on a date. I love her.
And I hesitate to use such a trite word, because on this season of The Bachelor, it's basically the equivalent of blinking, but Victoria P seems so—gasp—genuine. All signs are pointing to her getting the group date rose…
If it weren't for Kelley, that highly suspect pre-season rendezvous, and some light cheating.
Peter is just clearly really into Kelley who he totally didn’t hook up with a few weeks ago, so when she (perhaps accidentally) cheats on the final obstacle course to win a sunset plane ride with Peter, he just accepts it as obstacle course rules.
Which the women of course blame on Kelley rather than Peter, leading Kelley to take her own life into her hands when she later has a stare-down with Tammy, who would love nothing more than to sprinkle Kelley's bones into her raw egg smoothie the next morning. But Kelley stands her ground, not apologizing for getting the extra time, and also conveniently not mentioning that their group date location is actually the exact hotel she first met Peter however many weeks ago…
So, naturally, after Peter assures Kelley that even though she probably has a target on her back, she should just keep on trucking, and he'll do everything he can to protect her…
He completely throws her under the bus by revealing to all the other women who already don’t like her that they’re in the hotel where their "first spark" happened while giving her the Group Date Rose.
These women might actually murder Kelley.
And yet, we somehow never find out the group’s reaction to the fact that Madison's one-on-one date with Peter was to meet his entire family and attend his parents' vow renewal at their home.
I want to be annoyed with how much Peter idolizes his parents' relationship, but so help me, when these two look at each other and talk about how much they love each other, I just…
Grow a mustache and weep. And if you are going to bring a stranger into this extremely intimate setting, Madison was a wise choice. She's bubbly enough to not be awkward, but sincere enough to not be over the top. Her parents have also been married for a long time, so she's clearly very attracted to this aspect of Peter's family life.
And then, on the nighttime portion of their date, she says those 12 words that every man wants to hear:
Once Peter has cleaned himself up, he tells Madison that hearing her talk about how much she respects her parents' relationship is so refreshing, "And it just speaks volumes about the kind of person you are and your character."
Dammit, Peter! No it does not! It perhaps speaks volumes about her parents character, and perhaps they have passed some of that onto Madison or whatever, but this moralizing of your familial construct having anything to do with the caliber of person you are has to stop. My parents have been married forever, and I'm a stone cold nightmare! [Ed. note: Don't tell Peter. He’s still very tall, and I'm still planning to slide into those DMs.]
And it will stop. Because something a lot more interesting than two strangers named Sharon and Roger getting married in 1992 is about to happen…
THE BEAST IS BACK
Now, it's not entirely worth getting into the full Hannah B drama in this premiere recap because even though the editors included in the premiere to show us that no matter what we think, they still own our sorry asses, this drama is going to continue to run the narrative in episode 2, and they will replay every mascara-covered, Notebook-worthy moment of it until you’re not even sure who’s show this is anymore.
It's just all so…cinematic. If The Joker can be nominated for an Oscar, so can this.
The tension begins to build when Peter tells the second set of women that their group date will be conducted by someone he's "very close to," but he has no idea what the date will entail. That person winds up being Hannah B, who tells a kind of Moth StorySLAM version of her Fantasy Suite date with Peter that created the Windmill Lore of 2019.
The women nervously laugh along from the audience, but their smiles somehow look like knives. Even not knowing what the date was going to be—Hannah tells the women they’ll have to tell a story about sex in front of a live audience—Peter should have said no to this! It's pretty unkind to make his new girlfriends interact with his old girlfriend so recently after they’ve broken up and when she’s looking like a sexy ass disco ball.
But Peter has the backbone of a napkin…and the opinions of a napkin…and the syntactic range of a napkin…and yet, not a napkin in sight when Hannah's face starts leaking like a cheap CVS cooler.
Peter walks backstage to find that Hannah is crying from what seems to be a genuine reaction to being forced to reckon with the fact that she rejected Peter for a far worse romantic option, and now she's alone, and he's potentially on his way to moving on.
Hannah sort of apologizes for how upset Peter was when she broke up with him in Crete, and he tells her that its’s okay, he knows she followed her heart.
"Yeah, well, my heart was very confused,” she replies.
Do ya hear that, Peter? No matter what clarity you feel certain is coming your way, it's not. Because falling in love with three people at once is not an efficient way to fall in love! Hannah starts saying that she doesn't know what she was thinking over and over, and that she questions the decisions she made after breaking things off with Jed.
And even though Peter remains so calm that he could basically be sleeping, this makes him start to reveal some questions of his own. Like, if Hannah still had feelings for him when she saw him at After the Final Rose, then why did she ask Tyler out on the live show the next night? "Seeing that happen, for me," Peter tells Hannah, still trying so hard to protect her feelings, "it was like, that's it—I don't want to be someone's third option."
And that's really all Peter needs to know right now. He can't be someone's third choice. Hannah asked Tyler out because she's impulsive and because she was still actively not choosing Peter, which is just as bad as being outright rejected. It's the difference between getting ghosted and getting The Big Long text. Neither is good; one just feels like getting a door slammed in your face, and the other feels like a door that’s been mercilessly left open even though it leads to nowhere.
The only way Peter and Hannah end up together—and I genuinely hope they might because even though we'd never hear the fucking end of it from Chris Harrison, it would be so romantic—is for him to try out all his other options, and find them wanting. If they're each other's third option, this could work!
But right now, they're just going to keep asking each other "what do you want" until both of their faces have puffed up into perfect little pastries, and they pass out from exhaustion. Because they simply don't know what they want—they're not at the end of the story yet.
Or at least that's my guess. We'll have to wait until the next episode to see WHY PETER IS GETTING SO CLOSE TO HER FACE!!! Poor little buddy.
See you back here next week to find out if these women will get the chance to talk about their vaginas yet again, or if Hannah is whisking Peter off to his Happily Ever After, and I finally get the Mike season I wanted all along…
Hey, a girl can dream, right? Tammy sure knows how: