A fearsome Bachelorette? We love to see it.
|Jun 7||Public post|
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…
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?
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…