Truly, there has never been a Bachelorette more worthy or more worth the experience of participating in this often soul-wrenching process than Emily Maynard. Your own eyeballs will tell you she's beautiful, but in addition to that she's got a warmth and a genuine kindness that her fellow contestants from Brad Womack's season of The Bachelor remarked on repeatedly. ABC has paid tribute to her super-desirable status by bending over backwards to get her on the show, moving their whole Pier One Important Glamour Team to hussy up a house in North Carolina as her Bachelorette HQ and shell out for airfare so she can bring her daughter Ricki with her once they start caravaning the hunks around the world (a privilege NOT afforded to Jason Mesnick, the single dad of The Bachelorette Season 4 and The Bachelor Season 13).
Plus, there's never been a more interesting time to watch Chris Harrison glide through the proceedings. If he seems a little off his game and a little irritated behind his smiling-koala-bear mask, keep in mind that less than two weeks ago he announced that he was separating from his wife (and former high school sweetheart). I've got my eye on him looking for signs of: A) sardonic hatred for this whole process, and B) a big ol' crush on Emily.
You could feel the effect Emily had on the guys. The adrenaline and the nerves were intense. The guys hunkered down around the fire pit seemed genuinely competitive with each other and gave off almost audible vibrations, like a sea of pitch forks, when Emily drew near with the First Impression Rose. I was surprised that so few guys seemed anywhere near as cute as Emily (sorry, that was my first impression, Rose) I wondered if she had an unbearable urge to escape to the bathroom and text Brad Womack "Miss you bb" after the last limousine full of vaguely regular-shaped men traipsed down the Charlotte Mansion's hall.
Still, it's a long way to go from the first five-hour-long open bar to the last helicopter ride to the Proposing Summit, and Desert Island Syndrome will surely kick in and make us care deeply about at least three of these dudes.
Doug (First Impression Rose)
Kind of think he dictated that letter from his 12-year-old to Emily, and DO NOT tell me he didn't read it before handing it over.
When I first saw this guy I thought Chris Harrison was trying to sneak into the Charlotte Manor on stilts. Possibly a cousin of Chris Harrison? If I were a single dude related to the Harrz I would pull every favor trying to get in on this season.
This guy's hair puzzles and challenges me. It's practically an avant garde sculpture. Aside from that he seems awesome and I'm going to guess he'll easily make it through the next couple weeks.
Kaylen? Kaleyn? Whatever.
Pardon me, but what is this guy's deal? I appreciate choppin' in as a Fifty Shades of Grey reference if nothing else, but I'm not sure if this guy really wants to get married or just take someone home and cut them up with incredibly expensive knives.
Hi there, Final Two! This guy seemed actually pretty intelligent and cool, although his haircut defies my vocabulary to describe. " Bird of Paradise Cesar Cap"? Is that how you ask for it at the barbershop?
I love Austin, and I love how Claire Danes used to nervously tuck her hair behind her ear on My So-Called Life, ergo I love this guy.
It's hard not to root for a guy who suffered brain damage yet kept his sense of humor intact.
Anthony Michael Hall as a skateboarding CEO with the same hipster haircut my man has? He's kind of my favorite so far (SLC punk + altruistic businessman?!) although throwing your skateboard into the bushes with one adrenaline-packed gesture is LITTERING.
Here you are, Nate, here you are. I got nothing to say about this one. He looks good at business, but maybe that's just the tie.
He's the exact guy we all had kind of a crush on in high school. And I bet it works well for him.
This guy is like Matthew McConaughey: scary and coked up. I'm just kidding about the coke! This "Energy Fields" director looks like he spends a lot of time holding onto a Tesla coil and screaming with a smile plastered on his face.
Kyle makes me think, "A Lannister always pays his debts!" There's something Peter Dinkelage-y about him, yet he has none of the raw charisma of Dinkelage. P.D. would RULE the HOUSE on a season of the Bachelorette.
Thought the glasses were a good look. Make your eyes bad so you need them, dude.
This guy looks 19. And what's sexier than a possibly underage foxy dude speaking two languages perfectly?
Alessandro the Viking
I'm not saying that this guy is a viking god come to earth to fight for Emily's hand...but if he were, wouldn't he probably pose as a grain merchant?! That is such a viking career.
John, "The Wolf"
I don't approve of self-imposed nicknames and neither does Emily. It made me laugh that she kept calling him John. I could hear his inner monologue screaming "It's THE WOLF!!"
THIS GUY! He is like Duckie from Pretty in Pink if Duckie grew up to be DISGUSTING. Just gross. The producers no-doubt insisted Emily bring him along for conflict with the Helicopter Guy, but personally I can't wait 'til he packs up his facial hair and boombox and dances his way back to whatever depressing nightclub he presides over.
The Glass Slipper screams "foot fetishist" but I was won over by the footage of him with his little boy. And I like that he didn't lead with being a dad and exploit his kid to worm his way into Emily's heart, AHEM AHEM DOUG.
Ugh. I think I have that shirt, guy. And I hope you washed the ostrich ass off that egg.
My head is spinning, but as always I'm just so grateful this process is starting anew. And I honestly think Emily is one of the most exciting protagonists this franchise has ever had, male or female. How about you?
1. What do you think of these hottays?
2. Did Emily pick the right guys for her first go-round?
3. Does Chris Harrison seem haunted by regret and kind of handsy with Emily?
4. Was Lerone a token bachelor meant to address recent accusations that the Bachelor/ette franchise is racist?
5. Who are your first-impression picks for the Final Three?