Any well-seasoned Bachelor Franchise viewer can tell you the show is defined by three things: the iconic California mansion, traveling worldwide, and light-hearted fun that occasionally turns into deep, romantic connections. Well, this season has none of the above, and maybe that’s why I’m getting bad vibes. After watching this week’s episode, I immediately devoured every recap podcast I could find to see if everyone else thought it was just as insane as I did. Unfortunately, Bachelor Nation almost unanimously landed on the same conclusion: WTH did we just watch? Here are just a few things that sent this season entirely off the rails (and not in a good way):
- The First Group Date
As a longtime viewer, I understand entirely that each Bachelor/Bachelorette’s journey happens at a significantly accelerated rate. However, every season usually starts with a few easygoing, playful dates before the contestants begin to develop any real feelings for the lead. Let’s just say this first group date was more like week 5 group date material. To sum it up, each guy had to tell Clare nice things, present her with a meaningful gift, and then, while blindfolded, awkwardly touch and hug her in front of all the other guys *and* Chris Harrison. It was weird. The production value was giving me 6th-grade theater. The guys knew next to nothing about Clare, so it was just who can act the best at this point. If Clare’s set on finding a deep, genuine connection with one of these guys, why isn’t she allowing time for the relationships to develop organically instead of forcing these strangers to compliment her?
- The First One-on-One
This poor man. I believe his name was Jason. RIP Jason. For their first date, Clare asked him to write a letter to his younger self. Right off the bat, you could tell that he is deeply uncomfortable. He had a rough childhood and wasn’t quite ready to open up about whatever trauma he and his brother went through. It was painful to watch as Clare questioned him about his “demons” and forced him to have a therapy session. And it’s not like he was talking to her alone, he was talking to the cameras, talking to the millions of people watching the show, talking to his family. Confronting childhood trauma is not something that should happen on a televised first date.
- The Second Group Date
The Bachelor Franchise is no stranger to risqué dates now and then, but this one crossed the line. The group date’s premise was “strip dodgeball”, meaning when one team lost; they had to take off a piece of clothing and play on until one team was left in only the small underwear (if you can even call it that) that production provided for them. Whichever team won would be rewarded extra time with Clare. The blue team ultimately lost, and to everyone’s horrific surprise, most of them proceeded to take off their underwear and hug Clare fully nude on their way out. That’s right; you heard me correctly. Then, after they left, the contestants walked around the resort, filmed, with no clothes. One of the guys immediately commented on how humiliating the whole situation was, especially when he considered his young daughter at home. This entire date was borderline sexual harassment. Even Chris Harrison, the host, was visibly uncomfortable. If the situation reversed, and women had to participate in something like this, the whole internet would have been in an uproar. This was entirely unacceptable, and I’m massively disappointed in Clare for even initiating the full frontal hugs. Just *ew*.
- That Poor Guy Named Brandon
Perhaps my biggest issue of the night, solidifying my stance against Clare as Bachelorette material. One of the contestants named Brandon pulled Clare aside to have their first chat. He began the conversation by saying that he knew he needed to apply once she was announced as the Bachelorette. Clare then asked him what, specifically, about her made him want to apply for the show. He then said something along the lines of “Well, I thought you were beautiful and wanted to come on here and get to know you on a more personal level.” This seems like an honest, realistic answer, in my opinion. Clare jumped at this and questioned whether the only reason he came on was because of her looks. He was taken aback and restated that he didn’t know much about her but wanted the opportunity to learn. And that was the nail in his coffin. She wants a deep, meaningful connection with someone, which Brandon failed to give her in the 45-second conversation they had, so she immediately shut him down and sent him home.
I can’t help but laugh at the hypocrisy. Is this the same woman who said she found her husband (Dale) after briefly meeting him for maybe 30 seconds (aka obviously based on physical appearance)? Is this the same woman who encouraged multiple men to strip naked for her on television? Even if we looked past all of that, why is she so hard on all these guys when she is clearly entirely focused on Dale? It seems like she’s continually trying to assert her dominance, and it’s not working out in her favor.
In conclusion, Tayshia is the Bachelorette we deserve, and I can’t wait to see her journey begin soon.