Welcome back to Mouthful of teeth’s weekly Bachelorette recap where I’ll break down Clayton Echard’s search for a fiancé and the television nonsense along the way.
This is week 2 of Clayton’s “journey” and we’re starting to get a stronger feel for both our lead and our contestants. Clayton seems less like an overpowered video game character and is starting to show off his emotional range, which is refreshing.
Some of the women in the house on the other hand…
Hey now, HEY NOW
The first group date of the season had the mysterious caption “this is what dreams are made of,” which is a dog-whistle for every millennial. If you were a kid during the 90’s-2000’s you know who Lizzy Maguire is, and ABC takes full advantage of that.
But first, here’s the lucky few who get to meet Hillary Duff:
The group takes a field trip to Duff’s luxurious mansion in Beverly Hills paid for by Disney and my family’s concert tickets in 2004. There, they find a dozen kids jumping on a bouncy house and Clayton standing next to their childhood idol.
Clayton is rapidly becoming a paternalistic figure to every woman on this show to an uncomfortable extent. $100 says one of them calls him dad before the end of the season (and fantasy suites definitely count).
Daddy—I mean Clayton, further emphasizes his fatherhood by introducing Hillary as “actress, singer, songwriter, and most importantly, a mother of three.” Hillary definitely didn’t like that intro, but she braved on because she’s a goddamn professional.
The premise of the group date is throwing a child’s birthday to give these women a taste of motherhood. Kind of shitty for the first date of the season, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before and the women take it in stride.
That is, most of them do.
Cassidy chooses to ignore the whole conceit and steals Clayton away to hang out by Hillary Duff’s pool and straddle him while the sounds of children blare in the background. She was proud of this decision and even bragged about it to Hillary Duff later on.
Hillary gave a tasteful critique by pointing out how shortsighted her strategy is, but the rest of the women were less reserved with their remarks. The day portion ended with Cassidy proudly proclaiming herself the frontrunner.
Big Daddy’s Antiques with Big Daddy himself
The group migrates to Big Daddy Antiques for the night portion, which appears to be a high-end furniture shop for rich d-bags. The name might just be coincidence, but the paternalism in this season is starting to get heavy-handed.
Clayton did what he does best though: embarrass himself by dressing like a college student.
The rest of these women wore cocktail dresses and stylish coats that looked tasteful and fashionable. Meanwhile, their boyfriend wore a white hoodie, underneath a suitcoat that didn’t match his pants.
If I were one of the women, I’d “accidentally” spill red wine on that hoodie so it can go back in his suitcase where it belongs.
The real drama of the evening revolved around Cassidy continuing her scorched Earth campaign to Clayton’s heart, but rather than rehash it, let’s focus on the other women.
Serene is a third-grade teacher who clearly had a lot of fun on the day portion. Clayton famously has a thing for teachers and the two had a genuine connection. This was also the first time I noticed that Clayton, for all his faults, is really good at expressing what he likes about his partner and that will carry him far on this show.
Teddi also enjoyed herself on the date because she’s barely out of childhood herself.
Teddi is a 24 year-old, but speaks and acts like she’s still in high school. It was clear night one that she litters every sentence with the word “like,” but this group date displayed the depth of her rambling. Teddi started every sentence with a vague compliment about Clayton and ended each one with a call for validation.
There’s nothing wrong with needing some validation every now and again, to be clear. It only becomes a problem when you’re someone like Greg from Katie’s season who uses it to chain your partner’s affection to you through constant reassurance.
Teddi doesn’t seem that problematic, however. She just seems a little immature.
The night ended with Clayton’s first bad decision of the season that pissed all his girlfriends off: he gave Cassidy the group rose.
Chef’s kiss* no notes Clayton, keep up the good work.
Through the eyes of Susie
The first one-on-one of the season went to a surprise contender: Susie.
Susie is a 28-year-old who received an intro package on night one, but otherwise didn’t get much screen time. I would’ve expected the date to go to Genevieve or Eliza, but Clayton must’ve formed a connection quickly.
The pair took a helicopter ride which Susie called “the coolest thing of her life.” Girl, you lived in a foreign country and have a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu, this is just a $300 sightseeing tour.
Most sightseeing tours don’t end by parking on a yacht for hot tubs and champagne I guess, so I’ll cut her some slack. Susie seems like a genuine person without any form (or capability) of a hidden agenda.
She speaks honestly with Clayton about what she’s looking for and Clayton shows off his communication skills again. The first one-on-one was a little boring and vapid, but they seemed to have fun, so more power to them.
Time for a Bachelor staple
What would this franchise be if every connection two people made didn’t form over a heavy dose of trauma porn?
Trauma in exchange for intimacy is the most toxic message of the franchise and they don’t seem to want to stray from it. This instance wasn’t nearly as bad as Michelle’s obsession with trauma, but it was still really uncomfortable.
Susie told a story about a time when her dad fell deathly ill. Apparently, her father spent a lot of time in the ICU due to heavy organ failure, but it was all worth it because he stayed alive in order to hold his new grandson.
It is an inspiring story of sorts, but instead of admiring the resilience her family displayed, Susie focuses on the fact that her mother sat next to her dad’s hospital bed every day. Susie even went as far as to say she wants that for herself.
Clayton didn’t drop sick with organ failure right there, however, because men will always let you down.
This was a pretty low example of trauma dumping for the show, but it’s still our first taste of something we’ll see over and over in the coming weeks.
What Susie should’ve been traumatized about was Clayton’s outfit.
Susie wore a form-fitting copper dress made out of satin and she walked in with a man wearing a zip up jacket and JEANS. This was the first night portion of the entire season and Clayton couldn’t be bothered to tie a tie?
An episode of amazing guests
The second group date brought these ladies to meet a very special guest:
The guest in question is Ziwe, the queen of getting people to admit their faults live onscreen.
Ziwe, in addition to being an expert on reading people, is an extraordinary comedian who stole the show immediately. Bringing on so many actors and singers makes you forget that there are real performers that make amazing hosts (no offense Ms. Maguire).
Ziwe’s challenge for the group was a game of never have I ever, that yielded some surprising results:
Never have I ever sent a nude
- Have: Rachel, Kate, Elizabeth, Tessa, and Clayton (I need to see it)
- Have not: Sarah, Lyndsey, and Marlena
Never have I ever faked an orgasm
- Have: Literally every woman
- Have not: just Clayton
Never have I ever cheated
- Have: Kate and Elizabeth
- Have not: Sarah, Lyndsey, Rachel, and Shanae
Never have I ever felt judged by other women in the house
- Has: Shanae
- Has not: Elizabeth
A lot of this line of questioning was designed to start drama in the house, but it’s the last two questions that really struck a nerve with Shanae. But more on that later.
After the game, the ladies are treated to a “Red Flags Race,” where they sped through an obstacle course. There isn’t much to say about many of the challenges, except for the first two.
The first leg of the race had the group speed towards a table then chug a quart of milk. Which producer came up with this torture and where can I read their resignation?
The second step had each woman jump across floating pieces of memory foam over a sticky lake of corn syrup. Shanae used this moment to take vengeance on Elizabeth for her crimes (of flirting better than Shanae can) by pushing her into the lake.
This will start the main drama for the rest of the episode, but it’s important to note, that Elizabeth never brought this up to Clayton and seemed to be okay letting it go.
The winner of the race, and the future winner of the group date rose was Sarah.
Sarah is so pretty, and it looks like Clayton really likes her. We don’t know much about her except she’s a 23-year-old from New York who unfortunately works on Wall Street, but I’m excited to get to know her better this season.
The Cassidy-fication of Shanae
Cassidy already cemented her title as first villain of the season. But what is a villain without a few followers?
After Cassidy strong-armed her way into a group-date rose, Shanae latched onto her as a role model. Shanae clearly sees Cassidy as a strong competitor that asserted herself in a way Shanae wishes she could, but lacks the understanding of how to do so effectively.
Cassidy even called herself Shanae’s “sensei” and did a little racist bow, so we got the message. Shanae took that lesson to heart by giving herself her own racist nickname: Shanae-nae.
Shanae-nay was a character Martin Lawrence did in the 90’s to stereotype Black women, which is in poor taste today, but something a Black comedian is well within their rights to do. More recently, some racist (white) YouTuber named Shane Dawson did it for the same effect and rightfully lost thousands of followers.
Shanae falls closer to the latter example.
Cassidy told Shanae that she needs to take charge and not let any women get in her way. Shanae should do something bold to get Clayton’s attention and if she does, she’ll walk away with that rose.
Pretty milquetoast advice, but Shanae took it as gospel. Shanae’s take on bold was forming a one-sided beef with our #GirlBoss Elizabeth over a misconstrued slight.
Elizabeth allegedly changed on Shanae from night one to day two. Night one, Elizabeth paid close attention to Shanae and spoke friendly with her, but on day two Elizabeth wouldn’t even look her in the eye while they spoke.
Elizabeth had no memory of this and apologized for any offense because that clearly wasn’t her intention. She also gave the context that her ADHD makes it hard for her to focus on one person while there’s a lot of other stimulus around her…like a crowded house of people.
Shanae spent the rest of the episode cycling between believing Elizabeth is just using her ADHD as an excuse for her (nonexistent) bad behavior and refusing to believe ADHD even exists. Shanae divulged Elizabeth’s ADHD to the group without her permission and said some pretty disgusting things about it to the entire house.
To the women’s credit, they confront Shanae about this and even her sensei, Cassidy, left her out to dry.
It’s nice to see, even in this deeply flawed group, there’s a strong solidarity over mental health.
Next time on the most dramatic third episode in Bachelor History™
Sierra, our resident slut-shamer of the house ended the episode by snitching on Cassidy to Clayton.
She didn’t tell Clayton that Cassidy is generally super rude, mind you, she divulged that Cassidy had a fuckbuddy before the show. This is a completely made-up issue, and it isn’t as if Cassidy said the love of her life was waiting on her back home.
She just had some dick lined up before flying to California for 2 months, like we all wish we had.
Clayton is deeply insecure about rejection, however and this might break him. The episode ended with Jesse Palmer looking on incredulously as Clayton asked:
For the record, yes. It happened on the show’s pilot season. Jesse didn’t tell Clayton that in order to remove a rose from the Bachelor universe, one must eat that rose, but I have faith he’ll figure it out.
See you in two weeks!