A lot of people say that Donald Trump’s election was a response to Barack Obama. That a president like Donald Trump could only be possible as a reaction to Barack Obama. That America would look at an optimistic, competent black president and respond with whatever Trump is. A raccoon wearing a human suit? A sentient rotting tangerine? A toddler using the rulebook to Monopoly: The Godfather Edition as a mantra? I’m bringing all this up because is there some logic to the decision to follow up Rachel’s wonderful, difficult, confusing season with the human equivalent of a beige driving moccasin? That’s the only explanation for why we’re all sitting here watching Arie attempt to emote and practice everything he learned in his “charming person” lessons. Someone tell me there’s a reason why I’m watching someone with a more tailored version of Ryan Cabrera’s haircut, even if that reason is, “There were too many black people and people felt weird about it.” I just hope this means that we’ll be getting Eric as the Bachelor in five years after Nick Viall and Juan Pablo tag-team a season.
After a montage to remind us all who Arie is (Race Car, Dutch, Weird Journal), we get to find out what he’s up to now. He’s dallying in real estate because he’s really translating those race-car skills into his new field. Everyone definitely has the feel of, “Well, I guess we’re doing this. We really wanted Peter, but the show must go on!” Arie sits down with Sean Lowe, the only former Bachelor available on short notice. Sean says that this process is going to work because Arie is 36 years old. Arie also says that Sean gave him a lot of advice, but none of the Bachelors who followed him are married. So he’s either giving bad advice or no one is listening to him. I don’t know which one is a stronger indictment of the system. Sean Lowe ends his advice session by pretending that his baby tells Arie to respect women.
It’s time to meet a few of the ladytestants.
We have to talk about something. I always joke that I have trouble telling these white women and their extensions apart but DEAR GOD does this man have a type. Also, can it really be called “a type” when it’s just “being attracted to Eurocentric standards of beauty and doing literally nothing to challenge or question that.” Of the 30 women, only five are 30 or older. The oldest woman is 33. Why does Arie get to go after women ten years younger than him? Damn, you can’t beat the patriarchy, can you?
But hey! There’s a white woman with short hair! A pixie haircut is a feminist triumph this season. She’s the Susan B. Anthony of the season. Despite her glass-ceiling-shattering haircut, Pixie Cut Bekah is still 22 and trying to compete for the heart of a 36-year-old man. (Her age was suspiciously left off of her official bio.)
Let’s meet a few of my personal favorites. There’s Tia, who is friends with Raven and her intro package includes shots of her hanging out at Raven’s store, Grey Suede. First, there must be some well in Arkansas where they keep finding these bitches. Second, I definitely thought Raven’s store was named “Greg Suede” because of the unfortunate Pinterest-inspired font choice. Then there’s Kendall, your absurdly attractive “weirdo.” She plays the ukulele and collects giant taxidermy animals. There’s Koach Krystal, who has an online fitness “empire” and a voice made for ASMR. She says she has a passion for nutrition, so obviously I despise her.
It’s time for Host Chris to greet Arie and prepare him for the arrival of the ladytestants. Host Chris asks him, “Do you think this can work?” and Arie says, “It better work.” To love!
The ladytestants begin to arrive and they all scream about how much of a stud Arie is. I don’t doubt they find him attractive, but everyone keeps referring to him as a stud. My friends, Arie is no stud. Idris Elba is a stud. Joe Manganiello is a stud. Any Chris in a superhero movie is a stud. Arie is a West Covina 8.
Tia gives him a tiny wiener toy and asks, “You don’t already have one, do you?” which is legitimately funny. Chelsea, a single mom from Maine, arrives and evades every single one of Arie’s questions and he’s left thinking she’s mysterious. Annaliese arrives in a mask with a bag of kisses and declares that she’s the Kissing Bandit. There’s a whole series of race-car puns. People give him checkered flags, and someone puts a bumper sticker on him with an extended metaphor about not putting a sticker on a Ferrari but you can’t put one on an Arie. Two women arrive in cars. Pixie Cut arrives in a ‘65 Mustang and Maquel arrives in a Formula One race car. Chelsea has already decided that Pixie Cut arriving in a Mustang is symbolic of her “loud nature” and Chelsea is going to destroy Pixie Cut. Chelsea is a hot bitch and I’m into it.
The biggest scandal during the arrivals is that there are four women named Lauren. This show can’t even manage name diversity. This feels like a Black Mirror episode. To paraphrase Mallory Ortberg, “What if The Bachelor but too many Laurens.”
After all the women arrive, it’s time for the cocktail party and Chelsea continues her attempt at power moves and takes Arie aside. She answers every one of his questions with another question or something from a fortune cookie. Arie is into her mysterious nature. They get interrupted and Chelsea takes it as a personal slight and is determined to punish all those who cross her. I’m deeply in love with her. Lauren G. puts a piece of pineapple in his mouth and tells him that’s her safe word. I hope her kink also involves pieces of tropical fruit being shoved in his mouth. Chelsea decides that because she sat down with him first, she deserves a second chance. She kisses him with her full open mouth and I’m not a fan.
Arie sits down with Bekah on top of the Mustang and they repeat her opening line over and over and chuckle about how hilarious it was. Then she asks him what three things make him excited to be alive. His answer is astounding.
First thing he says is “excitement.” Bitch, what? “What makes you excited to be alive?” “Excitement.” This is not one of those “the answer is in the question” situations. He tries to redeem it by going “adrenaline.” Nah, dawg. We all heard you say “excitement.” He follows it up with “Pizza. Good Food. Good Company.” He sounds like the menu at the Olive Garden. “Good food. Good company. Mangia! Mangia! When you’re here, you’re excitement!” This guy is a fucking drip and all of Bekah’s answers are so damn good and he said “excitement.”
Everyone is stressing out about the first-impression rose. Brittany T. thinks she’s in the running for it because they shared a kiss after a Power Wheels race. Arie swoops in and grabs the rose and asks to steal Chelsea away. He gives her the first-impression rose.
It’s finally time for Arie to decide who is going to stay and who is going to drive away. Am I doing race-car puns right? Yeah, so it’s time for the rose ceremony. Arie asks them all to take a deep breath and a few of them take the opportunity to show off their racks. Koach Krystal stands perfectly still with a frozen smile.
Becca K., Kendall, Lauren G., Koach Krystal, Bekah, Lauren S., Seinne, Caroline, Brittany T., Bibiana, Annaliese, Jenna, Valerie, Jacqueline, Jenny (there’s a Jenna and a Jenny? Kill me.), Lauren B., Ashley, Tia, and Maquel all get roses. Maquel gets the last rose and says, “Arie, why’d you do that to me?!” Read the room, Maquel.
The sun is fully out as the eliminated ladytestants file out into the world. As Jessica leaves, she reminds the viewers that her dead dad met Arie at an event before he passed away and was rooting for him on The Bachelorette, so he “approved” of Arie. If she ended up with Arie, she concluded that her dead father would have met her husband and approved of him. Now? Now her dad will never meet her husband. I’m sure all that was very attractive to hear in Arie’s first conversations with her.
Arie is going to be “in the driver’s seat next week.” DAMN THESE PUNS.
The universe knew I needed something to cleanse my body and soul, and so the new trailer for Black Panther started immediately after the episode.