Game of Thrones is airing its final episode next week. Big Bang Theory is ending. Steve Harvey won’t be the host of Little Big Shots. As so many things in the TV landscape are changing and ending, it’s so good to know that some things stay the same. The Bachelorette will always be the same. Chris Harrison will always be in some little skit after the credits. There will be some manufactured drama and a pretty white woman will talk about how difficult she is to love simply because she’s a human woman.
The Bachelorette wasn’t going to subject Hannah to some humiliating vote where the contesticles would have to choose between her and a Jovani mannequin, or have her get dumped on a live television event. So before this episode started, I was really worried about what her “story” was going to be. Turns out Hannah’s whole thing is feeling the indignity and discomfort of being a mortal woman. Her thing is the mundane sensation of feeling like an alien in your own body that comes with being a female person. What are the obstacles standing in the way of Hannah finding true love? She … um … sometimes laughs a lot? And is slightly above the socially acceptable amount of awkward for a woman of her attractiveness level? She says several times in this episode that she’s “a lot” and “so much to handle.” Her biggest recorded mistake is saying a toast weird. If I have to spend this whole season listening to a literal pageant queen talk about how hard it must be to love her because she made a noise once, I’m going to lose my mind.
After showing Host Chris around Tuscaloosa, saying “Roll Tide” no fewer than 45 times, and asking random Alabama residents to give their approval, it’s time for Hannah to talk to a ballet class of children about finding love. They dance around with scarves and then it’s time for her to head to the mansion.
LET ME ALSO SAY THIS. This show is severely overestimating how much Demi I’m willing to tolerate. Is this going to be like RuPaul’s Drag Race, where former ladytestants will appear throughout the season? Later in the episode, Demi and Katie sit in a stakeout van and just point out which guy has a girlfriend because someone sent Demi a DM about it. There has never been a more millennial sentence, and it enrages me. We’ll get there.
Before the guys head to the mansion, they all must do a self-tape audition on their cell phones. EVERYONE is doing a cell-phone video. It’s time to meet some of these contesticles!
First up is Tyler, a 26-year-old contractor who lives in Florida. He says he was two credits away from being “a dance minor.” A minor is, like, four classes, dude. So you, like, took a dance class once? Also, he compares himself to Kevin Bacon. Excuse me, Tyler, but there is already a dancer-slash-contractor Florida resident in the American film canon, and that’s Michael “Magic Mike” Lane.
Then there’s airline pilot Peter, who comes from an aviation family. He circles a field in his plane screaming “HANNAH, I’M COMING FOR YOU.” It’s romantic, he’ll tell a jury one day.
There’s Mike Johnson, who goes to see the most important woman in his life, his great-grandma. Give this woman a show. She’s amazing and adorable. If Mike makes it to hometowns, his great-grandma is going to be the Olenna Tyrell of the piece and I’m ready for it.
THEN THERE’S JOE THE BOX KING. The Bachelorette bought the Kirkland Signature version of Grocery Store Joe, and it’s hoping for the best. My favorite part of Joe the Box King’s video package is that he says he’s from a strong Italian family and the camera shows no fewer than three kinds of meatballs and every single person is holding a baby in a pink gown with a bow.
There’s Matt Donald, the farmer, whose family is deaf and he’s too sweet for this world. There’s Connor J. who says he comes from a diverse family because his dad is blond and his mom is from Hong Kong. Oh. So he’s one of these. Luke P. is superhot and he was banging a ton of chicks until he was taking a shower and God started to talk to him. So now he reads the Bible while sitting in a field and asks his niece who cannot hold her head up to help him pick outfits. He’s clearly the front-runner.
It’s time for the arrivals. Host Chris asks Hannah if she has a type, and she says she’s been with southern guys but that might not be a great idea. Chris tells her to try “every flavor,” and she’s ready to be “confetti cake.” Can we not describe people as “flavors,” please? Because then I’m trying to figure out how Hannah is the confetti cake and the only way for me to do that mental math is filthy.
It’s go time.
The entrances are mostly standard Bachelorette fare. Joe the Box King jumps out of — wait for it — a box. Connor S. jumps over the fence because that is now a metaphor for romantic devotion. (Connor is clearly winded after jumping the fence.) Matt Donald arrives on a tractor and sings his own parody song about being named Matt Donald because it kinda sounds like Old Mac Donald.
There’s a guy who looks like John Smith working on Wall Street and his name is John. Paul. Jones. He makes sure to say all. Three. Names. If you say it three times fast and look into a mirror, an Excel spreadsheet and a black AmEx will appear behind you. The most cringeworthy entrance is Cam, who got a rose on the “After the Final Rose” episode because he decides to rap again. He rhymes “limo” with “rap demo” and then I blacked out and woke up when he said he was “spitting bars like Willy Wonka” and blacked out again.
I woke up to see that there are TWO airline pilots and only one of them was clever enough to show up in his uniform. Don’t play hard. Play smart.
Hannah feels the pressure to speak English words in front of human males and prays to her Christian God to make her feel smart and worthy. This is already so bleak, but I’m so ready for Hannah to destroy some of these dudes through her sheer determination to not appear like a fool. After delivering a remarkably sincere and honest toast, Hannah gets stolen away by Luke P. The game is afoot.
I’m gonna be honest: The fact that no one gets incredibly drunk or mistakenly reveals that they aided and abetted the Golden State Killer made for a relatively tame cocktail party. No one fell into a pool! Not a single person took a shirt off or tried to fight a seagull. This cocktail party was such a snoozefest they had to wheel in Demi and Katie in a stakeout van to identify which of the guys they supposedly vetted has a girlfriend. They call themselves Hannah’s Guardian Angels, and Demi is prepared to identify BY SIGHT a guy she’s only texted about.
Once Demi and Katie spot this dude, Host Chris pulls Hannah aside and gives her the information that this guy was texting a girl on Monday and now they’re in the liminal time and space that defines The Bachelorette.
Then Hannah does my favorite fucking thing in the episode. She storms into the living room where all the guys have congregated and says, “Scott. We need to talk. C’mon. Now,” with all the ferocity of high-school lacrosse coach.
Scott asks if this is going to be a good talk. Oh, Scott. You fucking dummy.
Hannah doesn’t even ask him if he has a girlfriend. She says, “You might be nervous coming in here today because you have a girlfriend.” Scott’s defense is yes, he has dated a girl before. He goes from claiming he’s never sent a message before to “Well, she texted me.” He also attempts to gaslight Hannah by saying, “If that bothers you, I’m sorry, but I’ve dated other girls in the past. If you wanna get this upset with me, fine.” Hannah manages to stick up for the girl Scott was texting and tells Scott it’s time to go. He tries to wander off into some other part of the mansion, and she SNAPS at him and says, “C’mon! No. C’MON!” YES. Commanding Hannah CAN GET IT.
She confronts the rest of the contesticles and tells them if they have a girlfriend back home, they should just leave now. She’s looking for something real. Fucking poseurs can get the fuck out. Hannah heads outside for a post-adrenaline-rush cry, and Luke P. is the first one to comfort her. Connor S. comforts her with his male vocal fry, and he kisses her. Unfortunately for him, Luke P. gets the first-impression rose.
It’s time for the rose ceremony. There are a lot of guys worried they didn’t get enough time with Hannah because of the Scott diversion. John. Paul. Jones. Says he had to forgo his promotion to be on the show. He better get a rose. Mike, Connor S., Matthew, Connor J., Jed, Dustin, Joey, Devon, Peter, Dylan, Matteo, Jonathon, Tyler C., Tyler G., Darren, Luke S., Garrett, Grant, Kevin, and John Paul Jones all get a rose. The Box King and Old Matt Donald shuffle out into the sunlight with the pilot who didn’t wear his uniform along with a few other dudes I don’t think we ever heard speak.
Cheers to this beautiful adventure and the persistent nightmare of being a woman alive in 2019!