Just one episode in, first Black bachelorette Rachel Lindsay's options already seem limited. Let the games begin.
Confession: I have never watched a single episode of The Bachelor or its spin-off, The Bachelorette.
Until last night, my Bachelor franchise “knowledge” began and ended with some vague concept called “a rose ceremony.” So how did we end up here? Enter Rachel Lindsay, a 31-year old black trial attorney, who looks curiously like Robin Givens. Lindsay’s the very first and long overdue black lead in The Bachelor franchise.
Real talk: dating reality shows can be a mixed bag of shenanigans, and on the scale of civilized to Flavor of Love, we’re not sure yet how this Bachelorette thing is going to play out. I mean, we’re hopeless romantics, but we’re also skeptical of folks who fall in love on a TV show. Fun fact: Rachel says she was skeptical of the whole process too when she appeared on The Bachelor until she actually found love there. But then the bachelor didn’t love her back, which is how she ended up here with 31 flavors… or er, suitors to choose from.
Anyway. We’re going to cover a couple episodes to support Rachel, and check out the guys who barely know her, but keep saying she is their future wife. Weird, right? Stranger things have happened. And some of them happened on the season premiere of The Bachelorette last night. Let’s get into last night’s husband hunt.
Rachel, isn’t just the first black Bachelorette, she also holds the distinction of being the oldest Bachelorette, at the tender age of 31. She says she’s prioritized her career over love so far, a common enough affliction, but now, she vows, “I’m letting love lead the way”. Good for her.
It’s episode one, so true to form, Rachel – and the millions of people that make up the viewing audience—is going to meet the harem of men vying for her heart. Rachel stands outside a rented mansion to greet her men. They arrive in a succession of limos and are packed inside like clowns in the little car at the circus.
Speaking of clowns, most of these guys are an unequivocal “no” at “hello”. There’s Blake the Nutritionist who’s bragging about his high libido. Ew. There’s Matt who arrives in a penguin costume. It squeaks. Some other guy, Adam, shows up with a ventriloquist dummy that creeps me—and Rachel—out. There’s another guy, Lee, who thinks he knows how to play a guitar and sing, but my ears have determined that is a lie. Oh, and there’s Dean who upon first meeting Rachel, quipped something like, “once you try black, you never go back”. My micro-aggression meter went haywire.
It got worse.
Some guy, Lucas, had a megaphone and yelled “Wahboom” while shaking like he’s having what old folks call a “fit”. He reminds me of the “jazz man” Carrie dated in Season Four of Sex and the City. Blake, 31 is trying too hard to make a good impression and arrives with a marching band in tow. His occupation is listed as “aspiring drummer”. Wait. Is that a job? Does it pay? Speaking of questionable jobs, there’s a guy, Diggy from Chicago, who talked about his “swag” and showed off his 500+ sneaker collection. He describes his job as a "senior inventory specialist". Is that fancy talk for “I work overnight in the Foot Locker stock room”? Look, I respect all honest work. I just want a thing to be called a thing.
This collection of awful men makes me sad. A team of producers have scoured the American earth to find husband-material for Rachel, and at best we’re looking at five and a possible. Great for a hand of Spades; less impressive when you’re standing in a room full of men and realize most of them don’t even deserve your real number.
I do have a couple faves though. Topping my list is Josiah Daniel Graham, the chocolate lawyer. He reminds me of the cutie, Stephan James, from Shots Fired, and has a bit of wit about him. I also like Bryan, the Colombian chiropractor, but for an adventure, like a weekend in Vegas. I believe a man when he says “girl, you in trouble That’s not someone you pair off with for this thing called life.” Also, I’m still on the fence about that kiss he planted on Rachel during their alone time. Part of me was like, “Ooh, la la” because it looked juicy, but then another part was like, “ugh! Stranger danger!” cause a man she barely knew was shoving his tongue down her throat, you know?
Fred, the guy with the yearbook, who knows Lindsay from her camp counselor days? He seems to be a viewer favorite – I mean, he is fine-- but he’s a maybe with strong reservation to me. I can’t put my finger on what I don’t like about him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the mystery man who has a girlfriend back home in the previews for the upcoming episodes
Once Rachel meets all the guys and has one-on-one time with most of them, it’s time for the First Impression Rose, which the guys treat like a really big deal. Josiah is confident he will get this special rose, but the rose goes to Bryan the Colombian Chiropractor. I guess Rachel really liked that kiss. After pinning him with this sacred rose, she goes in for another taste.
Now it’s time for The Rose Ceremony. The men are so nervous. The tough wrestler all but says he has butterflies in his tummy. Fred’s eyes are tearing up. What is happening? He audibly sighs in relief when his name is called.
All of the guys I liked received a rose, but Rachel has made some super questionable decisions with this rose distribution. Remember the guy in the penguin suit? He got a rose… while still wearing the penguin suit. He’s had it on allllll night. Rachel also chooses the guy with the dummy. By far her worst choice is Lucas aka the Wahboom! guy who annoys everyone in the house, and all the viewers watching. Producers must have forced her to choose him.
Most of the un-chosen men are confused about how they lost to Lucas. If it makes them feel at all better, I—and the rest of the audience—are confused too. But nearly all the guys are gracious and depart without making a fuss… except Milton. This man is in for real red-eye tears over how he was rejected (by a woman he just met) and more important, how his virtual catwalk has come to an end. He says he was the best dressed in the house and he had a suitcase full of outfits to stunt in while he was on the show. Sir. If you don’t carry you and your wardrobe back to where you came from…
Rachel thinks she has separated the wheat from the shaft and declares “let the journey begin!” She is ready to pick a husband.
Um. Baby Girl, have you seen your choices so far? The ride is about to be uneven and bumpy as hell, which means great TV for us, but sometimes it might suck to be you.
What did you think of Rachel and her mansion of men?
For more fun recaps and dating advice from Demetria, click here.