YESSSSSS. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!! OH MY GOD YESSSSSSSS PLEASE INJECT THIS RIGHT INTO MY EYEBALLS!
I have been waiting so long for this moment and it’s better than I ever could have imagined. The chaos. The lust. The silky, floral button-down shirts. It’s all happening. It’s all real and it’s back. This is the Hot Vaxx Summer we were promised and the contestants on this beach are the ones living it. I’M NOT EVEN MAD! I’M SO EXCITED FOR THEM! This is everyone’s last chance for a boyfriend or girlfriend this year and they are GOING FOR IT. Yes!
Mixed in with that excitement, though, I have so many questions and none of them have answers.
First: Why is David Spade there? What is these under-27-year-olds’ frame of reference for David Spade? Are they looking at him like, “Oh hell yeah, the voice of Kuzco!!”? When David Spade sends someone home and inevitably says, “Buh-bye!”, will anyone know what he’s talking about?
Also: How old is Tre’s uncle? How did he match with Tahz? Is Tre’s uncle going to show up in Paradise? Because I swear to God, if we don’t meet this sexy uncle that introduced Tre and Tahz while he was macking on Tahz on the side, then this season will have been a FAILURE!!! I am fired up and I wanna see a hot uncle! A hunk-le, if you will.
Lastly: Are these people going to be sucking toes?
Let’s get into it.
It’s time to meet this season’s major players via their intro packages. The women are all ready to fuuuuuuuuuuck and the men are all ready to settle down and experience the joy of parenthood. Everyone is going to destroy each other emotionally and I’m here for it.
Everyone says what they’re most famous for on their season. Serena P. is most famous for sending the Bachelor home. Umm … is that what happened? Tahz is most famous for sweating her entire face off and getting completely overwhelmed, which, relatable. Mari says she’s most famous for having a big ass. You can’t pick “incredibly attractive and hot” as the thing you’re most famous for, Mari.
When it comes to the guys, Brendan has moved on and processed his heartbreak. Ivan is ready to be a father because his niece is the most important thing in his life. And then Kenny is fully nude. I took a workshop once at a theater and the special guest teacher arrived, stripped off all his clothes, hopped onstage, and began teaching the workshop. It is something burned into my brain that will never leave me. A random older man, strutting around fully nude giving comedy advice. No one stepped in and no one stopped the nude man from leading us through warm-up exercises. There are so few situations where an unsolicited and unexpected naked man is welcome. It’s like Kenny has decided to send everyone a dick pic, but in person so it’s WORSE.
Plus, Connor B. is playing one of them li’l songs again.
Back on the beach is Grocery Store Joe … who no longer owns a grocery store. So he’s Just Joe now. He met Kendall during his last time on the beach and they had two years together. It didn’t work out but he’s totally over it. This is Chekhov’s Emotional Healing.
We’ve finally arrived on the beach and David Spade is doing some bits where he pretends he’s bad at his job and he reminds the contestants that he’s totally off-limits. How fucking delicious would it be if one of these ladytestants fell in love with David Spade and they ran off together?!? Please, Paradise, give me the chaos I desire.
It’s time for the arrivals! First on the beach is Abigail, and she’s there to remind people she’s not a delicate flower and she wants to go on one date. Just Joe is next to arrive and he says that he and Kendall are very comfortable with each other dating new people. What’s the word for “foreshadowing but ominous”? Up next is Ivan and Serena P. Everyone is surprised at how tall Ivan is and Serena P. is a hot commodity on the beach. Kelsey from Peter’s season, which feels like 13 full years ago, has arrived with some Champagne because she was involved in Champagne-gate. Okay, this I remember! She asks David Spade to open the bottle of champagne and there’s more sexual tension between Kelsey, David, and that bottle of Champagne than Kelsey and anyone else on the beach.
Brendan arrives on the beach and Serena’s head positively swivels off its axis. Then there’s a slew of arrivals with little fanfare: Tammy, Natasha, Tre, Aaron, fully Nude Kenny. Noah arrives and he’s got his eyes set on Abigail because he used to work in a hospital with deaf people … so that’s hot for him?!??! This was a truly weird way to frame a possible shared understanding. It’s the “I don’t see color” of hearing disabilities and Noah loves adversity.
There’s a few arrivals that literally don’t get any introduction — Deandra, Maurissa, Serena C., Mari — and everyone races into the water. Then there’s Goddess Victoria, who has decided that her new identity will be a vague goddess-crystals-white-bikini thing. I’m already exhausted. They’re finally ready to fall in love! Except for Just Joe. He realizes that he’s the second-oldest person on the beach and everyone’s face has been replaced with Kendall’s face, so things are not going great.
Kenny steals Mari away and they talk about the fact that he’s 15 years older than her and the fact that he’s fully nude. He says his hobbies are “having coffee and chill,” which is not a hobby. That’s a task. A hobby is something that requires you to go to Michaels or a Sports Authority to buy yourself some weird little tools or gadgets to put in your closet for three months until you have some free time.
Then Tahz admits TO TRE that she went on a date with his uncle. This is truly the most wild thing I’ve ever witnessed. Tre and Tahz knew each other before the show because HIS UNCLE introduced them. Tahz just straight up says, “Yeah, I kissed your uncle.” Bachelor in Paradise, never change.
Then Karl arrives. Karl starts his time in Paradise by shouting, “OH HELL NO,” as if he’s fully aware of how much he sucks and he’s sympathizing with everyone for having to deal with him. He also calls himself K Swiss, which, I didn’t know you could just give yourself a nickname on the first day of camp like that. He says he’s looking for his future wife, but he should be more concerned about finding a single person that likes him at all.
David Spade gathers everyone around and asks Wells to explain to them what is going on here. Why isn’t Wells just the host? David Spade isn’t doing anything that Wells couldn’t do, and at least the contestants would have someone they could confide in as the host. For this first week, the men have the roses and they immediately take that to mean they shouldn’t have to do any work and the women should pursue them. Tre explains that the dynamic has flipped, and it really shows what men think women do in relationships: do absolutely no work and just show up to let everyone fawn over them. Tre, these women got their eyeliner and eyebrows tattooed on their faces. They put the effort in.
So the guys are more concerned with trying on some stereotypically feminine dating strategies and hanging out with each other, and that leaves the women scrambling. Some of the women, like Victoria, straight up say that they’ve never pursued men and the best relationships they’ve had have been when the men pursue them. First of all, what a treat to be hot. In the words of the great film When Harry Met Sally, men have never crossed rooms to talk to me, so I can only imagine what it’s like to go through life being like, “I just don’t do that.” But secondly, it makes sense that a relationship is successful if both people are into it!
It’s the evening of day one and the first date card arrives. It’s for Abigail! Finally! She gets to go on a one-on-one date! She asks Noah and they head off and everyone gives them a standing ovation. This season is already going to be charged. On their date, Abigail doesn’t know how to pronounce “piñatas” and she tells Noah that she likes to take things slow. Like, “talking to someone for eight months before declaring yourself boyfriend/girlfriend,” which is … too slow. It’s too slow for Paradise and I would say that’s too slow for most other settings. Abigail says that she tends to put guys in the friend zone. Use of the incredibly problematic term “friend zone” aside, what is she doing here? There has to be more to this story about her typical dating pattern and why she moves at an almost Edwardian pace. She’s not waiting for letters from the front. Noah decides to call her on being too uptight and makes out with her while smashing piñatas.
They think they have the first kiss in Paradise, but actually, this is the HORNIEST season of Paradise and they are just one of a thousand kisses. Connor B. and Maurissa. Tre and Tahz. Kenny and Mari. Jessenia and Ivan. And Just Joe and Serena P.
Hang on, wasn’t Just Joe just wandering on the beach staring out to the horizon pondering his mortality? Yes, yes he was, but suddenly a hot 23-year-old wanted to talk with him on a daybed. Serena P. makes fun of his socks-and-sandals look and Joe goes in for the kiss. Well, he stops himself and readjusts and goes in for the kiss. It’s very cute and Joe’s frazzled “Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood Tom Everett Scott” energy is winning. me. over. The sadder and more confused this man is, the more attracted to him I am. Let’s do this, Joe.
It’s the next morning in Paradise and everyone seems pretty resigned to winning the guys over when there’s one more arrival … AW FUCK, IT’S DEMI. Do you need someone with an “I’m gonna steal your fucking boyfriend” vibe coming onto the beach? Everyone seems uneasy from being out of practice and/or general existential dread, but there isn’t a particularly backbiting energy on the beach. So I have to ask again? Do we need this energy? No! Also, there don’t seem to be any other queer women for Demi to pursue, so she’s only going to be wreaking her havoc on the men of Paradise and they’re all from Clayshia’s season. These are guys that have gone to therapy and worked on themselves. They don’t want this chaos.
But that’s Paradise, baby!