A TATBT Bachelorette recap: HOMETOWNS

BABY YOU'RE A SONG / YOU MAKE ME WANNA TRAP MY FAMILY ON A COUCH / AND LIIIIIIIE

This is a recap of Hannah’s Hometowns episode, with a recap of Fantasy Suites to follow — if you’re reading TATBT for the first time and you enjoy all the screaming, go ahead and sign up for free right here! Do it for Tyler C…

The Bachelor(ette) episode before Hometowns is both extremely important, and also, doesn't matter at all. It is important because it’s when everyone realizes they're falling in love, and Hannah has to decide which four families she's going to lead to believe that she's in love with their tall-haired son, even though she’ll be breaking his tall heart in a matter of days, maybe after having sex with him first, because this show is nuts and it’s been on for 17 years…

But mostly, nothing matters before the Hometowns episode. It is the most dependable of cultural touchpoints, on par with the Oscars or those deeply sinister “I ate my kids Halloween candy” videos. When you know Hometowns are coming up, it is impossible to focus on anything except the decorative cross accent wall you’re definitely going to see at Luke's house, or wondering if Tyler has a brother, or if Jed's girlfriend is going to be sitting at his kitchen island innocently eating Captain Crunch when he shows up with Hannah, or if Peter's parents are Precious Moments Figurines and his siblings are Cabbage Patch Kids. And of course—all those big ass clocks.

In this case, the only interesting thing that happens in The Episode Before Hometowns is the preview for the rest of the season wherein Hannah tells Luke that she fucked one of her other boyfriends in a windmill, and then tells the camera that she fucked said boyfriend in said windmill twice. But because of Hannah's accent and the need to bleep her saucy language on the American Broadcast Network, it sounds a lot like she says, "I fucked a windmill … I fucked a windmill twice." The girl is a wild card.

Sadly, in addition to that windmill and whomever it contained…Hannah’s entire season is also utterly, utterly fucked.

In the episode before Hometowns, Hannah releases Big Mike, literally the only person on her season who could have possibly been “ready to get engaged,” whatever that means.

And that's okay. Hannah wasn't in love with Mike; Hannah didn’t come to the realization that she could be acutely attracted to a man's thighs after seeing Mike in a pair of light-washed jeans; Hannah is not Demi Lovato; and, to be fair, Hannah did appropriately grieve having to let such a handsome, wholesome specimen go while weeping over the beauty of Art.

You see, Hannah simply does not know a good thing when she sees it. As it so happens, Hannah also does not know a bad thing when she sees it—or mounts it on a bench in some weird antique store.

I think the second Hannah is physically attracted to someone, her brain turns into that Alex Mack/Capri Sun goo and just starts regenerating itself over and over until she can imagine a life with said hottie. That's the only thing that's ever been able to explain her continued insistence on "seeing the good" in Luke P: because the only good that she could possibly see in him is a combination of his testimony-slingin' piety and those V-muscles that lead down to his, uh, altar.

And after these Hometowns, Capri-Sun-brain is also the only thing that could explain Hannah holding onto Jed, given that his family looked at her like this the whole time:

Something is up, Hannah Brown.

Of course, we have known for weeks that Jed went onto the show looking for exposure as a musician, a fact that he admitted to Hannah when he told her he’d developed real feelings for her. What he failed to mention is that he was seriously dating a fellow musician when he was cast on The Bachelorette, and he told said girlfriend that he would go on the show for said exposure and then come back to her because he loved her.

Which the woman believed, right up until Jed returned from the show and completely ghosted her. That's when she came out with her story, and in the process of going on Reality Steve's podcast, was told while recording that Jed had also cheated on her shortly before going on The Bachelorette, telling her to wait for him, making it to at least the Fantasy Suites with Hannah, and eventually ghosting her—this, to the woman that he said he loved.

It all sort of colors his declaration that he's in love with Hannah in a new light. (The light is black, and Jed is a Motel 6 duvet cover.)

So now, imagine that you're Jed's family who know that he's been seriously dating this woman, Haley…and know that he told her he was going on The Bachelorette for his career…and now he shows up in Knoxville with the Bachelorette, saying that he's in love with this woman now instead…so you just have to…

It's not the worst thing in the world to go onto this love gameshow with a girlfriend and end up falling in love with the Bachelorette. It's a big whoops, but with some honesty and a contraband iPhone, or a break-up letter slipped in Connor's pocket on his way out (RIP Tall Connor), it might be something you could overcome. But it definitely is the worst thing to both not tell Hannah about Haley, and to ghost Haley once you've arrived back from getting all your exposure and maybe engaged to another woman. That's, uh, super bad dude territory. And then to make your very pretty and tan mom and sister complicit in your lie—super! bad! dude!

Basically, all of Hannah's options heading into Hometowns are traaaash except for Tyler, the sexy reincarnation of a hot black-and-white photo of a World War II soldier you found tucked into one of your grandmother's books, but know isn't your grandfather, who Hannah somehow seems the least into, but it's no matter, because he is destined for greater things than The Bachelor universe can contain (a gym…he's going to open a very successful gym and marry someone from Riverdale).

And yes, I am including Pilot Pete in that list of garbage cans, unfortunately…

PETER

But he’s just, like, a little SimpleHuman pedal-push guy next to the bathroom sink.

News broke Tuesday that Peter also had a serious girlfriend right before coming on the show. Peter did at least break up with her once he found out he was cast on The Bachelorette, so on the list of Sleazy Guys Hannah Might Get Engaged To, he's still a solid #3. But he was basically in the process of begging this woman to move across the country to live with him, and then dropped her like a landing gear without any explanation whatsoever the moment he was cast on the show, two days before Christmas.

And I believe the woman—because I always believe the woman. Peter and Jed have plenty of incentive to lie and mislead, and their respective ex-girlfriends have very little incentive to come forward with the truth.

Because no woman would invite the specific vile of Bachelor Nation commentators [ed. note: HELLO, have you read this blog, I used an altar as an analogy for a penis earlier! We are nasty at best, and sacrilegious at worst!] if they did not feel it was their righteous duty to keep that man from being the next Bachelor. And I mean, I would believe just about anything that gets me one step closer to seeing Mike's thighs in any number of jeans as The Bachelor, but the ex-girlfriend also said that she wasn’t going to say anything until it became clear during Hometowns that Peter had told his family that she broke his heart and it took him so long to get over her because he's such a romantic, ugh ugh ugh.

Still, this doesn’t make me think Peter is a shark-eyed mouth-breather like Luke, or a manipulative womanizer like Jed. Maybe he just has to learn to treat women better the good old fashioned way: by being dragged for filth in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Tonight.

And I simply refuse to let whatever Catch Me If You Can fantasy he's living out tarnish the good name of his adorable trilingual family.

I guess my suspicions should have been raised when Peter had Hannah meet him in the woods and then walked her to a clearing where he introduced her to his "baby," a Mercedes sports car, and told her they'd be going for a ride.

Awesome. Here's a thought—what if we did anything else and you just told me that you’re rich?? They seem to be silently riding along until Hannah starts jamming her hand into every nook and cranny like a little kid. "I'm gonna investigate in here," she says as she opens his middle console, pulling out a box of Altoids, quickly followed by a condom.

One condom, Peter? Did you get it from a vending machine? WHERE ARE THE OTHER CONDOMS, PETER???

So! Many! Signs! But it's easy to be distracted when the Mercedes sports car takes you to a private plane that your boyfriend flies you around in because he’s a pilot, and then he takes you to his house where his perfect family is waiting, and his mom is gorgeous, and his brother is adorable, and his dad has a cross necklace to rival Luke P's and a mustache that is, in a surprise twist, representative of refreshingly healthy masculinity…

I expected Hannah to be great at Hometowns because she's so bubbly, but every time you forget that she's the gal who was physically incapable of giving a toast on Colton's season, she gives a family some rambling speech about how she forced their son to open up to her, and they're just all so sweet and excited to see him, they're like, Who's ready for some Cuban food?!

But before Cuban food — there’s a German prayer! And Peter’s family starts be-bopping around like little Hummel dolls singing in German.

I love them. And I cannot blame Hannah for going to this Hometown and keeping Peter afterward even though she very much is not going to get engaged to him.

Their physical chemistry, which was once surprisingly strong, even seems to have fizzled a bit, and perhaps it's because Peter can't quite bring himself to tell Hannah how he feels, allegedly because of his past relationship.

Peter uses a lot of odd language to avoid saying he loves Hannah, either because he's scared to, or because he just doesn’t. His sweet mustachioed dad asks Peter if Hannah knows how he feels about her, and Peter responds, "I haven't expressed to her, like, the ultimate, in the ultimate way." His father clarifies, "You haven't told her you love her," because he's not messing around with any secret code. Then Peter Sr. becomes overwhelmed with emotion, telling his son that he just wants what's best for him no matter what, and I dunno, maybe we could just somehow keep Peter's family in the mix for the rest of the season without necessarily keeping Peter around.

Now comes the time in Hometowns where the contestants have to decide on the two-meter walk from their family home to the getaway vehicle if they're going to tell the Bachelorette their next variant in the Falling for you -> Falling in love with you -> I love you -> I'm in love with you progression.

This year though, production has added a bench four feet away from each Hometown's front door where Hannah drapes her legs over her boyfriend and waits to hear if he’s in love with her, or just…

Never have I heard the word "freaking" used by more adults than on Hannah's season of The Bachelorette. Which is weird because…

TYLER

This girl is ready to fooooook!

Somewhere between last week and this week, Hannah has officially gotten on board with how hot Tyler is, and I respect her decision to commit.

I also understand her previous hesitation. Tyler's is the kind of hot you should be afraid of because it should by all means hurt you. Tyler is a lit stove…

But Hannah has suddenly transformed herself into a pot that can handle it, and baby girl is about to boil over. My most controversial Bachelorette opinion currently is that it’s NOT a good idea for Tyler to be the next Bachelor because I think the women competing for his affections would just go up in flames instantly, like foil in a microwave. It's very important that the Bachelor be bland enough that anyone could all in love with him, but not such a catch that a woman would physically harm another woman in pursuit of him.

If Tyler is the Bachelor, mark my words, there will be a whole true crime podcast dedicated to solving what happened inside that mansion within the year.

But even though Tyler's appeal extends far beyond his looks and to his—gasp—personality, Hannah doesn’t seem to emotionally connect with him in the same way that she does with—barf—Jed or Luke.

She's excited for him to see his dad who was still in poor health when Tyler left for the show, but when he opens up about the way his father's brush with death put so many things in perspective for him, like how he wants his dad to be able to meet his wife and children one day, Hannah is basically like, "Yes, thank you."

But whatever, as long as Tyler is happy, I'm happy, and Tyler is very happy to see his family. In comparison to Peter's family, who were kind of like animated woodland creatures, Tyler's family is very calm, mostly stay seated when Tyler and Hannah enter the room, and say "buddy" and "man" in between most words.

Much like his son, Tyler's dad has a few corny lines he likes to use, and he tells both Tyler and Hannah that Tyler has him worried…

Because his son seems so in love, y'aaaaall!

Tyler’s dad tells the camera, "Me and Tyler, ever since he was a small child, have been on this big journey together, and it's good to see him this happy." What a lovely sentiment!

Hannah's main concern coming into Tyler's Hometown is that he might not be ready for an engagement, and I'm not really sure why she feels that he, of all the other 25-year-olds might be the least prepared, but everyone in his family that she asks about is like, "Sure…that guy could get married."

On the bench two feet away from the front door, Hannah drapes her legs over Tyler, and he tells her, "It really puts things in perspective, and I wanna be great; I wanna step up for you, and I do feel like I'm falling in love with you, and I'm just excited for where our journey can go, I'm just ready to take off with you and make the most of it."

I hope as Tyler grows older he will learn his father's editorial skills. Every time you leave the house, look in the giant Live Laugh Love mirror above the credenza, and take one cliché clause off your declaration of love, pal.

But while he's young, and as free with his words as he is restrictive with his pant-sizing, Tyler is going to follow Hannah into her getaway vehicle and make out with her face, driver be damned.

(My favorite part of this make out is that for the first few seconds, it was impossible to tell who had mounted who because Tyler and Hanna are wearing the exact same pants.)

LUKE

And now, the moment we've all been dreading. The moment where Luke's family is totally fine and normal and they have positive feelings about their son/brother, which is all Hannah needs to be reassured that she's been right about Luke this whole time.

People love their kids, Hannah. That does not mean they'd all be good husbands. You're gonna want a dude who can manage to be a good person even when he's away from his family, and this is just a guess, but you're probably gonna want a dude who talks about showering with God just a little less.

As you'll recall, Peter flew Hannah over L.A. in a plane, Tyler toured Hannah around Jupiter, Florida in a boat, and Luke…Luke takes Hannah to Sunday school. But Hannah is excited to see him in that element because she says that Luke is like a jigsaw puzzle for her: "Like, I've got all the corners down, but I don't really have the middle figured out yet." She says that Luke is complex, and she's excited for her Hometown to help her figure out what makes Luke Luke…

Here's the thing though, Hannah: Luke isn’t a complex person. There is nothing to figure out here that’s going to please you once you've learned it. If you can't figure a guy out, it's because they haven't figured themselves out; and if you're doing the work for them, they're never going to figure it out

There is no one person who is more complex than the next. Some people are more difficult than the next, or more annoying than the next, or more narcissistic than the next, and if you want to take that on, that's fine I guess. But don't trick yourself into thinking that it's because that difficult, annoying person has some rich interior life that explains why they're difficult and annoying. They don't; they contain exactly as many contradictions as the next person. We are all outgoing introverts who like pizza and exercise, and we're either all special or none of us are special…

But Luke is not a jigsaw puzzle—he's just lazy and doesn’t respect you!

So anyway, at Bible study, Luke gets up and says, "As of recently, I've gotten to meet some new people, and I've realized how powerful it is to share your struggles, so I want you to know what I've been through." He then proceeds to share the story of how he found God that Hannah has already heard, undoubtedly all of these people in his Bible study have already heard, and that is not at all about his recent struggles. You know the drill:

Luke partied soooo hard in high school (while still being a totally good kid), and was having sooooo much sex in college (while still being a totally respectful guy), so God came to him in the shower and told him to cut it out, and then he looked up and saw Heaven in the popcorn ceiling.

And listen, that's fine. I'm not saying that Luke plagiarized this story from his group leader at Passport church camp; I am saying this story continues to tell Hannah exactly nothing about the person that he is today, and the fact that he keeps trying to use it to color in the middle of his Very Special Boy jigsaw puzzle is a red flag. Luke felt God in that Chili's well over a year ago, and we still know nothing about how it changed the way he lives his life now except that he's not having sex, and I happen to think it's making him especially gaslight-y.

If Hannah has an understanding of Luke's personality other than "Christian," she hasn't mentioned it. But she still gets Disney princess eyes listening to all the people in Luke's Bible study express the exact opposite sentiments about him as what she's been hearing from her other boyfriends and personally experiencing. Hannah's face while hearing compliments about Luke, however, does not hold a candle to Luke's face hearing compliments about Luke:

At Luke's house, we meet his very nice-looking family, and I just knew I could count on them for the big ass clocks that all the other abodes have been so sorely lacking—and hot damn did they deliver!

Look at that giant freestanding clock in the background! Gorgeous.

Luke has gathered four generations of his family to tell Hannah how great he is, which they are especially invested in after Hannah very awkwardly tells them how much all of the other men didn't like him. Hannah says that she had to break Luke down to get him to really talk to her, and Luke parrots back everything she's every said to him about how he was trying to be perfect instead of just being himself.

His family is…startled. His uncle jokes that they told Luke explicitly to just be himself before he left, and if he wasn't able to do that, then why is he here? And Hannah laughs back, "I DON'T KNOOOOW!"

Ha ha ha ha okay, but like, Hannah, answer the question.

Luke and his dad talk a lot about Hannah being "worth it" a lot, and I don't really know what that means. But who cares because Luke tells his dad, "I can't see this not working out in the end, like I look her in the eyes and I see Mrs. Parker," which just gives us sooooo much to look forward to since this entire season has been leading up to how it doesn't work out with Luke, and how Hannah basically makes every single other dude Mr. Brown, if ya know what I’m saying

I really do believe Luke's brother when he tells Hannah all the good things he sees in Luke, but I also think Luke's brother doesn’t know what it would be like to date Luke, or even to be a woman in his life. Luke thinks he respects women because he won't have sex with them, and he thinks that he cares about Hannah because he’s attracted to her, but Luke has proven over and over again that he does not respect or care for Hannah enough to tell her the truth.

I don't blame Luke's family for only talking about the good parts of Luke, because that's what your family should do. But I really don’t like the smile that covers Hannah's face when Luke's brother tells her, "I just hope you know that what you're looking for, what you say you're looking for—knowing Luke, I know it's there."

On a bench that I think actually preexisted at Luke's house, he apologizes to Hannah for how much he's struggled, and tells her: "Without a doubt, looking into your eyes, I feel like I am looking at my future wife, and without a doubt I can tell you that I do love you."

Something tells me he's going to come up with some doubts.

JED

Knowing what we know about Jed—that he came on the show with a girlfriend and the explicit intention to promote himself as a musician, then return to that girlfriend—it is fascinating to observe how his family reacted to him bringing Hannah into their home. Which as a reminder, was like this:

This is his grandmother meeting Hannah and thinking: R u haley?

The only thing that you need to know about the earlier portion of the date is that Jed brings Hannah to a—hold onto your farts—recording studio where they write a not-entirely-terrible song, and it becomes evident that she is extremely in love with him.

It is very hard to watch! But not nearly as awful as what comes next. When they arrive at Jed’s house, Hannah is greeted warmly…

Until they sit down and Jed’s mom makes this toast: "Here's to everybody trusting their intuition and their gut every day. When you stick to the truth, it's beneficial to everybody."

Hey, lady—that's not a toast! When I was younger, and it was my turn to say the blessing before dinner, I'd usually be like, Dear God, thank you for the food, and please tell my brother to stop being a jerk about not wanting to watch Saved By the Bell after school, aaaamen. We all see what you’re doing here, ma'am! Well, everyone except Hannah, who’s like, "Oooh, that’s a good one."

Because every single other person here knows that Jed is misleading Hannah except for Hannah. I'm not saying Jed isn't actually in love with Hannah, because he very well could be, but the fact that his family has to both pretend like he wasn't dating someone who they've met directly before going on the show, while also not making their son seem like a dick, while also trying to dissuade Hannah from picking him is, uh, not cool.

The question is:

  1. Did Jed tell his family to try and dissuade Hannah from picking him if he made it to Hometowns as a precautionary measure before he left, and now they're following through on it?

  2. Or does Jed actually want to get engaged to Hannah and his family really doesn't want him to because, a. they like Haley more, or b. they like Hannah and now realize their son is a fraud?

Any way you look at it, they are super trying to keep Hannah from picking Jed! And I just don't buy that it's because they're worried about an engagement distracting from his nonexistent music career when they surely know that the only thing that changes for a couple who gets engaged on The Bachelorette is that they…get really famous and are offered lucrative sponsorships and deals. Which seems like a move in the right direction for a nonexistent music career!

So there's got to be a deeper reason that Jed's mom looks like she would rather be drinking a kale and glass smoothie than talking to Hannah when they sit down together. When Hannah expresses her excitement about being there, Jed's mom monotones, "I mean, it is kind of a dreamy way to get to date someone…

Wow, Hannah, congratulations on your recent award of one big YIKES. Hannah quickly counters that Jed is not just another guy to her, and she knows it's "more than that" with them.

Chilling.

At this point, Hannah has to know that something is up, but she blazes ahead, trying much harder to impress Jed's mom than she has with anyone else's family. Plus, with Jed she has a trump card: "I've told your son that I'm falling in love with him," Hannah says to Jed's mom giddily, just sure that this will be exciting news…

"I haven't said it to anybody else," Hannah whispers sadly.

"I'll take that," Jed's mom returns, and I have to wonder if she means it literally, like she has an Ursula necklace full of young women's voices saying they love her son shortly before he betrays them.

Weirdly, it doesn’t really seem like Jed's mom is being protective of him per se, as much as she is just very uncomfortable with the idea of Hannah being in love with her son. And how could she not be when, trying to change the subject a bit, Hannah offers up:

I KNOW HE DATED A GIRL FOR A LONG TIME. Look at her face!

Things just really go off the rails here as Jed's mom tries not to out her son as a dirtbag, rambling, "He lived his life before The Bachelorette, he's had his heart broken, he's been in love, he's human, he's been through it all." Okay, sure, those are all words! Hannah asks if she thinks Jed would be ready for an engagement in the near future, and his mom says…

WUT.

I think Jed’s mom is trying to say that Jed isn't ready for an engagement because he is barely supporting himself with part-time jobs (such as being a country burlesque dancer) as he tries to make a music career happen. "So his path is very different," she says.

But that's where she's wrong! Not having a real job and then turning The Bachelorette into your job is basically the most common path on The Bachelor franchise. But everyone seems to be under the impression that getting engaged to Hannah on a national platform would somehow get in the way of Jed's music career…

That is, unless Jed's family is using his "music career" as a euphemism for something else like his "other girlfriend." Of course, the real pièce de résistance of Jed's Hometown comes when Hannah sits down with his sister, she of the amazingly voluminous hair and signature Daenerys smile.

Hannah tells Lily that she loves how passionate Jed is about music and wants to support him in the pursuit of his career. Lily loves to hear that.

Just kidding, she looks like she’s just trying to keep her eyes open through a mandatory webinar while Hannah tells her that she’s maybe, possibly, perhaps picking up that the family might be worried an engagement would distract from Jed’s music career.

"Yeah, I'm very protective over Jed, and making music makes him so happy,” Lily replies. “So honestly, him potentially falling in love with you? I'm not sure it's a good thing."

Holy devastation, Batman. We have not seen a Hometown this disastrous since Sean Lowe went to Des' house and her estranged brother with the hand tattoos nearly beat him up. But even that regular ol' threat of physical violence pales in comparison to this absolute psychological passive-aggression gauntlet Hannah seems to have no idea she's a part of. She leaves Jed's house disappointed by his family's reaction to her…

But also thinking that their concerns are valid. "My fear is that our relationship or his music will suffer," Hannah tells the camera thoughtfully…

"Such a beautiful day, everything just worked out!" Jed says as he puts Hannah in her car, showing us the first real glimpse of someone who could potentially be as duplicitous as his former girlfriend has suggested.

THE ROSE CEREMONY

Hannah was hoping Hometowns would give her clarity on who to send home, but when she arrives back in L.A. she says, "I am there with Luke, I am there with Jed, I am there with Peter, and I am there with Tyler." Which makes me wonder…does Hannah really like any of these guys? Do any of them really like her? Has this season of The Bachelorette pushed me to the belief that every man in the world is a sentient clogged shower drain except for Tyler C, and even with him we have to deal with…capri pants?

To Hannah, I would like to pass along some advice that I recently read in another Substack newsletter, perfectly titled, "Here's the Thing: You're Dating a Yikes." In her column, Sophia Benoit very compassionately tells a letter-writer seeking advice on what to do about her problematic boyfriend, that even when you know deep down someone is wrong for you, it is always going to be difficult to break up with a person you love. But as her mother has always told her:

"If there were a good, obvious choice, you would have already made it."

Whoo, that one hit me between the brows. If only Chris Harrison could offer such sage advice when Hannah rushes off the Rose Ceremony floor with only one rose left to give to Jed or Luke P (the good, obvious choices had already been made in giving roses to Tyler and Peter)…

Alas, that is not why they pay Chris Harrison the actual millions of bucks.

In her advice column, Sophia also encourages the Yikes-dater to simply take the time she needs sitting with the thought of breaking up before she makes the difficult decision. But Hannah doesn't have that option. She has until the credits roll to decide which of these dummies she wants to take to the Fantasy Suites, and while our girl is great at a lot of things, she is not incredible at making difficult decisions quickly. So do you know what she does?

She makes Chris Harrison bring her an extra rose, barely stifling a laugh at the fact that he's able to do it with such a straight face. Because you know what Hannah is good at? Breaking the rules. She needs more time to come to terms with the fact that Luke P is one walking, waving, mouth-breathing red flag, and by golly, she's gonna make the time.

And as we've known all along from the season preview: she's going to get her clarity. See you back here for the Fantasy Suites to end all Fantasy Suites.

A TATBT Bachelorette recap: Stay In Your Lame

THIS REALLY AIN'T IT, SIS

Marie Kondo could not clean up this mess. Brené Brown could not teach it vulnerability or empathy; she certainly couldn’t teach teach Luke P how to harness his shame because God completely forgot to give him any when they were talking in that shower.

Queer Eye’s Karamo himself could not sit Hannah down in the passenger seat of a Dodge Durango and make her understand that she correlates struggle with love to a damaging degree, and that there are simply some arenas in where that which doesn't kill you…just doesn't kill you, but super seems like he—I mean it—might if given the opportunity. (For the record, nor could Tan France make these men stop wearing light gray summer suits in snowy Eastern Europe.)

No, I don't think even Netflix, with its almighty power, could create a reality show specifically calibrated with behavioral psychologists, Christian theologians, and the one ENT doctor in the world who specializes in mouth-breathing in order to make Luke P and Hannah see that their "relationship" is irredeemable trash.

Because they both seem to be existing under this shared delusion that "fighting for a relationship" is not only a good thing, but an aspirational quality to have in the defining coupling of your life. This seems to be a common motivation in the Bachelor world, I guess, because many of the Bachelor(ette) leads feel that they've been given up on — as they are, by definition, losers.

Everyone who starts as a new franchise lead has just been unceremoniously dumped after completing the "I'm crazy for you / I'm falling in love with you / I love you / I'm in love with you" progression. But the weird thing about Hannah is she never mentions Colton. From the moment he broke up with her, she seemed pretty okay with it. So where does this understanding that it is a show of weakness to quit a relationship where the main exchanges are "you're my dream girl, but here are all the things wrong with you" and "I see good inside of you, but here are all the bad things I see on the outside" come from?

Like…love should have conditions, right? And those conditions should be not manipulating someone into oblivion just to win a game, right???

With each new time Luke lies, and mouth-breathes, and "honestly, like, honestly Hannah, like with all sincerity, I'm being complete genuine here"s at Hannah, I feel like I'm getting second-hand gaslighting. Which, as we all know, carries 20 to 30 percent of the negative effects of firsthand gaslighting. It's making me feel insane, so I can only imagine how it's making Hannah feel.

But Hannah seems to equate that feeling of insanity with passion. And while I've never fully bought into the fairy tale aspect of The Bachelorette—fairy tales do not include stucco, and it is my firm belief that Bachelor mansion will one day be haunted by its very own Bent Neck Lady (Clare Crawley, duh)—I've also never bought into it as reality either. But this right here…

This is too real, my dudes.

Here is living, breathing, nationally televised proof that even the coolest, most superior of women can be sidelined by some mediocre dude that she believes has hidden depths that only she can uncover deep down under his meaty layer of flannel-clad mediocrity…

But he doesn't. He never does.

Hannah is one of the best Bachelorettes we've ever had: she's funny, she's horny, she speaks like a cross stitch in your grandmother's kitchen about love, unless she's mad, in which case she speaks with a terror reserved solely for My Super Sweet 16 teens who just got the wrong Lexus on their birthday. She's just a raw nerve, and that gives us a lot of access to exactly what she's feeling most of the time. But Hannah's feelings for Luke are simply inexplicable.

And who among us has not looked at one of our hot, amazing friends and been like: WHAT does she see in that guy? Every friend I have deserves to be married to a Jake Gyllenhaal or above, these are just the facts. And I consider Hannah a friend. That means this 7th Heaven late-season-Lucy-boyfriend lookin' ass wannabe just isn't gonna cut it.

After Colton dumped her, Hannah determined that she wanted to be loved by a man fiercely and every day. Those are very rousing statements that I can fully imagine any number of Christian-affiliated campus outreach leaders telling me on a gender-separated retreat when I was 19. And they're not exactly bad ideas…

Until you encounter someone like Luke. Because the opposite of indifference (Colton) is not force (Luke P) — it's care (Tylerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…sorry I started daydreaming on my keyboard).

And there's nothing careful about Luke P and the way he swears to Hannah that he's going to change for her, doesn't change, and then tells her she must have misunderstood what he said in the first place. The worst part is, he's not even smart enough for his carelessness to be malicious, it's just instinctual idiocy. The man is Wreck-It-Ralph in gym shorts, and he will not stop until he either wins Hannah or demolishes her (per the season preview, instead of physical destruction, Luke's meaty fists wield only paternalistic righteousness and slut-shaming).

Hannah says she wants to be loved fiercely, and I get it; that sounds really romantic. For, like…a few months. And then it's just exhausting. Does that make me sound old? Well I am old, and I've learned some shit [ed. note: okay, mostly from television shows…okay, OTHER television shows]. Fighting for a relationship and loving fiercely are for when someone fucks up the established relationship and needs to make it right, not for the moment the bread basket arrives on the third date. That is too early to be fighting for the relationship! Hannah and Luke are living that Lemonade lifestyle before they even dipped their toes into Dangerously In Love.

And speaking of: there is a reason Sasha Fierce is Beyoncé's alter ego. You can't be fierce all the time! Eventually, someone has to do the dishes. (I mean, Beyoncé doesn't have to do the dishes, but she has to hire someone to do the dishes.)

And if there's anything I've learned from my married friends, it's that your spouse is going to load the dishwasher differently than you, and that fact is going to annoy you until the day you die, so you should aim to find a spouse who compliments you in every single other way so that you don't murder them the 3,452nd time you have to flip the spoons right side up or switch the bowls to the slanted slats because you're not a fucking idiot

In Luke P, Hannah has found a person who does exactly two things well: makes her hot in the undercarriage, and talks about his lord and shower-savior Jesus Christ. A combination so irresistible to her that it overrides the fact that every single other thing he does—lie, try to control her, gaslight her, wear flannel to formal dates—to show over and over again that he does not respect her. The best thing Hannah has going for her, but also the most frustrating thing, is that she recognizes the bad, and willfully chooses to reframe it as something they can work through if Luke can just choose to be a better version of himself. Very obviously, there is no other version because Luke himself sees nothing wrong with his behavior.

And, listen: what's happening right here, with me ranting about Luke P for the first half of this recap is exactly the problem! Hannah is going to ditch the dork eventually, that much has been clear since the first season preview where someone—who could it be, I wonder who—tries to shame her for having sex (as we now know, in a windmill…twiceminimum). Nonetheless, the longer he stays, and the more time she invests in their doomed relationship, the less she can invest with all the other stone cold hotties that are trying to marry her.

NOTE: This recap covers through episode 7 in Latvia — the episode that aired this week will be included in the next ‘cap!

I mean, Connor is out here just quietly being 6'6 with the face of Christian Bale as Laurie in Little Women and that deviated-septum-rich-boy voice of a sentient lacrosse stick, and the man can't get a breath of attention. Like, Dustin is a man who is somehow pulling off a nose ring and I swear I had never heard his voice until he got kicked off the show. And these are just the guys who were always destined to be Bachelor In Paradise fodder anyway…

This is to say nothing of the frontrunners who Hannah can't give her full energy to because Luke keeps making her so mad she has to cancel all the Cocktail Parties. I don't even have to explain the vast distance between the worst and best of Hannah's men to you, because they've done it for me:

In the photos above, Luke is screaming about himself to mimic human emotion and Tyler is just talking about one of the many things he admires about Hannah. Eventually, we will have to go back to Luke, but for now, let's talk about perhaps the best thing to ever happen to The Bachelorette:

TYLER C: BOYFRIEND. DANCER. FEMINIST.

I'd love to set the scene by simply listing The Awful Things I Would Do To Simply Be Given the Chance To Put My Whole Palm On Any Part Of Tyler C, Including His Mind:

  • Shave off one of my eyebrows

  • Shave off both of my eyebrows

  • Eat a roll of toilet paper

  • Use a particularly long CVS receipt in place of toilet paper for up to three (3) days

  • Give up my Chick-Fil-A One™ Red Member status

  • Learn to parallel park

  • Invest more soundly in my financial future

  • Learn what Orange Theory is instead of just using it as a cultural reference point

  • Drink white wine out of a coffee mug like a blogger on TV

  • Change my driver's license from the state I haven't lived in for seven years

  • Move states

  • Move mountains

  • Follow a professional nemesis on Instagram

  • Participate in one of those paint-and-sip classes that make me feel sort of existential sadness I can’t explain any time I see photo evidence of one

  • Ditto an escape room

Tyler is like a healing salve, the complete opposite of Luke P: a romantic hero the likes of which we have never seen on the Bachelor franchise. He has that same indefinable marble-mouth accent as Ryan Gosling who is from Canada but also maybe the Bronx, whereas Tyler is from Florida but also maybe…Delaware? I don't know, but while the Noah-from-The-Notebook comparisons are obvious, Tyler is no archetype.

He's not trying to make Hannah see that he can be passionate or love her fiercely or whatever—he just shows her. (He does, for the record, have big "get in the water" energy.)

As he tells Hannah, he just knows who he is now, and that means he's ready to fight to be the best version of himself in a relationship. He wants to support her not because boyfriends are supposed to be supportive, but because he wants Hannah to be happy, and that means sometimes—I think, a lot of times for Hannah—she'll need to share her burdens. On their first one-on-one, she's basically crying when he arrives because the night before the two Lukes got into an argument over Luke P body-slamming Luke S during the group date rugby game.

Hannah is apologetic for not being able to just be happy, but Tyler tells her not to worry about it: they'll get through it together. Then they catch lobsters and he makes a bunch of dad jokes about her not getting lost in his eyes, and eventually, she's happy again. Hannah admits that she held back from him a little at first because she assumed he was a player, and I get it. Tyler is so hot—impossibly hot. You gotta protect yourself from a man whose DMs probably look like an Instagram contest for a free Anthropologie couch.

But it’s clear that Tyler respects Hannah and just really likes the person that she is; he relays those feelings often, and with too much embarrassing gusto to be lying.

We've already heard him tell Hannah about how she gave him a feeling akin to running out of the football tunnel when he first got out of the limo and saw her. In the most recent episode, Tyler tells her that he had another moment that "kind of shook me, freaked me out," when she walked into a Cocktail Party that she later left weeping because Luke P’s arguing with the other men upset her so much.

"You were wearing all white, I mean you looked heaven-sent, you were like an angel. And I pray to got you're my angel,” Tyler tells her. “And later on, like you held it down between all of us, just stood there and fought. You had this look on your face where you were just all business and I was like that's what I want."

And you guys…this is where I got emotional to a degree I am not proud to admit. "At the house, I want that—'cause you're gonna have kids and you're gonna have things you have to stand up for and fight for. Where did this fighter in you come from because I adore it—"

That is when Hannah just mounts him like a SoulCycle bike and begins making out with his face. He has just told her that the thing he finds hottest about her is imagining her standing up for their future children, and I truly believe he meant it, even if it was basically a one-way ticket to the future bone zone. Tyler likes Hannah's passion not because men are supposed to like strong women now, but because he sees the role that it plays in her life.

It's insane, absolutely insane, to imagine that Hannah has Tyler in front of her and could still be fighting to make it work with Luke.

PILOT PETE PERFORMS

And Hannah doesn’t even think Tyler is her hottest boyfriend!!! I mean, objectively, she probably understands that a general contractor who is also a signed model who both played football and was on the debate team at Wake Forest where he earned his MBA and was two classes away from a Dance minor is quite the catch…but physically, she cannot keep her inner thighs off of Peter, a Precious Moments doll with a pilot's license.

And I love that. It is simply the best case scenario for a viewing public made up of us normals that a women could be faced with an entire football team worth of CW stars, and instead choose to have the hots for the one and only Wiggle.

It's even more baffling because Peter has no game to speak of. Don’t get me wrong, the man is extremely cute, but their chemistry is not derived from skill, but rather, raw talent. During a group date, Peter decides that he wants to make out with Hannah on a pool table, which is much easier thought than done.  First he has to casually clear all the balls off the table in the middle of their game, then he has to lift Hannah up on the table, during which time he knocks her head on an overhead light, so he has to reset, and then lift her up again, laying her down more carefully this time, and then he has to climb up on the pool table and start making out with her.

When Peter and Hannah go on a spa date on their one-on-one, after two Latvian people beat them up with branches for a while, they head into a sauna.

The Latvians quickly hit the road, however, when they realize boners are about to start flying.

And things get…graphic. Now, I went to a sauna recently and I simply could not stop marveling at all the places on my body that I didn't even know until that moment could produce sweat—the backs of my hands! my shins! my outer hips! I do not recall, while sweat streamed down my earlobes, thinking that I would like to have another person touch me. I was mostly trying to remember to breathe. But with their last dying breath, I do believe that Hannah and Peter would choose to dry hump, and I must respect them for that.

Once again, it is simply impossible to imagine that Hannah could have as much chemistry as she does with Peter, and still be fighting for her relationship with Luke, the physical manifestation of my earlobe sweat.

DROP DEAD JED

Listen, we'll cover Jed in full next time, but here are the facts: on their one-on-one date, Jed confessed to Hannah that he originally came on The Bachelorette for exposure as a singer/songwriter, but once he met her, it all became real, and now he is truly developing feelings for. Hannah loves this because she is also developing feelings for him, and because it seems like a dangerously honest thing to do to confess that you came on the show for The Wrong Reasons…

The only reason a person would do that is because they're there for The Right Reasons and can really imagine getting engaged to Hannah at the end of this and want to start off on an honest foundation…

RIGHT???

Here's what Jed didn't mention in The Bachelor franchise's first ever admission in 30 plus collective seasons of coming on the show for the exposure: Jed had a girlfriend before he came on The Bachelorette.

Not like a-couple-dates-girlfriend…like a serious went-on-vacation-together, met-each-other's-families, kissed-her-goodbye-the-day-he-flew-to-L.A. girlfriend. That girlfriend is also an aspiring a musician, so she went along with this plan for him to go on the show and get some exposure, with the understanding that when he came back, they would still be dating.

I'm sure this happens more than we realize, and I don’t even find it that offensive. The Bachelorette is not some sacred entity that shan't be desecrated with false intentions.

You hear over and over again that people go on the show not expecting anything to happen, and for a handful of people each season, something happens. It's not so shocking that Jed could have thought he'd be able to go on the show, fake it a little with Hannah, and then return home to his girlfriend with a couple hundred thousand more Instagram followers. It's not great that he then developed feelings for Hannah while knowing he had another woman back home who actively thought she was his girlfriend. But even in the real world, sometimes you meet the right person at the wrong time…

No, the worst thing Jed did was ghost his OG (original girlfriend) when he got back home, which is not only a shitty thing to do, but means he almost certainly didn't tell Hannah about said girlfriend at any point while they were falling in love with each other.

Which makes his one act of seemingly brave honesty from earlier in the season seem all the more contrived! Not to mention, the man sings or plays an instrument throughout the entire Latvia episode, stone cold showing up outside Hannah's window with a guitar, and then coming up to her room to play her an original song her wrote for her in bed. Hannah does not seem to find any disconnect between Jed saying he's no longer there for exposure as a musician and his constant musical performances.

Our only solace is that Jed is not a particular prodigious musician so, he's not going to get the kind of exposure he was aiming for in this; he's just getting…exposed.

And we're getting played because that's two out of the guaranteed Top 4 dudes that we actively can't root for.

[Ed. note: At this newsletter, we recognize one future Bachelor, and that Bachelor is Mike, with an assist from the first ever televised Bachelor durag. Please do not take his lack of mention as a frontrunner as a lack of endorsement—official campaign to be launched in next week's newsletter, including a series of unwanted text messages direct to your phone asking for donations.]

ONCE, TWICE, THREE TIMES A JACKASS

Luke is the living, mouth-breathing reason for the Maya Angelou quote: When people show you who they are—believe them.

Per Oprah, Mz. Angelou spoke these words advice to her because Oprah was stressing out over a man's behavior even though that man had repeatedly shown hr that his behavior was never going to change. You guys…

Oprah.

OPRAH.

OoooooppppppprrrrrraaaaaaaH.

This is simply a lesson Oprah—Oprah!—had to learn (from Maya Angelou).

And it's a lesson Hannah will have to learn as well; she will simply have to do it on television while a nation silently screams at her, HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THIS?!

Hannah likes Luke. And Luke wants Hannah. And it's a lot easier for Hannah to convince herself that her initial assessment wasn’t entirely incorrect, and there is some deep goodness hidden inside of Luke that only she can see and draw out, than it is to admit that she just got this one wrong and that Luke has been showing her exactly who he is from the moment he stalked her around a cocktail party after she explicitly told him to give her some space.

Then Luke P bodyslammed a slender, unassuming man named Luke S on the sidelines of a rugby game. Some of the other men saw it, some of them didn't, but they all agreed that Luke P is aggressive and unhinged enough to do this. When asked, they all told Hannah as much.

Except Luke P, who told Hannah that he didn't want to say anything about it, but he actually thinks Luke S is here for The Wrong Reasons, and that he only bodyslammed Luke S because Luke S—the house's other main Wiggle—was charging at him with clenched fists. This is very obvious bullshit, which Luke S later denies, but that only confuses Hannah more. She pulls a Colton-patented move where she's like "Okay, you guys argue in front of me and I'll decide who's right—oh wait, it's super annoying to watch people argue, I'll just leave in the middle of this argument, more frustrated than I was before."

Luke S ends up eliminating himself when it's clear Hannah isn't catching onto the way Luke P is manipulating her, and Hannah chooses to give Luke P a rose so that she can get to the bottom of this with a one-on-one date. She knows she had an instant connection with Luke P, but she's bothered by the fact that no one seems to like him, a thing she hilariously will not stop saying to him.

I believe Hannah's desperation to validate her feelings for Luke are twofold: as previously stated, she doesn’t want her initial instinct about him to be wrong (recall that he got the First Impression Rose, which has determined the winner for the last four Bachelorettes in a row) because then what would that mean about following her instinct for the rest of the process?

But more importantly, I think she really likes that he's religious. We have heard them talk about this exactly zero times because ABC, but reading between the lines, we know that Luke defines himself by his Christian faith, and we know that Hannah grew up in a traditionally Christian household and still holds that close to her today, thought she seems to wrestle with some of the ideologies she was taught growing up…

There is some disconnect between Hannah telling us how good of a person she thinks Luke is deep down, and the conversations we see them have which are, to date: a very boring first encounter, a second encounter where she took his shirt off and he massaged her at a cocktail party, and literally all the rest have been fighting. I can only assume that she finds it very appealing that he is the kind of Christian man she grew up in youth group assuming she would marry. The only problem is when you're a teenager, you're just like, "Christian? Abs? Check and check!" and don't know that there are some Christian men with abs who will see your attraction to them agreement to part-ownership of your body and your actions.

Luke either really doesn’t know who he is yet—he is only 24, and just started his life anew after God spoke to him in the shower a year ago, after all—and can't recognize the legitimate disconnect between the things he says and the things he does…or he has a real disorder. Both options are no good for Hannah who sees some sort of unearned potential in him. On their one-on-one, she tells him it bothers her that none of the guys like him because, "I want a man who people are drawn to … people are not drawn to you here."

The average person would be devastated to reckon with the fact that not only does no one like him, but the girl he likes knows about this. Not Luke. The men not liking him has no emotional effect on him, merely logistical, such as when he makes speeches and no one will listen to him.

"It's really not adding up," he tells Hannah. "Everyone I've ever met, every place, every school I've ever been too, everywhere I've ever been in my whole life—everyone loves me." Again, this is in the first 10 minutes of their date where Hannah is trying to figure out if she can possibly move forward with Luke. She cuts him off: "Don't say that!" She tells him that's an insanely boastful thing for him to say and the exact reason the other guys wouldn’t like him.

Hannah wants to know how Luke feels about all the drama surrounding him, and after explaining what feelings are to him, he responds, "A lot of how they're treating me is totally not right but it's not affecting me because I know I'm here for you, and I'm not ever gonna lose sight of that, and I want to give you clarity."

Luke says he wants to give Hannah clarity many, many times, but it's unclear exactly what he wants to make clear to her. Why she should like him, I guess? But what Hannah needs to know to understand why she likes him, is how he feels…

But Luke doesn’t have any feelings; it presents a problem. Hannah gets so frustrated talking on this cliff in Scotland to Luke, that she leaves the conversation and asks her producers if they can explain to him about what she means when she asks him to say how he feels. And I know they just do it because it will make for better TV, but to their credit, the producers are like, "Uh no, you need to talk to your boyfriend yourself if this is a boyfriend you would like to continue talking to."

For the record, Luke thinks this conversation is very healthy for their relationship "because all I want for us is to be able to move past this, be on the same page, and I want to give her clarity." They are not moving past this, they are not on the same page, and he is not giving her clarity.

When she returns, Luke asks Hannah if there's anything he's left out of his already very detailed explanation of how great he is, and Hannah tells him that it feels like he's just saying things he think she'll want to hear, but she wants to know the real stuff about him, "Like do you like macaroni and cheese or spaghetti more."

She is kind of joking, but this would be such an easy question to answer—maybe even elaborate on a little more as to what about your childhood led you to like one of those things more. Even saying that he clearly doesn't consume carbs would give more insight into Luke than what he ultimately says:

"I just don't want you to ever think I'm trying to say what you want me to say. I'm never gonna do that throughout this entire process. And I'm sorry if you felt like I did try to do that, I'm never gonna do that, I promise."

Luke's very favorite form of manipulation is to explicitly do something, and then when he learns that it upsets Hannah, state that not only was he not doing that thing, he will never do that thing. It’s not like she believes him, but it just makes her so mad that she can't think straight enough to even call him out on it.

But Hannah isn't the only one who's refusing to recognize a person for who they're clearly showing themselves to be.

Luke saw Hannah on TV and came up with this version of who she was, and he decided to win that person over. It doesn’t matter who Hannah shows herself to be now, or if she tells him that sometimes she's at church praying on her knees, but sometimes she's "a devilish bitch," he's still going to call her the woman of his dreams and tell her, "I can genuinely look you in the eyes and tell you that I love every single thing about you." Luke's mindset is…actively dangerous at this point.

Hannah begs Luke to recognize that she has flaws, and own up to the fact that he has flaws too, and to maybe even recognize aloud what he sees as one of those flaws.

That is not a joke photo, that is exactly what he says.

Hannah says that since she wasn't able to “see the real Luke” (she did), she can't give him the rose. They hug and Luke leaves. Then he tells the cameras, "Hannah was right, I have tried to be perfect, and now it's like my eyes have been opened."

Oh, I'm fucking sure. He runs back into the room with Hannah and tells her he just didn't know how to tell her what he was feeling because he didn't know what he was feeling. "I felt like crying, I thought a tear was gonna roll down my face, and then I felt like screaming!" It is truly so embarrassing to watch Luke emulate human emotion. More than that, it's a little chilling, because he always gets this creepy smile on his face when he's just sure he's about to blow Hannah away with something.

After he says he felt like screaming, and Hannah tells him, Well then scream!, he gets said look. He walks across the room and starts yelling: LIKE SERIOUSLY HANNAH, I WANT TO MOVE MOUNTAINS FOR YOU. I HATE THIS, I CAN'T STAND IT! SERIOUSLY, I CANNOT STAND IT!

That makes two of us you slimy fucker.

Hannah tells Luke exactly what she wants, he pushes back on it, then comes back and performs some hollowed-out shadow version of it. Just enough to give her some little bit of hope and keep him on to distract her another day. She doesn’t give him the rose right then, but she does eventually give it to him at the Rose Ceremony even though he gets in a loud fight with the other men at the Cocktail Party which causes Hannah to freak out, yell at all of her boyfriends that the need to "stay in their lane" and cancel the rest of the party, skipping straight to the Rose Ceremony.

Luke thanks Hannah for the second chance in Latvia by hearing that she went semi-naked bungee jumping with Garrett on their one-on-one and getting mad about it because "her body is her temple"

And like, gah Luke, read one other fucking book. Our bodies being our temples just means that we have been made a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit by the sacrifice of Christ, an avenue for us to commune with God through the power of the Holy Trinity. And if Hannah believes that what she did is not a sin in the eyes of God, which she tells Luke explicitly she does not, then she is keeping her body her sacred temple. It's just not your temple you creatine-addled douche canoe.

And that's really all I have to say on that. When Luke asks the other guys if it doesn't bother them that she was naked with Garrett in a completely unsexy situation, Tyler tells him no—he loves that she went for it and experienced Latvia to the fullest.

This man must be stopped.

On a completely different level, Luke must also be stopped. At the group date he's on, Luke is still so angry about Hannah showing a man her temple (not a thing), he decides that his feelings of possession over her are the first ever feelings he needs to express to her.

Luke starts off by comparing the feeling of hearing Garrett talk about his one-on-one with Hannah to the feeling of being cheated on, something that he never explicitly states has happened to him. "And it's just because, like, I know your body is a temple. And honestly, me just thinking of you holding him bare-skinned and I'm just thinking in my mind, it really pissed me off." Hannah keeps her face eerily still and tells Luke that she made a choice she’s fine with, and being semi-nude wasn't sexual, she just wanted to have the experience for herself.

"But still, at the same time," he tells her, "I'm looking for you to meet my family soon and it felt like it was a slap in the face." Later, Hannah will quote these lines back to Luke verbatim, and he will say that he wasn't even saying those things in correlation to naked bungee jumping, and she completely misunderstood him, and of course she has the right to make her own choices, and of course he wasn't saying she disrespected him and wasn't worthy of meeting his family because she sullied her temple (not a thing) with Garret's boxer-briefed dick.

"No matter what you do, like, I'm going to support you, even if you make a bone-headed mistake and you just do something completely out of your character, and something that's wrong, I'm going to do whatever it takes to make things right," Luke tells Hannah, his girlfriend who has just explicitly stated that she hasn't made a mistake and sees naked bungee jumping as well within her character (not a thing).

Later, when Hannah realizes just how much this conversation bothered her, and quotes the "boneheaded mistake" line back to him, Luke will tell her that she's twisting his words.

Luke walks away from the initial conversation so thrilled that he's finally been honest with Hannah and sure that he's going to get the rose; when Hannah later tells him that this conversation was very hurtful to her, he'll tell her that he went about it all wrong, and that his message was misunderstood.

Hannah cancels the third cocktail party in a row because a conversation with Luke has upset her, and then she gives Luke the rose. Afterward, in what seems to be a completely organic side conversation while the dudes are milling about, Chris Harrison himself asks Hannah what she likes about Luke. "I'm either falling in love with Luke, or Luke's making me go crazy," she responds. "I'm not sure which one."

I am.

And I'll see you back here before Hometowns to tell you why! For now, why don't we all take load off with Tyler and Mike actually treating their bodies like temples, shall we?

PART 2 of TATBT's Bachelorette rewind: This Girl Is on Ire (Ire, Ire)

Part 1 of this recap is located here!

THE SECRET LIFE OF BROS 2  

I’m starting to think — and stay with me here — that the “if I want something, I deserve to have it” mentality is not exactly a healthy one?

It is just wild how two awful men can bulldoze an entire cast who otherwise seem to be nothing short of Prince Harry in their "probably don't want to run a background check on them, but seemed to have turned into real solid fellas now" vibe. As for the aforementioned Cam, he’s simply your run-of-the-mill Bachelor villain who came to make a big splash but never really stood a chance with Hannah because he's basically a Ted Mosby standing next to…well, a Tim Riggins.

But Luke P. is something much more insidious altogether.

Luke P is a villain Hannah can't see through. And it's not just because she's extremely physically attracted to him, which she is, but there's an extra layer of trickery going on here for a gal like Hannah who is only six years outside of her last summer at youth camp, and hasn't quite sorted through her complicated feelings about where her own personal beliefs stand, and what was just some seminary intern telling her that boys have certain uncontrollable desires, so we have to do our part in not wearing spaghetti straps to Wednesday night bible study. [Ed. note: I’m fine, I’m fine, everything’s FINE.]

See, we're going to have to take it aaaall the way back to the premiere for this one, when Luke P explains to us, "I like to think I'm a good-looking guy. And when I was in college, a lot of the girls around me thought so too, and I definitely took advantage of that." Yes, always cool to use "took advantage of" in reference to college girls you've had sex with, Luke, and definitely best to do it with a smirk when you're about to follow up with:

"But this emptiness came over me, and I had an encounter with God."

And, y'know, I never want to judge someone else's religious testimony, but in this case, I have to make an exception — Luke P is full of shit.

He says that God spoke to him in the shower and told him to stop having all that amazing sex he was having because of how hot all those ladies found him, and so he listened, and now he's just busy "working on the husband I want to be for my future wife," and definitely, totally, not at all having sex.

So, Luke P takes his Big Bible Energy to the mansion, and we don't see it in their first conversation, but I know he and Hannah must have talked about their shared spirituality, because from what we actually see of their initial conversation, there is no other explanation for her giving him the First Impression Rose.

Luke P is the first person to go comfort Hannah after she has to kick The Girlfriend Guy out, sure, but my only takeaway from the conversation they had was that when they sat down to talk, Hannah said she was freezing, and Luke so pointedly did not give her his coat, it was insane.

That’s a weirdly repeating theme this season from not just Luke, but other men who will not give Hannah their coat when she says she's cold. Guys! If a woman is contractually obligated to wear a sequined dress with a slit up to her ovaries in early March, and you're wearing three layers, maybe just spread the warmth around a little??

Anyway, that First Impression Rose is the beginning of what I have to assume is ultimately going to be a very frustrating experience for Hannah. Because instead of it giving Luke P the confidence that Hannah likes him so he doesn’t need to keep seeking out affirmation, it does the opposite: Luke P is stuck to Hannah like born-again-virgin-hands on Bachelorette ass.

At the Week 2 group date, where the guys compete in a beauty pageant, Luke is miiighty proud of his performance in a speedo…

That is, until Hannah makes these finger guns following sweet (and secretly jacked) country singer Jed’s speedo performance.

And then Jed sings a catchy song as his talent…

Causing Luke P to make his signature “holding in a fart and/or rage scream because I’m not getting attention right now” face:

As you might recall from Part 1 of the recap, when Alyssa Edwards asked Luke P what his assets are that he might incorporate into the talent portion of the pageant, he answered: "My character." Gah, that is a red flag the size of Chris B. Harrison's paycheck. It's not something I've ever run into in a real life scenario, but The Bachelor franchise has made me realize that anyone who prides themselves on their character…has bad character.

If you have good character, you just don’t have to think about it…because you have good character.

But you know who else like to talk about noble character, and seeing someone's heart, and the full Chicken Soup for the Teenage Christian Soul table of contents:

HANNAH. I love Hannah because she is an amazing Bachelorette in the way that she is funny and makes for very entertaining television…

But Hannah is a terrible Bachelorette in the way of…knowing when a guy is full of shit or not. And maybe that's because Hannah is a little full of shit herself — meaning that she knows she wants to fall in love and get married, but she doesn’t really know what either of those things mean to her yet . I think she's planning on figuring it out as she goes along, and that’s fine; unfortunately, it also means believing Luke P when he gets big mad that Jed is garnering more attention than him at the fake beauty pageant, so as his talent, he goes on stage and tells Hannah: "I can't believe I'm saying this right now…but, I'm genuinely starting to fall in love with you."

But it’s not just Hannah — I think Luke P really believes himself too!!! Toxic men rarely know they're being toxic. They're not doing it on purpose. They're doing it because they've always gotten the girl or they never got the girl…they were popular in high school or they were picked on in high school…they've always gotten everything handed to them or they've never gotten anything handed to them…

Whatever the combination of self-pity, they've made it an excuse to feel entitled, and Luke P clearly feels that Hannah should be his, and he's going to <BWAH, BWAH, BWAAAH> do whatever it takes to get her.

Mark my words, that will include manipulating and gaslighting her, whether he realizes he’s doing it or not. I have faith that Hannah will put a stop to this before Luke P meets with Our Other Lord and Savior Neil Lane — but I also have a sneaking suspicion she'll keep him around much longer than she should…

And that comes from a combination of her obvious physical attraction to him and the repeated showing of that "Yes, I've had sex — and Jesus still loves me" clip from the This Season On that I feel certain could only be in response to some very chill slut-shaming from Luke P somewhere around Fantasy Suites. And isn’t that just something, considering the way he’s been using his own sexuality and strength-of-feeling with such intent thus far this season…

Hannah asks him after his “starting to fall in love” (not a thing!) profession at the pageant, if he's sure about what he said because she knows it's easy to get caught up in wanting to get roses. This is when Luke P tells Hannah that he started developing feelings for her before he even met her. And then, if you can imagine this, she lets him continue speaking without calling security. "The connection, seriously, I've had with you, I'm not joking, I'm being 100 percent serious,” Luke continues, gorgeously: “I've never felt a connection like this in my whole life, seriously."

Ahem…

First of all, up until God came to him in that shower, Luke P was just having a bunch of meaningless sex because women thought he was so hot, so how much could it mean that he's never had a connection like this at age 24?

Second of all, something else I've learned solely from this franchise but never encountered in real life humans — I guess because I don't spend that much time at whatever Stagecoach is, or island getaways hosted by Revolve, or the Live Laugh Love section of Home Goods — is that anyone who prefaces their statements with words like "seriously," honestly," or "100 percent" with a notable frequency is being neither honest, nor 100 percent with you.

If you begin a sentence with "honestly" (which, honestly, I sometimes do), the implication is that everything else you say is not honest, and this is the one thing you really want someone to believe, so it’s probably the least honest of all. And this might sound like a dumb language gripe, but in that one single sentence where Luke was declaring his starter-love for Hannah, he reiterated his seriousness no less than six times. And you guys…

Unfortunately, Hannah’s bullshit detector is through the floor if said words are the exact words she wants to hear. And you guys, what Luke P is saying is everything…

Crazy how that works! Because Luke's Week 3 actions are not those of someone who loves and cares for Hannah.

On the week 3 group date, sponsored by The Secret Life of Pets 2, the guys have to pose with animals for a photo shoot. Naturally, this leads to Hannah and Pilot Pete kissing because who wouldn't want to kiss in front of a mini horse, and also because Pilot Pete is extremely cute, seems appropriately wary of competing for love on television, but sticks around because he likes Hannah.

It is reassuring — but also difficult to comprehend — that Hannah seems equally attracted to Pilot Pete as she does to Luke P. But perhaps it is that exact realization that finally tips her scales toward annoyance when Luke starts pulling out his same insecure tricks at the—all together now!—Secret Life of Pets 2 photo shoot.

Suddenly, Luke P shouts out to the photographer, with a menacing look in his eye:"Hey I got one more real quick." Then he…gets down on the ground…and tells Hannah to come stand on his back…while he does push-ups???

I'm sorry Luke, did we not mention that this is a Secret Life of Pets 2 promotional shoot? I feel like we really, super mentioned it. And yet here you are, staging your own photo with exactly zero teacup pigs in the shot—what gives, dude???

Even Hannah catches on at this point that Luke is being weird and insecure, so she tells him she has to go change her outfit (classic technique), and Luke says he'll go with her. She says no thank you, that she’ll go to her dressing room by herself. So Luke starts physically steering her off somewhere, saying, "You just want to chat for a minute?"

Oof, this is where things really start to get Molly, you in danger, girl, and Hannah is finally mad about it.

At the nighttime portion of the group date, she pulls Luke aside to tell him that he needs to give her some space, but before she can even start talking, he's suddenly monologuing: "You really do fit the perfect mold of what I've been wanting my whole life in a future wife, and here I am, letting other guys develop a stronger connection with you … and I really don’t think these guys have what it takes to be your future husband." Luke, buddy — read the room.

But Luke doesn’t read the room!

He doesn’t care what Hannah's thinking or feeling, and he frequently assigns her feelings when he's away from her, saying things like he knew Hannah wished it was him on the hotel room date instead of Connor (and later asking Connor what Hannah was wearing while she was sick—for the record, Connor recalls Hannah's silk pajama pants as "sweat pants" which is further proof that dressing up specifically for a man should never involve more than mascara and manually pushing your boobs up).

Luke, if she wanted it to be you on that date, it would have been you, and if she didn't think any of these other guys could be her future husband, she wouldn't be dating them. Hannah looks Luke in the eye, and says, "You know, I like you, and I'm glad we have this automatic connection — but I'm struggling a little because I feel like you already think it's promised to you. And I feel like your confidence in this kind of makes me irritated in a way."

There are some filler words in there, sure, but telling a guy that he's irritating you, he's overly confident in your feeling toward him, and that his behavior is bothering you is…pretty straightforward!

But not to Luke. He says, I kid you not, "Can I just cut you off for a second because I'm happy we're having this conversation."

Hannah—an angry legend, a pissed off queen—tells Luke, no, he may not cut her off.

And let me tell you what, I guaran-fuckin-tee ya Luke is not someone who deals well with a woman getting firm with him. And you know how I know this? Because after Hannah tells him that she needs him to back off and respect her other relationships, Luke tells the camera, "I don’t think I've been acting that way. I don't see her seeing me that way."

Which is just a wild response to someone telling you precisely that they see you that way!!!

But Luke doesn't see himself that way, so what he's gonna do is “act like this conversation never happened,” and be more disrespectful of her other relationships than ever before!!!

And hey, I don’t want to sound like I'm saying Hannah asked for toxic meatsticks to follow her around an antique warehouse, but I will say that following a woman around an antique warehouse while she tries to kiss her other boyfriends literal minutes after she asked you to not follow her around so that she could kiss her other boyfriends is… a capital-b   B O L D   move.

First, Luke tries to interrupt poor Devin, saying that he has to get something off his chest with Hannah, and Hannah assures him that she will talk to him later…

Then Luke interrupts Hannah with a different man named Dylan, who informs Luke that they're talking about something serious; Hannah asks him once more to leave, and tells him that she'll find him later…

So Luke continues to wait just on the other side of the door Hannah is behind so that he can jump in the moment Dylan exits. This is when Pilot Pete arrives, and Luke begins interrogating him about his presence in the near vicinity of Hannah.

Pilot Pete says that he hasn’t talked to Hannah yet tonight, so he'd like to, and Luke bites back, "Literally, I haven't either!" Pilot Pete reminds Luke that he was the very first person to talk to Hannah, per her own request, and Luke responds: "She explained herself to me, and I didn't even really have time to talk to her at all—she talked to me." And isn’t that just all we need to know about how much respect Luke P has for Hannah, a woman he is “starting to fall in love with” (not a thing!).

Pilot Pete would be perfectly within reason to be annoyed by Luke getting aggressive with him in a small hallway that he is simply trying to sit in, but he has the exact right attitude about it: "If this guy wants to sink his ship, I'm not going to stand in his way." A pilot with sea metaphors? Swoon.

Yeah, Hannah fucking swoons too! Just after she walks out in that hallway and finds Luke P still there, and tells him for the third time that she'll find him after she's spoken to everyone else: "I want to call my own shots—I said I was gonna talk to you, and I will." Luke gives her the same blank stare he always does, then goes back and tells the other guys that he's thought about leaving tonight because he can't even say for sure that he's in love with Hannah yet after four days of knowing her.

Meanwhile…

Peter tells Hannah that his mom knew she was going to marry his dad just from seeing his butt—that's how you KNOW, Luke! And you know what else helps? Mounting a pilot against a wall.

Let me tell you, there is something so delicious about watching this giant man spin out of control because he's not getting as much attention as he wants from a woman, and then watching sweet Pilot Pete humbly walk in with that very woman’s lipstick all over his face.

These are the simple pleasures Hannah brings us. The least we can do in return is offer her a Cam-free world…

ABC: ALWAYS BE CHEERS-ING (METAPHORICALLY)

Hannah does eventually have that conversation with Luke, telling him firmly that he is not her only relationship and he has not been respecting that, "SO I just need you to work harder and fix this, okay?”

Luke at least pretends to listen this time because when Hannah comes over for a tailgate party in lieu of a cocktail party the next day, he allows her speak to other men without putting on a singlet and trying to bench press her or anything. Which is good because, in regards to this party, Hannah says: "I just want easy conversations, I don’t want to hear about anything tragic, I just need a chill day."

A chill day? Not on Cam's watch…

After Chris Harrison announces the tailgate party to all the large men on tiny couches and leaves, Cam calls for their attention. He's prepared a speech:

"Guys, there's something very personal and very serious in my life that I need to discuss with Hannah that I haven't had an opportunity to, and this has been something that has been a downfall in my last two serious relationships. So right when it gets started, I need to just pull her aside for a second. And there's a strong likelihood that it may be too much for her to handle and she sends me home before the rose ceremony."

Now Cam raises an invisible glass: "I just want to say it's been a privilege getting to know you guys, and you know, a metaphorical cheers to, you know, living your truth."

………

…………

BIG MIIIIIIIKE!!! Can you imagine, having your very serious conversation with Hannah interrupted by this man multiple times, and then having him tell you that he'll be reserving time with Hannah today to tell his very serious story, because his very serious story is "very personal and very serious in [his] life."

Mike tells Cam that’s bullshit and there are no rules of engagement, especially not for him. But he doesn’t interrupt when Cam eventually pulls Hannah aside to tell her that "in the year 2014" he was told he'd have to have his leg amputated. I happen to know from social media this was because Cam has lymphedema, and that ultimately he did not have to have his leg amputated, but for some reason, the editing does not give us those specifics.

The scene hops around from Cam saying he almost had to have his leg amputated to saying that he then found out his grandmother passed away, and then he had to re-home his 10-month-old puppy. "I didn't want to go into tonight's rose ceremony without being fully transparent and giving you the full picture of who I am," Cam tells Hannah, with 100 percent, seriously, I'm not kidding, I'm not kidding, 100 percent honesty.

One could see how when Mike later mentions to Hannah that Cam told them all he was going to tell her "a sad story to get a pity rose," Hannah would believe Mike. Because it's one thing to want to be transparent about a chronic condition that would be a factor in any relationship you have, and it's another to include every other sad thing that's ever happened to you and then dare the Bachelorette to not give you a rose now…

There's no way to know who introduced the "pity rose" idea first, Mike or Cam, but I do know that when Mike is talking about it to Hannah, he's wearing shorts, and his thighs are enough to distract a gal, if ya know what I'm saying.

So Hannah pulls Cam aside and tells him that she appreciates what he told her earlier, but she just left a conversation where Mike said Cam thought he thought he was going home tonight and so he was manipulating Hannah by telling her that story now. Cam says he wouldn't compromise the integrity of his story for a pity rose, but Hannah wants to know why she heard he was writing letters…

And uh, I do too. I assumed that Mike telling Hannah Cam was "basically writing Dear John letters" was in reference to the little Oh Captain, My Captain speech her gave that morning, but…

Hannah seems pretty damn certain about these letters. "Then why were you writing letters?" she repeats no less than 18 times, until finally Cam admits—he was writing letters! (Whom’st in that house would want to receive a goodbye letter from Cam, I have to ask???)

And it was because he thought he'd be going home at the Rose Ceremony.

Hannah tells Cam that she needs some time to think about this, and when she departs the tailgate, she tells the group at large, "Know that I have some difficult decisions to make." And then she looks Cam dead in the eye…

Fretting before the Rose Ceremony, Cam says: "It is incredibly frustrating to know that my destiny with Hannah is at the mercy of her choosing to believe me." Can he and Luke P even hear themselves speak? Has anyone ever asked them to fill out a sociopath questionnaire, just for funsies? Can they possibly understand how evident it is that they do not care one bit about Hannah's feelings or opinions or choices in her own life if it means that they won't get what they want?

Hannah announces that she's very confident in her decisions: she keeps Luke P, cuts Cam, and I immediately start squirming thinking about if anyone would give Cam a hug goodbye — I don’t like Cam, but I’m not a monster.

But you can always count on John Paul Jones to take one for the team.


And you can always count on me to go three weeks without writing about The Bachelorette, and then drone on for so long, I literally have to split the recap in two. And you guys — we didn't even get to Tyler's butt.

Butt, that’s for another day.

Because you wanna know what I like most about you, reader? I like the way you look at TATBT. Do respond here with any questions, comments, concerns, or haikus about Mike's smile, and I'll see you back here soon for another Bach-tastic recap!

A TATBT Bachelorette rewind: This Girl Is on Ire (Ire, Ire)

A fearsome Bachelorette? We love to see it.

At any given time, on any given day, I could find just about any given reason to be mad at myself: maybe I hit the snooze button six times because my subconscious created an elaborate ruse to convince me that there was a small man inside my dresser making the exact same noise as my alarm clock, and the only way I could stop him was by going back to sleep every nine minutes for an hour…

Perhaps it's because I started saying "If I don’t do my laundry tomorrow, I'm not going to be able to clothe myself" two weeks ago, and I still haven't done my laundry [ed. note: all cards on the table, I am fully nude right now]. Or, most likely, it's because a waiter just told me "enjoy your meal" and I said "you too!" and they tried to give me an out with "ha, I wish!" but I'm already saying, "ah, just kidding, you'd never eat this, look at your body, you look amazing, oh wow look at the time, I have laundry to do, byyyye."

Really, it could be anything.

But reader, I simply cannot muster the will to be mad at myself about sending this Bachelorette recap so late. Because every single second it took to digest the first three episodes of The Bachelorette and write about them was necessary. You know why? Because this is the best season of The Bachelorette in…well, ever, I guess.

[A TATBT note: I am, however, extremely apologetic to my patient subscribers!!! If you have any questions about your subscription, just let me know. Bachelorette updates should be weekly/biweekly for the rest of the season, and then comes: <Almost paradise / we're knocking on heaven's door…>]

Going into Hannah's season, I was excited about her inability to string together a sentence; her silliness; her previously proven tendency to crack under pressure. And yes, in the lead role, Hannah still isn't the most eloquent orator, and she's already gone full-tilt "Disney Channel star admitted to hospital due to stress, JustJared exclusively reports" once.

But Hannah is not as much of a mess as many of us were expecting. In fact, to this point, Hannah is completely in command of her position at the head of this franchise because Hannah has something far more powerful, and far more entertaining than her faulty first toast on Colton's season could have ever foretold: our girl is full of a righteous, righteous anger.

When a walking unsolicited dick pic with a wispy hairline who Hannah has barely even met is revealed to have a girlfriend back home on the first night, Hannah stomps into a room full of nervous men, points right at this dude Scott, and says, "We need to talk."

The other men know she's angry; she never makes any apologies for that anger. She simply hand Scotts his ass, and tells the other men afterward that if they have a girlfriend and would like to avoid having their asses wrapped up in PaperSource gift wrap and handed back to them with an elaborate bow, then they should get to scootin' too. And two episodes later, after the walking embodiment of an Aeropostale logo t-shirt tells Hannah about a former health scare, she does not hesitate in accusing him of trying to manipulate her once she hears mention that he was openly using his sad story to try to get a pity rose.

She doesn't care how many 10-month-old puppies he had to re-home when his leg was nearly amputated…

And those were just the guys Hannah didn't like. Luke P is a Stretch Armstrong doll who has been drained of all goo and human empathy and refilled with ground beef, and Hannah would like nothing more than to take him to Grade-A pound town. But his darn personality keeps getting in the way!

When Luke P starts following Hannah around and acting like he's the only boyfriend she should care about, Hannah gets annoyed. This is the only time in her life she'll get to date 15 former quarterbacks with three-inch hair, and she will be the one calling the shots on this experience, thanks very much. So Hannah pulls Luke P aside, tells him that he's irritating her, and that he needs to fix it because it's making her mad.

That's…unprecedented. Invigorating, really, to see this person who is being touted as the perfect woman be that open and unapologetic with her more negative emotions. Anger, frustration—these are not characteristics that society embraces in women, let alone celebrates. And I think somewhere, deep down below a thick layer of swallowed Crest White Strips, Hannah is taking that on. (I think that because she chooses to physically torture her boyfriends on their group dates to try and make them understand the female experience better, a point which will be elaborated on soon.)

Now, I don't want to make it seem like Hannah is angry all the time, or even most of the time, because she's not. Her whole appeal to these men is that she's fun and goofy and has a mouth the size of Montana that smiles constantly and often says genuinely quirky things.

All of those traditionally appealing things are very much true, especially the mouth, which is a modern marvel. But it's clear Hannah doesn't want to fall into the trappings of a manic pixie dream girl—y'know, if she was old enough to get that reference. Manic pixie dream girls for Hannah's generation are maybe…those digital robot influencers that look like real people on Instagram? Sure, Hannah doesn't want to be mistaken for a digital robot influencer with the perfect smattering of freckles…

She seems almost desperate for these guys to understand the “real” her: to see every side of her, even when those are sides she's never necessarily explored before herself. Because the woman is all ID all the time: impulse and desire completely devoid of any analytical forethought or logic.

That's what is making this season so fun to watch: Hannah is incapable of hiding anything, and so, she gives us everything. We're right there with her when she's trying to figure out in the moment how to explain to Jed why he found her rubbing down a shirtless Luke P at the cocktail party, and we're right there with her because she's speaking her every thought out loud which is: "Fuck, fuck, fuck, what the fuck do I do, fuck, fuck, fuck, sorry I don’t usually says the f-word this much, but fuck."

I never believed Colton when he said he learned so much on The Bachelorette that it made him totally ready for marriage even though three weeks prior, he couldn't even figure out if he liked Tia enough to fake date her on a fake gameshow. But I believe Hannah when she says she got past feeling like she has to be perfect after her disastrous first date showing on Colton's season — because with the freedom to take the lead, Hannah is not only willing to be imperfect, she is embracing her flaws. And telling these suitors that they better embrace them too.

I mean, the woman just showed up to the Week 2 cocktail party weeping. Like, crying the minute she opened her mouth to welcome her boyfriends to their torture party, with no explanation except that she was feeling emotional because of all her…feelings and emotions. And sometimes it just be like that, y'know? For Hannah, I think a lot of times it just be like that.

And not only is she not trying to hide that from her hypothetical future husband, she's trying to highlight it because they need to know what they're getting into: a lot of fun… and sometimes the will find her weeping in the kitchen… and sometimes she will look them dead in they eyes and says "Fix it," and they need to know what that means.

For this reason, I'm starting to think that Hannah is breeding chaos on purpose. At some point in the premiere, she told her 30 co-boyfriends — who seem to be 70 percent Anne-Geddes-level puppy dog sweethearts, five percent sentient red flag, and 20 percent wandered-in-from-a-Tim-Tebow-lookalike-contest-and-decided-to-give-competitive-falling-in-love-a-try — that she was looking for bold. This is an insane instructive to give to 30 insecure men looking for a way to stand out.

But Hannah seems to thrive in conflict, and whether she knows she's doing it or not, I think she's testing these men to see who can walk the very fine line that she's created for what excites her versus what annoys her.

Mostly, it means that Hannah is constantly being interrupted. On group dates, at cocktail parties—there are men breaking in to interrupt other interrupters because they first interrupted.

The fact that "bold" is not something one can really just be, but a situational reaction one might occasionally have, seems to be a defining line that is driving many of these brotestants crazy. The most oft-used phrase of this season has become some variant of "there's a fine line between bold and [insert literally any word here]."

That final photo is Hannah explaining that in Luke P's stalker-like behavior, "It’s like this fine of like, 'I really think it's attractive,' to like, 'it's the most unattractive thing I've ever seen in my life.'" So…Hannah has no idea what this hypothetical line is either?!

But who cares — she has 30 boyfriends. It’s basically a trial-and-error expeirment, and she's pretty sure one of them will strike right balance eventually. And that's when she'll know: That's my bold husband.

Is this agent-of-chaos method going to blow up in her face? Oh, for sure. Whipping a bunch of men into a frenzy could not possibly be the best way for Hannah to find her child-groom, nor for her to have an easygoing, pleasant experience here on The Bachelorette. But it sure is fun for us…

TYLER FOREVER

I'm just going to treat this first dip into Hannah's season as a recap of the third episode, because the only important things that happened in the first two episodes were finding out that Tyler C existed, plus one of the Tim Tebows was mysteriously sent home in the dead of night.

But most importantly: Tyler C exists.

Listen, Tyler C is not even my type, but that doesn’t matter. The man has pheromones that bleed through the television. His head is on a constant tilt like some kind of sexy pug who's permanently undressing you with his eyes. Not since Hot Peter have we witnessed a hotness this objectively hot.

In fact, if I was 14 years younger, this might be the hottest bunch of Bachelors we've had in a while. They remind me a lot of JoJo's season because they all seem to be in love with each other with just one wild Chad running around, chaining suitcases of protein powder to his waist to do chin-ups and threatening to eat anyone under 5'10.

I was already calling Tyler C "Riggins" in my notes before he even looked Hannah dead in the eye and told her that when he stepped out of the limo and saw her for the first time, it gave him a feeling he hasn't had since running out of the tunnel at college football games.

Because much like my beloved Tim Riggins, Tyler has that broody quality, that blink-and-you'll-miss-it smile, and an accent suggesting his parents are a swamp and a glass of sweet tea that all come together make you question if Tyler is extraordinarily soulful or just kind of dumb…until eventually you realize that he is somehow, delightfully, both.

Would that make Tyler do something idiotic and noble like go to prison for his stupid ass brother? Sure. But it also means I can't help but believe him when he tells Hannah that he believes "women really do run this world," even though that is just empty something people love to say as though acknowledging that women do much of society’s grunt work while being kept out of most positions of power is some coy little feminism secret. We appreciate this acknowledgment, but you know what we'd appreciate more—equal pay!

But not our Tyler, he really means it. He sees you, girl. He respects you, girl. And when he calls you girl, he's not infantilizing you, because when he looks at you, he sees this powerful woman, and he firmly believes that whatever your calling is, you'll move mountains, and he wants to be the one there fueling the fire.

And Tyler is simply too confident to even consider that something like that would make him sound like he's full of shit — that's how not full of shit he is!

And no, I'm not blinded by his jawline; I'm blinded by this Notebook-esque exchange:

Hannah: You wanna know what I like about you?

Tyler: Hm?

Hannah: Well…I like the way ya look at me.

Tyler: I can keep doing that, alright. That's pretty easy to do.

And what's wild is that Tyler doesn’t even seem like that much of a frontrunner yet! But maybe Hannah is trying to decide what the fine line is between a beefstick who says he want to be your cheerleader and a beefstick who attempts to model during a labor pains challenge…

So let's get to that.

HE'S HAVING MY BABY

Hannah is wildin' on these group dates, for real. On her very first group date, she made all of these squirt-bottles of mayonnaise compete in a beauty pageant coached by Ru Paul's Drag Race royalty Alaska and Alyssa Edwards, and ANTM royalty Miss J. Only Mike, who is my boyfriend, seems to have ever heard of drag queens, but that's okay, because the other guys' utter cluelessness inspires what will go down in TATBT history as one of my favorite Bachelorette moments ever:

Luke P is such a turd. But we'll get to that. First, we have to talk about the group date that comes once a year where The Bachelorette perpetuates the idea that grown men know nothing about babies, usually via some sort of obstacle course. But Hannah is not content to just have her men fumble around with a babydoll because their big, masculine man-hands are just too big and masculine to change a diaper…

"Women go through a lot of pain," Hannah says—in what I like to think is a tribute to Fleabag's killer "Women are born with pain built in" exchange from the most recent season—and so it's important for my man to have sympathy and empathy what we go through."

These men want to say they want to marry Hannah and start a family with her? Let's fuckin’ see it, boys.

The bros walk into a room where they find Bachelor superfans Jenny Mollen and Jason Biggs pretending to deliver a baby; then they're told that they'll be the ones going through the process of having a baby today. That includes an anatomy test:

Hannah putting clothespins on their nipples because…breastfeeding , I guess?

And, most importantly, a labor simulation machine wherein the men will get the shit electro-shocked out of their lower abdomen (maybe literally!).

This is where we learn that while Hannah subconsciously seems to enjoy psychologically torturing men, she openly loves physical torturing them.

John Paul Jones — a man who goes by that full name and seemed like he might be a awful from the bios, but mostly just kind of looks like the Prince from Shrek and eats chicken nuggets when he's nervous, so y'know, relatable — looks like he is prepared to end this journey toward six-digit Instagram followers right here and now while he watches the other men go through “labor.” But Hannah somehow gets him in that chair, and boy is it a delight.

In the end Hannah says, "You know, today was fun and laughs and hot men, but seriously, I hope they kinda see how hard and tough it is for women," and isn't that just our Bachelorette in a nutshell? If only the good times and lessons in empathy could last…

CAM, CAM, THE NIGHTMARE MAN

Alas, the group date must transition to some large, cavernous L.A. antique store for the nighttime portion, where all fun goes to die.

This one will be particularly hellish because it's lineup of brotestants includes Cam: a man who calls pre-written whiteboy raps "freestyles," and who Hannah gave her first impression rose to at the early After the Final Rose introductions so he has developed a Penn-Badgley-in-You­-style secret possessiveness over her. [Ed. Note: Demi is SUCH a Peach, I hope she's watching her back in whatever spy van she's currently residing in.]

It must be said that of the two First Impression Roses Hannah got to hand out, she gave them to literally the two worst dudes out of her 30. Earlier, I said Hannah is driven by her instincts, I did not say they were good instincts. In fact, I would wager to say Hannah has terrible instincts. Like the instinct to tell a guy like Cam that he should be “bold” to win her affections — that was a bad one. 

Cam is the type of guy who says "I'm the type of guy" a lot. If you're always having to declare the type of guy you are, then maybe that's not really the type of guy you are — maybe it's the type of guy you want to be seen as. Cam wants to be The Type Of Guy “who when I want something, I go get it." But Cam doesn’t realize that commodifying Hannah as a “something,” and gunning for her at the expense of men she actually likes is not going to get him very far. That's the type of guy Cam is.

He is also the type of guy who has a catchphrase that doesn’t quite make sense. "I can only be Cam, that's why I say, A-B-C: Always Be Cam." Mostly, Cam seems incredibly insecure, which he packages in a false confidence that the other men immediately recognize when this dummy shows up on one of the group dates that he was not invited to in episode 2…

Y'all, look at these carnations. Can you imagine showing up somewhere you very specifically weren't invited to with carnations? But Cam thinks he's being bold because he wasn't invited on any of the dates in week 2, so he's taking it upon himself to get time with Hannah — again, at an antique store he very much was not invited to. That is not a good kind of surprise, especially if Hannah's face when she sees Cam is anything to go by.

Especially because she had just entered into a conversation about male rompers (romp-hims) with a sweet young man named Devin who we'll never get to know because Cam keeps stealing everyone else's time.

Cam and Hannah have a perfectly stunted, completely insignificant conversation, but he leaves sure he just nailed it on the boldness. He's outside telling the cameras just how bold he was, and how the other guys are simply gonna have to have to deal with it when The Best Thing happens:

Tyler C swaggers up behind Cam and scares the bold right out of him.

And standing there is all Tyler C needs to do. He just need Cam to know that he knows what he did. He doesn’t even reprimand Cam for being disrespectful or stepping on the other men's toes, as later dudes do (resulting in this amazing quote from Cam: “Here's the deal dude, y'all's toes don't matter”). Tyler just claps Cam on the shoulder and says, "Hey brother, have you seen her?" Cam gulps that she's inside on the couch and Tyler starts to walk away, but then: "So if you're not on a group date, you gonna come out for more of 'em?"

And there is something extremely sexy about a man who doesn’t get angry or raise his voice, but instead just sort of exudes self-possession in a shawl-neck cardigan.

We don't have to wait for an answer from Cam though, because in Week 3, Cam gets to go on the pregnancy date, and we see how he behaves at an event he's actually invited to. Spoiler alert—it's much worse!

Because now he's interrupting Hannah and a new set of men. And while Tyler C may be the object of my sweater-related lust — Mike J is my boyfriend.

Mike J smiles like this:

After a conversation with Alaska where he borrows her size 15 high heels to take a spin in, Mike relates to the drag queen experience like this:

And when he goes into simulated labor, he looks like this:

I don’t care how much drama Mike J gets himself involved in, I believe he is doing it out of a keen opposition to injustice, and just know that once he is cut from this show, I will find him and climb him like a tree simply to stare at his beautiful, giant teeth before I eventually lose him to the siren-like all of Sayulita, Mexico.

Anyway, up until this point Mike has been a ray of sunshine who loves to ask Hannah questions about herself because he was raised by all women and he knows how important it is to truly listen your partner. But after the pregnancy date, he has something on his mind that he feels the time is right to share with Hannah: in a previous relationship, he and his girlfriend got pregnant and were preparing to start a family when she had a miscarriage in the second trimester. 

Now, the editing gets a little cramped at the point Mike begins explaining how the relationship ended because it's time for Cam to walk through a women's restroom to stand in the room and stare awkwardly as Mike is telling Hannah this extremely personal story…

It must be noted that not five minutes before this interruption Cam was monologue-ing to the other guys on the couches about how "you don't want to look back and have regrets … you just have to do what you feel is best for you's and Hannah's relationship, not the other guys's relationships."

Now, while I was taking umbrage with Cam's frequent use of weird possessive pronouns, Tyler was mulling over some signature Tyler C wisdom: "Can we agree though that if it was just a gigantic free-for-all, no one would get anywhere?" This is…the single most concise and reasonable argument made to an interrupter I have heard in 30 seasons of The Bachelor franchise. We stan a socialist prince.

And when Cam still isn't catching on, Tyler gives an example: "You ever watch first grade soccer? Where they all just follow the ball — that’s what it would be like if we all stepped on each other's toes all the time."

I don't even know what to do with this hot, wise man who is also always — literally, always — posing for an invisible camera. Nor does Cam who gulps out, "Absolutely, totally, 100 percent, sure man."

It must finally be noted, before we get back to the interruption at hand, that when he goes to take Hannah away from Mike J — simply an oak tree of a hottie — Cam is wearing a hoodie…under a blazer…with a pocket square.

I mean, a fedora might have actually improved things in this scenario.

So, Cam comes through the women's restroom looking like a Degrassi character arriving at a school dance in 1999, and he does not leave the room like he said he would, he just keeps loitering as Mike continues to talk about his growth that came out of pain until finally Hannah has to be like, Bro, you have GOT to get out of here, and under what circumstances could you ever possibly need both a hood and pocket square?

How could Cam feel good about continually causing Hannah to make this face?!

Mike tells Cam that he'll come outside and get him when they're finished talking, and Cam starts begging, "Please, I have something important to tell her, please, please." Y'all—in front of a woman he is trying to WOO!

And what is that important thing he has to tell Hannah once he finally whines his way into her presence:

Big fucking whoop, CAM!!! People leave their jobs constantly to come on this show. And it is not exactly sexy to be like, Hey baby, I told my job I would need to take a leave of absence and they told me that I wasn't a vital enough part of the organization to just hold the position open for a few weeks, do you want to touch tongues now?

THIS is what he chose to make Big Mike big mad for? Bad idea, Always Be Cam…

Mike, a beloved member of this tribe of bros, has now told the other bros what happened; so an otherwise unassuming man named Jonathan takes it upon himself to go interrupt Cam. It is not a sword that Jonathan needs to throw himself on, but perhaps he knew he wasn't long for this world anyway, and thought it would be fun to make Cam mad in his last moments on Bachelorette earth. Indeed it was, and for this, we thank him.

Luckily, John Paul Jones is always available for a moment of levity.

But nothing will keep Cam from whining after Mike gets the group date rose, "I had to resign from my job for this," which is when, given the opportunity, I might say: Oh buddy, you didn't have to resign from your job, you chose to resign from your job, and Hannah does not have to bear the burden of that choice, nor does she owe you anything, especially considering that you would have resigned from that job whether the Bachelorette was Hannah or a spoon covered in dried spaghetti sauce, so why don't you and your shark eyes get to steppin'?

OH LOOK, A GOOD ONE!

I'm about to have to talk about the other personification of toxic masculinity currently haunting this season, so let's just take a brief break for someone Hannah is dating who doesn’t ignore her needs and desires in favor of their own personal running narrative wherein they're a big masculine man who wins lady's heart with absolutely no input from her.

Connor is a sweet (giant) boy who looks like a young Christian Bale if you caught him somewhere between Newsies and American Psycho when he was attending an all-boys school in Westlake.

Connor seems…unbearably sweet, and like maybe he doesn't know that he's extremely hot. So he's the perfect person to have been on the one-on-one date that Hannah had to back out of because she, uh…fainted that morning. Instead Connor gets to go hang out in her hotel room and make out in her bed once she explains that she's not contagious, she just, uh…fainted that morning.

Then Hannah has to tell Connor to leave because she, uh…fainted that morning, but brings him back later for a classic punishment/prize combo: a private concert and a rose.


And this li’l recap of six hours of television is how I learned that there’s a cap on how long a Substack post can be! So stay tuned for Part 2 — Luke P’s rise and A-B-Cam’s fall — headed to your inbox shortly…

How to Make an Old Fashioned the Old-Fashioned Way

SPOILER ALERT: issa cuppa bourbon

If you've just read this headline, and are thinking, But TATBT isn't really a how-to newsletter, you would be correct. And if you're thinking, There is a very angry recent college graduate who can unhinge her jaw like a snake currently helming a major ABC franchise, where the Chris-Harrison-hell is my TATBT Bachelorette coverage, to you I say: it is coming on Monday, and yes, I do think Hannah's anger is part of #theresistance.

But, reader, my soul has left my body…

Not since Dan Gilroy said "milankaly" and shaved 10 years off Jake Gyllenhaal's life have I felt the need to share such a joyous moment with you. I have never in my life yelled at a video like this.

No, I simply could not watch another thing or write another word until I knew that everyone in my life had the opportunity to experience a young woman named JaNee teaching the internet how to make an Old Fashioned nine years ago.

Surely you can tell from the above still alone that this is not your average instructional video. Please watch it. I beg of you to watch it.

The video in question appears to have been made in 1998 — or at least during some variant of "The Rachel" — but was originally uploaded on October 29th, 2010 at the same time that Mahalo.com bestowed upon the world a bevvy of JaNee drink tutorial videos including "How to Make a Rum and Coke" (a real emotional roller coaster, I tell you what) and "How to Make a Bloody Mary," which features a gallon of orange juice prominently in its lineup of ingredients.

And it’s that giant jug of Minute Maid precisely that stands as a symbol of the magic in watching JaNee make a cocktail...

To see someone do something so incorrectly with so much confidence can be kind of inspirational. There are so many things I don’t know how to do, but watching JaNee makes me think, I guess I could just…do them?

To hear a person say "3 ounces of bourbon" and then watch her fill a pint glass with Jim Beam for what Mahalo.com has told us explicitly is to make an Old Fashioned might leave you feeling like an insane person, as the tweet above that first introduced me to this video indicates…

But not JaNee. No, JaNee is wreaking absolute havoc with the calm demeanor of someone who took a beta blocker this morning, and the wardrobe, hairstyle, and face of Elisha Cuthbert in The Girl Next Door [ed. note: a niche reference that is dead on the money].

And the whole thing is: I don't know how to make an old fashioned either! I mean, I drink them, so I know by the simple human senses of taste and touch that there is not a mashed up elementary-school-lunch orange slice in there. But when I saw this video making the rounds on Twitter, I thought maybe it was because cocktail snobs were turning up their noses at the use of rail liquor. I simply never could have imagined what was to come.

The wildest part about this tutorial is that JaNee is so close to getting it right. Are the ingredients in front of her boldly store-brand? Sure. But they are all there...

And that’s not an indictment of the choices JaNee ultimately makes with these ingredients. I know that even if someone set out all the right items and accouterments in front of me to, say, make a candle, I’d still fuck it right up. I don't think I would... pour a glass full of candle wax into a smaller glass and then be surprised when the candle started overflowing. But I can't really say, now can I??? Because I've never had the nerve to film a candle-making tutorial video and put it on the internet.

But JaNee did. She said:

No, I HAVEN'T ever made, consumed, or been exposed to an Old Fashioned, but Mahalo.com — a "human search engine" that thought it could rival Google in 2007 — has paid me to be the human search result for "how to make an Old Fashioned," and BY GOLLY, I will pour this bourbon until it literally cannot be poured anymore!

The best part of JaNee's Old Fashioned how-to is that it is above mockery. Every time I think I can make fun of it, I just circle back around to awe. Because nothing slows JaNee down: not a desperately empty bottle of bitters, not a complete lack of understanding for imperial measurements, and certainly not the fear of sending someone to the hospital. 

Yes, we all start to pay attention around the time that JaNee fills up a pint glass with bourbon, and we become officially rapt when she begins — I honestly get short of breath every time I think about this — pouring that bourbon back and forth between two different sized glasses. But far before that, JeNee reveals herself to be winging all of this to the most commendable degree. 

While listing her ingredients, JaNee explains that the sugar cube she'll be using could be subbed for simple syrup, "depending on how sweet, or if you want it a little more liquid-y."

Which is to suggest, not only that sweetness and liquidity stand in opposition to each other, but that a pint glass of bourbon could have ultimately been made "more liquid-y" had she used sugar syrup instead. But thank the lord, Mahalo.com, that JaNee was provided with a dryer sheet box full of sugar cubes because, can you imagine what could have happened if she'd had to navigate a stovetop?

See, utensils are not exactly JaNee's specialty. A cherished favorite moment of mine is when she dives right into the maraschino cherry jar with her bare fingers and then dives right back in one more time because she likes to use two cherries. "Just to give it a little more cherry flavor," she tells us with a coy smile.

Then JaNee grabs that sugar cube she's been so excited about thickening this drink up with, and homegirl gets to mashing. Now, I am no mixologist, but I believe one generally calls the practice of mashing fruits..."muddling?" And the way the sugar cube dissolves naturally under the bitters is...one of the best parts of an Old Fashioned? But not on JaNee's watch — she mashes and mashes with the end of a wooden stew spoon until that orange slice is nice and sinewy, just how us Old-Fashioned-lovers like it.

One might wonder why, in a video that sets out specifically to make an Old Fashioned — and that sports a bar so fully stocked that it includes, to the naked eye, nine different kinds of schnapps — the utensils needed for the drink wouldn't just be provided beforehand.

But in that case, one would be disregarding JaNee's passion for ingenuity. She tells us that anything can work to mash up your orange slice and Kirkland Signature maraschino cherries — a wooden spoon end, an old boot, a monkey's paw, a moss-covered stick you found outside, your entire fist —  just whatever is laying around your giant bar table specifically laid out to film the making of an Old Fashioned!

Now, the true hidden joy of this entire video, and where JaNee earned every single one of her Mahalo.com shares that hopefully allowed her to retire to an island where no one would dare try to make her create or consume an Old Fashioned ever again, is watching our girl pick up a bitters bottle as empty as it is giant, and shake-shake-shake it into the glass while not a damn thing comes out, save the confident performance of a dude on Twitter with an egg avatar telling an expert in their field how their field works. JaNee invented mansplaining, and she did it in an off-the shoulder top.

Two or three dashes — only you can decide how much invisible bitters you'd like to flavor the fruit salad at the bottom of your glass with!

And next, of course, you grab your "ice cup." You slam it into your cooler, and you fill your Old Fashioned pint glass — and I cannot stress this enough — all the way to the brim with ice. Those cubes needs to be clicking around in there like they’re a motherfucking Delta desk agent with a fresh acrylic set seeing if she can rebook your cancelled flight before that vein actually bursts right out of your forehead. To! The! Brim! Clink! Clink! Clinkity! Clink!

Finally, the money shot: JaNee tells us that we're going to put in three (3) ounces (oz.) of bourbon. She picks up that gorgeous Jim Beam; she tips it sideways; and she unloads half a bottle of bourbon into this pint glass of ice and cherry pulp...

And then she explains to us — that this is "a pretty strong drink."

This is the point that I have to believe anyone could get on board with JaNee. Because if you went to a bar and ordered an expensive cocktail...and then you watched that bartender grab cherries with her bare fingers and mash up an orange slice with the business end of a broomstick, and mime dashing in bitters...couldn't all still be forgiven once she just served you up a half-bottle of bourbon that you could pass around to all your friends with a ginger ale chaser, and call it a $12 night?

No, it's not good; no it's not safe; no it's not "bar-tending." It's just bourbon. And JaNee's got a loaves-and-fishes kind of relationship with it.

So, now that we're all cool with JaNee making us drinks and just not, like, watching our children or anything, let's quickly check back in on how to finish this Old Fashioned off. Because you might be looking at a pint of bourbon with a smashed up orange (no doubt, sticker still on) at the bottom, and think you're ready to leave the bar with a Lyft to the hospital already called, but no.

First, a history lesson. JaNee tells us that not that many people order Old Fashioneds anymore because...

Indeed, this glass of bourbon is the drink of our ancestors — when you drink it [ed. note: please don’t], think of them.

And when you watch in horror as JaNee picks up your giant glass of bourbon and pours it into a significantly smaller glass "because of course you're gonna wanna make sure all those flavors get mixed up," and then pours it back and forth thrice more, just know that for every ounce of bourbon she sloshes onto the tablecloth below, JaNee is saving you one stomach pump.

And for that, we thank her.

The woman, the myth, the not-even-a-little-bit-a-bartender: JaNee. May we all have her confidence to do the things we're not at all equipped to do heading into this summer. Never used a grill? Light er' up. Never traveled alone? Book that ticket. Never worn a bikini? Throw it the fuck on, and grab a drink. But I tell you this in no uncertain terms: do not make that drink a JaNee Old Fashioned.


See you back here on Monday for a recap of The Bachelorette thus far, and if you have any comments on Hannah already, I'd love to hear them!

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