The Bachelorette Season 12 Premiere Review: The Trap Has Sprung

The Bachelorette S12E01 "Season 12 Premiere"

Spring has sprung and with it has come the national fertility ritual of one special woman choosing from amongst dozens of sweaty, anxious gentlemen covertly sizing each other up and quietly flexing their freshly waxed lats and delts. Yes, it's time for Season 12 of The Bachelorette, and this year's vessel of postmodern feminized fecundity is JoJo Fletcher, who has suspiciously never been in the same room as Isla Fisher, not to start any rumors.

Last season, JoJo's love story with Ben unfolded like a slow-motion car crash, with Ben telling her he loved her and then revealing on the day of the big proposal that while he had found love with her, oops, he found even more love with someone else, LOL. So now it's JoJo's time to shine and do the dumping and get her heart broken a second time. And damn if the casting wizards haven't cooked up a harem of himbos perfectly calculated to slowly wear down any of JoJo's surviving dignity and drag her heart-first through jet lag, petty drama, and nationally televised sexual peccadilloes.

Things ramp up fast in this emotional bear trap of a series, folks. In a few weeks we will be the ones caught, hooked, ensnared. We will care deeply about these men and know them better than we know ourselves. We will root for them, despise them, and yearn to hold them close and sob onto their freshly-waxed bosoms. But this week they were just a parade of anxious strangers, most of whom looked vaguely alike (I counted four dudes with manicured stubble and side-swept undercut fades) peacocking at a D-List celebrity like their life depended on it. So let's have a cackle at some of the wackier first impressions and place our bets, viewers!

Jordan was both the first guy to pop out of the limo with an undercut fade and the first impression rose: COINCIDENCE?! I think not.

John Krasinski looks very fetching since beefing up for 13 Hours. Good luck!

Something about this guy just cries out for a metallic gold speedo and eyebrow jewelry to me, but then again, what handsome man is that not true of?

This pint-sized Marine somehow found a suit even smaller than he is. Adorable! And he has a face straight out of West Side Story. Are you in love yet? I am.

Will is a mess who seems unable to interact socially without some kind of paper product to draw focus from his anxiety. So basically Guy Me.  

According to the season trailer, Chad is a bad boy with a rage problem. Also, he was giving JoJo some pretty intense "erection eyes," as my Great Aunt Frances would call them. Obviously, he's in it for the long haul, this guy radiates great TV!

There's one in every season: the contestant who gets so overwhelmed with social anxiety they wind up half-naked in the pool. This year it was Daniel, and production did not seem forthcoming with the towels.

Ali is a bartender in Santa Monica, a.k.a. an aspiring actor. Congratulations on the TV debut!

James is an aspiring musician. Congratulations on the TV debut!

Have you ever gotten so anxious about projecting strength and confidence you instead broadcast your deepest insecurities in the form of a somewhat racist joke? Asking for a friend.

A DJ named Wells brought in seminal '90s a cappella group All-4-One to sing one of the greatest high school dance anthems of all time—"I Swear"—and it was legitimately magical. I don't know who was calling in the favor here, whether Wells begged them to do him a solid or they volunteered to get a little free nationwide airtime, but it was a win-win.

I think I'm legally obligated to make a "naughty or nice" joke here, but frankly, I'd rather serve the time than do the crime. Basically, after Santa came in, they whisked the next 10 guys through in a rapid fire montage, signaling that none of them would be getting juicy arcs in the coming season. (The whole premiere seemed to move lightning fast; its two and a half hours felt lean and mean compared to the three-hour slog of Ben's Bachelor premiere back in January, with its attendant red carpet and boisterous after show: The Bachelorette has nowhere near the same heft or audience as its male-lead counterpart, for reasons it would take me a full Brown residency to fully unpack.)

Basically, every dude was blown right out of my heart and minds when this legit dream boat came riding up on a unicorn, a thoughtful reference to JoJo's unicorn mask she wore when she got out of the limo to meet Ben.

Meet Luke. He's a small town Texan and war veteran with a quiet confidence that's two parts Eastwood and one part James Dean. Though he didn't get the first impression rose, JoJo was raving about him later in the show, and based on the season trailer, it looks like he makes it pretty far in the process. I crown him the obvious front runner and a guy I am just rooting for in life in general. Snatch him up, JoJo!

But yeah, alcohol generally did not improve this bunch. While JoJo was squirreled away by various guys for awkward kisses or heated sessions of military push ups, a knot of Sevens took over the living room. Daniel got undressed and took a dunk in the pool, and Chad made brutal assessments of the competition in a series of talking heads reminiscent of the transcendently bitchy Courtney Robertson, who won Ben Flajnik's heart back in Season 16 of The Bachelor.

The pre-Rose Ceremony "cocktail parties" are infamous for dragging on for hours and hours before the Rose Ceremony. By the time the cats had all been herded in to receive their beheaded roses from JoJo, the new contestants looked sick with flop sweat and spent adrenaline, and just as JoJo was edging into a consolatory speech, Jake Pavelka came in fresh as a daisy and whisked her away for a baffling tete-a-tete.


I'm not sure what this moment was. Here are some options:

1) The producers wanted to thoroughly rattle the contestants and be able to promote "a shocking visit from a former Bachelor," and Jake Pavalka was, surprise surprise, not busy when they called.

2) Jake Pavelka sort of, kind of wanted to maybe jump in on this season and then picked up the vibe that JoJo was not into it and quickly back-pedaled the hell out of there.

3) Jake Pavelka was on set in a full suit at 7am picking up a breakfast burrito and decided to prank "old family friend" JoJo. 

It was a baffling moment, as were many of JoJo's choices once Jake told her to "trust her gut." While a handsome architect was sent packing, Canadian exhibitionist Daniel received another week on American soil. When the rejected suitors left the house, it looked bright as noon outside, so the night must have truly been an ordeal for everyone involved. But for everybody still inside, the grinding ritualized drinking and sleep deprivation that will consume them all had only just begun!

Honestly, this seems like a super promising season. Bad boy Chad, Cool Ranch Hand Luke, and JoJo at the helm. I'm actually pretty pumped. How are you feeling about this season of The Bachelorette


QUESTIONS...

... Who gets YOUR First Impression Rose?

... Jake's little stunt: WTF?

... How many more years of this does Chris Harrison have in him? Have you read his romance novel? Is it good?

... Is "You look so much more gorgeous in person" a backhanded compliment?

... Is there any statement more awkward and cringe-y than "I hope that wasn't a pity kiss"?


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Jun 10, 2016
I think Chad should have stayed and Alex should have went home. I mean I get that the this he said wasn't right but I mean what do you expect when all the guys gang up on him. It happens almost every seanson. Now that he is gone they will just do it to someone else. Jojo even said her self that she doesn't have a good romantic connection with Alex so if this show really is all about love then in the end Chad should have gotten the rose and not Alex. After all the show is about her and finding her future husband and not who does or doesn't make threats towards people. I just hope that Alex goes home next week!! And If it's true about his mom passing away 6 months ago then that would be a good example as to where all his anger comes from he is still grieving, and that is just the state that he is at right now. Not impressed with Chad going home!! Also don't like Evan hope he goes home soon too!!
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Jun 08, 2016
Lily, can you please give us a midseason recap? There is so much to dissect right now with the Chad rage-a-thon, modern masculinity, and the yucky/delicious "will he or won't he deck someone" tension that keeps us (and the housemates) captivated.
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May 24, 2016
Just curious....can someone please explain why people watch shows like this? The setup almost never results in true love, so what is the point? What is there to care about?
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May 25, 2016
Assuming your question is sincere and not just an attempt to belittle the series, I'll try to answer your questions.

For some, it gives them someone to root for. They want to see "true love" happen. The statistics don't really matter to someone that watches for this reason because there is always a chance that the bachelor\ette and the "winner" will stay together and get married. There are remarkably few cases of this, but the fact remains that there are still SOME cases of it happening, and that's all someone who watches for the romance needs.

For others, and I imagine this is the larger group, it's for the drama. My belief that this group is larger may entirely be because I am in this group, but we watch to see girls or guys be catty bitches to each other. We watch to see friendships between the contestants form, and to see those friendships tested as the show progresses. We watch to see the "relationships" between the lead and the contestants form and speculate on whether or not it will last. We watch to "pick our horse," so to speak and root for him\her. It's cringe inducing, hilarious, and awful all at the same time.
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May 24, 2016
Damn, that Chad guy is only 28? I thought for sure he was in his mid to late 30's.
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May 24, 2016
Great recap, but don't tell me you fell for that guy's "architect" line! As soon as he said "I'm an architect", the job title flashed under his name "Landscape Architect". There's a big difference between designing buildings and designing flower beds!
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Staff
May 25, 2016
HAAAA that is true I used to be a receptionist for an architect firm and there are no foundations on begonias, very good point.
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May 24, 2016
I like Luke so I think she will accept Jordan's proposal. My picks never "win".
It seems like JoJo is even more beautiful IRL. I never seen so many nervous bachelors and never heard so many rave about a bachelorette's beauty...she must be stunning IRL (she is gorgeous on tv)
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Staff
May 25, 2016
She is gorg, and it is a phenomenon that sometimes people who come across as "cute" on TV, in person, are mind-blowingly beautiful. I did an in person interview with the cast of The Bitch in Apartment 23 and Dreama Walker, who seems "pretty and cute" on TV, in person, almost made me faint. Like Fairy Princess levels of "what the hell is even happening I can't remember my sentences I am too lost in those eyes" beautiful. I've heard the same is also true of Pamela Anderson.
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