The Bachelorette Recap: Weeks 1 & 2
by Kim Coates, Uplift’s newest Front Desk associate
"I need to just chill out. Ride the wave and just go with it." - Becca, voicing every woman's thoughts when dating
Bachelorette season is here!
Our Bachelorette this season, Becca Kufrin, is light-hearted and easy-going with a quiet confidence that shows she knows exactly what she wants: a partner who is (finally) committed to a long-term relationship and free from drama. She is not afraid to send any man packing as soon as a red-flag pops up, something clearly evidenced on night one (and a trait which makes for very satisfying TV).
This season, ABC is going with a heavy edit of reminding the viewers that Becca's heart has very recently been broken - by none other than last season's Bachelor, Arie - and can she manage to overcome this devastating blow and open her heart to someone new? This storyline already feels a bit tired to me; I would rather watch Becca have her own moment instead of revisiting a past relationship over and over, no matter how "dramatic" that break-up was.
Week One: Premier Night
28 suitors made their individual exits from the limos and tried their damnedest to be creative and charming as they introduce themselves to Becca, who wore a very sparkly white gown. Noteworthy limo exits included a man in a chicken costume (David), a man who completely blanked on his rehearsed speech (Joe), a man who rode in on an ox (Blake), and a man who drove in a minivan complete with soccer balls and carseats in the back (Garrett).
An early villain was Jordan, a male model from Florida whose deadpan commentary on “appropriate fashion” not to mention his own good looks was undeniably funny...even though I simultaneously already can't stand him.
The big dramas from night one - which demonstrated Becca's lack of hesitation to cut people quickly - centered around Jake and Chase. Jake was a man from Minnesota, like Becca, who ran in the same social circle as her back home. According to Becca, she had met him a few times at parties, though he only "consciously" remembered one. In an uncomfortable scene, Becca confronted Jake about their shared past and presented her perspective that if anything was going to happen between them, it probably would have already. Jake did not take this news well and decided that arguing with her was a better choice (word to the wise: don’t fight with the Bachelorette on the first night). His aggressive and condescending tone when he told her he had a very "transformative" year, did nothing to convince Becca he should stay, and he was sent packing. Bye, Felicia.
Then there was the Chase and Chris debacle. Both men live in Orlando, and Chris is apparently friends with one of Chase's exes (though the length of that relationship ranged from "two weeks" to "a few months" in Chase's words). This woman sent Chris a text message before the show saying that Chase was there for "the wrong reasons" (Bachelor code for anything self-serving). Chris decided it was a good idea to make Becca aware of this on night one, and, after confronting Chase, Becca also sent him packing at the rose ceremony. Maybe Becca would have given Chase another chance if he didn't say that his ex was just "being a woman" when sending that text. Equating femininity with being gossipy or competitive with other woman is not OK, obviously. Points to Becca for getting rid of him.
Six men were cut the first night, and Garrett (mini-van man, who is also a hunter and fisher hailing from Reno, NV) got the much-coveted first impression rose. My standouts from night one were Leo, a long-haired stuntman whose scathing commentary on the other men somehow does not come across as villainous, and Clay, a football player who is soft-spoken and endearingly shy.
Can you imagine being asked to make a connection so quickly and show all the best parts of yourself in one evening all the while vying with 27 other people?! I feel for the contestants. On the other hand, this is perhaps the night where we see the lead (Becca) able to go with her gut the most strongly, as there is not a developed relationship to dissuade that instinct. So, the Bachelorette on night one is atavism at its best!
This week, the men got to spend more time with Becca and leave the mansion to do some activities, which meant athletic competitions and smashing things. ABC might be leaning into tropes of masculinity a little too hard: not every man on the panet enjoys an obstacle course though the mud, which was the site of the first group date, and variations of which we commonly see in the Bachelorette franchise.
Becca chose a group of men to first get treated to and champagne while wearing dashing black tuxes...and then compete in an obstacle course in the mud wearing said tuxes.
Was it ever satisfying to watch the men hurl themselves through the course with no regard for how silly they looked. But I digress.
Lincoln won the course, which had a relationship theme to it - with the winner being the first man to get a giant (fake) ring to Becca. Throughout the course, the viewers were treated to Jordan's hilarious commentary. One of his favorite themes is noting how "professional" he is, not just as a model (his career) but in literally everything he does. Maybe he’s also an amazing closet-actor, or maybe he’s just unhinged. The joy of this show is that we will soon find out.
Later that evening, Becca (i.e. the Bachelorette producers) gave Lincoln a framed photo of the two of them at his obstacle course finish. Lincoln was giddy about this photo and paraded it around in front of the other men rather obnoxiously. Connor finally grabbed it and through it off a balcony. This led to a big drama in which Becca had to chat with Connor about his disrespectful action, while I (slightly guiltily) laughed out loud. Although it was all smoothed over in the end, and both Connor and Lincoln wound up with roses at the rose ceremony, I think their little row - and the unsavory personality traits it brought out of both of them - will not be forgotten by Becca. The plot--and testosterone--thickens.
Blake got the one-on-one date in which he and Becca smashed items from Becca's past that reminded her of her ex, Arie. I found this segment funny because Blake is clearly a pacifist sort of guy and did not seem super comfortable swinging a sledgehammer or being overtly violent, and neither did Becca for that matter. Truth be told, it was all a little weird. But the way the two of them laughed at the activity and carried through with it in a light-hearted way spoke to their connection and chemistry. I see Blake as a strong frontrunner at this point. He noted repeatedly how "incredibly natural everything feels", definitely a good sign for a first date and one we can probably all relate to (though I think I have only had one first date that every went that well - even more of a testament to its rarity).
The late group date, a dodgeball match between the remaining men, was very entertaining. Thanks in part to 1.) the hilarious (actor?) children who were training the men with no mercy (picture huge balls getting mercilessly lobbed at their heads again and again) and 2.) Leo's gallant show of effort and "heart" at being the last man standing on his team for all three matches.
At the final cocktail party, Jordan decided to walk around in only his boxer briefs against all the other men's suits. The fact that Becca kept him around for another week despite this distasteful stunt makes me suspect production is keeping him around for laughs, which is actually OK with me because he is very entertaining. Isn’t that what all of this tomfoolery is all about?
That's it for Weeks 1 & 2! Be sure to check in next week for Week 3's recap and my prediction for who will be Blake's competition for frontrunner, plus a heavy dose of feminist commentary (and a little snark) on what all of this means for the state of women and our country!